Week four found me tapering for Way Too Cool 50K, and work forced an extra day off. Normally that would have bugged me, but it was only 45 minutes lost; inconsequential in the big picture. I have a love/hate relationship with tapering. While I agree that one should be rested going into a race, the truncated training runs during the taper do not last long enough for me to fully warm up. I am not a fan of the first few miles of any run, and when they end so suddenly, I feel shorted. In addition, after weeks of high mileage, it seems my legs feel more sore during the taper, as if the lactic acid never fully flushes out during my runs, and it accumulates more than normal. So, I got two runs in leading up to the race, and put in a solid effort in Cool. In the first miles of Way Too Cool, I found myself running next to Gordy Ainsleigh, the man who started the 100 miler in North America. Star struck and energized, I realized that ultra running is slowly becoming something I want to do until my legs will carry me no more. Here's the week:
Tuesday: 60 minutes at 9:00 effort
Friday: 30 minute shakeout with a friend
Saturday: 5:23:15 - Way Too Cool 50K (PR)
Totals: 39.12 miles, avg HR 150
After the 50K, I updated Wanderplace with the new countdown to the next race, the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run. Seeing it on the countdown, at 27 days and 9 hours, it hit me: I am going to run 50 miles continuously in less than four weeks. Having never attempted the feat before, I find myself lacking the reference to determine if I am ready. Sure, I have been training hard, and I have a good coach supporting me, who ensures me I will have a solid run, but I still have this small, growing knot of concern in my gut. In my brief running career, most new personal best long runs have eclipsed the previous run by a couple of miles, except when I ran Bizz Johnson last fall. In that case I had not run longer than 17 miles, and found myself running 31. It was a lesson in pacing and pain. So having run 31.5 that day, looking running 50 in four weeks, I am anticipating more pain. But it's good pain. Otherwise I wouldn't be so excited about it, right?
NorCal Ultras has race events dialed. My experience at Way Too Cool really impressed me; from the announcement of names at the finish to the complimentary massages by Monsters of Massage, I felt catered to and appreciated. I know I'll be miserable in the latter stages of AR50, but I look forward to the love and support of the organization, and the fellowship of the shared suffering amongst the runners.
Now, to go turn up the temp on the hot-tub...