Today is the first day of spring, and that means training needs to get serious for any summer projects or goals to be completed. Last year I was already well into my G & T Challenge, which consumed one of my two free days every week, preventing me from focusing 100% on any other goals. This year my two main goals, as stated before, are to do Nolan's and to race in the US Skyrunning Ultra series. The two goals do not go hand in hand, as Nolan's is a long walk in the mountains, while the US Skyrunning races are fast 50Ks (Tushar is 50 miles) on fairly runnable courses. As such, I need to build massive endurance and vertical stamina, while also somehow maintaining any leg speed and tempo endurance I have gained over the winter. Not an easy task, and one that I continue to struggle with in my mind. My work and volunteer schedule keeps my life pretty tight, but my plans right now are to focus on recovery, tempo, and fast speed work during the week when I have only about 1 hour each day before catching the bus to work. On my two free days, I am hoping to spend them slogging up and down mountains to get in the massive vertical training necessary for Nolans. How these two opposing training plans mesh is up in the air, but that is the idea going in from here on out. I will also be taking a random day off when I can to try and get one more long, vertical oriented day starting in April. Not sure how it will all work out, but that is the "plan".
So, to start it off, I did the M5 challenge today. I've done this before, and it is always a killer. Run (hike) up and down Mt. Morrison's southeast ridge 5 times for a total of around 10,000' and 20 miles. It went well, but I could certainly tell that I didn't have my climbing legs as I have done more road stuff over the winter.
Long's Peak from the summit of Mt. Morrison.
Pike's Peak from the summit. So crystal clear this morning, you could see forever...
Speaking of which, last Saturday I ran the Erin Go Braugh 7.77K race in Westminster. This was the shortest race I have ever run, and I had little idea what I was getting into. Most of the winter has been spent building a solid base, with some surge runs thrown in here and there, and an occasional tempo run as well, along with vertical slogs. I figured I would just go as fast as possible from the gun and see if I could not hold on. After a mellow warm-up, I lined up and took off with the lead pack. I instantly hit a wall but kept pushing and trying to keep pace. The pack thinned out and I soon found myself running alone. Umm, I thought that only happened in ultras, not fast road races? At the turn around, I noticed that I was not alone, and the entire 400+ field was right behind me. I kept pushing, chanting positive mantras over and over in my head and just praying that I could hold on. I could feel a good burn in the legs, and my stomach started to get acidic, but I just steeled my eyes on the finish and kept pushing. I crossed the finish line and instantly threw up, right there off to the side. Nothing bad, mostly just a tad bit of water/stomach acid. This is the first (and only) time I've every tossed my stomach after only running for 4.8 miles! I guess I was pretty much at my limit. At the results, I found out I was 8th overall, and 2nd in my age group, which was a shocker. Pretty good for a MUT oriented runner I think. I might have to see if I can't loose my breakfast in an even shorter race!
Notice my hat above, pretty cool. Here is a better shot.
I got it from the magazine Like the Wind, out of the UK. I also wrote a piece for them, which finally showed up in their latest issue. Pretty psyched to have my name in print alongside Bill Rodgers (yes, him), Dakota Jones, Guy Oliver, and a slew of other running writers.
I had a good friend make me some custom snow tools for this coming season. Made by Paul Sibley, one of the original climbers of the area from back in the '60s and '70s, he did a great job. They are made of aluminum and titanium and are perfect for moving fast over snowfields on the local mountains. I got a set of two, one for each hand.
Ran up Grays and Torreys a week or so again, testing snowshoes once more. Not much snow compared to last year, but I still really enjoy the mountain and area. Soon the better lines will open up and some serious adventures can be had.
The Apex trails are running so nice right now...
Got a first-hand look at the Rowdy Mermaid kombucha brewery yesterday. Jamba is turning out some incredible flavors and brews. If I could, I'd drink a bottle a day simply for the health reasons.
Finally, I picked up about 200 pairs of old, used running shoes from BRC Littleton. I was thinking, most people are excited about spring because of the flowers, longer days, warm weather, etc. I picked up these shoes, filling my little VW Rabbit to the max, and was thankful that it was warm enough to keep the windows down. Nothing like a car full of used running shoes with the windows up and the heat on...