Thursday, November 20, 2008

recovery 0.488 × marathon....

Yesterday, after bailing on my tempo run because of leg fatigue, I put in a serious session of foam rolling and stretching. No doubt about it, the front of my quads were sore. That's never happened from cycling alone, yet I've hardly been cycling alone.

The first sign something was up had been the Noon Ride. Running has caused me to lose a bit of weight, and I decided to test my climbing, as well as my pain tolerance, on Old La Honda Road, which the Nooner climbs each Wednesday. Although I was able to keep it on the dark side of my pain threshold the whole way up and was alone, first to the top of the climb, my time, 17:59, was a bit disappointing. When I emailed Cara about it, she noted my Mon run. A dose of reality. No, I can't run a near-half-marathon yet without impact.

Back two days, to Monday...

My excellent coach Dan Smith prescribed a 30-minute recovery run. Yet I was itching for action, energized by Saturday's Low-Key Hillclimb up Metcalf Road, which I ran. So I decided to just park it into a gear of "effortless running", and see if I could rip off my longest run ever.

And I did.

First, I headed out on 8th Street to Brennan to REI. My only running shirt is long-sleeve. I borrowed a short-sleeve shirt from Cara, but it was too baggy, and I don't want something which is going to contribute so clearly to wind resistance, let alone that baggy shirts look goofy. REI wasn't very helpful, though: even their men's small summer "technical" shirt was similarly sized, and I couldn't find a good women's shirt, so I left the store and continued north-east on Brennan. My legs were a bit stiff, but I was running into looseness, feeling pretty good.

Along the Embarcadero and I was on the Dolphin 10km course. Memories of my race a few weeks ago, just a lot more relaxed this time. Soon, it seemed, I passed the yacht club, site of the start-finish of the race.

After arriving at the foot of the climb at Fort Mason, I impulsively headed out on a cool-looking, semi-circular breakwater and pier. "No taking Dungess Crabs", a sign read, as someone fished a basket out of the water below. He had something in there, but it wasn't a Dungess, I thought. I continued out to the end, where the views were really spectacular: the city on one side, Alcatraz on the other. Then, around a ruined structure, and back to my route. I was surprised to later find this section was on Google Maps (see link earlier this paragraph). This was one of the two highlights of this run.

Over Fort Mason (no big deal), then out on the Marina, past Fillmore where I'd turned inland last time (I was committed to my longest, now!), and toward the Golden Gate Bridge. But not all the way there... at Baker Street, I made a left. Baker now rose ominously ahead of me.

After passing the incredible Palace of Fine Arts, the park populated by tourists speaking French, Italian, but not a word of English, I confronted the climb. It was like Lyon which I'd done previously, on a shorter route. Several blocks of increasing grade until the road gives way to a staircase. However, unlike at Lyon, the staircase then gives way to an as-steep concrete path. The thing has to be 40%, easy. It was challenging on foot; I could only imagine riding it! This was highlight #2.

To the top, I turned right to climb an additional block to what appeared to be the summit. This road, one block over, was actually Lyon Road, which I'd climbed previously. What an excellent climb each of these two roads provides!

I enjoyed the descent of the other side. Descents are all about staying loose, going with the flow, and I'm getting better at them. At Post, before Geary, I turned left to Steiner, to the cycling route I know so well.

Then it was through Western Addition, up the climb to Alamo Square (cutting through the park via the stairs, which I can't do on a bike), down to Duboce, the zig-zag over the tracks to Steiner's sibling Sanchez, then toward Market Street and the Castro.

I was on autopilot now. 16th St, all the way. The streets I call home passed by. Guerrero... Dolores... Valencia... Market. At Florida, I turned left for a stop in Sports Basement. Bingo! They had an excellent running shirt, plain white except for a Sports Basement logo, and light and cheap. The woman working there I could "express my love for Sports Basement" by wearing it. The Sports Basement there does have a good feel about it. Good people work there.

Across Franklin Park to 17th (feeling a bit tired now), back to Potrero Hill....

Austin!12.8 miles, according to Google. 48.8% of a marathon, according to units. I felt good, energized if a bit tired. The next day was a recovery day, gym workout only. But I'd still feel this run two days after. Still, I love getting the miles in. And that's gotta be good for something when preparing for a possible marathon.

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