Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lazy Moose

On Memorial Day, I wanted to get some elevation in with my run, and decided to tackle Lazy Mountain. I have intended sometime during the training for my 50 miler to do Lazy Mountain twice in one day. This did not turn out to be that day.

Since it was a holiday, I had the day off work, and really didn’t want to spend it by myself training, even if it was in the woods. Becky had other stuff going on, but I talked Steven into trying Lazy Mountain with me. I knew he couldn’t do it twice, but I thought we could at least summit once, since he had already done it a few years ago. This did not turn out to be that day either.

Lazy Mountain is not a huge mountain, but its name is deceiving. I think it is called Lazy Mountain because when you look at it from a distance, it seems like it is leaning backwards, almost like it is reclining or laying down. In actuality, however, it is pretty steep. From the parking lot, the elevation gain climbing Lazy is 2,977 feet. There are two paths up the mountain. The first is the old trail, that is 2.1 miles long, and goes straight up the side of the mountain. That trail is brutal. It starts climbing immediately, and is very steep. It also can be muddy, and if it is muddy, it is extremely slippery. The first several times I climbed that route, I did not make it to the top.

There is another, newer, trail, the Lazy Moose trail, that is 3 miles long, and winds back and forth across the lower slopes of Lazy Mountain, with lots of switchbacks, climbing much more gradually. The Lazy Moose trail meets up with the old trail probably about 2/3 of the way up, leaving you with still quite a climb to the summit.

(looking up towards the summit from the junction - that's not the summit, its just in that direction. Just further.)

I had high hopes of summiting, but Steven hadn’t done any other hiking this summer, and just wasn’t ready for this climb. I made sure we both had plenty of water and snacks, and that Daisy had water in her backpack, and that we put on sunscreen and DEET, and off we went.

The Lazy Moose trail has trail markers every 200 feet (distance travelled, not elevation), which is really nice. The trail was clear and well maintained, and easy going. A good bit of it was runnable even on the way up, but Steven wasn’t running. We stopped 3 or 4 times on the way up the Lazy Moose trail, taking 2 hours to travel the 3 miles to where the Lazy Moose meets the old trail.

(Steven taking a break)

I kept a careful eye on Steven, because his cheeks got pretty red, and towards the end, he started saying his stomach wasn’t feeling good. He said it hadn’t been feeling good earlier either (which he hadn’t told me before), so I wasn’t too worried about him, but I didn’t push him either. I made sure he knew we could turn around at any time, but he kept going until the trail junction.

When the Lazy Moose trail joins the old trail, it immediately becomes much steeper, and remains fairly steep the rest of the way to the summit. My legs were still feeling pretty fresh, but I run all the time. Steven took one look at that climb, and decided he was done. He’s 12 years old, and there aren’t too many bear encounters on the trail, probably because it is so heavily travelled, so I *could* have let him go back to the car by himself, and kept going. I just wasn’t comfortable with that, so we headed back.

On the way down, he seemed to be feeling much better (after all, downhill is much easier than uphill, even if you are going fast), and he thought running downhill was fun, so we ran most of the way back down. By this time, we had taken Daisy off her leash, and she had a great time. She would run ahead of us, then turn around and wait for us with this expression on her face that was clearly asking what was taking so long.

The views on this hike are amazing, and the forest that the Lazy Moose trail winds through is beautiful. 

All told, we hiked/ran 6 miles, and had a good afternoon together. We need to do stuff like this more often.

I'm behind a week

So, I am behind a week. Not in my training, but in talking about my training, LOL.  Last week (May 23-29), my mileage was supposed to look like this:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: rest
Saturday: 12 miles
Sunday: 10 miles

Total mileage: 36 miles

My training schedule generally has me in a cycle where I am working hard for 3 weeks, then having a recovery week with lower mileage. That recovery week was that week. Even with lighter mileage, I still had trouble following the plan, LOL. I totally feel like Captain Barbosa in Pirates of the Carribbean. The plan is more like guidelines than actual rules.

Gotta watch it.

OK, I got distracted. Sorry about that.

Here's what my week actually looked like:

Monday: Happy Run, with my friend Brooke. We did the short route, since my legs were tired from my 25 mile run the day before. 2.57 easy miles.

