This will certainly amuse the big mileage runners out there, but I had a huge week when I logged 56 miles last week. Add to that the "long" run in Chicago last Saturday and I had a total of over 69 miles logged during an 8-day period in which I ran five times. Include the 8K+ feet of climbing and ascending, and you have what I deem a quality ultra week.
Last weekend I completed two runs of over 13 miles, giving me an "ultra" weekend. Then, yesterday, I was able to travel to LBL to run on the Canal Loop. I covered 27 miles in 3:29 with a little over 3000 feet of up/down. It was warmer and certainly more muggy than I wanted it to be, which slowed me near the end, but I finished what I started while testing some gear I hope to use this summer (more in a blog I'm writing). It was a good day of suffering that should help prepare me mentally and physically for the immense vertical changes of the San Juan Solstice 50 in four weeks.
Of note is the fact that this felt like my first run on the Canal Loop. Sure, I've run the loop about a dozen times before, but all of those runs came during the winter months. That means no canopy of foliage and only brown leaves and fallen trees for understory. The dense May foliage gave the trail a new look. It also blocked most of the views of the two lakes that had only recently retreated from the the flood stage reached because of the recent onslaught of rain. The result was some slightly muddy low areas and an occasional dead fish smell. Overall, I gladly welcomed the color and the sun block.
The results of this week show me that I possess greater climbing ability than I did last year before the Silver Rush - despite the fact that I have purposefully kept my weight quite high. One of the goals I established for this ultra summer was to go into it capable of running 16-18 miles at a sub-6 pace on low altitude roads. This was accomplished by the consistent pace work that started in March. The plan calls for adding climbing abilities to that speed. The late March NC trip and the 48 recent Stru climbs indicate that I am climbing well - for me. So far, so good.
I must add that the constant changing of my athletic goals - from runner to ultra runner to duathlete to 14er - has kept my legs and mind fresh over the last several years. I am really looking forward to experiencing the San Juans this summer as a runner, cyclist, and climber. I am also looking forward to spending some time in the Leadville area, which has been a summer home for me over the last five years.