Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Not Running Run Report

This is the first time in at least 5 years that I didn't run for a whole month. It is very difficult and if it weren't for the cross training, the busy schedule and the holidays, I suspect the withdrawals would drive me crazy.

The plus is that my body should be pretty well rested and in a couple weeks things will be back to normal. Minus is that will make it two months total and I will be so out of shape that my old slow pace will seem way too fast and unreachable!!

I put my name into a lottery for The Boston marathon ( as I have done every year since I ran my first one)
I hope someday I will win and get a chance to run it. I was hoping that my times would be good enough to qualify as my first one (when I was 46) would have got me in if I was in the 70 plus category. 

So my thinking was, if I wait long enough, the age group might catch up to my times......problem is, I been getting progressively slower every year and right now I have to wait until I am 80 ...or win the lottery. I think my odds are better with the lottery.

If I win, I better get my butt running... real soon! I don't want to be running down heartbreak hill during the awards ceremony.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On The Run and Mental Rehab

I want so much to be that guy, you know, the one who runs like a rabbit year round and never seems to have anything else to do but go running. Well unfortunately not only am I not that guy, but some some reason, I am living in a hectic world right now.

Thanksgiving-Christmas has always been a drain on me as far as time restraints goes but this year seems so much worse. Is it me or has someone pushed the fast forward button on the remote?

I just barely stayed in good enough running shape to finish the Stone Cat Marathon and though I have been nothing but on the run since then, other than a few crosstraining workouts, I have not run a mile. It is a catch 22 as when I become mentally drained, the best remedy for me is going for a run.

On my behalf, I do have a lot of outside influences right now and that combined with my own agenda, do alot to hamper my spare time. I guess I have to accept that there are more important things that require my attention right now, so I will have to view this short period of time as rehab......a sort of mental rehab.

A time to allow my body to recharge for some easy winter running and at the same time let me slow down a bit mentally and find a way to catch up to the world around me. Perhaps I will get a run in this weekend....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stone Cat Marathon Report

It would be a much longer list of the things that I did not do in preparing for Stone Cat than the Things I did. Not that I planned it that way or just blew things off, quite the contrary I had a great and well thought out plan, I just didn't accomplish the execution of it.

Like my training for the Pineland Challenge 50k, I planned on at least 4 or 5 runs in the area of 4 plus hours with the addition of a couple 30 mile runs within the final 2 months before Stone Cat. These runs combined with a good base would surely catapult me into a very agreeable time in the 50 miler. On top of that I figured on a few more tempo and speed runs to help me run a little faster mile pace that would also allow me to make adjustments, not knowing the terrain of this race or ever running this distance.

By the time I signed up, I knew the 50 miler was out of the question so I chose the marathon instead. Even with the step down to the marathon, my training was way off track and probably someone in their right mind would have skipped it altogether. I rationalized that I would find a way to get in the runs I needed, but as the weeks ticked by, the longs runs just didn't come and neither did the weekly miles.

I could sit here and list all the great excuses I had but actually they are still just excuses......so I decided to run regardless of my condition and see what happened. The closer the date came, the more I worried about actually finishing the marathon. Two weeks  ago I ran one of my longest runs of only 5 trail miles, which felt great until the next day  ( I hobbled around lame as hell), then It dawned on me that if 5 miles caused lameness then 26.2 might be a problem.

So.....day of the race comes and I get there late because I couldn't find my Nathan vest which I was certain I put in my bag. In this vest was all the gear and food I needed for this race...all prepacked and ready for me, except the bladder which was in my son's fridge (of course the bladder isn't much good without the vest) Oh well, I will just have to depend on the aid stations and hope I can get what I need from them.

We drove up to the school right at 6:00 and as I started sprinting down the drive, my son yells out that I might want to put on my trails shoes......oh great, I run back and as I am rushing to change, I rip the holes on my bid so I now have to mount it upside down.

In the process of testing my headlamp, I realize that two of the LEDs are not working and I have to depend on just one to light my way. I begin to wonder if the world is trying to tell me to give up and go home. Ok, no big deal, it is going to be light in an hour so I will just follow someone if I can't see well enough.

Lucky for me the start was about fifteen minutes late and though it was quite cold, the first 1.2  mile loop around the school was just perfect to warm me up and allow me to acclimate to the darkness before having to negotiate the trail.

At this point, I really had no battle plan but I did have the trail monsters cheering me on, my son supporting me and the desire to finish at all costs. From the first step in the darkness, there was no quit in me. I decided to run when I felt good at what ever pace that may be and the rest of the time just keep moving forward toward the finish.

In my mind I calculated that if I kept moving and my leg muscles didn't lock right up from the lack of training, I should be able to finish in 6:30-6:45 or so. The first lap (13.7 miles) went really well and I came into the start/finish area at about 3:05 with trail monsters galore cheering me on. This got me pretty excited as I was more than half way. At the same time I was realistic and knew the next 12 miles were going to be much tougher.

I have to say, the aid stations were perfectly placed and stocked so well that I didn't really miss the vest or it's contents. my son joined me for the second half which was a great help and probably the biggest reason I kept moving forward.

I was some happy to see the finish line and somehow managed a little bit of a kick at the end. I definitely earned the jacket and at the same time proved to myself that I have what it takes to move the body when it seems so physically impossible.

I did much better than I planned with 6:11 at the finish line. I am fairly satisfied with this race but still have that 50 miler lingering in my head .........maybe it will be a 2012 goal now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not Sure

Not sure where I am heading lately as my running is virtually non existent, not because of lack of Mojo, though real runners (like jeff) actually still run like crazy without it, but more of a lot of outside interference (like 74 hours this week at the job).

When I trained for the Pineland 50K, I did an excellent job and was very happy with the results. Now with the Stone Cat marathon only a couple weeks away, I am wondering what abyss I will fall into on the second lap. I think I will do fine with the first 12 miles but fear the lack of any consistent training will catch up to me quite quickly after that.

I assume I will find out just how much base I really have and probably will be cursing my lazy training plan through out the race. That being said, I hope to enjoy myself (is that possible) and at the end be glad that I had the nads to show up.

After only crosstraing this week, I finally found the time to head out at 6:30 AM on Sunday and actually get in a short run. It was a bit chilly but the trails were quite nice and I felt pretty darn good. Of course after the 5 miles were behind me, I felt the lack of running throughout the whole day (lame muscles and such).....and it was only 5 miles....holey crap! what is going to happen at StoneCat.

I want to run long trail races....I really do, as I have the desire to complete a 50 miler.....but something is going to have to change in my life before that can happen. I have been looking for a few extra hours a week to get my runs in and just can't seem find them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Hope I Don't Forget How to Run!!

My non existent training is becoming a problem as it is getting closer and closer to the StoneCat marathon. It is increasingly difficult at this time to schedule in any kind of consitant runs. Besides the interference of late, I took a moment to look back over previous years and realized that October/November has notoriously been difficult to get in my runs.

That being said, I am not planning on adjusting my plans and will show up for the marathon regardless of what type of running shape I am in. I have been able to pull off a few 2-3 hour runs in the last two months so that should help get me to the finish line .......just don't know how long it will take me...I suspect at least 6 hours.

I am pretty sure though, that I will be suffering and asking myself more than once why the hell I am doing this.
Even now, as I sit in my nice warm and dry office, I couldn't answer that question. I don't think there is an answer other than I crave the trails and spend much of my time thinking about being out there.

My pathetic training for October (so far):
 Oct 1.......2 miles
Oct 2.......2:25 hrs...14 (somewhat easy) miles
Oct 8.......2:44 hrs...12 (tough trail ) miles
Oct 10..... 4hours .....8? Garmen woes
Oct 13.....1/3 hr....3 miles

Told you it was pathetic...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good Long Run

I have been trying to post comments on others blog entry and have not been allowed to.....says my account is not valid?

Anyway, I finally got in a good long run Sunday at The Brad. I started early as I had a pretty busy day ahead of me. I wanted around 3-3.5 hrs on my feet with at least 3 hrs of running. 6am gave me plenty of time and also about 20 minutes worth of running with the headlamp on.

I hit the West side and headed up the Boundry trail. There were plenty of wet, rocks, roots and bridges but the 212s handled everything pretty well. I veered off onto the connector starting relatively slow and trying to settle in.

The first 45 mins seemed awkward and I felt winded but after that the next 1.75 hrs were perfect. The last 1/2 hr showed my recent condition as the legs were quite fatigued and I was anxious to be done.

14 miles  running time 3:09:71  Total time 3:25 or so
4mph average pace but somehow I logged 14.8 mph during the run...crazy

Overall a well rounded run and great training

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Running

Didn't have much time for a run today but was still able to squeeze in a bit over a half hour( perfect for the minimus shoe). It surely was not long enough. I stopped at Forest trail and ran along the old railroad bed connector to rte 231. Too bad it is blocked off just before the road crossing.

This was such a nice run, the early leaves have started to fall and blanket the trail. That along with the cool crisp air yelled fall big time. It was a very mind clearing and fun run. I need that some days and especially today.

I surprised a small herd of deer that were grazing just off the trail, it was pretty cool to watch all the white tails gliding rather than bouncing as they tried to put a little distance between us.

What was nice about this run was that there was no agenda other than enjoying the short window of time away from the demands of life and just experiencing nature.

