Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thoughts pre-Phoenix Marathon 2014

Ok, well, I got injured prior to Utah Valley last year, didn't get to run, and haven't updated this since then.  I got my hip healthy in time to throw in 2 weeks of semi-serious training and then threw down a surprising 1:16:01 at the Haunted Half Marathon in October.  I tried to double back for a PR on the super aided Snow Canyon Half a week later, but cramped in the first mile and only managed a 1:16:23, despite something like 1800' of downhill.  I took an easy week, and since then, I've been extremely consistent in building up for Phoenix, which is in a few days.

In my 14 weeks weeks specific to the marathon, only one was below 70, but I never broke 90, which means that I was always fresh and ready to hammer some big workouts.  I am employing a 13 day taper, so I'm feeling VERY well rested and extremely excited to race.  I've only raced seriously once in this time period, when I hit a 17:02 5k at the Salt Lake Winter Series 5k.  Interesting to note is that this is my fastest unaided 5k at altitude, by a margin of 2 seconds, and I ran it rather easily with faster splits each mile, passing nearly half of those in front of me in the 2nd half.

Beyond this, I've had some monster workouts that indicate to me that I'm in great shape.  The last workout of my training season was a 20 miler with the first 9 miles at 7:00 pace, miles 9 to 19 on a treadmill at altitude (found it to correlate well with flat road at sea level) at 5:53 average (5:55 from 9 to 14 and 5:51 from 14 to 19), before a 1 mile cooldown.  Prior to Phoenix last year (ran 2:50:00.1 while very sick), I could barely manage a single 10 miles at this pace (fastest 10 mile workout on an altitude treadmill was only 2s/mile faster), and I just did it in the back half of a 20 miler, so that left me feeling pretty great.

I very easily ran 26.21 in 2:45:32 on a treadmill in training a month and a half ago, with a marked quickening of pace after 23 (ie, had a lot left), so I'm confident that I'll be strong through the race.  Last year, I was very sick in the 2:50, but that was still coming after pushing quite hard for a 2:53 on the same treadmill in training (very nearly race effort, as compared to a not-quite-easy, but  more casual 2:45 this year), so that workout gave me a lot of confidence.

Beyond the mileage, I've gotten in an unbelievable amount of cross training (and hip strengthening) through skiing this year.  I've hit the slopes 38 times since mid-November and almost always ski really hard, so that's increased my leg strength, hip durability, and overall fitness.

My goal for Phoenix is to run a 10+ minute PR and break 2:40.  I'm in far better shape than when I ran it last year, so I think this is reasonable.  Since running Phoenix last year, I've reduced my half marathon PR from 1:22 to 1:15 and have since shown the ability to run 1:16 on a course equivalent to flat/sea level while nowhere near peak fitness, so I think I'm definitely in shape to run in the high 2:30s.  In fact, after taking several months almost entirely off after my hip injury (averaging well under 10mpw for 10 weeks), I was still in shape to run a 9 mile tempo on a rolling sea level course at 6:01 pace, so holding that sub-2:40 pace should be doable.  The only possible downside is that the current weather forecast calls for a 16mph headwind and rain during the race, so that won't be conducive to fast times.  However, we're still 4 days out, so hopefully things will change.

No matter what the weather brings, I'm in the best marathon shape of my life, healthy, and ready to throw down a performance that maximizes my current ability on Saturday.  I'll make sure to post a report here afterwards!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week of 4-28-13: 73 miles (Provo City Half Marathon race week and Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 5 of 9)

Sunday: 14 miles of mostly singletrack trails with Chuck Konopa in ~2:15 (watch died with 2 miles to go).  We took it easy and hiked all of the steep uphills, which there were a lot of.  My place to his house to City Creek to Dude Peak Trail (.6 miles at a 40% average grade) to the ridgeline, most of the way up, down the 2nd to last offshoot, down into Bountiful, back through NSL to Bosho, up to the towers, down the front side gravel road, through the neighborhood, and back to my place through memory grove.  My garmin won't connect to my computer anymore (actually, it won't even charge properly half the time), so I can't get its reading for altitude, but Chuck's altimeter put the peak of the run at 63xx' atop a massively rolling ridgeline, with a low point of 43xx' at the bottom of Memory Grove and another pretty big climb out of North Salt Lake to the towers, not to mention all sorts of other rolls and ups and downs elsewhere.  Just counting point to point major climbs, it's high 3000s for vert, with all the rolls, it's got to be at least 4500'.  Not bad for someone who is basically a road dude at this point. :)  In any case, the pace was anywhere from 6:40 on a downhill mile to 16-ish on the mile that included the Dude Peak Climb, and actually that 16-ish mile was tough, while the 6:40 was conversational. Hah.

Monday: 6 miles, to liberty park, 1.25 laps (looped one quarter of it after the full lap), back to the aves, up to smith's, and back home.  Very lazy effort, barely under 8:00 pace.  Haven't had a day this short and easy in 2 weeks (since the recovery from BOSHO), so it seemed smart to allow some recovery.

