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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Summary of Training week 23-29 March 2015

Weekly Totals:

Miles Run: 53.8
Hours Run: 11:14
Running Elevation Gain: 7,546'

Miles Biked: 95.8
Hours Biked: 7:14
Biking Elevation Gain: 5,919'
Total Power: 4,870 kJ

Total Training Time: 18:28
Total Elevation Gain: 13,465'

Bounce back week. After my active recovery from the Marathon last week, I was anxious to get back to work this week. I started things off right with several bike commutes and found a new route home that gains over 1K in elevation. Extra hills are always nice. Then I had a casual marathon around the neighborhood where I noticed my MAF was jacked but I just ran steady and easy and felt great throughout. After that, we had the family trip up the incline which really pads my training hours by 2 hours more than I would have had solo. Should these hours be counted? Who cares. What matters is a few other things. First and foremost, we got extended family time in the outdoors. Positive there. Next, I carried my son in a pack- Positive there. That should count for more than just hiking it solo. Last, I was outdoors being active. Positive there. Lots of positives all around so that's that. Wrapped up the week with a solid bike ride on Saturday. First time I got on the MTB in a while and got 26 mi and 3k of gain and some more sun rays. Today, the plan was to wrap up the week with a trip up to Barr camp this morning and one final bike commute into work. I did a solid job at keeping my heart rate low and most of the time in the mid 150s sometimes dropping down and sometimes getting up to around 162 before floating back down. The result was that once I hit Barr camp, I was only a few minutes slower than normal but I had full energy coming down. With low effort, I was rocketing down hitting mid 6 min pace on the non icy spots and mid 7's on the icier parts. I had one slip up high but no foul. Once I got back down to incline territory, I realized I was on point for a PR for the descent so I kept cruising. Only problem is the weekend floods Barr with incline users, many of whom like to wear headphones and not pay attention to their surroundings. After shouting Runner and slowing a bit, one gal didn't hear me. I dodged to the left and caught my left big toe on a rock. It slammed me down face first sliding down the trail. I landed with my head between two rocks and dirt on my face. I just laid there for a second taking a survey of what just happened. Then I got up, brushed myself off and saw blood all over my forearms, my shirt was torn, my knee was bleeding pretty good and my left shoe had blown apart. There was a 3-4" hole in the top of my left shoe (Brand new Altras) where my toe had blown through on impact. My right foot was throbbing as I continued to jog down now struggling to keep a 10 min pace. By the time, I reached Hydro street, I was just walking. No more running and just limping along. I walked it in back to the Car down at memorial where I took a deeper survey. It looks like the ligament that connects my big toe to the foot was the main point of impact. I was unable to lift and lower my big toe and had virtually no range of motion. Obviously very painful to the touch and throbbing. I don't know if there is bone damage underneath and I know the next toe hurts too. Hopefully just jammed. I plan to give it a couple of days to see if it feels better as I ice, elevate, and rest. If it doesn't get better, I will be forced to go to the doc. Looks like a rest week for me this coming week. I was going to wait one more week but now seems prudent.

Ok back to the positive. Largest amount of training hours to boot for one week ever in my life! Positive. (Would have been more if I could have had commuted in tonight)- Oops negative. Most biking elevation gain in one week. Positive. Most total elevation gain in one week for the year- positive. Most elevation gain in a non-racing week (positive). So many positives here. Solid week. I just need to be patient and hope this injury doesn't linger and haunt me into the season. I don't want to be set back at all. Was going to sign up for Rattler Trail 50k at Palmer for Apr 18 and Quad rock 50 mi both by the end of this month to get the cheaper prices. I think I will hold off for either to make sure I can actually run by then. Also am going to take the cash loss on new shoes and maybe some Dr. bills. I am thinking I will send a picture to Altra of my Superior 2.0's saying that these are their most "rugged" trail shoes and are virtually new for me and got this giant hole. Maybe they will take pity on me and throw me a free pair. It's worth a shot right?

Until next time...

See you at the top!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Family Incline and Some Long overdue Mountain Biking

Hit the incline with the fam on Friday. Was not expecting to be that busy. Was almost as bad as a Saturday. Still had fun. We went to breakfast at the Western Omelet with my mom before heading up. Took a while carrying the kiddo and being hot but it was fun times. It took longer than I thought so I didn't make it back out later in the day. I did however make it over to Jak's Brewing in Falcon for some tasty beverages. Had the Coffee Stout today and loved the flavor. Then had a couple of Peyton's Porters to top it off. Glad they have so many dark beer choices!

Today was mountain biking on the Falcon Trail at the AFA. Did one loop each direction. First loop was with a friend from home group. He rocked it for being off the couch after a month of being sick. Technical skills are still there for sure. Second lap, I was solo and got 'r done. Wished I could do more but it was off to Grandma's for lunch and then home for a nap and some family time and back to work. The life race goes on.

Until Next Time...

See you at the top!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The unplanned marathon

Last night I discussed the possibility of a Marathon today. This morning I made it happen. Got the family safe out the door after making them pancakes. Started the run with my typical half mile speed walk and gradual ease into pace for warmup. I had decided the first four miles would be a trip for the dog and back to the house before getting 22 more. It was colder and windier than I was thinking it would be today. Despite being wide awake since before 3:30 this morning, I felt well rested and well hydrated but my body already wasn't performing at yesterday's level. Trying to keep my heartrate below 155, I found a hard time keeping my pace at a reasonable speed. There were times on hills that I just had to stop looking at heart rate and just run. I kept it at easy effort but it would skyrocket into the mid to even upper 160s at low effort on easy hills. I don't know what was up but something definitely was. Anyhow, I dropped off the pup and just kept chugging. Got up into black forest and ran a very wet, snowy, and muddy section 16 mid run before getting back to the pavement and heading home. All in all, about 8 of the miles were dirt and the rest were pavement which hurt my feet a bit as I'm not used to pounding the hard stuff. All in all, I got er done! Tomorrow's planned events include the incline as a family hike and if I'm lucky some mountain biking but I think the trails are going to still be too muddy.

