Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekly Summary: Mar 19 - Mar 25

3/19 - Rest.

3/20 - 6.12 miles.  :54:41. ~500'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  After work run on the first day of Spring.  Yee haw!  I'm stoked spring is here and can't wait for the trails to open up.  That's still a month away but I'm already jonsing to run up some mountains.  Today's run, on the other hand, was a relatively stale hilly 6 miler on dirt road out towards Lynx Pass.  Somewhat muddy but mostly soft moist dirt.  I felt so full the entire time I thought I might vomit.  Before I left the shop, Bob said we'd better finish his birthday cake (from Friday) that was in the fridge and I ate a pretty big piece(s).  Uh.  I've got a mean sweet tooth.  Anyway, couldn't shake the cake for the whole run despite trying to run fast.  I drank a measly two sips of Gatorade during this one.  Still, it was a beautiful sunny day in the 40s following a little bit of snow last night.

3/21 - ~5 miles.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Super-slow cruiser run.  Going to try and make my Wednesday runs at 10-15 min/mile pace as I think this will be (roughly) my "all day" pace. 

3/22 - 7.31 miles.  1:11:51.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Ran down to South Shore from the house on dirt road and trails.  Can't believe how quickly everything is thawing out.  I'm pretty sure I will be able to run almost any trail under 9000' by mid-April without seeing much snow (if any).  Today was still mostly muddy with a little bit of snow here and there.  So stoked to know that trail season is so close!  Trying to figure out what shoe I want to use for ultras this year.  I'm leaning toward La Sportiva's Vertical Ks, Hoka One One's Stinson B Evo and Salomon's Sense.  Each shoe has a 4mm heel-toe drop, so they are all pretty minimal.  The Sportivas and Hokas are light but also cushioned while the Sense is just incredibly light.

3/23 - Rest.

3/24 - 14.30 miles.  2:23:56.  1100'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Just realized I was supposed to run 16 miles today.  Oops.  Anyway, it was a nice run around the lake on mostly wet trail or dirt road this afternoon.  I saw Adam Sando, who had been fishing (of course), about 4 miles into my run and stopped to catch up with him for a few minutes.  Good talk.  Continued from there on the closed dirt road along the northern shore, crossed the dam, then ran some soggy trail for a couple of miles before getting back on dirt road for the last 4 miles.  It was a satisfying effort and I stayed well hydrated and fueled for the entire run.  Some minor soreness in the feet at the end but nothing unusual.

3/25 - 6.66 miles. 1:21:49.  Stagecoach.  AM.  I parked at the south shore local's spot and ran across the dam and down the dirt road to Sarvis Creek with Benihana.  Nice and casual run by the river at the dog's pace.  A little walking here and there.

Weekly mileage:  39.33

A good reduced mileage week with a lot of easy running and I kind of felt like I needed it to recover from my last 3-week build up.  After a day and a half off from running I'm hoping to start my next cycle feeling fresh.  My next 3-week cycle ends with 31 miles of running in the desert down in Fruita, Colorado at the Desert Rats Trail Running Festival so I'm pretty excited about getting the season started.  This first race is a training run so I won't be running my fastest, just trying to get some quality miles in under race circumstances as well as dialing in my nutrition schedule and gear.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekly Summary: Mar 12 - Mar 18

3/12 - Rest.

3/13 - 7.0 miles.  1:00:04.  ~450'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  First after work run this year that started and ended before the sun went down. After a little more than a mile of warming up, I pushed it a little hard for the next 6 miles and felt great.  Especially solid effort on the last hill at the end of the run.  My route went from the house down to the far end of the South Shore neighborhood and back to the house, primarily on dirt roads with a little asphalt in the beginning and end of the run.

3/14 - 4.71 miles.  :58:09.  Burns.  PM.  Katy and I drove down just north of Burns to run some dry trails.  It was fun and great to be running on dirt again.  We took it easy but ran some pretty hilly terrain so the effort and time on feet was more like a full 5+ miler.  I wish I had brought my altimeter so that I could've calculated the altitude change, as there was certainly a few hundred feet of ups and downs.  Just a little scouting mission to see if I want to come back down there this weekend to do my long run on trails and dirt roads.

