As many of you know, I strained my calf pretty good on Tuesday and was not sure if I was going to race this race. Friday morning I gave it a 2 mile test run, and I was still not sure if I was going to race. I knew this wasn't a goal race and I definitely did not want to cause any serious injury.
All day Friday I kept changing my mind if I was going to race or not. I must have definitely decided to race or not to race 20 times. I also had the option of switching down to the 30K, which I decided to do a few times as well. I figured I better carb load since I could be possibly running a marathon the next day. As I ate I laughed that I might just be making myself fat, since I might not run. Pancakes at IHOP was my carb loading dinner. YUM!
We made it to Death Valley about 8 pm and settled into our little hotel room. After getting in bed I laid there debating on wether or not to run. I decided I would get up in the morning for a test run and that if it felt the same as it did when I ran Friday morning, that I would not run and would just spend a fun day with the family in Death Valley. If it felt better than it did Friday morning, but not 100% I would do the 30K, and if it felt 100% I would do the full marathon. As I dosed off, I fully expected that I would be doing the 30K.
I slept really well and then got up about 5:30 and went for my test run. To my utter surprise, I had zero pain or tightness or discomfort of any kind. I even did a few sprints just to make sure and it was all good.
Doone and the kids dropped me off at the race and I met some nice runners. Runners have to be the most friendly people in the world. It's like you are instant buddies with all these people you've never met before and will probably never meet again. They bussed us the the race start. We were running the alternate course on a dirt/gravel road that runs through the lowest place in northern hemisphere. It was very flat, but the road was seriously rutted and the gravel rocks were big and hurt your feet. It was hard to ever land properly.
I had no real goal except to get in a good training run, have fun, not injure myself, and not be sore the next day so I could continue my Boston training. My game plan was to find someone running a nice easy pace and run with them. I did just that, running with a nice guy from LA. We were hitting pretty consistent 7 minute miles and I was surprised when we hit the turn around at 1:32:00 and we were tied for 4th place. We headed back and our pace picked up a bit, running in the 6:50s until at the 20 mile aid station I missed the water and stopped and went back to get some. By the time I got going again he was a good 50 yards ahead of me. I thought about speeding up and catching him as I was still feeling good, but then my mantra "Training Run" popped into my head and I decided this was a good time to let him go and just coast in for the final 6 miles. I did just that averaging a little over 8 minute miles for the last 6 and finished in 3:08:53 feeling really good and happy with my effort.
I ended up getting 5th overall and 2nd in my AG.
I spent a fun afternoon with my family seeing Death Valley. We decided we needed to come back when we had a few days to spend. The kids had a blast that morning playing in the sand dunes and doing a few other things.
My legs feel great today. I have absolutely no soreness or discomfort anywhere. And I am still amazed how my calf improved overnight. I'm going to be careful with it the next week or two though.