Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hitting the Hills

Good little run today on a hilly route. Faster side of easy pace. Felt pretty good overall. Legs a touch heavy but not too bad. Looking to do all easy runs from now until Sunday to have some gas in the tank for the Bradbury Blizzard snowshoe race. Would also like to have fresh legs for the Midcoast Half Marathon a week later.

Skies looked pretty heavy and despite some flurries earlier in the day, nothing was falling during the run. Won't be long now. Expecting a snow day tomorrow and if so, I'll be strapping on the snowshoes with glee and go for a run in the woods out back.

Ran 7.5 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (off and on).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recovery Tuesday

Just a short and very slow five miler today for a recovery run. Nice sunny afternoon to boot. Legs felt a bit tired from yesterday but energy levels were still high. Able to keep the pace in check nicely. 

Something longer at an easy pace on tap for tomorrow. Hope to get some stride work in at the end as well. 

Ran 5.0 miles @ 9:00/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 30s, sunny. 
Brooks Mach 13, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Running Downhill

The goal today was to work on downhill form at a tempo pace. Decided to run a hilly route and take the climbs at a moderate pace but really crank it on the descents. Went well.

There were two drops. The first one is short but steep and comes right after a big climb. That's followed by another climb and then a long gradual downhill for the last 5.8 miles or so. I really liked this workout for that second descent as it allowed for a long stretch of quad pounding fun. 

Went well. Looking at the splits below, that second half downhill is pretty apparent:

Last .7 - 6:12/mile pace. 

Good workout. Quite pleased. 

Ran 10.7 miles @ 6:52/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Extremely hilly. 
Upper 30s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Project Green Light

Today was a good test for the dip in energy I experienced a few days ago. I would have good friends to pull me along in case part of the problem was just a figment in my mind. Additionally, there was an inch or two of fresh, wet snow blanketing the trails...not fast conditions and a good strength workout. Biggest test yet for the Yaktrax Pro's and they performed quite well (full review very soon).

Success. Felt fine throughout which was awesome. It was of course tempting to stay with Ian, Jeremy and Zak for their session of hill repeats, but best not push it. Blaine and I bid them farewell and ran down the mountain hill. We then headed to his place where he interviewed me for his podcast which was good fun and then we mowed down some gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. They rocked.

Looking ahead: Another easy day tomorrow for some insurance. May do a hard workout on Monday if I feel ready.

Ran 9.5 miles @ 10:27/mile pace.
Trails, coated with 1"-2" of unbroken slushy snow.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 30s, sunny, breezy.
New Balance MT110 w/ Yaktrax Pros, long tights, windbreaker (shed after a mile and a half), short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Very short and slow run this morning around my future in-laws' neighborhood in Brewer. Was a bit of a test after the dive in my running mojo the other day. Yesterday's rest day helped. Felt some improvement, but the batteries still felt a bit weak. How much of that is psychosomatic or genuine overtraining is a bit hard to tell at this moment. Best to err on the side of caution and assume it's the latter for now.

Not sure what to run tomorrow. Will play it by ear. Whatever it is is what it is, not too concerned. Just glad that I need to step it back a little from overtraining as opposed to an injury (knock on wood).

Ran 3.0 miles @ 9:08/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Around 30 degrees, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mission Aborted

The plan to get in a session of downhill repeats was a bust today. It was weird. I set out to the hill I had in mind but wasn't feeling that great from the get go. The legs felt great, not heavy at all or anything, but yet I didn't have much energy. In fact, I felt a little dizzy. I made it to the hill, decided to listen to my body, and just turned around and came home.

I was a bit bummed but then I went over my training logs and realized that I haven't had a rest day in nine days and over that stretch I've run 92.6 miles. When I saw that I thought, "Oh. Duh. No wonder." That's a pretty good stretch for me. I'm probably just a bit run down and could benefit from a rest day as well as a very light and easy day on Friday, so that's the plan. No worries.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 50s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Run #2

Kate and I drove over to Portland to meet up with Val and Mindy to run the Back Cove. Kate wanted to do her own pace Mindy, Val and I ran on ahead. It was awesome to be able to run with Mindy and Val as I haven't done so in a while. Two very intelligent women who are a lot of fun to be around. 

