May 6, Monday: 40 min of biking at a high resistance, in a warm hotel fitness room in Sao Paulo.
May 7, Tuesday: 6.2 mi in 50:25, 8:08 ave, at what was probably 0 degrees of incline. 6am run, pre-breakfast. For a morning run, my legs were suprisingly fresh.
May 9, Thursday: 5.1 in 42:35, 8:21 ave, at 3 degrees of incline. Felt great and ready to run uphill today, though it felt like it took more effort than usual, maybe because I was tired from travelling. Arrived back in the US this morning.
May 12, Sunday: 7.6 in 1:02:43, 8:14 ave, on the grass at the park. Felt bleh after 2 days of not running. Family visited this weekend, which threw off the schedule a bit. I did get to catch up on sleep, though. Did form drills afterwards because I was still feeling good and still had energy.
May 13, Monday: 5 mi treadmill hill workout in 42:20, 8:28 pace. 2x[1 mi @ 3 degrees, 3/4 mi @ 5 degrees, 1/4 mi @ 7 degrees] @ 7mph, 1/2 mi @ 1 degree, 1/4 mi @ 3 degrees, 1/4 mi @ 5 degrees, 1/4 mi @ 7 degrees at varied paces. It had been a long time since my last speed or hill session, and since I hadn't done too much training for the 30K, I decided to risk the "inverse taper" with a hill session.
May 14, Tuesday: 65 min body weight strength session.
May 15, Wednesday: 4.1 mi in 33:11, 8:06 ave. Last run before the *big* race. Felt comfortable thorugh 4 mi, but the last 0.1 pushed me over the edge and overdid it. Lesson learned for next time... stop while you're still feeling good.
I had to drive 1.66 hours to get there, so I woke up at 4am. I decided to take the longer route, so that I could avoid having to do hairpin turns on mountain ledges in the dark. Good thing, since it started raining on the way there... really hard. I got there safely, although I spent a lot of cortisol / adrenaline in doing so, with the rough road conditions.
Parked, got my race packet. It was a bit chilly in few clothes walking around, but I knew that low 60s would definitely be sports bra weather once we got moving. It was still pouring at the start and remained that way for the first 1/3 of the race. I had a gel 15 min pre-race. We went off, and I settled into 4th place within about a mile. The first mile wound around the cute Forest Festival Trail, which was paved and took you by some cool forestry artifacts like trains. Then, it was maybe 2.5 miles of sloshing through mud, balancing over logs, and splashing full-on through a true water-crossing. It was epic, and it tested my ability to move laterally. I probably pushed way harder than I should've during those early miles, but it was hard to not get caught up in the epic-ness of the run in the rain and mud. Once we got to the first aid station at about mile 3.5 and started going on forest service roads, I felt like cheering with the people around me just to celebrate getting through that mud... and we were just getting started.
On the roads, it was about settling in and conserving energy... at one point, a girl passed me (on the uphills, as usual), but I passed back and managed to hold it for the remainder of the race (although only by about 90s).
The middle of the course went up a steep mountain, and back down. Lots of hiking, with hands-on-knees. Going down, I took it perhaps too carefully. I felt like a coward for doing so, as the men screamed down. I think I was cautious because I didn't trust the road-shoe Kinvaras in the muddy conditions with all of the roots... that, and it was just steep. I was kind of disappointed in myself, since I could've gone much faster, had I had the guts. Instead, I had to absorb a bunch of eccentric contractions, going slowly on the downhills, which I normally need to count on to make up for time lost during the uphills. I did go fast in the root-less, more tempered downhills, though. Back onto the forest service roads in the "back" portion of the out-and-back. Trying to hold off those behind me. The miles actually went by very quickly.
Then, back through the mud. It was more comfortable going back, since you knew what to expect, and you could look forward to every step, knowing you were one step closer to the finish. The last 0.6 mi of the 18.6 mi felt like F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I had to push my legs, but they held up... not quite marathon bonking effort, but it was pretty tough. I didn't take any gels on course because I thought they'd be provided, but I only really saw solid food offered, so I stuck with Gatorade (6 stations in all).
Finished 4th for the women.
It was an impeccably organized race. Perfect course markings left no doubt in your mind. Great sponsors. Great support at the aid stations, with lots of food options. Super-interesting course with the log crossings, mud, water crossing, photo-op option at the summit (which I didn't take, since it would tack on an extra 4 minutes... I never saw the turnoff anyway), mountain requiring hiking, steep decline, forest service roads, single track, paved Forest Festival trail.... awesome venue. It's hard to believe that this was a first-annual race, because for real, it was really well organized.... hats off to the Race Director and all of the volunteers.