Sunday, March 11, 2012

Foot Fight

Mary Young - 1st at Winter Sun 10K
(Moab, Dec 2011)

Week Summary

Centennial Tracks: 5.8 mi (+643 ft); 10:13 pace
Goni Hills East: 6.6 mi (+1,069 ft); 10:28 pace
Geiger - Ophir Loop: 17.4 mi (+2,756 ft); 11:43 pace

Cemetery 5: 5.2 mi (+514 ft); 11:42 pace
Weekly Totals: 36.0 mi (+4,982 ft); 6:32:23 on trail

For the first time in a long while, I found myself on a fieldcrew walking survey transects. Most often I'm coordinating multiple crews, supporting logistics, and collecting data, but this was a small inventory in the central valley of California and it worked best for me to join the crew. I rather looked forward to it. So I strapped on my field boots and we set out.  We completed about eight miles in agricultural fields around Lemoore Naval Air Station. After almost a year of running, and now a single day of flat walking, I took off my boots to find a quarter-sized blister on the inside of each heel. I had felt the hot spots during the day, but wrote it off as simply not being accustomed to the boots. Indeed. On Tuesday I pulled on the Hokas for my work-day field shoes, but my crew knocked out the remaining transects and we were done in short order. But no running on Tuesday. Talked to Darren and Tim about fast-healing tricks, and Des came up with a cool set of band-aids that set me up -- all was good by Saturday.

Enjoyed the single tracks above Centennial Park on Wednesday evening. The blisters argued a bit on the ascents but otherwise didn't bother too much. I had planned (er, Tim had planned) some hill repeats at Goni for Thursday, but the healing-heels called for a bit more conservative approach. I did the hills but spread them out over the longer Goni Loop (down to Centennial Park). I would typically do hill repeats and tempos in my Cross-lites but those grab the heal tighter than the Hokas, so I kept to the more forgiving shoe for the week.

Footfeathers has added Fridays to my training schedule as I prepare for San Diego. It has traditionally been a day off and, if my workweek allows, I typically join Jim Carter for a late afternoon walk around a golf course (a passion that has suffered as my running has taken over!). Otherwise I'd meet Des at the Ranch to learn from the horses. I will look for some balance between these late Friday activities, with the goal if getting in the extra mileage at least every other week. Plus, a round of golf is about a 5-mile walk (yes, I took the Garmin for a round), more if I'm playing poorly!

Geiger Summit on SR 431
Darren came up on Saturday and went for a run that presented the beautiful variety of Great Basin running. We hit dirt and single-track north of Virginia City climbing to Geiger Summit (6,789' elev). Although temperatures were forecast for the upper 60s, it was cool and breezy -- a cloudy roof held tight over the Comstock -- and we found pretty deep snow on the north-facing slopes. I crashed on a small "glacier" that had found its way into one of my usual stream crossings; I went down hard when I transitioned unprepared from snow to ice; the Nathan pack is also a nice landing pad.

In the Highlands -- road to the ridge
Geiger Summit gained us access to the Sun Mountain Ridge where, after a brief jog along some residential roads, we climbed through snow-covered two-tracks, occasional drifts, and some muddy spots. The south-facing descents were clear, rocky, and fun. It warmed as we worked our way to the backside of Sun Mountain and the snow gave way as we descended to the Ophir-Jumbo trail intersection. We added a short out-and-back before descending to town, and the sun finally broke through. I really enjoy this route; it's a perfect trail of mixed conditions and worthy climbs with the bonus of 100-mile views in almost any direction.

A short maintenance jog on Sunday in little snow squalls and a stiff wind. A slow 11:30 or so pace with 2-minute walking intervals every ten minutes; I kept inching the pace upward but the wind would knock me back to keep me at the jogging target. Springing forward today; the evening light will be a nice addition. 

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