Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sometimes... You Blow Up!

I will say without any filtering that this week has really kicked my ass.  Really.  I was so close to bailing not even half way into yesterday's ride but somehow managed to force myself through it.  Afterwards though I was just beat and when I got back to the apartment I just sprawled out on the floor until I felt like I could get up and function again.

But why so tired???

I upped my calories intentionally the past couple days as I felt myself becoming more sluggish but that didn't help a whole lot, though I am sure it didn't hurt.  Sleep?  To be honest I am not sleeping that great up here yet. Sleeping is okay, it is the getting to sleep that is the issue.  Nevertheless I do make sure that I still get enough hours and I don't really get up until my body is ready to be awake.  So while sleep is sketchy... I am still getting enough I think.

So today I crunched some numbers.  This sort of tells the tale and makes me feel a bit better about things.  Last April I had a total of 51.19 hours of training for the month.  As of today and with ten days still left in the month, 50:18.  Ah... that must be it! :)

It all came to a head on today's run.  It started out rough like usual but I have gotten used to that sorta.  I know to just give myself sometimes upwards to an hour to really get warmed up and going.  I had planned on 13 miles of running then swinging by the house again to refill bottles etc.  I ran over and up Smuggler then back down then up towards Independence Pass for a bit then turned around and headed home.

Things to note about the run...  Even though I had eaten before going out and was fueling constantly throughout the run as usual I still felt "blah."  To make matters even more challenging my HR would not rise into zone 2 really, even if I was going at pace that would have warranted it.  It did climbing Smuggler but that was really it.  So my HR was bout 15 beats lower than normal... so at 135 BPM I was cruising WAY faster than normal.  Getting to or above 140 just running today... forget about it.

After swinging by the house and refueling I went out and ran some more.  I could just feel myself becoming undone with each subsequent mile and then I just stopped.  Call it the wall... call it breaking down, call it just being damned tired, call it whatever you want but I was done.  Aborted the run and headed home.

It has been a really long time since I have blown up on a run like that.  Maybe last fall when I was in the Springs and I just quit the run early, grabbed some Chinese takeout and took the taxi home.  I think that was really the last time.

I don't know if this week was really all that hard.  It might be the aggregate of the past three put together, but either way this week pushed me to my limits and definitely left a mark.  I told Melissa yesterday after the ride that any illusions that I have been holding onto the past few weeks about being stronger, faster, yada,-yada, were definitely crushed during that ride.  Of course today's run didn't help foster a lot of confidence either.

I am okay.  I think that breaking down this week was actually part of the master plan as I will have a super easy recovery week coming up.  Maybe just as in weight lifting, you know, that last rep of the last set where you damned near can't get the bar back up on the rack and you hit that point of failure?  I think that is what the last two days have been, just hitting that point of failure.   The funny thing about today's run, excluding pace/HR discrepancies, etc... it was really going good, or at least okay, until it wasn't and then it was just over.

Still, it was a solid training week.  16:26 total with 7:34 on the bike and 8:52 of running.

Seven weeks and five days until the Leadville Marathon.  Still looking for a 6.6% improvement in time overall.  It should be doable. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Week So Far

It has been a good week getting settled in.  Still a bit of life administivia that I need to attend to.  Eventually I will have my address changed in all of the places I need it changed in. 

I think living 2000 feet higher makes a huge difference in training.  Normal day to day stuff it isn't that much of an impact but as the week has worn on with the workouts I find my recovery is less and less each day than I would expect, want or hope for.  Throw in the fact I started dieting this past week and that is probably having an impact as well.  All day today I was craving mashed potatoes and I know when I start craving things that it is time to pay attention.

But no crazy fad diet or lofty weight loss goals this time around.  Actually in the past week I have dropped about half of the weight that I want to.  Now I just need to find the balance between eating enough to stay fueled and have enough calories to recover while at the same time not gain any weight.  Of course we all know for me that just cutting out sodas and snacks will usually do the trick and that seems to be what is really working this week.

Today was my first outdoor ride here in Aspen for the year.  I got caught in a quick moving storm once I got up to Ashcroft so it got cold and wet really damned quick.  Thankfully the closer I got back down to Aspen the warmer and drier it got.  I also rode out McClain Flats Road and coming up from the river I was cursing whoever put the word "flats" in the name of the road.  But once you get down valley a bit it does open up into some nice pasture lands and it is definitely flat and fast.  Bonus, I saw a herd of elk today on my ride.  I see elk sign everywhere on my runs and stuff but never any elk.  Unfortunately I was going about 30 MPH when I passed them so I didn't have any time to really look and admire them.

Followed up today's ride with a short run.  As knocked down as I was feeling today and even after getting beat up on the bike some it was still a good run.  Actually of all of my runs up Smuggler this week this one felt the easiest for some weird reason.  Today's ride was challenge and to be honest I really don't know how I pulled the run off right after.  But I did...

Ride again tomorrow... not sure what is on tap for Sunday yet.  Melissa and I are planning a jaunt to GWS this weekend to soak at some point.  Past that I think that we are just going to hang around here and take care of things around the apartment and also move stuff into the storage unit like winter gear that we are not going to be using for awhile.

Today's Ride.  Up to Ashcroft and back first then down McClain Flats and then back up the Rio Grand Trail to home.
The Leadville Marathon is only eight weeks from tomorrow... Damn the time is flying! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Numbers and Spokes

A lot of time to think running today.  Any distraction to keep the mind busy so it won't rebel at the task at hand.  Basic nonsensical stuff but it came to me that running is just more about numbers than anything else.  Of course running is a physical endeavor but after a certain point it goes beyond that is just about numbers... Minutes for miles, hours for groups of miles and even more hours for more miles of running.  Today I had a mileage goal of course but what it really came to in the end was just time.  Putting in the time.  Anyway...

I am officially living in Aspen now.  I came up Friday night with the Jeep loaded. It took most of Saturday morning to get things unpacked and put away.  It is nice to finally be here.  Even though I still have to sell the house, I don't live there anymore.

The training situation around Aspen is like this...  Things in town are melting out but up a bit higher there is still snow.  So you can't range out too far or too high without running into some serious snow conditions.  I haven't ridden up here yet but I got in two great runs on Saturday and Sunday.

But I have been able to make the best of it.  Our apartment in town is situated so that I can go out for a bit on a run, come back, refill my bottles then head off in another location for more running.  So this was the impetus for my "Spoke Theory."  I can get in great distances, I don't have to carry a lot of stuff and I can swing by the house every two - three hours and restock using the apartment as the central hub.  The beauty of this is that I will be able to use this same format later on when things melt and I can go out and do different sections like Sunny Side Trail, up Aspen Mountain and of course many other routes.

Running options right now include two - three miles up Smuggler Road (AKA Housewife Hill), up and down 82 about seven miles out of town.  Past the gate for the road closure there is too much snow to run on yet.  And up Castle Creek Road which is clear the entire eleven miles all the up to Ashcroft.  There are other options but these are the ones I am making use of now.  That about explains the riding options too.  Not a lot of off road available at this time. 

A good week training but it was light on the bike but the one serious bike session was a doozy.  15:46 total training time for the week.  11:27 running and 4:19 on the bike.  The running though was punctuated with two awesome training runs this weekend.  Nearly 22 miles on Saturday followed by a smidge over 30 miles today.  As bad as it stormed today it really didn't impact the running much.  Maybe 1.5 hours was really bad with wind and snow ripping out of west. 

Another cycling video from the movie Seasons.



Tomorrow starts another week.  It will still be nasty here so it will be an indoor ride for certain.  :) 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday. It was WARM! :)

Mandatory rest day yesterday which was awesome.  I just wasn't sure if it was going to really be a rest day or not as the training calendar was empty... that doesn't always mean time off as a workout can pop up at any time.  Fortunately it was a day off which I took complete advantage of.

Mostly tired yesterday but not bad.  I was really happy with the results from the weekend.  I was especially happy still how I skirted around the bad weather on Sunday until the very end.  I did some house stuff on Monday but for the life of me can not remember what it was now.  I do need to finish packing my personal stuff to take up to Aspen this Friday when I go up.

Easy 1.5 hour ride today.  I tried to ride as much single track, dirt and trails as I could.  Mostly just getting the legs moving again and working on my technical riding skills which are still pretty limited.  But the great news for the day was that it was warm and I think this is the first time all season that I have ridden in shorts and short sleeved jersey and was perfectly comfortable.  It was nice.

I have been watching videos this week on my Kindle from The Collective.  This is from the movie Seasons.  These guys make it look so simple going downhill.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

BAL

Big Assed Loop.  That's what I ran today.  One big assed loop.  Finished off this training week with back to back long runs on Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday's run with Brooks was a stout twenty miler planned out perfectly to end at the Red Rocks Lounge where we got to hang out a bit before heading over to Rudy's BBQ to load up on food.

Yesterday's run was a good run and we had a lot of fun with lots of trails, lots of climbing.  The weather even held.  It's been ages since we have had a run like that.

But really, yesterday's run was just the prologue for today's outing.  I decided on Friday the goal was for a solid 20 on Saturday followed by 25 on Sunday.  The only question though was what route to run for the 25 miler. I figured something like Monument Valley down to Walmart, up through Bear Creek to Section 16 to Intemann, to Manitou, through GOG, Fontmore to Sonderman, then over to MVP again and home.  It came out to exactly 25 miles.

Today's 25 Miler, ran clockwise.
The first hour or so was a grind.  Just getting warmed up and getting through the initial less than visually pleasing parts of the run before the good stuff started up higher.  Section 16 and Intemann over to Manitou was fun like always.  Lots of climbing and dropping but it is just a really fun trail to run.  This was all still the "easy" part of the run for the most part.

