Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weekly Recap 3/30 - 4/5/15: A possible peak

10 miles  - 1:10:00 - +/- 0' : A 9 hour day of ass-sitting at work made for a rather uninspired evening of running. I can't seem to find my Black Diamond headlamp, leaving me with a dollar store headlamp that makes a weird noise when I run with it on my head. After drooling over some cool Petzl designs online and procrastinating, I realized that I was either going to have to do the stop/start dance of running around downtown or utilize the treadmill. I also saw a weird YouTube video about a chemical that temporarily gives you night vision, but I didn't have that in my possession at the time. Anybody recommend a really good headlamp?

The run was surprisingly fulfilling, in a fortitude-cultivating kind of way. I was going to zone out and watch the TV in the fitness room, but that was mysteriously not working. I had my phone and a pair of headphones, but the battery life was initially at about 8%. My gym luxuries were fading. About 15 minutes in, the lights turned off because the positioning of the treadmill in the room made it so I wasn't tripping any motion detectors. There I was, in a silent, poorly-lit room, with only the sound of my breathing and my feet pounding on a moving treadmill belt. 10 miles of that shit! Like I said, a character-builder was in order. I eased into it with an 8:20 mile, then cruised at 6:50 pace for a bit. A quick pickup of 1 mile at 6:20, then another at 6:00, and back up to 6:30 for the final three. The whole thing felt relatively easy, which was a solid ego boost. Truly training must be working. Shocking.

AM: 8 miles of cycling

PM: 8 miles - 1:17;00 - +/-1300': an easy 8 miles after class. As much as I love running right from my apartment, the requisite 4 miles of flat gravel warmup/cooldown is starting to feel like "fluff." That being said, I really like the way my legs feel when I get to technical trail with decent climbs. Whenever I try to get right into a run that starts off with a big climb, I feel like I blow up quickly and have to "start over." The easy 2 miles of urban trail to get to the mountains is a mixed blessing, is what I'm saying. for this 8 mile run, 50% of it is easily navigable on a road bike. Another fantastic day to be outside. Just as I turned around, a girl ran up behind me and started chatting, talking about what a wonderful place this was (turns out, shes from BC, Canada). I've only been here for 7 months, and I'm already catching myself getting used to it. These trails are magnificent, and I live 2 miles from them.

AM - 19 miles - 4:00:00 - +/- 5400': Long run day. I had grand ambitions to hop in the car and drive down to Sedona. Of course, I stayed up until midnight the night before to write a paper, do a case study, and clean my kitchen (for some reason). I set the alarm for 4:30, but should've known better. As a stayed supine in bed, hating myself for every second I remained beneath the warm blankets on my dope memory foam mattress (being a mattress salesman has its perks, you know), I recalled the revelation from the day before: I live in one of those "trail runner paradise" places from Outside Magazine, and I'm fussing over driving my car for an hour each way to go to another. The rationale was heat training for Zane Grey, but I convinced myself to put sleep at a premium. Kelsey would be on her way back from Las Vegas by early afternoon, so running from home sounded better and better.

The route I selected, happened to have more vertical feet per mile than the ZG course (by my rough calculation). My ego couldn't help but pick such a route to see what kind of hurt I'm in for. I opted for going up Elden via the Lookout Trail, to Sunset, to Heart, then back around, then the reverse route. The first lap really front loaded all the climbing, ascending about 2500' in 2.5 miles. The reverse stretched the climb out for a gradual, sun-exposed, technical route filled with loose sheets of rock. I did the whole thing on 3 gels and 2 bottles of water, which both pleases and worries me. I'll need to practice eating and drinking more if I'm going to survive 50 miles of sun and heat and rock.
Mount Elden. Twice up in the morning, once in the afternoon. Best Wednesday in a while. 

PM - 10 miles - 2:00 - +/- 2050': Less than an hour after the AM run ended. I was a little short of my long run goal, and Kelsey wanted to get a run in after a couple days in Vegas for work. I merrily went along, assuming it would be 5-6 miles at the maximum (since she's focusing her efforts more on 10k races these days). Nope. 10 miles, summiting Elden again. Elden Lookout Road to Oldham Trail to Sunset to Brook Bank and back to the road. Though not expecting such an outing (and bringing one bottle with no calories), it was fun and rewarding. I actually ran "ultra" distance in one day to prepare for an ultra. What a novel idea!

29 miles and 7450' of gain. I sure as hell didn't do that to prep for this race last year.

