Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 7th to April 13th

Monday, 4/7--Mt. Sentinel

1,915', 38:15

I wanted to give a good effort on Sentinel, hoping to break 40 minutes roundtrip.  I took it easier on the way down than on the way up, realizing that sub 40 was in the bag, with splits at about 25 minutes, and 13 minutes.  I'm pretty happy with this, but there's still room to knock a few minutes off.

Tuesday, 4/8--South Sentinel

1,917, 40:23

Two fast and short workouts in a row might not be the best plan, but I just felt good, and figured I could get a new best time on South Sentinel.  Taking the direct route, I hit the summit in 26:45, and ran down in 13 and change.  This was from my apartment door to the Pengelly rock.  Even early-ish in the day, with the temps in the low 50s, this still felt really warm.

Wednesday, 4/9--Crooked Canyon to South Sentinel

2,189', 1:16

I went out at an easy pace, and was happy to find an almost entirely dry Crooked Canyon.  Things are becoming a little greener, which might have been part of why this run felt really good.  It was nice to get a bit of flat in, skirting the slopes of South Sentinel.  I peeked at Smokejumper Trail a bit, and it seems to be in the same condition as Crooked Canyon.

Thursday, 4/10--Smokejumper Loop w/Jimmy, Jed, John

1,990', 1:28

Smokejumper is finally starting to dry out, but the upper sections still have a few sections that require walking.  We ran at an easy pace, chatting for most of the run.  It's really great getting out with these guys.

Friday, 4/11--Off

Saturday, 4/12--University Mt. + North Pengelly Trail

4,740, 2:10

I enjoy running in the rain every now and then, so I waited until the afternoon so I could hit the trails in the rain/snow.  This recovery week seems to be working, because the pace felt easy, but this was my first time hitting the summit of University in less than an hour from my apartment (better trail conditions may have helped as well).  The view was limited to a couple hundred feet at times, and the snow fell in big, fat, wet flakes.  Such a good outing.  I feel as though I've held back just enough to get hungry for more trail again.

Sunday, 4/13--Dean's House to Franklin Bridge and back

839', 3:32

An easy long run, maybe 21 or 22 miles, getting 8 miles back into the Rattlesnake Recreation Area.  There was a good bit of running on snow, which made the miles a little slow going for flattish terrain.  It's nice to finally be getting back into the woods again--8 miles from a road is the most remote I've been for over half a year!  The snow getting to the bridge was compact and minimally icy, but heading deeper into the Rattlesnake would be questionable right now (I think most of the trails get steeper from thereon).

13,590, 9:44

A bit of a recovery week with a long flat run at the end.  I'm getting better at hills, but might be sacrificing some of my turnover on flats.  That 22 mile flat run felt like more work than big days of vertical, maybe a sign that I need to balance hills with flats a little more.  I'm feeling good though, and am anxious to see how I handle loading more volume on now that I've recovered a bit.

John, Jed and Jimmy admiring Jumbo and the Rattlesnake from Sentinel

Snow highlighting the route down University

Rattlesnake Creek by Franklin Bridge

Ken, Doug, Tim and Dean deep in the Rattlesnake

Thee Oh Sees (really been getting into this band this year):

Sunday, April 6, 2014

March 31st to April 6th

Monday, 3/31--Sentinel x 2

3,884', 1:26

I felt really good on this run, with almost perfectly even splits (second time was 30 seconds slower), and felt as if I could keep going at that pace for awhile.  Right now, there's really only two sections where the snow is a little bothersome, but the trail is mostly dry, or at least has some divergent path that's runnable.

Tuesday, 4/1

AM--University Mt. via Pengelly

3,635, 1:44

It's still winter up near the summit of University, with the last mile being entirely snow covered.  I was able to hit this at the perfect time of the day (10:30), when the snow is firm enough to not sink with each step, but soft enough that slipping on the downhill isn't a concern.

