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Holy Hogback: An Afternoon of Running in Circles

September 18, 2012

My Monday training was more of a mental challenge than a run.  I filled up some empty milk cartons with water, tossed them in a cooler with some gels and chips, and jogged through the neighborhood to meet up with the Foothills trail.  From there, I parked my one-man aid station at the bottom of the Hogback Ridge trail, a 1.75-mile loop with about 650 feet of climb (and, since it is a loop, about 650 feet of descent).

Lately, for self-directed long runs, I’ve been going on time rather than distance.  I had right about 5 hours free so I got to it, starting counter-clockwise.  Since this was ultra training and and not intended to be anything else, I hiked the uphills and jogged the flats and downhills.  When I finished loop one, I reversed direction, heading back up from where I had just been.  Each loop took a little over 30 minutes and I was able to fit in 8 of them which, with the to and fro pieces to join up with the loop, totaled 15.6 miles on the day with, I think, a good bit over 5000′ of climbing.  Right about 4:50 total time.

I had hoped to fit in 10 loops and that certainly would have been possible if I’d pushed a little harder or had fresher legs to start but I feel good about the effort.  I felt extra good not to be bitten by the angry little baby rattlesnake I hopped over halfway through loop #7.  Or the much bigger unidentified snake that slithered alongside me earlier in the run.  The easy pace and half a day’s worth of Adam Carolla and This American Life podcasts made the time pass reasonably fast.

In related news, I finally got myself officially registered for the Cactus Rose 100.  The starter list is updated every few days so I expect a few others to join me soon but right now only 60 runners are in the 100-miler.


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