Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Free at last, free at last!

I freed myself of my desk today and went for a run around South Freeport. Given the amount of work my team has I felt guilty, but the weather was just too nice to ignore and I haven't been out for quite some time. Despite the guilt, the run was fantastic. Tom joined at Noon and we ran a slightly modified 4th of July L.L.Bean 10K route in a nice 46:59, a 7:42 pace. The couple miles that the battery of my GPS lasted recorded a heart rate in the mid-140s.

The weather and work the rest of the week leads me to start mentally preparing to be back on the treadmill tomorrow and Thursday night. Get it where and when you can!

Conditions: Sunny, mid-30s, no wind
Time: 46:59
Pace: 7:42
HR: Mid to high 140s

Monday, January 28, 2008

Trading spaces with my wife

Treadmill / 7 miles / 53 minutes / 7:34 pace / no HR data

Treadmill / 6 miles / 47 minutes / 7:50 pace / no HR data

Kelly, my wife, has really stepped up her running lately. She's gotten motivated to tackle another fall marathon . This will be her third but first since our son Quinn was born. So now we are really bartering for running time. This usually means I get the late shift. Last night I got in a nice run after a somewhat humdrum day which was supposed to be about tackling home projects but I ended up creating more work than I solved (be careful to stay on the rafter when walking around your attic - ceiling drywall does not do well when subjected to 158 lbs of pressure). My knee is still a little sore but I am now focusing my rolling on the outside of my leg both above and below the knee.

Also of note last night was that we watched a pretty neat documentary on two guys who crossed the US on Segway. I work with a guy who know the filmmakers and he asked me to check it out and give him an objective view point. The movie is called "10 MPH". By signing up at an affiliated website, you can download or watch the flick for free. Or queue it in your Netflix. It paints a fun portrait of our still great country and has some great tunes.

Tonight I hit the treadmill again for a decent run. Sometimes I just don't feel like running, and tonight was one of those nights. My legs were sloppy and I just wanted off. However I did manage 6 miles and sometimes it is these runs we force ourselves to do that pay off big in the end.

This weekend's run in Cape Cod (Fat Ass 50K) is still up in the air as Jamie and check out health and overall status to run 50K. If we do go, I am ready for a great time!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pineland XC and a run

Today I was fortunate to get a "two a day" workout in. This morning my family headed over to spend the day at Pineland Farms to partake in the Winter Carnival being hosted there. I attended a ski waxing class while my kids headed over to the sledding hill for some fast and furious downhill time on plastic discs. After my class I headed to the waxing room and applied what I learned and then took my "new" skis out on the wicked fast snow we had this morning. My skate skiing is coming along, thanks largely to Monday's clinic and time on my skis. I got in a little over two hours of skiing on the River Loop and Gloucester Hill trails and enjoyed every minute of it. It is definitely nice to get a sweat going and a workout from something other than running some times. My kids also enjoyed their time on skis and on the carriage rides.

A couple hours after mid-day I was responsible for bringing Riley and Quinn back home for nap time while Kelly hung out with her Dad for some classical skiing. This worked out great as the kids were asleep in the car before we even got away from Pineland. I took advantage of this kid downtime when I got home by jumping on the treadmill for a 7-mile run which I completed in about 55 minutes. It is amazing how much a good movie will take away the pain of a hot run when you are tired. I am currently watching "Saving Private Ryan" on my runs and the battle scenes get the heart rate up and mind focused away from the whir of the treadmill belt. I felt good running with the exception of my outer left knee. Since my ski outing Monday, my knee has been tender to touch in a very localized area. I believe it is the attachment point of my IT band so I have been focusing my stretching and rolling on my IT. Hopefully this will help. I'll let you know.

