Today was the first day of the High Desert Runners official LA Marathon Training group. The group has met on Saturdays, most years to work together on their long runs. I have only participated, years ago, on one single run. I remember being one of the slower guys there that day. I do not recall why I did not stick with the group. In recent years I have not participated because the group tends to do a lot of its running on hills. I have always figured that your long run should simulate the actual race course you will be running….
This year, though, I have my training all mapped out, and I have considerable flexibility with my Saturdays. As long as I keep the pace easy and keep the total miles in the medium range I should be able to make it work into my training. So, I headed over to P12, by Highland High School at 8 am to see what the group would do. The group consisted of the leader: Steve Henrich (an LA Marathon Legacy Runner – with a 3:01 PR back in 88 I learned today.) myself, Glen Hattori, Shannon Porter, Claire Durand, and a couple of ladies I had not previously met: Jan and Mary. Tiffany Marley also just happened to be at our meeting location getting ready to go for a run with her dog Wiley.
Steve and I led the group up the aqueduct access road to the ridge on the south east side of the valley. Tiffany ran along with us for most of this part of the run. She would take long cuts and then reappear with us and run with us from time to time. We continued across the abandoned home construction area to the old Joshua Ranch Trail and followed it up and over the Bunny Hill and down to the aqueduct about a half mile from 60th. We ran to 60th and Steve showed me his secret stash of water and Hammer Gel. We ran back about a quarter mile and found Mary and Shannon running up toward us. So, we went back with the ladies to show them where the supplies were. The four of us then crossed the bridge and headed back on the paved side of the aqueduct. After about a half mile, Steve and Mary were talking about some things and I found myself drifting ahead of the group. My pace was only 8:30 so I let myself get ahead.
When I got to the siphon behind Highland with the crazy steep access road, I decided to throw in a few hill sprints. Someone has the hill marked in 10 meter sections. I went down to the 60 and set my watch to beep every 10 seconds. I ran up and walked back down to the 60 3 times. Then I walked down to the 50 and ran up (still just 10 seconds) and walked down 3 times. Then I walked down to the 40 and I added two more reps for 8 total. Whilst in the middle of doing these, Steve had run by, and then Mary and Shannon had run by. Since I was now the last one on the trail I decided to head in.
Claire, Jan, and Tiffany had all turned around on their own and headed back. Now that I think about it though, I am not sure whatever became of Glenn. He filmed a video of the start so I will be watching for it on facebook and I will link to it, once I see it posted there.