Thursday, December 31, 2009

One, Can Not Question Real Commitment.

I love chocolate...I don't think a day goes by that I don't devour my fair share (especially dark) My family makes jokes, people buy me chocolate gifts .....let's just say my desires are very well known......yet I realized that I am not commited. The photo above shows a women so commited that she dove into a large vat of chocolate sause.

Now that shows commitment and the electrons in my "guy" brain are firing off the wall with thoughts and ideas....Hmmmnnn...a women covered in chocolate, I think there is a heaven.

It got me thinking though, when related to my running this year, did I jump in head first to work toward my goals? No, I surely dipped in a couple toes, probably tasted a bit off the tip of my finger and ultimately dangled my legs in, but I didn't dive in.

Oh, I put in effort, actually good effort. What does one get from good effort, good performance? That's right you get back what you give. I wanted great things this year so I should have put in great effort. Had I dove in head first, I would have emerged covered in lushous dark chocolate.

2009 was a pretty good year for me running wise. I ran my first 50k ultra race (though some seasoned ultra racers do not view a 50k as a true ultra) I broke a thousand miles for the first time in a year, I ran some fun races, I spent some quality time with a bunch of running friends and experienced no real injuries.

Thing is, I started out pretty strong. I trained extensively for the 50K and ran the race accordingly. It was a high point and supposed to be the start of and a stepping stone to a great year. Somehow, things sort of rambled from there. I guess my training and races just sputtered and stalled.

I spent the summer and fall running some pretty OK times and there is no doubt that I had loads of fun. I must admit though, that I am sitting here today, the last day of the year and looking back a bit disappointed.

Yes, I am complaining and I do realize that I had a great year running, but it feels like Christmas morning is over, all my presents are opened, yet I didn't get the big special one I talked about and dreamed of all year.

There is no reason to feel this way. Hell, I ran a 50K, I ran 10 races, I spent some great times out on the trails with some fantastic people. How unfair am I with so many people out there that can't even run one mile(I ran over a thousand), people that are much less fortunate than me ..... who am I to complain?

I spent all year saying to myself, "I am doing this for fun, it doesn't matter what the outcome is." doesn't matter...I didn't think it did matter, yet I am not as satisfied as I thought I would be.

So, either it does matter or I am being very selfish. I suppose I have to do some soul searching and decide what I expect from myself and the upcoming year. I suspect if I had pulled off one good speed race, say a 5K or 10K PR, I would feel totally different.

I have to be honest with myself and admit that I didn't put in a PR effort during my shorter races so I can't expect a PR result. I can't be disapppointed because I got all I bargained for. I put in "OK" effort and received "OK" results. I have to be happy with that........I have to be.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Morning Dream

I love winter (when it's not raining) and would not trade the four season changes for anything.....but if I could wake up every morning to only one view, it would be similar to this one.

Well, last week was Christmas, I was sick, my furnace quit, I had shopping to do(I always wait till the last week) and only 3 days to schedule 5 days of work (I took one of those off to repair the furnace). There is no doubt that the week before Christmas is the ball and chain that breaks my flow and interupts any chance that I can get in my runs and workouts. Because of this and the extra problems this year, I basically took the week off from running. It was a good choice even if I gained a few pounds from all the food.

In my mind I visioned various long runs during the three days off for the holidays and dreamed of how great it would be to accomplish that.....of course it didn't happen but I did finally get in a short run on Sunday and it felt good to stop eating for a few minutes.

I got up early Sunday only to hear the heavy rain beating down on the roof which helped me decide to run inside and work on a hill workout. 4 miles continuous on 10% grade is a pretty decent workout and my body felt it. Not quite the long run I wanted but at least it was a run.

With the Holiday rush behind me, I am looking forward to some good long runs to prepare for a busy spring. I feel a little bit out of shape for the fatass GAC race but figure I will at least show up for the social aspect and probably knock off at least two 10k laps.

I have been meaning to catch up with these southern New England trail runners for some time and it seems this is a good chance to do just that. My schedule is a bit up in the air right now as I may run down to Boston and catch up with my son first ( I am hoping to get him to run with me as the 9th is my birthday) We will see what happens.

All and all, I am psyched for the new year. I am planning some new adventures, a few PRs and hopefully a 50 miler or at least a couple 5oK. I am thinking of the Vermont 50 or Stone Cat as options. Of course it all boils down to my health and my schedule, if they both co-operate 2010 could turn out to be a great year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Reflecting.....Careful As you May Be Suprised!

This is a time of year that many people reflect on the past 11 months, try to understand themselves and bring their ups and downs into relevancy. Soul searching in a way to convince themselves that the year has brought their lives to a higher plain.

Are we seeing the honest truth or is our mirror distorted by a convex view? Do we see our true selves or merely an image of who we want to be? Perhaps what we should see is the reflection of who we want to be rather than who we are.

Until recently I thought a mirror should be honest and reflect who we really are, but after reading about a couple's passion to hike the Appalachian trail, I realized the mirror's job was totally different.

If one looks in the mirror and sees a reflection of a non-hiker,a non-runner, a non anything, then perhaps that is all they are and all they will ever be.

In this reading, the hiking couple apparently looked in the mirror and saw the reflection of two people with huge backpacks on, wearily smiling from ear to ear as they take the last step of their journey.

They saw this same reflection every time they looked in the mirror, regardless of what obstacle was thrown in front of them. They did not quit after hiking more than 1500 miles and being forced to stop because of an injury that postponed the continuation of their journey for a year. No, they still looked in the mirror and not only saw the projected end of their trek, but took that last step of the journey together three years later.

If the mirror only reflected their current image then perhaps they would never had finished the hike. I am envious that I didn't take on a journey like theirs, envious that I didn't have a personal relationship that paralleled theirs. Two people on the exact same wavelength, wanting the same end result and having the willpower and tenacity to see it through.

Yes, I am impressed and somewhat jealous as my journey at their age was so different and uncontrolled. perhaps adventures like theirs are long past for me but surely there are still images to be reflected from my mirror.

I now believe I should view things differently and use the past as great memories but not as a means to judge my capabilities. Even at my age, my future is still what ever image the mirror can show me.

I no longer need to reflect on last years or the last decades accomplishments. Instead I have to discount the true reflection of my past and embrace the distorted image of who I want to be.

I will be 54 in two weeks. My dad passed away when he was 54. He was feeble as I remember and I believe when he looked in the mirror he saw a feeble reflection of a once great and strong man. Perhaps if he had seen something other than the truth, he might have stayed around longer. The mind is a very strong tool and as I have seen with ultra running and the couple hiking, it is the mind that allows a person to finish the journey.

Reading the couples journey reminded my of the many times my dad took us hiking. We could descend Mt Washington in record time without injuries. He had no problem keeping up with us kids and he taught us so much about nature and the respect of it. It is his legacy I cherish as I run the trails and experience the excitement of what might be around the next tree or over the next rock. Once us kids moved on, he stopped his adventures.....I don't remember him ever hiking again.....I really don't know why.

My dad died on June 4th in his 54th year on this earth. I think it makes sense for me to climb Mt Washington on that day of my 54th year as a tribute to him and all he taught me. Perhaps his essence will meet me up there one more time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

If Dragging Ass Was An Olympic Event....

