Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 1-Western States Training..a little snow, a few lows and some good company

Day One of 2010 Western States Training Weekend marks the end of the really serious long runs leading up to the big day.    I choose to run Day 1 and Day 2 combined into one long Training Run..and it was long.  My longest training run ever..

There is so much to cover on this event..if I get some pics and elevation profiles generated I will.  First the news of the day.  It only turned out to be about 44miles total.  Since their is so much snow up at Robinson Flat that folks could not drive too close.  There were several folks that did shuttle to about 4miles from Robinson then hike up and go from there.  I got a ride back to Foresthill last night from Rory Boscio...she was one of those runners and she said it took them 4hours to cover 10miles in the was deep and postholing was the norm for them.

For me  I caught an early ride and got dropped off at N43/N44 with Ken Crouse, Barb Ash, Allison Thomas and others where we started our shorter version of the long run.  My pacer Darin Loucks was in from Seattle and had to get up at 4am with me to get ready.  He would later join me at Michigan Bluff and run with me. We started off with about 4miles of snow which compared to the stuff at Robinson was kid stuff..but still snow..It was leaving my quads and hamstrings tired.  But we where ahead of the main buses with about 300 other runners so that was nice...I settled in with Barb Ash and another women and got out ahead of our main group.  Things were going very well as we broke free of the snow and things started to warm up...Lots of Sun it was gonna be a nice day.  My IT was fine and I was s-capping and hydrating well.  I kept thinking back to last years run on the same section. I was so much stronger and in better shape...but is it gonna be enough for race day? 

We hit Last Chance and a few of the fast runners caught us but no worries I managed to get to Swinging Bridge in 2:45 then start the climb up devils thumb about 43 minutes up so that was good for me that even had some stop time as some kayakers where heading down the trail..first time I saw that!   It was nice to be out in the lead pack of runners so when we got to Deadwood and the aid station the food was fresh and they still had plenty of ice...Barb Ash who had got behind me came up fast from the Thumb and we took off for the downhill to El Dorado Canyon...I got out in front and felt good for the first time in a long time running downhill and kept thinking of MB and the climb.  That was hard on me..Barb came by about a mile into the climb and that is the last I saw of her.  I got to the stream which signals 1 mile to the top and had Brian Hacker come up and say hi...we all where getting some cold water to push on.  My coach was at the aid station and my pacer was there as well..I thought I felt ok but when we took off out of MB I was having my low point of the day.  For nearly a mile I was walking and tired.  My pacer just kept telling me to keep moving..Things improved on the single track and downhill to Volcano Creek...Energy back.  Tim Twietmeyer comes by fast I point him out to Darin and he is impressed.  We catch him at the stream and I again stand in the cold water...It reminds me of a horse I met last year on the trail its owner said any stream the horse just loves to stand in the cold water..Well I am just like that feels so good!  We got to Foresthill and it was hard not to say lets bail here..I had been on my feet for about 7 and a half hours..slow but steady...but we pushed on after a long break there.  There where other runners going on to Drivers but they seemed in no hurry to leave. Me on the other hand wanted out.  Some good sections with my pacer down to Cal 1 as I pointed things out about race day on the trail.  I know these sections very well. 
It was now getting late afternoon and the canyons got a little dark but we would pop out into the sun every now and then .  It was very still and quite very nice.  We ran down Impail Trail only to be passed by two runners that know how to downhill! I suck...Oh well we caught the at Cal2. 

Legs actually came alive on the fun switchbacks down and this was the fastest and easiest section all day.  Darin was wondering what to say and do as a pacer for me..I usually don't run with a lot of folks so I stay quite and don't talk much but he was helping by keeping me moving and making sure the Scaps where being taken..I have adjusted my doseage to 2 caps an hour.  This seems to work wonders for me.  A very strong push up Cal3 and some average running to sandy bottoms and the river. It was a long day.  I was ready for it to end so I wanted a ride out from Rucky Chucky for the first time seemed popular as a lot of runners did that option..It was now about 8pm as we finished at Drivers Flat a great day...Still some energy left in the tank..but I wanted to get to my car.  Rory came up just then and we got a ride with her..she seems pretty neat...She says she just wants to finish WS..but she better beat me is all I can say....

Darin and I grabbed some pizza and got home about 10pm...stayed up till 11pm and the legs where now cooked it was hard sleeping..between my neighbors dogs barking all night..(really can we be more rude!) and the legs it was not quality sleep. 

Taking off today then off  to run the final 20 on Monday.  Legs should not like me for the first few miles. Then its tme to go into maintenance mode.  I am so happy my IT and knees seem healed. WS is gonna be so hard but such a reward getting to the line and running as good as I can.  The goal is to finish....


