Downhill Ski: 0 miles / 0 minutes
XC Ski Miles: ~0.5 miles / 15 minutes
And there you have it, the March Summary. First March in Colorado where I didn't ski at all. I did have an Eldora Pass this year ($150) and used it 4 or 5 times, total -- none since January. Took one drive this month up to Cameron Pass with an out-of-town guest, and the snow was icy, suncupped, and fast -- our guest quickly sprained her knee, as it was pretty difficult to stop on even small rolling hills (in the tight trees). Turned around and went to the breweries instead.
The winter that never was.
So I got more running than usual in, even better since the weather was great and I didn't have to do all the driving to the ski areas. Some reflections: really been enjoying quality workouts during the week (speedwork and tempo or hill-climbing), it's an absolute blast to push hard instead of slugging along slowly. A few highlights from those workouts:
* While Nick and I were finishing up a 2-mile and cruising along steadily, we passed a woman walking her dogs a couple of times. The 2nd time, she said something like, "It was amazing to watch you guys run by like that!"
* Nick had the idea of doing a broken marathon-pace run with local speedster Sarah. It was absolutely fantastic and inspirational to see her nail those final hard miles. But even the flat and evenly-paced bike-path stuff isn't anything like treadmill miles: in one of the middle reps, when we were already getting tired, Sarah still pointed out a tree that was blossoming!
* Running hard repeats up Horsetooth on Thursday AM, Nick and Sam (1:13 half-marathoner) easily took the lead. A group of CSU-age folks were heading down from the hill, perhaps having caught the sunrise. All of their heads were turned watching Nick and Sam, and then me trying to keep up, and they said "Holy shit" and "Oh my God"
We also shared the hill, and ultimately the summit after our last rep, with other trail runners and friends...
* ...including Pete, who ran 701 miles in March. Holy cats! (and Dogs!)
Anyway, I found I really love the structure of those workouts, running with friends, and the incredible vibe and inspirational cast of characters in Fort Collins.
But also with those efforts, it's important to have very easy recovery days in between. A couple of times I pushed it on easy days, foolishly, and then paid for it by feeling pretty fatigued. I think/hope I was lucky enough to learn that lesson before it was too late.
Definitely have some things to work on for upcoming races, but feel better knowing what they are.
I think my rib pretty much feels better now. That makes the timeline thus:
- First few days: hurts sharply with every breath, especially deep ones. Probably hurt the worst on day 2 or 3.
- Week 1: First few steps of running hurt the worst, but wasn't impossible.
- Week 2: Mostly didn't think about it, but occasional pangs. Uncomfortable to lie on that side in bed
- Week 3: Mostly only notice at morning or night, gone by the end of the week (I hope).
Ran Double Rock again yesterday (clockwise from HTMP lot). As Rob pointed out, Horsetooth was absolutely packed. (Rob, you've gotta start getting up earlier, man! =) )
I was lucky to nab one of the last upper lot spots at 9:30. By the time I came home, I saw multiple parties walking up the road from Blue Sky TH and other marina parking up to the upper lot.
In case you were wondering, course conditions are absolutely perfect.
Dodged a fair amount of bike traffic (I usually get out of the way so they don't have to clip out) but it was maneagable, and always head-on traffic. Only 2 horse parties that were also courteous. The deep middle sections on the borders of the parks were actually pretty quiet, so if this "full lot" day is any indication, the non-race traffic on race day should also be mostly a non-factor.
Took me 4:10 at a moderate effort, but it turns out I actually cut the course by about a mile by skipping the Mill Creek-to-Arthur's "Aid Station" route. DQ'ed! So probably more like 4:20, compared to Nick and Ryan's moderate 4-hour pace from November, and my 5-hour pace from January under significantly worse trail conditions. Meh. Work for me to do on some of the more steep and technical descents towards the Lory side, where I've spent the least time.
But I was also quite dehydrated in the heat (one bottle with a refill at Lory), having been out for the last 35-40 minutes of the run, and should have drank more water in the morning before I started. (Between the available water in Spring Creek, and the waterfall, and the other hikers on the trail, it's not an actual serious threat to health, but more of a discomfort). The great news? There will be no less than 4 aid station accesses on race day in that "dry stretch" I'm referring to. And the section of trail I missed is simply a fork where I had only remembered "Turn on Mill Creek Link" without thinking about the direction and logistics of the aid station -- it will be obvious on race day.
Still feeling like roughly 45-60 minutes slower than CPTR 50.
Don't blow yourself up early on the uphills! Or the downhills!
(And, it's all hills -- except for the Valley, where it might be hot. Don't blow up there, either!)