Rooster Rock

All you WS runners, tell me you’re as tired as I am.  I am one old cooked goose.  Actually, it’s been a couple of weeks now. Sleep requirements have skyrocketed (10 hours last night).  My easy runs have included bits a walking in between 8-10 minute mile shuffles. My races and workouts have been going well, but the recovery days are just pathetic. I’ve been complaining to my training partners that I’m getting old.  Yeah, I know what you 20 or 30 somethings are saying, “just shut up and train.”  I used to say the same thing when I was younger, but now at 45 years old and still trying to train like I did six years ago … either I forgot how hard it is or it is harder.

While I have resisted posting “I ran 4 miles today” entries on this blog, it has been suggested several times that I share some of the key training runs I do leading up to States.  Today was Rooster Rock with Tapeworm.  Nate McDowell discovered this beauty of a run in 2001 while doing some kind of water-going-up-trees research for his PhD. I can’t remember the details of his research but I definitely thought it was cool that he got to go to wilderness areas and discover new trails while doing research.  Computer science research, well, we didn’t get to go outside, except to get big gulps at the 7-11.

Rooster Rock (from

Rooster Rock (from

Rooster Rock is a small summit in the Menagarie Wilderness east of Sweet Home, Oregon.  There are only two maintained trails in the wilderness area: Trout Creek Trail and Rooster Rock Trail.  One is about 3 miles to the summit and 2300 feet of climbing and the other is about 2.5 miles and 2200 feet of climbing with a short shared steep section at the top.  A single “Nate Loop” consists of running up one trail to the summit, down the other, back up that trail to the summit, then back down the first trail to your car.  11 miles with about 4500′ of gain and the same amount of loss.  There is absolutely no flat terrain on either trail. Very similar to the two climbs in the big canyons at WS.  A very fast Nate-time was right around 2 hours.  Most of the time for me I’m at about 2:30 with some good sitting at the summit for the views of the Three Sisters and Mt Washington to the east.  I usually don’t even bring a watch anymore.  The goal today was a double Nate (four summits) but I bagged the last one so only got 21 miles and three summits.  The reason I go there is to trash my quads.  Well, and also to practice walking but primarily to trash the quads on the downhills.  And, no matter how fit I am, my quads will be sore in the next two days.  Not just sore, but screaming sore to the touch.

Two maybe three trips to the Rooster along with some good training on the WS trail and either a trip to the Grand Canyon or the Shafer Butte in Idaho and my quads are good to go come race day.

Now it’s time for some beer and contrast bath.  What did you do this weekend?  And please tell me you’re as tired as I am or you’ll make me feel old.


  1. LB,

    Thanks for the training post. Pretty cool! And, just so you know, I am toast today as well. My weekend consisted of two consecutive, identical runs at Carbonate Mountain here in Sun Valley. The mountain climbs a series of switchbacks (much like the climb up Devil’s Thumb) to a summit 1600 feet above the parking lot. Then, it runs a Ridge for about a mile before a long gradual descent back to the car. One loop is 8.3 miles with 1700ish climbing (figuring in the ridge and the rollers). So, this weekend on Saturday I did three of those loops solo and on Sunday Hank Dart joined me for three more. I did both runs on water and Clif Bloks so I could do a little glycogen and sodium depletion and I think it worked. Saturday’s session was 3:47 and Sunday’s was 3:49. 50 miles total for the two days and just over 10K of climbing.

    Today, I think I’ll just walk to the coffee shop!


  2. @AJW – Hey, are you now using my minimum sodium in training approach? I don’t usually try the glycogen depletion thing but I did try Vespa for the first time, and perhaps I didn’t use it correctly, but I ran out of energy on the last climb which is why I didn’t do the 4th summit. The coffee shop sounds real good this morning…

    @Sean Lang – Did I read correctly that you won the 50 miler? Nice work (for a 20something year old).

