A day late to post, but whatever... Overall, this was a pretty good week. The mileage was reasonable, 73 miles, nothing crazy, but I felt that I had a lot of quality work. I started incorporating threshold work and did it 3 days this week.
Monday 6-22-09: 10 miles: As of Monday, this was the best I've felt on trails. I was sick of having so many super steep climbs and having to go so slow, so I found a trail that had a gradual climb of somewhere around 1500 feet and tempo'd it as hard as I could. There were 1 or 2 pretty nasty steep sections, but other than that, the whole climb was pretty gradual and was spaced out over 35 minutes or so of doable climb. I felt that I was pushing pretty close to my limit the whole way up without ever having to slow significantly to catch my breath, so it was a really solid climb. After 35 minutes or so, I took a turn onto some random steep looking downhill rather than continuing further back into a more treacherous section of trail. I soon realized that I was running down a banked downhill racing style mountain bike track with several big jumps in it. It was such a steep grade that I dropped down to an even lower point than where I had started within about 2 miles, so I flew down with probably less concern for my well being than I should've, pushing a pace that felt to be well under 5 minutes a mile. When I got off the trail, I found myself on the edge of a neighborhood that ended up being kind of windy, so I had to get through a lot of random back roads for another 2 miles or so before hitting the edge of campus and then running a mile back from the edge of campus to my car. Overall total, probably just about exactly 10 miles in just under 65 minutes. It doesn't sound like a terribly fast tempo run, but with the climb in the first 5 miles and last 3, it worked me pretty hard.
Tuesday 6-23-09: 9 miles: 1.5 mile warmup, 2 x 3 mile, 1.5 mile cooldown. I felt pretty good on Tuesday too and hit my first of many threshold training sessions for St George. I have ordered my Garmin Forerunner 305 so I can watch my heart rate, but I haven't gotten it yet, so I did these at pretty close to the prescribed pace of 5:40 or so. My 2 3 mile times were 16:57 and 16:56, very consistent. I'm supposed to be doing 3x3 mile, but the trainer that tested me for the cardiopoint said I should start carefully with 2 instead of 3. I did these on the 20, though I probably should've done them on the 19 since 3 minutes of rest was probably more time than I should've taken. Overall, I finished still feeling pretty good. When I hit 3x3 w/ 2 minutes rest this Wednesday the 1st, I feel like I should be feeling considerably worse by the end. :)
Wednesday 6-24-09: 9 miles: This was kind of a dumb run. I took the same start to the trail I had done on Monday but decided to offshoot partway up. After a couple minutes on the offshoot, the trail started to get muddy, then very muddy, and then it turned into a stream since all the rain over the past few weeks had flooded the stream next to it onto the trail. Being somewhat stubborn, I decided to follow it up and just ignore the facts that my shoes were getting submerged with every step and that bees were swarming around me. After quite awhile of running a fairly gradual uphill (a total climb probably a bit under 1000 feet since the very start of the run), the stream veered off and it became a trail again with 2 possible directions to follow. I randomly picked one and found that it gradually decayed into nothing after a few minutes. I headed back and picked the other direction and once again unfortunately found the same thing. Oddly enough, there was a tent and a bunch of camping equipment up the 2nd way but no-one around, so there must've been some alternative route, but I couldn't find it. I figured that there was no way that the people had walked up the stream to get there (I was absolutely caked in mud and completely soaked, so it seems unlikely other people would've hiked that with a crapload of chairs, a tent, etc), but no-one responded when I shouted to see if someone else was around, so I eventually just opted to take the stream back down. Going back down was a lot less fun and I rolled my ankle pretty badly on one of the rocks in it, so I was in a pretty sour mood by the time I got back on to the regular trail, but being able to hammer the crap out of the downhill all the way back to campus (even passing a few mountain bikers on the way down) made things better. Overall, 65 minutes or so, never running terribly slow since the uphill wasn't really that bad, about 9 miles.
