Dipsea and Woodminster 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

                I am in a lot of pain. My calves are ridiculously tight. My left knee is cut and a bit swollen. My left hip is tender. My right tricep is sore. I’ve got poison oak on my right earlobe and right arm. There may be more to come. I hope not.

                That’s about par for the course for the Monday after the Dipsea. It was hot yesterday and while I didn’t think I felt it directly, it may have affected me more than I thought it did. Regardless, I managed to win my 4th fastest time award in a row, something which had never been done before. In the weeks leading up to the race, I put a lot of pressure on myself to win that award. I wanted very badly to do something that had never been achieved in such an historic race. I am incredibly fortunate to have done so, as a lot of things had to go right for it to happen. My health has been remarkably good (even despite my injury earlier this year which may have been a blessing in disguise in terms of timing with the Boston Marathon) and my fitness has cooperated as well. I am lucky but it also wouldn’t have happened without a lot of hard work and dedication.

                In terms of the race itself, I finished 4th overall for the 3rd year in a row. If I ever complain about 4th place, slap me. My time was 49:01, about 10 seconds faster than last year but 7 seconds slower than my PR on the course in 2010. I was through the creek in a good time (14:38) and got to the top of Cardiac in my fastest time ever, 32:50. But I paid for it on the downhill (16:11) into Stinson. I felt strong going up the hill but once I crested and tried to open up a bit, I knew my legs were tired. I also had a bit of a stitch that prevented me from really opening up but that wasn’t as much of a concern since it’s not an issue once I get into swoop because you can’t open up in there. As I descended through steep ravine and up insult, my legs felt pretty weak. They were still carrying me at a good pace and I was catching people (which really helped pull me along), but I knew I wasn’t going quite as fast as I could/should have been. This was also the first year that I truly got out of control a couple of times. On the stairs in steep ravine 2-3 times and again in the grotto which ultimately resulted in me going down as I was trying to pass someone on the left while sprinting down a set of stairs in an effort to head right to set myself up for a left turn. I managed to pop right back up and keep going, but it definitely was a new experience. I’ve fallen in the past but that was due to slipping rather than being out of control of my legs. Other than that, they did a great job in keeping up with my torso which was often way out in front of them as I approached the beach.


Top of Cardiac = Pain Cave

                I always get chills coming out of the stile and onto highway 1. The crowd starts in earnest there and it gives me a huge rush of adrenaline. Then, just when things get a little quiet, you make the left turn on the 2nd to last straightaway and the crowd at the beach catches sight of you and pulls you all the way to the finish. It’s an indescribable feeling and I have yet to run that last stretch without smiling. On top of that, I heard Barry Spitz, the announcer, telling people that I was going to win the fastest time trophy for the 4th year in a row, something that had never been done before. I was absolutely elated. And exhausted.

                Gus ran the 2nd fastest time again (finished 11th) and Crosby Freeman finished 15th. I didn’t see either of them after the stairs but I doubt it will be that way again next year.


Gus and Me

                Roy Rivers had a bit of a scare when he went down unconscious on the course and had to be taken into an ambulance, but he managed to recover in time for the awards. Tomas was 36th but then it was discovered that the 5th place finisher had run with the wrong bib and so he was disqualified and Tomas got the last black shirt. Tamalpa reclaimed the team trophy, but I think had Roy finished, we would have had a good shot at taking it again. At least it’s a competition now. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the typical Dipsea Sunday fashion, rehashing the race with everyone, comparing wounds, applauding at the awards ceremony, and then relaxing by the pool at Roger’s house in Mill Valley. It was a great day and I’m already looking forward to next year.

                Now I just have to convince my calves to recover for Woodminster on Sunday.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

                I ran Woodminster this past Sunday. My training during the week between the Dipsea and Woodminster was simply making sure I was recovered from the Dipsea. I hit just over 60 miles on the week, all of which were fairly easy, except for a couple of strides on Saturday in my flats to make sure there were no issues. My calves felt much better on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week and my hip and knee have been basically non-issues. I’m still not convinced they’re better because I think they’re benefitting from the lack of doubles, but again, that’s really going to be a non-issue once I start work because the ability to double will be gone due to my hours.

                We also had one of my favorite nights of the year, the post-Dipsea Tuesday night run from the Pelican. We ran about 5 easy miles and then spent the rest of the evening watching a race video, re-hashing the race, and laughing about Roy going down in a mysterious place on the course (only because he’s ok). That night is just so much fun. Everyone has a great time and the energy is completely different from the weeks leading up to the race. The pressure is off and even if the race didn’t go well for some, we’re all relieved to be done. It’s a letdown to drive away from the Pelican after that evening because I know I have to wait another year for it.

                But back to the Woody – it went pretty well. I was about 3-4 seconds slower than last year which was a little disappointing because I thought that having run the course, even just once, would give me an advantage over last year, but that didn’t prove to be the case. That and Gus and I started out pretty hard and I think I paid for it a little later on. I finished 3rd overall behind two folks who didn’t run it last year and I’m not surprised they were able to stay out in front. The course certainly favors younger runners because of its gentler profile which allows us to make up more time on the flatter sections. You can only go so fast down or uphill but on the flat sections, I can run about 1-2 minutes faster per mile than the older folks ahead of me and the last 2 miles give me a huge chance to catch back up with the leaders. I ran the fastest time again which was nice despite the fact that my legs didn’t feel great that day. In fact, they’ve been a little tired overall. My splits between familiar points on my runs have been faster than average, but my legs still feel somewhat fatigued for whatever reason. I think it’s the fact that I probably overtrained getting back into the 100+ mile weeks so quickly after my injury and it’s catching up with me. Either way, I’m looking forward to a couple of days off next week to get things back in order before I start cross country base building in earnest. I think I’m going to start going to the West Valley Tuesday workouts once I start work on July 2, but I might not start doing actual workouts for a couple more weeks. Cross country is a long season on the PA circuit (late August through early December).

                In the meantime, I’ve got a week and a half of freedom left and I intend to take full advantage by relaxing, eating, and seeing friends. Duncan and Sarah arrive tomorrow morning for the Double Dipsea and I’m really excited to show them Marin. It’s such an amazing place to live and run and I love showing it off to folks from out of town. In preparation for the Double, I’m still just running easy miles. I’m hoping my legs will feel a bit better on Saturday but if not, whatever. Everything is truly icing on the cake after the Dipsea result. I’m just going to go out there and shoot for my time from last year and hope for the best. Either way, it’s going to be awesome and I can’t wait to hear Duncan and Sarah’s thoughts on it afterwards.

About afvarner

Runner. Donuts. Sneakerhead. Not necessarily in that order. Nike Trail Elite. Picky Bars. Gu. Vicory Sportdesign.
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