Sunday, May 29, 2016

Scrambled Legs

Going up Miwok Trail from Rodeo Valley then left onto Wolf Ridge, just as you hit the road there's a trail heading steeply down to the right going to Tennessee Valley that I like to call "The Leg Beater". Not only is it one of the few trails that hasn't been "improved" in the area (so it still has lots of rocks and uneven terrain), it also descends 800ft in a little over a mile, most of that in a 1/2 mile section about mid-way down. I've gone down this trail numerous times as part of some of my normal Headlands' routes and Harry and I did a run that went up it a couple weeks ago. However, last Wednesday I did the run down and then back up it and decided it was going to be part of my Hardrock training, whatever that may be.

Anyone who knows me well is aware of my distaste for formal training. But, Hardrock is a beast. Aside from heading to Colorado 2 weeks before the race, some sort of "specific" training is probably prudent if I don't want to just squeak by with less than 45 minutes to spare like I did last year. There's still too much snow in Tahoe, so I can't really get any significant runs in at altitude yet. The only other thing I can do right now is try to work on my hill climbing (and hope some endurance carries forward from the Ultra Fiord).

Last week after the down-and-back to Tennessee Valley via "Leg Beater",  I hit up the full PG&E trail at Rancho after work the next evening. I was heading to Tucson for the weekend to visit my son who just finished his undergraduate degree at UofA so I was limited for time. However, I endeavored to get up early while I was there and check out some runs in the mountains outside Tucson.

I got up early Saturday morning and drove up towards Mt. Lemmon. Since we were to spend the day car shopping I only managed a short run starting around 7000ft and topping out at 8000ft. It ended with less than 5 miles and was more hike than run including some scrambling and route finding which made it longer time-wise than expected.

After finally finish the car purchase at 10pm and doing a bit of celebrating after, it was pretty tough getting up Sunday morning, but I managed to drag myself out and head 45 minutes south to Madera Canyon. The run up to Mt. Wrightson goes from around 5400ft to 9400ft in 5.3 miles. Those miles were slow going and took me 2 solid hours, but at least I had fun making it back down the rocky, winding trail in 1/2 that time.

While the total miles for the week wasn't much over 30 miles, it did count for well over 9000ft of climbing which still makes it reasonable Hardrock-grade training.

It's hard for me to schedule in much trail time during the week other than Wednesdays when I work from home so I decided to try to make the best of it. I thought I'd give a shot at motivating myself to do some repeats on "Leg Beater". After the up and over from Miwok I manage to coax myself through three repeats up that middle bit. It is definitely a grind, but it is pretty nice to add 500ft to the total climb count every 1/2 mile. The run came out to just over 9 miles with 3000ft of climbing. Do that 11 times and you've got Hardrock....only at sea level...sigh.

The hills did seem to pay off as the ascents seemed a bit easier than normal on my two runs this weekend even if they only totalled about 6000ft over 30 miles. However, I did manage to hit 55 miles for the week which is around where I want to be at this point.

Hopefully I can get up to Tahoe at least once or twice in the next month. Either way, we'll see if I can mentally manage a few more repeats each week. Not much time left so I guess I better just get out the beater and scramble some legs!

1 comment:

Olga King said...

Try doing it in Texas...the Hardrock training I mean. Where you are options still exist! Do it! :)