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Next weekend Western States Memorial Training Weekend..But First....

Gad! What the heck has happened to warm weather leading to 100 degree temps of June?  We are hard pressed in northern California to wrestle free from winter temps once and for all. 
With two weekends left in really hard training then on to sharpen and maintain for June 26, This Saturday's run was meant to be a moderate amount of suffering.

It took me longer to recover from Miwok and the amount of time it took to finish than I had wanted it to be..with the last two weeks work week training being very light...It did not help that most of my real life work was bumping in to my training schedule. But that is what springtime is. I was able to generate a sound proposal for an enterprise system for one of my major agencies I work with.  Sorry I rarely talk work..but this took a lot of time and strain on the brain. After I presented the proposal it was well received.  So I can still prove my worth on the work front...

One to one more matter..I was at Auburn Running on Friday and picked up a new dvd of someones account of their running Western States...It is called 100miles to 40.  It is about a women that ran WS for the first time last year...Lets start with the good...It had a lot of video of runners I know and run with...Erik Skaden, Mark Lantz, Eric Johnson, Stephan Itano...and glimpse's of a lot of local folks...Some nice footage of the course itself...The not so good...Understanding that each persons motivation to run Western States is individual it really was the persons own story.  It just was not motivating and lacked some real information on what she did to get to the starting line...No really why do you want to run Western States?  It is like she could have run any race and felt good about it...I felt no real passion in her words or experiance of being at the event and all its history.   I am sooooo glad the producer had footage about the course etc..She is very different than those that I know who run on the WS trails and aspire to run the event.  She kept talking about her limited training and saying she was gonna break 24hours..It seemed so naive and very self absorbed.  The kicker was that she started out saying and showing that she is a smoker and is not gonna quite...That just hit me as being so wrong.  The worst scene was her sitting in a chair at squaw after getting word that WS was cancelled in 08 due to the fires..she was puffy on her smokes and whining on her cell phone..The positive is I found another  very strong motivator for race day is to use this woman's image of completing WS to get me through those tough times.  Just my view point..Focus on the side story and watch the other runners in the event and then its a good dvd.  Still Race for the Soul is the best dvd, followed by Running Madness....

On to Saturdays  run...BITTER COLD! SNOW! I saw a bunch of folks leaving out of Foresthill as I was gonna run out of Michigan Bluff today...I was happy to be running alone today and see how things went with the IT and other minor leg issues. I have been working on those everyday.  I ran the whole day without any IT issues, now IT support bands etc..that was major. I ran the downhills faster but still very slow and timid. But I had much more energy than last weeks crater day...I was back! That felt good. 

As I started this was sunny when I set out with some fast folks 6miles behind me...I graped my gloves and long sleeve jersey I normally only wear on winter days and I am so happy I did!  I was starting to overheat on the way down to El Dorado Canyon and peeled off the clothes but that soon changed.  I got cold heading up to Deadwood but on the plus side no tired quads and a steady pace up.  It was still and quite out there as I got to deadwood.  At the pump my hands got numb filling the bottles and I got out fast.
I was being a wuss heading down Devils Thumb and I thought I am glad that I will not be going down this many more times between now and June..It seems worse for me to go down than up! 
I was near the bottom when Mark Murray, Erik Skaden and Mark Lantz caught me.  It was warm in the canyon but soon to change...Energy level was very high and I just focused on the climb up Last Chance...Last Chance was very cold...I got to the first gate and was freezing..I saw Monica Moore and Sandra and they where heading back..they said it was snowing up at the water spigot! The temp dropped fast in that short time and they where right..I grabbed some water and food and took off back on my return..I saw Victor Bellastoros and Rob Evens heading up..they looked fresh..Then on run down Pete Defty shirtless he was gonna suffer for that!  Then Rory Boscio..running alone...Strong young runner.  It took me a long time going down from LC to Swinging Bridge just wanna keep everything in place and not injuring myself...

Got to the bridge and saw Jim Hopkins and a friend of his...I let them go on the climb up the thumb. I wanted to go up alone and practice my race day strategy...It worked well with trying to conserve energy while still making solid progress on the climb. I was thinking what it would be like when we get some real heat..that was the only downside of an otherwise perfect effort up DT

I did not take much time at the deadwood pump and passed Jim...I wanted to see how I reacted on the downhill to El Dorado canyon..I was going conservative but much faster than in previous weeks..No IT, NO Pain...Pete Korn came blowing by let me know that I was still running slow on the worry cause no pain!  Now some work...climb up and finish at Michigan was cloudy and cool at the start..
I was amazed at how well I was climbing this first mile..somewhere along the way it just started SNOWING..getting real cold...So the last 30minutes where spent moving as fast as I could running and power walking up...I got to MB in all out downpour of that white stuff...I made a point to get into some warm clothes, start the car and heater and wait for a few runners I knew that started at Foresthill..they most likely would need a ride out and save them from hypothermia.  Not far behind came Rory...dang girl your fast...I spoke with her and then a few minutes later came Jim..I got him and saw Stephan Itano come up as well..everyone got into their cars and peeled out as fast as possible...It was COLD!.

