Saturday, August 28, 2010

Training Week 8/22 - 8/28

Another week of rolling with the punches. No major hurdles this week, but I am battling another cold. It's not a bad cold, but it has annoyed and lingered all week. Seriously, do they dip the girl in a vat of virus wash at daycare? I blame that one little boy. He's a little troll. After all, there's no possible way it could be this one's fault.

Can something that cute carry that much disease? (Actually, yes.)

Onto the numbers...

8/22, Sunday: 5 - 44:51, Homeplace Loop. D's parents were up visiting for a few days, and they offered to watch the Little Lady while we went for a run. Thanks! Nice morning on the trails, and especially nice to run with D.

8/23, Monday: 14 - 2:28:16, Bradbury Mountain State Park (Bruiser course, then a small loop on the west side trails.) Once again, with D's parents visiting we took advantage of the babysitting offer. As I said to D, it was great to feel a little "normal" for a couple hours. D wanted to run the full Bruiser as well as a few extra miles, and I was anxious to redeem myself after my poor long run last week. I didn't have a distance or time goal, and just went with the flow. As it turned out, I felt great the whole way, although I could definitely feel my quads by the end. All in all, a great run, even though I thought I felt a cold coming on.

8/24, Tuesday: Off. Precautionary rest day due to the cold, which had become real. That being said, I probably would have taken the day off anyway.

8/25, Wednesday: 5 - 38:39, Highland Green Road Loop. The cold felt much better today, but it was pouring down rain all day. I really debated taking another day off. Glad I didn't, as I actually had a really good run. The rain was mostly a steady wall of mist by the time I headed out, but it was warm so I didn't mind too much. Polished the loop off surprisingly quickly for how easy it felt.

8/26, Thursday: 10 - 1:21:47, There's a Black Fly in My Eye course. Since I'm still feeling a bit lost without my forced speed/work, I decided that a longish tempo run would fit the bill and be even more targeted training. Looking at the race results, I figured that a tempo effort would be around 1:30. Due to the rolling and technical nature of the course, an overall time was a more realistic goal than a per mile pace. Even with the lingering cold, this run went far better than I would have expected. I felt relaxed and comfortable the entire way. This run was a huge confidence booster.

8/27, Friday: 5 - 42:46, Homeplace Loop. Easy shake out run after yesterday. Pretty uneventful, except that it was quicker than normal.

8/28, Saturday: 3.25 - 25:06, Powerlines. Just squeezing in a couple miles in a short time window, and in anticipation of a long run the next day. Nice morning: 58 degrees when I left the house. Fall is around the corner...I hope.

Miles: 42.25
Trail: 37.25
Road: 5

Despite the cold, I managed a really solid week, and felt good on all my runs. A little sluggish and few creaks here and there, but they generally faded away within a mile or two. Another "real" week planned, then my quasi-taper for Pisgah. Well, a taper with a race in the middle. Again, it's a flawless plan.

Just seeing if anyone if paying attention.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Training Week 8/15 - 8/21

The good news: I survived the plague. The bad news: I had a pretty miserable week of training.

Onto the numbers:

8/15, Sunday: Off. My fever was gone, but I was completely wiped out from not eating on Saturday.

8/16, Monday: 5 - 41:43, Highland Green Loop. I felt markedly better when I woke up, so I decided to give it a go. I figured I'd hit the relatively easy 5-mile road loop up the Highland Green Road, which also gave me the option of bailing onto the 3-mile Suck Loop, if I wasn't feeling well. I started out feeling awful, but by a mile or so, I felt pretty comfortable and felt better with each passing mile. So, overall, a good run to get the cobwebs out.

Side note: I wore my road shoes for this run. This was the first time I had worn them in four weeks and for only the third time in seven weeks. They felt so different from my trail shoes, it was incredible, and I don't mean that in a good way. They felt so big and bulky that I could barely feel my feet. It was really strange. They're coming to the end of their life cycle, and I'll definitely be looking for something less bulky and over-cushioned. Maybe I'll even read Born to Run...nah...

