Scree Sessions: March 21-27

Continuing with drastic increases in mileage and vert this week to no apparent detriment. I obviously don’t understand the concept of gradually increasing one’s volume; my strategy is rather to panic about a race and start slogging my face off like there’s no tomorrow. So much for the 20km/1000m “rut” I found myself in a couple weeks back; the last few outings have proven that I haven’t lost much of the skill or strength I had going into CCC last summer, and in retrospect I was extremely well prepared for that event, despite my laissez-faire approach. A co-worker and I were discussing the value of things like VO2max and lactate threshold and concluded that it’s easy to make running too complicated for oneself. Running can be as simple or complicated as one wishes — as minimalist as striking out in a pair of sneakers — however, I’ve spent several seasons doing just that and am now looking to get the best performance possible out of this scrawny slogging machine.

Weekly total: 13h53m/94km/5284m

tunnelle303/22/15 – Tunnel/Hoodoos loop – 2h41m/16km/484m
My easy day. Met Glenn at the Tunnel TH and slogged it to the top. Took a few pics, descended and looped around back then booted out to the Hoodoos viewpoint. Ran back, dropped down towards the river and completed a loop around Tunnel with our headlamps on. Ran to The Banff Centre, fist bumped, then went our respective ways.

3x03/25/15 – Sulphur x2 + Tunnel/Hoodoos/Tunnel -7h13m/49km/2400m
Had plans to hit up the false peak of Cascade Mountain this morning but the weather remained in a gray, misty state which didn’t make me feel like spending much time above 2500m. I opted to slog up the backside of Sulphur to the top then descended the frontside down to the trailhead where I filled up water at the Hot Springs and headed back the way I came. Ran back up the frontside of Sulphur to the top where I was greeted by a rescue helicopter evacuating even more people who had strayed from the icy trail and gotten lost and cold (this is becoming a weekly occurance on this mountain). I pounded a Builder Bar and sprinted back down the soft yet sufficiently packed snow on the back of the mountain, then home to my apartment.
I switched my sneakers then headed out towards Tunnel, ascending the main trail to the top and descending the precariously steep and forested north shoulder past Tunnel Mountain Rd. to Otter St., then booted out to the Hoodoos viewpoint. Although feeling surprisingly fresh, I was aware of a lack of food in my stomach (or in my bag, for that matter), so I turned around and descended into the Bow River valley, caught the start of the loose goatpath up the SW shoulder of Tunnel, slogged to the top once again, and now definitively famished, stumbled down the main trail with a headlamp on and raced home to make a grilled cheese.

SULFERPANO03/27/15 – Sulphur “Tick Tock” – 3h59m/29km/1850m
Ran up to the Sulphur TH, dropped off work clothes at the Hot Springs then jogged up the frontside and tagged Sanson’s Peak. Dropped down the back of the mountain, careening through soft, deep snow with overgrown shrubs snapping at me, to the Sundance Canyon junction, then turned around and reascended slightly softer snow to the top and descended the frontside to work. A beautiful day — the warmest yet this year ๐Ÿ™‚

Scree Sessions: March 21-27

Scree Sessions: March 12-20

Turning up the volume and reducing the velocity: that’s been the theme of this week. My mindset has shifted to training more concertedly for the demands of the Mont Blanc 80K which is three months away. Lately I’d been stuck in a rut – of only running ~20km and climbing ~1000m during my “long runs” – which I’m glad I broke free from this week with a sufferfest up Rundle followed by Sulphur. Conditions remain unseasonably mild and relatively dry and springlike, save for a recent powder day which made my ascent of Rundle a little more tiring than usual. Weekly total: 83km/4889m vert

03/12/15 – Sulphur – 1h54m/18.4km/870m
Super fast splits; quickish to TH (24m); then, didn’t seem fast but must have been steady and consistent to summit (44m); then a fairly short break on top (4m); then a steady sprint down the trail and back to my apartment (42m). Felt great pre-run as I’d taken the previous couple days off to rest tight ITBs and felt elated afterwards.

03/13/15 – Grotto – 2h11m/6.6km/860m
Should have done nothing, or cross-trained, but took the opportunity to drive to Canmore and scope out the direct trail up Grotto Mountain, which I’ve never done before. It felt cold leaving the car in my short shorts but was soon slogging shirtless up the steep singletrack. The lower part of the trail was good, the upper part was very loose and braided and a combination of factors sent me the signal that today wasn’t the day to bag the summit. I cut my losses and headed down. Loose subalpine terrain like that is fun (or whatever) but not very conducive for race training purposes as I don’t expect to encounter trail (or lack thereof) like that in Chamonix this summer or anywhere else.

Screen shot 2015-03-21 at 10.12.58 AM03/18/15 – Rundle + Sulphur – 7h14m/39km/2400m
Ran up Rundle trail from home and postholed up the Dragon’s Back to the summit. Snapped a few pics, slammed my knee on a rock buried under deep snow, then stumbled back down the ridge and headed home. Switched into dry shoes and headed up Sulphur. Sulphur slog was labored to say the least. My longest run and most vertical yet this year. Peep the Movescount data for this trip here.

IMAG568103/20/15 – Tunnel/Hoodoos/Tunnel – 2h29m/19km/759m
Ran up Tunnel via main trail, descended and swung around back and ran rolling singletrack along the bench to Hoodoos viewpoint. Then ran back, dropped down toward the river and caught the start of the loose, steep goatpath that ascends Tunnel’s southwest shoulder. Pounded it hands-on-knees to the top, then descended via the main trail back to town and thence to my apartment.

Scree Sessions: March 12-20