Finally, it's Way Too Cool race week. I've been lingering in that purgatory state between coming off a race (American Canyon 50k three weeks ago and the Bay Breeze Half two weeks ago) and approaching another race. Combine that with a lack of motivation (from a little achy-ness, challenging life situations, etc.) and you end up with weird, half-ass weeks of lower milage yet with harder efforts sprinkled in (to make up for the milage). I haven't tracked the miles over the last two weeks but it's only around 40 mpw, though mixed in are a couple of stair workouts (4000 steps climbed each) and decent mid-long runs of a couple hours.
My hip was jacked up after the flat half marathon (I'm done with that short, flat, "fast" stuff for a while). So, I've been hyper-aware of the dull ache deep in the hip and at the top of the femur. It's nothing debilitating but not something I'd like to endure for a 100 miler, for sure. With the soft running, it seems to be better. Saturday will be a good test of it, since I plan to run about as hard as I can with the hopes of a top 20 finish. Any of my non-runner friends who've commented on my recent success in cherry picking results will understand why I tell them Way Too Cool will prove that I'm just a smudge in the group and not that fast. Case in point: last night I was at my frequent sushi place and my normal waiter, who knows I run long stuff, brought up 100s and asked how long it takes one to run them. Without going into deep explanation, I just blurted out "about 20-30 hours, depending on the course." He pulled out a pen and a scrap of paper and asked what my name is, "In case you're someone known, so I can say I know you." It was a wave of embarrassment mixed with a ripping undercurrent of depression at the realization that I'm, in fact, "nobody". I wanted to explain to him that the mere activity of running ultras does not make someone a known athlete. I wanted to tell him, by example, that this week's race will result in the winner crossing the finish line about 45 mins before I lumber through. It's all relative. Instead, I just gave him my website url and figured he'd be impressed with all the colors on the page, fully unaware that it's simply a journal about a guy who travels around the country a lot and runs up and down trails for no other reason than escape. He bought me a tall Kirin, so it was worth the conversation.
In terms of goals for Way Too Cool, as I mentioned earlier, I'm going to run it about as hard as I can. The field is stacked so deeply and has so many participants (over 800), that it'll be difficult to key off anyone in particular before the race gets underway. I'll just try to stay in that 2nd group (well behind the 5:4x min mile guys) off the start and go with anyone who attracts my attention. I'll be very happy with a sub 4 hour finish but will be mostly running for as high a placing as possible. If the perfect day unfolds, top 20 would be fine… top 10 would be unheard of.