Friday, November 30, 2007

I Probably Shouldn't Have, But.... felt awesome. I decided to turn my planned 15 mile run into a 20 miler today after work. Probably not smart given the problems lately, but didn't feel any signs of trouble recently or during the run. Hopefully that'll still be the case tomorrow. Hee hee.

My friend and fellow teacher Tom ran 13 of the 20 miles with me, a new distance PR for him. I ran at his pace during that time, which was good for me to keep it a bit slower. Running with Tom is fun. He's one of those guys that you can talk into doing more miles since he doesn't like to back off a challenge. Today was a great example of that. Tom had planned on maybe doing 10. But it didn't take much at all to get him to do a bit more, and as always, he was glad he did.

A big reason for deciding to do today's distance was to get in a 20+ miler for November, which I hadn't done yet. I want to build a new streak of doing at least one a month, which was interrupted twice this year by the knee surgery and again after recovering from the Vermont 100. Today's run marks the third month in a row. Here's to many more (raise glasses of your finest ales, now drink).

Hopefully I will continue to feel okay without any major setbacks, as there is some work to be done in the months ahead. Tomorrow Stephen, James and I will find out if we got into the Western States 100 and we we will convene at Stephen's house and await for the news. Keep yer fingers crossed for us! But if I don't get in, I like my back-up plan just about as much. More on all of that tomorrow.

Ran 20.2 miles @ 8:49/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (forgot my strap)
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid to lower 30s, clear skies.
Long pants, fleece jacket over long sleeved wicking shirt, reflective vest, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Nice Fiver

Ran today with a coworker at his pace. Knees felt great and so did everything else. Hopefully this will continue! Will be taking tomorrow off as I have a dentist appointment, but am planning on a longer distance on Friday.

Springvale Loop at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

Ran 5.o miles @ 8:07/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 145/168
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, cloudy.
Long pants, fleece jacket over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie, reflective vest, gloves (off and on).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Dam Run

The rest has appeared to do the knees some good, so I set out for a trail run today behind the house. About half a mile in, I couldn't help but notice the stream I normally hop across was much, much wider. I looked over and noticed the small pool of water that collects before dumping into the stream was now a small pond. Looking a hundred yards further, I saw a new beaver den. Cool. If this keeps up, I'll have a new fly fishing spot this spring.

A few miles later along the fire road I reached the lake, which is starting to freeze over. I tested the thickness by first throwing a large stick, which slid a dozen feet and didn't break the ice. Did the same with a bigger stick with the same result. Now a small log. When it impacted the ice, it only left a small hole before sliding across and colliding with the other two sticks as if they were bowling pins.

Headed back and and added an extension towards the end which crosses the aforementioned bog. The water level has just about submerged the snowmobile bridge, which made the crossing tricky. When I was just about across, my foot broke through the ice and submerged in icy water. Great.

Reached a pond where I sometimes go fishing at, and noticed the beaver dams here were still intact. Could the beaver have moved down the brook into the bog? Was it an offspring from this family? Another beaver altogether? Guess I'll never know, but stuff like this makes trail running fun.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 8:20/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 152/173
Trails and fire roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 30s, partly to mostly cloudy.
Long pants, fleece jacket over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie.

On a side note, I exported my GPS data to Google earth. It shows the route as being 11 miles, which is three too long. It also shows some roads which don't exist (Jellerson Road dead ends long before and CC Road is a fire road through protected woodland).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I haven't really said much about it, but I've had some ongoing knee discomfort on both of my knee caps for a couple of months now. It's not overly painful, just annoying. I've finally had enough, and after some research I've self-diagnosed myself as having a classic case of "runner's knee(s)". Fortunately, it doesn't appear to be that big of a deal. Probably along the severity of shin splints, based on what I've read. So, aggressive icing, ibuprofen, and cutting back on the running for the next two weeks are in order. That and some new running shoes. No real worries though.

On another note, I've come across a couple of running stories/videos that really underscore determination and unselfishness. The first is a high school girl who breaks her leg at a meet several dozen feet before the finish line. That doesn't stop her though, as she scrambles on her hands and knees to the finish. Awesome. Now that is grit and determination. It happens 1:40 into the below video (or -5:35 by the counter). You can also read the story and see an edited down version of the video here. Definitely a must see (and read).

I also came across the below video while doing some research on the Comrades Ultramarathon in South America. It's the largest ultra in the world, with 12,000 competitors from around the globe running a distance of 56 miles. The race is notorious for it's strict enforcement of the 12-hour cutoff and the below video shoes the final few minutes of the race last year. :48 into it (or -4:25), you'll see a group of runners unselfishly carrying another runner across the finish line. I can only imagine these folks put their own finishes at risk to help a fellow runner who they probably didn't even know. Truly incredible, and defines the spirit of ultramarathoning. It's followed by a couple of other instances where runners appear to be helping each other out, and then the obvious dejection by those who didn't make the cut-off. Simply amazing to watch.

POST EDIT: Yikes. After further research, I learned that the man that was being carried died. I assume that the article is about him. Very sad. I assumed it was just a guy who had bonked pretty badly.

Monday, November 19, 2007


It's been a while since I've put the pedal down a little, so decided to make today's run a tempo run. Just did a quick five miles around the block from the school. As expected, first three miles felt tough but the last two were cake. Just need time to warm up in this cooler weather. Probably would have been smarter to allow two or three miles at a slow pace for that purpose.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:13/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/172
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast.
Long pants, fleece jacket over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Sunday Slaughter

Today's run was quite the opposite of yesterday's, hence the title of this post (albeit a little overly dramatic, but it fit in nicely with yesterday's title). Not a brisk pace, but still a fast one given the technical trails we were running on. I felt great throughout and simply enjoyed it. Just the kind of run I needed, and my buddy Stephen definitely was a big help. We met up at Bradbury Mountain at 7am and disappeared into the woods on a sunny, cool morning. Temperature was 20 degrees when we started, which turned Stephen's water to slushy ice later into the run. My bottle was insulated on my running belt and was spared of any freezing.

The trails are very windy and full of rocks and roots which help keep the pace slow. The hills are relatively small, but constantly rolling. The combination of these two factors make for some technical trails that are a blast to run on.

As we cruised along, we chatted about hunting, fly fishing, teaching ethics, and of course ultras and the ultra scene. Both of us have our hats in the ring for the Western States 100, and we both are also going to run Massanutten 100 as a back-up. We'll find out in less than two weeks who's doing what.

Afterwards, we headed over to a local breakfast place in Cumberland to meet up with Stephen's wife, Kellh, and their two kids, Riley and Quinn. Riley's little 3 year old eyes lit up when she spotted me in the parking lot and she ran over and jumped into my arms, asking me to carry her. At the risk of sounding very corny, I've never been big on the idea of having kids myself, but that little girl always makes me think it wouldn't be bad someday after all. Cute kid.

Ran 10.3 miles @ 9:08/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/164
Technical trails.
Very hilly.
20 degrees to start, lower 30s to end. Sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket over long sleeved tech shirt over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie, gloves (off and on).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Saturday Slog

Rust? Low endocrine system? Low iron? Lack of certain vitamins? Worn out shoes? Not warmed up properly? All are questions I asked to myself during today's run, which felt difficult.

The bright side is the low point was felt in the middle two miles, where I took a few walk breaks. I actually felt pretty good the last two and half miles.

Runs like these make me appreciate the runs more where all cylinders are firing. I'll be there again soon. Rest assured a trip to the grocery store today will fill my kitchen with health food.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 8:08/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 144/169
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, sunny, windy.
Long pants, fleece jacket over long sleeved tech shirt, beanie, gloves (worn off and on).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Garbage Week Musings

Crappy week for running for me so far. Just very busy, which is making the excuses come easy. Not a good cycle to get into, and I don't plan on letting it last long. Looking forward to a good run tomorrow and a longer one Sunday with the Trail Monster crew. Speaking of the gang, check out my good friend Ian's race report from the Stonecat 50 and wish him congrats. It was his first 50 and he rocked it.

New statistics are out for the Western States 100 lotto. Turns out with the increased number of entrants this year, there is only a 16% chance of getting in! That's less than half of what it was last year (37%). Bit of a bummer the chance is smaller, but on the other hand, there are some significant positives if I don't get in. For one, I'd run the Massanutten 100 instead. Doing so would mean cheaper travel since it's down in Virginia. Also, it'd allow an extra month to get ready for the Vermont 100, which I would love to do again this year. Either way, I have a good race plan to look forward to.

So on December 1st when the lotto takes place, James and I will gather over at Stephen's house and watch our fates unfold online as the lucky runners are selected and posted online as the names are drawn. Well, fate is a bit strong of a word. But it'll be a fun time regardless of what happens and I hope at least one of us gets in. No doubt 2008 will be a memorable running year like this one has been so far.

Happy running!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Morning Run in Rockland

I'm up in Rockland for a conference, staying at a pretty swanky hotel with an amazing view of the ocean and two lighthouses from my room. I was musing during my run that I travel much more as a teacher than I ever did in my prior career as a news producer. Funny.

The conference ran late last night and unfortunately I wasn't able to run. But I was psyched to wake up this morning and get in a few laps around the golf course, admiring the views of the ocean as I trotted along at a slow pace. I'm never good with speed on the earlier morning runs.

A bit of an auspicious end to the run when I walked up to what I thought was the sliding glass door to my room but it wasn't. Dressed in all black and wearing a beanie, I think I scared some poor woman to death who was still in bed. Oops. I yelled sorry and walked away quickly, my face redder than the rising sun.

Ran 6.2 miles @ 8:12/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (forgot to pack my HR strap)
Paved and dirt golf cart paths.
Moderately hilly.
40 degrees, dawn, partly cloudy.
Clothing: Long pants, fleece jacket over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie (felt overdressed).

Sunday, November 11, 2007


My run today was cut short due to GI issues. That aside, I just wasn't feeling it and the heart rate was up higher than it should have been. Oh well, no big deal. Good thing I cut it short and I'll reevaluate things tomorrow.

Ran 5.7 miles @ 8:02/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/169
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 30s, sunny.
Clothing: Long pants, fleece jacket over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hanging Out at the Stonecat 50

I headed down to Massachusetts today to root on some friends running the in the Stonecat 50 mile and trail marathon. A big congrats to Ian and Erik for completing their first 50-milers and making it look easy. Ian's wife, Emma, also placed first woman in the trail marathon and Mark's wife was second. Way to go!

While everyone else was out there doing all the work, Mark and I engaged in some great running conversation for a few hours. Great to see him and and a few other folks there I hadn't seen in a while.

In the late afternoon, Emma and I hiked in about two miles into the course where we met Ian coming in the opposite way and we ran back with him to the finish. I had a hard time keeping up, as he still had a lot left in the tank. Into the training log those miles go:

Ran ~2.0 miles @ ~9:00/mile pace.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, dusk with partly cloudy skies.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Nice and Chilly

I'm really loving this weather. Even more so, I'm loving that my daily runs are getting back up there in the mileage department. After the muscles warm up and I'm on the back country roads, the mind begins to wander into a meditative state while the legs find a comfortable pace and hold it. Yes sir, life is good.

Ran 10.1 miles @ 7:51/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 144/161
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast.
Clothing: athletic shorts over compression shorts, fleece jacket over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie, reflective vest.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fifteen Before Dark

I'm quite pleased with this run, not so much for the distance or pace, but because I did it on a big lack of a good night's sleep. For whatever reason, I woke up at 1:40am and could not return to slumberland (I probably fell asleep around 9pm). But throughout the day, I kept psyching myself up for the run and sincerely looked forward to it, despite being very tired. That was enough, and I felt great throughout.

I faced a pretty brisk headwind along with a very gradual uphill for the first half of the run. But as I turned around to head back south on the return, I enjoyed the wind at my back and the gradual downhill. Dusk was well under way by the time I returned. Thank goodness for reflective vests.

Great run. Likely won't run tomorrow because of a dentist appointment, but I'm on track for my plan of 50 miles this week. Looking forward to 60 next week and then 70 the week after that.

I should note that the below elevation graph makes the route look much tougher than it actually is. It's misleading, as the climb and descent is actually very gradual, hence the "slightly hilly" rating.

Ran 15.0 miles @ 7:41/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 151/164
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Clothing: athletic shorts over compression shorts, fleece jacket over short sleeved tech shirt, beanie, reflective vest.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Night Creeps Closer

With the clocks now set back an hour, timing is crucial in order to take advantage of the daylight. Fortunately, we're allowed to leave at 2:15pm, so I imagine I have it easier then most folks. Still, a teacher's work is never done, and what is nice about leaving at 2:15pm is when I return to the school, almost everyone is gone and I can get things done uninterrupted, which is nice. But I digress. The days will only get shorter until the winter solstice and several of my after school runs will be longer. Like last year, the headlamp will be seeing a lot of use in the weeks to come.

I went out with my friend and fellow teacher Tom today and ran at his pace, which is getting much faster. Good for him, and it works out nicely for me having someone to run with after school. This route is extremely hilly, and a great buttkicker. Fun workout and great weather.

Ran 10.7 miles @ 8:17/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/171
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 40s, partly cloudy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Turkeys Galore

I fought off my Sunday morning lethargic mood and got in a pretty decent run. Great morning for it. Noel has headed north, and the storm left sunny skies in its wake. By the way, nothing impressive in my neck of the woods. Just some wind gusts near 40 mph and about an inch of rain.

First mile is slightly rolling and then it climbs steadily for the next two. When I got to the top, I counted 19 turkeys in a field off the side of the road. Cool to see.

Pleased with how my heart rate has been looking the past few weeks. I'm seeing some improvement overall. Nothing drastic, but definitely there. Good signs.

Planning on running tomorrow and delaying my rest day until Tuesday, since we're supposed to have a cold rain then.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:31/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 152/168
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny, breezy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Isn't it a Bit Early for "Noel"?

I canceled a mountain run/hike/whatever with some friends today because of Hurricane Noel, which will pass by the coast this evening and bring with it rain and high winds. I live about 30 minutes from the coast, and we're supposed to get gusts over 55 mph this evening. Conditions up in the mountains looked pretty bad in their own right, so I opted out of the trek. As far as I know, my friends still set out as planned. They are definitely much heartier than I am!

So instead, I opted for a medium-long run today and will also drive by the coast in a few hours to check out the waves. If I get some good pictures, I will post them later. As for the run, it was a good one. I wasn't feeling particularly speedy today, but I still felt good and the miles came along easily. Overcast and cool out, a bit breezy but nothing bad at all yet. It's always nice to run alongside the Saco River for a little bit. Another few miles tomorrow and I'll meet my 40 mile goal for the week. Shooting for 50 next week, then 60 the week after.

Ran 14.4 miles @ 7:50/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/166
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
40 degrees, overcast.