Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bradbury Success

My Achilles flared up like the Hindenburg when I ran Bradbury last month. I was a bit nervous about going there today, but given how I've been feeling lately, it warranted a test so long as I was careful.

It went extremely well, despite the warm, sticky weather. Goal was 10 miles, but I did a bit more than that. I picked up the Big Brad Ultra course in reverse starting from the park's main parking lot, in hopes of bumping into Ryan and Danielle who were doing a long run together. I tacked on the Island Trail, where I encountered a barred owl. He was perched on a low branch just 30 feet away and we locked eyes for a while. I won the stare down, as he became distracted by chattering chipmunks. Not wanting to deprive him of his breakfast, I moved on.

Six miles later, the plan worked to perfection as I came across Ryan and Danielle somewhere on the Ginn Trail. It was nice to have company. I turned around and joined them for about four miles. Ryan told me some news about snowshoe racing that has me wicked excited for the season. The nationals are in nearby Vermont, and the goal now is to qualify.

We crossed over to the west side of the park, saw Crux and Double-T, and then parted ways at the Tote Road which I took over to the Boundary Trail and then up to the summit. Ran into Sara on the way up. Took the switchback down and called it good.

Very, very successful and encouraging run. No Achilles problems at all. None. And this run was longer and on tougher trails than that one last month which wrecked me. The only issues I'm having at all now are just being generally out of running shape, but at this rate that will change relatively quickly, but I'll still be careful. Still, I'm sending the stagehand to tell the Fat Lady to standby.

Will be stoked to get my weekly mileage averaging in the 40s by October, then the 50s for November.. then 50s to 60s for December and keep tacking it on as warranted for Boston. Bring it.

Ran 11.8 miles @ 11:41/mile pace.
Technical trails.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s to mid-70s, partly cloudy, humid.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, handheld bottle (Gatorade).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nap of Death

School has begun. Just teacher workshop days now, but with that and cross country practice I'm going from doing very little to doing a crap ton like that [[snaps fingers]]. I love it though.

But still, given that I'm going from zero to sixty in three seconds flat, naps are often needed in these early stages if I can swing them. I was watching cooking shows with Kate and around 4pm, I began to think that I can rest my eyes for.. just a little while... maybe take a power nap... for.. just... ten minutes...... zzzzzzz.

An hour later, I woke up. Iron Chef America was over. Damn, what did they make with all of those different kinds of carrots? In my groggy state, I laced up and hit the woods out back.

Just a little under five miles. My legs felt heavy, no doubt because I was still half asleep. Naturally though, it got better as the run went on but it did take a while. Glad I got out.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 10:44/mile pace.
Technical hills.
Very hilly.
Mid 70s, partly cloudy, humid.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, August 26, 2013

More Progress

A little over five and a half miles on hills and zero Achilles pain. That's two hilly days in a row with no issues. Stoked.

Rest day tomorrow, but more five milers planned for much of the week with one run a bit longer thrown in there somewhere. All of this IF things continue on track, but I'll adjust as needed. Will likely take another rest day somewhere in the week when it feels needed, perhaps on Friday.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:51/mile pace.
Paved roads and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 70s, mostly cloudy, humid.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two Runs, Two Successes

Okay, well really three runs. On Friday, I ran the warm-up and cool down with the cross country team. Shorter mileage than I had been doing recently, but it still went well.

Ran 1.0 miles @ 8:12/mile pace.
Ran 1.1 miles @ 8:37/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower 70s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Immediately after cross country practice, I came home, showered, and put the final touches on packing up for a camping trip up in the White Mountains. Kate and I had a blast. No running planned, as it didn't fit into my running every other day schedule this week. Instead, we focused on fly fishing. Pulled three small brookies out of the Androscoggin (Maine side) using a size 10 Black Nosed Dace I tied a few days before. Good fun.

Our campsite was literally surrounded by luscious blackberries. 

One of the brookies (catch and release). 
We got back today. After unpacking, showering (finally) and a nap I was ready for a run. Decided to test the heel on the trails in the woods out back and I'm really stoked that it went very well. No problems at all. No pain. No tightness. Nothing. The only obstacle was my general out of shapeness. 

That's good, but the fat lady isn't singing yet. Perhaps she'll be handed the sheet music soon though so she can start practicing. 

