Monday, September 29, 2008

Running and rainning...


I missed the Pathfinders race yesterday but thought I would at least put in a decent run today. When I got up it was raining and though this would stop many, I looked forward to it.

I enjoy running in the rain, it changes everything and it is much cooler. To start with I could not find the Garmen (I assume I left it at work) So ran without it. Funny how one can get used to something then feel naked without it.

I planned on a fairly long run and to mix the terrain between tar, dirt and trails. Kind of a well rounded workout. I wore my Northface trail runners because they are waterproof and I knew I would hit some ground water today.

The start was wierd as the road was covered with acorns and there was a pretty steady crunch for the first mile. I started fairly slow and figured on speeding up as I progressed. I don't know what was up, but I saw at least a dozon squished frogs in the road. Perhaps there was so much water from the night before that they thought they were crossing a pond instead of the road.

I got wet fairly quickly, and I had the road all to myself as it was only 7:30 am. I like it when there are no cars. The unfortunate thing about a heavy rain is it knocks a lot of the leaves down prematurely. I noticed how many leaves were changing. It seems full foliage will be here soon it wouldn't be much of a sight if all the leaves were on the ground.

I was glad to round the corner after mile 1 and hit the trails. I came up to the brook and even with my earphones on, I could hear the brook roaring. It is funny, this particular brook is usually a very gentle flowing stream acting like it doesn't have a care in the world.

Today it was flowing with vengence, a steady roar as it grabbed at branches rocks and debri. It expanded beyond it's normal banks just to latch onto things and deposit them somewhere down stream. Kind of a relocation program.

The trees were hanging real low with all the water on them. It seemed they had a destinct pleasure of tranfering most of that moisture on me as I ran by. I am sure they were snickering amongst themselves. I laughed right back as I ran by because they were not affecting me at all.

I came out of the trail and ran down a dirt road to Oakhill. It didn't seem so steep today for some reason. I ran 3/4 of the way up and then hit the town forest trail. It started down hill and the water coming off the road followed the trail. It was more like running with a steam as the water and the trail became one.

This was a bit difficult and it was pointless to try and stay out of the water so I just ran with it. This did slow me down a lot and I recorded the slowest pace on this trail.

This trail looped back up the hill and guessed it, I was now running up stream. I was glad to finally get back to Oakhill and I finished the trip up the hill, followed the caldasac. 1/4 way back down I hit the mushroom trail and was quite surprised that this too was quite flooded. I followed it to the end, ran around and back up the crevace wall, back to oakhill and headed home.

I ran up the two of the three baston hills and then hit the pit loop trail in reverse. Once i came back out onto the road I picked up the pace quite a bit and finished the last half mile with a little kick. This run felt great. I didn't experience much fatigue and the pace was pretty good.

I like the diversity of this loop, I think I will run it quite a bit for training. As I get closer to the spring, I will probably double up on it.

9 miles @ 1:25:22
tar / dirt/ trails / hills

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

leading to nothing

Setting my sites on winter running.....


I am officially leading up to nothing. Sounds crazy huh? I have no real running plans (in the short term) right now. Feels kinda empty and hollow. I have downgraded the Pathfinder race from race to participating (assuming I don't have to work).

I had hoped to race it as my last official gig before surgery but I just don't seem to have the speed and the right ankle (well the tendon band that runs across the top of the ankle) is still acting up. I guess I worked it over pretty good at the Bruiser.

Ran 3.7 @ Pineland...started easy and picked it up each mile to a semi kick at the end. I felt pretty good overall but the ankle would interfere when I landed wrong or tried to push off the toe for more speed. I did finish with a 8:20 kick so not extremely slow. Normally when running this short of a distance I would cruise at 7:50-8:00 pace with a kick od 7:10 or so.

After surgery (6 weeks or so they say but probably sooner I think) I will start working on a long base to increase through the winter in prep for the Pineland 50K
I really do not know what to expect but feel I gained enough knowledge from the 25K, the Bradbury runs and the 12 miler to give me a direction.

I hope to find someone training for the 50k that could work with me or even perhaps run with. Right now though it is early, I think I will plan on a race pace average of 11-12 minute. Don't know if that is feasable yet but it gives me a place to start.
I would love to think I could run faster but at this point I think that pace is realistic.

I set my sights too high at the 25K as I planned on 9:30 pace which I maintained through 10 miles but the last 5 slapped me silly and I ended up at 10:50 pace and damn close to not finishing. I don't want that to happen again. So far I have never had a DNF.

I learned a lot before the 12 miler and started that race a lot slower. Though I didn't run the time I hoped for, I did finish strong and was able to pick it up the last two miles (even though I was on the O trail) to a decent speed and kick the last 2 tenths.

