Friday, September 9, 2016

September 1st through the 11th

Hi there.  I will try my best to revive regular postings on this thing.  Running over the summer months went decent.  I seem to be speed workout adverse in my 40's.  I continue to enjoy plodding along on trails and hills of any kind.  Work is much busier this year, so sometimes my options of lunch runs is smaller.  That is kind of a bummer.  I also seem to be busy doing other fun things on weekends, and don't get in all the long runs I'd like.  However, when I get the chance, I'm satisfied with my fitness.  Hills work.  I also haven't been bothering to keep a "real" tab of my miles this year.  I just upload my activities to Strava, which has my mileage (through 9/8/16) as 2,168.  Obviously, I disagree with this, but since I don't want to go back through every run, I came up with a rough estimate.  Strava has my hours of running at 312.  I'll multiply that by a conservative 7.5 miles per hour (8 minute miles).  That puts me at 2,340.  Good enough.

Running conditions this summer were a bit frustrating.  I got a ridiculous tan thanks to the poor leaf cover in the woods.  The poor trees had to deal with infestations from winter moths, tent caterpillars, and then gypsy moths.  It was eerie at times, running through sections of forest that looked dead, including pines, shrubs, and ground cover.  The forest floor was brown and orange.  You were exposed to the sun.  And at times, you would have incredible views of the surrounding countryside - views not even possible in winter due to evergreens.  This made for hot runs, even though the summer was dry and the temperature moderate.  

As September begins, we are dealing with tropical conditions.  Still waiting for cool mornings and dry pleasant days.  I'm trying to motivate myself to mix in speed work.  Still haven't made it to the track.  I have continued to run hills as much as possible.  Here's a rundown of the days: 

9/1 (Thu): 5 miles (41:33) - Glacier Park trails. I snuck in this quickie after an obnoxiously busy day at work and right before a WTAC board meeting.  I kept the pace easy, but had fun roller coastering around the moraine.  I tried to hit every trail.  I also tried not to get too sweaty, but it was humid!  

9/2 (Fri) 27 miles (3:53:27) - Arcadia trails.  Epic solo run as a test for the upcoming Pisgah 50K.  The office was closing early, so I decided to just take the morning off too and get in this long run that I really needed before the 50K.  It took some planning (aid station drop), and I used a similar course as a 3:15 run I did here during the summer.   I've been running in my uber comfy Nike Flyknit 3.0's (older model that I found a few pairs left on a website) and decided to experiment using them today.  I ran with my fuel belt with 4 small water bottles that I also find comfortable.  I debated wearing a singlet since it was a nice morning (about 60's), but after my first climb on the defoliated side of Mt. Tom, I'm glad I didn't wear it.  No Gu's in the house, so I packed 2 small Cliff bars and had salty bbq chips stocked in my "aid station" cooler at around GPS mile 16.  The loop course I had mapped came to 26.6 miles, with many opportunities to cut short after 20 miles if necessary.  The first 10 miles went well except for spider webs.  I did get more hot than I planned.  After 2 ascents of Mt. Tom on mtn bike trails, Escoheag Hill via Escoheag Trail, and Old Voluntown Rd, I was ready for some flat sections.  However, miles 9-13 were brutal on the Pachaug Trail around Beach Pond.  This trail is the most technical I can think of in southern NE.  At GPS mile 10, I stopped to briefly cool off in Beach Pond, with the trickiest of trail just ahead.  It did not disappoint.  It feels like forever, scrambling over rocks, up and down, up and down.  I had some slips.  Ripped off most of a shoelace on a branch (good think my shoes fit like slippers!).  I cursed frequently (I encountered ZERO humans the entire 4 hours on the trails).  I was happy to finally reach a old dirt road, but fatigue was creeping in slowly.  And I was looking forward to my "aid station".  Another good climb up Escoheag Hill via Canonicus Trail and then a screaming descent down the road.  I could rest, drink (Pepsi, Gatorade), and eat chips.  I had been running 2 hrs and 39 minutes.  I was in good spirits knowing that at most, I had about 10 miles left.  My quads did cramp a bit when I sat down.  That I didn't like, but I was able to stretch.  I also refilled my water bottles.  I was ready to get back on the trail.  Pretty quickly things got hard again as I climbed Escoheag Hill (again!) via a steep old ski trail.  I switched to power hike mode briefly.  The climb was so hot, sitting exposed to the bright sun on the grassy slope.  It took a while to recover, but I had a nice gradual downhill to get to the start of the Breakheart Trail.  I had another monster climb up Penny Hill on this trail that found me walking a very short steep section near the top.  At this point I was toast - hot and burnt out.  I was mentally not loving this long run anymore.  As I continued on the Shelter Trail, I noticed a couple of pings of quad cramps.  At least it took 3 hours and 15 minutes to run into my cramping problem.  Well, it never became a problem (at least until my ride home), I just knew it was ready to attack.  I rambled on, feeling fatigued and hot.  I forced myself to run up the double track from Breakheart Pond to my secret soaking hole.  Man the water was so cold and delicious.  I sat in the pool for a couple of minutes, feeling my core temperature drop.  I was refreshed, but done running.  I still had 3 miles left on my planned route, which included 2 good hill climbs.  I instead opted to just do the climb up the Bliven Trail and then work my way down the hill directly to my car.  I finished with exactly 25 GPS miles.  I'll call it 27.  Strava had the elevation gain as 2,527.  Once in my car (now cramping and annoyed with having to drive to pick up my "aid station") thoughts of emailing the Pisgah race director and switching to the 23K were in my mind.  A day after, I felt like I'm in good shape for the 50K.  I'm sure I'll struggle at times, but I'm ready.  

