Sunday, February 28, 2010

For the Sake of Logging

Indoor rock climbing gym today. Hard to really quantify workouts there, but stuck with the 5.7 and 5.8 routes, some which were a bit tricky. I'm getting better, but still have a loooooong way to go.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Running

Sure, sure. We still have three weeks until it's technically spring, but it's already arrived here in southern Maine. Today encompassed that quite nicely with trails coated in a thin layer of fresh wet, heavy snow over fragile ice that our feet were begging to punch through, which they did quite often. Most of us, if not all of us (Ian, Lily, Jim, Nate and Four), took a few tumbles as a result (but no real injuries, thankfully). And when there wasn't snow or ice there was mud. Lots of mud. Really tough conditions to run in, but still a fun challenge.

Weather wise, we had rain and crazy sleet that was nearly the size of peas. Not really hail, as it wasn't dense. It was odd. Kind of resembled those ice cream dots you buy at baseball games that come in the little helmet.

Run went well. We got a little off the path at one point, so that slowed us down, but that just added to the adventure. Felt a bit sluggish at first, but on the return back I snapped out of it and felt quite energetic.

Ran 10.3 miles @ 10:26/mile pace.
Trails coated with snow, fragile ice, puddles and mud. Lots of mud.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s, mostly cloudy. Rain, sleet at times.
Asics Trail Attacks, long pants (shed down to shorts halfway through), windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Friday, February 26, 2010


What a strange day. A very good day so far, but strange. Last night, we had wind gusts close to 60 mph, and as a result, I woke up with no power. Shortly after awakening, I got a text message from the school saying it was canceled.

Additionally, I also get automated calls from the district, but I let Google Voice grab it. Their voice to text feature is pretty funny. Sometimes it's pretty accurate. Sometimes it's not. Today it was not. Here's how it was transcribed:

"Yeah, this is a message from The San Francisco departments instant alert system Yale School today, Friday, February 26th, 2010 in Sanford due to the still arm Yank you. Goodbye"

Hee hee.

But, I decided to head to the school anyway and get some grading done (the school had power by the time I got there). I accomplished a lot, which felt great. So rare to be at the school and not have distractions. Well, there was one, but it provided a good break in the middle of what I was doing. A few other teachers were there and needed help moving an ice shack that had blown off their trailer with the high winds, so I rode with them down the road and helped with that.

Then, I got new tires put on my car. They knocked off over $100 to make up for an ordering mix up last week, so that was great. Grabbed lunch and afterwards returned home, where shortly thereafter the power was back on! W00t!

Which leads me to the run... the wind was blowing hard from east to west, and typically it's the other way around. It felt a bit odd as a result, but was nice to have the wind at my back on the return.

Halfway through the run, a bit of a daring moment: On the side street I was on, a very large pine tree had fallen across the road and was being held up by a badly sagging powerline. Hmmmm, turn around? Or go under the tree?

Should I go under the tree and it falls and/or I'm electrocuted, I'd surely win some sort of Darwinism award but probably wouldn't be around to accept the honor. But still, I went for it, running under the precarious piece of timber with no consequences.

I continued the run, listening to the sounds of generators from houses ebb and wane as I went along. Run was also in the Vibram Five Fingers. Yet another day warm enough to use them.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:25/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower 40s, mostly cloudy, windy.
VFF Sprints, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dodging Poopie Weather

More cold rain. So long to what little was left of our snow pact. Ugh. Decided to cross train inside today.

Elliptical: 6.1 miles in 30 minutes. Two cycles of 10 minutes forward, five minutes backwards (that blasts the quads). Random hill setting. Level 10 of 16.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Ran a short 3.5 miler after work in the Vibram Five Fingers. Feeling very good still after the 50k run on Saturday, but will play it safe for most of this week and keep the workouts light. Might opt to cross train indoors the next few days if the weather is poopie.

Ran 3.5 miles @ 8:35/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast, some light snow flurries.
VFF Sprints, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hair of the Dog That Bit You

Yesterday, 50k. Today, 5k. Purpose was recovery. I often find it very helpful to do just a few miles at a very slow pace the day after a big run, so long as I am able. Loosens the legs up and helps flush muscle waste. Speeds up recovery, but only if one doesn't push it.

I stepped outside and Neighbor Kate was there, about to begin her run. Ran a little over a mile with her until she turned off on the snowmobile trails, and I went on with my planned road route.

Today was also warm. Happily ran in the Vibram Five Fingers. Another gorgeous day on tap for tomorrow, but alas, I'll be returning to work after having the last week off, and it'll be a busy one with a long committee meeting following the school day, so will probably take a rest day.