Pineland run
3.7 mi @ 34:55
splits 10:05, 9:40, 8:57, 8:44, (8:20Kick) Heart rate 149 average with 168 max

1 mile easy run @10:10 pace
1/2 mile cooldown. No swimmimg tonite (closing the pool this weekend boo--hoo)....did warm shower instead.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Multi purpose muscles

September 21 2008

7 am and it was a little chilly very similar to yesterday but perhaps a tiny bit warmer. It seemed strange to be thinking layers and even gloves. I actually had runnung pants laid out and ready for this mornings run.

I ended up just wearing the shorts and a long sleeve shirt which was actually perfect. I was bummed as I forgot the Garmen at work which leaves me with out Heart rate information and also a milage reading that helps me decide which is more acurate, the Garmen (reads short in the trails but close on the road)or the Nike (reads long in the trails but close on the road).

So I ran with just the Nike and for some reason it read what I feel is short. I ran a combo of tar, dirt and trails mixed with some pretty good hills. When I started out, I realized the multipurpose muscles were fine. These are the ones that overlap from golfing to running.

Yes....I found out there are some overlap muscles and because I have only golfed once this year, I used some dormant muscles too. These muscles continuosly whinned about the run and tried to convince me to go back home and sit in front of the TV.
They lost and I rewarded them with a nice cool dip in the pool upon my return. That woke them up a bit as the pool was a mere 64 degrees.

I ran two trails, the pit loop and the mushroom loop. Both were very nice and it reminded me why I love trail running in the fall. The mushroom loop starts about 3/4 way up a great training hill called Oakhill. As I approached it, I saw a woman running up it so I tried catching her and even though I ran to the top, I just was out of room.

This hill is a real tough one and works well for solid hill training. I crested the top turned around and hit the mushroom trail. This trail is fairly easy and a lot of fun to run. When I came out of the trail, my course brought me back by the begining of Oakhill and at the very top I am pretty sure I saw the same woman cresting. Wow...she appearantly was doing hill repeats ....I was quite impressed. I have thought many times about doing repeats there but never seemed to do it.

So I ran 6.5 miles (or so) and felt good about the run. I did have some real noticable pain in the right ankle. I think due to the golfing yesterday. Oh, by the way, I know I complained about missing a run because of the tourneyment but actually I had a great time golfing, met up with a bunch of old friends and had a great meal....nuff said ..... The dip in the pool felt very good on the muscles though I think it dropped my core temperature at least 20 degrees!!

6.5 miles @9:25 pace
40 degrees and brisk.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pefect Running Weather

Matt ---My oldest son


What perfect running weather! I ran a real nice four mile loop (3.7) with my son. He was kind enough to slow down to my recovery pace. I wasn't sure about the ankle at first but it only bothered a little during the first mile and then a bit as I picked up to a semi kick in the end.

We started on tar for the first mile, dirt for part of the second and hit a nice trail then the last mile back on tar. It is a nice loop with a few hills to help get the heart rate up.

In the beginning I experienced the same problem as the Bruiser. I had a high heart rate spike in the first two minutes. I am not sure what causes that. It happened three of four times during the 12 miler.

I know that an elivated HR means your body is tired or not fully recovered, but this was a spike. After the spike 240...about 30 seconds later it went to normal and hugged the 159 range. Usually my max is around 170 maybe 174 if I really psuh it.

So, perhaps it means nothing. Through most of the run I hugged 155-159 and 163 at my kick. So A very comfortable run. I felt GREAT after. The feelings from Tuesday were completely gone and I felt uplifted.

I threw on the bathing suit after and hit the pool. Water temp was down to 66 so it was very refreshing. Couldn't get the boy (well actually a man now as he is 28 years old) to jump in.....he thought it would be too cold....I think I called him wuss or something.

I think my body temp was about 66 when I got out.....boy the air was cold. I was so refreshed though.....we will see how the ankle feels tomorrow.

3.7 miles
32:12 ... 8:50 pace
splits: 9:07, 9:20 hills, 8:57, 7:46, (7:20 kick)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not Running


I'm not running tonite.... The second day after the 12 miler..My right ankle is still quite sore and I actually shouldn't be runing on it anyway. But that is not my problem.

I feel a let down as my year started strong with a solid battle plan because of surgery it would have pretty much ended a couple weeks ago. I spent most of the summer thinking about X-country running and was dissapointed when I realized I would not be able to run the 12 miler at bradbury or possibly a second marathon in October.

The surgey was moved up and I got to run the Bruiser. The lead up was constantly on my mind and every workout related to running longer X-country type runs....I could justify the ways and means of my runs and cross training with the 12 miler on my mind.

