Monday: 8 miles, Foothills trail, 2000ft of gain; 6 miles, Foothills trail, 1000ft of gain. Spring has arrived - this was the first morning run that I ditched the thermal pants for a pair of shorts. The morning run was a wee sluggish on the climb up to the ridge. I think that's just what happens when I take a day off, now. Second run of the day was incredibly fast, despite having to dodge about 20 mountain bikes and plenty of other runners. Just like Seattle, when the weather improves everyone hits the trails.
Tuesday: 8 miles, Foothills trail, 1500ft of gain; 4 miles, Foothills trail, 1000ft of gain. Did an out-and-back on the rolling trail to the north dam, rather than dropping down to Laporte Ave. Despite feeling slow and a little stiff in the calves and hips, I set another record for this route; since last Fall, I've managed to shave 8 minutes off this run. The trails were crowded with bikers and other runners in the afternoon, and for good reason: temperatures were in the low 70's!
Wednesday: 8 miles, Foothills trail, 1500ft of gain; 4 miles, Foothills trail, 1000ft of gain. I'm seeing a pattern emerge with the daily mileage - probably time to mix things up. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the high humidity, light mist, occasional snow flurries, and moderate temperature this morning - it smelled and felt like Seattle (maybe that didn't come out right). I was relaxed and a bit spaced out on the second run as I just finished a midterm earlier in the day - Kelvin wave dynamics, dispersion relations, and baroclinic growth models danced in my head.
Thursday: 8 miles, Foothills trail, 1500ft of gain; 4 miles, Foothills trail 1000ft of gain. Caught the sunrise on a very early run. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess), I was preoccupied with a particular derivation on the midterm, thought about it more on the run, and fixed it before turning it in. I knew I nailed it, so I went for a celebratory run at noon in the beautiful weather.
Friday: 8 miles, Foothills trail, 1500ft of gain. Just chilling out today in preparation for tomorrow. I took it extra easy on the run; two flights of beer and an avocado sandwich at the Mayor for my pre-long run dinner.
Saturday: 26 miles, Horsetooth Mountain and Lory State Park, 5500ft of gain. You know it's Spring when you can start a long run (in the cold-pooled air at the base, no less) in shorts and a light, long-sleeve top. It was already above freezing an hour into the run, which meant one thing - a very muddy experience in the meadows on the west side of the mountain. All of that frozen mud, churned by horse hooves and bike tires, started to get sticky in the intense sun. After returning to the start of the south ridge trail from the 21 mile out-and-back, I headed up South Ridge for an out-and-back to the top of Horsetooth. Nutrition was 40oz of water and a Honey Stinger. If I haven't written about it before, my strategy with long run nutrition is to eat the minimum calories necessary to get through the run without bonking, the idea being that it's a major training stimulus for my body to conserve glycogen and water.
A clear shot of Long's Peak in the distance from the start of Spring Creek trail.
Still a good bit of snow above 6500ft.
Mileage: 84 miles
Elevation gain: 17,500ft
I feel really good at this mileage. I've got some transient knee soreness that seems to have ebbed by the end of the week - a touch of runner's knee from ramping up the mileage, I think. Ice bathing has definitely had a hand in speeding my recovery. While the first 5-10 minutes of my morning runs feel sluggish, and I often feel like I'm running in slow-motion, I've somehow managed to increase my speed on training runs.
Next week I'll extend my morning runs to 10-12 miles, while keeping the afternoon runs short and fast. My philosophy with two-a-days is not that you need to try to make the runs even length or effort - the point is that you're putting the body in running mode every 6-12 hours. Not only that, but I get two different workouts: a "longer" run that is aerobic in nature, and a tempo run to keep my speed and form in check.