Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stagecoach Century and Del Mar Mesa Trail Run

Stagecoach Century (1/16/10)
  • Perfect weather (low 70s) with mild wind (although the head wind was on the way back)
  • Great group of friends to ride with
  • 3 workouts in 1 ride--social hour, solo riding (great IM training), and paceline practice
  • First 50 miles false flat but very rewarding return
  • Significant climbs always appear worse than they reallly are
  • Love the impromptu pacelines with strangers; great way to make new friends
  • Gorgeous desert views, splattered with interesting cacti formations (that turn into creepy people after mile 90 of the bike)
  • Eerie historical landmarks ("The Well of Eight Echos")
  • Loved the nickname one of my friends dubbed me: "The Phoenix" after observing on several rides that I die about mile 60, only to blow by after mile 80. Very cool.
  • Great base mile building for Ironman Utah!

--gorgeous desert view from the top of first big climb and old Stagecoach road

--huffing and puffing up first big hill

14-Mile Del Mar Mesa Trail Run
I didn't plan on going 14. It just happened. I ran the first 6 with Travis. Well, Travis probably ran 7 or 8 with all his galavanting around and chasing helpless, innocent little animals, with me widly waving my arms to warn them whenever I saw them first. I dropped him back at the house where he immediately downed 2 large bowlfuls of water and then promptly vomited. Ugh.

I trotted back out to finish my run solo. I only planned on doing 4 more. Afterall, I had biked 100 miles the day before. But my legs felt soooo good. And it was overcast and drizzling. I LOVE running in the rain. Plus, I'm doing a 50K in March and have to get my miles up. I decided to try for 14.

I headed into Del Mar Mesa. Which was more like running straight up and then straight down and then straight up again, all the while navigating around and over millions and millions of rocks. Rocks everywhere. At mile 10, I finally relaxed and settled into a nice rhythm. If the temperature hadn't been dropping (and if the hills hadn't killed my glutes and quads), I think I could have kept going forever. I love how the mind softens, the eyes automatically scan the ground ahead, sending signals to the brain for processing. Where to put my feet, where the rocks and trenches are, how steep the grade is; all this information coming in constantly, milliseconds at a time, flooding the mind on a subconscious level. Meanwhile, the smell of sage and jasmine float through the air, and I sneak peaks at the gorgeous views of the valleys and ponds. But often, I don't need to look at anything or think about anything or do anything. My feet automatically carry me along, and I'm floating, somewhere above it all, in a meditative state. Time stops, and all that matters is this moment, now, from footstep to footstep. This is why I run. It's one of the few times I can effortlessly relax.

Random Objects I Saw on My Run:
Shopping cart
Overturned, red, abandoned Honda
rabbits (3)
ground squirrel
red tailed hawk
gray shirt with Jesus on it, stiff as cardboard
other runners with 3 dogs that rejected Travis when he tried to join in on their reindeer games
hoofprints from horses
pawprints from other dogs? coyotes?
lawn jockey (on the trail)
Giant fiscus planted in the ground and thriving
And my favorite: a shrine of Mary statues with a myriad of little animal statues (dogs, deer, etc) surrounding Mary as if they were listening to her give a speech. A bench was beside the shrine so you could sit and enjoy. It was creepy. In the middle of nowhere!


Southern Cernock said...

Poor Travis. And that scene with Mary and the animals does sound a little creepy. I love reading about your training. I get so excited about my own training!

Bob D said...

Wow, that's some back to back. You're in great condition for January!

Formulaic said...

Great job out there. I was thinking about doing the stagecoach but it was such a long drive.

I didn't realize the hills were that steep.


Andy said...

I feel bad for Travis, but it happens! Your pictures of the ride are cool! I wish there were more places near me just to get out and do a century ride! it looks like you had lots of fun, and got some good workouts in. You know you always have a good run when you get further than you had originally planned!

Grey Beard said...

That looks like a big, empty desert. I do love how quiet the desert can be though.