another chance

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on Saturday i’ll be toeing the line of The North Face 50 Mile Championships in San Francisco for the third time. I ran it in 2012 as my first 50 miler and again in 2014 with a bit more experience and fitness in my legs. Both years the course had to be changed due to gnarly rain in the days preceding the race. In 2012 is was shortened to 46 miles and in 2014 it was a mile longer. this year it looks like i may finally be able to run the course in dry conditions. i’m super stoked to get out there and have another chance to run an awesome course against a mega fast field.

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2012 – My first “50” miler. Soaked.

I’m also looking forward to getting another chance to close out my year on high note and at another competitive race. Like I wrote about last time, after quitting RRR100, I wasn’t sure if I was going to race again this year. RRR100 was my “A” race for the year and not finishing it was pretty lame. i feel like i have a second chance at an “A” race and I’m ready to throwdown.

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2014 – My second go at TNF 50. Fun, Mudfest. I didn’t run to my potential due to going out way too hard.

In the 10 weeks between the week after RRR100 and last week I just took it a week at time to see if my motivation to train and race was still there. I didn’t decide until early November to pull the trigger and line up this coming saturday. My training has been way more run specific in the past 10 weeks than it was all summer getting ready for RRR100. My goal for RRR100 was to just make it to the start line and I was afraid to push the limits of my training in fear of getting injured. In the past 10 weeks I felt like I had nothing to lose. I didn’t do any kind of workouts. I just ran a lot.

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I rode my bikes the first couple of weeks after RRR100 to recover but since then it’s been all running and strength training. As a result of that I’ve put in my biggest (running volume-wise) weeks of the year and am feeling fitter than I have in a long time… and more so than at any point in the last couple of years.

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Below is a snapshot of my training leading (ending with last week) up to this race. It’s easy to see that it was way more run focused than my build up to RRR100. I didn’t do too many really long runs. Other than racing the WIEM 50k I kept the long runs around a hilly 3 hours and then backed it up with a flatter, faster 1.5-2 hours the next day. I am so stoked to have been able to get through that kind of running volume feeling great and without a single niggle.

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My goals for saturday are different than most races I do. In most races I am racing to be as close to the front as possible and do my best to not let the race and the race leaders get away from me. That would be pretty unrealistic on saturday. the field is so deep and filled with a lot of incredibly fast dudes. I’ve kind of blown my previous two attempts at TNF 50 by getting caught in the fun of racing too close to the front with those guys. on satruday i’m going to do my best to temper my stoke and do my own thing. My goal is to run under 7 hours (I’ve run 7:11 both times I’ve raced there). I want to race smart, steady, and finish strong. I know my fitness is there to run sub 7 I just gotta be stick to the plan and stay on top of the calories.

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the only bummer about this coming weekend is that I’ll be heading out there solo without the Maggie and Fi. It’s been a long year for us, as as anybody with young kids knows, traveling with a toddler can be tough. We decided that if I was going to do TNF I would just make it super quick trip and save a lot money and hassle. Sunday morning is going to be rough.┬ámy flight home is at 540am out of oakland the morning after the race… but I want to get back home to Maggie, Fi and Ruby… and in time for the bolts game. The upside is that I’ll be crashing with my good friends Mario and Christine in Mill Valley and that Brad, aka Champagne Disco, is going to come out and crew for me. Can’t wait!

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  2 comments for “another chance

  1. Mike Bell
    December 1, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I’m glad you’ll be home in time to watch the Bolts lose to the Bucs. Kick some ass this weekend!

  2. Greg
    December 4, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Well written James! That beer was well deserved!

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