Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Garmin Forerunner is Dead!

My Garmin Forerunner 305 has officially kicked the bucket. Over the past several weeks, the power had been randomly shutting off, and it had been doing so with increasing regularity. Now it won't even turn on.

I did some research and it seems many others have eventually had the same problem after extended use. I've owned mine for about 18 months. And while nothing lasts forever, this does seem to be a design flaw based on what I've been reading. It apparently is fixable, but I'll have to send it in. I hope to negotiate a good price for the repair.

So in the meantime, I think I'll just give a qualitative assessment of my pace. While I could use a stopwatch and time myself, I'll give labeling runs as easy, medium, tempo... or whatever a shot for the time being. I guess I don't really care much about my pace as much these days anyway, I'm more concerned with distance. Guessing that could prove tricky on trails.

Today's run went well. Just some general tightness in the right hamstring, which I've been experiencing off and on for the past few weeks. Not much of an issue today, and it felt better as the run went on.

Route I did was from a friend's house in Falmouth, over to Mackworth Island, a loop around that and then back. Nice day. Warm, but dry air and a pretty strong north wind.

Ran 8.8 miles @ easy pace.
Paved roads and trails.
Mostly flat.
Lower 70s, sunny, windy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Today's run went well. The key is to keep them going well. Since the Vermont 100, I have put too much value on the runs that have gone well and took them as a sign I could ramp it up more, which ended up being too much, too soon. As a result, I haven't come along as far as I could have. Live and learn the hard way.

The deer flies can be bad along the dirt road section of this route, but they were non-existent today, despite it being muggy and the wind light. Nice.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, overcast, humid.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Discipline - Nine Inch Nails

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Blasted Garmin

The Garmin Forerunner was acting up today, and I didn't wear my other watch so I tried to convince myself today's run was going to be a "Zen run" where those things didn't matter. I didn't do a great job convincing myself, so I hope the Garmin behaves in the future. It kept shutting off on its own, and I thought the battery was dead until I got home and found out it was indeed charged up. Hmmmmm. Appears to be working okay now though.

Anyway, I figured out the mileage when I got home. Just a paltry 2.8 miles, when I had hoped to do at least four. Bah.

However, it was nice to run from the school again, now that the year is getting started back up. It officially began yesterday, and we were over in Augusta for a seminar. I chose to run right from the school this afternoon, since often times if I wait until I get home I get distracted and sometimes don't follow through. It's worked great for me the past few years.

Ran 2.8 miles @ ~9:00/mile pace.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 70s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Am Running for President

I guess the cat is out of the bag. I hope you'll vote for me this November:

Autumn Preview of Sorts

A cold front passed through yesterday, leaving dry, crisp air in its wake. Fall is not too far off and days where temperatures reach the 80s are numbered. Yessir, bring it on.

As we transition towards autumn it's easy to start thinking about what's ahead. We're losing daylight fast, currently at a rate of 2:49 a day and accelerating. Along with that come the pleasant, cooler temperatures and the lack of bugs. The colorful leaves will also add significantly to the scenery. Fall is definitely my favorite season. We're getting there...

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:20/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Death to Deer Flies

Prior to this morning's run, I was very curious how bad the deer flies would be. Last Saturday at Bradbury was a treat, as I didn't notice any at all. However, they were still out in the woods behind my house today. But, they were out only in certain areas, and they were slow moving and not biting. Many crunchy squishes were had as I killed quite a few of them.

Part two of my deer fly experiment will probably have to wait until next year. Their season is winding down. In just a few weeks, they should be gone altogether. Can I get an amen?

Run itself felt went well. I kept the pace very slow and felt pretty good overall. Nothing much else to report on that front.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 9:48/mile pace.
Trails, fire roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 60s, muggy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Would like to give props to two new (or at least new to me) running blogs I've been following. The first is my uncle, John. Great writing and he paints a good picture of life in Rochester, NY. He appears to be on the DL for a little bit from a raquetball injury though.

The second is Kevin, who joined us for a run last Saturday. His blog has been up for a while and just from reading a few of his entries, it's clear he's got a great style. He's aiming for his first ultra next spring. I think he'll do just fine.

And, just for laughs.... this is wrong on so many levels:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Owl and Bradbury Bruiser

I woke up again to the great horned owl hooting out back, and looked at the clock and it was 2:30am. Too bad I never went back to sleep, but it was cool listening to it. I called Neighbor Kate to alert her of it (I had her prior approval to do so if I heard it again).

