Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Ran Totally Naked Last Night

Of course I wasn't actually naked, but I posted the picture just to verify that vision in your head as you read the title. There are many people who do run with no clothes, I for one would no more want to subject spectators to my nakedness any more than I would want to sing in front of them. There are just some things a person shouldn't do.

What I am referring to is running with no data heart rate monitor, no nano, no Garmen, no electrical mechanism of any kind, just me running with nature at whatever pace felt right at the time.

I ran the last 5.5 miles of the Pineland 25k Trail Challenge course and it was amazing. No where near as hot as I thought it would be as there is plenty of shade on this part of the course.

It felt so good to not think about pace and time and training......I figured this was a perfect time to run free because any running information now, just three days before the 25k trail race is pretty much mute. There is nothing I can do to change my readiness other than over train or injure myself.

Actually this year it doesn't matter as much because I am not racing it so much as running it. I am using this race as continued training for Mount Washington and at the same time running with a friend who is new to trail racing.

I also found out recently that my son is coming up from Boston to run with me. He figured it would make a good long training run for him plus he gets a shirt and the prize of a finish line beer. Honestly I think he just wants the beer.

The first time I ran the 25K here, I totally blew it as I had a great 10 mile race in me ......which was amazing and I felt so good at ten miles when I ran through the commons. After crossing the road, something switched in me and my life became totally miserable for the next 5.5 miles.

My quads gave out, cramped up and almost stopped me from finishing at all and when I did finally cross that finish line, I couldn't force a beer or any food down. It was a great experience though and was a good part of the reason I trained and ran the 50k the following year.....just to prove I could train properly and this time the beer went down smooth, so I know I did things right.

I have two goals this year, help my friend experience the greatness of running the Pineland Challenge and if it works out, beating my previous time. The first of course is most important.

approximately 5.5 miles
about 1 hour or so
The heart was beating,
The sun was shining,
the woods smelled fresh and I felt great.
Then I went home and walked a two mile cooldown with the wife.
Isn't life grand?

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Need A Weekend Off From My Weekend

Kev Crossing Home Plate At Fenway

Wow, a very busy weekend that left me wishing for a rest instead of returning to work. Funny how that happens .....actually more often than not these days. I am of the opinion that a three day weekend would be much more congruent with my current schedule. If that proposal was on a ballot somewhere, I bet voter turn out would be close to 100%

It was an early start Saturday morning because I wanted to get in a long trail run before my normal duties of which I was cramming two days into one in preparation for being down to Mass to cheer on my son in the 9k to Home Plate Race.

Originally I planned an easy run on the full 25K course at Pineland with a friend that would be doing it for the first time next weekend. He had to work so I decided to do a time trial run at close to race pace to see where my fitness level was and to see how my legs responded to powering the hills at the faster pace.

The toughest part was the fields because some areas were freshly mowed and the cut grass got caught on my shoes as I ran, then there were spots that had not been mowed yet and consisted of knee high grass laden with morning dew....I am not sure which was worse. It sure felt good to get back on the grass less trail again.

I felt good the whole way and only skipped the last field which is about 1 mile. Honestly, I had enough field running for this day and I was feeling pretty tired. I am pretty sure I didn't miss any of the course so without counting the last field, I think I ran close to 14.5 miles. I called it 14 miles just to be sure as the Nano measured 15.19 and the Garmen measured 12.27. Neither is very accurate in the trails so I average the two and feel comfortable the result is fairly close.

Overall, A very rewarding run and I was happy with the end result. I hugged the 10:30 pace which was a bit faster than I thought as I was monitoring heart rate rther than pace at the time. I feel I am in fairly good running shape this year and plan on adding some speed workouts after this weekend.

Went to Boston to cheer on my son in the 9k To Home Plate race to benefit our wounded veterans. It was great event as they raised over 2 million dollars to help our solders upon their return from over seas.

It was pretty cool, after they crossed the finish line (on the warning track inside the stadium) they stepped on home plate and had their picture taken shaking hands with one of our Generals.

We got a seat right behind home plate about 5 rows back I wish I could get those seats during a redsox game! They did have a whole slug of logistical problems with the way they set up the race (especially the finish) and hopefully if they do it again next year they will change a few things.

