Thursday, May 31, 2007
Slow but Stubborn
Run 12 miles
Bike 3 miles (commute)
Run 7 miles
Ran a speed workout on the high school track today. 20 x 400. I do not have much speed right now but it was nice to turn the legs over a bit and I stayed pretty strong throughout the workout. I ran each lap between 1:11 and 1:26 with most of them coming in between 1:15 and 1:20. I used to do workouts like this in high school, except back then I would run each interval between 1:05 and 1:10. I also used to be able to break 4:30 in the mile in high school. I doubt I could run a 5:00 mile right now. Then again when I was in high school I would have died if I tried running more than 15 miles.
The best thing about my workout today was that although just running circles on a track for 90 minutes at least it was on a track that is surrounded by nicer scenery than any other track I've ever run on.
By the way, I was having trouble for awhile publishing pictures so that they would enlarge when clicked on, but I fixed that problem and you should be able to get a large view when you click on any photos that I publish from now on.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Slippery When Wet
Run 10 miles
Got in a nice workout in the rain after work. It was one of those days in which water was coming at me from every direction. I was running through creeks, slipping in mud, eventually up into some deep snow, and all the while rain was falling from above. At one point I slipped and fell face first into a slop of mud and grass. By the time I got home I was pretty much wet through to the bone and it felt great. It's strange how some days I get so annoyed by how wet it is here in Juneau and then I have days like today in which I can't get enough of it.
Monday, May 28, 2007
24 Hour Decision
Run 9 miles
Regained my ambition today... although it took me until 2:30 to get out the door even though I had nothing else I needed to do. I'm actually anxious to get back to work tomorrow. When I'm busy all day I don't have any time to sit around feeling lazy. Just wish I could find the perfect balance between being too busy and too idle, because lately it just seems to be one or the other without much in between.
I know that I'm going to be doing a 24 hour mountain bike race on June 23rd but I'm having a hard time deciding which one to do. It would figure that the only two 24 hour races within 2,000 miles of Juneau fall on the same day. There is the 24 Hours of Kincaid in Anchorage and the 24 Hours of Light in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Whitehorse is a lot closer to here but the travel time to Anchorage would be faster because I would be flying to Anchorage and ferrying/driving to Whitehorse. The overall costs would be about the same, maybe $75 cheaper for Whitehorse. I feel like I would rather go to the Whitehorse race but I'm just not too excited about the ferry schedule after the race. The ferry is about a 2.5 hour drive from the race and the last boat heading to Juneau that day leaves at 4:00 pm. If I miss that sailing there isn't another one until over 24 hours later. Am I really going to be able to finish a 24 hour race at noon and drive 2.5 hours to Skagway by 3:00 (the alaska ferry is like flights - they want you to be there one hour ahead of time)? I know the math gives me 30 minutes to spare but who wants to finish a 24 hour race and crawl instantly into a car and drive for 2.5 hours? Will that even be possible? If I don't make it what the hell would I do in Skagway for 25 hours? Not to mention that I'm supposed to work on that Monday. Anyway, these questions aren't really important to anyone but me, but I was hoping maybe some readers who have actually done a 24 hour race could shed some light on whether it would be logical to plan on a race in which I will need to drive 2.5 hours within the first 3 hours after the race?
Sunday, May 27, 2007
One of Those Days
Planned on riding for 5 or 6 hours today. Instead rode for just over an hour. It was just one of those days in which I couldn't find any motivation. It didn't help that it was 47 degrees with a steady rain falling all day. I didn't want to do another long ride on my road bike, but my mountain bike is still in shipment from Utah (kind of beginning to worry about it now). I decided to borrow Jill's mountain bike because she wasn't planning on riding at all today. My plan was to ride each of the 5 or 6 rideable trails here in Juneau. With the sections of road to get to each trail this would wind up being about 50 or 60 miles. I started with the closest trail but began having issues with Jill's bike before I even made it to the trailhead. Then 2 miles up the trail I was starting to get cold and I just gave up mentally. Usually I can push through these types of days but today I just didn't have it in me. It was all downhill back home and I was actually shivering by the time I got back. It turned out to be a good thing that I came back when I did. Jill's bike was having multiple problems by the time I was done. Spent a good part of the afternoon replacing her middle chainring, cleaning out her rear hub, replacing her rear shift cable, and adjusting both brakes and derailleurs. I don't think any of these things would have made it through a 50 or 60 mile ride, at least not without further damage to other parts.
I easily could have headed back out on my road bike or for a run but I just felt like it wasn't meant to be today. Going to bed now just hoping to feel better tomorrow.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Cruise ship season is in full force now in Juneau. On a typical day there are 3 or 4 of these mammoth vessels docked up along the downtown waterfront. With names like Coral Princess, Norwegian Sun, and Zaandam they tower beside the city with often times 1/3 the number of people aboard as live in the entire city. These ships come and go every several hours but it seems like there's always at least 2 of them here. When one leaves another arrives often within minutes.
Normal weather has returned to Juneau. In other words it's raining, windy, and 50 degrees. This after more than a week of calm, warm, sunny weather.
When the cruise ships are docked up they don't shut down their engines as one might think. Just because they aren't moving doesn't mean that they don't need to power the thousands of cabins, hundreds of hallways, dozens of pools and hot tubs, and who knows how many restaurants, clubs, casinos, movie theaters, etc.
Before I moved to Alaska I lived in Salt Lake City for over 5 years. Salt Lake City often has very dirty air. Especially when an inversion sets in and doesn't let any pollutants leave the valley for several days at a time. Often at these times you could get up into the Wasatch Mountains with nothing but bright sunny skies above and look down at an impressive "cloud" of crud trapped in the valley below.
As these cruise ships sit in port bluish gray smoke constantly spews up into the mountains around town. When the weather is calm like it has been so much lately this smoke just gathers against the mountains and builds thicker and thicker throughout the day. After several days without much wind the whole area becomes washed over with cruise ship exhaust. This is the way things were by yesterday afternoon. Looking across the channel from our apartment you could see layers of this smoke drifting around above town.
The winds came back today though and the air has cleared out mostly. I typically have no tolerance for wind, but it was very welcome today. I'm also not typically as bothered by smog as some people. In Salt Lake it would get really bad sometimes, but I felt as though it was just part of life in the city and there really wasn't any way around it. Here in Juneau though it's much more frustrating to me because the pollution is not a result of hundreds of thousands of different contributors, but rather 3 or 4 boats that dock up for half a day and then head on their way, leaving a nice "cloud" of crud behind that doesn't seem to have time to clear out before the next boat pulls in and begins adding to the filth.
Totals for the week: Run 74 miles; bike 49 miles in 14.5 hours.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Bike 3 miles (commute)
Run 8 miles
I was hoping to put in a long run today on the Montana Creek Trail. In two weeks there's supposed to be a 14 mile race on this trail so I thought it'd be nice to get out on the entire trail to check it out. I only made it one mile though before the snow was too deep and annoying to continue. I have a feeling that race is not going to happen.
After turning back on that trail I decided to put in a long run by running several short trails that are all in that same area. I hit the Tolch Rock Trail, West Glacier Trail, Dredge Lake Trail, East Glacier Trail, Moraine Ecology Trail, Dredge Lake Trail again, and then a couple miles of road back to my car at the Montana Creek Trailhead. In all it took me a little over 4 hours. I felt ok. I felt very weak on the hills but other than West Glacier Trail and East Glacier Trail this was a very flat run.
Today was my first of 4 days in a row off work. I'm going to do a fairly long bike ride on Sunday (hopefully on my mountain bike if it arrives - it's still being shipped back from Utah), but tomorrow and Monday will both be mellow recovery days in which I'm going to try to spend as little time as possible on my feet. I've noticed that some of my recovery days haven't given me as much recovery as I need. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I spend all of my time at work on my feet. It'll be nice this weekend to spend most of my time that I'm not running or biking sitting on my couch catching up on the last several weeks of New Yorker articles that I've fallen behind on. I think some chips + salsa, cookies, and Dr. Pepper will probably be involved as well... and likely a few bottles of beer.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Feelin' The Heat
Run 10 miles
It was hot today! The hottest day since we moved to Juneau last August. Our thermometer recorded a high of 70 for the day! It felt hotter.
