Mon - Noon: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth south summit. Slow.
PM: 2 miles easy on the bike paths pushing the stroller while Alistair was at x-country practice.
Tues - Noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop.
PM: 11.5 miles track. Workout was 800, 400, 400, mile, 800, 400, 400 w/lap jog after 800s, 200 jog after 4s and mile. Started with a mile open to warm up (5:41), then: 2:37, 76, 74, 5:25, 2:42, 76, 74. Died a death on the back half of the mile with the short rest, and the 800 wasn't much better but rallied a bit for the final 400s with the extra rest after the 800. Really looking forward to cutting mileage and working on some speed this fall/winter. I feel pretty slow right now. 4 mile up, 2.5 mile down.
Weds - Noon: 7 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth north summit in a heavy fog. Finally a break in the weather. Excited for the cooler weather ahead.
PM: 6.5 miles pushing the stroller on the bike paths while Alistair was at x-country practice. Easy, easy.
Thurs - AM: 10 miles (1,500') tempo. Finally managed to get out and run some asphalt this morning with a return to Centennial Road and the HTH5MO@B (Horsetooth Half 5 Mile Out & Back), a winter staple. Basically the route goes from the Maxwell parking area up onto the rolling dam roads on the east side of the reservoir. We go out five miles at a social pace, then drill the return five at varying intensities depending on desire and motivation. Anything sub 31 minutes is a good workout for me coming back. First mile includes a 300 foot climb up the north dam in the first half mile with a slight downgrade over the last quarter, then the next two miles are a rolling, net uphill, grind that require frequent reminders to double down on the effort, and then the last two miles have a couple of ripping descents, a quarter mile of flat and two short speed bumps. Definitely one of the best test pieces in town, and I only wish I'd gotten out for a few more sessions in the last month before UROC. Oh well. Scott, Celeste and Ziggy ran out three with me on a perfectly foggy morning, and on the remaining two miles to the turnaround, I decided that given the lack of company and a somewhat sore lower right calf, I would take things easy for the first session back. The out was a slower than usual 44:50, and the return a pretty mediocre 33:36 (7:52, 13:31 (mile 2 & 3), 6:17, 5:56), more than four minutes off my PR at what felt like a harder effort than it should have been.
PM: 9.5 miles (1,900') steady on Towers. 31:45. Tired legs and a still gimpy right calf, but after a 2.5 mile warm up and an easy first mile, I picked things up a touch and felt good at a tempo-type effort. Perfect evening for running.
Fri - Noon: 6.5 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth north summit from north gap. Felt good, but kept the effort easy to give my calf/achilles a break.
Sat - AM: 10 miles (1,100') steady. Bluesky trail to Devils Backbone. Dana and the kids picked me up on the south end and then we took off to Brighton for Alistair's first cross country meet (fun times). Climbed up the Keyhole rock, but pretty sure a rib to the north is the highest point. Some private property issues there, but will get it another time, as I can always use an excuse to run Bluesky, which I tend to neglect. Getting on the Keyhole was straightforward from the back (north to northwest side). The actual Devils Backbone high point is ranked a 5.1 climb, and this wasn't that. Ran hard this morning to make up for being lazy and not getting up early enough to jam in 20 miles.
PM: 6.5 miles (2,100') hike/run. Estes Cone (11,006'). After heading west to Lyons for lunch (Oskar Blues) from Alistair's cross country meet, we headed north up to Estes, detouring off for a stop at the East Longs trailhead and a go at Estes Cone with the kids. I guess Alistair wasn't really into it, so we stopped halfway at the old mine site on the way to Storm Pass and played for a bit. Dana was happy to hang out with the kids, who all of a sudden were having a great time, so I finished things up by running up to Storm Pass and Estes Cone. Tagged the top after a good steep climb, took in the killer (like, uber killer) views of the Divide (from the Mummies all the way to Longs), and then hoot-footed it back. The kids were still cool and the gang, so it was quick work on the return leg back to the trailhead. Dana and Alistair played tag pretty much the whole way, while I brought up the rear with Stella on my back. Ice cream in Estes, then home. Fun day.
Sun - AM: 21 miles (2,200') long run. 2:45. Ran a loop of the reservoir counterclockwise via 38e, South Dam, Centennial, Lodgepole to Lory, Valley trails to Bluesky, 38e. I wasn't too excited for this run, so procrastinated for an hour two before getting going. This meant I had to suffer through the heat of the morning on a totally exposed route, which is never much fun. I was feeling tired, so just plugged into a comfortable 8:00 average and got around. Chased one road biker up Monster Hill on Centennial after giving away about 100 meters on Spring Canyon dam and almost caught her by the top, but other than that this was a total one-gear run.
Total: 102.5 miles (14,800')
Good week on balance. Wanted to run 20 on Saturday, but just couldn't get going and so gave up an hour of running time, but other than that, I got done what I think I wanted to get done this week, including a good number of road/flatter miles. I really don't think I can or should cram any more volume before UROC, as I've been feeling a bit tired and flat this week. The wise thing from here will be to cut the volume aggressively, and just do the workouts to see if I can inject a bit of zip into my stride.
The field at UROC looks to be road-background heavy, so I'm expecting a different kind of race than I'm used to. I'm 100% prepared to let a lead pack develop ahead of me if I feel the pace is unreasonable for me and the distance. My strengths versus the faster road guys should manifest themselves in the second half of the race, and if Steamboat is any example then hopefully there should be some significant gains to be made as people start to get tired. Despite the impending and guaranteed suffering, I'm looking forward to participating on a good mix of terrain against some talented runners that I've either never run against or who I haven't raced over a longer distance.
In other news, Pete and I are finalizing permitting details for the Quad Rock 25/50 mile trail races for May 11 next year, so get that one on the calendar. As race directors, we were extremely fortunate that the High Park blaze (which torched approximately 200,000 acres north and west of town earlier this summer) did not impact the race course at all. In fact, the Timber trail in Lory State park acted as a fire line on the southeast perimeter of the fire. So, same great course, same great volunteers and same great giveaways and prizes. We're both super excited to build on the successes and lessons from 2012 with an eye towards three things: impeccable course marking, great value, and a post-race experience to match the running and racing itself. I've already ordered up a sunny forecast for 2013. Registration will be going live in December.
Also, if you're looking for a little autumn racing, then think about signing up for the Bluesky Marathon here in town. The race takes place October 7, and I believe there are still spots available. This is a great race with trail mileage in Horsetooth and on the fast Bluesky Trail. Proceeds benefit the Larimer County trail network, Larimer County Search and Rescue, and local youth running programs.
Oh, and one other thing. I just saw Karl's post-bunny-race interview over at iRunFar, and it sounds like he's going to take a shot at the Grand Slam record next year. I've been mulling that one for a couple of years now, and was kinda thinking that 2013 might be a good year to give it a go. Now that Karl's taking a run at it, I almost feel obliged to do it; nothing like a bit of competition to add some extra motivation, but that ain't set in stone just yet. I also think Pedatella should get on board for the GS now that he has a WS spot. He knows how to stack 'em up back to back. And while we're at, Neal, you should come on out and defend! Anyone else?
Regardless of who takes a stab at it next year, I think there's still a good three to five hours of play in Neal's (stout) record, but it would take a stellar and injury-free summer of racing to get it done.