Monday, February 28, 2011

And So Ends February

Today is a rest day, and also an extension to the week off as school was canceled today with the impending snow/ice storm. So I can now call it good for the month, and overall I'm pretty happy with how things have gone.

I closed the month with 238.4 miles, and have had four consecutive 60+ mile weeks. For me, that's awesome and I'm very happy with that, especially considering this winter is a pretty harsh one. Scheduling the running around (or through) snow storms and battling the elements always poses a challenge, but if you live in a colder climate, you just learn to work with it.

Quality workouts this month as well, but there are still some things to work on. I mentioned it in a post last week, but I feel I need to get in more marathon-paced and also moderate paced runs. In the past couple of weeks in particular, it seems like I've been getting more of the extreme ends.. either fast interval work or LSD runs and slower recovery runs, but not enough of the middle ground. That'll be the focus the next several weeks.

Also would like to get in some more downhill work. My quads have a tendency to complain more than any other muscle group when they take a beating. Boston has lots of downhills, so I'd like some insurance and do some running drills focused on getting them more acclimated.

This next week will be a step-down week. It was supposed to be last week, but I was feeling great still and thought I'd ride the wave. But now is a good time. A step back should lead to a few extra steps forward. No more than 40-45 miles this week, maybe even a bit less.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bradbury Blizzard Snowshoe Race Report

In a word: Ouch. And on many fronts. I hadn't planned on doing this race, but the Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic, rescheduled for today after being postponed three weeks ago because of snow, was canceled for good because of another round of snow. Frustrating, but the reasons are valid and I'm sure it was exponentially more frustrating for the race directors.

So, after the MWC was canceled, I told Ryan I'd volunteer for the 5-mile Bradbury Blizzard, but he suggested, somewhat strongly, that I race it instead. I simply really wanted to compete, so after only a few moments of thought I agreed. Thankfully, Dion Snowshoes had kindly loaned several pairs for racing snowshoes for the race series, and Ryan was able to secure me a pair. Great snowshoes, was really happy with how they performed today.

Pre-Race Run
I got to Bradbury Mountain early to get in five miles on the roads before the race. This served two purposes: warm-up the legs and also put more miles in the bank to help get me over 60 miles for the week for the fourth consecutive week. With the snowshoe race I'd have it.

Run went well. Kept the pace very easy to save the legs as much as I could for the race. Just ran up Route 9 for an out and back. 1" to 2" of fresh snow coated the road shoulders, so it was slow going which was fine. Got back and kept warm in my car until it was race time.

Ran 5.1 miles @ 9:14/mile.
Snow coated roads, 1"-2" of powder.
Very hilly.
Lower teens, overcast, light to moderate snow, breezy.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, mittens.

The Race
Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
I wasn't sure what to expect since this was my first snowshoe race. Like I mentioned before, I hadn't planned on racing, and a few days ago I knew it was quite likely that the Mid-Winter Classic would get canceled so I didn't taper my mileage much the past few days. Still, I wasn't feeling particularly worn down, so I thought I'd do pretty well. But how to define "well"? I really hadn't a clue.

The race started and we were off. After a short flat stretch we were soon climbing a gnarly set of switchbacks to the top of the mountain. Ouch. It became apparent to me about halfway through the climb that I had gone out WAY too fast. I was racing it like a trail race, matching my placing in the pecking order accordingly with other folks based on their running paces. Bad idea. Snowshoe racing is quite different and I'd muse there is definitely a considerable degree of conditioning to the sport. Many of these guys had more experience than I did. Lesson learned.

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
To make matters more complicated, the snow was very loose and slow. In other words, a LOT more work. Quite a few people passed me as we got towards the top.

Finally reached the summit and we were on the way down. Jeff and James blew passed me here, and Floyd and Dave also did as well. However, the paces were starting to settle in a bit. Jeff and James continued to get farther away, as did Floyd, but I seemed to be keeping pace with Dave who would remain just in front of me for the rest of the race.

The downhill after the first time summiting was nice. I learned I can really fly downhill on snowshoes. Throughout the race, Dave would put a little distance on me on the long uphills, but I would close the gap on the downhills. Julia was also right behind me, and it was similar. I could hear her gaining ground on me on the uphills, but I was able to utilize my longer stride on the downhills to gain some distance.

