Sunday, December 30, 2012

YMR 2012

My Beautiful World
Week Summary (12/30/2012)


Easter Hills Loop: 6.0 mi (+589 ft); 16:11 pace
Centennial OB: 4.9 mi (+542 ft); 12:37 pace
Empire OB: 3.7 mi (+14 ft); 10:06 pace
Prison Hill Laps: 15.6 mi (+3,302 ft); 14:17 pace
Ophir Grade OB: 5.0 mi (+562 ft); 17:16 pace

Weekly Totals: 35.2 mi (+5,009 ft); 8:24:57 on trail
December Totals: 147.4 mi (+16,133 ft); 28:32:27 on trail
2012 Totals: 1,752.7 mi (+214,547 ft); 351:20:33 (14.6 days) on trail

It's an appropriate cliche to look back and look forward at the end of each year, so here goes. Sure enough, the highlights from the Young Mountain Runners 2012 vastly outweigh the small defeats.

Two practically divine highlights stand out: San Diego and St. George. Those two achievements exemplify the year of teamwork, support, and determination that our little team of family and friends. It might be a vast over-simplification, but after I completed the San Diego 100 and Dennis and Mary raced across the finish at the St. George Marathon, in meeting the challenge, we became very different people. Special thanks to Tim Long, Henri Migala, Jim Carter, Darren, and Desna -- all clearing a broad path over each 100 miles.

YMR Super-heroes: St. George Marathon

San Diego 100 Success: Thanks Footfeathers

That was easy!
 (Somewhere, there's a pile of clothes in a phone booth)
In between those two events, our little band of runners constantly sought the challenge and discipline that the long hills require. After a drop due to injury at the Buffalo 100 early in the year, Darren ran strong for much of the Pine to Palm 100 before digging deep to gain another 100-mile finish. His determination exemplifies what it means to be a YMR. I ran into new obstacles at Pine to Palm, learning lessons and gaining motivation that I will carry into 2013.

A day of life at the P2P 100

Yes! Another podium finish.
Dennis and Mary continued to rank among the best age-group runners on the Colorado Plateau. The dynamic duo consistently brought home awards from events ranging from 10Ks to half marathons to, utlimately, their first marathon at St. George.
Bryan being chased by the denizens of Dallas.

Meanwhile, in the flatlands of central Texas, Bryan tasted the satisfaction of a strong finish he teamed up with Dad at the Dallas Turkey Trot.

We all look forward to the upcoming 2013 season where we'll target new goals and meet the recurring challenges of mountain running. Dennis and Mary will bump into the 70+ category and likely need new shelves and wall space for the podium hardware. Desna and Strider are working toward their first trail competition, providing lessons in teamwork that can benefit us all. Darren and I will continue to push our own ultra-running boundaries, searching for those moments when sublime tears and laughter are the rewards for uncompromised effort. And here's hoping Bryan can pace off of us and gather some time on the trail.  IWWD.

Bring on 2013! Happy New Year from Trail Option and the Young Mountain Runners.

Let it snow.  Ok, enough already.
Some value-added content (or not) from the week, where snow was on the menu every day. Breaking trail provides the workout that the drop in mileage otherwise lacks. The week started with a Christmas Eve run on Easter Hills (mixed metaphors or Christian holidays, I'm not sure which) with Dad and Chris Wright, a lucky Grand Junction trailhound who got into Western States. Good times, the video shows it all!

I wrapped up 2012 with some snow-bound laps on Prison Hill in the company of the Carson Area Runners, followed Sunday by a grueling posthole out-and-back in the deeps of Ophir Grade. Nice to have met up with the Carson team for occasional runs and great motivation. And I continue to wonder at my good fortune -- I get to live and run in great country every day and in every condition. Perfect.

Dead Truck Canyon on Prison Hill
Carson Area Runners, Lindy and Abbey at the summit

Carson City and the Carson Range -- Still snowing

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tempo and Deep Freeze...

Week Summary (12/23/2012)


Brunswick Canyon Loop: 5.6 mi (+705 ft); 10:52 pace
Carson River Flats (Tempo): 6.0 mi (+21 ft); 8:30 pace
Foresight Circle: 3.7 mi (+25 ft); 10:09 pace
Blue Heron Trail: 6.3 mi (+20 ft); 10:53 pace
Audubon Trail: 5.3 mi (+29 ft); 11:10 pace

Weekly Totals: 26.8 mi (+799 ft); 4:36:503 on trail

With the approaching Solstice, winter is certainly upon us. No shorts this week, especially once we arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado, where deep-freeze, sub-zero temperatures greeted us.