Now it is behind me and I feel I havn't finished. Yeah, I didn't get the chance to be fullfilled. Isn't that odd? I ran the 12 that I thought I wouldn't be able to and instead of appreciating the chance to participate, I am instead let down.

Is it because I havn't been able to run for the last couple days? Or perhaps because I wasn't able to get 100% satisfaction from the race? I guess I expected a higher peak of emotion like finishing with a huge bang...the final race.

I put in all I had and finished strong. I formulated a late battle plan in leu of my condition and followed it perfectly. I did everything just the way I knew I could with my trining at the time. So why am I not satisfied?

I guess it boils down to the fact that the climax is now in the past and there is nothing immediate to concentrate on. I think I remember feeling this way after the marathon but I am not sure.

This time is different in one way as I will not be able to run this fall. SO I feel part of my life is missing. Is runing that important? Or am I feeling an adiction?
Is it possible that running is my drug of choice and now that it is sidelined, I am feeling the backlash?

I will probably run tomorrow if my ankle feels well enough. Perhaps after that I will feel better. I had a chance to run on a new trail Saturday, I have plans and can't make it. The plans are quite fun and I usually am excited to play in a golf tournement ......but I find myself thinking about the missed run... is there something wrong with that? My wife thinks so.

Monday, September 15, 2008

12 mile Bradbury Bruiser Race (a trail to monsterism)


Well, the bruiser has come and gone. I have mixed feeling about my performance. There are always things we wish we did differently, isn’t that how we learn to do things better? I had a battle plan weeks before this race. I trained on the course and felt I knew the terrain fairly well.

I ran three times on the bruiser course (not counting the prep and race for the Scuffle) the first time 5 weeks out I ran 9 miles, the second I ran with the Trail Monsters 4 weeks out and accomplished a 10 miler but missed the O trail, the third, 2 weeks out I ran the full course 12.5 miles and found the O trail to be difficult but fun. I felt I was fairly ready for the race only 2 weeks away.

As luck would have it, I came down with a cold and sore throat last week. It was a bit of a shock as I haven’t had a cold for over a year. Why now? And the week before the race. I knew my race would be affected by the sickness and regrouped my expectations. I was on track for a 2:10-2:15 race but figured I would be lucky to pull off a 2:30. I convinced myself that I would be OK with the slower time, but deep down I dreamed of that perfect race where I conjured up some super human energy and surprised everyone.

The week before the race, I only ran 12.65 miles with a weekend run of only 3.5 road miles instead of my scheduled 10 mile trail run. It was that Sunday morning that I had no choice but to admit I was sick. I had all I could do to drag my sorry ass body out there for the 3.5 jog. The week of the race I knew there was nothing I could do to enhance my performance other than staying as tuned as I could, get plenty of rest and hope for the best.

Once I got over feeling sorry for myself, I realized I could use this race to learn more about adapting to changes. One thing about longer races is that they never go the way you plan so you better be prepared for whatever comes your way. Most of the runners in this race are of the ultra variety. This is a short race to them. Some even view it as a pickup race or an easy jog. So comparing myself to them is rather foolish.

I can rationalize as when I think of a 3 or 5 mile race, I feel the same way. I know I can finish regardless of the circumstances. To me it would not be difficult to impulsively enter one and run it. Because of the caliber of the runners here, I understand and admit to myself that I may finish very close to last in this race.
I decided to start rather conservative and put more thought and effort into running efficiently and fueling properly. In the end I hoped to feel much better than I did in the 25K at pineland and if I accomplish that, I plan to have a pretty good kick to put an exclamation point on the race.

On the morning of the race, I got up 3.5 hours early to be sure and get my fuel in. I usually eat within a two hour window so we will see if this changes my first few miles. I should have a little more energy (at least that is what all the training books say). Normally I would not make too severe of a change on race day but due to the circumstances this is the perfect time to attempt adapting to change. I used the extra hour to relax a bit and read. This was nice and since no one was up in the house, it was very nice.

The weather forecast said periods of ran today. What does that really mean? I suspect it means just the period between the race start and the race finish as Murphy’s law is so prominent. I was actually Ok with this as rain does not bother me as long as I don’t have vision problems. I usually run a stronger and faster race in the rain but with this technical of a course it would surely slow me down.

I showed up early and with no serious expectations of finishing time I enjoyed the prerace hour with no nervousness. One thing I like about Ian is that he seems to put a lot of thought into his races. The T shirts are quite different and that is what I like about them. I wear my Scuffle one quite often and the bruiser one I received stands out too. I am disappointed that I didn’t earn a BADASS one….well maybe next year.

