Friday, August 12, 2016

Running Downeast

A steady, moderate rain fell today around noon, breaking a monotony of heat and drought with gleeful vengeance. I happily ran in it and it made the road run tolerable.

I'm still stuck in slower gears for the moment, but now that I'm regularly getting in double digit or near double digit mileage at least once a week, I think I can safely start to incorporate tempo runs, hill repeats or interval work. 

Ran in Brewer, crossed the bridge to Bangor and ran past Stephen King's house and various landmarks from his book "It" for fun. 

I don't always run with a GPS watch for now, but I did this afternoon:

Ran 9.4 miles @ 8:50/mile pace. 
Paved roads.
Very hilly. 
Mid 70s, overcast, moderate to light rain. 
Altra, shorts, short sleeved shirt. 

I suspect my road run days are somewhat numbered. We close on our new home in the backwoods of Downeast Maine in a week and a half. Plenty of logging roads and trails near our new home, so it seems pointless to run on roads, because running on roads sucks. 

I've been exploring around the soon-to-be new 'hood quite a bit the past several weeks. Here are some pics, all from areas that are running distance from the new house. I'm only slightly excited about this. 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Deer Fly Seasons

Deer flies suck. Nobody likes them. When I lived in southern Maine, I knew when to expect them to start annoying us trail runners, and when they'd start to leave us alone. They'd usually start around the first weekend in June, sometimes as early as Memorial Day weekend, and sometimes not until mid-June. Starting around mid-August, they start to have a hard time catching up and are less numerous, and by Labor Day weekend at the beginning of September, you could kiss them bye-bye until next year.

Their season doesn't really appear to be temperature dependent, at least not when they end. I can remember a few especially hot and humid summers like this one and despite heat waves in late August lasting well into September, the flying nuisances would thankfully still be gone when expected.

As a result, I've theorized that if temperature doesn't seem to matter, it must be the waning daylight hours.

Now that I'm in the Downeast region, the comfort of knowing when they'd leave is somewhat out the window, and everyone I've talked to so far has only had vague notions. My initial thought was their season would end sooner up here, but then I remembered the days will remain longer here than southern Maine until it's officially autumn. That doesn't bode well. But... if the deer flies sense the loss of daylight on a daily basis, which is greater the further you travel north, then there's hope.

Time will tell. This season has also been different in that we're in a drought. Deer fly larvae develop in water, and there hasn't been too much of that around. With that, they've only been around in key areas. But hopefully those spots will also see a decrease as we continue to lose well over two and a half minutes of daylight a day, and see that loss continue to rise each day until autumn. Ahhh, cool dry air and no bugs... not far off now.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Life Changes

Things be happenin'.

Thankfully, all aimed for the better. After several years of planning, Kate and I have moved away from southern Maine and are temporarily staying with her folks in Brewer until we close on our Downeast home out in the boonies next month. It's a great place. Really great. We've also both secured jobs and are excited about this large new life chapter with lots of words in it.

It'd be nice to start blogging again, but I'll just let it happen naturally if it happens at all. I'll recap the past six or so months: Extremely sporadic running due to lower back issues and a lack of motivation. I've been running regularly the past month though, and have gotten back into the routine. A good sign is when I haven't really thought twice about waking up at 4:30am to run early on busier days or to beat the heat. I'm enjoying it all again, and the change in scenery has a lot to do with it.

I've enjoyed running in Acadia with Mike W. quite a few times now and also exploring the mountains and woods near our anticipated future forever home. We picked a great place to live for epic trail running (as well as fishing and hunting). Perhaps I'll share more later on... I do miss blogging, but I don't want it to feel forced.

More later.... maybe.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

There's Winter.

I don't run with my phone very often, therefore I seldom have pictures. The only time I really do take it is when I'm running with a vest or fastpack.

A few days ago it snowed a little. Today it snowed a lot. Today I ran in said snow, but I have no pictures because I didn't run with a vest for fastpack. That might have been overkill as it was just a bit over five miles around my in-laws neighborhood in Brewer.

You'll have to trust me when I say it was very pretty. That first real snowstorm always is. The ones that follow are just as pretty, but that first one just seems more so.

The long range forecasts say Old Man Winter will be here for a while. If they're right, that means more pretty snow. More pretty snow means more snowshoe running. I like to snowshoe run, so this makes me happy.

I like being happy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Where's Winter?

Mild weather continues in the northeast, much to the dismay of winter sports enthusiasts. Though the first snowshoe race of the season is still a month away, the what-if-there-is-no-snow grumbles have already reached a loud whisper. Knock on wood, but for Bradbury it's always worked out, even if Old Man Winter has cut it close. Time will tell.

Several Trail Monsters decided to take advantage of the relative warmth by doing repeats on Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton the other day. Just a little bit of thin ice near the top, but not too bad. I shot out an email to our team with the plan and expected maybe three or four people to be in, but it was awesome to see that nearly a dozen showed up. Because it was repeats, everyone could just do their own thing and still see everyone. That was a lot of fun.

Half Bomb and I went up and down to the peak three times for just under 14 miles and were about a thousand feet short of a mile for elevation gain. Great workout. I had hoped for four repeats, but I'm not there yet. Going up for the third time, it was clear that would be it.

I followed that up the next day with a shakedown run in the woods out back. No snow still, so I used this run as a very early scouting trip for turkey hunting season this May. Found a promising area. I feel really fortunate that trail running really helps with hunting as well as fly fishing. Trail running has directly contributed to success in both, not just for scouting but also being in shape to reach those farther out areas that many overlook and do whatever else needs to be done. Conversely, I also see the woods through different lenses when out running and those added dimensions make it all the more enjoyable.

So we'll continue to hope for snow. In the meantime, the fly fishing has been a lot easier for this time of year and running on the dirt isn't entirely bad. Still, I'd rather be hitting the trails on snowshoes or flying down a well groomed trail on skate skis. There is still time. After all, it's still another day before it's officially winter.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Where It's At

Since my last post, a lot has happened. On October 30th, the docs gave me the okay to run, saying there was nothing to worry about. Yeah, my heart has a funky beat to it, but I'm fine. As soon as I got back from the doctor's office that day, I changed and went for a trail run.

Opening day was the next day, so I ran out to a spot I hunted heavily last deer season to check things out. I didn't see any scrapes or rubs, but I decided to hunt it the next day anyway. Upon telling Kate this, she questioned why I'd go there if it appeared actionless, to which I didn't have a really good answer. I said that I at least knew the area and felt comfortable there. Great strategy, huh? It would likely be a nice day out in the woods if nothing else.

Up early the next morning with low expectations, I headed out and sat under the same big oak tree as last year. At 6:42am, opening day officially began. Around 35 minutes later, it ended when I dropped a four point buck.

Field dressed, it weighed 139 pounds. By the time I dragged it the mile to my car... over a stream and over several hills... it felt like it weighed 1390 pounds. Now THAT was a workout. It was exhausting. I loved every minute of it and it also underscored that yes, my heart was fine.

That served as a great springboard to running. Not only did I get in a grueling workout right off the bat from my hiatus, but I've been less distracted because I tagged out. That really helped to put running back to the forefront.

So for the past month, I've been steadily ramping up the mileage and workouts. I've got to say, the fire has definitely been relit. I haven't felt this motivated in years. It's awesome and I hope it lasts. I suspect it will. I think I'll be in pretty darn good shape by the time snowshoe racing comes around, and then I have the TARC Spring Classic 50K in April. Can't wait.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Not Quite Flatlined

"That doesn't feel right", I told Kate, with my hand laying on my chest. My heart had been beating out of whack the past few days. As I lay in bed that evening, it was doing it more often, every few minutes. I fought my wife's insistence of going to the emergency room, but when I called the next day to make a doctor's appointment, they told me to head to the ER.

Reluctantly, I told Kate what the doctor's office said and we were off. Of course, my heart didn't do it during my two to three hour stay. I set off the alerts a few dozen times because of a low heart rate instead. I joked with the doc that the issue in question was like when your car makes a funny noise on occasions, but not for the mechanic. Sure, it did it before and would do it again often the next day, just not when I was there.

To further the car analogy, what my heart felt like was a car's pistons firing out of sequence because the cables were crossed. Atrial fibrillation comes to mind. I do have a history of sinus arrhythmia, which is a fancy phrase for an irregular heartbeat. No big deal. From many moons ago, I also know from practicing echocardiograms with my classmates when I was becoming a certified cardiopulmonary technician that I have two heart murmurs, both in the less crucial right side of my heart. Also usually not that big of a deal.

But all of that adds up to a few more heart tests: an echocardiogram and also being fitted with a holter monitor later next week. The ER doctor expects that it's nothing, and so do I. But, one has to be sure.

Since the ER visit, everything has been feeling pretty normal, aside from a few sessions of heart hiccups but not as often or as regular. But no running until the tests are over. In the meantime, I'll chomp at the bit and seek revenge this snowshoe racing season. I'm glad I have fly fishing so I don't go too crazy, at least that has been pretty awesome lately.