Fresh off the month of June - getting a less than desired 152 miles in - Sunday June 30th marked 7 weeks till Pikes Peak Marathon race day. July for me is the crucial training month. Due to the 6 week layoff for the sprained ankle that kept me from running at all until mid May - I really focused on June just getting that stronger and getting into better overall fitness. I am less trained than where I was last year at this time - but hoping that will translate into being a little more "fresher" when it comes to race day.
I have a lot of work to do to get to the start line.
Ambitious month ahead - 2 x 26 mile training runs planned on the Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy, 2 Ascents of Pikes Peak planned, 2 races: (Barr Trail Mtn Race & Classic 10K), lots of running vertical, lots of high altitude running and in the neighborhood of about 200 total miles.
One of the most ridiculously hard training runs I did last year was 1 minute repeats going up Barr Trail. Starting at the Cog Railway (BTMR start line) and going 1 minute running as hard as possible, then 1 minute recovery (try to walk forward rather than keel over), rinse and repeat. I did 40 minutes of this last year, twice. That was enough for me.
I had conveniently forgotten how tough it was - so this morning I thought I would do it for 4 miles up, then 4 miles down. For those familiar with Ruxton Avenue - the first 1/2 mile or so on the paved section just above Hydro Street is actually steeper than most of the Barr Trail. 1 minute into my run, I was ready to roll over and tap out. The second minute (which was the recovery minute) into my run I couldn't breathe, couldn't see straight and couldn't move forward at all.
60 seconds is not a long time, especially when trying to recover - it ended way too soon and I ran again. Hard, hurting, suffering, desperately looking at my watch counting down the seconds till that next minute passed. It finally did, I was spent. I managed to walk / shuffle forward for another minute. The pattern continued, I made it up the W's in about 29 minutes, kept going, and going, and slowing, and going.
Finally, an hour after I started I had gone 4 miles - a blistering 15 minute per mile average. I had gained 2600' and was a wobbly mess. I took a minute to catch my breath, drink some fluids and then start back down. Again the plan was 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, and continue all the way back to the Cog Railway. I need to get my body used to the downhill pounding for PPM. It's really 2 races in one: the 13 miles up gaining almost 8000 vertical feet, followed immediately by coming back down the same trail.
It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't pretty, running almost as fast as I could downhill, almost out of control at time - for minute long sections, then braking to a slow walk for a minute. Doing this (hopefully) didn't trash my legs too much, yet also helped with the needed quick tempo foot placing, especially over the several rocky sections. Back down in 40 minutes. All told: 50 x 1 minute on, 50 x 1 minute off. That's a math equation I don't want to see again soon.
A very tough training run, I'll be doing similar ones again on the trail - but not often, they hurt too much.