Saturday, June 30, 2007

Early Morning Long Run

Ran 23.8 miles @ 9:50 mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 132/157
Extremely hilly.
Mid 40s to start, mid 60s at finish.

I rolled out of bed at 2:30am and slammed two cups of coffee and was off to meet James and Steve at Pineland Farms to get in a long trail run. They are both also running in the Vermont 100, and we started at 4am which is the same time the race will start in three weeks.

My plan was to get in at least 20 miles at a nice and slow 12:00/mile pace, but it ended up being faster than that which I was fine with. My legs felt fresh with the light week I've had this week, so it worked out well that way. We walked a few of the steeper uphills, but not that many.

James and Steve were terrific company and we had a lot of fun on the trails talking about the race, trail running in general, folks we know, and all that good stuff. The sun got higher in the sky and the deer flies came out, but they weren't as bad as they were the other day. It was definitely tolerable, and they were slow moving enough where I was actually able to kill quite a few. Also worth noting that we saw a deer and a rather large sized hawk.

At close to 8am, we ran back to the parking lot to meet up with Ian and Emma who joined us for a bit. After a few more miles, I reached my goal with distance and bid everyone farewell and headed back to my car. James and Steve were going for 8 hours, and I was tempted to go longer, but decided against it. Definitely a good run.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Ran 3.0 miles @ 7:49/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/162
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 60s, sunny.

Today was just a mere tune-up run for a bigger one I have planned for tomorrow. Nothing worthy to note otherwise, other than this cooler air is most welcome.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

When Deer Flies Attack

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:09/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 165/177
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower-mid 80s, very humid.

Another very hot day today, but thankfully this will be the last one for a while as much cooler air makes its way in tonight. Once the temps got down a bit, I headed out the door at around 6:45 this evening to get in my run. It was still very warm and muggy out, but nothing like yesterday.

I set out at a good pace and picked up the speed as I climbed the 3-mile long hill. I hit my splits at 7:34, 7:25, and 7:00 respectively and was feeling good, despite the heat.

And then, they came.

What is normally a nice decent on a smooth, dirt road through the woods and near a bog became an interesting exercise in frantic arm waving while running like a bat out of hell as at least a dozen deer flies flew in circles around my head. I hit that next mile split in 6:51. Fortunately, none managed to bite, but they did get in my eyes and nose a few times. However, I guess I should thank them for the extra cardio workout.

Finally made it out to the main road which has enough traffic to throw the deer flies off course, and the wind blast from a passing gravel truck was about as welcome and refreshing as a tall glass of lemonade. Slowed down a bit here and coasted home. Took off my running shoes, and my cat, The Cheat, promptly grasped one of my shoelaces in his mouth and began dragging my shoe off. A funny end to an interesting run.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hot, Humid, Hazy

Ran 3.5 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 155/170
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
90 degrees, humid, hazy.

Run cut short after the heat sapped my strength. Not sure if it was that so much as the haze. Perhaps it's psychosomatic, but I was aware of a poor air quality alert prior to the run and I thought my breathing was labored. Ah well, no biggie. Cold front is on the way and it should be bringing some cool thunderstorms with it.

On a nice note, after the run and a cold shower, I hit the beach and jumped in the ocean to cool off some more. Now that felt good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Getting Published, New Car

Thought I'd use today's rest day as an opportunity to share some good news. I found out today that Marathon & Beyond magazine will be running (pun intended) a story I wrote in the next issue. It's a human interest story about my first marathon experience at the MDI Marathon in 2005. I'm very honored they selected my story, and it's a cool feeling knowing I'm going to be published. Another case story I wrote for my last class in grad school could be published soon as well. Sweet!

I also purchased a new car today, a 2007 Dodge Caliber. Got a terrific deal on it and love the way it drives. Lot's of nifty features as well, like a beverage cooler in the glove box.

Here's a pic of my new ride, and a pretty funny commercial for it as well (forgive the double post of the latter, I goofed). Hee hee.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Capping Off a 70 Mile Week

Ran 10.0 miles @ 8:08/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/160
Paved roads, dirt roads, trails.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s to lower 70s, sunny.

Today was a mixed bag as far as terrain. Goal was to continue to run on varied surfaces on tired legs. Like yesterday, soreness in legs dissipated as the run went on. I went a bit faster than I thought I would today, but it felt comfortable.

Recapping the week:
Total miles: 70.2
Total elevation gain: Well over two miles worth.

