Sunday, June 22, 2008

Week Log: June 16-22

Mon-AM: 16 miles (2:10) Garden of the Gods
Raining the whole way, which was a nice change.
PM: 8 miles (1:07) Monument+library in the FFs

Tue-AM: 27 miles (4:13) Manitou-Barr Camp-Manitou Res-Heizer Trail-Cascade-Waldo-Williams-Manitou.  Great loop.  Good heat training (low 90s).
PM: 7 miles (:54) Monument+library in the FFs.

Wed-AM: 30 miles (4:02) Jones Park-7 Bridges-Buckhorn Loop+barefoot
Tired today.
PM: 5 miles (:42) Monument in the FFs.

Thu-AM: 30 miles (4:02) Jones Park-7 Bridges-Buckhorn Loop+barefoot.
Felt better the 2nd half today.  Wore the new mass-production 790s with the stiffer midsole and they were great.  New Balance made a great shoe even better.
PM: 5 miles (:40) Monument in the FFs.  And now the real tapering begins.

Fri-AM: 11 miles (1:30) Monument-RR Tracks in the FFs.

Sat-AM: 25 miles (3:02) Buckhorn+barefoot.
Ran up the mountain in 31:20 feeling very mellow and easy the whole way, so that was very encouraging.  7 min miles the whole way back felt easy, too.  Feeling good.

Sun-AM: 16 miles (2:05) South Santa Fe out and back in the FFs.
Kept it short, flat, and easy.

Total: 180 miles (24:26)

Well, the work is obviously done and now there's nothing left to do but jog around a little each day and wait.  I plan on 1:30 Monday and nothing over an hour the rest of the days until WS.  This will definitely be the longest/mellowest taper I've ever done before a 100 mile race, but I've also had my best, most consistent block of training ever leading up to a 100 mile race.

This past week was also a little different in that when I get this close to a 100 mile race I stop pushing my luck by filling my bottles with un-treated water on my training runs.  I figure that if I have been lucky enough to make it this long without hosting any sort of serious giardia live-ins, then I shouldn't get cocky and pick some up in the last couple weeks before a big race.  

Most un-treated sources that I tend to drink out of are usually springs (often coming right out of the ground or rocks), but there are plenty of "non-spring" streams that I'll frequent on a weekly/daily basis that it's probably a good idea to stay away from with an important race looming.  Of course, I'm not even sure what the incubation period for giardia is anyway...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Week Log: June 9-15

Mon-AM: 20 miles (2:40) Bear Creek-Intemann-Red Rocks-Garden
Great easy loop.  Loved the new Roundup Trail in Red Rocks.
PM: 5 miles (:41) Monument easy in the FFs

Tue-AM: 28 miles (4:10) Manitou to Elk Park and back, 6000'
Ran pretty solid t0 Barr Camp, then cruised it up to EP at 12k'.  Cleared some trees off the trail on the way back.  Pretty tired by the end, but the temp was close to 90 today, so good heat training (finished around 2pm).
PM: 4 miles (:33) Monument

Wed-AM: 30 miles (4:00) 666-Jones Park-7 Bridges-Buckhorn+barefoot, 4000'
Started late because I was waiting for my new NB790s to show up in the mail.  Tempoed the 666 hill in 33:43.  Felt a lot better today than yesterday and wasn't even really that tired by the end.
PM: 5 miles (:40) North Monument
Stopped by the Colorado Running Co. afterwards for cookies and brews.  Felt good despite only the ~2hr or so of rest between runs.

Thu-AM: 36 miles (5:15) 666-Pipeline-North Cheyenne Creek Trail-Stratton Reservoir-7 Bridges-Buckhorn. 6000'  Great great run.  Finally connected the little trail that follows North Cheyenne Creek all the way up to the reservoir at 12k'.  It climbs very very steeply (probably over 1000' in one mile long section) but is worth it.  Felt good the whole run despite only having 2 gels with me.

Fri-AM: 11 miles (1:31) Monument+RR tracks
Ran nice and mellow this morning, but didn't even feel that tired.

Sat-AM: 50 miles (7:20) Garden-Manitou-Barr Camp-Manitou Reservoir-Heizer Trail-Cascade-Waldo-Williams-Manitou-Intemann-Bear Creek-Monument. 6000' Awesome run.  The temp was in the low 90s today so I decided to stay low (high point was Barr Camp at 10,200') in the heat and check out the awesome trail over to the reservoir and Heizer mountain.  I love running new trails.  The climb out of Cascade and through Waldo was perfect heat training as I could feel the waves of hot air hitting me.  Felt good until the last 40 minutes or so...just the usual bonking/dehydrating at the end of a long one.  Really liked the way the 790s performed today.

