Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fog or Sun?

After miles of fire road we are on the P.C.T.
Fog or Sun? Was the question I had to ask myself this week and I went with sun. Since I got sick on Wednesday, I am glad I picked the sun. The choice I had was doing the BUMR or a Leona Divide Trail training run on Saturday.

I did not find out about the trail run till this Monday when I got an email from the race director asking if the Bakersfield distance project was interested in (wo)manning an aid station at her Leona Valley Trail Runs this fall.

When I went to checkout her site, I saw that she was hosting three training runs on the Leona Divide 50mi/50k course and I immediately knew I needed to go to these. Keira Henniger took over R.D. duties last year (I believe) and is adding more races to stable soon. She is also an elite ultra runner herself and made Ultra Running Magazines Top 20 Athletes of the Year!
RD Keira giving course directions

Since I have been wanting to do the Leona Divide Ultra for years, I knew I needed to go to this training run to see what the course was like. In the past, I have not done the race because I could only do the 50 miler and I did not think I could finish in the 13 hour time limit.

Sure that is only 15:36 pace but there are some big hills out there so trying to average that pace could be difficult especially since I could barely break 6 hours (13:44 pace) in a marathon. But this year, she is allowing people under 60 to run the 50k. So now I know for sure that I will be doing the Leona Divide Ultra and might even take on the 50 miler.

So I immediately posted that run campers Should do the BUMR or the trail run this Saturday and that I was heading to the hills. On Wednesday before our weekly Wednesday Night is Alright for Hiking at Bluffs event I started to feel sick. I had the hacking cough that so many have gotten lately and felt dizzy too. But I went and did the walk and it ended up being a very cold and foggy night. This made my decision not to do Saturday's BUMR even easier.

The BUMR is already a bummer, 26.6 miles on the boring flat bike path is not my idea of fun anyways but add on the cold foggy weather that was certain to be present and you have a real BUMMER. Sure the course is fast, the miles are marked, they have great aid stations, the $5 entry fee is great and running a home town marathon has it's appeal but it is still the bike path. Plus the sun never comes out and it is cold.

Cold in the shade.
Because I did not found out about the trail run till Monday, many who may have wanted to come could not. Others are doing Surf City next week and needed to rest up for that event. So in the end, Amanda, Lisa, Gabby and Rey made the trip up to Lake Hughes for the trail run. Other Bakersfield Distance Project members took on the BUMR.
Before the run.

As luck with have it, Amanda's parents live right across the street from the start of the trail run so we got to hang out at their house before and after the run.By the time 7am came, there was quite a crowd for this training run and we got last minute directions on where to go and then we were off.

The stats of our wog were: Overall time of 3:41:05 and we covered 14.36 miles and climbed 2,424 feet and descended 2,454 feet. Our average pace was 15:23 and our average moving pace was 14:39. The min elevation was 3,018 feet and the max elevation was 4,261 feet.

Lisa & Gabby
Then for the next six miles we went uphill on a fire road and watched everyone disappear of the front. I settled in and followed Lisa and Gabby as we labored up the hills.
  •  Mile 1 - 17:37 pace - up 396 feet / down 0
  • Mile 2 - 15:41 - up 277 / down 77
  • Mile 3 - 14:46 - up 200 / down 38
  • Mile 4 - 13:50 - up 138 / down 186
  • Mile 5 - 13:48 - up 93 / down 105
  • Mile 6 - 17:41 - up 297 / down 0

Wow! Blue Skies!
We were in the shade most of the way up but the weather was pleasant and the views were lovely.Now usually I would be taking tons of photos but I killed my beloved Canon PowerShot at the Calico Trail 30k.

At Calico, I took a tumble going down one of the canyons and my camera went one way and I went the other. The Canon served me well (bought it in 2007) so I can not complain. It was my first camera I used when shooting high school meets and later on I carried it when I ran races and shot as many people as I could. That camera finished about ten marathons and probably a hundred races over the years and I will miss having.

But it is time for a change so to go with my Canon Rebel, I have decided to go with my friend Terry's favorite camera maker, a Nikon. The Nikon Coolpix has gotten good reviews and you can not beat the price. So I will give it a shot (no pun intended). In fact, I will be shooting the Surf City Marathon next weekend.

Now back to the trail run, after six miles of fire road, we finally hit some trails. Not just any old trails but the Pacific Coast Trail that runs from Mexico to Canada! If I could ever get over my dislike of camping, I would love to hike the entire thing but I doubt I will. Maybe someday a crazy RD we make it a race like another bucket list event of mine, the TransRockies Run. If anyone wants to a partner for this amazing five day race, I am your man if you do not mind paying the $2900 entry fee. Or if you want to sponsor me and another Bakersfield Distance Projecter, we will represent your company like no other.

Fire Road Madness!
PCT Time.
Once we got on the PCT, we started to run for the first time because for the first time in almost 6 miles we were not going uphill. The single track trail was flat or slightly downhill and we started to make good time. The trail was slightly damp and made for excellent footing too.

For the next six miles we basically went downhill on the PCT and started seeing some of the faster runners heading back up the trail. At this point Lisa and I had decided to go to the twelve mile aid station and then take the road back to town. So when Rey went by us, we told him to tell Gabby our plans.

As we were descending, Lisa had the only fall of the day but it was but it was a minor one and I missed catching it on film. Just before we got to the aid stations, we ran into a bunch of runners and had a short creek crossing too.
  • Mile 7 - 12:12 pace - up 110 feet / down 279 feet
  • Mile 8 - 13:27 - up 135 / down 327
  • Mile 9 - 15:02 - up 153 / down 222
  • Mile 10 - 15:58 - up 241 / down 299
  • Mile 11 - 15:33 - up 93 / down 465
  • Mile 12 - 15:33 - up 86 / down 419
Start of our run.
Then we made it to the road where RD Keira had 
Just before Lisa fell.
 plenty of business and lots of tasty snacks too. Here the course crossed the road and continued on the PCT. The mountains in front of us looked steep and we had enough running for the day so we decided to walk up the road (2.5 miles) instead of going back on the trail (twice as long).

The road we went up was narrow and a pretty good climb too. As we went up, a number of sports cars and motorcyclists flew by. We also saw some very fit cyclist float up the hill as we headed back to our cars.
  • Mile 13 - 17:07 pace - up 156feet / down 0
  • Mile 14 - 16:29 - up 52 / down 32
Getting crowded.
But we finally quit climbing and got back to Lake Hughes where we walked by the famous Rock Inn and then to the parking lot where Amanda meet me and took me back to her parents house for some burgers. After we ate, we got back in the car and head back to the fog. I got home at 1pm after a nice four hour trail run. Which was about the same time I would have been home if I had done the BUMR.

Mile 12
I do not have official results from the BUMR but I hear Linette and Tom ran the 26.6 miles in around 5:25. Plus a number of other BPDers ran various distances. I will post their results when I find them.

                                                If our trail adventure looks like fun, RD Keira is
Lake Hughes Welcome
hosting another three weeks before the LA Marathon! 

Sunday February 27th: Leona Divide Training Run #2

They will be running the entire 50k course with a 30k option.  Start time will be at 7am at the Lake Hughes Community Center

too be continued...

Rock Inn

Do we have to go back?