Sunday, June 26, 2011

Slowly Getting the Legs Back

5 miles - "stomach training" I felt just a little beat up from the weekend...quite literally. I bruised my ass cheek, smacked my(already cracked) kneecap on a rock, and strained some muscles in my shoulder while playing in the trails over the weekend. I'd take the bruises more seriously, but that's kind of what I get for pretending to be a spider monkey while jumping and climbing on rocks.
Just took the legs out for a nice easy run. The weather was perfect, there was a tiny bit of rain coming down while the sun was still shining, and I was trotting down the street en route to a burrito. "stomach training" is a term I use for a lazy, lackadaisical run to food. Had a veggie burrito and a beer at qdoba and ran home. Checked out the theatre's listings to see what bands were playing soon, though I'm not sure why I bothered. I don't know any local music; I'm simply not that hip.

9 miles- Well, as far as time spent outdoors and enjoying some perfect weather, this run was a great success! As far as a training goes, it was an abysmal failure. I had a couple sore spots on my feet, so I opted for the protection of the MT101 shoes. One thing that I had forgotten is that I freaking hate those shoes. During the run, all I could think about was how uncomfortable my feet were. Friction spots everywhere, most notably the heel and 5th toe. I'm perplexed. How could I hate a shoe that was designed by a guy somewhat similar to me? Krupicka runs ultras(way faster), doesn't wear socks, trains barefoot, runs with hardly any clothes/gear, and runs every day up the very mountain I'm standing on. Oh well. As someone once said, "listen to everyone, follow no one." Maybe the shoe would work if I doubled(shit, tripled) my mileage. I took the Saddle rock trail up, which made for quite a bit of "hands on knees" climbing with its big steps and large rocks. Fun, but slow going. This trail also has some incredible views.
Sam came with me on this run, but she hiked the shorter route to the top. On my way back down, I saw her and we went back up to the summit together. On the way down I would run the trail to an intersection, then backtrack up to Sam who was hiking. Never really got into a good stride, but still covered the miles and got up the the 8100' summit. It's the best part about running up a mountain. On a bad day, you still ran up a mountain.

Luckily half of Boulder was perched atop Green Mountain, so someone got a photo of us.

The view of Boulder from the Summit.

 Earlier in the day, Sam and I checked out the Celestial Tea and Herb Company. It was a cool experience, even though I'm more of a Mountain Dew kind of fellow.

I tried not to laugh every time someone said "tea bag," but to no avail.
10 miles - ...I think it was 10 miles. Anyway, took a longer route up Long Canyon to West ridge trail to get to the Summit of Green. Down Bear Canyon to the Mesa trail to get home. Had fun trying to keep running. Since I haven't really found many training partners, I've teamed up with my own ego and tried not to let anyone see me walk. I know, sad. I made good time, but brought only shorts, inov-8 195s and a hat. No water. no GU, no watch. Fantastic run. Saw quite a few all- female running groups on the trail today. Speed has no gender bias; had to work my ass off not to get passed.
Now, off to work.

AM -6 mile well, noon I guess. I left from work at East Boulder Rec Center to run the South Boulder Creek Path. It ended up being a bit of a speed workout, though I had no intention for it to be. 2x3 mile with a stop at the creek to get my head wet in the middle. 6:30ish pace on the way out, 6:10ish on the way back, dipping into the 5:45 range for  most of the 2nd mile. Running on the loose gravel with less traction reminded me not to push off with my toes so much because it didn't do any good anyway. Jogged the last half mile too cool down, then went back to work. I think that for a race like Leadville, overall leg speed won't help immensely, but raising my tolerance to discomfort will be key. My body seems capable of more than my mind, so I'm working on toughening up. For a solo effort, this felt about par with when I was in good shape back home.

Was going to double, but I'm exhausted. I tend to forget that teaching 2-3 exercise classes can wear a lowly ultrajogger out. Went out to dinner with Sam and called it a day.