My screen is gray and my keys are droopy as my internet connection is clouded by the unfortunate arrival of some bad-ass bug.

I should have known last week end when I "felt" tired and couldn't seem to get a run in. But, by Monday I was over it and ended up with some good runs along with some very strong workouts. I was actually impressed with how fast I sprung back.

I should have thought about it as I was put on Penicillin about a week ago to prep for some dental work.......I know it doesn't seem to make sense as one would think the medication would guard against sickness, but it actually kills the good hard fighting bacteria too.

So... here I am just a few days after bragging about how I couldn't remember the last time I was sick....well I can remember now! I start out pretty good in the morning but by mid afternoon I am dragging some serious ass and the last thing I am up to ...well..anything!

It is actually kind of humerous as Murphy's law seems to strike at the most in-opportune times ......Sunday I am Chrismas shopping and feeling like total crap, I get home and stagger into bed hoping that I die relatively soon......and what happens? Well 8:30 pm and the furnace quits.....OK..I can laugh now but at the time it felt more like a javelin piercing me right between the eyes. The best I can do is set up some electric heaters and collapse back in bed.

Monday morning I get up extra early to get on top of things at work before heading home to tackle the furnace. The morning starts well as I find out very quickly that my truck doesn't go too well with only three tires that have air in them. Luckily I have a second vehicle.

Seven hours later and more money than I am prepared to spend, I finally have our house back up to temp only to have the thing work real good for the evening and then decide to act up after midnight and when I am trying to sleep. I think things are purposely designed to break on or after midnight...actually I am sure of it!

One thing I learned as I grew older is not to get too worked up about things beyond my control and also that Murphy really tends to like spending time with me. I think I am his best friend or something.

So, no big deal and I will address the furnace tonite when I get home. I am sure by this weekend I will find the energy to get in a couple of good runs. In the mean time I will quietly suffer with this sickness and try not to bring down the Christmas spirit around me. HO...HO...(cough..cough)..HO.

An overview of last week:

3:00Am morning cardio and weight workout
6:00 pm 5.5 mile hill workout on the treadmill

3:00 Am morning cardio and weight workout.

3:00 Am morning cardio and weight workout.

3:00 Am morning cardio and weight workout.....this is feeling pretty good!
Early warning sign (fast forward to Sunday, the belt was the least of my worries)...the belt on the furnace broke..which made me late for my operation.
5 long hours getting 9 new teeth mounted (long story) Then replace the belt on the furnace...which is now working good (little did I know, the furnace would be back to haunt me on Sunday)
2:30 pm 5 mile hill run on the treadmill

At 3:00 am I am feeling a bit tired and sleeping like a baby, there was no way I was going to get up and workout! Worked all day and decided to call it a "rest day" with the plans of a long run on Sunday at Bradbury.

Am, dragging ass out of bed and feeling a few steps short of a good run.....decided to do an easy trail run of 3-4 miles and call it a day. Ended up running 4.65 and actually beside the fact I was feeling the sickness pretty heavy, I felt better after running. I think the brisk air helped clean out my lungs a bit.
PM...the furnace really broke this time.

I have a nagging feeling rolling around my brain as I should be thinking about 2010 running goals and plans.....yet I can't seem to get past my short term hurdles and immediate concerns....perhaps next week after Christmas has finally past and my schedule is a bit back to normal I will design a plan of all plans and begin 2010 with full intent of being a banner year....who could hope for more?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Could A Run Be A Scientific Expedition?

As I read the blog piece sent to the trailmonsters today, it started sounding very familiar......The trailmonsters are scientists! That's right, I couldn't believe it either.

The modern notion of science is a special kind of knowlege about the world (mountains, woods, trails) practiced by a distinct group (trailmonsters and all trail runners)and pursued through a unique method (trail running). Starting to Ring a bell?

Systimatic knowledge based on prescriptive practice (running logs and pace times) That is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome (Jeff's mathematical genius for the Hell race or any prediction of pace for certain race distances) In this sense, science may refer to a highly skilled tecnigue or practice (fell or trailrunning)

So training is really just a scientific experiment to help us realize our true potential. Perhaps we can qualify as a religion .....The Scientology Of Trailrunning....and our preacher (Ian) can guide us through the normal difficulties of life.

Our Sunday sermons (trail chatter as we negotiate places like Bradbury and Ian standing on a milk crate giving special guidence like "the bees will help you kick harder"or "run straight through the first puddle and the rest will not bother you") allow us to encompass all the worldly problems known to man.

It seems we could become a non profit endity and through federal grants and donations have the rescources to purchase vast tracts of undeveloped land. The possibilties are endless.

It's amazing.....I am a scientist and I didn't even know it!

Here is the site for those of you who have not read it...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Could I be turning Bi polar?


I woke up at 3:30 am, 3/4 of an hour earlier than usual, and was wide awake, feeling great and full gumsion. Wow, what a difference a day can make. After a discouraging weekend and felling very sluggish, I suddenly felt like I could shoot lightning bolts.

I decided to do my cardio/weight workout and honestly, it felt great! Perhaps I should workout this early every day. I put in a good half hour of heavy sweating, took a shower and made it to work 15 minutes early.

I only wish I had more time and I would have thrown in a run too. I guess I just don't understand as I am usually quite level emotionally and never fluxuate like I have in the last two days. Is it possible I am becoming Bipolar?

One problem I have is working 12 hour days.....dark on the way to work and dark on the way home....I think I would really struggle if I had to live in Alaska where it is continually dark for long periods of time.

It does feel good though to not be whinning and actually feel energetic. I thought perhaps I might be coming down with something as I just didn't feel well and I was experiencing body pains.....I can't remember the last time I had a cold or the flu and I was afraid it was finally getting to me.

But...No, I felt great this morning! There was no sickness getting the best of me. Suddenly I am thinking good running thoughts again and anxious to install my new Ice Spikes. They came today and though the head is somewhat smaller than my regular screws, they do look a lot stronger and grippier.

I was a bit disapointed though as I paid extra for the special tool....$10.00 to be exact.... only to find out it is nothing special, just a normal everyday hex head tool.

I have a bunch of them and they are all of a much better quality than this one. If anyone out there is thinking of purchasing these spikes, I would recomend to skip the set with the tool and just buy the spikes.....well assumimg they work well....I will report on that later.

I suppose, if someone did not already have a hex head socket, then the tool would work well for them but the web site could have explained what the tool was so people would not purchase something they didn't need. we will see what time I get up tomorrow is any ones guess!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Total Exhaustion

I didn't run Saturday and I didn't run Sunday, actually I havn't run since why am I so exhausted? Sure it has been busy and I have packed a lot of events into the last three days......but I feel as though I ran a 50K this weekend and then stayed up all night shoveling snow or something.

Even as I sit here and think of the many excuses I can use, it just does not make sense. Excuses only mean you didn't make things happen.....I did have a couple oppourtunities to get a run in but elected not to.

Friday night after work, I stayed late (11:30pm)installing a motor in my son's jeep and went back 6am Saturday to finish. once done I had to hurry home to get ready for my neices wedding, didn't get home until 10:30 pm so not much of a chance to get in a run.

