Okay, so I'm now two full cycles (8 weeks) into Leadville training and everything seems to be clicking along nicely (knock on wood). The big thing for me is routine. Every week of my training plan is virtually identical in structure. The mileages may vary slightly, but the type of workout doesn't really change much from week to week. Mondays and Fridays are recovery days (6-7 easy miles), Tuesday is a double (usually 8 easy in the AM and 5 trail miles in the PM), Wednesday is speed day (either 800s on the track or hill repeats), Thursday is medium-distance trail day (10-12 miles) and Sat/Sun are long run days.
It's actually fairly incredible how quickly your body can adjust to the abuse you throw at it. In fact, one thing I've noticed so far is that in some ways my body actually seems to thrive on the abuse. During my cutback weeks, which are in the 55-58 mile range (as opposed to 85-90 miles), I have actually felt more fatigued and rundown than when I'm in a high mileage week. Of course, that could be because I'm coming off of three straight weeks of high mileage by the time I reach a cutback week, but I have yet to really feel heavily impacted by the mileage in the midst of a high mileage week, whether is the 1st week of the cycle or the 3rd. I'm not a physiologist, nor did I sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I have no explanation for this, just an observation.
In any case, now that spring has returned, hopefully for good, I'm hoping to really be able to put this training I've done so far to the test, the first test being the Quad Rock 50 in just over a week. I ran the inaugural QR last year as a training run for Bighorn and had a blast. It was definitely the best paced (not fastest, by any means, just best paced) 50 miler I've done and I finished feeling relatively fine, which was the goal. Like I mentioned, my time wasn't blazing fast (11:11), but considering my goal going in was a sub-12 and to not feel like a steaming pile of shit afterwards, things went pretty okay. This year, with more time between my goal 100 and QR, I feel like maybe I can push for a faster time. I'm not going to redline it by any means, but I'd definitely like to go sub-11 and maybe sub-10:30. Of course, thanks to the April snowmageddon (or snowpocalypse, if you prefer), my trail mileage took a hit recently, so I don't feel as prepared as I could be. And I'm not really tapering for this thing, just training through it, but like I said above my legs don't generally seem happy with cutback weeks anyhow (although I still recognize and respect their necessity), so maybe that's for the best. Most of all, I'm just looking forward to some good beer with the Fort Collins crew after the race. After all, that's the reason the vast majority of us run ultras, isn't it??