Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bring on the Hills (and the Fun!)

Shingletown Boulder Scramble (Mile ~13)

Without sugar-coating it at all, and simply putting it, this weekend I began, in ernest, what I would call my self-imposed, high-intensity, "hills and trails", training.  My time in Antarctica, as wonderful and awe-inspiring as it was, did make me a smidge soft...despite my dedicated efforts at trying to run nearly every day.  I just had a hard time getting in long runs (or any sort of hill work) down there and my stamina has likely come down a notch or two because of it.

With a couple of very high intensity events/races looming ever so close on my calendar, the time to ratchet up the training regimen is here.  I decided the best way to not only get in some long running, but to also get a serious hill workout, was to go out for the day(s) in Rothrock State Park.  When working out a course to run, I eventually decided to simply run the exact course (or nearly) that the "Rothrock Challange (30k)" uses.  For those of you that might remember, the Rothrock Challenge was a race I did last year here in town...that was ridiculously hilly and technical.  Perfect.  Incidentally, it was also the course where in incurred my dreaded "turf-toe", that has plagued me on-and-off since.  Thankfully, it is doing much better now.

Lastly, I decided that there was yet another way that I should step up my do my first true "back-to-back".  So, naturally, I decided to run the 30k course again on reverse.  So, in a nutshell, I ran two 19-mile long runs, back-to-back, that each featured nearly 5000 ft of ascent (including several gnarly scrambles).

This also gave me the ability to test out a very long run (4+ hours), unaided.  This is something I need to start working on.  For the first time ever, I carried my Nathan pack with the water bladder filled.  I also carried fresh PB&J sandwiches, various Larabars and Clifbars, and other foodstuffs.  I figure that spending a good 4-5 hours out on trails requires a different type of preparation, almost more similar to a day I would have planned during one of my thru-hikes.  I took lunch breaks somewhere around 12 miles into the course during both runs (8-10 breaks each time)

My goal over the next 6 weeks or so, is to not just sprinkle some hill workouts into my schedule, but to make them my primary focus along with long runs.  My tentative plan is to do intense hill workouts both tuesday and thursday, and then work hills into my weekend long runs as well.  I will space them out with easy runs and a rest day on Fridays.  I hope to put in at least 2000-3000 ft of ascent for each short hill workout, and 5000-10,000 for the weekend long runs.  I may occasionally do a more traditional long run on a weekend day as well here or there.  I will cap this training off in mid-march with a self-imposed fat-ass style 50k of some sort in Rothrock.  Of course anyone is welcome to join me!  This should get me primed pretty well for what awaits me this season.

Some Stats for each day (double everything for the weekend):
Distance:  ~19 miles (GPS said 19.4, Google Earth said 18.9)
Total Ascent: 4600 ft
Calories: ~3500
Gear: Nathan Pack w/2L bladder, Food, Salts, Columbia Peak 2 Peak coat, long johns, hat, gloves, buff, heart rate monitor, altimeter watch, etc.

Total Weekend Miles: 38 in two days.

Here are some visual specs for the day as captured in Google Earth:

My overall elevation profile for the day (with start on the left)

My overall running speed for the day (with start on left)

Combining the two plots clearly shows that
 during climbs and descents I slowed down a lot

The course as mapped by my GPS
(The video below has flyover animation at the end)

Here is a quick video highlighting some spots along the course as well as a Google Earth animated flyover at the end of the entire course.  I had my GPS recording the entire day, and was able to import into Google Earth, and turn my Tracks into an animation rather simply.  Cool stuff.

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