Saturday, April 26, 2008

What Am I Thinking? Part 2

With three weeks to go for the Palos Verdes Half Marathon, I figure it is time to try for the full distance. Unfortunately, this is another summer preview weekend with highs forecast into the 80's today and 90's tomorrow.

I try to get an early start, but somehow don't leave the house much before 8am...strange since I have been up since 4am (have had a hard time sleeping this week, not sure why). The sun is already hitting the peninsula hard...definitely my first mistake of the run. My second comes as I near the intersection of Silver Spur and Hawthorne...I forget to stop my watch as I wait more than a minute for the light to turn green.

My third mistake comes from my choice of routes. Unlike previous 10+ mile runs I have attempted on the peninsula, I decide to head over the top of the hill, taking Hawthorne Blvd all the way to where it meets Palos Verdes Drive West. I make a fourth error by running on the west side of the street while the east side still enjoys shade. This lapse of judgment is compounded when I decide against crossing. I have a good pace going and don't feel like waiting for the lights to change again.

There is a gravel sidewalk for much of the descent along Hawthorne Blvd, which is nicer on the legs. When I hear rattling sounds from the wild brush covered hillside, I hop back on to the pavement. I've never seen a rattlesnake in real life, but I know they are around the peninsula.

Even better, the center divider for large stretches of Palos Verdes Drive West sports a dirt trail. I am able to hold a strong pace until the road begins to turn upwards towards Lunada Bay. Another mistake: I am running in a new pair of Kayanos and, since I had not adjusted the tightness of the laces since I started, they have worked their way loose enough that my feet are starting to blister.

As I approach mile 8, I reach the Palos Verdes High School cross country course. My planned run is to go around it, but I decide to go on it. I forgot how hard some of the steeper sections are, so I end up walking to peak and stopping to take pictures. I didn't realize how nice the view could be from the Burma Road, the trails are flanked by high wild flowers.

Yet another gaffe...I attempt to run through the narrower trails along the fence...and plants are leaning into the course to the point where I'm brushing up against some and having to push others out of the way. The plants are making me itch. Great. When I exit the course and start heading up Via Coronel, I realize I have used what little bit of energy I had left in my legs in trying to navigate the cross country course. And Via Coronel is a long winding ascent. Of course, it is also my most direct route I start walking.

Ugh. As if my Garmin data from this run wasn't already messed up enough, I realize I had forgotten to start my watch when I paused the timer for picture taking on the cross country course. I have traveled just over a half a mile too...and I had been looking forward to reviewing the GPS data from the course. With all of the growth, I do not plan to do the course again any time soon. I'll just have to try again in the fall.

After miles of walking uphill, I get a break as I reach the end of Via Fernandez. Unfortunately, my legs don't have any strength left. Even worse, there is absolutely no shade on either side of Montemalaga. When I do try to run, I feel like I am pounding...and I really want to avoid getting chin splints. I run as much of the downhill stretches as I feel comfortable doing, but pretty much walk most of the way home.

When I get home, my watch reads 12.25 miles in 2:23:04.58. If I factor in watch mishandling, the data would read closer 12.75 miles in 2:28...not bad given the heat, the significant elevation change, and how much of the time I actually spent walking. Will I be able to do the Palos Verdes Half Marathon in under two hours? It certainly won't be as hilly as this workout...

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