Thursday, July 31, 2008

Torrential 12

6:45a.m. and I'm running. Who's the man?
One thing I've learned from running in the morning is that I know that the first few miles will be the worst. This was certainly the case today, as I felt like boo boo for the first 20 minutes or so. Then it started raining. OK, this is going to be a good run. Adding to the initial feeling of crapola was that the first couple miles were downhill. YUK. I was trying to get my rhythm, trying not to run too fast and trying to wake up all at the same time. None of it felt very good. Then it started raining. OK, this is going to be a good run. The good news was that after that initial downhill, I had a brief flat and then some good climbing. Just before the climbing it started raining. OK, this is going to be a good run. At this point, I'm sure you'd like to see just what that initial down and following climb looked like. Well, I just happened to have used MapMyRun to plot my route.

(Don't forget the elevation profile!)

The route itself was an out and back, and not terribly exciting. In fact, running on Route 16 pretty much blows. Cars going no slower than 57 and plenty of trucks. Not ideal, but the running on Dolly Copp/Pinkham B Road is great. There's even a little dirt road thrown in there, so I don't go crazy from running on pavement the entire time.

When I headed out the door, it was cloudy, but dry. Then at 21 minutes into the run, it started. The rain came. It was serious. It rained on me for the next hour and a half varying in intensity from a noticeable rain all the way up to full on drenching downpour like you can barely imagine. Throw in a little thunder and lightening, and I was loving it. I love run in the rain. Give me a monsoon over heat any day.

Felt really good on this run. My calves were a little tight, but it would come and go. My quads felt great, which I was thrilled with. My right calf has been tight this morning, but it will work itself out.

I played a bit of a mental game with myself on this run because the turnaround point for the out and back left the run at 10.5. (It was the only obvious turnaround point on Pinkham B Road. In fact, aside from a tree or rock, I don't think there would have been another.) So, I needed to add 1.5 to make it a full 12. Of course, a piece of trail at Great Glen was a no brainer, but I waited until the end to add it on. Much easier to do the add on first. But, on the way back I never had any thoughts of cutting it short. Plus, it was really coming down when I got back to the trail system, so there was no way I was cutting out. On top of it all, I was feeling really good, which always helps.

A week or so ago, I was speaking to someone about music and running. This gentleman wrote a column for Runner's World 10 or 15 years ago about running and music. Last month, Runner's World published another article about music, which basically used anecdotes to detail that hard driving and upbeat music is the best thing to listen to while running. The exact opposite of the article they ran 10-15 years prior. The author, with whom I spoke, did a great deal of research, including lab work (runners on treadmills), to determine that mellow, more even music is the best thing to listen to. The reasons were that faster paced music caused runners to try to match the pace of the music, which probably wasn't conducive to the pace they were trying to run. Thus, they tired faster. Plus, the extra effort they used to get themselves "up to speed" also contributed to their tiring. In other words, Runner's World is crap, and I never want to miss an opportunity to point that out. Then again, I'm somewhat talking out of my ass since I haven't had a subscription in 10 years, but I stand by my statement because it's my blog and I can say whatever I want. Don't forget this, though: I'm an idiot.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because today I had Jack Johnson in my head, and I thought that that makes good long run music.

Not too slow, not too fast. This one is just right said Goldilocks.
Of course, with me, no good music can actually stay in my head. So, as I was running up the last of the hills in mile 10 in a downpour with cars whizzing by I was singing this...out loud...

Before I ran my PR in the 3000, I listened to that song over and over and over again, while I was warming up. Indoor track, sophomore year of college. Yes, Human League pushed me to a 9:08 3k. I'm not well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Than I Planned

The plan was for 5 today. I thought the route I planned would be 6. Turns out it was 7. Here's what it looked like: (YES!!!! MAPMYRUN!!!!)

As you can see, I'm at work. The route is a bit of a guess since some of the trails were not quite visible on the map, but I think it's pretty close. The carriage roads are obvious. It's the single track and Aqueduct Loop that were hard. I'm going to go with it because I love MapMyRun. Will this love affair end? Only time will tell.
After this morning's discovery, I decided that getting in a few more hills wasn't a bad idea. This run certainly fit that bill. (Be sure to check out the elevation profile. It's beefy.)
My calves and quads are still recovering from this past weekend, but I had a surprising amount of spring in my step. That was very encouraging with the hard effort from the weekend.
Now, I just have to figure out a 10 or 12 miler for tomorrow morning. Back to MapMyRun!

Oh Crap

As we all know, curiosity didn't end so well for the cat. Well, this morning, it punched me in the gut. Because of my MapMyRun addiction, I decided to map out the MDI Marathon course. Um...yeah... Be sure to click on "View Full Screen" at the bottom, then click the little box on the right next to "Show Elevation."

