Kim’s Bad Knee 10?

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I really needed this run. It felt great! I’m kidding about adding a 10K to the Kim’s Bad Knee 5K — routing a course to the Peninsula Loop trail for a winter race would be irresponsible. Sections could be underwater, or worse, underwater and covered in ice. And how many flags would I need to mark this course?

Juniper Dunes Hike

Yesterday, I headed into the Juniper Dunes Wilderness with the intent to spend the night. I want to test out the modifications I’ve made to my 1-person tent (dropped 13 ounces from its weight), and I really want to sleep outside.

Quick version: I didn’t spend the night, but I had a good hike in the land of the Yakama Nation and Palouse Nation. Read on if you’re curious about the rest of the day.

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Adjusting to the Pandemic

How are you doing, friends?

I’ve had drastically alter my expectations, and not just because my races have been cancelled. Initially, not being able to travel to work on my parents’ house was a blessing, as I could resume training. I’d missed about a month of long runs, but I still had four months until my “A” race – Millersylvania 50K. (As of now, the race is still on the calendar. However, I cannot imagine the Washington State Parks will allow the race to happen as it’ll be a sizable gathering of people, and they’re still not allowing camping in state parks.)

The week before Washington enacted its stay-at-home orders, I started feeling sick. That illness stayed with me for about a week, meaning I lost even more training time. That, combined with making food & drink choices based upon my stress levels rather than good fueling choices, pretty much doomed training for a June 50K.

In the year since my parents’ automobile accident, I’ve gained about fifteen pounds — most of that has come in the last seven months. I don’t mind being fat, and even at 180 pounds I’m lighter than I was ten years ago, but the extra weight puts too much stress on my joints. I had a few runs during which I really struggled.

I finally admitted to myself that I needed to scrap training for the 50K. I’ve started doing shorter runs and just running, not doing prescribed workouts. My intent is to start preparing my body for hiking Section K in August. (That is dependent upon the US Forest Service opening recreational access to the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests. I’m hopeful it’ll happen.) I can do that by continuing to improve my cardiovascular health by running and by hiking. If Millersylvania isn’t cancelled, I’ll offer to volunteer in exchange for deferring my race entry to next year. (We have reservations for a site in the campground, and I’d love to go camping that weekend.)

Last weekend, I hiked in the Juniper Dunes Wilderness with a couple of friends. We used the north entrance, which is only open to the public March-May, and only for day use. Fortunately, none of us went in with a pace or distance agenda. It was slow going, but that was largely due to us stopping & chatting a lot. I’m heading out there again this upcoming weekend, but I’m going to spend the night in the wilderness. That means parking in the ORV area at the southwest corner & hiking in through the ORV area. I’m excited to finally get to spend a night outside, even if it means sleeping on the ground like a primitive.

I’ve noticed over the last week or so that my left ankle can be a bit balky. I suspect I twisted it during a run and didn’t notice it at the time because it didn’t hurt. Alas, that’s another penalty of being 180 pounds. I may have to focus more on walking & hiking than running for a while.

Millersylvania 50K Training: Week 3

I’m writing this from my parents’ house on Whidbey. I decided to take a week off work to come over & see how much work I can get done. Next week is a recovery week, so I have more time available for working.

Week 3 started well. Monday’s run was supposed to be four miles, easy. I did a little less than that at Chamna. It’s my typical Chamna run: a bit of chaotic fun. I ran in the Carson’s, and I’m happy to report that my right knee didn’t hurt. I’ve started stretching my hamstrings & quadriceps for three minutes each morning, and I believe it’s helping.

Tuesday’s run was five miles, steady pace. I’m using a 4:1 run(9:00-13:00 mile)/walk fast (15:00-18:00 mile) ratio on these runs. My core class is 4:30-5:30 Tuesdays & Thursdays. I decided to do the run in the evening, after the core class. My options for running in the morning are limited, as I face a mile of pavement to get to dirt if I’m starting at my house. That’s almost as time-consuming as driving to Chamna to do a pre-work run.

