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 rang.....it 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!!