So there I was this morning, eager and excited to run but was fairly realistic about my fitness and goals for the day. It makes no sense to set up A level goals with C level training. After the last big race, I tapered my training considerably. I was feeling pretty whupped and I had all that volunteering stuff going on. I was ready for the season to end. I ran to maintain fitness but I wasn't training. I didn't do any hill workouts or training in hard technical trails, in fact not once did I venture across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin. Did all my runs on the trails and streets of San Francisco - easy hills, smooth trails. This week I did two whooping workouts. However, like Donald at the Firetrails 50-miler, the moment I put on that number and saw my friends I was in race mode.
Is it okay to switch to unrealistic goals if you are realistic about the suffering, pain, possible injury and failure? My answer was yes. I was banking on residual fitness, experience, and don't laugh, God - Please let me put my body through this one more time while you keep it together.
The first crossing went very well and my split was good, surprised me because it felt easy. All my maintenance runs were hard, sore and labored. The extra rest had done it's job I guess and I was running on race day adrenaline. Second crossing was even faster and I felt great. For the third crossing the hammer came down. I was on pace for an even faster split. My body however was not on board with the mind and spirit. Right calf starts to cramp. I stretch, relax, do a little massage, back off the pace, change my running gait, whatever I could to prevent a full blown cramp. I had to keep stretching and I took down some extra salt tablets and energy drink. Spasms back off but return halfway through the fourth and final crossing. This time both calves are starting to cramp, left glute and hamstring is sore and right knee starts stiffening - the lack of proper training caught up with me. Even my left foot was cramping. I've cramped only once in a race and never at this event. As they say in the Bible, "the Spirit is willing but the Flesh is weak.
On the last set of stairs leading to the finish my right knee sends a jolt of pain. I laugh, I felt like a car losing parts as it goes - a bumper here, a tire there. Came in at 5:39, after all of that I missed my PR by only 3+ minutes. By ultra standards it's a short event at only 28.4 miles but the hills are wicked. Had that race been any longer it would have been ugly, for myself and the other folks who were suffering cramps - I was in good company.
Considering what I brought to the table this day, I was more than happy with my results. Pulled another one out of my you know what. Sure I'll suffer for it, suffering now, but my season's over and I finished well.
Special shout out to my friends who came out to visit. Jen came at the start to wish me luck. Jessica and Sammy cheered for me at the halfway point and again at the finish. They also stuck around to hang out for a bit. I also saw Geoff and Kim who were at the Stinson Beach side. I was spoiled today.