red rock

Vegas Trails and almost taper time

I’ve been progressing steadily towards my third attempt @ 50 miles.  In order to shake it up a bit I’ve been running some trails near my house.  Plus my upcoming race is a desert trail race so I can claim I’m simulating race conditions  🙂

Two of the trails are Gateway Canyon and Brownstone Trail.  Both have the same trail head if you go my way.  I park @ Desert Moon & Sky Vista, the end of the civilized world right now.  Though home construction has started back up again so by the time you read this you might be parking a little closer.

Either trail you take, the first few miles are going to be cleared rocky service roads,  The Brownstone road is boring for 2-3 miles but it gets more fun.  Gateway is a utility pole road but it is more trail like so it is still fun to run.

GATEWAY CANYON

Gateway Canyon

Gateway Canyon itself is a fun narrow canyon with some rock scrambling.  Nothing crazy but you will have to climb up some boulders — you probably could run the canyon if you start on the west side but I come in from the east.

Entrance to east end of gateway canyon

View of the east end of gateway canyon

The canyon has some neat spiral colors on the rocks, but I’m not the best photographer so I don’t have pictures of those.

You have several options once you get to the end of the canyon.  I turn left and run towards the small town of Calico Basin and turn the run into a 12 mile loop. You can push on and get into the main part of Red Rock and turn it into a 15+ mile loop, or if you go right you’ll turn into the better part of the Brownstone trail.

Near west enterance to gateway canyon

Heading towards Calico Basin

Rocks in Gateway Canyon

The only picture I think I took inside the canyon. Oh well

BROWNSTONE TRAIL

Brownstone Trail

Gateway canyon is fun to run, but I felt that the brownstone trail had better views.  Brownstone Trail Near Brownstone Trail

Once you get off of the cleared road, you are running up a wash – like running in sand, except with rocks.

Thanks — and remember its a desert.  Bring more water than you think you need.

Advertisements

Ed’s 50k Red Rock Canyon Run 3/19/2015

I had some PTO time to burn up so i took Thursday off to do a 50K long run.  Never mind that I was still recovering from my Marathon a while back and hadn’t run for 2 weeks.

I mapped out a a nice route.  From Red Rock Station (NV159 & I215) to NV160 (NV159 & NV 160) is 15 Miles.  Then to make it a loop instead of an out and back, I went a bit east on 160 until I hit Fort Apache and then took that back to I215 and followed I215 back to my car

Ed’s Red Rock 50k Route

IMG_3952

This is a pretty nice part of town and there were a few people out for their morning run or bike.

IMG_3958

After a little bit you get into undeveloped desert.  This whole section runs through Red Rock canyon.  Very pretty place to run.  No burros were on the road today though I did see 1 on a hill.  I was excited to see 2 coyotes run across the road.

IMG_3959

NV159 has a nice wide shoulder.  There are very few large vehicles on this section so you should feel very safe, even when it gets busy.  As you get closer to NV160 there will be more large vehicles as there are some Gypsum mines/plants.

IMG_3964

My last marathon was at the Red Rock Canyon loop.  I ran by the entrance and exit to the loop but that wasn’t part of my route today.  Which was fortunate.  The loop has more elevation change than the route I mapped out.  I believe I started around 2800 feet and peaked out around 3600 feet and bottomed out around 2600.

IMG_3972

I finally made it to NV160.  NV160 is a busy road with a lot of large vehicles moving pretty fast.  Fortunately the side of the road is a wide packed dirt shoulder.

IMG_3974

Fort Apache @ NV160 probably isn’t the best road to run on.  Very narrow paved shoulder and the gravel shoulder has several obstructions.  At one point, there is a blind curve and no gravel so you have to run on the road.  What makes this more harrowing is the heavy construction and gravel truck traffic.  Maybe the weekend traffic is safer.

IMG_3981

By the time I got to Wet and Wild water park the road was fully improved with sidewalks.

IMG_3989

Part of the reason I went this direction was because there is an urban trail that follows I-215.  I drive by it all the time and a trail that I haven’t run on always seems to call me.  Plus running a city street with traffic lights stops every mile isn’t the funnest.

IMG_3998

One of the signature items on this urban trail is the Town Center pedestrian bridge.  By the time I got to the bridge I had to debate if I really wanted to climb the switch backs or simply walk across the road – I took the bridge.

IMG_4006

I was able to complete this run with no acute pains and no nausea! Somewhere around mile 20-25 I ran out of legs so that may be a problem for a 50 miler.  And I don’t think nausea was too far away.  But this run was definitely a win and it really boosts my confidence for longer distances.

Calico Racing Red Rock Marathon 2015

IMG_3864

The 2015 Calico Red Rock marathon is my first race since recovering from my leg injury.  In 2014 I injured my leg during Calico Racing’s Twilight Red Rock run, which is the same course, just in the dark.  I “ran” the 5k option of the race with my kids.  I was training for a 100k so my mileage was higher than normal.  I could ‘feel’ that an injury was coming, but I had to run with my kids!

My legs seem to be recovered and I’m back to my normal mileage – though slower than in the past.  I intend to run a 50 mile race this year and need to be able to run these longer distances without injury – If I can’t complete a Marathon with healthy legs, how can I complete a double marathon?

IMG_3890

So I set out to run this race nice and slow with no thought to pace.  The course is a 13 mile out and back, climb for 6 1/2 miles and descend for 6 1/2 miles then run (walk?) back.  The half marathon starts an hour later and does the “return” leg of the marathon.

Since the start is uphill, keeping pace down isn’t too difficult – although it’s still tough to keep pace down when people are passing me.  But the wonderful downhill.   How can you not open your legs up and fly down the mountain?  The half marathon runners are spread out across my downhill.  It’s just so much fun to fly by someone, it just feels like you are showing them how awesome an athlete you are.  Never mind that I was at the back of the pack and nearly every other full marathon runner had already passed them.

This was the second time I ran this race.  I knew I needed to keep my pace down on the downhill.  But I didn’t and I paid for it on the return trip.  Not sure how but my left ankle is now swollen and I have a slight twinge on my right knee.  Over extending?  It’s my normal reoccurring problem.  So my return trip was mostly walking back.

If my goal was to race, this would have disappointed me.  I had the cardio-vascular strength tocontinue running but it was hurting my ankle and knee.  So I just had fun listening to my iPhone and staying fast enough to stop anyone else from passing me.

There isn’t a nicer on-road course in the southwest for either distance.  It’s challenging with the hill climbs, but it’s not a mean climb.  The road is still open to traffic, but it’s one way traffic and the entire 13.1 miles of the course is coned off (That’s a lot of work! 13 miles of setting cones and then 13 miles of picking them up!).

IMG_3922

As for my results, I finished in around 5:15.  I had fun but I did have more injury than I wanted in a lead up to a 50 Mile.  Fortunately I have some PTO time to burn this month.  I’ve mapped out a neat 30 mile course to try.  Perhaps getting a few more really longs run in will help my diagnosis some changes before the 50 Mile race I’m eyeing gets too close.