Monday - 7.1 miles
Tuesday - 7.7 miles
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 33.4 miles
Friday - rest
Saturday - 12.0 miles
Sunday - 10.o miles

Will likely take the next two days off to recover, then easy runs until the weekend. One last long run next weekend, and then it's taper time for the Vermont 100. The race will very much be uncharted territory, so hard to make predictions. However, I'm feeling good about it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mt. Agamenticus and the New Asics

Ran 12.0 miles @ 11:15/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 140/162
Trails and dirt roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 60s, partly cloudy, breezy.

I drove down to Mt. Agamenticus to meet up with my running buds Ian, Emma, Erik, as well as several other runners doing a three mile loop up and down the mountain. Many of these fine folks were from the GAC Running Club down in Massachusetts. Good to see a few I had met before, and meet new ones. Many of the folks there today are also running the Vermont 100 next month, so it was great to meet more of them and also get some valuable insight to the course from those who had run it before. Fun time indeed.

Okay, the run itself.... original plan was just to do two loops at my "ultra pace", which is slow and steady. Legs are still very sore from the Pemi Loop the other day, but as I got going, I started feeling less so. Loop started on a long downhill dirt road for about a mile before turning right into the woods and up the mountain via a trail. Very steep going up, and I power-walked most of it. GPS data shows around a 500 feet gain for each loop. Once at the top, a nice winding switchback takes you back down the parking lot. Lot's of fun to run on. Decided to add a third loop after feeling good after the first two, and when I finished a guy in the parking area, Ron, convinced me to do another with him. Was glad I did the fourth, as I was feeling good and didn't feel I was risking anything. Sure, now I'm really sore, but it's the good kind of sore. Good day.

This was also my first run in my new Asics Kayano-13s. My previous pair of Asics GT-2120s were great, but I noticed from the tread that I was still overpronating with them and needed something with a little more support. The Kayanos were recommended to me by the good folks at the Maine Running Company, and I'm very happy with them after this first trial run. Same fit, just a bit more support. Since most of the VT100 is dirt roads, I'll be wearing road shoes for the race, but will have trail shoes available just in case. Anyway, I suspect these Kayanos will be serving me well.

Happy running!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pemi Loop Run

Route: Did the Pemi Loop counter-clockwise starting from Lincoln Woods, and added the side trips to West Bond and Galehead.
Time: 12:14:04
Total Miles: 33.4
Total Elevation: 9760' gain (19,520' gain + loss)
Peaks (in order): Bondcliff (4265'), Bond (4698'), West Bond (4540'), South Twin (4902'), Galehead (4024'), Garfield (4500'), Lafayette (5260'), Lincoln (5089'), Liberty(4459') and Flume (4328')

TC Hazzard and I drove over to the White Mountains to get in a good, long mountain run. It's worth noting right off the bat that TC did the entire trek wearing his Vibram Five Fingers. We did 10 peaks total, and I didn't think he'd last past the second one, but he proved me wrong. The trail we did is extremely rocky, and while he suffered his fair share of impromptu meetings with sharp stumps and rocks, he toughed it out and completed the run wearing them the entire time. I was most impressed!

Section: Lincoln Woods to Bondcliff
Miles: 9.1
Time: 2:09:47
Notes: We ran most of the flat and uneventful Wilderness trail for the four and a half mile so duration until the cut-off to climb up Bond. Made good time going up and once above treeline, the 40 or so mph winds knocked us around like a prize fighter. Had a snack at the summit and continued on.

Section: Bondcliff to Bond
Miles: 1.2 (10.3 total)
Time: 33:46
Notes: Steep uphill, we power-hiked it the best I could. Reached the top, hung out on the summit a bit, and moved on.

Section: Bond to West Bond
Miles: 1.0 (11.3)
Time: 26:02
Notes: Enjoyed the climb down Bond, running the sections we could and made the left turn to West Bond. The climb to the peak isn't very arduous, but we've both had other big training runs recently (well, TC had a big multi-day bike ride) and our tired legs were evident.

Section: West Bond to South Twin
Miles: 3.3 (14.6)
Time: 1:16:09
Notes: Ran into the first other people of the day, and then saw some more near Guyot Mt. Wind still very prominent and the gusts knocked us around some more.

Section: South Twin to Galehead
Miles: 1.3 (15.9)
Time: 38:34
Notes: Wicked steep decent that goes on forever. Careful footing required.