Finally race time comes around and the closer that point came, the harder the rain fell. Judging by the smile on Ian’s face I felt sure he called in some favor with the gods to give his trail race some real challenge. Oh, he was happy about this for sure. What good is a trail race that does not gives it’s participants some difficulty? Aren’t most of us running trails because of the mundane and predictability of the road races? Don’t we feel that we are a little crazier then the average runner? It is exactly the rain that pounds that point home. Most of the average runners would not show up.

As I watched the Trail Monster crew and volunteers work together like a finely tuned machine, I realized this was like a clan. Yes the Trail Monster Clan.
Working in the rain and using all their effort to create an enjoyable time for the rest of us. In the city this would be somewhat of a gang and when wearing the trail Monster colors, all other gangs better tread softly. There is no initiation (like running around the school naked or wearing a dress to soccer practice), you only need to show your respect of the trails and the running community.

As we lined up for the prerace pep talk, I tried to position myself to hopefully allow me to get a couple miles off without too many people passing me. I figured ¾ from the front would be about right and if I was too far back, well passing a few people would surely give me a confidence lift. It was quite disappointing that a few people in the back near me didn’t feel they had to listen to what Ian was trying to say. Perhaps they were seasoned trail runners and didn’t need any further info about the course. Their conversation pretty much drowned out everything else. Anyway, all I got was, the wooden bridges were slippery, A smiley face on a paper plate meant you were almost done, if you see an X you have to turn around and if you pass out and die on the course please let someone know so they won’t worry.

Finally we were off and before the first cutoff, I was passed by at least 5 or 6 people. As we cut into the woods, I was following a girl (at the time I didn’t know it was Kelly Wells) who seemed quite used to trail running and even though I felt I could have run a faster pace, I had visions of this girl passing me later on in the race as I labored and gasped for air. No I decided to settle in for a while and see how things panned out.

I watched as she expertly placed her feet and seemed to waste no energy. On the straighter flat areas she excelled but as the trail twisted and became more technical I would have to hold back a little. For now I was fine with just following her. It wasn’t long before the group behind us got antsy and looking for places to pass. I could feel them coming up on my shoulder and decided to move over and give them some room.

It was like opening a flood gate as close to 15 runners passed us within a mile or so. Still I was fairly comfortable at this point and figured if things went well for me perhaps I would pass a few of these people back as the toughness of the course began to take it’s toll. I guess it was about mile three that Kelly pulled over and sent me on my way. I don’t know if I followed too close and bugged her or if she was fueling but anyway I kept going.

In the twist and turns I did well but on the straits and flats I could see her catching me. Not too long after that I twisted my right ankle and then twisted it again. My problem was visibility as my glasses were fogging up and I could no longer see the trail clear enough. I had to pull over to wipe them and Kelly passed me back. This back and forth passing continued through out the race. Our pace seemed similar and if this was a road race we probably would have spent some time running together and struck up a conversation. Not in the trails though.

With clean glasses I could feel the quicker pace but would regress as the visibility became worse. I guess this was the real down side of the race for me as I ended up twisting and landing on the sides of both ankles numerous times and as time went on the right one hurt continuous and had severe stabs of pain when I had to support my body weight on it alone. This ended up being quite often with these winding trails.

This guy Jason passed me somewhere about 7 or 8 miles and before long he was out of site. I devised a plan where I would try to increase my speed and pass him back. Perhaps outkick him in the end. I got glimpses of him quite a few times and figured he was probably only a minute or so ahead of me until I realized with the trails twisting so much he could be a lot further ahead then it looked.

My fuelling seemed to go real well and I felt right up until the O trail my energy level was good. I worried about Kelly passing me as I started losing the level of energy I felt I needed to keep on pace. The O trail was kicking my butt and I could see her behind me. At the same time, I could see that Jason was slowing down too. Every time I felt dead legs and no breath, I would look up and see him in the distance. Somehow I would find a little bit more in me and continue.

The combination of the O trail, my energy level and the sore ankle was taking a huge toll on my self esteem and though I was quite excited when I saw the first smiley face, now that I passed the 6th or 7th one, I wasn’t too excited about the fact that they were supposed to indicate I was almost done. It seemed forever in this trail. A bad dream that would never end. The trail would open up and my spirits would lift….almost done! Then it would twist right back into a pretzel and my legs would groan.