Tuesday: 10 miles. Lunchtime: 4.5 miles. Drove to work in the morning, realized that if I gave up my parking spot to go home for lunch, there probably wouldn't be one when I got back (tons of closed spots... ugh...), so I jogged home and back to work to eat and let Holly outside.  Pm: Another 5.5 miles with Holly.  To, in, and from City Creek on roads.  Easy pace.

Wednesday: 10 miles @ MP, treadmill, 62:40 total.  Actually felt terrible for the first 4 miles or so.  It wasn't that the pace was too hot, but I got some weird sort of motion sickness from watching TV or something.  Fortunately, it went away and the last 6 miles just felt super relaxed and easy.  I could tell that I was moving fast, but it just felt effortless today.  I guess 2 short easy days in a row really makes a difference.  Did the first 9.7 at 6:18 pace and then couldn't resist the temptation of kicking the last .3 at 5:00 pace.  I finally signed up for Provo City half the day before, so this was really encouraging given a race coming up.

Thursday: 11 miles, 79 minutes, easy.  Aves to Liberty, most of a loop, then out the other side, down a ways into south salt lake, back, back around liberty, and back home (slightly more complicated to end at an even mileage, but no-one really cares, myself included. hah...)

Friday: 4 miles, 3.5 miles with Holly at very easy (8:00 pace) and then some pre-race strides.

Saturday: 18 miles.  Warmup + cooldown + Provo City Half Marathon in 1:15:33.  Massive PR (previous PR was 1:22:06 from SLC half in 2010), felt extremely smooth and just all around fantastic today, with energy left in the tank at the end.  Race is 900' net downhill (about 100' worth of roll), so it's not downhill enough to make up for the elevation (average right on 5000').  Flat at sea level for this performance would be worth low to mid 1:14, which still sounds absolutely ridiculous to me.

Got up at 4:00, had two bananas, a capri sun, and some powerade.  After letting Holly out and using the bathroom twice myself, I drove down to Provo around 4:30, getting there at 5:20, with just enough time to get my packet and get on a bus.  We got up to the start line an hour early, despite being one of the last couple buses, so I got to hang out in the cold for what felt like forever.  I used the bathroom two more times (that Cafe Rio from last night apparently didn't mix well with my lactose intolerance), warmed up by lightly jogging about 2 miles (estimate, no Garmin), and then finally got started.
My Garmin won't connect to my computer anymore for some stupid reason, so I don't have every single mile split, but I remember quite a few of them.

1: 5:46 - Really comfortable, the most downhill mile.
2: 5:47 - Once again, really comfortable, also quite downhill.
3: 5:49-ish - No longer quite so downhill, but still really comfortable.
4: 5:42 - Not as downhill as the first 2 miles, but I guess I had started to pick it up. 
4 - 6.2 - Still comfortable.  Had planned on just ensuring that everything was below 6, but everything stayed in the 5:40s rather comfortably.
6.21 Split - 35:48.  My PR is 35:07 from Des News '09, so this made me nervous.  Still, felt totally fine.
7 & 8 - Still in the 5:40s, surprisingly still not really hurting at all.
8 Split - 46:12, as I recall.
9 & 10, still in the 5:40s, starting to realize that I could hang onto this pace the entire time, which was really exciting.
10 Split - 57:48.  4-ish minute PR en route?  Even if I haven't run a 10 miler since 2008, wow.  Super stoked.
11: 5:52.  This mile had tons of roll and a really long climb, so I was OK with this being my slowest mile by 3 seconds.  Calves were just starting to feel slightly sore, but everything was very rhythmic and smooth.  Still felt totally relaxed.
12: 5:39.  Lots of juice left, time to hammer.  Basically almost net flat, but cranked out my fastest mile.
13: 5:40. Pushing it in.  Really excited about the prospect of sub-76.
Last .13 (Garmin had 13.13): 34 seconds, massive kick.  4:22 pace.  So much energy left.  Ridiculous.  Could've hammered out another 5 miles at sub-5:50 if I had to.

Finished feeling absolutely elated to have run a massive PR and faster than expected (anything under 1:18 would've been a good sign for Utah Valley Marathon in 5 weeks IMO, and my goal was sub 1:17).  Not only was it faster than expected, but it was a lot easier than expected.  If I had known that I was capable of this fast and willing to push it from the gun (ie, been willing to wreck myself), I could've probably taken a minute off, but for now, I'm very happy to be a 1:15 half marathoner.

Cooldown - 3-ish miles, some with James, and then some more by myself.  Didn't wear Garmin, so estimate.  I'm calling the total of 5-ish between the up and down 4.9 miles so my week won't end on a fraction of a mile (I hate this. hah.)

Total: 73 miles, with a huge PR.  I'm going to take this next week easy-ish to ensure a full recovery, even though my legs feel no different after the half than after a typical hard workout.  This next week will be in the 70s and I am not going to let myself push it past that, because I want to be extra fresh to hammer out another high 80s / low 90s mile week for week 7.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Week of 4-21-13: 95 miles (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 4 of 9)

Sunday: 13 miles.  The original plan was for 13 miles mostly on trails with Holly.  However, it was too hot out and there wasn't enough water to be had, so I shortened her run to 8.  She wasn't interested in running fast today, and I didn't really care one way or the other, so it was very easy.  I dropped her off, and then went back out for another 5, all on roads.  Went a little harder,  but still easy, just a hair over 7.  It was nearly 70 degrees and I didn't have any water for myself, so I was pretty darn thirsty when I finished.

