Mountain Dr.

17 Feb 2007

It is beautiful on Mountain Dr at 6:30 in the morning. The sea is a deep blue as the light seeps over the eastern horizon. As we do our warm-up, views of the harbor, the islands and the channel appear and disappear when the road twists and our viewpoint shifts.

Jeff reminds us that it isn’t quite so pleasant when running hard. “This,” he says, “is a road which goes uphill no matter which way you run it.” Mountain Dr. certainly has its ups and downs, and we do tend to notice the ups more than the downs.

Rusty has me doing 10 miles at marathon pace (which optimistically is 6:30 and pessimistically is 6:40 — MP for a normal marathon, that is, not for Catalina). I realize I haven’t done a marathon pace work-out since… since everyone else was training for Long Beach in October maybe. I’ve either been going slowly on the trails, or running at intervals at around 6 minute pace.

I start off too fast. Rusty yells at me that I’m going too fast, so I slow a bit. Rusty yells at me again to slow. But I already have. Ok, I’ll go even slower. He yells again that he’s not joking. The first mile was around 6 minutes. He wasn’t joking. I wish I had a better feel for pace.

The sun is in my eyes now. I actually don’t see the 1 mile mark. I only know about it when Dianna passes, some distance behind me, and she expresses surprise at how fast they have gone. And I went even faster. Damn. I’ve got to do 9 more.

It’s starting to get hot up here — sometimes. I run from hot sun on an east facing bit of road, to chilly shadow on a west facing edge. I haven’t run in the hot sun in months. Thank god (or some kind soul) for the water-fountain at the 3.25 mile mark.

I turn around at the 4 mile mark. At least the sun is behind me now. Surprising how much easier that makes it. I pass a covey of quail, with their ridiculous head feathers bobbing as they scuttle off to get out of my way.

Last week when I ran up Ramero, I was lucky enough to surprise a bobcat on Camino Cielo (the unpaved bit). I’d never seen a bobcat before, come to think of it, never seen a wild feline of any species before, and that was really neat. The bobcat wasn’t interested in me, however, and raced off into the bushes sooner than I would have liked it to.

Eight miles puts me back at the 0 line and I have to turn into the sun again. It’s hard to keep going now. I’m definitely not maintaining an even pace. I can feel myself slowing on the uphills and accelerating on the downs. Hmm. I do seem to be averaging the right pace though (now. finally.)

Once again I miss the 1 mile mark. I just can’t see it with the sun in my eyes. I work this out about ~20 seconds later and turn back. In this direction I can see it fine, and I do my final mile at 6:27. Not bad.

Elapsed time 1:05:07 which includes 30 or 40 seconds of extra running around mile 9. Which means I’m pretty much dead-on 6:30 pace.


I’ve got to do 6 more miles.

Not at a hard pace, but I’ve got to do them. I drain a water bottle and turn back. 9 minutes for the first mile. (I’m still tingling from dehydration) 10 minutes for the next mile, 11 minutes for the next. I decide I’m going to run a little further and spend some quality time with the water fountain again.

There the tingles start to fade, and I pick up the pace a bit. Then at the 1 mile mark, Jeff drives up and hands me a water bottle. Bless him. And, water bottle in hand (and mouth), I run my final mile at about 7:30.

Amazing what water can do.

I’m a little disappointed in myself. I’m pleased that I did the 10 miles on pace, but am a little disturbed at how hard it was to keep going afterward. I hope that was just dehydration and that on a cooler day (or a race with water stands) I’ll be able to do better.

Exactly four weeks to Catalina.


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