Sunday, February 22, 2015

Regardless of how it ends, it will be epic!

There are a couple of races that take advantage of a flat, paved, two mile loop in Harvey Bear Country Park, just outside of Morgan Hill, for long distance races: Run de Vous and Razorback.

Attempting long distances on a two mile loop is great for first timers and for those that are shooting for a PR - it's very social since you see everyone often, the aid station is so close you likely don't have to carry anything with you, and there's great comfort in knowing that, if something goes wrong, you are never far from the aid station.

Approaching the start/finish area on the two mile loop. This was from 2013 Run D' Amore. Note the dirt shoulder and the tents - it turns into a small village!
Unfortunately, there are two adjectives used to describe that course that pretty much rule it out for me: "flat" and "paved". There is a dirt/gravel shoulder you can run on, and that helps a bit, and there actually is a vague hill (about 92 feet of climbing), but there isn't much else. No trees, no creek crossings, and almost nothing to trip on.

In 2013, a new race, Run d'Amore, used the course but added a twist - a one mile out-and-back up a real hill on a real trail, making each loop into a four mile trip. I signed up for my first 50 mile distance and had a lot of fun there. I loved the trail bit and put up with the paved bit, and it worked out to an OK balance.

Ésoj, not his real name, says "Hi!" from near the top of the hill in 2013. The views are great, even after dark.
This got the RD for Razorback thinking, and this year she has done several things to make this event as epic as possible:

  • You want to pile up serious miles? She added 72 hour and 48 hour races to the schedule. (This might be the first 72 hour race in California ever, and is certainly the only one this year.)
  • You want to pile up more standard serious miles? She still has the 24 hour (which can become a 100 mile event if you meet the cutoff standard), 100K, 50M, Marathon, and Half Marathon distances.
  • (And the one that suckered me in this year) You want trails? We've got your five mile, hill-infested, "Relentless" loop right here!
You should be able to click this to see it bigger.
Razorback for 2015 pretty much covers all your bases. You can choose which course you want to use (with the exception of the Marathon and Half Marathon which must use the two mile loop), and you can even change your mind once. Which means you can start out on the five mile loop and then, once it gets dark, move over to the two mile loop. (But that's it - you can't switch back again.)

In any case, I've signed up for the 100K distance, and am determined to do it on the trails. For 100K, the difference between the two loop choices is significant: about 2800 feet of climbing vs. about 9100 feet for the trails. Additionally, while you could get by without carrying any water for the paved loop, you will likely need to bring something for the trail loop.

About as much shade as you will get on either loop.
Both loops are pretty exposed, and it can get both very warm during the day and very cold at night. If a storm comes through, the wind can make things challenging. For right now though, the forecast is looking good, with cloudy skies but no rain.

The trail loop has several sections that do not handle rain very well.
I'm going into this a bit under-trained, but with little time pressure, I'm not too concerned about that. I can take several long breaks if needed (they will be) and still finish. 

So what are my goals?

First, I just want to get the 100K done. I have 36 hours to do it in, so time won't be an issue. I really want to get it done in under 24 hours, and think that's pretty realistic. Under 20 hours is not actually insane.

Second, I would love to do the whole race on the trail loop. I can see two things derailing that: Bad weather (that trail loop becomes very challenging when muddy) and body issues. 

I've had occasion when going up or down a hill can cause significant pain. If that happens, I'll switch to the flat loop (I'll probably take a short break first though, just to see if the issue will go away with rest.) I love that I have that option since it adds a level of confidence that you don't normally get at a race.

All of this makes me really excited about this race! There will be a lot of people I know out there, and many are shooting for much larger goals than mine ("Hi Tnek, not your real name!"). It promises to be an epic event, no matter how it goes down for me. 

A HUGE thanks to Ycart (not her real name) and all the volunteers that are making this event possible!

That's it - move along…

1 comment:

Beth said...

We'll be thinking about ya! Cloudy is good, it looks like it would be brutal with any sort of heat. I have no doubt you'll get it done!