Monday, March 31, 2014

Short Tempo

We had a lot of sleet this morning. A lot. Like several inches a lot. Normally periods of sleet are fleeting and change either to snow or rain after a while. Not this morning. It was a total, full-on, psychobilly sleet out.

I opted to hit one of my winter routes (neighborhood roads with low speed limits and traffic) which was the right choice. Roads were pretty clear and I decided somewhat on the fly to try a tempo pace.

It went.... okay. My soleus muscles are still pretty sore and that was distracting. As a result, I cut it from an already conservative four miles to three. Energy was... okay. I suspect later in the week will be better though. This one's optimistic.

Tomorrow off as planned. Open water season, and there's trout to be had.

w/u: Ran 2.0 miles @ 7:45/mile pace.
Ran 3.0 miles @ 6:42/mile pace.
c/d: Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:01/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker (for w/u), long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Shed Hunting

Was debating whether to enter this as an official workout, but decided to go ahead and do so. I hiked around in the woods out back looking for deer/moose antler sheds. I also tried turkey calling to see if any gobblers were around. No luck on either count, but fun to bushwack around in the woods.

What impeded both objectives was a good 2-3 feet of soft snow in many spots. Around the bogs it was bare ground, but on open areas with northern exposure, I'd sink past my knees in soft snow. That made it a good light workout. It helped loosen up the soleus muscles, which have been tight. Looking forward to a run tomorrow... Tuesday will definitely be a rest day... open water season begins and I plan on fly fishing the entire afternoon/evening until dark.

Hiked ~1.5 miles.
Trails, woods... bare ground to 2-3 feet of snow.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast.
Columbia hiking boots, warm-up pants, Gore-Tex jacket, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, gloves, cap.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Afternoon Long Run

A fun morning as Kate and I first went to the fly fishing expo at Eldredge Bros. Fly Shop. Great atmosphere and it was fun to test cast a few rods as well as pick up a few supplies before open water season begins Tuesday.

So, got back, ate lunch and let it digest a little before heading out the door for a long run. Really glad I got it in today, as we're supposed to get a soaker of cold rain tonight and all day tomorrow. 

Run went well overall. Muscles have been tightening up a bit since running after getting over the flu. Nothing the foam roller can't fix, I'm sure. Didn't really bother me during the run and things loosened up as the run went on. 

However, after around mile 16... I hate to admit it but I bonked a little bit. Toughed it out though, and I just think it's rust and still perhaps being a little weak from being sick. No big deal, but I feel I should make note of it. 

Plan is to get in a couple of speed workouts next week. If those go well and I also get in a 15-17 miler next weekend, I think I'll feel ready for Boston. 

Ran 20.1 miles @ 8:16/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Moderately hilly. 
Upper to mid 40s, overcast. 
Saucony Virrata, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Decided it might be wise to take yesterday off for the sake of easing into things, so I did. Time is of the essence though, but it was good to recharge a bit.

Ran an extremely hilly route from the school. Took a while to get in the swing of it and feel in sync, but things clicked in on the second big climb. On the ascent, had a really great view of Mt. Washington which was a nice treat.

All in all, a good run. I think I'll feel a lot better mentally on Sunday after I get in a long run.

Ran 10.7 miles @ 8:00/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 30s, partly sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another Step

Felt fine again today. Building on yesterday, I added a few more miles, a few more hills. Muscles feel a little rusty, but the energy has been good.

Weather looks poopy tomorrow, but would like to get in seven miles. Will likely take the pace down a notch as well.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 7:35/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Around 30 degrees, partly sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Post-Flu Run

Felt well enough for a test run today. It actually went quite well. No big coughing fits afterwards, but the inhaler I was prescribed probably helped with that.

Will try five miles tomorrow. I have a lot of rust to kick off in the next few weeks. Plan is to ramp up the next two weeks, which will include a long run and some speed workouts. A two week taper to Boston will follow. Onward.

Ran 3.0 miles @ 7:37/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 20s, sunny, breezy.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More Whining

I returned to work today, but it clearly wore me out. Fortunately, my students showed mercy for the most part, but by the end of the day I was exhausted and I left as soon as I could.

