Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012 - Wild Week of Running

Well, it was a pretty wild week of running.  My total mileage crept up to 115miles.. On Thursday morning I ran into my first Flagstaff, Black Bear .. Saturday I dipped into the wicked hot Grand Canyon again for a 26 miler.. and finished the week with a 17miler in the rain around Mt. Elden. 

The Bear sighting was pretty sureal.  The sun was just coming up and I still felt half asleep.  I was only 3miles from my house on Elden Road (a popular dirt road for running, cycling, etc).  I heard some pretty heavy rustling in the leaves next to the road.  VERY slowly, I looked over and I see the back side of a young bear tearing through the forest.  After a 100yds of sprinting, the bear stops and starts to check me out.  I always figured I would see a bear while running in Flagstaff, as a decent number live in the area, but I always thought I would be a bit more scared.  As I ran past the curious bear, he just watched me.. and I watched him.. BeforeI knew it, I had run out of sight.. and he was well on his way.  Pretty cool.

Next up.. 26miles in the Grand Canyon.  In an attempt to beat the heat, Ace Baty and I decided to leave Flagstaff around 4am.  That got us started a bit before 6am. 

At the start of our run, it wasn't too hot, but about an hour after we got going, I could tell it was going to get rough.

I decided to run S.Kaibab to Tonto.. Across Tonto Trail to Indian Gardens.. Down Bright Angel to Phantom.. Then up Clear Creek Trail for about 2miles.. Head back to Phantom .. Then finish up the run with a trip up SKaibab to the Top.

I felt pretty solid all day, but in the back of my mind, I knew the heat was taking it's toll.. It was easily 100 degrees over the last 2hrs of my run.. As such, I was pounding the water and keeping the effort a bit subdued.  

As I cranked my way up the last climb, I felt really good until I was about 1/2 mile from Cedar Ridge.  At that point, the heat had gotten to me, so I pulled back and hiked for about a mile.  Once I felt "better", I started running again and finished off the day.  The run took about 4hrs.. while the last climb took me 1hr 28min.  This is about 17min slower than my fastest time, but honestly, it hurt and I was happy that I ran as fast as I did.

Finally.. a day after my Canyon effort, amazingly enough, I felt great.  I decided to go for an easy 17miler in the rain.  I was surprised how quickly I had recovered.  I felt great and finished the in a solid 2hrs. 

I am starting to feel really good about my next race.. Imogene Pass Run.  I feel like the strength is there.. now I just need to sharpen up the speed.. and speed-endurance.. but I know I am headed in the right direction..


Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12, 2012 - Entering the Hot Box

To close out another 100mile week, I decided to take a trip the Grand Canyon.  Knowing it would be hot, Caleb Schiff and I were on the road right at 3:45am.. hoping to get started before 5:30am. 

The drive to the GC was like driving through a wildlife park.  We saw at least 50 deer and around 20 elk.  Each one, way to close to the road.  Hitting one of those guys is always my biggest fear in making this drive before sunrise. 

Thank goodness, we made it safely and were ready to go before 5:30am.  On the 1/2 mile run to the Rim, it was kind of cool.. but as we go to the start of the S.Kaibab descent, we could feel the heat radiating out of the giant ditch.  Right away, we knew we were going to be in for a HOT one.

It had rained the night before, so it was hot and humid.. on top of the "steam", there was quite a bit of early cloud cover that seemed to seal in heat.  This was one of those days where you not only had to be cautious, but there would be no room for a "major bonk" or you could get yourself in serious trouble.

I decided to press the descent and hammered my way down to the river in 50min 30sec.  At the bottom, there was quite a bit of shade since it was still early, so temperature wise it wasn't too bad. 

After a quick refill at Phantom, it was time to make the climb out.  As I started the ascent, my legs were a bit tired, so my focus was on staying steady.

As I grinded my way up past the Tonto Plateau, the sun started pressing down.  From Tonto to Cedar Ridge on these early morning runs, is the hottest section.  I kept the pace steady knowing that I had a waterbottle stashed at Skeleton Point.

As I cruised up the swithbacks, I made a quick stop to grab my waterbottle and was on my way out of the Hot Box.

Before I knew it, I was passing Cedar Ridge and I felt a nice breeze sweep past.  It felt AWESOME.  Since I was so drenched in sweat, I actually started feeling "cold" over the last mile or so... but it felt great. 

I ended up topping the Rim in 1hr 19min.  Not even close to my fastest time, but a very solid effort nonetheless... and to be honest, I was  just happy not to be swallowed up by the Canyon considering the heat. 

With all the miles I have been putting in, I have been happy with these "quality" runs.  It seems that my body is really adjusting to the increase in mileage and my hope is that over the next few weeks leading into Imogene.. things will come together.

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6, 2012 - Training, Training, Training

Since my last post, I have been deep in training.  I have decided to change my training from my standard 6 week cycles to 3 week cycles.  By moving to these shorter cycles, I am hoping to increase my weekly mileage while maintaining quality runs.  My thought is the short breaks will allow me to recover and stay injury free.

With this model in mind, I dropped two 100+ mile weeks then followed that up with 126 miles.  Included in those miles are some speedwork and Long Trail Runs.  During that stretch my body held up really well, so for now that's what I am going to stick with it.

Over the next few weeks, I am looking at getting to the Canyon a couple times to hammer the climbs and work on beating up my legs a bit.  Really looking forward to those runs.