Sun-AM: 15 miles (2:02) Garden of the Gods
Nice and hot again today: 92F.  Kept it short to be sure I recover from yesterday's last big long run before Western.

Total: 204 miles (28:52), ~18,000'

This was a great week of training.  However, because last week's long runs were on Fri/Sat, I inadvertently logged my highest ever (by far) 7 day total from last Friday to this week's Thursday: (55)+(45)+(28/4)+(20/5)+(28/4)+(30/5)+(36)=~260 miles and 37hr with ~38k' vertical (I only count climbs over 1000').  Holy shit; good thing I didn't go for a run Thursday night like I'd planned.  Well, at least it came the perfect amount of time out from WS and it happened without me really even thinking about it.  Finally, this past weekend was great because I finally got some heat training in--the last element I was looking for going into WS.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Week Log: June 2-8

Mon-AM: 15 miles (2:03) Coast Ridge Road out and back
Jocelyn and I started right off Highway 1 at the Ventana Inn parking lot...sweet ~3000' climb with incredible ocean views the whole way.

Tue-AM: 28 miles (4:15) Cloud Burst past Islip Saddle and back on the Angeles Crest course/PCT
Great run. I really enjoyed getting back in the mountains after so many days running through the woods. The PCT is such a great trail---this run definitely made me want to get out to AC this year; we'll see. Ran ~15min past Islip towards Mt. Baden-Powell before turning around and making the journey back up and over Mt. Williamson and through Cooper Canyon. Probably ~6000' climbing. Loved it.
PM: 4 miles (:30) Lagoon and beach in Del Mar w/ Jocelyn in the Five Fingers

Wed-AM: 11 miles (1:31) San Elijo Lagoon w/ Jocelyn
Ran nice and easy, but didn't feel good until the last 1/2 hour or so.

Thu-AM: 15 miles (2:03) Bear Creek+barefoot
Pretty lame run. I was planning a long long run today but it rained the entire day (and during the run) so I decided to hold off a day...pretty tough to get psyched about 8 hours of running in the rain.

Fri-AM: 55 miles (8:01) Garden-Manitou-Elk Park-Manitou-Intemann-Section 16 Loop-Bear Creek+barefoot. Very solid run. This is my biggest run of the Western States build-up and it went pretty well. I could feel the altitude while climbing to 12,000' at Elk Park (spending a whole week at low-altitude in CA), but the run improved as the day went on. Bonked pretty hard going up the ~1500' Section 16 climb, but it was good to do a climb like that so late in the day. Rocked the green 790s and they felt great all day. ~8000' climbing

Sat-AM: 45 miles (6:10) Buckhorn-St. Mary's Falls-Buffalo Canyon-Rosa Saddle-Frostys-Pipeline-Jones Park-Buckhorn-Bear Creek-Monument Loops+barefoot.
This run started out pretty tough...I really considering only doing 4 or 5 hours today. The climb up to Rosa from the 381 Rd was brutal! That's a sweet trail, though, and I want to get on it some more. Pretty quick way to get to 11,000'. The run seemed to get better later in the day, though, and I was psyched to put in such a big back to back. ~6000' climbing

Sun-AM: 28 miles (4:00) UPT-Cascade-Waldo-Williams-Red Mountain+barefoot
After starting out pretty sluggish (to be expected) I really started feeling solid climbing out of Cascade up and over to Waldo Canyon and then felt good enough to tack on the Red Mt climb at the end. A very cool morning with almost no sun--I wore a long sleeve most the day. ~5000' climbing.
PM: 4 miles (:33) Monument Loops

Total: 205 miles (29:06)

Another very solid week contributing to the most important phase of my training going into Western States.  I was very pleased with my ability to pull off three solid days in a row over the weekend even if I didn't feel stellar for any of them.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Western States Course Preview: Week Log May 26-June 1

I spent the second half of this week driving with Jocelyn back to San Diego. We decided to take the long way in order to check out some of the Western States course and then enjoy a roadtrip together taking our time cruising down the coast on (mostly) Highway 1. First, the week of training:

Mon-AM: 30 miles (4:00) Started from Red Rocks, then up 666-Jones Park-7 Bridges-Buckhorn-Capn Jacks-Chutes-Stratton+barefoot. Did the 666 hillclimb tempo in 33:23. Very solid.
PM: 4 miles (:33) Monument Loops easy w/ Jocelyn

Tue-AM: 30 miles (4:00) Jones Park-7 Bridges-Buckhorn Loop+barefoot. Almost the exact same run as yesterday---ran fairly hard up 666 in 34:40.

