So, the race to start with. Two loops of our local park – lots of short little ups and downs, in fact its literally less than 10 mins walk from the front door and it’s where I sometimes do hill reps. A fairly low key local race but billed as the Santa Barbara cross country championships. Previously they have had a 3 and 6 mile event. This year they added the 2-loop 12 mile version as well for all of us distance aficionados. Long time since I raced 12 miles; a veritable sprint that reminded me all too clearly of the Trig Points race I used to run on the first weekend of the year. That was 15 miles with about 1500 ft of ascent this was 12 miles and those with the technology reported it at nearly 2500ft of ascent. I was pretty happy to pull up from about 5th at halfway to 2nd overall although I think one person ahead of me got lost and the speed, although very hard work, felt good. Slightly nauseous afterwards and very stiff the next day – racing like the old times!!
Actually the next day did not provide complete respite because we were in Palm Springs for a little vacation and yours truly had spotted a little trail called Cactus to Clouds that the online forums debate as having possibly the most vertical of any single trail in the USA. The start is at 400ft and the top, the summit of San Jacinto is at 10,800 odd. Lynn was game for the 6am start and so we plodded and sweated our way up. We reached snow at about 8000ft and the top of the aerial tramway a short time later. This accesses the upland part of the mountain which are like a rolling plateau. Up there it was bitterly cold. Not too much snow but icy and with a stiff 30mph plus wind so we reached the notch at just under 10,000ft and decided to head back to the tram for a swift descent that saved much knee pounding. It was a great day with amazing views, over 9000ft of vertical to add to the log and sowed seeds of an idea related to the fastest known time from desert to summit and back – this would be a 32 mile outing with 10,400 ft vertical up and down. Winter usually makes the top a challenge and summer certainly makes the lower elevations a challenge as Palm Springs in the summer is an oven.
Climbing from the desert
To a very different climate at 10,000ft
The heat training came this week when, having stashed a gallon of water, I decided to tackle the route of the 35 mile/10,500ft 9-Trails again. This time the thermometer reached 80, I drank all my water and had to work hard to keep the momentum but a hell of a good days training and, once again, I felt reasonably OK the next day. A good tired feeling but no injuries and no DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that happens when you are untrained.
The 9-Trails route: 35 miles, 10,500ft and 80 degrees
Entries now confirmed for all my spring races – Ray Miller 50 mile, Chukanut 50k, Somona 50 mile, Miwok 100km and the San Diego 100 mile so that’s great and I also have the possibility to do the Fellsman. I may never win that wonderful event again but I really do not want to go out on a DNF which is what happened last year after I tore my hamstring so I would be excited to toe the start line on the 50th anniversary of the event. A 50 mile 2 weeks before and a 100km the weekend after will be a challenge but, if I get through that lot then surely I will be in good shape for San Diego.
...and finally, I have decided to offer Endurance Coaching. It may take a week or two to pull together the website and so on but I figure that 23 years of hard won experience in running Ultras, racing around the world and tackling some big challenges does give me a lot of knowledge and a wealth of opportunity to help others avoid some of the dafter mistakes I have made over the years. Intention is to offer assistance to anyone who wants to run long and to do this mostly as a telephone and online service covering goal setting, creation of a training plan and all those other things – hydration, nutrition, race strategy, kit and so on that go into Ultra-running.
In case you think that all sounds a bit too much then have a look at this and laugh!
Other than that, get out there and enjoy your running.
Sat 14 Jan 6 miles Elings Park
Sun 15 Jan 12 mile race Elings Park. 2nd place. 1hr 24 mins
Mon 16 Jan 18 miles and 9,000ft. Cactus to Clouds – Mt. San Jacinto
Tue 17 Jan Speed session – 6.5 miles (hill reps plus 3 miles at 6:10 pace)
Wed 18 Jan Rest Day
Thu 19 Jan 16 miles Jesusita to Gibraltar
Fri 20 Jan 6 miles Elings
Week: 64.5 miles, around 16,500ft
Sat 21 Jan 7 miles Inspiration plus 3 miles hash
Sun 22 Jan 21 miles (romero, Blue Canyon, Forbush, Camiono, Romero)
Mon 23 Jan 6 miles fast (beach)
Tue 24 Jan Rest Day
Wed 25 Jan Rest Day
Thu 26 Jan 35 miles – 9 trails
Fri 27 Jan Rest Day
Week: 72 miles, around 16,000ft