Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Trail Running-----Again

Sunday morning up early for my weekly road run (as of late) but decided to head to the Brad and see how the knee handles the trails. Ran 6 miles with absolutely no issues ....other then the usual garmen reading incorrectly.

I arrived with the intent of parking outside the gate because it was so early but the gate was open. I assumed someone must already be running. There were no vehicles in the lot at all so at least I didn't have to fight for a parking spot. I wasted no time to hit the trails as I was quite anxious. It felt fantastic to be running on trails and what better place than Bradbury.

I figured 6 miles would be a perfect distance for starters and really only had about an hour window anyway. When I arrived back at the parking lot, there were two cars there and I  was pretty sure one of them was Vals. I suspected they must have run the connector or something on the west side.

 As usual around the holidays, I eat way too much, don't get much for runs in and in essence lose focus on my training. I don't get too worried though as I will get cracking the whip after Christmas
I love the holidays but at the same time can't wait for the pace to slow a bit and get back to normal.

 The knee issues have slowed me down more than normal and for the first time in three years I will not pass the 1000 mile mark. Though discouraging, I think I handled the injury fairly well and surely will be glad I took it easy rather than pushing through it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Great Run!!!

 My planned 8 miler Saturday morning went relatively fast, not sure if I was really feeling that good or excited about getting back for the fun day of Grandaughter feastivities.  We had both over for the day and a sleep over. They helped decorate the tree, we watched the northern light show at beans (twice) bought them presents ......(yeah I know, too close to Christmas)  and played.

The 8 mile route I run, I call my money loop. It is the one I use when I trainned for most of my short to mid distance races. The run is a very good mixture of small hills, one long hill and light traffic flow and if need be, I can add in a very long steep hill that adds another mile.

I felt good and had no knee pain what so ever...yeah

8 miles @1:12:28  (9:04 pace)

pace.......heart rate
9:07.......142-151 (small hills)
9:26.......147-153 (not sure what happened here, it was flat)
9:05.......152-163 (start of mile long hill)
9:25.......157-161 (still long hill)
8:44.......156-166 (strong finish but chose not to kick)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Sugar Coated DNF

  As more Time passes since Stone Cat 2012, the feeling of cop-out has become much stronger .  Though I rationalized my finish there to be a grand  marathon PR, the truth is that it was also my first real DNF.

 I have been known to rave about how there is no quit in me, yet on that day, I did consciously quit and it is not a good feeling to contend with. I am happy with my marathon time but at the same time accept the DNF for the 50 miler.

 It is easy a month later to look back and "feel" like I could have and should have continued. Perhaps I could have gone longer and probably should have continued until they stopped me but I didn't and that shows a lack of heart and conviction on my part.

Physically, I probably did the right thing and perhaps if I hadn't, I would feel the ramification of it in the start of the new 2013 season. What it all boils down to is, I didn't have it in me to finish a 50 miler.

This only means I have to change my training and mindset this year and hopefully find the means to  accomplish my goal.

 On the running side of things, I did get in a fairly long run Saturday. the first 5 (road)miles went very well and like the last run I felt no rustiness from the short layoff, the last 3 miles I ran on trails. The last mile of the five my left ITB acted up a little but not concerning, about halfway through the trail portion, it got very aggravated.

I don't know if it was the trails or the distance that brought it on but decided after to make sure I go into this season very slow and careful so not to jeopardize my plans.

8 mile run @1:11:15 (average 8:54 pace)

first 5.15 miles 44:17 @ 8:36 pace  with progressive negative splits
final 2.9 miles  26:58 @9:18 pace with positive splits and left knee pain.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


 Lately I find myself thinking about the new year and how I am going to position my runs and races.
I decided that I would do my best to find a way to attend more TM functions and started that by accepting the invite to  TILL WE MEET IN HELL and looked forward to the drinks later.

Problem is, a scheduling conflict arose and here I am declining a great event again not only that but I might also have a problem making it to the GAC fatass this year too..... this is already starting to feel like last year. I can't let this continue and have to find the means to get back on my planned track.

 Anyway, I seem to be catching myself daydreaming of great races and long runs.....It's a good sign that I am healthy and ready for the new season. I want, no I am going to run a 50 miler in 2013.

That being said, now all I have to do is find ways to keep outside interferences to the minimum, not sure how I am going to accomplish that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ON Track...I Guess

 December was the start of my new running season. After almost a month off from Stone Cat and the ITB issues, I felt pretty antsy to get out for a run.

  I decided to run the road, leave it short and slow, just wanted to see how much the condition has slid and whether the ITBs would act up. I expected a fair amount of rust and surely some struggling moments with the cardio.

 I headed out with very little expectation but quite excited to get a run behind me. To start with, Saturday morning was  kinda cold and it took a bit to figure out just how much to wear. As soon as there was enough light, I hit the road running and figured a 5k would probably be enough.

  I actually felt great, but purposely did not check my watch. I wanted to run by feel and just enjoy it. I call this loop a 5K but it actually measures 3.15 and has a fair amount of hills in the second mile so it is a good 5K training loop.

  To my surprise, I felt like I was running at a fairly fast clip and there was no rust , ITB or cardio issues at all. It was like I never took a break. Perhaps the lay off was just what the body needed.

 When I hit the second mile which is pretty much a steady incline, I expected to suffer a little but to my wonderment, I just worked the hill with ease. The only point I felt a slight bit out of shape was the last 1.5 miles which ended up being a somewhat pathetic attempt at a finishing turn over at all though I did manage to speed up some.

  The run felt great and I was quite excited to review the stats and find that it was fairly speedy too. I ran close to 8 minute pace which is about where I normally run my tempo runs when training for 10 Ks Overall quite happy with this run.

3.15 miles @25:42 (8:10 pace)
8:36.....153-167 (hills)
6:28.....162-166 (last 1.5 kick)

Monday, November 19, 2012


My last scheduled 2012 race was Stone Cat, though I had visions of maybe picking up a 5k or something. I have no complaints what so ever for the year. I PRed every race I ran ( except for the ones where I paced someone else)The only disappointment for the year was not accomplishing a 50 miler. I plan to take it easy for a couple months ( to hopefully get ahead of the IT Band issue) and then set a plan in place for 2013. I am toying with starting a training plan for May and perhaps run the 50 miler at Pineland.....not to sure yet but the thought is rambling around my head. I am heading into the winter in the best shape I have been for years, so training for the 50 miler seems pretty feasible. It's all about finding enough time to run for hours on end .......the only element missing from my fall training and surely the reason for the ITB issues. In the past I have used a treadmill to get in some running during the dark weekdays of winter and got my long runs outside on the weekends. This worked relatively well and allowed me to do some speed work. This year it will be different because my treadmill has finally giving out after 8 years of hard labor. I suspect I will be substituting with night road runs and weight room work outs. Right now I plan on a run when ever it fits the schedule kind of routine until after the Christmas holidays with my first run being after thanksgiving day. I have allowed over two weeks for the ITB and will start off with fairly short runs for a while....depending on how the knees feel. My only real plans right now is the Bradbury snowshoe series and we will see how things go from there. I suspect I will run a couple Fatasses this winter also. (PS.....I did set this up with paragraphs but the system for some reason is not saving it that way)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stone Cat "kinda" 50 mile Race Report

Two weeks ago I ran the Bradbury Ultra 50k, at the time I labeled it in my mind as the "good, bad and ugly" The good was my first 15 mile loop which was amazing, the bad was my second 15 mile loop and by bad I mean real bad. The ugly was the fact that I planned a 50 mile race just two weeks later and the injury I sustained running BBU, would surely kill my dream of running a 50 miler this year.

  I thought I might have tweaked my right knee but after researching a bit, I am sure it is an ITB overuse injury. Basically running the 50K while not being very well prepared for the distance. I took it easy for six days and then tried a fairly easy trail run. The first three miles of the run was business as usual, but the last two I was reduced to mostly a walk.

  A very discouraging result only seven days before Stone Cat. My first thought was to abort the whole idea as there was no way I would make the cut off walking the whole way and honestly after walking most of the last five miles of the BBU,I didn't cherish the idea of walking a fifty miler. I decided that I didn't want to give up on Stone Cat and began a regimen of stretching with the intent of trying to run the Marathon.

  As days ticked by, my knee felt better (though I didn't try running on it) and I began fantasizing that perhaps I could make a go of it. Of course the reality is that if the ITB acted up on the 50K and it has only been two weeks since the BBU,Then six days later I couldn't run 5 miles so surely I couldn't expect to run fifty. I almost stepped down to the marathon but then decided if I was going to DNF, it might as well be while attempting the big race.