Section: Galehead to Garfield
Miles: 3.4 (19.3)
Time: 1:34:33
Notes: Ran past the AMC hut and tagged Galehead. Then went into the hut to refill our water and talk to the hut workers for a bit. Then we were off to Garfield. Steep climbs here kicked our butts. Very warm here also, and I was sweating like a banshee. Not too pleasant, but it was a great workout.

Section: Garfield to Lafayette
Miles: 3.5 (22.8)
Time: 1:48:38
Notes: Up and over the speed bumps and a long ascent up Lafayette. We rejoiced upon reaching the top, as this was the tallest peak and the longest climbs were over with. TC's feet began hurting him pretty bad here. Lot's of small rocks so we slowed down the pace some from here on out.

Section: Lafayette to Lincoln
Miles: .9 (23.7)
Time: 21:41
Notes: Wind begins to die down significantly, which was nice. We ran much of the way to Lincoln, making decent time despite TC's ailing feet.

Section: Lincoln to Liberty
Miles: 2.9 (26.6)
Time: 1:03:03
Notes: Pretty long section here, but a fairly pleasant one. I was in good spirits, as I was feeling pretty strong and I knew we were getting pretty close to being done.

Section: Liberty to Flume
Miles: 1.2 (27.8)
Time: 38:50
Notes: Slow going during this stretch. Hamstrings are yelling at me at this point, and TC's feet continue to yell at him. Feeling great on the flats and downhills, but uphills are tough.

Section: Flume to the Finish
Miles: 5.6 (33.4)
Time: 1:35:43
Notes: Got a little confused on the summit of Flume, as I thought we missed the Osseo trail and we needlessly backtracked, when in fact we were going the right way. Oh well, this just tacked on another tenth of a mile. Enjoyed the soft downhills provided by the Osseo, and we ran much of them. Rejoiced upon reaching the Wilderness Trail, as it was only 1.4 miles to go from there. Ran much of this, and it felt great to finally reach the bridge.

Good day!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Twin Brooks Run

Ran 7.7 miles @ 8:08/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 154/178
Extremely hilly.
Mid 70s, sunny.

I ran this evening with Ian, Eric and Brian at Twin Brooks, where we've run the past few weeks on Tuesdays. Great area to run in, as the hills aren't particularly long, but they are constantly rolling and very steep. It's definitely a roller coaster of a run, the kind where you often don't have much choice other than to fly down a hill at full speed and use that momentum to get you up the subsequent steep hill.

On another note, school is out for the the summer! I have the next two and a half months off. I do have one grad school class I'm taking, and a literacy conference I'm attending in late July, but other than that, I'm committing myself to running. Well, some fishing too, but only when I'm not running.

Monday, June 18, 2007

When Wheels Fall Off

Ran 7.1 miles @ 10:34/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 130/170
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
80 degrees, sunny.

It's the second to last day before summer vacation begins, and myself and a teacher I work with and who has been doing a few runs with me went out for a jaunt on a hilly 7.1 mile route to celebrate the occasion. Unfortunately for my friend, he hit the wall and didn't feel so well. I spent much of the second half of the run trying to keep his spirits up. We stopped for some water about a mile from the end and that seemed to help.

On a selfish note, this was a scheduled take it easy run for me anyway. TC Hazzard and I have something grand planned for Thursday and tomorrow's run with the Trail Monsters will be at a good pace, so I was happy to take it easy.

On another note, the shin splints are fading away. The Mt. Washington Road Race seemed to really put them out significantly. I'm guessing it's because the uphill helped stretch them out and alleviate the pain? Regardless, I won't miss them when they're fully gone, which shouldn't be long.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Forest Has Eyes

Ran 15.2 miles @ 12:10/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 123/144
Extremely hilly.
Mid 60s dropping to mid-50s.

The purpose of this run was to get used to running at night at a pace close to what I hope to be doing at the VT100. I also wanted to do it tonight as my legs were tired from the Mt. Washington Road Race, which would help simulate the night conditions more than if I was fresh.

I drove up to Pineland Farms and began running at 9pm, where micro beacons of light from lightning bugs illuminated the hay fields beneath the starry skies above. I was off to a good start and enjoying myself and it would only continue, as I was able to maintain the pace easily, walking the uphills and running the downhills at a slow pace. I also was able to experiment with a few things. For example, mile seven I walked briskly to see what my pace would be, and I ended up at about 15:00/mile. Potentially valuable information since I imagine I'll be walking more in the later stages of the race, and I can figure out what I need to finish. I also experimented with peeing while walking, something that I've read can save up to 30 minutes of time during a 100 mile race.

