Thursday, May 30, 2013

Looking Forward

Past several days off, might take most of the rest of this week off. Two reasons: To recharge mentally, which is working. I'm getting itchy again. The second reason is my ribs are a bit sore. I suspect the 29 miles on Sunday did not aggravate them. However, performing a series of cartwheels as a distraction tactic during a frisbee game on Monday might have. At least it worked.

I've been doing a lot of fly fishing since I haven't been running. What is dangerous is, and not to brag, but I have been doing extremely well with it lately. I've already lost track of how many fish I've caught. Naturally, that success only fuels the fire. Once summer rolls around, I'll have plenty of time to both run and fish and that's just two or so more weeks away (w00t!). But starting next week, running will take precedence again while school is still in session, assuming the ribs calm down a little. I'll still fish, but will plan it around the running.

Check out this 14" rainbow trout I caught (and released) the other day. I used a prince nymph that I tied just the day before. See what I mean? This is addicting:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pineland Farms: DNF in the Muck and the Mire

What is viewed as a relatively easy course was transformed into an entirely different beast today. The mud came up to our shins and grew exponentially worse as the day went on. It was insane. I dropped at mile 29, and truth be told, I don't regret it. I was not trained/prepared for 50 miles in these kinds of conditions, pure and simple. The course was tougher than I was and it won.

The first 3.5 mile loop followed by the full 15.5 mile loop were both tough but went along well enough time wise. However, 10 miles in my legs felt as if they had run almost double the amount.

Going into the second loop, I knew I was in trouble. My pace slowed significantly and my legs were taxed. And the course. My god, the course. It went from ridiculously bad to what the #$%& is this &#$% bad. Mud you could only walk slowly through as it threatened to suck the shoes right off your feet. On one steep downhill, I literally skied down half of it (and managed not to fall somehow, that was fun). Thoughts of DNF danced in my head. My legs were shot.

I was pretty demoralized but got a big boost when I caught up to my friends Ty and Maddy at around mile 24. I ran the first four miles with them but let them go (they're much faster than I am). They planned to drop, where at that point I was 90% sold on the idea. We mostly walked the last 3-4 miles back to the start/finish area. Maddy dropped with a bad knee. I convinced Ty to not drop yet and at least run the next 5.5 mile loop, but we got a mile in and said screw it and took a shortcut back.

Again, no regrets. I'm only slightly disappointed. I couldn't imagine going on in conditions that were only getting worse. Major hats off to all the finishers, that was just nuts. Happy to have gotten in a tough 29 miles that will serve as a good springboard to what I hope is a summer filled with a lot of fun mountain runs.

3.5 miles in. Ditching the hat and arm warmers before giving
Jeremy a high five. 

18.5 miles in.

Putting Gus in the water bottle pocket.

Maddy, myself and Ty about to call it a day.
Ran 29.4 miles @ 11:02/mile pace.
Insanely muddy trails.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s to mid 50s, overcast, periods of light rain, windy.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, sleeveless shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pre-Pineland Thoughts

Looking forward to heading over to Pineland today for Day One of the two day festival. Kate and my good friend/pacer, Ryan, are running the 5K there today and it will be fun to cheer them on.

And tomorrow at 6am, I'll toe the line for the 50-mile race. Mindset is very relaxed. Maybe too much so. I think with road races I got used to the pressure of consistently being in that top 2-3% percentile. I don't mean that as a bragging point (that top one percent is often ridiculously faster), I only mention it because the fields tend to be much deeper in ultras. There's a much higher percentage of hardcore, very fit folks; pure and simple.

I'm still going to try for sub-8 hours. That translates to maintaining a 9:36/mile pace. The B-goal is to PR (break 8:23:37). With what is most assuredly going to be a very muddy run tomorrow, either of those will be tough. However, the mud will also make it a lot of fun. And plus, I'm essentially riding off of road marathon training, which should get the job done very well but is still not tailored specifically for a 50-miler on muddy trails. That being said, I still feel very good about running quite well tomorrow.

So, not feeling a ton of pressure. Don't get me wrong, I'm still focused and am going to run very hard tomorrow. I plan on hunting down whoever is in front of me later in the race...I just feel very relaxed about it all and plan on having fun.

Oh, the ribs. They still hurt, but they've improved. The pain is there but it's something that I've gotten used to and can largely ignore it, if that makes sense. I honestly don't think it'll be an issue tomorrow, thankfully.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bruised Ribs

So, the ribs haven't gotten much better since Monday. They're definitely bruised pretty good. Not exactly a comfortable feeling, especially when trying to sleep at night.

However, today's run was encouraging. A very good amount of discomfort at first but it dissipated significantly as the run went on. Hopefully the same will hold true for the 50-miler on Sunday. I'll just hike up my big boy pants and deal with it, but I suspect I'll be fine.

Funny moment at the end of the run. A former cross country runner who graduated two years ago was on a run and approaching from the opposite way, yelling my name at the top of his lungs when he saw me. I was excited to see him also, but was not about to embrace him in the big bear hug that he was about to give. I yelled "Bruised ribs!!" at least four times while pointing to my side before it sunk in and he lowered his arms. Whew.

Pace is guesstimated as Kate has my GPS watch but I know the distance is accurate.

Ran 6.2 miles @ 7:55/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, overcast, humid.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Case of the Mondays

Pretty meh run today. I think I definitely bruised a few ribs yesterday stuffing cardboard boxes into a tall container, only to have it slide out sideways and I fell with it. My right ribcage landed on the edge of another container pretty hard.

Not a big deal. It has a dull ache that I didn't feel any more than usual when running and it feels better than yesterday. Still, a bit distracting. Plus it was humid out and I was just plain tired from kind of a long day. None of that added up to much good, apparently.

A bright note though, stopped at a stream and watched trout hitting hatching caddis flies on the surface. Despite running past this stream literally hundreds of times, I haven't fished it yet. Might have to soon after seeing that.

Rest day tomorrow, per the taper. Yep, I think I'll go fly fishing.

Ran 3.8 miles @ 9:48/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Mid 70s, partly cloudy, humid.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cathance Trails

Great fun today over in Topsham. Kate and I headed over to meet up with Ryan. Kate graciously offered to watch his daughter so we could run and we hit the trails at the Cathance Preserve.

Ryan is pacing me on the final 15.5 mile loop of my 50-miler next weekend at Pineland, so we talked a lot about goals and strategy. Stoked to have him running with me, I know he'll get me going in that final loop and not let me slack.

The run itself went awesome. A little over nine miles at a solid moderate pace. Legs felt great. Afterwards, we headed over to Oxbow to sample a few barley sodas and purchase growlers. Then we met up with Danielle for sushi. That hit the spot.

Day off tomorrow from running. Gone fishin'...

Ran 9.2 miles @ 8:56/mile pace.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 60s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wheel and Run

Yesterday, I wheeled a 5K course for a race that'll take place this morning. We knew the course, but I wanted to make sure we put the start and finish lines in the exact right places. Once that was done, I ran it.

All in all, pretty uneventful and not very exciting. Looking forward to a trail run with Snowman later today. He's pacing me for the last loop at Pineland next weekend, so that will be a prime topic of conversation for sure. 

Walked 3.1 miles @ 18:34/mile pace. 
Ran 3.1 miles @ 7:32/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 60s, partly cloudy. 
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

An Introduction to Chi Running

My good friend Jeremy needed some guinea pigs. He's about to become certified as a Chi running instructor and was looking to practice coaching the technique, so I happily said yes when he asked if I'd be interested.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I did it more to help him out, but walked away with a lot of information that has the wheels turning in my head. It all just seemed incredibly logical.

I'll continue to experiment with what I learned for sure. It's not easy and requires practice, but at the same time it seems quite natural, as contradictory as that sounds.

Oh yeah. This was my first real road run since Boston.

Ran 2.5 miles @ 8:44/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 70s, partly cloudy.
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rail Trails and Brook Trout

Ran from the school today for the first time in a while. For the past month, I've been opting to just head home and run the trails from my house since they have more to offer. That being said, was looking forward to changing things up a bit and hit the rail trails from work.

