Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Going Long ... Breathtaking Nature

Everything great tends to come to an end to let a new great things begin. I am driving back home on Friday so today was my last really big day. I was very happy with how I did yesterday in the hill workout (AM) and progression/fartlek run (PM). Today was long run split in two, I had to do my morning run super early as I was picking up my mom in Bolzano at 8:30 am! So 6:25 I was already on the go or on the run. Oh my body took lot of time to wake up, I could definitely feel the harder effort from yesterday. Did 5.5 miles and off to pick up mom and we were just in time to have very late breakfast at 9:30 ... I was starving!!!

Worked on my computer and after noon I was off for 20+ km of running through the beautiful mountains of Alpe di Siusi. I chose the Paul Tergat track to be main part of my run, it is ranked as "hard". I now understand that means that I won't be able to run some parts which was exactly true due to very steep climbs or descents and narrow paths. But it was totally worth it as you can see the beautiful scenery I got to see all the time on my run:

Running down, to run up again on the opposite side :)

Crossing the small stream just few steps from ever present cows :)

Running through a horse pasture was super exciting for me as I love horses! Here is one youngster :)

Love the views :)

Turns out the youngster was hungry and going to suck on his mother's milk ... I have never seen that live for horses from such a small distance.

Map & altitude graph of my run today pictured in eVito app, here is the Garmin Connect link ... quite some climbing over the 21.5 km (13.4 miles) :D.

Not exactly cute ... more like done, exhausted yet happy :)

After refueling (rice, tomato & tuna followed by dessert of rice, apricots, apple and banana ... yep long run super hunger :D ) and taking bath ... I promised my mom to take her out for an Aperol Spritz in the afternoon sun. I took the athlete's version - Aperol with sparkling water, no wine, no prossecco :)

And some food action, photos of today's dinner, I ate about half of the risotto and had a salad not pictured here :) Food at Seiser Alm Plaza is really delicious!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Where There Are Downs There Always Come Ups

Admitting I am in trouble when I am actually in trouble is not my strong part. So here I am saying that I was in trouble and I hope I am out of it :) On Saturaday morning I headed up for what was supposed to be an easy 10+ mile run on the roads and trails that I have already done several times here in Alpe di Siusi. Less than a mile in the run my calf muscles started acting up like towards cramping, any uphill incline and I had to walk, otherwise it would really hurt. I did little over 14 km (little less than 9 miles), but it was all suffering, being very upset that I cannot execute what I was easily doing all the previous days. It is mentally tough when you cannot perform as you performed just a day ago :(

After discussing the issue with The Coach we agreed I would relax for the rest of the day. It was raining anyway, so there was afternoon nap and sauna involved :) At least I could spend more time with my dad not leaving him on his own going for the afternoon run. Sunday morning I woke up really rested and looking forward to my morning run, taking it really easy. Unfortunately, the calf issue still persisted. What was upsetting was now my cardio was OK, on Saturday I was clearly tired after the full week of altitude training, but now I wanted to run and I felt the f***ing calves every single step of the easy flat 3.5 miles. Hmmm, very upsetting! So I got back to The Coach and some running friends and of course Googled the issue :D The suggestions were up magnesium, salt, hydration ... that's what I did and we went for a hike with my dad (see the previous post). On the hike the legs were totally OK, thank God!

Dad left in the early afternoon and I was off to treat my calves - I realized that my Compex Runner actually has anti-cramping program, so I applied it (oh, it takes 40 minutes whereas most of the other programs are more or less half an hour). After Compex I did self massage with warming emulsion to the troubled muscles and I also took a nap and I finally set for an evening attempt for run. There were tiny signs of tiredness in the calves, but I stayed on the flattest road here in Alpe di Siusi and also tried to consciously use all the other muscles to relieve the calves as much as possible. And it worked!!! Oh what a relief! I was the happiest person coming back from that run. See, where there are downs there are also ups :)

And that finally makes me come back to today's running, because as with the mental and training stuff, also literally when you run down, you have to run back up :D I was supposed to do a tempo run this morning and I wanted to take it to lower altitude and on flatter surfaces. Basically the only option I found in the Alpe di Siusi Running Park tracks was the Seis-Völs/Völs-Seis. As you can guess from the name it goes from one town to another and back. Yes, you can choose where you start, but given the calf situation, I did not want to start uphill, I wanted my legs to first warm up before I push them in the uphill section (way back). Also took some change with me, so the worse case scenario was taking the bus back to Seis if my calves start acting up.

Arriving to Völs, very beautiful views!

Breathtaking again!

Cannot stop admiring the nature here :)

Please, can I have one of these in the park I run :)

What a blessing half way in the run ... while up at my hotel it was 11 degrees Celsius, here it was 18 and sunny!

