We capped off our third week of training with a shorter but more intense trail run at San Pedro park in Pacifica on Saturday morning. The group was about half the size as usual because of the long three day weekend and I had woken up with a headache, probably due to the fact that I had a few drinks the night before and went to bed at 2 a.m. Lesson hopefully learned.
I knew training for an ultramarathon would introduce me to many new ‘firsts’ along the way and this weekend was the first time I had ever opened up a park. I’ve had a lot of experience closing out bars but this morning we were waiting for the park ranger to arrive to open the gates at 8 a.m.
Once inside, we stretched, ran a couple of warm up laps in parking lots and stretched some more while Rebecca handed out maps and Ken went over the key points of the run. We were running up, up, up Hazelnut Loop trail and then down, down, down on the other side. Then running up, up, up Meadow View trail and then down, down, down on the other side. Without exaggerating, there was hardly any part of the run that was just flat. We got on the trail at 8:30 and started going up.
My right achilles which had been bothering me for a while was pretty quiet this morning and I was definitely thankful for that as I would need to be in good shape for this run. Immediately the trail had us climbing up and around the hill. There was a steady fog at the top of the hill above us and the ground was moist and even slick in some places as we climbed higher. We also had to watch out for banana slugs which spotted the trail the entire run.
The initial climb went on for two miles and seemed like it would never end, until finally, FINALLY, the trail turned and up ahead I saw it slope down. Then it just continued down, down, down for another two miles and then it seemed like the downhill would never end. It was a series of switchbacks which all felt and looked the same as the last switchback I had just ran around. Unlike last weekend’s run, this time I brought a bottle of water which I held in my hand and around mile three or four I could start feeling its weight bearing on my arm. Water ain’t light and I need to figure out the right equipment to lug it around with me on the trail.
The downhill switchbacks ended at a flat white pebble trail where we ran for a third of a mile before starting up the second loop. Although this was half the distance of the first loop, the climb was steeper and not exactly what I was hoping to do after just finishing a grueling four mile climb and descent. I noticed my arms were swinging a lot more which Coach Joe had mentioned on Thursday’s run were a sign of fatigue and a sure way to throw off your running form. I corrected my form for a few moments while I remembered too then sure enough went back to my old ways. I also tried to focus on how I was breathing. I tend to breathe very LOUDLY which is okay from what I understand, but I think I need to be breathing more deeply. Rapid breaths do not allow you to take in as much oxygen as the body needs, so I tried to breathe in more slowly and deeply. It’s not easy when you’re winded and climbing up hill straight for a mile but it’s something to work on.
I finished the 5.6 mile run in 1:05 and for the most part felt great. Achilles tendon was happy which was huge. I did start feeling a hip pointer on my right side as I was climbing up the second loop and felt it the next day too but it’s gone today, two days later.
Total miles run this week: 17.22 miles.