Mon - AM: 5 miles (1,100') easy. Quick loop of the Falls trail to kick off the week. Felt great and cruised at a good upbeat tempo, thinking that the weekend off for Quad Rock had paid dividends.
PM: 10 miles (2,700') easy. Horsetooth north summit, then around on Westridge - Spring Creek - Falls.
Tues - AM: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Cruised up for a pre-work Horsetooth summit. Beautiful morning.
PM: 7 miles track. First one of the summer season. Jane eased us in with a low-volume workout: mile, 4x800. Legs felt decent enough for these, if not totally psyched to be spinning on the oval: 5:23, 2:34, 2:34, 2:35, 2:33.
Weds - PM: 9 miles (2,300') easy. Horsetooth north summit with Stefanovic, then scrambled the true ridge over to the secret trail before descending on Towers/Spring Creek.
Thurs - AM: 11 miles (1,200') easy. Met Slush, Celeste, Ziggy and Mike for an early AM out and back on Blue Sky/Indian Summer. Notched the effort a bit to a steady pace coming back from Rim Rock over the last 3.5 miles. Nice to be back out on Blue Sky; been a while.
PM: 8 miles (1,800') hill tempo. Really wanted to try and get after it on Towers tonight to take stock of the fitness, but felt as flat as I have all week, and so had to muscle through instead. The morning run doesn't help with these efforts, I guess. Worked pretty hard for a 31:20. Worst run of the week.
Fri - PM: 8 miles (2,100') easy. Horsetooth north summit, down Wathan. Kept things nice and easy to save something for the weekend.
Sat - AM: 25.5 miles (8,000') steady. Decided to start getting out of the local routine by moving up the Canyon a bit. Drove out to the Crosier Mtn trailhead with Jason for a crack-of-dawn start to the 2013 rendition of the Crosier Triple Bagger, a rite-of-spring workout for me that I have done the last five years. Workout involves a summit of Crosier Mtn (~9,200') from each of the three trailheads along the Devil's Gulch Road (5 miles w/3,000', 4 miles w/2,400', 4 miles w/2,000'). After the Towers fail on Thursday and general leg funk from weeks previous, I wasn't at all sure how this workout was going to feel. The early signs were not good and I labored up the first climb (muling 50 oz of water in a backpack), but once I ditched the pack it was off to the races. Legs felt really good for the remainder of the run which gives me a renewed sense of confidence for the next four weeks and the summer of racing. Splits went:
Garden Gate Ascent: 1:06:24 (8:56 summit spur) - PR: 1:02:15 (2011)
Summit stop: 2:45
Gravel Pit Descent: 30:33 - PR: 30:14 (2012)
TH stop: 1:03
Gravel Pit Ascent: 47:42 (8:04 summit spur) - PR: 46:30 (2011)
Summit stop: 3:21
Glen Haven Descent: 32:39 - PR (vs 32:59: 2011)
Glen Haven Ascent: 46:37 (7:51 summit spur) - PR: 45:21 (2011)
Summit stop waiting on Jason: 8:45
Garden Gate Descent: 46:05 - PR (vs. 46:26: 2009)
Run Time: 4:31:26 - PR (vs. 4:32:33: 2011)
Outing Time: 4:47:20 (vs. 4:52: 2012)
I really wasn't trying to break any land speed records with this run, but rather I just wanted to stay steady and strong all morning. Looking at splits from previous years, I was a minute or two off on the climbs versus some other years, but right there on the descents, and that was essentially how I felt. I was happy to run my fastest summit spur of the morning on the last time up, but had to work for it, and then was very happy to feel great coming back down off the mountain for the last time. An added bonus was to shave a minute or two off my run time PR, not that it really counts for anything as I've never tried to run this workout for speed.
Sun - AM: 15.5 miles (4,200') easy. The original plan for the morning was a steady 20 miles on Bluesky (moderately rolling with a 800' uphill finish) to replicate the last 20 at WS100 on tired legs, but I couldn't face the tedium of Blue Sky as I was drinking my early morning coffee trying to find some motivation to get out the door. I took the easy option instead and went out for some jogging miles at Horsetooth, making up the route as I went and ending with a double summit (#70 & 71 for 2013) . Legs responded fine once warmed up, which was further affirmation that I'm well on the way to digging myself out of the post Lake Sonoma/Horsetooth Marathon funk. Southridge - Audra - north gap summit - Westridge - Mill Creek - Loggers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - Rock - north gap summit - Audra - Southridge.
Total: 106 miles (25,200')
This was a good week that has me cautiously optimistic for the upcoming summer racing season. I know that I'm lacking a step or two versus years previous on climbing strength, but I'm okay with that. Success over 100 miles is first and foremost about stamina. Speed is certainly important, but irrelevant if you can't go the distance. The next three weeks are hugely important, but I feel like I am in a good place right now to get the WS100/GS100 peak fitness right. The focus now is stamina, downhill quad seasoning and some uphill tempo work.
This Saturday is another key benchmark workout for me that I've been doing the last few years in preparation for the summer season. The workout is somewhat mindless, involving 10,000 feet of climbing over 30 miles on a single 4.75 mile stretch of trail up and down Round Mountain above the Big Thompson, so we'll see how that goes. Two more big weekends after that then it'll be time to start winding things down.