Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Great Afternoon

I'm sticking to my plan of short runs all during the work week this week, so I hit the five mile loop from the school with a fellow teacher, Tim. I ran the first three with him, then he called it a day and I continued on for two more. Perfect running weather out with temps in the low 50s and partly cloudy skies. Ah, spring!

Forgot to mention it yesterday, so today is my second run in my new pair of Asics 2140s. I was long overdue for a new pair of shoes, and these feel great. They feel just like the 2130s in fact, which felt just like the 2120s. Hmmm.

Tomorrow will be a rest day. It's also the beginning of open-water fishing season, so me and the fly rod will be working one of my secret spots at a local river. I think fly fishing and long distance running are the two most Zen activities on earth. I'm surprised the Buddhist Monks don't combine these two on their paths to enlightenment. Who knows, maybe they do...

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:19/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (forgot the strap)
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 50s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Running in the Rain

Monday's are my long days since I have grad school. Had plans to meet up with a classmate to run a couple of miles before class on the USM campus. She was late, so I did those alone. However, she did run a couple with me afterwards and then I tacked on an extra mile to bring me to five total for the day.

Legs and body feel pretty good after the big run on Saturday. Just some soreness that is actually not that bad at all. All good news as it's time to start getting down to business with the training, and fortunately I feel I'm getting over the problems I've been having in time to also get in adequate preperation for the Western States 100. Speaking of which, I booked my airfare for said race yesterday. Rock bottom prices to be had with airfare right now!

Run before class:
Ran 2.1 miles @ 8:24/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 149/161

Ran after class:
Ran 3.0 miles @ 9:19/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 138/157

One mile loop repeated for both runs.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 40s, light rain, overcast.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One Tough 50K Run

Officially dubbed as the "I've Been Married for 10 Years and My Wife Still Doesn't Have a Fat Ass 50k", this was one tough event. Ian and Emma are celebrating their 10th anniversary, and very graciously decided to spend it by putting on the event and running with the rest of us Trail Monster knuckleheads. Thanks guys for a fun time!

In case anyone who stumbles across this report doesn't know what a "Fat Ass" running event is, it's basically a very informal "race" with no entry fees or prizes. They really are just more of a glorified training run. 50k is the most common distance.

Anyway, I'll keep this brief... the company was excellent and the conditions were extremely tough. Loose snow, ice and mud dominated the trails, which were already steep and rugged to begin with. It was very challenging to say the least, but also a lot of fun.

The course was a four mile loop at Bradbury Mountain State Park that meandered through the park and went over the summit of the hill (too small to be called a mountain, IMO. That being said, it's still a major buttkicker). Loops repeated seven times, and then the eighth one was shortened about a mile to get in the distance without going over too much.

I felt great! My plan was to take things VERY easy today and I did just that. As a result, I ran very slow and aside from my back cramping up slightly around 22 miles in (that went away), I felt great all around. The foot did ache a bit, but I never once felt the sharp stabbing pain of a PF flare-up. That was GREAT news. Trail runs had still proved difficult prior to this, always causing flare-ups, so today was a big success. My shin splints were also never an issue. And my energy felt great, but then again, I was taking it very easy. Very, very pleased with how it all went.

I'd guess around 25 folks started. I don't think most were planning on doing the whole distance, but I think 6-7 of us finished the full 50K. I do know I was last of the finishers, and am proud of my DFL! Hey, if you're gonna go slow, do it in style.

Ran big chunks of the run with Amanda, who I ran about half of the MDI Marathon with last year before my wheels fell off and she blazed ahead... also ran a good chunk with Stephen, and then Ryan. I hadn't run one-on-one with Ryan for a long stretch before, so that was nice. We definitely had some funny conversations.

No plans to run tomorrow, so happy to finish with over 60 miles for the week.

Ran 31.6 miles @ 13:13/mile pace. (does not include rest stops)
AHR/MHR - 136/160
Rugged trails coated with loose snow, ice, and mud.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s to lower 40s, overcast.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Short and Sweet

Just a short five today to allow recovery for the 50k run on Saturday. Ran with a co-worker, Tim, at his pace. This was my first time running with Tim, and he did great. He's an avid soccer player, so he handled the distance just fine.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:46/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 137/151
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

14 On Da Beach

Warm temperatures, bright sun shine and an afternoon low-tide made running on the beach a no-brainer after work today. As usual on my beach runs, I kept the pace very slow. Just moseyed along enjoying the scenery, fresh ocean air and the sounds of the waves crashing. Ahhhhhhhh......

