Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week Summary (Oct 23) - Can I get an ankle removed?

Meadow View OB: 7.0 mi (+198 ft); 9:37 pace
Mt. Davidson Ridge OB: 7.7 mi (+1,466 ft); 12:23 pace
VC to Lakeview: 25.0 mi (+2,811 ft); 11:51 pace
Mexican Dam OB: 14.1 mi (+587 ft); 10:25 pace

Weekly Totals: 53.8 mi (+5,062 ft); 10:05:53 on trail

All in all I had a fantastic week of training and feel ready to begin the taper to the Antelope 100K in two weeks (Nov 5).  I feel fully recovered from Firetrails with one significant exception - my right ankle. It seems to be limited to some minor to moderately painful tendonitis, and Des has helped me keep it from flaring and each day seems an incremental improvement, at least until I put some miles on it. The taper should help as long as I can keep the massage and ice/heat therapy schedule each day.

I started the week with fieldwork in northeastern California, and our Tuesday work plan put us at Meadow View Campground just west of Doyle, California. Once we set camp I took a stroll along outback roads in Meadow View and Last Chance valleys. The ankle hurt some but I kept it level with a moderate pace through the out-and-back run. At the turn-around I ran into a husband-wife hunting couple asking about bears, I told them other than the one I had wrestled and was running from, I hadn't seen any.  Darkness was falling as they drove away, but only after talk had turned to the three mountain lions they'd seen recently (not today) back at Meadow View. Last week's encounter with the eyes hung in my mind as I ran into the dark, and now they'd reminded me of a rather dense local presence.  I expect cat encounters are like lightning strikes - rare but potentially life-altering if one is lucky enough to be unlucky. I'd love to see one, but not up too close.

Virginia City (my home) from Sun Mountain
With the fieldtrip over, I returned home Thursday to find the sunset calling for a run on the ridge to Mt. Davidson (Sun Mtn) which rises west of my home in Virginia City. Wednesday's scheduled rest and the miles of walking while in the field seemed to help the ankle and I felt no pain for the first time in a run since Firetrails.  The conditions were perfect as I reached the Mt. Davidson summit (7,864 ft) and Des joined me on Ophir Grade to catch the fading light, red to purple clouds, and a hint of Venus above Lake Tahoe.

The lack of ankle pain did not keep me from icing after Thursday's effort and I entered the weekend B2B with some trepidation, though I really wanted to chase the ridgeline from VC to Hobart Lake. I still look forward to connecting my VC trails with the TRT via Lakeview and Hobart Road. I knew the planned 24 miles wouldn't quite get me to the small lake because I needed to turn around and catch a ride with Des who was working with the horses at Washoe Lake.  But this would give me a chance to scout the route while testing the ankle on some longer mileage.

The aspens of McClellan Peak
I left at 8 am, just as the steam locomotive began its trip to its dump-side depot down at Carson City. I climbed Ophir Grade as it made its way past Gold Hill and into American Flat. At the Jumbo-Ophir intersection I met Marta and Lily; they had gotten a headstart on the grade. Together we began the steep climb to the wonderful, flaming-yellow aspen grove on the northern side of McClellan peak. We pushed further west before I dropped to Goni Road and she turned back for her half-marathon distance. I began the long descent and soon the ankle began its quiet, attention-seeking barking. It wasn't too bad, but there was enough pain for me to reconsider the 24-mile goal.  But it simply kept mildly steady, somewhat aggravating but not enough to stop.  I stepped carefully as I began to push through the unexpected steep ups-and-downs  between Goni and Highway 395.  Forward progress was frustrated by a private property boundary on the final climb before the highway.  I was just short of a paved road, but couldn't connect due to locked gates. I turned back to trace a direct path toward Washoe Lake State Park, a side-road that I knew would get me to pavement though I'd now be well short of my planned turn-around on Hobart Road.

Washoe Lake from Hobart Road (Sun Mtn high in the background)
As I hit the pavement, Des drove up! A nice coincidence as she headed to work the horses; a minute sooner and we wouldn't have seen each other for a couple more hours. She stopped to see how the ankle was feeling and then I followed the pavement to the Highway underpass and entered the Lakeview subdivision. Here the climbing toward the Tahoe rim began in earnest and I walked much of the lower pavement on Hobart Road. When the road hits the lower (non-residential) treeline a gate with trail access leads to the first, unpaved switchback toward Hobart. The unpaved surface rejuvenated me and I ran some sections of the steep road. I hit 19 miles at a swift-running creek where I knew I had to turn back to avoid overdoing the first half of the weekend's B2B.  I was soon back at the pavement and worked a slow-to-moderate pace taking the paved roads all the way to the ranch. I hit 25 miles as I arrived at Des's parked truck; just under my target of 5:00:00. After helping Des with some photos we returned home to start the ice.  Would I have 14 miles in me for Sunday?

Mexican Dam on the Carson River
The ankle was stiff on Sunday morning but not terribly painful so I felt motivated to finish the back-to-back runs of the most demanding, non-racing weekend of the RFP training schedule. I kept it flat along the groomed trails of the Carson River and Silver Saddle Ranch and pushed through Mexican Dam to explore the south side of Prison Hill (I've been wanting to loop the hill since early runs last winter). Although I started slow, I was soon rolling along with only the ankle keeping me in check. It was never overwhelming but got slightly more aggravating as the miles passed. I happily managed to get to 14 miles in just under my target of 2:30:00; two nice days in the B2B. Tonight the ankle feels no worse than it did this morning so I'm optimistic about the healing during the coming taper.

I passed 1,000 miles for the season this week and successfully completed the most non-race mileage of any week on my schedule. As long as I continue to carefully treat the ankle, I'm ready for the 100K at Antelope Island.

In other news, Darren's been taking a season's-end rest period but we are already planning for our over-winter regime to prepare for the possibilities of an early season 100-miler as Darren returns to the Buffalo Run and I consider joining him there for a first effort.

Dennis and Mary are closing their season with a pair of half-marathons. Last weekend they hit the roads at Moab, Utah, to complete the first of the two. Mom gained a place on the podium with 3rd place in her age category! Dad cruised to 7th in his group as the two of them crossed the line together.  They focused on their very successful run-walk style and it paid off with high finishes. They now move on to a trail half-marathon to end the season with similar style and success. They'll be running again in Moab as I do a couple loops at Antelope.

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