Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gone Chooin'

Unexpected snow day today. No real complaints though. Strapped on the snowshoes and hit the woods out back for a great run this morning. 

Trails were packed and fast for the first few miles. Then, I turned on to an unbroken section of uphill. That was hard work and my heart rate was super jacked. I couldn't suck in the sweet, cool air fast enough. 

On the downhill, quite the opposite. The soft, unbroken snow was great fun to run down. I felt like I was running on the moon, taking long, leaping strides and landing softly without any jarring impact. 

Eventually met back up with the packed sections of snowmobile trails and made my way home. Great workout and a lot of fun. Now bring on the pancakes and more espresso. 

Worth noting this was my first time using the Nike Waffle Racers with the snowshoes. They seem to fit in better and it was even more comfortable, especially after I made some strap adjustments. I think these will be my go-to shoes for snowshoeing for now on. 

Snowshoe Ran 7.3 miles @ 10:17/mile pace. 
Trails, packed and fast except for a two mile unbroken section. 
Very hilly. 
Lower 30s, overcast, intermittent snow. 
Dion 121 snowshoes, Nike Waffle Racer VIII, warm-up pants, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Squeeze Play

This afternoon got very busy and I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to run. I even completely forgot that Jeremy and I had tentatively planned to do some interval work together. He called and I was like dude, sorry, I forgot and no can do. I had written off running at that point, but I got more done in a faster amount of time and figured I had time for a quick five miler before Kate and I headed over to Portland for the Richard Blanco poetry reading this evening.

With franticness still dominating my mindset, it leached into my run. I set out fast without a warm-up, which is stupid, but fortunately no problems. Ended up with a progression run with splits of 6:55, 6:37, 6:34, 6:29 and 6:26. Last 3/10's of a mile at 6:21/mile pace.

Ran 5.3 miles @ 6:34/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, partly sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I should be averaging 60+ miles a week. So, it shouldn't seem like an accomplishment that I finally did so this week. It should be the norm. However, glad all the same. At least my legs have been demonstrating solid performances (for me) at races so far the past month or so, so at least that's encouraging. I think I'm definitely ahead of where I was at this point last year overall with speed. And despite the lower weekly mileage, the endurance still appears to be there.

Easy fiver in moderate to heavy snowfall this morning. Mix of paved roads, fire roads and trails.. all coated in at least a few inches of snow, depending on the surface. Really beautiful outside. It's a shame more people don't get outside to enjoy this kind of scenery. They have no idea what they're missing out on.

Ran 5.3 miles @ 9:44/mile pace.
Paved roads, fire roads and trails, all coated in varying depths of snow.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 30s, overcast, moderate to heavy snowfall.
Nike Waffle Racer XIII, Yaktrax Pro, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, buff, cap, gloves.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Full Gamut at Val's

Val and Rick very graciously hosted their annual Fat Ass trail run from their house today. Thanks guys! Great time as always. I had 20-25 miles on tap today. Was happy with a little over 20, especially since we cranked it on the last loop.

Each loop was a little over five miles. Trail conditions had it all: Post-holing snow, bare ground and everything in between. Tough going, but great strength training. Great nature sighting as well, as we spotted a huge bald eagle by a stream. Huuuuge.

Stoked to run the whole thing with my buddies Jeremy and Zak. We were also joined by others, including Ian, Emma and Blaine, for large portions. Good to catch up with everyone.

On the last loop (four total), Zak, Jeremy and I dropped the hammer a little. Nice to end a long run with some pep. Overall pace was 9:23/mile which includes two pee stops and rehydrating at the aid station. In these conditions, that's a pretty darn good pace (for me). Felt great all around and that was some good hay in the barn.

Also, I end my running weeks on Sundays, but looking at the last seven days, I've gotten in 67.8 miles. Stoked about that. Five miler tomorrow will get me over 60 for the official week.

