Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weekly Summary: April 30-May 6

Mon: Am- 13 miles (1:41) twin gates o&b, 1050'
Feeling a bit beat up from the week, so I took it easy through upper campus. Legs felt pretty good up UCONN.
Pm- 6 miles (:41) West Cliff, 100'
Wanted to get in a double, so I decided to run to the climbing gym. Met up with my buddy and bouldered for an hour.

Tues: Am- 11 miles (1:12) West Cliff, 200', 3x2 miles @ 5:55
splits were: 5:52, 5:55, 5:56, 5:52, 6:02, 5:58
Somehow Jay convinced me to do a tempo workout with him. The original plan was 5 miles around 5:50, but after 2 miles I wasn't sure I could hold that. Ended up doing 3x2miles at ~5:55/mile. I sort of fell apart mentally on the fifth repeat and slowed down considerably. Overall, I'm not too disappointed in my effort, since this was the first time in over a year I've done any speed work. I plan on throwing this workout into my arsenal once a week and hopefully build some mental thoughness to make it through these painful runs.
Pm- 5 miles (:38) Pogonip, 258'
Easy shake-out. Legs were really stiff from this morning.

Wed: Am- 16 miles (2:00) Pogo-Wilder, 2180'
I was planning an 18 miler, but after yesterday the legs just weren't there. It was pretty much a death march from mile 9, so I cut my losses and focused on a quality long run at the end of the week.

Thurs: Am- 9 miles (1:01) West Cliff, 140'
Easy-ish run on the roads to the climbing gym. I was able to hold a 6:45/mile comfortably, which is a pleasant surprise. Spent the better part of 2 hours at the gym and lead climbed for the first time in over a year! My core/upper strength is coming back a lot quicker than expected, which I think will help out a lot with running.

Fri: Am- 13 miles (1:40) twin gates o&b, 1057'
I was planning my long run for this morning, but after hanging at Burger with Jay last night I just wasn't feeling it. Managed to get in 13 relaxed miles. I didn't focus too much on pace and actually held a good clip up UCONN.

Sat: Am- 18 miles (2:10) Pogonip-Wilder bluffs, 1817'
I didn't have work until 12 today, so I took advantage with a long run. Felt awesome from the beginning, especially up UCONN, and was able to hold a steady clip on the flats. Almost all of the miles after 9 were sub-7's, so that's promising! Also noteworthy, I had my first peanut butter Gu and tropical nectars Gu this morning...freaking redunkulous. Those, along with pineapple Gu, will be my secret weapon for Ohlone!

Sun: Am- 26 miles (3:25) Pogonip-Wilder o&b, 2806'
Great long run today. Did the usual start through Pogonip, then upper campus, and Wilder/bluffs, and doubled back. Felt a little sore from Saturday, but the legs were surprisingly chipper. I had to walk a few sections in the Wilder hills on the way back, but since that was at about mile 18, I didn't worry too much. Overall, a really enjoyably sunny day on the trails!
Pm- 3 miles, easy hike on bluffs
Took a beautiful hike on the bluffs this afternoon with the lady and ate lunch on the cliffs. It was a great way to spend my Sunday off. Finished the night off by seeing The Avengers...freaking amazing! (Not included in totals.)
Yum, falafel. 

Trying not to fall into the sink.

Damn, we're good looking.

-Miles: 117.5
-Time: 14hr 35min
-Vertical: 9,400'

Another great week of running! I wasn't originally planning to peak this past week, but after hearing from other runners, it sounded like the smartest move. Like I mentioned before, tapering has always been experimental for me, so I figured a two week rest period should leave me plenty fresh. I'm a little disappointed in my vert this week, but the build-up over the past couple of months should leave me climbing strong. With only two weeks until race day, the plan is to hit about 90 miles, then 30-40 miles the week of the race with some faster running thrown in. Oh, and just for posterity's sake, the UCONN trail is one of the more challenging climbs within running distance from my house, climbing about 400' in .75 miles. It's not terribly steep, but the semi-technical single track and decent elevation gain make for a fun way to start the day.

As for this week's beer, I didn't really have anything new, so it's into the review archive for Victory Hop Wallop.

