For the past 3 years or so that I've been doing the Saturday morning walk at Signal Hill with the Long Beach and Palos Verdes Peninsula Walkers Meet Up group, I've either just walked the whole course, walked and ran it random intervals, walked with a 20 pound backpack, ran just the uphills, ran just the downhills, or ran just the flat portions. I even did a time trial walk last year which I wrote about here: http://aboutlifeandrunning.blogspot.com/2013/07/signal-hill-time-trial-walk.html. But I never ever ran the whole course until last Saturday, April 12th.
I don't know what got into me. At the spur of the moment I decided to try to run the whole 6 mile course that we normally walk. It must have been all the sitting around and eating all week that made me feel the need to do this. The conservative plan was to run at least the first 30 minutes regardless of what part of the course it might take me, then walk the rest of the way. Except 30 minutes turned into 35, which in turn got extended until I finally decided to just keep on going since I was getting close to the finish anyway. My guesstimates on how many minutes it would take me to climb the hills were pretty spot on, and the downhills and the flats were run at pretty much the same pace as the uphills since I can't really stretch out my stride anymore without injuring myself. Familiarity with the course helped a lot in the pacing. There were 6 major climbs on the course.
I knew the course to be exactly 6 miles based on using my GPS watch several times in the past, but which I did not bring last Saturday. Nevertheless, when I finally clicked off my chronograph at the finish, I was surprised to see that it took me exactly 1 hour and 12 minutes which meant 12 minutes per mile. Not bad for a hilly course from an occasional runner. I knew for sure that I would pay for it the next day in the form of delayed onset muscle soreness (D.O.M.S.), but as I write this about 30 hours later, it hasn't happened. Perhaps because the pace was too slow and I wasn't bounding downhills which creates most of the muscle damage. Better still is that my bad ankles survived it.
On that day when I was invited to a church to celebrate the 40th day memorial for a relative who passed away too soon, I dedicated this impromptu run since I wasn't able to make it to the 8 a.m. mass.
Other notes about walking at Signal Hill: A few weeks ago I went to Kmart to look at the 20 pound weight vest they were selling. It was too wide and thus too loose for my torso. I also felt that the small sand bags had the potential to be torn open down the line due to stress fatigue or perhaps continuous rubbing against the pockets they were inserted in. So, I finally placed the sand I bought from Home Depot weeks ago inside plastic bags reinforced with duct tape, and placed it in my backpack to substitute the 20 pound weight plate I usually carried in it. I walked with the group and felt slower than usual, so when I got home, I weighed the backpack on a bathroom scale and saw that it was 24 pounds. I felt every extra ounce of those 4 pounds while walking up and down Signal Hill. If that wasn't bad enough, the following week, while putting the backpack in the trunk of my car, I pinched a nerve on the right side of my trapezius muscle, which radiated down my chest. If it wasn't on the right side and didn't feel muscular, I would have thought I was having a heart attack because of the radiating pain. I may have to switch back to the weight plates and be more careful when I mount the backpack on my back next time.
Feeling thankful for being able to run a hilly 6 miles :-)