  In my warped sense of rationalizing, I decided that just maybe I could pull off the 37.5 because there was no cut off for that. I just wanted to end this season on a high note. So, I taped up the knee, toed the line with the fifty milers and hoped for the best. I was prepared to accept what ever fate was coming.

  I actually felt pretty good heading out into the dark and was surprised how good the knee felt. I also seemed to have no rust issues even though I basically didn't run for two weeks, except that one ill fated attempt.

  For six miles I felt great, until the knee pain started coming back....slowly at first but stronger as each mile passed. My new plan was to just get through this lap and then quit. I forced myself to push  back the urge to walk and just keep the legs moving. My cardio and my fueling were perfect and the rest of the body felt great. It was discouraging to be so sure I could finish this fifty miler if it weren't for the knee.

  Knowing that it would be just this one lap, I decided to at least make a race of it and try to beat my first loop time from last year. I started pushing the pace everywhere I could and found myself passing many other runners. I found the pain was no worse when running faster so I kept going. I finished the first loop much faster than last year at 2:14:12 and decided I would attempt another lap. I figured if the pain level stayed pretty much the same I should be able to go another 12 miles.

  I stopped at Ryan's aid station and stuffed down a couple pieces of good. I think Ryan was worried that I would just settle in for a great breakfast of pancakes and bacon, then ultimately abort running all together because he started shoeing me away. He told to get out there and get running I think back, he was pretty helpful as I probably needed a little prodding at the time.

  The first three miles of the second lap went well and the knee seemed to settle into a dull but sustainable ache. Then on one of the down hills the band really acted up and I lost stability in the knee. It was an odd feeling and it surprised me. I became worried that I might do some real damage if I kept running this way.

  I started running the downhills with a stiff right leg which worked fairly well until I got a cramp in the right quad so bad that I had to stop for a while and message it. I suspect it was caused by the stiff legged running so I change my strategy to fast hiking the downhills and powering up the inclines to make up for the time loss.

  Other runners must have thought it was very strange to pass me on the downhills only to have me scream by them on the ups. I am sure they thought I had no idea how to run pace. Around mile eight I suddenly had pain in my left knee, same place as the right on the outside near the cap.......I am thinking I was probably compensating with my left leg. Now I had serious pain in both knees which was throbbing even when power walking the downs.

  This is when I realized that two or even one more loop was out of the question. I spent the next mile feeling sorry for myself until I realized how far ahead I was of my marathon time last year. The director told me I could step down if I wanted and my thoughts drifted to a PR for the marathon. What a great way to finish out the year, if I could PR then all would not be lost.

 This new decision put a little more bounce in my step but I could feel the fatigue of the faster pace settling in. I also wasn't sure they would allow me to tack on the extra 1.2 miles and get an official time. I crossed the line then asked if I could run the extra for the marathon. They said no problem and directed me to the marathon first 1.2 loop.

  As I ran by Ryan, he looked pretty excited thinking I was heading out for my third loop. I let him know I was only doing the Marathon .... he cheered me on anyway.

  The last 1.2 was extremely painful and all I wanted to do was cross that line and stop moving. I finished with an unofficial time of 4:48:20, over an hour faster than last year (6:11:37). As I take an overview of the last 8 weeks, I think about The Brad, how it prepared me for this PR and the things I can change to do a better job next year.

  OK.......LET IT SNOW!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heart Verses Head

My heart and head are fighting.  Heart says to run the 50 miler no matter what. Head says, you idiot, you know you can't possible make the cutoff even if you have the desire to continue in physical duress.

 Since I can only run a few miles, fifty sounds real stupid and truth be known after doing a lot of soul searching, I think my real problem is having a DNF. I emailed the race director and he said no problem stepping down to the marathon ....but no guaranty of a finishers jacket.

 Hey, I didn't even think about the fact that I might be taking someone Else's well earned jacket away from them. On top of that, I really have no idea if I can finish the marathon either.

 Now maybe, just maybe my IT band will not act up .......I am not too optimistic though.  As I think about it, if it does act up, I will have no chance to PR the Marathon even if I do finish it.

So, other than a DNF, what harm is there in just toeing the line and running as long as I can? Does it really matter whether I'm calling it a marathon or a 50 miler? Perhaps this is merely the last hurdle in my transition from a road racer to a true trail runner.

I know this is totally different than a 5k or 10k, but I can remember times I had injuries or felt like crap, came dangerously close to just not showing up for a race, and then having a good race regardless.

 I seriously don't expect a miracle here but I am going to show up anyway, so why not at least attempt the 50 and just run. I can except the fact that it may only last a few miles and that I will DNF ......that being on the table, I suspect I will just start with the 50 milers and see how it goes......savor the experience as long as it lasts.

My battle plan is to get as much enjoyment as I can from the whole experience. I will try to run one lap and then if I can, I will try to run a second one and go from there. Going in with no expectations seems to take the bulk of the load off, so now perhaps I can just enjoy the trip.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not Going Well

I attempted another run and experienced right knee pain only three miles into it, walked two more..... lasted 5 before I aborted. The dream that I can somehow beat the cut off at Stone Cat while walking most of the course is far fetched and it is time for me to be realistic.

 My plan of running a 50 miler this year has vanished......pretty disappointing to say the least

Not sure what my plans are at this moment

Monday, October 22, 2012

BBU--Pounder Race(s) Report

In my title, I put races as plural because in essence I ran two entirely different 15  mile races. The description however is the same………wet, slippery, muddy, gnarly, hilly, relentless and beautiful terrain. The only consistent factor throughout the day was the drizzly fog and never ending choices at the aid stations.  I felt like royalty as these more than helpful volunteers not only offered any aid needed  but treated the whole visit like a party that was just waiting to peak on my arrival.  One very cheerful volunteer (who,  I am sure I do not have to name)  ran toward me before I even made it to the aid station yelling out for my demands……..on top of that there was bacon. As much as I love any aid station snack with chocolate in it, nothing tops the smell of bacon cooking as one is running out of the woods. I also found a new favorite food…..baked potato smeared with peanut butter and dipped in salt, add in the bacon and I think it covers all the major food groups.

As usual this event was top notch, put on by runners who know what it takes to bring an event like this together. I have yet to figure out what higher power Ian is connected to, but he seems to consistently get the trail conditions he loves so much. The course could not have been better for a hard core trail runner, just the right mix of mud and water, enough run off to cause the streams to bubble with pleasure and just enough mist to keep one cool but not a heavy enough rain to cause discomfort (except maybe for the 50 miler start)

I am proud to report that only fell once and I am not sure how it happened, but it was mile 7 of the 2nd lap. There were no roots or rocks to blame it on and I landed on the edge of a very muddy puddle. My left calf locked up so bad (because of trying so hard not to go down) that I had to sit for a few seconds before I could get back up and then it took a little messaging to get it to calm done enough to start walking.

I didn’t train very well for this event as far as high mileage goes and it showed in the later miles.  I felt I trained very well for a tough 15 mile trail race and knew I would have to run smart to accomplish the finish here that I desired. In retrospect I did not run very smart but did  learn some extremely valuable lessons. I opted to run the first loop as bare as possible by leaving the Nathan vest behind and depending solely on the aid stations for fluids. After the first loop I planned to  change into lighter shoes, possible put on dry clothes and gear up with fluids and gels.

The core of my plan was to start very conservative and save something for the last 6-8 miles …….that didn’t happen and I really do not know where my brain was,  that is why I split these loops up. The first loop was amazing and I ran it like a 15 mile race. I guess I just got caught up into the flow of it. I felt strong and very much in control for the whole 15 miles. I even told some runners I was passing that I was probably running too fast….. so I knew what I was doing but somehow must have felt I could pull a rabbit out of my hat for the second 15 miles…….mistake number one!

Mistake number two, I didn’t bring my stuff to the tent, I just left it all in my truck and figured I would just jog over to gear up for loop two…….I didn’t do it. You know, the truck wasn’t that far away, was I too lazy or maybe I felt so confident from the first loop, I don’t know but I do know it was a bad decision. I felt it immediately as I WALKED up lunch break hill, I was in for a tough finish. I kept the pace conservatively slow and patiently waited for the moment after the bonk when the body decides to let things flow again and it came at mile #19.

Problem is, a disturbing pain in the outside of my right knee also seemed to appear at the same time. At first it was more bothersome than a problem but the more I ran the down hills the worst it felt. Like most aches and pains, I figured this would pass because I didn’t remember a point where it felt like I tweaked it……but it sure felt tweaked and instead of passing, it kept barking louder. Eventually I had no choice but to drop the run part of my run/ walk 2nd lap  strategy and  then it even  hurt while  walking down the hills.

