Sunday, August 28, 2011

Last few weeks of running +

The last few weeks have been incredibly light as I have my 8 hour PhD written qualifying exam this coming week. I wanted to start building up, but I decided that running was probably not quite as important as passing this very important exam that covers the entire fields of basic engineering principles, systems neuroscience, cellular neuroscience, computational neuroscience, and modern research in neural interfaces. That being said, I've still had some notable runs thrown in here. Mileage has been light, but among the good runs I've gotten in have been 3 more 3+ hour long runs in an around Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons, an exceptionally good run up and down the 2800' climb to the top of Grandeur Peak (ran it hard on the way up and still tried my best to break Adrian Shipley on the way down, dropping the pace to nearly sub 5:0x/mile a couple times on a couple of the most runnable sections of the very technical descent, but unfortunately, I couldn't quite drop him and he stuck right behind me the whole way), and another couple tempos.

Beyond that, I'm developing some plans for 2012. I'm not committed to anything yet, but suffice it to say that I have big goals for the Spring after I use the rest of the fall to build a monster base. I once again have the focus I need to run at my most competitive level; all I need now is to shrug it off for 3 more days so I can finish preparing for this rather absurd exam. Until Wednesday, I'll hopefully get by just reading the highlights of the current IAAF championships...

Monday, August 8, 2011

A down week: Week of 8-1-11

Mon-Wed: Off. Took some time to relax before I really start building up my fitness again for real.

Thursday: 2 mile warmup, 2x5k on a hilly and technical section of Pipeline at 6000', 2 mile cooldown. I worked these quite hard, but unfortunately, I hit my foot rather hard on a sharp portruding rock (the one downside to running pretty exclusively in the New Balance Minimus) and developed a painful bruise for 2 days, 1000' gain.

Friday-Sat: Foot hurt, off.

Sun: Foot still annoying, but wasn't getting worse with use, so I did 17 miles with Adrian Shipley with 7000'+ climb between 8500' and 11100'. Started in town of Alta and climbed Grizzly Gulch from 8500' to 10050' Twin Lakes Pass, descending to the Twin Lakes Reservoir:

Next dropped down into the "town" of Brighton (8700') via a rather convoluted route and took the trail up to Lake Mary:

Next, went up to Catherine's Pass (10300') above Catherine Lake (with less snow than pictured here):

Next, followed the trail down into Upper Albion Basin (9200') and ran through Devil's Castle (9900'), in the background of this image:

Dropped back into Upper Albion Basin's main road area, then followed a trail up to Cecret Lake:

Came out the backside and followed the main trail up to Germania Pass (10400'), followed by Sugarloaf Pass (10550'), and then up to Mt Baldy (11100', shown here is the ridgeline we 'ran' on to come down into Snowbird. Yup, it's technical):

Dropped down Peruvian Gulch:

Followed this all the way down to the bottom of the gulch and then took a combination of access roads and short trails back to my car at Alta. All of these big climbs, combined with some rolling, added to 7000' of climbing. Maybe next time I'll just tack on a little more in Mineral Basin/American Fork and make it my own personal even better version of Speedgoat. hah...

Weekly total: an easy 27 miles with 8000' climb. I guess this helped rest me up for a good week starting today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Week of 7-25-2011, Speedgoat 50k "Training Run" report

Monday: 5 miles, pipeline, with the pooch, 1000' gain.

Tuesday: 11 miles, Brighton parking lot to Lake Mary, up to Lake Catherine, to Catherine Pass, down to upper Albion Basin, down to Alta town area, and back, 3500' gain.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 8 miles, from Alta town area up Twin Lakes Pass (pretty difficult near the top, especially on the steep super rocky sections, ooof), down to Lake Mary, and then back. Ran the whole way without stopping, but still took it pretty easy, despite the high altitude and moderately large amount of climb, 3000' gain.

Friday: Off

Saturday: Speedgoat 50k. Took it quite easy the whole time, so it was slow, but comfortable and well inside my limits as a super long and ridiculously mountainous training run. I ran the vast majority of the non snow covered sections of the first climb up Snowbird, but took it barely faster than the walking pace of those around me so it was nice and easy but consistent. I had 2 gels on the way up the first climb (about 8 miles for the climb since it went up and down and back and forth quite a bit over the 3000' climb). I had about 350 calories of chocolate milk at Hidden Peak (stored in my drop bag) and trucked down the backside to climb Mt Baldy. Having developed quite a bit of lactose intolerance in recent years, I thought this would probably cost me a lot of bathroom time, but considering that I was strictly opposed to racing the clock at this point (considering that I'm still not all that close to top racing shape), I didn't mind losing time.

My stomach held fine coming down into Mineral Basin (Larry's Hole aid station) and I thought maybe I would miss the bullet on that one. However, after climbing out of Mineral Basin over the ridgeline into American Fork Canyon, I started noticing some cramping and felt the need to use a bathroom. Fortunately, I had thought ahead and has stuffed some T.P. into my shorts pocket, so I was well prepared. I ran down to the American Fork aid station (don't remember the name) without any problems, although I ran out of water about a mile before the station, so I walked in the last mile or so as it was the lowest elevation point of the race (around 7500' I believe) and was getting pretty hot.