We finished up and Mindy headed home (she did a lap before we got there) but Val and I then ran the loop counterclockwise with the plan of meeting up with Kate and then running in with her. We didn't have to go too far, as Kate was only a few tenths of a mile away. Very good pace for her and it was nice to see her happy with how she did. 

Nice second run of the day for me. Thinking of doing downhill repeats tomorrow to help condition the quads for Boston. 

Ran 4.4 miles @ 8:59/mile pace. 
Trails, packed and slightly muddy. 
Slightly hilly. 
Mid 30s, partly cloudy. 
Brooks Mach 13, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Run #1

First of what should be two easy runs today. Headed into the woods out back. Trails now about 70% ice/snow, 30% bare. Spring appears to be here to stay (intentionally saying that to jinx it).

Temps had just started to get above freezing during the run so there was a lot of ice, but towards the very end it appeared to be softening up just a touch. It was a great test for the Yaktrax Pros. They performed quite well. I haven't tested these as extensively as I would have liked so far due to warmer overall temps and lack of snow, but I think I've done enough runs in them now for a preliminary review which I plan on having up sometime this week (in short, they're pretty awesome).

Good run. No ill effects from yesterday. The blister on my big toe had reformed after yesterday's run and popping it last night was pretty fun to do in that gross kind of way. Not an issue at all this morning.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 9:31/mile.
Trails, icy. 30% bare.
Mostly flat.
Around freezing, sunny.
New Balance MT110 w/Yaktrax Pros, long tights, fleece pullover, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Boston Marathon Course Scouting

Ah, what a grand day. Blaine, Erin, Kate and I headed down to Boston for a fun day. Blaine and I ran the last 14+ miles of the Boston Marathon course while Kate and Erin headed downtown to do some shopping. Went quite well and it was a very fun day.

Plan was to do the run easy, like in the 8:00-8:30/mile range. We ended up going a bit faster (7:28/mile), which I didn't have a problem with since the legs were feeling better than expected and I didn't feel it would hamper the harder workout I have planned for Wednesday.

We were dropped off at Wellesley College and began the run from there. First few miles were pretty slow as we warmed up and talked about writing, racing and a multitude of other topics. I haven't run the course since the marathon last April, and every now and then I would see something that would trigger a forgotten memory. Can't wait to do it again this April.

Young at Heart statue on the Newton hills.
The pace started to pick up a little once we reached the Newton hills. Just got excited thinking about the race on this key stretch. Nice to get reacquainted with it. There are really four hills and I like to envision them as stairs. The first is before the right turn on Commonwealth, then one immediately after the turn...flat stretch...another climb...flat stretch...then, Heartbreak Hill. After that, mostly downhill to the finish.

Blaine with the Citgo sign in the background. 
It was on the downhills that we picked up the pace a little more. Not full throttle, but we still had a couple of splits going pretty well under 7:00/mile. Then the pedestrian traffic picked up and we slowed our pace down and reached the finish line (but did not cross it...I hear that's a jinx).

Somebody double-parked on the H.
I'm sure that's bad luck.
We met up with Kate and Erin, got the keys and headed to the car to change, and then remet with them and refueled on some awesome food at an Irish pub on Boylston before heading home. Very fun day!

Bronze statue of George Washington.
Happy Presidents Day!
Ran 14.4 miles @ 7:28/mile pace.
Paved roads. 
Moderately hilly. 
Mid 30s to lower 40s, sunny, breezy. 
Saucony Kinvara, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, Salomon 45 water belt. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Short and slow recovery run to shake the legs loose. It was also a good test for the toe blisters I acquired yesterday. Damage assessment = small one on the side of the middle toe on my left foot, and a large one on the tip of the big toe on my right foot. Not so bad. I shaved each toe of their tiny little hairs and then duct taped each heavily before today's run. That worked out well.