3/15 - 7.59 miles.  1:03:29.  Stagecoach.  PM. Half-mile warm up before running 6.5 miles up-tempo on a really hilly route (CR 16 to CR 14 going towards Oak Creek and back).  Finished 7 miles in :56:37 before cooling down and worked pretty hard on the uphills to keep the overall pace around 8:00/mile.  I was glad to have some cows keep me company as I ran by them while they grazed.  I'm thinking my full on race pace for 10K is probably around 7:15-7:30/mile these days.   

3/16 - Rest.

3/17 - 24.01 miles.  3:52:37.  1,810'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  Decided against driving to Burns to do my long run and, instead, ran from the house out towards Lynx Pass (same as last weekend) on a county dirt road.  The morning was a little on the cool side (high 30s/low 40s) and a bit cloudy but the sun eventually came out a couple hours later when I was turning around.  I had the dirt road almost entirely to myself the entire time (saw one biker, one skunk, a couple of vehicles and some folks saddling up some horses) and it was sufficiently dry or muddy or frozen or rocky enough to keep it interesting.  I ended up turning around after the Morrison Divide (Muddy Slide) trailhead where the road is no longer maintained in the winter.  This run felt incredible and I have to credit my friend and nutritionist, Bronwyn Rittner (and my fiance, Katy, whose daily diet is impeccable and keeps me on track) for making me realize the importance of eating on a regular schedule while going on a long run and how beneficial it is to an endurance athlete.  Since I started running ultras, I always knew that it was necessary to eat and drink to fuel the body for the work of going further but today's run was the first time I actually told myself, "OK, eat a gel every 45-55 minutes, sip some water every 20 minutes or so, eat more food (I made my own mix of cashews, pistachios, chocolate chips and raisins, and carried it in a small 4 oz. container) at least once an hour and drink some electrolyte replenishment (I just went with Gatorade and carried about 15 oz. in a bottle) whenever necessary."  The difference it made could not have been more obvious.  At no time during my run did I feel tired or a lack energy.  In fact, I took a split time every 6 miles (1:02:56, :57:37, :57:41, :54:22) and ran a negative split for the second half (granted, the return was mostly downhill) and the last 6 miles nearly 9 minutes faster than the first 6 (also granted, I ran the first couple miles slow in order to warm up).  I still contended with a little soreness in my core muscles toward the end, which I think is understandable over 24 miles, but really had no other physical problems and, mentally, I think I could have gone several more miles.  (Of course, I don't want to imply that running this distance was effortless.  As I sit here and write, my legs are getting tighter, my hamstrings and glutes are getting sore and it's getting hard to walk the first few steps every time I get up!)   I cooled down over a half mile to keep my legs moving for 4:00:07 and then immediately started replenishing electrolytes and ate a small meal within an hour of finishing because it helps the body to recover faster (it's actually recommended to eat within 45 minutes to allow best/quickest absorbtion of nutrients) .  Bronwyn has let me borrow her copy of "Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook" by Nancy Clark, MS, RD, which I've found very useful and informative.

3/18 - 5.40 miles.  :48:55.  ~400'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Easy five miler around the neighborhood and back to the house with the usual hills that entails.  Windy and high clouds as some weather is supposed to move in tonight and hit us with some rain and/or snow. 

Weekly Total:  49.20 miles. 

Finally got the mileage I was shooting for thanks to some nice weather, the time change and the discipline to go out and make it happen.  Numbers aside though, the biggest breakthrough of the week (and possibly of all the endurance training I've ever done) had to do with nutrition.  For the first time, since I ran my first marathon in 1992, I had a long run where I never once felt tired, physically drained or mentally fatigued and it was, quite simply and honestly, because I took the time to eat and drink on a regular schedule while I kept moving. In a six, eight or even ten mile race this isn't much of a consideration, you just need to stay hydrated, mostly.  As the distance and time increase beyond that, however, it matters very much.  In my past ultras and long runs, I have refueled, but never with the consistency that those activities actually require.  In the past, I would go until I felt tired or hungry, then push through it for a while and eventually, eat or drink something and, sometimes, bounce back to keep going.  Or, more often, just keep pushing through and finish tired, hungry, exhausted, sore and generally lucky to be alive.  Finally, after years of struggling through events, I've realized that there is no reason to bonk and that "hitting the wall" is actually avoidable.  To me, this is nothing short of a breakthrough and makes me look forward to really pushing my endurance to a new level.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly Summary: Mar 5 - Mar 11

3/5 - Rest.  Snowshoe with Benihana.  2.04 miles.  1:13:51.  I want to make sure I'm doing something active on Mondays so I can add it as a running day in a few weeks.

