By: Collier Lawrence
The day Kate Grace and I found out the Littlewing crew was heading to Albuquerque for winter training, we began scheming - Georgia O’Keefe museum, Santa Fe, Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, red chile, green chile, Christmas chile, Old Town, Taos, infinite art galleries, National Museum of Nuclear Science - so many adventures.
About three days into camp we realized we had been a bit ambitious. In all honesty, that realization probably came midway through our first run in the Sandia Foothills, as we dodged cacti and wondered when the mountain was going to end and where the oxygen had gone.
The reality of a weekly schedule that looks something like this:
PM: lift, run, strides, drills
PM: run or cross training, core
AM: easy run
PM: easy run or cross training, core
AM: easy run
PM: run, strides, drills
PM: workout, lift
AM: long run
Off day / OYO (on your own)
Coupled with our increasing desire to nap, and nothing else, in between sessions has trimmed our list of extracurricular activities. Our motto has, jokingly, been ”boring is the new exciting” for a few months. In that context, we are appropriately filling our adventure quota and getting in some awesome training.
We are staying in the Sandia Foothills on the east side of the city. Miles upon miles of trails right out our door make it easy to get out everyday with little to no thinking (keep it simple stupid, am I right?). The foothills and arroyos have given me a new appreciation for hills and also take my breath away, literally and figuratively, on a regular basis. Workout days we head to the Rio Grande, where dirt paths, on both sides, give you the idea they designed it with your workouts in mind. We’ve made a training bubble at Albuquerque Academy. It’s right by our gym, the track has hurdles (which as a steepler already seals the deal), and they have a permanent cross-country course on their campus with tons of loop combinations. How perfect is that?!
Maybe it’s because I grew up at altitude, in Reno/Tahoe, but I haven’t noticed the altitude, minus the first day. When you make a significant elevation jump the name of the game is Extra. Extra water. Extra sleep. Extra electrolytes. Extra easy on recovery runs. Extra food - which is not difficult. I’ve made a list of things I need to bring home. Flying Star English muffins, Tia Betty Blues Blue Corn Waffles, Hatch chilies (the champagne of chilies - they can only be called Hatch if they are from New Mexico), and Piñon coffee top the list. Lauren has spent some time here and has some “hidden gem” connections. Judy is a wonderful woman from Georgia, who hosts a Soup Night once a week. She provides the soup and you bring bread or libations. She ran a B&B for years and has loads of fantastic stories about her guests, many of whom have been runners. Our trip to Judy’s is definitely one of our biggest highlights each week. Great food, awesome people, fantastic stories, and a great way to relax and feel at home in a strange new place.
What about all those fun activities Kate and I had been planning? That’s what long runs and Sundays are for. We did a long run in Santa Fe along the railway. Then headed to town for brunch and a little sightseeing. We met an awesome barista who has been making coffee in Santa Fe for 23 years and collects postcards. We took the tram up to the top of Sandia Peak, which stands at a thin 10,378’. We thought there was a snowshoe race, but it was actually the day before. Instead we went on an impromptu snowy hike to a stone hut at 10,600’; which none of us were prepared for but we didn’t get frostbite so it was a win.
It’s been a great two weeks so far and we’re geared up for the next three. Christine and I are getting ready for US XC, Kate is gearing up for some indoor races, and Mel and Lauren are working out a few lingering things and shifting their focus to outdoors. Here’s to soaking up the southwestern sun, building red blood cells, eating lots of chile, and racing fast!
Keep up with our training and adventures @runlittlewing #LWTrainingCamp15.