Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Stress Fracture, Just Bad PF

I'm not sure whether the news from the sports doctor was good or bad: I don't have a stress fracture, just a bad case of plantar fasciitis. If it were a light stress fracture, chances were I would have been out 6-8 weeks and then done with it. Now, I have to resume a battle with PF that previously wasn't going anywhere.

However, I did get a shot of cortisone injected into the inflamed ligament. The doc says this has about a 50/50 chance of working, which is consistent with what I've been hearing from others. It flat out cured my brother's PF a few years ago, so hopefully if it's in the genetic code, I might follow suit.

Worth noting that the doctor said he could feel the inflamed region of the plantar fascia right near the heel, and he suspects that I tore it at some point, which explains why the pain I had been feeling about a month and a half ago was a bit different than before (hence why I thought I might have had a stress fracture).

So, what's next is that I can run, but have to take it easy with nothing long or intense for the next two weeks while the cortisone runs its course. After that, I can begin to ramp up if I see fit. I can come back for another shot six weeks later if I feel this one has helped some, but I need another to help put it away.

Just for fun, I constructed a poll off to the right. Chime in, why don't you?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Appointment Made!

Second time is a charm? I was able to dig a little deeper with the phone call to my primary care doctor's office this time around, and got the referral I needed to see a sports doctor! Great news. And the appointment is for the day after I get back from Florida (heading down there for Christmas), so that worked out fantastic.

I'm going to Orthopedic Associates of Portland, the same folks who repaired my torn meniscus close to two years ago. They did great with that, so no reason to try a new place and I'll let my overinflated health insurance money go to them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Calcaneal Stress Fracture?

I've gotten a lot of advice and support from everyone the past few weeks and wanted to say a big thank you. I truly have the best real-life and blogger friends one could ask for and I sincerely appreciate everything you all have done.

I wanted to also give a big public thanks to two other individuals who have helped recently. Last week, Lisa got in touch with me with some tips on dealing with plantar fasciitis. She went out of her way with advice and also supplied me with the email of a sports doctor friend of hers who might offer some more tips, Dr. Christiane Gardner.

Long story short, thanks to Dr. Gardner I've realized that it's possible I could have a stress fracture in my heel, aka a calcaneus stress fracture. I'll stress right off the bat that I'm not fully jumping to any conclusions until I can get the x-rays or whatever else done, but it's good to be aware that this could be the problem. The symptoms all seem to better fit this than they do plantar fasciitis. For example, when I cup the heel and squeeze their is big pain coming from the sides of the heel, which is a possible tell-tale sign of a calcaneus stress fracture. I also feel increased pain when I put more weight directly on the heel.

I can't make an appointment with my sports doctor until I get a referral from my primary care doctor, the latter of which is on vacation until after the New Year and I can't get an appointment with another doctor at the same office unless it's an emergency (I just love this kind of bullcrap). I'll look into getting around that, but in the meantime, I think the smart thing to do is lay off the running for a bit more. I may get back into weightlifting in the interim if I'm going to be on the running DL for a while. I used to do that quite a bit, and part of me misses walking around knowing I can squish everyone like a little grape.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice Storm of 2008

Perhaps opting to take a few weeks off from running was good timing, as a pretty nasty ice storm hit southern Maine and knocked out power for 220,000 residents and businesses at its peak. Power is expected to be restored for everyone by tomorrow (or that's the goal, they say). Mine was back on last night, after four days of it being knocked out. Below are some pictures taken by my friend, Neighbor John.

Big thanks to Stephen and Neighbor Kate for the great company and help during the madness!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Seeking the Silver Bullet

Not running this past week has meant a lot more time on my hands. When I've been on the disabled list before, I've given more attention to some of my other hobbies such as reading, fly fishing, and ham radio. All noble pursuits, in my opinion. I can't say the same for this time around though, as I'm hopelessly addicted to Runescape. They should seriously consider renaming it Crackscape.

At least the rest has been doing me a lot of good. The plantar fasciitis has calmed down dramatically, however it still lets me know that it's hanging around. My senses tell me that more rest might be a good idea before I try running again (perhaps Christmas?), and I'm still considering my next options (traditional sports doctor, active release therapy, massage therapy, chiropractor, to name a few).

The frustrating thing about PF is that if you talk to 20 different people who have experience with it, you'll get 20 different answers as to what is the best way to deal with it. To make it worse, some advice is in direct conflict with another piece of advice. Obviously, nobody is necessarily wrong... it's just a matter of finding what works best for each individual. Experiment of one.

For now, I'm going to get back to icing the living you-know-what out of my left foot, along with massaging and stretching. I also got a pair of Heel That Pain inserts in the mail yesterday, and am giving these a try. They came on the recommendation of a seasoned veteran and they worked for her. Hopefully they will for me as well.

Alright, time to get back to slaying level 42 moss giants... jeez, this has to stop.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Disabled List

I'll keep this short since I try to avoid public whining and I've exhausted my pictures of the world's smallest violins... but the plantar fasciitis has flared up again, this time in grand fashion. As a result of hobbling during my running and walking, the left calf has also become lightly strained. While that in itself is not a big deal, it's a sign that my gate has become affected and will likely only lead to more problems.

I'm going to my absolute last resort now which is also only logical at this point and that is to take some time off. I'd rather nix my plans for the marathon this February and try and heal up to be good to go for the Western States 100 rather than come into both races limping. Even then, there are no guarantees, but nothing else has worked so far, so why not?

I'll do some strength training in the meantime, and do some light and slow running when I see fit. However, healing up is now my top priority. Frustrating, yes... but things could be worse.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Eleven

Brief post just to enter in the running stats as it's been a long day. But the PF has been acting up again and I might have to do some reevaluating here. It is what it is though...

Ran 11.0 miles @ 8:41/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 139/154
Packed trails.
Mostly flat.
Lower 30s, clear skies.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Running the Day Away

With the Winter Solstice just a few weeks away, the sun is seeming to have a hard time climbing up into the sky. Even at the height of day, it hangs very low, seemingly anxious to get back to the other side of the earth. As a result, the length of day for my area today officially stands at 9 hours, 7 minutes, making every bit of sunlight precious.

The last few miles of today's 15-miler was a slow race against the fiery orb as we both began to call it a day. I was well prepared for the dark with a reflective vest and a headlamp. While I never used the headlamp, I have to give the victory to the sun as it was close to completely dark when I was finally done.

Good day, though I'm welcoming tomorrow's five mile recovery run.

Ran 15.0 miles @ 8:23/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/151
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid-40s to upper-30s, sunny.
Shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, refl. vest, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tough Start, Good Finish

Today the Pfitz plan had me doing ten miles with five miles at my 15k to half-marathon pace. Tough workout, at least for me, but it went well.

However, it didn't start so well. Felt a little off sync during the two mile warm-up, and then the first two miles of the speed workout were really tough and I was struggling. However, after that, the last three actually felt much easier as they went along and increased in speed as a result. Hit the speed portion splits in 6:57, 6:58, 6:54, 6:46, and 6:43.

Last three cool down miles were quite enjoyable, knowing I got in a good workout when I wasn't sure I was going to hold on. I think I just need to allow myself an extra mile or two to warm-up for these type of workouts.

Ran 10.0 miles @ 7:34/mile pace (includes five miles @ 6:52/mile pace).
AHR/MHR - 152/170
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid to lower 40s, mostly sunny, breezy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

On On!