Ran 14.2 miles @ 8:54/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 137/163
Beaches with packed sand.
Very flat.
Upper to mid 40s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back At'Em

Felt great to run again after taking the last three days off. Saturday and Sunday were by design, to let the shin splints calm down a little and I also had a lot of grad school work to do. Yesterday... well... chalk that one up to laziness, as the wind was cold and biting and we've been spoiled with spring temperatures lately.

Still windy today, but warmer out. Quite nice, actually. I was probably a bit overdressed. I hit a hilly route on the back roads near the school and felt more in sync as the run went on. Good run.

Looking forward to a 50k run with the Trail Monster gang on Saturday!

Ran 10.1 miles @ 8:14/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 150/164
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower-mid 40s, sunny, windy.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Owie, owie, owie...

Welp, the shin splints flared up pretty bad today, so I decided to bail out after 2.5 miles. Not too worried about it. After battling the PF, this is pretty minor league stuff. Still, it hurts, so I might take it easy with light running this weekend to let things settle down again.

Ran 2.5 miles @ 8:43/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 137/160
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Around 40 degrees, sunny.
Shorts, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back Cove Tempo Run

Had another appointment with the sports chiro/ART specialist today. Went well, and I'm on track. Afterwards, headed over to the Back Cove for a run. Plan was to do three laps, and Ian planned on meeting up with me after he got off work.

I hit the first loop faster than I had planned, and then right as I started the second loop I saw Ian and we ran together. He was also feeling energetic, and together we kept up a good tempo pace with relative ease.

The shin splints weren't bad at all today, thanks to a rest day yesterday. I guess the rest of the body benefited as well, since I felt great.

Ran 10.7 miles @ 7:17/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 159/172
Packed trails.
Slightly hilly.
Around 50 degrees, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Short and Splints

Just a short five today. Truth be told, I had planned on at least twice that today, but the shin splints I've been experiencing the past week or two felt really flared up so I cut it short. I'm not too concerned though. I've had shin splints several times in the past, and know they only last a month at the most for me. Glad to be dealing with this "problem" as opposed to the PF one.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:13/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/172
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Great Weather, Great Run

Perfect running weather today, with it getting into the 50s with bright sunshine. Had a great run and set out over my 10-mile hill route, with the intent of keeping the pace below 8:00/mile. It was one of those runs where all cylinders were firing and the pace seemed relatively easy. Very happy with today.

Rest day tomorrow.

Ran 10.1 miles @ 7:25/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 159/173
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 40s to mid 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Run Cut Short

I had planned on 20+ miles today, but just wasn't really feeling it so I cut it short at 13.5. That was done comfortably and I was never struggling, but at the same time I didn't feel like pushing it. No big deal. Just glad to cut a run short for reasons other than plantar fasciitis (which was virtually non-existent during the run).

Glad to see my heart rate starting to come down. It's getting close to levels that I had last year when everything was going well.

Ran 13.5 miles @ 8:32/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/161
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s to lower 40s, sunny, breezy.
Shorts, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dump Loop in the AM

I'm heading up to Bangor this morning for a school competition, which afforded me a little extra time in the morning to get in a run without much hassle. Run went well, though a 2-mile uphill stretch was a bit unpleasant since I played leapfrog with a garbage truck.

Overall pace would have been about :30/mile faster, but the dirt road on the downhill was coated with very slick ice. Had to walk a few sections of it, and when able to run it was slow going until I reached the paved section.

Running tomorrow is pretty much out of the question, but I plan on doing a long run on Saturday after I sleep in, so no real worries.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:40/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/160
Paved roads, and ice-coated dirt roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny, windy.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Another Mt. Hope Run

Hit Mt. Hope again today. Good run with ridiculous hills that are a fantastic workout. Despite the rest day yesterday, still feeling a touch beat up from the mileage increase, but nothing out of the ordinary. Still, I plan on taking a step back this week with the mileage to help with recovery, which is good timing because there's a lot going on this week with work, particularly on Thursday and Friday. I might just use both of those days as rest days, though somewhat begrudgingly.

