Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chronic Snow Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Snow Fatigue Syndrome, CSFS, also known by it's street name Can't Stand F*cking Snow is not in the DSM but it should be. I might have made it up but I know it is real because I certainly have it!

Pretty good week this week. Even with the onslaught of winter weather I was able to miraculously fit my runs in between storms. Most of the workouts were a touch slower it seemed (except for Saturday) and I think the weather along with road and trail conditions were to blame.

The week broke down like this:

Monday - Mandatory rest day.

Tuesday - 9 Miles with hill repeats - 1:27:50 - I was not sure how this run was going to go. We got a lot of snow Monday night and I was not sure if the path on Cemetery Lane would be clear or not. I waited until mid-afternoon before heading out and the path was indeed clear. Unfortunately I had waited to late in the day and the sun was behind Red Butte, so the hill-repeat section was in the shade and cold. The workout went well but the three mile cooldown was very slow as my heart-rate was still elevated and I had to go slow in order to keep it lower.

Wednesday - 12 Miles - 1:59:56 - I didn't sleep well Tuesday night and I suspect the workout from Tuesday had me a little beat down. Melissa and I had gone to Glenwood early in the morning to run errands and soak and she dropped me off on Lower River Road and I ran from there the 12 miles to Aspen. It was a rough run, slow, and I was so tired. But even if the run went sort of crappy, I took it as a solid sign that I am indeed getting stronger.

Thursday - 9 Miles - 1:16:22 - Progression run broken into two mile segments. 9 Mile Progression run in 2 mile increments. #1- HR 135-145. #2- HR 145-155. #3- HR 155-165. #4- HR 165+. #5- 1 mile MAF/cool down. I found myself procrastinating as it got closer to lunchtime and time to run as I guess I was fearing what was in store for me. The same as last week. BUT! As badly as I had suffered the day before on this run I felt as if I had just floated. The overall time for the run was a minute slow but that is more due to more climbing than the week before.

Friday - Mandatory rest day. I really don't remember Friday. I know I was glad for the day off.

Saturday - 20 Miles - 2:52:59 - I had three plans going into Saturday's run. The first was to just get it done, stick with the heart rate at MAF and get it done. Then on Friday night or Saturday morning I started getting a little more ambitious and thought that I would run only the first six in Zone 3, marathon pace/effort. When I left the apartment that was the plan but as I got closer to mile six I decided that I wanted to see if I could hang on for the entire 20 miles. And I did! 20 Miles, 2:52:59, avg hr 155, 2710 feet in gain, avg elevation 8106. Hell of a confidence builder. Just one hell of a confidence builder.

Sunday - 10 Miles - 1:32:41 - Treadmill - I figured that I would just stick with the treadmill this week just like last week. My legs felt fine on Sunday morning after the 20 miler but damned if I did not feel tired. Just that overall sensation of fatigue in the body that comes with a few hard weeks of training strung together. Treadmills are not fun but we got a lot of new snow last night and everything was WAY too messy outside to try to do any serious effort running. 

So that was the week... 60 Miles for the week. 9:09:49 for time. And 6076 feet in gain. 

Total miles for February, 255.5. 

The Hoka Mafate Speeds are an awesome shoe. I have liked them so much this past week that I have already ordered a second pair for when these are done.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015


I think specificity has to be one of the coolest words and that is what this week as about... being specific in terms of running.

The four weeks previous were admittedly a very aggressive base building phase where my weekly mileages really jumped. This was me just throwing numbers (miles) at the problem (my fitness or lack of.)

The week of January 12 - 35 Miles
The week of January 19 - 58 Miles
The week of January 26 - 42 Miles (Because I dropped that Sunday run after driving home.)
The week of February 2 - 72 Miles
The week of February 9 - 73.5

Each week had two days off in them except for the January 26 week which had three. All of those runs were done with a very strict MAF focus.

This week I switched the focus some to include speed work which I could tell I was needing. So the plan for this week became very regimented and very specific in regards to workouts and my desired outcome.

Monday - Mandatory rest day.

Tuesday - 9 Miles with hill repeats - 1:22 - I did about a two mile warmup and then ten, one minute - hard uphill efforts then jogged back to the bottom. After the first one I was I questioning if I could hang on for all ten which is pretty normal for me to do.  The 8th one was my strongest. Overall the workout went well and I was happy to have it done. Did about a three mile cool down after the repeats.

Wednesday - 12 Miles - 1:53:11 - Ran this one at MAF and just cruised. Things definitely felt tight and my stride took a while to stretch out but after warming up everything was fine. I could feel the work from the previous day but it was not a show stopper.

