Friday, April 27, 2007
Monday morning I awoke and the cold had worked itself up into its glorious crescendo. I haven't felt this badly in years. I basically haven't had more than a mild case of the sniffles since I started running over three years ago. I felt so bad that if I had been at home I would have called in sick. But since I was miles from home and had set up appointments weeks ago I stuck to my schedule. I walked away whenever I felt I had to cough and washed by hands every time I had to blow my nose. I hope I didn't share my germs to carelessly. Monday was a planned rest day so I was OK.
Tuesday called for 4 but I just decided that the day off wouldn't hurt me and trying to run against fighting off the cold might be more damaging than helpful. I left Indiana Tuesday afternoon and drove back to Chicagoland. Wednesday and Thursday I awoke to light rain, again I opted out of the run. No sense running the risk of making things worse. I did feel better but nowhere near 100%. I was holding out for a run Thursday evening back home on my own turf.
Needless to say that didn't happen either. So things are about as good as they are going to get before Eugene. I have no idea what will happen there. I can't decide whether I should scale back my pace and shoot for a reasonable time; 3:45 or so, based on my current health. Or should I give it all I've got going for the 8:00 miles. If I do I fall apart after that I expect I will really stink up the last few miles and then who knows how my finishing time will turn out. Not finishing is not an option. State number 10 will be conquered one way or another, I'm just afraid it won't be very pretty.
This weekend is also the Big Sur Marathon. I'll be thinking about Donald out there, pushing his way to another fine finish at a tough but beautiful course. I am going to make an exception for California and run this one someday (maybe in 2008). I'm going to miss seeing Drew up there in Eugene. He was planning on running it as a way to celebrate his birthday. Happy Birthday, Drew and here's hoping you can get your running goals back to where you'd like them to be. Getting to meet Michelle, Eric, Sarah, Jenny and Rob will be a highlight of Oregon no matter the race outcome. I hope you all have a great race and I'll see you at the finish line.
S: 26.2 one way or another!
Monday, April 23, 2007
It is now Monday evening and I'm at a Hampton Inn in Fort Wayne, IN. This is the end of my 5th day on the road. I left home at 4:00 a.m. last Thursday and will get back home this Thursday in the early afternoon. I have gotten some good feedback on our new product and more importantly to this blog, I have maintained my running schedule.
I ran Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as detailed below. All three different routes, once on the Cottontail Trail in Bonelli (I never saw a single rabbit by the way), once at the far north end of the San Gabriel River Bikeway and lastly on the equestrian trail in Via Verde.
I arrived in Indianapolis early Thursday evening by way of a plane flight to Chicago and a 3 hour rental car ride to Indy. I was upgraded in the car because of the big corporate connection so I'm tooling around the Midwest in a Volvo S40. I've never driven a Volvo before. I am very impressed with its handling and ride. I drove over to Eagle Creek Park for a 4 mile run. The park is criss crossed with roads and trails. The trails run along the large reservoir. I just ran for time and doubled back several times. There were many other runners out and about in the park.
Friday morning I got up early and ran another 4 miles through the business park and neighborhood adjacent to the hotel. I had mapped out a route the night before. But because of the rapid growth and development in town many of the streets had been rerouted and reading street signs in the dark turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I was confused by my first turn but continued on and basically ran for time again. I was heading east for a good portion of the run and was treated to one of those purple and pink sunrises Joe mentioned last week. I also scared up a great blue heron along the routes. They are very large birds and quite the sight to see in flight.
The in office course I was attending in Indy got out early so I headed on up to West Lafayette to spend some time with Joe and his wife. I had hoped to get to see him when I realized my travels were taking me to Indiana. Joe was kind enough to offer up the spare room and a home cooked meal complements of his wife. Joe has chronicled the visit on his blog. The visit to his work was interesting. Visiting the campus of Purdue brought back great memories of my own college days at Kent State University. It was very nostalgic. I will remember for a long time the moment that Joe walked into the kitchen Sunday morning for our run and Gretchen realized we were dressed similarly. It was quite the coincidence and a great laugh.
