Thursday, December 30, 2010

I can't Start 2011...I haven't Finished 2010 Yet!

Suddenly it is merely one day away from 2011. I am not ready to start a new year as my goals and wishes for 2010 have just not come to light yet. I have one more day to:

Run 130 miles to PR my year (OK, I guess I have to let go of that one)

Run a fast fall race......ooops, it was on the list.

Run the Marathon at Stone

Start the new year at my normal spring weight, to get a jump start on my spring running speed ......Uh....well maybe next year.

Get an early start on weight training for the core ......did I say weight or wait?

Break out the snow shoes early to prep for Bradbury winter races. (I know I put them in a safe place, where I would be sure not to lose them)

OK....I have one day left and there is plenty of snow, it seems the best I can do is get out for a fairly long snow shoe tromp on Friday and hope that the start of 2011 gives me new and vigorous drive for the winter.

Where did all the time go?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Connector


Kev and I ran the Bradbury/pineland connector today. Well not the whole way to Pineland but we did make it to the powerlines and ran them for a bit. For some reason, the powerlines felt bitterly cold. Perhaps some of it was the wind whipping through the long open space and also the fact that I was a bit wet from the stream crossing.

I was surprised when we got to the first stream to see it mostly covered in a thin layer of ice and the level was much lower than last week. There were some open spots that showed us the current was still clipping along pretty good, so the ice could not be trusted.

Kev laid on his belly and shimmied across a small tree that had fallen across the stream. I went upstream a bit to where the Trail monsters crossed last weekend and found the rocks much easier to cross even though there was a lot of ice on some of them.

We then went up Tyron mountain to the "scenic visual spot" then continued on to Lawrence road. Things were not warming up as quick as last week even though it was later in the day. The only part that felt a bit warm was when running through the field on the other side of the road.

When we came upon the second stream, it was very apparent how much the water level had dropped. At the spot where The trail monsters crossed last week, there was at least 15 feet of exposed rocks making the width of the steam much smaller. I picked a spot that looked like I could jump from rock to rock but somehow ended up in the water.

At this point I was pretty wet, including my gloves, so trying to stay dry was mute. The area where they were waist deep last weekend was only up to my knees today though I suspect the water was a little colder as there was ice all around.

After a couple hundred yards of running, the water was pretty much squeezed out of my shoes and the only part that felt cold was my hands. I was pretty much fine until things opened up when we reached the powerlines.

On the way back, I just walked right across the stream, though Kev still found a way to cross without getting wet. We ran into chuck in Tyron field and explained to him how the river crossing was and off he went. He apparently decided not to cross as he caught back up to us by the time we hit the next water crossing.

He was gone like a flash and we never saw him again because I was slowed up by phone calls. I usually will only have my phone for emergencies when I am trail running alone but I was on call this weekend and if I wanted to get in a run, I had to answer when it rang.

This was a great run today as we managed to get in 8.1 miles. I really like running the connector and hope to make it the whole way to Pineland one of these times. I would also like to find the return trail from the power lines that Ian created.

8.1 miles @1:43:18

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bushwacking But Fun


I planned all week to get a decent long run in this weekend and finally got that accomplished. I decided to check out the new Bradbury/Pineland connector even though the girl at Bradbury said the rivers were uncrossable.

I arrived at Bradbury to find an empty lot (except for one lonely car) I figured as much because it was about 30 degrees,slightly snow covered and a bit early to see Trail Monsters (though I didn't know if any were running here today). This was fine with me because I planned an easy enjoyable bushwhack run and didn't want to slow anyone down.

I started easy so not to aggravate the hip pain and it felt pretty good. The first turn I took off the trail ended up being the wrong way and I spent a fair amount of time searching for the red tape markers. after a mile or so I figured I was in the wrong spot and headed back to the Bradbury trail.

Back at bradbury (boundry) I finally came across the spot for the new connector. it was very well marked at this point. I found the trail to be well marked at times but confusing at others. I finally made my way to the first river and found a spot were a run of rocks almost crossed the whole thing.

Probably if it hadn't rained lately, the crossing there would have been relatively easy but because of the swift running water and the fact that I was alone, I decided to find a safer spot. A short ways up river I found a large tree laying across the river and crossed easily.

After crossing I found my way back to the marked trail and headed for Tyron mountain.
About half way up the trail to the peak, Ian caught up to me along with Emma, Jamie and Dave. It felt great to see other people and I enjoyed the chance to follow someone who knew where they were going.

We crested the mountain and stood on the highest spot for a picture and then headed back to the new trail. Ian made it seem easy and I didn't have to pay much attention to the trail (which later would come back to bite me as I returned alone).

We crossed Lawrence road and continued on. I lagged a bit but was able to stay close enough to keep them in my sights. Once we made it to the second river, it was apparent the crossing would be much more involved.

Ian and Erik jumped right in and commenced to wade across. It looked relatively easy but wet, cold, deep and pretty fast moving. I knew I was near the end of my running window for the day and decided follow the river a ways and see if there was a better spot to cross (one that I could do alone and still factor in safety)

I followed the river down stream for about 3/4 of a mile and found nothing better then went upstream and even though the current was slower, the river was wider and deeper. Upon returning to the first spot, I saw a single trail heading down stream, it was either a deer trail or something someone else used as it seemed pretty old.

I figured maybe it would lead to a crossing but instead came to a no trespassing sign after about a mile so I turned around and headed back. This was a bit more difficult than I thought as I couldn't find the same trail and had to follow the river instead.

I found the new trail finally but got lost (misplaced temporarily) quite a few times and found myself wishing I had paid more attention when following Ian's group. I made it to the first river and decided to try crossing at the rocks because I thought perhaps I could jump across the open spot.

I figured the worst that could happen is I fall in and get wet, which was no big deal because I was only a few miles from the parking lot at this point. Well I threw my water bottle across and leaped. Luckily I still had some leg power because I made it right to the edge of the bank and did not fall in or get wet.

It felt good to get back to Bradbury trail and I found myself quite tired as I had been out about 2 1/2 hours at this point and running for at least 2 of them. The return to the parking lot seemed so long as the legs just wanted to stop moving. It sure felt good to get in the truck and turn on the heat.

It was a bit disappointing that I didn't actually reach Pineland as it is only 4 or 5 miles, but with all the bushwhacking I just plain ran out of time and energy. I will have to return and finish my quest.

All and all a great run and exactly what I wanted to accomplish as I had no pain issues and no problems other than losing my bearings a couple times.

10.5 miles 2:20:21 (2:49:31 total time on feet)
Heart rate average 143 max 163 (yes it started working again)

Monday, November 29, 2010

New Shoes...Bad news

I bought a pair of New balance MT800s. They were cheap left overs and looked pretty grippy with large lugs so I thought why not get them as they would come in handy for greasy trails.

Not that I really needed more trail running shoes, but more like impulse buying as I was looking for the MT101s (which they didn't have) Perhaps I just had to justify the drive.

Anyway they were sitting on a clearance rack and at $30.00 who could resist? They were my size (or so I thought, they felt good at the store) and I figured it was a stroke of luck.

I was anxious to get in a run and wanted to try these new shoes out, so I left work early Wednesday and headed over to Libbey Hill to check out the trails there (no hunting) I am not sure why I never ran there as it is not far from me.

I didn't enjoy the x-country trail that much, but the single track part was a lot of fun. Not much different than most of the single track around. I ran 6 miles and though a bit cold because of the wind, I was glad to get a run in before heading south for Thanksgiving.

Problem was that the MT800s felt small on my feet while running trails and I think they caused me to run different. By the time I was done, I felt some heavy pain in my upper right leg.....lower hip area.

At first I wasn't sure if it was the shoes or the fact that I haven't run much on the trails lately and was possibly overdoing the pace. So, I didn't fully blame the shoes at first.

Yesterday I returned from our Thanksgiving trip and my son and I went out for a run at Bradbury East side. I wore the MT800s again. This time it was easier to pin point the problem as I was very familiar with these trails and knew how they should feel.

I could tell my toes were under abnormal pressure as if they were curling to help push off or something. I think the toe box is too small for me in the MT800s. Not sure why I didn't notice this at the store.

The longer I ran, the more I noticed this problem. I am sure now that it is the shoes and suspect I will not run in them again, but will re-assess when I run next in my 572s, the 621s or the Cascadias.

Besides the shoe issue, the run at Bradbury was great, it felt so good to be running there again and not worry about hunters. I was so excited, I bought my 2011 pass. I did notice it is about time to get the screw shoes ready as there was a fair amount of frozen area with slippery roots, rocks and bridges.

I looked up the MT800s on line and found they did not have very favorable reviews....probably why they were so cheap to begin with. I suspect New Balance stopped making them for a reason. I hate it when I waste money..

Libbey Hill 6 miles @ 1:08:52 (11:36 pace)

Bradbury East 5.75 miles @1:00:31 (10:32 pace)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One More Weekend!

