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.