Week 43, 2012: Alum Rock Park & Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve run

After first day at work on Monday, on Tuesday I got up at 6am (those who know me and my sleeping habits should be able to appreciate the extent of this achievement) in order to do some running before starting work. But because of the heavy traffic I only had time for a short 8K run, which I did around the Google campus, discovering that there are some quite promising trails (much better than the Guadalupe River trail in San Jose).

The following day I again got up early, this time took the 6:30 shuttle and was able to do a decent 14K training, confirming that the trails are very pleasant indeed and probably good for runs up to 25K..

However, the following day my shins started acting up (I had problems with them at the beginning of the year). I like walking real fast and few times I was stopped in my tracks with sudden pain. So Wednesday running was off.

I thought I'd have to take a longer break from running, but on Friday evening the pain was gone and I decided to give it a try. Since it was late I used a treadmill and did a fairly fast, 1 hour long workout (4:58min/km). The following day my legs felt pretty heavy so I just did an easy 14K.

The high point of the week was, as usual, my long Sunday run. My legs were still hurting from Friday but I decided to go with it nonetheless. I drove to a relatively small Alum Rock park. Yet again I failed to start early in the morning and by the time I did start it was almost 3pm, which left me less than 4 hours for the training. Given that I was pretty tired, I did not really plan to run any longer, it's just that it meant I had to plan it right and try not to get lost to make it back on time ;)

The Alum Rock park turned out to be very small indeed and I made a loop around most of it in less than an hour, at which point, as planned, I entered the neighboring Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve.

That turned out to be a paradise for mountain bikers and I met many of them (only one or two runners, though). I made a fairly big loop around the part, but lacked time to reach the vista point located at 2000 feet in the south part of the park; next time.

I did meet many cows and bulls, though. I'm not easily scared by animals but when a family blocked my way, I have to say I was rather happy I did not sport a red t-shirt and respectfully walked around them; photo below.

I ended up coming back to where I started pretty much exactly "on time" and did 28 kilometers in the process, including almost 1200 meters of vertical ascent. That means a roughly similar profile to the one of Lakeland 50 and I have to say that I'm getting new appreciation of my completing this race ;).

By the time I finished the sun was setting down and the park looked really magnificent ; I hope I managed to at least partially, capture it in the photos, which you can see in this post.

I have to say I really love those long runs. I mentioned before that one of the main reasons I liked Lakeland 50 so much was that it felt kind of like an adventure. Well, those long weekend runs are also adventures on their own. I love the planning: where to go, which route to choose; I love the post workout analysis... And of course, I love the runs themselves: just me, my backpack and the nature around... and there are still plenty of places on the map to explore!


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