Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week of 4-23-12: 107 miles, 17,000' gain.

Monday: 13 miles, 5000' gain, 2:30-ish (don't recall exact time).  From Bountiful Mormon temple area to the top of Sessions mountain and a bit farther back on great western trail, then back.  Didn't have enough to eat beforehand and didn't bring any food with me, so I felt pretty hungry on the way down.  Temp was 85 at the bottom when I started and the trail is pretty steep with no shade, so it was definitely a sweaty ascent, evening run.

Tuesday: 14 miles, 2000' gain, 2:08.  From 1/4 of mile away from the Mueller Park trailhead, up the 6.5 miles to Rudy's Flat, another quarter mile out, then back, with Adrian, ran at 8:30AM, not so hot yet but starting to get a bit hotter by the finish (78 degrees when I was done).

Wednesday: 14 miles, 2000' gain, 2:10.  Mueller Park Trailhead to Rudy's Flat, down North Canyon, back along roads (not quite the most direct route, but close), with Adrian.  Ran this at 6AM and I plan to do early morning runs frequently in the next month or so to help my body prepare for the 4AM start at Old Dominion.

Thursday: 7 miles, flat, no gain, 0:56.  Easy run with Holly, who wasn't having so much fun when it started downpouring near the end of the run.

Friday: 22 miles, 3000' gain, 2:51.  Tempoed hard up City Creek Canyon road, 4.5 miles up the trail at the top of the road (plus about an extra mile due to getting significantly lost and off trail at one point), back down.  I did an extra 1/4 mile downhill and 1/4 mile back up at the end so I could get an even 6 mile split (33:12) for the nice 7.5% grade average downhill coming down the canyon.  First 5.75 and 6 of the last 6.25 were full on tempo, the rest was pretty easy.

Saturday: 7 miles, flat, no gain, 1:00.  Another easy run with Holly.  Would've gone a bit faster, but she didn't seem that interested in running.

Sunday: 30 miles, 5000' gain, 5:01, with Adrian part of the way.  Up City Creek Canyon Road, up the trail, not getting lost in the same spot as Friday, and up to the point where the sudden several feet of snow started to interfere with our ability to follow the trail after 5-6 miles.  Got lost here, added in more than an extra mile, but found a few random 40s-50s era military medical bins containing a sleeping bag/tent/pad stashed way off in the middle of the woods, so if I ever happen to get caught in that area in a blizzard, I'll know where to go to find shelter.  Finally found the trail again, but Adrian had to turn around due to time constraints so I continued on alone.  I was able to find the trail 2 more times after this point in a few spots where the snow cleared, but after this point I never saw it again.  I'm guessing that I missed a turnoff to get up to the Great Western Trail as I continued up the canyon several miles farther than I expected without finding that offshoot.  Eventually, I was sick of continuously getting lost and not knowing where I was in the canyon, so I hiked through a nice long patch of small trees, briars, and other sharp shrubs to get to a ridgeline, but found that I was at a lower peak with nothing but mostly taller peaks surrounding me and couldn't figure out with 100% certainty where the conncetion was.  I'm pretty sure I was able to see where the GWT connection was at this point (I was quite a ways past it), but I wasn't completely sure and the route was super snowed in, so I just turned around and went back.  Once I got back to the canyon road and got a few miles down, I took the trail route back down  the canyon and went past my car at the mouth a bit up the road so I could get the total over 5 hours.  Legs felt pretty fresh at the finish despite minimal electrolytes.  Ate 5 gels, a bottle of Hi-C fruit punch, 4 endurolytes (not very much, but I forgot my electrolytes and had to borrow from Adrian), and a bottle and a half of water (I only carried the Hi-C bottle and 1 water bottle, but Adrian was nice enough to give me a bottle when he turned around as he hadn't had much to drink yet).

Total: 107 miles, 17,000' gain.  A successful week and I was very happy to feel strong the entire way through my long run, even if it got slow at times due to snow, difficulty in finding the trail, bushes, creek crossings (mostly related to my inability to track a trail that was under several feet of snow), etc.  In regards to next week... On Thursday, I'm going to be headed back to MN for a long weekend and may have a hard time getting in solid mileage everyday as my trip is pretty packed, but I'll do the best I can.

Music for the week is Blotted Science's Cretaceous Chasm, as scored to a scene from King Kong.  The writer/guitarist of this group, Ron Jarzombek, apparently spent roughly 2 years scoring 25 minutes of 12-tone instrumental progressive metal music to 4 video clips from bug-related films.  None of these films were meant to have music written to go with them, so it's obviously painstaking work to write a cohesive song that perfectly matches the clip in style, timing, etc.  I love the various intricate themes that each character and bug style receives and, beyond that, the entire record is written in an atonal 12-tone format that is extremely difficult to work with, so Jarzombek and crew deserve major props for actually seeing this through to fruition...  The more you watch the clips from all of the songs on Animation of Entomology, the more you'll catch onto.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Week of 4-16-12: 70 miles, 11500' gain.