Neighbor Kate and I headed over to Portland for our first Hash House Harriers run. A kind fellow named Ned has started putting them on recently, and I tell ya, it's a lot of fun! Ian, Emma, Jim D., and several others were also in attendance.

We started out at a pub and followed chalk arrows on the sidewalks and streets. However, sometimes you'd come to a check mark, which meant to spread out and follow one of the many arrows leading in different directions. If you reached a few rows of bars, that meant it was a dead end. If the arrows kept going, you're going the right way and call out "On on!" to let others know you're on the trail.

This system is great in that not only is it a lot of fun following the paths, but the check points allow the slower runners to catch up. I was impressed with how well our group of about twenty runners of varying abilities all kept close together as a result.

The trek featured a "pit stop" along the way, where we enjoyed a tasty cool beverage. About a mile later, we ended up at another pub where we all socialized and watched football. Our evening ended with singing a few songs that were quite raunchy, and Neighbor Kate and I tacked on a little over a mile running back to my car.

Definitely a great time. It was good to hear that Ned is going to try to do these on a weekly basis. Though I probably won't be able to make all of them, I'll definitely do it again and hopefully pretty regularly.

This also allowed me to raise up my weekly mileage a bit more.

Hash run - 2.3 miles
Run back to car - 1.1 miles

Weekly total - 74.1 miles.

Rest day tomorrow.

What Has Two Thumbs and is Over 70 Miles for the Week?


THIS GUY!!!

70.7 miles so far, and I still have the Hash House Harriers run this afternoon which will give me a few more.

Legs felt very fresh today but I still ran by heart rate rather than pace for recovery purposes. Enjoyable run overall, except for one driver who wasn't paying attention to where he was going. Good thing I was! Karma will get'em back though.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 9:09/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 133/151
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid to upper 20s, overcast.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, refl. vest, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Fine Morning on the Trails

Met up with a pretty formidable group for a run at Pineland Farms that consisted of Ian, Jim, Erik, Jeff, Dora, Chris, Lilly, Dom, and Valerie (I think I got everyone?). Plan was to do 15 miles, and I stuck to that plan, though I almost bailed out a few miles short (thanks to Ian for opening a door to get in the miles by suggesting a shorter loop to end the day).

Run went well. I was definitely feeling the effects of this week and was behind the group for most of the run as a result. However, energy was pretty good, unlike last weekend's trail run. In fact, pace was actually pretty on par with what I normally do on these trails, I guess the others are just getting faster. :-)

I'm on track to end the week tomorrow with a good mileage total, so I'm stoked about that. And end it in grand fashion I will, with a Hash House Harriers run... something I've been wanting to do for a while and should be a blast!

Ran 15.1 miles @ 9:11/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/162
Trails, muddy and icy.
Very hilly.
Upper 20s to start, around 40 degrees at end, partly cloudy.
Clothing varied, shedded down to shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Twelve in the Cold Rain

I thought I could beat the precipitation, but about a quarter of a mile into the run it began to sleet and then quickly changed over to a light to moderate rain. However, I was warm and comfortable throughout the run. Glad I was able to get in the run sooner rather than waiting for the rain to stop.

I'm pretty pleased with how my running has been going lately. Hopefully I can keep it going, but all systems are looking good. Even with the relatively intense running the last week I've been able to keep the PF under control. Some new things I'm trying are duct taping my left foot (the right foot doesn't have any pain anymore) via this method. Too early to really gauge its effectiveness but it appears to helping. I've also been aggressively icing my foot and doing calf stretches several times a day.

And I had a great song going through my head during the entire run. It builds up nicely and I can't help bopping my head along with the beat every time I hear it.



Ran 12.2 miles @ 8:24/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/162
Paved roads
Moderately hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast, light to moderate rain throughout.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, refl. vest, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Recovery Run


Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone has a fun day with family and/or friends feasting away and watching football.

I started out my day with baking an apple pie so it'd be fresh for Thanksgiving over at Stephen's house. Once that was taken care of, I headed out for a recovery run. Emphasis was definitely more on recovery rather than running, as I went super slow. That's the way a true recovery run should be though. After yesterday's doozy of a run, I was welcoming the pace. I felt fine and enjoyed the cool, crisp morning. Lot's of hunters out today, so I was well dressed in orange, even if I was sticking to the roads.

Ran 5.4 miles @ 9:11/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 135/142
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Around 30 degrees, sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, refl. vest, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Long Run Down by the River

There were no sightings of motivational speakers living in vans down by the Saco River, but it was a great long run nonetheless. Very scenic as well. Surprisingly, I've only done this route one other time, so I was really looking forward to doing it again.

I felt on par overall, which was great. Actually, I didn't really feel in sync until after five miles, but after that, just clicked along comfortably and rather enjoyed myself. Last few miles were a bit tough, but that's to be expected given the pretty gnarly hills along this route.

Running along the river is always picturesque, and then the route turns away and heads up the ridge about 11 miles in, which is a pretty grueling climb up into some thickly wooded areas. Great workout for sure.

Interesting weather in that it started out under sunny skies without a cloud in sight, but it was totally overcast by the end. Luckily my sunglasses stayed in place perched on top of my head.

Alright, I'm hungry. No more typing. Time to eat and then take a nap. Looking forward to Thanksgiving tomorrow! I'll be spending it with Stephen and his family, which will be fun.

Ran 20.7 miles @ 8:35/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 145/161
Paved and dirt roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 40s, sunny to overcast.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, two short sleeved shirts, cap.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Marauding

Decided to delay today's scheduled rest day until tomorrow since a storm is supposed to bring snow and cold rain tonight through early Wednesday morning. I also decided to check out a new paved trail that runs along the perimeter of the school. Combined with a section of the outer parking lot, it's a loop of exactly one mile. This will make a good "comfort loop" (term I borrowed from Andrew) for future bad weather.

Did my speed workout which called for four miles at my 15k to half marathon pace. I wasn't very disciplined in my warm-up, which called for the first two miles at a slow pace. Instead, the second warm-up mile ended up fitting into the upper end of my speed range, so I begrudgingly decided to count it as one of the speed miles. They ended up being a bit all over the place... 7:02, 6:47, 6:54 and 6:44, but so be it.

Followed it up with a 5k cool down. All in all a good workout. I'm pleasantly sore, so I'm welcoming tomorrow's rest day.

Ran 8.1 miles @ 7:38/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 157/175
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Upper 30s, mostly sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Morning Run

Old Man Winter continues his visit, but I really enjoy the tranquility of winter. Running on the backroads of the dump loop gave the opportunity to enjoy the sound of the wind whipping through naked tree limbs while the sun at least gave the illusion of warmth.

Felt pretty good today. A bit creaky the first two miles, but looser as the run progressed and as a result the pace picked up subconsciously, but still not too fast. Good recovery run.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:16/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/159
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 20s, sunny, windy.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ka-Bonk


I met up with Ian, Mindy, Chuck, Danielle, Ryan, Kevin, Blaine, Jeff and Scott today up in Brunswick for a trail run. Very technical trails that would normally have been a lot of fun, but unfortunately, I just didn't have the energy today. At first I thought I felt a bit lagging because I hadn't run on rugged trails like this in a while and I was also in some fast company, but it soon became apparent that the real problem was I was simply running out of gas. My plans to try at least 20 miles today were definitely quite overly ambitious.

Not a big deal, despite what the picture above might imply. I don't think it's anything other than I just need to still fill up the gas tank a bit more after being sick and my weight is still down. Rest, eat right, and continue running easy and with caution is on order for the next several days.

