After a month or so of ramping up training, I just wrapped up my first "vert week" of this training cycle. Vert Week means lots of hiking uphill/slow running when possible, and training my body to find that sweet spot that lets me move uphill all damn day long :) I let myself have a chill week last week, running a gentle 18 miles total with an 8 mile hike thrown in there with my Mom + Sis for mother's day. It was a nice, refreshing week for resetting my legs and figuring out if any niggles existed after my BIG 26-mile week the week prior.
Since the upcoming 50M is set almost entirely about 10,000' in elevation and has a pretty delicious looking climb at the start, hiking has been a big focus of mine throughout my recovery process. I've also starting having more focused sessions in the Altitude Room at Evolution Healthcare + Fitness - a resource I am beyond thankful to have at my disposal. I've also been lifting regularly - like with weights and everything. It may come as a shock to everyone that I've never lifted weights before (except during rock season, when I've been known to do some pretty basic upper body training), but that's the truth. And I've noticed a freaking massive payoff over the course of my very brief weight-lifting career so far. More to come on that later....
Anyway, Andy and I both work 7-4ish so running before work is a challenge for us both. On Tuesday night, we managed to pull off a post-work run of the Angels-Devils Loop with an accidental Wahkeena Falls detour: https://www.strava.com/activities/2368637464/overview.
Andy + Cinder climbing up to Angel's Rest
It was a great outing and it was a good place to start level-setting my uphill legs after so much time away. It was also freaking RAD to see how well the area is recovering from the Eagle Creek Fire! Nature is so resilient.
Cinder kept up with us like the champion she is and seemed pretty darn unfazed by the 11.5 miles of vert and forest. This was a good thing given what we had planned for the weekend :)
I did some PT last Wednesday, had a quick lunch run on Thursday (cut very short by a heated disagreement between my GI tract and corn, which I have now identified as a catalyst for the headaches I've had since I tried reintroducing it), and I hiked on the Treadmill at 11,000' on Friday morning before sitting through a 6-hour work meeting.
Saturday, we set out to try the Triple D Challenge in the Columbia River Gorge. In short, this challenge entails running Dog Mountain, Devil's Rest, and Mount Defiance in one day- a total of ~25 miles with ~10,000' of climbing. It would be my biggest run in a long time but I figured that with it being about 50% fast hiking, I had a chance of completing it. If I felt tweaks after climb #2, I could always bow out...
Well, as we were rolling through Stevenson on our way to Dog, we realized that you need a permit to climb Dog Mountain in the Spring! Our plan was immediately foiled and, after a desperate trip to use a public restroom (my GI tract is still sorting itself out), we decided to forgo Dog in favor of Table Mountain- twice as long and with a couple K more of climbing but, knowing how runnable the way in and out is, we decided to go for it. Cinder led the entire time (little badass) and we conservatively made our way through the climbs and carefully picked our way up and down the boulder field toward the top.
In total it was 15 miles + 4600' of vert: https://www.strava.com/activities/2378693375
Legs still feeling great, we devoured a bag of chips on our way over to Mount Defiance, which neither of us had been up before. Its reputation is notorious and, despite having about an hour of rest beforehand, my lungs felt pretty damn shot on the lengthy climb to the top. My legs felt pretty good but my lungs were riding the pain train for sure. Historically, my legs die long before my lungs so I took this as a good sign that I'm just needing to keep building up my endurance. Yay STRENGTH TRAINING!
Cinder somehow managed to have snow zoomies toward the top (what the heck, dog?!) and kept us motivated all the way back to the car. I'd mistakenly inhaled a protein bar before we left Table Mountain so my stomach was in bad shape for most of the climb... marking those off of my 'race day packing list'!
In total Defiance gave us 11.2 miles + just under 5k of vert: https://www.strava.com/activities/2378694314
We both agreed that we needed to call it a day after our off-the-couch marathon but we did so in good spirits. It's a nice thing to have completed this early in my short training cycle! Also, it was Cinder's furthest distance covered in a day EVER by about 14 miles and she crushed it so hard!