Monday, June 17, 2013

No Run Race Report

Well, I missed a second race in as many months. First it was the Barefoot 5k at Pineland and now the Tarc 50 miler. Who died and left father time in charge of my life anyway? I don't like missing races (though missing the 50miler was probably a good thing)

 It's actually amazing that I finished the Pineland 25k because it was my only run in two weeks prior to the race. Since then I have run twice......once a week for 6 miles each. Not what one would call training and surely I can't expect to run races in any respectable way without getting in some quality runs.

Of course, excuses are a dime a dozen and I can make a list that would look pretty respectable .....but that doesn't change the fact that my brain and body are having extreme withdrawals. I need at least a couple runs a week and would prefer a minimum of four.

 There is light at the end of the tunnel and within a few weeks I will have more time ( I think). You see I did a crazy thing ( at least for someone of my age) I resigned from my job of 20 years. I have given up the security and certainty to start a business of my own.

Right now I am in transition so actually still working out my notice and trying to run the new business at the same time. A couple more weeks and my life will be changing drastically. Yes I will have the chance to run more but I might be running as a hobo if things don't go well financially.

It seems my life has always been a toggle switch between feast and famine.....get ready for the switch.

Run report;  Sunday  6 miles at Bradbury 1:05:20  I expected it to be a lot slower. The run was fantastic. Even at 6am the sun was peaking through the trees and the air was clean and crisp....I loved it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I've Been Running.....Honest

 OK....I actually have been running but for some reason can't get much done as far as writing about it.
I am not even sure where I left off.

April 13th I showed up for the Merrimack Riva 10 miler with very low expectations. I was not what one would say "tuned up" or even semi trained. All because of low running volume in the last month or so.

Last year I ran a great race race here and finished quite strong with a 1:36  (1:35:53). This year I am a little bit lighter (about 4 lbs) but have not had many long runs so I felt I would be OK with at least a 1:40, but kinda dreamed about having a fantastic above normal race and somehow beat last years time.

At the start I hung back a bit and felt my best chance to feel OK at the end was to be very conservative. My son ran with me and we had an easy first 3-4 miles with plenty of time and energy to talk up a storm about everything and anything.

I was passed by at least 30 runners and honestly with my low expectations, it didn't really bother me at all. I thought perhaps after the middle miles with all the hills were behind me, I would try to pick things up and actually race the last three easy miles of the race.

The first 5 miles felt very easy and manageable so it was quite a surprise to see my turn around split was the same as last year.......(48min) WHF?? How did I accomplish that? After the turn around my son mentioned that I was on pace to PR if I could maintain my current pace and pull off a speedy last mile.

 HMMNNN.....My first thought was, perhaps I could pull of a PR after all. My second thought was the possibility probability of falling apart on the return trip. It was too late to change my mind set now...why did my son have to mention it, now I had no choice.

He helped by monitoring my pace and taking the lead in miles 6 and 7 to keep me going on the down hills. Yes you read that right, I was fine on the uphills but too conservative on the downs. Not enough crazy let it all hang out downhill training yet.

He was a great rabbit and by the mile 7 hill I passed him and felt good enough to pick it up even more. I passed more runners on the way back than passed me on the way out. I was screaming by packs of runners and feeling really strong.

Mile 9  came and I knew for sure I was going to PR. It was pretty exciting because I pretty much discounted this race as a race and was considering it just an organized jog. I picked the pace up even more and crossed the finish line at 1:31:01 (43 min on the return)

Just about a 5 minute PR, who would have thought? I was the fastest Trail Monster of the race, and the only one......well that makes me the slowest Trail Monster in the race also.

Needless to say, it was a happy day.

April 17th,  ran my second run at Pineland as they finally lifted the trail ban. I decided to do the barefoot 5K course I knew I needed some foot toughening work before the 5K and there were only a few weeks left.

I struggled a bit on the rocky and gravely sections. Though isolated, I hit some pretty painful spots.
Most of the terrain was not bad but I did run a lot slower than the day before (I wore shoes then) and I ended with some painful feet.

I was glad know that I could finish a 5K barefoot but at the same time I definitely need to get some more work in before the race. My time was an extremely slow 32 minutes.....ouch physically and mentally.