Even though we had the fantastic seats, I didn't get very good pictures because a bunch of people (some helping but others were allowed on the field for unknown reasons to me)stood between us and the runners. This was poor planning because they advertised fairly heavy that the runners chosen 5 could get great photo opportunities.

I'm not complaining of course because the whole thing was for our veterans not the spectators or the runners. I guess I am just a bit spoiled from our local race directors and how organized they are.

In the end, they raised 2.4 million dollars and about 2000 runners made it across home plate. My son ran a great race coming in 93 out 2000 at a pace of 7:06, not bad considering he has only been training for a month or so.

It was quite exciting to watch all these people run through Fenway and do something special while raising money for an important cause. I felt a bit left out wishing I was one of those runners. Perhaps if they do it again next year, I will get a chance to run onto the field at Fenway and put my foot on home plate.

On a side note, I am still toying with the thought of running a 50 miler. Saturday Emma offered me a great training plan and perhaps that is just the incentive I need to schedule for this fall.....we will see.

14 miles @2:26:33 (10:39PACE)

splits and heart rate:


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Am Getting Closer To Doing The Right Thing.

Deep inside, I want to run extremely fast, leave a rooster tail burn on the trail behind me, blaze up a hill like my turbo is in overdrive, but realistically, I have learned to accept that I am not that person.......I am the other guy.

I am the guy that works 50-60 hours a week, has family responsibilities, is surely past my running prime (as far as speed goes), can't seem to stabilize my weight and struggles to train in parallel to my desires.

My mind desperately wants to be a racer, yet I don't like racing, I never have. Of course I loved every minute of the "after race high" and did accomplish some decent times my first two years of running (when I was 46-47), but I always had the pre-race jitters and uneasiness rather than a competitive drive.

Lucky for me I found trail running which is pretty competitive near the front but in a different way than road racing. The camaraderie between the fast, the slow and the middle packers is very strong and all trail runners feel welcome.

What this has taught me is to enjoy my runs more .....isn't that why I am out there running in the first place? Well this is my second year running mostly trails and again I have no nagging injuries, that should tell me something as when I was "racing", I constantly had some type of injury that interfered with me obtaining my best performance.

So, for total enjoyment, I have to work in some fun runs. This means no monitoring pace and distance, no heart rate and no expectations. I wonder if that is really possible as I have trained myself to factor all these things to keep my racing on track.

Last night I went to Bradbury for some hill work. I parked the Garmen and the heart rate monitor, I started up the nano to record my time as I wanted to run for about an hour. I told myself I would not think about pace and I would refrain from looking at the Nano while running.

I left the parking lot feeling quite free. I just started running at a comfortable easy pace and immediately began enjoying the run. Though I didn't run totally naked (no...not that, I mean stripped of recording devises) I did not once pull out the nano and see where I was at.

My goal was to run 4-5 miles on the mountain hills without walking and I came pretty close as I only walked....well climbed, in the spots were the rock cropping were quite steep.

It's funny, the part I enjoyed most was the downhill sections. I usually find myself pushing hard at this point to try and make up for the slowness of the uphill. Because it didn't matter, I ran slower on the downs.

In the end, I ran 5.5 miles, a bit over an hour, over the mountain three times and almost accomplished my goal. I did record my run and have stats to decipher, but did not stress about it while running. I think If I keep trying, I will actually end up allowing myself to run with no monitoring devises at all......someday.

5.5 miles @ 1:07:06 (12:12 pace)


9:59 (9:12 kick)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Strange Week's Schedule I don't know what is happening to my schedule lately but I am pretty sure someone is trying to mess me up. I do not think one thing I planned this week went as I hoped and a good 30 miles of mixed running turned into less than 15 miles.....half what I wanted.

That being said, the 14.3 I did get in were good quality and the only thing I was really lacking in the end is a long run. Of course at this stage in the year, the long run is pretty important.

Monday: I did my morning 1.5 but considered it a rest day to prepare for a tough workout on Tuesday at track.