Even though friday and Saturday were a wash, I was up early Sunday morning and could have at least fit in a 3-5 mile run before the Grandkids woke up, instead I went to the town garage and got 1/2 yard of sand to cover up the ice skating ring in my driveway.

Sunday afternoon I helped my son's girlfriend move her furniture and then put up the Christmas tree. After that I watched the last half of the Patriots game, I could have watched it while running on the treadmill....but I didn't. Sunday night I just fell onto the couch and tried to stay awake.

It is discouraging to realize that I only ran 10 measly miles this week and all of them were fairly easy on the treadmill. If I keep this crap up, I will not be running too many races in the near future.

Perhaps the past few months are just catching up with me and that coupled with the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is causing me to run on empty. It seems odd because I have no injuries to blame, I should be running like crazy.

I ususally take time off from running heavy during the late fall early winter .....maybe my body just expects that this year. I think it is more than that...I think I should have much more energy than I am feeling in these bones today.

What I need is a doll that looks like me to sit in my chair as I hide under the desk and catch a few Zs. One that looks pissed off so no one will want to come in my office, that way I won't get caught. I could hang a do not disturb/ meeting in progress sign on my door. What am I going to do to cover up the loud snoring though?

I am starting to think a 50 miler in the spring is not going to be plausable unless I get out there and do some long runs. Hell,the GAC fatass in two weeks seems beyond me, even though I was only planning 2-3 laps anyway.

I am getting older and I know that can play a part in recovery, but I have already been splitting up my runs with rest days and besides my mind keeps drifting back to the older guy (by 12 years) at the Bradbury 9 mile mountain race that not only pushed me during the first half but actually passed me a couple times, then finishing right behind me. He sure seemed to have plenty of energy!

The other thing that strikes me odd is that I haven't really raced a 5k or 10k this year....I mean racing to the point of gasping for the next breath and wondering if I can keep up the pace. Though I did race this year, I was not pushing to the point of no return as I have in the past and my times reflected that.

Is it possible that I am just going to keep getting slower and be more discouraged with my performance? Do I have to adjust my thinking to just running races rather than racing them? Like I heard someone say once, "if you can't run fast, then run long"

I suppose, thinking on the positive side, the motor job,the furniture moving and sanding the whole yard does kind of qualify as weight training and the dancing at the wedding is sort of cardio I could count those as a savior for the weekend and call it some training.

Sumary of a discouraging week:

3.27 10% grade hill workout @ 35:01
.4 cooldown

6 mile treadmill run @ 5% incline

.75 cooldown hill walk

12/10,11,12,13/09 nadda..nothing..ziltch.....a sad excuse for a runner.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Virgin Snow Runner

I missed the Saturday morning run with the Trail monsters but hoped to possibly catch a couple of them doubling up and running Bradbury Sunday.

Saturday night,I pulled out my Northface gortex trail runners and re-installed the screws from last year. It was spitting snow and there was a prediction of at least a few inches. I found myself becoming a bit excited as I prepared for a Sunday morning run on fresh snow.

As luck has it, and due to the fresh blanket of fallen snow, I was late getting to Bradbury. I arrived at 8:30 and figured anyone running today would surely be long gone and enjoying the trails already.

I was quite suprised when I turned into the park and there were no tire prints in the snow, I was the first one here, but that also meant that no other trail runners were likely to show up. This didn't dampen my excitement any as I suited up for the run, hey fresh virgin snow was just waiting for me to leave the first footprints of the day.

As I started my run it reminded me of a thread a few months back about gortex trail runners and how most of the comments were about the uselessness of them. Well in deep puddles I supose they are not too useful but in this type of run they were absolutely perfect.

There was some standing water in places but nothing deep enough to cover the whole shoe up to the ankle area. With 4" of snow and a little standing water the shoes did an excellent job of keeping my feet dry. To compliment that I wore my gaters to deflect the loose spraying snow. A perfect situation for Gortex.

What I wasn't prepared for was the trees throwing piles of snow at me. I am pretty sure they waited until I was passing by to drop huge mounds of snow from their branches. Anyone seeing me would have thought I rolled in the snow rather than ran in it.

One draw back to this run was the fact that the ground under the snow was still very soft and muddy. This made for an odd feeling when running and a situation where the energy was being sucked right out of my legs. It felt kind of like running on a snow covered mattress.

Another problem was navigating through the trail. Being the first one out on fresh snow cover, it was quite difficult to see the trail at times and I am sure I bushwacked a bit. I wasn't too worried though as I knew I could always follow my tracks back to the start.

Overall the run was fantastic. The minor inconvienences became the meat and potatoes of the run, without them what would make this run stand out in memory other than the snow sparkling as the sun peeked through the branches and the chrystal clear air.

Though my legs tired as the miles passed, my core felt great. I think the workouts I have been doing are really starting to prove themselves.

Weekend stats:
7am 3 mile cardio/ weight workout
3 pm 2 mile run at Twinbrooks with my daughter's pup.

Sunday...8:28 am 7.38 mile trail run @1:17:29 (10:28 pace)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do I Need A Reason?

I really don't need a reason because I love to run, but my family, work and aquaintances expect it. Should I have to justify my runs? How does one carve up their time and decide what percentage is allowed as personal time? When does a person become a fanatic? I am sure this is a matter of perception and in the eyes of the beholder.

In a household where both spouse's have the same vision and drive, I am sure it is an easy question to answer and the reason does not come into question. What about a situation where only one of the spouses spends all their waking time running, what happens then?

I find without a definate goal or race, It becomes increasingly more difficult to justify setting asside other responsibilties to get in my runs. When I was running shorter distances, it was much easier as I could fit in 2-5 mile runs about anytime.

Training for the longer distances requires much more time and commitment. It is hard to appear sane when coming back from a 2-4 hour run, just for the fun of it. It raises less eyebrows, and gains more acceptance if one can cite a particular race or event that requires this type of training.

That being said and the fact that I didn't get into Boston, I suspect the best thing for me to do is settle on a race or races that will allow me to train with reason. Not reckless abandonment but at least free up some time for longer runs.

I have been toying with the idea of a 50 miler at Pineland, but am not sure I can schedule the time needed to train for it, so perhaps the 50K again might be a better choice. Also there is the Sugarloaf marathon as an option for a spring race to replace Boston.

I think I know what I want but then I get conflicting thoughts as I missed running the road races this year. I want to run some fast 5 and 10ks yet I want to do well in long distant trail races. I love the speed yet dread the crowds in the large road races. I seriously love the trails but can't seem to run them fast enough to quence my "speed thirst"

I worry that I will pick a direction only to find myself wondering if am going the right way. It should be simpler than this. It seems I just can't commit and without that I will not do very well reguardless of my choice.

It seems life would be so much easier if one could ramble through it doing whatever strikes the fancy at that particular time. A free spirit to flow with life paralelling what ever adventure it encounters and ending up where ever it leads.

