Monday, March 17, 2008

TransMountain Challenge was a blast! We met a 6:20 and did a quick 2 mile warm-up. Jim planned to race the event, so we wanted to be ready for the start. After a quick (attempted) trip to the port-o-potty (the line was too long), we lined up for the run. Gilbert, Salvador, Francisco, Luis, and I planned to take it easy. Francisco just returned from the Run Across the Sahara, and had a little bit of a cold, so he was a good sport to even be out there. When the gun finally went off, we jogged the 1/2 mile stretch to the base of the mountain and then started the climb.

The thing that is so cool about this race is that it starts pre-dawn and you run up to the crest just as the sun is making it's way over the mountain. Transmountain Road is a highway that connects the Northeast side of El Paso to the Northwest side. It is a pretty busy road, so it is rare that we ever try to run on it. With this race, the city allows the RDs to block off the entire highway, so you really have a chance to enjoy the run and the spectacular panoramic views of the city. The road also abuts the state park where the Jackrabbit Rally is run (a lot of people use that race as a warm-up for Zane Grey), so you also have a beautiful view of the high desert early in the morning.

We all ran together for the first couple of miles, and then Gilbert and I started pushing the pace a little bit. Gilbert is called the "Salmon" because he seems to have supernatural powers when it comes to running uphill. It never even looks like he is working hard even when it is a near vertical climb - it is amazing to watch! I really wanted to get another tempo run in, so I was happy to push the pace with him so that I could raise my heart rate enough for it to count. When we finally reached the crest, Gilbert said we had done negative splits up the mountain, so I was pumped. I don't really enjoy the hills, but know that I need to do more of them in preparation for the summer. The total climb was 6.2 miles. I wasn't wearing my Garmin, but I could definitely feel like I was just below lactate threshold. If I had had to climb much further, I would have had to pull back some to keep from going anaerobic.

At the top, we turned and started to head down. Neither of us wanted to pound down, because we couldn't afford any recovery, so we took it nice and easy. Even so, my slight case of plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head and talked to me the whole way down. I think it was from pulling so hard on the way up and then turning around and going immediately downhill. Anyway, by the time we all finished the race (Jim coming in first in his age group!!), we had no interest in heading back up the mountain. We opted, instead, for a 5 mile rolling hill run. If we hadn't been pansies, we probably could have gone further. But it was super windy, which means super dusty in West Texas, and after 5 miles we had had enough. We ended the day with 20 miles and some fun memories!

Today, I just did 2 easy runs, going for distance rather than specificity. This is a peak week, so I know I have to get some solid (read: wearing a watch) runs in the rest of the week. We leave on Friday for Maui, so I don't think I will get any running in this weekend. I hope to run some in Hawaii, but you know how that goes. But, Tim has decided to run Rock N Roll San Diego in June, so I think he will want to run while we are on vacation. Having someone to go with always makes it so much easier. (I'm secretly hoping that his training will translate to pacing duties for me at KM100. I haven't mentioned it yet because he paced me at Umstead and HATED it! I haven't asked him since :)

Reading everyones' blogs sounds like there is some good training going on. I know several people are on Spring Break right now, and more head out next week. I'll keep posting and reading until the end of the week, but if you are heading out this week, have a great time!

Happy running!


olga said...

See, it wasn't as bad as you thought:) And it sounds like you had fun! Oh, Maui, when will I ever make a trip for HURT100? Wave for me to the mountains, and hope you get runs in - and even more hope Tim would offer to pace you! May be you can brag him?

angie's pink fuzzy said...


Bev said...

Great fun! I think some of El Paso blew into my neck of the woods this weekend.

If I can fit into your suitcase, can I come with you to Maui? Have fun!

Rooster said...

Sounds like an awesome run and very tough. Your planter's could be talking to you because of the toe off position on the climb. It can put new pressure on the area. I know when I hit the climbs in the early spring it takes some time for my mets to adjust to toes off. Have fun in Maui!

Scott said...

I wish I had supernatural powers running uphill!

Maui! Lucky you! :-)

Bob Gentile said...

Awesome Run Carilyn....COngrats!!