Thursday, May 29, 2014
Bay to Breakers and Marin 10k have come and gone. Bay to Breakers saw our West Valley centipede for the third year in a row. It’s a fun tradition and it seems like the spectators are always amazed at how fast the serious ‘pedes can go. We weren’t the fastest, and our time was actually a bit slower than last year due to some last minute lineup changes (not a rare occurrence), but everyone still had a great time. Brett was a champ for stepping up and I believe he PR’d in a multitude of distances en route to Ocean Beach. I like the centipede because it’s a good workout but not too taxing and is generally a nice change of pace (literally and figuratively) from the other stuff I’m doing this time of year (hills). Plus the post-race festivities are always a ton of fun.
Marin 10k was this past Monday and it went about as well as I could have hoped. I was over a minute slower than last year, but considering the work I’ve been putting in these past few weeks, I’m totally OK with it. I ran 27 miles on Saturday, culminating with a Dipsea preview run with Thrill and some of the Branson xc girls who will be running the race for the first time in less than 2 weeks (so soon!). Then, on Sunday, Fernando and Matt Laye and I ran the Western States training run from Foresthill to Ruck-a-Chucky, about 15-16 miles with a couple added on to get to 20 on the day. It was warm but not too hot, which was a little disappointing as I know I need to get some heat training in before June 28. But I’ve still got time. So with those 2 back to back long runs on the weekend (47 miles total), I found myself at 112 miles on the week (Monday-Sunday is how I structure my weeks) and heading into a fast road 10k. My legs weren’t too tired on the warmup, but it still took me 3+ miles to get into the swing of things in the race. I felt somewhat uncomfortable through the first 5k but once we hit College Ave. heading back to COM, I was able to put the hammer down (which basically meant maintaining pace) and even dropped the pace a bit in the final mile. That was right in line with most of my runs of late, where I’ve felt somewhat sluggish at the beginning but start feeling good after 5-6 miles.
In addition to those 2 races, the past 4 weeks have seen me averaging 100+ miles. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve sustained this type of volume and while I’m definitely feeling a bit tired here, I know the taper is coming soon and hope that once I begin to drop my mileage, my legs will bounce back quickly. In terms of specific training, I’ve gotten up on the Western States course twice – once in the canyons and once on a more runnable part (see above). I’ll get up there once more with Matt after Tahoe Relays and then I’ll see the whole thing on race day (knock on wood). I’m really happy that I’ve been able to see some of the course and on Sunday even learned that the race does, contrary to what I’ve heard in different places, start in Squaw (thanks, Dominic!). As for workouts, I’ve been doing less of the structured track work that saw me through much of the spring, and have turned to hill runs/repeats and even some downhill training, as prescribed by Matt and Ian (http://layeingitdown.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/running-downhill-is-eccentric/). I figured they might know something about this 100 mile distance so it’s best to listen up. The result is that, as I’ve said before, my legs are a bit fatigued, but they seem to recover pretty quickly when I give them a couple of days of easy running, so I’m not too worried about it.
I think the hardest part of this spring so far has been trying to balance my Dipsea training with Western States training. They are such different races in terms of distance and when I look back at my log from this time last year, I was running nothing close to the volume I am now. And the workouts then were sharper and faster and shorter, which I think enabled me to go sub-48:00 last year. While my workouts this year have me doubting that I’ll go faster on June 8 (specificity training is key for both races and I’d much rather suffer more in the 7.4 miles of Dipsea than I would over the 100 miles of Western so the bulk of my training is geared towards Western), I do think I can still have a good Dipsea based on my training. It’s simply a different type of fitness and hopefully I can make it work come Dipsea Sunday. We’ll find out. #SeeyouinStinson