Reality is in front of me though and I suppose that is where I must focus. Last night I did my new cardio/weight workout and then ran a three mile hill run at 10% grade on the treadmill. If I keep this up, I just might do well at the Mount Washington race (assuming I get in)

I actually enjoy hill training on the treadmill as it allows me to run longer times and distances without a flat or downhill. I wish I had one that would give me over 10% incline though. I had thoughts of setting up a fan so it feels like I am running outside, don't know if that would help unless I added some water or snow to simulate weather. Of course then I would have to clean up the mess. Did you ever notice that there never seems to be a right answer?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back Bay Is A Wind Tunnel!

My week ended totally different than I planned. How often does that happen to you? My mind was set on a tough mountain race at Blackstrap hell. Sure seemed like a great way to end a Thanksgiving weekend.

I found out instead that I am surely not in controll of my own destiny as I not only didn't race, but I didn't even get in a trail run. This time of year seems so unforgiving to me and I am not really sure why.

The week actually started out pretty well with a great cardio/run workout tuesday, a grueling hill workout Wednesday, A tough cardio workout and hill workout Friday, Then in lieu of a trail run Saturday, I elected to run Back Bay twice with my friend Mike.

The thought seemed smart at the time, stay off the trails on Saturday, the last day of hunting season where the desparate may be looking for that last chance to snag a deer, get in a somewhat long easy run to leave something for Sundays grueling Hell race.

The first sign of trouble with my plan was Saturday morning when a gusting gale wind decided to circle Back Bay and continually slam my body with a restriction that surely mimicked running Mount Washington much for an easy run.

I thought it strange that there were not hordes of people running and walking the Back bay route. Once we started running and felt the force of the wind, I instantly knew why. The feeling of running in place and gasping for the oxygen as it was wisped from my mouth by the wind was not what I had in mind and actually the thought crossed my mind to just pack it up for the day.

Instead we decided to at least do one lap and see how we felt as far as a second lap went. I was suprised how hard and solid the trail felt. I hadn't run this in a long time and seemed to remember a softer loose type surface.

After the first mile, I started settling in to a pace but had to double back quite a few times to meet back up with Mike. It is funny, ususally I have no trouble working pace with other runners, but today I kept creeping into a faster pace ....perhaps it was the wind and my mental attitude to try and prove it was not the boss.

Once I warmed up, I actually felt pretty good and embraced the wind head on. Even with the run backs, I gained speed each mile and finished with a pretty strong kick (considering the wind)

I worked so hard during the first lap that I felt I should scale things back a bit for the second and vowed I would stay with Mike this time. Of course I couldn't seem to hold back enough and did circle back a couple times. In the end I layed out a pretty good finishing kick and was finally satisfied with my run for the day.

Sunday was shot in the eye as I had to make a decision to skip the Hell race. What made the whole thing worse is that I was the one who made the decision and could blame no one but myself for the heavy heart.

There was no one to yell at, no one to watch my temper tantrum as I complained about the unfairness of life. Not one person to blame other than me. Is it still a fair excuse when it is yourself? Why do we have to be responsible? Who instilled those moral beliefs in my brain that causes me to make wise choices? Why did my parents have to do such a Damn good job.

I want to be selfish, yet I can't and I wasn't .... so the end result is a missed race and a missed oppourtunity for a great amount of fun. Someday I will retire and have the luxury of time. Yeah...someday.

Week's Workouts

Tuesday: Three mile cardio/and weights
Wednesday: 34 minutes cardio, 3 mile hill workout 10% grade on the teadmill
Friday: 48minute cardio, 5 mile w/ 3 mile 10% grade
Saturday: double Back Bay

1st loop 3.72 miles @34:20 (9:14p)
8:33....149-163 (kick@7:51)

2nd loop 3.59 miles @36:05 (10:03p)
8:28....143-160 (kick@7:35) running at all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I'm Over It!!

There comes a point it time when one has to realize that there are many things in this world that can not be controlled or changed. Our only recourse is to come to grips with the reality, accept the direction we are given and work with what we have.
Soooo... I am not running Boston in 2010 but I am making plans!

One thing I decided is to throw my hat into yet another lottery and shoot for a spot at the Mount Washington Race in June. It seems fitting that I punish myself with an uphill run for over 7 miles....hey why not?

At the same time, I am opting out of the Beach to Beacon. I hated the sign up process this year and though I absolutely love the race, it has become too conjested and a logistical nightmare. Instead I would much rather run the Bitch to Bacon, assuming it is run again next year.

I figure I will use the wait and see approach for Pineland and decide the best race for me after the winter. If I get enough time and miles on my feet, perhaps I will do something crazy like the 50 miler?? Rest assured, I will run one of the Pineland races.

Right now, I have decided to put racing on the back burner and run for fun. I want to enter events for the pure fun of it. I am not going to dwell on time and will use the rest of this fall and winter to work on a solid running base.

If I can start out the 2010 year with a PR at the Irish Rover then I will feel my racing is on track. From there I hope to spring board to some good races results for a change. It seems quite obtainable and not unrealstic at all to expect some 5k and 10k pr's yet still run the long trail races.

So, running for fun does not mean I won't be working hard as I plan to prove at the Hell race this weekend. Who says pure Hell can't be fun? I haven't ironed out my schedule completely yet but it looks as though I will make it....I am pretty excited, but my body is a little worried.......I have been lying to it....shhhhh..I told it the whole thing was flat with a downhill finish!!

Last night was cardio/ weight workout and I am starting to settle in pretty darn good. The workout felt a bit easier though the bicycle crunches are still a killer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Official, My luck Sucks

Well it's official and I was not one of the lucky winners in the Boston Lottery. On paper my chances were pretty good.....2 out of 23 are great odds! For some reason I was feeling pretty confident. I am not sure why as I never win at such things, but deep inside I felt this was my time.

I had already planned some of my runs and made out a graph for my training....yeah I was getting quite excited about it. I even went out for a couple runs working on down hills.

I don't know why I was so excited about it, I suppose it is just the attention the race gets and most non runners equate the Boston race with running. It always seems to be the first question......"Oh, you are a runner, have you done the Boston Marathon?" I suspect if you haven't done it then you are not a real runner.

So anyway, at least I can say my luck is consistant and I don't have to worry about which way it will go.

Lately, I have been working on more muscle groups and trying to change things up a bit. I am hoping that a core/cardio workout will help my running for the spring. I really need to drop some fat to be at a good racing weight and honestly I can't seem to cross that threshhold. For the past 3-4 years I have been fluxuating about 8-10 lbs between winter and summer, the lighter side still being about 8-10 pounds heavier than optimum so the heavy side is much, much too heavy.

At least the running has kept me from adding on the pounds most older people seem to pack on as their metabolism slows down. Now I need to change the eating habits and cut some fat. I hope the cardio/weight workout will do the trick.

I can say at this point (about two weeks into the program) I have felt it in the legs, midsection and arms. I have seen no results physically as far as appearance goes and the weight hasn't changed. I think it must be hidden underneath my soft shell of flab. You can't tell by my appearance but I am one lean mean racing machine ...kind of a sleeper I know like when they used to put these high horsepower racing engines in crappy/ ordinary looking cars. Well that's me (yeah right!!).

I had a fairly active weekend and was still able to fit in some quality running.