So, we went down, then up to the summit again, then down, then we began the second loop and would do it all over again. Positioning would stay the same throughout.. nobody else passed me and I passed nobody else. It was very hard work throughout though.

I crossed the finish, still in disbelief at how tough it all was. I confirmed this by vomiting (more of a glorified vurp) about a minute later. I came in 13th place out of 37 runners, finishing the five mile course in 1:00:47. Truth be told, I'm a bit disappointed with that. Just wasn't my day. I think I can do better, but talk is cheap. Still, next year I'd like to do this more often, so hopefully some actual snowshoe training and more experience will pay off. I learned running does not directly translate to snowshoe racing by as much as I thought. Sure, it obviously helps, but it's still not the same. But the minor disappointment of my placing/time was trumped by the fun I had at experiencing something new, and getting in a great workout to boot.

Big thanks to Ryan, Ian and all the volunteers for a fun day! As an added bonus, Kate and I won a bag of Matt's coffee and a gift certificate to Frontier in the post-race raffle.

Snowshoed 5.1 miles @ 11:56/mile pace (per the Garmin)
Official time: 1:00:47.
Placing: 13th out of 37
Trails with loose snow.
Insanely hilly.
Upper teens, mostly cloudy.
Dion Snowshoes (Model 121), long tights, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Snowy Roads

Post-storm conditions made for some slow running today. Was glad I packed my screw shoes with me on our trip to Bangor. My feet never hit pavement once. Good easy run.

Ran 7.0 miles @ 8:56/mile pace.
Snow coated roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower to mid teens, sunny, breezy.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beat the Storm

I'm up in Brewer. Was quite happy to wake up and see the storm hadn't arrived yet. Got out the door and got in eight miles at a recovery pace and beat the snow. Good little run and nice to take it slow to save myself for the race Sunday (if it doesn't get postponed... again).

Ran 8.0 miles @ 8:24/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (didn't want to wear strap)
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 30s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fast Trails

The snowmobile trails in the woods out back were in great shape for running this morning. Very well packed down overall. Beautiful morning to boot, with it warming up to the mid-30s by the end of the run and the sun shining brightly. Different weather scenario tomorrow though, if the weather folks are right...

Overall pace was a moderate effort. In a way it underscored something that's been bugging me slightly about my training the past few weeks, which is I need to get in more marathon-paced runs. Interval work is great and all, but I need to do more medium-long runs in that 7:10-7:25/mile pace range. That'll be the goal the several weeks. But for the next few days, easy runs as I taper down a little for the Mid-Winter Late-Winter 10-Mile Classic on Sunday.

Also with the training, would like to do some more downhill running and get the quads more acclimated to what they'll be experiencing in Boston. Reverse hill repeats is one idea. Another is have somebody drive me up towards the foothills from my house or the school and run a long downhill back to my destination.

Ran 8.3 miles @ 8:53/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (didn't feel like wearing the strap)
Packed and fast snowmobile trails.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s to mid 30s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (shed halfway through)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hill Repeats

Pretty tough workout on tap for today. Wasn't feeling particularly energetic so that made it a bit more tough. But, I got it done, and all in all not bad.

I ran 4.2 miles of gradual climbing up to a ridge from my house. On the other side of the ridge the road drops off rather steeply, and I ran a session of eight hill repeats there. Each sprint uphill was about 2/10's of a mile long and climbed 90 feet, depending on which graph you look at... the one below has a shorter elevation change. Regardless, pretty tough.

Afterwards, I ran the same way back home, thankful it was mostly downhill on the way back. Now time for a nap (hey, I'm on vacation).

Ran 12.1 miles @ 8:05/mile pace (includes 8 X .2 mile hill repeats)
AHR/MHR - 146/170
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Upper 20s to mid 30s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (shed during repeats).

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recon Mission: Boston Marathon

I have the week off from work, and so does Kate so she graciously agreed to come down with me to Boston and help with logistics so I could run the last 14.5 miles of the course, starting at Wellesley. We'd also drive the first part of the course up to that point.