There were some short spurts of running but only long enough to convince me that it was a mistake. The most difficult part of this for me was the fact that I had cardio and though my body was fatigued, I could have continued running if it were not for the knee issue. It was so discouraging to have runners pass me that I should be able to stay in front of. Then the oddest thing happened, I took a wrong turn ……not sure how that could happen when I knew the terrain, I knew the course and I checked to find that the markings were all in place. I guess I was so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t pay attention. Luckily I didn’t lose any time as I caught it fairly quickly.

I kept plugging along and had it in my mind that I would finish at all costs. At about one mile from the end I decided I was going to run to the finish regardless of the pain and even though it was probably a mistake, I just could not bring myself to walk it in. The finish was an odd experience for me, It didn’t feel like a finish at all… just felt done and my thoughts went directly to the Stone Cat 50 miler in two weeks…..will I be able to run it?  Did my lack of training and executing a solid plan ruin my first 50 miler attempt?

I went home very discouraged and not too happy about my performance but now that a day has passed and I can look at the race as a whole, I realize that I created my own hardship and that the hardship is exactly what happens in the ultra races. It is inevitable and for some runners anticipated in an enjoyable way. As I look back now, I see all the moments I enjoyed and am proud of weathering the storm.

This was a very tough  race,  was exactly as described on the website and what I knew I signed up for. I  am proud to say I attempted and finished it. I can’t however say I conquered it, cause I kicked it’s ass the first lap then it turned around and kicked mine on the second ( I would say that puts us even) ….So…I will save that statement for the BBU next year.

1st lap 15.7 miles @ 3:06:18  (11:52 pace)
2nd lap 15.4 miles @ 4:09:03 (16:11 pace)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Back To Church

Spent the first part of the week feeling a bit of anxiety about the 50k so kicked out of work a half hour early and went to church.......the Brad. The east side was beautiful and nothing settles things down more than an enjoyful easy run at Bradbury.

 I find it very calming to let my brain wander and meditate in a way.....if that is possible while dodging rocks, roots and trees. Reguardless, I always feel better when I am done than when I started.

I have no problem going to a "real" church, but honstly I feel much more religous and closer to the esssense of our maker when out in the woods. I don't need a bunch of Amens around me to feel like I am on the praying level.

I feel one must live how they preach, every moment of their life. Be honest and caring to the people around you. I find this quality in trail runners and esspecially with the Trail Monsters.

 I read George's 100 mile report and said to myself, I want to be that guy.....I read dave's 100 mile report and  immediately I wanted to be that guy. I watch Ian and Ryan preaching at the race start and think I want to be like those guys, I see the drive and commitment of Val and mindy and wish I was more like them. I could keep naming names as there are so many more that set an amazing example for others.

 I guess I am just plain lucky to be associted with such a fine group of people. I sit here and realize that I am extremely excited and ready to tie up the trail runners and hit The just feels like home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Having Respect For The BBU

One thing the last four early morning BBU runs taught me was to have a healthy respect for the difficulty of this course. When I toe the line Saturday morning, I will not have the confidence I expected or originally planned for, but I will have the desire to conquer it.

 I am in pretty good shape right now, have a solid base and have been able to pull off some good quality runs. What I haven't accomplished is the time on my feet needed to feel I can master this distance. If it were a 25K, I would be pretty excited and I would be attacking this course with reckless abandon.

 Being a 50K changes everything and I will be much more conservative from the start as time is of no value and just finishing is the goal. I really need to finish this race if I am seriously expecting to finish the 50 miler at Stone Cat.

I thought I would be starting the 50 miler with a certain amount of confidence but instead I feel about the same as I did last year heading into the Marathon.  I wasn't able to train well for the last month and a half last year before the marathon and felt that finishing would be a luxury.

 This year I am totally ready for a marathon and would go into that feeling pretty good, but running the 50 miler I feel I have not trained very well there is much soul searching  going on.

Right now I am concentrating on The Brad race and will have much more insight once that is over.  Then I will critique my thinking and adjust for Stone Cat.

 My goals are pretty simple, I need to finish the 50K. I have done a lot of thinking and calculating. My times for one lap of the course has hugged the 3 1/2 hour mark pretty consistently so it seems reasonable to expect  at least 3 1/2 for the first loop and considerably slower for the second, probably closer to 4 hours. unofficial prediction for the inaugural BBU is 7 1/2 hours.

See you all Saturday....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Plan.......Who Needs A Stinkin Plan?

  The name of my blog says it all, because I seem to be running plan-less at this time.
My plan says to do a 30 mile run three weeks before the 50 miler then taper. I am running a difficult 31 miler TWO weeks before the 50 miler ......and leading up to the 30 miler I am supposed to be at peak for three weeks and I have really been more like in maintenance mode.

 A week and a half ago I was a bit worried, as my 4 hr training run felt way too taxing for about half of the 50K race course. Sense then I have realized that I do have a solid base and what I do two weeks before the event has little to do with my overall condition and as long as I don't overdo it, I am probably going to be fine.

 It's a good thing I have settled down and am not really that worried about the lack of long miles, because this weekend was a blow out as far as distance running goes. I worked Saturday and was out of town Sunday running was a "fit in" type of thing.

 I did get in a decent 5 mile run down to Winchester with my son and it was very enjoyable. The terrain is similar to Bradbury mountain side, though the inclines were not as steep but they were  longer. Kev was still babying the knee so the 5 miles was just right.  After the run we went to the Black Horse Tavern in downtown Winchester and what a great place it was.

 I ordered the local Pumpkin head ale which was a bit more cinnamon-y that our Pumpkin head up here. I also had this burger called a Chuggy Burger........the name doesn't make sense but the burger was fantastic. It was a cheddar cheese bacon burger with a sunny side up egg, tomatoes and lettuce. First time I had a Burger with egg yoke spurting all over the place.....which I soaked up with the hand cut fries.....amazing combo!

 In the process of watching the game, we somehow sucked down two additional beers  and I realized I pretty much consumed all of the calories I burnt during the run ....and then some.
 Upon my return home I had planned a double up run but there was more interference so I ended up calling this week a step back week.

 On the bright side, the Patriots managed to squeak out a win and I have a long run planned this all is good I guess.

 For some reason, I am not worried about the 50K and am looking forward to the experience. I suspect because I have no doubts about finishing other than time and what better lead in for the 50 miler at StoneCat than a tough Bradbury training 50K.

 Actually, I am getting pretty excited.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Feeling Out Of Sorts

 Only two weeks before the Bradbury Bad Ass 50k, then two weeks later is the 50 miler at Stone Cat.......not feeling too ready and there is virtually no time left to do much of anything about it.

 Not that I haven't been training but more like not putting in enough miles. I had a good plan and it included some fairly long runs...but I couldn't seem to get in the quantity of miles I should...or at least what most running plans say you should.

What I have done, is put in mostly quality miles. Is that enough though? I actually thought it was until last Saturday which was my third Saturday in a row that I ran the BBU course entirely (15.5 miles ) then ran the hill again and tacked on a few additional miles.

I showed up at 4:30 am as usual, I felt good at the start and actually quite good though most of the first lap. The plan this time was to finish the first lap as normal (all running no walking) then hit the trail again for at least 8 -10 more miles.

 After the connector and while climbing Bradbury, the leg muscles were feeling real tight and I felt abnormally tired. Coming down Lunch breakhill the quads and calves were cramping up. I was glad to stop at the bottom and unlike last week where I felt great at the bottom and strong on the second trip up lunchbreak, this time I didn't want to continue at all.

 I took about 3 minutes to take a drink and convince myself to hit the hill again. The climb was tough, I wasn't feeling the love at all and at one point started walking which lasted for about 1 minute because it just didn't feel right. I started running again and though I was tired, it felt much better to be running.

 By the time I crested the hill, I had a little more energy but the muscles were still cramping. I ran a loop around the mountain and then decided to abort the original plan of 8 extra miles. I ran back down lunchbreak and was very glad to stop.

 I went home sore, tired and disappointed .....the one day I had time to run longer and my body just didn't want to do it. The hams,quads, calves and back muscles were lame all day Sunday and Monday.  I felt like I ran 30 miles rather than 18....

 All day Tuesday I thought about it and decided perhaps I was running too much on Bradbury terrain and decided to stop at Pineland for a run instead. It was my first run there since the 25K in May and it actually was quite nice not having to worry about foot placement, rocks and roots.

 I had a comfortable yet somewhat speedy run and even though I felt good and strong, it still did not curb the worry in the back of my mind about the BBU......if I struggled that much finishing one loop, how was I going to do on the second loop?

 Let's just say, all the confidence I had two weeks ago after running the first loop, hitting lunchbreak the second time with the Trail Monsters and feeling great the whole way ......has pretty much washed away with the tide.

