Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ending a Great Year of Running


Total miles: 2161.7
Time run (h:m:s): 310:34:33
Average miles a day: 5.92
Average pace: 8:37 (roads and trails)

Back in Maine. Busy day on tap so I headed out for a short run in the woods out back for this last day of 2011. Squeezing in runs the past week has been a bit tough with Kate and I visiting my family in Florida and today wasn't much different. Should have time for a long run tomorrow before the football games start, which will be nice.

Definitely has been a great year. I recapped the highlights in a post earlier, so will leave it at that. Looking forward to making 2012 even better!

Happy New Year!

Ran 6.5 miles @ 9:37/mile pace.
Fire roads and trails.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s, freezing rain.
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Caveat Xysticus

Did a short four-miler with my brother down in Tampa at an easy pace. This city fits the definition of pancake flat. When I used to live here many moons ago, I would use bridges for hill repeats.

I have proof of how flat it is. At first glance, the graph below from today's run looks pretty impressive. However, a closer look along the Y-axis reveals otherwise (click on the image to enlarge):

Ran 4.0 miles @ 9:01/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Flat. 
Mid 60s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hill Repeats

Hill repeats in Florida might seem a bit oxymoronic, but Gainesville actually has some pretty good hills in certain areas, and I took advantage of one today.

This workout was an improvisation though. I saw on Google Earth that a private Catholic high school near my Mum's house had a track, but when I ran over there I discovered it was locked up. Too bad, as it looked like a really nice track (and it was obvious this school had a lot of money).

However, to get to the school, there was a big incline, so I decided to do hill repeats on it instead. There was a maintenance worker along the road, taking down banners from the lightposts. I asked if it was okay if I did repeats there and he replied that it was no problem at all.

Ended up with six repeats, though I had planned on at least eight. I'd like to say that time was a bit tight, but the truth is I wussed out a bit and cut it short. That was bad and I feel guilty about it now. Will use that as a log on the fire to give it something extra within the week to make up for it.

w/u: Ran 1.4 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.
6 X hill repeats w/ active recovery: 1.5 miles @ 7:51/mile pace. +35 ft in .13 miles.
c/d: Ran .8 miles @ 9:26/mile pace.
Lower to mid 40s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Burning Off the Christmas Turkey

As everyone in the house was still stirring themselves awake, I ducked out for a run before breakfast. I picked a route that hit some dirt/Jeep roads for the first two miles before rejoining the paved roads. Good run. Ended up being a true progression with the first mile in 8:54 and working down to 7:03 for the last.

Christmas yesterday was great. We spent half of the day in Gainesville and the other half down in Inverness with family. The weather was warm (70's) so we fried a turkey and ate outdoors. Kate and I also did some exploring on the ranch:

I found these hip bones from cattle in a swampy area.
African Spiny Leg Tortoises
 Family. 
In this Jeep's better days, we used it to go boar hunting when we were kids.
Kate with some cattle. I'm just glad my southern roots aren't scaring her off. 
Ran 6.8 miles @ 7:49/mile pace.
Dirt/jeep roads and paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 50s to lower 60s, humid, overcast. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This'll be short. Ran the Lake Alice loop on the UF campus with family twice. It was great. Merry Christmas!

Ran 4.9 miles @ 9:07/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 60s, humid, mostly cloudy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

40 Degree Temperature Differential

Yesterday morning, I was running on the trails in the snow in the woods behind my house. Today, I ran on the trails in the humidity in the woods behind my Mum's house in Gainesville. Yesterday, 32F degrees. Today, 72F. The soup factor in the air was even greater.

Good run. Time was short so I only had time for just under four miles but it was fun to explore some new to me trails. Was a lot of fun. Great to be home and can't wait to show Kate around more (she's never been to Florida before).

Ran 3.8 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
Some roads, mostly trails.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, mostly cloudy, humid.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, December 23, 2011

(Let It Snow)³

I'm officially on Christmas break. Kate, however, has one more day of work. So, that means I have a full day to pack and get things in order before we head for the warmer climate of my hometown: Gainesville, FL.

That also meant plenty of time for a run this morning. At last, it was snowing! Not a lot, but just enough to make it very beautiful outside and coat the trails with just the right amount of snow to provide good traction without feeling like one was running in mashed potatoes.

I ran an out and back, featuring one mile of roads to the trailhead and from there I took the fire road back to the trail which led to the pond a few miles into the woods. Very peaceful and serene. Maine rules.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 9:27/mile pace.
Road portion = patches of snow and slush, fire roads and trails = two or so inches of fresh snow.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s, overcast, snowing.
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eight on the Trails

Ah, the last day of school before Christmas break. It made celebrating with a run all the more special, but today was also a test. I've been wondering if the foot pain was the result of running a bit too fast and/or far in the Kinvara 2's before they were broken in. They did feel really stiff right out of the box, so it was possible. I tested that theory by hitting the trails in my very well broken in trail shoes to see how the foot responded.

It did really well. No aggravation at all with the foot and it felt great. Very good news, and a big relief. Ended up doing eight miles when I would have considered five pain-free miles successful. Whew.

Ran 8.1 miles @ 8:20/mile pace.
Railroad bed trails.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Testing 1,2,3

I wanted to test the foot this morning, so I set out into the predawn hours to get in a little three miler on the road. It felt...okay. Just okay. But my line of thinking now is that the Saucony Kinvara 2's were pretty darn stiff out of the box and doing too much without breaking them in is what caused the problem. I'll test that theory tomorrow and do a trail run on the railroad bed in my well broken-in trail shoes and see how it feels.

That aside, it was nice to get out at 4:30am rather than run this afternoon when a cold rain is expected to fall. Not too cold out this morning either. Old Man Winter is definitely a bit late this year.

Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Around 20 degrees, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, refl. vest, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, headlamp.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Fives of 2011

The year is drawing to a close and 2011 has been a darn good one, both with running and other life events. I thought it'd be fun to recap things a bit with a series of Top Five lists based on some of my interests.

Oh yeah, the foot is feeling much better. 100% since yesterday, in fact. I'm planning a test run tomorrow and don't anticipate any problems. And now...the lists!

Most Rewarding Races:
1. Boston Marathon (April) - Finally getting there and setting a PR. Unforgettable experience.
2. MDI Marathon (October) - Ran a smart race, surrounded by friends and setting another PR. Just a fun day.
3. Brookvale 50K (July) - My first international race and getting third place overall and a great time spent with Kate during our trip to Prince Edward Island.
4. Bradbury Bruiser (September) - For taking 10th place on a tough race, utilizing sound strategy and setting a course PR.
5. Turkey Trek 4-Miler - My first overall win ever, even if it was an informal race. The pie I won rocked.

