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Run Efficient: September 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Scarborough residential

Ran down to the other side of the Eastern Trail today in Scarborough which is a real short section with some baby inclines.  It ends at a waterway where a bridge will be built, or rebuilt in the future.  I turned around and contemplated hitting some hill repeats next to the marsh but felt the curious pull to see what my mile is on a track.  

I heading over to the high school with hopes of hitting a few laps, but it was busy with football practice and the timing wasn't right.  No worries anyway I was feeling a bit tuckered and ran another mile or so till heading home. 

distance:  6ish
duration:  53:21

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Robinson Woods

I intended on getting in a good 8 to ten today but simply wasn't feeling it. 

I parked at the church and headed out to Robinson Woods on the mellow, meandering trails.  The outer loop is always fun as it kicks-up the run a notch with some inclines, bridges, and lots of roots.  I ended up doing two laps of the loop, with a quick jaunt down the road to check out the surf.  After that I decided to listen to my body and head back to work.

distance:  5.5ish
duration:  51:53

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Quick Loops On The Wohelo Trails

Felt a bit of "quick" work today.  I dare not say a speed workout quite yet.  I decided on the Wohelo Trails as they offer my version of a track workout, in the woods.  With a lollipop shaped trail starting at .4 miles and the loop at .6, it's fun to get in some marked repetition. 

After a mile warm up I was joined by the neighborhood dogs that love to run as many loops as they can whilst trying to knock you off the planks and in to the mud.  This made the first quick lap difficult and I finished in 4:07.  After a complete recovery lap (more than I probably should have but whatever) the second quick lap turned over in 3:50.  The third I went counterclockwise and hit 3:56, and the final was 3:42.  A total of eight laps that went by quickly and with a bunch of fun.  The diversity is great on this trail and I'm looking forward to hitting it again in the winter with snowshoes.

efficiency:  I can definitely see the need to hit a track sometime soon to get my average pace more consistent during "quick" workouts.  I'm sure this will help neuromuscular function as well.

distance:  5.6
duration:  43:57

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Eastern Trail

Ran on the Eastern Trail today to get in some quick "longer" miles close to home.  I wasn't too psyched about the flat aspect of the run but sometimes ya take what you can get. 

Ran a bit faster than I'd intended and had fun doing so.  There were many people on the first 2 mile section to the road then it thinned out on some of the newer sections farther south.  Only ran with a water bottle and Nuun today and was a bit bummed I didn't bring a GU.  Not too interesting, or too much to talk about, as the trail is flat, and straight and the effort was average. 

distance:  12.5ish
duration:  1:38:14

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stroudwater Roller Derby

Intended to run an easy 4 at Stroudwater today but it felt much more fun to run quick. 

The trails were nice and muddy, and the bridges were real slick.  I managed to tip toe across most of them but on a smaller, seemingly inconspicuous bridge my left foot skidded, right foot slid and to avoid any more damage than necessary I dive rolled to safety.  Got up relatively unscathed and continued on laughing and checking myself for blood.  Damn, nothing.  On each of the subsequent bridges I made sure to run as if I was on a frozen lake with banana peels taped to my feet.  Nice and easy. 

Thought about ultra's and our friends Ian, Emma, George and Nick on their way to 100 mile victories.  Excited about a longer run tomorrow, not sure where...

efficiency:  Kept on the toes a bit and focused on a shorter, quicker stride on the gradual downhills to avoid foot slapping and save on body damage.

distance:  4ish
duration:  30:27

Friday, September 23, 2011

Random Recon of Goodness

I wanted some fresh trails today.  I just headed out the door and drove randomly looking for a trail head, power lines, dirt road, anything. 

I found myself in Saco and tried a dirt road that looked interesting,  but it turned out to be a golf course.  After about 20 minutes of random roads, and gorgeous houses and lawns I found a newly paved pull out on the side of the road.  I was way too excited and hurried to bother with warming up and hit the sandy trail with vigor.  It was obviously a dirt bike, four wheeler hang out area of sorts.  With lots of banked turns, pine needle sections, and sandy open areas for ample donuts.  I took only lefts on the trail to make sure I could find my way back as it was getting late, and I was without water.  It turns out after a road crossing I came upon an area that looked familiar.  The Eastern Trail.  Now that I had my bearings I started random exploration.  Picking the pace up a bit to get some sort of workout in I went back to the original "play" area. 

