Friday, September 25, 2009
Today was the usual Friday run. My record up and down the Fortuna Spine and back was an hour and 18 minutes. I was able to do it in an hour and 21 minutes tonight, and that included about 1/2 hour in the dark with flashlight. It was great to get a fast run in again tonight. Another sign of recovery, now that we are about 3 weeks out. I'm going to take a day off tomorrow, then a hard pre-tailgate run on Sunday which should be fun. I need to start thinking about another race . . .
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Sunday was a taligate run. My tailgate run is a 3 to 3.5 hour run starting in the canyon and doing a complete loop through Marian Bear and Rose Canyons, closing the loop by cutting through Miramar Nursery and running next to the dump to drop under the 805/52 interchange. Its more scenic than it sounds.
Anyways, I was nervous on this one for a couple of reasons. One, I forgot my phone, so if things went bad at any point, I was on my own. Secondly, I needed to leave by 9 AM to get to the tailgate in time for the festivities, so there was a bit of time pressure. My worries, thankfully, were unfounded. I was up at 5:15 and out the door by 5:25, light in hand and Gator by my side. The run was completely and mercifully uneventful. My favorite part of the run comes when I get on the other side of Gennesse, where I stop at University City High to hit the water fountain. From there until I hit the streets by the house, it is extremely unusual to see anyone, even at the nursery. Saw 2 coyotes this time around, and when I got to the nursery along the fence that edges the Miramar runway, there were about 30 ravens all lined up on the barbed wire. As I ran the gauntlet, they didn't even move, just sat there and croaked at me. Eerie. The only other problem was that the hole in the fence I usually cut through had been partially repaired, meaning now I have to crawl through it. Difficult after 2:45 of running. But I made it in about 3:05 total with tired legs.
Tuesday was an hour run in the morning with Gator in the canyon which felt pretty good. Overall, I would say I"m not recovered, but I'm close. I think its safe to say that I need 3 full weeks to even think about being recovered, but given how tired I was after the canyon run, I need another week to say I"m ready to go. I think I need to figure out a way to speed up the process . . .
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The week went as well as could be expected. It was difficult getting through the airports, and I needed someone to drive me around for a few days, but I settled in before long. My gait finally returned to normal sometime around Thursday or so, which was about the first time I was able to put my feet back in shoes. I hit the exercise bike hard on Saturday. It felt good to get a sweat on again. I'll probably get on the real bike for a while today to get some outside time. At least that's the plan. Or maybe I'll hit the kayak. Something like that.
We'll see what happens for the rest of the week.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
At 6, with little fanfare, we were off up Fred's. The day before Erica and I had taken the chairlift to the top and hiked down to get a feel for what I was in for. Actually, upon arrival at the Grand Targhee resort on Wed. I had tried to climb to the top, but got on the wrong trail and ended up on a nice peak across the valley. Be that as it may, I knew the climb had several steep pitches of 100 yards, followed by more mellow climbing. The key was to power through these steep stretches and recover on the rest of the climb. On the way up the grind, I fell into conversation with Ryan. Our pace was easy but steady. We talked about football, about God, about raising kids. A pretty far ranging discussion about everything for being in the middle of a very long race. About 3/4 of the way up, someone yelled, "Turn around!" I spun around to see the majesty of Grand Teton and the surrounding mountains aglow in the first pink dawn. Certainly worth slowing down for. Looking back at the Teton's on the initial Fred's climb. About 5 minutes from the top on the first lap.
The traverse to the long drop into the Mill Creek basin.
Coming into the aid station at the bottom of the paved climb.
Headed up the second and steepest switchback of the paved climb with the runner from DC.
The beginning of the big climb out of the Mill Creek Basin.
Coming into the base aid station to refuel before Rick's Basin.
View from the top of Fred's. You can see the base station at the bottom of the lift.
Typical section of Mill Creek single track.
View of the Tetons from where the Mill Creek Trail meets Teton Canyon Road. Ready for breakfast!
Trail through Rick's the last time through . . .
At a crawl down the last hill . . .
About 5 minutes after the finish. Still living off of endorphins. Wait for it . . . Wait for it . . .
OK, they're gone. Ow, ow, ow! Contemplating the act of getting into the tub. It would take a while.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
The presentation was quick and painless. Interesting video from a 60 year old nun that is running the 50 about how she helps AIDS orphans. Something to think about. Trying to eat and drink and stay off my feet. Good swag in the bad. Nice long sleeve, but I love the beanie cap with the race logo down by smartwool. Superior. Now I have to go out and earn it.
