Race Week & Operation Get Squishy

Its race week for a couple really big local races with national importance. Its really kind of unfair that the North Face Endurance Challenge Series in Marin is the same weekend as the California International Marathon in Sacramento. The former serves as the 50 mile championship and has a big prize purse that attracts trail running’s best talent. The latter is a USATF certified marathon course that is a great Boston qualifier. Decisions decisions. At the end of the day, my slow shift to trail running and my desire to experience the finish line party that puts all others to shame had me singing up for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k way back in July or August.

Normally the week before a goal race I am a nervous wreck. I obsessively check the weather even though it can change the night before and totally suck on race day (thanks Boston 2015!), I fret over whether I am tapering too much or not enough, everything in my body starts randomly hurting, you know, just your every day taper tantrum. Maybe its because my upcoming adventure is a trail race and I know it will be beautiful no matter how hard or painful, or maybe because it is so much harder to assess pace and expectations in a trail race with over 6,000 feet of elevation gain, but I am just not that stressed. Now I am not saying I don’t have any pre-race nerves. I definitely do. I consider this my first real foray into the ultra distance (16 miles a week for a month before a 55k at altitude does not a serious attempt at a new distance make), and I want to do well. This is also basically my home turf. While I don’t live in Marin, I have had considerable time to train on the course and know exactly what to expect, so in theory I have an advantage. Overall though, I am just really excited!

I have been going through my normal race week stuff. Tapering, not sleeping well because of the tapering and pre-race excitement, stretching and rolling everything all the time and most importantly, getting squishy. Now there are some things about training I am not so good at, but if getting squishy were an Olympic sort, I’d definitely make the US team. The trick is getting just a little squishy without feeling like you are carrying around a 10 pound food baby. This is a hard line to walk because my perception of how much fuel I need is based on running 50-60 miles a week, but tapering means I am only doing a few easy runs with some pickups so my energy expenditure is less. However, you still want to store up some extra energy for that climb up Marincello and Alta (otherwise known as “Fuck-you” hill) at mile 25. Its a dilemma. One day I will write a scientific research paper on the art of getting squishy, but for now let me just say that I am starting to find a new appreciation for taper week.

Wishing speedy and fun races to everyone who is racing this weekend!

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