Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day Long Run

Target: 18-20 miles @progressive pace
Actual: 30k in 2:06

Greetings from the glorious, sunny, cloudless state of California! After a long Christmas Eve-Eve of travel, we arrived in Santa Rosa and were greeted by Jordan's mom in the wee hours. The following morning we groggily suited up and met Jordan's high school buddy Steve Laurie for a medium long run at Annadel State Park, which both of them remain steadfastly convinced is the best training ground in the country, if not the entire world. (For the record, while the trails are expansive and the views often breathtaking, I found the footing to be far too rocky in many portions for me to settle into much of a rhythm. Not to mention it's ridiculously hilly--something my quads announced with a vengeance the following day.) After Christmas Eve service at Suzanne's church, we once again loaded up the car with Sacramento, and Suzanne's niece's house, as our destination.

And so, on Christmas morning, after all of Santa's presents were opened by 9-year-old Wyatt and his 7-year-old sister Logan, it was time for Jordan and I to step out into the surprisingly chilly air and bang out a good old-fashioned hard long run. Fortunately Tim and Tara live a mere mile and a half from the awesome American River Trail, a bike path that stretches farther than you would ever care to travel in one run. Even better, it's almost completely flat and accompanied by a wide dirt shoulder on either side of the pavement. Though I knew the dirt would make the effort more difficult, I also knew that my body needed as much of a reprieve from pounding as it could get. So we set off into the sunrise with Jordan on the path and me on the adjacent dirt, gradually inching down the pace as the miles (or rather, kilometers) clicked away. We hit 15k in just over 64 minutes before turning around and making a significant effort to increase the tempo. Whereas the bulk of the first half of the run saw splits hovering around 4:10 per kilometer, on the return trip we were pushing around 4:00 and occasionally dipping under. I have no idea what that means, but what I do know is that my legs were absolutely spent. The quads were screaming from the previous day's 14-miler in Annadel, and a searing hot spot had inexplicably developed under the ball of my right foot. The final few miles felt much more difficult than they should have given the slower-than-marathon pace, but with all said and done the goal of the run was accomplished and another 100+ mile week was capped off nicely.

And now, we feast!