Friday, July 29, 2011

Training Logs 4/17-7/3

I finally got my training logs together from April through the beginning of July.  It looks like I am up 2,716 miles for 2010/ 2011, which basically begins/ ends on September 27th.  Pretty crazy to think it is only July and I am already up the length of the PCT.  I have a personal goal to put in double the length of the PCT annually now.

Most of these miles come from the Arizona Trail Speed Record and the Grand Enchantment Trail Speed Record.  I am still getting up the last of the GET journals, but you should go back and check out what I have loaded up photo wise.  Got some good panoramic shots in there.  The AZT and GET have been an exceptional training base for my running which I am focusing on now.  Currently I am also adding Pilates and bicycle touring to the mix.  The Pilates have been really helping my core strengthen, stretch my tight muscles and work my body laterally which is a weak point for me.  Cycling has been an easy way for me to pick up 60-100 miles a week in the saddle without the pounding.  I got a new road touring bike which is part of some new adventuring I want to do, but that is for a upcoming blog post.  You won't see any of the Pilates or biking reflected in these training logs as they are in the 7/10 spreadsheet.

I have been reading a few books on ultra running recently and have a pretty good idea of how to tailor my training regimen for some races coming up the end of August and beginning of September.  I recently completed a 21hr day on my feet running the Reno Rim in one go.  Still working on getting those blog posts updated with photos and a full report.  I was amazed I paced myself well enough to still be running at the end of the 21hr push.  I was also impressed with how quickly I recovered from that run.  Although all week this past week I have felt kind of drained when it comes to doing my daily training runs and exercises.  I felt like I was clawing my way back out of a hole despite getting plenty of rest nightly.  I felt really strong while running though.  I hope to get back to my normal routine next week and ramp up some bigger miles next running too.

Training log total Fall/ Winter/ Spring/ Summer 2011
Above is total for this fall/winter and below that is the totals for this spring/ summer.  I came back from the AZT/ GET with very sore ankles and feet, but the rest of my body felt good.  I also noticed I had virtually no extension in my legs when running.  It took about 3 weeks to get my body back to being a efficient strong runner.  Now though I am forging ahead and can really tell that my body is handling the increased mileage well.  Last week was a 90 mile week running for me.  Honestly the miles makes me more confident, but the other exercises are strengthening my core which helps my running more.  I am also getting on the roller a bit more and since Pilates stretches my body too these have been a big help in my extension and ability to run faster.  It is crazy to think where I am now and where I might be with a few more weeks training and then a good 3 weeks of taper towards race day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just topped out again @ 7200ft

Top of the 2nd to last climb looking towards Reno and Peavine Peak
Finally topped out on my second to last big climb of the day.  Really nice view of Peavine Peak and Reno.  A little bit of a cool evening breeze up here too.  I descended on more rough 2 track and after a few switchbacks got on a road that traverses the east side of the Verdi Range to Dog Valley.  This was all in the shade of the Verdi Range which was a welcome relief.

On top of the Verdi Range for the last time... Peavine to the left and Reno in the distance
I finally bottomed out in Dog Valley, some of the flattest running of the entire Reno Rim.  I spent a brief moment trying to determine if I wanted to mess with getting water here as I had past it up last fall and regretted it.  The problem is the water looks stagnant and it is hard to get to without getting your feet wet.  After poking around looking for a good place to get water I finally bagged it and set my sights on getting water on the backside of Peavine.

PETZL Tikka XP 2 Core
I did find a little pothole with some water in it farther up the road.  I decided I would rinse my feet here and do my last clean sock change.  Felt heavenly to get into socks with no grass seeds and to have clean feet for the final bit of this loop.  Time for a quarter serving of Vivarin to keep me up and alert.  It was dark now so I fished out my Moeben arm sleeves, PETZL Tikka XP 2 Core and my hand held flashlight.  PETZL had been kind enough to offer me the Core to review with two Core batteries.  I apologize for doing this in the middle of the Reno Rim race report, but I am going to review the Tikka XP 2 Core now that I have used it.

Core battery from PETZL
 The main idea behind the Core is the simple fact that it replaces 900 batteries before loosing it's ability to hold a charge.  That is a good thing as these won't end up in a landfill so that bozos like me can run in the night.  The Core battery has software that may be downloaded off PETZL's website for charging the battery.  The software is very intuitive and can be figured out quickly.  It even has a step by step instructional to explain how to use it.  All that you really need to do though is download the software, plug in the Core battery and select the output that you like to get from your headlamp.  I was unaware of the fact that most PETZL headlamps are regulated.  This means that the lamp maintains maximum brightness for how much battery you have.  This really means it goes dimmer and dimmer from the get go.  This is fine for getting the most lighting out of your batteries for the longest period of time, but if your trying to traverse trails after dark it isn't a good thing.  I always thought it was me getting tired, but it was the bulbs going dimmer.  The Core gives you the option of selecting maximum brightness based on how many hours you are going to need the lamp for.  Or you can select regulated lighting for the longest possible lighting.  For me being able to have the brightest light possible for 5 hrs is awesome.  I can get 5 hrs of lighting at about 90% of lighting power on the highest setting on the lamp for one charge.  This is a extremely bright setting for 5 hrs of lighting.  It really lights up the trail well ahead of me and then I rely on my handheld to light up shadows on rocks and step downs.  The 2 together make it possible to cover some serious ground in the night.  I will be using the Core batteries a ton this winter as I don't want to burn up a bunch of AAA's.  Since I have two Core batteries I can charge one for maximum output in case I am moving after dark and the other one for use in camp for chores etc.  Or I could program both for maximum lighting and just switch when one is used up.  It is quite simple to click in the battery and to remove it in the same fashion.  Honestly it is easier to do then fumbling with 3 batteries.  The battery comes in at 1.05 oz compared to 1.12 oz for 3 AAA's.  So no weight penalty there.  The battery does add some bulk to the lamp though, in that the lamp sticks out from your head a little further.  This isn't too much of a issue once you get the headband snugged down properly, I felt the headlamp stayed put all night while running.  Now for the nitty gritty on features:

- three white lighting modes (maximum, economic and strobe)
- two red lighting modes: maximum and strobe
- type of lighting (white or red) is selected by pressing for two seconds on the push-button (the last color used remains in memory for the next use)
- choose between wide or focused beams with the Wide Angle lens
- 60 lumens at maximum level
- shines up to 60 meters at maximum level
-weight 83 g including Core Battery 2.93 oz

Between the 60 lumens of the Tikka XP 2 and the 85 lumens of my handheld I have plenty of light for traversing difficult terrain in the dark.  PETZL mentioned this Core Battery has been slow to catch on here in the US, but I hope FSTPKR readers go get one.  It will more than pay for itself in saved battery money and will help the planet at the same time.

