Dare to Compare: Still Sweating the Hills

Last Saturday seemed like a good time for a six-mile reality check and a Dare to Compare season wrap, all in one. The Dare to Compare challenge has prompted me to run through the woods near the Chattahoochee River and over concrete sidewalks near downtown Decatur.
A couple of weeks ago when a friend who runs marathons invited me to join him in a six-mile run around his central DeKalb neighborhood, I jumped at the chance.
My marathoner friend, Warren, read a couple of my training chronicles on this page and saw I am trying to finish the AJC Peachtree Road Race in less than an hour. It took me all spring to improve from two-mile untimed jogs in Ansley Park to a couple of five mile 48-minute runs down Peachtree Street.
He suggested either a four-mile or six-mile loop around his neighborhood. I already felt pretty comfortable running four miles every other day. So his offer seemed like a great opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and run six ten-minute miles, paced by someone who could do that easily, barely breaking a sweat.
Last Saturday morning at 8 a.m. the temperature was in the 70s and the humidity made it – for me – a sopping wet heat. Warren and I took off from his driveway off a quiet street near the Ponderosa neighborhood off LaVista Road.

Warren checked his watch along the way and called out our split times. We maintained about a 10-minute pace until we neared the crest of a steep hill around the end of mile four. At that point he still maintained the pace. But I was dripping sweat, breathing hard, and the hill seemed to sap the energy out of my legs. I walked the last 100 yards or so.
At the top of the hill I started running again and finished the last two miles at or near the target pace. Still, I won’t run a six mile course again before the Peachtree and I have yet to prove to myself if that I don’t have a willpower issue waiting for me at the top of Cardiac Hill.
When we completed the loop at Warren’s driveway he reported we’d run the six miles (more or less) in 1:01. During the post-mortem, he suggested that because I’m on the borderline of making my one-hour Peachtree goal I might have to pick up some time during the first two miles when the course is relatively flat and downhill.
As we talked and guzzled a sports drink, perspiration puddled around my feet. He barely broke a sweat.
Has a friend taken you under wing this year and helped you get a little better, or have you been the wing supplier? Discuss.

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Gen Neyland

June 24th, 2010
7:17 am

Solo runner here. Only thing pushing/pulling me along is a conscience and the dream of taking nano-seconds off last years PRR time. Doing a 6 miler today after I finishing pecking this out then it’s back down time. As I live in a rural setting up in NE GA, avoiding hills is not an option unless it’s track day. About 1/2 mile from home is a great hill that is apx .4 miles in length and feels to be around a 50% grade after a few attempts on it. BTW, the neighborhood you ran last weekend is the same general area where my N-Laws live. Please be advised : If a white Oldsmobile is heading your way on LaVista or Oak Grove, get as far off the road as possible…


June 24th, 2010
7:23 am

My boyfriend has been running for a lot longer than me and was a large push in me even signing up for my first Peachtree. He runs with me once a week on the weekends for my long runs. Even though it is annoying that he barely breaks a sweat, and somehow can run forever without training, he was the first person I ever ran 5 miles with. He has a watch to keep pace and will carry water for me so I don’t have to. As mean or annoying as he can be sometimes during a run as a coach, he’s the only reason I’ve come so far this summer. I ran my first 5k last weekend with a goal that he helped me set at 30 minutes. I went a 28:55, currently the highlight of my summer. Having someone to train with is definitely a huge help. Can’t wait for the Peachtree!


June 24th, 2010
8:23 am

I’ve run those same streets having lived off of Pangborn Road until 2004 when I moved south and closer to work.

I’m a solo runner too. I like going to races with friends and neighbors but after the gun goes off it’s every man for himself! My brother and his family will be does the PRR with my wife and I. We’ll all meet up at the end!


June 24th, 2010
1:40 pm

So my group of running buddies has all different starting times. I am a U, there are two P’s and one A. Is there a way for us all to run together? This is my first time and really need the added support.

John McCosh

June 24th, 2010
2:03 pm

Kari, the people with the Ps might agree to move back with you to the U wave, but I’d guess it will be a tough sell to get the A runner to move that far back. You can move from front to back, but not in the other direction.


June 29th, 2010
7:56 am

I’ve been the wing supplier. This is my first PRR and I am a running with a first timer friend. We are luckily both in R and we will be running her pace (which is about a minute per mile slower than mine)for our first PRR together. She will need the push up cardiac hill and it will be such an accomplishment for her to run the whole thing.