Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Montazuma's rebound

When I last left off, I was just starting to feel the effects of food poisoning. It lasted about 36 hours. I felt mostly better by Monday the 15th but still didn't feel like running yet.

8/16 (7.9mi, 57min, 7:14/mi) Back from the dead and right into a hard tempo run at lunch. I pushed a hard pace around a full loop of the Bridle Trails. It's great running out there in the summer when it's warm and the ground isn't muddy. The only downside is that the horse people are out in force. I had to stop three times to let horses pass. One of the times I came around a bend in the trail and startled myself and the horse. I also tried to catch another runner who passed me on the trail but I couldn't! He just pulled away effortlessly. Minutes later we were both waiting for another horse to pass and I got out ahead of him. I decided to pick up the pace and see if I could hold him off. It turned out I couldn't. He ran me down in about a quarter of a mile and kept going smoothly right past me and my sluggish 6:15/mi pace. Impressive.

8/17 (6.45mi, 58mi, 8:58/mi) After a hard effort Tuesday I took it easy (129 avg HR) just noodling around the Bridle Trails. My legs were dead and my stomach still felt bloated and gassy from the food poisoning episode. It was one of those days where I was just glad to get the miles in.

8/18 (9.0mi, 1h 16m, 8:26/mi) I was on call for work so I couldn't get out for a long run after work. Instead I did two easy runs on the treadmill at work with some weight machine sets between. As much as I dislike the treadmills I was able to keep my phone near me and if I did get called I had my computer in the locker room. Luckily I wasn't called. I felt a little better than the prior day but my calves were still dead.

8/20 (8.5mi, 1h 45m, 12:24/mi) The family and I headed to Salt Spring Island, BC for a long weekend which involved two ferries and about 3 hours of driving so I missed running on Friday. On Saturday the family went to Ruckle Park on the island. They all went for a hike while I set off for a run on my own. The trails at the park were very technical, narrow, and rocky. I started out on the SE edge of the island and then headed North along the coast before the trail headed inland. I caught my feet on rocks and nearly fell probably 5 times during the run. It was fairly hilly as well but my legs felt good after a day off so I didn't have to stop and walk any of the hills. I made a few wrong turns during the run but I had memorized enough of the park map to find my way back to the right trails.

The only part of the run that almost turned into a problem was near the end when the trail bordered a working farm. I came around a bend and stopped in my tracks when I saw a large steer with a sharp pair of horns that were about as wide as my outstretched arms. He was standing in the middle of the trail grazing. We looked at each other and he went back to grazing. I had open field (his field) to the left of the trail and dense forest to the right. I could have tried to find a path through the brush and trees to get around him and pick up the trial later but decided not to. Instead I grabbed a hand-full of small rocks and began skipping them along the ground at his feet. He seemed a little confused at the source of the noise and after about a dozen rocks came his way he slowly wandered down into his field. I never actually hit him with any of the rocks either, so win-win. I began running again but only for a few seconds before seeing two more large steers with long pointy horns standing just past where my trail turned off to the right. My plan was to jog along the trail which went up a short hill and if the steers started moving toward me I'd sprint up the trail and try to out-run them. Luckily  they showed little interest in me and left me alone. Aside from all that, the run went well.

8/21 (10.1mi, 1h 18m, 7:43/mi) I had time for a run on Sunday on the island so I just started from the place we were staying (Salt Spring Spa along the NE perimeter) and followed the road SE for 5 somewhat hilly miles before turning around and heading back. I started with 8+ min miles on the way out and picked up the pace to the high-6 min range on the way back. It was a great run except that I forgot to tape up my pinky toes and got a large blister on one of them. Sadly this happens when I run longer than 5mi in my New Balance MT101s. New Balance announced that the next model (MT110) will have a wider toe box. Being a running shoe geek, this excites me quite a bit.

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