Accomplishing the Sweet Sixteen… on hills!

Accomplishing the Sweet Sixteen… on hills!

Last week was filled with many good feelings of accomplishment.  Work was good; I hit 5 sub-3:40 Yasso 800s on Wednesday night (ranging from 3:30-3:32, actually!); and on Saturday, the Fleet Feet group and I trekked out to Barrington for our “sweet sixteen” of hilly miles — our first hill run of the year and our first real “big” run.  It was awesome.

Previous TNT coaches of mine always refer to the 16-miler as the “sweet 16.”  It’s not a distance to mess with (as any actually are!!!), but in the marathon, depending on how you’re feeling, you may begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel… or just wish that that 16 was actually a 26.  In Boston, the race doesn’t really “begin” until around mile 16, when runners just begin to climb… before they reach the “official” climb start at the Newton Hills.  I digress…

In an earlier post last week, I lamented Chicago’s dearth of hills.  Fortunately, if you have access to a car, you can easily get in some quality hill miles by making the 50-minute trek northwest of the city to Barrington, just like our group did on Saturday.  Tons of other Chicago-area runners run in Barrington, especially when training for a hilly course like Boston, so if you do go, you should have some company.  The map below probably isn’t to scale, but it will give you a good overview of part of the course we ran on Saturday.

The Sweet 16!  Can also be good for shorter (or longer) distances
Fortunately, the roads were in pretty good condition on Saturday morning, though some were snow-covered or a bit icy. Temps were good, the wind not too bad, so my FF ladies and I ran around 9s (on average) for the entire run. Not bad at all. And even better, Sunday morning I didn't find myself as banged up or sore as I had anticipated. In fact, I felt fine--just a little sleepy since I couldn't make myself stay in bed post-6:15 a.m.

This week is our first cut-back week–dropping down to 10 city miles on Saturday–though I think we may be upping our speedwork on Wednesday.  Chicago’s slated to get hit by some serious snow in the coming days, so let’s cross our fingers that that doesn’t throw a monkey wrench in our training…

What'cha thinkin?