I had hoped to at least be well enough to bushwhack around in the woods out back and look for antler sheds but I clearly wasn't ready. Maybe tomorrow.

Instead, I lay here in my bed, with a cat on my lap. He's fast asleep and I think he's got the right idea.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thursday Return?

I'm eyeballing a Thursday return to running. Maybe Friday.

If there's one thing I've learned about this ordeal it's that flu shots are probably a good idea, especially in my profession. I really don't like the idea of those kinds of vaccinations and find them a bit sketchy, but I think I've concluded the benefits will likely outweigh the risks/concerns.

Getting better. Called out sick again but I plan on going in tomorrow. Will see how that goes.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Down for the Count

One word: Frustration.

This bug has knocked me on my arse and I've been bedridden all day. Congested cough, runny sinuses, fever, body aches... the works.

Not good, especially since mileage has already been low the past several weeks. Hopefully will be up and running by mid-week.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Just As Well

Due to poor road conditions from the storm the other day, the Chamberlain Half Marathon was cancelled. I thought that might happen.

In a way, it's actually a blessing of sorts... I woke up this morning feeling the wrath of the bug I had been fighting off. I think helping chaperone a large group of teenagers on an overnight trip for the SkillsUSA competitions wore me down a bit and allowed it to take over. At least two of my students won the bronze medal, making that nine years in a row my program has taken the podium. Very proud of that.

So, for running this sucks really bad though. I don't think getting out today is a good idea, and logic dictates to rest, but my mileage has already been low the past couple of weeks and this one will be no different. I don't like the dent it's putting in my training at all. Will just have to rest up and then attack what's left of the training cycle before Boston.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yearly Reminder of How Much I Hate Treadmills

Because I had to transport equipment to a school competition in Bangor, I drove instead of riding the bus with the students and the other teachers. I beat them all here, and had time to hit the treadmill for a second run before they arrived.

Man, I hate these things. Apologies to anyone reading this who likes them, but sorry, these things are not for me. Way too monotonous, even if ESPN was on the little TV thingy above the console. Plus, you're indoors.

That all being said, I'm grateful that I was able to sneak in a second run today, and the dreadmill allowed me to so while still being here in case the kids arrived earlier than I thought they would.

Will try to get in a short run tomorrow. Half marathon on Saturday. Yeehaw.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 7:52/mile pace.
70-ish degrees.
Brooks Mach 13, short, short sleeved shirt.

March Weather Madness

Winter is lingering around like an unwelcome house guest. I was just in shorts the other day, with temps dang near close to 50 degrees. Today? Upper teens and snow. Welcome to March.

Yesterday afternoon, a heavy, cold rain was falling. That combined with work craziness in getting ready for school competitions, I opted to make that my rest day. No regrets there.

That rain turned to snow overnight but we only got a few inches. Not too far to the north, they got considerably more, so we dodged a pretty big bullet. I can say that now that it's mid-March. During snowshoe racing season, if a storm misses I feel like we got screwed. Now though, I simply say good. 

So, with those school competitions my day is getting started later than usual and I had time for a morning trail run. I overlayered on purpose, just to be toasty. That was my own little way of sticking it to the man.

Conditions were great though. The snowmobile trails were well packed underneath a fresh coating of an inch or two of powdery snow. Snowfall went from moderate to heavy as the run went on, which was kinda fun.

Feeling pretty good about the half marathon on Saturday, assuming it isn't cancelled/postponed. The reach goal is to break 1:24:00. The main goal is to PR (1:24:41). To be honest, anything less than that will likely be pretty disappointing, as I feel I'm in shape to do it.

Ran 6.3 miles @ 9:36/mile pace.
Packed trails coated with an inch or two of fresh powder.
Very hilly.
Upper teens, overcast, moderate to heavy snowfall.
New Balance MT1010, YakTrax Pro, long tights, windbreaker, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hills and Strides

Long day at work, but the warm temps and sunshine made it easy to want to get out. Ran a hilly route route from the school and then followed it up with a session of strides.