I flip-flopped on the idea of going outside to see if I could see it, but opted not to. I've been lucky enough to have seen them in the wild before, so I opted to just stay in bed. If it starts hooting really close, I may change my mind though. Great horned owls are my favorite owl, so I'm hoping this is his/her new territory.

Anyway, so I stayed awake and met up with the Trail Monster gang at 7am up at Bradbury Mountain. In attendance were Ian, Emma, Stephen, Jim, Lilly, Randy, and Kevin. We ran the Bruiser course, and it's a great buttkicker. I'd put the elevation in the "very hilly" category, though the hills aren't as dramatic as Pineland or on the other side of the park where the trails go up the "mountain". They're still there though, and there are no flat spots. The trails are also very technical and rocks and roots abound. But what's unique is that the trails constantly wind around like a snake through the trees and boulders. The turns are so numerous, sharp and quick that you almost feel like Dramamine would be helpful. All those combine to make it pretty darn tough! At least three of us had pretty good wipeouts during the run, myself included.

The race is on September 14th at 9am. Hope to see some of you out there. If you pre-register, it's only $20, and the t-shirts are always sweet. Click on the banner or here for more info.

As for my run, I felt pretty good for the most part. I went farther than the 10-mile limit I had set for myself, but so be it. I'll just take it easier tomorrow to make up for it.

Best part of today's run... NO DEER FLIES!

Ran 12.6 miles @ 10:18/mile pace.
Trails, very technical.
Very hilly.
Upper 50s to upper 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Short Bike Ride

Just a very short ride today to keep the legs remembering. It was a little bit hard to get out the door today because my sleep was interrupted last night by a great horned owl hooting. That's a good thing though, I was pretty excited and stayed up for about an hour listening to it. If I hear it again tonight, I'll go outside and see if I can't get a look.

I also plan on doing a trail run tomorrow at Bradbury Mountain with the Trail Monster gang. Plan is to get in five miles and evaluate from there, but I will not exceed 10 miles even if I feel great.

Biked 10.5 miles @ 16.8mph/avg (22.9 mph/max)
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
~80 degrees, sunny.
Bike shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Biking to Work

Another gorgeous day today, so I opted to take the bike in to the school to get some preliminary work done before the year starts. The rides to and from went great. Energy felt good and both rides felt effortless.

I've been eating healthy and taking it easy the past few days. It's helping, that's for sure. I just have to continue to be disciplined and not do anything crazy with the workouts for a little while.

In the meantime, I've really been enjoying the book, "Bind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage". I'm nearly done with it, but I don't want it to end.

Total Miles Biked: 26.4

To work:
Biked 13.2 miles @ 15.5 mph/avg (23.6 mph/max)
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 70s, sunny.
Bike shorts, sleeveless shirt.

From work:
Biked 13.2 miles @ 17.2 mph/avg (36.6 mph/max.. wheeeee!)
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 70s, sunny.
Bike shorts, sleeveless shirt.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Burning Hay

Despite two days rest after the long run on Saturday, today's short little jaunt felt like a struggle. Long story short, I haven't taken the proper steps to recover from the Vermont 100 over the past month. The long run last weekend combined with a more up-tempo 10-miler on hills a few days before have only served to burn the hay that was trying to rebuild in the barn rather than adding to the pile. The barn is now pretty empty and as a result I slogged through today's run.

I'm declaring no runs over 5 miles until the weekend, and maybe through the weekend. I've stepped up my diet a little more for the better which is good, and will continue to do so. Lots of fruits and veggies on tap.

On a brighter note, last night I passed the test to receive my technician's class amateur radio license. So did my buddy James. We have now joined the likes of fellow Maine runners Andrew and Marc who are also licensed. Cool.

Ran 4.8 miles @ 9:00/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 60s, overcast, light rain.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Long Run at Pineland

Had a lot of folks at our group run today, 17 in all. I won't even attempt to name them all, but Ian, Emma, Stephen, Mindy, Neighbor Kate, Chuck, Katie and the infamous Raw Food Frank were among the bloggers in attendance. It was great that Frank was up from Connecticut to join us, since he was in town for a wedding. We ran with him for a long stretch at the Vermont 100, and he really clicked with our entourage (that's not hard to do, you just have to like to run, have fun, and at least tolerate fart jokes) . Stephen and I lobbied hard to get him to move up here.

