April 28, 2014

Monday Night Special

After a great weekend of skiing during a late-season storm, another 8-10" of snow came down on Sunday night, and we knew that there was no choice but to get up in the mountains and ski after work. This will probably be the last powder day of the season.

Up at Brighton by 5:30pm, we were able to get in a few laps in amazing conditions. Hero snow! 

This is why we live in Utah.

April 27, 2014

Quick blast of winter!

Thank you, winter!

A nice little spring storm swung through this weekend, giving us (perhaps) our last powder skiing days of the season. You have to love mid-winter conditions (for a few days) when the calendar says that May is just around the corner.

Some skiing and skintrack stoke from the weekend. We skied at Brighton since they are closed for the year... easy access to fun terrain...

April 24, 2014

National Park Week

I get emails all the time for products / ads / information to post on this blog. Over 99% of them get ignored. But a few days ago I got a message with this infographic from the National Park Foundation that caught my attention.

Andrea and I are HUGE fans of the National Park system... if you follow Wasatch and Beyond, you already know that.

I know the parks can be crowded at times, but man oh man... there's a reason for that! The parks are one of our greatest treasures. One of the biggest benefits of living in Salt Lake City is our proximity to Zion, Bryce, Arches, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone.

For more information from the NPS, go here: National Park Week.

April 21, 2014

Closing Day?... not quite

Easter Sunday was closing day at Alta. Sort of... they are opening back up for two more weekends. In any case, we enjoyed a fun day of spring skiing in the sunshine, watched the hot dog skiers do a bunch of crazy stuff, and continued to NOT eat Easter candy. Hopefully that last past will pay off in a few weeks...

Broke out the spikes for a couple track workouts this week.
It wasn't a spectacular week of training, but it was solid nonetheless.

April 13, 2014

How long can we stretch this out?

April 13, 2014 - Andrea approaching Twin Lakes Pass

The Collins snow stake currently shows Alta's mid-mountain snow depth at 109 inches after a warm, sunny week. Hopefully we can stretch out this ski season into June!

We'll be doing a lot of tank-top skinning the rest of the season
On Saturday we had dinner at the Shallow Shaft restaurant. The food was actually better than the view!

April 9, 2014

Spring Training #3 - Leading up to Cherry Blossom

This is the next (third) installment in my series of posts breaking down and reviewing my training. To recap, here are the links to posts #1 and #2.

Week of March 17: 8 x 400m (1500 pace); LT Shuffle: 5 x 8/1 minute efforts; 5 x 800m (3K pace). This week took me out of my comfort zone! See the notes below on what the LT Shuffle is all about, and you can click on the links to the individual workouts to see more specifics.

Week of March 24: LT Shuffle: 8 x 5/1 minute efforts; 18 mile long run w/ 10x45s surges. I had originally planned to run a 5K race on the track at the end of this week, but Andrea had a cold earlier in the week and I felt a little drained on Thursday/Friday, so I scrapped the race (and thus ended up not catching the cold). It was a good move that allowed me to absorb some of the recent workload without wearing myself down too much.

Week of March 31: LT Efforts: 4 x 8 minutes (more like 10K effort); 3 x (5 x 1 minute) fartlek; USA 10 Mile Championships (50:12). A pretty solid, but not spectacular, race to end the week. Click the link for my full recap. In hindsight, the Thursday fartlek was a little too much that close to the race.

So what's the "LT Shuffle" all about?
The long reps will produce a small amount of lactate that the body will pick up and utilise during the effort - there will be some residual lactate that the body will 'shuffle' into the system during the 1 min recovery. Then, during the 1 min faster effort the body will utilise the lactate for energy and at the same time produce a larger amount of lactate. Through the 3 min active recovery the body will, again, use and 'shuffle' the remaining lactate into the system, which the body will then utilise during the next long rep and so on. 
As the session progresses, more and more lactate is produced, shuffled, utilised - at LT and 5k/3k pace/effort. Towards the end of the session, the body floods with lactate and struggles to utilise and shuffle it into the system - the body goes into 'panic' mode and 'shunts' (forces) it into the system.  This stresses the body and teaches it to pick-up and utilise lactate when the system is fatigued. This in turn helps to improve pace at LT.
My log entry on March 22nd is worth repeating... some bullet points on changes I've made this year:
-Faster interval workouts at the correct paces (not slower but with extra volume thrown in)
-Shorter recovery runs (between 45-60 minutes)
-Very targeted LT sessions
-Don't be lazy... strides twice a week!
-Foam rolling / stretching / general strength work almost every night
-No candy and less crap in general!
-Eating balanced recovery foods with plenty of protein within 20 minutes of finishing harder workouts. This sounds like a shamless plug, but I'm really enjoying PowerBar ProteinPlus bars, which taste really good and pack 20 grams of protein.
-More skiing / skinning, which is excellent for all the reasons Andrea mentions here.
Full view of the last 10 weeks...