One more weekend of worrying about is so hard to give up the rare opportunities to get in a run (because of my tight schedule) just because there could be some unsafe hunter out there waiting to shoot anything that moves.

Don't think I am putting down hunters because 95% of them are very conscientious and safe, there are those few bad apples though that ruin things and when it comes to getting shot I must admit it scares me.

I have noticed one odd thing this year, you see I travel to work very early in the morning (around 4am) and I usually see deer in 3 - 4 places crossing the road every morning .....except during hunting season which I rarely see deer.

It is strange that they seem to know the season and lay low or perhaps change their patterns. The strange thing is, I have seen deer 3 out of 5 days last week and every day this week which is so unusual.

Not only have I seen deer, but I saw bucks which rarely happens anytime of year. The other strange thing is that the places I see them is totally different than their normal crossings through out the rest of the year.

If I was a hunter, I suspect I would have no problems getting my deer as I not only know where they run when on their morning migration, but I also run on deer trails which are perfect single tracks.

I would just drive around at 4am, wait to see a deer cross, park until daylight and follow the trail.....seems easy. Lucky for them deer, I do not hunt. I do like the thought of hiking through the woods and pitting my intelligence against theirs and if I actually had no other way to put meat on my table, I would shoot one.

It seems ironic that the very time deer are up and moving, is when most hunters are stopping at their favorite breakfast spot for a big morning meal and by the time they finish eating and the daylight shows up, the deer are long gone.

I almost suspect there are many hunters that do this by design.....because they love hunting but perhaps don't really want to shoot and gut a deer...

Today, I am getting out of work early and regardless of where there may be hunters lurking, I am going for a run. If I do get shot, at least I will have the satisfaction of knowing the meat they get will be old and tough!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Foggy, But A Plan Is materializing

I've been runner lazy lately and even though a break is well deserved at times, my brain still needs to rationalize it into some type of plan so I have an "excuse" to rest up a bit.

2010 has been a fair year for me as I have experienced many new things, running Mount Washington being one of them. Unfortunately, I wasn't very prepared for that race, so luckily my only goal was to finish.

My original plan was to use Mt Washington as a stepping stone to some bigger and more exciting finishes. Perhaps Pr-ing The Breaker, the Bruiser then capping the year with either a fast 5k,10k or something like Stone Cat marathon or possibly even the 50

I had it in my head to do a 50 miler this year and it never materialized.....partly because I didn't implement any sort of plan and also because of my knee injury from the Bruiser.

At the time, I didn't think the knee would put the brakes on my running like it did....kind of strange actually. Was it really the knee or was I using it as an excuse for derailing my goals? The thing I did realize is that I have to have some type of goal or plan, otherwise I will run around blindly and accomplish very little.

I thought about the ab challenge for about 3 seconds, then I came to my senses and realized that I didn't have a six pack at age 20....age 30...age 40....or at age thinking I could find one now (at 54) is as much a fantasy as winning any race I enter. Sure it is exciting to think about, but I do have to be realistic....I have a thirty pack and would be lucky through massive discipline and training to get that down to a twelve pack.

So, anyway, I took the date of the Pineland 50 and worked my way back to see how it would fit in for a winter/spring schedule. It is actually 30 weeks away which gives me a lot of leeway for training.

At this point, I have 10 weeks of what ever I want type running and training before I would start working on base. This feels like a good fit to me, I can run in pleasure mode, do some cross training and snow shoeing, get past the holidays and be fresh to start a training schedule the first week of January.

Whatever I do during the prebase 10 weeks would be a great jumpstart for the training schedule. As long as I am healthy and the training goes as planned, I will be running the 50 miler in May. It feels good to make that decision, I hope it works out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Official

I guess I am officially on a break from training. I really didn't plan it this way but since the bruiser, the running has not been quite what I planned.

I thought I was gearing up for a fun and fast fall but the knee injury, other commitments, my lack of drive and maybe pure laziness has severely eroded my fall training.

It was disappointing to see I only got in 8 miles last week and in leu of a long run this last weekend, I ended up shingling my roof and putting up plastic for my daughter. Not that these weren't important and needed but I really felt I should have been able to squeeze a run in there somewhere too.

My dreams and desires have not changed but my gumption has gone on holiday. SO, my battle plan is to run when I feel like it, rest a bit, get some things done that have been pushed to the way side for one reason or another, and gear up for some long winter runs.

I left work early yesterday for a meeting with the surgeon (yes, there are more surgeries coming ....almost done though) on the way home I planned on stopping at Backbay for a run but instead opted for a run at Twin brooks.

The run was short, it felt slow and laboring but when I looked at the pace I realized why I was so overall, not really a bad run.


2.75 miles @24:46 9:01 pace

1.5 mile cooldown

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tricks Of The Mind And Body run
Thursday.....abort planned run run
Saturday.....abort planned run
No injuries...

See a trend here? I am not sure what is going on but I haven't really been burning up the trails since my last race in September. Oh, I have had some really good runs but only occasional rather than consistent.

I actually have not felt like going. Perhaps I need a rest or maybe it is the fact that I don't have a race planned. It could be the cooler temps but I usually love fall running. I shouldn't have to force myself out the door, if I do there has got to be something wrong.

The thing that makes this so weird is that Sunday I woke and just did not feel like running. Now, I hadn't run all week other than Tuesday at Thorncrag (and I felt good and had a great run there) so I should be biting at the bit to get out there and run. I mulled around a bit and just decided to suit up and go even if it was only for a few miles.

The first mile kind of sucked but once I warmed up, I started really enjoying the run. I decided to bushwhack a bit and try to find a trail to connect my pit loop to the town forest trail. Things were going well until I came across a private property sign so I didn't accomplish my task.

I did however explore some new trails that will give me more variety and longer distances with my normal pit loop. It was a perfect run, with perfect temps and I seriously enjoyed myself.

I was so glad I kicked my butt out the door this morning and in the end wished I had more time to explore further. I felt great after the first mile and kept the same energy through the whole run.

I think my body was trying to trick me into not running so it could be lazy and not have to do it's job. My mind apparently fell for it as it conjured up all kinds of excuses to skip the run. In the end they were both quite happy and content because of the run.

Sunday October 17

8.62 miles @1:27:58 (1:22:58 running) 10:53 pace
11:09 (bushwhacking)
10:22 (bushwhacking)
11:30 (bushwhacking)

Later in the day 2.9 mile cooldown walk

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thorncrag.......OK, It's Hilly!

Today Val met me at Thorncrag as she graciously offered her guidance in negotiating the trails. I really didn't know what to expect as she and Jamie ran it the other day and his easy run was about 10:20 mile pace while she described it as a pretty tough run for her. This meant probably 12 minute pace for me if I push it.

Val warned me that there were some pretty good hills at this place and she wasn't kidding.... within a measly 5 or 10 steps, we hit this good size hill. About half way up I wished I had warmed up a bit first because breathing was now a luxury....3/4 of the way up I was wondering why Val wanted to kill me and my legs were screaming stop!

Once we crested Val quietly mentioned that the other two major hills coming up were worse. OK if she wanted to convince me to go home, this would do it. Lucky for me we hit some pretty level and down hill spots after the first hill and I was able to stabilize a bit.

We stopped for a few seconds to admire Whale rock, which was really cool and it does look like a whale. Then we hit the second and largest of the hills. I decided this was a hill for me to walk mostly because my body was kicking me in the butt for running the first hill. I walked about 3/4 of this hill then enjoyed a pretty long downhill recoupe after.

The third hill I again decided walking would be smart. A little after half way though, I was feeling pretty good and went back to running. The rest of the run breezed by and suddenly we were done. I wish I had more time because at this point I was feeling really good and well warmed up. I think the first big hill would have been a lot easier the second time well as the other two hills.

Last year Jamie clocked this run as 4.4 miles and this year at 4.1 miles. My old 301 garmen really struggles in the woods and notariously shows large gaps and short distances. Mine read 3.61 but I called the run 4.1 as I think Jamie's is much more acurate.

Considering I did some walking, my running pace was pretty quick for this terrain. Overall I was quite satisfied with this run. I am looking forward to giving this trail a second try, perhaps do a double loop and running the whole thing. There is no doubt that this trail offers a great workout.

I would like to measure this course a bit better....if this does turn out to be 4.4 miles, then I am surely even happier with this run!

4.1 miles @ 47:35 (11:37 pace)


Monday, October 11, 2010

OK...I Stopped Whining, So You can Start Reading Again

The weekend was totally different than I planned it a month ago. My goal was to work on some speed after the Bruiser , put down a decent speedy run at the Craig Cup 5k then finish the weekend with an eight mile mountain run at the Epic.

Funny how things turn out and the best laid plans metamorphose into something totally different. It all started with the knee injury at the Bruiser. That slowed me down as I didn't really run for two and a half weeks.

When I did get some runs in, it was disgraceful (as far as 5k racing goes) Then my daughter had the cute one and I ended up working on our vehicle Saturday morning. This did give me the opportunity to get a nice 3 miler in at Pineland on my way home.....which by the way went really well.

