I read this paragraph the other day on Craig’s blog and it perfectly explained the way I’ve been feeling.
“For some reason the summer has not been kind where running is concerned. The heat has left me weary and tired. Energy reserves have been running low. My body has felt achy. I’ve felt sluggish and slow. The more I push the less productive I’ve become. The less productive I’ve become the more defeated I’ve felt. The effort to make some progress has been mostly unsuccessful though I’ve run on a consistent basis. There have been some good weeks but most have been a struggle.”
I am glad to know that I wasn't alone in feeling this way. It was a timely post and more eloquently stated than I could muster.
Wednesday, I put in 6 miles in Bonelli escorted by Bryan on the bike. We got started a little after 7:30. Part of our route takes us through “The Jungle”, a trail that goes through some pretty dense trees and underbrush. At twilight it is significantly darker in “The Jungle”. I think it spooked Bryan on Sunday, but Wednesday he came prepared with a flashlight. When we finished, he told me that these rides were getting easier. I’m really thankful that he’s enjoying this.
On Thursday I went back over to the equestrian trail in Walnut for 8 miles. I ended up running across a coworker and his family out for a walk. They just recently moved into the neighborhood. We were all a little surprised to meet up. We talked for a little while. They were afraid that they were holding me up, but with the easy, no watch thing going on I didn’t worry about the little break, at all. The bummer thing about this run is that by the time I was done just after 8:00 pm, I had to use my headlights to drive home. Headlights at 8:00 mean summer is winding down. All ready? Man time flies. The next day we both remembered the longer days of our childhoods near Detroit and Cleveland. Daylight lasts until 9:00 in the summer farther north in the hemisphere, but then again the nights are probably longer in winter. I don’t really remember.
I followed this up with 6 miles Friday morning before work around my neighborhood. Along the way I was aware of all the litter along the sides of the road. Apparently nobody cooks at home anymore or sees fit to take their cups, bags and burger wrappers to the trash can at home. I told myself I would go back out sometime and clean up. I realize there are bigger issues in the world but this is such a simple thing. Didn’t we all learn, probably in kindergarten, to clean up after ourselves? Enough of that, on to today’s run.
The CA Cruisers were off to another exotic local, the Newport Back Bay. Celeste and I ran here once training for LA. Being in the OC again, I invited Jeff along. Luckily we both had the same mileage scheduled. Jeff invited Natty to come along as well. Another runner/blogger in the area, cool! When I got to the meeting spot, I recognized Natty immediately from reading up on her blog Friday morning. She has a wonderful smile. There was a pretty good representation of paces today and Natty fell in with Annabelle for the 10 mile loop around the bay. I really hope she enjoyed meeting us and thanks to Jeff for inviting her out.
The parking situation was a little chaotic, no one remembers this many cars here before, so we got a little bit of a later start than normal. I was a little worried about how today would go. I was hoping that I could bust out of the slow easy pace for this run.
Jesse was back today but planning on taking it easy on the hamstring. Jeff, Dave and I took the lead early. Jeff and I made a pitstop at the YMCA about a mile into the run and proceeded to play catch up with the rest of the group. We caught most of the group in a mile or so. We eventually caught Dave, Jay and Jim on our way through a really nice neighborhood along Galaxy and Polaris Dr. We reeled in Michelle and Anna, then finally caught up to Jesse and Annette on Back Bay Dr. Jesse was keeping up a decent clip for someone taking it easy. Jeff tried to convince them all that we were on our second lap around. For some reason they didn’t believe him! So about the pace, I stopped my watch when we hit the YMCA and forgot to start it again. So 6 miles into the run I was still at 11:30. Dang that’s fast, less than 2 minutes/mile. What was I worried about.
I didn’t really know our pace but Jeff seemed OK with whatever we were doing and we were reeling people in. To get in our 15 miles we added an extra out and back up the San Diego Creek Trail. Jeff’s training plan called for the last 3 miles at marathon pace. For him that’s 7:00 miles. Needless to say I finished up on my own. Somehow I missed the turnoff to the cars on the way back and put in at least an extra half a mile trying to get back. The first 12 miles were done in 1:44 (Jeff’s watch), my last 3.5 or so were done in 30.5 minutes (my watch), making my pace overall 8:41. I felt good the whole way and finished stronger than I have in weeks. I’d have to call the easy, no watch experiment a success. I may try it again next week.
The Newport Back Bay run is a good one. The basic loop is roughly 10 miles depending on the streets you take through the neighborhood on the west side of the bay. It is mostly an asphalt bike trail. The east side of the bay requires running up Back Bay Drive, a one way road with very little traffic. With the addition of the San Diego Creek Trail a runner can put together any mileage required. The coastal locale makes for cool, overcast conditions early in the day; ideal in my estimation.