My Run To Work Tale

First off, I slept like crap. It was almost like my brain treated this as a race day event and therefore it could not stop visualizing the run and I tossed & turned like a maniac. Dammit. However, that also allowed me to bounce out of bed at 5:30 and grab some toast & energy chews before heading out.

And once I walked outside at exactly 6:15? Well, it really could not have started better:

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So, the Bird of Paradise drinking from the bird of paradise as I walked out was pretty cool. I started off walking so that I could post a picture to Facebook and announce the beginning of the run and then got going.

And was promptly irritated at my fanny pack! I was using my larger one from the 3-Day walks to hold my two water bottles because the ‘pack’ part is large enough to hold my basic purse items plus I could shove in my gloves if it got too warm. Which it did. The problem was that I have never RUN wearing that one before. The bottle of ibuprofen I was carrying was rattling, the right side water bottle holder was somehow askew on the attachment and bouncing up and down hitting me in the hip and it just felt out of place. Consequently I spend about the first mile of my run going quite slow (utterly missing a chance to get some speed on a nice down hill) and fidgeting with the fanny pack.

Mentally I had marked off a few stages of the run. Taco Bell about a mile in. Roberto’s not quite 2 miles in, the bridge to the beach at 2.5 miles and then Base Camp at the bottom of Torrey Pines Grade at the 3.3 mile mark. I was essentially fiddling with the fanny pack all the way to Taco Bell. I finally stuffed a spare tissue in the ibuprofen bottle to silence that annoyance and then totally readjusted the strap to make it sit higher up against my lower back. That solved 2 of the 3 issues and I started moving a little more myself. But, that damn water bottle was still bouncing off my hip. I *tried* to roll with it and ignore it, but there was just NO WAY. It’s like the Princess and the Pea when you are running. Any little thing can annoy the piss out of you and throw you off stride. Things that otherwise would be no issue at all. So, at Robertos, I again took the whole thing off, ripped the bottle holder off it’s velcro, set it back on a bit higher and VOILA! No more annoyances.

Meanwhile I was attempting to check in with Alex to make sure he was awake. I’d gone into his room at 6:10 to get him up and start his shower which he, of course, did not do. Thanks to fiddling with the fanny pack I missed my first check in point at the Taco Bell, but started calling at the next one. No answer. Ok, if he was still in the shower that was fine. I’m totally comfortable running with my phone in my hand (yes, I know – THAT doesn’t bug me!) I turned into the parking lot that would get me to the beach side and finally saw the water:

Perfect running weather. Gray and cool, but no wind.

That’s the 2 mile mark and at this point I am right at the edge of my time goal to reach Base Camp at 7:00. Now that all is comfortable in my world, I was able to pick up speed along the beach. Inhaling some salty ocean air felt pretty refreshing too. By now my gloves & ear muffs are off because there was hardly any wind so those were overkill. It was truly perfect running conditions.

And then, there it is – The Hill:

Base Camp with segment #1 of Torrey Pines Grade in view

At this point I still haven’t connected with Alex so while I am drinking some water and taking a walk break (but constantly moving), I start dialing again. This time, he answers – phew! He taken a long shower, but was finally downstairs and eating. He needed to leave in about five minutes, but now at least I can relax about his status. I put the phone away and start the climb. Running fast enough to pass a woman walking quite briskly up the hill, but also quite a bit slower than on the flat parts of course. It helped that there were others out walking and running up and down. Two guys ran down past me and then as I was about 3/4 up the top they run back UP past me. Show offs! The Hill is also easy to segment. Stage one pictured above curves into stage two, then the ascent levels off a little so that you feel some relief as you pass the entrance to Guy Fleming Trail and then you hit the very steep stage three which takes you to within view of the lodge. When I was still running – and not feeling like I would faint – as I hit stage three, I knew I could get to the top. It took me 15 minutes, but I did it!

The Summit!

I walked for a short break to get my heart rate back down & drink some more water. Shocking as it seemed – my heart rate was ONLY in the 170s on the hill! I was honestly expecting it to hit race pace in the 180s or even 190s, but I never felt THAT wiped out. Still, I knew the last mile was easy to underestimate because it still does go up, but it’s much more gentle. And oddly, it was on this home stretch that I finally, truly got into a good running form and rhythm. It was still hard and I was breathing fairly heavy, but otherwise everything felt GOOD! Bizarre. I got to the light across from my office building at 7:27am. I could have walked in and declared it all good…but what’s the point of THAT? No, I sprinted across at the green light and bounded down the stairs to the parking garage and THEN I clicked off the watch.

5.02 miles in 69 minutes. Avg heart rate at 170. A little under 14 mins per mile.

Would I have had it in me to run home? Maybe. With proper nutrition planning & other logistical arrangements, yes. At least that route would have been DOWN hill!!

All in all, this Run to Work event was pretty damn inspiring! Now I know I can do it. And I conquered the hill! My 2012 goal is already MET!

Now, can someone please bring me dinner because I am not MOVING anymore today!

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