Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

I was whistling that song from Mary Poppins yesterday as I prepared to face the "medicine" (in this case, hill repeats). I'd been chatting with a local running coach and he gave me a tip on a local hill with a reasonable grade and the right distance to the top for hill repeats. It's not something I'd pop out of bed just raring to do though ("hey, what do I want to do today? Oh, I know, I'll go run up and down a hill five times!"), so when I got to the base of the hill after a mile or so of warming up, I was pleased to see a trail going up the side away from where the road goes. This little hill is right in the middle of the city, but it's an enclave of big Douglas Firs and small songbirds, so the trail made what would've been a fairly grueling haul up the road into a shaded traverse, serenaded by the winter wrens.

Along the way, I saw some of the spring's first robins (my namesakes always make me smile), the wrens (tiny little ping-pong ball-sized birds with lungs and an aria-like song to make an opera diva jealous), lots of chickadees flitting around, a rufous-sided towhee, a thrush, and a pair of bald eagles circling above! I did manage to make it up and down the hill several times before heading back the way I came, and it wasn't nearly as dreadful as I thought it would be (and maybe it even made me just a little bit faster).

The Spoonful of Sugar technique is a great way to turn any workout from something you dread into something you look forward to. Whether it's a stop at a favorite coffee shop on the way home, a soak in a hot tub, an MP3 player full of some favorite songs, or a trail that takes you through an area of distracting natural beauty, there's a lot of ways to make every workout a positive one. Remind me of this at 5:00 am tomorrow when I get up to swim...


TJ said...

i see deer on almost every run. i saw 34 in one group on my long run monday. i keep track of how many i see each run...helps the time go by.

TriGirl 40 said...

If anything can help with hill repeats - I would guess it would be the sights and sounds of such lovely birds.

And with that, I am on my way to indulge in a little hot tub action at the invitation of my kind neighbors - to rest up before a big workout tomorrow. That will be my spoonful of sugar for today.