Run went just fine and as expected. A bit creaky at first but felt much better by the end of the run. Looking forward to running the last chunk of the Boston Marathon course tomorrow with Blaine.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:30/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap, gloves (shed halfway).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Long Run, Copters & The Kennebec Fruit Company

Val, Rick, Linda and Jerry hosted their annual event today...a Fat Ass event that meanders through fields and some woods near their houses. It's always big fun and today was no different. In fact, it was quite special. I couldn't think of a finer way to kick off my vacation than running with good friends, flying around in a helicopter and then meeting a real life character from Stephen King's latest book, 11/22/63.

There were so many people it would be impossible to list them all, but I ran primarily with Ian, Emma, Jeremy and Zak. Sharing the trails with them was great as always. So, it was with great regret that my toes blistered up pretty badly and I called it a day after 20 miles, especially since I was otherwise full of energy and feeling strong. My groin muscles were also getting racked a bit with the lateral slipping from the snowy conditions. However, it was still a great run. I had a blast with everyone and the food everyone brought in for the aid station was also amazing.

Back to the trail conditions...they took me by surprise a bit. Bit of everything, just as Val had mentioned last night, but I didn't think it'd be as tough as it was. There was snow about a foot deep. There were bare fields. There were icy stretches. Today had it all. It was definitely challenging to run in.

Equipment wise, I opted to run in the MT110's with no additional traction like screws or YakTrax. That turned out to be the right choice, I felt. Not sure why my toes blistered up so bad. I hope it was just the worn out, scratchy socks I was wearing combined with cold and wet conditions. I'd hate for it to be because of the shoes, because I'm otherwise really enjoying them here in the early stages. Time will tell.

Doing my best Curt Schilling impression. I'll spare you
the picture of my toes. 
But what helped make the day epic was Jerry very generously offering to take us on rides in his helicopter after we ran. Big fun. He had taken me up once before a few years ago, and like then, I was still amazed at how smooth the ride is.

Flying over the Lisbon area.
On the way home, Kate and I drove through downtown Lisbon. We had seen the Kennebec Fruit Company on the ride in. If you've read Stephen King's 11/22/63, then you know of the store. So, on the way back, we decided to stop in. We met the owner, Frank Anicetti Jr., who is featured as the son of the owner in the book! He's REAL! That was really, really awesome. And he's a super nice guy, to boot. A great cap to an already epic day!

Myself, Frank Anicetti Jr., and Moxie at
the Kennebec Fruit Company. 
Ran 20.4 miles @ 10:28/mile pace (includes all stops)
Trails, mixed conditions. 
Slightly hilly. 
Lower 30s to lower 40s, partly cloudy, breezy. 
New Balance MT110, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, gloves. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ten on the Trails

Ah, vacation. Or as they say in Canada (and I believe in Europe), I'm on holidays. Have all of next week off and lots of fun and productive stuff planned.

Got started by going for a trail run immediately after work. I did 10 miles on the rail trails with some other side trails thrown in which made for some fun exploring. The trails were about 80% snow/slush and 20% mud/dirt. The snow/slush parts weren't bad at all, thanks to warm temps. I just wore my unscrewed trail shoes sans the Yaktrax. The snow was so thin and slushy enough that the standard cleats were fine.

Good run and felt great. Kept the pace easy. Pretty uneventful other than I came across three guys on ATV's out drinking beer on the trails. Lovely.

Ran 10.1 miles @ 9:19/mile pace.
Trails, 80% thin snow and slush, 20% dirt and mud.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s, partly cloudy.
New Balance MT110, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hills, Strides and Semi-Stray Dogs

I had originally planned to do a series of uphill and downhill repeats today. I had a neighborhood block in mind that I thought would be perfect. The plan was to sprint up the hill, turn left on to a mostly level street for active recovery, turn left and sprint downhill, turn left on a mostly level street for active recovery...repeat. But on the run over, I was feeling a bit creaky so I wasn't so sure about the workout.

However, when I got to doing them on the block I had my eye on, it became very apparent that the hills were an optical illusion of sorts. They looked steeper than they really were. To do the workout on these "hills" would be cheating myself. It reminded me of the folks who take the train up Mt. Washington, walk 100 feet over to the actual summit and then raise their arms in victory. I wasn't fooling anybody. No honor it.

That being said, I was feeling a bit creaky anyway. Rather than seek out another block for my proposed workout, I opted to just extend the run over some hills and cap it off with 10 X 100M strides.

