Yep, you read correctly, there will be two races this weekend. The first is one I have looked forward to for almost a year. I couldn't run it last year, so I made sure and made room for it this year. It is the Forest of Nisene Marks Marathon in Aptos, California. I love Aptos and just knew that I wanted to run a marathon up there. So beautiful with huge, lush trees. In fact it is over towards the Pacific Coast, so the weather should be great too.
What is unique about this race is that you run 13.1 miles uphill for about a 2,500 feet of elevation gain. Once you reach the top you turn around and run all the way back downhill! I've never ran a race with so much a continuous stretch of uphill, and then of course downhill. I also like this format because my legs are the most fresh, obviously, at the beginning of the race, so I should be able to get up the first half at a decent pace. Add to that my most recent improvement at running hills at Quicksilver then I know that I am in for a treat. I am under no delusions. I know very well that 13.1 uphill will be tough and gruelling. But my reward will be 13.1 downhill. Even at my worst conditions on other trail marathons and 50ks I was able to still maintain at least a 9 minute pace, sometimes getting into the 8 (and a few times 7 minutes) minutes pace when late in a race. So it should be fun.
My hopeful predictions are that I definitely run faster than a 4:30, which would be the 2nd fastest marathon I will have ever ran. This is certainly doable even with the 2,500 feet of elevation gain simply because of the downhill last half.
After all this I have to rush home and shower in order to leave immediately in order to get to my friend's house so that we can get to the Oakland Athletics game. So no loading up on calories or nap after this marathon.
Hopefully after a decent night's rest then I will wake up early to run the Muddy Buddy with my brother on Sunday. Love this one. You team up and one of you bikes and the other runs until you get to an obstacle course. After you complete it then you switch and keep going to the next one. All in all, about 3 miles of running, 3 miles of biking, and about 6 obstacle courses. Your reward? You get to dive into a mud pit and crawl to the finish line on your hands and knees. Ha. I think we will definitely beat our time of last year, which was a 1:09, so that is the main goal. But I want to see if we can break an hour. So that is the secondary and yet more important goal.
This will be the first time that I will have ever ran a marathon of 50k on one day and ran a race the next day, so it should be interesting. Granted, it is a bike and ride of only 6 miles, but it will be on tired legs. This is another test I wanted to do to myself to see how I can handle tired muscles. Another indicator of endurance.
Here's to a fun weekend!