The run along the pathways on a beautiful spring morning was amazing. The wasn't a cloud in the sky and only a light breeze was blowing. The trail system is a real gem. We just moved along at a comfortable pace. Joe opted to run the entire 8 miles without the walk breaks he has incorporated as part of his ITB recovery. He appeared to be no worse for wear. Joe has marked the mileage from his house. He even showed me his private speedwork track; a 500 meter circle around a man made pond nestled in behind the high school playing fields and a neighborhood. I felt privileged to be among the inner circle.
Just before I left home last week my throat was getting dry and scratchy. This has now become a full blown head cold. On Sunday I had a cough and now my eyes are watery, my nose is running and I begun sneezing. My voice sounds like Kirmit about 20 octaves lower - very deep and scratching. I really think that this morning if I had been home I would have stayed home from work, but since I had traveled this far to see these doctors and patients I kept up my schedule. I had hoped to run this week but I may just take the rest and hope to be somewhat recovered before Eugene on Sunday. I am looking forward to meeting all the PNW blogger/runners and to running my 10th state, but now with this cold having its grip on me I worry even more about my performance capabilities. No sense stressing about it, what ever happens, happens. At any rate Lisa and I will have an enjoyable mini-vacation.
Miles for the week: 30.3
M: 5 miles, 43:55 (8:47 pace)
T: 5 miles, 38:52 (7:46 pace)
W: 4 miles, 33:20(8:20 pace)
H: ~4 miles, 39:16
F: ~4 miles, 37:41
S: 8.3 miles, 1:17:35 (9:21 pace)
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Dr. John's caption for this photo read: "The Canyon Hills High School cross country team momentarily caught up with John. After John explained that he was a married man, with two children and two grand children, they lost interest in him." Funny guy that Dr. John.
I took this photo as well of my partners for the day. L-R, Dr. John, Kathleen, Renee and Mary. From high up on Northridge trail we could see the ocean and even Catalina Island, 26 miles off the coast. Unfornately it doesn't show up in the photo, but it was there, trust me.
I stuck to my original thought of running in Chino Hills State Park and was looking forward to the company of the Cruisers. We met at Tagge's and ran into the park via the trails from the neighborhood passed the Redwood Grove and into the back end of CHSP. This adds about 2 miles each way onto the loop in CHSP. I was at happy to see that Jesse showed up, but then disappointed when I found out he did not intend on running up Northridge. Jesse would have been an evenly matched partner for the run.
We were joined by two women, Erin and Rozanne, who are semi-elites in our area. They win their age groups consistently. Erin called Northridge "The 4-Mile Hill". This is a very apt description for this trail and says a lot more about it than Northridge. I ended up falling in with Dr. John, and a trio of Kathleen, Renee and Mary. I would run with them for awhile and then move ahead and wait for them to catch up. The last time Kathleen and Renee had run Northridge with us they had taken a very overgrown shortcut down to Telegraph. They had no desire to repeat that, so I stayed with them in part to make sure they found Sycamore and for the company. I ran considerably slower than I would have on my own, but that probably isn't such a bad thing two weeks out.
After we all made it down Sycamore the three ladies were ahead of Dr. John and I by 1/4 of a mile. Dr. John had stopped to take documentary photos of the run. He had arthroscopic knee surgery in March so took the downhill very easy. Dr. John and I met up with 6 girls from Canyon High cross country. Dr. John had quite the time chatting with them. I took is camera and ran ahead to get a great shot of he and the girls. I hope he sends it along so I can post it.
We picked up the pace and caught the ladies. We were between 4 and 5 miles from finishing up our run. I knew that they couldn't get lost at this point so I picked up the pace. I finished nearly 15 minutes ahead of them. Because of this stop-start pattern on the uphill I messed up my watch (I figured I wasn't going to count the waiting time against myself) I ended up messing up the button pushes and have no real cumulative running time. I was on the trail for 2:50 but I know my pace wasn't the 12:08 the time suggests. In reality it probably really doesn't matter. What matters is that I had a really enjoyable run in a great location with some super nice people.
I awoke Sunday to rain damped streets with moisture still dripping from the eaves, yet the skies were nearly clear and the sun was shining brightly. I needn't even mention where I headed. I just couldn't help but think about how lucky I was to be able to run around in the dirt on a beautiful weekend. I could feel the effects of the "The 4-Mile Hill" from the day before. Although I felt pretty good, the 10:16 pace reflects the state of my body or just the fact that I was enjoying the run rather than tackling it.