Sunday, my son Kev was home and we opted for a run at Bradbury (east side) and to my surprise, even after the workout on Saturday, this run was great! All it took to curb the whining was two great runs and back to back at that!

Pineland (east side)
3 miles@26:49 (8:57 pace) then .75 easy cooldown
8:39 (7:31 kick)

Bradbury (east side)
7.5 miles @1:13:33 (9:49 pace)
8:49 (6:01 kick)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Wanted It To Feel Easy.....But It Didn't

My plan last night was to stop on my way home from work and run a race pace type 5k at Pineland. I suspected I would feel a bit tired but at the same time thought it would feel somewhat easy in comparison to technical trail running.

I was prepared for comfortably hard effort with hopefully a respectable pace. It seemed with the rest I've had in the last couple weeks that I would be happy with the results. I figured starting out more quickly rather than warming into the projected effort would bother me some at the beginning but that I would settle in during the first mile.

As it turned out, I didn't feel that good at all. I felt slow, tired, out of breath and disapointed. it didn't help that my heart rate monitor didn't work because I use that info to see where I am acually at compared to how I feel. Judging by percieved effort, I accomplished race pace......yet my time was so slow and disapointing that I was embarrassed for myself.

At about 2 miles, I decided I was going to stop at 2.5 and then run a cooldown. I pushed into a simi kick near the 2.5 mark, stopped running which only lasted about 10 seconds before I mentally kicked myself in the butt and decided to finish what I started......hey, it was only 3 miles, what was I thinking.

At three miles (on the garmin) I switched gears, gave it everything I had and put down a pretty good kick. Once finished, I was glad that I didn't stop at 2.5 miles and even though my time for this run was terribly slow, it would give me a platform to start on and improve.

When I ran my fastest times (back in 2002-2003) I rarely ran at any pace other than race pace. All my runs were essensually a race and I only ran 3-4 times a week at 2.5--5 miles each averaging 12-15 miles a week at most. There was no such thing as a long slow run in my training and every run ended with an all out kick.

I did a 5:45 mile (in training at track)1 mile race PR 6:18, my 5k PR was 20:18(6:33p), 10k PR was 44:06(7:07p) 1/2 marathon 1:37:26(7:27p)... Perhaps to get back down to that speed I have to revert back to my earlier training.

I know it sounds like I am saying I want to get back into road racing but that is not it at all, I just want to enjoy running faster, like I used to. I guess I will have all winter to figure out what I want for spring.

5k race pace run

3.1 miles........3.81 miles.....estimated miles 3.3 @30:54


2 mile cooldown

I guess what this run proves is that training long slow distance creates slow times...

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Amazing How Fast Life Can Change.

In the last three weeks I haven't compiled more than 20 miles running, which is less than I usually average in one week. So, I must have had plenty of free time right?

No...I had none. I swear there is a minute sucker hanging around just waiting to scoff up every minute I tend to free up. Just like a vacuum cleaner with an endless reservoir.

Three weeks ago I ran only three miles and they were painful ones, the next week I managed 6.5 miles and though I wish I could blame it on the injury, there were many other factors that interfered and I rationalized the running interruption with thoughts of giving my knee more recoup time.

Last week I finally got in a couple good but short runs but was held back from a banner running week by an exciting event. My daughter had her baby Thursday morning and our whole world changed as we became dog baby sitters and anxious grandparents spending as much time as we could with the cutest little girl (and her parents)

This week I plan on getting back on track and coming up with some type of running plan for the fall. For some reason I am thinking a lot about running a 5k......sure I will not be very fast as I have not trained speed all year, but I can't seem to stop thinking about it.

Problem is, I will surely be disappointed with my time and wish I hadn't run it. I thought perhaps after the last three weeks, this would be a perfect time to hit some intervals. I did just that Sunday at Twin Brooks with my daughter's pup and we had a great time sprinting various distances between his need to stop and mark his territory.

I got in about 2 miles of sprinting and honestly it felt great. I suspect I will try to get in some shorter faster runs this week and see how it feels.

The one thing I noticed about twin Brooks (as I haven't been there in quite a while to run) is that it feels more like a carriage trail and seemed relatively easy compared to Bradbury or even Pineland.

Sunday 2 miles (approximately)
intervals of about 400 meters (give or take 100 meters)
time? who knows
Pace? who knows
Fun? bet!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Thought I Would Be Rested

One would think after lazing around for almost two weeks while recouping from the bruiser injury, I would be feeling all rested an raring to run up a steep mountain trail. Instead I have been feeling tired and a bit lame as if I were running hard everyday.

I can't say I haven't run at all as I did a 2.5 trot at Pineland last tuesday and I ran a 5 miler last night there also. Besides that, I have only gone for a few walks. The 2.5 did bother the knee a bit, but last night there were no problems at all and I really enjoyed the run.

Is it possible that not running can leave a body tired if it is used to running on a steady bassis? I can't think of a time that I went two full weeks without running even when I had the surgery two years ago. I guess I mistakenly thought the tired body was from running I am thinking it is just the feeling of old age.

I have heard many "older" people say that their body felt a bit creaky in the mornings and they had to losen things up to start their day. I honestly thought my creakyness was from running.

I guess what this means is that I can actually train a little harder than I thought and not worry so much about rest days. Hey....if I am going to feel creaky anyway, why not get some running it while I'm at it.

One thing I did notice is the heart rate was much higher during these two runs in comparison to the pace. Of course these runs were at pineland which has a constant rolling terrain which will cause a bit higher degree of effort with no real rest.

September 21

2.46 miles @23:12 heart rate av and max 152-168
I finished this run off with a two mile walk.

September 27

5 miles @49:51 (9:59 pace) HR, 152-173
8:59......162-173 (kick8:02)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Limping In Limbo

I had hoped my knee would be doing well enough by now (Thursday) to get in a post race run and shake out the running muscles a bit. However, the knee is still pretty darn sore so I am anxiously waiting.

Being in limbo means you can't really plan or follow an existing plan. I sit at my desk daydreaming about runs I want to do but not knowing how things will shake out makes it hard to plan.

I suspect that I must have hit more than just dirt when I went down as the knee cap is very tender to touch. Right now walking is a bit of a chore after sitting for any length of time, but it is getting better each day so I am hoping to get in an easy run this weekend.

All and all, I am very pleased with my Bruiser race even though I found out personally why it is called the bruiser!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bradbury Bruiser Report (rambling)

For the second Bradbury race in a row I found a way to sabotage my performance .....yet I did well both times. The day before the 9 mile Breaker I ran the Beach to Beacon 10K not a fresh start for mountain race, but still PRed it. The day before the 12 mile Bruiser, I golfed in a tournament (first time golfing this year)

I felt good and strong for the first 12 holes and keep thinking I was using up the core strength I was saving for the O trail. The last few holes I could feel the fatigue setting in and knew for sure this was a mistake the day before a tough race.

So, Sunday morning (race day) I decided to run a warm up (which I never do before this type of race) by the time everyone was lining up, sweat was rolling down my face because my warm up somehow ended up being a minute per mile faster than my projected race pace.......mainly because I started the warm up 20 minutes before race time and didn't keep track of the time, I was worried the race would start without me. Not what one would call a controlled pre race strategy.

I usually feel like crap the first mile and thought perhaps the warm up would counteract the feeling. I also decided to start a bit further back so I wouldn't get sucked into too fast of a pace.

I don't what God Ian and Ryan talked to but he surely listened as this was about as perfect as a day can get, fairly cool with no humidity. Of course a light rain would make the trail race a bit more fun but also slow things down a bit. A fair trade off on most days, but today I was hoping for cool dry and that is exactly what we got.

The start was a bit slow but thinned out rather quickly. I slid in behind Rick Abradi and figured to pace off him for a while as he was planning a somewhat slower start also. Pacing off someone else is hard for me because I like to run faster when I feel good and slower when I realize I am pushing too hard.

A person running faster than my average pace can sometimes suck me into too fast of a pace and work against me in the end. I honestly thought this was happening with Rick because I was feeling pretty winded in the second mile and he was picking off runners which meant to me he was pushing the pace a bit. Of course I followed him even though I could have stayed back.

I think it is my competitive spirit that causes me to try and stay behind a faster runner. So, here I was running faster than I planned, yet after mile two, I was getting control of my breathing and feeling much better.

I thought for sure this would work against me, but hey it was a race and I was trying to improve my time. Somewhere in mile three we got behind a slower runner and it seemed Rick just couldn't find a good place to pass. I got antsy and found a spot to slip by them both. I felt a little bad after as I think I might have muscled them a bit as I searched for a line that would work.

Right after I passed them, I saw Rick pass too. Now I was actually in a worse position as I could feel Rick gaining on me at times and I stopped thinking about my own race. I was worried he was going to catch me. How stupid is that? My plan was to run behind him so if he passed me that would actually be better. The smart thing for me to do would have been to pull over and let him by, then settle back in and let him pull me along.