As I was less than a half a mile from the school parking lot where I'd do my strides, I saw a stray beagle in a small wooded area next to a town facility. I know beagles are known for bolting, so I mused it could be from a nearby neighborhood. I stopped and tried to call it over, but it jogged away from me further into the wooded lot. Definitely skittish. Maybe it was somebody walking their dog off leash and the owner was on the other side of one of the several small hills a few dozen feet away? I ran on.

I reached the parking lot and did a series of 10 X 100M strides, but seeing that dog bugged me more and more. I decided to drive back and check to see if I could find it again. I scoped the area and looked around, but no sign of the dog. I got back in my car.

As I pulled out to leave, a guy came out of the adjacent building. I rolled down my window told him about the dog and asked if he might know anything. It turns out he did. The dog was a stray, or at least used to be, but they have been taking care of it and feeding it for the past five years. I assumed they gave it shelter as well, as the dog looked quite healthy. Definitely well fed (fat even) and a nice shiny coat. He mentioned they had tried to call animal control before but didn't have much luck. Obviously the dog would be better off in someone's home, but I felt a little better that it was at least being looked after. As I mentioned, the dog looked like it was very healthy. Still, it bugs me knowing it's not in a home.

Ran 9.4 miles @ 7:44/mile pace (includes 10 X 100M strides)
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 40s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Long Day

An after work meeting ran a bit long. I always find these meetings quite difficult. The reason is likely related to this little factoid about teachers: We make more decisions every day than every profession out there except one, which is air traffic controllers. As a result, after a normal day of teaching my brain usually feels like a bowl of orange jello. Capping off the work day with a long meeting isn't always easy, but of course, they are a necessary evil at times.

Anywho, a run right after work usually clears my head and rejuvenates me. It's a big reason why I like to run in the afternoons after work. Today was no different. It was especially nice since I just had a recovery day on tap and I could take it easy and just let the mind wander.

Thinking of a somewhat unorthodox version of hill repeats tomorrow. It should be pretty sweet. No meetings scheduled tomorrow either.

Ran 7.0 miles @ 8:38/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (off and on).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Valentine's Day Massacre

Title of this post is a bit aggressive, but I did have a good tempo run today. Cranked out the first eight miles at a 6:37/mile pace and then cooled down for the last 2.2. Felt great out there.


Relatively warm weather out there, which is always nice to do a tempo run in. Keeping this short, as I'm cooking for dinner for Kate here for Valentine's Day. Happy running!

Ran 8.0 miles @ 6:37/mile pace.
c/d: Ran 2.2 miles @ 7:52/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s, mostly cloudy.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bradbury White Out Snowshoe Race Report

One of the things I like about racing is hopefully giving it my all while pacing myself properly and executing a sound race strategy. It's oh so satisfying when everything works out. I love the feeling of exhaustion when I cross the finish line and if I have to puke afterwards, that's a nice bonus because I know I gave it my all. It's a healthy and fun way to push and challenge myself. If I succeed...great, I relish it and look forward to hopefully doing it again. If I leaves me hungry for the next challenge, and I attempt to figure out what went wrong and try to correct it. And while I prefer to succeed, either way it ultimately results in a positive direction.

But what really makes the racing scene special here in Maine is the people. The runners, race directors and volunteers are almost always incredibly positive and friendly folks who also tend to be intelligent, have great senses of humor and enlightened outlooks on life. As a result, the camaraderie is fantastic. The spirit of competition is well harnessed, but equally mixed with an incredible amount of good sportsmanship and genuine joy for every runner of every ability who reaches his or her goals. It's very supportive. There's nothing like it. 

I had no plans of truly racing today. Just participating. My body felt a bit spent from the past week and I was afraid of overdoing it. The plan was to use today's snowshoe race as a tempo run instead. So with that in mind, the above first paragraph was out the window and the second paragraph came into sharp focus. 

I warmed up for a few miles on the road shoulder of Route 9 with Jeremy and Zak, and we chit chatted about life, races and whatever else. Then we got our snowshoes ready and lined up at the race start. After the pre-race instructions, we were off. 

I hung behind Zak the entire race, from beginning to end. For one, I like Zak. He's a really good guy. So, that was cool. Secondly, he was also setting the exact pace I was looking for. Zak also wasn't going full tilt, so the both of us had a lot of fun out there while still moving at a relatively fast pace. We just ran together, because running is what we do. 

Thankfully, there was just enough snow. It was packed down and fast. A bit icy at times and there was the occasional rock or root to dodge, but Ryan and Ian did a great job coming up with this alternate route (the original one was not snowshoeable). 

We zipped through the course and came up on the finish line. Zak came in 9th and I came in 10th. I only mention that because I was kind of surprised we placed so high since we weren't really pushing it. It's not like we were totally taking it easy, I'd call it a tempo run after all, but still. However, I also know of at least two really fast guys who didn't make it today because they were sick. I'm sure there were more.

I also crossed the finish line with a smile on my face. No puking necessary. It was nice to just be able to run the race for the fun of it and not worry about full-on cranking it. I wouldn't want to do that every time. I like pushing myself hard too much to do that. And while competition is great and fun in itself, there's a lot more to races that make them enjoyable. Today underscored that. The only regret I have for today is not putting sunscreen on my face.

Big thanks to Ryan, Ian and the volunteers for a very fun day.

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos. Zak and I at the finish. 
w/u #1: Ran 2.0 miles @ 9:53/mile pace. Roads.
w/u #2: Ran .3 miles @ 10:11/mile pace. Snowshoes.
Bradbury White Out Snowshoe race: Ran 4.0 miles @ 9:01/mile pace.
Time: 35:56
Trails, packed snow and icy.
Moderately hilly.
Mid teens, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes w/ New Balance MT110, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Slow in the Snow

One of my goals this week is to get in at least 60 miles. I allowed myself to focus a bit more on recovery throughout the week because of last Sunday's MWC and also the pretty big long run I had on Thursday. And tomorrow, I also have the Bradbury White Out 4-mile snowshoe race.

So, I was happy to put myself in a position where tomorrow's race will get me over the weekly mileage goal. But I think it's safe to say that 41.5 miles on roads over the past three days isn't exactly setting myself up for a great performance tomorrow. However, it'll still be a great tempo run and I'm going to treat it as such. Plan is to go out pretty moderately for the first half and then try to step it up for the last two miles and try not to think about placing (easier said than done). 

But back to today's run: Nice and slow. It was kinda weird in the sense that it would have been relatively difficult to push the pace much faster but at the same time I was very comfortable and felt like I could go forever. I was tempted to tack on a few more miles towards the end but I stuck with my planned route. 

It was tranquil as well. A light to moderate snow was falling throughout. The road shoulders stayed in good shape though, since temps were right at the freezing mark and nothing was sticking to the pavement just yet. Not a lot of traffic out either. The mind just wandered around, which was easily accomplished since the pace was so slow and comfortable. Really enjoyed today's run. 

Ran 14.3 miles @ 8:51/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Moderately hilly. 
Lower 30s, overcast, light to moderate snowfall throughout. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Recovery Miles

Nice and slow today. Legs felt a bit heavy from yesterday but that was expected. Felt good to just go slow and let the mind wander.

Warm out today as well (mid-40s). Winter returns for a few days starting tomorrow but back to spring-like temps early next week.

Ran 7.2 miles @ 8:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s, partly cloudy.
Saucony Kinvara, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Weekday Long Run

The days are getting noticeably longer as we head towards spring. This got me thinking...why not stretch today's planned 15-miler to 20? It made sense, given I'm running the Bradbury White Out on Sunday. This was my best chance to run long this week and I had the daylight on my side. Carpe diem, carpe viam.

Run went very well. Faster side of easy paced and over a nice, hilly route. Energy was through the roof (rest day yesterday helped with that). Very pleased. Fun run. 

Ran 20.0 miles @ 7:48/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Around 40 degrees, sunny, breezy
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (off and on). 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New Trail Shoes

New Balance MT110
My new trail shoes arrived today: New Balance MT110s. They fit the criteria I was looking for: low heel lift (4mm), lightweight (7.7 ounces), and a decent rock plate that still allowed for flexibility. What's nice is that the heel lift and weight are identical to the Saucony Kinvara 2's that I use for roads. Took them out for a spin in the woods out back this afternoon and they felt great.

