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Run Efficient: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan 23rd - 29th

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Blackstrap, 9.4.  Started today's run at the Hardy Rd. lot and hit the trails up to the tree farm. I'd forgotten to start my watch at the truck so I missed the first mile and a half on the GPS. Well of course this messed up my math for how long I had and the original eight repeats turned in to 10. It was absolutely crazy nice weather out and running in shorts and a t-shirt in January a few days after sub-stupid cold degrees is real nice. I sloshed and slipped around a bit and got totally soaked immediately in to the run, which by the end turned my feet a bit cold. But damn it was nice to have the sun beating down like Spring!

Wednesday - Robinson Woods, 6.4.  Nice and easy run today in great conditions both weather-wise and footing. For most of the way there was just the right amount of "crunch" underfoot with minimal slipping. Planned on eight today but due to a longer day yesterday I opted to go shorter.

Thursday - Back Cove, 10.6.  After a two mile warm up I hit a 6 mile tempo and two and a half mile cool down. The run went well with gorgeous weather, and minimal wind. The Cove was super muddy and wet which made for a fun sloppy jaunt. Didn't go all out on the tempo as I want to have a strong couple weeks with other workouts.

Friday - Scarborough, 8.  Tough run on a dreary day with a substantial migraine and sickly stomach. Just ended up doing a loop around the neighborhood via part of the Eastern Trail.

Saturday - Bradbury Beautiful Loop, 20.7.  We started off with Zak, Ian, Jamie, Jim, Andy, Val and Mindy.  The plan was to hit the beautiful loop and add on 4 hill repeats to get in a solid 20.  We all hoped the trails would be frozen over after the previous days rain, and the going would be easier than the last few times.

For part of the way the trails were OK, with snowmobile tracks and not-too-deep crunchy snow.  But for the vast majority of the run there were thin patches that gave way to icy water underneath.  Between traversing around semi-frozen puddles, jumping over streams and sloshing through slush we all had cold feet.  At one point Zak went in up to his waist and Jamie went in relatively deep as well.  Luckily the weather and wind were not that big of a problem and as long as we kept moving we didn't freeze up too bad.

Beautiful Leap, care of gIANt

After a bit over half way Andy and Jim had to call it a day and the four of us trudged along at a considerable pace, set forth earlier by Andy.  Val and Mindy were not too far behind us going through their own winter wipeout scenarios for sure.

By the time we finished up the loop and all stood at the bottom of Lunchbreak Hill I was quite tired.  I was also however very motivated to get some more hills in and finish up with a tasty sandwich at E&Ls.  So we trudged up and down the hill four times getting more wet with real loose footing making for an even more challenging repeat session.  My quads were relatively cooked by the end and the last downhill was rough but also very rewarding.

I was super impressed with everyone for completing the workout and also super happy to see Mindy and Val hitting the repeats right there with us after such a grueling workout.  I honestly feel that at this time last year we might have talked ourselves out of finishing this run.  I definitely appreciate the level of focus and determination everyone has this year, as well as the energy and enthusiasm.  It is very contagious.

Sunday - Robinson Woods, 8.  Relatively mellow run with Zak. We were both feeling yesterday's run a bit still and took it easy except for the final uphill mile where we picked it up as much as we could on the icy trails.

63 miles for the week

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recovery and the Squall

This week was a bit of a recovery week after last weeks intensity and mileage. 

Monday - Scarborough, 5 miles.  Mellow run around the neighborhood right before dark. Felt a bit stiff from last weeks efforts, and the roads were not all that fun.

Tuesday - Blackstrap, 7.  Really tried to keep a tempo today and hit some hills but not necessarily repeats. The snow conditions and weather were absolutely great with a bit of crunch underfoot and about an inch of fresh powder. After parking at the Hardy Rd. pull-off I hit the road up to the blue barrel, on to the tree farm and along the power lines for a bit meandering here and there up and down a few side trails.

Saw some Trail Monster footprints (quite unmistakable Inov-8 shoes) and a pooches paw prints. I assumed Ian and Emma, but it turned out to be Ian, James and Jeff.  Great run, however I definitely still felt last weeks workouts and struggled on the hills.

Wednesday - Winnick Woods, 7.  Today was supposed to be an 'easy' run but conditions once again threw in a curve ball and made for another character building run. I hit Winnick Woods thinking I could do the outer loop twice and get in 7 nice and slow. I also figured it would be easy after yesterday's great conditions and the fact that last week I packed down the trail, not so much.

