Week #4 and #5 Easy—Hard

I realize I’m late with both of these weekly training reports, and I know that you’ve been anxiously awaiting an update, refreshing your browsers non stop for many days. Alas, my training secrets are revealed!

A few months ago, someone reserved our condo on Airbnb for some big bucks the weekend of April 10th. We accepted the reservation even though we had no plans to get out of town that week. It took us well over a month of planning on where to go for the three nights our home was to become a college graduation crash pad, and after many sleepless nights of  excited wonderment regarding our extravagant destination, we landed on Colorado Springs.

Week #4 started out with shitty weather as per usual, during which I didn’t do much training other than a group run, an easy swim, and an easy ride or two. We packed for the trip to the Springs and cleaned the house, which took most of Thursday morning, then drove south to our cheaper Airbnb. But first, we stopped at the Manitou Incline for a quick run up and run down preview for the following day’s speed attempt.

The Manitou incline is a 0.9-mile-long stretch of railroad tie stairs that starts out at an elevation of 6,500 feet and ends at just over 8,500—2,000 feet in under a mile. For math wizards, that equals a 45 percent incline, which I guess is probably normal for a set of house stairs. Some sections, though, are 68 percent.

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Mid way.

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Maybellene at the top.

Friday: I chugged up the Incline in 21:00 flat, missing my goal of sub 20 minutes. I think if we came down in the summer I could knock off close to a minute since the top two-thirds of the stairs had an inch or two of snow on them. Better course knowledge and visibility could get me the rest of the way there. Adelaide has a high altitude trail marathon in August, so our plan is to come back and do the Incline again, and some high elevation trail running, in July.

Anyways, after the Incline I ran down the backside to meet Adelaide and Maybellene. From there we hiked up to 11,000 feet on Pike’s Peak. If we’d gotten an earlier start we would have done the whole thing, but it was still a good 6+ hour journey. Despite being April, the entire route, except for the very bottom, was snowy. A thick layer of freezing cold clouds hung between 8,000 and 10,000 feet, meaning that we had to eat extra candy bars to stay warm. Breaking through the cloud layer, we finally got a glimpse of the sun, and stripped down to T-shirts in the 55-degree bliss.

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Adelaide smoking ice. Get it?

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I got really into cereal for a little while. I’m back on the bread diet now though. Cereal was so last week. 

Saturday: We did a shorter hike and I went out for an easy 75 minute spin on the bike path afterwards.

Sunday: I didn’t have any motivation or energy to run my planned 22 miles. I got in three, then called it quits and walked back to the car as Adelaide finished her run. We drove back home after that. Not a very productive training week, but at least it meant that I would be fresh and hungry for the next three big’uns.

Week# 5

Monday: Hour easy spin. 4K masters swim. 3 mile easy jog, followed shortly by another 4.3 mile trail jog with Adelaide.

Tuesday: Run group at the track. I did 10×400 at 70-73 seconds (1 min rests), then a 6 minute jog, followed by 8×150 fast with 50 meter walking rests. With warm up/cool down it was a little over 10 miles as usual. I got on the bike after that for a little under three hours of endurance riding in the hills.

Wednesday was a big 6 hour day in the saddle, which started out with 3×20 minutes threshold. I did a peppy five-mile run off the bike, re-thinking my secret pie in the sky goal race pace of 6:30 for the run portion of Boulder Ironman, but still feeling strong.

Thursday: Hard 4K masters in the morning, which destroyed me, and then a 2 hour endurance ride later. I had planned on 4 hours but I had nothing in me so cut it short.

Friday: Another run group morning with Kathy Buttler’s squad. We did 5×1 mile on the hard part of the Bolder Boulder course. My average pace was somewhere under 5:30 I believe, holding back a bit because I was recently warned about running too fast the three weeks before an Ironman. I headed out for another 4K of masters after that.

Saturday: 5K masters with Adelaide at East Boulder Rec. Center in the morning. Then, a 4 hour solo endurance ride with a 6-mile run off. I didn’t feel horrible on the run but didn’t feel great. The ride went better, with the first 48 minutes on my road bike exploring all the steep roads up on Linden while the Di2 batteries on my TT bike charged in the garage. I swapped out the roadie for the TT bike after the climbing and spent the rest of the day up around Carter Lake, putting out what I felt were decent watts. Nothing spectacular, but good enough.

Sunday: Adelaide and I didn’t feel like running on pavement so we spent the rainy, gloomy morning slogging up and down the trails surrounding Eldorado, with Maybellene of course. The gloom of the overcast, gray, drizzle-ridden city was replaced by serene green forests, magnificent fog-shrouded granite cliffs, and empty rolling hills of gold. Maybellene and I got in 21 miles at a slow pace because of the mud, tough terrain, and my mushy legs that just didn’t want to work hard, or couldn’t. I was ravenously hungry mid-way into the run and afterwards, so Adelaide suggested we stop at Taco Bell (or maybe I did). I got two bean and cheese burritos in the drive through, spending $2.18 with taxes, and in so doing saved at least $20 at Sprouts on our way home. Our grocery bill ended up being super high despite dulling my hunger with those two burritos.

Later in the day we got to the pool for 3K of endurance.

Week 5 was a great success. I finally broke 60 miles of running in a week and it didn’t feel too hard. It was also the first week in a long time that I got over 20K in the pool, and I can feel my swim form rapidly coming back. I was happy with my threshold intervals on the bike, and the overall volume I got in as well. The weather finally cooperated, though that didn’t last very long, and I’m still looking forward to the next few weeks of training.

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