This is killing me! Putting all those big fat zeros into my training log and then again into my Excel spreadsheet. My weekday runs have been nearly non existent. The week before last, my only run was a 22 miler on Saturday.
Last week I went out for 5 on Wednesday. I got my 15 miler completed on Friday morning before we left for the Napa Valley and then on Sunday I did 4.7 miles around American Canyon, CA. My hip is still bothering me, even though I've seriously cut back my schedule. Week 6 of the 6 days/week schedule at 50 miles, turned into 1 day at 22. Week 7 planned at 45 miles in 6 days became 24.7 miles in 3 days. This week, #8, has 5 days for 42 miles including a 22 miler on Saturday. I plan on keeping the 22 miler and taking at least one extra day off, probably tomorrow for about 35 miles. After that I'm officially into taper but I think this time around the taper is going to be more of a super taper, hoping to be completely ache free by St. George.
Friday's run went amazing well in terms of pace. I ran the San Gabriel River Bike Trail. Mile one was a conservative 9:25 and includes the immediate climb up onto the top of the dam. The next 7 miles ticked off in roughly 8:30 pace. After the turn around, I knocked off miles 9, 10 and 11 in 7:56, 7:46 and 7:41. The last 4 miles were between 8:14 and 8:03 for a total running time of 2:04 or an 8:16 pace overall.
On the intestinal terms the run was a near disaster. Note to self and anyone living in the proximity of Los Angeles. Do not ever, under any circumstances, eat a Hollenbeck burrito from El Tapayec in East LA the day before a long run. Don't get me wrong the burritos are awesome. Any other day, I would go there in a flash. It is a little hole in the wall with room for about 30 people crammed inside and there is usually a line to get in. The food is seriously good, but it doesn't want to stick with you on a long run. Thank goodness disaster was diverted and the bathroom along the trail that had been closed for renovations was back open. I hit it twice, on the way out and on the way back, and I hit it hard. Just a word to the wise. I've learned my lesson. I didn't count those little breaks in my overall time!
Sunday's run in American Canyon was just a nice leisurely run. American Canyon is on the very southern end of the Napa Valley. We stayed in American Valley, as my father-in-law had booked the rooms and they were the only Marriott affiliate (we kid him that anything less that a Marriott is roughing it) in the Napa Valley that he could find for less than $300 a night. The front desk staff had no recommendations as far as places to run. The hotel was on Highway 29, a 2 lane divided highway. Google maps were not complete, since the city is experiencing a growth. I just headed out and found a nice stretch along Wetlands Edge Rd. There was a nice wetlands, duh, along one side and new housing development on the other. I eventually ran into a bike path and ended up with 4.7 miles (determined on gmaps-pedometer) upon my return home.
The trip to Napa was quick but enjoyable. We always have a good time visiting with my wife's Dad and his wife and her brother and his family. Dad and Susan had flown in from PA. Brother and family had driven over from the Sacramento area. It took us about 6 hours driving time to get up to Napa. The boys were less than thrilled being in the car for that long but they survived. They actually complained about taking bathroom breaks because it was going to take longer to get there. We had dinner Friday night at La Strada in American Canyon.
On Saturday, while the grownups visited a couple of wineries, the boys got to play paintball at a park in American Canyon. Number 1 son got to spend Saturday evening with a couple of high school buddies that were going to school at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA just down the road from our hotel. The adults took a tour of Beringer Vineyards and Chateau Montelena. Both places gave very informative tours and we enjoyed the wines, as well. Lunch on Saturday was at the Calistoga Inn. I would recommend it highly; very delicious weekend brunch menu and great service. Dinner Saturday night was at Pacific Blues Cafe, another great meal. The menu is an eclectic mix of burger, Mexican and American comfort food.
The trip was very enjoyable. Too short, but fun. This was only our second trip to the area in 22 years of living in CA. The last time I was in Napa was to run a half marathon in 2004. We aren't huge drinkers and don't really plunk down any huge sums of money for wine, but it is a fun way to spend a weekend every now and then. Wineries aside, the area is beautiful, lodging is plentiful although pricey and there are tons of world class restaurants and shopping, so a great weekend could be had, wine or not.