Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Great Race of Agoura -- Half Marathon -- First Place

The Great Race of Agoura is one of the nation's oldest half-marathons and one of the largest fields run for an independent half. (Actually, this is the first year of the road half marathon, the trail half marathon is the one that is run year after year. I ran in the road half.) I ran in the 25th Anniversary Run and came in first place in my age division by over three minutes, and 55th overall. (I got smoked in the last second finish line by three people; wasn't paying attention.) Had I run in the next-youngest group I would have come in second place, and the group below that 8th place.

I had an 8:29 pace in a very hilly race. Twas a beautiful day. The hills were killers and I tended to get passed on them, huffing and puffing up them, but on the levels and downhills I made up my losses.

At mile 8 I downed a gel packet and wow, seemed to get a lot of energy, leaving in the dust several runners I'd been dueling with for miles.

After the race, when the sun was up in the 80s, running friends Belinda and Frank (who are going to Boston with me) and I ran 5 miles back from the finish line to the start line, where our cars were parked. We had no water. That was almost as tough as the race itself, plus carrying gear.

I didn't taper for this race; this was a 60+ mile week for me. My feet were bothering me with new shoes so I put my old falling-apart Nikes on for this race and things were perfect.

On to Boston. My final long-distance run will be next week. Then a 38-mile hike of Paria Canyon and I'll be ready.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another 30-mile day; 50+ week

I ran a slightly modified version of what I ran last Saturday, with a little more mileage tacked on, so the run this morning was over 30 miles. I used my alternate shoes today to counteract shinsplits, and wow did I suffer from toe jam and blisters. Out go those shoes. I had to stop mid-run and spend my food money on scissors and tape.

The photo is of an old railroad bridge at approximately mile 20 in the run. The trail isn't quite completed yet where this bridge is located. This is an interesting bridge; no rail lines to be seen for miles. This bridge over the Santa Clara river was built in 1898 as part of the Ventura to Saugus rail line. That line was used to haul produce to the coast and was heavily used during WWII. The City of Santa Clarita acquired it recently for part of the bike trail system but the south end of the bridge really has no place to go, as Magic Mountain Parkway crosses the line and there is no bike path. Lots of construction is underway and it looks the the City is completing a park.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thirty Mile Training Run -- For Boston

Well, after all my running, I have never run more than 27 miles on road surfaces alone. I completed the above 30 mile run in under 5 hours, which is ok for a training run when there is nobody to run against. This run went from my house to Canyon Country and over White's Pass, down into Saugus and up Copper Hill Drive. The return followed the San Francisquito River as it connected to the Santa Clara River. I ran past the site of the St. Francis dam disaster 82 years ago in which 600 people perished. There is nothing left of that dam and no memorial.

At about mile 27 I encountered one of my friends out for a run who is accompanying me to the Boston Marathon.

It was a great run; I've greatly reduced the pain from long distance running through weight training.