Sunday, December 30, 2012

YMR 2012

My Beautiful World
Week Summary (12/30/2012)


Easter Hills Loop: 6.0 mi (+589 ft); 16:11 pace
Centennial OB: 4.9 mi (+542 ft); 12:37 pace
Empire OB: 3.7 mi (+14 ft); 10:06 pace
Prison Hill Laps: 15.6 mi (+3,302 ft); 14:17 pace
Ophir Grade OB: 5.0 mi (+562 ft); 17:16 pace

Weekly Totals: 35.2 mi (+5,009 ft); 8:24:57 on trail
December Totals: 147.4 mi (+16,133 ft); 28:32:27 on trail
2012 Totals: 1,752.7 mi (+214,547 ft); 351:20:33 (14.6 days) on trail

It's an appropriate cliche to look back and look forward at the end of each year, so here goes. Sure enough, the highlights from the Young Mountain Runners 2012 vastly outweigh the small defeats.

Two practically divine highlights stand out: San Diego and St. George. Those two achievements exemplify the year of teamwork, support, and determination that our little team of family and friends. It might be a vast over-simplification, but after I completed the San Diego 100 and Dennis and Mary raced across the finish at the St. George Marathon, in meeting the challenge, we became very different people. Special thanks to Tim Long, Henri Migala, Jim Carter, Darren, and Desna -- all clearing a broad path over each 100 miles.

YMR Super-heroes: St. George Marathon

San Diego 100 Success: Thanks Footfeathers

That was easy!
 (Somewhere, there's a pile of clothes in a phone booth)
In between those two events, our little band of runners constantly sought the challenge and discipline that the long hills require. After a drop due to injury at the Buffalo 100 early in the year, Darren ran strong for much of the Pine to Palm 100 before digging deep to gain another 100-mile finish. His determination exemplifies what it means to be a YMR. I ran into new obstacles at Pine to Palm, learning lessons and gaining motivation that I will carry into 2013.

A day of life at the P2P 100

Yes! Another podium finish.
Dennis and Mary continued to rank among the best age-group runners on the Colorado Plateau. The dynamic duo consistently brought home awards from events ranging from 10Ks to half marathons to, utlimately, their first marathon at St. George.
Bryan being chased by the denizens of Dallas.

Meanwhile, in the flatlands of central Texas, Bryan tasted the satisfaction of a strong finish he teamed up with Dad at the Dallas Turkey Trot.

We all look forward to the upcoming 2013 season where we'll target new goals and meet the recurring challenges of mountain running. Dennis and Mary will bump into the 70+ category and likely need new shelves and wall space for the podium hardware. Desna and Strider are working toward their first trail competition, providing lessons in teamwork that can benefit us all. Darren and I will continue to push our own ultra-running boundaries, searching for those moments when sublime tears and laughter are the rewards for uncompromised effort. And here's hoping Bryan can pace off of us and gather some time on the trail.  IWWD.

Bring on 2013! Happy New Year from Trail Option and the Young Mountain Runners.

Let it snow.  Ok, enough already.
Some value-added content (or not) from the week, where snow was on the menu every day. Breaking trail provides the workout that the drop in mileage otherwise lacks. The week started with a Christmas Eve run on Easter Hills (mixed metaphors or Christian holidays, I'm not sure which) with Dad and Chris Wright, a lucky Grand Junction trailhound who got into Western States. Good times, the video shows it all!

I wrapped up 2012 with some snow-bound laps on Prison Hill in the company of the Carson Area Runners, followed Sunday by a grueling posthole out-and-back in the deeps of Ophir Grade. Nice to have met up with the Carson team for occasional runs and great motivation. And I continue to wonder at my good fortune -- I get to live and run in great country every day and in every condition. Perfect.

Dead Truck Canyon on Prison Hill
Carson Area Runners, Lindy and Abbey at the summit

Carson City and the Carson Range -- Still snowing

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tempo and Deep Freeze...

