Monthly Archives: November 2013
If I could script the perfect week of training, this one would be a very close match. No big mountain adventures, but I had all of the other bases covered with some faster efforts, hills, treadmill, night run, a group long run, dog walks, and two solid outings on the bike.
This wasn’t planned or expected, but I have learned to recognize when it’s time to roll and this was one of those weeks. I was set up well with two lighter weeks coming into this one, and the weather and work cooperated nicely.
I introduced some early-morning treadmill hiking this week. I have done similar things in the past with good results. I get up at 05:00 and hike for .5 mile at a 10% incline, and then ramp it up to 15% for another mile. I’m a slow hiker, so hopefully this will help me improve on that as well as build some strength without much impact. It’s also a good way for me to keep working on my problematic calves. This makes for 1,000′ of climbing in 25-27 minutes and is a good way to start the day.
I also signed up for a premium membership on Strava. I actually signed up for the site almost 2 years ago, but I didn’t ever use it. I’ve been enjoying it lately, and have found it to be a good source of motivation. I know that can cut both ways, and many people get burned out on it. I didn’t need any of the premium features, but felt like I wanted to show somewhat of a commitment to using it to further my training and racing goals.
Monday – 1.5 TM hike, 7.8 run
Over the past couple of years I have gotten away from doing steady tempo effort runs. I really like them, and I seem to respond well to that type of training. A run in the mid-7 pace range used to be a very rare sight on my training log, but I’m starting to see them pop up more frequently now. Today’s 7:35 came naturally and I just went with it.
Tuesday – 1.5 TM hike, 11.1 run
Steady run on some hills.
Wednesday – 22.5 bike, 8.3 run
Big wind out of the north at Cherry Creek. There was one particular hill where I was struggling to maintain 12 mph going down, but averaged over 22 coming back up with the wind at my back.
Met up with Stu later that night for some miles on the East/West Trail. The wind was all gone, and it turned into a very pleasant night.
Thursday – 14.6 run
Steady long-ish run in 2 hours.
Friday – 1.5 TM hike, 7.7 run
Slow jog. Tapering for the pancake run!
Found this guy on the trail trying to catch some weak rays on this overcast day.
Saturday – 19.5 run, 16.3 ride, 1.9 walk
Time for Woody’s Third Annual Pancake Run. This has turned into a great November tradition, giving us a chance to get together and run a long loop at a time when everyone is usually winding down into off-season mode. We ran a nice rolling 20 miler through the Highland’s Ranch Backcountry.
The weather was shaping up to be fantastic for this time of year.
We cruised along at a nice conversational pace for the most part. Mostly a recovery jog for the rest of the group, but I was working at a steady training effort and ended up with a 154 average heart rate for the day. That was just right, I’ll get some decent benefit out of it.
Woody hooked us up with a great aid station halfway through. Beer and donuts, breakfast of champions.
And we are the champions.
I’m happy with this shot I was able to grab when I spotted the trail wrapping back along the other side of the drainage we were running along. Not bad for firing from the hip at 8 minute pace.
Wrapped up the the morning with some good eats back at the house, including some brown sugar encrusted bacon that was incredible! I left the gathering and met up with my family for lunch, then did some shopping at Home Depot.
I spent the afternoon raking leaves and mowing the lawn, and every time I walked into the garage my bike was calling to me. It was such an incredibly nice day that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I wrapped up the yard work and bolted for Waterton Canyon as the shadows were getting long.
My legs were tired, but for the first time in the last two months since I started getting back on the bike I had a decent sensation of power. It was awesome to feel my pedalstroke getting smoother and less like a jackhammer.
When I got home I took the dog out for a couple of miles to wrap up a great day.
Sunday – 2.5 walk, 3.0 TM run
Took my little batman shadow for a nice walk in the morning, then hopped on the treadmill for a few easy miles.
Total – 81 run, 38 bike, 15:32
I very much like to run ultras. If I ever had to give that experience a one word description, the word ‘fun’ would not necessarily be my first pick. Something more like satisfying, or accomplishment.
When I reflect back on this 10k out in the middle of Illinois, the word ‘fun’ immediately jumps to the top of the list.