3.5 miles @36:40
New Balance Minimus shoe

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Time To Be Realistic

 It used to be the end of November was the time I would sit back and digest the past year of running. I would form  a graph in my mind of the accomplishments and the pitfalls. November would bring the Thanksgiving 5ks and my fastest running.

 Unlike most runners I associate with, I didn't run in high school (unless I was being chased by the men in blue) I never ran track or cross country and didn't play any action sport. As a family, the only real physical activity we did was Mountain hiking and going to the beach, which averaged out to only a few times a year.

 I loved the outdoors though and when I was eleven, my parents bought a big ole farm. My fondest memories are spending hours in the old barn and day long adventures in the woods. I felt so at ease and comfortable in the woods, perhaps that is the root that draws me to trail running.

 I'm getting a little off point here, but to be realistic, I have to understand that I didn't have the type of training base when in school to help me now. It seems the body and mind can't quite stay on track even though I feel I understand the nature of training properly.

 When the kids came along, I decided to give them what I never had. I encouraged sports activities,I was an actively involved parent and even spent eight years coaching little league. As they got older they migrated from Baseball to soccer (field hockey)  then to track.

I was envious of their camaraderie and their capabilities as they all excelled. I spent many nights wondering how I would have done in school sports and probably would have learned some pretty valuable lessons too.
So, finally when my youngest was winning state championships and preparing for college, I decided I would give running a try.

 Though I was 46, I felt like a youngster as my first year of running progressed quickly. My first 5k time of over 26 minutes was dropped to 22 minutes when the Thanksgiving races arrived. By year two I blew out a 44 minute Beach to beacon 10K, an amazing 7:26 pace 1/2 marathon and a 20:18 5k. All of this while averaging only about 15 miles a week with my longest ever single run of 8 miles a few weeks before the half marathon.

It's been 9 years and since then I have done nothing but slow down progressively every year and the Prs just aren't coming anymore. I thought as I started running longer distances and mostly trails that my times would still be in the 25 percentage for my age group but instead I land in the back of the pack.

 It seems perhaps with my work schedule and other time restraints that I can not put the training effort needed to accomplish what my brain expects of me. It is entirely possible that I just don't understand or implement a sound training program. I find myself dwelling on the goals I didn't reach rather than the ones I did.

So....here it is September, a time that I usually am powering forward and enjoying the fall running season. Instead I find myself soul searching and looking for answers within myself. It is time to be realistic with my running, myself and my goals.

 I'm not being a "debbie downer" or whining so much as I am trying to feel comfortable with my races and adopting a more realistic view. What am I really trying to accomplish here? If it is my love of trail running and spending time in the woods then I have to forget about being competetive and just enjoy it. if instead, I need to be putting up fast times (age adjusted) then I should steer my running back to the shorter road races.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bruiser Report

 I went into the bruiser race this year fully knowing I was not in the shape I wanted or planned to be.  How does one let this happen?  The mind makes plans, such elaborate plans, A big timeless vacuum happens, then race day comes and I find myself wondering what went wrong.

Last year I prepared by running the 12 mile course many times and actually doing O-trail repeats 3 and 4 laps at a time. This year I ran the east side only a few times and the O-trail only once ......I guess I can say I was not very prepared. On top of all that, I ran the 40 for 40 last week (well 16 miles of it) and put some serious hurt on my knees and elbows (note to self, sliding on the elbows and knees down a gravel path really hurts!)

I went into this race knowing full well I was not going to be a Badass this year (takes a bit of the excitement out of it) knowing that I wasn't in that great of running shape and hoping like hell that I didn't fall onto the sore knees.......please not the knees.

 So..........why did I have such a great race?  I started mid pack to have a conservative start and to my surprise, there really was not much of a bottleneck for the first mile.  The pace was quick but manageable and only a few runners trying to get by. One of which was Jeremy.....I thought what the hell? He should have been way up front. (second note to self, you can start in the back and still finish top ten if you run super human fast like Jeremy)

 My goal of running steady, careful and not walking .....all without falling and still not being too slow seemed unreachable, yet I accomplished it with ease. I felt pretty comfortable with only a few moments of fatigue strong enough to cause concern. Just as sudden as the fatigue came, it went away. I can only assume I was running very smart and balancing on the edge of my conditioning.

The whole race was very manageable, my two worries, the knights hill..hill and the O-trail posed very little trouble as I was not reduced to walking either one. Though not a PR, this race was my second best time on this course and I didn't fall once.

 I felt really good at the end of this race and perhaps I left a little on the table, but with no injuries, it felt good to realize I enjoyed the whole event. Of course Ian and Ryan ( and all the volunteers) did an outstanding job (as usual)  I did however hear a person on the trail mention that Ian's description of a relatively flat course equalled moderately hilly to the average runner......it's all a matter of perspective I guess.

 In the end I feel the Bruiser is a great training start for the Stone cat marathon and can only hope to feel and do as well running it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

16 Miles running, 30 Feet Skidding On Elbows And Knees

How can it be that I run a fairly difficult trail for 8 miles with zero tripping issues and then somehow land on my knees and elbows on a flat gravel path just before finishing the loop?

I was discussing with Joe his amazing finish of the Wilderness 100 and felt certain that little or no effort was needed to watch my footing as we were just finishing our first loop of Mindy's 40 to 40 and the trail was not really a trail at all because the last 400 yards was a wide open gravel path......a wide open gravel path...and I was feeling so good up to that point.

 As I landed, the sound of crunching gravel and the hot pain of skin being ripped off was not part of my plans today and while limping back to the start area I contemplated aborting my next lap. Jeremy offered to amputate and someone else commented on how colorful I was. Yes red is quite colorful and amputation would be a damn good excuse not to run a second lap.

When every single muscle in your body jumps into action to counteract the process of falling to the ground, it tends to zap all the energy right out leaving a hollow shell trying drastically to move forward. So, when I stopped to write my first loop time in and eat a couple brownies, the body was saying no to any more running.

My only hope to getting another lap in was to head out onto the trails and get the body moving before the problem areas stiffened up. The first quarter mile was a little limpy but this got better once I started concentrating on foot placement instead of the pain.

My hope was, that moving would help alleviate swelling and I think it did. After about a mile I stopped and used the water from the Nathan pack to wash off the dried blood (which was pulling at the skin while running) Now all I had to do was not fall again as the knees and elbows would surely not appreciate it.

Though quite a bit slower, I was able to finish my second lap, ( breezed right over the gravel this time and with no falling issues) I was quite happy with the 16 miles as I have not run much for distance in the last few weeks. Mindy put on a heck of an event and I was glad to hear she made the whole distance ( I knew she would)

First loop   1:34:30....... 11:48 pace 
Second loop  1:47:03....13:22 pace

Overall      3:21:54.......12:37 pace

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Passed Inspection--Company leaving

With the new garage roof shingled and water tight, the deck to porch conversion passing inspection and the company heading out, I suddenly feel a sigh of relief and a hint that life will get a bit back to normal. I am looking forward to some relaxing nights of running then cooling off at the pool.

Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy building things and it was great to have a project with the boys, but somehow everything mushroomed up at the same time, my mom, my mother inlaw,vehicle repairs and  having company almost continuously for a month, there just wasn't much time left for me, the wife and a little running.

 Of course I still have to close up the porch walls and finish the storage floor in the garage, but these things can  be done alone and at a slower more comfortable pace.......as long as I beat the winter.

I know, I said the " W"  word and we are only in the middle of August, but I am actually looking forward to the fall, I think it is the best season for trail running.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time Make The Donuts (or base running)

Now that the Breaker is behind me(even though I didn't actually run it), I am starting my quest to gear up for StoneCat....pretty darn excited and hope to do well. SO, distance is on my mind and I have cleansed my mind of anything sounding like speed.

Last night I hit Bradbury East and planned on 6-8 fairly easy miles. It didn't take long before I was pushing a bit faster than I planned. That was OK because I felt great. Perhaps my unplanned taper has given my legs a bit more pep.

I fully expected to start fatiguing by 8 miles but was surprisingly comfortable and so zoned in to running that I somehow took a wrong turn and ended up way off course. By the time I got back to the start I had run 11 miles and honestly I felt pretty darn good. Easily could have run a few more.

This was odd because I didn't bring the normal implements needed when running past an hour, no gels, no water, just me running and enjoying the trails.

I started at somewhere around 12 minute pace but ran the last two miles at 9:30 pace. My average was in the high tens and actually I think a PR for 11 miles on the East trail.  Anyway, it sure felt good and was a good first run for my training.

11 miles @1:53:47

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bradbury Breaker no race, race report.

 It seems no matter how well we work schedules, there is always something that will creep up and kick you in the ass.

It is official........I am not a bass bradbury racer this year. It is hard to believe as I would have bet millions that nothing could stop me from running the Breaker. I was destined to PR and quite excited.

Sunday morning, 7am, A bit lame form working on the porch roof but not too worried about the race. The phone rings.....my mom who had a tooth pulled Friday was suffering from so much pain that she felt going to the emergency was an immediate need.

Ironically, she had already gone in at 3am ( my brother took her) but there was no doctor available so they gave her a shot and sent her home. I am just guessing here but I suspect the shot helped for about 2-3 hours.

