Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's All Uphill From Here

Rune trains harder than most people I know, and gets the results to show for it.  One of my goals for this year is to train harder myself, so when he invited me to join him on one of his go-to roller ski workouts, of course I jumped at the chance!

We met at his house, then drove to the end point to drop off a car and to show me the route.  Following Rune in my own car, I was laughing out loud as we climbed higher and higher, steeper and steeper, thinking, you can't be serious!  But he was, and that's why he skis the way he does.  I couldn't wait to give it a try!

We left his car at the top, in case he had to come back and find me, crying by the side of the road.  Then we drove my car down to the start.  He's done this route a hundred times and knows how long it takes him, and he knows he's approximately twice as fast as I am, so in order for us to get to the top at about the same time, he threw in an additional workout for himself (skiing to Bellevue, then to Renton, and then back to the start -- seriously!) to give me a head start.

So off I went!  The route starts on a mellow little-used road that follows the eastern shore of Lake Washington, then joins a bike path, then crosses over I-405, meanders through a little shopping mall, and then starts to climb.  Like this.

This first section is mostly up, and quite steeply in places, but there are a couple of downs, too, short ones and then two long swooping ones -- Rune skied those when he got to them, but I'm not too proud to say I took my skis off and walked.

The road ends at Coal Creek Parkway, and from here the climbing was nonstop, and it got steeper and steeper and, gulp, steeper as the route turned up into the hilltop neighborhoods.

By the last super-steep couple of blocks, I was down to plodding on my roller skis, happy for the ratchet that kept me from rolling backwards.  I was hoping Rune would catch me here, so I could see if he was still striding or if even he had to walk by now.  Sure enough, he caught me and passed me like I was standing still, striding as smoothly as if he were on a gentle incline.  He made it look so easy that I had to ask him, when I finally caught up with him at the top and could breathe again, if he was actually working hard and he said his heart rate was within five beats of his race pace, so yeah, he was working; it just didn't look like it.  What a great example of a perfect strength-to-weight ratio coupled with elegant, efficient technique!  And an inspiration for me: by the time the snow comes back, my goal is to be striding up those hills, too.

Thanks, Rune, for the awesome workout!  It was a fantastic just under two hours of training, and I can't wait to do it again and again, all summer long!

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