Are you kidding me? That's not friendly at all. Something tells me that on October 20 I'll be looking for new quads on Ebay.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Full Circle

About 8 years ago, D and I did an overnight backpack on the Franconia Ridge. About four miles the first day, and maybe 8 the second. It nearly killed us. While we were hiking along the Franconia Ridge Trail, and I'll never forget this, we saw three people running along the ridge. It was the most insane thing we had ever seen. They had to be completely nuts. It was just wrong.

This weekend, D and I hiked along the Franconia Ridge again. It was our final piece of the AT in New Hampshire. We hiked 13 miles on Sunday and 14.7 miles on Monday. Oh yeah, we ran a bunch of it...including the Franconia Ridge. Yup, we're insane.

Here's my report.
Here's D report.
Here are the photos.

Here's an ad for some Estonian meat:

(Thanks to Matt for sending that.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Quick Three

Ran three miles this afternoon to finish off the week. Running for 25 minutes is so much different (read: easier) than running for 1:40, like I did yesterday. They're not even remotely similar. I guess the difference is all in my head. Oh yeah, and perhaps the mileage.

The run stats for this week are lean: 19.5 miles. But, we did hike 36.7 miles earlier in the week. In other words, the hours are way up there, and it was a good week. I'm kinda tired. Something tells me that's going to be a theme as I build for the marathon. (I told you I was going to whine about it.)

Two days in the woods starting tomorrow. We're finishing off the final 27 miles of the AT in New Hampshire from Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch. More in a couple days.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mount Desert Island Marathon

Mark your calendars!
Sunday, October 19, 2008. D and I will be running the Mount Desert Island Marathon.
We officially registered tonight.

Full disclosure: This was my idea. D can blame me. BUT...I never said she had to run it, too.

I've never run a marathon. In fact, the 25km (15.5 miles) at the Pineland Farms Trail Challenge is the longest run I've ever done. Hopefully, ignorance is bliss.

So, um, yeah. A marathon. I'll no doubt be whining about this a great deal over the next 3 months.

Plod and Shuffle

For the first time in a long time, I really wasn't feeling it today. Plan was for a longish run, too. I really wanted to go to Bradbury, but I didn't have the time. At the very least, I wanted to stay off the roads. Well, that didn't completely happen either. Overall, this run was a bit of a struggle. It wasn't even very musical, I started with this in my head:

(I've been listening to a lot of Pearl Jam lately...probably because I'm old.) It lasted for a while, and then everything went blank. I don't know where I was. I think I was just focusing. Trying to put one foot in front of the other.
Here's the route:

(And, yes, I'm completely addicted to MapMyRun.) It came out to 11, but I think it's probably a little longer than that. There's no real way for me to be accurate through the Commons. I think it's close, but I'm guessing it's at least .25 longer. For the way I felt, it was a real mental victory to add the out and back to Simpson's Point. Considering I almost turned around at the end of the Commons, I kind of impressed myself. I stopped and stretched at the Point and took in the view. Between the view at Simpson's Point and Pennelville Road this is one of the prettiest routes around.

Anyway, not a great run physically as I never really got going, but it was a good run mentally. Glad I was able to push through the malaise. And, actually, the pace was dead on. Total time was 1:39:05, which for 11 miles is 9-minute miles on the nose. So, perhaps I should stop complaining. But, I had been feeling great during my runs and really looking forward to all of them. In fact, I'd been missing them on my days off. Hopefully, today was just an off day. Short run on the schedule tomorrow, and then it's back on the AT Sunday and Monday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dodging Raindrops

Severe thunderstorm warnings. Potential for hail and tornadoes. Might as well go for a run. I waited for most of the day before going out. About 20 minutes before I went out, it absolutely poured. Build an ark kind of rain. Luckily, things changed by the time I hit the roads. In fact, as I left the parking lot at the Bowdoin Field House, the sun was almost peeking through...almost.


That was in my head the entire way. And I do mean the entire way.

Plan was for 5, so I hit the Middle Bay Road loop.

It started raining about halfway through. Barely noticed. Felt pretty solid the whole way. A little sluggish. It seems that after a day off, I always feel sluggish. Better than feeling sluggish after a couple days of running. So far, I'm very pleased with how the whole running/hiking combination has been working out. I thought I would have a hard time transitioning, but it's been fairly smooth. Hooray me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Muddy Maine

D and I have returned to civilization after 3 days in the Maine hinterlands banging out another 37 miles of the AT. Other than the damage to our feet caused by three days in wet boots, things are good. It was a good trip.

Here's My Official Report

Here's D's Report
Here are the Photos (Note the switch to flickr. We're dumping the Mac account, and D is slowly moving our AT photos. Apparently, it's a pain.)

And here are...CATS ON A TREADMILL!!!

