Thursday, March 13, 2014

Winter Training

With winter (my least favorite season), I haven't gotten as many exciting training runs in as I do in the warmer months. Of course, that's not to say I haven't done anything cool - so I figured I would post about some of the more memorable training runs all summed up into one post.

(P.S. If you're like me, you'll notice and be very annoyed at the fact that none of the pictures line up with each other. My extreme apologies - blogger is being obnoxious. I've already spent an hour trying to get it to work, and am now giving up).



12/14/13 - Ouray to Ridgway (and back)

This run was the more exciting of my 2, 20 milers pre-Marathon, mostly because of the beautiful views. It is actually the course for the Mt. Sneffels full and half marathon, which is in August every year. It was a bit of a different experience on this training run though because it was very snowy! I had to wear my YakTrax, but other than that it went well. Weather was cold (10 degrees when I started), but luckily the sun was shining which made a HUGE difference.
Distance: 20.06 miles
Time: 3:38:46
Pace: 10:54
Weather: 10 degrees and sunny (thank goodness for the sun!)
Elevation gain/loss: 1,111 feet

12/21/13 - Uncompahgre Riverway Trail and Frontage Road towards Ridgway

I had wanted to do a more exciting route for my last 20 miler pre-marathon, but the weather was blah (again), so I decided to stick to a well known Montrose route. Jan (from the run club) offered to do the second half with me, so I got up super early, ran the first 10 miles, then joined her at the Looney Bean at around 8:30 to start the last 10 miles. It went well and was definitely nice to have some company! Especially when it started snowing!
Distance: 20:25 Miles
Time: 3:35:57
Pace: 10:39
Weather: 27 degrees and off and on snow
Elevation gain/loss: 715 ft. gain / 604 loss


12/30/14 - Marshall Mesa (Boulder)

When I knew I was going to be in Denver for 5 whole days at the end of December, I just HAD to go run at Marshall Mesa. I ran there for the first time last summer and just loved it. The views of the Flatirons are, as always, incredible, but it's also a very runnable route (as opposed to going to Chautauqua or something - which is a lot of climbing, and therefore more hiking vs. running). Since I wasn't working, I was able to adjust what day I went based on the weather, and ended up going Monday morning. I think this worked out great, and was probably a lot less crowded than it would've been on the weekend. I only saw 1-2 other people out. I was tapering for the marathon at this point, so it was a perfect, lovely, 12 miler!
Distance: 12.08 Miles
Time: 2:08:40
Pace: 10:39
Weather: 37 degrees and sunny at times
Elevation gain/loss: 889 gain / 918 loss



1/25/14 - Devil's Thumb (north of Delta)

2 Weeks post-marathon, I ran Devil's Thumb with several other runners from Delta. It was slightly chilly, but other than that it was a great way to ease myself back into trail running after months of roads. I really felt sore after this though, so probably should've given myself another week of recovery after the marathon before doing something this long. Beautiful views though!
Distance: 21 Miles
Time: 4:39:53
Pace: 13:19
Weather: 18 degrees and sunny (when I started - I think it warmed up to low 30's by the time I got done though)
Elevation gain/loss: 2,589 feet

Check out the San Juans! They look so tiny out in the distance!




2/9/14 - 22 Mile Road Run around Montrose

I really wanted to get onto trails, or at least some dirt roads for this, but the weather was not cooperating. It snowed the week prior, so anything not paved was just a pure mess. So I reluctantly decided to run around Montrose. There was a loop I thought about doing in the fall during my marathon training runs, but never did, so I decided to go check that out. It went okay. The loop goes southeast out of town, but all of the roads are still paved, so it worked well given the weather conditions. Mentally, the end of the run was tough. I had to push myself to get through the last 4 miles!
Distance: 22.05 Miles
Time: 4:11:53
Pace: 11:25
Weather: 30 degrees, sun off and on
Elevation gain/loss: 826 gain / 835 loss



2/23/14 - Highway 24 in Ridgway

I was getting over a cold this week and didn't think I was up for a real long run, so when some other runners talked about doing a 10 miler in Ridgway I figured it would be perfect. And it was! The views on this route are incredible! You can see the grandeur of the Sneffels Range for the entire run - it was great. Add to the fact that I was only going 10 miles and the sun was out made it perfect (can you tell I love running so much more when the sun is shining?). This was a one-way route, so what's neat is that I could do an out-and-back on the course for a beautiful 20 miler sometime!
Distance: 10.66 miles
Time: 1:47:22
Pace: 10:05
Weather: 30 and sunny (and warmer by the end!)
Elevation gain/loss: 292 gain / 1,293 loss

Seriously - these views!?!

I recently discovered the "panorama" feature on my iPhone :)



3/1/14 - Hwy 347 towards the Black Canyon

When I read the forecast of rain all weekend (my last good weekend to get a 20+ miler in before my Ultra) I came up with this brilliant plan to get the length and elevation training I needed, but on roads so I didn't have to worry about mud. It was going to be perfect. The road going to Black Canyon National Park is about 6 miles to the entrance of the park, 7 to the visitors center. In the summer, you can go past the visitors center, but in the winter they close it and you can cross country ski or snowshoe on it (hence the Black Canyon Rim Romp that I did in February). So, in order to get my 24-26 miles I wanted, I was going to start at the junction of Highway 247 and Highway 50, run up 2 miles, down 1, up 2, down 1, etc. until reaching the visitor's center (which would end up to be 17 total miles), then run back down, and hopefully add in one more mile somewhere in there, for about 25ish miles. Other than the mental issue with this, I was set on doing it. So, I got up on Saturday morning, got ready, packed my hydration pack and set out. Everything was going great - the weather was a bit a chilly, but other than that I was doing awesome. Running my ups and downs etc.