8/17, Tuesday: 6.75 - 1:01:50, 11x Mt. Ararat. I hadn't done a Mt. Ararat spin in about a month, so it was nice to incorporate this into the training again. It was hot, but I felt pretty good. A hawk watched me from his perch on a few laps.

8/18, Wednesday: 3.25 - 26:44, Powerlines. This was the worst run ever. My legs felt heavy and weak. I cut it from a plan of 5 miles, and I even considered walking home. The timing of the run could have had a lot to do with it. I headed out the door at around 7:30pm after a long day that included two, 2+ hour car rides. Needlessly to say, I won't be trying to squeeze in the miles like that again.

8/19, Thursday: 14 - 2:42:35, Bradbury Mountain State Park (Full Breaker then a bit of the Bruiser.). My initial plans for the day were to run the Breaker course then the full Bruiser. A touch ambitious, but I did just register for a 50k, after all. I felt tired and sluggish from the get go. In fact, I think I felt good for only a handful of steps the entire run. My Breaker time was 1:41 and change, and I debated just stopping there. Being a stubborn runner, I pushed on, but the Island Trail sucked my will to live. By the time, I hit the Snowmobile Trail, I was very happy to turn right, head in and call in a day. Obviously, I would have liked to have banged out the whole thing, but it just wasn't meant to be. That being said, I'm a bit concerned about not only having the time to get the long runs in, but also the fatigue. I'm hopeful that it is related to the illness and not a bit of burnout. Fingers crossed.

8/20, Friday: Off. With all of that in mind, I decided to play it smart and take the day off.

8/21, Saturday: Off. Ditto.

Miles: 29
Trail: 24
Road: 5

So, it certainly wasn't the week I had hoped for, but I can't do anything about that now. Like I said, I am a bit concerned about being ready for the 50k, but I know that I will at least be mentally prepared to push through it.

In that vein...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Training Week 8/8 - 8/14

Admittedly, I felt a bit lost this week with no "forced speedwork." No race/fun race series (that fit in my schedule) for me to give a go at, but it was supposed to be a recovery week. And, it was a good recovery, but not too easy week. But, more importantly, just another lesson in things don't always go as planned.

8/8, Sunday: 9.5 total. Bradbury Mountain Breaker. Awesome day. Awesome race. This may be the best race I've had since I set my high school 2-mile PR my junior year. Sadly, I'm not joking about that.

Finishing the Bradbury Mountain Breaker. Courtesy of Maine Running Photos.

8/9, Monday: 6.75 - 1:06:21, Pineland Farms with Mindy. Post-Breaker, Mindy mentioned she was planning to run at Pineland on Monday. I had some morning appointments/errands, so she agreed to not only meet me in the afternoon but to also run easy. It was hotter than hell, so we took it very easy and chatted the whole way. Great to catch up with her as she's on the injury-free trail again.

8/10, Tuesday: Off

8/11, Wednesday: 5 - 43:33, Homeplace Loop. Not a great run as I felt a bit sluggish towards the end. Could be because it was surprisingly quick.

8/12, Thursday: 5 - 41:44, Brunswick Town Commons. Great change of scenery run, and real easy, flat trail running. Just cruised and enjoyed a beautiful day. Wanted to run more, but stayed "on plan" with the recovery theme.

8/13, Friday: 11.75 - 2:34:15, Great Glen Trails to 19 Mile Brook Trail to Route 16 Over the Imp and back. This was both an awesome and terrible run. It deserves its own post, which I'll get to later this week. Cliffhanger!

8/14, Saturday: Off - SICK! Fever of 100.8, super achy, and extremely nauseous. Bad, bad times.

