Three days  of recovering from the Quad Dipsea. I got one good day and two progressively worse.

First the good one. It was Sunday, so someone was getting a little ahead of herself there. It rained all morning , so I stayed in bed and rested up until the sun came out at midday. By then I was raring to get out and have a look around, and knowing that there was a lot more of the much-needed rain in the forecast for the week ahead, I felt obliged to take advantage of the dry weather. I wound up walking close to 5 miles throughout the day, with breaks for lunch, coffee, and the trail running film festival‘s SF stop at the Roxie Theater . I figured my route would be pretty flat but I forgot about the big hill on the way to coffee.

Uphill, no prob

Uphill, no prob…


Oh my quads. Going down the steep grade, I had to turn around and take a few backwards walking breaks.

But going down? #@!*!!!

But going down? #@!*!!!

Despite not being much of a trail runner and being “on hold” as far as my race plans for next year, the film festival made me want to sign up for all sorts of things like the Gorge Waterfall 100K, the Yakima Skyline 50K and others put on by the show’s organizers, Rainshadow Running. Unfortunately I did not win one of the free race entry raffles, which would have forced me to pick one. And despite a couple of trailers (like this one) and short films (like this) on the FKT craze, I’m not all tempted to look for one yet. I enjoy too much of the “running party” and camaraderie aspect of races, plus my lazy side prefers to leave the course scouting and provision of supplies to someone else. I would be too chickenshit to go unsupported and feel too guilty about drafting a small army to take care of me. But maybe it’s just a failure of my own imagination, not having found a trail I love and know well enough to undertake that kind of challenge on. I could change my mind too. I mean, look at how my June vow to myself not to run a 24-hour race this year turned out.

This pretty much sums it up

This pretty much sums up why I love races

The film fest also got me more excited about TNF this weekend–It was a full house, there was beer, and the usual small-world friendly trail running vibe.  Two of the of the three people sitting around me who I chatted with are also doing doing TNF events this weekend- one for the 50K and one for the marathon, and I was recognized by of the Cardiac aid station volunteers at Dipsea.

That excitement was somewhat short-lived when I woke up with still super-achey quads on Monday. I don’t know whether it was really the course, or my shoes, or some other factor like nutrition that has left me in such bad shape. My quads haven’t suffered very much this year, even after the heavy downhills at Steamtown, Pikes Peak, Vermont, UTMB and other runs. Boston is the only other race that trashed my quads as badly as Quad Dipsea this year, and the only common point they share (besides the downhill) is that afterwards, my stomach was messed up, I had to *go* a lot, and kind of lost my appetite as a result. I’ve still been getting hungry and am eating, but probably not as much as usual post-race and maybe not enough to repair the muscle damage fast enough.

I made sure not to walk much on Monday, which was easy because there was more rain, but staying inside and being online gave me lots of time to dwell on what I sometimes feel may be a shaky chance for making the U.S. 24-hour team based on my 136 miles at One Day. I know that there are still some “last chance” races, which it seems every woman who wants to get on or stay on the team is planning to run, and I could too, but I really don’t want to. And I know that I shouldn’t be thinking about 24 hour races when I’m still deep in the throes of recovery pain, because so many parts of my body are screaming, “NO RUN!” at me. I am going on 40 races for 2014 (including a couple of 5ks but mostly longer stuff), and even my mind wants a breather.

I don’t want to make myself miserable over any of this. So I put things in perspective. My first effort at 24-hours was very much an exploratory effort, and I certainly didn’t have the Team USA dream building up for a long time going into the race. Representing the USA at the world 24-hour championships in Italy next year is something I thought would be cool but only started feeling really super-stressful important to me after I finished One Day, and I don’t like that feeling. This is for fun. So if I don’t make the cut, I can run all the other races in the spring, including Boston, and focus on building speed at the 50-mile to 100K distances next year. Still I hope I get it, and who knows- by the end of this month I may feel well-rested and relaxed enough to tell Maggie, “let’s go make that road trip to Pensacola!”

Today brought more rain and still more pain, but I decided to get some kind of light activity off my feet and got a day pass for the UCSF gym and pool nearby. I foam rolled, went to a yoga-style fitness class that nearly killed my hips, recumbent biked, swam and sauna’d. The pool was much warmer than I’m used to, which was relaxing, though my quads still hurt even with my lazy freestyle kick (aka dragging my legs behind me with an occasional flutter to keep them from sinking). I tried the kickboard for two laps and had zero power, and I’m used to motoring fast with the kickboard. So as I was leaving I decided to splurge on a 75-minute massage for tomorrow. Otherwise TNF is gonna look like DNF…

tnf course map

Coming back from the gym, I started noticing a runny nose, which has progressed into regular sniffles and a stuffy feeling in my head as the evening progressed. Uh oh., and I was just today or yesterday thinking to myself it’s been a while since I’ve had a cold! I don’t think I would enjoy 50 miles of being under the weather, so I’m already scoping out which aid stations would be the best places to drop: Tennessee Valley at Mile 8.7, if it meant I could walk back to the start/finish, otherwise Muir Beach at 12.7 and Stinson at 27.8 have road access connecting to Highway 1, beyond that I would be finishing.  But I’m also ultrahydrating with tea, planning a lot of sleep, and spending some time calculating paces after I saw this post.  Not that it matters too much, because even though I’m on the “elite” start list*, I’m also among the handful of ladies on the list that iRunFar deemed unimpressive enough *not* to feature in it’s women’s preview of the race.  (sob, sob, sob, boohoohoo- JK, I would freak out if my name was there).  Phew, so no pressure, right?

* While there are obviously plenty of truly elite badass and ultra-talented runners on the list, TNF is pretty generous with it’s open-to-all  qualifying criteria for the elite start. I made the “A” standard with an 8:11 on an easy trail 50-miler, a good time for a non-trail-running roadie like me but nowhere near the level that some of these mountain ladies can run at.  Besides the bragging rights of getting to line up with the elites and harass them for selfies at the start, we get to go out first at 5:00 am, with all the successive waves starting later in one minute intervals. That’s not much of an advantage for me at all as I’m bound to get extremely stressed with all the later runners coming up behind me and passing me in the dark for hours (sunrise is not until around 7am). And elite starters can’t have pacers– I wouldn’t seek one out for 50 miles, but neither would I turn down an offer for company for the last 20 or so. So I’m basically doing it for the bragging rights, okay? And a little bummed that Liza Howard, Rory Bosio and Anna Frost– who were all sure to become my new BFFs–  have withdrawn from the race.