The altitude catchphrase: everything hurts and I’m dying. I kind of love that feeling… you know something good must be happening. But still, it can be easy to lose track of progress. If everything feels a bit crappy, and all the paces are different, how do I know if I’m getting in good work? ⠀ ⠀
I’ve found logs to be immensely helpful as an anchor in these situations. I’ve kept a training log in one form or another for six years now. I don’t look back at them too often, but I like to use them to establish a baseline in hard training blocks. ⠀ ⠀
I started doing this on trips to Flagstaff. If I was struggling the first week, I might look back and see I was running faster than previous trips, or more mileage. It calms me to have a reason to know why I’m more tired. ⠀ ⠀
Of course, there can be a negative side to holding too tightly to past experience. If you have a certain key workout you need to hit, it can seem like failure if you don’t repeat it exactly (one reason why I hate the idea of indicator workouts before races). Example: I finished my long run today and was bummed because I averaged slower than last week.
I guess like anything, logs have to be an exercise in optimism: go find one thing that you’re doing now that you weren’t a year ago, one point of progress. If I practice this attitude, I can most times find something that has improved – be it mileage, pace, workout load – and that helps me feel like the bar has been raised and I’m building momentum. When each day is a bit of a slog, that’s exactly what I need to believe.
Whitmore Tubs Road and Track Loop
- The track here is new and open to the public.
- For an 8.8 mile loop, park at the track and run back toward the highway for about a half mile and turn right at the dirt road that heads to the airport. Keep making right turns, up an unnamed road, to Hot Creek Hatchery Road, over the hill, back to Whitmore Tubs road. There are bathrooms at the start and at the Hot Creek Geologic Site at the top of the hill.
- Most of the roads in this area are unpaved. There are endless possibilities for loops and out and backs. We’ve also parked closer to Owens River Road and started there. You can make a 10-11 mile loop by going out Antelope Spring and back Forest Road 3S138.
- For a less hilly option, you can run from the track down toward Crowley Lake. Or park across the highway along the road to Convict lake and go back toward town. These are a bit boring, but you avoid any major hills.
- The whole area is beautiful, with incredible views of the mountains. After a run, try one of the hot springs. We went to Wild Willy’s.
Runs in/near town
- Shady Rest Park – Maze of dirt trails
- Town Loop – 7.3 asphalt path around Mammoth Lakes. This is a rolling/hilly run.
- Lake Mary – Loop this one for a run at almost 9000ft. It’s about two miles on Around Lake Mary Rd. And you can add another two out to Horseshoe Lake. The trees are dead up there because of geologic activity, it’s eery. This is all road running.
Dirt runs farther away
- Mono Lake – Park at Mono Lake South Tufa Area and run out Test Station Road to the Forest Road 1N44. These are wide roads with good footing. As a bonus, there’s a great scenic view of natural limestone formations (tufa) steps from the parking lot.
- Whoa Nellie Deli is a deli in a gas station in the nearby town. It’s a popular spot for people coming in or out of Yosemite.
- Bald Mountain Road is another dirt out-and-back run
- Ohanas 395 is a Hawaiian food cart parked at June Lake nearby. Friends on Mammoth Track Club say it’s the best food in the area.
- Owens River Campground is a good place for soft surface running at lower elevations.
Food /Coffee in Mammoth Lakes
- Black Velvet Coffee
- Stellar Brew & Natural Cafe – They seem to have a bit of an issue keeping inventory (whenever we got there later in the day, they would be out of common lunch items). But it when everything was available, it was my favorite place for smoothies, bowls, and healthy breakfast options.
- Good Life Cafe – Generic diner fare, which I always like after a long run. There are a few similar options in town, Good Life was my pick.
- Shea Shatt’s Bakery – Good deli sandwiches, hit-and-miss service.
- The Eatery at Mammoth Brewing – for the weekly gastropub hit