Normally if I have something important going on, I get my brother to help out. In this case, I was her only option other than an ambulance. I swallowed the notion that I would be back before the 9am start and I was right as I didn't get back home until 11:30

So.....I missed the race and I am not going to be a badass this year, I guess this means I will really have to kickass at the Bruiser .......I'll bet it was real cool shirt too!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beach To Beacon

I honestly didn't know what to expect at this race, not only because I haven't been running that much lately, but I have not been training for 10K road speed.  My original plan was to run with my wife at her pace which is much slower than mine so kind of a breeze for me.

My wife opted out of the race so it left me wondering how I should approach it. Now the pressure was on to attempt a respectable time. The one flat road run of a couple weeks ago put me at about 9 minute pace so I hoped to at least beat 9 minute.

In my head, I felt certain I should be able to find some hidden power over my body and pull off an 8 minute pace (best case scenario, beat 50 minutes, worst case, no slower than 55 minutes)......who the hell was I kidding? none the less I started at the 8 minute pace sign in the chute.

 First problem of the day was the way they start this race. Once in the chute and packed in like sardines, it is impossible to relieve ones self and get back in. The wait time is over a half hour and even though I thought I timed everything perfect, I found myself looking very longingly at various trees in the distance. One tenth of a mile from the start is a portapotty and I found myself reluctantly pulling off the road and entering. The hundreds of runners passing by sounded like pouring rain.

Finally I ran back into the crowd and assumed I was probably back with the 10 minute milers. Problem with this is I wanted the 8 minute  crowd to suck me into a faster pace at the beginning to hopefully get a better time. This surely was not the best way to start a race, but the was no other  place in the first mile to accomplish the task.

 I passed quite a few people and was glad to see 8:44 at the first mile instead of something slower. Not as fast as I wanted but it could have been worse. Each mile I ran faster and by mile four I was down to 8:06 pace. My excitement quickly turned sour as I calculated a minute lost in the first two miles and two miles of tougher uphill running ahead of me.

Though I was feeling a bit tired, mile five went surprisingly well as I only slowed to 8:37 pace. I quickly calculated that If I could maintain this pace for mile six and get a good kick going, I might be able to pull off a 8:20 pace over all.

I felt good on the hills of mile six as it seemed my pace was steady. Somehow I slowed to 9:17 pace and as I think about it now, it makes sense. I should have NOT felt good on those hills, if I was pushing then I would have felt bad...........

Rounding the corner into the park is a short steep hill that always seem to kill me. I assume my Bradbury legs took over because this time the hill was nothing as I kept to the inside and literally passed twenty people laboring up it.

 From this point on I put on my race face and tried to pass as many people as I could pulling off a 6:53 pace for the last .2 to the finish. I swear I passed a hundred runners. I felt great as I passed the finish line and if not for the dilemma in mile one and the brain fart in mile six, I think I would have been quite pleased with the whole race.

As I walked up the hill after the finish, the thought of waiting in line in the hot sun for an hour to catch the bus was overwhelming so instead I decided the hour would serve better as extra training rather than suffer the muscle stiffening of a long bus ride.

I ran back to the start and turned this into more of a long run. The first couple miles, the quads were cramping and I almost wished I had not made this decision, but each mile I felt better and ran faster going from an 11:37 in the first mile to a 9:14 in the last.

Though not quite the under fifty I wanted, I was happy beating fifty five and doubling the effort with an extended run.

6.2 race 53:56 (8:41 pace)
5.5 return 56:57

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not Pretty But Lots Of Character

 I got married 34 years ago, the same year this jeep rolled off the assembly all shiny and new. I don't know much about the history of it as it has only been in the family for about 10 years. I got it from my son who got it from my daughter who purchased it from some guy up north........it sat in my yard as a "future" project for about 5 years. Last spring my son and I decided to put it on the road as an antique because we never seemed to get around to working on the rebuild project.

Spending many joyous hours in this simple jeep last summer and many more fun hours this summer, I have come to the conclusion that I didn't really want a spiffy new jeep after all. I have the up most respect for the character of my jeep.

 I suspect, when new it was strong, responsive and quite impressive ..........now it requires a little understanding and is not expected to perform like it once did.  There is obvious fatigue in its core structure yet it is still majestic in many ways.

 I am proud to drive it as it does not reflect a bad image because of it's age or condition ....instead it invokes an aura of mystical memories of times gone by and happy smiles. Even with age and fatigue, it still trudges along, moving forward and offering much more good times to come.

 I suspect there is a lesson to be learned here, as we grow older and our bodies fatigue, of course we can not do things of days gone by, we are not quite as strong or fast,  but we can still command a certain amount of
dignity  knowing that we are out there and moving forward.

Friday, July 29, 2011

NO..I'm Not Dead!

 I know it's been two weeks since my last entry and honestly I couldn't say where the time went. Though I haven't been running as much as I would like,  I have been working out and swimming a lot. Doesn't really take the place of running but at least guards against sliding backwards with fitness base.

Even though I promised myself and others that I was not going to sign up for the B to B, somehow I reneged and I am running it. Odd thing is, that I haven't really trained for roads (other than a short run last Monday) so I am not sure what to expect.

 I suppose at worst case, it will prep me for a hard run at the Breaker the next weekend. My intent is to run the BtoB moderately and then run back to the start after, making it a long run. I was originally hoping for a PR at the Breaker, but with the lack of training lately, I will be satisfied to finish close to last years.

My last three runs:

7/20   Bradbury (first half of breaker)
4.5 miles @52:50 --11:44 pace (two mile cool down)

7/25  Road run (semi race pace)
3.5 miles @29:04 ---8:18 pace (1 mile cool down)

7/28  Bradbury (first half of Breaker)
4.5 miles @55:43---12:22 pace (1/2 mile cool down)

Swimming laps almost every day and sometimes twice a day in between the runs. The bright side is that my right ankle is feeling a lot better.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scuffle Report....Not So Bad

After all the work on the garage and having the energy sucked out of me by the sun on Saturday (  did you know shingles will just about melt if the sun is hot enough...and it was!) I was not sure how the Scuffle race would go.

I hit the sack feeling pretty spent Saturday night and just figured I would see how I felt in the morning. Sunday came and the lameness with it. I started by cleaning the pool and going for an easy relaxing swim. It is amazing how therapeutic water can be.

 Though still pretty tired, I was refreshed and could not come up with a reason why not to get in a trail run........so kev and I jumped in the jeep and headed to Bradbury. I suspected it would be a rather slow race for me and kev was feeling the same.

 We decided to start in the back and just do an easy run .....or at least see how we felt after settling in. Kev could have easily run much faster but elected to keep me company and promised not to out kick me at the finish.

This would be the second time in two weeks that I started about dead last in a race, sure hope this was not becoming a new trend! My second worry was that all the deer flies who could not keep up with the fast runners would enjoy us slower ones a bit more than normal. As it turned out there were not too many.

The down hill start was perfect for me and I felt darn comfortable right off. Within a half mile, I was picking off  runners one by one but suddenly found a bit of a traffic jam at spots. The trail was just not wide enough to pass graciously so I waited until the snowmobile trail and first uphill to crank things up a bit and passed bunches at a time.

Mile two I was feeling good and actually got my first chuckle watching Four pass me and others by skipping the small wooden bridge and tromping almost knee deep through a small gathering of water. I was feeling fairly hot at the time and the splashing almost enticed me to join him.

Mile three brought a bit of reality and reminded my muscles just how tired I really was. The climb seemed endless but I kept reminding myself the reward was the water stop and plenty of cooling water. I decided to stop even though this was a short race. I drank a heed and dumped the water over my head......it felt great!

Mile four I was feeling strong and passed back the three people that went by me at the water stop. It felt so good to have the energy to catch back up and get by these runners, only to have them fly back by me at the next stop.

I normally wouldn't have and didn't need to stop at the 4.5 mile but we were told there was an injured runner about a half mile back and we wanted to notify Eric and crew that it looked as though she would not be able to walk out on her own. It actually felt good to speed up a bit and I took advantage of another dosing of water.

 Now I was chasing the same three runners and felt adamant to recapture my spot in front of them. problem is we were in mile five and they all seemed to be enjoying the speed of the down hill. Last year I went crazy in mile five and pushed much too hard only to severely suffer at the hill in mile six.

I was much more conservative this year though I still had the pleasure of passing a few struggling runners, but not the three I was chasing. At the bottom of the hill I was barely catching the slowest of the three and had serious doubts with the mile six hill looming in front of me.

It suddenly dawned on me that I was racing after all and it felt great! Kev sensed my growing disappointment and pulled about four or five strides in front of me. He knew I would latch on and chase him, his intent was to suck me up to the runners in front and allow me the opportunity to use my kick at the end to try and pass them.

His timing was perfect and I powered up the hill catching and passing one of the runners. I caught and passed the second of the three about a hundred yards from the top. I could hear her legs speed up as I passed but by this time there was no catching me.

About a quarter mile from the finish I rounded the corner and the third runner was watching  me fly by. As promised, kev stayed in stride with me for my kick and we both finished strong. It was a great run that turned into a fun and exciting race. All and all, I passed about 40 runners and ended up only about a minute slower than last year.

 A quick drink of water and we hi-tailed it home to finish the plywood and Tyvec on the garage.....finally, it can rain all it wants .....the garage is water tight now! Of course I enjoyed a much deserved cool down swim first.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's been a Week Already

I haven't had much time lately to write about each run and next thing you know, the week has come and gone with no entry....So, now I find myself re-capping

After a failed attempt to run Monday ......had problems with the pool and was forced to go strait home, I finally made it to Bradbury Tuesday for a much needed run. I had so much trouble deciding what route to do and finally figuring the Scuffle to make the most sense.

