Monday, March 10th
PM—10 Miles—1:35—1,400’—Last Dollar Road and Aldasoro Road
Parked at the Valley Floor TH, ran up-and-over Last Dollar Road to Deep Creek, turned around, and added a few more miles on Aldasoro Road. Really easy pace the entire time. Legs felt a bit lethargic today.
Tuesday, March 11th
AM—8 Miles—1:16—1,250’—Last Dollar Road and Aldasoro Road
Another easy day. Ran from the Valley Floor TH up Last Dollar Road to where the pavement ends near the airport. On the way back I got in a few extra miles and some more vert on Aldasoro Road. The climb up Aldasoro is a little steeper than Last Dollar Road, but it’s still 100% runnable even on tired legs.
Wednesday, March 12th
AM—8 Miles—1:02—1,100’—Last Dollar Road
Parked at the Valley Floor and ran an out-and-back to Deep Creek. The first mile was painfully slow (9:45) as I shook out my legs. During that first mile my plan was to just have an easy run around 9-10 minute pace. After my legs loosened up I picked up the pace; hitting 7:53, 6:57, and 6:11 minute miles heading to my four-mile turnaround at Deep Creek. My pace for most of mile 4 was sub-6 minute, but as I neared Deep Creek the mud, snow, and ice conditions worsened causing me to ride the brakes a little. I took the first mile or so of the climb up from Deep Creek pretty easy at 10:06, but then got back to cruising as I neared the top. Miles 6, 7, and 8 were 7:51, 6:39, and 6:43. When I reached the top of the climb from Deep Creek I just coasted the last two miles back to the Taco rather than push them. I’m at the point where I can comfortably run sub-6’s here, but I wanted to run a pace closer to what I hope to run on the descents in Salida this weekend. With the exception of the first mile, the entire run was pleasantly comfortable in terms of perceived effort. I guess it’s time to think about starting to taper now…
Thursday, March 13th
AM—6 Miles—0:59—1,050’—Last Dollar Road and Aldasoro Road
This run marked the official beginning of my taper for Salida. Just a mellow three mile ascent followed by a coast back down the hill. I’ll never understand the people who taper for races but completely abstaining from running. I still need to move on my easy days or I feel like death.
Friday, March 14th
AM—3 Miles—0:28—400’—Shavano Trailhead Road (Salida, CO)
Easy shakeout run after driving all morning. Legs felt really tight throughout, but loosened up a bit in the last half mile or so. I planned on running about five miles, but saw a couple of coyotes that looked like they were developing a strategy to flank me and have me for dinner. So, I turned around sooner than anticipated.
Saturday, March 15th
AM—26.2 Miles—3:43—3,500’—Run Through Time Trail Marathon (Salida, CO)
I met up with Peter and Tara Friday night for my first official night of camping as well as my first campfire of the season. Such a great feeling! After a solid night of sleep I headed into town for a pre-race coffee or two and half a muffin. It was nice to have a quick chat with Nick, Joe, Mike, Matt, Peter, and others before taking off. The morning air was a bit brisk. Joe and I talked about not wanting to carry a bunch of extra crap with us from the start and just sucking it up for the first few miles until we got warmed up.
We went out at a decent pace for the first few miles—somewhere around 6:30 or so—before beginning a generally upward trend for the next twelve’ish miles. I emptied the water from my handheld about a mile into the day since it was freezing my gloveless hands. From then on, I just ran with an empty water bottle. Shortly after beginning the ascent Nick and a few others took off, never to be seen again. The long, gradual ascent passed by pretty effortlessly with the only hiccup being some stomach issues around mile 11. I followed a group for most of the singletrack portion of the ascent until we reached a stretch of smooth jeep road and dispersed. Somewhere around the twelve-mile mark was a brief out-and-back where I was surprised to find ol’ Leadville Bill spectating. Of course, I had to stop for a quick chat with him before continuing.
