I normally do my long runs on Saturdays, but Barbara suggested switching them to Fridays while I was there - there would be less traffic (foot and bike) on West Cliff Drive, where I'd be running, plus that would give us all day on Saturday to do stuff with Theresa since she'd be out of school then.
The day after I arrived in California, I did my six miler. Barbara lives about a mile from the coastline, so I walked from her house about half a mile as a warm up, and then I started my run. She rode an older bike that would make it easier on her to go slow, and was mostly alongside me for the duration. The weather was a nice cool 59 degrees when I started, at just after 8:00 am. There was a bit of fog and it was overcast, which was perfect for me. I felt good and pushed myself a little more than I would have, had I been doing the same distance in the Texas heat. I ran down Swift St., and once I hit West Cliff Dr., I ran toward Natural Bridges first. Hello rolling hills! Well, not hill hills, but it isn't flat. I turned around at the entrance to Natural Bridges and ran back along West Cliff - I passed by the surfer monument statue, the lighthouse, all sorts of interesting people, as well as runners, walkers, dogs, bicyclists - there was a lot of activity going on for a Friday morning! I turned around when I got close to the Santa Cruz Wharf, but well before then, I could hear the sea lions who live there barking away - that was a different sound than I'm used to hearing while I run! Barbara carried a backpack with extra water for me, and refilled my handheld water bottle during the run. It was nice to have my own private "crew" taking care of me - I felt like an elite runner!
I got a little tired around the 4.5 mile mark, but had a salted caramel GU and rallied for the final 1.5 miles. I finished and we walked to a sweet little place for breakfast, where I had a poached egg and bacon on a chili chive biscuit - it was delicious!
Ahhh, nothing like breakfast, all the drinks (coffee and Nuun) and a good friend to share it with after a long run!
I ran again on Sunday morning - I had 40 minutes on my schedule and zipped through them. Amazing how much better running feels when it's not so blasted hot! Barbara walked while I ran, so I was solo for this one.
A gorgeous morning - the fog was lifting and the views were fantastic!
My next long run was a 7 miler, which I did the following Friday. Not gonna lie - I was a little nervous about this one. I hadn't run 7 miles since last January, and knowing how tired I was toward the end of my 6 mile run the week before - well...yep. Nerves. But the run was great! Same route, only more time on West Cliff. I tried to run a little slower in order to keep up my endurance for the extra mile. I took two GUs during the run, my most-excellent crew kept me hydrated and distracted, and when I hit the 7 mile mark? My overall pace was only 5 seconds per mile slower than the six miler run - and I felt much better! I swear, running is weird.
Here's the map of my run:
So funny to see the blue - yep, that's the ocean!
I finished my run and Barbara indulged me with some picture-taking:
SEVEN!!! I climbed down the path a little for this shot.
Went a little farther out for this one.
And then, it was time for breakfast - this time at Kelly's French Bakery:
A ton of food - I put a healthy dent in this plate. Plus, all the drinks. And a caramel macaron for later...it was so good, I'm kind of glad that Blue Baker doesn't make them.
Normally after a long run, I spend the rest of the day lazing around. As I told Barbara, "Saturday's aren't usually very productive during training season" - but after this run of 7 miles, plus a good two miles of walking before and afterward, we went home, showered, picked up Theresa from school, and drove over the hill to the mall, where we shopped until 9:00 pm. I figure I easily put a half-marathon's worth of miles on my legs that day!
I finished out my running in California with a 45 minute run on Sunday - 3.25 miles, plus another 2 miles of walking. All told, I ran just about 20 miles and walked a good 9 miles while I was there (not including all the shopping/walking miles, haha). I'm glad I was able to not only keep up with my training runs, but also to run in such beautiful conditions!