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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Snow made it hard to go far or climb up, but I hung in and persevered.
12 hours, 56 minutes
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.
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.
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.
I wrapped up week eight of my 19-week Quad Rock training program today.
11 hours, 32 minutes
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.
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.
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
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.