Ran 20.6 miles @ 9:23/mile pace.
Trails, full gamut of conditions.
Moderately hilly.
Lower to mid 30s, overcast, intermittent light snow.
New Balance MT100, Yaktrax Pros, long tights, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, buff, gloves.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Back Home

Bit sad to leave Florida and my hometown, Gainesville, but glad to be home in Maine all the same. Kate and I had a great time. It was awesome to see family and also some good friends that I hadn't seen in a long time.

I had planned on today being a rest day, but after all of the traveling this morning I wanted to move my legs a little. Just did three garbage miles at an easy pace. Looking forward to some bigger miles tomorrow at Val's with the gang.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 8:33/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Merrell Bare Access, warm-up pants, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Eat and Run

Busy day today, so the best option for running was to run home after going out for breakfast with family/friends. Not ideal, but I didn't order anything with the words lumberjack or meat lover's in it, kept it light and was fine.

Legs definitely felt a lot better today. Still kept it easy, but nice to know I could have easily dropped it down more if I wanted to. Maybe I should have, but with the chain racing the past month along with some big mileage planned for this weekend, I kept a foot on the brake pedal.

Ran 5.9 miles @ 7:54/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower to mid 60s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Easy Ten

Road run from my mom's house. Legs still felt a little beat up. No doubt just all the things that come with vacation aren't helping (like lots of BBQ). That's alright though, just wanted to mostly focus on volume this week anyway and am happy to get in some decent mileage in warm weather since I've been down.

Route went by my old high school. It hasn't changed much on the outside since I went there, though I did notice they have a nice brand new track.

Mom and Kate are still at the quilting store. I'm enjoying a beer until they get back.

Ran 10.5 miles @ 8:30/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 50s to lower 60s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

San Felasco Hammock Trail Run

Some pics Kate took this morning.
Nice shakedown run at the San Felasco Hammock State Park this morning. Kate came along and hiked while I ran. I love winter, but have to admit it felt nice to run shirtless and sweat a little from the warmth.

I usually hit this place whenever I'm home. Great trails through scenic woods and pretty hilly, especially for Florida. Fun place to run. Saw a lot of cool birds this morning, including a pileated woodpecker, a red-bellied woodpecker and probably more cardinals spotted during this run alone than the last three years combined. 

Legs felt pretty heavy and tight at first, especially the calves. The loose sand from Sunday's race and also on today's trails are likely the reason why. Overall, the legs loosened up as the run went on, however, in the last two miles they began to feel like they had enough, but with the race just two days ago that's somewhat to be expected. All in all a good run. 

Kate also had fun hiking. I completed my two loops, saw she wasn't back yet and then ran up the trail I knew she'd be coming down and found her a half of a mile later. Then we hiked back together. Fun morning. 

Ran 12.1 miles @ 9:05/mile pace. 
Moderately hilly. 
Lower to upper 60s, sunny, breezy. 
New Balance MT110, shorts. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Short and Not So Sweet

Set out this morning from my mother's house to run on some nearby trails, only to find said trails have been fenced off since the last time I was here.

The fence was pretty high and in a conspicuous area, so I opted not to jump it. Sought another way in, but no luck. Grrrrr. Called it good at three miles.

Also got in a few miles of hiking later in the day at O'Leno State Park, a place I went to a lot as a kid. Great to revisit and share it with Kate.

Ran 3.0 miles @ 9:29/mile pace.
Paved sidewalks, dirt roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
New Balance MT110, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Flatwoods Ramble 10-Mile Trail Race Report

We're down in Florida to visit my folks. We flew into Tampa the other day and yesterday morning we headed to Flatwoods Park just outside of the city for the Flatwoods Ramble trail race before we drove up to Gainesville. Very pleased with how it went.

The morning was very cold by central Florida standards (37F/3C), but obviously not as much of a concern for Kate and I. Naturally, many of the Florida folks were bundled up and listening in on others conversations, the cold snap was a pretty big topic.

However, we weren't the only northerners there. A fellow wearing a Maine Marathon shirt was spotted doing warm-ups. While I was out warming up myself, Kate said hello to him and found out he was from just outside of Augusta.

I ran about two miles to warm-up, then the usual series of high knees, butt kicks and strides. During which, I was eyeballing the other runners, trying to guess who would be fast and what not. I didn't know anyone here, so I found myself paying more attention to that than usual.

I noticed one particular guy who looked fast, but when we were a few minutes away from the start and began lining up, he put on a pair of headphones and then I knew he wouldn't be any competition. I introduced myself to the Augusta guy and we chatted a bit. Really nice guy. Then, we were off.

Miles 1-2

Paved path at the start.
Most of the first mile was on a paved path. Read fast. Split was 6:07. A half a dozen of us formed the lead pack but it soon began to split up into two groups of three. The front three consisted of a tall, young fellow and two guys who were definitely of Masters age. In my pack was the Augusta Guy in front of me and a young fellow with blonde hair wearing tights in front of him.

About three quarters of a mile in, we went on to single track trails. Very windy ones at that. For those familiar with Bradbury Mt., it was probably slightly more windy than the Island trail but probably not as twisty as the O-trail. The single track would stay like this for most of the race, with some straight sections of double-track and short sections of paved paths thrown in. No hills though. Flat as a pancake.

Miles 3-8 
The lead pack continued to pull ahead and were in sight less and less. I stayed behind Augusta Guy and Blonde Guy but at one point they pulled ahead a little. Not much, but a little. I could have stayed with them but it was early and I told myself to be patient.

Somewhere in Mile 3, the trail turned sharp right on to single track and Blonde Guy put on a really big surge. It looked like Augusta Guy tried to go with him. We were only a third of the way into the race and I thought it was a too early to put on a big move like that. Just kept telling myself "patience". I was still running hard.. averaging 6:40-ish splits on trails with plenty of twists that were also sometimes pretty sandy... so making a surge that big at this stage seemed premature. Patience.

Augusta Guy and Blonde Guy were always in sight and I eventually reeled them back in. Another runner behind me was gaining some ground; I stole glances behind me on the sharper turns, but eventually he dropped back.

Miles 9-10
Just after the eighth mile, I heard footsteps quickly approaching and a runner appeared out of nowhere. "Where did you come from?" I asked. He replied "I was in the top three but had to stop to take a shit!" Yep, I remembered him. He was one of the Masters aged runners. I told him to go get it back and he pulled ahead of our pack.

This is where things changed. Just prior to this, Augusta Guy and Blonde Guy were starting to slow down a little. I passed Augusta Guy and he began to drop back. I was now on the heels of Blonde Guy and Pitstop Guy was just about 50 or so feet ahead. We then hit the paved path for about 100 or so feet and I pulled up on Blonde Guy's shoulder. Listening to his breathing, I could tell I had more and passed him shortly thereafter.

Pitstop Guy got off trail a few times, but quickly recovered. Still, this let me catch up to him a bit. I rode his pace and stayed about 10-20 feet behind him for the duration. I would have loved to make a move to pass him, but I was redlining it now. I was just grateful for the pull and wanted to make sure Blonde Guy and Augusta stayed behind me. I was well aware I was in fourth place and was pretty stoked.

The music from the finish line was soon audible and then I crossed, nailing down fourth place. Sweet! I had hoped for top five, so glad I got it. They work the awards differently for this race... No age group awards, but there were special awards for the overall male and female winners and Masters division runners. Top 25 males and females get special, heavy duty ceramic coffee mugs. I was stoked to get one and Kate also have earned one as well! She ran the 5K race and was very happy to get one too.

Chute after the finish. 

Kate and I with our mugs. 
Very good time and it's always fun to run a race in a different area. The race director put on a really great event.. very fun and had a festive and friendly vibe. They also served waffles after the race which was nice. Hope to run it again someday.

Race Results

Ran 10.0 miles @ 6:39/mile pace.
Official Time: 1:06:28
Overall Placing: 4th out of 123
Trails, single track, double track, a few paved sections.
Pancake flat.
Lower 40s, sunny.
New Balance MT110, shorts, sleeveless shirt.

w/u - Ran 1.8 miles @ 7:59/mile pace.
c/d - Ran 1.0 mile @ 10:23/mile pace.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Spring Preview

Holy crap, it felt warm out today. Nearly 50 degrees, sunny and no wind. I wore a long sleeved shirt over a short sleeved one and that felt like too much.