Early in the week I explored the lower reach of Brunswick Canyon, searching for dry tracks out of the wind. A nice Base cruise and added a bit of climb knowing Thursday's Tempo would be flat. Still feeling tight quads from Sunday's descent, but not too bad.

On Thursday we were packed to get on Amtrak for Colorado, but I headed to Carson River for a Tempo workout -- I was focused on a good workout before heading east. I started with a 10-minute pace for about a mile and then worked quickly to a steady 7:40 pace. I worked hard to keep steady without over-doing it, I wanted to maintain for the 30 minute target. It worked very well. The run started off very cold, but, with the approaching storm, a warm wind hit just before my turn-around and I even felt slightly over-heated. Once I jumped the ditch and headed along the golf course, the tempo interval ended and I shifted to cool-down. It was interesting that I thought I was going way too slow but then I'd notice I was at a 9:30 pace. This could be a nice benefit of Tempos -- getting the body accustomed to an effort so that my new "slow" pace is slightly faster. A great workout.

We rode the desert all night on the #6 Zephyr from Reno to Grand Junction. Colder moving east. It was single digits as we pulled into Grand Junction and the slickrock trails I scouted on our trip along the Colorado River where caked in snow. It looks like plans would be changing.

My imaginings of holiday slickrock were evidently based on my summer experience in the area, and recent reconnaissances on Google Earth only showed clear trails. The real conditions, especially the deep cold, wouldn't be adding to much benefit to any runs. I did a post-train shakeout along the roads of Mom and Dad's neighborhood. It was 7 degrees when I wrapped up as the sunset.

Although the trails wouldn't reveal themselves, Dad and I hit trails along the Colorado River on Saturday and Sunday for some nice Base runs. Although my targets were put aside, it was a wonderful weekend of easy runs with great company. Actually, I couldn't have asked for better conditions.

Snowing hard and deep at home, could require some creative training plans in the weeks to come.

Peace and Happy Holidays from Trail Option and the Young Mountain Runners. Keep going into the New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ahhh, wind and snow...

Week Summary (12/16/2012)


Washoe Lake SP: 5.8 mi (+174 ft); 11:01 pace
Ash Tracks (Tempo): 7.5 mi (+1,196 ft); 9:34 pace
Emma Quarry OB: 5.6 mi (+497 ft); 9:57 pace
VC to Deadmans: 16.6 mi (+2,422 ft); 10:58 pace

Weekly Totals: 35.6 mi (+4,288 ft); 6:14:12 on trail

Although Tuesday's Base run was crazy warm, the snow rolled in on Wednesday. We never got any big storms, but the squalls rolled through on a pretty regular basis all week. With the temperature drop, I finally had to break out the tights and keep them in the bag from Thursday on.

On Thursday I followed the route (I saw a few marks and it just seemed right) of the Run with Rudolph event that I missed this past weekend. Although it has some good climbs, it's a wonderful place for some Tempo. I started with about 15 minutes of warm-up and then, entering Ash Canyon, stuck to 45 minutes of maintaining at least 170 bpm heart rate. The first few miles along the creekside single-track is a steady climb so keeping the heart rate high happened by default. But once I hit the switch-back descent on the return it got to be a challenge to keep from dropping below the magic 170.

This little game added some technical training to the speedwork. I had to push the downhills, a skill I'm generally lacking. I focused on picking a good line between the rocks and snow of the single-track and let gravity do the work. It was a great confidence builder, and I was no worse for wear when all was done. A good drill.

I strode past last week's Rudolph finish at 1:05, a time I would have been happy with. But considering the 15-minute warm-up and the non-tempo after 1:00, it could have been interestingly competitive. Nice.

I swapped the weekend pattern, putting the long day on Sunday, due to some Reno meetings I needed to attend. That made the Saturday Emma Quarry jog an interesting snowfest, as I got hit be a fun squall on my return. I love that.  On Sunday, I left the house for a three-hour tour of the hills between Virginia City and Washoe Lake. Wind was the order of the day.  Add that to the cold temperatures along the ridges and it was at times a challenge to keep moving. But I do enjoy the unsettled conditions of coming storms and the occasional canyon provided a little protection. Plus it actually warmed up a bit as I dropped toward Washoe Lake.