PM--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

3 x 2k @ 10k pace   ~45 minutes

Splits were 6:51, 6:52, 7:05.  I was a little tempted to do 4 x 2k with some of the other folks, but after going from 5:30 pace to 5:40 pace I had to call it quits.  I've been trying to build up fatigue resistance in my quads by bombing down hills, and I might be working myself a bit too hard.  I also didn't take a nap in between workouts today like usually do on double workout days.

Wednesday, 4/2--Sentinel Loop

4,021', 1:45

The route was kind of a convoluted loop, with all but maybe half a mile of the loop only covered one way.  Went up South Sentinel via the direct route, down the north ridge and down the 'M' via the switchbacks, up Sentinel left of the switchbacks on the north ridge, back to South Sentinel and down via Pengelly and the fire road.  I love these trails so much!  I only find it a little distracting that other trails are starting to dry out, but I'm sure once I get on some new trails I'll have the same feeling.

Thursday, 4/3--Pengelly Trail w/Jimmy and Jed

2,154', 1:28

Ran the same route as last week, except hitting the summit this time.  I've got to get used to this heat, because midday runs right now make me super diaphoretic (yeah, I just used a medical word!).  It's going to be a bummer seeing Jed leave for Utah in a couple weeks.

Friday, 4/4--Off (needed, and deserved)

Saturday, 4/5--South Sentinel x 2, Sentinel x 1, 'M' x 1

6,536, 2:43

I went out just with a goal to get somewhere over 6k of vertical in, and took a variety of trails, with a route that ended up summiting South Sentinel twice, Sentinel once, and included a lap up and down the 'M'.  On the last climb I didn't feel very sharp, probably because of dehydration.  Were the day much warmer, or the run much longer, I'd have needed a water bottle.

Sunday, 4/6--University Mt. x 1, South Sentinel x 1

5,502, 2:30

This run started in the rain, then entered snow higher up, and ended with bluebird skies and a rainbow.  I guess that's springtime in Montana.  The legs felt pretty beat from yesterday, which I suppose might help with mental energy late in a race when my legs are beat.  Or I might just be working them too much.

Interesting rainbow tidbit: according to the Christian religion, rainbows serve as a reminder to God to not destroy the world, like he did with the great flood.  I guess everybody needs reminding every now and then.

25,732, 12:21

This week felt huge to me, but it wasn't much more than some of my other weeks in terms of time.  I think I could handle some big, 4+ hour days with a lot of hills if I just went out and did it.  After a couple delays, Jumbo is supposed to finally open tomorrow, and some of the more shady trails might become runnable in the next couple weeks.  Perhaps those big days aren't too far away.

The Beacon

South Sentinel (left) and Sentinel (right)

Jumbo, due to open tomorrow!

A rainbow framing downtown

Arthur Russell, one of the greatest voices of the New York underground

Sunday, March 30, 2014

March 24th to March 30th

Monday, 3/24--Pengelly back and forths

3,073', 1:20

This route covered a few short out and backs--up South Sentinel, down to the gravel pit, back up and down to Maurice, back up to the beginning of the ridge and then down.  I feel like Sentinel and University may be a good bit more runnable soon, but I'm still loving hitting the ridge every day.

Tuesday, 3/25

AM--Up Pengelly, down Crooked Canyon to the cabin and back

3,560', 1:53

Well, the hilly section of Crooked Canyon is still pretty snow covered, especially from the Crazy Canyon junction to the saddle.  Running down this seemed a little dangerous in parts, so I probably ran down this as fast as it took me to get back up to the saddle.  Now that I know the route, it seems like it wouldn't be too bad running a Crooked Canyon/Pengelly loop counter-clockwise, until the snow melts.

PM--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

2 sets of 4 x 800s, with 90 sec. rests and 5 min. rest between sets      ~50 minutes

Splits were almost all 2:37 on the dot, with one 2:35 and one 2:40

Some fast guys are showing up at the track workouts now, so I've got someone to chase (distantly).  I'm getting better at sticking on a pace, but I still seem to run that first lap too fast--a few of the lap splits were something like 1:15, 1:22, which might have come from chasing someone going sub 2:30.

