Quad Rock training week eighteen recap

Only six nights are left between now and the Quad Rock starting horn. I'm feeling pretty good after a relatively light week of running. Here are the numbers.

  • 5 hours, 14 minutes

  • 28.6 miles

  • 2,933 ft D+

One of my goals for last week was to get a better sense of how much fast downhill running I will be able to do at Quad Rock. I'm recovering from a groin pull and running fast has been uncomfortable and even painful since March 23. On Tuesday I pressed the accelerator going up and down the A trail at Maxwell and my time on the descent was my best ever. Even better, I felt comfortable doing it. I did a few easy strides, short bursts of speed, on Wednesday. Saturday I ran 2.5 miles down the steep Towers trail at 7:30 minutes per mile, fast for me, with no pain at all. I'm not quite 100%, but I'm close enough. I'm going to go a little more slowly than that on race day unless I'm feeling unexpectedly good on the last descent before the finish.

Today I went for an easy five-mile trail run in a fairly new pair of Speedgoats, version 4, the shoes I've been planning to wear at Quad Rock. I'm going to wear them at the start and for most of the race to soften the pounding. In case I need more stability or want to feel faster in the last ten miles, I'm going to stash the Terra Kigers I wore at Maxwell in a drop bag at the Horsetooth trailhead.

The weather forecast looks quite good for next week. Monday and Tuesday may be wet, but not cold enough for snow. Then there's a drying and warming trend. Three days of sun and no rain should let trails drain and dry nicely. The current forecast for Saturday is 46 °F (8 °C) at the 5:30 a.m. start of the race and an afternoon high temperature of 72 °F (22 °C). Warm, but not hazardously so.

Next week I'm going to get lots of sleep, do some yoga, short easy runs, and one light speed workout. I've taken Friday off work to pack bags, make a nice meal, and chill.

Vaccinated and busy

Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I got my second Pfizer shot. I drove to Greeley in neigboring Weld County for my vaccinations because I was unable to find any appointments closer to home in the first days after I became elligible. I'm not sure if this points to greater vaccine hesitancy in Weld County or to a larger number of elligible people in Fort Collins. Larimer County's median age is almost 2 years older than Weld's.

Ruth got her shots two weeks before me and she is off to see her mom this week. I'm solo parenting for the first time in 14 months. The kids, dog, chickens, and I survived the weekend just fine. I expect to be pretty busy this week and apologize in advance for not responding promptly to your emails and GitHub notifications.

Quad Rock training week seventeen recap

Thirteen days to Quad Rock. The latest email from the race directors says that Larimer County has approved the plan for all of us 50 mile runners to hit the trail together at 5:30 a.m. on May 8. I had a good training week, skipping a speed workout to nurse my weak adductor, but getting some quality time in the hills. Here are the numbers.

  • 8 hours, 14 minutes

  • 40.4 miles

  • 6,371 ft D+

Ruth is out of town this weekend and next week and I'm a little short on time for more color, but will try to catch up after the race.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51140068121_36bd4d35e1_b.jpg

Pasqueflower on the Spring Creek Trail

Quad Rock training week sixteen recap

I'm back! This was my first solid week of training since week 12.

  • 14 hours, 44 minutes

  • 63.9 miles

  • 11,388 ft D+

I ran six days in a row, including back-to-back long runs yesterday and today. Wednesday I ran through some groin twinges and didn't seem to do any more damage, this inspired me to try a bit of tempo running on Thursday and Friday. Feeling fine on Saturday morning, I went out for a 25-mile hike on the snow-covered Quad Rock course. I took poles to give my weak adductor a break on descents and this seemed to be a good choice. I saved myself from slipping and falling several times and felt fine at the end of the day. Today I went out for a more simple run, two trips up and down Towers Trail, the wide and mostly dry highway to the top of Horsetooth Open Space. I hiked and ran up at a pretty good pace and tested my leg on the descents. I didn't set any new personal records running downhill, but I have a lot more confidence. My plan for the next 3 weeks is to not hurt myself again, repair and grow some muscle cells. I think I'll be almost 100% at Quad Rock.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51123888601_52e0df4443_b.jpg

Milner Mountain (6,881 ft) from the Horsetooth Open Space South Ridge Trail

Quad Rock training week fifteen recap

In the plan, week 15 was a rest week. I feel like I've been resting for three weeks now, waiting for my leg to get better. The numbers below do not include the time I spent in the saddle Sunday on a long mountain bike ride.

  • 3 hours, 19 minutes

  • 13 miles

  • 1217 ft D +

I don't have much to say, except that I'm happy about my solid training earlier in the season, grateful for pretty good sleep and nutrition lately, and hopeful that I'll be able to run this week and tune up for a 50-mile race in less than fours weeks.

