Monday, January 30, 2012

AC100 Training Week 4 of 27


I had a really good week. I ran 73.6 miles with 13,612 feet of vertical climbing. Here’s the recap:

I started the week on Monday with a solid hour on the treadmill alternating between running at a 6% incline and walking raised up to 15%. In five miles, I completed 2,000 feet of climbing.

Tuesday, I headed to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and explored the trails in the Portugese Bend Preserve. From the top which is at the end of Crenshaw Boulevard, I made it all the way down to Palos Verdes Drive before looping back up along a fireroad I have seen from a distance many times before, but had never attempted to run.

Wednesday’s run was short. I slept in and decided at the last hour before going to work that I should fit in at least a few miles in my Hawthorne neighborhood.

I  got up early for the Thursday morning Coyote Run, but arrived at the Westridge trailhead a half hour after everyone had started the out and back route. I ran to top and, for once, stopped to enjoy the view from the Nike Missile Defense Tower for an extended amount of time. It was such a clear day that I could see Long Beach to South, the San Gabriel Mountains to the East, North across the San Fernando Valley, and West towards Will Rogers.

On Friday, I met up with a friend who is new to running and looking to get in shape. We completed 3.38 miles on the Strand. He did really well on his longest run yet. We jogged along at a consistent pace and enjoyed the beach scene.

I spent the weekend training on the Ray Miller trail with the Coyotes and other runners who are signed up for the February 25th race, many of whom drove from San Diego and Orange County for the course preview. Now I understand why so many people who have run all around the world call Ray Miller their favorite trail. It really is that beautiful out there. On Saturday, we ran 31 miles with 6,375 feet of climbing. The wind was pretty impressive coming over the canyon passes. It was strong enough to push me around and incredibly loud. I was consistent with my nutrition strategy of sipping water often, taking a Powerbar gel every half hour, a Salt Stick capsule per hour, and a few Honey Stinger waffles for extra calories until late in the run. Mile 27 and 28 had a combined 1,006 feet of climbing. It was understandable that my pace slowed, but skipping a few snacks was a mistake that would cost me a short time later. I compounded the problem by trying to keep up with a group of faster runners. I then tried to surge to the finish a bit too early. I soon bonked and had to walk stretches of this otherwise very runnable finish.

I returned to the Ray Miller Trail on Sunday for another 16 miles on Sunday with more Coyotes. 
 
I won’t say my legs were fresh, but I felt perfectly comfortable holding almost exactly the same pace as yesterday.


I was extremely lucky to avoid getting hurt when I tripped running downhill at top speed. My momentum carried me forward when I clipped my foot on an in-ground rock and I was flying headfirst to the dirt, but I managed to grab a tree off to the side of the trail. I held on as my feet swung forward and I somehow came to gentle stop instead of the disastrous crash it could have been. The most satisfying part of today’s run was finishing with a strong kick and plenty of energy. After the run, the group walked across the street and took a dip in the cool Pacific Ocean then had lunch at a PCH landmark, Neptune’s Net.

I ran a lot of it with Coyote teammate Jason who has been competing in endurance sports for ten years. An ironman, certified USA Triathlon coach and President of the Santa Clarita Triathlon Club, he also finished the San Diego 100 mile ultramarathon last year. He’s now training for the Western States 100. In addition to his endurance sports resume, he is an engineer and busy family man. It’s always a privilege to train with veterans like Jason. I aspire to develop that same calm and efficient approach as I accumulate more experience. I am certainly better prepared for the upcoming Ray Miller race after spending the weekend training on the course.

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