This was a great idea and I learned a lot. I was actually on much of the course two years ago when I helped crew and pace a friend who was running a quadruple Boston to raise money for charity. Unfortunately I had a bad plantar fasciitis flare up at the time so didn't run as much as I would have liked, and plus it was at 1:00am so I don't remember it as well.

After a tortuous drive down due to wide-load trucks taking up all three lanes on I-495, we were relieved to finally get to Hopkinton. We found the start line painted on the road, but first parked the car to check it out more closely and also the statue of George V. Brown firing his starting pistol.

We got back in the car and started driving the course. I noted the downhills the first several miles. As many have warned me, these can be dangerous, and I can see why. Race excitement + going out too fast + significant dowhills = trashed quads. I don't want to be that guy.

After four miles, bit of an uphill and then it seemed pretty tame for a while. I noted the small, rolling hills. Emphasis on small. Should be pretty fast going.

Back-up instructions in case the GPS failed
We reached Wellesley College and pulled into the parking lot. I gathered my running gear but first checked to see if a bathroom near their athletic fields was open. It was. Score! A good omen. After that I fired up the Garmin with a preloaded course map of what I was going to run. As a back-up, I had directions written down though.

I bid Kate farewell and was off. She was going to drive down to the finish and do some shopping while I ran.

I cruised along slowly, with the goal of this run just going at an easy pace. That wasn't hard, given my crappy diet the day before. Felt sluggish at first because of that, but it would thankfully wear off.

I noted the terrain continued to just have very small hills, and went through some really nice looking towns. However, the sidewalks were pretty bad at times, coated with thick, slippery ice which made the going slow. This was a bit aggravating, but so be it. On race day, no sidewalks necessary, as the roads will be ours.

Newton Hills  (before Heartbreak Hill)
About 5.5 miles into my run (17.2-ish miles from the course start), I made the right turn onto Commonwealth Avenue, and now the real hills, known as the Newton Hills, started. Granted these hills, including Heartbreak Hill, are smaller than what I run on around my house and also the ones on the MDI Marathon course, but they are still nothing to sneeze at. They're pretty big, and I could see how they could easily chew you up at that stage in the race. Definitely to be respected.

Running along the Newton Hills stretch was nice because there was a side road with only local traffic. I saw many other runners along here which was great.

Got to Heartbreak Hill and reached the top. After that, a nice downhill and I noted the Boston College campus to my right. Beautiful school.

The Garmin course feature saved me soon after passing the campus. I made a left hand turn a block or two too soon, and my watch beeped at me and flashed a message I was off course. I was sure I was on the right street, but who I am to argue with computers. I backtracked and sure enough, I discovered it was right.

Made the left on Beacon and the downhills really got serious here. I mused how it would definitely suck to trash the quads in the first few miles or elsewhere and not have the stamina for this section. Very easy to fly here if one still can do so.

Citgo sign looms in the distance
So I'm now 11 or so miles into my run (and 22-23 or so miles into the course) and I'm noting things are more and more getting city-like. No more individual houses, and I'm running alongside huge brownstone buildings crammed together along the street with pedestrians walking to and fro along the sidewalks. I slowed down several times when passing, not wanting to be rude. Yeah, I realize it is Boston, but I wouldn't feel right zooming past people and scaring the crap out of them.

I knew I was coming up on the right turn on Hereford, but suddenly my Garmin was saying I was off course and yelling at me again. Say what?! I was certain I stayed on Commonwealth Avenue, but my Garmin was saying otherwise. This time I would issue a challenge... I fired up my phone and checked google maps and verified I was right. Right at that same moment, I realized the taller buildings were interfering with the GPS signal and not giving me as accurate of a read on my location. Made sense.

Turned right on Hereford and saw several cop cars, firetrucks, and ambulances go by. Huh. Turned left on Boyston and was greeted with something unexpected: smoke, and lots of it. Really thick black smoke right down the street where I was supposed to run. You seriously could not see through it. I stopped and contemplated what to do. A guy on the street told me "you don't want to run through that" as he passed by. I didn't. But I did.

I pulled my jacket up over my nose and ran on. Other pedestrians were doing the same. Turns out a building was on fire a block away. At least it wasn't right on Boyston. As a result, the dense smoke wasn't very deep, and after a block I was through it completely.

