Monday, July 27, 2009

Say 'hello' to my little friend

One of the many things that can be said about Austin, TX is that there is no short supply of great hills to run and ride. You have Wilke, Jester, Spicewood Springs, Cat Mountain, Mt Bonnell and countless others. Well, I visited one of my old workouts last week and it took me to Ladera Norte. It's not one of the more famous ones but this badboy does not disappoint.
Ladera Norte (or as I like to call it La Sacre a Norte) is located off of Far West. Just take Mopac to Far West and go as far as Far West will take you. Take a right at the very end and you'll drive up this hill that doesn't seem to end. Once at the top, park you car, say a prayer or 2 and easily make your way down the hill. You are now going down what you will be climbing back up.
Take notice that this hill really doesn't offer any recovery through it's .64 mile distance and when you think it's bad it gets worse. Much worse because the last 100 yards is a 20% plus grade uphill to the top. But don't let that scare you. Be more concerned with why it's taking you more time to go down the hill than run up! The grade at that point is so steep and long that you actually have to walk some of the downhill or you're going to end up doing a nose dive. I actually jog backwards on parts of the downhill so that I can save my quads.
Just to give you an idea of what you are getting into.
Wilke: .19 miles with about 700 feet of climbing. That's short and steep.
Ladera Norte: .62 miles with just over 1000 feet of climbing.
This hill has beaten me many times but I keep coming back because hills build power in your legs and power will build speed. Avoiding hills does nothing to help your run so go out and find some nasty hills and make yourself work. I am always glad when I do this run because I know it has beaten me many times but each time I come out a stronger runner.
btw..... The most I have ever done was 5 repeats last fall and my fastest one was 6:05.
Last Thursday I did 3 with my fastest being 6:30...... oh and it was about 103 outside. :)

Happy running!!!!!!

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