It was a busy week.
After finishing the New York City
Marathon Sunday, I had 5 days to recover before doing a Pikermi on
Saturday on the other coast. Just living the dream.
my legs felt not too bad for day one. I went for a long walk with DW
and SIL to enjoy the Fall colors in New Jersey. Then I put the calf
sleeves back on for the 6-hour flight back to LA.
was my one day at work to catch up, and then I went out that night to
celebrate my son turning 21. So I met him at a seedy bar and bought him a
beer and watched hockey. First time we drank together. Kind of strange.
I remembered the first time I had a beer with my Dad at a party. It
signifies a subtle change in the relationship. Like we are now more
Anyway, it was fun. And the start of another long
weekend. Because it was time for my annual reunion with my high school
buddies where we play golf, eat good food, drink a lot, and do a race.
This year we were going to Santa Barbara. The guys all showed up on
Wednesday and we drove up from LA to SB together to our wonderful rented
house near the beach.
Thursday and Friday we played 18 holes of golf in beautiful settings. Like this.
legs were recovering very well. And we used golf carts so that helped a
little. Still, that's a lot of time on my feet and in the sun. Plus
drinking and stuffing myself every night is probably not the best taper
plan. But we were having fun!
was race day. Did I mention we were in the middle of a heat wave? Highs
of about 80. But it was nice and cool and low 50's for the 7:15AM
start. I felt bad for the marathoners starting at 7:30 and having to run
The course meandered around town before a
pretty good hill at mile 11 and then a downhill finish to the beach.
Parts of it were on a nice bike path. It was very scenic and pleasant.
were six of us running, and one goal was to beat the rest of them. Last
year I was suffering from Plantar Fasciitis and two of the guys beat me
at Savannah. This year I had my marathon recovery excuse, but I still I
thought I could run under 1:40, which meant only one guy posed a
serious challenge. M had a similar sub 1:40 goal so we started together.
start was a bit of a cluster. It was on a wide road but the start chute
was in only one lane to go over the strip and through the arch. They
had a sign for "sub 10-minute pace" very close to the front! And we
entered from the back. So we fought our way up as far as we could, but
still had to maneuver around a lot of people the first half mile. But we
settled in and went through 1 in 7:32. Perfect. Felt pretty good! But
probably because it was all downhill (see above for elevation).
the end of mile 2 I was already feeling heavy legs. Ugh, this must be
marathon fatigue. I was maintaining pace, but it was harder than it
should have been. I let M slip away ahead of me and that took the
pressure off a little. 7:32 again.
The next few miles were
flat and fun on the bike path. I settled in with a group of three other
runners as a kind of peloton and it helped. Two had ponytails which
helped too. M was maybe 30 yards ahead but I was staying about the same
distance behind and felt OK. Legs felt heavy, but cardio felt good.
7:23, 7:21, 7:28
I slipped ahead of my group in mile 6 and
I started to catch more people. M started coming back to me, so I used
that goal to go catch him. He was huffing and puffing pretty hard, so I
knew he wouldn't be staying with me long. We were starting to go up some
long gradual hills here too. I dropped M and kept moving up. Six and
Seven were uphill, 7:34 and 7:52.
The hill had me pretty
tired, but I was channeling my marathon spirit from 6 days ago; where I
would just ignore the fatigue and keep plugging. This was nothing
compared to 26 miles! Endurance experience really gives you the mental
strength to push through limits.
Miles 8-10 were mostly
downhill so my pace picked up. 7:40, 7:27, 7:36. I knew there was one
big hill to come, so I was trying to conserve and stay relaxed. Then we
turned a corner and saw the big rise. I settled in to big-hill-shuffle
pace. Kept my breathing under control and plugged on up. Before long I
was over the top and catching my breath, ready to push it on in. Mile 11
was 8:24 up the hill.
The downhill let me naturally pick
up speed, and I was just really enjoying myself. (Maybe I'm just
remembering the joy now, and forgetting about the painful fatigue) But
it was a beautiful day, I could see the ocean from the cliff, just
wonderful. Mile 12 - 7:19
Then there was a big banner that
said, "Run 25.2 miles for yourself, and the last mile for the
veterans". And there was an old guy in uniform handing out little flags.
Then the whole last mile there were hundreds of full-size flags lining
the road. This was a Veteran's Day race. The last mile was downhill
along the coast and I was moving along with another guy who was also
pushing the pace. I waved my little flag and I thought about all the
pains that veterans have suffered - lost limbs, burns, PTSD - and it
made it easier to push through my little race pain and accelerate even
harder that last mile. Mile 13 - 6:59
The last tenth was at 6:16 pace as I waved my flag and celebrated. 1:38:51!
and then I relaxed
I love racing.
Happy to beat my sub 1:40 goal (and my rivals) and have a great time doing it.
Later we all went out wine-tasting in the local wineries to wrap up the weekend. Life is good.