Very soon afterwards, I was at the library and found the finish line painted across the road. I lept on to the road quickly to run across it before a wave of traffic came, and returned to the safety of the sidewalk. I called Kate and she was just a block away and we soon met back up. A nice end to the run.

Afterwards, I changed and we got an early dinner and did some shopping. Also had a bit of fun goofing off:

This guy offered me candy and drove a van without windows

Photo booth fun
Ran 14.5 miles @ 8:22/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (wonky data)
Paved roads. 
Moderately hilly. 
Upper 20s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, handheld bottle (water).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Good End to the Week

Recovery run this morning to keep the legs loose, but truth is I was feeling just fine. Feels like I ran 10 miles yesterday, not a marathon. Trails will do that for you. And though less impact on the body, it was still good strength training in a way... no doubt the legs push more on the snow than they do on the roads.

This marks the third consecutive 60+ mile week, which I'm quite pleased with. Didn't think I was going to get it this week because of the two rest days, but it all came together here over the weekend. Quality workouts during this stretch and this training cycle as a whole as well, so I'm feeling pretty confident about Boston.

That all being said, I'm still planning a step-down week next week. Shooting for 40-45 miles. This should serve two purposes: give the body a bit of a break and also allow a mini-taper for the Mid-Winter (Late-Winter?) 10-Mile Classic a week from today. Would really like to crank it for that race.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:21/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (didn't feel like dealing with the strap)
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower to mid 20s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 11, long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Marathon on the Trails

What a great day, and what a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I was dragging butt on my run and not feeling well. Today, some good friends Val and Linda were hosting a big group run, and I had wanted to get in 20 miles but after yesterday's run I wasn't sure if that was going to be in the cards.

Still have a touch of the head cold but I was obviously much better today and my energy was through the roof somehow. I was feeling terrific throughout the run and actually decided to do just over the marathon distance and did so very comfortably. Not sure what happened there, but it was very welcome and a nice surprise.

Run was made easy since I ran practically the whole thing with my homey Ryan. We jibber jabbered about just about everything and his company was most welcome. Had a lot of fun!

Trail conditions were much better than expected, which helped a lot also. I was expecting mash potato snow given the very warm days the past couple of days, but the snowmobile sections of trails (about three quarters or so of the five-and-change mile loop we'd run multiple times) were very well packed and firm still, which was not expected and very welcome. About another quarter or so of the loop was single track paths that Val and Bethany had packed down yesterday for us all to run on. These were pretty challenging, but a lot of fun! Great mix of the two.

Crazy wind today. At times, it nearly stopped us in our tracks. But when it was a tailwind, it gave a huge push, so I guess it all evened out.

Good day. Just need a few miles tomorrow to get me over 60 for the week for the third week in a row. Stoked about that.

Ran 26.3 miles @ 9:37/mile pace. (excludes stops)
AHR/MHR - 136/161
Snowmobile trails and snowshoe trails.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 20s, sunny, extremely windy.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

The King of Limbs

Radiohead released their new album "The King of Limbs" a day early today (digital download). A nice surprise and rumor has it that another wave of songs will be released tomorrow, but no confirmation of that.

One could find an abstract link to running with the name of the album. Or a serial killer perhaps. Regardless, what was released today was fantastic and it was going through my head throughout my run today.

So, great album. Not so great run. This was due in part to tired legs from yesterday's speed workout, which is to be expected, but mostly due to this head cold I have. My throat has been really sore all day today and I just feel overall very... head cold-ish.

However, it was in the mid-50s and sunny this afternoon. So nice to run again in just shorts and a short sleeved shirt. Lots and lots of melting going on.

No worries. Long run with the Trail Monsters planned for tomorrow but will play it by ear.

Ran 10.6 miles @ 8:15/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/158
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yasso 800s on a Spring-like Day

Wow, 52 degrees out at the start of my run today! Not only did I get to run comfortably in shorts, but a short sleeved shirt to boot! It was very, very nice.

Feeling a bit better with my head cold, and the raw garlic and OJ remedy is in effect. Resting yesterday was the right call, and my energy felt more or less fine today so I opted to do the full Yasso 800 workout I had on tap for this week. Did them around the school, using the Garmin 410's interval workout feature, which I really like a lot.