Best Books Read:
1. "11/22/63" by Stephen King - His best yet. I wish I could give myself amnesia so I could read it again fresh.
2. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins - Holy schmokes, I could not put it down.
3. "Bag of Bones" by Stephen King - The A&E miniseries sucked. The book did not.
4. "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons - Epic science fiction. The Shrike gave me nightmares.
5. "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville - I must admit, it made the list in part because of the stoked factor because it was too difficult for me to read when I was younger, but I finished it on this attempt and sincerely enjoyed it.


Best Albums Listened To:
1. "King of Limbs" by Radiohead - Haunting and deep, what Radiohead does best.
2. "Green Naugahyde" by Primus - Fun album. Makes me want to do silly dances.
3. "Strawberry Jam" by Animal Collective - Very different. Very awesome.
4. "Them Crooked Vultures" by Them Crooked Vultures - Simply kicks arse.
5. "What Will Be" by Devendra Banhart - Trippy folk music at its finest.


Epic Training Runs:
1. Boston Recon (April) - Joined by Jeff, Maddy and Brendan. Last 16 miles of the course. Ran two weeks out from the marathon so the excitement level was high.
2. Acadia National Park, Park Loop Road (December) - The full 18.4 miles of the road, all to ourselves under a full moon.
3. Mile Repeats (September) - 5 X 1 Mile repeats w/ 400M active recovery and averaged 5:50/mile. My fastest session yet and I was really pumped afterwards.
4. Boston Recon (February) - Ran solo, but Kate helped with transportation. My first taste of the course in the daylight. Just a very fun day overall.
5. Val's Birthday Fat Ass Run (February) - Ran 26.2 miles with Ryan at my side for the whole way. Great time!

So there ya have it. Pointless, but fun to write and think about. Looking forward to 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Footnotes

A big thanks to Rick who commented on my last post with some valuable information. It underscored my hopes that I don't have a stress fracture, and I think it's quite obvious now that it is indeed just a pulled muscle or ligament in the foot.

Resting it the past several days is helping. However, I only saw minor improvement up until this morning. If I were to quantify it, I'd say it improved 10% up until yesterday, but since I woke up this morning I'd say it's lept up to 40% improvement. So, if the numbers are true, I still have 60% to go, but hopefully that'll take just another week. Even when I reach zero discomfort, it would be smart to still wait another two days before going for a light test run. We'll see.

With the extra time, I've put it towards writing. First draft should be wrapped up in about a month. Very happy with it and am having a blast, especially with the chapter I'm working on now. I've even come up with a title for the book and think it's perfect. I'll keep that card close to my chest along with the others for now though.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Test Run for the Right Foot

For the past week and a half, I've been having some pain on the top of my right foot that's been off and on. There is still some fear of a stress fracture, but prodding the metatarsals does not produce any pain or discomfort whatsoever. The best way to describe it is the foot feels tight. I suspect it's a strained muscle, tendon or ligament.

Today was a test run after two days off (one was planned, one was not), since Tuesday's tempo run seemed to send it over the edge a bit. Today it felt just so-so. The most discomfort was in the first half mile, then it lessened, then it came back a little. I think the plan will be to proceed with extreme caution for the next several days (and beyond). Hopefully the ship will right itself soon.

Ran 2.1 miles @ 8:35/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny, windy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tempo 10K

Tempo run on tap for today and I cranked out 10K in 40:28. Not bad, I'll take it. Felt good and the cool, but not too cold, weather definitely helped. The legs enjoyed the turnover but I'm sure they'll appreciate the easy run tomorrow.

Forgot to mention it with Saturday evening's run, but the Kinvara 2's are now broken in and feel fantastic. That was the case again today. Great shoes for sure.

On the writing front, the light is at the end of the tunnel for the first draft. Truthfully, it makes me kind of sad. I just don't want the party to end. I'm really enjoying writing it and it's nice to discover that I now have the patience to tackle bigger projects like this. I'll be done by February, at which point I'll set it aside and try to forget about it for six weeks before I begin revisions. During that time, I have already decided what I'm going to write next and can't wait to get started!

Ran 6.2 miles @ 6:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Till We Meet in Hell

Big ups to Valerie for hosting a fun, informal event for the Trails Monsters: Till We Meet in Hell. It was a timed event, where runners ran for 90 minutes on an extremely hilly 1.5 mile trail loop and a handicap system was built in so everyone could compete. A plethora of folks in attendance, I'd say at least 25 in all.

Given last night's run, I decided to take it easy and make it a social run. I would link up with various runners and run with them a bit. Sometimes I'd go forward on a loop. Sometimes I'd go backwards. Sometimes I'd run. Sometimes I would walk. It was great, I had a lot of fun rooting everyone on and it was a good shakedown run to loosen up the legs a bit. 

Afterwards, we hit Gritty's for lunch and an awards ceremony. There were awards not just for the race, but also for the entire year for a variety of categories (organized by Ian). Some were serious, most no-so-serious. Think "The Dundies" for trail runners. I won two: one with Kate for "Cute Couple That Makes You Want to Puke" and another for "Most Likely to S%&# During a Run". I'm proud of one of those. 

Ran 4.6 miles @ 14:09/mile pace. 
Trails. 
Extremely hilly. 
Upper 20s to lower 30s, sunny. 
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Howling at the Moon

Epic run this evening. Kate and I were up in Bangor today to take care of some wedding planning stuff, but there was a nice bonus attached to the trip. With a full moon and clear skies on tap, Gary had organized a run on the Park Loop Road at Acadia National Park (18.4 miles). It's closed to cars and currently devoid of snow and ice, so it was the perfect setting. Nice to meet Matt, Eric and Tim who also took part in the run. All great guys.

I was the only non sub-3 hour marathoner in the group, so I knew I'd have my work cut out for me. We took it pretty easy in the first half, but once we started climbing some of the bigger hills in the second half we let the pace drop and it was a great workout.

The views from some of the higher points looking out over a moonlit ocean were simply incredible. The smaller islands were clearly visible in the bay as the full moon reflected off the water and it had a very Van Gogh-like feel to it. Pretty darn stunning.

Around mile 16, I simply couldn't keep up anymore and let the group move ahead. But just two and a half miles were left and I enjoyed having the peace of the night to myself for a bit, listening to the wind howl through the trees as the branches swayed to and fro. I reached the end and the others had just finished and we bid each other farewell. Really awesome evening.

Ran 18.4 miles @ 7:33/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 30s to upper 20s, clear skies, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, Salomon 45 water belt.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Interval Work

One of those days that when work was over, I didn't feel like running. But I forced myself to do it and as always, I was glad I did. Light interval workout on tap for today. Felt nice to give the legs some turnover. I did five reps, starting with 800M and alternating with 400M, and ran 400M of active recovery in between.

