Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Trail Less Traveled

I hit the woods behind my house this morning, with the goal of exploring a new section of trail. Most of the trails I run on locally are ATV/snowmobile trails, but it was obvious this new section hadn't been traveled on in quite some time. Fun to explore, and it ended up out near the lake, where I suspected it would.

I had to stop or slow down quite a few times to figure out where the trail was since it wasn't always obvious, and that slowed the pace some. However, I was just plain slow today. I attribute this to having quit coffee until the WS100. I normally reduce my coffee intake leading up to a 100-miler, but have never quit it entirely. This isn't easy. Also, my sinuses are a bit haywire with all the pollen. On a bright note, the legs felt great.

Worth noting the deer flies aren't out yet. However, the mosquitoes are out in full force, especially with all the rain we had a few days ago. Also had a couple of more pleasant wildlife encounters with a deer and a red-tailed hawk.

Took some pictures along the way:

About a mile into the run:

The lake (around three miles into the woods)

Ran 8.1 miles @ 10:31/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 140/156
Trails, fire roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 50s to mid-60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dump Loop

First post-race run went well. Rain has finally stopped, at least for now, so I decided to go ahead and run the dump loop from my house. Muscles didn't feel sore and no real tightness anywhere, so that's good. The heart rate was a bit high, though that's to be expected. Happy where it was though, as I expected it to be around 5 bpm higher for the pace I ran.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 148/163
Paved and dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 50s, overcast, humid.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Setting Sites on the Western States 100

Recovery from Sunday's race is actually going very well. Muscles only have a tinge of soreness and feel pretty loose. I haven't run since the race, and may not again until Saturday even though I'm feeling pretty great. Just want to insure proper recovery, and while a short, light run or two this week would probably have helped flush out some muscle waste and loosen things up even more, it's been cold and rainy and also a very busy week at work, so I opted to just rest.

So, with pacing Stephen at Massanutten done and the Pineland Farms 50 completed, the Western States 100 is now my primary and central focus and it's just 30 days away. My goal is the same as last year... try to break 24 hours and earn the silver buckle. This will be tough. Like last year, I consider myself borderline on doing it. I have a feeling it's going to be close. But even then, that's hard to say, as it's a way different course than the Vermont 100. It's just tough and somewhat futile to predict how well someone will do on a course they've never done before.

However, I feel my training has gone pretty well. To be honest, I think I was slightly better conditioned at this time last year, primarily because I was able to get in solid training in the winter and spring. This year, winter was spent getting over foot issues, and thankfully I've been able to get the plantar fasciitis under control (thanks to the other Jamie). By the way, honest to God the foot has been feeling fantastic since the race and is at the least amount of discomfort yet since the PF first came on last August. No joke.

Then again, though I never wrote or even spoke about it, I felt I was feeling run down tapering down into Western States last year, and was wondering if I had overtrained. I still felt this way going into the Vermont 100 last year, and while in great shape, I don't feel that I peaked at the right...

Argh! Enough! Mind games! I'm playing mind games! Stop it! Stop it!!!

Okay, regroup... deep breaths. Deep inhale, hold and count to ten (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).. slow exhale...

I'm going to give it my best. I'm going to run hard, but run smart. I have an awesome crew consisting of my father, brother, and possibly my friend Brooke, and also have my very good friend Stephen pacing for me. I have gotten in a lot of great training, and the foot feels fine. I will give it everything I have, and leave nothing on the course. If I do that, I will be happy, regardless of my time.

But I still want the silver buckle.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pineland Farms 50-Mile Race Report

I didn't break my time from last year as I had hoped (8:33:40), but I wasn't too far off, finishing in 8:40:23. I'm most proud of getting it together in the last 10 miles and finishing strong. All in all, I think it could have gone better, but I'm happy. I'm also extremely happy for several of my fellow Trail Monster Running buds who put together jaw-dropping performances.

