Monday, August 04, 2008

San Jacinto

This weekend Mr. P (my friend and TransRockies teammate) came to San Diego to do some training. He flew in on Friday night, then on Saturday morning we ran down the Silver Strand-- the sliver of man-made land between Coronado Island and Imperial Beach. We did about 16 miles, but it was nice and flat. Afterward, i went to my weekly kung fu lesson and Mr. P drove up to Joshua Tree to do some bouldering.

Our real intent for the weekend was to run up Mt. San Jacinto from the Mountain Station at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It's only an 11 mile round-trip, but it's single track trail and most importantly it's at a decent altitude (the peak of San Jacinto is a bit over 10000 feet). This was meant to be more psychological preparation for the Rockies since one run at altitude wouldn't affect our fitness much.

Turns out it was pretty hard. Although i'd backpacked the trail in the past, i'd forgotten how technical it is. Lots of rock-hopping and step-ups, not to mention tree roots that i tripped over about every 10 yards. The altitude did affect us, especially on the stair-step sections. I got the same dizzy sensation i get after getting choked in submission grappling. It took us a sobering 1:15 to do the 5.5 mile up to the top (about 13:40 pace). The downhill trip was a touch faster at 55 minutes, but not much easier on the legs. We did stop briefly at the top to drink some water and take some goofy cell-phone pics:

Mr P. pretending to be exhausted

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

It was a revealing run, but i think it accomplished its purpose. Some of our days in the Rockies will be about twice this run, and we'll have to get up and do it again the next day. I think this gave us a good idea how hard we can afford to run and how easy we'll have to take it after each run to be ready for the next one. I think most of the trail that we run in the Rockies will be slightly less brutal, but i think i'll need to run some stairs or something over the next few weeks.

I managed about 52 miles this week, but i still feel horribly under-trained for TransRockies. I'm probably going to have to do one more hard week before tapering.

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