Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm just not a Lake Chabot kind of guy.

I set a 50K PR today by running the Chabot Trail Run in 5:12:28. With the exception of my right knee, the conditions were pretty much perfect for a long run. I got a decent night's sleep the two previous nights, the temps were in the mid-50's and partly cloudy with no discernible winds. Perhaps most importantly, the course was flat--only 4,243' of climbing as opposed to 5,980' in my previous 5:21 PR at Pirates Cove. So clearly that difference is more than enough to explain away the difference, but I'll take it. My real beef is that since I live in gorgeous year-round trail-running Mecca, running around Lake Chabot is pretty boring compared to the alternatives. I'm not trying to knock the race, because I had a good time, and I love the PCTR folks. I think it's awesome they're creating several new courses this year (Tilden in April! Oops, I'll probably be in the Grand Canyon instead.) However, when your choices are views of Diablo, Tam, the GG Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island, the ocean, or all of the above, or running on one of the above, or amongst pretty big redwoods at the very least, running on a paved trail (albeit briefly) around a man-made lake with fewer giant hills and views of almost none of the above, well, my preference is clear. Take that with a grain of salt because I'm a f---ing masochist when it comes to ideal hill slope and frequency.

Anyway, my race experience: I started out pretty fast, hoping to finally break 5:00. That was definitely in the realm of possibility for the first hour and a half. Shortly thereafter, my right knee started hurting: likely patellar tendonitis, my most frequent problem. I took a lot of ibuprofen, but I couldn't bend my knee that well, so I slowed to a walk frequently and shortened my stride, especially on the downhills, which is especially disappointing since bombing down hills is my favorite part. I considered dropping out at 30K when I passed through the start/finish area, because I didn't want to create larger problems since I've developed a fairly ambitious race schedule for this year. But I kept going at my slower pace and finished the 30K loop in 3:10. Aid station guys told me the second loop was maybe a little shorter than 20K, so that made me optimistic. (Was the 30K loop a little longer? I don't necessarily know that they knew what they were talking about.) I took some more ibuprofen and stopped for a couple minutes to stretch, and that actually helped a lot. My knee was good to go, so so was I. I felt OK but still couldn't quite go as fast as I wanted on the last 20K and stopped to stretch again partway through. I passed through an aid station with 4.2 miles to go at 4:34. Shortly before this I lucked out with an excellent John Lennon Imagine-induced endorphine high, I caught up to a lady who was finishing strong and provided good pacing, and, as always, I killed it in the last mile thanks to another iPod high, this time courtesy of Johnny Cash and Hurt. Pretty good run.

So, the moral of the story is this: I'm old(er), but maybe not old, and I should probably do more cross-training and stretching. Core workout classes at the RSF, anyone?

It was a little muddy out there. Good times.


  1. Way to PR man! Remember when we did a 50K together and I was soooo slow and you were ok speed and my everything started chafing? That was fun.

  2. Wait a minute, was that "stretching" that you did??

  3. you staged that photo.