22oz bomber into a Deschutes snifter. 

A: Pours a beautiful, golden straw color with a billowy 3 finger head that holds its shape even above the rim. Awesome retention and lacing. 

Sm: Lots of citrus and pine. Sweet grapefruit comes through, followed by a resinous/metallic aroma.

T: Similar to the smell, but better. I'm loving the hop profile, especially as it warms. Very piney up front, then sweet. The alcohol is present in the finish. I can't get over the lacing...absolutely gorgeous rings down the glass!

Mf: Medium bodied. I wish there was a bit more carbonation to improve the crispness, but it coats the palate well.

O: A solid DIPA that grew on me after the first glass. There is something "off" in the aftertaste, probably from the bottle fermentation, but I love the hoppiness!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Weekly Summary: April 23-29

Mon: AM- 12 miles (1:32) Twin Gates o&b, 1154'
Only planning on 10 this morning, but decided to head up to Twin Gates. The legs felt great, and I ended up having one of my fastest descents through upper campus. I had a blast trying to bounce off all the burms and bumps that I could find. Overall, one of the fastest, most fun runs I've had in a while.

Tues: AM- 7 miles (:52) Pogonip Spring Trail, 459'
Easy run through Pogonip before my 10am class. After the run I headed to the gym for an 1.5 hours of bouldering + core. I hit the weights for some leg strengthening and did 10 reps of one-legged presses at 115lbs, then 6 reps of two-legged at 400lbs. Felt awesome.

PM- 4 miles (:31) West Cliff, 257'
Easy shake-out on the road.

Wed: AM- 13 miles (1:47) Lower Pogonip, 1821'
Met up with Jay this morning for some miles in Pogonip. We hit the Overlook Trail, to Ohlone, across Hwy 9, up UCONN, then back up Overlook. I was hoping to feel better on the climbs with only 3 weeks til Ohlone, but I guess I'm not supposed to feel 100% during training (go figure). Anyways, it was a great morning to explore new trails, especially with the bobcat sighting!
PM- 3 miles @ 11% (:30) Treadmill, 1700'
3 miles @ 11%, ~1700' Felt pretty smooth throughout the run, but it was definitely taxing.

Thurs: AM- 7 miles (:53) Pogonip Spring Trail, 550'
Planning a longish run tomorrow, so just took it easy through Pogonip. Hit the climbing gym after my morning run. I was planning on running a double today, but was too tired after class.

Fri: AM- 26.3 (3:19) Wilder-Bluffs o&b, 2854'
I wasn't originally planning on 26+ miles this morning, but knew I wanted to get in at least 20-22. The legs felt exceptionally great, so I tacked on 2 miles on the bluffs then headed back up through Wilder. And to be honest, I added the additional .3 miles at the finish just to make it an "ultra" run. ;) Overall, I can feel myself getting stronger on the hills and only had to power-hike a few small sections. Also, I clocked my fastest ascent up UCONN and to the twin gates (:48). Food: toast + coffee pre-run, during: 2.5 Gu's (almost spit out the third banana-strawberry...gross) + ~1.5 liters water

Sat: AM- 17 miles (2:40) Nisene closed trail-West Ridge, 3240'
Headed out to Nisene with my bud Jay, who showed me around some new trails. Super techy/slow single-track (by my standards) which made for a challenging run...note the average pace of 9:18. Noteworthy sections: about 3-4 washouts, losing the trail a few times because of overgrowth, lots of downed trees (one of which we had to slide under), having to use a rope to help ascend a climb/descend the other side. My quads weren't too beaten up after yesterday's effort, but I definitely struggled. After dragging ass for the first couple of miles, the legs eventually loosened up on the rolling single-track, but things started to fall apart on the climbs. After hitting Sand Point and pounding two Gu's I felt good again, but by the end of the run I was trashed. Overall, a killer run and thankful to have seen some new trails.

Sun: AM- 8 miles (1:01) Pogonip-UConn, 759'
The thought of running this morning wasn't exactly appealing, but I knew once I warmed up it'd be enjoyable. Only meant to do 6, but extended it to 8 since the legs didn't feel terrible. Overall, I'm really happy with this weekend's training.

PM- 3 miles @ 10% (:30) Treadmill, 1584'
10% @ 6mph Felt pretty good, but this week has definitely caught up to me. I tried to do 6.5mph, but thought I was going to pass out.

-Miles: 100.3
-Time: 13hr 40min
-Vertical: 14,375'

This was my first week breaking 100 miles in over a year, and I'm glad to say that everything is holding up nicely! My last few training weeks have hovered in the high 80's to mid 90's, so I'm not expecting any huge gains from a 100 mile week. I think it was just about breaking a more of a mental barrier than anything else, especially since an average week for me last year was ~120 miles. For me, this validates that my training is truly back on track and gives me a huge dose of confidence coming into the Ohlone 50k which is only about 2.5 weeks out. Also, I'm fairly certain that this was my most vertically challenging week to date. I'm stoked to finally be getting stronger in the hills! The plan now is to log ~110 miles next week and peak around 120 miles two weeks before the race. I've always kind of winged the taper, but I'm hoping I can dial myself back down and run ~60 miles the week of Ohlone. Hopefully this will leave me refreshed, but ready to race!

As for this week's beer, I was hoping to review the newly released FW Wookey Jack, but never got around to it. Instead, I decided upon Green Flash Palate Wrecker.
Wanted to take a better pic, but got lazy. =]
 Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip.

A: Pours a beautiful golden amber with a massive 3 finger off-white head that lingers. Nice carbonation and bubbles creeping up the side of the glass. Minimal lacing. Second pour had considerably less head (see above pic).

Sm: Initially very sweet with hints of caramel followed by some citrus. Grapefruit and apricot definitely dominate. 

T: Holy hops! The hops don't come through in the nose like they do in the taste. A lingering sweetness up front is destroyed by massively amazing hop bitterness and a piney reisen. Slightly tart in the middle, almost mouth-puckeringly so, which is where the grapefruit shines. The alcohol is very warming in the finish, and coupled with the hops, this beer is almost mouth numbing. Awesome.

Mf: Medium bodied with great carbonation. A bit astringent as well.

O: Yum. A definite hop-bomb for sure. I've been searching for this kind of bitterness in a DIPA for a while now!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekly Summary: April 16-22

Mon: AM- 11 miles (1:35) Twin Gates o&b, 1097'
Legs were still pretty sore from Saturday's race, so I decided to forgo the long run. Just a really mellow, enjoyable run.

Tues: AM- 8 miles (1:01) Pogonip, 632'
Still feeling a little blah, so I settled on an easy 8. Legs are starting to perk up. Oh, and I had the best critter encounter on the trail this morning to date! Coming into Pogonip, there was a bobcat sun bathing in the middle of the fire road. After noticing me, it trotted into some tall grass, but it let me get probably within 5 feet! We just watched each other for almost 3 minutes before I decided to leave it be.
PM- 4 miles (:31) Pogonip, 300'
Super easy shake-out before class. Relaxed and smooth.

Wed: AM- 23 miles (2:54) Wilder o&b, 2748'
Was NOT feeling a long run this morning, but once I stepped outside I knew it'd be enjoyable. Lately, I've been putting more miles in Wilder to acclimate my legs for the hills of Ohlone and have been diggin' an out-and-back on a single-track switchback trail. The legs felt great at the turnaround point, and overall I didn't feel too fatigued. Coyote sighting + lots of deer!

Thurs: AM- 7 miles (:55) Pogonip, 503'
Easy-peasy run through Pogonip to shake out 'dem legs for the long run tomorrow.

Fri: AM- 20 miles (2:30) Wilder hills/bluffs, 1758'
Oh.Em.Gee. It was really hot this morning. Must have been high 70's by 9:30. Anyways, I'm not complaining, but just taking note of how much the heat affected me! I drank about 1.5 liters of water, which is pretty crazy for this loop. Anyways, I decided to mix things up and tacked on a few miles on the bluffs. Not sure why I don't run out there more often...bobcat sighting!

