Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Smith Weekend!

We had an absolute blast and a kick butt training weekend in Central Oregon. Friday we loaded the family and the trailer and headed over the mountain after a quick detour to pick up Steve. I had already been exchanging emails with Jeff (Bronco Billy) for over a week. He was lining us up with some great training in his backyard at Smith Rocks. He gave us a 3 page detail route description with every nook and cranny lined out so we could find out way. It was incredibly detailed and we wondered how anyone could remember every little turn and landmark. After an very uneventful 2 hour drive we arrived at Crooked River Ranch which would be our camping headquarters. Micheal and his family arrived about 5 minutes after we did. The Swanson's were coming on Saturday afternoon. We got our campsite all set up and and prepared ourselves for Saturday's hill repeats up Grey Butte.

We arrived at Skull Hollow camp area for Black Saturday at 7:45 for our 8 a.m. meeting with Jeff! When we parked we noticed Sean's car but no Sean....he was already out running. Jeff and Rod showed up right at 8 a.m. and guided us to the trail head and with very little warm up we were off for out 2000 foot climb to the top of Grey Butte. Within about 10 minutes those fast guys were way ahead of us but we plowed forward climbing the steep grade as hard as we could. This climb was more gentle at the beginning than our general spots here in Portland but it got steeper in the end forcing us to do some power hiking at times. The surface was an old road covered with rocks which is good training for Bighorn. The weather was slightly overcast so the views would not be spectacular but it was plenty warm enough. I arrived at the top in 47 minutes and felt pretty good about that time and effort. We took a couple of pictures then blasted downhill back to the car. We ran this downhill fast and since it was steep at the top half it made for some great quad smashing. When we got back to the car Sean, Rod and Jeff had already headed out again but took another steeper trail up to the summit. We stayed on the same route and worked together dragging ourselves up the second time. For me this was a tough repeat because I over did my tempo workout on prior Thursday and it left my hikers fatigued. I knew I would pay for those sub 7 minute paces but wouldn't change it if I could. I had to walk more on the second repeat but was able to get to the summit in only 1.5 minutes behind my prior climb. Just as we were about to hit the top Jeff and Rod came blazing by us heading downhill and back to the car. I ran down well but I would have to say it wasn't a speed attempt. My legs were not turning as fast as they did on the first descent but it was still a good clip. Jeff and Rod had once again made it down, turned around and headed back up for another but chose to only go half way. They were moving! Once finished we soaked our feet in the cattle troughs, chatted, exchanged stories and headed out for lunch. Our families came into Terreboone and Jeff and his family met us at The Depot which is cute pub. Jeff had created a amazing map of our Sunday route with all his markers embedded on it. It is a prize possession for sure. We studied the map over lunch....well mostly Steve studied the map. :) We planned to start our 28 mile run with 7100 feet of climbing at 7:30 a.m. and Jeff and Krissy were starting at 10:00 a.m. As we talked the idea of catching us lit up Jeff like a Christmas tree. We talked about how long we thought we could do the run and he knows how long it takes him.......kind of like name that tune.....I can name it in 2 notes....remember??? We added time for route finding since we had no clue where we were going and he thought he would be able to catch us. He had to adjust his starting time to 9:30 so he called Krissy right then and there and the chase game was on! I didn't feel the least bit deflated needing a 2 hour head start from these talented runners. :)

Sunday came fast and I was like a drill sergent with the group. We had to drop Trisha and Darin's car off at Smith Rocks before we started because they were ending their run there. By the time we arrived at our starting point we were 5 minutes late! The weather was less than nice but warm. The sky's were covered with clouds which meant we would have zero views and no real heat....darn. We left with full packs including 60 oz of water each. This was heavy and it took about 3 miles for my body to adapt to the additional weight. Since I generally like to run lite I felt the heavy pack but I was surprised at how fast my body adapted and I just simply forgot about it. We felt we needed at least 60oz to get us from Skull Hollow camp ground to Smith Rocks where we could re-fuel. In hindsight with the cooler weather I only needed 40 oz but if it had been hot I would have been running dry for sure on 60 oz. We forget how much water we have here in our Gorge. It is never an issue and with a filter you can easily run with one water bottle most all year long......not here! There is NO water except the springs and cow troughs which we were told to stay far away from even with a filter. Our first summit was Grey Butte again but up the other side which was much steeper. We were socked in at the top with heavy mist and couldn't even see the towers until we were right on top of them. The trail was a rocky 2 track all the way to the summit. After the summit it was downhill all the way to Coles trail where we took that through Cougar Canyon (as Jeff calls it....there is a dead cow from cougar kill). Here we encountered amazing mud for about 1/2 mile. It was so caked on our feet we could barely move and the mud would not come off. We were all laughing our heads off at the platform running shoes and hoped it would end soon. Steve continue to lead us perfectly through this wilderness and maze of trails/roads/cow paths. With no landmarks in view because of the low lying clouds it was amazing how he knew exactly where to go. After Cougar Canyon we caught a gravel road up to Burma Saddle. All of us should have run this road but it was tough and I had a hard time turning my legs fast enough so it made sense to just run/walk/power hike my way to to the top. At the saddle we were on the outskirts of Smith Rocks and could see the parking area but we had to go all the way back down to the river on the back side and climb out way up to Monkey Face. We took a steep trail down hill and when I say steep I mean steep! We slid and scooted our way down until we got on a more reasonable grade which wound us down to the river. After that descent it was back up but now we were in Smith Rocks climbing our way up and over Monkey Face...the well know wall rock climbers like to tackle. This trail switchbacked up the hill and the rock formations were amazing. It was like we were suddenly transported into the Grand Canyon. Once at the top it was a series of stair steps most of the way down into the parking lot. Tons of tourists were heading up the trail as we were coming down. We re-fueled at Trisha and Darin's car and were off for the last section home but were wondering how long it would be before we felt the heat of Jeff and Krissy. We took the river trail around the park to another dirt road that climbed back to Burma Saddle but on the other side. It was neat to feel a sense of confidence as to where we were. Knowing the general direction we were heading and where we had been was a cool feeling. After we arrived at Burma again we took a side trail up hill leading us to The Scar. The Scar is a very steep but short climb to the top of Eagles Roost. This climb is talked about among the Central Oregon runners because on two people have ever been able to run it. It's rocky and very steep! Of course we not going skip it and we actually did a good job climbing it. I felt super strong on it but I think it might have something to do with my low center of gravity. :) We hoofed up it and headed over to summit for the view but it was socked in and cold up there. We took a picture and headed off in hurry knowing Krissy and Jeff had to be getting close. With our route finding, pictures, making arrows and not really busting pace it was just a matter of time before they got us. As we descended we came to an intersection that was not outlined on our description and we took a wrong turn. Steve quickly stopped, thought for about a minute and said, "We are going the wrong way". He got no arguments from Micheal and I since we had no idea where we were. We got ourselves corrected and were on way back to Grey Butte via a ridge trail. This was some awesome running with a very slight downhill grade we boogied to the base of our last climb. Jeff told us this route had two options. 1. The Big Balls option. OR 2. No balls option. The Big Balls option meant we needed to summit Grey Butte one more time and the No Balls option was to just go straight back to the car. Of course we were NOT going to do the small balls option so we ditched our packs, took one water bottle and headed up. We climbed this well and kept a good pace knowing we were coming to end of the run and there was no sign of Jeff and Krissy. We got the summit and coming up the other side was Curt and Barb Ringstad. Wow, what a coincidence! We chatted for a minute then we all headed down hill. After about 1 minute we see Jeff and Krissy coming up! They were moving and before we knew it they summited and were busting past us but Steve gave them a chase. It only lasted for about a minute then they were gone. We finished the last 2 miles and came into Skull Hollow campground feeling very satisfied. It was truly an awesome run with tons of good climbing and running on varied terrain. The landscape was really neat and I am sure the views are awesome on a clear day. We will be back for more!

Back at camp it was never dull as the kids ran around, biked, swam and collected enough tumbleweeds to fill a dump truck. Alex leashed a big tumbleweed to his bike and drug it around the campground....why????.....I have no idea. Bill and Steve played golf but really were interested in the beer delivery but kept getting disappointed when the lady passed them by. On Monday Darin hooked up with Jeff and Krissy for another run while Bill and Steve did a short run in Smith Rocks. The kids took all their tumbleweeds and threw them off the ridge into the crooked river. When the kids got tired of carrying their tumbleweeds all they way to the look out they leashed them up to the dogs and had them drag them over to the dump sight. Very ingenious little people they are.

That was the end of a Build week and I feel pretty strong. I wasn't too beat up from the weekend so there are no excuses to bail on any of this weeks workouts. This is a Build II week and this weekend will be another back to back fest and I can't wait!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rooster Feed

After the Mac I had a recovery week and it was a relaxing splendor. The PNW got hit with a crazy heat wave sending temperatures into the 90's! From 50 to 90 in a matter of days turned our neck of the woods into a lobster fest. Everyone was out in about in shorts and tank tops for the first time since last summer soaking up the glorious rays of sunshine. Two days later it looked like a lobster feed. Alex had 5 solid days of baseball. That meant 3+ hours each day in the heat of day at the ball field where parents were dying of heat stroke in the stands and the kids looked like wilted lettuce. I actually loved it but I had the advantage of a little color and a higher tolerance for the elements. I was however a mama freak, covering Alex with sunscreen and making sure he was drinking enough. He sent me back to the stands about 4 times and begged me to stop embarrasssing him. Oh where has the time gone......he doesn't want him mom hovering over him? Our heat wave was short lived because we are back to 50 degrees and drizzle.

Monday was the beginning of the final training push before Bighorn 100M. I have 3 weeks of big mileage including a ton of quality work. I was actually a little gun shy when Monday rolled around, maybe I had too much sunbathing, resting and not enough intensity. Knowing that it's time to gear it up mentally and physically I called on my motivators to give me a good kick in the butt. All my recovery runs are now 70 minutes instead of 45-60. On Tuesday it was 5X1200M on the track. No more 1000M's! This was tough workout for my sleeping muscular system but it got woken up and did what it was supposed to do....all under 4:40. Wednesday was my only day off of running but I had to tear up my upper body again. I was still sore from Monday's workout but I hammered out a nasty chest and back workout.

Tempo running today and it was turning point for me both physically and mentally. I was on fire for my 9 mile run tearing up my tempo portion all at sub 7:10. I even had two at 6:48 and 6:42. Way too fast since all were supposed to be at M-pace (7:40)but my HR was in low 3B so I went with that.....shame on me! My two fastest miles were because some whipper snapper tucked in behind me using me as his pacer and I couldn't resist making him work. I finally came to my senses and let him pass but I didn't like it......I was channeling Kris! Trisha is back in full swing training for her next ultra so Thursday's have been our traditional running time together and coffee afterwards. It's so nice to have someone out there suffering along with me leaving no room from slacking off!

This weekend a bunch of us are heading to central Oregon for a weekend of killer running around the Smith Rocks area. There will be a large group of those fast folks from the area out there so it will be fun. Saturday we are doing our 2X55 minute hill repeats at Grey Butte. This is supposed to be the perfect grade climbing 2250 feet per ascent then a fabulous view at the summit. Sunday we are doing about 7 hours out and about in the area. Jeff (bronco billy) has given us detailed instructions for his favorite Bighorn training loop of about 28-30 miles with 6500+ feet of climbing. This will be a family affair for this big camping/running trip so lots of kids, bikes and eating. It's going to be a great Ultra Family vacation in new territory.

In preparation for the trip I to prepare all my meals for 2 days. It was amazing when I laid it all out and saw just how much food I eat, wow! I am up to 3,900 calories on a training day not including all I consume while running. There are a couple of missing meals because I know we are BBQing one night and having lunch with the central Oregon crew after our run on Saturday. Yes....all the meals are labeled so I know which one to eat first......kinda nutty but I like it! Kris stopped by with her new BF so I hope he still likes her after meeting her freaky food friend. Since she is on the same plan at least he knows he will never go hungry. :)


Monday, May 12, 2008

McDonald Forest!

