Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Am I Ready to be Way Too Cool?

Mount Diablo facing Wall Road Trail

The past 5 weeks since the Surf City Marathon has flown by with the Way Too Cool 50K being this weekend.  The compressed recovery, training, taper has been strange and has left a little bit of uncertainty about my readiness.  This is partially due to some of my training choices but I have little doubt I will finish.  I have focused on quality instead of quantity runs so hopefully this plays well for the race this Saturday.

Recovery from Surf City was pretty uneventful.  I was amazed how well I felt directly after the run as well as the following week.  In fact, my pace on my recovery runs were close to my normal training (I know you shouldn’t do this) which lead to questioning how much I may have left on the race course.  But the subsequent mid-week runs have been fun and uneventful.

Since there is a bit of downhill on the race, the couple of trail training runs focused on downhill.  The last run in particular, two weeks out from the race I might add, was a strictly downhill run from the top of Mount Diablo down to Castle Rock Regional Park.  This was an 11.5 mile 4,500 foot elevation drop run with the sole purpose of beating up my quads and developing DOMS (delayed muscle soreness).

So this may seem counter intuitive. But keep in mind that the week leading up to Surf City Marathon and the couple of weeks after I did not run hills.  So I needed to rebuild my hill legs, specifically my downhill quad durability.  I have also read several studies over the years specifically focusing on downhill running and the effects a couple of weeks after the run.  These studies found that the quad muscles rebuild in such a way that within two weeks maximum adaptation to running downhill has occurred.

So the upside was DOMS was accomplished at this run.  The downside, I couldn’t run 5 days later, so definitely too much downhill! And I could definitely use the taper mileage after. But, I am pretty confident now that that I am ready for the 3 miles of downhill at mile 9. 

Since I experienced the DOMS, taper has been pretty much non-existent.  I did do a my last run today with the lunchtime running group at work and felt pretty good.  This was pretty much to shake out the cobwebs in my legs as well as my mind.  The legs are fresh and ready to go for Saturday.

This will be the first race in a few years that I have not run at least part of the course and this has been psyching me out a little. At this point, the distance and elevation is not scary, that is just part of the run.  What I am a bit clueless on is the terrain and what to expect.  I have read a lot of race reports and looked at the associated pictures (thanks again to Mr.NotthatLucas (not his real name)!) but I don’t like that I have the feel of the trail.

For example, it has been raining off and on for the last couple of weeks.  I do know we have several creek crossings so will there be a lot or little water in the creeks?  Also, how much mud will there be on the trail versus rock and technical since California has been in a drought?  The first eight miles is relatively tame; however, because of the single track at this part of the course, how do I place myself at the start so I don’t go out too fast or too slow?

Looking back towards the top of Mount Diablo from Wall Road.
One element I have added to my run is taking an electrolyte during the run.  After my pace falloff at mile 18 at Surf City, the realization that I had not taken electrolyte up to that point was glaring.  As I stated in my previous post, my primary source of fuel is PocketFuel so I steered clear of the electrolyte drink at the marathon because I did not want to add the sugar.  I will be using Hammer Endurolytes and hopefully this will address this problem.

It is going to be a beautiful day with temperatures in the low 70’s at race finish.  With the uncertainties with this race, I will not declare a time goal even though I have a few.  And because of the uncertainties with this race, I am finding that I am a bit more excited about it and will be having more fun with it.  To finish, run strong, and to have fun….that is the goal!

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