I bet my hills can beat up your hills.
I live near Piedmont Park and often run a challenging four mile urban course, including a steep climb from the park up to the Peachtree Street ridge. Anyone who ran the recent Georgia Marathon (or half) knows this stretch can turn legs to rubber.
I’m going to give you a chance to make me back up the challenge in my first sentence, but more on that in a minute.
Last year I asked commenters on this blog to nominate their favorite courses for me to try so I could compare it to my routine. I thought it would be a good way to see new sights. I called it Dare to Compare.
Also last year, I learned of a miracle invention that helped me overcome my longtime haphazard training routine to upgrade to a much more measured one.
I am not referring to a watch, although I hadn’t been using one of those to time my runs in recent years. My system was to check the clock when I left the house, check it when I returned and subtract a couple of minutes for cool down and stretching. Close enough, I thought.
The miracle invention I refer to is www.mapmyrun.com. Using this online mapping tool I discovered that the routine course I had run for years and guesstimated at two miles was actually 1.57.
And it turns out when I set a course based on a verified distance and I run with a timing device I get a more accurate idea of how I perform. Who knew?
I tend to run mostly in my neighborhood near Piedmont Park, starting around 6 a.m. The streets and sidewalks are dark at that time for much of the year, as they are now. So I’ve used the mapping tool to plot out my preferred training course depending on conditions. I’ve got one for when dawn breaks close to my start time. And I’m running one now with more street lights, since sunrise arrives later.
(The one depicted here is the better lit one. I tripped on broken sidewalk while running in the dark last September and dislocated my shoulder, so I’m scared of the dark now).
Last year I ran courses suggested by blog commenters in the Dare to Compare challenge, once a month in April, May and June, and I’d like to do that again. Since I’m in a bit better shape now, I’ll start with a three-mile run in April, as opposed to last year’s two-mile kick off, and stretch it out another mile in both May and June.
So please suggest your favorite training or exercise run (within reasonable driving distance of Atlanta) and I’ll pick one to review here. You can link to a course on mapmyrun.com or just write where to start and where to turn in the comments section below.
I’ll pick one from the nominations, take it for a test run once or twice this month, and post my report on this blog early next month.
We’ll just see if your hills measure up.