I arrived in San Francisco with the Aravaipa Team (Jamil Coury & Paulette Zillmer) a bit later than expected on Friday. After arriving we BARTed over to The North Face store for packet pickup. Met up with fellow Arizona running cohort Jon Roig, there. Did a downtown jaunt, got food, gawked at Occupy movement, etc.). Took a cab over to the Marin Hostel which turned out to be nice. RIGHT at the start/finish line. Woke up, headed to the start not knowing what to expect. That's been a very common theme this past year. Starting a race not knowing what's next. I'll go into more detail on that later.
I started the race pretty far back... good thing it wasn't too long before the first climb. As usual I passed a lot of people but lost places soon on the downhills due to my headlamp being very dim and unable to navigate territory safely. I had to slow down a lot which was really frustrating. On this first downhills I realize that my left knee was really bugging me... it was quite concerning because I've never had it before. I only hoped that it would subside.
At this point I was annoyed at both the headlamp issue and knee pain while trying to focus on nutrition and 6 other things. Moving along I didn't feel that great and my form felt off which was another frustration. I didn't feel like I was running that well but it was still early on. I was getting passed here and there but I was also doing the same. The ground that I was gaining was the glue holding me together. People were blowing up and so was I but I still just doing a better job at being consistent despite being slow. That sums up most of the race in regards. Some stomach issues here and there. Nutrition wasn't spot on but it could have been worse.
I'm McToast. Sadface.
The course was just poo truckloads of hills, downhills, downhills with steps, and more hills. It wasn't tough by terms of being "technical" in regards to Arizona terrain. It was all very runnable but the climbing eats you up if you don't train for it. I didn't train for it. Hell, I haven't really "trained" for any of the races I've done this year. The competition was just insane as every knows. I had people finishing .5 and .9 seconds in front and back of me - yeah, crazy. It was really neat seeing some many uber ultra guys in one place afterwards. All the big names hanging out... legit.
63rd - 8:34.
Shoes. I wore Hoka Bondi B's and I'll say they sure did help me get through the downhills but they actually are the reason for that weird left knee pain. I didn't give them enough "real" testing. I actually did experience this on an earlier mountain run but chalked it up to being one week out from doing Javelina Jundred. I now understand why this is happening and despite being comfy to wear (no actual foot issues) they don't seem to agree with my form. I think the advantages you get by running downhill in them can be made up through being able to climb faster. Everyone is entirely different, though. I'm a wreck when it comes to footwear.
This will be my last race of 2011 and it was one where I learned the most. I feel it was a success in that alone. Despite not placing that great, etc. I did the best I could in regards to everything taken in account. This year has been all very experimental for me. All the courses and distances have been new experiences and I can't expect things to go perfect so early on. I really haven't trained "specifically" for any races this year. I feel ready (despite only now taking a few days off) to train hard for 2012 and I'll know what I'm up against.
I will be running fewer races next year so I can put more quality time and focusing on specific events. I feel I've reached he limit in regards to "going out and seeing what I can do". I haven't put "true" focus on any of my runs this year. Like I said, it's all been very experimental. That phase was important but it's time to move on. I want to improve myself and I'm ready to focus on this in 2012.