Felt okay during the run but the strides felt fantastic. Nice to interject some form work there, I felt I could use it.

During the run, I saw a guy tapping maple trees as his two small children rolled around on the grass. I asked if the sap was running. He looked up, gave a huge, unforgettable smile and said "Yeah, a LOT!". Little things like that can totally make a run.

Ran 8.0 miles @ 7:46/mile pace, includes 10 X 100M strides at the end.
Paved roads, lots of puddles.
Very hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, short sleeved shirt, windbreaker, cap.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Ten

Nice 10 miler today after work in pleasant, somewhat seasonal temps. Legs felt fine after yesterday's race, but switched from doing a planned 15 miler to 10 since I had been sick. Just about better, but not fully there yet and didn't want to push it.

Planning on 10-15 miles tomorrow, but having back-to-back staff meetings after teaching tomorrow will make it tough mentally to get out.

Very much looking forward to Saturday's half marathon in Brewer. PR or bust.

Ran 10.4 miles @ 8:05/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Bradbury Whiteout Snowshoe Race Report

A bittersweet end to snowshoe racing with yesterday's race. Warmer temps, trail running (on mud and dirt) and fly fishing are just around the corner, and I'm really looking forward to those things, but... I've had so much fun this season, so despite it being a pretty harsh winter here, a huge part of me did now want it to end.

A big thanks to Ryan and Ian for all of their hard work with the Bradbury Snowshoe series. And a big thanks to Mindy and Val who were there volunteering in the freezing cold each race as well. It was a blast.

On to the race...

This report will be brief, but overall I did pretty well. I had been pretty run down with being sick leading up to the race, but fortunately I pulled it together.

The course was fast and icy, though crazy hilly to boot. Really icy on some parts, which warranted much caution. I kept myself in the mix as much as I could, running with Jennifer and Chuck for good licks but they both pulled away and I didn't have enough in me to try and keep up.

Still, I came in 7th place overall, about as well as I could have hoped. Honestly, I don't think being sick really hurt me too much as far as placing goes. I muse I probably would have been at about the same spot even if well.

Felt pretty weak once I crossed, but after I did my usually puking in the bushes I felt a little better.

Those of us that ran three races got really awesome trucker hats. And in the series standings for all three races, I'm proud to have gotten 4th place out of 21 for males amid some tough competition.

Refueling on Chipotle burritos afterwards was a very welcome treat.

w/u: Snowshoe ran .5 miles @ 8:20/mile pace.
Race: Snowshoe ran 5.0 miles @ 9:00/mile pace.
Placing: 7th out of 52
Series placing: 4th out of 21
Trails, packed snow and ice.
Extremely hilly.
Mid 30s, partly sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie (shed halfway), gloves.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Test Run

Feeling improvement from yesterday, but still sick. Was playing today's mileage by ear and wounded up doing somewhere in the middle ground of what I expected to be able to do without draining the batteries too much. Tomorrow's race will be interesting.

On a bright note, during the run I hopped off the roads and hiked in the woods a bit to check out a new fishing pool not from home. Very obscured and holds promise. Is it April 1st yet?

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:02/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Lower to mid 40s, partly sunny.
Saucony Virrata, shorts, long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, cap.

Friday, March 07, 2014

License to Ill

Sick. Low energy. Run cancelled. Not happy.

Last snowshoe race of the season in two days.

Must... get... better...

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Well, That Stunk

Tempo run today was a bust. Just not feeling well.

Warmed up, began the tempo portion but it just wasn't in the cards. Switched gears to an easy pace after a mile and a half with the intent of still running 10 miles.


It was quite clear a few tenths of a mile later that I should turn around and call it good. That was the right call. Will reevaluate things tomorrow, but the focus is on getting better and making sure I'm good for the final snowshoe race of the season.

Ran 6.7 miles @ 7:47/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 30s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker (shed after a mile and a half), long sleeved shirt, short sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

2014 Dion Snowshoes U.S. Snowshoe Championships Race Report

What an epic day. This was an amazing event that I was extremely honored to have participated in, and what makes it better is that I had an awesome performance to boot. The course was amazing. The volunteers were awesome. The overall organization, setting and competitive yet friendly vibe were fantastic. Hats off to the organizers, it was obvious everyone had a blast.

