Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Training for Leadville

My running career began back in the early 90s.  My main event: the 100 meter dash.  Now, over 20 years later I'm looking to run my first 100 mile foot race.  I guess that shows how successful my sprinting career was.

Living in Salt Lake, I had hoped my first one would be the Wasatch 100 but the lottery is rigged and I didn't get selected.  Luckily, viking Lars has given up ultimate fighting and picked up running with a vengeance.  He urged me to sign up for Leadville so we could race each other to the death.  This back up plan has become the main plan and I'm getting excited.  I'm anxious for the experience and expect that I'll have a brush with euphoria, pain, and find new appreciation for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

So in preparation, I have been trying to run more and tailor my running to the Leadville course, which is long and apparently mostly runnable (i.e. flat).  I've never been one that had the time or I suppose patience for high mileage but one of my goals this summer has been to push this parameter in hopes of a positive physiologic response.  But there is always a trade off and that has been no climbing and little scrambling as increased vertical or ruggedness of travel means slower going and less miles. I've done more city/park miles than in recent summers but am reminded that I just love running for the sake of running.

So, since June 15th (last post about the Corner Canyon race) my weeks are summarized as below with highlights mentioned. 

Week starting June 17th:
Total miles 60.  Long run 21 miles.  Highlights included some 200s on the track (I wanted to stress speed and mechanics a bit and 200s are just fun.  8 x 25-28 seconds) and the Mill D loop which is one of my favorite runs in the Wasatch.  This can be done as a loop starting at various points but I typically start at Mill D North and run to Desolation Lake, join the Crest Trail, work down to Millcreek, head back to Dog Lake, and then out Mill D.  It's around 13 miles and tallies something like 3000 feet of climbing.

Week starting June 24th:
Total miles 80. Long run 25 miles.  Highlights included a run up the Pfeiff with Layne, ambling about on the Speedgoat course at Snowbird with Jason, some more track work for a fast mile (for me) and some 400s, and then a nice flat 25 mile run along the Seattle waterfront.  Going from the heat of SLC to the relative coolness of Seattle coupled with an elevation of maybe 5 feet gave me a feeling that must be similar to blood doping.

Week starting July 1st:
Total miles 85, 18K Vertical,  long run 21 miles.  Highlights included a long run around Snowbird and Alta, more Seattle running, tagging a couple foothills here, and my go to Sugarhouse Park loops on grass.

Week starting July 8th:
Total miles 101, 22K Vertical, 17 hrs, long run 50 miles.  Highlights included a nice 25 mile loop tagging Hidden Peak, Baldy, Catherine's Pass, Clayton Peak, and Peak 10420 before returning down Gaurdsman and back to the Bird.  The other big run for the week was an out and back of the Mid Mountain Marathon course.  I got completely lucky on that one with rain and clouds for the first 30 miles.  Starting from Deer Valley the car thermometer read 54 degrees!  I love cool weather.  Nutrition, the weather, and a nice spring in my step led to a consistent evenly paced, even enjoyable 50 mile solo run in 7:50ish.

Week starting July 15th:
Total miles 60, 15K Vertical,  Long run 18.5.  There weren't a lot of highlights this week as I felt pretty flat from the steady ramp up over the last few.  I did get out on Timp with Jason for an exhaustingly slow run where the wildflowers were utterly brilliant.  I also jumped in the bandit Millcreek 50K but shortly after midnight I realized that I wasn't doing myself any favors and that I'd be better served by going home and going to sleep.  Finally by the weekend, I was feeling a little more spry during a run around Snowbird with Teague.  This was somewhat of a recovery week before the Speedgoat and hopefully one more week of good volume before a big taper.

I am now at odds with myself as I've been trying to run flatter and longer but am realizing that the Speedgoat 50K is in 5 days.  I wish I had done more vertical!  And as it turns out, my "high mileage" wasn't really that high but that's really a relative term.  I've never really done much more than 50 miles per week consistently so I've definitely noticed some cumulative fatigue from the past month.  Time as always is the frustrating factor as in spite of the suffocating heat, I'm still enthusiastic about running.

Upcoming this Saturday is the Speedgoat which will have ridiculous talent from around the world.  Leadville is August 17th and then from there I hope to run the MidMountain Marathon and finish the year with the UROC 100K from Breckenridge to Vail.  After that, I can think of a few adventure runs I'd like to do before the snow flies....

And then it's time to ski again!

Also upcoming is another little me.  Our second boy is due just in time to see the first flakes of the year!  We are currently fielding viking names for our next Scandinavian/Korean boy...
Pretending to be fast when really all I do these days is "ultra-shuffle".  This photo was staged from a standstill and taken by Jason.

Even the mountains is Utah County are patriotic

Really wishing I had skis to get down.  
Picking flowers for mom.  Lars version 2.0 coming this November


  1. Looks like I will beat you by a couple months (again) on #2. I would go with the name Ullr!

  2. Lottery is rigged, huh? Try again, Andy. I hope you were kidding.

    1. Of course I was kidding. I'm just bummed to miss out. I'll try again next year...

  3. Hate to beat this horse again but your insistence on tracking your mileage vs time is not giving you the complete picture you need of training stress. So old school. What kind of training hours did your 100+ mile week involve? If you don't know, you should. Also, seems like an unload week is sorely needed. Of course, instead of that you're going to be Speed Goating. Why do I sense impending implosion? Meh, you're a resilient stubborn youngster. You'll likely be fine. Just my two cents, like you really wanted it. :)

    That pic of Lars is a little creepy. Looks like he's some sort of Dark Side Yoda evil Jedi master.

  4. Oh yeah and by the way... what the heck are on your feet there young fella??? Soles look a little thick. Hmmm, trying to think of some of your comments to me as I was adopting similar looking kicks.

    1. I've kept track of time, mileage, vert, partners, pace/effort, and course for every day over the last 3 years. That long week was 100+ miles, 22K, and 17 hrs. Last week was a recovery week as were the first 4 days of this week. Looking at rolling 7 day periods, my last 7 days are pathetic but I'm feeling a bit more spry. But, this Saturday I'll race hard and then try and put in another big week before relaxing for Leadville. We'll see how it goes.

      Just wait, Lars is already showing signs of Yoda power!

      As for the Hokas, just had to try em out. They definitely are nice for some things and are just part of the shoe quiver...

  5. 17 hours. That's the number I was really interested in and the one that really matters, IMO. For a guy who works as hard as you do, that's a ton of training. Impressive is your ability to absorb that kind of volume while maintaining a ridiculous amount of non-training stress. That's part of your and Jason's DNA and what should frighten all your competitors. As I've said before, when you guys stop the absurd medical training, records will tumble. Gonna be fun to watch. Unless they've been there, none of your athletic peers can fathom the toll of medical residency training on performance and recovery. The fact that you guys slay shit like you do after this kind of insanity continues to boggle my mind. (okay, I'm stopping here lest your already swollen cranium becomes another liability).

    And speaking of humility, Hokas...really? After the tongue lashing you gave me last year you have no idea how much I relish this admission. You now don't have to get me anything for my birthday.

  6. Oh we all have to know how fast you ran that 100 meters in the 90's. Did you make a mistake going long distance? Or should you be racing Usain Bolt instead of Killian?