Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday ultra encounter

Had a good run today. Did my new modified loop, with 4 climbs, grasslands, telephone pole, north fortuna, and south fortuna. If I had time, I would have thrown a Kway Paay at the end as well. Its about 2200 feet of climbing, and it went pretty well. At the beginning, I saw my first rattlesnake of the season, as you can see below. He was a baby sucker, about 8 inches. I got him off the trail so he could have a chance tonight, when its supposed to get cold and rainy. On a lark, I ran the first 2 climbs entirely and about a quarter of the way up North Fortuna. Interestingly, it only cut a minute or so off my total North Fortuna climb (about 22 min). So not sure of the benefit of running unless you are really trucking it. Anyways, came down from North Fortuna and worked my way into the wash where I ran into Erica and Killer. coming out of there, ran into another ultra guy, Don, who was on a recovery run from a 50k about 1.5 weeks ago. He was pretty strong, and it was work keeping up with him on the way to the top of the South Fortuna stairs. He dropped me on the little rollers up to the peak, but I was able to catch up on the descent. He seemed like a careful descender who still had some lactic acid saved in his quads from his last ultra. I had no such handicap, and I had a nice descent back to Oak Creek Canyon.

Total time was about 2:20, which wasn't bad considering the walk in the wash and the snake pit stop. Listened to the Lakers get thrashed by the Hawks. They are clearly in a malaise and need the playoffs to start. They really miss Bynum's shot blocking inside. Hopefully the rain comes tomorrow . . .

First rattler of the season! Still messing with my new phone and trying to figure it out. I hope to have some better pictures soon.

First snake of the season! This was from Sunday, I think, at the top of North Fortuna. A California King Snake. It was a great wildlife run as I also spotted a road runner and a the biggest horned toad I've ever seen, who was as wide as he was long. They are fairly rare in San Diego County, but I see them every once and a while in Mission Trails. I think they are doing OK there.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not much to report

Easy run this morning. Did my Tuesday canyon run. Took about 1:50 or so, probably not that fast. Didn't have any energy, but managed to push through. Don't have too much else to report. Rain comes tomorrow, which means good running, and maybe some snow on Thursday AM. Hello, mountains!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blogger's back!

Well, its been a while, but I read somewhere that if you are going to blog, you need to be consistent and need to stick to a theme. OK, I can handle that. I'm sure I will ramble, but lets talk about the "offseason" and what I've done in the last week, now that training has officially begun.

The fall was a lot of shorter runs in the canyons, with just running anywhere that sounded good with no particular goal whatsoever. The only run that was consistent was my Friday speed run over the two Fortunas and my Sunday longish run which was 3 to 4 hours throughout the fall. Then, the winter trip to Japan brought a 3 week hiatus to running, but I hit the ground refreshed and ready to go for the New Year.

The Spring was more of the same, trying to concentrate on faster speeds on flat trails. I would say I was mildly successful at best, but I had a lot of fun on a lot of different trails.

So why start blogging again? Well, I have a race suddenly in my focus. On a whim with Scotty's pushing, I signed up for the Jemez 50 miler. I will post more on this race soon, but it looks like an asskicker. My goal on this one is to use it as a training run. It has 12,000 feet of climbing over 52 plus miles. Actually, the climbing all seems to be in the first 36 miles, with lots of fallen trees, scree descents, gnarly switchbacks, cross prarie gopher hole jumping, boulder field navigating, and double diamond ascents and downhills mixed in for good measure. My goals are pretty simple:

1. Climb hard and steady. Get a good pace and stick to it and be able to climb the last climb with the same speed as the first. And no breaks.

2. Downhill speed. The goal race, as I will discuss in later posts, is White River in July. I would like to break 12 and get closer to 11. A huge part of that is going to be the ability to effectively run downhill, which requires guts, training and quads, baby, quads. Jemez has a lot of big, long downs, so it will be a good testing ground, especially with a few hours of flat/rolling downhill on the last miles to simulate the trail at the end of White River.

3. Pacing. I want to be in the 36 mile aid station between 11 and 12 hours and be done in 15 hours. Those are pretty modest goals, but it will require pacing to get there. I'm going to try not to go out too hard.

4. Gear. I want to start talking to others and seeing what gear they are using. I'm guessing I am missing a huge chunk of it because I don't shop anywhere other than the local big 5/Walmart for shoes, clothes, etc. So I've got my eyes open for ideas.

5. Bear sighting. Someone last year saw a bear. I want to see one.

Pretty modest goals, but remember this is supposed to be a training race. I don't want to be out of action for 2 weeks before and 3 weeks after. I need to be able to recover from this quickly, as its only about 8 or 9 weeks out from White River. Focus!

Pics and more discussion about White River soon. But a quick recap of last week's training. Canyon run with Gator in the AM. 1:45. 20 min of relatively easy work in Mission Trails in the evening followed by about 1/2 hour of hiking. Wednesday was a run home from work. Long day, about 2.5 hours of road and trail mix. Thursday I skipped due to technical difficulties. Friday AM I ran the cayon with Gator, again in about 1:45 or so. Friday night I set a 2 Fortuna record from my new starting spot with a 1:28. That was a surprise, but I've been finding that I can almost run faster with tired beat legs once I get a little warmed up. The other helper was this old hardass who I met at the saddle between the Fortunas. He had run all the way up from Oak Canyon and was headed all the way up to North Fortuna. He was slow, but steady, and while I beat him to the top by a good minute to minute to two minutes, he never stopped and was a steady churn. It was his first time, he claimed, to try the climb in 3 years. Well, he sure looked like a hardass, and it spurred me on to a big finish.

Saturday was a double ascent up Kway Paay. That's about 875 feet climbing over a mile. I did it twice with two harrowing trips down. Things I learned? my climbing rate is still good but with plenty of room for improvement. I also have been working on my downhill technique. I've found on the loose Dg stuff, quick steps are key, and let the momentum take you to a degree, and just go with the flow. Don't let your foot stay on the ground, or it will slide out from under you. Other good advice I read was to run with your hands slightly forward and to picture your legs like you are biking, saving some jam on the ol' quads. Generally, I think it works, but I have some trails to test it on pretty soon that will be hard to beat.

Sunday was 5 hours in Mission Trails, or the length of time for the elite eight to play out. I also wanted to maximize climbs, so I did the 900 foot climb up the wall, through the saddle, and then to the summit of North Fortuna. After that, down through Shepherd's canyon, up the short steep climb, back down into the Wash, up South Fortuna (700 fet in 1/2 mile or so) then back to Kway Pay for another 1 mile 900 foot climb. I was pretty wasted by the time I got to the top, so I took about 5 min up there, then ran back down to the car where I took another 5 min in the air conditioning. Then headed out again for the second half of the Duke game. Basic grassland running with a climb up half of Kway Paay to finish the day. And then a grape slushy reward.

All in all, not bad for the long run. I could have been stronger and will be stronger, but given my successful Friday and Saturday runs, I can't say I was shocked to not have a great time. But a copious amount of wildlife. Saw a road runner, BIG san diego horned frog, a beautiful California King Snake about a foot long getting a taste of Spring, a giant alligator lizard I'd estimate was a foot long at least including tail. Anyways, a good end to the week. I'll put some pics up later this week.

Rain and snow coming Wed. Bring it.