Saturday, February 9, 2013

Trails, thank you for waiting!

Dear Trails,

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Trust me, I wasn't trying to avoid you but my calf forced me to take a break in January... I missed you SO much for a month, it was great to see you again this morning! Thank you for being out there when we need you. Thank you for staying in great shape thanks to such a dry winter so far. Thank you for letting volunteers groom you. Thank you for letting trees grow on your side to provide shade and prevent erosion. Thank your for making our hills accessible and runnable. Thank you for crossing each others to provide us with infinite options for our runs. Thank you for winding throughout our parks so we can enjoy new and amazing views at every corner. Thank you for allowing us to use you to approach wildlife. Thank you for letting rocks and roots play tricks on you to ensure we remain alert. Thank you for your uneven surface which brings much more variety and fun than road running. Thank you for what you are... :-)

I look forward to spending the year with you now, and many more years actually!

Cheers,

Jean.
Dear Readers,

As you can see, I'm thrilled to be back on the trails...! ;-) It has been an interesting week. After Jed Smith 50K last Saturday, my legs were so sore that I had to wait until Tuesday to go for a run (I know, it isn't smart to use a race to resume training after a 3-week break...). The calves were still so tight that I thought it was too dangerous to run so, after 500 feet, I stopped and walked 2 miles in the neighborhood. I must say it felt a bit awkward to just walk but, with the slow/snail speed, I discovered many things about the nearby houses and streets, details that I can't pay attention to when I'm too focused running.

I tried again on Wednesday and, this time, I was able to run 10K, woo hoo! At 8 min/mile it felt like I was back to learning how to run again. It made me relate to what beginners experience. As you know, I didn't run for 3 weeks in January to take care of a nagging pain in my right calf, hence the prudence and reserve I have to push too much while resuming training this time.

On Thursday, I extended to 15K and 7:35 min/mile. Too much work on Friday to run so I was anxious to see how the calf will behave for my Saturday long run. I even took my cell phone with me, which is very rare, in case I had to call Agn├Ęs for a remote pickup. Every Saturday we have a group run at one of 4 locations in the Peninsula, one of which is Rhus Ridge, one of the entrances of our local County Park, Rancho San Antonio. It was freezing this morning but the sky was crystal clear, so long for the rain we are in dear need of (it just rained a bit on Thursday, and one day only in January). I left the Rancho main parking lot at 6:30 am and ran up Chamise Trail to meet with the group at the top of Rhus Ridge. Instead of a group, it was only Dave and John.
They let me know that the others couldn't park their cars at the Rhus Ridge entrance so they parked further and were doing the reverse loop (like I called the "anti Rhus Ridge" back in October 2011).

I kept going up to Black Mountain and figured I'll meet the rest of the group in Foothills Park in Palo Alto. The sun was rising over the Bay and we could see way beyond Mt Diablo, it was gorgeous.
I ran most of the trail up to the top of Black Mountain, along with another runner who joined from the top of PG&E (the connecting trail is now officially open, it has a... gate! I find that ironic that the trail did exist all these years but the "closing" gate shows that this is an officially "open" trail now). Anyway, without pushing much, my average pace was around 9:30 min/mile and went down as I ran down Bella Vista. It was great to be back to the top of Black Mountain, especially with such a clear sky and amazing views.
I ran into the rest of the group finally at the beginning of Foothills Park. Gary, Mike, Chris, Lina and Charles. My GPS was indicating 13.5 miles so I decided to turn back and run with them back to Rancho, which made a nice social run and opportunity to catchup with everybody, talking about our running season, family or work. We took the traditional group picture thinking of Craig who has moved to Sweden for a few years.
Great run overall, 27 miles alternating some work in the hills and some easy running. I feel my calf has switched from telling me: "no more run please" in January to "hey, boss, let's go and play on the trails!" Phew, it was time to start running some hills again before Way Too Cool in March and American River in April. And it feels so good to be out there to enjoy the trails in such a gorgeous weather! See you on the trails, and Run Happy, all!

PS: a few other pictures in my Picasa album.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic. Good to see you are back in the hills again.

Jeremy