Monday, June 20, 2016

Leadville 100 Training Block #2 - May 20 - June 19

Our camp in Leadville last week. Five days of wonderful peace and quiet!
Just completed my second training block for Leadville. Two more blocks to go. You can read how I have broken up my training from April to August and the structure of all of that here.

First the numbers for this training block which was from May 20 until June 19th (yesterday.)

Training Block #2 Miles Planned = 275 (Note: This number became obsolete during training block #1 and pushing a lot more volume that expected.)

Training Block #2 Actual Miles Ran = 391 - 69 hours and 34 minutes of running time.

Training Block #2 Miles Riding the Mountain Bike = 28 (And this just happened yesterday.)

So there is a third number in the mix now and that is the biking and I will explain that in a bit.

This past week was okay... I feel like I fell off a bit but I understand why at the same time. 81.3 miles of running, in 15:41. Throw in the bike for 28 miles of riding, in 2:19. About 13K in climbing running and 4K climbing riding.

So last week... I learned (relearned) a very important lesson in training and that is do not compromise a week's training with a single workout. My Tuesday morning track workout I was bound and determined to nail all of my 2 mile intervals in under 13:00 each. My motto or mantra going into the workout was to make every step count, make every lap count, make every mile count... and I did.

Nailed the workout... compromised the week.
At first after the workout I felt "okay" worked but not bad but as soon as I got home that was when the wheels fell off. It took about four hours to get my energy level back to where it should be and well... shit just hurt... all of it from the waist down. If I had to describe it, it felt more like I raced a hard marathon like Salida as opposed to doing morning workout on the track.

Wednesday I ran here in Aspen early in the morning and felt "okay" but not 100% either. Pressed for time, I shortened my 15 mile morning run to 12 in order to get home and get ready to leave to go camping in Leadville later that morning where we would be staying through father's day. Ran another five up in Leadville Wednesday night and still felt okay but still not great.

Thursday though was when I felt it all hit me. I went to run the section from the treeline towards Twin Lakes, an out and back totaling 15 miles. It was hot, and nothing felt right... I had the stride of a 90 year old man, and I know my form is nothing great but that day it was worse... More or less felt 100% and totally depleted throughout the run.

But I got to do my good deed for the day and that was this... About a mile out (outbound) from where the Halfmoon II aid station would be I ran into two guys who were walking and looked absolutely more miserable than I was... they were lost.

Two soldiers form Fort Carson had climbed Elbert early that morning with their company and on their way down they took a right down the Colorado Trail (instead of left and down to the parking lot/trail head) and subsequently bushwhacked until they found the road where I met them.

After talking to them and figuring out where they were parked, their route that morning, and everything else, I walked them to the Colorado Trail turn and explained to them exactly how to get back. I hope they made it.

I would really like to call/write the base commander at Fort Carson and have a talk with him about sending his troops into the big bad woods so damned unprepared. No maps... no compass... no radio... and relying only on cell phones (which didn't work) for comms? WTF? I won't even go into their gear or lack of. I was friendly of course and helpful as I didn't see this as these guy's fault (totally) but I did tell them that if they have a suggestion box in their unit that maybe suggest the next time they take off on an outing like this they at least have a radio for each team of two...  These guys had nothing and were headed in the wrong direction and with all of those fire roads out there they could have wandered a full day if I hadn't had found them... Anyway...

That run ended about as it started... rough. And Leadville was HOT that day.

Took Friday as a forced rest day. Legs still felt trashed and I was just tired. Spent the day eating everything in sight as I know carb depletion happens much more quickly at altitude plus I wanted to have a good 30 miler on Saturday, which I did.

Saturday I took off from Sugarloafin' to May Queen, up and over to the Power Lines and back for a 30 mile round trip that went pretty good. Did it in 5:54.

But after the run I was still feeling lots of aches and pains decided that now it is time to mix in the bike and since Leadville go so hot so quickly Sunday morning, I decided to wait until I got back to Aspen yesterday afternoon before setting off on the ride.

