Thursday, January 31, 2013

Warmth and Wind

A whopping 55 degrees when I woke up at 4am. Unfortunately it was accompanied by rain and wind, so we said goodbye to a lot of snow today.

A lot.

*Sigh*. That sucks. I could have sworn I heard my snowshoes weeping. The rain stopped by mid-morning but the wind persisted. It made today's run interesting. Temperatures will drop back down to normal tomorrow but without the snow, it's just not the same.

Run today was easy paced, but the legs felt great. Held back, will save it for Sunday.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:47/mile pace. *estimated*
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 40s to upper 50s, sunny, very windy.
Merrell Bare Access, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Running in the Fog

Temps are above freezing, aiding to the snow melt and helping to produce very dense fog throughout the day. Man, it was really thick. I stuck to the backroads with lower speed limits for a bit of added safety and was also dressed in bright clothing. 

Run went well. The rest day yesterday did some good. My legs had new life and on a few occasions I had to remind myself to slow down a bit. Slightly shorter run tomorrow but may throw in some strides. Feeling pretty good about the MWC on Sunday. 

Ran 8.7 miles @ 7:45/mile pace. *estimated*
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Upper 30s, dense fog. 
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

For Once

For once... a rest day that I didn't want to take. I thought my legs could use it though. But I didn't want to take it. That's what's important.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bring Out Your Dead

As expected, I could tell I ran a long tempo run yesterday. My legs were pretty dead. Awesome, that's how I want them to feel right now. Recovery pace was all that was on tap so I just enjoyed a very slow trot in the snow (which will be rain in two days).

All runs will be pretty slow and only one will likely be in the double digits so I can recover enough for Sunday's Mid Winter Classic. Pretty stoked for that race. Then the weekend after is the Bradbury White Out snowshoe race (pray for snow). Then a 10-mile trail race down in Florida. Yessir, this string of races is injecting some new life in me. Key is to tie them in with the rest of the training, which will be a little challenging but not impossible.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 9:12/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 20s, overcast, light snow.
Brooks Mach 13, warm-up pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

I've whined plenty about low motivation lately. However, amidst my perceptions, there have been glimmers of hope. Today was one of those days.

My grand scheme this week was to get Jeremy to run a long tempo run with me on part of the Maine Marathon course and fortunately it worked out. On top of being just an all around super cool dude, he's also running Boston and is also faster than me, so I knew I'd get a good pull.

We met up at 10am and were off. The air was frosty. We warmed up for a few miles, hitting the first in 7:30 and the second at 7:00 right on the nose. Then we let loose.

We were warmed up enough after two but naturally it took a few more miles to find our groove and feel "comfortable" with the pace. Not that the first few miles were a struggle or anything... it usually takes me about three or four miles before I feel like I'm clicking and then it's just a matter of holding it for the designated length. Fortunately, that's how it all panned out.

Went extremely well. Tempo portion was 6:37/mile for me and slightly faster for Jeremy (we decided to drop the hammer the last mile). I was very, very pleased with that. Jeremy was as well, since he hasn't been doing much (if any) speed work lately. Given that he could talk complete sentences during our tempo portion, it's obvious he had more to give so I appreciate that he held back some to run at my shoulder. Dude is just a beast.

Cooled down for the last two miles, plus change.. getting more caught up and chit chatting now that the pace was slower. Gives me renewed confidence and a spark to my motivation. Hopefully the string of upcoming races will do the same. Mid-Winter Classic is a week from today, so given today it'll probably be good to keep speed in check this week as I want to recover and do well there. Goal is to break last year's time of 1:05:07.

Ran 15.3 miles @ 6:53/mile pace, 11-mile tempo portion at 6:37/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper teens to lower 20s, sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Six Degrees of Preperation

Busy day today. Kate and I are helping out at a winter carnival being held at the school where she teaches and we're going to follow that up with a tour of the Redhook Brewery, so naturally it made sense to run before rather than after.

