Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trails Make Everything Better

After a day of computer staring, kitty wrangling, and a trip to the farm, I managed to carve out some time for a run. And it was good, very good. I headed across the street to the Cathance River Preserve. It was muddy. The puddles were big. And the singletrack was oh so tasty. I'm not ready to proclaim that my mojo is back, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. I felt great the whole way, and just had a great time in general.

I had planned to run the shorter loop, but I "missed" the turn off for the short option and ended up on the longer loop. I was out for just about an hour, even though I planned on about 40 minutes. Not a big deal, but I was supposed to be home to help with dinner. Oops. I did end up cutting off the Heath Trail that I usually use on the return, which was probably a good choice anyway because it has a number of bog bridges. The bog bridges that I did encounter were dangerously slippery. The first one I came to nearly sent me into a tree while pulling a hamstring and my groin. I took it easy on the bridges after that.

Two of my neighbors gave me strange looks when I got home. What a grown man can't play in the mud?

Monday, June 29, 2009


3. That's it. That's how many miles I ran last week. That's not a lot.

Yup, I've lost my mojo. A variety of nuggets of chaos in daily life have conspired against me, but that's really no excuse. After Pineland and as was evident at Mt. Washington, I just don't have the fire. I'm pretty certain it's two clear factors:
1. I'm still mentally fried from the effort of training for and racing the 50k. Don't get me wrong, it was fun, and I'm really glad I did it. But, it was wicked hard.
2. I don't have anything big and scary on the calendar for the summer or fall. Apparently, I'm motivated by fear.

I'm slightly upset by this. But, only slightly. When I feel like training seriously again, I will. Perhaps I'll start tomorrow. Perhaps not. I do know that I will get it going again...eventually. Hopefully, I'll have a groovy run post in the next few days. Until then, here's something from Jeff's favorite band:

Anyone else think Rick Allen's Union Jack shorts would look sahweeet with a TMR singlet?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mt. Washington Road Race - Race Report

My delay in writing this race report should pretty much give you an idea how I feel about the race. In fact, I hesitate to call it a "race report," since what I did could in no way be construed as racing. That being said, it was a great lesson learned.

I'm not going to go into many details of the race. I started. It was humid. I felt great for the first mile. Then I didn't feel great. I walked a lot. I passed about 15 people in the last .5 mile and looked like a total sandbagger.

In short, I just couldn't push myself. I couldn't get myself to that place. I couldn't really make myself work or suffer. I think my "suffer bucket" was empty after the 50k. And, if I'm not suffering, I'm not going to have a good result. Suffering is my strong suit. It was a very odd feeling. I wanted to race, but I just couldn't. It probably wouldn't have mattered much in another race, but this is the Mt. Washington Road Race. It's way too difficult to not be focused. It's more of a mental than a physical challenge, and I just didn't have the mental edge. Am I disappointed? Not really. I'm only slightly disappointed in the fact that it was a race, and I wasn't mentally ready to race. But, I'll be back because I know that I can run fast up that hill.

In the end, I ended up about 9 minutes slower than last year in 1:51:35. And, I wasn't particularly tired afterward, and I certainly wasn't sore the next day. Oh well.

On the upside, my Trail Monster comrades Jeff and Mindy had awesome races in the Rockpile debuts. I'm really happy for those guys. Hopefully next year, we'll have a full Trail Monster contingent to score in the team categories.

So, that was the Mt. Washington Road Race. The race was poor, but I learned a lesson. Onward.

My hair was perhaps the best part of the day. I have no idea how it ended up like that. Completely awesome, though.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuning Up

Week #6 of the trail running series at Great Glen Trails this afternoon. I guess it was a tune up for Saturday. Or, it was just a hardish workout. Or, it was foolishness too close to race. Perhaps it was all of those. Whatever it was, I felt pretty good. Big PR on this course, a minute and 25 seconds to be exact. Ended up with a 27:30 for the 3.5 miles, which works out to 7:51. I'm pretty pleased with that time considering the terrain, which is rugged and the level of effort, which certainly wasn't all out. My legs felt great, but the only problem was my guts—odd intestinal cramps after the first mile. I had them last week, too. Perhaps running hard in the afternoon/evening just doesn't agree with me. I didn't even eat any Pringles today. Easy run planned for tomorrow to get the blood moving and the junk out, then it's up Mt. Washington on Saturday. Looking forward to it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Less Running = Less Blogging

I haven't had much to blog about of late because I haven't been running much of late. The good news is that the little running that I have done has been very good. I've really turned a corner, and looking forward to Mt. Washington. Not sure if I'm physically ready/fully recovered but certainly ready to go, but mentally I'm ready. Last year, I was terrified. This year, I'm excited.

With regards to my last couple runs, there's nothing but good to report. On Saturday, I barely had any time to squeeze in a quick run, and it ended up being pretty quick. I ran my usual three-mile loop about three minutes faster than usual. I knew I was running at a faster pace than normal, but I didn't realize just how fast. Felt great the whole way. Then on Sunday, D, Jeff, Mindy (who should really get back to blogging) and I went on a Rockpile Recon mission to get a look at the Auto Road in prep for Saturday's race. We'd originally planned to run a bit on the Road, but the weather was nasty, so we opted for a run on the trails at the base at Great Glen Trails. D came along for the run, which was very cool...23 weeks and cruising. It rained on us, but it was fun to run with these guys. A few more easy runs this week, then it's time to run up the hill.

