Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fire Break!

No, I did not misuse the word "break" in the title. The on-going Sierra Madre forest fire was burning about a mile and a half up from my house. I saw the flames this past Saturday when I was driving home from a training run in San Diego. It started off the road leading up to Chantry Flats. Fortunately, I'm okay and my house is okay. Some of my ultra friends, like Gary Hilliard, had to be evacuated. The fire is still burning as I write this, but it has gone away from Chantry Flats and is burning towards Bailey Canyon. I'm glad that the Chantry area was saved, I would hate to loose access to the trails over there. Unfortunately, the fire did consume the lower portions of the Mt. Wilson Trail. I wonder if the annual Mt. Wilson Trail Race will be cancelled this year; or they might just run through the burned area because it is such an historic race. The bad air quality from the fire has given me an excuse to rest.

I haven't been running very much! I know, it's shocking. I ran a total of 10 road miles last week during the week. I was tired after Leona. Then I ran in the mountains for 20 miles this past Saturday, and 12 miles on Sunday. Total for the week: 42 miles. I felt pretty tired after the 20 miler on Saturday, so on Sunday I took it easy.

The 20 miles I ran on Saturday was the first loop of the San Diego 100. It was my only chance to preview the course. I would have liked to preview the 30 mile loop as well; but it will have to wait until later. I woke up at 3:00 am this past Saturday and drove 3 hours down to the Cuyamaca mountains in San Diego. It seems I've been doing this early morning ritual every weekend. It was no big deal, I was used to it by now. There were about 9 of us on this training run. It was very cold at the start, but warmed up very quickly. The RD, Paul Schmidt, was a really good guy. I seemed to have bonded with him. I've never meet him before; but by the end of the run, we seemed to be long-time friends. Paul is also a very good runner. I'm glad to have meet him. There, I also meet John Martinez, the RD of the PCT 50.

On Sunday, we were going to run from Chilao to Chantry as part one of the four part AC100 training run series. Needless to say, the road up to Chantry was closed due to fire. So, we changed plans and drove out to Islip Saddle to run to Chilao. This 27 miles section of the course was very enjoyable; the higher elevation of the run meant lower temperatures and was actually very pleasant. I felt tired right from the start, I guess the 20 miler on Saturday and the cumulative racing miles and heavy training load was finally taking their toll. With 3 more consecutive races coming up the next weekends, I decided to pack it in at mile 12. This was a fully supported training run, thanks to Xy Weiss of Dirty Girl Gaiters for donating the food and drinks. I transformed from a runner to aid station volunteer, as I travelled in the sag wagon of the famous Hal Winton, the AC100 training run coordinator and the name-sake of the Hal Winton Mt. Disappointment 50 Mile Endurance Run. We drove ahead of the runners and set up our traveling aid station for their arrival. It was good hanging out with Hal, he has so many stories which I will never get tired of listening to. It turned out to be a very easy and relaxing day. I learned that Hal was a sub 20 hour finisher of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Wow!

On Monday, I was going to resume my regular training; but the bad air quality has forced me to put it off for a couple of day. I should be back to my regular training regiment starting this Wednesday.

My upcoming weekends are packed until the San Diego 100 in early June. This weekend is the Wild Wild West 50k in Lone Pine. The next weekend I will be in San Diego again for the PCT 50 Miler. Then, it is back up to Bishop for the Bishop/High Sierra 50 Miler. It should be fun.

Until next time, happy trails!