 The closer I got to the O-trail, the more I yearned for the direction blasting craziness of the abyss that seems to completely stop time in it's tracks.....next thing I knew I was running a double loop and fully enjoying it  Not quite  the speed training run I planned, but at least I got to fall and cut my knee up.....so battle scars are always uplifting.

Wednesday:  I only managed a few laps in the pool while I humbly suffered through the aches and pains of sparring with the O-trail.

Thursday:  I hit Bradbury again, this time to run the second loop of the Breaker course. I was determined to slap myself silly every time I was temped to walk. This worked good until I only made it about one third of the way up the Summit trail and found the cement around my ankles to be too heavy for me. I was reduced to a walk for another third of the way....I finally pushed myself to a mini schuffle until I crested the mountain.

 The rest of the run went well as I caught my breath pretty quick and finished with a great speed up and kick.
The real reward was a cool down swim and laps in the pool after.

Friday: .......cross training, Left work early to begin a project that I have been putting off for a couple years now. I started ripping the old roof of the garage to prep for a new one.  This was equivalent to a 4 hour gym workout .....or at least it felt that way.

Saturday:   Finally I was putting up a ridge pole and assembling the rafters for the new roof. This was a hot..hot...day and the toll of lifting and carrying rough cut lumber was weighing heavy on me. I finished this day with some laps in the pool. Though refreshing, the cool water seemed to do nothing for the aching muscles.

Sunday:  Rolling out of bed was tough as the body was complaining about the new crosstrainning routine. As usual, a 6 am swim limbered things up a bit.....only to get ready for more punishment. Luckily the sun was not beating on as like Saturday and it was a bit more bearable.....by night fall, the roof was fully boarded and covered with tar paper......just in time for the down pour.

Monday:  L L Bean 10K ......I actually thought I would wake up dreading the thought of running this race, but I hit the pool and after a bunch of laps I loosened up pretty good. The exciting thing about this race, is that we planned on pushing my granddaughter in the stroller for her first ever road race.

I found that pushing a stroller....even a nice one from Beans, was quite a bit of work and on this muggy day, I felt the full effects of the last few days. regardless, I not only had a great time but I ran about 7 minutes faster than I planned.

One thing that was cool,  we started dead last ( we didn't want some over zealous runner crashing into the stroller), and we actually passed at least 200 runners by the time we finished. Rylee, the granddaughter, was fantastic and was reported to be "wiggling" her toes in excitement as we kicked to the finish.

Another dip in the pool and it was back on the roof to shingle......got one side done before the rain and lost all gumption when the sun powered back out to do anymore........just plain spent and the body needed a rest.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Babysitting..funerals...weddings and company

I would be lying if I said I didn't get a chance to run this weekend......Sunday afternoon at about 6:30, I could have suited up and finally got in my run.......I was just plain spent and had no energy to do anything but sit and watch TV.

Not that I was a couch potato or that I didn't get any exercise, but I find the running to be taking a backseat lately and I don't like it.  Like a drug addict, I need a certain amount of time on the trails to keep my prospective on the fast pace of life today......just to maintain a little sanity.

I feel like buying a gun, waving it in the air and yelling....." all right you guys now look here....I am going for a run .....and you ain't gonna do anything about it........or I'll use this thing...you see.....then shooting off a couple rounds........any questions??  ( I DIDN"T THINK SO!)

It's not that I don't enjoy all the family things, it's more that I seem to have trouble with balance lately. I used to be able to find ways to schedule in the runs I wanted. Perhaps I am just not the time manager I used to be.

I am going for a run today, ( even though the lawns desperately need to be mowed ) and I am going to put some thought into what I have been doing wrong lately. The mowing will just have to wait until tomorrow.

On the bright side, I did have a great run at Bradbury on Thursday after work. I ran the mountain side and covered pretty much all the trails up and over the mountain. It was a little wet and rainy but very enjoyable.
Also yesterday I spent a good amount of time in the pool swimming so, some cross training at least.

OH....I'm not really going to get a gun, I'm just going to cry..scream and hold my breath until I turn blue...that usually works I hear.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Falling In Love

I fantasized all day about my planned run. I wasn't really sure as to what trail I would chose until I arrived and changed clothes. I decided on the connector so I could lose myself in the run and not have to think about direction and making turns.....a good ole out and back.

 I realized while running, that I seriously enjoyed this route. I thought back and out of the 10 or so times I ran the connector, I couldn't think of one time that I was disappointed. You know how sometimes it is just a bad day running? Well I have never had a bad day on this route.

I think this will be my go to route when in doubt. It seems to have a little bit of everything that makes running trails fun.  Rocks..roots..breath stealing uphills, fast and dangerous downhills, twisting single track, open fields, two picturesque stream crossing and once you hit the power lines, you have endless choices of direction depending on your need for the day.

One of the best things I like when running this out and back, is the fast downhill finish that makes one feel the speed of a sprint. It was just a perfect run.....It makes me want to use  "the L word"

6.8 miles @ 1:16:56

Monday, June 13, 2011

Missing The MOJO

This has been a difficult spring for my running......I can't find my MOJO, I want to run, I plan to run.....but the interference is seemingly so severe this year. Is it really or am I just not finding the normal ways to accomplish my runs?

Is it possible that some jokester has hit the fast forward button on me? If it weren't for the pool, my base would be totally gone. I think it is time to access my duties and be a bit more adamant with my running schedule.....time to put the foot down.

I planned on running some back bay races....even have my number (71).......haven't made it there, this is the second weekend in a row that I not only didn't get in a long run, but I didn't get in a run at all (or even get the lawn mowed). I think there is some force out there plotting against me.

Not only that, but this morning was the third day in a row that I went to put on my socks and found a hole in one of them........What the ? Is some gnome sneaking into my drawer and ripping a hole in just one of my socks?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What Was I Thinking? Sprints and Distance Do Not mix..or Do They?

Thought pattern......run the barefoot  5K the day before the 25K as an easy warm up and because it is a new adventure. Couldn't possibly hurt my 25K performance too much as long as I get the training runs in during the months preceding, right?

 My original plan was to train for the 50 miler, which was whittled down to the 50k when I realized that my schedule was not going to allow me the time to train properly for the 50m. As the months flew by and I not only didn't get in my normal long runs, but I realized that my training was suffering severely. My longest run one month before was only 18 slow grueling miles at Mt A.

So.......running the 25K seemed the best option and it left more room for the addition of the barefoot 5K.
New plan in place so why did it feel like a cop-out? The thought of the 50K rolled around in my head for weeks before I finally convinced myself that I really would not be able to pull it off.

It is so hard to tell one's self that a certain thing can not be done .......well of course I could attempt it and perhaps even find a way to finish, but at what cost and with nothing to prove it was a mute thought anyway.
My best bet was to PR the 25K, which I had no doubt I could do.

Don't you hate when the mind makes promises that the body can't deliver? I spent the whole week before the 5K thinking and planning the best way to enjoy the new event without compromising the 25K Pr. Seemed so simple......just running not racing .... yeah just a 5k warm up in the Minimus shoes.

It made sense as I had not trained for a 5k and my fastest run at the campus course was somewhere in the 9:50 pace area and that surely was not racing speed. A few years ago, when I was training and racing mostly 5ks, I ran a Pr on this course of 25:32 ......so my goal for the barefoot was around 30 minutes (around 9:30 pace)

 It was fun telling people I was doubling up, running a race both days of the festival, but at the same time some little voice in my head kept telling me that it was not as simple as I made it sound. Who listens to those little voices anyway?

The start of the 5K was exciting and everyone took off real fast. I found myself sucked right into the excitement and ran the first mile at 7:20 (not as fast as it sounds as the first mile is mostly down hill)

I settled down some in mile two but still pulled off an 8:23 ......I was a bit winded and the hills of mile three were wearing on my mind. Had I gone out too fast, would the hills take their toll?

Actually mile three was tough but also the most fun. My paced slowed to about 9:18, which is still moving pretty good for me on the Campus hills. I was passing  bunches of runners, it felt so good.

Now I don't want to lead you astray, some of the these runners were from the 5k group that started ten minutes before us, so I wasn't actually racing them ........at this point, my mind did not know nor care the difference.

The last half  mile I really picked things up and finish with probably the best kick I can remember on trails. I used everything I had and actually peaked at 14.8 mph. It was exciting and fun and stupid. After the finish, the realization of what I had done hit me hard. Limping with a sore left archilles and a sore right ankle loomed heavy on the thought of running the 25K the next day.

I kept asking myself, was it worth it and answering....hell yeah. I am a believer that you race the race in front of you and worry about the next race tomorrow. OK.....so I was starting to worry but that didn't diminish the excitement of my 5k finish.

Day two at the Pineland Challenge Festival was just as electric as the first day. 50K and 50 mile runners were already plastering the trails when I arrived and the crowds were enjoying excitement. I knew my 25K race was going to be a struggle but was determined to at least finish it.

The first three miles were pretty bad (I thought). The legs were heavy, breathing labored, the archilles and ankle hurt with every step.....yet somehow I averaged 10:30 mile pace, partly because I ran the whole way.
Walking was not going to be an option.