Sat: AM- 10 miles (1:15) Nisene fireroad, 1500'
My garmin has been wack with splits and elevation, so not positive on the specifics of this run. I decided to break up the hills of Wilder and head to Aptos for a jaunt through Nisene. I really miss this park and am not sure why I don't come here more. Tons of beautifully lush trees on easy fire road/single-track. Good stuff. Legs felt great, especially on the way back to the car, but I dragged up the incline for a bit.

Sun: AM- 12 miles (1:42) Nisene single-track, 1835'
Decided to hit up Nisene again (2nd day in a row!) with the SCE peeps, and I'm thankful I did! I haven't seen some of these guys in a while, so it was good to touch bases and run a few new trails...thanks Robert ;] (Oh, and great job tackling Boston in that freaking 90 degree heat!!) The original plan was 14-17 mile, but cut it at 12 after what I feel to have been a great week of training.
PM- 1 mile (:09) treadmill @ 11% 6.5 speed, 580'
Got a little rock climbing in at the gym tonight and decided to try out the treadmill. Well, I got pretty bored (and hot) after a mile, so I gave up. In the future I'd like to do a few easyish miles at 10-12% to rack up some elevation. Overall, felt relaxed. And as far as rock climbing goes, the technique is still there, but my muscles just can't quite keep up least I can do pull-ups again!

-Miles: 96
-Time: 12hr 25min
-Vertical: 10,950'


I'm incredibly happy that my training has begun to pick up again over these past 2 months, leaving me feeling strong and healthy, but more than anything I'm just thankful to be back on the trails. Ever since Vermont, I could never settle into a groove and found myself with a new injury every few weeks. While this was undeniably frustrating, I learned many valuable lessons in terms of training and recovery; namely, that running 130-150 miles/week does not guarantee fitness, especially when not properly fueling myself for such efforts. 

Looking back at my training logs from this time last year, I'm now running stronger than I ever have simply because I've switched my focus from quantity to quality. This has allowed me to put in solid long runs every other day with very little soreness and a very quick recovery time. Consequently, I've shaved off a full minute per mile from my normal Wilder loop (compared to last year). In the past 3 weeks I was also fortunate enough to place 2nd overall at the Pirates Cove 30k (3500' of climbing and my first race since Vermont!) and 1st overall at the Woodside 35k (3000' of climbing). All this while running 40 miles/week less than what I had been last year, and weighing 20 lbs more! 

Looking forward, I know that I still have areas to tweak in my training to produce even more gains, but for now I'm content with simply doing what I love. Hopefully, I can keep a level head coming into the Ohlone 50k on May 20th and the Diablo 60k in June. Both are very demanding in terms of vertical gain, but as long as I continue to train smart, I'm confident that I'll perform to my potential.

And lastly, I've noticed an increasing trend on the faster dudes' blogs where they share a song/music video of a favorite band. While I find this enjoyable, I regret to admit that my knowledge of music is...laughable, at best, which consequently is reflected in the fact that my iTunes playlist hasn't changed since high school. So, in lieu of embarrassing myself by posting video after video of Lady Gaga's "Paper Gangster," I've decided that once a week I'll share with everyone a newfound passion of mine by reviewing a different, and hopefully tasty, beer.

In honor of its recent release (4/16), I couldn't resist choosing Stone '12 Imperial Russian Stout.
Photo by yours truly ;)
Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Deschutes snifter. Do this beer justice and serve at room temp!

A: Pours a thick, deep black with a 2 finger mocha colored head. Nice retention that dissipates slowly, leaving a good amount of carbonation bubbles around the side of the glass. Alcohol legs are definitely present.

Sm: Huge amounts of roasted malt on the front. Coffee, and chocolate dominate, followed by fruity esters. A hint of caramel and vanilla. Alcohol is subtly present.

T: Almost spot on to the smell. Roasted malts are the key player here. It's so much like sipping on a freshly brewed cup of dark coffee that you could crack this thing open in the morning to have with breakfast. The finish is smooooth, and the bitterness is well balanced by the sweetness of the malts. The 10.5% ABV is well hidden and only briefly noticeable as it warms on the way down.

Mf: Full bodied all the way. Deliciously thick and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation to keep you interested.

O: Another gorgeous beer from Stone and an RIS at its best. I'm excited to try this with a little age on it.