I switched back to running just with my handheld on though as it was plenty of light on its own for running on the old 2 track.  I just hoped I remembered my approach to Peavine from last fall as I didn't have a trace of the route in my gps.  It is pretty straightforward though and fortunately I made all the correct turns.  I recognized the CA/NV state line and felt better that I was on the correct road.  Slight downhill from here, but no sooner does the road bottom out than I leave it and begin a climb to the north.  I could start to make out the hulk of Peavine Peak in the dark, but I wasn't sure if that was it or not.  I also have to do about 100yds of trespassing in here, crossing a mining claim I believe.  I snuck through last fall unharmed, but was worried about dogs and gun toting zealots.  Fortunately I recognized the turn here and started seeing private property signs so I confirmed again I was on the correct route.  Made it though here unscathed and then turned again onto another road.  At this point I felt that I was going to make it.  The 2 track I was running on in here got real powdery, but it only lasted for a bit.

Dog Valley and across Peavine Pk
I started to feel some blasts of cool air sliding down the backside of Peavine Peak.  I think the cold air was coming down the little spring creek on the backside here and I was happy to have my arm sleeves on.  Moeben was kind enough to sponsor me this past fall and send me two pairs of arm sleeves.  One is spandex for warm weather and the other is the same but with a brushed interior.  The second one is good for cold days and I have run the first leg of the Reno Rim in late fall with just these and a short sleeve shirt and done really well.  I like the versatility of these sleeves, being able to wear them up when cold or push them down when warm.  It only takes a few seconds to do this and I just leave them on my wrists while pushed down so it isn't like I need to take them on and off repeatedly.  This summer I have been taking these on all my runs that go into the evening along with a windbreaker vest.  The combo has worked really well for me.  I brought these sleeves on the AZT speed record this spring and ended up wearing them daily to keep the sun off too.  They are designed to give you sun protection as well as provide warmth when necessary  as these sleeves have a 50 UPF.  While I was going up the backside of Peavine around 1AM though I was wearing them in conjunction with my vest to keep me warm.  This climb is very steep and I was walking which allowed me to cool off, but with the spring trickling through here I was getting chilled.  Moeben sleeves have a little pocket on the side of them for sticking a few gels in, but I have never needed to carry anything in there.  The sleeves have a self cuff at the wrist and the same at the top which keeps them firmly in place.  I got a really masculine butterfly print on mine.  Definitely adds some flair so I have got plenty of comments on them.

Masculine prints like these are available from Moeben
During the daylight hours it is actually really pretty back here with a nice aspen grove surrounding the creek.  I am sure all of Peavine Peak back in the day was forested, and it would have been a real treat to live in Reno back then and be able to run in the forest this close to town.  Unfortunately based on what I know it was all logged long ago for use in the mines.  I had to stop at one point and water up here one last time for the last push home into Reno.  This is where I started getting chilled which also made my bones ache a little bit.  I knew not to stay put any longer than I had to because this pit stop could make or break me.  I was feeling very cold here.  I got out of the gully of the spring creek and climbed the last little bit to the top of the road on Peavine Peak.  From here I switched on my handheld again and started a really nice descent down on gravel surfaced road with hardly any rough sections.  About halfway down I saw a vehicle going up to shoot firearms and I am sure I freaked them out barrelling down the frontside with all my reflectors and lights going.

Dog valley/ Peavine Pk/ and on home
I kind of messed up in here a little as I forked back on a really old piece of 2 track that dumped me into a dry gully above Poeville Lake.  I didn't know where I was, but I had a hunch.  Ended up brush busting down canyon and then I saw Poeville Lake and I knew exactly where I was.  From here I ran the Peavine 1/2 marathon in reverse until I got over to Keystone Canyon.  From here I was ready to be done so I just bombed down Keystone Canyon all the way out to McCarran.  From McCarran I headed east over to Rancho San Rafeal park.  Had a little bit of a screw up here trying to get from McCarran over the fence and into Rancho San Rafeal park.  This involved needing to climb the fence, but I did it.  Bombed across the park to a faucet to do one last fill up to get me home.

Elevation profile for the second leg 12,000ft gain and descent for the entire loop
Out on Sierra St I was amazed that I still had plenty of energy and leg left to jog home.  I was a little stiff in the joints, but hey I had been out for nearly 21 hrs at this point.  I always get energized on the Reno Rim finishing on Sierra St as there is tons of lights with all of the casinos.  Added bonus to finishing Sunday AM is all the drunks spilling out of the bars.  I am sure I looked weird to them, but I just kept padding my way back home.  I was relieved when I got in to my neighborhood and saw the light on on the front porch.  I made my way inside and Micro Monkey got up and got me out some food while I hopped into the shower.  I was in bed by 3AM.

Verdi Peak Look Out 8,000ft

Verdi Pk LO 8000ft 5pm
Topped out near Verdi Pk at 5pm after 3 hours of climbing.  The view of Reno is worth it though.  Didn't mess with walking up to the Look Out this time around.  Instead I sat on a rock and picked all the grass seeds out of my shoes.

