Monday, October 3, 2011

September 25 - October 01; September Training Review

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 8:21:43 Distance: 52.50 mi. Vertical: 10,910 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 1:11:40 Distance: 7.50 mi. Vertical: 1,559 ft.

What a week! My first week as a 27 year-old has been a great one. I hit my goals, ran new trails, and got a new camera. I can't ask for much more. My body feels good, my legs feel fatigued, and my mind wanes in-between. Ahh, the signs of proper training. I closed the week with a stellar 10 miler. It wasn't hard, it just felt good, negative split every mile, and it was on fairly tired legs. The weather has been cool, misty, and gray...and I kind of like it. It keeps the exercise doable without too much weather related stress to deal with. My shoes are holding up. The foam 'rock guard' was smashed within 80 miles, but so far, at 257.5 miles I am really, really enjoying the Montrail Rogue Racers.
Montrail Rogue Racer 0 Miles and 257.5 Miles
Month in Review: September

Monthly Totals ~ Time: 32:34:37 Distance: 184.70 mi. Vertical: 39,805 ft.
Monthly Averages ~ Time: 1:18:11 Distance: 7.39 mi. Vertical: 1,592

As my foot steps deadened to a muted shuffle across the golden amber hue of pine needles, the sunlight forcing itself through sporadic gaps in the organic ceiling, I felt like a bridge over a dry creek bed: wasted. The rain forest like humidity slowly strangling my oxygen deficient lungs. Each respiratory contraction felt like I was squeezing water out of a damp sponge instead of exhaling carbon dioxide. My thoughts, now, saturated in discomfort were firmly rooted in anticipation of a windy haphazard revolt, like the root system of the 70m tall Abies procera's ominously reaching skyward above me. I set my backpack down, well, I dropped the pack in defeat rather than consciously placing it in a resting spot, effortlessly succumbed to the magnetizing pull of gravity. I'm sure the amber-orange pack welcomed the reprieve from salty, body-odored sweat build-up even if the full stop was jolting and potentially damaging. I set my camera on the five foot tall wooden trail marker, indicating the junction of two well worn paths ambling purposefully towards no end, and calmly set the self-timer to capture my emotions as visually parallel as possible. I flicked the camera off, middle finger proudly standing tall, index, ring, and little finger crouched in terror, and the thumb elongated like a dorsal fin to guide the anger upwards and with force. I sighed and smirked as I reviewed the picture on the small low-resolution screen. There was a youthful ambiance of a selfish kid in a clothing department store kicking and screaming because shopping was not on his self-designated important schedule, and to cope with, and possibly change, the unplanned detour surely a temper-tantrum would alter the present dilemma. Not so much. I deleted the picture and pretended it never happened. I slid the camera off the wooden trail sign, placing it quickly into the plastic zip-lock sandwich bag, and stowing it in the right hip zippered pocket of my pack and trotted patiently with a humbled mindset forward. I had seven more steeply undulating miles to work through and, now, I was going to do it with patience and not force.

I don't know why the first part of the aforementioned run was so difficult. I was five to six minutes behind my typical easy intensity pace and yet it felt as if I was working at a speed record while towing a hundred full-size rubber car tires behind me up the mountainside, and at an average grade of 14% any extra baggage isn't just limiting it's debilitating. After the stop, though, it was like a reset button had been pushed and I slowly ascend the mountainside of self-inflicted annoyance and anger and started running. September has been an amazing month of running, with very few downs. I'm drawing closer and closer to my race date (October 30) and my legs, mind, and body are starting to fall in stride with each other. Days like September 23rd are humbling and refreshing.

The last week of September did bring to fruition my loosely defined goal of 50+ miles with 10,000' of vertical gain, so it's nice to start checking things like that off the pre-race list. Hopefully, the first week of October will bring another goal week, but it's all relative to speed of adaptation. Patience is often the most controllable variable when it comes to ensuring a low risk of injury and high yield to a new fitness level.

Sunday, September 25 ~ Wilderness Creek TH - Cougar Mountain
Time: 0:47:00
Distance: 5.98 mi.
Vertical: 1,500 ft.