9/3 (Sat): 1 mile (45 min) - family hike at Pitcher Mountain.  Nice relaxing time with great views.  Then a 30 minute SUP on Highland Lake.  I'm not sure what the data means, but I was working hard!

9/4 (Sun): 1 mile (1 hr) - family hike in Arcadia.  Another pleasant stroll with kids and cousins around the hatchery.

9/5 (Mon): 0 - Hermine day on the hill.  Strong NE winds all day.  I attempted to go out late in the afternoon, but it seemed silly and probably dangerous.

9/6 (Tue): 13.5 miles (1:40:20) - East Greenwich roads (short trail section) lunch run.  Sticky tropical air.  Overcast, sometimes rain, sometimes sun.  My watch seemed funky, always reading much slower than how I felt.  I took 3 days off from running, I think I was moving pretty well.  Whatever.  Also, it mapped on Strava to over 800' of climbing, but Strava gave me only 666'.  Whatever.  I mixed in some speed the last 1.5 miles on the slightly down hill terrain.

9/7 (Wed): 10.5 miles (1:20:09) - Exeter/Richmond dirt and trail out and back.  A repeat of a fun run I did the week before, but I found a side trail this time which eliminated most of a short paved road section on Rte 3.  Good Pisgah prep with gnarly double track climbs.  I felt like I was moving well, but again GPS wasn't showing it.  Sprint down hill finish (5 min pace for 2/3 mile).

9/8 (Thu): 11 miles (1:23:41) - Wickaboxet Trails and 2.5 x Plain Meeting House Rd climb.  Good workout.  This mapped out as 1,500' of climbing on Strava (result was 1,339').  I ran through Wickaboxet, first on double track then on single track, crossing into the Pratt Preserve.  The steep hill here was challenging, and the tropical air made it hard to breathe.  I then had to motor up the last steep 1/3 of the road to the top of Bald Hill (yes another one).  I then went down, up, down, up on this 1.15 mile section of road (360' elevation change - yes, the biggest mile road climb in the state).  I performed well, keeping the pace under control and steady.  Peppy finish back through the woods to my car.  I'll do this one again.

9/9 (Fri): 11 miles (1:26:30) - Exeter dirt and paved roads out and back.  I again parked on NLT near the baseball fields and ran the 2 miles of hilly terrain out to Rte 3/165.  I then ran paved roads (Black Plain Rd and Austin Farm Rd - which turns to dirt) to Arcadia, near my favorite soaking spot.  It was scorching hot out when exposed to the sun and ultra humid.  My legs were tired and I used the mid run soak as motivation.  It was fun exploring a couple of new miles and I survived.  951' of elevation gain.

9/10 (Sat): 0 - busy day with the kids that began with a 8AM soccer game.  Not easy getting out the house for that one.

9/11 (Sun): 17 miles (2:10:20) - long run on local roads and trails.  This will be my last real run until Pisgah next Sunday.  I began by running down my road and Kings Factory Rd cheering on the Firmman Half Ironman participants on their bikes (usually I do this from my house).  I ran about four miles of roads out (with trail diversions in Schoolhouse Pond and Charlestown Moraine Preserves).  I was having so much fun cheering, that I opted to spend more time on pavement than planned, and did shorter trail sections in Burlingame (but kept it nice and hilly).  I couldn't resist a swim in the Pawcatuck River at the canoe camps.  The water is so refreshing and deep.  More hills to get home.  I'm feeling good about my fitness and I think I got my body ready to suffer.  1,100' of climbing.

Family trip to Galilee in the afternoon once the weather broke - sunny, dry, and fun little waves to body surf.  Champlin's for dinner.  Yum!

63 miles for the week with about 5,000' of climbing (probably closer to 6,000'), and 8 hours of running time.  My plan is to barely run at all the next 6 days until the race.  Maybe mix in a little fun cross training.  


  1. I'm excited to see how you do at Pisgah. Your fitness is there - don't let your mind betray you. Slowing down over the course of these long races is normal. Focus on the task at hand and you'll do well.

  2. I wish I was joining you at Pisgah again, it's a great course! Have a great race, and have fun!

  3. What luck! Your timely blog update cured a bout of boredom at work. It was just what I needed. (You do this blogging thing just for me, right?) Good luck at Pisgah - that was an epic prep run at Arcadia. You'll no doubt be ready.

  4. Glad you've revived the blog. Can relate to many points you make in the first paragraph, including speed-workout averse, enjoying trails and hills, but not getting in the long runs I would like to.