Despite not having the pep that I would have liked, it was still a fun run. Ian, Jeff and I warmed ourselves up a little with some Tim Horton's coffee and breakfast sandwiches afterwards. Long live Tim Horton's.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 9:33/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 149/167
Technical trails.
Very hilly.
Lower 20s, mostly cloudy, windy.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead

Great progression run today. I went out more aggressively than I had originally planned (steady 8:00/mile pace), but it simply felt right. Felt very comfortable and in sync all around, and I'm very happy with that. Worked up to hitting the last split in 6:34. Worth noting that the last three miles are downhill and at a grade that's perfect for speed, so it made it easy to do so.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:37/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 157/176
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 20s, sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, reflective vest, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bring Out Your Dead

Today was the first day where I felt totally over that stomach bug I had. Biggest problem the past few days was feeling nauseous and dizzy, but that dissipated last night and was absent today. Also felt my hunger returning with full force and I've been ravenously craving food all day. All good signs.

Played it safe tonight and just did one lap around the Back Cove with Mindy, Chuck and Blaine. Extreme hunger definitely helped in the decision not to go for another lap.

Ran 3.6 miles @ 9:00/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 140/160
Hard packed trails.
Mostly flat.
Mid 20s, clear skies.
Long pants, Goretex jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Plane


I was over the stomach bug at least enough for a short and slow run today. That went okay for the most part, but I did still feel a little nauseous. I had lost seven pounds over the past few days, but I've gained much of it back. Stomach is behaving better, but now I'm still trying to get my energy back up. It's getting there.

This latest blow to my workout schedule has gotten me thinking how much training is like flying an airplane. When you're getting in the high mileage and everything is going well it's like a plane flying at cruising altitude. Everything is running smooth and you cut through the thin air with minimal drag. It's great, it's wonderful, it's the way it should be and you get to your destination efficiently and comfortably.

When your training starts and sputters, it's like a plane nosediving and trying to climb up again too fast. You burn a lot of fuel doing so, and if there are already some problems with the plane, you're just adding to the wear. It's a bumpy ride, and the "fasten your seat belt" light never comes off. A lot of time is wasted and it takes forever to get to where you want to go.

I guess since post-Vermont 100, my plane has fit the latter scenario. The lack of energy for the few months after the race was like a fuel mixture problem, and the plantar fasciitis has been like engine trouble. However, the energy had returned and I've made progress in the PF, and just as my plane was starting to get up to altitude again... WHAM! Stomach virus. Since the plane was more or less okay and the virus is not directly related to running, I guess I could liken that to a bird smashing into the cockpit window.

So with a fuel mixture that appears to be working well, engines repaired with duct tape, and now a new windshield in place, it's time to try to take off again. Please, let me get above the clouds this time?

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:49/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 133/147
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stomach Bug


Shortly after my post yesterday, I discovered through a couple of long series of vomiting that my stomach simply wasn't accepting food of any kind. I called out sick today from teaching and grad school, but I'm getting better. Able to hold down food now and I feel my energy returning.

Plan is to go back to teaching tomorrow, but probably take another day off from running. Hope to be back at 'em on Saturday. Drat, and I was doing so good at following the Pfitz plan to a 'T' this week...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Long Shadows

As mid-November approaches, the sun rises to a lower point in the sky with each passing day, casting long shadows in the afternoon. Length of day for today is officially 9h 46m, and tomorrow will be 2m 18s shorter. From now until mid-February, it's a rush to get out the door ASAP to take advantage of the daylight for the longer runs. Thankfully, I can always bring my work home with me if I don't get it all done.

Good run today. I was a little under-dressed, which proved to be a distraction. Aside from that, felt good but I'm welcoming the short five mile recovery run tomorrow just the same. Too bad it'll be in a cold rain after grad school. At least it'll be multiple, short comfort loops on the USM campus.

Ran 14.0 miles @ 8:30/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/155
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s to upper 30s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Worth noting the below chart makes it look more hilly than it really is. The bulk of the climbs and descents are at a low grade, making them barely noticeable. Kind of looks like Devils Tower, doesn't it?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

*Click*

Today was one of those days when all cylinders were firing and the run felt easy. Hit my splits pretty evenly throughout and was very pleased with the heart rate. Capped off the run with a set of strideouts.

I feel my post-marathon recovery has gone extremely well. All of my runs lately have been going great, and it feels good to transition back into real training again. My legs feel fresh and my energy is high. The PF has also been behaving very well the past several days. Life is good.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 7:30/mile pace, followed by 10 X 100M strides.
AHR/MHR - 154/164
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday, my plantar fasciitis was at one of its worst points ever. But I stepped back into my regiment of aggressive massaging and taking Aleve yesterday evening, and this morning I woke up and it felt enormously better. Pretty crazy, but in a good way. No problems during today's run either.

I guess if there is a bright side to PF it's that, unlike some other ailments or injuries, you do have some power over it. I'm going to continue the massaging and NSAIDS treatment to keep it under control, since it works well when I make myself do it.

Run went very well. Met my goal of keeping the splits pretty even and around 8:30/mile. According to the Pfitz plan, that's the middle ground of where my pace should be for my general medium-long and long runs. Heart rate data also looked great.

Good end to the week. Rest day is on the agenda for tomorrow.

Ran 15.3 miles @ 8:23/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/158
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 40s to lower 50s, overcast with light rain to partly cloudy skies, breezy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Volunteering at the Stonecat 50

Had a great time volunteering at the Stonecat 50, and also fulfilled my service requirement for the Western States 100. My primary duties included filling bottles for runners and helping hand out the finishing prizes (really nice windbreakers) to those that made it. It was seriously a lot of fun, and everyone at the race was great. Great to see various friends and acquaintances... and also met lot's of great folks for the first time.

Ian had a great performance, look for a report on his blog soon. Steve also did well.

Was able to get in three nice and slow miles on the trails with Jim Eckert before things got too busy. PF has really flared up. I plan to get aggressive again with the NSAIDS, massaging, stretching and icing, and may see the sports doc if it doesn't calm significantly. Not a big deal though, just annoying. I'll deal with it.

Ran 3.0 miles @ 9:52/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A
Trails.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 50s, overcast.
Long pants, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Misty and Warm Eleven

Warm and drizzling throughout today's run. Where in the heck is Old Man Winter? He definitely stopped by last week. Maybe he forgot his wallet at home and he left to go back and get it. I'll just enjoy it while it lasts.

Run went well. Pfitzinger plan called for eleven today and so that's what I did. Route was an out and back up Railroad Avenue from the school. Good rollercoaster hills throughout.

Ran the first three miles with Tom at just under a 9:00/mile pace and then picked it up from there. Hit the next six miles at around 7:43/mile and then the last two miles in 7:20 and 7:07 respectively.

My PF has flared up this week, primarily in my left foot. While that's a nuisance, I can deal with it. I've been slacking on the stretching and massaging, so it's my own fault. Otherwise, I felt great. Legs continue to feel awesome and energy is high.

I'm volunteering at the Stonecat 50 tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to. Ian will be running the trail marathon, and Steve will also be there for the 50. Plan calls for me to get in five recovery miles tomorrow, but if I can't squeeze it in, I'm not too worried. I'm already doing more of the Pfitzinger plan than I expected to for this week. Just glad the recovery is going well.