I made good time to the Goni area so I explored the single-track in Deadmans Canyon where I thought I might run into the Carson Area Runners group. I saw their tracks and learned that the Deadmans single-track will be a great hill-repeat area, as long is it doesn't get too much snow.

Good to pick it up this week a little. The holidays can provide challenges to keeping up with the training regime, but I plan to keep at it. Off to Grand Junction this week, so maybe next week's long run will include a bit of slickrock! (the non-icy kind, that is).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Into December...

The Lottery within the Lottery
Week Summary (12/9/2012)


Lakeview Hill: 6.4 mi (+881 ft); 11:07 pace
Mexican Ditch: 6.1 mi (+200 ft); 10.10 pace
Empire OB: 4.2 mi (+22 ft); 10:40 pace
Cool Lottery OB: 10.3 mi (+1,923 ft); 11:38 pace

Weekly Totals: 27.0 mi (+3,046 ft); 4:54:42 on trail

I was met with rain-soaked trails this week. Because I'm fortunate to have a number of trails the course through hillsides of granitic rocks, I can sort of mitigate the mud by choosing trail treads of decomposed granite (DG) or trails that have been specifically constructed, like along the Carson River, of DG. Also, it was a Reset week so the shorter trail time meant less chance of getting into too much trouble.

Starting easy along the V&T trail of west Carson, I happened on a single-track that I realized I had seen on the trail page. It was spitting rain mixed with a little snow so I though it would be an interesting diversion. It turned in to a bit more of a hill-climb than a Tuesday Base run should be, but it was very fun. Perfect switchbacks to a rocky summit and then on to a stair-step bouldery descent back to the V&T; very nice.

I stuck with easy Base jogs for the remainder of the week while look forward to my chances in the Western States Lottery. Darren and I were up early and over the hill to Auburn to gain an extra ticket (4 and 3 of Diamonds, respectively) in the "lottery within the lottery." We both still had an extra entry in the main lottery due being "one-time" losers from last year's draw. This gave us two entries and something like an 18% chance of getting selected.

Over the course of a couple hours, the retiring Race Director Greg Soderlund had Board Members and various race celebrities draw 10 picks. He read each one and gradually the 270 open spots were filled. Once in a while an exuberant cheer would rise from the audience as a name was drawn and a lucky winner would run down the aisle (think The Price Is Right gameshow) only to gain a ballcap and a few high-fives from the audience. Most of the draws weren't in attendance of course, but even those got a little reluctant applause as another spot was taken and local chances dwindled.  Alas, Greg eventually reached the 270 mark and then picked a few paid raffles spots before getting to the local lottery. When the first card was drawn, a 4 of Hearts (or something) three people jumped from their seats. But, of course, there were more than 52 local entries, so the name on the card got the draw. Two people crumpled back into their seats. We had pretty much given up hope (or gained relief) when the very last card drawn was a 3 of Diamonds, my card...

The Hills above Cool - the Western States Trail
We left the building empty handed but for an extra ticket for the 2014 Lottery and an extra free weekend in our schedule. Right card, wrong name. Time to start considering a summer without a Western States entry, which seemed likely all along.  We gained extra tickets for next year, and I expect we'll be doing some Aid Station work with the Striders nonetheless.  Leaving Auburn, we headed to Cool to hit a portion of the Western States trail and had a great muddy time going east of Highway 49 for a few miles. While we won't be on the trail for WS this year, this did give us a preview of parts of the American River 50K, our first 2013 ultra coming in February. I think we'll be back before then, these trails are plain fun.

A day of errands on Sunday kept me off the trail. Probably OK for a Reset week, but I don't much like that to happen.

A shout out to some crew from Far Western doing the Running with Rudolf 7.5M in the Winter Trail Series. Sarah and Gene getting out for some trail in west Carson. Keep going...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What if 100s...

Hey, keep going...