I did this run on the Badger Loop trail at Badger Mountain. The outer loop is just shy of a half-mile. I ran the outer loop, ran figure-8s using the shorter loop, ran clockwise, ran counter clockwise. I basically ran in circles for 68 minutes. It was a pretty good workout. Doing the 4/1 intervals kept it from being boring, as did hurdling over the tumbleweeds in the trail.

Wednesday was supposed to be a 50-minute cardio workout. Until we get the bike set up in the garage, I’m kind of limited in what kind of non-weight bearing cardio I can do. We both got up early to get Spike to the vet at seven that morning, but I didn’t get up early enough to attempt fifty minutes on that cardio glider. The results of Spike’s diagnostic imaging are that she most likely has lymphosarcoma. We’re not going to aggressively treat it, as she’s elderly (17), frail, and going to the vet causes her a lot of distress. While I’m glad we have a reason for her continuing to lose weight (she’s down to 6.4 pounds), it was a somber night. I decided to make Wednesday a rest day, go home, eat pizza, drink beer, and cuddle my cat.

The rest day was originally scheduled for Thursday, so I moved the “cardio” to Thursday and decided my core workout class was “cardio.” It’s really not, but it’s a good workout.

Friday’s scheduled workout was my first “real” workout on this training plan – pyramid intervals. I’d planned to do them at Badger Flats, but when I started getting dressed for the workout I realized I’d left my Garmin 910 at home. I didn’t have a way to accurately re-create the workout without it, and given that I feel like I started this program several steps behind where I should be I really wanted to do this workout correctly. I knew that once I arrived home it was highly unlikely I’d go out & do the workout. So I moved things around once again.

I’d already planned to go snowshoeing on Saturday instead of doing the 5 easy-pace miles that was on the calendar. (I drove to Whidbey Island on Saturday, and I planned to snowshoe at Lake Wenatchee State Park.) I figured I’d move Friday’s workout to Sunday, move Sunday’s 5-8 miles to Monday. It messed up the “recovery” week next week is supposed to be, but I figured I’d let my body decided to rest when it needed it most.

As I drove through Leavenworth & Tumwater Canyon, my plans changed again. It was rainy, and while the rain turned to snow, it was a really heavy, wet snow. I figured I’d just drive on through to Whidbey & do the intervals Saturday afternoon. And that’s what I did.

My plan worked: I figured the climb up the Ridge Trail at South Whidbey State Park was less than 15 minutes, and it was. I got up the flat ridge line & ran my intervals on it – back & forth. The workout was 54 minutes long, and I hit the 54-minute mark just as I arrived back in the parking lot.

This interval workout was fun. I set my “fast” pace as 9:00/mile – 13:00/mile; I should revise that for the next workout to 9:00/mile – 11:45/mile. I don’t do this particular workout again until Week 10. That workout will be tougher, as it starts with a 2-minute interval instead of 1 & the longest interval is 6 minutes instead of 3, but I have numerous hill workouts between now and then, and I should be able to handle the fast pace for longer intervals.

That leaves five easy miles today. There’s a note that it’s okay to walk or hike. My legs feel pretty good – stretching is really helping – so I’m inclined to head to the trails at Fort Ebey State Park & do some power hiking. Millersylvania 50K is relatively easy – 300′ feet of elevation gain & loss per 10K loop – but a couple of the races I’m doing leading up to that have long, sustained climbs. I’m not trying to get into good enough shape to run them, but power hiking up them will be a good idea.

I’ve been working off & on while writing this; I figure I’ll load up the truck with stuff to take to the transfer station, and after I unload that stuff I’ll head out for my hike.

As I mentioned, next week is a recovery week. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything to deserve a recovery week, but I know the importance of not overloading. So I’ll do those workouts & give my body a bit of break this week. I’ve got enough to keep me busy.