Went really well. Splits were: 2:49, 2:54, 2:54, 2:57, 2:57, 2:59, 2:54, 2:55, 2:56, 2:56. That's an average of 2:55 a split, my fastest session yet. However, it's only fair to take in account I did this one on fresh legs with the extra rest day yesterday. Also, I set my Garmin for 3:00 on active recovery. With Yasso 800s, you're supposed to do the active recovery in the amount of time that your last split was. I don't think the Garmin could be set up that way, but next time I'll set it at 2:55 instead of 3:00. Still, I do feel a bit sick still so maybe that averages things out a bit, but such thinking is not prudent to proper training.

Worth noting I also did the splits by feel. I had my watch set up improperly in that I wasn't able to see my splits until after I was completely done with the workout. Nice to know I can do the workout consistently by feel.

w/u - Ran 1.7 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Yasso 800s w/ 3:00 active recovery. Average of 2:55 a split. 8.0 miles total.
c/d - Ran 1.7 miles @ 9:17/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 156/173 (excludes warmup and cooldown, glad the strap behaved today).
Paved roads.
Mostly flat for Yassos, slightly hilly for warmup and cooldown.
Lower 50s to upper 40s, partly cloudy.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quite Fair: The Boston Marathon's New Qualification System

The running world is quite abuzz today, as the Boston Marathon announced its new qualification standards and rolling registration system late this morning (was happy they did so right before my lunch break so I could research it a bit). As I write this post, it's still difficult to get on the Boston Marathon's website, but the details are all over the internet and someone on the Runner's World message boards posted the complete lowdown, which you can read here.

Let's face it, whenever anything changes there will always be those who complain. However, overall the comments I've read on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc. have been overwhelming positive and supportive of the changes as a whole. That's good to see, as I think the running community knew changes were needed. It sounds like the Boston Athletic Association really did their homework and came up with something fair and it's hard to strongly argue against it.

For what it's worth, here are my thoughts on a couple of the key changes:

Rolling registration - This means the faster folks get in first. For 2012, it will be based on the BQ times as they stand now (more on the new 2013 times below). On the first day of registration (Sept. 12, 2012), those who qualified by 20 minutes or better can register. Two days later, those who qualified by 10 minutes. Four days out, 5 minutes. That's the end of week one. If you can meet the above requirements, and the race doesn't fill up, you are all set. You're in. You earned it. Done. You can relax and start planning.

Then week two registration starts on Sept. 19th and whatever spots are left go to those who simply qualified, but with a sort of catch. They'll have four days to register and it is NOT first come, first serve. At the end of the registration period, those applicants who are fastest in their respective age groups will get in, depending on how many slots are left.

That means you won't have to race to the computer, but will have to wait five days after the registration closes on Sept. 23rd to find if you made it in or not, and it's contingent on others' qualifying times. That'll no doubt be stressful if you're in the week two group, but it's a fair way to address supply and demand, in my opinion. Boston is supposed to be an elite race and this is a pretty unique and very fair system. The folks who run faster get in, not the folks who get to their computers faster.

Tougher Qualifying Times - This was a bit surprising. Starting in 2013, five minutes faster BQ times for each age group across the board (men and women). I, along with many others, thought they might make it tougher for older men and all women. It does get much easier to BQ for guys once over the age of 45, and looks like it'll stay that way, comparatively speaking. Many have said it's too easy for women in any age group as well (can't comment on that). But nope, the BAA decided five minutes faster for all. Personally, I don't have that strong of an opinion on the matter, but I imagine others might.

But actually it's not just five minutes. It's actually 5:59, as that bonus :59 time in the old system will now be done away with. And even with the tougher standards, the rolling registration system will still be in place. Good call.

What It Means For Me - For someone like me, it makes it tougher, but still not impossible. Technically, my MDI time could still get me in again for 2012, but I would be one of the week two folks and would have to keep my fingers crossed.

I'd rather not do that. So, I'm going to try to break 3:10 at Boston this April so I can be a week one registrant for 2012 and greatly increase my odds of getting in (3:10 would mean I BQ'd by better than five minutes). So that's the goal.

