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Run Efficient: July 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"All systems go for launch"

Today I opted to run locally to really dial-in and check all process'. I hit Winnick Woods, the Greenbelt Trail, as it offers semi-technical conditions with varied terrain, mud, roots, rocks, streams, ponds and sheltered as well as exposed trails. I went out with a full pack of everything I'll be bringing on most legs of the 100MW. Wore the clothes, and mimicked conditions.

I tried out a visor I've worn a few times in the past and it worked well to keep the sweat out of my face, but we'll see if I bother with it. I went out much later than I wanted to today but the heat was OK with minimal humidity. There's about a .3 mile start to the trail then a larger loop of about three miles.

I did the loop twice, and on the third stopped at the pond, drained the remainder of my bladder in my handheld and scooped water. Dropped tabs, and the system worked fine, as it has on all expeditions. However I've decided for sure I won't be messing with the "dual" bladder system, and will simply use the folding side, as opposed to the screw top design. I walked a bit on the final loop as I didn't want to push it, and felt good to experience a nice rest between runs, once again mimicking the upcoming run. I made sure to carry my handheld now instead of nesting it back in the pack. That way I was sure not to slurp from the bladder while the iodine did it's thing. Half an hour later, after stomping through mud puddles, wading through water, and braving the briars and bugs, I finished the process by dumping the "tasty-tabs" in the bladder. Might be a bit trickier in the middle of the night, but oh well.

efficiency: Mudclaw's are working great to shed water quickly. Sussed out the bladder, simplifying. Practiced again eying and counting tree splotches keeping up awareness. Nuun is working well again.

distance: 9.6
duration: 2:02:00
pace: 12:43

Friday, July 29, 2011

Night run

Headed out to the Wohelo Trails for a quick night run to test out the backup bladder and make sure the headlamp situation was still good. It's been a bunch of months since my last night run so I was real excited for the outing. My adventure spirit really started flowing when I hit the trails under a beautifully clear evening with humid conditions.

I had my Nathan Synergy pack loaded with water, which I've discovered really only holds 88 ounces, as opposed to 100. A water bottle, and a replenishment drink just for the weight and to test out the side compartments. I wore one headlamp around the waist and one on my head, as in the past for night races like Reach The Beach Relay. The waist is on wide beam, and the head is on narrow. After a couple loops along the .6 mile trail I decided to play a game to keep my eye foot coordination sharp. The trail is a bit more technical at night with knee high grass in one section, rocks, roots and wooden planks in another couple sections. There are trail markers along the way, so I began counting them, making sure I was aware of the shadowed footing and cognisant the path. After a few more laps I found a few more I'd missed and looked back at the trail to find them and confirm the correct direction. This is especially useful on winter expeditions when visibility and conditions are sketchy. A shooting star ended my night run on a grand note.

efficiency: All is working out well so far.

distance: 4.4
duration: 46:17
pace: 10:32

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mudclaw 272 test

Tested out the Inov-8 Mudclaw 272's today after last minute replacement in preparation for the 100MW. I was torn on which model to get for about a week, the Mudroc 290 or the Mudclaw 272. The safer bet was the 290. I have about 800 miles in my old ones, and they've performed excellent. The rubber is more conducive to a long run, conditions, and I know they work. The Mudclaw evacuates water better with a more breathable upper, however the real aggressive sole is a bit more than whats needed in most New England conditions. I wanted to try them out and have them as my Fall and Winter shoe but was nervous for the upcoming endeavor. I do however really, really love my Baregrip 200's and they are similar to the Mudclaw, with the exception of the mid sole. So by the time I made my decision to go with "safety first" Inov-8 stated they were sold out of my size. Mudclaw it is, and today they got a taste of Jeremy.

