It was a beautiful but hot day. I think California's severe drought is now well-publicized enough that I don't have to explain my grumpiness about weather that's 75 degrees and sunny in January. But the part of me that was really grumpy on this day was my IT band. I had problems with the same nagging pain back in October, but it hasn't bothered me at all since. Possibly a result of putting in too many faster running miles last week, the tightness and mild burning pain flared up again on Saturday. Specifically, it came back during the first descent in the race, on a trail called the Heather Cutoff. This rutted, dry clay, somewhat overgrown singletrack is built with what seem like a dozens of ridiculous hairpin switchbacks over the course of about 700 vertical feet, drawing out what should be a short descent interminably. My right IT band tightened like a rusty chain and I responded with quiet swearing ... "$%@$ concrete-hard %$#&*!^$ hairpins $%*!"
Admittedly, this descent pretty much set the tone for what really was a scenic run on a beautiful day.
We spent an enjoyable hour visiting with friends after the race, but it got late in the afternoon (and thus choked with traffic across the bridge and through the city) fast. I do value the improvements I manage to make in these trail races, even as training, so I can't pretend finishing in 7:16 wasn't disappointing, especially after enjoying such an effortlessly strong (and nearly two hours shorter) 50K at Crystal Springs last week. You know what they say ... sometimes days you have a great run, and some days you run the &%$! Steep Ravine. Still, I managed to stave off the "runner's knee" type condition that IT band aggravation can lead to, and running relatively slowly left me with plenty of pep for my Sunday plan:
The ride came in at nine hours total, for 80 miles with 9,289 feet of climbing. The run was 7:16, just under 32 miles, with 6,915 feet of climbing. Sixteen hours of hard effort over two days is not much in the scheme of things, and this is the perspective I'm working on honing with these back-to-back workouts — polishing the long-term sustainable pace and practicing positivity and self-maintenance amid sore body parts and fatigue. And, grumpy IT band aside, it turned out to be a fantastic weekend. I love these long hauls most of all, so indulging in two of them with friends is a special treat.