Thursday, January 27, 2011

At Least I Have Color

One thing I have going for me is that my workout graph is becoming quite colorful...whether or not I am gaining with this type of crosstraining diversity remains to be seen.

This winter I am trying to shed the one dimensional running type workout by mixing things up. My hope is that the various types will give me better stamina, better speed and less overuse injuries for the spring races.

This system allows me to workout more often without having to incorporate so many rest days and at the same time fits well with my work schedule which is usually 12 hour days.

The training and body workout parts of the workout consists of weights, cardio,boxing,plyometrics, balance and core. Not all the same every night, but mixing things up. All of the treadmill runs are on a high angle of 8-10 degrees to help equalize the fact that I am not outside fighting wind resistance.

On weekends I try to get outside runs both days to keep the running legs fresh. This workout routine seems to be working well as I am not fighting as much fatigue this winter and I am have been dropping a couple pounds each week.

By spring I should be in good running/racing shape......At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I usually put on a few pounds in the winter months and successfully shed them back off in the spring, it is a total of about ten pounds. For some reason in 2010 I didn't shed the winter weight by maybe a few pounds or so. Not sure why and when I looked at January 2011 compared to the last 8 January's, I was a bit surprised....this year was the heaviest of all.

I decided to work a bit harder, do the unthinkable and watch my calories some. I get plenty of exercise so that is not my problem.......eating is. I think by paying a little more attention to my diet (I am getting older) I should be fine.

My hope is to get down to my racing weight I was back in 2001-2003. It seems part of my speed disappointment would be curbed if I dropped the extra weight. Most people would probably not notice the difference, but to me 10-15 pounds is huge when it comes to performance.

I am already back down to my normal January weight and I have only been working at this for 3 pretty happy about the steady progress. I am not in a huge hurry as I think the slower one loses, the longer it stays off. I think of it more like a tweak in my eating habits, not taking anything I like not a diet so much as a controlled eating.

I am determined and I hope that 2011 will bring some type of PR, though missing my first snowshoe race cost me a new PR already. If nothing else, at least trimming up and working on speed will help me keep up better when running with the Trail Monsters.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Guilty As Charged

It seems much easier to view the weekend as a whole to help me feel better about my decisions.... or really one specific decision.

Sunday morning, 7am.....I felt the same as I figure the Patriots felt when they entered game day last week against the Jets. I had a plan and for 4 weeks prior, I did all the right things, I cross trained hard, I snowshoed the course on a very cold morning, I ate right, exercised and managed to lose 5 lbs, though I was feeling a bit tired from the workouts on Saturday, I was ready.

I procrastinated a bit this year, which is really not that unusual for me. There were many things I had not accomplished around the house for cold weather and the forecast for Sunday night into Monday was sounding pretty severe.

Saturday, I shoveled, cleaned roofs,got some time in on the snow shoes, actually worked my butt off to get as much done so I could ease any tensions for Sunday's race and the two football games. Though I did not accomplish everything I needed, the spill over to Sunday morning should not interfere with my plans.

Sunday morning I slept in a bit and didn't roll out of bed until 6:30 am,I was quite lame from Saturdays work but spirits were high and I felt good. By 7am I was ready and raring to get started with my remaining chores and three hours seemed like enough time as the race was not until 11 am.

My morning fell apart quick and even though I can cite numerous reasons why racing at Bradbury was slipping from the picture, none of them were really valid.

I could rationalize and exclaim how cold it was....yet last weekend I was out snowshoe running at 7:30 am and at about the same temps and on the same course.

I ran out of supplies for my cold weather prep and had to take time for a trip to Home Depot.......yet I stopped working for about an hour to go out to breakfast.

I was pretty darn lame from Saturday yet I managed to get up on the roof to clean snow so I can't use that as an excuse.

I spent all last week exclaiming how the patriots didn't show up for the game against the Jets, I couldn't understand how could they prepare so hard and just not deliver on game day.

Here I was Sunday morning after many weeks of preparing for a fun snowshoe race and like the Patriots, I didn't show up.....though for me it was literal.

To stay true with my confessions, I just didn't want to go......oh, I rationalized and could cite many reasons and excuses but to be honest I didn't have it in me on this day.

So... here I am guilty as charged, I didn't break a bone, no one in my family passed away, I had no emergency to keep me away.......I just didn't show up and though I was fine with it at the time, right now I am a bit pissed at myself.

At least the Jets lost!

Monday, January 17, 2011


There is no hill running in Antarctica

Saturday I was at work for a half day which messed up my plan of getting in a few road miles. I did however do some sprint workouts as I worked on the treadmill when I got home and had to test it.

I really do not prefer the treadmill, but honestly there are times it comes in real handy and may be the difference between getting some miles in and not. it is quite a time saver for me to be able to get in a run while I am multi tasking like watching the news or when on call for work.

