Unlike the Top of Utah Marathon, which features straight downhill running for the entire first half, the California International Marathon is much more of a rolling course despite a net downhill. So I know I need to practice running up after running down and vice versa.
Colleen had told me last July that a good long run for CIM training can be had by starting at a trailhead in North Boulder, running on the level gravel path along the foothills and past Wonderland Lake (see picture above; the trail is along those hills on the far edge), hooking into a ritzy North Boulder neighborhood along 4th Street where the ups and downs are marked, turning west and running up Boulder Canyon....and then running back down the canyon, through the neighborhood and back to the trailhead. You can tack extra miles and time on by continuing on the Boulder Creek Path, too, so this can be as long a long run as your training plan calls for.
Mine called for a 2.5-hour progression run. I didn't think I'd need the extra Creek Path distance, so I ended up having to tack an extra loop on at the end for the last 25 minutes, but that wasn't a problem. Here's what the elevation change looked like:
I think I did OK on the "progression" run part of this also, though the watch went haywire on me again early in the run (see the spiky part below starting about 10 minutes in). Unlike last week, I just ignored it, keeping an eye on total time and pace, and trying to ramp it up at the prescribed intervals. When I looked at them afterwards, the heart rates were a bit high, but I did pretty well on that front too:
Next weekend's long run is a different animal. It's a 3-hour outing with 2x30 minutes at a heart rate of 162-168 (approximately race pace heart rates). So I'm going to get a new strap. This race is too important to me to mess around with the equipment--and fortunately there are good deals online for Garmin straps. Darren also wants me to do these intervals on a flat course this time--so no trip to Boulder next weekend. That's OK. I'm proud to have tackled this tough course once. And I do feel I can handle ups after downs, and downs after ups.
One interesting note: Darren gives me only a week's worth of workouts at a time. I've been surprised at how happy I am with this. Normally I'm a huge planner who likes to know what's coming (even in novels I read ahead!). But seeing only one week ahead helps me concentrate on the task at hand without fretting about whatever tough runs are further out.
The exception, of course, is the race itself. I know exactly what's coming on December 2 at 7 a.m.