Until Next time...

See you at the top!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Windy running isn't as bad as windy biking

This morning marked the start to an almost epic day. This was the first week this year that I managed to bike commute 4 days in a row to work. I took a risk the 4th day with the storm coming in. Weather forecasts were calling for a NE (Headwind) at 15 mph at the start of my commute and raising to upwards of 25 MPH by the end. I was just hoping that wouldn't come early. I rode against nasty headwind the whole way and it was slow and cold but I got it done one circle at a time. Just keep pedaling... Just keep pedaling. I tried a new route today thinking maybe I would cut some verts due to the wind. What ended up happening is that I figured out how to add verts to my route home. The general commute is an 800' uphill climb. This route made me go over 1k and I worked for it as most of the climbing was also into the wind. I was feeling pretty battered when I got home. Luckily, I got home when I did because sideways hard snow was added to the mix within minutes of arrival. This would have turned my almost epic into an actual epic. Well, either that or I would have called my wife to come get me.

After cooking breakfast for the fam and then chillaxin on the couch with my son, I took a roughly 3 hour nap where I felt very refreshed. Generally, I am slammed after this nap on my first day off and I don't want to get up. Albeit my lack of sleep overall this week, today seemed easier to get up. When I went to bed, it was snowing hard sideways and I was skeptical about what kind of run I would get in. I ended up popping out to a cold but manageable wind and immediately thinking how much less bad wind is on foot than on a bike. I also noticed that my MAF pace was considerably better than last week by almost a minute. Not quite to where I was a few weeks ago but considering I am at a lack of sleep and got my butt kicked this morning and it was windy, it was right about where expected. It feels good again to feel good and it is clear that even though my volume was high last week, that going easier than normal proved beneficial in a leaps and bounds kind of way. Running mileage was at 6 miles today.

I am confident that this week will turn out into another solid volume week despite the crazy school load. I found out the wife is going on a play date in the morning (barring that the kiddo is feeling up to it). If this happens, I am thinking I will go for a 26ish mile loop up into Black forest to Section 16. Run around that and then continue down to Black Forest road over to Woodmen and back out to Falcon. Only get about 1.5k gain here but will be a good chance to lay down some solid mileage. If they don't go, I may just wait and take off around nap time. If I can lay that down with the incline and maybe even some mountain biking with decent gain Friday. I will be open for a trail run with some good gain sat and then wrap up the week with some more bike commutes and be right about where I want for the week and maybe even at the highest volume week of the year thus far. The thing is thought that I always plan too big and then end up with something more realistic and am happy with what I actually get. This week is no different. I will get in what I can when I can.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Running on empty

Well the title is running on empty but running I am not. I have not run since Sat and really that was a hike so Friday. This morning was a hard ride home with the steady, cold headwind followed by a day of crappy rest. I did get some hot tub time but didn't have time for a run. School is really squeezing on things. My sleep time was interrupted today by the kiddo not wanting his nap. Ended up with maybe 4 or 5 hours total of sleeping because I had to get up for school. That compiled with 7 the day prior, 5 the day before that, and 2 the day before that, I am tired nonetheless. With my volume of training, I believe I should be having a minimum of 9 hours in a night. That would mean in 4 sleep nights I am running at 19 of 36 hours needed sleep. I'm sure it will effect my training and I will have to dial back on intensity even more to prevent injury because it all is a delicate balance. I don't want to get sick either and my little guy is running a fever and runny nose again. One more week of night shifts and hopefully I can get some more restorative sleep on a regular basis because of 6 months of this it has worn me down. Anyhow, that's life. I rode back into work tonight and my left knee was a bit sore (also happened on the ride in this morning). I just opted for higher cadence, lower level of mashing which seemed to exacerbate the problem. It wasn't intense pain, just dull like something isn't fully aligned while I am biking. The next few days, the focus will shift to running so I can lock down some good foot mileage for the week and I am hoping for a good 20+ mile 4,000'+ elevation gain somewhere between Thurs and Sat when I am better rested. On a positive note, tonight was my first time I have biked in 4 days for a work week for the year so that is awesome. The morning going home is supposed to be windy with a side of wind so that should be fun. Ok Gotta go and get some work done now.

Until next time...

See you at the top!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A commuting day

Just the bike commutes today. Thankfully, I had a rare tailwind on the ride home. This was good because my legs were kind of tired from yesterday. I just cruised in and though the effort was lower, I made it home a minute faster thanks to the tail wind. The wife and kiddo were supposed to go to the gym and I was going to take the pup for a quick jaunt by foot but the kiddo turned out to have a fever so they stayed home. I worked on some school and hit the sack. I needed sleep in a pretty bad way after just over 5 hours the day before and 2 hours the day before that. After a solid 7.5 hours today, I woke up, had class, enjoyed a family dinner and biked back in. Not an extravagant day but third day in a row commuting in. There was a decent headwind on the ride in but I felt alright so I wasn't too much off normal pace.  Hoping for the first 4 day commuting week (since I only work 4 X 10). This would be awesome. I would like to get a run in with the pup tomorrow but it depends on the fever of the kid. It was supposed to be a family ordeal with the wife pulling him in the bike trailer but not if he is sick. School is also going to take a toll this week. I pretty much have meetings and whatnot every night Mon-Thurs (on top of having to do lots of individual work on the side). At this point, I am not sure when I will get it all done but I know I will. I always do. Thank goodness this is my last class so I can really start to focus on my family and Leadman. I don't want them to think I hate them because it is hardly the case. Leadman alone is a big commitment but adding wrapping up a Master's is a lot.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Summary of Training Week: March 16-22, 2015