The smiley face said FASTER….yeah right! Then I came across one that said DON”T GIVE UP NOW!........what I really wanted is one that said THIS IS THE LAST ONE YOU WILL SEE AS THE FINISH IS HERE! As tired as I was, I chuckled a little as I thought about Ian, Emma and their buddy’s laughing and enjoying the extra effort they put into our enjoyable affair. Yes the huge puddle (I called it a pond) that they gave us no choice but to run through. The newly fallen tree across the trail (I almost thought I was going the wrong way) The cute little x’s that actually saved me at one point (thanks guys) and the never ending smiley faces that seemed to say You’re not done yet rather than you are almost done.

Finally I exited the O trail and felt I could not have appreciated for much longer. True to my word, I found some energy and started picking up the pace. I knew Jason was not too far ahead and just maybe I would catch him. I kept picking up speed and could feel my muscles twinging under the demand. I hoped one of them wouldn’t snap before I finish. I rounded a corner and could see a glimpse of the finish through the woods….perhaps only a tenth of a mile or so. I cranked it up and as I planned I crossed that finish line with the vengeance of a madman. I was finally done and actually finished only 17 seconds behind Jason.

I was so glad to be finished and couldn’t wait to wash off the mud, dirt, crap and change into something a little dryer. I learned so much from this race. I can easily say I have a great respect for this trail and 12 miles of it is a lot for me. I worked harder, prepared better and finished stronger than the 25K. I guess I can say I accomplished plenty. I think the kicker here is the difficulty of the O trail. Right when you don’t have the energy is when you need it the most.

Someday, I will feel like a full fledged Trail monster and perhaps hang my photo on the wall beside these amazing ultra runners. For now, I guess I will be happy being a trail cub. I am planning a 50K next year which is a huge step for me. Surely this type of racing with the great runners at Trail Monsters, have given me a good start on the trail to Monsterism.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Great Run


I had a great run at Twinbrooks. It is such a good place to go for a little speed/ trail work as it is quite wide, smooth and easy (for trail running). I ran the H loop first and then hit the field to the A loop and continued from there.

I planned on about 3.5 miles of speedup type running but not race pace. The place was hopping and there were runners, walkers, bike riders everywhere. I passed a couple easy runners and noticed a bunch of guys who were either racing or running intervals. As I rounded a corner, I saw a woman running the other way who looked quite familiar but I was going the other direction so I didn't check it out.

I followed the fast guys for a while but was unable to catch even the slowest one. I lost site of them and had no idea which way they turned. As I rounded a corner, I heard some comotion behind me. I just barely started to turn and look back when the leader flew by me and then three more behind him.

I felt like I was standing still as the remainder of the pack zipped by me. These guys were surely moving. I tagged onto the rear runner for a short ways and finally backed off as I was getting too winded for the workout I planned.

I kept going and ended up passing the woman I saw earlier. She was coming the other way so I could see her face clearly this time. It was the mother of a girl that went to school with one of my son's. They were on the track team together. That is why she looked so familiar. I didn't stop and talk to Lisa, I just waved on the way by. I wished I had turned around and talked to her for a while. I havn't talked to very many old tracksters in a while, would have been nice to catch up on things.

Near the end of my run, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the fast guys again. They were not moving fast anymore. Jockingly I mentioned that they must have had to slow down after putting in so much effort to pass me....HAHA! Yeah if only I was in that league!

Anyway, the run was very satisfying, not too hot out and no bugs what more could one ask for.

3.6miles 30:40 8:30 pace 150 av HR and a peak of 169 (kick)
I had negative splits and a pretty satisfying kick.
8:37, 8:27, 8:08, 6:39

Ran a half mile coldown @9:35 pace along with a half mile walk.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Taking it easy


The pouring rain through the day left a discouraging feeling in me as I was planning an easy run after work. Though I am no stranger to running in the rain, I wanted and easy run and a chance to enjoy it.

As luck was apearantly on my side, by 5:30 the rain had completely disapeared. I wanted in the worst way to head over to Bradbury and run part of the bruiser course.
I knew better though as I would surely end up working too hard and hampering my race this weekend.

Instead I stopped at Pineland. I set up virtual racing buddy at 11 minute mile pace as a means to help me run easy. I headed out with the speed of a lost turttle.
The trail was very wet and even though the rain had stopped there was running water everywhere.

I somehow settled into a very slow pace. My plan (besides running with virtual buddy) was to keep my Heart rate between 135 and 145. Each time I neared 145 I would power walk to get the heart rate down. Funny how it didn't always co-inside with the hills.

The run ended up being very enjoyable once I convinced my brain that was all it was getting. I only wish I had brought my camera with me. It felt a little strange not gasping for air and knowing I had the capability to talk with ease (even though I had no one to talk to)

I felt good and easy to keep going after the 5K mark. I didn't feel tired at all and was really starting to enjoy the run. I fould myself thinking I should do this more often.