Week Summary (12/23/2012)


Brunswick Canyon Loop: 5.6 mi (+705 ft); 10:52 pace
Carson River Flats (Tempo): 6.0 mi (+21 ft); 8:30 pace
Foresight Circle: 3.7 mi (+25 ft); 10:09 pace
Blue Heron Trail: 6.3 mi (+20 ft); 10:53 pace
Audubon Trail: 5.3 mi (+29 ft); 11:10 pace

Weekly Totals: 26.8 mi (+799 ft); 4:36:503 on trail

With the approaching Solstice, winter is certainly upon us. No shorts this week, especially once we arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado, where deep-freeze, sub-zero temperatures greeted us.

Early in the week I explored the lower reach of Brunswick Canyon, searching for dry tracks out of the wind. A nice Base cruise and added a bit of climb knowing Thursday's Tempo would be flat. Still feeling tight quads from Sunday's descent, but not too bad.

On Thursday we were packed to get on Amtrak for Colorado, but I headed to Carson River for a Tempo workout -- I was focused on a good workout before heading east. I started with a 10-minute pace for about a mile and then worked quickly to a steady 7:40 pace. I worked hard to keep steady without over-doing it, I wanted to maintain for the 30 minute target. It worked very well. The run started off very cold, but, with the approaching storm, a warm wind hit just before my turn-around and I even felt slightly over-heated. Once I jumped the ditch and headed along the golf course, the tempo interval ended and I shifted to cool-down. It was interesting that I thought I was going way too slow but then I'd notice I was at a 9:30 pace. This could be a nice benefit of Tempos -- getting the body accustomed to an effort so that my new "slow" pace is slightly faster. A great workout.

We rode the desert all night on the #6 Zephyr from Reno to Grand Junction. Colder moving east. It was single digits as we pulled into Grand Junction and the slickrock trails I scouted on our trip along the Colorado River where caked in snow. It looks like plans would be changing.

My imaginings of holiday slickrock were evidently based on my summer experience in the area, and recent reconnaissances on Google Earth only showed clear trails. The real conditions, especially the deep cold, wouldn't be adding to much benefit to any runs. I did a post-train shakeout along the roads of Mom and Dad's neighborhood. It was 7 degrees when I wrapped up as the sunset.

Although the trails wouldn't reveal themselves, Dad and I hit trails along the Colorado River on Saturday and Sunday for some nice Base runs. Although my targets were put aside, it was a wonderful weekend of easy runs with great company. Actually, I couldn't have asked for better conditions.

Snowing hard and deep at home, could require some creative training plans in the weeks to come.

Peace and Happy Holidays from Trail Option and the Young Mountain Runners. Keep going into the New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ahhh, wind and snow...

Week Summary (12/16/2012)


Washoe Lake SP: 5.8 mi (+174 ft); 11:01 pace
Ash Tracks (Tempo): 7.5 mi (+1,196 ft); 9:34 pace
Emma Quarry OB: 5.6 mi (+497 ft); 9:57 pace
VC to Deadmans: 16.6 mi (+2,422 ft); 10:58 pace

Weekly Totals: 35.6 mi (+4,288 ft); 6:14:12 on trail

Although Tuesday's Base run was crazy warm, the snow rolled in on Wednesday. We never got any big storms, but the squalls rolled through on a pretty regular basis all week. With the temperature drop, I finally had to break out the tights and keep them in the bag from Thursday on.

On Thursday I followed the route (I saw a few marks and it just seemed right) of the Run with Rudolph event that I missed this past weekend. Although it has some good climbs, it's a wonderful place for some Tempo. I started with about 15 minutes of warm-up and then, entering Ash Canyon, stuck to 45 minutes of maintaining at least 170 bpm heart rate. The first few miles along the creekside single-track is a steady climb so keeping the heart rate high happened by default. But once I hit the switch-back descent on the return it got to be a challenge to keep from dropping below the magic 170.

This little game added some technical training to the speedwork. I had to push the downhills, a skill I'm generally lacking. I focused on picking a good line between the rocks and snow of the single-track and let gravity do the work. It was a great confidence builder, and I was no worse for wear when all was done. A good drill.

I strode past last week's Rudolph finish at 1:05, a time I would have been happy with. But considering the 15-minute warm-up and the non-tempo after 1:00, it could have been interestingly competitive. Nice.

