Monday, January 26, 2015

An 8 Mile Recovery Run... With Hills

Thanks to a power outage which had my electronic equipment coming back on rather loudly at 5 am in the morning, I ended up making it out to Griffith Park on time for a change. After last week’s 18 mile run, we Team to End AIDS runners were treated to a recovery run of 8 miles. But in the process we learned that we were still in recovery more than we realized. 

As soon as I got out my car at Griffith Park, the wind hit my face in a way that was much warmer than usual. Usually it’s very cold when I get there, but that was not the case this time out. For a moment I thought about putting my Nike sweater jacket back in my car, but I decided against it for some ridiculous reason. In the end I left it at the T2EA meeting area as it became clear that this particular January morning was going to be a lot warmer than usual.

Coach Jennifer started things out with an announcement about the importance of fundraising. Right now we have raised over $116,000, but even if we hit our individual fundraising goals, we should not think of stopping there. Jennifer took the time to give us ideas about how to best fundraise, and she later admitted that she was telling us this for the sake of her upcoming performance review. Now anybody out there who says they can’t relate to that is a flat out liar, and I think it’s safe to say we got her back. 

After that Coach JC came out and it was the first time in what feels like ages that I got to hear him yell out, “GOOD MORNING T2!!!” He also told us that even though we may feel fine, our legs are still recovering from last week’s 18 mile run. As always, we needed to take it easy and not overdue anything. Coach JC also made note of the warm weather, saying that this would have been the perfect day to where that Mrs. Santa Claus costume. Yes, it would have been perfect indeed.

This recovery run was kept to inside the park as Vice President Joe Biden was in town, and you know what happens when either he or President Obama comes to Southern California: traffic becomes unbearable and the secret service closes off far too many roads. Hearing that did not make me look forward to the drive home.

One other thing, this recovery run had a hill. Not a deceptive hill mind you, but one which redefines the word “steep” for you. I’ve ran up this hill before, but I still get nervous when it becomes part of our training. All of a sudden I started to wonder if this really counted as a recovery run. My legs were telling me, “Please Ben, give us one more day of rest. Dear lord just one more day!” Not a chance. Cue Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.”

This hill takes us from Zoo Drive to the other side of Griffith Park where Crystal Springs Drive is. I was doing a lot of huffing and puffing on my way up, and I found myself getting winded rather quickly. Speed walking became a preferred activity for me, and I ended up trailing behind my fellow runners for a while. 

To add to our doubts about this truly being a recovery run, we ended up having to run up that same hill again. This is the kind of crazy shit that happens when the Vice President of the United States is in town. 

The wind was blowing a lot but it didn’t affect us too much. The weather, however, was very dry and I think that messed with everyone’s heads after a while. To add to our running challenges was the fact there were flies everywhere, and I began fearing that my face would start looking like my windshield does after driving for hours on the 5 freeway. We also couldn’t come out this run saying that we didn’t swallow at least one fly. Well, now we know how Marlon Brando felt on the set of Apocalypse Now.

Halfway through the run I kept hoping to see Robin Russell on this side of the park pounding away on his drum set. I also was hoping that J.K. Simmons would not be there yelling and screaming at him like he did at Miles Teller in Whiplash. Sure enough, Robin was there drumming those infectious rhythms that kept us going on a ridiculously dry day. He even waved at us while he was still playing the drums, and that should give you an idea of how talented the man is. Oh, and J.K. Simmons was not there.

According to my Runkeeper app, I was on the road for just under 2 hours, had an average pace if 14 minutes and 42 seconds per mile, and I burned 1,221 calories. Here’s hoping some pounds got burned off in the process. Next week is our 20 mile run, so you can sure bet that I will be hydrating like crazy next week. Here’s hoping that my legs have recovered from this recovery run by next Saturday.
I leave you with this quote by Olympic marathoner Rob DeCastella:

“I like hills because you can see the top. I know that sounds glib, but you know that the hill is not going to keep appearing; it’s there and once you get to the top, it’s behind you, and you feel as though you have conquered something.”

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