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.


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.


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.





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.


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.


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.


Longs Peak from the Tower site

Quad Rock training week nine recap

Snow made it hard to go far or climb up, but I hung in and persevered.

  • 12 hours, 56 minutes

  • 56.3 miles

  • 8386 ft D+

At least the weather was favorable this weekend. Sunny with a high temperature of 2-3 °C and light wind. Muddy trails froze solid Saturday night and so the trails were icy but not sloppy on Sunday morning. The nice weather let me go uphill in a t-shirt and light gloves and only unpack my wool top for long shady descents. I didn't use my windbreaker at all, or my first aid kit. I spent a lot of time on the infamously icy Mill Creek trail on Saturday and was relieved to find that all of my favorite places to slip and crash were well covered with heavy snow.


Snow-free hillside with a heavily drifted trail


Looking southwest from Horsetooth's Westridge trail to Longs Peak

Warmer and drier weather is in the forecast for the first week of March. I'm looking forward to ice-free and drier trails next weekend.

February 24, 2018: In Bengaluru

I haven't left Colorado in over a year. It seems like a dream that three years ago I was hopping between continents on planes and in Bengaluru.

Since then my connections to the city have weakened, and grown, and weakened again. Mapbox closed its office there six months after my visit. Some folks, like my friend Pratik, moved to San Francisco or Washington, D.C. and I got to see them more often. Ruth's department hired a new assistant professor who grew up in Bangalore and became a mentor to me on the subject of Indian cooking, and pickles in particular. But since the COVID pandemic hit I haven't seen Vamsi at all, and I've only seen Pratik on Google hangouts. Multiple times a week, though, and memories of Bangalore remain a touchstone.

In my older blog post I mentioned the importance of street trees in Bengaluru and in looking for recent writing on the subject I came upon this great post: https://www.thenatureofcities.com/2018/07/01/secular-sacred-domestic-living-street-trees-bangalore/.

Quad Rock training week eight recap

I wrapped up week eight of my 19-week Quad Rock training program today.

  • 11 hours, 32 minutes

  • 50.9 miles

  • 6926 ft D+

The past week's program is comparable to 2019's week 13. I ran six times. Two workouts, two short easy runs, and two multi-hour long runs. The weather was warmer and more sunny than the week before, but more snow fell. Slogging makes you tough, right? That's what I tell myself.


Well Gulch, Friday morning


Towers road, Sunday morning


Westridge aspen grove, close up

Recent adjustments to my training have yielded two positive results. Rededicating myself to stretching and foam rolling has eliminated the buzzing in my left side sciatic nerve that cropped up at the end of week seven. Two weeks ago I'd written about my concern that I had been neglecting my aerobic base and that I would begin to deliberately slow down my long runs. I'm happy to say that I'm feeling less sluggish in low gear now. Going at my 100k pace is feeling better and better.

Quad Rock training week seven recap

It's been a cold rest week. Yesterday I went out for a run at -17 °C. Today it was one degree colder. The only thing I enjoyed about it was seeing some friends on the road and the feeling that I'm making progress on my running form. Now I'm back inside stretching and drinking tea and don't plan to do much of anything else until Monday. Here's the week in numbers.

  • 3 hours, 27 minutes

  • 19.9 miles

  • 692 ft D+

Next week will be challenging. More hills and miles and all of it with snow on the ground and lingering cold temperatures.