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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Twenty Miles!

I had to go back to my 2008 log to find a nice flat twenty miler.  I don't own a garmin, so I can't simply run until I hit twenty miles (I measure with Google Earth afterwards). I'm The Planner, remember.  It helps to know my route.  I like to split long runs into legs, or segments.  It's not twenty miles I'm running -- it's 3 legs.  I'll do the same for the marathon in two weeks that I'm not ready for.  It won't be 26.2 miles -- it will be five miles five times, plus 1.2 miles.

I set out this morning, the moon still high, but the sky lit slightly from a sun threatening to rise.  The weather was cold and breezy.  I wore shorts, long sleeves and gloves, but wished for a ski mask or at least beanie as I headed down Highway One.  Surprised to see an "Open" sign at the corner restaurant, I could smell they were cooking bacon.   

Leg One:  8.85 Miles -- Into San Juan Capistrano and back to Doheny Beach

I ran through the community park to get right onto the river walk, aka bike trail.  Last week, I asked an adult student of mine, who I know bikes the riverwalk, whether the bike trail was open, specifically the bridge that takes you over to the otherside.  He assured me it was -- he said that he had "just crossed the bridge a few days ago, in fact."

The sun peeked above the horizon, and I saw soon enough, bulldozers and a big "closed" sign up ahead.  Grrrr.  They've been working on the riverwalk for more than a year!!!  "I'll figure something out," I said to myself, determined to leave negativity behind.  Sure enough, no one manned the machinery, so I hopped right over the yellow tape and continued onward into San Juan Capistrano.  About a mile later, I came to a chain link fence right across the trail.  But I was able to hop off it, run into the dirt a while to get around the chain link and back onto the path. 

There were plenty of other runners out on the river walk.  As I passed one of  them, I asked her whether the bridge was open.  She thought I was waving to her.  She smiled and waved back.  Well, the bridge was open.  Thing was, there was another chain link fence directly across the trail blocking me from the bridge's entrance.  So, I walked down the bank some, ran under the bridge, came up on the other side, crossed the bridge (picture above) and continued my way along the trail.  Ha!

I crossed Camino Capistrano over to Stone Field (a popular soccer field with large stones stacked for "bleechers.")  I felt a tightness in my right calve, wondering about blood clots (my latest paranoia), I stopped for a quick calve stretch.  And then about a quarter mile later, I stopped abruptly and layed in the library grass for a glute stretch, ridding myself of a tightness on the right side as well. 

The rest of Leg One was beautiful.  Purposely leaving my camera at home to avoid extra weight, I found myself pulling my phone out to snap shots.  I ran through downtown, to the train depot where a few families waited in the cold for a train.  There I crossed the tracks into the Los Rios Historic District.  No tourists out, only workmen washing down walkways.  I felt strong throughout Leg One, hydrating with only electrolytes.  I ran the riverwalk back.  Doheny Beach coming into sight in seemingly no time; the start of Leg Two brought gladness to my heart -- I was home again.

Running Through Downtown San Juan Capistrano
Sarducci's Restaurant Along the Tracks, Adjacent To The Depot

Crossing Over The Tracks Into The Los Rios Historic District

A Los Rios Business Storefront

Leg Two: 4.56 Miles

Just as with Leg One, my main focus for Leg Two was "No Resistance."  I felt strong, carefree.   I took in my first 100 calories in the form of a powdered shake with water in my  handheld.  I circled the full campground twice, noticing plates mainly from California and Nevada.  There was one lone Montana plate as well.

Plenty of runners made this leg too, as I ran through Doheny on into Capo Beach.  I turned around where the sidewalked ended, stopped briefly to snap one photo of Leg Two.  I made the campground loop once again on the way toward the marina, the smoke from campfires a bit bothersome.  The wood had an odd odor, like it was treated or something.

Capo Beach On A Cool Breezy Saturday (the cliffs in the furthest background is my turnaround point for the final stretch home)
Leg Three: 7.03 Miles

I switched back and forth between focusing on form and "No Resistance," during Leg Three, which included running out to the jetty, running through a crowded wharf and finally running alongside the harbor.  The sidewalks were crowded with walkers.  The coffee houses and breakfast joints were packed.

I decided to take in my next two hundred calories before crossing over to the island.  Why wait until I'm fatigued to fuel?  My problem so many times with running is that I wait.  I wait to hydrate, I wait to refuel, I wait to stretch.

During Leg Three I found my focus change to breathing -- that is getting a full exhale out before inhaling.  About halfway around the island, exhaustion set in.  It wasn't terrible, and I kept my pace.  Still, I was looking forward to the end of this run.  I was so close now, just about two miles, I just couldn't quit.  And so I kept on going, turning around at the cliffs for that tired, tired, yet accomplished final stretch back home.  I walked up the block to my house for some cool down, then walked around the backyard for a good long while before putting in a nice long stretch.

Turnaround Point at the Cliffs Before Heading Back Home.

Total Miles logged this morning: 20.44
Good News:  No Hip Pain on the Run, No Utter Exhaustion (though I did hit that minor wall on the island), and best of all, I got in a twenty miler before the marathon.
Other News:  Hip was stiff during PT exercises this evening, though I did spend some hours scootering with my boys down at Doheny Beach this evening too.  I also got flack today about my running, not from just one, but two family members (it's been a long time since that's happened); it disappointed me some, because it solidified the fact that they don't have a clue why I run.  And why should they?  You can only know if you KNOW.  From the outside, I realize, it looks ridiculous.


  1. Wow! Great job on the 20 miles. No fences can keep you from your goal, you scofflaw!

  2. If only I knew how to spell :)