Monday, May 11, 2015

May 4-10

Two weeks in a row! Wow, this blogging thing is actually happening. I think it’s going to take some time to improve my transmission of thoughts to printed word in this non-professional format, but I’m sure it’ll eventually come to fruition week by week (hopefully along with my running).

This year my only race on the calendar as of today is UTMB. I’m not going to lie and say that was my plan all along: not to do Angeles Crest or Western and to just focus on UTMB, but the powers that be pushed me in this direction and I've come a long ways from “FOMO-itis” to being grateful for the time and space to develop my running structure and slowly transform my body to the level I want it to be. Without the rush of an impatiently fervent racing schedule, I can do proper periodization, schedule in rest weeks, take advantage of trips to run where my heart leads me, and study my week to week performance without rushing into the “I need to be running X miles this week!” self-destructive training behavior.

I do take UTMB training seriously and have the ambition to perform well, but the race doesn't illicit the same insecure response for suddenly running more mileage to remove the possibility of being under-trained for AC or WS. I look at UTMB as a low altitude Hardrock, which is a race that I learned a lot from in 2012. My line graph for training in 2012 went something like:
-December 2011: Getting in through the lottery and going nuts on the drive from SF to LA: Stoke level 100!
-January 2012: Getting super amped to train and hitting 90mi/30,000 ft of vertical (mostly running) weeks in January, stoke level: 90
-February 2012: Ripping my calf on an easy 8 mile run due to over-training, stoke level: 10
-March/April/May/June: Slowly getting back to training and gradually increasing stoke and strength, stoke: 30-80
-July: Suffering from the altitude, but having zero muscle/joint problems and finishing as 2nd sea level athlete (without an altitude tent). Stoke level: 100

Essentially, I understand what a 100 mile/33,000ft+ race entails, and I understand the proper tempering of stoke to keep the body efficient and not anxious in the mountains. I also understand that 20-34 hours for a hundred miles entails hiking and running strong without blowing up or abusing the body too sharply. Dramatic running is best saved for later in the race, and the “magic” of a good performance is having an efficient hiking cadence. This whole structured 100 mile concept is something that can leverage my outlook on a lot of other goals if I do it right in Chamonix.

May 4-May 10:
Monday: Waking up at 4:45 AM isn’t easy, but it’s even tougher when you spend the night tossing and turning with a fever, headache and cough. I haven’t been sick in quite some time, but running to Baldy with not enough water or sleep on Saturday definitely irritated my throat and exposed my body. At any rate, Monday morning sunrises in the high country are epic and make me so grateful to be able to squeeze 4 days of running a week out in the San Gabriels. I am a resident of the mountains and a visitor of the city. 4.5 mi/1,000ft/:60

Tuesday: Maybe I was sick, maybe I was tired, maybe I hate flat terrain, or maybe I just struggle to run in the evening, but the 10x90sec reps around the golf course were pretty pitiful. The body felt heavy and unresponsive, so my lungs at least got a workout and I felt better once I got home to have exorcised a few slow and fat demons. 8mi/230ft/:63

Wednesday: Wow, I’m tired. I’ve been lacking in the quality running department for a while, and the increased VO2Max work really challenges my energy levels. I eventually got out of bed and headed down the San Vicente median for 10k. Listening to the Toro y Moi album “What For” for the 100th time has really been thoroughly enjoyable. Most good musicians are some form of brilliant, but there’s something about the way Chaz arranges his layers to create songs that last for a long time, and don’t get stale. The song exploder breakdown of “Half Dome” is a great example. I noticed all those layers after listening to the track 100 times and get a little bit of boogie in my day each time I hear each riff. The feeling is something of efficient energy that I connect with in my UTMB aspirations.

Wednesday PM: Went out to run Sullivan Ridge with Katie, and got a little active recovery. Katie always stubbornly sets the pace on easy runs at easy (go figure), so it's good to run together and completely forget about the watch. 5.4mi/1000ft/:58

Woke up and got focused on the workout: uphill 3x2min, 3x1.5mi, 3x1min, without too much of a hitch in my step. It wasn't pretty, but as the sun rose, I got more into the workout and as I focused on my breathing and stride, which appears to have come some ways in the past 18 days. It was fun doing them near Katie as we reviewed our efforts on the recovery, and it helped me see where my stride was lacking. Definitely not anywhere near my peak, but definitely out of the valley of injury. (Oh, and I also got a tick)

Friday: Nothing, traveling to Yosemite.

Saturday: Our Pacific Mountain Running brothers Peter Brennen and Andy Pearson were in Yosemite to attempt to run 100 miles through the parks best trails, so we decided to head up and join them for a few miles and heckle where it seemed fitting. The Thursday storm packed the punch of a decent February storm, and put down a posthole decree above 8,000 feet. Lucky for Katie and I, we only were doing the first 20 miles with them, and enjoyed the idyllic 2-5 inches of snow and warm bluebird day. Yosemite is a place that crams in so much emotion and detail in each mile, that your soul and mind can feel filled to the brim in just a few miles. Thus, the pace isn't usually the chief concern, but goofy CCC trail building still keeps effort high enough to leave you beat by sundown.

Sunday: We slept in and packed the Volvo to the gills with Peter and Crista's glamping gear, and headed back to the valley. Katie was ready to go but I still had a few things to get jammed in my pack when at the last second, I heard the sarcastic voices of Peter and Andy. We had expected to see them around 3 PM, but they bailed on the full route and skipped the Buena Vista loop to keep it a humane 28 hour/72 miles jaunt. Postholing at 2AM for 3 hours isn't something I'm envious of. Katie and I hit Half Dome up to renew out love for each other and climbing big rocks, which just so happened to start almost 6 years ago in that very place. 

Week total: 76.7 miles, 16,300 ft, 17:35

Not a lot of miles, but some long days over the weekend left a smile on my face as I transition into tempo work (aka the fun stuff)


Anonymous said...

Nice week -- hope you keep up the log, I enjoy the format. A minor correction: I think New Hampshire boy Adam Wilcox wins top sea-level athlete honors at the 2012 HR100, with 8th place in 28:55. Should be a treat to watch him race again this year.

an adventure like no other said...

High Quality stuff Dom~

When training for something like UTMB. Do you think it is most important to focus on total milage? Vert? Time on feet?

Keep up the good work!

Dominic Grossman said...

Ah good point Anon, I've updated it.

Dominic Grossman said...

Focusing on one number is short sighted, because every number means something different when you put it in context.

You could say you only care about time, but if you do a lot of speed work, than it can be misleading in terms of stress you're putting your body under.

You could say you only care about vert, but that could lead you to overtrain (as I did) because you just want to run a lot of vertically dense terrain and overload your climbing and descending muscles.

You could say you just care about mileage, but then you might be lead to run more flat miles to hit numbers.

Overall, I don't lean to much in one direction, but I do try to make sure I do get between 70-100+ miles per week just so I know I'm moving somewhat forward.

Adam Wilcox said...

I think I know that guy. Don't expect too much from me at Hardrock, I'm running Western States as well.

Just figured I'd chime in and say I'm a regular reader and I enjoy your blog, Dom, especially the pictures.