2012 will be unlike any year in the past, as we will be welcoming a new arrival to the family in March. This makes planning difficult if not impossible. However, I do have a rough outline of what I hope to be doing.
The front half of the year is a bit thin because of the aforementioned reasons as well as my injury that I’m slowly coming back from. (I’m taking my time and that seems to be working well.)
Ok, I’ve been plotting and working on this piece for almost two months now. The quality of trail running videos has really taken off over the past couple of years, so I took it upon myself to rank the top 10 from 2011.
Let’s get right to it in reverse order:
No. 10: Kilian’s Quest – Season 3, Episode 5
For my money, Kilian is the best trail runner in the world. And it’s not even close. These Kilian Quest videos are, admittedly, a bit over produced. What’s great about this one though is that Kilian teaches a couple of lessons on how to tackle the steepest uphills and downhills.
If you’re reading this, then there is about 98.7% chance that you know about all the goings-on in the Bay Area trail running community. I thought this might be a good time to outline all the different trail race options that us Bay Area residents are so fortunate to have. For each series, I tried to pull two or three race reports from people I respect.
Bay Area Ultra Runners
As John M. points out in the comments, this is oldest of the Bay Area race organizers. Many classics such as Miwok 100k, Ohlone Wilderness 50k and Quad Dipsea are organized by this group. (With the exception of Lake Sonoma 50 mile, these races are also all part of the PA/USATF schedule listed below.)
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Tagged Bay Area Ultra Runners, Brazen Racing, Coastal Trail Runs, Envirosports, Fleet Feet Sacramento, ITR, NorCal Ultras, PA/USATF, PCTR, trail races, trail runs, Troy's California Trail Runs, ultramarathon, ultrarunner.net
(please note: this post focuses on NorCal trail runs only).
If you’re like most ultra and trail runners, you’ve already planned your goal races for 2012. They may be classics like Miwok, Western States or (newly classic) The North Face 50. But how about sprinkling in some fun shorter races? I have run quite a few around here (SF Bay Area) and thought I might provide some recommendations. These are all pretty under-the-radar type races and likely not to sell out any time soon. So join the party!
My favorite trail in Tilden. Buttery single track near the top of Volmer Peak. Expansive Bay views (incl. GG Bridge, SF, Alcatraz, etc.) to the left.
Grizzly Peak Marathon
These are my home trails here in Berkeley (Tilden Park). What I love about Tilden is the variety of trails: shady single track, technical trails, wide open fire roads, views of Golden Gate Bridge…whatever your want, Tilden’s got it. This race does a nice job showing off Tilden’s variety. I ran the marathon version of it a couple of years ago and hope to return in 2013. I’m pretty sure that, on a good day, I could run this sub-4 hours. It would have to be a really good day though.
Five months off gave me a lot of time to think. It was a time to reevaluate. My goal was to figure out how I could avoid dealing with such a devastating (in terms of time) injury again. There were quite a few things I dismissed (core strengthening, for example; all post-injury tests showed that my core was very strong), but there are three things that I’m in the process of changing.
Duh! This seems like an obvious one. It is quite a change for me though. I warm up with some light stretching before every run and do extended stretches (~15 mins) after every run as well. The key here is to not just do it as running ramps up and forget about it when I’m back in shape, but to keep it up over time and make it a habit. I used to always make excuses that I didn’t have enough time to stretch. These days, I’d rather run a mile or two less, but take care of business.
Last year (2010), I ran 9:03 at TNF 50. That was good enough for 40th out of about 300 finishers.
I realize that 9 hrs is a goal time for many runners, so here are my splits if you want some numbers to pace yourself against. If this is your first 50 miler (it was mine), please know that this is a very hilly course. I had very good course knowledge, as I had trained and raced on the course countless times. The weather was ok (it only rained for about an hour during the race), but the trails very muddy. 2011 looks to be drier, so expect faster times this year.
High hamstring tendinopathy forced me out of running for about five months. That’s a really long time for someone who usually runs at least seven times a week. Only now am I slowly getting back into it.
Unfortunately, there is little information about high hamstring tendinopathy out there. If you google it, you will find a good, but very academica-ey paper and a bunch of (mostly) useless stuff on message boards.
I’m no doctor, but I have some first hand experiences that, hopefully, can be of use to others. This injury is fairly rare, so some of the things that worked me for were discovered purely through experimentation.