Another super solid Leadville 100 training week is in the books. For the week of June 10-16, my totals were 92 miles, 14 hours and 6 minutes, and 14,200 feet of vertical, mostly at Deer Creek Canyon (disclaimer: the vertical numbers are according to Strava). The vertical was a little lower than I'd have liked as a result of having no other choice (due to kid duty) but to run on my treadmill on Saturday and basically stray no further than Deer Creek Canyon all week. All in all, I'm happy with how things went this week. For the coming week, if all works out, I may get to 20K of vertical and will head to higher ground, including a Hope Pass double crossing on Tuesday (more on that below) and maybe a go with Decalibron.
Unfortunately, our family was been exposed to the "puke virus," so I'm really hoping we all dodge that bullet! As my wife would attest, I get neurotic when it comes to the puke virus. If I puke during an ultra, it's no big deal. But if I've been exposed to the puke virus, then I get really worried and worked up.
As far as training, I couldn't be happier with where I am. I'm in really good physical shape (knock on wood) and, mentally, I'm 100% there. I seem to be recovering quite well between workouts. Maybe it's because I'm not sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, but my muscles feel more limber. Psychologically, training doesn't feel like work to me; I enjoy every step of it and I love to climb and descend. My motivation is as good as it gets. It's gotten to the point that I can now run fast (for me) down rocky descents and not really think twice about it. I used to get worried on rocky descents but now it's no big deal. As they say, repetition is the mother of excellence. And when I'm coming up on a steep climb, there's no dread in me; I'm all in. Bring it on!
I think everything goes back to my MAF training earlier this year. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I just can't say enough good things about the Maffetone Method as a base-building program. When I run now, I feel efficient and smooth and I can go much further than before without needing any calories. Even as I'm breathing hard on steep climbs, I rarely get "out of breath." And I think that's because I'm pretty aerobically efficient right now. I feel like I can run 8:00-8:30 pace forever. In ultras, what more could you ask for?
This week, I'm heading to higher ground, including a double-crossing of Hope Pass with Scott W., who is pacing me at Leadville with AJ. After what went down at Leadville last year, it's going to be nice to get back to Hope Pass and have a positive experience there. That said, anytime you're doing two crossings of a 12,600-foot mountain pass, with 21 miles and 6,000+ feet of climbing (and 6,000+ feet of descent) involved, you'd better be ready. I doubt I'll go into the run physically "fresh," but mentally I'll be ready for lots of fun and hard work. It's going to be a great day and I plan to relish every second of it.
As far as my work/unemployment status, it would potentially appear that I may be close to securing a job. We'll see. I don't want to get ahead of myself or engage in speculation, but I have a good lead with a great organization. In terms of what that means for Leadville training, my plan is to train hard as hell for now and then go into maintenance mode once I'm back to work. Maintenance mode means 10,000+ feet of vertical every week.