Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chill Day

Been taking it easy all day and it feels great. We woke up to rain and dark clouds and we were both thankful we didn't have to be out there running this morning. It's our "back down" week and it could have come sooner. The last three weeks have been build, build, build. Last weekend we felt so run down and trashed at the Lake Sonoma training run that we not only ran slow but crawled the last five miles. We both took two days off of training after that and spent the rest of the week doing easy runs. With Lake Sonoma only a couple of weeks away now, Masha will just go straight into her taper. I on the other hand will go right back to building since Lake Sonoma is simply a stepping stone to the Mohican 100 in June. I want to be prepared for Lake Sonoma but I can't do a lengthy taper since it's not my main goal race.

The training run was fun and well attended. It's been at least three years since I've run on the course — never done the race itself. It was good to re-familiarize myself with the trails and the major sections of the race. It started well enough but early on I noticed that we were going slow, covering only 4 miles an hour. Sure we stopped to take pictures and such but it shouldn't have been that slow. Masha led and I had her up the pace a bit. We ran at a faster pace for awhile but ultimately slowed back down. By mile 19, where I feel the course dramatically gets harder, we were cooked and it was a slow crawl back to the car at 25 miles. I've never laid down on the trail at races or training runs but I did here:) I didn't feel ill or anything, I just got an overwhelming desire to do so at 19.5 under the shade of a tree. I also got really hungry and wished I had something more substantial than gels in my waist pack. On the drive home I had to stop at a gas station to pick up a cold coffee drink to stay awake. I also gave in to what must have been a day old Krispy Kreme donut, I didn't really care at that point. Coffee got me home, donut made me wish I could turn back time.

So it's been easy miles and intensity for us this week. Last night I finally felt back to normal. Later this afternoon Masha and I will head out to the Presidio for some easy miles there. We thought about joining SFRC (click for great pictures)for their Saturday morning run this morning but I think we made the right choice to sleep in and enjoy a slower paced day.

Enjoy the pictures from the training run, it's mostly Masha because as much as she likes pictures she doesn't take any when she runs. I'm also adding the mental notes I took on the run:

• Start can be chilly (heavy fog through Sonoma in the morning)
• First 18 is no sweat if you are used to hills—rolling terrain with creek crossings and lots of tree cover
• After 18, trails are more exposed, sun will be up with big climbs starting around 19
• 25 to 31 will be equally tough, exposed trails and harder terrain
• Things should get easier after 31, back to gentler rolling terrain and more tree cover

We will be running our own race but our goal is the same. We plan on a conservative start, do our best not to get pulled into a faster pace with the cool temps and easy early terrain. Plan on getting to 18 feeling good, hold on through miles 19 to 31 then hurry home the last 19 with what energy we have left.

Great turnout for the run.

Coke never tasted so good, there was one aid station for the training run—nice of Jon Medinger and gang to set that up. We were only 12 miles in at this point but feeling like already ran 20.

Good times despite being low energy.

Wulflow, mile 17 of the race. This was our aid station last year. Janet Thompson and I were registered for the race but were injured so we volunteered instead. Masha came along and all three of us joined Greg Lanctot to make up the crew of the Wulflow aid station. It was a blast with Masha declaring publicly at the finish line that she was going to run the race the following year. Quite a surpise and a big deal since she had only finished her first half-marathon a couple of months before and her longest run was 18. Wulflow is also a shortcut on the training run, cuts out 6 miles.

Mike Palmer and friends, more exposed sections after Wulflow.

Beautiful out there. Never too tired to enjoy the scenery.

The real climbs start and Masha is unhappy about it. Nothing like being tired right before the start of more challenging terrain.

The unhappiness, much like the hill, continues.

Finally the finish! RD John Medinger presiding at the parking lot. We were one of the last ones.

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