Altitude profile of my run :D (here is the Garmin Connect link)

Did some strength training after coming back and then I needed fuel! Ate the eggs first and then rice and fresh fruits and raisins. My body is just screaming for carbs here :D

Ups and downs also consider weather. I was super hot in my running tights and tshirt in the first run of the day. When I was getting ready for my afternoon run, the clouds were all around and it looked like damn cold weather outside. I planned to do 8-9 miles so took my hydration backpack, long sleeved tshirt and very light Nike track jacket and gloves (my hands tend to get very cold and the evening runs have big temperature drops). Fortunately I also added the Nike Aeroflot vest in my backpack... As my final climb to Panorama was to 2 100 m of altitude and after that it was basically lot of downhill, I was glad to have all the clothes. Felt so excited for finishing the same route 15 minutes faster than on that upsetting Saturday run!

Looking back at the issue, I have to admit that 95 % of my runs back home are pretty flat, I would say totally flat if I compare them with what I do here. So all these uphills and downhills took the toll and apparently the calves were the ones who were the less ready for the challenge.

Windy downhill cloudy selfie while running :)

 Garmin altitude graph and map from the afternoon run :) (Garmin Connect file)

Any experience with muscle cramps at altitude?

What were your weekend runs / races???

Beautiful Dolomites ... It Is Not All About Running

As you might have guessed from my Instagram and Facebook, my dad was visiting for the weekend. And it fell great with the middle of my training camp as my body asked for some break and relax. It rained most of the day on Saturday, so we made a trip to Bolzano, but nothing super exciting there, except for an original Sacher Wien shop!!! Who would guess it in relatively small town in Italy? :D Afternoon was a nap and the sun came out when we woke up and went to sauna ... it's so cool to have all those facilities available :)

Sunday, I did an easy pre-breakfast run and then we were off for a little hike. We drove the local bus to Saltria (10 min ride) where we have set Williams Hütte as the goal of our trip. I kind of pushed dad in not taking the chair lift, but walking up the hill. It turned out be 800 m of elevation, very proud for the achievement, I am sure, dad did not like my idea at many moments on the way up. On the other hand, the views were breathtaking as you can see...

... the little path actually goes right trough the pastures, you just need to watch your steps :D

Panorama of the ski-slope we were hiking up with the "Schlern" (or Sciliar in Italian - the typical rock in the far left center)

Those mountains were much closer and yes there is fresh snow on the tops from the rainy day before!!!

... spotting mushrooms ...

... and beautiful flowers ...

We chose the harder way (not the lift you can see in the back of picture) and we managed to get to the same spot :)

Another view down the slope on the Alpe di Siusi area.

More snowy rocks...

We are finally up! - 2 100 m above sea level!

Posing with the Schlern :)

Williams Hütte on the top of the hill :)

I really love the view on the rocks and how much green there is all around here, much different from Austria for example.

There was a Sunday mass going on in this little church we passed on the way down.

Back in the valley for local lunch :)

Well this is not that much in accordance with my marathon nutrition, but it was Sunday - treat day, right? :)))

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three A Day

Well there is a first time for everything and when The Coach planned three sessions for me in one day, I thought "how the hell am I going to fit those in?". Finally, it worked out quite well and made me very hungry :D

I woke up earlier than I wanted and used that as an advantage as the first part was approx. 14 km hilly fartlek. I planned to discover new part of the running trails...

This is how it looked at 6:45 am when I was leaving ... 

... but the sun came out very quickly and I got the pleasure of some amazing views again!

... played with the auto shutter again!

... well this is how the marked running track can also look like :) I was glad I could walk up :D

But again, it was so worth it! The horses giving me looks about what the hell I was doing there :D

... and coming back down...

Had breakfast, worked on my computer for some bit with legs up and finally after light snack went for a nap. Left for the 2nd workout around 2 pm ... 8x 300 m uphill - the purpose was to make my heart rate come up high, but did not work out that well :( still finished the workout with my legs smashed (I guess one part of the hill was probably too steep so I couldn't really run it?).

And I was glad to go to sauna and put my legs up and just relax! ... with Bě running magazine and Matcha Tea mixed up with nuun electrolytes :)

Got little more rest and left for little less than 7 miles of easy run pre-dinner. I took it really easy, discovered the right way to run one of the marked tracks again - again was so steep at some parts I had to walk (especially when keeping the run easy). Came back feeling accomplished and hungry :D

Total of the day - little over 18 miles, also did morning yoga and evening strength training.

... this was the killer dinner ... lot of veggies and protein, but OK I admit, it is LOT of food :D