Before long, I noticed Rick was slowing a bit on technical downhills, this told me he was still bothered by his injury as the downhills are usually the place to make up some time. On the flats and ups, he would catch back up to me.

This is also when I twisted my right ankle pretty hard. Rick mentioned it was too soon for that to happen which got me thinking about placing my own feet instead of worrying about where he was (thanks rick) focus is so important on this type of terrain.

The human mind is so weird, here I am only in mile three, worrying about a runner passing me (who is faster than me anyway)and deserves to be running at his pre-injury pace. I would have cheered him on and then been able to settle in on my own race.

I think the real problem is that I love coming up onto a runner and working my way past them but I hate a runner doing that to me. It shouldn't make a difference but is just plain does. The worst one was the guy who passed me a half mile from the finish of the O trail.....I almost caught him with my kick but he had a kick too.

The middle miles went real well as I settled in and felt the pace was comfortably hard. I was only passed by a few runners that I didn't return the favor to and besides that was only passed at the water stops by runners who were not stopping. I think I caught and passed all of those a short while after, so it was no big deal.

I was feeling good, hadn't tripped at all (other than the ankle twist in mile three) and was getting anxious to hit the O trail. I knew I would be all set once I got there from all my previous training on it.

I knew things were going great when I hit the O trail at 1:44. My average O trail runs have been 30-32 minutes even when doing repeats. I felt pretty good going in and decided to push the pace as hard as I could and try to finish under 1:15 for the race.

About a half mile in, as I was basking in my glory of knowing the O trail so well and feeling I was finally the master of it. For no other reason than to prove me wrong, the O trail grabbed my right foot and slung me down to the ground. I slammed extremely hard and felt severe cramping of the calf muscles and hamstrings while I was trying to keep my feet under me.

I was a bit dazed when I stood back up and instead of walking off the cobwebs, I foolishly tried to jump right back into my stride. Merely 25 steps later, I was slammed to the ground again only this time even harder as my mind and body had not recovered enough to attempt to buffer my fall.

This is the first time I remember actually being pissed off and swearing as I hit the ground. I was so mad at myself for my lack of respect and stupidity. I could hardly walk as I tried to trudge forward. For sure I would not PR this course after all, not if I was forced to walk the rest of the way.

I was disappointed and really pissed at myself. I tried massaging the Calv's and kept trying to get a run going. Eventually I was able to run but much slower as I now paid close attention to the ground and my foot placement. My knees were hurting along with my ankle, my left arm and my right fore arm.

I tried to put the pain behind me,just concentrate on the trail and moving forward. Things started feeling a bit better and I realized as long as my Calv's didn't cramp right up on me, I would still have a chance of beating last years time.

I was so drained from the falls that I could barely lift my legs high enough and I continually tripped on the rocks and roots. I did a good job of slowing down when needed and by centering my body better, I managed to stay upright. Something I should have been doing from the start. This is not the place for a lean forward type sprinting form (which is what I was foolishly doing at the beginning of the O)

I begged for the O trail Gods to forgive me and at least allow me to finish..... I think they heard me. It was uplifting to see the stone wall and leave the O trail behind. Now the trail was wide open and I pushed as hard as I could to finish strong.

I crossed the finish line almost 9 minutes faster than last year. There is nothing more exciting than finishing a tough race like this one. It is funny how ones perceptions are though. As slow as I felt in the O trail after falling, my total O trail time including the falls was 32:57.......right about where I planned in the first place.

So today I am limping a bit and I have some tender spots but I am happy.....very happy about my performance and my new PR. 1:17:15 (running time 1:14:56)

Splits......av HR..max
10:46.........145-159(50 sec water stop)
11:12.........148-158(long hill)
10:41.........145-149(45 sec water stop)
11:31.........153-158(O trail fell twice)
11:22.........151-159 (O trail)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

They say it's good to have "step back" weeks mixed in with training. I guess one every forth week. I never really practiced that because my schedule is usually so erratic that I just end up getting the runs in when I can. Many times not making the weekly mileage I wished for.

Having a family with all it's obligations, working 12 hours a day and owning a house that seems to require constant attention will severely interfere with any type of normal routine.

I had a week of not running which would surely qualify for a step back week and then a week of hardly running, so two step backs in a row. I thought this might be a problem and the first run I had seemed to agree as I felt a bit tired and my heart rate was very high.

The very next day I ran two O loops at Bradbury and felt great. I ran with my two of my sons, my son in law and my daughter's puggle. The run went so well and the heart rate was stable and normal.

I don't know if this whole erratic two weeks will help me or hurt me at the Bruiser but perhaps I will know better after tonites run.


4 miles Pitloop which is a combo trail/road

35:48 (8:57 pace)



Two O trail loops 4.8 miles

1st 30:35....148-164
2nd 30:01....153-162

Felt great running today..

Friday, September 3, 2010

It Sucks To Have Nothing To Report

I can't believe I haven't run for a week......yeah.crazy huh? How could something like this happen.

Oh, I had plenty of plans and alternate plans and backup run, but it didn't happen. I can't think of a week of disruption and chaos worse than this one.

To top it all off, even though I should be rested, I am instead quite run down and tired.

At least I can say I had quite a bit of swimming and other physical activities that can be labeled cross training.

I spent Saturday ripping a skylight out of my Mother's roof which I thought would only take one day and allow me to get my long run in on Sunday. Well I didn't get it done and ended up working on it all day Sunday.

It was very draining as first of all roofing is hard work to begin with, then throw in the 90 degree temps and you have very tired guy. So, no run on the weekend and with how I was feeling, I cherished the thought of using Monday as a rest day.

Tuesday I ended up working late but that was OK because I was still a bit lame from the weekend and decided I would get a good Bradbury run on Wednesday. I figured then heat wouldn't matter much because I would be in the woods out of the direct sunlight. Wednesday I get a call from my daughter and she needs help moving her furniture to a new place.....well no run but the lifting, carrying and climbing to the second floor would surely qualify as a cross training workout.

It qualified all right as I was still beat Thursday during work and that combined with the stagnant air convinced me to skip the run again......I did however accomplish cooling off and working out with some laps in the pool.

Now, here I sit Friday morning at work, wondering how this week has affected me. Did the lack of running set me back at all or perhaps the extra physical activities allowed key muscles to rest up while still getting a pretty good workout.

I suspect I will find out Saturday as I am planning a long run......I hope

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday At Bradbury

Wednesday I ran on the east side trails. It was raining and I decided it would be a good time to test running without glasses. My thought was that during a heavy rain, I might have better visibility without them rather than them fogging up and being so wet that the ground is distorted causing me to run much slower.

Being near sighted, I assumed I would be able to see the ground in front of my feet well enough to negotiate the technical trails of Bradbury but would lose the clearness of seeing what is coming up ahead of me.

I found it much more difficult than I imagined as the depth perception of the obstructions such as roots and rocks were not very clear and I found myself running slower as I re-acted to the terrain rather than command it.

My hope was that as I progressed, my eyes would adapt more and the terrain would become much clearer.....that didn't happen. I managed to run without falling and actually I don't think I tripped once. I did however run much slower and it was a bit uncomfortable.

I guess what it boils down to is that on a day like today when the rain is not that severe, I would do much better wearing the glasses but on a day that is a pure downpour, I suspect I would have better visibility without them. The tricky part is deciding before the race or run which fits best.

I am at a disadvantage as far as information goes because the garmen wouldn't even pick up a signal so I have no comparison and no heart rate info. I can only go by my knowledge of the trails and the nano which reads a bit long. Of course running without glasses surely changed my stride a bit, I am not sure how the nano read today.
below is my best guess as to my miles and pace.

Nano read:
4.8 miles @ 48:16

I estimate the run was more like 4 miles @12:04 pace which seems more reasonable.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have got to stop this.....something must be terribly wrong with me. You see I ran the O trail again and I suddenly realized that I really like this trail! It doesn't seem to matter how slow I start out, by the time I get to the end I am almost sprinting.

You know what else I realized, the last mile is much easier as far as the terrain goes than the first half. Why did I never notice this before? Perhaps it has something to do with hitting the O after racing 10 miles of tough terrain.

I just hope I feel as good as I have lately during the actual race. Now I didn't actually run it tonite completely fresh, I started by pushing a pretty good pace on some of the single track for a little over three miles before hitting the O, but still the deeper I got into the crazy twists and turns, the better and faster I ran.

In the interest of comparing, I restarted my watch when I entered the O to get a good idea of how well I was running it. I say approximately three miles first but I don't know for sure because the garmen just fails miserably at Bradbury.

The garmen read 2.46 and the nano read 3.48, so I called it three even though I think it was a bit longer than three. In the o trail the garmen read 1.19 and the nano read 3.17, but at least I know that trail is 2.4


3 miles @30:21 (10:07pace) heartrate av@141, max@160
2.4 miles @31:10 (12:59pace) av@147, max@157
1 mile cooldown, didn't check pace or even time it, but I surely understand Vs remark about sweating....I was soaked!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"O" Trail Repeats??

