Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanks, now back to the trail...

Week Summary

Carson River 3: 3.3 mi (+17 ft); 9:04 pace
Long Valley OB: 7.4 mi (+428 ft); 9:19 pace
Washoe Lake Loop Plus: 8.9 mi (+738 ft); 10:54 pace
Sun Mtn: Spanish-Bullion: 6.4 mi (+1,731 ft); 15:37 pace

Weekly Totals: 25.9 mi (+2,914 ft); 4::54:35 on trail

As I've mentioned before, Thanksgiving Day is my "running" anniversary. Last year (2010), after a conversation with my brother Darren, fascinated by his desire to race 100 miles at Antelope Island, I went out to Long Valley and knocked off seven miles. I didn't know what "pace" was, I didn't even keep track of time. I had simply laid out a route in Google Earth, put on a few layers (it was 11 degrees that day), grabbed the YakTrax, and off I went. The addiction wouldn't set in until six months later, but I started a regular routine to prepare for the field time in Africa and to better understand Darren's training efforts.

Twelve hundred miles later, Darren and I returned to Long Valley on Thanksgiving morning to mark the beginning of another season. It was my first effort in a month or so where I went for more than 30 minutes, a refreshing change from the needed rest period. In fact, it felt so good to be back on the trail I continued into the weekend with some easy but longer outings. This will grow into December as trail time and effort gradually increase; the first races might be as early as February (the 2012 race calendar will get set after the Western States lottery on Dec 10th).

As I diverted energy away from the trail during the rest period, I was soon scouring Google Earth for new trails around Virginia City. We'll get plenty of snow (someday) but it typically gets packed enough to continue getting miles in, and the deep snow of Sun Mtn will provide some great post-holing hill-climb workouts. With this in mind, and looking to add some longer efforts to next season, I turned to the maps and went on some virtual runs. I started with the equine endurance course of the VC 100 and soon had three loops (50+26+24) mapped out stretching from the Highlands to Moundhouse. Darren and I will begin checking portions of these (including Long Valley) and have already begun to consider a possible "Fat Ass" run where we'll invite a few folks for an informal 50+ mile event.

Great single-track above Washoe Lake.
So on Saturday I visited the Washoe Lake section of the VC50 loop and went for almost nine miles of single-track through the state park and along the Jumbo reach of the trail. So great to be out for an easy run in almost 60-degree sunshine (so different from last year!).  Des and Strider came along for the start but they turned down to the dune as I ventured toward Jumbo to check the trail. I returned to the lake so Tephra could cool down before meeting Des back at the ranch (Strider and Cochise are boarded at a small ranch just above the Washoe Lake State Park). Des and Strider got in three miles; she's running Strider on a lead as part of some training exercises. The single-track equestrian trails in the park will be a great place to return for flatland runs by the water.
Spanish Ravine above Virginia City

Tephra and Snow -- Sun Mtn Summit
Up early Sunday morning for some elevation gain! Not wanting to overdo it, I took an easy hike up Sun Mountain (7,864 ft; aka Mount Davidson, high-point of Storey County) via Spanish Ravine making the summit in 49:20 (+1,700 ft gain). I hiked the ravine to the north-south ridge road before turning to the Davidson Ridge. A brisk wind met me on the ridge, but Tephra powered ahead seeking the snowy spots near the summit. I returned along the ridge to loop south and made my descent via Bullion Canyon. I have yet to tire of the single-track trails and two-track roads of this little mountain range at the western edge of the Great Basin. The views of the Carson Range (the northern Sierra) above Lake Tahoe are a great reward when climbing from Virginia City. To the east, dozens of north-south ranges form waves in the sagebrush ocean. I've been to most of the ranges I can see from here, but a few remain to be explored. It's easy to plan  new trails while traversing the tracks of Sun Mtn.

Top of Bullion Canyon -- a great, short trail.

Dennis and Mary - "No running in the house."
The Young Mountain Runners had a busy week.  Dennis and Mary hit the pre-dinner road for the Thanksgiving Turkey 5K in Grand Junction. Mom (31:15) grabbed a silver medal and Dad (27:30) also reached the age-category podium with a bronze. Although she missed last year's run after foot surgery, she beat her 2009 time by over two minutes. Dad also improved his time by 28 seconds over last year's effort.

At about the same time, somewhere in Texas, another set of Young runners gave chase in the Turkey Trot fun. Rising to the challenge, Heather reported their Thanksgiving success, "Bryan got a silver (lid) of Greeek strawberry yogurt and I got a gole (banana) and peanut butter after our race." Now those are awards to sink your teeth into. Keep going.

Cheers to the team. IWWD.

1 comment:

  1. Cool new header photo(s)! I'm ready to get going next month.