Okie, it’s taper time. Less than a week until the Dirty30 50K and, ready or not, it’s time to race on trails! I’ve been cautiously pessimistic that the road running fitness that I’ve acquired over the last few months of training will carry over onto the trails. Trail running and road running are different beasts, but I’m hopeful that having a finely-tuned engine and not-so-sore body will come to my aid in next weeks event.
Focus on running form again: roll off the big toes, knees forward, head high, quick cadence. I’ve been feeling some looseness on the top of both knees following long runs. I’m not sure if it’s the aftermath of my knees swelling, or some other tweak, but it’s just another reminder how important form and running efficiency are when running long distances.
I’m starting to get nervous about gauging intensity for racing the 50k distance. The more I think about it, the more I believe that I’m an instinctual racer and will respond based on how my body feels in the heat of competition.
If I’m going to race on trails, I had better start commuting on trails.
My legs still felt like junk running trails today. I need to remind myself that during road run training my runs on Monday and Tuesday were always sluggish and slow. This reminder has put me at ease a bit, but I’m still reluctant of my preparation for Dirty 30. I feel like I’m going to crash and burn. Am I due for it?
I felt pretty out of it all day, both mentally and physically. I’ve been carrying some added stress at work in these last few weeks which has left me pooped at the end of the day. There’s a lot of uncertainty about budgets and employment terms which have been added weights on my shoulders.
Wednesdays are my reboot days where my body finally feels normal again. I had a good, easy jog around the Civic Center Park during November Project.
OK, my race thoughts are getting more positive. Insight for Dirty 30: no goals, I’m just gonna fly. I’m apprehensive about the task of mountain running, but as I run by the Honeymoon Incline on my run back home, I’m brimming with excitement towards scaling the Incline after work. I get a rush off of challenging terrain. Dirty 30 is going to be an adventure. Strip away performance expectations and seek enlightenment in a fun, supported day in the mountains — Ala Tim Tollefson’s performance at 2016 UTMB.
On social media, there’s a lot of has-been, woulda-shoulda, wanna be’s advertising their life stories as front page news to the running community. I am not one of them. I’m scripting my own story, not influenced by likes or followers, but rather by hard work and sacrifice.
Doubt, lack of confidence, and fear are the heathens of my current mindset. “I’d rather do a non-competitive 50-mile race than a competitive 50k”. Ah ha! When I said this out loud it all made sense: I am fearful of competing. I’m fearful of the unknown and the untested. This, however, is the best part of racing. This is exactly where my mentality should be, two weeks out from a race.
Thursday was a beautiful morning, spent with an awesome gang on the ridge! Love this team. Not to mention, we finally kicked out a solid workout up the hill. It’s been a few weeks of tapering, recovering, or weather interruptions, so it felt good to finally run hard again. Stride wise, it felt fantastic to give my hip flexors a good streeeeetch.
Aviva mentioned that she was talking to a friend about the Wings For Life, and he interpreted it that I had won wings for life. Like, chicken wings for the rest of my life! We all chuckled, and wondered why others hadn’t been similarly confused.
Is it finally time for a long run on trails? No way! I’m saving myself for next weekend. There is no reason to risk injury or go into the race on fatigued legs. I’ve got what I need physically. Course recon, on the other hand, is the ace up my sleeve that I expect will pay dividends on race day. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to run the whole course ahead of time, so I’m resorting to studying the maps to solidify my preparation for the trails, the turns, the climbs, and the aid stations. This gives me confidence and makes race day go much smoother, allowing me to be in control.
Julia, Birdie, and I drove up to Golden Gate Canyon State Park and toured around the last 6 miles of the course, including the toughest climb of the 50k route, up Windy Peak.
I’m putting a lot of thought into racing and race strategy. I’m not as confident in trail race strategy as I was for road racing. With roads it was easy to pick an arbitrary pace and work towards it. On the trails there are so many unknowns in the terrain and it’s effects on nutrition, hydration, and stamina. And that is precisely why I love trail running.