Sunday Mike and I headed for Bradbury, our plan was O trail repeats......what? Who is crazy enough to run that trail more than once a day? It seemed innocent enough when we planned it.

So, my thought was do a fairly fast first loop then slow the next two down to simulate the fatigued feeling and match my proposed pace at the end of the Bruiser.
A fourth loop would only happen if we had time and had any energy left after three.

We did about 3/4 mile warm up then jumped on the first loop of the O. At first I felt pretty tired and winded, but as we continued, things came together and I was pushing a fairly good pace....well at least for this trail.

The end came suddenly as I was enjoying the run so much that I lost track of where I was (which is quite easy on this trail). I finished the 2.4 mile in 33:33 so not too bad. I waited a few seconds for Mike and we headed back to the beginning to run the second loop. I wanted to run each loop in the same direction as the race to try and get more familiar with the trail.

On the second loop Mike decided to speed it up and run as fast as he could, but I decided to stay with my plan and start out much slower. In a flash he was gone and I enjoyed the mosey pace for a short while until I realized I was consistently picking up the pace.

Mike finished first at about 28:42, which was a pretty darn good pace and I surprised myself with a 32:26 finish......faster than the first lap, even though I started much slower. This means I ran the last half at a pretty good clip.

Even though the speed of the last half of my second loop felt really good, I still wanted to train closer to my expected pace for the race, so again I decided to start out slow. Mike was on board with that because he was feeling a bit spent from his speed loop.

As we started out slow, we discussed ways to pass on this trail and started practicing methods of passing without using a lot of extra energy. I passed him two or three times and each time he managed to pass me back quickly. Well the fourth time I decide to pass and then add a little sprint to create a separation and make him work much harder to catch me and pass again.

I passed him then hit my sprint. I separated pretty good then used the next corner to turn it on again and see if I could lose him. Right after the corner came a bit of a down hill so I felt compelled to continue with the quicker stride.

My full intent was to slow back down and let him catch up, but I was settling in real good and the longer strides felt comfortable and easy. By the time I hit the end of the O, I was sprinting pretty good and I pulled off a 29:28, which may not sound that fast but given the fact that the first third of the 2.4 miles I was running extremely slow, the last bit was pretty darn fast.

I didn't plan it this way but each loop ended up being faster than the last one and I actually felt stronger each loop. I could have easily done a fourth cool down loop but it was getting quite late and we had to get going.

On our way out, we ran into Ian and Emma,they were with Jim and planning on running the new connector to Pineland. Suddenly Blaine showed up with blood streaks down his face and his head all bandaged up. He fell and hit a stump pretty darn hard and was talking about finding a hospital to get it checked out. It proves that even the best can get hurt on these technical trails and a certain amount of respect is warranted.


1st loop 2.4 miles@33:33 141-156 heart rate

2nd loop 2.4 miles @32:26 139-160 heart rate

3rd loop 2.4 miles @29:28 150-161 heart rate

In the end, the best part was driving the old jeep CJ7 home as we were pretty hot and sweaty and the fresh cool air felt great!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Broken Plans...Confusing Results

One would think, upon reading my title, that I had an undesirable experience with my training. Of course that is exactly what we humans normally write about, it is in our nature to complain and I know I have done my fair share.

I plan a run, it doesn't go as planned, I complain and ramble on for ever it seems and then I find a way to rationalize my experience into some type of good training thing. Perhaps everyone does that, but they leave out the complaining part so it sounds more positive than whining.

My plan was to do an easy run on Bradbury East side trails last night.......well let me backtrack a bit, Saturday I ran the Beach to Beacon 10k, then Sunday I raced the Bradbury Mountain Breaker 9 miler.

Now I do not normally run back to back races and even though I didn't all out race the Beacon, I did run the race when I should have been resting for my mountain race. All in all I had a plan for the Breaker and I followed it quite well.

In the end I had a respectable time that gave me PR of about three minutes and though I felt sluggish during most of it, I think I accomplished a pretty good race. I suspect this whole piece is getting a bit boring as I already wrote about my race.....but the background is important as it leads up to my latest run.

Sunday afternoon I was dead tired and decided to take at least one maybe two days off before I ran again. For sure my Achilles needed to calm down after the hills of the 9 miler.

I spent Monday and Tuesday just swimming laps and water running. It actually felt good and it didn't allow my muscles to get too stiff. At the same time my brain wasn't thinking that I was lazing it.

I knew Wednesdays run would feel sluggish and decided to just hit Bradbury and do an easy three or fours miles on the Bruiser course just to work the body back into running trails. It was quite hot out when I left work and I almost canned the whole idea of running and hit the pool again instead.

For some reason I did end up at Bradbury but assured myself I would take it real easy and felt my body would demand it anyway, so I actually had no say in the matter.
When I first started running down the link trail, I felt tired and sluggish and my legs were not too solid......every thing I expected.

Once I turned onto the single track of the Lanzo trail, I just kept running faster and faster. Suddenly I was breathing near the top of my capability, hitting extremely high heart rate numbers that averaging up to 154(89%HR) with peaks at 162(93%hr) for the first three miles...... surprising because these are my normal racing numbers.

Funny thing is, I didn't feel like I was racing, I felt more like I was running comfortably hard and it actually felt extremely fast and doable. Usually when racing hard I feel like I can't go on and have to convince myself not to quit.

I stopped at the 5k mark just to double check my watch and my monitor to be sure I was reading it right. After 20 or 30 seconds I continued at what was going to be a cooldown pace, but before long I was running fast again...OK..well fast for me anyway.

I ran the next two miles faster than the first three and topped it off with a great kick. Though my average heart rate was a bit lower because of the slower start, my kick peaked my hear rate up to 173.......I haven't reach the 170s since last year.

What the hell happened? I somehow flicked some hidden switch and now I want to know how to do it slight disbelief, I rechecked my stats on both the Garmen and the Nano to be sure there was not something wrong and I found everything to be normal.

I wish I could put this run in the bank and make a withdrawal for my next race. It sure is funny how perceived effort and condition is totally relative to factors that seem way beyond our comprehension and control.

5.2 miles @49:07(running time)9:30 pace


8:24...173 (for .2 miles)

Monday, August 9, 2010

BtoB and Bradbury B

It may not be a fair statement to say I raced the quad B this weekend as I really didn't race the B to B as much as I paced a very important beginner. It does however qualify as a strain on my racing freshness for the Breaker, so I have a semi excuse for not doing as well as I would on rested legs.

That being said, I had a fantastic time running the Beacon as a run instead of a race. I actually was hardly sweating at the end. My wife raced it for the second time and it was her second race ever.

I went in with a plan to use my expertise to help here push her limits at just the right times to hopefully gain her a PR. It worked! She PRed by four minutes so I guess I proved I do know something about race stradegy and pacing.

The Breaker race was perfect from a participents point of view as Ian and Ryan did another outstanding job. It really made me proud to wear my trail Monsters shirt for all those out of staters to see.

As far as my race goes, I am very satisfied with my effort, my race plan and my results. Reguardless of of my freshness, I ran smart, stayed with my plan and actually PRed by 3 minutes. Not only a PR but I felt so much better this year.

The other exciting thing is that there were a bunch of places, I could have tweeked the pace a little and even done better. This was not the time or place though to push the envelope.....I am saving that for the Bruiser. This race was all about sticking to the plan and proving to myself I have some of the answers.

The only draw back to the day was that my son, who was heavy into training for this race and others, ran into a tough knee injury and had to pull from the race after a disapointing warm up run. I know it was a tough decision for him as we headed for the start line, but overall health and having a great fall of races was much more important.

One last thing........don't you just love that 3/4 mile downhill finish!!! This has got to be the most fun finish of any of my races.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Breaker course complete


Went to Bradbury with the intent to run the whole breaker course as a training exercise for next weeks race. The plan was to take it easy the first loop and then try to finish strong. I decided to speed walk instead of trying to run the two times up the Summit trail to help keep my energy level up.

The run felt great.....even though I was passed by a couple much faster runners (Alan and Andy) By the time I finished, they were all cooled down and relaxed at one of the picnic tables.

The first loop was quite comfortable except for the switchback coming down the mountain,I just couldn't seem to get into any type of rhythm on the downhill.
I finished the first loop in 1:01:36, I figured I would have to really speed up to beat 2 hours at this point.

The second loop started out good but I found myself a bit tired in mile two and really winded on the summit trail. As I was climbing the Summit trail, Alan passed me like a mountain goat heading for supper, I felt I should have been able to run at this point, walking was all I had though.

Once I crested and crossed the rock ledge, I suddenly felt pretty good. This is when I realized that I was looking at this course all wrong. It seems we all talk about the tough uphill climbs yet each one give us a huge reward after climbing.......a reward of a nice downhill. Something I sure could have used at Mt Washington.

