Monday, June 19, 2017

June 12 - 18, 2017

Monday:
     AM: 3.1 miles, 220', 8:08 pace. Easy morning jog with some foam rolling. I feel surprisingly good, much better than last Monday. The only physical reminder of the weekend is the soreness in my shoulder and back but at least I can turn my head all the way left now.
     PM: 7.2 miles, 390', 8:19 pace. City sidewalks. Easy heat training run, 91 degrees out. This went better than expected; I was hot but not that uncomfortable.

I got an email from Ultra Trail du Mont Albert this morning informing me that there will be a delayed start (noon, rather than 10 am) for anyone expecting to cover the first 100K in less than 18 hours. I guess that includes me. There will also be a limit on when runners can enter the Mont Jauqes-Cartier zone because the reindeer that live there are so heavily protected. I suppose that's the trade off that has to be made to be able to use the area. I'm still trying to figure out what this does to my prospects of a sub-24 hour finish. If anything, I'm hoping it'll keep me from going out too fast, especially when the last 25 miles of the race look mostly downhill and runnable; It'll be good to save some legs for that. Along those lines UTMA released a picture of their sub-30 hours 100 mile belt buckle today. I wants it. There will be an as yet undetermined award for sub-24. I want that too. Funny, how I can be so motivated by silly little trinkets.


Tuesday:
     AM: 5.2 miles, 443', 8:34 pace. Easy local roads and trails.
     PM: 7.2 miles, 394', 8:44 pace. Easy city sidewalks and trails. Hot, a right angle day (90 degrees). Apologies for the dad joke.

Wednesday: 3.8 miles, 222', 8:09 pace. Easy morning on country roads. A few years ago I didn't usually bother with runs so short, not thinking they were worth changing my clothes for. Nowadays, I'm seeing more value in them, if for nothing other psychological hygiene. They're a good way to boost mileage, stay loose, and avoid a zero day. I also think about all the times I had a mileage goal for the week and missed it by less than 5 miles because I was too tired or out of time when Sunday rolled around.

Thursday: Speaking of zero days...

Friday: Zero. Trying to get things together for my trip next week.

Saturday: 16.8 miles, 5520', 3:38:08 elapsed time. Another favorite training staple of mine; the Twins, Zealand, Hale loop. I often throw on detours to Galehead or the Bonds, but today decided to put in a focused effort on the simple, classic version. My best time from a few years ago was a little over five hours, albeit at a lackadaisical effort level, and Saturday I felt motivated to give it a good, solid go. Call it a 90-95% effort - hard enough to be a workout and turn a quick time, but not so hard as to overly fatigue me or risk injury. It was a gorgeous, soul-stirring morning to be out.




Sunday: 7.8 miles, 2935', 1:50:00 elapsed time. I wanted to get another hard mountain effort in before leaving for Quebec and managed to hit up the Osceolas from Tripoli Road at dawn. Similar to yesterday, a 90-95% effort got me a personal best time (and back home in time for breakfast.)

Totals: 51.2 miles, 10118', 8h 59m. Not quite the volume I wanted (those two zero days don't help) but I got over 10,000 feet of vert. We'll call it an early start to my taper.

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 5 - 11, 2017 - Waterville Value Pack

Monday:
     AM: 3.1 miles, 210', 8:45 pace. Easy recovery jog in the rain trying to work out some hamstring tightness. I did about 10 minutes of foam rolling beforehand to try and loosen things up and prevent my sciatica issues from resurfacing.
     PM: 5.2 miles, 171', 8:22 pace. Easy run around Manchester with an old friend.

Tuesday: 3.1 miles, 213', 7:48 pace. Same deal as yesterday, foam roll and then an easy jog in the rain.

Wednesday:
     AM: 5.2 miles, 433', 8:27 pace. Easy run with 10 minutes of foam rolling the hammies. Still experiencing some sciatica.
     PM: Mountain biking, 22.5 miles, 1755', 3 hours. Easy evening ride in Bear Brook. Seemed to help with my hamstring issues.

Thursday: Zero. Trying to wrap up my family room renovation. It's not quite done, but close enough that I moved the table in so we could have dinner together.



Friday: 9.8 miles, 591', 7:41 pace. Easy morning run on local country roads. I ran across a tom turkey showing off in someone's yard.


Saturday: 15.4 miles, 1841', 11:07 pace. Easy trail run in Bear Brook with Mike and Cooper.

Sunday: 25.7 miles, 8825',  Waterville Value Pack, 7:03:28 elapsed time. I spent the day practicing some easy mountain endurance for UTMA and managed to cut 45 minutes off my best time on this route. I ran into a pretty gross dead moose, covered in flies on the North Tripyramid Slide. Later, I managed to jack up my back a bit when I took an awkward spill off a rock, but at least I didn't humpty-dumpty myself like the moose did. The heat got to me a bit on this one, as I experienced some nausea and a headache towards the end.