It went quite well. Felt better as the run went on and I warmed up more. Was a good reminder that getting in a longer warm-up run is a good idea for winter. Will remember that for next time. 

w/u: Ran 1.3 miles @ 8:15/mile pace.
800M, 400M, 800M, 400M, 800M w/ 400M active recovery in between: 2:55, 1:24, 2:58, 1:23, 2:48.
c/d: Ran 1.3 miles @ 9:49/mile pace.

Mid 40s, sunny, breezy.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Winter Returns

A cold front pushed through and temperatures are finally back to where they should be. I felt a little bad about wimping out and not running yesterday. With the cold rain, I opted to stay later in my classroom and get caught up on grading (a decision I don't really regret though).

I think I'll be good to go at making up for the mileage bit by bit for the remainder of the week though. Good run today. Kept the pace easy. Thinking about doing some interval work tomorrow (400M and/or 800M repeats).

Second run in the Kinvara 2's. They're still a bit stiff but they'll loosen up soon, I'm sure.

Ran 10.0 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Running Home From Work

My car is getting new control arms and ball joints installed, so I was sans automobile this afternoon. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and just run home from work, rather than inconvenience anyone for a ride.

The car also wasn't the only thing getting new parts. My new shoes arrived yesterday and I was eager to try them out. I got a pair of Saucony Kinvara 2's, and the changes are supposedly pretty minimal from the original Kinvaras (which I owned two pairs of and loved).

Pumped up kicks
I left the school and they felt a bit stiff at first, but by the end of the run they felt considerably more broken in (though I suspect they'll need a few more runs to make them looser). Overall, very happy with them after this initial run. And while I like to put function over fashion, I must admit I really dig the colors.

The run itself went great. There's an escaped convict in the area and a big manhunt is underway (it's a big story in the local news around here). This meant cop cars everywhere on the roads, which also meant everyone was minding their P's and Q's while driving. So, much safer running conditions in that regard. 

I was wearing my Salomon water belt, with two additional Nathan pockets attached to help carry my keys, wallet, cell phone, charger cord, Gu packet and a full bottle of water. That's a lot of crap. However, my belt doesn't bounce much at all and it was quite comfortable and I forgot I was carrying so much stuff. Nice. 

Great run that went well with the only slight downfall being that with the overcast skies and the shorter days I was running out of daylight in the last few miles. However, not really an issue and it was a nice commute home. Unseasonably warm out to boot. We had record warmth this past November and December is off to a yucky warm start as well. I want my winter, dagnabbit. 

Ran 13.2 miles @ 7:41/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Upper 50s, overcast. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, Salomon 45 water belt (water). 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Trail Exploration

I knew I wanted to do a trail run today, but the usual routes from my house just didn't seem appealing enough. So, I decided to explore a trail in the woods out back that I had only been on a few times before.

The last time I was on it, I dead-ended on a long dirt driveway to someone's house. I followed it along, looking for other trails I might have missed before that might lead to new areas, but no luck. I ended up at the same dirt driveway, but I saw the trail continued on the other side. Cool!

However, my excitement was short lived. A hundred feet later, the trail ended at the equestrian park and there was even a sign indicating it was the trailhead. No horses or anyone else there at the time, so I circled the inside of the park looking for more trails, but no luck.

I headed back, but decided to take another side trail I had been on before that led to a swampy area. Last time I was here it was summer and I was blitzkrieged by mosquitoes, so I hoped today would bring better luck. I got further in, and came across a pristine stream that would no doubt make a good fly fishing spot or even a swimming hole if it were warmer and the bugs weren't bad. Nice. Turned around and headed home.

The End.

Ran 5.3 miles @ 10:09/mile pace (includes bushwhacking and a few short stops)
Trails.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 20s to mid 30s, partly cloudy.
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Mud, Sweat and Hills

Very good turnout at Bradbury Mountain this morning. Maybe around 15 of us in all (?), but from the get go we broke up into smaller groups to tackle different distances and paces. Ian, Jeremy, Brett and I formed our own little sub-group and overall we ran at what I would consider a moderate pace (for me).

Had a blast catching up with our little posse. Great weather to boot. Towards the end, Ian led us on a side route that was an out and back down and up a huge hill. By the time we got to the Bradbury summit I vurped a little. That was cool.

We topped off the morning with coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Edna & Lucy's. Ideal Saturday morning, fo' sho'.

Ran 10.3 miles @ 9:47/mile pace.
Trails (pretty muddy in spots).
Very hilly.
Upper 20s to upper 30s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT, long pants (first half), shorts (second half), windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Easy Fiver

Tempo run yesterday meant an easy run today. Went well, but I should have taken it even slower. I want to get in the habit of cranking it hard one day and going painfully easy the next day.

The mind continues to drift towards the Boston Marathon more and more. That's good. Also looking forward to doing more snowshoe racing this season, which will also fit into nicely for Boston training. And there's also Nordic skiing. Yessir, should be a fun winter!

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:17/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ramping Things Back Up

I've already started to incorporate some more speed into my running the past few weeks. Over December, I'll start adding more distance as well. All part of the plan to ease up towards the workouts and mileage I'll be doing when I begin the 16-week training cycle for the Boston Marathon. That will officially begin around Christmas time.

So today called for a tempo run. Went well. I was especially stoked when an afternoon meeting was cancelled and I got out a bit earlier as a result. That put a little extra pep in my step.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 6:34/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 50s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Eight the Sandbox

A good eight miler today under overcast skies that were once again holding in unseasonably warm weather. My winter beard seems a bit unnecessary at this juncture. Normally I'm admiring frozen snotcicles hanging off my facial hair by now, but that'll have to wait a little while longer.

Run went well. Hilly route. Took it easy in the first half (splits ranged rom 8:14-8:03) but let it drop a little in the second half once I was warmed up (7:23-6:33). 

Ran 8.0 miles @ 7:38/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Mid 50s, overcast. 
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sans Shadows

The sun was taking forever to make an appearance this morning. I was hoping it would break through the clouds at some point and warms things up a little more, but I got tired of waiting. So, I headed out on my run without my shadow to keep me company. Who needs fair weather friends anyway?

The dirt road section of this route was in better shape than I had anticipated. I thought it might still be coated with snow and slush, but not really the case. That was good news, since I was wearing my flats. Rather enjoyable run that was pretty uneventful otherwise.

Energy wise I felt a little better than yesterday. I suspect ramping up the iron intake along with more fruits and veggies will help. Rest day is planned for tomorrow as well.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 40s, overcast.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Run Cut Short

I had planned on 17 miles easy today, but it was obvious in the first few miles that I simply wasn't feeling it. There's no point in trying to start a fire with wet wood, so I devised a new route that would get me in a little over nine miles instead. No worries about the lack of energy (or desire), it was just one of those days where the body wasn't with it.

However, the run was still a pleasant one. It was far from a slog and the weather was quite nice outside. Just took the pace really easy and let the mind wander. Spent a lot of time thinking about the story I'm working on. It's coming along very nicely and I'm just about to cross over 40,000 words, which by some definitions officially puts it at novel length. I imagine I'm about halfway done with the first draft, but that's hard to judge. Regardless, I'm having a lot of fun with it.