Good end to the week, which consisted of 53.8 miles running, 8.0 kilometers skate skiing, and a good session of indoor rock climbing.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 9:41/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
40 degrees, sunny.
VFF Sprints, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

50k of Big Fun

I will keep this brief, as I am tired and want to get to bed, but the obsessive part of me wants to put in my log entry on the same day as the run. But man, what a great day!

It was Val's birthday today, and she hosted a fantastic Fat Ass event at her place. Several of the Trail Monster gang was there, including Ian, Ryan, Danielle, Blaine, Chuck, Kevin, Lily, Al, Linda, Erik, George, Ann, Randy, and others.

Course was a challenge. It consisted of a loop that was slightly over five miles long. It featured rolling hills which weren't too drastic, but the conditions were what made it quite difficult. We ran through snow, ice, big clumps of grass, mud... all of it in a constant state of metamorphosis as the temperatures climbed well into the 40s.

Lily and I ran the full race together, completing six loops in a total time of 5:40:30. I felt great, and was very pleased with the result. Had one good fall from taking a sharp turn on a sheet of ice that still rock solid on the first loop, but just got a few bloody scratches that make for good decoration.

A real treat at the end when Jerry (Val's neighbor) gave us rides in his helicopter. I had never been in one before. Really, really cool!

Ran 30.7 miles @ 10:00/mile pace (pace does not include aid station stops).
Trails, with the full gambit of conditions.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 20s to mid 40s, sunny.
Asics Trail Attacks..., started with long pants, long sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt, beanie. Shed to shorts and sleeveless shirt.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Time Travel to April

Ski and a run today, the circumstances of both are more than unusual for this time of year with the lack of snow and warm temps.

When I was at Harris Farms yesterday buying milk, the folks there said there was still skiable snow in the wooded sections. They had told me this a few weeks ago, but it kind of went over my head. But after seeing the conditions in the wooded sections of Pineland last weekend, which were better than expected, I figured I'd give it a go.

I hiked in about half a mile across the pasture to the Joe Buzzell loop. Yep, in the woods it wasn't all that bad. Sure, some bare patches here and there, but they were somewhat rare and easily avoidable. The snow was thin in spots, but overall not bad.

Goal today was work on technique. I ditched the poles and leaned them against a tree a few times to get more efficient at using my legs. I had neglected to continue doing this earlier this season, and I became more reliant on my poles as a result. Not good. But the drills today definitely helped, as it seemed tough at first but easy at the end. I probably skied at least a third of the time without using them.

I also worked on my V2. I can V1 and V2-alternate pretty easily and naturally, but just the straight V2 is much tougher, at least for me. Still, I made some progress today.

Also, Jim helped me wax my skis last weekend. This made a very noticeable difference. Pretty big, in fact. Much more glide.

Skate skied 8.0 kilometers @ 9.6 kph.
Trails, thin snow.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Long pants, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

By the time I got home, temps had warmed up into the lower 40s with bright blue skies dotted with small, puffy clouds. I figured I'd run now rather than later, while the muscles were still warmed up.

Shoe choice was a no brainer. Strapped on the Vibram Five Finger Sprints and hit the roads. If this weather keeps up, it won't be long before I'm running the trails in them.

Run went well. Kept the pace down as I usually do with the VFF's, especially on the roads, until my feet get fully adjusted. Looks like more chances to do just that are ahead. However, I did run the last mile in a bit under 8:00/mile and did so comfortably. I believe that's a first. Good run.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:34/mile.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower to mid 40s, sunny.
VFF Sprints, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Running and Climbing

Old Man Winter has once again thumbed his nose at New England, so our plans to go cross country skiing were aborted after we were expected to get up to a foot of snow but literally only got an inch. By the end of the day it was gone.

So, plan B was in place and I met up with Lily at the Back Cove for a couple of laps. First lap I felt really sluggish, but things clicked into place more on the second one. I think the sluggishness was the result of a bad diet the past day or two. I need to do better on that front, especially with race season inching closer.

Afterwards, we hit the Maine Rock Gym to get in some indoor climbing. Lily is an avid rock climber with lots of experience. I am not. That being said, I did better than I thought I would. I was here about three years ago and I did a lot better today compared to back then. There was one climb that went beyond vertical and had some tricky handholds that I couldn't get. Next time. Oh yes. Next time.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 7:38/mile pace.
Trails, all dirt and hard packed.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Asics Trail Attacks, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Trail Exploration

Headed out a little earlier than I normally might when I have the day off, as I wanted to beat the snow. Unfortunately, what's currently on the radar doesn't look very impressive. Hopefully we'll get enough to make for some better skiing tomorrow.

As for the run, went well. Took things slow and explored some of the trails on parts of the abandoned railroad bed I hadn't been on before. Found a side trail that led off the bed and into the woods.

