Friday, January 31, 2014

Solid Month

January is done.

Total mileage: 236.3
Roads: 145.2
Trails: 43.3
Snowshoes: 47.8

Solid month. Those snowshoe miles in particular are worth a lot more and I like the overall balance. This is setting me up for some increased speed workouts later in February and through March rather nicely. Great momentum for Boston.

Today I just did two laps of the Armory loop from the school. Let the pace come down since the run was so short. Felt great. The only nuisance was having to "whoop" at the driver of an SUV who was about to pull out without looking and would have otherwise nailed me... all the while, the crossing guard was sitting in his toasty warm truck just 10 feet away. Thanks for your service, guy.

Otherwise, nice to run in shorts. Continued warm through the weekend and I suspect I won't need the long tights for MWC either.

Ran 3.5 miles @ 7:07/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, partly sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Short and Slow

I have to admit, motivation was a little low to run this afternoon, but I made myself go and of course I was glad I went. Had been feeling chilly all day, and though today was somewhat warm it still didn't help much. That chilly feeling was a result of my classroom's bipolar temperature complex being on the downside all day and my body fat now being at the lowest it's been in quite some time.

Run went well. Easy to keep the pace easy and by the end of the first mile I felt comfortably toasty. One of my cross country runners joined me for the last stretch which was a nice treat.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:11/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 20s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Route Quest

I knew that I wanted to get in 10-12 miles today, but none of my routes just sounded very appetizing. I hemmed and hawed all day on what to run, measuring routes on my lunch break and racking my brain. Finally decided on one that connected two routes and that proved fine.

Legs felt great once again. Pace wasn't anything crazy, but nice to know that I would have had no problems pressing down on the gas. Weary about wearing them down ahead of the MWC, but I think a very easy paced short run followed up with a session of strides tomorrow will be a good solution.

Ran 11.2 miles @ 7:40/mile.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 20s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, warm-up pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hilly Progression Run

Felt super strong thanks to yesterday's rest day. Amazing how just one day off after a big mileage week can dramatically turn things around. I was slogging through the last few days last week. Not today. It's like that rest day was the liquid Drano that unclogged the sink and today the water just flowed down the drain.

Very encouraging. Route was hilly and I just planned on taking it easy but the pace naturally came down. I didn't realize I had ran a true progression until I looked at my splits afterwards. More importantly it all felt effortless.

Feeling pretty confident about the Mid-Winter Classic on Sunday. I ran an extremely good race (for me) there last year, coming in 24th place at 1:03:45. Goal is to top that time. As long as I'm smart on those first few miles which have the bigger hills, I should be okay. Got a good pull from a runner last year, hoping to link up with someone and get the same benefit. Also, lock eyes on the guy in front of me and chase him down. Really looking forward to it. Man, I love racing.

Ran 7.6 miles @ 7:28/mile pace. 
Paved roads, a few patches of packed snow and pebbled ice. 
Very hilly. 
16F/-9C, sunny. 
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Capping Off a 70 Mile Week

Needed a little under seven miles to bring me to seventy for the week. The choice was obvious: The woods out back.

I ran the logging trail which passes over a creek and over some short and dramatically steep hills.

I met up with the snowmobile trail that goes through a deep forest. I saw what I'm pretty sure were bobcat tracks.

The trail connects with the fire road, where I turned right and enjoyed a nice, long downhill.

I took the trail that goes up a short, scenic ridge which cuts through a bog and a pond, watching the wind blow huge clouds of powdery snow off the surface.

I took the snowmobile trail up the big hill and rejoiced when I reached the top... especially with this week, where my legs are pretty tired.

I enjoyed the long, technical downhill until I reached the trail junction.

I turned left, where there is a very fun rolling downhill section that is the perfect grade and one can really let loose. Not today though, the snow was kind of soft and uneven, but at least gravity was still on my side.

I met up with the other fireroad and turned left. It is long, flat and straight, probably the most boring section of the route but still not bad.

I turned right and stopped to look at the salmon pool before running on. It's frozen over again.

I turned left and took the snowmobile trail home, happy and content to meet my goal of running seventy miles for the week. 70.8 miles to be exact.

Extremely windy today, with gusts over 30 mph, but being in the woods I was very well protected. Running roads today would have definitely sucked. But in the forest? Perfect.

