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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Some Points is Better than No Points (Phase 1 & 2 on The Road to Calico)

I’m still on the road to Calico, but really just trudging along at this point. But during Phase 1 (Getting Started), I hit almost all my goals. (Thank God for Phase 1, otherwise I’d be dead in the water!) I wanted 85 miles, I turned in 86.6. And I wanted the Big Loop @ Aliso/Woods in under 4 hours (a little less than 12 miles with approx. 1,600 elevation gain). I ended Phase 1 coming in at 3:45 on the Big Loop -- I shaved off more than an hour from my first go at it on October 20. There were other goals in Phase 1 that I did not make, but I was okay with that. I felt stronger. I made very decent progress. I was so satisfied with Phase 1, that instead of lamenting over Phase 2’s shortcomings, I pieced together video clips of the runs/hikes. I'm weird that way.

Phase 2 (Building) came at a busy time. I had final exams, grade reporting, attendance reports and all other paperwork the state and community colleges require. Plus, and this is a big plus, Thanksgiving and Christmas fell on the outer ends of this phase and the Saddleback Marathon smack in the middle. I had very little time to train, and stress took its toll on the mental health end of my plan. I struggled and managed about half of my 100 mile goal. I made no distance goals, which is a dang shame (but I must move onward and forget about that!). The saving grace of Phase 2 is the one goal that I did reach. I wanted the Big Loop @ Aliso/Woods in under 3:50. On December 22 I smashed that goal by coming in at 3:19! 

View of Saddleback Mountains going down Meadows Trail in Aliso Canyon, very near the final stretch of the Big Loop @ Aliso/Woods

Phase 3 was initially named Maintaining. But there’s no maintaining here -- it’s still building (Wah!). I am pleased that right away, I amped trail miles up to 16 with a wonderful run-hike up Black Star Canyon to Beek’s Place on December 29. On the plus side of all of these shortcomings, I got some beautiful miles in, which is always welcome medicine. While December didn’t end particularly strong, there’s January! (More on January next time).

This training adventure, so well planned that has not panned out, is all great practice for life -- the lesson being, keep plugging forward, even when I'm behind. I constantly implore my students to do the test or assignment even though they think they're going to fail, because some points, no matter how little, is always better than no points. I think that I'm practicing that here. Some points is better than no points. 

Black Star Canyon
  Beek's Place

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