Talked with a couple of the other runners. Two were from Florida. One has never been at altitude before. Like him, I just have to keep remembering to put one foot in front of the other and it will be over soon enough. As long as I can keep moving forward, I should finish. The cut offs are pretty generous. Any good running I get in is a bonus that will knock the total time down. Oh, and one of the aid stations will have bacon. How much sweeter can it get?
More on Monday . . .
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Scouted out the course and saw the aid stations that I could drive to. Overall, I'm feeling pretty good about it. The trail looks gorgeous. The views of the tetons are everywhere and look fabulous. Temps are comfortable, trails are in good condition, so we'll see what happens. Tomorrow is a drive through the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park with some walking around Old Faithful, etc. Friday will maybe be a walk down Fred's Mtn. and check in for the race. Already went to the store for water, snacks, etc. Pretty soon its put up or shut up.
Goals: The best case scenario as I see it is 33 hours given that the elevation is exactly half between San Diego and Wasatch and 33 hours would be the average between the two finishing times. I'll be stoked just to get a finish period.
Other good news: ESPN radio comes in well here with live football from 8 PM to 11:30 or so. Of course, its Idaho State v. ASU, but whatever. Have a shot of getting the Wyoming game as well which would be right in the middle of the afternoon. We'll see about that.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Now, back to the NFL . . .
I think the Eagles have upgraded the offensive line which was already good. They should have some depth now at running back, and I think will play some inspired D all year for Jim Johnson, although they will miss his game adjustments and scheming. The Giants have a great OL, and that will be their strength, running the ball, but I can't see Brandon Jacobs making it a whole season and they lost Derrick Ward. In addition, without Plaxico, they just don't have the receivers, and Eli is terrible at keeping hold of the ball. Completley overrated. The Cowboys will be the same old mess with Wade Phillips in charge and Romo at the controls. And I don't know what to make of the Redskins, but they are a revolving door of free agents that never seem to get it together. I think Jason Campbell will be improved, but I don't think it will be enough.
2. Green Bay
This was a hard one. I think this is the best division in football. Minnesota was missing a QB and has one now along with the best line, defensive line, and running back in football. If Percy Harvin can come through, they could be really dangerous, even though Favre will turn the ball over and his arm is becoming a noodle. I think Green Bay has an improved DL and will produce points. I like Rodgers, GB's OL, and the receivers there, but the OL isn't as strong as teh Vikings. Chicago will be improved on the OL with Pace, the QB with Cutler, but their defense has been declining and is more reputation than anything. And Detroit, well will be Detroit, but I think they are going to be better and can't lose 16 games again. Kevin Smith is going to be a fantasy stud.
I think the Falcons may benefit from having balance and experience. It depends on if Matt Ryan can keep growing and if Roddy White keeps playing after getting paid. I'm suspect. I think Turner is going to get dinged up after so many carries last year. Add it all up, and I see the Saints maybe scoring as many points as last year, maybe a few less, but with Gregg Williams running the D, I think they tighten things up. The Panthers D will get them places, but Delhomme is too streaky, and the runners both had career years. I don't see that happening again. As for the Bucs? Pathetic. I'm too disgusted to talk about it.
I think Arizona is the best team in the division. But that's not saying much. Kurt Warner is the fantasy football version of musical chairs. When the carousel stops, and Kurt ages 30 years overnight, don't be the one holding the bag. Seattle still has Hasselbeck and has other talent around, but an aging offensive line, a questionable running game, and a bunch of medicore receivers. Their defense is OK, but I can't see them doing better than 8-8, maybe 9-7 considering their division. The Niners will be better, and I like their new philosophy to pound the ball, but they are still a few years away. But the Rams - they may be the worst team in the NFL. No receivers, an aging Bulger, no line, a suspect defense - the Rams have no hope anywhere in their future.
Wild cards? I'll say Falcons and Green Bay. And I'll say Green Bay goes to the Super Bowl. In your face Favre.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
OK, consider me an unbeliever. The Dolphins have that "we were good once, but with a harder schedule, we will struggle to go .500" like the Bears a few years ago. I think the Patriots are older and not what they used to be, especially on defense, but I think they are the class of the division. I like the Jets draft and I love their line, but I think think they are a year or two away yet. Rex Ryan is the Lane Kiffin of the NFL.
I always think the Ravens are going to be better than they are because of their defense and their running game, two elements that I always overvalue. They might miss Rex Ryan in the end, and with a sophmore slump QB and no receivers, I just don't think they have it. I like the Bengals who have a good offense and have improved their defense, but there just isn't the character to make a serious turn around on the team. I think the Browns are a joke, and I'm not a fan of Mangenius. Too many mediocre QB's, RB's and DB's.
This is a hard division to pick. I think Indy will miss some of the coaching they've lost, and I don't think Anthony Gonzalez is a Marvin Harrison, but they still have Manning, and I think they've improved their defense. I think they are in a crap shoot with the Texans. If Schaub can stay healthy, they finally have a go to running back, and their defense has made big strides. Tennessee I always underestimate, but Fisher always does a great job. I just don't think they have enough receiving talent and a questionable quaterback in Collins who doesn't seem to come through in the clutch. Jacksonville doesn't have a plan other than hand the ball to Jones-Drew and has lost too much along the defensive front to be competitive.
No doubt Chargers are the class of the division. Yes, I'm biased, but they are teh super bowl favorites and better play like it. Too many people are down on the Raiders. Yes they are a joke of an organization. But they have a decently stout defense and a good running game. A-ha, those two magic elements again. Unfortunately, Russell is a joke and will turn the ball over too much as for all of his talent, he is a terrible decision maker. The Broncos will need a while to make whatever changes they need to make, and they will miss Cutler and who knows what is going on with Brandon Marshall. The Chiefs have been the worst team in football the last 2 years. I can't see anything changing this year.
Wild Cards - Houston, Tenn
AFC Champ - Chargers
Tomorrow - the NFC!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
However, today was a different story. I did 3 of the 9.3 mile loops. Temperatures were perfect, low 80's with a breeze. First, I figured out that what I eat the night before is apparently not influential on my results. Last night was a chargers game, so my preparatory meal consisted of about 7 pieces of spicy fried chicken, half a container each of dirty rice and mac and cheese, 3 biscuits, and 2 or 3 beers and a giant mountain dew. The only adverse effect that I could tell was I had burning farts during the run that were slightly uncomfortable, but not as much as for someone who would have been running behind me.
Lesson 2: No Gatorade. I'm a big supporter, especially as they every bottle sold means money in the pocket of Urban Meyer and the boys. However, it seems to make me feel a little off every time I drink it, so I think that's enough of that, at least for now. I think at GTR 100, I will skip out on the carb drinks and just go for water, salt tabs, and Rocktaines, which is an expensive proposition as those things cost 2.50 a pouch. Apparently made with liquid gold, it sits well with my system and always seems to stay down. I could care less about the freaky amino acids or whatever else they put in there that's supposed to be helpful. As long as it sits in the stomach, I'll keep shelling it out.
Anyways, the run went great. Did my 15k loop 3 times and a 5k loop after that. Total run was 50k with 5000 feet of gain in exactly 7 hours. My pace was 13.5 minute miles. I was aiming for 14 to 14.5 minute miles, so obviously I was successful. That puts me in the back of the mid-pack for some of the 50k's with similar elevation gain, and this was a training run, so I was encouraged by that. I wanted an 8 hour run, but that did not seem to make sense after getting through 31 miles. I figured better to underdo it then push it at this point only 3 weeks out. I kept thinking that it was great knowing that this was exactly 50k (actually I think it is actually a little bit over as the 15k loops I think are more like 9.6 miles than 9.3, but whatever), but who the hell would run a race where you loop the same trails 3 times and then do a 5 K that covers the exact same course. Pretty goofy. Good practice for me, but I can't see this race catching on. But if anyone wants to shoot for my time, well, there you go.
Philisophically, I'm not sure whether I should be this excited, because while I pushed it, I never felt lousy or had to push through anything extraordinary, so not sure if it toughened me up. However, it was really good for my confidence, which goes a long way for me. Did the last 5k with 200 feet of gain in 30 minutes, so finished strong and felt like I had some left. We'll see if it means anything come race day.
The other thing that was notable was on my 3rd time up South Fortuna, some guy passed me like he was standing on an escalator. I don't know who this guy was, but he was clearly a runner and clearly a hardass. Whoever he was, if he's not on top of trail races right now, he will be soon.
Now, the taper begins. Let the laziness erupt!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Monday was a day off, then Tuesday was an 1:45 with Gator in the Canyon at a decent pace. Pretty fun and good to run with the Big G, who was a superstar. Yesterday was 3 hours without a break in Mission Trails. Did the Quarry Hill, South Fortuna, down the saddle and game trail up to Telephone Line Hill, then out to Mission Trails Dam, then up Oak Canyon back to the Saddle Trail which I took up and then up to N. Fortuna (which is about a 900 foot climb in 1 mile) then down through Shepherd's Canyon, up an unnamed hill to the rim trail, which I think is one of the hardest trails in the park but is still one of my favorites, then down the trim trail back to the car. Not sure of the mileage, but I'd guess between 2500 and 3000 feet of climbing.
