Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Saratoga FA with Rhus Ridge Start/Finish

L.S.D.  Long Slow Distance is a term that is used to identify a certain type of training run, which pretty much means a longish run that is done at a moderate pace(considerably slower than race pace).  It is supposed to have several training benefits like improved cardiovascular function, thermoregulatory function, mitochondrial energy production, oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle, and increased utilization of fat for fuel(got all of this from wikipedia).

I decided to get myself an extra helping of LSD on Memorial day.  The Saratoga FA is a really well designed loop 50k starting and ending at the Saratoga Gap.  It is really hilly, although I do not believe the 7800 ft of gain as advertised on the website is accurate.  It is no Ohlone.  But is is a fun challenging run with some of the most beautiful stretches of trail in the area, I am thinking specifically about the slate creek trail portion which in my opinion is almost magical.  A conservative pace for me for this 50k would be around six hours.  But I wanted a longer run to get a REAL LSD run as a buildup to TRT.  The website also shows a 50 mile option that starts and ends at the Rhus Ridge entrance to Rancho San Antonio.  This seemed like a good idea to me and thought that going up and down Black Mountain from Rhus Ridge would be another 2.5 hrs and that would me a solid 8.5 hr + training run, just what the doctor ordered.  And to add to the fun, a perfect running day was in the forecast, overcast and cool.

Unfortunately, or fortunately(depending on how you look at it), I failed to complete the equation with exactly how long this run would take me.  I was thinking a 50 mile training run maybe in the neighborhood of Cypress to the Sea, would take me max 10 hrs.  I chose to design a 50 miler that had as little overlap of trails as possible and did this by making a loop from Black Mountain to Skyline Open Space via Bella Vista, then travel along the Ridge trail until connecting up with the 50k course.  Then on the way back from the Gap, cross Table mountain and follow the Canyon trail up to Indian Creek and back up Black Mountain.  Long story short, it ended up turning into a tough 56.5 mile run that took me like 12 hrs.  But it was actually really fun.  One of those experiences that reminds you about what a great sport this is.

The run in pictures:

Looking down at the valley on the way up Black.

In the clouds on Black.

Christmas tree farm at Skyline Open Space.

Ridge Trail and co.

Views to the Ocean from the STTS.

Alls I can say is TGFTHG.  Thank God for the hotdog guy.  Hotdog smothered in sauerkraut, relish, and dijon and a mountain dew.  Heaven at 40 miles.

Remember this Toshi?

Table looking towards Black.

Cool Tree.

More cool tree.

Love this pic looking down into Steven's Creek valley from Black.

This view is always welcome to me.  It always tells me that I have only 4-8 miles left in my run and its all downhill.  I can see my office window from here, and I sit in my cubicle staring up at this spot on the trail when work is dragging.

So happy to see my little red truck!


  1. Those pushups at work are doing you some good, son. Lifting!!!

  2. Now that's a solid training run!

  3. May be it's about time we bring back the 50 miler to the Saratoga FA... and climb those crags by China Grade!