Yes, that's right. It is officially summer. The weekend of the 18th saw fresh snow, but the weekend of the 25th was 70˚. It happens that fast up here. In the whirlwind that was the last 3 weeks I have finished another season of coaching high school soccer, completed another year teaching high school, changed to my new school, packed up 2/3 of our home, and squeezed in some great runs, not as many as I should at this point in the training schedule, but you get it in where you can fit it in.
Here are the totals for the weeks:
3:29, 21.31miles, 2805'
(not a great week, but we'll call it a mini taper)
7:22, 40.08miles, 5351'
(decent, included an uphill race and a great run in the heat)
8:00, 32.74miles, 4715'
(ok but should have been better)
The highlight of the last several weeks is two-fold: getting off school, which gives me tons of time w/ my amazing family (wife and 2 boys), and some great 70˚+ weather. We had 4-5 days of extreme sunshine for this time of year. It easily erased both the standing water in my yard and the memories of a horrible spring.
On May 23rd I ran Kal's Knoya Ridge Run. The conditions were poor on the trail with so much mud my legs were caked by the time it was over and I had to shower with my shoes on so I could see to untie them. I bested my last year's time by 2 minutes, which placed me in the top 25 of a race for the first time ever. It was my best finish with 33rd overall. I ran comfortably hard the entire race and was able to pass 3 people in the final climb. Pretty happy with the effort as I also ran back down afterwards at a decent clip to make it an all around training run. My buddy Jared ran this as well so it was a fun day out.
Two days later I ran a great 13 mile run up into the front range of the Chugach from my house in the heat of the day. Great training as you never know what race day will hold.
Last week was ok with 3 decent runs, 2 of them being a hard and long-ish. On Wed. I ran up Wolverine Peak, an almost 5 mile climb followed by 5 quad busting, toe bashing miles back down. It's always great to tag a summit though. I left the trailhead a little after 8:40 and it was 73˚ and sunny. This run was completed 'Ashland style' ie. shirtless. It was awesome to be out peakbagging late in the day without the crowds, the mountain almost to myself. There were some sketchy muddy sections on the descent but I cruised through without a hitch.
2 days later I hit the historic Crow Pass Trail for what I planned to be 24 miles from the Eagle River Nature Center out to the river crossing and back. Crow Pass is a prime example of brutal singletrack trail. Twisty, rocky, rooty? yes. Thorns, blowdown, widow makers? check. River and streams crossings? yes. Moose and bear danger? You betcha. It is the complete Alaskan Trail experience. In fact, if you crave this experience you can race in the Crow Pass Crossing, a 25 mile crossing held each July. Anyway, I love training on this trail because rarely is a trail rougher, so if you can feel comfortable cruising here, anywhere else will feel tame. The only thing the trail from the Nature Center lacks is lots of elevation gain.
I was running along, making decent time when I rounded a corner and SCRUNNCH! my left ankle rolls outside onto itself. Yowch! Unfortunately but fortunately this happens about once a year. Unfortunate bc now I was 8 miles out on the trail and would have to get back. Fortunate bc once I worked through the shock, pain, and disappointment, I would probably be able to ease back into running by the end. Each time this happens it feels like a major injury, but usually I can run again after walking then jogging for a bit. This time it didn't feel like this would be the case so grabbing a branch for a crutch and turning around I called it a day and began to gingerly limp back to the Nature Center. The further I went to more it loosened and by the end of the run I was once again clocking 9:30s down the final 2 miles of trail, albeit on an unsteady ankle. In addition to the ankle roll I whacked my head on an overhanging log and got quite a knot. I also came home with scratches all over my arms and legs. Once again the Crow Pass trail had chewed me up and spit me out, but I feel tougher for it.
Now into the next week...