Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finally Got In A Good Run


In the last two weeks after the 12 mile bruiser I only ran 10 miles and 9 miles. I don't know what came over me, Though I did have surgery on Monday and I did have the wedding in Vermont, I still should have had time to get in some quality runs.

It boils down to feeling crappy and not having the desire to get out there. No one specific excuse I guess. At first I was looking for reasons, but now I just consider it a couple easy step down weeks and look forward to getting back into some fun running.

I spent the day wondering if I was going to feel like running when I got out of work or would my delema continue..... I drove to Pineland and as I changed, I could feel the excitement growing. I knew I was going to enjoy the run but decided not to run sprints. Instead I would run the 5k course starting out easy and see what transpired.

The first mile I felt pretty tired and sluggish, I came dangerously close to calling it quits and heading back. Instead, my attention was drawn to a runner coming the other way. It made me feel better....I don't know why but I surely was not going to stop now and walk back to my truck.

By the second mile I started setting in a bit and decided to finish the 5k at least. I started enjoying the smell of the woods and I think I became lost in thought as the end came quickly and suddenly I was sprinting to the imaginary finish line. It felt really good and I was satisfied, I waited about 30 seconds to catch my breath and started what I thought was going to be a cooldown mile.

I made to the mile mark and starting feeling pretty good. I hit the down hills and decided there was no way I was going to stop now, I decided to finish the loop I was on. I had a great mile five @7:08pace. This is when I realized my problem was that after running all the longer distances, it was taking me longer to settle in and get warmed up.

Back when I was racing a lot of 5ks (mostly on roads) I would feel horrible for the first 1/2 -3/4 mile then I would start feeling better and hitting my speed. Now after training for the 50K, running mostly trails and racing longer distances, my warm up period has increased.

It makes sense now that I think of it. I remember many marathoners saying it took 5 miles for them to settle in. Of course what that means to me today is that I am really not ready to race a tough 5k and I think I was letting the pressure get to me.
Of course I am not ready, I haven't trained for it and actually have not raced anything shorter than a 10K all year.

I finished the 5.6 mile run feeling tired but great. I could have easily continued but it was getting dark and I still had some things to do tonite. It was inspiring to want to go longer at the end of my run tonite. It was a good run and very relaxing (to the brain).


1st mile....8:44...152-160
2nd ........8:15...154-162
3rd ........9:22...157-164 (mostly up hill)
.2@6:46pace...160-162 (kick then continue)....3.2miles @27:03(8:27pace)
5th ........7:08...156-163 (downhill)
last .45@7:12 and kicking...158-162.... (2.5 miles@20:09..8:17pace)

Total run:
5.6 miles....47:12(8:26p)

Here is something really Garmen 305 and the nike + plus read exactally the same milage today??? That has never happened in the trails. The splits were off but that is because the garmen shows an average and the Nike shows a snap shop of the mile moment.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not A Productive Week!

It has not been a productive week. Other than my run at twinbrooks on Wednesday, I did nothing.....well running related anyway. I did have to drive 5 hours to Vermont on Friday for a wedding and then drive back 5 hours on Saturday, and I did go golfing when I returned Saturday afternoon.....but did not find an opourtinity to run at all.

I felt I should have found the time to get a run in. Sunday I was supposed to go hiking which would have made me feel a bit better...except we didn't go because of the rain. Sooooo, what did I do? Well nothing, I watched football and lazed around.

For some reason, I just didn't feel like suiting up and running in the rain...I love running in the rain! I just didn't want to.....what is up with that? Perhaps I am ready for a short break? Fall is when I usually enjoy running the most.

I will have to take some time and think about this delema. Could it be that I am just plain burnt out?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Am I Too Tired Or Did I Eat Lead For Lunch?


Went to Twin Brooks to practice the course and to try and get my speed going for the Craig Cup 5k. At first I planned a 5 mile speed run with the hopes of maintaining an 8 minute pace or maybe a bit better.

