|Dave Matthews Band, now with extended encores just to fuck w/ Billy|
I've been getting in some quality runs but nowhere near the volume I could/should be running due to the lingering foot injury that rears its ugly head anywhere from 8-15 miles into a given long run. This made me a tad apprehensive but I was probably more so about a late night on my feet preceding the race along with the forecasted weather showing it would hit a high of 90-degrees that day. Sure enough, I wouldn't get back to my hotel room in (somewhat) nearby Newport Beach until after midnight and it turned out to be a hot one as advertised.
Stumbling around our dark hotel room the morning of without trying to wake my sleeping girlfriend was a bit of a challenge as was trying to navigate the 30-40 minute drive to the race site. Add to it that I unknowingly ended up on a toll road on the last stretch and narrowly missed hitting a deer that decided to scamper across the highway as I was doing 85+ MPH trying to arrive on time. Thankfully, solid brakes spared the doe its life and I arrived at the start with just a couple of minutes to spare.
|"Ok, here he comes. Warmer...warmer..."|
The race field was tiny (10-15 runners?) and the course would be an exercise in patience and discipline as it would be an approximately ~3.25 mile out and ~3.25 mile back on rolling terrain running through Dove Canyon amidst a few homes and open fields. I ran into friends Rachel and Rachel (the former would drop after one out-and-back due to a foot injury), exchanged pleasantries and quickly gathered myself for the 7:15am start.
I'm not used to running out ahead but that's precisely how we started off that day along with a half-marathon runner and a young British whipper-snapper named Josh with whom I'd be running with/near all day (I dunno why I'm calling him that except that's the only description that ran through my head that morning). We started off at a pretty conservative pace but even that was enough to pull us in front. Eventually, we let the half-marathoner run up ahead and Josh and I took turns running with or just ahead of the other. I honestly couldn't have cared less about positioning and just focused on running a steady pace for the 26+ hot miles. Didn't exactly work out that way.
I'll spare most of the details. I had a drop bag and mini-cooler at the start/finish and kept adding ice to a bandana wrapped around my neck. The course while more scenic than I'd anticipated did eventually win out. While I ran pretty steadily for the first 3 out and backs, eventually the distance, rolling hills and the rising sun took its toll on me and I suffered to maintain a steady pace for the last couple of out and backs. I'll take long steady climbs/descents any day versus the unending, rocky rollers we had to battle all day.
I did pretty well on nutrition I suppose, taking in a gel at each turnaround point (~30-45 minutes) along with a Salt Stick at every completed turnaround. I stuck mostly with water although for the last lap I grabbed a 2nd handheld which I filled with Gatorade because I was so damn dehydrated (couldn't get myself to pee despite all the fluid I was taking in throughout the race until the last .5 mile or so...even then, it was golden yellow and just a few drops).
|At the finish w/ Josh the young and quick Brit (no he didn't race BF)|
I crossed a couple of minutes behind Josh in 2nd (after 4:35 of running and 3,500+ ft of elevation gain) and after receiving our medals/trophies and shooting the shit while I gathered myself sucking down water/coconut water/coke/gatorade then more water. After a few minutes I thanked Charlie the RD and said goodbye to Josh and a couple of other runners that were lingering there.
Surprisingly, the foot was a non-issue although I iced it as a precautionary measure. The legs while obviously sore didn't seem to take too much of a punishment and escaped injury-free which for me, is always a good thing. As I mentioned the point was to treat this as a supported long run and not beat me up to a point where I couldn't continue training (er, tapering?) for Noble Canyon. 2 more weeks!