Los Gatos Trail, Redux

So – off we went, 9:00 AM. Me, my nephew Steve, my brother in law Gary, my sister Kathleen, and my girl, Puja – all on bikes, and me in running gear. A bit chilly but not too much, foggy, but not too much, and far, but not too much!

We headed towards the park from Kathleen’s house, on the streets. The first two miles were okay – trying to warm up, trying to get a sense of pace, and trying to not run over one of my cycling comrades! I couldn’t tell for sure how fast I was going – but I felt pretty good – so I just checked my heart rate, noticed that I wasn’t in trouble, and kept going. I shucked my long sleeve tee before mile one and ran in my tank and shorts – which was fun and funny – all of the ohter runners were in tights and jackets!

When we turned towards the park, I remembered this part of the race – somewhere around mile 15 or so. My sister and her kids were waiting, and I was hurting – and I already knew that I wasn’t going to bust that three hour mark. Still – seeing them was so reassuring – and – today – I had some of them along, plus Puja – so I knew I was going to have a good day.

And a good day was exactly what happened – I hit the zone when we entered the park, that sweet, sweet level of effort that is just hard enough that the rest of the world fades away, but not so hard that anything hurts, if you get what I mean. It seemed like every minute or so another half mile had passed – and while I wasn’t running that fast – it felt like I was.

And I was both running alone and with company – I could focus on snippets of conversation behind or in front of me, or I could have a quick chat when someone pulled up – and I could also just cruise along – me, the trail, memories of the marathon.

Of course, at this point – I was running down hill – down past the lake, past the freeway, past the park where my dad snapped a couple of pictures. At the same time, I was runnign UP – remembering the race three years ago – the guy with the headphones that couldn’t hold a pace, the rookie from Stanford who ran a great race, the headwind, the track at Los Gatos High School, the brutal hill before the turnaround.

But I was going down – and pretty fast for an old guy. My splits were in the 7:30 – 7:40 range – a nice and comfortable pace, too – although I WAS going downhill.

We hit the park in Campbell, Gary gave me water, Kathleen a gel pack, Steve and Puja smiles – and back up the hill I ran. I was a tad nervous that the uphill would spoil the mood – but I dropped right back into the zone – the miles slid by, even though some were uphill and the headwind had picked up a bit.

My legs were a bit tired – but not so tired that I slowed much. I kept moving, past the park, the freeway, the lake, and back out to the highway – home was a mile or two away. The sun was out, I had great company – and a 15 mile run was almost in the bag. The final hill over Hwy. 17 was a bit no fun, but it was over quickly – and then it was just the waiting at the stop lights before the final few turns.

I finished in just under 2 hours, and probably covered 15.2 miles – and better yet – save for an ache here and there – felt really good. Snacks helped, water helped, a beer helped, a coffee helped, a Mexican lunch helped, walking around Santana Row helped, and dinner most certainly helped.

Next weekend –  16 miles!

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One Comment to “Los Gatos Trail, Redux”

  1. And what a contrast to my 15 mile run up and down hills on a cold and windy seattle day with just me to keep myself compnay and not good company at all, having to stop and buy water at a subway at 8 miles and totally dragging the last uphill mile.
     
    Still, 15 miles done.
     
    16 miles on friday in munich.
     
    Also by myself. 🙂

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