Weekly Totals:

Miles Run: 50.8
Hours Run: 9:58
Running Elevation Gain: 5,259

Miles Biked: 100.8
Hours Biked: 6:10
Biking Elevation Gain: 1,929'
Total Power: TBD

Total Training Time: 16:08
Total Elevation Gain:7,041

I won't beat a dead horse because I posted most of the week's summary yesterday but the gist of the week is that I had a slow start after getting my butt kicked at Salida and then some crazy work hours. Mid week, I finally picked things up and got serious about things while I worked the kinks out and kept the heart rate lower than my normal training levels. I knocked out my 50 miles of running/hiking in four days in a row and was supposed to be doing bike intervals but kept finding other excuses. I found myself pretty short on bike mileage so I wrapped up the week by not only riding home from work this morning but also to church and then the long way home where I got harassed by a driver for the very first time. These punks were dumb enough to pull into the grocery store right down the street where they harassed so I biked right up and confronted them. Oh how I wanted to beat them into a pulp for running me off the road but instead I grabbed their plates and called the cops. I could have pressed charges but I didn't want to deal with the hassle with traffic courts. I left it up to the cop to talk to them and let them know they were lucky they didn't get charged and ticketed. Finished off the week with a final ride into work tonight and got the big 100 for the bike. All in all, Elevation gain was slightly low for the running and more than slightly lower than I wanted for biking but I can't complain. I was able to get in 16 hours of training time this week and the low heart rates were very good active recovery and I was left each time feeling better than before I started and was careful not to overdo. That puts me back on track for my 60 hour month as long as I stay consistent through to the end. As long as I can manage and balance the final weeks of school here, I hope to stay very consistent and pull some good trail runs and elevation gain and will be wishing I could have run Behind the Rocks. Good luck to all those who are.

Until next time...

See you at the top!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Post Salida: Road to recovery

Getting thrashed in the Salida Run through time Marathon last weekend after being sick the day prior really knocked me down hard. Despite being well rested prior to the race, I was very sore after with the combination of outrageous work hours where I hung around to solve an important issue. Anyhow, I was left with two days of absolutely nothing. Maybe good. Maybe bad. I dunno. Sometimes a low heart rate run can provide good recovery and loosen everything up. Anyhow, by the time Tuesday rolled around, I figured I needed to get out and do something. This is how my past few days panned out to get me to a good and recovered place.


6.5 miles on the bike pulling a trailer. Took the kiddo to the park in the cold light rain.  Quads were sore.

Despite coming off night shifts, I wanted to make good use of this day. Got 10.2 miles on the run right after breakfast. Being the first run after the race, I was hurting. My left quad was whining and my right hip flexor/groin area was a tidge sore for taking up for my lazy quad. I knew during the race that imbalance injuries would happen for trying to compensate for the bum quad. First 6 miles were with the pup and then managed 4 more after dropping him off. I tried to keep the HR in the upper 140s rather than mid 150s for recovery purposes. Right after the run, I hopped on the bike for a quick 20 miles. The storm was starting to roll in so it was mid 50s but just windy out of the N. I rode up to just past Peyton before I felt like Superman riding back with the wind at my tail. The plan for the next few days was to do similar things with a run immediately followed by a bike.

Woke up during the night to actually hear the rain hitting the ground. It rained a good portion of the night. Was doing some schoolwork early in the morn when the rain changed to sideways snow. Great! This was supposed to be my "Long" run day since the wife would be out of town the next couple of days and I had daddy duties. Despite the legs feeling like junk still and it being so cold, I tried to go out really without a plan. I was going to do at least 4 outside miles no matter the weather. I took the dog out and felt good at turnaround for 4 miles and it was only light rain so I went to the turnaround for 6 miles and he seemed in good spirits. We continued on with the heavy wind and light rain in our faces before it finally stopped. Miles 5-8 were quite pleasant with the wind at our backs and the rain turning to just light snow. I was wetter from sweat despite keeping the HR still down. No need to push it up. Pretty much stayed below the normal MAF of 155 is the +5 from last year's number. Knowing my true MAF is at 149, I tried to hover there but was more often in the 152 to 153 range. The left quad and right groin were still slightly tight so no heroic moves, just jogging along. After the first 8 mile loop, I dropped the dog off and went out for another lap of the same course. This time SANS jacket. It was still cold and windy and the clouds threatened rain but I didn't care too much. Lap 2 was faster than lap one and I actually felt a tad better. This is seeing my MAF quite slower than a few weeks prior when I was mid 7's at same heart rates and now in the low 9's granted the wind was not helping. I knew I still had some recovery to do. During the lap, I pondered doing a third lap and and making it 24 miles. Fun to play like that when time is on your side. Run as long as you want. Being that just 5 days prior I did the race, I thought maybe that wasn't smart. After stopping back at the house, I had decided I was going to do 4 more but I stopped too long to talk to the wife since she got home and things started to lock up. After about 100 yds, I threw in the towel. My quad was all knotted up and 4 more miles didn't seem like it was going to make things better for me. I called it a quitz with a plan to put some trainer miles in that night. With a plan for 2 hours on the trainer, I managed 1 (I always plan too much and then am happy with the leftover of what I actually do). Trying to not try too hard, I managed 15 mi on the trainer at all super low HR and watched some TV