This morning it was treadmill hill running then cardio/weight workout(it was dark and cold at 5:00 am and I just didn't feel like hitting the road) I found it nice to be able to watch the history channel and drink my morning coffee while getting in my run. Is that a sign of getting old or just plain becoming lazy?

I did a four mile hill run fluxuating between 6 and 10% grade, then the workout program. The work out seemed much tougher after running and I was sweating up a storm by the time I finished. I then had just enough time to eat breakfast, take a shower and head to the state championship class A football game.


I was looking forward to a trail run without worrying about hunters. My goal was somewhere around 10 miles at pineland or bradbury. As it turns out, I decided to run near home in the essense of saving some time. It was destined to be a very warm day for november standards and I still had a lot of things to do around the yard to prepare for winter.

I woke up a bit lame lame from Saturday's workout but didn't feel it would affect my run too much. Right off the bat, my legs were heavy and I felt fatiqued. Damn, that workout must be working out after all. I hoped to feel better as I settled in and put a few miles in the bank but it just wasn't materializing.

The run felt long and the hills felt hillier, I got to a point where I could feel heavy fatigue settling in and decided to cut the run short. I was still able to knock off 7.5 miles and felt the fatigue running was probably good training. When I realized how good it felt to stop running, I knew it was the right decision.

Total miles 7.5 @ 1:14:17 combination dirt road / technical trail(9:55 pace)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No News Is Not Always Good News

Some days I sit at my desk and can almost feel the fat multiplying around my midsection. I didn't have the normal bounce in my step and though I usually run up the stairs when going to the stock room, I merely walked up them today.

It is funny how numerous days of good exercise does not discount the guilt of one lazy day. Our bodies seem to be geared toward the latter, when I am running hard or working out the body cries and complains but when I am lazing around, it is happy as a clam .......Oh, I might get the occasional "we should be doing something" but no drive to change things.

I waited in anticipation today to get word about the lottery for Boston Marathon.....No news is usaually considered good news but in this case I think it is not so good news as I didn't hear anything about the winners. I suspect the winners are the first to know.

I didn't actually realize how excited I was about this chance until the day wore on and I started preparing myself to believe I wasn't one one the lucky ones. The more hours that ticked by, the lazier I felt. Perhaps it was a mini depression or maybe just football lag from watching the game Sunday night, but surely I was not feeling too energetic.

I felt for sure when I got home and threw on the running clothes, I would cheer up but I felt like a criminal as I had to break the news to my wife that we should turn in our lease car. I had thought about it long and hard. Did it make sense to keep it with the economy in the hopper and winter lurking?

It is a beautiful car and my wife just loves it. The lease is up this month and we would have to finance it to keep it. My heart says "lets do it" but my analytical brain is screaming "what...are you crazy!"

We have two other vehicles and she acually doesn't drive the car in the winter. That proves how special it is to her yet also proves that we don't need it. It is so humbling to say we can't afford it, yet in this unstable economy, we really can't. It is a luxury to have the opportunity to give it back.......but we don't want to.

So, even though it seems people only write in their running blog when they run, I felt it unfair to my non running day to be dormant. Things need to be aired reguardless. that means I didn't throw on the running clothes and did just laze around all evening. Is that so bad?

As I was preparing to hit the sack, I became increasingly mad at myself for not getting in my planned run. The weather was fantastic (for November) and it was a clear night. I would have easily dulled the days discouragements with a nice evening run.

I found myself asking, does one really need to be running around the woods, climbing rocks ledges, sliding down sand pit walls,negotiating trails and roads to be healthy? I found the answer a bit enlightening. I don't need to be doing those thing to stay healthy, there are many ways to stay in shape ........But I WANT to do those things. I choose to because it has somehow become part of me.

IN the end, the day was not lost after all as I dreampt about a nice trail run with some friends ........and a great run it was.

Monday, November 16, 2009

When Is The Rain Coming?


I woke up Saturday morning fully prepared for a good trail run in the pouring rain. I was actually looking forward to it! I was a bit disapointed when I didn't hear rain on the roof as I rolled out of bed but figured it was only a matter of time.

A warm blanket of fresh damp air gently brushed against me as I stepped out of the door. Though it wasn't raining yet, it sure felt like it would at any moment. The air was so warm and fresh smelling....almost spring like, I shuddered with anticipation of the planned run at Cathance preserve.

I ran there once last year and though it was severely cold that day, I enjoyed the terrain a lot. It seemed smart to bring a compass as I remember getting lost in the first mile last year (even though I was following a group at the time) That's what happens when you are the "slow" guy. Anyway, the plan failed as I somehow could not find my compass.

I was hoping to meet Scott there anyway and he knew the trails very well. As plans are made to be broken (Murphy's Law) I got sidetracked longer than I figured loading my truck with my friend Mike's stuff. He had recently moved out of Brunswick and there were a few things left. Sure seemed like a perfect time to run in that area.

We arrived at 8:30 and saw Scott's truck sitting there and empty. OK, so no trail guide and no compass.....I would have to use memory and landmarks to navigate :)
As we headed in the trail I studied the tower at the top of the hill. This would take the place of my compass.

I was prepared for at least 8 miles and Mike thought he was too. In the end it was a bit more of a struggle for him and I suspect he would have rather stopped at 6 miles. Problem is at mile six we were lost and debating what direction we should go.

It happened because after running the Heath trail, beaver trail and rappid trail Mike was getting fatigued. We saw a gravel truck heading down a dirt road and decided to follow it as it appeared to be the Evergreen loop. Well it wasn't and we ended up in a housing developement. I scanned the horizon and pointed to a tower on a hill that looked to be about a mile away. "That is were we need to head" I repeated until he finally listened to me.

This part was actually a lot of fun (for me) as we bushwacked a bit until we came across a powerline trail which was a very nice run. One thing that kept nagging at me was the fact that we were in open woods and there could be hunters there. I had to convince myself that my bright floresent yellow vest and Mike's bright green sweatshirt would probably stand out enough to keep us from being shot.

The powerlines lead us toward the tower so I knew we would be able to find our way back eventually. I guess this was the point that I realized it was probably good that it didn't start raining as that would make the bushwacking a bit more difficult.

We got to experience some pretty cool terrain and did finally come across the cross- country trails around the tower. I loved this run today, it was different and exciting. I was glad to realize that I could navigate with out the compass.

Though it didn't start raining until later in the day, this run was near perfect. There were a couple moments that my mind drifted to visions of a phone booth (yeah in the woods...??) though I don't who I would have called. Instead I followed my instincts and was happy with the results. I would have liked to have climbed the observation deck next to the tower just get a view of where we ran but it was locked behind a fence.

Total run 8.75 miles @1:48:41
Heart Rate 138 average ....159 max



I decided to do a tempo run today on tired legs from yesterday. I wasn't sure how I would feel but actually it was fine and though I could "feel" the trail run from yesterday, I enjoyed the faster pace.

4.54 miles @39:03 (8:35 pace)
heart rate average 150 max 162

7:58 (6:17 kick)

Friday, November 13, 2009

You're Out Of Shape Fatboy!!