Monday: 14 miles, 1:40.  My place to South Temple to 5th East, down to the end of the road at 4500, which apparently was exactly 7.00 miles as I hit the intersection, and back.  Did mile 13 (a slight bit uphill) in 6:35, the rest mostly just a bit over 7:00.

Tuesday: 11 miles, 1:25.  2 x easy run, counts as interval training, right? :)  In all seriousness, I didn't have much time to run today.  I had enough time for an easy 5 with Holly around 6:30 PM (39 minutes), to, from, and a bit in city creek.  After that, didn't have time to run until 11:30, when I did 6 (46 minutes) in Aves / U.  Up 4th to cemetery, a sort of cemetery loop, had to come back halfway to get out up on 11th (was getting fenced into the cemetery at nearly midnight! hah...), then above Shriner's, up into the gated community, down the path to dry creek, out through JCC, back winding around north campus to south temple, and then back home.  Had a fair amount of climb and some slow early miles, but did the last one at 6:17 pace (net downhill, but with substantial climbs going from 2nd ave to 3rd ave and later from 3rd ave to 4th ave).

Wednesday: 16 miles, workout.  Left work via car, picked up Holly from daycare, dropped her off at home, and then ran 2.6 miles up to the track at the U (kind of humorous given that I work literally one building away from the track).  Workout was 4 miles, 3 minutes jog rest, 3 miles, 2 minutes jog rest, 2 miles, 1 minute jog rest, 1 mile, then of course the 2.6 miles home.  I wasn't sure whether I was going to do 4,3,2,1 with slightly increasing speed or 10 right at 6:00 pace, but quickly decided on the former, as it was quite windy and I felt that it would be hard to keep myself mentally engaged and right on pace the entire time by myself if I just did 10 hard miles straight.  So yeah, the goal was to do the first 4 miles at about 6:00 pace and then kick down a few seconds per mile each interval after that.  I hit it spot on and had a little more than I expected at the end.

Splits were:
4 miles - 24:01 (6:00 pace)
*3 minutes jog rest* 
3 miles - 17:52 (5:57 pace)
*2 minutes jog rest* 
2 miles - 11:46 (5:53 pace)
*1 minute jog rest*
1 mile - 5:37

I really didn't think I would end up having anything faster than 5:45 in me at the end, so I was pleased.

Workout was hard, but not extreme.  I was in control and it really didn't feel crazy except on the last lap of the 2 mile (pulled out an 86 after a bunch of 88-89s) and the 2nd half of the mile (85, 86, 85, 81).

The cooldown on the way home wasn't really fun, but it probably helped shake out my legs.  I don't usually do several mile cooldowns, but I intentionally planned the run this way to force a longer shakeout.

Thursday: 11 miles, quite easy (1:30, granted, with 1000'+ climb, and mostly on trail), all of it with Holly (her longest run in quite some time, if I'm not mistaken).  My place to Memory Grove, up to City Creek, up on the trail to the watershed boundary (ie, the end of the trail), back down, back to my apartment, up D to the cemetery, and back.  Garmin was acting up quite a bit and lost connectivity repeatedly on the trail over a 15 minute span on the way back.  It would frequently drop out for ~10 seconds, add on to my pace while counting time but not distance, and when it reconnected, it wouldn't seem to add even a straight-line worth of the missing distance, as it usually does.  At one point, on what was probably my highest effort mile of the run (still easy-moderate effort), the Garmin claimed I completed a mile in over 8:00 despite a net downhill of ~300' (ie pretty nice downhill).  When I got into a clearer area with less tree branches overhead and the Garmin stopped being stupid, I backed off, had a less steep mile, and ran 7:2x (very easy pace).  So yeah, ridiculous.  I think it's safe to say the 10.7 it gave me was more like 11 low, so while I'd normally try to go out of my way to get a complete mile, today I didn't.

Friday: 10 miles 1:05:xx.  Had no real plan except that I wanted to do 10 tonight.  Ended up running to the 700 side of liberty (a bit over 2 miles), lapping it a little over 4 times to end up on the 500 side (a little under 6), and then running home from there (2-ish).   1 mile easy, downhill, in 6:50-ish, then 7 miles at average 6:17 pace (a flat / very slightly net downhill mile to Liberty, then looping around the park a hair more than 4 times), then 2 miles easy, back, uphill, at 7:40 average.  Pace was a hair faster than goal marathon pace for sea level or at altitude with copious downhill, so it was somewhere between half marathon and marathon pace, a little closer to the tempo side of things.  Effort felt smooth and relaxed, but hard enough to tax me a bit.  Still, legs felt fresh and solid, despite this being a pretty big week for me.  Wore my awesome new American flag shorts, shoes, and nothing else, and got cat-called 6 times in the last 2 miles after my iPod died.  Ahh, Friday nights...

Oh, and got in a couple miles of hiking earlier in the day (Arapeen to the Living Room and back), while carrying a bunch of food in a cooler, which was surprisingly tiring. 

