I had my first track workout on Tuesday. It's been a long time since I have done any Z5 work and my lungs felt the burn for sure! After a 30 minute warm up I had 5X800 meters. My goal time was 3:13 per 800. The first one was very challenging and came in at 3:20. The second one was much better making my goal time but...yikes it was hard. I had to do some serious mental talk to get myself to complete this workout. In the big scheme of things this is not a long workout but man I whined to myself a lot. I felt much better as I continued and my stride started to open up. I also felt better mentally when I made my goal time which made the battle in my head lesson. All the rest of the 800's came in between 3:11-3:15. I was happy when I was done but I was disappointed in my mental toughness. It seemed weak and kind of an out of body experience.....like having a conversation with myself in third person....wow, all that for 5X800 meters.
I had no aftermath from the track. I wasn't sore or fatigued so when Thursdays trail run came around I was ready to go. Being out in the gorge during the week feels really special. It truly is special because without awesome husbands none of us would get the opportunity. Taking over the morning duties and getting kids off to school so we can hang out on the trails is a treat.
Saturday was going to be my first official Black Saturday with hill repeats of 2X25 minutes. I was contemplating where I should go. On Thursday I scouted out Angels Rest to see if I could find an area where I could get 25 minutes of solid climbing. Since I was on my own for this workout and it was relatively short I decided to use the Angels Rest trail. I was pumped and ready to see how these repeats felt. I headed out early to beat the hiking crowd. Angels Rest is really close to Portland and draws huge crowds on a sunny day. I got there early and did my warm up on the road then headed onto the trail. I started the repeats just before the first steep climb. I stashed my stuff and took a water bottle and my headphones. Check out my new shirt...it has features. It's a tank top with over sleeves. It's lighter weight than the sleeves you see runners wearing but also covers your shoulders. The sleeves have thumb holes and the tank has a side pocket for a gel or two. Whoever came up with this was really thinking....way to go Lululemon. Okay enough fashion talk. I was strong as I headed up and had to slow myself down. I used my heart rate as a guide keeping it between 170-174. I reached my destination in what seemed like 2 minutes and began the descent. I flew down getting back to my spot in 13 minutes. I re-fueled and headed up for number 2. I still had plenty in the tank but could feel the work I had done. The goal is to make it to the previous destination in the same time. I accomplished that but my second descent was 1 minute slower. I am not sure why except I got lost in my music and wasn't focusing. I headed home feeling really satisfied. When I look back at my previous times and think about how I felt I am definitely stronger. I am certainly reaping the reward of a leaner body. Since weight to muscle ratio is a big indicator of speed and strength I must be getting some benefit there. Since I have very little natural speed I need to work all the angles. I also think my body has very recent memories of the gnarly Coyote trails. :)
When I had my call with Scott last week he said, "Become one with the Ruckle". He is talking about Ruckle Creek. Uhgggggggg.....I don't like Ruckle Creek so therefore don't use it. It's a long, steep and pretty rocky trail in the gorge. It travels 5.8 miles and takes you up to 4,500 feet to the Benson Plateau (the spooky woods......think Blair Witch Project). The Benson is the vortex of the gorge. It's easy to get lost and turned around in there unless you are super familiar with it. I haven't been on this trail for years because it's not one of my favorites but I guess it's time to get a better attitude. If that's part of the recipe for Hardrock then I will become one with it. So....Sunday Micheal, Darin and I headed to Eagle Creek where we accessed the 400 over to the Ruckle Creek trail head. I knew we would hit snow near the Benson. Those woods are dense and see very little light. The only way the snow is going to melt is warm rain which we have had little of this year. We made our way up the first portion of the steep trail. It wasn't as bad as I remembered. As we continued to climb it just got more and more beautiful. When we reached the first opening we saw a bunch of deer and it seemed like we were in the middle of the most amazing woods. I think the warm sun was making me high. We chugged along the narrow rocky trail and my opinion began to change although I was not going to verbalize any of it until we did the descent. Lots of noises came from the woods....deer, bear, cougar....who knows but there was definitely noises. Darin turned early to get home while Micheal and continued our quest for the Benson. The trail got steeper and we started crossing patches of snow. It went from patches to a sea of snow. We followed footprints and found the wilderness boundary sign. Still thinking we would find the connector trails on the Benson onto the PCT we meandered around but kept a close eye on our footprints since there were no others. It was a flat sea of snow with big trees and no markers. We gave up and headed back down. I think we were both a bit disappointed to find so much snow, no footprints and no markers. We made it to 3,900 feet. We began the descent and it was steep in sections but overall it wasn't that bad. Both of us can't believe how much our perspective has changed since out last outing on the Ruckle at least 3 years ago. I think we can easily become one with Ruckle. All the great loops we can do off that trail will be fabulous Hardrock training. We needed more time so we headed out the Eagle Creek for about 25 minutes. Wow....the people were amazing. There was a ton of folks out there but we busted out 25 minutes then turned and headed back to the car.
That was the end of a Peak week (4 week cycles). Since I am running Miwok in less than two weeks I have a cutback schedule this week. I will have some M-Pace work along with some strides to get the legs charged.