  3. Not many hills out here in MN. Managed a few flat runs out on the dirt roads, though. Braces on, of course. I’m nothing of a runner like all you ultra runners, but as a 30-something my legs still get plenty sore and I feel spent at the end of a day of running. Now quit your whining and go take your nap. 🙂

  4. SLF kicked my butt at MT Diablo. I thought when he passed me at mile 32- “I’m going to catch that skinny little guy by the finish.” As it turned out, he was just the first of many that passed me yesterday…

  5. @hairclub – Maybe you should try swimming in one of those 10,000 lakes out there. BTW, it’s gonna be 80 in Eugene today.

    @white trash – What is up with SLF? 2nd place at Diablo in front of Skaden, Cooper, you, etc? And Bev wins outright? Wow! Looks like Monkeyboy did well in the marathon. Oh, and Meghan just ran 2:49 at Boston this morning.

    All that is making me more tired. I gotta take another nap…

  6. I did Diablo too. Although I am nowhere in the company of white trash and SLF I had a solid day on the trails. Lots of technical stuff, massive elevation gain/loss and some decent heat. I feel old, with sore knees (first time ever) and also my first ever blister. A lot of Western States hopefuls in that field yesterday.

    Rumor has it Skaden and Cooper rode a double century the previous day. I didn’t know Erik knew how to ride a bike.

  7. I used run Rooster’s in about 3 hours with two summits per loop, give or take 5 minutes — so I was satisfied and trashed after 2 loops, 4 summits — 6 hours. I once heard that you once said from somebody else who said you said that you shouldn’t descend any faster in training than in racing and since I don’t descend that quickly anyway, I am pretty slow at Rooster. I can say, after 2 loops at Rooster it took me a solid 10 days to recover after my first trip, after my second workout it took about 7 days to recover.

    Burn those quads babys!!

    Did you wear worn out crappy shoes like AJW so you can thrash your feet too?

  8. @Paul Charteris – Glad to see you back to training.

    @AJW – All those guys can ride 200 miles on a bike? Holy smokes. That hurts my ass just thinking about it.

    @Twiet – 1. Uhh, thanks?

    2. This one I’ve heard so often but figuring out how to put it into the training program is not so easy. Do I take more zeros? I’m doing that. Just run slower on my easy days. I’m doing that too. More days between workouts or long runs? Pretty difficult when you’re used to a weekly Wed workout and weekend long runs. It would be nice if the weeks gradually increased beyond 7 days so when the weekly workout or long run comes around we’d have a slightly long recovery time that kept pace with our change of age. At 30 your week is 7 days, at 40 8 days, at 45 9 days, at 50, hell, you just retire, right? But a longer week just isn’t practical.

    3. That sounds like a good strategy although I’m hoping there’s a little room for improvement with race-day execution.

    @Cougarbait – Did I say that about downhill training pace? Hmmm, maybe I got that from Mackey? And, no, I didn’t follow the full AJW beat my feet program. As I recall, he does that in Jan and Feb. Why? Beats me (no pun intended).

  9. Those Roosters sound like a harder version of what I did this weekend. I started at the Mt. Pisgah East Trailhead Kiosk and ran to the summit on trail 2 (2.2 miles, and about 1200 feet of elevation gain), then back down to the kiosk (maybe 100 feet of elevation gain on the way down). Four times.

    One time up and down is 44-47 minutes for me, so that’s a nice three hour run with very little flat running. 18 miles, about 5200 feet of elevation gain, and nice long downhill stretches to beat up the quads.

    Of course, I’m not training for WS, just for Mac Forest 50K and then a 100K in August…. I hear it’s pretty hilly. If I can figure out how to slow down a little, I should have lots of fun out there.