Ran 11.1 miles @ 7:58/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/166
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
~60 degrees, overcast, drizzling.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Campus Run

Got in five recovery miles this evening after grad school. Opted to run a hilly .8 mile loop on the University of Southern Maine campus several times until I got the miles in. This was a safe option given it was night... the area is well lit and there were no worries about traffic.

The multiple loops weren't as boring as I thought it'd be. Unusually warm out and light rain falling throughout the run made it kind of pleasant. Felt great and was holding back from going faster, always a good sign.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:53/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 136/152
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid-upper 50s, light rain.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post-Election Run

I was quite tired for today's run. Stayed up way past my bedtime to watch the election coverage, and I'm happy and proud of the results. I hadn't really given much thought to Obama being the first African-American president. I of course realized it, but I voted for him because I thought he was the best guy for the job, and didn't really think too much of the significance of his race and the election until today.

It does go to show America has come a long way, but after today, I also realized we have a long way to go as far as racism and prejudice are concerned. From a variety of outlets and sources, I've become really disappointed at some of things I've heard. Let me make it clear that I am not claiming to be Mr. Politically Correct. I'm far from it. But after hearing some of the crap I've heard today... well, I've learned a lot.

I can dismiss the typical sore loser mentality that is also being emanated. That's to be expected. But when a good number are also tying it to racism, well, the paint strokes start to get blurred, now don't they? Having said that, there have of course been those that have showed a lot of class, despite their guy not getting into office.

Anyway, enough of that. My original point is that I was tired so getting out today was a bit tougher than usual. I did the nine mile workout that Pfitzinger called for, with four miles at 15k to 1/2 marathon pace.

The first two miles I ran with Tom at an easy pace for a warm up and then I took off from there for the next four. Hit the speed portion splits in 6:50, 6:45, 6:43, and 6:42. After that, I welcomed the next three cool down miles. Tough workout, but it went well. Unusually warm out today also. Didn't it snow last week?


Ran 9.0 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 154/172
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, overcast, humid.
Shorts, short sleeves shirt.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pace Dictated by Heart Rate

Ran a recovery run today, with the goal of keeping my heart rate in the mid-130s, and not worrying about the pace. It went well. Followed it up with a set of strides.

I planned my rest day for tomorrow to make it easier to vote. This week will incorporate more of the Pfitzinger plan, and next week even more. After that, I hope to be at cruising altitude in terms of following the plan in full (for the most part).

I put a poll up in the upper right part of this blog, just for fun. I'm hoping to have a new one each month, so long as I can come up with something that I deem worthy enough. Check it out, why don't you?

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:45/mile/pace, followed with 10 X 100M strides.
AHR/MHR - 136/150 (excludes strides)
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, overcast.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

No Country for Cold Men

Though I doubt I'll be like this in late winter, I was itching to get out early and take advantage of the colder weather. Had a great run and really enjoyed having the roads all to myself.

I noticed a pretty big bog was nearly totally covered with a thin sheet of ice. Also saw a gaggle of turkeys near a stream. Pretty cool.

Was very pleased with the heart rate for this route at this point in the recovery. Qualitatively, I also felt great and energetic so everything appears to be going well. A good end to the week.

Ran 8.6 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/159
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 20s to lower 30s, sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (off and on).


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Cool Morning at Pineland Farms

I decided to rearrange my running schedule a bit this weekend so I could join some of the gang for a trail run at Pineland Farms (a safe haven, given deer season opened today). Great day for a run. Cloud cover overnight prevented temperatures from dropping too much, but the air was still crisp, cool and very pleasant.

A good number of the other Trail Monster gang opted for a Halloween race last night, so the group was relatively small. Stephen, Mindy, Tim and Lilly were present though, and we had a great time.

I don't know what it was exactly, but fortunately I felt really "on" during the run. I'm not sure if it was because I'm still more trained for this type of terrain and pace than I am the roads, or if I was simply having a good day. Perhaps a little of both? Regardless, it was nice to have all cylinders firing. Granted, we didn't go very far or were running very fast (a pretty normal pace for me for these trails), but still, I felt I could have kept going strong with no problem.

The heart rate verifies the good feeling. It was on par with previous runs here (post-edit: was still a little on the high side, but not to the same degree as the previous two days). Nice to see that happening. Now the key is not to push it, like I did post-Vermont 100. Today perhaps was a sign that I'm recovering, but I'm likely still far from recovered.

And if the run going well wasn't enough, the company was even more awesome. At the risk of sounding conceded, I swear that if we recorded our conversations during our weekend runs, we'd have a hit podcast on our hands. I feel lucky to run with such an entertaining and intelligent group.

Great to see Mindy out there who is ramping her mileage back up after an injury, and she looked very strong out there today. And looking ahead a bit, Stephen has agreed to be my pacer again at the Western States 100. I have also agreed to be his pacer for the Massanutten 100, should he get picked in the lottery (knock on wood that he does). Lot's of great stuff to look forward to!

Run was followed up by all of us having a huge breakfast afterwards at Stone's Cafe, along with Stephen's wife Kelly and their two kids.

Ran 8.2 miles @ 9:26/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 145/166
Trails.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s to lower 40s, mostly sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Easy Five

Just a short five at an easy pace. Felt good, but the heart rate is still a bit on the high side. Will likely do around five again tomorrow and try a ten miler on Sunday, all at an easy pace.

Nice weather, and nice to enjoy a final post-work run with ample daylight before the clocks turn back this weekend. We're losing daylight fast. Total daylight for today is 10 hours, 16 minutes, and tomorrow will be 2:36 shorter. I got that information from weather underground, so I hope the conservatives don't try to label me as a terrorist.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:06/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/159
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny, breezy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reunited

Reunited with a less hectic schedule for a while now that cross country season is, for the most part, over and I can concentrate more on my own running.

Reunited with Old Man Winter as today was blustery and sleet was falling during my run.

Reunited with my Garmin Forerunner 305. Got it back in the mail yesterday and I finally have one that looks to be in good working order.

Reunited with one of my favorite routes that I haven't done in a while... a hilly seven miler from the school.

Sweet.

Was slightly surprised at how high my average heart rate was for this pace, even if it was over some good hills. I guess I shouldn't be though, given that I'm just a week and a half out of my marathon. I still have some recovery to do.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:57/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 157/171
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast, windy, intermittent sleet.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

P.S. Hope everyone likes the new look for the blog!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Five Plus Strides

Ran an easy five with my friend and fellow teacher, Tom, after school today. Run felt fine, and afterwards I did some strides.

I've seen these before in training schedules, but always dismissed them and didn't really see the point. I became a bit more convinced, however, after reading up on them more. To paraphrase Pfitzinger and Douglas in their book Advanced Mararthoning, the purpose of strides is improve running form and control at fast speeds. With adequate rest between each interval, it's easier to concentrate on efficiency because lactate levels remain low.

I gave them a whirl, and while I imagine the benefits won't be reaped in the short term, I enjoyed doing them and could see the point. I focused on remaining loose and relaxed while accelerating and then holding the speed up. Kept track of how many I did by drawing a slash for each rep in the dirt caked on the back of my car.

