Sunday, July 2, 2023

Wrapping Up My Training Cycle

One week to go until the Leadville Silver 15 miler! I wrapped up my training cycle this week, very pleased with how it all went. You might ask when I officially started training. And I would answer that's a good question. While Earth Day wasn't my goal race, I did put in the work for that one too. It could count for training. Realistically, it wasn't until May that I really began to focus on my mileage, building on the work I did for Earth Day. Even more so, I put emphasis on getting lots of elevation. 

So here are the stats for the past 8 weeks:

Total miles: 208 miles
Total elevation: 7285 ft

I am so grateful to have access to those Wisco trails. When I totaled up my vert, the Illinois trails didn't even make a dent. The total elevation at Leadville is 1676 ft. With all my climbing, I am definitely ready for that! What I'm not ready for is the altitude, which at its peak on the course is 10,896 ft. Chicago sits at 597 ft. There's really no way for me to prepare for that. 

I wonder if I can bring portable oxygen in my hydration vest? 

What I have done: I've been 'doping' aka taking iron supplements for the past 3 months with the hopes of getting my hemoglobin higher, which would increase my blood's oxygen-carrying capacity. My son brags that his hemoglobin is 17, so he's hoping for success with that. I've also been taking creatine, along with my usual supplements, hoping to build a little more muscle mass to help me run strong. Research on running at altitude lead me to plan to arrive the day before the race, to allow as little time as possible to let the altitude affect me. 

With no goals but to finish and have fun, I am looking forward to running on some different trails and spending quality time with my boy. What else could a runner ask for?

Weekly Rundown
Sunday: Ice Age Trail run 9.2 miles, 1520 ft
Monday: Pool Running, Pride Run 3.1 miles
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Treadmill run 6 miles, 1583 ft
Thursday: Strength Training
Friday: run 6 miles
Saturday: Yoga

July miles: 99 miles


On Sunday, I ran my last big training run for Leadville. I knew I needed some quality climbing and the Gibraltar Segment of the IAT would give me that. It also happens to be one of my favorites and the first segment I ever did--during the pandemic. Instead of poor air quality due to smoke, we had 80% humidity. I forgot what that feels like! The heavy air made for some amazing views from the top of the bluff. The turkey vultures were very busy, swooping over my head and down below to look for breakfast. I shared more photos on my IG if you are interested. What a wonderful run!

So fun! On Monday evening, my fellow RHT teammate Kristen and I drove to the city to participate in a Pride run, sponsored by Brooks and Fleet Feet. We met up with another RHT teammate Frank (who I ran with in the Chicago 13.1) and a host of other runners. This event was so much fun! Besides our 3.1 mile run to the lakefront and back, there were opportunities to try different Brooks shoes, a raffle (I won some socks), 'Sugar Daddy' cookies, and lots of photo ops. This was such a fun event and it makes me happy to represent a company that embraces inclusivity so boldly!

The air quality got worse as the week went on, and as I shared in Friday's runfessions post, I took Wednesday's run to the TM. I set the pace to sexy aka 10:30 m/m and ran a leisurely 6 WITHOUT STOPPING ONCE. I'm not sure that has ever happened before. I also realized about halfway through the run, that I inadvertently set the incline to 5%. Since this run felt so good, I left it there for the entire time. So, we can chalk this one up to a long slow climb. You just never know what you are going to get from a run, do you? I will share that I felt this one in my calves the next day. 

On Friday, the AQI was down to 122 but the humidity was up to 90%. I guess you have to pick your poison. I was thrilled to lace up and run on the bike path, even in that humidity. There was a nice breeze and since I headed out so early, I had a really nice run. The first half felt great, but the back half had me taking some walk breaks as the temperature began to rise with the sun. Overall, this was a strong run and gave me more confidence heading into my trail race next weekend!

Strength Training

Doh! Maybe it was hypoxia from the smoke, but I completely forgot that SJ told me last week she wouldn't be available to work with me on Thursday. Luckily, the coaches who were there told me I could work out on my own. The gym's summer challenge started this week, so I completed the 1600m of empty sled pushes. After that, I did some of my bar work/pull-up prep. SJ has me doing a hypertrophy cycle, so my deadlifts were at 60% of my max--105# and I did 4 sets of 8. I finished up with 4 sets of 5 dumbbell strict presses, 20# in each hand. I am so glad I got some strength work done!

