Monday, November 16, 2015

ITI training, week five

Monday: Weight lifting at gym, followed by trail run, 0:55, 4.4 miles, 388 feet climbing. The weight-lifting session went well considering my shoulders and lower back were still a little sore after the 100 MoN. Just my usual 12x12x2 session with the same weights as last week. The trail "run," conversely, was quite bad. I had some digestive issues that necessitated walking uncomfortably to the outhouse, twice, within an hour. That's it — no more high-protein lunches just because I think I'm some sort of body builder now.

Tuesday: Trail run, 0:50, 5.6 miles, 691 feet climbing. Because my Monday "recovery run" went so badly, I decided I was not going to hammer this one out. I managed to run a faster pace anyway — my second fastest on this loop at 8:48-minute-mile average. Running is like that, or isn't it? It still baffles me how so many runners train by pace — I feel like I can't hit a precise pace to save my life. Sometimes I run faster without trying and sometimes I run slower no matter how hard I try, and there's rarely a discernible reason. Note: Maybe light salad lunches make for happier afternoon runs.

Wednesday: Fat bike, 3:14, 29.4 miles, 3,446 feet climbing. Maybe twice a year, I decide to climb the Table Mountain trail out of Stevens Canyon. After I do so, it takes at least six months to forget how horrible that climb is, with its eroded rooty switchbacking singletrack followed by the near-vertical Charcoal fire road. Legally, Table Mountain is uphill only for cyclists, but for obvious reasons it's a coveted downhill trail (I've never ridden Table Mountain downhill. I'm law-abiding to a fault and wouldn't enjoy it anyway.) But I met a couple of mountain bikers who were planning to ride the same loop in the opposite direction. They had a lot of questions about the bike I was riding, which was Beat's YBB soft-tail fat bike. Embarrassingly I could not answer most of them ("what kind of rims are those? How much does it weigh? Is that an Action-tec fork?" Ummmm.) They were nice guys, and although they soon raced ahead, I still managed to reach the top of the loop, Turtle Rock, at the same time as them. Consider Table Mountain conquered, and yeah, I probably won't be back until spring.

Thursday: Morning, weight lifting at gym. Afternoon, road bike, 1:24, 18.6 miles, 1,771 feet climbing. I moved up 5-10 pounds on each of the 12 exercises in my routine. I'm trying to keep it consistently difficult to get through the set each time, and I have this imaginary trainer (Arnold Schwarzenegger type) that says (in more of a Hans and Franz accent): "Pump! Deez are da ones that count!" Anyway, I'm still having fun with the gym routine. Then a quick road bike ride before sunset because it was a beautiful day. I really enjoy this time of year, when the afternoon light is always so rich, and I have to put on a wind jacket and mittens to descend into dark forested canyons before twilight sets in.

Friday: Trail run, 1:40, 8.5 miles, 1,518 feet climbing. Another iffy-stomach trail run with an emergency stop, this time at Fremont Older park. On Monday I cooked all this chicken that I was going to eat for lunch during the week, did so on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, felt off each time, and decided to throw the rest away. At least I rallied for a two-mile spur to the scenic overlook, which is always worth the trip.

Saturday: Mountain bike, 7:55, 76.4 miles, 9,639 feet climbing. I proposed one of our favorite long rides — a loop through Big Basin and Pescadero state parks — and was surprised when Beat expressed interest after a month of recovering from pneumonia. Despite expectations that he lost some degree of fitness, he proceeded to set this blistering pace for the entire day. For as strong as I've been feeling this month, I could barely hang on. I'm still incredulous about this. Strava lets me keep track of these things, and this was my fastest Big Basin loop yet — usually rides on this route fall between 8:30 to 9 hours of ride time. Geez. I don't even want to talk about how I felt when I ventured back into running after emerging from my summer pneumonia fog. Let's just say my fitness base doesn't run nearly as deep. But we had a great ride, and it was fun to get outside with Beat again. My only issue was a knot in my right shoulder, left over from the 100 MoN.

Sunday: Trail run, 2:26, 13.4 miles, 1,896 feet climbing. Rain is the ultimate phantom here in the Bay Area. We can go five months without seeing a drop (I think we actually did this year.) When it does rain, a storm comes and dumps a truckload of moisture in the night, then it's gone by morning. I slept through a storm that deposited three quarters of an inch of moisture in the hills and woke up to sunshine. I probably would have had no idea it rained at all, if I hadn't set out for a morning run only to become mired in peanut butter mud. It was quite windy as well, with a few gusts nearly stopping me in my tracks — probably 35 to 40 mph. Still, I felt great on this run. Just loped along at an easy pace, dodging the worst of the shoe-sucking mud bogs. Everything felt fine. There was no real fatigue from the long ride Saturday. This is my aim with my winter training — to build up tolerance for extended efforts both in the saddle and out, as well as more strength. I think it's going well so far.

Total: 18:26, 124.4 miles ride, 31.9 miles run, 19,350 feet climbing. 


  1. I'm envious of all the time you have for exercise! Do you ever take a rest day? I find I need to at times.

    1. Well, I don't have a very demanding job. My boss is pretty lenient. ;)

      But I don't see 20 hours a week as an unreasonable time investment. I do work on writing and editing projects every day, sometimes on deadline. We participated in a "hot-cold" debate regarding the science of endurance sports at Stanford on Tuesday. Went to a party in San Francisco on Sunday. I still see exercise as only a small part of my weekly routine.

      I don't view rest days as all that crucial, outside recovery after or tapering before a particularly difficult effort. I do change my patterns if I have an ongoing pain that doesn't work out on its own, or if I start sleeping poorly, which is one recognizable sign of overtraining. Everyone has different tolerance levels, and my habits over the years have made me very tolerant to low- to moderate-intensity cardio. So 20 hours a week of exercise is not all that taxing in that regard, and I still feel like I have a lot of time and energy for everything else.

  2. I am envious of the flexibility of your schedule that lets you get the 20 hours a week of exercise in mostly daylight outdoors. weekends give me some of that, but there's still a lot of schedule juggling the rest of the week.

    But somewhat unrelatedly, this showed up in my email feed today and I thought it might possibly be of use to you, despite the fact that you've already added weight training ...

  3. I don't think the 18 hours is unreasonable when 8 hours of it is a day-long bike ride. Ten hours spread over the remaining six days is about what the average marathoner will put in during the work week.

    I've really enjoyed following your training these last few weeks. I've always wondered what it takes to train for extreme endurance events.


Feedback is always appreciated!