Mon: 12.5 miles (1,600') steady. Milner Mountain loop + 2 mile out and back on Redstone, mile out and back on Soderberg to Rock trail intersection, home long. Headed out with six miles in mind, but came home with 12.5. Felt great and found myself cruising at an effortless up-tempo effort. Great footing on the trench up Soderberg.
Tues - AM: 10 miles intervals with Jane's group at City Park. Cold and slick out, so no expectations for this workout. On tap: mile, fartlek mile, 1,200, fartlek kilo, 1,200, fartlek kilo, mile. Results: 5:49 (1.05), 5:31, 4:00, 3:30 (with a fall), 4:01, 3:26, 5:42 (1.05). Slid out on the first kilo on the exact same corner (Nick's Corner) where I put a hole and four stitches in my shin last year. Thankfully less damage, but a nice knee shred on my tights that I'll have to patch up. Pretty much had to stop on each corner and restart to avoid going down. 2 mile w-u/c-d.
PM: 6 miles (1,000') easy. Quick Milner loop before picking up Alistair and heading out sledding.
Weds - AM: 7.5 miles (1,300') easy. Milner loop with Soderberg/bench loop add on. Super chilly out in the pre-dawn.
PM: 8.5 miles (1,400') easy. Milner loop with Soderberg/H'tooth loop add on, plus end of Overhill add. A little cranky and tired on this one.
Thurs - AM: 12.5 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Back on the HTH5MO&B horse: out easy to the 5 mile point of the heavily rolling Horsetooth Half course, then back at a tempo effort. Tacked on 1.5 at the front end and a mile at the back end. Out easy with Pete, Slush, Mike, Celeste and Ziggy the Wunderdog, then eased into the return tempo effort with Pete and Slush up the north dam hill, not really rolling until the third mile, and picking up Mike right around the three-mile mark. Felt super sluggish and a bit sore in the legs and lower back, but aerobically felt killer. Out in 41:30, back in 31:54 (7:46, 6:32, 6:12, 6:04, 5:18).
PM: 6 miles (1,700') easy. Straight up and down Horsetooth. Conditions were close to perfect for spiked traction, especially on the descent which I stomped. Still a bit of punch to the cowpath in places, but mainly it's solidly packed and ready for action.
Fri - Noon: 7 miles (1,900') steady. Horsetooth summit, home long. Killer conditions again. Steady up and then blitzed the descent.
Sat - PM: 21.5 miles (2,200') steady. 2:35. The window was short today, so chose to run roads at a steady clip to max out mileage. Ran Redstone Canyon to the end, with an extended Milner loop, and out and back to the end of Overhill. Pushed the Redstone return section, cruised the rest. Legs were tired there towards the end with some groin stuff mixed in, but I think they're just adjusting to the new workload.
Sun - AM: 21 miles (3,500') easy. Ranked peak 7,725'. Launched an assault on 7,725' from my house by way of a road that I didn't know existed until last night. The original plan was to run up to Green Ridge Peak and tag that, but I was pretty sure the Storm Mountain Forest Road off Stove Prairie would be heavily snowed in, so I opted for Otter Road, which leads most of the way to what I am going to call 'Otter Peak'. Otter Road runs the southern section of the ridge that divides Redstone Canyon and Buckhorn Canyon. Otter Peak, while ranked, is a sub-summit of Christ Mountain which is a mile or two further north and a few hundred feet higher.
Anyway, Otter Road begins about 50 feet west of the Masonville Rd/38e junction, and gives access to a neighborhood of mountain homes about 4 miles and 2,000 feet up the ridge. This is a private road, and is clearly posted as such, but I figured I'd run it until told not to. As it turned out, I only passed one car the whole 12 mile out and back and they waved and smiled, so no harm done. The last tracks up the road petered out after about five miles, leaving about a mile and 600 feet of trudging in calf- to thigh-deep pow-pow. Nice top with good views to the west and lines of sight down into Redstone Canyon. Coming back down, the backside views of Horsetooth from on high were phenomenal. Overall, a really good outing on a beautiful morning, and to top it all off my legs felt better finishing up than they did on Saturday. Awesome way to start the day and finish the running week.
Total: 112.5 miles (14,100')
So this was a good week on the whole. All my running windows essentially stayed open, allowing me to load on the miles a bit. Two weeks in and I am generally feeling good with the extra load. However, there are also the niggling signs that I remember from last year that remind me that carrying this kind of mileage will require some good luck, patience and common sense. Some early morning shuffling has already settled in, my groin is barking a bit on longer runs, the achilles is just starting to make some noise and that dull soreness/tiredness has begun to find its home in the quads. All these things will come and go, wax and wane as the mileage piles on, but hopefully I'll find a way to muck through as I have the last two years in building up for Western States.
Speaking of Western States, I was fortunate enough to be invited down to Boulder last week to check out the movie from the 2010 race. Mr Benna really did a great job piecing it all together and tying in a compelling race narrative. Sitting there watching it, especially as the action was passing through Foresthill before the endless descent to the Middle Fork of the American River, I shuddered a bit and asked myself if I really wanted to put myself through all that trauma again? My immediate thought was, no. Far too painful. But upon reflection, I know that I enjoy the journey too much to let the fitness and durability go to waste.
I will need to keep things interesting this training cycle to maintain high levels of motivation. After my Sunday run, I am happy to report that the training stoke meter is currently at an all time high. I have a ring of ranked peaks within 30 miles (round trip) of my house many of which I am yet to summit, so the short-term plan for upcoming weekends it is to embark on a bunch of long-distance peak-bagging missions, which should keep things reasonably new and fresh. The weekly meat will be a grind at times, but thankfully I have a good circle of running friends with whom to while away the miles. The wheels are in motion, let's hope they lead somewhere good.
Changing tack, there are less than 20 spots left in the Quad Rock 50 which means we'll probably be sold out by the end of the week. Sponsors continue to climb on board, and race prizes now include a mix of cash, Pearl Izumi shoes, Smith Sunglasses, weekend getaways in Estes Park at Active at Altitude, $50 Runners Roost vouchers, and free race entries. There will also be a major schwag fest during the awards raffle, so chances are you'll be going home with something additional to all the other great stuff we're including in the race entry. Oh, and we're going to be holding a kids trail race too, so bring the little guys along and let's get them sweating a bit.