Before I get to my epic weekend, I want to briefly explain the name of the blog. I am, as of 2008, back to living free of alcohol. Needless to say, for some a few grogs is perfection, adding some fun, or a touch of class to the situation. For me, unfortunately, it can add a touch of - you guessed it - ass, as in I'm acting like one. I'm much better off without. In the addiction lexicon, "recovery" refers to a state of being in which one actively works on living without his/her addiction, meaning that he/she addresses other perhaps more fundamental issues, while abstaining from partaking. In that context, I'm in recovery.
Recovery also means simply re-discovering, as if something has happened as in a fire or flood, or maybe something was just lost, so one tries to recover some of his/her things.
Of course, in the world of endurance sports, recovery means maintaining one's body and mind (the gains) in the face of a high level of physical and mental exertion. We do all kinds of things to recover in this sense from nutrition to stretching to sleeping.
So, I thought recovery made a lot of sense for the blog. Likewise, "discovery" has so much connotation and in this sense it simply means that by being conscious of the wreckage (recovery) I can actually discover more than what I might initially have thought I had.
I have been involved in endurance sports for about 5 years now (from running half marathons to doing half ironmans). With a family now and a pretty serious job, I feel I've needed to focus a little. Since running is the most athletic of the three sports, and something I have more fun doing, I've decided to get more involved in trail running. So that's another part of the new era I refer to in my first post.
It's a new me. It's a new focus. Bring on the new (but, by God, pay attention to the old!)
Which brings me to this weekend. I did the Boney Mt. 21k Xterra Trail Run in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa National Park in Newbury Park. Check the elevation map. As I said in my first post, I am planning to participate in whatever Xterra Socal trail runs I can, starting with Mission Gorge, 2/8. But then I got a wild hair to run Boney Mt. 21k, which we all know means a half marathon off road. I even said I threw together some training since this race was much earlier than my mind or body had planned. Blah blah blah. Run, suffer and have a good time.
It was a sufferfest. The first hour is a really really tough and fast undulating single-track. By heading-out pretty fast (7ish/mile) I was forced to stay on it since you have people breathing down your back and people suffering up ahead. Since most of us generally do a little better perhaps 30 min. to an hour in, this was tough, really really tough. Most of us were resorting to a little accelerated walk up some of the grades after about 30 min. of this gnarly hilly single-track tempo run. So things start to taper off as you reach the 45 min mark and you start to head down, which then becomes a very chilly run along the canyon floor. This is about mile 6. The next 4.5 miles are up, about 1800' of climbing. Let's just say it was hammer on any flats, slight grades and accelerated walk just to stay alive. It was BRUTAL.
From the peak it's an insane drop to the finish and this might have been the toughest on my body. I let go on the descents. I imagined I was an old steel frame. A guy would eek past me going up, a lighter guy of course, like a carbon frame; but on the descent I'd blow by him.
I felt pretty strong at the finish, but it was brutal. My legs were toast, and the bottom of my left foot had a little strain/tear which I'm dealing with.
I took my Garmin Forerunner, but haven't figured-out how to upload yet. So, let me summarize. I finished in 2:09. My pace was 10:02/mile. My heart rate was between 170-180 the whole time. I climbed over 3100' and descended over 3100'. The overall winner was 1:36. I was 18th in my age group (30-39) out of 40. I'm 39. Also, I'm fat. I have work to do.
The weather was incredible. I followed the run with a drive up to the Pismo Beach area for a little R&R with a buddy from Oakland, CA. We surfed, ate seafood (and a ricotta cheese and chicken pesto pizza) and thoroughly enjoyed the scenery.