Take 180 people, cram them onto a singletrack trail in the deep woods, and then set them loose to see who can make it back first. Oh, and make sure it is after dark.
See? That’s fun!
The race was one lap around a state park on equal parts rough/twisty/hilly/rocky/rooty trail, and fast straightaways.
I actually did this same event two years ago, when I was on another business trip. I’m glad it lined up with another trip this year!
This Google Earth shot shows the path into the trees from a road crossing. It was like a tunnel at times, and I was having to duck branches a lot in the first couple of miles.
Trying to run at full speed on that terrain and in those conditions was stressful, but amazing all at once. Your senses were being pushed to the absolute max the whole time, while the rest of your body tried to keep the speed up.
I surprised myself with a decent race. A little slower than the last time I was here, but a lot better than I was expecting. Last time it was pretty much a time trial for me as I ran solo for the last 2/3 of the race.
This time I was fighting for positions every step of the way. I was in around 20th place after the first mile. That start was intense! It was all-out effort staring at the heels of the person in front of you illuminated by the spot of light from your headlamp.
I struggled to hold pace with those around me on the flat straight sections, but once we hit the technical stuff in the woods with the climbs I started moving up through the field. I would gradually reel someone in, and then sit on their shoulder for a second until finding my chance to make a clean break.
About a mile from the finish, there were four of us running shoulder-to-shoulder up this steep climb on a trail that was more suited for two people. I was the first one to back off slightly, but held on over the top and then accellerated past them all. Shake and bake, baby!
I hit the line in 8th place overall and 3rd in my age group. Very happy with the night, and as a bonus got to do it all with my buddy Stu – who had a great race as well.
We proceeded to consume vast amounts of Chicago-style pizza and more than a few Cokes. Good times!
This week was killer, I’m glad it’s over. Work was crazy and it was all I could do to hold things together. Everything felt a little off for the most part, like I was fighting off a cold the whole time. I cut 4 of the 5 runs shorter than planned. Thankfully, no serious symptoms developed.
It took me two months, but I finally got my Leadville report written. Glad to get that one out of the way – it is such a hot topic that I could never really nail down what I wanted to say, so I just ignored it for a long time. Now I’m working on reports for a great night-time 10k trail race in IL, a do-it-yourself 50 mile trail race, and my very first gravel grinder. Fun mix of events!
Monday – 7.6 run
Attempting to get 1,000′ of climbing on a lunch run in the Tech Center. No easy task. Did laps on ~100′ hill and ended up with about 730′. Cut the run a little short due to some strange but intense quad pain.
Tuesday – 0
Slammed with work all day/night.
Wednesday – 11.6 run, 3 run
Sort of a decent run. Heart rate was jacked (from being a little sick, I think). Maxed out at 181, usually have a hard time seeing low 170 range. Super nice fall day, though. Love the blue sky and yellow leaves.
Got out in the evening for a small lap around the neighborhood.
Thursday – 33.1 bike
Steady ride around Cherry Creek. I like riding the knobby-tires/MTB on the roads for this kind of stuff, makes for a good workout.
Friday – 7.1 run
Another hill run in the Tech Center. 700′.
Saturday – 12.2 run
Up early, out the door in the cold and dark. I usually feel pretty rough for the first few miles of an early run like this, but didn’t have much of a problem today. I was mostly happy just to get up and get out at all after such a tough week. Planned to do some climbing up Goat Peak and did a small loop through Chatfield while I was waiting for the sky to lighten up a little.
This is just a scrubby, often nasty ridge above Waterton Canyon. Most of the time it is ugly, but capture it in the right light and it becomes postcard material.
Got about 1/3 of the way up the climb and (even though I was going for a Strava segment CR) stopped for a quick photo of the alpenglow lighting up the peak. As I did, I noticed a hunter dressed in blaze orange up on the ridge – directly in my path.
I didn’t want to cause any grief, so I just turned around. I did another half-hearted attempt at a repeat climb to my high point, but didn’t even make it that far before bagging the run and heading home. Wanting more, but happy with what I was able to do.
Meanwhile, 50 yards from the parking lot…
Sunday – 0
Worked the AM then made RT to Leadville.
Total – 42 run, 33 bike, 8:36