Tuesday: 1.25 easy miles in my neighborhood, with Daisy.

Wednesday: I was actually planning on getting my miles in this evening, but then had to go to Anchorage for work unexpectedly. I did squeeze in a quick run on the coastal trail, 3.39 miles.

Thursday: Knoya Ridge run. 8.51 miles.

Friday: 1.02 easy miles, again in my neighborhood with Daisy.

Saturday: Trent/Waldron half marathon 13.1 miles.

Sunday: 3.23 miles at Matanuska Lake.

Total mileage: 33.07 miles. 

Although my mileage was split up differently than prescribed by my plan, I got pretty close to the mileage goal this week. Much better than last week.

Friday, June 3, 2016

On Tired Legs (Trent/Waldron half marathon race recap)

Last Saturday, I ran the Trent/Waldron half marathon in Anchorage. This is the second year I have run it, and I suspect this is one I will continue to run on a regular basis. I’m 46 years old, and I expect that at some point, my running will naturally slow down. The interesting thing about the Trent/Waldron is that the results are age graded.

So, when I ran it last year, my time was 2:20:40. I was 45 years old. There are statistics that predict how much you will slow down as you age, and so when you run the race on subsequent years, they give you an age adjusted goal time. The goal time is supposed to be an equivalent level of performance to your performance when you were however much younger in a previous race. I’m not sure if my explanation is really clear, but there you go. If you beat your goal time, you get a mug.

Anyway, my time last year was 2:20:40. I was surprised when I got to bib pickup to find that my time had been adjusted by an entire two minutes, with the passage of just one year. My goal time was 2:22:18.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to do in this race. I had done the Knoya Ridge run less than 48 hours before this race, and my quads were really sore. I hadn’t done a lot of elevation work recently up until that climb and I was feeling it for sure. Plus, the night before the race it was really hot in my house, and I didn’t sleep well at all, tossing and turning until at least 3 am. I had to get up at 6:30 am to make it to bib pickup on time, and I was really tired. So, I was not in the best of conditions for racing, and I was really unsure how I would do.

The first 2 or 3 miles were really brutal, because my legs were letting me know that they were Not. Happy.  However, once I got warmed up, things got better, and I found myself moving along pretty well. I had figured out ahead of time what time I needed to hit the halfway point if I was going to beat my goal, and I hit that easily.

The course for this race is really nice. You start at Westchester Lagoon, and run up the Chester Creek trail for 6.65 miles, then turn around and head back. The course is mostly through woods, with lots of little bridges to go over and tunnels under roads to go through. I think the bridges and tunnels add interest and make it fun. The outward portion of the course is very gradually uphill, and on the way back, obviously it’s gradually downhill. So on the way back, you feel really fast, which is awesome. I didn’t stop to take any pictures along the way, because I was really focused on beating my goal.

I have been using Map My Run to track my runs for quite some time, but this race was one of the last straws, I think. I have been pretty frustrated with the GPS tracking on Map My Run, and the distance tracking for this race was off by more than half a mile from the very beginning. I don’t think it started tracking my running until 6 or 7 minutes into the run. And it just got worse from there. After crossing the finish line (of a half marathon, 13.1 miles), Map My Run said I had run 9.64 miles. Nope. Not even close. Luckily, the race crew had put mileage signs each mile of the course, and I had my Garmin Vivosmart HR on.  Although it doesn’t have GPS, I was keeping track of my time with it, and watching the mile marker signs, so I had a pretty good idea of how I was doing.

I was still feeling pretty good as I got close to the finish, so I *think* I picked up my pace the last couple miles. As I approached the finish line, there were a few people in front of me, and I all of a sudden got competitive, and had to sprint past them. One of them, an older man, was very encouraging, yelling at me to “dig deep” as I ran by him. I think my breathing was pretty hard and audible by that point, so I think he knew I was working hard. Whoever he was, I appreciated the encouragement. It took a few minutes after crossing the finish to get my breath back.

I was thrilled when I got over to the tent with the results computers and saw that my time was 2:18:18. Not only did I beat my age graded goal, I beat my time from last year by more than 2 minutes. On tired legs.

(post race, with my hard earned mug)