Wednesday, January 22, 2014

next trail race: Lake Chabot 30 km

Lake Chabot

The next trail race on my list is the Lake Chabot Trail Run by Inside Trail Racing. This seems to be my year for Inside Trail racing. That just worked out based on the race calendar.

In a moment of weakness I chose to accept the technical T-shirt. I'm down one technical T after leaving one somewhere; I don't recall at the moment where. At my last race, the Inside Trail Racing's Pacific Foothills race at Montara Mountain, I ended up wearing my wool undershirt after I accidentally started pinning my number to it and then just decided to go with it. It's January and way too warm for two layers. Not normal. The biggest concern about using the wool shirt is pinning numbers leaves damage, and I really like the shirt. Better to shred my race technical T's.

As an aside, both of my technical race T's fit me like a tent. I think the point of these shirts is to wear them in a race, and in a race, wind resistance slows you down. That means shirts should be form-fitting. Maybe shirt companies should do what Jakroo and other makers of bike clothing do, and offer a second fit axis: "slim", "regular", and "relaxed". I'd gladly pay more for this option, although I don't think it should cost much more.

I was told it was "a good sign" I was talking about wanting to run a 50 km race minutes after finishing the Pacific Foothills half on Saturday. That was a relatively hard race: up and down virtually the whole way. The hardest part is the down: fast downhills pound the quads in a way for which it's hard to prepare without doing more of the same. Fortunately my downhill running was the bright spot of that race for me: my quads were sore but not as bad as they've typically been in the past, and it was the first race I've ever done where I wasn't passed by anyone running down hill. There were faster runners, but I cleverly let them get a big lead on me on the climb so they wouldn't have the opportunity to pass me on the descents.

So downhills are hard, and can create a real issue with post-race recovery, but after outright resting on Sunday, and getting stuck at work for over 12.5 hours (+ 2.5 hours of commuting) on Monday due to a deadline and an unfortunate glitch on some flaky on-line report entry software, on Tuesday I don't feel completely bad.

And as to the result: I finished the same place (11th) in a field over 3 times as large relative to when I did the Coastal Trail Runs version of that race in 2011, so I had to be pleased with that result, and it encouraged me to move on with my plan or ramping up to 50 km.

So I'm looking forward to Lake Chabot. I like the 30 km distance. Half marathons don't push the distance limits nearly as well. In CIM, my legs gave out at 18 and 20 miles. I've had issues as often as not running 30 km races, and I've never had serious problems in halves. Historically, I find there's a huge jump going from 25 km to 30 km, and from 30 km onward. So 30 km is a good challenge.

And the course looks amazing. 30 km without any repeat trails, the only "out-and-back" a short bridge (trail map). Racing is about the epic journey -- the best courses are point-to-point, but those are rare. Next are courses which form single loops, the larger the area subtended, the better. This one comes pretty close to the "big loop". Least attractive are multi-lap races. These also tend to have a high rate of drop-outs, as runners find it too tempting to quit at the start/finish, and too uncompelling to repeat something they've already done. At Pacific Hills, the courses over the half-marathon each involved repeat loops, and there was over a huge drop-off in the number of finishers going from the half to the 30 km. Normally there's a strong turn-out for 30 km races. This was no doubt in part due to a relatively lower rate of signing up for 30 km.

Add in the attractions that (1) I've never run there, and (2) I can take BART.

Before the race, however, I definitely need to make sure I get out for a few more solid training runs on the trails. I need to reinforce my downhills further. Chabot is not as climb-intensive as Pacific Foothills was, but the longer distance makes up for the reduced descending density.

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