Saturday, February 11, 2012

2nd Saratoga Fat Ass: rain and PureGrit, at last!

Finally some winter conditions appropriate for the season and a fat ass in the Saratoga Gap area. The first Saratoga Fat Ass we had this year had too nice of a weather, we needed a replay and the rain came just in time last night for that. Actually, we still need much more to alleviate the drought, it was mostly drizzling today.

Keith, the unofficial Race Director of this officially not organized run, will confirm the exact number of participants, my estimate is 30-35 between all the starting "waves" from 7 am to past 8 am.
While last year was cold and white (beautiful snow!), this year had just enough water dripping from the trees and mud forming on the trails to make it a good training run for Way Too Cool or Chuckanut. Especially with the presence of several fast Quicksilver teammates, Jeremy, Toshi and Sean. After passing the pack of the 8 am start, we had quite a fast run down Loghry Woods and Ridge Trails, each of us taking our turn to lead the pace. At the end of Saratoga Gap Trail, Jeremy took off as I was waiting for Sean and Toshi. After a few minutes and chatting with Peggy and Peter, I decided to continue on a slower pace and reached the parking lot after about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Sean and Toshi arrived soon after and we left the parking lot for loop 2 with my GPS showing 1:50 (elapsed time).

Toshi and I maintained a reasonable fast pace down Skyline-to-the-Sea and, after three miles of running, I asked Toshi if we should take the service road down on the left but he advised to stay on the trail. As my GPS was now indicating 15.85 miles, I finally decided it was enough and told Toshi and Sean with more assurance that we had missed the turned... We retraced our route back to eventually find a group of other runners also wondering if the turn I wanted to take initially was the right one, which it was indeed. My GPS was now at 18.0 miles, we had added 4.3 miles and about 30 minutes... With that, Sean told Toshi he would only complete the 2nd loop. As for me, I was not sure as I went through a wall around mile 21, before the end of the beautiful Travertine trail. I alternated running and walking on the way up to Skyline and went too far toward Summit Rock, definitely not focused today...

Back to the parking lot, I found Toshi who had inadvertently locked Sean's car key in the car and was now waiting for AAA... My GPS was now indicating 25.3 miles and, after spending some time talking to a few other runners, I decided to just do an out and back on the third loop to at least make it a 50K. My GPS was showing 27 miles at Charcoal Road, which wasn't enough, so I went on the loop but clockwise, starting with Table Mountain Trail instead of going down on the steep Charcoal Road. I figured out that I would run into Jeremy, then turn back to the parking lot. At this point, the sun made an appearance and it became so nice running on this more technical trail that I couldn't resist completing the loop. Running the loop in the opposite direction allowed me to meet a few runners (Peter, Keith, Penny, David, ...). I was back at the parking lot a 3rd time in 6:08 and 33.66 miles, which makes the 50K rather 29.3 miles. Did I mention it got muddy today?
It was the first time I was using the new Brooks PureGrit and I must say they behave extremely well. It was optimal conditions for them, with the mud and the rain. They hold very well in the muddy sections and they dried quickly after going through puddles. They provided enough traction on the rocks although I didn't really try to slide on the flat and large ones, nor on the slippery bridges. They also give a lot of stability with a larger sole than the PureConnect, and I didn't feel a single rock on this run thanks to the sturdy sole. They are so much lighter and more comfortable than the Cascadia, this is a great evolution toward minimalist trail running!
After a 5:42 last year in the cold and snow, it was disappointing not to break 6 hours this year but adding 4.3 miles certainly didn't help. Glad that wasn't a race... just a great and social workout! ;-) By the way, I ran 15.5 and 12 miles the following two days after Jed Smith, then 22 and 10 miles respectively on Tuesday and Wednesday in Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, so back to training for the next races. The 22-mile in DC was quite epic because I left Dupont Circle at the end of the afternoon and reached the border with Maryland when it was almost dark, having to run 10 miles in the dark, fortunately a mix of well-maintain trails and asphalt bike paths, on the safe side of the city...

A lot of travels ahead in the coming weeks before Way Too Cool and Chuckanut, so I'm glad I've logged 81 miles/week since January 1, as I'm not sure how these travels will impact training. Have a good week and run happy, even in the rain! :-)


Jean Pommier said...

The corresponding Garmin Connect recording and replay. Without the rain, and from the comfort of your couch! ;-)

Anonymous said...

course sympa malgré la boue et les "errances"!
bravo aux chaussures!