April 23rd, first track practice. went good but was quite cold. I surprised myself with an relatively easy 7:05 mile time trial. Then we did 10K and 5K 800s.  I am happy to report, I felt great and I didn't push myself to the brink of injury ( which was normal for me in the past)

I think I finally have the right mindset for track and for now will plan on continuing as long as I don't get carried away.

Of course I had runs in between these events but there were less eventfull.
So far I feel this is going to be a good year.

Friday, March 29, 2013

I promise Not To Complain About Running ---and my lack of it!

Did you ever have one of those runs that was just plain perfect? I don't mean in the training sense where certain goals are hit and the pace or distance was more than expected, I mean just plain Zen like.

Well I had one of those yesterday. I hit Bradbury not knowing what to expect because of the no run week, the sore left calf and the probability of ice.

I decided to hit the mountain with no expectations and no real goal --other than get in a much needed run. Not  just because I haven't run all week but more because I needed a good stress relief and to connect with nature.

I was a little worried about the calf but was pretty sure it was more speed related and if I just take it easy I would be fine. Turns out I was right about that and though I could feel it, it never shut me down like last Sunday at back bay.

I expected a lot of snow and ice but found other than the hill on the boundary trail, it was pretty good going. I ran the perimeter and threw in Lunch break hill. I was surprised how comfortable I felt and the hills didn't really bother at all.

I hit many good spots of snow less trail and it felt great. I think I smiled the whole run and when I finished ........well I just plain felt great....I love spring!

OH.....and I got into the BtoB through the lottery system....who would have thought...I never win anything!!

5.2 miles @1:04:03  (12:19 pace)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting excited about Spring

OK.......getting spring fever and have been signing up for races in anticipation of it, but am pretty disappointed I couldn't get into Beach to Beacon. Started at 7am sharp and somehow I got beat by 4000 people. I did get into the Lottery it could happen.

Also signed up for the Bradbury Badass trail series,  Merrimack 10 miler,  LL bean 10K,  Pineland barefoot 5K,  Pineland 25k and the new Tarc Fifty miler, pretty excited about this night race but not sure if I will make it fifty miles. I suspect Jedi will offer to carry me so I have that option if things don't go well.

As far as the training is going, I am still struggling with my schedule. I have not been able to find adequate time to get the runs in that I want. Luckily I have not been on a regular training schedule yet as I am trying to work on base through the winter, but now that it is March, I better get going.

I have been finding creative ways to squeeze in the runs. Saturday it was an early morning road run where I pushed a much faster pace to work harder in a shorter period of time. A trail run would have been preferable but I had commitments.

Sunday I had planned an early morning run similar to Saturday but the morning fell completely apart. I did a lot of running around during the day and glad I thought ahead and brought my running gear with me. I found a window of opportunity in the afternoon and stopped at Bradbury for a nice trail run.

I ran the connector at Bradbury and found there was much more ice than I figured so not having screw shoes, the going was a bit slow at times. I almost fell twice but somehow was able to keep control.

There were a lot of deer tracks which is quite common but after the second bridge I came across some very large tracks that could only have been made by a moose. The concept of running into a Moose was intriguing yet also a bit discomforting as they are so unpredictable.

I didn't end up seeing  any animals but did come across quite a few family groups on the mountain trails......was it secretly family day at Bradbury?

Anyway, I hope to ramp things up in the next couple weeks and start my actually training schedule.

road run  8 miles @1:08:42 (8:39 pace)

trail run 6.4 miles @1:24:34 (13:19 pace)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Indications of Spring

I know it is close to spring when I plan a run after work and end up bringing four shoe choices because I have no idea what the conditions will be. It doesn't help that I have not even decided where I am all depends on the day and how things go.

 I have my screws shoes in case things freeze up and I suspect ice, I have the inov 8 212s if things are not icy and I run the trails at Bradbury, I have the brooks Casscadias in the slight chance that I make it to back bay and I have the New balance minimus because it could be wet, muddy and I may want to run light and sock less.

 I really need spring this year, I have had a lackluster winter with very little trail running and quite honestly more excuses than a teenager (though  there have been many justified ones). The few times I have made it out there, I loved every minute of it....problem was getting out there.

 I am waiting for an "a-ha" moment when the fog lifts and I finally discover how to make my schedule and the demands of others work in my favor. I think the freshness of spring will help me....also bringing longer days.

I ran at Bradbury Tuesday night and though the run felt good, the trail conditions were not all that great. It seemed to be a chore to negotiate the soft melting snowmobile trail. I spent much of the time thinking about normal trails with no snow and how nice it would be.