The new flash this week is the conditions for tomorrow's Boston Marathon. Boston had record heat a few years back and now this. Cathe from the Cruiser's will be there. I know of several bloggers as well, including world famous bloggers Jeff and Dianna, along with Mike, GB, and Ryan. I came upon GB recently through Bob's site. I've been reading (but not commenting) on Ryan's site for a while but can't recall how I ever found him in the first place. Although the weather conditions are not likely what they had hoped for, I'm sure that running Boston will be worth all the work they put into getting there. Good luck to all of them. I look forward to reading each of their stories next week.
Miles for the week: 40
M: 5 miles, 40:00 (8:00 pace)
T: 5 miles, 38:31 (7:42 pace)
W: ~5 miles, 52:00
H: 6 miles, 56:46 (9:27 pace)
S: 14 miles
S: 5 miles, 51:19 (10:16 pace)
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Before I got too far into this post, I wanted to reply to the comments on my last post.
Wes: Eugene will be a test for sure. If I am to qualify for Boston I need a 3:30 marathon. I'm very afraid that I won't make it and if I am going to make it it's gonna hurt. I'm going to give it my best shot but ...
Michelle: lets all keep our fingers crossed. I also want to clear up my time. When I'm stopped during training runs, so is my watch. The 3:23 is actual run time. Fortunately I won't be stopping to chat during the marathon and I can usually skip the facility stops during a race.
Jessica and Anne: thanks for the vote of confidence and I really liked that picture myself.
Joe: You crack me up. You're like a kid on Christmas Eve. I've had a hard time keeping up with the present; I hadn't given much thought to the next couple of weeks. Fire when ready!
Now for this weeks runs. I've said earlier that since the mileage totals and weekly runs were shortening up a bit I was going to try to increase the pace a little. Monday I ran the Bonnie Cove 5 at a pretty decent clip. I don't have mile markers along these routes in the neighborhood, so its just go at it as hard as possible and see what the watch says when I hit the finish line. Those 5 miles came in right at 40:00; 8 minute miles. My first thought was - how will I ever keep that up for 21.2 more?
Tuesday I stopped off at the dam on the way home. The dam is sporting some new signage these days. There is a new painted markers with a wavy line and the words San Gabriel River Bikeway. But of course these new marks don't coincide with the old mile markers. I decided to charge up the hill this time. I hit the mile mark in 8:08, about a minute faster than usual. I kept right on chugging away and thought man this is tough. I hit mile 2 in 7:08. No wonder it felt tough. I slowed things down a bit after that but still ended up with 38:30ish for 5 miles. Two pretty hard runs back to back.
My next two runs brought me to Calgary. It took me nearly the whole day to get here on Wednesday. I spent 2 extra hours in San Francisco waiting to get to Calgary. Everything was delayed by heavy fog. I made it to Calgary a little after 5:00 p.m., almost 12 hours after pulling out of my garage at home. I headed straight over to Nose Hill Park. I had worn my running shorts under my jeans. All I had to do was make a quick change of shirt and shoes and off I went. I ran comfortably in shorts and a long sleeve technical shirt with temps in the low 40's. Nose Hill is definitely a hill. From up top you can get a great view of the city skyline to the south and the endless plains to the north. There aren't many landmarks to use as guides. I made it to the opposite side of the park and back but not via the same route I took out. The park isn't really big enough to get lost in but you can get disoriented. I ran strictly by time, putting in 52 minutes which I guess is somewhere a little more than 5 miles. I had to stop or at least hesitate frequently to determine which criss-crossing path I wanted to take and then to try to trace my steps. I had brought by regular street shoes, but the trail shoes would have been a good choice this time due to the sloppiness of the trails in places.
I got up this morning and headed back over the the Bow River Bikeway for an easy 10k in 56:46. I still have about an hour before I have to be at the orthodontists office. I'm not sure exactly what I will do the rest of the afternoon and evening since my flight doesn't leave till 7:00. My other choice was 3:00 but I was afraid that would rush my visit at the docs office.
