Tuesday, February 18, 2014

17, 16: Atonement

Monday Feb 3.  1000 yard swim.  I'm 33% of the way through my break from running.  I went out for a short easy swim, just moving at a moderate pace, not pushing it too hard.  I included a couple kick sets to get my legs working.  Later in the day they felt much better than in the morning.  I'm also sketching in some goals for the next chunk of racing/etc, but I'm waiting to see how a few event dates land and how I feel after a finishing a couple more races in this set.  I'm contemplating whether or not to commit to a stretch goal or just to dive in.

Thursday Feb 6.  1800 yard swim.  I'm now on my fifth leg resting day--I let a planned bike ride on Tuesday fall through to get extra sleep.  Allowing myself to rest has really let my body crash for a few days.  It was only this morning that I finally awoke without a lot of effort to stand and walk.  I went out for a lunch time swim class with light rain, which we really need.  I might cycle tomorrow, and I might wait until Saturday to get going again.  The stretch goal I'm contemplating is becoming more firm in my head, but I'm going to make myself wait until the end of the month to commit.

Friday Feb 7.  13.0 mile bike ride.  Very light rain that picked up as I finished.  I rode up to grizzly peak and back, treating this as an uphill strength session, staying in a higher gear on the uphills and riding out of the saddle on a couple of the smallest hills.

Saturday Feb 8.  11.5 mile run.  It's been raining the past few days here.  Finally.  Perfect weather for a trail run.  I don't know why, but I find running in the rain to be more calming than any other conditions.  The world feels more alive, and there's fewer people out.  I went to the middle part of Chabot regional park, exploring some trails along the western edge of the park that I've never run on.  Some of them are the hardest looking part of a race I'm running in two weeks, so I was also scoping them out.  They weren't too bad, since Chabot is forgiving as far as most climbs go, except for the fresh mud on the exposed parts of one climb.  I ended with an out and back on the Cascade/Columbine trails, which follow along the bed of a seasonal winter stream for a while.  It says a lot about how bad the recent drought has been that after two days of rain, there was still no water in the creek bed.  

This also ended my self-imposed six day running break.  I ran a lot of uphills, taking downhills and flats easier to enjoy the day.   I also applied something I'm trying to change in my swimming form to my running form, with the theory that I'd get more distance per stride.  It mostly involves keeping my grounded foot on the ground longer, pushing off further, to get as much work out of each stride that I could.  I didn't time myself, but it overall felt more comfortable for a given effort.  I mixed this in with a bunch of walking, since the form change is working my hamstrings harder.

My left heel was sore again, and has been on and off all week.  I think there's something tight or weak when my left calf fully extends, since adding the zero drop shoes (which I'm occasionally running in and now always walking in) and the much greater amount of uphill running I've been doing cause these muscles to work harder over a greater range of motion.  Something to keep in mind for planning longer runs and races until it balances out.  This, along with aggressively rolling out my right IT band seem to be slowly reducing some strength, flexibility, and form imbalances I've been aware of.  

Sunday Feb 9.  35.6 miles cycling.  Cold.  Wet.  Rainy.  Windy.  Foggy.  And eventually Dark too.  The perfect day for a long ride.  After learning from last time, I backed off on the pace, managing to finish strong.  I rode the last few miles much slower than usual, since visibility was bad.  I was intending to extend this to a brick, but I was cold, and the rain made the last part take longer than planned.  I followed this up with furniture construction, building a place to sleep for someone who will need one.

Monday Feb 10.  1000 yard swim.  Just moving, a good recovery workout after pushing myself both days over the weekend.

Tuesday Feb 11.  7.5 mile run.  With 1800+ feet of climbing.  I started before 7, running through Huckleberry, around Sibley, and back.  It was foggy and the streams were flowing (finally!), but at the Round Top ridge, I broke above the fog to awesome views of sun on fog patches across the east bay.  The one day I don't have a camera.  It was a hill endurance day, probably my favorite kind of "run."  If you think in terms of "elevation density," something I've started to do to mix up difficulties of my runs, this was higher than Steep Ravine.  It was also my longest run in the Superiors, and my feet are a little sore as I write this, since I'm still getting used to them.  They hold up surprisingly well for traction on steep wet trails--better than on steep dry trails.  And they were quite comfortable on the technical parts.