(Everyone liked it so much the first time, I thought I'd bring them back.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The 200th Post

The first 200 people to read the 200th post here at Snowman Says will each receive a wacky wall walker. Congratulations!

Ran three miles today. I managed to even get out and do it this morning before it got too hot. My motivation knows no bounds. Quick out and back along the powerlines and onto Highland Green Road. Completely unimaginative, but it was quick and easy. Just what I needed to round out a really solid week for me. The week ends with 33.5 miles. Probably the most mileage I've done since long before anyone was worried about the Y2K virus. Best of all, I felt legitimately good on all my runs this week. Full steam ahead.

Next week the mileage will be less, as D and I are off tomorrow to spend the next three days on the AT: Caratunk to Monson. It's about 36 miles and doesn't look too difficult. Famous last words. Hopefully, the scattered thunderstorms that are forecast will scattered somewhere else. I'm sure I'll have a grumble-filled report when we return.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Striking Out

Look I used a sports term that has a double meaning. I'm so witty.

Anyway, I like this kid's politics.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

24 sans Bike

First of all, before my run, I nailed my funny bone harder than I ever have. It was terrible. OK, just had to get that out there...on with the show.

Plan for today was to run 8 miles. I'm at work still, so I decided to try a run that I had been trying to do since last summer: the goal was the run the course for the 24 Hours of Great Glen. Now in its 13th year, the 24 Hours of Great Glen is a 24-hour mountain bike race. Racers ride it either in teams of 2, 4 or 5 or ride it solo. Goal is to ride as many laps as possible. It's awesome. I'd love to put on a 24-hour trail running race here someday. Hopefully...

Anyway, the course is listed as 8.5 miles. I knew it would be a touch shorter, since we have one piece closed off for a construction project of sorts. So, heading out the door, I estimated the run to be 8.25.

Right out of the gate this gets in my head:

This is not a good sign. I have no idea where it came from. Maybe it was because I was wearing red leather pants. (I wasn't actually wearing red leather pants.)

Aside from the torture of Loverboy, I felt great. Much better than yesterday. This is a really good sign. I have no idea how the body is going to react to the increasing mileage, but so far so good. I cruised along for the whole run.

Much like yesterday's run, this route involved a good mix of single track and carriage roads, with some double track thrown in for good measure. I didn't start at the official start line, since that would have involved me walking about 1/3 of a mile to get there. That would have been dumb since the course goes right through the main courtyard which is about 20 feet from my office door. So, I started at a point in the course that would be about 1/4 into the lap for the mountain bikers. This also meant that I would run right past the point where I started near the end of my run to then tackle a stiff climb and some of the toughest single track on the course. That being said, I like saving the tougher stuff for the end of the run. Puts hair on my chest...and apparently other places. Too much?

The course makes for a great run. It would make for an even better run if you didn't know the trail system. While you never repeat anything you pass through some of the same intersections twice: for example, come in from the south and turn east, then a few minutes later come in from north and turn west. Since I knew where I was the whole time, I kept thinking two things: 1.) I'm here again and 2.) Everybody's working for the weekend. That's not entirely true, as thankfully, I was listening to Audioslave before I headed out on my run:

Ah, that's better.

Not much else to report, except I looked at my training log before I went out and realized that I hadn't worn my Merrell trail runners in about 12 days. Yikes. Too much time on the roads. I've been doing the mellower trail runs in my road shoes, too, so that accounts for some of the usage. Oh well.

As it turns out, I must have been feeling better than I thought. The loop on took my 1:06:37, which is pretty speedy for me. I never felt like I was pushing it. I would classify my pace as either easy or just a notch above easy. Very comfortable, though. Again, hopefully, another good sign. Or I could have just been trying to run away from the deer flies, which were aggressive. Of course, it would have helped if I was wearing a blue cup on my head.

The course as ridden last year was 8.25. With the changes, I'm going to call my an even 8. Here's the elevation profile as ridden from the actual start of the course. My start and finish was right around the 1.5 mile mark.

Many thanks to Sven for the data.

Water Power!

OK, I have to ask: Can you pee in the tank? If so, driving with D just got a lot better.


The Japanese apparently called Costner for inspiration:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mountain Bike? Nah!

At work for a couple days, so I ran on the trails this evening. The plan called for only 3, but I decided to run the course that is laid out for the weekly mountain bike series. That course is 4.5.

Cool course. Great mix of the carriage roads and single track. I also ran one section of single track "backwards" (in the opposite direction), which I don't think I've ever done. It was like an entirely different trail. Good stuff. However, if I tried to ride a mountain bike on it, I would most certainly die. Think I'll stick to running.

My legs were a bit sluggish, but I somewhat expected it after 15 the other day. I stretched a fair amount afterwards, so hopefully, I'll feel good tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day Off!

I'm taking today from running. But not from blogging! Yes, I'm that committed to my fans. (I hope that's plural.)