I've got 15 scheduled for Saturday and the Cruisers are planning on running into Chino Hills State Park which is exactly what I was already thinking. I look forward to that one. Next week I leave again for a whole week between Indianapolis and Chicago. That's were Joe comes in. I'm looking forward to the weekend in West Lafayette, IN which just so happens to fall between my two stops. We've made plans to share our last long run, 8 miles, before his back to back 1/2 marathons and Eugene. Joe has some other plans as well that include a home cooked meal (always a welcome treat and respite from a week's worth of restaurant food) and a personal guided tour of the sights in his neck of the woods; it should be a lot of fun.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I guess the title should really be Week 14.3 or something. Last week was a scheduled 5 day week so I had Monday and Friday off just like in the old days before I decided to try this training plan for the second time. I've made it this far but have yet to decide what I will do once I get through Eugene.
My wife had Friday off from work. I took a half day vacation and we had a nice lunch together.
I ended up heading down to Yorba Linda for the last 22 miler. I arrived a little early and by 7:00 no one else had showed up. It was a grey, misty morning with temps in the middle 50's. I headed out. The day turned into an old school day. Just after 4 miles I ran into Denis and John coming back the opposite way. They were 9 miles into their last 22 as well. At mile 7 I happened upon Mary and Cathe. They had gotten a late start. We stopped and talked for a few minutes. They were on their way and I hit the facilities, for the second time (It was that kind of run). A couple of miles later I caught up the Mary and Cathe. I stayed with them for the next three miles. I even took walk breaks with them. I stressed out a little when one of them stretched to nearly 2 minutes but I hung in there with them until they turned back at my mile 12.
It was there that we ran into Julie and Gary and stopped to take another chat break. I still had 10 miles to go. Around mile 14 I ran into John again and then at mile16 I saw Denis again. John had cut his 22 miler a little short. I made it back to where I started in 3:23:29. I was tired but felt like I could finish 4 more easily. The problem is I can't finish 4.2 miles in 7 minutes, oops!
I know better than to race the long runs, but I still can't help but wonder. I went back at looked up my long runs for the last three road runs. I don't seemed to have gotten any faster this time around. I certainly have put in more miles but it seems to me to be at the same pace as always.
4 miles on the west side of Bonelli on Sunday morning, again in the gray mist topped of the week. There was no sunrise at the Sunrise Easter services around here. We took Grandma and Aunt Leslie with us for a trek down to San Diego and enjoyed dinner with Tyler at Prego.
T: 5 miles, 40:43 (8:09 pace)
W: 6 miles, 47:16 (7:53 pace)
H: 5 miles, 44:19 (8:52 pace)
S: 22 miles, 3:23 (9:15 pace)
S: ~4 miles, 42:17 (10:34 pace)
The cross is at the top of Garcia Trail where I ran a few weeks ago on Glendora Ridge Motorway.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I enjoyed Monday off by watching Dancing with the Stars. That darn show has me hooked. I spent the whole night moving back and forth between the computer (bills and blogging) and the TV. I would really love to see Laila make it all the way through. But it is going to be a tough battle between her, Joey, Ian and maybe even Apollo. I never thought I would get hooked on a show like this. I pretty much dismissed it the first year, caught the final few weeks year two and haven't missed much of the action since then. I was really rooting for Emmit last year besides I've secretly got a thing for Cheryl. Cheryl and her star partner have won twice, it would be sweet if she and Ian could go for #3.
At the dam on Tuesday it seemed really odd to be turning around at the 2.5 mile mark. I've been running 6 or 8 there since early February. I pushed a little and ended up with an 8:09 pace over all.
Wednesday I hadn't quite committed to a route yet on the way home. I was thinking about the errands I had to run the next day. It turns out our car insurance was due on Thursday. I'm not super excited most days to pay the bills and there are some bills I just flat out hate to pay. Car insurance is one of those. Some of the others are the newspaper (I don't read it) and the cell phone bill (most of the minutes go to the kids). So as a little protest I pay those bills at the last possible minute. I usually drop of the insurance check at the AAA office on the way to work. This is just one more thing in an already hectic morning. Getting Bryan moving is enough of a battle every morning. So I had this brilliant idea of running the insurance check over tonight.