On the PF front, I'm continuing to see genuine improvement. The general ache/pain I've felt constantly has waned dramatically, and when I do have flare-ups they are less intense, shorter, and I recover from them much, much quicker. And, all this has been going on while I've been ramping up the mileage. All good signs, for sure. I still have ways to go before declaring it gone, but I'm getting there. For now, it's just nice to be able to run comfortably for the most part.

Ran 11.1 miles @ 8:41/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 142/166
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 40s, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The River, the Old Man, and the Vicious Dog

I think I could definitely classify today's run as an adventure. A slow run down to the Saco River and back turned out to be one to remember. Like yesterday, the weather today was perfect. I was stoked to set out in just shorts, a t-shirt and Moeben sleeves and enjoyed the lighter weight and freedom the warmer weather clothing provided.

Funny Elderly Man
As I made my way down to the river, I saw several people out and about, going for walks and also enjoying the spring weather preview. I turned right on the road that paralleled the river, and saw an elderly couple up ahead. The man was hunched over and used a cane to help him walk. As I got closer, he lifted his cane and shook it at me.

"How about that crazy runner fellah' who runs barefoot through the snow?!", he yelled in a thick Maine accent. Good, I thought I had done something wrong. He was referring to this guy. I laughed and agreed that the guy was indeed crazy. The image of this friendly old man waving his cane at me kept me laughing for the next few miles.

The Bad Dog
I moseyed along and started getting a bit tired and hungry when I was a few miles from home, but received a big shot of adrenaline as a very large dog started charging at me. For a second, I didn't think much of it. Dogs bark at me all the time. But it became very clear this dog was different. It's teeth were bared, the hair on it's back was straight up, it's bark was sinister, and it was running full speed at me and not slowing down. Crap.

I stood my ground and raised my arms to make myself look bigger, yelling repeatedly "GET BACK!" in a loud, deep voice. This froze the dog about six feet from me, but the teeth were still bared and the dog was still barking ferociously and non-stop. It would try to inch closer, and I would raise my arms higher and yell louder to get it to back down momentarily, and then it'd try again. Where the f%$& was the owner?! I was hoping someone would come out of the house the dog ran from and call the dog off, but no car was in the driveway.

I quickly formulated a two-part plan: First, reach down and grab a handful of icy snow and squeeze it into a hard-packed ball. Second, begin circling the dog to get between it and it's house. I've heard this puts dogs on the defensive and they get stressed when you get between them and their property. Now was a good time to find out.

I reached down and grabbed some icy snow, and cocked my arm back. The dog then backed down and took off back towards the house. I didn't have to circle. Whew.

I ran the last few miles home on sheer adrenaline. As soon as I got home, I got in my car and drove back to the dog's house, got the address, and reported the incident to the Sheriff's office. I must say they were great and they took my report seriously, even though I wasn't attacked physically. They promised to come out that day and talk to the owner. I think I'll run with my pepper spray for a little while for added piece of mind.

That aside, a great run. Finished the week with 49.5 miles.

Ran 15.3 miles @ 8:56/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 141/161
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 40s to lower 50s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mashed Potatoes at Bradbury Mountain

I knew today might be a bear of a run with the warm temperatures loosening up the snow, but actually it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. However, a few sections were still akin to running in mashed potatoes. But with weather as perfect as it was today, I don't think any of us really minded much.

I met up with Stephen at 7am. The rest of the group would arrive an hour later, so together we headed out on the Boundary Trail to the summit. This section of trail did indeed suck! No snowmobiles on the path we were running, so the snow was very loose and slow going. As Stephen put it, you didn't get any rebound action, all energy was absorbed in the soft snow.

We got done and Stephen wanted to go for another loop before the others arrived. I said no way. Instead, I opted to just run the short way back up to the summit and back down while he repeated the loop. Soon afterwards, the others, which included Ian, Mindy, Blaine, Lilly, Jim, Shauna and Ben, arrived and we were off.

The sections that ensued were in much better shape. They were all snowmobile trails, and while the snow was still a bit loose, it was way better than I thought it might be. Together we bopped along, only really stringing out on the return back to the parking lot. Fun trails, with rolling hills that are very steep at times.

Great run with great company!

