Sunday, September 9, 2012

American Canyon 50K and CIM Training Week Three

The American Canyon 50K is three years old in 2013. In 2012, the race was held on the morning of my 40th birthday. My longest distance raced, at that point, was 10K (around my 39th birthday, I ran the Davis Stampede) so I figured an additional 5K, plus some real trail running, would be a logical progression to my running accomplishments. My friend David was inspired by my endeavor, and decided to join me.

The 15K course begins at Overlook Park in Auburn and descends to the American River before turning around at "No Hands Bridge" for the climb back up to the overlook. I really enjoyed the fact that it incorporated some of the Western States trail, and I would imagine being at the end of the 100 miler, climbing out of the canyon, as I was training on the course. During the race itself I hung back with David for the first third and then picked up the pace to see how many people I could pass. It was the first time anyone had ever said "good job" to me during a race, and I heard it from the back of the packers still making their way down to the river and from those I passed on the way to the finish. I placed 2nd overall and won my age group for the first time! Granted, there were only a dozen entrants, but hey, it still felt good!

With those fond memories, I had been struggling with the decision between the 25K or the 50K in 2013. The 50K course covers more of the Western States trail, and I have the advantage of an excellent resource in Tim Long, who won the 2012 50K while setting the course record. I will have had two months to recover from the California International Marathon, and I want to do the Way Too Cool 50K in March, but there is no guarantee I will win a spot in that coveted race due to the lottery for entry. Fortunately, before I got too stressed out about the decision, David told me had pulled the trigger in the 50K, so there it was. The challenge had been laid down, and now there are two races on my 2013 schedule.

Now I have to start wondering what I should do with the rest of the year? I really want to run the Dipsea, but that legendary race is also difficult to get an entry, as it is first come first served by mail! The Dick Collins Firetrails 50 Miler looks interesting, as do all the races in the Marin Headlands, like the Headlands 50/100 and the North Face Endurance Challenge. And then there's the possibility of another road marathon...

Speaking of marathons, CIM training week three is in the books, and I am finally getting my prescribed miles! I shifted the mid-week runs around a little, but hit every run on the schedule, peaking with 14 miles on Saturday (10K racing, then ran home over Banner Mountain). The ankles and calves are pretty stiff, but nothing some trigger point rolling and A.R.T. won't remedy. I feel like I have a good base heading into the fall. The Giant's Half Marathon next weekend should be fun; I'm going to try to best my PR by over 3 minutes. I figure if I can run a 1:45 next weekend, and a 1:40 in November at the US Half Marathon, I'll be on track for a 3:30 debut marathon in December. There is a lot of training between now and then though. One race at a time!

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