There are two major sandy areas with trails jetting out on all sides like two tangled octopi.  A really fun section that shoots down an embankment to a stream and then up the other side.  I looped around this section for ten minutes or so getting a good hyperventilation on until heading out on another tentacle.  This time I was down running along the stream on a newer trail probably made this year.  It ended after a quarter mile, so I headed up the embankment running along the side on a deer trail.  Talk about single track and fun!  After crawling and sprawling my way along for a bit I was forced back by brambles too thick to pass.  Profusely sweating in the afternoon humidity, and smiling from ear to ear, I slogged through the upper sandy section looking for the next venture. 

This wasn't the cleanest area, and I'm sure it gets a bunch of "punks-in-the-woods" as my father would say, but I'm excited about a new playground.  Since it's a fairly condensed area and would get boring running more than 10 miles in the warmer months I think it will be perfect for snowshoeing.  With the short ups and downs, twisty turns and few wide open spaces, it'll be a fun proving ground.

distance:  4.5ish
duration:  34:32

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Captain Gelato And The Ocean Swell

Oh what an awesome run!  I was dying for something new today and decided to get a mix of beach and rock in.  On route to my run I hit Hannaford to pick up dinner, and they were giving away 5 tasty samples of gelato!  Oh yeah!  It didn't really matter what they were giving away, I was going to eat it, but the gelato seemed to give me quite a burst of energy.  A bit reminiscent of spinach for Popeye I might say.

I started the run at Ferry Beach, warmed up a bit to give the gelato some time to settle and headed off along the beach with the most gorgeous sun behind misty clouds.  I ran along the beach until it ended then hopped up on the road for a brief bit before hitting the trail around Prout's Neck.  From there it's a fantastic speedy run on bedrock, over planks and bridges, a bit of mud and through rose bush tunnels.  The trail opens up here and there but towards the end reveals stunning views of Scarborough Beach, and more importantly a real nice ocean swell with perfect pealing a-frames.  I was planning to head back for a surf session in the morning, so I was real excited to get a preview of what was in store.  After a few fun smooth rocky sections it was on to Scarborough Beach.

I picked it up a bit on the sand curious to see the condition of the waves closer to the houses.  There were half a dozen or so people in the water with 3 to 5's rolling in but not too many were being ridden.  I was only planning on running for an hour but I also wanted to hit the end of the beach before turning around.  The turn around took 36 minutes and felt only mildly sluggish but I gained new vigor with the setting sun now in my face.  The beach went by fast and I went through the Prout's Neck section as quick as I could stopping only once to stare at the gorgeous, powerful waves.  Running along the ocean at high tide with waves crashing, the smell of salt in the air, clanking rocks, and squishing mud underfoot is just heaven.  After the road section it was back on Ferry Beach for the eight tenths of a mile or so back to the parking lot.

Excellent fun run with a great mix.  All I need now is a 4 thousand footer in the middle...

efficiency:  Yeah, gelato.  Good to run with no races on the horizon and just feel and be.

distance:  8ish
duration:  1:09:27

Monday, September 19, 2011


Took off 7 days of running as all my energy was needed elsewhere.  A rough bunch of days without running in the mix to balance life out but it was all for the greater good.  It was real hard reading the reports, hearing the stories, and knowing how much awesome running and racing was going on out there.  It was also nice to not really worry about it too much and just feel good about the previous year and easily shift my mind elsewhere.

Today I was ready to get back in the game, albeit super tired, I pushed myself out the door to get in a few fun miles.  I have not run the neighborhoods in Scarborough in a long while.  I think the last time was with my VFF's in the winter, and that was probably the time I walked home with Morton's Neuroma, putting a hold on my minimal career, and forcing a four month respite.  In fact, after looking at my log, it was February 19th 2010.  After that I started from old and took a much longer time to get used to the whole minimal deal.  Anyhow it was a good run and nice and quick to get the blood flowing again, on a gorgeous day.

distance:  3.25ish
duration:  26:42

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back Cove Experience

Had a bit of time for a run "in town" today so decided to enjoy the sun and flatness of the back cove.  I wanted to do a nice easy recovery after yesterday's race to ease in to the week.

Started off nice and slow wanting to loosen up and get the creeks out and was surprised that the first mile went by in 8:26.  About a quarter mile later I heard someone coming up behind me and I could not help but pick up the pace.  I just didn't want to get passed.  I guess the racing juices were still flowing from yesterday.  So what was supposed to be an easy recovery run turned in to a nice workout in the sun. 

