Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekly Summary for 2/20-2/27

AM 11.05M; 1:39; 1,238Ft; 133Avg Hr; Wonderland Trail- Nice easy run in the fog.  Ran a cool bonus 2 mile loop up to a ridge that was steep, forested a bit and scenic.
PM  4.17M; :38; 142Ft; 131Avg Hr; Run from work over to Kitteredge for about 3 miles barefoot.  Feeling pretty good.

AM 11.55M; 1:57; 3,214Ft; 142Avg Hr; NEW PERSONAL BEST OF 37:51 up Green's "Middle" route. After 4 weeks of no time trial up Green due to my XC race in San Diego and a few muscle strains, it was good to do a time trail.  The overall conditions were a bit funky at 6:45AM... not that cold (20s) or windy, but the trail up Gregory Canyon consisted of about 70% bone dry rock and dirt, 30% solid ice approximately 4-6" thick.  You had to wear spikes this week on a majority of the trails in Chautauqua, despite the fact that most of the trail was clear, the ice was killer.  The trend continued a ways up Ranger and Greenman eventually followed by the nice treat at the end of fast packed snow up the stairways and summit push.  The body felt "different" than past time trials, with the cardio doing better than before but the stair/mountain climbing legs power was a little less.  I honestly expected to maybe just break 40 and then due to bad math (didn't review the splits on the run) I thought I ran high 38 or low 39 until I checked the splits that night.  The run was certainly an encouraging gauge for my fitness level going into next weekends Nueces 50 mile race.        

PM 4.04M; :34; 64Ft; 127Avg Hr; Easy run to Kitteredge fields for some barefoot running.  Great to see my average heart rate under 130 at sub 8min/mile pace on this 4 mile run after a hard run in the morning.  Aerobic efficiency is coming around.

AM 11.07M; 1:39; 1,270Ft; Recovery run on Wonderland trails with the cool bonus loop (same as Monday) at the turn-around with Marcus Allen.  I felt noticeably better today than Monday and wish I had my HR monitor, as I'm sure the Avg HR was less despite running the same split.

PM Massage with Marcus Allen.  Worked out the little kinks from the previous few weeks of muscle issues.

PM 12.28M; 1:27; 539Ft; 6 X 1 Mile repeats with a minute jog in between each; 3 mile warm up and cool down.  Totally missed Dave Mackey and Geoff Roes for this run as I told them to meet me at the "buffalo on campus".  Low and behold, from Dave's report, there are at least 3 buffaloes on campus.  I meant to meet them at the buffalo at folsom stadium, where I work.  I ran 3 of the repeats west into the canyon on the boulder creek bike path at 6:08, 6:10, 6:14 running on the side trails and then gravel once in the canyon proper.  5:49, 5:50 and 5:50 back down.  All 6 repeats were at threshold pace... basically "medium" hard pace.  I was happy to feel I could have done 6 more, like I should have felt.  I didn't feel this way a few before when I ran 7 of these with a 2 min jog between flatter terrain with GZ and Aaron Kennard. 

AM 9.03M; 1:13; 748Ft; 132Av Hr; Wonderland Trails easy.  Felt flat from Tuesday and Thursday's workouts.

PM 3.63M; :29; 313Ft; 133Av Hr; Easy from work.  Flat still.

AM 2:50; 17.47M; 3,365Ft; 142Av Hr; One way long run from the trails north of Eldorado Canyon, into the canyon and out to Walker Ranch, Flagstaff Road North and East a few miles to Long Canyon trail, Green Mtn Lodge, down Flagstaff Trail, Panorama Trail, Eben G. Fine park, home.  I started this run with a hike (didn't count the hiking miles!) with my Mom, Vicky, visiting from San Diego, Felix and Maggie.  When they turned around I took off towards Eldorado Canyon.
My Boy (Slept the whole hike)

Good sense, a second opinion, or coach, would have advised me to run flat on a longer run a week out from the race, but I couldn't resist.  I felt flat the day before and was today on this long hillyish one way run.  Two good things came out of the run though: my legs didn't have any issues with muscles, so I kept smooth form and secondly I got to try out 1st Endurance "EFS" Electrolyte Fuel System.

