During week eight, I learned that Long Beach, CA is mostly flat! And I am training for a bunch of very hilly races. So, that might be a problem. As I get used to traveling to the west coast every week, one of my main concerns is the lack of variation in my runs. Sure, I can try and cut across the city to some minor hills, but the endless streetlights and huge intersections make that seem like a pain. My plan moving forward is to try and balance my work and running life (because that is all I do out here) so that I can hit up some local trails during the week. That way, I am getting hills and trails (win-win!).
As for the training, I think I am starting to feel some endurance benefits on top of my perceived increase in speed. Two 71 mile weeks in a row and I still feel fresh. After my long run this week, I did have a bit of knee pain, but it seems that was just a side-effect of an intense trail long-run.
I started off the week exploring the town of Cerritos where my hotel was with some fartleks. Fartleks are probably my favorite workout, not because of the name, but because the surge of speed for just a couple of minutes is incredibly satisfying and challenging.
Wednesday I did an easy run along the same bike path I found on my Tuesday run. My plan called for some easy miles, so I just went out and enjoyed the warm weather. One of the strangest things about California to me so far is that I was on a great bike path, in great weather, but there was nobody around! For a part of the country with so many people, it felt oddly desolate.
Thursday I went out to the bike path again for some miles at around 7:00/mile after a warm up and ended with a cool down. Nothing special about this run, just some quality miles.
Friday I was back in Boston, and I did an easy 6.5 miles to rest up for the long run. Besides the time change being a total curve ball, the change in climate is certainly going to be interesting week to week.
Saturday I went out and hit the trails. Midday, I drove up the Middlesex Fells and set out to do 4 loops of the reservoir trail. Of the two main loops in the park, the “Res” trail is less technical and hilly, but it felt like the perfect “welcome-back” to the woods and good prep for Bear Mountain. While I felt like I was running harder than my pace indicated, it still was a fantastic run.
Sunday I got some easy miles in with Colleen! She was still recovering from throwing out her back earlier in the week, but she ran super smart and we had some great miles together.
Now, onto week Nine!