Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mountain Biking and Post-Race Legs

Wanted to shake the legs loose a little, so opted to take the mountain bike out on some easy trails. Didn't press the pace too hard and just enjoyed cruising around in the woods out back.

Legs are feeling pretty great after the 50-miler. Though I've experienced it before, I'm still amazed at how much less trails beat you up. My quads in particular were so trashed after the Boston Marathon, and I couldn't walk down the the stairs normally for three days afterwards.

But after Pineland? Sure, my legs are sore, but it's really not that bad and stairs are not the enemy (from a favorite Ryan quote of mine). Where as with Boston running was out of the question for nearly a week afterwards, I feel I could have gone for a short and easy run today without consequence. That being said, I've learned my lesson several times on pushing things too soon, and even if the legs feel fine, there is often still some healing to be done.

So, I plan on taking tomorrow off and then resume some light running on Thursday. I'll slowly ramp up the mileage over the next few weeks and should still be able to get in some quality weeks of hard training before it's time to taper down for the Brookvale 50k at the end of July. Looking forward to it!

Mountain Biked 5.5 miles @ 9.7/mph avg.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 70s, sunny.

Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 Pineland Farms 50-Mile Race Report

The alarm was set for 3am, but I was awake at 1:30am and couldn't get back to sleep, but at least I went to bed at 7pm. I spent the time coffeeing up and double checking my gear before Kate and I headed out the door at 4am for the hour drive over to Pineland Farms.

3.5 Mile Loop
At 6am, we were off. The course consists of you running the 3.5 mile campus loop before you hit the main 25K/15.5 mile loop three times. I ran most of this with Jeremy, Chuck and our friend John from Boston. Pretty uneventful, as the pace was easy and controlled. 

First Full Loop
Chuck began to take off on his own, but I still hung with Jeremy and John. Well at least for the campus section. We were about five miles or so in and it was apparent I would need to stop for a bio-break. Was not happy about that, but so be it. I ducked into the woods and all in all it probably cost me five minutes. 

As I came out of the woods though I soon joined up with Joe, which was a real treat. We kept each other company for a good while. Still feeling good with no problems and kept the pace steady. Joe would eventually take off but I soon caught back up with John and we ran together for a bit. 

Yurt Loop complete and I was now on the Oak Hill loop side. I was alone here, and meandered through the trails, and somewhat astonished that though I've run this route several dozen times, I can never quite pinpoint where I am in the second half of it. It's deceiving like that. I eventually reached the field, the last section of the loop and was at the start/finish area. 

Second Full Loop
I stopped at my bag and grabbed my handheld water bottle, which was filled with coconut water. By the way, the coconut water was GREAT throughout the race. The taste is not overpowering, but it's full of electrolytes and potassium as well. This was much needed on a day like today, which was extremely humid and would later grow pretty hot as well. Not having the handheld for the first 19 miles was somewhat risky, but it worked well with me being sure to drink Coke and water liberally at the aid stations. 

The sun remained in the clouds for now, but it was still warming up as the day was going on and the thick humidity remained. I also ditched my shirt which brought welcome relief. I made my way through the campus section and was now en route to the yurt. All the while, I was sucking down the coconut water which was refreshing and hitting the spot. 

I ran with another guy for a while and we eventually caught up with Norm, a running acquaintance from the Boston area. I enjoyed their company, as it was now 22 or so miles into the race and I was hitting a sort of low point. Norm and the other dude even scooted ahead a bit. I could feel my energy sapping and realized I needed to eat. So, we got to the yurt aid station, and I downed some boiled potatoes. Shortly before then, I also downed some S-Caps to keep the electrolytes up, which was very important in this humidity. 

The potatoes did their magic, as I began to feel my energy returning and picked up the pace. Caught back up with Norm and the other dude and soon moved ahead. I ate some more potatoes when we went back by the yurt station (you go by it three times each loop, coming in from a different trail each time) and continued to move well. 