 I have no doubt that I will finish the BBU, but my original thoughts of beating my PR and  only 50K time of 6:28 (at pineland) is surely a stretch on the Bradbury terrain. I suspect I will be lucky to finish in 7-7.5 hours.

 My real worry right now is the 50 miler two weeks later.......I am going to give it everything I have but am not sure I have enough to earn the coat. The one thing I have going for me psychologically is that I finished the marathon at Stone Cat last year after 2 months of virtually no running ...... I really had to use my will to finish that second lap because the body wasn't liking it.

Last weeks running (not including workouts and such)

BBU loop (couple wrong turns, 1.5 hrs in the dark)
16 miles  @3:33:51  (13:23 pace)
2.2 miles (up lunch break again)
@25:30  (11:36 pace)

Bradbury mountain portion of the BBU loop (including lunch break hill)
5.1 miles @55:35  (10:54 pace)

East side portion of the BBU loop
4.5 miles @41:34  (9:15 pace)

BBU loop (1.5 hrs in the dark)
15.5 miles @3:21:54  (13:22 pace)
2.2 miles (up lunch break again)
@27:29  (12:30 pace)

Oct 2
Pineland (campus loop and east side loop)
7.3 miles  @1:05:47  (9:01 pace)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hard Training

I started a little earlier This Saturday to be sure I could get the full 4 hours in.   I hit Lunchbreak hill at 4:45 Am and my first surprise was how much better my new headlamp was than my old one. Besides a solid forward beam, it had enough power to somewhat light up the peripheral. This made my ground perception much better than last Saturday.

 I definitely had less trouble following the trail with this lamp. The one draw back, though minor was that it was a little heavier so I had to make the strap much tighter which bothered a bit.  There was a slight mist in the air and with the lamp on it resembled a tiny snow squall. Not that I am wishing for snow, but it was kinda cool.

 The climb seemed a little harder this morning. I suspect part of that was the extra weight with the Nathan vest and all the gear. Not that I needed that much gear but I wanted to tax myself on this run and the extra weight would help.

I decided to run until I felt fatigue before eating or drinking. The idea was to bonk a bit and then fight back from it. I also needed to know how far I could stretch it. Two hours went by and I still felt fairly fresh, then about 6 minutes later I could feel the cement hardening on my legs and the breath laboring. I don't think I slowed the pace too much and I had no muscle cramps, I just felt tired and heavy.

 For the second time, I had problems following the right trail on the East side so I had a bit extra mileage when I got back to the school. I striped off the nathan vest and gear then headed back to the trail. It is amazing how much better that felt.

 I ran the hill a minute faster and felt much stronger......funny how different it can feel with just a few pounds shed. I did a two mile loop which I called a cooldown. Kinda  funny though because my pace was 1-2 minutes per mile faster than when I first started. I am sure part of that is the dark running which is considerably slower.

Now that I have run about  a half dozen times from the school, I found the part I least like is the descent. I think the grade is just too much to allow me to run comfortable. It is almost like I have to brake a bit. Whats odd is I don't have the same problem running down the Terrace trail and I think the grade is similar.

 Upon the second return, I actually felt great and if time had permited, I would have shot for five hours.

BBU loop:  16 miles @3:33:54 (13:23 pace)
Lunch break hill cooldown loop: 2.2 miles@ 25:30 (11:36 pace)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Not A Fan

Tuesday nite I ran bradbury in the rain. I find I am not a fan of the new gravel surfaces they are creating there......seems more like Pineland than single track in many places.
That being said, I wasn't too upset about it on this run because I couldn't see with my glasses being wet and fogged up so the roots, holes and rocks became more of a reaction than a planned step. It seemed lonely there as there were very few cars in the parking lot.

 I didn't see a sole until I return at dusk and there was one guy there who had just finished biking. There is something about running in the rain that I like ....and this night it was surely welcome as the days at work lately really drag me down.

 My schedule this year is worse than ever and I find myself daydreaming about VC and wish I was going even if it was to just spectate and cheer on the Monster gang.

Ran the connector + for a total of 7 miles @1:18:59
NB minimus

Monday, September 17, 2012

Brad Ultra Training

The initial plan was to join the group for the course training run on Saturday, it seems I never run with them. I spent much of the week trying to adapt my schedule to meet the plan.

One thing that came up was the chance to run a few miles in the dark. Dave was camping at Bradbury and had a few night miles on the agenda. I was hoping to join in because I have only run in the dark a couple times and Stone Cat is coming soon.

I would not say I am scared of the dark or anything but it is a little concerning to be in the woods running alone in the dark, so a run with Dave would have worked out perfect. Safety in numbers I guess.

Well the night run didn't work out as I didn't arrive home until close to 9:00. On top of that, an 8:00 start at Bradbury was out of the question because of a 9:00 am schedule conflict. new plan was to start early Saturday morning with my son and we would both get some dark running in. Well, his knee is still acting up and he elected to take it easy this weekend and run on the road. He did not want to jeopardize his StoneCat Marathon plans.

New plan.....I would run the BBU course alone, in the dark, and hopefully not get lost or worse, get eaten by something hungrier and faster than me. My hope was to run one loop and then meet up with the group at 8am and at least say hi.

I landed at the school at 5am, got the gear together, put on the head lamp, took a deep apprehensive breath and hit the woods. The trail is so different in the dark, especially here because I am not too familiar with the trail.

I added four things to my gear for safety, my cell fold up hunting extra flashlight and a compass. Not that I felt I needed these items but being prepared is a smart thing.

I can't believe how many times I tripped or landed funny because of the limited vision. Running in the dark is totally different and you have to pay much more attention .....similar to the O trail type of focus.

Before I made it to the top of the long hill, I lost the trail three times and had to search a bit to relocate. I also noticed many new noises that seemed so much louder and more prominent when your vision is impaired.

I never felt threatened but did find myself having visions of what might be out there just beyond my tiny beam of light. My thoughts turned to Joe and how he ran solo at night on the 100 mile trek......damn he was pretty brave as those woods were surely full of many unknowns.

I felt much more comfortable when I hit the Boundary trail because I know it so well and somehow just felt relieved to be on familiar ground. I crested the mountain and hit the East side trails. I cruised around for about another half hour before the sky started showing signs of morning daylight.

About two hours and forty five minutes into my run, I was heading back down lunch break hill and actually feeling pretty good. I figured my timing was perfect and the gang would be just about ready to hit the trail when I got back to the School.

There was a large group of runners ready to hit the trail and I decided to tack on a couple more miles and run with them. It would be good training to run Lunch break hill at about the time I would at the 50K. I had no idea how my body would handle it but figured I would hang near the rear if needed.

We took off and I was running near the front and actually feeling pretty darn strong for three hours running. I ran the whole hill no problem while maintaining my position in the group.

I figured I would turn around and head back once we hit the bottom of the mountain so when we hit the terrace trail, I just let it all hang loose and let gravity dictate my descent.

It felt great though I suspected I would suffer for it on the climb back up. I turned around at the parking lot and shouted out greetings as I passed all the runners coming down the trail.

The run back up was not as bad as I figured but I was definitely tired coming down lunch break hill for the second time. It all worked out well and I made it home for 9:00

I could have easily run longer, though one never quite knows where that bonk is going to rear up. All said and done I feel the 50K training is on course and expect a favorable run at the BBU.

Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 Bruiser Race Report

All the races leading up to the Bruiser this year were important and memorable, and even though I have a couple big races still planned, the Bruiser was my "state meet" as far as trail racing is concerned.

In training, my fastest unofficial time was 2:10:00 which was 7 minutes faster than my PR on this course. I worried that the 2:10 was maybe a fluke, or I missed part of the course, or perhaps I peaked too soon.....on top if that, the course was changed because of the missing bridge.

I wish I could say that I did all the right things in the two days leading up to this race, but somehow I didn't. Saturday I worked at my sons house hand shoveling, setting cement blocks, ripping out old walls and constructing new ones. I started at 5:30 am and didn't quit until 7:30 pm.

I ate way too much pizza and junk, sweat all day without re hydrating enough and then after we finished, we went out for supper and drinks and more drinks. I went to bed way too late then woke up tired and lame on race day. I also felt the beginning of a sore throat. not a good scenario for a race day PR.

I was up plenty early so I took a morning swim in hopes of limbering up the muscles a bit then headed to Bradbury. On the way I rationalized by reminding myself I merely needed to beat 2:17:00 to PR and I should be able to do that regardless.

I decided I would stick to my race plan and see how things fell into place. If I crash and burn.....well I put myself in this position. After Ian reminded everyone how much fun we were going to have, the race was on.

