Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekly Log 9-26-11 to 10-2-11

Monday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  Felt like summer out there - 83 degrees.  I was feeling good and pushed an aggressive pace.  I reached the bridge 2:30 faster than on a normal day.  I tried not to make eye contact with the guy in the banana hammock.  Total time: 1:14:56.  Great run. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Big River trails alone.  I was looking to mix up my routine and ventured out to Big River.  Immediately, I noticed that my legs were tired, so this run was a bit of a challenge on the technical terrain.  The deer I encountered today were really jumpy.  Good thing, this place will be crawling with hunters soon, and I won't come again until spring.  Total time: 1:18:16. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails solo.  My plan was to go for 9 miles, but my legs weren't feeling up to it.  I took it real easy.  The town has done a ton of trail work since the hurricane.  Total time: 55:48. 

Thursday: 9 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Calf Pasture Point cooldown.  I thought I would be running another workout in the rain, but instead I ran in July-like soup.  I had planned on a nice little warm up, but decided to get right into the workout.  I know I probably should be doing one, but I'm much more motivated to run hard when I first start.  So, I repeated the same workout as the last two: 2 mile/1 mile/800/400.  Results: 12:28/5:58/2:58/1:19.  I was disappointed in the 2 mile time, but content with the rest.  I was a hot sweaty mess afterwards.  I briefly stopped at my car and then headed out on an enjoyable 4+ mile cooldown.  I had to make a few daring jumps on the beach as the tidal streams were raging.  Total time: 66 minutes. 

Friday: 6 miles - Gravelly Hill trail with Jon.  My original idea was to run this out and back trail twice for 12 miles, but Jon and I gave it a good effort after a slow start, and I was content with just 6.  Total time: 45:18. 

Saturday: 4 miles - Cambridge roads with Sarah and Chris.  An easy run around mostly the Harvard Square section, including the path along the Charles River. 

Sunday: 0 - post-wedding day.  Nice little hike on the trails near Stepstone Falls in Arcadia with the family in the afternoon. 

Overall: Strong start to the week.  I thought I would go 50+.  Fun weekend = not much running. 

Weekly Total: 47 miles
Last Week: 40 miles
Year to Date: 1777 miles

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekly Log 9-19-11 to 9-25-11

Monday: 0 - legs in not too bad of shape

Tuesday: 0 - almost ran

Wednesday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails and beach with Dan.  After about 10 minutes my legs felt decent.  It was nice to have company out there as I might have cut it short if I was alone.  Total time: 63 minutes. 

Thursday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  For some reason I wanted to head back here for the second day in a row.  I ran the beach out to the bridge and back, and then added the hill in a second time to get a longer loop in.  Total time: 1:22. 

Friday: 8 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout alone.  Rainy day, so I figured I might as well run fast in it.  I knew my legs weren't fully recovered from Pisgah yet, but I wanted to do this workout anyway.  I repeated my routine from two weeks ago (2 mile/1 mile/800), but added on a 400 at the end.  Results: 16:38/6:06/2:57/1:21 .  I guess this is what I should have expected.  My cooldown in the steadier rain was sort of terrible.  Total time: 61 minutes. 

Saturday: 0 - family hike at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. 

Sunday:  12 miles - Vin Gormley Trail plus roads and trails to/from my house.  I've been thinking about doing more intense workouts now that the summer is over and the 50K is complete.  My plan was to get to the Vin Gormley Trail and then run the 8 mile loop hard.  My past experience is that I can never run this loop as fast as I hope or at race pace.  It was very humid again today and my legs are probably still recovering so I didn't have a great idea what to expect for a time.  I may have started a tad slow as I began the loop on the most technical section, but I felt like I was flying through most of it.  I clocked in at 58:21.  I was really happy with my effort.  The two miles to get home were slow and miserable.  Total time: 1:30. 

Weekly Total: 40 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 1730 miles

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pisgah Mountain Trail Run 50K 2011

After running the "short" Pisgah race the previous two years, I was talked into running the 50K this year.  I had a couple of solid training runs under my belt, including my own 50K run in my local state park.  Based on that result, I was confident I could run sub 5 hours at Pisgah. 