On a side note, I very begrudgingly took an unscheduled rest day today. Bad head cold, but I suspect I'll be good to go tomorrow. Already downed two cloves of raw garlic, chased by a big glass of OJ. That always seems to do the trick for me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Garmin Premium Heart Rate Strap Frustrations

I'll start off with a rant and get it out of the way: The Garmin Premium HR strap is garbage. For me, wetting both sides sometimes works, but not always. Today I tried aloe gel to increase the contacts but still the same problem, which is very erratic readings the first few miles. It sucks not having consistant, reliable data. I'm now officially convinced this thing is just crap. I'm going to try to find my old strap and just use that one for now on.

Okay, rant over. That aside, today's run went pretty well overall. Legs felt a little tired and heavy at first, but better after a few miles and I was warmed up. Not much else to report. Looking forward to a bit of a warm-up which starts again tomorrow. Might be able to run in shorts!

Ran 8.3 miles @ 7:46/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - See above.
Paved roads, patches of ice and snow.
Very hilly.
Lower 20s, breezy, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Trails

The trails were so great at Bradbury Mountain yesterday that I decided I would get in a run before helping out with Ryan and Ian's second installment of their three race Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series.

All last night and this morning I had hemmed and hawed about the mileage. I felt great yesterday, so was thinking I would do the 15-mile loop again. However, my legs felt a bit creaky this morning, and I didn't want to push things and take away from the training regiment next week, so I decided eight would be enough. Then, after waking up a bit, they felt loose and good to go, but I still didn't want to push it, so I compromised and decided 12 miles would be good. That would also get me over 60 miles for the week, which was a nice bonus.

Run went well. It was 4F/-16C when I got to the park, so a bit chilly. I had my mittens in the car, but went with my light gloves, which I regretted a bit especially midway into the run. I headed out towards the powerlines, and when I hit the gravel pit section about four miles in, the temperature seemed to drop a good 5-10 degrees there. The apparent temperature drop stayed put on the powerlines, where I turned right (we've been turning left lately) for something new, and went about a mile down and then turned around and came back the same way.

Good run and I felt great. I returned to the parking lot to see Ryan, Ian and Mindy there getting ready for the snowshoe race, and I jumped in and helped them get things set up and then worked timing the finish line with Val. Really fun time!

Looking back on the week, it was yet another solid week of training that I was pretty happy with. I ended up with more miles than I had planned for this week, which was nice and I didn't feel like I was overly pushing it. I am due for a step-back week though. I'm just glad I'm getting in those key workouts. With Boston just two months away now, it's a good time to have the training reved up high and for me, I feel I'm doing that. Still a lot of work to do, but I feel like I'm on track, which is all one can really ask for.

Ran 12.2 miles @ 9:13/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (wonky data, the Garmin "premium" strap sucks in cold weather)
Well packed snowmobile trails.
Very hilly.
4 degrees start, lower teens finish, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT, long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Beautiful Loop

Ran the 15-mile "Beautiful Loop" at Bradbury Mountain today with Jim and Stephen. Mindy, Val, Rick and Eric were also with us for part of the run but ran shorter distances.

We saw Ian before we headed out, who was with Ryan making preparations for tomorrow's Bradbury White Out Snowshoe Race. He told us that he and Emma had run the loop yesterday and the trail conditions were amazing. He wasn't lying. They were PERFECT. Very well packed down and fast. It seriously could not have been any better.

Despite fast conditions, we opted not to go fast. I think Stephen, Jim and I were having so much fun jibber-jabbering about movies, books, races and everything else that the pace was totally irrelevant and we were just enjoying the run and the conversation. Definitely a lot of fun. The party continued at Edna and Lucy's where we grabbed a bite to eat afterwards.

Ran 15.1 miles @ 9:33/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (didn't feel like wearing the strap)
Well packed snowmobile trails.
Very hilly.
8 degrees to start, upper 20s to end, mostly cloudy.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long tights, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, handheld water bottle.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Recovery Run

Short and slow recovery run, which was welcome. I could tell I did a speed workout yesterday. Nothing really exciting today, other than I multitasked a bit and carried a large envelope with me to drop off at the post office a few miles into the run.