Haven't had a rest day in 12 days, so I'll be taking one tomorrow to recharge. That'll feel weird.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 10:47/mile pace.
Trails, with softly packed snow.
Very hilly.
12 degrees, sunny, very windy.
New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, buff (for neck), beanie, gloves.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cutting it Short

Had planned on twenty miles today but stopped at fifteen. That simply felt like enough. Part of me is disappointed but - being logical - this is a pretty high mileage week and it's not too surprising. I could have pushed on but it just would have set me back. No regrets though. And it does set up a nice seven miler in the woods tomorrow to still get me over 70 miles for the week, which is the main goal.

Much warmer today with highs in the upper 20s, and thankfully the high winds they predicted never blew. In fact, this was probably the least windy day of the entire week. That was a nice treat. Very comfortable running conditions.

Worth noting I got a late start, due to having to wait for a friend to come over and do some maintenance on our other property. Otherwise, would have loved to join the Trail Monsters and run the beautiful loop.

Ran 15.1 miles @ 8:08/mile pace.
Paved roads, patches of snow and pebbled ice.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 20s, overcast, intermittent light snow flurries.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, buff, gloves.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chilly Friday

Got in a solid ten miler after work on some hills. Easy paced, but felt strong. Pretty breezy out which along with the 12F/-11C temps had me feeling the chill down to the bone. I kind of had a slight ice cream headache going on there once I was up on an exposed ridge and the wind was head on. 

However, the wind was at my back for most of the second half, which also featured more downhills than ups. 

Just about a mile and a half shy of the 50 mile mark so far for the week. Very much on track still for breaking 70, but more importantly, I'm feeling great doing it. 

Ran 10.1 miles @ 8:08/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
12 degrees, sunny, breezy. 
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, buff (for neck), beanie, gloves. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chooin' Out Back

Got home and strapped on the snowshoes for a run in the woods out back. Quads feel fine now so was glad to get to chooin' again. However, it was quite thin on the lesser traveled snowmobile trails. On the wider fireroads where it was more packed to begin with, not bad. But the rest? Pretty thin. 

The jutting rocks and thin snow barely covering large chunks of granite slowed me down quite a bit in some spots. It was doable, but just had to be very careful, as not to damage a cleat. Still, I think I'll simply YakTrax on the trails until we get some more snow, which should be soon. 

Good run to have in the bank. The increase in mileage the past several weeks has led to a further reduction in weight and an increase in hunger. Metabolism is getting pretty jacked. Nice that I've been having great energy lately also. All things very much on track for now. Pretty stoked. 

Ten miles on roads planned for tomorrow. 

Snowshoe ran 7.4 miles @ 10:03/mile pace. 
Trails, packed and thin snow. 
Very hilly. 
Upper to mid teens, sunny. 
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, buff (for neck), beanie, gloves. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Progression Ten

Had ten at an easy pace on tap, but the quads are feeling better so it ended up being a progression run. Nothing crazy, but first split in 8:38 and the last in 6:48. In all fairness, had the wind at my back and a slight downhill throughout the second half, so that made it easy.

Still on track for 70+ for the week. Tomorrow will likely be a snowshoe run.

I'm hungry. Glad we're going out for sushi.

Ran 10.2 miles @ 7:43/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper teens, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Long Day

Busy work day, with a handful of after class tasks that needed to be completed. Handled one of the big jobs and then went out for my run to clear my head. 

Arctic air has moved back in and is looking to stay for at least several days. Ten degrees out but not much wind. Was dressed right so no big deal. 

What was a bigger deal was my quads. Still sore. The rest of me feels fantastic but dang it, the quads are holding me back. Might have to cut back some for a few days, but will see how tomorrow goes. 

Route was three laps, one of them modified to avoid school buses departing, on the Armory loop. Once that was done it was back in the classroom to finish up. Glad I got it all done. 

Ran 5.3 miles @ 8:23/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
10F/-12C, overcast. 
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Fifteen

Woke up with some pretty sore quads from yesterday's snowshoe race. Still went ahead with my plan of running fifteen today. I was a bit worried I'd have to shorten it, but my quads weren't put in any stress that they couldn't handle with the easy pace, so thankfully not an issue at all. 

Very pleasant day out and a great way to enjoy the warmth while it lasts. Arctic air moves back in tomorrow and high temps will be lucky to reach the teens and lows at night will be below zero. Good, as this will preserve the snowpack and I plan on a couple of snowshoe runs this week. 

