Sunday, November 01, 2015

ITI training, week three

Monday: Rest, mostly. I did do a three-mile dog walk with Ann in Auburn.

Tuesday: Morning, weight lifting at gym. Afternoon, trail run, 0:53, 5.8 miles, 704 feet climbing. This was my second gym session, so I tried a routine (subject to many future adjustments) of 12 exercises, 12 reps, two sets. There were a few exercises in which I couldn't reach 12 reps the second time around, and lots of huffing and puffing, but I never forced it. I take each rep slowly and if I can't make the exact same motion I used on rep one, it doesn't happen. Eight hours later, I went for a run that was one of my best in months. Seemingly effortless but fast — I thought it would take me weeks to build toward a 9-minute-mile average on this loop, and I came close on Tuesday (9:09 m/m). I'm guessing that's an anomaly more than a trend.

Wednesday: Fat bike, 3:09, 30.9 miles, 3,619 feet climbing. There was a lot less post-gym soreness than last week, although my hamstrings were sore. I decided I'm not going to include lower-body lifts in my gym routine, even though I have tons of fun with the leg press machine. Anyway, I took Snoots out for a ride that included more than enough leg punishment — Bohlman Road, pretty much the steepest four-mile climb in all the land. I challenge anyone to pedal an obese bike up that mountain and see how they feel at the top. I was actually blissed out, because this climb hit that perfect pitch of an effort I almost couldn't handle, to the point where I drifted into a dreamy flow state, but wasn't so difficult that I fell through the bottom into a swamp of stress and frustration. My reward for such undeserved uphill fun was a fast descent through El Sereno, which features big views across the valley as you swoop around high-banked turns. What a great ride. I'm still buzzing about it.

Thursday: Road bike, 1:28, 17.4 miles, 2,401 feet climbing. Montebello Road, still a whole lot harder than I'd like it to be.

Friday: Trail run, 1:12, 6.8 miles, 904 feet climbing, then weight lifting at gym. I felt like I took it easy on the run, but it was hot — I had to change all of my sweaty clothing before I hit the gym — and then I felt awful. It wasn't sore muscles, really ... I just had no energy and couldn't make it through lifts that felt easy on Tuesday. I incorporated three new upper-body exercises, and by lowering weights eventually made it through all the reps. I don't plan to always run and lift on the same day — ideally, I would lift Mondays and run Tuesdays. But on Thursdays or Fridays I hoped to double up. Clearly I should always lift first, since that's the harder workout for me. That feeling of fatigue is a bit brutal and yet satisfying — it's the kind of fatigue that takes many miles of running or biking to experience. For this reason, I'm excited that I'm trying something new.

Saturday: Mountain bike, 4:57, 43.4 miles, 6,674 feet climbing. Still buzzing from my Wednesday ride and ignoring the frustrating activities that followed, I set out for a long ride on Saturday afternoon. It was a warm Halloween Day (probably hit mid-80s.) I took a loop from my house that I hadn't yet tried in full, but it's a perfect combination of truly punishing steep climbs and fun singletrack descents. (Strava map link.) Somewhere before Russian Ridge I ran out of water, and went about 45 minutes without fluid under the hot sun. Even thirstiness did not make me grumpy, as I was really enjoying myself. I can't express how grateful I am that my biking bliss has returned.

Sunday: Trail run, 3:48, 18.3 miles, 3,334 feet climbing. I spent the first five miles catching up with my friend Martina. She split off and I continued toward Black Mountain at a comfortable zone 2 pace, walking when necessary rather than spiking my heart rate. As I hiked, I became unreasonably annoyed at how drenched in sweat my shirt and hair were, and about the sunscreen-laced sweat stinging my eyes, and the fact it was 80-something degrees on November 1, and I hate summer so much summer makes me sick and slow why is it always always summer here ... (trailing off into grumbling.) Then I ate a packet of applesauce and felt a whole lot better. Heh. Most of that temper tantrum erupted from low blood sugar, but I do struggle mentally with just how many months of the year are full-on hot here. The Bay Area has a lot going for it, and I'm not unhappy with my location, but yes, it's a challenge. I'm like a winter-hater in Minnesota, except a lot fewer people can relate to how I feel. And I did run out of water, again, about three miles before a planned stop at a fountain. But I'd already had my temper tantrum, and running out of water was my fault rather than something I couldn't control, so I sucked it up and kept running.

Total: 15:29, 91.7 miles ride, 30.9 miles run, 17,635 feet climbing. These last two weeks have been fairly tough, in good ways. I've been sleeping well and feel energetic in the evening ... once these factors change, I know I need to dial something back. Beat is finally coming out of his pneumonia fog, although he may still be a ways out from feeling up to hard efforts. I'm proud of how well he's taking care of himself ... I certainly didn't do as well back in July.

I will take it easier next week ahead of 100 Miles of Nowhere on Saturday, probably not much running. But I'm especially excited about how great I felt on the bike this week. That is, with the exception of riding Montebello Road specifically, where jitters are getting the best of me. I haven't been this nervous about performance before a non-race in a long time. 


  1. I certainly don't know everything but I have learned it's better to lift first. When you do cardiovascular first, especially at the rate you do, you don't have much left to give. Also, I never used to do leg work in the gym either. I am paying for that now. Sone muscles become stronger as we do our running/hiking/biking and others stay weak, thus I am dealing with a possible ITB/quad imbalance thing right now. Squats are the best, possibly.

    1. Tips are always appreciated! I have this idea for an off-season gym routine that centers around body weight, free weight, and core work, 3-4 times a week. I'd still do my fun weekend outings but perhaps less time outdoors during the week, during the allergy and grumpy heat season.

      I frequently develop IT-band irritation that most likely stems from extremely tight hamstrings. Most of my running issues, including my tendency toward "slurring" my feet and tripping and falling, probably centers on my hamstrings. I've wondered, if I became really disciplined about a stretching or yoga program, how much that might help. Again, all these are "off season" ambitions, as it's just a little too much to do this on top of trying to build up my endurance, which past experience has shown me needs volume over anything else. Once ITI is over, we'll see if I can avoid the lure of a summer race and really try to focus on wellness. :)

  2. So glad to hear your bike training is going well and you are having fun on the bike again!! More snow this weekend and this coming week in Fairbanks. I'm bummed I can't get out yet to enjoy it but trails are starting to shape up nicely. Can't wait to hear your 100 MoN report. You can do it! Wish I was going to be there to do it with you (although not sure I could deal with the 80 degree weather). Have fun!

  3. For you weight training, might I suggest you find a copy of the "Body for Life" book. It's a little older, but, does provide a good introduction and logical sequence to strength training for newbies to the stuff. Yes, there's quite a bit of "cheesy" with the book. But it does explain weight/strength training and provides decent variety.


Feedback is always appreciated!