I quickly pulled up my favorite route mapping tool and determined that the AAA office was 2.5 miles from home. This office is just one block off one of the streets I run often. To finish up the loop, my Bonnie Cove 5 route became the AAA 6. Now I have one less thing to do in the morning. Plus this saves me about a 2 mile car trip. That has to be worth the $0.26 it saved me with gas at $3.25 a gallon and don't forget the $0.39 stamp I saved too.
In the spirit of ramping up the pace, after the 2.5 miles I decided to kick things up a notch and ran at least another 2 miles at a pace nearing 5K. I throttled it back down after that but caught myself ramping back up as I got closer and closer to home. I finished up with a 7:53 pace overall so I must have been cooking along pretty good in the middle there because I know I started off relatively easily.
I plan to take tomorrow back down in the 8:30 range in preparation for the last big one on Saturday. I was planning on going down to Yorba Linda to meet up with the Cruiser's (I haven't seen them since the Brea 8K) but I found out today some of them are racing a 5K that day. I may just head back down to HB, where I've done the last 3 long runs. Either way it will be satisfying to have that one on the books.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Thursday, back home and back at work, I headed over to the dam with the intent of doing speedwork. I planned on warming up for 1.5 miles and then doing 3 minutes speed followed by 3 minutes recovery for the next 2.5 miles with a mile of cool down. Well I hit the 1.5 mile mark and the effort felt nearly as difficult as in Calgary two days prior. I took off like a bolt and made it to within sight of the next half mile mark by the time the watch finally beeped 3 minutes. It was one of the longest 3 minutes ever. After the 3 minute recovery jog, I took off again and made it for about 1 minute before I said to heck with this. At the turn around point I decided that if I wasn't going to get any speedwork in I would at least try for a marathon pace run. I ramped up the pace and got the last 3 miles done in 7:51, 7:41 and 7:56.
Friday I headed over to Via Verde for an abbreviated run; 4 miles at an easy pace in anticipation of Saturday's race.
Sunday afternoon I headed over to Bonelli at 5:00 in the afternoon after having hung around the house all day in my running clothes from Tyler's 5K that morning. So although I only ran 5 days, I put in 6 runs.
Miles for the week: 40
T: 8.8 miles, 1:23 (9:31 pace)
W: Travel day, 0 miles
H: 6 miles, 48:56 (8:09 pace) with 3 miles at MP
F: 4 miles, 38:07 (9:31 pace)
S: 13.1 miles, 1:49:31 (8:22 pace)
S: 3.1 miles, 34:00 (10.58 pace) with Tyler
5 miles, 50:28 (10:06 pace)
On Sunday afternoon I tallied up my miles for the month of March and was shocked to find 197.7 miles. If I had realized how close I was to 200 I would have run a little more during the week. This is 15 miles more than my last highest month in August 2006. I recently read about the challenge of running 2007 miles in 2007. This requires an average monthly mileage of 167.25. I wasn't far off track and this months 197.7 gives me a cushion to play with. I haven't completely committed to the idea of 2007 miles but, so far so good.
This week the miles start to taper down although the last 22 miler is scheduled for Saturday. During the week there are no more 8 milers and the 6 milers become 5. Let me tell you I am looking forward to the rest and recovery leading up to Eugene.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
The first was the Chesebro Half Marathon, part of the Great Race of Agoura which includes a 5K, 10K, the double -15K, and a kids 1 miler on Saturday March 31. I did this race last year and really enjoyed it so I signed up for another go at it. The half is really two races in one, about 3 miles at both ends on pavements with about 6 miles in the middle on trails.
This year the race seemed to be easier, the trail wider, the hills smaller and the whole thing went by a lot faster than last. One thing I missed, kind of, was the mud at the beginning of the trail. I wore my road shoes, so save my trail shoes from the 6 miles of road.
My primary goal for this race was to better last year's time of 2:01. My absolute rock my world goal was 1:39 predicted by the McMillan calculator. I knew that with the trail (hill) portion of the race this would be difficult.
