After Saturdays disaster of a run in the heat I decided I needed to give myself a kick up the bum running wise. It was going to be too hot to think about doing intervals at lunchtime, the prom would also be heaving so I decided to do a hill rep session. The hill I had in mind is in Tockholes Woods so would be mostly in the shade.
The interval session I had was 8 x 0.25 mile, the hill in question was 0.3 of a mile so I thought I would do 6 reps and that would be pretty close distance wise. I was really looking forward to the run, partly because it was offroad too. I headed straight to Abbey Village after work, got my trail shoes on then headed towards the woods.
My legs still felt really heavy for running but I was taking it easy for the warmup anyway. It winds its way gradually uphill to the bottom of my target so I settled into an effort level. I also wanted to come this way to make sure I hadn't missed the bluebells yet, don't think I have but all the green leave spikes are up so it should be a good display when they do appear. I love the woods in spring and autumn, lots of dappled light getting through the trees.
At the bottom of "the hill" I got ready to run up. It has varied gradients: it starts off quite steep, then it flattens out very briefly on a left hand switchback before continuing up a little less steep than before. It then flattens out and descends slightly before climbing again at a much easier gradient. Its good to practice running "over the top" of the hill.
I set off up the first one, feeling slow but made sure I pushed on once it eased rather than backing off. I jogged slowly down (but seemed to make it down quicker than up, boo) and set off for the second one which was quicker. I got to the bottom, there was a girl and her mum with a little grey dog about to set off up the climb so I hung back a little to let them get to the wider part of the track.
As they passed I realised it wasn't a dog, it was a cat on a lead! Who takes a cat for a walk in the woods?????? It was a beautiful cat actually and quite young I think, I can't imaging my cat allowing that. I could probably get the harness thing on him but if I tried to lead him anywhere he would turn himself inside out trying to get it off.
As I was about to set off a family came passed with a large dog so I hung back to wait again, the inevitable happened when the dog saw the cat! Then another few people started to head up, its one of the main paths to the Ryal Fold Car Park. I then decided to abandon this hill and go do the Mill Lane one instead, its quieter.
Off round the corner to Mill Lane and I set off again. This climb starts off at an easier gradient but gets steeper and rougher as you go up. Its also really cobbly, uneven and slippery in places so requires real concentration to make sure foot placement is good. The last section kicks up a lot but I kept going until I had done 0.5 mile. It took me 6:27, slooww.
I headed down again then set off on the second, my legs were starting to feel it now and I was 3 seconds slower at the top. I headed down again and set off on my third. I did think of cutting it at the 0.4 mile mark to give me my two miles but I had a feeling once I started it I would want to finish it. Which I did but the last steep section really took it out of me and I was a further three seconds slower but I was buzzing now from putting some hard work in, I was also really hungry.
I jogged down the first bit of cobbles then headed off through the woods to give my ankles a rest from the twisting. I can't see me ever being able to run down this descent at any sort of speed, its painful. Then it was an easy jog back to the car, my legs in climbing mode so the last flat half mile felt weird. I scoffed a banana then drove home having really enjoyed the effort.
Will do intervals next (if the weather cools down) then attack this hill again.