Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Novato life before Western States

The Novato skyline looking West

I think my lack of a mileage log has caught up with me. Since running Miwok 100k 3+ weeks ago I just have felt like the gas hasn’t been in the tank to run very much or very hard since then. I am not supposed to run much anyway as Miwok and AR 50 were so close to each other, but I should get better at tracking my training, just to know why the heck I feel so crappy. This hasn’t been for naught though as I can focus more on life's other callings, but I am tired of being tired all the time.

What I do know I need to change immediately is my diet. Ellen and the kids and I eat extremely well overall, but cookies and 1-2 beers at the end of the day is not just working (for me, not the kids). I think the special treats in the evening are negatively affecting my sleep patterns and not enabling recovery. Basically every morning I wake up and don’t feel in the least bit rested, wanting three more hours in the sack to catch up. My basic fueling is vegetarian with omnivore tendency, and with a bit more discipline will yield better recovery and energy.

I ran well in the spring because I was focused on studies, family, and no alcoholic beverages, which was fine and I didn’t even notice for weeks at a time that I hadn’t ingested any alcohol, which is mostly a waste of money that I don’t have anyway. This was a good formula and I seemed to race well on moderate running mileage. I will go back to these basics, but will not give up all of the cookies.. just half of them. I am fine with fewer miles the next few weeks before States, as I am not going to get any fitter and can more or less only recover anyway. I find when I put more energy into school and family I race best, so I am trying to get back to these basics.

Otherwise we now live in Novato, CA, on the northern side of Marin, about 200 meters from Hwy 101 and close to Hwy 37, which takes me to Vallejo over to top of the Bay. I have a 25 minute reverse commute from door to door, and stellar trails just out the back door on a long 1500 foot elevation ridge that creates a kind of quasi-cirque that surrounds Novato. Look at the Novato skyline and you can pick out some cell phone towers at the top of the Skyline, which his the middle of the “cirque”; these towers are easily reached by a steep rolling series of climbs by dirt road and single track out the door of our dodgy apartment on Ignacio Boulevard. Up Ignacio two miles away is College of Marin, a beauty of a college campus trailhead of about 20 miles of moderately difficult and beautiful trail link ups onto some private land (never crossed this private land though..wouldn’t dare :) high above to the aforementioned ridge. The kids, dog, Ellen and I had an excellent evening hike down low near the college today to a small pond on the Waterfall trail, which was perfect for a family jaunt with a one-year old strapped to my back and a three-year old leading the charge.

The other skyline feature of Novato is Mt Burdell, a mini-massif of dirt roads and single track to about 1500 feet, with an awesome five-mile long narrow switchback descent on the backside to Mt Olompali State Park, which used to be the largest Miwok Indian encampment long ago, as well and where the Grateful Dead used to jam. This trail combo can be a sweet out and back, offer excellent leg turnover with vertical as needed. All in all, Mt Burdell is super nice for running and views. And Novato is a nice town, a bit less pretentious than much of Marin, yet just as attractive, with a cool farmer’s market that rivals Boulder’s.

So WS is coming up and I have re-evaluated my plan for this race. The past two times I have raced it I ran at the front until Michigan Bluff and ended with mixed results, suffering the effects of the heat for doing so. This year I am taking a new tack and am going to “chill” and try to enjoy the experience without killing myself and not being able to function at school the week after. According to the point system, all I need to do is finish to win the Montrail Cup, which is more important than trying to win the race this year and risk blowing up (not that I could win it anyway). I look forward to being 30 minutes back of the leaders coming into Foresthill, and then see what may materialize after that in terms of a podium spot. Unlike others, who run away to escape north over the Arctic circle to evade the pressure of WS title defense, I am going to chill like the ice cube I am. May I not melt before mile 30.


  1. Good Stuff Dave! Where is a good spot to watch (ie reasonable time of the day)?

  2. Icecube Mackey rapping about the detriments of hops.

  3. No beer?....THAT just seems wrong. Good luck!

  4. Switch to vodka and oatmeal cookies. Works for me! Good luck at WS!

  5. "According to the point system, all I need to do is finish to win the Montrail Cup"

    Really?! I haven't looked at the scoring system but even if I beat you by 1 second, you still win?

    Are you still growing the porn-stache? That will help with the heat...

  6. never mind, just read the scoring system. 4 best scores. You are up by 46 points. You are the winna! As long as you finish. Well deserved I might add. Now the race is for second between Dan and I. I figure I have to beat him by roughly 26 minutes to go into 2nd.

    See you in a couple of weeks

  7. Forget the beer thing.. I already caved in and had just one. I actually feel really good the past few days since I wrote the post; it took a good 4 weeks though since Miwok.
    Mike Matiasek (my partner from Elk Mt Grand Traverse in 1999) you can see the best carnage at Foresthill aid station, usually from about noon through the afternoon. Check for details. It will be great to see you and Sandrine there.
    Scott/Fast Ed.. I still have to finish the race to score in the Cup, which is a not a gaurantee by any means. Make it a barn-burner between you and Olmstead; 26 minute is nothing, but dont try to win it before Foresthill!

  8. Dave,

    Glad your enjoying Novato. I grew up there and currently live up the road in Petaluma. Hope to catch you on the trails sometime. I am off to your friend Geoff's running camp in Juneau this week. I will tell him you said the ridges around Jumeau have nothing on a rugged mountain like Burdell!

  9. i too have the cookie problem. i am also a dad, working full time and trying to go to school. yet in spite of all the time those things consume, become a better trail runner. i know the will you have to be at the level you are. i am inspired by your will to "live" to the fullest yet keep it all in balance. that is something worth striving for. keep at the good fight! your efforts are of great value.

  10. Brotherrunner, the cookies arent a problem, they are a gift!

  11. Sounds like maybe your endocrine system was depleted after Miwok. Glad to hear you're feeling better.


  12. Dave,
    For the stomach thing try a PPI if your not opposed to meds.
    Dexilant/kapidex works best as it is delayed release. I take 1 the day before and 1 the day of race. Works like a charm. Good luck at WS.
    J Novak, PAC

  13. I don't know but I would take easy after running a 100k, they are quite hard and you have been working hard. So it is good take it easy.

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