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.