Well, Murfy's law is always lurking around the corner and this night it decided to pay a visit. You see, I think I am pretty smart, I don't like carrying the truck key with me. (long story short, I lost the truck key somewhere in the woods at the Pineland 25K two years ago and vowed to never run with my keys again.)

So, I leave my large wad of keys in the truck cab and I have a hidden door key in the back of the cap. It works real well.....except for this one time. Sometime in the last couple of days I locked the rear cap door, I guess I forgot and never unlocked it.

You can guess what happened, I jumped out of the truck, locked my doors and went to the back to put my water bottle in there......well the cap door was locked! OK, I have no tools, my phone is still in the cab and no one is around. What a way to start a run.

I figured because of the short window of time before dark, I better find a way to get the key while I could still see, so running first was out of the question unless I just ran home for some tools.

I did finally get into the truck and I still had time for the run, though I am sure I was not quite as relaxed as I wanted after the ordeal. I won't go into the details because then all of you would know how to get into my truck.

Now that problem one was solved, I hit problem was damn humid out and I could feel it right from the start. The first mile really sucked and I was pretty sure that someone (maybe Murfy again) put lead in my legs and butt....boy was I dragging.

My first mile came in at about 7:45 and there was no way I was going to maintain that for four more miles! I decided to do 2 mile repeats and finish with a one mile cooldown run. The more I thought about this during mile two, the easier it was to decide to stop and recover.

I did managed a 7:58 average pace for the first 2 mile but my lungs were whimpering and whinning for more air and my whole body was just plain dead. I decided to suck it up and try to run a faster second 2 mile.

It was not in the cards tonight as my second two mile was much worse and I only averaged a 8:05 pace. I guess I need to train a bit more before I can feel fast...
All I felt during this run is hot,slow and tired.

If things don't get better, I suspect my Craig Cup 5k will be quite dissapointing. I am actually hoping that my problem was the humidity and the next run there will feel great!! I guess one can hope ...right?

Total run 5 miles

2 miles @15:55 (7:58p) 145-162 (ahr/mhr)
2 miles @16:09 (8:05p) 154-162
1 mile @9:00 147-154


Skipped track because I had surgery Monday (was still a guite sore)and walked (briskly) for 2 miles.......does that qualify as a workout?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nobody Finishes The Bruiser Without Running Hard!


Being a trail monster means helping promote the wonders of trail running. Sometimes that takes presidence over personal gain and rightly so. helping others transition into the unique mixture of running slower times, working harder than one ever had to on the roads and exposing ones self to the possiblity of injury, it sure doesn't sound easy but when you throw in experiencing the wonders of nature, enjoying the company of a great group of people, The huge feeling of accomplishment when you poke out of those woods, well......nature, fun and health sells.

Sunday was the Bruiser 12+ miler at Bradbury mountain. It is a tough course that feels difficult right from the start. The real difficulty though, doesn't show up until the last two miles, this is where you earn the right to wear the T-shirt, this is where you find out what you are made of.....believe me, there is no breezing to the finish here.

When I trained through the winter, running snowmobile trails, braving the cold and storms, running through the spring mud, finishing my first 50k, spending most of my summer on the trails, one thing that was always in the back of my mind was to PR the Bruiser this year.

Last year I ran the Pineland 25k and out of those 15.1 miles, I had a fantastic 10 mile trail race in me, it was awesome....but the last 5 miles was pure hell and the first time in my life that I thought for sure I wouldn't finish.

So I spent the summer trainning to run last years Bruiser as a way to redeem myself. I planned the race in my mind and followed a walk/run method while training for the 50k. I wanted to feel good at the end of that race and I accomplished that.

This year I wanted to step it up and actually race the Bruiser. I figured the 50k would give me a solid base and it did. Through the summer, I spent a lot of time promoting trail running and accomplished a few new faces in the woods. In the process I ran a lot of trail miles with a newbee, Mike. He had not run in quite a while and we did a couple summer road races together.

