Saturday, June 1, 2013

May Progression= June Optimism

Brundage Summit Marmot- 7640'.  I visit him daily.
Nose to the grindstone lately.  Nearly every run has a speed/power component and has been 2-4+ hours. Every hill was savagely attacked.  PR's are falling much farther and easier than I thought they would. 

Going forward: A few more critical elements are still missing, but there is time to fill the gaps and the local weather and trails are cooperating.  Miles are not the concern anymore, the emphasis will be on climbing and downhill power, improving cruising speed and gaining the confidence to run 100 miles with reckless abandon. Any day I wake up and feel less than 90% will be a day off.  It will be interesting to see the peak that this winter of work has produced- all the BS circuit and core classes, pool running, physical therapy sessions, balance work, the clean diet, the obsessing over my many failures, the runs on the icy roads with driving sleet and the night runs at minus-15F temps, the 6 months of aching shins and walking on eggshells to avoid injury. To get this far, this early in the season has required more discipline than I thought I had.  

In the tradition of The Old Man, on Groundhog Day I began sewing the seeds.  Those seeds slowly grew deep roots over the months of toil through our long, cold, miserable winter.  Only in the last month could a tiny sprout be seen.  The spring sun and rains nursed the growth along and the sprout shot toward the sky.

Finally, the fruit is ready to harvest.  Time to reap what I have sewn.  

Example: Last year, after I recovered from Cascade Crest and began to prepare for Pinhoti, I ran a new PR at Brundage Mountain on a very steep 1.4 mile trail with 900' of vertical gain, topping out at 7250'.  The trails are called Growler and Zorro and are very advanced downhill mountain bike hills.  The kind people wear helmets and body armor to ride.  The footing is atrocious and the steps are rutted and sometimes the next foot placement is waist high.  I'm talking 40 degree + angle in places with loose rocks and mud.  Pure running hell heaven.  The mid-section is pretty flat for a third of a mile, which concentrates the gain into an even smaller distance.  So last year, at my peak I ran a solid 16:30 time up this thing.  I knew there would be a little wiggle room there to get it down some.  I worked it over the past few weeks because it is the only high altitude trail that was melted out- because it is southeast facing.  I struggled and failed to run the whole thing, flailing and gasping on the 2 big steep parts.  I managed a 16:08 and felt that was pretty stout.  Yesterday, I had a huge breakthrough and busted out a 14:59.  Today I did a morning speedwork session including a tempo hill run, but I wanted to head back up to Brundage.  I pushed hard on the Growler/Zorro for a mind-bending 13:13.  I'm not sure what makes the human body struggle along for so long with no signs of life, then BANG.  Crazy stuff.  The power I'm building on hills like this will hopefully allow me to move well on the steeper WS100 climbs like Squaw, Devil's Thumb, Michi Bluff, etc.  Easy ups mean lots more energy on the huge downs and rolling terrain toward the end. 

Brandi finishing off a Brundage Summit via South Lodge Lane (aka Cat Track)- 7600'

Black Bear Trail doubletrack on Brundage- 6000'

Topping off the very steep Zorro Trail to the South shoulder of Brundage- 7250'

Schwacking across Lakeview Bowl to avoid the remaining snow on the ground.  Payette lake and Long Valley below.

Crestline from Brundage Summit.  The IMTUF 100 course is coming into season quickly.
2 monster shrooms.

Idaho Bull Elk backstrap steaks, assorted steamed veggies, fresh picked morel mushrooms.  Works for me!
The warm snap a few weeks ago, coupled with recent rains have produced a bumper crop of morels this year.  It is seriously distracting to have to stop all the time to pick these things when they are growing right on the trail.
Refrigerator reminder.  The Old Man hung this up since I made it for him in 1999.  "The goal of alpine climbing can be summed up in one phrase: To make yourself as indestructible as possible.  The harder you are to kill, the longer you will last in the mountains.  Mark Twight, Extreme Alpinism.

As you can literally see from this analogy, I am metaphorically jamming truckloads of hay into the proverbial barn.  
May 2013, Garmin Report.  Plenty...especially since I took 8 days off!


  1. Niiiice. I'll be rooting for you at W$. Time to show them who is boss. I'm glad you are so well trained. My ankle is seriously sprained after Bryce, but I hope to be back at it sooner as opposed to later. I simply can't just sit around now that I'm based up here in Sun Valley. Have a great taper!

  2. Really sorry about the ankle. Hopefully, just the standard roll to the outside that may have strained some ligaments? Hopefully not the inside roll/high ankle sprain? Ice 4x daily, until the swelling is gone. 4-5 days of total rest, with some thera-band mobility work as soon as you can do it without pain. Start going for walks when you can do it without limping. When I did mine in the Grand Canyon a few years back, it was a big popping sound and it swelled huge and was purple. I went for a run 10 days later and it was fine. Hopefully, you just strained it- not torn ligaments.

    Volume taper is on. Going to follow pretty much what I did before Cascade last year.
    Week 4: 75-80 (this week)
    Week 3: 45
    Week 2: 45
    Race Week: 15+ 100 Race.

    Intensity will continue to build until June 19. Focus is on 1-2 mile hill intervals and mountain tempo runs 8-12 miles in length. Emphasis is on destroying old PR's and upping VO2 max. This is the fun part!