I'd be remiss to not mention nearly right off the bat here that Ian and Erik once again did a fantastic job of organizing an outstanding race that went smoothly and everyone had a great time. Thanks guys. The entry fee is inexpensive, the race swag is excellent (cowbells for all finishers, pint glasses with the race logo and Inov-8 running hats for 50-mile finishers), the aid stations top notch, the trails well marked, free beer and BBQ at the finish, and the atmosphere very friendly and fun. If you've been to this race, you know what I mean. And if you haven't, you're missing out.

I arrived at the race about an before the 6am start time. Very nice to meet Paige and Mike. I've been following Paige's blog for a while now and just came across Mike's recently. Both great folks who have friendly and positive attitudes that are contagious.

It was soon time to start, and we lined up. I met up with Emma and James and we started together. My plan was to ride Emma's shoulder as long as I could comfortably do so. Her goals were somewhat close to mine (she ended up exceeding her's by a large margin), so it fit well, and we worked great together as a team last year.

And we're off... I ran with Emma and James for a bit and then James eventually took off. The first several miles went pretty well, aside from my stomach feeling tight. Emma gave me some gingered candy which helped, but I thought I was going to have to stop for a bio-break. Fortunately, not the case. I just had gas, and soon I felt much better.

Emma got ahead and I was running with Lori Lebel for a few miles, who was great company as always. Then I caught up with Emma, then she went ahead and I was with Lori again. This went on until around mile 13 when Lori and I reached our drop bags and she would go on ahead. I put on some sunscreen and was off.

On to the Second Loop
The 50-mile course consists of running the 25k loop three times, but before you do that you run a smaller loop of around 3.5 miles. So, that mini-loop and one full loop were now complete. I stopped by my drop bag again and downed an Ensure Plus. I must say, this worked very well throughout the race. 350 calories a bottle and full of nutrients. My stomach had no problems with it at all.

I felt great for the next four or five miles, but then I started hitting a low point. I had started to feel soreness in my hamstrings at around mile 15 from pacing Stephen at the Massanutten 100 last weekend, and now my calves were feeling tight. Mentally, I was in a funk and my pace slowed by a couple of minutes. Not good. Nutrition and hydration seemed to be going well, but I just couldn't get myself going.

I was running with Adam Wilcox for a bit, an old acquaintance of mine from hiking circles, but he had more energy than I did and went on ahead. I was running alone for a lot of this loop. I think that hurt me, as there was nobody to light a fire under my butt to keep me going. Of course, one shouldn't have to rely on that. But still, I did wish I had someone there.

One thing that was nice was at the Yurt Aid Station, Ron Farkash was working there and he was very encouraging each time I came around (you pass by this aid station three times in each loop). He was saying the right things each time and it helped.

I reached my drop bag again and downed another Ensure and went on to the final five mile section of the second loop. I continued in my funk and my Garmin showed my pace continuing at a slower-than-I'd-like pace. I reached the 50k mark in 5:28. Last year I reached it at 5:07. So, 21 minutes off my mark. Breaking my time from last year was now out of the question and if I continued like this, I'd be very lucky to even break nine hours.

Third and Final Loop
I downed another Ensure and started the third and final loop. I continued on and was walking up a hill when two runners and their pacer (pacer's allowed on the final loop) came by and asked if I was alright. I told them I was just tired and they encouraged me to run with them. I did for about a mile, really enjoying their company. Unfortunately, I couldn't hang on and they went ahead.

I slogged on, and was getting discouraged as more runners passed me. And then for reasons unknown, things began to change for the better.

Strong Finish
A little after mile 40, overcast skies gave over to rain and I came back to life. I was feeling fine... great actually... and picked up the pace, powerwalking the uphills quickly and while not sprinting on the downhills, I was running them much faster and with confidence.

