Monday, July 18, 2011

Road to Bella Vista - deserving of it's own post...

My weekend in running.

As I noted in my last post my running had been a bit odd on the week.  Not so this past weekend.  In fact, it was downright spectacular.

Looking toward the road from the cabin.
Saturday got off to a slow start.  Nataly and I have been having some work done on the fence around the house and we had to settle up with the guy who completed the work for us.  I was unsure whether or not to knock out my run in the morning, or wait until we left and do it up in Cuevas.  I decided to wait.

For the sake of my blood pressure, that was the wrong decision, but for the sake of the run it was correct.

The guy whom we were supposed to pay at 12:00 didn't show until almost 1.  Then, when we got out onto the road, our assistant Mary called to say we'd forgotten Boo, Deneb's precious dog without which there would be no sleep.  We stopped for some chicken.  Eventually we started toward Cuevas somewhere after 2:30.  Me getting a run in was looking doubtful.

We had no difficulties on the road and eventually pulled up to the cabin around 4:30.  With Hugo's help, I had the car emptied quickly and I was changed into my running clothes (without Hugo's help) and ready to go.  I hit start on my GPS at 4:41 PM for my 1 hour 15 minute run.

Beautiful Green Mountains.
My schedule called for a run with a variety of options.  Had I done it in La Guardia, it'd've been form work, instead it was hills (strength training for runners).  This weekend I actually did 2 runs on the same road, the road to Bella Vista (you can see the GPS tracks here and here).

By the time I'd finish Saturday's run, it'd be getting pretty dark, but no headlamp would be needed.  The thing that was remarkable about my workout Saturday was that I was cruising.  Felt effortless.  Climbing was easy, descending was smooth.

Gearing wise, I was sockless in my VFF Trek Sports, with my Garmin and nothing else.  As far as effort went, when I do "running strength" workouts I use a heart rate ceiling:  No higher than Zone 4.  That still gives plenty of horses to push it on the climbs and I worked on form on the descents - bent knees, high turnover rate, forefoot strike etc, etc.

Typical scene, lots of veg.
Distance wise, this run was nearly identical to a run I took a couple of weeks ago when I went to Cuevas by myself, but temporally, it was five minutes faster.  I worked harder on Saturday's effort, but only marginally - average HR was 2 beats per minute higher.  Anyway, Saturday's run covered 8.5 miles and had an elevation gain of 1250 feet and finished with a "Hot Damn! That was freaking fantastic."  A workout like Saturday's is the reward for the days when one just doesn't care to get out, but does anyway.

Sunday, well that was another kettle of fish entirely.  I didn't really care to get out, but it was my long run - the most important of the week.  It was raining, then it wasn't, then it was pouring.

Nataly thought it would clear, and when I left, I thought she might be right, but within 15 minutes of leaving it has started misting and for the rest of my workout, something would be making me wet either from above or below.

The road which Saturday had been dry with sure footing was now slick and muddy.  For the most part the traction was fine, but there were parts of the road where the mud was downright treacherous.  Toward the top of the final climb before I turned around, I felt like I was sliding backward 3 steps for every 4 I was taking forward.  Then on the descent, because I'm essentially a wimp when it comes to injuries, I proceeded with extreme caution.  My timing for yesterday's workout was a bit off - whatever.  It's possible that I can blame my shoes for my difficulties in the mud, yesterday I went with the NB Minimus, but I'd be shocked if my VFFs would do much better.

Friend along the way.
One of the great joys of running in Bolivia is that darn near everywhere you get to share the road with livestock.  Sometimes they manifest themselves in the form of demon sheep, but most of the time I'm running in close proximity to herds of cattle.  The road to Bella Vista has lots of cows along it's length, as well as a horse or two.

The cows themselves aren't really much of a worry, it's their residue that I'm not a huge fan of.  Yesterday in the rain, well - yuck.

Anyway, I'm really starting to like using this road as one of my main training routes.  Even though when it's wet the mud and cow effluent make it less than a jungle paradise, the route has a bunch to offer.  Yesterday at my turnaround point I seemed to be almost to a spectacular vista, but I was so sick of sliding around in the muck I decided I'd get there another day.

Not single track.
Given the weather yesterday and timing of my run on Saturday, these pictures were obviously not taken this weekend.  In fact they were taken back in May.  The photo to my left was taken at just about the mid point of my run on Saturday.

Today I'm pretty darn sore - calves, quads, glutes, abs, lower back....  I don't do a boatload of climbing here in La Guardia and so this was my first real up and down weekend as it were.  I ended up with nearly 3500 feet of climbing over 23 miles.  Not a bad couple of outings at all.

Anyway, thanks for reading and watch where you step.
Cabin, sweet cabin.

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