Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekly Summary: Feb. 20 - 27

2/20 - Splitboarding.  3.45 miles.  2:04:43.  1340'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Off work early today + 1 foot of fresh powder at home = splitboard session.  Supposed to be a rest day but when it snows, it snows.  And, for me, that means do whatever I can to surf the white wave.  I enlisted the company of faithful companion Benihana and up Stagecoach Mt. we went to ride the newly fallen snow.  Skinned up to The Beach down 3rd, 2nd and 1st Pitch, then hiked back up to the top of 1st Pitch for one more ride all the way back to the house.  I would have been up for a couple more laps but us "old" guys need to learn to take it easy sometimes.   Meanwhile, Steamboat got crushed...27" of snow in 24 hours, 34" in 36 hours.

2/21 - Snowboarding.  ~3:00:00.  Steamboat Ski Area.  No running.  Winter is finally back.  It took its sweet time, but I knew it had to happen eventually.  It snowed all night and continued through the day.  A gnarly drive to work but there wasn't any, so I called up JD and he was able to score me a medallion so I could go ride with him, Chris and, later, Derek, on the Mountain ("mountain, mountain").   Knee deep to waist deep snow depending on where we were but mostly, just sick conditions.  I just wished I had waxed my snowboard because I was a little slow on the flatter sections.   Run of the day definitely went to No Name Chutes but, really, it was all good.  Steep, deep and fresh.   It's supposed to continue snowing through the week so I might not be getting much mileage in the way of running but hopefully I will get in some of the best riding of the year.  Ah, life in a ski town does not suck.

2/22 - Snowshoe.  ~:45:00.  >1 mile.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Just a fun walk in the deep snow with my girl.  Katy made a cool figure-8 route and I had a great time following her around.  Actually, this was the first time I've really snowshoed and I thought it was a blast.  Later that evening the wind picked up and erased all of our tracks.  Bummer.

2/23 - 6.0 miles.  :57:12.  Steamboat.  PM.  Brrr.  Cold day.  Katy says it was "cold like back East."  I'm thinking the humidity was higher than usual and there was a biting wind that lasted most of the day.  It warmed up a little as I ran from downtown, past the high school and then up and down the hill by the middle school before going out to Buff Pass Road and back.  Overall, a nice mellow run.  Glad to get some mileage this week, I wasn't sure that was going to happen with the weather. 

2/24 - 14.05 miles.  2:21:48.  1320'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Sunny and somewhat mild this afternoon as I ran on snow, dirt roads and a little asphalt.  Decided to do my long run today since I'm going to splitboard Stagecoach Mtn. tomorrow.  I wore a Nathan vest I'm trying out for racing this summer and it felt pretty comfortable.  In it, I carried a small bag of cashews, a tangerine, an electrolyte tablet, a water bottle (for a few miles, I hand carried it the rest of the way) and my gaiters, once I took them off about 4 miles into the run.  I ate a few cashews just after the 5 mile mark and drank water most of the run.  In the last 3 miles or so, I dropped the tablet into my water bottle so I could finish my run and cool down while replenishing electrolytes.  The run went well, for the most part, although I did feel like I had a couple of rough patches but nothing too bad.  The best part of the run was seeing Katy pass me in her car as she was getting home from work!   It definitely made the last few miles easier.

2/25 - Splitboarding.  2:33:00.  1820'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  Skinned up to within a couple hundred feet of the summit of Stagecoach Mtn. with my neighbor, Robert, for a nice morning session.  Very relaxed pace, stopping along the way to take a few photos and to talk.  For me, there are few things better than to walk right out my front door, start climbing a mountain and ride down.  The snow was quite good.  A little settled but still soft and deep, making for good speed and turns.  The terrain was rolling and smooth all the way to the bottom of the mountain.   A beautiful, sunny and breezy morning.  I think the wind is supposed to pick up tonight and it's supposed to snow again. 

2/26 - 7.87 miles.  1:06:19.  880'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  One mile warm-up for 10 minutes followed by 6 miles of tempo (8:28,7:41,8:01,7:34,7:35,7:35) and .8 mile cool down on some pretty icy roads (with a little bit of dirt).  A good run with some pretty modest splits but fun for me.  Spent quite a few steps telling myself, "Don't slip.  Don't fall.  Don't bust your ass."  Stopped to talk to my friend Dave Demos for a couple of minutes as he was driving home and then again at the port-o-potty at the trail head by the reservoir. Sunny but a damn cold wind kept it really chilly. 

