Sunday, January 2, 2011

Coyote Ridge Trail Run

i'm hiding from the cameras...

Last Sunday, Cap'n Kirk, Dave and I left from the Verdi library at just after 3 a.m. to do a trail run at Muir Beach. I'd been feeling remorse about skipping the Holiday Classic in Sacramento the week before, and I really wanted another competition before the year's end. However, on the previous Thursday, I became suddenly and intensely ill whilst playing Santa at the Sierra View Library. At first, I chalked it up to pushing too hard in a 5k time trail/interval workout that morning. It was my first time under 17:00 since June (16:57) and was followed by 4 x 400 at just over 70 per, plus weights. I was toast, but by the end of Santa time I was feverish, shaky, already sore, and had an upset stomach. Through the rest of the day, however, I seemed to get better as I ate, which to me seemed to back up the fact that I wasn't sick, I just pushed too hard.
I was wrong.
I did manage to get up to meet Turi for a road run the next morning. I figured my legs would be trashed, but we weren't planning on running fast. He was scheduled for 11, and I hoped to do 7 or 8 with him. We did 12. Still thought I was improving, though. For several hours after the run I felt better than I had, but by night time, had the cold sweats and all the acompanying fun.
Christmas day, from a physical standpoint, just sucked.
I felt a little better when the alarm went off, but that may have been because I wasn't really awake. I'll never really know. But since this early morning trip was my idea, if I could walk, I was going. We made great time over the pass and got there an hour ahead of time at 7 a.m. It wasn't raining, but definitely had been. There was a waterfall of drainage off the mountain that we'd be running up. If not for one particularly wet and muddy race in Nevada City a couple Octobers ago, this would be THE sloppiest course I've ever run on. Maybe a tie...
Anyway, the warm-up felt ok. Not great, but ok. However, it was obvious early on the first climb, which started a minute in, that this would be a tough day. Just like the first mile of the Fall Colors run, I was dropped by runners I was hoping to pace off of. All distances started at the same time, and after the first two climbs, which included a long staircase and lots of slippery mud, there was an out and back to the 7 mile check-point. Here's where my navigation skills kicked in. I saw markings on the left and turned to ask the runner behind me if he thought this was a left turn, or a future right. If my brain was working, I would have realized it was a future right. In hindsight, I re-remembered that the polka dot ribbons preceded a turn on that side of the road. No problem, only a couple seconds lost. By the turn, I knew I was easily in 2nd, and highly unlikely to catch up. At one point I must have put my head down, or temporarily been stricken blind, because somehow, though I'd just seen it, and knew it was there, I missed the turn!
I thought I may have missed it, and asked a runner if there was a turn coming up on my right. Problem was, I don't think he understood english. He nodded yes enthusiastically and gave me not one, but two thumbs up. A minute or two later, the road ended and we were back on the trail, which I knew with 97.6% certainty was too far. So I turned and timed it back the right I'd missed. 4:19. Times two ways!! Frick!!! I have to say, I think this was by far the most well-marked obvious turn that I've ever missed. I really don't know how in the world I managed that one.
So now I had no idea what place I was in, just that I was 8 1/2 minutes or so further behind than I had been, and was climbing up another muddy lung burner, which isn't my forte anymore under normal circumstances. So I kinda tempo-ran the last 2 or three miles, taking in the amazing ocean views, and didn't wake up til I got caught on the final decent, a slip-n-slide of epic proportions. The guy who passed me was signed up for the 10, but had decided in-race to make the 7 mile turn. In my sissyness, I figured he wasn't racing ME since he had officially been a ten miler, and with my priority currently being to stay upright, I let him go. When we hit the final 200 on pavement, I got my spine back and quickly closed the 50m gap, but then we had a singletrack bridge and a couple turns before the nowhere to pass. Turns out, he officially finished the 7 miler 3rd overall, less than one second ahead of me, and won our age group.
The leader ran right at 58 minutes. 2nd was about 7 minutes back, with the two of us 3rd and 4th in 68:00 and 68:01. So assuming the rest would've been the same, I'd have run a minute and a half off the lead in 59 1/2. Oh well. No cooldown for me. Thought it wasn't really cold, it was windy and wet, and it felt cold - so I got my pants and coat back on, and waited for Kirk and Dave. Kirk ran a strong 2nd half to come back from 2nd to easily pull away for the win, and Dave finished one of the tougher courses we'd run a while later. Moylan's in Novato for lunch. Only 1 beer as my tummy was pissed again.
Even though the weather really wasn't bad, and neither were the roads, everyone and their mother was on the road, so it took us 7 hours to get home, causing us to miss our buddy Lance's holiday party. Double Frick!!
As is typical of 2010 for me, week #51 was my 2nd half high, even though I was sick to end the week, at 59.6. This week was less than 9! Hopefully, 2011 will start better, but neither my stomach or lung capacity has fully recovered as of a week later. We shall see. I already skipped my next race, a 5k in Sacramento this morning, and plan on racing next on the 16th, when Kirk and I will be hoping to be close to 6 minute pace at the not-too-speedy Redding Marathon Relay. 2010 review coming soon...


Turi said...

Wow, man. You sound like you got some of the sickness I had, but fought it off better. After our run Friday, i was horizontal for like 6 days. Just feeling better now. Nice holiday break.

Good that you guys got out there, though...

SnowLeopard said...

Double Frick indeed. Sorry man, those hidden turns are the worst. ;) I'm hoping 2011 will be a healthier year for all of us!