Some Long Runs Can Be Brutal! Sycamore Canyon 20 Miler Today!

Well I went back to the mat today for another long run.  This was kind of unplanned as I had planned to take a break this weekend but other activities next weekend preclude me from doing a long run. 

Some friends were running trails at 5:30 a.m. today but I was out until 1 a.m. last night and my body wasn't agreeable to the early start.  So I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and got out the door around 6:45 a.m. 

I call this the Turf to Surf to Turf run, Newbury Park to PCH round trip via Sycamore Canyon.  Living in the Conejo Valley allows quick access to trails that take you to the ocean.  I started the run from my house and ran to the trailhead at Wendy and Potrero in Newbury Park.  After reaching the Satwiwa Indian Culture Center I took the Sycamore fire road down into the canyon.

Most aspects of this course are outstanding! Nice wide paved road with trails on the side (giving you the choice of running pavement or dirt), nice and cool in the early morning as you run towards the ocean, plenty of rest/pit stop areas on the way down and nice and peaceful and beautiful.  Before I reached PCH 65 minutes into the run, I encountered a curious deer, a scraggly coyote and no more than 2 dozen people, mostly cyclists.

Today's goal was to run solely for time...2 hours, 30 minutes, out and back. So after passing the Sycamore Campground (by the way, I noticed a number of empty spots down there), I ran another mile or so up PCH before turning around 1 hour, 15 minutes into the run.  I felt pretty good, downed fluids regularly, had a couple GU packs (on top of the 1 GU pack for breakfast...yuck, but I wasn't hungry) and went nice and easy.  One pit stop on the way down, but otherwise no stops this run.

There was very little cloud cover at the beach and it started to warm up...noticeably.  About 1:40 into the run I started thinking, this is gonna be a bit of a challenge today. I eased up on the pace as I started the upward climb up towards Newbury Park.  It was getting warmer and I there was more direct sunlight.

I was starting to get tired and realized the finish of this run was gonna be kind of brutal.  The most challenging aspect of this particular course is lovingly referred to as "The Black Bitch" - the 800 foot, roughly 3/4 mile ascent up the canyon.  I was out of fluid long before reaching that steep hill and was basically running with the mindset of "one stop at a time" at that point.

The most fun aspect of running up that hill is that it gave me the opportunity to pass by 4 cyclists who had passed me 3 miles prior.  Seems running up that beast of a hill is an advantage over cycling!  The climb is still brutal, but the opportunity to actually pass people makes it slightly (let's not exaggerate) fun.

So with a small detour I made it home in 2 hours, 39 minutes.  I didn't measure my mileage but I'm going to credit myself with 20 miles.

I type this an hour later, mostly pain free.  My big toe is a little sore but otherwise, no blisters, no chaffing, no major aches and pains!  Yeah!!!

So for the week (I track mileage Mon to Sun), I matched last week's personal high for the year of 57 miles again.  I promise, this week, will be a down week!