Like the Lil' Rhody Runaround, the Pisgah race has become quite the family affair.  My brother Greg was also doing the 50K, and my father and other brother Glenn were running the 23K.  We met up at Glenn's house, with Justin Fyffe and Clint Joselyn also joining us.  After exchanging some lively pre-race strategy and coffee, it was finally time to walk over to the start. 

My plan was to keep my pace comfortable.  I was really confident that my legs would hold up well.  I figured there would be some hiking mixed in on the Pisgah Ridge and Davis Hill specifically, but I wanted to run the hills as long as I felt up to it.  I carried my handheld bottle with water and also two Kashi chewy granola bars stuffed into the little pouch.  I would drink Gatorade and soda at the aid stations.  I was excited to get to work. 

At the start, I found myself a little higher up in the field than expected.  I was near Glenn and a couple of other guys that I was chatting with until they hammered the downhill at the Horseshoe Road entrance.  I seemed to surprise Boj watching the runners right before the 50K/23K split.  I went left, and began a twelve mile stretch of unfamiliar trails.  Right after the split, I was in noman's land.  The trail was flat, but the footing was pretty technical until it opened up to an old road.  I knew I was on course by the pink ribbon, but it was really lonely out there. 

After passing the unmanned water stop, I could here voices somewhere behind me.  Dogwood Swamp trail had a couple of nice hills that I was enjoying.  I was not enjoying the continued poor footing.  Right before the aid station I was caught by Ryan Triffitt and another guy.  They passed me as I stopped for Gatorade and Coke, but I quickly caught them on the crazy dirt/paved road hill ahead.  I pressed on up this big climb, enjoying myself in some weird way.  Once the road leveled off, the course veers onto a single track trail with more poor footing.  Ryan caught back up to me, and we had nice conversation for a couple of miles.  Once I figured out who he was, I realized that he had a great blog write up about the 50K last year that I had recently reread as preparation for my 50K.  He was looking strong, and said he was 12 minutes ahead of his time from last year.  I told him my goal of finishing under 5 hours, and he encouraged me that I was on pace. 

At the 12 mile aid station I stopped and refueled.  The guy I passed on the last hill soon reached the station, and then he and Ryan headed out as I took my time.  Back on the trail, I soon reached an open wet area that I recognized from hiking and running with my brothers, and I knew that I would be reaching the big hill on the Reservoir Trail soon.  Once on the hill, I passed a guy I hadn't seen before, and then the guy who went by me at the aid station.  We exchanged greetings, and I told him that I would see him on the next descent.  I was making good work of this hill and feeling good. 

Unfortunately, that was short lived as my legs began to get tired as I descended.  I've never liked this section as the footing is tricky and usually wet.  I was alone again, and my thoughts were turning negative.  I managed the ups and downs, and eventually reached the next aid station.  I couldn't remember what the mileage marker was, but I knew what was coming up around the corner.  I lingered at this station for some time, refilling my water bottle,  and refueling.  While there, the two guys I passed on the Reservoir Trail hill went by, as well as another guy who was moving really well. 

I knew the next section of the course would be tough.  I began ascending the Pisgah Ridge.  I caught up to two guys,  and as I approached, I heard them lamenting that it was going to be hard to crack 5 hours at this rate.  Blah - not the news I wanted to hear.  I passed by, and could see the third guy up ahead.  I briefly thought about making a move on this steep hill to catch him, but my legs didn't cooperate, and for the first time, I resorted to hiking.  Once I determined that hiking was an option, I opted for it more often.  I was passed by someone new somewhere between the two overlooks.  Once I reached the second overlook I made my tribute shout out to Elijah.  In addition to putting perspective on my run, it gave me the desire to not walk for a while. 