Miles: 38
Trail: 34
Road: 4

I could have called it all trail miles, but Friday's run put me on Route 16 for a few miles. Running on Route 16 sucks. Nothing against this particular road, the scenery is quite nice, but it's more the fact that I'm used to driving it at, well, a slightly faster clip than I can run it.

Had planned on an easy run on Saturday to get the week over 40, but it just wasn't meant to be. I was so sick. So, unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure how I recovered from Friday's quasi-mountain run. Not much I can do about that now. Thankfully, whatever disease the Little Lady passed on to both D and I went as fast as it came. But why did it have to hit so hard? In any event, I'm just rolling with the punches.

Here's the exciting(?) news of the week: I registered for the Pisgah Mountain 50k. I'm pretty excited as I've really been looking at this race as a goal for a couple months. However, there are myriad flaws in this plan. First off, it's a 50k. Last time I attempted this distance, it didn't go so well. I'd like to think I'm smarter now, but like I said, myriad flaws. Secondly, I may only get two 20+ mile runs in before the race. That's not a lot. And, on top of that, they need to happen this week and next, so hopefully, I've recovered from the feverish stomach nastiness. Third, the race is the week after the Bradbury Bruiser. Can I run a 50k the week after racing a tough 12 miles? I guess we'll find out. At least it's not a hilly 50k. Fourth issue: it's a hilly 50k. Well, at least the race report should be entertaining. All that being said, I'm confident I can hit my only race goal: finish strong. I want to run the last five miles well. I don't want to limp home. I think I can run smart enough to pull that off.

Where are my Dr. Martens?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Training Week 8/1 - 8/7

As promised, this week was a bit of a mini-taper for the Bradbury Mountain Breaker. (I'd say that it worked.) Combine that with an extra day off due to our trip to Baxter State Park, and the mileage was a bit down this week.

Onto the numbers...

8/1, Sunday: Off. We did get out for a short hike, so I logged about 2.5 miles of strength work with Samantha in the backpack.

OK, I guess it wasn't all work.

8/2, Monday: 5 - 43:37, Nesowadnehunk Tote Road. Just a simple out and back on the main road through Baxter State Park. I felt really flat during this run. Just off. It was a lot more work than it should have been. On top of that, D had done the same run the night before in 40 minutes and change. UGH. I did have some great views, though, of the surrounding mountains and Nesowadnehunk Stream.

8/3, Tuesday: 7 total, White Mountain Milers Inov-8 Summer Series, 5k - 20:17; 2 mile warm up / 2 mile cool down. This was the last week in the series, so I decided to take it seriously once again. Plus, I figured it was another good opportunity for some "forced speedwork." I really wanted to dip under 20:00, but it wasn't meant to be. First mile was 7 seconds faster than last week, 6:14. The second mile was about the same for a 13:25 split, but I paid for those extra seconds in the final mile as could only PR by 3 seconds. Oh well, still a very good effort, and I'll take a 20:00 5k on that type of terrain off of no speedwork.

8/4, Wednesday: 7 - 1:15:50, Cathance River trails. Nope that time for that mileage is not a typo. This was the worst run ever. Not only was I feeling the effects of Tuesday, but it was hot, humid and awful. I felt sluggish from the get go, and it only got worse. Luckily, I was smart enough to bring my 22oz handheld and my Buff. On three separate occasions my hat and my Buff went into the river in an attempt to cool off. It didn't really work. I was cooked. However, I did play it smart. My original plan was to go 9, and I had no qualms about cutting it short. Additionally, I walked a fair amount. I was in survival mode, but, more importantly, I was hoping to not do any further damage by going too hard. Just a bad day, but I weathered the storm. Adding insult to injury: along one of the small ponds a swamp maple had already turned red and shed a number of leaves. This sight was completely incongruous with the heat and how hot I felt. I was really longing for October.

8/5, Thursday: Off

8/6, Friday: 5 - 45:43, Homeplace Loop. I started out feeling really sluggish but felt progressively better with each step. The slightly cooler weather no doubt helped. Saw a deer along the powerlines, bounded right across the trail directly in front of me. I could even smell him he was that close.

