When did it become the end of March? When did Lake Sonoma become three weeks away? Why do I not feel more ready?
Since I hadn’t seen the course since last year’s race, I decided to head out to Lake Sonoma for my first long training run post-Way Too Cool. While I didn’t remember the exact exit, I did remember how to get there once I got off the exit. Once I got there (exit 505, by the way), it was like an old friend welcoming me back. I passed the spot just before 101 south that we pulled over last year so Brian could dig out some sprite for me…also the place I puked at mile 61, but minor detail ;).
I got to the rec area and found Liberty Glen without a problem. I passed by the familiar sites of no-name flat and the marina along the way (the turn-around and the start/finish). I was even able to confirm with a ranger that I could park there for the day while I ran. It was surprisingly sunny, so I smeared on some sunscreen, through on my ankle braces and shoes, and I was off. Shortly before I left, I realized the car key I’ve been unable to find was in my running pack….great! Of course, that meant the pocket wasn’t full of food…not so great. Oh well, I had two Gu packets….should be fine for the ten miles I’d plan to run before I stopped back at my car.
I made one small detour before I got on the course….the trails are rarely used and not marked in too many places. It didn’t take me long to find some pink and black ribbons, indicating the course, most likely left from last weekend’s training run. Once I was on the course, it was a simple out and back to the turn around, which should’ve been about five miles.
Except, it wasn’t…or I overran it. Really, I overran it. I thought I saw it, but thought it was too quick or something. Looking at the map now, it actually wasn’t. Of course, I didn’t know that…so I kept going. Decided if I didn’t see the turn around by seven miles, I’d turn then. Would mean I was more than halfway to the twenty I’d planned when I got back to my aid station/car. I ate my last gu shortly before I turned around. Seven miles back to the car, I could make that….usually, I can do about ten miles before I NEED food. And, I had plenty of water….
So, back I went…or so I thought. I kept watch on the mileage, and knew I’d be back at my car somewhere between mile 13 and 15, depending on how long my early detour was….somewhere around mile 11, the water was gone. Well, I’d survived three miles straight up Mt. Diablo in August sans water, I could do three or four of rolling hills at 60 degrees (30-40 degrees cooler than Diablo). But, mile 14 came and went, so did 15….and as much as everything looked the same, this part of the trail didn’t necessarily, but was still oddly familiar.
I was lost. For those of you playing the at home game, I’m now out of food, out of water, and lost. Add to that a really tight right leg. This wasn’t good. But of course I continued down the hill. And down some more. And then more. And then I knew this wasn’t right.
I wasn’t sure that the outcrop trail was the right way to go, but at least it looked like it led to the road. So, I start d making my way back up. I ran into a couple of hikers, and asked them if they knew which trail would lead up to Liberty Glen….they said there was a campground, but they didn’t think it was Liberty Glen. However, they did confirm I could get up to the road.
So, now up, up, and up some more I went. What I wouldn’t give for some water. Luckily, there’s plenty of water all over since the lake has been flooded all spring. Of course, stream water was really a last resort. I was so glad to see the outcrop trail about half a mile up the trail. Looking back on my day at that point, I realized outcrop trail is probably the name for the trail heading up to the road, rather than a trail itself. Anyway, I headed up that trail, which was up a rather steep hill, but there were campers at the top, and Liberty Glen is the only campground you can drive into. So, I was hopeful. Worst case, maybe someone would be able to give me directions and spare some water.
I got to the top of the hill and saw Slimer. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see my car. And water. And food. Ended up with 16 miles…short of the 20 I wanted, but hopefully the mental training pays off…at least that’s what I tell myself.
Today brought a ten mile turned 10k shakeout run. Ugh is my right leg tight. Which of course just adds to the pre-race stress. For as many times as I remind myself that I’ve done this before and can do it again, there are just as many thoughts about how few ‘good runs’ I’ve had, how WTC went so much better last year, how tight my right leg is, etc., etc….which makes me wonder if I can actually do it again. I mean, I’d like to think it can’t get worse than last year, but….famous last words….Sigh…I can do this, right?
Until next time….