More Mesa, without beeps

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 is  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.


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