This week was slightly different than weeks prior. I had two race opportunities, so my hard workouts were cemented and the remaining miles at a snails pace (That’s for you, mom!). I’ve been at it for four solid weeks, so this was a planned lighter mileage week.
A lighter training week is a good time to check-in with your self, your body, your energy, & your stoke level to assess where you’re at and how your progressing towards race goals.
I’ve got to admit/boast that I’m having the perfect storm of running revelations this training cycle (as if you couldn’t tell by my previous weekly posts):
- My training mentality is on point. Thank you, run commute.
- My health, nutrition, and energy levels are exquisite.
- My comfort, confidence, & satisfaction is unprecedented.
I’ve never run pain free before – chalk that up to stride, cadence, shoe selection, and most importantly slower, slow runs (i.e. run commutes). I spent the better half of 2016 unemployed and searching for a job close to home. I had a vision: me running a few miles to work each day, cleaning up at the on-site gym, making contributions toward commercializing next generation clean energy R&D in a team-oriented office, then logging more miles in the evening. I’m happy to say that my vision came to fruition in December, and I could not be in more satisfied.
I’m ‘passively’ logging miles each day through commuting, which I otherwise would have ‘actively’ scheduled before or after work and rushed through to get on with my other interests. By passive running means that I run completely calm & relaxed, almost effortless. I listen to podcasts, maintain a steady cadence, yet I’m never in a hurry to just get it done.
This mentality is similar the point A to point B mindset that has suits me as a cyclist. I’m not a joyrider. I need a reason, a purpose, a point to riding for one, three, or five hours. With my run commute, I log a minimum of six miles per day with seemingly little physical effort and barely any mental strain.
On another note, I haven’t been stretching after ever run like I used to. I think that’s a good thing because it means I’m not beating my body up each day, so much so, that I need a daily emphasis on recovery. With run commuting, I get home, I shower, I relax. It’s simple, it’s enjoyable.
Julia, Meaghan, and I started our week on Lookout Mountain Road. It was President’s Day, so I worked from home, thus needed a replacement for my daily commute jog.
It was a beautiful day, and I was itching for the trails which I’ve been neglecting all winter long, so after work I tackled South Table Mesa. I actually had to stretch out my Nike Wildhorse trail sneakers which I hadn’t worn since they got waterlogged during our January trip to Portland, OR. I called this run: Mountain Practice – Three times up the 16th Street trail to the nub (Castle Rock).
I knew this was against everything in my training routine that was working in my favor, but I needed it! The dirt, the climbing, the sunshine, the leg fatigue – all was enjoyed and it’s right out our back door.
After itching the trails last night, my running stoke was high. Musings of additional races this spring… perhaps the Run Through Time Marathon in Salida in March!? With training conditions like this, my confidence is brimming…
I’m still taken aback at my 24-mile training run from last weekend. I often set goals and don’t pay credence to identifying incremental measures of progress. Before signing up for WFL, I wrote down my goal of running 6:30/miles for the duration of the race…if all goes to plan that’ll be 38+ miles at a pace quicker than my best marathon time. GULP. On Saturday, I did two-thirds of my goal distance at a slightly faster pace – with so many factors that left me feeling fuzzy inside:
- This run came at the end of a high mileage week.
- I didn’t warm up after driving for 40-minutes.
- I carried my own fuel/water.
- The course climbed ~600 feet.
- My pace was below my marathon PR pace.
- I had a ton of energy afterwards.
- I didn’t feel sore, depleted, or starving.
Workout #1 of the week: November Project PR Clovers. Our tribe’s monthly test to endure 35 hard minutes trapped in the Civic Center Amphitheater. I had a good go at twenty or so Clover laps. I was feeling light and quick on the brick runways. I’m always super grateful to race with my tribe in this setting. A clover is something you would NEVER do on your own. PR Clovers is a workout that takes extreme mental stamina due to the repetition and pounding. It is the tribe’s camaraderie – team effort, common suffering, constant encouragement – that gets each one of us through the monthly test.
Thursday marked the official unoffical one year anniversary of PlayGldn! Official because it’s been one year since Julia and I started hosting PG, but unofficial because we have deliberately not been consistent hosts… like when we’re tapering, avoiding the weather, or just plain need extra sleep.
The whole crew raced this weekend and/or raced PR Clovers, so we planned for a chill, easy jog along the creek followed by coffee at our favorite lil’ shop in Golden, Pangea:
If you’ve been to a PlayGldn workout, you know that we don’t take ourselves to seriously, but we don’t mess around either. It took us a year, but we finally cashed in all the talk we do about coffee and burritos!!
Speaking of burritos, Julia will expand on this in her post, but she has been making happy hour smoothies for us almost every day of the week! When I return from my run commute around 6pm, and need a little sumpin to tide me over until dinner time, Julia has got me covered. She’s been my saving grace with a mug of nutrient dense goodness waiting for me in the fridge!
Denver suddenly relapsed into winter, gracing us with sub-freezing temperatures and icy roads to skate on. I chugged along on my own two feet, ignorant to the slippy, traffic-riddled driving horror stories that my co-workers describe. I’m not jealous of them.
Since this was a lighter running week for me, I found the time to revisit the last month of train and rejigger my calendar based on what worked over the last five weeks – another thing I never do! Here’s my sequence of Saturday long runs:
- Mid Distance Time Trial
- Long w/Intervals
- Long w/Tempo Finish
- Longest Goal Pace
- Low Mileage Easy
Finding success in this pattern, I updated my training plan for the next two months. As I mentioned, I’m also dreaming about adding races to the buildup for WFL. ON my radar are the Run Thru Time Trail Marathon in Salida in March and the Platte River Half Marathon in April. I’m scared though. Thus far, training has felt great for a reason. I’ve been calm, patient, and believed in incremental gain through hard work. I don’t want to mess that up.
There’s glory in competition, taking chances and fighting pain through racing – all of which I crave, but all of which may detract from my ultimate goal of the WFL. Lucky, I don’t need to make a decision now, they’re tentatively on my calendar and largely weather dependent.
SCHEDULED REST DAY: Cafe au lait, bagel/egg/cheese, laundry, dishes, and re-supply our bulk jars:
Shoutout to Dylan Bowman who is featured in a recent podcast from Redbull. I’m constantly impressed by DBo’s perspective on life & running and his all-around professionalism. The self-anointed Mayor of Marin County is a great role model for ultra running – passionate about the sport, respectful of its history, and appreciative of the opportunity he’s been granted. Bottom line, he’s a cool dude and I’m glad Redbull, The North Face and others have rewarded him through sponsorship.
RACE DAY #2: Right Start Event’s Team Cross Country 5K. This was our third time organizing teams of five November Project compadres to compete in an XC scoring (top 3 per team) 5K event. We’ve had a blast each race, as it’s a great excuse to run fast with minimal pressure, no time keeping, and fast friends.
I wanted to test some things in this race… particularly getting my heart rate up before the gun went off. I noticed in my 6K race from NP two weeks ago that my HR was pretty low through the first mile, so I had a hunch that starting with a higher HR would mean I’m “race ready”. Jury’s still out on whether it helped or not. Crisp conditions this morning led to me sucking cold, dry air that put me in a funk during mile 3. Overall, I ran well but couldn’t catch Demetrios, who gave an impressive attack of the uphill of mile 3.
Our squadron of November Projectors raced hard and smiled all morning. Proud of ’em!
Endurance changes time,