Thursday, April 10, 2008

Running Journal Month 2 (February 2008)

Week 5 (1/28-2/3):
Weekly mileage: 25.1
Mileage to date: 145.1

My journal notes deteriorated during this Week 5. Although I kept making new discoveries and having new experiences, running no longer felt "new" in the same way. Regular life, job and a cold invaded. I also realized my feet were taking a pounding at the Dish with its concrete path and hard, dry rocky side "trail". Since I had discovered Rancho, I thought it was time to abandon the dish for a while in order to save my joints. My notes state emphatically: "get better fast" and "no more dish!" The week ended on a high note, however, since my interest in running led me to meet a new friend (who runs too), and everything negative from the week faded away in a second.

Week 6 (2/4-2/10):
Weekly mileage: 32.9
Mileage to date: 178

My cold deteriorated into an ear infection. I kept thinking my immunity was low due to running, and it may have been. Hard to tell. My life was rather chaotic and everyone at work was sick. Nevertheless, I stuck with the running, mostly because I was fearful that if I stopped, I would never get it going again. This is a true beginner's fear. It's very real, however, and not to be laughed at - many people who start running don't stick with it. For some, it's just too time consuming, for others, they don't find a way to enjoy it. All too vivid are the pre-running days and a beginner's mind knows how easy it would be to fall back into that easy, yet unfulfilling pattern. If I knew what I know now, only a few months later as I write this catch-up blog, I would have been better off. I needed to realize that I had actually fallen in love with running, and that it wouldn't be something I would easily give up, even if I had to take whole weeks off for various reasons. At that time, I didn't realize this, however, and pushed through the pain of running while sick and stressed. The week ended on a better note, with a hike up Montera Mountain near Pacifica.

Week 7 (2/11-2/17):
Weekly mileage: 43
Mileage to date: 221

This week marked the week of my first organized running event ever (other than school sports). I never thought I would be entering trail runs after only a month and a half of running, but sometimes a friend can provide the inspiration/encouragement that makes you try something you never otherwise would have done on your own, and to your amazement, you discover you are capable of more than you ever thought. This sentiment summarizes how I feel about running generally: it's a perpetual challenge where you can push yourself harder than you ever thought possible and triumph. That's why time comparisons don't really matter in the end, it's about you vs yourself. I was a bit nervous for my first race, especially since people kept asking me if I had "trained" for it, and my answer was "no" just running a lot... but I tried to focus on thinking of it as just another training run in a place other than Rancho (which it basically was). I took a belt full of liquids, and donned my usual running tights, and just headed out on the trail along with the group. There were parts that were a bit steeper than Rancho where the herd power climbed, but it evened out. The course was not as scenic as some places, but I love being surrounded by trees and trails, so I enjoyed it. I felt a bit frustrated at one point at not knowing how far along we were, and some chick said we still had the majority to go. I passed her a bit after that, mostly cause I didn't want to hear any more of her good news. I didn't go out too fast and I felt good through the course. The finishing line took me by surprise and I was really happy I didn't have any serious problems along the way. It was a great day. The next day even beat that though because I hiked the double dipsea course, with some deviations, and the trail at points meandered through mossy green fairy worlds and spit me out at Muir Beach. Any time I come across the ocean, I feel like I'm home.

Race Stats:
PCT - Sequoia 20k (elev. gain: ~1960'): 2:02:15; 10:01 pace; 10th F 5th Age; 40/100 overall

Week 8 (2/18-2/24):
Weekly mileage: 13
Mileage to date: 234

I'd like to say that I felt strong after my first race, but truthfully I was tired, and spent most of this week doing yoga, weights and climbing, as well as recovering from my ear infection. The week ended on a high, however, with a climb up Mt. Tamalpais, where I had never gone before.

Week 9 (2/25-3/2):
Weekly mileage: 44.3
Milegge to date: 278.9

Feeling rested, I pushed up some of my Rancho runs to 11ish miles this week. I raced my second race on Saturday, the PCT Skyline Ridge 23k, and had my worst race experience to date. I went out too fast, and spent the second half of the race feeling absolutely awful, psychologically and physically. I asked myself why I was running, why I thought I could do any of this, where my life was going. I'm just glad there were no obvious cliffs around considering my dark mood. Nevertheless, I finished with relatively good numbers. Of course it matters that all the fast women were doing the 37k, but I tried to cheer myself up. Even though my stats made me feel a little better, I took the don't go out too fast lesson to heart, because I never want to feel that way again during a race! On Sunday, I did my first 10k with DSE (see link at right). DSE has a casual and fun city runner vibe totally different from PCT, but this felt like a totally new world because the course was paved and relatively flat. I like running the hills and trails more, but I also like the festive atmosphere of the DSE events.

Race Stats:
PCT Skyline Ridge 23k (elev. gain: ~2170'): 2:16:59; 9:35 pace; 12/59 overall; 2nd F; 1st F Age

DSE Windmill 10K: 47:20; 7:37 pace; 57/150 overall; 11thF; 4th Age

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