Thursday, October 7, 2010

A return to winter

Monday, my calves extremely sore/tight from the race, I got into the car and began the drive back to Mono (I'll spend 3 more weeks here before heading east in time to race the ING NYC Marathon on Nov. 7). It wasn't until Oakdale at the edge of the foothills, however, that flashing signs warned me that Tioga and Sonora Passes were closed due to accumulated snow. Sheesh.

So I drove through the town of Sonora, heading north in a gamble toward Monitor Pass, which I hoped was still open. I stopped in the evening at Calaveras Big Tree State Park for a shake out, jogging out and back slowly along a fairly hilly road, then finishing on a beautiful ~1.5 mile loop through a spectacular grove of sequoias. Boy I'd forgotten how wonderfully big--big is just right, but still understatement-- those trees are. I found myself staring up, hardly watching where I was going. I wished I had more time to spend there, but around 6:30 drove on.

After a winding, dark, laneless road on the backside of the Bear Valley Ski Area, I made it to the top of Monitor Pass without a hitch--jet black, but no snow--and slalomed down the eastside all the way to the Travertine Hotsprings in Bridgeport. Along with the trees, the soak made the longer drive almost worth it. When I arrived at Mono City, I filled the bathtub with cold water and kneeled in it to ice off the lower legs, which are pretty brutalized from the half-marathon--my first real effort in flats, instead of trainers.

Since then, I've tried to encourage my calves to come around as quickly as possible with some double runs. Meanwhile, as you might have guessed, winter has arrived, or at least made an appearance, in the Basin: the Sierra are entirely white above 8,000 feet; the crowns of the Mono Craters are wreathed in snow; and the White Mountains, in the Nevada distance, are once again themselves. Tuesday and Wednesday, when the peaks out my window were capped in low-slung, brooding storm clouds above the colorful aspen, I bundled up in running tights, long sleeves, gloves and fleece hat, reminding me of many miles earlier this year on the Western Slope of Colorado. But today the clouds have mostly cleared--Tioga Pass has reopened--and it was warm enough for short-shorts! Whoo hoo! Not quite a second summer, but I won't complain.

Yesterday, I ran a solid, steady 15 miler tufa-to-tufa on the Southwestern edge of the lake, but today I was a little tired--and the calves were still complaining--so I held off on a workout, which I plan to do tomorrow instead.

10 mi, 71 min; Decambeau loop; + strides

Wednesday, 10/6: AM: 15 mi, 105 min; Tufa-to-tufa, on Test Station and Picnic Ground Roads

PM: 5 mi, 35 min; Mono City sagebrush ramble

Tuesday, 10/5: AM: 10 mi, 70 min; Hwy 167-Cemetery Rd-Mono City

PM: 5 mi, 35 min; Mono City sagebrush ramble

Monday, 10/4: 10 mi, 77 min; Calaveras Big Tree State Park, CA

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