Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First Dance

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!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Longing for summer!

Here's the celebration photo from the TVR 1 hour run in May.

World's greatest running shorts!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Running form

Needless to say, I get a fair amount of grief for my lame running form, particularly my tendency to flail on the downhills and windmill my left arm pretty much all the time. I actually used to think I was a good downhiller but maybe the years are catching up with me. Nonetheless, my friend and training partner Hank snapped this photo on our run on Baldy last weekend. I think it speaks for itself.

I'm the guy on the right!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I must say, I love February training! Sure, it is often bitterly cold and the roads and trails are covered with snow but there is something about the second half of winter training that is inspiring and invigorating. Each day gets a little longer, each run seems a bit smoother, and each experience builds on the previous one leading me closer to the starting line at Squaw Valley.

One might think that after six years the wonder and excitement of Western States might wear off and that, after years of pounding out the miles in preparation for one special day, the luster of the Big Dance might dull a bit. For me, nothing could be farther from the truth. After the relatively easy months of December and January everything ramps up a bit in February. With rested legs and a calm body, every run feels like a tempo run and the speed and hill sessions are a welcome change of pace. It being four months away from the Big Dance, the weekly long runs are just long enough to burn some fat and not too long to leave me weary and worn out. Each day when I lace up my shoes I spring out the door with an eagerness that was lacking in November. Nothing hurts and everything feels right. It's the time in the winter when hope springs eternal.

So, here's to the simplicity and beauty of February training! The seemingly effortless miles logged this month will soon give way to the more arduous and deeper runs of March and April. From there, the spring will be highlighted by a couple of trips down to The Course to remind my body of what those canyons feel like and to feel the pull of that hallowed ground. Those trips, of course, never get old and they in turn give way to the glorious month of May in which every day is like Christmas Eve. I love the freedom and joy of these special late winter runs and look forward eagerly to the build-up that awaits.

I hope you all are enjoying an equally invigorating February!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sun Valley Snowshoe Challenge

Well, I tried something new today and ran the 3.3 Mile Sun Valley Snowshoe Challenge. This new event, part of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival, was directed by my friend and training partner Brad Mitchell. In the midst of a week in which we are surrounded by members of the Norwegian Cross Country Ski Team and 100's of skiers here for the Boulder Mountain Tour it was great to get out and run in their terrain. And, I took home a $75 gift certificate for the effort.

My buddy Hank took this picture.

Monday, February 1, 2010

La Sportiva!

Ran in the Crosslites at Ghost Town and they were sweet. I am looking forward to gaining a couple minutes this year running in the Speedgoat's shoes:)

My other key sponsors this year will continue to be Patagonia, Succeed! and DryMax.

310 miles for January! Onward!