Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mission trail weekend

Well, it was an interesting weekend. The plan was to get in my usual Friday run, then 10 miles with Gonzo, then a long Sunday run, then 10 miles in the Cuyamacas. Well, Sunday didn't happen. I got to the trailhead from work, and realized I had forgotten my running shorts. My choices were to run in my work pants, run in my underwear, or go home. The first two promised chafing and threatened my running weekend, but I was mighty tempted. I had done the underwear thing before. There's even allegedly video of me running in the Cuyamacas in my Gator boxers and a long sleeve and a vest after I forgot shorts for a snow run. But I also remembered how cold it was and how I had chaffing issues for a bit after that, so I packed it in.

On Saturday AM, I met Gonzo at the Clairemont Mesa East trailhead at 7:30 AM. It was Gonzo's first run back after a little layoff and what I considered my kickoff run for Hardrock training. We did the Quarry loop, the Visitor Center Loop, South Fortuna, down the trail to Oak Canyon, then back up to the top of North Fortuna, then around to the rim trail and back to the car. Gonzo had one of those fancy wrist things, and it reported 11.5 miles or so and somewhere around 2:40. I don't know if it tracks elevation, but I would guess somewhere around 2800 feet or so. Not bad.

Erica wanted to go for a hike, so we ended up bringing Killer up to the top of Cuaymaca Peak. Its about 2.7 miles and something like 1700 feet gain to the top. The last third was essentially on and off snow and ice on the road, and Deeser took a good fall to the butt on a slick spot coming down. But she popped back up and finished strong. Fun afternoon and bonus climb!

For Sunday, it was repeats up Cowles Mountain. 6 of them, 3 up the front side, 3 up the backside. Could anyone get sick of this view?

I was about to find out.

Leaving at 10 AM, I enjoyed listening to the Chargers whoop up on the Jets. That whole situation was hilarious. Any little mistake, and the Jets fans would boo at the top of their lungs. False start? BOOOOO! Bad fair catch signal? BOOOOO! Bad hair day by the quaterback? BOOOOOOOOO! Those were some angry fans. It would probably be just as bad at the Charger game next week at home, but the stadium will be half Raider fans, so no one will get organized enough to boo loudly. They will be too busy beating the snot out of each other.

Anyways, I did my 6 repeats. For each set of two, I would start on the big rock trail, go over Cowles then down the Golfcrest trail, then repeat. If you haven't been on the Golfcrest trail, it is packed. All the time. Running down is tough to dodge everyone in your way, especially as the trail is really rough. Its like running through a trail in the middle of UTC mall at Christmas time. But going up, you always have people to chase and catch. The Big Rock side is relatively quiet. Each round trip was about 7.5 miles and 2500 feet of climbing, so, if I did the 3 round trips I had planned (6 trips up Cowles, three from Big Rock and 3 from Golfcrest), it would be about 22.5 miles and 7500 feet of climbing. Doing the math, it comes out to 33,333 feet per 100 miles, or almost exactly Hardrock. So it was like doing a quarter of hard rock.

The goal was 6 hours. I did approximately 1:42 on the first round trip, 1:57 on the second round trip, and 2:11 on the last trip, adding up to roughly 5:50, or ten minutes under goal. Weather was almost perfect at 60 and mostly cloudy. One of the problems was food. I was starving by the last round trip, but I had only brought gels. I need to bring a little real food next time. After finishing, I pounded a foot long buffalo chicken Subway which really hit the spot.

No real interesting wildlife or anything like that. Just a grind past a lot of odd people. One time I'll take pictures so you can see what I share the trail with there. Lots of women made up to the nines on their morning stroll. And lots of dogs.

Overall a good weekend. My legs are pretty tired, and I have a ten mile run with the bad rats courtesy of Matt Davis tomorrow. He said easy on the invite, so I'm going to hold him to it. I've only ever seen Matt drink beer. Rumor has it, he actually ran once upon a time. I'll believe it when I see it.

More soon!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekend of training number 1

So, not much to report so far. Fairly anti-climatic. Did my usual run on Tuesday. Got some bonus miles on Monday returning a friend's car and running home, but nothing dramatic. Thursday was a frigid (by San Diego terms) run in the canyon highlighted by a pack of 3 coyotes, big ones, that were not at all worried about me. Very pretty, but ominous to Clairemont cats. Everything was frosted over, and Wundermap said 31 degrees. Brrr.

So, the weekend. I've decided to add an extra hillclimb into my usual Friday night run. Why? Well take a look below.

