The weekend run was along the famous Flume trail that leads from the Marlette Lake Dam to the junction of the Tunnel Creek and Red House Loop Trails. Surprisingly, a couple of people I run with regularly had never had the exquisite pleasure of running the trail. That needed to be addressed!
We drove a couple of cars to the end of the run at the Ponderosa, then piled into a single car to shlep back to Spooner Summit to where we were going to start the run. The weather was beautiful, and we started out.
The miles rolled by easily, and we did the 6 or so up to Marlette Lake. The trail was beautiful in the morning light.
Of course, we had to take a timeout at the lake itself for a photo, some nourishment and general fooling around.
Abbey, Peter, Ann and Sandy at the glassy Marlette Lake
We then took off on the Flume. Probably due to the early hour, we didn't encounter too many bikes. It's been my experience that mountain cyclists tend to sleep in longer than runners. Probably that speedy downhill they can get: the finish around noon desire can be accommodated with a later start. We trucked along, singing a song (at least I did. For some reason the song "Time" by Pink Floyd
was in my head the entire run. Maybe the line "You run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking."
might have had something to do with it. At least I wasn't singing out loud (too loudly or too often), or mumbling "Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying."
from "Comfortably Numb."
I was feeling really well and strong on the climb to Marlette, but the start of the Flume, my lower left leg decided to alert me to burning pain. Wow. Pretty sure it is a small obscure muscle down at the ankle-calf interface. My guess is that it got jealous of all the attention the major calf muscles had been getting over the last year with the cramping and whatnot, so it decided to yell. Loudly. Still tender to the touch a day later, and I don't know what happened. At any rate, after a mile or so, it seemed to loosen up and disappear down below the pain threshold again. Things got so good toward the end of the Flume, I picked up my pace to a sub 5 minute mile. OK, maybe not a sub 5, but it felt fast and really fun. The run overall topped out at 14.4 on Abbey's Garmin, since I didn't have mine. I doubled back for a 1/2 mile or so tracking down Ann, who joined the Stupid Runner Club (I'm President Emeritus). Her crimes? Running With A Known Injury, combined with Running Farther Than You Should Have Anyway Because You Are Adding Miles Too Fast.
We finished the run together: President Emeritus and newest club member. Kind of fitting.
Sand Harbor from the Flume Trai
Finally, finally, I ran in the higher mountains around Lake Tahoe! Both runs were good, and presented interesting aspects.
On Saturday, we started at the curve around Emerald Bay and, from the road, dropped down to Vikingsholm. From there, we took the trail to the north to D. L. Bliss State park, and back.
What made this run somewhat unique is the elevation profile:
It's not often that I've done a run where the start is downhill. That part wasn't bad. The part that was bad was the equally steep climb at the end. That was - shall we say - less fun than the decent. The weather was perfect, the group fast (except yours truly) and overall it was a good run. I might suggest the best part was the late breakfast at the Red Hut Waffle House after the run, though. :-)
The scenery along the route is really special, and the portion of the trail along the cliff with the safety chain where you must duck under the overhanging 100 ton boulder is pretty cool.
On Sunday, I made the attempt to reach The Bench from Spooner Summit. This route follows the more typical elevation profile for an out-and-back in the area:
However, this is a bit deceptive, as we weren't able to get all the way to the top: the trail disappeared under four feet of snow at mile 4. We floundered a bit for a while thinking we would go for the top, but decided with others already turned back, it would be a bit straining. We actually had to canvass the snow and slope to find the trail again on the way back. Had we pressed further up, the likelihood of hitting the trail again as soon as we did would have been significantly less and our time out on the hill, significantly greater.
Overall, the week was my highest mileage in more than a year, and my baby cows are letting me know. They are rock hard and tired from the 6575' of climbing in the 39 miles. Is it just coincidence, but the elevation gain and distances are very close to those in the Cirque du Carson
. Hmmm. However that race is a one day thing, not 5 separate runs!