Hit Stroudwater for a super fun zippy little run. I was surprised the rain we've had had already been soaked up by the earth, but every puddle and mud spot I found I made sure to hit. The shoes were a bit more roomy than I would like, but I was wearing a super light sock and there was no real issue with it. The grip is ridiculous, and the ascents and descents were effortless. The breath-ability was apparent from the very beginning, and water evacuated quickly. I felt the "new shoe" two arrow cushioning right away and was quite happy I'd grabbed another pair for the event to come. I'll write a review after a couple hundred miles.

distance: 6
duration: 50:00
pace: 8:20

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eastern Trail

Mindy and I hit the Eastern Trail today in a bit of heat. Our loose plan was to get out early but between sleeping in and enjoying the "cooler" Sunday we ended up meeting up at 1:00. The run was mellow with good conversation about shoes, long runs, and future races. Both Mindy and I are having much different years than we've had in the past and are looking forward to the possibilities of whats around each corner.

We explored an off-shoot trail where the gnomes live but I think they were sleeping in as well. All in all a nice recovery run and Mindy did a great job helping me in some final decisions for the 100MW.

distance: 9.37
duration: 1:26:19
pace: 9:13

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Da Brad

Drove up with Mindy, and met with Julia, and Emma for a 7 start at da Brad. The plan was something around 15, and we were hopefully beating the heat starting early. I was in the process of narrowing down my wardrobe for the 100MW, so had some new fancy tights on and a Patagoochie top. Both are a bit more tight fitting (and slimming of course) to reduce pack friction and chaffing issues, as much as possible.

We started in rather warm conditions in a bit of rain and headed out for Mindy's loop. The heat increased quick, and the humidity added a swampy interest to the morning as we wove the winding trails. I slurped liquid as quick as it fell from my brow and deer flies swarmed like cramping Death Valley runners at a beer flavored salt lick. I went out with almost three liters and was surprised I drained my pack by the end.

Julia took a rough digger and deftly managed to miss a gnarly rock which wanted her head. Both her knees were skinned to bloody streams which she simply shook off and charged on like a true Monster. The pace seemed comfortable until the last 5 or so when I swear Mindy took a shot of mixed nuts and kicked in turbo-time, streaming through the trails on squirrel-power. My legs were done at this point and by the time we got back to the parking lot I was ready for rest and foooood. Julia took off for some more and Mindy and I headed to E&L. The run was great, with fun conversations and great laughs.

efficiency: The Nathan Synergy pak is working well now that I've sussed out the straps and bladder. The shorts and shirt worked well also.

distance: 15:00
duration: 2:53:50
pace: 11:36

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Run with Ian

Ian popped over today for a run and a chat. We hit Robinson Woods/Greenbelt trail. Parked at the Church and headed through the woods to the gorgeous ocean views at Fort Williams. Great conversations about other TM's who toughed it out at VT, and our own preparation for T100W.

distance: 8.5
duration: 1:19:15
pace: 9:20

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bradbury Ultra Extreme Bad-Ass

Well the final long run before the taper is here. The plan was to hit Bradbury at 07:00 and run 3 then hit the Scuffle, Breaker, and Bruiser for an even 30.

I met up with Ian, Emma, Nate, Julia, Nathan, Mindy and Val and we took off for the first 3 miler. Mindy and Val were heading off for their own jaunt and when we started the Scuffle 6 of us ran together. We talked about every possible ultra wisdom, gear and strategy we knew of for the duration of the morning and it's always fun to learn something new, and hear everyone's thoughts on a simple subject such as running. Or not so simple.

After the Scuffle we reloaded at the vehicles and I had a chance to see the efficiency of my new Nathan Synergy Pak. This pack has a 3 liter capacity but the option to separate the bladder in two for water and an energy drink. There are two hoses, and a valve for making a solution, or choosing one or the other. The pack holds much more than my other Nathan vest and will be crucial for the 100 miler. I was also continuing to test out the Ultra Fit+ energy drink for the longer run, as well as back to my stand-by electrolyte drink Nuun.

By the time we started the Breaker my feet were starting to hurt, and the pounding of the rocks, coupled with a stab from a stick under my left foot made it increasingly apparent that the Inov-8 Bare-Grip's were not going to work for a long, long run. I stayed with them through the 18 mile mark though and when we went back to the vehicles to reload again I changed to my Mudroc's. By this time my legs were quite sore from simply not being used to the lack of mid sole in a shoe on a long, rocky run. I think the road run yesterday may be showing signs as well.

