Preparations for my 20 mile run on Saturday actually started on Friday. My proposed route required me to have an Adventure Pass in my possession. During my lunch hour I went over to REI in Arcadia to purchase my pass. They were out of daily passes. The girl at desk told me they expected to get some by the end of the week. I’m thinking Friday at lunch the week is pretty much at its end. She then told me that I could get a pass at the Forest Service Office just up the street. As it turns out it was less than a half mile away. I originally didn’t go to Forest Service assuming it would be up in the forest. Only in southern California would the Forest Service office be in the shade of the freeway, literally right next to the 210 Freeway, rather than the shade of the forest.
My plan was the run up in the Angeles National Forest on the private road up the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. Some friends rode bikes there on July 4th. The trailhead is about 8 miles up the canyon. Then the service road continues up to Cogswell Dam. This route would be a chance to get in some relatively long downhill miles. From the dam back down to the trailhead is about 500 ft elevation loss in 8 miles. St. George loses around 700 ft in the first 8 miles. 500 ft is downhill without being out of control downhill.
Before I could start the downhill run I had to get up to the Cogswell Dam. As I was walking down toward the trail head a group of 25 or so guys came from over from the other lot, dressed to run. They started off less than a minute before I did. I had thought that this run would be solitary, now I had some competition. I caught up to the tail runner fairly quickly. He was the coach, the rest of the guys were the cross country team from Arcadia High. They were running up to the dam and back too. They spread out pretty quickly and I had fun picking them off as I ran up the road. I probably overtook about half of them by the time I got to the 7 mile mark. At that point the fastest runners were on their way back down from the dam. I got to the dam, 8 miles, in 1:09. That’s a respectable 8:38 pace. Tracking down the cross country team helped, I think.
At the dam the road becomes a dirt road that continues west along the north side of the water behind the dam. I came around one bend and ran across a pretty big deer. It bounded off down the trail then up a nearly vertical wall and was gone. It was sure a sight to behold. The road ends rather abruptly so I turned back. I reached the dam again in 22:16. I estimate the out and back to be 2.5 miles. Then the fun started down the hill back to the trailhead. The 8 miles downhill came in at 59:35, or 7:27 pace. This put me at roughly 18.5 miles. I headed back up the trail for about 1.5 miles and then back down to the gate. It was really important to me that I get in at least 20 miles today. Not having a marked course or a GPS, I was dependant on my time. My final running time was 2:57. If I assume a conservative 9:00 pace, I would have needed 3:00 for 20 miles. I’m fairly confident I got in at least 20 and maybe as much as 21.5, but I’m only going to take credit for 20. At the end of the run I took a 15 minute soak in the river. It was nice, cool and relaxing. I thought about Joe and his thermometer wondering what the water temp might be.
I also thought about Matt this last week. I get a kick out of his blog name. Whenever I see it in print, igotblistersonmyblisters, I always hear Ringo screaming “I got blisters on my fingers” from Helter Skelter. I haven’t had a blister in months. I got one on my right foot during Seafair and last week I got one in the same place right behind my big toe on the left foot. I ignored it for about a week and by Friday I had my own personal blistersonmyblisters. I cut away all the dead skin and did my 20 miles with no real negative effect until I was finished and now Igotblistersonmyblistersonmyblisters. Man is this uncomfortable. I thought about posting a pic, but decided it was too gross. I’m having trouble walking.
But that didn’t stop me from running Sunday morning. My schedule called for 4 miles, so I opted out of Bonelli and ran the horse trail along Puente and Via Verde.
To wrap this all up, I completed my 3rd week of 6 days running and hit the elusive 50 miles for the first time. That’s why it was so important that I put in a legitimate 20 miles yesterday. So over the last two weeks I cut back on intensity during the week and kept my mileage up. My legs feel way better than 2 weeks ago, tired yes, but no more of that smoldering hot feeling. Next week I plan on putting the watch back on. It will be interesting to see how my times are for my familiar routes.
Weekly miles: 50
Days run: 6
Weeks to St. George: 7