Time: 5:35:49
Place: 52 out 163 finisher, 3rd Masters, 7th Girl
Acsent 6260 (by my altimeter)
It was a beautiful day at the Mac. The course was completely dry lacking the sloppy mud it's known for making it a fast day. The course is never the same and that might even be a tradition but I am not sure. It’s not exactly a 50K and the twists and turns on the various trails never seem the same. This year the course was 31.6 miles and I barely recognized some of the trail systems. We definitely covered the same area but in a much different pattern. I would have to say this year and last year the run equaled in difficulty but it was just slightly farther.

Micheal, Steve and I met to carpool. Kris was supposed to join us but is having a stress reaction on her shin bone. After a bone scan she was advised to not run and let it heal up before it turns into a stress fracture. The temperatures for the day were forecasted to be perfect for running ranging from 48 degrees at the start and topping out at 60 degrees. The skies were overcast but no rain! I felt really good after Friday’s hill repeats. I mean physically I seemed to be recovered but I wouldn’t know just how much until about 3 hours of running. I was excited to have Micheal running the whole race with me, sort of like a pacer for the whole race. I knew he would make me run faster and work harder. With all of us dawning our Black Saturday shirts it seemed appropriate to buckle down.

At 7 a.m. we were off for the short gravel road section before we hit single track. The field was out fast as usual and Micheal and I were in the middle of it. Once we hit the single track it’s a gradual incline for a few miles. Sometimes the trail dips down but then rolls right back up. I was running almost all of this but forced myself to take some walk breaks. This is time for catching up with friends who are all around. This is a long time Oregon event and most everyone is in attendance if not running they are volunteering. I was being passed on the uphills but would re-pass on the downhills. This went on for about 5 miles before we popped onto a gravel road the descended for at least 2 miles. Micheal and I were busting down the road, talking but working hard. The course then takes a sharp right onto steep technical trail. We were already in the groove moving very fast on the single track into the first aid station at 6.9 miles. I needed some water then we were off. The course then climbs on a gravel road for a long time which Micheal I ran the whole way. After about 2.5 miles on the gravel road it was another quick turn onto single track which goes up and down for about a mile into the next aid station. “More water please”! Leaving the aid station it was up hill on steep single track which during a muddy year can be a difficult to climb. This section was hard for me because my climbing was inhibited by my glutes. They were tired from the hill repeats. I still managed to keep Micheal in my sights but I complained about my tired butt. He just pointed to the back of his shirt which read, “NO EXCUSES give it all you got”. I shut up and laughed because he was right. After we climb for about a mile the course begins a rolling traverse on what seems like a deer trail. I did better than I thought I would on this section. After the traverse is another plummet on technical single track. We just flew on this stuff and I would have to say this would be my strength for the day.....downhill running. Micheal and I took no prisoners on any of the downhills and played leapfrog with runners all day that would get us on the climbs. At this point we are heading into the 18.6 mile mark, have climbed at least 4000 feet and we are right on schedule for a 5:34 finish which is what I have on my pace chart. We have drop bags for more fuel here. We are quick but take time to enjoy a Red Bull, yum…. We are taking gels on the half hour as Micheal watch beeps to remind us. We are working hard and I feel my 95 mile week but I can sustain the rhythm. Leaving the aid station we enjoy some of the best downhill single trail of the day. “Suicide running” would be the only way I can describe Micheal and I’s behavior. (picture by: Matt Nahorniak's wife..see whole album at It was crazy fast, passing people and barely touching down. This trail switchback’s downward with the perfect grade and canted corners leaving us no need to brake whatsoever. It was pure pleasure descending with such confidence and speed. At this point we see some of the front running heading home as we are heading into the aid station at 22.6 miles. We have to climb a bit to get up to the aid station but it’s nothing very steep. I need nothing and we just run right through. With 8.8 miles to go we are very close to pace and can smell the barn. The course begins climbing again on an old road, then on single track and finally on a very rocky road. We are maintaining our position and even gaining a bit on this climb. Micheal could have run this entire section but I had to take some walk breaks. We climbed a little over 1000 feet in 3 miles before we ran downhill on a gravel road into the last aid station. I need a little bit of water for our 4.8 mile journey to the finish and no matter how the Mac course is changed this section is the same every year. After leaving the aid station its 3 miles on a gravel road then 1.6 on single track. We began the climb on the road and I had to take walk breaks which I counted out 10 steps per. This seems to help my legs come back to life and when my climbers are spent I can go faster. Last year I ran this whole section. We worked it hard catching up to Liz who took the early start. She also did hill repeats on Friday but she had to start hers at 2:15 a.m. so she could get to work. Now that is amazing! She is training for WS100M and is obviously going to do well. She screams, “I hate you” because of the hill repeats and the pain in her legs but I know it’s really “I love you” in disguise. I let her know I am feeling pain as well...which I am. Finally arriving at the single track which heads up for about 2 tenths of a mile then falls perfectly for 1.4 miles into the finish. Again Micheal and I tore down this finishing in 5:35! Wow, what a wild ride, thanks Micheal. One of the visions I can’t seem to shake is Micheal up ahead glancing back at me while he appears to be running in place…..argggggg. It was great day, a great run and an awesome time for me. I couldn’t be more pleased! I got a the cool mug pictured above for my 3rd place masters finish. I got the same award last year so maybe this is a streak. :)
When I got home it was another 18 lb ice bath. My body gobbled up the cool treatment leaving me feeling pretty good. Sunday and Monday will be off but I might go a little jog with Alex on Monday afternoon. That was the end of a peak week. This week is recovery then only 2 more big weeks before the Bighorn 100M taper. It is coming fast!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hill Repeats Done!

