Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Finally feel like a Runner again

...And it feels really good.  I haven't run with any real consistency since 2007.  I've run some races here and their and even trained for some of them...sort of. but for some reason I was never consistent I never kept it going.  Then a couple months ago something clicked again and since then I've had two of the best months of training I've had in years.  Before the end of June I had probably run less than 50 miles all year.  And in two months I've been able to get back in shape enough to run a 5K PR on tired legs after two pretty hard runs in three days.  It's not a total mystery, I kind of know why I've been able to get back into the swing of things, but I won't go into that now.

I had a great race yesterday at the First Annual Newbrook Fire and Rescue 5K.  It was an out and back on a dirt road.  the first half was slightly uphill, but nothing major, the second half guessed it.  It was the perfect grade.  I was feeling strong the first half and didn't really even notice the incline, but was really able to take advantage of the down on the way back and open up the stride. I love down hill running...when my quads aren't shot, that is. I finished 2nd overall, it was a small race, about 60 runners.  the first place guy shot off the front from the start I knew within 15 seconds that unless he was terrible at pacing I wouldn't have a shot at catching him.  After dodging the hand full of 8 year olds who sprinted the first 200 feet or so I was sitting in third behind a youngster, i'm guessing he was somewhere between 13-15 years old.  He was moving pretty well.  I thought he would slow down but wasn't quite sure.  there was a water station at 1 mile, when he slowed down to grab water I could tell he was experienced and unlikely to maintain his pace in the second half. It's a 5K, it'll be over soon, do you really need water?  within a minute of the water stop i passed him.  Continuing on, I saw the lead guy pop out around a corner on the return trip as soon as I passed that same corner I saw the turnaround point.  I estimate he was about 15 seconds in front at that point but he still looked strong. When I hit the turn around I had about 10 seconds on the kid, who still looked pretty good, but I wasn't expecting him to make any surges.

The second half went well, the downhill was much appreciated and it was nice to see all of the other runners coming up the hill.  When I hit the turnaround point I was really surprised to look down at my watch and see a time of 9:38.  I have only run one other 5K in my life which I finished in 21:30, that was about a year ago, so I didn't really know what to expect but I figured I would run some where between 21-22 minutes, so to be on pace for 19:XX was surprising and I was questioning weather I would be able to hang on.  I was definitely starting to red line at the end but I was able to hold on.  I looked back once with less than a minute to go to make sure the kid wasn't gaining on me.  It was a straight away section so he was still in sight but plenty far enough in the rear-view for me to feel comfortable. I run pretty even the second "half" which was actually about 200 yards longer than the first half because the finish was 200 yards beyond the starting line. my second half was 9:46 for a final time of 19:24.  They haven't posted the final results yet so I'm not sure how far back I was from first but I'm guessing it was somewhere between 40-50 seconds.  A very successful and surprising little race. And a great reminder of how much I love being in a race.  the competition and all the friendly faces, it's good for the soul.

I'm 8 days away from my speed hike of the Long Trail and feeling pretty good about it.  All of the little nagging pains I've had in the past 2 months are currently non-existent and I'm hoping to keep it that way.  there was an Unsupported speed record attempt on the Long Trail last week that ended due to injury, so the current record stands at 6 days 17 hours.  As I mentioned before I don't think that is within my reach this time around, but I'm starting with 7 days of food and an itinerary of daily mileage that would set a new record if everything goes better than expected.  But i'm definitely not going to force anything.  This is more of a training hike than a record setting attempt.  My goal is to finish this hike and be able to continue training aggressively throughout the fall.  So I don't want to pus to hard and risk injury that will require extended recovery.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Long Trail End to End

I've been putting in a decent amount of miles lately, both running and hiking for an upcoming adventure I have planned in September so I figured I would write a little about it for anyone that might happen to ever still see this blog.

