The Deception Pass half marathon is next Saturday. I’m familiar with the course, as I ran a 25 km on the an almost-identical course two years ago. The trail is really technical in places, and there’s almost no flats on it. (The only flat spot is the Deception Pass bridge.) Given my familiarity with the course, I know how unprepared I am for this race.
My lack of preparedness has a lot to do with the weather. We got a season’s worth of winter in February & part of March. That made running on Badger & Candy sketchy. I could “run” the hills, but it was so slow that I wouldn’t really call it running. Some of the “running” I did in town on the snow came in at about a 20:00/mile pace. I can appreciate those runs because they’re good for endurance & they improve my overall fitness, but it’s not the same as running hills.
I had a decent run yesterday. It was scheduled as a “long” run – 75 minutes. Normally, I do these runs using a run/walk ratio of 3-4:1. I wanted more of a test than that, so I opted to do this as a steady run. After warming up, I set a target pace of 12-15:00/mile for 55 minutes. Ideally, I would have been running Badger, but my right calf cramped Friday during a run on the flats, and it was still tender. I figured trying to run hills would put too much pressure on it as it’s still tender.
I’m glad I avoided the hills, as my calf was a little achy. But the run itself went well. I had fun exploring as many of the twisty trails at Chamna as I could find. I didn’t double-back as much as I thought I would have to, either.
There’s really nothing I can do at this point to improve my fitness. I plan to go run down hills tomorrow night to trash my thighs a bit. (I’ve done this the weekend before another half marathon, and it’s enough time for my legs to recover, and it gives the quads a good strength boost.) I’ve been timid on descents because of my knee, but I have to know if my knee if going to survive the DPHM.
All I can do at this point is make sure my mind is in the right place, and that I’ve done everything else I can do to make this a good race. I plan to have everything packed & ready to go Thursday evening. I’m going to bring my trekking poles. There are few extended climbs on this route, but it occurred to me that if my calf muscle starts cramping really bad, or if my knee protests too much, I may need the trekking poles just to keep moving at a decent pace.
There are workouts on my calendar all week. I plan to take it easy – with the exception of tomorrow’s downhill run – and keep the legs fresh. It’s clear I need to spend a lot of time stretching this week. Besides my calf, my hips are really tight. I’d like to get them loose & comfortable before Saturday.
I’ll be close to the cut-off, but I’m hopeful. I’d hate to get another DNF, and maybe that’ll be enough motivation to keep me ahead of the cutoff times.
All I can do at this point is have fun.