Monday, December 30, 2013

Catching Up

Holiday travel madness. Thankfully it's over. On the way back up from Florida, we stopped in West Virginia for a wedding. We had time the day after (Saturday) to head over to Carter Caves in Kentucky. Hiked around for about 2.5 hours.

Looking out from a cave's mouth. 

Looking into a small stream of water. 

Looking up at an icicle. 

Wumpus trout live in this cave. 

Deer carcass.

Kate in a cave.
Back in Maine now, and it feels great to be back. Ran a little over five miles at sunset on the snowy streets of Brewer. The YakTrax Pros did great in providing traction and peace of mind. The temps in the upper to mid teens felt fine and the whole run was pleasant, aside from having to desperately go number two at the end. Glad I made it back in time.

Ran 5.2 miles @ 8:47/mile pace. 
Paved roads, coated in snow. 
Slightly hilly. 
Upper to mid teens, clear skies. 
Saucony Virrata w/ Yak Trax Pros, long tights, fleece pullover, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas and Post-Christmas Running

Christmas Day... an easy three miles of running and hiking with my father (on bike), Kate and Chris. Fun time to stop and look at critters along the way. Christmas itself was a great day, had a lot of fun hanging with family.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 14:45/mile pace.
Paved roads and trails.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Today I had some time in the morning, but it was cut a little short with travel plans down to Inverness to see family down there. Ergo, I had to cut the run shorter than the original 20 miles I had on tap. No biggie, family is more important. Pleasant run on the backroads outside of Gainesville.

As always, a great trip visiting family, but I'm looking forward to heading back home and strapping on the snowshoes.

Ran 11.4 miles @ 8:06/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 50s, mostly cloudy.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hill Repeats

Session of hill repeats this morning. The hill wasn't terribly steep or long (.13 miles and 33 feet of gain). Given this is Florida, but the truth is there are some bigger hills in the area, but this one was most convenient and it was fine. Plus it was pretty windy and head-on for each run up, giving some added resistance. 

Legs felt pretty good. Thankfully a cold front move through and the weather is actually quite perfect. Brother arrives soon, maybe I can talk him into going for another run later in the day. 

w/u: Ran .7 miles @ 8:23/mile pace. 
12 X hill repeats: Ran 3.1 miles @ 7:42/mile pace. 
c/d: Ran 1.4 miles @ 8:41/mile pace. 

Paved roads. 
Mostly flat for w/u and c/d. 
Lower to mid 50s, sunny, breezy.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, long sleeved shirt. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Festivus!

Feats of strength performed this morning in the form of a trail run at the San Felasco Hammock. Heat and humidity were pretty brutal, especially considering the lack of acclimation.

It was a fine way to burn off the "Cracker Platter" consisting of frog legs, gator tail and catfish I enjoyed last night at a local restaurant outside the Ocala National Forest. Really awesome.

Run went great, other than battling the weather. Kate ran also, doing her own thing, and got a bit lost but conveniently wound up at the Ranger station. They kindly gave her some water and offered a ride back on the ATV, but she was fine and declined.

Cold front is approaching, and I'm hoping the UF track will be open tomorrow for some interval work. If not, I'll kick my butt in some other fashion.

Ran 11.6 miles @ 8:56/mile pace.
Packed trails with occasional sandy patches.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 70s, partly cloudy, breezy, very humid.
New Balance MT1010, shorts.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hot Weather and Thick Manly Beards Don't Mix

Down in Gainesville for Christmas. Was able to squeeze in a short run this morning, which was great, because I didn't think I'd be able to (family plans).

Went well, except for the weather: 72 degrees with 91% humidity. Yep, welcome to Florida. Quite the shock to the system, considering all of my runs this week up in Maine were on snowshoes. The beard is of benefit in the cold. In this warm Florida weather, not so much.

Ran 4.1 miles @ 7:43/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 70s, partly cloudy, very humid.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

10K Snowshoe Run

Great conditions in the woods out back. The snowshoe trail that I blazed was pretty well packed and then 9/10 of a mile in, it meets up with a trail that a snowmobile has now gone by on. That obviously allowed me to cover more ground quicker, but even so the snow was pretty soft and had a lot of give since it's still so powdery.

Very fun to see that deer have been using my snowshoe trail. One deer had clearly walked on it for a good half a mile. That was pretty neat to see.

When I got to the fire road a little than a mile and a half in, I opted to turn left instead of right this time and head down the hill towards the stream. Did an out and back, getting in 6.2 miles just before it got dark.

Four snowshoe runs since Sunday. Each time the conditions got more packed down and faster. Look at a difference that makes in terms of mileage and pace:

Sun: 2.0 miles @ 20:48/mile pace (unpacked)
Mon: 4.2 miles @ 15:54/mile pace (partially packed and unpacked)
Wed: 5.3 miles @ 14:28/mile pace (partially packed and snowmobile trails)
Thu: 6.2 miles @ 11:56/mile pace (packed and snowmobile trails)

Good times. Equal to about 10 miles on roads, and a lot more fun.

