Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lake Sonoma Training Run

Finally pictures from the training run held two weekends ago, hosted by RD John Medinger and the Tamalpa Running Club. It was my first time on these trails and was eager to run them. However now that I've run a loop of the course (50-mile course consists of two 25-mile loops, at the completion of the first loop you turn right around and go back to the start line for the finish) I'm bummed I won't be able to take part in this years race. I was signed up last year and was given the opportunity to sign up again this year before registration was opened to everyone but it didn't work out schedule wise. Ah well perhaps next year. I'm just glad that I was able to finally run these trails.

Tamalpa was able to get a group together and John provided an aid station at mile 12 and a cooler of beers and soda at the finish. The weather was great and the company even better. We went around just one once around the lake which was roughly 25 miles. The first half had some tree cover but the second half of the 25 was mostly exposed, I can imagine how tough it would be on a hot day in April and it can get warm on the course (90+). The terrain is mostly rolling until the last 5 or so miles where there are two climbs to get to the turnaround. I didn't think they were that bad though. I just walked and ran them and was fine. There is a lot of elevation gain in the 50-mile race (over 10,000 ft.) but it's spread out throughout the race. There wasn't a climb that I felt was especially tough. The terrain is a beauty too, mostly smooth, not technical at all. There are at least two stream crossings but it has been so dry here due to the lack of rain that I only got my feet wet on one of the crossings, no big deal.

Well I liked it so much I'm going back with another group this weekend. If I complete another loop I guess I can technically say that I've done a 50 on Lake Sonoma:) Enjoy the pictures and big thanks to Tropical John and Tamalpa.

Tropical John, getting us together at the start.

Jorge Maravilla, kicking it with us, tapering for the Ray Miller 50-mile.

Aid Station cart just before the 12-mile mark.

Hans, making it look easy at 70. This guy runs road and trail, short to ultras. Seems like every time I open the Tamalpa Gazette, our club paper, his name is on the results of a bunch of races. There is usually a picture of him too.

A section of the lake.

Potable water at mile 17.

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'.

Pink is a lovely color, especially when it's a marker. There were hardly any course markings but John made sure there was markings at places where people could get lost.

I was able to spot the trail we ran on the other side in some places.

Post race cervesas.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Much Better Now

I survived my long run this past Saturday. It ended up being 25 miles and almost 5.5 hours but it was all trail, no bridge and all the road miles running to and back from it. I got dropped from the very beginning by Larissa and Jenn, all three of us including another three runners from our Thursday morning runs are entered for the San Diego 100. The ladies chatted and bounded uphills as I slogged my way through, mostly waking the hills. Jenn cut out early but Larissa and I completed the loop with her a couple of miles ahead.

It turned to be a super day because as sucky and congested as I felt it didn't get worse. I really enjoyed myself and frankly it didn't feel long. The climbs were tough and so were the downhills but I felt I could have kept going. Larissa felt the same way but we had to boogie back to the city afterwards as she had a client to train.

Besides spending time with the two studly ladies I ran into Jorge Maravilla as I passed through Muir Beach. Talk about breakthroughs, this guy lost 20 pounds, worked harder at his running, started winning races last year and got picked up by Salomon. A big year for him last year and this year is off to a great start. Great guy and extremely excited about the sport.

Tomorrow is another early day as my running club, Tamalpa, has organized a training run in Lake Sonoma, perfect for those running the Lake Sonoma 50 miler in April. I was entered last year but the course was under water due to recent storms. Not entered this year but at least I'll get to finally run on the trails, for 25 miles of it anyway. I'll bring my camera and maybe I get a few good shots.

Till next time.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mental Push Ups

It's that time of the year - cold and sickness bugs! Last Saturday I got up feeling weak and funky, like I was coming down with something. I had a 26-mile run scheduled with friends and I thought of canceling but then I decided to go through with it. I figured if I was going to get sick I might as well get a long run in before if fully developed. Like getting a big run in before a storm. Sure enough on Super Bowl Sunday I was laid out on the couch. It would be another four days before I'd feel good enough to run again. Thankfully it's my back off week. I know, I know, back off doesn't mean stop but what could I do. The cold was unwelcome but it's timing was great and now I'm fighting my way back, just a slight detour.

The run itself was fun even though I didn't feel 100%. I met up with Janet Thompson and her friends Gordo and Fox. They rode their bikes to the Golden Gate Bridge and we proceeded from there. Gordo and Fox had shorter routes in mind but Janet kept me company until we returned to the bridge. We ran a similar pace, walked/ran our hills and did a whole lot of catching up. I finished the day with 25.5 miles according to my iphone. Nifty, maybe I spring for a Garmin this year. They were great company, great catching up with Janet and I'd run a long one with those guys again.

My first couple of years in running, training for marathons, it would take me several months to work up to 26 miles from a break, now it takes me a few weeks. I'm happy about that but it's all distance at this point no speed work or anything and I've been choosing routes that isn't too hilly. Just building those base miles for now. While the distance comes back fairly quickly the holiday weight still comes off at a snails pace. Haven't figured that one out yet or maybe I just love food too much.

Tomorrow I'm heading out with my pal Larissa Polishuk. The woman is an inspiration just like her guy Brett Rivers. She wants to get in 30 miles and she has Brett's car which means not having to run the Golden Gate Bridge. What a mess it has been since they started a construction project limiting all foot and bike traffic unto one side. Total mess and dangerous with all the bikes. It's my back down week but I think four days of no running has been enough of a break so I will try to hang for 30 miles. I either make it or head back to the car early, no big deal. Ran two 4 milers the last two days, felt terrible each time but the second day was better than the first and maybe tomorrow will be better than both. Nothing in my chest, all in my sinuses so I'm safe. I don't feel so great but it will be a good opportunity to work on the mental game. Tomorrow will be a day of mental pushups. I pull out my Matt Hart videos on days like these. Thank you Matt Hart!

You guys have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Janet Thomspon. In the Marin Headlands, on our way back towards San Francisco.

Too bad it won't be like this tomorrow but rain will also be good. Missing a good rain run.