Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ITI training, week ten

Monday: Weight lifting at gym. I was surprisingly not sore after the 50-kilometer run on Sunday, and did three sets without any struggles, although I didn't add weights this week. A few people have asked me whether Beat and I saw Lance Armstrong at the race — we did. I had no idea the man leading the 35K was the world's most famous ex-pro cyclist, but I do remember the runner in the yellow shirt who smiled and said "Good job" as he passed on the return along the Skyline Trail in a torrential downpour. Lance's win at the Woodside Ramble caused a big stir in the trail running community. I'll just say that I don't have a strong opinion about it, but I think that trail running is for everyone, trail racing is about a community where people from all walks of life can strive together, and small race organizers shouldn't be strong-armed into banning participants just because they admitted to doping years ago in a different sport. It's such a small problem in the scheme of things. Moving on ...

Tuesday: Trail run, 49:22, 5.6 miles, 667 feet climbing. My hamstrings were still crazy tight and there was a hint of quad fatigue left over from Sunday, so I'm happy with the 8:50 average on Monta Vista.

Wednesday: Mountain bike, 4:45, 44.1 miles, 4,884 feet climbing. Our Subaru badly needed new tires, so I took it into the dealership, which meant a four-hour lag time in the waiting room I like to call Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. On this day I planned to hike my bike up all of the steep pitches along my route, for "bike pushing practice" (I realize it's not as effective when the bike isn't loaded.) As I approached the bottom of a locally famous segment of trail known as "Dogmeat," I thought, "I'm going to see how hard I can push this." Dogmeat is an undulating fire road that gains 1,000 feet in 1.4 miles — 500 of that in the final .4 miles. The rub is that the first mile is mostly rideable, but I thought if I ran most of that, it should put me in a good position to "PR" the whole segment. I was gasping flames by the top, but I managed to grab 4th position on the Strava tally, two and a half minutes behind the Queen of the Mountain. I admit I wondered whether I could grab the QOM by really redlining the steep section, but I know that isn't fair nor is it in the spirit of the "No Dabs Dogmeat" challenge. Still, my "All Dabs Dogmeat" experiment does add legitimacy to my theory that in marginal conditions, pushing a bike can be more energy efficient and faster than riding, and during endurance efforts, it pays to swallow pride and hike.

Thursday: Snowshoe, 2:17, 5.5 miles, 1,950 feet climbing. Beat and I flew into Denver in the morning, for the purpose of looking at homes for sale during a series of showings set up by our real-estate agent. It was a packed schedule that did not allow a lot of time for adventuring, but Beat needed to meet with the team at Google in the afternoon, and I had about three hours to kill. New snow and bitter cold temperatures (for Boulder — single digits) meant the trails hadn't seen much use, but I had snowshoes and grand hopes to cover a large loop. In the end I didn't even cover six miles and fought mightily for that distance — breaking trail, slightly underdressed, and not acclimated to the elevation. It was an exhausting three hours. I'll admit to feeling a bit of swagger after Sierra Azul, but Colorado was there to put me right in my place. A mighty slog.

Friday: Morning, Run, 1:16, 6.1 miles, 991 feet climbing. Evening, weight training. I had about 90 minutes free on this day, so I set out from our hotel on Pearl Street, passing Google Boulder and continuing toward the hills. Because this was a road run, I didn't bring my microspikes, but of course I found a trail (Mount Sanitas) and started marching up it without a care in the world. Big mistake. What felt icy but manageable on the way up became treacherous on the way down. I had to do some crab walking. I'll call it an upper-body workout. I continued that workout in the hotel gym later that night.

Saturday: Snow hike, 2:40, 7.9 miles, 2,939 feet climbing. Beat and I marched up Fern Canyon, which is a wonderfully steep trail that gains 2,700 feet in 2.5 miles. Beat went way too hard in the beginning, and both of us broke after we ran out of oxygen in this thin air. At the peak, I proposed we return on the backside of the mountain, because it was a long, gradual descent that should be "runnable." Only there wasn't broken trail — just a deep post-hole track — and we had to move carefully through knee-deep fluff surrounded by wind crust. We made it back in time but just barely, again feeling far too worked for an eight-mile hike. Oh, Colorado. You do know how to strip a person of any delusions that they are "fit." Alaska is good at that, too.

Sunday: Rest. No time for outdoor outings on this day.

Total: 11:48, 44.1 miles ride, 25.1 miles run, 11,431 feet climbing. Light week. Mainly because of time constraints, but with the race on Sunday and the oxygen deprivation in Colorado, it's probably not a bad thing. I also regret that I haven't been on a day-long bike ride in a while, but this is also a time-consuming activity that can be difficult to carve out of a week. Still, overall I am feeling good, and recovering very quickly from the harder efforts — one of the most positive gauges of effective endurance training. I certainly can't complain about our weekend in Boulder. It was very exciting all around. 


  1. Haha, your CO updates made me laugh :) Give me a holler if you ever want any trail suggestions!

  2. Yes, the presence of snow makes me feel deeply unfit as well. Yesterday I slogged through about 6" of new on a "run" before admitting it was time to go back to the icy road. I just had to readjust my expectations. It would have been better to ski.

  3. amazing pic... lance, too many people make a big deal out of this, after being in weightlifting since age 14 and racing (mtb and road)... I've seen it all. Doping and the rest of that stuff is the "norm" at the top. On a world's stage its hard to be honest at the top of the game... very very few stay the straight. There are riders like Tinker and Jeremiah Bishop that have managed without straying to the dark side, but that is few.


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