Base Run. Quick run post-work. Watch battery died .71 into run, but time is fairly accurate due to cell phone and distance is based on previous run on same course. All in all, I'm pleased. Ran faster than usual. Just felt the need to run uninhibited, tonight.

Monday, September 26 ~ Cougar - Squak Corridor TH - Cougar Mountain.

Time: 1:58:36
Distance: 10.76 mi.
Vertical: 2,791 ft.

Base Run. Windy, rainy, foggy, cool. Fall is a beautiful time for the trail. Ran Most of the last 1/3 of the upcoming 50k course, today, and man it's going to be a tough one. 2/3 of the course under my belt and I'm at 7200' of gain. Nice. I'm really looking forward to this race. One month plus a week left.

Tuesday, September 27 ~ Sky Country TH - Cougar Mountain
Time: 1:08:31
Distance: 7.03 mi.
Vertical: 1,044 ft.

Base Run. 1000' of Gain. Good to get that out of the way. I've now run every part of the 50k course. Thoughts: 1st 1/3, not too bad, 1000' of gain in 6 miles and then a big 1500' drop into SR 900. from there the fun begins. 2nd 1/3, is going to be either where you die or live with 10 miles and 4500' of gain the decisions made on Squak Mtn. will determine how Cougar treats you for the final 3rd 1/3 of the course. In sections the last 1/3 shouldn't be tough but to put 20 miles in before will surely be a different beast. Tired minds lead to careless foot placement. If the uphills don't get you, you may find yourself planted firmly on the forest floor descending the mountain. Heart rate looks great, not sure about pacing, yet. Not really sure I need to be, ha.

Wednesday, September 28 ~ Newcastle Highlands Trail Exploration
Time: 0:55:23
Distance: 5.68 mi.
Vertical: 954 ft.

Recovery Run. After deciding to explore a new trail I found myself descending a previously ascended 600 ft. climb, legs and arms dotted with swollen, irritated bumps from attacking thorns and nettles, and was supposed to be flat and easy. I had fun, legs felt fine, hopefully they'll recover before tomorrows adventure. I'm not worried, but damn are my legs a tingling with poison.

Thursday, September 29 - Off Day/Recovery
Time: n/a
Distance: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Friday, September 30
Run #1Run #2
Time: 1:53:24Time: 0:27:35
Distance: 9.92 mi.Distance: 3.13 mi.
Vertical: 3,833 ft.Vertical: 60 ft.
Run #1
Base Run. 3800' of Gain. Ran the correct course, today. Felt lost mid-way through, but made the correct choice at the fork in the trail. Weather feels great: mid-50's under the cover of trees, low-60's under the cover of clouds. Trail is in perfect condition for quick descents and heart palpating ascents. Hopefully it lasts for another 30 days. The countdown to race day has begun!
Run #2
Recovery Run. 60' Gain...not sure why I continue to count that, ha. Average Heart Rate: 127, so it definitely stayed easy. Rocked some CW-X tights because I was too lazy to take them off after work and, to my surprise, that felt pretty damn good. Crisp air, car fumes, and light pollution made for a most enjoyable concrete trail run. The Hattori's have been spot on in terms of great sidewalk recovery run shoes, by the way.

Saturday, October 01 Time: 1:11:11 (All first places, nice.)
Distance: 10.01 mi.
Vertical: 625 ft.

Tempo/Negative Split. 600' of Gain. Laced up the road shoes (Saucony Kinvara) and set out for an easy 8 miler and then, after a 'behind-the-bushes' bathroom break decided I felt great and dropped 10 miles with negative splits on tired legs. A 152 heart rate average wasn't too bad and I'm surprised at the overall ease of how things felt. Here are the mile splits: 8:13.4 - 7:58.8 - 7:23.8 - 7:15.4 - 7:15.2 - 6:54.4 - 6:42.5 - 6:38.9 - 6:30.1 - 6:15.9 . I feel like I'm starting to get into shape, we'll see if there's any noticeable fatigue tomorrow. The road usual tends to take me for a loop of tiredness, sometime none, sometimes too much, haha.