Saturday: 20 miles with Sasha Pachev, Chad Robinson, and Steve Ashbaker.  We did the first 2 miles at about 8:00 pace with a few of Sasha's younger kids, who are pretty fast (Jojo had a nice kick at the end).  After that, we went 9 miles up Provo Canyon, hitting mid 7s pace, gradually getting a little faster.  We turned around at mile 11 of the run, ran 12 still pretty easy (6:50 ish on the downhill), and then ran a bunch of faster miles.  From 13 to 18, gentle downhill, slight head/crosswind we hit as fast as 5:57 and no slower than 6:20 (~6:10 average), and then I really started to feel the big mileage in my week.  Mile 19 was mostly flat, but net slightly uphill, which I hit in 6:33, and then mile 20, with tons of uphill, was a massive struggle and I barely hung on to sub-7 pace.  It looks like a blow-up, pace-wise, but more than anything, it was a product of increasing grades.  I should mention that Steve and Sasha took off at mile 18, whereas Chad, who had picked it up around 11 rather than 12 and gapped us, was behind after about 16.  Overall, this is about what I expected from myself today.  The last couple miles were quite difficult as a result of all the mileage in my legs, but I managed to hang on somewhat well.

Totals: 95 miles.  332 miles in the last 4 weeks (83/week average).  Good totals so far, and have yet to have a discouraging run during this cycle.  Legs felt crappy-ish near the end of today's 20 miler, but that's understandable.  Otherwise, they felt good all week.  I think I'm probably going to race a half marathon next weekend, not to mention that this week was pretty big, so I have 2 good reasons to keep next week as one of the lighter ones in the cycle.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week of 4-15-13: 73 miles (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 3 of 9 / BOSHO Trail Marathon Recovery Week)

Well, if a 73 mile week with an exceptional workout and another good quality long run is low enough to help me rest up from a fantastic/hard-effort 4 hour trail race, that is a good sign.  I'm really happy with how this week went and I'm excited to push the envelope this coming week.

Sunday: 5 miles, easy, recovery.  Felt a new form of extreme confidence about my running abilities that I've never felt before, thanks mostly to my really great result the previous day.  Legs weren't feeling spritely, per se, but I was just really excited and happy to be running, even more than normal.

Monday: 6 miles, easy recovery.  Another easy day, with Holly.  Blew off grad school for the afternoon to ski, did the run afterwards. :)  

Tuesday: 9 miles, mostly easy, except 1 mile (the 6th one) at marathon effort.  Up to the U, to Sunnyside, lapped research park, and back.  Didn't actually get out the door until 11 tonight, so it was freezing cold and super windy.  It sucked at the time, but I'm glad that it wasn't more pleasant, because I probably would've run farther out if it had been.  My legs just felt a little stiff and tired during the last 10 minutes or so, so I'm glad that I finished when I did.  My marathon effort mile was mostly coming down foothill and partially on 1300 east, so I had a bit of an angled tailwind for 80% of it and a bit of an angled headwind for the last 20%.  Still, the downhill carried me nicely and I somehow split a 5:59 mile with ease.  Everything else was slow (maybe a 6:55 next fastest mile with a 7:58 slowest mile running up foothill into a headwind).  Running at 11PM sucks, by the way.  It's way too late and quite tiring.

Wednesday: 11 miles, easy, 79 minutes.  My place in the aves to 3rd east to 33rd south, to 7th east, back to my place.  Cold (mid 30s) and quite windy, not super fun, but legs are feeling better everyday after the marathon, so I'll take it.

Thursday: 17 miles in 1:46:40, treadmill.  First 4 on one treadmill with a fan behind me, felt super easy (essentially treadmill + tailwind), but at about 3.8, the belt started slightly skipping and I could smell smoke, so I hopped on another with a fan in front of me after 4 miles, which felt only marginally harder, but noticeably so (basically, a headwind).  First 8 miles at average 6:20 (~MP), alternating 6:18 and 6:22, next 2 at 6:00 flat (just a hair slower than tempo), next 3 alternating 6:18 and 6:22, 1 at 6:00 flat, and then 3 more alternating 6:18 and 6:22.  Really freaking hard workout, but I probably had 2 or 3 miles worth of MP left before the wheels would have come exploding off, and even on mile 17, I felt in control.  What makes me happiest about this is that it came 5 days after the BOSHO Trail Marathon race.  It took until the Wednesday for my legs to feel pretty normal again, but for this run, they felt great.  On Wednesday, I felt like doing a long workout on Thursday would be a gamble, but I definitely made the right call.  If I can hit 5 more super clutch workouts like this before Utah Valley, keeping my average mileage at roughly 80mpw and, most importantly, not beating myself up, I will be ready to rock.

Friday: 7 miles, easy.  My boss gave me a free pass to Brighton that was about to expire, so I skied in the afternoon, and then ran.  With Holly, to, in, and from City Creek.  About 3 miles worth on trails.  Legs felt pretty good after yesterday's workout, but I had a pretty typical altitude reaction (not feeling all that great, energetically) while running after spending time at 10,000'.

