Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Worlds Collide

Or at least met in the parking lot at Carbon Canyon Regional Park…

Earlier this week I got an email from Jeff asking about my plans for the weekend. He was looking for 15-17 miles. I was originally thinking 18 for me, but after last weekend’s long run, decided a slightly scaled back run might be in order. My planned run was near home and included 4 hills throughout the loop. The loop is run in the bike lane on some fairly major streets. When you live in the middle of suburbia, you have to run the routes that are close by every once in a while. The rolling hills would be a nice preview of Bellevue.

I sent an email off to Jeff and we were good to go. I invited Terry from work to join us. She wasn’t up to the full 15-17 but would hang with us for the first few then turn back. Celeste was going to be in town packing up her apartment and would likely join us as well.

Thursday evening I received an email from the CA Cruisers. This week’s run was a combined run with the 642 Group in Chino Hills State Park. There is some cross over membership between the two groups. I shot Jeff an email and suggested this as an alternative. We have talked about running there before and I was certain he would like this option. I liked it too, thinking that the trails would be more forgiving on the legs. Jeff’s reply was, “AWESOME. I'm really looking forward to this now! I wasn’t relishing the idea of 17 miles in the bike lane.” And just like that we had a new plan. Terry was on board, she lives in Chino Hills. The bummer is Celeste bowed out. She’s not much of a nature girl. Dirt, bushes and bugs aren’t her thing.

So here’s where the worlds collide. My running friends from the Cruisers/642 world, met up with a running friend from my work world, and met up with a running friend from the blogging world.

In the email a distance of about 4-10 miles was discussed. For some reason I assumed we would be running up Telegraph Canyon, possibly to Four Corners and back. I guess I thought this because it was the only trail I’ve taken from this side of the park. Before we got started I found out that the plan was to run up North Ridge Trail. Telegraph is a nice easy uphill, barely noticeable most of the time. North Ridge is way more challenging uphill for over 4 miles. We quickly spread out on the trail, with Jesse, Michelle, Jim, Jeff and I leading the pack. Dave and Randy were not far behind. Dave and Randy and the others took the Gilman Trail down to Telegraph and back for about an 8 mile loop. Terry was in this group. Jesse, Michelle, Jim, Jeff and I continued on to the Sycamore Trail then down to Telegraph. Jesse, Michelle and Jim returned down Telegraph for about an 11 mile loop.

The trek up North Ridge was challenging but fun. My legs felt the effort by the time we reached the turn off. We took a couple of breaks on the way up to regroup. Thankfully, Sycamore is downhill. Sycamore was completely overgrown with thistles. They were way up past head level, maybe 8 feet tall. Our legs got pretty scratched up through this section. We took a short break at the intersection with Telegraph to rinse off our legs in a stream to relieve the stinging. Jesse and the others headed down Telegraph while Jeff and I continued up to get in our 15-17. By now all the uphill was definitely taking its toll on my legs. I commented that my legs were getting tired. Jeff asked if it was the quads or the calves. My answer was, Yes! We made it to Four Corners and continued on. Up to this point Jeff kept reminding me that all the uphill meant a nice downhill return. After Four Corners we continued on the trail to the South Ridge Trail that leads to the Equestrian Center. This trail was downhill so, you guessed it, an uphill return. We crested a small uphill, decided we had gone far enough based on Jeff’s GPS and started back.

The uphill back toward Four Corners was the beginning of the end. Jeff suggested a short break at Four Corners and got no argument from me. At this point I started having thoughts that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Remember I was squeezing in this extra longish run on the advice of my blog readers. By now the sun was way up in the sky, the trails are exposed (no trees in SoCal) and my legs were spent. Jeff reminded me of the down hill return on Telegraph.

Telegraph is technically downhill but it is slight. Coasting on a bike is one thing but running still requires effort. At some point on the return, Jeff said we were doing 8:40 miles. Not all that fast for a downhill but not bad I thought for being 11-12 miles into a mostly uphill run. We took one short walk break after crossing a stream but ran on through to the finish. At some point I asked about our pace. It was in the 9’s, the high 9’s.

Jeff was feeling the effects of the run himself. It always does my heart and soul good to know that runners I see as far superior struggle at times too. For whatever reason, I assume that the guys that are faster or put in more miles are somehow superhuman. I figure if I’m getting through, they will just be breezing through. I really need to work on that. As I’m writing this, I’m reminded that Jeff just did his first triathlon last weekend and ran a marathon the weekend before that. It’s no wonder that he was feeling the effects of this run. I know I was struggling but I felt like Jeff was still running like a rock star. If it weren’t for him being along, I’m certain I would have been walking rather than running in. Jeff summed up the end of the run in one world – BRUTAL.

A few of the 642 group had hung around to make sure we had made it back. They were somewhat worried that we had gotten lost and were considering coming back in to find us. I owe a big thank you to the lady runner that offered me the end of her Gatorade. Runners are good people, don't you think?

I was as tired as I had ever been after a run. The unofficial stats for the run are 16.25 miles in 2:38, somewhere around 9:45 pace. This is on par with my pace at Bonelli on Sunday mornings, and the run was 3 times longer. Jim told us that our 16 mile run on the hills was probably equivalent to a 20 miler on the road. I think I will hang onto that assessment, but I will claim 16.25 in the training log.

I am officially done with the long runs for this training cycle. It’s all downhill from here (pun intended). Thanks to all of you, especially Jeff, for getting me through this training. The work is done, now I just have to take it easy and recover from the training effort before the big day in three weeks. The current temperature in Bellevue, WA at 5:30 p.m on Saturday, is 67°F compared to 88°F here in Covina, CA. Lets hope it stays like that.

Happy Father’s Day to all the running Dads out there.


angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, that does sound brutal! and how neat that the worlds collided...

matt said...

you pushed through it with an awesome time, are a rock star, too

Joe said...

Great run, Darrell. I'd strongly agree with the assessment that the 16 on that type of trail was a 20 miler on asphalt. Your legs paid a similar price.

You are so set for Seafair!! And how cool to do it with The Amazing Hip and all your other bands of runners!

Donald said...

That's exactly what you want the last long run to feel like - like you are at the absolute bottom of the tank, completely worn out. Then you let the rebuilding happen.

Nice work.

jeff said...

yeah, i'm with donald. you've completely spent yourself getting to this point, now just relax and maintain your fitness. you are going to CRUSH seafair.

and an aside, darrell was super strong on the whole run. even tired he was still running upright. and those last four miles out of the canyon...they were beyond brutal. i can't remember having a run that challenged me like that. so, for darrell to hang on through that says quite a bit about not only his fitness level, but his mental fortitude.

folks, this here is one guy you want to watch on race day. he's going to be amazing.

Rae said...

Great job!!! It's so fun when blogging friends and real world friends can unite. Enjoy the taper, I can't wait until Seafair!

Kel said...

Nice going! Off-road and hills are always so much harder than the flat road, so well done! Seems like you are on for a great marathon!