3/6 - 7.11 miles.  1:04:24.  Steamboat.  Yampa River Core Trail.  Downtown to Casey's Pond and back.  Tried to run fast but didn't have the wheels today.  Then, on my way back to town I see Katy ahead of me on the trail and I try to catch her.  It took at least a mile before I finally did but it was fun surprising her.  Enjoyed the rest of the run with her.

3/7 - 5.84 miles.  :51:18.  Steamboat.  From JDs house, I ran by the high school then up the hill and past the middle school and to the turn off for Buff Pass Road before turning around.  First mile easy, second mile around 8:30 pace, third and fourth around 7:00 and last mile back down to 9:00.   Chased local high school speedster Charles Rhode for a while.  That kid is fast!  And I'm getting old!

3/8 - 6.33 miles.  1:00:31.  Steamboat.  PM.  Ran up a snow-packed Spring Creek Trail until it got too punchy to run anymore.  An inner right quadracep/groin pain irritated me for most of the run so I almost cut it down to 5 miles but it subsided enough for me to finish with 6. 

3/9 - Rest.  Soaked at the Old Town Hot Springs for a little while with JD.

3/10 - Rest.  Still a bit of lingering pain so I decided to skip my run.  I did get to support Katy as she ran a fast 5 miles for the Creekside team doing the Steamboat Pentathlon.  I really enjoyed spectating the event and getting the opportunity to talk with participants and other spectators alike.  The pentathlon is a really unique event that starts with running up Howelsen Hill to your skis or snowboard and downhilling back to the transition area.  A 2.5 mile snowshoe run is next followed by a 4 mile skate ski.  Then, an 11 mile bike ride and, finally, a 5 mile road run.  It was a beautiful day and there were a few hundred people in attendance. 

3/11 - 17.35 mile.  2:50:18.  1530'v.  Stagecoach.  AM.  Mid morning run 8.5 miles out and back on the dirt road to Lynx Pass from the house.  It's been getting into the 40s for the last few days so the road has been getting really muddy in the afternoons, thus the morning start when things were still slightly frozen.  It was a great run with hardly any vehicle traffic to contend with and beautiful blue skies.  I took a quick detour up Silver Creek Trail to check conditions, take a piss and eat a clementine, but it's still completely snowed in for a few more weeks.  I turned around another mile up the road and laughed as I noticed that I had been enjoying a tailwind on the way out.  No wonder it seemed so easy!  I went a little further and saw Katy's car as she had driven out to check on me so we chatted a little as I ran.  She headed home and I spent the next 1:15 working my way back down the road as it warmed up and it got muddier.   It was mostly downhill with the exception of a 250' climb about 2 miles from the end and another 200' as I finished. 

Weekly Totals:  36.63 miles. 

Some good runs this week despite coming up short on total mileage again.  Assuming it doesn't snow much in the coming weeks and barring injuries, I should be able to get 45-48 miles/week.  Next weekend, I have a 24 mile long run to complete.   Now that I've gotten into some longer runs, I'm also having opportunities to work out what I should be eating before, during and after these efforts.  I got to sit down with Bronwyn and discuss my diet and several suggestions from her to ensure that I am replenishing not only electrolytes after my long run, but also making sure that I eating a protein/carbohydrate/vegetable meal within 45 minutes of finishing to hasten recovery.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekly Summary: Feb 27 - Mar 4

2/27 - Rest.

2/28 - 5.78 miles.  1:04:21.  ~600'v.  Steamboat.   PM.  It snowed very hard all day long but I was able to take advantage of a mid-afternoon window of moderate snow to run Spring Creek Trail from JDs house downtown.  It started out only snowing lightly for the first half hour.  I was even warm and took of my beanie for a little while at the beginning of the run.  I passed a group of older folks skiing down the trail as I ran up and one of the concerned older ladies says to me, "Where's your hat?"  How thoughtful.  I assured her it was in my pocket and I was going to be alright.   Later, the trail was snowshoe packed but I still ended up breaking some trail on the final climb up the ridge and I continued until I got stopped by a fairly deep snowdrift.  I turned around and started back down and it started snowing harder.  I cruised the 2.5 miles back to the trail head then ran the road up to Butcherknife Canyon trail before running through some alleys on the way back to JDs.  It was cool spending most of the run in the woods and then coming out and running by the cute, little mountain houses in Old Town.  Snowy run, for sure.

