Sunday, January 4, 2009

Slow going, but back at it

Things have been going slow (and short) as of late, as far as running goes.  This is partially by design and partially by circumstance.  Christmas week found us all in Virginia visiting family, which limited my running, despite the nice sunny, warm weather.  But all this time off is good, since it gives my body a chance to start the new training season fresh.

The last few weeks my longest runs have been in the 10 mile range, the last couple done on my treadmill.  That is until yesterday.  I got a chance to meet the Trail Monsters out at Bradbury for a run on the hiking, snowmobile, and power line trails.  Included in the group was Jamie, Mindy, Ian, Ryan, Jim, and Randy.  I was shocked at how warm it felt upon leaving my house and at a stoplight in my town I posted a comment on my Facebook page (look me up and become my friend!) that the temps were in the 20s.  I was quickly corrected by Chuck that it was actually a bit colder and I confirmed later that it was actually nearer 11 degrees.  

But it is winter in Maine and this wasn't a bad day to run.  The trails in and around Bradbury State Park were quite packed down by the weather, snowmobilers, some hardy mountain bikers, and other forest critters.  I was lucky enough to spy some sheet metal screws belonging to Ian and he graciously offered them and a screwdriver to me.  So I sat and mad some impromptu screw shoes.  For a good demonstration, check out my boy Blaine's most excellent demonstration on how to do this on his website at runtowin.  I am sure I did not follow Blaine's instructions to the "T", but I must have done something right because I did not find myself slipping and sliding on the trail at any time.  What I did notice was some annoying pressure along points of my foot which I can attribute to the screws.  I will have to work on these, but all in all, these things worked flawlessly.

The start of the run was on trails that had been passed only by foot traffic, resulting in a very uneven surface in the now hardened snow.  This really irritated my ankle, which was injured at the mid-November Blackstrap Hell trail race and has yet to heal.  I think it is about time to get this checked out by a member of the medical profession.  The trail quickly changed to snowmobile trail which was smoother and easier going.  At about the 3-4 mile spot Jamie and Mindy turned back as planned while the rest of us continued on the loop Ian had decided would get us the two hours of running most of us were looking to do.

(I am going to hurry this up now.  We are heading to Saddleback where current temps at the summit are 2 degrees.  They do have the most snow of any Maine resort so the skiing should be okay.)

All told, we got in just under 15 miles in about 2:15.  I forget the GPS on the dash so I did not get a course map.  This was a good step up in training for me from previous weekends and a good start to the New Year.  Next week I am planning on heading to Massachusettes for the GAC Fat Ass 50K.  This is a great race in that it is free (!) and the course is a 5-6 mile loop so you can pull out at anytime.  

Now I want to give a special shout out to my homey, Jamie, at  Thanks for the scrumptiously delicious Ethiopian donkey beans or whatever their official name is.  Those there were some good smelling coffee beans and the coffee they made was yummy.  Thanks for roasting!


Jamie said...

Great job on the run! Another step towards what will no doubt be a great run at Massanutten. And no prob with the beans, glad you liked them!

mindy said...

Awesome run Stephen - looking forward to being able to run a little bit closer (and hopefully longer) to you guys next time. You are going to kick as at Massanutten!

alapierre said...

Hello Stephen,

I just came across your blog and realized that I think I ran with you for about two laps at Pineland Farms last spring. Anyways I want to say congrats on what sounds like a great season and hope to see you out on the trails again this upcoming season.

Best Regards,


UltraFlash said...

Hi Aliza - Yes, we ran together for until about half way through the last lap when you were too strong for me and left me standing still. Hope the rest of your season after Pineland went well (you were coming back from an injury if my memory serves me).

alapierre said...

I plan on being back at Pineland Farms this spring and hope to see you out there. Are you planning on VT 100 again this year?