It always amazes me how two words can spark that drive to push harder. "Push it" is all Captain Kirk said as I made my way up the Dam hill. And push it is what I did. The great thing about it was; it felt really good to drive my legs harder....
Today is one week before my first 50 miler of 2012. American River 50 miler is next Saturday and I am ready. So ready in fact that all week long I kept thinking it was this weekend. I have decreased my mileage significantly in a chance to really give my legs some time recover. On the runs I did complete this week I made sure to add in some pick ups just to make sure my legs wouldn't go flat and to help keep the leg turnover strong going into AR50.
For my last weekend run I decided to do the same thing that I did last year, which was to head to the finish of AR50 and run the dam hill one more time. This will allow me a chance to really build my confidence and work the tangents. I was pumped and I was excited.
I started down and just cruised remembering which way the road bends and where it levels out and where the steepest parts are. Taking in mental pictures so that on the return I could put my plan into action. I hit the single track and followed that for a bit, I have missed the single track and it felt like I was right at home when I hit it.
I turned around and mentally prepared myself, I focused on seeing myself run the the hill. I hit the base and kept on running. I ran about half way up before transitioning very smoothly into a power hike. I was using my arms to propel me forward and focused on taking deep breaths to keep my lungs open.
I power hiked briefly and than very smoothly transitioned into a run right before hitting the first green gate. Here is levels out just slightly and I want to be able to use every "flat" section to my advantage. Than it begins to get steep again, but I didn't power hike, I kept on running, keeping a very nice pace. My legs didn't feel the burn so I kept moving, I put my head down and just ran. Slowly I transitioned into a power hike to allow my legs a chance to recover, but it wasn't for long, I was nearing last gasp.
I started running again as I went through the second gate and now I am running on the pavement. Here is where I focused on running the tangents. I was motoring, my legs felt good and I just kept running with a nice and steady pace. Nothing to crazy.
Than I spotted the Fleet Feet Ultra Training Group, and here is where Captain Kirk ever so slightly and quietly said "Push It, Push it" I regained my focused and found myself cursing in my head for those two words. My legs started moving quicker, my arms pumped faster and my pace quickened. I was very surprised that it actually felt good to be moving faster. I kept pushing it as the group offered encouragement along the way. A fist bump here, a high five there. I cut the corners and kept pushing.
Slowly I was by myself and it would have been very easy to shut everything down, but I didn't. I pushed harder. It was leveling out and I had a little down hill. I used this sections to allow my legs to recover but also to keep pushing myself. My pace quickened once again I was feeling good, I was feeling strong, I was focused.
I didn't slow down, when the next climb came. I pushed the pace remembering how I had dropped my pacers in the past two years on this hill. Thinking that, brought a huge smile to my face. I also thought about last years run where Power Girl and Wonder Woman and I pushed each other and when Miss P. said "Be Strong" when she saw me slow down. Again two simple words that allowed me to find that other gear.
I was nearing the top and I was still pushing it. I crested the final hill and only had a little bit more to go. My legs were feeling strong, the leg turnover was great and I just smiled. I hit the parking lot and told myself to remember how that felt because next Saturday I am going to do it again and have this same feeling.
Remember that two simple words can really have more meaning. PUSH IT!!!! BE STRONG!!!