The end of training for Bighorn that is. Last weekend was the final peak week of training which included 2X50 minute hill repeats on Saturday and on Sunday 6+ hours of solid running with quality work on the way home. Now it's taper time!
On Thursday of last week a bunch of us went down to Woodburn for a dexa scan. A dexa scan is a very accurate way to measure body fat and bone density. Since we are gluten's for punishment and it sounded like a blast we couldn't resist Tom's offer to scan us. Olga, Gail, Micheal and I all stretched out bodies out on the machine, held very still for about 5 minutes, made bets (2 gels) on who was the closest to their guess then laughed at how fit we were but still used the word fat a lot. It was great fun and good information. The highlight of the test was Olga and Gail's bone density which was off the charts. Don't get in fight with these gals because you will leave with broken bones while they walk away untouched. :)
Saturday the group reconvened at Herman Creek for hill repeats. Ready to give it our best and last effort we charged up the hill. Both Micheal and I were in route to the second clearing that day and hoping for a snow free ride. We encountered a tiny bit on the last turn but not enough to slow either of us down. My fastest time to the second clearing was 49:35 two years ago but on that same day I was 3 minutes slower on my second. On this day I wanted to make it in 50 minutes not once but twice. We saw Olga busting down the hill dressed in her Black Saturday gear as we made are first ascent. She was all smiles since she had already been to the top and it was before 8 a.m.! My day was going to be a good one and I knew this because I had a lot of spring and was stoked. I was also relentless knowing this would be my last trip out here and I wanted to leave on a high note. I made it just a few feet shy of the second clearing in 50 minutes on the first one. Both Micheal and I busted buns down the hill and I set a record for me in 26:15. This left my legs opened up and full of fire for number 2. I pushed a little harder the second time and screamed in elation as I crested the second clearing in just around 50 minutes. This was a perfect way to end hill repeats before Bighorn, strong and fast.
Sunday we decided to head for the Wilson River trail in the Oregon Coast Range. This trail is hilly but not like the gorge and we felt it would be best to get the legs turning since we had done so much climbing and descending in the last few weeks. On the Wilson Trail we planned on running 30+ miles and climbing only 5000 feet instead of the 9000 we would get in the gorge. It was cold to start requiring me to wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt. It was sort of dreary and misty which left all of us yawning and a little low. We began our journey with Ultra tagging along. This would be a very long run for her this year but since there was an abundance of water I felt she would be fine. We chatted and got warmed up moving really well. I had splits for this trail since I have run it a few times which provided a good gauge of my fitness. The sun finally started to warm the air into the 40's....thank goodness. I was ditching my gloves and long sleeve pretty quick on the first big roller. We booked along and when we arrived at our turn we decided to go a bit farther which would make the run a perfect 50K or 31.1 miles! On the way back it was time to really work and when we reached Smith Bridge I took the lead and forced myself to run the entire climb back up. It was super hard but I really want to push myself into that mental place that's screams, "power hike" but......I refused to listen as my legs filled with blood and my calves screamed. The total climb took me 25 minutes running and what I found was exactly what I was looking for. I found that by forcing myself to push it was really only gruelling for about 15 minutes. After that 15 minutes of pain I found a body was re-charged and full of energy which gave me a new high. We crested the hill them bombed down the bottom beating my best time by over 10 minutes in 5.5. miles of trail! One of our well known ultra friends said that section couldn't be done by any of us faster than 1:06 but we busted the 56 minute mark. That was sweet leading us into the final stretch of this 6 hour run. All of us were on fire running everything in sight. This is a bookmark event. This is just the type of thing I can use next Friday. My lesson: When your tired and sluggish, FORCE yourself to drive through the mental and physical low gear and if you can do if for 15 minutes you might just get a new unleashed energy. We finished our 50K run about 20 minutes faster than I have ever run it before leaving me feeling really ready for Bighorn. Ultra was dragging the last 5 miles but she is a trooper. When we got home she just crashed and even on Monday she slept all day.
Monday began the taper and serious race prep. As you might have quessed I am a super detailed race planner so I have all my stuff going. Since I have no idea what this course and terrain will be like I am making my plans based on a lot of advice and data from friends. THANK YOU! I am finally getting excited about the race and can't wait to get going. I have a feeling it's going to be great adventure.
After last weeks final push I bounced back nicely feeling really good. I had some recovery running and then yesterday a tempo run. I easily ran my tempo portion under 7:05's with my heart rate in high 3B. I pushed it on a couple of the miles getting under 6:50 but felt it would be best to save that. Weight training stays the same this week, 3 upper body workouts, 2 legs days and one ab workout. Next week there will be NO lifting. This Saturday I have a 2-2.5 hour run with 2 bouts of threshold work. After that is just quick runs with some 10 second stride outs to stay springy. :)