Sunday, February 19, 2012

February Update

It's been a busy - and generally good - month.  I feel like I'm finally recovered from Bandera, although both my right knee cap and right thumb are still a bit sore from the hard spill on the final 50K lap.

The Good: the stride is feeling maybe the best it's felt.  Ever?  Both climbing and descending, and even keeping up the smooth, lengthened stride on the flats.

The Bad: after a glorious 17-day break from work, I was thrown right back into it.  And because I'm very hands-on in my therapy, I often push my body to its limit in the office nearly as much as on the trail.  As such, I wound up tweaking my back two weeks ago, on a lunch-time tempo run.  I lost a good week and a a half of training (including a DNS at Hagg Lake 50k), but I'm recovering well enough now to have a nice long weekend.  Thankfully I have multiple excellent physical therapist colleagues to help me.

Random Notes

Very excited for spring!  It's tough to believe it'll be March soon, but I'm anxious for it to get here, namely for a few reasons:

1.) A new training schedule.  The Eugene Crew is changing their routine.  The Queen and LB, among others, are changing their [oddly-timed] Wednesday at 1:30 track sessions to Thursday evening.  This will be wonderful for me, since it's been nearly four years since I've consistently done speed sessions with others.  That should make for a fun Thursday night routine.

2.) Daylight Savings Time begins on March 11th.  After that, I will re-start my "Hardesty Wednesday" routine, where I run up Hardesty Mountain (4200'), which is a five-mile, 3300' climb.  While it's no Anton/Green Mountain pairing, this mid-week elevation run was extremely valuable last fall.

As such, I'm hoping my weekly schedule will look like this:
  • Monday: trail or road tempo run (5-10k or more at marathon pace)
  • Tuesday: "Tuesday Night Huntin'" + beer at LB's house
  • Wednesday: "Hardesty Wednesday"
  • Thursday: track / speed sessions
  • Friday: easy (short or long)
  • Saturday: long?
  • Sunday: long?  
That looks like a "pretty stout schedule", but I will definitely take a page from The Queen's book (and the "sustainability" chapter) and keep the easy days very, very easy.  The roadie days of grinding easy days well under 7:00/mile are over -- at least with this quality schedule.

3.)  Chuckanut 50k on March 17th.  I ran this race last year as my first-ever trail ultra and it was fabulous - a wonderful (if ambivalent) event that features a first and last 10K that runs like a road race, with a stout 30K mid-section featuring multiple long ascents, super-technical Chuckanut Ridge, and equally long pounder descents.

Moreover, this race is stacked.  STACKED!  A quick look at the UltraSignup list is a "Who's Who" of ultra runners today, including some roadie crossover guys.  I can't imagine Geoff Roes' CR will sustain such a field.  But with a hugely expanded field (RD Moehl recently received permits to expand the field from 400 to 1000!) and super-fast guys, you have to wonder how it will play out:  Will the field get out in low-to-mid 5:00s per mile?  How will it shake up in the big climbs/drops and the tech trail?  And who will emerge on top in the last 10k?  The conservative trail guy that climbs, drops and floats the technical most efficiently?  Or the road guy, who cranks the first 10k, survives the singletrack, and can still hammer the last 10k?

Whatever happens, it'll be a great time with a ton of cool guys.  Sounds like there'll be a fun post-race get-together on Saturday evening.  Really looking forward to it!

4.) The West Coast Ultra Weekend Tour.  Having been around the sport and some great runner people in the past year, I'm eager to not only spend some time with these cool folks, but also check out some new trails (and brew pubs?).  As such, my goal is to develop a few "weekend tours" this spring, visiting several hubs of ultra running on the West Coast, including:
  • Ashland
  • Portland
  • Bend
  • Auburn, CA
Next weekend Britt and I will be heading down to Ashland to spend some great times on the trail The Olson's and others.  I'm also hoping to imbibe some excellent Caldera brews (which I have yet to enjoy on tap!). 

I think this'll be a great way to get in quality training as well - two or three days of big mileage in a new place! 

Hope everyone else is surviving February!  Cheers, -OOJ