For the first time I can remember, I actually had to speed up a couple times to get my heart rate back up to the 140 mark which was the average I was shooting for. So at 135 I would pick up the pace and at 145 I would walk. This worked quite well and I felt good.

I spent some time thinking about the Pineland 50k and that this pace and style of running is probably just right for that distance. I find myself thinking about that distance a lot and I really want to attempt it. On the other hand, I struggled with the last third ot the 25k so perhaps it would be smarter to run that again and master that first.

The thing is, that I didn't really fail at the 25k. As a matter of fact, I felt pretty darn good and up until the quads cramped up I was on top of the world...I was feeling very good about the race. Where I failed was either in not training enough on the type of trail at Pineland,not enough endurolytes or perhaps a combination of the two. I think the down hills are what affected me in the end.

I think I had the base miles and was in good enough shape, just not experienced at that distance for trail running. I have all winter to train for the 50k and as long as I pull off some good long runs before May of 09 I should do fine. well that settles it...the 50k it is.

At the finish, I ran 6 miles, an average pace of 10:27. My average heart rate came in at 139 so just about right. My peak was 159 due to my kick at the end of the run....I just had to do it just to bleed out the cobwebs of the slow run and give my brain a little satisfaction.

I will do one more run this week of an easy nature then rest for Sunday. I am sure I will struggle a little more than planned as I still have this stupid cold. It will surely not stop me from running though.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Hate This Feeling

The reflection in my minds eye of how I feel inside.


I hate this feeling. You know the one I am talking about. I have a race coming up this weekend and for me it will be a fairly long and tough race. I am not worried about it as I have run this particular course and the distance (not racing of course).

My next closest X-country trail race was the 25k at Pineland Farms which I could have trained better for. I ran a great 10 miler that day and struggled for the last five. Reguarless of my condition at the finish line, I thoroughly enjoyed the race.

As with most races, it is just as important to taper properly as it is to train properly. When the last week or two arrive the brain and the body rebel as they both have settled into a rhythm. After many weeks of cramming runs and squeezing workouts in, it is hard to suddenly travel a different path.

That is the feeling I don't like. During the training weeks you keep plugging along and if the schedule is interupted for any reason, you merely just adapt and keep going. It doesn't affect the outcome too much as long as you pay attention to the overview.

During taper your brain wants to continue and your body suddenly feels unready. You scream internally to get out there and train,train,train........ There is suddenly a threshhold you think you have not crossed and if you don't get there you are not going to do well.

One last long run, more tempo and speed work as there are only a few days left. You just don't feel like you have covered all the bases. You don't feel rested and surely not ready. On top of that, I have contracted a cold which is very unusual for me. I hope I am past it by Saturday.

It is raining pretty heavy today. I have not decided where I will run tonite. I should keep it easy I suppose. Just an easy 3 or 4 miles and try to keep myself from a huge kick at the end. Perhaps I need one of those retractable dog leashes and a strong person holding the other end?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sometimes plans are just plans


One week before the 12 mile Bruiser race I decided a good plan to increse the pace but still get my milage in and not overdo it was to split my run. I planned 7 or 8 miles total so I did 3.5 in the morning and would do the rest later.

I was a little apprehensive as I woke up with a sore throat and a head ache. I could feel I was coming down with something and hoped it wasn't too severe. I actually have not had a cold or flue for over a year. I hope this was not going to be a problem.

My intent was to start moderate and increse the speed until the end with a fairly good kick. I ran a 3.5 loop on tar/dirt with some pretty good hills. My splits went according to plan: 8:31 (136-155 HR), 8:12 (150-156HR), 8:13 (152-156 HR), 7:16 (157-163HR)

At 7:30 am it was already warm out and the humidity was up there also. The run worked well for me and I really enjoyed the refreshing feel of the water as I flopped in the pool. A few laps and then that much wanted cup of coffee.

I thought this was pretty easy. I would wait until 3 or 4 and do my second run.
A quick trip to Brunswick to mow my moms lawn and trim some trees. I would have plenty of time to get some things done around the house and then get in my second run.

As I left my moms, I saw one of the stunt planes at the air show looping up and twisting around. I was surprised how little traffic there was with the show in town.
So, my wife and I decided to stop in for a few minutes. It was amazing to watch these planes.

We watched the F15 climb 3 miles in 20, now if I had that kind of power, I could run some 5ks HUH? Anyway we were in awe as a girl climbed out on to a wing of a Bi-plane and at 165 mph she stood on the top wing. Now that had to distort her face up in good shape and how the hell could she breath?

Before we knew it, the day was gone, our bellies were full of beer,french fries and icecream, and my forehead was some red. As with any day full of activities, it can only last so long.