The weather had warmed up enough to make the footing crunchy and loose. That is to say that each step crunched down a few inches sucking the energy out of the forward motion. The outer loop ended up being much worse and I was surprised to see that a few sections no one else had been on since I was out. So I decided to hit the inner loop four times to get in the mileage and really ended up working hard on the run.

Thursday - Bradbury West, 7.25.  Met up with Ian today and ran a loop of the Squall course in snowshoes and with his pooches while Alison and friend Louie hiked the mountain with Francesca. At the parking lot we changed in to screw shoes and did another lap. Great conditions with crisp air made for a fun run and as always great conversation. This snowshoe run was fathoms better than my previous but I still feel a bit behind the ball with snowshoeing this year due to conditions.

Friday- Wohelo Trails 2, and Scarborough, 7.42.  In the morning I hiked with Alison, a friend and Francesca in the deep snow super early to catch the sunrise and gorgeous snowfall.  In the afternoon I hit a nice and easy run on the roads to avoid slipping and sliding and give my legs a bit of a rest.

Saturday - Scarborough, 5.  Easy but annoyingly cold run around the neighborhood on the streets.

Sunday - Bradbury Squall Snowshoe Race, 3.5.  Alison and I arrived a bit early to bring wood, check in and do a proper warm up in the cold conditions.  I was crazy nervous for this race and it felt real good to run a few miles on the road to calm down.  Last year over the winter all I was really thinking about was running my first snowshoe races and beginning to train for the Pineland 50.  This year I'm real focused on Peaks 100, and with the snow's late arrival I hadn't given much thought, or training for snowshoeing (like most everyone else I'm sure).

A bit before the race Ryan had some encouraging words to basically get out right in front from the beginning, and Alison echoed the thought.  With Ian stating course conditions earlier that day I had a good sense that it was not going to be easy to pass people during the race. 

So I started in the front of the pack, which is still a bit weird for me.  After a few hundred yards we settled in to a pace and I was third behind Judson Cake and Matt Lundt.  For the first mile or so the race heads up hill, either by a bit of double track on the Northern Loop and Ski Trail or some tight single track on Krista's Loop.  For pretty much the whole way I was saying to myself, 'what the hell am I doing here running with these two up front?'  I actually felt rather good and was surprised to stay close to them.  My goal now was to keep them in sight and push hard. 

By the time we'd reached Tote Road Trail Judson had garnered a lead and Matt started to pull away on the more 'level' trail.  It was clear to me on the Boundary Trail that Matt was taking more chances on the downhills and quicker on the flats and could pull away.  However I gained a bit of ground on the inclines and would real him in just a bit.  It was apparent at this point though that I would not catch him though, and it was my race to lose if I'd gone out too fast too early. 

The last climb on the Boundary Trail was brutal and definitely took it out of me.  I was gasping and coughing horribly at this point due to the cold air and fatigue but was feeling OK.  By the time we got back to the Northern Loop and there was a half mile to go I absolutely gave it all I could for a strong finish. 

This run was monumental for me and really surprised me.  I remember how awful I felt last year during the race and just how much of a slog it was.  It really made me appreciate just how much goes in to racing.  I was overjoyed at the finish to see the other TM's coming in strong and knowing just how much effort it was for them and how much training they've all done to get to this point.  Man I love this sport!

I want to thank once again Ryan, Ian, all the volunteers who made this possible and continue to create an enjoyable atmosphere, and Mr. Penta of Maine Running Photos.

Week:  45 miles.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Epic week 1/9 - 1/15

Monday -Rest

Tuesday - Lunchbreak Hill, Bradbury, 8.5 miles.  Great run with Mindy up and down the mountain five times. The weather was once again seasonably warm and we were delighted with gorgeous views and relatively solid footing. Only a few icy spots slowed us down. We ran most of the repeats separately with a few together. At one point we attempted to clear a downed sapling that's been in the way for a while. We both got on one side and walked it off the trail a few feet before it snapped back and took us with it almost knocking us on our asses. So we trimmed it back as best we could and went on our lumberjack way.