The remaining miles ticked by and I continued to feel even better the closer I was getting, and was picking off runners that had passed me earlier as well as some folks I hadn't seen before. I reached my dropbag, downed another Ensure and then took off with five miles left to go. I knew if I kept this up, I would break nine hours easily, and would finish around 8:45 if all went well. It turned out my splits for these final five miles were faster overall than the same section in the first two loops. I was just moving and feeling great. Dare I say, I even felt fresh.

I hit the final field and it was just one mile to go. Very quickly downed a cup of Mt. Dew and flew out of the final mile aid station. Fellow Trail Monster runner Alan (he had finished the 50k earlier) was at this aid station, and quickly came up to my side to run the final mile with me, which I really appreciated. It was nice to share this renewed high I was feeling with someone. I saw my friend and fellow teacher, Dave Dorr, a few hundred yards from the finish, which also gave me a boost.

The finish line came in sight and I tossed my water bottle high in the air and sprinted to the finish. Ahhhhh. So glad to be done!

Post Race Thoughts and Random Notes
Despite not breaking last year's time, I'm pretty darn happy with this race. On top of getting in a good 37-mile mountain run while pacing Stephen at MMT100 last weekend, it served as a great one-two punch for final major long runs for the Western States 100 next month. Hay is in the barn.

And some random notes:
- Fellow Trail Monster runners Emma, Chuck and James all went on to finish in well under 8 hours. Super impressive!

- Neighbor Kate ran the 25k, her longest run ever. She did awesome!!! She really worked hard on her training and is one happy camper.

- Several other Trail Monsters competed in the 50k and the 25k as well. Notably, Blaine came in third in the 50k, with strong performances by Katie, Alan and Floyd as well. Jeff and Mindy ran the 25k and both did really well. I think it's safe to say Mindy is over her stress fracture. Stephen and Kelly also ran the 25k, and both had fun.

- I ate very little during the race, getting most of my calories from the Ensure (1400 calories total), diluted Gatorade, and an occasional Coke or Mt. Dew. I had a couple of 1/4 size PB&Js and a few orange slices, but that's about it for solid food. I consciously stayed away from the junk. I don't think not having much solid food contributed much to the middle-part of the race where I was feeling low, but that's hard to say. I think it was more muscle soreness and my head not being in the game.

- I once again learned that low points are often temporary, and the turn arounds can be dramatic. What goes down, must go up.

- Some noticed my gait was off a little in the later part of the race, especially when I was walking the uphills. My left foot (the one with the PF) did start to feel a little tight, but I honestly never thought much of it. It didn't hurt, just felt a little uncomfortable. The blisters that developed on my pinky toes were worse, and that's not saying much. I could tell my gait was more normal the faster I went. Better that way than the other way around, and incentive to run faster. :-)

- The morning after the race now, and the hamstrings are quite sore, but nothing out of the ordinary. Foot feels fine, with no more discomfort than usual (which has been very minimal the past few months).

Race results.

Ran 50.0 miles @ 10:24/mile pace.
Time: 8:40:23
Placing: 24th out of 76 finishers.
Very hilly.
Upper 40s to mid 70s, overcast and rain to sunny skies. Humid at times.
Shorts. (ditched the shirt after mile 13)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pre-Race Jot

Just a short three miles this afternoon to keep the legs remembering. Soreness from last weekend is pretty much all gone and the legs felt fresh. Energy felt fantastic as well. However, I noticed the heart rate was still a bit high. Not too concerned, as the heart rate data looks similiar to last year, when I also paced at Massanutten and ran the 50-miler the week after and had a great race.

Something that could also have it going a bit higher is that I downed an Ensure (350 calories) immediately before I began running. Many ultramarathoners use Ensure during races and I wanted to try it. What really brought on the thought was last weekend at Massanutten I noticed a girl coming through each aid station looking great (in more ways than one), full of energy with no signs of bonking, and she was taking Ensure. Seemed to work well for me today. No sign in the slightest of difficulty digesting it, so I think I'll be using it on Sunday.

