PM: 7 miles (1,600'). Southridge - Wathen - Spring Creek - Soderberg. Was going to run roads, but then remembered I had a killer pair of Atlas racing snowshoes that have been waiting patiently all fall/winter for an outing. This was actually my first ever mountain run in a pair of snowshoes, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the effort much mellower than I had been expecting. My left foot, which has a funny backswing hurt to start out as it was forced to correct with the snowshoes, but once that settled down, this was a most enjoyable outing. The traction and 'bounce' were a most welcome reprieve from the slipping and sinking I normally experience when running in shoes through this kind of stuff. Writing this, shortly before going to bed, I feel pretty beat, suggesting that this was a bigger workout than the same on foot. Or maybe it's just the cumulative effect of two hilly slogs through the snow in one day. Looking forward to running a few snowshoe races and spending some time up in the mountains with the family this winter once the marathon thing is done.
Tuesday - Noon: 11 miles (1,000') w/2 x 3 mile @ tempo on Redstone. Viciously cold out today, so had to wait until the 'warmest' part of the day to get out, but it was still in the negative numbers with wind chill and probably 5 or 6 air temp. Running into the wind my face was in a world of hurt. Anyway, down to Redstone Canyon, then out to three-mile marker at marathon effort, jog half mile, then three miles back to 38e at marathon effort. The traction on Redstone was not as good as I was hoping for, so I had to work a little harder than I would have liked with the slight slip with each push-off on the packed snow. Tailwind out, headwind back. Miles up the canyon went 6:23, 6:26, 6:23, then 5:56, 6:10, 5:59 coming back. 15:45 down to Redstone, 19:05 back. On days like today, I am truly thankful for the great Pearl Izumi gear I am lucky enough to receive.
This is my number one cold-weather item.Wednesday - AM: 8 miles (1,000') easy. To Redstone one-mile marker and back to 38e, then completion of Milner Mtn loop and long way home. Had to wait for day to break this morning for fear that I would lose my nose. Negative one as the run got going, but warmed up to a balmy two degrees by the end. Yet to figure out how to keep my nose and cheeks from freezing, but most everything else was toasty.
Noon: 7 miles (1,600'). Southridge - Wathen - Spring Creek - Soderberg. On the snowshoes again. Probably the last snowshoe session I'll get out of this round of snow, but it was fun while it lasted. Air temps really warmed up during the day to the point that I was overheating for much of this run.
Thursday - Noon: 4.5 miles (900') easy. Falls loop.
PM: 9.5 miles (1,700'). Towers in 32:01. Packed snow on the half-mile connector, then largely clear until the last half mile where it was very slippery.
Friday - PM: 6 miles (500') super easy. To Towers and back via 38e/Shoreline.
Saturday - 16.5 mile. Frosty 10 miler (56:37). 3.5 mile w-u, 3 mile c-d.
Sunday - 24 miles (2,500') easy. 3:23. Out with Burch for the first of a series of American River simulation runs that we have planned in the build up to the race in April. From my house we ran roads to the Devils Backbone trailhead in Loveland (12 miles) via Masonville/Hwy 34. We then picked up the Bluesky trail, taking the high route to the keyhole, then lefts through the Loveland-side loops, Indian Summer and then the long way home once back in my neighborhood. Getting up to my house the long way from the north-end Bluesky trailhead is a good 700' ascent on roads in a bit over 2 miles; with the rolling Bluesky trail this is an almost perfect mini-AR simulator. Next time out we plan to take Bluesky all the way to Towers and hit that to the top at the end of the run before cutting back on Westridge, which should net a good 30+ miles. Trails were still pretty crunchy with snow and ice, but nothing too nasty. Great to be out bagging some bigger miles with Ryan. Nice casual pace today after yesterday's effort.
Total: 100.5 miles (12,450')
Good week. Managed to get to the 10 miler on Saturday with slightly less mileage (60) through the week than for the Lafayette 5k (75) last Saturday, which may have helped with the stronger comparative performance - or maybe it was just an easier course. Anyway, I'm pretty happy on balance with how the race went with one week left of training before the taper. I think I'm where I need to be fitness-wise.
Aside from the racing, I managed to get in some harder-effort miles on a very cold Tuesday, a solid Towers effort on Thursday and a comfortable long run today. All positives and few negatives on the feedback front, which is right where you want to be at this stage of the cycle. I hope to make next week count with some heavy mileage and three big workouts. Just need to get through that then the focus shifts to the three-week tapering off period, where I'll be looking to get the legs rested, sharp and ready to race. In my opinion, this is one of the most important parts of the training cycle and one that many don't take seriously enough when preparing for goal races.
While I'm still focused on running the roads in February, I'm also really looking forward to American River and the whole 2011 ultra season in general. Seems like 2010 was a great year for the sport in terms of attracting runners across a broad spectrum of abilities, and especially so at the pointy end of the bigger races. Hopefully we'll continue to see really great racing action in 2011. I know I'm looking forward to getting in amongst 'em.