Hell's Canyon Run
|Post race beers with our friend Hannah and her bird dogs. This terrain is typical of the entire canyon- allegedly the deepest in the continuous 48 states.|
I went there to run hard in the sun...and I did. It felt awesome after a winter of 30 minute miles and -10F. No joke on that. The trail is over-grown with bunch grass and cacti, with a rock under almost every step. I was very pleased to find each smooth section to be pacing 5 low. But around every hairpin corner was a momentum killing techy section or another short/steep grinder. Just when you got going, there was something to slow you down. Nevermind much of the race punishes a simple stumble with a fatal plunge over a cliff into the raging and icy Snake. The thump of a military Chinook chopper could be heard prowling above the angry waters looking for a body from a rafting trip. A scary reminder to run smart. I planned to keep it reasonable until the 8 miles to go point, where the bigger hills start and continue in your face to the finish. It was great to feel strong as I pushed up the final steep hills with energy to burn, finding my way back to Pittsburg Landing in 3hrs 15 mins. My watch registered 4200' vertical gain. A perfect early season workout in such a beautiful setting. We hung out a while and chatted as our friends old and new came along to join us at the finish. Sitting on the tailgate drinking beers and telling tales of pain and joy.
|B finished strong in just over 5 hours. Photo: Yadi Spangenberg|
Ultimate Direction Jurek Grip Handheld and Essential Waist Pack
1 VESPA Ultra Concentrate
2 VFUEL Gels
SCOTT MK4 (discontinued road shoe)
On the training front, I have been doing very little running. I have kept it to no more than 2 runs per week. That said, I am in far better shape and health than I have ever been at the end of winter. Perhaps better overall shape period, as some stout PR's on training runs have fallen at low heartrates. Here is a typical training schedule that I have followed since December 1, after taking November off of exercise completely.
Running: 2 days a week with a few days between each run. 20-30 miles and around 7,000-10,000 vert total. One short and intense (5-10) miles at tempo pace or broken into intervals of differing lengths and intensities, sometimes on the treadmill, always on a steep grade. The other run is a 4 hour mountain run usually at Rapid River with no calories or water over 18-22 miles and 5,000-8,000 feet vert. The long run can include surges on the hills if I felt strong and some off-trail hiking on very steep slopes where the elk live.
Skinning/Skiing: 2-4 times per week 3,000-12,000 per session. My standard is 2 climbs at Brundage at tempo effort totalling 3,100 vert over 2.1 miles in 25-28 mins each climb. On easy days, instead of a short/easy run, I go up to the hill and keep my heartrate low and do 28-30 min climbs. A few days this winter, I did big volume climbing- going 4-7 hours at a slower pace and racking huge vert.
Cross Training: Approximately 2-3x per week, I go to the Aspen Club in McCall for my cross training. Usually one of these sessions involved a few of the things below, sometimes after the workouts above. Once a week (minimum) I wear lots of clothes and sweat a ton. Fun and gross.
- Deep Water Running (DWR): Early in the winter, I did lots of pool running with an emphasis on maximal effort for short intervals. I have phased this out, but will come back to it at any time if I need high intensity work with no pounding.
- Gym Bike: Once per week I do a session of all out 8 x 1 minute work reps at max resistance, out of the saddle, with 2 minute rest intervals. I also did recovery sessions of 30 minutes.
- Stepmill. The mill is money for racking vert. At a good clip, I get around 4,000 feet of gain in an hour. I mixed this in for some bonus vert when I didn't get to the ski hill. I usually wear a 6-10 lbs pack for this. Generally a few plates in my AK race vest.
- Treadmill. Besides running hill intervals (10-15% slope), I frequently walk on the treadmill with a 6-10 lbs pack at a 15% incline at 4-5mph. Do this for an hour and you will see it is a great workout.
- Strength/balance/mobility work. Huge emphasis on balancing things out in my hips and core this winter. Every day, usually twice. Early in the winter I did circuit classes 2-3x per week with zillions of squats, lunges, pushups, planks, etc. However, this quickly builds too much muscle, so I stop this after a month to focus on more functional and subtle moves. I like to impress the meatwad beastmen with some Jane Fondas, superstizzacked into some sick clamshells.
- Plyometrics. Jumping, leaping, bounding. No more old man ultra jogger. I used to be fast when I was 10. I want it back. Key moves are broad jumps, high box launch jumps, 1 leg high box jumps and the dreaded 1 leg hop up a big stairwell at the gym.
- Sauna. 15-50 mins before and after training.