Sunday, June 20, 2010

Western States training: alea jacta est!

The die has been cast, training is over for the Big Dance of next week! So long for the heat training, barely sweat this year despite a few runs with three black layers of long sleeves on, more than what I use for my winter runs... And no training at all in the snow, which we should have several miles of in the first 20 miles according to the latest news posted on the Western States website in the June 11 update:

Lots of talk about the snow:

Over the last month we've been asked numerous times about the possibility of course changes due to the late snow melt in the Sierras. We have a plan "B" if snow conditions dictate a route change. This decision will be made on Sunday, Jun 20th, after a report from the aid station captains whose aid stations are most impeded by snow drifts. If the Lyon Ridge and Red Star aid stations are accessible, we'll use the standard course published in the WS program and Participant Guide.
If either of these aid station locations is inaccessible, the course will be changed as follows:
After exiting Granite Chief Wilderness Area, the normal route descends a gravel road and T's into Road 96 at approximately mile nine. Rather than turning right and following Road 96 to Lyon Ridge for 1.5 miles, the snow course will turn LEFT onto Road 96 and descend on this road to French Meadows. This is a dirt and gravel road that descends gradually for ten miles before becoming pavement when reaching the French Meadows camp area.
On reaching the camp area, the snow route will turn off the pavement and join the Poppy Trail, following the north shore of French Meadows, and then climbing northwest behind the dam tender's house and rejoining the standard course at the Duncan Canyon aid station.
The mileage is identical on both courses. Rather than having aid stations at Lyon Ridge (mile 10.5) and Red Star Ridge (mile 16), there will be aid stations at Talbot Creek (~ mile 13) and French Meadows (~mile 19).
There will be no other changes to the course and no changes to crew access. Duncan Canyon will remain the only crew accessible aid station before Robinson Flat.
A course decision will be posted on the WS website on Sunday evening, June 20th. The plan "B" course map can be found here.

Oh well, I feel already so lucky to have the opportunity to toe the start line for the 3rd time, I will be happy with any conditions we get. I usually do better in the heat, so I'm mentally prepared. If it's cool, then it will be easier for everybody and that's great too. As far as the snow, this will provide a good excuse for starting slower, although I've heard that it is really taxing and tiring to run in the snow, if not dangerous for the ankles. But better having a snow year than wildfires as in 2008!

After my 57-mile day "to" the beach two weeks ago, I ran 97 miles the following week for some decent mileage. Then, last weekend, I did a 3-peat tour of Rancho, starting twice with the hilly PG&E and once via Rogue (the Rancho San Antonio insiders will understand). At last the thermometer reached 88F and my two layers made up for a few more degrees to make me feel like in some familiar canyons. I covered the 28 miles and 5,000 feet of vertical in 4 hours and 55 minutes, some good time on my feet. The day before, I had done a reasonable fast round trip to the top of Black Mountain from my house in 3:09 (23 miles and 3,300 vertical feet).
I did my last run with two colleagues from IBM at Rancho this past Friday.
Completely missing the heat training again with temperatures in the low 70s, but it was an opportunity to get Max back on the trail for the 9.3-mile loop before he paces me from Foresthill down to the river next Saturday.

Alea jacta est for the training, I now need to work on the drop bags and the luggage for our trip to Tahoe. It's actually not completely over. I'm doing a carbless diet for a few days to renew the carbs in my blood/muscles (the Nordic or dissociated diet) and still some core and strength training. And Pierre-Yves and I should join other Striders on Tuesday night for a short run to test our lights and pacing strategy.

With this year's training, I'm ready to say "Veni, Vedi" as we prepare to get up to Squaw Valley in the middle of the week, but not "Veci" yet. No pressure, let's wait for next Sunday and see...

1 comment:

runstephane said...

Keep going Jean, keep goin'
I'll follow #46 (46?! :-) ) from France