8/7, Saturday: 4.5 - 57:56, Bradbury Mountain State Park (One lap of the Breaker to mark the course.) On Friday night, I met Ian and Emma to mark the first half of the course, so on Saturday morning the crew of Ian, Valerie, James and myself had less to handle. James and I marked the Summit Trail, while Ian and Valerie hit the Switchback Trail. We met at the summit, then marked the Terrace Trail. Once back to the parking lot, we each grabbed a handful of flags to mark any leftover spots as we ran a full lap. Even though Valerie was pushing the pace :), we had a pleasant tour of Sunday's race course.

Miles: 28.5
Trail: 28.5
Road: 0

Again, a bit of a down week, but that's not a big deal. I'm averaging 35-40 over the last few weeks, which is right where I want to be right now. Another week of all trail miles, and I'm very happy to be avoiding the roads right now. No interest in the roads at all. I don't have any road races planned, so why pound the pavement?


Monday, August 9, 2010

Bradbury Mountain Breaker - Race Report

Going into this race, I wasn't certain what to expect. My training has been going well, but a really hilly course is just not my forte. Plus, I'd never actually raced this 9-mile course before, and running easy and racing are two different animals. With that in mind, my strategy was pretty simple: Run comfortably on the first lap with the hope that I'd be able to let it rip when I hit the Tote Road on the second lap. Employing that strategy and looking at results from previous years, I felt that 1:20 was a realistic goal, but wouldn't have been surprised to finish in the 1:25 range.

After making certain/hoping that we were ready to roll with all the race logistics, I snuck out for a very short warm up. It was more to shake out any nerves than to actually warm up. Then, after Ian's pre-race announcements, we were off. In what has become a tradition, I was in front of acidotic Racing's Chris Dunn for the start of the race, but he quickly moved past me within the first quarter of a mile. From that point, I focused on staying comfortable, relaxed and upright. The latter being a difficult task on this course as many, many racers ended their days having gotten to know the Bradbury Mountain trails more intimately than they would have liked. As I wound my way along the Boundary Trail, I finally caught Ian, and we ran together into the first aid station at the base of the Summit Trail. With a quick sip and a toss over the head, I scooted past him and started the steep climb to the top. Ian was right behind me, and I could here him cajoling the lead women to go for the "First Summit" prize. And, sure enough, just before the top, Lily Childress, the eventual women's race winner, went shooting by me. I had planned to walk the steepest portions of this section of trail, and I stuck to that plan—only running when the grade allowed. I hit the Tote Road for the first time feeling great and knowing that I'd done a good job conserving energy on that first major climb.

At some point in the first lap, I believe along the South Ridge Trail, I picked up a buddy, TJ. For the remainder of the race, TJ and I would swap positions constantly. We must have leapfrogged a dozen times. It made the race a lot of fun to have someone either just ahead or just behind for good chunks of time, and we chatted constantly when the oxygen levels would allow it. Good times.

The first lap closes with a descent of the Switchback Trail, which is my least favorite part of the course. You have to be disciplined on this section because you really want to run fast, but it's way too early in the race to let it rip. With that in mind, I ran very controlled on this section knowing that my quads would pay me back later. It was also on this section that I realized that Jamie was right behind me. (I guess, the good part about the Switchback Trail is that it's a good chance to see who's either in front or behind you.) We exchanged encouraging yells, but I didn't want too encourage him too much. He's been training very strongly of late, and I didn't think I could stay ahead of him on this type of tough course. He's a monster on the hills.

I hit the field and the aid station marking the end of the first lap feeling pleased with how my body felt. I'd been moving steadily, but not overdoing it. I was even more pleased to feel as good as I did and have my watch read 37:30ish. I had figured that 40:00 would have been a solid split. Another sip and cup over the head, and I was off. As TJ said, "Hey, let's do that again!"