After this short stop I was off and running again.  Fortunately I wasn't stiff, and I was surprised how well I felt for having over 30 miles on the legs.  Good descent on 2 track from here along the west side of the Verdi Range.  Everything is so green this year with the record snow fall that we have had.  Really nice views of Stampede Reservoir from up here too.  I ran this road much faster than I had last fall.  I noticed a small spring on the side of the road and eventually it crossed under the road by way of a plastic culvert.  I figured it would be a good place to treat water and tank up for the haul over to Dog Valley.  The mosquitoes tried to attack, but I made it a quick stop.  Nice to have ice cold water.  My reservoir on my pack finally started to leak though.  Fortunately for me the holes where near the top so once it had leaked past the holes I was good.  For a moment I got a little frantic thinking I had come this far and might get shut out because my ability to carry water was compromised.  Good thing I took a new reservoir to do the AZT Speed Record as this one wouldn't have lasted but 2 days.

A little more descending on 2 track ensued where I T'd in with a maintenance road/ rough 2 track that follows a powerline back to the top of Verdi Ridge.  This is a walk for sure, way too steep and rough tread to maintain a running pace on.  Always tons of quail in here.  Fortunately it was beginning to cool off a little so I didn't have the sun beating down on me.

2pm made it across I80

On the north side of I 80 here
2pm made it across I80. Now back up to 8000ft @ Verdi Pk. 3000ft climb. Feeling good though.

Making it across I 80 had weighed heavy on me the entire way.  The problem is judging traffic in 4 lanes on this busy highway, and as many know who live here it is dangerous enough just driving it.  I made sure traffic was clear in my lane and ran out to the concrete divider in the middle of the 4 lanes.  I hopped up on the divider and swung my legs up on top of it.  In a way I am happy the divider is here as it gives me a safe place to be since I had to wait for traffic to clear before continuing on across the westbound lane.  The divider is wide enough to set on like a sled.  Fortunately everyone was chill, no semis tooting their horns or nothing.  I didn't need this added stress as it was already sketchy enough with semis whizzing by inches away from me at 80MPH!  The traffic finally cleared out of the westbound lane and I was able to cross to safety alongside the shoulder of the highway.

Big climb up to Verdi Ridge and then across the base of the Verdi Range
On the other side of I80 I begin just under a 3,000ft climb.  This climb is a hidden, rough road that takes me to about a half mile shy of Verdi Pk. Look Out.  It is so steep that running it really isn't a option.  This makes for a good section to get solid foods into me since I won't be running much over the next few hours on this climb.

I made a much better approach this time to the Look Out than last fall.  I was being bombarded by wind and rime ice on the trees here near the summit last fall and was wondering if I would be able to pull it off.  This time I was dying in the hot sun.  Right about the time I was questioning this 70 mile push I spied a snowbank.  I walked over and packed my silk cowboy scarf with snow and wrapped that around my neck.  It definitely kept me cool on the last 200-300 ft to the look out.  I even found a better way around the scree slope this time which involved a little brush busting.

7240ft 11am just tanked up on water

Making my way across a nice bench for dropping into Floriston
7240ft 11am just tanked up on water. Climbed my 1st 4000ft. On my way down to Floriston. Should be dunking in the Truckee by 1pm.

Elevation Profile for the first 27+ miles
Left home at about 6:30 AM this morning.  I would have preferred to get going earlier, leaving in the dark.  However it is hard to get to bed on a Friday night early enough to do this.  Next time if I pack my pack and get ready the night before I can probably pull this off.

1st leg of the Reno Rim- approach to Mt Rose Wilderness from my home in Reno
The first 27+ miles to Floriston is a shakedown cruise for me.  I have run this leg so many times now I know all the turns by heart and also have my pacing down.  I left the house this time running a little slower knowing I was going to be out for just under 70 miles.  What I didn't know was that the Reno Rim has 12,000 ft of ascent and the same of descent.  I knew there was tons of climbing and descending, but was unsure of the exact numbers.  I made my way through town and up into the Mt. Rose Wilderness.  It was definitely getting hot as I topped out at 8,000 ft on the first big climb.  I was lucky that since I was here last much of the snow has melted.  There was still some snow under the trees alongside Big Meadow, but I didn't have to run on it.

Nice Aspen Grove on the way down into Floriston... a creek runs under the road ice cold here
Descending into Floriston went well.  Someone has come through and cleared all the nasty blowdowns off the road, so that saves a ton of time scrambling over down trees on blown quads.  I now have all the water sources down so I don't need to haul a bunch.  I stopped at a creek that runs under the road I run down and filled up switching from Perpetuem to Heed.  I continued on down into Floriston and the sun was definitely getting intense by now.  I made my way down the maintenance/ frontage road along the railroad tracks.  Once I got to the bridge across the Truckee River I had to take a dip and switch out my socks.  Did this as fast as possible.  Wanted to keep moving so I wouldn't get stiff.

Descent into Floriston

Monday, July 18, 2011

10 day Detox over/ Still running tons

So I wrapped up my 10 day Detox on raw foods this weekend.  It went much  better this time than it did last year.  I am guessing this is because I did a detox last summer.  I definitely felt funky the first 3 days of the detox last year, which I attribute to all of the toxins leaching out of my body.  After about the 3rd day I felt fine.  The thing I like about a raw food detox is that I am able to continue to work and exercise, although I don't exercise as hard as I would if on my normal diet.  I had done water/ juice fasts back in college and those where incredible, but required a lot of time off as I was unable to do much due to lack of energy.  I was amazed at what came out of me during the water/ juice fasts, but these raw detoxs are almost as productive in my opinion.  The thing I am attempting to achieve by the detox is to get rid of herbicides and toxins built up in my body and help my body process food better.  I feel both of these things are achieved by the raw food detox.

I ended up dropping down to a solid 169lbs while on the detox, so a weight loss of about 5lbs.  I was amazed on day 3 of the detox at how fast I ran on my normal 3.7 mile run.  I went out that morning feeling really hungry, but after 10 minutes of warm up I realized I was just trucking along.  I did have a few days where I had really loose bowels, and I am not sure what that was all about.  I didn't feel sick like I would with diarrhea, but I definitely had watery bowel movements.  I also had really bad gas from about day 5 on.  Now that I am not taking the detox supplements it has subsided, but I am wondering if one of their ingredients might have been the culprit.  I was amazed that by day 3 it seemed like my body was eliminating foods super fast.  It seemed like I was having 3-4 healthy bowel movements a day which is unlike me.  I am usually a one to two times a day guy.

