Friday, July 11, 2014

Rodeo Valley 50k

I don’t know why I signed up for a 50k two weeks after my first half ironman.  Ok, I know why I did, but I didn’t make the mental connection that it was only two weeks later.  The Hawaii 70.3 was a mental release at the end of a long period of training, and this was after that, so I didn’t think about it much ahead of time.  Anyway, I wanted to run a 50k in June, and it’s been a while since I ran some of these trails, so I was in.

…for about the slowest plod of a race I’ve ever done.  I could list lots of reasons, but nothing felt great going into it, and I knew I’d just be going in to get the distance, enjoy the course, and finish.  DL was running this too, but with much different intentions.  At the start, I held back, slowly running the first long hill.  Then I realized that while my hamstrings were burning, they were moving fine, albeit slowly.  But my calves hurt.  I didn’t expect that, since I haven’t pushed them hard in a while.  I switched to mixing up running and hiking the uphills, until the trail got up into the scenic parts with views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, and the bay.  Intending to pick up speed, nothing moved like it should.  It felt like running in molasses.  But I had fun with it and kept going.  Marincello was a long downhill on this route, which is much nicer than the long uphill I’ve always taken on it.  

Passing the Tennessee Valley aid station, I was on trails that were new to me, taking Miwok and the Coastal trail out to the coast.  The view opened up and was amazing.  This stretch of coast is one of the reasons I wanted to do this run.  Since I was way behind on time, relative to where I wanted to be, I started putzing around a bit and taking photos.  The next climb out of Pirate's Cove was steep and took a bit out of me.  Passing the aid station again, I started the next long climb, again switching running and walking until I hit the top, where the course stays fairly flat for a while.  Again, I couldn’t take this at any speed, since nothing wanted to move as fast as it should, so I just kept going.  New to me on ITR’s take on the course, we went through a number of old batteries, a tunnel, and past ruined shelters, none of which I’ve seen before.  I took the downhill to Rodeo Beach at a decent clip, and DL lapped me coming into the last aid station (which I was expecting, knowing his speed).

Yeah, that's racing pace.

Heading back out and past the start/finish area, I turned on my iPod, since I was just speed hiking the uphills at this point, and needed something to pass the time.  I kept approximate pace with three others for the remainder of the course, which passes back through most of the first loop.  The second loop was all about just getting the course done, and my speed dropped precipitously.  It certainly met the endurance training goal that motivated signing up for it, since I finished seconds over eight hours on a course that should have taken me about 6:30.  But I had fun.  

Somewhere along the way, I got tired of this, and made a decision to take a two month racing break for most of the summer.  I had a couple more races scheduled, which I finished.  Unless I change my mind dramatically, I’m going to skip out on racing and focus on speed and strength until fall, when I’ll pick up the distance again to train for a 50 miler.  I also made a mental note to start treating 50ks more like races now, since I think I understand more of what my body goes through over the course of the distance now.  I’m planning to do two or three in the fall as part of the 50 miler training.   

No comments: