Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fighting Feeling Tired

Today was just one of those days that, despite work going smoothly, I felt exhausted at the end of the day. Did not feel like running. I'm in the early stages of a ramp up period and probably could have gotten away with taking today off, but continuing the recent good momentum gets precedence. As usual, I was really glad I didn't nix the run and it went great. Good stuff.

The route I ran today will be a good candidate for the Bomb Drop (downhills at tempo, rest easy) or Missile Launch (uphills at tempo, rest easy) runs I plan on incorporating for Boston. Nice rolling hills of varying degrees of steepness. Just an overall easy pace today though. Might hit the track tomorrow to give the legs some turnover, but it'll still be light.

Ran 7.5 miles @ 8:09/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s, mostly cloudy.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hills and Knights of the Round Table

Ran a route from the school that goes by Ted's Fried Clams (closed for the season, see you in May!). The first half features two really brutal climbs. One sharp and another prolonged. Second half is gravy though; a few sharper downhills at first and then the last handful miles are on a gradual decline that's quite ripe for a killing.

Went really well. Legs felt great and I took the first half easy but ran a progression in the second half to give the legs some turnover.

Additionally, had a great meeting last night with the Professor and Crux at the Thirsty Pig in Portland (great place). They've been very valuable in the past, specifically with giving road marathon advice and I also wanted to keep the group very small so we'd stay focused. We hashed through a LOT... talking about what has worked and what hasn't, differing theories, what the pros do and if it's applicable to us, identifying strengths and weaknesses, what to do with them and about them, diet, rest days...the works.  It was extremely productive and insightful. I walked away last night feeling pumped and ready and will be putting together my Boston regiment with a lot more confidence now. Should have it all mapped out by this weekend.

Ran 10.6 miles @ 7:33/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Wind and the Woods

A sunny day with a brisk, cold wind, courtesy of a cold front moving through the other day. Nice day to be out.

Kate joined me for the first mile of a trail run in the woods out back. After that, she returned the way we came and I was alone with the sounds of the wind flowing through the trees accompanied by the soft thuds of my footsteps and the pants of my breath. With the trees and brush devoid of leaves, one can now easily view much deeper into the woods. I kept my eyes open for wildlife of any sort, but no such luck today.

On the way back, I explored a trail that I hadn't been on in a few years (and it didn't look like anyone else had either). Took the wrong branch of a fork and it kicked me back out on to the fire road. Drat. From there, I decided to lay down the law a little and kicked in a tempo pace for the last mile and a half. Good run over some substantially hilly (700'+ gain) and technical terrain. Really enjoyed it.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 10:05/mile.
Very hilly.
Technical trails, fire roads.
Lower to mid 30s, sunny, windy.
New Balance MT110, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Melancholy Niner

Heavy hearts in our house. We had to put down one of our cats, M, yesterday. Sad time for me, but an especially sad time for Kate, as he was more her cat and with her for the past 15 1/2 years. It was time though and I'm thankful knowing that he had a very good life and also brought a lot of joy to Kate.

So, that was on my mind a bit during this morning's run. But I also though of happier things, like the batch of homebrew I'm going ingredient shopping for today and will make tomorrow (a Christmas Ale), the Gator/FSU game this afternoon, Christmas being about a month away, snowshoe racing, pond hockey and the upcoming Boston training cycle. It was an ideal way to let the mind wander, which is what I needed and also what mellow runs like this are really, really good for. I think every runner can relate to that.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 8:19/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, overcast to partly cloudy, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Snarky List of Things I'm Thankful For

Facebook, Twitter, et all are all abuzz of things folks are thankful for. It seems like most of them are the garden variety So thankful for my friends, family, health... Hey, me too! I don't need a day to remind me of that. I'm grateful every day to be married to a my kick arse wife, been raised by awesome parents, have awesome family and equally incredible friends. Why not use this day to dig a little deeper and think of some other things you are really thankful for? C'mon, be honest. Even if it is selfish.

Here are mine:
- I'm thankful for the several folks who warned me with a healthy dose of smugness of how hard the 40-44 age group would be compared to the thirties. Yeah, screw you. Since turning 40 last May, I've placed second in my age group at a marathon and a half marathon. I also won my age group at the Scuffle 6-mile Trail race. I even outright won a 5K. That's more awards than I've probably ever won in the rest of my life combined. Thanks for giving me the incentive to kick some arse. I'm not done yet.

- Society jokes about how many folks don't like their in-laws. There's probably a good reason for that. I'm thankful that doesn't apply to me. I love my in-laws. They rock! They're here with us now for Thanksgiving and we're having a blast (and no, they'll probably never even see this).

- I'm thankful for my current streak of Boston Marathon qualifications. This April will be my third Boston. I'm already qualified for 2014. After years of having it stuck in my craw that I hadn't qualified and didn't think I'd ever really be good enough, I appreciate every single bit of it.

- I'm thankful that I have a job that I sincerely look forward to going to just about every single day. Teaching, guiding and mentoring high school students is hard work but even more fulfilling. I'll include coaching cross country with that as well.

There's more, but those are some of the bigger ones that come to mind right off the bat. Oh yeah, check out the apple pie I baked last night. Hopefully there'll be room for it after all of the turkey, stuffing, and everything else!

Mmmm, apple pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ran 4.2 miles @ 8:44/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Mostly flat. 
Upper 30s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve and Homebrew

Just a short and easy 5K run around the hood today. Tempting to do more, but I'm trying to play the ramp-up smart and I'm already on a good track for the next step up. Legs are feeling super though. Also a lot to do today, primarily getting the house (and kitchen) in order for tomorrow. Kate's parents arrive this evening, looking forward to a fun Thanksgiving at home.

On a homebrew note, we'll be cracking open a most excellent Kölsch to go with the Turkey Day feast tomorrow. We also test sampled the amber jalapeño beer last night (aptly named "Amberpeño Ale"). I was blown away. Thankfully, the jalapeños aren't overpowering at all. Present, but quite subtle and a really nice addition. Though the beer won't be mature for another few weeks, we just might have to crack open a few bottles tomorrow as well. Past two batches have been brewed using all grain and no extracts. Takes longer, but definitely makes a big difference.

From a few weeks ago: Adding hops to the wort. 
Ran 3.1 miles @ 8:29/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper 30s, overcast. 
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back Cove With the Gang

Though today is Tuesday, it's really my Friday since I have the next three days off for Thanksgiving. What finer way to kick off the holiday then a run with good friends? Ran with Ryan, Ian, Blaine, Mindy, Zak and Sean at the Back Cove.

Nice, relaxed pace and fun to socialize with everyone. The lights of Portland looked really scenic reflecting off the water on the far side of the cove. And nice to now run four days in a row, something I haven't done since early October. Legs are feeling great and ready for more. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Ryan, Blaine and I headed to the Great Lost Bear afterwards for some grub and a few drinks, but they were wicked crowded and we didn't feel like waiting 40 minutes for a table so we left. Saw a killer shooting star just before we left though, the kind that breaks up and leaves a sparkling trail in its wake. Pretty sweet.

Ran 5.2 miles @ 8:29/mile pace.
Packed trails.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 40s to upper 30s, clear skies.
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, long tights, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chills and Hills

You'd think we're living in Denver right now. A month ago I forgot what the sun looked like but now it's the clouds that have been absent from the skies. Crisp, cool air to boot, so it's been perfect running weather lately.

Solid run today on a hilly route. Felt a little cold at first but once I hit the uphills after about a mile, I felt fine. Good energy and after four miles at an easy pace I let it loose on the last three. Worth mentioning those were downhill and flat miles, but still. Felt nice to let'er rip (7:04, 6:41, 6:13).

Running has been feeling great lately. I can tell I'm ready to start ramping it up here soon and can't wait. Sticking with the master plan but thankfully there's not much time before it's time.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:22/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Lower 40s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Trail Exploration

A nice treat this morning as Kate joined me for a portion of my trail run in the woods out back. She just wanted to get in a mile and a half, so after three quarters of a mile she headed back and I continued on.

I hadn't run the route I had planned in a while, and I realized halfway through that it was going to be a few miles short of the five miles I wanted to do. So, I explored some new trails and also some paths that I hadn't been on in a long while.

One trail dissolved into the woods, and after bushwacking around a bit I decided it was a lost cause and backtracked. Another trail has been closed to ATV traffic. Unfortunately, most people in my area don't venture far into the woods unless they're on something with a gas motor. As a result, there wasn't enough foot or bike traffic to make the way clear, and after getting off track a few times I headed back to the main path again. It's always fun to explore, one of the reasons why I love trail running. Great way to spend part of the morning. Perfect late autumn weather, to boot.

A mere 21.6 miles for the week. Last week was 21.3. The week before that, just 20.6. Nice. Just as I planned. It feels weird not doing a lot of mileage and also nothing very intense, but that'll change soon enough. I'll probably get close to 30 this upcoming week, and tack on 5-10 miles a week through December until I'm up to ~60/week. Then I'll introduce the intensity more regularly and be in full I'm-gonna-get-you-Boston mode. Bring it!!!

Ran 5.0 miles @ 11:14 (includes several where-the-#%&@-am-I stops and slow downs).
Very hilly.
Upper 30s to lower 40s, sunny.
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, shorts, windbreaker (shed after 1.5 miles), short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Land of Pine

Fun run at Pineland today and it demonstrated how out of touch I am with my running senses. Myself, Ian and Zak are all undergoing chill out periods before ramping up for what's next. I think we all knew we were going a bit fast but wrote off the effort as being relatively out of shape (or in Ian's case, recovering from a trail marathon two weeks ago).

Low and behold when we ended the run and I looked at the pace for the first time, it turns out we were indeed going relatively fast. I would have guessed our pace at 8:50/mile but it was actually just over 8:00/mile, which was a fun surprise to see. I think it's safe to say that Pineland is about a minute slower per mile than roads with an equal effort, so nice to get in a decent moderate pace. 

Lot's of others out running today as well. Ran with a new person in our group, Jeannie, for quite a bit. She's a really strong runner and just moved here with her significant other (forget his name, unfortunately) from Tennessee. Both really nice folks. 

Afterwards, Ian and I had coffee and breakfast sandwiches at the visitor's center while waiting for Emma to finish her run. Julia joined us for a bit as well. Nice end to the morning. Now I'm ready for an afternoon nap. 

Ran 7.8 miles @ 8:01/mile pace. 
Moderately hilly. 
Upper 20s to mid 30s, sunny. 
New Balance MT110, long tights, windbreaker (shed after a few miles), short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I didn't want my legs to forget what a faster pace felt like so I did a very light track workout to give them some turnover.

Warmed up for a few miles then did five 400M repeats on the track. Hard to quantify these things, but I'd say ~80-85% effort is probably accurate, so pretty light. Felt great. Running fast is simply fun.

My Brooks Mach 13 flats now have 460+ miles on them. Might have to retire them soon. They just feel a bit tired and worn out. My other flats are Nike Waffle Racers but they don't exactly fit me very well and are also a bit too knobby of a tread for anything on the road. Not bad for shorter trail runs though. Will have to keep my eyes on Running Warehouse for a good pair on sale.

w/u: Ran 2.0 miles @ 8:05/mile pace.
5 X 400M @ 80-85% effort w/ 2:00 static rest. 1:25, 1:21, 1:20, 1:19, 1:19.
c/d: Ran 1.5 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Paved roads (w/u and c/d), track.
Slightly hilly (w/u and c/d).
Lower 40s, sunny.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

L'esprit Vide

There are few things more aggravating than pulling into the parking lot at work and realizing that you forgot to pack your running shoes. 

Because of the small window that I had to run today, the track workout will have to wait until tomorrow. No time during the day to retrieve said shoes. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dead Owls

Just a slow and short out and back along Rt. 5. Legs felt great, despite the run up Ossipee yesterday. Still, kept the pace very pedestrian.

Saw a dead northern saw-whet owl by the side of the road. Poor little guy. I've heard them at night before but had never seen one in the wild, until now. I don't think dead ones count as official sightings though. If they do, it's certainly not as exciting.

Ran 4.1 miles @ 8:39/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Upper 40s to lower 50s, sunny.
Merrell Bare Access, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ossipee Hill and Writing

Hit the local mountain this morning, running an out and back to Ossipee Hill. Given how I've been feeling lately, I figured I could do this run without any difficulty and I was glad I was right. It's official: a lot of the rust is now off, my legs are recovered and they feel primed for a ramp-up to a rigorous training cycle for Boston, which will begin in December.

Perfect running weather and a great day to be out. No hunting allowed on Sundays, but I kept an eye out for poachers nonetheless and was dressed in bright colors (notably the vibrant orange gloves, courtesy of volunteering at the Craig Cup). I've heard too many friends report hunters for poaching or trespassing in non-hunting areas this season, so best to be very careful. Thankfully no incidents though. Just a nice day in the woods. 

Did the usual climb up the firetower and saw the ocean and the White Mountains. Too hazy/cloudy to see the Presidentials though. Let the wind dry off my sweat but started to head down before I got too cold, and I had a nice gallop back home. 

Thought a lot about the current writing project while I ran. Getting married over the summer was obviously a pretty big life change, though one for the better obviously. With that, the start of the school year, cross country season and training for MDI, I just didn't seem to have much time for other projects. However, I also really hoped that my writing wouldn't be like exercise is for most people: something you want to do and feel like you should be doing but just never seem to have the time. 

But not having as much on my plate obviously makes doing projects easier, and that's the case now. The school year and married life have reached cruising altitude. Cross country season is over. Boston training doesn't begin for another month but even when it does, it shouldn't impact things too much. 

As a result of the above, I've picked back up on a story (horror/suspense) I had began working on earlier this year. I've read through what I've wrote and decided that I really like it. I rewrote the outline all the way to the ending, and the actual writing is going great. I feel like I have a rhythm going and most importantly, I'm having fun doing it. Not to get too corny here, but running obviously provides a nice physical outlet. I think it's just as important to have a creative one as well. Glad I've got mine going again!
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Ran 11.1 miles @ 8:59/mile pace. 
Paved roads, dirt roads, jeep roads, trails. 
Extremely hilly. 
Lower to mid 40s, overcast. 
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie (off and on), gloves.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Alleviating Guilt

Took the past two days off. Wednesday, I gave some errands precedence but yesterday my actions transformed me into a hypocritical moron... it was cold and raining out, and I didn't feel like running in that kind of weather. This after I raved on Tuesday's blog post about how much I love running in cold weather. Normally, that's true. Yesterday, it wasn't. I instead used this being a chill-out month as an excuse to come home, crawl into bed and read Dan Simmons's Endymion. For what it's worth, it's the third book in his Hyperion series, a highly recommended read if you enjoy nerdy, intelligent, existential science fiction.

So with that, I sought to alleviate some guilt today by running a hilly seven mile route. It went really well. Legs didn't feel too rusty. Very enjoyable, aside from the old lady who nearly hit me with her SUV.

It's time to start creeping the mileage up some. Kind of a ramp-up to the ramp-up, though that sounds (and probably is) redundant.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:47/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
50 degrees, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Cold Snap!

I absolutely love running in colder weather. For one, I'm pretty comfortable with it. My races and training runs have also told me I run faster in the cold and the antithesis is also true... I don't do as well in hot weather and tend to overheat rather easily.

Today it was nice and chilly, so after I voted and swung by the Hannaford for a few things Kate and I forgot to pick up the other day, I changed and set out for a run on my 5K route. The legs felt pretty spry and the refrigerated air running over the bare skin of my face and legs felt great. Really enjoyable.

December will be here quickly. I hope to have a training plan for Boston mapped out by then. Will focus on being more regimented and disciplined this time around. I really, really want to go after that sub-3 and think it's within my realm, but talk is cheap. In the meantime, will continue to keep the mileage low while keeping my sanity.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 7:26/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, gloves.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Trail Run and Trail Maintenance at the Brad

A fun day at Bradbury Mountain today. I hit the trails with Mindy and Dora for a little over five and a half miles. We kept the pace easy and there was no shortage of conversation which focused a lot on education, literature and film. Both Mindy and Dora are super cool and intelligent women, so it was naturally a blast. Glad we were able to run together again.

As we ran back to the parking lot, several others had arrived for some planned maintenance work. Kate, Amy and I cleared the Summit Trail. We primarily raked the trail, which might sound kind of silly but wet foilage on rocks and roots can make things quite slippery, which is of special concern for families hiking with small children, which there was a lot of today. Besides, the trail looked great after we were done with it! I should have taken a picture. 

Afterwards, Kate and I took care of some shopping at LL Bean and then hit Gritty's for lunch before heading home. Fun day. 

Ran 5.7 miles @ 13:27/mile pace. 
Extremely hilly. 
Mid 40s, sunny. 
New Balance MT110, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

A Haiku

A short run today.
Ran a mix of roads and trails.
It was fun, ya know?

Ran 2.4 miles @ 8:53/mile pace.
Paved roads, trails.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 50s, overcast.
Merrell Bare Access, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


I actually felt like a runner today. Only felt a little bit of rust and my legs appeared to be much less confused. Good hills on this route as well. Sweet.

Was going to take tomorrow off but I think it would be prudent to compromise a bit and get in a short 2-3 miler, just to keep the momentum moving forward. It'll be hard to draw the line in keeping my mileage low this month, but giving the body a break while also making myself chomp at the bit for December is a good thing. 

Ran 5.5 miles @ 7:38/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Mid 50s, sunny. 
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, long sleeved shirt, cap.