Monday morning came and as I crawled out of bed, I was still having trouble walking to the bathroom. My quads felt like hamburger… and that’s what running in the Canyon can do to you. Since I have been doing a fair amount of steeps, I was a bit surprised that felt like this.. but it goes to show you that nothing compares to the Canyon when it comes to pounding.
Despite the soreness, I ran my planned runs on Monday. The hardest being the 10x800m portion. Instead of hammering the workout, I just ran it a little faster than my goal Marathon pace of 5:15/mile.
On Wednesday, the soreness had converted to tiredness. I was actually starting to get concerned that I was working my way into being over-trained. I knew that my workout would be a perfect indicator of if I was just tired.. or if I was at a point where I needed to back off a bit and take a few easy days.
The planned workout was a “Fast” run up Mt. Elden Road starting from the Gate. This route is about 5.5miles and you gain about 2,500ft. I knew if I worked hard and ran a good time, I was probably fine.. but if I worked hard and only hit an average or below average time.. then I would have to back off some..
Well, I charged my way up the road, and despite feeling tired, I knew I was on pace to run a solid time. As I reached the summit, I looked down at my watch and breathed a sigh of relief… as my watch read 42minutes.. My fastest time. The last 2miles the tiredness really held me back, but I was able to hold it together and run a fast time.
Friday was my next “workout”. My plan was to start at Snowbowl road & Hart Prairie Road.. Run the 4.5miles to the Weatherford-Kachina Trail junction.. then run the “Loop” – Weatherford-Humphreys-Kachina hard.. and then run the 4.5miles back to my car. Total mileage is around 29miles… The route is very technical in most parts. It starts around 7,500ft and you climb up to 12,000ft.. then come right back down. This is a tough one..
My 4.5mile warmup to the trail head I took really easy. I made it to the trail head in 35:53. Then I started to work. I pushed my way pretty hard up to Doyle Saddle. The last few times I have run this there were numerous downed trees, but the Forest Service had cleared about half of these over the summer… Thanks guys!!.. This makes for a much nicer / safer run.
I made it to Doyle Saddle from the Kachina-Weatherford Junction in 48:38.. and it felt fairly easy. Now I am at 10,500ft.. the air is noticeably thinner.. and it’s time to Hammer up to 12,000ft.
I push my way through the rocky trail and make it past the grown over sections.. now I am above treeline and closing in on the 12k point, which signals the end of the ascent. I covered this section in 32:29.. and I am on pace for a pretty fast Loop.
I cautiously start to make my way down Humphrey’s trail. This Rocky, Sandy, Root covered trail is very technical.. each decent my number one goal is to stay on my feet. I decided from the start to take it very easy as I didn’t want to risk getting injured. As such, I made it to bottom in 44:15.. this is about 6min to 8min slower than my average, but my legs were kinda tired and I just didn’t want to risk taking a fall.
I hit the Kachina Trail ready to roll. My thought was to steadily build into the run and push the sections that I can. With all the rain, this rocky trail now has grass & ferns growing over most of it. Each step was a bit of a question mark.. would I step on a rock?.. would I step on a root?.. who knows..
I pushed pretty steadily through this section and got back to the Kachina-Weatherford junction in 49:19. My total time for the Loop was 2:54:41. Pretty much a tie with my fastest time ever on this course. Always a good feeling.
Now I just have to run 4.5miles back to my car… I took this section very easy.. and good thing, because I was beat!!.. Honestly, I felt awesome for the first 3hrs 45min, but that last 20min was a bit painful. I ended up covering the last 4.5miles in 34:41…
My total time for the entire 29miles was 4hr 5min 15sec. Not bad considering the route.
Now the plan is to get recovered from a tough week… and hit it again next week. We are a little less than 3weeks out from Day 1 of TransRockies and I am starting to get pumped!!.. Soon enough, we will be running our way through the Rockies.. Can’t wait!