Chocolate Factory OB: 6.0 mi (+463 ft); 8:58 pace
Silver Saddle Loop: 6.3 mi (+311 ft); 9:58 pace
No Hands to Auburn OB (Cool, CA): 7.0 mi (+1053 ft); 9:30 pace
TRT - Spooner South OB: 18.2 mi (+2,887 ft); 10:58 pace
Cottonwood Loop: 11.0 mi (+766 ft); 10:05 pace
Weekly Totals: 48.5 mi (+5,480 ft); 8:25:39 on trail
|On the Tahoe Rim Trail south of Spooner Summit|
I continue to hope that each week of running will bring continued good efforts and results, along with something to ponder in each summary blog post. This is basically a journal with, I hope, some occasional geography, beauty, and insight based on putting one foot in front of the other. The current week was motivated by race reports from the Hardrock 100, especially Tim's reality-infused and ego-reflective, truer-than-life posts at Footfeathers. While running among the giants and demons, he exemplifies what it means to "Keep going..."
Continuing down the path, I reached a new personal best for miles in a week and time on the trail. I can certainly feel it, but it really feels like success. The week started with a PR pace on the Chocolate Factory OB, over a minute better than last week and even better that paces for shorter runs on the same trail. I'm very happy with that result after the relatively high miles of the week prior. On Wednesday, Desna had a group meeting with the Nevada All State Trail Riders (NASTR), an equine endurance association, at Silver Saddle Ranch in Carson City, so I explored the trails along the Carson River going from River Bottom Ranch (where her horse is boarded) to Silver Saddle. The single-track gave out near Mexican Dam on the Carson, but it was a good exploration for future runs in that area.
Work took me to Davis, CA, on Thursday so I improvised a run that evening on a segment of the Western States trail, starting at No Hands Bridge and climbing to Auburn, basically the last few miles of the 100-mile race. I tagged along with groups of runners in a high school cross-country meet. I was passed by the leaders but hung-on for 10th place or so! I've no idea how far they had come when they caught me at the bridge. I got a bit lost in Auburn so I turned back to the trail and descended down to the car. I wasn't prepared for the sweat-fest and will probably need to invest in some seat-covers or at least a towel for the humid foothills excursions.
The weekend brought in my first back-to-back (B2B) efforts. Although not a major B2B by future standards, the Saturday and Sunday runs would both be over 10 miles in length and I had been thinking about this weekend for a while. I look forward to each weekend "big" day. There is slight trepidation as the mileage grows, but I'm realizing that each week continue to builds the foundation and produces measurable results. I reach each goal (so far) and am a little surprised and very happy with the progress. "Hey, that was a blast!" is a common statement each Saturday. There will undoubtedly be a threshold were the mileage isn't a "blast" and I'll have to look deep for success, but the foundation will also make that possible.
Saturday, Darren and I headed to Spooner Summit for an Out-and-Back on the Tahoe Rim Trail. I think the TRT will be a common destination on the weekends. It hasn't been brutally hot this summer, but the high ridges around Tahoe are cooler and the trails through the forests and granite outcrops are fantastic. Desna joined us at Spooner to explore the forest roads and flowers with Tephra.
|North Tahoe from the TRT near Spooner|
|Darren into the sun on the TRT|
The trail south of the Spooner trailhead climbs steadily to expansive views of Tahoe. Without much warm-up, we plodded up through the forest, wondering when we'd get that first strider that allowed us to stretch out a little. It was almost five miles before we got a little pick-up in our pace. The partnership with my brother, Darren, is another foundation that has been re-building with the miles on the trails. He's been generously incorporating my efforts into his trail regime. At Spooner, he paced along behind me for 9 miles as we talked about Leadville (his coming 100 event) and enjoyed the astounding wildflowers and blue lake-sky of the Tahoe basin. He says it fits his training plans and maybe he just needs to get accustomed to going slow to survive 100 miles. Best of all, it's great fun to share info on our flight plan for the week, where we'll go and how we'll solve little logistical issues. He lives close by, but for several years our interaction had been almost incidental, lost among day-to-day activities. This is as important as any other goal.
I turned back at 9 miles seeking my goal of 18 on the return, and looking at the possibility of getting under 3:30 on the trail. Darren continued on for another mile so he could reach 20 with the return. I dropped into the parking lot at Spooner at 3:28, "what a blast!" Dez called from the NDOT station where she and Tephra had ended, and then Darren strolled into the parking lot, just two minutes behind me. We proclaimed that MC Escher had designed that trail. After all the opening climbing, we were sure that we had closed climbing; out-and-back all uphill! Fun stuff.
Completed the B2B on Sunday by running a loop north of VC, following Long Valley out to Cottonwood Springs. The first mile, downhill on pavement, was hard, I simply couldn't get any fluid motion going. And then, after a mile or so, I hit the groove and enjoyed the movement through the pinyons. Looped to 11 miles, not too speedy but very enjoyable and happy with my first little B2B weekend. Thanks to the foundation, I can continue to keep going...