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.