This was a good week of training. Perhaps a little light on the running, but I ain't sweatin' a goddamn thing these days. 6 hours of gym work (cardio, plyo, weights), 40 miles of running in 3 runs, 4 hours of snow shoveling, 3 hours of cross country skiing.
First, today (sunday) was the Kahtoola Microspikes Michigan Mountain Ski Hill 8K (or whatever it's called). I placed 8th out of 100+. I don't remember my time. I'll find it online after they post it.
The course was two 4K loops that basically went up and down the black diamond runs three times per loop. At the base of the hill, the connecting trails were all knee-deep powder left from yesterday's surprise blizzard #3. It was quite a tromp through the snow.
This race accomplished what I had hoped: I learned exactly what I need to improve upon for the Bel Monte 50 and it's accompanying 11K of climbing. It turns out, I had things backwards: I descend much faster than I ascend (relatively speaking). I'm surprised a little, as I am much more able to train for uphills via stairmasters, treadmills, etc. but have almost no opportunity to run downhill. My training for downhills out here in the midwest has consisted of turn-over work to let my legs really get loose on the steep grades in addition to what (i think) are some pretty unusual plyometric and weight routines. In these, explosiveness, precision and eccentric contractions are emphasized
If I ever REALLY find myself bored one afternoon, I'll video my strength training routine just so maybe GZ or Lucho will look at it and either A) laugh or B) give it a passing thumbs up. I'd just be curious as I've never seen the exact workouts that I do anywhere online.
Ok. enough of all that.
The rest of the week I was snowed-in. I used the opportunity to do a lot of wintery fun stuff. I also did a nice 12 mile snow slog (7:45/mile) in the evening on thursday and then followed it up with a 14 mile run the next morning (7:40/mile). It's been a while since I've done a workout like this and towards the end of the second run, I could begin to feel the familiar "all-over" ache common at different moments throughout an ultra race. It got me pretty excited for the upcoming 50 and starting tomorrow, it's time to up the weekly cruising.
Lastly, I have been pleasantly surprised to see some low HR's on those longer runs (at 7:30/mile and 9 miles in I have to remind myself to not slack off as I find myself in the low 140's). Again, I'm deathly afraid of jinxing myself but I think that as I finally finish this course of blood pressure meds and am slowly (SLOWLY) starting to be able to sleep again, my post-methadone cardiovascular system is returning to normal. I really hope I'm right.
There is no ultra marathon that can compare to the protracted pain and suffering I have felt throughout this rehab process. This is in no way a boast. Let me be very clear: I would not wish this experience on anyone. It's horrible. It's pointless. It's ignoble. It in no way something of which I am proud. I don't feel tougher. If anything, I feel more vulnerable and more keenly aware of how delicate our bodies truly are (despite the amazing feats of endurance we put them through). I can't wait to start wasting fools out on the trails (2012 perhaps).
This is definitely starting to ramble, so let's wrap this up.
Gabbo and I are definitely back together and I could not be happier. I love her! Yeah!
I look forward to running in 2011. It has gotten me through so many rough patches. I have several incipient fundraising projects in the works for the summer. I want to do something for Toledo's urban farming initiative, Toledo Grows, not to mention the Toledo Metro Parks themselves (that I frequent weekly). I also want to try to get together a running event throughout the city of Detroit to raise money for Hostel Detroit (see previous post).
Yes, Detroit has the Tour de Troit cycling event and the Detroit Marathon, but I'd like to run a purely grassroots sort of event that highlights the areas of Detroit that the average visiter does not get to see. Maybe skip the ruinporn and aim for some the up and coming neighborhoods, full of incredibly hard-working and dedicated young people doing everything they can to turn around a completely unique city.
There is so much more I want to say on this point, but I'll save it for another post on another day. This is already so long that no one will read it.