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! :)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cold #2

It started the evening of the 1st with a couple of more than just clearing my airways coughs. Yesterday on the 2nd, as much as I did not want to believe it, I sneezed too many times and I could feel that weird scratchy sensation between the back of my sinuses and my throat.

We were supposed to go to Junction today but when I woke up and we discussed it the unified decision was to stay home. So now I am back in bed.

I can handle getting one cold a year. I sort of expect it, but two and in such close of a proximity in time? I blame Aspen 100%. I got sick last year over the holiday season and ended up doing it again this year. When you live in a town that has a capacity for 5-6,000 people and then the population ends up close to 30K for a week, you can bet some nasty bugs get imported here and just being out amongst the masses you are doomed to catch something.

Anyway, started popping the zinc yesterday and hope it helps. If it is just a head cold and does not get into my lungs again I will be ecstatic. But the flu is widespread here in the RFV right now so I can't rule that out either. I hate being sick.

I WAS having a good week training. Two trips up the front of Aspen Mountain, then another longer trip running from the house and up the back side. 5:37 in time, over 10K of climbing, 15 or so miles. With this cold, this training week is over.

For everyone who reads this and if you are interested, let me know if you would want to go to Moab the weekend of the 23rd of January.  I need to get out of here to someplace that might be warmer and less crowded and that is the perfect weekend to go as it is X-Games weekend here in Aspen.

No plans or structure for that weekend, I just want to get in some longer runs, relax, and have fun. I have not been to Moab since 1997 and I am scared to go back as I am sure it is NOT the same place we used to go to a few times a year back in the 90's. I wasn't planning on taking a bike but if I get into the 100 MTB via the lottery, I will probably take one.

I would at a minimum like to run the Slickrock trail. I've ridden it dozens of times and always wanted to run it for some reason but never have. So if I have a goal for that weekend, that would be it.

Kicking around the idea of the SJS 50 for some reason. I can't seem to find when they would do the lottery drawing though.