Archive for May, 2009

Pipe dreams

May 29, 2009

I was getting a massage from Rusty the other day, and we were chatting. Or rather Rusty was chatting, and I was making occasional grunting noises and trying not to scream.

Rusty was speculating on how fast I could run a 10K if I really tried. Now me, I’d be happy to see 37 minutes again. But Rusty tends to suggest things like 34~35. It’s a pleasant day-dream. I see myself passing Drea (something I’ve only done before when she was sick), and then Travis, and actually winning my age-group.

This time, however, Rusty went a little further. Rusty was saying he thought 31 minutes for me, if I really worked. 31 minutes? I’ve never run a mile at that pace, much less a 10k. Whoo-hoo. Drea and Travis are left far behind in the dust and I’m passing Aaron and actually winning a race!

But Rusty hadn’t finished: “… if I really worked — and took the right drugs.”

LSD probably.


Eohippus at More Mesa — Explained.

May 28, 2009

I thought it was a dog when I first saw it.

A non-descript brown dog. I didn’t pay it much attention.

Three women were walking up to More Mesa and had it on a lease. I didn’t pay them much attention either.

Then I ran past it, and heard the distinctive clink-clop of iron shod hooves on pavement.

It had been a horse. A tiny little horse. A bit bigger than a black lab (one of those was wandering around nearby), but clearly not a colt. A one toe hoof too.

Not Eohippus. No sign of lemurs. All my speculations of a season ago have proven wrong.

Sigh. Bunny count: 12.

Horrid, Horrid, Hill-Repeats

May 26, 2009

I have hill-repeats once a fortnight.

Four weeks ago it was kind of fun. Mike had me run up Powerline Rd (from Tunnel) five minutes up, hard (85% heart rate) and three minutes down, easy. Each time I got a little further up the hill, until, after 5, I was at the top.

That night Powerline Rd. burnt up in the fire.

So two weeks ago he told me to go to Elings park, the parking lot off Cliff Dr, and run to the top of that hill (85-93%) and then jog back down. Six times. He said he thought it would take me two to four minutes to reach the top. It took two, and after the first I was thinking I should do a couple extra repeats because I was so fast, but after the second I gave up on that idea. They were hard.

Today: Elings Park again.

This time I knew what to expect.

I stood at the bottom of the hill and looked up.

I stood at the bottom of the hill and looked up.

I noticed I wasn’t moving.

I wished Drea, or Travis were here to run with me.

The hill seemed to become a mountain as I watched. A really, really steep mountain.

I remembered a song my mother used to sing me: (to be sung in a whiny voice)

An’ ah look down da road
An’ da road so lonesome
Lod, I gotst to walk down da lonesome road

An’ ah look up in da mountain
An’ da mountain so high
Lod, I gotst to climb da high mountain
I gotst to climb it by maself

And then I started up.

The first hundred yards or so aren’t very steep. I seem to fly along, and I think “Oh, this isn’t so bad as I remembered.” But then it gets steeper, I’ve still got some momentum from the first bit, but I slow, and slow further. I feel like Sir Lancelot du Lac in Holy Grail, where he runs toward the castle, end then the camera resets and we see the same sequence over and over again. I kept running but didn’t seem to get anywhere. Very steep now, breath comes in gasps. I think I can see the top. I reach it. I think I can see the top now. I reach it. OK, Now I can see the top… and yes, finally it’s almost level and I can pick up the pace a bit as I run (stumble) the last hundred yards.

And then I do it five more times. And I know what it’s going to be like now. And I’m tired.

More Mesa, without beeps

May 19, 2009

The alarm goes off, and it is dark. The bed feels very pleasant and I’m still sleepy. But…

I should do my run.

I force myself up, stretch, eat some breakfast and onto the bike. It’s a grey foggy morning. Good running weather, but not weather that wakes me up.

Mike said a tempo run on More Mesa. Five times around his ~1 mile loop with the big hill in it. Heart rate to start at 85% and build to 93%. (Mike, that’s race pace, tempo isĀ  easier than that). No one else will be there; I can’t get inspiration from others; there’s just me. It’s enough to make one crawl back into bed.

I lock the bike at the bottom of Huerto, and head up the horse trail hill. I’m sleepy today and my legs feel like lead. But I get to the top and trot down the path to the mesa. It looks as though even more of the wooden fence has fallen down. What would happen if I ran around someone’s back yard instead?

As I come out onto the mesa I see a blue heron slowly and ponderously taking off right in front of me. I must have scared it. The bird looks huge as it drifts into the air, floating off to my left it sets down a bit off the trail. I run past it and we watch each other cautiously.

Foggy. My glasses fog up.

When I get to the cliff I turn and run on the edge. I am so sleepy. Will I be able to wake up and do any kind of tempo? I glance at my watch: HR of 160. That’s silly. Sometimes it jumps up when I start my warm up. I’ll check it later.