Last year I started this race off slowly. This year I decided to kick it in early and pass as many people as I could before reaching the trail section. About 1/2 mile into the race I ran into Denis from the Cruisers. He and his training partner run the river trail in Yorba Linda but get started about an hour before the rest of us. I ran and chatted with him for about a mile until he took his first walk break. He uses the Galloway method at 6:1, finishing the LA marathon in 4:37. I had also decided to travel lighter this year. I braved the cool temps at the start and did not carry an extra sweatshirt like last year, nor did I carry my fuel belt, but relied on two water stops on trail. I did take a gel at mile 8. I was at 24:33 at the 3 mile mark, all on roads.
On the trail I kept trucking along and picked off one person at a time. I hit mile 5 in 16:26 meaning I was keeping up an 8:13 pace on the trail. For some reason at one minor down hill section, just before the biggest up hill about 3 of the people I had just passed surged ahead. I caught a couple of them again on the uphill. The mile 6 marker was obviously off since I reached it in about 5:30 after hitting mile 5. I kept an eye on the markers the rest of the trail but didn't record a time until I hit the road again. I hit mile 11 in 52:49/6 miles or 8:48 pace for the big uphill and of course the nice long downhill afterward.
Unlike last year when I ran out of gas when we hit the pavement, this year I still felt good. I began to set my sights on the runners ahead of me and picked off at least four before mile 12. We had been on the road for about a mile and a half and had a lane to ourselves. Around mile 12 we were joined by a mass of humanity. The 10K race started an hour and half after the half marathon. Chugging along with other like minded half marathoners was a good thing. Running into a wall of back of the pack 10K'ers was not. The runners were in a totally different place race wise. Their pace was slower and they ran or walked in groups which made keeping any kind of momentum nearly impossible. It was quite disturbing. We shared the road for nearly a mile until the last 100 yards or so to the finish line where we parted ways. Even with this distraction I was able to crank out 7:27 pace for the last 2.1 miles, thanks to a downhill finish once we left the trail.
My overall time was 1:49:31, a 12 minute improvement over last year and about half way to my outlandish goal. The 1:49 is nearly as good as my half marathon PR (1:45:39) set at Fontana on a nearly completely downhill road course. My time put me at 163/1001 (16th percentile) overall and 11/61 (18 percentile) for M4549. I'm pretty happy with that. 1:49 predicts a 3:40 marathon, so who knows...
I was nearly ready to head out when Denis crossed the finish line in 2:10:36. I hung out and talked for awhile. I found out he and his running partner are heading up to Eugene as well. His running partners daughter lives near Eugene.
The second race was the Victim's Rights 5K in San Pedro on Sunday, April 1. Some of you may remember that 9 to 10 weeks ago my oldest son started the coolrunning.com Couch to 5K program. This is something he started all on his own without any prodding from me. He even started a blog which he ended up not keeping up. But he did the important part, he finished all of the C25K workouts. A few weeks ago he asked me to find him a race. I originally started looking in the San Diego area, then he realized he would be home on spring break the week he was ready to race. I had considered the Spirit Run, but running around the mall lacked appeal to me. I found this 5K which ran along Paseo Del Mar at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Tyler trusted my judgement. He even agreed to allow me to come with him and to run the race. After we checked in he asked me "So, you're just going to take off right?". "No way, I'm planning on running right along side you" I said. He was OK with that.
The race got under way and off we went. Tyler crossed the first mile marker in 9:43. This course wasn't really flat. Tyler complained about the "hills". I tried to convince him they were just little inclines. They really were pretty tame, but I did remember how I felt the first time I came across anything that even remotely resembled a hill.
During the second mile and the longest continuous climb Tyler took a walk break. I wasn't timing them because he hadn't asked me too. We started running again when he was ready. He asked for another walk break during this mile and finished mile 2 in 11:26, mostly due to the walk breaks.
During mile 3 he took a couple of more walks and hit that mark in 11:56. At that point I told him he couldn't walk anymore. It was against the rules to walk the last 0.1 mile of a 5K.
He kicked it in gear and finished the last 0.1 in 0:55, even passing 3 people on the way to the finish line. I was two steps behind him. My watch read 33:59:26. The official times listed now are 34:00 for Tyler and 34:05 for me. I know I wasn't 5 seconds behind him, but this wasn't my race. I was thrilled just to share this one with him. We even got medals, something I have never gotten before at a 5K. He ended up 11th in his age group and me 10th in mine and 209 and 210 out of 570. That put's him in the top 40%. The overall pace was 10:58. Now I've shared a 5K with both of my boys and although each one as among my slowest times, they will be the most memorable races I've run.
