Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Long Grind Back

Been gone awhile and I didn't even realize it. I've just been keeping my head down and churning out those training hours; gym, spin and lots of miles. It's been good, especially when I remember to stop thinking of where I was and where I wish to be. I get anxious and frustrated with my lack of speed and endurance. It's a constant struggle to keep in mind where I am now and train accordingly. Patience, patience, patience and more patience. Doing my best to smart. The last couple of years I've made it a game to see how fast I could build up to a 50k long run after taking Decembers off. Last year I got it up to 36 miles by the end of January. Stupid! I spent the first two weeks of February sluggish and sore. The previous year I did something similar. This year I've been ratcheting it up slowly and during the holiday break I actually put in some "maintenance" runs. Four days out of the week I'd put in a 45 minute run, nothing long or intense, just keeping the body moving. It was a much smoother transition back to training this year because of those runs.

Typically I don't enter an event until I've spent at least two months of the new year building my running base and shedding the holiday pounds. In fact the earliest I'd enter an event is March. Not so this year. When my friend Marla told me that she was running PCTR's Pacifica race as a training run I thought "what a great idea, me too!"

I showed up to today's event having completed recent long runs of 15 and 17 miles so I was good mileage wise but my legs were toast. Ohohohoho they were worn out and they gave me the finger early. This past week the weather has been phenomenal and we had a full moon Wednesday and Thursday. I took full advantage of that Wednesday evening, early Thursday morning (early enough to enjoy the full moon) and again Thursday evening. These were clear skies, no wind, no fog, by the light of the full moon runs. Even the foray into the Presidio's trails Wednesday night was done without headlamps. I gave the legs a break on Friday but was back out for a 9.7 mile trail run with The Endurables on Saturday, throwing in accelerations here and there and running all the hills. On that last hill on Saturday's run I knew it was going to be a slog at Pacifica and it played out exactly how I thought it would. Man that was tough to have a low charge on the legs but I made the best of it. I pushed but not too hard and just concentrated on getting the mileage done. Great day, great weather. Tough run and it's only the third week in January. Lots of time to whip myself back into fighting form. My pal Marla did great, ran every step and came in third female for the 30k race.

I ran with my camera knowing that I was going to have time to take a few pictures. Enjoy.

PCTR racing team member Ian Sharman, Michael Popov of PCTR, Ken "All Day" Michal, Mike Bohi and Sarah Spelt of PCTR race morning.

Pre-race brief by Sarah.

PCTR racing team's Marla Moresi-Valdes.

Making our way up the North Peak of Montara Mountain.

Still making our way to the top.

Walter Edwards and Bradley Fenner making their way back down from the top - both were running the 50k race.

Finally, at the top of North Peak.

Yours truly.

Making our way back down.

Going up one of the twenty switchbacks of the Hazelnut loop, Northpeak in the distance. This hill is only a little over a thousand feet but has twenty switchbacks. Drives me crazy but it would be a great hill for training.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

And Just Like That...

Jennifer Dicus and Melissa Ownby at Coastal Trail Runs New Year's One Day 6/12/24 hour event.

Wayne Plymale getting ready to start the 6-hour event. Wayne just recently ran his first 50k - in the Philippines! Loved it, back for more now that he's home.

Amy Freund McCrea and Walter Edwards. Walter ran the 24 hour event and came in 3rd with a 108.22 miles. Amy was my ride over, the person who bought me coffee afterwards because I left my wallet and my ride back. I don't want to brag but I'm going to anyway - I have some pretty awesome friends.

It's 2011! They say time passes in the blink of an eye, so who blinked? I only have to look at the archived blog posts, the archived photo albums in Facebook and Flickr to see that it was a full year but a part of me can't believe it's already the start of a new season. Whoa, time to get back on the horse.

Last year was tough, not as great as the two previous years. There were many disappointments, things I didn't do well or failed to accomplish but there were also some pleasant surprises and things I'm proud of. So where does that leave me? With a lot of work to do like everyone else.

- Cutting out strength training after the winter months.
- Cutting out the spin classes, part of my training the last four years.
- Not being more disciplined about my diet (raced heavier)

- Running with the Thursday morning run group
- Occasional runs with the Thursday run group on weekends
- Learning to run my hills during training
- Switching to shorter trail races when I felt burn out
- Transitioning to lighter trail and road shoes

Happy New Year everyone. I hope to see some of you on the trails!

New Year's Eve with friends from my triathlon club. Come to think of it, last year we also spent New Year's Eve together - good people.