Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Hills of Big Sur, revisited

Earlier today I was looking at the map of the Fellowship of the Idiot run I'll be doing on Saturday, and it got me thinking a bit more about the hills I'll be facing at Big Sur. The course information provided on the site doesn't include cumulative elevation gains, just this map:

A few weeks back I wrote about how difficult the Big Sur course was, with its 1,660-foot vertical gain. Pretty intimidating! I think I got the idea that the run has a cumulative elevation gain of 1,660 feet from this site. But why should I trust that site? A number of runners have charted the course on Map My Run and they all come up with a lower figure -- about 1,050 feet. Ultrarunner Jean Pommier ran the course with his Garmin 205 a couple years ago and came up with a 1,082-foot vertical gain. That's not an easy course, but it's a far cry from 1,660. Here's what his elevation profile looks like:

Today I ran my hill course, 9.58 miles and 672 vertical feet. At that rate, I could match Big Sur's vertical gain in just 16 miles! Maybe I can do this thing after all.

I had done two tempo runs in the two previous days (although yesterday's run wasn't really at tempo pace), and today I was planning another tough workout. How did I get in this predicament? Originally, today's run was planned for Friday, but when I signed up for Fellowship of the Idiot, I moved it back a day. So how did I do on the hills on the third tough workout in a row? Not quite as well as three weeks ago, when I did nearly the same route in an 8:24 pace. But I did it in a similar pace to last week, when I was better rested but was more concerned about my knee.

For some reason I always start off slowly on this run, then gradually pick up the pace. I won't take you through each mile, but I was doing 8:15-ish on the downhill legs, and 8:45-ish on the uphill legs. I did throw in a 7:45 near the end on a mostly downhill leg, but then slowed for the uphill finish. Overall, an 8:36 pace. I'll take it, given the fact that I've been running hard the past couple days. Tomorrow, I do an easy 5-miler, then get ready for Saturday's Idiot run.


No comments:

Post a Comment