The HURT 100 is the first time I will have run a 100 mile race outside of the summer/fall season. Normally, I take the month of December off, rest, eat, drink and gain weight - perfect preparation for snowboarding, when I can benefit from the added insulation.
This year was different. With my base miles from training and running Western States and Wasatch Front, I worked at recovering in the months of October and November. Still, I was able to run the Dick Collins' Firetrails Fifty at a leisurely pace and the Quad Dipsea in a PR of 5:42 (without a nap). The Dipsea was also a great course to train on given the redwood roots, stairs and constant climbing/descent. It's trail running at its best.
December brought a decision not to run a 50 miler as I normally would prior to a 100 mile. Instead I ran two Pacific Coast Trail Runs events in the Marin Headlands, the Muir Beach 50k and the Rodeo Beach 30k. With lots of climbing and gorgeous views, I could feel my legs absorbing the punishment, as well as the lack of seasonal rest. When the rains came in late December, I took to my backyard trails in Redwood Regional Park, where I could run up and down from the ridges to the streams on muddy, rooty trails. For miles and miles I would just loop through the drenched forest, imagining myself in Hawaii, slightly overdressed for a little heat training. It's a great way to spend Saturday mornings. Finally, during these last few weeks, I have been sitting in the sauna twice a week for more heat training.
I probably could have run more during my taper, but I was tired. With the seasonal light diminished and the California foggy-cold setting in, I kept telling myself it was better to be rested than getting in more miles. It's also my reward for training during December when most of my friends are nursing injuries or weight gain. ;)