After some pain and sluggishness last week, I made it a point to focus on tapering this week leading in to the Steamboat Stinger trail marathon on Sunday. They say it’s better to show up to a race undertrained than overtrained, so I’m gonna give it some practice. I tend to overlook the actual “practice” of tapering and simply commit the newly acquired free time to equally busy and stressful activities. Visions of stretching, meditating, and rejuvenating my body are brushed aside as other priorities ensue via work commitments or simply general laziness. Not this time, practice makes better. And I don’t do lazy.
Last trail running of the week. 10-miles total to and from work. It rained all day, benefiting me the heavy shoe challenge for mud drenched return trip.
Why are “speed” workouts so intimidating? I’ve gotten in the habit of doing a 10-mile time trial workout on the Tuesday before a weekend race. The Eldridge Street neighborhood in Golden is close to work and has played host to my three prior TTs. The neighborhood roads are wide, have minimal vehicle traffic, and offer the least available elevation change in the vicinity.
Despite always feeling accomplished in the after glow of a solid workout, I still look for excuses to get out of fast workouts. Maybe that’s how you know your an ultra runner, when you much prefer to run slow for 3 hours, instead of fast for 1 hour?
Nonetheless, I took off from the office fairly comfortably a smudge under 6-minute per mile pace, aided by some downhill. I had the metronome clicking at 180 beats per minute, consciously driving my knees forward to match the cadence. I focused on leaning forward like the lady marathoners in last weekends IAAF championships. Swinging my arms to increase my leg tempo and using my watches heart rate readout to provide feedback of effort, and the subtle nudge that I can work harder.
The first 5 miles went by pretty quickly. During mile 8 my stomach started grumbling, and I tried to supress the need for a bathroom stop. Luckily this neighborhood was still flush with roof repairs from the severe hail storm back in May, so I had my pick of the driveway porta-potties!
Another perk of the hard effort was New sneakers! A month ago I bought TWO identical pairs of Nike Pegasus 33 that I found cheap online. I think that marks the 4th and 5th pair of Pegasus that I’ve bought since that fateful gait analysis of October 2016. Fresh out of the box, I know that these sneaks will deliver. I plan to alternate this current pair on longer “performance” training runs, and save the other pair to race in at the Tussey50.
This morning, Julia and I we’re going to go to NP, but just didn’t have the umph. It being taper week, I’m focusing on accepting sleep when I can get it. I slept for another half hour or so, then went out for a short jog around Golden before starting my workday at home.
I like running a few miles after work, just to clear my head, so I went out for another 5 easy miles around Golden, while stopping at the bank and getting groceries at the end.
During this run, I test drove my newly upgraded hydration vest! Having been on a few long-haul adventures this summer, my Ultimate Direction AK vest never had enough storage for all the stuff I needed. That has resulted in me skimping on supplies and feeling under prepared during long days on the trail. Also, I’ll be crewing for MB at the Leadville 100 trail race next week and wanted to be able to carry the necessary emergency supplies and snacks.
Rather than invest $200 on a shiny new vest, I’d imagined crafting an add-on row of pockets similar to the back pockets of a bike jersey. The project would have been easier if I had an old bike jersey to cut up, but I didn’t, so I used a fancy, black tech T-shirt.
I cut the bottom hem of the T-shirt and sewed it into a 3-pocket sling. Using some bungee cord and slider clips that’d I’d invested in a few years ago for a similar hydration-solution project, I hitched the sling to the vest bottom such that it’s removable, and the pocket height and tightness adjustable. Check it out:
OH yes, I’m still tapering, but as you can see from yesterdays Hydration Vest upgrade, free time breeds equally busy and stressful project commitments. So for PlayGldn, we brought our own paces again. I test drove the loaded hydration vest again and gently scampered up and down the hill a few times with the gang.
Thankfully Sbuck dropped his doughnut verbal, as I was scared that I would break my one-week taper truce of no hard sweets (doughnuts, cake, & ice cream). In addition to a clean(er) week of eating, I’ve been running less and keeping all runs easy on the roads. I’ve been doing daily leg-mobility swings before and after my morning commutes, and stretching to the very bare minimum each evening. Also, I’ve been using the electric massager nightly to loosen up both Achilles and calves.
I’m trying to ignite the fire in me to race again. I find myself repeating this thought before each race, though that’s not really how these ultra-trail races ever unfold.
My desired of stiff competition and animal instincts fizzle away, as survival and endurance battle in my head. I really never channeled the fire before the Dirty30. There are a few performances that I visualize for inspiration, most notably that of Patrick Lange 2:39 marathon performance at the 2016 IRONMAN world championships in Kona. Ticking off 6-minute miles that late in a sufferfest is svelte.
I’m sure you’ve been dying to know that I’m still turning the handle to “C “at the end of my showers. This is now a habit almost two months old! I’ve learned that the water at home gets way colder than the water at work. I’ve also learned that I still need to remind myself to “Embrace the Shock.”
So what does this mental stimulation sum to? An eagerness to push my limits. I think about it often, but haven’t executed lately. I’ve talked about it before how endurance races are you against the terrain, whereas road races are more person-v-person competitions.Though looking back at my last performance at the 2015 Steamboat Stinger, it was a different story. I had stamina, and will, and daggers.
I can’t believe I said these things:
- “I feel like I have this secret endurance potion”
- “my thoughts wavered to things like home design, marriage, and ice cream…”
Other Quotables that Ive found:
“This is happening” vis a vis: F’ it. Go for it. Finish on Empty.
If you stay just under the line most of the time, you can do amazing things when it’s time to go over the line.” Ben Rosario
Moral of the story: I’m gunning for a sustained effort via HR monitoring. throughout the race. I practiced this during the TT. If my heart rate wasn’t pushing 160, I knew I could go harder. I hope to take the first 10-miles at Stinger in a controlled pace, then really unlock it for the final 16 (8-up, 8-down). You can go harder, you can go faster, GO FASTER!
Bike to work. Road run home from work. Soak. Hay in barn.
Categorize: New and Improved Blog Organization. I don’t know why, but it’s taken 5-years of blogging for me to realize that TAGs suck and Categories are useless. Until now! A convo with Julia yesterday about how difficult it is to search our blog triggered the light bulb. I’ve been wanting to implement a categorization of our blogs to group them by training cycle, race read, or general notes.Low and behold, that is exactly what the “Categories” prompt is for. Welcome to Endurance Changes Time 2.0.
- Race Reads!
- Past Training Cycles:
- In Progress Training Cycles:
- General Training!
- Motivational Readings and Notes!
- And much, much more !!!
Wish me luck. My next race is Sunday at 7AM in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Endurance Changes Time,