Week Summary (12/1/2012)


Longview Hillwork: 8.5 mi (+1,574 ft); 11:17 pace
Carson River Flats: 4.8 mi (+22 ft); 10:31 pace
Silver Saddle Lasso (Tempo): 10.3 mi (+135 ft); 9:22 pace
Empire OB: 4.0 mi (+27 ft); 9:59 pace
McClellan-Scripps Loop: 14.5 mi (+2,987 ft); 11:49 pace
Eagle Treadmill: 8.3 mi (+2 ft); 11:07 pace

Weekly Totals: 50.3 mi (+4,747 ft); 9:04:45 on trail
November Totals: 157.5 mi (+174,081 ft); 28:22:59 on trail

I'm sure runners of all levels get imaginative in order to maintain daily motivation. With my current focus on the Buffalo 100, and the distraction of the coming Western States lottery (next Saturday), each of my runs, short or long, typically has one or two vivid visualizations of being on "the course" of some event. Would I feel this good? Can I keep this kind of downhill going? Of course, the event is one of the 100s I have either run or paced in. Because I usually feel damn good after only an hour or so of training, I carry the delusion to the 20th hour of a 100. Hell yeah! Well, we'll see.

A nice surprise toward Mt. Rose
The strangest thing to come out of my daily delusions is a growing desire to work toward and meet the challenge of returning to Pine to Palm. There are any number of challenges to tackle before next September, but I'll continue to let that fester and see what it brings.

Squalls into Carson Valley
This week was a Key Week, relatively high effort in the cycle of weeks. I'm still relatively early in the monthly build-up, but it was still one of my career training weeks. I kicked off the week with some hillwork around C-Hill west of Carson City. A five-minute intervals with five-minute rest pace in between, I repeated this six times. The overall pace (11:17) seems high, but that accounts for the warm-up jog, rests while still climbing, and a gradual cool down.

With the week's rain squalls and storms, the Carson River Trail is attractive because of its uniform, well-drained tread. However, by Friday the little hop across a ditch would require a pretty stout boat, so I might be cut-off that trail for a while. But after any easy Base run on Wednesday, I returned Thursday afternoon for a wonderful tempo out to Silver Saddle Ranch, a total of about a little over 10 miles. Now that's a well-spent lunch. Returned to run along the trail on Friday watching the river rise and ditches approach over-flowing.

The storms driven by the "atmospheric river" or "pineapple express" arrived Friday and I wasn't sure about the setting of Saturday's Long run. Watching the scudding gray clouds over Virginia City, I thought the hybrid (half-paved/half-graveled) Goni Road should be relatively dry and I was in for a good climb.

Toward the McClellan Peak Towers
I enjoy the unsettled weather of growing storms when wind gusts blow clouds into mountains, snow squalls churn over Tahoe, and it simply looks like it could cut loose at any moment. And then as soon as I reach for my jacket, the sun breaks through tossing rainbows against the Sierra. That was basically my climb to the radio towers of McClellan Peak. It's a good route because the prevailing winds are following for most of the climb, giving a little push to the top. I hit yesterday's snowline just below the summit and slogged through the slush before turning around on the summit. Feeling good I extended the descent into Scripps Canyon coming into Washoe Valley just above the ranch were I saw Strider fueling up for his day of leading his pasture mates in their play (or whatever it is that those horses do).

Strider and Friends
I'll keep the McClellan-Scripps route in the stormy day quiver. It's a quality route under any circumstances.

Crazy amounts of rain and local flooding on Sunday led me indoors for the monotonous 90 minutes on the treadmill; hope I don't have to do too much of that over the winter. Almost too boring for any visualization or imagination.

Dennis and Mary raced in the Winter Sun 10K in Moab this weekend. Seems some stiff competition kept mom off the AG podium.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Great Week, Simple as that...

Week Summary (11/25/2012)
Running Lines with Darren


C-Hill Loop: 7.3 mi (+1,341 ft); 12:35 pace
Centennial Trails: 4.1 mi (+498 ft); 11:38 pace
Long Valley Tradition: 9.7 mi (+558 ft); 9:57 pace
Ophir Grade OB: 4.8 mi (+484 ft); 10:25 pace
Seven Emma Loop: 12.1 mi (+2,162 ft); 12:03 pace
Centennial Trails: 8.9 mi (+1,228 ft); 11:08 pace

Weekly Totals: 46.9 mi (+6,271 ft); 8:50:32 on trail

It's easy to create a great time out of a 3-day work week, especially when combined with some very un-Fall-like weather. Together these gave a wonderful kick to the the first intensive week of the fall training schedule. For the first time in a long while, I knocked out six good days on the trail while tossing in a few core training sessions. And damn it feels great.
The Running Portrait Cliche
My Base day on Tuesday turned into a more of a slow climb than I'd hoped; I'd forgotten about the rather long pull up the south side of C-Hill (combining Shotgun and Three Amigos) but enjoyed the drop down Longview on the backside. I'll be back out here next week for some hill repeats, much more appropriate!

