Monday, July 28, 2014

Blogging Hiatus

Lately, keeping up with this blog has seemed like an unwanted chore. I think it's time for a break. I'm sad about that. Since 2006 I've had a lot of fun using this blog as a running log which has been very valuable for many reasons, but lately, it's felt like trying to start a fire with wet wood.

I guess the reasons why are multifaceted, but primarily because of other means of logging data and also an increasing burnout on social media.

I'm of course still running though. In fact, the passion for running trails and ultras in particular is as fiery as ever. Perhaps I'll continue this blog in some capacity in the future, but in the meantime, I hope to see you on the trails.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ossipee Mountain

A nice run up the local mountain this morning. Legs felt quite dead for the first three, flat miles, but once the 2.5 mile climb up Ossipee began, things got better. Funny how that works.

Deer flies were numerous, but the nuisance factor was pretty low. They weren't biting much, and were moving slow and stayed out of my face. Most were content to ride on my shoulders and just stay there and not do anything, but I killed them anyway.

Vermont 100 is this weekend and I'm pacing John R. for the last 30 miles of his race. Very much looking forward to that.

Ran 11.0 miles @ 8:44/mile pace.
Paved roads, dirt roads, trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid to upper 60s, partly cloudy.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, handheld bottle (diluted Gatorade).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Scuffle, Baldface and Deer Flies

A bit of catch-up....

I had taken Saturday off because the legs felt dead. I felt a rest day would allow me to absorb water that shouldn't really have been in the drain, but it was. Sunday was short, as the running consisted of sprinting over to help set up the aid stations for the Bradbury Scuffle, and also running with Ian to check on the placings of runners.

The race went very smoothly, with lots of happy runners always up for a challenge. Very rewarding to volunteer, as always.

Ran 3.0 miles @ 9:06/mile pace.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 70s, partly cloudy.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Ran the Baldface Loop and fly fished a nearby brook afterwards. The run was awesome. The fishing was awesome. The day was just awesome.

Humid and slippery below treeline for the run. Thankfully the tougher scrambles above treeline were in the sun and were dry for the most part. Cooler up there as well. Didn't see a single soul until I was finishing up, as a few people were hiking in to swim the Emerald Pool (which I skipped to allow more time for fishing).

Afterwards, I assembled the three weight rod and hiked over to a nearby brook. The water was very clear and cold, thanks to being fed from up higher. This meant great trout fishing. Delicate presentation required with the crystal clear water, but I managed to land a trout in nearly every pool that I found.

Mt. Washington in the distance. 

Looking towards Quebec. 

Looking back at the way up. 

Blue and green. 

Cold water. 

One of the trout. All had great colors. 

I caught a nice one right in that pool next to the stump. It may not look it, but the water
there was at least two feet deep.
Ran 9.5 miles @ 19:14/mile pace.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 70s to mid-80s, partly cloudy, humid.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, Nathan double bottle belt (water).

Set out with 7.5 miles on the trails in mind, but ended up taking the shorter loop because the deer flies were so bad. I was spoiled yesterday, they don't ever seem to even exist in the mountains. Not surprising for the woods out back today though; it was hot, humid and the sun managed to break out of the clouds for a bit shortly after I began.

I'll chalk up the endless swatting as cross training and view those little yellow winged bastards as pacers, but I'll try to avoid their services better in the future. At least the run ended up being a tempo pace for these trails. May head out for a second run later today in the rain since today was so short though.

Ran 3.4 miles @ 8:45/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 70s, mostly cloudy, very humid.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, sleeveless shirt, cap.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Scuffle Course Marking and a TRAFFIC Run

Met up with Ian this afternoon to help mark the Bradbury Scuffle course. Arrows are in place, and some others will put up flags tomorrow. Looking forward to volunteering there on Sunday.

Run itself was fun, with Ian and I talking about our upcoming races and also what's in store for our friends. Legs and energy both felt just okay. Not great, not bad, just okay.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 10:24/mile pace.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 70s, partly cloudy.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Immediately following the run, I bid Ian farewell as he had to get home for daddy duty. I strapped on my backpack that contained my fly gear, and ran a few miles down to the connector trail to fish Thoit's Brook. All I caught were small chubs, which was a bit of a disappointment.

Legs felt heavy on this segment. Granted I was carrying a backpack with gear, but even with the water bladder nearly full the pack is still not that heavy. Still, it was likely a combo of the added weight and not feeling totally on to begin with. Just one of those days, and tomorrow is a new one.

Ran 3.0 miles @ 12:33/mile pace.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 70s, partly cloudy.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, backpack w/ FF gear.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

From Dusk to Dark

Another night run, this one a bit longer. Last night was a fun adventure, so I thought I'd do it again. It also just scheduled in well (kitchen cabinets were finished today, yay!).

Went out at dusk, and after about a mile the trail entered some thick woods and the headlamp went on. Rather enjoyable once again. Heard a few critters but saw none, other than several hundred lightning bugs. Branches snapping, followed by quiet but somewhat heavy sounding foot falls indicated deer, judging by the sound of the gait. Some large, slow wing flaps were most likely owls.

Saturday and Sunday will be a little tricky with weekend plans, so it'd be wise to get in something a bit longer tomorrow.

Ran 6.9 miles @ 10:38/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s to mid 60s, partly cloudy.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Lightning Bugs

The past several days have been quite busy with putting in new kitchen cabinets. I know very little about carpentry, so I've learned a lot through my father-in-law who's been leading the charge. It's been a lot of fun also, thanks to no real major hiccups. In a way, it's also been great cross training and we should be done today.

