Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lizards, Snakes, and Hill Reps, Oh My...or...

Prepping for the The Old Goat 50k at Lake Elsinore

Yesterday morning I drove up to the Santa Rosa Plateau Reserve for a set of hill repetitions. I know hill reps on a plateau sounds funny, but it is quite hilly up there. Anyway, I reached the Hidden Valley Trailhead just as the temperature was rising. And there was not a cloud in sight.

Hidden Valley Trailhead
I grabbed two handhelds of liquid, my shoes, and took the short jog over to the Los Santos trail. The views were awesome, the wildflowers were just coming out and a bit of snow could be seen in the distance.

Wildflowers and Snow

As I jogged along I could see my destination hill on the Los Santos Trail. The only shade was at the very top and none on the winding single track.

Los Santos Trail

I was already loose, but I took 10 minutes to warmup starting with a brisk run to the top of the hill where I would start my workout.

Arriving at the top, I was ready for 10 x down and up with 2 minutes active recovery.

Rep 1 I headed down, a straight with a hard left to a short steep drop and a hard right to a manageable downhill. There were lizards scrambling around and it was all I could do to not step on any. I was about a minute and a half down when I spotted a snake curled and sunning on the trail. I was moving quickly and was able to hurdle. I reached my turn around at 0.3 miles and started heading back up the hill. The snake was gone but there were an unusual number of lizards trying to trip me up. I reached the top, punched the lap button on my watch and jogged a recovery.

Rep 2 No snakes this time but I was already feeling a bit knackered after this rep.

Rep 3 Still uncomfortable, I tried to relax on the way down, knees flexible and keeping braking to a minimum.

Rep 4 Dialed back a bit on the down but still had to work the up. I considered opening up the recovery to 3 minutes, but my run HR and recovery HR and seemed normal, so I just tried to hang in. I drank some extra water and felt a little better.

Rep 5 Feeling better and more relaxed on the down and the up was quicker even on the steeper top section.

Rep 6 Now, finally into a rhythm I was working my standard down, up, and recover. And I was concerned that I didn't have enough water. It had to be close to 80 degrees.

Rep 7, 8, 9 Trying to stay consistent, focus on keeping the downhill controlled and holding pace on the ups. Sucking wind for the last minute on the uphill's, but my legs felt strong.

Rep 10 I headed down and wouldn't you know, old snakey had returned and was stretched out across the trail. I once again hurdled it and hoped it wouldn't be there on the way up. I turned and headed up. Around the corner the snake was holding it's turf. I was running uphill and knew I couldn't perform an uphill hurdle. Running off trail and behind the snake, I was hoping it wasn't a trick to force me into a rattlesnake nest.

Done and done! And I was out of water. I took a slow jog back to the parking lot.
Los Santos to Hidden Valley Road
I haven't posted in a while, which begs the question...Why are you posting about random hill reps?
So...a while back I was thinking about my marathon finish times and how I could improve, despite the fact that I decided not to run any more marathons.

Since the end of the 2016 XC season, I had been running easy, trying to figure out what to do in 2017. Anyway, I wanted to run somewhere and I haven't been feeling the love for road races.

did a search on the old inter-web and found a ton of trail races in and around Southern California.

I asked Amanda about running bigger miles, trail racing, and may have mentioned improving my marathon time. She thought running an ultra-marathon was a good idea...of course she did.

Fast forward, and here I am, registered for the Old Goat 50k on April 1st, a boatload of trail miles completed, wondering when I thought this was a good idea.

I've been learning that trail running requires a unique skillset, especially here in SoCal where a missed downhill turn will cause the uninitiated runner into an intimate relationship with the Cacti. I've run some bigger miles, tried to get in some elevation, and am trusting that it is enough to make running 50k manageable. And fun. Overall, with a few rough patches, training has gone well.

To be continued....

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