Ran 3.9 miles @ 9:51/mile pace. 
Very hilly. 
Lower 70s, sunny. 
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One Small Step for Man

Another successful test run today. No problems or apparent signs of aggravation at this point. The real indicator will be how I feel tomorrow morning, but I'm confident it'll still feel fine.

What's good about this is that I ran in racing flats. Some friends have rightfully questioned the continued use of zero-drop or near zero-drop shoes. That may or may not be a contributor and I only have some doubt since that's all I've run in the past three-plus years. Why now? Why do others have Achilles issues in the same circumstances even after a lay off but while wearing shoes with more lift? I'd like to avoid throwing myself out of whack again wearing a shoe built differently if I don't have to. It's like potentially robbing Peter to pay Paul, in a way. That all being said, I realize I could be wrong, but based on how I've been feeling lately, I'll stick with it for now.

Ran 3.0 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 80s, sunny, humid.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Proceed With Extreme Caution

Cross country season began today. I ran a few light runs with the team. It went well. I think if I am very cautious on roads without many hills, I might not aggravate things too much.

Today was encouraging, but I'm not out of the woods yet. Far from it. In fact, I don't even have a map and it's overcast so I can't get a compass reading off the shadows. Still, I see a path. Just not sure where it goes.

Ran 1.1 miles @ 8:29/mile pace.
Ran 1.4 miles @ 7:29/mile pace.
Ran 1.1 miles @ 10:54/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 70s, sunny, humid.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, August 17, 2013



My Achilles still hurts. More just on the right side, but some of the left side too.

I haven't run since the mid-week hill repeat session. It's pretty clear that my heel/achilles needs to rest a little. Hopefully sometime next week.

I'm okay with going on the DL if I need to, so long as I can get a proper ramp up by December so I can effectively train for Boston. At this point, that seems very reasonable. Patience... patience...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hill Repeats at Blackstrap

Met with Ian for a session of hill repeats at Blackstrap in Falmouth. I had no idea of the route he had in mind, specifically the distance, I just knew it would be hard. It was.

Each ascent was a little over half a mile and climbed about 270'. The terrain was technical. Great playground.

My achilles pain is no more, but now my heel hurts. It's on the sides of heel and only hurts if the foot goes the wrong way. I've had this exact kind of pain a few times before and each time it went away within a few weeks, so I'm encouraged about that. However, for now it kind of sucked, especially on rocky, rooty trails. I had to be careful on the ascents but could more or less go full speed, but the descents I had to be very cautious and slowed down considerably, leaving room for Ian and his two dogs Kip and Jet to fly ahead (love those dogs).

Probably going to lay off trails for a while until the heel heals up, at least the really technical stuff. Might still hit the woods out back for easy runs. Not too worried though.

But back to the workout, very pleased overall. I'm still not back in primo running shape but this was a solid step towards getting there. Weather was PERFECT also. Not a deer fly or any other bug anywhere. This has probably been the most tame deer fly season since I've lived here. Love it.

Ran 5.7 miles @ 11:40/mile pace.
Technical trails.
Insanely hilly.
Lower 70s to upper 60s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hilly Tempo Run

Decided to up the game a little today. I'm going to do my best to obey an easy/hard principle, so decided to do another tempo run. Longer than the one on Saturday, and much hillier terrain.

Went well. Considering where I'm at right now, very well. I'm still quite a ways off from being in the primo shape of when I'm in the midst of a training cycle, but one has to be patient. In truth, it's good fun making that climb. You know you're not where you want to be at (or will be at) but it's fun taking the steps to get there. A little frustrating at times, sure, but if it were easy it wouldn't be as enjoyable.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 6:56/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bradbury Breaker "Race" Report

Ran the Bradbury Breaker today, but didn't race it. Ran with Kate at her pace instead which was a lot of fun. She's been battling chronic injuries so can't really effectively train properly for running, so it was nice to be able to keep her company as she ran a pace that she could manage.

As rewarding as that was, I'm looking forward to truly racing the Bruiser next month. That's a good chunk of time to add some more hay in the barn.

Big thanks to Ian, Ryan and the rest of the Trail Monsters and volunteers for making the race another success. We were certainly lucky to have awesome weather today. Best it's been for this race so far, which several commented on.