I positioned myself pretty close to the front at a place that I would be forced to push a bit for the first two miles. This worked out real well and I actually felt pretty comfortable and strong.

My first mile was 8:38 pace which was quite fast for me on these trails. I come out of the Island trail about a minute faster than any training run. I felt good and was not being passed by many runners.

I was in full race mode and even though it was too early in the race to know such things, I was confident that I could race the first tens miles according to plan. The O trail would just be a careful jog to the finish. I had no doubt that I could beat 2:17

The first five miles ticked by and I was enjoying the ride. The trails seemed tranquil today as there are days they are surely hateful and do everything they can to trip a runner up.

It was as if the rocks, roots and obstructions moved to allow me good foot placement. There were a few runners that that came up behind me who were obviously running much faster than me and I graciously moved to let them by. But this was a race and because of being in race mode, all others were required to earn a pass as I had to earn most of the places I gained.

I figured mile five would be about the time I would realize the extent of any type of crash and burn because that is about when I usually settle in and get my second wind.

Five came and went without me realizing how I felt, I was playing leap frog with a gal wearing vibrams. It was amazing to watch her foot placement. She was so graceful and seemed capable of placing her feet in all the right places.

In mile six we rounded the corner and headed up the snowmobile hill trail. This hill seems to last forever and I suspected it would be my chance to gain a little ground on this gal as I felt I was stronger on the hills. Almost 2/3rd the way up and we were still side by side in our friendly duel. I knew there was not much hill left so I surged and started leaving her behind.

My plan at the water stops was to eat a gel, wash it down with water and keep my lost time down to about 40 seconds. Instead I felt rushed and aborted the gels for a drink of Gatorade and a douse of water on my head which took in the range of 30 seconds.

When I reached the second aid station I lost all I had gained on the vibram gal because she took a splash and go while I was sucking down the Gatorade. I almost took off to chase her then reminded myself I should be running my own race. I finished the drink doused my head as usual and hit the trail ......never to see vibram girl again.

Miles eight and nine, I ran on screech mode trying to push the pace as hard as I could. I needed to hit the head of the O trail no later than 1:40 but preferably at 1:35. I liked the fact that I felt in control and was still running strong. In my mind I played with the idea of blowing off the last aid station but knew It would be a bad idea as I needed all the energy I could muster up to try and master the O-trail tired.

I found myself really liking the new trail as it seemed to prep me for the mindset of the O. I reached the final aid station at 1:32:50. Wow ....over three minutes faster than my best!

I usually run the O-trail a conservative 35 minutes but have run it as fast as 30 minutes. I didn't expect the 30 but felt a sigh of relief knowing that my easy 35 minute pace of the O would still earn me a PR under 2:10.

I started easy and payed close attention to my foot placement. I hadn't gone down yet today and I didn't want some injury derailing my race. Then what I didn't plan on happened.......I noticed some runners catching me and for some reason I couldn't stay out of race mode...even though I knew I was going to PR and even though I knew racing the O trail always caused a few face plants before it was over and even though I have become so focused on the trail while racing it that I took a wrong turn.

All that meant nothing and I started speeding up, pushing hard when I could, trying to spread the gap with the runner behind me. I was refusing to be passed by anyone. I was full out racing the O trail and it was working.

About halfway through, I could feel the fatigue of the race catching up with me, my legs felt heavy and I caught a few rocks and roots but was able to stay upright......that is until I suddenly found myself flying through the air. I went down hard and landed on the elbows and knees. Lucky for me it was a very soft area and except for a lot of black dirt all over me, there were no injuries and no blood.

I hit so hard that my wrist pushed the Garmen into my arm and shut it off. I got up quick and brushed as much dirt off as I could. Now I not only lost time but I had no idea what my time was.

I was pissed, I had a plan and the most important part of it was to respect the O trail and run it conservatively. I took off and started sprinting...yes I was sprinting the Otrail and for some reason it seemed easy.

In no time I popped out of the woods and turned on the kick. The finish felt great and for some reason the time didn't really mean that much to me. I guess it was because I gave it all I had and when you do that, there is nothing left to complain about.

I actually ended up with a great finishing time and a tough PR to beat next year. I only wish I could have stayed around longer to cheer others and and bask in my glory, but it was Grandparents day and the agenda was apple picking......Hmmnn does that qualify as a cool down?

Bruiser 12 miler 2:00:53 ......somehow I ran the O trail in 28 minutes (fastest mile of the whole race in the O trail 8:29!)....he-ha! perhaps I should run all my races while sick and tired.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bruiser Practice

Saturday morning, hit Bradbury early again and executed a very satisfying (but tiring) race pace run of the Bruiser course, including the O trail. Even though we parked outside the gate and there were no cars in the parking lot, we encountered two runners and at least four bikers on the trail.

 The run was fantastic for me but a little discouraging for my son who had a bit of knee trouble in the O. he was smart and aborted rather than continue. later in the day the knee was feeling much better and he was glad with his decision.

 After the Bruiser run, it was a quick cool down swim then off to a golf tournament. I figured I would be a bit tired playing 5 hours of golf after my race pace run and I was right.  I figured the golf doubled as training for the 50k and 50 miler....lots of walking.

 My race pace run went so well that I am worried that I wont be able to duplicate the results at the actual race.....wouldn't that suck. What if I peaked at this run and the rest is all down hill. I suppose it doesn't matter all that much because my real focus is on the Brad ultra and Stone Cat anyway.

I may be crazy, but I actually enjoy running the O trail and as long as I am not racing it, I don't feel it beats my body up that much. I think the key is to be conservative and just let the terrain dictate the pace.....the rest falls into place on it's own.

Next weekend it will probably be a run of the BBU

Bruiser run  
12 miles @ 2:10:08  (a PR by 7 minutes)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


 It seems when runners talk about the Bruiser race at Bradbury, they all groan at the mention of the O-trail and with good reason as the last 2.4 miles of the bruiser are surely the most difficult. Even when training on the course it is not uncommon to hear them say, we ran the Bruiser -- less the O trail.

 Yes this trail is intimidating and can be very confusing because of the crazy switch backs and the rough terrain. Add to this 9 miles of Bradbury trail racing before entering it, then fatigue also plays a factor in ones perception of the difficulty.

 The O trail is surely the toughest part of the race for me so I decided to do some O trail repeats to work on balance, core, foot placement and familiarize with the trail. I would have liked to run it four times but my time window was too short so I did three.

 This really is a great trail to run and surely keeps one on their toes. I find it is much more enjoyable when running it fresh. My thought was to run the first lap as a warmup, the second at race pace and the third as a cooldown.

 This type of terrain has more to do with becoming comfortable and settling in than actual time or heart rate, so I left the watch and monitor in the truck. Of course I am too much of a stickler with stats to just run blind so I did document the time when I hit the trail and when I returned.

 It was raining and that became a pleasure as it kept the body heat down and filled the two stream crossings which somehow makes the run more tranquil than dry rock beds. I also tend to get less sweat in the face and eyes.

 I started the first loop pretty conservative but before I knew it, I was popping out of the woods onto the main trail and one lap was over. Lap two, I pushed the pace more and worked on foot placement and things went real well. It was on this lap that I got a glimpse of a female runner with a red shirt on.
She appeared for only a split second and I had no way of knowing if she was behind me or ahead of me. That is one of the cool things about the O, there were people in there but we may never cross paths.

 Lap three ended up feeling just as strong and fast as lap two, coming out of the trail, I wished I had enough time for one more lap, but I didn't. Had a great kick and then walked but to my truck with a very satisfied feeling. I think the race in a couple weeks will go quite well.

 Warm up jog from the parking lot, three loops of the O and then 1/4 back to start
estimated mileage 7.5 and estimated time 1:42:00 This puts my average O trail loops at about 33-34 minutes.

My intent was to turn "oh no, O trail"  into "oh Yeah O trail"  I think I did that.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Cheering Crowd

The deafening sound of the enormous crowd cheering me on is amazing even if it is just my imagination.

I am planning a race pace run this afternoon and it seems to me that if I use a positive approach, there is no way it will be a bad run. You see my plan is to write about the run first and then allow it to unfold properly when I arrive.

 The first thing I notice as I drive through the gate at Bradbury, is how full the parking lot is. Usually it is fairly full of bikers, but this is different, these are spectators cars and they are everywhere.

 A tall lanky man with a yellow vest  is frantically waving an orange flag, he motions for me to stop and it appears he is going to send me back out as the lot is so full. Immediately upon opening the window a smile spreads across his face.

 "Hey, I know you" he says with a hint of excitement.  "You  better get going, the run is about to start."
He ushers me out of my truck and motions to another volunteer to park it for me. What great service! I wonder to myself if all the yearly pass holders get this type of special treatment.