Weekly Totals:  28.92 miles running/snowshoe. 2200++'v.  (4:25:xx running, 7:34:00 splitboarding/snowboarding)

I got a chance to mix it up a little this week thanks to the return of winter.  Mother Nature timed it perfectly and I got to take advantage of a low mileage week and get out and ride some powder, even if it meant skipping a couple runs.  It also helped that we were slow at work so I could move my training schedule around a little bit (it didn't help financially).   Next week, I'll be back to bumping up the mileage with a 21 mile long run on Saturday, so hopefully (for me) the weather will cooperate.  However, if we are back to a normal cycle in terms of snowfall, we could still see alot of it through March and April.   I think that as long as I keep hitting my long runs, I can keep sacrificing a few shorter runs here and there. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekly Summary: Feb 13 - Feb 19

2/13 - Rest.

2/14 - 5.03 miles.  :54:05.  360'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Katy and I both got off work early enough to run an out and back on the road from the house down to CR 14. 

2/15 - 5.20 miles.  :54:38. 360'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Another roadie with the lovely Kate.  Felt tired.

2/16 - 3.88 miles.  1:15:04.  1220'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  I opted to hike/run/trudge up Stagecoach Mtn. to "The Beach" in knee deep snow with Benihana rather than dodge headlights on the county road.  Solid effort and very slow going ascent from the top of Second Pitch to The Beach as we broke trail.  It's been snowing again and I'm not snowboarding!  WTF?!!

2/17 - Rest.

2/18 - 17.98 miles.  3:29:18.  1650'v.  Steamboat.  AM.  Started my long run with an easy 2.30 mile, :29:20,  warm up before doing a Running Series race, Love the Run Your With, a 6.85 mile, 1:17:21 snow run on Emerald Mountain.  The entire course was super tough with loosely packed and punchy snow that made it very appropriate to wear snow shoes, which I didn't.  The ascent was grueling at some points and I redlined my effort the entire time.  Tough, tough, tough.  I was relieved for the downhill but the footing remained difficult as I seemed to punch through the snow every 50 steps or so.  Really hard to establish any kind of rhythm.  I ran the majority of the downhill with a guy named Tom and we finished the race together, just happy to be done.  At least, he was.  I still had 9 more miles to do, so I ate another Honey Stinger and ran to the Core Trail from Howelsen Hill to Rotary Park.  On my return to town, I crossed over to River Road and made my way back to Howelsen to refill my water bottle at Olympian Hall.  I still had a couple more miles to go so I jumped back on the Core Trail and ran towards the library where I saw Mina, my friend Jonny's mother-in-law, jogging down the trail.  We jogged and chatted our way down to Stockbridge and back to Howelsen.  I felt good for the most part during my run(s) but my legs are definitely feeling it this evening.  Whooped.

2/19 - 10.01 miles.  1:38:59.  980'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  I didn't think it was particularly cold when I left on my run but the wind chilled me right to the bone every time I was running into it.  I stayed warm enough but really should have worn a windbreaker instead of fleece.  I stayed on the roads for this effort since I was sufficiently over running in the snow after yesterday's race.  Still had some slight lingering soreness in my left quadracep from yesterday but, otherwise, I felt good on this outing. 

Week Totals:  42.10 miles.  8:12:04.  4570'v.

A good week.  Still coming up a little short on mileage but getting more than adequate time on my feet.  Such is running in the mountains in the mid-winter, when even an easy 4 mile "run" can take well over an hour.  I was a little worried about going long this weekend and actually getting the mileage required by my training schedule but I think it helped to include a fun (but challenging) race into the mix.   One of the participants in the race was Allen Belshaw, an accomplished local ultrarunner who has twice won the Squaw Peak 50 and Desert RATS 50 and has victories at the Plain 100 (self supported 100 miler) and Laramie 100.  I introduced myself after the race and while we talked he told me that it was a good training idea for me to race before finishing my long run.  "Put down some calories and keep running,"  he said.  "If you go sit down now, you'll never want to get back up."  I guess I felt a little inspired by his advice and it really motivated me to go out and get the remainder of my distance for the day. 

I feel like my diet is staying on track although I probably ate way too much Valentine's chocolate this week.

Next week will be another reduced mileage and recovery week which is good since I'm finding it harder to get miles in accumulating snow.  Hopefully, when March arrives, the weather will be more agreeable for running.  Of course, as I type this, I see that it is starting to snow.  Oh, boy.  Maybe I'll just have to go snowboarding!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekly Summary: Feb. 6 - Feb. 12

2/6 - Rest.