TJ and I continued to leapfrog for the first half of the second lap. It was also at this point that reality started creeping up on a number of racers: Running two laps of this course hurts...ALOT. I passed more than a handful of people along the Boundary Trail, and it was clear that none of them were enjoying their time in sunny and beautiful Pownal, Maine. One of the people I caught was acidotic Racing's Rich Lavers who told me "Go get Dunn." "Hmmm...does this mean that Chris is not far ahead? Perhaps I shall run faster and find out." It was also just a few seconds later that I passed TJ for the final time. It seemed clear to me that he had more foot speed than I do (Who doesn't really?), but I was much more comfortable on the technical sections. In fact, I actually said to him at one point, "You need to invest in some trail shoes," after seeing him slip for the eleventy billionth time. In any event, my thought was that I could out run him down the South Ridge Trail, hold him off on the Summit Trail and disappear on the Tote Road. So, on the final climbs of the Boundary Trail, I found myself picking up the pace, and just like last month at the Bradbury Scuffle I had the "Is this too early?" thoughts. Pushing those thoughts aside, I worked hard on the remainder of the climb, and when I glanced over my shoulder at the sharp right hand turn onto the South Ridge Trail, TJ was no where to be seen. I looked back a couple more times, but I had to snap myself out of it for two reasons: 1.) I needed to focus on the racers in front of me (even though I couldn't see any) and 2.) It's dangerous. The trail is way too rooty and rocky to be stargazing.

I really went for it on the South Ridge Trail figuring that if I was going to fall, it was going to be spec-tac-u-lar. I managed to stay upright, and as I made the left hand turn to begin the climb to the aid station, I spotted two runners in front of me. I had hoped that one was Dunn, but it was not to be. (He was a good 3-4 minutes ahead of me. I think he cheated. Or, he just smoked me again because he's faster.) The other runner was clearly Chuck. His kilt gave him away. I was still feeling strong and got a confirmation of that from Dave at the aid station: "You're kicking ass and looking strong!" Thanks! That's all I needed to hear as the third and final cup of water went over my head. Chuck and the other runner were together now, and I slowly reeled them in during the first part of the Summit Trail. Unfortunately, the Summit Trail does not getting any flatter the second time around. Chuck was chatting with the other runner, and he seemed both pleased and surprised to see me closing on them. I went by them briefly, but they soon went past on the very top (and steepest) part of the climb. The other runner announced to me his intention to "remain upright" for the rest of the run, so he let me by on the summit. Chuck was off like a shot as it was time to execute part two of my strategy: give it everything I had on the Tote Road.

As I ran off the summit, I could feel that I was hurting. The last climb up the Summit Trail had greatly angered my quads and my calves weren't too thrilled either. However, I now had a huge advantage. If I could hang onto to Chuck for even a little bit on the Tote Road, I'd be in good shape. Chuck is a fearless donwhill runner, and, quite simply, faster than I am. So, I just focused on his back and put my head down. What I saw over the next mile-or-so I will never forget. I'm redlined. I'm all out. I'm trying to maintain control of my bodily functions. I'm picking the straightest line. I'm just trying to hang on. Meanwhile, a few strides ahead of me, Chuck is floating down the trail. Avoid a root here. Skip past a rock there. One side of the trail to the next. All the while his kilt bobbing up and down. Tra-la-la. "Isn't trail running fun?!?!" It looked totally effortless. I hated him. But, I was thrilled he was there. I knew that I wasn't racing Chuck, but I was being pulled along against everyone else in the race.

We made the right hand turn to begin the final climb to the summit, and miraculously, I was still with him. I had indeed hung on. Somehow, I was even able to chat with him a bit. I was also grunting, panting and cursing, but I did sneak in a few actual words from time to time. I know that Chuck was holding back a bit on this climb to help pull me to the top, and I truly appreciate it. It was a tremendous help. And, I also knew that no one was going to catch me. I wasn't letting it happen. I was amazed, however, that we weren't catching anyone. Where is everyone? I resisted the temptation to look back and just kept telling myself that the race was in front of me. Chuck gapped me with a few yards to go to the top, and I yelled my thanks as he took off down the Terrace Trail. (He ended up finishing about 20 seconds ahead of me, which is a lot of time to gain in that final stretch. DAMN!)