Snowshoe Ran 6.2 miles @ 11:56/mile pace.
Packed snowshoe and snowmobile trails.
Very hilly.
Upper to lower 30s, partly sunny
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back and the Woods Out Back

Begrudgingly took a rest day yesterday after my lower back stiffened up big time. Came right home after work and laid on a heating pad on the floor with some occasional stretching, then at night I crawled out of bed (too soft for my current state) and slept the second half of the night downstairs back on the heating pad.

The good news is it worked pretty well and there was significant improvement today. It was feeling off a few weeks ago and I'm not sure if the snowshoeing, shoveling or something else triggered the attack, but whatever, I'm on the mend. Just a wake-up call to get back on my core strengthening program.

Regardless, felt okay to risk a snowshoe run today. No problems. Felt great in fact. It was some work re-packing down the trail I blazed that goes to the fire road, thanks to about 4"-5" of fresh powder last night. Still, not as hard as I thought it would be, but still a great workout. Great weather to boot. Just below the freezing mark, sunny and no wind. Beautiful out.

Reached the fire road about a mile and a half later and was pleasantly surprised to see fresh snowmobile tracks again. Ran an out and back for a couple of miles and then took my own trail back home. Great run. I'd estimate it to be a road run equivalent of about 10.4 miles. I really should get a new battery for my heart rate strap, will make it much easier to calculate such things.

Snowshoe Ran 5.3 miles @ 14:28/mile pace.
Trails, packed and partially packed with loose, powdery snow.
Very hilly.
Lower 30s to upper 20s, sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time vs. MIleage and Snowshoeing

A few weeks ago while running with Ian, he brought up the point that with snowshoe running, looking at time instead of mileage is much more important. I agree. You could even make that same argument with trails since there can be decent variation, but with snowshoe running, it's even more so.

I'm going to take that philosophy to heart a lot more this winter, as I plan on doing quite a bit of snowshoe running. I have five races on the calendar and as long as there's snow, I'll be incorporating a lot of the snowshoes into my training. 

How this affects the Boston training is debatable. No doubt it helps in a big way, but just makes things very tricky to gauge. To kind of help with that, I'll experiment with guesstimating what pace it would translate to if I were running on roads, based on my breathing and effort. 

For example, today's 4.2 mile jaunt out back was probably around a 7:30/mile road pace effort overall, and that's being conservative. It took a little over one hour and six minutes, which translates to an 8.8 mile road run. Keeping that in mind will help with what might look be a sacrifice in mileage, but is in reality high quality hay in the barn for the same amount of time.

The snowshoe run itself was great. I took the same path I did yesterday, so it was at least semi-broken in for the first mile (it snowed some more yesterday after I got back and plus the wind blew things around a bit). After that, it was breaking trail again for a little less than a half a mile. 

That brought me out to the fire road, where a snowmobile had gone by. Sweet! Though it was already starting to get dark, I couldn't resist and did an out and back in its tracks for a little over a mile total and then took the path home. Great run, and I just beat the dark. 

Snowshoe Ran 4.2 miles @ 15:54/mile pace. 
Trails with semi-broken, unbroken and packed powdery snow. 
Very hilly. 
Lower 20s, partly cloudy, windy. 
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gone Chooin'

Ah, first real snowstorm of the season. First snowshoe run of the season. It was awesome.

Over a foot of unbroken powder meant it was a LOT of work. Ran an out and back in the woods behind my house. Naturally, the first mile was much slower as a result. 23:36 compared to 18:24 on the return.

I didn't wear a heart rate monitor, but based on the time and how it felt, those two miles were easily the equivalent of six miles on road at a tempo pace. Sweet.

Probably should have also wore sock liners and something to protect the back of my neck. Some minor frostnip but well worth it.

Snowshoe ran 2.0 miles @ 20:48/mile pace.
Trails with over a foot of unbroken powder, higher in drifts.
Moderately hilly.
Mid teens, overcast, moderate snow, windy.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Time Management, Life and Beards

Past two days off. One day was unavoidable, the other wasn't. The one that was avoidable was two days ago. I felt exhausted at the end of the school day, something that must stop. This can be remedied in a few ways: More sleep at night and/or divulging in an extra cup of coffee during my lunch break (I normally drink two cups in the early morning). I thought of that on the drive home after bailing. Another option is I could suck at my job and just give my students worksheets or something to conserve energy but that's not how I roll.

Yesterday, Kate was really sick. No way I would run. After a trip to the doctor we didn't get home until after 6pm (she's fine now). I totally don't mind skipping a run for matters like that obviously... some things in life are more important. Still, when in conjunction with an avoidable day off like two days ago, it does make one antsy.

This all being said, at this stage such things are acceptable, but time is quickly running out where they won't be. Those avoidable extra rest days are like that friend in college who would crash on your couch "for a few days".

So, for today... I had that cup of coffee during my lunch break. It worked. Ran a road route that goes up and over Mt. Hope. Felt strong and super. It was cold and the wind bit hard. I was thankful for my thick, manly beard. It is a well known fact that thick, manly beards are a 100% organic way of keeping one's face warm when running in winter conditions. If you haven't grown your thick, manly beard yet... well... what are you waiting for.