I was going to go to the high school track for a speed workout today, but I found out this morning that the high school track is not at the high school. It's at the middle school which is about 15 miles away. I thought about riding my bike there but I just didn't have the time for that. I could have driven there but it just seemed pointless to burn a gallon of gas and 45 minutes of time so I could run around in circles instead of just running a speed workout from home. The only thing that changed was that my workout was based on time rather than distance. I was planning to run a 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1600, 1000, 800, 600, 400, 200 with a 400 recovery between each. Instead of doing these exact distances I estimated how long I thought it would take me to run these distances and pushed hard for that amount of time with 2:00 recovery between each one. Not quite as precise as running it on the track and tracking my splits, but why would I really care if I was running a 2:35 800 or a 2:45 800? The important thing is that I'm getting some speed work in. Overall I felt pretty good. I definitely was quite tired out by the last few intervals but this was pretty much my first legitimate speed workout in over a year. Next week for a speed workout I am going to bike out to the track on a day when I have more time and do 20 x 400 with 400 recovery between each one. I'm actually a bit curious to see what kind of 400 times I'll be running.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Run 8 miles
Easy recovery day. Quick bike ride before work. Run at about 9 pm. Late night runs in the spring or summer in Alaska are the best. It doesn't get dark now until about 10:00 and it's always so quiet when I get out for a late run. The wind has calmed and most people are at home watching TV or getting ready for bed. A month from now it won't get dark until midnight, and even then it won't be completely dark. Can't wait until my first midnight run of the season. It's just around the corner now.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Run 8 miles
Got out for a great hill workout today after work. There still aren't many places here where you can gain much elevation and not get to snow pack. I got a tip from Jill the other day though that the Mt. Roberts trail was mostly clear of snow. This is a 1500 ft. climb in 2 miles. Not a huge amount of elevation but enough to know you're climbing and perfect for my first serious hill run since last fall. I ran 2 laps up and down for a total of 8 miles. 23:30 for the first uphill portion and 22:10 for the second one. Felt much stronger than I expected. I also felt really good running downhill. I think all of the biking that I've been doing has really helped my legs handle the impact of hard downhill running.
I thought a lot while running today about how much I will miss running in the Alaska Mountain Running Grand Prix races this summer. Last year I ran 5 of the 6 races and was lucky enough to lead the overall points standings at the end of the season. I didn't actually win any of the races but I was very consistent (5th, 9th, 5th, 2nd, and 2nd were my finishes) and was able to earn a few more points than several other stronger mountain runners who either ran fewer races or had one or two bad races that hurt their points totals. I'd love to run this series again this season. I feel like I'm much stronger than I was a year ago and I think I learned enough about mountain running last summer that I could stay with these stronger runners that I just couldn't really keep up with last year. The problem is that I now live in Juneau and it would cost me about $400 to travel to each of these races. I'm planning to run one of them (Crow Pass Crossing), but I just can't afford to fly to Anchorage and rent a car to go climb up a mountain for 45 minutes. Bummer. Maybe next year.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Run 7 miles
Nice mellow recovery ride and run today. Jill's been able to ride her bike more and more the past couple weeks so we went out for our first ride together since sometime last fall. It was a short ride, but it was nice to have some company while riding. Other than the White Rim ride with Dave and Pete I can't remember the last time I did a ride or run where I wasn't alone.
Ran for an hour on the very technical Dupont Trail. I'm going to hurt myself running on this trail. It's so damn technical - it's just a matter of time before I take a bad fall. But it's such a fun run. I just can't keep away from it.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
6 Hour Century... Almost
A 6 hour century ride isn't really very fast as far as most cyclists are concerned but for me this was easily the fastest of the now 3 century rides I've ever done (2 in the past 2 weeks). The only catch to today's ride was that I only ended up at 99.7 miles and my time wasn't actually 6 hours, but 6:12 to be exact. I thought about riding around the block once when I got home but decided that it was easier (and less neurotic) to just round 99.7 up to 100.
All in all I felt really good on this ride. The weather was perfect and I maintained decent leg strength all the way to the finish even though I had a 30-40 mile stretch in the middle of the ride in which I pushed at 17-18 mph. I was definitely a bit slower than this for the last 25 miles, but I still felt strong and felt as though I could have continued to push a harder pace, but I saw no reason to overwork my body.
Now I'm just sitting around waiting for info. to come through on everyone out there racing today. It appears as though Dave Harris may have set a new record on The Grand Loop Ride!!! Can't wait to hear more about that. And Mallie completed her 12 hour ride early this morning, covering 145 miles despite a knee that has been messed up for a few months. Very impressive. Gosh, I can't believe how much a geek I've become about following endurance events on the Internet... and to think that just a few months ago I would pick on Jill for her obsession with this.
Totals for the week: Run 59 miles; Bike 141 miles; 18 hours.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Coming Around Slowly
Run 9 miles
Nice mellow recovery run after work today. Got out and enjoyed a beautiful day on the Perseverance Trail. Last two miles on snow. I keep thinking that I'm doing my last run on snow and then almost everyday I seem to find sections of trails that are still snowed in. I'm sure I'll start to miss the snow a couple days after it's gone but for now I just wish there was somewhere to get out for more than 3 or 4 miles without running into snow pack.
Planning to head out for a long bike ride tomorrow. The forecast is for more sun and temps near 60! Should be a great day for a ride.
My training plan for at least the next 4 weeks will consist of 8 day cycles in which I have 4 hard days and 4 recovery day. The hard days will be one each of: Speed Run, Distance Run, Hill Run, and Distance Bike. The recovery days will be runs of 7-10 miles or bike rides of 20-40 miles - or some combination of the two not generally exceeding 2.5 hours. There's not really any method to this workout plan, just something I thought up while running today. Would love to hear people's opinions on this plan. I'm sure this plan has flaws so I'd appreciate any advice that might make it more effective.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Gettin' Dizzy On The East Glacier Trail
Most of the long trails in Juneau are still covered in snow. I hate doing long runs on roads though so I decided to hit the East Glacier Trail today and just run the 3 mile loop over and over until I was satisfied. I was also able to find a spur trail that added one mile each way to my loop so I only ended up doing 5 laps. It got a little boring by the end but still better than running on the road.
I felt pretty good on this run. It took about 5 miles to really get loosened up but then I really enjoyed getting in my first 20+ miler since the Susitna 100. I'm a bit tired out tonight as this run had about 3000 feet of climbing (600 per lap) and was quite technical with lots of rocks and roots, as well as a little snow leftover from the snowiest winter in Juneau's recorded history.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Big Weekend of Races
There are about ten endurance nut bloggers that I check in on pretty much every day. It's fun to read about others who are just as crazy (or more crazy in many cases) about biking or running as I am. As I was biking to work today I realized that almost all of these "nuts" are competing in endurance events this weekend!
The most popular event of the weekend is the 142 mile Kokopelli Trail Mountain Bike Race. Blogger "friends" competing in this event are: Dave Nice, Dave Byers, Chris Plesko, and maybe Pete Basinger.
Dave Harris started a Solo Time Trial of the Grand Loop route today!! This is a 360 mile unsupported Mountain Bike ride that he will likely finish sometime on Saturday or Sunday! From what I hear there aren't really any words I can use to describe just how diffucult of an event this is. Can't wait to read how it goes for Dave.
Karl Meltzer is going to be out in Viginia running in the Massannutten 100.
Danielle Musto will be riding in the 12 Hours of Tsali.
Mallie will be riding/testing her knee in the 12 Hours for Life.
About the only one of my regular reads who is not competing this weekend is Wynn Davis, but then again he ran a 50 miler last week and is going to be running a 100km in 2 weeks.
