Saturday, August 16, 2008

Miraleste/PVHSXC 21.5+ Mile Orbit

After last Saturday's 10K, I took some days off from running hoping that my blisters would finally heal...but perhaps a bit too much rest for my legs. My 9 miler lunch time run on Thursday was considerably off pace as my legs felt rusty and, even worse, I could not keep them going for the whole distance.

With that in mind, I am debating whether or not my legs are ready to pass another distance milestone this morning. With the Disneyland Half Marathon on the 31st, I really cannot afford to wait until next weekend. The weekend after the half, I will be on Maui attempting to acclimate to heat and humidity with just a week to go before the full. In other words, I do not have a choice. I must try to run at least 21 miles today.

To make things a bit more interesting, I try a new that takes me from Palos Verdes Drive North to PV Drive East and PV Drive South. I have not driven PV Drive East in ages, but, having run the Palos Verdes Half Marathon and done a few obrits through Portuguese Bend, I am familiar with the entire stretch I will traverse along PV Drive South. I will go out slow to conserve my energy for the hill I expect to encounter on PV Drive East and then try to pick up the pace as I descend past Trump National.

I think it is a good plan. Then I actually start running down Palos Verdes Drive North. In all the times I have driven along this stretch, I never really noticed that heading east is almost completely downhill. In a way, this feels like the beginning of my runs to the beach cities...just without the flat section that follows. When I reach Palos Verdes Drive East, I am very aware that I have a long uphill climb ahead.

And it is a twisting one...making it hard to know how much further it continues to ascend. I try to keep below a 10 minute per mile pace, but do not want to push this early into my run. Making matters worse, the road descends after mile 5, but then goes back up from miles 6 to 7. I will have to make up some time on the long downhill to Palos Verdes Drive South and keep the pace as I continue to descend around Portuguese Bend.

I reach my half marathon split around 2:10 somewhere along PV Drive South. My leg muscles are now burning and one of my arches aches. Maintaining a decent pace is not going to be easy...and I know there are bigger hills between here and home.

As I approach Golden Cove Plaza. I spot a Starbucks...and, having skipped coffee to get out of the house earlier this morning, I cannot ignore the call of the siren. Shortly after I step inside, one of the patrons notices I am a runner and, being Jamaican, cannot resist spoiling the results of the Olympics 100m finals. I decide to spoil myself with a tall caramel Frappucino. I figure I have already run 15 miles, so I could use the caloric boost anyway. Plus, a bit of rest might give my legs a chance to work thorough some of the pain.

Yeah, right.

Now my muscles have tightened up. I have a major climb before hitting the home stretch and must walk most of it to avoid cramps. The sun starts to poke through and the temperature rises just as I finish the last drop of water in my bottle. Though I am able to pick up the pace over the final few miles, I do not feel very good when I finally reach home. This has been a rough run/jog/walk/crawl/beg for mercy.

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