I'll rewind a bit... Kate and I made the 3 1/2 hour trek over to Bennington, VT the night before. Great little town, and it made me want to read Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" for a third time.

We woke up Saturday morning and made the 10 minute or so drive over to the Prospect Mountain and got our bibs. After cheering on Chris in the juniors race, and seeing Kate and Emma in the women's race, it was soon time for me to get geared up and warm-up.

During my warm-up, I spoke with a woman who was on her cooldown after finishing in the top 10. She gave me a lot of great insight that validated my strategy of being very conservative in the uphill first half and let it loose in the downhill second half. She noted the mass carnage of runners who gave too much too soon, allowing her to pick them off easily later in the race. She mentioned that once you see the cell phone tower, it's halfway and time to let'er rip.

I lined up with Trail Monster Running teammates, noting how in-shape and fast the entire field of runners looked. Well of course, this is THE national championships after all. Yep, I think I'll take my spot here several rows back from the start line...

Miles 1 and 2
With 213 finishers in the men's race, I knew the beginning would be mayhem, despite the very wide trails in the beginning. It was. In the first half mile, my snowshoes were accidentally stepped on or kicked about a half a dozen times. I saw a few folks fall and two poor fellows lose their snowshoes. All part of the sport, but when you factor in the amount of runners, those incidents were pretty few.

My patience came easy, as I mused that those that were jockeying hard for position early on were wasting energy. Ten kilometers is a long race for snowshoeing. Plenty of time and opportunities later on.

By the time we reached a very steep climb about a half of a mile in, things felt much less hectic. The field was no much more spread out. We meandered around some single track sections for the second mile which marked the beginning of a two and a half mile climb that would rise over 600'.

Miles 2 to 3.1
The climb to the top was relentless. However, I remained pretty conservative here by running up at a good lick, but not going all out to where I'd burn out. It turned out be a fine balance that paid dividends later on. Passed several folks along the way up who took it too hard and fast early on and were now tired.

Much of this way I ran with Chuck. We were actually conversing here and there, commenting on how awesome the course was, the views and whatever else. I was aware that a potential side benefit was that it might be psyching out runners in our vicinity who were breathing harder.

We navigated the alternating sections of single track and XC ski trails to the top. I should note that the course design was excellent. There were passing lanes stomped down every so often on the single track sections, and along with the Nordic trails, getting caught in congo lines was never an issue for me. It was great.

The climbing soon leveled off near the 5K mark and the cell phone tower was in view. The downhills were about to begin... well mostly downhill.

Miles 3.1 to 5
Gears changed in a hurry. We soon found ourselves on a very steep and twisty single track on a very steep descent. Holy cow. This was an adrenaline rush. I was flying with every ounce of downward momentum I could handle, redlining my ability to control the speed. Trees were used around sharp turns to help pivot my momentum and every ounce of concentration I could muster focused on keeping within the trenches. It was awesome and I'm thankful my klutzy self didn't wipe out.

Around four and a half miles in, we changed gears again on a steep ascent up some very sugary and loose double track. This wore me out, but it was also tiring out everyone around me. I began to see Ian and Scott ahead and closed in on them and the other runners around them.

Mile 5 to the end
We were soon back on single track that was somewhat level, but now the next long downhill section was about to begin, this time on fast and packed Nordic trails. Passed quite a few folks here and energy was relatively great. I knew here that I had walked the line of going out conservative but not too conservative nicely.

We reached the twisty switchback down a ski slope that I knew marked the hey-you're-very-close-to-the-end mark. This zig-zagging section scared me, and I opted to sacrifice speed for more control. I could hear Kate and Emma yelling for Ian, but it wasn't until I was in front of them that they recognized me. I'll write that off as having just shaved off the beard, ha ha. The zig zags were over in no time though, and I was back on wide packed Nordic trails for the next quarter of a mile until the finish.