Rest day tomorrow, which is planned and good timing since it's parent-teacher conference night and a cold rain and possibly snow is supposed to fall. I'm itching to get my mileage back up, but I must be patient.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:39/mile pace, followed by 10 X 100M strides.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Morning Run and More Looking Ahead

My first post-marathon run was a good one. Slow and relaxed, while enjoying the smell of fallen leaves. Very few kinks in the muscles, and those were smoothed out as the run progressed.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 50s, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

I went ahead and registered for the Hyannis Marathon on February 22nd. The past few marathons I've run were done riding on the coattails of ultramarathon training, meaning lots of long runs, but very little or no speedwork, and always a little banged up. I'm really looking forward to the chance to do a marathon with marathon-specific training to see what I can do. Last time I did this was two years ago at Hyannis, and I blew it by trying to be a hero and going out way too fast and DNF'd just before mile 18. That lesson hopefully won't be forgotten this time around. If all goes well, I hope to BQ and that's the primary goal.

I've spent a lot of time the past week formulating my race plan. I'm going to try and be more disciplined in following a training schedule, and I've been pouring through the book Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pftizinger and Scott Douglas for ideas.

I'm going to follow the 18-week plan on 70 miles a week or less. It features six weeks of an endurance cycle, five weeks of a lactate threshold plus endurance cycle, four weeks of a race preparation cycle (emphasis on speed work), and a three week taper.

The only conflict is week one began this past week, and I'm still in recovery. However, I feel my aerobic base is pretty solid, so I'll just gradually incorporate the plan over the next two to three weeks while I'm recovering and go from there. I like this better than just going ahead and doing the 12-week plan, since it allows for more speed work.

I don't plan on following this plan exactly (unrealistic, especially if winter this year is similar to last year), but I do want it to be a solid guideline. The speed workouts and long runs, however, will have little to no room for negotiation.

I'm very much looking forward to this next journey. It's kind of nice to take a break of sorts form the ultramarathoning mindset and get back into the marathoning mindset, just for the change of pace (pun intended... short drum roll followed by a cymbal crash). This should also serve as a nice springboard into training for the Western States 100 in late June. Always nice when race schedules fall perfectly into place like that.

Comments and suggestions on my plan are welcome.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Post MDI Marathon Thoughts and Looking Ahead

Thank you everyone for the comments and emails regarding the MDI Marathon. I really do appreciate it. Recovery is going very well, but I'm still sticking to my plan of no running until Sunday (also, if I violate that rule, I owe my father 20 bucks).

Physically, my legs feel great. The plantar fasciitis did flare up big time and I felt it a lot on Monday. However, by Tuesday it waned dramatically and now it feels like it's back within its normal parameters, if there is such a thing. That's good.

Mentally, not feeling so great. I fully realize expecting anything more out of myself last Sunday would be unrealistic, all things considered. However, I've been pretty bummed because I know I can do better. But talk is cheap. The logical thing to do here would be to give myself an opportunity for a quality marathon run, so that's what I'm doing.

I'm going to register for the Hyannis Marathon this weekend. The race is on February 22nd and the goal is to qualify for Boston. For my age group, that means running in 3:15:59 or less, which translates to 7:28 per mile.

The nice thing about this race is that I could use a BQ time for either this year or next. If I qualify, I plan to use it for 2010 if all goes well. With the Western States 100 looming in late June, after Hyannis it will be time to rest up and start training specifically for that. Plus, Boston in 2010 would give me something else grand to look forward to (if I qualify).

Back to Hyannis... this could also be sweet revenge. Two years ago, I felt I was primed for a BQ time and I got cocky and went out too fast. I couldn't hold the pace and I crashed and burned big time and DNF'd. It'd be nice to go back there and kick some butt. It's a fast course, just have to be able to tolerate the cold, which I don't have any problems with.

To be honest, I'm not terribly crazy about this marathon in particular. I've had fun there, but comparing it to the MDI Marathon is a bit like comparing a peanut butter sandwich to a steak dinner. What would help is if they would have staggered starts for the 10k and half marathon runners, yet we're all lumped in together at the start on a narrow street. Ugh. Two years ago I positioned myself at the front and that helped, so I'll just to be sure to squeeze up in there early.

Looking forward to running on Sunday, and gradually bringing my mileage back up. I have formulated a training plan of sorts, but I'll save that for another post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 Mt. Desert Island Marathon Report

Timing wise, things went almost exactly as expected. How that came about, however, was unexpected. I anticipated not doing so well because my training has gone pretty crappy the past few months, but there was the added element of surprise of stomach issues during the race. That was not fun. Still, I broke 3:30 which I had hoped to do, so I'm pretty happy especially considering those factors.

My detailed plan (which I kept quiet about) had been to go out fast and see if I could hold on. Fast meaning fast enough to BQ. I knew the odds were very much against it (at least 200:1), but what the heck. If at the halfway point I couldn't hold on to that pace, I'd just run what I could to still finish with hopefully a decent time.

I learned that this is one of those plans that sounds good beforehand, but in reality it was pretty stupid. With my stomach acting the way it was, on top of going into this race under-prepared, I was miserable that second half. I won't do that again. However, I'm happy that I pushed through it.

The Morning
I woke up not really feeling sick, but at the same time I could tell something didn't quite feel right. A few trips to the bathroom confirmed what it was (I'm trying to be discreet). Still, I thought I had gotten it out of my system but not the case.

Saw Jim Gott, who I didn't think was going to make it, so that was good. Also met up with Ryan, Danielle and Tim. Tim is friends with Mindy and her husband Pete, who were also in attendance. They were going to ride their bikes around the course and cheer us on. Mindy proved to be a HUGE help late in the race, but I'll explain that later. Ryan, Danielle and Tim, by the way, all did very well.

Miles 0-5 - Speed
The starting cannon went off and so did we. I went out at a good clip feeling great, but the first mile was way too fast (7:12). I eased back to more acceptable levels and pushed. My stomach churned a bit, but was still okay. I was alone for a bit, but was hoping to link up with someone to run with. Just as I was thinking this, along comes Amanda.

Miles 5-10 - Pairing up
Amanda and I were moving along well together, and she was great company. However, I could tell that she had energy to spare and I knew I wouldn't be with her for the duration. Still, we hit our splits with ease and were having fun.

Miles 10-15 - Uh oh
Now my stomach was really churning and it became obvious that a bio break was desperately needed. Crap! (no pun intended) I was really enjoying Amanda's company and would have liked to have run with her a bit longer, but this was going to turn into a really embarrassing situation if I didn't take care of things soon.

Somewhere during mile 12 there was an open porta-potty and I ducked in. Fortunately, the pit stop only took somewhere between one and a half and two minutes. I hit the next mile in 7:18, but that was really tough, and it became obvious that I needed to slow down.

I also vurped (hybrid between a burp and vomiting, usually with less vomit than a full on ralph) a few times. The stomach was simply not doing well. I was afraid of anything with sugar so taking any Gu was out of the question and I limited drinking Gatorade, opting for water instead. I prayed I wouldn't cramp up and thankfully, I never did.

I crossed the half marathon mark in 1:38:57, which was :43 seconds quicker than last year when I finished in 3:21:37. But seeing how I was feeling, I knew beating that time wasn't going to happen.

Miles 15-20 - Keep moving
The splits continued to slow and I did some quick math and figured I could still break 3:30 even at this rate. The key was to just keep it slow and finish and try to ignore the hordes of runners that were now passing me.

Miles 20-25 - Hills of Death and Mindy the Angel
This stretch features some unrelenting hills that are really tough. Needless to say, my pace continued to slow. I was miserable. I vurped some more and just tried to concentrate on continuing to move.