3 miles - 23:00 - Ugh. Frustrations mounted as I realized that I had completely neglected to whip up a presentation on evidence-based practice for my clinical group. The morning was intended to be used to knock out 18 miles, giving me back-to-back magical long run powers, but no, I'm an idiot and forgot to make a powerpoint. A quick 3 miles was all I could manage, but it felt pretty easy, even after the long effort yesterday. Instead of 21 miles and 18 miles, It was more like 29, 3, driving to a hospital, and not sitting down for 9 hours. Listen to me. I'm turning into one of those "my life is a marathon" people.

Missing a run aside, I couldn't be happier with the way life is going all-around. Spending time in a hospital, getting more comfortable each time, is reinforcing the idea that I'm doing something I'll like. Even the gross stuff that people don't want to talk about is worthwhile to me. Do I like seeing some dude's giant cellulitis balls or a plastic tube hanging out of a girl's ribs? Not particularly, but walking into a room knowing I'm equipped and motivated to help people in these situations is indescribably fulfilling. In a way, it helps to offset the rather self-centered act of spending time and money on jogging shit. I've said this like 10 times on this blog. I'll stop until I have something more creative to say on the subject.

13 miles - 1:59:00 - +/-1200': The academic debacle from the day before caused me to switch my rest day to yesterday. I ran too long Wednesday, too short yesterday, and thought I'd just go for a medium distance run in an attempt to restore balance to the universe. Easy run on the Arizona Trail from home to Fischer Point Vista and back. This run feels fairly effortless, even on legs with some training under them. There's only one substantial climb, which is almost exactly a mile long before the turnaround. It's cool.
A really flat path leads here.

The last mile brought me up here. Pictured is the spot from which the first photo was taken. 

This trail ventures into Walnut Canyon. I'll have to check it out. 
10 miles - 1:25:00 - +/- 460' - Super relaxed run from home at 9pm. Something about working all day makes me feel decidedly uncreative when route-picking. I just strolled to Buffalo Park and ran laps in the dark. I even stopped on my way home to buy a sweet new headlight, but it needed to charge for 4 hours before I could use it. My old headlight has a clear lens on the bottom that seems to shine equal amounts of light onto the trail and directly into my eyes. The moon was so bright that I just turned it off and ran in the grey. Runs like this make me feel happy to be healthy. In the middle of a pretty heavy training week, I was plodding out 10 miles, feeling only a gentle oscillation and the comfort that came with it. It seemed like the only thing moving as I trotted around were the deer, rabbits, and frogs in the park. Not adventurous, but wonderful.

14 miles - 1:46:28 - Progression run. 4 mile warmup, and it was terrible. I felt dizzy, lightheaded, and disoriented. I could feel my vision narrow if I didn't stop and walk. Since I didn't want to put Kelsey through another loss of consciousness, seizure, and hospitalization, I reluctantly headed home with her. I knew it was behind on eating. The amount of food I have to eat doesn't correlate with my appetite, and the only option is to wait until I feel like shit, or just record my intake and plan accordingly. Obviously, I was doing the former. I'll have to fix that.

I went home, ate two bowls of oatmeal, a frozen fruit bar, and two packages of Clif Shot Bloks and then hopped on the treadmill.

I did the run on the treadmill so I could run a consistent pace that wouldn't allow me to let up without manually changing the speed. 7:30, 7:20, 7:10, 7:00, 6:50, 6:40, 6:30 6:20, 5:50, 5:18. The last two were sporadic because the treadmill stops at a certain interval and has to be restarted. I was pissed off by having my vibes killed, so I let it fly and ran fast. Not exactly a scientific approach. I got caught up in weeks of improvement without any real negative outcome. I made it through the recklessness this time, but shouldn't push my luck anymore. I went from passing out to pounding out a pretty solid workout.

87 miles, 15 hours, and approximately 10,000' this week. A long run with plenty of gain, two faster/flatter runs, and lots of steady miles. I hope I can remember this feeling when I'm not able to do this anymore. Training is going so well that it makes me a little nervous. Doing most of it alone is probably giving me a false sense of accomplishment, given that I can name about a dozen people who'll be attending Zane Grey that will be kicking my ass. Regardless, a week of 20 hours of work, 20 credit hours of school, a 10 hour clinical shift, and 15 hours of training makes me feel more... well, me I guess. Maybe the trick isn't to lighten the load, but just to balance it.

It might be gross, but the fact that my skin is hardening to the elements makes me feel like I'm putting in adequate time. 


  1. I must be technically incompetent because I do not seem to be able to comment on your blog without it disappearing into the ether . So much for my computer engineering training...

    Well done on a solid training week, and also for working the phrase "giant cellulitis balls" into a running blog.

    You gotta love BC girls. Actually I really do as I've been married to one for 19 years now.

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