Sunday, February 24, 2013

Playing in the Snow!

Despite the fact that this was a recovery week, it was full of variety and I got to mix things up very nicely. We finally got some decent snow, so Max and I went snow biking. Well I at least rode the bike. Max ran, mountain biking is a trick he hasn’t quite mastered yet. I also got in a couple short runs with no sign of pain, so I’ll start bringing running back into the routine. My focus will still be mountain biking this summer though.
Snow Biking with Max

When Max and I ride/run in the early morning, we run along a creek and Max often lurches and growls at the other side. Since we are up way before sunrise I cannot see anything but darkness, so I had no idea what has been grabbing his attention most mornings. This week we had bright fresh snow reflecting the light from the stars and moon almost making it seem like daylight. When Max started lurching at the creek, I looked over and saw a coyote on the other side running along beside us. He ran with us for quite a way before disappearing off through someone’s back yard. As we got a mile or so further Max took off like he was chasing a rabbit and disappeared around a turn in the trail. As I come around the bend I saw him chasing a coyote much bigger than himself. A smaller coyote came out from a clump of bushes and Max went after him. This one seemed to be much younger and actually appeared to want to play. Max and the coyote seemed to be playing, running in and out of the trees until Mr. Coyote saw me approaching and then decided to beat feet out of the area. Max started to go after him but I called him back and we continued our run. Another mile or so later out of the corner of my eye, I caught yet another coyote running alongside us on the other side of the creek. Throughout the rest of the week, I spotted at least one coyote during our morning run/rides. The night, illuminated by the snow’s light reflection, enable me to see these guys when I otherwise wouldn’t. Judging by Max’s reaction, they’re there every morning, I just never saw them until now.
Max Sniffing Coyote Tracks
Let's Go!!!

As much fun as it is to play in the snow, it can be a bit treacherous when commuting to and from work. It appears the city of Colorado Springs forgot there is a northern part of town, at least when it comes to snowplows. Many of the side streets through the neighborhoods have turned to solid sheets of ice. I almost went down once in traffic but somehow stayed up after hitting an icy patch. I did go down on a side road with no traffic and slid about a 100 feet on my chest and face. Lucky it was all ice so no road rash. Other than that, I welcome the snow, we certainly need it. And it is SO fun to go snow biking on the trails.

As far as training, it was quite a mix this week. Snow biking, commuting, road riding, trainer rides, and a couple runs. And this was an easy recovery week! Next week, starts another four week phase that will raise the bar for both intensity and endurance. Looking forward to it!
Hitting the Hills at the Air Force Academy
Stats for the week:
Distance: 166.55 mi
Time: 16:23:35 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 6,223 ft
Avg Speed: 11.6 mph
Avg HR: 112 bpm

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Feb on the Bike

Dan Durland, Kevin Cahn, and Kara Durland
Pueblo Reservoir
Plantar Facetious can be a stubborn injury. After weeks of absolutely zero running, lots of stretching, icing, and doing all the things one is supposed to do my foot is still not ready to return to the runner’s world. At the end of six weeks it felt like the pain was completely gone so I gave it a shot and went for a very slow three mile run with Max. It felt OK with no pain. I waited two days and did a four mile run; still no pain. The following weekend, four miles on Saturday and seven on Sunday. Slight pain Sunday evening but gone by Monday. Seven miles on Tuesday and still OK. Thursday an eight mile run and the pain returned, not bad, but it was back. So with that I’ve decided to scratch running the Ave of Giants Marathon and pretty much scratch running altogether and focus on mountain biking, this year.

The good news is without all the running, I am feeling very strong on the bike. Training has been awesome and I can feel my power and enthusiasm returning to pre-running levels. I look forward to hard intense rides and am beginning to feel like I belong in fast group rides again. Max certainly misses the daily runs, but I’ve been taking him out mountain biking 2 – 3 times a week; albeit on  dark & chilly 4:30 am February mornings!

In my opinion there is a big difference in training for cycling  vs running. Maybe I’d change my opinion if I trained specifically for running, but I feel cycling requires much more “intense” training than running. Running races (and running in general) is much more steady then cycling. In running one tends to go at a consistent effort while cycling is much more like doing intervals for hours at a time. I once ran a 10 mile race and my average heart rate was 160 beats per minute.  I rode a three hour mountain bike race and my average heart rate was 160 beats per minute. However when the heart rates were graphed they didn’t look anything alike. My run graph was almost a straight line with my heart rate pretty much steady between 158 and 162. The graph from the mountain bike race however was all over the place, ranging from the low 140s to the low 180s.  So in that respect the two disciplines are nothing alike.
February has been very unseasonalably warm in Colorado Springs, with temps in the 40s and 50s during the day and very little snow. While this isn’t a good thing for the environment, it does provide the opportunity to get in some decent training. So far this winter I’ve been consistently getting in 200+ miles a week of riding. This is mainly due to not sharing my workouts with running but the abnormally warm weather is also playing a role.  This week was almost perfect - two good hard tempo rides, a super hard mountain bike ride with the God and Goddess of Single Speeds; Dan & Kara Durland, and a long 4 ½ hour road ride to end the week.

Goddess of the Single Speed - Kara Durland

This week was also the third week of a four week cycle, so I’ll be taking a much needed rest next week. Taking a rest week every four or five weeks really helps recharge the batteries both physically and mentally which in the ends helps prevent burn-out or getting into a rut. The last three weeks have been the most consistent, hard, and disciplined training I’ve done in a while. Maybe because I haven’t been mixing the running and biking. I feel good about my progress. I’m looking forward to a rest week and then taking on the next cycle and preparing for a summer of hard racing and adventure!