Hills and heartbeats

The weather has been beautiful this week and I haven’t been too busy at work so I’ve been able to get out in the hills behind Prestatyn more than usual, rather than running a flat route from our front door in Rhuddlan. This is great news on two counts. Firstly, there is nothing better than a good view from the top of a hill to raise my spirits, particularly when I have managed to get there under my own steam. Secondly, the ascents in all three of the races that we have booked are considerable so it’s been excellent training.

Offa’s Dyke footpath above Prestatyn, with the snow capped mountains of Snowdonia in the distance

I really struggle to run up anything steeper than a gentle hill. In fact, I can often walk faster than I can run uphill! However, I figure it’s good training to try and run as much as I can. The problem is that my heart rate goes sky high and I can find it difficult to get it back down, which then makes me hate running. And I promised myself that, this year, I was going to do everything within my power to enjoy running.

On each of my three hilly runs this week, I have struggled up the hills thinking ‘How on earth will I ever manage to run up Snowdon. Have I bitten off more than I can chew?’ 10 kilometres of relentless uphill, almost to the summit, some of it particularly steep!  Sweat pouring off me, heart pounding, thighs and calves burning! Then I’ve got to the top and it’s all been worth it.

Panoramic shot from Moel Hiraddug (Dyserth Mountain)

And when I’ve got home and looked at the run statistics in Runkeeper and the contours on the ordnance survey map… wow! I’ve managed some steep gradients over significant distances this week! This is only week 6 out of 16 weeks of my half marathon training plan, which ends with Excalibur and 970 metres of ascent over 13.5 miles in May, a couple of months before Snowdon. Today, when we got home, I was surprised to see that John and I did 450 metres of ascent over 7.75 miles, so we’re on track. Yes, it hurt at times! Lots! Yes, I had to walk some hills! But I still have 10 weeks to go. And I enjoyed it. Overall, I felt comfortable. The sun was shining, the scenery was stunning, some sections were enjoyable, even some of the moderate hills, and John was with me.

We came around Moel Hiraddug in the distance and steeply up from the village of Cwm for about a mile

I bought a Fitbit Surge on eBay a week ago to help monitor my heart rate when I run. It shows that I am managing to keep my heart rate quite steady. I may have to walk to do this… I may even have to pause now and again to reward myself for reaching the top of a hill without stopping, or because I feel I can’t go on, or just to look at the view. It doesn’t matter… it’s going well. I’m doing ok.


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