2/7 - 6.09 miles. 1:15:58.   -  4.12 miles. :36:37.  Steamboat.  Noon.  Lunch road and trail run from 4th street around the middle school and back.  PM.  1.97 miles.  :39:20.   Stagecoach.   After work, did a couple miles with the dogs at an easy pace. 

2/8 - 3.7 miles.  :35:14.  Steamboat.  Noon.  Lunch road and trail run from 4th street but ran the reverse of yesterday's route and used the trail a bit more.  Didn't run in the evening so I could spend some time with my beautiful future wife and my dogs. 

2/9 - 6.08 miles.  1:29:02.  ~750'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  -  ~.5 mile,  ~:20:00, 400'v.  hike with the dogs.  Let them pull me up the hill then I ran behind them on the way down the hill.  They're so fun!  Followed by a 5.58 mile, ~350'v.  1:09:02 snow run/trudge in 2-5" of new powder.   Those hills were tough.   Didn't get seven miles for the day but the time on my feet more than made up for it.

2/10 - Rest.

2/11 - 11.48 miles.  3:46:33.  ~1200'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  After a couple of days of snow, I wanted to have some fun instead of the usual Saturday long run so I broke out the splitboard and made a one-mile touring loop in the open space by the house.  It took a little longer than a half hour to put in the initial trail.  I did two more laps in the same track then, on the 4th one, I started a new track about half way through the loop so I could break into some virgin snow again.  After 4.32 miles in 2:03:42, my legs were feeling pretty heavy, so I figured it was time to go run a few miles.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and a warm one, as well.  I changed into a pair of shorts and a long sleeved shirt and looked, I'm sure, completely out of place as I ran on snow covered roads around Stagecoach (6.46 miles, 1:15:52).  After that, I took the dogs for a walk as I cooled down (.57 miles, :18:59).    Quite a bit short on overall mileage but I got a great "time on feet" workout. 

2/12 - 8.01 miles.  1:26:xx.  ~500'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  Ran the first couple road miles with Katy before I jumped on the snowpacked and groomed trail.  That didn't do much for traction though, the snow was loose enough to slow me down to 11-minute miles as I ran along the south shoreline to where the boat ramp would be. 

Week:   35.56 miles.  ~3000'v.  8 hours, 21 minutes!

Came up quite a few miles short of 42 for the week but with 8 hours on my feet, I'd say that was pretty worthy for almost 40 kilometers!  Alot of slow running, trudging and splitboard touring should be good for my leg strength and endurance, if not for a fast leg turnover.  No matter, speed work (which I do plan on doing this spring/early summer) is not essential for ultramarathon success (re:  finishing!) and it's always worth skipping a few miles if I'm spending that time with the ones I love. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekly Summary: Jan 30 - Feb 5

1/30 - Rest.  After Saturday's long run and my hike/run yesterday, I was grateful for a day to chill.  Legs felt heavy all day until the evening when they finally started to bounce back.

1/31 - 7.01 miles.  1:02:49.  ~700'v.  Spring Creek Trail.  Noon.  Fantastic midday run in the sun.  Unbelievably warm (high 30s/low 40s) and my legs felt so good I had to push the pace almost the entire run on snow packed trail (with even a few spots of dirt).  It's so crazy to see dirt and grass here in January/February.  Oh well, the trail was sick.   Good footing, for the most part.  There were a few slick spots and I could've worn MicroSpikes for this one but managed just fine without.  I feel like I turned a corner in my fitness, also.  I boogied up the top of the ridge above Spring Creek, almost effortlessly, at a pace that would've normally would've had me pretty winded.  At the turnaround, I was geeked for the downhill and clipped off 6:40-7:17/miles for the entire descent back into town.  Jazzed.

2/1 - ~5 miles.  Steamboat.  Noon.  Ran the road loop through Old Town to the middle school and onto the Butcherknife Canyon Trail and back to JDs house.  Then, went snowboarding on the mountain for a few hours with my man, Dizzle.  Fastest I've gone on a snowboard all year!  Capped it off with a couple of beers at Gondola Pub and Grill.  Nice one.

2/2 - 7.46 miles.  1:22:46.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Took the dogs on a half mile hike up the hillside before going for my run.  Then, I enjoyed an afternoon run from the house down to the south shore of the reservoir before doing a couple of tough, snowy trail miles along the the shoreline.   The weather began to deteriorate as I left the house and it got colder and windier.  I punched through some deep snow to get from the trail back up to CR 16 and headed back home.