Ran 9.5 miles @ 8:17/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower to mid 50s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt (sleeves pushed up two miles in), cap.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trek at the Bangor City Forest

This'll be quick: I took part in the Turkey Trek, a low-key 4-Mile Trail Race at the Bangor City Forest this morning. No bib numbers. No official time clock. Race fee = bring in some canned goods to benefit a local food pantry. However, the first three to cross the finish line win homemade pies.

I wanted one.

One obstacle we'd all have to contend with: around 10 inches of snow fell yesterday. There were roughly about three or four dozen of us (?), and I'd say about a quarter of the field had the presence of mind to bring snowshoes. 

On your mark, get set, go. We were off. I moved ahead pretty quickly and held the lead. Pretty slow conditions, running in almost a foot of powdery snow but four miles later I finished in first place. Again, low key event, but I'll go ahead and call it my first overall win ever (there were pies at stake, afterall). The people running the event were great and I had my choice of which pie I wanted. I conferred with Kate and we chose the pecan pie. Can't wait to devour it later! 

Fun event and for a good cause. Happy Thanksgiving!

Winner winner, pecan pie dinner!
Ran 4.0 miles @ 10:51/mile pace. 
Trails, 10"-12" of powdery snow.
Mostly flat. 
Lower 20s, sunny. 
Adidas Adizero XT, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2000 and 11/22/63

Lots of number stuff to write about today...

2000

I reached a big running milestone today by crossing over 2000 running miles for the year. Woohoo! I've never done that before, thanks to injuries. But since working at altering my gait a year and a half or so ago, I've had really great success both in staying injury free and getting faster because my stride is more efficient (knocking on wood here). Looking forward to increasing the yearly amount until the odometer resets on January 1st. 

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:29/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Lower 40s, overcast. 
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

11/22/63

Today also marks the 48 year anniversary of the assassination of JFK. I admit that I probably wouldn't have known that or at least paid much attention to it if it weren't for Stephen King's latest novel "11/22/63", but I now have a lot more respect for the man as well as the real life events that were going on in that era. 

Speaking of the date, coincidentally I finished the book today. The summary of my review can be stated in one word: Awesome. King is known for his horror novels, but this book clearly belongs in the "historical fiction" genre (or, "historical science fiction" if that label even exists). 

It's about a man who goes back in time to stop the assassination of our nation's 35th President. As I mentioned, it's not horror. It'll put you on the edge of your seat and move you to tears. Lots of twists. The characters are well developed and very real. It's a fast paced read despite being around 900 pages long. That's all one really needs to know and the rest of the details are best left for the readers to discover for themselves. Simply an incredible book that I highly recommend (otherwise, why would I even mention it on a running blog when it has nothing to do about running, really?).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tempo Run

I didn't plan on a tempo run today, it just kinda happened. Nice to put the pedal down. Warmed up for the first two miles (7:38, 7:23) and then picked up the intensity by hitting the next four splits in 6:40, 6:41, 6:11 and 6:15. Great weather today as well.

Good preview of sorts for the Boston training cycle, as I plan to incorporate more tempo runs paired with more runs at a ridiculously easy pace (easy-hard principle).

Ran 6.0 miles @ 6:48/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 40s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Downhill From the Farm

I went with Kate to our friends' farm to feed their chickens and ducks while they were away and had concocted a plan to ride with her there and then run back. Once the critters were taken care of, I headed home.

Aside from one climb on the powerline trails, it was pretty much all downhill. First mile or so was on a paved road and then trails for the rest of the way. Good little run. Legs felt a touch heavy and tight but I suspect if I had gone longer they would have warmed up and felt lighter.

Ran 3.5 miles @ 8:46/mile pace.
Trails, some roads.
Very hilly (downhill).
Mid 50s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, long sleeved shirt (sleeves pushed up 1.5 miles into the run).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Land of Pine

Fun group run at Pineland this morning. Usually when there's a bigger turnout, it splinters off into sub-groups based on respective paces. Not the case today. Despite there being around 10 of us, we all ran together for the most part. The weather was great as well, with crisp, dry air allowing for great views of Mt. Washington.

Mt. Washington looms in the distance
I just did the campus loop side and called it good. Felt great during the run. Afterwards, I hung with Jeff, Jim D. and Nathan at the visitors' center for coffee and scones. They left, but I hung out for a bit and enjoyed another cup of joe and got a lot of writing done. I later met up with Jim again in Portland for lunch and a barley soda as we discussed plans for my bachelor party (big group run!). Fun day!

Ran 8.2 miles @ 8:49/mile pace. 
Trails. 
Moderately hilly. 
Upper 20s to upper 30s, partly cloudy. 
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, Salomon Hydro 45 water belt.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Late Autumn Weather Returns

After another warm spell, seasonable weather has returned with cool temperatures paired with a dark, overcast sky. Gloomy, but pretty great for running though. It was cool enough where I dressed with just enough clothing so I wouldn't sweat much. This was important since I have to stay at the school for a function this evening, and I can get away without showering (or so I hope).

Run went well. Felt pretty energetic and just had some minor stomach cramps but nothing dire. It ended up being a progression run and I let the pace drop throughout as the legs felt increasingly warmed up.

Ran 7.9 miles @ 7:29/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Running and Writing

I couldn't think of much to say about the run today, so figured I'd give an update on the writing front. In short, the current story is going terrific. Lately, I've been cranking out 1000-1500 words a day during the week and am doubling that on the weekends. It's fun! And it's coming along easily. 'Nuff said for now.

Today's run went well. Took it really easy the first half and dropped it down to a moderate pace for the second half. Good little run in unusually warm weather. Other than that, I got nothin'.

Ran 6.7 miles @ 7:59/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 60s, overcast.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Running, Pancakes and a Bald Eagle

Big thanks to Ryan and Danielle for hosting a very fun morning. A plethora of us in attendance for a group trail run, followed by a big brunch.

The Run
Ryan led us on some new-to-the-rest-of-us trails that were a departure from the normal fun at the Cathance River Nature Preserve. It was great to explore new areas, and the banter was jovial as always. The trails were pretty wet and coated with fallen leaves and the smell of smoke from nearby chimneys lent to the typically tranquil mid-autumn ambience.

I felt a bit sluggish at first, due to having two donuts (don't judge) before the run. I shook that off though and after a few miles I felt a bit more energetic. A lot of of fun happened during the run, but I'm feeling quite sleepy so I'm gonna make this pretty short. Good times.

The Pancakes
14.4 miles later, Danielle and my wonderful fiance Kate had a feast waiting for us. Pancakes, bacon, sausage, coffee... mmmmm. It was awesome. Thanks ladies, it was epic. The next few hours were spent chowing down and hanging out.