Run went well. Easy paced and uneventful. Saving my legs for the race Sunday.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:12/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mt. Hope

Ran my Mt. Hope loop this afternoon. This road route is great. The climb to the top is a major buttkicker and the rolling hills that follow are pretty fun and scenic. Good choice since the snow banks are still high making the back roads an even more sound option than usual.

Run went well. Legs felt pretty good and though a 7:53/mile pace would normally be easy, I'd call it moderate given the hills. My heart always feels like it's going to explode by the time I reach the top of Mt. Hope. It's steep.

Shorter, easy run tomorrow.

Ran 11.1 miles @ 7:53/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, buff, gloves.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More Melting

Weather pretty similar to yesterday. A few degrees cooler but without the wind it felt warmer. The snow from the blizzard is going quick and some of the puddles, especially near the snow banks, are practically ponds.

I thought about snowshoeing, but didn't feel like driving to a trailhead. Besides, a friend on Facebook described the slushy conditions as "white diarrhea", which didn't exactly help sway my decision away from just doing a normal road run.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:05/mile pace.
Paved roads, large puddles and some slush.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Solid Eight

Legs felt peppy today. Hit a pretty hilly route and worked my way down to the faster side of a moderate pace. Warm out, which melted most of yesterday's ice and the only real concern was not having as much room on the road shoulders because of the snow banks, but it was definitely doable.

Other than that, pretty uneventful. Very much looking forward to the Flatwoods Ramble 10 Mile Trail Race this Sunday just outside of Tampa. As of now, a high of 61F/16C is being forecasted for that day, which isn't too bad. Just don't want it much warmer than that, but if it stays that way, great, I should have a good showing.

Powered by
Ran 8.1 miles @ 7:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 40s, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Slushy Icy Slop

More snow today. Probably another inch or two, which was more than we were "supposed" to get. Then sleet. Then freezing rain. Perfect recipe for total slushy, icy, slippery crap on the roads.

I kept it safe by mostly doing loops around the school. I ventured out on some nearby streets for a bit, but didn't feel very safe so I headed back to the school and finished a few more laps to get me up to five miles. Very slick and I wish I had brought my YakTrax, but I just kept it slow so I'd stay upright.

Would have been easy to write off running today given it's the day after a race and the conditions flat out sucked; but I really wanted to run. Today probably didn't add much physically other than shaking the legs loose, but it added something mentally. Kind of nice to be able to go out in conditions like this and still have fun.

Ran 5.1 miles @ 10:03/mile pace.
Paved roads, coated in ice and slush.
Mostly flat.
Around 30 degrees, overcast, light freezing rain.
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bradbury White Out Race Report

Just in the nick of time, Old Man Winter delivered. At least a couple of feet of snow on Friday and Saturday made today's Bradbury White Out Snowshoe race possible when just a week ago it looked like it could simply be a trail race. But nope. Game on, thanks to the blizzard! However, with the deep, fresh, powdery snow it would make conditions slow and provide its own challenges.

Ryan W. and I ran a short warm-up on the first few tenths of a mile on the course, getting a feel for the conditions. Yep, slow. The trails were also single track the whole way. Actually, single-channeled is probably more like it. Cooperation would have to be relied on for passing since there was only one very narrow, deep trench to run in. Passing would mean someone would have to move over or if you were bold, make a move through deep, powdery snow on the side (not smart in most cases). Said trench was very challenging, as many times I would catch my snowshoes on the sidewalls and stumble, but thankfully never fell. I am a huge klutz in general, and that showed today, as based on my observations I had trouble staying in the narrow trench more than most others.

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Mile One - Congo Line
Ryan W. and Scott H. were off like a cannon shot, pulling ahead really quickly. That was smart, as there was definitely jockeying for position in the first few hundred feet. I think my snowshoes were stepped on three or four times in the first few seconds. However, once the dust snow settled, I was positioned rather nicely in fifth place behind Ian. We had planned on potentially running the first two and a half miles together anyway so this was nice.