2/3 - Rest.  Took Benny and Nanuk on a nice, mellow hike up the mountain and my legs felt good.  I considered going for a short run but thought better of it. 

2/4 - 16.12 miles.  2:43:26. 1400'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  Today's long run fully kicked my ass.  Fully.  One of the things I love about running is that it teaches humility and I got a good lesson today.  It's funny that people who know I run a lot will assume that it comes easily and do not understand that even though I enjoy running, it is still work.  Today, it was very hard work!  It was a clear but cold morning and I waited until about 9:30 a.m., when it finally warmed up into the teens, to leave the house.  I ran icy, hilly dirt roads for the first 4 miles and opted to wear running gaiters and MicroSpikes because, despite any new snowfall this week, I would be running a few miles on the trail next to the reservoir, which was still snow packed.  The footing wasn't that bad but it made me work and I noted that my pace slowed about 45 seconds to a minute per mile once I hit the trail.  I stayed on the trail for a couple miles and arrived at the dam right at the 10 kilometer mark.  I crossed the dam and ran a couple more miles of dirt/ice/slush/snow road out toward Sarvis Creek.  By the turn around, I was fading a bit energy-wise, and I knew it was mostly an uphill run back home, so I thought things might get tough towards the end.  Around the 10 mile mark, I ate a Honey Stinger gel.  Once I got back on the dirt road, my feet felt a little heavy but I sucked it up and maintained a decent pace.  With about 2.5 miles to go, I hit a steady 200' climb that slowly took the wind out of my sails.  By the top of the hill, I felt like I was crawling.  I was also dealing with some chafing issues and a tender spot on my left foot from my crampons.   Fortunately, I had a mile of gradual downhill after that, which allowed me to regroup a little before I hit a final 100' climb in the last quarter mile.  I tried to cool down with a few minutes of walking but it took me a good 20 minutes to finally come down after that effort.   Tough one.

2/5 - 7.46 miles.  1:13:33.  ~400'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  Ran 4 road miles with Katy before doing 3 more by myself.  Nice and mellow paced effort under sunny skies. 

Weekly Total:  43.05 miles.

A good week of running with the total mileage increased into the 40s.  The next two weeks I will be keeping my weekday mileage the same as this week, with an 18 mile long run on Saturday.  I feel like my training has been going very well for the past 8 weeks, in terms of workouts, but I really think one of the contributing factors has been because I am focusing not just on running, but also, on nutrition.  In the past, I've never had difficulty motivating myself to run or workout because it's something I enjoy doing but I have never been one to take my nutrition very seriously.  As I get older and learn more, I am realizing that this is an area that I should have been paying much more attention to all along.  As Americans, we live in a country with a bountiful food supply, but, truthfully, little of what we choose to eat is actually good for us.  By this, I mean that what we eat should not just keep us from starving, it should enrich our lives and health.  If you eat what is good for you, regardless of your athletic involvement, your body will fight off illness better and you will not gain and carry around excessive weight.  As an athlete, eating right plays a tremendous role in muscle performance, growth and recovery.   Specifically, I'm talking about managing oxidative stress, which is, in laymen's terms, the body's ability to remove toxins from it's cells.  The best way to do this is simple:  eat foods rich in antioxidants, ie.  fruits and vegetables. 

For athletes, nutrition is important because we put ever increasing stress on our muscles as we intensify our training regimen.  Without ridding ourselves of the toxins that build up in our muscles they cannot properly recover and grow and we cannot reach our greatest performance potential.  In the past two years, I have been able to maintain a fairly consistent running schedule but not without dealing with plenty of aches and pains, soreness, illness and injury.  In that time, however, I have become very aware of how my body reacts to the stress I put it under when I go for a particularly hard or long run and how long it takes to recover from said activities.  In the past couple of months, Katy has really been helping me watch what I eat and making a concerted effort to make sure that includes much more fruit and vegetables (and less sugar).  As a supplement, I've also been taking a product called JuicePlus, which is simply capsulized fruits and vegetables.  The result has been noticably faster muscle fatigue recovery and an increase in my energy levels.  I've started working with a nutritionist, Bronwyn Rittner, to help me monitor what I'm eating and, more importantly, how it affects me, as my training and racing schedule gets tougher throughout the year.   My goal simply being to get the most out of my natural ability and to be happy in the knowledge that I'm doing the right things to facilitate a healthy lifestyle.