Monday, May 27, 2013

Week Ending May 26

Mon- Noon: 9.5 miles (2,500') easy. Horsetooth north summit with Sefano via a very breezy north gap, then Westridge - Spring Creek - Falls. Felt predictably tired after a big weekend, but tired in a good way rather than the deep muscular fatigue that I've been feeling the previous three weeks.

Tues - AM: 7 miles (1,800') hill tempo. Got an email from Mike Monday afternoon proposing a 'double workout day' for today with a controlled hill tempo in the early AM, followed by Jane's short track workout in the evening. Sure, why not. Mike ended up sleeping through his alarm, so I was solo for the Horsetooth ascent, although I would see him on his way up as I was coming back down. Set the tempo at a very reasonable effort from the get go and ran a comfortable low-end tempo for the full ascent. Went Rock trail the whole way, detouring under the summit to take my preferred north gap route to the bird-poop-stained summit rock. Up in 26:06, which is pretty much exactly what I did two weeks ago on what felt like a much more labored effort. So good to have my legs back. Ultragen with my breakfast.
PM: 8 miles track. Warmed up with two miles to see how the legs were feeling and was pleased to find them reasonably responsive. The workout for tonight was 1,200 open, followed by 2(800,600,400) w/400, 200, 400, 200, 400 jog rest between each. On the opening 1,200 there was a bit of burn in the upper quads and I felt like I was working harder than I should have been for the pace, but given the morning workout things were certainly better than they could have been. The situation was much the same for the rest of the workout, but I was able to hold on decently enough even if I had to dig a bit to hang onto the pace group: 3:58 (5:05 standing rest), 2:32 (2:27 jog), 1:54 (1:17 jog), :73 (2:41 jog), 2:35 (2:38 jog), 1:54, (1:24 jog), :72. Strong headwind on the back straight made the workout a little more interesting (2 x headwind for the 600s). Finished up with a two mile cool down and a full serving of Ultragen.

Weds: 11 miles (2,800') easy. Horsetooth north summit with Stefano, then Westridge, Spring Creek, Herrington, Stout, Falls, Reaper. Although the legs felt good, I kept this one super chill in preparation for the workouts ahead this week(end).

Thurs - AM: 11 miles (1,300') progression. Bluesky/Indian Summer out and back with Slush, Ziggy, Wesir, Lee and Mike. Notched the effort a bit after four miles, heading up Indian Summer, then again at Rim Rock and again at the two-mile fence. Felt great aerobically, but legs a bit bonky/crampy on the rolling terrain.
PM: 5 miles (1,100') easy. Jogged a super easy lap on the Falls loop. Calves felt sore from the morning.

Fri - AM: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth summit before work. Lethargic legs, but beautiful spring morning. Summit 75 on the year.
PM: 3 miles (600') easy. Bench loop. Legs still cranky, so decided against a summit with the big Round Mountain workout early tomorrow.

Sat - AM: 29 miles (9,800') long, hard and hot. I've had this hill repeat workout on the calendar for a couple of months now. Along with the Crosier Triple Bagger from the last week, it's one of my local-mountain spring staples and a key piece of the Grand Slam training plan. I did it two years ago about the same time of year in ideally cool conditions; last year in April with time constraints and hence an abbreviated 21 mile version; and today it got proper toasty over the last couple of hours.

Round Mountain (8,500') is an approximately 3,000' foot climb to the summit over the course of 4.75 miles. The rocky singletrack trail has mile markers to the summit, a fact that has given birth to a painful, and some would argue, ridiculous workout. It involves an out-and-back from each of the four mile markers, finishing up with a final run at the summit for 29 miles and just a touch under 10k' of climbing.