Close to the parking lot I noticed a bit of an altercation and a few drunk kids falling over with words flying around like hungry seagulls after a tasty sandwich.  I had the brief thought that I should call the 5 O as they didn't look very healthy.  A bit after thinking that I saw PPD heading over, cruiser and all to take care of business.  A few minutes later the ambulance came.  Not good. 

Fun run, nice to run without looking at the feet for obstacles once in a while.

distance:  3.5
duration:  27:02

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bradbury Bruiser Report

Well, the day is finally here.  I had a whole bunch of trepidation about this race.  After having such a great season racing short distances, ultras, hilly courses, snowy courses and the like, I was starting to put some pressure on myself to perform at my best, all the time.  I was also nervous as I didn't do much "quick" training between the 100MW attempt and now.  In fact I really only got in two, sometimes three runs a week over the last month.  So when I set my sights on cutting my time down from last years 9:05 minute miles to 8's I wondered if I had it in me.

Leading up to the race was pretty typical except I had Alison and Francesca to see me on my way and cheer me on, which was fantastic.  The racers chatted as usual and Ian gave his pre-race talk in the cool morning shade.  He directed us to get behind the start line and I got in a position and looked around for my crew to run with.  I thought I was close to the front, and started chatting with George Alexion about the Jay Challenge race.  Next thing I knew Ian said "Go" and I look up and see 40 or so people in front of me.  Damn!  Rookie mistake!  I fumbled hitting buttons on my watch as I jockeyed for position and scrambled to get ahead quick before the single track.  Once there I was annoyed with myself for getting caught in the pack and felt like a caged lion searching for a way out of the mayhem.  It took over a mile to feel like I was actually running the pace I wanted.  At that point I dismissed the starting error and decided to make it work for me.  I figured a nice easy start warmed me up and would make sure I wouldn't blow up too early.  No worries.  Shortly in to the run we went by Blaine who had twisted an ankle.  Not good.  I wished him luck and carried on.

Cruising right along now I came up on Ryan and had some fun words with him.  I probably only stayed 10 to 50 paces in front of him and whoever he was talking to for the next bunch of miles.  I would scream down a hill, charge up another, fly around some sharp technical corners gasping for breath and still hear him and the other dude casually chatting right behind me.  Incredible.  At the 4 mile aid station I glanced at my watch and realized I was two and a half minutes behind my goal.  Bummer.  I felt like I was really flying along now, and was trying to figure how to go faster.  Must go faster!  And still there was Ryan.  I think he left his running mate at one point, but now instead of his conversations, I heard his blowhole.  Like a Narwhal ready for a jousting match he spouted, and snorted and grunted towards me.  Relenting.  At the 7 mile aid station I counted seconds till he got there, one, two, three, four there he was, quick little bugger and closing!  Now my goal was to simply not get passed.  I had no one in front of me to pull me along so I was running scared at this point, and for my own PR.

I had planned on sucking down a GU before the O trail just to give myself that extra boost, but before I could bother I came up on a few people.  I think I went by someone before reaching Bob Poirier who graciously let me by and then it was on to the final aid station.  Around that time I caught a glimpse of Jamie Anderson and was psyched how well he was running.  I kicked in a bit and charged on hoping to catch him on the O trail.  I glanced at my watch, which read 1:13 and change and thought I'd really have to push the next few miles to ensure a good time.  Relatively close to the beginning of the O we exchanged pleasantries and he mentioned something about top ten and that Ian and another guy were in front of us.  Both of these updates were a complete shock to me.  First of all I had no idea I was even close to top ten. Second, I was pleasantly blown away by the fact Ian was crushing it on ahead.  I now felt the impetus to maintain position and catch Ian.  With this new found drive I started to get a bit ahead of myself and tripped, and skipped a few times never going down.  I would see Ian, we'd say hi, then I'd lose him again.  I pushed hard through the O, and at one point went right past a turn in to the woods, full momentum carrying me along.  OK, I was getting tuckered and getting sloppy.  Time to relax, finish strong and uninjured.  But Ian was just ahead.  Time to kick in the racing juices... sputter...sputter.  Nothin'.  Damn.  I know I was pushing hard through the O, but Ian was absolutely killing it!  Just when I thought I might be able to catch him he'd disappear around a bend.  It wasn't going to happen today.  Hit the double track and flew to the finish with nothing left. 

