Monday, May 4, 2015

April 2015 Mileage: Stronger

April 2015.  I need to take a moment and truly appreciate how much things have changed from last year at this time.

My training this month was dominated by my focus the Horsetooth Half, which is a bit odd, considering that I usually prefer longer distances.  I really don’t know why I got so caught up in it.  I guess I just love, love, love the course.  There are the hills, which for me are the main attraction, but there is something about the section that comes afterward— through the farmland and pastures where horses graze and there are the sounds of roosters crowing— it makes me feel like I’m either back on Ometepe or at my grandparents’ farm, and everything in life makes sense for a brief shining moment.  I get all Transcendentalist and fully become Emerson’s transparent eyeball: I am nothing, I see all, the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me.  


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The beer at the finish line was pretty good too.  New Belgium 1554.
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Rob got some kind of tens unit this month, which he’s been using to try to recover from a unrelenting knee injury.  I tried it out on my perpetually dodgy tibialis posterior, and it felt kind of like I was being electrocuted.  Note to self: don’t start out by cranking the device up to 7 and letting it go for 3 cycles of 20 minutes.  #Moderation.
We had some near 80-degree days in April, and also snow.  It was beautiful, you know.  I recovered from the Horsetooth Half with some easy shake-out runs at Red Fox Meadows.  I was amazed at how quickly I returned to normal after a really hard effort at the Horsetooth Half.
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On the last two weekends of the month, I went to Lory/Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and ran some of those dazzlingly beautiful, rocky, rooty, and often steep trails that are so not my forte.  
As I was running, I realized I had not been there since November—Thanksgiving weekend.  I’d prioritized mileage over raw beauty and difficulty in December, and then been too wrecked and busy with my new job in January to even think about it.  As I clawed my way back in February and March, I’d focused exclusively on the roads I’d be running for the Horsetooth Half.  Five months is far too long to be away from these trails.
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 Rob warned me that there might still be snow up on some of the ridges, but this was the only patch I saw.
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I’d been hoping I would run significantly faster than when I had done a similar route last November and vast expanses of the trail had been a solid slick of ice.  But even without the slippery footing this time, these trails were too technical for me to keep any kind of respectable pace.  It took me 2 and a half hours to cover just under 12 miles on my first trip back there this month.
When I emerged from the undulating, rocky switchbacks of Westridge Trail onto Towers, I felt like hugging this sign.
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IMG 5044Thank you, Colorado.
I left it all out there, I did.  The last few miles were a struggle, and I didn’t even realize how much I had been pushing myself until I got back to the car and wondered how on earth I’d find the wherewithal to drive myself home.  In the days that followed, my legs hurt worse than after I’d redlined through the Horsetooth Half.
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This is the face of a person who left it all out there on the trail.
I went back out to Horsetooth Mountain Open Space for an even bigger run the following weekend.  20.5 miles.  The farthest I’ve run since October.  It was so sublimely hard and beautiful.  I swallowed those hills.  I needed to see if I could get it done, and I did.  For several months, I’ve had my heart set on an ultra near Laramie over Memorial Day weekend, and this was really my last chance to put in some decent miles for that.  I still haven’t registered for the race.  It is only a 50K, so I am somewhat reasonably trained, but I just can’t pull the trigger because I know it will hurt so bad.
I did sign up for Howl in August, though.  Luckily, I happened to see the Kennekuk Runners post a link the very instant registration went live—the race filled up within 11 hours of opening.  I am curious to see what it will feel like to run an ultra at sea level again.  
I also signed up for the Idaho leg of the Bear Lake Endurance Races in June.  I strongly considered trying to do back to back marathons at this event, but got scared off by the thought of what so many miles on pavement might do to my tibialis.  Instead, I decided to just do one of the races and see if I can run a part dirt/part road marathon fast.  Whatever that might mean these days.  The main draw of this race is that it is only about 3 hours away from the Tetons and Yellowstone.  We haven’t worked out the details yet, but a family camping trip will likely ensue “on the way” back home.
All of these races seem like a pretty nice lead-up to the Bear Chase 50 in September, where I may try to redeem myself from that puddle of vomit who dragged herself across the finish line last year.  So pitiful it was triumphant.  But I need to get some longer runs under my belt before I can wrap my mind around the sheer idea of running 50 miles again.  We’ll see.
Some of the best news this month is that I think I have found the shoe that completes me.  Montrail FluidFlex II.  It’s got beautiful, sticky lugs on the bottom that are the exact thing I want when I’m running on trail, but it also has enough cushioning that my calves feel fine on the pavement miles I have to cover just to get from my house to the trail (and back again).  And the 4mm drop is the drop of my dreams.  Whoever designed this shoe must have done it specifically for me.  
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Montrail FluidFlex II, you complete me.
Overall, April 2015 has me feeling stronger.  Maybe not stronger than ever, but at least stronger than I’ve felt in a long time.  And that is a very good feeling.
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A 20 mile training run and a 50 mile week.  Those are numbers I haven’t seen in a while.  
148.03 miles this month.  490.27 year to date.  I’m up 150 from where I was last year at this time.  So glad to finally feel stronger.
Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

AWESOME PICTURES!! what a view as you SKIP along the trails. but NOW keep your eyes peeled for SNAKES. !!!! YIKES! they will be slithering along beside you!! ewwwwwew!! do be careful!!! hugs and. luv 😘mama