May 19, 2009

300km In 15 Days...

That's what I just realized I have run in the last few weeks. No wonder I was tired and lethargic throughout the weekend!

After a solid 100 mile week which included 'The Juan De Fuca' and 'Club Fat Ass Enduro' runs, I was hoping to sustain similar mileage on a follow up week for the first time...well ever really. The week of May 4th-10th would be just my third 100m week of the year, and 4th ever. It most certainly took the cake in terms of intensity of volume as well, and I guess I should not have been surprised when my body started to falter on me a few days back.

Just three days after my 70k CFA run I somehow found myself doing a tempo workout with friends up Mtn Hwy, the 2000 foot climb I have mentioned before. We...and by we I mean NOT ME, decided to scatter the starts so that the slower runners started first and the faster runners started last. It was an attempt to get each person to finish in around the same time, and to force everyone into a bit of a racing mentality. I managed to negotiate myself out of the last starting time, but only by 1m. Off the get go I could not believe how terrible my legs were feeling, and I was shortly passed by R.M. who had started behind me. Ryne quickly opened up about a 250 meter gap on me before my racing instincts kicked in and I shut out the pain and simply dropped my head and suffered it out. In the end I caught up to Ryne, passed one runner who started ahead of me and topped out the 6.7k 2,000 foot climb in a time of 36m40s. On the turnaround however my legs were not up for the pounding of the descent and I finished dead last out of the seven people who had showed up on the night. Either way, I was well impressed with the results from everyone, as all but me ran a p.r. and to our knowledge the male and female records for this run were broken at 58m30s and 1h03m respectively!

By the time Friday evening rolled around I was finding myself in a physical deficit the likes of which I had never faced before. My entire body was completely exhausted and after an early morning 30k run I struggled just to make it through the work day. I actually found myself in bed at 8:45pm, on a Friday night! I don't think I've EVER done that in my entire life...well maybe, maybe back when I was 13, but only cause I was grounded and not allowed out!

When I climbed out of bed the following morning at 6.30am I made the mistake of believing that a somewhat rested body meant I should go for another run. Just 10km later and I regretted every step of it. Again off to work, and yet again I was in bed at 8:30pm...I knew for a fact that I could have fought through the exhaustion and 'stayed up late' to work on some things, but in the end it made ZERO sense to do this. Roxy kinda looked at me as if to say,

"Really? Really Dad, you're serious about this...again! Can't I stay up late tonight please..."

I started the mental toil of pondering how serious this fatigue really was. Had I over trained myself in the last few months? Was I sick? Would I have to shut it down for an extended period of time? Would I get my last few weeks of mileage in before my taper for Western States? Was this a short term or long term thing I was dealing with? What if I had worms or something? Swine Flu? Sars? Typhoid Fever again? Low Iron? Thyroid problems? And on, and on, and on, until I finally drifted into an unconscious state.

I was supposed to be meeting friend/teammate Lisa Polizzi in Squamish the following morning for a long run, and I very nearly pulled the plug on it altogether. In the end I figured I'd head on up, start off the run, and simply call it short if my body were demanding so. We met in the parking area for 'The Chief' at 8am. 'The Chief' is an infamous climbing wall in Canada and there is a great, and obviously steep trail up the backside of the face. It gains just under 2000 feet in about 2.5km! When I lived up in Squampton I used to hit up this run about once a week, and I once managed a full descent from 'First Peak' to the parking area, in under 17m!
(You sure you got this Dad? Lemme give you a hand!)

I felt decent on our running of The Chief and decided I'd continue on and see how I fared. From here we drove just into town, parked at the local Golf Course, and then initiated an even larger climb, albeit much lengthier as well. We topped out this additional 2500 feet in just over an hour. By the time we turned around to bomb down some singletrack, my entire body was feeling FANTASTIC! Maybe it was the beautiful sunshine. Maybe it was the trip down memory lane as I lived in SQ for three years and had not run there in well over a year. Maybe it was simply the fact that I had allowed my body the rest it needed throughout the weekend. Whatever it was, it propelled me back down that mountain with perma-grin smeared all over my face!

We linked up a few more climbs to snag another 8,000 foot day. Lisa had to jet a bit early, and I added on a few km around the Golf Course to close out a 45km, 5hr run. It was truly one of the highlight runs of the year for me so far. This was partly due to the relief in knowing that I was in fact still healthy and able to train hard. On top of that though I ran into numerous friends out on the trails, the sun was shining bright, I had a great running partner, and I ran past my old home, and the SPCA shelter where I rescued Roxy just over three years prior. All in all, it was a perfect day that I finished off with a dip in the river, laying in the sun, and visiting a few more acquaintances.
(Some of the CRAZY bike stunts in SQ. Look all the way up!)

I actually felt guilty on the drive home for not spending more time in my old stomping grounds. It is an incredible running destination to say the least!

So in the end I logged a weeks total of 115km of running, with 16,000 feet of climbing, and 25km of biking. I am currently at the very end of two FULL days of rest and looking forward to an early morning run/ride tomorrow...The Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race, in Squamish no less, is happening this weekend! I may not be able to navigate myself to a win without Todd, but I know I can nav my way to the bar without him, and that's my only real goal heading into the race this weekend. Well, that and to not finish dead last...did that once, do not need to do it again!

(Lisa with a face full of mud after catching her foot on a root!)

P.S. Oh yeah, I had to change my Twitter account name to gary_robbins, in case you are interested in that stuff. I'm gonna have my crew down at Western doing live updates throughout the race!!


Devon said...

That picture of you carrying Roxy up the ladder is awesome!

I am there with you, it is hard when we have a plan and want to push the huge miles and the body resists. Good on you for resting! It is nice when we have those days of rest how much we feel better!

Gary Robbins said...

Yeah I love my pooch!
So true about the must be getting excited for World's next month!!


Whew! nice to see you are HUMAN and you actually get tired! I was beginning to wonder... And hats of to Lisa for having the guts to run with you. Personally, I would be a bit intimidated- she must be a great runner.

garobbins said...

I just try to keep up to Lisa! She's one of those crazy people who never seems to sleep, so she ends up knocking my door at 5.30am telling me to get my ass moving already:)


Leslie said...

Camp was FUN and you are going to love this course! It really is awesome and I think it will be a great course for you. Now go get a massage and take like 5 days off. Yup. It's time to take care of the legs and back off for a week. You want to heal that damage. And have a steak. And some sushi. And a when earned beer. You are SO ready to rumble!

garobbins said...

HAHA, only ten more days of mileage to go before I eat up that steak and sushi!
SOOOO looking forward to this race. From everything I have researched it certainly plays into my strengths...just gotta try to hang with the big boys now:)