Week 8 in Boulder

This week was set out to be the biggest run week I’d ever done.  My previous biggest run week from years past was 65 miles, but Brian had designed this week to reach the 70 mile mark.  With a race on Sunday, we knew I wouldn't be going into it feeling fresh, but at this stage of the season it's all about getting the work done in preparation for the BIG races.  Monday started out well, with a double 8 mile run and a swim sandwiched in between.  I actually felt better for the second run of the day compared to the first.  I finally feel that my swimming is coming back to the level it was in early spring, and considering we’re at altitude, I’m hopeful of seeing an improvement when I get back to sea level.  Tuesday’s training was a little lighter, with only a 7 mile run and a 3 hour bike on the cards.  As with most of my rides, there was some hard work thrown in the middle!

Wednesday’s training would be tough.  In the morning I had a 2h15’ run with some tempo paced intervals within the session.  I had to plan the run to loop back to the house so that I could rehydrate and refuel, and by the end of it I was cooked!  It had been a long time since I’d run that far, but it was a good test.  I had a swim planned for later in the day, but I felt so tired from the run that I ended up missing the session.  But the day wasn’t over – I had another 6 mile run that evening, which I did with a large group leaving from the Boulder Running Company.  I wanted to do this run with others as I knew that I’d struggle to get it done alone.  It turned out to be a good call and by the end of the day I’d run 25.2 miles.  As hungry and tired as I was afterwards, there was indeed an end to Olive Garden’s ‘endless pasta bowl’.  It came after just 1.5 bowls – a miserable attempt!  Scott had a much bigger appetite than me, demolishing 3.5 bowls, although he was struggling towards the end!

Thursday was a much easier day following the previous day’s work, with only a swim scheduled.  This gave me the opportunity to rest and absorb yesterday’s training.  On Friday I was back at it with a 5 hour ride with 5x 25 minute tempo intervals.  I Tweeted after the session that I couldn’t remember ever feeling that good on the bike, and it’s true.  It was one of those great days where everything just clicks.  I felt strong, powerful and comfortable, which culminated in a breakthrough session with some power numbers that surprised me -  a lot.  I even had time towards the end of the ride to take some pics:

Later that afternoon I was back at the pool for a ‘long’ swim, followed by an 8.5 mile run 3 minute intervals at faster than 5k race pace.  At the end of another long day, this was a tough session.  That night Scott and I went to the cinema with STEVE and MARKYV to watch ‘The Expendables 2’, which was surprisingly watchable with some good laughs.  It’s always nice to relax and take it easy following training, and it was a nice way to end another good day’s work.

We’d planned to leave for Steamboat Springs mid-morning on Saturday, which gave me just enough time to get an early 3 hour ride in.  Within this ride I had a solid 50 minute effort, which was very close to my race pace for the next day.  I felt good during the ride and hoped I’d feel equally good during the race.  The 3 hour drive seemed to pass quickly, covering quiet roads through the Rocky Mountains.  When we arrived we headed to race registration and had a quick look around town before checking in at the hotel. 

The town is a well known ski destination over winter, but there were still plenty of people about, lots of whom were mountain biking around the countless trails.  Once we’d unpacked the bikes and gear, Scott and I headed out for a 7 mile run, which had some great sights.

That evening we headed to a sports bar for the pre-race dinner, surrounded by dozens of 50 inch HD screens showing every American sport imaginable – none of which I could understand!  After some frozen yoghurt it was time to get some rest ahead of the next day.

I’ll write a race report in the coming days, but the skinny from the race is that I finished in 2nd place overall in a time of 1:59:12.  It was another fun race and a good hit out.