Long Valley - The Tradition
After stopping by Centennial for a run-out on toward Moundhouse and the Wild Horses trail on Wednesday night, Darren came up on Thursday for our traditional Thanksgiving Day cruise in Long Valley. Two years ago (Thanksgiving 2010) with Darren's encouragement, I went for a little 7-mile jog and something clicked. The runner's high has lasted two years. We even expanded on the tradition which has not become a true run as opposed to a jog, hitting some sub-8 pace on the in-bound. Perfect.

While we were out in Long Valley, the Texas and Colorado crews were running in the 8-mile and 5K versions of the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot. Dennis and Bryan toed the line in the 8-mile, with Dad cruising easily to  30th place (M 60-69) at 1:32. Bryan finished his longest effort (so far!) in just under 2 hours. The women's team took in the sights in the 5K. Great work in Big D.

Looped around Virginia City via Seven Mile Canyon and the Emma-Sutro trails for my Long run on Saturday. A perfect outing if you discount the rapid-fire harassment of automatic (no those aren't legal here, but I wasn't going to enforce it), semi-automatic, and single-shot weapons. It made me not mind the dozens of ATVs, but also reminded me why I don't typically run the local trails on Saturdays in good weather. I'd hoped to gain about 2,500 feet on the outing so I pulled a couple extra climbs in, but still didn't quite hit the target. I great time nonetheless.

Down Sunday to Centennial Park to join the Carson Area Runners for some great, wide-open single-track. I would guess about nine of us left the park and linked up various sections of the West Canyon, North Canyon, Mound House, and Wild Horses trails. Good to see Abbey, Steve, Angela, Brett, Lindy, and the rest of the crew (still learning names). These group runs put me at a somewhat higher effort for a Base Sunday than I might typically do, but the motivation is great and it's fun to share some time in common pursuit. The group splits and re-joins as personal goals allow. Nice and low-key, but good efforts at the same time. 

Congrats to Footfeathers on finishing 13th at Quad Dipsea while averaging a 130 bpm heart rate. It's not the finish, that's envious enough; but the barely perceptible pulse across over 9,300 feet of gain and drop, that's simply mind-boggling. Cheers, my friend.  


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Early Variety and Going Cold Turkey

Descending Prison Hill to 11th
Week Summary (11/18/2012)


V&T "Dog" Route: 5.9 mi (+318 ft); 10:29 pace
North Fork Humboldt Loop: 4.9 mi (+404 ft); 9:17 pace
Carson River Flats: 4.4 mi (+21 ft); 10:24 pace
Cold Turkey Warm-up: 1.4 mi (+121 ft); 10:17 pace
Cold Turkey 7: 7.0 mi (+1,349 ft); 9:56 pace
Carson River to Silver Saddle: 10.4 mi (+146 ft); 10:22 pace

Weekly Totals: 33.9 mi (+2,360 ft); 5:43:39 on trail

Although set up as an Intro (Level 3) training period, I managed to cover a wide variety of running conditions this week. It all started with a little Base effort out on the V&T trail on the west side of Eagle Valley (aka Carson City). That's not all that unusual, it's a good Tuesday trail. The variety was supplied by a stout dog-bite to my right hamstring. Tephra and I got caught up in a little dog-walker's pack and one of the beasts didn't like me. The human was incredulous at his hound's behavior, but less so than I. I surveyed the puncture wounds and escaped from the group, otherwise not knowing what to do. The tags seemed up-to-date, and though the pain was sharp, it wasn't too bad and I could continue. As I jogged the remaining four miles or so, however, I failed to notice that my leg had become a bruised and bloody mess.

Running Toward the Rubies, northeast Nevada
By Thursday the wounds, of course, had healed up a bit but the bruise had expanded nicely. It was a relief that there was no residual infection. The bruise added some mild stiffness to the hamstring exacerbated by driving several hundred miles during some northern Nevada fieldwork. The necessary hiking felt great. This was topped off by a great, short little Tempo run in the outback of the North Fork of the Humboldt River. I love the Tempo workouts. The landscape variety of northern Nevada added to the fun.