David R. was just ahead of us and leading the pack. Behind me a large contingent consisting of the first two women (who were insanely fast) as well as Chuck H. and James D. Our congo line trudged onward but right around the mile one split, Ian asked to move ahead of David R. and from there on out slowly and methodically pulled ahead of our pack.

Mile Two - Questionable Strategy
I thought about also passing David and going with Ian, but didn't think that was wise. I already felt like I was redlining and thought it might be too soon to make a move. Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back, I really wish I would have went with Ian and let him pull me ahead just enough to stay a few dozen feet ahead before letting go and trying to hang on so I would have some breathing room.

Our congo line persisted up a very large and gradual climb. I was just behind David R. with four others behind me, and our pack was all neck and neck. Yet, nobody was making any moves. I know I wasn't simply because I was redlining now and I suspect it was the same for everyone else. Still, I was getting really tired of being towards the front and was feeling really gassed from a long, grinding uphill.

I decided to make a very risky move here. I pulled over and let the entire pack go by so I could be in the back. Though everyone in this group is really awesome and some are good friends, I was getting really sick of being caught up in such a long, tight-knit congo line with no breathing room. The plan was to catch my breath a little, regroup and then try to chase down everyone. Risky, especially in conditions like this when conditions made passing extremely complicated but there was still a mile to go. I would have limited success with the plan but it mostly backfired.

Mile Three - Trying to Regain Ground
Now that I was in the back of the line, I was feeling better mentally. I also let myself drop back a little, but not too much, and catch my breath. It was working and I was soon feeling my mojo coming back, and besides I prefer to chase people down as opposed to holding people off.

I was soon back up on Chuck's heals and we chatted a little bit. We then had a flying downhill section on Old Tuttle Road, which is a long, straight path and we all cranked the downhill. The congo line started to break up here, with Dave R. and the two top females pulling ahead. I was getting my legs and energy back, and as we approached the left hand turn on the Lanzo Trail, I proposed to Chuck and James that we work together and get back up with them (they were maybe 20-30 feet or so ahead here and pulling away). They said they couldn't go much faster, so I asked to pass and they let me by and I began closing the gap.

Soon afterwards, I caught up and joined the other pack. Four of us now, with David R., the two lead females and me as the caboose. There was now only about a half of a mile left, so asking for the others to pull over and let me by didn't seem ethical at all, especially when I'm in the same pack with them. This late in the race, I thought that if you were going to pass somebody, you should earn it by going off to the unbroken side, but they were going fast enough that if I were to do that, it would no doubt gas me big time and likely backfire, especially with there being three of them. One runner, maybe. But three? No way. And we were all tailgating so passing all three at once would have been the only real option.

Final Stretch - The End
We soon made the right hand turn on the link trail and there was only about a tenth of a mile or so to the finish. All four of us kicked, and I didn't really have enough to make a move off to the side in the unbroken snow. In retrospect, I wish I would have given it a shot since I didn't really have much to lose. Chuck and James were not far behind, but probably far enough that I could have taken the chance. Grrr. Big hat's off to David and the two lead females though, as all of our kicks were strong. We soon crossed the finish line with all of us in order and only about a second between each of us.

Not entirely satisfied with my efforts today, but it was good enough for seventh place overall and I won my age group, which was nice. Can never be upset with winning your AG. I could pick from my prizes, and Kate asked if I could get the gift certificate to Core 3 Massage for her, and I was happy to do so. Kate's been having some major leg tightness issues, and I'm sure her trip to see our friend Julia will help her out a lot. Julia does awesome work.

Very fun day, big thanks to Ryan, Ian and all of the volunteers for another awesome, fun race!


Ran 3.3 miles @ 12:21/mile pace.
Official time: 40:43
Placing: 7th out of 53
AG (40-49): 1st out 8
Trails, narrow and covered in powdery, deep snow.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
Dion 121 Snowshoes, New Balance MT110, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, buff, gloves.

w/u: Snowshoed .4 miles @ 13:13/mile pace.
c/d: Ran 1.1 miles @ 9:08/mile pace.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Fun in the Blizzard

In case you hadn't heard, Maine got hit with a bonafide blizzard.