Instead of talking about how I feel a bit tired, but otherwise unaffected after yesterday's run, I'm going to talk about last night's Home Run Derby, which I actually watched. (Well, tried to watch. Our TV died. Everything is very red with a nuclear winter feel to it. Very unsettling.)

The story was Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, who went off in the first round with 28 homers. You can watch the homer-by-homer recap here. It was pretty awesome.

Normally, the most annoying thing would be Chris Berman's very old, very stale Camilla the Chicken home run call. It almost made my dinner come backbackback. However, Joe Morgan took it to a whole new level. Hamilton's story of his drug and alcohol addiction has been well-documented, as well as, how he's turned his life around and how he's handling the entire situation now. It's very impressive. While the media, especially the Worldwide Leader, tends to over-hype these stories, this one doesn't bother me. What did bother me, nay piss me off, was Morgan's commentary. He claimed that more impressive than him basically coming back from the dead was his ability to be away from baseball for about 3 years, and still be able to hit major league pitching. Yup, breaking a massive heroin addiction is way easier than hitting a split-fingered fastball. Good call, Joe.

Sorry for the rant. We now return to our regularly scheduled program. My calves feel fine!

Monday, July 14, 2008

15...Blah, blah, blah

D made me get up early and run 15 miles. She's mean.

We developed a cool route that included both the Commons and some of the better running roads around Brunswick. So, it was 5 on trails and 10 on the roads—a good mix. Here's what it looks like:

I have to admit the section through the Commons is less than accurate. MapMyRun (Google Maps?) doesn't have the most updated info on the area. One of the roads isn't on there. There has been a lot of development in the past couple years, so hopefully the data will catch up soon. So, I had to wing it. I know that it's 2.5 from the Bowdoin field house to Middle Bay Road. We probably ran a touch further today, since the most direct route is currently blocked off due to the construction of the new hockey arena. Yeah, Bowdoin is building. What a surprise. Anyway, I fudged it to get 2.5 on the way out and then retraced on the way back. Close enough.

Overall, it was an uneventful run. Nothing exciting to report. For me, that's pretty exciting. 15? Yeah, sure, no problem. I felt great the whole way. A little creaky in the knees at the start, but everything stretched out, and I was fine. It certainly helped that it was cloudy and 10 degrees cooler than my last long run. The Hammer Gel/HEED combo worked great again. I'm really getting used to and liking drinking on the long runs. 32 ounces down today.

One thing I have found is that somewhere around an hour my body decides it has had enough, and I have a period of reduced energy. Today, same deal. Then we hit an uphill, and I picked it up a touch and shook off that feeling. Smooth sailing the rest of the way.

D has a more exciting report here.

What she doesn't have is the song that was in my head at the end of the run:

Advantage: Me

Also, in her bird-sighting-filled post, she let the cat out of the bag about the MDI Marathon. We'll see. I'd really like to do it. In fact, I think it was even my idea. I've never done a marathon. D ran the Maine Marathon in 2006. I have all these plans and ideas. She thinks I'm nuts. But, if the training stays on track...well...we'll see.

Speaking of staying on track, remember the lump ? Well, it's gone. As I ran more this week, it happily went away. Who knows? Anyway, I'm glad it's gone. Hopefully, never to return.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Deer Fly Three

That's either my run today or a really bad name for a band. Let's go with the former. I snuck across the street today for a quick three miles on the Mt. Ararat trails. The deer flies were brutal. Out of control and hungry.

I "borrowed" this image from Jamie to illustrate how it went today. Of course, I edited it to more accurately reflect my experience.

Aside from the deer flies, the run was good. I stopped briefly to eat a couple blueberries, too.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An Uncommon Five

That is a witty headline. You see, I spontaneously met D for an unplanned 5 mile run in the Commons this evening. Get it? Un-Common. Damn, I'm good.

Crazy day. Big event at work today: Newton's Revenge. We hire a publicist for this one, so my duties are streamlined. Therefore, I was able to hit the road at around 4:15. During the day, I had come up with this brilliant plan to do a night run in the Commons. D had already planned to run in the Commons after work, since she slept in this morning. And, since her mind was already made up, there was no changing it. Worked out great, though, as I was able to meet her right at 6:30 at the Bowdoin field house. I was only planning to run three today, but she wanted to get five. Hey, why not?

Nice run. Again, I was creaky to start, but warmed up as we moved along. The deer flies were quite friendly...which was unfortunate. I managed to kill a couple, and I was tempted to hit D in the back or head about 40 times during the run to kill one, but I refrained.

The calf lump is still there, but smaller. Felt fine during the run. Who knows? Hopefully, it will be gone in a couple days.

Big week this week: 6 days: 2 hiking/4 running. Good stuff. 27.25 miles this week, which is a high for this year. Planning on more next week. Build, build, build...

