Thursday, June 4, 2009

Great Times on the Road...

Well, although it ended a few days earlier than I was anticipating, my amazing road trip came to an end last night. I picked up Sascha from Nancy and Al's house, she and I hung out while I unpacked the car, and we were asleep pretty late. As great as the trip was, it was awesome to get back to Sascha. We missed each other.

Here's my trip, by the numbers:
13 - days gone
3100 - miles driven
38 - average miles per gallon for the Honda
12 - days ran
300 - miles ran
25 - average daily running mileage
62,000 - approximate amount of vertical feet climbed and descended
2 - races ran
5 - National Parks / Conservation Areas visited (Bryce, Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite). I got good use out of my Golden Eagle Pass.
11 - nights in sleeping bag
2 - glorious nights in a bed
3 - showers (2 were even on back-to-back days)
0 - pounds lost

Here's a short daily summary:
May 23 - 52 mi, Pocatello 50 miler, 13,680' vert., 9:59, 3rd place, awesome race - definite National Championship caliber
May 24 - 9 mi, Bryce Canyon Natl. Park with Bryon, hilly. We didn't see another person in the canyon - crazy for Memorial Day weekend. Cool thunderstorm on the drive there.
May 25 - 5 mi, Grand Canyon Rim with Bryon, flat. Pretty evening run and got to scout out a bit of what was coming.
May 26 - 45 mi, Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim with Bryon, 11,000' vert., 11:44. Down South Kaibab, up North Kaibab, down North Kaibab, up Bright Angel. The epic of all epic runs. Beautiful day in the canyon with a great friend. A definite must-run for any self-respecting trail and / or ultra runner.
May 27 - 5 mi, Red Rock Canyon Turtlehead Peak, 2,500' vert. Great evening run-turned-scramble. I was definitely outrunning the dark at the end of this one.
May 28 - 10 mi, Nopah Range Wilderness & Resting Spring Range Wilderness (CA / NV border near Vegas), very hilly, a bit of scrambling, hot.
May 28 - Drove the Badwater course. Death Valley Natl. Park is amazingly beautiful! If Badwater was in November, I'd love to run it. However, I'd definitely consider crewing for it. Those 3 climbs are awesome!
May 28 - 15 mi, Whitney Portal Road, 4,500' vert. Last 6.5 mi. of Badwater course, plus up the Whitney trail a mile to 9,000', then back down. That road is steep! (this days was my only double of the trip)
May 29 - 15 mi, Half Dome in Yosemite Natl. Park, 5,000' vert. I started the run / hike up in a storm, but by the time I got through the mass of people, the storm had passed. About a mile from the cable ladder on Half Dome, I passed 2 guys who told me I had it all to myself. I scrambled up to the cable, climbed up to the first rung, then stopped. I was happy to turn around there. No need to scare the piss out of myself climbing solo on the very-exposed cable ladder. It was very cool, though, to be the only person even just on Half Dome's shoulder, a mere 400 vertical feet from the top.
May 30 - 35 mi, Shadow of the Giants 50k, 5,000' vert., in Fish Camp, CA, just outside of Yosemite. This was a last minute decision to run. Ran purely based on heart rate - never above 160, never below 150. Victor B. caught up to me with 7 to go and we ran in together - great getting to know him a bit. Fun to see Liz, her 2 ultra-virgin friends, Gerad, Clark, Victor, and the SF gang. Then a nice, relaxing evening with Meghan and Bryon at a Bluegrass festival. A sweet way to end a fun day.
May 31 - 15 mi, Cool - Hwy 49 - Auburn - Cool, rolly with a few good hills. Some equestrians alerted me to a rattlesnake. Today started 4 days on the WS course.
June 1 - 33 mi, Dusty Corners - Robinson - Swinging Bridge - Dusty Corners, 5,000' vert. I met Bob from Foresthill out training for the Tevis Cup (he proudly showed me his buckle), and I saw a bear 1/2 way between Miller's Defeat and Dusty - very cool! Good run.
June 2 - 32 mi, Michigan Bluff - Swinging Bridge - Foresthill - Michigan Bluff, 7,000' vert. Great day in the canyons. My quads were definitely sore after this day. Not that I'll run these times on race day with miles on my legs, but here are the splits: Thumb 29:17, Michigan Bluff 39:45, MB - FH 1:00.
June 3 - 29 mi, Rucky Chucky, up Driver Flat road to the highway to Foresthill, then down to the River. 3,500' vert. I'm glad I did this run - it reminded me that there are actually quite a few ups on the way down. Cal 1 @ :30, Cal 2 @ 1:15, Cal 3 @ 1:41, Rucky Chucky @ 2:23. I wasn't trying to blaze down by any means, rather just a good, solid effort; but it's amazing to me that the top guys run about that time during the race for those 16 miles.