Wednesday, 3/26--Pengelly back and forths

2,518', 1:03

This had to have been the warmest run of the year so far, even with the wind.  Some accumulated fatigue is holding me back a bit on the uphills, but I'm still getting a bit faster on the downhills.  I'd like to work up to doing full repeats on this hill, but right now one out and back is a bit too small and two out and backs are a good bit too big for my weekday runs.

Thursday, 3/27--Pengelly w/Jed

1,717', 1:18

Ran up the M from Clark Fork, took Sentinel Fire Road over to Pengelly, turned around at the trees and took the roads back downtown.  The weather today made the run even better, dipping into and then rising above a layer of clouds.  A light layer of snow made the running a little slower, but not much, and Pengelly as usual was runnable even with this bit of snow.

Friday, 3/28--Off

Saturday, 3/29--Sentinel Exploring

5,332', 2:16

A day well spent exploring the steeps of Sentinel.  I ran/power hiked up the direct route (along the fence line) going up South Sentinel, took the North Ridge of Sentinel, headed back up Sentinel, down the super steep North Pengelly Ridge, back up, and down the Pengelly Trail.  That last bit going up North Pengelly Ridge felt kind of brutal, and I was thankful for the steepest hill also being the shortest (only 1,100').  Over a mile of up, and I held up alright, but I definitely wasn't bombing down Pengelly at the end like usual.

Sunday, 3/30--More Sentinel Exploring

4,094', 1:46

Power hiked straight up South Sentinel, took the North Ridge down, and then followed a trail heading up a gully into some trees, which I soon discovered was still covered with snow and ice.  I took this trail until I lost it, cut over to a trail skirting Sentinel, went down to the fire road, back up Pengelly's North Ridge, and down the Pengelly Trail.

20,294', 10:26

A good week full of some new trails and steep terrain.  I think I've finally hit all the hidden trails and side trails on the west slopes of the Sapphire's.  And I also have a pretty good idea now of what trails are in what kind of condition, and the relative gain of each side trail.  I don't think I could ever really get tired of these trails, since there are a seemingly endless possibility of trail link ups.

Clark Fork and Downtown below Sentinel

A snowy stretch of trail on upper Crooked Canyon

Fresh snow on the Sentinel Fire Road

Cloud Running

Near the summit of Sentinel

Pengelly's North Ridge, the quad buster


Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 17th to March 23rd

Monday, 3/17--Pengelly

2587', 1:02

I was thinking of heading up University Mt., but some wind and hail convinced me to cut the run short and settle for some up and down on Pengelly.  Something I need to remember to bring this time of year, even if I might not need it, are gloves.  My hands got cold, but besides that the hail and wind wasn't too bad.

Tuesday, 3/18

AM--University Mt.

3365', 1:51

Ran up Pengelly, down to the saddle, up University, and ended up on a snowed over old road on the way to Crooked Canyon.  The road ended, but a deer trail continued, and I ran a bit of cross country to get to a human trail (Crooked Canyon).  University was snowy, but packed down, and parts of the trail were dry but other parts were probably under a foot of snow.  Had this been a warm day, getting up University would have been a challenge.  Still, the conditions made me run a little more gingerly than usual, afraid I might slip at some point.

PM--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

5 x 1 mile with 3+ minute rests, progressing from 10k to 5k pace

~50 minutes with warm up and cool down

Splits were 5:37, 5:31, 5:23 (PR), 5:19 (another PR), 5:23

Holy oleo!  I got a little carried away in this workout.  I need to get better at pacing myself, and should have just cut off about 2 seconds per repeat.  When I cut off 6 seconds, and then 8 seconds, I was setting myself up for pushing too hard.  Fortunately, I didn't strain anything, but I need to hold back, even though cruising on a track feels awesome.  I definitely sped up above 5k pace, but I guess my ego got to me, and it showed when I slowed down in my last mile.  The good news, strength training is paying off.

Wednesday, 3/19--South Sentinel

1883', 48 minutes

A moderate and short workout, which was needed.  The double workout yesterday kind of kicked my butt--really, my butt felt sore today.  I'm beginning to get used to reading terrain again, and had a bit of fun on the way down seeing how well I could manage the rockier sections of the trail (which still aren't very rocky).  I'll need to find something around here to brush up on technical running, which may mean running on climber trails if nothing else turns up.

