Monday, April 23, 2007

Fitting it all in

The theme for last week: Split runs

Friday Night, Freddy Time
Friday was a rest day and there really wasn't time for running as Freddy had a basketball game up in Oakland. His team, the Bay Area Wildcats were to face their old nemeses the Oakland Bulldogs up in the heart of Oak Town. We definitely didn't have the home court advantage here. It was tough going at parts, but, in the end, the Cats beat the Dogs by a score of 45-35. On the drive home I got Freddy's "full analysis" of the game, his play, his teams play, etc. Ah...the 15-year old perspective. Truly, it was Freddy Time.

When I got home I thought a bit about how I was going to fit my running in with all the other things I wanted to do this weekend. I planned to get up early (yes, on a Saturday) and get a decent run in to get things started. My wife had spent the week taking care of her younger half-sisters while her parents were on vacation. She was staying at their house in Pleasant Hill and I planned to go get her and her youngest sister and go to Great America on Saturday. So, an early morning run was the only way I was going to get any significant miles in.

Saturday Morning
Sometimes the body overrides the mind and it pays no head to the plans that may have been lain for it. Perhaps, it actually resents the fact that the mind went and made plans without first consulting it. At any rate, Saturday morning, my body decided that it needed sleep. My plans for a medium-length run disappeared as 6:30, 7:30 and then 8:30 rolled by and I was unable to extricate myself from the warm comfort of the bed. My body needed sleep. It got it. I can't remember the last time I actually slept for 9 full hours! Of course this left no time for a run of any length so I thought I would continue my pattern of two-a-day runs this week and get a 6-miler in before heading off and then see what I could get done in the evening. Turns out, the extra sleep did me good. My legs felt great and seemed to want to go. So, I let them. The morning run became a bit of a tempo run as I knocked off close to 7:30's the whole way. Happy to get at least some running in to start the weekend, I was ready to go.

The Dog Run
We had a great time at the amusement park even if the weather wasn't perfect. It probably helped keep the crowds down. Afterwards we grabbed some food and headed to Pleasant Hill where stay with my wife whom I hadn't seen pretty much all week. Her parent's have a great dog named Roxy. She's a very excitable Golden Retriever who seems to want to run whenever you take her for a walk. So, I thought I would try to take her for a run. The Contra Costa Canal Trail is right near the house so despite the sprinkling rain, Roxy and I went for an evening run. I figured a nice little 4.5 miler would test Roxy's real energy levels. I guess there's a reason people say you have to train dogs to run with you as Roxy tried to drag me for the first 1/2 mile, but, by the last 1/2 mile home, seemed to expect to be dragged by me. In between was a lot of fits and starts. I purposely took breaks to make sure she was OK with the distance. However, every time I stopped she seemed to be ready to take off and then when I would get back into a nice pace she seemed to want to slow or stop. Not exactly the smoothest run I've ever done, but it had its own kind of interesting.

Eat, Run, Visit, Eat, Run
Sunday morning. Nice big breakfast. Run some errands. Plan a run (or two). My wife's parent's house is a couple of miles from the end of the Contra Costa Canal Trail and a look at the map reveals that my Parent's house is only a couple of miles from the other end of the trail. While the two houses are less than 4 1/2 miles apart by a direct route, the horseshoe shaped trail gave a nice run of more than 10 1/2 miles between. I threw on my Camelbak and loaded up a change of clothes so I could change and visit with my parent's a bit before heading back. I've been on parts of this trail before as I once ran the Iron Horse Trail from Pleasanton to my parent's house. Contra Costa is writhe with suburban multi-use trails. It's really quite nice if you can stand the asphalt (which for some reason I seem to have more tolerance for after AR50). There are even trails connecting the major open spaces including Las Tramps, Briones and The Diablo Foothills. There is also the California Riding and Hiking Trail still under way that will connect Martinez to Diablo. There is even a plan to link the Iron Horse all the way down to Niles Canyon in Fremont. Perhaps when that is complete I will finally do the run all the way from my house to my parent's. At any rate, the run along the CCC Trail was nice. The weather alternated between cool and warm as the sun and wind took turns making their presence known. I arrived at my parent's after a little over an hour and a half leaving time for a decent visit.