After attending a talk with owner Robert Kunz of 1st Endurance Friday night (thanks for the invite Aaron!), I was very excited to see how one of the the products, EFS, worked for me.  EFS worked brilliantly.  While I was flat from the first mile, the EFS went down smooth, kept me from bonking, tasted good and in general, kept me going.  I won't go into detail here, but 1st Endurance is really on a different level than all the other Gel fuel products out there.  EFS has electrolytes (the other gels really don't) and doesn't use gelling agents... that alone is enough to sell me, but the rest of the product make up is engineered for serious performance.  I was very, very impressed.  The real test will be next weekend, but I have a feeling the minimal GU sponsorship will be ending soon.

AM 10.08; 1:23; 784Ft; 131Avg Hr; Easy run around Wonderland trails.  Flat, but better than yesterday.

95.09 Miles
11,677Ft Climbing

Good solid week of training.  No muscle issues.  I debated on the approach to this week, as normally 2 weeks out from a big race/marathon, I cut back by around 20%.  With Ultras being heavily aerobic based, I have cut that down to a 10 day tapper.  The other reason I decided to keep the week pretty focused is that I have had a couple lower mileage, lower intensity weeks in the last month with XC and some muscle strains.  I felt great Tuesday and Thursday, but paid for it Friday and Saturday with pretty flat runs.  Today I could feel myself recovering and I am feeling very strong and injury free.

Very happy I attended the 1st Endurance talk with Robert Kunz.  I am convinced they have the best products in the world and I'm excited to utilize them.

I'm anxious for Nueces next weekend.  I am better prepared for this 50 mile race, with regards to endurance, hill climbing and trail running, than and than I was for North Face in December, so I expect to have a great race in Texas.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lessons In Training

A Little Grand Targhee Sidecountry Action

The last four weeks of training has been crazy!
Week 1
  -Tibia Posterior strain; Honestly a good week of training despite the muscle strain largely due to the fact the elliptical trainer didn't bother the strain.  Ended up with 90+ miles with one solid workout but no climbing.  This strain wasn't from a single workout or run, but rather a week of 120 miles, 2 hard workouts and a 30 mile one way mountain run.

Week 2
 -"Knee Muscle" strain; The week before US Cross I managed to strain a small muscle just above my knee cap (it runs under the knee cap too apparently).  This week's strain was largely due to going a bit too big on my long run (was eager to get after it since my previous strain was gone).
 Marcus Allen is fully responsible for the miraculous healing of this unique knee muscle strain:  I no kidding hobbled over to see Marcus Allen shortly after I got the strain, he threw down some ART on the muscle, the muscle released, relaxed, etc... and I walked out of his office healed.  I was back at it, albeit I was just tapering for Cross, the next morning.  Cross went relatively well (see post before this one) that weekend.

Week 3
   -Hamstring strain; The day after cross I was on a mission to have a blockbuster training week with regards to mileage, climbing and speed.  Considering the previous two weeks and the fact I just raced a 12K, my ambitions were asinine.

-Tuesday I ran my hardest sustained effort run up Green.  In bitter cold I ran in mostly untracked fresh snow measuring shin to knee deep, Bear Canyon was particularly deed, from my house to Chautauqua, Greenman, Green, Bear, Mesa and back home.  The run took 2:45 with no water or nutrition at a sustained hard effort.  

-Wednesday 15.5 mile recovery day

-Thursday I ran 7x1 mile repeats in the bitter cold with Aaron and George.  The trail was a bit snowy and the repeats were at medium hard effort with splits between 5:39 and 6:08.  15.5 total miles Thursday.
Grand Tetons From "Mary's Nipple"

-Friday, after 4hrs of sleep Maggie, Felix and I started our 8hr+ drive to Jackson Hole Wyoming.  In Laramie, I ran a cool 13 mile loop recommend by my buddy Carl Leglieter.  The flat smooth terrain felt so fast and easy and I coasted in with a 6:42 mile average pace.  Did another 7 for a 20 mile day in Rock Springs where I felt my hamstring getting "tight".

-Saturday, before skiing at Jackson Hole, I ran a miserable 7 mile run where my hamstring totally tightened up.

I took Sunday and Monday "off" but skied and snowboarding at Grand Targhee and skinned up to awesome back county skiing Monday.