However, perhaps from the carb intake, it was obvious another bio-break was needed. Crap (pun intended). This sucked. I ducked into the woods and did my business, and this costed me another five minutes. When I was back out on the trail again, I was pretty demoralized. I could tell breaking eight hours was not an option early in the race (even before that first bio-break), but now I didn't even think I'd be able to even break my PR (8:33:41) or even my second best time (8:40:23). 

Made my way around the Oak Hill section, and as I approached the end of the loop I saw Kate and Ian. Ian asked how I was doing, and I believed I responded that I felt like a goth and country music song combined. But, while I wasn't feeling great, I also remember my pace being pretty good here. I was happy that I finished the second full loop without any of the 50K front runners (they start two hours after us) passing me. 

Finishing up the second loop. 

Not exactly in a high point here.
Third and Final Full Loop
Roughly about 35 miles into the race now and my legs and feet are sore but still very functional and it's just a matter of keeping the nutrition and hydration in check, as well as the mental state. 

Oh yeah, the past few posts here on my blog I mentioned a sciatic nerve pain in my left calf along with lots of muscle twitching and cramping. I only felt that mildly for the first 10 miles. After that, it was and still is gone. However, the other calf, my right one, began to threaten to cramp a little on the field sections right after the yurt. I upped the S-Caps intake (six pills from then to the finish) and drank even more liberally. Smart to do, as the sun was now breaking out of the clouds and it was heating up (lower 80s) and the humidity remained. Kept eating boiled potatoes, but also an occasional PB&J sandwich.

Ian runs with me for a bit as I head over
to the Oak Hill Loop for the last time.
I was now on the Oak Hill side, and there were two girls (runner and her pacer) in front of me who I'd catch up to, but they were running everything, including the uphills which I was walking up. So, I'd catch up to them going down but they'd then gain distance going uphill. They were talking regularly as well, so that along with the consistent running told me their energy was great so I wasn't worrying myself about catching them. I mused they'd have more gears to pass me back.

However, my confidence was growing as the loop was going on. With each passing kilometer sign I did calculations in my head. At first, it became apparent that I would indeed break that 8:40 time on the course. Then, it became apparent I had a chance to still PR. 

I didn't realize the latter until a few miles from the finish. When I had a mile left in the wooded section, I told myself if I reached the final field by 1:25pm (my Garmin went into watch mode at mile 38 because the battery had gotten low) I could PR. The race actually started at 6:03am, so that would mean I would have roughly 11 minutes for that final mile to PR, which was more than ample. So, setting that goal helped and my pace picked up and I remember reaching the field at 1:21pm. 

As I reached the field, fellow Trail Monster Running member, Al, told me to chase down the guy in the green shirt who was just ahead of me. I passed him and we exchanged good jobs, and I cruised the fields. The consistent girl and her pacer were just ahead of me, and as we crossed the street to the final section of the finish line, another girl yelled at me to "get that girl!". I replied no. Just didn't have any desire to try to chase her down, especially knowing she would probably out kick me anyway. 

As I approached the finish, I saw the clock and smiled. Moments later, I was across the finish line with a time of 8:23:37, a new PR by 10 minutes, 4 seconds. Really happy about that, especially since those two bio-breaks cost me a good chunk of time. Also, the weather was hotter and more humid then the other two years I ran it in 2008 and 2009. Lot to be proud of with all of that. 

New PR!

Congrats from my TMR teammates. 
Afterwards, hung out for several hours at the finishing line field, downing tasty beverages courtesy of Smuttynose and mowing down the free BBQ while exchanging war stories with the other Trail Monsters. Definitely a fun cap to the day!

Post-race festivities.
It's now the morning after, and my legs feel a bit sore, but overall great. Far cry from Boston, where my quads in particular were totally trashed from running fast on asphalt on a downhill course. No one muscle group is more sore than the other, and overall it's not bad at all. Sweet.

Big thanks to the race directors, Erik and Ian, for organizing an outstanding event again this year. This race has built a fantastic reputation as a result of their hard work over the years, and it's a must do event. 

