Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, 07/23/10 Shrine Mountain (11,888)

This was easily the most enjoyable and fulfilling day I have had so far this summer and it did not involve running a step.  Allison, Sierra and I, along with our friend Jack, who is a longtime professional outdoor photographer (John Fielder type) drove up to Shrine Pass (above Vail Pass) for a casual hike to check out the famed wildflowers that we have heard Jack rave about for years.

The hike was short (~5 miles/800 vertical) and we went very casual, as Allison is now 6 months pregnant and Jack is over 70 with a rebuilt hip.  I was more than fine with the casual pace, as the wildflowers were absolutely out of control and I would not have gone much faster on my own, as I was so busy snapping photos.  Sierra really seemed to like it too, as she was going absolutely nutty running around through the willows, flower and tall grass.  So much fun.  I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

Thursday, 07/22/10 Pikes Peak

Another training run on Pikes in the books with Nate.  While running up Pikes, I had a several thousand word blog post scripted in my mind, but the days since have been too busy for me to sit at a computer for more than a few minutes and I have forgotten most of it since (but the resounding theme above Barr Camp was "the pace calculator is BULLSHIT!").

I knew before I started running that my legs were not feeling great.  Odd, as I only ran Green twice during the week, somewhat easy or moderate at most, vs. 4 or 5 times before my previous run up Pikes where my legs felt great. 

I started at 6:55am and felt clunky right away.  My plan for the day was to stick to splits for 2:46:10 (PR) the best I could and I hoped to push a bit beyond, as my 2:57 the week prior felt very relaxed and reserved.  I pushed hard and my HR monitor was showing the added effort, about 5-10 bpm faster than last week on average, but the effort seemed exponentially greater.  I hit the top of the W's in 33:07, about 9 seconds slower than last trip, but it seemed like soooo much more work. 

Only slightly deterred, I pressed on, hitting No Name in 48:48, which was about on par with last week, but still, the effort felt too high.  Hoping I could at least maintain, I continued pushing, but I got to Barr Camp in 1:25:??, roughly a minute behind now.  I lost another 2 minutes by the Bottomless Pit switchback and even then felt like I was at my limit.  I then gave up and walked.  A minute or two of this though, I was annoyed and started fighting again with renewed vigor.  Then I blew and walked again.  I repeated this process all the way to the 2 to go sign and realized that pushing myself was only going to dig me deeper into a hole long term.

It seems that for the last 4-6 weeks (or more), my performance has been very flat and my willingness to dig deep has been minimal at best.  Between lack of sleep, planning for twins, long work days, hot summer temps, keeping up with the Tour, stress at work, on top of running mountains has been wearing me thin.  I often times feel this way, but it typically only happens maybe one day every other week or so and a day off, or easy days cures all, but this time it seems to be running a little deeper.  Even a few days in a row does very little to help.  Hopefully I can turn things around soon, as Aug. 21st is closing in quickly.

Oh yeah, I made the top in an abysmal 3:09:49 (avg HR 167/max 179).  Ouch.