Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ending a Great Year of Running

Total miles: 2161.7
Time run (h:m:s): 310:34:33
Average miles a day: 5.92
Average pace: 8:37 (roads and trails)

Back in Maine. Busy day on tap so I headed out for a short run in the woods out back for this last day of 2011. Squeezing in runs the past week has been a bit tough with Kate and I visiting my family in Florida and today wasn't much different. Should have time for a long run tomorrow before the football games start, which will be nice.

Definitely has been a great year. I recapped the highlights in a post earlier, so will leave it at that. Looking forward to making 2012 even better!

Happy New Year!

Ran 6.5 miles @ 9:37/mile pace.
Fire roads and trails.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s, freezing rain.
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Caveat Xysticus

Did a short four-miler with my brother down in Tampa at an easy pace. This city fits the definition of pancake flat. When I used to live here many moons ago, I would use bridges for hill repeats.

I have proof of how flat it is. At first glance, the graph below from today's run looks pretty impressive. However, a closer look along the Y-axis reveals otherwise (click on the image to enlarge):

Ran 4.0 miles @ 9:01/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Mid 60s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hill Repeats

Hill repeats in Florida might seem a bit oxymoronic, but Gainesville actually has some pretty good hills in certain areas, and I took advantage of one today.

This workout was an improvisation though. I saw on Google Earth that a private Catholic high school near my Mum's house had a track, but when I ran over there I discovered it was locked up. Too bad, as it looked like a really nice track (and it was obvious this school had a lot of money).

However, to get to the school, there was a big incline, so I decided to do hill repeats on it instead. There was a maintenance worker along the road, taking down banners from the lightposts. I asked if it was okay if I did repeats there and he replied that it was no problem at all.

Ended up with six repeats, though I had planned on at least eight. I'd like to say that time was a bit tight, but the truth is I wussed out a bit and cut it short. That was bad and I feel guilty about it now. Will use that as a log on the fire to give it something extra within the week to make up for it.

w/u: Ran 1.4 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.
6 X hill repeats w/ active recovery: 1.5 miles @ 7:51/mile pace. +35 ft in .13 miles.
c/d: Ran .8 miles @ 9:26/mile pace.
Lower to mid 40s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Burning Off the Christmas Turkey

As everyone in the house was still stirring themselves awake, I ducked out for a run before breakfast. I picked a route that hit some dirt/Jeep roads for the first two miles before rejoining the paved roads. Good run. Ended up being a true progression with the first mile in 8:54 and working down to 7:03 for the last.

Christmas yesterday was great. We spent half of the day in Gainesville and the other half down in Inverness with family. The weather was warm (70's) so we fried a turkey and ate outdoors. Kate and I also did some exploring on the ranch:

I found these hip bones from cattle in a swampy area.
African Spiny Leg Tortoises
In this Jeep's better days, we used it to go boar hunting when we were kids.
Kate with some cattle. I'm just glad my southern roots aren't scaring her off. 
Ran 6.8 miles @ 7:49/mile pace.
Dirt/jeep roads and paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 50s to lower 60s, humid, overcast. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This'll be short. Ran the Lake Alice loop on the UF campus with family twice. It was great. Merry Christmas!

Ran 4.9 miles @ 9:07/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 60s, humid, mostly cloudy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

40 Degree Temperature Differential

Yesterday morning, I was running on the trails in the snow in the woods behind my house. Today, I ran on the trails in the humidity in the woods behind my Mum's house in Gainesville. Yesterday, 32F degrees. Today, 72F. The soup factor in the air was even greater.

Good run. Time was short so I only had time for just under four miles but it was fun to explore some new to me trails. Was a lot of fun. Great to be home and can't wait to show Kate around more (she's never been to Florida before).

Ran 3.8 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
Some roads, mostly trails.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, mostly cloudy, humid.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, December 23, 2011

(Let It Snow)³

I'm officially on Christmas break. Kate, however, has one more day of work. So, that means I have a full day to pack and get things in order before we head for the warmer climate of my hometown: Gainesville, FL.

That also meant plenty of time for a run this morning. At last, it was snowing! Not a lot, but just enough to make it very beautiful outside and coat the trails with just the right amount of snow to provide good traction without feeling like one was running in mashed potatoes.

I ran an out and back, featuring one mile of roads to the trailhead and from there I took the fire road back to the trail which led to the pond a few miles into the woods. Very peaceful and serene. Maine rules.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 9:27/mile pace.
Road portion = patches of snow and slush, fire roads and trails = two or so inches of fresh snow.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s, overcast, snowing.
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eight on the Trails

Ah, the last day of school before Christmas break. It made celebrating with a run all the more special, but today was also a test. I've been wondering if the foot pain was the result of running a bit too fast and/or far in the Kinvara 2's before they were broken in. They did feel really stiff right out of the box, so it was possible. I tested that theory by hitting the trails in my very well broken in trail shoes to see how the foot responded.