April 7, 2014

Cherry Blossom - USA 10 Mile Championships

2014 Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run / USATF Championship

USA 10 Mile Championships (Cherry Blossom) - 50:12 - 26th overall, 16th American.

[Also posted on Fast Running Blog]

I've had Cherry Blossom on the calendar since the day it was announced as this year's USATF 10 Mile Championship back in January. I have a lot of friends in DC and lived there for a summer, so I've been excited all winter about this trip. Andrea and I flew in Friday evening and spent Saturday relaxing and catching up with friends (and did the same all day Sunday after the race). It was a really fun weekend.

On race morning I got dropped off at the Lincoln Memorial and proceeded to warmup around the National Mall. I've run here many times, but its always a cool place to be early in the morning. The elite women started at 7:18, and then we were off 12 minutes later. The field was solid - plenty of high caliber African runners, plus the USA Championship field.

As you can see on the race video (starting ~17:00 for the guys, I'm still in there a few minutes later), I was able to latch to the very back of the main pack for a little over a mile, as the real elite runners were out at a somewhat conservative pace. The pace accelerated before we hit the Memorial Bridge and I knew it wasn't sustainable to be in the back of that group any longer. The two-mile split was 9:51 (plenty fast). I was already running solo - I recognized some of the guys up in front of me (Sean Brown, Ben Sathre - bibs with names on the back of our singlets was nice) but it would have taken a huge effort to close that gap. I tried to keep them in range and focus on maintaining a steady effort.

I came through 5K in 15:21 and 5 miles in 24:55, picking off a few guys during these miles. 

The first half of the course has several 180 degree turns, but the out and backs make it an excellent course for spectators. Andrea was at 5-6 spots during the race with Curran and Baumann, the Merkels (on bikes) were all over the place, Luke (running the race) yelled for me during the out and backs, Big Cat Brett was prowling around in the trees, and the ElliptiGo team with Jeff Caron was out cheering as well. It was almost like a track meet during the first 10K - feedback and encouragement every quarter mile!

I was running well as we came through the halfway point and headed out for the loop in East Potomac Park. Miles 6-8 were 4:59, 4:57, 4:52. Sathre pulled away after 10K (30:57), but I passed a few guys before we got to Haines Point including Sergio Reyes, who was clearly having an off day.

I don't know what happened in the 9th mile (5:22!!!). We were running into a slight headwind at this point (look at the flags on the race video as I finished - 1:06:00 on the video - and yes I had to out-kick a girl - we caught a few of the elite women in the final miles), but I don't feel like I slowed down THAT much. I tried to maintain/close the gap to the guy ahead of me (Brown). It was definitely a shock to see that split. In hindsight, that mile was probably marked a bit long and the previous one was short. I came through 15K in ~46:45 and just like that, I was climbing the final hill and the race was over. Finished in 50:12 - 26th overall, 16th American. Five mile splits were 24:55 / 25:17 (yuck).

After the race I spent some time chatting with the other athletes and coaches (Hansons) - that is one of the best parts about championship races... these are the best athletes and coaches in the country - the ones you want to be competing against and interacting with. Andrea and I ran a cool down from the Washington Monument to the Capitol building and back... again, just a cool atmosphere and great location for a big race. And it's a BIG race (17,000 runners!).

I'll make a strong attempt to come back and run this again next year. Now that my parents will be living in the area, I'll be heading to the East coast for races instead of Arizona. Hopefully they'll be hosting the USA Champs again and I can do the Gate River / Cherry Blossom double. I shouldn't be thinking about 2015 race schedules yet, but I can't help myself sometimes.

Overall I'd say this was a good, but not great, performance. It was my best run of 2014 so far (season bests for 5K, 10K, and 15K en route), but I still feel like I should have broken 50 minutes. The good thing about this race is that it tells me exactly where I'm at... and that means probably aiming for 65:15-30 instead of 64:XX in Indianapolis next month (although things can change with another good month of training). I'm very glad I already made the decision to skip the spring marathon and keep my focus on the half through the end of June. I think that I'm definitely on the right trajectory (steadily improving) but it is going to take some more time (and laser focus on the little stuff) to achieve my goals this spring. I embrace that challenge.

Andrea took a bunch of great photos (scattered throughout this post and below).

Playing with Maggie the puppy and hanging in the sunshine took up the rest of the weekend...