Headed out just before 7am when the sun was about to rise. 6F/-14C out, but I was toasty. Got the idea of using a buff to cover my face from reading Danielle's blog (thanks D), but it got too warm after a half a mile so I pulled it down. Having a thick beard has its advantages for winter.

Just did an out and back on the trails out back. Very pleasant and enjoyable. Tomorrow's tempo run with Jeremy will hardly be pleasant and enjoyable, at least not while we're running it.

Ran 5.1 miles @ 9:35/mile pace. *estimated
Trails with packed snow and ice.
Slightly hilly.
Six degrees, clear.
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, Yaktrax Pro, warm up pants, thin tights, windbreaker, fleece pullover, short sleeved shirt, beanie, mittens, buff (pulled down around neck).

Friday, January 25, 2013

Make-Up Work

Yesterday I ditched my run. For the record, cold temps had nothing to do with it. Just didn't feel like it. However, I thought I better make up for it today so I did.

Ran a nice 15-miler after work. It was a forced Zen run. Zen in the sense that I didn't have my Garmin or any other watch with me. Forced because said Garmin has kicked the bucket. I tried every trick in the book to bring it back to life, but no soup. It's dead. I'll be getting a new GPS watch soon, but it won't be a Garmin. Just feel their products are starting to go downhill and their competitors are now offering other sound options, so I'd rather give them my money.

Back to the run... it went great. Cold out, but I was dressed just right, except for the gloves. They could have been a bit thicker, but it was manageable, and on the return trip when the wind was at my back they warmed up nicely. Glad I got out.

Ran 15.1 miles @ 7:33/mile pace. *estimated
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper teens, partly sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Appeasing the Vogons

I am taking an online creative writing class. It's fun. We have to do quite a bit poetry. I don't know poetry very well, so this is good. I like to think I'm a writer, so for various reasons I feel it's important to become more familiar with it.

Our first assignment was to write a poem that is a list of things. It's due on Sunday. No sentences allowed. Here's what I came up with:

Broken-in trail running shoes
Fresh pair of socks
Technical shirt with several holes
Clean shorts
Start button on a duct-taped GPS watch

Longer, less traveled path
Smell of pine
Deer running away
Steep climb

Sweat on the brow
Flowing lactic acid
Stop button

Gatorade in fridge
Warm shower

A step closer


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cross Training: Pond Hockey

Today was a rest day from running, so I used it to get in some hockey practice with Peter S. He's a ninja and I'm a white belt, so I learned a lot today and was stoked with how much I progressed. That was a lot of fun and great cross training. We ended up skating for about an hour and ten minutes.

5F/-15C was the high temp today and tomorrow won't be much warmer. No big whoop, just have to make sure you dress right. Much easier to layer up than layer down, which is one reason why winter to me is much more pleasant in many ways than summer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Storm That Wasn't

Before I went to bed last night, the weather folks were saying 4"-8" of snow at home but at the school I teach at they were calling for 7"-12". Woohoo, snowday! we all thought. Four day weekend! we all rejoiced....


Not a flake fell and the skies were blue. However, despite the buzzkill it was a most excellent day at work. One of those days that again reminded me of why I became a teacher. I left the school glad that the day wasn't cancelled.

With that, I went for a short run at an easy pace right after work. The Garmin's battery was dead but I didn't mind much since I was running slow anyway. Went well. Frigid out but that's nothing compared to the sub-zero lows and high temps that won't make it to the teens for the next few days. Tomorrow will likely be a cross training day with pond hockey.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:25/mile pace. *estimated
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper teens, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sun and Trails

Temperatures have dropped considerably now that arctic air has finally moved in. Still, bright sunshine made it seem warmer and it was an invitation to get out.

Legs felt fine after yesterday. Hit the trails in the woods out back...snow was thin and well packed enough to safely leave the snowshoes behind but the Yaktrax were definitely needed.

Pretty uneventful and nice to be out in the woods. Had the forest all to myself. However, the evidence of some jackwagon who was out hiking yesterday was obvious...his now frozen over postholes screwed up the footing on one long section. That aside, great to be out. Fun to see all of the animal tracks in the snow.

Ran 7.8 miles @ 9:42/mile pace.
Trails w/ thin packed snow and ice.
Very hilly.
Upper teens to mid 20s, sunny, breezy.
Nike Waffle Racer VIII, Yaktrax Pro, long tights, fleece jacket, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bradbury Squall Snowshoe Race Report

Very stoked and honored to get third place at today's Bradbury Squall 3.5 mile snowshoe race. Record field as well, with 62 finishers! That's awesome. This sport really is growing fast. That being said, a lot of people who would normally beat me with no problem weren't able to make it today, and that definitely helped me nab the podium. I'll gladly take it though.

Pre Race
Kate and I got there about an hour early...plenty of time to chit chat and allow time for a warm-up. It was also really warm out, so hanging out and socializing was pretty comfortable.

Ran a short warm-up for about 6/10 mile to get a feel for the conditions. I knew getting relatively ahead in the first tenth of a mile before the trail verged on to single track would be pretty crucial, so that was the plan.

First Half

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
We're off! Went as planned and I reached the single track with five people in front of me and one guy on my tail. One of the guys in front of me, Al, got off to a quick start but slowed down and was passed. I was feeling a little nauseous all morning, and the sharp twists and turns of the Island Trail weren't helping. I shook it off though.

About a half of a mile into, Ryan's calf problem made itself known and he had to drop. It of course sucks to see that happen to a good friend.

The guy who was right behind me was still right behind me and we were pulling away from the others. I wanted to shake this guy off, though. I could now hear him breathing really hard and heavy so I figured now was a good time, and I threw in a few surges on some short uphills and that did the trick.

Probably around mile one, I came up on George A. who was running the trails. He pulled to the side as  I approached and said "Hey Jamie! Third place, great job!" Third place? I thought I was in fourth for some reason but I thought about it more and knew he was right. Scott H. and Jeremy B. were ahead of me. Scott was increasingly pulling away and Jeremy was for the most part gone.

Second Half
I rejoiced though when I was off the windy Island Trail and on to the more straight Lanzo Trail and made an effort to put down some speed here. Now the left turn on to the Link Trail. Nice. Straight trails where one could lay down the law easier.

However, I was also starting to get tired and was slowing down. My heart rate was jacked throughout and it was taking its toll. Even worse, there were now three guys behind me starting to gain ground. I first noticed them towards the end of the Island Trail but now they were closer.

Though I jumped out somewhat fast at the start, I don't think I overdid it. However, I wasn't running my kind of race. Just yesterday I posted that I run better with targets in front that I can chase down. This was the opposite. I was in the top three and had a pack of guys starting to inch their way closer. I was on defense, not offense, and I was already redlining. However, I really wanted that podium spot. Badly. I pushed harder.

The trail turned back on to single track before it would join the wider trail that goes past the O-Trail and would signify the end was near. Some short, steeper hills here and I did my best to keep moving and would steal glances behind me on the turns while trying not to look obvious. I seemed to be holding them off.

Finally reached the wider trail that goes past the O-Trails and there was less than a half mile to go. It crested a hill and I floored it on the downhill and hopefully put some distance between myself and the chase pack so they wouldn't smell blood if they still saw me by the time they crested the hill.

Trail turned left and then right and the finish line was soon in sight. Crossed the finish line in third place and was really stoked and glad it was over.

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos
Post Race
Went for a cooldown run (sans snowshoes) with Jeremy, Scott, Zach and one of their friends. Just an out and back on Route 9 for about a mile total. Happy to get back in time to see Kate finish and do so strongly. The Crossfit workouts she's been doing are really helping her with chronic muscle and tendon tightness and it showed today.

Awards ceremony and I nabbed a bag of Wicked Joe's Coffee for my prize. Very honored to share the podium with Jeremy and Scott, two good friends and super nice guys. Definitely a very fun race! HUGE thanks to Ryan and all of the volunteers for making it happen. Races like this are just a blast for so many people.