Training has been going really well.  I have still been able to cover 50+ miles a week running, 5 days a week lifting weights and doing my sit ups almost daily.  I am about to embark down the Pilates path again too.  I ended up getting a 3 DVD set and am really enjoying the workouts.  They are broken into several different timed workouts which is great as I may pick and choose my workout.  I am getting a thicker yoga mat for the mat workouts, a balance ball, dumbbell weights, and 2lb ball.  These are all used as props for doing different Pilates exercises.  The thing that makes Pilates really work for me is that it strengthens my weak core and stretches parts of my body I don't stretch often enough.  I am basically strong in a forward motion, but when it comes to being strong for side to side movement I am very weak and stiff.  Pilates works many of these muscle groups that are stiff and weak.  I believe this will only help benefit my trail running technique.  So when I post some of my training logs in the future you will see Pilates listed in there regularly.  I hope to post my most recent training logs tomorrow as I have new totals for how my year is going.

Got some mileages on two more runs I do here in Reno.  The first one is a loop I do here where I work.  Basically across the Truckee River is a nice 300-500ft climb switchbacking up to the ditch trail.  I like doing hill repeats of this climb as it is a doozy.  I basically shift into a nice comfortable gear, but by the top my heart feels like it will explode.  I really like doing this loop in the fall/ winter for that reason as you get warmed up quick.  Up on top of this switchbacking climb is a little reprieve before the last 100ft or so of climbing to the ditch trail.  Once up on the ditch trail I can let my heartrate recover a little bit as I make my way on flat 2 track along the ditch.  Awesome views of the Truckee River and downtown Reno from here.  I have quite often seen coyotes up here in the fall.  After cruising 3/4 of a mile on the ditch I get to dump down some fun/ fast single track.  It is very slalom like up top with lots of tight turns.  Then it is a nice long descent down into a canyon with a little creek running through it.  This is a fun spot to open it up as I can literally float down all of this section of trail.  Quick hop across the creek, small climb and traverse, then more downhilling back to the front of the mountain and base of the big climb.  Come to find out this loop is exactly 2 miles which I would have never guessed.  I always assumed it was shorter than that, but it ends up being dead on 2 miles.  I often do laps here so I get to repeat this steep climb several times.  Moving into fall/ winter I will run this lap on my lunch break during the warmest time of the day.  It is perfect and usually takes me right around 40 minutes for the 2 laps so that I have enough time to still get some lunch in me.

Work Lap
Work Lap
My next run is one my neighbor showed me a few years back and I had always wondered what the mileage was.  This Sunday was a perfect day to do it as I need to keep my mileage up, but I wasn't committed enough to put in some big miles in the mountains.  I had been a safety runner for a coworker on the 50 mile run at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 this Saturday.  That put me home in bed at almost midnight.  I have been really good about being asleep at 9:00-10:00PM regularly lately so this was quite a push for me especially considering I woke at 3:30AM to get up to Spooner Lake.  I took naps and laid low all day Sunday and had a hard time motivating for a run.  This seemed like the perfect run to fit in in the evening since there was a nice breeze and it was beginning to cool off.  This run is basically the same as my Work Run commute, but when I hit McCarran Blvd I turn and drop down to Mayberry.  I run a nice little park on the inside of Mayberry and McCarran, then blast across 4 lanes of traffic into a housing development.  From here I take nice rolling bike path down to the Truckee River where I pick up the River Path.  From here I run the River Path all the way back to my Hood Run loop which I run most mornings.  This leads me back underneath the Arlington St bridge and up a steep climb into a park.  I blast across California St and back into the Old Southwest neighborhood.  Here again same as my Hood Run, but when I approach La Rue St I just head home instead of picking up another mile or so.  My PR for this run is 54 minutes, but now that I know it is a even 7 miles (actually just a little under) I hope to start getting this run down well under 50 miles.

Hood Run 2
Hood Run 2 Elevation Profile

Friday, July 8, 2011

Truckee Running Festival 2011

This past Saturday I ran my first trail running race.  I had a blast and there will be more to come this summer/ fall as a result.  I was fortunate enough to ride up with a running buddy Turi who has let me tag along on some fun runs in the past.  Turi has been running several of the Big Blue Adventure runs this summer and had posted some fast times in many of their races earlier this summer.  He answered several questions I had about running this race and it definitely helped.  I think I was the most concerned about getting to the single track in the top 10 runners (I called this the hole shot in mountain bike racing), running in a pack/ starting in a pack and warming up for the race.  Turi explained that he warmed up less on a long run which didn't make sense at the time, but does now.  In a short run you almost need to be warmed up more since the race is over so quickly.  You don't have time to warm up on a short run.  On a longer run though you have time to warm up during the race and settle into a groove.

I was happy with the low key feeling of the event that Big Blue Adventure was putting on for this running festival.  Everyone seemed laid back.  I was a little nervous seeing some of the runners milling around as some of them seemed to have the physique of body builders.  Ended up bumping into friends from work Ivy and Charles who where up with a friend of theirs who was Italian who was running the 5K.  I also got to meet in person Charlie Johnston who is very fast and wrote a article about the SWIP Trip in Nevada Magazine.  It made me feel more relaxed having friends around and having Turi to hang with as he obviously knew the ropes.  I took a few laps with Turi around the soccer field to warm up and spent most my time getting my brand new MT 101's just the right amount of tightness in lacing them up.  I find with these and the MT 100's this takes a little getting used to out of the box, but once I get it right I don't have to worry about it much.  I would have raced in my MT 100's but they have become my favorite trail running shoe for distances up to 1/2 marathon and the tread under the ball of my foot is gone.  I don't mind this much for training, but I figured the added benefit of having sharp tread for the race would be good.  Turi had checked out the course on google earth and figured that we had 3 miles of relatively flat course up to the far side of Martis Dam and then on the return this same 3 miles of flat back to the finish.  This was really good beta as I was flying this course blind which I don't consider a advantage in racing.  When I used to mountain bike race I would get to the course a day early and hike the entire course.  This allowed me to get a mental image of the course at a much slower pace than biking it and really input it for race day.  This helped me place top 3 in all my mountain bike races I did back in the early 2000's.  I wanted to run with just my sweatband on, but realized quickly that we would be running into the sun for the first 3 miles.  So I donned my brim over my sweatband.  I also was running in my hiking shorts and singlet from Hammer Nutrition.  I wasn't sure what the heat would be like up in Truckee at 9:AM which is at a elevation of 6,000ft.  It ended up being plenty warm to run outfitted like I was.  I carried my 13 oz handheld filled with HEED, 2 Hammer Gels and 2 Endurolytes.