The plan was to do the incline from memorial park as usual and then follow up immediately with the Garden of the Gods 10 mile course. Reason being was mud from yesterday's rain. I could get my elevation gain while things were still frozen and then stroll around the garden for some more mileage. Problem is when I left the house, it woke the little one and the wife was up with him at 5:30. Whoops. I had to redirect the plan to just the incline and figure out more miles later. Gotta go with the flow sometimes.  For the incline, the goal was to keep the HR at around 150 round trip to stay around MAF and take the descent super easy so as not to agitate the slowly healing quad. I made decent time at the 35 minute mark and was pretty good at holding to the MAF sometimes hovering up to the mid 150s and back down minus the last 100 steps or so where I sped up to the top just for fun and spiked to 170 before jogging back down. The goal of the descent was to not hammer but to just cruise and try to run even. The quad never really locked up or got tight and I managed around 8:30 average pace descending. Some parts faster, some slower and felt good about it. Not my fastest round trip but still under 90 min round trip including the first and last half mile walking. After getting home and making breakfast for the fam, the wife was getting ready to skip town so I took the kiddo out in the stroller and the dog. First 3.5 miles down to the park. After some trips down the slide, we went the same route back home and dropped off the dog. Another 4 miles and a stop at another park as a reward, we found ourselves at just over 16 for the day. The plan again was to get two hours of spinning during nap time however this did not happen. It was last night that the kiddo was climbing out of the crib repeatedly for his first time and then again for nap time today. After hours of trying to get him to sleep and him balking, I finally decided it was time to take the side off the crib and go to toddler bed mode. He still wouldn't sleep so no riding for me. Night time was the same story as I had planned on my two hours after bed time. After quite a while of trying to get him down, I was exhausted and passed out on the couch for a while before the dog waking us both again and then playing the same game for a few more hours trying to get him to stay in bed.

Feeling finally close to caught up for training hours for the week, today's plan was to hike with the backpack. After breakfast at Uncle Sam's Pancake House in Manitou, and a stop at the park, we set off. I was glad I decided to not go for the incline since we had the pup and knowing that weekends really draw the crowds. We went up Ruxton but turned off and made our way up Intemann trail and up and back down Red Mountain. That thing is steep when you are carrying a 25 lb kiddo and extra water bottles and snacks.  He fell asleep on the way down so I tried to keep the pace smooth and rhythmic for him. We made our way across Intemann and finally up and down the newly created Iron Mountain trail with a side trip to the boring summit of Iron Mountain. After getting back down to Crystal park Road, we had a small picnic on the bridge over the creek. After that I wanted to let little man hike on his own for a while so I followed him up Intemann. Every time I offered help, he shook me off and made his way up, up, and up. He fell a couple of times but just brushed his hands off and kept going. As soon as the grade would lessen, he would begin to run (naturally). After about 3/4 of a mile and his determination, I had to cut him off. We both needed a nap. We headed back down to Crystal Park road into town and back to the car with a solid 8 miles and the same gain as I would have had doing the incline so happy there. Great thing about it was that the legs finally felt normal today during the hike. After a nap this afternoon to bridge the gap back to night shifts for my second to last week and then a soak in the hot tub, I welcomed the wife back at home, ate dinner and biked into work where I felt very good.  Right now, I am sitting at 13.5 miles on the week and still have the ride home tomorrow and one back to work which will push me right up to that 15 hour mark. I would like to do more but sleep becomes more important at some point as well so probably not. Not bad getting my 50 miles in just the past 4 days for running but honestly a bit disappointed with the biking where I skipped two hours Friday and one Thursday where I would have been looking at more like 18 hours. Either way, I am happy about getting back to consistency and need to stay there and things should go fine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Summary of Training Week 9-15 March 2015

Weekly Totals:

Miles Run: 47.4
Hours Run: 8:11
Running Elevation Gain: 4,088'

Miles Biked: 69.7
Hours Biked:  4:37
Biking Elevation Gain: 2,910'
Total Power: ~2,644 kJ

Total Training Time: 12:49
Total Elevation Gain: 7,007'

Well not the week I was hoping to have but it is indeed over and this post is better late than never. Albeit having the rest week the week prior, I was hoping for big numbers this week. I started well with three days of bike commuting in a row and then a bad run on wed followed by an emergency room wait for a fam member keeping me up for over 30 hours and then hours of puking my guts out another day, I missed my mountain biking and run the day prior to the marathon and had a rough go at the marathon followed by a work emergency that disallowed me from further training once I was up for over 35 hours this time just a few days later. Luckily, I have learned enough that sometimes more is not better. If the stress levels are already and you continue training same same, you will pay for it and it will not be with positive results. We can just chalk that up as good lack of sleep training for the 100! While I didn't near the time I wanted in the marathon, I am confident in my training. At no point did I feel fatigued aerobically and felt like I was missing out on my fitness level (dang cramps). That is a good sign and I still enjoyed a beautiful day of weather trail running in the Colorado Mountains. With as poor is my time was, I am not disappointed as much as I could have been because of several reasons but mainly because it was not my fitness and the fact that I got to enjoy some bonus miles. I think thus far my training is appropriate and I just need to continue on. I guess time will tell as Leadman approaches and the results show. So far this week has been off to a slow start so it will be another week of lower numbers but none to fret. Just gotta stay consistent and enjoy the ride.

Until next time...