Also, big congrats to Jeremy who finished sub-8 for a PR, Stephen who also PR'd, Joe who finished a few minutes ahead of me, Emma who had a great performance after coming back from injury and finished without any aggravation and also won her age group, and Val who toughed out some cramping and finished strong. Lots of other Trail Monster Running folks in the 50K and 25K events. Seems like despite the heat and humidity, so many of us had great days today and a lot of PRs to go around. 

Ran 50.0 miles @ 10:05/mile pace. 
Official Time: 8:23:37
Place: 32nd out of 120 finishers (ouch. stacked field.)
Very hilly. 
Lower 60s to lower 80s, very humid, overcast to partly cloudy. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pineland Farms 50-Mile - New PR!

Finished in 8:23:37, breaking my old PR by 10 minutes (8:33:41). I think I was 32nd place overall in a pretty stacked field. Felt pretty darn good overall, and got the PR despite having to take not one, but two bio-breaks in the woods which ate up about 10 minutes total. Very stoked and crossed the finish with a big smile on my face. Full race report in the next day or two.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pineland Farms 50-Mile Eve Thoughts

Kate and I spent the morning at Pineland Farms, where the 10k, Canicross, 5k, 5k barefoot races were happening today. We were shooting footage of the events and gathering interviews, and along with footage shot by my homie James and his daughter I plan on producing at least a few videos for the race directors to help them promote their event.

It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed running around the course getting video of runners cranking out some great performances or who were simply out there having a great time. This race is epic like that. It has a great, friendly vibe to it that makes it a must do, and the course is a blast to run. Glad this event is two days long, as it's fun to volunteer one day and run the other.

And tomorrow it'll be my turn to run. The twitching and sciatic problems in my calf are still there today, but a moderate improvement over yesterday. The good thing is that it's only a problem mostly when I'm at rest. Whenever I'm running or walking around, it's fine. So 50 miles of that tomorrow should be good for it.

Goals and strategy remain the same. I sometimes like to keep these things at least semi-secret, more for fear-of-jinxing purposes, but my approach to tomorrow is pretty relaxed and I don't feel any pressure with anything to prove like I did with MDI and Boston. That being said, the plan is to attempt to break 8-hours, but I also realize that is a reach goal for someone of my ability. I'll ride the shoulders of several friends who are more capable of that time, and hold on for as long as I can without feeling like I'm burning out and risking a DNF. I plan on hydrating and short term fueling liberally with Coke and Mountain Dew, but sticking with healthier foods (fruits and potatoes) for longer burning fuels at the aid stations. I also have Gu and Shot Blocks in my drop bag, and will also regularly take S-Caps. I also have coconut water on hand, which I may fill my hand-held bottle with at times.

At the very least, I anticipate breaking my PR of 8:33:41, which I set on this course back in 2008. I'm in better shape compared to then, and also have fresher legs (In 2008, I paced James at the Massanutten 100 the weekend before, which translated to a 37-mile mountain run). I'll be happy if I at least get a new PR. Looking forward to a good time on the trails tomorrow!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spastic Left Calf

During my scheduled rest day yesterday, chaos ensued in my left calf. The muscles there were twitching all over and at times cramping. Looking at the calf, you could see the involuntary contractions happening at random, and it reminded me of looking down at a thunderstorm from high up above in an airplane, where you're able to see sporadic eruptions of lightning down on the surface of the clouds.

How my left calf feels
What made matters worse was that it was accompanied by a strange, shooting pain that was unlike any other calf cramp that I've ever experienced. At first I was wondering if it was related to a strain or a pull. Then it was suggested to me by the health occupations instructor at my school that it could be the sciatic nerve, and perhaps the cramping was aggravating it.

Despite the problem still persisting pretty badly today, I decided to go for a test run. I figured that if I could run on it okay, it was indeed just a combo of cramping aggravating the sciatic nerve. If it got worse or hurt more, it would likely indicate a muscle strain or tear, which is more severe.

Fortunately, the running actually helped. I suspect it really is just a bad electrolyte imbalance (helped by the sudden summer-like temps no doubt) and the nerve getting aggravated by the cramping and twitching. I also found my bottle of S-Caps and downed a couple before the run, so that might have helped as well. I could still feel some soreness in the calf, but it got less as the run went on. I even opted to explore a new-to-me trail and went a mile further than planned.

