Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day 2013: what a laborious week!

When most people see Labor Day as a "no Labor" day, for me the long weekend is usually the opportunity to work harder on my second job (running...) as well as catching up on the first one, not to mention the emails coming from the rest of the World which is not celebrating, at least not this weekend (Labor Day is May 1st in France for instance).

With all my racing, I'm never really out of training, nor tapering, there is always a new race to train for. That's why I sometimes say that I use races as training runs... Right after last week's Tamalpa Headlands 50K, it was then time to train again and, despite a ton of work and meetings at... work, including one drive to San Francisco for a client meeting, I managed to run every day and log 212 miles over the past 10 days: first the 31.1 miles of the race, a recovery run on Sunday (16.6 miles @ 7:26 min/mile) then flat runs during the week, either in my neighborhood or at Alviso: 18.6 miles @ 7:12, 12.4 @ 7:24, 11.3 @ 7:07, 12.4 @ 6:55, 11.3 @ 7:10. Some runs at 5am, others at lunch time, and one at 3 pm after a long 6am-3pm "morning shift."

I left the office on Friday evening at 9:30 pm with enough work for several weeks, but I really wanted to log as many miles as possible on the trails this weekend before tapering for the Headlands 100-mile in 2 weeks. On Saturday I ran to the top of Black Mountain. There must have been a special event at the Ridge winery because Montebello Road was unusually busy, making it dangerous for the many bikes and the only runner on the road (yes, that would be me... ;-). From the top, I did the Bella Vista loop on the other side, then Waterwheel on the way back, for a total of 28 hilly miles @ 8:16.

After this hilly terrain, I needed something flat for my long run on Sunday. I ran to the start of the Stevens Creek Trail in Sunnyvale, on the new foot bridge over Hwy 85 which is 5 miles away from home, and went all the way to and around the Palo Alto Golf and Airport for a total of 33 miles @ 7:17 (a 3:10 marathon and 3:47 50K). The weather was hot and the bike path had more bikes than runners on it but it was very nice overall, especially seeing all the pelicans at Shoreline.

Today, Labor Day, I went to Rancho San Antonio Park at 6:30 am to run 4 loops in a washing machine way, that it alternating the direction of the loop as we will do for the Headlands 100. Much shorter loops of course, 9.3 miles instead of 25, yet a great mental training to leave the car each time and get back on the section you just flew down on. The weather was unusual: cloudy yet warm as, for once, it had barely cooled down during the night. I started straight on PG&E, the steepest section of the loop, and I was sweating a lot despite a moderate effort and the fact it wasn't even 7 am yet! Most surprisingly, I did pass hikers all the way to the top, that means some of them must have started at 6 am if not earlier! That being said, having people on the trail motivates me to keep running the whole way and that wouldn't stop: on such an Holiday, the trail was indeed busy all morning! I completed the first loop in 1:19 (one hour and 19 minutes), refilled my bottles at the car and was off to the second loop, in reverse, starting by the farm and Rogue Trail this time. I ran the second loop in 1:20, the third in 1:20 also, and lost a minute in the 4th loop. 37.2 miles  in 5:21, that makes for a good excuse to taper, now! And spend even more hours at work... Happy with this 98-mile weekend:
You'll notice my new Garmin 310 XT GPS, which I got on Tuesday. Ok, that's going to seem old for the gizmos aficionados but that's such a great deal nowadays for 20 hours of battery life and a heart rate monitor. I had not used an HRM for the past 10 years, it surely is another interesting source of feedback to "listen" to your body. I need to consult with Gary Gellin, a guru in this area though as I never really learned and appreciated the science behind these numbers. In the meantime, I was amazed how my heart beat remained stable around 130 (+/- 2 beats) despite sensibly taking up the pace after 5 miles in an 11-mile run.

By the way, I saw a few (Stevens Creek) Striders "working" on their running at Rancho today, it was certainly a busy place today and it's great to see so many other people enjoying the outdoors on that special time off opportunity!

Hope you had a great Labor Day yourself. If you are looking for a job, hope you find it soon. If you had to work today, hope your work was fruitful and valued! That's one thing I like very much about this country, is that work is usually valued although, many times, not all jobs are being equal. If you have 20 minutes, listen to this TED talk from Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs):

Not related to "running work" but to the Labor Day theme. With that, as we say, "keep up the good work, all!"

PS: speaking of dirty jobs, I got quite dusty on the trails this weekend...
 Thankfully a good water shoot got my Brooks PureConnect back to their original Royal Blue color for the next run in town!

And I was actually amazed how much dust I got on a 18-mile run on Cupertino's sidewalks, not even around constructions, not a single section of trail, just on the apparently "cleaned" concrete sidewalks:
I thought the air was pure here, except closer to the Lehigh Hanson Cement Plant and Quarry... Makes me wonder what we are breathing...


tsbjf said...

Fantastic training you are putting together! It inspires me to think what might be possile. I have a feeling you are going to do very well at Headlands...

Peter said...

Hey Jean!

When I was a kid we had sheep and did exactly this then ate the Rocky Mountain Oysters is the most sanitary and most humane actually as the speaker noted....there are probably some special French Recipes....they are actually really great to eat!
But, then again, I am the guy marketing Wasp Extract so it makes sense ....