I swapped the weekend pattern, putting the long day on Sunday, due to some Reno meetings I needed to attend. That made the Saturday Emma Quarry jog an interesting snowfest, as I got hit be a fun squall on my return. I love that.  On Sunday, I left the house for a three-hour tour of the hills between Virginia City and Washoe Lake. Wind was the order of the day.  Add that to the cold temperatures along the ridges and it was at times a challenge to keep moving. But I do enjoy the unsettled conditions of coming storms and the occasional canyon provided a little protection. Plus it actually warmed up a bit as I dropped toward Washoe Lake.

I made good time to the Goni area so I explored the single-track in Deadmans Canyon where I thought I might run into the Carson Area Runners group. I saw their tracks and learned that the Deadmans single-track will be a great hill-repeat area, as long is it doesn't get too much snow.

Good to pick it up this week a little. The holidays can provide challenges to keeping up with the training regime, but I plan to keep at it. Off to Grand Junction this week, so maybe next week's long run will include a bit of slickrock! (the non-icy kind, that is).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Into December...

The Lottery within the Lottery
Week Summary (12/9/2012)


Lakeview Hill: 6.4 mi (+881 ft); 11:07 pace
Mexican Ditch: 6.1 mi (+200 ft); 10.10 pace
Empire OB: 4.2 mi (+22 ft); 10:40 pace
Cool Lottery OB: 10.3 mi (+1,923 ft); 11:38 pace

Weekly Totals: 27.0 mi (+3,046 ft); 4:54:42 on trail

I was met with rain-soaked trails this week. Because I'm fortunate to have a number of trails the course through hillsides of granitic rocks, I can sort of mitigate the mud by choosing trail treads of decomposed granite (DG) or trails that have been specifically constructed, like along the Carson River, of DG. Also, it was a Reset week so the shorter trail time meant less chance of getting into too much trouble.

Starting easy along the V&T trail of west Carson, I happened on a single-track that I realized I had seen on the trail page. It was spitting rain mixed with a little snow so I though it would be an interesting diversion. It turned in to a bit more of a hill-climb than a Tuesday Base run should be, but it was very fun. Perfect switchbacks to a rocky summit and then on to a stair-step bouldery descent back to the V&T; very nice.

I stuck with easy Base jogs for the remainder of the week while look forward to my chances in the Western States Lottery. Darren and I were up early and over the hill to Auburn to gain an extra ticket (4 and 3 of Diamonds, respectively) in the "lottery within the lottery." We both still had an extra entry in the main lottery due being "one-time" losers from last year's draw. This gave us two entries and something like an 18% chance of getting selected.

Over the course of a couple hours, the retiring Race Director Greg Soderlund had Board Members and various race celebrities draw 10 picks. He read each one and gradually the 270 open spots were filled. Once in a while an exuberant cheer would rise from the audience as a name was drawn and a lucky winner would run down the aisle (think The Price Is Right gameshow) only to gain a ballcap and a few high-fives from the audience. Most of the draws weren't in attendance of course, but even those got a little reluctant applause as another spot was taken and local chances dwindled.  Alas, Greg eventually reached the 270 mark and then picked a few paid raffles spots before getting to the local lottery. When the first card was drawn, a 4 of Hearts (or something) three people jumped from their seats. But, of course, there were more than 52 local entries, so the name on the card got the draw. Two people crumpled back into their seats. We had pretty much given up hope (or gained relief) when the very last card drawn was a 3 of Diamonds, my card...

The Hills above Cool - the Western States Trail
We left the building empty handed but for an extra ticket for the 2014 Lottery and an extra free weekend in our schedule. Right card, wrong name. Time to start considering a summer without a Western States entry, which seemed likely all along.  We gained extra tickets for next year, and I expect we'll be doing some Aid Station work with the Striders nonetheless.  Leaving Auburn, we headed to Cool to hit a portion of the Western States trail and had a great muddy time going east of Highway 49 for a few miles. While we won't be on the trail for WS this year, this did give us a preview of parts of the American River 50K, our first 2013 ultra coming in February. I think we'll be back before then, these trails are plain fun.

