Conquer the Hills

This past Saturday, Movin Shoes – one of San Diego’s local running stores hosted “The Soledad Challenge 10K Run to the Top”.  Mt Soledad is located in La Jolla at 822ft above sea level with panoramic views of San Diego and the Pacific Ocean.  On top of this hill sits a redwood cross that has been a source of controversy for decades (which might have been resolved recently due to the land being sold to a private organization).  Surrounding the cross are black granite blocks commemorating veterans who proudly served our country.  One interesting trivia I discovered is Dr. Seuss’s last home sits on top of Mt Soledad – will have to look for it the next time I go!

Several paths lead to the top of the mountain, one path from La Jolla has a steeper climb, a run I did almost a year ago.  However, the Soledad Challenge started from Movin Shoes in Pacific Beach with more of a gradual ascent.  Still, it’s a continuous uphill route for 3 miles to reach the summit.  Approximately 40+ runners showed up for the challenge that started at 7:15am.  Our usual Saturday group all decided to run it.  The more people I know, the merrier!  It wasn’t officially a race – no bibs, no official time, but Movin Shoes did provide a water stop at the halfway point.  Much appreciated.

Here’s the elevation profile:  

I can see the cross, almost there!

I planned to take it easy, but running uphill is NOT EASY.  I found it most comfortable to take short, quick strides.  When my body started to fatigue as my heart rate shot up to 180+rpms, I started repeating in my head “Strong legs, Strong glutes, Strong core” to propel to me to the top. Having my BRF running next to me helped as well.  She caught up with me visualizing a string attached on my back pulling her towards me.  A trick we learned from a running seminar we attended years ago.  She is an amazing and strong runner who is coming off from a break after giving birth 6 months ago.

   Me and my BRF, Miche

Water stop!!! Yes, Please.

With some of the guys from our group

As we started our downhill run, we saw one of the gals in our group on her way up.  We decided to turn back to accompany her to the top.

Downhill is the easy part, as many would say.  To me, it’s actually more difficult.  I have to run more conservative downhill or risk painful strains due to eccentric loading.  Fortunately, the three of us took it easy and enjoyed the rest of the run.

The Soledad Challenge was definitely a challenging workout. Due to a great turnout, Movin Shoes has suggested to add this 10K challenge to their schedule once a month.  Incorporating hills into my training program has many advantages, strengthening the cardiovascular system as well as increasing muscle strength and power, so I will consider running this event again.

Are hills a part of your workout?  Anyone else racing during the holiday season?

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