Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pick your pain: Track or Mountain.....and I saw Air Force One!

...or both!  Yeah that's me - a glutton for punishment.  Tuesdays at the track and Thursdays at the mountain.  I'm not sure I can manage this all year around but in the lead-up to a couple big races next month my Tuesday / Thursday pain sandwich continues into week 4.  Oh and I'm also trying to keep my weekly mileage over 60.......and bike 2 to 3 times per week.

To that end even easy days aren't that "easy".  This past Monday I ran 4 miles in the morning with my bride followed by 8 slow miles on my own in the evening.  There's 12 in the bag.  Tuesday morning I ran another 8 miles; feeling much more spry than the previous evening.  Now up to 20 miles for the week.

Tuesday evening I met up with Aaron from the Lockheed speed crew to get an ass whoopin at the track.  Aaron is built like a brick house and has been training for 400 & 800 meter races.  Our workout was 3 sets of 200, 200, 400 with almost full rest in-between.  I managed 32 seconds for 200 and 66 seconds for 400 while Aaron ran 30's and 61's.  Oye, he looked sooooo far away coming down the front-stretch during the 400's.  I think we could have gone for another set but I was happy to finish before my times tanked.  A total of 6 miles including warm-up, active rest and warm-down.  Weekly mileage up to 26.

Normally on Wednesdays I run in the morning and bike in the evening but this week I opted for a long, steady, flat 14 mile run in the interest of boosting weekly milage.  I also wanted to see how my body might respond after the previous days track workout.  By the end I still felt strong - especially in the last couple miles where in previous long runs I could feel my legs beginning to fade.  Pace for the run was 7:25 per mile.  Total for the week up to 40 miles.......and I saw the President of the United States.

Ok, so I didn't actually see Barack Obama but I did see Air Force One land at Moffett Field and I predicted it's arrival.  Yeah for sure and not by looking on the Internet or hearing about it on TV!  While out for my morning 14 mile run I saw some unusual activity around Moffett Field:

1. Signs announcing that a section of the Bay Trail at the East end of the Moffett runway would be closed from 4 PM Wednesday to Noon on Thursday.
2. Half a dozen motorcycle cops on roads inside Moffett practicing what appeared to be route clearing drills.....for a motorcade perhaps?
3. An Air Force C5 transport place parked on the tarmac.  This is the type of aircraft is used to transport the presidential motorcade vehicles including "The Beast" used to carry the President.

When I rode my bike up the Stevens Creek Trail in the afternoon there were cops at every overpass between Mountain View and 101.  Ok, this is on for sure!  I asked one of the cops if the President was in town and if the trail would be closed.  Naturally he wouldn't confirm one way or the other but all the evidence was clearly adding up to "yes".  When I got up the Crittenden Lane a dozen people were gathered on the levee overlooking Moffett Field - somehow they got the memo.  2 minutes later Air Force One came into view and hit the ground with a couple black SUV's speeding down the runway after it.  Pretty freakin cool and I even got a (horrible) photo with my phone:

Star sighting complete.  Now for my Thursday test; a sustained uphill tempo run.  This week I selected a new course; one that started in the village of Saratoga and climbed to the 3100' high point on Skyline Drive 6.5 miles away.  The last time I ran to Skyline I started 2 miles West of Saratoga on Rt. 9.  This time I wanted to get an extra 400' of climb and more of a rolling start on the shallower grades of Rt. 9.  Once I turned onto Sanborn Rd (pictured below) the grade pitched up, my heart rate jumped into zone 4 and it was game on!

The Sanborn Rd segment is .75 miles long and climbs 450' before I turned right into the park.  That madness is followed by a narrow paved road through the campground that climbs 400' in .6 miles.  At the top of the campground road pavement finally gives way to dirt but the climbing continues.  The next 2 miles are all single-track (pictured below); most of it steep but with a few flatter traverses to take the edge off my lung burning - another 1200' climbed.

The single-track Sanborn trail meets the Skyline trail with a few hundred yards of Skyline Drive unfortunately I turned the wrong way.  Instead of a short set of steps from trail to road I bushwacked over to Skyline Drive and added .4 miles to my climb (schiznit).  No matter; once back on the road it was only a 1/2 mile and 175' of climbing to the high point and end of my tempo run.  DONE, and that a good way.  My reward was a clear view West to the Pacific Ocean (pictured below).

I took my time coming back down to try and go easy on my knees, snap some pics and try the San Andreas trail back to Sanborn Rd.  The upper section of San Andreas was well maintained and dominated by fun switchbacks but bottomed out in a maze of trails, roads, ponds, ball fields and school buildings.  A nice change of scenery but I'll stick with the Sanborn trail.

By the time I got back to Saratoga my clicked off almost 14 miles, 2950' of climb and an average pace of 8:58.  Good workout and I'm up to 54 miles of running for the week.  Next stop: Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Cupertino for an espresso (pictured above) and some fresh coffee for my grinder.