This week I am in Claremont, California – the far West side of LA. Each week when I get to a new city one of the first challenges is finding good local running trails. Let’s talk about this: there are simply NO good websites out there for finding jogging paths. I don’t know if my Google skills are just that rusty or what, but I am always struggling to find decent nearby paths.
Can anyone recommend a good site or app for locating the best trails? I really like running on bike paths – why are these not easy to find?! I know some sites, like Map My Run show user-submitted runs, but often times those are through their neighborhood – no straight shot runs like I’m partial to.
But I digress.
Today I woke up bright and early at 5:00 a.m. all set to get my 13 mile run in for the week. Having struggled to find a long enough path in the area, I decided to head out to Venice Beach for an oceanfront jog. I was looking forward to a relatively flat and mindless long run today because I had a loft goal I was hoping to achieve – breaking the 9:00 minute pace for the half marathon distance! I’ve been doing plenty of sub 9:00 paces, up to 9 miles, and thought today just might be my day!
So off I go – I hopped in the company car and hit the highway. While slowing down in that awful LA traffic though I noticed I forgot my Garmin watch – just like last week! Ever the data-junkie, I decided to head back to the hotel to grab it since I was just a few miles away. I wasn’t going to skip the run like last week, but I wanted that watch to keep me on pace for the run!
Now, it’s crazy to think of how if I hadn’t been so reliant on my Garmin how my day may have panned out quite a bit differently. Nevertheless, I turned around, grabbed it, and started back on the drive to the beach.
Then – BOOM. As they say, shit happens.
I can’t really go into too many details, but 10 hours later I’m now driving a rental and the company car is getting some TLC. If only I didn’t need that stupid watch! Grr! As you can probably imagine, I didn’t quite make it to the beach for my long run.
Once all the details from this morning were sorted out I was craving a run even more, wanting to burn off some steam. With ample amounts of fro-yo fuel from lunch, I was ready to go. The waiter at lunch had recommended the Pacific Electric Inland Empire Trail, nearby bike path (where were you Google?) and I decided to check that out.
Let me tell you something: if you’re trying to run seven miles, 2:30 p.m. in LA is not the time to do it. ICK was it hot out!
Perhaps because it was my first time running on a relatively flat path in awhile, or because of the stress from the morning, but I started out WAY too fast. I’m talking way too fast, clocking my first mile in at 8:20. When my second mile was only marginally slower, I knew I had started out too fast for seven miles to feel good and, combined with the heat, I decided to cut the run down to four miles.
Anytime I go for a shorter distance I try to push myself a little harder in the speed department. Feeling like a rockstar with those sub 8:30 miles, I started into the second half. Oh, hello there sun right in my face and a crazy strong headwind! (Now I know why I was going so fast on the first half!) That second half was brutal, but somehow I was still pulling a pretty swift pace.
All said and done, I ended the run – gasping – with four miles at an 8:29 pace! I think that was one of the fastest four mile runs I’ve done yet! End time 33:45.
Tomorrow I’m going to try again to get this half marathon knocked out for the week. We’ll see how it goes. This bike path, while flat, rivaled the Santa Ana River Trail for lackluster scenery. I was running past abandoned buildings and padlocked storage units for most of the run. Claremont – plant some trees, will ya?
The rest of this week, in addition to the 13 mile run tomorrow, will be one more 4-miler and two 7-milers, for a total of 35 miles this week. Whoo! Marine Corps Marathon, here I come!