Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mountain Project and fall outings

For almost a year, I have been basing my training approach on advice from Mike Wolfe and his new business, Mountain Project.  And I continue to grow stronger and more durable, both racing and in the mountains.  I recently got in touch with Mike again after a summer of hard high intensity work, and was reminded once again how helpful his insight has been.
A couple of my home strength workouts.  Stale.
Looking forward to working with Mike to focus this hard but very important work.
As the days get shorter, and folks turn from a summer of playing outside to more focused work in the gym, I heartily recommend working with Mountain Project to sharpen your preparation for ski season or any other demanding mountain sport.  Mike has spent over a decade pushing his body to (and at times over) the limit, and as a result, has a complete understanding of what works and does not.  He is also a mountain athlete in the purest sense, and has tuned his training for moving efficiently in the mountains.  Check it out here.

Here's to a few weeks of alternating between strength work in the gym, hanging out with Mr. Samuel, and trapsing around the hills, soaking in the wonder of of fall.
Snowbowl lap with Sam.
Throw in golden larch and a few sets of baby squats and you have yourself a nice fall outing.
Since Blue Mountain, I have been out a reasonable amount, but have generally been skunked by weather.  Jeffrey and I tried to do a Sweeney peak/Holloway lake loop in the Bitterroot on a frosty Saturday morning, but bailed on the ridge traverse due to rime ice and hateful, biting wind.  We still ran up through the beautiful chain of lakes to Holloway, and made it into a quality outing.  Must get back and do this one soon.
Snow at Holloway lake.  Feeling vindicated with our decision to bail from the alpine.
Jeffrey, heading home.
I also failed massively on the must-do North to West fork Loop in the Great Burn.  I turned around at the Stateline in a semi-hypothermic state after being hammered with rain for several hours.  Ditto on getting back to do this one.
Rainy day in the Great Burn.
Members of these conservation partners in the Great Burn may be
diametrically opposed politically, but are working together
to make a positive difference on the ground.  Thanks.
And, after rain put the kibosh on a planned Lolo pass bike ride, I did my first 100-mile bike outing, riding to Hamilton and back on the paved Bitterroot trail, with a small additional detour to fill 'er out to 100 mi.  Aside from an hour of unpleasant 40 degree rain and getting a little whopped by 6 hours on the bike, it was a fun outing.  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Blue Mountain 30K, 2016

Mile 7.  Photo: Kyle Story
I once again had a great time running the Blue Mountain 30K.  I showed up well rested and surprisingly prepared for a 6-week old father thanks in large part to Leah’s support.  I was excited to race, and soon enough we were off.  The pace in the lead group felt about right, so I settled in a pack of four, moving briefly into the lead before settling into a comfortable 3rd place, which I would hold for the entire first climb.  

Running with the lead group early on.
At the top of the first climb, Nicole Hunt and I passed Michael, and I took the lead at the first aid.  I pushed the downhill at a smooth and fastish pace, which I hoped would be enough to put a small gap on my pursuers, but to my minor dismay, they held in and even closed the gap a bit on the climb to the second aid station.  It was great to see my family at the second aid, even though I just rolled through.  The remaining climb to Hayes and run down to the last aid went OK, but Nicole remained a stubborn 30 seconds back.  Ready to either secure the lead or go down trying, I decided to push it as we both fired up the last climb.  The effort was sufficient to finally gain a small gap to the top, and I rolled as fast as my legs would go to the finish.  I almost took one spill, and cramped once, but kept it together, crossing the line appropriately whopped, about four minutes faster than my previous best. Nicole came in about two minutes later, having broken the women’s course record (I think).  Thanks for Runner's Edge, Mike Foote, and the Hellgate team for putting on another great race.

Milton (on bike) was nice enough to provide encouragement and traffic control near the finish.
Happy Storyberg family at the finish.
In terms of analysis, the race went well. The field was small, and even though I had a good run, a similar performance would not even yield a top 30 finish at the Rut.  But a win is a win, I guess, and it did feel like race with constant pressure from Nicole.  Preparation was a lot different in the past (more biking, more Vo2 max work, targeted strength work on a few weak muscle groups, less running volume, less sleep), but a consistent, extended block of training translated well to good race performance.  Looking forward, I am excited to take a little break then return to hard efforts in late fall with renewed psyche.