Everyone loves a good workout elevation graph.
I try to run this one at a steadily decent clip with a slight uptick in effort as the run progresses. An uphill endurance pacing session, if you will. I ran with Dan Verdi, who was up from Denver with his wife Abby for a Pikes training run, over the first three repeats then was solo for the rest. The pacing plan was on track all the way until the final summit push, when dehydration and temps in the mid-80s brought on a bout of nausea and a full-on bonk. By mile three on the summit push it was touch and go as to whether or not I'd get up in under an hour (as was the goal), and then by mile four with just .75 to the top there was a full on leg rebellion, and I ended up walking half of the last mile not caring one iota about arbitrary goals and numbers. I had to take a seat at the summit to avoid losing my gut before finding the energy to descend the final 3,000 feet to the trailhead. This was the first legitimately hot run of the year for me and it hurt. Heat training is a clearly piece of the puzzle I am going to have to work on quite seriously over the next few weeks.

Up Splits:

1. 12:42, 11:40, 10:58, 10:48, 11:15
2.            13:13, 12:46, 12:15, 13:20
3.                       12:46, 12:15, 11:55
4.                                  12:40, 12:44
5.                                             12:22

T. 12:42, 24:53, 36:30, 47:58, 61:36

Down Splits:

1. 09:28, 09:13, 08:50, 08:58, 08:52
2.            09:21, 08:50, 08:26, 08:14
3.                       10:03, 10:10, 10:51
4.                                  09:24, 09:02
5.                                             09:36

T. 09:28, 18:34, 27:43, 36:58, 46:34

Total run time: 5:23:11
Total outing time with car refuels: 5:32:34

Sun - 22 miles (2,700') easy. Bluesky out and back to Devil's Backbone from Soderberg with Mike. Indian Summer out, B'sky back. Got super lucky with cloud cover all morning, otherwise could have been some pain out there. Felt decent enough once warmed up, finished up the last four at an up-tempo effort. Solid run to cap a big weekend.

Total: 113 miles (24,400') 

Got a lot done this week, with a double workout day Tuesday, an up tempo run Thursday, then big miles and vert on the weekend. Couple more weeks and it'll be time to start working on getting the legs, mind and body fresh for the thrashing that is 100 mile racing.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week Ending May 19

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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Week Ending May 12

Mon - 10 miles (2,700') easy. Horsetooth north summit with Stefanovic, then a loop back down on Spring Creek. The falls continue to roar.

Tues - AM: 8 miles (2,100') hill tempo. Decided that I need to start getting after a few more uphill efforts as I get ready for Western States (after an instructive comment from last week's recap), so turned the screw a bit on this morning's Horsetooth summit. Ran a few seconds over 26 minutes on a fairly controlled effort straight up the Rock trail, climbing up the north gap route. It was good to feel the burn of a harder hill effort, but I was careful to not go to that place just yet. More than two minutes off my PR; I'll give Towers a proper effort next week to really get a read on where the fitness is at.
PM: 4 miles (700') easy. Abbreviated Falls loop.

Weds - AM: 7.5 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth north summit.

Thurs - PM: 10 miles (1,800') easy. Marked up the Lory loop with Stefanovic.

Fri - AM: 7.5 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth north summit. Bumped into Jenny Pierce and Mike Aish on the way up/down. Both were in town for Quad Rock and among the favorites for Saturday. Bit of rain/hail on the way up.
PM: 10 miles (2,700') easy. Finished marking up the Horsetooth section of the Quad Rock course with Stefano and Pedatella. Rock (65) - Westridge - Spring Creek - Falls.

Sat - Off. On my feet all day directing Quad Rock, but no running mileage. Shoulda jumped in on the kids' race.

The Liddles getting dirty at the Quad Rock kids' race. Photo: Shannon Price
Sun - 6 miles (1,800') run/hike. Hiked the Falls loop with Dana and the kids for mothers day, with a quick de-flagging detour up and down Spring Creek. 

Total: 63 miles (15,600')

Decided to take the weekend off, given the demands of putting on an ultra event, and was happy doing so. I know I've needed a couple of days off for a while, but have been too stubborn to do so. The rest has been most welcome and I've been feeling great so far this week as I begin the final push for Grand Slam fitness.

Pete and I were really happy with the way things unfolded on Saturday for the second running of the Quad Rock Trail Races and we're already looking forward to next year, taking the lessons learned from this year to make it even better. We had some great racing action up front, and lots of great stories from the field throughout the day For those interested, we posted a recap of the event with some fun pics over on the race website.

