I am excited to be participating in MissZippy’s #BestRun link up this week. The idea is to write about my most recent best run. First, I need to tell you that my weekly training recap post will be a day late, because, unfortunately, that recent best run didn’t happen this week. Oh, I had high hopes. I had my camera ready so that I could memorialize my run. I was creating the post in my mind before the run even started. Well, best laid plans and all that, it just didn’t happen. Oh, it wasn’t a bad run. It just wasn’t the best run.
What makes a best run? Is it your fastest run? When the weather is perfect? When you feel good the entire time? Or is it a beautiful locale, great running partners, hitting your training targets? There are so many things that can add up to make the perfect run. For me it is a combination of most, if not all of the above things. And I felt really, really fortunate to have experienced such a run last week, which happened to be Easter Sunday.
Oh, it started out normally enough. I was scheduled to run 12 miles, as I was in week ten of my La Jolla Half Marathon training. We were in Encinitas (see, already I’ve got the “beautiful locale” thing). Because it was Easter, and we had plans to meet family for brunch, I decided that I would cut my run back to 10 miles. It wasn’t the time factor as much as I didn’t want to be too drained to enjoy time with the family. I’m training harder than I have for a long time, and I find that my long runs take it out of me. So, I was fine with cutting down the mileage.
Alan is on a different training schedule that I, so he was going to run five miles. That meant I had him for the first two and a half, which we ran on the trails alongside the railroad tracks heading south with a great view of the coastline. At Alan’s turn-around point, we’d crossed the coast highway, in Cardiff, so I continued on south with a beautiful view of the ocean. The sun was shining, and the weather was just a little chilly. Perfect for a long run.
The next mile was downhill, as I ran out of Cardiff, towards Solana Beach. With the ocean on my right, the sun rising on my left, I was just enjoying the rhythm of my run, the beautiful weather and scenery. Even as the road started uphill, I kept my pace steady at about 9:15, which is an amazing time for me. The hill leveled off in Solana, where there was a lot of road construction going on, meaning that I was skipping over various hazards like trenches, holes, and sand patches. When I reached my mile five marker, my intended turn-around point, at about 48 minutes, I thought, “man, I feel good!” and decided to run a little farther.
As I crossed Via de la Valle into Del Mar, I figure that I’d run to dog beach, just a little bit farther. My Garmin read 5.5 miles as I stopped just before the bridge. A little side story: As I looked below at the dogs and their owners, I noticed a pretty white Lab, with a funny kind of gait. I’ve written before out our dog Goldie, who injured her back years ago. After a negative diagnosis (she’ll never walk again, you should put her down), Alan spent months with rehab, until that first amazing day when we saw her wag her tail for the first time. Now she walks, runs, leaps, albeit kind of clumsily, with a few falls thrown in. Anyway, I noticed that this white Lab had a similar gait I asked her owner, who confirmed that her dog had had a tumor removed from her spine. That was my turn-around point, and I was able to stretch out my rest for about five minutes as I talked to the dog’s owner.
The second half of the run continued to be amazing. As I ran back through Solana Beach, I felt like I was running downhill. My pace was increasing without any thought or effort. Mile seven was 9:27, mile eight, 9:20. That brought me to a nice downhill, heading back toward Cardiff.
What really made this a #bestrun for me though, was mile 10. This is the mile that takes me back up to Encinitas. It is a mile long uphill, probably around 5-6% grade, that is challenging even in a shorter run. I am happy (and proud) to say that I ran mile 10 at about race pace, 9:02. That made me feel so ready for my race!
Even the final mile, a relatively flat one that took me back across the railroad tracks to my hotel, was pretty good. I ran it in 9:46, which was almost exactly my average pace for the entire run.
So let’s see. Fast run (for me)? Check. Perfect weather? Check. Felt good? Check. Beautiful locale, great running partner (for part, anyway), hit my running targets? Check, check and check. Yes, it was definitely a #bestrun. The best I’ve had for a long time.
Tell me about your best run. What about it made it the best?