Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bouncing Back / Recovering

Gotta tell you... as far as post 100 recoveries go... this one is a bear.  More or less did nothing the entire week after Leadville except for a short mountain bike ride this past Saturday to loosen things up.

Started running again on Monday, an easy six miles on the trails around town... no real effort. Surprisingly enough, the legs felt better than I expected... everything else... meh...

Tuesday I went to the track and ran 8 miles which I just went ahead and turned into a MAF test just to make it interesting and to give me some motivation to keep from stopping. More or less about 20 seconds per mile slower at a HR of 145 than a few weeks ago. Makes sense to me right now...

Rode today... ugh... it took all that I had to put to the kit on and get going but I have to admit, after about an hour of riding I was feeling a lot better and was almost enjoying being on the bike for a change... okay, maybe I had more fun than that.... ended up riding a little over two hours with a 1200 calorie burn... Most of the riding was up in Hunter Valley and it is pretty up there now... it is amazing just how much the foliage is changing already...

I don't feel so tired overall, like throughout the body.... it's not a physical exhaustion so much as it seems to be more of a spiritual one. If I had to sum it up, it just feels like my soul is tired... I can't explain it any other way right now. It feels a little and maybe even presents itself as depression but i know that's not it...

It is amazing how 20 - 30 hours of hard effort can wreck the body and mind in a way that takes weeks to recover from. I mean a 50 miler, eh... I am off-kilter for a week maybe ten days... but a 100 miler takes many more weeks to recover from it seems. I guess it just goes to show what the cost of those miles after 50 or 60 miles really is.

But I must be doing something right during this recovery phase as my body weight has not gone up at all! I figured after taking all of last week off I'd had gained ten pounds at least... so that's a win! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Leadville 100 Run - Post Race

So... the race happened... final result... 22:43 and change, depending on what you look at... 29th overall.

In a nutshell...

I trained my butt off this year.

I ran my heart out in the race.

It hurt.

A lot.

It is still hurting.

Being here - post 100 mile run - before I know it's going to take patience and time to bounce back. I just need to ride it out.

I am reticent to write a full blown race report on this one... Mostly because I don't know what to say but also because I don't feel like documenting a mile-by-mile regurgitation of the thing.

Also, for me, the race this year was personal. The work that went into it and the race itself was for a lot of personal reasons which I feel that I want to solely hold and know for myself. But if you are interested of what sort of motivated me, you can read about it here.

I will share the one thing that I learned in this race and the lesson is this... They always say that you never know who is going to show up for a race... I think most of the time we think of that in terms of other competitors who may or may not toe the starting line... but what I learned this weekend was that you also never know who is going to show up and that includes which version of yourself.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Leadville 100 Training Block #4 - July 20 - August 19

Well... I am done. I did my last training run, if you want to call it that, yesterday morning. Just three easy miles with my Wednesday morning running partner.... Today and tomorrow, no running. It's funny, two days off in a row... I don't remember the last time I went two days straight without running. Weird.

So training block #4... All running. NO bike.

259 Miles - 49:12:34 Running time.

The past few weeks have looked like this...

Week of 7/18 - 100 Miles - 18:48 Running Time - 23,009 Vert.
Week of 7/25 - 81 Miles - 17:38 Running Time - 16,759 Vert.
Week of 8/2 - 60.3 Miles - 11:14 Running Time - 12,910 Vert.
Week of 8/9 - 31.1 Miles - 5:03 Running Time - 6,040 Vert.

This week will be a 100 mile plus week... it's just going to look different... LOL. Easy four miles on the track Tuesday morning with some strides thrown in and then yesterday's easy three around town.

So... physically... yeah... I believe I am ready. From a mental POV... not quite there yet. I started struggling with the idea of actually running 100 miles this past Saturday morning when I woke up. No matter how you slice it... 100 miles is a longed damned way and though I have done it several times before... it still seems huge.

Goals... Sub-25. Beat 23:18. Beat 23:18 by a huge margin... Hint - consider the time delta between my 2014 and 2015 Run Rabbit Run results. Then of course... there is always the "just finish the damn thing," goal.

I read a neat quote yesterday that I have kicking around in my head...

"Big occasions and races which have been eagerly anticipated almost to the point of dread, are where great deeds can be accomplished." - Jack Lovelock

I can't say that I am dreading this weekend but I am ready to get it done. Or at least get started...  I have questions that need answering and the only way to find those answers is to get the first 13-30 miles behind me on Saturday.

I have plans for the race but we all know about plans and god laughing... and especially plans as they apply to 100 mile races... As one of my friends is fond of saying... "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."