Friday, July 11, 2008

One Lump or One Lump?

As the day went along on Wednesday, following my long run, my right calf tightened up. In fact, it kind of grew a lump in it. It was really weird. It didn't feel overly tight. It didn't hurt. I just grew this angry, cranky mass of metabolic waste of yuk. It's a lump. Since then, I've heated, I've iced, I've massaged, I've Stick-ed. I pretty much did everything I could think of. It wouldn't go away.

I have a calf issue. Surprised?

Like I said, I tried everything I could think of. The only thing I didn't do was run. So, that's what I did this afternoon. Why the hell not?

I had no idea how it was going react. I didn't know if I was going to make it 6 feet or 6 miles. It turned out to be closer to the latter. It felt fine. No tightness. No pain. No nothing.

Right now? It feels like a rock. So, yeah, I have no idea. 3 miles planned for tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, the run itself. Felt pretty good. I was definitely creaky to start and was still clearly feeling the effects of Wednesday's run. My quads especially. But I felt a lot better as the run went along In fact, I thought about extending it, but I didn't want to overdo it. So, I think that's a really good sign. Plus, it was great to get back on trails after my last run was all on the road. I'm up at work, and ran what is essentially the perimeter of the western half of the trail system. I'm guessing it was right around 5.5. A nice loop.

But, yeah, there's this whole lump thing. I feel it the most right after I get up from sitting. I stretch it, and then I can't feel it. Well, I can always feel it, if I reach down to push on it. I guess if I can still run, then it can't be that bad. Can it?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Highland Road

There is a conspiracy afoot. I planned to get up and do a long run this morning. Naturally, I set the alarm, since I don't exactly spring to readiness first thing in the morning. Somehow, the clock lost power. I figured we had a power blip in the middle of the night, but the alarm clock was the only thing that lost power. I ended up getting up about a half hour later than I planned, and, of course, it took me a while to get my butt out the door. But, I did.

Plan was to run the ol' Highland Road loop from the Bowdoin Fieldhouse. Back in the day, we always called this run 12, but I suspected it was a touch shorter. According to, it is. Here's the loop:

Aside from the clock malfunction, there were other mental hurdles I had to get over for this one. First, as I listened to NPR on my drive to the fieldhouse, the weather report called for "unhealthy air." Delicious. It was already in the mid 70's and the humidity was off the charts. Second, Highland was always one of the "long runs" in college, and I only ran it a dozen time or so in four years. And, finally, it was all road. Yup, 12ish on the road. Grrr...

Speaking of grr and NPR, they had a story this morning about the new car safety ratings that are coming out, and the new crash test dummies that will be used. They closed the segment with this song:

Clever, yes. But I hate that song! Add that to the mental hurdles as it was stuck in my head for the first couples miles.

Oh yeah, the run. That sunnabitch is hilly. I knew that Pleasant Hill Road had a couple goodly bumps on it, but I had forgotten about all the others. There is a big one just after you turn off Highland Road about halfway through that made me cranky, and the hill that takes you away from the ocean as you turn onto Maquoit Road is tough. The latter especially so due to the fact that the heat really kicked in at that point. Otherwise, the heat wasn't too bad. There was a breeze, albeit in my face, for all of Highland Road and a couple other stretches, so it made things fairly bearable. That being said, the heat was definitely on my mind. As evidenced by the song that replaced the Crash Test Dummies:

An incident arose from circumstance, indeed.

I have to say this is quite a pretty run. Pleasant Hill Road has some great fields you run past, and Highland Road is beautiful. I was really enjoying Highland, and I had to hold myself back from going to fast. Tons of wildflowers in the fields, and then you run by the ocean. Not bad. I saw handful of goldfinches, a cardinal, a couple red-winged blackbirds, a belted kingfisher, and what I think was a veery (90% sure).

I loaded up the Fuel Belt (not pink) for this one: 8 ounces of water, 16 ounces of the rest of the HEED, and 8 ounces of a Espresso Hammer Gel and water mix. Anyone who doesn't think the Espresso Hammer Gel kicks ass is wrong. This stuff rocks. It's sooooo deeelicious. 3 ounces of gel/5 ounces of water. Kick ass. I'm sold on the HEED, too. I never felt thirsty or out of gas on this run. Good stuff. Of course, my legs were tired, but overall, I felt strong. So, I think this stuff really works.

It's amazing how you go through different phases on a long run. In the first 5 minutes, I almost turned around and went back. I felt like dog meat. It was morning after all. Then things got better, and I started moving. I worked the hills on Pleasant Hill and was pleased to find that I could move pretty well up them. At about a hour, I thought I was toast. It was probably all in my head, but I felt like I was crawling, but that subsided, too. By the time, I turned onto Maquoit Rd. for the last couple miles, I was feeling good. I worked that hill up from the ocean, and then put it in full-on, old man fast shuffle mode. My strides weren't exactly long, but I was moving along. Admittedly, I was ready to be done by the time I tunred up Longfellow St. But, thankfully, I had one last song in my head to push me through the finish:

I have no idea where these things come from. But, it was a really good run.