Say "no" to Mom?
I had a nice visit with my parents and it's always good to surprise them. I was able to successfully stave off my mom's multiple offers to drive me back. However, I was not able to deny her offer of a plate of her wonderful leftovers. My mother is an excellent cook who seems to be able to conjure a gourmet meal out of a seemingly empty fridge. When she put down a plate containing chicken, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel spouts, yams and cranberry sauce, I told her it was too much food. "Just eat what you can" she insisted. So, of course, I pretty much cleaned my plate. I knew this wasn't a wise decision, but I have always prided myself on my ability to eat and run. Preparing to head out I got up from my seat and "ouch! what was that?" Actually, I knew what it was as soon as I felt it. It had been a long time since I had run with a pack and I failed to put some SportSheild on my back beforehand. There was a nice raw patch on my back where skin used to be. So, the way back would be sans-pack. I would have to swing by and pick up my things later. Not a problem except for the fact that it meant I would head off to finish my 21+ mile day with not but a single little bottle of water. I started the run feeling fine, in fact, quite good considering how much I had eaten. I felt pretty fast and was praising Mom's food as good running fuel. Things continued to go well until I ran out of water. I thought I could finish no problem as I felt hydrated enough to finish the last few miles. However, about a mile and a half or so from the end, things went south. The lack of water combined with my full stomach was a bad combination. As digestion stopped, I could feel the load in my belly. The suburban cruise was turning into an epic slog to finish, at least, that is, to finish without leaving my mark all over the trail. I managed to make it to a drinking fountain which helped, but now things were sloshing and I was battling nausea the whole way. A couple walking breaks, a slower pace and lots of drawing on my mental training got me to finish.

Week's End
I had just finished running up the hill to her parent's house when out came Zane with Roxy the dog going for a walk. She said I didn't look too good and I managed a smile before describing my battle with my meal. She just laughed at me knowing that part of me actually likes these self-imposed struggles I put myself through. I walked with them for my cool down and then spent a little time laying on the floor before saying our goodbyes (two more days) and getting ready to drive home. On the way home I thought that I really had managed to fit it all in this weekend. I hit my mileage goal, got in some quality family-time, and even rode some roller-coasters.

While I may not of gotten in an actual "long run" I did hit a new milestone in terms of the most individual runs I have done in one week with 9 total runs. Not bad considering I only ran on 5 separate days. Take it where you can get it. This coming week is going to be an even bigger challenge as I have a busy week at work, Zane will be coming home and the weekend will be totally full of basketball with AAU qualifiers in Sacramento. The good thing is that Miwok is less than two weeks away so I can always designate this a taper week if need be.

Run Strong.


miki said...

It's funny and fun how we try to squish running in amongst all the other things going on in our lives. No doubt though, it's wonderful to have an understanding partner that understands the little bit of madness involved.
Good luck at Miwok. As I'm still just living vicariously thru you, I am hoping it will kick in the gears with you signing up for your first 100 later this year. :)

Faithful Soles said...

Steve, great post and I really enjoyed your blog. After running marathons for many years, I am planning to do my first 50 miler at Sunmart in Texas this December, so all of your ultras are very inspiring to me.

If you get a chance, please visit my running web site, Faithful Soles. I have a categorized and searchable running Blog Database on there and would appreciate it if you would link your blog to it. There are quite a large number of ultra-runners on it already, from 50k'ers up to 100+ milers. Thanks and continued good luck in your training.

Eudemus said...

Thanks Miki. Yes, Zane is very understanding. However, I'm not sure that she would describe my madness as "little", but then she knew that long before I started doing ultras!

How's that ankle doing? I still expect to see you out there later this year. Also, I have committed that if I finish Miwok, I will be signing up for the Headlands Hundred. Right now my main concern is this cold/allergies that seems to be keeping me down. Maybe my body is just trying to force me to rest :-)

Eudemus said...

Robert, thanks. I'm glad you enjoy my blog. I have added myself to your database. Have fun training for your first 50-miler. It's a whole different world from the marathon and/or triathlon scene.

I actually came to ultras from more of a trail running/biking background than from road-based endurance events. I have only done one road marathon, though I am actually considering doing another sometime just to see how my fitness has improved at the "shorter" distance.

miki said...

By "little", I was being nice. :p

Still unsure where my ankle will be taking me this year. Every time I try to use it (for instance my mega 10 minute runs a while back), it would flare up on me and hurt as I used it. I have laid off it for a few weeks now and tried a 20 minute treadmill run today. Fingers crossed, but it felt gooood. We'll see what tomorrow brings. I am going to try it again.
Hopefully this time I won't get angry if it doesn't go well. I didn't post about it but I should have. My last 10 minute run was very painful so I ran about 8 minutes of it out of spite to my body and paid for it in the end. Poor me. ;D

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