The pack inevitably broke up into small groups that had different distance goals in mind. My goal was at least 20 miles, longer if it felt right. Nope on going longer. I just stuck with the bare minimum and got in 20, which is fine. I almost called it a day at mile 12, but pressed on. Just wasn't really feeling it, more of a hunch my body was telling me to call it a day but there was nothing specific to it. My energy did pick up a little and I decided I was playing mind games with myself, so I trudged on. Was glad I did so.

Worth noting I forgot to restart the Garmin after a break, but I estimated I lost a minimum of .7 miles.

Had fun hanging out in the parking lot for a little over an hour afterwards, just shooting the breeze as we all sat on the pavement and had a nice little pow wow going. Great run, great time.

Ran 20.0 miles @ 9:30/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s to upper 70s, partly sunny.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt (for first half).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Solid 10

Great run today. A breakfast of a bowl of frosted mini-wheats and a chocolate frosted brownie didn't help me much for the first few miles though. I need to work on my diet. Overall, it's been pretty crappy since the Vermont 100. Too easy to develop bad eating habits during recovery.

Fought off that sluggishness and started feeling good in the third mile so put the pedal down a bit more since it felt comfortable. Hamstring issue was simply non-existent. Enjoyed the climb up to the ridge and the subsequent downhill.

Will likely take tomorrow off, or if I do run I'll just keep it short. Long trail run planned for Saturday with the Trail Monster crew, along with special guest, Raw Food Frank.

I was also remiss about recapping the Bradbury Breaker trail race last Sunday. It went well and I had a blast volunteering. Ian has posted a plethora of pictures on his blog.

Ran 10.2 miles @ 7:39/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (battery in strap is clearly dying, will replace this weekend)
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 70s, sunny, humid.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good Progress

I decided to test the hamstring out this morning and had great results! Big thanks to Neighbor Kate for showing me some stretches she learned during her stint in physical therapy. She also loaned me her bottle of BioFreeze and a rolling pin. All of that combined with some icing and compression really helped.

The hamstring felt a little tight still, but nothing bad. Kept a lid on the pace for the first few miles but the tightness was dissipating as the run went on and I felt comfortable putting the foot down on the gas a little more (but nothing crazy).

Plan is to continue running and monitoring the hamstring, but will hold off on any tempo runs. I had planned on getting in at least one this week.

HR data appears to be off. It says my average heart rate for the first mile was 86 for an 8:46/mile pace. I knew I wasn't quite awake when I set out, but I think the lower HR is a bit extreme. I threw out the data for that first mile so the stats below reflect the run from the beginning of mile two to the end of the run. With that into account, HR data still looks pretty good, just a bit above normal levels.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 152/163 (see notes above)
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny.
Shorts, long-sleeved shirt.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tight Hamstring

I had set out for 8-10 miles this morning, but cut it short. Right hamstring was feeling pretty tight again and after the first mile, I sensed it would be a good idea to not go the distance. Stopping to stretch it helped some, but wasn't enough, unlike the other day. Turning around was the right call. Will RICE it and evaluate it on a daily basis. Don't think this is too big of a deal though, but still a bit frustrating. I want to run, dammit!

Ran 2.9 miles @ 7:51/mile pace
AHR/MHR - 146/163
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, misting, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Good Little Run

A short jaunt around the Wakefield loop this morning. Played the pace by ear and it ended up being a progression at an easy pace. Tight right hamstring for the first two miles, but after a brief stop for a stretch it felt totally fine.

Quite pleased with the heart rate. It's still higher than normal, but it's getting there.

Mile 1: 8:29 HR - 126
Mile 2: 8:17 HR - 140
Mile 3: 8:15 HR - 141
Mile 4: 7:47 HR - 150
last .6: 7:02/mile pace HR - 161

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:02/mile pace
AHR/MHR - 142/167
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid-upper 60s, partly sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Three Hawks

A storm had just passed through this morning so I hurried out the door to get in a trail run out back. I mused that with the rainfall and cooler temperatures, the deer flies wouldn't be too bad. Fortunately, I was correct. They were out in small numbers for the last couple of miles, but they were slow moving and easy to kill (feeling that crunchy squish always brings great satisfaction).

I saw three different hawks within the first three miles of the run. In order, a red-shouldered hawk, a red-tailed hawk and a broad-winged hawk. I'm probably only about 80% certain of each identification, but each one was clearly different.

