Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pre-Taper Taper

This week was one of my best training weeks here in Boulder, even if it was of unsatisfactory mileage(the truth is starting to set in - I'm a low mileage fellow and I train like a turtle). I know how to run slow and long(that's what she...ahhh nevermind). The focus has been more on intensity than mileage or time. Since I'm racing a marathon, I've trie to run at an intensity higher than what I have been for ultras. I have no idea what to expect as I prepare for 13.3 miles of uninterrupted climbing, but its still a 26.2 mile race. The advice given to first timers at Pike's is usually along the lines of "plan to take 1.5 times as long as a regular marathon." Even in that case, it would still be my shortest race of the year. Remembering to keep focus and stay present-minded while my legs and lungs burn is my demon to face in a week, and this was my final preparatory week.

I've found that my training is similar to former 100k record holder Bernd Heindrich, author of my favorite running book "Why We Run" (sorry Born to Run, I prefer less embellishing). Heindrich ran multiple times daily and trained his body to run the pace he needed for his goals, disregarding available information and continually experimenting on himself. I'm not alone in this matter, but his documentation of his training struck a chord with me. I'm not anywhere near his numbers, but I think that given my current level of newbie-ness, my 70ish mile weeks are about right. I've force out more, but I'm not sure that my body is ready yet. I've only been running "seriously" for 3 years or so, which makes me think that I don't quite have the base for high mileage running yet. I feel better now than I ever have, even when running more.

That being said, I'm spending way more time in my running shoes than ever before. My sparse running this week tallied up to be nearly 14 hours. That's what happens when your slow- you get lots of time in on less miles. I like to think it builds strength, which will eventually translate into speed.

15miles(guestimation) - Indian Peaks/Devils Thumb with Jason. While my partner in crime for unprepared, ill-equipped long runs was in town, we had to make sure we still had a knack for dumb shit. We were gone nearly 5 hours, but lots of sight seeing, pondering, and playing in creeks kept the mileage down. Still a good amount of time on our feet and some incredible wistas on the snowy ridges. I felt no fatigue after the run, which gives me a little hope for the coming adventures.

AM- 8 miles - Mount Sanitas -Goat Path East Ridge Trail up, Sanitas Trail/Mapleton home. Discouragingly slow climb, but I was feeling the high altitude climbs in my legs from the previous day. Bombed the downhill and felt like I was skiing.

PM - 4 miles - Testing out my Branca Running Sandals(review to come). 100 degrees on the Boulder Creek Path A couple speedy sections on the path, but the heat prevailed at the end when I slowed it down.

AM - 6 miles - A fairly speedy climb up Gregory Canyon to Green Man, then Saddle Rock and some of the Bluebird trail. Makeshift speedwork sesh  on the way up. When I felt myself getting fatigued to the point where I would normally walk, I sped up until I was completely exhausted, walked a few steps, then restarted the process. Worked pretty well and helped me power up those god awful sections of stairs.

PM - 6 miles - Night run on the Boulder Creek Path. Felt fast, but I wasn't wearing a watch.

AM - 5 miles - Took the Creek Path to work. It's pretty cool that I can run all the way to work without actually touching a road. I'ts mostly a paved bike path, but at least there are no cars to contend with. Held a 7:30ish pace with a 25lb backpack on at a comfortable cruising speed. Wearing a watch only occasionally has proven to have little impact on my speed in either direction. Got to work, taught an aerobics class, gave a swim lesson, and taught a weight lifting/spinning class. Failed to be a hardass and bummed a ride home from work instead of running. What a clown.

10 miles - Flagstaff trail up to the summit, tenderfoot, divide view trail, tenderfoot, summit, flagstaff trail back down. Seems like every thirty feet of trail has a name. Makes for easy navigation I suppose. This run was bit different. Since I know I can sustain movement for the 4-100000 hours it will take me to do the Pikes Peak Course, I only ran when I could run fast. When I wasn't cranking along, I simply stopped and took a breath. I want my body to become accustomed to race pace, so race pace will be run in this abrupt taper. Stopped once to realize I was standing in the middle of a herd of deer.

AM - not running, but a sprint workout with the elite wheelchair racers on the track. I served as a draft and a rabbit for 800s. To make it more difficult for me, the slob with access to gearing, I put my bike in the highest gear to trash my quads. It must have worked- my upper legs were trashed on both sides.

PM - 7 miles - Ampitheater trail, mesa trail, and royal arch trails. On uphills I ramped up the intensity when exhaustion started to set in, then stopped and waited to feel better when I got dizzy. Repeat. Probably the last really intense run before Pikes.

Columbia Muddy Buddy Mud Ride/Run
Boulder Reservoir
1 hour of running, biking, climbing, swamp crossing, and mud wrastlin'! Similar to Warrior Dashes, Urbanathlons, and other badass events.

Sam and I partered up and gave the tough course a go with matching shirts and matching hangovers from the night before(thanks, Dickerson twins). We traded off the riens of my late cousin Mike's trusty green steed Gary(I call the bike Gary not because it's a Gary Fisher, but rather named him after the snail on Spongebob).

my team mates, Samantha and Gary.

The race was tough, but it was an absolute blast. From a training standpoint, it was a great combination of speedwork and cross training. Sam and I just missed a podium by less than a minute. I playfully dunked my face in the mud in the final pit, temporarily blinding myself...ooops.

We won...4th place! Sam is a bit tougher than I.

I also got the chance to jump back in the mud for the Mini Muddy Buddy Race. My supervisor(for the next three days) brought her 4 year old son to the race, so he asked me to be his buddy for the mud madness. Helping a kid play in the mud is like helping a fish swim.
My Mini Muddy Buddy(center) and Me(muddy giant on left).
Go Jayden!
Where were these races when I was a kid in a kids body
instead of a kid in an adults body?

I kind of liked the mud in my hair, so I left it to gross people out at the store on the way home.
 Another easy 2 miler to the store so Sam could make some delicious cookies.

And there you have it, my last full week in Boulder, Colorado. It makes me sad just typing it.

70 miles or so. I feel like I really found my groove just in time to leave. Par for the course.

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