This week was not what I wanted. I decided that I would take an easier than normal Monday-Friday, have a good but non-taxing run at a local unofficial trail marathon on Saturday, crank out a bit more miles to get my daily total above 30 immediately afterwards, and then, do another long run on Sunday. Things didn't quite go so well.

Monday: 8 miles, 2000' gain, JCC to dry creek, up "Unkel", whose name I learned on Saturday, over the high ridgeline, to the 5-way, and back.

Tuesday: Off. I'm making this post later than normal, so I honestly don't remember why I took an off day here. As I recall, I had a super busy day and probably just didn't have time to run.

Wednesday: 13 miles, Jordan River Parkway Trail, no gain, with Adrian, 1:26, with a 3 minute negative split. Felt pretty good, obviously a bit on the fast side compared to what I've done lately, but not too hard.

Thursday: 14 miles, 2500' gain, JCC to Dry Creek, up "Unkel" as I now know it too be called, along the upper ridgeline, down to the 5-way, a long route down to the meadow, a loop around the meadow, and back the usual way. Stomach started to feel off later.

 Friday: 9 miles, roads in NSL/Bountiful, no gain, at 6:45 AM to prep my body for running the next morning at 7. Stomach was off all day, but the run was OK. Started easy and picked it up so that the last few miles were pretty fast. Legs got a nice shakeout.

Saturday: 26 miles, 7000' gain. Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon unofficial race. Stomach was super messed up before the race and I was in the bathroom 3 times before a 7 AM start. My general energy felt a little off right from the start and I couldn't get a rhythm going. My stomach was screwed up, so I couldn't eat anything for awhile and only had a few sips of water, which caused stomach pain. I maintained a few minutes off the leaders until getting to City Creek for the first time (mile 10 or so?), but realized that I needed to eat if I wanted to run strongly without bonking.
     I took a couple gels and a few salt pills with water at the start of the climb out of city creek and immediately almost threw up. Not good. I felt very nauseated on the climb out of city creek, so I took it slowly. When I got to the top, I started to try to pick it up and threw up in my mouth.
     Coming over down to the Bountiful/North Salt Lake side, I felt even more nauseated and couldn't even run the downhills without feeling like I'd throw up more. Finally I got to the steep climb out of the Bountiful meadow which everyone else was walking slowly, so I stopped losing so much time on everyone there. When I got to the top, I was becoming more and more hungry, so I ate another gel, drank some water, and took a few salt pills. Unfortunately, this made me throw up several times and I immediately lost everything in my stomach.
      Not sure what to do, I pushed on and started the steep descent back into City Creek. I hadn't stopped at all at this point, but coming down the descent, I tripped off the side of the trail, rolled a few feet, and just lay there for a few minutes, hands literally shaking due to lack of glycogen, now in full on bonk mode due to having thrown up everything in my stomach. At this point, all I had left in my hand-held pouch was some jelly beans since I didn't expect to need more than 3 gels total at mile 20 (and I wouldn't have had I not thrown them up). Fortunately, the immediate sugar boost helped me get back enough energy to make it into the aid station, so I got back, drank a bunch of fluids (gatorade for the calories), immediately started to feel nauseated again, and trucked on out towards the finish 6 miles away with a bottle full of a couple hundred more calories of the stuff.
     I felt like crap on this final section, but was able to find an easy run pace that kept me just below the vomiting level of nausea. I made it back to the finish a full hour slower than I figured would be an "OK" run and left pretty quickly, rather embarrassed with what had transpired.
     Prior to this year, 2 people had broken 4 hours on this course. I figured that a perfectly executed run on this difficult and very slow course could net my training partner Adrian a 3:45-3:50 (course record is 3:47 by Karl Meltzer) and me a 3:55-4:00. Adrian led for most of the race but had a rough final 10k or so and finished in 2nd in 3:59, pretty close to what I thought he could do. As for me, while I figured that I wanted to save my legs a bit so I wouldn't need any recovery time, I felt that I would try to run a 4:05-4:10 or so and then put in a few more miles afterwards. I felt that a bad showing would be anything over 4:20. I "ran" 5:20 and have no idea what my place was. This course was entirely on trails that I train on all the time with some, like both climbs out of city creek, being uphill trails that I frequently run 4-5 hours into a long run with ease. I never walk any of them. On this day, I had what was, thus far, my worst run of 2012 and I walked every climb after an hour and a half or so.
     After the race, I went home, didn't run anymore, had more stomach pain throughout the rest of the day and into the next. I'm still not entirely sure what went wrong, but I suspect something I ate on Thursday later in the day (some Shrimp I ate without removing the head that had been sitting out for awhile... a nice recipe for disaster that I will never again repeat...).
     All in all, I'd say this was a learning experience, except that I didn't learn much that I haven't already known: ie, it sucks to have a messed up stomach during a long distance trail run. That said, I was happy to battle through it without wasting any time in aid stations. Also, I made myself stay positive and tried to keep a smile on my face through the finish, so while it was very slow, I was pretty successful at keeping myself from being miserable. The weather was nice, I got in some good practice at forward-motion while feeling like I was in full-on survival mode (ie, not unlike the end of a 100 miler, except without destroyed legs), and I got to hang out with lots of other trail runners from around the area. This day gets a big "meh".