The real focus this week will be on volume though. Today's run set that up nicely. Aiming to get in over 70 miles for the week, especially since there are no races this weekend. 

Passed the 600 mile mark with the Saucony Virratas today. They're still going strong. I usually got 700+ miles out of the Kinvaras so good to see the same with the Virratas. To take advantage of an awesome sale, I ordered a new pair that will arrive soon, but I don't plan on taking them out of the box until at least mid-late February. 

Ran 15.5 miles @ 8:24/mile pace. 
Paved roads, patches of snow and pebbled ice. 
Moderately hilly. 
Upper 30s, partly sunny. 
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 Bradbury Squall Snowshoe Race Report

In short, this race was fun. Big fun. I seriously don't think I've ever enjoyed a snowshoe race more. A number of factors contributed, including making a risky move that didn't really pay huge dividends, but it didn't break the bank. That made things interesting.

A few inches of new snow were thrown onto the course before the race started which helped a little, but conditions were still really thin. Mad props to the Ryan, Ian and John who apparently did some shoveling to get the snow thicker on some of the paths yesterday. But still, with an icy undercoat, it also meant fast conditions. And fast it was.

The race started and the whole front pack jumped out hard and jockeyed for position, which was the smart thing to do, but I unfortunately let myself get boxed out a little. Seventh place after a few hundred yards? No real worries though, as passing would be easy thanks to the thin snow, so there would be time and opportunity to make moves later. The eventual winner, teammate Andy K. and another guy, had taken off and quickly distanced us.

Found myself in a pack behind my teammates up until the uphill on the snowmobile trail. My legs felt good here and I decided to make a risky move. I passed Ryan, Scott and Ian in one swoop and tucked behind a fellow who also sported a thick, manly beard who was starting to put on a little distance. I was now in fourth place.

I followed Beard Guy all the way up but he was slowly pulling away from me. We got off the snowmobile trail and on to some single track-ish paths that had some turns and I couldn't see anyone in front or behind me. However, as we neared the snowmobile trail to go downhill, I could see Ian and Scott gaining ground. I pretty much knew that when we reached said downhill section that they would eventually get me.

That turned out to be the case, as I waved them both ahead once I could hear their footsteps not far behind me. They were going to pass me anyway, but I mused that by waving them ahead I could play offense and if I got a second wind, I could use that to my advantage. That never happened, and I suspected that it wouldn't, but hey, you never know.

We turned right and it was less than a half a mile to the finish. I could see Ryan behind me now, which had me playing defense again, but I also tried to keep pace with Scott and Ian. They picked up the pace now and I didn't have enough octane to make a move. I was dying here. Dying. I had already pushed myself very hard and was confident I was leaving everything out on this course. I was holding Ryan off but it required everything I had.

Crossed the finish line in sixth place. With a record field of 70 finishers and some strong competition, I'm very content with that. And with the hard effort I gave and the chances I took, it just made it a lot of fun and very rewarding. Kate also did very well and was quite pleased with her performance.

Now I'm really stoked for all of the snowshoe races that are ahead and also the Mid-Winter Classic. All great prep work for Boston, to boot. Racing rules. How can anyone not do this?

Snowshoe ran 2.9 miles @ 7:37/mile pace.
Overall place: 6th out of 70.
Trails with mostly hard packed snow, a few slightly deeper sections.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 20s, overcast.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

w/u: Snowshoe Ran .7 miles @ 9:24/mile pace.
c/d: Ran 1.0 miles @ 9:45/mile pace.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snowshoe Race Eve

Very much looking forward to tomorrow's race. Despite the present conditions, the RDs have already scoped out a workable route. As is also the case with the woods behind my house, the snow is there, one just has to find the right areas. However, as an added bonus it looks like we'll get a least a couple of fresh inches of snow today and tonight. At least. Sweet.

Run this morning was a very good indicator that the mid-week tempo run has been properly absorbed. Legs felt peppy. Still, I kept the pace very easy. Some icy patches on the trails made it pretty easy to govern the speed. Feeling good about tomorrow.

My salmon pool was wide open with running water. No ice at all. That'll change next week with arctic air moving in, but for now I had hoped to spot a few hitting the surface; but with nothing there for breakfast it wasn't surprising that I didn't see any activity. However, they are there. Oh yes, they are there...