I used the Yaktrax Pros for added traction on the snow and ice (second time using them) and those performed very well again. However, the trails were about 10% bare and no snow is expected anytime soon. Tempting to think winter is over but we're still in early February so that's dangerous thinking at this point. 

Run itself went great. Relatively fast trail conditions. Legs are feeling great and the energy was really high today, so keeping the pace easy was kinda tough. Happy the recovery from Sunday is going well. 

Ran 7.7 miles @ 9:09/mile pace. 
Trails, packed snow (10% bare ground). 
Very hilly. 
Upper 30s, sunny. 
New Balance MT110 w/ Yaktrax Pros, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

Recovery Miles

Feeling pretty good after yesterday's race. Legs are definitely a little sore and tired, but no creaks or other aches and pains.

Happy to get out for some slow recovery miles this afternoon. Was pretty easy to keep the pace nice and slow. Quite enjoyable, especially with the warmer temps. Another easy day with a similar amount of miles tomorrow.

Ran 7.4 mile @ 9:09/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Mid-Winter Classic Race Report

Great race. The best case scenario I had for myself pretty much unfolded. I was feeling about 90% over the head cold, but I think that was evened out with fresh legs from running less mileage this week than planned because I was sick. So, more or less on par.

Warmed up a couple of miles on the course with Jeff, Joe and Al. Felt warm so I shed a short-sleeved shirt I had on underneath the long-sleeved and sleeveless shirts I was wearing which turned out to be the right call.

We lined up. The starting cannon wouldn't fire so with an improvised "Ready, set, go" or something to that effect by Blaine, we were off.

Miles 1-3:
The first mile is downhill and combined with race adrenaline that can be dangerous. Yeah, it was. I hit the first split in 6:18 (per the Garmin's mile marker, which was close to the race mile markers but still don't add up to the official time). Oops. Settle down, Skippy.

Conversely, much of the second mile was uphill, so scaling back wasn't too hard. This turned out to be my slowest mile, which I hit in 6:44. During this time, a lot of people were passing me. That's always mentally frustrating, but I kept reminding myself it was early. Jeff also passed me here, but I expected that from him.

2.5 miles in was the first water stop. I skipped it (as I did all of the water stations) but it was great to see Ryan working there who gave me a shout out. I hit mile three in 6:35.

Miles 4-6:
Now I felt settled in and more or less at a comfortable pace.  All three splits at 6:31. Calculations going in my head had me figuring on a 1:06:00 time. If that would be the case; not great, but not bad. It was what it was. Still, I had a pretty negative mindset in my head here. Just kept thinking "man, this sucks". I was worried the pace would slow down. In retrospect, there was no reason for that mindset and it was stupid. Fortunately, I later shook it off.

Saw Ian running the course here in the opposite direction. He had planned his long run to go along the course in reverse so he could cheer us on, which was a really smart idea. Swept over and gave him a high five when we passed by each other. Nice boost seeing him.

Worth noting, Jeff was a ways ahead, but still in sight. I tried to keep it that way.

Miles 7-9:
Splits 6:33, 6:31, 6:33. Hills more drawn out overall now...less steep, but longer. Saw Ryan again at the 7.5 mile water stop and he shouted at me to relax my posture. He was right, I was scrunching up my shoulders a bit, so I tried to relax and be mindful of my form.

Race strategy starting to really come into play now. I was now just behind Scott H., though I didn't know it was him at the time. He was pulling me along nicely. Jeff was actually a bit closer now, as was Randy (who pulled ahead of me around mile two). I thought it was unlikely I'd catch them, but it was encouraging that I was getting closer and comfortably so.

Negative mindset was leaving with each mile. The picking folks off to being picked off ratio was in my favor. Saw Ian again.

Mile 10:
A gradual yet grinding uphill for roughly the first half of this final mile. Jeff had pulled away again. Scott was still just in front of me. Passed another dude here. Reached the final left hand turn where a downhill meandered to the finish line behind the high school.