As bad as I felt in the first three miles, they did not compare to the next two. Mile four and Five were just plain energy slapping as my pace dropped to 14:30 and running was the exception to the rule. I settled in after mile five and started enjoying the difficulty of the run much more. I guess mainly because I gave in to the failed concept of Pr-ing this race and just enjoying it instead.

The aid stations were energetic and very helpful, arguably the best of any race I have done. I did get a surprise at one station, after offering some water to dump over my head, I was soaked with a full gallon instead of the normal cup full.........that sure cooled me off.

In the end, I did exactly what I promised, I ran the race that was in me on that particular day and found a way to enjoy the experience. I ran fairly even splits with a pretty good kick at the end. I didn't PR the 25K, but that's Ok. It seems I tend to forget the reason for running the trails in the first place .....to just have fun.

It was a great weekend, the beer was fantastic, Ian and Erik out did themselves...again, and I spent some quality time with some great people......what more could I ask for.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Running for Cover

After two days off I decided to try an easy run on Sunday to see how the Achilles would react. I ran what I call the pit loop near my house with my son. The pit loop is combination road / trail and is 3.1 miles long.

This ends up being a nice loop for 5k training. My fastest time on this run is 21:29 .....That was a few years ago. last year my fastest was a much slower 23:49.  This is still a pretty good speed on a loop that is more than half single track and the 2nd mile is a pretty good hill.

The nice thing about this loop is a flat road finish which is about 7 tenths of a mile long ....makes for some good finishing sprints. This run though would end with no sprint or kick of any kind ( Achilles)

We started out and the rain came down hard enough to send most recreational runner for cover......be we actually enjoy the coolness of a run in the rain. I did have a problem with my glasses fogging up...hate that.

The run was the perfect length, the perfect pace and a great way to see how the Achilles was feeling. The splits really surprised me because the hill in the second mile was our fastest and the run felt pretty easy to me.
In the end, the Achilles was only slightly sore, so I think things are progressing quite well.

3.1 miles @ 26:44 (8:40 pace)
(7:45 for the last .1 ........OK, a Little speed up but still not a kick)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Picking Up The Pace But Suffering

Ran Pineland last night, trying to pick up the pace to get a decent finish at the Barefoot 5K. I think I am pushing too hard or perhaps the combination of the Minimus shoes and the X-talon 212s are catching up to me. I suspect i will have to take things a bit easier for the next two weeks......not what I planned.

Last Thursday I ran a "race pace"  time trial on the 5K Pineland course (which continues to measure 3.4 miles) and ended with a Strong kick. After I ran a cool down of sorts and realized my left Achilles was a bit sore. I suspect a combination of the Minimus shoes and the sprinting.

I didn't think too much of it and most of the rest of the week it didn't bother too much, which was helped by a minmal weekend (running wise)

Monday I did my upper body/ gazelle workout and last night hit Pineland for another speed run. This time I ran on the east side and pushed the pace with progressively faster splits even though the second half of the run was more uphill.

I finished with a great kick but was hit with a nasty reminder in my left Achilles again. This time I was wearing the 212s instead of the Minimus hoping to guard against pushing the Achilles more. I felt the discomfort after the kick but instead of stopping I decided to continue for a couple miles at a somewhat slower pace to try and work out the kinks.

I am suffering a bit this morning and decided I need to scale things back a bit which is disappointing because I really felt strong running. the pace and kicks were starting to look pretty good.

Thursdays 3.4 (9:05 pace) pineland Campus loop


Yesterdays run  Pineland Oakhill loop
4 miles @8:59 pace
 8:45 (6:00 kick)
2 miles @9:41 pace
.5 mile cool down.

Today......very sore Archilles

Friday, May 6, 2011

Big A at Mt A

When I mistakenly signed up for the Big A 50K, I knew I would probably not be able to complete the whole 50k.   But I had this vision in my head, like the Gods would smile on me and somehow I would find it within myself to actually finish.

 Of course my training told me in bold print that it could never be.......hey my longest run in the last two months was 10 miles and only an 8 miler in the last 4 weeks. I knew deep down that 31 miles would never happen so my realistic stretch goal was three laps(23 miles).

It seemed possible, I figured I could pull off three laps in about 5 1/2 hours plus. Taking into account my strong winter base of snowshoeing and my recent "faster" pace runs, it was plausible. So...23 or so miles would be a pretty good accomplishment for the day.

When I arrived at Mt Agamenticus, I stepped out of the truck, sucked in a deep breath of fresh cool air and felt confident that I was as prepared as I could be considering the level of fitness I was at. I had everything in order and couldn't think of one thing that would deter me from my goal.

 After helping Bob and the New balance guys carry their gear up the trail, I settled into getting my stuff ready. I had everything I needed to run a 50K all I had to hope for was some extra energy, a bit of drive and a little luck to do it.

I brought three pairs of shoes not knowing the terrain at all and decided to start with my Cascadia 3s as they are a good all around trail shoe. This made sense because the start was about a mile on tar and dirt road.

I was comfortable right from the start and until we actually hit the trail I felt the cascadias were the best choice. As we climbed the first hill, I could feel a big difference .....I noticed right away the traction and push off loss compared to the 212s, I also felt a loss of traction on the smooth rock outcropping and the down hills.

 I held my own in the first mile and actually passed some runners in the second and third. In the fourth mile I was leading a small bunch of runners and even though I had already missed a few turns, I felt confident because I could see the fresh prints of the runners in front of us.

One of the guys behind me yelled and said I missed a turn. I went back and followed the group. Soon we we bushwhacking up a hill and honestly I knew we were off track (even though we were following  pink ribbons)
They looked old to me and come to find out they were. We stopped at the top of a hill next to a five gallon bucket upside down ( apparently a hunters perch)

 We studied the map at least 3 times and all disagreed as to the direction we should go.....suddenly I saw a glimpse of two runners at the bottom of the hill and we high tailed it to them. We reached the trail they were on and caught up to them at an opening to a tar road......Hmnnn....a tar road?

About this time we figured we must have missed a turn, a bunch of runners came up the road, returning to the trail because they realized they were wrong too. By now our little group had grown to about 15 runners. They were talking and discussing(arguing) about where to go.

 I just took off back down the trail because we were wasting so much time. A few of them followed me and I am not sure what happened to the rest of them. At this point I was expending way too much energy for the first loop as I was the leader and a small pack of runners kept pushing me faster. I suppose I could have let them pass but I was anxious and kind of pissed that we lost so much time.

Finally after back tracking a mile, I came to the turn off......it was so visible I am not sure how we all missed it. I turned and only five runners followed, I didn't see  the others.....perhaps they were still back at the road "discussing" which way to go.

At about 8 miles I started fading and two of the guys behind me passed. I was able to stay close to them but could not actually catch up. It suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't been fueling every 45 minutes like I planned. Don't know how I let that happen but it explained my bonk.

I finally finished this lap (which ended up being 10 miles total)  I was much more fatigued by now but decided to keep going after changing into the X-talon 212s. I knew there was no way to catch back up on the fueling and figured I would just see how the next lap felt.

The 212s did not bother me on the road portion (like I thought they would) and I could feel so much more traction in the woods. The first mountain hill sucked the life out of me and it was then that I wasn't sure if I would do another lap.

 On the down hills I felt much more stable and was able to run faster then the first lap,  slower on the up hills though ( no fault of the shoes). I did however manage to loose the trail a few times but not at the critical point this time. The last two miles I really had to push to keep running and just wanted to get back to the start.

 I quit at 18 miles, not quite the 23 I wanted but these were tougher miles than I planned and I just didn't know the terrain enough to do a few miles then find a loop back. The truth was, I was just plain beat and didn't have the desire to attempt a third lap.

I really enjoyed this run and the terrain. I felt more competitive ( kinda mid range rather than back of the pack)
First lap I ran 29th and second lap 26th. I was only passed by 6 runners 4 of which were Trail monsters lapping me and the other two I was able to stay with after.

Overall I felt really good about my performance here.

1st lap 9.89 @2:16:00 (ascent 1834--descent1695)
2nd lap 8:10@2:07:09  (ascent 1524- descent 1426)

I did have a bit of difficulty following the trail, it seems we could have used a bit of Trail monster style trail markings at critical turns.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Came This .... Close

Last night was the first track session. I planned this spring to run track to hopefully increase my speed a bit this year. I totally planned on track last year and I honestly don't remember why I didn't get there. I figured the first one is the most important as it sets the stage for continuing. So, it was on my schedule and I planned for it. First night was a mile time trial and I was pretty anxious to see where my mile time would be.

 All day I labored with the thought of running around in a circle for miles and miles. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it really isn't that enjoyable. Yeah I want to run faster but there are other ways to increase speed than track intervals.

 By the time 4:30 rolled around I had convinced myself to run something enjoyable. I scrapped the track plan and headed to Bradbury. I decided to run the connector trail from The brad to the power lines and see how the trail maintenance worked out.

 This run was so perfect and the trail was fantastic. The volunteers did a great job which made it very easy to follow. I also found the few stumps and roots that remained were quite easy to see and I actually didn't trip once.

 I worked every hill to spike the heart rate and simulate a speed workout. I felt strong right to the end and finished with a very good kick. I did notice that the return trip seemed to have more up hill and I worked much harder at times to maintain my pace.