Ran 5.2 miles @ 9:51/mile pace.
Trails, with packed snow and patches of ice.
Mostly flat.
Upper 20s, overcast.
New Balance MT1010 w/ Yaktrax Pros, long tights, fleece pullover, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Easy Ten

A last hurrah of this warmer weather before Old Man Winter returns. Still, despite it being in the lower 40s with sun and no wind, it somehow felt cooler. I opted to still wear long tights.

Kept it at recovery pace for the first half and then brought it down to a true easy pace for the second half. It's a bit tricky balancing volume along with ensuring I have race legs for Sunday. Feeling good about it though, I'm expecting to do pretty well.

Stopped on the way back to talk with a women outside of her house who waved me over. After about twenty seconds it became quite clear that the cheese had slid off her cracker a little. She was nice enough though and thankfully a window to get out of the "conversation" opened up and I leapt through it.

Also, I thought I saw somebody fly fishing on one of the local rivers (one of the few that are open year round). I suspected it was one of my students and a text waiting for me when I got back to my car confirmed it  ("I saw you running! I was fishing").

Ran 10.2 miles @ 8:20/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 40s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hair of the Dog

Recovery day. My overly ambitious plan to run 12 miles today was changed two miles into the run when I realized that would be overdoing it. Legs were definitely feeling yesterday's tempo run. Good.

Had it in the back of my mind that would happen. No worries. Felt better as the run went on; looser legs and more pep, so that's also good.

Easy days tomorrow and Saturday and I should be ready to race on Sunday. Looks like it'll be fast and kind of icy like last year when I got third place. Doing that well again all depends on who shows up, but I'm still looking to kick some arse.

Ran 7.6 miles @ 8:45/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Surprising Tempo Run

Been up since 2:20am (woke up and couldn't fall back asleep) and work was very busy. However, work also ended on a very good note, which elevated an already good mood. Perhaps that helped add some unexpected pep for today's tempo run. It's quite possible that taking a rest day yesterday also helped a lot. Maybe it was also having the right song going through my head (see below). Just glad only getting in five hours of sleep was seemingly not a factor.

For the first few tenths of a mile my legs felt pretty heavy but that quickly dissipated. The pace came down really fast. Though I neglected doing a real warm-up, it at least felt natural and easy. The weather was also pretty warm. Still warming up is important, so this was bad discipline.

That being said, I had originally planned on five miles at tempo pace. Decided to tack on a sixth. Splits were 6:58, 6:38, 6:34, 6:43, 6:40 and 6:40 over a moderately hilly route. Smooth and never a struggle. I was very surprised at how great I felt. With that in the bank, I then cooled down for two miles.

As I type this, the lack of sleep has definitely caught up to me now. Wicked tired. I suspect I'll sleep well tonight.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 6:41/mile pace.
c/d Ran 2.0 miles @ 8:01/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s, partly sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Recovery Miles

Legs felt pretty fatigued from nearly 30 miles over the weekend, almost half on snow packed trails. Didn't want to take a rest day, so a recovery run was on tap.

It totally did the job. Legs felt fatigued and a little tight at the beginning, but towards the end that nearly all went away. Energetic and loose. Great indicators in more ways than one.

Feeling better about the next two days as a result. Depending on the weather and how I feel, will do a tempo run one day and a 10-15 miler the next. Snowshoe race is on Sunday, so that'll be another speed workout. Really hope the snow holds. I know Ryan stresses out a little when it thins out (what race director wouldn't), but it's always worked out and always been fun. Like the best jazz musicians, he's great at improvising:

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:24/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 40s, partly sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Another Solid Week

Nice 15-miler this morning to give me 60.7 miles for the week (9h29m). Cool. Nothing too intense, other than the hill repeats that I felt I sandbagged a little and some running on packed snowmobile trails, but as far as Boston is concerned, a great week for this stage. As far as the snowshoe races... well, I just hope the snow holds.

Very warm out. Remained at 45 degrees throughout the run, with bright sunshine and a pretty strong north wind that felt anything but arctic. Grrr. Have to admit it was nice to run in shorts though, and at least the paved surfaces weren't super icy.

Energy was great throughout. However, the right hamstring was threatening to cramp from the start. We have a friend in town from Vermont; went out last night and I don't think I rehydrated as well as I could have. I stopped and stretched three or four times throughout and I guess that did the trick.

Light progression, but still an easy pace overall. A few icy patches slowed me down, especially at the bridge over the Saco along Rt. 4A. Last five miles were a pretty moderate pace, with the last full mile down to 6:58.

