Sunday, August 27, 2006


I took a little detour this week on the "Competitive Veteran Marathoner" training schedule. Friday morning I woke up in plenty of time, I just couldn't drag myself out of bed. I was tired, likely because I stayed up too late the night before, and my hip was still bothering me. Four weeks into the new plan and my body has forced me to reevaluate.

I was really hyped on my new all time high mileage. I felt like a runner. I've been a runner for 3 years but setting and achieving this goal made me feel just a little more legitimate. I know better than to judge myself or anyone based on feelings, but the feeling was there none the less. I guess my 45 year old body is trying to tell me to slow down a little. I know that rest may not be all I need, but it certainly can't hurt and at least of few of you agree. I like Drew's advice to run through as long as it doesn't affect the running. It really doesn't. I do find it interesting that we humans and probably men more so, are likely to follow the advice we want to hear rather than the advice that makes the most sense.

I guess it really boils down to my goals at St. George. My primary goal is to knock another state of that list. My longer range goal is to keep running, specifically marathons, for as long as I'm still upright and breathing. Taking some time off, less mileage or no mileage, won't hurt either of these goals at this point. I'm confident I can finish a marathon with the base I have.

The shorter terms goals are my dilemma. My performance at SEAFAIR had me totally psyched for improvement at St. George. I saw the effect of increase mileage overall and specifically increased number of long runs. I was determined to build on that, couple it with the downhill course at St. George and see what I could accomplish. I hoped to push ever closer to that BQ I harbor in the back of my mind. I figured 3:40 was completely doable and with the right circumstances who knows what's possible.

I did a lot a stretching during the day Friday. That seemed to help my hip feel better. Saturday morning I hosted the CA Cruiser at Bonelli for a 10 mile loop. I was a little disappointed with the turn out, 6 people showed up. Our group can be up to 20 strong on the right day. Jesse seemed to think that people in Orange County have a metal block about traveling up the 57 freeway into Los Angeles County. Those who showed still had a nice run.

My schedule called for 13 miles so I headed over early and put in 3, mostly on trails before the Cruisers arrived at 6:30 am. I figured this would be a pretty easy effort run. I felt responsible for making sure everyone knew where they were going. Jesse and I led the pack and waited at important junctions so that no one got lost. Jesse had to bow out early so I ran with the group at an easy pace for the last 3 miles or so. My hip felt good during the run. It was a busy day at Bonelli. The cross country team from St. Lucy's, a Catholic girls school, was meeting at the park and ride when we got started. In the park, Glendora High School was conducting a time trail for both the boys and girls teams. Dr. John ran through their finish line. The looks he got from the kids and parents were hilarious. At the end of our run, as we enjoyed some ice cold water, bananas, grapes, string cheese and muffins (I was hosting the run), the cross country teams from Diamond Bar High School came streaming into the lot as they finished up their run. There was probably between 30 and 40 of them. It was cool to see the range of skills, abilities and body types coming in.

This morning, after laying in bed for about an hour after the alarm went off, I finally decided to get myself over to Bonelli again for my usual Sunday morning loop. Counter-clockwise this time. I got there later today than usual. I was surprised about the number of people there. I usually see some bikers in the parking lot but rarely come across anyone on the trail. Today I came across a man running with a golden retriever pup, a group of about 8 mountain bikers and a group of 4 HS country guys. The parking lot was full of bikers getting ready to go into the park when I was finished. Seeing people out moving always brings a smile to my face.

As I was driving out, an older man maybe late 60's or so went by. He was all decked out in compression shorts under running shorts, a white singlet, sweat band around his head, hand held water bottle and i-pod. He was tall, a little heavy and stooped over but he was sure keeping up a pretty decent power-walking pace. More power to him, I say. People like him and Dr. John give me hope that I'll still be out there moving like that in 30 years.

The plan called for 45 this week, but because I took Friday off, I hit 38 miles. Next Saturday calls for 22. I would really like to keep that commitment. The following weekend we will be out of town so a really long one will be out of the question. If I miss next weekend's 22 then I only have one more chance for a 20 miler before state #7 in 6 weeks.

