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Archive for April, 2013

Here’s what I want to know: is it considered good luck or bad luck to have bird poop land on your arm during your 20-mile run? I tried really hard to convince myself I should take it as a sign of good luck and not a bad omen. Either way, I ran a steady 20 miles at a 10:32 pace. The training plan called for a 9:05 pace. Harrumph. Burnout? Too ambitious a plan? Injury slowing me down? A little of all three I think although I’m not inclined to dwell on it too much. Twenty miles is twenty miles and 10:32 is a respectable pace in my book. This run marked my third 20-miler in this marathon training cycle and the end of week 9 out of 16. Come to think of it, though, the first two twenty-milers were run at 9:34 pace and 9:20 pace (and my first full marathon was run at a 9:15 pace) so it does rather seem that things have taken a turn for the worse rather than better as my training continues. I will take it easy for my next two runs and see if that’s the break my body needs.

I ran the Coyote Creek Trail which starts at Foster Street in La Mirada, however I hooked up with the trail at Cerritos County Regional Park near the Skatepark (where the parking is free and there are plenty of people — and police cars for that matter). Coyote Creek is not nearly as busy as the Santa Ana River Trail and parts of it run through some sketchy industrial areas that do not feel quite as safe to me in the early morning. For bikers out there, note that the north fork of Coyote Creek Bike Path is nicely paved and fun to ride. By the time you cross the bridge over to the other side though, the pavement deteriorates and you need to be prepared for a flat tire just in case. Mike got a flat there once and I saw another rider walking his bike back to his car. If you can survive the trail conditions though it’s quite fun to ride Coyote Creek until it hooks up with the San Gabriel River Trail which goes all the way down to Seal Beach (and if you’re me and Mike, to Thai food at Thai on Main).

At any rate the trail seemed quite safe to me in the middle of a Saturday morning. That might be due to the recent cleanup effort along the trail. You might have heard about the legal battles of the city of Los Angeles against civil rights lawyers defending the rights of the homeless. There have been five lawsuits filed against the city of Los Angeles over the last 20 years regarding the seizure of personal property “abandoned” by the homeless on city streets and sidewalks (presumably “abandoned” while the homeless went to a local shelter for a shower or a meal). In the latest round of legal battles, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against the seizure of personal property, ruling that “The Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments protect homeless persons from government seizure and summary destruction of their unabandoned, but momentarily unattended, personal property.” The city has filed a petition to ask the Supreme Court to overturn the injunction. (For more on the cases, see “LA Really Wants to Take Stuff from Homeless People” and “Lawsuit Fights Seizures of LA Homeless’ Property.”)

So I felt a little bit of mixed feelings when I came upon this sign along the Coyote Creek Trail (I’m not sure in what city, but definitely in Los Angeles County):

Homeless property seizure sign

On the one hand I appreciate the efforts to keep the trail clean and safe. On the other hand, I sympathize with the homeless whose needs are not being met and who choose to leave their belongings under bridges along the trail. Yes the sign says that they can recover their property at the LA County Department of Public Works building, but it begs the question, how will the homeless afford bus fare or arrange other transportation to South Gate? And once there, how will they transport their belongings? And for that matter, where will they go from there?

I don’t know. It was a lot to think about on a long run. And then toward the end of that run, as it always seems to happen for me when I’m struggling and pushing myself to the limit with just a few miles to go, a kind soul smiled at me and encouraged me on my way. Today’s kind soul? A homeless man seated on the concrete riverbank next to the trail. He wished me a cheery good morning and gave me the warmest smile.

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Running Naked

Today I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I ran naked, without my GPS watch to keep pace or an audiobook to entertain me. (How much do I love Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell on Blackstone Audiobooks? THIS MUCH. So awesome. Twenty-five hours of awesome. I’m on hour 22.5. But I resisted clipping on my iPod Shuffle and I headed out earbud-free.) I listened to my body and to the birds chattering around me. I smelled the lilacs and the orange blossoms. I only took my phone out to take this photo of the bougainvillea that are a gorgeous riot of color right now in Southern California:

I defy anyone to spell "fuchsia bougainvillea" correctly without the help of this post or Google

I defy anyone to spell “fuchsia bougainvillea” correctly without the help of this post or Google.