 As I head toward the trail, the crowd spreads like a wave of water in front of me creating a wall of people on both side and a walkway to the start.  It is a little intimidating to say the least and I find myself wondering if they have mistaken me for someone important.

 Surely some celebrity was scheduled to show up here, perhaps training for the Bruiser now that the Bradbury series is so popular.....or maybe the Bradbury Big Bad Ultra. I know I should set the people strait and fess up to being just an everyday runner out for some training, but the electricity of the crowd somehow made me feel special and basking in the attention just seemed right at the moment.

 I could hear comments in the crowd saying things like, have a good run, good luck, knock em dead out there......I reach the edge of the woods and wave in all directions as I hit start on my watch and head up the trail. The loud cheering started fading away as I ran deeper into the woods until the silence of the single track finally engulfed me completely.

 I had no definite plans other than shoot for a race pace type run that would continue until I felt tired and ready to stop running.  The woods were tranquil and it was amazing to notice some leaves had started changing color already and due to some heavy rains lately, there were even some random leaves on the trail.

 Images of fall running filtered through my brain as I seemingly floated along with miles just clicking by like a second hand on a watch. I felt rested and calm, only pleasant thoughts and cool images were present and my brain felt like it was laying in a hammock on a warm fall day just swinging slightly in the light breeze.

 I was lost in thought for hours or maybe even days when suddenly the single track opened up and I was back where I started. The crowds were gone now and I assumed they had responsibilities and just couldn't hang around for days waiting for me to finally emerge.

 It was fine with me though as I really didn't need a cheering crowd to make me feel good after a wonderful relaxing run like this one. I shut down my watch as I slowed to a walk and headed back to the parking lot. It was almost empty and the few people who were there didn't even look up as I walked by. I suspected perhaps they were having their own dream.

 This was such a great run........I can't wait to get there.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Running Tired

Saturday morning 5 AM I was up bright eyed and bushy tailed, totally ready for a good 10 mile race pace run at Bradbury (bruiser less O) I had my running clothes and and was about to head out the door.

I like doing Saturday morning early because of my tight schedule and the fact that I am completely fresh before the weekend duties wear me down. Planning a race pace run means I wanted to be very fresh.

I literally was walking out the door when our home phone never rings that early and even though anyone wanting me that early in the morning would have called on my cell, I decided to grab the phone before it woke up the house hold.

It ended up being a work crew in Bar Harbor with problems at the site. They tried my cell and couldn't get through. I checked my cell and it was totally dead.....that never happens. Anyway, I had to spearhead the resolution process and could not be away from the phone as there was a chance I may have to head down east.

So, the run was aborted and I went up to the rental house to start phase two of my day a bit early. The plan for the day was filling the block foundation full of cement. This meant carrying 80 lb bags of cement, mixing and shoveling into its proper place.

I spent most of the day on this project and then ended up getting the call at 3:00 to go in. 6 hours later I am back home and just plain beat from the day. The plan was to get up Sunday morning at 5am and try again.

Sunday morning came early and my body felt the affects of yesterdays physical work and the lack of sleep. I suspected there would no race pace running this day.

I figured it would be more of a running tired kind of training run and I was right. The legs felt heavy and slow, the whole body just seemed to be in slow motion. Honestly, I almost quit and headed back but I decided to just practice the forward motion thing as training for the 50K and 50 miler.

It did get progressively better as the miles fell behind me and I was able to finish the 10 mile run in more of an average pace rather than a snails crawl. It was only 10 miles, but it felt more like 20 when I finished.

It wasn't a great run, it wasn't all that much fun but at the same time I was glad I finished it and had the miles behind me .....I left with a somewhat satisfied feeling and it was still early enough for me to get some other things done.

It really sucks when you can hardly schedule in a measly 10 mile run on the weekends. Sleep is a bit over rated so perhaps I should start getting up in the middle of the night to get my runs in......or even better, maybe I can run while I am sleeping.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bradbury Mountain Breaker Race Report

In the hours before the start of the Breaker, I found myself quite calm and really not worried about the race at all. Partly because the only real goal I put on myself was to beat my best here which was a 1:47:30 for the 9 miles. Quite frankly, the running shape I am in this year gave me a bit of confidence as I easily beat that time during workout runs on the mountain.

Everything leading up to the breaker was destined to put a negative affect on my race, including the hot humid forecast. If ever I needed a list of excuses for a poor performance, the days leading up to this race easily provided them for me.

As it turns out, I didn't need any excuses .....if only I could put them in a "bad race excuse bank" for later use. Now, I could rationalize and speculate how much better I might have done under perfect circumstances, but let's face it, there never is perfect and there are always things getting in the way.

My biggest worry going into the Breaker race was the volume of fluids I lost during the Beach to Beacon the day before. Even though I ran rather than race, I still sweat immensely and it would be difficult to rehydrate in one day.

My plan for the race was to push the pace a bit on the first lap and as long as I made time goal of at least 48 minutes, I could take it easy on the second if I needed to as I would have almost an hour to complete it and still PR.

In practice, I split my first lap into three segments and timed them. I figured this would work better than using heart rate as a guide to my progress because the humididty and the tiredness from yesterday would surely affect my heart rate.

I figured each split to be at the end of a climb. First one at the beginning of the South trail, second at the top of the summit trail and the third right before the decent on the switchback trail.

Here are my goal splits for the first lap and the actual beside them;
1. 18-19 minutes ........actual 17:30
2. 28-29 minutes ........actual 27:27
3. 43-44 minutes ........actual 41:28

Finish of the first lap 45:46, well under my 48 minute goal even though I power walked half of the Summit trail. I spent about a minute at the aid station to take in fluids, suck down a gel, dump some water over my head and then was off.

The second lap was taxing because of the temps but I actually felt in complete control and had no worries about my finish. I enjoyed passing many runners on the inclines and never felt even a hint of a bonk coming. I did power walk the stone step section of the Summit trail this time around even though I felt I could run it. At the time My glasses were fogged up and I worried more about tripping than anything else.

One thing I like about this race is that you can actually start your finish about a mile early as it is all down hill. Once I hit this section, there was no stopping me, I threw caution out the window and let gravity take over. I had a strong finish, a good kick and a great race.

It's a good thing I ran this race more by feel because the Garmen completely messed up half way through the second lap and the heart rate was all over the place. I suspect both problems were related to the heat and the steady stream of sweat pouring off me.

Garmen lost signal at 7.76 miles into the race
pace........av-max (heart rate)
11:09.....150-207 (summit)
12:09.....149-240 (lost 1 minute at aid station)
(lost signal with appr 1.5 miles left)
8th mile .....estimate pretty darn fast
9th mile......estimate whicked fast with hell of a kick

9 miles @ 1:34:34 (10:31 pace)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Am I An Addict?

I Am An Addict

This is a first for me. I am about to admit, in writing that I have an addiction. Yes that's right, I am an addict. Many people in the last three years told me I had a problem. I didn't listen. I thought they were crazy. There is no way I could be put in the same category as an addict. I say that word and cringe inside. How could somebody call me that! Here is what woke me up.

I thought long and hard about the definition of addict. My vision was simple, a person living on the streets full of mind altering substances. So far from reality that they didn't know where they were, never mind who they were. I could see their dirty clothes and desperate eyes. Their whole existence depended on their next high. When not high on their addition they thought about it until they could accomplish that high again. I decided to form a list to use as a guide line to PROVE I was not an addict.


1 .Uses their high to "feel" good.

2. Tries to hide their love for the high.

3. Comes up with creative ways to obtain their high.

4. Thinks about the high until it comes, then may experience pain and even swear not to do it again, until the next time.

5. Allows the high to take control of their life to the point that their life evolves around it.

6. Will not admit how much they crave the high

7. Will plan ahead and fantasize about the high.

8. Overdoes it to the point that they can't function properly.

9. Finds some comfort surrounding themselves with "like" Addicts.

10. Takes their craving everywhere they go --- there is no vacation from it.

After reading these points, I realized that I was in fact an addict, it was so hard to believe! You see, I am a runner. I run 4-5 days a week, many times 6 or even twice a day. I often get up at 5:00 Am to get my run in. I fantasize about my runs and my races. I plan way in advance for my high. I could run in the afternoon, experience severe pain and limp as I go to bed at night. Get up in the morning all lame and limping to the door. I would start running in serious pain and still continue. At the end of a run I am usually so exhausted that I can't breathe.

When I run races, It is normal to ask myself why I am putting my body through this as I run. But I don't stop I keep striving for that high. I run in the winter, I run in the rain, I run on vacation. I ran a Marathon. In preparation I would run on the weekends for 3 and 4 hrs straight. During the race I had numerous physical problems.

