Posted by: Ingrid | January 13, 2011

California Running Log and Lessons

I learned something while running in California over Christmas.  Despite that part of me that feels like I cannot truly claim to be a runner if I’m not running 50 plus miles per week, pushing hard every run, and running 6-7 times a week, I have to admit that if that is what really makes someone a runner (and I don’t really believe that it is) then I will never be able to claim that I run.  I ran more in California than I normally do, partly because it was a shame to waste such good weather and partly because it was my easiest and quickest exercise option available on the trip.  During our twelve days of travel, I ran eleven of them, put in 65 miles all told, and hit 46 miles for one week, the most I have ever run in a week’s span.

While I loved the diversity of the runs and the chance to be outside in shorts rather than layers, I was glad for a break by the end.  I was tired of continually running.  I felt like it was difficult to do anything quality with my runs.  I felt like my body didn’t get a chance to recover well.  I guess I have to face the fact that I will probably not ever be a high mileage or almost daily runner, and I guess that’s okay.  This trip really taught me that I prefer running 4-5 times during the week with some cross-training thrown in to give me a break.  I don’t mind pushing myself and I don’t mind working hard, but if I had to do the type of running I did on my trip all the time I think I would stop because I would end up hating it.

Does that make me a running wimp?  I guess I feel like if pregnant women are able to crank out 50-70 miles a week I’m being an absolute baby about this, but I guess it’s one of those subjective things  that I just have to accept.  I love to run.  I want to get faster.  I don’t think that the solution for me will ever be more days and more miles.  Hopefully I can continue to train and get faster in a way that works for me.

For all that, running in California, from the Bay Area to Fresno, to Newport Beach, to La Mirada was wonderful and diverse.  I even managed a little people time on a few runs, which was great as well, since I tend towards solo running.

December 25: Between waking up late and Christmas mass, I only get in 5 miles around the Walnut Creek hills.  But I get to run in shorts and a t-shirt, which feels amazing!

December 26: Only have time for 4 miles before church.  No time for the trail this visit.  I have forgotten how hilly the area is and it brings back so many memories of walking the same routes with my mom and sister over the years.

Bay Area Running songThis is Your Life – Switchfoot

December 27: Accidentally sleep in and end up having to run in Fresno instead of the Bay Area.  Oops.  Isaac naps and I run 6.5 miles.  I am tired and unmotivated so I run to a friend’s parent’s house (not even sure if anyone will be home).  They are.  I appear on the doorstep (probably also appear crazy for running over) and run home.  I realize that I have not lived in an ethically diverse community in a  long time.  I also realize that south Fresno is not particularly scenic and also makes me feel jumpy.

December 28: My sister arrives at 6:30 am and greets me with, “You know it’s 38 degrees out, right?”  I stick with the shorts because, honey, 38 degrees is nothing now!  We leave our respective babies behind and enjoy a lovely 7 mile run.  We enjoy the time and conversation (unlike fairly stressful runs we have shared in years past) and run around Fresno State.

December 29: Run 7.5 miles around the Ag fields at Fresno State after it rains.  The wind is stiff and cold but the sky…  The sky at sunset, with the gray clouds tinged with gold and snow covered mountains in the background show me Fresno at its best.  Everything is kelly green.  The green, the brown soil, the blue patches of sky, and the sun sinking below the horizon make this a run not to miss.  A day like this does something to my soul.

December 30: Run 5 miles around my old paper route and through our neighborhood.  Everything is fraught with memories.  I am almost afraid, as I run in the early morning, that I will run into a ghost of myself or see my mom rounding the corner of a familiar street.  Memories press heavily – so many walks and runs and thoughts and conversations these roads have seen in the past nineteen years.

Fresno Running songSeptember – Daughtery

December 31: Run 10 miles with a friend and former co-worker at Newport Beach.  It is a glorious, gorgeous, sunny, not too warm, day.  Absolutely ideal for running.  We enjoy catching up and I enjoy the beach atmosphere, watching the surfers, drinking in the sunshine, and the flat beach trail.  I would run this every weekend if I still lived in California.

January 2: Really want to run 14 miles but only do 10 because I’ve been running so frequently and don’t want to mess up my knee.  I am a little disappointed that not running those extra 4 miles keeps me below the 50 mile mark for the week.  I run my old neighborhood through the fog.  As it clears I find myself running down a particular road and realize the last time I ran that way I was in labor and timing my contractions!  That was so long ago and so much has changed since then.  I run the flat non-scenic route that I took so often while I was pregnant and finish by running up Biola Avenue and the little hill on Tacuba.  There is something so comfortable (but also strange) about going back to old running routes.  I feel like such a different person yet I’m running in the same place.  It does weird things to my head.

January 3: Sneak out during naptime after the rain and enjoy a brisk 7 miler through the neighborhood and past my old University/workplace.  Here I am, running in the middle of the day just like I always wanted to do when I was at my desk mid-afternoon.  I take full advantage of the lovely spacious bike lanes, knowing that I will be back to the slush on the side of the roads very soon.

January 4: Manage to sneak in 3 miles before waking up Isaac, finishing our packing, and loading up the car.  I bid a fond farewell to my old neighborhood and weather that does not dictate multiple layers.

Southern California Running songComatose – Skillet (Thanks to my sister for this one!)

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