Tuesday: Had to work late due to problems at work and the whole ended up a bust as far as running or training goes.

Wednesday: 1.5 workout in the morning and then work schedule problems again interfered.

Thursday: Finally, I get a chance to workout and I decide on a 3 mile trail hill repeat. I started with a half mile warmup as I ran to the Town Forest trail which is the trail version of my Oakhill repeats. The only difference is the hill version is a technical trail of about 1/2 mile uphill and a 1/2 mile down hill. after the 3 miles, I ran a half mile easy to the start of the trail.

.55 warmup 5:55 10:41 pace

3x 1 mile:
then easy .53@5:01 (9:18 pace)

Not a long run due to work interference again but did get some speed training

4.57 trail miles @ tempo 44:30 (9:35pace)

Great tempo workout with a speed up to real strong kick at the end. Then a great cooling swim!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back To Back Quality Runs

I am having so much fun running this spring. I guess I usually do after the difficulties of winter, but this year seems so much better. Perhaps it is because of the great weather we are having this spring or maybe because this is the first spring in two years with no surgeries.....probably a bit of both.

Well,I did something I try real hard not to do and that is back to back difficult workouts. It seems as the body ages, it does more harm than good to put in grueling workouts with out scheduling a days rest in between. Or so I thought.

Even though I planned a hard trail workout on Saturday running the 12 mile Bruiser course, Friday, I found myself at Bradbury Mountain running a loop plus of the Breaker course. I wanted hill workouts and the Breaker course provides ample hill with three trips up the mountain and a bunch of difficulty thrown in.

I ran the breaker course of about 4.5 miles then threw in the Terrace trail which is the finish of the second loop of the Breaker and it is a fantastic down hill loop that allows the runner to really open up the stride and push the pace for a fast finish. It felt great!!

I passed a few hikers that surely thought I was crazy as I literally flew down the trail at a dangerous speed with arms flailing and a huge smile on my face. I blew by a women with a young girl of about six or seven years old. I am sure the little girl inquired about what that old man was doing. I wonder how the mother explained what to her, was a crazy person that either was being chased by a bear or someone who just broke out of an asylum. I am sure it looked quite reckless but actually I was in no danger as long as I didn't trip or fall.

As I spent about a minute catching my breath at the bottom, it dawned on me that the effort of today's run just might affect my performance on the East side trails in the morning.....perhaps I should have taken it a bit easier, what was I thinking? Guess I will practice running on tired legs tomorrow because my son is coming up from Boston to run and we are both quite excited for him to experience the 12 mile bruiser course.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling pretty good, not lame but still knowing I had worked fairly hard the day before. I had some errands to take care of first thing which was good because that is when the rain was at it's worst. By the time Kev and I hit Bradbury, it was more of a steady sprinkle.

Though kev had run on the east side in cross country training, he had not experienced the true nature of the single track switchback design as the team mainly ran on the much wider (and straighter) snowmobile trails. I couldn't wait to hit these trails because I knew he would love them as much as I do.

Our plan was to run most of the 12 mile Bruiser course but at least have enough time to run on the O trail. We only had about a two hour window so the whole 12 was probably not obtainable.

The run was fantastic. Our pace fluctuated depending on terrain and who was leading. When kev lead the pace was a bit faster. I think he let me lead when he felt I needed to slow down a bit. He is pretty intuitive like that. Needless to say our pace ended up a little erratic, I guess it would qualify as a tempo/ trail run.

I managed to take a couple wrong turns so we did not follow the 12 miler course exactly. We did a couple short cuts to allow time for the O trail which we reached at about 8-9 miles into the run. I knew kev was chopping at the bit to experience the trail at his normal pace so I told him to take off and enjoy himself. In seconds he had completely disappeared.

The O trail tends to do that, it will swallow up a runner seemingly never to be found again. At the speed Kev was running, I figured I would only run in a half mile or so then head back to the spot where he will come out and meet him head on. I figured he would almost cover two miles to my one.

Problem is, when I headed in the "out" of the O trail, and continued for about a mile, I did not see him. This was odd as I should have met him by this time. I took a bunch of shortcuts to speed things up and did not see him all the way back at the trail head. I ran back down to the end and there he was standing there stretching.