Thursday 6-25-09: 8 miles: 1 mile warmup, 3x2 mile in 11:11, 11:14, 11:12, (on the 13 1/2 to 14, probably should've done on the 13, but whatever...) 1 mile cooldown. I didn't quite have enough time to get the workout I wanted (4x2 at 5:40/mile) since the gym with the indoor track closes pretty early, so I opted to just go slightly faster and cut one repeat out. Overall, this felt pretty good and I feel like I could've easily hit 1 more at this pace. 2 more would've been doable as well, but I would've likely been pretty wrecked and I don't like to push so hard on track workouts that my next day will significantly suffer, so I doubt I would've done more than 4 if I had had more time.
Friday 6-26-09: 8 miles: very easy run, out along fairly flat trails (well, flat for SLC, would still be considered pretty darn bad compared to trails I had trained on in baltimore), back along the road. I had decided to race a local 5k on Saturday, so I kept this run easy, going over 7 minutes a mile.
Saturday 6-27-09: 18 miles: AM: 1.5 mile warmup, 5k, 1.5 mile cooldown. I opted to run the Run for Youth 5k since it was a small event with a $2o entry fee, pretty decent t-shirts, and iPods for the winners. I showed up and found there to be less than 100 people running and I couldn't spot anyone that looked particularly fast other than local Provo runner Mary Ann Schauerhamer, who wins the women's division in pretty much everything. Mary Ann runs in the 17s, which is pretty darn solid at elevation, even for a man, but was doing a 5k double that morning and had just won the women's division of another 5k down the road with just enough time to jog over to this one, so she wasn't planning on killing this one too hard. Figuring that their would be little between me and an iPod, I ran at a comfortably fast, but not all out, pace and took the win in 17:04. There were no mile markers, so I have no idea what my splits were, but it felt pretty steady and I never felt like I was pushing myself very hard. At 6000' elevation, this corresponds to a 16:43 at sea level, so I guess I'm making improvements if that felt as easy as it did. I got my iPod + case + arm band and drove home, went immediately to the gym for my 6th day of lifting in a week, and then spent most of the day organizing crap in my new apartment before doing another 12 mile PM run. I didn't think to eat before my PM run, so I felt low on energy and pretty lousy in general. I did about half on trails and half on the road and just kept it slow, around 90 minutes total, avoiding steep hills as much as possible.
Sunday 6-28-09: 11 miles, tempo for most of it. This had a net downhill of probably 1000 feet or so since I finished at my PI's house, where I had to pick up my bike, which was still being stored in his garage. I did the first half out on the tamest trails possible looping around the university. After coming off the trails, I had a very steep downhill for a mile or so and then a more gradual downhill for a couple miles while cutting into and then over through downtown, before eventually heading partway back up towards campus and ending at Chuck's house, where I got to pick up my single speed mountain bike and bike 4 or 5 miles with a 1000 foot climb back to my apartment (NOT fun, by the way). Total time was just under 70. While it was a net downhill, there were still some significant climbs, so it probably wasn't a whole lot easier than a totally flat course (1000 net down is from about 2000 down cumulative and 1000 up cumulative, that 1000 up being enough to slow me down a bit). Overall, I could've gone faster some of the time, especially in the first half, but I worked pretty hard for the majority of the run.
Total: 73 miles, pretty solid week. The threshold days were good to have and I have to make sure I'm doing that twice a week most weeks until October, so I'm glad that the first couple days of them weren't completely body-destroyingly hard.
This week: Probably only one very serious track workout (Wednesday) since I have an important trail race on this Saturday, the 4th of July, the Afton 25k, back home in MN. I've wanted to run this race for about 2 years, so I decided that this was the year to do it. Ideally, I'd like to break 100 minutes on the fairly tough course. The first year, back 15 years ago, the winner was 85 minutes and a number of guys were right behind, also under 90 minutes, but since then only 5 or so people have broken 100 with no-one faster than 93, so I'm willing to bet that the first year was either too short, or at the very least, a significantly easier loop. Anyway, I'm hoping that I can become one of the few people on the short list of runners to have broken 100, but anything to keep up my streak of top 3 finishes (which is now at 5 straight races) would be nice. There are 300 or so runners registered right now plus another 150 to 200 in the 50k, so it'll be interesting to see what happens. A win over a fairly long distance on trails would make me pretty happy, so I'm hoping that that will be possible.