Saturday, May 31, 2008

Training lots, Blogging not lots

To quote Brian Morrison: "Boy, hard training and frequent blogging do not go hand in hand, at least for me."

But I'm taking 2 days off - in a row - soon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sascha's Ochoco Adventure

About a week and a half ago, Sascha and I decided to head out to the Ochoco Mountains for a nice, long day in the mountains. The Ochocos are located about 30 minutes east of Prineville, kinda in the middle of nowhere. I love going there for a few reasons, one being that I hardly ever see another person. The Lookout / Round Mountain loop is an awesome 27 miler with about 6,500' of ascent and descent. It's a great trainer for most hard 100s.

The Ochocos got a lot of snow this winter, so I called ahead to check the trail conditions. Knowing that the FS personnel usually give the worst case scenarios, I was excited when the ranger station lady told me I could probably at least make it up Lookout. So Sascha and I loaded up with lots of food and nuun and started running up the 7 miles to the top of Lookout Mtn.

It was probably 4 miles before we hit snow, patchy at first, then it really started coming at us. I had been up this enough times to know the general direction, so wasn't too concerned when I started losing the trail. Only once did I really lose the trail, but somehow managed to stumble on it again. We eventually summited the large, and very snowy, plateau. After walking around a while, we found the summit sign. I briefly contemplated just doing an out-and-back, but thought that wouldn't be much fun, so we continued the loop on the north side, heading down, over, and occasionally post-holing through, lots and lots of snow (Sascha has a distinct advantage in these conditions). Although never finding an actual trail, we did somehow manage to pop-out a few miles later at a trailhead. Hm, nice.

Next up, Round Mtn. The lower part of this climb was mostly south facing, so there was nice, dry trail to run on. Closer to the top, however, the trail wound its way over to the east side and lots of snow. Crossing a small creek, I decided to fill my bottle. It tasted sooooo nice and refreshing, but my tummy immediately started rebelling. Hm, maybe not so smart. We lost the trail again, so just decided to beeline to the summit. Great views and great weather were at the top, so we took a little break. I broke out the pepperoni sticks and decided Sascha deserved a few hunks, too. She was stoked!

Now we had a decision to make: continue the loop another 5 miles down the very snowy north side of Table Mtn. until we hit the road for the last 7; or go back down the 5 miles we had just come up, and the last 4 also on a road. Not wanting to get too lost, we went back down the way we had just come up. It was a bit tricky, though, starting down on the east side and losing the trail often. Going down one snowy draw in particular, not really knowing if I was going the right way, I had a slight panic-attack. So we stopped, hiked back up about 5 minutes, and Sascha came to the rescue and found the right path going the other way. That Sascha, she's smart sometimes.

We got back to the road and I was kinda looking forward to just running 4 easy miles down now, without having to navigate. So we ran, and ran, and ran, and kept running. Hm, maybe 5? Finally 7 miles later we safely made it back to the Honda. Sascha was hot and thirsty. I was just tired and hungry.

It was a great day. 27 miles, close to 7,000' vertical, 6 1/2 hours, lots and lots of snow. The mileage was actually really big for Sascha. She had 2 acl surgeries in 2004 and hasn't gone more than about 20 since then. So that, coupled with her being 10, made this a great day for her. But I don't think she cared about the surgeries or being 10. She was tired and happy and just glad to be done. And I was happy to have spent an incredible day getting lost in the mountains with Sascha.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


So I went down to the Headlands for my 5th running of Miwok 100k. I love this race - it's got lots of great, runnable climbing, nice downhills, beautiful ocean views, lots of great competition, and the typical 1st-class organization that I've grown accustom to in Northern California races. In my previous 4 runnings, I've had good races (9:41 & 9:28) and not-so-good races (10:23 & 10:40). This year was a good race.

It started on the Wednesday before. I was working at Fleet Feet, thinking about my afternoon run, and noticed I was feeling like crap. Body achy, really tired, and generally fatigued. So I decided to skip my evening run and sleep as much as possible that night. Biener was even nice enough to give me Thursday morning off.

So I slept lots, got up late, went for a short run with Sascha, and got to work in the early afternoon. Rod and Rob both noticed, and commented on, how much like crap I looked - thanks, guys. Rob was even nice enough to get me a smoothie with a shot of "feel better". I made it through the day fine, packed that night and slept way too little (Coach Tate had an early departure time scheduled). It was actually good to leave early, as we (Tate, Prudence, and I) didn't get to the Headlands Hostel until a little after 4 (damn Vacaville traffic).

