Thursday, April 18, 2013

Back in the saddle (and running shoes) again.

Wow - it's good to be back running again.  I'm not running a lot of miles or doing speed work or racing but running non the less.  After jacking up my sacrum in January and many, many subsequent weeks of mild, "barely counts as training", soft-peddle workouts, I'm just about to the point where I can race.  After a long (7 mile) run yesterday my sacrum is a little sore and stiff but after a good nights rest it seems to be ready for more.  Mind you, I'm still not trusting said sacrum and only running every other day and only increasing milage by 1 mile per run.  Must be careful - I don't want to get injured again.

Trail running shoes and "apre-running" moccasins 

On the cycling side of my training plan things are going quite well.  Just 4 weeks ago I did my first hard bike ride (over 3 PTE according to Movescount).  Since then I've steadily increased the length, intensity, climbing and frequency of hard rides.  Last week I did my first ThirstyBear Cycling team ride since January heading up Mt. Hamilton with several of the guys.  It was supposed to be a hard 18 mile ride to the summit and then another 30 to 50 miles of hills at an easy pace.  10 miles into the ride the group was hamming out 300+ watts and I was barely hanging on.  Thinking about the remaining 40+ steep, hilly miles I decided the wise choice would be to get dropped and put forth a more controlled effort to the summit.  Furthermore, our plan was to ride over the remote backside of Mt. Hamilton and climb back to the summit again.  I imagined myself being so whipped that I wouldn't be able to get back up the mountain and ride back home.  That would have sucked!

The bottom of the backside of Mt. Hamilton

I finally made it to the summit in 1:28:13 - about 8 minutes behind the first of my teammates.  It was my 3rd best time and 10 minutes behind my PR........and we were still planning to ride down/up the backside of Hamilton - twice!   The ride down was awesome fun, 4.3 miles, 1900' of twisty descending including a cattle-grate crossing.  Coming back up easy was fine until about the last 1/2 mile when I began to run out of gas.  There was no way I was going back down and up again.  That would have quickly made me into vulture fodder.  While it was 18 miles back to the car, it was mostly downhill - dropping 3800' interrupted by 2 short climbs.  Totals for the ride - 50 miles, 7000' of climbing.

Mt. Hamilton

While that ride did kick my ass (178 suffer score on Strava), it did reassure me that I was in more than soft-peddle shape and best of all, my sacrum didn't complain.  Building on that ride I rode even further on Monday going 70 miles, climbing 7000' and feeling pretty good at the end of the ride.

Here's a few snapshot of my training over the past couple months.  Note that the swimming "ascent" is phony.  A result of swimming with my +Suunto Ambit and its barometric pressure elevation sensor.  By April I figured out how to turn that off.



APRIL (partial 4/1 to 4/18):

You can see that in February I had no running (except a brief Alter-G treadmill run) and all the "training" was at lower heart race zones (1 & 2).  By March I was able to get more Alter-G runs and start running on pavement.  Also in March there was more time spent at higher heart rates.  April is on track to have even more overall training time, more miles and hopefully by the end of the month some running speed work on the track.  

I don't want to run in one of these for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, incremental increases are the order of the day.  While I like my physical therapist, I don't want a frequent flyer punch card for the Alter-G treadmill (pictured above).