Thursday - 9 Miles - 1:15:44 - Progression run broken into two mile segments. 9 Mile Progression run in 2 mile increments. #1- HR 135-145. #2- HR 145-155. #3- HR 155-165. #4- HR 165+. #5- 1 mile MAF/cool down. I found myself procrastinating as it got closer to lunchtime and time to run as I guess I was fearing what was in store for me. The workout went really well and I was able to maintain an avg HR of 175 for that last 2 mile stretch.

Splits for the Thursday progression run.
Friday - Mandatory rest day and I definitely needed it! My legs took a thrashing on Thursday and all day they felt shredded.

Saturday - 20 Miles - 3:37 - Saturday was just one of those long runs that you have to do in less than desirable conditions that you know you can run faster but the elements dictate otherwise. I ran up Maroon Creek Road past the T Lazy 7 Ranch but once past the gate the snow was not runnable like it had been in the past few weeks. Turned around after two miles of step, sink, slip... step, sink, slip running. When I finished it was not so much that I felt like the run put me in the tank physically as much as I was just done with running in the crappy weather. - The week must have been taking a toll because when I went to bed Saturday night I started reading and maybe, maybe read three pages before my eyes were closed and turning the light off. I rarely go to sleep that easily.

At the end of 20 miles on Saturday.
Sunday - 10 Miles - Treadmill - As a general rule I loathe treadmill and will do anything I have to do in order to not have to run on one but today was an exception. 1. After being in the elements yesterday, I looked forward to being inside, warm, and dry. 2. Given the deteriorating road and path conditions with all of the new snow, a treadmill is just safer today. But I believe there are truly benefits to running on one. I don't suggest running on one all of the time but I think it has its own ways of making a runner stronger if used on occasion.

So the week ends up looking like 60 Miles for the week. 9:39:22 for time. And 4621 feet in gain.

If I had to generalize how I am feeling today after this training week I would definitely say that I am tired. Tomorrow, Monday, is a rest day and my goal for this coming week is to identically duplicate this past week.  The weather might have other ideas though.

I am over the weather by now. Yesterday when I was running I was thinking to myself that there is just a time when winter needs to be done. For me that is now. I knew that I was setting myself up for disappointment these past three weeks with all of the warm weather we have been having. My fantasy of an early spring has now become the reality of yet another return of winter.

There are no other options for me now than to push through it the best I can. I have way too much momentum built up now to allow the weather to really derail me. It is just part of the price I have to pay to live where I do. In another few months there isn't a more idyllic place to train and run in my opinion. You have the altitude, the terrain, and very comfortable temperatures, even on the hottest of days. I'll stop bitching now.

I wore the Hoka Mafate Speed's for the first time yesterday. After wearing the Stinsons exclusively for the past three years the new Mafates definitely felt different. So far I love them though. Great fit, awesome traction which I damned well needed yesterday, and they are comfortable. I have to give props to any shoe that you can take straight out of the box and then go do a 20 miler in without any break in period. The downside to them is they have a much stiffer sole than the Stinsons and harder surfaces are little too hard but I think they would kill it on any dirt or trail surfaces. At any rate, I am committed to them for the next two - three months of running to give them a fair shake out.

Three weeks and six days to Mexico... :) I have already booked two days of spearfishing for myself when I am down there. Can not wait to be eating some fresh trigger fish!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Putting Another Big Log On The Fire

Another awesome week of running and training in the books. I had to structure the week a little differently due to Wednesday's trip to the Front Range. But even with that, I was still able to cobble together a really solid week of running.

Monday - Mandatory rest day like normal.

Tuesday - 20 Miles - 3:25 - Ran east of town 5 miles or so then headed back to catch the RG Trail down to the Stein Bridge, up to ABC, then east to Cemetery, back down to RG trail, and finished up at the Post Office.

Wednesday - Off Day - A very profitable day money-wise and worth it but the sixteen hour round trip which consisted of ten hours of driving did a number on me.

Thursday - 17.5 Miles - 3:11 -  The day started out rough as I was thoroughly wrung out from Wednesday. Got a late start out with the intention of trying to nail another 20 miler but I just could not commit. Ran down the RG to Jaffe Park and then up to RFTA Lot. Crossed 82 and ran to Snowmass then up and over Owl Creek Road to Buttermilk. Buttermilk was right at 15 miles and I was pretty damned certain that I was going to bail and catch the bus home from there but somehow I sweet talked myself into limping it on home. It would have been twenty if I went down Cemetery and caught the RG Trail but I just could not make myself do it. I just had to live with the 17.5 miles for the day and call it good.

Friday - 5 Miles - 47:57 - Easy five mile shakeout run with my friend Chris. My heart rate for both Tuesday and Thursday's run seemed a little elevated so I really wanted to take it easy on this one to see if things were still out of whack but on this run everything seemed to be right on. It was a super warm and nice day.

