It was a different sort of week this week. My body said no, and I obliged. Call it a combo of the need for tapering, recovery, & absorbtion. Regardless, I cruised along through the month of July with higher-than-average weekly mileage, vertical gain, and time on my feet. It finally caught up with me this week, for better or for worse, as I focus in on my check-in race the Steamboat Stinger Trail Marathon on August 13th.
I added a few extra miles into my commutes, banking the trail miles, and trying to tire out my legs prior to a long (4-hour-ish) Tuesday run.
On the final stretch of the 19th Street trail yesterday, I lost focus for a split-second to see if two approaching women had their dogs on leashes. That loss of concentration led me to kick a rock and stub my big toe really bad. OUCH! The big toe on my left foot has been the bearer of impact ever since I started trail running, and even before that as an alpine snowboard racer. In my early days of running, I’d stub my toe on a rock at least once a month, an action that usually sent me flying to the ground, skinning my knees and palms as a result. With a few years of experience under my belt, I’ve shown better concentration and balance on the trail, avoiding stubs and keeping my footing while moving over rocky terrain.
Yesterday was a setback. While the pain wasn’t out of the ordinary, I’m welcoming the hit as a sign that I need to back off for a few days. So I cancelled today’s long run today (and my day off from work) and instead jogged the short road route into the office.
After work I settled in to my favorite eddy spot in Clear Creek for a half-body soak to ease my pains.
Yesterday, I told Julia that I planned to skip NP so that I could sleep in and heal my ailing body. She then let me in on a secret plan to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Alli and Dylan. So I scrapped the plan for R&R and joined Julia at NP. Would you believe that the guests of honor NEVER SHOWED UP! I sure hope Alli and Dylan show up on time for their wedding on Friday.
Have no fear, I still had a blast at NP, enjoyed the party crew, and snagged a donut to enjoy after my 5-mile run home. My toe feels better, though still stiff, which is why I’m sticking to the roads for a bit to avoid any further carnage.
I worked from home today, so after the closing bell I set out for 5-miles around Golden, then dipped into the Creek for a revival soak. I made it a point to listen to the water. There are so many distractions in life, there’s nothing like the sound of running water to ground yourself.
For PlayGldn, Julia designed the Gear Shifter workout. This was a toughie! We split the Dino Ridge hill into 4-sections: 2-up, 2-down. Going up, you progress from 2nd to 3rd gear at the midway point on the hill. Likewise, midway downhill you kick it up from 2nd to 4th gear. This offered a great mix of focus on both uphill and downhill running.
As per usual, I focused on driving my knees forward both up and downhill. In addition to the blunt force toe injury, I’ve been dealing with knot-like pain in the right side of my calf. Julia researched it and identified the irritated muscle as the Peroneus Brevis. I haven’t had time to read up on the causes and preventative measures for this muscle, but I have broken out the buzz massager at home — giving a good jostling to my calves, Achilles, and peroneus muscles — which has provided noticeable relief.
On the run home from work, I was cashed in! I felt beat, fatigued, tired, hungry, & lifeless. I had rejiggered my work/run schedule so that I was off from work on Friday. I was planning on a medium long run on Friday, but acknowledged the absolute need to take the day off from running. I needed to sleep in and carry no anticipation or desires for running. I instead planned to enjoy coffee, breakfast, and go to the Golden Rec Center to soak & stretch. My body needs to rejuvenate.
Maybe I was over reacting, as I was just sore from the morning’s PG workout and had been struggling with ailments all week, but I was reacting. I had a busy and productive week at work, so I probably didn’t get the daytime “recovery” in my office chair that I’m used to. Nonetheless, my body was speaking and I was listening.
SIDE NOTE: Good read on how social media has hijack our minds, as quantified by Tristan Harris.
Success! I slept in and enjoyed the morning. I’d been on a good streak of high mileage weeks, and overlooked the need for a down week. After breakfast and coffee, I walked over to the creek for a cold soak, then to the Rec Center for a hot tub soak, then I stretched for 45-minutes while listening to a podcast w/Jason Koop, then back into the hot tub, and finally back into the creek! It was a blissful two hours.
The rest of the day was full as I met up with my parents for coffee at Pangea, prepped for Julia’s and my 1st wedding anniversary weekend getaway, ran some errands, and picked up MB to head to Boulder for the wedding of Alli and Dylan. Yes, they showed up and the event was magnificent.
For our anniversary, Julia had found a boutique hotel in Minturn, CO for us to call base camp. She’d also found a 27-mile loop trail run for us to earn our anniversary cake from Das Meyer. We got a late morning start at the trailhead in Minturn, and immediately climbed for 10-miles over 3-hours. I felt very sluggish while climbing, with tunnel vision in the trees, and city-slicker problems on my mind.
Once we made it to Grouse Pass, 10-miles in, I declared it lunch time. The pass was beautiful — an open landscape of wildflowers with cairns directing us through the meadow. I ate my PB&J and was seemingly brought back to life. I got a second wind as we were finally running, descending the back side of the pass toward Upper Torquois Lake.
The views were awesome, the lake felt marvelous, and the trail was technical. We ended up doing an out-and-back rather than the loop for safety’s sake. It’s more comforting knowing what the 12-miles back to the car will be like. Unfortunately, the route down was not much easier than the climb up. We didn’t realize how rocky, and gnarly the terrain actually was. We could never hit our flow on the downhill because of the hazardous rocks and roots in our way. Not to mention the ginormous Bull Moose that I heard stomping through the brush about 25 yards from us. I hollered to Julia to halt, and we tip toed our way down the trail. We were never in any real danger, but moose are the most unpredictable animal in the woods and are easily triggered to rage!
A quick storm rolled through in the final mile dumping hail on our heads. We just smiled at each other and frolicked through the meadow back to the car. After 6-1/2 hours on our feet, we were famished, ready for our hotel, a beer, and a HUGE pasta dinner.
How do you know when you need a break??
Whenever I start feeling pain, I take a look back at my training to try and glean some insight from what is ailing me. So here’s a look at my last 6 weeks of training (sorry for the poor resolution):
So yeah, July was a heavy running month, and I’m really happy with the ease with which the miles came. Wanna calculate my average pace? Nope! Who cares!? It doesn’t matter!! I’m banking volume, consistency, and having a hell of a good time.
Oh yeah, I’m racing the Stinger Trail Marathon next Sunday. Here’s a bit of my course recon preparation:
Next week, I’m going to practice tapering. It just so happens that tapering after you’ve been gorging on anniversary cake doesn’t put you in the best mental state 😉 I’ll post again before the race to report on how the taper unfolded.
Endurance Changes Time,