The Bald Eagle
Kate had to do some shopping in Topsham before we headed back, and I began to really feel tired. As a result, I feel asleep on the way home.

However, I was awake when we crossed the Saco River and we saw a huge bald eagle fly down to grab something on the side of a road. It then flew off and we followed it down a side street where it perched itself on a big tree and started to feast away. Fur rained down on us as it chomped away and we were easily able to determine its lunch was a squirrel (sorry Mindy). Cool to see!

I took a not-so-clear picture of it below. Look in the upper middle of the photograph, slightly to the left you can see the eagle's head:
Click to enlarge
Ran 14.4 miles @ 9:43/mile pace.
Trails. 
Moderately hilly. 
Lower 40s to mid 50s, partly sunny. 
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap, gloves (shed), Salomon Hydro 45 water belt.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today Went to 11

Today's date is 11/11/11. So, Ryan and I decided to run 11.11 miles starting at 11:11:11am. Yeah, we're nerds. It was pointless, but fun.

The run was at Pineland, and a few minutes before we started we saw Jeff coming in from his run. He was doing some other variation of elevens that was too complex for me to remember. If you know Jeff, this probably doesn't seem surprising. That being said, I admire his intellect.

The countdown was on and we were off right on time. The weather was quite blustery, but fortunately we were dressed pretty warmly. Well, at least I was, but I think Ryan was too. I can't remember. I do, however, remember Ryan using a big word 11 times within the first 11 minutes. Yay, more elevens! And what was relevant was I think the word meant "irrelevant", kind of like this post.

Anywho... as always the conversation with Ryan was enlightening, hilarious and unfiltered. Race plans and goals were discussed in great depth. Very fun run. We capped it off with lunch at the Visitor's Center. I got an "Almost Thanksgiving" sandwich, which was turkey, cranberry mayo and stuffing. A great preview to my favorite holiday. Yes, today definitely went to 11.

Ran 11.11 miles @ 8:57/mile pace.
Trails, muddy and squishy in many parts.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, overcast, light intermittent rain.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie (shed), gloves (shed).

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Back to the Track

I really wanted to give the legs some turnover, but at this stage it was best to keep it light. Given how I felt yesterday, I decided to err on the side of caution and just do five 400M repeats with 2:00 static rest. Didn't go all out, maybe around an 85% effort? I sandwiched that workout in between a warm-up and cool down of a little over a mile each.

Went pretty well, all things considered. Right calf muscle felt a little tight on the cool down but I don't think it's anything bad and I have a rest day planned for tomorrow anyway. I suspect it'll be 100% by Friday, when I plan to run 11.11 miles at 11:11:11am because the date is 11/11/11. Fun, huh?

w/u: Ran 1.3 miles @ 7:50/mile pace.
5 X 400M w/ 2:00 static rest: 1:24, 1:26, 1:24, 1:26, 1:24.
c/d: Ran 1.2 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Mid-60s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

11/22/63

Today is an exciting day for Stephen King fans. His new book 11/22/63 was released and I felt like a kid on Christmas when I woke up and knew it would be waiting for me on my Kindle. I spent over an hour and a half reading it before I went to work and delved into it further during my lunch break and in between classes.

Impressions so far? It's awesome. A man going back in time to stop the assassination of JFK is a bit of departure from what King normally writes, but it's not the first time he's strayed from his usual genre of horror. It's written in the first person, something King has demonstrated he does extremely well before with Bag of Bones (which I think easily falls into the "mystery" category). Though it's 960 pages, so far it has been fast paced and really hard to put down. Can't wait to dive into it some more after dinner!

Oh yeah.. I also ran today. Just an easy five miler at a recovery pace. Yesterday's run showed just how stale my legs had gotten so I was happy to take it nice and slow today. Good run on another warm day.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:45/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, partly sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Kicking Off The Rust

Last week's mileage was less than intended, the lowlight being only running once in the previous five days. I was quite happy to kick off some rust, so I hit a route that was chocked full of hills after work was over.

I could definitely feel the rust, but it felt good to shake some of it off. Good run all things considered. Pretty warm out, which I must admit was a nice change of pace though I also hope it doesn't stick around for too long (it's not supposed to).

Ran 10.7 miles @ 7:43/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Stone Cat Fun!

This'll be quick, but what a blast! So many friends down in Mass to run the Stone Cat 50-mile or trail marathon. Very, very proud of Kate for completing her second trail marathon and finishing in around 6:20, a new PR! Lot's of other great performances by the Trail Monsters as well!

Kate and her finishers jacket shortly after her race.
Very good times.. really enjoyed cheering everyone on and then I ran out on the course to meet up with Kate and pace her in for the last few miles. Good times! Hoping everyone rests up and recovers well.

Ran 4.6 miles @ unknown pace (forgot to stop the watch when I was done running).
Trails.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Writing Stuff

I have been toying with the idea of setting up a separate blog devoted just to writing pursuits, but I think that would be a bit premature at this point. Besides, at the moment I'd rather write stories (or running blog posts) than write about writing. So, I decided I'm content to just do the occasional post here on my running blog for now, especially since the story I'm working on is running related.

It's going well. Very well, in fact. The loose goal now is to write about 1000 words a day (which is 3-4 pages a day, depending on who's definition of a page you abide by). That's actually kind of easy to do at this point, now that I have the ball rolling. I might not hit it that number on the busier days, but I can always make up for it on the lighter days and weekends. It's just nice to have the idea well formulated in my head and I must admit, Scrivener is proving to a valuable tool, especially for making it easier to access research and notes.

However, what is challenging is of course work. Teaching tends to turn your brain into green jello by the end of the day. When Stephen King was a high school English teacher before he struck it big with "Carrie", he basically said the same thing. But going for a run afterwards tends to recharge the brain, and I'm also usually up between 3:30-4:30am and the early morning hours are a perfect time to write. And Kate is very understanding and supportive, which is also great. I'm marrying the right woman for sure!

I still expect the first draft to be done sometime this winter. There will be a lot of editing to be done in the following drafts, but perhaps by this summer I'll be ready to (gulp) publish. We'll see, but so far so good.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

This Weather Rules

Got in a good little five miler before I headed home from work. Weather was perfect out, with highs in the upper 40s but with another day of bright sunshine and little wind, it felt warmer.

Still feeling great. Another similar run on tap for tomorrow, but may take the pace slower. Rest day planned for Thursday.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:31/mile pace.
Paved roads, patches of slush.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pacing Au Naturale

I ran a hilly seven mile route from the school today, enjoying the ongoing winter preview of farm pastures blanketed in snow which contrasted brilliantly with the trees still dotted with their autumn colored foliage. Throw in bright sunshine and cloudless skies and it was quite beautiful.