Ran 9.4 miles @ 17:00/mile pace.
Technical trails.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s to lower 70s, sunny.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, sleeveless shirt, cap.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Short Tempo Run

REALLY want to get the speed back in my legs, and the best way to run faster is to run faster. It's been too long, so I just did my 5K route and the goal was to run at a controlled tempo. By that I mean the breathing is steady and pushing it without the wheels wobbling.

Success. I would have been happy with anything under 7:10/mile given how long it's been since I've done speed work so to nail down 6:38/mile relatively comfortably was very encouraging. It's a great starting point.

Achilles update: Huge improvement today. Not even a real issue. Good. Time to get back in race shape. I am now raring to go for that. A big reason are my Trail Monster teammates who keep putting up incredible performances. Thanks all. Being stoked for them is stoking my own fires again and I can't wait to get back to where I was. Running the Breaker tomorrow with Kate, but I hope to truly race the Bruiser next month. Bring it!

Ran 3.1 miles @ 6:38/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 80s, sunny, breezy, very dry air.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Friday, August 09, 2013

"Trail" Run?

Is it still called a trail run if you go off trail and get a little lost in the middle of the woods?

It all started with a quest to find another way to get to this mystical stream that looks like prime native brook trout habitat. I discovered earlier this week that one way to get to it was now closed off. So, I sought another way in.

Found a way I thought was going to get me there, but the trail petered out. I took an old logging trail that was severely overgrown. It's got to be up this way, I kept thinking. Just a little further and it should be there. 


I wandered and wandered, most of the time forced to a march as the brush was high. I then gave up and decided to head back. Then I couldn't retrace my steps. However, eventually I found that old grown in logged out area and ran back. Whew. That was a major relief when I finally knew where I was again.

Looking at my GPS track, I see where I went wrong. I turned off the main path too soon. I'll have to go back. Oh yes, I'll have to go back.

Oh yeah, the Achilles. Still a bit sore, but like yesterday it got better as the run went on. I suspect I'll be able to continue running through it.

Ran 10.3 miles @ 11:37/mile pace (includes lots of bushwacking)
Trails, woods.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, overcast, intermittent light to moderate rain.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

This One's Optimistic

Inflamed Achilles tendons have brought my running to a halt the past few days. Annoying and frustrating, especially since I'm now raring to go forward with my training.

Felt okay enough to give them a test today. At first, it was pretty horrible. By the time I was a half mile in I was hobbling. I turned around to go home, quite angry and ready to write a blog post on officially going on the DL.

As I was stewing, I noticed shortly thereafter that they didn't hurt as bad. Hmmmm. I took a chance and channeled my frustration-turning-to-optimism into turning back around and continuing on the planned route. I'm glad I did. The discomfort lessened as the run went on. Usually, that's a very good sign. Oh man, I hope that's the case.

How I feel tomorrow morning will be the real test, but I'm cautiously optimistic. I'm hoping I'll be able to take the NRA approach to problem solving, but instead of more guns, there'll be more running and that will loosen things up and take care of everything.

Ran 4.1 miles @ 9:23/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Around 80 degrees, partly cloudy, humid.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Running & Fly Fishing: A Bust

Had the brilliant idea to run out to a remote stream and fly fish. However, I discovered the trail to said stream was now closed. Poop. No trespassing/fishing/hunting/anything signs and a brand new gate blocking the path. I respected the landowners and turned around and ran back.

I was very disappointed... the water is cooler in the smaller streams which translates to better trout fishing and this particular one looked very promising when I ran past it several months ago. Darn. Oh well.

That was it for my running today. I discovered my achilles on both feet are really sore. Not good. I've had achilles soreness before, and fortunately it went away very quickly. Will give it a test run tomorrow and go from there, but I obviously hope this won't be a setback.

Back to running and fly fishing... I love doing both and it's nice to combine them when possible. I hope to do more in the future. Only caveat is running with my gear at the moment is quite cumbersome. My rod is a 2-piece, which translates to 4'3" when broken down into two. A 4-piece would be much more prudent.

Mad respect to these guys who have also combined fly fishing with one of their interests: Jazz. Awesome. Best channel on YouTube, IMO.

Ran 1.0 miles @ 11:12/mile pace, carrying a fly rod, net and other gear.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 70s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.


Great run yesterday at Bradbury. A celebratory run for David's 31st birthday that appropriately included a 50K run. Just planned on ten though and that's what I did.