I asked Tyler if this was something that he wanted to continue and he said yes. He's looking for a program that is the next step beyond the C25K program. I will have to do some digging. Does anybody have any ideas?
I had a trip scheduled to Calgary this week and I knew it would take some creativity on my part to get 6 runs in this week. It’s not so much that I lacked creativity as much as I lacked the follow through on that creativity.
The plan called for Monday as a rest day as it usually does. This week I didn’t need to push it to Friday, but knowing that I would be in transit the better part of Wednesday meant that I should have used Monday to its advantage. That never happened.
I had been checking the weather for Calgary on a daily basis for the last week. The last prediction I saw was for temps in the mid to high 30’s with light rain predicted. My flight from Ontario, CA to Seattle was uneventful. Seattle weather was like everyone always says it is, cloudy and gloomy. I didn’t really mind. The greater concern was the weather in Calgary. Things had changed since I last checked. In Seattle we were told that visibility in Calgary was extremely limited and there was snow falling, possibly heavy snow. The flight left Seattle with the hope that the weather would clear during the flight but with the understanding that if things didn’t improve the pilots would return us to Seattle. The pilot warned that we might do an approach and head right back up if conditions weren’t good and not to be alarmed. During the descent in Calgary could see nothing but white clouds, then the next thing I knew we were on the ground with no further discussion of conditions from the cockpit.
I had deliberately planned the trip to arrive in the early afternoon, so that I could take advantage of DST and the naturally longer days of the north. It was snowing when I landed but because it wasn’t extremely cold the roads were clear. Although leaving home at 4:00 a.m. was not ideal, I had the afternoon to myself. (Does this count as creative or just taking advantage?) I had a couple of options in mind for a run. One was to head up to Nose Hill Park, the other was the Bow River Pathway. I had packed my new Cascadias in anticipation of muddy or slushy conditions.
I ended up going with the Bow River Pathway which turns out is an asphalt multi-use trail along the Bow River. The trial shoes weren’t really necessary but they would have to suffice. This section of the pathway is at river level at points and then meanders up hill to go along a bluff well above the river and then descends back down again. The pathway goes through some wooded areas and also some open space areas and parks. I ran northwest from Home Rd to Stoney Trail and crossed the river along the pedestrian bridge that is suspended under the impressive bridge. Bowness Park is on the south side of the river but not knowing exactly how to get back to my car that way I did a u-turn and retraced my steps. Although the pathway was mostly clear, the ground all around was covered with about 2 inches of really wet snow. Besides a couple of Canadian Geese (imagine that), I saw a couple birds with long tails and the most amazing contrasting color scheme of black and white. Usually things in nature that are white are kind of yellowish, not real crisp. It took some internet searching when I got back to the room to determine they were black-billed magpies. I always thought of magpies like this:
picture from: http://weaselhead.org/profile/?s=218
Although I enjoyed a run in a new location and the cool overcast conditions, I could tell that it would be spectacular on a sunny day. I did have a hard time getting up any major momentum. I thought during the run, maybe it was due to the fact that I had gotten up 2 hours early or possibly I was a little dehydrated from flying. I also considered that the altitude may be affecting me. Calgary is at 3500 feet or so above sea level, while most of my runs are maybe 500 or less. I don’t really know, but the 8.8 miles (14.2 km) took me 1:23:49 for 9:31 pace.
Wednesday, I visited a local orthodontist. I wrapped my visit around 2:00 and headed back towards the airport. It was a beautiful sunny day. I went by Nose Hill Park and contemplated squeezing in a run. I accidentally missed the turn off so I just headed for the airport. It turns out customs didn’t open till 4:00 and my flight left at nearly 6:00. I would have had plenty of time to get in a run. My biggest obstacle was where exactly I would change from dress clothes to running clothes and how I would get at least partially cleaned up before sharing close quarters with people on an airplane. Maybe I do lack creativity after all. Instead I wrote my trip report. I was technically “on the clock”. I will be back to Calgary soon, maybe I will get to explore Nose Hill Park then.