Run itself felt great. I have some knots in my hamstrings, but no big deal. Pace was slow and I kept it easy on purpose. This was also greatly aided by the many puddles and stream crossings, several of each were at least knee deep. Good run. Heart rate still a little on the high side given the technicality of the trails and amount of physical effort, but not too bad. The two days rest did me some good. Glad I did it.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 9:14/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 144/167
Trails, fire roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 60s, overcast.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt, cap.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bradbury Mountain Breaker - Plug

As I sit here on a rainy day, listening to a pilot on my shortwave radio getting instructions on how to repair an on-board toilet (I'm not kidding), I figured this would be a great time for a late plug of a race this Sunday here in Maine.

The Bradbury Mountain Breaker is a nine-mile course consisting of two loops up Bradbury Mountain. I've run the course a few times and while Bradbury is more of a glorified hill than a mountain, it will kick your butt. It consists of steep trails interlaced with non-stop roots and rocks, making it very technical and very challenging. Very beautiful area also, as anyone who has been to the park before knows. It will no doubt be a lot of fun for all who are running in it!

Race is on Sunday at 9am. Cost is only $16. More information can be found here.

I'm not running in it, but will be working the registration/runner check-in and also the finish line. Please say hello if you see me there!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bike Commute

Teachers aren't required to be at the school for prep work until the end of the month, but getting a jump on things makes the start of the school year go exponentially smoother. I've already been in a few times, but now it's time to start going in a bit more regularly. Today I set up the tables and computers, a pretty big task but now my classroom looks like a classroom again.

I'm excited for the start of the school year, and I'm not just saying that. Usually, I start getting the itch around early August, but I'm feeling it more this year. I think that's do in large part to the fact that I took the summer off from grad school (three more classes and I'm done!). One can only feel non-productive for so long.

Weather was pretty ideal today so I figured it would be good to ride the bike in. When school starts, I'd like to bike in at least a few days a week until it gets colder. I'd do it more regularly, but I'm assistant coaching for the cross country team again this year, so I have to take that into consideration. Speed workouts with those guys are a killer!

Fortunately, most of the roads along the route have very wide shoulders that are very bicycle friendly. Much of the route is along Rt. 202, a relatively busy county road, but those wide shoulders negate much of the obstacles and worries traffic may pose.

The rides to and fro were both pretty easy going. I did make it a point to fly down a few of the bigger downhills, reaching 34.4 mph on one of them. Wheeeeeeeee!

Will likely take the next two days off. I noticed the heart rate was still higher than normal for the rides today, and I just feel like I would benefit from a little extra rest.

Total miles = 26.6

Biked 13.3 miles @ 16.4 mph/avg (30.8 mph/max)
AHR/MHR - 133/164
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 60s, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Early afternoon:
Biked 13.3 miles @ 15.8 mph/avg (34.4 mph/max)
AHR/MHR - 133/161
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Elevation from home to the school:

Elevation from the school to home:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Recovery Blues

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like I had run 30 miles the previous day, not 10. Wisely, I opted to take a rest day yesterday and spent it studying for my amateur radio license.

Today, I opted for a short three mile run at whatever pace felt easy, just to keep things loose. Heart rate was still high, not surprisingly. Since the run was so short, the overall heart rate (which was pretty close to normal for me) doesn't really tell the story. Looking at the splits gives a better idea:

Mile 1: 8:35 - HR: 125 (good for this pace)
Mile 2: 8:10 - HR: 142 (high for this pace)
Mile 3: 7:59 - HR: 147 (high for this pace)

As many runners know, the recovery periods can be frustrating after longer races. I'm itching to do more, but must be patient in order to recover properly. Sigh...

Ran 3.0 miles @ 8:14/mile pace.
AHR/MHR 138/154
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 60s, overcast, humid.
Shorts, singlet.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bradbury 10

Our group set out to run the Bradbury Mountain Breaker course today, but it ended up being more of an artistic interpretation of the route. We had a fun group, consisting of James, Jeff, Lilly, Erik and Dom.

Pace was pretty darn fast, considering the technicality of these trails, and added to that were mud and slippery tree roots. Still, it felt great to put the pedal down on the gas. Felt strong overall, especially on the uphills. I did feel my muscles becoming a bit more fatigued than normal about six or seven miles in as a result of the race two weeks ago, so a good reminder that I still need to chill a bit here during my recovery phase. At the same time, it's good knowing it's coming along great overall and I can continue to slowly ramp the mileage and speed back up.

Worth noting the deer flies weren't too bad today. Lilly, Jeff and I ran an extra two miles to get our mileage in double digits, and that was the only time they were somewhat of a nuisance.

Ran 10.3 miles @ 9:04/mile pace.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 60s, overcast and foggy, very humid.