Wed-PM: 8 miles (1:07) Canyon trails in Fruita, CO. Driving all day.

Thu-AM: 15 miles (2:01) Double tracks right out of Austin, NV. A few 1000' climbs.

Fri-AM: 50 miles (7:26) Western States course: Michigan Bluff to Last Chance and back then to Cal-1...with bailing out of Robinson Flat early in the morning and getting lost for miles between MB and Foresthill.

Sat-AM: 48 miles (6:00) WS course: Placer High School to Rucky Chucky and back

Sun-AM: 15 miles (2:15) Big Basin Redwoods State Park w/ Jocelyn: Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail out and back.

Total: 200 miles (27:22)

I had a very good start to the week with back to back 30 milers, but then packing up the apartment/traveling got in the way mid-week, which just meant that I was well-rested for the WS Course baptism on the weekend.

Jocelyn and I pulled into Auburn, CA on Thursday evening more than a bit frazzled from the I-80 traffic: Jocelyn commented more than once that driving on I-80 from Squaw Valley to Auburn was going to be the most stressful part of crewing for me at Western. I hope she's right.

We bumbled onto the Auburn Running Company while looking for someplace to poach some internet and buy some groceries and the fellows there were quite helpful and friendly. I picked up a map of the Auburn Lake area that covered the WS course (but, of course, the actual race route wasn't marked on it) from Michigan Bluff to the finish, but I ended up not ever using it for anything.

Jocelyn and I were much relieved to finally hop onto the Foresthill Divide Road with plans of heading up towards Robinson Flat to camp for the evening. We stopped at the General Store in Foresthill in order to dine on the picnic tables there with an excellent view of the American River Canyon.

We then spent a considerable amount of time in and around Foresthill trying to acquaint ourselves with various landmarks of the race course: California Street, Michigan Bluff Road, Bath Road. Because of all this driving around we spent the rest of the drive up the Foresthill Divide in darkness, thereby setting us up for a nice surprise the next morning when all the big views from up there unveiled themselves to us.

However, about 2 miles from Robinson Flat the road was blocked by a couple good-sized snow/ice banks that we decided to not mess with, so we just pulled over near the Sailor Flat sign and threw our sleeping bags down on the luxuriously loamy forest floor.

Friday morning we awoke early with the sun and decided we'd just run the couple of miles to Robinson Flat and hope to pick up the WS route there. My plan was to run the route the whole way to Rucky Chucky and then run/walk/crawl out to the Divide Road where Jocelyn would be waiting for me.

My legs felt great on the road climb up to RF, but once we got there Jocelyn and I were ultimately completely frustrated by no course markings (the training weekend contingent clearly hadn't made it up there), still quite a bit of snow, and barely any signage. We did manage to find a single WS Trail marker but had no idea about which of the many possible (largely snow-covered) forest roads there were to choose from.

The only option was to run back down to the car and drive to a different access point on the trail. I initially thought we could drive up Mosquito Ridge Rd to N-44 and Dusty Corners but decided that was a whole lot of driving for comparatively little more WS trail so I settled on doing an out and back from Michigan Bluff to Last Chance and then planning on continuing from MB all the way down to Rucky Chucky.

So, with 37 minutes of running already in our legs, we set out up the WS trail from Michigan Bluff. Jocelyn instantly fell in love with the perfect singletrack, horse trail, canopy vegetation nature of the path and my spirits were instantly lifted too: FINALLY, I was on the Western States Trail!

I left Jocelyn behind (she would do a double-crossing of Eldorado Canyon) and cruised down to El Dorado Creek in 22 minutes. Immediately on the climb out the other side I could tell that life was different down here at the lower elevations: all the extra oxygen on the climb made it feel as if I was cheating.

It was on this initial climb out of Eldorado that I began thinking about how ridiculously perfect and benign the trails of Northern California were. These were not the usual Rocky Mountain fare. Running in Colorado, to me, has a feel of rugged adventure brought on by rough-hewn, often ill-maintained gravelly/rocky trails, thin air, and an underlying sense that the margin of error is always slim. Coming out of Eldorado Canyon everything felt too perfect and controlled, like a gated community. NorCal trail running was polo and fox-hunting while Colorado trail running is steer wrestling and buffalo hunting.