Oh yeah... I think I found a new race mantra:

Ran 3.0 miles @ 8:08/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 149/162
Paved roads.
Slighly hilly.
Upper 70s, humid.
Shorts, singlet.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Next Up: Pineland Farms 50M

Did a short trail run in the woods out back. Purpose was to keep the legs loose. I still felt a little sore from last weekend, and the heart rate data was a little on the high side. However, neither all that bad and I expect I'll be good to go for the Pineland Farms 50-miler on Sunday.

My primary goal is to beat last year's time of 8:33:41. If the weather forecast holds (currently a high of around 70), it'll make it easier to do so. Feeling pretty good about it all in all. Just planning on one more short run either tomorrow or Friday and that's it before the race.

Worth noting I came across an old pile of moose poop during the trail run. First time I've ever seen any evidence of moose back there. The poop was old, probably from last fall, so hard to say if it's still around.

Ran 3.8 miles @ 9:38/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/159
Very hilly.
Mid 70s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pacing Stephen at the Massanutten 100

My buddy Stephen ended up having a great race this past weekend at the Massanutten 100, coming in 15th place with a time of 26:29:17. Brutal conditions as well. All of the runners battled mid-80s and high humidity until mid-afternoon. Then, a strong cold front pushed through, bringing with it hardcore thunderstorms that lasted through much of the night. All of this on top of a course that's considered by many as one of the hardest on the east coast.

I'll let Stephen spin his own tale on the race, and I'll instead just provide some notes below that hopefully still paint a picture. Hopefully Stephen will find time in his busy schedule to get a race report up soon. It'll no doubt be an epic tale.

- Only 58% ended up finishing the race. No doubt the weather played a factor in quite a few of the DNFs.

- Stephen is a supreme bad-ass.

- I joined Stephen's father and two brothers for crewing until it was time for me to pace. They were awesome and a LOT of fun to hang out with.
Also got to hang out with my friend Devon quite a bit, which is always great (she was pacing Glen Redpath).

- Stephen's parents were gracious hosts for the entire stay, making sure we ate well. Quite well.

- Twittering during the race was fun, but my cell phone stinks and I just used Stephen's iPhone to post directly to Facebook most of the time since his phone had better coverage.

- I began pacing Stephen roughly around 7:45pm, and would run the next 36.9 miles in roughly around 12 hours with him.

- The rain was supposed to end sometime between 11pm and 1am. It didn't. We got a little break after 1am, but it started again and didn't stop for good until 4am.

- Moeben sleeves do really well in cold rain, providing impressive warmth.

- Stephen is a supreme bad-ass.

- The whippoorwills weren't as noisy as last year when I paced James. However, Stephen and I got a REALLY good look at one sitting right on the trail. We got so close we could almost pet it, and almost did.

- After the Woodstock Tower aid station (mile 84.1), Stephen kicked in the turbo for the duration and picked off a plethora of runners. I couldn't believe how well he was moving! It was truly superhuman.

- I ate boiled potatoes a lot at the aid stations. I never crave those things, but for some reason I did this time and they worked well.

- The buckle for this race is awesome.

- I can't wait to give this course a try next year! Was supposed to this year, but too close to Western States for my liking.

- Stephen is a supreme bad-ass.

And some running stats for my log purposes:

Ran 2.0 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 70s, humid.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Ran 36.9 miles @ ???/mile pace.
Rugged trails.
Insanely hilly.
Mid 60s to lower 50s, rain, cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves (off and on).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pacing Time!

Tomorrow evening I head out with Stephen to the Shenandoah Mountains to pace him at the Massanutten 100. Really looking forward to crewing and pacing him during the race and I have a feeling he's going to do really well. If you've ever run with him, you already know the guy is an animal, and just a great guy to boot.

I will be twittering during the race to give updates on Stephen's progress (he granted me permission to do so). If you're interested in following along, just follow my twitter page which is "jamieofthenorth". If you're friends with me on Facebook, I have twitter linked to my status updates, so they'll appear there as well.

Did a nice, short trail run today near the house and am planning on taking tomorrow off. May do a short two mile run on Friday to keep the legs loose, but goal is to be fresh to run with Stephen the final 37 miles.

Ran 4.7 miles @ 9:12/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 139/156
Trails, some dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 60s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Oh yeah... check out this video that's been going around. Really awesome and captures a few great reasons why ultrarunning is such a great sport:

UltraRunning from Matt Hart on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mile Repeats

I was both dreading and looking forward to this workout in equal parts for the past week. It's hard, but yet satisfying when it's over. Plan called for a two mile warm-up run to the Oak Hill Cemetery and do mile repeats three times, with a 4:00 break in between each one. Then a two mile cool down run back.

As for the run, it went about as well as expected. A bit disappointed I didn't get that last mile in under 6:00, but so be it. However, I'm happy with the first two miles. I was hoping my fastest time would be under 5:45, so glad I got that.

Worth noting that the Garmin showed the loop at .95 miles. However, I'm nearly positive the head coach of the cross country team wheeled the course and found it at exactly a mile. I'll have to double check that with him. By the way, this is the exact same workout we have the team do during the season.

Warm-up: Ran 2.3 miles @ 8:08/mile pace. AHR/MHR - 142/150
Mile 1: 5:39 AHR/MHR - 166/173
Mile 2: 5:50 AHR/MHR - 167/175
Mile 3: 6:02 AHR/MHR - 165/177
Cool down: Ran 2.1 miles @ 8:50 mile pace. AHR/MHR - 143/152

Paved roads.
Warm-up and cool-down, slightly hilly. Mile loop, very hilly.
Lower 60s, partly sunny, breezy.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt.

I got a new camera recently so I decided to test out the video on it a little and shot a quick show and tell of the loop below.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Running in Acadia: Attack of the Spruce Grouse

Myself, along with Ryan, Danielle, Mindy and Pete headed up to Acadia National Park this weekend to get in some camping and running. Well, Mindy and Pete opted to stay in a hotel, as Pete is recovering from shoulder surgery and camping might be a bit uncomfortable. However, rumor has it the real reason for the hotel is they own a pink Hello Kitty tent and they were too embarrassed to bring it along.

We converged at the Jordan Pond House, where Ryan had mapped out a route that would give us a little over eleven miles and climb up most of Mt. Sargent. Danielle is preggers so she opted not to do this run and hiked with Pete instead, but Mindy, Ryan and I took off on the route with the goal of running slow and taking it easy since we're all in a taper. It would give us the chance to chat, joke and enjoy the views, which we did. But little did we know Mother Nature would unleash her fury on the way up.

We enjoyed the gradual ascent up and commented several times on the great weather along the way. A few miles in, we saw a young buck with the beginnings of velvety antlers starting to grow. I did my bleat call a few times, which temporarily gained his attention, but he sauntered off into the dense woods to do whatever it is deer do on fine spring afternoons such as this one. Ah, so peaceful to see that happy little deer in this ideal nature setting. But it wouldn't be our only encounter with the animals of the forest. No. No, it wouldn't.

We were getting close to the highest point of our trek and continued our jovial banter, when suddenly I felt feathers accompanied by short bursts of wind on my calves. Ryan yelled and I turned around. There, a spruce grouse was flying up at me and then turned towards the others. There were more yells and screams as we warded off the attack. Then we fled.

As we ran, we looked back to hopefully watch this feathered fury shrink to a speck as we left it behind. We were wrong. So wrong. The bastard began running at us. Then took flight. It caught up easily and attacked again! We were forced to stop to try to shoe it away, hoping it wouldn't peck our eyes out. With blatant disregard for our size, this rooster on steroids would brazenly fly in front of us and block our path, getting right up in our faces. More screams and yells. But also laughter. Much laughter. This was only slightly scary but immensely hilarious. What is this little bastard thinking?!

This continued several times, and in between attacks we agreed it was likely a female protecting her nest. Surely she must turn around soon, as by now we were a few hundred yards away from when we first encountered her. Right? Wrong. Dead wrong. The attacks ensued around eight times total, if I had to guess. Each time, we'd think we were getting away, then the bird would run at us.. then fly.. then attack. She seemed to like Mindy most. I tried to be chivalrous one time and get between Mindy and the bird. However, I decided screw that... every man for himself, and took off running. We all sprinted. We looked over our shoulders and the bird seemed to be staying put. Whew.

We caught our breaths and began recounting the incident. We thought we were safe and breathed sighs of relief. But suddenly, it was back, flying in for another attack! We ran again, laughing at the absurdity of the situation. However, this time we got away.

We caught our breaths again and were treated to a long downhill after that, cracking up as we rehashed what had happened. A little over a mile down the hill, we encountered two runners taking a walk break, and we warned them about the bird. Turns out one of the guys encountered the same grouse in the same area last month. We ran the rest of the way with one eye towards the dense woods, all of us on guard for another ambush. Fortunately, it never happened. We arrived safely at our cars.

We then went out for lunch, set up our tents, then checked out the rocky coastline for a bit before heading to Geddy's for dinner. Afterwards, Ryan tried to get a fire started, but failed. He insisted on blaming it on the rain, which was starting to pour down in buckets. Lame excuse. We turned in and I got a great sleep as the downpour continued.

Ran 11.2 miles @ 9:19/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 134/158 (the max HR coincides with the spruce grouse attack)
Carriage trails.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s, partly sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

We awoke to better weather, and walked over to the coast again to take in the view once more, then packed up and headed over Eagle Lake. Plan was to do the six mile loop slowly. Danielle decided she could do this route, and Pete opted to hike around while we ran, and reported finding several beaver dams in a boggy area.

This run was free of nature's wrath, unless you want to count when I had to stop for a bio-break about halfway through the run. I told the others not to wait as I would probably be a while, but thanks to a long downhill where I put the pedal down, I managed to catch back up with them about a mile and a half later. Afterwards, we got breakfast in Bah' Hahbah (blueberry pancakes for me) before we all went our separate ways. Thanks guys for a great time!

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:54/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 130/156
Carriage trails.
Very hilly.
Mid-upper 50s, cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt. Long sleeve shirt also for first mile, then removed.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Back Cove in New Shoes

I picked up a pair of Brooks Cascadia 3's this afternoon and took them out for a run at the Back Cove. I thought I was buying the Cascadia 4's, but it doesn't matter, as these fit me fine. What's strange is that I tried on a pair of the Cascadia 3's a year ago and they didn't seem to fit. However, today they felt perfect. Wierd.

They felt a little stiff at first, but I didn't really notice that after the first mile. From then on, they felt great. Very comfortable shoe and the run itself went well. The quick pace came easily and I wanted to keep it up for longer, but I reminded myself I'm in a taper and have a longer run planned for tomorrow. I hate tapering.

Ran 3.6 miles @ 6:50/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 159/172
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


Just did the seven-mile Hansen's Ridge loop from the school at a pretty easy pace. Felt pretty good overall, but at the same time there was little temptation to pick up the pace any faster. Was quite pleased with the heart rate data though. Best yet, the run was done without any performance enhancing drugs and therefore no worry of 50-game suspensions.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 137/157
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid-50s, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

And So It Begins...

I took the past two days off by design. I felt pretty sore and a little beat up after the hard efforts this past Saturday and Sunday. All good timing though, as I'm now in a mini-taper period to ensure fresh legs for pacing my good buddy Stephen at the Massanutten 100 in just 10 days. Though he thinks he's a little underprepared, I would disagree and say he's well suited for a really good showing.

I'm really looking forward to heading down there to help Stephen out. It was a blast doing it last year for James. Always great to help friends do well at races. On a selfish note, it's also a great training run for me. I'll get in 37 miles in the mountains and get to run through the night, which will bode well for the big show.

A week later I'll be running the Pineland Farms 50-miler. I thought this worked out well last year, as it serves as the second of a one-two punch for long runs and then it's time to taper down for Western States.

So... yessir, it's all coming to a head now. I'm pretty pleased with how the training has gone, especially with me being able to get the foot under control (thanks to Raymond Chiropractic) in time to get in what will hopefully be enough training. I still have that "is it enough?" feeling for the training, but I guess I always have that. The training data is consistant in years past when things have been going well, so I need to keep that in mind as well.

As for today's run... kept it super slow on purpose. Will keep most runs at an easy pace and nothing crazy with the mileage from now until Massanutten.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:37/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 133/152
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, mostly cloudy, muggy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Camden Hills of Death

It started out looking like a day just like any other day... a mild spring day where several Trail Monsters (Ian, Stephen, Ryan, Jeff, Jim, Floyd, and myself) would take to the trails to have some fun and get some training in (Danielle, Kelly, Shauna and Kackie (sp?) were also present and would go hiking instead). This time though, it would be in the Camden Hills. Even the drive up was pleasant. We laughed, we joked... little did we know, there would be blood.

Alright, I'm being dramatic. But there was blood. Fortunately, not mine, but a couple of folks in our group took some good spills. I'm surprised I didn't, quite frankly, but I had a few close calls. The terrain was definitely very technical and chock full o' hills. Many were steep, and those steep sections were blanketed with rocks and roots. Guaranteed us all a great workout, and that we had.

Our group pretty much stuck together for the first 8 miles, but many of us decided to start to head back due to time constraints. Jim and Ryan opted to trek on to try to get in 20 miles, but they also cut it a bit short. At this 8 mile mark was Bald Rock, which in my opinion had the best views, which there were plenty of throughout the day. When you're running on mountains right on the coast, you're guaranteed some amazing scenery (no pics of my own, but I'm buying a new camera soon!).

So the rest of began the run back. Around mile 12 I bonked and it totally snuck up on me. I just had no energy and was reduced to a walk. I mowed down a peanut butter sandwich and drank some Gatorade, but it took a while for that to kick in. Stephen opted to wait for me, and we trekked on together. A few miles later, my energy started to return, but by then we were pretty much done.

Awesome time. I think it's safe to say all of us got are butts kicked. Company, as always, was great. I had real blast running with everyone. Afterwards, we got grub and brews at a pub in Camden.. great time!!!

Worth noting, I accidentally stopped my Garmin for about a third of a mile, so I'm basing the distance on what others had.

Link to Jeff's pics.

Ran 15.3 miles @ 13:54/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 137/159
Rugged trails.
Insanely hilly.
Upper 50s to lower 60s, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Another Fine Saturday at Pineland Farms

I had 12 miles on the agenda today, and wanted to push the pace a little. That little ended up being a lot (for me), as a few of us challenged each other throughout the run with the pace, which was a lot of fun. James was a great carrot, even if catching up with him was futile.

I don't think I've ever run Pineland this fast, and if I have, it's been a long while. While it was work, I did it relatively comfortably, which is great. Felt good to soak our legs in the pond afterwards. Darn good run.

Thanks to Ian for the chocolate chip scone afterwards. Totally hit the spot. It was like biting into a cloud.

Ran 12.4 miles @ 8:23/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 152/167
Very hilly.
Mid 50s to around 60, partly sunny.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Running the Railroad Bed

I had originally planned on rest days for Monday and today, but after yesterday's long meeting I decided to take a rest day then and run today. That seemed to work out well, as I felt pretty fresh.

Just did an out and back on the railroad beds. The pace ended up being a little faster than I had planned, but so be it. Looking forward to runs at Pineland tomorrow and up in Camden on Sunday.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 148/160
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, mostly cloudy, muggy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.