My hip continues to ache, especially when sitting behind the wheel in the car and at the keyboard. I may reluctantly rest for a couple of days next week. The "Competitive Veteran" thing may just have to be pushed out into the future a little. What's the big hurry, huh? I've still got at least 42 more marathons to get there!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

On the Watch Again

My midweek run with the watch went amazingly well. I went over to Bonelli, yet again, for the 6 mile loop. I hit the watch as I crossed over the freeway on my way into the park and never looked again until I crossed back over the freeway on my way out. I ran feeling like I was putting forth a pretty hard effort, but a sustainable effort. I was pleasantly surprised with a 50:11 finish. This is nearly 1:30 better than my best time on the same route. I guess a couple of weeks of lower intensity was a decent idea.

Wednesday Bryan joined me again on the bike for another 6 mile loop in Bonelli. With Bryan along our route is varied so times are not as meaningful.

Thursday was back over to the Walnut Equestrian Trail (my new Thursday night rut). My pace was a little off normal. I cut my run a mile short, to 7 miles in 1:06.

My left hip has been bugging me pretty badly since the end of last week. I've been trying to convince myself I've just messed up the muscles from my odd gait brought on by the blister of the career. I doesn't hurt or bother me much while running, but it is very noticeable sitting or standing still. I guess I should just keep moving. After tonight's run the pain seems to have radiated up my back and down into my thigh as well. I really hope its just muscular, but I can't help but think of Anne's injury.

Probably the logical thing to do is to take it easy or even completely rest for a couple of days to see if it gets better. I'm such a slave to the schedule that I really hate to do that. Especially since I'm just getting used to the new 6 day schedule (week 4) and finally having hit the big 50 mile mark. With just over 6 weeks to the next marathon, rest is probably the best option. But it is also the hardest choice to make. Rest means lower mileage, which some how feels like failure. Crazy I know, but I also know that you can all relate.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

St. George Simulation of Sorts

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


Hey, thanks for all the birthday wishes but I feel as if I've led you all astray. I mentioned my birthday last post only in relationship to the monetary gifts from my relatives. My actual birthday was back on July 11, 2 days after the Seafair Marathon. The checks had been sitting on my desk, in my stack, for the last month waiting for just the right moment to spend them.

I always hesitate to cash the checks without having a specific purpose in mind. If I deposit them into our account, the funds seem to get swallowed up in the every day expenses of life, likely as groceries, gas, or towards the insanely out of whack electric bill of the summer. If I cash the checks and carry the cash around in my wallet it just ends up disappearing as well, likely on unplanned lunches. You know the "Hey what are you doing for lunch today, we were thinking of going to _____". If there's money in the wallet I'm more likely to save the brownbag for another day.

I figure it's my birthday money, I should get to spend it on me and on something more substantial than food or gas. My tactic then is to just hold onto the checks until just the right moment. My mother-in-law has been inquiring of (read bugging) my wife for the last couple of weeks about why her check hasn't cleared yet. The Chick's Sporting Goods Tent Sale finally seemed like the right opportunity.

After purchasing the shoes, which were Adrenaline GTS 6 not 5 (Disclaimer #2), I still had about $30 bucks left. A week later and I've ended up paying for parking and coffee out of that. What the heck I might even go out to lunch next week. Chipotle anybody?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Sunday afternoon I finally cashed the checks I got for my birthday, so I had some "free" money to spend. Yeah, at 45 I still get money for my birthday from my parents and in-laws. I decided to hit the annual tent sale at Chick's Sporting Goods. The choice of running apparel at the tent sale can be pretty hit and miss, but the shoes are usually fairly decent. I found Brooks Adrenaline GTS 5's, Asics 2110's and New Balance 766's. I decided on the Adrenalines. I'm partial to Brooks shoes. I usually wear Trance. The Adrenalines are one notch below Trance in cushioning and stability. They felt lighter to me and I really liked the feel during toe off. The forefoot seems to be thinner and more flexible than the Trance.

Tuesday after work I made it over to Bonelli for my now familiar 6 mile loop. I wore the new Adrenalines. They felt really good. I had a little twinge in my right arch about 1 mile into to run but it went away. The route takes me down the Cottontail Trail, through the Jungle, then through the RV park and around the picnic area. At the west end of the picnic area there is a trail that follows the spine of the hill that divides the south and north picnics areas. I've run past this trail countless times but always stick to the pavement around the picnic area. Tuesday I noticed that the trail was just recently cleared and widened, likely for fire control. Since I wasn't keeping time, I decided to go exploring. The trail heads up the middle of the ridge at a consistent but easy incline. There are a couple of opportunities to drop back down into the picnic areas but I opted to keep climbing as far as the trail would go. At the far west end of the trail it drops back down rapidly on a single track. It was a lot of fun. For all the times I've run here in the last year and a half I've never ventured onto this particular trail. It isn't very long, probably less than a mile, but it was a heck of a fun run, especially the descent at the end. New shoes, new trail, and the watchless running continues.