Ran 11.1 miles @ 7:59/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 20s, partly sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves, thick manly beard.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow...

Not sure if we were even supposed to get snow this afternoon, but alas, we did. Made for a fun run. It fell pretty moderately throughout and the roads were pretty slick as a result, but it could have been much worse.

Stayed on the backroads, allowing me to safely run in the middle of the road or whichever side had less snow for much of the time.

Legs felt great. I absorbed the 30 mile weekend quite nicely, thanks to a rest day yesterday. Had the roads have been in better shape I'm sure the pace would have naturally gone down :45-:60 faster without even trying. Things continue to click into place for the time being. Stoked.

A good song to have going through your head while running in Zen conditions like today:

Ran 7.5 miles @ 8:18/mile pace.
Paved roads, coated in snow.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 20s, overcast, moderate snowfall.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Cathance Trails

Stellar trail run this morning with Ryan T. and John R. at the Cathance River Preserve. Very grand time. Legs felt a little stiff from yesterday's long run at first but after a few miles, that went away. Energy felt pretty great. Excellent.

Pretty moderate pace given the technicality and hills. No big climbs, but there are several steep drops and climbs.

Bro time continued afterwards with Zach joining us for pizza, beverages and the Pats game. Hilarity ensued. Grand Sunday.

Ran 9.5 miles @ 9:31/mile pace.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 20s, partly sunny.
New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Finally. A True Long Run.

I haven't had a run over 20 miles since mid-June. Glad to finally do so, and do so strongly. I was kicking myself for skipping yesterday's run, but I guess the bright side is it ensured today's success. The last five miles were the fastest. Easy pace overall of course, but I felt fantastic.

Scenic route as well. A good chunk of it went along the Saco River. I have been missing fly fishing big time lately, so I'm not sure if this was a good idea. Might have to hit the estuaries sometime this week for sea run browns.

Weather was fantastic out. With the sun out and little wind, it felt much warmer than the temperature indicated. The double-walled running jacket was clearly overkill and after four miles I shed down to just a short sleeved shirt and was very comfortable.

Ran 20.4 miles @ 8:01/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid to upper 30s, partly sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker (shed after four miles), short sleeved shirt, buff, gloves.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Dank Day

Cold and misty out. Pretty raw, other than there being no wind to speak of. That made it kinda nice. Rather pleasant running conditions, actually.

Felt pretty fresh and peppy, despite the lactic acid screaming through my legs with each hill repeat yesterday. No doubt that's only because I had two rest days prior to that, and not a lot of mileage the week before.

Will run a little longer tomorrow and hopefully get in a true long run this weekend (20+ miles). Hope I'm not jinxing it, but looks like we could have a snowstorm on Monday, hopefully enough to go chooin'.

Ran 5.6 miles @ 7:41/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast, intermittent light rain/mist.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Beaver Hill Repeats

The last two days were off. One was intentional, one was not, due to a longer than expected work day. With some better planning, that additional day off could have easily been avoided. Lesson relearned.

So, I sought to do some make-up work today on Beaver Hill in the form of repeats. The section was not particularly long, around .15 miles, give or take a hundredth. But it's steep, climbing around 70 feet. If I had ran yesterday, I might have opted for 6-8 repeats today but given the two days off I decided to do ten. Active recovery in the form of jogging back down the hill and with a two minute break after five reps.

I didn't take split times, as I often don't during hill repeats. I don't know why that is. It doesn't make sense. Maybe I should next time? Only logical.

Regardless, it went quite well. The final quarter stretch for each rep produced a nice, anaerobic lactic acid burn. I mused that was ideal.. you want to feel the burn for a good stretch but not too long. Some good hay in the barn.

w/u: Ran 1.8 miles @ 8:06/mile pace.
10 X Hill Repeats: 3.1 miles @ 8:52/mile pace.
c/d: Ran 1.8 miles @ 8:52/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly for w/u, c/d.
Around 40 degrees, overcast.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, windbreaker (w/u), long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, buff (w/u, c/d), gloves (w/u, c/d).

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Trails, Hills and Snow

Met up with Ian and John R. today to run the hills at Blackstrap. Man, what a treat. I wish I had brought a camera, the scenery with the falling snow was spectacular. Love winter.

There was also ice in a few spots, and I went down twice. Sprained my wrist on the second one, but not a big deal. Ian's studded shoes seemed to be perfect for the conditions.

The right heel which had been giving me big problems on trails held up great today. This was a test and it passed with an A-. I could feel the heel very lightly a few times, but it never got worse. Very happy with that.

Extremely hilly route also. Steep climbs abounded. Great workout with great company, which continued with breakfast afterwards. This also allowed some extra time for the snow to change over to rain, which made running errands on the way home much easier.

Ran 10.5 miles @ 10:33/mile pace.
Technical trails, coated with snow and some icy spots.
Extremely hilly.
Around 30 degrees, overcast, light to moderate snow.
New Balance MT1010, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.