2/29 - 2.16 miles.  1:17:15.  ~400'v.  Stagecoach.  PM.  Snowshoe with Benny.  Made a .5 mile lap through the open space but it was a bit windy so we headed up the mountain.  Broke a trail up and, then, downhill in some pretty deep snow.  I didn't feel like running when I got home so this was my alternative.  Slow and steady. 

3/1 - 6.66 miles.  :57:43.  Steamboat.  Yampa River Core Trail.  PM.  After work run from downtown to Casey's Pond and back on the Core Trail.  A little cement and alot of ice and snow just before it got dark and started snowing again.  Another burly drive home afterwards.

3/2 - Rest.

3/3 - Snowboarding.  2:43:00.  -16,360'v.  Steamboat Ski Area.  AM. I was supposed to do a 21-mile long run today but, instead, Katy scored me a ski pass and with all the new snow this week, had to settle for the Best Day of riding this year.  Solo shred morning session.  Tons of powder and plenty deep as it continued to snow.   Ridiculously good runs through the trees on the skier's left of Concentration.  Later, I ran into Ian Wilson, in town from Ft. Collins, and took him and couple of his friends down Broadway Trees where I had found untracked lines earlier.  My last run, I dropped the rope next to the Gondola and rode some out of bounds terrain before finishing up.  I even got to "hollywood" under the Gondy as I rode out on Lower Valley View.    It was hard to leave when I did but I wanted to meet up with some friends and watch "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas." 

3/4 - 20.69 miles.  4:06:28.  1,800'v.  Stagecoach.  late AM start.  From the house, I ran some hilly, snow covered dirt road for 5 miles until I got to the end of the road in the South Shore neighborhood.  That's when the fun started.  From there, I pulled out my hiking poles (yep, I ran with poles in anticipation of dealing with over a foot of snow that fell during the week) and started post holing thigh deep snow.  At first, I decided to follow a track that led across the lake but I was not only punching through super deep snow but also stepping into 3 inches of water every time I took a step.  My gaiters and Gore-Tex shoes kept my feet from getting totally soaked but I was sure that my feet were already wet.  I decided to not trudge through the water and turned around making my way back up to the shoreline and punched out a new trail for the next .5 mile until I got to the dam.  I looked down at my GPS to check my pace, which had slowed to a laughable 30-45 min/mile.  Once I crossed the dam, I took off my gaiters and stowed them in my Nathan vest.  I kept the walking sticks out, sipped some water and felt pretty good, ready to run some snowmobile packed trail down towards Sarvis Creek.  This was the best part of the run.  The snow was decently packed so I could maintain a run and the sun came out as I ran in a small, narrow valley next to the Yampa River.  I passed a couple of snowshoers and couple people out fishing.  It was really beautiful.  I turned around when my GPS read 9 miles and cruised back up the road.  Right before I got back to the dam, I stepped through a cattle guard and put a nice knot on my left shin.  Ouch!   Took it easy for a minute and ate a Clif Bar.  From the dam, I stayed on the road that goes around the north shore of the reservoir.  Fortunately, the plow had made one pass on the road so it was easy to run.  After a couple more miles, I got onto CR 14 and ran on the shoulder of the road which was just wet asphalt, so I was finally able to get some traction and I ran a decent pace to the turn off that goes back up to the house.  The next 2 miles were pretty uneventful except seeing the sled dogs hanging out by the reservoir.  It made me think of local musher, Tom Thurston, who is running his dogs in the Iditarod right now.  As I made the last hill before the house, I was starting to struggle a bit so I pulled out the sticks to lean on a little bit and decided to run another mile and half up the road before turning around a calling it a day.  I took a few big gulps of water and worked one more long uphill then turned around pushed myself to finish strong.  I was definitely tired and a little sore by the end of the run but felt really good about breaking the 20 mile and 4 hour marks. 

Weekly Totals:  35.29 miles.   6:24:00 running/snowshoe.  2:43:00 snowboarding.  19,160'v. 

Again, I didn't get the mileage I was supposed to get according to my training schedule but I'm getting the long runs done, getting plenty of time on my feet, spending some time outside and I'm shredding some serious snow.   All good things and it's always good to mix it up to avoid overtraining.  It's exciting to be able to run 20 miles again especially so early in the year and feeling strong enough to improve.