Monday, June 9, 2014

Spring Run Off!

The "epicness" of races is so easy to remember... but it's hard to remember how hard the race actually is. Usually, the more epic, the harder it is. But when signing up for a race, I tend to forget how hard a race is... despite how epic I remember it being.

The Vail 10k Spring Run Off is the race I'm speaking of. With just over 1,600ft of gain in 6.9 miles, this is one of the hardest 10k races I've ever done. Especially when you consider most of it is well over 8,000ft.

The course is slightly technical with roughly 40% of the course being run on steep single track (either goes up or down), 40% on wide resort service roads, 10% goes straight up (or down) a ski run (on grass) and the last 10% on paved path/road.

I showed up late afternoon on Saturday to pick up my packet after an early work day in Taos, NM and a long 7hr drive from Taos to Vail. I was dealing with a migraine (most likely due to dehydration) when I went to bed and wasn't sure what to expect of this run. The past couple weeks have consisted of 10 days at the beach in the BVI's....

Yeah... we sailed and drank lots of beer. 
... and a week of TRYING to get back into running/training mode. My training week last week consisted of:
Tuesday - 5.5 miles in Speedwork with EK Team. (9:02 min/mile avg including warm-up/cool-down)
Wednesday - 16 miles on road bike
Thursday - 8 miles on trail. 600ft of gain (lame) at an avg of 10:20 min/mile. Lungs ACTUALLY hurt.
Friday - Morning 5.5 miles around Boulder Rez at an avg of 9:32 min/mile. Still felt slow, but MUCH better.
Saturday - Day Off
Sunday - Spring 10k Run Off.

Let me tell you this- The first few runs after a running break (regardless of it being 10 days or 10 months) will suck. I may as well take a 5 year break. The 4th or 5th run back  though, you start to feel as your old self again. I never thought I'd push through 8 on Thursday, but glad I did.

As I was getting ready to start the race, my Garmin died. #EndOfWorld. Ok, not really. I still decided to just push through it and see where that took me. I did get a chance to pull up the elevation profile from last year's race from my Garmin account since it wasn't posted on the website. I was glad to see the general picture of 4 big climbs:

This made it much easier for me to stay in the game (mentally). I tried to maintain a conservative pace on the downhills as I didn't want to blow up my quads. Off we go... Jog for 1/2 a mile, power hike. Easy run down. On to the second climb- power hike, jog down. On to the third- power hike, jog down (picked up pace). On to the fourth- power hike. Gosh was I slow... Well, thankfully, I didn't have my Garmin and I couldn't see how SLOW I was going, so I just figured that as long as a I put a foot in front of the other. I'd get there. The 4th climb is the shortest (although steepest) so I saw the aid station at the top quite fast. I snapped a quick pic at the end of the climb...

Gorgeous views of the Gore Range

... and as you can see from the runner in the picture, it just starts going down. All the way down to the finish. I, again, picked up the pace. I'm sure I was running in the high 7's, but that's just an assumption since I didn't have my watch (actually, it may have been slower since I was WAY tired, but let's just pretend I was FLYING down the mtn). I finished in 1h27m23s which is 12 minutes faster than last year. I will call it good.

Today, I managed to run 8.5 miles despite my sore quads and butt... I plan on a quality speedwork with Team EK tomorrow, ride on Wednesday and one short, mellow run on either Thursday or Friday before the Leadville Marathon on Saturday. I have figured out a strategy and will post details about it tomorrow.

Gorgeous run today with Linds and her co-worker Viki
What's been your biggest struggle getting back into training after a vacation or a short or long break? 

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