Saturday, January 22, 2005

Saturday morning disaster. (Or the hills of Aguajito cramp my style.)

8.5 ish2 hrs. or something Aguajito Rd. to Mark Thomas Dr. to Sylvan Rd. to AguajitoWho cares?

I had planned to run 14 miles today. I had planned to make new friends. Well, you know what Steinbeck said about plans, don't you? They get messed up.

Since my theoretical training partner isn't at the same place in his schedule that I am, I decided to go out and meet a regular Saturday morning run group in Carmel. They run a route from Carmel Beach into Pebble Beach and along the ocean, about 12 miles. I would simply go a mile further before turning around.

"It will be nice to run with people," I thought to myself. "Maybe I can make some new running buddies."

So I woke up at 6:15 a.m. (getting to be a nasty habit, huh?) I choked down a yogurt smoothie. I got in my car. I went to Carmel. I found a small group of runners and introduced myself. (They didn't know who I was. The indignity!) A few minutes before the 7:20 a.m. run was to start, I asked where the bathroom was for a pre-run pit stop.

I was fast. But two minutes later, when I came out of the bathroom, the group was nowhere to be seen. They ran away from me. I didn't know their route. They ditched me. I had flashbacks to the junior high, when my friends ditched me at the mall. I had flashbacks to the day of my birth, when my parents left me at the hospital. (No respect.) I wonder what happened to the runners. Were they scared away by my yellow shorts? Had they seen the pictures from Carlsbad?

So I high-tailed it away from Carmel and went about mapping a new route. I would tackle treacherous Aguajito Rd., a winding, narrow, hilly two-lane strip of blacktop that that belts Monterey's backside, connecting Carmel to Monterey on the east side of Highway 1. I clocked it out on my odometer, and figured I'd run the road (and another) round-trip (8.5 mi. or so) and then run for another hour. That would give me 14, I thought.

For a while, everything was going great. I jogged up from my car to Aguajito's foggy summit and turned off my radio so I could enjoy the sounds of nature, then began the two-mile descent into Monterey. Easy stuff. Up Sylvan, (eat a gel) run back down to Aguajito, and start my way chugging back up the hill that was so kind just an hour before. The first half of the hill went well. Then, my hamstrings and calves started aching a little.

No matter, I thought, this is just prep for Hurricane Pt. Those flatlanders don't have a chance. Then, as I was approaching the steepest part, disaster. A sharp flash of pain in my left calf.

Stop. Stretch. Go again.


Stop. Stretch. Massage. Go again.

More pain.

Repeat stretch. Walk. Run. Pain.

So, I walked the rest of the way up the hill. Then I jogged downhill the final mile to my car. Instead of running for another hour, I got in my car and quit. When I got home, I was gimping.

Ice. Stretch. Rub. Call Dr. Dad.

He says it's probably just a cramp. A few hours later, it still hurts a little, but maybe it will go away. I hope it will. Regardless, my confidence is shaken. I was running really slowly, and I took yesterday off. Since I started training, I haven't had to cut short a run, and now I have.

I've tasted failure, now. I just hope the flavor doesn't linger.

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