Friday, August 19, 2011

Running Highs

It’s been a while since I’ve felt good on the trails...It’s a nice feeling-

The urge to jump in the truck and hit the road to find and explore new trails came just at the right time, as my body was finally ready to crank up the volume a bit, and (allowed me to) squeeze in a much needed 4-day training block before tackling my 5thGore-Tex TransRockies Run.
Moab Heat: Running the Porcupine Rim Trail

For years I used to sit down with my coach every spring to plan out the coming year. Every day, week, month and even coming years were planned – And I enjoyed every bit of it. These days, taking the time to write a plan is more/less chalked up as a ‘chore’ and usually involves a late night glass of scotch and some good tunes! More often than not, I end up wingin’ it – regardless of whether it works or not - it seems a bit more fun this way.

TransRockies will be interesting this year... An injury plagued summer isn’t the best for building fitness, so I decided a long time ago that if I did compete, the TR Run 3 (3-day solo event) would be my pick. As far as performance objectives go, I think I’ll adopt a Tour de France strategy (no, not doping!) and focus on doing well on one stage instead of going for the overall. In the big picture, I’m just psyched to run the event again...the atmosphere, the social interaction and overall quality of the event always makes for a memorable week –besides, isn’t that why we run?

Back to Leadville...
One look at my truck and they let me use the front door...

Yep, that's right... we live next to the blue building

But between now and Sunday’s stage 1 there’s another task on the menu, and that includes pacing duties for Ryan ‘the Sandman’ Sandes, who will be taking on the Leadville Trail 100! I’ll be joining Anna, Josh and Adam as part of the crew that will help Ryan cover the return second half (50miles/80km) back to Leadville. I’ve been psyched to pace for Ryan ever since he asked me back in early July... at the time, my season was a wash and I was just happy to have a goal for the upcoming months. And now the time has come –I’m psyched!

The Leadville course as a whole isn’t all that interesting or difficult for that matter (at least to a wanna-be ultra runner like me), but what makes Leadville ‘interesting’ is that its course’s average altitude is well over the 3,000m (10,000ft) mark! Let me put it this way...Leadville itself sits at a whopping 3,100m and the course only goes up from here – Not a popular event for asthmatics!

Aside from moving here (like Ryan did for the past 6wks), the best one can do to prepare for this altitude is to give your body a few shots of the thin stuff every few days. So for the past 2 weeks, my roadie crew and I have not only been logging in big runs, but we’ve been creeping higher and higher whenever we could. One of these runs included a 35km run on the Wasatch Crew Trail, which averaged 2,750m over 3.5hrs – topping the 2,940m mark at its highest.

Having arrived onsite a few days ago, I thought I’d do a few short pickups to see how the body would react to the altitude...A short ladder-type workout consisting of: 10sec, 30sec, 1min, 1.5min, 1min, 30sec, 10sec is all I needed to find out that yep, the air is in fact thinner up here.

If all goes well, Ryan will be back in Leadville in/around the 17hr mark (give or take) – Can’t wait to follow the action and see how his day unfolds!

Regardless of the outcome here in Leadville, there will be no celebrating for us as we’re requested on the start line in nearby Buena Vista for the start of TransRockies Run stage 1...a normally hot 35km run in BV’s desert-like micro-climate... Let’s hope those 38C training runs in Moab pay off!

Let the good times roll!

Yep, it reads 38C!

Delicate Art...uh, I mean Arch!

Can you say tourist trap?

Balancing Rock in my rearview

Why bother with a sauna, when you get get the real thing!


aka Moogy said...

Good luck getting Ryan to the finish in the best shape and kick ass at TR!

Phil said...

Thanks Moogy - Leadville was a great experience and a priviledge to be part of the experience! As for TRR...This week is always a's like running camp for adults - you'll have to take part one day!