So yeah, solid week. Having a long string of snowshoe races and the MWC coming up will require some planning for getting in the long runs, but I'm sure it'll work out.

Ran 15.4 miles @ 8:06/mile pace.
Paved roads, with some icy patches.
Moderately hilly.
45 degrees, sunny, windy.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Non-Crappy Run in Crappy Weather

Light rain and temps hovering just above freezing. Headed out on the trails to take advantage of their solidity while it lasted. Was a fun run and I was glad I got out.

I decided to take a trail to a camp road which was sheer ice. What kinda sucked was it was way longer than I had remembered. However, an older couple who had just passed me slid off the road and I was in the right place at just the right time. Was able to push them out. They thanked me and said I was brave to be out running but I showed them the YakTrax Pros and they said "Ohhhhhh" while nodding in realization. What, do you think I'm stupid? Of course I have extra traction.

After that icy stretch, I was on some lesser traveled snowmobile trails for another mile and was postholing badly. Was glad when I met back up to the previously well traveled trails that had more solid footing. Just under 14 miles for the day. Time and effort wise, worth more.

Ran 13.9 miles @ 10:26/mile pace.
Trails, snowmobile trails. Mostly softly packed, mile and a half of icy camp roads, mile of softer trails.
Very hilly.
33 degrees, overcast, light rain.
New Balance MT1010, YakTrax Pros, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, January 10, 2014

I Fear the Warm Rain

The only thing decent to run on now is the snowmobile trails. The roads are icy and slick and the trails and snowpack are poor for snowshoeing but great for running, so that's what I did. Kind of a no-brainer, at least for an easy run.

Rather enjoyable afternoon run before dark in the woods out back and my legs felt pretty peppy. Perhaps I should have pressed down on the gas harder. Guess I didn't do those hill repeats as hard as I could have yesterday. 

Warm rain coming tomorrow and tomorrow night and it looks like a super soaker. Combined with the melting that happened with warm rain earlier this week, the snowpack will no doubt take a crap-ton of damage. And more warm rain could happen mid-week. Sigh... This all on right before the first snowshoe race of the season next weekend. Whining won't do anything though, so will just make do with what is given. Perhaps I can go fly fishing during my rest day next week?

Ran 7.3 miles @ 9:39/mile pace .
Trails w/ packed snow, sans a about a mile worth of semi-packed snow. 
Very hilly. 
Upper 20s, partly sunny. 
New Balance MT1010 w/ YakTrax Pros, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, buff, gloves. 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Hill Repeats

Session of hill repeats on tap for today. Given how steep this hill is, I expected less ice. Not the case. Several patches along the climb up, but it was still doable with some bobbing and weaving. Of course, a big sheet of it was also at the level section of the bottom, so I had to start immediately where the hill began.

Was slower than last time I did repeats here last month, but I think a combination of the harder and more numerous workouts lately and also not having that 10-20 feet of flat section to get some initial speed up helped knocked the pace down. No real worries, but it still does bruise the ego a bit.

Will likely do a trail run tomorrow.

w/u: Ran 1.8 miles @ 8:05/mile pace.
10 X Hill Repeats w/ active recovery on run down, 2:00 static rest after 5 reps.
Ran 2.8 miles @ 9:37/mile pace. c/d: Ran 1.8 miles @ 8:30/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly for the w/u and c/d.
Mid 20s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

'Choos, Shoes and Shrews

Raced home after work to take advantage of the daylight. Changed clothes, grabbed the snowshoes and then walked to the trail. Then I walked on the trail. Whoa. Super packed down and icy. Promptly headed back inside and exchanged the 'choos for Yaktrax Pros over my trail shoes and ran on.

Still did the intended route. I ran first on my snowshoe connector trail and postholed a bit, but after a little less than a mile I was back on the snowmobile trails and trekked along. Went well. Lots of deer tracks. Lots.

My legs did feel pretty tired. I think last week is catching up to me a bit. Not surprising. I think the overkill with double layering with a thin pair of long tights and warm-up pants was also somewhat constrictive and didn't help much.

That concluded run number one.

Ran 7.3 miles @ 9:57/mile pace.
Trails with well packed icy snow, except for one softer snowshoe trail (8/10 mile).
Very hilly.
Upper teens, sunny.
New Balance MT1010 w/ Yaktrax Pro, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Run number two was with Kate and happened about an hour and a half later. She had asked me earlier in the day if I would run with her since it would be dark and she wanted company, and it worked out well for both of us as I was happy to get in some bonus mileage and run with Kate.

