I got back up to 58 miles this week, but a lot of it was walking or hiking. Highlights were a great run straight up and then back down 1200' at Pt. Mugu State Park in SoCal on Monday, a hike around the high peaks of Pinnacles National Park (that's right, it's no longer just a Monument) Tuesday, and yet another 50km race in the Marin Headlands Saturday.
As I posted here previously, I had really hoped to break 5 hours, but I failed and only ran a 5:18. I did not eat enough, sleep enough, or charge my iPod enough the night before. Plus, the course was run in the opposite direction from all the other times I've run it, which I did not know about until a few minutes before the start, and definitely did not like. I started off fast, but felt horrible and hungry. I ate a bunch of potatoes at the very first aid station and felt a little better. By mile 10 I'd built up an 8 or 9 minute cushion, but it was gone by the halfway point, and I left the 30km aid station at 2:59. That's a minute faster than my split in Feburary, but I knew I was toast. I forced myself to keep running, but I couldn't muster more than 11's or 12's, when I needed 9:40's. And since the course was backwards, instead of having 4 gentle downhill miles at the end where it's possible to make up several minutes with a strong finishing kick and two or three 7-minute miles, the race starts with 4 gentle uphill miles that aren't steep enough to justify walking, but are definitely steep enough to be annoying, and ends with a mile to a mile and a half of bombing straight down Wolf Ridge. Don't get me wrong, I love bombing down the steeps, but it's just not long enough to make up much time.
Speaking of bombing the steeps, the other good run of the week was with Zack my ultra/econ mentor. Other than Zack, I've never had the pleasure of running with anyone who loves bombing down steep technical terrain quite like I do. Drop straight down the Claremont Canyon trail in Berkeley, straight down Burma Road on Mt. Diablo, or down 1200' in a mile at Pt. Mugu? Bring it. I miss that stuff in Pennsylvania, however, so my quads were shot for a couple days after, and I got silver dollar-sized blisters on the bottom of both feet from the heat the friction generated, but that just makes it a better story.