Soon, I reached the Pisgah Ridge connector trail, and made my way down to Kilburn.  There was a guy in really bad shape stretching on the ground, but he managed to utter words of encouragement to me.  Then I reached the 20 mile aid station.  I really took my time here.  I was not looking forward to the Kilburn Loop.  It wasn't that I had ever ran or hiked it, I just heard horror stories about it.  More guys came in and headed back out ahead of me.  Finally I was ready.

I knew the first half of the loop is down hill.  My legs felt terrible, but I kept up a respectable pace.  Then I turned the corner and started hiking.  The hill wasn't even steep.  I just wasn't in the mood to run anymore.  Being alone on the Kilburn Loop is horrible.  I wanted to hike out to Rte 63 and quit.  I thought about how I ran because I enjoyed it, and I wasn't enjoying this run anymore.  Maybe I would take a break from running or just quit it altogether.  After having a lot of energy all day, I suddenly felt sleepy.  Wouldn't a nap on the trail be delicious?  Then I thought about the time of day, and that it was lunchtime.  So, on a flat easy section, I leisurely walked as I ate one of my granola bars.  Then I stopped to stretch out my legs.  While stretching, I heard footsteps.  Two more runners approached, one female, one male.  This somewhat motivated me to run again, although I still hiked a lot.  It took forever to complete the loop.  I would venture it was some sort of record. 

Reaching the Kilburn aid station for the second time (25.5 miles), I was met by a cheering crowd (okay about 10-15 people) encouraging my efforts.  I felt obligated to run once again until I was safely out of their sight.  It was also the big hill on the dirt road leading out to Rte 63.  Once at the summit, I ran the rest of the way to the parking lot.  Back on the Kilburn Loop, I thought that if I saw anyone I knew at the lot, then I would quit and get a ride back to the finish.  As I approached, I didn't see any familiar faces, but was feeling optimistic about somehow finishing the last four miles. 

Turning the corner onto the Davis Hill trail I saw a runner walking ahead of me.  I decided to run up to him, looking for some company.  I introduced myself to Bob, and we proceeded to push each other to run and sometimes hike the next few miles.  Bob's attitude was fantastic.  He also was running his first ultra, and he wouldn't let me quit.  We made our way over Davis Hill and then to Hubbard Hill.  There was another runner ahead of us (hiking), and Bob kept running to catch him, so I followed.  He tried to convince the guy to stay with us, but the other guy wasn't up for it.  Finally, I let Bob get ahead of me on the second long descent to Winchester Road.  I briefly stopped to stretch because my legs were so unbelievably uncomfortable, and was passed by the guy we last saw on Hubbard. 

I got my act together and soon reached the road.  I could see the runner ahead of me, but we were moving at the same pace.  I was content to finish behind him.  I found myself getting emotional as I first was cheered on by some kids in a minivan, and then again after passing a group of people at Greg's house.  I didn't see my kids there, but if I did I probably would have started balling my eyes out.  I was going to finish this ultra after wanting to quit many miles ago.  Turning the final corner onto Rte 63, I had a rush of adrenaline, and I sprinted to the finish.  5 hours and 19 minutes, the last three a sufferfest. 

I was greeted at the finish line by my wife and then my kids.  I found Bob and congratulated (and thanked) him.  My wife scored me a veggie burger and some veggie chili that was so delicious.  Ryan came over and we chatted while he waited for his wife to finish.  Eventually, I mustered the energy to walk over to Glenn's house for a hot shower and clean clothes, and then headed down to Greg's for a well derserved chromium replacement beverage. 

Overall, I was pleased with my first Pisgah 50K.  Obviously, I went out too fast, even though I felt under control.  The big hills and the technical terrain fatigued my legs faster than I anticipated.  I should have gone slower, but it's hard to remember that when you're in a race.  I still think that I could have come in under 5 hours, and it's funny to think of how much time I wasted on the Kilburn Loop.  I can't wait for next year! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekly Log 9-12-11 to 9-18-11

Monday: 6 miles - 3x2 mile hill workout alone.  This was a repeat of a workout I did last year leading up to the Pisgah race.  I wanted to get some hill work in before Sunday's race, and decided that running up and down the Gilbert Stuart Road hill would be "fun".  Unlike last year, today was hot.  My breathing was much more labored than usual.  Then again, my times were significantly faster than a year ago, and I was running faster than I will be during the 50K.  I really liked the mental challenge of no real breaks during the run.  The results (1 mile up/1 mile down): 7:35/7:11 7:49/7:28 7:39/6:36 - 44:20 total.  I'll keep the miles light and easy for the rest of the week. 