  10. Last weekend was 4+ hours at Pisgah of rocks, hills, ruts, and mud. Yesterday, I ran from the Springfield terminus, 25 miles out and back on Boothe-Kelly road. I stashed a drop bag at Little Fall Creek Road, but still managed to run low on water by the end. Relatively easy rolling gradient, but I was trying for one of those long long runs. Took me 8:58. Today I walked 4 miles at lunch. Its weird though – I usually feel really good the day after a long run, not feeling it until later in the week.

  11. @Co Jones – I seldom train out at Pisgah. I gotta get out there once in a while. Oh, that 100K you’re doing in August is just a little hilly. Luckily, you’ll get to train on Fuji and Maiden once the snow melts and we get the blowdown logged out.

    @Derek S – 50 miles? Boothe-Kelly is another place I never go to. No good reason why. You should try to get out to Rooster before the big dance to trash the quads. You won’t get many miles for your 5-6 hours, but it is the best canyon simulation I’ve found in Oregon, although Mt Defiance in the gorge is some hellacious downhill if you want to drive 3+ hours.

  12. Although I do not have speed (my 2:47 marathon was at 17 yrs. old) and I was a roommate with Mark Conover for a time in college where he was running 28 minute 10k’s and I was happy to break 31 min. some time after, which was a reality check at an early age) I can say for me the tempo & endurance started a downhill trend at 41-42 yrs, then again at 45-46. I’ve noticed a decrease severely from 46 to 49. Presently. A lot of slowing recovery now, especially with training runs over 35-41 miles. Sometimes a week! I hate that, and like you I was doing a hard tempo run on Wednesday, but with those real long trail runs, the quality was not there because I was to damn tired. So now I limit my Saturday long run to no more then 31 miles and Sunday to 16 miles or so with not to much climbing. My temo run is now on Tuesday’s and on Thursday a steady run of 14-15 miles. Not to hard, just about 8- 9 min. pace or slower if needed. In between I hit the road bike and take a day off. Although, the day after the off day, I sure feel like crap, hard to get going. I sure hate taking a day off but approaching 50 years old, I just get to run down after a few weeks of daily work outs. I do sneak home several day’s a week for a 1/2 hour “power nap”. I just can’t seem to stay awake! It sucks getting old! Your mind is the same as when your younger, but your body say’s, it ain’t so! 10 hours of sleep! Are you kidding me? “Lucky” you don’t have kids, I feel fortunate if I get 5.5 – 6 hours of sleep per night during the week! Needless to say, as much as I hate using races as training, I do use them for my way long training. Not much choice. I just taper so I can hopefully run with a quality effort.
    P.S. Don’t talk to MonkeyBoy about Diablo just yet. He’s a bit “high strung” these days! But nothing a few beers won’t cure.

  13. .

    @Derek S – 50 miles?

    Boothe-Kelly is another place I never go to. No good reason why. You should try to get out to Rooster before the big dance to trash the quads. You won’t get many miles for your 5-6 hours, but it is the best canyon simulation I’ve found in Oregon, although Mt Defiance in the gorge is some hellacious downhill if you want to drive 3+ hours.

    Thanks, I’ll try Rooster. How long is the drive to there? Has anyone ran at Walker Mountain, via Tipsoo Butte and Yankee Mountain? Or Rebel Rock? I think these are higher elevation so they won’t be runnable for awhile.

  14. Nothin’ like a little heat training in the Bay Area. Third time since Fall I hadn’t worn gloves. MonkeyBoy looked sharp with those new shoes from RVR. Why does he feel he needs to run 2-3 miles further than everyone else? Some sort of weird handicap?
    Speaking of sodium depletion, in the immortal words of an anonymous runner at the (hot) ’06 States race while I was on trail patrol near Dusty Corners: “What’s an electrolyte?” This was in response to the question of how he was doing with electrolytes. Not sure the boy finished that year…
    Let’s see, for hill training our prescription down here is one Mt. A summit, 5,600 ft of climb in 13 miles and back to the local pub. All, right from your door.

