Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vacation #2

Vacation #2 at the family cabin in Echo Lakes was refreshing as always. Lily and the Cheetah went up on Monday morning. I had to wait till Wednesday a.m. due to work and call-out status, as always.

The first two days Lily had the Brown Family up. The Cheetah attends school with Abby the youngest daughter. We learned last year that cabin vacations now require friends to play with; parents don’t cut it any longer with the Cheetah.

Wednesday night my long time friend Thor and his daughter Sienna came up. We had a lot of fun hiking, fishing, playing.

I was curious to see what the body would do after TRT 50K. I took Sunday and Monday off due to a swim meet, packing the family and then work. After that I planned to run while up at the cabin and train thru for Wildest Run 100K. This week and the next would be my final push before a taper.

Most of the time at the cabin you do a lot of walking. I’ll hike with the kids, walk to the lake which is a little over a mile one way. Just walking/hiking around a couple of days I did 5 miles before my run, (I wore my Garmin because I was curious).

I found some nice loops on the TRT/PCT to run while on vacation. I planned to do a big run Saturday down the Hawley Grade trail and back up the old highway as a final big workout.

Running at altitude wasn’t bad, I noticed it, but compared to past few years it was not too bad. The biggest problem I have at altitude is eating. It just kills my appetite. This would hurt me on all my runs I did over hour half in length while up at the cabin.

The Hawley Grade trail runs 1.8 miles down to the cabins in Myers. I did a loop on fire roads near the cabin so it was 3 miles total to the bottom. From there it was a flat road run to the base of the old highway. Along the way I found a pair of $5 cross country skies for the Cheetah at a yard sale, SCORE!! The old highway road is closed to vehicle so you can run up the middle of the road. This route was obviously popular with area cyclists and walkers; there were a lot of people doing intervals on the lower climb.

The climb is pavement and completely exposed. To aid the training effect I went mid-day on this run. It was mid 80’s but that sun sure beats down on you at 7000+ ft.

I was able to run the first half of the hill about 15 mins of running. After that it got steeper I had to mix in some power walking. After crossing Hwy 50 I ran the remaining mile to the top, OUCH, switchbacks. At Hwy 50 I realized I was a bit low on food which made that last mile extra fun.

The total loop was approximately 10miles with a lot of downhill and uphill running. I wanted to go father but I was bonked and hey, it’s vacation. I ended up with 30miles of vacation week running which was fine with me.

I will be coming back up for more training in the future. The altitude running is difficult but it’s a nice addition to the training load.

As always I had some interesting things occur to me. This usually occurs anytime I take a vacation. Usually right before or after vacation I have a crazy situation at work. This time it was something really good during vacation and really bad after vacation happened.


In January Thor came up and we did a family winter vacation at the cabin. While there Yahtzee was brought out and a vacation ritual was born. It can get ugly at the table. If the kids weren’t playing there would be some serous smack talking laid down by the adults.

This go around was the most incredible Yahtzee game I’ve ever played or heard of. The game had seven total Yahtzee’s, (which is all six dice the same number if you didn’t know). Sienna had four of those Yahtzee’s, including her last roll of the game. Let’s just say she won the game. I took her the next day to buy a Lotto ticket with her picking the numbers, we didn’t win anything.


The bad news greeted me as soon as I got home. After not viewing email or the internet for a week, the first thing I did was check my email. The first email I read stated the Wildest Run 100k I had been gearing up for was now canceled. Lets just say I was pissed off, not a nice way to end a vacation.

The RD was very nice and sent me a refund and explained why he had to cancel. Basically it was cost and I think a lack of registered runners. I fumed for a while and then got over it.

So I have decided to run Sierra Nevada 53.2 and maybe some other races. CIM is still my late season goal, but I need a WS100 qualifier before November.

I have yet to decide what to do in August, but I’m leaning towards a long speed hike in the Tahoe area.

Below are some pictures of how we roll on vacation and yes I got the wife doing the Catalog Pose now.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Tahoe Rim Trail 50K

This past weekend I competed in the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K. I was initially entered into the 50 miler event. Recent issues and the difficulty of the course made me change my mind. I figured the 50K would allow me to train up and through the event without taper. That way I could continue to train for my 100K, while still testing my fitness.

I accomplished both plans the week before was definitely not a taper week. I completed a flat 10 miler with some tempo miles, Hazel hill repeats, and a crazy hot run with Kirk and Jenny on Wednesday.

The day before the race I did my usual routine of driving up and car camping in the remote parking lot. I brought along Melisa who was looking forward to her first Ultra since AR50. A nice two part race recap is in the works from her. She had a camera that I forgot so go to her Blog for photos.


Race morning was cool, but you could tell it was going to be a warm one. My race plan was to go sub 6hrs if the body had it in it. 2008 was a painful 6:28hr bonk/cramp fest that took weeks to recover from. My thinking was a 6hr or under on this course without too much damage would help me plan out Wildest Run 100K. Looking at past split’s I thought I had 5:45 in me on a good day.

I saw Tim Twietmyer was racing the 50K so I planned to use his superior pacing to see where it got me. Tim ran 5:40’s last go around, I hoped he was planning a similar time this go around, (he wasn’t).

The gun goes off and I latch on to him and Julie Young another very fit runner. The beginning miles to Hobart are one sustained climb on sweet single-track. By mile 4 I waved goodbye to my pace setters and went my own way. I could tell I wasn’t going to have the legs for whatever they were going to run, (5:26 and 5:33).

The run to Tunnel creek was uneventful I ran a bit with some runners I had not seen in a while and ran my own race. As usual my inability to #2 pre- race necessitated a quick stop. As luck would have it an oasis in the form of a pit bathroom was conveniently located just before Hobart, soooooo nice.

The run to Tunnel Creek aid station is a long downhill. I think of myself as a capable downhill runner. At one point a female runner blazes by and I heard a guy behind me say something about her being a 2:45 marathoner whose gone to the Trials, blah, blah, she’s going to tear it up today, blah.

So of course I immediately think: Well the race isn’t just a couple mile downhill guy and we’re already OTB of the front runners. I hope she run’s fast uphill to she’s going to need it to live up to the hype.  I know not nice thinking, but I was getting into race mode. I would see Mrs. Trials later…….

So into Red House loop I go, left leg quad is twitching so I up the salt, it helped. On the steep ass drop into the Red House loop I see some of the 100 mile people. A few look like they are pushing it too hard for a 100 mile, but what do I know.

Just before the creek crossing at the bottom my body told me I needed to make a pit stop NOW! I have no idea where it came from but after that I felt great, (and a lot lighter). Seems cold bland rice, broccoli and chicken is still too volatile a pre-race meal. I chocked it up to the altitude and moved on. I ran the rest of the loop except for the backside steep and started the climb to Tunnel Creek aid station #2. Waiting for me were Kirk, Jenny and Pam.

I’ve done a lot of racing solo, seeing your friends at a race is a very welcome site, THANKS GUYS!! Pam got some photos, check her Blog.

The climb out of Tunnel Creek was ok. I ran a lot more than 2008 which I had hoped to do. I played it smart and power hiked the steep pitches and ran everything else. Even so I was slower running than I wanted, my hips were tight.

As I was finding my way up whom did I see up ahead of me, Mrs. Trials, oh hello there. Well on the DESCENT to Hobart from Marlette Peak I caught Mrs. Trials. No I wasn’t trying either. Ok so I’m deep into the race and hurting a bit, so I wasn’t thinking so nice again. Here’s what my brain said to her: WOW you’re a fast downhiller just like your boyfriend said, now work on everything else.

I saw her behind me till Snow Valley, which I admit made me hurt more because of the trash talking I did inside my melon. I figured she had a bad patch and would again smoke me on the descent to the finish just like Tunnel Creek.

At Snow Valley I freaked because everyone was calling me by my first name. I was told after a blunt,”How do you know who I am”. I was told they had a race roster. I apologized and gulped some Coke and got moving.

The 5.5 mile decent to the last aid station at 1.7 miles from the finish is brutal. It’s completely run able and trashes quads worse than a WS100 Canyon. I knew I would need energy to get down it fast. My increased salt kept cramps away, but the legs were a bit stiff. Almost to the end I bonked a little. The final aid station came into view I had planned to blow thru but I needed a Coke jolt which saved me from a complete break down.

I was able to finish in 6:07hrs. I was upset on not breaking 6hrs, but I feel I did as well as I could. While sucking down two Cokes in rapid succession at the end Mrs. Trials came in. I was able to chat with her and found her to be a super nice person. I felt like an ass for the trash talking her, but I figured explaining my mental trash talking would have sounded far more bizarre than what I said. I figure we all do it so why apologize we don’t really mean it when it all said and done.

As always the views at the race were spectacular. I feel ready for the 100K with another few weeks of hard training before a taper. Next up, 5 days with the family at our cabin in Echo Lakes. I plan to get some more high altitude running in the greater Lake Tahoe area.

On a side note I raced with my new waist pack I've been trying out, the Nathan X-Trainer.  I realy liked having a free hand and the gel flask.  I used the Pegasus 27 for my shoes.  They continue to live up to my expectaions of them, a great all around shoe.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vacation and Running

So since my last post I've seen my running improve and I went on vacation.  I don't know why I feel better running, but I do.  I have found with some informal tests that I've improved my fitness.  This will help with TRT 50K on the horizon and my goal race in August, Wildest Run 100K.

Due to work and an oversight on my part my vacation plans were messed up.  The original plan was for the family to spend a week at our cabin.  My friend Jim was going on vacation and offered us a room when he heard my problem.  Jim and family were going to the Hyatt in Incline Village for a week.  The family and I had gone in 2008 it is the place to be to relax.

I was able to run a bit and experience the effects of altitude before TRT.  The next to last day I ran a 10 miler with part of the run the Tunnel Creek Trail which is an approximate 3mile climb.  Here are some photos for the run:

Along the way I met Vicki who is in the second picture.  She's a local stud, yoga instructor and all around nice person who runs TWO repeats of this climb as part of her standard running.  As we talked and ran, I was huffing and puffing and she was just fine.

I was pleased to find I wasn't as worthless as usual at altitude.  I'm hoping this holds true for next weekedn at TRT.

I finished the run at Sand Harbor where the Cheetah was the Goose whisperer:

While there the Cheetah completed her first cliff jump off large rock piles in the lake.  The final jump we did was a long drop to the water, I was scared the first jump but she was all smiles.

The fun we had also included a Jetski run the previous day where we ejected ourselves on one run.  The kid had smiles the whole time, I think she is evolving into daredevil.

I used to own a Jetski, after seeing how much fun we had I think I'll be looking for a new one for next season.