A day of errands on Sunday kept me off the trail. Probably OK for a Reset week, but I don't much like that to happen.

A shout out to some crew from Far Western doing the Running with Rudolf 7.5M in the Winter Trail Series. Sarah and Gene getting out for some trail in west Carson. Keep going...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What if 100s...

Hey, keep going...

Week Summary (12/1/2012)


Longview Hillwork: 8.5 mi (+1,574 ft); 11:17 pace
Carson River Flats: 4.8 mi (+22 ft); 10:31 pace
Silver Saddle Lasso (Tempo): 10.3 mi (+135 ft); 9:22 pace
Empire OB: 4.0 mi (+27 ft); 9:59 pace
McClellan-Scripps Loop: 14.5 mi (+2,987 ft); 11:49 pace
Eagle Treadmill: 8.3 mi (+2 ft); 11:07 pace

Weekly Totals: 50.3 mi (+4,747 ft); 9:04:45 on trail
November Totals: 157.5 mi (+174,081 ft); 28:22:59 on trail

I'm sure runners of all levels get imaginative in order to maintain daily motivation. With my current focus on the Buffalo 100, and the distraction of the coming Western States lottery (next Saturday), each of my runs, short or long, typically has one or two vivid visualizations of being on "the course" of some event. Would I feel this good? Can I keep this kind of downhill going? Of course, the event is one of the 100s I have either run or paced in. Because I usually feel damn good after only an hour or so of training, I carry the delusion to the 20th hour of a 100. Hell yeah! Well, we'll see.

A nice surprise toward Mt. Rose
The strangest thing to come out of my daily delusions is a growing desire to work toward and meet the challenge of returning to Pine to Palm. There are any number of challenges to tackle before next September, but I'll continue to let that fester and see what it brings.

Squalls into Carson Valley
This week was a Key Week, relatively high effort in the cycle of weeks. I'm still relatively early in the monthly build-up, but it was still one of my career training weeks. I kicked off the week with some hillwork around C-Hill west of Carson City. A five-minute intervals with five-minute rest pace in between, I repeated this six times. The overall pace (11:17) seems high, but that accounts for the warm-up jog, rests while still climbing, and a gradual cool down.

With the week's rain squalls and storms, the Carson River Trail is attractive because of its uniform, well-drained tread. However, by Friday the little hop across a ditch would require a pretty stout boat, so I might be cut-off that trail for a while. But after any easy Base run on Wednesday, I returned Thursday afternoon for a wonderful tempo out to Silver Saddle Ranch, a total of about a little over 10 miles. Now that's a well-spent lunch. Returned to run along the trail on Friday watching the river rise and ditches approach over-flowing.

The storms driven by the "atmospheric river" or "pineapple express" arrived Friday and I wasn't sure about the setting of Saturday's Long run. Watching the scudding gray clouds over Virginia City, I thought the hybrid (half-paved/half-graveled) Goni Road should be relatively dry and I was in for a good climb.

Toward the McClellan Peak Towers
I enjoy the unsettled weather of growing storms when wind gusts blow clouds into mountains, snow squalls churn over Tahoe, and it simply looks like it could cut loose at any moment. And then as soon as I reach for my jacket, the sun breaks through tossing rainbows against the Sierra. That was basically my climb to the radio towers of McClellan Peak. It's a good route because the prevailing winds are following for most of the climb, giving a little push to the top. I hit yesterday's snowline just below the summit and slogged through the slush before turning around on the summit. Feeling good I extended the descent into Scripps Canyon coming into Washoe Valley just above the ranch were I saw Strider fueling up for his day of leading his pasture mates in their play (or whatever it is that those horses do).

Strider and Friends
I'll keep the McClellan-Scripps route in the stormy day quiver. It's a quality route under any circumstances.

Crazy amounts of rain and local flooding on Sunday led me indoors for the monotonous 90 minutes on the treadmill; hope I don't have to do too much of that over the winter. Almost too boring for any visualization or imagination.

Dennis and Mary raced in the Winter Sun 10K in Moab this weekend. Seems some stiff competition kept mom off the AG podium.