Sunday, February 19, 2012

Up then Down (and out)

Week Summary

River Flats to Mexican Gap OB: 16.8 mi (+313 ft); 9:22 pace
EF Treadmill: 5.9 mi (+0 ft); 10:32 pace
Prison Hill Intervals: 7.0 mi (+1,600 ft); 12:30 pace
Como Pass OB: 18.7 mi (+2,663 ft); 11:25 pace
Weekly Totals: 48.5 mi (+4,576 ft); 8:41:47 on trail

This week started great! The training schedule called for the longest Tempo run I'd yet done. My goal was to get in a little warm up and then stick to at least a 9:30 pace for an hour while out for about 2.5 hours (a long Tuesday). It was in the low 30s when I set out on the River Flats and  when I got into after about 15 minutes I simply kept going. I was several miles into the Tempo when I checked my pace and I was hovering closer to 8:30 miles, but it felt very good. I soon realized I had the energy to keep the pace for at least 90 minutes and that would get me close to a sub-2 hour half-marathon.

Tephra and I skipped over Mexican Dam and cruised along some private roads in the rugged gap where the Carson River cuts through the southern base of Prison Hill. When I hit pavement we turned around.  Re-filling water at Silver Saddle the PR was easily in hand and just over a mile later I hit the half-marathon mark at 1:54:54.  Nice.  We slowed and jogged back to the Yota. Like I said, a great start. I really enjoy the Tempo days.

West side of Prison Hills, on to the Sierras
After an easy jog on the Treadmill, testing my Hoka Stinson Bs (felt darn good), Thursday called for some hill intervals running 8:00 minutes at best possible pace with short 3-minute breaks. Snow-covered hills, an outcome of an underwhelming winter squall the night before, limited the opportunities. Footfeathers gave me some pointers on doing hill repeats on the treadmill if necessary, but I decided on some single-track at Prison Hill. And then realized I didn't have my watch.

Tephra coming down while I'm going up!

It can be very freeing to run without the time-piece/GPS/statistical generator tied to your arm. So I picked some intervals from base to ridge-line on the hills and enjoyed them as much as I could. The snow was minimal and I found some interesting trails in the uplands of Prison Hill -- I think I was basically following the Prison Hill Half-Marathon course given that there were a few mile-markers on the "Escape Route".  The fartleks were longer than I had planned for but I tried to keep a pace to complete each new climb. However, I was probably slower than I would have been had I been marking 8-minute efforts.

But then the down set in. I crumbled into bed on Thursday night with a headcold, amazed because I'd avoided any such illness for a couple of years. Friday was miserable. And there was to be no Long day on Saturday. I felt better but wanted to be cautious -- I don't need this to settle in my lungs or wherever these things go. So I rested and listened to Darren's stories of an Up and Down on Peavine.

Toward Como Pass, upper left.
The Long Trail would come on Sunday. Feeling much better, I drove to the foot of the Old Como Road and started up the cold dirt road for Como Pass. I didn't push it but I made decent time nonetheless.  And the hills were beautiful in a new veil of snow. This was my first trail effort in the Stinson Bs and I look forward to testing them some more, though I put them through a variety of conditions up and down Como Pass. They shine on the rock-strewn descent but I also liked the feel of the climb even when in frozen mud, snow, and ice. They globbed up on the descent as the warming sun (though still in the low 30s) melted the new snow. Any shoe would collect the saturated silty clay and create a small boot on each foot, but the footprint of the Stinson B is rather large so that means that much more surface area to collect mud and add weight. I'm happy to say, however, they do shed the mud quickly once I hit drier patches of trail so the impediments didn't last for long. Overall, I was happy with the comfort and general performance on this moderately long trail with variable conditions.
Upper reach of the Como Road.

Although I ran a bit slower than I might have otherwise, I did not feel any ill effects of the passing (let's hope) cold. So even though I hate to miss a beat in my schedule, I'm happy and I recognize the need to take it easy when the machine tells you to do so.

Dennis and Mary teamed up at the Sweetheart 10K and placed as the 21st couple. Not so high in the "couple" rankings (though I bet none of the other couples could beat their overall mileage, er, years as couples!), but Mom is Footfeathers-like with her string of 1st-place finishes and Dad nabbed a close second in their divisions.  A good early-season result for them to say the least.

Darren and I will be tapering a little bit for the Mathis Memorial fun-run (50K) at Auburn-Cool next Saturday.

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