Sunday, January 15, 2012


The Epiphany Run is an annual tradition here in the Bay Area commemorating Ultrarunning Magazine editor John Medincamp's birthday. It is a traditional Fat Ass style run with no bibs, course markings or even an official start time. You take a map, go at your own time, choose the distance you want to run and then write it down when you are done. It's a good way to jump-start the season, kick your training into gear and see lots of familiar faces in the process. That was my plan.

I wasn't going into this into this in the best condition. I'd done little running since Nepal, fought off a cold and was operating on reduced calorie intake since New Years in an attempt to send those holiday pounds back from whence they came. The 5am wakeup call after a poor night of sleep didn't help either. All pre-run excuses aside, I was still excited upon meeting Harry and Martina at the Park-n-Ride anticipating a fun day on the trails. I'd try to ignore the fact that the Arrowhead 135 was looming on my calendar only a few short weeks away.

Evidence of having fun along the way (photo courtesy of Martina Koldewey)

Fun. That was the order of the day and a beautiful day it was, perhaps even too beautiful if that's possible. By the time I reached the turnaround at the Chabot Marina a little after 9am, the sun was warming the air and I was already sweating much more than expected. An hour and a half later, along the exposed ridge, I was starting to cramp. I bummed a salt tab off another runner since I hadn't brought any of my own. The temps were probably just reaching low 60s, but for the remainder of the run back to Skyline Gate, I felt as though I was in a mid-summer run. On the final climb, I was hot, dehydrated and even dry heaved once. This was pretty much the antithesis of training for a race across snow-covered trails in northern Minnesota.

I stopped at 25 miles, foregoing the ultra distance to keep my cramping legs from getting worse. It's pretty paltry as a longest run before such a serious undertaking, but if my experience at Susitna last year is any indication, running for 5 miles straight in those frozen conditions will be more than I'll do. With the extremely mild December and no snow in the mountains, race-specific training has been impossible. With the arctic air being hogged far north of the border all month, Minnesota hadn't seen much snow either. I was beginning to think that I'd be dragging a sled across the grass for 135 miles. The new year has seen snow and a few sub-zero temps reaching International Falls, so things are looking up, so to speak. It looks like I'll be heading in under-trained and ill-prepared, just like I like it.


Danni said...

We don't have good Su training conditions here either. In Northwest Montana. It's finally cold and it's supposed to snow soon though...

Olga said...

Fun. But ouch on that dehydration with cramps!