Monday, February 20, 2012

Good end to a good week

Long runs.  They effect everyone differently.  I, for one, have difficulty sleeping well the night after a hard effort.  My solution:  write until I sleep.

Cale got on a plane for Florida yesterday, leaving me empty-nested for the week.  I usually plan some sort of big event for the day after he leaves just to keep myself occupied, so today I thought I'd go for a few loops through beautiful Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  Knowing I was in for a long day, I called up Brandon on a whim and convinced him to join me for a loop.

CMSP is kind of an odd duck in the COS trail network.  Unlike all the other trails in town, CMSP is entirely self-contained.  You can't really run or ride there; it requires a drive.  Another bummer is the parking fee of $7.00 required to enter.  Of course, with budget cuts and all, they haven't been able to afford a ranger at the gate for a while now, but I go down there infrequently enough to cough up the dough anyway.

Love CMSP's trail markers!
However, the singletrack is fabulous and well-maintained.  The signage is everywhere and easy to follow, and the terrain is quite varied.  Mud, rocks, roots, pine needles, snow, open spaces...the park has all of this contained in a compact  area.  It's no surprise that three separate races call the park home:  Winter Series I, the Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run 25/50k, and the Xterra Marathon of Trail Races.

 I'm working on the shift from intensity to volume.  As such, this run was all about time on feet.  During our first loop, I prepped my mindset for the second loop with some typical inner dialog:  "Eh, you're a little tired about now, aren't you?  Yeah, I am.  Man, imagine what it will feel like next time around!  Maybe there won't be a next time?  WHAT?  F-dat.  Get it in your head NOW, you will be coming back up for another loop...imagine how you'll feel.  OK, I guess I'll, tired?  Yeah, I'll be tired, but I'll get it done.  OK, fine.  Maybe I won't be that tired.  Maybe it'll be sunny and I'll be enjoying myself.  It is only a couple of climbs.  Yeah, when I'm here next loop, I'll be almost done!  I can't wait for the next loop!"  I'm sure I'm not alone when it comes to playing those subtle mind games with oneself.

Brandon topping out on Talon
Trail conditions were pretty good - as the day wore on, the icy patches turned into some nasty mud, but a majority of the trail was free of some of the ugliness that is to be found further north these days.  Running short-sleeved in February is still a treat that never gets old for this Minnesota boy.

About the mind games.  Setting myself up to enjoy the second loop was definitely one of them, but it paid off.  Brandon peeled off after 25k.  I plugged in the headphones and retreated into my own world for the next few hours.  The two major climbs, while not walks in the park, didn't wreck me the second time around.  In fact, the second loop took just a couple minutes longer than the first.  Five and a half hours later, I had finished logging my third marathon-plus run of the calendar year.

The mountain behind me is hollow!
The consistency in my training is beginning to show, not just in how I feel, but in my 2012-to-2011 comparison.  It's pretty motivating.  YTD I'm at 406 miles/50,000'.  Last year YTD:  349 miles/21,000'.  This was my 7th consecutive week between 50 and 75.  Furthermore, I've enjoyed the past few months immensely.  I haven't felt sore or tired or burned out or anything of that sort.

M:  Second tunnel.  8mi/1,300'
T:  1000's on the CMHS track.  5 @ 3:50, 400 easy in between.  8 mi/700'
W: Cheyenne Canyon.  7mi/1200'
H:  4 miles tempo, 6:30 avg.  10mi/200'
F:  First tunnel to Spring Creek with CMHS team.  8mi/1,700'
S:  off
S:  Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  31mi/4,200'

Total:  72mi/9,300'

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