Run went very well. I decided to run whatever pace felt natural and comfortable without pushing it. I think I only glanced down at the Garmin two or three times total. Ended up with a pretty decent pace that felt easy. Definitely pretty Zen.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:41/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Around 50 degrees, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Return to Pineland Farms

With hunting season underway, Saturday runs have switched to Pineland Farms, which is a safe haven for trail runners until we reclaim the woods again in December. Bit of a smaller crew this morning, consisting of Ian, Jim D., Zak, Nathan, Al and myself, but a lot of fun as usual.

Map from Accuweather.com
We ran at a pretty good lick for these trails, basically amounting to a solid moderate pace. Leg peppiness continues and nice that the recovery is going well. Afterwards, no takers on coffee at the visitor's center, but in a selfish way that worked out well for me as I spent a few undistracted hours getting a lot of writing done while sipping pumpkin coffee.

Big snowstorm expected tonight, with 6"-12" predicted. Wow, and it's only October? Pretty interesting and exciting. Too bad it isn't happening 24 hours later, we'd be getting a snow day out of it. :-)

Ran 6.7 miles @ 8:21/mile pace.
Trails.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 20s to lower 30s, partly cloudy.
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, light jacket (shed a few miles in), long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shortie and Strides

Another short run on tap today. Great weather and pretty funny that we actually got snow last night. And even funnier is that we're supposed to get several inches tomorrow night and a winter storm watch is in effect. Bring it. 

But today, mid-40s and breezy. Fun little short run and followed it up with 5 X 100M strides. Felt great to give the legs some turnover and I can feel them really coming around now. Lot of pep lately. This is good. Looking forward to getting in a little bit more distance in tomorrow at Pineland. 

Ran 3.8 miles @ 7:37/mile pace (includes 5 X 100M strides). 
Paved roads (strides on grassy field). 
Mostly flat. 
Mid 40s, partly cloudy, breezy. 
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Weather

Loved the weather today. Overcast and cool out, even a bit of light ran as we began the run. It isn't happy weather exactly, but yet there's something oddly appealing about it. Perhaps it's the colorful leaves backdropped against the gray skies? I don't know, but regardless it's peaceful in a way. 

Ran with some of the XC team to a local park, did repeats around a field there and then headed back. Good little run. Tomorrow will be a day off, and if we're lucky we might see our first snowflakes of the season. 

Ran 2.8 miles @ 7:53/mile pace. 
Paved roads, grassy fields.
Mostly flat. 
Upper 40s, overcast, light rain. 
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Windy Four

Short and pretty slow on tap again for today. I plan on most runs being no faster for the next few weeks at least, but I may throw in some stride work later in the week just to give the legs some turnover. Really windy out, but quite pleasant out nonetheless.

I'm afraid I'm going to go a bit nuts with my plan to take it really, really easy until December, but I think letting the body heal up completely and giving it a break will pay greater dividends in the long term, so will try to stick to that plan.

Ran 4.3 miles @ 7:49/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny, windy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Woods Out Back

I had a fun morning, helping out at a 5K race in the town I teach in and then once I got home, I was eager to hit the woods out back for a trail run, so I did just that.

The mantra was slow and easy for today, though the legs feel fine from last weekend's marathon. Ran into a few interesting folks during the run. The first guy was a mushroom hunter. He had a 5-foot spear with him, which I assumed was for gathering mushrooms... but not the case, he was afraid of coyotes. I didn't argue the point much about the statistical data on coyotes and human attacks, but regardless, he was a nice guy and I told him I'd keep an eye out for any chaga for him. 

On the return back on the fire road, ran into another fellow who lost his dog after it chased some birds into the woods. I offered to help him out, but he said he was confident the dog would return at some point. I told him if I came across the dog I would do my best to corral it back to him, and I continued on. 

Good little run and the weather was perfect. Been thinking quite a bit about how I want to go about preparing for Boston. I'll detail that in a post sometime this week. 

Ran 6.6 miles @ 8:58/mile pace. 
Trails, fire roads. 
Very hilly. 
Mid 50s, partly sunny. 
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

First Post-Marathon Run

The original plan was to take a full week off from running after the marathon to ensure proper recovery. Well, that lasted three days, but I feel my reasoning is sound. First off, my legs have never felt better after a marathon and recovery is going much quicker than anticipated. Secondly, I thought it would actually do some good to shake the legs loose a bit. Run went well and I kept the pace very easy. Likely won't run again until Sunday.

So what now? I'm pretty much going to run maintenance miles until December. That'll likely mean just 20-30 easy miles a week and a couple of days off each week. Reason being simply to give the body a break.

Once December rolls around, I plan to start ramping up the mileage and by Christmas time, it'll be 16 weeks out from the Boston Marathon, and I'll begin my training regiment.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 8:52/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 60s (yuck), sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, October 17, 2011

2011 Mount Desert Island Marathon Race Report

I can sum it up in two simple words: great race. I didn't break 3:10, but am super stoked to have run the course in 3:12:09 and set a new PR (old one was 3:12:41 at Boston last April). I also bested last year's MDI time of 3:14:33 by a good amount. Stoked. 

Saturday:
Kate and I arrived on the island around noon and hit the expo. Checked in there, went for a short run with Kate at Eagle Lake, hung out with Ryan for a bit, then met up with Jim D. and Shauna at the pasta dinner (always very good, but it seemed especially tasty this year), then headed back to Kate's folks' place in Brewer to spend the night. 

Ran 2.8 miles @ 9:52/mile pace. 
Carriage roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Lower 60s, sunny, windy. 
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt. 

Sunday:
We drove back over and arrived at the race a little more than hour before the start. My stomach had been feeling a little off that morning, which worried me a bit. I was also feeling very nervous and anxious, which surprised me a bit because logically there really shouldn't have been much to worry about. It wasn't BQ or die unlike last year. Nothing was really on the line. But yet, I couldn't relax. At least I had the Trail Monsters to talk to and also kept bumping into other folks I knew.

Trail Monsters take to the roads. Jim, me and Ryan. 
The wind was blowing pretty hard and about 20 or so minutes before the race was about to start, a light rain began to fall. Brrrr. But soon it was almost time and the rain stopped. Gary (the RD) gave the final pre-race speeches, AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" cranked through the PA system, and then the cannon boomed. We were off!

We're off! Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Ryan and I are underway!
Miles 0-5 - The Fantastic Four
Ryan and I hung together and we linked up with two other runners, Anita and Ty. Similar paces, similar personalities, and we laughed and joked as we worked together until just past the half marathon mark. This was completely awesome and VERY welcome. Last year, I was alone for most of the race. It was great to have other folks to run off of and exchange jokes with. 

The distraction was especially important for me, as I was feeling really out of sync and all sorts of negative thoughts were running through my head in the first half. I remember thinking to myself at mile four "Man, I am simply not feeling it today". My stomach also still felt a little off (thankfully, it never became a real issue). 