I shoveled some snow and then rested. 

Then I did flips into the snowbanks. 

Kate and I also hiked in the woods out back for
about a mile. 

I got snow on my face. 

My car resembled a bad 80s haircut. 

My snow angel: Kate. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

Pre-Blizzard Trail Run

Courtesy: WGME News
School was cancelled today! Yay! It was already snowing when I woke up at 4:45am, though the blizzard conditions aren't expected until later in the early evening. For now though, very safe and runnable. Not enough snow on the trails for snowshoes yet, but the Yaktrax were perfect.

Headed out the door a little before 7:30am for a run in the woods out back. 10F/-12C with a moderate snowfall throughout, but thankfully not much wind. I couldn't find my sock liners, but the smartwools were more than adequate.

The woods were wicked peaceful. Saw a ridiculous amount of snowshoe hare tracks and when I reached the pond about three miles in, I spooked a huge bald eagle in a nearby tree. Really neat to hear its ginormous wings flap as it took off.

Just a great run all around. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had a blast. Trail running is simply the best, especially in fun conditions like this. Legs felt awesome as well. For the two road runs earlier in the week, I still felt a little beat up from Sunday's race. Yesterday's trail run felt much better and today the legs felt super springy and fresh. Time to heal along with the softer surface of the trails really helped.

Will spend the rest of the day relaxing, but also getting some work done for the creative writing class and I should probably store some more water in case the power goes out. Plenty of beverages in the fridge, as well as food. Glad we have a gas stove so we can still easily cook if the power goes out. I think baking some chocolate cookies while sipping a homebrew might have to happen here shortly; who cares if it's morning?

Ran 7.3 miles @ 10:36/mile pace.
Trails, coated in a few inches of powder snow. Icy underneath in several spots.
Very hilly.
10F/-12C, moderate snowfall throughout.
New Balance MT110, Yaktrax Pro, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, mittens.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Learning Curve

Was really stoked to take the Timex Run Trainer out in the woods to see how accurate it is on the trails. Initial test was a fail. Why? I accidentally deleted the workout. Oops. I felt stupid.

Regardless, the run went fine. I was really stoked to finally find an old abandoned trail I hadn't been on in several years and successfully reconnect it with two other trails. I had tried to do it last month but took a wrong turn. Not today. Success. It felt like hanging out with an old friend.

Blizzard tomorrow, or so they say. The timing of it may or may not lead to a school cancellation since the heavier stuff isn't expected until later in the day. We'll see. Regardless, I'm pretty stoked to go snowshoeing again, and while nothing is official yet, things are looking extremely well for the Bradbury White Out snowshoe race on Sunday to go on as planned.

Ran 5.8 miles @ 9:50/mile pace.
Icy trails.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
New Balance MT110, YakTrax Pro, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Running Dead

I've been awake since 1:45am. This happens sometimes. No stress or anything pressing on my mind. Just simply woke up and couldn't go back to sleep.

I didn't run then. It was snowing and my current headlamp isn't very trustworthy. Instead, I deposited some checks through our bank's ATM, filled up my car with gas, came back home and continued to consume espresso.

Work. Busy day. Conducting tours of the classroom and studio. Meeting with a parent after students left. Then ran.

The Timex continues to impress. Accuracy very much on par. This makes me happy. The run also made me happy. Despite the Zombie-state increasing throughout the day the run was welcome. As will sleep be tonight. I'm sure it will come.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 30s, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Timex Run Trainer Inaugural Run

Yesterday, the new Timex Run Trainer arrived at my door. I was quite thrilled and after today's inaugural run, I am even more so. I'll write a full review in another month so I can continue to test it out, but my initial impressions are very positive. 

I've got to say though, not having a GPS for my race on Sunday was eye opening. I wonder if knowing my pace more regularly would have held me back. I'm going to have to think about that with races in the future, which is not to say I won't run with a GPS, but I'll consider hiding my pace during certain races. At least on Sunday, I proved that I could more or less feel my maximum pace for the distance and run it efficiently. 

