I went to bed Saturday night with my legs feeling that they were shredded. Literally they felt like hamburger. They felt hot from the inside out, like raw meat on the grill. I fell asleep to all kinds of crazy thoughts about what I was doing to myself. Is it just the heat of summer? Did I ramp back up too quickly from the marathon? Am I just a wuss? Since the marathon my weekly mileage has gone 21, 34, and 38 to 48 miles this week. I’m just looking for any reason to explain why my legs feel so crappy and the efforts so tough with only slow times to show for it. Nearly all my runs since Seafair have been slower than before Seafair. I’m not really whining, just wondering if I’m doing more harm than good in my quest to hit 50 mile weeks and trying to squeeze every possible 20 miler out of the time I’ve got before the next marathon.
The good side is I got up this morning on time and went for 5 miles in Bonelli on the hills. My legs felt tired but I kept moving forward and ended up with a time that was somewhere in the middle of my fastest and slowest times for the same course. I am pretty happy with that. So all in all for the week I ended up with 48 miles on 6 days of running. This is all part of the grand plan and although I had serious doubts about my plan yesterday, I was determined not to give in yet.
Saturday morning I joined the Cruisers down near Laguna Beach/Aliso Viejo for a run in Aliso Woods. The distance from home and the hills thinned our little group out considerably. A couple of the die hard 6:42 folks were there too. Since we were deep in the OC, I invited Jeff – The Amazing Hip to join us. I was grateful to have someone to run with. Jeff had 18 on his schedule, I had 20. The way I’ve felt lately, 18 was a great alternative. Aliso Woods is technically a wilderness park, but it is shoe horned into a couple of pretty upscale neighborhoods. Its easy accessibility makes it a favorite of cyclists, runners and hikers. The wide fire roads relieve much of the congestion that might be associated with someplace so popular.
From the parking lot, the run starts out with about a mile on paved road. We then headed left up the Wood Canyon Trail, a very gentle, sometimes sandy trail. There are several jumping off points that would take you up to the ridge. We ran all the way to the Cholla Trail. Cholla is about ¼ mile of switchbacks. It was a lot of fun. I wasn’t fast but I got up it. I did manage to sneak in one walking step that didn’t go unnoticed by Jeff. He teased me about that. Jeff had stashed some water and Gatorade in a neighborhood that abuts the park here. The Amazing Hip thinks of everything. Jim and Dave were right behind us but continued on as we refilled our supplies. We headed along West Ridge Trail toward the Top of the World, yet another place where the park abuts civilization. West Ridge Trail has a couple of hills but nothing too tough. On the last incline Jeff and I ran into Jim one his own headed back down from the Top. Dave had taken one of the other trails back down for a shorter run. Jim turned around to join us for a return trip to the Top. I trailed them up that hill. We took a decent break at the Top. We had a really great view of the ocean from up there. Seven miles so far and I felt pretty good. I had no real idea how fast or slow we were going. The plan was to retrace our steps and then head up the Aliso Creek Bike path for 4 more.
The return trip is predominately downhill. Only a little way back down we came upon the rest of the Cruisers. From there we had a great view overlooking Laguna Canyon Road as it snaked its way toward the beach. The Cruisers headed down Mathis Trail. Jeff and I continued on West Ridge. Running down Cholla was a blast. On the way out we came upon lots of bikers and runners heading in. The mountain bikers almost always greeted us. This is a departure from the road bikers I usually encounter on the bike trail in Yorba Linda. The road bikers seem to be annoyed with us runners.
I was really enjoying the run. I wasn’t checking my watch and had no real idea how far we had gone. About the time that we rejoined the access road, I began to run out of steam (around 13 miles). This was discouraging. All my runs had been ending up this way lately. When we got to the parking lot we met the Cruisers again, took a break and enjoyed some ice cold water. Then it was off to finish this puppy off.
Jeff said something about heading up the trail. I told him I didn’t like the sound of that word up. The bike trail is uphill; ever so slightly but undeniably up. Under different circumstances I wouldn’t even have thought about it. I could have been easily talked into stopping back at the parking lot. A quick check of the watch before we started showed we had run for roughly 2:20 or 14 miles at 10:00 miles. I thought that was a little slow considering the trail wasn’t that tough. On the bike trail I felt like I was holding Jeff back. It was nice to hear that we were maintaining somewhere around 8:15 pace, so even though I felt like I was slogging along we were keeping a respectable pace. The total run time was about 2:50. Jeff reminded me that the long run was about time on your feet not about pace, but it still bothered me. I probably did a poor job of fueling and hydrating since I wasn’t paying attention to time or miles.
When I got home I tried taking an ice bath. There wasn’t enough ice in the freezer to do an adequate job. Although it was cool, it wasn’t “ice cold”. Next time I think I’ll have to stop at the store on the way home and pick up a couple of bags of ice.
Let’s see how week two goes.