Week six of the marathon training is in the books, and I am feeling the familiar soreness that comes with building mileage and effort. It is worst in the mornings, as I hobble out of bed. My ankles and calves are stiff, but loosen up within 15 minutes of rising. Keeping with the trend, I failed to make all of my scheduled runs, but feel good about the mileage I did complete, only missing 5 easy miles or so.
Tuesday: Easy 8 miles along the Bay in heart rate zone 2 (132-141), average pace 8:45
Wednesday: I substituted a 10 mile trail run in the Marin Headlands for the cruise/tempo run I had planned; 10.68 miles, 2122 feet of elevation, average pace 11:23
Saturday: Cystic Fibrosis 5K, average pace 7:37 and a 14 mile run home, 3520 feet of elevation, average pace 11:30
Totals: 36.12 miles, 5984'/5343' elevation ascent/descent
The 14 miler over Banner Mountain, after racing 5K, was tough on tired legs. Tacking on mileage after racing has been a good learning experience for the later miles at Bizz Johnson. I have been incorporating more hills trying to build more hip and quad strength, even though the Bizz Johnson course does not present any significant climbs.
What the Bizz Johnson 50K does offer is a small ascent of ~300 feet over the first 10 miles followed by a steady descent of over 1300 feet over the final 20 miles. Check out the marathon profile compared to some popular California races:
Many use the Bizz as a Boston Qualifier, taking advantage of the drop in elevation. The Bizz Johnson Trail "follows the route of the old Fernley and Lassen Branch Line of the Southern Pacific Railroad, built in 1914", according to the race website. The last 10 miles are in the Susan River canyon and the course crosses the river ten times on wooden bridges, and with 4 miles to go, the course takes the runners through two train tunnels 450-800 feet long. I have been told that the tunnels are filled with glow sticks and lanterns to help keep people from getting hurt running in the dark. Sounds novel. Overall, the course is a perfect 50K on which to cut my ultra teeth: smooth, net downhill, beautfiul. The only drawback is the elevation. At 4200'-5600', it is twice as high as I have been racing in the foothills, and obviously my sea level training around the Bay is not providing any conditioning for the thin air at elevation.
There are a number of other races held over the course of the weekend. An "Express Half Marathon" follows the last half of the marathon course and is held on Saturday, which is also when the runner check in for the marathon and 50K is held in Susanville. Sunday's events include the 50K, marathon, another half marathon (which uses the last quarter of the marathon/50K route as an out-and-back) and a 10K (an out-and-back on the last 3 miles of the course). Unfortunately,
there is no spectator/crew access on the course, so Twirly will have to enjoy the other action at the finish line while waiting for David and me to finish, hopefully in a relaxed and pedestrian 6 hours.
UPDATE: Crew/spectator access is allowed after all. Twirly will be able to drive to three of the aid stations to provide support, encouragement and get some pix/video.