After a pretty much lackluster week training wise, today I pushed myself the hardest yet. First I need to mention that yesterday M and I volunteered at a trail race in Pacifica. I goofed up on the venue and thought it was Angel Island, but it turned out to be in Pacifica. Anyways, the event directors Wendell and Sarah of Pacific Coast Trail Runs totally rocked and put on probably the finest race I ever witnessed...from a volunteer perspective, though judging from the runners they would agree with me....the support/aide/nutrition were no less than amazing. Pacifica is a typical coastal town and probably experiences 2 clear days a year and yesterday was one of them. I was glad not to be running because I could already tell at 7 am that it was gonna be a hot one.
M jumped right in and got into setting up the nutrition stands and I spent most of my time checking in registered runners and manning the chili and soup station. I highly recommend volunteering at events, you can learn alot from the vets. I learned about sodium intake (the preferred method appeared to be dipping pieces of potatoe in salt) and gators to keep pesky pepples and the like out of your shoes. I watched as several runners would fold their bibs into tiny squares leaving only the number visible, hence eliminating all that flapping about. I noticed some of the 50K folks preferred to have their own aide stations and would stash their stuff and refuel whenever they loooped back into base camp.
I met some very cool people! I swear this one dude...had to be pushing 80 he was such a stud. He recently rode his bike to Salt Lake City from Ca and ran a marathon there! I learned about a 100 mile race called the Western States. I saw blisters, black toes and smiling faces at every turn! Many times throughout the day I thought "These people are freaks and I feel completely at home!" So many interesting people, stories and names to recount....but the experience was awesome and I was thoroughly inspired to push myself...I mean really push myself.
My period, normally barely noticable was a real drag this week and all I managed to do was swim ....once this week......I'm not even counting the 2nd attempt, because I only got to swim 4 lousy laps before I was informed the pool would be closed for an hour for the private lesson people! T's parents are finally settled in their new place and life should resume to some normalcy around here with T not staying away as much.
Anyways, I was feeling ambitious when I awoke...late I might add...and pondered the prospect of a double scoop of Strawberry...yep, that's right Strawberry Canyon Twice!
Unlike my ice cream metaphor, the run was neither cool or sweet. The temps were already up in the high 70's, maybe higher and the pressure I had put on myself to really push hard today took some of the pleasure away as my mindset was more serious than usual. As I mentioned I woke up late, late for a long run, but after what I witnessed yesterday...I was enticed and I wanted to see and feel what it would be like to run under less desirable conditions.
I intentionally went slow the first out and back. For the first time ever I peed in a secluded cornice at the top of the loop, part of UC Berkeley's sprawling campus, luckily I was fast about it and went undetected! I am officially a trail dawg!!
Physically I felt good but around the time I headed out for the second loop, my head started coming up with all sorts of excuses to detour me from my plan. I pretty much negotiated with myself the entire second half. Thoughts of the 10% rule, not having run since last sunday, other things like "Well, maybe I'll just walk up Big Bertha the during the 2nd loop" or "I won't go all the way to the road", and "Maybe I'll just double back on the mid section" Yeah it went on like this for pretty much the whole second half....but you know what? Every time the opportunity to shorten the run came up I thought about this post and how bad I wanted to use that dumb ass ice cream metaphor! So, I went ALL THE WAY up and back again!! The second loop was TOUGH, I was hot and the gatorade/vitamin water was just about gone and so luke warm it was barely noticeable when I took a sip. My body felt real fatigue for the first time. My legs and knees were tired and achey. Several times I rested my arms on my hips as my legs shuffled on. The final trip down Big Bertha about did me in! I was careful to smear body glide everywhere and when I arrived at the parking lot the first time I doffed my singlet and applied more sunscreen.
This was by far not only the furthest I've ever run, but the hardest I ever worked...on land that is! I could've chose an easier trail and certainly earlier time of day to pull out this kind of distance, but like I said, the people I met yesterday, the vibe, the energy, it was so inspiring! I wanted to really DO something today and hot damn I did it! I was all shakey and light headed afterwards, it was great!! I met a gal in the parking lot as I approached my car, she was a total rabbit, she had run up and back once. I noticed her on my way back the second time. She scared the shit out of me on the turn around as she whizzed by my left w/o a peep. I was irritated that she hadn't made her presence known and when I said "oh shit" she just kept going. Anyways, she was in the parking lot when I arrived and she turned out to be pretty cool, offering me a nutrition bar and asking about what I was training for. As I mentioned, she was hauling ass and it turns out she's sponsored by PowerBar and gives nutritional talks, she even gave me some gel.
I headed over to the carwash and drank a thing of chocolate milk and a bottle of Propel fruit flavored water, melon is yummy. Pacing and stretching as I waited for the car to be scrubbed and buffed. On the drive home I got all emotional as I realized I just ran 14.8 hot and hilly miles in 3 hours and 25 minutes. I have to say all in all, this was quite a weekend. Rubbing elbows with some serious talent and another milestone in the bag! Woohoo!!