Looking forward to running at Bradbury Mountain tomorrow with the gang.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:16/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 133/149* (approximate; I had erratic readings the first few miles and factored those out)
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mile Repeats

Glad to get in some interval work today in the form of 5 X 1 Mile repeats with a quarter mile of active recovery in between. Since the recovery time is pretty short, the goal was to maintain around a 5k-10k pace.

Not sure what that is, so I just referred to the MacMillan Calculator, which has me doing them roughly between 6:15-6:30/mile (based on a mix of cruise and speed intervals using a 3:10 marathon as a benchmark). Splits ended up being 6:14, 6:12, 6:19, 6:21, 6:17. That averages out to 6:17/mile.

I'm a bit bummed, as I averaged :15/mile faster over the summer. However, I guess I could say my legs weren't fresh today, it was very windy (and cold), and there was an unavoidable 30-40 foot stretch of thick ice I had to run on. Part of me says all of that is reasonable, but part of me thinks it's just excuses.

Did this workout by running around the school, and used the interval workout feature on the Garmin 410. Very handy and easy to set-up. The interval feature is probably the same on most Garmins, so if you haven't tried it yet, definitely check it out. Works great.

w/u - Ran 1.8 miles @ 8:14/mile pace.
5 X 1-Mile Repeats w/ .25 mile active recovery in between - 6:14, 6:12, 6:19, 6:21, 6:17. Total of 6.0 miles.
c/d - Ran 1.8 miles @ 8:46/mile pace.

AHR/MHR - 157/168 (for intervals and active recovery only)
Paved roads, some ice.
Mostly flat for the intervals, slightly hilly for w/u and c/d.
Mid 20s, sunny, very windy (wind chill of 12)
Brooks Mach 11, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Long Day

It's a long day at work since I have to attend a function this evening here at the school. Fortunately, I had a gap of a few hours in the afternoon and was able to squeeze in a decent 12 miler.

Felt pretty good overall. A tad sluggish the first half but felt much better the second half. Very hilly route so  was pretty happy with the overall pace and effort.

Ran 12.2 miles @ 7:34/mile.
AHR/MHR - N/A (wore strap, but data was very erratic the first few miles)
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 20s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, February 07, 2011


Another warm day today, which has been quite rare this winter. 42 degrees this afternoon, and I was able to run comfortably in shorts. Pace was about 5-10 seconds slower than MP, which felt pretty comfortable but my soleus muscles did feel pretty tight. Will give the calves a good foam roll here in a bit to loosen things up, but not a big deal.

Tomorrow will be a scheduled rest day. I've only taken one in the past 19 day span, so I'm due. Have to remember that rest and recuperation are more important than the ego.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:25/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/159
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, overcast.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Wintery Mix

Last night we were treated to the full range of a wintery mix of weather: snow, sleet, freezing rain, and even some thunder and lightning.

Things had calmed down by sunrise, and temperatures were extremely warm this morning, hovering just above freezing. I set out at sunrise to take advantage of the road surfaces before it gets really messy. With a high of 40F expected, it'll likely be all slush and puddles later today.

Instead, I was treated to a relatively ideal mix of packed snow, some slush, and mostly pebbled ice which provided very good traction. My shoes didn't hit bare pavement once, and it was a good easy pace all things considered. Smart call getting out early rather than waiting.

Good cap to a solid training week. I ended up with 63.0 miles, with some quality workouts including a tempo run, 10 mile marathon-paced run, and a long run. Patting myself on the back a bit as it was all arranged nicely despite the obstacles thrown by Old Man Winter.

Looking ahead to next week, would like to get in some interval work and some skate skiing for cross training. I've purposely been keeping my eggs in the running basket lately and neglecting the skate skiing, as Boston is just a little over two months away now and I want to have a good showing there. Still, since next week is a slight step-down week, I think there'll be some room to ski the trails without much guilt.

Ran 6.6 miles @ 8:30/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 133/147
Paved roads coated in packed snow, pebbled ice, some slush.
Very hilly.
33 degrees, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Long and Slow Before More Snow

With the Mid-Winter Classic postponed for three weeks (see yesterday's post), I was fine with changing gears and doing a long run today. It was a bummer the race was pushed back, but truth is it actually works out better for my training plan this month (another long run in two weeks, then the race in three weeks).

