Thursday, March 29, 2012

Restin' n' Runnin'

This is the fifth day in row I haven't run at all, not even to catch a bus, and it's tough. One of my colleagues has been out at lunch three times this week and each time it seems he's even more elated than the last - probably just to rub it in. Either way, I'm jealous but I also know this down time is good for me as a new season begins next week.

The absolute truth of it is that I started my running rest the moment I crossed the finish line at Dirty Duo on March 10th. That was a tough day and I'd been training sluggishly hard since Orcas on February 6th. I just hadn't been able to get a rhythm or an up day for weeks and it carried itself into the Duo. I'm pretty sure my legs went lactic on the word "GO!" before I plowed up that driveway out of Jaycee House. Dragging myself around that course just fast enough to stay with Pricey was all I had. I mean look at that finish face (2:25). In hindsight I could have backed off, let Pricey annihilate me, and let my riding partner get us the win, but that just isn't me. I even tried to tell Pricey I was fine and feeling great at one point. There was no way I wanted him knowing I was in hell. Regardless of how I was feeling, he pushed and pulled the whole way and showed me the beginnings of a what promises to be a very strong season for him. I'm looking forward to some tete-a-tete at the Squamish 50 in August. Anyway, under great pressure, myself and Arthur Gaillott took the relay win in 4:03.

A couple days following Dirty Duo my family and I made our way down to California where I took on an extremely laissez-faire approach to my running even though I was scheduled to race again on March 25th before I put my feet up entirely. I ate well and was sure to enjoy some beer or wine daily; sometimes both. It works in Europe I think. The trails in the Palm Desert area were precisely what I needed. They were less steep and seemed to have a vacation type relaxation to them. The air was dry, the temperature a bit warmer, and I walked the bigger hills and ran some very short runs. One run was 28 minutes long and I was completely okay with it. I couldn't wait to get in the car and hit the Jamba Juice. Most of the trails were in canyons and wound between cactus stands and all had scenic snowy backdrops. It had been cold and snowed above 4000 feet. Painted Canyon to the South may have been the most brilliant. The first part took us through fissures in the earth that were just wider than shoulder width and spat us out at the top of a wide open plain covered in cactus and other dry scrub. Most other runs became mostly hikes and were gorgeous.Before I knew it the 25th had come and we were back in Irvine ready to race the Into the Wild half marathon-ish. At the sound of my 5:25 alarm I immediately regretted my last few weeks of running. On one hand my mind was telling me I wasn't ready for this and on the other I was being convinced that I needed to relax and enjoy the ride. Going with the latter we cruised out to Irvine Regional Park in almost no traffic - I guess Irvinites are all in church at 6:30 because you seldom cruise through any traffic in that part of California. Pulled up my Zoots, tightened up the Speed Cross and there I was at the start line of a course and field of which I was completely ignorant. Within minutes of GO! I was in 5th place. I could see the leader and wondered if I belonged there. The pace felt right and did so for at least four miles at which point I moved into third position. I felt good on the hills but definitely fought them. The dry air seemed to get me when my lungs got demanding. The trail consistently climbed up and then went all the way back down. Not like Knee Knacker up and down but like a loop up and down. After a long climb we'd unknowingly go all the way back to the bottom and then turn up another climb to do it all again. The terrain was beautiful though and I never would have run those trails without this race. Northern slopes were green and covered while southern exposure made for dry, sandy conditions. The last mile was flat, asphalt and was the toughest mile - and I think where the "-ish" comes in. The course was billed as "Half marathon-ish" and various GPS's determined it to be 13.75 miles. I'm thinking that last mile was closer to two because I was in a world of hurt before my 5th place finish in 1:47.

So, since finishing Into the Wild at 9:17am on Saturday I haven't run a speck and I plan to keep it that way until next Monday, April 2nd. I'd rather take voluntary rest when my body asks for it over medically ordered rest. Excited to get back out there, but loving the time out.

1 comment:

  1. Fun fun fun!! Ya, I could use some medical rest right now. Man it's hard to be on vacation and not feel 100%! good on ya!!!!