The problem with the treadmill is intermittent stopping for no planned reason. So while working on it I put the darn thing on 10 and ran until it stopped. This created intervals of 30-50 seconds and gave me an great workout while trouble shooting.

I didn't end up solving the problem but at least the thing is spotless clean now and I can use it for long slow running or some fast intervals. My intent is to replace it next year.

Sunday morning my plan was to run the Snow Squall course with the Trail Monsters. I went early with a plan of warming up for a bit on the new snow shoes. There was one car coming in when I did and the guy jumped out, threw on his snow shoes and started running. It didn't seem like he was running very fast so I took off after him.

It wasn't long before I realized that the hill was really slowing me down and catching my breath was more of an issue than catching the snowshoer. I found myself power walking a good portion of the first mile, which was actually a packed down snowmobile track.

Once I hit the summit the packed trail was gone and I felt so much better on the down hill portion. I really like running downhill in a partially packed powder and my cardio was happier too.

It wasn't until I was halfway down the Tote road trail that I remembered my plan was a short warm up and I was already 20 minutes into the run. I suspected it wouldn't matter much because the trail monsters were probably not far behind me and they would surely catch up.

I looped all the way back to the packed snowmobile trail before I ran into the Ian, Ryan and the others. They must have started later than they planned. I had a great run but at the same time, I was glad to be done.

My only complaint (other than not having enough cardio) was being a bit too hot. Once I got running, I realized that I overdressed and spent a lot of the time carrying my gloves. I could have easily shed at least two layers and still been warm enough.

The Tubbs running snow shoes were perfect, I didn't hit my legs once (like I do with the aluminum shoes)They felt very comfortable running down hill, they flexed with the uneven terrain very well and they didn't feel that heavy.

Somehow, I messed up on the ski trail and ended up at the Summit then hit the Tote road from there, back tracked a few times then followed it back to the ski trail so I didn't actual run the whole course.

3 miles snowshoeing @43:53 (14:11 pace)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Confessions Of A Trailrunner

I changed the name of my blog. Though I am serious about my running and I love the trails, to consider myself anything other than a recreational runner wouldn't be fair to the dedicated runners out there.

I was talking to someone the other day and speaking as an ultra runner, I suddenly stopped and realized it was actually two years ago that I ran the Pineland 50k (my first and only ultra race so far) There are many true ultra runners who don't consider the 50k to be long enough to qualify and if you don't accomplish at least 50 miles, then you are not a true ultra runner.

As I sat and thought long and hard, I found it difficult to classify my running. It seems my aspirations were always much grander than my accomplishments. I suppose I was not dedicated enough to step into the abyss and put full 100 percent effort into training for a race and then leaving nothing on the table as I collapse at the finish.

When I first started running (at 46 years old), I had the drive and commitment. I raced every run in preparation for 5Ks and 10Ks, both of which I did pretty well at and could easily consider myself a road racer.

Problem was the constant racing instead of running was taking it's toll and I had continuous injuries. I didn't leave time for recovery or rest so the fast times started dwindling and the harder I tried, the worse it got.

I finally realized how stupid I was about racing and running as a whole. With no rest and no easy enjoyable running, I became burnt out and finally I pushed too hard and broke my ankle. This change of events forced me to re-evaluate and slow down a bit.

I am not writing all this for you (the readers) benefit but more for my own. I need to realize that my brain concocts all these massive goals, ones that I either can not or do not bring to a reality.

I understand that at 55 years old and with many personal commitments right now, that I can not train to race with any real expectations other than perhaps finishing a few long races and trying to run a respectable time for the amount of training.

I am humbled by the people who find the time to run 100 miles a week, humbled by the ultra runners who find it within themselves to master 100 miles at once, humbled by the runners who can finish at the front of the pack.

So.... here I am giving confession. In 2006 I ran the Maine Marathon. I did very well and started calling myself a marathoner. I had hoped to beat four hours and almost did with a time of 4:01. I decided I would train harder and qualify for Boston.

Here it is fives years later and I not only haven't qualified, but I actually have not even run a second marathon. You see my goals reached far beyond my accomplishments yet I still considered myself a marathoner......just like I consider myself an ultra runner.

Doing something once does not qualify a person to be a master. I could drive around town like a maniac, speeding all over the place, practice racing at the local track, enter in a race and actually race it.........does that make me a race car driver?

I suspect it does as long as I continue showing up at the track and racing to the best of my ability week in and week out. If I only practice when time permits and show up at a couple special races, wouldn't I be a recreational driver?

Don't get me wrong, it's OK to be a recreational race car driver (or runner) but one has to be realistic and not think they can somehow race the Indy 500. I have to find peace within myself to accept and hopefully embrace the goal of running new and different kinds of races or events but not with illusions of grander.

