Thursday, February 27, 2014

Closing Out February

Yeah, there's still one more day left, but that'll be a rest day for me so this ends the month. Today's short run got me over 200 miles for February. Been a pretty solid month to boot with the MWC 10-miler, two snowshoe races and lots of quality training runs, including a moderately paced 20-miler and also the trail run that went the marathon distance last weekend. The stage is set for increased speed work in March and I'll be ready for Boston.

Very stoked for the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships on Saturday. To say the field will be stacked is an understatement of epic proportions, but it'll be a fun test and a really good time. Can't wait!

Ran 5.5 miles @ 7:52/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, overcast, light snow flurries.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interval Work

A long and especially busy day at work wore me down pretty good. Also not feeling super well. Sickness is a big strong of a word and normally wouldn't be that big of a deal, but combined with the day and also not sleeping very well last night, it was pretty tough to get out there.

But, I was glad I did. Despite not feeling very energetic, the workout went very well. Between a warm-up and cool down on the armory loop, I ran two laps hard around the school and then one lap for active recovery. 

Just under 9/10's of a mile for the two lap rep. Splits were pretty consistent at 4:51, 4:53 and 4:52, which is around a 5:38/mile pace. Was never a struggle. Even with the recovery laps the workout still averaged out at 6:20/mile. 

This was encouraging and also good because it was pretty light. I'm confident I'll absorb it by Saturday's snowshoe race. Just an easy run planned for tomorrow and Friday will be a rest day. 

w/u: Ran 1.8 miles @ 7:47/mile pace.
3 X .9 miles repeats w/ .4 miles active recovery.
4:51, 4:53, 4:52 (~5:38/mile pace).
c/d: Ran 1.8 miles @ 8:27/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly for w/u and c/d, flat for intervals.
Mid 20s, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Second verse, same as the first...

...but in reverse.

Same loop as yesterday but ran it in the other direction. Easy pace once again. Cold and breezy out, but nice to out all the same.

Scoring tickets to the Red Sox/Yankees game the day after the Boston Marathon had me in a very good mood during the run. I look forward to yelling "Ellsbury sucks!", even if his fragility lands him on the DL beforehand.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, partly sunny, greezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Start of Recovery Week

Step down week this week. Just had a short run planned for today. Was wondering how my body would respond to the weekend. Pleasantly surprised to find my legs full of pep. They were still a little creaky of course, but at the same time they were good to go.

Kept the brakes on though and kept the pace easy. Just glad that it came easy. Tomorrow will be similar to today. Wednesday, a short tempo or interval workout. Thursday, like today. Friday, off. Saturday = Snowshoe National Championship, woohoo!

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:00/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Upper 20s, partly sunny, windy. 
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Risk can be defined as a decision that will either have you feeling like a hero or an idiot. Today, I donned my cape. 

"Welp, there goes any chance of a 60 mile week" is what I thought when I took a second rest day on Friday. I had been feeling a bit run down and lacking pep for much of the week. Then yesterday, it all came back with a marathon distance run on trails in not so easy conditions and feeling strong. And today, I ran over 11 miles to get me over 60 miles again for the week. 

Today's run was not fast. It was not spectacular. It was a super slow trot on mostly flat roads. However, I can honestly say I could have at least kept going much longer since the pace was so slow. It was not even close to a slog, even with tired legs. It was quite enjoyable. 

Next week will be a recovery week, which is great timing with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships on Saturday. Even with freshened up legs, I'm looking forward to getting my arse handed to me. But it'll be fun to fight with all I've got. 

Also, many more eggs will be going into the speed basket from now until taper time at the end of March. Really happy with how this training cycle is going. 

Ran 11.6 miles @ 9:29/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Mostly flat. 
Lower 30s to mid-40s, partly sunny. 
Saucony Virrata, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Trail Marathon of Awesomeness

Today was Val's annual Fat Ass event at her place. Big, big fun. I didn't know what to expect with the conditions, but they turned out better than expected, at least early on. That allowed me to run the marathon distance today, which was what I really wanted. I would have settled for 20 or even 15 if the conditions were horrendous, but they were good enough and I pushed on and am proud I did so.