  15. @Grae Van Hooser – You’ve given me a lot to look forward to. I’ll just enjoy 45 and wait for the severe decrease in performance from 46-49. Heck, it’ll give AJW an edge in our ten year bet. You haven’t had hip replacement surgery yet, have you? Anyone?

    @Derek S – Rooster Rock is about 1.5 hours from Eugene. I have been up Tipsoo Butte but it was years ago. I can’t remember the name of the trail we tried to follow but it was not maintained and we got quite lost.

    @SLF – Mr Diablo, you are a stud. 2nd place? Just last week you were trying to sandbag and tell me you were worried about keeping up with us. Now you have to eat the ice cream sandwich and Mt Dew – we wanna see you puke! As for your hill climb up Mt A, you can always head right down to a Shakespeare play at the end for a nap. Now that’s convenient 🙂

  16. 20 and thirty somethings being able to recover?? Technically I am a thirty something (39 yo now..masters category on Nov 22 this year!), but I have whittled my running formula to 2 recovery runs for every 1 hard run. ( I consider a hard run being 1 hoour at %95+ , 1.5 hours at 90%, or a 20 mile run or an ultra). But I find I can do better back to back hard runs if I race a shorter distance (like a 5K) then come back the next day with a long run (for me 3 hours is my long run..3.5 tops)..this makes the long run seem easy pace-wise.
    That being said, this past weekend I an 1,5 moderately paced, Sunday early moening ran easy 45 minutes, then raced the Earthday 5K in Boulder at 10:30 am. I felt great during the 5K, and won the damn thing, which surprised me b/c Boulder has 100 or 200 guys who could beat me in a 5K, but they must have been shovelling snow or buying carbon credits or something.
    Monday took a nice 3 hour run up Bear Peak (4 feet of wet snow up there from this past weekend; trees snapped everywhere) and with an extra loop on the flats, at about %50 effort. I felt great! And that 5k is why.
    I love easy paced long runs.
    Recovery is easier too because my ass is planted in a chair these days when I am not chasing my daughter around, which helps recovery. Those ultrarunners who are carpenters, waiters, laborers, those who spend time on the feet…have a harder time recovering I would guess.

  17. @Mackey – That is an impressive weekend. Does anyone else think this guy is just a stud (and that from a guy who got his ass handed to him on a treadmill)

    And LB, don’t start sandbagging the 10 year bet already. Everybody knows I’ll have at least a 4 hour lead come June 28 and you’ll just whittle away at it after that.

  18. I was there Monday of last week, trying for 4, but only doing what you did, LB. I cried like a baby as I slowly shuffled down to my car after reaching the junction. I didn’t even contemplate going up again. I will be there again either this coming Sunday or Monday, if any Eugeneies want to join the fun.

  19. @Mackey – I do wonder what it is like for people that do hard labor all day. I too have the luxury of sitting on my ass all day.

    @AJW – You gonna stroke Dave’s thighs too? What will Hal think about that?

    @Sean – We’re headed to Michigan Bluff this weekend. We’re gonna run on a trail called “The Western States Trail.” I hear it’s a nice place to run.

  20. LB, funny you should bring up hip replacement. A few years ago I was having hip pain on one side. I got an MRI on my back and I have four bulging disc’s. An x-ray of my hips revealed that I have worn half the cartlidge away on one side and that one leg is 3/4 of an inch longer then the other. My chiropractor says I can probably make it until I’m 60 or so. But I think I can last. That’s damage from 30 plus years of running. If I go down, it’s going to be with style!Just one more pain I have to ignore. It’s all the same after a while. You have a lot to look forward to. You can have fireside chat’s with all those young log haired hippy runners spinning yarn’s about States and your ten year bet.

  21. I’m planning to go this Sunday needing to leave early early in the AM. I think I’ll be heading out the door about 4:30.

    I’ve hiked the trials that I mentioned earlier. Just wondering if they have been explored by runners. I meant to say Louder Mtn. not Walker. Walker is the creek.

