Monday, November 10, 2008

High altitude training

I spent most of the past week a little out of my comfort zone (about 3000 feet out of it, to be exact) in Colorado Springs. I had to go there for work (supervisory training) and had hoped to get in some good runs on the Springs extensive trail network. The training schedule, however, dictated otherwise. Since I would spend most of the day in class or eating (seriously, three meals a day at the all you can eat buffet at the resort they put us up in), I didn't get as much daylight to explore as I would have liked. Consequently, I spent most of my runs wandering around the streets of CO Springs in the dark trying not to get lost.

While I was off in the Springs trying desperately to burn as many calories as I was taking in, the Black Hills got hammered with a blizzard. We're talking over 40 inches of snow in some places and wind gusts to 78 mph in Rapid City. Nasty shit. So, this would mark the third time in the last couple of years that I've gone out of state for training only to have to return in bad weather conditions. The other two times, I made the trip back just fine, other than some white knuckle driving. This time, not so much. About 40 miles from home on Friday night, my co-worker and I hit a patch of black ice on the interstate, skidded across the left lane, bounced off the left guard rail, skidded back across both lanes and side-swiped the right guard rail, where we finally stopped. Thankfully, neither of us were hurt at all. The government Trailblazer, however, is a little worse for the wear. From now on, I'm either flying to training or only going in the summer.

So, back to running. Despite the long days at class, I managed to hammer out some good miles while I was in CO Springs:

Sunday - 8.9 miles in the morning, another 4.61 in the afternoon. Finally got around to raking leaves (I was waiting for them all to fall first....I swear....I wasn't just being lazy).

Monday - 7.27 miles followed by the 7 hour drive to CO Springs and 3 hours of training.

Tuesday - 13.74 miles in the morning, another 5 in the afternoon. First runs at 6100 feet. I didn't feel like I was gasping for air, but my pace was noticeably slower, especially on the uphills (which there were a lot of). After the afternoon run, I intently watched the election results as they started coming in. GOBama!!!

Wednesday - 10.24 miles.

Thursday - 10.16 miles in the morning, 7.34 miles in the afternoon. Both times I ran in the afternoon, it felt much, much easier. Is there more oxygen when the sun is up or something??

Friday - 8.6 miles followed by the aforementioned adventure on the way home. The good thing about crashing where we did is that we were near enough to home that someone could come retrieve us.

Saturday - 20.1 miles. The longest run I've done since.....uh.....the Missoula Marathon back in July, I guess. I was planning on going for at least 15, but felt pretty good so decided to go for 20 instead. By mile 17, I was pretty sure I shouldn't have done that, but it was too late by then.

Total - 95.95 miles. Yes, I would have run another 0.05 on Saturday if I would have known. In any case, it's my highest weekly mileage since April.

This week, back to the grindstone at work (except for the Veterans Day holiday tomorrow). Hopefully, miles will be similar to last week, but we'll see if Mother Nature has any more tricks up her sleeve....


jen said...

Oh man, I can't believe you didn't hit 100! :D Aw well, close enough I suppose. Great job. :)

I'm sorry to hear about your wreck in the bad weather, but so glad you are ok. Black ice is awful.

I've run in CO Springs and it killed me! Of course I'm a pansy-ass sea level runner, so it was 6000+ feet of an adjustment for me. You're hard core.

Jim said...

I am a big fan of your blog. Congratulations on your BQ. I hope to be there someday. I wanted to know what you used to track your distance. You post your distance with a hundredth of a mile of precision. Are you using a forerunner or a footpod?

Chris said...

Hey Jim,

Thanks! Good to know I'm not just ranting to myself (as if that would stop me).

I use a Garmin Forerunner 305 to track my mileage. I got it back in May for my birthday and, honestly, I don't know how I ever lived without it. Before that, I just ran routes that I had premeasured with my car, which really limited how much exploring I did. I've seen a lot more of the countryside since I got the Garmin.