13 miles - Didn't really plan on a distance day, but that's the beauty of getting lost. Amphitheater trail loop to the Gregory Canyon Trailhead. Took that up to Ranger. Bear Canyon down. The Mesa trail is a bit boring, so I tried to find another way home. Should have stuck on the Mesa trail. Dropped into some boring suburb area and ran roads back to Chatauqua. All I had to eat today was an orange, a bowl of Honey Smacks(it used to be Sugar Smacks. Don't get me started), and a burrito from Taco Bell, so I guess I'll give my self some slack on the crappy pace. 89degrees when I started, but I felt pretty cool with my bandanna full of ice cubes.

In the morning, I had a slightly different workout. 6 hours in the sun on the Reservoir. I worked at a Tubing program for folks with disabilities. Easily one of the best times I've ever had. Other volunteers donate their time, equipment, and fuel to pull these people around the lake and give them a good time. Trying to be a good sport and show the participants that its "not so scary," I let one of the boat drivers actively try to pitch me off the tube as fast as he could get the boat moving. One other volunteer and I held on for the whole ride and have the sore bodies to prove it. Every time I think I have a good enough base tan to keep a sunburn away, I go to bed with that crusty skin feeling.

Days like this really make me question my running chops. Zero motivation. It's 90 degrees here in Boulder. If I want to improve, I need to stop being a wuss and just do what I need to do. I'm growing tired of low mileage weeks as summer roars through the calendar and my excuses become increasingly lame. How am I going to run a 50 mile mountain race on 50-60 miles a week? I sit here killing both time and a BoulderBeer Singletrack, waiting for the air to cool off just a little.

14 miles - Okay, that wasn't so bad. I pretty cool route presented itself. I wanted a 14 miler, and it happens to be 6.5 miles from my house to the Bald Mountain Scenic Area. An all uphill road run there, a trail loop to the summit, and a run back down. I raced the sunset to the summit, making it there just in time to sit on a log alone and watch the sun go down. For a road run, this was exceptionally awesome. At 7 miles, it was my longest continuous climb so far. It felt great, with the exception of the really steep sections(cars were downshifting into first gear to get around me). This gives me the confidence to attempt a run to Chatauqua and do the longer loop, making it around 19.

5 miles - Started off as an easy run with Sam, then got worse as the activities of the day caught up with me. A day out in the 90 degree sun, a tour of the Coors Brewery with loads of free samples(Sam doesn't drink...DOUBLE SAMPLES!!!) Legs and body felt great, other than the ole digestive tract, which had other plans. As I sat there wondering why I thought it a good idea to buy tamales out of a pickup truck, I remembered the news story about the guy who was found hiding in a porta john. Relevance? None really, just thought I'd share a disturbing story.

Waiting outside for out tour bus

Can't really go anywhere around here without seeing something beautiful.

This, my friends, is a good hydration belt.
 Total: 62 miles. It's steadily creeping up, as is my desire to do more. The way I see it, I have two weeks to get quality running in before Leadville, Then it's taper time. With a little willpower and luck, I'll put together a couple weeks of high mileage before taking it easy and hoping for the best. As I get more notches in my racing belt, I get less afraid when my mileage doesn't seem adequate. I was in a "base building" phase for over a year, running every chance I had. Now I can sharpen and learn the skills necessary for each particular race. And there you have it- my excuse for being a slacker. Come Hell or high water, I'll put up some decent numbers before Leadville. Can't have these mountain folk thinking Michigan can't hang.

Speaking of Michigan folk in mountain ultras, My close friend and training companion Jason Robillard finished the Western States Endurance Run this weekend. His previous 100mile PR, with yours truly as a pacer, was 27 hours and some change. He completed WS in 23 hours and 39 minutes, earning him the coveted Silver Buckle. 100miles. 1 day. Well done, Jason.

Another Great week here in Colorado.

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