Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ill and Ill-prepared

Well, I definitely got the cold bug and it pretty much took me out completely from Thursday through Saturday. I did a paltry 1.5m on the treadmill Friday morning, but that was about it. Saturday I slept and rested most of the day and managed to feel quite good come Sunday morning. In an attempt to salvage some of the weekend (though I missed the one nice weather day), I did get a run in Sunday evening. I kept it on the road and local sticking to one of my routes that has lots of options for turning back short if I didn't feel well. I figured that 8 miles was about the extent I could handle. However, I felt great so just kept on going all the way to the Mission Peak trailhead. The 10.5m route was one I hadn't done in a while and is a pretty nice run as far as roads go since there is a nice view of the bay at the turnaround. I think this run really helped clear all the "gunk" out of my system. There really is nothing better than the post-illness LSD run to really clear everything out. No, this is not a long run, the initials in this case stand for:
  • Lung-butter
  • Saliva
  • Discharged nasal-mucus
This run brought the week's total to just over 32mi which is just about 1/2 of what I had hoped. However, it ended up not being a total loss and I was happy to recover so quickly.

I felt so good that come the Monday holiday I wanted to hit the trails at least for a bit. I had a lot of errands and chores to get caught up on so the run was once again postponed until afternoon. It was no sooner that I announced to my wife my intention to head up to Mission Peak than it started to rain. I didn't remember the forecast calling for any heavy showers so I only brought my light shell though I did add an extra layer of underarmor beneath my running shirt. My timing was once again impeccable as the rain seemed to just pick up the closer I got to the top. On the way up I took my standard route on the Peak Meadow fireroad which adds some extra distance. Being as this trail is not graveled over like the main fireroad the mud added significant time to my run. I was sliding all over and trying to run on the grassy side of the trail as much as possible. Even walking didn't seem to help as my road shoes just have no grip in the mud. This is one of the few times when I wish I could find some trail shoes that fit. I also wonder if anyone has every tried attaching traction devices to their shoes for the mud like they do when running on ice.

Eventually, this meets up with the main fireroad and I was able to pick it up to my normal slow shuffle. When I finally made it to the ridge I was happy to hit the downhill around the back side of the peak. However, this is where the storm really picked up. My shell was useless in the heavy downpour and the cold rain soaked right through all three layers. I could also feel that my legs were pretty worked from all the extra work trying to keep stable in the slippery mud. My intention was just to push on through, make it to the top and head down the main firetrail as quickly as possible. I decided to skip the Eagle Loop as I realized that this was not the best conditions to be running in having just gotten over a cold. As I reached the ridge again the rain came down harder and I could hear and feel it pelting my hood. As I looked up at the mist-enshrouded peak, I realized that this rain was no longer liquid. Even though I was almost at the top, I know from experience that conditions at the peak can be much, much worse than just a 100 feet below. Feeling my muscles starting to tighten up in the cold, I decided the wiser plan was to just turn tail and head back down the way I'd come. This was definitely the smart decision as I was freezing at this point. I kept having to squeeze my hands to keep them from stiffening up and I really just wanted this ill-advised run to be over.

I've never done the "pee on the run" technique in a race because I think it is totally rude and, quite frankly, I'm just not fast enough for seconds to matter. However, to avoid freezing I have to admit that I partook of this moving relief as the last thing I wanted to do was stand still for even 30 seconds. As I made my way back around the peak and to the other side of the ridge all I could think about was the last couple miles of downhill and wanting to get my body moving down it. Normally I can't run too fast down this hill as the ground tends to be quite hard and there are usually lots of other trail users. Both of those conditions were negated by the storm. In fact, the ground was so soft that I was able to just go all out. The last two miles of this run were taken completely at sub-7 minute pace with a top speed (Garmin measured) of just below 6. I was swinging my arms and moving my legs as fast and as much as I could just to keep the blood flowing. When I finally made it to my car and changed out of my wet clothes the temperature gauge read in the low 40s. I can only imagine that it was at least 10 degrees lower up top. Looking back it seems like a little mini-epic adventure. However, I think it was perhaps one of the stupider things I have done in terms of my recent running.

On other running-related notes, Zane and I have had to postpone our Costa Rica trip that was planned for the end of this week. Our main reason for going was to see my wife's nieces. They are not going to make it back into the country in time for us to see them so we decided to move the trip to March. This is actually a much better time. It is during Frederick's spring break so we are thinking to have him bring a friend and join us. We have also been able to extend the length of the trip so it can be a real vacation. It will be the week right after Coyote 2 Moons so it will be the perfect locale for me to rest and recover from the race. What better way to celebrate a tough 100-miler than a vacation trip to paradise?

The change in plans leaves this weekend open. I could return to my original plan and do the Fremont Fat Ass 50K. However, some friends who are also doing C2M are planning a training run up in Marin. If I can work the logistics out that would be a better option in terms of hill training as the Fremont race is as flat as they get. I'm also leaning much more towards the Andes Adventure run in July. I have printed out the form and just need to send it in with the deposit check. With TRT100 out and a desire to do something at higher altitude before heading to the Andes, I am considering doing the Bighorn 100 in Wyoming in late June. It has a similar altitude profile to TRT and while it is nothing close to what I will experience in the Andes, I think it would help make sure my conditioning is at its peak before I head down there. I need to look at logistics and the family summer schedule especially in terms of my son's basketball as he will have school summer league as well as AAU going on. If I do end up signing up I think that fills the calendar for most of the year pending some decisions about the last few months.

With hope for no more illness or ill-advised, ill-planned adventures, it's time to get back to my training ramp up.


miki said...

Sounds like you have a great year in front of you. :)

Sarah said...

"I also wonder if anyone has every tried attaching traction devices to their shoes for the mud like they do when running on ice."

I wouldn't hesitate to put some sheet metal screws in an old pair of running shoes for days like that. We used to use 'em in the snow, and they made a huge difference - plus, they're cheap and easy, and a good way to get some more miles out of some old(er) shoes.