So, all systems go for the 50-miler at Pineland Farms on Sunday. Bit of a scare there, but I feel much more confident after this evening's run. Aside from the calf, the legs felt springy, fresh and raring to go. I'll continue to take in plenty of fluids and electrolytes, and taking another round of S-Caps before bed tonight and a few times tomorrow should help as well.

Ran 4.0 miles @ 9:12/mile pace.
Roads for 1.7 miles, Trails for 2.3
Slightly hilly.
Brooks Mach 11, short, short sleeved shirt.
Upper 70s, sunny.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Easy Four

Just a short and slow four-miler after I was done with work. Partly cloudy, warm, but not too humid out, so it was pretty nice to run in.

Continue to feel pretty good about the 50-miler on Sunday, even if it's been a bit difficult to gauge exactly where I'm at. Focus between now and then will be on nutrition and getting ample amounts of sleep at night.  A Bruins win tonight will make the sleep that much easier (knock on wood).

Ran 4.0 miles @ 7:59/mile pace.
Paved roads, paved paths, small section of trail.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 70s, partly cloudy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First Taste of Summer Weather

Yesterday we struggled to reach 50 degrees and two days ago we never got out of the 40s. Today? 80 degrees and a bit humid in the afternoon. Quite a stark contrast, but truth to be told, it actually felt kind of nice to get in a run in the heat, though the fact that only a short run was on tap helped make that so.

Nothing much else to report. Happy running!

Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:00/mile pace.
Paved roads and trails (equal mix).
Slightly hilly.
Around 80 degrees, humid, mostly cloudy.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, singlet.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Easy Trail Run and Pineland Thoughts

Opted to run from my house today, rather than the school. Primary reason for that was simply because I got a late start this morning and to save time I opted not to pack my running stuff. Much prefer to run from work as when I get home I typically feel lethargic and just want to lay down and veg, but I resisted that temptation by immediately changing and getting out the door without thinking about it.

Run went pretty well. Felt pretty sluggish for the first half but warmed up for the second half and felt more energetic. Another damp, cloudy day. This spring is a far cry from last year, which was hot and dry.

Been thinking about my 50-miler at Pineland Farms for this weekend. It's just really tough to gauge where I'm at, given that I'm riding off my Boston training cycle and for the past six weeks I've focused on recovering and then maintaining fitness for a few weeks and then tapering back down. It's been kind of a running purgatory of sorts and as a result, I can't assess where I'm at exactly.

And... I really don't think breaking eight hours will be in the cards. That'd mean running at about 9:30/mile pace average, and not to be negative, but I just don't see that happening for 50-miles for me. I'd like to try though. May do the first 12-13 miles at that pace and then reevaluate and slow down to ensure a finish if needed. I should still PR though (8:33:41), and I'd consider finishing slower than that a failure. So... I guess that's my real goal.

Ran 4.5 miles @ 8:35/mile pace.
Trails and paved roads.
Very hilly.
Around 50 degrees, overcast, foggy.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Woods Out Back

Opted for a bit of cross training in the form of mountain biking this morning. Hit the trails in the woods out back, riding a hilly route that I normally run. Really great ride, and pretty darn muddy to boot.

Had a blast on one particular rolling downhill section that's around 3/4 mile long. Gravity was doing the work most of the time, supplemented with pedaling up the occasional short hill, and overall it's really fast but still technical enough to make it interesting. Good adrenaline rush for sure.

After making a nice appearance in the late morning, early afternoon yesterday, the sun has apparently gone back into hiding. Forecast isn't exactly looking sunny either. I kind of wish we didn't have the sunshine yesterday... keeping the sunless streak going longer without a break would have been much more interesting.

Mountain biked 8.2 miles @ 8.4/mph avg.
Trails, fireroads.
Very hilly.
Upper 40s, overcast.
Shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Land of Pine

Great turnout this morning at Pineland Farms, with around 20 of us meeting up to hit the trails together. Really enjoyed the company, running mostly with Stephen, Ian, Jeremy B., Jeremy L. and Joe.

