Mon - AM: 6.5 miles (1,000') easy w/hill pick-up. Milner Mtn loop. Still jetlagged, I was up and at 'em early again this morning. Did a quick Milner loop, pushing the 500 foot hill from Redstone to Overhill at marathon-type effort. Felt really smooth.
Noon: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth north summit via north gap. First summit of the new year. Went nice and easy enjoying a beautifully crisp and clear day. Packed snow most of the way, with good sections of dirt on south/west facing slopes. A little labored, but to be expected given that this was my first climb (at altitude or otherwise) in over three weeks. Felt great to get my hands back on some rock in getting up the north gap.
Tues - AM: 9 miles of intervals. First real speed session since Thanksgiving, which went surprisingly well. Workout was 4 x City Park mile (2 or 3 50ft hills per mile, depending on direction) with quarter mile jog plus additional minute or two standing rest between miles. Mile one and four were steady, miles two and three fartlek (hard, medium, hard, medium, hard on the five segments that make up the mile loop). Opened the first mile at a pretty casual effort, picking it up a bit towards the end. Fartleks I tried to really work the hard segments and recover on the mediums. The one thing I feel that I need to improve the most in my running is my leg turnover. I've just never been that fast - same story in my rugby days - so I'll be looking to really work that with form and shorter distance rep workouts (100, 200, 400) through the winter and early spring for a go at a 5k PR some time in March/April. Last mile was a bit of a slog, but I was just about able to hold form. Overall, I felt surprisingly good aerobically, if a little labored in the leg department. Reps went: 5:33 (5:22), 5:20 (5:26), 5:31 (5:24), 5:18 (5:24) (mile 1 & 3 was the 3-hill direction which is slightly over a mile (~ 1.02), and 2 & 4 the 2-hill direction @ just under a mile (.98)).
Weds - Noon: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth north summit via Southridge/Audra & north gap. Beautiful out again. Felt a little sluggish from Tuesday workout, so kept things super easy.
Thurs - AM: 10 mile (1,400') hilly tempo w/ Mike, Mary, Celeste, Pete and Slush. Out and back on Centennial from Maxwell to the 5 mile mark of the Horsetooth Half course. In an attempt to avoid racing the return five miles and keep this to a legitimate tempo effort, I ran this one as a progression run with a goal of running the last four miles at an effort somewhere between 10k and half marathon, with a build from the two mile to the five mile point from 50k to Marathon to HM effort. With no HR monitor, it is quite hard to regulate perceived effort on a hilly course, but I felt like I was able to run in the zones I was after without crossing the line too much; I might have run the hills a little too hard at times. Nonetheless, I think this was a more beneficial workout than jogging for five and them hammering for five. Tuesday is for the 5k-5 mile efforts, so it is key to keep Thursdays disciplined, and discipline is my mantra for the 2013 running year. This was a good start. Miles 6-9 were approx: 7:45 (up north dam hill), 6:45, 6:30, 5:50, which is 20-30 seconds per mile slower than I typically run that stretch at 10k (ish) effort.
Fri - Noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop.
Sat - AM: 16.5 miles (4,500') easy. Hopped a ride with Burch out to Captain Corey's house just outside the north entrance to Lory Sate Park and ran Timber for an Arthur's summit, then down the rock trail to the Arthurs TH; a full Mill Creek ascent to the top of Towers, secret trail to Horsetooth's west ridge and then up for a north H'tooth summit. Left Corey and Ryan at Wathan and ran home on Southridge. Couple of inches of snow underfoot over top of some ice in places. Reasonably easy effort, but still felt a bit labored. Work to do in the hills. Super cold out.
Sun - AM: 15 miles (2,200') easy. With Pete at Bobcat Ridge on another super cold morning. Waited until 11:00 to get out in hopes things might warm up, but nah, another single digit run. Pooped out on a planned Powerline climb after doing the Ginny - DR loop, and jogged around on the valley trails for a while instead. Kinda disappointing. I'll blame the cold.
Total: 76.5 miles (13,700')
This felt like my first real week back in training. With two workouts and a couple longer weekend runs, my body can definitely tell that we're not just jogging around anymore. It's going to take a couple more weeks to really get into the swing of things again, accept the leg fatigue, the niggles, the creaks, and then you just get in a rhythm and before you know it you're running in shorts and a T again.
So, I have dubbed 2013 the year of discipline. Discipline in keeping mileage sane early in the year, discipline in holding the heavy mileage when the time comes in April and May, discipline in holding appropriate paces during key workouts, discipline in the ice cream isle at the grocery store, discipline in taking rest seriously and sticking with the plan. Last March I ran 500 miles with 450 mile months on either side and then kind of pooped out in May. This year, I want a much more controlled ramp of mileage for a properly timed peak in June. In addition, I hope to make use of the lower early season mileage by really focusing on breaking through on the speed side of the equation. I gauge this at the 5k distance primarily, as it's the most convenient race distance to jump on a race. Last year in March I ran an altitude 16:46 on a slightly long course; this March I want to get that comfortably under 16:30. If I can get there by March, I should feel confident going into the key months of April and May.
In other news, registrations for Quad Rock are bouncing along. At this point we have just 30 spots left in the 25 mile race and about 100 left in the 50 mile race. It's looking like we'll be fully sold out by the end of February at this point.
Pearl Izumi is back on board as the presenting sponsor for 2013, which means high quality form-fitted tech race T shirts, PI shoes for age group winners from the new E:Motion trail line, gear discounts at packet pick-up and opportunities to test ride the new PI shoes at the April 6 training run. In addition to PI, Cornerstone Mortgage has again stepped up as a major race sponsor, allowing us to bump the cash purse to $1,400 with the opportunity for 50 mile winners to take home up to $550 (with time and CR bonuses). We also have great stuff from Smith Optics, Highgear, Ultraspire and Runners Roost to give away as age group prizes and in the raffle, while First Endurance will again be providing a gel flask for each runner, with refills on course and Ultragen recovery drink at the finish. Pateros Creek will also be providing a recovery nectar with a batch of their special '51st Mile' English Mild for the post-race BBQ, while Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists will be on site for post race PT and massage. We're also grateful to local runners Cat Speights & Justin Liddle for their support through Cat's Countryside Vet practice & Justin's dental practice. Other fun stuff to announce as we move along, but for now things are shaping up for another fun race day.
Results from Chubby Cheeks soon.