I should have thought to agree on a meeting place when we separated as the O trail tends to change a runners perception of direction and just plain chews people up. That is the great thing about the 2.4 miles of the O's like the twilight never know what is going to happen.

Well after about a mile into the O trail, kev somehow changed directions, came back out the in, ran down to the out, didn't see me, ran back to the parking lot didn't see me, ran back to the out and still had time to stretch and relax for 10 or 15 minutes before I finally showed up (yes he is that fast).

What I liked about this run was that even on tired legs, I ran much faster than I thought capable and had a fantastic time doing it. I just plain had fun.

5/7 Friday
5.3 miles 1:05:12 @12:19 pace
8:55 (kick @ 7:56)

5/8 Saturday
10.5 miles 1:53:18 @10:48 pace
8:40 (kev leading)
8:40 (kev leading)
8:11 (yup..kev)
8:49 (dido)
10:50 (running alone)
12:21 (running alone, no kick, more like a shuffle step)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We Are Never Really Alone.

This picture to some people represents a lone tree standing there with no fulfilment or purpose. To me it shows a tree living in conjunction with other forces of nature. It is not alone but merely different than the others things surrounding it.

It is no more important or majestic than the solid rock in front of it, the huge ravine below it, the vast rolling hills behind it or the massive never ending sky above it. All these things become relevant when compared to each other in this photo. They rely and need each other to accomplish an identity.

This is exactly how I feel when trail running, whether alone or in a group, we become a part of the scene and an intricate part of the picture. I ran alone yesterday......yet I was far from being alone. It was enjoyable and refreshing.

It was actually track night and my plan was to work on speed while running around a small black strip of soft rubberized tar with about 60 other people. It is something I usually enjoy....yet tonite I couldn't convince myself to show up.

You see, I had a very hectic and structured day at work. It was overwhelming to the mind and spirit. I arrived at 4:30 am and was walking out the door at 5 pm. I immediately realized the very thing I needed most was a spiritual run.

So...I headed to Bradbury Mountain, I changed and hit the East side trails. A slight rain shower rolled across the top of the trees and miscellaneous drops found their way to my body creating a nice cooling affect.

Through the first half of the day as the bright sunshine baked the tar surface outside my office, I envisioned a heated yet enjoyable run through the woods, the rain didn't change my views much as it merely makes the run different, not better or worse.

I haven't been to Bradbury for quite some time and honestly it reminded me of how much I love running there. It is surely one of my favorite and spiritually soothing places to run. Once I hit the woods and started negotiating the trail, my attitude completely changed, I felt recharged and calm.

It was a wonderful workout, so much so that I don't feel I need to be too specific. I merely need to state I ran for about an hour....about 6 miles....worked pretty darn hard and enjoyed every second of it. I went home with a recharged spirit and some tired muscles. I can't think of a better way to finish off a tough day at work.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Yes...I ran last week!

Just in case someone is wondering, I did run last week. Though it was tougher than I thought it would be as I was on vacation and not even leaving was a work at home vacation, so not really one at all.

As a matter of a fact, I became quite lame from all the stuff I did around the house and almost.....I said almost would rather had been at work...but not really..I enjoyed the week. I wish I had more time, it seemed about two days long total.

I planned on getting a short run in each day and a couple good training runs besides. As it turns out, it didn't happen that way.

Pineland trail run (90% race pace 25k)
Garmen only measured 14.5 miles @ 2:39:20 (11:00 pace)
Hill run on tread mill@10% grade 3.1 miles (41:59)
Hill repeats (finally)
1.7 mile warmup run to the hill 15:59@9:25pace

5 X 1/4 mile repeats at appr 16 degree grade (1 mile recovery back down the hill)
10:53 pace
11:16 pace
10:42 pace
10:27 pace
10:09 pace

1.87 mile cooldown run return from hill 18:21@9:49 pace


planned double run at backbay
turned into tempo/race pace 3.66 mile run with 1 mile cooldown walk
(6:33 kick)

Between the running, I was carrying, hauling,dragging and sweating (a pretty intense workout)