Really soupy weather this morning. Many runners got there an hour earlier to get in some extra mileage (I opted for more sleep, which I still need to catch up on), and met back with us in the parking lot at 8am, already drenched in sweat. At least it wasn't terribly warm out. And speaking of weather, I even saw the sun peak out of the clouds on the drive home, the first time I've seen it in eight days!

Next week, all runs will be short and slow to ensure fresh legs for the race next Sunday. And tomorrow, might just run a few miles, or opt to take the mountain bike instead.

Ran 11.1 miles @ 9:19/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Mid 50s to lower 60s, overcast, very humid.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rapture Run

Wanted to get in a short, easy run before the world ends. Planned on five, but cut it to four because it felt like armageddon was already starting to occur in my bowels.

Kind of nice, in a way, to be able to take it easy on the running as I've been in a strange recover-but-build-up-but-don't-over-do-it period between Boston and my 50-miler next week. But I'm starting to grow tired of it. I'm starting to miss the lack of structure with each workout week. Will have to work on that between Pineland and the 50K at the end of the July.

Ran 4.0 miles @ 8:14/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
60 degrees, overcast, humid.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tempo Run and Race Schedule

Busy day at work, but thankfully it didn't run long. Strapped on the racing flats and hit the streets for a tempo run that went really well. Felt great and while the pace was work, it came relatively easily. Just felt like I was on working cruise control, the way a good tempo run should go.

I also have my race schedule mapped out through fall. I will likely throw in a couple of 5Ks in here as well, but those are TBD. But here's what I got:

May 29 - Pineland Farms 50-Miler
July 10 - Bradbury Scuffle 6-Mile Trail Race
July 31 - Brookvale 50K
August 14 - Bradbury Breaker 9-Mile Trail Race
September 11 - Bradbury Bruiser 12-Mile Trail Race
October 16 - Mt. Desert Island Marathon

That's a pretty ambitious schedule for me, but I feel everything is spaced out enough for the most part and it's doable. Really looking forward to every event, especially the Brookvale 50K. It's on Prince Edward Island and Kate and I will both be going (she's running the 25K). I've only been out of the country once when I went to Niagra Falls with family for the day, and that was over 15 years ago. This will be a real treat and a pretty epic adventure for me, so I'm stoked!

Ran 6.0 miles @ 6:38/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, overcast, misting and light rain throughout.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Railroad Trails

Pretty uneventful seven mile run on the railroad trails near the school. Misty or light rain throughout. Just took the pace easy and didn't feel particularly energetic, but also didn't feel like poop. Nothing much else to report, so I'll just leave it at that.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 8:25/mile pace.
Railroad trails, some paved paths.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, overcast, occasional rain.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, windbreaker (off and on), short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recovery Run and Pineland Farms Goals

Ran barefoot on the local soccer fields this morning to loosen things up following yesterday's long run. Felt good, though it was a bit chilly with temps in the upper 40s while either mist or a light rain fell throughout. I felt comfortable once warmed up though.

Not much more to be done now for the Pineland Farms 50-miler in two weeks. Steady taper down to race day, which feels a bit odd since the training hasn't been intense since Boston last month, which was on purpose. 

Goals for Pineland? To be perfectly honest, I'm not taking this race too seriously. I'm kind of burnt out on the "I have to do this" mentality I possessed with the MDI and Boston Marathons. I just want to have fun. That being said, I'm going to push to do well and try to break eight hours (a reach goal), but I really don't care if I don't end up coming even close to that. Just going to let the chips fall where they lie and be content with whatever happens. Looking forward to it! 

Ran 4.2 miles @ 9:06/mile pace. 
Grassy fields. 
Upper 40s, overcast, mist and light rain throughout. 
Barefoot, shorts, long sleeved shirt. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Long Run at Pineland Farms

Had a great long run this morning at Pineland Farms. Quite a few of us there today, doing various distances and paces, but Jeremy, George, Joe and I stuck together and did the full twenty.

