Monday, December 30, 2013

Weekly Training Wrap - 12/23 - 12/29

This was an interesting week with the Holidays. I managed my third week in a row of 30+ miles, but this time mostly just on frequency. There were no "long" runs. I have now accomplished both my running goals for the month of December -- a thirty mile week (I had 30 of them) and a 100 mile month (125 and counting). In addition to the odd week of running, I really didn't do much as far as strength training. I decided this was a good week to take that easy as well. I don't usually give it the credit it deserves, but strength training is another source of stress that needs to be managed.

The best run of the week was my run on Friday where I pounded out some intervals. Now, I admit that it was an easier interval session (with recoveries as long as the intervals), but I nailed it. The design of the workout was to do 6 repeats and between 6:36 and 6:56 (roughly 10k). My splits were a consistent 6:33 to 6:39 and my HR was a consistent 163 - 168, which is on the low side of a 10K effort (probably more like 169-172 for me). This proves that my fitness is not all that bad despite the off year and relatively low miles of late.

I think what I really need is to sign up for a race. Overall my knee feels fine, not perfect, but fine. There isn't really much doubt in my mind that my meniscus is fixed. That part is fairly to figure out since I accomplished both my December goals somewhat easily. The only outstanding question is whether this cyst/bump that has formed is an issue. Nonetheless, I think I can sustainable train at this level, and maybe even a slightly higher level, through the winter as I allow my body to realign and re-balance. The impulsive part of me desperately wants to just pull the trigger on a race, but I have an outstanding doctor appointment that the analytical/smart part of me thinks should happen first. We'll see which side wins!

Day Miles Notes
Monday OffRest
Tuesday 3 Easy with my kids
Body Weight Strength Training
Wednesday6 Christmas Morning Trails
Thursday7Zone 2/Easy
Friday7 6 x 2 min w/ 2 min recovery
Saturday 9Coyote Ridge Trails
Sunday OffRest
Total 32

Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekly Training Wrap - 12/16 - 12/22

A few weeks ago, I said that I would like to break 100 miles for the month and 30 miles for one week. I have now logged back to back 30 mile weeks and am pretty much a lock to get 100 miles this month. Overall I feel pretty good. I think I will take advantage of the holiday week to do some easy trail running and take the week off of strength training, at least with weights. I enjoy mixing in some Yoga for flexibility and body weight strength training.

Right where I want to be....

These past few weeks have been full of mental games. This time of year is always tough for me to find motivation and enjoyment in running. Winter has settled in and I don't much feel like getting up and running alone in the dark. The motivation will return, so I am just trying to be patient. (Signing up for a race always gives me a burst of motivation, more on that in a second.) The other issue is my knee. It sill isn't 100%. However, I am not sure it is supposed to be. By all accounts, I am ahead of the curve for my recovery. And there was simply no way I could have run 30 miles a week back in July. But, there is still a fair amount of low grade, non-specific pain and discomfort. My assumption/hope is that this part of the process and it will clear up, eventually. I did find a small bump on the lateral part of my knee -- could be some type of scar tissue or cyst?  It isn't painful, but I am not sure what it is. Thus, I have made an appointment with my surgeon in the New Year. If he isn't concerned about it, then I will likely take the plunge and sign up for a race. I have to get back on the horse eventually. I am suffering from a lack of confidence right now and just need to push onward and see what happens!

Day Miles Notes
Monday OffYoga
Tuesday 6 Open Space Trails
Body Weight Strength Training
Wednesday7 Solo 4 in the AM
Easy 3 with the kids in the PM
ThursdayOffFull Body Weights
Friday3 Easy 3 with the Dog
Saturday 13Deer Creek
Sunday 4Recovery
Total 33

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Where do I start? I could whine and complain about my knee injury, and subsequent surgery, and just write this off as a bad year. But that would be just lazy, there was a lot of good things that happened in 2013. Let's start with the stats:
  • I will finish the year with something close to 1275 miles, down nearly 50% from my past two years.
  • Vertical gain will be something like 135K for the year, also down about 50% from previous years.
  • I completed a PR in the 50 mile distance at Old Pueblo in March, finishing 20th overall
  • I set a PR in the mile (6:01)
  • My first ever DNF was in April
And now here are few things that are highlights of my year (and things to be thankful for):
  • I summited two more 14ers, including the 2nd tallest mountain in the continental US (Mt Elbert)
  • Four new runners entered the ultra community because of my influence, two of them are planning to run 100 milers in 2014
  • I have am beginning to understand the best way for me to train
  • My first experience as a crew member happened in 2013
  • I did something that scared the crap out of me and rode in a 50 MTB race
  • Both of my kids are regularly running 5Ks and participate in a run club
  • I drank a rare beer at the summit of Hope Pass

Old Pueblo 50

In March, I went down to Arizona and ran with my buddy Steve in his first ever 50 miler. I finished 20th overall and set a PR despite being off course and lost for nearly 30 minutes.

Another belt buckle for my collection.

Leadville Guys Weekend (6/21-6/23)

On Friday, we ran the first half of the Silver Rush course to see it first hand.

On Saturday, we climbed Mt Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado (14,439 feet)

At the top of Colorado -- literally!

On Sunday, Chuck and I ran from Powerline back to May Queen. It would be along the Colorado Trail that I finally realized my season was likely done. By the time we returned for the Leadville Silver Rush weekend, I already had surgery scheduled.

Leadville Silver Rush Weekend (7/12-7/14)

On Friday, we hiked Hope Pass and split a Sixteenth Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker.
100 milers to be: Chuck (on the left) and Steve (on the right)

On Saturday, I rode in my first MTB race, 50 miles and 8K of vertical gain.  Said my buddy JP: "First thing I did this morning was laugh at u going on a 50 mile bike race, untrained and with a Walmart bike."  I finished!

I wasn't smiling on the inside.  At least I wore a helmet.

On Sunday, I crewed four sub-10 hour finishers in the Silver Rush Run, including the 6th place runner.

Jon, Mike, and Steve all finished in under 10 hours. It was Mike and Jon's first ever 50 miler.

Chuck finished in under 7.5 hours, 6th overall

Mt Bierstadt

Dylan and I summited Mt Bierstadt with some friends on July 20th.  It is his second 14er (Gray's Peak) and my third (Gray's Peak and Mt Elbert).

Dylan climbed Mt Bierstadt once before, but we didn't summit due to weather.


On August 7th, I had arthroscopic knee surgery. The doctor removed scar tissue from the medial side of my knee, removed some of the fat pad from the front of my knee, and repaired my lateral meniscus. I was able to start doing some light running 7 weeks later. Overall my knee feels much better know. However, I am still struggling to find the confidence to trust strength of my knee and push it. Every niggle and twinge sends me into dark corners in my mind. Hopefully I can start 2014 with the courage to sign up for some races again.

2 days post surgery, moderate swelling.

What's in store for 2014?

If I have to be honest with myself, 2013 was always going to be a let down. Both 2011 and 2012 were HUGE years for me. Lots of racing and epic adventures. I was lucky to make it through the Leadville 100 and it took me quite a while to get right. My greatest hope is that my knee injury is a thing of the past and that I am something close to 100% by the Spring time. Short of injury, I plan to race two more ultras, including my second 100 -- Bear 100 -- in 2014. As is the case every year, I hope to continue to find more balance in running and life. 2013 really pushed me to "put running into perspective".  Running has given me so much -- family adventures, personal adventures, health, happiness, kids that enjoy being active, etc... But I also need to learn that there is more to life than running. That is a daily struggle for an obsessive guy like me. If I had to pick goals for 2014, they would be to qualify for Western States 100 (again), and to get to the start line 100% trained and healthy of some race, any race, by June.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekly Training Wrap - 12/9 - 12/15

Pretty good week overall with consistent workouts in all varieties. And I broke the 30 mile per week barrier. While the outcome didn't match the effort, I gave a race effort at the 5K on Saturday. Sunday was another hard day due in part to the vertical and in part to the so-so conditions of the trails on Mt Falcon. I was pretty beat Sunday evening and will ease into this week. My quad are a tiny bit stiff/sore from all the breaking on the downhill segments, I clearly need to re-acclimate them and work on my downhill running again.

I have a good start (60+ miles) already in my goal of breaking 100 for the month. Hopefully things continue on a positive track because I am going to have to start signing up for some races soon and I really don't want any negative thoughts heading into that.

As a comparison, I have been tracking my training using Joel Friel's Advanced Trimp score, which basically seeks to measure the training stress placed on your body. The score weights time in higher heart rate zones at a multiplying rate to indicate additional stress on your body. You sum the scores each week to measure the training stress. When I am doing even moderate running (4 days a week and 25 miles), my scores tend to be 300-500. A typical base type week will be around 600 and peak weeks are usually over 800. My training this week was a 640, thanks largely to the large amount of time I spent in Zones 3 - 5 this weekend. I guess the point of that is to say that this was a decent week overall.

Day Miles Notes
Monday 5Easy w/ strides
Full Body Strength
Tuesday Off Rest
Wednesday7 6 x 20 sec Fartkleks
Full Body Strength
Thursday4Recovery with Johanna
FridayOff Rest
Saturday 4Santa Stampede 5k
Yoga for the Core
Sunday 11Mt Falcon
Total 31

Monday, December 9, 2013

Weekly Training Wrap - 12/2 - 12/8

A solid week of training that was more or less unplanned. My hamstring has been slow to recover fully, but is allowing me to keep moving. The OCD side of me wishes I was running more miles, but I am thankful to at least be running consistently. I have a soft goal of hitting 30 miles in one week and 100 miles for the month of December.

The lottery process didn't workout for me again this year. That primarily means that I need a WS100 qualifier for next year. Given that the new requirements are for a 100k or 100m race, that limits my options quite a bit. I am pretty confident I will go do the Bear 100 as my qualifier, but maybe not as a goal race. The rest of the year will be built around that. Hopefully with 3 tickets and a new lottery qualifiers, my odds at getting into Western States in 2015 will be dramatically better.

Day Miles Notes
Monday OffRest
Tuesday 5 Easy
Full Body Weights
Wednesday6 Run in Snow
Thursday5Easy with 30 sec Fartleks
Full Body Weights
FridayOff Rest
Saturday OffRest
Sunday 10LSD midlong
Total 26

Friday, December 6, 2013

Weekly Training Wrap - 11/25 - 12/1

My training has tapered off a bit the past few weeks due to a hamstring pull. I was kind of waiting to see what setback I would encounter first and that was it. Between the strength training and mileage build up, I was bound to find a weak spot. It has been a nagging injury, but a good one to remind me that I have to build back up slowly. While I am currently dreaming of 2014 races and goals, the emphasis really has to be on consistency and patience day to day. Anytime you embark on a big race, the sage advice is to start slowly, let your body and mind get comfortable, and then build momentum as you go. That example is surely something I can follow right now.

Probably the best news to report is that I really have not thought much about my knee the past few weeks. I am reasonably confident in saying that it is fixed. In reality, it will probably be another month or two before I am totally recovered, but the early returns are very positive.

Day Miles Notes
Monday 2Gentle Hamstring test
Full Body Strength Training
Tuesday Off Drove to St George, UT
WednesdayOff Rest
ThursdayOffSkipped St George Gobbler
Friday5 Easy 5
Saturday 5Easy 5 before leaving UT
Sunday 4Recovery Run
Total 16