Mike took quite a liking to trail running and about 2 months ago he decided to step it up and train for the Bruiser. This would be a brave move considering his training
up to this point and the Bruiser is a very tough first trail race.

His plan was to pace with me for the first 10 miles and then use the what ever happens approach for the O trail. I agreed to this stradegy and was happy to help but in the back of my mind I still longed for the PR.

We trained on trails and three weeks ago we ran a practice 12 miler including the O trail. The practice time came in at 2:55:12, it seemed to me if I paced Mike for the Bruiser, I would surely not PR this course this time around. I was OK with that as it felt good to get new runners on the trails.

Two weeks before the race I had a thought, if I could speed mike up a bit on the bruiser course, perhaps I could still attempt a PR. We began running the bradbury East side as often as we could and started doubling up on the O trail. One; to get Mike in "Bruiser" running shape and two; to get me in sprinting O trail shape.

My new plan was to pull Mike along for the first 10 miles as fast as I could, besides giving him a chance to finish with a great time, I might just set myself up for a PR. I know it was far fetched and agressive.....but I thought I could pull it off.

I spent many runs working with him and running far enough ahead on the hills to get him to push his own pace. I talked and talked about stradegy and understanding the body enough to run fast when it felt good and slowing down when it didn' other words adapting to the conditions.

He did so well,I felt certain he would be estatic with his results. When race day came, I was quite nervous and started doubting my plan. What if I pulled him into a pace that was too fast for him and he didn't finish, that would not be fair at all.
Could I let my own personal goals intefere with my friends first race?

I positioned myself and Mike near the rear of the group, hopefully to keep us from getting too wound up in the beginning. I couldn't believe how nervous I was, but I didn't show that to mike. I found myself thinking about taking off after a couple miles.....surely Mike would be OK with his pace by then. Well, suddenly Ian said go and we were more worring about it now.

During the first two miles, I decided to do what I promised and help Mike pace. Our splits were quite fast and I knew we would have to settle into a little slower pace.
I found myself creeping up in speed and stopped a couple times to let some runners pass to keep Mike and I together. He was actually running pretty fast compared to our trainning.

My body just wanted to let lose and run, I felt I had a great race in me. At mile 4 water stop I hung around for a couple minutes and talked with Emma. My thought was to let mike continue and work his own pace for a bit plus I would get a chance to speed it up a some while attempting to catch him.

After about three quarters of a mile, I started getting mike in sight, perhaps I wouldn't catch him. Finally at 1.5 miles from the water stop, I saw a glimse of him up ahead. I caught him, got back in the lead and we resumed our treck together. He slowed a little in mile five without me but not too bad.

I checked my watch as we were almost half way. I was suprised as I calculated our pace. If we kept up this way, I would have an outside chance to beat last years time.
This part of the race was amazing. The sun peeked through the trees, the temp was not too humid and everything just seemed right with the world. I was getting my second wind and could tell that Mike was too.

I decided to get mike to work on surge passing and we worked on two runners that were not too far ahead. We put them in our sights and reeled them in. It was so much fun to stop thinking about the race and just concentrate on these two runners.

We caught and passed them both and also a runner that was struggling a bit, probably from starting out too fast. This was surely the funnest part of the race so far. With over eight miles behind us, I started getting pretty excited about my chances, as long as I reached the O trail in under two hours, I decided I would pick up the pace and try to sprint out a PR.

Now, sprinting on the O trail is not what it seems. The heavy switch back design along with all the rocks, roots trees and obstructions do not allow sprinting per-say, but more like a faster slow pace. My fastest sprint on this trail was 28 minutes and that was when I was fresh. Today, after ten miles of Bradbury running, a sprint would probably be more like 30-36 minutes or maybe even slower.