I used 2 more gels (total of 4 gels, a tiny cup of sprite from the previous station and a chocolate milk in the first 15 miles), but felt relatively hungry when I got to the station, so I sat there and had about 20 ounces of sprite and 4 45 calorie fruit bars. This took around 15 minutes to consume since the Fruit Bars had been on dry ice, were super frozen, and initially stuck to my tongue before warming up. haha... In any case, I was carrying only one water bottle, but had my gels in a second handheld pouch. About a mile after I left the mile 15 station, I realized that I had forgotten my pouch at the previous station. Still not having the best metabolism again yet and needing to eat quite a bit to keep myself fueled (my fat metabolism capabilities are still quite a bit off what they were pre-mono and I can bonk pretty easily if I'm not eating a lot), this concerned me greatly. In any case, I didn't want to do an extra 2 miles roundtrip to go back and pick it up, so I just kept going.

After 5 miles and a big 2000+' of climbing, I was pretty hungry again, but fortunately ran into some local guys I knew and bummed a cookie off one of them. Eating that held me over until I got back to Larry's Hole, where I had another bathroom stop (stomach was really cramping at this point, and I felt a constant need to use the bathroom, whether or not I had already done so recently). This stop honestly cost me 15 minutes and I won't go into the details, but it wasn't fun.

After the "break",I chomped down half a PBJ and began the climb to the tunnel near Hidden Peak from here. This climb was probably the most physically demanding portion of the course (the majority wasn't on a trail and was literally straight up the mountain at a 50-60% grade, climbing to about 10900'. This definitely wasn't so much fun, but at least it shortened what could've been a longer climb. Going through the tunnel, I really had to go to the bathroom yet again, so already having exhausted my small stash of TP, I had to bum some paper towels off the aid station folks.

Having forgotten to eat much at the station (I think I had 6 ounces of Sprite) and more focused on finding a suitable bathroom off the side of the course, I went through the tunnel, got out the other side to the beautiful sight of a middle aged man puking his guts out on the side of the trail, and went down about 1/4 mile before finding some trees to hide behind to do my business. I spent another 10 minutes here and then continued down the trail. At this point, this was farther than I had previously taken my New Balance Minimus shoes out for (what I ran in for the whole race), so rocks on the trail were starting to irritate my feet to some extent. I didn't really fly down the trail down Peruvian Basin as a result, but took it pretty easy.

Getting nearly to the bottom of the basin (somewhere probably around 9000'), we then turned around, climbed up to the Cirque Traverse, and followed that back to Hidden Peak. I wasn't really starving, but my body was starting to get sick of all the climbing and altitude, so I bummed a gel off of someone to help get me up the final 2000'-ish climb to 11000'. This climb was pretty tough, but compared to the 1000'+ feet of much steeper climb in Mineral Basin, it wasn't bad. I got to the top, sat down for a minute to empty rocks out of my shoes, drank a 440 calorie chocolate milk, and continued for the final 5-6 mile descent.

About a mile out of Hidden Peak, I bonked hard. I was still at about 10500', had to slide down roughly 400-500' of snow, and was dizzy. This was very alarming and it took me a LONG time to get down. At the time, I had figured that I would be fine on energy because of all the sugar in the milk, which ought to hit my system fast, but in hindsight, most of the sugar is lactose, which my body can't process very well, so I had to wait for the proteins and fats to kick in before I got any energy. In any case, I was in a pretty uncomfortable spot for a good 20-30 minutes, but started recovering, especially when I started dropping in elevation, so I coasted in to the finish.

My overall calories for the day were roughly 1800, which sounds like plenty for a trail 50K, but Speedgoat has a lot more climbing than the average race, so this may have been low, especially if my body was unable to use a few hundred from the milk.

Overall, this was a good training run and my body felt completely recovered within a couple hours after the race (although I still took a couple days off to relax, just for good measure). In the future, even if I'm doing something where I'm not whatsoever concerned about my time, I will definitely take Lactaid if drinking any chocolate milk, as my stomach and bowels felt horrible for basically the entire 2nd half of the race. Losing time (probably close to an hour) isn't a big deal in this type of situation, but spending quite a few hours with pretty extreme gastrointestinal discomfort is highly irritating. Beyond just the bathroom breaks, I was unable to run at times because my gut hurt too much. Not cool. In any case, the stomach problem was really the only problem during the run, which was good.

A couple people with GPS's (I didn't even bother to bring mine) stated that the course was about 33 miles long and I remember one section in particular that was officially labeled as 4 miles, but took well over an hour, despite being nearly downhill (and probably my fastest section), so I'll take their word for it. Officially the gain is either 11420' or 12000', depending on where you're looking. The first climb was a net 3000', but easily 4000' gross with quite a bit of up and down on the way up to Hidden Peak. After this, the climb to Baldy was a few hundred more feet and the climb next climb out of Mineral was probably 600-700'. The climb out of American Fork was around 2500', the next climb out of Mineral was close to 1500'. The lowest point in American Fork was only 7500' or so, but the course dropped over 500' from the peak of the climb out of American Fork to get back down to Mineral, so I think the 4000' of climbing between American Fork and Mineral to get back to 10900' is accurate. The final climb in Peruvian tacked on yet another 2000', so adding these up, we see a total of 11500' plus whatever roll there was otherwise (maybe 500'). Taking this into consideration, the 12000' statistic seems quite reasonable. In other words, I'm calling this day 33 miles with 12000' gain. Definitely a good long run. :)

Now that this is out of the way and my next race is a marathon in a couple months (which I hope to be able to take more seriously), I will finally need to actually pay attention to what I eat so I can drop the extra 15 pounds that have been sitting on me ever since I had to take 9 or so months off for the most part. I'm hoping to get rid of all of it in 2 months before the marathon, but if I can even drop 10 of it, that will probably be adequate just to coast through an easy 3:10 BQ time.

Sunday: Off, nice relaxing day.

Weekly total: 57 miles, 19500' gain. That's a lot of climb in 57 miles. :)