Monday, March 23, 2009

Real Trail Running

3/21/09 Saturday

OK....So I look a bit proud......Who wouldn't be? My oldest son Matt and my youngest Kevin ran the fells with me today.....or should I say I ran with them as they were leading.

Kevin confers with the Ranger should stay on the trail! He was inadvertantly forced to seek an alternative route through a tight spot and some pricker bush tried to grab his leg and didn't want to let go!

The boys are more interested in running the trail than posing for pictures..

A video of our run and me trying to keep up with the boys. (IT DIDN"T COME OUT HERE BUT IS BELOW)

Well, We didn't make it to South Border Road until a few minutes past 10 Saturday morning. It was only a 5 minute ride from my son's place in Somerville. He has driven by here many times and did not realize how great the trail system was. We decided not to head up to Fallon road as Dan and his crew were starting at 9:30.

The consensus was to run the orange trail which was listed as 5.94 miles and a fairly dificult terrain. I thought perhaps we would run into Dan's crew as the white trail crosses paths with the orange many times. As it turned out, we didn't see any runners. We did pass two bikers and at least a dozen walkers and hikers. We started up the entrance to the trail and figured we would run counterclockwise.

We passed the orange/ white trail on the right and was looking for the trail on the left. We ended up at the water tank reservoir and saw no trail. A couple of walkers were standing next to the fence and the lady yelled "over the top boys" and pointed toward some rocks. Well, we jumped the rocks and headed down the hill and came across a trail/road.

I felt pretty good as I haven't been consided one of (the boys) in quite a long time now. Quite flattering actually. The road/slash trail didn't seem right to me and there were no marking until we came across a sign the said it was a restricted area. I assumed it was the border trail. We decided rather than turn around, we would follow it until we crossed paths with a trail and finally we hit the blue trail.

We followed that back to the road and returned to our starting point. My wife looked a bit confused as we waved on our way by. Somehow we still didn't see the orange trail to the left so we took it to the right instead. We had already logged almost one and a half miles so this would turn out to be closer to an eight mile run after all.

The boys were having fun, jumping logs and hoping over rocks. The pace began to quicken and I suddenly (by the shortness of breath) realized it was quite fast for me. We were hugging 9:25 mile pace and I could feel it. Honestly I spent most of the time barely hanging on the tail end of our little group. Though dead legged and winded, I was glad the boys were here as I would have run much slower by myself.

This pace was good for me. There was one quite large and long hill that I spent most of wishing I could slow down or even walk! I hit my maximum heart rate for the day right here but at least I made it to the top running.

The trails were perfect, no snow, except for a few small patches, a little dryer and a bit less technical than Bradbury mountain east and lots of obstructions to keep our attention. Near the end I was dragging though. I noticed the boys were still hopping and jumping around yet my legs were laboring to lift themselves over the rocks and roots. I tripped once but was impressed with my capability to stay up....just barely.....I had my hand out just in case.

The end finally came and I logged 7.3 miles. Our running pace turned out to be 1:08:30= 9:24......damn, no wonder why I felt so tired! Actual time was 1:12:03 (if you count in stopping to study the map and locate trail markers)giving us an average pace of 9:50. One thing I realized quickly is that trail running on snow does not work all the same muscle groups as true trail running. I think the roots, rocks and unevenness creates a much more work for the core and I felt it!

It was a great run and the boys had a great time dragging dad through the trails. We showered then hit the road house for a fantastic meal and a couple well earned beers!

It was unfortunate that I didn't get to meet up with Dan and his crew, but surely there will be many more chances. I was quite impressed with the Fells and so was my son. He plans on many more runs there.


It was a long ride home yesterday and the stifness in my legs this morning proved it.I lazed around for about an hour deciding about a run. Finally I figured a 5 miler or so at a (whatever) pace would probably limber up the muscles a bit. I hit the road with no expectations at all. Just easy running with hopefully very little effort.

What I ended up with is a very good workout. 5 miles @ 45:46 9:15 pace average splits:
1. 9:53
2. 9:37
3. 9:17
4. 9:12
5. 8:04

Sunday evening I went to portland to my grandson's house to give him a training run. He has been talking about running a race this summer and I told him to run a couple times on his own of a mile or so and then I would take him for a run.

We suited up and hit the eastern prom for our first practice run. The wind was horrendous and chilly. Even with the uncomfortable weather, we managed a 3 mile run and he did quite well. We averaged a 9:52 pace and even worked a big hill into the run. He is a fast learner and at 13 years old, he ran very well.... he is on the road to a good running start.

I had originally planned a 3 and a half hour run this weekend. Instead I had a mixture of good runs that probably gave a pretty good workout overall. I know I had fun and will have to push that super long run to next weekend.

OK...Here is the video of the fells run.


Dan said...

Kevin, I'm glad you made it to the Fells. I was looking out for you the 3.5 hours I was out there but we never saw any runners either, Just a lot of dog walkers!

A 9:20 pace on the Res. Trail is impressive! Keep up the good work. I hope we can meet up one of these weekends. I'm considering running the 50K at Pineland Farms so maybe I'll see you there.

sn0m8n said...


Sounds like you had a great day being one of the boys!
Hope you can make it on Saturday.

- Ryan

RunninRob said...

Awesome blood! I have three or four just like it, and I will readily admit it was from the same activity of losing the the trail and making a B-line through a briar bush!

MS Fells has so much to offer and I learned that just on one run. I think I'll be heading over there a couple more times before PF to shock the system, the orange trail seems a little more loop friendly as well, as far as refueling at a drop bag every hour.

Are you still thinking about running Merrimack?

pathfinder said...


I am still working on schedule as far as Merrimac is Easter weekend and I am not sure how it will fit.

Right now I want to run it....but what I want is not always what the family does....I hope to answer that question this week.