Off the Road

I always say you're never too old to try something stupid new! The hubs and I went to a backyard birthday party yesterday and they had a mechanical bull. I wanted to try it and let me tell you--it was a blast! The operator started me off easily. When I didn't fall off, he asked if I wanted 'the next level'. Never one to back down from a challenge, I said yes. It wasn't long before I fell off. Just call me 'Suburban Cowboy'. What a fun party!

How was your week? What was your favorite workout of the week? Mine definitely was the Pride Run! How do you feel about the treadmill? Love it or necessary evil? Have you ever ridden a mechanical bull?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 


  1. Ha! I have never been on a mechanical bull. You rock! What a fun party.

    Good luck in Leadville Wendy!

    1. That was probably the most fun party I've been to in a long time!

  2. Nope, never rode a mechanical bull, although we used to go to the rodeo when we lived in TX. :)

    You are definitely ready! I hope you have a fantastic race.

    Those view you saw! We got the bad air a day or so after you, so it ain't pretty here at the moment.

    1. It's raining today and I'm so glad that I don't 'have' to get a run in!

  3. I've ridden a mechanical bull twice: Once in Grapevine TX and the other here in Chi at the Cinco de Miler race. It's fun! All the best with your Leadville adventure. I crewed/paced Jill for the 50 miler many years back and that altitude is formidable. Sounds like you're as well training as you can be!

  4. Well, I just recently heard that running in high humidity can help with altitude (because there's less oxygen in the air?) If that's true, you should be good for your race! I'll be ver excited to hear all about it. Yes, a fun new trail and time with your son- it's going to be amazing.

    1. I actually didn't get as many runs in humidity as I usually would this time of year!

  5. Oh the mechanical bull! I bet that was fun! I've always wanted to try that...definitely not while my ribs and shoulder are on the mend, though, LOL.

  6. I want that cookie!!

    You are more than ready and you have the best attitude Enjoy it!! Can't wait to see the pix.

    Today is very rainy.... hope it clears up the smoke and humidity.

  7. I think you have trained as best you could for the altitude given where you live. I did 2 races out in Colorado and got my ass kicked by the altitude. You will have a great time together. Can't wait to hear all about it

    1. I have no expectations except to finish the thing. But at least my legs are ready for the hills.

  8. Brilliant that you're almost there, well done! Exciting! Looking forward to hearing all about it. I am really happy that I managed two 5k walk/runs this week, it feels like a "real run" as Claire and I said to each other. And I have noticed that my new activated glutes have made it easier to get up the hills.

    1. Isn't it such a cool feeling when your glutes kick in on a hill? It's like a power pack from behind!

  9. I thought of your upcoming Leadville race when I ran in Zermatt yesterday. The finish line is at an altitude of over 10'000ft. I felt the thin air sometimes during the run.
    But it passed - I think the body somehow finds a way to adapt.
    You've got this, Wendy!!! Looking forward to reading all about it!

    1. I think you have an advantage with all that climbing you did in SA. But we will see! Thank you for the vote of confidence! And congrats on that amazing race!

  10. That mechanical bull looks crazy! I've never tried one but I would have if I was there too. Good for you! Sounds like you have thought of a lot for this race. Great prep. I'll be cheering for you!
    I guess I was lucky that I haven't been running - I didn't even notice the humidity on my bike rides! I'll take that small victory.

  11. That Pride run looks so fun! I wish we had more things like that here. Jacksonville is a big city in a lot of ways, but not so much in others. I hope the air eases up some for you. We don't have the smoke, but the humidity is crushing. Really, all I want to do is drink iced coffee and sleep in this weather. Ugh.

    Im so excited for your race!

  12. I am so so excited for your upcoming race! you've done the work! you are ready!! I'm doing a pride run in July with my company since the big Pride Weekend in Amsterdam is that weekend. I still don't really have "favorite" workouts yet, but I am feeling more like doing the work rather than going through the motions. And i did run a race so there is that haha! I did try a mechanical bull once, but I think I was around 12 ! Don't know if I would try it now!

  13. I did pretty much the same thing with arriving as close to the race day as possible when I ran the Grand Tetons Half Marathon, but Jackson is only about 6,000 feet higher than where I live. It worked out well and I experienced no altitude issues. My suggestion is to hydrate like a boss for several days leading up to the race. Good luck and enjoy your time with your son!