Monday, September 08, 2008

Whew! Hot Spell

Wow! We had a long spell of hot (for us) weather. About a week of 90+ temps. What was cool about it is that it didn't bother me at all - so I guess I'm heat trained and acclimated...just in time for the end of summer!

Well, actually, it is good because we do get some of our hottest weather in the fall. So I'm prepared. Much better than the Big Basin race where the heat just bitch-slapped me into a whining pile of meat. I was being such a baby.


On my long run last week I hit Huddart Park during the heatwave and did a nice 2 hour loop in the woods. It wasn't nearly as long as I wanted to go but I ran out of time after having done some errands that I shoud've done on another day. But maybe it was good that I had a little bit of an easy week on the mileage because I was starting to feel a little ragged.

It was 95 degrees in the parking lot. That's pretty hot for around these parts. What makes it even hotter is that most of us don't have air conditioning in our houses so they become little ovens during these heatwaves. But, like I said, it didn't seem to bother me this time around. As I headed off on the trail ( I went out Zweirlein to Crystal Springs) there were gray squirrels just kickin' it in the middle of the trail. They'd lay with their legs splayed out, bellies dug into the dirt in the shade to cool off. Very, very mad when I disturbed their comfort.

As I wound up the mountain I concentrated on leaning into the hill and using gravity as my friend - i.e. "falling" up the mountain. I'm revisiting the Pose Method as I'm feeling that my running is getting too much like plodding. I discovered a little tidbit of information buried inside Dr. Romanov's book. He mentions briefly as you learn the method to just kind of bounce in place to get the feeling of elasticity in your legs. This helped my relax my feet and ankles too, which were very strained and stressed. Why on earth do I carry tension in my feet? Anyway, this little excercise created a kind of "aha!" moment for me, relieving the tension in my ankles and feet and giving me that right Pose Method feeling back again.

Going up the mountain you end up running through two different types of forest - an oaky brushy one and the redwood forest. The oaky one makes me nervous. Strikes me as the best place for a mountain lion to sneak around. It's also very dry right now, dryer than I remember ever seeing it. It looks like some of the springs have dried up as I saw a lot of ferns that were totally dead. I just hope we make it to the rainy season soon and without an awful fire up there. There's a big section of this brushy forest that I run through on the Crystal Springs Trail. I love getting out of it and back into the redwoods again. The redwoods are also noticeably cooler and moister. Great for running. And the trails under the redwoods are noticeably softer and smoother.

I always forget about one section near the top that is so steep it's pretty much unrunnable. Makes me cuss out loud. At least here I was entertained by a beautiful pileated woodpecker. I tried to get a picture of him but he just laughed at me and swooped from tree to tree. I've seen more of these this year than ever before.

I got to the top in good time and was super happy to have the rollercoaster downhill home ahead of me. Just as i was blasting around a turn a very young buck with little stubble horns bolted across the trail about an arm's length infront of me. I tried to get some pictures of him and his three girlfriends but my hand was pretty shaky right after that, and he wasn't holding still either.

I was surprised to feel so good on the way down. I "posed" it down Chincapin to the Dean trail and back down to Zwierlein. My legs felt nice and springy for a change. I saw a coupla bunnies just before the Werder campground area and tried to get some pictures of them but they were off and bounding by the time I got my camera out.


This week I'll do a looooong training run and then start tapering for Skyline to the Sea. I think a good final long, long run will give me the confidence and stamina to pop that 50K bubble. There's nothing more that I can do for the event except just do it. The best I can do after my last long run is....nothing. Actually, taper which I know is going to be sooo hard!