Sunday, January 20, 2013

Flats hurt... but good

Week Summary - January 20, 2013

The trails are still snow-bound and the deep-freeze has solidified the tracked trails into ankle-crushing textures where any pace results in a constant stumble. We need a few warm days to relieve the inversion and soften the snow -- snowy trails are fun, ice-sculpted tracks not so much.

So I kept it simple this week. Some workload forced me on to the treadmill for a spin and I enjoyed some cross work with core and a short jog mid-week. Goni Road was a nice surprise. Good hard-pack snow that the big trucks that usually work the quarry are currently avoiding. It provides some nice elevation gain and even gets into some nice air above the inversion.

Darren on Fort Churchill Road - Mile 12
To get out of the snow for some mileage, Darren and I hit the dry (!) dirt of Fort Churchill Road and got in a steady 22 miles with basically no elevation change. Easily a PR pace for 20+ miles, but I'm paying for the unvarying routine of pounding out the mileage. I have a growling IT and some nice leg soreness in general. Nothing undue for a good week of training. It felt great to run the distance, but I'm accustomed to variations brought on by steady climbs, power hiking, speedy descents, and occasional interval flats. The Fort Churchill Road allows none of that, you just go. There's probably benefit in testing the engines with that type of effort, and my next runs at American Canyon 50K and Buffalo 100 lack major climbs, so I need to be prepped for some steady turnover. Those courses do, however, have a few stout hills that provide variation, and wouldn't it be nice to have something between a 10- and 11-minute pace at American Canyon. Seems a good target for three weeks from now!

Feeling much better after a Sunday shake-out around Virginia City. It's also a good sign that the snow on the dirt tracks is softening up. Certainly because it's probably 20 degrees warmer up here than down in the valleys; nice to be breathing above the inversion too!

The Young Mountain Runners will rendezvous this week in Reno. Celebrating some milestone birthdays and a 50th Anniversary. Some Age Category changes take place this year as both Dennis and Mary move into the 70+ category. Hey, keep going...

EF Treadmill: 4.3 mi (+0 ft); 10:32 pace
Empire OB: 3.7 mi (+30 ft); 10:05 pace
Goni Road Hill Climb: 7.6 mi (+1,723 ft); 11:18 pace
Fort Churchill Road OB: 22.2 mi (+269 ft); 9:43 pace
VC Circuits: 5.8 mi (+456 ft); 10:22 pace

Weekly Totals: 43.6 mi (+2,477 ft); 7:23:59 on trail

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hitting Stride in the Re-Set Week

Hill Repeats Anyone?

Week Summary (1/13/2013)

This was a re-set week at the start of the build-up to the American Canyon 50K. Resting the engines for the week, it probably couldn't have been better timing. After a cold start, temperature spiked near 60° at mid-week and then plunged to sub-zero by the weekend. This meant the previous snows melted, creating pooled and water-lined trails. These were then flash-frozen on Wednesday night and frosted with a few inches of new snow. Wait, this isn't a weather-blog! In summary, it was a difficult week to navigate the trails. In fact, on Wednesday, the warmest day of 2013, I had to bail (almost literally) and just go home early.

But what to expect? It's a western Nevada winter, it is what it is. Regardless, the weekend brought a little competition in the form of the Centennial Slug It Out 10K. This little event is part of the Winter Trail Series put on by Ascent Physical Therapy. Because Kevin didn't have a Zamboni available to groom the ice-covered trails, he adapted the course to the conditions and the event went ahead under a bright Saturday morning and a starting temperature of a biting 7°. Twenty-nine hearty runners lined up for the 10K, with a slightly smaller group sampling the 5K course. 

Centennial Freeze Out:  7° and ready to go...
My training and the rested engines of the re-set week served me very well. Although the 5.7-mile (modified "10K") course had little climbing I used the small hills to good advantage and concentrated on simply getting good turnover.  Brett Long was uncatchable as usual. We started one-two but I quickly watched him pull away on his quality strides. It was a brand new experience to cruise for a while in second place, knowing there's a group right behind me though it appears I've the trail all to myself. Then the 15-year old Ethan caught me as he dashed up to the race's highpoint turnaround. 