See you at the top!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 Salida Run Through Time Marathon Report

Writing this one with a feeling of mixed emotion. First race of the year... Done! Was it done at my goal? Nope. But I did finish. After puking my guts hourly for over 10 hours between 3AM and 1PM yesterday, it's a wonder I even got to run this race. Or was it just stupid? If I would have remembered my S-Caps, it may have been better. Overall, I ran a 50K today! After a 3 mile pre-race warmup, here is how things went down. I noticed on the warmup that my MAF was still sort of jacked. I guess that is somewhat expected given that I was puking so many hours before. I drank tons of broth and Gatorade to catch up but nothing can catch you up from retching your guts into the porcelain throne over and over.  The first few miles of the race went great. I did a great job at holding back as folks went out faster than they should. I just stayed religious to my HRM and tried to keep things between 165-170 (last year I was around 180 most of the first half). I was surprised though that the lead pack was not more strung out right away keeping the pace decent. After looping back by the start, we started to weave up the infamous "S" mountain. The climb up this is not as severe as it would appear since there is all the switchbacks and whatnot. I just hung to upper 160s to 170 HR max and continued to cruise. Just before the first aid station, I felt like I was being held back so I started to pass one by one. I would cruise behind folks for a while and then pass when possible all of the way up to the long road climb. You can quickly tell who doesn't run on ice all winter as those are the ones that get you hung up quickly. Anyhow, being held up some this early in the race is good because it forces you to to ensure you aren't burning up too early. Upon hitting the road climb, I was feeling great. Keeping my HR mostly in the upper 160s still, I continued to hammer up the road picking off folks one by one. A couple of these miles, I ran slightly slower than last year. Saving 30 seconds per mile on this climb could cost minutes per mile later if not careful. Being religious about "following my heart" I made it to the out and back turnaround in no time. As I began to descend back to the aid station at a sub 7 min pace, I began to feel a twinge in my left quad. I thought nothing of it as I had been drinking plenty of water and electrolytes and was trying a new thing of gels every 45 min vs. every hour to hour fifteen. The trail to this point was dry or frozen mud so pretty alright. Despite holding back, I made it to the halfway point about 3 minutes faster than last year with plenty of energy to smoke last year's descent.

Right out of the aid, it was a different story. The trail quickly became mucky muck. The next runner in front of me was out of sight and it seemed a couple gained some ground on me on the last descent. Still feeling good, I began to climb the mud out of there at a good clip still managing to not get passed and put some distance on those behind me. Now I just had to ride this thing out. After climbing and climbing what felt more like last year, I had a gel and soon later crossed a cattle grate that looked unfamiliar. As I began to descend, something didn't feel right. I saw another guy running toward me and I knew something was wrong. Being that he wasn't the guy in front of me out of the aid, I knew he went the wrong way too. We and another guy behind me backtracked about a mile to where we missed the turn to go downhill. 2 bonus miles and a couple hundred feet of gain and I was back on track. As the descent began, I knew I was over 15 min behind where I was before and would be hard pressed to still hit my sub 4 hour goal. The twinge in my quad continued to grow as I quickly passed a few folks before it really started locking up. I stopped for a quick stretch and continued on passing a few more through the snow. It was amazing to me today how many were simply not able to run the snow sections. Maybe they were too tired or maybe they just don't train. I don't know. I did well through the remainder of the ups. As the trail began to descend, my quad really began to hurt. I was not able to even just cruise it out and quickly found my self limping to a walk every time we went down. For the next few miles, my story was get passed by a few folks and then pass them back every time the the trail climbed. This continued on and actually got worse before the aid just before the surprise late climb. I was really hoping they would have S-Caps since I forgot mine and was realizing that this was all probably result of yesterday's escapades. After a quick couple hand fulls of potato chips I was back onto the trail. I don't know what it was but that aid station, the volunteers seemed to be in a bad mood. I always thank aid staff for volunteering at every station and am always grateful but something about the mood of this station was off. I quickly got out of there as I had my own demons to battle and plenty of miles to battle them. After another painful mile or so of descending after that aid, the surprise climb came. I was more ready for it this year and made quick work of it. All those that passed me on the descent to it, I passed on the climb as they hiked and I was fine running.

Nothing so frustrating when you know your fitness is there cause you can still climb ok, just to be debilitated on the descent to the point of walking. I still felt plenty of umph in my aerobic abilities and was just purely frustrated but definitely taking in the beauty and enjoying the day as much as I could. After telling the last guys I passed "see you on the descent" as kind of my ongoing joke. Only this descent, I made up my mind to just run it in regardless of the pain in the quad hoping it wouldn't do permanent damage. At first it wasn't fast, but it was consistent and my effort continued to grow and grow as the pain seemed to subside some. Maybe the potato chips kicked in just enough or something but the strong pinch in my quad had faded to a bearable amount. I kept increasing my clip and passed back a few folks to the final aid where I topped off my drink and grabbed another handful of potato chips. The vibe here was much happier with less than 3 miles to go. The aid staff were all smiles and good times as we trekked our final way into the mucky muck of a trail. I was finally back to sub-9 pace. In the final couple of switchbacks, I finally decided to forget about my silly quad and make a spectacular finish. I passed one after the last switchback and three more on the way across the tracks and two more after that in the final bit for my final finish. That final mile was the way I wanted my entire second half of the race to pan out but not today. Finishing time I think was 4:32:30. With a 3:45 goal, this was severely disappointing. I'm not going to dwell hard on it though. I think I got what I wanted and that was that my fitness is where it should be for now. While I don't know if I would have been 3:45, I would have definitely been sub 4 without the mileage mishaps and the quad cramps so there you have it. A beautiful day in the mountains full of excuses with 50K total mileage on the day.

Looking toward the future, my goal for for the first Leadman race, the trail marathon in now less than 100 days, the expectation was to be +30 min on my Salida time. This appears to be the norm. That and it appears that in analyzing folk's Salida times and Pikes Peak times, I felt I would be 30 min slower than Salida but at least 30 min faster than Pikes. That said, I know I won't be running 5 hours at Leadville unless I have another bad day. The goal now will be to beat my Salida time and try to be sub 4:30 up there to kick the series off. In the mean time, I need to just keep training steady and it will be there in no time.

Until next time...