A good day of running a long time on feet but about 50minutes faster than last weekend so a positive sign..Into the sauna today and think of one last weekend of training 72miles in two runs then take it to the barn for repair and begin final preparation's for the big dance!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sufferfest in the Canyons: "Make it feel like the last 20 at WS"

Let us cut to the chase...Yestedays run in the canyons was my worst ever!  I just plain out suffered after the first 9miles to my finish of only running about 31 out of a scheduled 37.

I had all good up with Mark Lantz at Foresthill School and run to Last Chance and back.  That was accomplished I saw a ton of folks heading out to the canyons most starting at MB and doing various canyon distances.  I had some hesitation running with Mark since even though he is coming back from injury...M9 from last year is still very fit.  We took off from FH and had a nice crossing at Volcano and I powerwalked very well up to Michigan Bluff in a time of 1:15.  Mark normally runs that in 1:06 and me..well about 1:30 so a good pace for me...legs felt fine no issues at all, IT ok.

We saw Kate Evens at MB waiting on Rob to catch her he must have started after us from FH...We took off on the downhill to El Dorado.  Mark was doing fine for his first day in the canyons.  We began the climb to Deadwood and I handled that well until the quads suddenly felt weak with about 3miles to Deadwood.  I was tired..Here started my day of suffering.  I tried gels, extra S-Caps (those seemed to help later) as it felt more like a hike the rest of the day...I have never felt so low mentally as well in the canyons.

Overall time wise I was only about 15 minutes slower than normal as I began my downhill to Swinging Bridge...With my IT concerns it took forever as I babied the downhill...I finally go to Swinging Bridge to see Mark waiting for the climb up to Last Chance...we set off and it was here I had my minor mental melt down. I told Mark to F OFF as he told me to power walk really strong (he was right ) but I had no energy still...Caren Spore came up from behind and told me to use the day like the last 20 can be at WS....Then Pete Korn on his way down said to do the that was it..just get through this...

I finally go to Last Chance and turned with Mark...The time was really not slow about the same as 4weeks ago so even though I felt terrible it still was not bad in the big picture of things...I waddled down to Swinging Bridge and grabbed some very nice spring water prior to going up Devils Thumb..thinking like race day I timed the ascent.  It was slow, not as bad as heading up to LC...but I have that time to measure for race day...I met up with Caren again and she was being nice and showing concern..nice thing about trail runners.
I took it easy on the way down from Deadwood and saw Grant and Leslie on some of the switchbacks I could have caught em and had some company but I was intent on suffering by myself. 
Finally...the climb to Michigan Bluff..I was really slow and the 10minute log took me 14minutes to get to on the climb...I just kept moving. with less than a mile to go I heard Grant shout down to me on the switchback above me....I caught him and we finished out the day of suffering.   I had to stop at MB...Mark was coming to get me.  I had done the same for him and Skaden in the past now my turn. 
We all hung out for awhile with all the dogs of MB....Matt Keyes offered up a beer and we enjoyed the late afternoon sun. 

A long day of suffering nothing went really well after the first 2 hours.  But still If I had to push I could have...but better days ahead.  Still on track I have been doing the work, with long hours and runs.  Today...going to the gym, sauna, cold pool. 


Sunday, May 9, 2010

48 Days till the Dance...Some good signs and plans are taking shape

With last weekends Miwok 100K in the books the week proceeding turned out to be about recovery, test the legs, and begin to set a plan. 

The early week had me a little tired on Sunday and Monday just from the shear hours being out there and not sleeping well on race night.  I still managed to get to the gym and jump on the Elliptical to start the road back.  I used the sauna each day and was working the legs and IT.  I noticed that I did not feel as tight in my legs as in past races.  I believe my legs are getting used to this.  I went to Monsters on Tuesday and both IT's where hurting during the session.  I vowed to continue stretching, using the foam roller,stick and sauna.  I am gonna be ready.  It was a revovery week before things go on for the final 30 days of hard training.  I enjoyed not running but was looking forward to Saturday and a return to the canyons. 

I tested the weeks worth of this recovery effort with a run from Michigan Bluff to Devils Thumb and back.  A great spring day...I saw many runners and it was enjoyable stopping along the way to talk to everyone.  As a side note..As I drove up that morning I was letting myself vision what race day would be like from the start to the sections along the trail and the finish..It was rather exciting and emotional..I am going to make it to the starting line.  So hard to believe.