After mile 9.5 water stop, I decided I was going for it, the PR was mine to lose. It felt great to speed up a bit and I was very confident. I reached the O trail head at 1:53:40. A huge smile crossed my lips and I was bubbling with excitement.....that was until I tripped on something. I am not sure what it was but, the next thing I knew, I was frantically trying to re-establish my balance.

I somehow kept myself from going down but in the process my right calf cramped up from the stress of trying to maintain myslef and it just locked right up. What a horrible feeling, I was sure I pulled it or something and stopped long enough to stretch it out the best I could.

It still bothered me but I was at least able to keep running. It wasn't long before my other muscles started cramping. I am sure it was because of the altered gait as I was favoring the right calf. It seemed that the PR was quickly fading away and I was going to be fighting for the ability to just finish this race.

Right then, it dawned on me. This point right here was where we find out how determined and how tough we really are. How bad did I want the PR? How strong was the urge to overcome the adversity and do what I needed to accomplish my goals. Now was the time to man it up and take my race up a notch.

I pushed as hard as I could but couldn't keep my eyes off the watch.....seconds ticked by and minutes passed. There was a point that I almost gave up .....somehow, I kept plugging even though I wasn't moving very fast, then it happened.... I ran right into a tree. This is when I realized that I was losing it. I have never run into a tree while "running" at a pace that was just slightly faster than a walk....ever! I was spent and I guess just plain done with this race.

I was giving up.....on the PR....on the race completely... I was ready to walk the rest of the way. Suddenly a voice broke the the tunnel vision of my mind was George A, he was yelling "Come on pathfinder, now is not the time to rest. There will be plenty of time to rest when you finish. the end of the O trail is only 400 yards away....get going!" People don't realize how important a spectators words of encouragement can be.

This fired me up and even though it probably didn't look like it at this stage of the race, but in my mind I was sprinting and the legs just had to deal with it! I exicted the O trail and realized that I was going to PR after all. I dug down deep and found a pretty decent kick. I don't know if it was like the horse running for the barn syndrome or what, but I was kicking like there was a bear on my butt.

I finished strong and at least four minutes faster than last year. It felt so good, to accomplish the PR even after pacing a friend for nine miles. I ran back to the O trail to cheer him on and actually ran in the last quarter mile. He pulled off a 2:33:42........a full 22 minutes faster than his practice great is that?

The lesson I learned from this experience is to never give up, no matter what your mind is telling you....just keep putting one foot in front of the is the only way I can truely say I did my best.

12.4 miles @ 2:26:12 (11:48 pace)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Am Feeling Tired Today...Very Tired


Proprioception......The normal awareness and instinctive ability to be aware of ones posture,balance, movement and body location. To hone this skill is to excel in all athletic endeavors.

In trail running this relates to the ability to negotiate the eneven and ever changing terrain. This exact capability is realized when you "almost" twist your ankle.......your brain senses the pressure on the side of your foot and immediately adjusts your body weight to reduce the pressure and allow minimal damage.

While negotiating sharp turns or steep down hills you body instinctively compensates for the change and attempts to keep your weight centered. The good runners have this skill honed to a point.

I have been working on my own skills but seem to have fallen short of my expectations. I seriously thought if I could capitalize on my proprioception, I would finally run the trails at a pace that impressed me.

I hit the O trail last night for a race pace run. I wanted to see how fast I could run it when fresh, then I planned on running it again to simulate the end of the 12 mile race.

I started out very strong and the body negotiated the terrain very well. I didn't trip once and only landed on the side of my foot once (my proprioception worked magically as I did not twist my ankle at all).

I figured it is only 2.4 miles as measured by the park and I should easily be able to push a fairly fast pace for that short distance. Problem is, I was very wrong.
About half way through I started gasping for oxygen.....the cardio was failing me!

I had to force myself to finish this loop and wondered if I would have anything left for the second loop. It just plain didn't feel that good. Unlike last week when I felt great running this portion of the trail.

In the end I had no problem with the terrain, instead I just didn't have the cardio capability to run at that speed.....which by the way was not very fast. Last week I ran the first loop at 33 minutes and ran quite leisurely, I thought.