The WvVP is another favorite training staple of mine. It goes like this:

  • Park at Livermore Road
  • Climb Mount Tecumseh via ski trails.
  • Descend the backside of Tecumseh to Tripoli Road on nice, soft, singletrack.
  • Run up Tripoli road for a mile or two.
  • Traverse Mount Osceola and East Osceola to Greeley Ponds.
  • Descend Greeley Ponds Trail.
  • Climb the abandoned Flume Brook Trail (hard to find, easy to follow) and Old Skidder Path to Livermore Road.
  • Traverse the Tripyramids via the North and South Slides.
  • Return to the car on Livermore road.






Totals: 67.6 miles, 12503', 12h 24m (plus 3 hours cycling). A satisfactory week, given the slow start. I was hoping to do a Hut Traverse but snowy, wet conditions on the Twinway last weekend and nagging to-do list made me opt out. I'd like to see what I can do with an aggressive effort but it may have to wait until I come back from Quebec.

Monday, June 5, 2017

May 29 - June 4, 2017 Sandwich Dome, Pemi Loop XVIII

Monday: 8.1 miles, 2850', 11:30 pace. A daybreak start and brisk effort got me up and down Sandwich Dome in 1:38:21 and back home before breakfast.

Tuesday: Zero. Blew my  morning and lunch run windows on figuring out how to get the check engine light in my Forester to shut off. I achieved success, I think.

With the occasional malfunctioning emissions system, creeping fender rust, and nearly 178,000 miles, I'm not sure how much more life I'll get out of this car. I know everything is finite, especially tools that get used on a daily basis, but I love my Forester and there's really nothing else out there that quite matches it's appeal to me. Now, it seems like most everything that would fit my needs is too expensive, too slow, too clumsy, or comes with a shitty CVT transmission. My options are limited and I plan to string this baby on as long as I can. Specifically, I have a 2007 Subaru Forester Sports XT with a manual transmission in World Rally Blue. What all that means is that it's a turbocharged all-wheel-drive station wagon in a very rare options package and color, especially with the stick shift. Ten years ago I scoured the website of every Subaru dealership in New England looking for the exact combo I wanted, with the intent of owning it for the long term. At the time, it'd been a year since I'd graduated college, I'd established some stability, and wanted to reward myself for making it through school. Getting a kick-ass new car was one of the motivations that kept me plugging away on relevant school work and coping with all the other bullshit gatekeepers in academia. I'll be sad when I finally do have to let her go.



Wednesday: 3.9 miles on the mountain bike. Went for a ride in the evening with a friend until a broken chain cut things short.

Thursday:
     AM: 5.2 miles, 436', 8:19 pace. Easy morning run.
     PM: 11.2 mile bike ride at lunch.

Friday: Zero.

Saturday: 12 miles, 1952', 11:00 pace. Pawtuckaway trails with Kieth.

Sunday: 30.6 miles, 9405', 14:15 pace. Pemi Loop number 18 is in the books. Had to work a lot harder for my 8:13 finish than I would've liked due to snowy, wet conditions, not enough calories, and too much beer the night before.








Totals: 56.2 miles, 14639', 11h 48m.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 22 - 28, 2017 - Moosilauke Figure 8 and Franconia Notch Loop

Monday: Zero.

Tuesday: Zero. Experiencing nerve pain in my right hamstring area going up and down stairs. My layman's diagnosis that it's probably sciatica and some foam rolling should help.

Wednesday: 24.6 miles, 6956', 12:07 pace. I had to go to Rumney in the morning for a work function and, wrapping up by about lunch time, I seized the opportunity to go a little farther north and bang out a good run on Mount Moosilauke before dark. This is a favorite training route of mine with good distance, elevation gain, views, and a variety of terrain; call the it the Moosilauke Figure Eight.

It goes like this:

  • Start at the Dartmouth Outing Club's Ravine Loj. 
  • Run to the summit of Moosilauke via the Snapper Trail and Carriage Road.
  • Descend the Benton Trail (a nice, lightly used route on the back of the mountain).
  • Take the very runnable Tunnel Brook Trail around the mountain through a deep, narrow valley.
  • Climb steeply back up to the summit on the Glencliff Trail.
  • Descend back to the car on the Beaver Brook and Asquam Ridge Trails.


Today, the run went very well and I set a personal best for the route. I eased into things and found myself making very good time without feeling forced or strained. No issues with my sciatica throughout and only some minor achilles crankiness made itself known. My strengths and weaknesses don't seem to have changed much this spring, I can still roll gentle terrain very well and my climbing is mediocre. Ground conditions were fairly good, with only small patches of snow until the final descent down Asquam Ridge where I postholed crotch deep (with ice water underneath) through rotten spring snow for a few hundred yards. Still, I enjoyed my first good mountain run of the season.







