Tackling That Which You Dread

There are not a lot of things that bug me when I run.  I don’t love wind, but I can ignore it for the most part.  Hills aren’t my favorite, but my dad taught me to embrace them as a great way to push past the competition.  Cold weather, sure I hate it but bundle me up and I can run in it.  Rain?  Bring it (for the most part).

The other night I decided to do some Googling (that was my first mistake).  I started searching for reviews of the Poconos Marathon that we are running in 4 weeks.  Granted, I should have probably done this months ago when I registered.  But I was 10 weeks out from having a baby and high off of the endorphins from being back in the game and having just helped out at the Chicago Marathon.

At the time I started looking at spring marathons and this one came up with rave reviews from Runner’s World.  The course starts out with a gradual six mile climb and then descends 1,200 feet over the next 20 miles.  Sign me up!  And so I did.

When blog after blog the other night noted that this was deceptive advertising, my eyes about popped out of my head.  Every blog discusses how between miles 18-23 there are constant up and downhill sections.  Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t those the miles where runners struggle the most both mentally and physically on the course?  Aaahhh!!

Shock

Here’s the other thing, Chicago is flat as a pancake.  I hadn’t been running hills until I got to NYC during the first week of April.  I was smart enough then to start incorporating a loop of Central Park into my daily runs.

As I prepared for my 22 mile run last Friday, I made a decision to do two laps of Central Park.  (If you are not aware, CP has some killer hills throughout, especially up near Harlem.  It is a challenging 6 mile loop).

I added some new songs to my playlist.  Headed out with fuel and a little bit of an idea of what I would run.  My initial plan was to run to the park, do two laps and then head to Randall’s Island for awhile before returning home.  But as I started on my second lap of Central Park, something hit me.  I had just gone up two consecutive, difficult hills and I didn’t even notice.  I didn’t reach them and mentally prep myself.  I didn’t think about how hard it was as I was pushing up.  I just went.

CentralPark3

Pictures don’t do Bobcat Hill justice.

It was then that I decided to go ahead and do a third lap of the park and  just go for it.  It happened again.  Sure I was tired.  My glutes were screaming a bit on a few climbs.  Yet each time I hit the top, everything evened out and I felt pretty good.

The lesson to be learned here is that sometimes we need to go head first into those things that we find difficult or really dread.  The more you work at it and continue to be persistent, you will whittle away at the difficulty.  It might get easier or it might just get more tolerable.  Either way, you will get through it.  The best way to tackle the things you dread the most, is head on.

What is something you have to work to push through on a run?

21 thoughts on “Tackling That Which You Dread

  1. I try to remind myself of something I’ve done more difficult than what I’m currently doing. I remind myself of those victories and allow that to fuel me! The sense of accomplishment of doing something you never thought you could do is amazing!

  2. great job crushing those tough hills! i have so many memories of when i first moved to NYC and was living right by CP (such a nice luxury!) and running there regularly, and how i dreadeddddd those hills and often would stop to walk during Harlem Hill. i don’t run there much anymore but definitely should start incorporating it back into the routine, as my route is entirely flat…but i do have some memories of times in the past few years where the hills didn’t seem quite as daunting and it was a lovely thing to be able to experience. but 3 laps around feeling great?! you’re amazing!

  3. I had always thought the best way to get up a hill was to sprint and get it over with (meanwhile, I don’t sprint…ever), until I was reading an article a few weeks ago about actually shorting your steps while you go uphill. It made them feel so much more effortless than previous sprinting, and allowed me to enjoy the downhill instead of walking/catching my breath.

  4. As a heavy runner, all of those things you mention I dread, because it hurts (psoriatic arthritis doesn’t help the cause either). As I was saying to a co-worker the other day, at some point you have to decide if we let dread win or if we keep going even if it hurts. I’ve done the latter … trying the pushing now.

  5. Ahhhh… Google, our biggest frienemy! 😀 Oh, gosh, how many times I’ve made a mistake to use it when I was pregnant lol! Anyhow, back to the subject. I’m not thrilled about strong winds (this propmted me to go for my run earlier yesterday lol! anything in my power haha!) and hills. But then, I’ll also have quite a bit of uphill during my half, so I have to learn to embrace it all 🙂

  6. See you at the race!!!!! I’m doing the half.

    The reviews remind me of Wineglass. Wineglass has a net decline, but it’s not perceptible while running because there are tiny rolling hills throughout the race. The actual elevation of the hills are tiny, but to tired runners I guess they’re huge mountains.

  7. For me the push is the first two miles once part thoughts its sort of auto pilot 🙂 You had is right! When I was on the High School Cross Country I would layback and wait for the hill and then I would go like a bat outa’ hell and blow past everyone.I love hills to this day even though they hurt going up (and down) but the rush you get when you peak! that’s my OREO cookie and Milk moment.

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