At the beginning of September I am going to attempt and end-to-end hike of the Long Trail (also known as a thru-hike, but the preferred language of the Long Trail community seems to be "end to end")  The Long Trail is a 273 mile single track trail that runs along the ridge of the Green Mountains in Vermont from Massachusetts to Candada. The first 100 miles of the trail is relatively mild, conceding with the Appalachian trail.  The remaining 173 miles stay west as the Appalachian breaks to the east and makes it's way towards the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  The northern portion of the Long Trail can be pretty rugged and technical at times, a lot of rocks, mud and roots.  Boulders to climb up and down, with man made ladders of wood and rebar in places, not exactly runnable.

My goal is to complete the trail in 8 days which would be an average of 30 miles day.  Not necessarily an impressive feat to my fellow ultra runners, but it's something that's only been done a couple times before in a self-supported / un-supported manner (there have been a handful of sub 8 day efforts by runners with support crews) I will be attempting this in a self-supported manner, meaning I will start with 4 days of food and resupply in a town along the way.  the fastest known time for a self supported thru-hike on the LT is Jennifer Pharr Davis's time of 7 days 15 hours 40 minutes.  that's the mark I'd like to beat.  Although the trail has been completed in a faster time in an un-supported manner, meaning from the start you carry evertying you need, without resupplying, by Travis Wildeboer in a time of 6 days 17 hours 25 minutes.  I believe that time is out of my reach this time around, but i'll definitely have it in my mind if things are going unexpectedly well.

I've spent much of the last month on different sections of the trail, having hiked 183 miles of it so far and covereing a total of 250+ total miles (some sections repeated) on the trail in July.  by the time I start my trip on September 1 I hope to have covered every mile of trail so that I know what I'm in for.  The time spent on the trail has been invaluable for fine tuning my gear and nutrition.  Just a few days ago I covered 37 miles in rain with very sloppy trails with a full pack and felt great when I got to camp.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I had a really nice road run yesterday.  10 miles of flat terrain with a bit of climbing at the end (it was an out and back so it start with a big downhill and finished going back up)  My goal was to keep a steady pace that felt comfortable with a little bit of pushing.  I ran the first half in 45 minutes and the second half in 44:06 which I was pleased with because it was a negative split, and the last mile has a pretty good climb.  It works out to be a 8:49 pace over 10.1 miles.  I was definitely tired at the end but I could have kept going at that pace for a few more miles.

Today I planned to do some interval training at the track.  I haven't done mile repeats in a long long time so I didn't know what to expect.  I started of with a 6:00 pace in mind but by the first 200 meters I know that just wasn't going to happen so I slowed down to a sustainable pace and finished the first mile in 6:30.  I felt pretty good and planned to do 2 more miles repeats at that pace and a few 800's and 400's.  I started the second mile at a similar pace and as I pasted the first 100 meters it felt as if I had hit a brick wall.  All the strength was just zapped from my legs all I could manage was a slow jog.  I struggled to finish the second mile in about 8:15 and decided it was time to shut it down for the day.  I guess that is to be expected after going from no training to 80 miles in 11 days.  Luckily my body gave me that signal in the form of muscle fatigue and not an injury.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And so it begins

I am a week and a half into being back on the training wagon.  Things are going well.  I've been extremely pleased about how my body has responded to regular running after such a long absence.  It's has if I never went away (well, besides the fact that I am a lot slower).  In some aspects I even feel better than I had a few years ago when I was training regularly.  I am prone to getting very sore after runs and my body usually takes a mile or two to work out that soreness on my next run, but I have felt very little soreness after running every day, multiple times a day for the past 10 days.

I was able to run 43 miles my first week back with no discomfort at all.  This week I am aiming for 50+ while also adding in speed work.  I have decided to add the speed work now more as a means to get used to the routine, as my body isn't in the shape to really benefit from these workouts quite yet.  I need to build up my aerobic base before I can really see benefits from the speed.  It's nice to get things moving fast, but it's also discouraging to see the time on the clock after a 4 mile hard tempo run (7:44 pace) and know how much work has to be done to get back to where I was, and surpass that.  Speed work will be a big part of my ultra training, as I don't simple want to get back to where I was, but I want to be more competitive in my running.  My mind set right now is that anything more than 24 hours at the 100 in June would be a disappointment, and I think I can run quite a bit fast than that.  6 months might not be enough time to make it all happen but I think it will be a good start.

