After 12 days with no running, and another 10 of really easy running, I've picked it up during the last week. But while I've increased the mileage and climbing, I've been careful with the level of intensity and not pushing any runs too hard. But it's been a pretty cool week. In the past week (including last Sunday), I've done runs at Mt. San Gorgonio, Mt. Baldy and Mt. Wilson and a run at Temescal and one at Sullivan Canyon. Including one or two really easy runs around my neighborhood, that's a little over 20,000 feet of climbing in the last 8 days.
It was busy on Baldy on the 4th. On our way up, other than seeing David Villalobos flying down the mountain, we had Bear Canyon pretty much to ourselves, but the summit was "crowded" and soon after we got up there we ran into a few friends who had been a little behind us on the Bear Canyon route. It was a beautiful day at the summit and we hung out up there for a while.
(top of Baldy with Billy, Dave, Ethan, Brian Blair, Robert Whited and Angela Shartel)
Gorgonio and Baldy were struggles, but yesterday's run at Mt. Wilson with Elan was the best run I've had since the race. I managed my pace and expectations really well and felt pretty good the entire time, even during the Upper Winter Creek Climb, which usually destroys me. I wasn't moving fast, but I was moving consistently and with purpose - and that was my goal. I thought about calling it a "breakthrough run", but then this morning's run at Sullivan Canyon was a different story - man were my legs dead! I haven't broken through yet, but back-to-back moderately big days are a tough test and Saturday it was encouraging to finally feel like I can run and climb and descend with a little confidence.
The other news to report is that after a three year hiatus, I'm going back to Badwater next week to crew and pace Ray Sanchez. The race starts next Monday, July 15. I'm really excited for the opportunity. Even just crewing and pacing is a crazy experience and supporting a bad-ass runner like Ray will be great. In preparation, I've been hitting the sauna every day for a little heat training. Even just spending 20 minutes in a 180 degree hammers home just how much the heat can affect you. In those 20 minutes, I usually drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water with Nuun and take a salt pill. Then I chug a bunch more water immediately after I get out of the heat. I have noticed that in just the last week of sauna training, my tolerance for the heat has improved dramatically. With one more week of heat training, I'll be at least somewhat "ready" for the real heat of Death Valley!