Friday, March 27, 2015

A New Route For A 20-Miler

This morning I had 20 miles on the docket. Normally I would run my standard route.

From my house it takes me 2 miles to get over to the local bike trail. I can take the trail down to the Harbor which gets me to 5 miles. Running in the Harbor, down The Strand, and back home is about 10 miles. 

When I have more than 10 miles I normally just go inland on the bike trail half the additional distance (so for today's run I would have needed an extra 10 miles, so I would have normally gone east for 5 miles, then back those 5 miles, and meet up with my standard 10 mile loop).

This weekend is the Oceanside Ironman race, so the Harbor and Strand have been pretty chaotic lately. I was worried I would be doing a lot of bobbing and weaving once I got down there, so I figured "WHY NOT TRY SOMETHING NEW?!"

Once I got over to the bike trail I decided I would just run inland till I hit 10 miles and then head home. I wasn't sure how far I would end up, but was up for the challenge (or at least I thought I was ;)).

The temperatures are on the rise again in SoCal, so I knew I would need to start pretty early to try and avoid the heat. I ended up leaving the house around 7:30am, which wasn't too bad. It was in the 40s when I left, so my hands were a little chilly for the first couple miles, but warmed up quickly. I made sure to wear my Nathan Performance Intensity Race Vest so I would have plenty of water. 

Hoping my WINGS would make me FLY!
And LOVING the #HeatherFresh Pro Compression socks!

Oh yeah, and just in case any of you read yesterday's post about the pipe leaking... I ran by it today and it was STILL leaking... Maybe I will try to look up to see if there is a phone number to call about things like that...

My left hamstring felt tight this morning, so I decided to take it slow. It didn't hurt, but I also didn't want to push it. My per mile pace was about 2 minutes slower than race pace, but I would rather listen to my body (especially since I knew the heat was going to quickly become a factor).

I stopped around mile 6.5 to take my first set of Shot Bloks (today's flavor was Cran-Razz). While I chewed, I took a couple pictures of the art that was on the fence. 

I wasn't sure how far my 10 miles would take me, but around mile 7 I thought "Maybe I could make it to Gaujome Park?" (I am directionally challenged and especially with being on the bike trail instead of the roads I didn't really have a reference of where I was.) A few minutes later I was running up on the parking lot we normally park in for Gaujome, so I knew I would be able to get a few miles on the trails. 

At this point I was thinking "Carlee, you are pretty B.A.". In the past, Ryan and I have driven over to this park, ran the trails, and were spent. Today I was able to run to the park, run the park and run home from the park. I stopped to snap a couple pictures of the scenery (seeing as it isn't the norm on my long runs).

The "lake"

Although I don't do it often, I really enjoy running trails

Ha, at this point in my run I wasn't thinking straight and thought
the sign was because they were dropping mosquitoes into the park...

The Upper Pond

The trails are well maintained, but there is still a lot of loose sand in parts, which makes for some rough running. Also, I felt like I heard snakes or Sasquatches in the woods every 5 feet so I was scanning the area like a crazy woman. Thankfully the only real nature I saw were lizards, bunnies, ponies (it is also an equestrian trail), and a bunch of sleeping geese (I was thinking of grabbing a picture of the geese, but know they can be mean and did NOT want to try and out run them if I woke them from their slumber). 

Ran up on these two ladies riding their ponies

The park is only about a 4 mile loop, but it was just about perfect distance for what I needed. The change in scenery seemed to keep my mind off the fact that it was toasty out. I was hoping now that I would be running west the sun would be to my back and "feel" a little cooler (am I the only one that thinks it feels like 10* warmer when you are running into the sun?). 

Heading home was when I started to fade. I just kept telling myself "You just have to make it home", "You have no other option", "If you walk it will just take you even longer". Oh, the mind games we have to play as runners.

Around mile 16 I felt like I was just DONE. I was hot, I was covered in sweat, salt and dirt from the trails. I didn't stop to take any pictures, I just needed to put one foot in front of the other. Now for the past year and a half or so I have run without music. It started when Ryan would run with me, but just transitioned into me no longer listening to music while running. Well, around this time I knew I needed something to take my mind of the miles. I grabbed my phone and turned on some jams.

Now one thing I didn't mention about my normal route is it includes quite a few downhills. Sure the loop has some uphills, but the majority of the BIG hills I end up running down. That is, until I decided to switch up my route... Today I had to run UP the big hills AND at the END of the run. Oh boy. I wish I could say I ran them without stopping, but at that point in my run I needed to take a breather. 

I FINALLY made it home. 

Glad it is OVER!

I was toast. My hamstring felt fine (it really only would feel tight if I stopped and then was starting up again), but my body was tired. I think the heat definitely played a role. When I got home it was already in the 80s. I also felt like although I was hydrating during my run, my body was running low on salt. 

Trying to catch my breath... 

Not a fast pace, but still a strong run

I sure hope runs like these make me a stronger runner - even if it is just a mental strength of knowing I can do hard things! I think I earned my rest day tomorrow!

Do you switch up your routes? Or stick to the tried and true? 

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