We went back to the trails today. Sharon picked the route. The plan was to start at the beginning of the Wildwood trail and run to mile 8 and back. We arrived at the zoo parking lot at about 7:20 am. The clouds were heavy and it was still quite dark. We didn't have lights so we took our time getting ready. I was really not in the mood. Sharon realized that she had selected one of the hilliest routes on Wildwood. "Yes! and no complaining, because YOU picked it!", I joked.
Sharon usually brings sesame candies for our immediate post-run snack. She had a bag of fresh ones she had picked up from a Russian candy store in Brooklyn. I stuck my nose in the bag and took a long, delicious sniff. "Screw this run! Let's go get coffee!" We laughed, but it was 7:30 now and getting significantly lighter, so we headed out on our way.
The beginning of Wildwood starts at about 700 ft. The 8 miles to our turnaround involved lots of ups and downs: up to 900, down to 600, up to 800, down to 600, up to 900, waaay down to 200 and back up to 700 at the 8 mile marker. Of course, going back to the zoo meant that the waaay down section from 900 to 200 became waaay up. Sharon was on fire today and ran this whole 1-1/2 mile section. Actually she stopped for a minute about a quarter mile from the top. I walked some sections but she definitely motivated me to run portions that I might otherwise have walked. When I caught up to her at the top she asked me if it counted as running the whole hill since she had stopped. In my book...Absolutely!
I was very diligent about completing my strength training workouts this week. So by the end of this run my hamstrings and calves were burning. But I say bring on the pain and suffering. Give me rain, cold, wind, mud, hills, rock, roots. I want to face it all head on now. And hopefully that will pay off when my races roll around this year.