TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Just Shy of Exclaiming -- I'm Back.

Sunday morning, time for a longish run -- it was difficult to get going due to the time change (Spring forward : )

I followed PT orders with a ten minute warm-up.  That is, I WALKED down Highway One (a gradual hill that I am forbidden to run for the time being).  The weather was cold, cold, cold, and being that I was WALKING, made it even more difficult to get these old bones warm.  I wanted to cross the highway to walk the sunny side.  But I was spooked by an drunken old guy who mumbling loudly, stumbled a few steps forward then one step back.  It was 7:50 AM, and I had to wonder whether he had been drinking all night or did he just start early AM?  Sad to see.

As soon as I hit flat ground I took off running.  Slow to start, I ran into Doheny Beach's main entrance, happy to see that today was the Grunion 5k Run.  And I was running on the course!  I didn't see any runners, but off in the distance I noticed an empty start/finish line, so I knew they were out there somewhere.

Much to my amazement, I warmed up less than a mile into my run.  Was it the physical therapy, the planks, or the ten minute walk? Perhaps all.  I've written several times that it usually takes me about four miles to warm up (terribly long, I now realize after Sunday's run).  With a smile on my face I headed on, adding three sprints (okayed by PT) over the next mile or so. 

On the bridge over San Juan Creek, the 5k's front runner made his way toward me -- a delight to see.  As I've mentioned before, it's a rare thing for me to see the front runners.  This guy was a good minute in front of the next runner.  In fact, the first five or so runners were surprisingly spread out.  I studied their forms.  None of them had the swinging left to right arms that I see so often.  All of them kept their torso's facing forward too (no twisting) and most seemed to have relaxed limbs.  Around runner #6 was the first female; the next few in a row in fact were women. 

About that time, I turned into the campground to run my regular loop.  It was full this Sunday morning, bacon sizzling over campfires.  People shuffled along in pajamas, puffing their first cigarettes of the day or holding mugs of steamy coffee.  I was going to run that second loop that I normally add, but I just had to get back out on the race course.  I love the excitement of a race.  And I love how people get out there, especially those who find it most difficult, to conquer the 5k.  (I remember how very difficult it was for me the first several times and how I so feared the dreaded DFL -- last place : (

Then the first large cluster of runners passed by me, followed by a few stragglers, then another large cluster (which I noticed plenty of twisting bodies).  Then the runners thinned out again, with the walkers pulling up the end.  I passed their turnaround point and continued on into Capo Beach.  I felt strong, amazingly strong.  My trunk felt solid, my legs and arms, so, so light.  More importantly, I felt absolutely no hip pain, no ache, no stiffness.

I ran until the side walk ended and made my way back to Doheny, running along the boardwalk with other racers, the finish line up ahead.  I turned off about fifty yards before crossing it, ran onto the grass, around the bathrooms with three or more other runners who did the same. 

Out of Doheny, I ran the road down to the jetty, past a dozen or so longboarders in their wetsuits waiting for that wave to ride in.  Fishermen, and one woman had their lines cast into the marina waters beneath sunny blue skies.  Though my gloves were now tucked into my belt, it was still pretty cold out, with a mild breeze. 

I made all my usual turns, through the wharf, which was lined again with artists and their paintings.  Sunday was the last day of The Festival of the Whales.  Old Woodies lined the grass along the harbor, brand new Fords were out for display too.  Concession stands lined the parking lot at "Baby Beach" just past the makeshift pancake breakfast restaurant. 

I ran every crevice, most of them twice, ending this run with one last short sprint to make the light at the crosswalk.  Then as directed I didn't run up Golden Lantern, instead I walked it and back home briskly for my cool down. 

Great run.

Miles logged:  12.27

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