All in all, an incredible road / training camp / time with friends / alone time. I definitely feel fit right now. The hardest part for the next 3 weeks will to be to try to keep myself under control. No more long runs. Shorter stuff, faster stuff, maybe even an 8k this weekend, and definitely the Dirty 1/2 the next weekend. I'll probably take Sascha to see if we can run / hike up one of my central Oregon favorites - Black Crater.

To all of you out there training for Western States, enjoy the next 3 weeks. I just noticed the bib numbers have been assigned. I'm 320.


Jamie Donaldson said...

Hey Sean,

What an adventure! I can't believe all the places you went! I was excited to see you were on the Badwater course! So, if you are serious about crewing someone--I am looking for 1 more crew member/pacer this year especially for those climbs. I can offer you beds and showers for 2 nights before the race and a bed and shower that Tuesday afterwards. My email is:

Good Luck at Western!

Brian Morrison said...

Sounds like a great road trip. I'm envious. 320 is a lucky number. That was my number in 2006, and I know that doesn't seem lucky, but as long as you don't kill yourself up the climb to Robie, you'll be fine. See you in a few weeks.

Ronda said...

Wow Sean, what fun and awesome training taboot! You are ready for WS. Enjoy your next 3 weeks and some speed.

Darin Swanson said...

Glad to see you lost no weight...cheese fries? ;-)

Captain Hairdo said...

0 - pounds lost

Not like you had a lot to lose in the first place!

Olga said...

Holly cow, Sean, that is crazy! Is it your best streak of running, or what? Awesome places, I am totally jealous, and you ARE ready! See you Friday at Squaw!

Peter Lubbers said...

What a great trip, Sean. Looks like you're ready to do some damage at WS100 now!

Bret said...

Sean, I am in awe. That is an amazing amount of running. What a great time. You are so ready for WS. You gonna be right in it this year.

Gretchen said...

Seriously, you went all the way to Half Dome but didn't go to the top...when NO ONE else was there?? Now THAT is crazy! ;)
See you soon.

Brad Mitchell said...

Road tripin' good times - stay healthy! Best of luck at WS.

Unknown said...

good job sean. It's been a while. I'm rooting for you at western from afar. Stay strong and healthy.


Matt Hart said...

great stuff colonel! i can't wait to cheer you on at western buddy! it's gonna be good times.

run ur gutz out!

Ben Blessing said...

Shadow of the Giants AND R2R2R?! I hate you Sean. I really want to do both of those. I did get my 4th 100 under my belt, so I'm happy about that. But I do believe some of the happiest moments of my life are when I'm not even racing, just enjoying the singletrack & the great views that come with it. Good luck at W$, you have my full support, and God willing it goes well for you. Rest easy buddy.

Andy Martin said...

Awesome! You will represent us well as W.S.

Meghan said...

I still can't believe you didn't to out on Half Dome. It was only a moderate thunderstorm to navigate while holding onto metal cables on the area's highest spot.

Good to see you and rad running trip. I, too, can't wait to see you run like hell at WS100.

Hope your taper is going swell!

saschasdad said...

WOW! Thanks to all for the positive comments - they all really mean a lot to me.

Jamie - I'm working on it.
Brian - I'll proudly wear #320.
Rooster - sorry I missed you guys for R2R2R.
Darin - cheese fries only once (after R2R2R).
Cpt. Hairdo - actually I did lose 3 or 4 lbs., but not on purpose.
Olga - as always, it was great seeing you at Pocy, too.
Peter & FatBoyee - thanks for your on-going support guys, I appreciate it.
Gretchen - what can I say, I'm scared of heights!
Brad - you were missed at Pocy, you would have loved that course (and knocked me off the podium).
Nessski - I thought you might make a PPP appearance. I miss you, bud.
Hart - hopefully my guts will be staying in my body, as opposed to projectiling on the trail.
Ben - nice sub-24 at SD, you rocked it, dude!
Andy - thanks, man...or are you just buttering me up so I don't beat you at the Dirty 1/2?
Meghan - by the time I was on 1/2 Dome, the storm was gone. I was just chicken. Thanks for the hospitality. See you soon.