Saturday, March 31, 2007

Four Hours

Run 8 miles
Road Bike 37.5 miles

Got in a great day of soaking up the sun today. This was one of the nicest weather days we've had in Juneau since sometime in October: 40 degrees, bright sunny skies, and only moderate winds.

Headed out in the morning on the Dan Moeller Trail which starts about 1/8 mile from our door. The trail is still covered in several feet of snow but it's mostly relatively firm since we haven't had any new snow in over a week. There were some existing postholes which were a bit difficult to negotiate and once I got to the portion of the trail that allows snowmobiles it was pretty torn up and soft, but I was able to make it to the top of the trail in 46 minutes. I know this sounds slow for 4 miles, but considering that I gained almost 2,000 feet and was running on torn up snow I was pushing a decent pace. I have made it to the top in under 40 minutes but the snow was just too soft today to do it much faster than I did. Coming down on the other hand, well that's sure a lot faster... only took 26 minutes!

After lunch I was itching to get back out in the sun so I hit the roads on my bike. I was hoping to finish my ride off with a climb up to Eaglecrest (our local ski resort), but I was only able to get about 1.5 miles up before I began hitting icy patches of pavement. I wanted no part of trying to ride back down this so I turned back and headed for home. Put in over 37 miles on the bike and ended up out for almost 4 hours between the run and the ride. Aside from my butt still trying to get used to my recently increased biking I felt pretty strong today. It was another encouraging run as far as my knee, foot, or ankle pains are concerned. My feet were a little achy by the end of the run, but nothing even close to what I was experiencing last month.

Good all around week of cross training: 28 miles of running; 36 miles of skiing; 88 miles of biking; and about 15 hours of time... right where I want to be at this point.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Fast Snow

Classic Ski 12 miles

skied for about 75 minutes today on what was the fastest snow I've skied on all year. I was classic skiing but was moving at about the speed I usually skate ski at. I did the last 4 miles in 22 minutes... and I wasn't even really pushing myself all that hard.

The forecast here in Juneau is for 4 days of sun!!! I hope to get out for some longer workouts the next few days.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rise and Shine

Run 6 miles

I used to consider myself a "morning person" but that has definitely not been the case for more than a year now. I'm rarely out of bed before 8 am and I do almost all of my workouts after noon. On the random days when I do get up early and do a workout I usually feel terrible for at least the first 20 or 30 minutes. This morning was one of those days when I decided to run first thing in the morning and much to my surprise I actually felt pretty strong. I also had no knee, ankle, or foot pain for the 3rd day in a row. This blog seems to be good luck. I guess I should have started this a long time ago.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Gliding in the Rain

Skate Ski 11 miles
Bike 90 minutes on trainer:
~25 miles

The forecast is for 4 days of sun beginning tomorrow. I'm so excited for sunny weather that I almost didn't even notice the steady rain falling while I skied in circles around the 1.8 mile loop at the campground today. It wasn't until I got back in my car to drive home that I noticed just how wet I was. I could make some remark about how that's just the way Juneau is in the spring, but a more accurate remark would not be limited to the spring - Juneau is simply just wet all the time, thus the excitement for the coming sunshine.

I hate artificial workouts. I don't care for treadmills and I could count the total number of indoor bike rides that I've ever done on my fingers and about 1/2 of my toes. There's just something about running or biking but not going anywhere that is not appealing to me. I do love running or biking simply for the sake of the activity, but even more so I love it as a way to be outside and to get from one place to another... even if all I do when I get there is turn around and come back home. Nonetheless, I put on a movie and hopped on the bike for 90 minutes tonight. And the strange thing is that I quite enjoyed it. I didn't miss being out in the slushy, dark, cold, wind, and rain. I guess this is a sign that I'm ready for spring. I'm ready to run up mountains and bike on dirt and snowless roads.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Holding Pattern