My legs are tired today, but not too bad. Short run planned, then Saturday will be a repeat of the Cuyamaca climb. Last Saturday did this climb after a morning of trail work, which is identical to the biggest hill in GTR , in 1:15 up and down, a great time. I will try to match that. Sunday wil leither be Vivian Creek, or another 8 hours in Mission Trails. Then comes the Taper! :)
Monday, August 3, 2009
I don't know about a hard hat. I'd rather have a rocket up my ass to help get me to the top.
Great views from the top. You can see from the Pacific on a clear day all the way through Joshua Tree and out to the Salton Sea.
The drive back is through Hemet, which may be a fine town for all I know, but I sincerely doubt it. It was about 96 going through. Hemet is a collection of stoplights specifically designed to slow your progress and frustrate you to the point that you pull off at one of the chain restaurants and drown your frustrations in a plate of fries. My favorite spot there? The Colonel's Buffet. That's right. All you can eat KFC. And the best part? It has a drive thru. I'd like 14 buckets of chicken, 43 biscuits, extra gravy and a diet coke. To go.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
A lovely view from about 1/4 up Monserate. This was taken in 2006 just after everything burned, making it even more lovely than it is now . . .
The beautiful commanding view of the water tank from the top of Monserate.
Monday, July 27, 2009
With 60 oz . of water left, having spent 20 min bringing my temps down in the AC, I headed out again, with the temperature having dropped to a chilly 89 degrees. The second lap actually went better than the first. I made it around again in the same time, 2 hours 20 min., which tells me that a lot of that first lap was problems with the heat, not my legs, so that was good.
My adventure this time was on the second lap. As I came through Oak Creek Canyon, I ran into a lady and her dog. The woman was obviously upset and kept shifting from one foot to another. "There's a snake up there," she said, "and it won't move."
"What kind?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. Since she didn't say rattlesnake, I figured it was probably a king snake or gopher snake coming out. Wrong. On the thinnest section of trail in the whole park sat a 2 foot ornery rattler, easily the orneriest one I've ever come across. The woman said she had thrown some rocks at it. Well, again, rattlers move when disturbed, so she must have hysterically chucked some gravel at it and missed.
I'll take care of this, I figured, picking up a baseball sized rock. An underhanded lob and PLOP it landed right on his midsection. The snake did not budge. I couldn't believe it. I picked up another and threw it with some velocity, nailing it again. Again, it held its position, rattle going full speed. There was no way around this guy either. The trail was probably 18 inches wide, and he was smack in the middle of it. We could have gone back over a hill, but I thought I could take care of it.
Looking around, I found a dead tree branch, about 4 foot long with some branched at the end. I picked it up and used it as a snake handling stick, entangling the snake in the twigs at the end and then lifting him off the trail. As I did so, he struck 4 TIMES at the branch, the whole thing shaking each time with the violence of his bite. Finally, I used the stick to trap the snake and urged the lady to come through while I still had control.
Unfortunately, the lady had freaked out by this point and froze right behind me.
"How sure are you that you have it?" she asked.
"Well, ninety-five percent sure." Wrong answer. She wouldn't budge. Finally, I picked the snake up again and forced it another two feet up the hill, but I could see him squirming.
"Lady," I said, "this is it. Now or never." She finally went behind me as I used the stick and my body to shield her and her dog. Then I left that crabby snake to himself and picked up my run home with some extra pep in my step.
Never a dull moment at Mission Trails. Tomorrow will be a double ascent of Monserate, which is 1200 feet of gain over a little less than 2 miles, then a run down the ridge, a few hundred more feet of up just for a kick in the pants, then all the way down to start one more time. Think it will be a good one. A lot like Fred's, and it will be hot, but I've done it before, and its not too bad, just steady. Again, good practice for Fred's and the rest of the race. Wednesday will be speed work, probably in the canyon, while Thursday will be an easy day. Loose plan is to get up to the mountains on Sunday for a San Gorgonio climb. We'll see how that goes.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Looking down the saddle. Not a fun run down, as you will read . . .
Mount Pisgah Stairs looking down
Mount Pisgah Stairs looking up
His sister and friend helping to get him secured.
The guy was messed up with the biggest fat lip I've ever seen and lots of nasty road rash, but still managed to try to smile for his picture. Tough hombre. Nicely done.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Did someone say Daily Double?