Week 5, 2013: another solid week.

Ok, as usual I'm running (bad pun intended) almost one week late with this post, but time for last week's summary.

On Tuesday I started with a hill run to Black Mountain. That meant getting up at 6am -- never easy -- and driving there while it was still half dark. The training, as usual, was tough but rewarding. I managed to get to the top in 1:04:56, over 7 minutes fast than 3 weeks previously, although it's not a far comparison as then I wasn't racing to the top and it was just part of a longer, casual run. Still, it felt good. I followed up with an easy run in the evening.

On Thursday I did my usual speed training, on my usual 8K loop at the Baylands Park. I was on my way for a PR on the course but then I got some technical problems, talking of which would certainly mean crossing the TMI boundary ;). So the second half was a struggle but, to my surprise, after the run I realized that according to Strava I did improve my PR by... 2 seconds :). I again followed up with an easy run in the evening.

I have to say that this two-runs-per-day business is tough. I do a demanding training in the morning and then going for another run in the evening, even if it's just an easy run, takes all the strong will I can muster. Not an easy thing to do. At least I hope it makes some sense training-wise.

So then came the weekend. On Saturday I went to the Windy Hills Open Space Preserve. As usual I picked it more or less by random, and somehow the ominous name of the place escaped me at that time ;).

I got to like the place almost from the start. The first part was a pleasant uphill, open space run, offering nice views and then I'd go downhill in a redwood forest. Before I finished the training I got to think of Windy Hills as one of the most pleasant parks I've been to. The lack of wind certainly contributed to that feeling :). I hope the photos from this post -- all but the last two from the Windy Hills -- will give you some idea, although as usual it's not easy to capture the spirit of the park in a few photos taken on the run with one's phone camera...

This was an intense week and on Sunday I felt really tired. So I don't know what got into me to decide to drive to Santa Cruz and run in the Forest of Nisene Marks. But drive I did.

The forest seemed nice enough and slightly more wild than your usual state park: the trails were marked subtly and there were many side trails, so getting lost was an option (and sure enough I did). But also the trail itself felt more "real"; for instance crossing a creek involved hopping from stone to stone, not walking over a bridge.

I wonder how long it took Mother Nature to more or less reclaim what was her.

But there was one problem. I felt completely out of element. My batteries were empty and running was a struggle and I was moving at a very sluggish pace. In the end I called it a day much earlier than I planned to. In retrospect I should have taken a day off. Or at least go for an easy run. Oh well.

In the end it was a second week in a row with close to 100km total. Not bad. But my experience on Sunday clearly suggests that I now need an easier week, so that's what I'll try to do. Next Sunday there is a Golden Gate Trail Run, which is on the same course as the Coyote Ridge that I did few weeks ago. So that would be a nice opportunity to compare for performance comparison, but as it's supposed to be an easy week I think I won't do it and instead I'll wait for the Montara Mountain Trail Run two weeks later. Stay tuned! :)

(See more photos from: Windy Hills Open Space Preserve, The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park).

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