Posted by: Kennedy | July 16, 2010

Heartbreak hills: Bad. Kale chips: SO GOOD.

Last night was my group’s first official night of hill training. Now, hills are pretty much my least favourite thing about running. They hurt and I want to die. However, I recalled the hill training sessions with my 10K clinic not being entirely terrible. Not fun, but manageable. So I went into it this time feeling pretty confident.

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

There are several extremely important distinctions to be made between the 10K hills and the half marathon hills.

#1 – Size of hill. Last fall, I trained on a hill that, in retrospect, barely counted as a hill. It took less than a minute to run from bottom to top. There was a definite incline, but it was over before you knew it. Compare that to the 1/2 km KILLER of a climb at Poplar Plains. It took me nearly 20 minutes to do three sets.

#2 – Speed factor. Our 10K coaches – fabulous though they were – basically gave us two directions for hills: Keep your head up, and take quicker, shorter strides. To me, that meant: shuffle your feet until you get to the top. But Sam and Marie are a bit more hardcore. They push us to tackle the hill at 85 per cent of our effort, driving our arms and legs as if we were sprinting to the finish line. Then they let us take it easy on the way down. (“But,” the little voice in my head whines, “that’s the easier part anyway! No fair!” Shut it Kennedy, it’s for your own good.)

#3 – Number of sets. To prepare for the 10K, we did four hill sessions. The first one was 2 sets, the second, 3 sets, etc. etc. until we got to 5. We started out with 3 sets last night, but apparently we are going to work our way up to NINE FREAKING SETS! On that ridiculous hill, no less… I feel the lactic acid burn just thinking about it.

In order to deal with hill training on these hot and sticky summer nights, I’m going to try to keep in mind something Sam said yesterday. Hill practice helps prepare our minds and bodies for the ‘uncomfortable feeling’ of working above our comfort zones. Instead of thinking “I’m going to die!” to yourself over and over (like I often do), training gives you a chance to live through it and realize that no, you are not in fact about to drop dead. You will make it to the top. And then you’ll keep going.

I just have to remind myself not to overdo it on the first leg of the first set next time. Or else, I really might just keel over by the end.

The really super thing about hill training? FREEZIES!

Nostalgia in the form of a frozen treat.

Remember freezies?! Our awesome coaches bribed treated us with this refreshing snack post-torture hills. My faves growing up were white (no idea what the flavour is, it was always known as ‘the white one’ in my family) and peach. I need to go buy myself a box immediately.

When I got home, I made myself a veg-tacular dinner. I don’t normally have much of an appetite after a run, but it’s been especially non-existent in the last few weeks. I’m convinced the hot weather is to blame. Anyway, my dinners have been a little weird lately as a result. For example, on the menu last night was:

A big salad: Baby spinach, cucumber, red onion, avocado, bean sprouts (YUM – thanks Jo!), grape tomatoes, chickpeas, feta and balsamic vinegar.

Brussels sprouts with butter and sea salt

And my newest obsession: Kale chips.

I tried kale chips for the first time a few months ago during a Cooking Club night at Joanna’s. I instantly fell in love. How could such a salty, crunchy, wonderful snack also be insanely good for you? Is my life finally perfect?!

Maybe not, but it’s a bit closer now that I’ve been let in on this wicked awesome secret. (Well, not much of a secret as when I Googled a recipe, I found like 3596795668676 hits…)

You may recall the giant bundle of kale I bought on the weekend from a farmer’s market. Well, it’s down to about half the size, because I’ve been making kale chips every single night!

Here’s how simple it is. You need:

Kale, washed, dried and torn into chip-sized pieces

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

That’s it!

Place the kale on an aluminum foiled cookie sheet. Drizzle oil on top (1 or 2 tbsp) and sprinkle on some sea salt. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

You’re done!

I might actually make this snack every night from now on. I mean, why wouldn’t you? I know it sounds kinda weird. Actually, it IS weird. And I just love it.



  1. Kale chips, sounds really yucky, but i’ll take your word that they taste great. can you make me some when you are at home sometime??

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