We all enjoyed some friendly banter while pushing the pace a bit for the first 12 miles. After that, we agreed to chill a bit and walk more of the uphills for the last eight miles, which we did. Felt really strong overall today. Well, up into the last two or three miles anyway. At that point, the legs were just pretty tired and the pace lagged a bit, but no biggie.

So, the 50-miler is two weeks from tomorrow. I'd say I'm on track to where I want to be. The long run on the course today was a good tune-up, and I guess I'm tapering now. No real structure to it this time around, just will play it by ear while being mindful of not overdoing anything.

Ran 20.1 miles @ 9:18/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Lower to upper 50s, overcast.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Yellow Dart Lives

Big ups to my buddy Pete, husband of the infamous Mindy, for helping me replace the rear wheel on my mountain bike and adjust the rear brake rotor this afternoon. The Yellow Dart is now riding good as new.

But being that it's a dirt jumper (Specialized P.2) that I mostly ride cross country, along with my inexperience, I'm a bit slow on the trails, especially really technical ones like we hit today near Pete's house. Was a challenge to keep up with him as he is very proficient, but fortunately he's also a patient guy and waited for me to catch up on several occasions.

Was a lot of fun today. I really like mountain biking. Not as much as trail running, but it's still a blast, and also really great cross training. Looking forward to incorporating it into my training here and there this spring/summer.

Mountain Biked 4.1 miles @ 5.7 mph.
Technical trails.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt.


This blogpost is a day late due to blogger having some issues. But yesterday I ran barefoot in the soccer fields as a recovery run and to work on form. Blogger still acting quirky (presently, a few recent posts have disappeared, hopefully just temporarily), so not going to write more in case it gets lost.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 8:47/mile pace.
Grassy fields.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Barefoot, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back Cove 5K Race Report

Wow, this race went pretty well. Though I wasn't sure what to expect, it still went better than I thought. My legs have only felt like they've been coming around recently, so it was hard to gauge what I thought I could do at this point. As I mentioned yesterday, I thought I'd be able to break 20:00, but wasn't sure by how much.

As I was getting my bib number, I saw Jeff in the parking lot, who was getting out for a very extended warm up. I declined to join him, as I only planned on two miles to warm up. After that was done, I ran into Ian and we chatted a bit until it was close to race time.

We then lined up and were off.

Mile One - 6:15
Tried to be mindful of going out too fast, but thought I'd try to hold on to around 6:00/mile and go from there. Maintained that the first half mile or so, but then a gnarly crosswind became a fierce headwind as the path curved around the cove. The runners around me began to settle into their paces for the most part. I noticed one fellow in a gray shirt I had been running alongside with began to pull ahead a little.

Mile Two - 6:16 
The headwind continued for a while, but as the cove turned (sounds like a soap opera) it gradually became a crosswind again. Gray shirt guy was maybe 15 yards ahead and I was holding the pace with him. The path then began to make the small climb to where it goes alongside the I-295 overpass and we passed a guy here. Was pleasantly surprised to see I hit the second mile in about the same time as the first mile and was still feeling relatively good. Emphasis on relatively. 5K races hurt.

Mile Three - 5:58 
Wind at our backs now. Towards the top of the overpass, I caught the guy in the gray shirt, but I could hear his footsteps not far behind. We then began the downhill and he caught up and passed me. In doing so, we exchanged good jobs at the same time, and he followed it up with a "c'mon!" along with a waving hand gesture, encouraging me to go with him. I really appreciated that and it was yet another great example of the good sportsmanship our sport possesses. Unfortunately for me though, I couldn't pull myself up to him, but did my best to keep up.

Maybe about three tenths of a mile from the finish, I looked at my Garmin, this time noting the time. I had been checking my pace throughout the race, but had never looked at my time until now. Crap, I was way closer to breaking 19 than I thought! That lit a spark, and I dug in deeper and really focused on cranking out whatever I had left.

