Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pikes Peak Ascent: Training and Goals

I've decided to put down my training plan and then my race goals.  If for no other reason than should I do the Ascent next year - to NOT follow the plan I did this year.

On June 23rd I found out I had a torn meniscus in my right knee - surgery also later revealed significant tissue damage due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Surgery was July 12th.  On July 23rd after being cleared to exercise - I started carefully using a stationary bike, then an elliptical.  Did those for a while - with the purpose of trying to build some general fitness, all the while not trying to have my knee hurt any more than it did.

On August 4th I got on a treadmill and walked / jogged / shuffled a mile - taking 16:45 to do so.  The next day I did another mile, in 13:45.  With 2 weeks to go before race day I had 2 miles of training completed. 

At this stage, my race goal was simply to beat the cut off time of 6 1/2 hours.

Sunday, Aug 7th my (12 yr old) son and I drove to the Summit of Pikes Peak and managed carefully to go down the Barr Trail 3 miles to the A-Frame Shelter.  It took us just over an hour, purposefully being careful on the knee.  The trip up took us 70 minutes.   After that, my race goal moved to 6 hours.

On Tuesday (Aug 9) I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at max (10%) incline, increasing speed as I went - was okay - giving me confidence.  Thursday came around and I decided to get back on Barr Trail.  This time from the race start line and go up the W's, maybe even further.

I posted about that run and was deliberately vague.  I was out for 4 hours but didn't write how far up the trail I went.  Time to come clean.  I went all the way up to Barr Camp - took me 2 hours and 5 minutes.  I rested there for a good chunk of time and then came back down for the 4 hour round trip - total distance: 10 1/4 miles.

I realize it is silly to do this - but that put me on track for about a 4 hour Ascent.  (I did in my post say that I was on track for less than 5 hours).  Was that my new goal?  Honestly - no.  4 hours would be ridiculous, however - 5 hours was the new goal.

Next 2 days no running, still using the bike and eliptical.  Sunday, Aug 14th I did another building block run - 10 miles, on rolling roads and managed to maintain a 9 min mile average.

Monday - drove up to the Summit again - went down 3 miles, then back up 3 miles, the return trip up in 60 minutes flat.  The top mile is definitely the hardest, I struggled for sure.

The legs are tired, in fact I decided yesterday that I should not run anymore till race day.  I did 45 minutes on the Eliptical this morning, will ride a few miles on the bike tomorrow, then nothing this Friday.  So, a brief recap - total (running) training miles 37 1/4.

That leads me to Saturday, race day and my goals.

Honestly, I will be disappointed if I don't beat 5 hours.  Probably be a little miffed if I can't beat 4 1/2 hours.  I would like to think that 4:21 is doable - that being the average time. 

Here is where I go nuts...... I give myself a chance of actually doing the thing in 4 hours. 

I have broken the race into 4 sections.  I am going to be yelling at myself going up the W's to not push it, even positioning myself at the start line to be slowed by the crowds.  If I take that as easy as possible it may give me a chance after No Name Creek to run and pick up the pace.

So, my second section of the race will be No Name to Barr Camp - the so called "flat section".  If I can - I expect to run 2/3rds to 3/4's of that.  If I get to Barr Camp in 2 hours - depending on how I feel, I will know if I can attempt to beat 4 hours total.

The next section is a mystery to me: I've never been from Barr Camp to A-Frame.  From what I have read and heard - it ain't pretty.  I'll make sure at Barr Camp to fuel up and try to gut it out.

A-Frame to the Summit..... I don't expect this to be done in an hour like I did 2 days ago - but I do hope to be able to run in spots - even if they are little spots.  The 16 golden stairs may kill me, but if I can keep moving through them and make it to the top - I will be very happy.

Next post will be my race report on Saturday night.

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