Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not Particularly Excited

On my way to work this morning, it started snowing (about 4:15 am) Hey.....What The....?  You know I love winter and the snow and everything that goes with it, but when its over, its over and I am ready for the new exciting season.

 This is Maine though and Winter usually slaps us from behind a couple times in March and I shouldn't be surprised...and I'm not, I am just disappointed because I don't want to deal with it. I am more ready for spring this year than any one I can remember. Perhaps it is because I didn't really have a fun winter,
or maybe just the "over the top" weather from last week.

Running wise, I am progressing a bit slow but actually the way I should be this time of year. I see all these huge mileage reports from everyone else and feel a bit behind....well alot behind. At the same time, I am not training for a big ultra in a couple weeks either.

 On the bright side, all my runs in the last four weeks have been fantastic. Though not a lot of miles, they were very solid and each one left me feeling positive about the up coming season. I am running lighter, stronger and faster than any spring I can remember.

So.....I guess I am whining a bit but that won't change anything. I have a run planned tonight and regardless of snow or cold or whatever, I will be happy to be out there.

Last run;
Saturday at the was a fantastic 7 miles of fun......felt great all day.
Sunday two hour walk....not really a run but still felt it at the end.
Monday, cross training (bike)
Tuesday, anniversary run

Friday, March 23, 2012

Summer Running At "The Brad"

Something about running Bradbury when the temps are warm, and the summer feeling is in the air.
Even though the terrain is still spring like as far as conditions go, the 75 degree temps had summer written all over it.

If I stated any complaint at all, it would be the uncomfortableness of mud and particles in my shoes. After hitting shin deep mud spots, I purposely ran through pure water to try and rinse some of the irritating granules out. this is not usually a big problem when wearing sox, but today I was running in the New Balance minimus which I do not wear sox.

My intent was to run a semi race pace 4 or 5 miler then hit the O trail for a bit of torture. I started out at a pretty good clip and once I hit Lanzo Trail, I was feeling quite spry and enjoying the feeling of extending the stride and pushing the pace.

The difference in my weight this year is very noticeable on the trails as I seem to be able to negotiate the twisting terrain much better. What a difference a few pounds make.

When I got to the O trail, I took a few moments to take off the shoes and wipe some of the dirt off, that felt a lot better. This O trail run would be my base time for this year as I planned on taking it easy and hopefully not getting lost.

 To my surprise, there were new lime green colored trail markers and it surely made negotiating this trail much easier.....I still had a few confused moments but the markers sure helped a lot. One thing I noticed, is one direction there were wooden markers and the other direction there was a painted mark on the trees, so if I got turned around for some reason, I could tell I was going the wrong way.

About halfway through  I was feeling fatigue and a heaviness in my legs that reminded me of the Bruiser. I found myself longing for the end and quite happy when I found it. To my surprise, I ran the O faster than I thought I would ....only about 4 minutes slower than my fastest time for the 2.4 miles.

The O trail is like repeatedly slamming your legs with a baseball bat and as funny as it might sound, the dead leg feeling really felt the feeling of stretching out a lame muscle the day after a weight workout.

Overall.....just an excellent run.

4.75 miles @44:58 ( 9:27 pace)......124-173 heart rate
O trail 2.4  miles @33:38 (14:01 pace)...137-149 heat rate

Friday, March 16, 2012

Weird ...and then it was OK

It was a weird day......wanted to run and thought about it all day. Counted down the minutes and finally was able to leave early so I could get in a hour or so of running before dark.

I wanted to run Bradbury type trails but on the way there I was feeling that I just didn't want to put up with the ice like it was Sunday.....all I wanted was nice rooty, rocky twisting bradbury trails.

I dreaded the conditions all the way there and almost re-routed or worse aborted all together. Weird how one can talk themselves right out of things.

Anyway, I showed up and grudgingly changed my clothes, then hit the East side trails, but thinking all along "why am I doing this if I just don't feel up to it?"

Within minutes I am in a totally different world. there are a lot of soft areas and a little icey snow spots but overall very nice conditions.  The roots and rocks were all showing, the mud was in it's glory and the ice was not slippery at much different than last Sunday when I ran here.

Isn't spring GRAND? I think one more week and the old familiar trails will be in full bloom. I even ran a bit of the O trail but somehow got turned around and found my self back at the beginning (still a bit of snow on this trail)

This was a great run and I drove home feeling fulfilled.

OH.....I got into Beach to Beacon, wasn't really sure if I wanted to do it as it is the day before the Bradbury 9 miler, but figured I would try and if i got in, it was meant to be.....registration opened at 7am and was full at 7:04 am.....I think a new record.

6.4 miles @1:18:38

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm A Little Teapot

Surely that title brought on a few puzzled looks.....most guys writing about running have very little in common with a teapot.

 The other day I was singing the teapot song with my granddaughter and it made me think about my running this year....or should I say my running plans.

 It really is a good analogy as my running plans are the steam created by heating the water. I am spouting with excitement and enthusiasm ......just waiting to be tipped up so the results can be poured out.

Even though I had a lackluster winter and couldn't seem to get much running in, I am charging into spring feeling fantastic and ready for some great performances. I am looking to do some faster races this year.

I don't know if it is the fact that I have trimmed down early this year, the lack of running this winter or perhaps the fact that I have no injuries, but it sure feels different this year than the last few. It may just be that my body needs some rest and when I have a heavy winter of running, I head into spring fatigued.

What ever the reason, I am stoked and even thinking about running a couple 5ks. There is no doubt in my mind that I will PR some races this year. That being said, I hope my body can deliver on my head's promise.......