It did really well. No aggravation at all with the foot and it felt great. Very good news, and a big relief. Ended up doing eight miles when I would have considered five pain-free miles successful. Whew.

Ran 8.1 miles @ 8:20/mile pace.
Railroad bed trails.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Testing 1,2,3

I wanted to test the foot this morning, so I set out into the predawn hours to get in a little three miler on the road. It felt...okay. Just okay. But my line of thinking now is that the Saucony Kinvara 2's were pretty darn stiff out of the box and doing too much without breaking them in is what caused the problem. I'll test that theory tomorrow and do a trail run on the railroad bed in my well broken-in trail shoes and see how it feels.

That aside, it was nice to get out at 4:30am rather than run this afternoon when a cold rain is expected to fall. Not too cold out this morning either. Old Man Winter is definitely a bit late this year.

Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Around 20 degrees, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, refl. vest, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, headlamp.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Top Fives of 2011

The year is drawing to a close and 2011 has been a darn good one, both with running and other life events. I thought it'd be fun to recap things a bit with a series of Top Five lists based on some of my interests.

Oh yeah, the foot is feeling much better. 100% since yesterday, in fact. I'm planning a test run tomorrow and don't anticipate any problems. And now...the lists!

Most Rewarding Races:
1. Boston Marathon (April) - Finally getting there and setting a PR. Unforgettable experience.
2. MDI Marathon (October) - Ran a smart race, surrounded by friends and setting another PR. Just a fun day.
3. Brookvale 50K (July) - My first international race and getting third place overall and a great time spent with Kate during our trip to Prince Edward Island.
4. Bradbury Bruiser (September) - For taking 10th place on a tough race, utilizing sound strategy and setting a course PR.
5. Turkey Trek 4-Miler - My first overall win ever, even if it was an informal race. The pie I won rocked.

Best Books Read:
1. "11/22/63" by Stephen King - His best yet. I wish I could give myself amnesia so I could read it again fresh.
2. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins - Holy schmokes, I could not put it down.
3. "Bag of Bones" by Stephen King - The A&E miniseries sucked. The book did not.
4. "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons - Epic science fiction. The Shrike gave me nightmares.
5. "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville - I must admit, it made the list in part because of the stoked factor because it was too difficult for me to read when I was younger, but I finished it on this attempt and sincerely enjoyed it.

Best Albums Listened To:
1. "King of Limbs" by Radiohead - Haunting and deep, what Radiohead does best.
2. "Green Naugahyde" by Primus - Fun album. Makes me want to do silly dances.
3. "Strawberry Jam" by Animal Collective - Very different. Very awesome.
4. "Them Crooked Vultures" by Them Crooked Vultures - Simply kicks arse.
5. "What Will Be" by Devendra Banhart - Trippy folk music at its finest.

Epic Training Runs:
1. Boston Recon (April) - Joined by Jeff, Maddy and Brendan. Last 16 miles of the course. Ran two weeks out from the marathon so the excitement level was high.
2. Acadia National Park, Park Loop Road (December) - The full 18.4 miles of the road, all to ourselves under a full moon.
3. Mile Repeats (September) - 5 X 1 Mile repeats w/ 400M active recovery and averaged 5:50/mile. My fastest session yet and I was really pumped afterwards.
4. Boston Recon (February) - Ran solo, but Kate helped with transportation. My first taste of the course in the daylight. Just a very fun day overall.
5. Val's Birthday Fat Ass Run (February) - Ran 26.2 miles with Ryan at my side for the whole way. Great time!

So there ya have it. Pointless, but fun to write and think about. Looking forward to 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


A big thanks to Rick who commented on my last post with some valuable information. It underscored my hopes that I don't have a stress fracture, and I think it's quite obvious now that it is indeed just a pulled muscle or ligament in the foot.

Resting it the past several days is helping. However, I only saw minor improvement up until this morning. If I were to quantify it, I'd say it improved 10% up until yesterday, but since I woke up this morning I'd say it's lept up to 40% improvement. So, if the numbers are true, I still have 60% to go, but hopefully that'll take just another week. Even when I reach zero discomfort, it would be smart to still wait another two days before going for a light test run. We'll see.