Again Marcus Allen repaired my slight strain (it helped I took two days off) and I was back to normal Thursday.  11 miles Friday, great run up and around Green with Levi Saturday for 15 and today I plan on running with Dave and Bob Affrica for at least another 15.

I need to be patient...  that really is it.

I have never been one to be "injured", ever, and this strain-a-thon is really not cool.
All and all, I still have my fitness, but it has been a bit of a on-off roller coaster ride the last 4 weeks.  One decent week of training this week, a week of taper and then off to Texas for Nueces!

Bros (Rob Parish, Me, Matt Bourquin, Jeremy Wolf)

Monday, February 7, 2011

USATF Cross Country National Championships

Saturday I ran the USATF Cross Country Championships.  The 12K course was about the same as three years before in 2008.  While it might seem trivial to many Trail Ultra runners, the course wasn't quite as fast as it looked...  With a lot of rain this winter the grass was some what soft, there were a couple boggy spots and due to the men's open race being the last race of 5, the turns were less than fast as well and a bit muddy on a few.  The course had a few small (20' maybe) hills and quite a few sharper u-turns.  With all that said, it certainly was still a pretty fast cross country course.
Two years ago at US Cross

The competition is always phenomenal, with the best young distance running stars always in attendance.   This year's race was particularly good due to location and the fact that next year won't have a world championship (every other year is the rumor) to follow.  The first 30+ runners are pretty much all full-time professional runners with the 30-70th place runners usually consisting of a combination of semi-pro, sponsored and team affiliated young runners.
Last year at US Cross in Spokane

I have done the US XC championship race every year since 2004.  My performance each year has really varied, as I have gone from being younger and still fast from running in College, to just winging the race with not much training, to the last year or two running a bit better, but still not quite to my potential due to skiing, the time of year and not having a dedicated training focus for the distance (marathon).  This year, was certainly no exception (with regards to specific 12K prep) as I have been running long, slow mileage in preparation for Trail Ultras.  I realized leading up to the race that I had not run longer than two and a half minutes (600 to 800M repeats) at a pace faster than maybe 6:45/mile since late November.  Despite my lack of pace specific training for a 12K, I am quite possibly more "fit" than ever.  Needless to say, I was uncertain of how the race would pan out.
US Cross 2008 also in SD

The two weeks leading up to the race I had a muscle stain each week... last week was a muscle (something Gnu) just above and under my knee cap, which resulted in nothing more than 6 miles a day.  Two weeks ago I spent nearly half my mileage on the elliptical due to a strain on my tibia posterior, with the rest of the mileage easy and flat.  Not sure how this factored into Saturday's race, but I'm just happy all my muscles were healthy Saturday!

I began the race conservative, as always, but still faster than my overall average pace.  After the 1K, I didn't get passed the entire race.  The first 2K ended up being about where I wanted it at 6:20 something.     I went through the 5K in 16:31 and the 10K at 33:50.  In hind sight, I feel I probably lost around a minute to 90 seconds by not "racing" with or against anyone from about 4K to 10K.  I passed a few people, but was sort of by myself, slowed down a touch and allowed myself to get comfortable, not good.  I picked it up a little on the last 2K loop and finished, according to the clock, at 40:19, but the results have me at 40:32 (5:24/mile pace), who knows.
1st Place Men's and Women's AF Team 2011

Overall I felt more comfortable during the race than I have in past years, partially due to my training, partly due to fear of not knowing if I could hold a faster pace and lastly, not having my whole head and heart in the race.  I have been eating, breathing, thinking and training Trail Ultras.  Everything from having no problem sleeping the night before, which never happens for me, to overall lack of mental focus and having a solid race strategy... I didn't quite realize my potential Saturday.    

The AF team was victorious over the Army, Navy, and Marines for both men and women.  Our AF team has two full time pro-athletes, the Army 3 and the Navy and Marines don't have a professional athlete program.  I was the 5th finisher of 8 on the AF team, 57th overall, Levi (lives in Boulder and I train with him sometimes) was 3rd on the team and 48 seconds in front of me.
I've linked the results page on the right side of my page.
AF Team Takes 1st at US Cross last year

Overall I am pleased with how my body responded to the race Saturday.  I am certainly encouraged and have validated that my running body is very fit.  I am very excited for the next few weeks of training before the USATF 50 Mile Championships/Nueces in Texas, March 5th!