The rest of the week will pretty much play out exactly like last week until Saturday.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Made it through Week 2

Here I go again. Always counting up and down. I made it through my 2nd week of 6 running days, only 8 more weeks to go before St. George. Week 7 and 10 I get Fridays off again. I've been frustrated with the dead legs and slower times since SEAFAIR. I tried a little experiment this week and left the watch at home. I just went out for the prescribed number of miles, taking it slow (I think) and easy (for sure) and just enjoying moving forward.

Saturday I wore the watch but apparently forgot how to use it, but pulled off an 8:41 pace. Joe commented: "You casually mention "an 8:41 pace" here Darrell...that's not a simple, throw away line!! Good for you, that is clear indication your legs are coming back. Looks like the no-watch strategy may have helped them to recover." I guess that's true. Yesterday's sentence doesn't begin to describe how good I felt about my running that day and how much better my legs felt afterward. The cooler weather was probably a big contributing factor. Having such a great pacer, the Amazing Hip, along to keep me moving forward at a respectable pace was a definite advantage too. 15 is a nice medium to long run, the real test will be my 20 miler next weekend. I've planned what I think will be a fun run close to home since most of the Cruisers are racing 5 or 10 miles next weekend in Huntington Beach.

Sunday morning I went over to Bonelli for the hills on the south side of the park. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy this little 5 mile loop? Probably too many times, sorry. It just seems to be the perfect way to wrap up the week. Soon after I started I heard coyotes howling down below. Sure enough as I came around that part of the loop there were 2 of them standing in the trail. The skittered off, but not as quickly as I would have liked them to. I realized that even though they weigh 50 lbs or so, they make almost no noise scooting into the underbrush. The rabbits on the other hand, at about 5 lbs make a real ruckus. This realization didn't make me feel too great about coyotes. I just hoped I was too big to be considered breakfast!

I made it back home before the rest of the family was even awake. I started breakfast and soon the kitchen was full of my favorite sounds and smells: coffee, sausage and pancakes. I had a CD in the stereo and was just loving life. It was about as perfect as a Sunday morning can get. Then I woke up the family, HA! Getting everybody to the table, in the shower and out the door to church is never exactly a stress free couple of hours.

Yesterday Bryan had asked if we could go for a bike ride over the Santa Fe Dam. You bet I jumped on that one. We went today and rode about 8 miles and he was ready to be done. He said he didn't really like it because it was too flat. I really thought he'd like the flat since he dislikes having to go uphill. But, as much as he dislikes the uphills, he really loves the downhills. Good times anyway.

Weekly summary:
  • 6 days of running
  • 46.5 miles (this is the 2nd time I've hit that milestone, the first was also on 6 days when I was camping in Carpinteria in May.)
  • 8 weeks to go for state #7. I've got to start thinking about number 8. A guy's got to have a plan.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Newport Back Bay

I read this paragraph the other day on Craig’s blog and it perfectly explained the way I’ve been feeling.

“For some reason the summer has not been kind where running is concerned. The heat has left me weary and tired. Energy reserves have been running low. My body has felt achy. I’ve felt sluggish and slow. The more I push the less productive I’ve become. The less productive I’ve become the more defeated I’ve felt. The effort to make some progress has been mostly unsuccessful though I’ve run on a consistent basis. There have been some good weeks but most have been a struggle.”

I am glad to know that I wasn't alone in feeling this way. It was a timely post and more eloquently stated than I could muster.

Wednesday, I put in 6 miles in Bonelli escorted by Bryan on the bike. We got started a little after 7:30. Part of our route takes us through “The Jungle”, a trail that goes through some pretty dense trees and underbrush. At twilight it is significantly darker in “The Jungle”. I think it spooked Bryan on Sunday, but Wednesday he came prepared with a flashlight. When we finished, he told me that these rides were getting easier. I’m really thankful that he’s enjoying this.

On Thursday I went back over to the equestrian trail in Walnut for 8 miles. I ended up running across a coworker and his family out for a walk. They just recently moved into the neighborhood. We were all a little surprised to meet up. We talked for a little while. They were afraid that they were holding me up, but with the easy, no watch thing going on I didn’t worry about the little break, at all. The bummer thing about this run is that by the time I was done just after 8:00 pm, I had to use my headlights to drive home. Headlights at 8:00 mean summer is winding down. All ready? Man time flies. The next day we both remembered the longer days of our childhoods near Detroit and Cleveland. Daylight lasts until 9:00 in the summer farther north in the hemisphere, but then again the nights are probably longer in winter. I don’t really remember.

I followed this up with 6 miles Friday morning before work around my neighborhood. Along the way I was aware of all the litter along the sides of the road. Apparently nobody cooks at home anymore or sees fit to take their cups, bags and burger wrappers to the trash can at home. I told myself I would go back out sometime and clean up. I realize there are bigger issues in the world but this is such a simple thing. Didn’t we all learn, probably in kindergarten, to clean up after ourselves? Enough of that, on to today’s run.

The CA Cruisers were off to another exotic local, the Newport Back Bay. Celeste and I ran here once training for LA. Being in the OC again, I invited Jeff along. Luckily we both had the same mileage scheduled. Jeff invited Natty to come along as well. Another runner/blogger in the area, cool! When I got to the meeting spot, I recognized Natty immediately from reading up on her blog Friday morning. She has a wonderful smile. There was a pretty good representation of paces today and Natty fell in with Annabelle for the 10 mile loop around the bay. I really hope she enjoyed meeting us and thanks to Jeff for inviting her out.

The parking situation was a little chaotic, no one remembers this many cars here before, so we got a little bit of a later start than normal. I was a little worried about how today would go. I was hoping that I could bust out of the slow easy pace for this run.

Jesse was back today but planning on taking it easy on the hamstring. Jeff, Dave and I took the lead early. Jeff and I made a pitstop at the YMCA about a mile into the run and proceeded to play catch up with the rest of the group. We caught most of the group in a mile or so. We eventually caught Dave, Jay and Jim on our way through a really nice neighborhood along Galaxy and Polaris Dr. We reeled in Michelle and Anna, then finally caught up to Jesse and Annette on Back Bay Dr. Jesse was keeping up a decent clip for someone taking it easy. Jeff tried to convince them all that we were on our second lap around. For some reason they didn’t believe him! So about the pace, I stopped my watch when we hit the YMCA and forgot to start it again. So 6 miles into the run I was still at 11:30. Dang that’s fast, less than 2 minutes/mile. What was I worried about.

I didn’t really know our pace but Jeff seemed OK with whatever we were doing and we were reeling people in. To get in our 15 miles we added an extra out and back up the San Diego Creek Trail. Jeff’s training plan called for the last 3 miles at marathon pace. For him that’s 7:00 miles. Needless to say I finished up on my own. Somehow I missed the turnoff to the cars on the way back and put in at least an extra half a mile trying to get back. The first 12 miles were done in 1:44 (Jeff’s watch), my last 3.5 or so were done in 30.5 minutes (my watch), making my pace overall 8:41. I felt good the whole way and finished stronger than I have in weeks. I’d have to call the easy, no watch experiment a success. I may try it again next week.

The Newport Back Bay run is a good one. The basic loop is roughly 10 miles depending on the streets you take through the neighborhood on the west side of the bay. It is mostly an asphalt bike trail. The east side of the bay requires running up Back Bay Drive, a one way road with very little traffic. With the addition of the San Diego Creek Trail a runner can put together any mileage required. The coastal locale makes for cool, overcast conditions early in the day; ideal in my estimation.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Enjoy the Flow

I figure I have a couple of options to help my legs and brain feel better. I could back off on the schedule by dumping the 6th day or backing off on daily mileage. Neither option is very attractive to me. I don't want to give up on 6 day weeks after only one week. The other option I think I have is to stick to the plan and take the runs slow and easy. I decided to ditch the watch for a week. I've given myself as much grief over my slow times as I have over the state of the legs. The way I see it if I go slow on purpose but have no physical evidence (the watch) of the pace, I can just run and heal.