Charlie Johnston and Krud pre race
Toeing the start line was easier than I thought.  Most of the folks up there ended up running the 5K or the 10K.  I just sauntered over to the start line and ended up being in the front row.  I looked back to make sure I wasn't cramping any ones style and no one seemed to be put out.  This worked fine for me.  The race is started with a countdown not a gun going off.  When the race took off two younger guys basically blasted out ahead of everyone.  I could tell based on their pace that I wasn't going to be running with them, but I looked around and the pack didn't seem to be chasing them down either.  So I took off chasing them anyway just to get out to the singletrack before the pack.  We skirted the edge of the soccer field and then the course pinched immediately to a 15ft peice of single track before dumping onto a road.  I wanted to be here before the pack so that worked fine since I was in 3rd place.  I climbed up a short hill onto a more major road and then ran down the side of this road for a quarter mile.  2 guys where right on my shoulder, one of them being Charlie.  The course took us off this road onto a sandy 2 track and I started to ease off my pace a little as I didn't want to burn up this early on.  Charlie sensed this and immediately blasted past me.  I tried to pace with him a little, but it wasn't happening.  At this point I had 2 more people off my shoulder as I picked my way through this sandy 2 track.

Charlie just off my left shoulder and the 2 young guys off the front
This section of 2 track climbed steeply for a few feet and dumped us back onto pavement for a long grinding climb.  I could still see Charlie up ahead of me and I tried to match his pace on the climb.  One of the guys off my shoulder was clopping along at a really heavy stride.  I wasn't too worried about him as his running style didn't seem very efficient.  As I topped out on this climb and traversed the dam a second fellow past me who looked to be 10 years my senior.  He didn't blast by me as quickly as Charlie did, but again I couldn't match his pace and he opened up a gap on me coming into the first aid station.  I looked up ahead and saw Charlie grab a cup at the aid station on the run and I decided this would be my strategy as well.  As I came into the aid station I was asked Gatorade or water and I opted for water on the run.  Right at this aid station the road ended and we made our way onto single track.  I looked back and saw the fellow with the heavy stride kind of walking through the aid station so I figured that was the end of that.

Carrie bridging the gap on the way across Martis Dam for the 1st time
Heading across the dam with my heavy footed friend off my shoulder and Carrie closing the gap again
Now I was running entirely on my own.  I could see the older fellow in front of me going up a long climb, so I king of ran his pace up this hill.  I definitely ran all of the hill, but this being my first race I was a little nervous that maybe I had overdone it too early in the race.  I never intended or thought I would be running in the top 10 (not that the field was that deep).  I could here a couple folks talking behind me and one of them was Turi and a woman I would end up running much of the race with.  For now though on this climb I was able to hold off any more racers passing me as I shifted into a nice low gear on the climb.

On top of the climb I was still able to make out the older runner in front of me which gave me the confidence that I was still on trail.  I bombed down some old dirt 2 track fast as it was smooth running in here.  Part way down I ran through a second aid station sipping a little water and dumping the rest over my head and back.  I appreciated the helpfulness of the aid station volunteers as they where all definitely on it and into helping us front runners keep moving.  I got into the habit of asking as I approached if I may have a water and that prompted them to grab on and hand one off to me.

During the downhill the older fellow gapped me so he must have been descending faster than me.  I heard behind me a very high cadence padding along and was surprised to see as she passed me that it was a woman.  This would be the first place woman whom I would run much of the race with.  I was actually glad she took the lead as I was becoming a little out of it and she saw some turns on the course I would have blown through.  She also reached back at the 45 min mark and grabbed a gel on the run which I was afraid of doing myself.  Before she caught me I was considering doing the whole run without, but when I saw her take one on the run I figured I could do the same.  I am such a cheapskate with gels that I usually try to roll and re roll them several times to get all the gel out.  Today though I just squeezed as much into my mouth as I could and put them back in the pocket of my handheld.  I could do this and still keep pace with her.

Eventually the course led us back onto some technical single track and I noticed her slowing down on the descent.  I asked if I could come around again and she graciously let me by.  I blasted down the hill which was pretty technical, but fun running.  It then bottomed out and made its way back over to a 3rd aid station.  I again got some water on the run.  From here the course climbed back up the hill we had descended, but staying on the old 2 track.  I shifted into my low gear as I was now starting to feel more and more like I was in survival mode.  I wanted badly to stay where I was in 5th place overall.  While I was thinking this I started to notice runners coming at me?  I was confused and hoped I hadn't blown out of a turn coming down the hill as I didn't expect to run back on the course on the way up this hill.  Carrie (1st place women's) caught me again and ran her high cadence up the hill like it was nothing.  I again paced with her up the climb as I found it easier mentally to do this than to drive my own pace.  Carrie mentioned we where doing well, but I broke it to her that I was most likely in 5th place.  I did tell her though that she was definitely first women's though.  After the climb we topped out at the 4th aid station and got more water on the run.

Just past this aid station the course took us back onto singletrack that climbed a bit and was quite technical.  I kept us both on trail as Carrie accidentally blew out of a turn.  I took this opportunity to take the lead again though as I wanted to be in front for the next downhill.  I would say this ended up being the most technical section of the race as it was rocks cemented into the tread scattered all over the place.  I really had to concentrate and let go of the racing aspect and just try to make good time in here.  I heard someone else coming up behind me on trail and based on the sound of their gate I knew it wasn't Carrie.  I started going faster, but I couldn't hold of "Tat" as he was coming in hot.  The minute I heard him on my heels I yielded and let him by as I wasn't about to hold him up.  I couldn't even pace with him so I just let him go.  I looked at my watch and we where about 1 hr into the race and it dawned on me that I was going to be out here a whole hour more.  Or that is at least what it takes me on the half marathon training runs I have been doing in the BLC.