Once I got home, I began to feel the effects of the day and my energy level just bounced off zero. It was then that I wished I had done my normal long run. The second run never materialized. I hate it when that happens.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I think I need some speed work


I decided to work on speed and see if my longer distance trail running has helped with core and endurance for short races at faster speeds. So I went to Pineland east side and put the hammer down.

The first half of this trail is mostly flat and downhill with only a few ups. I felt a little winded at first but swung my arms a bit and concertrated on running fast. The first half was pretty good.

I figured I would settle in a bit by two miles, continue picking up the pace and finish strong with negative splits. The first mile was a little disapointing at 8:47.
I felt like I was running faster but surely was not putting in enough effort with a peak heart rate reading of only 155, I should be hitting the 160s. I passed a girl walking the other way and felt I must look pretty strong to her as my form felt really good and my breathing steady.

The second mile felt much harder as I started hitting the hills. I felt worse, searching for more air on the hills and wishing I could stop. The 2nd mile split turned out better at 7:57 and a max HR of 159, closer but still not enough.

I planned on hitting race pace on the 3rd but started hitting the real hills which seemed never ending. I could tell I was running slower but working harder. I wanted to quit in the worst way. I was telling myself I didn't need to do this. It wasn't a race for Christ's sake.

I forced myself to keep going as I did set up virtual racer at an 8:50 pace for 3 miles. I had to at least beat that. That damn virtual racer beat me the last time.
I kept going and finished the 3rd mile split at a 9:08 pace and Heart rate max of 166 (proof I was working pretty hard even if the speed wasn't there). I passed the same girl as mile one and felt surely she was surprised to see me in this state of exhaustion. gasping for more air and probably hunched forward because of tired muscles. I found myself wishing I could stand a little taller crack a small smile prooving I was as fresh as ever....but I couldn't find the strength to do it.

I beat stupid virtual guy and decided to continue at least I more mile as I didn't kick at the end of 3 and it doesn't feel finished until I kick. My 3 mile pace averaged out to 8:38. Not quite what I had planned.

The 4th mile felt better (no hills) and I finished with a little kick @ 8:30 giving me an 8:36 for the 4 mile run. I was so winded and tired. I felt like I just ran a sub 7 minute 5k.

Overall, I guess I am disapointed. I seriously felt the long trail running on such technical trails as Bradbury and Pineland would give me a stronger 5k. After this run, I guess I was wrong. At only 8:30 pace I was feeling like I could not continue and had no reserve for a decent kick. Even though it was 80 degrees today and it was X-country, at 166 heart rate, I should have at least pulled off a 7:40 or 7:50 5K.

I guess I will not worry too much about it right now as I still have the 12 miler coming up next weekend and then the surgery so I figure I will regroup after I start running again and figure out how I should train for the future.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New trail


I found a new trail while running Oakhill. Actually a series of short trails. The Town Farm loop runs off Oakhill and intersects with the Railbed Connector. On the opposite side of Oakhill is the Sam Ristich nature trail. All together I ran about 4 miles.

Odd tree roots (above)

A Beaver Dam (above)

Oakhill (left)

I planned a cross country run today but wanted something different.I remembered the last time I ran Oakhill (where I do hill workouts....very steep and long) I saw a sign at the beginning of a small trail. It read Town Forest Trail. I thought I would hit the hill first and then try out the trail.

I started out on the right side of the loop which was pretty much down hill and semi technical. A well laid out trail that had few protruding obsticles but twisted around trees and had bumpy terrain. About halfway around the loop I came across The Railbed Connecter. This was a little tougher terrain with douple log bridges looping about and a set of steps up one steep hill. Then it opens up to an old railroad bed witch I ran for about 3/4 mile to an open field.

I could have explored more but decided to return and see what my milage was after the rest of the loop. On the return I heard a huge splash near a bog area. This was very loud and surprised me. I stopped and could see the ripples in the water.

At first I thought a tree must have fallen in the water but then I saw a beaver swimming. He (I guess it was a he) stopped on the left side of his Dam and as he turned he flapped his paddle of a tail created another huge splash which sent him under water.

I didn't realize that beavers did this. It was amazing how large and loud the splash was. I guess it might be a defense mechanism to ward off preditors as he did it when I was running by. I watched him swim around a bit then continued my run.

I tried a couple other open spots off the railroad bed but they ended nowhere and I had to double back. I could see that horses had been around and assumed some people had been using this trail for riding.

I found the Railbed trail and headed back to where I came. This time finishing the TownForest loop. This was a great trail and I figure about 1.75 miles. It was then that I noticed a sign across the street. It read Sam Ristich Nature trail. So I hit that one.

