I've been meaning to update on my progress, but have been spending so much time on the bike and in the pool that I haven't had half a second to do so. Meanwhile, my Ironman Arizona footage lies neglected, waiting an upload and an edit from my flipcam. YOU CAN WAIT, DATA. 

One of the best parts of training in Los Angeles are the mountains. Running the streets is for suckers! If you want to save your knees and get some power, head for the hills and do a trail run. I was getting sick of running the same loops through Griffith from my house for my long days, so my good pal Ethan (aka The Ginger Runner) and I took an 18 mile adventure up near Topanga. I'm not as well versed in those parts, but wow... you can run for miles and not see a single house. It's like you're in the middle of nowhere, though you know within two minutes of leaving the trail, you'll be back in terrible traffic on the 101.

Mile 10 of our run. A good ad for Hokas: "Time to Fly!"

Mile 10 of our run. A good ad for Hokas: "Time to Fly!"

Of course, it's kind of funny that I've been running mostly trails in training for Cabo, where the elevation for the entire marathon is a whopping 125 feet. Flat as a pancake. But I figure it'll be nice to have all that power. Apparently I've been running enough trails that I could be a contender in the Bandit 30K trail race: last weekend, I had to put in a 20 mile run, and my training partner Jason (who is also doing Cabo) said, "Hey, let's just do Bandit." And I said, "isn't that a little insane?" Because I had most certainly NOT been training for a trail race, and this was said to be extremely brutal. But I'm not one to shy away from the insane, so I figured, what the heck, it will be a change of scenery and will keep it interesting. So I signed up about five days before the race and tried to figure out what was up. For one, this is a map of the course: 

Holy hills, Batman!

Holy hills, Batman!

Jason asked me, "so, what's the plan?" To which I responded: "DON'T GET HURT!" With just a month before our big day, that was the primary concern. And believe me, it WAS a concern: there were quite a few hairy areas where an ankle could have easily twisted. But it was all good in the end. Day of, I ate my caloric oatmeal breakfast (finding that works well for big load days) packed up a camelbak (I just have one for mountain biking that I won in a contest... I'm such a newb) and headed to Simi for some punishment. I resolved to stick to the plan: it's just a training day. So if my HR went over 174, back off. 

I look like I might know what I'm doing?

I look like I might know what I'm doing?

Everyone took off like gangbusters at the start, which, as you might notice, quickly turns into an assy amount of steep climbing, so eventually we were all trudging up that hill like regular hikers. I felt slightly annoyed, since my pack was bouncing around ("it's a little loose, huh?" said some guy, passing by-- thanks, bro, I know). Note to self... consider investment in an actual RUNNING hydropack, like the super light one my buddy lent me... very much worth it (also got a shoulder cramp in days following of epic proportions). But I stuck with it, and stayed with the plan... walking when the HR got high, but running when it got into the 160s. And then I saw my friend Steve, who beat me in IMAZ by four minutes, and I thought, "Hey, I'm gonna try and catch Steve, that would be cool". So I kept on going along, and then caught up to him at around mile 6, and then discovered Steve is deeply uncomfortable with downhill running, which is my secret trail superpower, having grown up with the woods in my backyard, so away I went. 

I kept moving ahead in the field due to said super power, and that was pretty cool. It was mostly me and this one gal in Newtons for a lot of the race, but she was STEADY, same pace on her uphills as down, while I was slow and then fast coming down. She got ahead on the long uphill in the middle, at which point I found I was out of water (it was HOT), so I took at good 3 minutes to refill and eat a Bonk Breaker (was hungry by then) and then bombed it downhill for the rest of the race, taking a minute to chat with my friend. I found I'd caught up to my other friend Chris, who was sore, so I walked a little with him, but then found my HR was down too much, so I picked it up for the last 4 miles or so. Of course, if I'd been a little faster or more focused, it turns out I could have won my age group: Newton girl and I were top two, and she beat me by only 2 minutes in the end! But like I said... I had a plan, and I stuck to the plan. And the REAL race is in three weeks.

I cringe when I see this-- gotta get those biomechanics worked out: forward lean, girl, forward lean!
I cringe when I see this-- gotta get those biomechanics worked out: forward lean, girl, forward lean!

My Hokas saved my legs again, but woof, was I sore for a few days! I only have one long run left, and have to decide what the hell shoe I'm wearing for the race: love the Hokas, but specifically for trail: on regular road, I feel clunky, and less inclined to get the heel up. I've heard rumors of a Hoka tri shoe that is most thrilling!

The reward for second place AG was a bandana, which it turns out they gave away to everyone who attended in our group. Oh well! I am proud of me, and that's what matters. 

The lot of us.

The lot of us.

I now have to go to a time trial of three miles as fast as I can... was not up to that until a week later, for obvious recovery reasons. The training seems to be paying off... I'm at race weight, pretty much-- though it fluctuates according to hydration levels, I basically haven't been this thin since high school. Though annoyingly, my compression shorts are now regular shorts, so I'll have to get new ones of those, too. Lots of get settled before the race... hoping I'll find a minute to update on more progress before, but between working my BUTT off physically and working my butt off to make money tutoring, I've hardly half a minute for anything else... and when I do, I need to be sleeping to rebuild all these massive leg muscles. ;-) 

But... more soon. I hope. I promise.

Posted
AuthorNikki Muller