Head down from here until Squaw. Time To Get After It.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fortnight Ending May 5

Week Ending April 28

Mon - Off. Totally beat down from the Horsetooth Marathon.

Running through Lory at the Horsetooth Marathon. From the Coloradoan

Tues - 6 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth north summit (# 50 on the year) in the snow. Played catch up with Wesir and Josh, after getting a late call from our neighbor that she could come watch the kids. A good romp in the snow and still a ton of snow on the summit. Down through the slush on Wathan/Spring Creek. Fun summit for the 50th on the year.

Weds - noon: 6 miles (700') easy. A quick loop of Milner on tired legs.
PM: 8 miles (2,100') easy. Horsetooth north summit via north gap. Down on Wathan.

Thurs - 13 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Out and back on Centennial. Didn't even bother trying to keep up with Mike with legs still feeling totally fatigued from the Sonoma 50 / Horsetooth Marathon weekend back to back. Really thinking the Horsetooth race was a bad idea.
PM: 7.5 miles (1,900') easy. Super casual north summit.

Friday - 11 miles (3,200') easy. Slogged my way through a Horsetooth double summit (north/south) on still fried legs. Southridge - Wathan - Spring Creek - Soderberg - Rock - Audra - Southridge.

Sat - 27 miles (6,000') easy. Ran the Quad Rock loop with tooth and falls add-ons. Ran steady with Jason Ostram, Mike, and Bryan Williams on what turned out to be a pretty warm morning. Just the one bottle was not enough so packing snow in there as we made our way around. Steady Eddie the whole way round; felt marginally better than earlier in the week, but still something of a slog.

Sun - 20.5 miles (5,000') easy. Ran part of the QR loop from home, joining Alex and Danny at Soderberg. Went nice and easy and felt a good bit better than the day before. Sawmill - Towers - Spring Creek - Falls - Soderberg - Rock - summit - Wathan - Spring Creek - Falls.

Total - 99 miles (22,200')

A pretty torturous week on really tired legs. By the weekend, things felt slightly better, but still not great. Not really how I wanted to be feeling at this stage of the training cycle, but that's what you get for being an old man and racing too much. This one didn't deserve triple digits, so I purposefully capped the week at 99 miles.

Week Ending May 5 

Mon - AM: 5 miles (1,100') uber easy. Falls loop.
PM: 8 miles (2,100') easy. Horsetooth middle summit with Wesir. Nice easy jog up, then Wesir talked me into a middle summit, which was mercifully free of bird crap. Snow melt must have washed a good bit of it off.

Tues - AM: 7 miles intervals. Workout was 4 x mile w/middle two as fartleks. Legs had nothing, and I mean nothing. Gave up on these and just got around.
PM: 5 miles (1,100') super easy. Wanted to grab a quick summit, but my legs said niet!

January: 345.5 miles (51,900)
February: 309 (47,900')
March: 438.5 (68,800')
April: 362.5 (68,700')

Total: 1,455.5 (237,300') 
Ave: 364 (59,325')
2013 Summits (March)
Horsetooth (7,255') (39)
Arthurs Rock (6,780') (2)
Turtlehead (6,324')
Maderas Volcano (4,573')

Weds - noon: 6.5 miles (700') easy. Milner loop in driving snow. Woke up to a huge snow dump and it then proceeded to snow all day leaving us with another two feet on the ground. Really didn't want to run, but forced myself out the door.

Thurs - 12.5 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Josh Arthur was in town and met Mike and me at Maxwell for the Centennial out and back. Legs felt about as good as they have all week, allowing for a controlled 31 minute return.

With Josh Arthur after Thurs AM Tempo. Pic: Hinterberg

PM: 7.5 miles (1,900') easy. Slogged out a Horsetooth north summit in rapidly melting snow.

Fri - 8 miles (2,100') easy. Horsetooth north summit in the slush and snow. Back via the roaring falls.