Saturday: 18 miles.  2.99 miles to get to Jordan River Parkway, 6.01 miles down the path, and then back the same way  First 9 mostly around 7:10, with one 6:45 thrown in (mile 8, just shy of marathon pace at altitude, sort of by accident).  On the way back, I split 6:29, 6:23, 6:21, 6:19, 6:21, 6:21 for my miles on the parkway (10,11,12,13,14,15).  The intent was to run about 6:35-6:40 for altitude adjusted marathon pace, but I kind of just got into a groove faster than that, so they wound up more on the tempo side of the tempo / MP continuum.  Did the last 3 back in 21:1x, all uphill, but not feeling hard.  Legs felt great for the whole 18 miles, although a pretty heavy rain (with a slight bit of hail at one point) opened up a few times (maybe 3 times for about 10 minutes each time), once at the start, once near the middle, and once near the end of the hard miles.  Not super fun in super short shorts and a technical heat gear muscle shirt, but I dealt with it.  Nutrition was one gel right before the turnaround, no water, no anything else.  Pretty cold out, so I was OK without hydrating.

Totals: 73 miles, with 62 in the last 5 days.  If I can run this much, with such an exceptional workout, while still fully recovering from a hard 4 hour race effort, that's excellent news.  I'm starting to feel very confident about the fitness that I'm building for Utah Valley.  237 miles so far in the last 3 weeks (79 a week average so far) and it feels very easy to sustain and build upon, even with high quality days.

This coming week is likely to be either the biggest or the 2nd biggest of the 9 week plan.  I did an easy 13 today to start the week and felt great, so I'm going to hammer out a solid workout and put in some good mileage.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Week of 4-7-13: 78 miles / BOSHO Trail Marathon Report (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 2 of 9)

This week revolved around the long run, which was the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon.  I had a terrible race there last year (I had food poisoning), so I wanted to be fresh and ready to pop a good one. Saying I did so would be a gross understatement.

Sunday: 8 miles.  Very easy out and back, to and in city creek with Holly.  Not flat, but still, a hair over 8min pace.  Legs were tired after yesterday (17.5 miles with tons of climb, then two hours of hard effort skiing).  Going to sleep a lot tonight.

Monday: 12 miles, treadmill.   First 9 miles at 6:22 (roughly goal MP, ever so slightly slower), next 2 miles at 5:56, last mile at 5:33.  Last mile was pretty ridiculously hard. :)  Nice to get things going again marathon pace / tempo wise.

Tuesday: 8 miles.  With Holly.  To city creek, up the single track towards the radio towers, but not all the way there, down the front side, through downtown, back home.  Pace was casual (only got down to ~6:50, even on the steep downhills).  Fortunately, yesterday didn't really beat me up and after "only" doing 28 miles in the last 3 days, I'm feeling pretty rested again.

Wednesday: 10 miles.  AM run!  To Kevin's, to Liberty, 3 x mile @ Kevin's sea level MP with .4-ish mile jog rest, back up 7th, back home.  Repeats were 5:40 (faster than it was supposed to be), 5:48, 5:48 for Kevin, but I was apparently saving a non-negligible amount of distance by running on the inside, so mine were about 3 seconds longer as I kept going until my Garmin clicked off a mile.  My legs could still feel the hard effort from Monday and running out the door literally 15 minutes after waking up, without eating, probably wasn't helpful, so this felt a little harder than it normally would.  It wasn't like racing by any means, but I didn't really feel relaxed, especially on the first one.  Oh well, still nice to put some fast miles in the legs.

Thursday: 8 miles.  East up the aves towards the U, got off at S, crossed to 1200E, criss-crossed over to Liberty, ran a lap plus a little extra to go use the bathroom in the middle, then back over to 200E, back up to the Aves, back over to E, and then back home.  6:45 pace with 400+' of climb, which would be low-mid 6:30 on flat (without altitude conversion), so roughly marathon effort.  In all actuality, it felt pretty easy, which was good.  I was sweating a fair amount despite low-mid 50s weather when I finally got out the door at 7:45 PM, but felt really relaxed.

Friday: 5 miles, roads easy.  Day before race!

Saturday: 27 miles Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon, 2nd place, 7th fastest runner in the history of the race (9th fastest performance, as Karl Meltzer has finished faster than my time in 3 of his 8 starts).

I wasn't expecting to run well here.  I haven't done much trail running since last summer, and I haven't run anything over 3 hours in ages.  Only 5 people here had ever broken 4 hours, and of the 3 that did it last year, 1st was the Speedgoat 50k record holder (before Kilian came out here) and a 2:35 marathoner (Kevin Shilling, 3:52).  2nd place was my good friend Adrian Shipley, a sub-32 10k who was in really peak form had been training 110-120 mile weeks for some time (3:59).  3rd I don't know much about, but his name comes up a lot in local trail running (Mick Jurynek, also 3:59).  In any case, I had beaten some of Adrian's trail splits recently, but don't have the huge mileage in my system, so I figured that 4:05 was the absolute best I could possibly run, and that was if everything aligned perfectly.  It never does for me on trails, so I figured anything under 4:15 was a pipedream.