And here's my To Do list for this upcoming week: check out flights to WS100 (!) and send in my cash for the Vermont 100.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ups and downs

Since my last post, there have been some ups and downs. The long weekend was an active one. Saturday started with an early morning treadmill run. Granted, Saturday was a beautiful day, so why not run outside? Why not meet the Trail Monsters at Bradbury? Well, I have an aversion to super early morning winter runs. Not that I fear the cold, it just my motivation is lacking to run solo at 6 AM in 10 degree weather. Question my love of running if you will, but I just prefer to stay indoors in these cases. This is not to say my basement environment is exactly comfortable. With my huge soapstone wood stove kicking, my basement creates a perfect environment for training for the Badwater 135. In fact, I will probably spend most of my training for Badwater in my basement! But that's in a few years...now back to Saturday past. I ran 10 treadmill miles at an ascent of 1% in 1:20. After that, Kelly and I took the kids to visit Pops and Boo Boo (Kelly's dad and his girlfriend). While the kids spent the day snowshoeing and skiing with the Grandparents, Kelly and I headed the 20 minutes over to Black Mountain in Rumford for some classical nordic skiing. We spent about 1:30 hours skiing and called it a day.

Sunday was a day off and spent ice skating with the kids and learning how to wax nordic skis and then practicing that art. While I have a way to go before I can call my waxing an art, the performance of the skis Monday proved that I did not screw them up. I was lucky enough Monday to partake in a skate ski lesson with a coach arranged through the Portland Lobster XC Ski Club. Present were a couple guys I know from trail running and I had a great time over the few hours we spent at Pineland skiing. Beautiful day and a great workout. Later that night I hit the treadmill for a 5.5 mile treadmill run at an average pace of 7:30 and felt pretty good with the exception of sore knees from skiing and what I suspect is a tight IT band. Solution: the foam roller. Every runner should have one. Fixed both mine and Kelly's knee problems and has kept us injury free for years. Good stuff. It's the cheapest tool you can add to your running arsenal. Rush out and buy one now!

Monday was a down day. Quinn and Riley brought home a stomach virus over the weekend and Kelly got it Monday night and I woke up with it in the morning. So that knocked me out for the day. Forced day off. I did get back on the treadmill last night for an easy 5 miles at 7:45 pace which was tough with a belly that was still a little queasy. Tonight I felt much better and got in 6 treadmill miles at roughly the same pace. Feels good to be 100% again!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Nice string of runs and Cape Cod 50K

So I've had a pretty good string of runs this past weekend and week, starting with Saturday's run at Bradbury. My first day off since then was today, which was unfortunate given the perfect weather we had today at lunch (although I hate seeing the snow melt away). Wednesday I resorted to an evening treadmill run of 5.5 miles in my basement "sauna". My evening treadmill runs typically follow a pyramid pacing scheme, where each mile is run progressively faster than the previous one until the last mile which I decrease each quarter mile to the end. Wednesday's average pace was just over 7:30 with my fastest mile a 6:40. I really don't mind the treadmill running and the really good thing about the heat down there is that it should get me acclimated early for pacing Jamie at Western States!

Yesterday's run was an easy 5.75 miles on the roads of Freeport at an average pace of 7:45 with a nice, controlled heart rate. I ran with Tom and it seemed he was chomping at the bit to get moving but he was kind enough to hang back with me. It was another perfect day to be out running. This weekend I will probably stay close to home and do some early morning runs. The 8:00 AM Bradbury runs get me home way too late and since I hope to get some Nordic Skiing in this weekend, I best be at home for my family at breakfast.

As for upcoming races, I may head down to Cape Cod for a Fat Ass 50K on February 2nd with Jamie. It will definitely serve us both well to get out for some long races together to work out any kinks for the big show at Western States. See below for details.

"The Cape Cod Ultrarunning Society will be hosting the 2nd annual Frozen Fat Ass 50 K at Sandy Neck in Barnstable, Cape Cod, Massachusetts on Saturday, February 2.

The course is two laps of a figure eight 15.7 mile configuration involving marsh trails, sand dunes, and beach on beautiful Cape Cod Bay. Do one loop for 25 K or finish the 50 k for an inscribed commemorative quahog shell. Potential difficulty factors include: soft sand, ice cold salt water that you might have to run through, snow, and bitterly cold winds with full exposure on the open beach. Last year was rather cold (about 12 deg F.), but the beach was fairly firm (frozen), the wind was light, and there was no snow and only a little water to run through. Conditions could be a lot tougher.