Sat - 25.5 miles (4,700') easy. Early start up Horsetooth with Jason O for a quick summit, then down to Redstone Canyon for 3.5 miles followed by a left on Puma Gulch Rd after eyeing from top Horsetooth what looked like a connector to Otter Road high on the Christ Mountain ridgeline. It's never much fun to run private roads, but all the people we passed seemed reasonable enough and just a few threw suspicious looks our way. Anyway, after a 2,000' climb the road dead ended at a private property high on the Christ ridge. After an inspection of the satellite images, it looks like we could have picked up a connector jeep trail to Otter Road if it hadn't been buried under snow. From there we could have run the ridge south all the way into Masonville for what would have been a super fun loop. As it turned out, we back tracked and ran the private-road gauntlet all the way back to Redstone, then back to 38e and home. Fun morning.

Sun - 21 miles (1,000') easy. Ran out to the 19 mile mark on the Colorado Marathon course to pace Sarah in to the finish. I picked her up just as she was entering full-on bonk mode, so the planned 6:30/40 pace ended up being 7:30s. She didn't give in though and still ran a respectable 3:02, which was good enough for third female. Always a fun event.

Total: 107 miles (16,100') 

This was a tough couple of weeks, with heavy and unresponsive legs on a majority of my runs. Rather than do the sensible thing and take some down time, I plowed on and ran through it all. Things were better towards the end of this last week and the two long weekend runs felt pretty good. Hopefully I'm through the funk now and ready to finish out this training cycle with a strong May and June.

But enough about me. Burch has a fun Quad Rock preview up on his website. Pete and I are super excited to be hosting over 300 runners from all over the country this weekend, showcasing what we think are some of the best foothill trails in the state. We've got strong and deep fields in both the men's and women's 50 mile races, and we're of course looking forward to cheering in every runner from first to last. My buddy Justin Mock put a preview up on Running Times, if you want to check that out too. Please take note that Quad Rock gets top billing in the RT preview over that other race going off in the Canary Islands the same day.

We've also got a couple of events going on later in the summer: the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon at the end of August and then the sixth running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon in October. If you sign up for the Black & Blue Double (register for both races at the same time) it'll cost you less than $100, which we think is a pretty good deal.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lake Sonoma 50 2013

I need  to get some thoughts down about this race before those thoughts turn into distant memories.

1. The race went out way harder this year than the year before and there were a lot of very fast young men in the field (and a couple of fast seniors, too).

2. Although we went through the 12.5 mile aid station 6 minutes quicker than last year, the effort didn't seem that much harder, but then it's kinda hard to compare one's current effort to something you were outputting precisely a year ago.

3. By mile 18, I knew I was in trouble, but was stuck in a train of guys I couldn't bring myself to let go of, so continued to descend into a hole it would take 15 miles to claw my way out of. Not particularly smart; lesson (re) learned.

4. At mile 20, I felt like I was running slower downhill than I had been running uphill at mile five. I'm not sure I have ever felt that terrible going downhill.

5. My split at the halfway point was five minutes quicker than the year before. Leaving the aid station, I was thinking it would be a miracle if I finished within 10 minutes of my time from 2012.

6. Joe Uhan passed me early on the way back running the kind of race I wished I'd been sensible enough to run. Aside from Joe I wasn't passed by any other runners in the last 25 miles, and somehow managed to pass four guys. Lesson: no matter how crap you feel in these races, you always need to remind yourself that there's a good chance others are feeling/performing even worse (he who slows the least...). Keep doing what you can with what you've got.

7. After taking my foot off the gas for 10 miles or so, I finally felt a second wind and was able to finish the race feeling reasonably good.

8. Rolling hills are a bugger for cramping legs.

9. John Medinger puts on a stellar event and always manages to come through with killer weather.

10. The course seems like it should run faster than it does. Rolling hills are harder than sustained ups and downs.

11. Two minutes slower on what felt like an off day seems like a decent result.

12. Pure speed matters over 50 miles; the jury is still out for 100 miles. Western States this year should provide some good data points on that.

Another two miles and this guy would have pushed me out of the top 10. We'll both be top 10 at the end of June.
14. I need a pacer/crew for Western States. Anybody interested?

15. Splits:


And that's all I've got to say about that.