Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Month in Review (February)

February training history
Solid. If I had to pick one word, I guess that's how I'd describe my training last month. Certainly not jaw-dropping, but respectable. The last week of February was my 13th week of training, so I'm just emerging from my base building phase and entering... what, exactly? The no-man's land between base building and peak training!

Though my total training time was only 2 hours greater than my total training time last February, it was much more run-specific. I spent almost 10 more hours running this February than I did last February. 44 more running miles. 12,000 more vertical feet. I only resorted to the bike trainer twice, and the skis once. Not too shabby.

4 weeks of training.
The first week, I kicked things off with the Leadville Snowshoe Marathon. We had beautiful, sunny weather. It was a great day to be outside. The warm temperatures made the snow a bit sticky, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. I took things very easy during the race, knowing that simply jogging at a conversational pace for 5+ hours was going to be challenge enough for me. I felt pretty good throughout, but definitely faded a bit in the final miles. Still, it was a very positive experience. Great camaraderie. Great swag. (I scored a $50 Melanzana gift certificate just for finishing.) A big thanks to Smokey for organizing this event. It's definitely made my February training much more fun these last two years.

Thanks to Cindy DeMarco for the picture!
The second week of February was by far my favorite week of training this year. More beautiful, unseasonably warm weather. I had the opportunity to run down in Buena Vista twice, where the temperatures soared up into the low 60's. The trails were almost completely melted out. It was simply amazing! Shorts! T-shirt! I had a grin plastered on my face all of Saturday as I ran up and down Midland Hill three times, logging almost the equivalent amount of vertical as a double-crossing of Hope Pass. I'm sure this will be a workout that I repeat several times during March and April.

The reality of winter returned for the third and fourth week of February, which were more typical training weeks for me at this time of year. I just ground out the miles around Leadville, jogging up and down all my typical winter routes. Nothing sexy. Just getting it done.

A week-by-week comparison of February training for the last few years.

I don't think I've ever hit double-digit weekly training time this early in the year before. So, I'm pretty stoked to have managed to have logged two 10+ hour weeks this February. I usually only hit that level of training in the May/June time frame.

So, yeah... while I may not be training as much as some folks, I'm very happy with where I am right now. I feel good. My fitness is definitely improving. And I'm slowly, but surely getting myself to a position where I can hopefully absorb some truly epic mountain runs in May/June. 20+ hour weeks. 20,000+ feet of vertical. That's the goal that's looming on the horizon.

It's hard to believe that in only two more weeks, my training for Hardrock will be at the halfway mark. Frightening!

I was super excited to put my early season fitness to the test this week at the Salida Marathon. On paper at least, I should be in much, much better shape than I ever have been for the race. But, sadly, things have not exactly gone according to plan. Last week, while on vacation in Florida, I hurt my back while playfully rough-housing with my wife in the ocean. Then I came down with a nasty head cold on Sunday. Let me tell you that coughing while suffering from a significant lower back strain is pure torture! Ugh! I was hoping that I would be healed up enough for the marathon by this Saturday, but my recovery has been painfully slow. I can barely get in and out of a car or even dress myself. Bending over to put on a pair of shoes is a nightmare. So ridiculous... I've got three more days to try to recover. Maybe-- just maybe-- I can heal enough that I could slowly jog/hike the course, but a PR is pretty much out of the question. It's frustrating, but I'm trying not to get too depressed. An injury/sickness-enforced rest week, I guess.

That's life!

How to survive Leadville's winters.

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