Ran mostly with Mindy and Val which was a real treat. Great conversation and I'm really stoked for both of them to do the Haliburton 100 next month. They are clearly ready and I'm somewhat jealous of their upcoming Canadian adventure.

Pace was very easy, which was fitting for most who were doing back-to-backs or running the full 50K. My legs felt tired thanks to a sharp increase in mileage this week, so I welcomed it. Just a very fun run with continuing great summer weather. Deer flies were hardly around, which was of course great.

Ran 10.3 miles @ 13:33/mile pace (includes several stops)
Extremely hilly.
Mid 60s to lower 70s, partly cloudy.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

I Met Meb

Meb and me
Kate and I headed over to spectate at the Beach to Beacon this morning. Was great to see the pros and several good friends in action not too far from the finish line. When our final friend came through we took a trail on the way back and who came running along in the opposite direction on a cooldown? Why, none other than Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi.

I said, "Great job today, Meb!" as he ran by (he got fifth place in a stacked field) and he smiled and said thanks. Giddy as hell, I kept excitedly repeating to Kate ohmygawdijusttalkedtoMeb, and then he ran back by us from behind. Kate said he overheard me and was laughing.

Not far ahead, he took a trail that dead-ended to an overlook on some coastal cliffs. Ah ha, he's trapped! I ran up and asked if I could get a picture with him. He graciously said yes and we chit chatted a little bit. I remember asking him if he was happy with how he did today and he said he's always happy with anything in the top 10 so was very happy to get fifth.

Stoked to have met him. I read his book Run to Overcome a few years ago and gained a lot of respect for the guy. His personality this morning very accurately reflected the traits he exhibits in his book...someone who is very kind, friendly and humble. Very, very cool guy on top of being an incredible athlete.

The Portland Head Light... one of my better pictures, but hard
to mess anything up with scenery this beautiful.


Several hours later I went for an afternoon run. I didn't want to take a rest day today, so I just kept it short and very casual on the trails. Incredible afternoon out; a cool, dry breeze blowing and pleasantly warm temperatures.

I stopped at one stream a half a mile behind my house and observed it for a while. It has fish. I must catch them.

I stopped again at a different spot on the stream about a mile out that I took Kate to last night. It was her first time fly fishing and she did great, getting several strikes and even having one on the line but it shook off. Very proud of her, she picked up on casting really well, and in a very tight space to boot. I did a little better, landing four small salmon (let them all go). So much fun catching them on a dry fly and seeing the water explode when they hit at the surface.

Kate false casting the line out.

Cute little salmon.

Hauling in a tiny little guy.

Catch and release.
Continued the run home, pretty satisfied with a stellar day so far. Hmmm, I think I'll go fishing again later.

Ran 3.8 miles @ 10:54/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Mid 70s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Saucony Perrigrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Easy Ten

Wanted something a little different today, so opted for my 10-mile Town Hall road loop. Went well. Ran at what was normally my easy pace but it felt like a little more work than it should have been, but that's to be expected.

It had just stopped raining, so the humidity was 99%. Hurried out the door a little in hopes of taking advantage of the cloud cover before it went away. Success! The sun only peaked out for a few seconds once during the run.

Weighed in this morning. 182 lbs. Nice. Dropped four pounds in three days. Weighed myself again after the run and I was just under 179, but that was obviously from water loss. Still, I bet I'll be legitimately at that point by early next week. I should write a book on dieting, though all it would say would be eat less, eat healthier and run more. Common sense, really. Duh.

Ran 10.1 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 60s, very humid, overcast.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Another Good One

Same route as yesterday, sans a small side trail I explored. Once again, deer flies were tolerable. Dryer air and seasonable temps are no doubt helping with that. Semi-bad in a couple of spots, but nonexistent in many others. Granted I was away for two weeks, but aside from that this has been one of the better summers for lessened deer fly activity in quite some time. I suspect the prolonged, cooler spring has helped as well.

Felt even stronger today. Pace was slightly quicker and it also felt easier. I've been dramatically improving the diet the past several days, eating very healthy and cutting back on beer big time. Granted, a beer or two a day is actually good for you, and I love beer, but for now I'm monitoring the calories and that's a good way to reduce intake.

More importantly, I'm just feeling the love for running again. That never went away, but it's just more pronounced now. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you love something, set it free... blah, blah, blah. I just love being outside and in the woods.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 9:43/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Lower-mid 70s, sunny.
Saucony Peregrine 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.