My last two miles went well and I felt quite strong. This was good considering it was miles 8 and 9 of a pretty tough course. The second loop I ran @55:53 which was considerably faster than the first loop. I was pretty happy with the whole run.

total run 9.2 miles @1:57:29
Heart rate av..130, max..154

14:45....134-152(summit trail)
10:20....131-142(first half 1:01:36)
15:45....137-149(summit trail)
9:27....147-154 (second half 55:53)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tired as Hell....

I ran one loop of the Breaker course again last night and though my time was not that much faster than last Saturday, I felt a lot better and ran most of the time other than the last bit of the summit trail and a few spots on other hills.

I have been drinking a protein mix of some type of Whey product to help keep my energy level in the muscles stay up to par. I was told this would make a huge difference in how I feel running and recovering. Not sure it is helping but I guess I can be hopeful...right?

Anyway, today I am tired as hell and I don't know if the frequency of the hilly mountain course is catching up to me, the daily swim workout or if the fact that I don't do very well getting the required sleep is more the culprit.

I am thinking I should get a different job that allows me to run mountains at night and then catch up on my sleep during work. The problem is finding a job that somehow incorporates sleeping. I am seriously looking....any leads?


Bradbury 1/2 breaker 5 miles @58:35 (11:43 p)


Monday, July 26, 2010

Where Did That come From?

Friday afternoon I had to go down to my son's in Boston to pick up some furniture and give him a ride to Maine. We decided to run the Winchester trails after loading up and heading home.

We actually got there quite late and it was raining pretty good. Of course the rain was actually welcome as we both prefer it to humidity. The 6.6 mile loop that we chose is fairly difficult, a little rockier than Bradbury east side, the hills a bit tougher but still very similar.

I am still not sure what happened, but I had a great run! I actually ran a faster pace than the Scuffle race a couple weeks ago and I was getting stronger as the run went on. I felt like I was on top of my game and even though I was running pretty much race pace, it didn't bother me that much.

You see part of the reason I ran so well is that I enjoy running with my son Kev and he seems to pull the best of of me, we had points during the run that I was more sprinting with long strides than running and it really felt great..............having said that lets move on to the Saturday run.

Perhaps it was the difficult climb of the Summit trail but I suspect it was just muscle fatigue. We went to Bradbury to show Kev the Breaker course (we ran the second loop because I love the Terrace trail down hill finish) The first mile was no problem partly because we started off quite easy.

Mile two was a total different legs turned to jello and they just plain died. I mean they could not perform for me and even though my heart rate was normal, I couldn't seem to get in enough oxygen.

I was ok after the inclines and it seemed I could run fairly normal though slow. I sent kev ahead so he could experience running up these steep inclines and then I would catch up to him at the top. This is the first time that I ended up walking the whole summit trail to the top and actually my body was complaining even while walking.

I also found that I apparently was not lifting my feet high enough and tripped quite a few times. One time it caught me by surprise and I went down hard! Yeah I drew some blood by luckily no serious injuries other than a pretty sore toe.

I suspect I was just plain too fatigued from Fridays fantastic run to handle the hills of Bradbury mountain. Kev on the other hand ran it with ease and didn't seem to upset that I slowed him down so much.

Friday Winchester 6.6 miles @1:03:31 (9:38 pace)
7:36 (this was a fun and fast mile)
7:28 (kick @6:58)

Saturday Bradbury (breaker 2nd loop)
4.8 miles@ 56:55 (11:52 pace)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Summer, I'm Not Complaining!

Some people are complaining.......I am determined not to, though it was hard during my run Sunday to disregard the heat.

I began to understand how a piece of bacon feels when thrown in the frying pan. That sizzling noise seemed pretty loud as I attempted to run my planned 8 miler. I found myself thinking, "isn't it time to flip me over?"

In my mind, as I got dressed to begin my run, I could see visions of a grand long run (combo road/trail/hill) and hitting my planned paces.....even perhaps surprising myself with some fast splits. I felt pretty rested and strong......for about 5 minutes!

Once the heat slapped me across the face I suddenly realized that this could be a long difficult run and it was. I was again disappointed and I realize I have to learn to accept each workout or training run for what it is.

I didn't hit my planned splits and I struggled to maintain the slow speed I was running. About three miles into my run, I was crying and complaining to myself and desperately trying to figure out what was wrong with me.

The heat was stifling my breath and the horse flies apparently called all their relatives and neighbors and invited them to run with me. I swear there were 50 buzzing around my head and the trick I used at Bradbury didn't work today.....they were not fooled at all.

I did out run them once for about 200 feet but I got so winded that I had to slow down........I was sucking wind so hard that I pulled one right into my mouth and before I could spit it back out, I swallowed it.

I was glad to think that there was one less to bother me but at the same time I started thinking about where that fly had been before it started bothering me. Had to push that thought out of my head quickly!

If I disregard the split times and concentrate on the heart rate and effort, I guess I can see the value of my run. I put in the effort of a faster workout but did not receive the results because of the weather. I have to keep reminding myself that the perceived effort is more of a factor than mile pace.

8.1 miles @ 1:20:13 (9:55 pace)

(garmen) Nano
(9:41)===9:50....144-157 (pit loop hill)
(11:13)==10:03...142-153 (oakhill)
(12:48)==10:45...140-153 (town forest trail hill)
(8:52)===9:59....154-158 (sweetser hills)
(7:32)===8:49....147-162 (.1 kick)

The garmen and nano was very close in mileage today but the splits don't make sense.
Finished with a great workout in the pool, did laps and pool running...sure felt good after this run.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Like The "Feeling Good" Feeling

Wednesday night I decided to run Bradbury to spend some time on the breaker course. After my disappointment at the scuffle (too much walking and gasping for oxygen) I needed a workout to give give me that "feeling good" feeling.

My intent was to run about 4 miles up and down the mountain with no walking at all. Pace and heart rate had no relevance as my only goal was to run continuously.

I started by running up the South trail and though I expected to feel horrible, I actually felt pretty darn strong and found myself attacking the climb. I felt for sure this would be short lived because the memory of the Scuffle was still burning bright in my mind.

Unlike the race, I found myself looking for more hill, when presented with a choice of direction where I could easily pick a downhill trail, I found myself looking for the climb instead.

In the end, I ran 4 miles and enjoyed every step of it. Crazy huh? I had fun and I felt great. I ended the run with the Terrace trail downhill finish and reached a pretty speedy (for me) pace of 7:30.

The best part was I only stopped because I had to get going, not because I was spent and wanted to give up. I felt like I was working comfortably hard and I could have easily run a couple more miles.

It wasn't an overly fast run but it was fun and I kept the legs moving which is a huge improvement over my last race.

4.1 miles @49:27....12:04 pace

14:24....134-152 (southern trail uphill)
11:04....134-153 (boundary trail down)
12:09....146-157 (boundary up)
7:28....148-156 (terrace trail to finish)
6:52....160 .1 kick

Monday, July 12, 2010

Scuffle-N- Me

The Bradbury Scuffle course and I met face to face yesterday. We squared off like two fighters in a prize fight. Problem is I got the crap kicked out of me. I was not ready for the challenge and actually I knew it but thought my determination would carry me through.

Contrary to my normal start, which is usually conservative, my intent was to push hard on the first mile and see how long I could maintain the pace. I decided to make myself work and see if I could dig deep enough to pull off a decent time.

As it turned out, I had a pretty good 5K race in me. I threw my estimated 9:30 pace out the window and banged out an 8:25 first mile. Even though miles two and three were said to be the toughest on the course (other than the last 1/2 mile hill), I did pretty darn good on two with a 8:52.

Mile three is when I started feeling the accumulative effect of the humidity, the difficulty of the terrain and of course my lack of training. The first big punch came from the hill in mile three.....even though I told myself before the race I would not walk at all, I just plain ran out of oxygen and reluctantly had to slow to a walk on that hill.

A lot of runners passed me at this point and that was the two part of the one two punch. Hey, it was only a 6 mile race and I was falling apart at 3 miles? I started questioning my motives for starting out fast. Not only that, but my heart rate monitor was not working and other than feeling like I was at the end of my zone, I had no idea where I was at.

I honestly thought about stopping but reminded myself that I planned this and should expect a physical breakdown of sorts. Not only that but as a rule of thumb, one never makes a quiting decision while going uphill. It is funny how fast we tend to cave when adversity hits us.

I felt a bit better after cresting and ran pretty good until the hill at 3.5 miles. This one wasn't quite as bad on me psychologically because I knew the water stop was at the top and I would have the chance to dump some on my head to cool down.

The rest of mile four and most of five felt pretty good, even though I was running slower, at least I was moving forward. Of course a big part of this was downhill snowmobile trail and that helped a lot.

Mile six totally sucked, I had no fight left in me and the course was slamming me at will. I had to force my legs to keep running and was discouraged when I realized how slow my time would be. To help, I kept my focus on the guy in front of me and tried to reel him in enough to allow a finishing kick strong enough to pass him.

