Commentary: With runner's diary, marathoner takes road less traveled

Jake's coaching helped our friend, Jill, clock a personal best at the OC Half Marathon.

I hope to benefit from Jake's know-how and flash a smile as big as Jill's when I complete the L.A. Marathon later this year.

Yet when I read Jake's email directing me to keep a runner's log, my eyes glazed over.

"If you start with 25 miles a week, increase by 10% with a drop back every four weeks. In 20 weeks you are running 125 miles a week ... count running miles only, no walks or hikes."

Here's my Runner's Diary, in contrast to Jake's precision:

Friday. Met Evelyne. Ran the Peninsula, rode the auto ferry, finished on Bayside Drive. Seven miles. Cloud-filled sky over ocean and bay. Lucky to live here!

Saturday. Arrived at CdM by 7 a.m., where Saturday runners waited to spur me on. Ran the 8.6 miles of Back Bay. Brilliant birdsong everywhere.

Sunday. Brad and Laurie invited me to Irvine Nature Conservancy Sandtrap/Loma Ridge, eight-mile cardio hike. Glorious overcast day. Calming views of soft, green rolling hills. Sun's rays peaked through clouds to highlightCalifornia poppy, monkey flower and lupine. Fast paced, climbs and dips. Exhilarating.

Monday. El Moro. Joann picked me up at 5:50 a.m. for our weekly hike. Exiting the car, we were assaulted by gale-force winds on the bluffs above Crystal Cove. Fought through the nine-mile-loop. Wind drove stinging sand into bare legs and grit between teeth, proving we never keep our mouths shut. Dazzling views of the azure Pacific, dotted with bright whitecaps made it all worthwhile.

Tuesday. Walked hills and stairs with Ken — 2 miles.

Wednesday. Met Ken at the track for two-mile warm-up. Evelyne joined, and we ran six miles more at a 6- to 8-minute pace for the straightaways. Then ran one Polaris Hill, but stopped to talk to Bella, the mongrel, and Bug-a-Doodle, the doxie. 13 1/2 miles.

Thursday. Met four friends and three dogs for brisk walk around Castways. Heard one friend's mother placed in memory care, another's work challenges, a third leaving for Hawaii and a fourth off to Tasmania. Conversation effervesced during three-mile rapid walk.

Friday. Met Muffy 5:45 a.m. Ran four miles around Eastbluff. Both 5-feet-2, we ran side by side, stepping in rhythm. Last Friday, Evelyne, at 5-feet7, was half block ahead when I matched footfalls with her. Those long legs!

Jake's email continues: "I went through my running logs on Saturday. In 2011, I ran a total of 1,950 miles or (an) average (of) 38 miles a week."

My diary with mileage incidental to people, scenery and dogs, will drive Jake nuts.

However, my personal reward for recording a week's activity is the discovery of a running benefit I left out of my commentary on April 10:

No. 5. Appreciation of Orange County's stunning spring beauty and the friends who move along at my side.

CARRIE LUGER SLAYBACK is a frequent contributor to Daily Pilot's Forum page, where she committed to try for a first place at the LA Marathon, 2013, when she will be 70 years old.

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