Anyhow, just wanted to say good luck to all this weekend. Can't wait to read about it all on Monday morning. As for me I'll be up here in Alaska thinking about how nice it would be if there were more endurance events up here. I'm going to try to get out for a 20-25 mile run tomorrow and then a 75-100 mile bike ride on Saturday but I sure do wish I was joining you all in competition this weekend.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Looking For a Tempo
Run 10 miles
Run 7 miles (hilly and snowy)
Bike 3 miles (commute)
Got in a mellow bike ride today before work and then tried to push myself into a comfortable tempo run after work. I ran the first 5 miles pretty easy (37:00) and then the last 5 I tried to push out a comfortably hard pace to see how that would feel. It never felt just right but I was able to bust that out in 30:00. I still have a lot of work before I feel "fast" but I was pleased that I was able to pretty comfortably maintain 6:00 mile pace for 5 miles. It was weird though, it didn't really feel all that hard but I also didn't really feel like I could go much faster. I guess I should expect little speed right now since everything I have done for so long has been at such a slow pace.
The cruise ships have returned to Juneau for the summer. I guess they've been back for over a week now, but since I was gone to Utah until Sunday night I had not been in downtown yet with a ship in port. Today though I ran right through that area while 4 boats were docked up. What a mess. When people get off these ships it's like they have no ability to function in a normal manner because everything has been so meticulously provided for them for several days on the boat. Running through these swarms of people I felt like I was running through a crowd of robots that were programed to move in the most unexpected ways. People standing in middle of the road. People walking 5 wide thus taking up the entire sidewalk. I even had one guy who mysteriously took a hard step to his left just as I was about to pass him on his left. I had to jump to my left to avoid a collision and I don't think he even noticed. Note to self: Do not run through downtown again until September.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Utah Picture Book
Friday, May 4th: Run 7 miles, Hike 5 miles
Jill hiking up to the hot springs. So green, and no snow. clearly not in Alaska anymore.
Later that night we met up in Green River with Dave Nice who had come out from Denver, as well as several old friends from Utah. In all our group was up to 9. We opted for a couple motel rooms because the weather was cool and damp, but for some reason I just couldn't sleep. Think I got about 3 hours of sleep that night. I guess I was just too excited to be on vacation.
Saturday, May 5th: Mt. Bike 14 miles
The plan was to hike a slot canyon this day but the forecast was way too sketchy for that. Instead we headed down toward Moab and Jill, Bryan, Dave, and I got in a nice mellow ride on the Sovereign Trail. It was really strange at first to be riding on rock and dirt again. It took me a little while to adjust to the amount of traction you can get on Utah slickrock, but once I regained my confidence in this I felt like I never missed a beat from all of the riding of this type that I used to do when I lived in Utah:
Dave and his rigid fixie setup. Amazing watching the ease with which he rides very technical terrain on this bike.
It wasn't the greatest weather ever but the rain held off and it was perfect for biking
Dave negotiates one of many short drops on the Sovereign Singletrack Trail
Later that night the temperature dropped down near freezing. Here's Dave and Jill getting a fire going that kept us warm in the evening:
Sunday, May 6th: Mt. Bike 104 miles
On Sunday, Jill, Dave, Bryan, and I got up before sunrise to meet up with Pete Basinger at the White Rim trailhead. Just as planned Pete was more or less ready to ride when we met him and we were off by 6:15. Bryan and Jill only rode the first 10 miles (bryan was coming off sickness and Jill's knee is still too sore to think about doing a 100 mile ride) then Pete, Dave, and I continued on along one of the most scenic routes you could ever ride:
Dave (above) and Pete (below) loosening up (or waking up) on the short paved stretch that begins the White Rim ride.
Dropping down off of the mesa and onto the White Rim.
Enjoying one of many short breaks along the ride
Again, perfect weather for riding: overcast and in the upper 50's.
These pictures don't come close to capturing the real beauty
Pete making his way up Murphy's Hogback
More great scenery
This ride turned out to be a lot easier for me than I expected. I had never rode more than 50 miles on a mountain bike in one day so I really didn't know how I would handle going over 100. We really took our time though and it was so enjoyable just to be out there in the desert that I never even felt like I pushed myself too much at all. It was great to ride with such experienced endurance riders as Dave and Pete. We had some great conversations and I probably learned more tidbits about endurance cycling in 13 hours than I had learned in my entire life up to that point. Thanks guys. Hope to ride with you again soon.