Had planned on eight miles but was feeling good so opted for ten. Run went well with a loose progression throughout. Legs are feeling great, looking forward to the 50-miler in a week and a half. Main goal is to break my PR on that course (8:23:37), which should be doable. Will go for a sub-8, which I think is possible but I'll need a good day.

On a totally non-running related note, had a really good day fly fishing yesterday. Caught four brookies. After I caught the one in the pic below, on the very next cast I caught a 14" one that put up a good fight. Decided to take that one home for dinner. Quite good.

One of the four I caught, this one using a nymph imitation.
Despite how the pic may look, my grip was quite gentle. 
Ran 10.4 miles @ 8:19/mile pace.
Rail trails.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, partly cloudy to overcast.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Recovery Run in the Rain

Woke up at dawn (4:30am) and decided to be a bit productive. Got a lot of work done on the portfolio for my creative writing class, the equivalent of our final exam. After that and a couple of Americanos, I laced up and hit the trails.

Pace was very easy, though I was pretty amazed...and how my legs felt after yesterday's long run. Legs only felt a wee bit tired and there was no soreness at all. Still, kept the pace very slow and just enjoyed it.

Light rain had just began when I started and picked up to a moderate fall. Then at about halfway it ended. I was hoping for rain during the long run yesterday, but nice to get it today. Feels good to run in with it being warm out.

50.2 miles for the week. Still planning on very light running the next two weeks leading up to Pineland. Maybe just upper 20s for mileage this upcoming week and mid-teens the next.

Ran 5.4 miles @ 9:51/mile pace.
Mostly flat.
Around 60 degrees, overcast, light to moderate rain then humid.
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, shorts, short sleeved shirt (shed halfway).

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Taper Time

Got in a solid long run today. Very pleased with how I've handled the running post-Boston. Only have six weeks between that race and my 50-miler at Pineland in another two weeks, and I don't think I could have done it much better. Fine line between doing too much and not letting the legs go stale in just a pretty short amount of time. I feel like I've walked it well.

Run was fun. Very humid out but I didn't mind. The overcast skies and lack of bugs helped big time in making it more than tolerable.

So, two week taper in place now. Will play it by ear but am putting the emphasis on rest. Would rather do too little than too much at this point; the two long runs over the past two weekends are enough insurance.

Ran 21.3 miles @ 9:35/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Lower to upper 60s, overcast, very humid.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, long sleeved shirt, Nathan double water belt (diluted Gatorade).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Moose and Bear Poop

Had planned on more mileage today but wanderlust got the better of me and I ended up exploring some abandoned trails again, which inevitably led to some bushwhacking as well. As a result, slow pace, but who cares, it was fun.

Discovered quite a bit, including some very fresh moose poop about a mile from my house. Looks like he/she/they has/have been hanging out in this area for a little while now, as there were other piles of poop in varying degrees of freshness nearby.

In the same general area, also discovered some bear scat. Looked at least several days old. I'll have to go back. Haven't seen a bear or moose in the wild in quite some time now.

Also, discovered a huge patch low-bush blueberries up on a hill. In two months or so, no doubt they'll be ready. This place was pretty hidden and far back in the woods, so I doubt anyone knows about it.

Hit some other abandoned trails that either dead ended or the path was simply lost, but still good fun to explore. Saw lots of evidence of old deer rubbings in one particular spot. Hoped to find some shed antlers but no dice.

Ran 6.4 miles @ 12:33/mile pace.
Trails, abandoned trails and bushwhacking.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 70s, mostly cloudy, humid.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt, handheld bottle (diluted Gatorade).

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


Short and easy run planned for today. Hit the woods out back and on a whim decided to explore what looked to be an abandoned trail I discovered while doing hill repeats last week. Was slow going, but still a lot of fun.

I had hoped some new options for routes would come out of it, but no dice. I took quite a few branches of alleged trails, which were tough to follow and they all petered out. Ended up doing quite a bit of bushwhacking as a result.