That said I ran easily and on my climb to Deadwood I noticed something all the climbs are hard but my legs are feeling fine on these climbs. It does not mean I am running faster but the effort is not as hard as in prevous years in the canyons.  I think this is a good sign...The best however was the fact that on the run down from Deadwood to El Dorado Canyon I had no IT pain at all and ran some sections free and easy. 

I then climbed up to Michigan Bluff and the last mile with Bob Crowely we had a good talk and I had ots of energy.It was a perfect short recovery day!

Sunday I went for another short run and planned out the coming last three weeks. The IT was holding up and I felt ready for a hard week coming up.  Foresthill to Last Chance and back.  Then two weeks till Memorial day training.  Things are going by so fast.  I was able to make my first draft of my Western States Race Day Plan.  I will share more as it get firmed up but its very conservative with some unknowns on how race day will be...Snow Course Route cause of too much snow near robinson? Boat River Crossing?  I am going ahead with some goals at certain sections fo the course.  My coach thinks its pretty conservative and could be faster.  We will be reviewing this.  I have my crew, I am planning my aid station, drop bags and crew.  Its all coming together...

Its so close now...and I can't believe it...


Monday, May 3, 2010

Training Race Number 2-Miwok 100k-Fun and Lessons Learned

John Blue Snapped this image a stunning climb

Partial Elevation Profile-about 56miles--The garmin ran out of power.

I guess the best way to begin how I approached Miwok is to take a look back to the workweek prior to the run. It all started with the short taper run in the canyons the week before. I begin to focus the Monday prior with trips to the gym each day to go in the sauna after a short workout and work out the issues in my legs with the stick. This was starting to work out and after my last massage on Tuesday my legs (ie..quads) finally felt normal they where tight! I started to feel better about running Miwok..The work week had long hours so I did not really think a lot about Miwok and my first 100k so maybe that was just as well. I had a late week call with a friend and he described how I should manage the Miwok course and the out and back...Just take it easy on the way out and not focus too much on busting it hard on the climbs and save it for the return to the finish. With that in mind I packed my gear and blazed out of Rocklin mid morning on Friday...

I arrived at the newly renovated Larkspur Hotel in Mill Valley (race central ) to some stunning views and perfect weather for relaxing the day prior. A quick take on the was nice, not a lot of thrills, but very clean, and not noisy at all...well worth the price since I never heard a sole while in my room at night..

There where so many familiar faces arriving it was nice to talk to a few. I meet up with other first timers Chris Perillo and Amy Schmich. I would give them a ride to the start. Race day arrived very early with getting up at 3am and then meeting them downstairs. We got to the start with about 50minutes to kill but it seemed to go fast. Dark, not cold, no breeze it would be a nice day.

Conditions where ideal as we all set into our own races..Front of the pack folks including Skaden, Anton, Hal, Wardrian, etc where off fast. I saw Chris and Amy and they looked comfortable each time we passed during the day. I had my plan to take it easy, hydrate and eat well, not let the IT get wacked out on fast downhills. All was going according to plan. I did feel legs being a little tired early on in the race but knew that all this would pass during a long race like this..just get through that low and soon a good section will come. My best section came from the turnaround at mile 35 to Bolinas Ridge about 41miles...With energy in reserve I set out to cut a little time down from my start. This was fun I had a nice pace leading some folks that where most likely on par to finish somewhere in 14hrs..I really had no idea where I was in my pace..I just ran.

I did get caught up in some folks running when they slowed I would slow I wanted to save my energy...but as I got to mile 49 it was late about 11:30hours of running...I had lots of energy and took off after grabbing my flashlight just in case it got dark..A smart move indeed!

My IT had been fine and I kept things in check. I hit HWY 1 and the descent into Tennessee Valley..I had this in the bag I was smelling the barn and feeling good. Well my IT on my left leg flaired up on the downhill to was frustrating..I wanted to run strong to the finish but could not..Going up hills was not the problem just the downhill...And that is really what the last 7.5 miles where about. It got dark, windy and I hit the I saw the finish in the distance I got passed by a dude I smoked by at the start..oh well.

But in the end I found out a lot...This was my longest time on feet and I went through many different phases, some good, some bad but through it all I kept moving. This race taught me I can do that..It was the slowest ever.
But still satisfying.

I want to say thinks to all the volunteers..Especially Stan Jenson and Victor Ballesteros they where out there all day and always had good things to say when I saw them.

Now work on the IT keep training in the canyons, get in some more heat. The base is really there to finish Western States. No, not a silver buckle bbut a good run will be there the work is showing the dividends.