I guess I just want to be honest with myself. I call myself Pathfinder though in actualality I am more like Pathfollower..... I can call myself a trail racer but periodically I have to take the time to go to confession, look through realistic glasses and admit to myself that I am merely a person who loves running, loves trails......not a marathoner, not an ultra runner, just a trail runner.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Good Week And A New Age Group

It's the first week in 2011 and I already have so much to talk about. I had a birthday which put me into a new racing age group (for most of the larger road races). Also I joined in with a Biggest Loser contest at work. Not that I could lose enough to win anything or that I really need a contest because I usually lose a good percentage of weight as spring arrives.

I just figured it would be fun and also give me a bit extra incentive to get down to a more conceivable racing weight for the spring. last year I never really trimmed to the point I wanted or knew was best for me.

I weighed in the lightest of the group at work but a full 10 lbs heavier than my scale at home. Granted I was fully dressed and wearing boots but the number still surprised me.

Our heaviest guy was 300 lbs and I weighed in at 198 I suspect I am at a bit of a disadvantage even when figuring percentage of weight lost. My best racing weight in the past was 165 so I have about 25 lbs of wiggle room I guess.

My plan is simple, cross train a bit more,monitor the calorie intake to keep it around 2000 per day and get in a long workout/run on the weekend. I have quite a few options for cross training, besides having a weight room, I also have a stationary bike,a treadmill, a gazelle and a rower.

All week I worked out each night and kept my calorie intake around 2000 without deterring from the occasional beer or giving up the foods I like. It went well and as luck would have it the GAC Fatass was on Saturday.

My son Kev came home the weekend and decided to run GAC with me, he was just starting to ramp up his mileage (coming back from injury) and figured a 12 miler at my slow pace would be perfect for him.

There was a lot of Trailmonster talk the week leading up to the GAC 50k so I expected to see plenty of trailmonsters it ended up, I didn't see one. Part of that was caused by the large turn out and the fact that I ended up starting in the rear of the group with only a couple people behind me.

Kev was lagging with his attire (I pulled 8 screws out of my shoes for him)then he opted for a bio break at the last second. I could have waited but the group was already heading for the woods and he assured me he would have no trouble catching up to me.

The first half mile was pure murder and the walk / run surges drove me crazy. The second half was only slightly better though I did manage to pass a couple dozen runners. Later when checking my pace, I figured I lost more than a full minute in the first mile.

I was glad to see the trails were much better than last year but wasn't sure how much faster I would run because my condition this year was lagging compared to last year and the ground was extremely uneven with frozen ice and snow causing more stress on the legs and ankles.

Kev ended up starting 6 minutes behind the group but was still able to catch up to me at the end of mile three. This put him at about 9 minute pace for the first three miles. I was running about 11:30 pace, which felt good and by mile three I had passed at least 20-30 runners.

I handled the single track hill in mile four much better this year and felt really good until about mile nine and the second run up the single track hill. The next two miles were a bit of a struggle at times but the ease of the open tar trail of the last 3/4 mile allowed me to pick up the pace and feel like I finished strong.

I was glad to be done and was happy that I crushed last years time on both laps. Our plan was to hit some god awful greasy, fat filled fast food place on the way home to celebrate our calorie usage and decided on was fantastic and left me with no guilt feeling what so ever.

Overall 12.4 miles 2:25:03 (11:42 pace)
My first lap 1:10:18 (11:20 pace)
12:51...150-159 (largest hill)
10:17...160 (last .2)
Second lap 1:14:45 (12:03 pace)
13:47....153-160 (largest hill)

Last year was 2:53:54 (13:59 pace)

Monday, January 3, 2011

First (or last) snow shoe of the year

Picked up my new snow shoes Friday and decided to give them a try. I am not sure if I should call it my first snow shoe of the year or the last (as it was Dec 31st).

The weather couldn't have been nicer and the trails were already well packed on the power lines. The first thing I noticed about these new snow shoes was the flex when landing on uneven ground (much better than my old aluminum frame shoes)

The second thing was the smaller lighter composite frame is much more runner friendly. Though I fatigued very quickly, it was no where near as bad as the old heavier ones.

The durability could be a factor with these shoes, but with the amount of running and racing (well not racing so much as running at races)I will be doing, I don't suspect it will present a problem.

I am so glad I got out Friday as the warm weekend pretty much killed our snow cover.
Saturday I decided to hit Back bay which was not all that pleasant ....Oh the weather was great, but the trail was soggy, wet and muddy which would be fine for trails but difficult not to splash others.

Sunday was football day, we went to the Stadium in Portland and watched all the games that we could. The beer, the wings and the company was good and the games were great. Most of our favorite teams won.

I ended 2010 with 1010 miles which did not beat last years total of 1140 but still was more miles than any previous year. I am hoping to step things up a bit in 2011 as I start training for a possible 50 miler at Pineland.

I say possible 50 miler because I have a busy spring and at this point can not predict whether I will get the training in I need for that distance. Right now I am planning it and as the event gets closer I will critique the distance.

The last thing I want is half ass training turning into a half ass finish...or finish!