Last Tenth of a Mile - 5:05/mile pace
Kicked it in with all I could, but the seconds were moving faster than my legs could in order to break 19 or even PR. I crossed the finish with an official time of 19:08, just three seconds off. Nice, I'll gladly take it. I didn't really expect to do this well. Like I said, legs feel like they're just now coming around since the marathon, so I'm really stoked with my time.

After the race, chit chatted with Jeff, Ian and some other runners and then Jeff joined me for part of the cooldown run. Great race for me and a lot of fun. Really happy with how it panned out and goof fuel for the fire to break the 19:00 mark sometime this summer. I can see it's pretty doable now.

Race stats:
Ran 3.1 miles @ 6:08/mile pace.
Official time: 19:08
Placing: 10th out of 256
Packed trails.
Slightly hilly.
Around 60 degrees, partly sunny, very windy.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

warm up: 2.1 miles @ 7:15/mile pace.
cool down: 1.0 mile @ 8:32/mile pace.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recovery Thoughts

I had planned on five miles at an easy 8:00-8:15/mile pace today, but despite reminding myself to put on the brakes on several occasions, I still wound up with 7:45/mile. A bit faster than I should have gone, but that's okay. I'm just taking it as a good sign that my legs could finally be starting to come around. It's pretty normal for me to be a bit slow in recovering from bigger races (especially road marathons) compared to others, so par for the course I suppose.

So two days in a row where I can honestly say I felt pretty great, and hopefully the good mojo will continue for the Back Cove 5K race tomorrow. But the nice thing about 5Ks is that if they don't go well, recovery is typically only a few days and you're good to go again. Not sure of my goals tomorrow, as I'm not anticipating a PR (19:05), but I'd consider it a failure if I don't break 20. So, I guess anywhere in between there is realistic.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:45/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, overcast, misty, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Monday, May 09, 2011

That's More Like It

Overall, I felt really good about today's run, which I desperately needed for sanity's sake. A pretty relaxing weekend getting caught up on sleep and eating healthier foods definitely helped.

I did feel a little sluggish the first few miles, but I think that was mind games stemming from going uphill in a headwind. But after a few miles, it started to feel effortless and natural and I managed to work the pace down to 6:21 for the last full mile, and I didn't feel like I was pushing it too hard. It came pretty easy, in fact.

Very good for me mentally. It makes me feel better about the Back Cove 5k this Wednesday. I don't think I'll come close to PR-ing (19:05), but I'm hoping I'll at least break 20 minutes. We'll see though.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 7:14/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 60s, mostly cloudy, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Bike and Hike

The rear wheel on my mountain bike is on its last leg (axle in hub is jacked), and a new one has been ordered, but I thought I'd chance it and hit some of the less rugged fire roads in the woods out back. The hub held up okay, but the inner tube did not. Flat tire and I didn't have a spare, so I hiked back. Didn't mind that really. In fact, I took a longer way back so I could enjoy the day since it was so nice out.

Mountain biked 1.8 miles @ 9.0 mph/avg.
Hiked 1.9 miles @ 17:54/mile pace.
Trails and fire roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Craptastic Run at Pineland

Met up with the group at Pineland Farms, but due to a biobreak a mile or so into the run, I lost the group and was never able to catch back up. Legs felt heavy and simply no pep in my step. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I attribute it in large part to a lack of sleep, but also a pretty piss-poor diet lately.

Finished up the loop on the Campus side and abandoned plans to do the Oak Hill loop side. I did swing by Trader Joe's on the way home though, and stocked up on health food. Managed to beat most of the Saturday crowds there as well.

Ran 7.9 miles @ 9:08/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Merrell Trail Gloves, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Tempo Friday

Picked up the pace a little today. Nothing too crazy, but enough to feel like I was getting in some good leg turnover. Was a bit of work and didn't feel as easy as it would have in the Boston training cycle, but still a pretty decent run overall.