Speaking of running uphill, I've checked out the time predictor for Mt. Washington, with some interesting results. I'm pretty certain that the predictor is accurate because...well, runners are geeks and good at coming up with this stuff. Based on my last three races, here are the numbers:
1. Maine Track Club Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic:
My Actual Time: 1:10:59 Mt. Washington Predicted Time: 1:29 - 1:34
2. Muddy Moose Trail Run - 14 Mile:
My Actual Time: 2:24:46 Mt. Washington Predicted Time: 2:07 - 2:14
3. Pineland Farms Trail Challenge - 50k:
My Actual Time: 5:17:31 Mt. Washington Predicted Time: 2:00 - 2:07

What does that tell me? Pretty much nothing. I wasn't happy with the 10-miler. Sucked a big pile o' boo boo at the Muddy Moose. Very happy with the result at the 50k. Last year at Mt. Washington, I ran 1:42:40. So, the predictor didn't really predict anything. It just gave me something to blog about. I do have a goal for the race. I'll let you know more about that on Saturday evening.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stop Being Such a Wuss

Cue the AC/DC!

I reread my last post and realized what a whine-fest it was. So, yesterday, I decided to suck it up and just run. Week 5 of the trail running series at Great Glen Trails was the perfect excuse.

Admittedly, I wasn't feeling great throughout the day, but I really didn't care. Would my quads and groin explode? Only one way to find out. I did an easy 15-minute warm up, then went for it. I ran the uphills hard, and the flats and downhills at a comfortable, but up-tempo, pace. Overall, this probably ended up being an 85-90% effort. Nothing exploded. In fact, I felt really good. Not blazing fast, but 28:53 for 3.5 miles of toughish terrain was very acceptable. I stretched quite a bit afterward, and everything felt better than when I started. And, aside from slight tightness in my calves today, I felt even better.

A week to go until Mt. Washington. Bring it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


After my last run, I've been considering retirement. Perhaps, I will retire. Yeah, I'm going to pull a Brett Farve. So, I was retired. For four days. No running. Part of this was by design. Part of this was due to circumstances that would have made it tricky to get any running in anyway. Saturday and Sunday, I was at a trade show for work: read, standing all day. Monday and Tuesday, I was working on the remodel...err cosmetic makeover...of our upstairs bathroom. So, not exactly resting, but I wasn't running. I unretired today.

Results were mixed. I didn't feel all that great, but I didn't feel terrible. The pain/fatigue/owie in my quads/groin/hip flexors is still there. Because of the location of the "discomfort" it's tough to tell if I'm sluggish. Each time I pick up my leg, I feel it. Hence, I'm not sure if it's sluggishness or the "discomfort." Very odd. Either way, 27:27 for 3 miles should not have felt as difficult as it did. I did start to feel a little better by the end, but that could just be because I knew I was finishing. I'm going to try another run tomorrow. Then I'll probably retire again. In other words, I'm totally pumped about my chances on Mt. Washington.

I did have this song in my head the whole time. No doubt because of the most hilarious thing that has ever happened in the history of things happening:

I could watch that over and over again...oh wait, I have.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I thought I was on the right track, then today happened...

I'd been remiss in my mentioning of the Trail Running Series at Great Glen Trails this spring. It started 4 weeks ago, smack in the middle of my 50k taper, so although it's a great way to force yourself to do some speed work, it wasn't really part of my plan. I have been running in it, though. I skipped the first week due to a scheduling conflict, but I ran the course easily the last two weeks. And, yesterday, I decided to pick it up a tad. I ran the course at about 75%-80%, and felt decent the whole way. Let's call it quasi-up-tempo. My quads bothered me on the downhills, but I wasn't concerned. All in all, a solid run, and I felt like I was headed in the right direction.

Today was a totally different story. I was feeling a bit off and sluggish all day, but I finally forced myself out the door this evening. At best I felt crappy. My quads were killing me. I was actually chopping my strides on the downhills. Not good times. Quite possibly the worst run ever. It just felt like a huge step back. Hopefully, it was just one bad day.

Side note: Last night, I was driving home and found this gem on my iPod:

I clearly remember the painstaking process of drawing the Whitesnake logo on one of my binders. Yup, I was a cool freshman.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Not much to report from the running front over the last few days. I'm still recovering, still trying to recover, and slowly recovering. Overall, the body feels pretty good. A few creaks and squeaks here and there, but nothing that's not expected after running 50k. My right shoulder is fairly grumpy still, and there's a fairly large knot in it. Driving, desk sitting and just having mediocre posture certainly haven't helped. Again, I need to pay more attention to my upper body. But, all in all, I'm feeling pretty decent.

I ran 3 miles on Saturday, a touch faster than I should have, but I felt OK. On Sunday morning, D and I ran 4 miles together, and I was sluggish at best. Some of that sluggishness could be contributed to the beverages at Novare Res the night before, although the whole recovery mode thing no doubt played a part. It was a really nice run, though. Off day on Monday, but back for another quick 3 today. Felt pretty good today, despite once again, running this loop a bit faster than I should have. I'm going to continue to the keep the pace down (or at least attempt to) and the mileage short the next few days. I'm really hoping my strength from training for Pineland will get me to the top of Mt. Washington in a couple weeks.