Wednesday Feb 12.  4.4 mile run.  Out to the Emeryville peninsula and back.  I kept a decent, but steady pace, given the tired legs from yesterday morning.  I bailed on a morning ride to get more sleep in too, since I needed the recovery after yesterday.

Thursday Feb 13.  3000 yard swim.  I backed off on running to let my legs recover after pushing a little hard for two days, and because I had an early morning appointment.   I think I'm ready,  endurance wise, for the 50k in a little over a week, and I don't believe that strictly pushing it instead of recovering intelligently will do any good at this point.  I've run a 27 mile race with significantly more elevation and a 22 24 mile race with about 60% of the elevation in the last month.  This won't be that much further than 27 miles.  And there will be much less stairs.  After having a large chunk of time to work hard in the office for a number of hours, something I don't often get a chance to do, I up'd my swim plans for the day, doing a 2950 yard swim speed workout.  I compulsively added an extra lap to make it 3000.  There was a stretch of 6 200's in a row with increasing speed.  Halfway through, I wanted to bail, but kept going, and flew through the second half.  I'm glad I did; it's probably my best overall swim workout so far this year.

Saturday Feb 15.  12.8 mile run.  I had the right window of time and the right week in terms of training to squeeze in a "run" up to the summit of Mt. Diablo.  With 3800+ feet of climbing, on a deliberately easy-paced weekend, this took a little while.  I parked at the Mitchell Canyon trailhead and headed up Mitchell Canyon, which has a deceptively steady incline on what's a relatively flat trail.  I was feeling tired and stiff from pushing it both Tuesday and Wednesday and from not having time for a morning ride since then, as moderate paced bike rides tend to loosen up running stiffness.

This eventually transitioned to steeper fire road climbing.  And climbing.  And more climbing.  The view slowly became awesome, as I could see both the hills I know in the Berkeley/Oakland hills and the Sherman Island kitesurfing area.

Around deer park flat, it got windy.

I passed a boy scout troop twice on the final stretches to the summit.  On the last stretch on the Juniper trail, it looked like the trail was the line where they held last fall's fire.

I paid a quick visit to the summit, and headed back down to the North Peak trail, finding all the downhill to be steeper, more technical, and slower than I expected.  But also more fun.

There was more high wind on the Bald Ridge trail, which was just great to run along; I think I'll come back to run some more of the ridge trails.  I finished by heading down the Back Creek trail and a couple others to get back to the trailhead.

This was almost all new trails to me, with a lot of different environments, and a place I've wanted to run for a long time.  It's by far the largest single climb I've done, and the highest elevation density (this new measurement of trail difficulty I'm using) at 298.8  Methinks I'll make this a more regular training spot, since it's not all that far from home.

Sunday Feb 16.  4.5ish mile bike fail.  I set out for a 25 mile ride.  My legs were really tired, given the almost non stop climb up Mount Diablo on Saturday.  But it was a different kind of tired; one where I had much less force, but not a kind of tired where I felt anything sore.  Halfway up Grizzly peak, I stopped for a break, and failed to get my shoes in the pedals when starting back up.  A few second later, after falling (not surprising), there was one less spoke in my back wheel (surprising), and everything was out of wack.  I bailed.  Time for a wheel repair.  And time to learn more about getting into these pedals on an uphill.

These were a good pair of training-focused weeks.  The first was deliberate rest to avoid overtraining, which feels like it did its job well.  Everything felt stronger after it ended.  The next was full on.  I'm getting to know what isn't working in my training schedule right now, in that I'm finding I need extra recovery time on specific days (Monday and Thursday).  I'm confident I'm at the volume I need for the distances I want to run until the end of the year, so I might as well start deliberately missing those workouts.

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