I still continue to be undisciplined in getting to bed earlier at night. I still blame this primarily on sports. Baseball season and hockey playoffs are a recipe for disaster on that front. Hopefully the Bruins can put away the Flyers tonight, once and for all.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 7:22/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Around 70 degrees, partly cloudy.
Brooks Mach 11, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Sawyer and Veazie Mountains

This run almost didn't come together, but thankfully it did. Plan was to meet Jeremy at the trailhead off Sawyer Mountain road, but he was running late. When he called to tell me that, I got in a few miles on the trails then went back to my car. However, he called again and turns out he was at a different trailhead. Oops. We quickly devised a plan for both of us to run up to the summit of Sawyer Mountain and just meet there.

That worked out well, as we caught each other at the turnoff trail that's a few tenths of a mile away from the summit. From there we explored the area and made our way over to Veazie Mountain. Several times throughout we commented how awesome this place was to run. The hills are wicked steep and the trails provide a great mix of rocks but also several longer stretches of just.. well, dirt.. without a huge amount of rocks and roots.

Worth noting my GPS got a horrible location lock for the first few miles, so the below stats are greatly skewed. I'd guesstimate I should subtract a mile from the below stats and it'd be pretty accurate, but don't feel like recalculating the pace and all that so I'll just leave it as is for now.

Ran 8.9 miles @ 11:03/mile pace.
Rugged trails.
Insanely hilly.
Upper 40s, mostly cloudy.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, handheld water bottle.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Final Pre-Masters Year

Yep, today is my birthday. I'm now 39, so just one more year until I hit the 40 years old milestone and get bumped into the Masters category. Such a nice sounding label for older farts who run, but that's still 365 days away.

Today will be a busy day both because it's my birthday but also work will have me going a few hours later than usual. Only decent option to run was early this morning, so I hit the trails in the woods out back.

So, at 4:30am I was out the door with my headlamp lighting the way. Heard a barred owl hooting its standard call at full volume and then later, at the first signs of sunrise, I heard a winter wren.

I also ran into a couple of turkey hunters. Truth be told, I totally forgot it was turkey hunting season, but while caution is warranted, it's still way different than deer season in terms of safety. We exchanged good mornings and a mile later I was home without any bullet wounds.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:45/mile pace.
Trails, fire roads.
Mostly flat.
Upper 40s, overcast skies.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Heavy Legs

Didn't quite feel entirely with it today. Legs felt pretty heavy, and that might be literally true given the swelling from several black fly bites from over the weekend. It wasn't an absolutely horrible run. Definitely some major, killer hills on this route, but it still required more effort than I would have liked.

Tomorrow will likely be a rest day. Hoping to hit the track sometime this week for some light interval work. I think some fast turnover will do me some good mentally and physically.

Ran 10.7 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Hiking Sawyer Mountain

Kate and I had a great hike this afternoon up Sawyer Mountain, a local peak that I have only explored one other time before. After today especially, I'm wondering why I haven't gone up there more often, considering since it's so close. Will be a great place to run given the steepness and technicality of the trails. I'll definitely go back soon for that purpose.

But today was about hiking, as we just wanted to explore and take advantage of the perfect weather. We really enjoyed it. And now, the pictures:

We had a picnic here near the summit. Behind us is a gorgeous view, but our big fat heads are blocking it so you have to look at us instead:

I also found some chaga. It's a fungus that grows primarily in birch trees. No, it doesn't make you see polka dot giraffes. It's just really healthy and good for you, and you boil it in water to make a tea out of it. It's alleged to have very strong anti-cancer properties:

This is on the summit of Sawyer Mountain (1213'). Apparently a whale oil lantern used to burn here back in the day to help guide ships into the Portland harbor. Thought that was interesting. While you could see the ocean from here, it was still far away:

We also enjoyed this incredible viewpoint, which was the best of the day. My phone camera is poopy, so you'll have to take my word on it that we could see the ocean, Portland and Sebago Lake from here. A very nice older couple told us about this viewpoint earlier down the trail a bit. Turns out they used to own the land but donated it to the land trust so all could enjoy it:

On the way back down, we ran into this cute little guy slowly making his way across the trail. It's an eastern ribbon snake. He tolerated my presence while I took his picture:

Hiked 4.0 miles.
Insanely hilly.
Technical trails.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, Mountain Hardware Bebop backpack.