 Sunday: Off, needed to recover my energy levels from the previous day's disaster, even if the legs were fine. Total: 70 miles, 11500' gain. Lowest mileage week in over 2 months other than my recovery week after Moab 12 hour. Normally something like this would bother me and I'd question my training, but I'm confident in my training cycle and in my running to date in 2012, so while I'm not happy about what transpired this week, I'm taking it at face value. I ate something bad, had a few rough days which overlapped with a race that isn't even an official event, and now I've moved on. The next week, which is already almost over, is panning out much better, so I'm not concerned about things. 10 week running total: 870 miles, 141,500' gain. 8 of the last 9 weeks; 763 miles, 118,000' gain.

 Music for the week is "Soraya" by Tosin Abasi / Animals as Leaders. This guy is one of the best guitarists out there right now and his lead work in this piece is pretty outrageous.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week of 4-9-12: 92 miles, 14,000' gain.

Monday: 15 miles, 2500' gain, 2:15-ish, with Adrian. The standard JCC/CC/JCC route, which I apparently haven't done much in its exact form lately.

Tuesday: 9 miles, 1500' gain, forgot time. Maybe 90-ish? Don't remember Lots of steeps. JCC to middle of dry creek, up the steep trail (something like 2/3 of a mile at 32% grade, so yeah, pretty steep) to the ridgeline before Little Black, along a super hilly outcropping and back, to the 5-way, and back via standard route.

Wednesday: 15 miles, 2500' gain, with Adrian, 2:10-ish. JCC/CC/JCC.

Thursday: 8 miles, 1500' gain, high 60's for time. JCC to 5-way and back. Didn't have time for more. Tried out my new MT110s in a blizzard and liked them, although the traction isn't 100% in snow. Was disappointed to have gotten yet another snowstorm, but it was actually pretty fun to run in.

Friday: 10 miles, moderately easy (low 7's pace), 0' gain, only minimal trespassing, with Adrian. Ran on the Jordan River Parkway Trail (paved) most of the way except for a few gaps, where we ran in odd places to try to find the shortest possible connection. Passed through a bum tent city, right next to an electric fence, and across numerous train tracks. Adrian stopped in multiple portal potties on a 10 mile day. This run was, umm, very different from the norm.

Saturday: Off, resting for Sunday.

Sunday: 35 miles, 6000' gain, 5:29 (slow, difficult, although that time includes breaks), with Adrian. First leg: City Creek to JCC to Red Butte to Emigration Canyon/Hogle Zoo, and back, following virtually the longest route possible. Had a water bottle with 3 Hi-C Fruit Punch juice boxes in it (270 calories), another water bottle with plain water, and 18 whoppers (285 calories) for this chunk, with only 4 salt pills. Finished this leg feeling like I needed more salt, water, and calories in me (especially since I ate nothing before the run started since it was an AM start), so I took 15-20 minutes to sit on my butt, eat, and drink before the next leg. In that break, I consumed 5 oz of water, a rice cake (45 calories), 2 more Hi-C juice boxes (180 calories), and roughly 15 ounces of Sprite (180 calories), in addition to 4 more salt pills. Starting off the next leg, I was planning for a 3rd leg to put my total at 50 for the day, but Adrian immediately decided he would only do 2 since he already had a huge week going and didn't want to do more mileage. This, combined with not feeling that great the entire day, plus the fact that I had already gotten pretty behind on fluids and salt, made me decide to just also *only* do the 35 miles in the first 2 legs, so we went up to the top of City Creek, following the longest possible route with trails, and then came back down. Both of us felt like crap most of the way up the canyon, but I popped 4 more salt pills plus a handful of starburst jelly beans and actually felt good on the way down. We picked up the pace a ton in the last 2 miles or so (ie, dropped to low-6 pace) and this felt surprisingly good. I finished the day feeling like the 50 would've been easily doable given better nutrition early on, but decided to listen to my body so that I could not be wrecked for the coming week (which will include an unofficial trail race that I can't really discuss... you probably know what it is if you live in SLC and run trails much...).

