As is always appropriate, I am getting my ultimate treat today (and, if you are reading this in the morning, likely RIGHT NOW): my arm is getting injected with the liquid gold that is Remicade.
It gives you wings…wait maybe that is something else.
Honestly? Right now I feel like my life is pretty much a treat. No, it isn’t perfect. Hell, yes, it is pretty awesome, and I am trying to ride that high as much as I possibly can. But I am also, well, me, and to some extent I am always awaiting that dropping shoe, that hamstring pull, that ITB issue. I’m waiting for the big insurance bill (that I know for a fact will come in a few weeks after this infusion). It’s not that I am a perpetual fret-or, far from it. I’ve just been booted in the booty enough times to know better.
So what am I doing? I’m riding the downhills, baby.
What I mean by “riding the downhills” is that you have to go up a hill to come back down it. So many people HATE running hills because they hurt, are hard, whatever. But you know what? I have always been one that didn’t mind them so much, at least when I was used to doing them. Now that I am in Chicago, it is like F THAT. And then I get hurt. #theresyoursign
K, so back to my training advice/life metaphor.
Learning to run hills truly is a skill. You want to exert as little extra effort as possible while losing as little pace as possible. No, I am not a running expert, but I did the majority of my running in the hills of Manhattan, the Upper West Side/Morningside Heights, Central Park, Charlottesville, and in Atlanta. I think I know of what I speak. There are a great many techniques and strategies for doing this from experts, but here is what I typically do when I am in a race, doing a tempo, any sort of training run, really:
When I see the hill in front of me, Ido.not.cha.nge.wha.tia.mdo.ing. (sweet, that worked perfectly, haha). I maintain pace, rhythm, foot fall, but I start to mentally prepare myself.
Upon meeting the hill, Ido.not.cha.nge.wha.tia.mdo.ing. foot-wise. With regards to my body, I give my booty a little clench to engage my glutes and legs and then I shift my weight forward ever so slightly. I lean into the hill, as it were. (What, wasn’t “Leaning in” a big thing recently?). I don’t THROW my body at it, I don’t let it come to me, I wait patiently for it to meet me, and then I meet it. This hill and I, we are having a relationship.
I do the foot fall thing (I will spare you this time), but I use more of my toes–light but also digging in–and push with my glutes. Basically, lowering my center of gravity and pushing it forward to help with momentum. And I use my arms to help create this. Think of walking into the wind. I am at least practiced at this in Chicago, the land of headwind at all times no matter what direction you are moving in.
For really steep hills, yes, I adjust my tempo a bit, but the goal is ALWAYS to maintain forward movement. I try not to do the deetdeetdeetdeet steps all thisclosetogether–that just wastes energy, for me. But sometimes you have to give yourself a little break. For me, the goal is the even paced steps.
K, so you are at the top of the hill. Whoopty freaking do. Don’t throw a party, if you have ever truly run hillshillshills, you know that the down is just as important, and can wreck you just as well, as the up. But the down is also an opportunity to create the momentum to carry you up the next hill, or to help you coast at the bottom, and if used properly, can be a moment to breathe but also just to have some flippin fun. But if you let it get out of hand, and have to much fun, you are going to EAT IT. So the technique?
RIDE THE DOWNHILL.
After I crest a hill, this is when I open up my stride. I eat up that pavement and cover as much ground as I can, with control. Sure, I could let loose, but falling on asphalt is about as much fun as an nonfun thing can be. I would rather have a little control, a little reserve, and still have a freaking p a r t y than have to bandage the crap out of myself.
So, if you have glossed over everything to this point, the take away is thus: in the hills of life, meet the ascent halfway, but maintain pace as much as possible. Engage that booty, face it with determination, but don’t fight it. Respect it.
At the top, know that a transition is coming, the calm, a bit of a break.
And then ride the hill–eat it up, but don’t binge–more hills are coming. Savor that morsel, that treat, pick out all of its flavors, and let that carry through the coasting period.
And then meet the next ascent. And love the challenge. Consider it a treat to yourself–knowing that you will get the downhill, even if it is at the start of your run tomorrow.
Running flats if fun, but you have just as good a chance of injury (trust me).
We’ve heard of embracing the hill–now it’s time to ride the downhills.
What do you do when life is treating you?
Do you “ride” the downhills? How do you deal with hills, in life, runs, rides, what have you?