 Even with me speeding up the last mile (which is mostly down hill grade) and kicking down to the 6 minute pace for the last tenth, I ran a slower time on the return. This tells me the return is more difficult.

I am not sure about the mileage though. When I ran this winter, I thought it was about 4 miles from the parking lot to the power lines. This trip came in at 3.4 miles one way (6.8 for the round trip) My Garmen is not very accurate at Bradbury and usually reads short so the 3.4 is an estimate (garmen actually read  1.34 over and 2.86 back)

Bradbury run

6.8 miles @1:14:17 (10:55 pace)
36:51 (10:51 pace)
37:26 (11:01 pace)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Excellent (and they didn't even know it)

 Saturday was  trail maintenance with the Trail Monsters and they decided an early run at Pineland before would work well. Normally I don't make these runs for a couple reasons. One I have severe scheduling issues that cause me to end up running at times that are usually much different than the pack. Two, most times the average group is much faster than me and I don't like slowing them down.

I thought about this when contemplating a run on Saturday morning and because my schedule allowed I elected to join. I had a bright idea to use this run as a race pace sort of time trial. I figured if I could tag onto the groups faster pace and use it as a time trail for the Pineland 5k, I would have a better idea of my potential race day performance.

 The idea couldn't have worked better for me. I ran 10k race pace for the first two miles and was able to stay fairly close to the group. The third mile I turned it on to more like 5k pace transcending to fast finishing kick.
From that point I continued at about 10K pace to round it off to 5 miles.

 I then stopped back at the parking lot and switched over to the New Balance Minimus  and ran another 2.5 miles to see how they felt on the Pineland trails (felt great).  I ran this at more of a 10K pace then ended with a half mile cooldown, all this before the rain started.

5 mile run  45:16 (9:04 av pace) X-Talon 212

7:16......149-154 (kicking third mile of the 5k race pace ----time 27:20  and an av pace of 8:49)
 8:38.....155-159 (second kick)

2.5 mile run    24:56 (9:58 pace)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Feeling Spring In My Step

Ran Pineland (back trails) after work and other than the damn wind, it was very enjoyable. I didn't mind the wet fields and the spongy soft trails though I ended up running bare naked........not what you are thinking.

The garmen quit, somehow I guess I neglected to charge it ( very unusual for me) but it turned out good in a way because I had the Nano running which was in my pocket so I couldn't monitor things as I ran.

Running without the constant checking to see if I was on my expected pace was uplifting and felt quit free.
In the end my pace was right where I figured and expected it to be.....go figure.

Not worrying about my heart rate and pace gave me the opportunity to actually look around and enjoy the run. I should do that more often.

This morning I made sure I got the Garmen on the charger......what?  I thought I was going to run more bare naked......sorry, can't change overnight now can I.

Did I say the wind sucked? Well it did, especially in the open fields.

6.4 miles @ 1:05:59  (10:19 pace)  I noticed a distinct cow field smell on the way home....it seems they have been spreading lately, this will really break in the 212s

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Milk from Japan is 300 times the legal limit for radiation.........why are we importing milk from Japan anyway????? Why would we need to import milk from anywhere are we now paying our farmers NOT to produce milk?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Look Out For Blue Lights

Lately I find myself peeking in the rear view with a sneaky feeling that the running police are lurking nearby. Is it smart to have your excuse all planned out or should a person just act all surprised and innocent? "gee officer, I didn't know I wasn't getting my runs in."

The week started out normal with a 3 mile hill workout and cross train on the bike, then on Wednesday a spinning workout on the bike for leg turnover (18 miles @115-144 rpms)finished off with the normal weight lifting regime and a run.

Then Thursday, the training schedule dried up and blew away in the wind.
Instead of the normal Thursday run, it was food and beer to celebrate my son's birthday, Ok easy to make that trade off if it is a one time thing.

Then Friday night I got roped into taking my Mom to Smuckers Stars on ice and a little more beer....which was well deserved ( being a runner...thus a fast walker, meandering with mom is nerve wracking). The night ended with a late return home hitting the sack at midnight with an early start on Saturday morning looming.

Up early Saturday morning and driving to Kennebunck for the granddaughter's swimming.....of course I wouldn't miss this and at least this week the water was warm. Take a shower, change and head to Boston.....Redsox/yankees and .......more beer.

Other than the Sox losing, it was a fantastic time. Arriving home late again and breaking the 350 mile mark driving since Friday night, I was not feeling like getting up early for a long run.

I figured I would get a few chores done then hit the trails for 10 miles or so. I wasn't really too worried about the mileage this week as it was actually a step back in my training.

Suddenly, the weekend was almost over and I had no run to log in. On top of that, Sunday afternoon was so sunny and warm ........I couldn't let excuses get in the way and finally hit the trail.

Though shorter than I wanted, 5.5 miles instead of 10, it was a great run. There was very little snow or ice to contend with... it truly felt like spring. I ended the weekend tired but relaxed and with the hope that the running police would leave me with just a warning.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Schedules and Commitments

Oh how grand it would be to have neither. If only running was my job.....I would really enjoy my work and I would have all the time I need to satisfy the trail running cravings.

I am so tired of having to "FIT" in my runs. As much as I enjoy my life, it could be a bit less hectic and why can't time slow down like it was when I was younger?

I had so many things to do last weekend that I didn't get in a long run. Not that it wasn't part of the plan but it kept taking a backseat to other things.

On the bright side, I did get to go swimming with my 6 month old granddaughter for her very first swim lesson. This is so important because we have a pool and we don't want have to worry. We had so much fun and she really enjoyed kicking and splashing.

I also had a bunch of trees to cut down and haul out so it's not like I didn't get a workout in. As a matter of fact, I was surprised to be so lame because I have been working out with weights all winter and felt the muscles were up to the task.......different kind of work for the muscles I guess.

In the end, my long trail run turned into a late Sunday 5 mile road run.....it wasn't bad but not what I had planned. It was nice however to see a faster pace when I downloaded my stats.

Even though I have not found a way to get in all the late winter / early spring runs I wanted, I did manage to pull off the largest month total in the ten years I have been running......138.6 for the month of March. A huge increase over the 94.6 for Feb and the 93.1 for January.

April is gearing up to be more of a struggle so not much chance of continuing the trend. On the bright side, I am going into the spring with no injuries and in a bit better shape than last year.

I am so ready to run on regular trails....with no snow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What The......

I was reading the thread on the Big A Badass at the end of April. Sounded intriguing, but I didn't know the particulars and Blaine didn't give a link to the info he received from Bob.

I thought about it and it seemed as though an attempt at 50K a month before pineland might turn out to be a good thing. If it went well and I managed to finish then perhaps I would feel ready to toe the line for the 50 miler......a stretch but still intriguing.

So I emailed Bab Asking about the procedure for signing up, assuming he would send me a copy of the update he sent Blaine. He emailed back........congratulations, the limited number is not reached yet and you are in!

What the ......? I'm signed up? I didn't mean....well I wasn't sure....uh, yeah I want to run it....but.........OK

YOU KNOW, some things just happen for a reason. One thing I worry about is taking up space, forcing out a really qualified runner who has trained and is ready for this run.

In my mind and vision I want to run 50k....50 miles...100 miles, but my body and condition never seems to be in sync with my mind. If only I could find more time to actually train for these types of runs.

My thoughts teeter totter from good to bad as I try to process my true feelings here. The plus about a Fatass is that it is more training related than racing. If I want to race 50k or 50 miles, I have to train and run it.

There would be no more perfect time than a month before Pineland to run a 50K. As I tried to rationalize my thoughts, I remembered Jeff's decision to skip Boston .......the difference there was he is totally capably on the physical level, his heart just was not in it.

My heart is in it, it's my body that may fail me. I think the real problem is that I don't want to put myself out on a limb, apparantly afraid of failing bothers me more than I figured.

What this whole thought process proves to me is that, even though I ran a 50k and that should qualify me as an ultra runner, in my mind, I am still an ultrarunner wanna-be. I am forced to admit I am not confident in myself or my running.

I feel if you want something then you have to go after it and I want it.....so it apears I will show up and run as much of the 50k as I can and hopefully I will be able to have some pride in the end

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bla..Bla..Bla...I'm Over it

What a difference a nice hard run and a day makes. I am over my wasted space and blog entry yesterday as I had a nice tempo run at Pineland to re-affirm that it's all about getting out on the trails and enjoying the run.

I signed up for the Barefoot 5K (shod) yesterday and honestly I got all fired up to run a 5K pretty hard. I decided to check out Pineland and see if it was actually runable.

I found a lot of snow still left where the snowpacker had groomed the trail but it was quite soft so the footing was pretty loose. The exposed areas were soft and muddy so regardless of where I planted the feet, I found softness and very little push off.

I ran into small yellow signs at almost every intersection that said wrong way.....I assume it had something to do with the skiers......yet it seemed like every way was the wrong way.

I paid little attention to the signs and ran the "supposingly" 5k loop in the normal racing direction. Now I say 5k loop but honestly I always thought it was a bit longer than 3.1 miles. My garmen read 3.33 miles and it being an old 301 that always reads short unless I am running on the open road in pure sunlight, I feel this is surely a 5K++. For the purpose of not bursting my "time trial" bubble,I called it 3.4 miles for today's run.