My leg muscles cramped so bad that I could hardly walk. I still continued. At one point I think I was hallucinating, yup, I still kept going. I didn't stop until I got my high. After 26.2 miles, I finally stopped running, then could hardly stand up. The next day my muscles were so bad I struggled to get out of bed, and could not walk down stairs. Two days later, I went for a run. I kept running…. Then I ran a 50K……and now am training to run a 50 miler.

I have running buddies and all we talk about is running. I belong to a track club and run practice on a track. What do we talk about at track? Running! I looked at the 10 items listed and I qualified for all of them…………………. I am surely an addict!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Perfect Day At Peaks

As usual, my plans changed this weekend. I was set to race the Peaks 5 miler and felt with certainty that a PR was not unreachable but at least I felt 37 minutes would be a reasonable time either way.

My new last minute plan was to pace and run with my oldest daughter (who lives on Peaks) as this would be her first ever race and even though she had been running some this summer, had not really trained and not actually run more than 3.5 miles at one time.

We had a great time and she did so well. Not only did she finish strong, but she also ran all the hills ( the largest one on the island she usually walks) She was surprised to see how well they planned this course as they somehow managed to incorporate every hill they could find on the island and actually ended up being a figure eight, which allowed us to pass a bunch of faster and slower runners through the race.

after the finish we enjoyed the free beer and then I ran the 1.5 miles back to her house. It felt strange to cooldown at a faster pace than I raced at the same time it felt good to run at my own comfortable pace.

After returning to her place, we enjoyed more beer then took the ferry back and hit the restaurant at the dock (can't remember the name) we enjoyed more beer along with flat bread pizza. In the end I found that I didn't run hard enough to counteract all the beer calories.......

It was a great day and a great memory.

Sunday.....sat around and didn't even get in a run

Monday, July 23, 2012

Losing Focus

How is it I can lose focus on my training yet have a great training week?  My whole plan this week kind of fell apart and I ended up just filling in the gaps. Here is an overview.

Monday: Day off......only a little swimming to loosen up the muscles

Tuesday: Got out of work late, was planning to run the Breaker course. Met up with Val (who planned on running where the bikers were not) I on the other hand had planned the mountain side and was running there no matter what. Problem was I was starting so late and had a schedule to meet.
Ran the first half and then two miles of the second half. Ran the whole 6.5 including the summit trail (though not extremely fast) Felt great about this run even though it was cut short
6.5 miles ( breaker course) 1:21:10  (12:29 p)

Wednesday: Was supposed to be long run but was not...Day off  (2.5 mile walk with the wife)

Thursday: Was supposed to be a day off with the wife but she got tied up and I ended up at Bradbury for a nice run with no Garmen or watch of any kind Ran the BL loop plus a bunch of exploratory loops on Tyron and snowmobile trial on return. This was a great run and it felt so good not to worry about mileage or time. Ran into Linda when I was finishing...she looked strong and was already 5 miles into her run.

Appr.....9.5 miles....approx 1:55:00

Friday:  Ran 4 road miles with the wife ( she is training for BtoB) I called it easy miles for me but it was race pace for her. Then cooldown swimming laps.
4 miles 48:21  (12:30 P)

Friday night ......Red sox game....they lost but it was still fun

Saturday: trail run at Winchester with my son. This was a great run even though it was a bit hot out.   The terrain is very similar to a mix of Brad mountain and Brad east
6.5 miles  1:02:12  (9:35p)

Sunday:  5 mile road loop with the wife ....nice early morning run
58:02  (12:00 P) Then a 2 mile cooldown walk and laps in the pool.

Total miles 31.3

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scuffle Race Report

There have been five total Scuffle races and I have somehow managed to be one of the very few to run all five ( I think only 3 or 4 completed all 5). The weather ranged from pouring rain to the most current 80 degrees two best times were in the two worse and opposite conditions. I have to say I much more prefer the pouring rain for this type of race and terrain.

 I like it when I have a good race report and this one definitely went quite well, not only did I PR by a substantial amount, but I actually ran  a smidgen conservative in the middle miles because of the weather. Who knows what I might have done on a misty or fall like day.

Another surprise was that the deer flies seemed to have taken a day off as I don't remember being bothered by them. When I ran earlier in the week, I couldn't run fast enough to keep them off me.
Could I have run that much faster?? or perhaps other peoples sweat was more attrctive than mine?

I may be a bit bias, but I would sign up for any race sight unseen that was put on by Ian and Ryan. Two guys that really care and have an attitude that spills over to the volunteers and the racers. When most race directors speak of bandits in a race, they seem more concerned about the financial side of the problem. These two guys are more worried about how it affects the racers, the results and the commitment they make to the park.

 I decided to start fairly close to the front to try and not get too bottled up in the first mile.  of course this means running a little faster than I should in the first half mile so I don't cause a slow down for the runners behind me. Even so, I had a lot of people passing for at least a half mile.  At about 3/4 mile I slowed a bit and settled into what seemed like a good pace for me and felt it was about right because not many runners were passing me at this point.

As I literally bound up the first rooty hill and turned up the snowmobile trail (passing at least three runners), I knew it was going to be a pretty good day. The long washed out snowmobile trail hill was slightly taxing and I was glad to turn onto the single track for easier running.

Even though my mile pace was slower on the single track, I enjoy that style or running much more.
I found myself picking off runners one by one, though I got picked off by a few runners too, two of which I am positive I picked back off.

Once I hit the end of the park and turned left for the 2.5 mile home stretch, I was only passed by one runner and I ended up out kicking this runner by 9 felt pretty good about the last 2 miles.

When running a practice session last Tuesday, I pushed a solid race pace and was surprised by the easy feeling on the hills. This had me stoked for the race and felt the hills would surely be my friend today. Contrary to my belief, the long hill in mile four for some reason seemed extra long and a bit tiring. I suspect this was my slowest mile.

After feeling the effects of mile four, I hoped I recouped enough on the long down hill of mile five to master the last hill in mile six which usually has most runners complaining. I don't know if it was the conditioning/ training or the fact that I knew the end and a PR was close, but the last hill was really not an issue, at the top I started my speedup and eventual kick to victory......and it was sweet.

For some reason, this race and this distance seem perfect for me because reguardless of my finishing time, I loved all five Scuffles. Looking at my finishing times, I think I have reversed the trend. I did however  miss racing through the mud.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

L L Bean 10K Race

 When I  first signed up for this race, my intent was to get into super fantastic shape and PR this course. A PR here would not be anywhere close to my 10K PR at B to B  in 2003 (as it was a full 4 minutes slower than B to B) but for some reason, this course is difficult for me. I don't know if it is the terrain or just the fact that it is usually early in my training for the year.

As race day crept closer, I realized I was probably not in the shape I wanted to be in as far as speed work goes so a PR would most likely not be reachable. I did a couple race pace type runs in the preceding weeks and felt I could at least beat 50 minutes and possible get down to 48:30 or so if things went extremely well. Beating my PR of 48:08 seemed more like a foolish dream with only a week to go before the race.

The thing I did have going for me was that I have been running the trails pretty heavy and I suspected my strong point would be the hills. This would work well because I think it is the hills on this course that drain a lot of the runners.

This course has a full mile of downhill and flat running in the beginning and this tends to suck people up into a much too fast pace for their training. Once they hit the hill in mile two, reality sets in. It kind of reminds me of the start at Mnt Washington where you run a nice downhill for about a quarter of a mile, passing spectators and feeling real good ........but it doesn't last long as the incline suddenly slaps you across the face and life changes as you know it.

This didn't happen to me as I embraced and actually attacked the hill. By the time I finished mile three, I had run one of my fastest miles in a long time. I felt strong and was sure the hill in mile five was going to be no problem.

My worst mile of the race was four and I am not sure what happened. It is a slow consistent incline that leads up to the dreaded hill in mile five, but I felt fine and was certain I was maintaining pace or at least it felt like I was. Instead I slowed down. I should have paid more attention here but I guess because I felt ok and the hill was coming, I didn't even keep track of my pace.

I didn't attack the mile five hill but I did push myself to work it in good shape. I ran it 3 seconds faster than mile four. Mile six was mine to conquer as I had energy and drive. It was my best mile as I passed so many runners, I felt strong and dropped a full minute off miles four and five feels so good to pass runners late in a race.

The last .2 miles were awesome though I was pretty spent as I tried with all my effort to PR, I knew I was close and the last .2 would make or break it. I gave it all I had and crossed the finish line with my watch reading 48:12 .......a little disappointing to be so close to my 48:08 PR but at the same time exciting to be that close. I kept thinking that I had many chances to make up that 4 seconds especially in mile four.