(Ache and pain inventory as of Sunday morning - left knee, left calf, left hamstring, right calf. Most of which I feel is the result of Tuesdays workout compounded throughout the week.)

Good ride yesterday which is causing everything to feel a lot better today and I mean night-and-day better... So I have plan! :)

This week was supposed to be a 100 mile week running but I am not going to run it all. I have a 35 mile run planned for Saturday but everything else this week I am going to ride. (That is unless I just can not keep myself from the track Tuesday morning as that is routine and habit now. But even then no speed work, maybe just a MAF test for fun.)

So here is the deal... the age old question and debate... how many miles of riding equals one mile of running? How do you compare the two? Some people like to throw numbers out there like it is a 2:1 ratio riding to running or 3:1 but nothing definite, just bro-science and speculation... Of course I could look historically at how many TSS (Training Stress Score) points are used up in a week of running looking back on Training Peaks, and I think that might be close... actually probably pretty damned accurate but I have simpler idea...

Instead of relying on some ratio that may or may not be accurate and instead of relying on TSS points which might be more accurate but still, who knows... I am going to gauge this week by calorie burn mostly.

I burn on average 100 calories per mile so in 100 mile week that is 10,000 (roughly, it's a target) calories burned. My hypothesis if you will is that will also come out to 1400 - 1500 TSS points which is again consistent with a 100 mile week at least by Training Peaks standards.

So between riding a shit-ton this week and Saturday's 35 miler, I still expect this to be my biggest week of the year which will be followed by an 80 mile recovery week next week.

And to be honest I am excited about this week as I see it a challenge to cram in so much time in the saddle for six of the seven days. But it will also allow me to range out further and see a lot more stuff around here that I have yet to see or have not seen in awhile. Plus there is the overall benefit of giving my body a week off from running impact for the most part which as much as I might deny it... I know that I need right now.

I had a pretty bad wreck on my skateboard last summer at the end of July and because of that I could not run (could barely walk) for about a week and half. Banged my right ankle pretty bad landing on impact going about 30MPH.  But I could ride just fine and be totally pain free and when that week and a half was over and I did start running again it was pretty awesome how I felt. I am expecting those same results after this week with such a heavy bike focus.

We shall see...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Breakthroughs And A New Metric For Fatigue

Thank god for dirt! As I have been waiting all spring for trails to clear out I have been pushed into running a lot more harder surfaces than I would have preferred. Of course all of that resulted in not what I would call injuries but more like shit that just bugs me from time to time, shins, calves, some knee stuff, etc. Nothing serious but "there" nevertheless.

As things have been melting and clearing out quite rapidly these past three weeks, I'd estimate that 90% of my weekly mileage has been on trails and I noticed last week that every little ache and pain has magically dissipated. Like I said... Thank god for dirt!

Last week was a pretty cool learning week for me though both in my running life and I guess in a way in my professional life as well. The cool thing first...

When Melissa and I first moved here or when I spent my first weekend/week here in August of 2013 I ran and I rode a lot. One of the first things I realized that here around Aspen, up is UP... the terrain while not impossible is definitely challenging and more challenging than I was used to. I told Melissa back then that if I were to live here and to be able to train "right" here that there was no way in hell I was not going to get stronger.

But for the past two years I realized that I have been fighting the terrain, or the terrain has been working against me... or I guess me working against it... Or in other words it has been a constant source of "stress" in my workouts that maybe limited me a little bit.

On Thursday's run though I realized that was not really the case anymore. That I am actually able now to work with the terrain in my favor in any part of a run. That the third climb in a run isn't so much an obstacle but more like a feature... maybe that makes sense... maybe it doesn't. Sort of hard to explain.

The other thing I learned or really put together is how fatigue affects my work especially my professional blog. Writing typically comes rather easy to me. (Though editing does not) And most days when I write my daily article, once I settle on a theme, a subject, or a concept, the words just flow out rather effortlessly. But some days I struggle and last week on Tuesday after an especially hard morning run and a crappy night sleep, writing was damned near impossible.

It has been something that I have experienced a few times the past two to three months...  At times I feared it was lack of creativity or that "the well" was going dry but no... it's just some days I am tired and on those days writing is a challenge... Just something else for me to be aware of going forward.

The hardest day of training last week? Friday. Why? Because I had to force myself to take a complete and full total day of rest and do absolutely nothing! Last week I ended up getting ahead of my miles and in order to keep to the structure I needed to bleed off a day a running so Friday was that day. I took advantage of the day to get a massage, just on my legs, and that was nice. But sitting around and not doing anything or getting out was a challenge. But it was worth it as Saturday's 30 miler turned out rather awesome.

Elevation Profile For Saturday's Run
Headed up to Leadville on Wednesday to camp through the weekend. I am NOT doing the Leadville Marathon, nothing to be gained there for me but will be running on the 100 course some. I have a plan. It will be nice to get out of Aspen especially since the Aspen Food and Wine event is this coming weekend. (I'll keep my socio-political comments about that particular local event to myself.)

Anyway.... good week last week... 92 miles of running, 16:17 time, with 18,067 feet of vertical climbing. My biggest week of vert this year and that will continue to grow as I can range out even further and higher as things continue to melt out.

Monday, June 6, 2016

And the Beat Goes On

Up at Four Corners. This is the ridge that divides the Hunter Creek drainage from the Woody Creek drainage at about 10,000 feet. Still a bit of snow up high.
As predicted, summer finally arrived in Aspen last week on Wednesday... a day earlier than forecasted. YAY! Without going into my total lack of appreciation, understanding, or comprehension of winter sports (putting wood on your feet and sliding down a mountain as if it is fun) I will just say that from now until October is MY absolute favorite time to live in Aspen. THIS is when it is a paradise.


Good training week last week. Was supposed to back off a bit but I followed Saturday's 30 miler with a fifteen miler instead of just five. BOTH runs felt pretty good. I was amazed on Saturday when I hit mile 20 just how great I felt and how much I was NOT dreading the next ten miles. All of THAT waited until about mile 24 to set in. Still a win.

As for Sunday I gave myself the freedom to run whatever I felt like. If I felt like only five, fine. If I wanted to go further, then fine again. I did handicap myself by only taking one water bottle and one gel on purpose as so to limit my range Sunday morning but the truth is if I had another bottle... following Saturday's 30 with a 20 would not have been a huge stretch.

In all this training for Leadville I have had a plan but I have deviated from it somewhat and have been doing a lot of volume week after week with no clear idea of direction or an absolute end result in mind. Just enjoying the volume (running a lot) and being where I am in training I guess.

But yesterday it occurred to me that I needed to get things dialed in a little tighter. There must be structure! After a wonderful chat with GZ this morning and ruminating on all of that information, on my run at lunchtime I came up with somewhat of a heavy yet still periodized schedule and structure that I think is manageable and at this rate sustainable.

The beauty of it is that I KNOW what the last five weeks going into Leadville are supposed to look like and that doesn't vary... the awesome thing is that what I schemed up over my run today dovetails perfectly into that. The next 11 weeks are fully and perfectly planned out.

Was it by accident or by design? Was my inner genius guiding me along all this time? Who knows... LOL!

Haven't weighed myself in over a week. But I will say this... this morning I washed my cargo shorts and decided to wear my jeans instead, they are 31x30. At first I figured foregoing the belt... but as it stands, the belt was mandatory instead of optional. Another win.

Took the Trek to the shop today too for a tune-up and to get the old sealant out of the tires and to put new sealant in them. I figure in another two weeks I will begin to mix the bike in as things melt out further... Not quite ready yet.

Anyway... that's about it... here's a perfect quote I found today on training that is totally true.

"If you under-train, you might not finish, but if you over-train, you might not start. - Stan Jenson