Thursday, July 31, 2008

Favorite time of the morning

I love it when I time a run like this morning - leave home when it's still fully dark, start to notice the sky lightening so it's not pitch black, then start seeing smudges of peach and purple near the eastern horizon, and get home just as the sun starts peeking over the hills. Of course, at this time of the year, I have to leave before 5:00 AM to do that...

Five mile easy run this morning, trying to average 8:20 miles and ended up with 8:13. A little slower uphill in the first half of the run, a little faster on the flats and the last downhill mile. Decided to start wearing the HR monitor, to collect data in case I ever decide to train using heart rate zones - I'm intrigued, but haven't spent the time to learn enough about it yet. Might as well use the strap, though, and see where I'm at.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stupid treadmills

Rode my bike to and from work yesterday. Very nice morning for a ride, but hot and windy by the afternoon. In a couple months it'll probably be pretty cold for the morning ride, and nice in the afternoon...

This morning's workout was supposed to be 5 miles, 3 at 7:00 miles with a warm up and cool down mile. My favorite treadmill at the gym died on me about halfway through the first fast mile, so I moved to another one. It started out all jerky, so I switched to a third. Ran on it for about a half a mile before it, too, switched off with no warning. Tried a fourth, but it was jerky like the second one, and I gave up in frustration. I was thinking of cutting the workout short due to a sore throat anyway, but I had been feeling pretty good up until the point that the technology started failing me. I guess I should take this advice to heart and try to control my own pace better instead of letting the treadmill set it for me.

To add to the tech problems, it looked like Lumpy uploaded it's data just fine, but it's not in the Garmin Training Center (that lives on the computer,) only on Garmin Connect (the website.) So, no cool little graph of today's workout...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Flatline grind

So, starting out on a new marathon plan, thanks to Runner's World's Smart Coach. I plugged in numbers and variables about 5 times before I found a plan that looked challenging but doable. I chose Saturday as my long run day, to get it out of the way, and to make Sunday a "Rest/XT day" - which for me is going to mean "on the couch, watching golf." I've got a couple of mid-week Rest/XT days, too, and I'm going to try to ride my bike to work (7 miles each way) on those days.

The first Monday, today, was a 6 mile easy run at 8:20 pace. Normally, I'm going to try to do my easy runs outside, but I wanted to get a gym workout in this morning, for some reason. This run ended up on the treadmill, in front of early-morning infomercials. Pretty steady, heart rate, pace and all, kind of a flatline. Good way to start out, though.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rest week

Been a little lazy on the blogging front recently. Oh, well, this was kind of a rest week anyway, between the ultra last weekend and starting a new marathon plan next week. I did get out for a 5 mile run on Tuesday - I was tired, but still felt itchy to run - and another 5 Saturday morning. Saturday was supposed to be more like 10, but I just wasn't feeling it. Did an interesting route, though - really urban. Oh, well - I can start to bear down again next week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tahoe Rim Trail 50K

Kind of a surreal experience today - heading to a race to do 50 kilometers (32 miles) and that being the SHORTEST race. There were also people doing 50 mile and 100 mile races, so my red 50K race bib wasn't very impressive. But it was my first ultra, so I didn't feel too bad.

To jump right to the finish: I generally don't like to publicize my race goals like some people, (although come to think of it, I did on my last race) but I did have a time in mind that I wanted to shoot for today. In the training run two weeks ago on the same course, I stumbled in, vaguely delirious and out of water, in 7:40. So I figured breaking 7 hours might be within reach, if everything went well. Well, everything did - great weather (a little hot), clear skies, good pacing early, stuck to plan of walking most uphills and running flats and downhills, and too my electrolyte tablets religiously every half hour. Felt great throughout, and finished in 6:44.

OK, now for a few pictures:

Ladder-based pre-race briefing from the race director. He's showing one of the huge arrow signs that were at every junction. In addition to these, the course was liberally marked with red and blue ribbons on clothespins. I kidnapped one - it snagged on my pack as I was running under a tree, so I stuck it in a side pocket and kept going. Can't imagine that messed anyone up, it was on singletrack at the time and there were no turns...

This is a look up one of the hills (not even the steepest one) on the Red House loop. Doesn't do it justice. It was a SLOG.

The eponymous red house. Some kind of control shack for the flume/water pipe system that's around there, I think.

Beautiful and fragrant field of wildflowers (mule ear?) still on the Red House loop.

Standard self-portrait, right after the Tunnel Creek aid station, where I finally got to meet a fellow Reno running blogger, Reno's "other" Micheline. Her husband was running in the 100M, I think.

A collection of trail photos. Note the three people stretching off into the distance in the last one. I passed 'em all. And a few more.

One of my favorite places, ever. This is from somewhere on Snow Angel summit, looking over Marlette Lake to Lake Tahoe. This falls into the "remind me to update the section of my will that stipulates where my ashes will be strewn" category.