Given some of the faster workouts earlier this week, I was very content with taking today's run really slow. I stuck to that plan, and looking at the week as a whole, that fit in very nicely. This has been a solid training week, and a short run tomorrow will give me over 60 miles for the week.

Pretty nice to just take the pace chilled out and enjoy it. Saw a pileated woodpecker early on in the run. Cool birds. The run then took me on a rolling overall downhill trek to the river. First half of this route is pretty easy, but the second half has some pretty intense hills that give a good workout.

Good run. Glad to get this one in before we get yet even more snow later today.

Ran 20.8 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 134/153
Paved and dirt roads, several sections coated with packed snow.
Very hilly.
8 degrees to start, lower 30s at finish, partly sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, handheld bottle (water).

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Easy Fiveday Friday

Just a short five miler at an easy pace around the town I teach in. Tomorrow will be a similar pace and distance to keep the legs fresh for Sunday's Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic. Really looking forward to the race. Nothing else to report.

Post-edit: The Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic was just postponed for three weeks later. According to the race organizers, the police department says high snow banks have narrowed the roads and with Saturday night's snowfall, though nothing dire, it would only add to apparently already unsafe conditions all around. The police department wasn't comfortable with it so they wouldn't issue permits. I understand the call and am sure it was the right one, but still a bummer. Oh well, life goes on.  

Ran 5.1 miles @ 8:21/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 134/145
Paved roads, puddles and large patches of slush.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 30s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 11, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Post-Storm Awesomeness

With temps in the mid-20s and the sun shining brightly, it felt pretty tropical out and it was a welcome change from the snow the past few days.

Roads were actually in better shape than I had anticipated and I had decided to change my plans from doing 10 miles at an easy pace to a moderate pace. Ended up with a marathon-pace and it felt very comfortable and easy. The heart rate mirrored that feeling, and the average stayed just below 150 which was great to see.

Really solid run. Hope the weather Saturday and Saturday night cooperates and the Mid Winter Classic is still on for Sunday. Of course, as of now I'm planning on it being a go. Today's run will make it easier mentally to keep the pace easy the next few days leading up to the race.

Ran 10.2 miles @ 7:16/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 149/162
Paved roads, patches of slush.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, long pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Storm, Schmorm...

A few days ago I had planned on possibly taking a rest day today, primarily because of the storm, but quite simply I didn't feel like it and wanted to get out for a run.

Roads were actually in great shape. Plows were doing a good job at keeping up this morning, so just enough snow to make screw shoes perfect. Hardly anyone out driving, so it was very safe... I'd muse that it was safer than a normal day, in fact. Was able to get in a better than expected pace (true easy pace). Ran up the ridge on one of the back roads... felt good to get in some hills.

As for the weather, it was 15 degrees, snowing hard and windy. Felt comfortable, aside from the snow sticking to my eyelashes. I really enjoyed it though. Very fun run. Hope everyone is faring the storm okay and making the most of things.

Ran 6.6 miles @ 8:12/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 139/151
Snow-coated roads.
Very hilly.
15 degrees, snowing hard, windy.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Look Kids! Big Ben! Parliament!

Snowing pretty hard out this afternoon and 15 degrees out to boot, so I took the safe but boring option of running multiple 4/10 mile laps around the school I teach at to get in 7.5 miles. Roads were in bad shape elsewhere, but the parking lot was pretty well packed down from the traffic of the mass exodus of students and faculty once it was time to go.

Took the pace slow for recovery, which worked out well since pushing the pace in these conditions generally isn't a very good idea. Was glad I got it done, but obviously not the most exciting run. This clip pretty much sums up the experience.

This was the first of two rounds of snow, the second and much bigger wave is supposed to roll through tomorrow. Looks like it'll be a snow day, so I'll likely take the 36" snowshoes or backcountry skis into the woods out back for some cross training.

Ran 7.5 miles @ 8:44/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 132/144
Snow-coated roads.
Mostly flat.
15 degrees, cloudy, snowing.
Adidas Adizero XT (screwed), long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.