The trail descended some really nice single track down this bluff.  For a minute I was disoriented as I saw a giant body of water not realizing it was Martis Lake.  For a second I thought how did I get over to Lake Tahoe?  I forgot to mention that all of this single track since crossing the dam 3 miles into the race has been under the shade of big Ponderosas.  I liked having the shade as it was getting hot out by now and I was glad not to be out in the hot sun.  All the fun switchbacking singletrack finally dumped back onto the base of the first climb and I really opened it up again to see if I could catch "Tat".

As I neared the 5th aid station I looked over my shoulder a few times to see if anyone else was coming up from behind.  Where was Carrie?  I could hear someone talking behind me off and on on the last descent, but couldn't see anyone as I came into the aid station.  I picked it up a bit as I now had a idea of the mileage to the finish and I noticed "Tat" wasn't to far ahead on the pavement.  I gave it my best trying to catch him, but he was just out of reach.  As I got to the far side of the dam I looked back and could see Carrie and another man coming through the aid station (the man being Turi).

The race was on now as I didn't want to get "chicked" (no offense) by Carrie and I sure didn't want to get passed by another man.  I got to the last real downhill on pavement and opened it up as much as I could closing the gap a little between "Tat" and myself.  Here the course took us off pavement and back onto the sandy 2 track back to the finish.  We where running in the direct sun here and the sand just seemed to suck all my energy on the way in.  I felt much better on the way out!  Try as I might I couldn't catch "Tat" and to make matters worse I could hear Carries quick cadence gaining on me.  I knew she was too close for me to hold her off back to the finish.  As she came up alongside me I jokingly said, "you again?"  She laughed and just blew right by me, and again try as I might I couldn't match her pace.  She did help me pick mine up though.

As she bridged the gap between "Tat" and I did my best to focus on finishing strong.  "Tat" looked a little surprised as she caught him, but he must have had a little left in the tank because he dug in again fending her off by a few seconds.  I made my way down onto the soccer field, but had kind of given up on catching them at this point.  I was on empty.  It still felt good to have a successful run at my first race.

Turi was only 1 minute behind me which blows me away as he is able to snap so many photos during the race.  I had hoped I would be pacing with him during the race, but it didn't work out that way.  I ended up with 6th place overall and 2nd in my age group with a time of 1:36:04.  If you check out the results page just picture me where Carrie is as she beat me.  I contacted the race director about the discrepancy so depending on when you read this it may have been fixed.  Honestly there was a few mistakes with timing at this race (although I was totally ok with it and would still do this run again next year).  First they had me before "Tat" in my age group.  Turi caught this and we introduced ourselves to "Tat".  The 3 of us approached one of the timers and got that fixed.  Then they accidentally added 10 minutes to our time for some reason when they should have subtracted.  "Tat's" partner went and fixed that for us.  Lastly is the mistake I noted above with me coming in in front of Carrie.  As much as I wish it where true, it just didn't shake out that way.

I was given a pint glass for 2nd place mens with my friend Turi taking 3rd.  I ended up with a ton of stoke for going to the race.  Turi even had made me some nice duct tape wallets.  I can appreciate the amount of effort that goes into them.  He even has little slots for the credit cards and one with a window for your ID.  I dig it as it is definitely unique and it allows me to save my spinnaker cloth wallet for fastpacking.  Got a cool shirt from the race which is a nice silky weight with decent graphics on it, a nice mesh bag from Solomon and water bottle to boot.  They had a keg of Fat Tire, but I'm not really drinking this time of year.  Burgers, fruit, sports drinks.  It was nice to sit under the Solomon tent in the shade too with the people I raced against and just relax.

I would also like to share that Race Day Boost by Hammer Nutrition is a excellent product and I will be using it before my other races this summer/ fall.  I only got to use it for 2 days prior to leading up to the race, which Hammer recommends a dosage of 4 times a day for 4 days prior to your event.  Even at only half the suggested dosage I noticed results during the race.  I can't compare it to times as I don't have a prior time for this event, but I can comment on how I felt.  My quads are usually the thing that gives out while running and they felt awesome the entire race through.  I know at the distance of this race and some of the grinding uphills and fast downhills I should have felt some fatigue in my quads.  I didn't and if I could describe it best it felt like they where relaxed and loose instead of being tense and bound up.  They felt like this the entire race through and I don't feel like this even on my training runs.  I also was amazed at how fast I ran the race as I never come close to 8 minute mile during training.  I would definitely attribute the way my quads felt and my fast race pace to using this product.  The taste isn't great, but it isn't so bad I can't stand it.  I basically mix in 2 tablespoons into warm water 4 times daily.  Warm water is to help the sodium phosphate dissolve completely.  I would recommend the powder over the capsules as you get glutamine in the mix over none in the capsule form  Glutamine is a supplement used for muscle growth in endurance sports.  Evidence indicates that glutamine when orally loaded may increase plasma Human Growth Hormone levels by stimulating the anterior pituitary gland.  It is one of the 20 amino acids, but not considered to be one of the essential amino acid.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BLC Running= mas y mas y mas!

Had a busy weekend on the feet this past holiday.  I will give a full race report of the Truckee Running Festival when they post their race results.  I had a excellent time and will be attempting 2 more trail running races this late summer/ fall.  One race is a 20 miler and the other a 36 miler.  Excited to attempt something longer than the 1/2 marathon at this point.

Sunday I took it easy by going on my first "hike" since the end of the GET with Micro Monkey.  It was amazing how much snow is still up in Tahoe Meadows for it being the first week of July.  I won't be able to start running up here for at least 2-3 more weeks.  We had planned on hiking from Chimney Beach.  This wasn't a good idea it being the holiday and all.  When we came down into Incline Village we encountered bumper to bumper traffic all the way to Sand Harbor which was unnecessary as it was closed anyway due to it being full.  We burned about 30 minutes while every car in front of us slowed to a stop, looked at the closed gate and the ranger, then drove on.  There where cars high centered off the road and all kinds of craziness.  We pretty much kissed off parking at Chimney Beach as it would be full now too.  So plan B found us over at Spooner Summit on Hwy 50.  I wasn't the least bet let down by this anyway as I am sure the mountain bike traffic on the Flume Trail/ Chimney Beach approach would be out of hand.

