Spring Break this past week here in State College, but that doesn't mean I had any sort of break from the hills. I spent a few days out of town early in the week and took some much needed rest days. After my 70-mile romp last weekend, I was quite sore in places that haven't been sore in a while. It's amazing how speed-hiking can strain different parts of the same muscles that I use nearly every day when running.
I'll try to keep this update on the shorter side. I only have a few weeks of training left and my to-do list has basically been reduced to three bullet points:
- Back-to-back 10,000' ascent training days
- 30,000' week
- Hill workouts on unmarked trail (bushwacking and orienteering practice)
In order to give myself any sort of proper taper, I must complete the first two items on my list this week. The bushwacking hill workouts can be done on shorter hill days and a bit next week as well. Also, my training in these last few weeks is all about ascent, NOT miles. I honestly don't care what my mileage totals are, but am listing them here I guess as a matter of habit. My peak mileage week, 92 miles, was two weeks ago.
Well, I made a great first step towards back-to-back 10,000' ascent days by completing my first solo 10,000' ascent day this past Saturday. Let me just say, it is pretty damned hard to do 10,000' in any reasonable amount of time when the biggest climbs in the area are about 1200'. As you can probably imagine...it takes a lot of repeats. I've become intimately familiar with both the Spruce Gap and Kettle trails here in Rothrock. So much so, I recognize specific roots and rocks now. Saturday was also the day that the local running club hosted the 2nd Tussey Teaser race, The "Laurel Run Switchbacker". This 10k is an out-n-back on leg 1 of the Tussey 50 miler. For 3.1 miles, the course climbs about 800', and then turns around and drops 800'. I figured the race was a great way to break up the monotony of hill repeats AND it featured 800' of its own. Also, I figured it would be a good idea again to break in the "race legs" a bit. So the day went something like this: Run two out-n-backs up some steep trail hills, race the 10k, and then do 3 and a half more out-n-backs on those same hills. I went with the Spruce Gap and Kettle trails as one features 1100' and the other is one of the steepest in the area (but only 600'). I considered doing the gas-line cuts, but it would have literally taken me into the night to finish or would have required over a dozen repeats (yuck!). As far as the race, I placed 6th out of about 40 people in a time of about 43 minutes. I was in 3rd at the turn around, but decided to NOT pound the downhill. This was a fun race for me and didn't justify destroying my much needed quads. Plus I knew I still wanted to do over 5000' of hills that afternoon and another workout Sunday. I'll post some race pics once they are up.
SHORT RACE REPORT
SHORT RACE REPORT
On Sunday (today), I went with the less aggressive and more tolerable 30k Rothrock course (4500' of gain).
Easy 5 Miler
Easy 7 Miler
26 Miles Total (~20 Hills + 6.2 Tussey Race)
Ascent: 10,000' Woo hoo!
Note: A very big note on this outing. It took me over 7 hours to do 10,000'...over about 24 miles. To date, this is about as close as I've come to what I will actually face here in a few weeks. This is really good news and just about the pace I was shooting for. Of course it was all on marked and familiar trails. Still, it was encouraging.
(Yes I realize that the GPS is probably +- a few
hundred feet but it's close enough in my book)
Yes...this is the real profile for the day. The slightly less ridiculous climb
between miles 6 and 12, was the 10k race.
18.5 Miles Total
Rothrock 30k course, slightly modified in reverse
Notes: 65 degrees today! First running day in shorts and short-sleeve shirt. Also, ran with fully stocked race vest...packed and loaded based on what I actually expect to carry in a few weeks.
While not all that much total ascent for the week, relatively speaking, I am very excited to have knocked it all out in back-to-back days and to have done my first 10,000' day.