Saturday, March 28, 2015

Scar Face

This past week, I was abruptly reminded of one reason I am a runner.

While there are many, this particular reason came out of no where and smacked me right in the face....literally. It was a tree branch and I am klutz. Luckily, growing up, I had some talent running in a straight line, or on a course marked with lines (although even that activity lends itself to injury from time to time in my world), or athletics would not have been a part of my life. I think running found me as much as I did it due to my total lack of coordination, grace, or understanding of any sport requiring "plays". So confusing! Ahh!

So, anyway, there I was running (actually post-holing) Cache Creek Trail through the snow on a warm Jackson day, when I suddenly needed to ditch behind a tree....nature calls and I am an expert. Not proud of this, but I am. (future blog post on how to choose appropriate potty spots, execute proper form and what variety of natural items make excellent wiping tools, according to season.)

Business taken care of, I popped up and started back out to the trail, and smack, I took a sharp branch right to my nose and mouth. Oh, ya. I wasn't even running. Klutz. F.

Everything was fine, but man, I bled a lot! I spit huge amounts of blood for the next three miles and received a lot of concerned looks. One guy stopped to ask if I was OK, even though I was running with a friend, but I have to admit, I felt a little bad ass for a second.

Thankfully, the rest of the week, I was reminded of reasons I am a runner by gorgeous terrain, exhausting workouts, good running buddies and satisfaction of a consistent week of training.

The current focus of my training is "strength building", after coming off 8 months of inconsistent training due to a move, house remodel and injuries. Now I am working with my coach to work on mental as much as physical strength and it is coming along steadily.

Week Highlights:

Elk Rfefuge: Easy 7 miles with 10" pickups every 4 min

Wildlife always have the right of way

Mountains for days

My running partner

Game Creek Hill repeats: 30 min warm up,  6 x 4' hills. Just under threshold. Working on form.  25' tempo back home on rolling course. Powering up hills and recovering on the flats.  
Little person, big hill
High School Butte hill repeats: 20' warm up, 5 x 5' steep hills. Working up to threshold by the top. Working on patience on climbs and letting the terrain dictate effort. 
Wore my La Sportiva Vertical K for this workout and loved the flexibility and the trail sense this shoe gave me for the short climbs. Don't think I would want to go too far in it, but its perfectly light and sticky for the ascents.

I'd say the rest of the week was uneventful compared to the facial trauma, but as you can see, that just wouldn't and couldn't be true.

How did you come to find running? Did it smack you in the face, or was it more subtle?

Safe and happy running!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Going Up

Teton Pass Road

This is scary. Not the running, or the climb, but the blog. I can handle running a gain of 2,500 vertical feet over 5 miles, from 6,100 to 8,500 feet above sea level, and roll it fast back down. 

0:0016:4033:2050:001:06:401:23:201:40:006,0007,0008,0009,0006,306 ft6:08

In comparison, that's easy, fun, exhilarating, but the blog gives me anxiety, chest tightness, labored breathing, weak legs....will anyone read it? If they do, will they think it's stupid? simple? boring? Ahhh. It freaks me out!! Why even bother then, (I ask myself, of course, because it will only be myself reading) if it doesn't feel authentic and natural? Well, frankly because it seems the thing to do these days and I like the idea of recording a visual journal of my training here in Jackson, WY. The scenery is stunning, and the training unparalleled by many other places in the country, so the story here is really about the place. I am honored to play in these mountains, parks, valley and town on a daily basis. The place is, to put it simply (because my blog is simple. refer above), paradise and demands respect, so this is my simple way of treating it that way. Tune in if running up big ass climbs with breathtaking scenery is your thing, or if just looking at pictures of it is. Ok, so now that's out of the way, sort of, here is what I did on this bright, sunny and warm day here in the Tetons.....

The plan was to run up Snow King twice, super easy for strength and aerobic conditioning, so I laced up my so La Sportiva Vertical K for the fist time, excited to try them out and set out with my coach. Within steps onto the steep ski runs, we discovered the daily warm temps and cold nights had turned the hill into an ice rink! I slid backwards the 10 feet I had managed to scramble up, but was determined to tough and slide it out, but Eric suggested Cache creek. No! In my head I thought, "not steep enough!" Eric, maybe sensing my hesitation and ever flexible and creative, then said "let's run the pass. We will make it an adventure!" Now we are talking! I changed into my La Sportiva Helios on the drive over, since they are a bit more shoe for the road/gravel course of Teton Pass road, and we set out. 

the top. snow king in the back. look hard!

The run starts in Wilson and meanders up Teton Pass road at a variable 10% grade and a little over 5 miles. I just took it easy, as much as I wanted to push and see the top, or feel a burn in my lungs and legs, but this was about aerobic strength. Eric tells me the hard and fast workouts up here will happen, but not today.  (This both terrifies and excites will come) We eased up the big climbs and coasted on the less steep sections. It felt easy! Really! 2,500 vertical feet of fun and easy! 

Descending that kind of vert is a workout in itself and the steep grade forces some great eccentric muscle work that you just can't replicate in the gym. We flew down! I could barely keep up with my feet and it didn't feel like pounding...more like flying in my Helios, which tolerated the pounding and steep downs like a champ- grippy, no toe box squish, and cushy. I might be a convert from my favorite La Sportiva Bushidos....maybe. 

pick up Jackson style

I ended this beautiful, spring-like day picking up my favorite little man from school in the stroller. We talked a lot on the ride home, but he isn't too impressed with my climbs. He just wants me to hurry home so he can play legos...keeping it real buddy, thanks. 

Was it scary when you started  your blog? Any suggestions for a newbie?