Thursday, June 18, 2015

Birthday Walk – 2015 Edition (and 2014)

The Statue of Liberty in Signal Hill
          Well I did my annual long walk to commemorate my birthday this year. Just as a refresher, I had been doing 2 hour long runs on my birthday when I was still able to run but in the past 4 years or so, I have had to modify it to long walks instead. I’ve tried to achieve the same mileage I would have done with 2 hours of running, but it has been hard mentally to walk that long. I didn’t even write about my long walk last year because my mind got lazy and I gave up after what I thought was an hour and 45 minutes. Checking back on my exercise log, I was surprised to see that I actually completed two and a half hours, but since my goal was 3 hours, I didn’t consider it a success. That walk was done in the Virginia Country Club area at around noon time on my actual birthday. I completed 10.17 miles at a pace of 14:45 minutes per mile.

          Will I have to reconsider the 3 hour goal and do just 2 hours instead – the amount of time I used to run for my birthday celebration? Sounds like a plan, so that’s what I tried to do this year.

          I wasn’t able to do the walk on my birthday but did it on June 7th instead due to my work schedule. I drove to Signal Hill with the intention of not doing the usual Long Beach Walking Club course which was 6 miles, but walking around the perimeter of the hill and up and down the streets from Pacific Coast Highway to the top of Signal Hill whatever distance it took me for 2 hours. I only wanted to walk at what I considered a cruising pace which meant no vigorous arm swings and no pushing it like I tried to do last year on flat terrain.

          Starting at the corner of Redondo and Hill Streets, I headed west and turned right on Temple Ave., then left on Willow St., left on Cherry Ave. towards Pacific Coast Highway. This is when I first saw the Statue of Liberty atop the aptly named Liberty Hotel (well it looked more like a roach motel). Who would have thunk it – a Statue of Liberty in these parts? No mistaking this place for Staten Island. I didn’t take a photo, but found it later on the streetview of Google Maps. From PCH, I climbed Stanley St. hill, and kept going and going and going around Signal Hill, descended and climbed several more hills, walked by Community Hospital of Long Beach where I work, and towards the traffic circle, then back again to Signal Hill.

          When I reached my goal of 2 hours, I kept on going with no idea when I was going to finish. My mind began to tire at about 10.5 miles so I thought I may just reach 11 miles and get it over with. By the time my GPS hit the 11 mile mark, I had walked for 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 46 seconds, which was a pace of 14:37 minutes per mile. What?! That was a cruising pace for uphill, downhill, and flats? Strange how that turned out. I was pushing the pace last year on the flats and I ended up walking faster this year when I wasn't pushing the pace and there were long hills.

          Just for comparison reasons, my 1 hour time trial pace nowadays is about 13 minutes and 21 seconds per mile. Heck, I may be able to finish a half marathon comfortably at my cruising pace if I wanted to.

          Well, at least I accomplished the 2015 edition of my long birthday walk with only a modest goal. Next year’s goal will still be 2 hours and we shall have to see if I make it after I take the first step.