another week and another big run in the bank. this was a tough one…
Last week I focused on some mega recovery after the Whoo’s in El Morro 50k. I wasn’t super smashed after the race. My quads took most of the beating from all the descending, but overall energy levels were really good and nothing else was really an issue. I ate really well (as usual), got in some ez spins, hit Core Power yoga twice, surfed a bit, got an epic massage from Shari, did a bunch of stretching & foam rolling at home, and got in some short runs. I also got tons of sleep which makes such a huge difference for me. I was getting 8-10 hours every night. After a really big run I usually take at least 2 days before attempting and this was no different. I went for a run Tuesday morning and actually felt really good… I was holding back the whole time. I was pretty busy with work again so I was pretty stoked for the weekend. I got some mega sleep (~10 hours) Friday night and woke up saturday morning feeling really good. I jumped on my bike and from the first pedal stroke new i had good legs and that Sunday’s race would be fun! I finished up Saturday with a fun surf with Brad.
I have been feeling really good lately… more so than normal. I cut out crossfit about 2.5 weeks ago to let my body recover more in between these races and to make sure my body is in full on repair mode leading up to The North Face 50 on 12/1. I also added in yoga to keep my body loose (if you’re a dude that does yoga you need to read this post by friend Kirsten). I really can’t believe the difference it has made. I wake up every morning feel good. Crossfit is so intense and after a while you kind of take that for granted and get used feeling sore somewhere in your body on most days. I’m not hating on Crossfit at all… I am a big believer in it and KNOW it’s a big reason why I have been able to do the things I have in the past few months. I am just rethinking about how to fit it in. I think, for me, it’s great while I am building up to a race and I’m pretty far out or in an “offseason” phase. I just think as the racing gets closer I need to cut it out and I’m not just talking about the week of the race. I have noticed that it took about 2 weeks to really start feeling fresh and loose again. Ok.. just random thinking but I’m learning more about my body and what works for me.
Slater and Monique cruised down Saturday afternoon and after some careful consideration Slater decided to change the from the 50k to the 15k (he ended up winning the 15k by a big margin). We have opposite goals right now and it’s kind of a role reversal. In years past I was the “fast” one and he’s been the “endurance” guy. Now he’s working on speed in preparation for some BIG things next year and I’m in search of my limits that only long distance racing will bring. We both feed of each other and have I learned so much from Slater when it comes to going long. I’m not just talking about how to train. It’s more about mindset, approach, planning, and living every minute. All I am going to say is that 2013 is going to be one helluva year for the “team”.
Sunday morning came and again I headed out to the race with Kevin. And everything was once again super mellow pre race and my legs were good. It was a bit cold but nothing ~6 minute miles wouldn’t quickly fix. There was a big field and I got right in the front. My plan was to just go from the gun and see who would come with me. A quarter mile into the the race I was a bit off the front and just kept rolling. I didn’t have a target pace I just wanted to run kind of hard and see how long I could hold on. I was having a lot of fun running the single track so I was maybe running a little harder than I normally would have or should have.
When I hit the first aid station at 4.5 miles in I had a good gap and just kept rolling on the way back, building my lead. Once one the other side of bridge, around mile 10, things got a bit tougher. It’s longish (4 miles), flat stretch of hard packed fire road. This got mentally draining. Instead of just rolling with the terrain I had focus on keeping up my pace and effort up. I was just trying to bank as many sub 7 min miles as I could. I was really looking forward to the climb up Raptor Ridge just to change it up. On the back side of the ridge after the descent it was more tough running. Flat, to false flat rollers all the way to the turn around at around ~19 miles in. After the turn around I knew it was time to get a split and when I saw the 2nd & 3rd place guys coming I knew I had around a 10 min lead with 11 miles to go. So I knew I just had to stay steady.
I felt good seeing all the other runners heading out and it gave a boost of motivation. I ran strong on the climb back up to Raptor Ridge and then rolled down to aid station at 24.5 miles. A quick fill up and I was on my way. At one point I thought I could hit the marathon (26.2 miles) in under 3 hours but the wheels came off a bit after the last aid station. I was back on the flat 4 mile stretch and my legs and feet were beginning to feel it. I haven’t run that many flat miles in a long, long time. I went from trying to hold 7 min miles, to 7:15, to 7:30. I ended up going through the marathon at 3:03.
I just cruised the final 5 miles to the finish and was pretty stoked with another sub 4 hour 50k and other another big run in the bank in prep the NF50. For me this course was harder than El Morro. I love running hills both physically and mentally. When it’s really hilly you don’t have to think to much about just keeping the hammer down. I just charge the climbs and then roll the descents. On a flat course I always have to keep my head in the game and my turnover high…. a lot of thinking.
I am really stoked for my friend Paul who put on the race. There was a 50k, 15k, 5k, and kids race and they all SOLD OUT. Everything at the race was spot on too. The course, course marking, aid stations, all the logistics were dialed. It’s always rad to have good events so close to home.. Thanks Paul, all the volunteers, and everybody who helped make this race happen!!! After the race it was to celebrate with some good beers and good company!
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
I was talking to Slater and Monique Saturday night during our typical WholeFoods dinner about my mindset going into these races lately. I mentioned before that I have no fear on the starting line of these races and am never nervous. To me these races are about going for it and seeing how fast I can go, not winning. Winning may be a by product of that approach but I have no fear of blowing up. I race with no fear of failure. If I take off from the start, get out in the lead and totally blow, get caught and passed I will still finish that race happy and content knowing I did what I wanted to do. I am hoping to take this approach into the NF50. There will be a lot of really, really fast dudes there and I think it will be fun to jump in that pack to start the race. It may not be smart and it could end up putting in a really bad place later on in the race, but I would rather give it a go then not know what it’s like to push myself that hard. My friend Kurt texted me the other day in reference to my current racing “there’s something to be said for reckless abandon”. When you have no fear and nothing to lose it’s easy to race free and go fast!
This week is about some more mega recovery before heading out to the Grand Canyon on Friday to run R2R2R on Saturday. I went back and forth on whether or not to go out there and run it or just take my time with the group and enjoy. Well… I am now going with the latter. I want to have fun and dial it back after racing hard the past two weekends. I also want to see how fast I can run it some time next year so this will be recon for that.
Life’s good in the hood!