Monday, November 30, 2015

ITI training, week seven

Monday: Hike, 1:33, 4.6 miles, 2,293 feet climbing. Beat used his lunch break to go for a jaunt up Green Mountain, whose trailhead is only about three miles from Google Boulder. The views from Green Mountain are spectacular — quite the enviable lunch run. I was wearing spikes and turned my ankle badly on the descent, but was able to work it out with minimal limping.                   
Tuesday: Morning, trail run, 1:35, 6.1 miles, 1,742 feet climbing. Evening: Weight routine. I started from the Baseline Road trailhead and explored some of the lower trails of the Flatirons. It was a toasty day at 60 degrees, and the area was crowded. I struggled with the rockiness of the trails, and did a lot of hiking after turning my ankle again. In the evening I went to the weight room in the hotel for another free-weight session.My shoulders and arms were still sore from Sunday's routine. Still managed 30 pushups over three sets, but most of them hurt and were probably ugly. 

 Wednesday: Trail run, 1:25, 6 miles, 939 feet climbing. Beat and I drove to Salt Lake City for Thanksgiving, but not without stopping in Grand Junction to pick up his latest two-wheeled acquisition. It's true, Beat and I disagree about the number of bicycles he purchases. I'm still considered the "cyclist" in our relationship, and yet I'm the one that attempts to put a moratorium on the n+1 rule. But Beat is an avid fan of Mike Curiak's one-of-a-kind work, and any time one of those bikes ends up on the market, Beat feels he must have it. He also has the appropriate justification of needing the perfect bicycle to take to Nome. Anyway, it's his money, and I admit I enjoy the fruits of his collection. (I'll probably rave about this bike once I have an opportunity to ride it.)

Beat wanted to take his new bike for a spin, so we hit the trails in Loma. While Beat had all the fun, I went for an awkward, slow "run" on the Moore Fun Trail, which is mostly a pile of rocks. I decided that running buffed-out trails in the Bay Area does not aid in my aspirations to become a desert or mountain trail runner. The same goes for mountain biking, although I admit that any technical terrain is far from my first choice if it doesn't involve a large reward (like amazing mountain vistas.) I only have so much patience for staring down at trails rather than looking up to my heart's content.

 Thursday: Snow hike, 1:31, 4.5 miles, 1,641 feet climbing. Beat, Dad, and I embarked on a quick pre-feast hike to lower Bell Canyon falls in the morning. Felt good, maintained a fairly fast pace on the powdery climb just trying to keep up with these two (6 out of 20 for the 2.1-mile Strava segment.) But this didn't feel like a hard effort.

 Friday: Snow hike, 3:04, 7.8 miles, 3,198 feet climbing. Gobbler's Knob is a 10,200-foot peak above Salt Lake City. Winter trail conditions were good, but even in good conditions — even in summer conditions — this climb is a grind. A cold front was moving in, carrying high winds and lower temperatures (it was probably 10F at this altitude, with a steady 20 mph wind gusting to 30, which was calmer than we expected.) Our total time was four and a half hours, and stopped time was fairly minimal in those fierce windchills. I so enjoy these difficult slogs, even if their numbers look so puny in my training log.

 Saturday: Snowshoe, 2:43, 7.9 miles, 2,574 feet climbing. The storm brought a few inches of new snow, so we opted for a winter wonderland jaunt to the Red Pine lakes in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The temperature was 17 degrees at the trailhead, and it dropped swiftly when fog and flurries moved in. Later I learned a gauge at Snowbird recorded temperatures of 0 to -3F around this time, and we were just a few drainages over from the ski resort at a similar altitude. I was underdressed and not pulling my weight in the trail-breaking department, so I felt cold for most of the climb. We hiked along the slushy shoreline of Lower Red Pine Lake and continued a true slog to Upper Red Pine, breaking trail in several feet of powder through a treacherous boulder field. I struggled enough with my footing that I could barely keep up with Beat and Dad even though they were breaking trail, but didn't generate much heat at the 0.5 mph pace. A stiff breeze drove the windchill well into the minuses, and I became quite cold — numb shoulders and thighs cold. At the lake I did some callisthenics to push some blood back to my limbs. We were able to move a lot faster and even run some on the descent, but I didn't feel warm until a mile from the trailhead. In this way, it was a valuable training exercise.

Sunday: Afternoon: Snow run, 1:20, 6.7 miles, 1,178 feet climbing. Evening, weight lifting at gym. There was more fresh snow on Sunday, and not enough visibility to get excited about a mountain hike, so Beat and I ran a loop on the Ghost Falls and Clark trails in Corner Canyon. (Note: I did suggest Beat ride his bike instead, but he chose to run with me.) This was a fun run — I love loping downhill through fresh powder. The temperature at the trailhead was 26 degrees. It felt downright warm, until we hit the wind in the more open areas, then brrr. I took Beat to the airport in the evening, and then spent the next hour looking for a gym — I belong to this national chain that used to have several locations in the South Salt Lake Valley, but apparently at least two of them have closed. I kept trying new addresses because I'd already invested so much time, and finally I found a very nice franchise in West Jordan. Going back to my machine routine after two weeks away was encouraging — I felt very strong, upped all my weights, and didn't struggle with the third set as much as last time. It will be interesting to see how sore I feel tomorrow.

Total: 13:13, 43.9 miles run, 13,563 feet climbing. This felt like my lightest week since I started this training block. I would have liked to embark on a day-long effort, but it can be tough to squeeze in eight hours in a one push, especially while out of town and spending time with family. The Friday and Saturday hikes were both difficult, and good preparation for cold. Yes, still no rest days, but those other days of 90-minute jaunts are really just warm-ups. I'd like to hit closer to 20 hours per week for most of December, but I don't stress about specifics. As seriously as I'm taking ITI preparation, I will always prioritize "life" over "training" — I just do a lot of combining of the two.

A few more pictures from Saturday:

Dad and Beat after the climb, before they changed into their warm gear. Dad cracked a rib after he tripped while trail running more than a month ago, and is just getting back at it. (Dad and I share the clumsy gene.)

 While navigating the boulder field between Lower and Upper Red Pine lakes, we all stumbled into and over our fair share of hidden rocks. Here, Dad dropped his foot into the narrow opening between two boulders, and the snowshoe wedged underneath like a latch. Even with Beat reaching to loosen the binding, it took several minutes to work his leg free. This gives me more pause about solo winter travel — it would be unnerving to have this happen while alone. Because you can't see the boulders beneath the snow, you can't always avoid the holes. They're like miniature crevasses.

 Upper Red Pine basin, at 10,100 feet. The sun was trying to break through the fog. Scary boulder minefields, frozen fingers, frigid winds, and the 0.5 mph pace ended our desire to climb any higher. 


  1. Ha. 90 minute warm ups. I really love trail running but my choices are the type of trails you describe--rocky and steep and my pace is so slow I might as well be walking. I have to think they are doing some good, and it's beautiful, but I do wish I could stride out sometimes.

  2. Finally getting some wintertime training! Good for you. And good for keeping up on the strength training. It seems I recall you couldn't even do one push up when you were visiting last year? And now you are up to 30! Great job!

  3. Great job with the strength training. Just don't "up" the weight too much and hurt yourself but it sounds really promising so far. The trail runs look and sound like great fun. We are just starting to really sweat here in Australia so the cold sounds awesome.


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