Sunday, February 10, 2013

American Canyon Training Week Nine: A Taper, a Race, and Beer Worth Waiting in LIne for...

American Canyon 50K organizer
Week Nine brought race day, and my legs twitched from the taper. Last weekend in Tahoe bled into Monday, and work forced me to the treadmill for another couple of workouts mid-week before a shakeout jog on Friday and the American Canyon 50K on Saturday. Finding myself with some extra time on my hands, I invested a long wait in line at Russian River Bewing Co. in Santa Rosa to get my ration of Pliny the Younger, a seasonal beer which is rarely seen outside the brewery, and is only available during the first two weeks of February each year. "The Younger" is a Triple IPA, and contains 10% alcohol. It is not your average beer. Like a good scotch or wine, it is both extremely complex and perfectly balanced. An awesome brew, in spite of being a little light in the aroma department, but that's just my opinion.

Pliny the Younger, in its natural environment
Here's the week:

Tuesday: 60 minutes on the treadmill (8:40 pace, 10x60 second strides)

Wednesday: 40 minutes on the treadmill,  8:30 pace

Friday: 30 minute shakeout, 8:40 pace

Saturday: American Canyon 50K

Totals: 46.4 miles, avg HR 144

I definitely got anxious about all the rest days I had taken as a result of the ski weekend, but when my legs began to feel neglected, I took that as a sign the taper was working. I was encouraged by the pace on the shakeout jog, which felt comfortable and strong. I got good rest in the days before the race, and I felt good at the start. David and Torrey had made it, and brought another Nevada County runner, Andy. Knowing so many people at the start played a role in the evolution of the race, and in the end, Andy, David and I would finish within a minute of each other. Torrey easily beat us by 15 minutes. Twirly worked the Maine Bar aid station at the half-way point, providing great support for all the runners. We hit the Auburn Alehouse for a well deserved feast after the race. They had their Triple IPA, ZZ Hop, available on cask, which was another rare treat. Wednesday is cask night, and I just don't find myself in Auburn mid-week anymore. The cask ales don't often survive the night.

New home for the bling
On Sunday, I took a hot tub and got a massage from Twirly, and she gave me my birthday present, a proper rack for the race bling I am accumulating. It has some room for the next few years, I hope. I enjoyed yet another beer worth waiting in line for, Westvleteren Twelve, from the monks at the Trappist abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in Belgium. As recently as 2005, the Westvleteren Twelve was rated as the "Best Beer in the World". You must make a reservation to purchase at one of the two official selling locations, and as of 2009, the limit is one case per license plate number every 60 days. People wait in line in their cars to get their hands on this one. Last year the Abbey needed a new roof, so for the first time in their 175 year history, they distributed a select number of six-pack "gift packs" to North America. My birthday present to myself this year is a glass of this exclusive brew. Now - how to acquire another bottle...

The American Canyon 50K race report is in the works. Stay tuned.

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