For those keeping track, that's a solid four days:
Sunday - hike, 8.5±
Monday - hike, 9±
Tuesday - run, 5±
Wednesday - run, 11.75...on the roads

Maybe I should be officially training for something...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Surprising Five

Before we went on our hike, I had hoped that I would be able to get out and run 3 or 4 miles today. After the death hike, I thought it would be a stretch.

Speaking of stretches, I contemplated getting up early to beat the heat. Well, the alarm went off, I hit it and the next thing I knew D was tapping me saying, "I'm going to the Commons." I didn't get out of bed until she got back. My motivation knows no bounds.

The good thing about waiting until this evening to run was that I was able to stop at Midcoast Multisport and pick up some supplies. D sent me out to replenish our supply of Hammer Gel, and while I was there I grabbed a single serving of HEED to test it out. I figured it was going to be about 137° when I went for my run today, so what better time to try it out?

I waited as long as I could and headed for the Commons a little before 6:00pm. The temps had dropped, but not much. It was in the mid 80's and 127% humidity. I was originally going to just do 4 miles, but I couldn't think of a 4-mile route in the Commons, so I opted for the 5-mile "out-and-back". I brought along my Fuel Belt (not pink) with 8 ounces of water and 8 ounces of HEED. It felt a little overkill for a 5-mile run, but based on the weather, I thought it was a smart move. I ended up drinking all 16 ounces of the fluid I brought with me. It was intentional, as a I probably didn't need it, but I didn't want to get dehydrated either.

Overall, I felt really good. A little creaky in the knees, but no surprise after backpacking the last two days. I just stretched out really well, so that will help a lot. As I said, I was really concerned that I would have trouble combining backpacking and running, but today's run was a really good sign that I should be able to make it work, which is a good thing as I have a long run on the schedule for tomorrow. I'm even going to try to get up early. Wish me luck.

HEED Review: Overall Grade: B+. I really dug it. It's a weird taste because it's not sweet like a typical sports drink, which is exactly what Hammer was going for. That makes it really easy to drink. Plus, there's no aftertaste. The only negative is that it's a bit mediciney. I had the mandarin orange flavor, and it reminded my a lot of St. Joseph's Chewable Aspirin. (What happened to the little soldier on the bottle? Anyone else remember him?) But, I think that's something I'll get used to. I think it will be a good boost on these hot days.

And, in case you're wondering, this is exactly the type of boring post that caused my sister to stop reading this blog. Now, I'm down to 3 visitors a day...


D and I were out on another section of the AT the last couple days: the Bigelows. It was an awesome two days. Great hiking. Beautiful scenery. And lots of bugs! Well, it wasn't all perfect.

Here's my official report.
Here's D's report.
First and second half of the photos.

And here are cats on a treadmill:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

June Recap

June was a pretty good month. In fact, it was downright kick ass. The mileage isn't anything to brag about, but the accomplishments were many.

I had a minor scare/setback with my calf before Mt. Washington and one truncated week due to the death hike. These both limited the mileage somewhat, and I also wanted to make sure I was "fresh" for my races. Well, this is the rationale I'm using anyway.

But, really, I'm not complaining. I had a great race at the Bradbury Scuffle. I ran Mt. Washington. I survived the Cranmore Hill Climb. I'm fairly proud of all of this. So, yeah, June was pretty good.

But, there's more to come. Nothing set in stone yet, but I'm going to try to build up my mileage. Cranmore made it clear that if I want to perform well in these hard races, I need to have more miles under my belt. Plus, I should do some actual workouts: hills, speed, etc. Not just run easy and race. So, hopefully, at this time next year, I'll be writing posts about my world domination (or something slightly less impressive.)

As for this summer, there is a lot of hiking coming up. We still have about 250 miles of the AT to go. (Look to the right for exact mileage.) And, the quest continues tomorrow. We're off to the Bigelows to finish up another section. D has been wanting to do this section for about 47 years...I just hope her head doesn't explode. And, with everything backpacking trip, I hope I don't die. I really think she's trying to kill me.

Here are the June numbers:
Miles Run: 71
Miles Hiked: 23.5
Hours: 25.25

Happy Belated Birthday

I was going to post a stirring patriotic tribute yesterday, but it was so important to me that I forgot. So, let's go with this instead:

Friday, July 4, 2008

Bradbury on the Fourth

We started the day with a tasty breakfast at the Broadway Deli. Today's special was a scramble with avocado, tomato and smoked gouda...don't forget the sausage patties. Delicious!

