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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Crocus

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Tulips

When the bough breaks

The official snowfall through 8:00 a.m. at the CSU weather station is 17 inches. That's a half-mile from my house and representative of the conditions at home. I measured 11.5 inches on the ground. Snow compresses after it's fallen. At the weather station they measure the depth as it falls.

Snow this dense is rare in Fort Collins. It's like wet cement. We've got branches down in back and in front. It's sad to see.

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Quad Rock training week 11 recap

Week 11 was a rest week, the last of a four week block in which I ran 186 miles and climbed 27,000 feet. The numbers for this week are small.

  • 3 hours, 24 minutes

  • 20.4 miles

  • 1122 ft D+

I ran four times and did two yoga/HIIT workouts with Ruth. Since I wasn't planning on any hard running workouts, I added extra weight when doing squats. I've been using a band, too, and the combination made my glutes nice and sore. A resistance band around your legs above your knees reminds your glutes and hips to keep engaged. I'm also working on engaging the same set of muscles when I run by aiming my knees slightly outward.

In my next four week block I would like to run 250 miles and climb more than 37,000 feet. The vertical goal could be difficult to achieve. This weekend's snowstorm may bring several feet of snow to the foothills and make travel to trailheads complicated.

Today I got out for an easy pre-storm run at Pineridge. Tomorrow I hope to get out on my cross-country skis for the first time since November.

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On the first little ridge of the Rocky Mountains looking north

Quad Rock training week ten recap

First, the numbers.

  • 13 hours, 32 minutes

  • 64.0 miles

  • 10,522 ft D+

Over 100 kilometers distance and 3200 meters of elevation gain. That's a solid week. A lot of my favorite local singletrack was wet and closed, so I did more running on flat pavement and compensated by going on steeper back-to-back long runs on the weekend.

Today I woke up with little enthusiasm for running. I'm a bit sleep deprived. I expected crowded trails and scarce parking. My right knee has been feeling brittle and I crashed and scraped it on Saturday. If there had been two or three more little things, I might have bailed. But, I've got an annual Horsetooth pass now, there was enough gas in the minivan to get to the trailhead and back, the weather was fine, and my gear is all in good shape. And next week is my scheduled recovery week, so I would have plenty of time to rest and recover from another long run. To keep it simple, I planned to do two trips up to the Towers and back via the service road. No route-finding would be needed, no slipping or tripping would happen, just a long run/hike up a steady grade with freedom to enjoy the views instead of watching my feet. It was a good plan and I felt better as I went. I even managed to get my legs to turn over quickly on the descents. Going up, I hiked every stretch of trail with a grade over 5 percent. In other words, most of the climb. I'll probably do the same at Quad Rock.

This week's steep routes helped me to fourth place on the local club leaderboard for most elevation gain.

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Longs Peak from the Tower site