Steve, Ultra and I did our hill repeat workout this morning. We met at Herman Creek at 7:30 a.m. for the 3.5 hour run which included 2X45 minute uphill runs at threshold. We used the PCT trail which has been our standard hill for the last three years but with the low snow levels this was our first trip out there.

Finally looking like a nice sunny day we were pretty excited to see how far up the trail we could get. Generally I get to the first clearing in just under 45 minutes so that was my goal for today. This trail is much steeper than all the others we have been using for Black Saturday's so I was anxious to see how my hill running was measuring up. Since I have a bunch of splits for this workout, data analysis would be easy. :) As we made our way to the base of our repeat hill I noticed the lack of poison oak. Only tiny little sprigs were coming up not the bushes we usually see this time of year. It's been so cold not allowing the evil bush to flourish. For me that is spectacular news because I am super allergic. I was covered with Ivy Block for insurance.

We arrived at "pain junction" (that's what I call it) where we lightened the load and headed up for climb number 1. Steve took a head start so I could use him as the carrot which always works nicely for me.....and I think it helps him too. The trail was covered with debris. Lots of small branches covered the rocky terrain but nothing huge and annoying. There were a couple of small trees over the trail but we could easily jump right over them. We found our first snow drift at about 35 minutes but not big enough to slow us down. I was surprised at the lack of snow at 3000 feet given what we saw last weekend. This area does get a lot of sun so I guess it makes sense. I arrived at just below the first clearing in 42 minutes. The snow all of the sudden took over the trail but I was within spitting distance of my destination. I was pumped! I would have been there in another 45 seconds meaning I broke my record by 1.5 minutes. Now I know 1.5 minutes doesn't seem like much but at threshold any increase is big news! :). This 3.2 miles climbs 2040 and I ran every step comfortably. Off we go back down to refuel and head up for number 2. Coming down at lightening speed was difficult with so much debris. It made me unsure of my footing even when I tried to relax into the downhill like Olga does. I made it down in 25:32 which is good but not a record. A quick refuel and off we go again. This second one was harder but I knew I could hold fairly steady. Steve was again ahead and when I had to stop to tie my shoe he took advantage of it by working extra hard to create more of a gap. Once I was back in action I used my 1 minute shoe tying rest well by picking up the pace. Steve saw me on the switchback and yells, "I think I can maintain this gap". That's all I needed to hear! I yell back, "We will see sucker". The chase was on and I ignored my burning quads and my screaming calves....sorta. He would glance back and see I was getting closer and pick it up. At the ridge with about 5 minutes left he lets me know I only have 5 minutes to catch him. He leaped over the fallen tree with his very long legs and as I approached I contemplated not even breaking my stride and bursting into a leap but came to my senses when got closer and realized it's above my waist. This forced me to slow and crawl over it but once over the tree I sprinted almost touching his shirt before he yelled, "Time". I glanced at my watch and see I was within 40 seconds of my first split, not bad.