Courtesy: Maine Running Photos

Mmmm, coffee.
Afterwards, Kate and I headed to our friend Jim's house for lunch and hockey, but the warms temps had turned the pond to slush and skating was too difficult as a result. Still, we passed the puck around a bit before calling it good. Fun cap to the day!


Ran 3.5 miles @ 8:21/mile pace.
Official Time: 29:11
Place: 3rd out of 62
Trails with packed snow.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, partly sunny.
Dion 121 Snowshoes, New Balance MT110, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, gloves.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Easy Niner

Pretty warm out in the late morning. Headed out for an easy paced nine miler. Pretty uneventful all and all. Kept it chilled out since I'm saving the legs for tomorrow's Bradbury Squall snowshoe race. Looking forward to it.

Goals for tomorrow...not sure. Because of the conditions the course is different than last year, so a goal of beating last year's time isn't really prudent.

So that leaves looking at placings. Depending on who shows up could also be variable. That also leaves looking at specific targets, but I honestly don't have anyone in mind I'd like to chase down, other than the guy in front of me, so that's what I'll do.

I'm revealing my cards here, but I run best when I set out reasonably fast but also set myself up so I have enough gas to pick people off, particularly in the last quarter to a half of a race. Hopefully that'll unfold tomorrow.

Ran 9.2 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid to upper 30s, partly sunny.
Saucony Kinvara 3, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Seven in Snowshoes

The school year is now officially halfway over and it's the Friday before a three day weekend. Yay! I was eager to get home, strap on the snowshoes and go for a run to celebrate.

Went well. Conditions were packed and fast but I was also surprised at how little snow there was on the trails. Rocks sticking out here and there and really thin snowpack for a few sections. That slowed me down in spots. About two miles worth of trails were unbroken, but it wasn't that much work getting through.

This was my longest snowshoe run ever. Very enjoyable and a lot of fun. No blood doping, EPO, steroids, etc. required.

Snowshoed 7.2 miles @ 10:24/mile
Trails, mostly packed snow.
Very hilly.
Upper teens, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT110, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moderate Eight

Well, winter is back. After yesterday's snow, opted to hit one of my winter routes that goes through well plowed neighborhood streets with low speed limits.

Past two days off. Just didn't feel very motivated. Had to more or less force myself to run today but was glad I did. Decided to go at a moderate pace. Quads actually felt a touch sore despite the two days off. I can only guess that was from Sunday's downhills on slippery roads, so maybe the extra rest day wasn't entirely a shitty idea.

Snowshoe race on Sunday. With yesterday's snow and the cold temperatures, I imagine conditions will be pretty optimal. Looking forward to it. This marks a series of races I have coming up in the next month... including the Mid Winter 10 Mile Classic as well a 10 mile trail race down in Florida. Hopefully these will give me the spark I need.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 7:34/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 30s, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, glove.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Turbo January Thaw

Alright, this January thaw is getting ridiculous. Mid 50s today? Really? Sure, the end is in sight, with colder air moving in this week. However, the brutally cold arctic air mass the weather folks were beating the drum about last week has lessened to a finger tapping. Still, it'll at least knock us back down to normal but much of the snow has already melted. Sigh...

So while it was apparently good running weather, I'd prefer to have it in March where it belongs after a brutally cold winter that makes me appreciate it. Took the pace easy. I think some hill repeats may be in order tomorrow.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:06/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, partly cloudy.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Comfort Loop

Nice 16+ miler today at an easy pace. Opted to run a comfort loop so I could have the option to stop by the house for water or food with each lap. This is a great idea in inclement weather. However, hardly the case today with warm temps and no precipitation. Still, a hunch said to do it, so I did.

Truth be told, I had planned on another lap to get me 22 miles, but the legs were starting to feel tight so I called it good after three loops (a bit over five and a half each lap). Most of the downhill was on a seldom traveled, snow-coated dirt road. The slippage gave the quads more of a workout than usual, but that's a good thing. 