 I need to get out of this funk and spring seems like the perfect catalyst.  I am totally done with winter......

Tuesday run

5.7 trail miles @1:02:41 (11:05 pace)


Monday, February 18, 2013

Finally! accomplished a Run

Photo......where's the trail?

Lately I have been procrastinating my way through the week and then falling short for weekend runs. It seems like everything works against me this time of year. Last weekend, the big snow interfered with my snow shoe race. It was sort of a catch 22.......snow...great for the race Sunday....heavy snow, plowing Saturday and work spills over to race for me.

So.....last weekend was a no run situation.  This weekend I had to force the issue and make the runs happen. Finally hit Bradbury at 7am and decided to do a couple hours of running. original plan was to run the connector and return the BL loop which is about 8 miles.

The run started out fantastic with a light snow falling and a very tranquil air. Wore the screw shoes and pretty Glad I did.  A couple miles out, I found not much evidence of traffic and after the bridge, no trail.

I somehow lost the trail twice and ended up bushwhacking for about 45 minutes. I found the trail and then lost it again. The plus was that my tracks were the only ones out there so if I had to backtrack I could feeling lost but good to know I could get back. I crossed my own trail three times which means I was not going straight even though I felt like I was.

I got my two hours in but never made it past the power lines. All and all though it was still a very nice run. I logged about 7.5 miles and still had time left in the day to get some work done.

Sunday morning was a planned easier run on the road, so I could get the run in but still recoup from yesterdays difficult bushwhacking. The wind was crazy and at times it felt like I was not moving when running into it. Accomplished my planned 6 miles.

Finally a weekend that worked as planned (except for the bushwacking).

7.5 mile @2:00  Trail (no trail) at Bradbury (16:00 pace)

6.04 miles @ 59:09 (9:48 pace)

Monday, February 4, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

 When I signed up for the cape 10 miler, I really planned on being in tip top running shape so I could breeze through the course like a madman.

 That is not what happened on Sunday, yet I really can't complain about my performance. I have been averaging about 8 miles week for the last two months with my longest training run being 8 miles....of course that means some of those weeks were only one run.

 Because of the lack of running and training, I decided to just run (jog) the course and if I felt really good perhaps get down to 9:30-9:45 pace. I didn't really see much chance of that happening but I lied to everyone and claimed I felt 9:30 would be reachable.

On the two 8 mile runs I did in the preceding weeks of the race, I did average about 9:10s but that was on a much easier terrain than this course. There something about the last two miles that sucks the life right out of me.

I wore my new garmen and was quite surprised to see the first three miles actually have a rolling terrain that is more than the last three miles. So, really the beginning of this course is more difficult.....if you don't add in the head wind that has been there every time I run this race.

I must also mention that the last 1/4 mile of this race is fantastic and I always feel like I am flying on that down hill finish. I like being the guy that powers past a few people near the finish line.

I was pleasantly surprised with my performance as I pulled off an average 9:14 pace  and even though it was no where near a PR for me at this race, it was a full minute faster than the last time I ran it a pretty big deal for me.

 Looking at the stats of my meager training and factoring the injuries from November and December,
I have to assume I still have a pretty good base of fitness from the trail running last fall. I am pretty stoked about this and hope it transforms into a stellar year for me......I guess we will see.

Mid Winter Ten Mile Classic...........10 miles, 1:32:14 (9:14 pace)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Squall Crispies race Report

Honestly, I was a bit worried about the snow shoe race at Bradbury. I would surely not be racing and actually would be happy just to finish. I ran in snowshoes only once this year, a couple weeks ago and experienced a very painful left ankle and archilles.

 I am not sure if I did something while memory of twisting it ......but the next day it was swollen, black and blue, and very painful. I suspect it was more the aftermath of the snowboarding incident, or possibly the zero rise runners I wore with the snowshoes, but not really sure.

 The ankle plus the fact that I have only been getting in about 6-8 miles a week (on the road) for the last month and a half, would affect my capabilities at this race .....and running 8 miles on Saturday might leave me with pretty dead legs.

 Was there anything positive to say for this first snowshoe race of  the year? Actually, yes. The conditions were pretty good, the weather was darn near perfect, it was the normal great group of runners and the Trail Monsters (including volunteers) put on such a fantastic race.