Then at around mile 11, all hell broke loose (excuse my language). I went from feeling awesome, to feeling absolutely terrible. Just like that. I'm not positive on what it was, but I think it was either the GU energy gel I took, or the electrolyte tablet I put in my hydration bladder. Either way, I just started to feel nauseous. I tried to press on and keep going for a bit, but I only made it about 3/4 of a mile before I knew I couldn't do it. I couldn't do the whole thing. I was about 4 1/2 miles away from my car, so I decided to turn around. Turning around, while nice because I was atleast headed to my car, was also FREEZING. The wind had really picked up and you could really feel it. Combine that with the fact that I was half walking (so my heart rate wasn't up to help keep me warm) and I was about ready to just die on the side of the road. I ended up calling my husband and seeing if he could come pick me up. And he did, but it took him about 20 minutes or so to get there (but oh how nice it felt to get in his nice warm car!!!). I ended up making it a total of 15.6 miles. Not what I wanted at all (I mean I'm training for a 32 MILE ULTRA MARATHON!), but still a decent long run (although it definitely left me feeling very unsure about this whole Ultra thing - I mean what would I do if this happened in the middle of a point-to-point race when you're 10 miles from an aid station??).

Distance: 15.67 Miles
Time: 3:29:36
Pace: 13:23
Weather: 43 degrees, but NO SUN :( and lots of wind!
Elevation gain/loss: 2,757 gain / 2,250 loss


3/2/14 -Sidewinder Trail

After I wimped out on Saturday's run, I knew I had to get back out for another on Sunday. No I wasn't going to get 25 in after doing almost 16 the day before, but I knew I had to do something. Back-to-back long runs are actually a pretty well known training method for ultra runners, so I figured might as well do that, and hopefully it will help me mentally on race day. I knew a group was planning to run Sidewinder - a trail from Olathe to Delta that's just about 20 miles in length, so I decided to tag along. I wasn't sure how the conditions would be, since it had rained, but figured I might as well at least try and I could always turn around.

Surprisingly, all went pretty well on this run. It was definitely muddy in some spots, but never so bad that it was impassable or anything. Since I had done a fairly tough run the day before, I decided to keep it easy, which I think was definitely good. Plus, it allowed me to be out moving for a long time (over 5 1/2 hours) - which is good, since I'll probably be 6-7 hours for my Ultra. Overall, I was happy I did this. I've wanted to since hearing about Sidewinder last year, but get nervous trying to do something like this on my own (plus you have to figure out the logistics of a one-way route). I'm just hoping doing 2 back-to-back long runs, though neither being as long as I wanted, will get me through my Ultra next week!

Distance: 20.25 Miles
Time: 5:40:22
Pace: 16:48
Weather: 36 degrees starting (I definitely think it warmed up to mid 40's by the time we were done)
Elevation gain/loss: 2,750 feet gain / 2,851 loss

3/8/14 - Kokopelli Trails

I was officially in taper mode this weekend, so the plan was to do about 15-16 miles. I was already planning to meet Melissa up in Grand Junction on Friday night for a ladies night of wine and painting, so I figured that would be a perfect excuse to also go check out the Kokopelli Trails near Fruita on Saturday morning. I've heard great things about these trails, and will actually be doing a race on them in April - Desert RATS (race across the sand) Trail Running festival on April 19th.

I asked a friend on DailyMile who lives in Grand Junction for some ideas and she gave me a great route. It really did work out perfectly. I started at the main trailhead just off of I-70, ran Moore Fun trail (which was the most climbing of the day) over to another trail head where I got onto Mary's Loop. Mary's Loop was definitely a little easier to run, which was nice. About 3/4 of the way thru Mary's Loop, I took a detour onto the Horsetheif Bench trail - a one way trail that you have to hike down a short but really steep section (people do this with their bikes by the way!) to get to. After I completed the loop, I got back onto Mary's Loop and finished up! I got back to my car at about 15.6 miles, so of course, I had to run down the dirt road a bit to get to 16. This was an awesome run and the views were great! There are definitely a lot of cool places to run here, and since they're mostly made for bikers, there are miles and miles and miles (in fact, you can even take them all the way to Moab if you want).

Distance: 16 Miles
Time: 3:31:03 (3:19:13 moving - I took a lot of pictures)
Pace: 13:11 (12:27 moving)
Weather: PERFECT - 48 and sunny! I was sweating in a tank top!
Elevation gain / loss: 2,054 gain / 2056 loss

The Colorado River - about 10 miles from the Utah border.

I don't know why, but I really like this picture!

So, there you have it - the highlights of my training over the past 3 months. My Ultra Marathon is in just barely over a week (March 22). I'm definitely nervous, especially since I never did get a 25 mile trail run in like I wanted, but I'm trying to find comfort in the fact that I have been out there training almost every weekend, and I've done several 20 milers. I know I can do it. I think any hardships I have on race day will be more mental than physical. So, 32 beautiful miles in Moab, here I come!

P.S. I'm officially registered for Pikes Peak MARATHON! I was originally planning to just do the ascent (to the top, vs. to the top and back), but everyone I talked to said I have to do the marathon or I'll regret they convinced me. I'm definitely nervous, but the cut off time seems reasonable so I'm sure I can do it, so long as I actually train for it (which I will!).

P.S.S. Here are just a couple more pics from miscellaneous weekday runs. I'm so happy that it's staying light enough to run after work now! (If you follow me on Instragram, I'm sure you've seen them all).

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