Training + Snowboarding = Tired Legs

How do you account for “strenuous” activity when you’re training for a half marathon? Warning: this post will be mostly about snowboarding and not running (there’ll be some running thrown in for good measure, though).

For the Easter holiday Danny and I headed into the mountains for a few days of snowboarding. We stayed in Avon, right across the street from Beaver Creek. We ended up boarding 1 day in Vail and 2 days at Beaver Creek.

We left Friday around 730am, dropped off Addie at doggie daycare/boarding, and began our trek into the mountains. We had that huge snowstorm a few days prior but it was a good bit melted by Friday – but the weather had other plans for us. Soon into our drive it began to snow, and the farther we headed into the mountains the snowier it became. That, combined with the rest of the front rangers thinking the same way as us, made it a 3 hour, 30 minute drive to Vail – a ride that without traffic takes about 1:45. YIKES.

It was worth it. We got to Vail and parked at Lionshead around 11:00am, so we were on a lift by 11:30. The conditions were ridiculous. We had fresh powder from the night before, more snow coming down by the minute, and best of all – it was like 35 degrees! Normally on snowy days I get SO COLD boarding because you get so wet, but considering it was like 35 degrees on the top of the mountain and really not that windy, I did not get cold at all! It was amazing. I will say, though, that skiing in powder is a whole different beast. I would almost guess that part of the reason I didn’t get cold was because I was working so freaking hard.  It’s not cruising down groomers, that’s for sure.

We left Vail around 4-430 and headed to Beaver Creek – we were staying at a hotel in Avon (unfortunately could not afford the $600+ night for the luxurious Beaver Creek resort…). This is where the training comes in: We were planning on 3 pretty hard days of boarding. On Friday afternoon, once we got to the hotel, I headed straight to the treadmill to do my run for the day. Luckily, it was an easy 6 miles, so it wasn’t too bad. My legs were a bit tired but nothing too drastic. I was more just psyched up for the weekend, so I probably had adrenaline going. Plus, I knew that we were going out for a wild game dinner (Happy Good Friday!) so I really wanted to work up an appetite.

The next day, we were headed to Beaver Creek. Again: training. Before Danny even woke up, I was up at 6:30am to again hit the treadmills. This time, I was a bit more tired. I had another 6 miles, this time a bit more pointed (1 mile easy, 4 miles @ 8:25, 1 mile easy). Then, another full day of snowboarding!

Also, as an aside, it is always a bit rewarding when you come up from a hard workout and your partner is just waking up – feel accomplished much?

After breakfast, we headed to the slopes. Neither Danny nor I had ever been to Beaver Creek before so we were really looking forward to the chance to explore. We were not disappointed. First of all, when we got off the (free) shuttle from our hotel to Beaver Creek, we were handed warm chocolate chip cookies (warm! It was 12 degrees outside!) When we took up the first lift of the day, we were met with small cups of hot chocolate (complete with whipped cream!). Free cookies and hot chocolate? We were in the Disney World of mountain resorts. It was incredible.

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What was not incredible was the feeling in my legs. I was definitely getting tired quicker – the combination of snowboarding in powder + 2 6 mile runs + another day of boarding was slowly creeping up on me. We took a break for lunch and then quit for apres ski (beer) around 3:30 – but not before getting ANOTHER warm chocolate chip cookie at the bottom of the lift! Seriously. Heaven.

When we finally made it back to the hotel around 530, I was doubting my ability to get out of bed. I honestly can’t remember if I showered first or not..  This is probably a time to be blunt: I am not as young as I used to be. We barely made it out of the room to go to dinner at a local bar within a 5 minute walk. I ate my heart out with nachos and cheap beer, then crashed back at the hotel room…

…only to wake up on Sunday for another day of boarding! I have to admit, we could have easily passed, but it honestly felt so good to be out there that I couldn’t not go! We at least slept in a bit, and didn’t make it up to the slopes until around 10am. This time, we were too late for the hot chocolate but we did still get the morning cookie! We skied all day long, again, taking a break around lunch time to get a beer at one of the mountain top restaurants. It must have been about 45 degrees and with the sun, felt amazing. We sat outside and enjoyed our beers, calling friends and family to wish them a Happy Easter in the meantime. Then we skied for a few more hours before calling it quits to drive break to Denver around 3 (and another warm cookie – seriously, I can’t get enough of these chocolate chip cookies).

Easter Beers
Easter Beers

I had a 14 mile run Sunday, too. That…didn’t happen. I convinced myself that I would do it on Monday, but even today, when I woke up, I knew I didn’t have 14 miles in me or my legs. I decided I would swap the long runs for week 2 & week 3 just to give my legs a break.. 12 slow miles is much easier than 14 miles with some speed work built in. I did it, begrudgingly, and as I did, I wonder whether, on a weekend of 3 days of snowboarding, it’s better to a) stick with the training or b) skip it?

All I know is my legs are about to fall off right now. It’s 4pm and I’m drinking a cappuccino for energy (and also because it’s delicious, let’s be honest – I am at Two Rivers Coffee and it reminds me of Melbourne; that’s how seriously they seem to take their coffee). At the same time, I’m proud of myself for only slightly diverging from the plan! I keep telling myself that this training is almost more mental training than it is physical; it’s definitely keeping me honest!

Week 3 begins tomorrow! Wish me luck…

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