Chuck was gone, but I still had plenty of race left. I knew I wasn't going to see anyone for the rest of the race, unless I came up on them from behind, but I also had no idea where I was in relation to my goal time. The Terrace Trail was 100% gravity. I had little fear of trashing my legs now, since it's less than a half mile to the finish once you hit the bottom. I did catch one last glimpse of Chuck near the bottom as he was passing another runner whom I recognized as Bob Porier, but my brain failed to comprehend that fact since I'd never been this close to Bob at the end of a race. No matter now, though, as I'd reached the bottom of the Terrace Trail in one piece. Just one right hand turn on the Northern Loop Trail to the finish.

The trail to the finish features two small, uphill bumps, and I'd been dreading the second one. It's just big enough that it could really hurt at the end of a race. I pushed up that hill with everything I had. I no longer cared who else was running. It was me against the course. I basically sprinted up that hill and let out a pretty good grunt at the top. I'd conquered the final uphill this sucker was going to throw at me. It was literally all downhill to the finish.

Since the trails are open to "regular folk" during the race, I'm certain there are a handful of dog walkers who went home and told the story of the crazed runner grunting and frothing at the mouth, Satan face, arms pumping, snot flying, wild eyed...the whole nine yards. I was that guy. I'd gone to a whole other place. The pain was gone. It still hurt like hell, but I didn't feel it. Overly dramatic for a small, trail race? Not for me. This was the best race I'd run in a very, very long time. I turned onto the field for the final stretch knowing this. I was ecstatic. And, I was very relived it was over.

My final time was 1:16:08, 18th place. Honestly, I have no idea how I ran that fast. Seriously, I have no explanation for it. I didn't expect it, and I wouldn't have predicted it. I would have laughed at you, if you had told me I was going to run 1:16. In theory, this is not my kind of course. Then again, maybe my training is coming around.


Of course, while I was feeling all good about myself, D has to come along and win her age group. Topper. Seriously, though, 10 months post-baby. Yup, that's awesome. Just awesome. Even more awesome: she scored a Nathan Elite 2V Plus as a prize and offered to share it with me. It pays to marry up.

A host of other great performances by the Trail Monsters, even though acidotic beat us out for the team prize. Of course, the real victory is the growth of these races: 127 finishers on Sunday, which is a record for the Breaker. That's awesome. Great work by Ian to organize the whole series, and I've really enjoyed helping out with the directing duties. Now, onto the Bruiser!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Training Week 7/25 - 7/31

Mileage is somewhat skewed this week because I technically did two long runs: Sunday and Friday. That's just the way life and the schedule works out sometimes.

Onto the numbers...

7/25, Sunday: 13 - 2:12:33, Homeplace Loop, Cathance River Trails and Mt. Ararat Trails. I figured if I combined runs that are 5 miles and 9 miles from my house into one run, I'd get about 13. Add two summits of Mt. Ararat, and that's exactly what I got. Over 1,000 feet of climbing, too. Felt solid the entire way and really focused on just running easy. I felt a bit tired, but was pleased with the run. Killed 18 deer flies...they were brutal out there. Only bummer was that some of the Cathance Trails were pretty overgrown. They've weedwhacked some in the past, so hopefully, they'll do so again this summer.

7/26, Monday: 5 - 44:42, Brunswick Town Commons. No offense to the Homeplace Loop, but I needed a change of scenery. I've been running that loop ALOT. Nice to get back to some familiar terrain, too. Felt a bit tired again today, but otherwise good.

