Thursday, October 10, 2013
So my last entry came after the Headlands 50k, back in August. Since then, not a ton has happened. I’ve run 3 races, the Mt. Tam Hill Climb, Garin XC, and Presidio XC. The hill climb was the week following Headlands, so I didn’t have any expectations heading into it, other than wanting to run hard. I ended up running my best time for the climb (34:40) so I was quite pleased. I still can’t catch Galen, though. Talk about a climber…
The following week, I kept the mileage down a bit and didn’t really start with any workouts/intensity until a week or so later. I really wanted to keep myself from burning out this season like I did last season, where I basically peaked in September. That was one of the reasons I ran the 50k in the first place, so force myself to take some easy weeks early in the fall so that I would be fresher and stronger in November and December, when the xc races matter most. I had assumed that it would take me a couple of weeks for my legs to return to normal following Headlands, since it’s generally taken me that long after marathons to get rid of the fatigue/soreness. However, while I was really sore immediately following the race, I felt markedly better 3-4-5 days out than I had after the marathons. I realized that my pace was considerably slower at Headlands, but I figured the distance and the climbing would take more of a toll. But then someone pointed out that while in a marathon, you’re basically using the same muscles the whole time, in a trail race, you’re using a lot of different muscles. You’re constantly having to stabilize yourself on the uneven trails, avoiding rocks and roots. Add that to the 7300ft of climbing in Headlands, and you’re recruiting the different groups of muscles involved in climbing and descending quite a bit. So no one group was incredibly stressed, whereas my experiences in marathons have left my quads and calves wrecked because those are the primary groups I use to run fast on pavement.
So basically, I felt much better than I thought I would sooner than anticipated. I was a little worried, but resolved to take it pretty easy in workouts for the first couple weeks. December is a long ways off. Getting back into workouts was great, though. I really missed running fast and running with my team. After a couple weeks, I ran our home xc race at Garin. It went well. I was only 3 seconds slower than last year, when I think I was in considerably better shape, so I was very pleased as I feel I am just starting to get back into running the shorter/faster races. I think I have a long ways to go to get to my peak fitness, but there’s a lot of time left and I’m excited to see where it leads me.
2 weeks after Garin, I ran the Presidio xc race. That came the morning after Patrick’s rehearsal dinner so I was a bit groggy on the warmup, to say the least. As a result, my expectations were tempered, to say the least. The course had changed since I last ran it a couple of years ago, but it was still fairly hilly and I figured it would play to my strengths. I don’t know my times from the past, but they don’t really compare due to the course change, but I was in the front for most of the race, and another guy and I had a gap off the front about halfway in. Then, with about 600-800m to go, I realized it was going to come down to a kick. I had kicked this guy down at Garin, but for some reason, I just didn’t want to push it. So I backed off, made sure no one was coming for me, and cruised in. Still, I was again pleased with the effort and it’s just another step in what I hope is the right direction.
I’m feeling stronger by the week and the workouts continue to go well. My next race is a half marathon on Oct. 26, as a final preparation for my next 50k on Nov. 2. I’ll be running the Bootlegger 50k outside of Las Vegas. It’s the USATF national 50k championships. I was invited to join a couple of running buddies who were already planning on doing it, and I figured, why not. It might leave me a little fatigued for the end of the PA season, but I’m hoping that I will recover fairly well and be back in form for club xc nationals in early December. The race has only 3000ft of climbing (compared to Headlands’ 7300ft), so I’m hoping the recovery won’t be too long. Either way, I’m really excited to run against what will hopefully be a strong field and push myself again. I’ve been working on the nutrition aspect with help/advice from the Osmo folks, who have been fantastic in their support. I think that’s about it for now. As these entries will hopefully be coming on a weekly basis, there might not be as much to write about in down weeks, but I will do my best to keep you, dear reader, semi-entertained and engaged. Hey, it’s better than working, right? On second thought… don’t answer that.