March 11, 2019

Progress at home, and in Montana

Lone Mountain Peak, Big Sky Montana
Two weeks ago, I put in a nice running buildup week for the Oakland Running Festival half marathon.  Only 21.52 miles total on my feet, but it included a hilly hike with a friend, some decent shorter faster intervals (always good to see 7 in the minutes place on my pace), and, finally, a 9.4 mile long run.  Also, I dragged myself back to the yoga studio, putting me on track for a yoga session at the studio an average of every 2.5 weeks so far this year.

I have enjoyed returning to a more regular yoga practice, so in addition to my 2019 running and protein source goals, I think I'll add a goal of 20 yoga studio sessions to the list (4 down, 16 to go).

After the week of positive running momentum, I hopped on a plane and headed to Montana for our annual ski week with E's family.

It was the *COLDEST* ski trip I've ever taken.
Highs in the single digits.
Most of the ski towns where we stay don't have good gyms and running in the snow is not usually an option.  So, instead of running, I try to fit in whatever workouts other than skiing make sense and take it as a down week.

I grew up skiing from age 4 - 13.  My gymnastics coach demanded that I stop when I was 13 because if I was going to get injured from something, he wanted it to be gymnastics (I'm sort of joking, but not really).  It wasn't too hard to comply since I didn't really have much time to ski between school, coaching, practice, and competitions.

After I quit gymnastics, I tried snowboarding in college and quickly reverted to being a skier, as it was clear I'd have to spend a few painful seasons boarding before I became even remotely close to as good of a boarder as I was a skier.  I did a few college ski trips (including one memorable one where I was the *only* person in a car full of boarding bros who knew how to put on snow chains) and then I stopped skiing once the college ski club was not part of my life.

Yellowstone National Park in the Winter is very beautiful

Fast forward several years, and I'm dating E.  It turns out, E's family does a week long ski trip every year and they invite me along.  Ever since then, with very few exceptions, I've returned to being a skier, if only for one week, once a year.  It's been a great source of fun and joy in my life.  But, I've definitely got a healthy respect for the dangers of the sport and I'm much less aggressive than I was when I was 13 (when I was the best I'll ever have been).

Last year, in Telluride, I didn't get in much running due to having just dislocated my shoulder the weekend before we went.  I also didn't ski (due to the shoulder as well).  So, it was a very low-key week on the workout side of things.  
42 minutes of speedwork/recovery on a treadmill at 7,500 ft 
results in *much* less distance than at sea level
This year, I was on the fence about whether I would ski or not.  My fear was that if I were to fall, it was likely I'd dislocate again and potentially injure the structure of my shoulder.  In its current incarnation, I do not need surgery.  If the frequency of dislocation increases, I will.

The medical recommendations I've gotten are to push out surgery as long as I can (with shoulder strengthening work and avoiding activities that cause problems) in hopes that I can have one more reconstruction and not have to go down the multiple surgeries route.

I'd also forgotten that I didn't really have the freedom not to work the whole week, so between my injury fears and professional obligations, I settled on a tentative plan of 1 full day of skiing, 1 day in Yellowstone, and the rest of the days working and fitting in whatever I could.
Petrified trees soaked up the minerals from the geothermal features.
Hard to date, but probably at least 1,000 years old.
Big Sky, Montana is beautiful!  But, boy was it cold.  According to the lifties, Bozeman set records for the coldest temperatures in March since 1955 while we were there.

I had such a good time skiing on Tuesday (remembering that I'm actually a pretty decent skier, and as long as I ski conservatively, I'm unlikely to fall) that I moved my work obligations around and rented gear for a second day on Friday.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great, so I settled for a half day and didn't go back out after lunch.

All told, I managed 2 treadmill workouts, 2 days of skiing, one shoulder strength session, 1 core/strap stretching session (to keep the peace with my traitorous left leg) and a short run at target half marathon pace on Sunday after we returned.  The week at elevation probably did some good for my fitness as well.  As expected, time with family from the South and in Montana means I had 6 servings of red meat in 8 days instead of the annual average target of less than 2 per week.  There will be lots of running and vegetarian/fish meals in the last 2 weeks before the Oakland Half Marathon.


Arvay said...

Beautiful photos! I'm envious of this "polar vortex" business. I wish our winters would last as long as they do in the Lower 48 now!

bt said...

@Arvay -- we thought of you and spoke of Fairbanks often on this trip. In fact, one of the lifties was from Fairbanks!