Directions: The entrance to Sandy Neck is on Sandy Neck Rd. off rte. 6A right at the Sandwich/Barnstable town line. For a map Google: "map of sandy neck beach" Google Earth gives a great view of the course area. Start time is at 7A.M. sharp in the parking lot. The time limit is 9 hours. No fee. Some food & drinks provided, plus donations to the aid station are welcomed. There is no race web site. For more information you can ask here, or call the race director Bob Jensen at 508-420-0561."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Update to yesterday's post

(Disclaimer: My wife constantly tells me that my humor sucks and that I am so dry in the delivery of my humorous statements, or diatribes as you will find below, that I thought it best to first point out that what you are about to read is meant to be read as humor. Under no circumstances should anyone feel slighted by the words below.)

I want to address a comment left on my blog yesterday and correct a statement I made based on that comment.

Trail Monster Running was kind enough to read my report on Saturday's Bradbury run and leave a comment correcting a statement I made to the effect that Emma fell during Saturday's run. It is true that Emma fell. It is also true that Emma is a fantastically fast runner and her falling is by no means an indication of her capabilities as a runner, just simply an indication of how tough the conditions were. What is misleading from my blog is that there were others who fell, but none of them left a mark on me as Emma's did since I was told (but did not see) that she fell into a body of water that left her quite wet. As she was in a short sleeved shirt and wet and I was in a long and short sleeved shirt and dry and still cold, when I relayed Emma's fall to my wife Kelly later I got the shivers just thinking about it so I wrote it in my blog.

Okay, what is true is that Blaine had a magnificent blood-letting fall, Chuck fell as did a number of others which Trail Monster Running pointed out. While I did not fall Saturday (I did nearly), I have fallen so many times on the trails at Bradbury and have not hid that fact that I am not pointing out other's falls to make myself look like a non-faller (word?). I have done so to merely illustrate the fact that the run was tough. I apologize in all sincerity to Giant and Gnarls for singling out Emma. I bow to her prowess as a running Goddess and only wish I was as fast!

As to my running, I jumped on the treadmill last night (after a day of introducing my daughter to XC skiing) and knocked out a moderately paced 5.5 miles in43 mins. It felt like I was training for Badwater given the fact that my wood stove in the basement was kicking, making it feel like Death Valley at the summer solstice! I plan on another 6-7 miles tonight down there...maybe I should give the woodstove a break before I descend...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Great Run at Bradbury

Yesterday morning dawned perfect and so was the run I joined with the Trail Monsters, picture below. We set out just after 8 AM from the parking area of Bradbury Mountain State Park for a run up to the mountain lookout area and then onto the Bradbury Bruiser trails across the street onto part of the extensive network of snowmobile trails that define Maine in the winter. The snow was somewhat hard from the overnight freeze but softened considerably as the run progressed, ending in some wet feet at the conclusion of the run. About midway through the run some of the group decided to forgo the inconvenience of skirting the caving in "snowbridges" that provided some dry passage around the sides of the streams in lieu of just running directly through the middle. It was quite funny for us that decided to stay dry (me included) and a little uncomfortable for the wet feet later in the run. The run was quite eventful as the scenery was constantly changing from wooded trails to fallow corn fields with a great sighting of what appeared to be a Barred Owl. After about 5 miles on the snowmobile trail we ended at a wide swath of power lines and turned around at that point. Chuck Hazzard decided to jump on the power lines to return home while the rest of us headed back to the mountain.

The trip back was eventful for a couple of the pack who fell into the water (Emma, I won't mention any names), but otherwise it was mostly about battling the constantly softening snow. Near the end on the Knights Woods Trail James pulled away from the group with his dog Maury (sic?) and I hung with him for awhile until I fell back a few paces and could never catch back up due to the fact that every time I tried to open my pace I started heal striking more fervently which just sunk me deeper into the snow, making it nearly impossible to run much faster. James won the day - nordic skiing is definitely paying off for him. All told I ran just under 13.5 miles in a little under 2:10; an average pace of near 9:20 or so. My average heart rate for this outing was 157 bpm, really high for such a slow pace, but understandable considering the soft surface. I wish there was someway to put an objective numeric value to fun on a run (being a numbers guy this would make me more comfortable), but since there isn't I will go ahead and rate this one a perfect 10. Thanks guys.