Getting used to running with a headlamp was also valuable, especially since it's been a while since I've done so. I was able to figure out which settings were best and get practice reading the terrain with the provided light.

And that headlamp helped me spot numerous critters in the dark. I came across two foxes and a porcupine. I also saw dozens of eyes staring at me from the woods, their eyes reflecting the light of my headlamp. I mused how this definitely would have scared the pants off of me when I was a kid, but now I thought it was cool.

Ended the run a little after midnight. Good run, I was very glad I did this.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mt. Washington Road Race Report

Run stats
Ran 7.6 miles @ 13:15/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 162/173
Paved roads.
Insanely hilly.
Mid 70s in valley, Lower 50s on top. Partly cloudy.

Race stats
Time: 1:40:39
Overall Male Placing (no consolidated postings yet): 201 out of 672
Age Group Placing (M35-39): 41 out of 101

It was a great day to run up the old rockpile for myself, Ian, Emma, and Mike. Weather was awesome, and it was a great, buttkicking time. For those reading this that may not know, Mt. Washington itself is 6288' high and is the tallest mountain in the northeast. The race would start 4650' below the summit and follow the auto-road up to the top. Aside from a very slight downhill that lasts a few dozen yards right after the start line, the race is entirely uphill. Not one drop, not one flat spot... all uphill, the vast majority of which is incredibly steep to boot. It's quite insane.

However, the course itself is also very beautiful. It's neat to see the ecosystem around you change as you get higher. And once you get above treeline, the views are breathtaking and help take your mind off the craziness of the race. Snowfields were also visible on the adjacent Mt. Jefferson.

I wasn't sure what to expect today. I ran it last year in 1:39:04, and thought it'd be a small miracle if I beat that. At the risk of sounding cocky, given the knee surgery two months ago and fitness lost during that ordeal, the two 20+ mile days I've run in the past two weeks, and that I didn't really feel like I pushed myself that hard today, I'm very happy that I was only 1:35 slower.

One thing that definitely helped was experience. I knew the best game plan for me was to charge the not-as-steep sections and power walk the steeper ones. Worked out quite well that way. Last year, I was a bit more erratic and things didn't quite work out as efficiently as they could have.

A nice, long night run is planned for tonight up at Pineland Farms to help prepare for the VT100.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

3 With XC and Pre-MWRR Thoughts

Ran 3.0 miles @ 7:43/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/160
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 60s, mostly cloudy.

Did a little tune-up run today with the high school XC team I help coach. We've started voluntary practices to get ready for next season. Good to run with them again, we should have an excellent team next year.

Shin splints are subsided slowly but surely, but I also haven't been icing and stretching them out as much as I should. That is on order from here on out. I don't have time to mess around as the clock ticks down to the VT100. Legs and body are otherwise in great shape and I'm feeling strong.

Mt. Washington Road Race is also in two days. Very much looking forward to it. It'll be an interesting barometer to compare this year's time with last year's time (1:39:04). I can see good arguments for a better or worse time this year (experience and training missed, respectively), so I honestly can't even guess how I'll do. It's of little matter though, as I know it'll be fun. I'll be joining my fellow Trail Monsters, Ian, Emma, Mike, and Andrew for the race, and a special thanks to Jeff who is going to drive us down afterwards.

Rest day tomorrow. Race report will be posted on Saturday afternoon for those that are interested, and another training report will be posted sometime in the late hours of Saturday night, or possibly early Sunday morning if I'm too tired afterwards. Until then, happy running.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Five On A Cloudy, Cool Day

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:35/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 136/147
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower-mid 50s, overcast.

Nice cool weather this afternoon set the stage for an enjoyable run at a recovery pace. Ran it with a co-worker who set a PR for himself on this route. Not much to note otherwise that I can think of. Tomorrow will be a similar type of run, as I want my legs rested for Saturday's race and subsequent additional run I have planned.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Running With the Monsters

Ran 7.5 miles @ 7:53/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 162/176
Extremely hilly.
Upper 60s, mostly cloudy.

I met up with the Trail Monsters for a trail run at Twin Brooks in Cumberland. Rolling hills throughout the course, providing an excellent workout. I was happy to finally meet TC face-to-face for the first time, after exchanging emails and blog messages with him regularly for half a year. TC might also be my pacer for the Vermont 100, which would be fantastic as he is good company. Ian, Jim, and James (another VT 100 entrant) and TC's dog, Eli, were also there. Eli did a great job and literally ran circles around us during the entire run.