I was quite surprised by my PR of 1:35:38, 13 minutes and 13 seconds faster than last year.  Also super happy to have acquired top ten and helped the team to victory.  I am, as always, very impressed by the runners out there, all of them.  There were runners and TM's that were out for a long time, some getting lost, a bunch getting injured.  I'm constantly inspired by people's own challenges and triumphs and today was no different.  Another great job on the race by Ian and all TM volunteers!

efficiency:  Start at the front of the pack stupid!

distance:  12
duration:  1:35:38

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Greenbelt Fun

Ran on the Greenbelt Trail today, Winnick Woods in Cape Elizabeth. The run felt good but I wanted to run closer to an hour and decided to listen to my body which was asking for reprieve.

I hit the inner loop 5 times with reverse direction every two laps. I love cruising these trails as they offer similar conditions to Bradbury with a distinctive "hilly" feel. You're either heading up a gradual incline counter clockwise, or undulating up slightly steeper grades clockwise. The first 4 laps were relatively quick keeping the heart and lungs racing, and the last was a pooch-fest. Time to call it a day after a lovely, muddy, slickery jaunt through the forest.

efficiency: Today was about muscle memory on technical terrain, and keeping the lungs stretched.

distance: 4.8ish
duration: 41:30

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Easy 4

Ran on an undisclosed trail today to protect the innocent.

About a mile in to my easy recovery run from the 40 this weekend I ran in to a couple walking like zombies on the trail. They were separated by 50 feet, smoking, shuffling along and not saying a word. As I went by each of them I said "excuse me" and neither one of them moved, looked at me or even reacted in any way. I wasn't sure they actually existed for a bit until I saw their campsite, in the middle of the trail.

It's a very scenic spot if you are going to camp on a popular trail. They had the whole shebang , 3 person tent, fold-out picnic table, chairs, a full clothes line, cooler. Strange. Hit the out and back on the run and felt good, albeit with legs a bit tight, and feeling like it was time to curl up in front of a fire and watch the Goonies. On the run back through there they were kickin' it at their site talking on the phone, and smokin' a cancer stick, as a small cat dashed between them and back to the tent. Weird. This time I ran quietly behind them, trying not to disturb their evening and freak out the cat too much.

Not sure if they were actually camping for the extended weekend, or if they were more than likely squatting until household arrangements were squared away. Either way I didn't want to mention the trail and get anyone in trouble. Not that the other 3 or 4 runners I saw out there wouldn't say something anyway. Interesting run.

efficiency: It's best to have the tent door facing the rising sun for morning warmth and panoramic vistas.

distance: 4
duration: 37:20

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mindy's 40 for 40

Mindy decided to celebrate her fortieth birthday with a 40 mile trail run at Bradbury Mountain. She chose an 8 mile loop of rolling, rooted, semi-muddy and rocky terrain to ring in her new year. With almost 40 people showing up for her event, it felt like an actual trail race with an early start time of 7 am on a gorgeous Saturday morning.

First and foremost I am super impressed, and happy for Mindy for following through on this epic venture. She trained consistently and with a determination that impressed me throughout her summer of awesomeness.

Lap one was a huge group of people with some charging on ahead to do their own thing, and some kicking it back to smartly pace themselves. In our group we let Mindy lead for a while until it was apparent that the many months and many training runs through the deep woods of the Brad were not enough for the squirrels memory. The first couple of intersections were just too much for her focused brain and we were all almost lost for good. Luckily we had a few skilled navigators in our group and we found our way. Valerie was doing her due diligence and marking the course with flour, which I assumed was as much for direction as it was for carb loading should the need arise.

After a nice relaxing respite after lap one we were on our way again. I started off with what I thought would be most of the group but realized I was with a bunch of people I didn't know. Nathan Augustine I'd run with a bunch but Martin, Brett and Shaun I had only seen around here and there. The pace was much the same as the first lap, a bit under 12:00, and we cruised along in silence for a while. Then the rain started in, and we all got even quitter. We all broke out of the "funk" eventually though and had a few conversations along the way.

The next couple laps are a bit of a blur. I definitely remember the 3rd lap feeling tough on my legs and having a bit of fatigue. Val ran with us a bunch and did a fantastic job keeping Mindy's spirits high. She seemed to appear randomly on sections, drop off, and appear again like Mindy's birthday angel. The weather was clear now but the humidity in the woods remained, and the heat of the day kept us all wet and soggy. Back at the table/aid station Pete and various Trail Monsters were there to help anyone in need and offer support for the runners. Ryan and his youngin' made a few appearances with smiles all around. The mix of people joining the run at various parts and coming out to cheer Mindy on was just fantastic.