This time I only ran it slightly faster at 28:02 minutes (11:40p) and was spent when I exited the trail. I was not impressed at all. 11:40 pace is seems so slow when I think of the percieved effort involved. My effort and heart rate would normally equate to 8:50- 9:30 pace on technical trails.

I walked to back to the opening of the trail (about 200 yards) and started my second loop. I began very slow and figured I would just run it as a recovery or cooldown. I was so tired ...and only after 2.4 miles, O trail or not, I figured I should be able to do better.

As I settled in at my recovery pace, I began to realize I was instinctively picking up the pace and by the time I was halfway through, I was almost racing again. I still didn't feel any better as far as cardio goes but at least I was pushing the pace a bit.

I finally found the end of the trail but had no kick what so ever. I was suprised that I didn't end up running that much slower considering how I felt after the first loop. I did slip and trip a few times this go round but nothing major.

My second loop was 32:54 minutes (13:42p), quite a bit faster than last weeks second loop of 36 minutes. I guess this tells me a couple things, one; all the technique in the world is still subject to body condition, two; I surely will not run this part of the race any faster than my first loop time of 28 minutes. I suspect after running 10 tough trail miles I will be closer to my second loop time.

It seems that I will be hard pressed to beat last years time on this course, if I can make it to the O trail before 2 hours, I have a chance. Perhaps the smartest thing to do is just run the darn thing and enjoy the experience, it takes so much energy to plan ahead.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Easy Run For Enjoyment


I decided to just stay around home and do an easy run for enjoyment. It has been quite a while since I ran on the trails around my house so I thought "why not"
Though the route I took is not all trail, it is a very good mix of terrain.

I started with a 3 mile loop around the rim of a pit which encompasses the water reservoir for North Yarmouth. Then I hit a dirt round with rolling hills, a large hill called "Oakhill" and it is quite a tough hill to run up.

After Oakhill I follow to a caldesac and instead of running back down the hill, I hit a fairly technical trail called The Forest Loop which is about a mile long, half downhill and half uphill.

When I reached Oakhill, I crossed the street to another trail called Sam Restich trail which is also fairly technical but quite enjoyable. This trail dumps out onto a baseball feild, which to my suprise was supporting quite a baseball game when I arrived. I think they were more suprised that I was. Suddenly I was looking right into the face of the third baseman.

At this point I crossed the street and ran on the road for a short distance to the firehouse in North Yarmouth and hit an old dirt way that once was going to be a gravel pit (but never materialized) This road/trail is as big of an uphill as Oakhill and a person knows he worked hard by the time he crests it.

At the top there is a trail to the power lines which is suprisingly quite open and there was evidence of four wheel drive vehicles through it. After it dumps out onto the power lines, the trail opens up pretty big and by this time the temp was starting to rise pretty fast.

The view for the power lines is quite beautiful and I just had to stop for a few seconds and enjoy it. After negotiating rock ledge and many up and down hills, I hit a wet spot that many ATVs had enjoyed seemed nice to hit a little mud!

The power lines cross an old railroad bed behind my house and I followed that home. Unlike me, I did not wear the Garmen or the heart rate monitor today, I figured I would have to leave them home if I was going to make it an easy run.

I did have the Nano on for some musical enjoyment (this is about the only time I get to listen to my favorite stuff) Though it is not that correct in the trails (it is calibrated on roads), It did give me an approximate milage and my total time running.

Approximately 9 miles

I hit the pool upon returning home and swam some laps for a decent cooldown.
A good start for a holiday weekend..

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Double "O" Trail...


The "O" trail, where live roots suddenly reach out and grab you......
Ran a double loop of the O trail tonite as a training run, not top speed but proabably 85% or so because of the speed work last night. I ran with my daughter, her boyfried(also my friend) and Deacon the trail running dog (boy can this Puggle run the trails!)