I stopped in Manitou to refill bottles before heading through the Garden.  This part was okay.  It was a climb for a bit out of Manitou and up a bit in the Garden before dropping again.  Now I am starting to feel the fatigue.  "Just make it home," I kept telling myself.

Once I got through the Garden I had one more crummy up to deal with and that was up Fontmore from 31st up to the top of the Mesa.  This last hill did me in.  But after that I cruised the last four miles home and got here just as the rain and snow started to come down pretty heavy.  I pulled it off!

It was a good end to another great week of training.  18:48 total time training.  11:25 running and 7:23 riding and all of the riding was outside. 

In the springs for this week, well at least until Friday I think.  Melissa is going to be here visiting on Wednesday for work and I can't wait to see her.  I figure this is my last few days here in the springs full time and will only be coming back to take care of house things when required.  Woohoo! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

That Sucked Perfectly!

Slept in this morning.  I had a hunch the weather was crappy so I was just in no hurry to face the day.  I had checked outside last night and saw that the front sidewalk was wet from rain so it was clear the forecasters were right in regards to the precipitation we might be getting.

Well, we got it.  I could tell even before looking outside this morning that the world was covered in a blanket of white.  A few inches on the ground already and it was still snowing hard and being pushed by a very stout wind out of the north.  Sometimes I am happier when the weather people are wrong.  Sometimes.

I really didn't want to put the run off to this afternoon as I have other plans and appointments so I figured the best thing to do was to get going, get dressed to go and get it done and over with.  I had some options to choose from for my run today but given the conditions I just chose to do 13 at MAF and just keep it at that.  6.5 miles out... 6.5 miles back. 

But not all bad weather days make for bad running days and today was one of the good running days in bad weather. Why?  The wind was steady and predictable so it was easy to pick a route to manage that in order to have most of a tailwind home.  The temps, while cold, especially in the wind were not that brutal.  The snow wasn't that deep in spots and really most of the trails were clear and while there was plenty of standing water it wasn't that muddy yet. 

Days like today work for me though because they are quiet for the most part.  The snow muffles and absorbs sounds which adds a certain peace to the experience.  But for me and my antisocial tendencies the best thing about days like today... Yup... no people!  In my entire 13 miles I only saw two other people (runners) and they were on the opposite side of the stream bed, a couple hundred yards away, and going in the opposite direction.  NICE!  It just turns the run into more of an internal and personal experience.  I am dressed in layers and in a warm little bubble and I can stay within that and just be comfortable without the BS of the outer world invading the experience. 

I don't always enjoy solitude, and I will never be a hermit, but days like today click for me.  And even though I am completely over running and training in winter weather today was still sort of a treat.

Don't get me wrong though... I would have much rather had it in the 70's and wearing shorts and t-shirt!  :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

And this is why we have two bikes!

Took the Trek into Pro Cycling yesterday to get some work done.  Well that and I just wanted to stare, gaze, covet, whatever, that beautiful Specialized Epic FSR they have there for $4400.  Ugh...

But seriously.  I have lost a lot of confidence in the Trek the past few weeks so it needs some work.  I will never take it back to Bicycle Village again.  That is where I bought it and I think they sort of dorked things up when I took it the last time for a tune up.  Really, they sell great bikes and stuff but I think I will just get my maintenance's on my bikes done elsewhere. 

So the Trek is a full suspension bike.  The rear fork "should" lock out then you flip a switch and then it should be "open" to dampen any hits the bike may take on the trail.  The problem is that for as long as I can remember really, and probably since I got the bike, but especially the past few weeks, it didn't matter which position the switch was in, the shock behaved as it was open.  That isn't good when you are pedaling uphill and the frame is flexing and wasting energy.

When I took the bike to the shop yesterday Branden looked at the shock and said, yup... that's not right.  It was comforting in a way to know that I have not been imagining it all this time.  The bad thing is the shock needs to be sent back to Fox to be rebuilt and when it comes back it will be as good as new.  Front forks/shocks are fine.

But there is more... the seat post and shell clamp "Bontrager" which comes stock on the Trek Superfly was loose as well.  So I ordered a new seatpost.  The front tire is out of wack (Thanks Bicycle Village) and has to be set right as well.   I am getting some new handlebar grips for good measure.  I think that about covers it.

Trying to not get to upset over the rear shock.  But 1.  I think it has been bad since I got the bike maybe. 2. The place where I bought it and have had it serviced should have caught that earlier I think.  No worrries though... in two to three weeks the Trek will be back and all will be well.

All I can say now is that I am thankful I have the Cannondale for a backup bike.  Rode about and hour and a half on it yesterday and then another three hours today.   Yesterday was a lot of easy riding and today was mostly climbing.  Tomorrow is a run day.

Windy again tomorrow but for variety it will be out of the north as opposed to being out of the south like it has been the past few days.