Tuesday: 4 miles - Rome Point trails with coworker.  An easy run in pretty warm conditions.  Total time: 30:31. 

Wednesday: 6 miles - Calf Pasture Point roads, trails, and beach alone.  I'm just kind of going through the motions with these short runs.  It was hot today - 87 and a dewpoint of 71.  I spooked a large bird of prey from the rocks that I initially assumed was a hawk, but as got one last look before it disappeared in the woods, I'm pretty sure it was an owl.  Good variety of shells washed up on the beach for RI.  Total time: 48:42. 

Thursday: 0 - wasn't feeling the hot and humid conditions, went shopping instead for wedding clothes. 

Friday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  I really enjoyed the weather today - should be similar to Sunday, except with a cold start.  I had anxiety dreams about the race last night, which has lead to a nervous day at work.  I was happy to get a nice run in.  I made it out to the bridge again, and on my return, encountered another runner who looked fast.  I've never seen him out there before.  Maybe he's a SCT reader.  More friendly deer on the trails today.  Total time: 68:08. 

Saturday: 4 miles - Gravelly Hill trails with Sarah.  A fun slow trail run with my wife before heading to a wedding in Connecticut and the big race in New Hampshire. 

Sunday: 31 miles - Pisgah Mountain Trail Run 50K in 5 hours and 19 minutes.  A too fast first half lead to a three hour sufferfest second half.  Separate write up to follow. 

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 51 miles
Year to Date: 1690 miles

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Weekly Log 9-5-11 to 9-11-11

Monday: 9 miles - Carter Preserve trails alone.  I didn't feel like running in Burlingame, so I finally drove down the road to run the trails I've only hiked before. I was a little hesitant to run here, but I couldn't find any information for or against trail running.  Since I was leaving only footprints I felt okay about it.  The trails were fantastic and I was able to get a nine mile lollipop loop in.  The out and back portion was on rolling curvy single track with excellent footing.  The loop was on old roads, either dirt or grass.  The highlight was a big climb up a power line with fantastic views to the west.  Total time: 69 minutes. 

Tuesday: 0 - crappy weather day, crappy day at work, first day of school for my son, and I was content to drink coffee instead of run on my break. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout - 2 mile/1 mile/800 with long Calf Pasture Point cool down on roads, trails, and beach.  I got the idea for this workout after reading the latest edition of Level Renner.  I thought I would try it after the 50K, but I was in the mood to do it today.  My plan was to run a 3+ mile warm up, do the workout (goals: sub 12:30, sub 6:00, 2:55 800), then a 2 mile cool down.  However, with the dreary weather, I really wasn't feeling the warm up, and I was afraid it would make me not do the workout, so I just got right to work.  I was happy that my lungs were burning for every effort, and each distance felt hard.  The results:  12:02 (6:04/5:58) / 6:01 / 2:51 - I was really happy with the two miles.  The mile I was at 2:57 halfway and finished strong, so I don't know what happened in between.  I had no idea what to expect with the 800 and was pleased with the time.  Before embarking on my cool down I opted to ditch my soaked shirt.  I hit the beach right during a rain squall and got pretty cold.  I turned around before hypothermia set in, and it was much warmer in the woods.  Total time: 67:30. 

Thursday: 10 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  I ran during a decent break in the weather between the remnants of Lee and hurricane Katia.  The temp was only 65, but boy was it humid.  I was shuffling along at a decent pace on tired legs.  I ran into 6 deer in 4 different locations.  These deer have no fear of humans.  My advice is that they don't wander out of the wildlife preserve.  I was excited to hit the beach and have no impediments to reach the bridge.  There was a good variety of birds including 2 oystercatchers.  I really enjoy running on the beach, despite the horrible footing at times.  Back in the woods, I wandered around and almost figured out a good 10 mile course, but I'm still a tad short.  Total time: 69:27. 