But with two days off from running in a row due in large part to the remodeling, I couldn't stomach taking a third. So, at the tail end of dusk last night, I headed out into the woods. My headlamp, an almost full moon and hundreds of lightning bugs lit the way. The nighttime ambience was great; very quiet and peaceful, with a sense of adventure that the darkness brings to spice things up.

Other benefits were zero deer flies and cooler temps. I'll trade the lightning bugs for deer flies any day, and while the pace is slower at night, especially on technical trails, the trade-off is worth it. I will definitely remember this, especially on those warmer days.

Ran 3.5 miles @ 10:34/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, partly cloudy, night.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Yesterday and Today

Arrived back from Brewer, went for a short run to loosen up the legs. Sore quads, but they loosened up. Ran into several ATV'ers, all very friendly, with one group stopped off the trail for a cigarette break (yech) and beers. Their surprise at seeing a runner out in the woods was apparent and quite comical.

The wind and dry air helped keep the deer fly numbers down. Water levels were high and muddy at the brook from the rain from Hurricane Arthur's outskirts the day before, and the salmon weren't rising.

Ran 3.5 miles @ 9:24/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Upper 70s, partly cloudy, breezy.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Met up with Ian and Mike at 11am to run the BBU loop. Warm out, but the humidity was low and the wind was kicking. Nice to once again run in the heart of deer fly season and not have them be too big of a nuisance.

Legs were wicked tired at first, and I wondered if I'd be able to complete the loop. Ian reminded me that I should tough it out, regardless of pace, for training purposes. He was totally right, and I did. Thankfully, the pace didn't need to slow to complete the loop; I felt much better after a few miles, only feeling sore quads on the steepest climbs and descents and my energy was fine.

Great run, capped off with a quart of chocolate milk afterwards.

Ran 15.5 miles @ 10:28/mile pace.
Extremely hilly.
Upper 70s to mid-80s, sunny, breezy.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, Nathan double water belt (water).

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Walter Hunt 3K Race

Photo courtesy: Ashley L. Conti, Bangor Daily News
More or less on a whim, Kate and I decided to enter the Walter Hunt 3K while we were up in Brewer visiting her folks for the Fourth. I was intrigued. 3K? Not five, but three? It sounded painful.

The race has a good history behind it, falling on Independence Day every year for over 30 years. I hemmed and hawed about whether to run it with Kate or "race it"... or at least as much as I could given that I just ran the Pemi Loop last week, did a tempo run the day before, and other than that have done practically zero speed work and I'm still ramping up my mileage. Naturally, I decided to race it.

The first mile is all downhill. Talk about recklessly fast. I managed a 5:45/mile split which in a way was kind of discouraging because... well, I was going downhill. I quickly reminded myself that I'm not in race shape so I should just shut up and run.

Right after that first mile we were heading into Bangor over a bridge, which features a slight uphill. The gear change was noticeable. We then turned right on to Main Street where the crowds were super thick, thanks to the race being the precursor to the big Fourth of July parade. That was pretty neat.

Another series of right hand turns and we looped around towards the finish. We crossed another small bridge going over a canal right before the end and I found enough kick to easily pass a group of other runners, beating all but one of them. I crossed the finish line in 11:06, good enough for 39th place overall and fifth in my age group. All aforementioned things considered, I was quite pleased.

Kate exceeded her own expectations and crossed in 15:26. Her elation turned to frustration when she later found out she was just three seconds away from winning an age group award. I love it when she gets competitive.

Good day. As much as I don't like these shorter races, I wouldn't mind doing this one each year if we can.

Worth noting: This was my first road run since Boston.

w/u: Ran 2.1 miles @ 8:52/mile pace.
Race: Ran 1.9 miles @ 5:58/mile pace.
Overall place: 39th out of 568
Age Group (M40-44): 5th out of 26
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, mostly cloudy, very humid.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, sleeveless shirt, cap.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Bangor City Forest Loop X 2

Did the bigger Bangor City Forest Loop twice. My GPS went wonky in the first loop, so once that was done, I reset it so I could get a (hopefully) more accurate reading and make it easier to do the math for the total.

The second lap I pushed at a tempo pace, and ended up getting the Strava course record for the loop. I just started using that site and can see the addition. Totally Ryan's fault.

Ran 7.8 miles @ 7:42/mile pace.
Mostly flat.
Upper 70s to lower 80s, partly cloudy, humid.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Swarm

The deer flies were horrible this morning. Quite glad I only had something short on tap. They weren't really biting; but they were numerous, flying fast, and a huge nuisance. One managed to fly down my throat, much like that scene in the original Star Wars where Luke Skywalker shoots the torpedoes right into that one small opening to blow up the Deathstar.

So, while the pace wasn't exactly flying, it was still faster than planned in order to retreat to air conditioned refuge away from those winged bastards. Thankfully, I finally feel like I've nearly full absorbed the Pemi run... only some very light calf soreness left and that was hardly noticeable.

Ran 3.8 miles @ 9:29/mile pace.
Very hilly.
Around 80 degrees, sunny, humid.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Post-USA World Cup Defeat Run

Was over at Peter's watching the USA/Belgium game. They lost, but not without putting up a good fight, especially at the end. I'm not a huge soccer fan, but the World Cup is the World Cup, it's hard to not give it some attention.

After two days off, I had hoped my legs would have a little more pep. They're recovering just fine from the Pemi Loop, but not surprisingly, it's going a bit slower due to the lack of mileage.

However, we maintained a comfortable pace on some trails in Cape Elizabeth, getting in just under six miles. It was a great way to loosen up. Onward.

Ran 5.8 miles @ 10:44/mile pace.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 70s, partly cloudy, humid.
Inov-8 Roclite 243, shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap, handheld bottle (diluted lemonade).