Then we headed to Bradbury for a 10-mile run. We did one lap of the Bradbury Breaker course and then the Bradbury Scuffle course, but just cut back to the parking lot via the Link Trail. (Or the way that I thought the course went during the race.)

Bradbury was fairly busy today, and as we started out on the Northern Loop Trail we passed a number of hikers and walkers. D said, "Well, I guess we're the crazy ones." I can't imagine why she would have said that. We chatted as we went until D stopped abruptly hacking and spitting. Apparently, the bug she swallowed was not her favorite flavor. The rest of the Breaker loop was uneventful for the most part. Although, my legs were tired. Between still recovering from Cranmore, my run yesterday, and not getting home until midnight (I was at a "I just got a new job" party [not for me]), I don't think I was set up to feel frisky. I also knew I wasn't at a peak hydration, so I brought 32 ounces of liquid with me. Water and a water/Hammer Gel mix. By the time we finished the Breaker course, 4.5 miles, I'd already downed 8 ounces of the mix and 6 ounces of water.

I have to say that the Breaker certainly lives up to its name. Its' going to make for a really, really tough race. I'm bummed I have to work that day and can't run it. Well, sort of bummed. Don't get me wrong, it's a great course, but with the drop down the South Ridge Trail, then straight up the Summit Trail, it's going to take a lot out of the racers legs. Oh, and they have to do two laps. Sort of like Cranmore, and, trust me, that hurt. The Breaker course also utilizes the Switchback Trail, which I had never run before. Neat trail, but not easy. By the time we got back to the parking lot for a pee break and to switch our empty bottles for some full ones, I was pretty tired. I probably could have called it a day a that point, but that wasn't in the cards. So, off we went.

The Scuffle course is easier than the Breaker course, but it's not easy. As we started up the first uphill, which is really minor, my legs were not happy. I was turning the Scuffle course into the Bradbury Shuffle. I tried to revive myself and simultaneously annoy D by telling stories about the race. "This is where I ran really hard for seven and a half feet." She was very impressed. For some reason, the Ginn trail seemed to take for.......ever. It felt like we could have timed it with a calendar. Eventually, we reached the Snowmobile Trail. I must have stubbed my toes 11 times on the way in. I was barely lifting my legs. I could keep up the conversation, but there just wasn't much in the tank. I was pretty much done by the time we turned on the Link Trail. About 200 yards from the finish, I hit my toe on a rock really hard and nearly went down. Not as bad as the mountain biker we came across about 100 yards later. He'd nailed a rock and pretty clearly broken his arm. A friendly park ranger was splinting his arm and loading him into the back of his ATV. He was with three other bikers, and I offered to walk his bike back to the parking lot. Bummer. One of his companions said he planned to tap a keg of homebrew today. Hopefully, he's enjoying the beers of his labor right now.

For us, it was a good run. Like I said, I was pretty sluggish, but I'm glad we did it. It was a beautiful day and great to be out on the trails. I'm going to try to put more long runs in as the summer goes on. You never know when they might come in handy.

Spring Trail Running Series, Final Week

Last night was the final week of the Spring Trail Running Series at work. Unfortunately, I had already missed 3 weeks, so I wouldn't make the required 6 of 8 to qualify for the raffle. Bummer, too, since Salomon ponied up 8 or 10 free pairs of shoes. Sometimes, the scheduling is tough.

Anyway, I found myself in the trap of "well, I'm being timed..." Originally, I had planned to run easy as I'm still recovering from Cranmore. And, I felt much better than I had expected. My time was a little more zesty than I had anticipated since I hadn't warmed up and I didn't really push. All in all, a good run.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Still Moving

Ran an easy not quite 4ish on Tuesday. I was still pretty sore from Cranmore. In fact, I had to stop and stretch about 5 minutes into the run just to keep things moving, but things loosened up as I went. Yesterday off, then another short n' easy today.

In running news, this is the dumbest thing ever. First of all, running on a treadmill is foolish. Secondly, running a marathon on a treadmill is downright ridiculous. And, third, if you're going to go for a world record, don't think you'd want to have things set up a little better. In short, this guy is kind of an idiot.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

NBC is Not Good

We must now suffer through the worst thing in the world: NBC's coverage of track & field. I'm not sure if I can take it.

The U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials are underway, and, like the Olympics, they are being covered by NBC. And that coverage is abysmal. As I mentioned, I planned to stay up on Friday to watch Blake run the 10k. (She finished 5th by the way, and looks set up for a strong showing in the Olympic marathon.) I stayed up also watched some of the coverage on Sunday night. I'm not liking what I've been seeing. Since I've been reading and listening to the podcasts over at Runnerville, especially the Toni & Matt Show (which is excellent), I've listened to them lament the poor treatment of track & field on television. And, you know what? They don't complain about it enough.