Close to the finish.
Photo courtesy of Acidotic Racing. 
I let loose from there on out, and was creeping up on two guys. A final hairpin before a straight shot to the finish, and I passed one guy on the turn. Kate was yelling at me for me to catch the other guy who was in a bright green shirt, which gave me a huge boost. I went for it, and got right up on his shoulder about a dozen feet from the finish before he realized I was there and then he kicked in a little and juuuuust got the edge on me. It was epic. I love dogfights like that, even if I don't win. They're just fun.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 56:01. Good enough for 70th place out of 213 in the men's race and 8th out of 18 in my age group. For a national event, I'm very proud of that. Honored to be there to begin with, but stoked to at least be in the top third as well.

Seconds after crossing the finish. Grateful for the
 close fight with the fellow in the green shirt.
Post Race
Collapsed on the ground next to the guy I was in the dogfight with and we thanked each other for the push/pull. See? Running is awesome. I love the good sportsmanship that abounds. He got up first and then helped me up. Then I walked over to a snowbank and puked.

Recapping war stories with the boys. 
Recapped war stories with my Trail Monster Running teammates. Several times we was noted how awesome that course was.

Afterwards, we all went out for fish and chips and then returned for the awards ceremony. Then, the long drive home, but not before stopping for food and beverages in Brattleboro, where Scott did an amazing job of parking his car on a snowbank.

I don't think I could have raced this any better. The decision to take it easy and be patient for the mostly uphill first half was clearly the way to go. At the same time, I knew that I had given it my all as there was nothing left in the tank after I crossed the finish line. It was really nice to bomb those downhills and have enough left in the last half mile especially to really pour it all out. That being said, I don't think I sandbagged it at all in the first half.

Other notes
- Teammate Chris C. was in the junior's race. He sacrificed his own race to help out a fellow runner who had passed out. After ensuring the guy was safe, Chris went on to finish.

- My wife Kate was joined by a pregnant Emma and they ran the women's race together. Trail Monster Running teammate Mandy later joined them and they finished together.

- I forgot my snowshoes at the race and didn't realize it until I got back home. Fortunately, Ian was still there and he found them the next day. Whew.

- Speaking of Ian, I only beat him because one of his Atlas snowshoes broke a mile and half into the race. I think it was a binding?

Snowshoe Ran 6.2 miles @ 9:01/mile pace.
Official time: 56:01
Overall place: 70th out of 213
AG place (40-44): 8 out of 18.
Packed single track and Nordic trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid-upper 20s, partly sunny.
Dion 121 snowshoes, New Balance MT1010, long tights, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, buff (neck), beanie, gloves.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Busy Day

We had open house at the school, but I got in a short run in between that and normal work duties. Was great to have Matt, a fellow teacher, join me for a run. Took him up to his tempo pace for a few miles in between a warm-up and cool down. He did awesome, fun to see him go faster than he thought he could and hold it.

Race report for the U.S. Snowshoe Championships is almost done. Just need to scrounge up some pictures. For what it's worth, I should definitely have it posted tomorrow.

Ran 5.5 miles @ 8:32/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 20s, sunny.
Saucony Virrata, long tights, windbreaker, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Catching Up

Saturday was the U.S. National Snowshoe Championship. It was awesome. Full report coming in the next day or two, but I was very pleased with my performance and had an absolute blast.

Rewinding a bit, yesterday I ran a short recovery run just to loosen up the legs. Uneventful and my legs felt pretty good, but still kept it at true recovery pace.

Ran 3.2 miles @ 8:46/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 30s, overcast.
Brooks Mach 13, shorts, fleece pullover, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

Today's run was after work. An anticipated easy pace but the legs felt awesome so I let the pace come down a bit. Tomorrow will be short and easy. Wednesday a longer tempo, and will see how I feel after that and make adjustments.

Ran 7.5 miles @ 7:15/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Around 20 degrees, partly sunny.

There. Now I feel much better. I guess it might be obvious that I'm a chronic journaler and maybe am a bit obsessive about doing so. I've always been this way, but getting very busy the past few days has interfered and it really stressed me out. But our little quirks is what makes us the unique individuals that we are. I'll be able to fully exhale once the race report is up.