Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Strong Week

Utah Valley Marathon: No. 1 (and only 70+)
Week Summary 6/9/2013

Echo Summit Walk: 3.7 mi (+474 ft); 16:04 pace
Goni Hills (Repeats): 8.2 mi (+1,808 ft); 12:07 pace
Carson River Flats: 6.0 mi (+33 ft); 9:54 pace
Ash Tracks: 7.7 mi (+1,063 ft); 10:59 pace
VC to Rose Trailhead: 26.1 mi (+5,044 ft); 13:14 pace
Cottonwood Loop: 9.5 mi (+527 ft); 11:13 pace

Weekly Totals: 61.3 mi (+8,949 ft); 12:35:42 on trail

With record high temperatures beating the seasonal average by 15 or more degrees each day, motivation was lacking as I laced up for each run. Weren't we freezing only a couple weeks ago?

But I felt really strong this week, although not particularly fast. Stuck to my consistent regime on each weekday. It's a bonus that I mixed in McClellan Peak (Goni Hills) and Ash Canyon, I really enjoy those runs. However, there was some emphatic target shooting timed for my Goni run. This went on with total disregard for my presence on the hillside almost in-line with whatever it was they thought they were aiming at. What a nice way to spend a lunch break. I went cross-country to avoid them.

Saturday was the highlight of the week, of course. Dennis and Mary endured the crowds and pounding roadbed at the Utah Valley Marathon. They stuck to their plan and over the last half, Mom pulled away to chase a Boston Qualifier time. But the marathon had other plans and she finished off the BQ pace but was happy with the 5:08 and 1st Place in her Age Category. Dad finished at 5:18. They a feeling good today and headed for Missoula, Montana, for a break as we all now focus on Grand Mesa in July.

Dropping from Ophir Grade, my goal is beyond Slide Mountain
While they conquered the streets of Provo, I headed out the front door in Virginia City with the goal of reach the Tahoe Rim Trail at Tahoe Meadows. I climbed out of town on the Ophir Grade before heading down the long Ophir Road to the north end of Washoe Valley. That's a great route, but it has a rocky mile that halts all intention of running. Although I despise running on roadbed, old 395 is the only way around the north end of Little Washoe Lake so I took to it while envisioning the road stretch around the Fish Hatchery at Leadville.

Dez met me at Ophir Creek to refill the water and get me another shirt. It was 10 AM and already easily in the 90s. From the Ophir Creek Trailhead I followed the trail up toward Price Lake. Matching my time on the same section last week, this week I continued up toward the meadows where a few patches of snow remained. Dez had run from the parking area into the Ophir/TRT intersection so we ran out together. She moved the car up to the Mt. Rose Trailhead area and I finished with 26 miles, knowing that the other two had just finished the same distance in Utah.

Dez in Tahoe Meadows
The Carson Area Runners have taken to the TRT and started at the Mt. Rose Trailhead for the section to Brockway. I'd hoped to possibly meet up with the crew coming out, but I think my arrival was well-past their expected finish time. Anyway, the TRT is opening up nicely, get out there.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Heating Up -- Back on the TRT

Week Summary 6/2/2013

The Best Option
Centennial - Mound House Loop: 5.6 mi (+534 ft); 10:23 pace
Emma Quarry OB: 6.1 mi (+441 ft); 9:50 pace
River Flats (Tempo): 8.2 mi (+44 ft); 9:27 pace
VC Shakeout: 4.4 mi (+361 ft); 9:55 pace
Ophir to Spooner: 23.1 mi (+5,116 ft); 13:25 pace
Ophir Grade OB: 7.9 mi (+899 ft); 10:45 pace

Weekly Totals: 55.4 mi (+7,395 ft); 10:34:41 on trail
May Totals: 167.9 mi (+16,357 ft); 34:21:13 on trail

Summer-like temperatures have arrived on the Comstock, so I've happily added the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) back into the routine for the Long run.

This was a pretty basic and nicely consistent week. I felt good on the Tempo day when I maintained an 8:30 pace for 45 minutes, averaging 170 bpm for the interval. Other than that it was a steady series of base runs leading to Saturday's superb trail-run from Ophir Creek Trailhead to Spooner Lake.

Little Valley
I've long wanted to get into Little Valley, above and west of Washoe Lake. It is a hidden gem between Washoe Valley and Lake Tahoe. I bet it is even unknown to most people driving 395 (now it's called 580) between Carson City and Reno each and every day. I climbed the rocky chutes out of the Ophir Trailhead gaining the Price Lakes trail in about an hour. Then it was a great, rolling trail (two-track dirt road) to the south through Little Valley. I wasn't quite sure of which way to go, simply knowing I was headed for the Red House area below Marlette Peak.

South end of Little Vally, looking toward Sun Mountain above Virginia City
I took one dead-end route, where I think the mapped road is washed out or otherwise non-existent for whatever reason. However, the valley is so amazing that a little out-and-back dead-end is simply a bonus. The roads are generally easy to follow and in a short time the climb to Red House begins. My pace slowed and as the day warmed I kept the effort at a level that I thought would get me over Snow Valley Peak without having to worry too much about water. I could have checked the pump at the Marlette Peak campground, but I thought I would be fine, and I was.

Slide Mountain in the middle background, my start point.
The Snow Valley Peak section of the TRT is one of my favorite pieces of that fabulous trail. Snow drifts are still intact but easily managed. While on top I diverted to the east side of the slightly lower sub-peak north of the main summit -- this is the summit I see from my office window in Carson City, and I just wanted a little verification.  I've monitored the snow-level from that window, but I wasn't quite sure which peak I was actually observing.

Oh joy, I can see my office.
Coming down from Snow Valley Peak I finally ran into a group of people heading up from the Spooner side.  And, of all things, there was Melissa, a colleague at Far Western, lugging a huge backpack along the trail. She's prepping for a month or two on the Pacific Crest Trail, and I can't think of a better place to do so.

Marlette Creek above Lake Tahoe
I settled back into the descent, dropping onto the switchbacks to Marlette Creek and then hit a comfortable job dodging walkers and mountain-bikers on the popular Marlette Trail. My good friend Larry had been one of the walkers, and thankfully, he'd called me that morning to see if I wanted to hike into Marlette Lake with him. I had a better idea (for me at least). I'd meet him at Spooner for a beer and a ride home! It worked out perfectly. Thanks Larry.

Sunday morning cruise up Ophir Grade started stiffly as Tephra and I tried to beat the head in the early morning. But we were soon back in the groove as I climbed at an 11-minute pace and she harrassed every lizard and squirrel that dared to cross our path. Our outing closed a second 50+ week in a row, probably a good standard working toward Leadville. The past two weeks are in the top-three, non-race weekly distances I've done in the past year. Nice.

Darren and Carrie's area of Washoe Lake from the Ophir Trail
Darren and Carrie have finished up their real estate shuffle and can settle into the crazy routine of moving toward Washoe Lake. The "unknowns" are settled, but there's the hard work of shifting home remaining. Although Darren has maintained some speedy workouts, his calendar leaves little room for a Leadville go this year. We'll miss him, but I'll use the things I've learned from him to break the LVT100 curse.

Dennis and Mary are sticking to the routine in preparation for the Utah Valley Marathon in Provo. They are beating the rising temperatures by starting each day in the pre-dawn and working through a routine that actually leaves them better recovered and rested after each long effort. The 70/50-year strides on!