But hey, now I know. And knowing is half the battle. (GI Jooooooe)

Ran 4.2 miles @ 12:03/mile pace.
Trails and bushwhacking.
Very hilly.
Lower 70s, partly cloudy, humid.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A Romp Through The Woods

Warmest day of the year yet, with highs in the mid-70s. Took advantage of it by hitting the woods as soon as I got home. Did a 13 mile-ish route along the powerline trails, with a detour that goes through a very awesome section of woods. Looks almost like old growth, with very large trees that are spaced out with hardly any undergrowth beneath. One would expect to see elves here, but alas, I did not.

I did spot a northern water snake sunning him/herself on the trail. Also saw a pileated woodpecker, a groundhog and a turkey. Leaves are also just now bursting with green and there aren't many menacing bugs out (though I did pick off a few ticks).

Great run. Legs felt a little heavy at first but that went away. Very decent pace for this terrain. However, about two miles of this route are along the road shoulders, so that helped lower the overall pace. Still, the splits looked decent for the technical sections. Good stuff.

Ran 12.9 miles @ 9:15/mile pace.
Mostly trails, about two miles of road shoulders.
Moderately hilly.
Mid to lower 70s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt, Nathan double water belt (diluted Gatorade).

Monday, May 06, 2013

Acadia National Park - Spring 2013

Great weekend camping at Acadia National Park this past weekend with Kate and a big group of friends. The weather was just about perfect and we all had a blast. It was also my birthday on Saturday, so a fine way to celebrate 41 years on this planet. Pete S.'s birthday was also nearby (today), so it was a joint celebration of sorts. 

We arrived Friday in the late afternoon, and Jim D. and Shauna D. arrived a few hours later. The rest of the gang would show up the next day. That night though, a rude awakening by a young couple who claimed we were in their campsite (park's mistake) left us all a bit irritated. I didn't wake up as refreshed as I could have, but got in a great run all the same. 

The trek Saturday morning consisted of running up Cadillac Mountain from the Blackwoods Campground, then down the west trail (steep and slow), around to the northern tip of Eagle Lake, then taking the carriage roads back towards Jordan Pond. Along the way, saw a mink and two snowshoe rabbits (coats now brown). 

Fifteen something miles into the run, I stopped to consult the map and eat some Powerbar chews. Perfect timing, as bounding down the carriage trail was Mindy and Shauna! They were on their way back and I joined them. Good thing to, as I would have went the wrong way. 

Park Loop road made the most sense for our return. It was closed to cars thanks to the morons in Congress, but it was obvious the dozens (hundreds?) of cyclists we saw were quite pleased not to have to worry about vehicles. 

Ran 20.3 miles @ 10:23/mile pace. 
Technical trails, carriage roads and a few miles of paved roads. 
Extremely hilly. 
Upper 40s to lower 50s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, Moeben arm warmers, Nathan double water belt. 

Sunday, we checked out and headed over to Eagle Lake for a group run around the loop. Then breakfast at Two Cats before heading home. Fine birthday weekend!

Ran 6.0 miles @ 9:29/mile pace. 
Carriage roads. 
Very hilly. 
Lower 60s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, short sleeved shirt. 

Short walk from the campsite reveals this.

Some fun before the Eagle Lake run. 

Saturday's run. 

Kate and our Shangra-La tent. 

Rock hopping. 

Birthday cake for Pete and I, and a photo bomb. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Hill Repeats

52F/11C is pretty balmy in the winter, but after a bit of a warm spell here this spring it felt pretty darn cold, at least at first, especially with a light rain falling. That was quickly remedied after the warm-up run and the hill repeats began in the woods out back.

Just did four reps. Wanted to save my legs for a pretty rugged run I have planned on Saturday. Each climb was a smidgen under 7/10 of a mile and had 148 feet of gain. Didn't time each split, though I wish I had. Oh well.

The repeats were also a great way to break in the new Saucony Kinvara TRs. They felt awesome and should serve me well on the trails this spring/summer.

Ran 7.9 miles @ 8:38/mile pace. Includes 2.5 miles total of w/u and c/d.
Very hilly.
Lower 50s, overcast, light rain.
Saucony Kinvara TR, shorts, long sleeved shirt.