Taper week calls for more stretching. I’m actively replacing miles with leg swings and hip stretches. I won’t bore you with the typical early week fluff. I took it as easy as possible on Monday & Tuesday, as to not agitate an already fatigued & distressed body after the 34-mile effort on Saturday, which capped off a 105 mile week.
By Wednesday, I was ready to go back to work. PR Clovers at November Project Denver are my favorite NP workout of the month. Why? Because we get to work hard for 35-minutes. It our monthly competition against ourselves… can we stretch out another Clover this month? Can we transition over the ledge quicker? Can we make up time sprinting to the knoll faster?
I’m always looking for ways to improve, to push harder for longer, to fight through pain and fatigue. In this environment, I thrive. I felt swift and light early on, then the timing games strike. 19 minutes left, fatigue, exhaustion. 6 minutes to go, sunrise, fuck yeahs. Today I hit 20-11/12 Clovers. Probably the most I’ve ever run!
After a light jaunt home and a busy day in the home office, I took a refreshing evening stroll through the hood.
Another easy, breezy day with PlayGldn. We’re usually all on the same page regarding desired “effort level” and collective stoke for workout. Today we were more in-tune than ever. We all stuck together, running as a herd, for one PlayGldn hour.
It was such a gorgeous morning and a beautiful day! The sun, the clouds, the lush green, everything was glistening!
I could have easily stopped to take pictures every mile during my commute. Though, I need to pace myself with photo taking on my commute route so I don’t over do it. I took a mental note of the locations, hopefully they’ll get better with time!
Physical note: I’ve irritated my left Achilles. I used to get similar achilles pain, though it’s been well over a year since the last bout. It may just be leftover soreness from Clovers on Wednesday…
No good. Achilles tightness looms.
I took it super-cautious and ran the short route to work. I hoped that flexing and stretching it out would loosen things, but it just feels tight, very restrictive, and is throwing my gait into a hobble.
I’d planned for 6-miles home to make it a 50 mile work week, but since the weather was turning (cold and snow) and my feet weren’t stable, I again took the shortest route home. During the run home, I reached a point where things started feeling OK. I considered dropping my bag at home and sneaking in a few more miles. Not worth it.
I was lumbering in my foot fall, so I picked up my cadence. Usually, it is simple fixes like this that melt pain away. I’m hoping that resting, soaking, and heating will clear up the pain. As a confidence boost, I’m telling myself that, “yes, your Achilles is hurting because your stride is getting sloppy and you are pounding through your heel.”
My average SPM for the last 5 runs since PR Clovers was below 170. I need that average above 170 on my commutes to keep out of the bad (and painful) habit of heel striking.
All of my training had been going so well since last October when I had a revitalizing gait analysis. I was beginning to think I was indestructible.
Forced family taper.
I planned to run 20-miles over the weekend to get to 70 for the week. Knowing that a snow storm was coming, I wasn’t too picky about when or where I would run. With the persistent pain in my achilles though, I killed the run plans and ventured to the Golden Rec Center instead.
At the Rec Center, I submerged my body in the hot tub for 15 mins. Then, I sat on the edge of the tub with a jet bubbling directly on my Achilles for 5 minutes. So good. Next I went into the stretching area, turned on Pandora, and ZONED OUT for an hour. I’m quite easily relaxed & rejuvenated by my stretching routing. I don’t think about much as I melt into poses. Then it was back into the tub for another 20 minute soak. I took 10 minutes of direct impulse on my Achilles. I sat visualizing the WFL race, imagining the joy, the grit, the scenery, the adrenaline. I’m ready.
Ok, I mentioned visualization. This is how I manage pre and mid-race expectations to ensure confidence throughout the race. The course profile had been juggling in my head since I last revisited it in Week 12, and I needed to gain a better perspective of how I would challenged at different points in the race:
I started playing around with Strava files in Excel to assess the elevation gains over the course. The above chart was pretty fun to make, and gives me a solid understanding of the HUGE challenge that lies before me. I will not be able to maintain 6:30/mile pace while climbing 800-feet over 11 miles (14-25.5). Period. I’m going to lose plenty of time during the uphill and will need to take advantage of the downhill segments to regain my lead on the Chaser Car. And then there is mile 31: TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX FEET UP. After that it’s no-mans land. The best course data I could get was through 32-miles. I’m hoping to make it to 40. Fingers are crossed that it’s continues downhill after mile 32.
Baby, I was born for this! It’s gonna be a challenge, but that is precisely why I signed up for this race.
Previous success stories from the WFL Race in Santa Clarita, CA:
- Nathan 2015 https://www.strava.com/activities/297464695
- Tyler 2016 https://www.strava.com/activities/569685813
For your viewing pleasure: Here is my performance from three years ago when WFL was held in Denver.
And finally, for all of you racing in the next week or month or year. Here is an insightful article from Outside Magazine that simplifies the mindset for managing emotions and expectations at different stages of pre-race preparation.
Oh yeah, I promised you goals didn’t I? I’m hopeful to have a less eventful final week of taper, so stay tuned, I’ll post my race goals on Friday.
Endurance Changes Time,