Tuesday: Weight lifting at gym. Had a great session with my usual 12 exercises, 12 lifts, three sets. Finally back to "normal" with my highest weights. I still think the only thing lifting weights makes me better at is lifting weights. But at this point, four weeks out from the ITI, I just have to accept that what I have is what I get.
Wednesday: Road bike, 2:28, 31 miles, 3,224 feet climbing: Finally, a mostly dry day to ride my road bike! Oh, it was pure bliss. So fast, so smooth, so fun. I took on my go-to Highway 9 to Page Mill loop, but mixed it up with a climb up Redwood Gulch to challenge my balking central governor. Redwood Gulch gains 700 feet in one mile and has a section on the lower end with 20 percent grades. With my road bike gearing it's forced intensity — the slowest I can pedal still spikes my heart to ~180 beats per minute. At this intensity, my breathing becomes shallow and fast. It worries me — although it may be a recent bad habit I can fix with more focus.
Thursday: Mountain bike, 3:23, 32.7 miles, 4,139 feet climbing. Bohlman Road is like Redwood Gulch, times three. Beat basically won't ride it after some bad experiences while he was recovering from last year's Iditarod, and it's broken me a number of times, when I went out just that small percentage too hard. It's a good "breathing test" climb, although I admittedly soft-pedaled it about as much as it can be soft-pedaled. I managed to reel in the gasping, but still felt uneasy about my breathing and somewhat oxygen-deprived. The reward for climbing that mean road is descending El Serreno. For good measure I returned via Fremont Older.
Friday: Weight lifting at the gym. I only did two sets on this day because of "tapering." But I had some pre-race jitters that I took out on the seated row, and managed to pull a muscle in my left shoulder. It actually hurt a lot. I didn't tell Beat about this because he scolds me about my poor execution of weight training.
Saturday: Trail run, 5:54, 29.9 miles, 6,414 feet climbing. Crystal Springs 50K. This is my "PR" course, so I feel like I should be able to run it fast, and admittedly went out what was probably too hard for my current fitness (i.e. lack of top end/limited recoveries from long efforts.) I've gotten pretty good at managing these mid-range efforts on limited calories. Over six hours, I ate one package of Shot Bloks and two packs of fruit snacks, which is about 360 calories total, and only became hungry toward the end because it was lunch time. In my opinion this is a good adaptation for the Idiatrod, where bad weather can limit opportunities for food intake, and calorie sources can dwindle if sections take a lot longer than you're expecting. Breathing was mostly good, although the weather added its own challenge, with these bursts of drenching rain that set off a "drowning" reflex and prompted more gasping. Again I was able to reel it in and focus my breathing before it escalated to the attack level. I've now been on a maintenance inhaler for just over a week, and used an albuterol inhaler before harder workouts (i.e. Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.) This may be helping. It's hard to say.
Total: 16:30, 84.4 miles ride, 43.4 miles run, 18,635 feet climbing