Final Odds and Ends from 2013

This will be the last catch-up post from the thoughts I started writing down a couple years ago. After this post, it will only be topical, relevant material, so you needn’t worry about figuring out my scattered timeline and hopefully that will make things a bit easier/more interesting to read. So to conclude with the past.

Friday, May 31, 2013

                I should really start tapering now. I haven’t really done so this week and I’m feeling pretty fatigued. Monday was the Marin10k, which went better than I anticipated. I ran 30:29 for a road PR and finished 2nd overall. I spend the first 4 or so miles at the back of the lead back, as it slowly dwindled from 10 to 8 to 5 over the miles. I think the weather played more of a factor than anything, as it was pretty windy which kept anyone from really striking out on their own and splitting the group up. As it stood, I just let the leaders do the work and was content to sit back and see how everything played out. Admittedly, there were a couple of times when I was tempted to move to the front, but I told myself to be patient because I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel later on in the race. Traditionally, I’ve felt pretty good through 3-4 miles on this course and then have fallen off a bit when I hit the exposed bike path along the canal and the last mile, which is almost always into the wind, no matter how nice a day it might be. The fact that we were feeling wind in the early miles told me that mile 6 would probably be pretty rough so it wasn’t too hard to convince myself to let the others do the work.

                We came through 3 miles in 14:45 or so, I think, and I braced for the inevitable moves that would come. They started when we left College Ave and made our way through the COM campus and onto the bike path. There are a lot of twists and turns in this short section, so the pack naturally thins out and we cross the footbridge just past the 4 mile mark over the canal single file. I went through a small spot of bother right in here and decided to sit behind Malcolm for a bit to see if I could regain my rhythm. At this point, he and I were in 4th and 5th, respectively. As we moved along the canal towards the 2nd bridge and the 5 mile mark, I started feeling better. I made a small move and went past him just before the bridge and then passed another runner right afterwards, just as we were turning onto the long stretch up Magnolia to the finish. At this point, the 2nd place runner was about 50 yards in front of me. The wind was pretty strong but I was feeling good and began to make up ground on him. About half a mile before the finish, he mistakenly turned right into a neighborhood. The course monitor and I yelled and he was able to correct the turn without too much of a deviation, but it was enough for me to close the final gap. I could tell it took his momentum away and while I felt kind of bad about it, that’s part of racing. He sat behind me and for a while I thought he was going to hang around and it would come down to a kick on the track, but I was able to put some distance on him and heading on to the track, I had opened up a bit of a gap on him. I kicked home (the 1st place guy was never really in reach), and was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my watch.


                All in all, a good day for our team. We had 3 guys in the top 10 which bodes well for the team result. Personally, I was relieved since it was the first time that I felt really strong in a hard effort setting since Boston. Tuesday found me out at the Pelican for the first time and I put in a solid effort up to the top of Cardiac which, combined with the 10k, left me feeling rather pooped on my run yesterday, which also incorporated the creek to Cardiac climb. I went into it anticipating some fatigue, but didn’t want to rule out running fast. However, that went out the window pretty quickly, as I had to slow down on the stairs. I think the back-to-back hard efforts will serve me well come June 9th. All that’s left between now and then is to make sure my legs are rested. I’ll get in a shorter, turnover oriented workout probably on Wednesday of next week and then some strides Saturday. I probably won’t write again until after the Dipsea…


Thursday, August 22, 2013

                A bit has happened since the mountain running championships. I continued training and ran the Angel Island 25k on Aug. 3rd. The race went really well and I was able to take a couple of minutes off my time from last year, which was a pleasant surprise. However, on the 2nd lap, I landed funny on a rock with my right foot and triggered the pain in the ball of my foot that bugged me for about a month last October. Thankfully I knew what caused it and how to deal with it and was able to keep training through it, with one silly setback that lasted a couple of days caused by my typical over-ambitious mind. Basically, if I stick to running roads and non-rocky trails, it’s a non-issue, but as soon as I start stepping on rocks with regularity, it becomes a problem again. The pain subsides rather quickly over a couple of days, especially wearing shoes with more padding/protection from rocks on the ground. So I’ve been running roads for the past couple weeks, save for this past weekend when I was invited up to the Trinity Alps to spend a couple of days with my high school’s cross country team.

                The weekend was fantastic. There is no cell service or power on the property, so disconnecting from the world for a couple of days was truly refreshing. We would wake up, run/hike/swim, eat, run/hike/swim/hang out, eat more and then go to bed. Pretty fantastic way to spend a couple of days if you ask me. No guys on the team made the trip this year so it was about 15 high school girls, Will, Steve, Liz, the host family, and me. While the activities were fun, the best part, hands down, was spending time with and getting to know everyone. The team is awesome and they’ve got great things in store for them, this year and in the coming years. I can’t wait to see how this year plays out though, as there are a lot of seniors on the team who are ready to go.


                The weekend dovetailed nicely with my 1-2 week taper for the Headlands 50k this coming Saturday, Aug. 24th. I was able to scale back my mileage a bit, test my foot out on some trails (it held up just fine – fingers crossed it keeps!), and relax. This week has been spent making sure my foot is as comfortable as possible which means running roads, which isn’t too, too bad and will be worth it I think. I’m really excited to take a crack at a 50k. I’m not sure if it will lead to longer distances, but there’s a good chance it will. The course is amazing and I know all of the trails, so I can’t wait to string them all together and see what I can do. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the course record on my mind, but I realize that it’s my first go at the distance and as such, will be content with a strong effort and a learning experience. Either way, it should be a blast. Can’t wait to get out there!


About afvarner

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