Anyway, I got out to the race with like 1 minute to spare (after having to use the bathroom 4 times this morning, thanks to eating an entire pizza last night), and when the race started, I shot off the front.  Last year, the top guys had crushed the starting bit, so I was a little confused when I had 30 seconds on everyone within a half mile, but decided to just go with it.  I didn't really enjoy the rockiness of the Red Butte loop, but had 60-90 seconds on everyone when I came back by the start at 4.25 miles (1st aid) in 35:xx (lots and lots of techy climb already).  I cruised through and decided I was probably going a little hard, so I backed off slightly, but maintained a solid lead over everyone for a few miles.  I hit Dry Creek Trailhead at about 42 minutes or so, and kept my lead until eventual winner Ben Lewis caught me on "Uncle F...er", an unbelievably steep climb that goes for about a half mile at 40% grade.  Everyone hikes it, as running is slower than walking on something that steep, but he was clearly stronger on the uphills and just hiked away from me.  I could see a couple guys a little bit back down the trail, but nobody else wanted to make a move.

I kept the pace up while running down the ridgeline to the 5-way (opposite of the Steeplechase course) and came out into the meadow still in 2nd, with 3rd place (Drew something) pretty close behind.  I had to refill my water and wash an exploded gel packet off my hands, so he left the station a second before me.  I sat on him for a bit and we ran about 6:20 pace from the meadow down to city creek, which felt extremely comfortable and easy.  When we started going uphill to the towers on the west side of city creek, he gradually started pulling away, but never got more than about a minute or two in front of me.   Cresting the radio towers peak, I could see that I was maintaining my distance from him, after he had somewhat decisively started gapping me, so I figured that he would eventually slow and I would catch him.

After dropping into the North Salt Lake Meadow, we took the obnoxiously difficult trail back up to the ridgline on the east side of the meadow, at which point I realized I was maybe gaining just a slight bit (probably just a couple seconds per mile, but enough that I could probably eventually catch him).  Coming up to the ridgeline, I eased off slightly on the effort and ran pretty smoothly until I got to the super steep plunge back into City Creek (better part of a mile, 40% grade).  I was pretty nervous about this plunge thrashing my quads, but I seemed to hold up OK.

I got down to City Creek, coasted the trail to the bottom, and was still gradually gaining on Drew, hitting the trailhead back to the meadow at 2:58.  I had figured that if I hit here in sub-3, I'd have a slight chance at a sub-4 if everything felt exceptional, but really didn't expect to get here in under 3:10, so I was pleased with my split.  However, I could see Kevin Shilling (last year's winner) getting closer to me.  At this point, knowing that he is an exceptional climber, I figured he would catch me, but I also figured that I could re-pass Drew to at least stay on the podium.  With that in mind, it wasn't a surprise when Kevin caught me on the steep climb back up to the meadow.  However, he never really pulled ahead of me, so after refilling our bottles (gatorade this time, as I had just recently finished my 6th and final gel and figured I'd need the calories), we pushed each other to catch Drew.  We finally got him a minute or two out from the aid station, and Kevin finally started to pull away on the steep climb back up to the main trail.

As soon as we got into some rollers, I immediately came back up on Kevin, where I stayed until we started going up to the 5-way.  At this point, I decided to just push it hard, so I put about 30 seconds on him going up to the 5-way, and then realized that I could probably hold him off on the rolling downhills to the finish, so I just started pushing hard from there.  My legs still felt great, so I figured I'd go for broke and try to catch Ben.  However, I never ended up coming up on him (he apparently pushed even harder and probably put another 2 minutes on me after the aid station) despite hammering sub-6:10 pace for most of mile 24 (still techy, but pretty downhill, with similar effort on the more rolling miles).  I figured that I needed to be off the Dry Creek trail with 6-7 minutes to spare if I was going to hit a sub-4 at this point, so when I got off with just over 6 minutes, I figured that I had a slight chance to make it in at 3:59:xx.  However, the story of the day was that I'm a poor climber right now, so I struggled up the last climb and couldn't quite close fast enough.

I finished in 4:00:26, 6 minutes behind Ben, having put 10 minutes on Kevin, and ~15 on Drew in the last 5-6 miles.
Ben became the 6th guy to enter the exclusive sub-4 hour club (which also includes Karl Meltzer, from a few years back, the first sub-4, Christian Johnson, 2 years ago, and Kevin, Adrian, and Mick from last year) while I became the closest to have missed out.  I was obviously a bit disappointed that I couldn't find another 27 seconds in a 4 hour race, but I ran a really exceptional race with almost no error, given my current fitness, so I'll take it.

I guess trail is easier on the legs than asphalt, as my legs feel really good afterwards, no worse than after a standard several hour long run.

Despite this really strong performance out on the trails, I am certainly still focused on road running.  I'm probably going to get in off the wait list for Speedgoat 50k in July, but I'll treat it similarly to this race - very far from a focus, but I'll still be happy to run well.  Despite the fact that I fully expected a massive blow-up today and I managed to prevent it, I should say that I more-than-fully expect a super massive blow-up at Speedgoat.  Bosho is a really hard course, especially for road guys, but Speedgoat, with its new course, boasting 12k' of gain on extremely technical trails, over 31 miles, is probably the most monstrously difficult trail race, course-wise, aside from the Hardrock 100.  I'm not planning much specificity for it, so it will undoubtedly hurt. :)   

In any case, I'm going to relax with some tasty drinks and a lot of ice cream for the rest of the day, and soak in the feeling of finally having run, essentially, my first perfect performance in a long race on trails, after 6 years of trail racing.