Wednesday - Sebago to the Sea, 9.1.  Nice mellow run starting at Riverton Trolley Park continuing to the golf course, and heading back for a bit along the Presumpscot Trail past the park.  I was surprised to see a few golfers out and made sure to steer clear of them.

Thursday - Back Cove, 10.3.  Crazy epic run around the cove. With snow and sleet coming down hard and winds 25mph gusting who knows how much faster it made the intervals real tough. Did four one mile repeats with a jog in between after a two mile warm up and 3 mile cool down. Icicles were covering my glasses and hat and my clothes were frozen on me. At one point my eyelid even iced shut. It was awesome and super hard to get the speed I wanted for the workout. With visibility low already my glasses fogged and iced up so I could barely see, but I had to keep them on to avoid the stinging, horizontal precipitation.

Friday - Winnick Woods, 6.  Real humbling first snowshoe run in eight to ten inches of crusty snow and blazing trail most of the way. Planned on 8 miles but only managed 6. After the first mile I was slowed to a walk with fatigue in the deep snow and tuckered body. Ran and walked most of the way, and did the outer loop twice. Toward the end I got so cold from the snow kicking up on my back and melting that my entire body was soaked and close to hypothermic.  With 20mph winds picking up I called it a day.

Saturday - Beautiful Loop Bradbury, 15.4.  Ian, Zak, Alan, Ben, Nathan and I took off for the loop and quickly realized it was going to be a tough day.  With very little tracks already in the snow we post-holed three quarters of the run.  The crunchy crusty top layer over powdery loose snow made the going real challenging.  

Most of the way we ran single file stepping in each others footprints.  There was the occasional snowmobile track and truck tread that made the going slightly easier, but as soon as we'd get in a rhythm it was back to post-holing.  I got my right foot wet at one point early on but it didn't really matter because everything else was wet from the melting snow at the sock line and sweat from the hills.  The wind wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, but it was strong enough to cool us down at the top of some of the rises.

With a barely frozen river crossing, slipping, sliding, falling in snow holes between railroad ties and getting our ankles cut up from the crusty top layer it was an epic day.  We had a few options to hit dirt roads and head home early, but all of us decided we'd tough it out for one more section and push hard through the snow.  It turned out that Val and Mindy were not too far behind us braving the elements as well.

By the end of the run I was cooked and really struggled to get up lunchbreak hill and finish the speedy end down Bradbury.  My ankles were bleeding, swollen, and quite bruised and I was ready for a delicious sandwich at E&L's.

Sunday - Scarborough, 16.1.  With wind chill temperatures around negative 7 and gorgeous blue sky's I headed out with a face mask and anxious intentions. The run went relatively well starting at my house and hitting the Eastern Trail until it became a bit too much of a post-hole fest. After having a full day of that yesterday I opted to hit an access road and head out to Rt. 1 where I did an out-and-back for a bit quicker and nicer pace. Only really got cold once stopping to pour Nuun down my throat from my bladder due to the fact the hose froze three miles in to the run. Besides not being able to see well due to foggy sunglasses with each breath the run went great.

65.4 miles for the week.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Wacky weekly weather 1/2 - 1/8

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - Evergreen Cemetery, 8.1 miles.  Stupid cold run on the trails for the first 5 miles then a few loops through the cemetery. I wanted to hit all the trails I used to run on when I lived in the area and think I hit almost all. There are a few new links since last I was there and it's still a fun short run. The wind was blowing crazy for the final three making an easy run seem frigidly epic.

Wednesday - Back Cove, 8.57.  After a 2 mile warm up I hit a mile interval, followed by two miles, then another mile with a jog in between and a two mile cool down. Real cold again at the cove with biting winds, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. The intervals felt good with a bit of struggle heading in to the wind.

Thursday - Robinson Woods, 8.1.  Nice easy run to the ocean and back.

Friday - Blackstrap, 8.13. I wanted to do hills today so I headed to Blackstrap for some but-kicking. I didn't expect to get it so early on. About a mile in to the run right after the blue barrel on the top of the hill I hit the ice and went down hard on my hip, elbow and head. I slid a good 10 or so feet pushing up billowy snow as I slid cursing. After getting up and fervently brushing the snow off so It wouldn't melt making me too cold I walked a bit and decided to run it off.