Each lap was a little over five miles long. The snow was pretty well packed down at first, aside from a couple of soft post-holing spots and an icy stream crossing. Yes, that's right. An icy stream crossing. At least knee deep. Since each lap was essentially two out and backs, one had to run through said icy stream twice. That meant ten times total for me. It was awesome.

So for the first two laps, the snow was pretty easy to run. The third lap was a precursor for what was to come... loosening mash potato snow. The fourth lap was hell. The fifth lap was hell plus a Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus concert.

That being said, I was in great spirits throughout and my energy was through the roof today. Legs had been feeling tired this week. So, to keep that theme going I decided to make them tired today.

Great company throughout. I ran with George A. and Bob P. for much of the first lap. Then Ian, Zak, Nathan, Danielle and Colin for the second and third laps. Then John R. and Ryan T. for the fourth and fifth laps. Fun conversations and just an all around fantastic time enjoying doing what we love most.

Afterwards, we all hung out at Val's, refueling and rehydrating while watching the Olympics. I also let Ryan and Danielle's daughter, Sam, tackle me about 150 million times which was good fun. Little kids are almost as cool as dogs.

Ran 26.4 miles @ 10:20/mile pace. *excludes stops
Snowmobile trails, which went from soft to $%&#ing soft.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 20s to lower 40s, sunny, breezy.
New Balance MT1010, shorts, windbreaker (shed after five miles), long sleeved shirt, gloves (shed after five miles), cap.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Brewer Loop

Up in the Bangor area visiting family. Hit the Brewer loop, which was a compromise down. Not much energy for whatever reason, nor a lot of motivation. Plus, I'm really, really into Stephen King's "Cell" right now and cannot put it down. Kashwak No-Fo.

Read it. It's awesome.
But, I forced myself out for a short five miler. Of course, was glad I got out, even if I wasn't feeling peppy. The weather was beautiful, with it being warm, sunny and no wind to speak of. The only unpleasant thing was the constant slush and puddles from the melting snow from last night, but no big deal.

Ran 5.4 miles @ 8:26/mile pace.
Paved roads, constant slush and puddles.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker (shed half way), long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Car Tune-Up, Leg Tune-Up

Dropped off my car this morning for a tune-up. Then I ran home, taking a long way around since the place was only about a mile and a half away.

Roads were coated with snow and slush, and aside from the last few miles, my shoes barely met actual asphalt. Tempted to label it as a trail run, but I won't. Glad I wore my trail shoes though, that was the right call.

Was tempted to throw in a session of hill repeats on one steep climb, but when I got to it, it was coated in thicker snow and slush so I decided to just go on. It's getting time to start interjecting more speed into my workouts. The snowshoe running definitely helps with that, but getting in some more tempo work on the roads is now becoming very necessary. Not many training weeks left. However, I feel I've set up an excellent base to work off of, very stoked about that. I anticipate the speed will fall into place seamlessly.

Got home and was very happy to learn that Finland beat Russia. No medal for Putin. :-D

Tuukka is the man. Ovechkin, not so much. 
Ran 11.5 miles @ 8:37/mile pace.
Paved and dirt roads, coated with snow and slush.
Very hilly.
Lower 20s to lower 30s, partly sunny.
New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sneaking in a Recovery Run

Have the week off and not much planned for the winter break, but today was busy with heading to Portland for a student's playoff basketball game and various errands and chores. Still, snuck in a short recovery run on a beautiful afternoon.

My legs are beat. That was evident. Capable of the task and far from a slog, but just stuck in a low gear. Hardly a surprise. That means a rest day tomorrow, and good timing since we're going to get socked with another snow storm.