7/27, Tuesday: 7 total, White Mountain Milers Inov-8 Summer Series, 5k - 20:20; 2 mile warm up / 2 mile cool down. Took it seriously this week as I really wanted to see what sort of time I could run on this course. That being said, 5k's are dumb. Taking it seriously for me basically means sprinting the entire thing. Yay, Captain Slow Twitch! Aside from the sprinting part, I felt great and was pretty happy with the result. I'd love to sneak into the teens, but not likely on this course. The hill that makes up most of the second mile is just way to big. (I'm not mentioning the long downhill that starts right at the 2 mile mark.) Splits were 6:21 for the mile and 13:30 for two miles. Yup, that middle one is a killer, but the downhill in mile 3 evens things out.

7/28, Wednesday - Off. Contracted another cold from the kiddo. Yay, snot!

7/29, Thursday: 5 - 44:53, Homeplace Loop. My legs felt good, but the rest of me felt sick. I was in "let's just get this done" mode the whole way.

7/30, Friday: 15 - 2:40:49, Bradbury Mountain State Park (One lap of the Breaker, one lap of the Scuffle course and another lap of the Brearker). D and I finagled a day off together, which ostensibly was to be used to pack for our trip to Baxter State Park, but we dropped Samantha off at daycare and went for a run. Possibly bad parenting. Who cares, though, because we had a great run! Temps were a bit cooler, which was awesome, and the deer flies were practically non-existent. I felt very comfortable the entire way. Legs were good. Energy was good. I definitely could have run a few more miles with ease, which is a great feeling on that terrain. (More than 2100 feet of vertical.) A great day on the trails. D has a better description here.

7/31, Saturday: 4 - 47:02, Baxter State Park, Kidney Pond Circuit. Our first of three days in Baxter State Park for a mini-vacation. I was stoked to get out for a short run, since the running plans were back-burnered in favor of hanging out as a family. My plan was to just run real easy on the trails around and near Kidney Pond; explore a bit. As you can tell by the time and the pace, things didn't go quite as planned. First off, the trails were WICKED technical. Barely runnable in places. Even though that slowed me down a lot, it was actually really fun to pick my way around the rocks and roots you'd expect from a Maine trail. What I didn't expect was an incorrect sign and some major bushwhacking. After two side trips, one to a cool point on Kidney Pond and the other to a random canoe landing on a stream, I ran a bit further and starting thinking about just turning around, but then I reached a trail sign, which indicated that Kidney Pond Campground was only .7. Perfect, that would give me about 3.25 miles. Left I went. The trail was great for a while, and then it was not so great. In fact, it was gone—totally overgrown. The trail ran right along Nesowadnehunk Stream and almost into it. Actually, I may have been better off wading in the stream because the trail was that bad. I could have tripped over a moose and not realized it. In most place the grass was over my head. Finally, I broke out to a small clearing with another trail sign: "Kidney Pond Campground - 0.7." Crap. More buswhacking ensued until I finally reached the final .25 mile on the access road to the campground, which I hammered at 5k pace knowing that D would be wondering if I was still alive. I'm all for exploring and finding new trails, but this was a bit much. I hate bushwhacking. The welts and hives all over my legs were so pleasant. D took one look at me, and decided she wasn't going to run that loop. Good choice.

We had a great trip to Baxter. It's such an awesome place. A little hiking and a little running for me over the next couple days, which I'll recap next week. D has a terrific post about our trip here.

Miles: 49
Trail: 49
Road: 0

Again, the numbers are a bit skewed, but that's a big week for me. That's not a bad thing, though. Part of me wishes I'd snuck another mile in there somewhere to get to 50. Either way, that's the biggest week of 2010, and the most since one week in March of 2009. The tired legs seem to be working, too, since I've felt good on all my long runs and during my speedwork. Not sure how it works out that way, but I'll take it. I'm very hopeful that these past couple weeks will pay dividends at the Bradbury Mountain Breaker on Sunday.