Despite being tired after work, I have getting out for runs during the week, even if it's only 4-6 miles; sometimes I run without a Garmin as I don't want to know exactly how fast/slow I'm running that day and I find it freeing to just run and enjoy that feeling. I've been including as many hills during those short runs as I can in my area and I feel my legs getting stronger. One road this week surprised me as I wanted to run slowly (upper 8s) but I'd catch myself in the low 8s and it was a constant effort to slow down the entire run.
Today's trail run was one of my best in recent memory (11.26 miles, avg pace of 9:28, about 1,300 feet of climb). I finally pushed myself to run most of the uphills, except for a couple of steep stretches, and found myself running more of the route than ever before. I was sucking air countless times on the rolling hills but forced myself to keep at it, knowing that it's good for my aerobic fitness. Crazy how I spend almost all of my runs breathing easily and how few times I push myself anymore...hmm...gives me something to think about for future runs.
My weekly mileage is low but I'm focusing on building my weekend long runs.....because I am running a 50K November 21st. I love PCTR events and their Santa Monica Mountains run was my second ever trail run and first trail race; it's what got me hooked and I'm so happy to return there this year. What will make it more special is that my boyfriend is running the 50K with me or, more appropriately, I'm running the 50K with him as his pacer and kick in the pants when he wants to quit. He has been a casual runner typically running less than 20mpw since we started dating so I'm being careful in our training. We will go 2-3 weeks building mileage and then have a cutback week.
Last weekend we hit Laguna Woods/El Moro Canyon for 15 miles and I was very happy with how he did, especially since our 12 the week before tested my patience. I'm not the most patient with certain types of whining/complaining so I'm having to learn to think back to when I started running and how hard certain distances/routes were. Since his longest race was a 12K last year, jumping to a 50K is a huge thing and I want him to enjoy the training and have fun during the race...or at least survive and feel good the next day!
For the 15, we ran from the Ridgepark parking area down No Name to the El Moro ranger station and then back up; we then headed out along Bommer Ridge, down Willow, and then up Laurel Canyon Trail and back along Bommer to the car. It was my first time to run Laurel Canyon and I realized enjoyed the trail because it was such a runnable singletrack with some rocky sections.
This weekend was a short run of between 6-8; there was a trail that I wanted to take him on but the mileage would be closer to 9 roundtrip and I loved that Alan said he would be good with that. Again we started at Ridgepark and did a very easy 4 miles down Bommer Ridge, Willow, along Laguna Ridge Rd (name?) on our way to Big Bend. I pushed the pace a little because I wanted to get Alan to run all of it since I knew the climb would slow us down and he had an overall pace goal. Before hitting Big Bend, we say a group of 3 deer...soooo cool! It was the first time I've seen deer on a trail and it was bizarre seeing them in an area less than 12 feet from a busy road!
Can you find the Big Bend climb? Steep, sandy...a good butt-firming workout!
Climbing Big Bend was tough and Alan struggled so I would go ahead of him a little bit and then wait for him; I was very happy to that he was able to run the flat parts and that his legs were still good enough to run most of the miles back along Bommer Ridge to the car. In all, 9.25 miles and he's gaining confidence on trails. I'm getting more and more optimistic about how the remainder of training will be. We have 18 planned for next weekend and I'm trying to determine where I want to run; I can always plan something for Laguna/El Moro but am considering somewhere different...suggestions?!