A true holiday weekend! However, I more than made up for it yesterday.
Coach Gerardo, Ray, Richard, David,Christina and I awoke literally at dawn's first light to beat the heat for our scheduled 2:15 trail run. But not just any trail run. Bulldog Trail, Malibu Creek State Park. Gerardo, Richard and I "only" did the first 1.5 miles of the actual trail, but it was enough for nearly 1,000 feet of climbing, including a few grades as steep as 13%. Ray, David and Christina chose a less steep path, perhaps slightly because of the late evening we enjoyed wishing Ray a temporary farewell as he moves to San Diego.
I saw some real progress on this trail run. The last time I ran Malibu Creek State Park, it served as a rude awakening. Though that was less than two months ago -- July 4 weekend in fact -- I vividly remember worrying about the heat and my ability to handle it heading into Vineman 70.3 Fast forward to the next holiday weekend and I completed nearly double the distance while stopping to walk about half as much. Even better was my pace -- in two months I knocked off nearly a full minute off my mile pace on the final two miles of the run. I think that's the result of the Fortius track workouts, which improved my ability sustain a faster pace for longer, and knowing my body better and how far I can push it without risk. I used to train a little more cautiously in terms of letting my heart-rate determine my output. On Sunday, Gerardo told us not to bring our watches and to just run. It was more important to get through the run than to do it "right", apparently.
The trick worked. I ran harder as a result, and Richard out-paced me by a good few minutes -- giving me someone to chase. That's the perfect combination for me. Just turn me loose and let me go all out!
After the run, we all celebrated the long weekend as a team at Zuma Beach. I felt like I was a teenager again. We immediately unpacked our gear and basically played sports non-stop for hours. Beach soccer. Beach volleyball. Swimming.
Except I'm no longer a teenager, as I learned today. My body is trained for endurance, not necessarily fast-twitch sports right now. My quads are like lead from all the jumping and squatting. My Achilles tendons hurt from running in the sand. My right foot throbs from all the soccer passes -- and Janna's shin!
Thank goodness I train as hard as I do, for I can't imagine what today would have felt like had I exerted the same youthful effort without the strength or stamina to back it up.
Thank goodness I had a day off to get back to normal. The 10 hours of sleep and pancake breakfast at Jinky's definitely helped.
Tomorrow, "back to normal" means a 1:45 hour bike ride featuring 10 three-minute time trials along with an evening 2,800-yard swim.
Thank goodness, I'm ready and eager...and grateful that I'm healthy and have the time to keep pursuing this mega-goal.
74 days and counting.