Monday, September 22, 2014

Eight weeks to the Big Sur Half-Marathon

The Mine Hill Trail at Almaden Quicksilver Park
"In general, any form of exercise, if pursued continuously, will help to train us in perseverance. Long-distance running is particularly good training in perseverance."
Mao Tse-Tung

Maybe a communist dictator is maybe not the ideal person to endorse the positive attributes of running, but then a guy who led a country of nearly a billion people and coerced his citizens to literally sing their praises to him is someone we ought to pay attention to.  Running does indeed train the mind in matters of perseverance.  I've found running helps me handle the set-backs life throws at me, as well as instilling a "stick to it-ness" to grind through difficult problems and situations.

On to week four.....Monday was a recovery day, due to a work activity that wasn't going to allow me to put in any miles that morning.  I still did some foam roller and course exercises before heading out for work.  Tuesday was a six mile run to the Vasona Dam and back.

Wednesday was supposed to be a 7 mile tempo run.  I say supposed to be, because by 5 3/4 miles, I was completely fried.  The plan was to go out in 6:20-6:25 pace for the first couple miles, and I got carried away that morning and at one point, was screaming down the Los Gatos Creek trail in well under 6:00 per mile pace, if my Garmin watch is to be believed.  I settled down a bit to 6:15-6:20 pace, but the damage was done and shortly before six miles, I had nothing left to continue at even 6:45 per mile pace.

Running too fast is better than running too slow, but not that much better.  Pace sense is an important skill for running, and it takes a certain mental discipline to hold back and find the right pace automatically.  I set out to do a run of seven miles at 6:25 pace, and didn't do that.  The first slight clunker of a workout so far on the road to Big Sur.  There will likely be a few others.

Thursday was an eight mile run to Vasona Park and back.  This was a slight mist in the air, that barely registered on meteorological instruments,  the first fall rain of what hopefully will be a torrent. We need rain here. I felt surprisingly good despite yesterday's slight set-up.  Ditto for Friday's six miler, minus the rain.

I was pretty focused for Saturday's four mile tempo run on the Los Gatos High School track with my training group to get my pacing mojo back.  The plan was to go out in 6:00-6:04 pace.  Anything faster than 6:00 per mile pace was too fast.  I clicked through the four miles with the group in 6:01-6:02-6:04-5:58. Perfect!

Afterwards, we all did all warm down and Maria Trujillo, who's part of the group, and I started chatting away since we hadn't seen each other in a couple months, catching up on things.  Maria was a world class distance runner in the 80's and 90's, finishing third in the 1990 Boston Marathon in 2:28. When I was in graduate school at The Ohio State University, I watched her win the Columbus Marathon. I couldn't have possibly imagined on that day that twenty years later and 2,000 miles away, we'd be talking about our autistic kids.

Maria and I often compare notes on our kids autistic behaviors.  Lot's of my other friends are understanding about the challenges about raising an autistic kid, but Maria and I deal with it on a regular basis.  Sometimes just talking about the  unique difficulties and small successes of raising our kids on our runs helps us get through it.

Sunday was a sluggish and challenging twelve miles on the trails of Almaden Quicksilver Park.  The legs held up, but I felt pretty trained the whole time.  Still, this run was a good exercise in developing the persistence needed on race day.

Week 4
Miles completed:  49
Weight:  175 lbs.
Currently preferred carbohydrate replacement drink: Alaskan Brewing Pumpkin Porter 

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