It was great being together with the whole group again. While my friendship with James and Jamie is relatively new (since last summer) the tough miles and hours we have spent together on the trails has forged a pretty strong bond between us, making it seem like we have been buddies for years. It has been a couple months since we have all been out together so yesterday's run was pretty special. I was thrilled to talk to Jamie about pacing him at Western States and it looks like there is a pretty good shot I will be able to do it. To me, the is almost better than winning the lottery myself. To be able to help a friend accomplish something as big as this is enormous. I can't wait. And on top of that, I just learned that my baby brother is going to make me an uncle again. And the due date of this baby is...WS 100 weekend. Pretty special.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hitting the pavement

The last two days have found me pounding the pavement instead of the treadmill belt. The weather has been too good to miss a chance to get outdoors. Yesterday I got out with the gang, including Ethan, Jim and Tom for a run in the cooler but still seasonably warm weather for the usual 6+ tour of South Freeport. The pace was comfortable and conversational at 7:35/mile.

Today's run found me alone with Ethan running a slightly faster pace. Ethan and I ran along together for the first 3.5 miles until he kicked it up a notch to get some speed work in. The first few miles with Ethan were negative starting at 7:36 to 7:16 when he sped away and then I maintained a pace at just below a 7:00 pace for the next three miles to the finish. Today's average pace was a 7:08 with a average HR of 163 and max of 181 which I hit the last mile while running a 6:30 pace. This is a pretty high HR for me to hit at this pace but just shows how much I need to catch up on my sleep.

I finally got around to updating my 2007 running log to wrap it up for the year. I ran a total of just under 1,800 for the year. What was most interesting is that my first run of 2007 was in Kelly's hometown of Franklin, VA, as was my last run of 2007. Gotta love symmetry.

I'll probably take tomorrow off and plan on hitting Bradbury Mountain Saturday morning for my first run of 2008 with the Trail Monsters. Jamie is looking for a long run partner so I might see if I can break away from home for a little while and join him. Given the weather and the rain that's coming, looks like skiing is out of the picture.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

T-shirt and shorts

Just got done with treadmill run. Why in the world would I run on the treadmill on a record-setting (?) day of weather? And I am not talking about record setting for cold but heat. Today's high was around 60 degrees with a glorious sun and I spent the day working over spreadsheets under artificial lights (but it was warm). It's budget season and work is busy so I had to settle on a machine to move me this evening. I also must admit I had to treadmill it yesterday due to a planned annual lunch out with the L.L.Bean running crew of Ethan Hemphill, Tom Tero, Jim Gott, Mike Simensky and ex-Beaner Sam Downing. It was a great lunch, and my lamb burger was much more pleasing than a run given how sore I was from the weekend's cross country workouts. Last night I ran 5.5 and tonight 5 miles, both at around a 7:30 pace. It is nice to be getting back in the groove and races are starting to appear on the horizon, including the Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic in Cape Elizabeth.

One item of interest I wanted to pass on is information on a movie about marathoning that is scheduled for a viewing in select theaters on January 24th. Check out Spirit of the Marathon.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm back

Finally, I'm back at the blogging thing. December was a crazy month but with the exception of Christmas week, I got some pretty good training in. The last week and a half I have been nordic skiing more than running which is a fine substitute. On the race front I am still on the waiting list of the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100, having moved up from 65th to 61st on the list. Vermont is on the radar as is the new Pineland Farms 50 Mile race at the end of May. Congratulations to Ian Parlin and Erik Boucher for making that happen. It will definitely be greatly anticipated. Hopefully training, both in the form of running and nordic skiiing, will kick into high gear shortly and there will be more to report.

And I'd like to send a shout out to my ultra crazy buddies Jamie and Ian who did the Fat Arse 50k with the GAC guys yesterday. While I don't know the results, I bet they did great.