Thursday, 3/20--Downtown to M to Pengelly to South Sentinel and back w/Jimmy, Jed, John and Stephen

2222', 1:32

A good group run, with a bunch of badass runners.  Really, the amount of mileage covered by that group of guys is something crazy.  My legs were still feeling a little beat up from Tuesday, so having a conversational pace was needed (though the wind sometimes was too loud for conversation!).  It was good to see the Thursday group run grow a little bit.

Friday, 3/21--Off

Saturday, 3/22--Up Pengelly, down Sentinel, then flipping it

4426', 1:55

I think this route was less than 9 miles, but the amount of vertical one can get in here is kind of incredible.  Going up Sentinel averages a 23% grade, which is entirely appropriate training for some of my races this year (The Rut Vertical K averages a 26% grade!).  Getting some big vertical in, especially with the long days coming up, is entirely doable, as long as I don't push it too hard too fast.

Sunday, 3/23--North Hills/Pengelly from Dean's house

3318', 3:30

Fresh snow and some fog served as a reminder that, even though it's spring, this is still Montana.  After wandering around the North Hills for a bit in some fog, the weather began to clear up little by little as we made our way up to South Sentinel via Pengelly, and came back down by the M.  I usually don't get out running before 9, but the light that time of day, especially if there are layers of clouds like today, is stunning.  Missoula is beautiful, but even more so in the morning--I'll need to work on getting up earlier!

17,801', 11:28

This was a big week for me, but even with the volume, I was still able to get some fast runs in.  I'm starting to lose track of the number of South Sentinel summits I've done now (7 this week).  I think I'll just keep riding this train for awhile, adding on more hills, but I want to avoid anymore bumps of 7,000 ft. from one week to the next.  That felt like a bit much to add on right now, so I'll need to watch how much I pile on in the next couple weeks.

Dean and Anya heading down Pengelly

Fresh snow in the North Hills

The Pengelly Rock: A marker I pass almost daily now

Jimmy cruising down Pengelly

Mt. Jumbo as viewed from Sentinel's North Ridge--still closed for elk grazing, but opens next week!

After the first time I heard Jessica Pratt, I listened to her debut album around 20 times in the space of a week.  I think she could be put right up there with the greats like Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 10th to March 16th

Monday, 3/10--South Sentinel

1882', 48 minutes

I'm getting more comfortable on hills again, so this hill is starting to seem a little smaller, a little faster, and the legs aren't becoming nearly as sore.  I'll probably run up this hill at least a hundred more times, so I suppose I should start keeping track of my PRs.

Tuesday, 3/11

Afternoon, Crooked Canyon Wandering

2051', 1:08

I set out to do a Crooked Canyon/Sentinel Loop, but got a little off track.  Before Crooked Canyon begins its ascent, I turned left off to a less traveled trail, thinking it was the one I was supposed to be on.  That trail disappeared pretty quickly, so I ran down the hill into a large gully, figuring out that there was no trail there either.  I was one gully short of the actual trail, but in the end I just traveled cross country up the hill until I found a choppy snow trail going through an opening in a fence.  This led me to South Sentinel, and I ran the usual route down Pengelly back home.

Evening, Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

1 mile, 4 min. rest, 2 mile, 6 min. rest, 1 mile, all at 10k pace    

 ~50 minutes including warm up and cool down

Splits were 5:28, 11:22 (PR), 5:30.  I haven't even done a sub 36 minute 10k, so these were a little faster than they should be, maybe 5k pace.  The two mile split was 20 seconds faster than my PR, and at about 90% effort.  Something's working--weights, more frequent interval workouts, a consistent sleep pattern.  I'm definitely picking up speed.

Wednesday, 3/12--Mt. Sentinel-Pengelly Loop

2422', 1:27

I definitely underestimated how much snow lingered between Sentinel and South Sentinel.  It was like running in buckets.  At one point, again, I lost the trail, and regained it close to the summit of South Sentinel.  It was 50 degrees and sunny, which right now feels exhaustively warm.