Tonight I went for my 6 over at the Santa Fe Dam (on the San Gabriel River, remember). As I walked to the 30.0 mile marker that starts my run, I realized I still had my watch on. A mistake? I decided, I would start it but not look at it. I did manage to get the whole run in without once looking at the watch. I usually take mile splits, but not today.

The picture is from Saturday's run in Aliso Canyon - me, Jeff and Jim heading back down West Ridge Trail from Top of the World. I don't know if you can tell or not from the picture but I squint a lot. All the tension in my face get transferred into my neck and down. I notice my shoulders moving up on the run and while I am the keyboard. Its something I have to continually be aware of. During a run when I get tired my head tilts to the left and down. I know all these things add up negatively on running form. Today I focused on keeping my head up and looking ahead, keeping my shoulders down and relaxed and keeping my eyes from squinting and scrunching my face up. I stayed loose, enjoyed the flow and just moved along. Six miles and everything felt good. I did check the watch at the end and was pleasantly surprised with a 9:15 pace overall. Tomorrow, I plan on running Bonelli. I will leave the watch at home. Really, I will.

I got Bryan to agree to a bike ride on Sunday evening in Bonelli. We both rode, he picked the route. We went out about 7:30 p.m. and finished in the dark. I'm hoping he'll join me again tomorrow.

A couple of fun clues in today's crossword:
17 Across: Cabot or Coe - Sebastian (Coe)
3 Down: Ruth or Zaharias - Babe (Zaharias)

I'm a geek, I know it. But you've got to find pleasure in the little things, right?

Sunday, August 06, 2006


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.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The New LA Marathon

On Monday the Los Angeles Marathon announced a new point to point course. It will start at Universal Studios and finish at the same place it used to. The last 5 miles are roughly what used to be the first 5 miles. The whole newness factor got me a little excited about this race. It is afterall my hometown marathon and the reason I started running in the first place. I've run it twice and swore never to run it again after the second one. Of the 8 marathons I've done, it is the one I enjoyed the least. I suppose since it is my hometown race, I should run it every year until I conquer it. They also updated their website with a whole new look. It had been the same since at least 2003. It looks pretty nice, I think.

I was discussing the possibility of running it in 2007 with my wife and she brought me back down to earth. "What other races do you have planned for next year?" she asked. At first I couldn't think of anything yet, 2007 is a wide open slate. The only thing I know we have planned is a fall cruise of New England with two other couples. That is going to take a major chunk out of the vacation budget in 2007. I can't believe I actually agreed to a vacation that doesn't involve running. I'm sure I'll find a way to slip it in somewhere.

I finally remembered my hope to add Oregon to my list by running the inaugural Eugene Marathon. I quickly checked the date - April 29, just one week before LA on March 4. It's one or the other. I also remembered my plan to ride the LA Acura Bike Tour with my youngest son and volunteer again. To early to tell, but Eugene is my preference. I'd better start saving my pennies (and $'s)!

I was also considering running Big Sur, especially since most of the Cruisers are on board for 2007 (their idea, not mine). BSIM is the same weekend, the same day even, as Eugene. So many really cool races, so little time.

The Cruiser's are hoping to put together a couple of relay teams for the Inaugural Inland Empire Marathon on December 2, 2006. That one will be a relative piece of cake to pull off. Close to home and only 6 to 8 miles to run. I have a few other ideas in the back of my head and nothing is set in stone yet. LA and my wife just got me thinking that's all.

As far as my training goes, 20 degrees cooler makes a world of difference. I put in 6 miles on Tuesday over at the Santa Fe Dam, 6 miles on Wednesday at Bonelli accompanied by Bryan on the bike. Tonight I put in 8 miles over on the equestrian trails in Walnut, CA. Last week my legs felt dead. The cooler weather has brought them back to life, or at least lightened them up a little. I'm going to get up and run 5 tomorrow before work.

If you don't already read Joe - Run with Perseverance you should stop by. Joe was asking about marathon pace and I'm sure we could all offer some advice.

I'm looking forward to this weekends run at Aliso Woods. I've enjoyed reading about it on Jessica's blog "My Southern California Trail Running" She takes some great pictures of the places she's run and I'm looking forward to seeing and running Aliso Woods first hand.

Have a great Friday and put in some awesome miles this weekend.