Felt great throughout the run. Started to feel like I was running out of gas a little after around five miles. Not bad, but just a little tired. We really cruised fast on a lot of those hills. James and Jim had to take off at that point, but Ian, TC and I continued on. We went a little slower, and I felt stronger at that point. Good signs for sure. Very happy with my progress, and looking forward to the Mt. Washington Road Race this weekend.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cape Cod Run

Ran 6.0 miles @ 7:32/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/164
Paved roads, some beach.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 60s, sunny.

I'm down in Cape Cod, visiting a friend to do some striper fishing (caught 5 or 6 so far, no keepers) and clamming. Fresh steamers are quite tasty. Went for a run this morning from his house to the beach and back. Beautiful day, and the water a crystal clear blue. Photoshop in a few palm trees and you'd swear it was the Caribbean.

Feeling good with all of my running so far. The shin splint appears to be waning dramatically. Recovery times are returning to normal levels, as is pace and effort. Life is good.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Double Half Marathons

Total miles = 26.2

13.1 miles @ ~8:15/mile pace.
HR data not available.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 40s to lower 50s.

13.1 miles @ ~ 8:15/mile pace.
HR data not available.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
70 degrees, humid.

I've been wanting to run to work and back by the end of the school year (last day is June 19th), and this was pretty much my last good chance to do it. The Mt. Washington Road Race is a week from tomorrow, so I wouldn't want to do it next week.

My morning got off to an ominous start. Before leaving my house at 5am, I discovered the batteries were drained on my Garmin. I had left it on, and was cursing myself for doing so. Begrudgingly, I set out, telling myself during the first few miles that it was no big deal. I just wouldn't have as many little numbers to look at, that's all.

Lot's of big grinding hills along this route, and I was enjoying cruising along in the cool morning air. I eventually reached my school, showered, and then classes began.

Final bell rang, and shortly thereafter I was off again to run back home. Much more humid and warm this time around, but it still could have been worse. My legs were tired, but I trudged on and made very good time. Same pace as the morning in fact. Was very pleased with that.

Good run. Now I'm hungry.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Easy Five

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:53/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 137/152
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 60s, sunny.

I ran today with a co-worker. We just did an easy five miles in Sanford from the school. Good for me, since I felt a light day was on the agenda. The shin splint made itself known today, but some ice and ibuprofen will keep it down. Weather today was gorgeous.

Taking a rest day tomorrow. I have a bigger run planned for Friday if all feels well.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Lesson Relearned

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:30/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 156/175
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 60s, partly cloudy, muggy.

Memo to self: Eating a fried haddock sandwich with fried onion rings an hour before a run is not a good idea. How could I be so stupid?! Well, it was a good wake-up call to get my diet more in order. The first few uphill miles of this run I felt like a slug. However, once I hit the downhills, I started feeling better and I let'er rip.

Mile splits and elevation chart as follows:
6:18 (last .6)

Felt good to get in those last few tempo miles, even if I did have the aid of gravity. Worth noting that we had severe thunderstorms pass through this afternoon, and I didn't think I'd be able to get in a run today at all. Thankfully, the skies cleared up, allowing me to get in a good workout.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Recovery Run Before the Storm

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 136/157
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 50s, misty and muggy.

Got in a quick recovery run before what's left of tropical depression Barry moves in. Just supposed to get 1"-2" of rain out of it, and good timing as it'll continue to move through tomorrow when I have a rest day scheduled.

As for the run itself, legs felt sore at first but less so as the run went on. Very pleasant run in much cooler conditions than yesterday. I actually felt a little chilly the first half mile.

Finished off the week with 46.1 miles.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

20 Miler

Ran 20.0 miles @ 8:27/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 154/172
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
80 degrees, very humid.

I ran my 10 mile loop twice, getting in twenty miles. Felt really good. First 17 miles were a breeze, but the last three were a bit tough and I ran/walked that last stretch. It didn't help much that the diluted Gatorade I drank at the halfway mark settled in my stomach and my body didn't want to absorb it. I'm surprised I didn't barf. Also very hot out, and I haven't done this distance in a while. However, I'm quite pleased all things considered. This route is uphill for four straight miles during one stretch, and I had to do that twice. Nice to know the remaining rust is disappearing faster than donuts on Rosie O'Donnell's plate.