Totals: 92 miles, 14,000' gain. Overall, the week was marginally disappointing. In addition to wanting to do more miles on a couple days earlier in the week, I especially wanted to feel better and do more miles on Sunday, but I didn't feel spectacular from the start and I made the right choice of listening to my body rather than hammering it for what would've been nearly 8 hours. I felt a little crappy/sick for a couple of days (Wed-Fri or so), so I guess I should just be grateful to have gotten in 92 miles, although in reality, it seems a bit week. My diet has been relatively poor over the last few months (I do have a decent amount of fruits, veggies, and protein, but I eat WAY too much sugar), and this past week was worse than normal, so I think this was a factor in why I felt crappy (ie, it was avoidable). I have made the decision to no longer consume products with high-fructose corn syrup or other added sugars between now and the racing season this summer, and I'm hoping that this should aid with my recovery times, my day to day energy levels, and my general health. We'll see I guess!

9 week running total (this includes 2 weeks of training not at full force): 800 miles, 130,000' climb.
7 of last 8 weeks running total (not including the recovery week): 693 miles, 106500' climb.

Music this week is more from Ukraine's forgotten super-genius Sergei Bortkiewicz:

I love it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week of 4-2-12: 112 miles, 20,000' gain.

Monday: 11 miles, 3500' climb, 2:27, from JCC, most of the way up Dry Creek, up the creek bed trail at the switchback, straight up to the ridgeline, to the right, along the trail up Little Black Mountain, back along the ridgeline a little bit (slowed significantly by snow at this point), and back, with Adrian.

Tuesday: 16 miles, 4000' climb, 2:15, from JCC up to the ridgline to Little Black Mountain, to the left, following the hilly trail above Bonneville Shoreline on the ridgeline, down to the 5-way, right and a bit of a circuitous route down from there, down to city creek, back the normal way, with Adrian.

Wednesday: 19 miles, 4000' climb, 3:45. Starting from the parking lot near the gated off upper half of Mill Creek Canyon, up the road (covered in a lot of snow from Elbow Fork still, so very slow), up to Big Water, followed Old Red Pine Road Trail (also called Old Mill Creek Road Trail, I believe) all the way to the top at the meadow (actually had a few snow free regions of gorgeous trail above 8000'!!!), and then straight up the side of a mountain to the highest point on the ridgeline on the north-east side of upper Mill Creek around 9800'. Slipped on the super slick surfaces, fell, and hit the back of my head on a rock pretty hard coming down this mountain, which wasn't pleasant. Probably should've remembered to bring my trail shoes so I didn't have to wear my road flats. Haha... Everything was super slow due to the snow and I beat the crap out of my legs falling in past knee deep when the top crust broke approximately several hundred times. Painful, but fun.

Thursday: 15 miles, road tempo, 500' gain (close to 80% in the last 5 miles), 1:40. Started off relatively conservatively, but picked it up the whole time. Last 5 miles were done in 29:50, which felt fast on a rolling but net several hundred foot uphill.

Friday: 6 miles, 42 minutes, no gain'. Mostly low-mid 7 pace, on a treadmill, set to a 3% decline to make it very easy to run at a moderately brisk pace, but picked it up a lot in the last mile. Didn't pay very close of attention to splits, so I'm not sure how fast the last one was, but I ranged from 10 to 14.5 mph over the last mile, so probably in the low 5's.

Saturday: 42 miles, 8000' gain, 6:08. City Creek to U of U hospital on shoreline, and back, then a few minutes for bathroom break and to reload and eat chips and drink a bunch of mountain dew and sprite. Next up, outside the bottom of city creek, up the canyon, taking the longest trail route possible until having to take the road for the top couple miles (no trail in the top of the canyon), and back, then a few minutes for more chips, sprite and mountain dew, and to reload. Finally, a little outside the bottom of city creek, back up the canyon a mile on trails, up the longest route to the radio towers, up and over, back to bountiful, and back. Total consumption during the run was 40 oz of Sprite, 30 oz of Mountain dew, 100 oz of water, ~200 calories of tortilla chips, ~500 calories of reese's pieces eggs, 2 reese's peanut butter cup eggs. Not a ton of food and was hungry afterwards, but it felt ok during the run. No real problems during the run except that I had to make a bathroom stop at both of my between-leg quick-stops. The first leg was extremely muddy from the unexpected snowfall a few days ago, but the rest was relatively clear. Not all that sore afterwards.

