I've had a lot more on my mind this week than running but the running has been superb lately as the trails dry out and the long mountain miles get more accessible. I'm also very happy with my body conditioning as I'm running stronger each week, recovering faster after long runs and staying injury free thanks to all the miles I've been putting in the last few months. At this point, I'm running about 10 miles a day during the work week and 15 - 25 miles a day on the weekends but haven't been afraid to take a day off here and there to rest and recover. This seems to be working pretty well for me and I am looking forward to my next race, Tahoe Rim Trail 50K on July 17th, to see how well I do.
After the super run up to Rendezvous on Monday, I took Tuesday off (although I can't remember why right now) and Wednesday I did a 3 mile speed run from downtown to the shop that was purely for fun.
Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of running Spring Creek Trail out and back with Katy. It had been a sunny, warm day but one of the nice things about Spring Creek is that it is almost completely shaded and crosses the creek more than a dozen times, so it stays cool. We enjoyed a sublime run that was definitely more like playing than a workout. I pushed the pace on the middle and late uphills and ran a few quick downhill sections. 10.2 miles, 1:45.
Friday, we had planned a run in the Zirkels but that fell through at the last moment. Instead, I decided to attempt my first run of the year to the top of Storm Peak and then, out Mountain View Trail to Long Lake and then down Fish Creek Canyon to the trail head where I would get picked up. I started out before 7 a.m., taking the Whistler Park route up to Valley View and made great time reaching Valley View in well under an hour. I followed the same route I had run on Monday up to Rendezvous and then got on Pete's Wicked Trail, which I would stay on until the summit. Technically, Pete's is supposed to be closed but I ran it anyway because it has some amazing views of the valley. I summited in just over two hours covering 9.5 miles and 3000 vertical feet. I took a short (10 min.) break at the summit to eat a couple bananas and some cashews and almonds and take in the view. I felt great and ready to tackle the next 6 mile leg on Mountain View Trail.
I started traversing the back side of Storm Peak and followed the trail up and down as it snaked the ridge. It didn't take long for me to start encountering rogue patches of snow, some 4 feet tall but only 10 - 20 feet wide, but I was able to find the trail without any trouble. After a couple miles, my feet were wet from the snow and I was starting to feel the miles and effort working me a bit. As I ran down into a forested plateau, the trail became completely lost to me. Snow in the trees here was easily 2 - 3 feet deep and fairly widespread. I moved to higher ground to see if I could pick the trail back up but it was useless. The thick pine trees,two small ponds (you should have heard all the frogs!)and ground snow made it impossible to see any kind of track or route through the woods at this point. I had only run this trail once last summer (in the opposite direction) and I didn't recognize any landmarks. More than a little frustrated, I was forced to turnaround and run 3 uphill miles back to the top of Storm. I had no trouble voicing my dissatisfaction with the situation although there was nobody for miles around to hear it. I stopped for a few minutes again to change my socks, eat a little more and call my ride to tell them I couldn't make it through to Fish Creek. Once I had regrouped, I was finally able to enjoy some downhill running and I cruised the 6 miles of dirt roads and single track back down to the base area in well under an hour.
Despite not being able to get the through-route I wanted, I ended up getting (pretty much) the same mileage, just over 21. Vertical: +/- 4000'. Run time was 4:25. Still a very good and challenging run, not for the faint of heart.