Got out on the Dance Floor today. It was great!
Alan Abbs escaped pollution control to join me for a 10am rendezvous at Driver's Flat. We left one car there and drove to the bottom of Bath Rd. Then we ran through Volcano Canyon to the road to Michigan Bluff. That took us 32 minutes. After a short break (it was drizzly and cold) we turned around and returned to the car hitting the road to bottom of Bath Rd. split in 26 minutes (race day is usually 31 mins). Then, we hammered Bath Rd to the school in another 12 minutes (race day is usually 16 mins). So, with 1:10 of the hallowed ground of the Western States trail under our belts we headed out onto Cal Street.
As everyone knows, Cal Street is where the racing usually begins at WS and it is always good to get in a bit of early season hard training on this section to remind the body what it feels like to run downhill hard. We hit Cal 1 in :27 and at that point I knew this was going to be a good tempo effort. Heading into the section that is always the vortex of the race I popped a gel and paid close attention to the 17 rollers that make up the run from Cal 1 to Cal 2. The usual February questions danced in my head,"can I run part this on race day?", "is this steep or just gradual? Where does the ramp give way to the wall?", "what was my time on this section in 2005?", "is it hot in this clearing when we're here on Race Day?" etc...
Regardless, we hammered that section in :42 and I knew we were off to the races for the rest of the workout.
The descent from Cal 2 to the base of 6 minute hill took us 14 minutes and then 6 minute hill took us, well, it took us 6 minutes:) From there, in another minute, we were onto the Cal 3 Aid Station site and then we headed for home.
The Cal 3 to the River stretch always challenges me mentally so on this day, as I was feeling particularly good, I tried to stay mindful of all the nooks and crannies on the trail and established even more sub-splits than usual. At my age, every little bit helps! I now have the 5 mile section for Cal 3 to the River broken up into 12 sub-sections. I bet that's a record:)
We hit the River in :39 for a total of 2:09 from the school to the River. This was a PR for me but, of course, that was on rested legs. Nonetheless, it does make me feel good about heading into my heavy volume training knowing that my downhill speed is intact
Needless to say, it was nice to get back out on the Dance Floor and I am looking forward to my next date. Get out there and train!