It was actually quite an enjoyable run and I think I am finally starting to get familier with the terain. I had enough energy to jump some of the rock crops and sail over downed trees. Most important....there were no bugs!!

4.8 miles
heart rate 130-146


I thought this was cool as I came out of the woods at Pineland, it looked like the moon was part of the road lamp.

Again I ran my track workout at pineland. The funny thing was that I had planned to skip the intervals and just run a 5 or 6 miler at good work out speed. Well after the first two miles, I was feeling pretty good and decided to do the intervals also.

Track: 2 miles @85%, 8x400 sprints at 110% with 100 recovery, two miles @85%.

I knew the 400s would probably be irratic as there were many ups and downs on the back trails of pineland, but it actually worked out pretty good. I am sure it was much more of a workout than I would have gotten at a flat track.

2.08 miles @18:45
9 minute pace ...146-157 heart rate

half mile easy recovery...10:56p 133-151

400...9:05p...153-163(mostly uphill)
400...8:18p...152-164(more uphill)
400...6:55P...150-178(mostly downhill)

2 mile@ 20:14...10:07p...140-157

Total including the 100 recoveries between the sprints 7.2 miles

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More Hill Running

Hill running at Bradbury, 5 miles running pretty much all the trails to the summit. I wanted to try and run everything plus work on faster downhill running. I started fairly easy to get warmed up and picked up speed as the run progressed.

I really wanted to run the whole way but the summit trail kicked my butt again. I came down off the south trail just smoking and the downhill felt great. At the bottom of the Summit trail I was running pretty good but the further up the hill I progressed the slower I went, until I was just climbing when I hit the rock out cropping.

I just didn't have it in me to run at that brain was saying yes but my body just wouldn't listen. Once I crested though and started running down the other side I felt good real quickly.

Mile three I crested the summit again then I decided to pick it up for the last two miles (which is mostly down hill anyway.) I felt great in the last mile and really let it all hang out on the last 3/4 mile downhill.

5 miles @53:17 (10:40p)
No heart rate monitor today.

I used Friday for a rest day and on Saturday it was pretty heavy rain all day. I had planned on geting a run in but only accomplished a 3/4 mile lap swim in the pool. I set my sights on Sunday for a 12 mile practice run with a new trail runner who is signing up for the Bruiser.

Bradbury mountain East Side Trails.........turn left until you become tired, then turn right.


Ran Bradbury Bruiser. As usual I struggled a bit on some of the intersections (it shouldn't be that confusing and a lot of the maps are missing) but I think in the end I did OK. The day was perfect as it was quite cool at 7:15 Am and didn't really start heating up until the run ended.

I was expecting some mean bugs because of the rain Saturday and the wetness this morning but actually only one area was bad. I convinced Mike (the new trail runner) to let me lead and to accept the "too slow" feeling start.

He was reluctant but fell in behind me. I tried to convince him that he would thank me in the end. The first 10 miles went fantastic. we picked up the intensity a little bit through those miles and he was having a great time.

I think he had a pretty good 10 mile run in him but the O trail took it's toll and he suffered severely. I don't think he hydrated enough and even though I tried to talk him into bringing water (he refused) I tried sharing mine with him, which he finally accepted in about mile eight.

The O brought on some cramps in his legs and he was reduced to a lot of walking. This was a great trainning and test for him. I figured if he finished this run and still wanted to sign up for the bruiser......he deserved to run it.

The O trail can do that to even very good runners, it sucks the life right out of your body. I always try to leave a little energy for the finish of this course. I left him in the O trail and ran my pace. He wanted to make himself go it alone as that is what he would have to do in a race. Well he didn't give up and made it to the end. I was impressed.

Our plan is to run a double O trail sometime next week to give him (and me) some more running on this extremely technical trail. I think It's a good plan.

12.3 miles @2:47:10(13:35p)
Didn't get splits, HR..135-154
Mike's time 2:55:11 (14:14p)