Capped off an okay week. Some solid workouts, but overall the mileage wasn't there, thanks to two rest days. I need to start getting my butt more into gear. 

Ran 16.7 miles @ 8:45/mile pace. 
Paved and snow coated dirt roads. 
Very hilly. 
Around 40 degrees, overcast, foggy. 
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, buff, gloves. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Progression Run

I never got out for a run yesterday. Shear laziness. However, if there's a bright side, I was kicking myself hard over it. And though I'd hardly count it as any sort of real training, at least Kate and I did go out ice skating last night.

I looked to make up for it some today by putting the pedal down. I tackled a very hilly route and ended up with a true progression run, putting special emphasis on proper form on the downhills. Splits were 8:50, 8:22, 8:03, 7:51, 7:32, 7:29, 7:15, 6:44, 6:40 and for the last 7/10 of a mile I was at a 6:20/mile pace.

Went well. Everything felt fine. Only complication was I was a bit overdressed. Wearing a fleece pullover was really dumb, should have went with a single layer windbreaker, or just layered a few shirts.

Looking forward to putting the new mash tun to use later this afternoon to brew a batch of amber ale while watching the playoffs.

Ran 9.7 miles @ 7:33/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Around 40, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, fleece pullover, short sleeved shirt, beanie (shed), gloves.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Recovery run on tap today. Energy was great. Motivation was there. The legs, however, were feeling tired from yesterday's tempo run. Good.

Sunny and warm out, but breezy as well. When a gust hit, it felt quite chilly. Fun to keep an eye on the forecasts, as that big mass of arctic air is supposed to arrive next week and hold. Old Man Winter is coming home.

Ran 6.6 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Lower 40s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves (shed halfway).

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Successful Tempo Run

That felt easy. I needed that.


*big uphill

Ran 8.0 miles @ 6:47/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast.
Saucony Kinvara 3, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, January 07, 2013

No! Snow, Please Don't Go!

Had just enough time to race home, change and strap on the snowshoes for a run before Kate and I had take the cats to the vet for their check-ups this evening. Glad I got out. Lot of good hills on this route.

The snow in the woods is still pretty deep, but on the snowmobile trails it's going quick. There were several bare patches starting to emerge. Late in the season, the opposite happens with the snow staying on the trails but I guess it hasn't had the chance to get packed down enough. Instead, it's just being churned to nothingness.

The upcoming thaw this week will have highs hitting 40F nearly every day and during the weekend it's supposed to get even warmer. At least both the NWS and Accuweather say in a few weeks a big mass of arctic air should move in and hold on for a while. Hopefully there'll be some more snow with it.

Snowshoed 5.3 miles @ 10:08/mile pace.
Trails w/ packed snow.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT110, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Snowshoe "Recovery" Run

Legs felt quite creaky all yesterday evening after the long run. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find them feeling pretty great when I woke up this morning. This despite our new cat, Nordique, apparently getting along quite well with The Cheat and their playing woke us up several times during the night. I also suspect that waking up to the great news of the NHL lockout ending gave me a positive jolt.

Had a couple espressos and a bagel, strapped on the snowshoes and was out the door. Very nice morning out. Saw three different groups of snowmobilers, all quite friendly with one giving me a respectful thumbs up, which was a nice gesture.

I definitely could have gone longer and maybe I should have, but I also didn't want to overdo it and would like to have a solid week next week. It was a good way to shake the legs loose, which is what today should be about given yesterday.

Looking back on the week, if you combine the skate skiing, snowshoeing and trail running I got in about seven hours and fifteen minutes of training this week. Pretty pleased with that. Considering that those activities jack the heart rate more, I'd say it roughly equates to 55 miles of brisk road running. Of course, this estimation is very loose and there are several other variables to consider, but I know a week like this is also providing great strength training that I wouldn't get with just straight road running. In summary, it's all good.

