"Be Strong" is what I heard from Miss P. just as I thought I couldn't give anymore. We were maybe 1.5 miles to the top of the Dam Hill. My legs were feeling fatigued, but after hearing be strong I hit another gear and I was off. I yelled back "You can do it." I was slowly gaining on Wonder Woman and Power Girl, I was in the zone. My mind was clear and I was focused on the task at hand. To run the Dam hill!
Today's run we met at the Overlook so that we could get one final look at the Dam Hill. AR50 the last 3 miles is up. A nice climb to the finish. As we cruised down, I let the hill and my momentum take over. I didn't resist, I just went with it. As we ran down we were all in high spirits just chit chatting away.
Soon we hit the single track and followed that out for a mile and turned around. I was in the lead with Power Girl, Wonder Woman and Miss P. right behind me. The single track was nice and tacky and felt very fast. We hit the base of the dam hill and this is where the real work was going to begin.
The gravel road has 2 very steep sections. Here I power hiked and joked around with the girls and Coach Nikon. After the first hill it flattens out a bit with a small uphill grade. This section is very runnable and that is just we all did. Then the second hill is upon me. I run a bit before having to power hike it. We had a nice little debate about which hill is steeper the first hill or this one that takes us to last gasp. I believe it is the first hill. What do you think?
After the green gate we are back on pavement and I tell myself no more hiking, just running. Power girl was in the lead and then Wonder Woman and Miss P. and myself. We ran and cut the corners. We had 2 miles to the to the top, this is where the mental game comes into effect. I pictured my run from last year and smiled at that thought and then I remembered the feelings I had as I ran this hill. The excitement of knowing the end was near. Wow, what a feeling.
Power Girl and Wonder Woman were looking really strong in front of me and I thought I would never catch them. We weren't talking anymore we were all focused on the task at hand. Then Miss P. said "Be strong" and something came over from deep within and the next thing I knew my legs were moving quicker my strides were feeling effortless and I was slowly gaining on Power Girl and Wonder Woman. I was in the zone, it was an amazing transformation and feeling. I felt like I could do anything.
I passed Wonder Woman she was in the zone, then my next goal was Power Girl. I was slowly gaining on her. I was clocking 9:40 about this point and still feeling good. I passed Power Girl and just kept going cutting the corners and finding the shortest route. I could hear all 3 of them on my heels. I just kept running up the hill. I had forgotten that there was a little downhill and that allowed me to coast a bit and relax my legs.
I tried to shake Power Girl, that was my next goal. But she held on and passed me. Then Wonder Woman passed me but that didn't bother me. It just fueled me some more. I pushed harder trying to regain the lead. We only had maybe .5 to go. One right turn and the last major climb before coming out upon the street. I pushed hard on this hill, I was giving it everything I had.
Onto the street and into the parking lot and we were done. What a great 8 miles. Feelings of Triumph I am sure from us all.
I pictured myself running this hill today. I visualized what I saw last year at the race, I imagined the cow bells, Coach Nikon running with me. I relived my race from last year on today's training run. This was the run I needed mentally. I was focused and when I thought I couldn't push anymore I heard "Be Strong" and that pushed me harder. I am glad I saw the Dam Hill again because there were some areas I had forgotten, for instance the little down hill section just before I reached the final mile. That the 2 toughest climbs were at the base and that it is runnable.
I think another factor that helped with today's run was that fact that I managed to get some sleep the day before so I wasn't physically fatigued. I also had a massage by Lily. She works magic.
I am looking forward to the race next Saturday. I would love to repeat last years Dam Hill and run it. What do you have planned for the Dam Hill?