Sunday, June 1, 2014

Memorial Day training weekend: laborious work

Back in 2007, I was so excited to join the Western States hopefuls and veterans for a 3-day training weekend on the legendary Western States course. With the years passing though, I made my own version, leveraging the local heat of the East and South Bay, the hilly trails, and saving on the drive and hotel, a way to run more sustainably.

After the 3 great back to back races in May, it would be ok to admit that I'm on the tired side. But it's actually not much the physical effort as it had been the lack of sleep, a key element to recovery. I barely slept 2 hours on my red eye to JFK right after winning Silver State on Saturday night, annoyed by the guy next to me in the middle seat who kept nudging. 7 hours on Sunday night then 4 hours after my flight back home on which I had to finalize a key presentation for Tuesday morning.

A few short nights the rest of the week with two trips to SFO to pick Alex at 1:30 am on Thursday morning and Max at 3:00 am on Saturday. With that, plus some stressful work left on my to do list, I started the long Memorial Day weekend pretty much exhausted, having ran only 9 miles on Wednesday and 12 on Friday.

Not sure this is the best training for the upcoming 24-hour race in a month, I'm glad I'll have 2 weeks off before the event actually to recharge the batteries.

Day 1 - Saturday - Black Mountain

Despite the fatigue, I was excited to get back on my favorite local "mountain" (2,800 ft) and took it reasonably hard, clocking and average 8:06 min/mile for 29 miles and a good climb on the back side of Black Mountain (REI and Stevens Canyon Road). I actually started rather easy with a social run with the Stevens Creek Striders, a nice photo shoot opportunity.

Michael Shields who proudly announced at the club meeting the time of hisrecent half marathon: 1 hour and... 60 minutes! Nice job, Michael!
We ran along the reservoir which is alarmingly low this year.
2 years ago I was kayaking with Alex over this grassy area...
 And here is the classic group picture at the end of the REI trail:
After this great warm-up, I pushed the pace in the next 7 miles up to Black Mountain and managed to maintain the average pace close to 9 minutes/mile. Refilled at the camp ground before enjoying the view at the top, 2,800 feet above the Pacific:
And a selfie with the Brooks "I Love Running" T:
On the way down, I also stopped by the bucolic and refreshing Waterwheel, a place which I visited quite a few times but I don't believe I covered with pictures in my blog yet (not that the pictures really convey the coolness of the dripping water).

I pushed the pace on the way down to Cupertino on Montebello Road and managed to get the average pace down to 8:06 by the end of this 29-mile loop. Hard work for this fist day, I was certainly not less tired at then end than when I did start...

Day 2 - Sunday - Shoreline and Palo Alto Baylands

With the fatigue, I didn't feel the energy to go back on the hills and went North instead, toward Shoreline Park in Mountain View. There was some breeze but it was hot and this course through the streets of Cupertino and Sunnyvale then across Shoreline Park and the Palo Alto Baylands' levee is very exposed. I ended up getting a good sun burn on my forehead (I had thankfully put some sun screen on my nose...).

On these flat miles but with tired legs, my average pace oscillated between 7:20 and 7:30, ending up covering 30.3 miles at 7:30.

Day 3 - Monday - 9 x 3.1-mile loops

By the third day, my energy and motivation tanks weren't looking great and I aimed at running at least a marathon in the neighborhood, that is either 9 or 10 of my local 3.1 training loop. It was already quite hot in the morning and I had to be back by 1 pm anyway for our family lunch (the three boys were home this Memorial Day weekend, a family gathering not to be missed). I've ran that loop so many times, that was rather a boring run but overall a good mental training for the upcoming 24-hour race at Crissy Field in June. I ended up doing 9 loops at 7:28 average pace. All that before another short (< 5 hours) red-eye to DC which provided another opportunity for sleep deprivation and 24-hour training...

Overall, 87 miles and a few flat ones, quite far from the 126 hilly miles I logged on that same weekend back in 2008, or the 122 miles in 2009. I'll focus on faster flat miles before the 24-hour race, then I'll have to work on hill and heat training before TRT 100-mile in July. With that, I hope it won't be said that I rest on my laurel. That was a laborious training weekend, I hope it was worth it and will help building up on a great racing season so far.

See you on the trails, in California, elsewhere in the US or even Europe where my next trips get me, otherwise virtually on Facebook!


Jeremy said...

Nice job Jean! You need to get on Strava man. Everyone is doing it...

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Wow! Impressive training block! Hopefully I can find my rhythm again before Summer Solstice. Would love to take a crack at the 24 hour run.