Kate's headlamp died shortly into the run, but with the half moon and it being white snow we were running on, one headlamp was plenty.

We took the snowmobile trail to the salmon pool and back. About a half a mile in we both squealed with delight at the spotting of a shrew on the trail. We failed to tame it, as it panicked a bit under the light of the headlamp before disappearing into its hole in the snow. That was cool.

Ran 2.4 miles @ 12:36/mile pace.
Trails with well packed icy snow.
Mostly flat.
Mid teens, clear skies.
New Balance MT1010 w/ Yaktrax Pro, warm-up pants, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, reflective vest.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Icy Roads

We had a staff meeting today, so to take advantage of the precious daylight afterwards I ran right from the school on the roads rather than come home and head out from there. 10F/-12C and the gusty winds brought the windchill down to -9F/-23C. The past week and a half though has me used to it though, so never really gave it much thought. Layer up and go.

Took my usual winter backroads route to take advantage of neighborhoods with lower traffic and speed limits. That helped with all of the ice that's out, but obviously not conditions to safely go very fast. Patchy also, so without consistent ice wearing traction would have been awkward. So, kept the pace easy and though it was a little frustrating at times, all in all it was still a pretty pleasant easy run.

I anticipate being able to get home early enough tomorrow to hit the trails. Looking forward to that. The lingering question will be weather to wear snowshoes or the YakTrax Pros, depending on how hard and icy the snow will be.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 8:07/mile pace.
Paved roads, with several large patches of ice.
Moderately hilly.
10 degrees, sunny, windy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, mittens.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Capping Off a Banner Week

Goal met for today which was to get in over ten miles on the snowshoes. My legs were already very tired, but I handled the run quite well. Pace was respectful and energy was great. This is some high quality hay in the barn.

Really rock solid week of training for me. Over 35 miles and around 7h19m of snowshoe running alone, plus another five mile road run (snow coated, wore YakTrax) earlier in the week. That gives me over eight hours of training in the week. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, as long as the snow conditions permit, I'll be doing a lot more snowshoe running so paying attention to time is more important.

Eight hours is very ideal, especially if you believe that the equivalent of an easy pace on roads isn't really possible with snowshoe running. Some very rough math and guesstimation has me putting this week at the equivalent of running around 60-65 miles on roads with plenty of speed work. Several times my heart rate resembled a Slayer drumroll, especially on hills and/or unbroken trails.

I guess it's apparent I'm pretty stoked right now. This week felt pretty intense, and I think I'd have to work up a little more to maintain this intensity nearly every week, but I'm in a good spot right now for my snowshoe racing goals this winter and with Boston. Bring it on.

Rest day tomorrow, though it'll be taken reluctantly. I'm having too much fun right now.

Snowshoe Ran 10.4 miles @ 12:00/mile pace.
Softly packed snowmobile trails to partially broken in trails.
Very hilly.
Upper 20s to upper 30s, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

More Chooin'

The snowmobiles hadn't been out yet in the trail adjacent to our property this early afternoon (heard them just now go by as I type this), so I wasn't sure what I'd get. Plan was to take the trail I reblazed yesterday and continue breaking trail to the fire road.

However, I didn't have to, since 8/10's of a mile in my snowshoe trail meets up with a snowmobile trail, and I was pleasantly surprised to see someone had been on it (snowmobile, not a snowshoer). I was glad, as reblazing my own trail there was still a lot of work, despite yesterday's excursion. I wanted something a little less anaerobic today.

So, I sallied forth. Turned left on the fire road with the intent on seeing if the snowmobilers had broken trail down to the road so I could relay that to Kate when I got back (though she had already left by the time I returned). I carried on, going down around four miles and then turning around coming back the way I came.

Legs are feeling pleasantly tired, but am toying with the idea of a 10+ mile snowshoe run tomorrow, perhaps on the powerline trails.

Ran 8.3 miles @ 12:29/mile pace.
Trails, partially broken for 1.6 miles total and the rest on somewhat well packed snowmobile trails.
Very hilly.
Upper teens, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, doubled up socks.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Breaking Trail

Another snow day. Vacation extended once again. Conditions were a far cry from yesterday with the new snow pretty much wiping away all of the packed trails. Yesterday morning I was flying around in the woods feeling like the King of Winter, ruling all of the land. Today, I felt more like a finless trout trying to swim upstream.

