I completely missed it but November 19 was the third anniversary of fivedown.blogspot.com, currently known as Twelve Down – Training for Tennessee. In a couple of weeks that will be changing yet again for the eighth time in three years to something like Thirteen Down – Destination Unknown.
This past weekend I flip flopped my scheduled runs to 4 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday. The reason for the flop was a bike ride with friends. We started deep in the San Gabriel Valley and headed to the beach again. Do you see a trend here? We rode down a different river trail than I ran last week. The weather was much different as well. We started on the Rio Hondo Trail in Arcadia and connected eventually with the San Gabriel River Trail and rode to PCH then took PCH over to the opposite end of Huntington Beach from last weekend.
We try to do these long rides at least once a year. This one was 33 miles total. Let me tell you it is not a great idea to go out 33 miles after not really riding the bike all summer long. 20 to 40 minutes on the stationary bike at the gym just doesn’t cut it as training for a 33 miler.
Since our group varies in age from teens to near retirees, the event becomes what I like to call a weakest link ride. This is as it should be. The pace overall is dictated by the slowest rider, which changes as the day progresses. We are in no hurry to get the ride done so it is a pretty easy effort. It was a much cooler day, maybe in the middle 70’s with a light on shore breeze, totally opposite of last weekend’s Santa Ana’s.
I had planned on running 4 miles when I got to the beach. I realize that I get some measure of exercise out of the 33 mile ride, but I define myself as a runner, not a cyclist. So when it comes to the end of the day, I feel this tremendous need to put a number in my log book that matches up with the plan.
But as the ride wore on, the lack of bike riding caught up to me and I reached the beach spent, thirsty and hungry (the trend continues). Not nearly as spent as last week but I still decided to trash the run. I will come to terms with the big ZERO somehow.
Now that I’ve run and ridden to the beach on consecutive weekends, does that mean I have to swim there next weekend? There's not really much water in our rivers so this could be a real challenge.
The following day I headed over to the opposite end of the San Gabriel River Trail for my 10 miler. I stretched it to 12. I have no idea how long I was out there. I kept to the 7:1 intervals as usual and enjoyed the day. I wore the shin support and had to stop at least three times during the first couple of miles to adjust it before I finally got it in a position that it would stay put and still be doing some good.
I’m sitting here at home today. I used the short work week as a chance to take a much needed vacation. As I type away, I look outside to see the beautiful day and am thinking we waste far too many of these kinds of days sitting at work, but such is the necessity of life. I’ve got no specific plans for the three days other than getting in a run or two. There are still baseboards and door trim to paint and a never ending hedge to trim. Plus I have about a week’s worth of blogs to catch up on so I think I’ll find ways to pass the time.
The excitement mounts for the St. Jude Marathon in Tennessee. I can hardly believe that it will be 364 days since my last marathon. This is the longest gap in my short running career. I’ve already been giving some serious thought to 2009. Possible states are Idaho, South Dakota and North Carolina. I’m contemplating an ultra in Ohio as well. I need to blog about it soon.