Monday, February 19, 2007

Spring-ing up that hill (twice)

OK, so I was actually more like "shuffling" up that hill, but it was definitely Spring-like conditions. Now that I'd announced my plans for the season, it was time to start my first official "serious" run with a long hilly session over Mission Peak to Sonol and back. My mid-day Saturday start was absolutely perfect, sunny and warm. In fact, I even had to use my S!Caps for the first time this year. Since I actually decided to go ahead and sign up for the Ohlone 50K even though it is only 2 weeks after my 100K, I thought that heading up the start path of that race was appropriate. I started up the main fireroad and then cut over on the Peak Meadow Trail to catch Horse Heaven up to the right side of the Peak Trail. For some reason I always get off path on Horse Haven, especially in the early season when it hasn't seen much traffic other than by cows (which begs the question as to which animal it really should be named after). After a couple sessions of back-tracking and cutting across fields, I did manage to get to the Peak Trail and hit the top in a little under 1:05. A half minute rest and then a nice long rewarding downhill to Sonol. I continued down the Peak Trail to the Eagle Trail and around the back side for a stop at the water spigot to fill bottles. Then its a bit of the Laurel Loop Trail to the Sign-in panel for the Ohlone Wilderness. Dirt and then gravel fireroad all downhill to Calaveras Blvd where a crosswalk leads to the trail into the Sonol Regional Wilderness.

The downhill section from the back of Mission Peak to Sonol is some of my favorite; beautiful, quiet and a perfect grade for running. However, it always seems to take longer than I expect . Every time I run here, I think that I should reach the park sooner given that I am generally moving at a decent pace on this part. No matter, I arrive soon enough. At Sonol, there were many people enjoying this wonderful afternoon, but it was definitely early season as evidenced by the fact that none of the water fountains were working. I jogged around checking a few different ones before heading over to the Visitor Center to find the big jugs of bottled water that had very kindly been provided by the park staff.

After refilling water and downing a Clif Bar, it was time for the long trudge back up. Just as the trip down always seems like it should be shorter, the trip back up always seems like it should be longer! I think this is a great example of the mental aspect of distance running. When I am coming down moving well, I think I tend to be looking ahead and focusing on where I am trying to get to. However, heading up, knowing it is going to be tough, I tend to just put my head down and focus on keeping those feet moving at as constant a pace as the terrain will allow. I am always surprised to look up and notice some landmark that has arrived sooner than expected. I arrived back up at the Eagle Trail with around 3 hours total moving time. Since it was only around 5pm at this point with plenty of light still left in the day, I decided to head back up over to the far side of the Peak Trail again and bag the peak one more time before heading down. Up and over the peak the same direction as before just in time to see the sun starting to set. Continuing down the Peak Trail to the start of Eagle, this time I would head down the main fireroad finishing right around sunset in a little under 4 hours total.

I just spent a very long time plotting this route on the USATF routes site. However, when I attempted to save it, I apparently crashed their program as it reported a "stack overflow" and a message about not being able to handle that many points. Bummer! The full route was probably somewhere between 18 and 18.5 miles with around 4600 ft. of climbing. The legs felt better than expected and I was still able to knock off a 6 1/2 miler on Sunday for a weekly total of close to 55 miles. Feels like I am back in training again and ready to start bumping up to those back-to-back weekends. Here's what I am thinking for a weekly training plan, keeping in mind that I always keep things flexible week-to-week:

Mon: Rest or X-train (possible a short barefoot run on grass or treadmill)
Tue: Easy 1-hr or around 7-mile run
Wed: Mid distance of 1.5-hr or 10+mile run (building up to longer runs or double days)
Thu: Tempo or speedwork of around 6 miles (alternatively easy run on a light week)
Fri: Rest
Sat: Long run or possibly a training race (mid-distance run if training racing on Sunday)
Sun: Build up to Mid-Long run depending on Saturday's run (target 30-40 weekend miles)

I am also going to be hitting the weights a couple of days a week as well as doing some flexibility, core and ab work as consistently as I possibly can. I am learning how important much of this is for active recovery and injury avoidance, but it still doesn't make it any easier to get myself to do it!

Happy training everyone!!


angie's pink fuzzy said...

that's funny that you crashed the site :) good luck with your training!

Brad said...

I tried posting a 300 mile run across the state of Iowa. It didn't like that either!

Any goal for the AR50? I think if I can finish in 10:59:59, I'll be happy. I want to qualify for WS100 so I can be a two time loser!! ;)

Eudemus said...

Brad, that's a real bummer about the USATF site especially since it takes SOOOO long to get your route in there!

As for AR50, I am trying to think of it more like a training run since Miwok is my main goal for the season. It is supposed to be significantly easier than Firetrails was (7800ft climb vs 3400ft climb). I think that something 10hrs (or even below) is a very doable target.

I too am looking forward to being a 2-time looser for WS. I was actually glad NOT to have gotten in this year. However, I only have a year and a half to do 100 miles before I turn 40, so unless I get in for next year, I will have to pick something other than States.

Brad said...

AR50 is my spring chance to qualify for WS100 and training for my 300+ mile Run Across Iowa 2007 in June!