Nutrition during the race:
6 Powerbar Gels, 110 calories a piece, lots of sodium.
40 ounces of water
10 ounces of gatorade (somehow managed to not drink all that much, so I guess the cool weather must have helped).

For distance: GPS put it at 26-mid, but I'm always suspicious that it's slightly short in the more heavily wooded sections with tons of sharp turns between city creek and the U (plus some other people had it slightly longer), so I'm going to call it 27.  It's generally considered to be slightly long, so this is in line with the general consensus.

Totals: 78 miles, with 36 on trail, 12 on treadmill (might as well be road, just more controlled), and 30 on road.  A great week with a solid first workout back and a really stellar long run

Week of 3-31-13: 86 miles (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 1 of 9)

I'm already in pretty good shape and I'm well rested at this point, so I'm going to run Utah Valley Marathon on June 8th and try to go for a sub-2:45.  My mileage was low last time and I ran sick, so I think I can eke out another 5 minutes with better training and good health.

Sunday: 15 miles, very easy casual run with Joe Dean.  My apt to memory grove to city creek to the very top of the road (last quarter mile sucked with a lot of snow) and back.  Easy pace, nice to just put another relatively long run in the legs.  Note that I did 16 the day before.

Monday: 8 miles, with Holly, 4th/D to B, up to 11th, down to city creek, up a few miles (on the trail), down Memory Grove, back up 4th.  Easy on the way up, MP for 3 of the 4 miles on the way back (Holly was sick of running fast after that and started dragging).  Started sprinkling with 1.5 to go and raining hard with .5 to go.  Definitely felt a little painful on my bare chest. Hah.

Tuesday: 10 miles.  9 miles with Holly.  First mile easy (including the climb up Rattlesnake Gulch to Pipeline, at a 20% grade), then 3.5 out at marathon effort and 3.5 back at marathon effort, followed by 1 more easy mile (mostly just back down Rattlesnake Gulch).  Note that I say "marathon effort" as I was actually not going marathon pace.  All of the "MP" miles were at a hair over 6000' on a rocky trail that, while generally flat, had a lot of bumps, mini-hills, and tight turns, leading marathon effort to net me only 7:02 pace, compared to 6:20 or so that I'm shooting to hit at Utah Valley.  It may not quite have been quite MP effort, but it was close enough, so w/e.  Got home, jogged a mile to and from the grocery store. 

Wednesday: 13 miles.  First, a commute run: 3 miles up to campus (longer way than normal, because I hate partial miles).  Because I'm crazy and have a super thick/stiff new pair of raw jeans to soften up, I wore them while running.  Also, wearing a backpack with wallet/phone/keys/running shorts/watch for my run later.  No watch, wanted it to be easy, which is hard to do on a several mile uphill when you pay attention to pace.  Next: 9 miles home via shoreline.  My building up to JCC, up dry creek, to the 5 way, down to city creek meadow the non-shortcut way, down to city creek, through memory grove, back up 4th.  Ran easy to JCC (.7), then tempoed moderately hard to the 5-way (a little under 4 miles with a lot of uphill) in 28:13.  The fastest time I had ever heard of was Adrian Shipley's 28:40 last year and I ran this wearing a backpack full of a several pound pear of super heavyweight jeans, wallet, keys, phone, etc (at least 5 pounds).  Adrian wasn't training for 10k stuff when he ran that 28:40, but it was right around the time he ran sub-4 hours for the very slow Bonneville Shoreline Marathon, putting him in very elite local Utah trail territory (the Speedgoat 50k record holder before Kilian showed up just barely broke 4 hours at Shoreline in a few tries, same with Karl Meltzer).  In any case, I'm really happy about how fluid that 28:13 felt and I think I can run sub-27 if I'm not wearing a backpack and I'm pushing all out.  After that, I picked up the effort and got down to city creek in 45:33 total (I think Adrian hit 48:xx last year).  Along the way, I hit a fastest split of 5:33 (downhill, but on quite rocky trail), so I was going hard.  Shortly before the end of the trail, it's too steep downhill to tempo, so I started into marathon effort.  This netted me 6:02 pace through Memory Grove and honestly didnt' even quite feel as hard as it should have.  It's not common that 6 flat feels easy for me, so I'm not sure what happened there.  Anyway, I hit 4th and jogged in easy from there to my apartment.  Afterwards, I went back to Memory Grove with Holly so she could play with other dogs and swim in the creek and jogged about a mile with her.

