So it’s been raining quite a bit in California this week. Where I’m staying in this land of microclimates that is the Bay Area, the rain has been heavy at times, but intermittent enough that I’ve been able to spend some time out and about most days without having to open my umbrella too often. But apparently there was more rain at the SF airport in a few days this week than in ALL of 2013, and there have been reports of mudslides, rockslides, sinkholes and huge puddles around the state.

So it’s not really possible for the TNF course to come away unscathed. We had an email early this morning regarding a minor course change and another this afternoon of a larger change—due to a bridge being washed out, the loop from Cardiac aid station through the Muir Woods to the Old Inn has been cut, and the mileage will be made up by running the first loop of the course twice. It seems like the organizers are working hard to keep it a 50-mile race this year, unlike in 2012, when severe rains forced a last-minute shortening to 46 miles. After studying and planning for the original course, my sense of direction can’t fully comprehend the changes. I know it’s simple, but it’s not. I’ll try to embrace the surprises and have fun with it even if I don’t always know where I’m going. Just like the old days, really not so long ago, when I didn’t have a clue about things like course maps, elevation charts and pace bands. (Yeah right, I’m revising my security bracelet anyways).

The revised TNF SF course

The revised TNF SF course

After coming down with a little cold, I administered some aggressive self-treatment and think I nipped it in the bud. On Wednesday I woke up feeling stuffy in the head, so I rested more, and canceled my plans for the day apart from getting a massage. I tried Zicam for the first time, taking it every three hours as directed, took two Nyquil at bedtime and slept at least ten hours that night. Thursday I woke up feeling much better and thought about swimming, but decided against being wet and felt like going for a run instead.

I had to go for packet pickup at The North Face store in Union Square anyways, so I figured why not run there. Google Maps told me it would be 4.5 miles- perfect. I packed up my UD vest with a change of shirt and other necessities and headed east and north through Golden Gate Park, past Kezar stadium and through the Panhandle, past my old nemesis DMV on Fell Street, and so on, til I crossed Fillmore Street and saw the Marina beckoning.

That hill, that view

This way!

 

I’d been wanting to stop by that area at some point this week to check out the course for the New Year’s One Day race —the one I am NOT going to run! I checked Google again for the distance to Chrissy Field- about 3 miles, no prob- and headed over for some foggy views.

The gravel side of the SF One Day course (the other side is asphalt)

The gravel side of the SF One Day course (smooth asphalt on the other side of the lagoon)

Afterwards I stopped at Sports Basement for some hot coffee and a snack and wound up buying too much stuff- mostly bars and assorted energy fuel. I only found out at the register that TNF runners get 20% all purchases this weekend, otherwise I would have justified buying more unnecessary items.

Like a kid in a ...

Like a kid in a …

Having run about 7 easy miles already, which was enough, I hopped on a bus to Union Square to grab my bib and swag- Smartwool running socks, a tech-fabric buff, and T-shirt which will be printed and waiting for me at the finish- all in the race series’ signature fluorescent yellow.

TNF swag

TNF swag

Time to pack up now before I head out to spend the night in Mill Valley with some friends at the host hotel. With the relative warmth and humidity, I’m planning on similar gear as what worked for the Vermont 100K:  bumhuggers and a sports bra, and maybe a light top. An 18 oz. handheld for hydration, and I’ll fit my gels and other necessities in the handheld pouch, a SPIbelt and the little pockets in my shorts. As much as I’d prefer a more cushioned shoe, I’ll stick with the Salomon Fellraisers for the wet ground traction.

I leave you with a couple of videos of the race that I enjoyed while on my sickbed earlier this week:

UltraSportsLive.TV Preview

From Salomon, starring Anna Frost (in 2010?)

Endurables’ coverage of the 2013 Men’s Race

A midpacker’s view of the 2012 race with the rain

The Ginger Runner’s 2013 race