Ok, that's kinda tiny. And not enitrely accurate as it has Hardrock being run in the opposite direction that is being run this year. But you get the idea. Its a graph of all the climbing and altitude of various races. See all the pointy stuff on top? That's Hardrock. So, extra climbing it is.

My Friday Night Run, which I've been doing for about 6 years to start virtually every weekend, is to run from the end of Clairemont Mesa into Mission Trails, down into Suyacott Wash, up South Fortuna, down to the saddle, up North Fortuna, down along the ridge at the edge of Suyacott Wash and finish up on the rim trail. I can do it in about 1:15 to 1:20 depending on daylight, etc. When I was feeling bold, I'd add the Quarry climb which adds another 400 or 500 feet of climbing and a few miles, and I can do that in about 1:40 to 1:50. If I had to guess, the Friday run is about 6 miles with about 1200 feet of climbing and so the quarry run maybe 8 to 9 miles with 1700 feet of climbing? So, now instead of going down to the saddle and up Fortuna, I'm going to go down the alternate powerline trail all the way down to Oak Creek and then up to the top of Fortuna. That should add about 700 feet of climbing in about 3/4 mile. Bringing the run to about 10 miles and 2400 feet of climbing. Multiply by 10, and that would still be way, way short of Hardrock. Gulp. Hopefully I'm short on my guess of how much climbing is in the run or long on the distance. Anyways, figure its good for me to add another climb. More than anything else it means a later dinner. Boo!

Anyways, Saturday will be 10 miles in Mission Trails with Gonzo, likely on many of these same trails. Sunday will also be Mission Trails, but I think I will do repeats up and down Kway Paay which is 950 feet over 1.25 miles. I'll just knock out however many repeats I can get done in 6 hours, or two football games. I generally climb and descend that between 45 and 50 min, but I'm guessing there will be some degredation. I would be stoked to get 8. We'll see.

Monday, I got an invitation forwarded from the bad rats group of a christmas eve day run out in the Cuyamacas. I'm not a very social runner or a very good group runner, but I think I'll turn out anyways. The guy organizing it, Matt, is a great dude, and the weather is supposed to be rough, so it should be fun.

On the race side, I'm looking at renting a cabin at about 11,500 feet for the 2 weeks of Hardrock. The town Hardrock is based in is at 9,500 feet, so I figure I can get a jump on the altitude. Got a great note from Scotty Mills that he and his wife and maybe Angela are going to be at Camp Hardrock and an offer to help with pacing. With any luck, Scotty is going to get in (he's 9 on the vet waitlist as a five time finisher), and I will pick up my pacers from another source. In any case its fantastic to know that I have such a fabulous resource to tap for info. He will be sick of me.

Hopefully I have a few pics and good times to report on Monday or Tuesday. Hit the trails!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hard Rock!

No, not that Hard Rock, although I may wish for that by the time its all said and done . . .

So, on my 5th try, I finally got into Hardrock. Talk about a come to Jesus moment. If you have read anything at all about Hardrock, you'll know why I am both excited and nervous! The short of it is that its a 100 mile race (102.5 at last count) in Colorado with lots of climbing and lots of elevation. You can read all about it, if you care to, here:

I was out enjoying myself at a Charger tailgate, when Erica tapped me on the shoulder and showed me her phone. There was the TWEET OF DEATH.

Hardrock Hundred (@hardrock100)
#hr100lottery Welcome to Buddy Teaster, Ken Legg, BJ Haeck... two left

I was in. Third to last in the never group, but in nonetheless. My exuberance was quickly outweighed by reality. These next 7 months were going to hurt. A lot. Why?

This is a dream race, one where your mettle is truly tested in the most beautiful mountains you can imagine. May consider it to be the hardest race in America, although I would think the folks at Badwater, Sustina, and other races would have a bone to pick with that conclusion. Suffice to say, it is in the discussion, and from what I can tell, I certainly wouldn't disagree. They give you 48 hours to cover the distance, and there still is only about a 70 percent finisher rate, often lower.

The race is in mid-July, so training starts . . . . . . . . NOW! Lots and lots and lots of climbing. Also, the hard part. Starting Super Bowl Sunday night - no soda, no beer, no dessert with the hope of dropping about 15 pounds of extra weight that would be no fun to drag over the mountains. This is not going to be fun.

Lots of things to try as well. Trek poles or no poles? What kind of shoes? Hydropel? How often can I get into altitude?

Anyways, I will need to keep a close eye on my training and training times, so this blog is officially up and running until further notice with lots of boring entries and probalby not too many pics, but if you want to come along on a journey as a mediocre ultra runner takes on the ultimate chalenge, its on like this guy . . .