Week 48, 2012: Rest week.

Not much to report; after last week's running craziness my body demanded some rest. In fact my shins were in serious trouble. Usually I'm a fast walker but now I had a hard time liming through pedestrian crossings before the light would turn red. Grandmas would sweep past me. In short; things were not looking good.

On Monday I had a sport massage scheduled. The masseur seemed to know a lot about injuries and he suggested a couple of things, mostly to take it easy and go see a doctor if it didn't improve in a week or two.

I wasn't happy about that as on the weekend David, a friend of mine, was visiting and we were planning to go hiking. Moreover I still remembered vividly how at the beginning of the year shin injury put me out of commission for almost a month. And now it seemed worse. Moreover, it seemed I was coming down with a cold, coughing a lot and here I again had memories of last year's cold, with similar symptoms, that took forever to heal. Not good.

But in the end everything turned out to be ok. I managed to get rid of initial signs of cold and my shin was improving by the day. In fact by Thursday I was already contemplating going running but in the end decided against it; after all I deserved a break after Yosemite.

Friday afternoon I picked up David from the airport and we went to Monterey. The weather was awful so our hiking plans were in serious danger. The following day it was still not great, so we drove quite a bit while it was raining, but still managed to squeeze in a 2+ hour rain-free hike. We did one of the trails in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. One of the few that I didn't have a chance to do before in Big Sur and a fairly pleasant hike too.

The problem was that this was the week of the North Face Ultra Challange on Strava. The goal of the challange was to run/hike 50K over the weekend and, obviously, I was game. With our 10K hike that meant that I was left with 40K for Sunday. I decided to try the training that I came up with during the hike to Mission Peak few weeks previously. The idea was simple: to run fast to the top and then run down (no racing on that part, meant as a recovery). I'm doing quite a lot of running in hilly parks on weekends but whenever the going gets tough I walk, meaning that I would never run on an incline such as the one of Mission Peak. I thought it would make a great training to try to do that.

What crystallized this idea were the two books that I was reading recently: Eat and Run" by Scott Jurek and It's Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong. Both of those great athletes had stories of mountains that "made" them. I wanted Mission Peak to make me too.

The problem was that the round-trip of Mission Peak makes 10K, so I'd have to do it... 4 times. That sounded tough.

It was. The first trip already tired the hell out of me, as I was trying to go at a decent pace (round trip took me 1:10, while during the hike we did it in over 2 hours). The second one was pure hell and I was going quite a bit slower, even though the plan was to keep the same pace.

After those two trips up I was completely spent. I decided it would be insane to try to continue and faced the choice of either calling it a day and going home or (what I settled on, as I wanted to finish the challenge) to run around the blocks in the neighborhood (much easier than running up a mountain, trust me). However, after some 15 minutes of doing that I decided that it makes no sense. It was dark and cold. I was tired. And training-wise it made no sense to continue. The only reason to do so was the challenge. But I thought I could pass on that one. Challenges are fun, but sometimes the big challenge is to be able to say no. So I called it a day.

Next week (actually it was today, it's just that I'm running almost one week late with the posts...) on Saturday I'll be running 50K in Coyote Ridge Trail Run. Should be interesting!


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