Peak training for Bighorn 100M started this last week. From now until Bighorn I will be in a 3 week cycles with a build, peak and then recovery. With Peak training comes some significant changes. First no more Thursday tempo runs, these will be replaced with a longish 3A run with the biggest effort being 2 hours. Second, my track workouts are back and they are long repeats with 1000’s and 1200’s. This will help force my body into a peak, pushing that anaerobic portion to 4+ minutes per repeat. Third is all my weight training will be strength based and not endurance based. This means the load will increase significantly while the reps decrease to 10-12. Lastly, the back to backs on the weekends are long and hard. Hill repeats will be in the 45-60 minute per climb and the long runs will be in the 6-8 hour range with some AT work towards the end of the run. I love the specificity phase of training that goes from Feb-Apr. because it’s a lot of good quality work but not crazy. This phase is crazy with miles logging in the 70-110 range and the threshold work followed by those long gorge runs are killer. This means a ton of eating (like I can eat anymore….we will see) and lots of ice baths. If you have ever had the chance to dial in training and FEEL the peak approaching it’s a super cool high but it’s not always easy to I have only been able to truly bask in it a couple of times. The key is push hard but not over due it and drag your body down. I certainly have not mastered this process but I am always on the hunt for the peak high.
To start off my Peak training I had 3X1000 meters and 1X1200 meters on Tuesday. My 1000’s ranged from 3:52-3:54 and my 1200 was a 4:42. I was pleased with these numbers but felt like I was going to have cardiac arrest towards the final turn. I left the track and headed to my leg workout which lasted about an hour and hit all the major moves, squats, sissy squats, hamstring curl–pointed foot, hamstring curl – flexed foot, plia squats, stiff legged dead lifts and then a few one legged moves. My squats are starting off at 100 pounds for 12. My legs are always surprisingly alive after a track workout and I wasn’t sore from those workouts but my legs were worked. Wednesday is always a recovery run and Thursday’s are my new 3A run. I love these longish 3A runs and I wonder if I will miss the tempo stuff….hmmmmm probably not. :) Friday was a recovery run, yoga and upper body. I have been doing Yin Yoga now regularly and I can officially say I have a “practice”. However, the women behind me were making fun of me….hmphf! I couldn’t get my quad to stretch far enough for me to sit on my feet. They were pointing and wondering what on earth my problem could be. I think they forgot that there is a mirror directly in front of us and I was only 2 feet in front of them. I felt like my chi was being robbed! Where’s the Zen in that???? My ego was getting in the way as I begged for the Swan stretch so I could show off my hip flexibility. I had to give myself a talking to at the end so I don’t end up hurting myself in yoga…..wow.
Black Saturday was up next! 2X45 minutes at threshold up a hill, pound down then cool down. Due to our low snow levels we headed to Hood River to the Syncline trail. Steve guided the group to two different hills for repeats and both were good. With bald eagles soaring overhead we rocked those hills and it was fun! The Mikes led the charge uphill while the rest of us just chased them as best we could. They were showing off their fitness dragging us along when they just ran a 50M race. Everyone was strong and steady all day. The climbs were only about 1500 feet each so it forced us to work hard. Our general spots climb more like 2000 feet in 45 minutes making it easy to drive your heart rate to threshold due to the incline. The views were really neat in this area and I plan to go back when it’s hot…..good heat training out there. The only negative was the immense amount of poison oak, yuk!
Sunday was 6+ hours in the gorge. A group of us showed up at 7 a.m. ready to run and it promised to be a very sunny day. Our route was 27.6 miles and over 7,900 feet of ascent. We were headed to area that might still have some snow but were all curious to see just how much was lingering at the 3000 foot level. After about 2.5 hours we arrived at the first snow drift on the Franklin Ridge trail but that was just a short drift. After another 2-3 minutes we were in a sea of snow with the trail nowhere in sight. This is a section we all know like the back of our hand but it became very foreign very fast. We decided we were close to the summit and should take the snow field straight uphill and find the trail on the back side. We got to what we thought was top, fanned out and began the search. Post holing at times and watching our legs sink all the way down, dangling in the hole made for a bit of an adventure. Everyone was in good spirits but I would have turned around if I was alone. I felt so lost! Within about 15 minutes of searching we found the trail and were on our way heading down the Larch Mountain trail. This trail was so thrashed from the winter storms, covered by downed trees and branches it also looked very unfamiliar. Once we got down to about 2000 feet all was good. The trails were clear of snow and in great shape. Everyone was super strong and enjoying the day. I worked hard but had a total blast, feeling strong and simply high on life. I was anxious to get to quad buster hill, one of my favorite gorge tortures. I wanted to see if the whole 5.5 miles was clear of snow but much to my dismay it wasn’t. There was up to 5 feet in places which is shocking for this time of year. The snow only lasted about 10 minutes then it was smooth sailing all the way down to Angels Rest parking area. We made good time on the road despite the slow down from the snow and then busted up Angels Rest for our last big climb of the day. At this point we have covered 23 miles and about 6000+ feet. This last climb is a good one and we took no prisoners making it up in just over 37 minutes which might be a record for me! I was pumped to have this kind of strength after all we had done and on top of yesterday’s workout. With a final 3+ miles to go all of us were happy and ready to find the car. Our treat was a lovely 2.2 miles downhill on great single track. The final bit of the run is on technical rocky trail heading downhill but everyone was strong and appeared fresh. This was a great ending to this first week of super hard training. I am feeling good about my fitness coming into this phase and sure hope I can master the peaking process.