I just completed my third consecutive 70+ mile week and am now in a nice baseline training rhythm. This is just where I want to be this time of year--putting in half-way decent mileage, enjoying the beautiful fall scenery and getting in some nice quality.
Unfortunately, the plantar fasciitis in my left foot still hasn't cleared up. My foot is definitely better than it was before the Leadville 100, but it is not yet 100%. Some days are better than others and I'm still having to use KT Tape, ibuprofen before bed and ice therapy. New in-soles for my work shoes have really made a difference. I do believe that my foot is healing, albeit slowly, and that I'll be in good shape in a few months. I think I had a pretty wicked case of PF and it's just going to take time and patience to clear up. It's a miracle I got through Leadville with this foot.
I had some very good quality this week. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I ran my usual dirt road loop with plenty of hills at about 7:40 pace. On Wednesday morning I did a tempo run on the Parker roads, averaging about 6:25 pace. On Saturday morning I did 16 easy miles. Then on Sunday morning I laced up my lightweight trainers and basically flew out the door. My goal was to get from my front door to the end of East Parker Road--6 hilly miles away--in less than 42 minutes. That may not sound too fast--and on the surface it isn't especially when I can do my mile repeats in 5:30--but those 6 miles involved about 1,000 feet of climb from 5,900 feet to over 6,400 feet (ascents and descents in between). I made it in 41:47, including a 7:30 first mile. I then ran back home with semi-trashed legs and added on a little for a total of 15.7 miles.
For a guy who used to go out for tempo runs and average 6:10-6:20 per mile at sea level, running fast at 6,000+ feet is a whole different ballgame. I want to do some tempo runs on flat roads to see if I can get back to 6:10-6:20 pace. I'll do that this week.
After Sunday's run I had major GI issues, which I originally attributed to such a hard effort at altitude combined with mild dehydration (Parker turned off all of its water fountains and I wasn't carrying a bottle), but actually I think it was a stomach bug making the rounds in the Hornsby house.
So, all in all, I like where things are. I should end the year--yet again--with a little over 3,900 miles. This will be the third consecutive year of finishing with 3,900+ miles, averaging about 75 miles per week. One of these years I'll finally surpass 4,000. There is a small chance I may try to go past 4,000 this year but what's the point...really?
Recovery. It's a very under-rated and misunderstood thing that I keep thinking about. I think my 6 weeks of recovery from the Leadville 100--6 tough weeks, I would add--were as much about recovering from training for the event than from the race itself. My endocrine system was pretty shot. Therein lies the problem. Recovery should be from the event, not from the training. With this personal revelation in mind, I have begun to cobble together a 2011 training program. My goal is to be done with my peak mileage (100-115/week) by the end of June, and then cut my mileage by 15-20% in July while doing some races, and then really tapering in August. This is going to take discipline, but I think cranking away at peak mileage three weeks before Leadville is a mistake unless you're name is Tony Krupicka.
Let me tell you...it's been tough making changes to my diet since I discovered the ills of high-fructose corn syrup and other food chemicals. I'm still learning. HFCS and other types of super-sweet corn byproducts are in so many processed foods! Did you know HFCS is in Worcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce, many yogurts, reduced-fat peanut butter, jellies, and basically every BBQ sauce on the grocery store shelf? Almost every non-organic breakfast cereal--including Total cereal--has corn syrup. It's everywhere!
At the office, we have an endless supply of mini candy bars of all kinds. For a while there, I was out of control, eating 4 or 5 a day and rationalizing it on the grounds that I'd run 10 miles that morning. I'd go home at night feeling pretty yucky and not at all hungry. Since eliminating those candy bars from my diet, I've felt much better and I go home with an appetite. The candy bars are still very tempting, but I've managed to resist. There is no doubt in my mind that sugar is physically and mentally addictive just as cigarettes, alcohol and many drugs are.
I'm also really enjoying salads with just olive oil and balsamic vinegar (no croutons!). I think at the end of the day it's pretty hard to beat a salad with oil and vinegar. Society wants us to drown our leafy greens in creamy, fat- and sugar-filled dressings but in reality we don't need to. Society also wants us to believe that unless it's deep-friend, covered in cheese or gravy, or layered with fat, it's not good. Not true!
Needless to say, this new approach to diet has been eye-opening and actually an amazingly wonderful experience. We don't realize that everything we eat is sweet--until we start focusing more on eating natural foods. It's no wonder obesity is at epidemic levels in the US today. And tragically obesity is often traced to income. Because quality costs more, the less you make, the more likely it is that you'll be obese and a regular customer of McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc.
What does this all come down to? It's simple: When you're at the neighborhood grocery store and you select and buy a particular product--a box of cereal, a pound of ground beef or maybe a jar of ketchup--what you're essentially doing is entrusting your immediate and long-term health and the health of your family to the company that made that product. You are placing your well-being--life--in the hands of the foodmaker. Pretty scary when you think about the thousands of people in recent years who also trusted foodmakers and became ill and even died as a result of contamination, to say nothing of the millions who have died as a result of heart disease, cancer and stroke. Didn't this happen a few decades ago with Big Tobacco?
You can watch "Food, Inc." via the video below and the menu to the right side of your screen on YouTube. Highly recommended. The family featured toward the end of part 5 breaks my heart. I think I've found my life's work....