Snowshoed 3.2 miles @ 10:02/mile pace.
Trails with packed snow.
Slightly hilly.
Lower to upper 20s, partly sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT110, long pants, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

20 Miles at the GAC Fat Ass

Great run today at the GAC Fat Ass 50K down in Massachusetts...though I only ran 20 miles of it, as planned. Another big bonus, I ran every step with Ian again. That's over 35 miles with him this week. Kabam!

Run went very well. The trails were coated in a thin layer of packed snow and ice, with some occasional bare patches. Far less snow than home, but relatively fast conditions. Ian and I kept the pace brisk. Went well and I was quite pleased.

Afterwards, Nathan was done as well but Bob D. was still running, so we went out for Thai Food. Golden Balls. Came back, waited for Bob then we all headed back. Awesome day, big thanks to the GAC folks for hosting an awesome event!

Ran 20.1 miles @ 8:44/mile pace.
Trails, coated in a thin layer of packed snow, ice and some bare patches.
Moderately hilly.
Lower to upper 30s, partly sunny.
New Balance MT110, Yaktrax Pros, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Beautiful Loop

Quite literally, I rolled out of bed this morning. My legs were definitely pretty darn sore from skate skiing with Ryan yesterday. I knew today's planned run of the Beautiful Loop was going to be tough, even if the trail conditions were pristine throughout (they weren't).

Still, I was looking forward to it big time. Winter running at the Brad means doing the Beautiful Loop, at least if you're going long. It's a great route, with a mix of woods, powerline trails, and the most brutal hills are at the end. Great training for sure.

Kate and I pulled up and a large group of Trail Monsters were already gathered in the parking lot of Bradbury Mountain. More would show up. As usual, everyone had different routes and plans in mind. Some were running. Some were snowshoeing. Some were skiing. All were out for a good time.

Ian and I set off, and kind of surprisingly, only him and I were the only two who had plans to do the full BL. Randy joined us for the first four miles but turned around and headed back. Up until that point, and for the next handful of miles, we were enjoying better than expected trail conditions. The snowmobile traffic had thus far packed things down pretty nicely.

Ian and I reached the powerlines and were chatting away about the usual... races, training plans, work and the like. Then, things got interesting...

The river at mile seven wasn't safe to cross. We could still see open water and dared not give it a try. This was to be expected though. We took the alternate route, easily spotting Mindy and Val's tracks from when they ran the BL the other day (all unbroken powder). It was through soft snow, but we reached the road and soon were back on the powerline trails. Unfortunately, the conditions here changed dramatically.

Likely because of a lack of snowmobile traffic, the trails were suddenly very soft and not packed down well. We were postholing frequently. The effort dramatically increased and the pace dropped big time. We rarely talked to save energy. Just moved forward trying to maintain a decent pace.

We decided to take a slightly longer route that took advantage of some dirt roads. This was awesome, as it went past a farm with some Scottish cows (Highland something, I believe). They had really long, shaggy hair and horns like a Texas Longhorn. They seriously looked like something out of Star Wars. Really cool.

Soon, we were back on the trails and eventually came across Xar, who was randomly writing "Love" in big letters by stomping through the snow in a mini-field. From what I know of her, it seemed quite fitting for her to do this and is just one reason why she rocks. Unfortunately, a redneck snowmobiler destroyed her work an hour later. I mused that the loser's wife probably left him for a runner.

Lunchbreak Hill approached... the final climb but also the gnarliest. My legs were already spent and I kind of dreaded it, but at the same time I knew it was fantastic hay in the barn. Onward Ian and I went, and after reaching the top of Bradbury Mountain we were treated to great views and took a short breather to take it all in.

From there, a romp and stomp downhill and we reached the parking lot, tired and stoked. That's what it's all about. Great day and a great start to the New Year.

Here are some photos I swiped from Ian. He has more, but I didn't want to bogart them all.

At the summit and just a half mile or so to go. 

Ian's more accurate GPS track. 
Ran 15.6 miles @ 11:01/mile pace.
Trails with varying snow conditions, first half fast, second half slow. 
Very hilly. 
Lower to upper 20s, sunny. 
New Balance MT110, Yaktrax Pros, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.