Strider and Tephra moving out

While I was in the outback, Dez, Strider, and Tephra were teaming up for some rides along Washoe Lake. Tephra seems to be getting the hang of accompanying the equine team.

Easy Base on Friday, along with core-work, led to some Saturday competition in the Winter Trail Series put on by Ascent Physical Therapy in Carson City. An approaching wet storm added drama and beauty to the morning of my first 10K event, the Cold Turkey 6-Mile, which was actually a 7-mile race given the nice additions often tossed into trail events. This is the first of a five-event trail series covering the five months of the local winter-like (we'll see) conditions. Nicely informal, there are no prizes but the courses are well-marked and Kevin and his little team seem to have a good time with it. There were 55 entrants in the "6-Mile" race and 41 in the 4-Mile event. All 96 toed the line and shared the course for the first steep climb on the west side of Prison Hill. 

The sun was still forcing its way through the low-hanging dark clouds as we crested the hill and circled the north loop on Prison Hill. I didn't want to push too hard this early in my fall training, but it was fun to sit in as the lead group splintered on the first climb and spread out on the wonderful single track of the north loop. I was in 8th place at the top of the climb but was soon passed by a few runners working their way from the back of the following pack. Soon I was yo-yo-ing along with Shannon, who I'd done some training with last week at Duck Hill. She flies the downhills and I could steady it through the gradual climbs. I walked some steeper up-hill sections. Occasionally I'd hear Abbey (who I also met last week at Duck Hill), in her Five-Fingers, whooping it up just behind us. In the last mile I enjoyed the pull of the final uphill and caught Shannon and then Hector before dropping to the finish for a 11th-place (3rd in Men 40-49 group) spot in my first 10K. Great fun to have a little competitive juice flowing but, more importantly, a nice morning on the trail with all those who went Cold Turkey.
Early in Cold Turkey 7; I'm 8th (in blue) in the splintering peloton
First Place (M): Brett Long 54:22
First Place (F): Linda Biaggi 1:07:21 (7th overall)

Complete results here.

Footfeathers, seeing my Garmin chart, said I ran it like an ultrarunner, nice and steady. I'll take that as a compliment. At my next short event, probably in January, I hope to max out the effort, especially after the first three miles, and see what that brings. Still, I'm super happy with my results and I have very few echoes from the effort. I followed up on Sunday, today, with an easy out-and-back jog of a little over 10 miles in perfect conditions along the Carson River to Silver Saddle Ranch.

Dennis and Mary are in Allen, Texas, with Bryan and Heather. All will be in a traditional Turkey Trot down there. Dad and Bryan will be tackling the 8-mile event, while mom and Heather will be in the 5-Mile; the latter team will be pushing a stroller with the foster twins, our newest team members. Out west, Darren decided to share in Chloe's cold, so it's been a slow week for him in Reno. Our tradition of a Lousetown run will continue on Thanksgiving Day, as Darren and I meet up here on the Comstock, Dez and Chloe work with Strider, and Carrie, I'm sure, will be awaiting our company for the afternoon in Reno. Happy Thanksgiving and fuel up to keep going...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

First snow runs, and back in the Lottery

First snows at Washoe Lake

Week Summary (11/11/2012)


Goni Trails East: 5.7 mi (+776 ft); 11:52 pace
Ash Tracks - Easy Hills: 6.6 mi (+1,095 ft); 10:18 pace
Whites Canyon OB: 9.5 mi (+1,175 ft); 10:05 pace
Duck Hill at Washoe Lake: 9.3 mi (+1,616 ft); 12:03 pace

Weekly Totals: 31.1 mi (+4,662 ft); 5:45:35 on trail

Goals and focus events can seem very far away as the days grow short and you wake up to snow falling on your favorite trails. Working on the beginning sketches of next year's race schedule can change that, and dropping my name in the Western States lottery can lift the gloom and bring each training day back into focus. Buffalo 100 is the focus now, but I'm hoping to make every snowy stride a big step for the upcoming season, regardless of my chances in any lottery.

Speaking of gloom, I began the week in a funk, feeling over-extended, over-whelmed, and under-fit. I knew killing the latter would help with the former two. "Fun" runs while resting, the goal of October, are good in theory and in practice, I'm sure, but missing the intensity of effort and/or distance grows into a zombie-like existence were everything seems difficult. This lethargy culminated on Tuesday as I could barely make it through a normally easy tour of the Goni Hills, I couldn't get going even though I was simply targeting an 11-minute pace. Turned out it was the last day of warm weather too!