I put a lot of effort into this run and my heart rate max of 160-163 peaks on each mile, shows that to be true. The total time and mile pace doesn't reflect the effort I put in, I assume because of the soft terrain. In the normal packed conditions, I expect today's run would have been in the 9 minute pace range.

I really enjoyed the "speed" run and again was quite impressed with the X-Talon 212s. They were comfortable, had plenty of grip and just plain felt like they belonged on my feet. I can't wait to try this route with the MT10 Minimus.

In regards to yesterdays entry, I am just going to continue to get in all the planned runs I can and see how things play out for the Pineland Challenge Festival.
Right now, I am signed up for the 5k barefoot and the 25k race, if I feel qualified, I may step up on race day......we will see.

Pineland 5K

3.4 miles @36:10 (10:39 pace)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Am I Crazy.....And Where Did The Time Go?

Flashback a few months a go, sitting at my desk and painstakingly planning my future. Boy was I going to be ready for racing in 2011! I could vision a lean racing machine with tuned muscles pulsating in anticipation.

It was an elaborate mix of colored charts, graphs, crypt massages, eating healthy, running long and hard, cross training with vengeance and lots of weight workouts. I even started a weight loss program (goal 20 lbs in 15 weeks).

Not that I was really fat in the sense of couch potato vision, but for the last 20 years of my life I have had a bit extra weight kicking around in certain places that never seemed to go completely away.

I started the Biggest loser program knowing full well that I couldn't lose enough weight percentage to win anything but thought it would at least give me a goal and keep me honest.

I devised a 32 week training plan that would land me right at the starting line of the Pineland Challenge 50 miler. It seemed easy in theory and looked impressive on paper. 2 weeks of easy running and training ( nothing specific) 7 weeks of PRE-base with 3 rest days, 2 cross training days and 2 running days one of which would be the long run.

Next 6 weeks of base training to round off the first 16 weeks. This would consist of 1 rest day, 1 easy jog or rest, 1 day hill training, 2 days short run, 1 day long run and 2 days strength. I figured by the end of this 16 week period, I would be averaging about 35 miles a week and be ready for the real 16 week plan.

February 19th was the end of the first 16 week schedule and about 8 weeks (halfway)into the weight loss program. Though I struggled to stay with the plan because of many outside interruptions and obligations, I did manage to lose 8 lbs and finish of the plan with a week high of 29 miles......both a bit shy of my goals but still respectable.

The second 16 week phase consisted of 9 weeks build starting at 35 miles a week, ending at a high of 50 miles, the longest run at 20 and a weight loss of 20 lbs. I am 2/3 through the build phase with a week high of only 32 miles, a long run of 12 miles and a weight loss of 12 lbs. Hmmmnnn....not quite on target.

Today, it suddenly hit me that my plan has same flaws.....why didn't I notice it before. When I trained for the 50K, by the time I was half through the build phase, I had already run three 3-4 hour long runs about 2/3 the estimated time of my planned race.

I did allow for three longer runs of 4-6 hours in my plan but for some reason put them all in the peak phase, one each week. That would be three consecutive weekends with a hope that I would not injure myself or have any type of scheduling interference from my real life. The other thing I apparently didn't think about was giving my body enough time to recover between the long runs.

Fast forward back to today and I am thinking I was pretty crazy with this schedule as it is barely enough planning for a 50k never mind a 50 miler. I want to go into my first 50 miler with at least a chance of finishing, it seems this training has not done that.

I still have 3 weeks base, 3 weeks peak and 3 weeks taper before the race. In a perfect world, things could fall into place for the 50K at least. I just sit here wondering.....where did all the time go?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Not What Was Expected

Saturday I ran at Bradbury with my son and my son in law. We decided to run the connector and see how far we could get without hitting un passable water. I fully expected it to be much worse than last weekend and was quite surprised to find very good trails and very little water to worry about.

The first part of the connector had been traveled enough the be fairly easy .....until we reached the first river crossing. Off to the right there was a log across the river and I found it very easy to walk across as the new X-Talon 212s gripped amazingly.

I felt pretty manly as the others found the need to shimmy on their stomachs. After this crossing the trail was less prominent until we reached Tyrone and there was much more traffic from the Lawrence road parking. The second river crossing was easy as the new bridge was complete and it was amazing.

The rest of the trail was much more difficult as there was only one set of footprints there. After reaching the power lines, it was much easier and I was surprised to find no difficult saturated areas. we followed the BL loop south side trail back to Bradbury.......it was a great run and the 212s were absolutely perfect.

A great recovery Tempo run at Bradbury east with the minimus MT10s. Even with the loss in traction compared to the 212s of yesterday, we managed about a 9:30 pace ...
which felt great. I am impressed with both pairs of new runners and can't wait for the Snow to completely melt exposing the normal trails.

Saturday: appr 9 miles @1:50:32
Sunday: 3 miles @28:32

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clothes Don't Make The Man

As clothes don't make the man, neither do shoes make a runner. Yet, I have felt lately that running shoes do affect my running even if only on a psychological level. I find myself drooling over pages of shoe specs and descriptions.

Some manufacturers claim that the extra support of their shoe will make you run like the wind, others make an about face stating the less support the better and some demand that barefoot is the answer to all our running prayers.

When I was younger I pestered my Mother to buy me PF Flyers. The TV advertisement guaranteed that it was like running with wings on your shoes......well back then they were called sneakers and actually I didn't even run back then so why I needed a pair does not make sense, but I suppose I was thinking if I had a pair and needed to run for some reason, I could run real fast.

Now that I think of it, I also wanted a pair of bell bottom pants which would be counteractive to flying shoes as they would act more like a parachute. I didn't get the flying sneakers, but I did get the bell bottoms so I guess it worked out.

So anyway......to get back on the subject, about a month ago I bought a pair of NB Minimus and I love them...then last night I got a pair of X-Talon 212 .....I ran in them immediately and I loved them.

I also signed up for the L L Bean 10k and will be getting a new pair of 1064s. My old 1062s only have about 200 miles on them and are still in good shape. I suspect I don't really need a new pair but I still want them. The 212s will be replacing my Cascadia 4s (528 miles) which actually still look quite new and seem to have plenty of miles left in them.

I also have a pair of New Balance 572s which are very similar to the Cascadias and those have less miles than the Brooks but look much older. I bought a pair of New balance 621 trail shoes and they are OK but really not as good as the 572s

To round off the list of shoes I have acquired and really like, the North face XCR 103s, which I use with screws for winter trail running, Brooks T3 and T4 road racers, all of my new balance 700 series 762,63,64,65,66, ( didn't buy the 67 or 68s), Nike 180,180+ and Nike Zoom air (I think the word zoom got me.) All of these have hundreds of miles on them.

It hasn't been a smooth ride though as I bought as many that I didn't like or didn't work well .....NB Mt800(hated these), Loco Curumba, Nike air Pegasus, Puma spikes,Nike air spikes, Nike air 2.5 (not sure what the 2.5 means unless it relates to how many miles you run before you realize you hate them.)

The point is, I started thinking about this and became some what embarrassed......I know women who have less shoes than me and my wife the other day mentioned I should buy one of those big shoe racks to put my running shoes on.

I have 16 pairs of "active" runners and a lot more that have been put on the inactive list, yet I keep them "just in case" I guess for emergencies? In case all my active shoes have previous engagements or are too tired to go out for a run?

To give myself some credit, I do not buy sneakers for other uses, my older ones migrate down from runners to the shoes guest use when they forgot their runners,then to the workout room, then to everyday walkers, then lawn mowing and finally dirty outside work.

What does this all mean? Who knows, All I know is I am happy as hell and anxiously waiting to christen my new X-talon 212s in a muddy romping run!! Biting at the bit to try the Minmus at Pineland and ready to put the Northface screw shoes away for the season. Even if shoes don't make the runner, I sure look good in the 212s

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Almost Spring Weekend

This weekend turned out to be an odd mix as the weather decided to add a kick to my brains desire for spring. Friday, I was antsy all day waiting to get outside and run.
Once home I decided to wear the Minmus and run my favorite local ....the pit loop. This is not traveled at all during the winter, but with all this snow melt happening, I figured it should be run able.

I felt great running the ditch of the road heading toward the pit. As soon as I hit the trail at the pit entrance, I realized my calculations were way wrong.....there was still 2 feet of snow with a slight crust that ripped at my legs as I post holed for about 1 mile..uphill.

After the hill, hitting the dirt road was a treat and I enjoyed a speedier return home. This was by far the slowest I have ever run this route. I sure wish I had worn the sleeves over my Calv's.

SATURDAY morning my intention was to run Ian's planned route for the trail monsters. I figured I could probably hang with their pace for a couple miles but then would be able to follow their tracks as the fresh fallen snow would make it easy.

My first glitch in the plan was arriving 10 minutes late at Bradbury and missing the group. I am not usually late for anything but a flat tire on the truck had a different plan.

Though the first three miles of the BL in reverse is pretty killer as far as hills go, I loved the scenery as the gentle fallen snow coated everything. The trails were much better than I expected and the tracks of the trail monsters were easy to follow.

When I hit Lieghton road, I could see that the trail would normally continue to the other side but the trailmonsters hit the dirt road and I followed assuming there would be a problem crossing the river further down.

After crossing the river via bridge, I ran into Erik and his four legged companion on their way back (I can't seem to remember his pups name) and he said the group was not too far ahead.