Thursday: Zero.

Friday: Zero.

Saturday: 24.6 miles, 9748', 16:12 pace. The Franconia Notch Loop is another favorite spring training staple of mine and a quick way to accumulate some elevation gain and seven Four-Thousand-Footers; I've done it annually for the last four years. The route goes like this:

  • Park at the Basin off I93.
  • Take the Liberty Springs and Flume Slide Trails to the summit of Mount Flume.
  • Follow the epic Franconia Ridge Trail over Liberty and Lincoln to Mount Lafayette.
  • Descend the Greenleaf Trail past Greenleaf Hut back to I93 in Franconia Notch at the Cannon Tramway.
  • Take the Kinsman Ridge Trail over Cannon Mountain, the Northeast Cannonball, and North Kinsman to South Kinsman.
  • Backtrack over North Kinsman to Kinsman Pond.
  • Descend back to the car via the Kinsman Pond, Cascade Brook, and Basin-Cascade Trails.



While not as strong of an effort as Moosilauke on  Wednesday, I'm pretty happy with my pace and finishing time of 8:16, given that I kept the effort pretty casual. My best time, from 2015, is 7:42. I climbed steadily and wasn't too aggressive on the downhills; prudent given the wet conditions. I was also slowed significantly by stretches of rotten snow below Kinsman Pond. My feet were wet all day but I didn't experience maceration, blisters, or any other foot problems except for a hole in my sock that was doing its best to circumcise my big toe. Time to retire that pair of Drymax. All good preparation for Ultra Trail du Mont Albert Grand Traverse in a month.





Sunday: Zero.

Totals: 49.2 miles, 16703', 11h 37m. Rather odd numbers this week, reflecting my laziness with doing any shorter road runs. No sign of sciatica or achilles pain, or any other kind of injury, though, on the two run/hikes I did do.

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 15 - 21, 2017

Monday: Zero. Right achilles is still grouchy, as is most of my left leg above the knee (quad, hamstring, and some other stuff). A big purple bruise has appeared where I fell on Sunday.

Tuesday: Zero.

Wednesday:
     AM: 9.8 miles, 591', 8:08 pace. Easy on the normal loop.
     PM: 8.9 miles, 1352', 10:57. Evening run in Pawtuckaway. Hot temps and a desire to not stress my achilles kept the pace slow and easy. At least the humidity was low. Decided to leave the dog home because of the heat.

One of my favorite things about trail running is the shirtless, windows-down drive home on a summer evening. There's something deeply relaxing about the sense of accomplishment combined with the feeling of warm, turbulent air drying off my skin. First one of the year in the books.

Thursday: Zero.

Friday:
     AM: 9.7 miles, 591', 7:34 pace. Easy morning road run.
     PM: 7.8 miles, 630', 8:08 pace. Easy lunch run. Mixed roads and trails. I may not be able to run this route for much longer; this is a route I've been doing for a few years with use windows in spring and fall when there's not too much snow or poison ivy.

Saturday: 14.4 miles, 1742', 9:37 pace. Bear Brook trails with the dog. The endorphins were flowing this morning and I felt like I was floating the singletrack trails through a leafy green tunnel with the sun just coming up.

Sunday: 15.7 miles, 4419', 12:57 pace. I tried to go for a fast time on the Squam Range Double Traverse but got suckered into a wrong turn and went a mile downhill in the wrong direction before I realized the problem. The junction is signed but a little confusing, especially considering that the blazes on both trails are yellow. Oh well, my legs felt kinda heavy anyway and I decided to call it a day and turn back at the summit of Mount Morgan.


Totals: 66.5 miles, 9564', 10h 57m. Not bad for a week with three zero days. Also probably not bad to cut back a bit as something weird is going on with my right leg. My achilles pain persists, usually mildly, but there are a bunch of other shifting pains on the back of my leg between my knee and glute. I'll see if some foam rolling helps.

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 8 - 14, 2017 - Wapack 21.5 Race

Monday:
     AM: 5.5 miles, 157', 8:44 pace. Easy morning run exploring an old railroad grade near my house.

Tuesday: 9.8 miles, 591', 7:21 pace. Up-tempo morning road run.

Wednesday: 
     AM: 9.8 miles, 591', 7:51 pace. Easy morning road run.
     PM: 3.7 miles, 82', 7:38 pace. Managed to squeeze in a quickie between hotel check-in and dinner in Cleveland.


Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame

Thursday: 4.6 miles, 108', 8:09 pace. Easy morning sight seeing run in downtown Cleveland.