At about 1/4 mile to the finish, I started my kick and it actually felt great. I am not sure where the energy or speed came from but it was surely the best part of the race for me. I thought I passed the guy but we ended up stepping across the line at exactly the same time (according to the timers).

In the fight game, they say you sometimes learn more when losing a fight than winning and I believe that happened here. Yeah, I got the crap kicked out of me, but I planned it that way and I can honestly say I learned some valuable things.

Now that the whining and complaining is over, I again have to commend Ian and crew for a fantastic race. They did an excellent job (as usual) to bring us a well organized race and I especially liked the flags lined in such a way as to convince all runners to trudge strait through the puddles. I actually thought about dunking my head into the big one but worried about getting run over.

My son, running his first Scuffle, had little trouble showing the course who was boss and pulled off a fantastic time. I wish I could say he learned it from me, but he didn't. The fact that we have the same name probably confused a few and created some ohhs and ahhs when they thought I ran so well. I can only dream of a time that fast.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Think My Dad Ran Mt Washington.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. What better way to create a memorial than to run up a mountain at 54 years old, the same age as my father was when he died. Besides that, it was the same month and on Father’s day weekend.

My father worked hard all his life in construction. Most families back then felt it was important to eat large calorie meals to fuel the body. This usually meant Red meat, potatoes and lots of fried foods. As a result, the men in my family supported fairly large bellies, we called them construction guts and my Grandmother seemed quite proud of the fact that she fed them well.

In later years, my father tried to control his weight issues but ended up with a consistent yo-yo pattern of losing and gaining weight. Due to his life style and diet, it seems he aged quickly as I remember him looking and acting old. To me he appeared feeble and weak the last few years of his life. Up until the end we never hugged and never said I love you. I am not sure why because we were a close family.

I was 35 when he died and by the time I was 40, I was working toward a decent construction gut of my own. I hated to admit it, but I was following his footsteps, though I claimed I never would. How is it we lose track of our promises and blindly slide to a place we swore we would never be?

In January 2001 on my 46th birthday, I stood in front of the mirror and saw my father’s image staring back at me. I was showing signs of the family trait …… round belly and bellowing love handles. A lone tear trickled down my cheek as a vision of my kids burying their dad at 54 years old, flashed into my mind. It brought to the surface, over ten years of unresolved pent up emotions. I’m not telling you I cried that day, but I’m also not telling you I didn’t.

That was the year I started running. Though it was not the only reason, my health was a factor in that decision. All my kids ran Track and Cross Country , so what better way to spend time with them and work on my health at the same time.

Eight years later and here I am planning on toeing the line to run 7.6 miles up a 6000foot mountain for no other reason than to create a memorial to my dad and prove to myself that I am willing to do what ever it takes to be around for my own kids.

My first stumbling block was not getting picked in the lottery for 2010. I spent all winter dreaming and planning for this event and it appeared that it wasn’t happening after all. It left a big hole of disappointment but I figured some things are just not meant to be.

I belong to a track club and a few weeks later they advertised their own lottery for ten available racing slots. I entered and became one of the lucky ones (or unlucky depending on how you look at it). I had a slot and the only requirement was to provide a volunteer for race day.

Ironically, my volunteer was my own son. In essence my son was allowing my Father’s son the opportunity to run Mt Washington as a memorial to his father. How cool is that?

I trained hard for the next couple of months and the time just dragged by. I told everyone that I was going to finish this race whether I run, walk or crawl to the finish. What I didn’t tell them is how confident I was.

I trained on the highest setting of my treadmill, I ran mile long hills, I did numerous quarter mile hill repeats, I was not only ready in my own mind but I was going to conquer this mountain with vengeance. I had never felt so ready for a race…….well until a week before, then I was a bit apprehensive and some glad I didn’t tell everyone I was going to kill this race. At this point I was admitting to myself that I might have to slow my pace a bit to accommodate the steady climb.

Finally race day appeared and I was standing near the rear of a large anxious group of runners waiting for that cannon to fire. I was surprisingly calm as visions of me leisurely running up the mountain flickered into my head. Even the 90 degree temp, the beating rays of sunshine and the beads of sweat already forming on my forehead, did not cause me to second think about my intended performance.

I didn’t really have much of a plan other than being realistic enough to understand I may have to slow to a walk for some of the steeper sections. I had hill trained at 10-13 minute mile pace and figured I would be a little bit slower here because of the length of the race. My goal was, 13:30 mile pace as an average which seemed easily obtainable to me.

As the group of runners finally started pushing forward from the starting line, I enjoyed the two hundred feet or so of downhill grade and smiled as I passed many runners. I felt good and it seemed I would surprise myself at the finish.

The first hint that this majestic mountain was in charge came after the easy 200 foot down hill start at only three quarters of a mile into the race. My heart rate was spiking and I was struggling to suck in enough oxygen at the pace I was running. I began to feel like I underestimated things a bit as myself and hundreds of other runners were forced to slow to a power walk instead of a run before the end of the very first mile.

As I shuffle ran the second mile my focus had quickly changed from the conqueror to more a survival mode. Instead of picking the steepest parts of the grade to walk, I was picking the points of lesser grade to run.

The intimidation of this relentless hill really hit home when I passed an elite runner at mile three and he was running back down the mountain. It is very rare to see an elite runner quit and though I felt bad for him, it still quieted a bit of the humbling feeling I was experiencing.

A runner friend of mine, who has experience on this mountain, recommended I converse with my dad when the going got tough and I needed help to continue. It is embarrassing to admit that in the first three miles, I had already begun asking dad for help at certain points and honestly it worked.

By mile four I gave up on trying to calculate my estimated finishing time. I was so discouraged by my apparent sub par performance. Every time I tried to step up the pace, my heart rate would climb and I would be reduced to gasping for oxygen like a fish removed from water. The mental aspect of the race was getting to me.

The crest of the hill I was chasing was like a carrot at the end of a stick connected to my body. The crest never arrives just a relentless hill looms on for ever. The only reprieve at this point was that no one was passing me.

Mile five brought a new problem to the surface. I was dumping water on my head at every stop, drinking as much as I could, taking salt tablets, yet I stopped sweating and my hands were shaking as I tried to fill my water bottle or get a salt tablet out of the case. There were also moments of slight dizziness. This could be signs of dehydration or overheating.

I started concentrating on talking to dad and enjoying the majestic views all around me. The vision of the mind does no justice to the beauty of the mountain and being there in person to experience the awesome sights. I even saw a plane that was flying below me in the valley.

Mile six was nonexistent as I think I skipped it mentally and my memory is just bits and pieces of leapfrogging other runners and enjoying the views. All I know, is I kept moving forward and suddenly was almost to mile seven when I saw a runner that had collapsed off to the side of the cliff with a medic trying to keep him from falling over the edge.

By this point I had seen many runners resting, giving up, vomiting on the side of the road, so this scene didn’t seem that unusual. I planned on helping when I reached him but by the time I got there, the guy was up on his feet and though staggering a bit, he was determined to continue and finish the race. The medic said no problem, I will walk with you. I hope he finished.

It was exciting to see the mile seven marker because it meant only six tenths of a mile to go. There were many times in my thoughts and dreams that I reached the mile seven marker and every time I visioned a huge increase in running speed climaxing to a grand sprint at the end.

Unfortunately this was not a dream and my energy level was on the red line below empty. Seven miles of unrelenting grade had taken its toll and there was no giddy-up in my step. I rationalized by thinking dad had no energy left either and I didn’t want to leave him behind.

As I worked my way up the last but also the steepest part of road, I could see the finish line and even though my brain was sprinting, my arms were pumping and my legs were trying to move fast, I actually was only power walking. That is when I realized people were yelling my name and encouraging me to fly to the finish. I crested the huge incline (the final crest!) dug down deep and found a sprint within me somewhere. I was moving pretty fast as I crossed that line and it felt so good to be able to open up the stride.

I stopped running and I could feel the tears start swelling up inside me. Finally my mind could let go of the quest to finish and my emotions peaked. I whispered “thank-you dad” then hobbled off to the side to hide my tears and convince my legs to start working again.

I felt so close to my father during this race, perhaps it was the de-hydration, the lack of oxygen or the mental fatigue but I am pretty sure he ran every step right beside me.

Running Mount Washington was the most physically and mentally draining experience I‘ve had. It was intimidating and totally humbling, but at the same time, it was one of the most rewarding, breathtaking, beautiful experience of my life………………….. Thanks Dad.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Boy Am I Glad I Have A Pool!!

I can remember saying to myself when I took this picture that some hot day this summer I would mentally bring it back and bask in the coolness of that day......well I tried it this weekend and honestly, I couldn't feel the cold temps at all. Luckily I jumped in the pool and that helped quite a bit

I had some serious trouble rolling out of bed this morning which caused me to think that I guess I sucked about as much fun as I could out of the holiday weekend. At work right now I am tired, lame and wishing I had at least one more day, though I might waste it resting anyway.

