Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Progression Run on the Hills

Temperatures were around 30 degrees cooler today than yesterday's temps in the lower 90s. Not only did this feel great, but it also made a big difference in the heart rate. Today's run was longer, faster, and much hillier, yet the average heart rate was eight beats less per minute compared to yesterday.

I felt a little creaky at the beginning of the run, but I loosened up during the first big climb and the pace picked up pretty easily. Easy to maintain the progression on the latter part of the run which was pretty much all downhill. Good run.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:31/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/167
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Record Heat

Hard to believe it was into the lower 90s this afternoon. Blazing hot for late-April, let alone any other time of the year. At least it was a very dry heat (humidity 21%) and there was a strong breeze blowing. As a result, the sweat evaporated instantly off the skin while running. My shirt was still nearly bone dry at the end of the run.

Good to run in the heat though. Dry heat is pretty common for the Western States 100, so might as well take advantage of getting used to it when I can. Let's just hope no wildfires get sparked this time.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 158/172
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 90s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

101.2 Miles for the Week

I know this sounds dorky, but I woke up feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. I was really looking forward to a short run to get me over 100 miles for the week. Aside from the two 100-mile races I've done, I have never had a 100 mile week before in training.

What I'm most happy with is how comfortably I did it. Splitting up two of the days into doubles and taking it slow on yesterday's 30-miler really helped a lot. And while yesterday's run was at a comfortable crawl, I'm happy knowing I got in some faster runs during the week as well. Nothing close to tempo-pace, but still at least at my easy pace.

While I did feel a little creaky after waking up this morning, that soon dissipated and I took off to run three miles and did it very comfortably. I honestly felt great. I'm tempted to get in another high mileage week next week but will stick to my plan of backing off a bit to rest up for what's ahead starting mid-May.

Ran 3.0 miles @ 8:08/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, partly cloudy, humid.

Weekly total = 101.2 miles
M - 12.5
T - 5.1
W - 22.0 (double, 9 + 13)
H - 20.0 (double, 15.3 + 4.7)
F - 8.2
S - 30.4
S - 3.0

Saturday, April 25, 2009

30 at Pineland

Today's long run went really well. I was definitely tired, but overall I felt pretty good actually. I never was bonking and was able to simply enjoy the run. Keeping the pace slow definitely helped with that, obviously. I had planned on my 100-mile race pace, but I was actually a couple minutes per mile faster than that, but it still felt comfortable.

Neighbor Kate and I started at about a quarter past five in the morning, just as the sun was beginning to rise. Her plan was to do eight miles, and she actually got in a bit more than that and looked strong out there. Afterwards, I ran with Mindy for the duration and we were joined by Stephen not too much later. The three of us kept each other moving and we had a lot of fun out there. Several others were there for the group run as well, but many of them were doing shorter distances and consequently they were much faster (most would still smoke me on the longer distances, the Trail Monster talent pool runs deep).

My current weekly mileage total now stands at 98.2 and I still have tomorrow, which will feature a short run to get me past the century mark. Very, very pleased with how this week has gone. My body has held up fine and hopefully the training will pay some big dividends down the road. One thing is certain though... Mentally, this week has been a huge boost. My training had been coming along okay prior to this week, but I still felt I needed something else big. Now I'm pretty happy.

After tomorrow's little jaunt, I'll be in a bit of a taper mode, as I'm pacing Stephen at the Massanutten 100 in three weeks and am really looking forward to that. That'll mean a 37 mile run for me, and the week after, I'll be running the Pineland Farms 50-mile race. After that, it'll be tapering down again for the Western States 100. Yessir, it's all coming together.

Also worth noting there was a huge temperature swing today. Upper 30s at the start and upper 70s to end.

Ran 30.4 miles @ 11:40/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 127/152
Very hilly.
Upper 30s to upper 70s, mostly sunny.
Shorts, jacket, long sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt.. shedded down to shorts and sleeveless shirt.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hitting the Trails Out Back

After the past several runs on the roads, I was looking forward to hitting the trails this morning. I really enjoyed being out in the woods, especially with the weather as perfect as it was and the deer flies won't be around for another month or so.

I took it really slow on purpose to ensure I have energy for the long run tomorrow. Many sections of these trails are quite rugged and don't really allow for much speed anyway. Legs actually felt really good this morning, as did the energy. As a result, I was able to mosey along and enjoy the scenery, which included a couple of turkeys and a hawk of some kind.

