Monday, May 6, 2013

It's the Summer of (Trail) Love

Feels like Summer anyway, what with 90+ degree temps last week.

Previous summers I have focused on triathlons, or speedy short races like 5Ks. This year is the year I focus on the trails. Because one is never to old to learn new things.

My first trail race was 2 1/2 years ago - a nasty hilly 10K turkey trot with lots of climbing that reduced me to walking. Since then, I've done a ridiculously hard 30K at Bulldog that nearly killed me, and then enjoyed the heck out of the Double Dipsea last year. But in all that time I never really trained much on trails. Just a little on some local trails which are pretty tame.

Then a few months ago I jumped in with both feet and joined a club, the Santa Monica Mountain Goats, and they have weekly trail runs in the mountains that are basically all brutally hilly, but really fun. So most Saturdays I now get up at 6 and make the 30 minute drive to meet up with 20-40 other crazy types and run some hills. I love it.

So my race schedule this summer has a lot of dirt on it. Once I got past Boston (or as Kynan calls it, a nice pre-ultra tempo run, which it basically was; 20 mile tempo at 7:59 pace, followed by 6.2 miles of ultra training at 10:43 pace) I shifted to ultra training. No speed work planned until June. Just long slow miles.

I have my first ultra coming up in 3 weeks, a 50K trail run in Portland. I was seduced by the chance to run for 5 or 6 hours with loop luminaries Mild Sauce, the Flying Matzes, and Lady Runs A Lot, and we convinced a few others to join in too, AnnieRunsforFun and JuanitaGF. Not all are doing the 50K, but there are shorter races too, so it will be a loop party! And there's a beer garden and free food. Nice way to spend Memorial Day.
Once I recover from that nonsense, I have 5 weeks to be ready for my second running of the Double Dipsea! Yes I am coming back to do it again, because it is just such a great race. Plus the Sauce and the Matzes will be there, along with John Wayne and Mr. Bacon! Can't wait for that one.

A month after that I am returning to the Central CA Loop mansion to run with Medievalist again, and hang with other loopsters. this year we are doing the Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf 10K which is a road race, but a very crowded party-like race that should be lots of fun.

Finally I am capping the summer off on Labor Day with another Loopy trail run - the Climb to the Top of Mt Baldy, which is only 10K, but it is straight up from 6,000 to 10,000 feet! More of a hike I think...But I get to hang with Atom Buddy and Alice. Life is good.

Holy cr@p!

So, running update. After Boston I rested a week, then got sick for a week and another week to get over the cough. So not a whole lot of running. But this last week was good. 7 on Tuesday, 5 on Thursday, and then 10.2 on Saturday with the Mountain Goats on a really nice single track trail. We climbed 1,600 feet in the first 2.5 miles before cruising along the crest and then coming back down. Lots of fun, and I'm starting to get better at doing these technical trails.

Here I am Sat AM heading up the hill.

I followed that up with 13 flat miles on Sunday to practice running on tired legs. Felt surprisingly good and got up to 8:15 pace for a while. But then I turned and hit a nasty headwind for the last 5 miles which really took it out of me. I switched to ultra mode, took a few walk breaks and trotted along closer to 9 minute pace. Still, felt pretty decent for a 23 mile weekend. Next weekend I am going to do my longest training run ever, close to 22 miles. I am going to do a run around Palos Verdes, which has been on my bucket list for a while. I'll let you know how that goes.

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