A recap of my week of training leading up to the 4th of July shows how inapt I am at actually training for a race. Lucky for me, I am pretty good at rationalizing and lowering my expectations to meet my performance.

My plan verses my result:

Plan..Sunday; run LLbean course as a tempo/ race pace finish with hopefully a time of under 50 minutes.
OK, did that but at a finish of 56 minutes, I was a little disappointed overall but happy with the last 1.2 miles@8 min and 6 minute pace for a kick.

Plan..Monday; rest from Saturday and Sunday ....I was able to follow this days plan easily.

Plan.. Tuesday; track workout or interval ..speed--speed--speed run today

Plan.. Wednesday; Interval,make up for not running Tuesday.
Actual.. no run today

Plan..Thursday; too close to the race to do speed work so instead easy/tempo of 5 miles or so run today

Plan..Friday; try to squeeze in a short easy run today as I don't want to run Saturday and have tired muscles on Sunday. run today

Plan..Saturday; No run today or possibly an easy 2 or 3 miles at a very slow pace
(145 heart rate or less).
Actual..3.75 mile trail run ...felt good and pushed the pace (150-163 Heart rate..opps!)

Plan..Sunday; race L L Bean 10K
actual...ran the race and finished, though a bit slower than I wanted but also didn't feel affected by Saturdays run at all. All my kids (except one) and their girlfriends/boyfriends ran/walked the race then a fun party at home.

Suday night drove the CJ7 to portland and watched the fire works without having to leave our seats (flip down windshield and no top is a huge advantage)


Saturday...3.75 miles @34:47 (trail)

Sunday...6.2 miles @ 53:53 (8:40 pace)Also my slowest road 10K ever.

8:51...152-160 (good sized hill)
9:15...157-164 (long hill)
8:17...163-167 (pushed the pace for strong finish)
7:16...166-171 (last .2 miles good kick and passed dozens of runners)

Monday...hiked up to Mt Apatite to smash rocks and look for Tourmaline, didn't find much but it was fun but also extremely hot & very tiring.

Our family spread through out the race:
Kev R jr...........94th....43:08
Matt R ............249th...48:14
Mike (son in law)..428th...52:40
Kev R Sr (me)......481st...53:53
Amanda(kevs girl)...692nd...58:37
Sheila R (the wife and mother).....1127th...1:39:24
Amanda R (and baby..due in Sept)...1128th...1:39:25

Plan for next week and the Bradbury Scuffle......lower my expectaions even more and just enjoy the race.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Reality and a Ton Of Bricks.

Slow Poke Rodrigez

Fat and Lazy

This weekend, my slow training of the last few months hit me like a ton of bricks! Mt Washington post partum became a reality as I found out that training slow for racing slow equals......well really slow running even though the perception of effort feels normal.

As I ran a very slow race pace on L L Beans 10K course Sunday, I found that I felt just as bad as I would running my normal speed yet I was only accomplishing my average long slow training speed of years past.

This causes me to second guess my decisions of the last couple months. I thought concentrating on slow running would strengthen the muscles used for that and allow me to perform better. I didn't think it would undermine and discount my years of training for faster races. Honestly I thought the strong base would ultimately help me run faster and stronger.

I thought speed training and track workouts would be counteractive to the type of condition I needed for Mt Washington, so instead I ran mostly trails, hills and didn't worry as much about speed as I did distance and slow twitch muscles.

I also worked pretty heavy on core strength and upper body weight training. I could tell the core training helped me at Pineland and on Mt Washington, but the weight training seemed to be counteractive as I gained muscle at the same time which kept my overall weight higher.

I wish I could justify my remarks by saying I trimmed body fat at the same time I gained muscle but it simply is not true. As I remember back, I rationalized my slow training by thinking less about my diet as I thought I needed to feed the muscles for the weight training to be effective.....Ok that might be a cop-out, I just ate and drank more than I should have

This entry is not a complaint so much as it is a revelation. How many of you suddenly woke up from a certain regiment to realize your thinking was all twisted, yet at the time it felt on track.

For some reason, I thought stronger core muscles, toner upper body muscles, design slower running, would all relate to stronger and faster race times at Pineland and Mt Washington and then spill over to shorter distances.

Not to discount my performance at Mt Washington as my base plan was to finish for some very personal reasons and I did that, but I really thought at the same time I would impress myself with a superior result.

I always equated hill training to speed workouts, so I thought all those hill runs would suddenly give me faster leg turnover and great speed. The effort seemed the same in my mind, but my performance Sunday proved otherwise, instead I ran like I was carrying a ton of bricks.

I guess what this boils down to is.....quoting both Jeff and Blaine, "you run what you train."


8 mile run consisting of 5 race pace miles and 3 tempo miles.
5@44:09 (8:49 pace) Should have been more like 7:49 pace
3@28:18 (9:26 pace)
total run 8 miles @1:14:22 (9:17pace)
1/2 mile cooldown and 15 min swim


6.2 mile (LL Bean course) first 4 easy, last 2.2 race pace.
56:20 (9:05 pace)
6:03....166-167 (last .2 miles)

.5 cooldown@9:56 pace then 20 minute swim.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Ryan was talking about an epiphany the other day and at the time I didn't really relate to it. Now, I think I understand.

EPIPHANY; an intuitive grasp of reality through a simple event.

I had an epiphany while running up Mount Washington.

Life can be painful
But pain makes man think
Thought makes man wise
Wisdom makes life endurable.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Morning After

I expected the morning after Mt Washington to be a slow and pain full experience because of the way I felt during and immediately after the race. A real surprise to wake up at 7am, go for a refreshing swim and actual feel really good.....

I am planning on posting a race report but today is not the day for that as the family is showing up for what I suspect will be a great Father's day.

A couple quick notes though,
Thanks to my son and his girlfriend...him volunteering (missing the race completely)and her driving our car up the mountain.

A special thanks to the Trail Monsters. I will tell you right now, if you want the best support ever during a race, befriend the Trail Monsters. As I was falling up the wall (the last intimidating 22-30% GRADE just before the finish), the cheers for me must have caused most spectators to think there was some celebrity coming up to the finish.

Seriously all I could hear for the last tenth of a mile was the screams of my wife, my son's girlfriend and the group of Trail Monsters. They didn't stop yelling until I finished my kick and collapsed. One would think I was winning the thing.

The best advice I received before the race came from Mindy (also a trail monster) I listened to her, implemented her thoughts and it worked well for me. OK.....well honestly, I didn't start using her advice until I was completely humbled and intimidated after about 1/2 mile to the one mile mark (the first 1/3 mile which was the only downhill of the race was fantastic and I felt great!)

Anyway I made to the top finished with a pretty darn good kick (at least that was what the announcer said) I learned a lot running.....ok well shuffle stepping this race. I think though I didn't quite run the time I had hoped for, I have the knowledge to run it better next time.

Oh.....and congrats to Jeff for killing this course!!!!

The Mount Washjington race is as fantastic and exciting as it is humbling and discouraging. I can see why they say it is one of the toughest yet rewarding races a person can run.

Full report to come later...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's Time To Relax

Well, two days until the Mt Washington race. There is nothing I can do to prepare anymore, what ever my training has given me will be reflected by my performance on Saturday. My plans to hike back down after the race have evaporated and honestly I suspect they were a bit ambitious anyway.

I have decided to hike another day when I can concentrate on enjoying the hike rather than wishing for the bottom to appear. The plus now is that I can concentrate on just reaching the top as fast as I can convince my body to climb ......then I will allow myself to collapse for as long as it takes to overcome my foolishness.

I told myself I would take it easy and thanks to my wife, I have done well so far. The urge to get out there and run is so great that I can't hold back. To curb the desire, I ran the last two nights with my wife then finished off with an easy swim/ cool down.

It worked out perfectly, she started her training for BtoB Tuesday night which offered me an enjoyable pace that would not overwork me during this taper period. Without her holding me back I surely would have pushed much harder than I should.

We did the same Wednesday night and I feel great. Now I will just relax until Saturday morning and the start of the race. To help me forget about running, we are going to the Jimmy Buffet concert tonight in Mass, we will stay overnight and sleep in Friday morning, spend a relaxing day visiting relatives then drive back to Maine for a good nights sleep Friday.

My battle plan is to treat this race like an ultra, I will start slower than I feel I should and try to get a few miles behind me before I begin feeling the fatiguing effect of the constant hill. I am thinking 130-140 Heart rate for the first three miles, 140-150 for the next three then what ever I can conjure up for the last 1.6
This should put me at a finish time of slightly under two hours.

My other plan is to run like crazy for the first three to put some time in the bank and look amazingly fast for the spectators, take a short nap at the water stop and then crawl up the remainder of the course, finishing after the three hour cut off and wishing I had executed a different plan.

I know they have a lot of different bumper stickers out there.....I wonder If I can find one that says, I almost ran to the top of Mt Washington, you know, just in case.