Thursday, May 20, 2010

Up, up, up, up. Down, down, down, down.

This is one of sweet B’s little chants when she’s lifting and bending with some stuffed animal or plaything. Today it also describes what I spent a bit of time doing during my run. There’s a short hill—only 70 meters or so, but nicely pitched—in the cemetery. Depending on my route for the day, it’s usually just a grunt up or a glide down, but today I did a half-dozen repeats at reasonable effort. I’ve definitely accepted the challenge those New Hampshire hills delivered last weekend. (And, of course, results could be transferred to a different Challenge.)

Decent form is even more important on an incline than on the flat. My action could never have been described as metronomic perfection, but I’ve worked on a few things over the years to make it as efficient as possible. The key thing for me on hills is to rotate my palms from facing essentially down to facing essentially up. This brings my elbows in closer to my body and makes it easier to drive the arms strongly forward and back, rather than in the more swinging motion that works on flat ground. For me, this adjustment also has a psychological effect. It clicks me in and makes me focus on working this tougher terrain. There’s a whole, wonderfully enjoyable, entirely attainable, art and science to running hills.
My favorite hill, the sweetheart of all local sweethearts, is a couple of miles out of town, and right now I’d have to drive (weak, weak, weak), or bike (currently broken) if I wanted to run a workout on it. I’m probably a month or so away from comfort at 6-7 miles, but then it’s once a week on Mill Road for me. In the meantime, it’s up, up, up, up, down, down, down, down.

Just to make this post pretty, here’s B last week playing with what remains one of her great interests: a Fastex buckle. She now buckles herself into her own highchair, backpack, and—partly—this car seat. Of course, she can buckle herself out, too, which can make things interesting.

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