Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week Ending June 9

Mon - AM: 8 miles easy (2,100') at Horsetooth. Legs were predictably lethargic after going hard on the weekend's descents, but just fine once warmed up.
PM: 5 miles (1,100') jog/hike. Ran down to the park to meet Dana and Alistair for a casual run/hike of the Falls loop. Three miles with 700' of accumulated vert, mostly all run, is not nearly enough to put a dent in my 6.5-year-old's energy. Mountains required.

Tues - AM: 8 miles (1,900') hill tempo. With Danny and Mike for the first installment of Double Workout Tuesday. Similar mid-level tempo effort to previous weeks, and a few ticks faster (25:23 - north summit, north gap). Gorgeous morning.
PM: 10 miles track. Found myself with a bit of time before the track workout this afternoon, so jogged five miles to loosen things up from the morning. The workout was 2k open, followed by 8x400 on 70 seconds rest. Warmed into the 2k with the first two laps at 6 min pace, then got after the rest of the workout: 6:55, 73, 71, 70, 72, 72, 70, 69, 69. 400s are definitely not my pace, so I was happy to be able to hang in the low-70s arena.

Weds - 10 miles (2,500') easy. With Stefanovic at Horsetooth. Nice and easy up the hill and across Westridge, then laced the Spring Creek descent on legs that just wanted to go.

Thurs - 11 miles (1,200') fast finish. Ran with the usual Thursday morning suspects (Lee, Eric, Sarah, Scott, Ziggy, Mike) for an Indian Summer out and back. Easy through the first seven, then a ratchet from Rim Rock and a further ratchet from the two-mile fence up to half marathon pace. Fast is feeling really, really good right now.
PM: 5 miles (1,500') hike/run with Alistair. The boy was motivated for a Horsetooth PR attempt, so we got after it a bit this afternoon. Alistair's PR was 57 minutes and change going in, but it was clear by the steps on the rock trail that we were going to crush that, so we reset the goal for 50 minutes, beating it by six seconds with a 49:54 top out. I wonder how long it will be before he starts crushing his old man on the hill? He still had tons of energy when we were done. He needs big mountains this summer, I think.

Fri - 30.5 miles (9,100') long and hilly. Got up in altitude a bit this morning for a fun, if somewhat slow outing with Mike. Parked at the Cow Creek trailhead northeast of Estes Park and ran north on the North Boundary Trail in the northeast portion of RMNP for six miles towards the North Fork of the Big Thompson. The NBT has three decent climbs on the way to the North Fork into and out of a couple significant drainages. The first two are sharp 600-700 foot affairs, with the third being a steady 1,300 climb over not much more than a mile and a half. Once you top out on the narrow ridge there, it's a fun net-downhill contour to the North Fork intersection with compelling views across the valley to Signal Mountain. We headed upriver from the intersection to take the Stormy Peaks connector in hopes of picking up the long-unmaintained Stormy to Signal trail. We of course missed the turn and ended up way too high at the Stormy Peaks backcountry camping area, so retraced and eventually found the trail, which is now not much more than a game scratch. We gave it 20 minutes or so before giving up on the trail, losing it repeatedly to snow banks and general not-there'edness, choosing instead to bushwhack to the Signal - Stormy ridge and follow that east to Signal Mountain (11,200'). The 'scwacking took a ton of time and I think both Mike and I were working harder than expected, having not been above 10,500' for a sustained effort in quite some time. After finally gaining both Signal peaks, we set off down Bulwark Ridge, happy to find that the worst of the tree carnage from the previous winter had been hit with saws. There are still a good many trees blocking passage on the upper reaches of the trail, but the going was good enough for us. Once past the worst of it, the cruise down to Dunraven was a ton of fun. From there it was five miles back upriver to the NBT, and then the last six miles back to the car. Felt good enough on this run, with plenty more in the tank once done.
West off Signal Mtn
Been a while since I've been in the Alpine. 
Sat - 21.5 miles (2,800') steady. I woke up feeling pretty good, but decided to get some work done around the house before heading out in an effort to run through some midday heat. The sun ended up being a bit in and out unfortunately, so I really wasn't that uncomfortable despite the mid-80 forecast and exposed nature of the route. Jogged down to Bobcat Ridge and then ran a steady ascent of Ginny and a tempo-like effort on the ridge and DR descent. Kept it steady in the valley and also on the five mile climb back home. Really pleased with what my legs gave me for this run after yesterday's effort, and also with how quickly three hours / 20+ miles seemed to fly by. All good signs.
PM: 3 miles (700') easy with Dana on the Falls loop.

Sun - 8 miles (2,200') easy. Horsetooth North. Original plan was to run to the Bellevue Bean to meet my parents and family for brunch by way of Horsetooth and Arthurs, but just didn't feel like putting a third long run in. I reconciled the poop-out with the fact that the previous seven days had been 140 miles with just a bit south of 30,000 feet of vertical gain. Jogged up and lingered on the summit a bit to reflect on the training I had put in for this year's running of the Western States 100, and felt good about taking it easy and beginning the taper a day earlier than planned.

Total: 120 miles (25,200')

This week was a good capstone to the Western States training block. It was my highest mileage week of the year and I finished it feeling strong and positive. The week had all of my major training principles packed in there: consistency, speed, threshold, hills and endurance. Those, in my opinion, are the necessary training ingredients for success in mountain ultrarunning. There are of course other pieces of the puzzle to figure out with regards to race execution, but if you have those basic building blocks in place over a good three- to four-month period, I believe you'll see great results.

And now begins the taper. I'm a strong believer in taking a more gradual taper than most. I always take this first week of the taper as more of a traditional cut-back week (75 percent of volume) and then follow up with two weeks of significantly reduced mileage and a real focus on being fresh for the start line - alway erring on the side of 'less is more'. I only do a proper taper once a year and I enjoy it every time. Cheers to that!


  1. Glad to hear you're feeling more motivated for Western than when we last spoke and how awesome is it that your boy is already psyched about the mountains? I couldn't think of a better gift than seeing my love of a sport be picked up by one of my kids. Awesome.

    I keep telling virgin 50 milers about your little May race... you'd think I had fun there!

    Enjoy your taper and I hope you have a great day in CA...

  2. You nailed it and you're scary fit. Time to race!

  3. God bless You.
    Tks For Sharing!
    This Is Your Time As Ws100.

  4. Cheers, indeed! Stoked for you, Clarkie! See you in Squaw!

  5. Geez, Nick! Great training block you put together.

    What did Alistair want you to bring back from Auburn? Some, like, animal statue?

    Looking forward to the battle out there. See you soon

  6. Very excited to see your summer play out!

  7. That is a crazy awesome week. I am speechless. Good luck, Nick.


  8. Well done, Nick. It's all there. May you find the inspiration to use ALL OF IT, when the time is right.

    Got my schedule worked out for race week: Few days in the high country, Weds-Sat in Squaw at Red Wolf Lodge. I'm up for a run Wednesday.