Training update – 3-25-07: Sawyer Camp Trail… Life is good.

April 1, 2007 at 5:40 am | Posted in TNT | Leave a comment

Does anyone else think that time is getting shorter and more complicated at the same time?

I still struggle with making sure I find adequate time to train with the very hectic work schedule. I was in Denver and Orlando last week, but managed to get in runs in both cities during the week, both after flying in. My practice is to fly in early in the day if possible, and either get to the hotel gym for a treadmill or other cardio equipment, or find a place to run outside, particularly if I have a rental car.

So Tuesday, 3/21, after landing in Orlando I did go to the hotel gym and did an hour of cardio. Then on Thursday 3/23, after checking in I was able to find one of the city parks not far from my hotel, and I ran five miles there. It’s a great way to make sure I get exercise and rest on the road. Keeps me disciplined. Often before on the road I’d get fatigued, and the tendency to just eat the hotel/restaurant food and sleep would win out, and I’d get no exercise. This has been a pattern for a number of years. I hope I keep this up after I finish training.

Then on Saturday 3/25, on our schedule was what’s called an “on your own” run, meaning there’s no coached run that weekend. So I went to one of my favorite trails, Sawyer Camp Trail outside of San Mateo.

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This running path along San Andreas Lake/Crystal Springs Reservoir off Highway 280 on the peninsula south of San Francisco was the closest path to me when Sam and I first moved to the Bay Area, to Millbrae just a couple miles north of the trail. Remember when I talked about starting and stopping, and starting and stopping, etc., running programs over the years? This trail is where I first started running when I moved here. The trail is paved, and marked in ½ mile increments looping along the edge of the lake for six miles. The lake is one of the water sources for the city of San Francisco and other communities along the peninsula, so they don’t allow boats, swimmers, fishing, or any of the normal lake activities – it’s fully fenced off from the path. This makes it quite scenic, with the still calmness of the water undisturbed by boats or the other usual agitators. And what makes it more serene and idyllic is that deer are allowed in the fenced off areas along the lake, and in the protected hills on the other side of the trail going along the road. It’s not uncommon to turn a corner and see a deer and its spring newborn calf grazing along the water’s edge or on the hillside. They’re mostly unnerved around people, and if calmly observed from a safe distance they don’t seem to mind people observing them on the trail. Some of my family back in Texas who enjoy deer hunting may be quite frustrated, but it makes for an incredible experience.

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So that Saturday, I decided I’d run six miles. And with the past Saturday, as I got into it, I felt comfortable running a bit more. So I extended the run to seven miles. I must say, increasing mileage isn’t as difficult as I once thought it would be. You get into a mental repetition, the back and forth, into a zone where it’s not as painful or difficult as you would think. The hardest part of running so far is the first mile or two. I really, really don’t want to do it. But after a few minutes, I get used to the breathing and the pace, and get to that mental attitude where it seems right.

Sure, I sweat, and pant to a degree, but I can keep up a conversation. I bring water along, and I’ve noticed that after an hour I need some liquid energy such as that packet of Gu (a sugary gel your eat during a longer run or other endurance event to provide immediate energy). Without those I get a bit foggy, and with them the running is easier. But I’ve noticed that after about 15 minutes it doesn’t matter whether I’m at 30 minutes into it, or an hour and 30 minutes. As one of the other honorees have said, it’s just putting one foot in front of the other. And repeat.

And on that Saturday, I repeated for 7 miles. On a beautiful course. Life is good.

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