I have officially become a ‘Team Vasque’ athlete!!! The whole team of people working on this have succeeded in putting together several top ultra-running athletes from across the country under one umbrella. The shoes are fantastic; the company is sound, and the people are very genuine. Let me re-iterate; the shoes are fantastic!!! Take a look at the company website; and find direction on where to buy these shoes by going to: www.vasque.com. The shoes I have tried are: the “Aether Tech’ and the ‘Velocity XCR’ models. The ‘Aether Tech’ is a good lightweight shoe with good support and the innovative ‘BOA’ turn-dial lacing system. The ‘Velocity’ shoe that I have tried is a more beefy shoe which has been great for the harsh winter here in Gunnison, CO. So, check ’em out; give ’em a shot, and watch for some awesome results from Vasque athletes this season. More on this to come later.
In addition to that I am also a member of the ‘Gunnison Endurance Project’ (GEP) here in Gunnison, CO. My friends Tim Parr (remember that name, he will challenge for the win at Leadville this year), and Keri Nelson (uber-athlete in all sports) comprise this team. Dr. Scott Drum (Exercise and Sport Science professor at Western State College of Colorado) is the ‘leader of the charge’ in terms of workouts, training plans, and some sponsorship coordination. Sporthill clothing has come ‘on board’ substantially to help outfit all of us in great clothing. I would recommend Sporthill clothing to all runners or cross-country skiers. Tall skinny guys (me) should try this company out because they are the only company I know of with sizing for tall skinny guys (ML or medium-long).
As for training: Wow, this winter has been mild by Gunnison standards. Temperatures seem to be ’10’ to ’20’ degrees warmer on a daily basis as compared to last year’s epic winter. In addition, the snow has not been that bad. I have even been able to do a little bit of running on packed down trails. All good news for sure. So, below I will break down a few things I have been doing. I have decided to not write a ‘recap’ of every week. Too boring for you and kind of a pain in the butt for me, but at times throughout the season, I will break down every day.
Running: Since the 29th of December I have been between 85 and 105 miles per week. This has been good, consistent running of mostly 90 min. per day. I have had several daily doubles with runs, and in addition a few hard runs. Perhaps the best training I have had is: a buildup in long runs from 2 hours to 2.5 hours to 3 hours to 3.5 hours to 4 hours. This past Sunday afternoon, I managed a solid 4 hour run of 31 miles. (7:48 pace for 31 miles with 2600′ of vertical change.) I ran that run in shorts!
XC Skiing, and XC Ski Racing: Since I have gotten back into XC ski coaching this season, I have loved it. The kids I coach have been skiing very well this season; improving steadily and winning some races too! They have been an inspiration to me. So, the past three weekends, I have jumped in three races of my own: a 20 km classic race, a 21 km skate race, and a 30 km skate race. These have been truly hard efforts. They have greatly assisted me mentally, as I am feeling stronger and more confident in the head these days. I have posted a decent result or two, but mostly these have just been super hard efforts for me to test myself in. In addition to these races I have been skiing with the team every day at practice. Somedays I jump in the workout and other days I am shooting video or ‘demoing’ technique. Also, I have been teaching several ski lessons per week, with most days 2 or 3 lessons to teach. By putting all this together, I am spending a ton of time outside and on my feet. I love it!
Strength Training: I am super strong right now. I have really been hitting the strength work. I am doing two really solid weight room sessions per week right now, both upper and lower body. In addition, I have been doing two good core workouts per week with some variance in the exercises. So, I am feeling very strong. I do believe that between this strength training, and all of the cross training with the skiing, I will be that much more durable this season.
Coffee/Sleep/Balance: Well, these are perhaps the hardest items to ‘follow-through’ on for this season. I have been drinking too much coffee in the mornings. However; I am very productive with work and life right now. I have been sleeping at least 8.5 hrs. per night. I achieve this by going to bed early most nights (approx. 9:00 pm). I wake up most mornings at 5:30 am, sometimes earlier. So, my productivity is very good. As for keeping this training, etc, in balance? Well, I think most of the time I fail at that. Although it does not ‘consume’ me, it is tough to handle the training load, while being a productive member of my family and community. So, it is a give and take, a lot of the time I am training hard, and not contributing much, and sometimes, I rest from the training in order to take care of other responsibilities and serve other people in my life. (I need to do more of this).