Thursday, November 19, 2015
The past couple days, I’ve felt the urge to post another entry on here heading into the Quad. It was precipitated by the fact that I had forgotten how nervous races with the name Dipsea in the name can make me. For several years heading into The (single) Dipsea, I would sleep fitfully and have anxious race-related dreams for a couple of weeks leading up to race day. The Double was that way for a year or two, but the atmosphere is so much more laid back, that these nerves disappeared fairly quickly after I had run the race a couple of times. This past year (2015) was the first time I had been relatively calm heading into the single, as I was coming off the IAU Ultra Trail World Championships in France 2 weeks before and did not expect much of my legs. I had won the fastest time award 6 times in a row and with Rickey, Galen, and Gus fit and ready, I figured this would be the year one of them would break my streak. Sure enough, Rickey and Gus both ran faster than I did and I couldn’t have been happier for them. It took a monkey off my back while simultaneously motivating me for next year to run the fastest time again. My goal of 10 is still very much alive and on my mind. But with this year being a mentally “down” year in the single and sitting out the Double due to Western States, I had forgotten how nervous I can get for a race on the Dipsea trail.
I think the biggest culprit is simply that I know the route so well. In the single and double, you’re more concerned with passing people (due to the handicapping) than with where you are on the course at a given time (although that is somewhat the case in the Double). You simply don’t have a lot of time to look at your watch when you’re constantly trying to get around people. However, with my training runs on the course heading into the Quad, I have become acutely aware of how much time I will inevitably spend looking at my watch and calculating just where I am and how far ahead or behind I am of where I want to be. I’m not exactly looking forward to that. Passing people will not be an issue to the same extent that it is in the single and double because there is no handicapping, and I’m hoping to take advantage of this by getting out strong and avoiding the bulk of the traffic. There will be more passing involved on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th laps as people will be spread out all over the course at that point, but I doubt it will be anywhere near as crowded as the single and double can be. So until race morning (and honestly, for a good part of the race), I’ll try to manage my nerves as best I can. I’ve learned that they’re a good sign – I’m nervous because I care about the race. After a big training block capped off with the ITR Mt. Tam 30k and a strong workout last night, I know I’m fit (thanks, Koop!). Now I just have to execute.