Ever since reading West Coast running blog when I was still living in Atlanta, I’ve heard about this mountain, Mt. Diablo. Races on this beast are generally regarded as the hardest in the area. It’s steep, it’s high (3,100 prominence) and it’s relentless. If you’re not ready, Diablo will eat you alive (generally starting with the quads).
So what do I do? I wait until three days before to decide to run. No taper or anything. Quite the opposite, the week leading up to Diablo was one of my best training weeks yet, culminating in a 5 mile speed work-out at the track on Thursday. I am aware that my decision to run was not, um, wise, but I figure, I’ll be running on tired legs at NF50 as well. So, why not do it on Diablo as well?
At the start line, I spotted Penny with whom I’d run a good chunk of the recent Cinderella Marathon. It was good to say “hi” and collectively sandbag before Wendell sent us on our way. The first leg of the race took us straight to the summit. I relaxed and quickly found a good rhythm. The legs felt strong and I felt like I was floating up the mountain. A GREAT feeling!
Once the half-marathoners went back to the finish, I was pretty much alone the whole rest of the way. Penny was a few minutes ahead. I felt bad, because I knew that she’d missed the final out-and-back to the summit (she’d accidentally run the wrong, shorter way at Cinderella as well). Penny is a killer downhill runner, and I felt no desire to try to chase her. Instead, I was happy just chugging along at my own, comfortable pace. My main goal was to feel strong all the way to the finish.
The second climb up the mountain was much steeper, but still not too bad. The thing about Mt. Diablo trails is that they’re not really technical, so it’s a pure test of legs and lungs.
I passed this test coming in just under 4:30, which was good enough for first male. We added some minutes to Penny’s overall time, but kept it under mine. (There is no way I was going to beat her that day anyways, so why complain?).
Overall, I feel very strong and continue to be encouraged by my training for NF50. Onward and upward!
My thanks to Wendell and all the volunteers for putting on another great race! I love the vibe of Coastal Trail Runs. It’s relaxed, friendly and always fun. My kinda atmosphere.