Yesterday I took advantage of the warm, sunny weather and got a tempo run in at Garden of the Gods to prepare for the upcoming Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Run. The Women's Fit Team, decked out in fluorescent pink, were out doing the full course and I felt a little guilty only running 6. I pushed the pace and tried to sustain my efforts up the long hills which make this breathtaking (literally) course so challenging. I typically do more training runs in the Garden prior to the 10 miler, however, my race schedule this summer includes primarily trail runs. Getting out on the pavement was a fun change and I love the feeling of my legs turning over on the downhill.
This week's schedule includes some hill-repeats which I've found help a little with this particular course. In addition to track-work which is good for leg turnover and general improvement of VO2 max, I try to include hill repeats at least once a week in the summer given my hilly races (perhaps hilly is an understatement). I love the looks I get from the tourists as I'm running up and down near balanced rock.
Since I was feeling guilty about not running the whole Garden of the Gods 10 Mile course, I took my friend up the Incline for the first time later that afternoon. At the beginning of our ascent, I repeated the phrase displayed on a colleague's poster hanging in her classroom: "we can do hard things". Up we went. Although my legs were fatigued from the morning tempo, seeing my friend with an artificial knee approaching the Incline summit for the first time reminded me that we all start somewhere-and at first it is always hard. All that matters is that we start and persevere-no matter how hard it seems.
As I continue to train for some of the hardest races in the Pikes Peak Region, I will strive to enjoy every step of the way, albeit painful, while repeating the mantra,"We can do hard things".