Around the half-marathon point, which I reached in 1:52, we hit a few miles of snow and ice on the trails. It was never really bad enough to do anything other than slow me down slightly. The rolling nature of the second half made for a much slower pace than I anticipated based on a quick glance at the course elevation profile on the race website. However, I found this constant up-and-down pattern to be much more enjoyable than 13 miles of near-constant descent. I noticed that my muscles were seamlessly changing gears from the descents into the ascents and vice versa.
During the snowy patches I ran along with Mike H for a while and chatted. This was probably the easiest stretch of running I did all day in terms of effort. I probably could have covered the snowy stretches a little faster, but I didn’t want to risk being totally wrecked later on down the road. Eventually, Mike stepped aside and let me pass.
After the snow/ice subsided we were treated to some delightful technical roads/trails for several miles. I was pleased to find that even after a winter of smooth jeep road and snow-covered trail running I could still descend the rocky stuff at a decent pace.
I can’t remember exactly where, but somewhere along the line I was passed by Patrick. In passing, he made a comment about sub-3:35 still being within reach. I had one more bout with stomach issues around 21.5 miles, which caused me to veer off-trail again. Fortunately, this was the last time. It took me about a half-mile to get my legs turning over again after this bathroom break. A while after getting back on the trail I passed Patrick in the midst of an end-of-race bonking session. I don’t think he had 3:35 in mind any longer…
Not long after passing Patrick I noticed a guy in Green behind me. By this time I had been passing half-marathon runners left and right. This guy appeared to be moving much quicker than the half runners. So, I assumed he was running the full marathon. Regardless, I decided that there was no way he was going to pass me. I had several miles to hold him off; Not too long at all. The last aid station was around 3 miles or so from the finish. I blew right on through it. I hadn’t consumed any water or calories up to this point, why start now? Green Shirt Guy stopped here for aid allowing me to put some distance between us.
The last three miles was super-fast singletrack, but the ridiculous amount of half-marathoners that I had to pass made it nearly impossible to maintain any sort of rhythm. I would run low 6-minute pace briefly only to slow down to a crawl while waiting for an opportunity to pass a line of five people or so. Oh well…
The last fraction of a mile was probably the worst part of the entire day. It was flat and into a headwind. I managed to hold off Green Shirt Guy into the finish for a time of 3:43. Not bad considering that I spent about 10 minutes with stomach issues and chatting with Bill at the halfway point. Those 10 minutes would have put me pretty close to my goal of 3:30. It’s hard for me not to be pleased considering that I only started trying to get faster about three weeks ago. One of the big positives from this race was that no pace felt uncomfortable. Running 6:30’s on the flats felt just as good as going sub-6 on the descents and sub-9 pace on douche grade jeep roads was just as comfortable as an 11-minute pace on a steeper climb.
I can’t wait to see how my next “speedwork” session goes.
Sunday, March 16th
AM—5 Miles—0:50—600’—Last Dollar Road
Easy shakeout run. I had some tightness/soreness in my calves, but everything else felt great. Decided on a short, easy day to fully recover before hitting another 3-4 week stretch of ramping up my running volume.
Time— 9 hours 55 minutes
Elevation Gain— 9,300 feet
Prior to this week, the last four weeks were spent ramping up my weekly mileage and vertical. The Run Through Time trail marathon in Salida has been on my calendar for a few months now. So, I arranged my schedule so that a low-volume recovery week coincided with the marathon. This set me up perfectly for a bit of a taper and an overall low intensity week. I think it paid off since I ran 100% of the marathon, never had a low patch (other than stomach issues), and my legs felt fresh throughout the day.
Next week begins another 3-4 week cycle of pumping up the weekly volume with the goal of another low-volume/intensity recovery week during the second week of April. This will be one week before I run the Free State Trail Runs 100km in Lawrence, KS on April 19th. In the long run, I’m hoping I can figure out how to taper in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m about to die or something.
My current plan is to string together 3-4 100+ mile weeks during this cycle. We’ll see how it all goes…
|Scenery along my usual Last Dollar Road route|
|Starving artist in Telluride, CO|
|Staring down river to Shavano|
|First campfire of the season!|
|I had to stop for a photo of some 14ers that look runnable|
|First few miles of Run Through Time (Photo: Russell O)|