TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Long run

I have yet to write a short blog on a long run.  Next time . . . maybe next time.

I set out about 40 minutes late this morning.  First off, I poured the coffee grounds where I was supposed to pour the water, then I got off to other things, like getting ready, which takes now quite a bit of time for long runs.  Then my middle boy woke, and I had to say hi to him and set him up for the morning.  So I wasn’t running out the door until 7:15 AM. 

I pack quite a bit on these “long” runs.  In my pockets, I’ve got an array of bandaids.  In my belt I pack a phone, camera (of course), calories (490 today), gum, chapstick and in my handheld I’ve got a power drink and tucked in the handle two powdered pedialytes.  Of course, I bring along my ipod and sunglasses.  Then there’s the prep beforehand: sunscreen and anti-chaffing on about every inch of skin I can reach.  It’s not just a lace-up-my-shoes-thing-and-scoot-out-the-door, like I kind of thought it would be before I began running about 7 years ago.  But when I did scoot out the door, even though I wasn’t so gleeful about it at first, I was oh so glad, minutes in.

That “everything is beautiful” oddly set in right away.  It usually doesn’t hit me so soon.  Everything was so beautiful that I nearly pulled my camera out to take a photo of a Chronic Tacos sign – the deep red was in lovely contrast to the dark gray skies.

When I set out for a long run, I cannot think about the total miles.  I must break it down into legs.  I learned today, the fewer number of legs the better.  This morning my broke my 21+ miles into 8 legs which was way too many.  Eight legs is nearly as bad as 22 miles. 

Nearly as bad?  Why would I say such a thing when I love to run?  It’s an odd thing.  Truth is, if I think about the total mileage that lies ahead, I grow anxious, so much so, that I either want to quit, or worst yet, don’t even want to start at all.  I need to keep in the moment.  I guess that’s one of the reasons I like running – because I keep in the moment.  That’s a hard task for me.  I’m The Planner.  I’m ALWAYS looking ahead.  When I run, I finally have that freedom of the moment.  I’m mostly in the present, which is a glorious place to be. 

Needless to say 8 legs is a bit too long.  Even the last marathon I ran, I broke into five legs, plus a tad more (five legs of five miles, plus 1.2).  This morning, I found myself struggling knowing there were 8, 7, 6 or even 5 more legs to run. 

There’s A LOT of things I’ve got to learn more than once in life.  Sadly.  Or not.

LEG ONE consisted of 5.22 miles, which included taking off on a downhill on Hwy 1.  I ran through the community park, then hopped up on the river walk (aka bike trail), which I took in its entirety, even through the closed areas.  I ran past the Los Rios District and across the train tracks.  Even on Memorial Day, there were workers waiting on the corner for work (I saw one fortunate soul get picked for a job).  From there I crossed Camino Capistrano, then back over again into downtown San Juan Capistrano, then back to the depot where I met leg 2. 

The River Walk (aka. bike trail, a lonely trail this early on a holiday morning)

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Ducks playing in the river (aka. creek)

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Bridge closed off from my end (notice chain link fence on left), but I easily traversed beneath the bridge to cross on over into downtown

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The River (aka San Juan Creek)CIMG5376

Catholic Church downtown

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Making my way toward train depot

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LEG TWO consisted of 4.02 miles.  I crossed over the train tracks for leg two, and began a lovely run through the Los Rios District.  I grew extra trigger happy here where I eventually needed to back-track to make my way back onto the river walk.  I ran a slight detour through Creekside park.  And the little ones were out!  People were starting to venture out by now, bringing their children to play at Creekside.  Back on the river walk, I ran it in its entirety, ending leg two at the life guard headquarters in Doheny Beach.  The skies were again gray, as was the ocean. 

Crossing over into Los Rios District

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Creekside Park

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Back on the river walk (aka bike trail)

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Ending Leg two coming into Doheny Beach, the bike path is flooded and I must get my feet wet here (that or cross Highway 1 above)

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LEG THREE consisted of 4.55 miles.  I ran along through the campground 4 times (about a .4 mile loop with a bacon aroma) then onward to Capistrano Beach.  The memorial day crowd was setting up, flags, bbqs, bikes, kids, dogs – the works.  When I ran to the end of the sidewalk, I turned around and made my way back past the campgrounds, into Doheny.

Doheny Campground

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Capistrano Beach

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 Bubble Pacific / stopped and chatted with the artist at this RV for a bit

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LEG FOUR consisted of 1.42 miles.   I needed a short leg, as I was getting a little stiff.  But I still felt good.  I ran through Doheny along the waterfront as cyclists, walkers and runners crowded the road.  Outside of the state park, I ran down to the jetty where a multitude of fishermen had their lines in the bay waters. 

Doheny snackbar & bike rental

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LEG FIVE (thankfully) was another short one, only 1.28 miles.  I ran into the wharf, along the marina, then beneath the bridge and up and over it. 

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Running over bridge to end 5th leg.

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LEG SIX consisted of 2.14 miles.  I began to tire during leg six.  Fortunately it was a short run, basically the entire island and back over to the mainland.  My calves threatened to cramp.  The sun shined down brightly, and I considered shortening up the run some.  (But I didn’t.)

Running the island

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LEG SEVEN consisted of 1.78 miles.  Off of the bridge, I ran along the marina, the picnic areas now packed with memorial day celebrators.  I stopped to stretch out my calves at the cliffs and thought it would have been wise to pack some salt for this run. 

Baby Beach

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LEG 8 was only 1.03 miles.  But more than half of it was uphill – up Pacific Coast Highway.  Not sure whether I’d be able to run it all back home without cramps attacking, I ran into Jack-in-the-Box and downed a packet of salt (straight!)  I didn’t make eye contact with any of the customers, but if anyone noticed, they must have thought I was crazy.  Turned out, that salt works pretty quickly, as I ran on up the highway home to complete this Memorial Day long run.

Final Leg – oh so tired!!!

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Upon reaching home, I walked about the front and back yards for quite some time.  Grabbed a banana, stretched for probably twenty minutes, drank some cold water.  Then I iced my hips as I sat down for a small serving of tortellini and marinara sauce. 

Miles logged:  21.44 miles

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