Training week twenty-one recap

Week twenty-one was a solid week of running.

  • 12:53 hours on my feet (#4 of 21 weeks)
  • 65.9 miles (#5 overall)
  • 9882 feet D+ (#2)

I ran my last 25 miler and my last back-to-back long runs before Quad Rock. Saturday I ran the second half of the course, climbs 4-6, with two runners who are a little faster than me. We completed the loop in 5:47, 33 minutes faster than I ran the Quad Rock 25 in 2018. I felt more soreness than usual this morning, but the feeling went away quickly on my out and back run on the single track east of Horsetooth Reservoir. I saw one rattlesnake and missed another that I was warned of by another runner. Not having to watch for snakes was one of the upsides of winter running.

Next week I'm going to run 20 fewer miles, with only one long run. I'm looking forward to a Sunday of sleeping in and gardening.

Longs Peak (14,269') from Horsetooth Open Space's Stout Trail

Last spring hill workout

Hello from week twenty-one of my Quad Rock training season. I'm taking a couple minutes at lunch to write about my last hill workout before the race. I drove to Arthur's Rock trailhead at Lory State Park this morning with the intent of warming up on the valley trail and doing a 1-3-5-7-5-3-1 interval pyramid on one of the Quad Rock climbs. On route, at the top of Bingham Hill, the little gap on the north end of Horsetooth Reservoir, I saw a flock of wild turkeys. Ten or more birds, possibly. I didn't see any turkeys on the trail, but heard some gobbling in the distance and saw many prints in the mud.

I'll be happy if I feel as good on race day as I felt this morning. I ran my intervals up the first Quad Rock climb, on Samwill, Loggers, Carey Springs, and Tower trails, with half-length recovery intervals at an easy pace, and destroyed my PR for the climb: 33:30 beat my April 6 run by over 6 minutes. I made it almost to the Towers, then cruised quickly (for me) down the Mill Creek trail and back to my car. I'm certainly not going to go at that pace in the race, but I'm very happy about my form. Maybe I should try to stay fit like this through the summer and be more ambitious at September's Black Squirrel.

Training week twenty recap

There's not much to report about week twenty. I did a little cross training, solo parenting, some yoga, got a massage, shoveled snow, got cabin fever.

  • 3 hours, 11 minutes running
  • 20.0 miles
  • 361 feet D+

In my week 19 recap I mentioned that I was near the top of the Gnar Runners Strava club leaderboard in three categories. At the end of week 19 I finished fourth in distance, first in running time, and third in climbing. I'm comically slow in comparison to the elite local runners.

I'm going to spend the rest of a mild afternoon gardening.

Mapbox Mapbox

I got a massage this morning, on Mapbox, my employer, which provides a quarterly wellness benefit as part of a good and growing benefits package. I could get reimbursed for sports equipment, a bike, or ski passes, but I like to use it on personal training and massage. It feels good to transfer tech startup money to small businesses. I paid via Square and noticed when submitting the receipt for reimbursement that there's a small Mapbox map and an "improve this map" link on it. I should have noticed this earlier.

Blurred because my massage therapist uses a home business address, sorry

It's fun to see Mapbox in the "real world". The company's sales team is kicking ass right now.

Sometimes it snows in April

I'm lucky that this is a recovery week and that I don't need to spend hours slogging in ankle deep wet snow.

While walking home from getting a massage this morning I saw a small flock of mountain bluebirds in Rolland Moore Park. Mountain bluebirds don't spend much time in Fort Collins, they're just passing through. I've been seeing them in the foothills for the past two weeks. Today, they wouldn't let me get close enough for a good photo, unlike the poor birds below on a much colder and snowier April 17, 2013.

Not running feels nice

One of my favorite things about running is being outside. I'm not running today, but when I found myself up before dawn today, I sat outside drinking coffee for 10 minutes before taking my oldest to her pre-school chamber orchestra practice. Not a bad way to start to the week. Not at all.

Programmer migration patterns

I found a fun post by Avery Pennarun about programmer migration patterns using RSS. Have you heard of RSS? It's a quite intriguing concept: you create a terse XML log of your toots or twetes or longer form writings on the web, publish the log on the web, and other people can set up software that periodically checks the XML log and sends a notification when you've written something. You should give it a try!

In fact, I found Pennarun's post about 3 weeks ago, but have been too occupied with work, family, and running to blog about it until now. I've thought about what languages programmers use and why, and enjoyed reading another non-scientific take.

Myself, I've followed two of the paths that Pennarun graphed in the blog post.

  • C -> Perl -> Python 2 -> Python 3
  • sh -> awk -> Perl -> Python 2 -> Python 3

I've done different kinds of programming and dabbled in some esoteric languages, but lately I'm doing system programming, and almost all of it in Python 3. As Pennarun points out, when you need Python programs to run faster, you rewrite their modules in C. I've learned to do this and have also learned how to distribute and deploy C extension modules. I haven't felt the need to migrate to Go, the other next stop for Python 2 programmers in Pennarun's graph. Not yet.