Nate, Emma, Ian and I headed out for the final 12 and were all quite toasty from the hot day and lack of breeze in the woods. As hard and challenging as it was, and sore as my legs were, I, as I assume everyone else, was quite excited that we were able to have such a challenging run to get ready for T100W.

During this leg I was trying to be ever vigilant and watch my footing. It was imperative that I not trip, as earlier in the day I made fun of Emma for tripping over the tiniest stick on the side of the trail. My first reaction was to laugh, make fun of her and her predicament, and then, finally ask her if she was OK. This did not go unnoticed and she vowed to get me back "when" I fell. I told her there was "no way" and I would not be falling today. Well, you guessed it. Ian exclaimed "stick!" as he and Nate adeptly flew over one, I starred right at it passing on the warning to Emma and caught it with my leaded left foot, and went down... I just remember seeing Emma leaning over me with the widest, most satisfied grin I've ever seen on her face. Yup, karma train came back hard on that one. Of course the stick I tripped on was absolutely huge...

So we hit the O trail after a few needed walks, breaks and huff's and puff's in the heat. Ian was a bit concerned with not having water for the O trail and I offered some of mine before we got there, only to realize I was out already. Surprise. It worked out well enough though and It was really great to have the three of them push me through some sections that I would have gone much slower on and I hope they took it the same way when I took a final caffeine GU before the O trail to get me through. I really love the ups, downs and switchbacks even after such a long run.

When it was all done I'm pretty sure I had some heat exhaustion, definitely a bit of a rash from the new pack, and legs were toasted. Excellent time though, and a hell of a way to start a taper!

efficiency: Synergy Pack worked well. I realized you can only fill one reservoir if need be, and choose between fold top, and twist opening. The straps need to be trimmed, and the hose clip does not work, as well as some chaffing issues, but otherwise it'll be great for T100W.
The Nuun worked awesome, as usual, and the energy drink kept me going along with a tuna sammy, Mojo bar, a GU and apricots.

distance: 30
duration: 6:07:00
pace: 12:14

Friday, July 15, 2011

Portland Gallivanting

Met up with Ian this morning to cruise around Portland and check out the sites. We went all around the East End, a bit of the Old Port, touched on the West End and cruised along Forest for a nice loop around the city.

distance: 10.8
duration: 1:52:00
pace: 10:23

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wohelo Loops

Felt great today and the legs really feel like their getting diverse workouts this week. I started a job last week and have been biking to and from it here and there. It works out to be a 17 mile round trip with my mountain bike on roads (unfortunately) and has been real nice to spin a bit and ease off on some of the pounding.

Today I only figured running quick with time, so 6 loop at the trail track with progressively faster splits felt fun and was a great lung stretch.

distance: 4.4
duration: 36:00
pace: 8:11

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fore River Trail

Took off today thinking a long run was within my grasp, but alas...

For whatever reason I had not been on a few of the trails in the Fore River area. I used to run out there all the time, and thought I'd hit 'em all but found a bunch of different loop and out-and-back options as well as a link, I have missed in the past. This made the run very fun in the afternoon heat and kept me going on the slower sections of the trail. I was trying out a new drink on the run, hoping my stomach could handle it for loner jaunts. Basically the same thing as Ensure, like most ultra runners/TM's use, but a generic form. I downed two on the run, and it worked great without any issues. I decided on the Inov-8 Bare-Grips today, as I really want to run with them during the 100 mile due to their "water-shedding" ability, and need to get more used to the minimalism. I think this was a bit to much for the lower legs though and Achilles pain made me question the decision.

The weather was quite oppressive today. Mix that with the sore legs and diverse terrain and my run was a bit shy of the goal. Felt good to hang out on new-to-me trails though.

distance: 13
duration: 2:14:00
pace: 10:19

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Nice and slow on the Stroudwater trail today, recovering from the Scuffle.

distance: 4
duration: 40:28
pace: 10:07

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bradbury Scuffle Race

Woke up with a killer migraine on Sunday and was not in a good state for the beginning of the race. There was however, no way I was going to miss the fun and figured I'd run it out of me.