I hit the hill repeats Jeff took me to in the Spring at the tree farm. In my head I did the math for how much time I'd have before sunset, how many repeats I could fit in in my eight mile run and how I could do it all safely. For whatever reason I had 10 repeats in my head with the incorrect math of a ten mile run instead of 8. No matter, by the time I got to 8 repeats and realized my mistake I opted for safety and headed back. It was real sketchy on the way back with dark woods and cautious footing.
(change to satellite view and hit toggle map twice for correct elevation)

Saturday - Winnick Woods, 7.89.  Really excited to have found a connector trail that leads to a road, then golf course then another road about a mile from the entrance to Robinson Woods. Hip hurt a bunch today on the run from the ice fall yesterday but it was manageable.

Sunday - Winnick Woods to the Sea, 20 miles.  Awesome run with Zak on a gorgeous relatively warm day compared to the beginning of the week.  We started at Winnick Woods hitting the outer loop then the connector to the golf course, a short jaunt down the road then on to Robinson Woods a few other trails and then Fort Williams.  On the way back we snaked a bit more through the golf course and did a couple extra loops here and there to get in as many diverse trails as possible and ensure the mileage.

Real fun running with Zak and connecting trails.  I was definitely a bit tuckered and sore today and the last bunch of miles was tough.

60.9 miles for the week.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Adios 2011! 12/26 - 1/1

Monday - Rest 'em up after lots of awesome food over the x-mas weekend.

Tuesday - Presumpscot, 8 miles.  Real hard run in the dark with sketchy footing on icy, snowy conditions. Ran way slower than expected with low energy and heavy legs.

Wednesday - Stroudwater, 7.  Legs still felt a bit sluggish but the run was good. My Mudclaw's were still wet so I unfortunately wore my Mudroc's. I might as well have been wearing bowling shoes with the slippery mud and conditions. Definitely missed the grip of the Mudclaw's on the terrain.

Thursday - Back Cove, 8.  The intended run was a mile warmup with a 6 mile tempo at 7 minute pace, and a mile cool down. With 20 mile an hour winds and 15 degree wind chill, it was a tad cool. Felt great on the tempo albeit a bit faster than expected. The flat conditions of the back cove and no hills, roots, rocks, mud or ice made an easy go of it.

Friday - Robinson Woods, 6.   Nice and easy.

Saturday - Bradbury West, 12.8.  On the way to Bradbury a car flashed their lights warning me of something, a moment later I started sliding sideways on black ice. While I was correcting the truck, zigzagging down the middle of the road, I looked over and saw David Bidler standing next to his car which was just off the road tucked neatly next to a telephone pole. By the time I gained control of the Xterra and flipped to 4 wheel drive I was definitely awake. I called Mindy to warn her about the ice and hoped David was fully OK. I figured it would be too dangerous to drive back through the gauntlet and would risk a collision with someone else. He showed up a few minutes later at the Brad with a few sticks in his tail light, and scratches, but thankful to be alive.

We started the run with David, Nathan, Jim, Val, Mindy, Ian, and Blaine and all sorts of different running plans. I ran mostly with Jim, and Nathan and a mile or so with Ian, Val and Mindy. The conditions were super slick and icy on every root, rock and exposed section of ground. With random bouts of rain throughout the day conditions got increasingly worse. After eight and a half miles Jim and Nathan called it good at the parking lot and I took off to finish my 12.

I connected a new-to-me new link from the school field that makes a nice loop back up the mountain and meets the corner of the boundary trail. This will be fun for some different hill repeats in a loop form that you can really pound up or down given the trails are so unused.

Sunday - Kennebunk Trails, 14.  Met up with Jamie, which was great to be able to hit the trails with someone who knows the area a bit. I've only been there once and had such a blast I was excited to cruise the trails again.

It started out chilly as usual but warmed up nicely with a gorgeous mist coming from the thawing trees and illuminated by the rising sun. It definitely did look like Yeti country and Jamie and I kept our eyes out for any signs. After great conversations we both realized how mildly taxing these trails can be. The undulations and sharp switchbacks make for interrupted cadence which really slows you down. Especially on New Years day, 3 hours of sleep, and a bit of a champagne still flowing through the system.

We had a wonderful run even though Jamie was toughing it out with a head cold and it was great to catch up with and search for new trail extensions, quarries, and smelly hairy beasts other than ourselves.

Summary - 55.9 miles (yeah I own a gps now for more accurate mileage counts)  Great week with a whole lot of diversity, and fun mixed in.