Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quality over Quantity

Week Summary (8/12/12)
Along the Old Highway in Hope Valley

Carson River Flats: 6.5 mi (+53 ft); 9:19 pace
Hope - Luther OB: 5.5 mi (+842 ft); 11:05 pace
Sun Mountain Loop: 6.3 mi (+1,693 ft); 13:20 pace
Ophir - Price Lake OB: 13.0 mi (+3,256 ft); 15:12 pace
Emma Quarry OB: 5.6 mi (+469 ft); 11:13 pace

Weekly Totals: 36.9 mi (+6,312 ft); 7:43:38 on trail

I get to the end of the week and I always hope for some big numbers, except for the pace, of course! Although I've been sticking closely to the training schedule set up by Footfeathers, I'm looking for ways to get some more distance and elevations (and better pace) into the program while sticking to the patterns that have delivered the goods.  The target for this week was a little over seven hours on the trail, and though we've been fighting the 100-degree heat, I was able to get in a little more time by extending Saturday as I should. Also shifted from lunchtime runs on Tuesday and Thursday to evenings to avoid the scorch.

This week had some short intervals for tempo and hills. The hill repeats found me on Sun Mountain trying to push for two 12-minute intervals on the steep east road of Ophir Summit. It might not be the best hill for repeats, but I kept the effort high even while succumbing to power-hiking for the last couple minutes of each interval. It's a steep hill.  I split the interval with a 7-minute walk and gained about 1,500 feet in the two intervals.  I then cruised the long downhill of Bullion Canyon until I got hung-up in the talus and willows that curtain the single-track at the canyon mouth. Very fun.

In the slide below Slide Mountain
Tephra, doing it right!
At the last minute on Saturday morning, I decided to head to the county park at Davis Creek and search for the Ophir Trail along the Slide Mountain landslide scar. The trail climbs steadily to Tahoe Meadows where it intersects the Tahoe Rim Trail.  I had heard rumors the trail was difficult to follow in the slide so I picked my way carefully up the canyon. Although we were in the trees, Tephra enjoyed the creek crossings (and I did too!). Because I was thinking about route-finding, I tried too hard to search out the correct trail when the obvious ones seemed too easy to follow. If they are so clear they can't be the trail I'm looking for. When my first creek-crossing on good trail began to lead down-canyon I turned back to scout an obscure climbing trail and eventually worked my way to the north side of Rock Lake. Here even the obscure trail ended in a pile of  huge rocks; the lake is well-named. Nice place, but after scouting for too long, I decided to bail on the Tahoe Meadows attempt and enjoy the descent. Realizing my distance and elevation would be well below my goals for the day I decided to return to the crossing and run that down-canyon trail and explore that area. Of course, as soon as I passed my previous turn-around, in a matter of meters, the trail turned sharply uphill and made a bee-line toward the heights. The track was a deep staircase in a rocky chute, a fantastic climb and I eventually realized this was the Ophir Trail I was looking for. Turned back for the descent (on which I got lost again--gotta stop that) at the outlet of Upper Price Lake, a little short of the Meadows and TRT, but I'm happy to have discovered a great trail and training area so close to VC.
Up high, across from Sun Mountain
The week was great and I'll continue to look for ways to get a little more quantity in the quality.

Speaking of quality... Dennis and Mary's Sneffels Half-marathon Race Report!  Check it out.

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