The Hills Series: Biking the Course

21 Apr

You know that thing that happens when you sign up for a particular half marathon and then you mention it to other local runners and they respond like this?:

Well, for me that would be the Jog4Jugs Half Marathon, which I will be running on May 11. The online registration page is pretty clear that it is a challenging course and from what others have told me it is essentially uphill both ways. Fortunately, the course is only a short drive away and easily accessible for a preview.

Today, Mark and I met up with my friend Jenn, who lives near the course, with plans to bike the half marathon course so I could see for myself what all the talk was about.

nikkijenn WMIt was pretty cold and windy, so we all had to bundle up.

mark wmAs soon as we headed out I could feel every single muscle that doesn’t get a lot of use while running saying, “Hey, are you sure you want to do this right now?”

Ready wmNot long after we started, Jenn got a flat tire that refused to cooperate and fill back up.

flat tire wmSadly, she had to head back home and we were all bummed that she would be missing out on the ride. After seeing her off, Mark and I returned to plotting the race course.

The course is set in a scenic area and it is beautiful! It’s full of farm land, big houses with massive lawns, streams and ponds, and bright green rolling hills.

image_10Part of the course wraps around a quiet lake as well. There’s even an alpaca farm! All around, it makes for plenty of sights to see during the race.

duane lake wmDistractions will be a very good thing during this race because it is hilly. Oh my goodness is it ever hilly. There are little hills, big hills, long hills, and short hills. The course is laid out as an overall out and back, with one loop around the lake.

jog4jugs course

All of the rumors are true. It is in fact, uphill both ways.

Uphill. Both. Ways.

Here is one of those hills:

hill1 wmAfter that hill and a few others, we went down a humongous steep one around mile 5. And you guessed it….we had to come back up that monster of a hill before mile 10.

hill 2 wmThis is only a portion of the hill, and as you can see it continues to wind further up. There were so many hills, there’s no way I could have taken enough pictures to do its hilliness justice.

Needless to say, after biking the course I was a little scared about the race in three weeks. I even told Mark my goal has changed from finishing to surviving.

scared wmOK, OK. Enough with the dramatics.

I am actually quite glad I had the opportunity to preview the whole course because I now know what I’m up against and can prepare myself a little better during these last few weeks before toeing the line. I am very glad I have been incorporating hill repeats into my training. Though, after seeing these whoppers I am going to have to use a bigger hill!

After we finished biking, Jenn made us some delicious hot tea.

guayaki wmThen we headed off for a much needed lunch at Panera Bread.

lunch wmAnd a well deserved cup of frozen yogurt!

froyo wmThis half marathon will be challenging, but I am determined to finish as strong as I can. Now I just to focus on a strategy to get me through it in one piece!

What’s your advice for getting through a very challenging race?


6 Responses to “The Hills Series: Biking the Course”

  1. genext13 April 21, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    A mantra is useful for the tough times. Usually it is about someone you love, that can give you strength i.e. ‘I love my mom.’ Probably better to put a name in there. You will do great!

    • Nikki April 22, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      I do have a mantra already, thanks!

  2. Laura April 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I am so impressed by you cyclists- and holy moly killer hills!!!! I have such gravitational issues on bikes if they aren’t bolted to the ground so I shall stay a on-two-feet-kinda-athlete while cheering YOU on! 🙂

    Oh, I get through challenging races by thinking about the big, fat juicy hamburger and cold glass of beer I get to have after, LOL!

    • Nikki April 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Oh dear, I am no cyclist! I will go for the occasionally long bike ride but I am a runner before all else. The whole time during the ride I was thinking, “I know I can run this better than I can bike it….I just know it…”

      And I am planning my post half-marathon meal already.

  3. Diana April 22, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    You can do it!! (Of course, as I type that, I am silently thinking “Better her than me!” LOL) Hills are NOT my strong suit – that’s my plan for the fall, to work on hills. Eek. Good luck!

    • Nikki April 22, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Hahaha! Thank you 🙂

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