We finished, high fived each other and trotted 30 minutes back to the car. What a great 18 mile run! On my way home I shoved my face full of food and anticipated my much needed ice bath. I calculated to see if I could get it all done before Alex got out of school. When I got home I drug two 9lb pound bags of ice into the bathroom, took my warm shower then dressed for my desired torture. With compression shorts, socks and a sweatshirt I submerged myself into the freezing bath which was all they up past my waist, grabbed the phone and talked to a friend for 25 minutes. This was the perfect way to distract myself from the frigged suffering. After 25 minutes I got out and felt ready to take on the Mac tomorrow. Micheal said he was going to run the whole race with me. That will be a slow day for him but it will help me run faster.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It will be hard to top last weekends awesome workouts but I am going to try. I am running McDonald Forest 50K on Saturday but I have to do hill repeats the day before as some masochistic warm up. This is how I get to mix racing with training but racing is all relative anyway. :) Tomorrow Bill is going to take Alex to school so I can get out to Herman Creek early for this 3.5 hour run with 2X45 minute hill repeats on the PCT. The PCT is one of my normal hill repeat areas and I will climb approx. 2000 feet in each 45 minute threshold session. I did this same workout last year before the Mac and had a PR by close to 20 minutes. Limping into the event because I was nervous and starting so slow may have been the key. It was one of the best races I have had at the 50K distance, I felt super strong. I am hoping to repeat it again this year and run the Mac in under 5:30.

I had this last Monday OFF from running and I really needed it. I did however choose to workout with a trainer in the gym. Since I was only going to do upper body I thought my weekend running would have little to no impact on the workout. I was very wrong! I was weak, tired and lacked any umph in my lifting. For my 45 second rest I would lay down on the floor or a bench. We got a good laugh and I got a good reminder! I was incredibly sore on Tuesday and washing my hair was uncomfortable along with any over the head motion. But.....I had already planned another upper body workout on Tuesday. This is my standard routine but during Peak training I should know better. I worked different body parts but by Wednesday my arms, back, abs and shoulders were fried. Just in time for a good leg workout followed by VO2 Max uphill intervals. My legs had rebounded nicely from the weekend and I had a powerful weight workout as long as I didn't need to use my arms I was good to go. Running on the other max, uphill for 4-5 minutes 5 times could be difficult. I generally do my leg weights after my run but on Wednesday I had other obligations and had to switch it. After my great leg workout I had to go directly into the run. I drummed up about 20 good excuses for NOT doing the run because my legs were worked. Knowing my friends would give me rash of sh__ for NOT doing it helped me persevere because all my excuses were weak anyway. I hammered out the 7.5 mile run with 5 X 4-5 minutes max hill efforts climbing a total of 1800 feet......I was shocked at the amount of ascent I got on these babies. The first 2 were legs were pumped full of blood. By the 3rd one I was reaching my destination 10 seconds faster and that continued through the 5th. Of course once I was done I was happy and proud of the effort but I don't know if I will do legs before one of those again!
Today was a nice 70M recovery run with Trisha in the park. We ran/talked and talked some more. It was great! Just what I needed before tomorrow and Saturday. On the way home I stopped at the store for four 9 pound bags of ice. :) I will be needing it for those ice baths.

May 7th (yesterday) was Bill and I's 14th wedding anniversary. It seems like yesterday I was trying to tie up my very long dark hair for the perfect wedding picture, happy and anxious to become Mrs. Sundermeier. Time has flown by and now I try to keep the grey covered and manage the frizz but still feel happy and anxious to spend the rest of my days with Bill.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Chasing the Mikes....

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…

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.