The Week of June 2-8, 2008

While the end of last week left a sour taste in my mouth, this week left me smiling. At this […]

By on June 9, 2008 | Comments

While the end of last week left a sour taste in my mouth, this week left me smiling. At this point in my training, any week with 5 days of 75+ minute runs is a good week. As a bonus, half of my runs this week were mountain runs above 7,000′. In sum, the week reassured me about my upcoming pacing assignment at Western States and the TransRockies Run in late August. Read on to see my progress this week, which included trail runs in Park City, Utah and pacing at the Squaw Peak 50.

Synopsis of Week’s Training:
As I talked about in my prior post, I was exhausted last weekend and things didn’t change going into this week. I gave in and took Monday off. However, after three down days I was primed to rip it up on Tuesday at WUS where five guys put in a solid run through Rock Creek Park in the pouring rain. Much fun was had. As usual, I contemplated not getting out of bed Wednesday morning for my run with Wardian, but as always I had a great run at a faster than normal pace. The Wednesday morning run also showed me that summer had, indeed, arrived in NoVA – I was shirtless and soaked in sweat at 6:15 in the morning. The building DC heat wave made the next four days of running in Utah all the more pleasant.

On Thursday night my plane touched down in Salt Lake City a little after 8 and I was running by 9. I took off in the dry, upper 50’s weather and headed up into City Creek Canyon. As it was getting dark, I stuck to the road. This was the first Thursday in at least a month that I wouldn’t be hitting the track, so I made sure I got a good workout in regardless. One bonus of this run is that despite working my butt off, I could barely break a sweat! :-) The only negative on the run was that my paranoia of puma concolor reared its ugly head big time. I really wish I wasn’t horribly afraid of big cats.

WSG teammate David Hunt climbing in fresh Wasatch Snow

Friday afternoon I got out onto Masonic Hill in downtown Park City for some sweet trail miles. I messed up my route a bit and ended up running two smaller circuits (Gambel Oak to Airie to Lost Prospector) rather than one larger loop. Towards the end of the first loop I thought about calling it a day, but I decided to run another quarter mile back up the trail I started on… and then I added a 5 minute climb… and then decided to run the whole loop again. This reinforces a thought I had when I ran in PC last September – I always want to run when I’m in Utah. While running trails in Utah, running is always the end in and of itself. Back east I often run to get in shape or to prepare for a race or because I should. There the running is often only a means to another end.

Dave in the aspens

At 3:45 Saturday morning my incredibly obnoxious alarm sounded and I soon found myself standing in a cold mist beside my car. By the time I pulled into the Provo Canyon parking lot where the Squaw Peak 50 starts the rain had picked up while the temperature stayed mired in the low 40’s. The race started with me still never having met the man I would pace in just under 5 hours and still not having a ride to the aid station where I would pick him up. I, Joan – Scott Mason’s pacer, Matt Hart, and Karl Meltzer hung around beneath the park’s pavilion eating Krispy Kremes, chatting, and dreaming of hot coffee. Eventually, we all hopped into Joan’s car and headed over to the aid stations from which we would all run later in the day. Though cold and wet, I had a great time hanging out with these guys as we killed time.

A dappled valley

Eventually, I joined my Wasatch Speed Goat teammate, Dave Hunt, at the mile 26.5 mile aid station. Long story short, Dave had an amazing run. He finished as the top master and fifth overall – easily topping his previous best finish of 11th in his 7 prior runnings of Squaw Peak. Dave’s a great guy and I had a wonderful time with him on the trail, as we picked off runners and made consistent progress over the muddy and snowy course. (Yes, snowy… and not all of it was remnant snow – it snowed on the runners earlier in the day and I saw at least an inch of fresh accumulation in places.) [Note: I’ll be adding pictures to this post at some point.]

Dave climbing up Bozung Hill

I had a good 24 mile run with the exception of the part above 8,500′. I started getting quiet as Dave and I climbed Bozung Hill… a steep-as-it-gets climb up a snow field that was slickened by the coating of fresh snow. At the time I was thinking with dread that I wasn’t in shape to pace for 40 miles at States. Fortunately, as I dropped below 8,500′ on the far side of Windy Pass I kept feeling better and better. That allowed me to chalk up the low spell as nothing more than the altitude.

The aptly named Windy Pass

On Sunday, I hit snooze for a full two and a half hours, which shortened my available run time in Park City. That’s fine as I was pretty sore. I headed over to the Park City Mountain Resort, traversed the Silver Spur Trail (I think), and then started the climb up the Spiro trail. I managed to climb from 6,8000′ to 8,200′ with only walk breaks at the steepest pitches. One of the great th
ings about the trails in Park City is that they were designed for mountain bikers rather than hikers like most of the trails out east. This means that the pitch tends to be much shallower and, therefore, are much easier to run up. It also means mountain bikers ride up the trails, which then allows me to catch them on the climbs, which I greatly enjoy. :-) I limited my outbound leg to 45 minutes and rolled back down the mountain to the just under half an hour. Chalk up another good quad workout.

Dave on single track through the flowers

By The Numbers:
Monday: 0. Still exhausted.
Tuesday: 12. Moderate.
Wednesday: 10.5. Moderate.
Thursday: 5.5. Hard.
Friday: 8. Hilly.
Saturday: 24.5. Difficult – pacing
Sunday: 6.5. Hilly.

Weekly Mileage: 69.0
Year-to-Date Mileage: 1069.5
Three Week Moving Average: 57.8
Year-to-Date Weekly Average: 47.0

Upcoming Training Goals:
Continue knocking out 60+ mile weeks. Get in a moderate workout on Tuesday and a hard continuous track run on Thursday. Push a “flat” and fast 20 miler over the weekend to simulate running Cal Street at Western States.

Wasatch Speed Goats Dave and Scott celebrating

More long term, the plan is to build base mileage and speed through the end of June. After that, it’s time to thrown much more hill and mountain work while continuing to work on speed and knock out the miles.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.