Sunday, October 30, 2011

This week's column: Full on marathon mode

It seems like just yesterday that my husband Jon and I were bringing our newborn son home from the hospital. I felt I had all the time in the world to recover from child birth and get ready for the next Olympic Trials. Quin is 2 and half now, and boy has the time flown by. I have had more than my fair share of bumps in the road since Quin was born, but now things seem to be falling into place just in time. I have been training hard these last few months, but now that the Trials are 11 weeks away we are in full marathon mode. That means increasing the number of miles I run each week, which seems to make workouts and long runs take forever.

This past weekend I decided to treat myself and take a little more time to drive to one of my favorite parks, Nisene Marks in Aptos. It’s about a 45 minute ride from the Pacific Grove homebase, but well worth it.

Before Quin was born, Jon, Coach Sev and I ventured up there every Sunday. It was always a nice change to run through the redwoods and on trails that wind up to a scenic lookout point. This time of year is especially nice with the leaves changing colors and the cool air because of the dense trees.

So Sunday I left Jon and Quin eating waffles and met Sev to drive up there for our run. We parked in our usual spot, and I started off down the road to do one of my loops. I decided to go up the West Ridge trail which takes me about an hour and 6 minutes to get to the top. I come back down on a windy fire road. Despite not having run this loop in years, I still remembered every turn and every root I used to trip on.

It’s nice to see some things don’t change. It’s quite a tough first hour with all the uphill, and I am a little obsessive about trying to reach the top in a good time. My legs were really burning by the time I reached the lookout point, but then I knew I had a good chunk of downhill to recover.

I made it back to the parking lot feeling good and strong. As I was stretching, a couple ran by me and I heard the man say tell his partner what the strategy for their run was: “We’re going to start slow, then in the middle we are going to run slow, and at the end we are going to keep running slow.” His partner and I both laughed. I like it, but I can’t afford to run slow right now and take in all the scenery.

With one of the deepest women’s marathon fields ever assembled for January’s Olympic Trials, slow and steady will not win the race.

I pulled in the driveway at home just as Jon and Quin were coming back from the beach on a beautiful 80 degree day.

“You have a good run, Mama?” Quin asked.

“Yes, I did munchkin.”

I still can’t believe Quin is speaking in full sentences and is a little boy now. But, it will be years before he understands why I am doing all this running. I’ll probably tell him I wanted one more shot to do something special.

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