With the extra time, I've put it towards writing. First draft should be wrapped up in about a month. Very happy with it and am having a blast, especially with the chapter I'm working on now. I've even come up with a title for the book and think it's perfect. I'll keep that card close to my chest along with the others for now though.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Test Run for the Right Foot

For the past week and a half, I've been having some pain on the top of my right foot that's been off and on. There is still some fear of a stress fracture, but prodding the metatarsals does not produce any pain or discomfort whatsoever. The best way to describe it is the foot feels tight. I suspect it's a strained muscle, tendon or ligament.

Today was a test run after two days off (one was planned, one was not), since Tuesday's tempo run seemed to send it over the edge a bit. Today it felt just so-so. The most discomfort was in the first half mile, then it lessened, then it came back a little. I think the plan will be to proceed with extreme caution for the next several days (and beyond). Hopefully the ship will right itself soon.

Ran 2.1 miles @ 8:35/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny, windy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tempo 10K

Tempo run on tap for today and I cranked out 10K in 40:28. Not bad, I'll take it. Felt good and the cool, but not too cold, weather definitely helped. The legs enjoyed the turnover but I'm sure they'll appreciate the easy run tomorrow.

Forgot to mention it with Saturday evening's run, but the Kinvara 2's are now broken in and feel fantastic. That was the case again today. Great shoes for sure.

On the writing front, the light is at the end of the tunnel for the first draft. Truthfully, it makes me kind of sad. I just don't want the party to end. I'm really enjoying writing it and it's nice to discover that I now have the patience to tackle bigger projects like this. I'll be done by February, at which point I'll set it aside and try to forget about it for six weeks before I begin revisions. During that time, I have already decided what I'm going to write next and can't wait to get started!

Ran 6.2 miles @ 6:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Till We Meet in Hell

Big ups to Valerie for hosting a fun, informal event for the Trails Monsters: Till We Meet in Hell. It was a timed event, where runners ran for 90 minutes on an extremely hilly 1.5 mile trail loop and a handicap system was built in so everyone could compete. A plethora of folks in attendance, I'd say at least 25 in all.

Given last night's run, I decided to take it easy and make it a social run. I would link up with various runners and run with them a bit. Sometimes I'd go forward on a loop. Sometimes I'd go backwards. Sometimes I'd run. Sometimes I would walk. It was great, I had a lot of fun rooting everyone on and it was a good shakedown run to loosen up the legs a bit. 

Afterwards, we hit Gritty's for lunch and an awards ceremony. There were awards not just for the race, but also for the entire year for a variety of categories (organized by Ian). Some were serious, most no-so-serious. Think "The Dundies" for trail runners. I won two: one with Kate for "Cute Couple That Makes You Want to Puke" and another for "Most Likely to S%&# During a Run". I'm proud of one of those. 

Ran 4.6 miles @ 14:09/mile pace. 
Extremely hilly. 
Upper 20s to lower 30s, sunny. 
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Howling at the Moon

Epic run this evening. Kate and I were up in Bangor today to take care of some wedding planning stuff, but there was a nice bonus attached to the trip. With a full moon and clear skies on tap, Gary had organized a run on the Park Loop Road at Acadia National Park (18.4 miles). It's closed to cars and currently devoid of snow and ice, so it was the perfect setting. Nice to meet Matt, Eric and Tim who also took part in the run. All great guys.

I was the only non sub-3 hour marathoner in the group, so I knew I'd have my work cut out for me. We took it pretty easy in the first half, but once we started climbing some of the bigger hills in the second half we let the pace drop and it was a great workout.

The views from some of the higher points looking out over a moonlit ocean were simply incredible. The smaller islands were clearly visible in the bay as the full moon reflected off the water and it had a very Van Gogh-like feel to it. Pretty darn stunning.

Around mile 16, I simply couldn't keep up anymore and let the group move ahead. But just two and a half miles were left and I enjoyed having the peace of the night to myself for a bit, listening to the wind howl through the trees as the branches swayed to and fro. I reached the end and the others had just finished and we bid each other farewell. Really awesome evening.

Ran 18.4 miles @ 7:33/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 30s to upper 20s, clear skies, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, Salomon 45 water belt.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Interval Work

One of those days that when work was over, I didn't feel like running. But I forced myself to do it and as always, I was glad I did. Light interval workout on tap for today. Felt nice to give the legs some turnover. I did five reps, starting with 800M and alternating with 400M, and ran 400M of active recovery in between.

It went quite well. Felt better as the run went on and I warmed up more. Was a good reminder that getting in a longer warm-up run is a good idea for winter. Will remember that for next time. 

w/u: Ran 1.3 miles @ 8:15/mile pace.
800M, 400M, 800M, 400M, 800M w/ 400M active recovery in between: 2:55, 1:24, 2:58, 1:23, 2:48.
c/d: Ran 1.3 miles @ 9:49/mile pace.