Apricots if we're lucky

I am cautiously optimistic about getting some apricot fruit this year from my five year-old tree. It is loaded with flower buds and there's no cold weather in the six day forecast. Our recent snowstorm wasn't very cold, the flower buds were still dormant and wrapped up tight, and the tree wasn't damaged at all by the weight of snow.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51096666506_94efdab2db_b.jpg

Fort Collins is USDA zone 5b, marginal for apricots because of high likelihood of frost after the buds begin to break. The buds on my tree are entering their most vulnerable stages right now. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center projects a greater than 50% chance for anomalously warm weather here in April, so these buds have a good shot at surviving and becoming flowers and fruit.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51097137124_9db9aaaa2c_o.gif

Quad Rock training week fourteen recap

I'm on my way back to full health, but still not running very much. Here are the number for week 14 (of 19).

  • 6 hours, 8 minutes

  • 24.6 miles

  • 4446 ft D+

Walking fast and hiking uphill feels fine, but I still feel a few twinges when trying to run downhill. Weather and injury have set me back in a big way. I only got about 30% of my planned training volume in over the past 3 weeks. Lining up for Quad Rock is still my plan and I'm optimistic about finishing and having fun even if I don't get a new personal best.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51096742279_edce5aba8b_b.jpg

Snow is sticking around in the shade on Towers Trail

Quad Rock training week thirteen recap

My season's biggest training block is in jeopardy. I've injured an adductor muscle, the classic groin pull, and can't run except slowly and in a straight line on even ground. I aborted a speed workout on Tuesday and long runs on Wednesday and Saturday. Today I spent 3.5 hours on my bike doing a big lap of Fort Collins. I didn't feel single twinge, which is great. Still, I've done more running on recent rest weeks, and should probably take it easy next week as well. Here are the sad numbers, not including today's 42 mile ride.

  • 3 hours, 44 minutes

  • 17 miles

  • 1385 ft D+

What am I going to do next week? Ride my bike and do lots of core strength exercises, squats, and step-ups. Maybe test my legs on the bike path on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Quad Rock training week twelve recap

As I expected, my training was complicated by heavy snow. I tried some different approaches to working out and these paid off. It was a pretty solid, if flat, week.

  • 12 hours, 18 minutes

  • 64.3 miles

  • 1348 ft D+

Monday I went for a nice steady slog on the unplowed Spring Creek bike path. On the morning after a typical snowstorm, Parks would have cleared the path before I got out of bed. But this was not the typical storm. We had 20" of heavy snow. The rate of trail clearing must have been at least four times less than usual.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51059987336_efd52ca968_b.jpg

Monday morning on the bike path

Tuesday was the day I had planned to do some high-intensity intervals. Fast paced running wasn't possible with so much snow, so I switched to skis. I trotted up the still-unplowed Spring Creek trail carrying my basic cross-country gear (Atomic wax-less classic skis and boots) and then charged around the snow-covered grassy areas of a local park. To maximize the effort I avoided other ski trails. There was no kick and glide, it was more like bounding on skis. I had no trouble getting my heart rate above 90% of its maximum and my arms got a serious workout as well.

By Wednesday the Parks Department was beginning to win the war against snow. Foothills dirt trails remained impassable.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51059987346_5bcbfccebb_b.jpg

Wednesday morning on the bike path

Saturday I was out of compelling ideas for a long run. I wanted to do 25 miles but wasn't sure where. And my left groin was a bit strained, making me unsure about a long run far from home. Then I saw, on Strava, a local runner beginning his own personal backyard ultra. The concept: a loop 4-1/6 miles long which runners have an hour to complete, the next lap beginning on the next hour. This struck me as the thing to do. I happen to have such a loop that I run from my house, a turn around Colorado State's main campus. I wouldn't need to carry any food or water, and I would never be more than a two-mile walk from home if my leg gave out.

I did 7 laps and a little extra on the last to make my day's total an even 30 miles. I ran at a pace of just under 11 minutes per mile, which gave me almost 15 minutes between laps to eat, drink, stretch, and check my health care provider's app to see if I had a vaccine appointment yet. I got to catch up with my family at the kitchen aid station all day and got a bit sunburned on my legs. The runner who gave me the idea, Paul Nielsen, went on to run all night, 24 laps in all. 100 miles.

Today I went back out for a slow lap around southwest Fort Collins on the Mason, Fossil Creek, and Spring Creek trails. 43 miles total for the weekend, all on concrete paths, and all of them run, not walked. My legs, especially my quads, are complaining. On a weekend of long outings in the hills, I would have hiked at least a third of these miles. Maybe that's why I'm so sore.

Signs of spring

Earlier this month we had a long stretch of warm and dry weather and bulbs started budding all over our garden. Since they haven't started to bloom yet and it's not terribly cold, I expect they'll weather the storm.

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51013712951_177363b65a_b.jpg

Crocus

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51012989958_1abd206e08_b.jpg

Tulips