Sunday, August 18, 2019

Nighttime trail run

Early last week, I reached out to Justin about running this past weekend. His email response didn’t surprise me.

“What time?”

I responded with “I am running Tread Nightly next Friday night so I can love to go early but if you want to avoid the spider webs, we can go later”

He came back with “5 AM?”.

“Yep!” I responded.

So Saturday morning, we were off at 5 AM for a bit of night time running. I was happy about getting another shake run with my new Black Diamond head lamp. I like running two head lamps: a head lamp on my head and at my waist. This gives me two perspectives which helps with my depth for the rocks and roots. This new head lamp kicks out 390 lumens but it a bit heavier since it needs a 4 batteries vs. 3 in the older model. I can live with the extra weight 

Wish me luck with Tread Nightly next weekend. It should be fun to kick up a little night time trail dust.

Kickin’ up trail dust,

The Cool Down Runner

Friday, August 16, 2019

Energy Boost

Later on during my long runs, I have noticed that my ability to focus starts to waiver. This isn’t so much that my body feels like it running out gas, but rather I start to feel mentally drained. Concentrating on the roots and rocks laying ahead for hours at a time takes its toll, I guess. To combat this, I added some watermelon sports beans to my pack. Something about popping one of the beans in my mouth to chew slowly starts my mouth salivating. In turn, this triggers a response in my brain that energy is coming, and within a few minutes I start to feel better. I noticed this during the Stevest Run and later at the Rivermen 50k run. Both times, I started chewing on the Sports bean. My brain just seemed to be re-energized.

It strange how the body reacts to the stress of running over long periods of time. Even stranger the tricks we play to keep ourselves going.

Tail Dust Comments

The Cool Down Runner

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Summertime Interval Training

Normally, my yearly training plans only include 3 interval sessions per year. The first session goes along with my spring marathon training. About 4 weeks later, I start a second session which leads me in to my summer racing season. I then don’t start my last i.e fall session until about 8 weeks out from my fall goal race.

This year, however, I decided to add a summer interval session. With all the ultra-miles going in to my legs, I need to keep my legs turnover up. My hope is that this would do it.

The one difference with this session, I am doing shorter intervals, and I increased the number of sets. With the heat and humid of the summer, I am finding that the short, intense intervals make the session feel more lively and quicker. The recovery portion of my intervals are equal distance to the distance of the interval itself. Since my focus here is solely around getting my leg turnover up, I feel like this is okay. I will focus more utilizing my intervals for fitness during my fall session.

I am also tacking on some strides at the end of my easy day runs. I usually do between 8 and 10 strides. Each runs about 30 to 50 meters.

For those runners considering a adding a summer interval session, this doesn’t have to match up with your spring and fall sessions. It just has to be enough to remind the body how running hard should feel.

Trail Dust Talks

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Training Blocks

If you have been following my posts lately, you are probably questioning the amount of race miles that I have been piling on my legs lately, and you would be right.

In the last 14 days from the Stevest 42 miler through my Crowders Ridgeline Ruckus 25K yesterday, I have been more active on the racing scene than I have been all year.

Stevest-ish is more like 43 mile started my efforts. Seven days later, the Riverman Brewery 50k didn’t give my legs any recovery. Five days later, I was running hard and sweating even harder at the Whitewater Center River Jam 10k on Thursday night. I finished my gantlet of racing with the Ridgeline Rucket 25K which pushed my quads and lungs to their max while climbing up and down from Pinnacle Rock twice. That’s like 95+ miles of racing.

I expected it to be hard, but somehow I think it exceeded my expectations. By the time that I ran the River Jam 10k, I had no bounce in my legs. Saturday at the Ridgeline Ruckus, I needed the tough course to equalize the abilities of the other runners because I only had one speed. It was low gear.

On the other hand, this was one of my best training blocks this year. I was getting what I think were quality miles. I would likely have not run that far or that fast on a solo training run. These races pushed me to dig a little deeper, and find that strength that I will need later this year. These races also made me focus more on my recovery, hydration, and nutrition. I have often marvel at Michael Wardian’s ability race, recover, and race again. He clearly has his body figured out. I am still figuring my body even after all these years of running.  

I have two more training blocks to complete before I start my taper in to my 100 miler in November. Wow, November seems so far away at this time but in reality, it is just 3 months away. Those 3 months are going to go by so fast. Before I know it, I am going to be standing at the starting line of my 100 miler, and wondering what I was thinking when I signed up for this. This thought is going to be closely followed by, I hope my training pays off.

Trail Dust Tails.

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Crowders’ Ridgeline Ruckus 25K Trail Race Recap

Pulling in to the Boulder Access parking lot of Crowders’ Mt State, I had just under an hour to get ready to run the Ridgeline Ruckus 25K. Normally, I like to arrive early so I can relax and get ready. However, this race was being held in a state park which didn’t open its gates until 7 AM. Everyone was in a bit of a rush to get ready.

We started from the grassy field next to the welcoming center. We ran around the building and up the concrete walkway to the trail. I settled in to the back pack and let the other runners surge head. We followed the access trail down to the Ridgeline trail. As we were running, I was already imagining what a bear this was going to be climbing back out at the end of the race.

The runners were stringing out in front of me. This section of course is pretty much a bunch of rollers, and while it has plenty of rocks and roots, it plenty wide for passing.

I wasn’t making a huge effort to surge forward. I was focused on the letting the course bring them back to me. All I wanted to do was just maintain a nice, steady pace whether I was running uphill, downhill, or on the flat. Although, there are not too many flats on this course.

Once the climbing started, I started moving up.

The stair section was just as I remembered. I caught up to one runner as we were nearing the top of the stairs. He was a much better descender. He quickly opened up 50 yards on me on the far side.

Crowders’ maintenance crew has made some changes to the trails, and they are now bring people in to the Turn Back Trail in a different spot.  They are also cleaned up the Turn Back Trail making it like a sky slope. If I had wanted, I would literally have sprinted down it. But there was no way that I was going to this. My quads would have been wasted.

I caught one guy on the decent, and I caught a 2nd runner at turn around at the main Crowders’ Mt. Parking lot. At this point, the climbing was starting to be an effort.

Turn Back Trail is tough climb, and on the return trip, we had to run all the way to the top Pinnacle Rock. This further was up the slope, and the further that I went, the steeper it got. My quads were truly burning when I hit their check point at the top. 

From there, I knew the path back to the finish. I had to really focus hard on the trail. My legs were tiring so I knew full well that I was one misstep away from a fall.

I passed back by the mid-way aid station. The sun had for the most part remained hidden, but it was still warm and humid. I kept sipping on my Tailwind from my CamelBak.

I was disappointed to loss my new buff. I had tied it to my CamelBak shoulder strap, but somewhere in the first couple of miles, I had lost it. I looked for it on the return trip, but I am guessing that someone took home a nice prize from the race. Luckily, I never needed it.

I think that I finished 3rd overall, and 2nd male. I didn’t get the entire story but from what I gathered, she was runner from Colorado. Like I said, I didn’t get the entire story. All I know is, both she and the top male runner ran the course like they were part Mt. goats.

I was happy with my time. I ran 2:31:45. It was a solid effort on a hot and humid day.

I also want to give a shout out to the designer of their awards. They have some nice wood burn plaques. I really liked it. It will have a nice place on my wall.

That’s it for this race. Time to get some rest and recover for what’s coming up next.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner