Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pushing The Pace At Signal Hill

Another view from the top on a cloudy and misty day. Yes folks, there are still oil derricks in Signal Hill.

          Oh my, I just lost what I was typing because the Polaris word processor on my Asus tablet PC crashed :(  Oh well, I'll have to start all over.
          Last Saturday morning, even though my ankles were still sore from the 30 minute treadmill run I did three days before, I showed up for the 6 mile Signal Hill walk led by Donna of the Long Beach Walking Club. There were 12 people signed up on their website. Five of those cancelled ahead of time, one at the last minute, and there we three no shows. I was too ashamed to be a no show regardless of my ankle problems. I was slightly disappointed when only four of us showed up because I wanted to walk with more people, especially when one of them indicated that she could run at a pace of 10 minutes per mile. I was hoping maybe we could walk together at a faster pace. Well, so much for that hope.
          Before we started, Donna asked me if I had been running more because she had seen me running up the hills in our previous walks. I told her that those few minutes at a time were all that my ankles could tolerate. Little did she know that it takes several days up to more than a week for my ankle tendons to recover after those short attempts at running. Heck, even just walking long distances make my ankles hurt.
          Last Saturday, I was determined to walk the whole route at my own pace and not run a single step. As in previous walks with this group, I would walk ahead then come back to them but this time, I didn't hang around to chitchat but kept my pace up. Donna altered the course a little bit at the start and I wasn't familiar with the first half mile that was added. Once we were past that and into familiar territory, I took the lead. I was really working the uphills hard but even with the effort I didn't feel a hint of sweat on my forehead until close to three miles due to the cold morning air which started in the 50's. It was also misty. On a second thought, maybe it wasn't sweat on my forehead but mist from the air. At three miles, I was still slightly over 15 minutes per mile. I was surprised at having hunger pangs during that walk because that hardly ever happens when I'm working out. A couple of times, my ankles were really hurting especially on the downhills,  which was like adding insult to injury. Thankfully, it worked itself out. I was actually walking faster on the uphills and even passed a woman who was running up one of them. I'm sure she would have spanked or chicked me on the downhills. But you know what? I would seriously trade places with her if only I could run again.
          And so it went - up and down hills on my own terms and at my own pace (which felt darn good). By the time we reached the end, I had covered 8.2 miles to my companions' 6.5 miles in two hours. My pace was 14:38 per mile on the hilly course - not bad for someone who doesn't do too many walking workouts. I just wish that I could find someone to walk my pace. That's the difference between the running club and the walking club. In the running club, it's easier to find someone to pace with from 6 minutes per mile all the way to 13 minutes per mile (not that I ever ran 6 minutes per mile).
          Upon arriving home, I Motrinized myself, applied capsaicin ointment on the ankles, then put on some supportive braces. I very, very seldom take Motrin or any other pain reliever. It seemed to work well this time. Pretty soon after that, I finally got relief from the hunger pangs with lunch.

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