Friday, December 24, 2010

29 miles in 4:58:00 December 24, 2010

A great day for running in Southern California -- maybe even too warm. Today I ran over 29 miles in under 5 hours, a pretty good time in hills at my age for a training run with nobody to run against.

This run takes me from my home in Newhall to White's Pass in Canyon Country, a modest little mountain pass. It then drops down into Saugus. I catch Copper Hill Road and then head south near the 18 mile marker on the City's river path trail. That takes me close to the I5 freeway and across my favorite spot in the entire run, an old railroad bridge crossing. I then head south on Tourney and Tournament Roads.

It is a great run because the first 10 miles are flat, running up the Santa Clara River so I can pour it on and wear myself out for the pass ascent right after that.

And, I exceeded 50 miles this week with only three running days!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Triple of Towsley Canyon

Today I did a triple loop of Towsley Canyon (about 16.2 miles) plus the road round trip there (4 miles). I hit the wall at about 18 miles on the road trip back. I rarely do that any more. I could still be recovering from my 50K last week. Plus it was pushing 80 degrees.

On the last loop I picked up a 30-something woman who was obviously a very seasoned trail runner and we dueled it out for four miles, with me beating her by about ten feet at the trailhead. I thought I might prevail on the downhill where the inexperienced runners fade, but she had obviously been there and done that before. That probably explained why at the end of that loop and on the way hope I collapsed into a shuffle.

A beautiful day to run in southern California. What could be nicer? Hundreds of people on the loop.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December in Santa Clarita

I'm out for my morning 8-miler. The first two weeks in December are the prettiest in my home town. The leaves are in full color. These eastern trees transplanted to southern California turn in late November and early December. Great days here in Southern California. The best.

Now, back to the torture of the run.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

North Face Endurance Challenge, San Francisco 50K

On December 4, 2010, I ran the North Face 50K Endurance Challenge in West Marin County, California. This is really one of the toughest races I have ever run. The elevation profile tells much of the story.

My time was 7:12.50, or 7 of 17 in my age group of 50 to 59. That time was pretty much a middle of the pack pace, which was 7:22. This was the largest crowd of ultra runners I've ever run with; there were 307 finishers in my race. I finished 155.

We also ran with the much smaller 50 mile and marathon groups. The trails were often crowded.
I did lots a passing in the first 10 miles. From miles 15 -25 I faded and the groups I had been running with left me in the mud. In the last 5 miles when I forced more food into the system I made up a lot of ground and past a couple of dozen, passing about 10 of those alone in the last two miles.

The conditions made the race very difficult. It was raining most of the time and the trails, mostly single-track, were very slick, making the going rather slow for most of the course. At the end of the race my legs were covered in mud all the way up to my shorts. Plus, I hadn't quote broken in my new trail shoes and I was running in my road shoes. I could have used bigger lugs on the tread for this race.

The scenery was fantastic. The race either skirted the coast, with magnificent views of Muir and Stinson beaches, or into the rain forests in the gullies in the little coastal range of mountains along the coast.

Son-in-law Casey ran the marathon with an impressive 5 hour time, considering it took me an additional 2 hours to cover an additional 6+ miles.
As usual, when I'm getting towards the end of the race I think to myself that I'll never run again, but now I am looking forward to the next race, a 50-miler in Orange County.