Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where's winter?

Week Summary

Carson River Flats: 6.4 mi (+39 ft); 9:13 pace
Centennial Loops: 3.9 mi (+514 ft); 11:43 pace
Goni Trails East: 5.0 mi (+1,008 ft); 12:01 pace
Peavine Direct and 50/50: 17.5 mi (+3,473 ft); 12:04 pace
Emma Quarry OB: 5.9 mi (+407 ft); 12:46 pace

Weekly Totals: 38.7 mi (+5,442 ft); 7:30:14:11 on trail

I simply can't believe our lack of winter conditions. Ran without a shirt during my 7-minute pace intervals at Carson River on Tuesday. Just a beautiful day. We had a warm period last January but there had already been some pretty good snows to fill the mountains; we haven't had a single storm yet this season.  So best bet is to take advantage of it. Shorts and racing-Ts each day, until the cold (dry) mornings on the weekend.

Kept to some structured workouts this week. I'm using a moderate to strong effort on the target days and then very easy base jogs in between. Did intervals for an hour on Tuesday. After a warm up, I did 3 minutes at about a 7-minute pace separated by 3 minutes at about 10:30 pace. I cycled through intervals five times. This felt really good, especially because it was almost 60 degrees at noontime.

After an easy jog on Wednesday evening, I hit Goni Trails for some hill repeats. These aren't enjoyable, but I bet they will get me conditioned and ready for the long hills requiring a slower approach; maybe they'll even seem easier. I did five repeats on a steady hill. I held the effort for 2 minutes and then stumbled back down the hill to do it again. Darren taught me to pile five rocks at my start point to keep track of my repeats without having to actually count. That isn't so bad now, but might prove critical on longer workouts (there are rumors that these come later in the season!).

Climbing Peavine with the Striders
Darren invited me to join with the Silver State Striders ultra team for a Saturday workout on Peavine Mountain north of Reno. We started from Darren's house and jogged into the group of about 14 runners at the Keystone Canyon trailhead. Along the base of the mountain, we warmed up with introductions while there was opportunity to chatter before the climbs bring some separation; always a good time.  Soon, however, we hit a crazy dirt "road" that climbs directly toward the summit. Darren, John Trent, Juan de Oliva, and Steven Burt led the climb and the group strung out for the ascent. I moved upward with Katie Trent (John's daughter); at trail intersections Katie was kind enough to soon arrive with directions. A perfect day on the mountain as the sun rose behind us.

Upper slopes of Peavine
Darren: Upper Peavine
Darren held back at the end of the direct route and we cruised up the summit road to the typical aid station spot for the Silver State 50/50 race. Juan and Steven passed us on their return while John waited at the top (no aid station today of course). A cold wind numbed our hands and faces as we waited for the group to re-form. Nine of us made it to the highpoint.

The descent hit the wonderful Peavine single-tracks on the eastern slopes winding up and down though small valleys I'd probably never seen before. I spent loads of time on this mountain when I lived below Keystone in the 1990s, but these tracks led to new places for me. Darren, Katie, John, and I grouped up for most of the descent, waiting at a few spots for the others to catch the trail. Three and a half hours after setting out we arrived back at the trailhead. Although the climb was a little more than I'd planned for on this particular Saturday long run, the total workout was on target. My moving pace averaged about 11 minutes per mile, the climb was a great steady "walk", and the descent was speedy and fun. Although I was a little tight late Saturday evening (after sitting in the movie theater for a couple hours), I have no ill-effects after this early-season fun run.

Darren, Katie, John, and Juan at Keystone Trailhead
Slow base jog out to Emma Quarry on Sunday. Hooked up to a heart rate monitor to check base status. I want to keep things at about 130 bpm on the runs between structured workouts.  It's more difficult that I expected. I had argued with Tim regarding my ability to go a little faster on base days, but this clearly illustrates that I had been going too fast, especially when in the hills around Virginia City. This jog cycled between running at 130 bpm (between 11 and 13-minute pace depending on terrain) for 10 minutes and then walking for 2 minutes. Felt really good after yesterday's effort.  A good week, but still hoping for snow!

It's time to solidify the first-half event schedule. We'll be doing some Inside Trail Racing events early and then heading to the Antelope 100 at the end of March, where I'll liking pace Darren for the second 50-mile lap.  I'll start filling out some entry forms this week and see what falls out.


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