Just as I was feeling my worst, along comes Mindy on her bike. Long story short, she rode by my side for around two miles and her company was extremely welcome. She also gave me some water which was great as it helped lessen my worries about cramping. More importantly, she lent a sympathetic ear to my whining about my stomach and she was extremely encouraging. Mindy got me close to the top of the hill and I urged her to go back and help Tim (who's from Florida and I mused could probably also use some help). Thank you Mindy! Also saw my father and step-mom drive by during this stretch which was nice and gave me a bit of a mental boost.

The Final 1.2 Miles - Final Stretch
Most of the final stretch is downhill, which of course is great. I was still pretty slow, but did pick it up a little.

A small uphill exists during the final few tenths of a mile, and at the crest of the hill, I saw another runner I thought I could pick off. The finish line was in sight and I put in my kick. Somewhat similar situation as last year. I passed him and like last year, I later found out he was in my age group. Cool. By the way, the guy was a great sport and said nice job.

I finished in 3:27:56, beating my time from two years ago by :02. My bib number that year was the same as this year, #40. Kinda eerie...

So all things considered, I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out. Definitely far from my best race in more ways than one, but it was fun. I'm glad I toughed it out and still finished okay. Good mental victory. I'm also very thankful that I never crapped my shorts during the run.

Ryan, Danielle, Tim and Jim all also finished well and seemed quite pleased with how they did. Very happy for them, especially Ryan since it was his first marathon and he exceeded his goals. Danielle also crushed her PR. Jim has been battling a calf injury and still finished strong. Tim did awesome especially considering that you can't get hills like this in Florida where he lives. Big congrats to Andrew for running his marathon up on Prince Edward Island in 3:00:05. Wow, smoking! And I win the beer!

Splits:
1 - 7:12
2 - 7:32
3 - 7:24
4 - 7:13
5 - 7:23
6 - 7:24
7 - 7:29
8 - 7:30
9 - 7:24
10 - 7:34
11 - 7:34
12 - 9:06 (bio break)
13 - 7:18
14 - 7:50
15 - 7:54
16 - 7:48
17 - 8:09
18 - 8:13
19 - 8:24
20 - 8:20
21 - 8:30
22 - 8:41
23 - 8:46
24 - 9:15
25 - 8:28
26 - 8:06
last .2 - ?

2008 MDI Marathon Results


Overall placing: 78th out of 699
Age group (35-39): 15th out of 52
Ran 26.2 miles @ 7:56/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 30s to upper 40s, sunny.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt, Moeben sleeves.

No running for me until next Sunday. I'm going to overdue this recovery so I can hopefully get going on work for the Western States 100 on a smoother note.

Happy running!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun With Numbers

Two years ago my bib number for the MDI Marathon was #40. Last year it was #50. This year, #40 again. Cool. I like round numbers.

I arrived with my dad and step-mom on the island today and we visited the expo, walked around Bar Harbor and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Met up with Ryan and Danielle for a quick little run this afternoon just to keep the legs fresh. It will be Ryan's first marathon and Danielle's second.

We are blessed with perfect running weather again. It'll be about the same tomorrow as it has been last year and the year before for the race... sunny and cool, low of 30 degrees and a high in the lower 50s.

Ran ~2.4 miles @ ~8:00/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Bet and the Garmin

I ran right from the high school cross country practice and got in a nice little 5k run. Felt great and no problems or issues to report. Plan is to coast into Sunday with minimal running and hope for the best.

Andrew and I have a little wager going, since we're both going into marathons this weekend in not the best of shape (he's running the Prince Edward Island Marathon). However, the winner is the one with the SLOWER time, not the faster time. This bodes well for me, since Andrew is a far superior runner than I am. At stake, a six pack from a local microbrew. I intend to win!

Also, the Garmin 305 was sent in yesterday (again). The customer service rep I talked to a few days ago was very easy to work with and he thinks I was just sent a bum unit. Hopefully this time things will work out and they'll ship me one that's actually been tested and works correctly. If not, fear my wrath.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 7:20/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Easy Day

It was really nice to have a short, easy run today that was necessitated by a hard workout the day before, as opposed to it just being junk miles. Felt great and I had to force myself to slow down a few times.

Will likely take a rest day tomorrow since there are only six days left.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:10/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 50s, partly sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One Week Remaining

The Mt. Desert Island Marathon is now just one week away. Given my recent running woes, I felt it was important to push it a little today just to test things out. Fortunately, it went very well.

I set out with a goal of a little over nine miles at a 7:20-7:30/mile pace. I felt great so I went a bit faster, and was able to do so relatively comfortably. This is not to say it wasn't hard work, but at least the effort felt on par with other runs I've done at this pace on this type of terrain in the past.

Mile 1: 7:52
Mile 2: 7:14
Mile 3: 7:06
Mile 4: 6:58
Mile 5: 6:57
Mile 6: 6:59
Mile 7: 7:04
Mile 8: 7:00
Mile 9: 6:54
Last .2: 6:39/mile pace.

Pretty pleased. This was a run that I needed psychologically. Also worth noting that the fall leaves are at their peak. Sunglasses were a must, not so much for the sun, but for all the bright colors.

Cumulative stats:
Ran 9.2 miles @ 7:07/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Problems with the Garmin 305

In my last post I mentioned I'd like to dropkick my old Garmin 201. At least that device would probably survive it. I got my Garmin 305 back in the mail yesterday after sending it in for repairs and the %&*#ing thing still doesn't work! Same $%&*ing problem as before, it starts up and then dies after a few moments even though the %$#&ing indicator says the battery is charged. What the %$#@?!?!?! Did they even look at the $%&#ing thing?!

I don't even think it's the same unit, probably another refurbished one, so I'm wondering if my charger is screwing it up. When I sent it in for repairs they said to leave all accessories at home and just send the 305. If it's not the charger, then those Garmin guys just might be a bunch of idiots. I am so pissed!!!

Enough ranting. I rarely complain. It is seriously very hard to get on my %$#@ list and it's a very short list as a result. I don't want to add Garmin to it, so I'm going to see how they respond to this latest problem before I slam them. If it's the charger, it's not really their fault. Stay tuned...

As for today's run, it felt great. Fresh legs from two days off, good energy, and no PF issues. I think I'll be relatively okay for the marathon next weekend, but I'm still keeping my expectations realistic.

Ran 4.8 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Bit Better and Recovery Thoughts

Today's run almost felt like it was going to be a continuation of Sunday's craptastic little run, but thankfully I shook that off after two miles and felt quite comfortable for the next four. Damon hit the nail on the head in his comment on my last entry: To paraphrase, just too much too soon after a big race and that led to a domino effect of problems with fatigue and injuries.

I think it's interesting how during the winter and spring I could put in regular high mileage (that being a relative term... for me it means consistent 50-80 mile weeks), and in most cases could rebound quickly after 30-40 mile training runs with little recovery time needed. Even the 50-mile ultra I did at Pineland saw a quick recovery. However, after each of the two 100-milers I've done it's been a struggle to get the plane back in the air.

Anyway, before I ramble too much I'll just close by saying after my next 100-miler I'm going to allow ample time for recovery and not rush anything. I am certain I could have been back at it a lot sooner had I played it a bit smarter post-Vermont 100. I anticipate a good break after my marathon a week from Sunday... perhaps at least a month of very light running (20-30 mile weeks) before it's time to start thinking about laying down a base again for the big show.

On a side note, I noticed Garmin cashed my check for $99 for the repair, so I should be getting my 305 back pretty soon. I'm about ready to drop kick my old 201.

