Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Up and Up

The day after Christmas, I was home in Seattle with the day off. What to do? Go for a run, of course.

After getting caught up on some much needed rest, I went about putting on my running clothes while being kind of grumbly. You know that attitude- you want to run but you have to get put together, you're tired but you know you'll feel better once you get out the door, you just want to be running but it takes time to get all the right clothes found and put on. That was me.

I had a lot of time on my hands so I considered going for distance, but that didn't sound like ANY fun for me. I made myself a compromise. I had spotted this lovely set of paved steps in the nearby park that I had been wanting to do a workout on. The stairs seemed well kept, especially for being in a park that is more of a forest, they had railings, and the steps were the right size. By this, I mean that they were neither too tall or too short or too long or too narrow. Just right. Anyways, my compromise was that I wouldn't have to do a long distance run if I did the stair workout. Deal.
Stairs in Discovery Park, Seattle
These are the stairs I ran - Picture from Bert and Patty's Flickr Stream found here

I started my run slowly, thinking I'd take the easy way to the park- it's a little longer but it avoids the big hills. However, about 2 blocks in, there were some questionable looking people on the sidewalk on the next block, so I turned the corner and began running up. Up one block- not too bad. "I'll just keep going up and see where I get to," I thought to myself. Up turned into more up. I turned onto a street that has a ridiculous grade, and I ran up most of it with a few walk breaks to cross the street. I was really impressed with myself for not wimping out. (Hills are NOT my strong suit although I am working on it). Eventually I made it to the top of the really big hill in the middle of my neighborhood, and I began working my way down the other side towards the stairs in the park.

I reached the stairs, and took a little breather while I assessed the condition of the stairs. In my mind, I thought, "5 sets." I can run 5 sets of these and make it back to my apartment (which was about 2 miles away no matter which way I went back). First set. Easy! I counted the stairs on my way down. 110. However, a "Stairs of Seattle" website says there are 112. Close enough? I ran up the stairs 5 times and walked down the stairs. Maybe someday I'll conquer my fear of running down stairs, but Monday was not the day. A few other runners/walkers/people in the park looked on curiously and did a few double takes. I must have been rocking my workout.
My stair repeats, according to Garmin.....

After the 5th set, I headed back towards my apartment and decided I wasn't quite done with running hills for the day. Instead of taking the easy, flat, somewhat downhill return course to my apartment, I ended up running back to the top of the neighborhood hill. I even found a staircase with an extra 40 steps to climb up. Excellent. My total number of stairs for the workout ended up being somewhere around 695 with a distance of 4.4 miles and 620 feet of elevation gain. More details:

It was a SLOW workout in terms of pace. I think my Garmin said my average pace was 14:27/mile, but it was a hard workout that I powered through, and I felt like a running beast afterwards. The day after was a bit of a different story as my calves were really tight, but if my hill workouts could always be like this, I'd be happy.

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