I got home later than normal last night and on top of that I had to put a surpintine belt in a Saturn......(not my car!!)remind me never to buy one of theses cars! No wonder they are shutting down. Normal parts are so expensive and everything is a chore to replace. Muffler $400.00, mass air flow sensor $400.00, alternator $300.00.....geesh! You have to remove a motor mount to replace the belt.

OK, enough whinning about why I was in a bad mood and had little time to run last night. Honestly after working on the car I had frozen hands and chills traveling through my body. Besides that I drew blood in two places as my hands landed against solid metal objects.I surely didn't feel light running out doors and started contemplating a barefoot treadmill run.

I shuddered as I visioned feeling like a barefoot rat with headphones running absolutely nowhere......running in circles for no apparent reason with some dumb human watching and thinking how cute it was that the animal actually thought it was going somewhere.

I thought for a moment to just skip the run all together until I walked past my racers and could have sworn they were making fun of me. I didn't see their mouth move but I am pretty sure they called me fatboy!

That was all it took and I grabbed them mouthy shoes and threw them on my feet. "I will show you!" I screamed as I envisioned them cringing and groaning while I stomped through a 5K tempo run on the treadnill.

I wanted to show no mercy so I opted to watch a Rambo movie instead of easy listening on the Ipod. As Rambo beat the crap out of an army of solders, I stomped extra hard and pushed off the toes with great force. I figured I could train fast turn over and high kick, while at the same time causing great pain to them racing shoes with massive treadmill belt burns!

After a 5k run I was sure I heard the shoes crying and begging me to slow down so I stopped just long enough for them to think the slugfest was over.....but it wasn't. I put the incline right up to 10 % grade and run uphill on them whinny shoes for an additional half mile.

I was smiling pretty good as I watched rambo climb into the chopper after beating the odds of 1 against 100 and high tail it out of there. I felt the same satisfaction and laughed out load as I slowed down to a cooldown pace for a mile. I suspect these shoes will never talk back to me again!

All in all, it was a pretty good workout. Something was missing though and I finally realized what it was......there was no head wind from running. The thing that tells you your are running and even though it creates resisitance, at least it cools you down as a byproduct. That is what I miss and probably one reason why the treadmill is not that equivalent to actual running.

I didn't have time to do my new workout routine tonite so in lieu of that I worked the upper body and arms with three pound weights as I jogged my cooldown. It is suprisingly harder than it sounds. The arms tend to want to move in time with the legs I struggled a bit but was able to multitask......good thing I wasn't chewing gum too.

3.15 mile @5% grade 25:51 (8:12 pace)
7:35 kick

.5 mile hill run 10% grade @ 5:52 (9:37 pace)

1 mile cooldown with upper body weight workout.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Muscle Bound And Lean

I have been looking for something to replace the easy run on the treadmill this winter as I just don't like running on that thing. I am OK with the hill workout, intervals or even an occasional long run with a movie on the tread, but the easy run is only a short cardio workout with no other benefit.

So, I picked out a workout routine that is designed to give a well rounded jolt to the core muscles. It is easy when reading about the intended results to vision a muscular looking body with too many mounding muscles for the average man to count or even name.

Though I do not acually plan to become muscle bound as that would be detrimental to my running goals, I do think strong core muscles will help tremendously. At the same time my jiggly areas do need some attention so I kill two birds with one stone.

I started last night. Routine #1 seemed like it would be fairly easy and I assumed I would have to step it up quite a bit to gain results. I figured I would probably have to jump right into #3 after the first night.

The workout is actually quite short so I planned on doing it twice the first time. It is well rounded with a warmup, cardio, muscle tone, cardio and stretch. The fact that it was to last only 20 minutes seemed like a waste of time, but you don't know until you try.

OK...I stand corrected. How can a body that runs all the time be so out of shape? Halfway through the workout, my muscles were crying and whinning. You would think it was the first time they ever had to work!

What I thought was going to be rediculously easy turned out to be on the cusp of killing me.....hey...only 20 minutes? It felt more like hours. The worst was the crunches. Even though I didn't see anything, I swear there was a 200 lb. invisible person jumping up and down on my abs.

I was so glad to finish and honestly I felt like a whimp. The thought of doing a second workout was long gone and only a wisp of a memory now. I guess what it does prove is that I need the work. The only thing that didn't bother me was the cardio, I was winded but not on the edge.

Today I have lame hamstrings, lame arm muscles and lame abs, they remind me of the hell I put them through eveytime I try to move......I guess that means I did some good huh? Even though it was only 20 minutes, the fact that I used weights and did not rest through the workout is why it is so tough.

In retrospect, I feel this routine is going to work well. I can't wait until I have a couple weeks behind me and I can tackle it with a bit more drive. I can only assume it will help immensely for trail running.

I suspect by spring no one will recognize me and I will have to introduce myself every place I go.....and then there are the women that will be throwing themselves at me...I guess I will have to learn to deal with that too. I am wondering though, if I run shirtless, what creates more wind resistance, a flapping flabbyness surface or a rock solid mass?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Girl Talk and Tough Chicks

Most people reading this probably know I am not one for much conversation when running. You see I do nothing but talk at work, so when I leave the office, my mouth gets a break and honestly I know my job so well, I could talk confidently for hours straight, but it is for work.

When on the trails one might hear some yes and no's with a few three word sentences thrown in from me,but nothing of much concern or consequence. I make fun of my wife when she gets on the phone and talks for an hour straight. I couldn't fathom what they could talk about for that long, but hey, that's girl talk right?

Well, I honestly do not know what happened, but Sunday I somehow ended up girl talking for an hour and a half! It's true.....I went to Bradbury for what I planned to be an easy, semi long trail run. I wanted an hour or so of running at no specific pace but not tempo or race pace.

Val and Linda were the only ones there when I arrived, no one else showed up so off we went. Linda was a bit worried as we started out, she had not run on these technical trails since September when she fell and hurt her back. She was apprehensive about falling again and we assured her that we would keep the pace managable.

Linda remarked that my slow was equal to her fast, then I said that Val's slow was my fast........somehow we let Val lead??......I know, it didn't make much sense but actually it worked very well and Val did and exellent job of not leaving us behind.

So a mere minutes after hitting the trails, we are suddenly talking up a storm and I couldn't seem to keep my mouth shut. We talked about a mother's feeling when raising kids, all kinds of stuff about being pregnant and having multible chidren, empty nest syndrome, Etc.

Suddenly, it dawned on me........this was ..well..girl talk! Now don't get me wrong, I am not being sexist or anything, but when the subject matter hinges on mother's emotions and such......well, most men are distanced from those conversations. Not because we don't care but probably we don't understand.

Not being a girl, I am sure I said many things that probably didn't make sense. Val and Linda were very kind and didn't bring my attention to it. Now we did hit on other subjects like coyotes, dogs and running, but still, I talked for the whole time.

These two are some tough chicks, Val second guessed a mud pit and smashed her knee on a large tree root. I could see by the look on her face,that it hurt pretty bad. She got up, checked to make sure her knee was still pointing in the right direction and went right back to running ......Damn, I am pretty sure I limped with psycological pain for at least 10 minutes.

Then Linda went down hard as a root grabbed her foot, she not only got right back up, but she also won the battle as she managed to rip the root right out of the ground. Hey, I want these two around for my next bar fight!