Ran 5.9 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Old Jalopy

That's the best way to describe my training lately. Some days are bad, some days are good... unfortunately, none have really been that great. Kind of like being forced to drive an Ford Pinto. The plantar fasciitis continues to wane at least. I'm nearly ready to declare it dead, but I don't want to parallel this scenario:


The plantar fasciitis aside, today I just didn't feel very energetic. That's been somewhat common in my runs recently. I guess I just need to be a little more patient and things will turn around.

I went through a similar scenario last November through mid-late December. Back then, I had a bit of runner's knee going on but also just didn't feel all that energetic. I suspect that I get a bit depressed with my running when I'm "hurt" and as a result I'm not as psyched to run.

With the PF waning though, hopefully things will turn around a bit. Just a bit of bad timing with the marathon two weeks away!

Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Little Ossipee Hill Run

Had a great run up Little Ossipee Hill today. At 1050' high, it offers an awesome, grueling run up to the top. Weather was great today, so little wonder why there were a lot of people out hiking. Ran into one of my students and his family on my way up.

I didn't linger to long once at the top, but did soak in the views for a few minutes. It looked as if someone was working inside the firetower, so I opted not to climb up it part of the way like I normally do. When I do this, I can see Mt. Washington and the rest of the Presidential range to the northeast and to the south I can clearly see the ocean. Oh well, perhaps next time.

Ran 11.0 miles @ 8:26/mile pace.
Paved roads, dirt roads, trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid-upper 50s, sunny, windy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Crappy Six

I had to attend part two of the symposium to get a new school building today. Today, it was held down at the community college in Wells. I changed and ran from there afterwards, hoping to get in a 10-12 mile run on the beach. However, as I was leaving the school I noticed a sign said the gates closed at 5pm. Crap. That meant I had to cut my run short.

Just as well I guess. I didn't feel all that energetic. This was due to eating too many chocolate chip cookies. Too bad those aren't health food. The good news is the PF continues to stay at bay.

Have to attend the last day of the symposium tomorrow. Bummer to give up a Saturday, but at least we'll be getting out earlier than expected. I'll make up the mileage then.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Slightly hilly.
Paved roads and hard packed beach sand.
Mid 50s, partly sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Short and Quick

I ran the pre-meet practice with the cross country team today. These practices are usually light, with the goal to rest them up and get them to focus. Unfortunately, I'll miss the meet tomorrow because of grad school. Good to get in a semi-speed workout for me though. I need to do some more up-tempo runs between now and the MDI Marathon for fine tuning purposes.

Goal for them was 400m repeats at a 5k pace. I have no idea what my 5k pace is these days, so I just went with something that felt fast but was comfortable and not too hard.

Warm-up: Ran .6 miles @ 7:38/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.

6 x 400m repeats: 1:25, 1:22, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25.
Trails.
Moderately hilly.

Cool down: Ran .6 miles @ 7:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.

Lower 60s, overcast, misting.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Western States 100 Number Crunching

The deadline passed last night at midnight for would-be 2008 runners to confirm their entry for 2009. The race directors allowed us an automatic entry for 2009 after this year's race was canceled because of wildfires. I confirmed my entry when the window opened on September 15th, as did several others. Since that time, each day saw more and more confirming for next year. Now we have the final tally.

I had predicted that of the 391 runners, most would confirm but there would probably be 100 who wouldn't be able to make it. I was wrong. Only 38 slots are open. That just shows how popular this race is. Not to gloat, but I'm glad I'm in.

So, who gets those 38 open slots? It goes to "two time losers", a procedure that is now discontinued. It had guaranteed an entry the third time around for those who had entered and lost the WS100 lottery twice. However, due to the popularity of the race, the two time loser rule was done away with since it was getting to a point where they were growing in such a large number that the cup was beginning to spill.

So, those 38 open slots for 2009 will go to the two time losers (or TTLs), and there are 254 of them on the list. Those runners have until October 15th to confirm that they want to be put into a lottery, where they'll be chosen at random. Those that don't get in will be guaranteed entry in the future.

So (this is the third paragraph I've began with "so"), 90% of the runners from last year confirmed their entry. Let's assume the TTLs have the same percentage of confirmation. That means of the 254 TTL runners, 229 will confirm. That translates to a 17% chance of getting in, which is just one percentage point away from the 16% chance of getting in that we faced when I lucked out and got in for 2008.

Good luck to all who are in, and good luck to all trying to get in. Looking forward to 2009!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hitting the Hills

Cross country practice was a short one today, which afforded me plenty of time to get in my own run afterward. I took advantage of some major hills near the school. Plenty of long, grueling climbs made this workout a good one. Felt quite comfortable all around out there and was very pleased.

Garmin Forerunner 305 was finally sent in last week to get fixed. I should have it back in time for the MDI Marathon, which is great. I've been using my old Forerunner 201 in the meantime, and... well, let's just say I really miss the 305 and can't wait to get it back.

Ran 8.1 miles @ 7:52/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, September 29, 2008

MDI Marathon Thoughts

I've been pretty quiet on my blog regarding the upcoming Mt. Desert Island Marathon lately. This is a pretty accurate reflection to my mindset, as I really haven't been giving it too much thought. This was due to the plantar fasciitis almost constantly reminding me it was inhabiting my feet. It was a big distraction, and while some days were better than others, even those better days had me weary of the days that weren't going to be good.

I don't mean to sound overly dramatic though. The PF hit its worst point several weeks ago, and aside from some moderate flare-ups that weren't too bad, overall the pain has been pretty low. It's just been annoying.

However, the Superfeet insoles along with the new shoes have really done wonders the past two days. I haven't felt it at all during my runs yesterday and today. Another good litmus test, waking up in the morning, has also seen good results with just a very, very dull ache in the heels that was barely noticeable. At this pace, the PF could be licked by the weekend.

So... now my attention is really turning towards the MDI Marathon on October 19th. The aerobic base is there but the speed work has been pretty lacking and with just three weeks to go, not much more can be done. I don't have high expectations for it as a result. However, I still think breaking 3:30 is a good, realistic goal, so that's what I'm shooting for.

As for today's run, felt good and strong. I was able to get in a little over six miles before the team's XC practice began and then I tacked on another three afterwards. Felt great. Not having that ache in my heels is really, really nice.

First run - 6.2 miles @ 8:02 mile/pace.
Second run - 3.1 miles @ 7:40/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
70 degrees, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Shoes and Insoles

I took the past three days off, so it was little wonder why I felt great for today's run. The legs felt fresh and I was full of energy. Pretty hyper, in fact. I kept the pace slow, but I still almost felt like this kid:



I also bought a new pair of shoes, Asics GT2130s, and this was my first run in them. They feel just like the discontinued GT2120s I've been running in the past few years, thankfully. I can't tell the difference. One thing is it looks like the top of the shoe at the toes is a bit more reinforced. This is good, as my last pair of GT2120s developed a hole at the top where the fabric meets the rubber.

I also bought a pair of Superfeet insoles for my plantar fasciitis. Whatever shoes I wear, whether for running or work, I plan to put use these in them. For today's first run with them in, they felt comfortable. I didn't feel the plantar fasciitis at all, and could tell they were offering more support. Of course I want to say that this will kill the PF for good, but that's the emotional side talking. Logic dictates only time will tell, but still good to know this first run was a big success.

It was raining throughout the run, but nothing too heavy. Hurricane Kyle is off the coast. It won't mean much for my area other than adding to our already high rain totals for the weekend, but further up the coast, two other Maine bloggers and a Canadian have a bit more to worry about.