Tried to kick it up a notch to get Scott but he still had some gas in the tank so nothing doing. That was fine, he had pulled me along here nicely the past few miles, for which I was grateful. I talked to him after the race and he knew I was behind him which kept him running hard, so I was glad it was mutually beneficial and we both had faster times as a result.

A very, very pleasant surprise as I saw the clock as I approached the finish line. I hadn't looked at my overall time the past few miles, just the pace. I was aware I had kicked it up this final mile (6:17), but didn't think it mattered much. I thought I was still close to 1:06:00 so imagine my surprise when I watched the clock as I crossed the finish line in 1:05:07. I think my eyes actually widened in surprise.

Post Race:
As soon as my heart rate began to drop back down after finishing my stomach began to churn and I puked (shocker).

Got some grub (the pizza they had for the runners was awesome) and mingled with everyone afterwards. Got another pleasant surprise when I saw that I came in 33rd place overall. This race is always stacked...and despite the ideal conditions today, my time in other years past would have had me at least 10 places back from that. Not sure why that was (other than not as many of the faster folks showed up), but I'll gladly take it. Awesome day. Very pumped pretty much all of my friends also ran great races and were quite pleased with how they did. Thanks all for a fun day!

Race: Ran 10.0 miles @ 6:31/mile pace.
Official time: 1:05:07
Overall place: 33rd out of 611
Age Group (35-39): 6th out of 46
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

w/u Ran 2.0 miles @ 8:40/mile pace.
c/d Ran 1.1 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

10K Test Run

Woke up feeling better than the previous few days. Not quite fully over the head cold, but substancial progress nonetheless. Set out for a 10K test run on some hills. Went well. Easy at first but I let the pace come down a little in the second half. Worth noting I got a good assist from Sir Isaac Newton at that point, as it was pretty much all downhill from there.

Good run and it was encouraging. Feeling better about tomorrow's MWC 10-Miler. Not sure I'll be quite 100%, but I feel comfortable enough to floor it and give it my best.

Ran 6.2 miles @ 7:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 30s, partly cloudy.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Short Jaunt on the Trails

Still feeling like crap, but not as bad as yesterday. I figured I'd be okay for a short run on the trails as long as I took it easy. That proved to be the case, as the four miles I did felt adequate enough without overdoing it. Hopefully the positive trend will continue until Sunday and I'll be more or less okay for the MWC. This bug has sucked.

This was also a chance to do my first run in a set of Yaktrax Pros. They sent me a pair in exchange for a review and I plan to run with them for another week or two and then give a full (and honest) report which I'll post here on this blog. This initial run in them went quite well though. Very comfortable and effective. I was pleasantly surprised by their performance.

Yaxtrak Pros. Good fit with the racing flats. 
Ran 4.1 miles @ 8:27/mile pace.
Trails, mostly packed snow. 
Mostly flat. 
Mid 30s, sunny. 
Brooks Mach 13 w/ Yaktrax Pro, long tights, windbreaker, short-sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Craptastic Test Run

The bad, energy-sapping head cold prevailed again today. It didn't really feel much better than yesterday, but also not that much worse. I decided to head out for a run as a test. I learned that I felt like dog poop.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Around 30 degrees, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 2, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeve shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A Glass of White Whine

Yesterday was a planned rest day. That was difficult, given that I suspect enough snow had fallen by the afternoon to cover up the bare patches on the trails, making it okay to snowshoe. I bought new Dion's a week or so ago, and this would have been my first good chance to use them. Under normal circumstances, I'd say to heck with the rest day and go out for a short jaunt. I was feeling like total crap, however, thanks to a nasty head cold so I stayed true to the planned rest day.

And now today, it's 40 degrees and the sun is shining. In fact, as I type this, a bright sunbeam is threatening to blind me if I move my head a few inches to the right. It would be a great day to run. But no. While the head cold feels better than yesterday and the temptation is great, it was better to take another day off as I don't feel I'm good enough to go just yet without risking a set back. #$%@!!!!

I suspect I'll be good to go tomorrow. Better now than race day on Sunday for the Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic, I suppose.

End of whining...