Likely will do hill repeats Wednesday or Thursday. Would also like to get in a 15 miler on one of those days.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Upper 20s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

2014 Bradbury White Out Snowshoe Race Report

Expectations were pretty low for yesterday's race because of the recent high mileage, so with that I felt pretty relaxed. Still, it went very well. I was definitely a few minutes slower but I still managed a higher place than expected. 

The course was a little over four and a half miles and a lot of it was single track. With the new snow, the trenches were deep, however, Mindy and Val had stomped down several passing lanes in key spots and there were also a couple of wider snowmobile paths. It was perfect. One of the best courses (and conditions) I've ever raced on. 

The First Half
Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
I started out very conservatively, not worrying about jockeying for opening position. I knew that was a risk with the wide starting path turning a sharp left on to single track about a tenth of a mile later, but it worked out fine. On the single track, a few other runners graciously stepped aside and when we reached the Old Tuttle Road path, I utilized the passing lanes and passed a few more folks. 

I now had breathing room from here on out, not part of any congo lines and while others were in sight both in front and behind, I was essentially alone. On the Fox East trail, I passed my friend Scott H. who wasn't feeling well at all and didn't have a good day, unfortunately. 

Reddish Hair Fellow was in front of me now and I worked on trying to reel him in. I had been running a fast but relatively comfortable pace throughout, hardly going all out since I felt doing so was not wise. To put it quite simply, my legs were tired from the past week. Capable of working, but just tired. So, I just chose to remain patient. 

With Scott not feeling well, it then occurred to me that I had a chance at an AG award, if one other fellow ahead of me would get top three, which was a real possibility. This gave me a little incentive. 

The Second Half
A long descent on a snowmobile trail with Reddish Hair Fellow holding me off about fifty feet ahead, and by the time I reached the bottom, I noticed Jen was gaining ground. Good. I figured she would beat me on this race anyway and she is so nice so I only wanted her to do well. 

We turned on to twisty trail that was a precursor to the even twistier O-Trail. I sensed I was gaining on Reddish Hair Fellow, but it was hard to gauge distance on these trails. 

We crossed over a snowmobile trail, and Reddish Hair Fellow, who had been out of sight because of the trees, was now seen heading down said snowmobile trail. I looked across the trail and noticed the course continued on single track, not down the way he was going. "THIS WAY! THIS WAY!" I shouted. He turned around. 

I had hoped Reddish Hair Fellow would catch back up. In most circumstances, there really isn't much honor in passing somebody simply because they made a wrong turn. He didn't make up the ground though. Really nice guy as well, I remembered him from previous races and also chatted with him afterwards. 

The O-Trail's notorious sharp and relentless turns made it a bit challenging to stay in the trenches. Jen had caught up and was now close, and we laughed at one section that was a ridiculous series of connecting Z's. Good, challenging fun. 

I moved over to let Jen get ahead and not too much later we were finally on the Knight Wood's Trail. While straight and wide, it was an uphill, so definitely no cakewalk ending to the finish. I kept Jen in sight while also stealing glances over my shoulder. I had apparently put on some distance on Reddish Hair Fellow. This was good, as I realized afterwards that he was in my age group. Whew.

Crossed the finish line. Was surprised to learn I came in seventh overall. I thought there were a few more folks ahead of me. Turns out there was at least one, the leader Andy K. went off course so he was out. Felt horrible for him, as he was a lock to win the series. I also confirmed that Chris D. was in the top three so that I meant I did get my AG. Sweet! I chose a bag of Wicked Joe's coffee. I'm sipping a cup now, it's awesome. 

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Winning coffee is always winning. 
Post Race Analysis
Awesome course. It was like the baby brother of last week's State Championship course with similar terrain and snow conditions, only shorter and not as much elevation. So with that, I was familiar and comfortable with the single track and knew to be patient for opportunities to pass on wider sections and lanes. 

I couldn't have done much better on tired legs. Of course, part of me wonders what I could have done if I hadn't of had a high mileage week, but no regrets. Looking at the forest and not the trees, this race combined with the mileage is excellent hay in the barn for Boston. 

Tactically, I think I played it out perfect. I was a bit lucky not to get "stuck" early into the race with my conservative start, thanks to the passing lanes and also runners graciously stepping aside in the beginning. 

Pretty proud of today. It also works out well that the week leading up to the Snowshoe National Championship will be a step down week so I should have fresh and peppy legs for that event. I hear the course is brutal, so I'm going to need it. 

Snowshoe Ran 4.5 miles @ 11:00/mile pace. 
Official time: 49:51. 
Overall place: 7th out of 61
Trails, loosely packed single track with a few loosely packed snowmobile trail sections. 
Moderately hilly. 
Mid to upper 20s, sunny. 
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

This Run Fueled by Adrenaline from T.J. Oshie

If you missed the USA vs. Russia Olympic hockey game, do yourself a favor and watch the replay, even if you know the outcome. It was absolutely epic, perhaps the second most epic Olympic hockey game ever played (same teams, and same outcome). It probably won't make Putin consider giving Kraft his ring back, but good egg on that dirtbag's face all the same. 

Back to running... the excitement of that game got me jazzed for my run. I still kept the pace really, really easy, even though I could have easily gone much faster. My seven day now stands at 71.8 miles, so while my legs do feel relatively great, they'll still be far from fresh for tomorrow's snowshoe race. I'm fine with that. Will go out hard and with all I have tomorrow, but the goal is really just to have fun since I don't feel I have anything to prove. 

Today's run was also the first in the brand new pair of Saucony Virratas. Same model as the last ones, just different colors. Great longer distance road shoe, I got 739 miles out of the last pair, no doubt these ones will serve me just as well. 

Ran 8.1 miles @ 8:24/mile pace. 
Paved roads, some patches of slush. 
Mostly flat. 
33F/1C, overcast. 
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, buff, gloves. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Slushy Fifteen

Didn't realize it until I uploaded today's run, but over the past seven days I've run 71.3 miles. That'll make Sunday's snowshoe race interesting, but I'm not going to let it distract me. Still going to run it hard, but at the same time, knowing I have this much mileage under my belt recently helps take the pressure off. I can just relax more and have fun with it.

Nice run today to boot. School was called off, so nice to get out the door by late morning. The snow had stopped and the road shoulders were at least two thirds slush for the distance, but wearing the trail shoes for extra grip was the perfect call. Several snowplows still out putting the finishing touches on the roads.

Kept the pace wicked easy because of the slush and puddles and to also save them a bit for Sunday's race. Very happy with how this week is panning out.

Ran 15.4 miles @ 8:34/mile pace.
Paved roads, at least 2/3's slush and puddles.
Moderately hilly.
Mid to lower 30s, overcast to partly sunny, windy.
New Balance MT1010, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


School was called at noon because of the incoming snowstorm. By the time I got home, it was starting to come down pretty hard. Sweet. Strapped on the snowshoes and headed out.

Was mostly on softly packed snowmobile trails with increasing amounts of snow but I did break trail for one quarter of a mile section.

I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed this run. That peaceful ambience of being out alone in the middle of the woods with it snowing pretty heavily really connects with something primal. I was relishing every second of it. I love winter. Great workout to boot.

Snowshoe ran 7.2 miles @ 11:42/mile pace.
Trails, loosely packed snowmobile trails. One short unbroken section.
Very hilly.
Lower 20s, overcast, moderate to heavy snowfall.
Dion 121 snowshoe, New Balance MT1010, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, buff (neck), beanie, mittens.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rest Day

I decided to take a rest day today. Logically, it's smart. Emotionally, I hate it. Just want to absorb the 41 miles over the past three days.

That is all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Twenty

Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. Today I ate the bear. My legs felt fresh like seafood just off the boat and I had more energy than a first grader after eating two sticks of cotton candy.

I pondered why I felt so good, but it didn't take long to figure out why. The past two weeks have been low mileage weeks (39.8 and 44.4 respectively) and while each featured a race, I didn't really do any other speed work.

So, the energy made sense for today and today's workout made sense. Good to give the legs a long run that they needed at a moderate pace. There should be plenty of time to absorb it before Sunday's snowshoe race as well. All good timing.

Hands started to feel a bit chilly there toward the end. Finished off the run by doing laps around the school for the comfort factor. Was glad to get in the car and warm up once done. Stopped for chocolate milk on the way home, my favorite recovery drink and it really hit the spot.

Ran 20.1 miles @ 7:41/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 20s to upper teens, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Light Day

Just five and a half on tap today to recover from the weekend. This precedes a bit of front loading, as I plan to do a long run tomorrow so it can be absorbed in time for Sunday's snowshoe, allowing me to still get in my planned weekly mileage.

Run went well. Lets felt pretty springy and fresh, more so than expected. Nice out as well. Yet another fine day to be outside.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 7:36/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 20s, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

A Run on Tired Legs

Legs were far from wiped out after yesterday's race, but still an expected amount of tiredness. Good to run on worked legs.

Route circumnavigated Harris Farm, and I caught several different glimpses of Nordic skiers enjoying great snow conditions on a beautiful day. Can't believe I haven't been out yet.

I've changed my mind about not doing the rest of the Bradbury Snowshoe series. I had originally decided against it so I could get in more mileage for Boston, but I've worked out a plan around that... will frontload the upcoming week a bit more and also get in a run after the race next Sunday. Snowshoe racing is just too much fun... I can't pass up another chance to compete, especially with how awesome the Bradbury series is.

Ran 15.4 miles @ 8:28/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower to upper 20s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

2014 Maine State Snowshoe Championships Race Report

What a fun day. Kate and I were on the road a little after 5am to head up to Rangeley for the Maine State Snowshoe Championships. After around three hours of driving through beautiful countryside which turned to foothills which turned to mountains, we were there. Some of our Trail Monster contingent was already there and most of the rest showed up minutes after we arrived.

Checked in and hung out in the cozy yurt and chatted with others. It soon became warm-up time and John R. joined me on the groomed trails for about a mile and a half.

A good chunk of the field.

Miles 1-2

The start.
The 10k course would meander and roll up a larger hill and then undulate its way back down. It was mostly snowshoe trails with a few sections of groomed XC ski trails thrown in. The field was small, with 23 runners, but stacked with many fast folks.

Wide starting line and first several hundred feet which lessened the need for jockeying for opening position. Relaxed and just went out with what felt right and ended up behind Ian and Scott by the time we hit the single track.

The single track throughout was snowshoe packed, but scattered with hidden potholes that were undetectable. The snow would look even with no sign of anything abnormal, and then WHOMP! A snowshoe would suddenly sink a foot down and risk tripping an unsuspecting runner. Miraculously, I never went down, though many did. Just made it challenging and kept me on my toes.

The single track then met up with a stretch of cross country ski trails which was icy and fast.

Miles 2-4
The faster ski trails allowed me to catch up to Ian and Scott, who had begun pulling away a little on the previous single track section. Catching up to me and passing were the first and second women, including Jennifer V. I motioned with my hands that the girl in front was her target, only because Jennifer is a friend and I wanted her to win (but the other girl was really nice).

The trail turned up a long climb, and by the time we got back on to single track, a large pack of us had formed, including myself, Ian, Scott, Jennifer, Chuck, other girl, another guy formed a pack not necessarily in that order.

We caught up and passed one fellow shortly before the 5K mark. All the while here I was feeling great. I suspect Ian and Scott were taking the brunt of the work by being out in front... sure, the trail was packed but we in the middle and back of our group obviously had it a little more smoothed out. I wondered if Ian would want to stop leading at some point and in retrospect I should have offered to take a turn out in front, but also wasn't sure if that was indeed a factor.

Miles 5-6
Our congo line continued. Normally, I absolutely hate congo lines, especially in snowshoe races, but they are inevitable at times, especially if it's single track and the trench is pretty deep like on this course. But I was actually really enjoying it, I think because I wasn't suffering and was actually chatting with Chuck and the other girl for a bit. Normally I can only grunt.

Things got interesting in the final mile. The course, which had been very straightforward suddenly turned to confusion. Right after we crossed a ski trail, Ian second guessed if we were to head down the single track or the ski trail. So did we all. We all stopped and worked together to decide. In doing so, Ryan and another runner had caught up. We decided on the single track and a hundred feet later we saw the 8K sign, which verified the right direction. Whew.

Our pack was now huge, and with knowing we were getting close to the end the pace on the downhill also picked up with a sense of urgency. Some more route confusion which resulted in a bit more distance on single track trails, but whatever, it was fun.

Final Sprint
I knew we'd eventually hit a wide, fast, groomed XC ski trail that lead to the finish. As expected, when we hit that section, our pack full-on kicked it in for the final couple tenths of a mile to the finish. I managed to get out in front along with Jennifer, who managed to edge me by 8/10 of a second at the finish line. Major props to her for being first woman and pulling me to a faster time. Very stoked for her. Didn't realize it until I saw the photo, but Ian and Chuck were right at my heels. That was a huge dogfight, we were all within seconds of each other.

Crossing the line. 
Ian and I with post-race icy beards and sweatcicles.
Went into the hut to warm up a bit and change clothes. John and I then went back out to wait for Kate to come in. She finished strong and was grateful for the experience.

Major thank you to the race directors and volunteers. Great course and very fun event. The high quality wool beanies were perfect age group awards and reason enough alone to run the race.

Post Race Analysis
Very, very relaxed mindset without an ounce of nervousness which was a complete and total opposite of the nerves I had leading up to last weekend's MWC. Why? A few reasons: I knew qualifying for nationals would be pretty easy to do. Perhaps first and foremost was that I was simply burned out on stressing out after last weekend, which enabled me to simply enjoy this event.

The relaxed mindset allowed me to be patient and just have fun. Really couldn't have done anything different for the better. No tactical mistakes made and I'm quite proud of my final sprint there at the end.

Bring on Nationals!

Snowshoe Ran 6.2 miles @ 10:00/mile pace.
Official time: 1:01:37
Overall place: 6th of 23
AG place (40-44): 1st of 2
Trails, mostly snowshoed single track and a few sections of groomed Nordic trails.
Very hilly.
Mid teens, sunny, windy.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, buff (neck), beanie, mittens.

w/u: Snowshoe Ran 1.5 miles @ 9:10/mile pace (Nordic trails).

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Afternoon 'Choo

Came home, strapped on the snowshoes and went for a run. Had to rebreak in my connector trail which was tough work given the nearly one foot of powder that fell yesterday. Once that was done, it connects to a snowmobile trail. Even still, the snow was quite soft. Sans snowshoes would have no doubt just been a postholing mess.

Run went okay. Energy was a bit down. Just didn't feel very peppy, despite it being gorgeous out. I think that was mostly because I haven't snowshoed in loose conditions in several weeks and I just wasn't used to it. Still have a lingering cold to boot. No big deal though.

State championship is on Saturday, so nothing strenuous for tomorrow. Perhaps another snowshoe run no longer than what I did today. Excited for the race, should be a lot of fun.

Snowshoe ran 5.2 miles @ 12:56/mile pace.
Trails, unbroken with about a foot of fresh powder and loosely packed snowmobile trails.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014


As expected, school was called off today. But let me rewind a bit... Yesterday's second run never happened. I was so wiped out from waking up ridiculously early and it caught up to me big time in the afternoon.

Normally, I would have viewed it as a challenge and another mental victory by sucking it up and running as planned. However, the circumstances were different. Kate's birthday is today but we had her celebration dinner planned for last night. It would have been incredibly selfish and rude to take her out in a zombified state with glazed over eyes and a brain stuck in slow motion, capable only of monosyllabic words at best with a risk of drooling whenever my mouth opened.

So, instead I came home and took an hour nap which was the perfect reboot. For insurance, I had a shot of espresso. Then we headed over to Miyake for an incredible dinner and a really great evening. The six course meal was nothing short of epic and though it's something we can only really afford on special occasions, it was worth every cent.
Pictures Kate took of her meal. 
And now... today. Woke up with a pulled/strained/whatever shoulder muscle which had me sleeping uneasy, so I was up pretty early (though not as much as yesterday). I hit the woods as soon as it was light out. The snow had just started so I wanted to take advantage of running on the trails for one workout, knowing I might go out later in snowshoes to break in my connector trail.

It went well. Very pretty out and of course I had the woods all to myself. Also caught a very fleeting glimpse of a snowshoe hare; I wasn't sure what I saw until I approached the area and saw the tracks. Fun run.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 10:18/mile pace.
Trails, packed snow with 1/2" of fresh powder, increasing to 1"-2".
Very hilly.
20F/-7C, overcast, moderate to heavy snow.
New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, buff (for neck), beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Predawn Bonus Run

Woke up a little before 2am with indigestion, and despite the help of some Tums I couldn't fall back asleep. Crap. Then I thought, why not run? Would be a good way to get in some bonus mileage. After two cups of espresso, off I went.

Just 5K, and would normally be junk miles, but given I'm just two days out from the MWC, this was great further recovery mileage. Pace ended up being a bit quick, which for an early morning run is quite unusual for me. Good sign.

Will likely get in another 5-7 miles this afternoon on the trails behind my house.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 7:42/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
10F/-12C, clear skies. 
Saucony Virrata, windbreaker*, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, long tights, beanie, gloves, refl. vest.
* windbreaker was excessive, but wanted something bright colored along with the reflective vest. 

Monday, February 03, 2014

Hair of the Dog

Recovery miles on tap to loosen the legs up. Just the usual soreness after yesterday. Felt good to go out and take it extremely easy and unwind the muscles.

Run itself was pretty uneventful, aside from an annoying dog that kept trying to swoop in if I gave it the chance. Never a real threat, but I was thankful for the work van that stopped and then provided a moving barricade by keeping my pace as I ran on. I was really impressed how the driver and I were on the exact same page with no words spoken. I can only guess he must also be a runner. Gave him a thumbs up and he returned a head nod once it was clear. Nice of him to stop and help out.

Came across fellow teacher, Matt M. who was running with his dog, a much friendlier one, as I was finishing up. Didn't realize it was him until he was a few feet away.

Looks like I'll be trail running behind my house tomorrow, probably hitting the seven mile loop. Will likely snowshoe run the same loop on Wednesday with the storm we're supposed to get. Looks like school will be called off, and it'll be nice to romp around in some much needed snowfall.

Ran 5.8 miles @ 8:58/mile.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 30s, overcast.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

2014 Mid-Winter Classic Race Report

Topping last year's time of 1:03:45 would be tough, but that was the goal. The planets aligned last year to make it one of those races that takes one by pleasant surprise. Working for me this year was excellent fitness and lower weight, both better than last year. Also, the weather was very ideal; around 40 degrees, overcast and no wind. Working against me was a lot of mileage lately, specifically a big month in January that included a lot of snowshoe running and a 71 mile week last week. Also, I woke up with a head cold.. coughing up colored mucus. Crap.

It all went well though. At the risk of being somewhat anti-climatic, I didn't break my time, but I did accomplish something I haven't done at this race before.


Mile One
It became obvious that the race was more stacked this year than last. Lot's of folks out in front. Hooked up with Mike A. and rode his shoulder for a bit. Very fast, as this mile is downhill and the Garmin had me at 6:11.

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Miles Two to Four
Mile two has a set of rolling hills that are tough. It became obvious they took their toll on a few who went out too fast. Mike A. started to pull away here, as I figured he would. Was feeling pretty good overall during this stretch. Gloves were starting to bug me and as I came up on the water station, I looked to see if there was someone I knew. Thankfully, Sarah S. was there, and I ditched them with her.

Mile three had less hills and mile four is downhill and fast. Garmin splits reflect that: 6:38, 6:24 and 6:11. That mile two split is always my slowest one of the race, which held true today as well.

Linked up with a very tall fellow in an orange shirt here who was good company and we pulled each other along.

Miles Five to Seven
Continued to run with Tall Fellow for mile five. Split was 6:20 which was on track but I was starting to feel tired here. Wouldn't call the mindset ugly, but it wasn't exactly positive. Miles six and seven were slower, 6:26 and 6:29 respectively. Wasn't happy about that.

Got a boost when I saw Mindy somewhere into mile six, I think? She cheered loudly (thanks Mindy!) and I ditched the buff I was wearing. It was here that Ward B. and his brother caught up and we exchanged hellos. I was stoked to see him, he was THE reason I ran so well last year, providing an excellent pull. He offered some very kind words of encouragement and tried to get me to ride his shoulder but I was struggling a bit now and couldn't hang on.

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Miles Eight through Nine
Pace continued to dip. Was very surprised nobody passed me here. Splits were 6:35 and 6:36 respectively and I doubted even breaking 1:05 was possible. Looking back, I'm pretty disappointed in myself for the negative mindset here. It was a bit excessive.
Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Mile Ten

Kind of got my mojo back. Split was around 6:20. Head aligned and was thinking more positive. Downhill helped pick up the pace and though there was an uphill, knowing I was almost done allowed me to pour it all into going up. Was passed by a younger fellow here and had no chance of catching him, but it didn't bother me.

Left hand turn to the school and I stole a glance over my shoulder and nobody even close behind. Good. Still, used the downhill to the finish and hammered with what I had left. Crossed in 1:04:24, good enough for 34th overall... and third in my age group. Sweet! Thank you faster folks in my category for not showing up, I was really, really stoked to place in my AG. Never have done that in this race before. It's always stacked with some of the fastest in the area, so I'm honored.

Immediately after the race, chatted with the younger fellow who passed me. Really great guy. Turns out we were both born in the same city (Charlottesville, VA) and hospital. Talked with a few others as well, and had to excuse myself during one conversation to walk over to a snow bank and puke. Never a real race unless I toss my cookies afterwards.

Post race awards and I received a really nice scarf for getting third in my AG. That was nice. Big thanks to the RDs and volunteers who put on a terrific event. So many people had a great time. And of course big thanks to my wife and many friends who cheered me on.

The Cheat approves of the scarf, and so do I.
Post Race Analysis
As I mentioned, the recent high mileage combined with a head cold were obstacles, so taking that into consideration I'm pretty stoked.

Looking at the photos taken during the race, my form looked very sloppy. Head games lead to lack of discipline. Will be mindful of form for the next several weeks... doing stride work should also help with that.

Glad I went out pretty quick and did my best to hold on. Wheels didn't come off but did get wobbly there from miles 6-9, but with fresher legs and not having brown crap in my mucus I don't think that would have happened. I'm convinced I'm in better shape now than I was last year. It's all about Boston, and I'm on a good track.

Rode runner's shoulders when I could and that helped. It always goes without saying, but I don't take for granted how gracious and good sports runners in our sport usually are. It is so uncommon when you come across a real jerk. Yeah, it happens, but looking at the forest and not the trees it is extremely rare.

Ran 10.0 miles @ 6:27/mile pace.
Official time: 1:04:24
Overall place: 34 of 779
AG place (40-44): 3rd of 58
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Around 40 degrees, overcast.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, sleeveless shirt, short sleeved shirt, buff (ditched at mile six), gloves (ditched at mile three).

w/u: Ran 1.3 miles @ 7:30/mile pace.
c/d: Ran 1.0 miles @ 9:54/mile pace.