See you at the top.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Big day tomorrow

This is not the trainin week I intended it to be.  Wanted another solid 15 hour week but it's not looking like it will happen. Sometimes life just gets in the way. After a strong start with 3 days consecutive bike commuting, I went for my run wed when I should have napped off the night of work first. Right off the bat, my MAF was off and I was struggling to keep the pace under 9 min/mile at 155 hr.  I should have cut it short but I kept hoping things would get better. Soon enough I was 6 miles out from the house and had to make it back. Even on the way back, my dog struggled despite the slow pace. He hadn't been out much the past couple weeks. Given the situation, we walked the last 2 miles home and kept it easy at over 11 for the day. Coming home, I had to take a trip to the emergency room with a fam member that ended up keeping me up to the 30 hour mark. No nap and to bed at 11 with so long up I slept in and didn't have time for a morning run. Got in a good nap Thursday afternoon instead of the incline since I was still lacking on sleep I napped and went straight into online class then straight to founders mug club night at the new JAKs brewing. It was a great time meeting the owners and Brewers and I was there until 10:30ish. I haven't been drinking too much beer these days so 5 beers there did a number on me unless it was something else. I found myself puking and with stuff out both ends at 3 am. Unfortunately, that lasted about hourly until after 1 pm today. Not the start I wanted for the day and ended up missing my 2-3 hour planned trail ride in Salida. Might have been ok since it did rain in the afternoon up here. I managed to hold down some broth finally this afternoon followed by some coconut water and Gatorade on the drive up. After arriving to Salida on roughly $4 of gas (56 mpg) I got checked in at the hostel, which I highly recommend, and walked over to pick up my race number. There was good daylight still so I got a good 4-5 mile rt hike in up to the first aid station for the race tomorrow and was surprised at how dry things were. I imagine the other half of the course will be a different story but it will be an adventure as always. I was feeling good and like my hydration was catching back up so I am feeling good about tomorrow despite my shennigans today. If you are running this race tomorrow, good luck! Good luck to the HPRS members doing the 100k and the CS folks doing the st paddys 5k. 

Until next time...

See you at the top!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

3 is a Charm

3 Bike commute days in a row. First time this year! This warmer snap is highly welcomed after the cold couple of weeks we had. Probably shouldn't be biking this much if I want a decent shot at Salida but I can't help it. Unfortunately, I was not able to run today so that is two days out. Will bike home from work tomorrow and then hopefully get a decent 8-12 miles in. Don't want to over do it before this weekend but it is still a "B" race and I need to get the time in. Just keep it easy peasy I guess. Seeing the pics of the deep snow posted of the course by the Chaffee County folks yesterday scared me yesterday. Well not scared but made me second guess my goals. Most snow in the last 10 years on the course. Looked like more than 18" of unbroken snow. Hopefully the elites will pack it least a little for me and the sun is doing some major work on it this week to melt and dry as it is so good at doing. All said and done, this is looking to be a t-shirt and shorts race so that should be fun.

Just Commuting today

The weather is beautiful but the time change means that commuting on night shift provides for a cold morning. Before we jumped forward, the sun was able to warm things up a bit but it was still a bit cold this morn. Wind was supposed to be a slight tail wind but was a headwind. Didn't feel like riding super hard so I just pedaled. Tonight's ride back in was pleasant. Just cruised and not too hard. Nice easy day of riding with 28 total miles and 1k of gain. Planning on riding both ways tomorrow but wondering if I can get a run in. I am not supposed to do 3 a days any more and gotta watch the kiddo at home before sleeping. It either might not happen or I will have to skip the commute tomorrow night to squeeze in a run. Not imperative but I don't like to skip 2 days if I don't have to. Maybe it will be warm enough mid morning to push a stroller!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Summary of Training week 2-8 March 2015

Weekly Totals:

Miles Run: 27.1
Hours Run: 4:43
Running Elevation Gain: 3,953'

Miles Biked: 88.1
Hours Biked: 5:06
Biking Elevation Gain: 2,493'
Total Power: ~4,000 kJ

Total Training Time: 10:19
Total Elevation Gain: 6,446'


 How do you workout only 4 out of 7 days and still get 10.5 hours? I have no idea. This has been a wonderful rest week to allow me to recoup my body from all of the hard training. Ironically, I started the week with a cold that my wife and I acquired from our son. I suppose of all the weeks to be under the weather, this was the best one while I allowed myself to recover. It was a few days full of sinus pressure so heavy it was irritating my ears and teeth and had its share of sore throats. After taking a full 2 days completely off, I started the week with a progression run on Wednesday. This week ashamedly marks the first time I succumbed to the treadmill all year and hopefully the last. Running inside is so boring, it hurts, and there is no wind but feeling sick, I didn't want the cold weather to make me sicker. After my first and only appearance to the CRUD Thursday morning Cheyenne Canyon runs and indoor bike the following day, the weather finally got nice after 2 horrible weeks on Friday. I was just planning to do the incline to keep my hours low but I soon found myself riding to and from the incline to make for an over 5 hour day. To respect the "rest week" I took it easy the whole way. To some biking 50 miles round trip and hiking up the world's greatest stair master probably hardly sounds like a relaxing rest day but for me it was and I know so because I wasn't sore at all. While I greatly wanted to resume the bike commutes the following night, I refrained with great restraint. I was already pushing higher hours than I wanted for the week after the day prior's adventures so I held off. What was the result? I sneaked in a little run this morning so I don't go too many days without running and the results were astounding. All I can say is I AM BACK!

