Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Marathon Training Essentials: Perfect Fun

OC Fair Fun Run - Pre-Run
Nine more weeks.  The countdown clock says 60 days.  We are at the halfway mark of marathon training.  This is where the fun begins.  Double-digit long runs every weekend. Seven, eight, nine, 10 mile mid-week longish runs.  “Easy” runs are a smooth 4-5 miles.  I just wish it wasn’t so freaking hot right now, and then the miles wouldn’t feel so grueling.  I went for an easy 3 last night after the sun went down, and I still came back soaked like a wash rag!  Ew.  
The Perfect 10 Crew
It was a good three, however.  I needed a soft and easy three, even if it was hot.  Last Saturday I ran “the Perfect 10” – a fun, unofficial race, well, actually a group of friends who called it a race with an excuse to drink beer and celebrate the race director’s birthday!  It was primarily a trail run (btw, I have done NOT trail running thus far in training), for a total of 7.5 miles.  Oh, and the first 4.5 were all uphill.  After this expedition, I will NEVER call the hills in my neighborhood “hills”.  Those are not hills – those are little grades. 
Yes, the line slanting down to the left is a road, we came up it.
The hills I hiked on Saturday were hills.  Trail hills.  Rocky, gravelly, deeply pocked, uneven terrain, technical, steep, dusty, cougar and rattlesnake-infested, beautiful hills.  I did mostly walking.  And it was good.  The highlight - besides heading down - was making it to the flag.  We signed into the book that’s kept in a metal box to prove that we were there. 
Yes, I am hanging on to Old Glory. Michelle holding me up!
Then it was indeed a lot of DOWN.  It was probably more technical going down than going up because gravity was pulling me and urging me to fall on my face or trip.  My ankles got an amazing work-out billy-goating from side to side.  If it took 90 minutes to make it up, and only 30 minutes to make it down.  Race director Shannon, handmade beer bottle opener medals for all finishers.  And it was good.
Going down, down, down......you can't tell from this photo, but the ladies on the far
 right heading down were sliding on their butts from the slippery dirt!

The hill.
Sunday, the girls and I participated in the OC Fair’s Fun 5k Run.  Last year I ran by myself and didn’t have nearly the fun.  Marli took off at the gun and we never saw her again.  But Franny and I hung together (she set the run/walk pace) and we participated in every “detour to fun” on the route.  This is what makes this such a great family event.  We played a carnival game (Franny won a green dog breaking a plate with a baseball), we rode the giant “euro” slide, and then got to play on the main stage at the Pacific Amphitheater.  It was an excellent way to get 3.1 in after the hills the day before.  Franny and I had a blast, and then we blasted Marli for missing the good times! Ha!
That was the last I saw of Marli until the finish line.
Does Franny looked embarressed to you?  Is her mama crazy or what?
Now, two things should be noted:

1)      It was totally awesome to have a different way to get my training runs in this past weekend.  Granted, I broke up the 10 miles I supposed to do by running them in two very different ways – and certainly not a standard workout.  But it was so great to do something different, meet new people, run with the girls.  Loved it. And…

2)      Got to run with Michelle – the girl who started it all.  It was my naïve question to her about three years ago …”uh, michelle, how do I start running?” that got me where I am today.  She was my “sweeper” up the hills on Saturday.  Awesome, loved it.
Run on.  Whooya.
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