Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The line

Race strategy has never been one of my strong suits, but for the upcoming Golden Gate 12 miler, it's something I can't afford to go without.

Experienced runners, particularly of the ultra variety, will sometimes talk about identifying " the line". The line is simply that invisible point on the course for which you need to have tank in the gas to finish strong. The reason I finished so poorly at this year's Snake run, so the theory goes, was because I failed to think about where the line would be given my relatively low base mileage.

I've been thinking about where the line is on the Golden Gate course.

My best guess is it'll be somewhere on that steady climb up Windy Peak, the second of the two major climbs. The trick to doing this right, I think, will be to avoid the excitement of the start and hold back on the first ascent and descent.

Last Saturday morning I wanted to do something that would approximate, sans altitude, the course layout and put "the line" to the test. At Turkey I ran a six mile hilly loop at a conservative pace, followed by 8 continuous lipbuster repeats (about 1000 feet of gain), followed by a smaller hilly loop at a fast pace. It was a good run; my climbing  legs are strong and I finished ready for more.

Things are looking good, but sometimes I can't help but wonder if the high altitude will reduce all these plans to nothing.