Lake Erie

Friday: 9.8 miles, 591', 7:47 pace. Easy morning run shaking off some travel grogginess. I was supposed to land in Manchester at 9 pm, Instead, through some United Airlines snafus, I ended up touching down at Logan airport after 11 and had a 55 mile cab ride to Manchester, not arriving home until the wee hours of the morning. I should have stuck with Southwest.

Saturday: 21.3 miles, 5030', 9:50 pace. Wapack Trail Race, fourth place, 3:29:46. In most years, this would be a very good time, the seventh fastest on record according to Ultrasignup.com Yet, this year had the strongest field Wapack 21.5 has ever seen, nearly ideal weather and ground conditions, and I didn't even make the podium. From what I could see, the field had mostly sorted itself out by the first aid station at Miller State Park at mile 5 and I essentially ran alone for the rest of the way. I lost a few minutes sorting out some stomach distress, emptying rocks out of my shoes, and took an ugly fall coming down Mount Watatic near the end, but even if I'd been 5 minutes faster the results would have been unchanged. I'm reasonably happy with my time and there's little I could have done differently on the competitive front.

Sunday: Zero. My achilles was acting up, as was the knee and toe I smashed up on Saturday.

Totals: 64.8 miles, 7129', 9h 7m. A bit of an easier week on the distance, elevation, and time front. Could be worse when considering the travel and possible injury.

I'm getting excited for the next race on my calendar, my main "A" race of the year; the Ultra Trail du Mont Albert: La Grande-Traversée (yeah, it's a mouthful) up in Gaspesie, Quebec. Last year I won the 100k distance at this event and had a magical trip overall. New for this year will be a 165k version with 8500 meters of elevation gain, held on a point-to-point course on the International Appalachian Trail. Based on what I saw last year, I'm expecting the difficulty to be similar to the Wasatch 100 and a sub-24 hour finish should be plausible. A french language TV show did a segment on the 100k that gives a good impression of the landscape up there, even if you don't understand what's being said: http://tracedetrail.com/en/trace/trace/25043 I make a cameo at at the 1:38 mark.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

May 1 - 7, 2017

Monday: Zero.

Tuesday:
     AM:  3 miles, 200', 7:56 pace. Morning road jog.

     PM: 10.3 miles, 1926', 9:51 pace. My wife picked up the kids from school, so I was able to get an evening run in after work run in Pawtuckway with Cooper. Rain earlier in the day made things rather wet but the temps were good -  right around 60 and the humidity was low. Sunshine gave way to passing showers and made for some cool light contrasts and a double rainbow.



Wednesday:
     AM: 7.2 miles, 430', 8:14 pace. Easy morning run. My achilles starting acting up in the first two miles and I almost turned around. Oddly, it improved the farther I ran and I felt totally normal for the last few miles. I've also been having some tightness in my upper calf, near the knee, at the beginning of my morning runs and I'm wondering if the two issues are related. Still, it handled relatively heavy mileage and elevation gain last week, so I'll just have to keep an eye on it.
     
     PM: 8.1 miles, 1639', 8:29 pace. Hill workout, 10 x 2 minutes at McIntyre ski hill. Happy I got out for this one, given that workouts make me anxious and it's easy to find reasons not do them. I have to play mental games with myself, only looking so far ahead on each repeat and not thinking about how many are left to do. The burning in my quads and short, frequent breaths are where the magic happens for working on my weaknesses, though. Getting back to the office, I was light headed for the rest of the day, pleasantly and naturally high. No noise from the achilles.



Thursday: 7.5 miles, 350', 7:38 pace. Easy morning road run.

Friday: 9.8 miles, 591', 7:52 pace. Easy morning run. Got stopped by the local constabulary and asked if I'd seen a horse running loose.

Saturday: 14.5 miles, 1988', 9:52 pace. Sopping wet Bear Brook Trails with the dog. I spent some time doing guerrilla trail maintenance; draining puddles and discretely moving brush in a logged area where my approach trail got obliterated. It was hard to get out the door in the pouring rain at 5 am  when it was barely light out, but the pay off was was a really fun run to start the day.

Sunday: 19.2 miles, 5007', 12:34 pace. Wapack trail out-and-backs from Temple Mountain with the dog. I was a little sluggish to start but picked up enthusiasm a few miles in. Preparing for the shorter 21 mile version of this race has put the trail in a different perspective for me. Terrain that would've been sluggish and tough at 50-mile pace is now viewable as fun and runnable, especially the ridgeline south of Temple Mountain. I'm excited for the race and in a good mental spot; I may or may not win, but I'm going to have a good time either way.

Totals: 80 miles, 12126', 12h 55m. Another good spring week in the books. I feel great and  I'm optimistic for June. I have plans, big plans, and I'm psyched.