Tuesday workout;

3.1 mile semi  fast pace run @ 25:41 (8:10 pace, 6:58 kick)
Catch breath after fast kick then 3.4 mile tempo run @31:18 (9:18 pace, 8:14 kick)
30 minute cooldown on bike.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bradbury Blizzard...What Was I Thinking?

I ran The Brad east side Wednesday night and really felt great. It seemed I was not as far out of shape as I was thinking. It probably helped that I was 10 lbs lighter than this time last year even though I have not run much this winter.

Saturday morning I ran a few miles with my son and again I felt really good and actually ran a bit faster than I thought I would for an easy run.

Sunday morning made the trip to Home Depot (seems like a weekend ritual lately) Got back in plenty of time to change up and head to Bradbury for the snow shoe race.

I had time once I picked up my number and dropped off the Banana bread to throw on the snowshoes and get a little acclimated before the race. I had no idea how my legs would feel because I hadn't snowshoed all winter.

Lucky for me we were running the east side instead of the mountain side....this should help me considerably. I hit the trails and immediately found that Ian and Ryan had done a great job marking the trails.

Everything felt great as I settled in rather quickly to what seemed like a decent pace. The legs felt good, cardio was good, I was dressed just right. Everything was almost too good... Suddenly I started worrying about how I would feel during the race.

Perhaps I am using up all my energy during my warm up run and probably should have waited and save this for the actual race. I felt so good, I quickly pushed that thought right out of my mind and convinced myself that this would surely help my race rather than hinder it.

After about a mile, I looped back toward the start and finished my warm up at about 2.25 miles. I had to estimate because for some reason I didn't bring the Garmen today (OK...I forgot it)

As we waited for the race to start, I felt really good and was certain I could at least hang in with the same runners I finished with last year. Just to be sure, I stayed back at the start and ended up falling in behind Jerry, who by the way is an amazing runner at 74 years old.

I wasn't too worried about being behind Jerry because he always starts fairly fast and sets a consistent pace. I felt great and waited patiently to find a spot to pass.

I passed Jerry and picked up the pace a bit to chase down the next runner.
I caught her and wasted no time going by, then caught two more and passed them. This race was shaping up to be a good one as I felt strong and fairly settled in. There was no doubt in my mind at this moment, about two miles in, that the run yesterday and the warm up this morning had surely helped me in this race.

Once I got into what I figured was mile three (sucks not having the Garmen) something the flick of a light switch, I suddenly felt the weight of the snowshoes and the legs were feeling quite gassed.

It was this moment, merely halfway through this race that I asked myself that question....What was I thinking? Did I really think 5 miles on snowshoes would be a breeze? I realized rather quickly that I had a very strong 2 mile race in me, but 5 miles would be a different matter all together.

I labored through mile three and did actually pass two people..... it was Eric and Brenda and they stopped for her to tie her shoes.
So it was more like pass by default and they quickly passed me back.

Mile 4 was more of the same and I resorted to walking some of the inclines. There was no doubt now that the 2 mile warm up was a big mistake.
During this mile, two of the people I passed returned the favor and left me in the dust.

I began to get worried as I could see glimpses of one of the girls I passed and Jerry behind me and I worried they would pass me too. Though I was totally out of energy in mile five and did get passed by one runner, I was determined to keep Jerry behind me.

I hated the fact that I was no longer running my race as I had resorted to worrying about the runners behind me rather than concentrate on the race in front of me. I can tell you, it sure makes the miles go by much slower when you are concentrating on the people behind you.

Halfway through mile 5 the cardio just gave out and I was now hanging on by a thread and a small thread it was....the only bright spot was knowing I was going to finish and even if it killed me, I would find something in me to get a kick at the end.

Once I got a glimpse of the finish line, it was like a horse heading for the barn at feeding time and the kick came from nowhere I.m not sure where because I had no energy left. The finish was felt so good to know I made it as mile 4 had tried very hard to convince me I wouldn't.

What a great race, snow shoe races are designed to be difficult and why would I expect otherwise. I had 2 miles of bliss, 2 miles of hell and 1 mile of determination. In the end I felt I earned and deserved the gratification. I am so glad I ran.....I just wish I could have stayed around longer after. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snow--Ice--Screw Shoes---Stress Relief

When I arrive at work in the mornings, it is 4:30 Am and the place is dark and peacefull .....very tranquil. This doesnt last very long and within a hour the atmostphere has totally changed.

The next 11 hours seem like total chaos and by the end of the day, stress
has peaked. This day was a few steps higher than that and I was ready to split long before 4:30-5:00 ( my normal quitting time)

By 3:00 I was fed up with all the crap and planned an early get away.
I drove out of the gate at 3:30 and by 4:00 I was hitting the East side trails at Bradbury.

The air was fresh, the icespikes crunched as I negotiated Lanzo trail the only noise other than the steady crunch was the sound of my breathing.
It seemed robotic in a way as I twisted and turned while following the single track.

I could feel the stress flowing rapidly out of my body as it was gobbled up by peaceful woods. I felt good all over and I didn't seem to be working at all.

Though this part of the trail had very little traffic recently, I had no problem following it without having to concentrate on direction. I fell into a light trance as the crunch..crunch..breath created a steady pattern.

Suddenly I had time to notice things, almost like time actually slowed down. I could see variuos size deer tracks meandering with the trail, somes times veering off and then returning.

I noticed a few different foot prints .....there was a man sized boot print along with dog tracks and the distinct marking of new Balance minimus, also running shoe prints from someone that was surely pushing the pace as the toe off disruption in the packed snow was quite visible.

the only thing that would made this run more surreal would be a feathery light snow floating down through the openings of the trees.....

I loved this run and even though it was relatively short, it seemed to recharge me and rid my body of all negativity.

Bradbury East
About 4.5 miles, 46:28