Big thanks to everyone involved - I had a great time. Lots of volunteers, and a really well-run race.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shortest run

3 miles is about the shortest run I do, and it was ideal for this morning, the last taper day before this weekend. Nice loop through the neighborhood, some parks, some hills. Kept it right around my cruise pace of 8:00-8:15. Beautiful morning, too - just a little of the smoke still around from the California fires. Hope it stays clear up at the lake this weekend...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Taper week

Kinda came up with a plan to taper this week, although I don't really want to - my legs feel twitchy and ready to go. Got some of that beat out of them this morning, though. Here's what my week looks like:

Monday: XT (Rode my bike to work, 6-something miles each way)
Tuesday: 6-mile progression run; not too hard.
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Easy 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Race

Here's this morning - I did a 9 minute mile to warm up, then two at 8:00, one at 7:30 one at 7:00, the a cool down mile at 9:00. Stupid treadmill stopped on me during the fifth mile, that's the spike you see there. Couldn't get it started, had to switch to another one.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Running the letters

Saw a little bit of everything on my run this morning - neighborhoods, dirt roads, singletrack, and urban running. Nice morning.

Headed out just before 5AM, just as the sky was lightening a bit. By the time I crossed McCarran and reached the top of King's Row, where there is an access road to get to the Peavine foothills, it was light enough to see pretty well.

At the top of this hill, after a few switchbacks, I was above the hillside Reno "R" - hence "running the numbers letters." Later in the run I would go right above the UNR "N". For the time being, though, the sun was coming up a beautiful red-orange. It was really breathtaking, but, unfortunately wasn't captured very well by my camera...

I continued around the foothills, but took a bit of a wrong turn on some enticing singletrack and came out of the backcountry a little sooner than I wanted. I continued on one of my favorite trails over to and back down Evans Creek, taking the pedestrian tunnel under McCarran into Rancho San Rafael. Since I'd cut a bit out of my run earlier, I didn't take the direct route home, but ran through the arboretum there, past a nice lake.

Back up to Sierra Street, where I came withing spitting distance of downtown Reno (the urban portion of my run), then back home.

Almost stretched it out to 12 miles, which is what I was aiming for. Felt good, strong, and as long as I don't do anything stupid this week, I think I'll be in a good place leading into next weekend's 50k.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Easy, easy

Took a couple days to recover from the weekends big run, but I got back to the gym this morning for a basic workout and an easy progression run. Still felt stiff, but it felt good to work some of it out. I did 3 miles, progressively faster each mile, then a cool down mile.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Official TRT Training run

Had the "Official" training run for the TRT Ultra today. They had called this a 25 miler, but really, it was up to you what you decided to run. Some people did the 25, some turned back a little early, and some added on the infamous Red House loop, making 32 miles and pretty much the same course as the 50k race. I was one of those people - for some reason, I thought I should see what that part of the course was like, since I'd never been on it. It was BRUTAL. But, let me start at the beginning...

You can tell they got a pretty good turnout - this parking are and the one across the street were full, and people were parking on the edge of the road.

We started out and headed down to Spooner Lake - here's a blurry running shot of a bunch of us:

After Spooner we did a 4-mile climb up to Marlette Lake, and I ran with a couple of people - girl named Casey (sp?) from Cool, and an, um, talkative guy from Reno named Eric. Very nice people - in fact, everyone I talked to all day was very nice, helpful, and encouraging. Here's Casey and Eric heading the last stretch into Marlette:

A couple miles uphill to an aid station, then some more up to this view:

(Normally, this would have a shining blue Lake Tahoe in the right background. Not today. Couldn't even see the lake in the morning, although it cleared a bit later.)

It was here that my camera battery died, too, so no more pictures. Sorry. I wasn't really up for taking many more anyway, as it turned out...

I somehow lost the people I was running with around here, and made it to the next aid station alone. It was here that some (most?) people turned back to make a 25 mile day, but I convinced myself I wanted to take a look at the 6-mile Red House loop. Hooked up with a very nice guy, Jim from San Rafael, who seemed to know the way pretty well. Here' what the Red House loop consists of: STRAIGHT downhill for a mile or so, on loose sand. Nice loop of maybe 3-4 miles, passing said Red House. STRAIGHT up the loose sandy hill you came down. That hill killed me - I walked, slowly up it, pausing for a few seconds to rest every time there was a shade tree. Back to the aid station, where I tried to pull it together for the - jeez, losing track here - 15 miles back in? Picked up running with a couple of guys that were going to do the 100 miler, Greg and Travis (I think - I'm bad with names.) They were going a good pace for me at this point. Made it with them to the last aid station, 9 miles from the finish, where we learned they were out of water. Hot, dry 9 miles in. I walked A LOT of it. Ran out of water about 4 miles out. But made it.

Couldn't eat anything at the barbecue afterwards, barely got down some water and a Sprite. Had a HUGE calf cramp while taking of my shoes; clenched for like 30 painful seconds until it released. Stopped in Incline for an energy drink on the way home; I think caffeine and taurine were pretty much responsible for me getting home. Cold bath, pizza and Aleve tonight. Not looking forward to tomorrow morning...

Really glad that one of the aid stations had sample packs of electrolyte tablets - I think that saved me a bit. Going to have to find some more of those for the race.

Oh, and here's a link to the Garmin Connect page for this run. 7:42. Wow, that's a long time. Average pace of 14:30. Lots of stopping at aid stations and walking up hills.