Canyons 50K Taper Time

Canyons 50K is ten days out and I'm pumped! It's been a very long time since I've felt so excited and ready for a race; boy have I missed this feeling. Knickerbocker 35K was a huge turning point in this training cycle, both physically and mentally. That was the first day I felt confident in my ability to not only run another 50K, but to do one with tons of climbing.

My training after Knickerbocker focused on adding more vert per week, especially to my long runs. My long runs for the past two weekends were 25 miles+5000 feet climbing, then 26 miles+6300 feet climbing. Both of these efforts involved power hiking all the climbs to really work those muscles, whereas usually I'd do a combination of hiking and running (if possible on the terrain, that is.)

I was very nervous about the first of those runs, but it went extremely well and I felt strong. Luckily, the rainy morning turned into beautiful sunshine and were only wet for a short period of time! Kevin and I started the run from Tennessee Valley, and he did a 20 mile loop with me before I broke off to finish the last climb on my own. We had SF Ballet tickets that night and were tight on time, so Kevin grabbed cheeseburgers while I finished and we had a fun little post-run picnic in Tennessee Valley.

Selfie along Miwok trail.

Starting the descent from Cardiac hill.

Climbing up Coastal Trail from Muir Beach.

Top of Coyote Ridge.

The second weekend run at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve had me feeling much more tired by the end, but I also realize this was only one week after the other big distance+vert push. Plus I'd been in the 20 mile long run range for 5 weeks in a row by then! I slowed down when I needed to and pushed through the tough parts, even doing my least favorite steep climb (Harkins Ridge trail) two times to add vert. Talk about great mental training! On the bright side, I've wanted to check out the Grabtown Gulch trail loop and to run down Waterman Gap trail for a couple of years now, and I finally got the chance. All in all, this long run sent me into taper feeling like I conquered the world and ready to take on Canyons.

Waterman Gap trail.

One of many downed trees in Purisima from winter rain.

My favorite thing about this training cycle is that I had a lot of varied workouts. I've been working with Jenny as a coach, and her style meshed with me extremely well. She added in strength days, such as lifting heavy or going to a Lagree class, that strategically worked around my run schedule. In weeks I had higher mileage or harder efforts, strength was removed or pulled back. We mixed in Flywheel for some cardio interval days instead of having fast speed work every week, making both my body happy (less pounding, faster recovery) and my brain happy (because I enjoy it!) And last, I started going to Core Power Yoga following easy runs or for active recovery. I have fallen in love with Vinyasa yoga, which I never would have predicted. I feel like it's helped my body, my stress level, and even my nemesis calf and lower leg cramping.

The other amazing part of this training cycle is that while I felt the expected cumulative fatigue, I never felt that awful-exhausted-can't-function feeling that I've dealt with in the past. When I thought that was coming on, Jenny adjusted the schedule to combat the issue. That made a huge difference in my overall outlook.

From here, I'll be focusing on easy runs, yoga, and recovery. Hopefully April 29 will be my day and I'll have a good race, but even if not I have no regrets on my training cycle. I can't wait to run the Canyons course!


  1. Replies
    1. Yes! Some of my fave trails to run here in the Bay Area. :)

  2. Sounds like your training has gone really well. All the best with the race!

  3. You're going to kick butt, Paulette!


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