Monday, March 19, 2012

Who Needs A Long Run?

For the first part of this year my goal has been to run about 50 miles a week, 4 - 6 days a week. Other than my two week lull I've done extremely well at maintaining this base. This past week, for the first time in who-knows-how-long, I was able to actually run a full 6 days in a row. As it turns out, when I run that many days in a row I don't need to do a long run to hit my weekly miles. In fact, even without a long run I had hit my 50 miles by Friday, leaving anything I did on Saturday as fluff. Not that anyone who reads this cares, but I think it's pretty cool. On the other hand, I sure do LOVE doing long runs (you might be asking yourself what I consider a 'long run' - for me it's anything over 20 miles). As I ramp up my training to get ready for some of my bigger goals this year I'll continue to focus on running frequently, but also adding in a long run, which should be my miles upwards of 70 to 80 miles, which is about the high end of where I like to train.

This past week I didn't do anything overly exciting from a trails standpoint, but I sure did enjoy each and every day I ran. I ran the gully twice, the Draper BST to Ghost Falls (which was a messy shambles), the gully up to Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir and back (my longest run of the week at 13.8 miles), and finally a run with my brother Brent on some trails out in Eagle Mountain I had never been on before. WOW, are they cool.

Below are a couple of photos from my run on Friday with Matt up to the reservoir. It was his last day working for our company, so we went out for a little longer run.

 Matt heading up the Bell Canyon Trail from LCC.

No, we're not afraid to pull water from streams, especially this time of year. Don't worry, we're careful.

And finally, the AltraManiacs have posted a new video. In my opinion, this is the best one yet. Super funny. If you like it please share it on your blogs, facebook pages, email, pigeon, snail mail, or however else you can share the love. These guys are kind of important to me. And come on, it's funny, admit it.

Monday, March 12, 2012


If you read my last post you know I've been in a bit of a rut lately. Many people have suggested that it was due to over-training and I tend to agree with them. While that week was physically draining, it was the mental impact that worried me most. I felt like I had lost my competitive edge and willingness to push myself to my limits. As I rolled into Monday of this past week that concern still weighed heavily on my mind, even though I physically and mentally felt a ton better. The smart way to work into this past week would have been to take it slow and short and just enjoy being outside in the nice weather. So yeah, I kind of did that.

On Monday there was still a considerable amount of snow left over from the weekend so I knew it would be a good idea to stay off the trails next to and on the mountains. Thus, I opted for my usual Monday default, the Dimple Dell gully. Slow and short, that was my focus. Well, 10 miles later and 1 minute off my personal best on that route and I realized that the cobwebs from the previous week were officially gone. My psych was back and I was ready to roll.

But the smart thing to do would have been to take it easy the rest of the week. I guess I did that. Tuesday through Thursday were easy days on the Draper BST and the gully. I never felt like I pushed hard and my distances were reasonable. I was feeling good, to say the least.

On Wednesday I had the awesome of idea of taking Friday off, gathering the crew, and heading out for a day on Antelope Island to run an ultra distance. With having drop my kids off and then pick them up later in the day I knew we'd have a firm time limit, but the 6 hours I had planned for seemed more than enough on those trails. As it turned out we got to the island and started running a little late, so we only had 5.5 hours, but that still seemed like more than enough.

Our initial plan was to run the 25k loop with the 3 mile out and back to Elephant Head, making for a total of 19 miles on the front loop. Then run Buffalo Point clockwise, then out to the east side trail and back around. All of it went off like clockwork except for when we got back up off the east side trail and realized we were only 2 miles from the car, but needed 6 more for a 50k. 25 miles in and I was now talking Scott and Matt into running to the TOP of Buffalo Point. They weren't happy about the prospect of another 1000 ft of vert, but we pressed on. Surprisingly, we all felt really strong running up the paved road. And then when we hit the short trail to the summit we charged and cruised right up. It was the perfect way to cap off the day. With only 3 miles to go that were all downhill and flat, we were amazed with ourselves as we easily flew at a 7:30 pace down the hill and then plugged away at an 8 min pace the last mile to the finish. I felt that running those miles with that vert in 5.5 hours was right on my 100 mile pace, which made me feel extremely good this early in the year.

Here are a bunch of photos from Friday's run.

 Topping out the first hill.

 Early March and we were all in shorts. You bet.

 Josh cruising down the hill into Split Rock valley.

 Back at the car after the first lap. Buffalo were very close all day.

 Scott psyched about summiting Buffalo Point. Me pointing out that he is weird.

What a great week overall. I feel like everything is back in place. I hope I can keep it up.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Invisible Monsters

The past 10 days or so have been very interesting for me. I've experienced something I haven't had to deal with since January 2009 (when I seriously started running), a genuine lack of a desire to run. What has frustrated me most is why this has occurred. A week ago Saturday I had a weird physical anomaly happen during my run where I felt extremely calorie deficient within about 2 miles, even though I had fueled well prior to my run. I didn't think much of it until it happened again the Monday and Tuesday following. My decision to take the rest of the week off came shortly after when my motivation and energy were so low that the simple thought of running put me in a bad mood. And then it snowed for the next three days and that just made it easier not to go.

What really bothered me was the persistent doubt that was looming in my head about my abilities. My vision and goals weren't at risk and I never questioned them, but I didn't feel worthy, if that's the right way to put it, of the success I've had, the position I was in, and the people who have put their trust in me. That's the best way I can explain it. I know it doesn't sound legitimate, but it is honest. This feeling carried through the weekend and I was extremely concerned that it would filter into this morning. However, I woke up not only feeling strong, but confident. Phew.

I specifically wrote the above section prior to my run today so that the skepticism would still be in my writing. When I got out of my car and hit the trail I was still concerned and while I felt good and was maintaining a solid pace at an even effort I kept waiting for my mental strength to fail and I would find that doubt would win out over my run. But that never happened and I ran a solid 10 miles with 800 ft of climbing in one of my fastest times on that course. I feel happier and more confident as I write this.

I've shared my experience with several people and many have commented that it may be a result of over-training.  I don't think I'll argue that as I have been pushing myself pretty hard lately. I also think the weather has had a bit to do with it. We just haven't had a proper winter here in Salt Lake and because of that I just never got converted to running in the cold and snow. So when it did dump it just bummed me out because I am just done with it and want it to be warm. On that note, I ran today in shorts and a t-shirt . . . with snow on the trail. That is so crazy. Anyway, I'm feeling good now and looking forward to a productive week.

And on that note, the AltraManiacs are at it again. This time they are throwing out a solid race tip. If you are planning on running a race soon you'll definitely want to watch this video. If you aren't running a race soon, watch it anyway because it's funny. Then Like it and share it with your friends.