Saturday - 21 Miles - 3:34 - I wanted to get in 20 miles and have a fun run so if there was some goof off time in there (which there was) that would be fine. My friend Jeff joined me for this one and it turned out to be just an awesome run. We ran parts of the RG Trail and then up towards the bells and back. I even pushed it for 3/4 of the last mile to give myself a taste of what speed training will feel like again next week. You know, get familiar with that flavor of discomfort. It felt like my best long run of the year so far.

Sunday - 10 Miles - 1:58 - I really did not have much of a clue how this run was going to go or what I wanted to do exactly. Anywhere between five and ten was the goal. Ended up running up Smuggler, up to the second overlook, back down to the first overlook, ran over to Hunter Creek, and then up Hunter Creek Road a bit before heading back down the road all the way into town.  The weather was moving in but I was still comfortable in shorts.

73.5 Miles for the week. 12:57:37 for time. And 8821 feet in gain. All runs were ran at MAF effort or as best as I could.

It is nice to be running again on a regular basis and putting down some good volume. I still don't have any clue as to what my results will be from all of this but I am happy with the way things are going. It is nice to just be focusing on running again and that is what I really want to do this year. Not so much to get faster, or to get PR's, even though that would be nice, but more so just to get back to the purity of running. It is hard to explain and even harder for me to put into words.

It is also about running and having that fun/adventure element present. Like today's run for instance. I could have run some really straight forward stuff and kept it simple but instead I veered off and went on some trails that I had no idea what condition they would be in.

This past month has been spent 100% on rebuilding a base. This week week I plan on introducing some intensity to the week. Tuesday will include hill repeats and Thursday will be a progression run of sorts. The exact details I haven't figured out yet but the other days will be MAF/volume focused. I can't decide if I want to shoot for 50 or 60 for the week either.

New Hokas are inbound. The pair I am wearing I have been wearing since Oct 23. They have 519 miles on them and it is really starting to show. I got a pair of Stinson ATR's like I always wear but I also ordered a pair of the Mafate Speed's and am excited to try those out.

Four weeks and six days to Mexico... :)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I Might Be Back...

Maroon Bells. Sunday Morning.
This week was huge. To say it went "well" would be a gross understatement...

I wanted to run last Sunday but didn't because I was beat after driving home. Since Sunday then became a "rest day" I decided to start the running week on Monday.  Here is the breakdown:

Monday - 9 Miles - 1:42 - Ran up to Hunter Creek Valley and poked around up there a bit. A lot of climbing.

Tuesday - 12 Miles - 1:51 - Ran up 82 to the winter closure gate and back. Had a good pace out to Difficult Campground but then really slowed when the hill got steeper. Really fast (for me) on the down and the way back to town.

Wednesday - 9 Miles - 1:25 - Ran down the Rio Grande (Rio Grind) trail, up Cemetery, and up Maroon Creek Road before turning around and heading back.

Thursday - Rest Day

Friday - 30 Miles - 5:26 - Ran down the Rio Grande to Stein Trail then up behind the ABC to 82. Ran up to Cemetery then back over to Maroon Creek Road. Up Maroon Creek Road past the T Lazy 7 ranch a bit then back home via Maroon Creek Road, Cemetery and back up Rio Grande. 19.3 Miles.  Phase 2, from the apartment up 82 past Difficult Creek Campground and back to the apartment.

Saturday - Rest Day

Sunday - 12 Miles - 2:24 (12 Minutes were just hanging out at Maroon Lake) - Ran from the T Lazy 7 Ranch up Maroon Creek Road to Maroon Lake, took some pictures and headed back down. My buddy Jeff M went up with me this morning. It was sunny and the sky was cloudless.

72 Miles for the week. 12:50:42 for time. And 8315 feet in gain. All runs were ran at MAF effort.

The thirty miler was the crux of the week for me and that is my first run of that distance since I don't know when.  September, I guess. The first 20 were okay, but "the money" is always in the last ten of a thirty miler. I felt it, and the last two miles were a shit-show of a comedy for anyone who saw me, I am sure. 

The awesome thing about it all is that I feel great! I am not going to push my luck though, tomorrow will be a rest day and I intend to observe it and keep it holy.

Another huge milestone this week... I won't go into the where's and why fors but I made a commitment to myself in November to really amp up my writing on to build content. My first major goal was to hit 100 posts (hopefully solid articles) on February 8th. I only had 22 when I started this venture in November in earnest. I am happy to say that the article, Control Your Monkeys, was number 100 and I hit that two days early on February 6th. The same day that I did the 30 miler so it was a double bonus day for me for getting things done.

Headed to Colorado Springs this Wednesday. It will be a there and back kind of day. I am not looking forward to going but some things have to get done and well... It will just be better when it is over.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Still Knocking Off The Rust

Last week went well but not as big of a week as I had hoped. I only got in three runs. 10M, 12M, and a 20M. They all went well but I was hoping for another 20 on Sunday but by the time we got home from the front range I was not in the mood.