Ths trail agin was beautifully marked and ended up behind the Memorial School in North Yarmouth. This was a little more rooty and had more obstructions to negotiate. I liked this trail as it had some pretty good training spots with steep hills, stairs, a rivine, and some spots where I could open up and sprint.

All together I ran about 4 miles. This trail is only a mile from my house and I didn't even know it was there. I plan on running this some more. I will surely check out who Sam was and why they called him The mushroom guru.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pre Race 12 Miler


The pictures above have nothing to do with my run. I looked out the window yesterday and saw this group of wild turkeys. An adult male, an adult female and 22 siblings.....I couldn't believe how many young ones there were! The older birds walked around guarding the little ones as they grazed.

I arrived at 6:30 am for my pre race 12 mile run on the east side. My plan to run at least the 12 miles and over 2 hours. The run started out easy and I felt great. I tried my best to follow the 12 mile course and I think I did well.

The morning air was a little crisp which actually felt quite good. I knew before long I would be wishing it didn't change. The first three miles was very similar to my last run with the Trail Monsters though my pace was a bit slower.

As the sun started coming up, it would peak in and out of the clearings and trees causing various shadows and spots of rays reaching for the ground. Actually quite beautiful. I found myself wishing I had brought a camera.

I started picking up the pace a bit as I settled in but kept my heart rate capped at 155. I kept thinking how much I enjoyed running this trail. At 40 minutes into the run I stopped to fuel (one thing I didn't do last time.) The timing was right as I could feel the uplift of energy within the next mile or so.

I started looking for my spot where I had the huge collision with the ground and at almost exactally 5 miles, I found it. There was no doubt in my mind as I noticed the same landmarks. Funny though, I expected to see a large rock protruding or an open root grabbing at the sky. Some sign of the reason I tripped. There was nothing out of the ordinary to blame for my demise. I am not sure now what happened. I expected something really large, instead it just looked like normal trail.

For some reason at about 6 miles, I got thinking about mountain lions or Linx ....wouldn't they be hungry about this time of day? How would they feel about some potentual food jogging by? I would be like fast (well semi fast) food ....delivered.

I could vision the huge growing smile on his face as the aroma of sweaty meat rambled across his nose. Would he be interested? Would he start following, hiding in the shadows, waiting for the best oppourtunity?

I wondered what I would do. Could I climb a tree and keep him at bay with my feet? Could I survive if he jumped me? Would I have the time or capability to grab onto a large stick or rock for defense? I found myself peeking back when I rounded a corner. Just perifial not so he would notice me looking. I looked for movement or some type of shadow. Nothing....I suppose my imagination was overdoing it a bit.

Funny the things one thinks about.......40 more minutes and I stop for re-fueling. I am plenty hot now and my glasses are fogging up. I am feeling really good though and quite happy with the run so far. The terrain has not bothered me so far and I actually have not tripped once.

I reach the 8 mile mark and so far I think I have stayed on the course. Though I did stop at a few crossings and studied the map to be sure. I know it is getting later as in the last 2 miles, I passed one runner and two bikes. I figured the woods would be hopping with activity soon.

I figure my average pace to be around the 11 minute area which is about what I planned. My energy level is good and only minor muscle fatigue. Much better than the 8mile mark of my last run here. Mile nine and ten were quite nice and uneventfull.

Now I am searching for the beggining of the O trail. This is the part of the course I missed on the last run here and did not want to miss it again. I figuered it must be pretty well hidden as I didn't see it last time. Suddenly, there it was plain as day..not sure how I missed it.

Imediately I realized what everyone talked about. This was the windiest most technical trail I have run. I loved it! Oh, sure it was tough but something about it just hit me right. I had to work so hard to stay on course and used the trees to help round corners without slowing down.

It is hard to believe that bikers ride this. It was affirmed as I passed two bikers working their butts off. I mentioned how great this trail was after I said hi but they didn't seem to have time to respond. This part of the course seemes long and I almost lost the trail a couple times and once I actually thought I might have gotten turned around somehow and was running in the wrong direction.

Finally I broke out to the "regular" trail and powered my way to the finish. I felt quite good and still had some energy left. My core and my feet were quie tired and I was glad to be done. I walked a half mile cooldown, did a few stretches and headed home for a swim.

I think I am ready for the 12 miler and now feel I have a good idea were my pace should be. It seemed good to have this part of the training behind me now. the rest will be grooming runs,a few pleasure runs and a couple speed workouts. I wore the belt today instead of carrying the bottle and I think though a little more uncomfortable, I liked it better as my hands were free and I seemed to trip less. I will probably wear it for the race.