Of course, that's all a bit ridiculous and I even think I'm pretty much wrong; the thing to remember is that it's not a value-judgement--for me there was just a different feel on the trail.

Anyways, I popped out of the canyon at the "Danger: Hazardous Trail Ahead" sign (or, something like that) at 1:00 even and then traversed my way over the ridge to Devil's Thumb (or, at least the sign that signals the descent into Deadwood Canyon) in 1:21. It took me 13 minutes to get to the river (is this the "Swinging Bridge"?) and then another 22 minutes to climb to the more road-like section of the route (right by the old mine site) that leads up the hill to what I guessed to be Last Chance (there was a big clearing in the road and a nearby placard recounting the history of the WS Trail saying that I was at Last Chance), which I reached in 2:10. Right before Last Chance I was super-psyched to see a big bear lumber off the edge of the trail and into the woods.

After a gel, I turned around and cruised back the exact way I had just come. I loved the 22 minute descent from Last Chance to the Swinging Bridge and then cruised up the 34 (by my count) switchbacks to Devil's Thumb in 23 minutes. The section of trail through this canyon is simply wonderful. Extremely enjoyable running.

I noted on the way back how it's actually ALL downhill from DT to Eldorado Creek, which I covered in 38 minutes and then grunted up the final climb into Michigan Bluff in 31 minutes for a total split from LC to MB of 1:55. Maybe I was just hungry, but it seemed to me the last little bit of the climb up to MB drug on a bit.

After meeting Jocelyn at MB and having her point me in the right direction, we agreed to meet again in an hour or so at California Street in Foresthill. I followed flagging for a good ways on first a gravel road and then a right turn onto a more logging-type road, but I must've missed something because soon I T-boned with a paved road that--through a solid 20 minutes or so of running back and forth on--I determined to be the Michigan Bluff Road (the "1/2 mile to Michigan Bluff" sign was a good tip).

So, I decided to just run that back to Foresthill because I knew it would get me there. That sucked. All pavement (duh) and much further than I remembered from driving it. When I finally met up with Jocelyn in Foresthill I'd added an extra 4-5 miles onto the route. With the 4 more from running up to Robinson Flat early in the morning, I decided to bag running all the way to the River (I sort of wanted to avoid a 9 hour day). Instead, I just did an out and back down to five minutes past Cal-1, which revealed still more beautiful trail. All in all, it was an excellent day of running.

After sleeping on the Placer High School Track Friday night (lots of folks were finishing up a night training run from Green Gate to the finish) I did a much simpler run to Rucky Chuck and back from the Finish.

I spent the first hour or so with Jocelyn shaking the crap out of my legs from the previous day's run, but after she turned around at Highway 49 I gradually got in my groove and actually felt quite good. Surprising, the day after a 7 1/2 hour run. Maybe extra oxygen helps you recover faster, too. Twice between Highway 49 and the quarry I got sidetracked onto other trails where I would run out 5-10 minutes or so before realizing that I hadn't seen a flag in a while. But, from there all the way to the River things were fairly straightforward; I seemed to bumble my way down the right trail, and even with the 25-30 minutes of off-course time I got to the River in 3:15 flat.

I took a break to swim across the river and back just to check its depth and swiftness (not nearly as bad as I thought it would be---I can't imagine what it was like the year they used a raft to get across during the race), and then turned around and started running back to Auburn, finally completely confident in my route.

The run back to the high school was really quite uneventful and I just took pleasure in a beautiful day and what seemed to be an overall slight downhill to the course profile. I climbed up to Green Gate in 17 minutes, was surprised at the ~10min climb up past the rock quarry, but hit the Highway in 1:39, and then enjoyed the very long downhill to No Hands Bridge (2:05) before the final climb up to Robie Pt which I reached in 2:24. I cursed that final little climb (surely not as much as I will in the race), but cruised back to the track in a total of 2:35 and then jogged 10 minutes barefoot to round out the 6 hours.

I'm not sure what to take away from these training runs except that I am surely pleased with how they went. Of course, there are still parts of the route that are unknown to me (the Duncan Canyon climb is the only one I haven't seen), but I guess that'll just make it a little more interesting on race day. A couple more weeks of big training, a nice taper, and I'll be making a trip back out to Cali in no time.