End of May 2022: Still recovering, debriefing Vancouver ’22

Hello for the moment from Flagstaff, where I spent the long holiday weekend. I had no training objectives coming here, and only went on one 4 mile run Saturday morning. I also strength trained Saturday and Sunday, which it turns out is real hard at full effort in high altitude, harder than the run. But this was basically a long weekend vacation.

After Vancouver I had kept the run streak going for a couple weeks before deciding to kill it May 15. Since then I’ve taken liberal days off, though I did make sure not to take more than 2-3 days off at a time. I’ve only run about 10 miles a week, with some cross training and strength training in-between.

I’m still a good deal tired. While I want to resume base training I’ve gone touch and go with resuming any treadmill running or cross training, since I don’t have any goal races before this fall. This weekend, I’ve noticed how weary I’ve felt in general, more so than previous trips into altitude.

Over the last two weeks, I’ll have days with good energy, but most days feel like an uphill battle. I suppose that’s par for the course after a marathon training cycle and (even if I could not finish) running a marathon.

I stayed at much better accommodations this time in Flagstaff and was much closer to Downtown, which allowed me to easily walk to and from most places I wanted to visit. Still, I did walk several miles each day, and I have to keep in mind that unlike when I lived in Chicago this is far more walking than the 2-3 15-30 minute walking breaks I’m used to in Vegas. These trpis have been some form of light aerobic training.

I splurged this time thinking it’ll be a while before I have a reason to come back here. I originally came here to train long and escape the Vegas heat, and though I’ll likely want to escape the heat during summer, I’ll probably visit other locales like Big Bear and Utah for that. Those road trips are only 2-3 hours while this one is longer at 4+. There’s also not a ton of places to visit aside from the tourist locales here, and the cheaper accommodations are a bit out of reach from those.

Over the summer, my general goal aside from consistent strength training and building weight/volume on my base exercises will be consistent 45-60 minute midweek aerobic training a few times a week, getting some brief runs outside for heat acclimation, plus working on stretching out a weekend treadmill long run to 2-3 hours at least twice a month. Since I’m not marathon training I don’t have to worry about hitting a mileage total, so I can just go as far as I’m comfortably able to handle, and take down weeks and days off where desired. But I don’t want to totally lose fitness and have to start over in January.

If I get to cooler months in October having done that much in base training, I can actually race those fall Vegas races instead of surviving them or seeing what I can do as I had to do in past years. Then I can ramp in 2023 for Vancouver 2023… because, yes, there will officially be a Round 4 between me and the Vancouver Marathon.

This time I’ll not only plan to be far better trained, but will also make sure to avoid the lane markings on the Burrard Bridge! Those bots dots sneak up on you.

I’ll have other adjustments too. After several years of staying at The Burrard Hotel, which I still like and endorse, I’ll probably pick a place in the West End closer to the places I frequent. The big issue for me with the Burrard turns out to be its walking distance from the places I want to frequent. I was often walking about a mile one way to go to most places and around 7 miles each day. In past years that wasn’t a problem because I walked all the time in Chicago. It was basically the same stimulus. But now, not walking as much all the time in Vegas, I noticed it much more this year. I need to spend extra if needed to stay closer to my usual spots.

I also previously arrived in Vancouver a few days before the marathon and then stayed 3 days after before leaving. Next time around I’ll arrive closer to the marathon, then stay basically for the week afterward to enjoy the city before returning. I probably can’t help wanting to walk around and explore, so getting there Thursday night or Friday I can be a shut-in and make those first 3 days all business, then I sleep off the marathon, wake up Monday and have all week to enjoy Vancouver.

I also pretty much live off sushi, ramen, and the occasional fried food or greasy spoon breakfast when I’m in Vancouver. Did that have an effect on my ability to sleep well? Possibly. In past years I was more aggressive about getting and eating fruit, so I’ll probably need to plan out balanced nutrient intake for that trip.

If I do another marathon this year, which I’m not counting on, it’ll be close to home. The Hoover Dam Marathon is in December and Lake Mead Marathon is in January, both around the Lake and along the Railroad Trail. They also do a Half and shorter distances, and at the least I’m seriously considering doing one or both Half races. I’m open to signing up for one of the fulls and then using it as a long training run, going through the Half distance and then tactically dropping out once I’ve had my fill. These are smaller races so training for either would not be the big deal a destination marathon is. Perhaps the lower pressure stakes would make one or the other do-able?

I have no set plans right now. I am thinking about it. There would be plenty of fall training time to get in marathon shape if I wanted to, and it would be easy to bail if it ultimately turned out I didn’t.

Given my ongoing sleep issues, I am also considering a huge step: I may wean off and give up coffee, at least for a while. After working on all sorts of variables with my sleep, I realize my daily caffeine intake is the one I haven’t gone after. I don’t drink more than 16oz coffee in a day, and it’s usually done before I get to work, often by 8am. But who knows if the half life and fat soluble storage isn’t contributing to my inability to stay asleep most nights.

To avoid withdrawal symptoms I would wean off in 72 hour stages, cutting to a flat 12 oz for 3 days, then 8 oz for 3 days while transitioning in black or green tea, then switching to tea or half-watered-down-coffee for 3 days, and then finally at a suitably low dosage giving it totally up within the following 3 days.

Anyway, I’m heading back to the Vegas Oven in a little bit. I didn’t sleep great last night, so I likely will nap once I’m back and hopefully get better sleep this night. More to come later on after I return.

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