We met up with Gretchen at the hostel and had a nice walk on the beach before heading to dinner. Just as we were leaving dinner, we ran into Fatboy, but couldn't talk too long, as Prudence and I were on a mission to get Nyquil. Although a little reluctant to actually use the Nyquil, I eventually decided to do it on the drive back to the hostel. So we were taking Nyquil shots while driving; is that legal? put me to sleep by 9 and I was out for the night. I think it may have been my best pre-race sleep ever.

Race morning was nice and relaxing, I woke up feeling pretty good, and we just lolly-gagged over to the start. As usual, Team Oregon was out in full force. My plan for the day was to run really easy (conversation pace) with Thomas for the first 42, then see what we had left. So we started out super-mellow, not caring at all how far back in the pack we were going up the long road. From the first a.s. at 6.2, we were just talking, running, and passing runners all the way up to Pantoll. On the Coastal Trail to Bolinas I took the lead and was just cruising along without any real effort. Thomas said we were moving along at a good clip, so I'm hoping that meant my Boston training was paying off. We passed a few more runners on the way to the turn around at Randall, and caught up to Kami. She asked how far back Bev was; apparently she didn't like the answer because she immediately put some distance between us and was down the road fast. We also ran with Mark Tanaka for a while. He told me he had my splits from 2005 (very nice ego-booster!) and that we were slightly ahead of pace. Arriving at the turn around (mile 35.6) at 4:57, I knew we were faster than 2005 since I had never been there sub-5. And I was still running easy enough to hold a conversation with Thomas - crazy!

The skinny German boy and me.

That energized us a bit as we ran back up the big hill and caught back up to Kami and Mark Lantz. Kami noted how she was walking most of this hill because when she ran it in 2005, the effort kinda kicked her butt a bit later. So I immediately started walking. The 4 of us got back up on the road and ran in a nice pack for a few more miles. It was cool rocking with the old farts! Around 39, Thomas started getting stronger and I was lagging a bit on the rollers. Finally I told him to not wait anymore and just go. It was a couple miles before Bolinas, mile 42, so he was reluctant, but finally went. Mark followed him, with Kami not far behind. I guess running up most of the hill was getting me now. So I plodded along, drinking lots of kona kola nuun and water, and guing a bit more often to get some pep back.

A few miles before Pan Toll, 49.5 miles, I was feeling good again. I got there in 7:10, took a couple minutes to make sure I got everything, filled my bottles, grabbed a gu, and even a small to-go cup of salty potatoes and I was outta there at 7:12. I knew 2ish hours for the last 13 miles was fast, so took off down Mt. Tam with thoughts of 9:15-9:20. I definitely didn't fly down like I had hoped, but did enjoy the climb back up to Hwy. 1. I knew I needed an s-cap there, and got one, but in my haste, forgot to get another gu. I remembered about 200 meters out, but decided to not go back. Instead, I ran hard to Tennessee Valley. I figured if I was going to bonk, I would rather it be as close to the next a.s. as possible.

Up on the ridge I could see down to the aid station and noticed Thomas arriving there just ahead of Kami. Dang, I wish I was with them. I got to Tennessee Valley without bonking, filled a bottle with Coke, got 2 gus, and took off for the final 4 miles. When I'm running well, my goal for this section is sub-40. That's hard, and I've never done it. I didn't kill myself going up, but as I got closer to the top of Wold Ridge, I saw glimpses of Thomas and Kami. Then they popped over the top and were gone. I got on top, took one more glance at the incredible view, and headed down, down, down to the beach. I heard cheers a couple times for my buddies, then soon enough, they were for me. I happily finished in 9:18:52, 11th place, 9 1/2 minute Miwok p.r. I was happy.

Thomas finished his first 100k in 9:14:08 for 9th, and Kami finished in 9:15:50, keeping her perfect Miwok-record alive at 3. Not long after finishing, I looked up the trails and noticed a girl running down who looked very was Prudence, and she was rocking in 3rd! She finished like a rock star in her first Miwok, 9:47:23, and nabbed the coveted final girl's spot for an automatic WS berth (of which she knew nothing about, but after hearing is now going!). Two other friends of mine also completing there first Miwoks (and 100k): adventure racing stud Seegs ran a great race for 4th in 10:01, and Tate was happy, blister-feeted, and worked with her great finish in 13:39.

This, my 5th running of Miwok, was my transition from "Boston road training" to "WS trail training". Apparently, I found a recipe that seemed to work for me:

88 pre-Miwok miles for the week + sick boy on Thurs and Fri + Nyquil on Fri night + having absolutely no expectations and going out super-easy = 10 min. course p.r.

Now why can't 100s work like that?