Not much visible this morning. Especially not with foggy glasses. Early, grey and cold. Only mad dogs and runners in the early morning mist. Runner. There’s just me.

I flop aimlessly down the hill and restablize at the bottom. Watch still reads 160. Hunh.

Running in the canyons with steep banks on either side, then down further to cross the little creek and up again. Watch now reads 77. OK, I bet I know what’s wrong the chest band is too loose. I can’t imagine how that could make it read high, but it does seem to.

Have you ever tried to remove a chest band while running? Getting it off, tightening it are fairly easy, but putting it back on, and in the right place is more challenging.

Finally I do it. I know it is too early to check the watch so I don’t, I wait a bit longer. 128. Hmm. That’s possible, seems a little low, but maybe I’m so sleepy the HR just won’t go up.

Last time I was here the watch was misadjusted to beep (incessantly) if my HR exceeded 80%. This time it won’t read right. It’s a hard life…

I finish my first warmup loop (bit more than 2 miles I think) and now have to head to the other side of the park to the start of Mike’s loop. Another mile or so. 3 mile warmup he said.

When I get to Orchid Dr. I pause. Sleepy tired. Take off my jacket and hang it on a fence post. Walk back a bit, and start running. Really running. Heavy legs forgotten. Tiredness forgotten. I zip down the road. HR above 150 already. At the base of the hill it’s at 158 (80%), at the top of the hill HR at 172 (87%). OK, I’m going to be able to do this after all. It’s like a ratchet, each time I go up the hill my HR climbs and it never drops as much when I reach the level ground.

My glasses are completely fogged up. I keep wiping them off and they keep fogging up again almost instantly. Brambles reach out to snag me as I go past, but the Poison Oak seems mostly gone. Or maybe I just can’t see it.

The final loop I manage to get my HR to 92% at the top of the hill, and try to keep the effort up for the half mile or so left (91%). That’ll do. Not quite 93%, but close enough.

My legs are dead now, but I’m not sleepy any more. Amazing how a tempo run will wake you up. Another 3 miles, and on the last mile, suddenly, there are rabbits everywhere. Seven in about 200 meters. Where were they earlier?

Silfay time now.

Breakfast for me, when I get home.

After the fire.

May 17, 2009

Jesusita fire started on Jesusita trail and seemed determined to destroy as many others as it could. The forest service closed off all the front country trails. Some were not reached by the blaze, but were being used by fire fighters to get up to Camino Cielo.

But by Friday (15 May) three trailheads had reopened (Hot Springs, San Ysidro and Ramero).

Romero trail is much has it has always been. Romero road has been scraped and provides a nice even surface. I felt I could just fly as I ran down it. In some places there is a lot of dust (not ash, just normal dirt).

I saw a banana slug near the bottom.


May 3, 2009

Stick on the trail
Rattles and hisses
Rears back
I stop

   (3 weeks later)
Snake on the trail
Diamond pattern?
Half hidden
Just a stick.

Hill Repeats?

May 2, 2009

Is it a hill repeat if you only do it twice? And if the loop is 9 or 10 miles long and climbs several thousand feet?

Feels like it.

Mike points out that I’m planning to run a race with two hills, each with about 4000ft of elevation gain. So I need to do some very long hills.

I also need to learn (I think) to run more slowly. My body wants to run up hills with a heart rate at 80%. Mike tells me I should shoot for 75%. That just feels so slow… On the other hand a couple of hours at 80% leaves me exhausted. Or is that because I don’t eat enough? Today I ate 150Cal/hour…

Worries. Will I actually be able to run 50 miles on a hilly course? Or will I just burn out?

Today: Up Cold Spring trail, along Camino Cielo to San Ysidro trail, down that to the fireroad, then fireroad via Hot Springs to Cold Spring trail, and again.

clementisThe trails, of course, are lovely. There’s still a little clementis in the upper reaches, beyond Montecito Peak. Low lying clouds out over the channel which changed every time I had a chance to look out.

Finally, tired, I finished my second loop and could head back to the bike. I’m trotting down the trail, turn a corner and — there’s a large snake stretched across the trail. Not being great at snake identification I continue. Suddenly it rears back, starts to rattle and hiss. OK, now I’ve IDed it. I stop dead. This doesn’t appease the snake. I back up. I turn the corner. Snake continues to rattle and hiss. I wait. It stops making a noise; I poke my nose round the corner; there it is, still reared up, blocking the trail, I go back out of sight. I do this a couple more times. The snake is not moving. Getting down will take a lot longer than I expected — how will I explain that to Mike?

Ah, the new trail they cut 5~10 years ago. I can run back up to that, and go down a snakeless path.

I check again. Snake is still ready to strike. I run back, and down the other way. Safe. Water. Food.