Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The North Face Endurance Challenge: T-minus Three Weeks

It's all over but the taper.
My perspective on this upcoming challenge has swayed from anxiety to excitement; from fear of the unknown to an eagerness to put my best foot forward. Meeting my goal of sub-11 hours will be difficult, as I feel somewhat under trained, but healthy. That said, the week was productive, despite travelling over the weekend for friends' nuptials in Tucson:
Monday: Recovery 90
Wednesday: 3 hours in the dark, on race course, 2500' elevation
Thursday: Easy 60
Totals: 30 miles, avg HR 136
Going in, I know my Achilles heel will be climbing. It will be tricky to keep it in low gear for the first half, especially the downhills, where I usually try to make up some time. The first two downhills will be in the dark, on loose footing. My hope is that I can conserve my quads for the middle sections in Mt. Tam State Park, and that my pacer provides enough feedback on my form to keep me moving efficiently on the home stretch.
Wednesday's run was a lot of fun. It had rained all day Tuesday and into Wednesday, breaking just hours before my run. I hit the Tennessee Valley trail head just after dark, and set out climbing Marincello Trail with my headlamp and flashlight. The fog had condensed into a layer about 300 feet thick, which I hiked into, and out of, over the course of the climb. I cruised into Rodeo Valley on Bobcat Trail, hit the porta-john at Bunker Road, and headed up Rodeo Valley Trail to the top, before retracing my steps, sans bathroom break.
My taper begins with a tempo, a 10k turkey trot on Thanksgiving, and two hilly hours to round out the weekend. They say under trained and healthy is better than over trained and hurt. I guess I'll find out the first Saturday in December.

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