- Where will I park?
- What will they be serving for the post race spread?
- How should I handle the downhill course?
- What if it’s really hot that morning?
- Should the timing chip go on my right or left shoe? - (This is a trick question. Everyone knows that the timing chip always, ALWAYS goes on the right shoe.)
- What shirt should I wear?
- Should I wear a hat?
- Compression shirt or band-aids to protect the nipples? Or both?
Of course all of those questions are important but the one that has been weighing on my mind the most is the issue of post race food. Is it going to be the same dry bagel and bananas that they had last year or will they upgrade to something better? Since there’s not much I can do to affect the post race spread (you can only e-mail pictures of bacon to the race director so many times before you get added to the junk mail senders list), I’m going to focus on something I can affect; learning how to run a race that is mostly downhill. As with any major life decision the best people to ask for advice on such topics are anonymous internet commenters, which is why I seek y’all’s counsel on this.
Last year I failed miserably at downhill running and had to slow way down at the end of the race. You can read the race report and see the splits here if you’re into reading about other people’s pain. Basically I think there are two strategies when it comes to running downhill. 1) Apply the brakes and control your pace and 2) give in to gravity and let yourself go. Last year I opted for number two because it felt so good (for 10 miles) and if Sheryl Crow has taught me anything it’s that if it makes me happy it can’t be that bad, right? Wrong! If it makes you happy, it’s probably only temporary and then the pain and leg cramps start, but that’s a little too wordy for song lyrics so I can see why Ms. Crow went with what she had there.
Anyway due to last years catastrophe, I’m obviously giving serious consideration to reigning in my pace a little more during the early miles of this race and trying to remain controlled on the hills, but in the interest of analyzing my running ad nauseam how should I do that? Run with a vertical posture? Slightly forwards or backwards lean? Gangsta’ lean? Chin up or down? Longer stride or shorter stride? Land on my heels or my midfoot? Hat on forwards or backwards? I just don’t know, which is why you’re here. Let me hear in the comments what you’ve heard or what you know about downhill running so that I can ignore you and do it my own way anyway. It will make it that much sweeter for you when you can tell me “I told you so,” after I fail again this year. Positive thinking, schmositive thinking!