Tuesday, January 22, 2013

American Canyon 50K Training Week Six: Faltering Fortitude, NFC Champions and a Way Too Cool Run

Week six saw my first falter since last summer. By Sunday my motivation, confidence and eagerness had dissolved into a puddle of self-pity. After hosting a poker game on Saturday night which lasted until the early morning of Sunday, I skipped 90 minutes of recovery jogging, resulting in a tremendous amount of self-loathing.  A symptom of over-training, perhaps, or maybe a self-proclaimed vicious cycle brought on by an apathetic Sunday spent with my ass glued to the couch watching the 49ers and Ravens fight their way into the Super Bowl. Either way, I need to go for a run! Here's the week:

Tuesday: 90 minutes at 9:00 effort

Wedesday: 45 minutes at 9:00 effort

Thursday: 60 minutes at 9:00 effort

Friday: 45 minutes at 9:00 effort

Saturday: Way Too Cool training run, 4:00 race sim (12:00 pace overall)

Totals: 46.33 miles, 5221'/5157' elevation gain/loss

I left my HR strap at home the previous weekend, so I had only pace and effort to guide my workouts. Wednesday's run was in complete darkness at Redwood Park in Oakland, and I realized as I stumbled along, that one really good headlamp would work better than the cheap headlamp and cheap handheld LED flashlight I was using. I had to hold the flashlight low and level to provide enough contrast to see the relief of the trail, and not being able to swing my arms symmetrically was weird.

Too early to feel any pain, yet
My long run on Saturday was a blast; a local club (Folsom Trail Runners) held an organized training run/meetup on the Way Too Cool 50K course in Cool, California. The entire course was marked for the morning, and five options were available: 8 miles, 12 miles, 20 miles, 23 miles, and the entire 50K. All routes began and ended at the Cool Firehouse, which is the start/finish for the race. I was joined by David (who is beginning to leave me behind on the long runs) and Torrey (who has always left me behind, be it a long or short run). We opted for the 20 mile route, which began on the 8 mile Secret Mine Loop (just as the race does), and then followed a truncated, 12 mile version of the lollipop loop on the back three quarters of the course. The three of us stuck together on the Secret Mine Loop, which was mostly frozen mud in the early morning. The trail looked like it could be shoe-sucking, slippery mud for miles on race day, especially with 1000 runners tromping through the rolling oak woodlands. Hopefully the ground will dry out before then and we will have minimal rainfall at the beginning of March. After the 8 mile loop, we stopped briefly at the car for some refueling and then set out for 12 miles in the river canyon. David and Torrey began pulling away from me as we descended down to the Quarry Trail, which follows the Middle Fork of the American River.
Rolling singletrack

Long downhills are becoming my Achilles Heel. While fresh, I feel like I can bomb with the best, but after ten miles and a few descents, my ankles become so sore that the rest of my run is spent cautiously picking my way along the trail. Hesitation saps my energy, and any proprioception I felt I had when fresh goes out the window as I fatigue. I'm afraid I might sprain an ankle, or fall. Maybe some Vitamin I will help, but suppressing inflammation is no way to get stronger, so I have resisted resorting to meds thus far. Next weekend's long run is shaping up to be the Steep Ravine Trail Marathon in the Marin Headlands. This race was not on my schedule, but David is unavailable to run the AC50K course (which was my plan), and Torrey has signed up for Steep Ravine. So, lacking the desire to run for 5+ hours alone, I decided to run an organized trail marathon as a training run! With over 6,000 feet of elevation change, it will likely require some sort of pain management to finish in a respectable time. The course is two circuits of a half-marathon each; the halfway point should be an interesting test of my determination.
Yummy, but deep, singletrack
Secret Mine Trail
Despite my joints feeling no worse for the wear on Sunday morning, I tried to enjoy some football with Twirly instead of the back-to-back on my schedule. Good thing the Niners won, but I gotta nip that behaviour in the bud; back-to-backs don't work if you don't do them!
This monument marks about one mile to go in the Way Too Cool 50K

The details from the Way Too Cool training run:

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