Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week Ending March 30

Monday - 7 miles (1,800') easy. I didn't have a chance to get out until late in the day, but wasn't much feeling like running after the big weekend anyway, so the extra rest was welcomed. Felt decent enough once on the hill, just a bit sluggish. Had a nice chat with Stephen Myers, editor of the Coloradoan's Xplore section, on the summit. On the way to the park, I was bitten on the (gloved) finger by a (leashed) neighborhood dog. Fortunately, there was no harm done (no blood drawn), but it certainly shocked me. On the way out of the park, it was all one owner could do to keep her massive hound from attacking me. Ah, yes, the joys of spring.

Coming off Towers on the Stout Trail last Sunday at March Mileage Madness.  Photo: Josh Arthur.
Tuesday - AM: 9.5 miles intervals. On the docket at the cemetery for the morning was: mile, 800, 800, mile, 800, 800, 1.5 mile lamppost fartlek (at ~5k, HM); all on 2-3 min rest. Had a good pack to work with this morning: McCullough, Garcia and Luke. Eased in over the first mile and a half, then Garcia started pushing the pace: 5:58, 2:45, 2:39, 5:16, 2:39, 2:39, 8:17 (5:32, 2:45). The legs were still a little sluggish from the big weekend mileage/vertical, but they responded when asked. I consciously pushed the second half of each rep this morning to work on that non-existent kick of mine, as I'm almost certain that Western States is going to come down to the last 300 meters this year.
PM: 7 miles (1,800') super easy. Kinda wobbled up the hill late in the afternoon. Definitely tired from the morning session - some lingering fatigue from the weekend in there too. Need to be careful.

Wednesday - Noon: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Nice easy jog up Horsetooth. It was warm out, but I still layered up to get a good sweat going, help loosen the muscles and begin preparing for the summer race season.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Ran an easy Falls loop at the park. Dog trouble again. Got nipped by a yappy rat-sized dog on a long leash right by the turn-off for the falls. Owner was mortified. I swore profusely. This is turning out to be a bad dog week.

Thurs - Noon: 5 miles (1,500') easy. Short loop on Horsetooth (76). Kept things super easy to save something for a harder run at Towers in the evening.
PM: 9.5 miles (2,000') hard hill effort. I'm not really sure why, but the thought of running hard on Towers fills me with dread these days. There was a time when I was hammering on the hill all summer long, dropping sub-30s with ease. I guess it's because I've done it so many times now that I'm intimately familiar with the pain involved. I was back and forth all day on how much of an effort I was willing to put forth, so I figured I'd see how things felt once I was off and running. Warmed up with a couple miles on the Valley Trails with Burch, then got after it, easing in on Swan Johnson (3:00 to the turn). Things felt okay, so I kept on the gas at perhaps 90%, and was surprised to see my Stout split pop within range of reasonably fast, so I committed to staying at effort for the rest of the run. Herrington (2) came in at 16:5x, which again is about 20 seconds off PR pace. I started feeling a good burn in the second half and rather than double down to squeeze the extra seconds out, I committed to just remaining steady. Finished up with 30:07 at the top, which, while 47 seconds off my PR, was pleasing for the effort output. Would have been a nice confidence boost to dip under 30 - it's been a while - but it would have been there easily with a little extra push.

Friday - 7 miles (1,800') easy. Kept it at one run today, and an easy one at that. Felt good enough, but wanted to rest up for the weekend.

Saturday - 29 miles (9,500') long. Round Mountain Ladder. Fun morning on the mountain today for the fourth year in a row doing this workout, an out and back from each mile marker up the mountain with a final summit run to finish it off. We had a good crowd working up and down the hill all morning, something that always helps with the motivation. Josh Arthur was back up in the Fort - clearly no talent to run with in Boulder - so I ran with him for most of the workout.

The goal with this workout is to start out conservatively and try to run every uphill mile segment quicker than the previous one (first mile gets run five times), so a ratchet of pace that you have to temper against increasing fatigue levels, finishing with a final summit push - after 20 miles & 6,500' of vert - into which you essentially pour all remaining strength and motivation in a bid to hit the fastest mile splits of the day. I find this workout to be an excellent simulator of race pacing.

The morning air was perfect and we got lucky with mainly overcast skies, so the conditions were primo. My legs didn't feel too peppy at all throughout the morning, but they were steady enough to get through the run. The first four rungs on the ladder went quickly and the splits were on point. For the summit leg - about 4.75 miles with 3,000' of climbing - the first mile went out pretty hard, leaving my legs pretty wobbly for the second mile. Josh was off to the races, so I just focused on settling back in and grinding up the hill at an effort that would take me to the top sustainably. I missed the second mile split by 13 seconds breaking up the perfect game, but was able to rally for the remainder, passing Josh 100 meters from the summit. The summit run came in at 54:25, which is three minutes faster than three years ago, 7 or 8 minutes quicker than last year when I fell to pieces in the heat, and four minutes of my PR for Round Mountain. Total time on the hill was 5:22, with 5:11 moving.

Mile 1..12:34..11:32..11:06..10:35..10:06
Mile 2............13:01..12:24..11:45..11:58
Mile 3......................11:59..11:20..11:09
Mile 4................................12:19..11:38

Summit Run.................................54:25

Coming down off lap one with Josh and Hinterberg. Photo: Eric Lee
Sunday - 13 miles (3,600') easy. Out with Hinterberg and Ostrom for an easy couple of hours at Horsetooth, with a double summit bag (78 & 79). Not much from the legs on the uphill and a bit of soreness in the quads on the downhill. Easy, easy.

Total: 99 miles (24,800')

Another solid week in the books. Good workout Tuesday morning on tired legs, a solid run up Towers Thursday and a generally strong morning of vertical on Saturday. Pieces are coming together nicely. One more week of mileage before I begin a very gradual taper for UTMF100, with a last long run two weeks before at the Lake Sonoma 50.

In addition to two dog bites this past week, I picked up another one yesterday (Monday) right at the first turn on the trail from the upper Horsetooth parking lot and right on the soft tissue under my butt. I've never been bitten by a dog before, so I guess I'm making up for lost time. I used to be very casual and friendly towards dogs in the park, but I find myself shying away from them now (once bitten, twice shy?) Dogs of course pick up on that fear to the point that I have apparently become a moving target in the park. Curiously, each incident these past few days has involved a dog on a leash (but always on a fully extended stretch leash), so owners have been obeying park regulations. Whether or not that means I have a right to bitch I don't know, but it's really not much fun being bitten by dogs or having fangs aggressively exposed in your general direction while running by.

In other news, I have noticed a considerable uptick in the number of plastic bags filled with dog poo sitting by the side of the trail. Being a regular park user, I can usually give an approximation for the number of days/weeks particular bags have been sitting there.

End rant.