  22. CB asked- How’s that New Years Resolution coming?

    At the Oak Mtn 50K in AL in March, I passed her at the 14 mile point, got myself a bit off course, but then continued on thinking I was still ahead of her. I ran from mile 14 to the finish in the lead (in my mind), only to see her standing at the finish. At that point I stupidly said “what happened to you?”

    The important thing though is that for 17 miles I ran “knowing” I was kicking her little booty. That may have to suffice for 2009. This year pyschological, next year physically.

  23. @Mackey

    Now wait a minnow man, Mackey runs 3.5 hours tops….okay…CB math that’s about 20 miles for me if it’s hilly…well, if it’s flat that’s about 20 miles for me also…. So Mackey runs 3.5 tops, Anton runs 3.5 minimum, just goes to show ya gotta do what you gotta do what’s right for you.

    Since I am racing this year all in the Midwest…lemme’ change that, since I am running all my events this year in the Midwest I dont’ have to worry about strapping jackhammers to my feet and doing jumping jacks at lunch to season my quads, I just have to run all day in humid bug biting rolling hills of Iowa in the hot sun…I am running 17 hours total this week with 4 hours of cycling thrown in for good measure and I even got in a track workout yesterday too running my repeats in a blinding 6:20 (Take that Mackey 5K runner!) oh yeah, I ran a 5K last weekend too, I paced 4 co-workers through a 5K, 21:27 howz’ them apples, are you scared? I know White Trash is….. 13 hours of my running will be in the form of a back to back, 7 hours on Saturday, 6 hours on Sunday, alone, in Iowa, through the wind whip gravels roads and sprouting cornfields. Almost enough boredom to make you all jealous. My race….um I mean run.. is 3 weeks before you’all’s race, therefore my big weeks are here, now…I even quit drinking beer. Hopefully I will have finished Kettle by the time you all start States. Oh yeah, I am on the verge of dipping below 175lbs too!!! Last time I was that ripped I only got beat by White Trash’s wife by 6 minutes….


  24. @Grae Van Hooser – Maybe I should stop making fun of hip replacements. I’m also in my 31st year of running. Some wise old surgeon in Eugene told Tapeworm last year that humans only have 30 years of running in their bodies. He went to another doctor.

    Time for a nap. The track hurt today.

  25. @Craig – What are you doing to the track to make it hurt?

    My weekend consisted of 20 miles in the Goodman Cr. watershed with 4700′ change without my quads being trashed – getting to like this in shape business. Achilles is sore as all get out though – probably due to the PF I’m battling.

  26. @Craig – I may not be the Jiz, but I’ll come chase you around the track doing my best impersonation of AJW’s ‘booming voice’ to give a little extra motivation. As for WW, I’d love to come do a sweep of either half this year with a plan to come push myself to the brink next year.

  27. @Craig – That’s a good one. But, do you really think just catching me on the track will get you enough time to win the bet? The way I figure it you’ll have to beat me by about six hours, catching me on the track won’t do it.

    “Booming voice what’s up with that?


  28. I ran 2 loops on Sunday – think I saw the Sisters/Bend crew. You guys looked entirely too happy. The Trout Creek Trail was some very nice running. RR trail – not so much. Trashed quads – check. When might I expect my legs back from the evil demons that currently posess them? I normally run a good amount of hills so I’m pretty shocked that RR has virtually crippled me.

  29. the first day post RR I was saying “oh yea that’s the good kind of pain.”

    the second day:”holy cow this is not good”

    third day:”Momma mia!”

    Today: still really sore but I finally felt descent in the last few miles of an 11 miler at lunch today.

  30. Sorry to be such a nerd, but the picture of “Rooster Rock” you chose to post here is not, in fact, Rooster Rock. The picture you posted was of the “Rabbit Ears” (also in the Menagerie WIlderness… and yes you misspelled Menagerie, too, but I digress.) You can see Rooster Rock here.

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