Friday, July 27, 2012

Training for the 50 Miler Part 1: San Francisco Treat x 2

Training for the 50-Miler Part 1:  San Francisco Treat x 2
A SF Room with a View
How does one actually train for a 50 mile race?  Well, clearly, one runs a lot.  However, for me, I try not to run more than 3 days a week.  Instead, I cross train with cycling and swimming and (although I have been very absent) CrossFit.  In a good week, I complete 5-6 workouts.  If I am not traveling, I might go for 10 days in a row.

So, short of running marathons for training runs during my normal days, I have planned a series of weekend events to challenge and push me.  The thinking is:  If I can do these, then I can survive the 50 miler on November 17.

And I am sucker for achievements - both my own created ones and external ones.

That combination has lead me to one of my favorite places: San Francisco CA.  I called the Bay Area home from 1991 to 1994.  I rented my first apartment in Larkspur and lived in my first house in San Rafael.  And I got married there too.  I still have friends from the area, and work brought me here regularly.  As I type this, I am looking out my lovely hotel room at the Bay Bridge and the Embarcadero.  Earlier today, I went to the Wharf Market to buy food for my weekend here.

So, as you might have surmised by now, I am going to run the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday.  This long hosted event features a double traverse across the Golden Gate Bridge which celebrated its 75th birthday this year.  Indeed, the goodie bag given out with the bibs and race information features this iconic landmark.  Two years ago, I ran the first half with my college roommate Steve.  (The race is available as a full marathon, either the first or second half and a brand new Ultra Hurt where you run the course twice - once backwards at midnight and once forward with us mere mortals doing the full.  See, there are crazier people than me.)

The course circles the city and features the wharf, the Embarcadero, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio and AT&T Ball Park.  The event starts outside my hotel window (see above) - pretty much literally.  The good news is that it is a loop course so it ends there too!

The Bay Bridge at night
This year, finishers of the LA Marathon and the SF Marathon receive a special extra medal for doing both.  So, that's where the sucker in me comes in.  Before I even knew I was going to run the 50 miler, I had signed up for this race.

Where the 50 miler plan figures in is that about a month ago, I went looking for ways to push my distance.  I ran a 50K (31 miles) up in Canada, and this weekend, I am going to run two races. The SF Marathon and a local half.

The half is a little trail race in Castro Valley.  It takes place at Lake Chabot south of Oakland.  It's only about 30 mins away, so that's pretty easy to handle.  It's called the Bad Bass Half Marathon.  I have exactly zero idea why the race is called this.  The website does say to run like a "bad bass."  I am not a marine biologist, but I do not recall that fish run all that well.  I will have to ask the race organizers when I go Saturday morning.

I am super excited for this double fun treat here in San Francisco.  My goals are reasonable - 2 hours in the half on the hilly trails and 3:50 on the marathon - maybe as much as 4:00 hours.  Just completely both and not limping to my flight home will be fine.

We'll know more in the next 48 hours.