That being said, the training runs sans GPS the past few weeks have felt very constraining. I think it's very beneficial to know your exact mileage and pace for training runs for a variety of reasons, at least for me. Plus, it kind of sucked working out the mileage for each route. GPS just saves a lot of time and headache on that front and other areas as well. 

So, yeah. Very pleased with the Timex so far. It proved to very accurate on this initial run. Run itself went well. Just an easy pace to follow up yesterday's rest day. Hopefully will get out for a longer easy run tomorrow. 

Ran 5.1 miles @ 8:24/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 20s, sunny. 
Brooks Mach 13, warm-up pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

2013 Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic Race Report

Ominous start. Awesome finish.

The morning got off on the wrong foot when Kate and I pulled up and I realized I left my backpack at home. Crap!!! Fortunately, I was already wearing most of what I had hoped to run in, but in the backpack were a couple of other running jackets and a favorite pair of gloves. I had planned on running in just a long sleeved shirt over a short sleeved one, but if I would need a jacket, I'd be screwed. Fortunately, I had another pair of gloves in my car. Mad props to Kate for keeping my head in check and assuring me I had all I need and was fine.

Checked in, and Al, Andy and I ran a warm-up. Fortunately, this verified that I would be fine without a jacket. Whew. That lowered my stress level. Got in some stride work, butt kicks and high knees and it was soon time to race.

Andy, Al, me and Scott.
Miles 0-3
I was running without a watch. I have a Timex Run Trainer coming in tomorrow, but decided to run this one by feel as an experiment. However, I still wanted to know what I was running on occasion. Mile one is downhill and very fast. When we hit the marker, I knew Al wasn't far behind me so I called out "Split?" over my shoulder.

"6:20!" Al replied.

I answered with a thumbs up.

"Wait, that's my split. You were a little faster."

Another thumbs up.

"You were probably 6:18 or so."

"Got it, thanks Al."

"No wait, actually you were probably about 6:16. Maybe 6:17. It all depends if you look at it..."

"Got it, Al. Thank you."

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Horrible form. Shoulders too high. Need to relax. 
Mile two punishes you if you go out too fast. There are three distinct rolling hills that are pretty steep. The roller coaster ride makes you realize how big of a piece of cake the first mile is. There was a clock at the marker and I remember it reading 13:03 for mile two when I passed it.

Right around here, I linked up with a really nice fellow named Ward. This guy was great and I owe him for setting the tone early in the race. We briefly exchanged goals which were similar, but I could tell by his breathing he had more to give (he ended up killing it with a big negative split). Anyway, we worked together and shortly afterwards were running with two other folks. I knew one of them, Phil, and had seen the other guy around. We had a great pack going here, pulling each other along.

Miles 4-6
Pace is remaining steady and fast. I wasn't sure how fast, but I wanted to hang with this pack and I felt I could hold it for a while without trashing the later miles. Bit of a risk, but it paid off very well.

Just before mile 5, the pack was breaking up a bit. There was a clock here and it read 31:51 when I passed (6:23/mile). I remember this easily because calculations were flying in my head. I was 39 seconds ahead for finishing with a 1:05:00 time. Nice.

As we were coming up on the sixth mile, I could see fellow Trail Monster Andy in the distance. He had been well out of sight before. Hmmm. However, there was a more immediate and attainable target. Last March at the Midcoast Half Marathon, I remember catching a guy in a patterned purple shirt late in the race. I easily recognized this shirt and knew it was him (talked with him afterwards, really nice guy and it was him). Worked to pass him and I did.

Mile 7-9
Still holding pace and it was hard work, but I knew I was fine. No signs of the wheels falling off. I knew I was giving it all I had while pacing it well. Sweet. Leap frogged a few times with one of the guys from the pack I was in before.

Passed the third woman and concentrated on just keeping it going. Mile 8 is a beeyatch, thanks to a long, grinding uphill that seems magnified this late in the race. Andy kept getting closer and closer. I knew I'd likely run out of real estate before I caught him but I made it a goal to see how close I could get.