Ran 11.3 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower to mid 60s, light to moderate rain throughout.
Shorts, shorts sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Home Meet

Our team's home cross country meet was today. Both teams did well, with the boys coming in second out of three and the girls third out of four against some tough competition. I continue to be impressed with their positive attitudes and love for the sport. Great kids!

The meet did run late, which thwarted my running plans. I ran the two miles up to the ridge to the meet, and had planned on running another five or six afterwards, but alas, I only had time for two more. I ran pretty much the same route back, enjoying a quick, downhill cruise back to the school.

Uphill: Ran 2.2 miles @ 8:50/mile pace.
Downill: Ran 2.0 miles @ 7:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s dropping to upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Five Miles and the Crazy PF

Squeezed in a quick five miles before XC practice. Actually, it was really 4.2 miles before the practice and I tacked on the other .8 during the run back to the school afterwards.

The run went well. What continues to baffle me is the plantar fasciitis. In my last post, I think I might have inadvertently made it sound like the PF was pretty much going away. I wish that were true, but not the case. As Mark pointed out, PF can come and go. Yesterday morning, it did flare up again and I was glad I had planned a rest day anyway. It wasn't horrible, but it still made itself known. However, today I barely felt it. Overall, I do think it's going away, but I still think I have a ways to go before it's gone for good.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Twenty One with Chuck

Chuck and I met up at Pineland Farms this morning and got in a good 21 mile run. Though I've seen Chuck at most of the group runs, I haven't actually run with him for a good stretch in quite some time, so this was nice.

We had a grand ole time chatting away and also spotted two hawks. One was unidentified, but pretty cool since it was carrying off it's prey (couldn't tell what it was) as it flew off. The other was unmistakably a red-tailed hawk. It was perched on a sign post and flew away as we approached.

I felt okay during the run. Not great, not terrible, just so-so. I felt the PF more during the start of the run, but less so as the run went on. Even then, it wasn't too bad. Energy-wise, I've felt better but have felt worse. Was glad to get in the miles though and not really struggle, though I did feel tired at the end.

Ran 21.0 miles @ 9:40/mile pace.
Trails.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s to mid-60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves (morning).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Great Weather, Great Run

The bad news is a symposium I had to attend today regarding a new school meant I had to miss the XC team's meet this afternoon. On a selfish note, the good news is it did leave me time to get in my own run. Weather was what I consider perfect for running: mid-50s and sunny.

Perhaps invigorated with the weather, I ran at a pretty good pace today on an extremely hilly route and it felt easy. I really enjoyed the long climb to the top of the ridge. Actually, I think taking the past two days off from running also contributed. The good news about that is that the plantar fasciitis continues to fade away and now the shin splints appear to be making an exit as well. Could I finally be turning the proverbial corner? Man, I hope so.

Worth noting that the veggie wrap I had for lunch didn't sit too well in my stomach, and I puked a little upon reaching the top of the ridge. I didn't stop or slow down for it though, just turned my head and ralphed while running. Felt better after that.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
Paved roads and trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

2008 Vermont 100 Video

My good buddy Stephen gave me a copy of the footage shot by his crew during the 2008 Vermont 100 and I slapped together a little video. I also incorporated some of the photos taken by Neighbor Kate. Check it out, why don't you?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Orchard Run

Today we ran up to an apple orchard where we'll host our school's home cross country meet next week. It's a grueling, steep climb to the ridge where the orchard is located, and from there we ran most of the course, stopping several times to clear the paths of sticks and other debris courtesy of mother nature. Afterwards, a return trip down.

Plantar fasciitis was felt more today than yesterday, but still within the "minor" category. The shin splints were more prominent, but not a real concern.

Tomorrow will be a rest day as a precaution and good timing as it's open house at our school. Thursday is grad school, so I may have to run in the early morning. I'd like to avoid taking two days off in a row.

Ran 6.7 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.
Paved roads and technical trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 60s, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Western States 100, Here I Come!

Today the Western States 100 race officials sent out the email to would-be 2008 participants asking them to confirm their entries for 2009. I went ahead and confirmed and paid the entry fee. A nice surprise was they reduced the price from $295 down to $195 for us. I thought that was very decent of them. I'll gladly take a $100 savings any day!

Now that I'm locked and loaded for WS, I'm feeling a renewed vigor towards running again. I still have the MDI Marathon next month, and I'll see how my training progresses before I make any goals for that race. But knowing that WS is on the horizon and I'm in again for that sucker has given me a good mental spark.

Speaking of progress, today was extremely encouraging. The plantar fasciitis seems to be fading away pretty quickly. I've barely been feeling it at all the past few days. I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I know, I might not be out of the woods yet. From what I've read and heard, this is one of the trickier injuries that can quickly reappear. But I'm optimistic. The continuous stretching seems to be doing the trick more than anything else, but that's hard to verify.

The only downside now is that I have a mild case of shin splits. This isn't that big of a deal for me though. I've had it quite a few times before, and the worst case scenarios have lasted just under a month and the pain has never been that bad.

As for today's run... wow, it went really well on several fronts. I ran the first three miles as a warm-up with the XC team. The workout today was mile repeats (along a very hilly course) and you either pulled someone or had them pull you. This consists of a faster runner teaming up with someone who is not as fast, and the faster runner leads them a little and encourages them along. I got to pull one of the girls on our team and she did great, coming in at 7:18 for a 25 second PR.

The second mile was solo running, and though I had originally planned for a 6:30/mile pace. I ended up running it in 5:45. That was a pleasant surprise!

The third mile I pulled the same girl again, and she was off of her old PR by just two seconds. Thankfully, she didn't appear to hate me for pushing her.

Ran 7.0 miles total.

Warm-up: Ran 3.0 miles at 7:37/mile pace.
Pull: Ran 1.0 mile in 7:18
Solo: Ran 1.0 mile in 5:45
Pull: Ran 1.0 mile in 7:47
Cool-down: Ran 2.0 miles @ 8:22/mile pace.

Paved roads.
Warm-up/cool down: Mostly flat.
Mile course: Very hilly.
Upper 70s, sunny, windy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Running for a Cure / Bradbury Bruiser

A day off for me, so I thought I'd use this time while I'm procrastinating doing some research for grad school to cover a couple of other running related items:

I'm asking any readers out there to check out Kelly's (wife of my good friend, Stephen) Team in Training Fundraising page and make a donation. She is raising money to fight blood-related cancer. Stephen himself is a cancer survivor, so this is a cause that is dear to both of them. She is running the Nike Women's Marathon next month, and she is pretty close to reaching her fund-raising goal. Please help her reach her goal if you are able to! Every little bit helps and the cause is a very worthy one.

--------------

Today was the Bradbury Bruiser 12-mile trail race. In the craziness of my life I forgot to give this race a plug earlier. I'm still adjusting from basically doing nothing but running and taking naps during the summer to teaching, coaching and grad school all at once. That's not a complaint, I'm enjoying all of it. It's just a matter of getting used to the new schedule.

But I digress.... the race went well. It rained throughout the race, but nobody complained. Things went very smooth, thanks to the race director, Ian. As many folks know, he really knows how to put on an awesome event. Everyone appeared to have a lot of fun, thanks to his efforts.

I had a lot of fun working the registration table and timing the finish line at the race. If you don't run a race, helping out at one is almost just as fun. It's always nice to give back to the running community, which has definitely given me a lot.

Big congrats to Emma for being the first woman in not just the race, but the entire three race series as well! Way to go Emma! :-)