Ran 8.2 miles @ 10:35/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 133/159
Trails, fire roads.
Very hilly.
Lower to upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Twenty More

Did another day of doubles. Foot continues to improve and felt back to "normal" today. That means no pain or discomfort at all while running and the foot only feels a little tight when I'm not running.

Next few runs will be very slow. Tomorrow I plan on eight slow miles on the trails out back. Saturday I plan on 30 miles on the trails at Pineland Farms and will run it at the pace I do 100-mile races (wicked slow, walking most uphills and running the rest slow). That will leave Sunday with only around three miles left to get over 100 miles for the week. I feel on track to reach this goal. Energy is great and the legs are tired, but feel up for the task.

Morning Run
Ran the Saco River route and purposely kept it very slow throughout to ensure I get through the day. Run felt very comfortable as a result. Battled a very strong headwind on the way back, which seemed to blow at it's hardest on the uphills.

Ran 15.3 miles @ 9:01/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (didn't feel like wearing strap)
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s to lower 50s, partly cloudy, very windy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, two short sleeved shirts.

Afternoon Run
Seemed especially short and sweet after the past handful of runs. Met a friendly dog while running who tried to run with me for a while but fortunately he turned back home.

Ran 4.7 miles @ 8:37/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 149/159
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 50s, mostly cloudy, very windy (gusts 30+ mph)
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2 for 22

Had a great day of running today. Did a double and felt strong on both runs and got in a total of 22.0 miles. Foot continues to improve. It felt pretty good for the morning run and even better for the afternoon run. Just confirms to me that Monday's flare up was indeed the result of forgetting to put the heel lift in.

Hilly route and tackled it feeling good. Morning started out cool but warmed up very quickly, and it was very humid as well. The long sleeved shirt I was wearing became overkill and I rolled the sleeves up and downed most of the bottle of the water I was carrying with me.

Ran 9.0 miles @ 8:23/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 142/154
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 40s to mid 50s, overcast to mostly cloudy, foggy and humid.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, refl. vest.

Still felt fine and energetic. Cruised along and the pace was only a few seconds slower per mile than the morning run, and it came easy. Started to cloud up, was glad I beat the rain that's expected a bit later.

Ran 13.0 miles @ 8:27/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/157
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 50s, mostly cloudy to overcast.
Shorts, singlet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mill of the Tread

It was pretty dreary all day today with a cold rain falling all day, so I figured it was a good opportunity to take advantage of my student privileges at the University of Southern Maine and use the gym's treadmill.

I haven't run on a treadmill in six years, so it took some getting used to. I didn't find it very exciting or fulfilling. Still, a good option when in a pinch. I should have thought of utilizing this option over the past few winters during the really bad weather days. Too bad I graduate this December and will lose access.

Foot felt much better. I'd say it's about 50% recovered from the other day, and today's run didn't aggravate it. The heal lift won't be forgotten again, that's for sure.

Ran 5.1 miles @ 8:20/mile pace overall. 7:54/mile pace the last four miles.
2.5% grade.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Adventures in Boston

Sometimes a plan doesn't always come together. While things didn't go as well for me as I had hoped, I'll gladly trade that for my ultramarathoning buddy John O'Connor doing well and successfully running not a double Boston Marathon, but a quadruple in order to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. It was a real honor to be able to do part of his run with him.

Also on the scene were Ian, Emma and Carter, who helped crew for John during his entire run. James was also there for a big chunk of it, and it was my plan to do a little over 30 miles with him but unfortunately things didn't pan out for me.

I met up at James' relatives house in Natick a little after 11pm, located just a few blocks away from the Boston Marathon course about 10 miles into the route. From there, we gathered our stuff and awaited a call from Emma, and at around midnight we were off to join John and the crew as they began the second leg of the Boston Marathon course heading towards the finish. Once at the finish, James and I had planned to wait for our buddy Stephen, who had planned on running a double starting at 5am.

Unfortunately, as James and I were getting ready, I realized I forgot my heal lift. Hmmm. I figured I could probably do the run without it and be okay, and improvised by making a homemade lift out of folded up newspaper. This flat out did not work, and I learned the hard way how much of a difference the heal lift makes for my running.

I started out okay though. We met up with the entourage and John was cruising along comfortably at around 11:00/mile pace. His energy was great! A friend of his who is a police officer led the way for us on his bike, stopping cars when needed and providing peace of mind knowing an officer was always there.

Ian, Emma and Carter also took turns running and driving their car. The vehicle team would zip ahead and meet the runners every 10-30 minutes or so, along with some other friends of John in a separate vehicle.

It was great to be able to run the Boston Marathon course and do so in the middle of the night when only the occasional car would pass by. Provided a good preview of sorts and it was fun to imagine the mayhem that would be ensuing hours later. I hope to qualify for Boston and run it next year, a monkey I'd really like to get off my back. I'm confident I can do it, just need to get in some marathon specific training and not ride on the ultra training. In other words, limiting the distance on longer runs and incorporating more speed work.

Anyway, it was a blast running with John and the others. The mood was jovial and the banter covered the usual entertaining topics. However, throughout the run my foot became less and less comfortable. By the time we reached heartbreak hill, it was apparent the PF had flared up and wasn't going to go away. Damn! I really kicked myself for forgetting the heal lift. I also have been a little lazy the past few days about stretching and strengthening for the PF, and I think those two factors teamed up on me and brought on a flare-up. However, I think it's forgetting the heal lift that accounted for most of it though. Foot will be fine though. Should be back to "normal" in a day or two, of that I'm confident.

So, not far after heartbreak hill I called it a night and rode in Ian and Emma's car and helped out with crewing. By the time they got to the finish line around 4am, James made the logical choice of not waiting around for Stephen, as we were all pretty cold during the run (temps in the lower-mid 30s, but it seemed colder). James wanted to keep moving, as just standing still for a few minutes brought on shivering. Stephen was cool with this, and opted not to do the double. He has had a nasty cold lately, so this was probably for the best. However, he did great in the marathon, finishing in under 3:30 despite that.

I stopped crewing during the return trip to the Boston start line when we reached James' family house in Natick. By the way, his family was great! Very friendly and awesome hosts. Big thanks to them for feeding us and letting us rest there.

After a small nap, we awoke and watched the elite women. Fun to see my friend Devon among them. After they were off, we walked over to the course and cheered her on as she flew by and went on to finish in well under three hours. Excellent performance, especially with the headwind that all the runners faced throughout the run.

As the other runners approached, Ian, Emma and Carter joined us, as did Dora. Ian and I developed games like calling out runners' names that had them written on the fronts of their shirts, but doing it with runners on the far side of the street. If you got them to acknowledge you, points were awarded based on how far away they were.

Big congrats to everyone who ran Boston! A few blog buddies did the race and already have reports up (check out the links on the sidebar). You guys rock!

Ran 12.5 miles @ 11:03/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (opted not to wear the strap)
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower-mid 30s, clear.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

There Will Be Mud: Blackstrap Heaven, the Other Side of Hell

First off, big thanks to Jeff for organizing this run. It had the feel of a "fat ass" race, but over a shorter distance. And, a huge breakfast with lots and lots of bacon followed (more on that later). Definitely was immensely fun! Also attending were Ian, Mindy, Ryan, Carter, James, John, Dora, Eric, and Jim. Randy was also there to help out at the "aid station" (more on that later as well).

Jeff gives a detailed course description here. But the reader's digest version is five miles of hills, rocks, mud and water. Definitely a very rugged and challenging course. My plan was to definitely push myself, but at the same time I wasn't going to go full-on and really race it. That being said, I don't think I could have gone too much faster than I did today.

Once the race got started we climbed for a while where I was able to hang with the faster guys in our group for a while, but as I expected, on the first technical downhill they began to pull away. I've never been good on steep, technical downhills and it's something I need to continue to work on. I'm envious how others can fly down those sections with grace and speed, while I feel like a Mack truck on bike tires.

The course continued on and after the first mile we reached a tree farm which the trail cut through a few times. This was fun, as I could see the others in front and behind me. Ryan was a few hundred yards ahead, and would be throughout the race. He was a good carrot to follow.

After the farm, a stretch about three miles in was relatively flat, however it featured several puddles, many of them deep. Running through them washed off a lot of mud that was beginning to cake on my legs. It was also pretty refreshing for the most part.

Leading up to mile 4 was a stretch called the Three Sisters, basically a series of steep, rocky, and rugged ascents along the power lines. At the top of one of the climbs was Randy, who manned an aid station of coffee brandy. Downing a shot would take 30 seconds off of your finishing time. I opted not to, given that I was already flirting with potential stomach issues.

The course then ducked into the woods where there was a less technical descent through the thick woods for much of the final mile. I loved this section and really put the pedal down. Aside from the occasional pockets of mud or puddles, you could really let loose here.

The last quarter mile was uphill on the road going to the finish. Continued a pretty good pace here and finished the race comfortably.

Soon afterwards, everyone else finished, and we had a cookout of bacon, pancakes, bacon, sausage, donuts, bacon, coffee and bacon. Ryan even brought maple donuts that had bacon on top. These were unbelievably good! Bacon really does make everything better.

I'll post links to pictures once others get them up (I really need to invest in a new camera).

Race results

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:54/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 158/182
Rugged trails.
Extremely hilly.
Upper 40s, overcast.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt, Moeben sleeves.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Warm Day, Light Run

Just ran a little over five miles at a slow pace on the trails today. Legs felt a little heavy for the first couple of miles but fine after that. Nice to take it easy given what's in store tomorrow. Though just five miles and a run amongst friends, I can imagine there will be a bit more emphasis on going faster. Running steep, technical downhills is definitely my weak point, so I hope everyone saves me some pancakes for when I finally finish. :-)

Ran 5.2 miles @ 8:34/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 140/148
Slightly hilly.
Mid 60s, partly cloudy, windy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mt. Agamenticus

Fortunately, an after school meeting didn't take very long and I still had plenty of time to head down to Mt. Agamenticus for a trail run. I ran the three mile loop three times. The route basically has one mile of super steep climbing, one mile of technical downhills on fun switchbacks, and another mile of downhill dirt roads. Good variety.

Energy wise and everything else, I felt great. However, I still made a point not to push too hard (which is not to say this run was still easy). Reason being is I'm planning a high mileage week next week so I'm somewhat taking things easy the latter half of this week.

Ran 9.0 miles @ 10:38/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 136/165
Trails and dirt roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Six on the Rails to Trails

Just a quick six on the old railroad bed near the school. Yet another perfect spring afternoon! The unbelievably great weather we're getting this week is fantastic. Ran into a couple of geocachers along the trail and chatted with them for a bit. Nice to see others out enjoying the day.

Purpose today was recovery. While I wasn't flying, it probably would have been better if I had taken the pace down about :10-:20 a mile to get my heart rate in the 130s. The trails I ran on were far from technical and not very hilly, so it's a little too easy to go faster.

Ran 6.1 miles @ 8:21/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/155
Slightly hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Solid Eleven

Good, solid run today over some rolling hills on an out and back route from the school. The below elevation chart seems a bit misleading in a way. Hills seem more spread out and constantly rolling than the chart may indicate.

Regardless, I consider this a great course to do faster runs on. The hills are moderate enough where you can get a pretty fast pace in but they'll still kick your butt at the same time.

Energy felt great today. Taking the past two days off helped. I think a big part of running is knowing when to push forward but also when to pull back. Balance them correctly and you'll reap the benefits big time. As most runners know, that's easier said than done though.

Ran 11.0 miles @ 7:21/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 157/169
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid-upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

If You Like the Weather, Just Wait a Minute

Early morning run at Pineland was met with quite a contrast weather-wise. Yesterday afternoon, it was in the lower 60s and sunny and I was sweating during the run. This morning, we ran in snow and sleet with overcast, dreary skies. Welcome to spring in Maine.

I had planned on around 12 miles today, but ended up doing a bit more. Legs felt a bit heavy and as a result, I was a bit slow, even with the trails being quite muddy (that definitely made things a bit slower). I think I'd benefit by taking the next two days off. Nothing unusual going on, just my body asking for a bit of a rest.

As always, great company today for the group run. Stephen and I got there before the others to get a head start on the day. Ran the first half with him, and the second half with Emma and Mindy.

Ran 16.2 miles @ 10:20/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 139/155
Muddy trails.
Very hilly.
Lower to upper 30s, overcast with light snow and sleet.
Long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt.

Friday, April 10, 2009

More Good Weather

Slightly warmer today than yesterday. Another great day to hit the trails. I ran on the same railroad bed as yesterday, although a shorter route and I stayed on the bed and didn't take any side trails. Good run. Legs felt a little heavy today though. I suspect it's part fatigue, but also part acclimating to the warmer weather.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 139/151
Moderately hilly.
Lower 60s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Trail Run on Dirt

I was pleasantly surprised by the trail conditions today near the school today. I had expected maybe about 20-30% snow cover, but it was probably more like 5%. I also expected a lot of mud, and while there were a few good patches of that, it wasn't that bad at all. Felt really, really nice to run on actual dirt again. It's definitely been a long while.

And... the weather was perfect today. Upper 50s and sunny! Awesome spring day. Made running in the woods all the more better. I ran mostly on the old railroad bed, with a few side excursions to explore some new trails. Those resulted in a few bloody scratches, as wanderlust took over on a couple of dead ends, and I wanted to bushwack ahead and check out the views from on top of some of the hills.

However, I didn't feel particularly energetic today. I attribute this solely to a crappy diet the past couple of days (ice cream and cereal was dinner last night). Still, the pace was decent for these trails.

Ran 11.3 miles @ 9:00/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 138/169
Moderately hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Short Progression

Five miles on the agenda for today, with the goal of keeping the pace under 8:00/mile. Did well under that, but it felt right, so be it. Would like to continue to do a faster run about once a week, but eventually over a bit of a longer distance, contingent on how long the long runs on the weekends are.

Mile splits:

1 - 7:48
2 - 7:22
3 - 7:20
4 - 7:13
5 - 6:35

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:16/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 155/171
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, mostly cloudy, breezy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Twenty Miles Down by the River

With the Western States 100 looming less than three months from now, it's time to concentrate on putting more hay in the barn. I felt great during and after yesterday's run, so I decided on the drive home that a long run today might be a good idea. Also, the weather is going to be really crappy the next several days, so I figured it was best to kick my butt now while the weather was still perfect.

The run today went very well. Hilly route that meandered down to the Saco River and back. I felt pretty strong overall. At around mile 15, I did start to feel tired and hungry though. Far from a bonk, but at the same time I was looking forward to getting home. After I finished, I walked in the door and was met with the sweet smell of the BBQ pork I have going in the slow cooker. What a tease, as it won't be ready for another four hours.

Really glad I did the long run today. In addition to being just good training, this is also a huge mental boost, knowing I had the 50k run last weekend. Yessir, life is good.

Ran 20.3 miles @ 8:42/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/165
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 40s to lower 50s, sunny, breezy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Return to Pineland Farms

XC ski season is over, which means the trails at Pineland Farms are open to running and today the Trail Monster clan did our first run of the season there. It felt great. I love running there. However, the trails still have a bit to go before they're ice free. I'd estimated it was roughly 70% ice, 30% mud.. and a lot of that ice was pretty slick (Mindy can probably speak to this best, hee hee). Screw shoes would have definitely been helpful but alas, I just had my regular trail shoes. Still runnable though, just had to slow down at times or take a detour off the path.

Quite a few of us out there today, including Ian, Emma, Ryan, Chuck, Jeff, Mindy, James, Jim D., Carter, Don and... and.... I think that's everyone? Fun time. I ran with various people, but probably most of it was with James.

I felt great today. Very energetic, but I've been keeping it light this week so I guess that's to be expected. Still, I guess it shows recovery is going great from that tough 50k run last weekend. The pace today was actually pretty quick (for me) given all the ice still coating the trails. I'm on track with my training, and everything continues to move along nicely. Looking forward to incorporating more long runs into the regiment in the weeks and months ahead.

After the run, James and I soaked our legs in a pond. That icy water felt great.

Ran 12.3 miles @ 10:07/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/164
Trails, 70% ice/30% mud & dirt.
Very hilly.
Lower 40s to upper 40s, overcast and foggy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Busy Day

Busy afternoon today, that started off with another appointment with my sports chiropractor/ART specialist. Everything is on track and obviously working well, so another big thank you to Jamie (not a typo, we have the same first name) and his staff at the Raymond Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center. I would not be well down the path to recovery without them. Great group of folks who are also runners and very down to earth, knowledgeable, and devoted to their practice. I cannot recommend these guys highly enough.

I followed the appointment up with a quick lap around the Back Cove in Portland. I had originally planned on two, but felt one was enough. Though I wussed out, I can live with it. This is supposed to be an easy week anyway.

Afterwards, I met up with Stephen and James at Novare Res for a meeting on Stephen's Massanutten 100 race next month. I have the honor of being his pacer this year, and am really looking forward to it. I paced James there last year and had a blast. After we discussed some race details, the banter naturally turned to other things, such as how pictures of obscene bathroom graffiti are mysteriously posted on some people's Facebook pages.

Ran 3.6 miles @ 7:41/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 153/163
Packed trails.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 50s, sunny with some fog.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.