Run 6 miles

I'm in this in between segment of my training right now. It's been almost 6 weeks since the Susitna 100 so I'm completely recovered from that but I don't have any races that I'm taking all that seriously until sometime in July. I feel an urge to go out long and hard most everyday but the reality is that I need to work to increase my fitness level right now as slow as possible. I'm focusing a lot on cross training so as to not burn myself out on any one activity. For the past 3 or 4 weeks I've been going with a nice mixture of XC skiing, running, biking, and weight lifting. My plan for now is to stick with this cross training until after I get back from a vacation to Utah in early May. At that point it will be time to hit the trails and get more specific in my training for what will likely be 3 late summer foot races: Crow Pass Crossing on July 21st, Resurrection Pass 50 miler on August 4th, and the Fairbanks Equinox Marathon on September 15th.

With moderation in mind I went out for a mellow 6 mile run after work today. I felt very tired for the first half of the run but then coming home I had the wind at my back and started to feel warmed up and a bit stronger. Around mile 4 I noticed that my knee wasn't hurting me at all. For a few weeks now my ITband in my left knee has been bothering me but today I completed my run with no pain at all. I have also had some pain and swelling in my right ankle (mostly when skiing) and that was pain free today as well. It was a quite meaningless 6 miles but the fact that it came with no pain and that I felt stronger at the end of my run than at the beginning made me feel pretty good about building on today with a good workout tomorrow...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Ski 13 miles
-5 classic
-8 skate

Road Bike 25.6 miles

Today was my first road bike ride since Halloween. There was one day after Halloween in which I tried to ride my road bike but only made it 1/4 mile before falling on black ice and injuring my hip. Throughout the winter we have had several days in which i thought the sun and/or the rain would melt the ice clear from the side of the road, but today was the first day in which this actually occurred at an extent that made it safe to bust out the road bike.

There's nothing quite like that first road ride of the season. It's so quiet, light, and fast compared to riding a studded tire mountain bike. I always push myself harder and longer than I probably should on this first ride. I only did 25 miles today but I had already skied 13 miles and had not had enough to eat so by the time I finished riding I was completely depleted. I got home and began shoving food into my mouth. 45 minutes later I was replenished but felt an awful upset stomach for the next 3 hours. I hate when I do that. I'm not sure why but this seems to happen more often to me when I do a hard bike ride than a hard run. I think maybe my body is just more used to the abuse it receives from running.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Where to go From Here?

Run 8 miles

Not really sure yet how much time I'll put into this blog or exactly what it will be about, but for now the plan is to use it as a training + racing journal/forum of my slowly evolving journey toward ultra running... and perhaps eventually into endurance biking or any other activities I may decide to pursue in the future.

I moved to Alaska about a year and a half ago and since doing so have become gradually more and more interested in pushing my body to it's physical limits. In doing so I have discovered a mental satisfaction in this that, despite running competitively in high school and college, i never really noticed before.

When I moved to Alaska I had never done a run longer than 17 miles, yet for whatever reason in December of 2005 I decided to train for a 50k in February of 2006. That race was fun in a painful way (although more fun than pain) and I felt myself becoming hooked as winter melted into spring and I began training for summer races. After a great summer of learning the ropes of "mountain" running I fumbled through the fall of 2006, not certain where my new desire in racing would take me. All year I knew that I would like to run the Susitna 100 in Feb. 2007, but it wasn't until early December 2006 that I actually decided to commit to it. I sent in my entry fee one day before the Dec. 31st deadline. I ran the Susitna 100 last month and now I feel more determined than ever to further pursue endurance racing. In my mind I'm often thinking about upcoming races and events that I want to participate in. There is a lot of uncertainty in where this will all take me, but my plan is to use this blog as a means of recording my slow progression further into endurance racing and ultra running.

Follow the Leader

Seems as though everyone else in the world has a blog so I thought it was time to follow suit. Of course I still don't have a cell phone so perhaps I'm getting a little too far ahead of myself here.

Thursday, March 1, 2007