In the end, I had a perfect run and perfect company. The pace was just what I bargained for and I felt great....well except for over dressing, but who knew it was going to be summer for one day? I should have been wearing shorts, one less layer of clothing and no hat.

I know Linda felt she was pretty fatiqued near the end but when I looked at the splits, I understood why. We acually picked up the pace in the last three miles and she was working much harder than she thought. We ended up with a good workout and with almost negative splits.......any coach would be proud.

Total miles:
7.24 @ 1:32:54 (12:24 pace)
12:03....140-153 (average HR and Maximun HR)
12:10....145-154 (last .24)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Exploring Naked Running (feet)

I read someone's blog the other day about training barefoot on the treadmill. The fact that I don't have Vibrams and that I am too much of a wuss to try running the trails with naked feet, I thought I would at least try the treadmill approach.

It seems to be a good way to expose the feet and body to the running change and work up from there. Of course I can't see myself running Bradbury but perhaps a course like Pineland would be OK.

Last year when I was on vacation, I did try running barefoot on the beach and experienced some pretty tight and sore archilles. The soft sand might have ben part of the problem, but also I think that is a weak spot for me as I had some severe problems with the right one a few years back when I was concentrating on speed and ran a lot of 5ks.

I would like to gain the benefit of running more on my toes and changing my natural posture to run better with or without shoes. After running a couple miles on the treadmill, it felt similar to the look of the Pose style of running except my stride was longer.

By two miles I started noticing hot spots on the balls of my feet and decided that was probably enough for the first time. As I was putting on my socks, I noticed how dirty the treadmill made my feet.....I guess I will have to wash the belt. I put on the running shoes and finished my workout with a one mile fast walk on 10% grade.

I guess I will continue this training one day a week and see how things go. I suppose this will fit in well with the times it is severely cold, a heavy blizzard or I just don't feel like running outside.

I finally pulled out my head lamp and ran Tuesday night. It was a great run as the air was fresh, crisp and the moon was still almost full. The only thing I struggled with was the extra heavy traffic which I contributed to the voting.


4.03 miles @34:49 (8:39pace)
6:27...158-165 (kick)

.4 mile cooldown jog


Naked feet treadmill run
2 miles @ 18:59 (9:30pace)
1 mile hill (fast) walk 12:28

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Think My Tape Measure is On A Diet!

This is not my best time of year when it comes to exercise and eating. My schedule is very hectic, so getting in the runs are difficult. Halloween brings all that fantastic candy, Thanksgiving brings more goodies, Christmas even more crap......on top of all that, I am pretty sure my tape measure is on a diet.

What is it with all this food that is bad for us but we can't help but devour all that we see? I am beginning to think that manufacturers are putting some chemical in the formular that tricks our brains in some way.

Lays potatoe chips actually used to advertise "you can't eat just one" HHmmmnn, perhaps they knew something we consumers didn't. It makes sense, because I can't eat just one of anything bad for me.

Hey, tabacco companies did it by mixing silica in the chewing tabacco to roughen up the skin in the mouth and promote faster obsorbtion thus causing a faster dependancy on nicotine. So, why wouldn't other large companies do something?

I actually thought that perhaps if candy companies were forced to make their product less atractive, it would help.....well then I realized even that wouldn't work when I came across these products...

Kids eat this stuff?

This is awful to say and yes, there was a picture but I couldn't bring myself to post it here. There is a candy that consist of a paper diaper with some type of chocolate in it. OK, that is just going too far! If that doesn't stop kids from eating candy, I don't think anything will.

I totally planned on running last night. I had my head lamp ready, yet when I arrived home in the pitch dark, I just didn't feel like running. What is up with that? I am not training and surely not pushing myself, so shouldn't this be the time when I want to run just for the fun of it?

I don't understand, I have no problem saying no to foods that are good for me, I can say no to a refreshing nightly run under the full moon that is so good for my health, yet I can't say no to the peanutbutter cup. Instead I eat one while chanting to myself, "I will only eat one, how can that possibly hurt me?"

I say the same thing when I eat the second and third one, "hey, only one more and that will be it." Lucky for me, I have been leaning more toward dark chocolate as they say it is good for you.....hey all kinds of good stuff like antioxidants and much less surgar.....finally, a healthy snack that I like! I found out the other day that Reeces now has a peanutbutter cup with dark chocolate....Yeah!!!

You see, I can get the antioxidant value from the chocolate and the protein from the peanutbutter. So if one is good for you then 10 or so is 10 times better ...right?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Daylight At 4:10AM

Each morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is turn on the ouside light as there are usually deer eating the apples that drop from one of our "wild" apple trees.
I am pretty sure at one time they were very fruitfull tress but now they bare some pretty nasty apples and are not edible (for humans). The deer love them though and this time of year there are apples all over the ground.

I was suprised this morning because I didn't even have to turn on the outside light as the full moon was lighting things up like crazy. If only I had time for a run this morning, it would be absolutely beautiful and I wouldn't need the head lamp. The ride to work was breath taking and I just couldn't stop staring at that bright moon. With all the talk lately about coyotes, I have expected to hear one howling!

I also forgot about hunting season, of course I wouldn't see any deer. It is so weird as I see deer crossing the road in three different places just about every morning. I actually drive with my high beams on, it seems to freeze them and then I don't end up hitting any.

When hunting season arrives, they disappear and I rarely see one in the morning. It is so strange, almost like someone posts warning signs to go into hiding for a month.
Of course if they were really smart they would set up camp right at the road edge as the hunters can't shoot them there.

It was an odd weekend for me as far as running goes. I planned a long run Saturday and hoped for an easy short run on Sunday. All together I wanted to get my weekly miles back up to the high 20s-low 30s. It didn't happen as it never seems to this time of year. I have so many things going on in November and December, I should know better.

Easy 2.5 miles with the Mrs. I didn't even bring my watch and we had a great time running and talking. I surely have come to enjoy these runs.

The battle plan was a long run but instead it was more a full body workout as I decided to stay off the trails and couldn't bring myself to run long on the road today. In the end I logged 3 miles and some very lame muscles from all the work around the house (who needs a gym when you can dig ditches instead?)


Decided on Bradbury Mountain for a hill workout. I am not sure what I was thinking as I knew I would be a bit lame from Saturday. All in all it went pretty good though I did cut the run a little short from what I was planning. The mountain seemed extra tall this morning and managed to slam me down onto a slippery rock on one of the downhills sections. Yes, it drew blood and I think I ruined one of my running shirts.

5.3 miles @1:01:42 (10:39 pace)

It was such a beautifull day we drove down to Goose Rocks Beach and spent the afternoon walking and running around with my daughter's cute pup....
2 easy sandfilled miles with some wet salty water mixed in.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Are My Chances?

I have wanted a chance to run the Boston Marathon since I started running 8 years ago. I figure if I wait until I am 99 years old, I will probably be able to qualify.
I am pretty sure all runners that age are just handed an entry number no questions asked. Qualifiying is being able to walk 26 miles.