Miles 5-10 - Pushing
Seal Harbor. About 8.5 miles into the race. Courtesy: Maine Running Photos.
Still feeling out of sync and still wondering what was up. I was valuing Ryan, Anita and Ty more than ever as they were pulling me along. Pace was great and conversing with them was a perfect distraction, but secretly inside my head I continued to wage a bit of a mental battle with myself. Cooksey Drive was also a great diversion, as it provided stunning views of the ocean. Took my first Gu one hour into the race. Despite the questionable stomach, it didn't do anything to upset it. Whew. An important test and I had passed it. I also ditched the disposable water bottle I had been carrying and felt a bit more freed up as a result. 

Miles 10-15 - The Mental Demons Die
Ty and I at Northwest Harbor
We went through Northwest Harbor and it was great to see Kate and her folks here as well as the others... another lift. Still out of sync. But then, an eye opener occured. We crossed the half marathon mark in 1:34:57. Unacceptable. I crossed in 1:34:22 last year. I was ticked and knew I could do better. Fortunately, I was able to use that and my splits began to drop. For a while, I was a bit ahead of Ryan, but then he passed me up (and for good). Anita and Ty were now behind. The Fantastic Four had been broken up, but it was inevitable it would happen at some point. Took another Gu around 1:45 into the race. 

Miles 15-20 - Cruising
Coming off of Sargent Drive. Despite the pained expression, I was actually feeling really good here. 

A little after mile 18
Each passing mile was a huge confidence booster. HUGE. I remembered my splits starting to slow at mile 16 last year, but I was holding them down with no problem now. Even better, I was doing so relatively comfortably. This was great. Saw Mindy, Pete, Danielle, Kate and her folks as well others at multiple points along here which was awesome. I marveled at the turnaround and my head was now very much in the game.

Miles 20-25 - Tough Hills and the Headwind of Death

Around mile 21. Arrr matey, there be hills ahead!
Okay, now my legs have caught up to me a bit and were feeling tired. And having a cruel headwind along with some big hills in this stretch wasn't helping. But still, I trucked on and the pace was still respectable (for me) at this stage. I was calculating my finishing time, and early on in this stretch I knew I would probably beat last year's time if I could keep it up. Took the third and final Gu when the Garmin hit 2:30.

The miles and hills ticked by and the time calculations became more clear. Now, setting a new PR seemed possible, but I'd have to book it. Was still picking off a few folks and only one guy had passed me (the only one since around mile 15, now that I think about it).  

I soon saw the amply named Top of the Hill Restaurant which marks the top of the final big hill. Sweet! A very welcome sight. I honestly didn't expect it to see it when I did, I thought it was still further up the road. Big downhill, then a very small uphill was all that was left. 

25-26.2 - The Final Stretch
The new PR was now the firm focus but I knew I'd have to work hard. I was also keeping in mind that I had a BQ for 2013. Those two thoughts kept me going and I was pushing with all I had left. I cruised on the downhill, and soon came up on that minor uphill. If there's a nice thing about that final incline, it's that you know that once you're at the top you can see the finish line. 

Kept glancing at my watch all the while, and when the finish line was in sight I let loose with all I had left (which wasn't much). I got closer and closer and knew a PR was in the bag. I pumped my fist in victory and crossed the finish line in 3:12:09, good enough for 24th place overall. Excited as heck, but too depleted to express it. Ryan was right there to greet me and I used the man hug as an excuse for him to hold me up. By the way, Ryan rocked it with a 3:10:11. A gargantuan PR for him and he was seconds away from a negative split. Kate was also right there as well as Blaine (who rocked it with a 3:03:02) and the others. 

Approaching the finish
Kabam!

Post Race
I found a chair and sat down, recapping war stories with Blaine and Ryan. We flushed our legs for a good 10 minutes or so, which helped immensely (I'm surprised more endurance runners don't do this). Milled around and chatted with others, and made our way over to the beer tent for some beverages and a pulled pork sandwich (courtesy of Kate's folks.. big thanks!). 

Minutes after the finish

Leg flush!

Barley sodas!
Legs continue to feel surprisingly great. Sore, yes, but nowhere near the degree as MDI last year or Boston last April (I guess I didn't run hard enough, hardee har har). Very stoked still to have PR'd and qualified for Boston for 2013, but running that race again in 2012 might be enough for me. Plenty of time to think about it though and nice to have the option. 


Ran 26.2 miles @ 7:20/mile pace. 
Official chip time: 3:12:09
Overall placing: 24th out of 926. 
Age group placing (35-39): 7th out of 59 (stacked this year)
Paved roads. 
Extremely hilly. 
Upper 40s to upper 50s, sunny, windy. 
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, singlet, plastic water bottle first 10 miles. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New PR at the Mt. Desert Island Marathon

Finished in 3:12:09, good enough for 24th place out of 924 finishers. Really stoked! Felt out of sync for the first half but pulled it together in the second. Full race report tomorrow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

MDI Marathon Goals

Before I list my goals, it's definitely worth noting that I'm feeling very little pressure for Sunday's race. Last year, it was BQ or die. This year? Well, let's just run it fast and smart and see what happens. Don't get me wrong... I'm anxious and ready to race, but at the same time I feel pretty relaxed. I've broken it down a little more specifically than that and here's what it comes down to (hardest goal first with back-up/other goals in place):

A) Break 3:10. It would be cool to be a 3:0X:XX marathon runner. Not as cool as a sub-three hour marathoner, but first things first. 

B) PR. My best time is 3:12:41 set at Boston last year. 

C) Break last year's MDI Marathon time of 3:14:33.

D) I'm already in the 2012 Boston Marathon, but if I break 3:15:00, I would qualify for the 2013 Boston Marathon under the new standards (I'll be 40 then). However, I'll have another chance to qualify at Boston this April if it doesn't work out. 

E) Finish. 

There ya have it. I also ran today. Just a little over three miles in the mist. Rather pleasant running conditions and it was quite enjoyable. Taking a rest day tomorrow. Short run on Saturday and then it's race time!!!

Ran 3.4 miles @ 7:40/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 50s, overcast, misting. 
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Short Jaunt and the Cheating Idiot

Just ran a short and easy 5K today. All systems continue to be a go for Sunday. Focusing now on making sure the diet is really in check. Lots of quality carbs and proteins, along with fruits and vegetables (well okay, more fruits than vegetables).

By the way, did you see the story of this cheating moron? The Marathon Gods will not be taking this one lightly, I'm sure.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 7:55/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taper Worms

Good case of the taper worms today. Ran the warm-up and cool down with the cross country team (they did mile repeats today). Went way too fast on their warm-up, but was much more disciplined on their cool down. They averaged out to an acceptable overall pace for the two runs.

Feeling good about Sunday and am anxious for the race to hurry up and get here. Weather forecast looks good for right now, but of course it'll change five more times. I really won't pay it much mind until a day or two beforehand.