Clock was set up at the end of mile 9. I forget what it said, but it showed that I was going to be significantly under my 1:05:00 goal time. I was pumped.

Mile 10

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos.
About a tenth of a mile to go. 
Another uphill. Was caught by two runners early on here, including purple shirt guy. He didn't blow past me and soon settled in but we were running equal paces and if I were to make a move it would have to come at the top of the hill with only a few tenths of a mile to go. You know, I didn't mind. I was already going to be well under my goal time so I just concentrated on burning whatever gas I had left and kept hauling ass the best I could.

Top of the hill and that sharp left turn that precedes a downhill to the finish line just a few tenths of a mile away. Ahhh. Let loose but there was no catching purple shirt guy but also nobody nipping at my heels.

Crossed the finish line in 1:03:45. Way better than last year's 1:05:07. I figured I would probably run 1:04:45-ish today so really nice to beat that by a full minute. Also a positive split by only three seconds.

The finish. 
Exchanged nice jobs with purple shirt runner and a few others and then felt my stomach churn. Went off to a snow bank and puked. After that, I nearly made Kate puke as apparently I had some vomit in my beard. Sorry, TMI?

Andy, Al and I went for a cooldown run and exchanged war stories. Very fun to recap the race with them. Definitely an awesome day!


Ran 10.0 miles @ 6:23/mile pace.
Official time: 1:03:45
Overall placing: 24th out of 611.
AG (40-44): 4th of 44
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 20s, overcast, light snow flurries.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Busted Winter

Anyone who lives in New England and pays attention to the weather may recall that last fall, many of the big weather organizations were calling for a very snowy winter in our region. Granted, winter isn't over yet, but what a bust it's been so far. 

Just wanted to keep the legs loose here on the eve of tomorrow's MWC, so kept it short and slow on the trails out back. Equal parts bare, ice and packed snow. Late March conditions, sans the mud. 

Thankfully, this will be my last run where I'm estimating distance and/or pace. Tomorrow's race is obviously timed and on a measured course. And Monday, my Timex Run Trainer should arrive. Decided not to go with Garmin for various reasons, and the Run Trainer seems reliable, accurate and has all the bells and whistles I want (and then some) at a better price. 

Ran 4.0 miles @ 9:30/mile pace. 
Trails w/ ice, snow, dirt. 
Moderately hilly. 
Upper teens, sunny. 
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, Yaktrax Pro, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Friday, February 01, 2013

Appeasing the Vogons II

Second poem turned in for my creative writing class. This time we had to think of a first experience and write a poem on it, and start it with "The first time I". I chose to do it on my first solo backpacking trip, which was in the Catskills over a decade ago. Here's what I came up with:

Jamie Anderson

The first time I was
alone in the wilderness I
was transcended.

I climbed a mountain steep
and strenuous. My backpack a
burden. My legs on
strike after battling gravity like
a prizefighter. I rested often,
recharging and then

The forests change.
Then break.
At the summit I am
rewarded. My eyes as wide as
the valley below, filled with
lesser hills like frozen
waves set afire with
trees of gold and scarlet.

The sun undresses the sky as it
goes to sleep. Millions of tiny lights
dancing above without inhibition.
The campfire’s embers leap up
to them as if seeking communion before
dying into the surrounding dark.

The distant call of an
owl sounds ominous
but foretells nothing sinister.
I am not unlike the
raccoon who briefly investigates
my presence. Seeking warmth,
food, keeping a watchful eye on
the surrounding forest.

The invisible sun rises from its
bed. I emerge from my
cocoon and soon feel
like a turtle again, my home on
my back. I descend listening to
the choir of crashing raindrops,
singing soprano on my
jacket, alto on the rocks, baritone
on the mud.

The sight of my car is bittersweet with
the grapefruit of civilization and the
chocolate of dry warmth. My pack now
shed, I am like a feather in the wind. And I
remain unbound. The feeling stays with
me for days. Weeks. Months. Years.  


Content copyright © 2013 by Jamie Anderson. All rights reserved.