Well, I may not have to wait that long. I entered a lottery to win a slot for 2010.
What do you think my chances are? I know it is a long shot, but I fear without some real strong luck, I will never have the opportunity to run Boston.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking.....lottery..right? You see I have bad luck with percentages, if I am givin a 50/50 chance, I will pick the wrong answer 100% of the time. I never get in the right line, wether it be the checkout at the store or the tolls on the highway. When it comes to names out of a hat, I think my name is always written in invisible ink.

My chances are nill yet I still have a glimer of hope....deep down inside I am thinking, perhaps this will be different, maybe my luck will finally change, it could be my time to win. Of course if I do win, I will still have to pay the $250.00 entry fee...I should start saving up this week!

Ran the 2.5 loop with Mrs. Pathfinder. She was bit tired as she had already worked out after work (something called Zumba). Still though she ran negative splits which shows she is getting stronger as a runner.

2.5 miles @28:18 (11:20 pace)
12:05....124-134 (long hill)

As you can see by my heart rate, the hill was actually a rest for me.It was tough for the mrs. but she recovered good.


Ran Tempo at pineland east side then an easy run after.

4.1 miles @34:33 (8:26 pace)

8:10...154-161 (hill)
7:59...160-162 (kick@7:40)

2.2 miles easy @24:48 (11:16pace)

Suprisingly it didn't rain like the weather forcast said but the air was quite chilly. I must say that the 4 mile run was quite enjoyable and I didn't realize I was running at that fast of a pace.

Even though the east side at Pineland is more of a wide X-country course than a technical trail, I still feel quite good when I manage under 9 minute pace there.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hitting A Trail Caldesac

It dawned on me that I never posted a picture of my 50K cowbell, so here it is.

I started out 2009 with a certain idea and goal in mind. Training for the 50k as a strong base that would catapult me into some fairly fast shorter races and perhaps even a few new PRs.

I figured staying off the roads for most of my running would ward off injuries and not only tone up the core muscles but put me in great shape for a few road races. In the end I had hoped to be peaking for the Bradbury Trail Series.

In my mind it seemed like a straight trip, bee-lining to speedy races. or perhaps more like a pyramid with the winter running and 50k being the large base of it then progressing to a point as the summer turned to fall, thus reflecting my peak.

With all that behind me, I have some time to reflect. I didn't really reach the speedy finishes I hoped for but still had a pretty good year. Though I did have numerous surgeries that slowed me down at times, I actually had no injuries other than the normal aches and pains.

The suprising thing in the end was the trip. Instead of a staight line or even a pyramid, I realized if my 2009 running and racing was laid down flat on a map, it would be much more like a trail caldesac or a protrayal of a lost person in the woods with no compass.

I started out determined with a certain vision in mind. I felt as though I was traveling straight and during the trip would have stated ademately that I was heading point to point. Instead, I meandered for a while then without realizing it, I came full circle.

It was as though I set out to climb this great mountain The signs kept stating "summit this way" It sure seemed like I was climbing up and that the summit was just around the next corner, but suddenly I ended up back at the trail head with out ever reaching my goal.

I did pretty good all year but never quite made it to great. So, here I am contemplating my late fall and winter running, gearing up for long slow distance and thinking back to this same time last November as I came off a fairly large surgery.

I am almost in the exact same place as last November. It went by so fast and I feel now that I didn't take enough time to enjoy the moments. Other than the 50k I don't feel anything else stands out over the rest. They were all just a bunch of fun races
that were more like training runs used as stepping stones while I headed toward the great race......only the great race never happened.

Perhaps I didn't put in enough effort, I should have pushed harder at those key races. Is it possible that training for long slow distance has changed my racing attitude? Maybe I no longer possess that drive to hindge on the edge of oxygen deficit.

The two years I ran my fastest races, I trained for speed in every run. I was so used to running on the edge, that it seemed natural. Even in my long runs I didn't slow things down, I still ran at the edge. I also had chronic injuries during that time and because of that, my only enjoyment when running was at the finish line.

I embraced the suffering days after the race as a trophy of my accomplishments. Because I didn't train properly for my body to recover, I was in pain constantly.
I am sure I was not training right and feel that I have a much better handle on it now. Do I have to give up that speed as payment for feeling good and enjoying my runs?

Again that is exactally what I said last November and that is when I thought the long slow distance training for the 50k was the answer that would give me both pain free enjoyment and eventual speed.

Right now I am not in a hurry to critique this delema as I plan to enjoy some great fall running with no goals other than gaining as much enjoyment as possible. It seems the best place to allow my brain to solve this is on a nice long easy trail run.

easy run with the Mrs. who by the way ran at a pretty fast clip beating her best time by a couple seconds.
2.5 miles @ 26:57 (10:47 pace)


I hit the road early in hopes of beating the heaviest rain while still geting in at least an hour of running. It was a cold rainy start, yet I was enjoying the run from the first step onto the road. I opted out of trail running today as it was youth hunting day.

I decided to just run whatever felt comfortable and left the garmen home (though I did wear the Nike as a timer and to show splits) I felt great on this run and the splits show that. I was however looking forward to a nice hot shower when I finished.
There is something to be said for an easy road run as I didn't have to think about foot placement and obstructions, so my brain was allowed to wander for a while.

9.8 miles @1:28:42 (9:04 pace)

9:38 (Oakhill)
8:02 (7:30 kick)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Slow poke Rodriguez


I spent most of the spring and a good part of the summer running track on Tuesdays. The speed workouts were difficult and It was quite tiring, yet I felt accomplished after. I honestly did not notice a difference in my trail racing performance and my road races were mediocre at best.

Near the end of the summer I started speed workouts on the trails. I think that helped more than track but still not a huge improvement. It seems I should re-think my training for next spring. I just am not sure what I need to do to bring back my lost speed. I'm not sure, but it appears training slow for the 50k has changed me.

I ran at Pineland and honestly felt like slow poke Rodriguez. It was a tempo run and I felt like I was pushing but no exciting results. I did enjoy the run and I felt like I worked quite hard .......I just had no speed.

I think I am lacking focus for what type of running (racing) I really want to be doing. perhaps it is time to take a break to just run for fun for a while and let my goals come to me rather than chasing them.

It is only October but I am already stressing about the hunters in the woods. I guess I have no trust in people anymore. Even though I ran at Pineland (where there is no hunting) I became nervous after I heard gun fire near by.

Now, I know that they can only use bows right now and gun fire probably means practice shooting, but when I heard the shots, an image of Homer Simson flashed into my head. I think there are a lot of "Homers" out there hunting nowadays.

The next thing that flashed into my head was the thought of my white hair and how it might resemble the white tail of a deer as I am running through the woods....think I should wear a hat till the end of November?

I am sure an arrow or bullet through the side of my head would slow down my running quite a bit. I am seriously thinking about singing loudly while I am running trails. Of course then people would think there was an injured animal close by and I would probably attract more attention than I want or they would shoot anyway to put the poor animal out of it's misery!

Recent runs:

2.5 miles (road)with Mrs. Pathfinder
28:48 (11:31 pace)

Pineland trails
3.5 miles @32:17 Tempo(9:14 pace)
8:42...157-161 (kick@8:02)

1.75 miles @18:52 easy/cooldown (10:46 pace)

Mrs. Pathfinder ran by herself on her 2.5 loop.