The last couple races (Berkeley and the Quarry Turkey) ended a psychological chunk of races for me. I go through phases of running, and this one was ready to be over, having started in August with the Tri for Fun. This stretch was all about density, almost at a compulsory level, in that I ran and swam or had a tri more weekends than not. It wasn’t intended, but a lot of it came from signing up for races if there was no other early morning plan on a weekend. And we haven't been out of town as much on weekends lately. Here’s everything in this stretch:
Tri For Fun Sprint
Cinderella Half Marathon
Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile
Malibu Sprint+ Tri
Drag-N-Fly Half Marathon
Dirty Dare 25k
Marin Olympic Tri
Berkeley Half Marathon
Quarry Turkey Half Marathon
…in slightly over 3 months. That includes six half marathon or longer runs, three tris, and on distance swim. In this time, speed went up, distance went up rather comfortably, and I acclimated to just going out and running a half distance without much thought. These were also my first triathlons, and while swimming stabilized in terms of knowing what I’m doing, cycling had a ways to go. Especially on hills. I hit a time goal at the Berkeley half. And got electrically shocked seven two many times.
I’ve rested the last week, which was needed, more for psychological reasons than anything else, and focused on stretching and working out muscle kinks.
The next chunk of time will be aimed at three goals: Big Sur Marathon, Hawaii 70.3 tri, and run a 50k. I’m going to attempt to back off on the number of races, in favor of better endurance training, and using races more intentionally to get toward these goals. And somehow I went from a vague notion of how to do this to a specific plan. The Dirty Dare and Chabot 30k were the first parts of this, as well as working in more cycling time over the last month. Here’s what the rest looks like:
ITR Woodside Ramble 35k (Dec)
Brazen New Years Eve/New Years Day Half Marathons (Dec/Jan)
Coastal Steep Ravine Marathon (Jan)
ITR Chabot 50k (Feb)
ITR Marin 50k (March)
Big Sur Marathon (April)
Hawaii 70.3 Tri (May)
The Marin 50k is the race that caught my attention and motivated me to get up to 50k. I love running in Marin, but don’t do so often enough. I added Chabot to have an easier course the first time at that distance. And because there’s a small possibility an upcoming life event might make me need to back out of Marin. Backtracking, Steep Ravine, the pair of New Year’s halfs, and Woodside all aim to progressively ramp up distance. Woodside and Steep Ravine are on trails I haven't been on, but have wanted to run on for a couple years now. And it looks like I will have compulsively run 4 races at Chabot in 4 months. It's relatively close to home, why not?
I expect Big Sur to be the hardest. Road races beat me up far more than trail races, which is why I put the 50ks before it. In comparison, the Berkeley half left me more sore than the 25k or 30k, the latter of which is about 50% longer. It’s about the greater speed and more repetitive running on flatter courses, so getting the distance down on trails makes managing the roadness at the distance a lot easier. Big Sur will be hilly of course, but not like most hills I’m used to.
For Hawaii, it’s all about cycling and bricks. I regularly run and swim well over the distances involved, but cycling’s got to go up 50% longer. I’ve gotten up to 40 miles on the bike, but not comfortably. I’ve backed off since then to increase distance more slowly. This is one I’m still researching how I want to train for.
A lot of training reference I read aims toward peaking at certain races. Since these are in part new distances, I’d mostly like to finishing them at a good effort. But I’d like to beat my existing marathon times at Big Sur, since they’ve been quite not-so-good because of less planned training in the past. And if I avoid major injuries, it shouldn't be too hard to do so.
I’ll probably add a bay swim in there if one lands at a good time too. But otherwise Im going to try to behave myself and not sign up for anything else until after Hawaii. But of course, I’m sure there will be some weekend or two where I need to break my plan for fun.
That photo of trees above has nothing to do with these races. I believe it's on the huckleberry trail, close to home.