Sunday: 3 miles, no gain, :30. Barefoot easy running of lots of loops in the grass at the park across from my apartment.

Total: 112 miles, 20,000' gain.

Overall, a solid week. I feel good today on Sunday and having a restful day should have me recovered from yesterday's outing and ready to do it all over again next week.

Running totals, which I'm going to keep track of from now through the racing season:
8 week running total (this includes a bridge week of 76 on week 1, as well as a recovery week of 31 for week 7): 708 miles, 116,000' climb.
6 of last 7 weeks running total (not including the recovery week): 601 miles, 92500' climb.

Music for the week is Dream Theater's Bridges in the Sky, the standout track from their latest release. I listened to this album plus two others of their's during my long run yesterday and this band is always on my iPod during 50+ mile races. I love the line in this song at nearly 7:00 into the song, "Crossing bridges in the sky on a journey to renew my life." I remember listening to this right after it came out while running a ridgeline at 10,000' (while running across "bridges in the sky" as literally as possible) last fall while I was just beginning to renew my own life after a year off of running due to serious illness and it has stuck with me ever since. The intro is kind of annoying, but the real song starts about 1:35 in:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week of 3-26-2012: Recovery Week

My training strategy of late has been to get as many miles as possible over an extended period of time while listening to my body 100%. That said, I felt that the only responsible thing I could do after a 60 mile run was to take a very easy week, especially considering that after this past week, I now have 8 big weeks of mileage planned before tapering for Old Dominion 100. Taking this past week hard would've put my legs in jeopardy after such a long run, not to mention that it would ended up putting me on a schedule to do 15 big weeks of training straight without an off week before Old Dominion. Therefore, for the same of playing it safe, recovering 100% from my 2nd place effort at the 12 Hours of Moab, and this past week was well less than half of the mileage I've gotten in any other week recently.

Monday/Tuesday: Off, making sure my legs were 100% recovered.

Wednesday: 9 miles, 1500' gain, no idea what the time was. Bonneville Shoreline Trail, with Adrian. JCC to past 5-way but well before city creek, and back.

Thursday: 6 miles, no gain, easy road jog, 9-ish minute pace.

Friday: 7 miles, 2000' gain. Mill Creek Canyon road, outside the Terraces road entrance, up the road to Terraces trailhead, up and over down to Elbow Fork (through some amazingly fun downhill snow, which was no longer all that deep), back to Burch Hollow entrance of Pipeline, back up the road to my car near Terraces. This run was an absolute blast.

Saturday: 9 miles, 4000' gain, with Adrian. Mill Creek Canyon road, outside Terraces road entrance, up the road to Terraces Trailhead, up and over down to Elbow Fork (the snow on the downhills was perhaps even more fun), up Mt Aire from Elbow Fork, back down, and down the road to my car. I was literally running at 8500' in March! This light snowpack is incredible. Also of note was that we were putting in sub-15 pace on technical snowy trails going up a very steep grade (the top half of the climb up Mt Aire is about a 25% average), but we had a nice conversation going the whole way. We only walked when the snow got very deep (ie thigh deep) in one spot for maybe 200' at the top, and at one other portion for maybe 10 feet when the trail was unbelievably slick with mud. What this means to me is that all of my more moderate approach to my daily effort levels of late, as well as my insistence on incorporating lots of climb into the majority of my runs has been instrumental in helping me develop a better "ultra" type trail gear on steep hills and I've been noticing lately that I can run up very steep grades at a level of efficiency far beyond what I've ever experienced in the past. This bodes very very well for races like Speedgoat and Wasatch, and even in the moderately hilly portions of Old Dominion. I'm excited.

Sunday: Off, took the day to work on a big talk for grad school and, of course, resting up for the first of 8 big weeks in a row. :)

Totals: 31 miles, 7500' gain. Nice and easy, but had a fair amount of climb on the Friday and Saturday runs.

Music for the week is a classic within the realm of progressive/technical music. Spiral Architect of Norway put out "A Sceptic's Universe" in 2000 and this has been the measuring stick of "Thinking Man's Metal" ever since. They're different from most "metal" bands in that they're not focused on sheer heaviness and obnoxious vocals (although many have argued that Øystein's high pitched croons are a bit self-indulgent or even caustic). Rather, Spiral Architect focuses on absolute virtuosity in their playing and writing, while creating intelligent philosophical lyrics to match the music. Without further ado, here is Conjuring Collapse: