Saturday, July 31, 2010

10 On A Nice Cool Day

I had the goal of running a very hilly ten mile loop at a moderate pace, but maintaining consistency with each split. Obviously, that means a bit more work on the uphills and/or slowing down on the downhills. I had originally planned to do the splits in the 7:50s but... yeah well... you know... 

I did maintain the consistency easily, despite a slightly faster pace. I kept reminding myself to put on the brakes. Normally, I would just let it ride and push it, but I'd rather save that for tomorrow. Plan is to do a loop that's a little over 14 miles down to the river and back, and run it at marathon pace. The route is a little less hilly than today's, but still has some good ones in it.

Worth noting the weather is awesome out. Finally, a real break from the awful heat and humidity we've had for much of this month. Dry and cool air... so nice!

Ran 10.1 miles @ 7:43/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, partly sunny. 
Saucony Kinvaras, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Took an unanticipated rest day today, making the decision based on logic over emotion. Quads are still a touch sore. Nothing bad, but I knew a rest day would do them some good and allow me to get in two important runs over the weekend with greater success, especially what I want to run on Sunday (medium run at MP).

That's the logic, and it always wins.

The emotional side wanted to run and do hill repeats. I wanted to keep the good momentum I have going. I just wanted to be outside and moving my legs.

But the logic said "settle down, Beavis". In similar situations in the past, when I gave in to the logic it's paid off virtually every time. I think they call this listening to the body. Begrudgingly, I'm listening.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Easy Evening Run

After a late afternoon nap, I managed to finally get out the door around 6:30pm. Nice thing about this was it was cooler and the air was dryer, thanks to a cold front that pushed through. Looking forward to having more seasonable summer temps the next several days.

Purpose of today's run was to take it easy on the pace and get in some mileage. My quads were a bit sore, which I think is a cumulative effect from yesterday's race and Sunday's long run. Nothing bad though.  Was nice to just run along pretty effortlessly and let the mind wander. 

Days are definitely getting shorter. Very long shadows by the end of the run. Makes me think of autumn, my favorite season. Still a couple of months until we're there though. 

Ran 9.2 miles @ 8:21/mile pace. 
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 70s to lower 70s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back Cove 5K Race Report

Today was a test of sorts, on several fronts. I wanted to do well (duh, it's a race), but related to that I wanted to pace myself correctly, which would be a challenge since these shorter, faster races are still relatively new territory since it's been years since I've done them regularly.

I set a goal of breaking 20 minutes. I knew that might be tough due to it being warm out (lower 80s, humid) but also because a poor air quality alert was in effect due to high ozone levels. Also, while my sinuses have improved since last week, they're still a wreck. Additionally, ran 20 pretty hilly miles just three days ago, so while feeling okay, no doubt the legs aren't still really fresh.

However, on my warm-up run, I felt pretty good. Breaking 20 seemed pretty doable. Neighbor Kate was also running, and I saw Blaine and Lily a couple of minutes before the start. Aside from them, I didn't know anyone else at the race. It was somewhat amusing... at ultras and trail races, it seems like I know or at least know of half the people there. It used to be similar when I raced 5Ks more often, but not surprisingly since I haven't in a while, hardly anyone else really even looked familiar. Not that it matters, but it was an amusing muse. Still a friendly bunch, of course (the norm in anything running.. virtually everyone is very friendly).

Lined up, whistle blew, and we were off.

Mile 1 (6:07):  I noticed that a third of a mile in, I was only 20 feet or so behind the lead pack.  I thought, "this ain't right", and looked down at the Garmin and I was going just over 5:00/mile.  Whoa, slow down there, Skippy. Eased off and let the pace drop, not minding if it meant a few people passing me.

Mile 2 (6:32):  Now very mindful of the pace, I did my best to push the throttle but make sure I still had plenty of gas left in the tank to finish the race without blowing the engine. The pace felt fast, but comfortable. In retrospect, I think I could have pushed this mile and the next a little harder. I think I was a little too comfortable. No worries though. For all I know, another two seconds of a mile faster and the wheels would have come off. Just not used to pacing myself for this distance and speed.

During this mile and perhaps also in part of the first mile, I was aware of someone running right behind me. I wondered why he or she didn't pass, but when I glanced at my shadow I saw it was a shorter fellow and it became obvious he was drafting off of me. Smart guy and good strategy.

Mile 3 (6:29): Still feeling that fast but probably a touch too comfortable pace. Was doing calculations in my head for the finishing time. I knew it was going to be close to breaking 20, but it was totally doable. Picked it up a little towards the end of this mile.

Last .1 mile (5:29/mile pace): Nobody too far in front of me or behind me, so no dogfights for the finish line (which I love, even if I lose).  I was closer to 20 minutes than I thought I was, but happy to cross the finish line with a time of 19:56.

I think when the dude yelled my time to me (clock was broken) as I crossed I even said "sweet" out loud. It was. Especially compared to that giant, nut-filled terd of a race I had last month.  A lot of improvement has been made since then and it was great to break 20 minutes. But still plenty of room for more hay in the barn.

Ran a mile cooldown afterwards, contemplating the race. I'm overall pretty happy with the 19:56 time, but honestly, I had hoped to do a little better, especially after the Yasso 800 performance last week. But given the factors I mentioned earlier, hey, not bad, I guess. I'll totally take it.

Warm up: 1.6 miles @ 7:13/mile pace.

Race: 3.1 miles @ 6:24/mile pace. (19:56)
Overall placing: 20th out of 216

Cool down: 1.0 mile @ 8:32/mile pace.

Well packed trails.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 80s, humid, hazy, bad air alert in effect.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Easy Like Monday Evening

Short, easy run this evening. Decided to move the rest day to tomorrow since it's going to warm up considerably. Besides, good idea to do a recovery run today following the long run to keep the legs loose.

Did today's run on a very hilly route, even if it was just an easy recovery run. Flat stuff should be saved for the track workouts, for the most part.

Heavily leaning towards doing the Back Cove 5k race Wednesday evening. Will consider that my speed workout for the week. I expect to do considerably better than that god awful performance I had last month at a 5K in Kansas City. Big difference in my running now compared to then. 

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:01/mile pace.  
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Upper 70s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara, shorts. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Long Run in Acadia National Park

The tranquil pitter patter of rain and cool temps made it all too difficult to get out of bed this morning, but somehow I managed.  After coffee and breakfast, Kate and I made the hour drive over to Acadia National Park to get our runs in.

Plan was to run the Eagle Lake loop (six miles).  I really like this loop because it's scenic and challenging, so didn't mind doing it three times.  Plus, it'd make it convenient for Kate and I to check up on each other since we were running different paces and distances (she had ten on tap for today and did great).

Going clockwise, the loop is pretty easy for about the first three miles.  The hills are pretty slight and gradual.  Then, the carriage trail begins to distance itself from the lake and climbs a really long and steep hill.  It's a total buttkicker.

Did the loop clockwise twice and for the last one I did it counter-clockwise just to mix it up a little.  Afterwards, went up the trail for a little over a mile and then back to round the mileage up to twenty.

Definitely was far from firing on all cylinders today. In fact, after the first two miles I had wondered if I would do the whole run. Just wasn't feeling it. Fortunately, when I hit that big hill after mile three I began to start to feel better and enjoyed the climb. However, never really felt okay until mile eight. Pretty long time to warm-up, but was just thankful that I did eventually come around somewhat.

Ran 20.0 miles @ 8:27/mile pace.
Carriage trails.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, singlet (shed singlet after first loop).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Run Up Downeast

Up in Brewer with Neighbor Kate, and we both hit a loop just under five miles at our respective paces. However, I missed a turn and got a bit lost, so I got in some bonus mileage. We're hitting Mt. Desert Island tomorrow, looking forward to laps around Eagle Lake for a long run.

Ran 6.6 miles @ 7:51/mile pace.
Moderately hilly.
Paved roads.
Slightly to moderately hilly.
Upper 60s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Full Yasso 800 Workout

I started the Yasso 800 workouts at four reps last month and worked my way up to seven reps as of last week. But given two days rest, I figured I'd go ahead and jump up and do the full 10 reps, rather than just eight. Granted, the sinuses are still a mess (I think Damon is likely right when he suggested I might have pollen allergies, not a head cold), but I felt okay energy wise, so what the heck.

Temps were in the lower 80s, but it wasn't all that humid out and there was pretty decent cloud cover, so it wasn't really an issue.  

Started strong, ended strong. Pretty pleasantly surprised at how well it went, which is not to say it was easy. Some reps were easier than others. Kind of reminded me of running a marathon or ultra, when you have down periods and up periods.  

Average = 2:57

Also ran a mile warm-up on the track, and a little over a mile cooldown barefoot afterwards on the athletic fields. With the light jogging in between each rep, turned out to be a pretty good mileage day. Still looking forward to the long run on Sunday.  

Ran 10.2 miles total.
One mile warm-up at 7:51/mile. 
Yasso 800s plus the light running in between reps: 7.9 miles @ 7:19/mile pace. 
Cool down: 1.3 miles @ 10:05/mile pace.  Barefoot. 
Lower 80s, partly sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara, shorts. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Cold

Damn, two days off in a row.  Not good.  But this summer cold has knocked me on my butt.  I got home from working my summer job today and planned to lay down for a little nap before I ran.  Little, my arse. Three hours later, I awoke, and had to force myself not to go back to sleep.

Felt super groggy and my sinuses were a mess, so decided nixing today's run might be logical.  I guess my body needed the rest.  Granted, I did wake up early this morning (3am) and couldn't fall back asleep, but that was also cold related.

Good news is I only have to work a couple of hours tomorrow.  Should have plenty of time and hopefully energy to do my speed workout.  Weather looks nice also, with dryer air having moved in.  I think I'll be fine as far as being okay enough from the cold to do the workout.

Also really looking forward to a long run this weekend.  Speed is coming back very nicely on the shorter distances, but need to start translating that to the longer distances.  I suspect that will come along pretty efficiently.  Legs seem to be remembering the longer stuff, based on the mountain runs, but I've yet to test them on the roads, so we'll see.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Progression Run

Currently have a pretty bad head cold, perhaps due to allergies.  Regardless, I feel pretty crappy.  It was at it's worst yesterday afternoon, so I took an unscheduled rest day.  Felt well enough today to give the run a go.  Had planned on starting off around 8:00/mile and if I felt okay, I'd try to work down to the 7:30/mile range.

Surprised myself a bit, as I felt much stronger running wise than I thought I would.  It was almost surreal because I was aware of the stuffy head, runny sinuses, sore throat, but the running energy was there and dipping down to below 7:00/mile came pretty easily, much to my surprise. Bit of a clash there.  'Twas odd.

Splits ended up as follows:
6:18/mile last .2

Probably not wise to run that pace when not feeling well, but it felt pretty natural so I just went with it.  Probably going to take the scheduled rest day tomorrow though, as it's a busy day and another day off will probably help clear the stuffy head.  If I do run, it'll be a light recovery run and short. Planning to do the Yasso workout Thursday and do a long run this weekend. Other running days will be light and easy ones.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 7:27/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 70s, sunny, not as humid as it has been.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, sleeveless shirt.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Running the Mahoosuc Range

Great mountain today with an awesome group of folks. Fellow Trail Monsters James, Jeff, and Floyd took part and we were joined by some other running friends, Bob (our fearless leader who organized the run), Greg, Debbie, and a few others who's names I unfortunately forgot. It was an absolute blast, and the great company helped make it so.

The 12.5 mile trek had everything: bushwacking, tricky rock scrambling, squeezing through tight crevices, steep climbs, awesome views on exposed ridgeline, and some tamer sections of trail that were very runnable, especially the final few miles.

The bushwacking started early on.  However, streamwacking might be more accurate, as we waded up a shallow brook with slippery rocks for quite a ways to eventually join the Appalachian Trail. Somehow, I managed not to fall on this stretch.  We also all noted there were no deer flies.  None.  And that continued the entire trek.  It was awesome.

Getting on trail again marked the beginning of the Mahoosuc Notch, which some regard as the toughest mile on the entire Appalachian Trail.   Yes, it was hard, but I think it gets it's reputation amongst those carrying fullsized backpacks, which would have made many parts extremely difficult.  It's not a steep climb, but incredibly boulderous.  Bascially it was a mile long scramble with lots of use of the hands, pulling yourself up a large rock or bracing yourself between two rocks and swinging forward.  

We weren't just going over boulders, at times we were going under them, having to squeeze through narrow passages under large chunks of granite.  Lot of fun.  And a nice treat was that some of the shallow caves still had ice and snow in them!  Ahhhhhhh.   Inside it felt like a refrigerator, a nice treat after some hard work.

photo stolen from Jeff

After the notch, we climbed up to the South Goose Eye peak. I felt really great on the climb, maintaining a steady power walk all the way up and feeling strong. Once at the top, we had a fun ridge run to the other peaks (North Goose Peak and West Goose Peak). Cool mountain breeze cooled us all off at the top. It felt awesome. In between, Floyd also managed to go crotch deep in mud twice.  It was quite hilarious!

photo also stolen from Jeff

The run down was great.  James and I mused that it was like the Osseo Trail on the Pemi Loop... not super technical and easy to fly on. And fly we did, with a group of us really booking it on the last mile, going well under 7:00/mile.

We capped off the day with a dip in a swimming hole in the river, which was quite refreshing. Followed that up with lunch and a beer at the Sunday River Brewery before we returned home. Great day!

Time: 05:22:54
Avg Pace: 25:56 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace: 18:01 min/mi

Trails, stream, rocks, and all things nature. 
Insanely hilly. 
Around 80 down below, guessing in the lower 60s on the summits. Partly cloudy. 
Asics Trail Attacks, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap (wore half the time), Mountain Hardware Bebop pack. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Shoe Smell

I was definitely due for a new pair of road shoes. I knew I wanted a racing flat or at least a low-profile lightweight trainer after being convinced that traditional trainers are garbage and they contributed to plantar fasciitis a few years ago due to promoted heal striking.

I went to the running store yesterday and tried on a few pairs, including the Saucony Kinvara, Brooks Silence, and Nike Zoom (not including a link to the Nike Zoom because their website sucks and makes you go through too much marketing crap before you get to where you need to go).

First up was the Saucony Kinvara. As soon as I put it on I was impressed. Fit my foot very nicely and felt great. Despite how it may look in the picture below, it really is a low profile shoe. And, it has a nice amount of cushioning (but not too much) for a shoe labeled as a "racing flat". The shoe is incredibly lightweight, weighing in at a mere 7.7 ounces. Also despite how it may look, it is an incredibly flexible shoe. Looks durable as well, but time will tell that. Ran with it outside the store for a few hundred yards and liked it even more.

I knew the Kinvara was likely going to be the winner, but I tried on the other pairs to compare. Next up was the Brooks Silence. This felt a little more flimsy in terms of durability and was a bit more of how I expected a racing flat to feel overall, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Not a bad shoe, but the Kinvaras were clearly a better choice for me.

Next up was the Nike Zoom. Slipped it on and the toebox was way too narrow. Not a good fit. Immediately took if off, not bothering with a test run.

So, this morning was my first real run in the Kinvaras. Continued to be very impressed. I really digged the comfort level in such a flexible, lightweight shoe.  The lower profile was also very apparent with my gait, which was great. I know it's just one run, but I don't think I've ever been more satisfied or impressed with a road shoe. Time will tell for sure, but so far these guys are winners.

As for the run itself, Neighbor Kate was out on a ten miler and I knew she was on the return route home, so I ran out to meet up with her. Found her about two and a half miles down the road and ran with her a  bit. My pace was around 7:40-7:45/mile when not with Kate. She's training hard for a trail marathon in November and she's ramping up the mileage nicely.

Likely doing a pretty big mountain run tomorrow, so was happy to keep the mileage low again today.

Ran 5.3 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower 70s, humid, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Race Weight

I'm now at 176 lbs, right within the weight I wanted to be at which is between 173-177.  So happy to be there again.  Really worked hard the past four weeks to lose it (was at 192).  I ran like I normally would, but greatly altered my diet to include way more healthy foods and watched the portions.  Pure and simple formula: if you burn more calories then you put in, the weight will come off.  Add to that if your food choices are healthy ones, you'll be giving your body what it needs, have energy and feel great if you do it right.

Additionally, I've been doing the 100 pushups challenge.  Granted, I'm stuck at week two and am repeating it, but I don't care, so long as it's kicking my butt and I'm seeing progress, which I definitely am.  I've also been doing ab workouts on a nightly basis (with one night off a week).  I want to have a strong core for running (and not gonna lie, I also want to look good).

Easy run was on tap for today.  Got out this morning to beat the heat and I have a busy schedule today anyway.  Felt fine out there.   Just took things slow and let the mind wander.

My road shoes are pretty worn out.  Going to buy some new ones this evening.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:10/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Upper 60s, humid.
Asics GT-2130, shorts.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Humidity for All Mankind

Waited until the evening to run to let the temps cool down a bit.  It was 76 degrees when I left, but the humidity was also around that number. Very steamy out, which made it a bit tough.

Still, was able to keep the pace at the level I wanted, though it wasn't easy. I've adjusted to the heat spell we've been having somewhat, but not fully so. Nor do I want to be, I'd rather it'd just cool down dammit!

At least the Garmin behaved.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 7:36/mile pace.
Deer flies killed: 5
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 70s, very humid, sunny.
Asics GT2130, shorts, singlet, handheld water bottle (diluted Gatorade)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Round of Early Morning Yasso 800s

I was out the door at 5am, and a light but steady rain was beating against my windshield as I made the 10 minute drive to the local high school track for my speed workout.  The radio was tuned to NPR, accompanied by the rhythmic swooshing of the windshield wipers.  That peacefulness would soon be interrupted by a routine I've grown to both love and hate:  Yasso 800s.

I arrived and got out of the car, and I actually felt a sensation I hadn't felt in a while, not since perhaps jumping into the Emerald Pool at the end of our mountain run last week:  cold.  It was still warm with temps in the 60s, but with the rain and also contrasting against this two week long (and counting) heat wave of sorts, it felt chilly.

As a result, I was anxious to begin my warm-up, and ran a mile on the track.  I could tell today was going to be tougher than last week, due primarily to not getting much sleep last night and the night before.   Just not feeling in sync, which could make concentration tough.

I tried something different this time, based on a sound and logical suggestion from Chuck:  alternate the direction each rep, so you're balancing out the turns on the track.  Made sense.  Perhaps because of that and maybe because I wasn't fully awake, my focus (and pace) slipped on the second rep when I went the other direction for the first time.  Still not bad though and other than that, pretty consistant.  Up to seven reps now and the splits are as follows:


Worth noting I was very sluggish on the 3:00 jogging in between each rep.  Past few times I've done this workout I was able to jog a lap and a third in between each one.  Was so slow on the in-between jogging today I only got in a little over one lap each time.

After that final rep, a bio break was desperately needed.  Last week, I tried to use the woods and was assaulted big time by deer flies and ran back to my car to get away from them instead. So, I decided it was best to just skip the cool down today.  Generally not a good idea to do that, but didn't have much choice.  Might do a few slow miles this afternoon to keep the legs loose, but will play that by ear.

Oh yeah, last night I updated the firmware on my Garmin 305.  It behaved fine this morning, which was really nice.  Time will tell if it's a bit more permanent.

Upper 60s, light rain.
Asics GT-2130, shorts.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recovery Run and the Brick on My Wrist

Ran a little more than four miles barefoot on the athletic fields at the local high school.  Felt good to stretch things out and just run easy with the grass beneath my feet.  Still feeling pretty happy about how I did at the race yesterday.  Can't expect a lot a month and a half on to the comeback trail, so I'm pretty content with how I did.

Back to today's run:  Fortunately, I know the distance of each lap on the fields, as my Garmin Forerunner 305 is now no longer finding satellites.  It's now essentially just a big, bulky stopwatch.  Kind of disappointing.   About 21 months ago I received a factory refurbished one after my original kicked the bucket after just 18 months.  So, with an average lifespan of under 20 months, I don't think I want to buy another one.  They should last longer, in my opinion.. even if the price is now reduced to under $150 for a brand new one.  They're great when they work, but several species of insects can outlive the 305.

Will look into other manufacturers, but maybe one of Garmin's other models will fare better.  The 310xt looks nice, but not sure if I want to pay extra for all of those triathalon features.  However, the long battery life is nice.

The only other GPS-enabled model with a heart rate monitor is the 405cx.  Looks pretty sweet, but have read and heard a lot of not so positive things about the bezel controls.  Also, have heard and read the battery life is pretty bad, falling under the advertised eight hours.  Hmmmm.  Any input is appreciated.

Ran 4.2 miles @ 8:52/mile pace.
Grassy fields.
Upper 70s, sunny, humid.
Barefoot, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bradbury Scuffle Race Report

In the past four years I think I've only raced three other shorter trail races. Therefore, I just don't have a lot of experience with them.   So, I knew my biggest obstacle today would be pacing.  Still, if things went well, I thought breaking 50:00 on this course was a good, obtainable goal at this stage.

I ended up finishing the six mile race in 49:10 and 39th out of 147.   I was kind of surprised by the ranking.  Very stacked field this year, and looking at last year's results I would have placed much higher with my time today.   A small course change on one section due to trail maintenance also apparently made it a bit easier though.

Mile 1:  The humidity was absurd, and breathing in the heavy air was difficult for the first mile, but this was also likely due to me perhaps starting out a touch to fast.  I had originally thought to hold back more for the first half, since I don't have my pacing down (yet) for these shorter distances.  However, it wasn't too bad, and I caught myself before things got worse.

Miles 2 and 3:  Definitely the toughest miles.  Lot of technical uphills and my pace really slowed down.  Also noticed my Garmin wasn't locking on the satellites (me thinks it's about dead).   And to top things off, I slipped on a turn and wiped out pretty bad.  Left forearm got some gnarly bruises and I don't bruise easily.

Miles 4 and 5:  Started to get my rhythm back a bit, coming to life a bit more on a long downhill.

Mile 6:  Knew I had a chance to break 50 minutes and was feeling pretty strong, so just kept it going and was happy to cross the finish line.

Post race:  Couple minutes after finishing, I ducked into the woods and puked (that was cool).

Big congrats to the other Trail Monsters.  Lots in our group raced really, really well.  Nice to see so many of us not injured (or pregnant) and kicking some butt.  Big thanks to Ian and his sidekick Ryan for organizing yet another helluva an awesome race.

Will post some pics later.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:12/mile pace.
Technical trails.
Moderately hilly.
Lower-mid 70s, very humid, partly cloudy.
Asics Trail Attacks, shorts, sleeveless shirt, cap.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rain and the Dead Garmin

Halfway through my run and with the rain pouring down, my Garmin 305 started flipping out, blinking between screens and none of the buttons worked.  Got home and hit power+reset+mode and it turned off, but now it won't power back up.  Ugh.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears.  Looks like I might just have to buy a brand new one, but fortunately they're really cheap now. (Update:  it's showing some signs of life.  Looks like the scroll buttons on the right side are sticking, perhaps a side effect of the recent humidity. Still not useable at this point though.)

Other than that, the run went well.  I purposely headed out right before the rain was going to start so I could have a nice cool run and minimize deer flies.   I climbed Deering Ridge road hitting my splits in the 7:40s pretty easily on the three mile climb up, and then reached the hairpin turn to the dirt road for the run down.  It was here the Garmin was flipping out.

Had to guess at my pace but I knew I was faster than going up, probably hitting around 7:00/mile along the dirt road.  Decided to cut through the gravel pit and take the trail home, just to mix things up a little.  Deer flies were noticeably worse here, and I was also in a stretch where the rain was light.  Picked up a small, fallen maple leaf branch and whipped my back intermittently to keep them away.  Still, they were nothing compared to yesterday morning.

Looking forward to racing the Bradbury Scuffle tomorrow.   I think I've gotten a lot of my speed back at this distance, so I plan on actually racing it.

Ran 5.2 miles @ ~7:30/mile pace.
Paved roads, dirt roads, trails.
Very hilly.
Lower 80s to lower 70s, overcast, light to heavy rain.
Asics GT-2130, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Double: Easy Run and Hill Sprints

Was out the door for a trail run at 5am.  Goal was to get in around five miles at a pretty easy pace.  Temps were in the upper 60s, and the deer flies were horrendous.  

Their behavior at the crack of dawn was notably different.  They swarmed, but also simply landed on my shirt and stayed there.  It was almost horrifying to look over the back of my shoulder at one point and see at least a dozen of them hitching a ride.  Can't imagine how many more there were on the rest of my back that I couldn't see.  One swat yielded several deaths to the little bastards.  I then broke off a pine branch and swatted my back intermittently to keep them away.  

As for the run itself, it went well.  The pace picked up at the end a little simply because I wanted to get inside and away from those little yellow and black winged crapheads.  

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:15/mile pace. 
Deer flies killed:  20+
Trails and fire roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 60s, extremely humid. 
Asics Trail Attacks, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Got home from my summer mentoring job and took a nap.  Woke up and was out the door to run a little over a mile down the road to a short section of hill that is also steep, possibly making it a good candidate for hill sprints, so I thought I'd test it out.  Turns out the hill section was about 365 feet long and climbs about 40 feet. 

Goal was to get in 10 reps, including a sprint up the hill and a walk back down.  Mission accomplished, but next time I think I'll jog down the hill, as the walk down seemed to allow too much of a rest break.  

I otherwise really liked the workout and thought the hill was perfect.  I wanted something shorter and steep to sprint up, as I already get in plenty of hill running anyways.  This should provide some good strength training and also get the heart rate jacked. 

Cool down run home, cold shower and done.  Looking forward to much needed thunderstorms tomorrow.  Ahhhhhh...

Warm up 1.2 miles  @ 8:13/mile pace. 
Hill sprints x 10.  Pace up started at about 4:50/mile average, slowed to around 6:10/mile at the top. 
Cool down 1.2 miles @ 8:14/mile average. 
Paved roads. 
Lower 80s, sunny. 
Asics GT-2130, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Trails and Roads

Met up with my friend Frank for a run, who lives just a few miles away.  We hadn't really decided on a route until just before we headed out.  I wanted to avoid the more open trails as the heat wave we're experiencing has really made the deer flies incredibly awful to deal with.

So, we decided on a rough route that was a mix of roads and trails, roughly half of each.  The roads would give us some relief from those little yellow and black winged bastards.  We took it really easy today, keeping the pace slow and I picked Frank's brain on some nutritional stuff, which he's an expert on.   Good company and a good run!

Oh yeah, my heart rate monitor has flipped out again the past few runs.  Opened up the battery cover and saw the new battery I just put in last week had been leaking or was somehow otherwise corroded.  Will clean out the inside of it and put in a new battery and see what happens.

Ran 8.8 miles @ 9:53/mile pace.
Trails and paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Upper 70s, very humid.
Asics Trail Attacks, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Early Morning Yasso 800s

I like to think I'm a morning person, but that's in the sense that I like having at least two hours to lounge around, drink coffee, get caught up on the news, check Facebook, check running blogs, or whatever.  It's not really for running, and when it is, it's either long runs or easy runs where I can take my time waking up.

Today would be different, as I consider my speed workouts to be very important and I didn't want to do it too close to the race on Sunday, so after yesterday's rest day, today was really the best day to do it.   Long story short, busy day today so I really only had time to do it in the early morning.  Plus, today is going to be another hot one, so it's nice to beat the heat.

I got to the local high school track a bit after 5am and did a mile warmup.  Actually felt pretty good, which carried over into the actual workout.  I hit all six reps pretty consistently, with a little over three minutes of light running in between each interval.   Glad I did this.  Maybe it's incentive to do early morning runs more often.

Warm-up:  1.0 miles @ 8:21/mile pace.
Cool down:  1.2 miles @ 10:01/mile pace (barefoot on the athletic fields).

Upper 60s to lower 70s, humid, sunny.
Asics GT-2130, shorts.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Running the Baldface Mountains

Great run today.  Awesome, in fact.  Not only was the company (Jim, Chuck, Ryan, Erik) great, and the scenery spectacular, and the swimming hole at the end refreshing, but my running went really well.  I felt relatively great throughout and the speed and energy were a pretty welcome surprise.

It was super hot today, with it reaching the 90s down below, and on the first peak Chuck measured the temperature at 79 degrees, but no doubt by the time we reached the second and third peaks it was into the 80s.

Despite the heat, the climb up went well and we reached the first peak in 1 hour, 13 minutes and change.  I should note that doesn't include waiting to regroup at one of the false summits.  From there, we ran along the ridge (which is very runnable) hitting the second and third peaks, regrouping on each one.

The run down went well.  I'm a sucky downhill runner on technical stuff, but after you get below treeline the grade is a nice pitch and the rocks and roots aren't so bad on most sections.  We flew down and when I was close to the swimming hole, I had one wipe out.  I didn't realize until a few tenths of a mile later that I was missing my sunglasses (which had been perched on top of my head).  Fortunately, I ran back and found them unharmed where I had fallen.  Whew.

Reached the swimming hole and lept off the rocks quite a few times into cold mountain water that felt oh so inviting at the end of a long run.  Ahhhhhh.  It was heaven.  We all cooled down and chatted a bit and ran the remaining mile back to the car.

On the way back, we stopped for lunch in Bridgton, the town Stephen King bases his latest novel "Under the Dome" in, only he calls it Chester's Mill in the book.  However, the landmarks were there, most notably to us the Food Mart where the riot takes place.  Jim and I were quite happy to see that.  Great day.

Ran 9.6 miles @ 16:06/mile pace.  Excludes stops to regroup and swim.
Total moving time 2:33:54 (around ten minutes longer than Chuck's moving time, due to me running back to retrieve my sunglasses).
Elevation gain:  3700'
Insanely hilly.
Upper 70s to 90s, partly cloudy.
Asics Trail Attacks, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, Nathan double water bottle belt.

Link to Chuck's pics. 

GPS Motion track of today's run (you can see me backtrack to get the glasses toward the end)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Movie Experiment of Today's Run

Just did a little experiment.  Exported the GPS route from today's run to Google Earth, where I set the route into motion and then captured it using Quicktime (screen capture) and cropped it using iMovie.  Simple to do, and all with standard tools found on any Mac. 

Marathon vs. Ultramarathon Training

Meant to get out earlier this morning to run, but still got out around 8:30am before the real heat starts to build. Felt pretty good out there. It's really nice to run with the heart rate monitor again, and I was pleased to see my heart rate was pretty much on par for this pace.

Been doing a lot of thinking about marathon training vs. ultramarathon training. As with any form of long distance running, the forumlas for success vary greatly and the opinions are about as numerous as gallons of toxic oil in the gulf. None are necessarily wrong, it's just a matter of experimenting and finding out what works best for you, which is half the fun.

However, as a general rule, it's pretty safe to say that ultramarathon training focuses more on the long runs and speed work takes a big back seat, if it even exists at all. That's definitely been the case with me in the past. And I've ridden on that training when doing my last handful of marathons. It's worked out okay for the most part, but I don't think it's helped me reach my full potential with marathons.

I'm looking to change that now, training specifically for the MDI Marathon this October, and as I continue to enter the training regiment with the rust coming off, I'm actually really enjoying the differences so far. There's speed work, tempo runs, and just faster running all around thrown into the mix. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it sucks, but even when it sucks it's usually while I'm doing it, but afterwards I'm glad I did it and feel pretty rewarded.

That's been coming along nicely, now just need to get the long runs in there also, which I'm working up to and will be there soon. As I'm getting back into race shape, the weight continues to come off. I weighed myself at 182 when I woke up this morning. That's five pounds less than a week ago, and 10 pounds less than two weeks ago. At this rate, next weekend I'll be within my goal weight range (173-177).

Still a lot of work to do between now and October, but so far so good.

Ran 5.4 miles @ 7:35/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 154/165
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid to upper 70s, sunny.
Asics GT-2130, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Bradbury Scuffle Preview Run

Met up with the Trail Monster gang and we ran the Bradbury Scuffle course, about six miles of technical trails over relatively short but challenging, rollercoaster hills. Race is next weekend and I'm pretty excited about it.

I'm far from being back to my true running form, but I should still be okay for said race. Today's run felt like a moderate effort, maybe a little more than that but not much, and I still averaged under nine a mile, which isn't bad for these trails.

On the way home, picked up fresh batteries for the heart rate monitor, so I look forward to using that again. It's been a long while since I last used it, and it's a great training aid. Nice to be able to quantify the effort put into runs and compare.

Ran 6.2 miles @ 8:55/mile pace.
Deer flies killed: 2 (and those were the only two I was aware of the whole morning).
Technical trails.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 60s to mid 70s, sunny.
Asics Trails Attacks, shorts, sleeveless shirt, cap, handheld water bottle.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Hill Repeat Experiment

The MDI Marathon course is very hilly, which for me (and anyone else who runs in the area) is somewhat of an advantage because much of what I run on is hilly anyway.   Still, I'm going to throw in some hill repeats every week or two to get even stronger.

This stretch I ran on today was a bit long though, nearly half a mile one way.  I think it might be better in the future to run a similar grade but on a shorter stretch and do it faster.  Otherwise, workouts like today just equate to a hilly run, which I might do anyway.  I think I'd benefit more with sprinting up a shorter stretch for the purpose of gaining strength.   Perfect hill for that just a little over a mile from my house, so I'll keep that in mind for next time.

Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:42/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 70s, sunny.
Asics GT-2130, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Slow Deer Flies

Cool weather today, with lows in the lower 40s last night and highs only in the upper 60s.  I knew this would make trail running in the afternoon a bit more pleasurable in terms of deer flies.  They were out, but not as numerous and moving pretty slow.  As a result, I killed nine of the little bastards.

As for the run itself, I felt a bit sluggish.  Not horribly slow for the trails I was on nor was I bonking, just not so energetic.  I think it was in part from not getting as much sleep this week as I normally do, but also the week's workouts might be catching up to me a bit. Might adjust tomorrow's plans and do an easier run, but will see how I'm feeling.

Ran 7.7 miles @ 9:13/mile pace.
Deer flies killed: 9
Trails and fire roads.
Very hilly.
Mid-upper 60s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.