Thursday, 3/13--Off (busy!)

Friday, 3/14--South Sentinel

1905', 46 minutes

I pushed it today, just to see how fast I could go.  The run was from my apartment door to the Pengelly rock on the summit.  Ascent: 29:40  Descent: 15:51  Roundtrip: 45:31.  Pengelly is a trail built for getting vertical in fast, so I'm sure a roundtrip on this could go under 40 minutes, even from the apartment.  I should be able to cut this mark down at least a dozen times, since this is kind of my go to run now.

Saturday, 3/15--Off (busy!)

Sunday, 3/16--Seven Hills Sunday

2303', 3:35 (may have been less vert./time than actual*)

A group run with an attrition rate.  I finally joined the Sunday run group from Dean's house, which has been going on, religiously, for 20 years.  I'm not actually too sure of the route we took, but it included Elk Ridge, Sawmill Gulch, the North Hills and Greenough Park.  It felt good to finally be on my feet for a long time, running at an easy pace.  My watch might have cut off a small part of the run accidentally.

10,563, 8:34

This week was a confidence builder.  I ran an easier-than-it-should-be two mile PR, got some speed in on the hills, and didn't feel too bad after running longer than I've run in months.  I also got to be a course marshal for the Run For the Luck Of It, and it was awesome to see so many people come out to run or walk.  It's almost the same thrill as racing, but without any toll on my body or my wallet.  This was also a fairly busy week, and I'm glad to have such close proximity to trails because most of these runs wouldn't have happened if they weren't close by.

Low lying clouds on Pengelly

Tim, Anya, Jed and Dean on the North Hills

I have no idea what she's saying, but it's really calming:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 3rd to March 9th

Monday, 3/3--Off

Tuesday, 3/4--Sentinel Fire Road

519', 20 minutes

It's almost spring, and after deciding to not focus on that silly 24 hour run anymore, it makes sense to start focusing on something a lot more fun--hills!  I haven't invested in a watch that tells me both gain and distance, so I have a separate watch for each (and somehow their combined price is cheaper than one that does both).  Ran easy partway up the mountain and back, and the achilles felt normal, but I decided to hold off to see if it might get tight afterwards.  So good to get out again!  With this rapid melting I probably won't have to punch through snow for much longer.

Wednesday, 3/5--Pengelly Ridge Trail

1,008', 34 minutes

Another run up the hill, this time heading up far enough to get to the ridgeline.  I'm so lucky to live within a quarter mile of these trails, able to run 2,000 feet up Sentinel right from my door.  Today was extremely wet and slippery.  On the way back down I actually stuck to the foot deep snow in some parts, a little afraid I might slip otherwise.  My legs got a few cuts from the snow, but the snow was mostly soft enough that postholing downhill didn't really hinder speed too much.  The ridgeline had almost no snow, but the fire road still held quite a bit.

Thursday, 3/6--Northside Loop w/Jimmy and Jed

413', 1:07

Ran up to the Duncan bridge, and then looped back into the neighborhoods and Greenough Park.  We ran by the avalanche debris at one point, a good reminder that it doesn't take much snow to turn a house into matchsticks.  Not sure what the pace was, but it felt pretty solid.  I'm confident now that whatever strain my achilles was going through is gone.

Friday, 3/7--Pengelly Ridge Trail

1,631', 46 minutes

This felt really good.  The trail is a good bit more dried out now, so I felt far more comfortable cruising downhill.  The first couple hundred feet of up on Pengelly are heaven right now, but then up by the trees there's still a good bit of snow left, which is kind of tricky coming down for me, so I walked that section.

Saturday, 3/8--South Sentinel Summit

1,904', 51 minutes

50 degree weather and clear skies made for a sweaty run up Pengelly up to South Sentinel.  It was great to see the trail being used, and it was mostly clear of snow up to the summit except for one short and steep snowpack, which made for a fun little glissade on the way down.  My quads were a bit sore even before the run, and I'm sure they'll be more sore tomorrow, but I just can't get enough of Pengelly--it's quickly becoming my favorite trail in town.