Ran 2.1 miles @ 7:11/mile pace.
Ran 2.1 miles @ 8:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 60s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Updates on Writing

I would just like to thank everyone for helping make my first book Maine to Boston: Marathon Training Through a New England Winter a success, primarily because it's been a very positive experience and something I have learned a lot from. In case you were curious, several dozen copies have been sold as of this posting (the book has been out for about a month). That's way more than I would have expected at this point, especially considering this book has a pretty narrow target audience, so I'm quite pleased. I seriously did this more for the experience and thought it would be a fun project. If I made a few bucks doing it, hey great, but that was never important.

I would guess half of the sales so far have been from family, friends and acquaintances who wanted to show their support (for which I say a big thank you). But what's also pretty cool is the other half of the sales are from people I don't know. Just like with blogging, it's pretty neat knowing others are checking out your work. The feedback has been very positive so far and it's been great connecting with folks I normally wouldn't have otherwise.

A few folks have asked me if I'm planning on working on a second book. The answer is yes. In fact, I've already started and though it's early, it's coming along great so far. This next book will be science fiction with a running twist, and I'll just leave it at that for now.

The biggest danger is hyping something up and not following through. It seems to happen quite a bit with folks first starting out with writing. That's what makes this Family Guy clip so funny:



The nice thing, however, is that I have confidence now that my first book is out there. For some additional motivation and research, I just finished reading Stephen King's "On Writing", which I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone out there who has even thought about writing. The biggest eye opener to me was in the final section of the book where he shares examples of the different drafts of a few pages from his short story "1408". The first draft seemed very amateurish, but that's also the point. In the second draft, the nuts and bolts were in place much more firmly and in the third and final draft, it was now a highly polished piece of work. On a side note, this made feel less guilty about going through blog entries and revising them several times after I've already posted them (I definitely make a lot of mistakes).

King also shows the notes he made in each draft and the whole process was pretty fascinating. It was really neat to see how he gets an idea down first and then focuses on getting it ready for the masses. He also refers to this as "writing with the door closed" and then "writing with the door open". King also gives many other valuable tips and insights, but it would take too long to list them all here. Just read the book if you're interested, you won't regret it.

Back to my own writing... The biggest obstacle in attempting to write fiction is that it's a very different craft that I don't have a lot of experience with. You can have the greatest idea in the world but what's even more important than the story itself is how you tell it. Great ideas are often ruined with poor writing. That being said, I feel I have a very unique idea and if I can tell it correctly, it will be a lot of fun to share it with the public. Now, I just have to avoid being like Brian...

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Elk Farm Loop

The final double digit run of the taper was on tap for today. However, there were some obstacles to work with. I was out late with the Trail Monsters last night celebrating some recent successes and was feeling the effects of that upon waking up. I spent the morning watching the Chicago Marathon (Mosop is a beast) and sipping coffee before finally heading out the door.

By then, it had already warmed up significantly, which just added to the unpleasantness. However, by the time I climbed the ridge up to the elk farm I had downed most of my water and was starting to feel better. Enjoyed the descent and relatively flat few miles back home. All things considered, not a bad little run, though I probably should have taken it slower.

Ran 11.3 miles @ 7:40/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 70s to lower 80s (yuck), sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, cap, handheld bottle (water).

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Volunteering and Running

Jeff once again put on a very smooth Craig Cup 5K XC race today. I was happy to help out with registration and then organizing bib tabs at the finish line while cheering on friends and the other runners as they came in. Kate did well, and Jeff and Ryan especially put in some impressive performances. Ryan doesn't really want to hear it, but I think he's going to do something special at MDI next weekend...

After the race, Jeff, Ian, David, Nate and I hit the trails and got in a nice five miler. Unusually warm out, which actually kinda sucks, in my opinion. I'd prefer not to have August weather in October. Regardless, it was a very fun morning. Looking forward to taking an afternoon nap!

Ran 5.1 miles @ 8:58/mile pace.
Trails.
Moderately hilly.
Lower to upper 60s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Tour de Skowhegan

Today was a long day, consisting of a day trip up to Skowhegan to attend a teachers' conference. Afterwards, I changed clothes and went for a run before I drove home.

I had never been to Skowhegan before, so I looked forward to exploring the downtown area on foot. As just about every runner knows, running is undoubtably the best way to check a new place out. Most of your senses are engaged... you feel the uneven stretches of pavement under your feet, see buildings and trees up close, smell the pies that must have just come out of the oven at the bakery, and best of all, have more freedom to check things out close-up. See a park coming up? Run on in and see what's there. Where does that street go? One way to find out. Cool, a river! Cross the bridge and check out the water below. It's always a fun little adventure, and one of the many things I love about running.

Ran 5.1 miles @ 8:23/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Adieu, Piste

One last interval session on the track before the marathon next weekend. With a planned rest period of minimal running after the race and through November, the snow could start flying by the time I start ramping up the mileage in December for the start of the Boston Marathon training cycle around Christmas time. That means it's quite possible I won't hit the track again until the snow melts in late winter/early spring. That's a long ways off and it makes me kind of sad. I really do love the occasional track workout.

Today called for a light session of intervals to give the legs some turnover without wearing them down. In other words, a light reminder of what fast feels like. The session called for 6 X 800M at a 3K-5K race pace with 2:00 rest. I guessed that was just a bit under 3:00 so that's what I shot for.

So it was nice to hit the track one last time. I wasn't feeling too in sync today. Far from craptastic... I just didn't feel too peppy and I think that was due in large part to not warming up enough (cool and windy out again today). The last three splits felt the most fluent.

w/u: Ran 1.0 mile @ 8:05/mile pace.
6 X 800M w/ 2:00 rest. Splits: 2:51, 2:56, 2:58, 2:55, 2:53, 2:56.
c/d: Ran 1.0 mile @ 8:34/mile pace.
Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Easy Fiver

Definitely reaching the point where the taper is driving me a bit nuts. Easy five on tap for the day and on several occasions I had to remind myself to slow down. That's always a good sign, but it's also a bit aggravating to force things slower as well.

At least tomorrow I have a session of 800M intervals on tap so it'll feel good to give the legs some turnover. It's taken from the Pfitz taper plan, with only six reps going in at just under 3:00 with two minutes of static rest in between, sandwiched between a warm-up and cool down.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:58/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 50s, partly sunny, breezy.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

First Signs of Taper Madness

Legs felt fresh and raring to go, but I mentally kept on the brakes. One of those nice days when the cross country teams' workout more or less correlated with my own, however I didn't go at the varsity guys' pace.

Less than two weeks until the marathon and all systems go. I've more or less formulated a pacing plan and strategy for the course, but will keep that semi-secret for now.

Ran 5.2 miles @ 8:14/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 50s, overcast, light rain.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.