The final lap was just awesome. This is what ultra running is all about. Joe had gone ahead and was working on finishing the 40. Mindy, Emma, Zak, Ian and I took off together to charge on through the final humid 8. The mind-set at this point of a run is the determining factor in distance running. We all had our own issues, discomforts, mind-games. But we all dug down and got through it. I've had a bit more of an issue with this over the last bunch of long runs. I'm usually great at mental acuity and can push through anything, but lately struggled a bit. I was so impressed with the four I ran with, especially Mindy, for their toughness. I was relatively fine but legs were tired and I wanted to be done. The longest Mindy had gone was a bit under 28 miles before this run and she was surely showing her strength for the long haul. She definitely inspired me during the final miles, as did the other TM's.

Just when we thought it was all done. The realization sank in that we were a bit short of 40. That meant adding on around a mile, just-in-case. Rough. We survived, Mindy thrived, and all were super happy for her. I was a bit sick still at the end, and toast for sure. Ryan at one point offered me a Pringle after stating "I looked green." What an excellent time, with excellent people and a proud moment for our Trail Monster-Squirrel friend, Mindy.

efficiency: Brooks (spandex) shorts = no chaffing, at all! Hydration was great. Salt intake was great. Food intake was good. Might have been nauseous from the Nutrifit drinks (although they've been OK in the past). Legs were still tired from three tough workouts early in the week and a few awesome surf sessions from the hurricane. But wanted it that way.

distance: 40
duration: 8:11:00 (I think, this does not include stops)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nathan Sports Endurance Vest Review

The Endurance Vest from Nathan Sports is a lightweight, effective and comfortable option for long runs. An optimal alternative to handhelds, the Endurance Vest is the next step in hydration and pack evolution. Weighing in at a svelte 15.2 ounces the Endurance Vest holds a surprising amount for those long adventurous outings away from civilization.

Top pick for hydration needsFirst and foremost the vest is comfortable and breathable with moisture wicking technology fabric.  Designed to fit loose on your torso with no restrictions and easy adjustability, this vest ‘floats’ on your body.  The vest creates no abrasion points or wear and tear on clothing.  The last thing you need to worry about on a long run is chaffing or shredded clothing.

The Endurance Vest comes equipped with a newly designed hydration bladder, which has a Slideseal top closure for easy cleaning and filling. Whether one scoops from a natural water source (and treats with iodine), or pours from a pre-filled container, the vest is quick and easy to fill mid run. You won’t have to worry about losing your precious hydration either as the bite valve is no leak and twists to lock.

Extra storage comes in handy on certain jaunts and the Endurance Vest is designed for efficient compartmentalization of your gear. The front of the pack has a pocket that can carry an additional 22 oz bottle. The left side offers three interfaced pockets: a large zippered pocket that holds contents securely, an open pocket in front for quick accessibility, and a tiny pocket farther up the strap.  The right front of the vest boasts an expandable drawstring pocket and a waterproof pill pocket on the shoulder strap.

The waterproof pill pocket is quite adequate for most situations, however during water crossings where submersion is possible the contents may get wet.  The back of the pack has a generous zippered pocket with a sleeved enclosure, as well as a lanyard for keys.  On the outside of the pack a three-way bungee system holds clothing for quick access.  This is very useful for rapid changing weather conditions where a jacket is constantly donned and removed.
Tested on multiple outings throughout the season, but most notably on a 50k Pemigewasset loop in New Hampshire, the vest was able to hold:
  • Two liters of water
  • Five nutrition bars
  • 18 oz trail mix
  • One bagel with an entire can of tuna and two slices of cheese
  • Two GU’s
  • Tiny first-aid kit
  • Emergency blanket
  • Hat, glove liners, lightweight jacket
  • Knife
  • Four salt tabs, three NSAIDS
  • Map
  • Lip stuff
  • Handheld water bottle when empty
Testers found the vest cleans up well and does not retain odors with use of mild, non-detergent soap.  The hydration bladder was also easy to clean with the flexibility to be turned inside out for drying, and hoses that can be removed for scrubbing or trimming, both pluses for getting a personalized fit and keeping your gear algae free.

For most distances and racing needs the Nathan Sports Endurance Vest is an excellent solution.  However, with runs over an unsupported 50k or on days with extreme temperatures, a larger volume pack would be advantageous (see HPL #020, or Synergy). The Endurance Vest from Nathan Sports is a top pick for all runners desiring lightweight mid-distance capacity.