Mid 40s, sunny, breezy.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Winter Returns

A cold front pushed through and temperatures are finally back to where they should be. I felt a little bad about wimping out and not running yesterday. With the cold rain, I opted to stay later in my classroom and get caught up on grading (a decision I don't really regret though).

I think I'll be good to go at making up for the mileage bit by bit for the remainder of the week though. Good run today. Kept the pace easy. Thinking about doing some interval work tomorrow (400M and/or 800M repeats).

Second run in the Kinvara 2's. They're still a bit stiff but they'll loosen up soon, I'm sure.

Ran 10.0 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Running Home From Work

My car is getting new control arms and ball joints installed, so I was sans automobile this afternoon. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and just run home from work, rather than inconvenience anyone for a ride.

The car also wasn't the only thing getting new parts. My new shoes arrived yesterday and I was eager to try them out. I got a pair of Saucony Kinvara 2's, and the changes are supposedly pretty minimal from the original Kinvaras (which I owned two pairs of and loved).

Pumped up kicks
I left the school and they felt a bit stiff at first, but by the end of the run they felt considerably more broken in (though I suspect they'll need a few more runs to make them looser). Overall, very happy with them after this initial run. And while I like to put function over fashion, I must admit I really dig the colors.

The run itself went great. There's an escaped convict in the area and a big manhunt is underway (it's a big story in the local news around here). This meant cop cars everywhere on the roads, which also meant everyone was minding their P's and Q's while driving. So, much safer running conditions in that regard. 

I was wearing my Salomon water belt, with two additional Nathan pockets attached to help carry my keys, wallet, cell phone, charger cord, Gu packet and a full bottle of water. That's a lot of crap. However, my belt doesn't bounce much at all and it was quite comfortable and I forgot I was carrying so much stuff. Nice. 

Great run that went well with the only slight downfall being that with the overcast skies and the shorter days I was running out of daylight in the last few miles. However, not really an issue and it was a nice commute home. Unseasonably warm out to boot. We had record warmth this past November and December is off to a yucky warm start as well. I want my winter, dagnabbit. 

Ran 13.2 miles @ 7:41/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Upper 50s, overcast. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, Salomon 45 water belt (water). 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Trail Exploration

I knew I wanted to do a trail run today, but the usual routes from my house just didn't seem appealing enough. So, I decided to explore a trail in the woods out back that I had only been on a few times before.

The last time I was on it, I dead-ended on a long dirt driveway to someone's house. I followed it along, looking for other trails I might have missed before that might lead to new areas, but no luck. I ended up at the same dirt driveway, but I saw the trail continued on the other side. Cool!

However, my excitement was short lived. A hundred feet later, the trail ended at the equestrian park and there was even a sign indicating it was the trailhead. No horses or anyone else there at the time, so I circled the inside of the park looking for more trails, but no luck.

I headed back, but decided to take another side trail I had been on before that led to a swampy area. Last time I was here it was summer and I was blitzkrieged by mosquitoes, so I hoped today would bring better luck. I got further in, and came across a pristine stream that would no doubt make a good fly fishing spot or even a swimming hole if it were warmer and the bugs weren't bad. Nice. Turned around and headed home.

The End.

Ran 5.3 miles @ 10:09/mile pace (includes bushwhacking and a few short stops)
Slightly hilly.
Mid 20s to mid 30s, partly cloudy.
Adidas Adizero XT, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Mud, Sweat and Hills

Very good turnout at Bradbury Mountain this morning. Maybe around 15 of us in all (?), but from the get go we broke up into smaller groups to tackle different distances and paces. Ian, Jeremy, Brett and I formed our own little sub-group and overall we ran at what I would consider a moderate pace (for me).

Had a blast catching up with our little posse. Great weather to boot. Towards the end, Ian led us on a side route that was an out and back down and up a huge hill. By the time we got to the Bradbury summit I vurped a little. That was cool.

We topped off the morning with coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Edna & Lucy's. Ideal Saturday morning, fo' sho'.

Ran 10.3 miles @ 9:47/mile pace.
Trails (pretty muddy in spots).
Very hilly.
Upper 20s to upper 30s, sunny.
Adidas Adizero XT, long pants (first half), shorts (second half), windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Easy Fiver

Tempo run yesterday meant an easy run today. Went well, but I should have taken it even slower. I want to get in the habit of cranking it hard one day and going painfully easy the next day.

The mind continues to drift towards the Boston Marathon more and more. That's good. Also looking forward to doing more snowshoe racing this season, which will also fit into nicely for Boston training. And there's also Nordic skiing. Yessir, should be a fun winter!

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:17/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, long sleeved shirt.