I know that it will be in the first two hours when I find out if I even have a chance at reaching my goal. It's either going to be there or it's not - a rather binary situation really. The speed I need will be there or it won't in accordance to the level of effort (heart rate) that I know I can sustain for 100 miles. If it is... great. If not... I know I will still do well but I WILL have to peacefully accept and adjust my expectations accordingly.

Yesterday, I wrote an article, Why We Fear Success, which delved a little deeper into my thoughts about this year's LT100 and everything that has gone into it.

On the surface it seems easy... each split that I want to hit during the race I know that I can do on any day... easy. The question is can I make those splits segment after segment for 100 miles. And if I fall off on pace how hard do I push it to make up time or to get back to where I want to be, etc?

One of the biggest things that I can not control but actually looks to be strongly in my favor for this one is the weather. It is going to be cool in Leadville this weekend with the highs only in the 50's on Saturday. I am excited about that!

In regards to the "being there mentally" thing... one thing I do have to consider is that maybe it isn't that I am "flat" or not psyched up or just not excited about it all... maybe it is just that I am relaxed about the whole thing, and if that is the case, relaxed is good.

A funny observation... yesterday I packed all of my stuff for the race. When I did the race in 2010 for the first time, we had the back of the Cherokee crammed full of stuff just for me for the race... Tons and tons of crap. When I finished packing yesterday, basically everything that I need - clothing, fuel, bottles, all of it, fits neatly into two reusable shopping bags. Definitely a case where less is better and I am sure Melissa and Annie are grateful for that.

Anyway.... not much else to say on the subject... I do intend for this to be my last LT100 run... Yes, I know I have said that before... but this time I mean it. REALLY!!! I love Leadville and the races and I always want be involved in some fashion, but from here on out I think I want it to be in more of a support role be it crewing, pacing, volunteering etc..

This is to be the last one (I think) and I want to go out on top... whatever that may end up looking like. When it is all said and done the only thing I can do is to do my best and no matter the outcome, as long as I know THAT - it's all good.

See ya on the other side!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July And A New PR

The largest mileage that I had ever run in a single month was back in July of 2012, and I ran 393 miles.

This July... 421 miles. So there's a new PR at least.

Okay week this week, had to jink some things around a little because I ended up doing the Four Pass Loop on Thursday. But I still got a good 81 miles in this week with a good 20 miler up in Leadville yesterday followed by a 20 mile run up Indy Pass this morning. (Sort of set a huge PR on that one today too.)

Past that, not much else to report from the week.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Done With The Heavy Lifting

My last BIG week of training is done. Rest day today. YAY!

Last week - 100 Miles Running - 23,009 Vertical Gain - 18:58 Running time.

Friday was an awesome day. I parked at the old Monarch Lodge and ran up Highway 50 to the top of the pass and then headed south on the Monarch Crest Trail. 5 Miles up to the pass, ten miles out on the trail, then turned around and headed back. 30 Miles total, a crap ton of gain with an average elevation of 11,337 feet. Pulled it off in 5:59:01 which was awesome because I was really shooting for six hours.

But I have to say, running that trail and looking back at when I rode it on my mountain bike in 2013... if I had to guess, I probably did not enjoy it all that much. Of course I said it was "fun" when I wrote about it in 2013... but I wonder how much of that was me hyping it up because I felt that was what I was supposed to do. I just remember thinking a lot this past Friday that I was for sure a lot happier running it that day than if I were riding it again.

As I have alluded to earlier... the whole bike thing just escapes me now... no love for it at all.

But yeah... I am done with all of the heavy lifting in regards to my training for Leadville this year. In some regards the planning and strategizing began a year ago right after the Silver Rush 50. After the LT100 run last year I began to focus a little more on it as time passed. In April, at the beginning of training block #1 was when I really put my foot on the gas and with the exception of a couple of bumps here and there, I really haven't let up.  If you are wondering, this is what life - week by week - since April has looked like.... 


18 April 2016   Run        81.3 Miles        6368 Vert        14:14 Time
25 April 2016   Run        70.4 Miles        9602 Vert        11:48 Time
02 May 2016    Run        81.6 Miles        9874 Vert        13:54 Time
09 May 2016    Run        84 Miles           10,126 Vert     14:10 Time
16 May 2016    Run        83.3 Miles        13,750 Vert     13:49 Time
23 May 2016    Run       94.2 Miles        12,900 Vert     15:36 Time
30 May 2016    Run        81 Miles           14,187 Vert     14:47 Time
06 June 2016    Run        92 Miles           18,067 Vert     16:17 Time
13 June 2016   Run      81 Miles           11,369 Vert     15:02 Time
                        Bike     28 Miles              4,691 Vert       2:19 Time      17:21 Total
20 June 2016   Run      47 Miles           11,977 Vert     13:05 Time
                        Bike     106 Miles         14,696 Vert        9:42 Time      23:49 Total
27 June 2016   Run      79 Miles           20,639 Vert     17:47 Time
                        Bike     28 Miles             7,273 Vert         4:11 Time     21:58 Total
04 July 2016    Run     98 Miles           28,491 Vert     21:05 Time
11 July 2016    Run     101 Miles         18,174 Vert     19:46 Time
18 July 2016    Run     100 Miles         23,009 Vert     18:58 Time

But what do all these numbers mean? In a way nothing if I can not execute a good race come August 20. I have goals and I hope that the work gets me there, the rest is just the rest as you never know what can happen in a 100 mile race.