Sunday, 3/9--Pengelly Repeats

2,548', 1:10

Ran up to South Sentinel, back down to the fire road, and then several hundred feet back up before flipping it.  I was hoping to run a loop and come back on Crooked Canyon, but the snow past the summit was really choppy, not that great for running.  This has probably been my biggest day of vert. so far this year, in my biggest week of vert. since September.

8,023'  4:48

A relatively low mileage, short duration week with a lot of vertical, and a lot of Pengelly.  The beginning of the week was mostly cautious running, concerned that my achilles might be a problem, but whatever it was ended up going away.  I'm trying to ease back into mountain running, now that the trails are starting to open up.  The legs are starting to adapt, but it'll take awhile to get back into the hill running shape I was in last summer, where 25,000-40,000 ft. a week was the norm (I might not be able to make the time for that volume again).  I'd like to be ready for a good amount of hill running over spring break in three weeks.


View of the ridge from up by the snowy section

Within a half hour run from my door, I can be here--c'est la vie

Soundtrack composer, producer, collaborator with Brian Eno--
Jon Hopkins makes some amazing work:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Feb. 24th to March 2nd

Monday, 2/24, River Trails

15 miles, 2:02

Shuffled along an extra snowy Kim Williams Trail out to Deer Creek, took roads back, and ran out to the end of the Milwaukee Trail and back.  Packed snow except for the first 4 miles or so on Kim Williams.

Tuesday, 2/25, 

Afternoon, Bitterroot Branch Loop, 9 miles 1:07

Out on Bitterroot Branch, over to the University on Kim Williams, then some wondering in the neighborhoods to add on a few miles.  First run since the race where I felt good.

Evening, Intervals w/RWM, 7.5 miles, 1:07

More of a social run than a workout today.  Ran with a few guys out to Kim Williams from Dornblaser track (where the interval workouts are usually held by now, but it's covered in a foot of snow).  I don't think I ever broke 6:20 pace, but the workout was 3 x 2k.  An easy day with a fair amount of mileage.

Wednesday, 2/26, Beer Run in North Missoula

11.5 miles, 1:41

A nice easy outing from Sean Kelly's, with a beer in the middle of it.  The group run was 5 miles, but I tacked on a few more running to and from downtown.  My right achille's heel felt really tight, and I think it might be from unexpectedly hitting a subnivean railing when crossing some train tracks the other day with my forefoot.  It's something to monitor, especially if I do any hard work on hills this week.

Thursday, 2/27, Crooked Trail w/Jimmy and Jed

13 miles, 2:07

Soft snow and a fair bit of vertical made this run a little slow, and it was my first time checking out Crooked Trail, which is fairly close to my apartment.  It's definitely a trail to return to when I'm not trying to get a lot of flat in.  The achille's still felt tight, but felt the same after the run as before.  I'm hoping I'll still be able to run and it will fade away, but I'll avoid speedy workouts until it fades.

Friday to Sunday, Off

I became a little worried about the achilles, and my "achille's heel" in running is pushing it too hard, so I decided to play it safe and back off.  The blizzard that caused an avalanche in town definitely helped me to stay unmotivated.  I've been doing some light stretching, and the tightness was gone by this morning, but I'd rather err on the side of too much rest than pushing it too much and getting injured.  Tomorrow I'll give the achilles an easy test run, and make sure not to run through any powder where I can't see what I'm about to step on!

56 miles, 8:04

An easy week, which is probably needed.  Even if I didn't need it physically, it's good for staying hungry.  It's caused me to reevaluate some races, though, and I've decided to put things on hold for awhile racing wise, maybe until May.  I want to focus on speed, and, soon, hills, but I'm afraid I might push things too hard with a race close on the horizon.  Right now I just want to be hungry to get out on the trails once the weather turns favorable.

Before the storm

It's been snowing almost the whole time since I snapped this picture three days ago

Another tune on KEXP, from our (almost) neighbor state: