Friday, August 03, 2007

Back into the Swing of Things

After last week's mediocre running (a mere 21 miles!) recovering from the 50k (and the start of school) I got fully back into training with some semi-respectable runs (and more planned for the weekend)

I faced my fears tuesday and headed out on the trail by my apartment for a 4 mile jaunt in the wilderness.

(yep, this is the trail about 100 ft from my front door!)

Previously my pr on time heading out has been about 15 minutes, before I'd get too scared and turn back. Tuesday I went out for a whopping 23 minutes! Not so important was the time, though, as was the fact that I turned around when I planned to turn around, and not because I was scared. Of course, yesterday I read a book about Santa Cruz trails that explicitly refererenced mountain lion sightings on this trail and to not take it alone. Great.

Wednesday I felt like being both lazy and "fast" and so did a paved route (same as Sunday's, but turned around at 4.5 to get 9 miles in) It went well, and I had awesome pacing for the last few miles, hitting 9:30s for 2 and 8:50 for the last! Granted, this is relatively flat, so it's not like I'm pushing hills, but still! I'll take a sub 9 minute mile any day :D

Thursday I ran a very paltry 1 mile as I wanted to save myself for the weekend running extravaganza that I had planned. Just ran on the gym treadmill, doing a 9:44 mile :)

Today I ran for the first time with other runners since I've been in Santa Cruz. Mimi, a very nice woman who reads my blog, invited me to join her and a few friends on a medium run in Pogonip park, which is about 5 minutes from my house.

I arrived just before 10:15 (amazing to have a late start!) and got to meet her adorable puppy while waiting for the other two to arrive. Now, in meeting new runners, I have this insecurity that I think most non-athlete athletes have. I look at them and think to myself, "oh god, they look like runners! I'm never going to be able to keep up!" Now, I suppose at this point, I don't necessarily not look like a runner (especially when I'm dressed to the 9s in my wicking clothes and trail shoes) but I'm not necessarily, well, built like a runner. I still very much have in my mind the non-athletic, non-running version of me, and I'm not quite sure if that's still how I look to the rest of the world.

Anyways, my fears were slightly founded, but in a relatively harmless way. The women were definitely all faster than me, but I was able, more or less, to keep up, though was definitely sounding a bit like a train with all the huffing and puffing I was doing going up e-con, the one major hill of the run. It's good for me to push myself, though, and I really appreciated being forced to go a bit outside my comfort zone (at least that's what I kept telling myself going up that hill! This is what training is about. Pushing yourself so that you get better). Even more wonderful, though, was once again having the pleasing company of others while I was out there. I wasn't doing too much talking on account of the train-like breathing, but it was really nice to listen to the distracting chatter of the others as they discussed their recent marathon success and future goals, as well as just day to day talk about their children. I forgot how quickly 8 miles (okay, 7.9) could fly by!

It was also wonderful to be in a new park, and an amazingly beautiful one at that. The entrance is just a few blocks from Mimi's house, so she runs there alone often, and I'm thinking it'll be one of my new playgrounds as well :) It has a bit of everything, from some meadows to the amazingly cushy redwood forests that reminded me of being back on Mt tamalpais. We hit up both firetrails and singletrack, and I really just had such a good time out there. The run was mostly uphill the way out, so the way back just flew by and before I knew it I was done with the day's run. Hopefully I'll get to run with these women again soon, and eventually meet even more Santa Cruz runners. It's nice not to feel so alone in this city any more :)

Tomorrow morning at around 5 am I'm taking off to join my friend Sarah and her Luna Chix on a 30k run in Redwood parks in Berkeley. We'll be following the PCTR trail run route, so it should be nice! So long as I'm not too dead, I want to experiment with this double weekend run thing and try to get in 8-10 on Sunday.

I've just written out a preliminary training schedule for now until the 50 miler to make sure I'm as prepared as I'm going to be and, I'll admit, I'm a little intimidated! I'm so excited to make that next step though, so I know all those miles will be worth it :)

As a final note, a huge good luck to all the 100 milers tomorrow at Burning River! Josh and especially Mike (who's doing his first 100!), and Kim (who's pacing!) have such a great time out there :)

Have great weekends everyone!


Phil said...

That whole area around Santa Cruz is just beautiful. Keep the pictures coming.

I'm impressed that you're back out hitting the trails so soon after the Tahoe Rim Run. Nice job.

Sarah said...

Sounds like you have an abundance of trails to choose from! A healthy fear is okay, especially if there are kitties about!

rick said...

That's the trail outside your door?! Wow, looks like a trail in Marin. So that insecurity thing, I have that too and some of my friends have it as well. We look at other athletes and go "wow they look so fast and sleek. We so don't look like that". I don't know what drives that.

Easy does it on the return from a big race and good luck on your training for Firetrails. It was my first 50 many years ago.

Anonymous said...


It was great meeting you and going for a run yesterday! I didn't hear you huffin and puffin since I was making my own very loud breathing sounds - it's always good to run with others so you get pushed a little (or push yourself more). I was definitely going a bit faster than usual, too. Hope we can run again soon!



andyb said...

Glad to hear you got out on some trails to run, Addy. Pogonip, from what I can tell, has some great areas and I have only explored a small part of it. The trail that the PCTR Santa Cruz run followed goes through part of Pogonip - and Harvey West Park - is a well used trail, and hooks up with Henry Cowell State Park, so lots of trail to run if you want. I do some running along the train tracks that follow the San Lorenzo River, then shoot off on a number of other trails.

I'd be happy to point out some of these places so you can run on some trails that get a bit more traffic - may help you to feel a bit more comfortable. The great thing is, you should be able to access most of them from campus!


hao said...

hi addy,

great to hear you've recovered so well from trt. which 50 miler are you doing? that's so exciting. good luck recovering from all the running this weekend. great to hear running is going well. :)



Bob Gentile said...

Looks great Addy, yes fear is ok means that U care & passionate ...just as long as it don't stop you :-) which I can tell it won't !!

Ryan said...

Way to go...that's a whole lot of runnin! Great trails.....only thing I've run into around New England are coyotes and most are to small to cause any trouble...but mountain lions and cougars that's a whole different story. When I was out in Glacier National Park trail running the rangers told me to make some noise around bends or coming up hills this will help alert predators to your presence.

Good luck on the road to 50M, getting there is half the fun!

Addy said...

phil- Thanks! It was a bit hard to start back up, but it feels good to put in some 'real' miles again :)

Sarah- I do! I'm trying to find a balance between smart and overly paranoid ;)

Rick- I know, it really reminds me of running around north of sf. That cushy ground under the redwoods has to be the best running surface ever!

Mimi- Thanks so much for inviting me along! Glad to hear I wasn't the only one totally struggling :) We'll definitely have to plan another run soon, and if I can I'll be at track wedesday!

Andy- I'd love to be directed to some of the more well used trails. I do want to find trails that I can comfortably (and safely) explore by myself :)

hao- I'm doing Dick Collins Firetrails (eep!). How's your recovery going? Are those blisters healed?

Bob- what a nice way to look at fear! Thanks for that insight :)

Ryan- We have coyotes in so cal (and apparently up here too) and, yeah, they're usually pretty benign. Crazy when you have to worry about being eaten on a run :P

Journey to a Centum said...

Addy - Wow! Santa Cruz is a great place to live. The place is thick with sports minded active people. What's this scat about "not looking like a runner"? Get that out of your head and keep training with your new found running buddies! Once you know the trails like they do you will be pacing yourself better and not doing so much huffing and puffing.

Next time you want to know what a runner looks like, look in the mirror!

Go-Go Runner!

e-rod said...

hey,, you met some trail buddies!!!

those little kitties or at least the thought of them still spook me when i'm alone. but if i had a trail like that beckoning me just a few steps outside my door, i'll throw all caution to the wind.

good luck on that 50-mile training. i gotta get started on that. we should compare notes.

Jean said...

Hi Addy,

I just found your blog through Rick's blog, so I thought I would chime in!

Wow, gorgeous trails you have outside your door. Not bad at all! Best wishes with your training and your schooling. Both my parents were teachers, so I hold teachers in the highest regard! :)

Dad said...

Hey, we've left voice messages on your cell. Can you call us please?? Just want to hear you are ok. Love you.

Addy said...

Eric- Thanks for the pep talk. It's just hard to get that image of the thin lanky runner ideal out of my head sometimes :) But I'd rather have a body that can do amazing things than one that looks athletic but just sits at home :D

erod- we should definitely compare notes! I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing :P

Jean- Welcome! Thanks for stopping by :) My mom was a teacher too, so that's partially why I think it's such a wonderful profession.

Meredith said...

Hi Addy! The first time i ran with my running group, they were so blazing fast and they ran up the hills (wtf?) that i was lagging long behind. They all thought i was some beginner runner until one guy said he recruited me from a 50 miler a few weeks prior!!! it was a wee bit hard on the ego.

Addy said...

meredith- I feel exactly the same about running uphills. Why do people insist on doing that?!? Some people just don't understand the wonderfulness of going slow for a super long time :)