Due to the unfailing tenacity of the warm temps in recent weeks, I have yet to call a close to “shirtless mountain running” season, though we are now a week deep in November. I began a memorable stretch of days with a big run on the PCT while on my way to Reno for Halloween festivities. In just under three hours I got on top of three summits, starting with Castle Peak then tagging two smaller mountains while I was up above 9K feet. This was also the first long run I did in my MT100s after I tore out the glued in sockliners. The glue left little ridges which resulted in huge blisters on both feet. That added up to some major "fun" when I was standing around at a bar hours later, and although enough time had passed that I felt like it was the next day, my achy legs were a good reminder that I had put in major miles that morning.
Sunday was spent mostly horizontal, as I kept putting off a little recovery run up Peavine for a battery of lame reasons. The combination of a late morning and the time change caught me by surprise as the sun was already looking ready to retire and I had yet to do anything. I rallied and tore up Peavine, climbing the 3,000ish feet and reaching the summit just a few minutes after then sun disappeared. I was treated with an awe inspiring red, orange and yellow (extra color added by some fires) sunset over the Sierras, while at the same moment, the nearly full moon was just rising to my east. The huge moon looked close enough to juuuust touch, and was accompanied by a purple and blue sky. I was inspired to let out a monstrous HOOOWL before scurrying back down the dirt road, suddenly finding myself, if not feeling, then at least appearing rather underdressed in my shorts and shoes. A couple of “adventurous” folks had driven up Peavine, presumably to watch the sunset because I got a couple of honks and dust clouds in my face from fast moving SUV’s on the upper dirt road section. By the time I got onto the trail and into the little ravine that leads back to the city it was dark. I just blasted away feeling energized from the spectacular scene I had witnessed moments before. I didn’t even notice the usually difficult, technical sections of trail and ended up running my fastest descent split yet, (which isn’t really worth much for two reasons: first, I usually run Peavine on easy days, going especially easy on the way down, and second, I do tend to get a bit paranoid when running alone at night. As much as I relish the chance to see wildlife on the trail, I get slightly less comfortable thinking about what is out in the darkness seeing me and therefore tend to giddyup.)
On Monday I cruised up Mt. Rose and had my first snow encounters of the season. There was a nice patch at the beginning of the trail for about an eighth of a mile which seemed to do a pretty good job discouraging most day hiker types from venturing out any further. That left the rest of the mountain as my private playground and I barely saw any more snow until I got to some nice, icy stuff near the summit. I avoided any slides and got a nice mouth and face full of frigid water from a creek containing some very recently melted stuff. Gotta love runoff in November.
The rest of the week went along smoothly with a surprisingly fun track workout and a literal crash course through the trail I will be riding tomorrow in the ARC / Victory Velo duathalon. Friday I got back to running long miles and had a really fun run right from my front door. I went down WS in reverse, up K2 (13:28), and back onto WS until Brown’s Bar. From Brown’s I headed up Goathill (4:33), which I have only been up once before, in last March’s Way Too Cool sufferfest. I was astounded by how short and easy the hill was, and a little upset with myself for not having the juice on race day to run this course as well as I should have. I pushed back to Cool following the race course and drank out of the spigot before my easy cruise back to Auburn. Following the run I spent some premium time in the canal, which is at an optimal depth, hitting almost the whole lower body while I am still standing. Lots of canal time this week has kept my legs feeling mighty peppy, I wonder how long that will last. Additionally, I have been using a couple of Cytosport products that they gave me, Monster Amino and Fasttwitch. I don’t know to what extent they are helping but they taste good and I feel good, so that’s worth something. I ended the week with a couple of repeats on Stagecoach, doing my best to damage mountain bikers self esteem by giving them positive encouragement as I go cruising past them on the 2+ mile climb. All and all I was left counting up my first 8+ hour week (The PCT Halloween run counted towards the previous week) in quite a while and I am feeling pretty good about a big block of late fall running.