Things changed on Thursday with the arrival of Winter Storm Brutus (the Weather Channel, but not the National Weather Service, has taken to naming these things). As the sleet and wind hit Eagle Valley (i.e., Carson City) I laced up for some easy hill repeats above Ash Canyon. The 50-mph gusts buffeted me until I hit the canyon where I could bump up the effort for some hill-climb strides. In an instant the cobwebs cleared and neither the wind nor sleet could deter me. The effort was therapeutic, invigorating, and just plain fun. Good to blow out the gaskets once in a while. Let's just say, I'm back.

After some core workouts on Friday, I met Darren at Whites Creek Trailhead in south Reno and we moved through spotty snow. Darren's fighting a cold, but it was good to up into the Mt. Rose foothills for a run. Again, I felt great. We went at a slightly higher effort than I had planned but we didn't push hard on the climbs and the downhills were smooth. I think this was our first run together since our jog to the starting line at Pine to Palm.

First snows in Grand Junction, CO; go run you two!
Carson Area Runners -- Making tracks near Duck Hill
Snowy pictures from Mom and Dad's at Grand Junction on Sunday morning were matched by 10-degree temperatures at Washoe Lake where I laced up with the Carson Area Runners. I'm usually not a group runner, but I thought I'd mix it up a little and get to know some of the other local trail runners. Shannon had sent me a link to join the Carson Area Runners group on Facebook and soon I received an invite from Abbey. As a result, eight of us braved the morning chill and were soon tracking up the snow-covered two-tracks on Duck Hill between Eagle and Washoe valleys. Crisp, cold runs in new snow are a pleasure and it was fun to share it with like-minded people. Although I would typically only get in a bit of Base or Recovery on a Sunday, the camaraderie was great and we followed Abbey's wanderings through the hills at an easy pace for almost two hours. Felt great and I look forward to more group runs.

In what is to surely become an annual tradition Darren and I are, as he called it, "in the race to be in the race." We are in the Western States lottery, again. San Diego was my qualifier for this year, as was Darren's finish at Pine to Palm. So here we go again. Let the snows come and the clouds clear... we'll keep going...


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Falling back...

Week Summary (11/4/2012)


Carson River Flats: 5.1 mi (+11 ft); 10:43 pace
Six Mile Canyon
Carson River Flats: 5.1 mi (+11 ft); 10:10 pace
Cougar Flat to Larrys: 7.2 mi (1,548 ft); 12:41 pace
Emma Quarry: 5.6 mi (+471 ft); 10:14 pace

Weekly Totals: 23.1 mi (+2,041 ft); 4:16:15 on trail
Monthly Totals: 50.3 mi (+2,815 ft); 8:57:53 on trail

Easing into the fall training regime after resting most of October. Feels great to be back on the trail, although it is difficult keeping my pace down as I re-establish the foundation. Everything feels so good and the cool air and colors are refreshing and motivating, but we'll get there. I focused on easy runs this week, sticking to the flats along the Carson River and then a hilly but easy run up to Larry's place via Cougar Flat. I walked the steeper hills to keep with the "easing into it" strategy.

Rocky Road on the Emma Quarry Trail
I also added some Cross Training through more intensive core work on the intervening days. Footfeathers gave me a routine of crunches, planks, and push-ups which I've added to my roll-out and stretching routine. I'm pretty damn weak when it comes to the push-ups but satisfied that I'm gaining something as the crunches and plank-work burns relatively easily.

I will be picking it up slightly in the coming week.

I have set the calendar through the Buffalo 100 and registered for that race in March and the American Canyon 50K in February. I'll be challenging Tim's CR at American Canyon for the first 50 feet and then settle in at my own pace in the hills above Auburn.

Nearing the Quarry
Darren seems to be healing up and beginning a routine again. This year we'll change roles at Buffalo.

Dennis and Mary continued their season with great success at the St. George Marathon and Moab's Other Half, only two weeks apart! Dad's posted some great reports and photos on his Google+ page.

Desna and Strider continue to get mileage in. Both are gaining confidence on the dunes and hills surrounding Washoe Lake State Park. Today they navigated the trails at the Faye Luther Trailhead below Jobs Peak.