Python 3 use is growing at work and people are definitely coming from Javascript. Mostly because JS options are limited when using Apache Spark, especially with the major Spark hosting services, not because of language features or syntax. I do, however, see signs that some of my coworkers are beginning to appreciate mainstream Python features like path objects, slicing, unpacking, and f-strings. For what it's worth, no one has yet asked me how to use type hinting or how to implement type checking, perhaps because the language switchers tend to have begun their careers with Javascript instead of C++ or Java.

I feel gratified when I see open source Python packages like mercantile, shapely, and rasterio spreading more quickly to other teams at work. This pleases me, greatly. Investing modestly in Python, even when it wasn't considered cool or the next big thing, was a good idea. It's paying off.

Training week nineteen recap

I just came home from the third of my back-to-back-to-back days of long runs: 13+ miles on Friday, 30 on Saturday, and 17+ today. All with significant hills. I feel tired, but not exhausted, and very satisfied. I'm looking looking forward to large servings of cheesy baked pasta and some bubbly pink wine this evening.

The numbers:

  • 15 hours 27 minutes
  • 75.8 miles
  • 12,067 feet D+

All new highs, again. I might wind up on the local Strava club's virtual podiums for distance, total time, and climbing this week. At the end of week 16, I wrote that I was going to try to run over 200 miles in weeks 17-19. I managed 215.

Saturday's run was my longest ever. I spent 7.5 hours running the fourth, first, second, and third Quad Rock climbs. In theory, If I can do the fifth (up Mill Canyon), the sixth (up Spring Creek), and the valley flats in 6.5 hours, I'll be a finisher. I'm pretty sure I'm now physically capable of running 50 miles with 11,000 feet D+. I've trained well. I've figured out what gear I need. I'm running with people who've finished and they tell me that I'm on track. I felt confident that I had at least another two hours of power hiking effort left in me when I got back to the trailhead yesterday. Still, I'm sure I'm going to have to overcome some kind of extra adversity on race day: weather, or gear, or a test of my will to keep going through the unknown late race state of mind and body. I ran 60+ miles Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but it's going to be something else to do 50 in a single day.

Next week dedicated to recovery and family. I'm going to try to enjoy the feeling of muscles growing and spending more time with my kids while Ruth is away Monday through Wednesday.

More views of the Quad Rock course from the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir, which is filling quickly.

Training week eighteen recap

Running is taking over my life. It's a good thing that next week is the last week of heavy training. In addition to the time I spend on the trail, there is the time spent getting to and from trailheads, time spent planning runs, the time spent actively recovering. Stretching, icing, foam rolling, yoga, massage, and eating take all the time I estimated they would, and maybe a little more.

Here are the numbers for week 18 of my 24 week program.

  • 14 hours 40 minutes running and hiking
  • 73.9 miles
  • 9852 feet D+

I reached new highs for all three this week. I ran just short of 45 miles this weekend and Saturday's run was my longest ever: 28.8 miles. I had a hard interval workout on Tuesday and a mid-week long run on the Quad Rock course on Wednesday was what set me up to exceed last week's mileage.

Saturday's long run felt like a chore. It had snowed the night before and threatened to snow during the day so I had a lot of extra gear, and extra food, and 3 litres of water in my camelbak. I ate and drank everything.

My long run on the 24th of March taught me a lesson about fueling and hydrating and Saturday I took these needs more seriously. I had two bowls of chickpea soup, half a baguette with plenty of butter, and another large bowl of steamed squash, potato, and turnips leftover from Friday night's couscous. I had a double IPA and a large baked potato for dessert while I watched a movie with my family (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2). For second dessert I had a raised doughnut with maple icing.

Today I went out for only 16 miles, but a steep 16, at Bobcat Ridge and felt great. My legs felt fresh, my mood was positive, and I got new PRs on almost all the Strava segments along the route. Carbohydrates are amazing. Going lighter gear-wise also helped make the run much more fun than the previous one.

Horsetooth Open Space's Loggers Trail, 2019-03-30

Training week seventeen recap

This past week was spring break for Ruth and my kids. I had work, but took Thursday off to ski, and was able to sleep in a bit in the mornings instead of making lunches and getting kids off to school. And I ran and ran.

  • 12 hours and 59 minutes running and hiking
  • 66.2 miles
  • 8038 feet D+

I had a solid interval workout on Tuesday and some faster paced running on Wednesday at Pineridge, which had finally dried out and become open for use. Saturday I joined a small group of Quad Rock 50 aspirants in running the 25 mile course. I was ahead of my May 2018 race pace until the last two descents of the Mill Canyon and Timber trails, which were quite packed with snow and ice. I took it easy going down, not willing to risk crashing. I had to cope with some back and ankle pain left over from skiing, and managed that well, too. Good company helped. After the run, I felt like I had enough energy to turn around and go back out, which is a good sign. Other good signs: on south-facing slopes there are green shoots coming out of the soil and it's warm enough to run in shorts and short sleeves as long as you don't stop moving.

Today I went out for another 16 miles on single track east of Horsetooth Reservoir. The muscles in my lower back were less aggrieved, but the tendons on the front of my left foot were more tender than the day before. I concentrated on running lightly, thinking happy thoughts, and being friendly to the many other folks on the trails. This worked well. 41 miles is a weekend record for me. I felt quite satisfied as I first soaked my feet and ankles in a bucket of ice water and then enjoyed a cold beer and a hot bath.

Sign of Spring: Jonquilles emerging in my yard