Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Consistency at Mt. Tam

Stairs to Mt Tam
Keeping small goals might be key to a good training regime. My weekly mileage might be at the low end for an ultrarunner as motivated as I think I am; plus it's important to keep perspective and a bit of balance in the demanding routine. So I look at each week as its own challenge. This week I had two small goals: 1) get the most out of some 10X 1-minute hill repeats and 2) move consistently and with race focus, if not quite effort, on Mt. Tamalpais on Saturday's Long run.

After my new favorite shakeout up Deadtruck Canyon on Prison Hill for Tuesday, I set my sights on Ninemile Hill above Washoe Lake for some Wednesday hill repeats. After a flat 15-minute warm-up I pushed each repeat at all-out gaining about 100 feet in elevation (is that all!) in a minute. I could typically break through the 9-minute/mile pace for a brief part of the climb. Didn't seem like much for "all-out" but I was spent at the end of each go. I would walk and then trot back down the dirt road for another repeat, but not lingering too much at the bottom before bursting again into stride. I'm certain these are doing some good.

On Thursday I had the pleasure of traveling to a working retreat at Stinson Beach, California, where I could sit beneath Mt. Tam and ready myself for some hills by jogging the beach, shaking out the cobwebs of the repeats and many productive hours of sitting with the Far Western crew planning some long-term business strategy.

Moving up from Muir Beach
Dez joined me for the weekend, so the Trail Option team hit Muir Beach for a 6-hour tour. As I headed south along Pirates Cove, Dez made her way to Tennessee Valley to set up the first Aid Station. We'd rendezvous every hour or so to replicate "race" conditions and talk strategy and conditions. It was a blast.

Pirates Cove
The Marin Headlands from Golden Gate to Mt Tam are a busy place. I'm not accustomed to seeing that many ultrarunners (if the various ultra-inspired packs are an appropriate sample), joggers, and walkers on the trail. Although I enjoyed the solitude punctuated by the teamwork with Dez, the occasional shout-out to a passing runner killed time nicely.

I felt exuberant through most of the first 15 miles or so, but the climb from Muir Woods to Pantoll Campground was tough. This is the Dipsea climb and all seemed very runnable, I just could not get it going. I felt worked over meeting Dez at Pantoll at 19 miles. But soon after I hit some great single track at the Matt Davis Trail and I was revived and moved very efficiently for several miles. Finally, I gained the Fern Creek Trail where I hit what seemed like 1000 stairs into the ever-climbing forest. Who put those stairs there? Crazy. Eventually I waded through tourists to the Mt. Tam summit, 5.5 hours in, but finding no coffee-cart, I continued on.

The City from Mt Tam
Footfeathers often compliments my consistency -- my training chart said six hours, my garmin now said 6:02. But, hey, it works. I set the challenge early in the week, and I'm happy to meet it. Bring on the next week. We won't think too much about the challenge of the remaining deep snow on the Buffalo course.

"Camera please, clock's runnin."

Week Summary 3/3/2013

Ditch and Deadtruck OB: 8.1 mi (+821 ft); 10:34 pace
Ninemile Hill (Repeats): 7.0 mi (+1,048 ft); 13:07 pace
Stinson Beach: 5.5 mi (+34 ft); 10:50 pace
Muir Beach to Mt. Tam: 26.1 mi (+6,697 ft); 13:53 pace
Stinson Beach: 5.0 mi (+43 ft); 11:45 pace

Weekly Totals: 51.7 mi (+8,643 ft); 10:58:10 on trail
February Totals: 159 mi (+19,549 ft); 28:47:48 on trail

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