Today's run was exceptional though. 12 miles and for the first time in a long time everything just felt in sync. Pace, heart rate, effort, and distance all worked together. It is a very hopeful sign.

Throw in the bonus that the weather was beautiful this afternoon when it was really supposed to be storming.

Storm coming in tonight and will be here through tomorrow. I don't know how that will impact tomorrow's plans but if worse comes to worse I can always do the nine on a treadmill at the ARC.

This is the big local news right now.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Moab Weekend

I escaped Aspen on Friday and got to spend the weekend in Moab, Utah. It was nice to get away from the crowds and the X Games hullabaloo. Moab was perfectly quiet.

The goal was two days of simple and uncomplicated running. I was hoping for a big day on Saturday and then see what I could follow up with on Sunday.

The weather was not as warm as I was hoping or fantasizing about. I will have to wait until March in Mexico for that but the trails were all dry and clear which is something that I have not seen since mid-November.

Saturday we ran what I guess is the first part of the Moab Red Hot 55K. We parked at the junction of Highway 191 and Gemini Bridges Road. I ran up Gemini Bridges, did the Metal Masher loop and then back to car. That got me 23.25 miles and about 3200 of gain for the day. I felt worked but not trashed and decided that I wanted to hold it there so that I would be able to run on Sunday too.

Sunday the weather was nicer and we headed up to the Slickrock Trail. I've ridden this trail tons back in the 90's and always thought that it would be interesting to run. I think I saw a grand total of four cyclists out there. It was quiet, somewhat warm, and of course it was beautiful to look at.

Running it was another story... We ran it counter-clockwise and while it was fun to be able to grip so well on the rocks while climbing, the constant amount of climbing began to wear on me around mile five and lasted until around mile seven. When I finished it felt like I had done over two hours of hill repeats. Finished feeling fatigued but all in all pretty good. 9.5 miles for Sunday with about 950 feet of climbing.

For the past nearly 20 years I have always said that someday I would like to run the Slickrock trail and I am glad that I finally got to do it but I doubt I will do it again as once was enough. 

Ended the week with 58 miles done and about 5900 feet of climbing. This is my best week since the end of October/beginning of November and Saturday's run was the longest since the end of October as well.

Today when I was walking around I noticed that I am feeling pretty good overall. I think the volume from this weekend was perfect. Just enough to stress me but not so much that I came home and have to look at a week to get over it all.

The forecast for Aspen this week is WARM which I would normally be very happy about but in reality it will make things messy with all of the melting snow (turns to ice at night) and mud out there. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Starting Over.. Really...

I completely cracked up when I read JT's Blog today...

"Runners often cry over bring out of shape, definitely myself included.  "Christ, I went 19:45 for that 5K, I'm so out of shape."  Or, "I really struggled on that 20 miler, I need to get my ass back in shape."  But you do the Incline with office folks who really are out of shape, like no-physical-activity-whatsoever-for-decades out of shape, and it puts things in perspective."

I got a good laugh out of it because I have been having the same kinds of discussions via internal dialogue all week with myself.

November was a good running month. I was determined to be set up to start training in December if things went well for me on the morning of the 6th. They didn't, so that caused a loss of momentum for sure. In addition to that I got that damned cold on the 8th which knocked me down for a good two weeks. Two weeks without any significant activity at all.

After I started to feel better I got some weird itch to do a lot of vertical. It was a distraction of sorts I guess. Something different but in the end I think it did more harm than good fitness-wise in regards to running at least.

Then I got sick AGAIN on the 1st of January. It was the flu which made the cold in December seem likes child's play. So there goes another two weeks. Ugh.

This week I have been finally able to get back at it. All running, no silly vertical and no time on the bike. I did not make it into the Leadville Trail 100 MTB lottery so I am dropping the bike for a while. At least until this spring when the roads and trails clear and I can ride it for something else to do to add volume.

None of the runs this week have been easy. Legs feel heavy and there is a sort of discomfort deep within the muscle tissue in my quads that I am not familiar with. This has to be the most detrained that I have been in years. So yeah, it does feel like starting over from square one.

Of course as JT pointed out it is all relative. 35 miles for the week, six hours and twelve minutes of training time with 4321 feet of gain. All of this was done with a strict MAF focus. For me this feels out of shape.

This week will be better. We have good weather in the forecast AND I am going to Moab on Friday to run there and hang out for the weekend. So I am excited about all of that.

Toying with the idea of the Aspen Backcountry Marathon here in June. It isn't a slouch of a race at all. Actually knowing the parts of the course that I do know makes it is quite intimidating. But the upside to that race is that it is here and I don't have to travel. It could be fun.

Eight weeks and six days to Mexico. God I can't wait to be warm. I told Melissa she can kick me hard the first time I complain about the heat! :)