I ran a 10K loop from my house and enjoyed every slow-but-steady minute of it. It’s hilly where I live and I consider the hill work (456 ft. gain over three major hills) good training. It’s nice to shake things up and substitute a little uphill and downhill running for the treadmill and the gentle elevation changes on my usual routes. It wasn’t speedy and it was a little clunky (see: left groin strain) but I covered the miles and made it home in time to have a PB&H sandwich on whole wheat and get in a shower before I had to make it to preschool pick-up. I’d call that darn successful.

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A new month begins and that means it’s time to check in with last month’s goals:

Resist racing the La Habra 10K. I resisted and I’m glad I did. I ended up having a cold and ran a lackluster, slow 13 miles for training that day. It’s better for me to focus on my training plan and not get distracted by racing. Racing is fun but it comes with some stress, even if it is good stress.

Heal my darn adductor magnus/groin strain once and for all. Yes! The right-butt-crease-groin-strain is gone after about four months of babying it with massage and hot baths and also strengthening the muscles with weight training. Now I’ve got some nagging hip flexor / inner groin issue going on with the left leg but the nice thing about that little nuisance is that it feels better the longer I run! I don’t feel it during a run and I feel better after a long run, not worse. It’s aggravated by speed workouts though, so I’ve got to be careful during those.

Do two 20-mile long runs, two 18-milers, and one 13-miler. No (April) foolin’ — I did complete all five of the long runs on the calendar for March. I couldn’t do them all at the prescribed pace, but gosh darn it I put in all those miles and didn’t bonk.

March Miles

Swim: 0 miles. I blame the limited open swim hours at the gym. Since I’m not currently training for a triathlon, I’m not willing to go at the crack of dawn or after 8 p.m. in the evening.

Bike: 97.94 miles in 5.57 hours in 7 workouts.

Run: 140.25 miles in 23.53 hours in 14 workouts. *Head slap.* Duh. This is why I’m feeling a little tired and creaky in my joints. That 140.25 miles is about 30 miles more than I’ve ever run in a single month. I’ve only ever run more than 100 miles in a month three times, counting this March. And how incredible that out of the 31 days in March, I spent nearly ONE WHOLE DAY, A WHOLE 24 HOURS running. My training plan is no joke. If I can get through the remaining eight weeks before the marathon, I’ll be in serious shape to run 26.2 miles on race day.

Strength training: 3.17 hours in 10 workouts. I enjoy doing sit-ups, push-ups, and weight machines that work the adductor, abductor and biceps muscles. I think the time I’ve spent on strength training over the past couple of months has made a huge difference in how I feel and it has definitely changed my body shape (even though my weight remains the same).

Random Photo for March

Since my husband’s iPhone is holding my Easter egg dyeing photos hostage, I’m going to share a new billboard campaign I absolutely love:

Metro is running a bicycle traffic safety campaign in anticipation of Bike to Work Week May 13-17, 2013. Under California state law, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the road as car drivers, and that means that they may use any lane and might need use of the full lane to navigate the road conditions safely. Share the road everyone!

Goals for April

Book the hotel for race weekend. Why have I not done this before? Did I have some mental block? Did I not think I’d remain healthy and ready to race? Or do I just hate calling people on the telephone to try to negotiate a discount rate (I do not wish to stay in the host hotel)? The race is Memorial Day weekend. I’ve got to get on it. Put it another way. This is April. The race is NEXT MONTH. It’s getting real, people.

Focus on meal planning. I eat relatively well but could stand to focus more on nutrition. Turning the month’s focus to planning meals will help me improve my diet and make full use of the CSA boxes of farm produce I get each week.

Run two 20-milers and two 15-milers. I just need to keep putting the miles in even if I cannot hit the pace target. Perhaps my pace will improve as I recover from last month and completely get over the cold I had.

What are your goals for April? Do you have any races on the calendar? No races for me this month. My eye is on the big race on May 26th.

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