That was going fine, and I hoped it'd take me to the powerline trails, but alas, I ignored a detour and ended up having to bushwack through the woods in unbroken snow. I thought I was heading towards the powerlines but I ended up doing a lollipop loop and ended up back to where I had originally veered off from the railroad bed. Decided to just head back at that point, as I would have the mileage I was going for.

Ran 8.1 miles @ 9:26/mile pace.
Trails, coated with ice and thin snow. Some bare patches.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 20s, overcast.
Brooks Cascadia 3 (screw shoes), long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Woods Out Back

Ran a seven mile loop in the woods out back. Pretty uneventful. The bare patches are even bigger now and with temps being above freezing during the day lately, some were a bit muddy. Old Man Winter could be giving us a break on Tuesday though (knock on wood). Looks like the storm track has finally pushed far enough north and we could get a decent snowfall.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 8:54/mile pace.
Trails, coated with ice and thin snow. Some bare patches.
Very hilly.
Mid 30s, partly cloudy.
Brooks Cascadia 3 (screw shoes), long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Close to the Coast Race Report

My first Nordic freestyle ski race went about as well as expected. I came in third to last! I'm of course okay with that. I'm really amused at the contrast between my running and skate skiing ability. Not that I think I'm all big and bad at running, but the difference is still very humbling. It goes to show how much technique is involved with the sport. I'm still new and have a lot to learn, but that's seriously what's fun about it.

Okay, the race... it was at Pineland Farms and was 10.6 kilometers long, featuring a 5.3 kilometer loop that was done twice. The race would start in intervals, meaning skiers started one at a time and 10 seconds apart.

The conditions were surprisingly awesome. They had to truck in snow from other parts to cover bare patches and did a great job in getting everything in order (we've been in a snow drought, and a warm rain several weeks ago obliterated our snow pack). I had anticipated a lot of ice, but there really wasn't any. Conditions were simply fantastic.

My friend Jeff was the RD and some other runner friends Val, Rick and Kevin were also volunteering. Dr. Jamie and Floyd (another Trail Monster runner) were also competing. It was nice to see so many familiar faces.

My attitude was lax. I know I'm not fast, so I didn't feel any pressure there. I just wanted to be sure I stayed out of the fast folks' way, and not finish the race last. Missions accomplished.

So, it came to my turn at the starting line and I was off. Lots of fast skiers had started behind me, so this meant one of them zooming past me every 10 seconds, give or take. I was very mindful to stay out of their way, and admired their technique and ability to fly that fast with confidence.

About a third of the way into the first loop the faster folks had all passed me and I had some breathing room. Then, as I got closer to the end of the loop, the front of the pack was lapping me and heading in to finish. Man, those dudes (and dudettes) can book it!

Ah, the second and final loop. Now I could really relax as there were no real worries about anyone coming up behind me. As a result, I did this loop a few minutes faster. I never was really pushing my pace, but was still trying to keep things moving at an okay lick and it was still a lot of work. Eventually got to the finish line and was done.

Very fun race and I'm grateful for the experience. It really was a nice reminder of how much I have to learn and improve on, and I'm looking forward to the challenge. Just got to practice more and keep at it. Can only really move up from here.

Skate skied 10.3 kilometers @ 12.51 kph/avg.
Total time: 50:54
Overall place: 63rd out of 66th.
Fast trails, packed and well groomed.
Moderately hilly.
Mid to upper 30s, sunny.
Long pants, long sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winter Olympics Medal Count Prediction

I am seriously pumped for the Winter Olympics. Big time. It is great timing since the opening ceremonies are tonight and we are also on winter break so I have all of next week off. Yessir, the TV will be on quite a bit.

I'm looking forward to all of the events (except figure skating), but especially the biathlon and XC ski events. All of the experts are saying the highest total medal count will once again belong to Germany. That could very well be true, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict the following:

1. Norway
2. Germany
3. Canada
4. USA
5. Russia

Why Norway? Historically, they're due. Also, they have this guy competing in a handful of events:

Petter Northug is just a bad ass.

Speaking of skiing, I'm entered in a 10k race of my own tomorrow. Opted to take a rest day today as a result. I had no idea the race was still on until my friend Jeff (he's the RD) emailed me last night and said it was still a go. Due to this being the suckiest winter ever, there's hardly any snow around, so this was a nice surprise. I'm not anticipating doing very well as I'm not a proficient skate skier and am still learning, but I'm stoked to have the chance to do a race and will no doubt have a blast!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cross Training Day

Opted to cross train today. Running outside has been depressing lately, as there is hardly any snow and those lucky bastards down in the mid-Atlantic states are getting walloped with yet another blizzard. I really want to skate ski! I'm off next week, and may have to drive an hour or two up to the mountains to get some in (or 11 hours down to D.C. and ski on the streets down there).