Since I would be breaking trail no matter what, it made sense to reestablish the trail I blazed three weeks ago that connects two snowmobile trails (~one mile). This gives me more future route options. 

The mission was a success, though given how fine the powder is with this arctic cold, it was really more of moving the snow around rather than packing it down. My legs were already tired from the 15+ miles of snowshoe running over the past two days, so my already tired quads were really given a good pummeling. If I can replicate this throughout the winter, I'll be more than ready for the downhills at Boston in April. 

The run hike itself was awesome. Very scenic. Sun started to come out, creating a slight illusion of warmth despite the single digit temperatures. I saw a leaf whose stem was stuck in the snow, leaving it to spin around when the wind blew, drawing perfect concentric circles in the powder. I saw many deer tracks to boot. I suspect their hoof prints will be all over the tracks I made next time I'm on this trails (tomorrow).

Snowshoe Ran 2.0 miles @ 24:45/mile pace.
Trails, 12" to 18" of unbroken fine powder.
Very hilly.
5F to 8F, partly sunny, breezy.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, mittens, doubled up socks. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Holidays Extended

Today was supposed to be the first day back from break, but there was a chance it'd run longer, thanks to a potential snow day. Guessing if we'll have one the night before is a mixed bag. Sometimes it's an absolute slam dunk and I don't even bother setting the alarm. Some days, I realize there's a slight chance and I write it off, only to be surprised to get that automated phone call announcing school is cancelled. And of course, there is everything in between as well as every surprise you can imagine.

Last night, I thought today was going to be a borderline call, but leaning slightly in favor of a snow day. 60/40. The snow itself was borderline, not a lot but maybe enough, however with highs only in the single digits and winds expected to pick up.. well, not a good combination for little kids who walk to school in a poor, run down mill town and many don't even have proper winter coats.

I woke up, still no call, went to pee, and as I came back in the bedroom I saw my phone had just rang (it was on silent). School cancelled! Well, technically it's just postponed, as school days are made up on the backside of the school year.

Kate did have school. Teacher workshop day scheduled for her, so no kids walking to school or large buses sliding around corners anyway so work was still on for her. Of course, I rubbed it in a little, but was nice and warmed up her car and cleaned it off.

After I saw her off, I went for a snowshoe run. The plan was maybe four miles. The trails were still well packed and groomed overall, with just a few fresh inches on top of the snowmobile trails which would extend to maybe four inches as the run went on. However, after a half a mile, I decided to go for six miles since the conditions were easy. That later turned to eight.

It was easy to up the mileage given the conditions, but also because I was dressed right. Warm-up pants over long tights, a pair of thin Merrell socks under Smartwools and some ultra-warm mittens were key. I was totally fine despite it being 2F/-17C out.

Great run and my longest snowshoe run to date. Ran some errands afterwards and now I have the rest of the day to myself. I think I'll tie some flies and sample the hot sauce I made last night to go with lunch.

Snowshoe Ran 8.3 miles @ 10:10/mile pace.
Trails with 2"-4" of very fine powder over a packed snowmobile trail base.
Moderately hilly.
2F/-17C, overcast, light to moderate snow.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, warm-up pants, long tights, windbreaker, two long sleeved shirts, beanie, mittens, doubled up socks.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Calendar Has a New Number

Closed out 2013 with a paltry 1693-point-something miles, my lowest in years. This was due to an intentional lay off and an unintentional sore achilles/heel. That is all behind me now. I am healthy, motivated and the engine is warmed up and (almost) ready to race.

Started out 2014 right. I didn't wake up with a hangover, just a huge urge to get out for a snowshoe run in the woods out back. I got my fill and it was awesome.

The conditions were very well packed, thanks to the local snowmobilers. Very fast to run on and I rather enjoyed flying along. However, a few miles in, said speed and ease had me feeling guilty. That was soon remedied as the trail I wanted to take was only semi-broken in and then not broken in at all for a mile and a half total.

The unbroken trail was still pretty easy, thanks to the snowfall being packed from last week's freezing rains and also it being downhill. Still work, but not as much as I could have been. It then rejoined with the snowmobile trails and the pace picked back up.

Great run. I love winter.

Snowshoe Ran 7.3 miles @ 10:42/mile pace.
Packed trails, sans a semi-broken and unbroken 1.5 mile segment.
Very hilly.
8F to upper teens, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, mittens.