I went home feeling relatively happy with my race as I had merely hoped for sub 50 minutes and ended up running a very strong race. I was a bit surprised when I checked out the results later to See my time at 47:59 ......I had forgotten about chip timing.

For all intents and purposes, I am calling this race a PR as it is official time but my race in 2006 was not chip timing and it is any ones guess as to  how close I was to the start line that day. Today I was 13 seconds back and I was positioned about a quarter of the way from the start line. I figure the fact that I am 6 years older surely has to trump the 13 seconds.....doesn't it?

Anyway, regardless of the results, I had a great race, I felt strong and in complete control.


327 th place (out of 1600)
48:13 gun time 47:59 chip time (7:44 pace)
15 out of 59 in my age group

7:33 (hill)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Have Nots Rather Than Have

Bradbury running near the top of lunchbreak hill 5:30 am  last Saturday morning ( the photo does not begin to capture the beauty of the sunrise peaking through the trees)

It seems that my training log is more full of havn't rather than have. By that I mean, I don't do a very good job of followintg my plan. Not that it is a big deal as my plans are designed more as a guide line rather than being etched in stone.

 I had this grand plan of PRing every race this year. Not that I was being that aggressive but more along the lines of the fact that I have been running really slow the last few years and I was planning on some new races this year which of course will automatically be PRs.

 So on the agenda are a few road races that will require some speed to PR and my plan was speed workouts after Pineland to help get my speed up for LL Beans race. Well the speed workouts just didn't materialize for various reasons. I have managed some fairly speedy 8 mile road runs and quite a bit of hill work so I think I will run strong but probably not PR.

My goal is to beat 48:30 (my PR is 48:08 at this race) but honestly anything faster than 50:00 will be fine. The main reason for the lake of speed work is reflected in the photo above. How could one possibly run around a track rather than watch the sunrise while running through the woods?

Besides that, my focus has changed a bit since I signed up for the Brad 50K and then tacked on the Stone cat 50 miler two weeks later. I better start training distance.....don't you think?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Reminded Of George's Quote

I was looking over my racing schedule for this year and now that I have added the Stone Cat 50 miler, it kind of looks a little ambitious .....It reminded me of George's quote which was something like being short on ability but long on attitude...though I'm a bit short on both, but I do have a Little insanity working for me so that helps.

 I guess there are two ways to look at it (glass half full / half empty )  what better way to prepare for my first 50 miler than to run the Brad 50K two weeks before....does that qualify as part of my taper? For your normal ultra runner, it would be a stroll in the park.

 The plus about Stone Cat is I know I can handle the terrain, so the mental part will be my problem. Last year I ran the Marathon there with very little training and 2 months of almost no running. My goal was to finish (get the jacket) and enjoy the experience...I accomplished both.

In essence, I only have to pull off the marathon twice, that surely can't be unreachable. I think Stone Cat makes perfect sense for a first 50 miler because it is not very technical and being 12 mile loops, I will only have three opportunities to quit. I suspect if I can get past the third loop, I should be OK.

Latest runs and stats:

Brad connector  6.8 miles 1:12:02  (10:36 pace)
2 miles easy
2.5 mile (with wife) 28:56 (11:35 p) then 3.1 race pace on combo road trail  24:01  (8:09 P)
Twinbrooks 3.3 easy 29:26  (8:56 P)
LL Bean course plus  6.8 @55:36  (8:56 p)  then 1.3 cooldown @11:23  (8:46 P)
Brad east  7.3@ 1:14:44  (10:15 p)
Road speed up run 8 miles @1:05:12  (8:09 p) then 1 mile cooldown 9:19
Brad east  5 miles @ 50:19 (10:04 p) then the O trail 2.4@ 33:09  (13:49 p)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mixing It Up

Haven't written much lately mostly because not much is happening. I have been mixing up the runs though as I am running a (gulp) road race (LL Bean) on the 4th, Peaks 5 miler on the 27th and Beach to Beacon I thought a little running on the road is needed.

I am also running the Badass series so these road races will not be allowed to get in the way of my plan to PR all three this year and then finish off the series with a 5k at the Craig cup and then the bad brad 50K.

What I am thinking, is to find a 50 miler that is not too difficult as I really want to get one in this year. Not sure what will fit into the schedule though... Stone cat seems to fit but I cringe at the cost, Farm to Farm could fit but that is mostly roads.

It would make sense to run a 50 miler after the 50K but there doesn't appear to be much within a month or two  of  the  Brad. Anyone have suggestions?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

pineland 25K Race Report

It's funny how I can plan my races down to the smallest detail and somehow I think I can follow the format and accomplish the never works out that way and the 25K was no different.

First, let me say that when running a race of this caliber and by caliber I mean the venue (erik, Ian and the rest) It is very reassuring to not have to worry about anything but myself because I know there will be no logistical problems related to the race......this allows me to concentrate on my own running.

Judging by last weekends (appr) 12 mile and the weekend before of 10 miles, even though the Garmen is not too accurate at times, I pulled off somewhere in the 10:30  minute plus average which is my PR on this course.

So my goal here was to PR this race (2:48 in 2008) and if things went well perhaps pulling off a 2:40ish, then if I had that perfect day when everything just seemed to fall into place, maybe as well as 2:35.

What worried me most was if I step it up, will the calf's fail me like years past.  Normally I wear the leg sleeves and that helps a lot but on a hot day like this, the sleeves would probably work against me.

My plan was to start near the front and allow the group to pull me enough so I wouldn't settle into too slow of a pace off the start but still not get caught up into racing for the first 10 miles.......I planned on skipping all the aid stations except for the first time by the Yurk which is when I would suck down a gel. I also planned on powering the uphills so I could take it easy on the downs.

I know this plan is a bit different than most as usually they slow down and even walk the uphills then use the downs to catch up.  Instead I would merely slow down a bit on the downs and cruise with gravity.
if I could maintain an even pace on the first 10 miles and have relatively fresh legs for the last 5, then I would race the last 5 and surely guaranty a PR.

I did a good job in the first 3 miles of keeping my pace and heart rate where is should be but had wicked dry mouth so at the first stop I broke my plan (already!) and stopped long enough to take a sip of water. I was glad I did.

I was feeling pretty good and had settled into a nice sustainable pace, didn't really care how many people were passing me ( and there were a lot until about mile 5).

Second change of plan was the first Yurk stop....I was nowhere ready to take a gel, it felt much too soon so I grabbed a water took one sip and dumped the rest over my head in anticipation of a beating sun through the fields.

The fields seemed easy and the memory of last year faded away quickly. I was at the Yurk again and still felt it was too soon to gel so I skipped it completely, but something in the back of my brain told me it would be a mistake.

I powered the hill and then opened up the stride on the downhill, another change of plan....but it felt so good at the time and set up the new plan of cruising the downs.

On the third trip to the Yurk I decided it was time, I stopped, sucked down a gel, drank a cup of ( what ever that yellow drink was) took 4 or 5 sips of water, dumped the rest on my head and hit the trail.things were going well and time was on my side.

The Grove came up quickly and I felt so strong running past all the cheering people. The time was looking pretty good and I felt I would have to really fall apart to miss out on beating my PR. I stopped at the aid station long enough for a couple sips of water and a dump on the head.

Now I needed to pick things up and turn on RACE mode. There would be no more stopping and nothing but pushing the ups and downs until I see the finish line. The first mile hit me hard as I tried to pick up the pace and even though I didn't feel I was slowing down, I also didn't think I was speeding much for racing, I felt more like I was in survival mode and for some reason, I couldn't seem to get  a grasp on what to expect for a finish time.

This is when I know my body is fatiguing, when I can't do the math anymore.  Come to find out, I heard that a few of the last K marks were off, if this is true then that could explain my calculation problems. Miles 12-13 really seemed to drag but once I  got a glimpse of the runners in the field, I knew I was in good shape and breezed right by the last aid station.

The field gave me perspective as I finally had vision of my finish and I still had some energy. I passed several people through the field and could feel the pace picking up. I had a strong finish and of course was extremely happy with my finishing time.

(1)    9:07 ---(7)    9:51 ---(13)    8:09
(2)  10:23 ---(8)  10:35 ---(14)    9:09
(3)    9:17 ---(9)  10:06 ---(15)    9:24
(4)  10:16 ---(10)   9:56 ---(15.5  ) 8:12
(5)    9:01 ---(11)   9:10
(6)    9:57 ---(12)   9:43

Garmen even had a good day as it read very accurately 15.51 miles.
15.5 @ 2:28:08   9:34 pace and a new PR
Last 5.5 miles 49:31  (9:00  average pace)