It took 2 days after our overnight camping trip up to Tête Rousse to recover some muscle damage on the legs specially the calves. It reminded me of our first time running down South Kaibab in the Grand Canyon and then climbing back up to Bright Angel, the next day I can hardly walk due to severe muscle damage. It was the first long, rough downhill in our short running history and it took at least a couple of weeks for the muscles to mend up.
This time, it isn’t bad as that time in the Grand Canyon. The calves muscle damage were mainly from the steep downhill with a heavy pack. It’s been a while since we’ve done that, maybe about 2 years. It shows that if something is not done for a while, it will take some time to build back up again. The good thing is, it is a much shorter time for the rebuild each time but obviously, consistency is key to keeping fit for specific activities.
Yesterday, our plan was to hike slow up to La Jonction which we had planned a couple of times now to hike up to however, the body didn’t plan on that at all. We started climbing and I was climbing strong. The body felt strong and sturdy with good controlled climb over steep sections. The climb at the bottom which is the road to the end of the ski lift is quite rutted out but the trail after the junction trail sign to the chalet is awesome. I love the steepness of the grade and the terrain. It felt super on the climb and it was so much fun. It was then that I decided to go tempo which is a bit higher than Zone 2 easy however not going to threshold. More energy output and some power runs up on the technical rocky sections was super fun.
It felt great to get some intensity in and with increased intensity, the long hike was shortened because I want to go fast on the downhill. 2 miles up at about 25-28% average grade is pretty good tempo workout plus the technical downhill. I don’t know what it is about the roots and rocks but it makes the downhill so much more fun than without it.
There were a lot of people on the trail going up and going down. The weather was really nice for a hike up with a bit of clouds to keep things a bit cooler. It was a warm day.
Climbing in tempo is fun because usually I focus on smoothness and with some of the steep rocks almost like stair steps give a great muscular SFR type of workout. Sometimes, lengthening the stride climbing over rocks are become great lunges. Sprint in those steep rocky and rooted sections for some short power bursts. It feels so good. That is if your legs are recovered!
If you want to do some speed work on the legs and footwork, go downhill on a technical terrain. Great workout! One thing about going down is gravity pull you and you just need to make sure you don’t crash. Slow down when unsure and go faster when sure. Heart rate goes down and the focus is so intense there is no room to think about anything else but make sure your footing is in the right places. I love it.
It was a great feeling to be recovered and be able to get a great workout in! The body just got an itch to go a bit harder yesterday so, okay body you go have fun. Go with how you feel and enjoy the moment in the mountains!
This week’s been awesome with 2 days trip up and down 10,200 ft (3,167 m), 2 consecutive days in the gym and yesterday’s mountain workout. Best part of all, we went camping! It’s been a while…and it was so much fun specially at a very meaningful place such as Tête Rousse Base Camp. We learned a lot about the normal route taken by climbers ascending Mont Blanc. We watched climbers set-up tent, cook their meals and also climbing up to the Refuge Gouter. The incredible energy in the high mountains is magical.
Today, UTMB week starts and the first race is PTL. One of the cool things about this week is spectating fast runners and runners who try their hardest to finish their own races. We are always inspired by all the runners no matter where they stand in the race because we know how much it takes to prepare ourselves to get to the start line per our experience in other races. We get so motivated to see runners in the village and trails. The energy in Chamonix Village during UTMB is amazing! This is our 3rd year spectating UTMB and have tried to enter a race but the lottery system makes it so tough to get in. Qualifying points are also required to race!
Speaking of races…there is one race we are seriously thinking of racing in October in India but it’s really tough to get to. More on that race soon!