Thursday: 12.5 miles.  Holly was at doggy daycare and I have a lot to do tonight, so I figured I would just drive home, get in some miles and pick her up near the end of the run (her daycare is 3 miles from my apartment).  I started at my place, ran down to the bottom of the Aves, hopped on 4th, took that to 80, moved over to 3rd, went under the highway, and took that to Baird (3600-ish), hitting an average of just under 7:00 against a slight headwind until then (felt easy, although my legs weren't super happy after yesterday's hard effort).  I took Baird to State, and when I turned on State, I suddenly had a slight tailwind, so I ran 6:35 average until I picked up Holly.   I took State to 2100 (where a very obese woman screamed out her car window at me for being in the crosswalk while she was trying to turn across me, despite me having the walk sign), up to Main, down to Holly's daycare at 1500-ish, where I picked her up (first 9.25 in about 63-flat).  It was relatively hot and humid, so Holly didn't really want to run fast and we averaged about 7:40 for the little bit more than 3 miles to get home.  The pace was aerobically pretty easy the whole way, although I suppose I probably didn't need to do 12.5 miles on sore legs.  I'll probably run a little less tomorrow.

Friday: 10 miles.  Easy 71 minutes, southwest of downtown through the industrial areas, over to liberty wells, lapped liberty park, back west a bit, and then back up to the aves.

Saturday: 17.5 miles.  Mostly on Bonneville Shoreline, starting at Red Butte area.  Was a couple minutes late to meet up with Mark, so I figured he had left and I should just catch up, so I ran to dry creek without seeing him.  I realized that he was probably just late himself, so I doubled back until I found him.  We ran up to the 5-way together, I ran continued on down to city creek, went up the canyon a little way for a restroom, and then doubled back the same way, except that I took the steep shortcut out of the meadow above the canyon to run the same course as the Shoreline Marathon, which is apparently next weekend (and which I'm thinking about doing, more just casually than anything).  Anyway, I stuck to the road once I popped out at JCC and hit 6:20 pace for a mile near the end.  Otherwise, pace was pretty easy.

Skied for 2 hours later in the evening.  Last day of night skiing at Brighton, got up from 7 to 9 PM.  Skied pretty hard and had a blast, but was completely exhausted by the time I got home.  Not a bad Saturday. :)

Total of 86 miles (41 road, 45 trail), good week overall, perhaps a bit more than necessary on trail.

Training again: Week of 3-24-13: 47.8 miles

Sunday 3-24-13: 9.3 miles, 65:xx.  Half with Fritz, Kevin, and some Westminster guy named Oliver.   They all wanted to do 18, but as a loop, so I just went out with them to Cottonwood area and then turned around.  Pace was pretty consistent after a high-7 first mile (right under 7 most of the way).  Legs still feel a little heavy, but I think it's mostly a byproduct of having had no good quality purely aerobic based runs in 3 weeks.

Monday: 4.5 miles. Ran up the hill to the lab for work from my new place in 16:30-ish, ran back home later right on 6:00 pace.  Probably not quite tempo effort, but close enough.

Tuesday: 7 miles, With Holly.  3 miles hard, on trail (first trail run of any value since quite awhile back), from the City Creek canyon road up to 5-way in 26:54.  I don't know that I've ever run this under 32 before (granted, haven't done it in awhile or ever with reasonable fitness).  I followed the same path that Steeplechase does (ie, none of the shortcuts).  Came back down but in the meadow I took a game trail down on the Northeast side and followed up the canyon for a little while before crossing the creek and coming back down the road.  The uphill was run hard enough that I actually broke Holly on an uphill for probably the first time ever.  She was off leash and it took her ~20 seconds longer than me to get to the highest point.  On the way down, she was only willing to go a very easy pace, so I guess I tired her out pretty well. :)

Wednesday: 6 miles, easy, city creek trails with Katy and the pooch Holly.

Thursday: Off

Friday: 5 miles, 5 miles with Holly, mixed in 2 hard miles of climbing, which she didn't really like.  Over the last mile, she kept stopping behind me.  Poor pooch needs a haircut so she can deal with the increasing temperatures!

Saturday: 16 miles, My apartment at 4th and D to B, up to 11th, down the city creek road, onto the BOSHO trail, up to the 5-way (long route, no shortcuts), to the Jewish Community Center, all at about marathon effort in 60:xx (~8 miles, but with lots and lots of climb, hitting the downhill miles at just over 6:00).  Daniels tables calculate this as an equivalent pace of 6:30 if the course were flat, but that's not even factoring in all of the sharp hairpin turns, the rocks all over the trail, or the altitude, so it was a high quality effort.  Hit the bottom and was nervous about my ability to hold the same effort on the way back in my first long run in a month, but fortunately I ran into Mark Lehmkuhle, who was going really easy, so I jogged slowly with him back to the 5-way (3.5-ish miles) before he turned around.  I kept it easy from the 5-way down to the road (mostly around 7:00 pace on what was mostly just a series of pretty steep downhills).  From here, I ran down into Memory Grove and ran it in marathon effort from here (6:15s down the paved path towards the capitol).  I could tell that this was my first long run in a month - after 100 minutes or so, I just felt a little off energetically (despite eating 400 calories worth of cookies while running) and like I was close to getting a headache for the last few miles, but I was encouraged by my ability to still hold MP when I wasn't feeling great at the end.  And, it was only 16 miles, but with a ton of vertical mixed in (nearly 3000' by the end of the run), so it was definitely a "better" long run than just going out for a 16 mile slog with almost 10 at MP.

Overall, a good week to bridge me back to real mileage.