Monday-Wednesday, May 7-9: Backpack/Hike 23 miles
Sunday night Pete and Dave made their way back to Colorado and I hooked back up with Jill, Jen, Mike, Monika, Paul, and Chris and we headed south to Natural Bridges National Monument to begin a 3 day backpacking trip in White Canyon. We met up with Anna, Nate, Dane, and Jess Monday morning and hiked down canyon for 3 days:
Mike, Jen, and Paul
Mike's dog Keira enjoying a swim. I'm not much of a dog person but Keira was the most mellow dog I have ever been around. Most of the time I didn't even know she was there. That's my kind of dog.
Lots of great swimming holes.
Lots of vegetation for the desert
Yes, these really are bear tracks! I've never seen bear tracks in the Utah desert. These were very fresh too.
Jill taking a dip
Monika checking out a side canyon
Jill, Paul, Monika, and Mike
Log left behind after a flood
Most of the group taking a little break
Cactus in full bloom
Making our way slowly down canyon
Anna in Fry Canyon Narrows
Thursday and Friday, May 10+11: Raft ~20 miles
We headed back up to Moab to start a Westwater Canyon rafting trip on Thursday morning. Jill, Anna, and Nate took off and our friend Leigh drove down from Salt Lake to meet the rest of us for 2 days of warm sun, some exciting whitewater, and lots of partying:
Dane, Jess, Mike, Chris, Leigh, and Jen getting ready for dinner on the river
Monika and Leigh having a little too much fun?
River camp just after sunrise
Paul, Jess, Dane, and Monika relaxing just after running the rapids
Leigh, Mike, Chris, and Jen
Got in an hour long ride on the Sovereign trail Saturday morning before heading back up to Salt Lake for a flight on Sunday morning.
Sunday, May 13th: Run 11 miles
Nice 90 minute trail run before hopping on the plane back to Juneau
Friday, May 4, 2007
Signing Off For Real
Lift 4 lifts
-3 sets of 12 reps
Hike 5 miles
Ok, I'm off to the desert and away from this damn computer for real now. The last 24 hours has been so incredibly hectic. I am spending the next 10 days bumming around southern Utah and will be meeting up with, at last count, 15 different people at various points throughout the week.
The good thing about the past 24 hours though was that I was able to squeeze in a couple of nice runs and felt pretty good on both of them. My back has healed up 99% and I am beginning to feel that I might be in better shape now than I thought I was. It's amazing how a couple recovery days will do that.
This Sunday I'll be riding the White Rim Trail with Dave and Pete... and maybe Jill for a bit of it. Should be a great group and certainly a great ride. I just hope I actually can ride 103 miles on my mt. bike. This will be the longest off road ride I have ever done. Suppose I should find out though since I'm planning to do a 24 hour Mt. bike race in 6 weeks.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Run 14 miles
I'm off to the Utah desert first thing in the morning. Will try to post some pictures and stories next week. Going to get in some running, biking, backpacking, and rafting. Can't wait.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
South to the Future
Run 10 miles
Lift 12 lifts
-3 sets of 12 reps.
Even with the day off yesterday I still felt really tired out this morning. I ran 5 miles before work though and did feel a little better by the end of that run. After work I decided I wanted to try to reintroduce my body to a little bit of speed/tempo running. After a mile warm up I ran a 6:00 mile followed by an 8:00 recovery mile and then a 5:40 mile and then a short cool down. Nothing too long or fast but just a nice chance to see what it's like to go fast again for a bit. This is the first time I have pushed any speed through my legs in over 2 months. My body responded pretty well. the 5:40 mile actually felt a lot better than the 6:00 mile: I think I just wasn't really all that warmed up until after the first interval. Got in some good lifting after the run and I feel a lot better tonight than I did when I got up this morning. My back is still a bit sore today but I'm hoping my upcoming vacation will help with that.
I leave tomorrow for 11 days in Utah. I'm really looking forward to some sun and warmth... kind of too bad that the forecast is for cold, windy, rain for the next 4 or 5 days down there. bummer. and it's supposed to be sunny for at least a day or two here in Juneau. The thing is that a cold rainy day in Utah would be considered a warm dry day here in Juneau so I'm guessing even the storms that are moving through the desert in the next several days are going to seem like pleasant weather to me.