 I arrived about an hour early and tried a short half mile run on the shoes to see how thing would feel.
The left archilles felt very tight and the last thing I wanted to do was injure it. So my battle plan was pretty simple, this would just be an easy showshoe jog with little expectations and I would pay close attention to the archilles......aborting the race was surely an option.

I lined up somewhere near the back and settled on four goals........start slow and give myself time to warm up. Keep the heart rate around 80-85% max, run the whole way and finish strong. Though these goals sounded awful good in my imagination, I suspected they would fall apart fast and the realization of how out of (running)  shape I was would hit me in the first mile.

Ryan said some funny stuff (as usual) and we were off.......I settled in to a spot after the turn onto single track behind a couple other runners and actually was feeling pretty good. I passed a few runners early and was not passed by too many in the first mile ( maybe three or four).

  The second mile was more of a steady slight climb and though I slowed some, I managed to pass three runners without pushing the heart rate past 85%.  After mile 1.5, I had no issues or scares from runners behind me and my pace keep getting faster.

 I was a bit worried in mile three that I would hit a wall, but it just never happened and I was able to really pick up the pace in the last half mile of the race. I finished strong to surprisingly reach all of my prerace goals.

 I am not sure what happened here because dispite the fact that it felt like I was running with sandbags on my feet, My body just never gave in. It doesnt make sense because I was not trained or race ready at all.......but I had a fantastic race.....go figure.

3.5 miles @44:37  (12:45 pace)
39 th place 


Friday, January 4, 2013

I Am My Own Worst Enemy

I haven't been running now for almost two weeks. Crazy that I have slipped this far. I have excuses and I can explain......but it doesn't sit well with my running and racing plans this winter.

Last week was full of interference but I was not too worried because I had a very long run panned for Sunday that would make up for it. You see Saturday was a planned trip to Peaks Island and our Christmas party with My oldest daughter.

 To our delight, there was snow on the ground and was snowing during the afternoon. We had planned an odd event of bungee sledding. Basically we had this large rubber bungee style rope and the plan was to tie one end to a tree and have three or four able bodied people pull back as far as we could while the sledder or snowboarder held on tight.

Let go of the bungee and the sledder would get a powered jump start for the hill and thus much more enjoyment.  Well the fresh snow was just not slippery enough and it did not work well at all. We decided the only thing left to do rather than abort the idea was to tow the sledder or snowboarder behind a car  (did I mention there was some drinking involved?)

 In the name of safety I thought it would not be smart to tie the bungee to the rear of the car because if the end got caught or if the sledder got into trouble, someone could get hurt. So instead the rear hatch was left open and a person sat in the rear holding onto the bungee rope. The idea was to let go of the rope if the person fell or got into trouble.

I was the first to sit in the back and holding the rope. I found that I had enough strength to hold on as long as I wedged my feet on the left and right side of the car body. This system worked well for one person and also worked well for two, but when we tried towing three or more, it was hard on the hands to hold on.

 So what I did was wrap the end of the rope around my arm first and use my body to help support. This worked well and I was able to let go when needed ........well all except for one time. This time we had four people, one on snowboard , two on sleds and one one his back.

They got tangled up and went into the snowbank, the bungee got caught (exactly what I was worried about and why we didn't tie it to the car bumper) Problem is the bungee was so tight by the time I tried to let go, it became caught around my body.

You can see where this is going right?  The bungee became dislodged and instantly came toward the rear of the car at an incredible speed. If you can picture a man sitting in the rear of a car with both legs spread to lock the feet into the sides of the rear, you can imagine how vulnerable that guy might be......

 The rope and handle hit my left leg from the knee to the groin and my right inner thigh just above the knee. My first thought was that this was not as safe as I first envisioned, my second was ow!! The thud and crack sounds were so loud, I thought for sure some thing was broken. I was able to get out of the car and walk so a bit of a relief. It sure did hurt though.
Consequently I have some pretty good bruises and didn't get my long run in on Sunday.

All week I have been hoping things heal up a bit to allow a run this weekend. The left knee became more painful as the swelling subsided and actually is more sore now than it was the first three days.
My hope is to try a run on Saturday ......I am cautiously optimistic

Was there a lesson to be learned here?  Well not really, sometimes people do dangerous things in the name of fun and sometimes it doesn't go so well comes with the territory. Your only guarrantee not to get hurt is to sit on the couch all day and don't move.

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.