My best workout so far has been a 13 mile run at 9:19 pace.  It felt relatively easy and it was nice to know I am capable of doing that after 3 years of virtually no running at all.  And best of all I was able to do hill repeats the next day without much fatigue.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Back in Business!

Woah, I guy leaves his blog unattended for two years and all hell breaks loose!  Two days ago I went to check on this blog, only to find out it was gone.  I couldn't find the slightest trace of it, nothing showed up when visiting the url, nothing it google search, totally gone.  So I have spent the last couple days e-mailing google support.  I still never really found out what happened to it, but I did get it back.  My first thought was that Blogger shuts down blogs after being inactive for a certain period of time, seeign as how the last time I updated was in April 2010 I figured I was a prime candidate for that, but after doing some research I came to the conclusion that Blogger does not shut down inactive blogs.  It seems the only way I blog is shut down is if the owner does it themselves or if it is decided by automatic algorithms that the blog is spam.  So my best guess is that the blog was somehow labeled as spam and removed.  My be it had something to do with all of my comment sections getting hi-jacked by spammers!  It's like weeds growing in a garden.  But I am back to trim the weeds and tend to the flowers.

It's been a very long time since I have run with any consistency, really, about 4 years.  Hard to believe but true.  I ran in 2008 and 2009 but no solid spells of training, and hardly anything in 2010 and spent a good portion of 2011 thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.  But I am now officially back in the game.  I have attempted to make comebacks multiple times of the past few years but I was always lacking motivation.  I would train for a little bit then not feel any desire to continue, unfocused, unmotivated.  Then it hit me, the only thing that has ever motivated me to train with any consistency is up coming races.  With that deadline looming overhead it gave me something to focus on, something to look forward to.  so what is a non-practicing ultrarunner to do?  Sign up for a 100 miler of course.

So I now have 6 months to go from 0 miles per week to 100 miler.  I will be running the first annual TARC Boston 100.  This is an event put on by the Trail Animals running club of Boston, MA.  they put on multipule low and free ultras throughout the year in the boston area.  It was the Vermont 100 that orginally tickled my fancy to start training again.  it is only a 45 minute drive from where we live and also the same time of year.  But looking at the $250 price tag turned me off.  Not complaining about the price.  The ultra scene has changed a lot in the last few years.  If folks are willing to pay $250 to run a race then races are going to charge that much, and I know the Vermont 100 raises money for a good cause.  But I just don't want to spend that kind of cash to run around in the woods at this point in time.

And so the training begins.  I'm starting off by just trying to gauge where I'm at and getting my feet back underneath me.  I've been running 3 miles twice a day every day this week at 8:30-9:30 pace to ease myself into things and see how my body response.  So far so good.  Next week I will start some more structured training, but will work into it gradually (well not that gradually, truth be told I am going to try and jump into things much faster than I should as long as my body doesn't give me any negative feed back)  I will be training differently than I used to for ultras.  I'll be placing more emphasis on speed work, hills and intervals with he goal of really pushing myself to see what I can achieve.  I plan to keep my mileage relatively low.

But more on that stuff later.  This is just a reintroduction entry.  From what I can see the run blogging scene has changed quite a bit since I have been away, a lot of new interesting blogs to check out.  I look forward to connecting with many of you and hope I can reconnect with old blogging friends who might still be around.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Did a warm up mile to the trails, then an hour on the trails, and a mile back home. I felt pretty sluggish, but I was able to run up and down the hills for an hour with walking. I wasn't tired enough at the end, I slacked off a bit.

7 miles running on trails
3 miles walking on trails and roads

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jill and I did a 14 mile bike ride yesterday, out to the Little Walnut picnic area which is part of the Gila National Forest. There is a nice system of trails in this area, small but nice. We followed the ride there with a 2 or so mile walk on the trails, then road back. The ride was much easier than we were expecting. We both get pretty intimated with hills while biking, but they weren't so bad. We are going to try to spend more time on the bikes.

Today I ran about 3 miles on trails, the first mile was at an easy pace, then the last 2 were a pretty good effort with a nice 4 minute hill climb effort near the end. I'm trying to hit as many hills as I can. I'm determined to turn myself into a mountain runner.