About a half mile up the railroad tracks I met up with Val, Rick and Mindy on their way back. They left the group at the bushwhack trail to Oakhill. I said my goodbyes and decided to at least go until 6 miles before I turned around. This took me to the newly bushwhacked trail, which didn't look all that inviting.

I turned around and as I came out onto the road where I thought we ran down, I could see footprints crossing and heading down toward a new bridge. I didn't remember this at all but could see footprints crossing it so I followed.

I must say this was the nicest snowmobile bridge I have ever seen and I was sure I would have remembered it. Once on the other side I could see that the runners had apparently realized they took a wrong turn and headed back.

I stopped for a second and contemplated turning around too. My instincts told me that this power line would bring me back to the road crossing I saw at Leighton road and assumed Ian hit the road thinking this river would be uncrossable.

I was right as not long after following the powerlines I came across the trail heading back toward Bradbury (I assumed I was on the BL loop at this point) I was pretty darn proud of myself but that was short lived as I hit some fairly wet areas in the field leading up to Brown road and it slowed my progress quite a bit.

After crossing Leighton road, the trail back to Bradbury was quite pleasant as I enjoyed going down all those tough hills. After I crossed route 9, the fatigue was setting in and I decided to hit the short cut back to the start instead of following the snowmobile trail. I figured, how bad could it be as there was some foot traffic on this trail.

I found this to be a huge mistake and instead of an easy short cut back, I had a difficult post hole walk for about 3/4 mile. I should have just followed the trail.
Not only did the slow pace post holing affect my overall time, give me my slowest mile of the run but I ended up with only 5 miles on the return giving me 11 total instead of the 12 that I wanted. What was I thinking?

3 miles @ 32:15

11 miles @2:18:20 (12:35 pace) 143-155 (aver & max heart rate)

Sunday...out of town...no run

Monday, March 14, 2011

No Divining Rod Needed

I anticipated some pretty tough conditions on Saturday's run especially after all the rain and warm weather. My plan was to attempt Ian's Beautiful loop (though I wasn't entirely sure where the cut back was from the power lines)

I knew 15 miles on soft wet trails would probably be a bit much for me in this stage of my training and I suspected I might find more standing water than I wanted, but no harm in trying and if need be I could cut the run short.

The early start worked quite well through the park and all the way to the pit. Though I did happen across some very wet areas and I did post hole occasional, I was able to bypass most of the deep water.

The icy areas were pretty slippery so I was glad I wore my screw shoes as the extra traction felt great. Unlike last weekend, I dressed just about right and did not overheat at all.

Things changed a bit once I reached the open field and the power lines. No divining rod was needed as hidden rivers were easily exposed each time the thin melting top crust suddenly gave way. It was a well drillers dream and a post holing nightmare.

There was no way of telling how strong the ice covered areas of the trail were until I fully committed the weight on each foot. At depths of as much as 1-2 feet, the going was pretty slow and my feet were getting darn cold.

After crossing route 9, I decided to try and move to higher elevation. though there was a less traveled trail which was much softer, post holing without water would be much more comfortable than this.

This worked pretty good until I happened across an area that was completely flooded. I didn't want to turn around and deal with the crap I just went though and I remember passing a snowmobile trail heading into the woods.

I opted to go back and try it out. I thought perhaps it might be a way around the newly formed lake. The further I followed it, the less prominent the trail was and finally I found myself at the end of a long dirt driveway at someones house.

My only real choice at this point was to follow the drive back to the road which ended up being route 9. I followed 9 up to Brown road and figured I could link back up with the trail that way.

Funny how timing can be as I reached the trail crossing at Brown road exactly when the trail monster group was crossing. We talked for a few, I warned them of the water problems on the power lines and we said our good byes.

At this point I was a bit past nine miles on my garmen and I figured about three miles back to Bradbury. My body was glad to crest the last part of the hill two miles later and enjoyed the one mile down hill finish.

The fact that I still felt pretty good after 12 miles was uplifting and I found myself wishing I had been able to do the whole 15 mile loop. Considering how much the power lines slowed me down, I was fairly happy with my overall pace. Little did I know that this would not be my last trip to Bradbury this weekend.

Sunday morning I planned on just lazing around and doing a few things around the house and perhaps getting in an easy road run as a weekend cooldown. Kev was home for the weekend and we decided to run at Bradbury instead of the roads.

Though I suspected it would be a foolish decision, I opted to wear my new Minimus for this run as we planned only 3 or 4 miles. The uphills were a little slippery and softer than yesterday but the ice was not as bad as I envisioned without screws and the downs were no problem at all.

I loved the feel of the minimus and for the second run in them, I was happy that I experienced no problems. I did feel a bit of muscle fatigue in the quads from the long run yesterday but very little in the calfs.

Saturday 12 miles @2:23:10 (11:55 pace)
Sunday 4 miles @42:38 (10:39 pace) 2 mile out and back 21:49 out, 20:40 return.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Official Training

The first week of March and My first week of official training.
Ok...well not Official but when I actually start paying attention to my progress.

Mon. Weight Training & plyometrics
Tues. Gazelle (4 miles) & weights-core
Wed. Stationary bike 12 miles ...spinning (quad killer) & plyometrics
Thur. Tread mill 5k hill (10% grade) & bike cooldown & balance
Fri. Dinner and Beer (rest)
Sat. Trail run (snowmobile..Bradbury) 8 miles & shoveling the roof
Sun. 3.2 mile Tempo (with the new Minimus shoe)

I could feel the benefit of the 10%grade treadmill runs from the winter on the hills of the run Sunday, though part of the credit could also go to snowshoe running on "the Brad".

I was very pleased with the effort on the snowmobile trail Sunday as I was high in the Heart rate zone and able to maintain the effort. Hitting 160 heart rate during a run is about 90% effort for me and I was able to pass 160(162-165) in all except one of the miles, which I peaked at 159.

I am really looking forward to some spring running.....

Monday, February 28, 2011

Bradbury Blizzard

Courtesy of Dave Young:

A memory of me: heading for the finish ...notice the white snow dust behind me, it was a sprint

actually finishing the race ....and glad to be done.

A less accommodating one of me struggling on an uphill
Note: no snow dust....not moving too fast here

The Bradbury Blizzard.......an excellent combination of breathtaking (I mean actually taking your breath away) up hills and crazy single track twisting downhills that take almost as much energy to maintain an upright position.

After snow shoeing the Bradbury White out a couple weeks ago I realized that snow shoe racing on this type of terrain was not something I was very good at, well actually I should classify it snowshoe walk/running.

The down hills at the Whiteout proved that my core muscles were not anywhere near up to par so I decided to work on them a little harder for the Blizzard. I think the extra work helped but with the softer and deeper unpacked snow, I really couldn't compare the two.

This being only my second snowshoe race and the fact that I really struggled during the first race, it was easy to decide to start in the rear again.....only this time I started dead last. I can tell you that all those other snowshoers throwing powdery snow in the air in front of me actually made me glad I hung back a bit.

The first half mile of the race was a crazy twisty uphill and I was so winded at the top, I couldn't imagine running five miles. I thought of quiting which is a common feeling for me in the start of any race, of course I didn't plus I figured I would wait until after the down and see how well I recouped.

Unfortunately, the downhill which usually allows for a little rest because of the pull of gravity, did not offer any rest in these conditions. The constant need to keep the body upright as the twisting trails, skinny single track and soft snow tried their hardest to throw me down and suck all the energy from my body, had me wishing for an uphill.

Once the uphill arrived, I was wishing I would pass out so I could get a ride down on a stretcher. My spirits were uplifted a bit as I passed a couple people in the first mile, then a couple more during the rest of the first loop.

I was actually ahead of a couple runners that beat me in the last race, so I was beginning to feel better and I was settling in to a steady pace. At the halfway point I was actually considering trying to speed up a bit to maintain my position of not being last.

The trek up the switchback trail for the second time convinced me that perhaps I should just be happy to finish, never mind beat anyone. As I crossed the peak and started the downhill, it suddenly dawned on me that even though I was beat, I was having fun, yeah it was tough but at the same time, how many people show up for an event like this..........only the toughest.

During the second loop, I passed three more "faster" runners only to have them eventually pass me back. As I realized the last mile coming near, I tried to stay right on a runners tail in hopes of out kicking in the end to steal a spot. Problem is, she was much faster than me on the uphills. I figured the last down hill on the Terrace trail would be my only hope, so I threw caution to the wind and went by.

All I had to do now is maintain the distance and actually earn my spot. Somehow I stayed in front and found a little bit extra for a finishing kick. It helped that I could hear the trail Monsters yelling as I rounded the last corner. Taken out of context, one would think I was the first finisher rather than almost the last.

Again Ryan and all the volunteers created an amazing experience. Much more memorable than all those road races where a I am in the mix of hundreds of people crossing the finish line where no one knows your name. I guess being part of the Trail Monsters is a modern version of Cheers but instead of meeting at the bar, we meet in the trails.

I found out later when I down loaded the Garmen that I did in fact run a faster second loop. What is funny, is that now, a day later I can envision all those times I slowed down and I feel that I not only could I have but I should have run faster at those points. It is so much easier to "say" I could have than to actually find the strength to do it on race day.

It was a bit disappointing not to earn the "Baddass" status and get one of those rare Badass hats. Congrats to all the did.