I was in the best shape of my life last Jan before I fell off the wagon and have been trying diligently this winter to get back to that. Since I started hard training a couple months later this later than last, that is natural and actually what I wanted. I didn't want to to like last year and burn out too early. How do I know I am back? Well, I train off of the Maffetone method and measure my progress by the Maximum Aerobic Function Heart rate. For most the simple formula is a heart rate that is 180 - your age. For me that would be 149. Maffetone says if you train successfully for a couple of years without injury or too much sickness, you can raise it 5 so I should be at 154. Last year the 155 round number was nice so I tend to stick with that mostly still. So at the same 155 heart rate, I measure my fitness by the pace I can run after being warmed up. Today, after warmup, I ran my fastest mile at 7:25 at a 155 heartrate which is exactly what my best splits were last year. In a short race like a 5k, that means I could do much faster and even in a flat marathon, it would probably be acceptable to hold a 165 to 170 HR. For longer than marathon, that is the heart rate I would want to maintain to not go into carb depletion too fast and maximize on fat burning to get the best MPG and economy. Anyhow, whether you believe in the method or not, It has kept me injury free and it is a good comparison point. Normally, you would want to run several miles and see how it drops for the first 5 or so miles for a full comparison but I only had a small window this morning.

Either way, this is the perfect mental boost before Salida this coming weekend. I am hoping for some great results with my goal being sub 3:45. Depending on how I feel and the weather (which is looking quite nice), I suppose I will range anywhere from the low 3:30s to definitely sub 4 even if it is a bad day. After crunching all sorts of scenarios on spreadsheets, I can run the first climbing half slower than last year and feel good enough to run down faster and still go sub 4. The reality is that last year, I didn't train almost at all for over a month leading up to the event so I have a much better shot this year. I won't probably be pushing the 3:30 end of the range because that requires a fully good race from start to end and basically risking going out too hard. I could go out harder and hope for the best but it could make my time actually worse so I would like to play it conservative the first half and make up what I can feeling good the second half rather than limping in. So come the hard learned lessons from a guy who is notorious for going out too fast and blowing up. There is no excuse for not having a negative split on this race with 90% of the climbing in the first half. For those that don't know, a negative split is running the second half faster than the first. It may be a bit trickier this year because they have opened up the race from 250 runners to 450 runners. After the first 2 miles, the race quickly goes to singletrack up S mountain and will constrict to a walk if you go to slow. The problem is with so many going out fast, you have to go a bit fast (kind of like Pikes Peak). The trick will be to go out fast but not so fast I cannot recover and then remember to slow down. If I get slowed up a bit, I know it is ok because a handful of miles later, the trail opens up to a road with a long climb for several miles that will allow for plenty of climbing followed by several miles of jeep roads and double tracks. It is better to be slowed a bit as long as it isn't walking but not too much so I think I will go out hard but not too hard. Seemed to put me in a good place on Pikes last year so I am hoping for similar results again.

All in all, I think I will be faster all of the way around than last year and most importantly I will have tons of fun. This race is the big milestone for this year for me to say "Yes, I have built the base required to build upon to be successful at Leadman this year." Will I get my goal of big buckles at both events (La Plata Grande)? I hope so but I do know I will have the right base if I can put it all together all of the while knowing it was several years until even one person achieved this and still only a handful of folks who have. It will be an adventure of a summer for sure and I look forward to all that it presents including all of the friendships that will be made, the comraderie that will be shared on the trail and the experience of the unknown that the outdoors brings where you have to be prepared to endure just about anything! Thanks for reading.

Until next time...

See you at the top!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Warm Weather is Back

Friday: Supposed to be a rest week but Friday the weather was too nice to resist and I found myself with several hours to spare. The original plan was to just do the incline so I decided to go all Leadman and bike there from my house and back which is about 25 miles each way. All in all, it was a great day. Had the added fun of carrying all my bike stuff up the incline with me because I didn't trust leaving it with my bike down in Manitou. On the way home, I got a pit stop Seeds Community Cafe for some lunch. Was just enough fuel to get me home feeling good still. Tried to ride Santa Fe trail to get back north but the mud and muck almost ate me alive. I escaped at some point and made my way back to Nevada Ave. to grind out my muddy chain and cogs. Never really pushed it hard on the bike or the incline and kept a lower heartrate mostly throughout to try and respect my rest week at least a little (like five and a half hours in a day is respecting rest :)

Saturday: Another nice day today but I took my son to the Motorcycle Show for some father, son, grandpa time. We had a blast today. I was going to ride into work tonight since it was the first time nice enough in quite some time but I really do want to respect the rest week. Being at over 9 hours already after yesterday, I was going to accumulate some serious time so it was very hard but I made the decision to not ride in. Tomorrow I might do a short run in the AM and then will definitely ride in as the next few nights look like prime winter commuting weather with low winds and temps in the mid to upper twenties at night. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Definitely have a cold but plugging away

After two rest days cold or not, I needed to get something in. I didn't want the cold to exacerbate my problem so I went for my first go at the treadmill yesterday. I figured it would be a good time to lock in some quality speedwork. After warmup, I decided to do a progression run. 2 miles at 155 HR, 2 Mi at 165, and 2 mi at 175. After those I decided to bump up .2 MPH every .1 mi until I reached 195 HR. I didn't realize how hard it would be to hit 195 HR. Ended up getting to 10 MPH at 6:00 Min/Mile steady before I could finally get it to hit 195. Several months ago I was able to hit up in the low 200s but it was a chore to hit the 195 yesterday. I then cooled down. I imagine that being sick made my HR slightly higher given the effort but I was in the low 8's in the 155 range and then moved to the upper 7s in the 165 range and mid to lower sevens in the 175 range.

I decided to not push it with a bike workout last night because I was planning on doing the CRUD cheyenne canyon run this morning. Got up at 4:30 and was out the door by 5 to do the 5:45 CRUD run. Got to run with Rick today and we chatted all of the way up. I didn't feel like my effort was hard but I was around 170 HR most of the way up. Found myself cruising down with the guys at 7 flats and maintaining a sub 155 HR. Was a nice workout. After followup with a solid breakfast at the Western Omlette, I went for round 2 this afternoon on the bike. It was another go at the Spinnervals 39.0 Leadville Aerobic workout video. Got in a good solid 90 minutes but average HR was only in the mid 130s. Was definitely sweating hardcore though. Still feeling sick this afternoon with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Hopefully I am feeling better by Sat night because the weather is looking good for some bike commutes finally this weekend for work. Hoping to get the weekly incline trip tomorrow and then another spin on the bike.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Another Rest day!

Two rest days? Now that is unheard of. Got home from work this morning and the weather was beautiful but I just didn't want to go out... SO I didnt. Woke up early enough to get a jog in before class... but I didn't.  Was hoping to get in a spin after class but it lasted too long and I had to go to work. I actually believe my body was telling me it needed another day. I haven't had 2 days off in quite a while and fighting the cold that my wife and son both have can use all the power it can get. Tomorrow I will be back at it for sure. In the mean time, I am going to go on believing that the second day will help far more than hurt.

Got all my housing locked down for the Leadman events now. After striking out in Leadville proper with 400 dollar x 4 night minimums or 1 week min stay for other houses, I decided to go with Buena Vista. Turns out due to weekly rates that it is cheaper to stay in one house the entire 10 day spread between the bike race and the run 100 that I booked the whole time. Will be a little further to port back and forth but a solid home base with solid recovery time without a lot of moving stuff. BTW, VRBO has been a good way to book vs. trying to find rental companies direct. They have been helpful but working with individual owners has been more pleasant.

Until next time.

See you at the top!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rest Day

Whaaat? That's right. No better way to start off a recovery week than with an entire rest day! Awesome. I was feeling pretty beat down after the last four weeks and the twinges of perhaps the cold that my son has so I thought the best plan was to just hold off everything for today. Sometimes, the best improvement comes from rest. It does amaze me that although tired yesterday during my quick four mile jaunt that I was able to go pretty fast given the low HR I ran at. Much of the time I was in the lower 140s and was at an 8:30-8:45 on the up hill and 7:30ish on the downhill part of the run. Funny how that works and I remember that happening last year. The day after some hard efforts my heart rate was lower than ever. Either way, my last recovery week four weeks ago, I was noticeably stronger and faster the following week. For the remainder of this week, I will maintain intensity but just reduce my total volume to roughly 7-9 hours from the typical 15 hour per week baseline. Tomorrow I will either run or hop on the spinners for an hour. Either will be a lower effort. A couple of runs at this week will be at higher efforts than my base building in attempt to build some final speed for the Marathon in 11 days. Probably some tempo efforts at LT, maybe some excels where every 15 for 45 seconds I kick it up a notch and then take a rest min, maybe progression run. Don't know if I have enough time but it will be unorganized speed training. Its not worth injury so just whatever the body can handle. This will hopefully finalize my leg speed enough for Salida. The RD dropped an email today and said they have a good amount of snow on the course still (up to knee deep in sections) and muddy on the front side. It's gonna be an adventure and that is why I am doing it. I love adventure! See you later while I enjoy the remainder of my rest day.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Summary of 23 Feb to 1 Mar 2015

Weekly Totals:

Miles Run: 52
Hours Run: 9:51
Running Elevation Gain:10,253'

Miles Biked: 69.8
Hours Biked: 4:22
Biking Elevation Gain: 0'
Total Power: ?

Total Training Time: 14:14
Total Elevation Gain: 10,253'


Got my full rest day with no activity the first day of this week after 21 days straight (one more than last time) and then continued onto two 10ish mile runs the following two days probably for feeling guilty for skipping a day. The story of the rest of this cold and snowy week included hours of indoor biking while watching TV and Spinervals and mashing out the pedals. It wouldn't be a full week without the obligatory trip up the incline which was Friday. This week the snow was so deep, there was no visible wood sticking out. Oh and it was four degrees. Larry DeWitt says you gotta be extreme for extreme races. I really want two big buckles so I am focused. Not focused enough of course to be riding my bike out in blizzards though I guess haha. But... Focused enough to go back out the next day for three more trips up the incline not only to walk back down the way I came each time but run all of the way down the trail and return to where I started in Manitou each time. With the weather conditions, this provided me the chance to self aid at the car. I was able to refill bottles, get in a lot of gain as well as a lot of pain.  Well ok maybe not a lot of pain. I played it right and got a little faster each trip and felt like I wanted more when I was done which is what Joe Friel says he wants his athletes to feel like. Today wrapped up the week with a four mile run that was supposed to be slow but I got in a decent pace and still averaged only 130 HR which is great and really showing my fitness. I followed that up with an end cap to the week of an hour spin tonight at roughly 120 average HR before work to get roughly 14 and a half training hours on the week with over 10K of elevation gain all in the running this time. I haven't managed that much on foot since my race at the Run Rabbit run and not on a training week since mid July so it feels good and the legs aren't too too spent. They rather feel just right or slightly tired but rightfully so. That marks four solid weeks of training so the coming week will be my rest week with a greatly reduced volume down to only 50-60% of what I have been doing. It comes with great timing as my nose is a tad stuffy tonight (my son has been a green snot monster the last couple of days) so hopefully I can peel back and not take this one too hard before jumping head first into the Salida Run Through Time Marathon the following week where I can put my early season base building and fitness to a test and find out where I am at and what I need to do to get my butt in gear before June. Thanks for reading about another fantastic week of Micah despite the cold weather adversity.

The rest also comes at a good time because I start my Thesis for my masters degree in Systems Engineering this week as well so the next two months will be an adventure juggling the final straw on that chapter of my life and still managing to spend time with my wonderful wife and son that I love all so much.  Happy training everyone!
Until next time...

See you at the top!