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.

Monday, May 1, 2017

April 24 - 30, 2017

Monday: Zero.

Tuesday: 9.8 miles, 591', 8:06 pace. Easy morning run, some light right achilles burn toward the end.

Wednesday: 9.4 miles, 479', 8:45 pace. Easy run at Musquash Conservation Area after work. I almost didn't make it but ran out of excuses, for once. This was my first time in this area, a little odd that I've never been, given that's it's so close. The trail were very runnable but nothing of spectacular quality. Seems like it'd be more fun on a mountain bike. Right achilles burn reared it's ugly head for the last few miles.



Thursday: 8.2 miles, 1437', 8:23 pace. 8 x 2 minute hill workout at McIntyre ski hill. Muddy and sluggish, but good to get some deliberate high intensity stuff in. I should do more of that. NO achilles problems on the uphills, but some light burn again on my cool down.

Friday: 
     AM: 5.2 miles, 286', 8:18 pace. Easy run with a quintuple beaver encounter. They weren't real happy with my being there and were slapping the water with their tails. I've never seen so many, so close, for so long before. Achilles felt fine.



     PM: 7.9 miles, 647', 7:53 pace. Manchester trail scrounging.

Saturday: 14.4 miles, 1903', 9:40 pace. Early morning Bear Brook Trails with dog. We had a close call with a porcupine. Luckily, it shambled off into a boulder cave before the dog noticed anything was up. Again, some achilles burn after about an hour, not really painful but still concerning.

Sunday:  26 miles, 8000' gain, 13:39 pace. Rambling with Ryan in the Belknap Range. We were  happy to find snow free trail conditions and a good early season mountain run. The trails in here are pleasant, with relatively short climbs and generally runnable footing. A satisfying way to close the week. Achilles burned lightly but never got any worse. I wouldn't call it painful or say it qualifies as an injury at this point, especially when it was able to take so much elevation gain. Something to keep an eye on.



Totals: 81.3 miles, 13327', 13h 53m. My biggest week of the year so far, and I generally feel good. My climbing and technical running skill is noticeably returning and that bodes well for the rest of the year.

I've been doing some thinking - a dangerous thing for a guy who's frequently the dumbest person in the room. Lately, I've been contemplating the privileges I enjoy, bequeathed me by my parents and earlier ancestors. I imagine I have more opportunity and leisure time than any of them and I've been trying to get a handle on how my running (mountain running, specifically) fits into that. I work hard, but it's often cardiovascular work rather than farming, building a stone wall, working in a factory, being a computer technician, or nursing patients in a clinic. I'm the first person in my family to earn a bachelor's degree. Having children of my own has helped put some of this into perspective, as I make personal sacrifices to ensure they have best possible life opportunities open to them and I try to be good role model. I live in a modern world, without any great war to fight or great economic depression to labor under. How do I live up to the achievements of my predecessors? To me, the crux of the privilege question is not about guilt or level of deserving, but how to best make use of the opportunities I've been given. I choose to strive at something I'm good at, running, to achieve something, and to be an inspiration to those who come after me - even if at the end of the day my high water mark amounts to being a big fish in a small pond. It's the least I can do. When I feel like quitting a phrase that keeps coming to mind is; don't squander the gift.