Wednesday, April 11, 2012

March 25 - April 9

March 25 - April 9
Weekly Totals, Time: 17:40:42 Distance: 90.26 mi. Vertical: 21,413 ft.
Weekly Averages, Time: 1:06:18 Distance: 5.64 mi. Vertical:1,338 ft.


Sunday, March 25: Brad D., and I set out to run the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT), North-to-South, in the dark. 16 miles, one way. Headlamp batteries replaced. Shoes laced. The sun in full sleep mode. Go. In total, we spent almost 5 hours navigating through deep, slushy snow. Winding through dense forest, chatting about life, we managed to get into a three to four mile groove that was silent. No talking, yet we were incredibly vocal. I don't know, it was weird. Stride-for-stride in the middle of Tiger Mountain, the light from our headlamps the only visible ambiance. It felt right. A few miles down the trail, however, we took a wrong turn and wound up spinning around like mice in a maze searching for cheese. After some quick map 'guess' work, we found the TMT, but went the wrong way. after just over a 1/4 mi., we decided that going north was not the right path. U-turning we wound up back on the gravel road. Most of which had been covered in snow. The night sky started to get darker, and as we stood there deciding what to do the shivers set-in. Being in the middle of Tiger Mountain...somewhere...shivering is the last thing we needed. Skirting around a piece of construction equipment we found the TMT, again. This time the path was right. The last few miles were miles of celebration, and miles of relief. We planned on taking just over 3 hours at the most. As we stumbled onto the cold asphalt, our watches displayed, without hesitation, almost 5 hours. Some quick sips of water, some laughs, a big hug and another run was written down in the training log. I didn't really run much more than that for the rest of the. The run was far too long, and felt more like a 'race', in terms of fatigue. I kept things easy to avoid a 'too much, too soon.'

Last week, I set a "PR" for vertical gain in a seven day period. 14,000 ft.+. I know there are a lot of other people that run a lot more than that, but it was a great accomplishment for me. The week started with some solid Hill Repeats on Cougar Mtn. (Wilderness TR); two easy ascents, followed by two quick descents of Tiger Mtn. (Chirico TR) on Wednesday, and ended on April 9. with a 'tempo' up Squak Mtn. (South Access Rd.) Although the time wasn't a PR, the effort felt strong for having run so much vertical that week. I'm getting stronger, and more confident. I do need to work on mid-race confidence, though. It comes in time, but I'm eager for it. Admitting that I struggle with confidence in the middle of hard efforts is tough, but it's true. Acknowledging your weaknesses is the only way to start improving.

Check out my good friend, amazing athlete, and training partner Joe G.'s blog...special treat there, too. (video produced by www.uphillrunning.com)

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Joseph Gray and Trey Bailey