We took off climbing up the Tahoe Rim Trail towards Snow Valley Peak.  The idea was to go up Snow Valley Peak and then drop down a old jeep road, then pick up the single track out of North Canyon back to Spooner Lake.  Micro Monkey was laying down a killer pace for my sore quads and legs.  I just latched on to her pace and enjoyed stretching my legs out nicely.  There is a ultra race that is held here in 2 more weeks and many runners where out pre running the course.  This kind of made me antsy to run too, but I needed to rest the legs.

LT from Snow Valley Peak on the TRT
Up on top before dropping down the jeep road we took a mini break and enjoyed the view.  I still couldn't believe how much snow there is on the west shore of the lake over in Desolation Wilderness.  Glad I am not doing anything PCT/ Sierra related this year!

Dropped down off the ridge and into North Canyon.  We picked up single track that basically parallels the road but on the west side of the canyon.  From here we got tons of nice downhill until just above Spencers Cabin where the trail pops out onto the road in N. Canyon.  Last time I was here I was sleeping in that cabin in the winter on a second attempt to ski the Tahoe Rim Trail that just didn't pan out.

Just below the cabin we shortcut up to Spooner Lake and made our way around the east shore of the lake.  Some Starskys blew by Micro Monkey and I.  I surged ahead after a few minutes and reeled them in, but let them best me back to the highway.

TRT/ Snow Valley Pk/ North Canyon Loop

TRT/ Snow Valley Pk/ North Canyon Loop elevation profile
Sunday morning I was off from my home at 6:45AM and headed up into the Mt. Rose Wilderness.  I had outfitted myself with my tiny 5.5 liter hydration pack, tons of Hammer Gel in a gel flask, 1 bar, 50 oz of Perpetuem and Heed to mix in later.  I also included my GPS in the pack so I could get a trace of this route from my house to Floriston and then down the Truckee River to the Farad area.  The pack felt light, but it was already warm for this time of day so I hoped to escape into the high country before the heat was on me.

I ran from my house through my neighborhood and hooked up with Plumb Ave.  This is the same approach as my current work run.  However once I get over to Caughlin Ranch I break off and head up Alum Creek.  At this point let the climbing begin.  I basically go from 4,600 ft to 8,500 over the next several miles.  Running up Alum Creek is fun.  My buddy Mike showed me this little piece of single track and I have even come here for quick evening hikes before.  Nice big Ponderosas and a little creek slicing through the canyon.  It is nice to be running single track 30 minutes from home.  I climb up the canyon until you see the first junker car that has been rolled off the road into the canyon.  At this point there is a faint bit of single track climbing out of the canyon on the north side.  I am practicing my climbing technique by doing the hands on each knee climbing style.  I am finding this relieves some of the muscle groups in my legs and lets my back rest a little.

Reno Rim approach into Mt. Rose Wilderness from home
Up on top I end up right behind the mini storage for Caughlin Ranch which is a maze of old two track roads.  This area is ghetto in that all the riff raff from Reno comes up here to illegally dump trash, dump tv sets and shoot them up leaving the shotgun shells all over the place.  Honestly that is my biggest fear is getting caught in the crossfire.  When I hear the gunshots I pretty much tense up and there has been times when I was skiing out of here last winter when it sounded like a war zone up here.  People shooting every which way.  Running this route early morning though I usually don't have that problem.

The road is hardly navigable any longer due to deep ruts and sections of the road washing out.  I keep hoping it will be completely obliterated in a few more years as I won't have to deal with yahoos anymore.  They are pretty much out luck occasionally anyway as blowdowns occur.  I try my best to run all the flat and runnable sections of the road on this approach.  At this point I am climbing from 6,000ft to 8,000ft.  I found one short cut that I can take off the road straight up the fall line.  I was very disappointed again to see this has turned into a shooting gallery back here.  TV's, furniture, bottles of all shapes and sizes... all littered about and shot to hell.  There was a truck parked here with someone likely sleeping in the back, but I prefer not to know his up and about in these parts any more.  I just kept on climbing up the steep mountain side here hands on knees.

From the top of this climb on the running becomes more consistent and it really isn't that much climbing that isn't runnable.  The rewards are awesome though because you get treated to a nice view of the Mt. Rose Wilderness and Hunter Lake Meadow.  From 8,000 ft here the road drops down into the meadow and skirts the northern edge of it.  I was blown away by how much water was coming down the canyon this late in the year.  There where creeks everywhere in places I had never seen water flowing before.  At the foot of the meadow I cross the creek on the road which is drained by two culverts that seem to be working well.  From here the road climbs again fairly steady.  I passed two guys camping in tents near their truck and I think they where caught off guard to see me back in here traveling with just a hydration pack.

I crossed the creek that flows below my winter cabin and then dropped down into a meadow with springs and creeks running pretty regularly.  I had to do my best to keep my feet dry.  No sooner have I crossed the last creek then I start climbing again to a ridge that separates the Hunter Lake drainage from Big Meadow.  Right at about 8,500 ft I encountered snow drifts.  I was expecting them, but I couldn't believe how much there was suddenly and how much was still left for this time of year.  I was able to follow the road no problem though without even needing to check the GPS.  I have been through here so many times that I just know where I need to be.  On the north west facing slope dropping down into Big Meadow I was on even more snow than on the climb up the other side of this ridge.  I couldn't believe how much snow was here either.  The meadow is currently one giant lake which I have never seen before.  I skirted the side of the meadow on 6-10ft of snow that sloped steeply into the meadow.  I didn't have to pick my way through this too much though as I just ended up on the side of the meadow where the snow wasn't instead of following the snowbound road.