On the descent I was passed by two others. Patrick, running to his tunes, would kindly remove the appropriate ear-bud so that we could mutter "good job" or "damn it's cold" each time we yo-yo-ed our places. The out-and-backs were kind of fun, as the gave me the opportunity to encourage and say "hey" to Peter, Abbey, Sarah, and  all the others out there for a little run.

At about Mile 5, I moved past Patrick and Ryan knowing the turnaround hill was coming and that would be followed by a couple good rollers to the finish. If I could pace the hills, maybe I could even get close to the speedy Ethan; Brett was undoubtedly sipping hot-chocolate at the finish. What great motivation, again seeing the little trail of people as I cruised the descent and then hit the rollers pretty hard. At this point, I was sure Patrick or Ryan were in my shadow and would certainly catch me on the relatively flat finish. And yet, making the final little turn I glanced back and, wow, I was alone. 

Third Place in 44:57. First Place Masters, for a motivational and well-earned prize. The Winter Trail Series is a low-key event, and the turn-out was a little low due to the cold temperatures and sketchy trail conditions, but you win if you show up.  And this was good affirmation that the training regime pays dividends. 

Full results at Ascent Physical Therapy.

Congrats to everyone who showed up in the cold. Sarah got a nice age-category win; always good to carry a little prize for your effort (just a personal "prize", there aren't ribbons or medals for this fun run series). Thanks to Kevin and his crew for setting up and working through the difficulties. Keep going...

Carson River Flats: 5.5 mi (+79 ft); 11:00 pace
Carson River Flats: 2.0 mi (+30 ft); 10:44 pace
Whites Creek Trail: 5.4 mi (+647 ft); 11:08 pace
Centennial 10K: 5.7 mi (+448 ft); 7:54 pace
VC Circuits: 5.9 mi (+386 ft); 10:41 pace

Weekly Totals: 24.4 mi (+1,590 ft); 4:09:14 on trail

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Into the New Year...

Trail Option will be going through some changes over the coming weeks. I will be moving ever so slightly away from the "it's all about me" blog to a website about trails, specifically, and trail running, generally. My weekly training log will remain, as will news from the Young Mountain Runners team; hopefully these "it's all about me" diary entries will continue to motivate our team and our trail friends to keep going.

My new experiment, however, will focus on trails. This focus will provide information about trail conditions, location, and description. I'll have maps, statistics, photos, and the occasional video. Each trail will also have a Google Earth app along with kml and gps files for download. I'm also adding pages for occasional gear reviews, and periodic general commentary about trail running, and maybe some news from ultrarunning events that I find particularly motivating.

There will be some growing pains as I make the transition. I have registered the domain and will gradually unveil the the new site. I'm learning a lot of this on-the-fly, but it looks very interesting and I find a little change to be appealing.

Thanks much to the small but dedicated group of readers, along with all the occasional drop-ins, who visit Trail Option. I look forward to your comments as we take this trail and see where it goes.

Week Summary (1/6/2013)

I high-output week with some hill repeats in knee-deep snow and one of my best tempo workouts ever. Darren and I joined the Carson Area Runners on Saturday for some more snowy single-track on Prison Hill. The trails are in pretty good condition but the mileage and elevation are well-earned. Kudos to the Carson Runners who get out there and keep going, special thanks to Abbey for posting the runs and encouraging all to join in. At one point we caught up with George at Mexican Dam, and later crossed paths with Angela, Shannon, Jason, and Adam as we climbed the hill on our second lap. Crossed things up a bit with a snowshoe outing on Sunday. 


Larrys Hill Repeats: 4.2 mi (+989 ft); 19:03 pace
Empire OB: 3.7 mi (+13 ft); 10:23 pace
Carson River Flats (Tempo): 10.0 mi (+118 ft); 8:52 pace
Prison Hill Laps: 21.1 mi (+3,507 ft); 13:43 pace
Emma Quarry Snowshoe: 4.0 mi (+473 ft); 22:16 pace

Weekly Totals: 43.1 mi (+5,100 ft); 10:01:12 on trail

Snow Day and Carson Area Runners - Prison Hill (Photo: Darren Young)