Monday, September 5, 2011

Week Summary (Sep 4) - Flats and Testing the Sky

Fazio Levee: 7.6 mi (+44 ft); 9:37 pace
Davis Paths: 5.0 mi (+29 ft); 9:27 pace
TRT - Echo Summit: 8.24 mi (+1,381 ft); 11:27 pace
TRT - Brockway to Tahoe City: 19.1 mi (+2,584 ft); 11:38 pace
Seven Loop: 7.0 mi (+1,009 ft); 10:47 pace

Weekly Totals: 47.1 mi (+5,046 ft); 8:34:29 on trail

On the Sky route, Brockway to Tahoe City
(photo by Barnowls)
This week was spent in Davis, California, working on our year-end accounting at Far Western headquarters, a change of trail scenery, run scheduling, and elevation gain. Make that no change in elevation gain, none whatsoever. Footfeathers only recently advised me to avoid a long, flat course as my first 100, now I get it. It's not the length (we know what that is); it's the grueling flatness that will pound endlessly, leaving a runner hoping for a bit of variation to change pace, walk a little bit, rejuvenate...  I probably don't want to jump into endless up-and-down either, but that would be better than beating myself silly running from one end of the Central Valley to the other.  I'll play at the edges.  But I kept to the work-week discipline and followed up last week's big run on the TRT with some shake-outs around Davis.

The Fazio Levee is along the Yolo Bypass of the Sacramento River between Davis and Sacramento. Having spanned the bypass innumerable times on Highway 80, I knew I'd find some dirt roads and avoid the pavement pounding in town. I arrived before dawn, the wetlands dark and quiet except for the constant grinding of the highway overpass. Because I really had no idea what the road/trail conditions might be like, I chose the prominent levee, following its grey graveled surface into the dark. Concerned about my post-TRT tightness in my lower back, I didn't push the effort and stuck to a nice pace for the out-and-back. I don't run this early too often, and I enjoyed the sunrise across the wetlands with the Sacramento skyline as a backdrop.

Jumped up early Wednesday to cruise around the paved bike paths near my hotel. Not my choice of Wednesday "shorts", but the road workout kept me moving prior to another long day of sitting at conference tables.

Echo Lake north of Echo Summit
Echo Summit will become a habit. Because I've become a Tahoe trail resident, I've been avoiding going to-and-from Davis on Highway 80, choosing Highway 50 instead. It's a bit longer time-wise, but a much better view once I hit the hills. I repeated my route of last week, and will continue some variation of the Echo trail when travel requires.

Des and Tephra made up the team for Saturday morning. We accessed the TRT at Brockway on the Mt. Watson Road where I started the Brockway to Tahoe City segment of the trail. Our plan was to do a little recon for next Saturday's Lake of the Sky event, 36 miles from Tahoe City to Brockway and back. So we were doing the inbound leg beginning a little bit short of the Turnaround Station. Tephra joined me from the start to Watson Lake while Des met us at intersections between the trail and various roads. She hiked in to Watson Lake to get Tephra and check out that aid station location.

Lake of the Sky
It's a great trail segment and climbs much more in this direction (east to west) than I expected given the overall descent between Brockway and Tahoe City, the lowest spot on the trail at the outlet of Lake Tahoe. It will be a good climb at the start of Lake of the Sky, but I'm working on a plan to go slow and steady early on for a good ever-steadier finish. I felt great for the entire 19 miles. I'm enjoying the fact that a basic 20-mile effort is standard and very enjoyable. Once upon a time, I was spooked by the notion of mileage in the teens, 20 seemed a magical number. My goal is to move beyond the marathon in the same confidence-building manner. And now only three segments of the TRT to go.

Volcanic steps of the Tahoe Rim Trail
Up early Sunday to follow the Seven Loop down Seven Mile Canyon for 7 miles. Although I didn't think I was going fast by any means, I really took a dent out of my previous time on the same course. Every mile was faster than my run a month ago. I was especially happy that I "ran" the climb from the Six Mile Canyon Road to Rocky Road (part of the Emma Quarry trail).

Dennis and Mary summited another Colorado Fourteener this week: Mt. Huron (14,003 feet) above Winfield where we were gathered only a couple weeks ago at the Leadville 100. A five-hour ascent.  Looking forward to a route report. Darren doing high-speed roads in Orinda, California, near the routes of the Fire Trails.

Feeling much better after a good running week which also included a physical therapy session with Jon Hodges. Just a tune up after last week's tightness.  I'm hoping this goodness carries into next week and on toward Saturday. Time for the first ultra. Let's go.


  1. Great!!!!
    Lily and I were up on Ophir Friday and then again Monday. Friday we were out there for about 2 hrs, and Monday I pushed that to 2:15. I tried to figure out whether we accomplished your 12 m Ophir trek, and I suspect that we did, but I am feeling the need for my own Garmin. I also think my distances are getting "serious" enough (i.e. 10+ miles is how I defined "serious" to Steven) for a hydration system for my back.
    While you are making personal history on Sat morning, I am planning to be on another part of TRT sending great vibes your way. And then perhaps see you at the finish line with Dez and Tephra! GO Young!

  2. This Saturday will be just another beautiful day on the trail! Don't let the numbers get into your head; you're ready!