Shortly after sunrise this morning I found myself going up and down Stru Hill. This yo-yo running has become a regular and invaluable part of my training over the last several years when I am preparing to push my Indiana body in the high Rockies of Colorado.
The recent record rains have left the old farm road deeply rutted and covered with abundant obstacles. Perfect! If you are not familiar with Stru Hill, then I should mention that it is almost a quarter mile in length and climbs about 90 feet as it snakes through a very pleasant forest. It is what I have within reach to help me prepare for the CO climbs. I run up and down it as many as thirty times during a run while achieving 1K-2.5K of climbing and descending.
This morning I ran for the first time since the Mini, logging 10 round trips in under 33 minutes on Stru giving me almost 900 ft vertical ascending and descending. The climbing legs were surprisingly strong considering my recent activities. My splits indicated that I am in significantly better climbing condition than I was last year at this time. That's good, because the SJS50 involves more than 12,800 feet of climbing, which is far greater than the 7400 feet of climbing in the SR50.
Of course, any mountain runner will tell that the descents are what destroy your quads. That is why I try to descend quickly in training. When I want to concentrate on steeper descents, I move to the back side of Stru Hill because it has the same altitude change in half of the distance. It is a real quad buster as the repetitions add up.
Those repetitions this morning, combined with my recent reading of several SJS50 race reports, had me longing for sustained climbs offering open vistas. When I realized that I had started to get negative about my training conditions, I made myself start singing Marley tunes. It must have worked, because I finished feeling quite chipper.
A short time later I found myself watching this video. My life is SO simple compared to the athletes in the video. It was just what I needed to spark a can-do attitude as I embark on the most difficult and repetitious phase of my mountain training. Stru Hill is, quite literally, Easy Street.