I wasn't able to eat anything before the start except a quick GU packet and a bit of water. I was definitely not in the game at the start, and just hung back in the middle of the pack while Ian gave his start speech. Didn't put much in to the first mile and spent a bit warming up and chatting with a few people. The pace picked up a bit over the next couple miles as I started feeling better and really felt like running. The single track, and some more technical areas made it tough to pass, and I kicked myself a bit for not starting more towards the front of the pack. Met up with Ian and Chris Dunn and ran with them for a while. During the middle of the run I laid off a bit hoping to save some for the upcoming hill. At that time Chris passed me back with great strength and I decided not to lay off too much more.

After sucking down a bit of water on-the-fly at each of the aid stations I knew it was time to give it a go. I'm glad I saved a bit for the hill as I was able to cruise up it and make some ground. I picked up the pace as best I could for the final few miles and toward the end saw one last person in front of me that I wanted to catch. I gained quickly, and with .5 to go, realized it was Jamie Anderson. I knew there was probably no way I'd out kick him and after he turned around with eyes wider than an owls he was not about to let me. He held me off with ease and we finished close together.

A fantastic race with awesome people, and a great crowd. Very happy to have finished higher than expected and help the team.

efficiency: I will definitely start more towards the front of the pack in the future. It is too time consuming and energy sucking passing.

distance: 6
duration: 43:50
pace: 7:19

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Scuffle course marking

Set out to mark the Scuffle course with Ian, Zack and Joe in hot humid conditions. Joe and Zack hit the trails backwards while Ian and I finished marking the first section. Ian had already put flags out so we were just pruning a few trees and setting arrows.

Afterward we grabbed some water and hit the course for a run. I felt real heavy, and was surprised at how challenging the trails felt and how slow the pace was for the exerted effort. This made me a bit nervous about the race in the morning.

distance: 6
duration: 58:00
pace: 9:40

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Robinson Woods/Greenbelt

Still struggling to get in miles this week and once again wanted to do 20 but only had time and energy for not even half that. No worries though the run was great and had an absolute blast blazing through the fun trails at Robinson Woods and on to the couple of connectors on the Greenbelt Trails. At the apex of the run, and after a short road jaunt I hit Fort Williams for a gorgeous view of the ocean and a fun up and down along the cliff trail. A couple of stair workouts in the fort and off for a super fun run back to the parking lot.

distance: 9.5
duration: 1:22:00
pace: 8:38

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wicked Winnick Woods

I was hoping to catch-up on some miles from last weeks low mileage of only 25 but got a late start and knew the heat and time would keep me modest. I decided to don the Bare-Grips and see how they would do for a longer run on some more technical terrain and headed out with a water bottle in 80 something degree heat.

I hit the inner loop, then combined that to the outer loop and ran the condensed figure eight three times. The trail is much like Bradbury, without the mountain and with a mix of power lines and a bit of bushwhacking around a pond. Semi technical with twists, turns, rocks, and lots of roots this trail is super fun for diversity and mental focus. That said, about a mile before finishing I kicked a rock with my right foot and in mid fall kick a rock with my left foot before catching myself. If I hadn't had my hand over my mouth the scream would have been horrendous. I walked for a few steps but was afraid to take off my shoe and look at the damage. I decided to run it off, but kept looking down for blood seeping through the uppers. When I got home it was not nearly as bad as I thought and just reinforced the already multi-colored toenail from previous runs.

I'm still happy with the Bare-Grips as they performed well as usual, although when fatigue kicks in the lugs on bottom are kind of thick and easy to catch on obstacles.

distance: 15
duration: 2:34:04
pace: 10:17

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"On the road again"

Yup, another short run and one on the road. Just listening to the body and floating with the week. Alison hopped on her bike and rode with me while I pounded the pavement and shoulder to the Wohelo Trail and back. Felt stiff for the first bit but opened it up and picked up on the way back. Had fun racing her up the hill and kicking it in for the last mile.

distance: 8
duration: 59:52
pace: 7:29