Anyway, workout today blasted my quads which was a good thing. Did the elliptical a bit different, going forward for ten minutes, then backwards for five minutes, repeat. Afterwards, hopped on the stat bike for a climbing workout.

Music on the iPod varied, but included the Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Radiohead and Ween.

Elliptical: 6.7 miles in 30 minutes (10 min forward, 5 min. backward X2). Level 11 of 16. Random hill setting.

Stat bike: 6.7 miles in 20 minutes. Level 11 of 15. Climbing setting (three big ascents).

Monday, February 08, 2010

More Railroad Beds

Ran on the abandoned railroad bed from the school again today, but this time went in the other direction that goes toward my house.

Went well, but there are a few sections of snowmobile trails, and on one of them I took the wrong trail and had to bushwack over a few tenths of a mile. This was through unbroken snow (nice to know there is still about a foot worth in the woods) and around a bog. That put a dent in my overall pace.

Other than that, pretty uneventful run. As I got close to the school, I encountered a woman walking two daschunds. They weren't leashed, and tried to give chase. Emphasis on the word "tried". This was quite comical.

Ran 11.2 miles @ 9:37/mile pace.
Trails, coated with ice and thin snow. A few bare patches. One short section of bushwacking.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 20s, partly cloudy, windy.
Brooks Cascadia 3 (screw shoes), long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Trail Exploration

I had toyed with the idea of doing a long run today, but an hour before the run I decided against it. However, I think I could have done it pretty comfortably. I ran nearly 12 miles today and felt fine, despite the relatively speedy 15 miler yesterday. Still, today was good, and just more gas in the tank for the upcoming week I suppose.

I opted to do some exploring today instead. Hit the trails up near the powerlines for starters. They did selective logging there this past summer, and I haven't been there since. The woods looked so different, so I didn't exactly know where I was. Not lost, just not sure which trail I was on.

After a few miles, I figured it out, and ended up near the top of Deering Ridge. Took the road for a short ways back to the snowmobile trail known as Rt. 89, and went along the powerlines down the other side of the road, which I had never done before.

That was a nice downhill, and I ended up on Deerwander Road, as I expected. Took said road back up to the abandoned railroad bed, where I knew a trail existed and I hadn't been on it before.

That trail led me back to the fire road of the area I often refer to as the "woods out back". I wasn't far from home, but wanted to get in a few more miles so I returned by taking a longer loop back through the woods out back.

Good day. Kept the pace slow, but still felt strong and energetic throughout.

Ran 11.8 miles @ 9:48/mile pace.
Trails, coated with ice and thin snow, some bare patches. Some short sections of road.
Very hilly.
Upper teens to mid-20s. Sunny.
Brooks Cascadia 3 (screw shoes), fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Repenting Slackerness

Monday and Tuesday were legit days off to let the ankle recover from the sprain. Wednesday's run went well. But I took Thursday and Friday off for no other reason than being a slacker. It really started to bug me a lot last night so I'm trying to make up for it.

Today helped. The fresh legs got a good beat down with a fast 15-mile trail run with Ian. He was in a similar boat, spending the week nursing an ankle that was now feeling better and he was also raring to go.

We did the same route starting at Bradbury Mountain State Park as a few weeks ago, but added a slightly longer trail towards the end that was much more hillier. You can see it on the chart below, just after mile 13. That spike was a tough climb, but fun.

You can also see a picture of a cool sweat icicle that formed on Ian's hat (Iancicle?). He looked a bit like a dreadlocked sasquatch. It looked awesome, and I was quite jealous.

Very good run.

Ran 15.2 miles @ 8:52/mile pace.
Trails, coated with ice and thin snow. Some bare patches.
Very hilly.
9 degrees to start, mid teens at the end. Partly cloudy.
Brooks Cascadia 3 (screw shoes), long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Test Run for the Ankle

As expected, today's run to test out the ankle went fine. I rolled it pretty good on the long run last Sunday, and would classify what resulted as a moderate sprain.

Taking the past two days off was the right call, as it was quite swollen, bruised and a bit tender. But today I felt okay for the run. It went great, I only felt the sprain a little at first and that went away quickly. All systems go.

Run itself was an out and back from the school on the old raildroad bed. Went pretty well, but felt a little sluggish especially at first, due to the two days off. Still, good run and I just took it pretty easy anyway.

Ran 8.3 miles @ 8:59/pace.
Trails, coated with ice and thin snow.
Slightly hilly.
Around 30 degrees, partly sunny.
Brooks Cascadia 3 (screw shoes), long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (off and on).