Since I no longer possess a gym membership, my small attempts at speed training have gone by the wayside. I don’t mind that because I hate speed training. Still, I like to keep up with some runners once in a while. But more so, I like to have fun on my runs, which means no speed training.
In spring 2011, I got on a kick of timing a particular loop in Aliso/Wood Canyons. On my first timing, I ran it in 2:24:35. On my last timing I ran it in 2 hours! Since then, though I’ve run the loop plenty of times, I was afraid to time myself. Two hours was dang difficult, and I didn’t want to come in with a slower time.
This morning, I took to running that loop against the clock once again. Yes, I was fearful, but more curious. My biggest fear was that I had backslid all the way back to 2:24 or worse. So, I decided after a day of Meadows hill repeats with an aching arch, working til 6:30 PM, then sipping cheap wine with my hubby until midnight, that this morning would be an ideal day to time this loop again (And again, WHAT WAS I THINKING? The story of my life. LOL).
If you know Aliso/Wood, this is my 9.5 mile loop: Enter the canyon via Canyon Vistas Park, run down Wood Canyon to the very end, passing Meadows along the way, then turning around and running back to Meadows up to the ridge, exiting the park to run the roads and re-entering the park at Alta Laguna where I run West Ridge’s rolling hills to Cholla, a nice downhill which leads to a climb back out through Canyon Vistas. It’s a tough run for me, but it’s no mountain run. Running it fast of course, makes it even tougher. (I should note that I never pause or stop my garmin, even if I make a pit stop, take a picture or take something out of my pack, the reason being that in races, they don’t stop the clock when I do these things.)
I kicked it in through most of Wood Canyon, clicking my camera here and there without stopping. I slowed a bit entering Meadows so that I could re-coop. Then I pushed it up that horrible climb in the sun. Yesterday that climb wasn’t so horrible. And I even ran it three times. But today, after running Wood Canyon at a 10k pace, Meadows about did me in.
By the time I climbed out of Meadows and made my way back into the park for a rolling hill run, I was darn near about to quit. I really could have plopped myself down in the dirt and cuddled up into a ball for a nice nap. But I just couldn’t quit. Why? Because I told myself that I was doing this!
I made it to the top of Meadows in 1:03, which I BELIEVE, is one minute slower than my record. But then, I set foot on West Ridge about 5 or 6 minutes slower than my record, and proceeded to lose time after that. As it ended, I finished this loop in 2:09, wanting to quit even up until the last quarter mile. Though I was miserable for practically this entire run, I felt dang good and happy for the drive home. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll do one or two more timed loops over the next 3 weeks.