Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Leadville Training Part 2: Damn you, Mother Nature

Okay, so I've been doing a fairly shitty job of consistently updating the masses (all 2 or 3 of you) on my Leadville training.  The first update was after two weeks, I'm now in the middle of the third week of my second 4 week cycle, so that comes out to....a long time ago.  In any case, I'll just list some highlights (and lowlights):

--Overall, things are going well.  Weekly mileage has been 80+ for the most part, other than cutback weeks, and I hit 90 last week.

--Had a good 25 mile run on the Centennial a couple of weeks ago where I forced myself to eat something (I've been using Honey Stinger waffles and chews lately) every half hour on the half hour.  This equates to about 320 calories per hour.  It seemed to work well.  I found that before when I was guesstimating a good time to eat, I was grossly misjudging just how well I was doing about getting enough calories consistently and subsequently falling behind and feeling like shit late in the run.

--The day after that 25 miler, I ran 15 miles on a 1.25 mile out and back.  That sounds like borderline torture , but it actually ended up being a lot of fun.   A friend, Johnathan, put together a low-key event to showcase a new trail he and a group of volunteers have been constructing in the town of Whitewood.  The plan was that he was going to run for 24 hours and see how many miles he could get in.  He had sponsors lined up to donate a certain amount per mile or just a set amount, and they also gathered donations at the start/finish to help fund future trail building activities.  Since only 1.25 miles of the trail is complete, that's what we ran on.  Johnathan ended up with a 100K; I put in 15 in the evening after a day of watching/coaching my son's basketball team at a tourney in Rapid City.

--Ran on the Tinton trail just outside of Spearfish a couple of weeks ago for the first time since the first week in December.  Tinton gets snowed in pretty bad during the winter because of the topography and lack of overall use in the winter, but it was finally clear and runnable.....or at least it was briefly, which brings me to my next point....

--Mother Nature is a dirty, dirty whore.  Last week we got a two day long winter storm that dumped over a foot of snow, more snow than we've had all winter.  It didn't warm up much over the weekend, and then we got another storm last night and today, although this most recent one ended up not being nearly as bad.  Still, it's mid-April and suddenly all the trails are snowed in and I'm running in full-on winter gear.  Bullshit, I tell ya.

--Because of Mother Nature, my longest run of my Leadville training so far, a 30 miler this past Saturday, ended up being on roads.  Not ideal, but at least I got some miles/hours in.  I ended up running the backroads from Belle Fourche to Spearfish and back.  I've run from Belle to Spearfish or vice versa several times before, but I'd never done the whole round trip in one go, so it was somewhat exciting in that sense.  Adding to the excitement, my brand new Ultraspire hydration pack (I've probably run with it fewer than 10 times) sprung a leak 9 miles into the run.  Luckily, I had my cell phone and was able to call my wife and have her deliver a couple of trusty handheld bottles to Spearfish.  Other than that, not a bad 5 hour legs were minimally sore later that day or the day after.

--I've began focusing on how many calories I actually consume every day versus how many I burn and have found that I was a horrible judge of how many calories I could justifiably eat, which is why my weight has consistently been in the 205-210 range for the last several years, despite reasonably high weekly mileage.  In the last month of actually tracking this stuff, I've dropped  a little over 14 pounds, down into the low 190s.  I'd like to get in the 170-180 range before Leadville, which seems doable.  After an initial quick drop (I lost like 9 pounds the first week), things have slowed a bit, which is to be expected, but the trend continues to be downward.  One interesting phenomenon I've picked up on is that long runs actually result in a short-term weight gain.  In the 2 or 3 days after my long run(s), I'll typically add 2-3 pounds, but then those pounds will go away again mid to late week and by Friday or Saturday I'll end up with an overall loss for the week.  I've researched the subject a little (i.e., I googled it) and it seems fairly commonplace for distance runners; some sort of reaction by the body to retain water in response to trauma (like, for instance, 5 hours of running).

--This has nothing to do with my Leadville training, but a quick word on the Boston Marathon bombings.  At one point in my running life, qualifying for and running Boston was the holy grail, as it is for many runners.  After a few attempts, I did finally qualify after at Missoula in 2008 (that race remains my PR and my one and only BQ).  I ran Boston in 2009 and it was one of the most memorable running experiences of my life.  The atmosphere there is something you really can't just have to experience it.  So, needless to say, the bombings were quite a shock.  Besides the obvious tragedy of loss of life and the severe physical injuries that occurred, the bombings shattered that one of kind of aura that surrounds the Boston Marathon.  It really just sucks that an occasion that should be so memorable to 25,000+ runners and their family and friends has been absolutely and forever tainted by such a vicious, pointless act.  In a strange way, it almost makes me want to run Boston again even more now, and I suspect that that will be the case for a lot of runners.