I killed a 12 miler yesterday. Did the Back Bay loop. A few months ago this is the run that used to clean my clock about 10 miles in. This is not an incredibly difficult run or anything, but it seems to have just the right mix of hills, humidity, and boredom that turns this into a real challenge for me.
The morning started out like any other Saturday. The Cal Coast group met at Corona del Mar High School and by 7:30 we were off on the trails. The Half Marathon folks were out for 8 miles and the Full folks out for 12. The group was going out the San Diego Creek trail, but for some reason, when we came to the trail split I decided I was up for the challenge that the Back Bay always seems to hand me. So I bid my fellow runners adieu and moved on into the dragon's lair.
The first four miles are about as spectacular as a run can be. Running around the Upper Newport Bay and it's estuary is a never ending display of nature at it's best.
It's the next four miles that get to me. Running through a residential neighborhood, followed by running along a busy highway, followed by running along a cinder block wall and a private campground kind of grinds me down.
I usually hit the last four miles pretty tuckered out. But for some reason, I hit the final four miles yesterday with plenty left in the tank. I ended up running a nice 12 miles aerobic miles (79% MHR) in 2:03 (10:20 pace). That's a full 10 minutes faster than the last time I finished this loop back in June. I'm not sure why. Nor am I going to ask. All I know is yesterday I slayed the dragon. I guess slow and steady can win the race.
Note: Just so everything's above board, these photos were taken in May of 2008 when the exact same run required 2 hours and 21 minutes at a *much* higher average heart rate....