Friday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  It was nice to have some sun today, but it was still muggy.  My legs are sore from the Wednesday workout, so I took it easy.  Nothing out of the ordinary to report.  I was just under 8 minute mile pace for 8 miles and then cranked the last one.  Total time: 69:09. 

Saturday: 0 - I wasn't motivated to get my act together early just to run a couple of miles. 

Sunday: 14 miles - Burlingame trails with Muddy.  Good run.  Cool start (54 degrees).  We began at the picnic area and did the same loop as the week prior, except explored a side "trail".  The pace was decent too.  Total time: 1:47.  I can't believe how easy 14 miles feels! 

Overall:  Okay week.  I wish I ran 6 days instead of 5, but I guess I should be tapering anyway.  Right? 

Weekly Total: 51 miles
Last Week: 70 miles
Year to Date: 1630 miles

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Long Training Run (Burlingame 50K)

Somehow on Friday I ended up running a 50K in preparation of running a 50K in two weeks.  My plan was to run for 4+ hours, and I figured I would run 28 miles.  I ran 3.5 hours a few weeks ago, but wanted to get closer to the 5 hours it will take me to run the Pisgah Mountain Trail 50K.  I would again run loops of the Vin Gormley trail in Burlingame, but this time add 2 miles down and around the old camp as I felt up to it.  I figured I would do the 10 mile loop twice, and then the shorter 8 mile loop the last time.  Things changed on Friday morning when I got the call from Muddy that he was interested in joining me for a loop.  I'd been hoping to get the chance to show him some of the hidden trail gems of the park, and as long as he was up to it, we could do a long loop together.  Of course he was down for that, so at 12:30PM we were off.  Beginning at the picnic area parking lot, we ran north along the only stretch of evil pavement to get it out of the way.  Once we entered the woods, we veered right onto Sammy C's trail.  Immediately, we had to bushwack around a fallen tree, and I wasn't sure how many more we'd encounter after Irene came through earlier in the week.  At the junction with Schoolhouse Pond trail, we continued straight on an unmarked mtn bike trail.  We would occasionally run into tree road blocks, but nothing extraordinary.  We also stopped at intersections so that I could explain where we were.  Eventually we met back up with the Vin Gormley trail, and then again diverged from it to run the loop down and around the old north camp.  Once again we jumped onto the VG trail, this time for good.  I thought this would be 12 miles, but it ended up being 13.  The pace was a little faster than I planned for my entire run, but it was still easy and fun, and took 1:42+.  Muddy bid me adieu, I refueled with Gatorade, Coke, and half a granola bar, and began lap #2.  This time I would stick to my original plan and run either 8 or 10 miles, depending on feel.  I was feeling really good, so I went for 10 miles.  My legs were noticeably stronger than last time which pleased me.  This loop I completed in 1:22+, and I was at 3:05 for 23 miles.  I repeated my routine at my car, and figured I could finish with the 8 mile loop without too much trouble, although I would be doing more miles than anticipated.  I was in good shape for 2 or 3 more miles, and then the hurt came (physically and mentally).  My stride shortened and my body felt stiff.  I was in pain, not in an injury sort of way, just in a way that my body was telling me to stop.  I was determined to finish without stopping however.  I had short term goals: hey you just ran a marathon!, halfway around when you get to Poquiant Brook, the next stretch is smooth, after Klondike it's only a mile to the campground.  Once past Klondike, I ran into Jon Short, who knew I was out there and thought he might find me.  Mentally, it was a huge boost to have someone to talk with and run alongside.  I still was in a lot of pain, and the three miles we ran together seemed to take forever, but I made it.  31 miles in 4:21.  The last 8 miles I did in 1:16 - not too pretty.  I was glad to do it though.  My legs felt better for far longer, and this run will only help.  We'll see what happens in Pisgah.