Wednesday, May 15, 2013

spring is here! (training week 13)

Officially spring has touched down in Southcentral Alaska. After May 5th's 3 inches of snow in town, the sun has been out regularly, but more importantly the temps aren't dropping below freezing at night anymore. This makes for rapid melting of the remaining snow. The giant piles in parking lots and empty lots is shrinking daily. Roadside clean-up is in full swing and green grass can even be seen in places. Soon the trees will green with buds and then BAM, summertime.

What this means for running is a return to the trails, albeit soggy ones. This week was not my best. The previous week left me with a tweaky calf so I took it easy so as not to make a tweak become an injury, and it largely worked.

Tuesday morning's 'run' was spent on the bike logging a quick but hilly 8 miles. Wednesday I made my first pilgrimage up Flattop Mountain, Alaska's most climbed peak. Early morning temps kept the snow crusty and dangerous. Though mildly tempted by the glissade tracks off the peak, it only took one look at the slope to determine, "I don't want to die today." The initial slope off of the top is 60˚ and the snow could best be described as razor blades on concrete, so I gingerly backtracked down the kicked steps to the top. Even though the entire run was snow covered, my up time was only 2 min. slower than my record up time, set on a dry trail. It was great to bag a peak before most people were awake for the day. Thursday I headed out to Turnagain Arm Trail for 5 miles on singletrack. It was exhilarating to be back on a wooded, snow free trail. Though muddy in parts the miles ticked off quickly and left me recharged back at the truck. My thoughts turned to Resurrection Pass and my desire to be physically and mentally ready to break 24 hrs. on that run.

The weekend was packed, so pushing Saturday's long run to Sunday AM was a no brainer. However as the weekend developed into Sat. night something wasn't right. It hit 2am Sunday morning as my wife, my 5yo son, and I began to spend the next several hours dueling with a nasty flu bug. Put simply it wasn't pretty. Our single bathroom was a war zone and the next day was spent drowsing groggily and playing movie after movie for the boys as that was all my wife and I could do without passing out. Monday I took off work to recover and yesterday's run was bypassed as well. Today, after 5 days without a run I'm feeling rested, recovered, and ready to roll. Tonight's agenda is a run-dinner-run sandwich for 13+ miles. Gotta get it where I can fit it.

2:45, 20.28 miles (only 7 running), 3035'

 My boys get their ride on at the Charity Walk, a fundraiser for the high school team I coach. It's like a carnival for free. Z's first time on a horse. Yeehaw!

My 2013 Yearbook Staff celebrating the end of the year at the Moose's Tooth. This is most likely my last yearbook as next year I am taking a new job teaching Photography at King Career Center. I love yearbook and love all the kids I've had on staff. Gonna miss 'em.

My little man and his cousin at the inaugural Cougar Kickers Soccer Camp. A one day camp to give back to the community on our brand new turf facility. Shirts designed by yours truly. Sweet!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

the animals are testy (training week12)

We are in the process of buying a new house and that plus coaching, kids, and training makes for a busy spring. So this week was a little mellow bc as soon as I decided I wouldn't be running Sluicebox, I slept in the next day. However the day after that I hit the track for some speedwork. This time I pumped out some 400 meter repeats after a 4 mile warm-up.

The weekend back to back (b2b) was a tough one. I ran the first on Sat., heading out at 9:30pm. Running that late after a long day was difficult, but I got out and got it done. My left calf was a little tweaky, so the next day I cut the planned run by about 25%, running at 8pm Sun. night.

So beside all of the fun spring weather in Alaska, this is also the time when one has to really be alert for wildlife. Seagulls are beginning to bully the Ravens from their winter haunts; the bears are awake and hungry, lumbering through the cities outskirts in search of food; and the moose are either calving, browsing their first spring alone, or feeling the effects or burgeoning manhood. The later is what I encountered on my run Sat. night. I was running down Campbell Airstrip Rd which is on the east side of Anchorage and flanked on either side by parklands. A largish bull moose appeared who was giving me the stink eye from first glance. I stopped and he took a couple steps toward me. I retreated back up the road a bit and he reluctantly crossed. Even though he was 30-40 yds away any time I made a move he would whip his head around and size me up. After a few minutes I realized I would not be able to get past this guy on my own. I waved down the next car and asked if they could drive between me and the moose as I ran by. The obliged and as I passed I was glad I hadn't tried to pass alone. As we came alongside him he lowered his head, stamped the ground, and did a couple of 360s. He was pissed! I think he really wanted at me. The driver of the car commented out his window, "He's not very happy!" which was putting it lightly. The rest of the run went off without a hitch but I'm ready for the upper elevations to melt out so that I can return to the woods with a bit more confidence as the animals move up into summer feeding grounds. It's coming, slowly but surely.

5:37, 32.44miles, 2129'

Thursday, May 2, 2013

change of plans/rolling on (training week 11)

I'm into the 40 miles a week range and I'm feeling good about the running. Spring is always such a busy time with wrapping up the school year, coaching soccer, and family goings on. Add to that selling and buying a house this spring and I feel fortunate to have been able to carve out the time to get the runs in. It helps immensely to have a supportive spouse and lots of daylight this time of year. Most of my runs are in the early AM and this time of year there is light whether I run at 5:30am or 9:30pm, which really helps as I don't like to take time away from the family.

Health wise I'm injury free with just minor tightness after runs in the usually places, but really no muscle soreness, even after multihour efforts. I have also really been testing myself as far as running in all conditions. The 20 miler long run on Saturday was first thing in the AM with no food since the night before and I didn't bring any food/water on the run. It went off without a hitch: plenty of energy and no issues. Followed that up with a 10 miler Sunday at 9pm after a long day with the family and immediately after a BBQ. Completely opposite conditions but the run was great. Managed 9:16 pace with a ton of climbing thrown in. Sweet.

So for changes: I am not going to be doing Sluicebox 100 in June. I'm bummed, but it is the right choice. Too many things were stacking up against it: cost, moving/remodeling, week long guiding trip right up to the day before...just isn't right for this year. I look forward to doing it next year though. My big races then will be ResPass 100, where I will try to break 24 hours, and Equinox Ultra (40 miles). I am also planning on adding the Hatcher Pass Marathon to my schedule, which I couldn't do before because it was the week before Sluicebox. It will be my first official 'road' marathon. The course is up and over Hatcher Pass on a gravel/dirt road. Should be great.

Had I known I wouldn't be doing Sluicebox I would have put my name in the lottery for Mt. Marathon in Seward on the 4th of July. This storied race sees runners climbing from sea level to 3022' and back on a super technical trail, 40˚ incline much of the way. One of my favorite trail runners, Ricky Gates, will be running it this year and it would have been awesome to participate at the same time, but's all good.

As we keep rolling on towards summer, I'm getting stoked!

April 22-28
7:34, 43.89m, 2110'

day2 pub run
day4 speedwork - pyramids on the track, 100-400 and down then 100-200. then my IT got tight
day7 great 10 mile

all my workouts can be found at movescount search for worm.

My boys are too fun!