Two times a human

On Sunday mornings when I have to wake up at 7AM for 20+ KM runs, I down a mug of green tea to feel human again.

Last weekend’s 29KM (from Vancouver west-side to downtown through East Vancouver and Burnaby to the southern tip of New Westminster) was difficult. Hopefully it’s the wake-up call to (1) get better (heal) and (2) train better. It’s been a woeful season of training so far. =(

After long Sunday training runs, despite my desire to lie prone on the floor for hours, I need to take a long shower with the complete slate of hair-washing and vigorous exfoliating to feel human again.

“Hills are my forte.”

You can’t come up with a self-motivating mantra on the spot just because the sports counsellor asks you to during a seminar. It has to come naturally to you and employ words and imagery that you believe in.

I like the use of a French word and by saying that hills are my forte, I don’t mean I explode up them but that I’m impeccable at pacing myself and steadily overtaking others (“Hills are not your forte?”) so that at the top of the hill, I am ahead of where I started and I’m fired up to do more!

On this day..


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Wyn …

    You bring up a very philosophical topic in the subject in this blog.
    To me, to be human is to continually seek to become better than what we are. You’re a genetics major right? Do you believe humans were ever intended to run long distance? It is believed that bipeds are more efficient running creatures than quadripeds (I learned that from national geographic). Perhaps to be human is meant to be able to run long distance…
    Well, I hope your training improves – the next few weeks will be your hardest mesocycle in both intensity and volume.

    I digress, as for hills … I think everything is relative.
    I know you train under Angela and rely on her for your hill repeat routes/schedules. (eh … I do know Angela’s group usually stops their long run on 7th and Fir instead of running just 1 or 2 more minutes of uphill)

    Can you post or send me your route/# of hill repeats you do.
    Quite interested in the inclince and distance.
    Also what is your RI (rest interval) on your hill repeats and how long does it take?
    i.e do you go straight up and then run some flat and then down?

    Another question on hills … what is your 10k time vs your Grouse Grind time? Good hill runners do their Grouse Grind PBs UNDER their 10k time. Note that you might want to subtract a few minutes off your GG time if you don’t taper.
    If you can do your GG time (with taper) in under your 10k time, then you’re a good hill runner.

    Not trying to be difficult, but just trying to understand how 4-4.5h marathon runners train for hill repeats and their schedules. Curiosity, that’s all.

    Nonetheless, good work and may the running gods smile upon you.

    Fortitudine Vincimus,

  2. wyn says:

    I did say that it makes me *feel* human again while being human is, as you said, a philosophical matter. Lightly philosophically, I think we are characterized by our striving to improve ourselves and push personal boundaries. Pushing ourselves to run long distances, then, is very human, in my opinion.

    From Week 7 until Week 13, we do hill repeats, building from 4 repeats up to 10. It’s not so monotonous since a night at GG is thrown into the mix and a “bootcamp run” (15K or so) around the hilliest parts of town substitutes for one of our hill nights.

    The favourite hills for the Broadway RR are:
    1. King Ed. between Angus and Arbutus (522m)
    2. Nanton around Maple/Angus/? area – I’ve never done this repeat with the group
    3. 29th between Angus and Maple (cutting through a park area) (486m)
    4. 2nd between MacDonald and Larch (420m) (or was it Balsam, 595m)

    My I-didn’t-join-the-group hill is 580m running south from False Creek for 6 blocks (but not where it’s crazy steep like Oak Street).

    I don’t time my rest interval but it’s usually walking about half a block and jog the rest of the way down. Hate coming to a stop for a drink of water.

    My GG time is slower than my 10K time. Haha. At my current fitness, the difference is about 3-5 minutes slower. I don’t know how much more gruelling GG is for me because I’m tentative on the uneven terrain and at times have to pull myself up rocks or negotiate steps that are 1/3 my height isn’t quite running-equivalent. =S

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good stuff on the hill repeats!

    Keep it up.

    If you dominate your group in hills, then I suggest doing one or two more than your pack. 10 repeats @ 500m @ 8-12% grade is good but if you can, run 11 or 12, espeicially if you’re only running 3 or 4 times a week. You have 4 elements to juggle off of according to the FITT principle.
    To be human is push yourself to greater limits!
    Go Wyn, Go!

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