Friday, June 5, 2009

Stepping It Up

After recovering from my two days at the WS training camp, my coach and I decided it was time to step it up in my training. The first thing I noticed about the June training calendar is the fact that I was scheduled to run every day. Not one day off. I've never done that before. I was doing some long stretches of running before my surgery and I didn't have a problem with it so I'm looking forward to seeing how I handle this. It's actually nice to get into that solid routine of knowing that I'm going to run every day, no matter what.

Last Sunday found me running above Lake Tahoe on the historic Flume Trail with my friend Frankie. We had met early at Spooner Lake, left a car there then drove to Ponderosa Ranch to start our run. The first 3 miles found us climbing quickly up Tunnel Creek Rd for 3 miles to the intersection of the flume trail.
Frankie pointing out distant snow-covered peaks across Tahoe
Frankie is a very strong climber so I worked on staying with her while I led on the flume.
Climbing Tunnel Creek

The day was absolutely beautiful and we were the only ones on the trail. Unbelievable. Lake Tahoe was glass. It wasn't until we reached Marlette Lake before we finally started seeing other runners and backpackers.
Does it get any better? Sand Harbor far below

We circled partway around Marlette before hitting more singletrack on our way to Spooner Lake.
Marlette Lake

Descending fantastic singletrack
We determined we would run the 13 miles in about 3 hours and I wanted to get closer to 3 1/2 hours so as Frankie continued straight back to the car, I added a couple more miles by running around Spooner Lake which included the last mile of the Tahoe Rim Trail 50.
Spooner Lake peeking through the trees
I followed that up with a run on the Western States trail with my dog on Wednesday. After letting my family know where I would be since it's a pretty desolate area, I headed out to Michigan Bluff. I wanted to get some good long descents and climbs and this is the place to do it.

My plan was to run from MB, down to El Dorado Creek, up to Deadwood Cemetery and back. The first descent is about 2.6 miles with a small creek crossing about 1 mile from the start which was good for Yuba. We refreshed ourselves at the creek then headed up the 3 mile climb to Deadwood. About halfway was another spring so Yuba had plenty of water. It was a nice day, not too hot with a little overcast.

I remember this being a very long stretch from the training run so I was ready for it. There were some runnable sections with the steeper stuff being hiked as quickly as I could. After reaching the top of the singletrack I explored the cemetery a little further up the hill. What a view of the canyons. Incredible.

I turned around and started the long descent back to the creek. This part just destroyed me during camp but it was much more enjoyable with fresher, stronger legs. I pushed the pace and concentrated on just letting myself go on the downhill. We stopped once more at the creek and I was surprised to see dozens and dozens of beautiful butterflies flitting all over the rocks near the water.

I started the last climb of the day and seemed to get stronger as I got closer to the top. I had stashed a bottle on the way down and was glad I did. This run was only about 11 miles which I did in just over 3 hours but it was good to get the steep ups and downs.

Yesterday I was suppose to run 4 hours but I just wasn't feeling up to it. It was unseasonably cold and rainy and I needed to spend some time with my family. So I settled on a 4 mile run in the afternoon and the rest of the day was spent playing, making home-made chicken tortilla soup and chocolate chip cookies.

To make up for yesterday I got up real early this morning so I could get over to Reno and get a couple hours in before work. Unfortunately, it rained quite a bit yesterday so my planned run up Peavine Mtn introduced me to the infamous Peavine Shoe Sucking Mud. It caked on my shoes making it difficult to walk, let alone run. It was miserable. The first hour saw me cover just under 4 miles. As I headed to a different area of the mountain the trails got better and the second hour of running was much better.

So my running streak now stands at 13 days which is probably a record for me (I know that's nothing compared to some streakers). I'm feeling good and still real excited about the next workout.