Ran 12.1 miles @ 10:41/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 146/164
Trails coated with varying snow conditions.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 30s to around 50 degrees, sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt.. shedded down to shorts, long and short sleeved shirt.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Short Run in Warm Temperatures

Good little run at a relatively quick pace. Felt great! Nice to run in shorts. Snow is melting fast, and looking at the forecast, it should continue to do so. Looking forward to meeting up with the Trail Monster gang for a longer run tomorrow.

Ran 5.3 miles @ 7:24/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 158/169
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 40s, mostly cloudy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, sleeveless shirt.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

ART Session #5 and a Back Cove Run

Had another active release therapy session today. Long story short, everything is on track. I should clarify though that while I've gotten into the habit of calling these active release therapy sessions, the ART is only part of the plan. It's been a combination of that along with some chiropractic work, identifying that I have a shorter leg and correcting that with a heel lift, and undergoing the strengthening and stretching regiment that is doing the trick. Shock and awe, baby, shock and awe.

As for the run, it went well. I had originally planned on two laps around the Back Cove but just did one, since I don't want to do too much before the weekend, where I have another long-ish run planned. Besides, trail conditions around the cove were less than ideal. Equal patches of mud, ice and snow. In some cases, that might be fun, but not really for that area.

Ran 3.6 miles @ 7:50/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 159/175
Trails coated with snow, ice and mud.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, partly sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hills and Wind

Adjusted my running plans a bit at the last minute to take advantage of some back roads, since Rt. 109 going towards Acton was still a bit narrow with the snow banks and had quite a few ice patches. This meant trading a few miles distance for some much bigger hills. Distance turned out to be shorter than I anticipated, but adequate. In fact, I felt a bit beat up today. Nothing bad, just what one typically feels when in the process of ramping up the mileage.

I was very slow today as a result. The head wind for the first few miles also didn't help much. Very windy today. But I felt warmed up as I neared the top of the ridge, and the by that time the wind was at my back. Combined with the subsequent downhill, it made for a much easier second half.

I have another active release therapy appointment tomorrow. Will play running afterwards by ear, depending how I'm feeling. I will say this though, the ART along with the heel lift, strengthening and stretching regiment they have me on is clearly working. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm definitely getting there.

Ran 7.6 miles @ 8:48/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 148/162
Paved roads, some patches of ice and snow.
Very hilly.
Upper 20s, partly cloudy, very windy.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Recovery Run

Day off yesterday, and a day at a recovery pace and short distance today to allow ample recovery from the bigger runs this past weekend. Will continue this plan for the next few weeks while I gradually work the mileage back up.

Have been thinking lately that incorporating speed or tempo workouts once a week would be beneficial. People have different theories that are often contradictory on the benefits of speed workouts for ultra training, but I think for me they definitely help. Will start to implement them in the next week or two. Would like to continue to get used to the new heel lift and allow my body to adjust first.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 8:34/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - N/A (accidentally left the strap on my desk at home)
Paved roads, patches of slush.
Mostly flat.
Mid 20s, mostly sunny.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spring vs. Winter

I woke up this morning somewhat surprised my foot was feeling as well as it was. The PF was so minor it felt as if I hadn't even run yesterday. My legs also didn't feel so bad either, with only some light soreness.

So, I headed out for my 9.2 mile loop, knowing that I could do it comfortably if I kept the pace really slow. Success. The PF was hardly present. Needless to say I'm happy.

I saw my first red-winged blackbird of the year during the run. These are one of the first species of birds that arrive in Maine during the spring migration. Given that 10"-16" of snow are expected tonight and tomorrow followed by another cold snap, he might want to think about heading back down south for a little bit longer. Still, nice to see and hear one.

I saw one person and several animals during today's run that will be happy about tonight's storm... a dog-sledder and his team of dogs. The guy was setting up his rig when I saw him. Would have been great to see them in action, but I was about a mile from home and a hot shower sounded better.

Had a 41.8 mile week this week and was able to do so relatively comfortably. Two 40+ mile weeks in a row is a big accomplishment for me at this stage. And with today's run on top of yesterday's long run, I feel I've really earned my rest day tomorrow.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 9:05/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 143/154
Paved roads.
Moderatly hilly.
Mid-upper teens, mostly cloudy.
Long pants, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.