Friday, December 23, 2011

20 Miles Steady State in Palos Verdes

20 Miles at 620-640 if on flat surface

20 Miles at 6:36 pace for 2:12:00
.76 miles cool down

After emailing quite possibly one of the best high school cross country coaches in the country, Bill Sumner, I was connected with three runners from the Cal Coast Track Club.  Bill Sumner connected me last year with Juan and Juan for a couple of long runs and this year, I would run with Juan and a new guy named Trevor. After several email exchanges on Monday, Juan agreed to pick me up in Newport Beach at 6AM to drive an hour to Palos Verdes, California to meet Trevor. 

Palos Verdes, as pictured below, is different than the rest of the Los Angeles coastal regions.  Instead of being densely populated with asphalt, there are more trees than slabs of concrete.  The region is nestled on the Pacific Coast, in a mountainous region  that has wild peacocks running around.  Since I was warned about the hills, I figured I would need to adjust my goals accordingly.  Instead, I found that I felt pretty good despite the 600 feet climb.  
Palos Verdes from the Mountain

The first mile was uphill, and our first mile split reflected that as we ran just a little under 8:00 pace.  After that, we settled into a rythm that hovered around the 630s until mile 6.  That's when the mountain hit and I ran 7-725 for the hilly parts.  After the 9th mile, my friends told me that the hills were over, but I found out later that just the BIG hills were over.  There were small hills scattered throughout the rest of the course, and after already running 3 miles up a mountain and then back down, my legs were pretty fatigued from the impact.  By mile 14, I was feeling pretty tired if there was even the slightest incline and found myself hoping at every turn that there would be a flat or downhill segment so that I wouldnt feel the burning sensation in my quads and gluteus.  I think that hilly runs bring out the weak points in your body. By miles 15-20 I could tell that my left glut / hip region is much weaker than my right. I hope to focus on strengthening this side of my body in 2012 so it doesn't lead to any injury.
By mile 18, I ran 603 pace and I was 10-20 feet behind my male counterparts who were getting antsy about finishing.  I figured that today wasn't supposed to be my day where I proved myself, so I slowed it down a notch before even realizing that all of mile 19 was a gradual uphill.  I slowed to a 644, but was still able to finish my 20th mile in 6:20 pace.  The full splits are listed in the garmin map below. 

We walked the last 400 meters because I didn't feel like running up the last hill and because I didn't want to log any more than I had to.  After stretching and changing, Juan, Trevor and I went to Starbucks that had a beautiful view of the ocean.  California is so perfect; I am so lucky to have a sister who lives out here to visit!!
View from Starbucks

I am very fortunate to have made the connection with Trevor and Juan because their company pushed me along at times when I really wanted to walk up the mountain.  I feel so grateful and honored to have run with them and I look forward to more runs in the future.  Most importantly, I realized that I am ready for the Olympic Trials in just 22 days.  

This is my last big workout, and I know that my body and mind are ready.  I am just so honored to have this opportunity to race with my closest friends and to be part of a race where so many phenomenal runners will be toeing the line.  There is just so much excitement and energy going on around the Trials this year because American distance runners keep getting better and better.  I am grateful to part of something so incredible and to share the experience with close friends and family.  


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