On Monday, I went to Bluffs Regional Park in Highlands Ranch. I'd never been to the Bluffs, but it had been on my list for a while. The Bluffs doesn't have much elevation--just 6,300 feet--but does have some nice rolling hills and one pretty decent climb out of the parking lot if you head "left." The views of the city from a few spots are quite impressive. I covered 11 miles in about 1:30. It was hot!
On Saturday, I got to Elk Meadow Open Space in Evergreen, where I ran to the top of 9,700-foot Bergen Peak. This was a 3-hour run. The starting elevation was about 7,900 feet and, for the day, I got in 2,600 feet of climbing. I felt pretty solid for the first hour and a half as I climbed the rocky switchbacks leading to the peak, but then started feeling downright awful on the descent and as I made my way through the meadow and back to my car. The culprit was obvious--I was very tired. Earlier in the week we'd had some problems with Noah sleeping and now it had caught up with me. I've come to realize that being tired temporarily lowers your VO2 max.
On Sunday, after getting a good night's sleep, I headed to Deer Creek Canyon for a 3-hour run. Deer Creek Canyon is one of my favorite places to run. It doesn't bring much elevation (about 7,400 feet), but it does bring some nice, long climbs, beautiful single-track trails along ridges, and a few technical switch-backs, too. It's a great training ground for just about any mountain race. Throughout my run I felt fantastic, mentally and physically. I nailed the climbs pretty well and was running strong on the flats and downs. This run was a total 180 from the previous day's outing at Elk Meadow Open Space.
All other days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) I ran in the Parker hills. Not much to tell, really.
- Total miles for the week: 88.2
- Total time running: 12 hours, 50 minutes
- Total vertical: 10,000 feet
- Total runs: 9
- Average mileage per run: 9.8 (perfect)
- Yoga stretches and core strengthening
I am now averaging 70 miles per week. Usually I hit 2,000 miles by the third week in June, but not this year. The slow start due to my foot injury might mean I hit only about 3,600 miles this year. Dumb goals like how many miles are run in a year are just that--dumb. I used to put a lot of stock in getting to 4,000 in the year, but what does it really mean? Nothing! What matters are your race results and health!
My goal for this week is 80-85 miles and about 11-12 hours. We have some major plans this coming weekend that might cut into my running a bit. I want to nail some nice quality this week and am planning two mountain outings.
The following week (7/18-7/24), my mileage/time output will likely spike and then the week after that (7/25-7/31)--which would be four weeks before the 100--I'll gradually cut back. The taper will begin in earnest three weeks out. Sometime this month I have got to get to Leadville for a timed Hope Pass double-crossing.
With the Leadville 100 now 6 weeks away, I feel really good about the current state of my training and fitness. But, most of all, I feel great about my attitude and outlook. I feel no pressure and am looking forward to the "fun" of Leadville. Success in 100s has a lot to do with your training, but it has even more to do with your mindset--both of which go hand-in-hand. When we moved to Colorado, I got sidetracked and started focusing too much on mileage and not enough on what goes into a successful 100-mile race, especially one in the mountains--confidence and lots of quality trail running that builds mental toughness. I came to put too much pressure on myself. I've developed a level of confidence and--dare I say?--inner peace that will allow me to go to Leadville feeling good about how I've trained and what I've done to prepare. That wasn't the case last year even as I'd put in tons of miles. This year, my miles are down slightly, but the quality is way up. I feel healthy and sharp right now and am ready to have some fun at the "Race Across the Sky."
On Friday and Saturday, I watched the Hardrock 100 webcast with great interest. Results are posted here. Frenchman Julien Chorier crossed first with a time of 25:17. I'm pretty sure nasty snowpack lingering from the ferocious winter of 2010-2011 was a big factor at this year's Hardrock. The race brings 69,000 feet of total elevation change with an average elevation of 11,000 feet. My friend, that is downright crazy. No other race can compare with that--not Western States or Leadville. Only Wasatch comes close. You're running in the mighty San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado. There couldn't be a more glorious (or ridiculously challenging) place to hold the toughest mountain race in the world. With Europeans capturing this year's Western States and Hardrock titles, one has to wonder if an invasion is under way.
Get 'er done!