Something that I have not shared with anyone (well on my blog anyway) is that back in March I sort of had a nightmare. In my dream I crossed the finish line in Leadville in 23:18 - again. But the weird part was that 1. I did not remember running it and 2. I had this really bad and nagging feeling that I did not put out any effort or tried to do better that day. If I had to say, all of the hard work and mileage has been my way of preventing that "dream" from becoming a reality this year.

So yeah... lots of heavy lifting...  but that is over now...

Now to back down... 80M this week with two days off... two days off EVERY week between now and Leadville actually to start unloading fatigue. Part of me wonders if I realize just how tired I really am. I guess as I start to bounce back and feel better (or worse) I will get a full sense of it all. But that won't be for another two weeks or so I guess.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Leadville 100 Training Block #3 - June 20 - July 19

The first day of my Aspen Mountain Double-Double Crossing weekend.
Training block number three is done and the numbers look like this.

Training Block #3 Actual Miles Ran = 360 - 79 hours and 33 minutes of running time.

Training Block #3 Miles Riding the Mountain Bike = 134 - 13 hours and 53 minutes of riding time.

A note on the bike. I did not spend too many days on the bike just the days that I HAD TO in order to help mitigate the injury that I was dealing with. Once I could run again it was all back to that as I learned that I am really not fond of pushing a lot of time on the bike, at all.

Some game-changers and neat things that came into play during this training block...

1. Trekking poles - Bob Africa spoke highly of them in the Leadville 100 Run training camp and I listened. Personally I have always wanted to give them a go but feared they might prove awkward and maybe even a waste of money. For the past week and a half, I have been using them a lot on my big vertical days and all I can say is I sort of feel silly for never trying them earlier as I took to them like a duck to water. I got a pair of Black Diamond Carbon Distance Z Poles 110cm on Ebay for $117. WORTH EVERY PENNY. To be clear, as far as I am concerned this is the greatest discovery or change I have made since switching to Hokas back in 2012. In a weird sort of way I think they are fun to use. They WILL be part of my Leadville strategy for certain.

2. I did a huge 32 mile long overland altitude run (LOLAR - and yes I made this up) last weekend and there was no running or potable water anywhere along that route. Instead of packing a ton of water in my pack I packed my old First Need Water Filter  for the trip in my pack and it was great. A fraction of the weight of a liter or more of water and I was able to continually get cold water for the bottles and the bladder when I needed or wanted as there were many streams around. The bonus thing that I learned is that the attachment connects to both my Ultimate Direction water bottles as well as the opening to the Osprey water bladder in my pack so it was super easy to use.

3. I did a 20 mile run last Thursday afternoon and it was warm out and I had to carry water in my pack so that I could mix fresh bottles after two hours. Not wanting to have warm water or mixed fuel in my bottles the last part of the run I got the brilliant idea to put in a freezer pack, you know those gel packs you put into the freezer for small coolers or using on injuries, in my running pack with my water bladder. Of course I was not happy about the extra weight but damn it was nice to have cold water when I filled my bottles after two hours. So if you run with a running vest or pack with a bladder and don't mind some extra weight to keep your water cold it's well worth it.

All in all things are good. This week is my last big week (100+ miles) before I start chopping the volume down and I can say that I am honestly ready to just that. Looking forward to this weekend as Melissa and I are going over to Chaffee County and Friday I am running my last 30+ mile training run on the Monarch Crest Trail. The rest of the weekend is dedicated to just goofing off and having fun as really I am on vacation this week from working as I do need the break but I can also focus on this last big week without any distractions too. It's a win-win.

But yeah... we are in the last training block before Leadville... all of the big work is done except for finishing out this week. I just keep telling myself that all I have to do is make it to the 25th (next Monday which will be a rest day) intact and I will be good to go... Just have to make to Monday.... :)  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

June And Everything After - Video Blog

So... not that I am being lazy but there is just too much to try to write out in one article and not wanting to write multiples... I thought I would do a video instead. :)

I hope that everyone is having an awesome summer!

Andy