Let me explain: The race started at 12:20am EST with approximately 20 entrants. However, they basically ignored all but 5 or 6 runners. At the beginning of the race, they explained that in order to go to the Olympics, runners needed to meet a specific qualifying time, the Olympic "A" standard. There were a handful of women in the race that had run that time already this season. In that group, were the two favorites: American Record Holder Shalane Flanagan and World Championships Bronze Medalist Kara Goucher and two other runners—Molly Huddle and Katie McGregor. There were others on the list, but NBC failed to acknowledge them. If another runner were to make that standard, she needed to do it in this race. No chasing the time after the Trials. However, if the third place finisher did not get the A standard the Olympic the next best finisher with the A standard would be on the Olympic team.

Due to the dominance of Flanagan and Goucher the commentators, Tom Hammond and Ed Eyestone, stated that everyone else was racing for a single spot, but again they really only mentioned McGregor and Huddle as having a chance. The race started slowly, and 400 meters into a 10,000 meter race Ed Eyestone announced that there was no way anyone was going to get the A standard in this race. Eyestone himself is an Olympic marathoner, and he should know that anything can happen in a race the length of a 10k. Which is in fact what happened. From what I could tell (More on the cut aways in a minute), it was an awesome race, Eventually, Flanagan and Goucher broke away with Amy Begley on their heels. (She actually took the lead at one point, but we didn't get to see that.) Begley ended up third and she did get the A standard by just 1.5 seconds. It was electric. The announcers did show some excitement, but not until the final lap. Since I knew what was going on, I was riveted to the TV, but for the average joe on the street, they wouldn't have known what was going on. Note to Eyestone: it is possible to explain and be excited at the same time.

As I mentioned, there were 20 or so women in the race. A number of them had tried to make the Olympics in the marathon. This was their second and final shot. No mention of that. Certainly would have made the coverage more interesting, and given viewers an idea of how much was riding on this race. Speaking of the marathon, there were two members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon in the race: Blake Russell and Magdalena Lewy Boulet. Magdalena led for a bit, so they mentioned her. At one point, Blake was running with McGregor (whom they'd practically given the third Olympic team spot to by 8k), and you could hear Tom Hammond ruffling his papers trying to find out her name. She's an Olympian! Do your friggin' homework! (Granted, this probably pissed me off more because I know her, but seriously get it together.)

What was most annoying was the constant cut aways. I understand that not many of us really want to watch the entire 32 or so minutes of a 10k. It's about ratings and advertising. I get that. But... Cutting away to show prelims of other events with very little bearing on much. "Here's another event in which the favorite advanced easily with no drama." They also showed an extended puff piece on Alicia and Ryan Shay. (Ryan Shay tragically passed away during the Men's Olympic Marathon trials...more here.) Now, I don't want to sound like an insensitive jerk here because it's a terribly painful story. I can't imagine how hard things must be for her right now...and every day. She was scheduled to run the 10k, but was out due to injury. She wasn't even in the race, and they spent 5 minutes talking about her. The race was full of women with great stories. Focus on them. Again, I'm not saying we shouldn't remember Ryan Shay, but it's not relevant to the action on the track.

Speaking of the action on the track, each time there was a cut away or an ad, the race continued. The whole race would look different when they brought us back to the action, but they didn't explain what had happened. They just announced who was now in the lead and moved on. The didn't provide any information. I had to look at photos online and read accounts of the race to piece it together. And from what I can tell, some exciting moments happened...too bad I was listening to "This is Our Country" for 8 millionth time.

Apparently, the mood and feeling in Eugene for the Trials has been off the charts. It hasn't come through on TV. Toni Reavis has done a good job conveying the feeling of being in Eugene over at Runnerville. And, as always, has been spot on with there recaps. Add in the recaps from FloTrack, and it's almost not worth watching it live. The coverage feels like it's just trying to fulfill an obligation. No passion.

That being said, I don't totally blame NBC. I caught a bit of the Olympic Swimming Trials, and while not perfect, the coverage was definitely superior. Rowdy Gaines does a great job of describing the action and informing the audience. He teaches while he excites. That's a big difference. (Although on the track side, I have to give some credit to Ato Bolden. He's been getting better and is a small bright spot.) But, the reason, I don't totally blame NBC because watching the swim meet, it's clear they've created theater. The on-site announcer is hyping the events. There are spotlights on the pool. It's a show. Maybe they're doing this in Eugene, but it doesn't come through. This has been talked about on Runnerville, but why can't we create theater for track? Make it a show. Highlight the athletes. The whole deal. It's entertainment.

Anyway, this has been a long rant. I doubt you've stuck through to the end. But it's really too bad that the biggest track meet in the nation is being so poorly covered. The athletes deserve better. We deserve better. That being said, I'll still be watching...and grumbling.

Go Do Something Fun!

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Where the Hell is Matt?