Monday, July 4, 2016

3 days, 3 (short) ultras: last tune up before TRT 100

A short post because I didn't take any picture while running, nor did I discovered new places this weekend. Additionally I contracted an eye infection, probably on my flight back from Europe this Friday, and the pharmacy was closed on this Independence Day celebration so I can't wait tomorrow morning to get the prescribed antibiotics drops and get my clear vision back...

After running 304 miles during my trip to Europe (110 in Scotland, 92 while in Paris and 102 in Chamonix), I wanted to leverage this long Independence Day weekend to log a few hilly miles as the last tune up before Tahoe Rim Trail 100-mile in 2 weeks.

On Saturday I went to the top of Black Mountain by the back side, that is on the REi/Tony Lookout Trail through Stevens Creek Park, then Canyon Road and Bella Vista trail, back via the Waterwheel Trail loop and Montebello Road. 29 miles and close to  4,000 feet of cumulative elevation.

On Sunday, I wanted to get back in time to watch France-Iceland, one of the quarter finals of the Euro Cup, and went for a flat and fast 50K, from Cupertino to Palo Alto through Shoreline and the Baylands. Unfortunately, less than 2 miles in the run, I had to stop at the Safeway to take case of some acute diarrhea business and, from there, it got worse but I persisted until it became so painful to run at mile 18. I made the mistake of running without my cell phone (something I'm now doing most of the time since the stroke) and asked someone to call the house but Greg didn't pick up. Short of a pick-up, I went on albeit slower than I had hope to. 29.2 miles, still at 8:03 min/mile pace (not counting the numerous stops to the bathrooms...).

Then on Monday, I went bold for a PG&E 4-peat at Rancho San Antonio. I had done this only once, at the top of my form when training for my first Western States (and first Miwok, and first win at Ohlone 50K). I didn't check how fast I had gone 9 years ago, my goal this time being only to having the mental stamina to finish it. I started at 7 am under a thick layer of cloud/fog which made the temperature perfect. Typical for Rancho there were a lot of people on the trail who had started even before 6:30 am. To my surprise I reached the fence at the top just under 40 minutes and thought I won't do as well for the next ascents. My first round ended up being 1:11:42 and I stopped the watch to make sure I wasn't rushing my aid station stop.

I clocked 39 minutes for the next climb and went down faster for a total of 1:09:59. Broke 40 minutes again on the 3rd climb and 1:07:37 for the third rotation. And was super pleased to be able to break 40 minutes again in the 4th climb, flying down with a 1:07:30 final lap. Super stoked that I didn't walk at all. Granted, at 9:00 min/mile my pace was one minute slower than in 2007 (not to forget I stopped the clock between the repeats this time) but given the circumstances and my lack of hill training this year, I'll take it as a final prep for TRT, keeping in mind that I won't be as prepared as 10 years ago so better run much more conservatively this year.

In lieu of pictures, here are the three Strava traces, below, and the activity links: Black Mountain, Palo Alto Baylands, Rancho San Antonio PG&E).

And, with that solid weekend and June, time to taper, yeah!

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