At the far end of Big Meadow was another raging creeklet.  Fortunately I was able to cross it on a snow bridge.  The road became a creek from here down to a Y intersection.  I hang a hard left here and climb back up a little ridge to 8,500 ft the highpoint of the trip.  I was up and down over some pretty big drifts.  I could still navigate without the GPS though.  After gaining its highpoint the road plunges down a aspen tunnel.  I love this section in the fall when the leaves are all turning.  This road eventually T's out into another road where I again hang a hard left.  The road is pretty flat in here and crosses a few creeks which are raging.  There are still blowdowns here from last fall so I am guessing not many motor vehicles are making it past this point.  Down at a crossing of one of the many creeks that feed Bronco Creek I finally have to get one of my feet wet.  It is getting pretty intense now at 11:AM due to the altitude and direct sun.  I am cruising a burn from here to Floriston now.

I ended up treating water here at this creek, but not without first dumping cold water over my head several times.  The direct sun is becoming intense now since I am travelling through a burn from here on down to Floriston and I am still at a pretty decent altitude.  I got some HEED into my reservoir, chomped on a bar and donned my brim.  I ended up only spending 10 minutes here total which is perfect.  If I stay put too long I begin to get stiff.

From here there is some very technical old 2 track downhilling.  The ruts of the road are filled with stone cobbles and I have to descend carefully not to roll ankles.  I am wearing my Zensah ankle compression dealies though and they help a ton in this terrain.  I also decided this morning that I could treat myself to a new pair of shoes to use on my long runs this summer.  I have a stock of about 10 pairs in the basement now, new in box.  That way I have some on hand for any racing I might do and I don't have to go shopping for shoes.

Reno Rim dropping down into Floriston
I was impressed out how well I felt and how well I descended.  It really became evident to me that I have improved quite a bit on my running form and endurance since last fall.  I was usually quite blown by here and needing to just keep moving or I wouldn't make it.  Eventually my road crosses the California state line and plunges down steeply into Floriston on a long abandoned road.  It is pretty overgrown this year since it has been so wet this spring.  Tons of brush has grown up.  I have incentive to keep doing this route to keep it worked in.

Down close to Floriston the road basically disappears.  I believe this is due to a landslide that took the road out.  There is a pretty well worked in single track though that leads over some deep gullies that must drop several hundred feet to the railroad track.  The trail leads over to a water tank that must be the water supply for Floriston.  I cut through a canyon last time I was here, but ended up in a marijuana patch.  I wanted to avoid this this time so I just stayed on the now road over to a cool old church.  Here paved road leads steeply down to the railroad tracks.

Reno Rim Home to Floriston elevation profile
Usually I am completely spent physically at this point and just struggling to get down the railroad tracks the 3-4 miles to the Farad Exit.  Today I felt awesome though and more had to just deal with the mental aspect of covering these flat miles to the finish.  One thing that kept me going was that I planned on getting in the Truckee River after I had finished.  The tough thing about this section of the route is that there is really large rock that the railroad tracks set on that really aren't good for running on.  There is a maintenance road that parallels the tracks on the river side that I navigate.  In several spots it is just dirt road, but when it turns back to the big rocks I just walk so as not to hammer my ankles.  I have heard the railroad maintenance guys are hardcore about trespassing in here, but a crew passed me in a pick up truck and didn't bat a eyelash.  So I think I am good for this section.  At the very end of this section I must cross a 2 lane railroad bridge.  I must be careful here as I wouldn't want to get caught on the bridge by a train, although I have the entire other track to switch to if this was the case.  There is also a kind of walkway on both sides so I think you could even hang here even if it wasn't pleasant.  I pretty much have to walk the last 3/4 mile to a road crossing of the railroad tracks that leads uphill to I-80.  My new current PR for this after todays run was 6.5 hours.  The idea is that on the other side of I-80 is a road that leads up to Verdi Peak.  This is segment number 2 of the Reno Rim route which is 40 miles in distance.  It climbs back up to 8,444ft at Verdi Peak in a matter of a few miles.  I have done the Reno Rim last fall as a 2 day trip, 30 miles day one and 40 day 2.  The plan is to start doing the entire 70 mile route in one go.  I felt good enough finishing the Reno to Floriston segment that I easily could have banged out the second half.  I would want to start much earlier though as maybe that would by me some time and get me across the Truckee before the heat of the day hit.  I don't want to give off the impression I am running the entire way though.  The climb up to Verdi Pk. is almost unrunnable for me due to how steeply it climbs and the fact that in the last 1/4 mile or so it dumps into a scree field that must be navigated.  I would like to get out here again shortly though and carry the GPS on the 2nd half of the Reno Rim to get a idea of its exact distance and a elevation profile would be sweet too.  I feel the Reno Rim is a excellent training tool to have in my back yard point to point from my home as I don't need any shuttles and I have tons of vertical gain right here out of Reno.  Reno to Floriston along is 4,000ft of gain and descent.  I was reading another ultra runners blog and that was about what he did for training regularly so I figure it will help me.  I hope someday to do back to back navigation's of this route as I would be ready for some serious short record attempts if I had that for a base training regimen.

On a completely different note today I begin a 10 day raw food detox.  Last year I did a 7 day version of this detox, but this year I felt it would be good to go a few days longer.  I had really awesome results with the detox last year.  I felt much lighter and I also felt that I digested my meals better.  I used to fast on water/ juice for a week twice a year back in my yoga days in college.  I was amazed at what was stored in my body and what was released during the fast.  I have a hard time doing a true fast as I wouldn't really be able to be at work on a fast and it would interrupt my training.  I found with the raw food detox I did last year that I was able to still train and maintain my daily regimen.  Day 2 and 3 where the hardest with just feeling gross as all the toxins start to come out of my body.  From that point on I felt pretty good daily.  Last night I went to purchase some groceries to begin the detox and was amazed that the raw foods section of the store has expanded consideribly.  I had a choice of several snacks and even some deserts.  So I am finding it much easier to locate raw foods this time around.  I will definitely post the results of the detox at the end of it.  I started off at 174.4 lbs this morning.  The detox involves bentonite (in a pudding form that I much prefer to drinking the powder mixed in water), psyllium husk, and a 10 day supply of a 3 step detox system that involves pills and powders.