Summary March 18-24

Sunday March 18 AM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 41:33 Easy morning run across the power lines, not really concentrating on anything in particular, just trying to log some miles, and hit up the hills a bit.
PM 1 Mile 9:31 Barefoot Typical shakeout, trying to slow these down a bit now that it’s warmer (and thus more tolerable on the feet/body when going out at the end of the day) concentrating on efficiency, and foot placement…

Monday March 19 AM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 41:46 Early wake-up run, nothing particularly notable…
PM 5.1 Miles 740′ 44:00 Ran as the sun was setting, making for some pretty cool sunset views (portions of the trail point almost due-west). The sun had completely set almost precisely at the first turnaround point, making for a headlamp-oriented trek back, which was surprisingly challenging, and made for some extremely questionable footing.

Tuesday March 20 AM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 41:08  Feeling rather run-down, normally I try to do a more ambitious run on Tuesdays, but even getting out for 5 miles seemed like a pretty large task. Average pace, nothing extraordinary about the run, other than my general sense of lethargy.

Wed March 21 AM 1 Mile, 8:47 Barefoot Long class day, had to make sure I got a run in early, since my motivation after a 12 hour day is always questionable at best.
PM 4.1 Miles 175′ 28:00 Up-tempo short run, didn’t particularly plan on going fast, but I left the house pretty quickly, and almost immediately hit a moderate downhill, then just tried to hold onto the cadence/stride length for as long as I could… not bad for a week where I’d been feeling certifiably like crap every time I laced up.

Thurs March 22 AM 11.2 Miles, 1300′ 1:46 Ran to, and around Schooleys Mountain, I had originally planned to do 4 loops of the mountain, instead of the 2 I typically do, but dehydration hit me rather early in the run, as I’m definitely not used to the ~70 degree weather we’ve been having lately. Did get some decent sunburn on my shoulders however….
PM 5 Miles, 360′ 36:13 Snappy broken-shin loop. Didn’t necessarily plan to run this quickly, but sometimes it happens. Also, afterwards, I managed to fit a foot-long sub, 4 slices of pizza, and several beers into my stomach… I think my legs may be hollow….

Friday March 23, 11.6 Miles, 1500′ 1:47 Allamuchy loop. I left relatively early, in an attempt to beat the inevitable heat in the forecast, but even at 9am, my car’s thermometer was reading near 70, and left me dripping with sweat within the first 15 minutes. While I ran at what felt like a pretty hard pace, the total time says quite differently, it must have been the dehydration…..

Sat March 24, 20 Miles, 1080′ 2:36 Easy 10, hard-ish 10 with Jeff and Dave. This was Dave’s penultimate long-run in preparation for the Boston Marathon, and with the combination of a pace pickup at mile 10, and failing to bring anywhere near an adequate amount of food (only some gel chomps, and a bit of GU) and water (we brought none) should make for a pretty okay simulation of worst case marathon scenario (also, Boston gains ~780′ and loses ~1220′) so, if somehow Dave manages to not eat, and avoid all of the Aid stations, he’ll still be okay.

Totals 74.3 Miles, 7335Vert 10h20m

Pseudo-recovery oriented week. Right from the get-go, I was feeling fundamentally like crap every time I went out for a run. This of course, IS congruent with my general training plan, relying substantially on residual fatigue, and trying to get myself used to running when I simply don’t feel well/strong/hydrated/fed. The unseasonably warm weather (we seem to be about 2 weeks ahead of schedule) made for some rather substantial dehydration on Thurs and Fri, which is something I should be trying to get used to, and in my opinion, makes bonking seem downright pleasurable in comparison. On the brighter side, in spite of my generally low energy levels, my legs are feeling great, and the transition from burning sugar to burning fat (aka bonking point) is becoming a lot smoother. I can recognize the point where the glycogen supply is dwindling, and as a result of experience gained over the past few weeks, simply put my head down and keep moving until the new fuel source is stoked, and running smoothly.

Uphill

Beginning to look… Spring-ish

Allamuchy Summit

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Summary March 11-17

Sunday March 11 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 40:09 Usual Power Line trip, trying to concentrate on maintaining consistency of effort throughout the rolling hills/alternation of technical trails, road, grass, and mud. feeling pretty happy about the ~8min pace that seems to be the average for the course.
PM 1 Mile 8:15 Shakeout, playing around with the latest zero-dropped New Balance road shoes that I picked up the week before.

Monday March 12 AM 11.6 Miles 1500′ 1:39 Allamuchy in stunningly gorgeous weather. Mid-60’s with clear blue skies, perfect for running shirtless. I took a gnarly digger somewhere around the 7 mile marker, after failing to see a stick stuck in the ground in the middle of the trail, which according to the log book is the first time I’ve fallen since Jan 23, so, I figure I was probably overdue.
PM 4 Miles 730′ :48 Met up with a friend for an afternoon shakeout run through Allamuchy, this is the first time in a while that I’ve run at such a moderate pace, which was probably for the better, I think this is something I should try to integrate more often, rather than running hard all of the time.

Tuesday March 13 AM 11.6 Miles 1500′ 1:42 Another stunning day on the mountain, I took off my t-shirt well before reaching the summit, making the fact that I even wore it to begin with seem abundantly silly, I suppose I need to get used to it being warm, and what the clothing requirements are going to be like….
1 Mile Barefoot 8:40 Hit up the local track on my way back home for a quick little shakeout, felt great to run on the track/grass for a bit.
PM 4.1 Miles 175′ 30:52 Night-time run through the neighborhood, trying to keep things loose, and keep my legs used to running without ample recovery time.

Wed March 14 AM 21 Miles 1300′ 2:56 Columbia trail and Schooley’s Mountain. The NF 50 involves a pretty substantial climb both at the beginning, and at the end of the race, so I’m trying to simulate it on my longer runs by starting out in my usual state of residual depletion, running up and down a mountain, then running for another hour or so, then running up and down a mountain again, this time on soggy legs. Other than the dehydration (~70 degrees) things went rather well, and the view from the summit was fantastic, sad I didn’t bring a camera…
PM 1 Mile 9:13 Finally, it’s warm enough to run barefoot in the evenings, I must have been pretty beat up, since usually my shakeouts are >9min pace….

Thurs March 15 AM 15.3 Miles 1300′ 2:10 Ran around town on the roads, at ~7:45 pace, then while deliberately under-fueled, headed up the power line trails (after a change of shoes) to try to hit up some vert/technical trails. Bonked really hard about a mile or so into the trail, but recovered by the time I made it back to the house, would have done another loop, but my ankle was being a little suspect, and the inevitability of a second bonk made hitting more trails seem like a recipe for injury….
PM 5 Miles 360′ :38 Snappy-ish Broken Shin Loop, Jeff and Gene were running exceptionally well, which made for a pretty nice kick in the last mile.

Fri March 16 AM 10.3 Miles 1480′ 1:26 Doubled the power line loop, added a few tenths at the end. The whole trail was exceptionally muddy, which much to my surprise, made it a lot of fun, and added to my confidence of the MT110 to gain purchase in just about any terrain.

Sat March 17 AM 15 Miles 500′ 1:55 Ran through Denville/Boonton/Mountain Lakes with Jeff. I was on pace for ~7:10 average until mile 13 or so, when some GI issues that had been lingering throughout the day finally came to a head, and forced a fartlek for the remaining miles.

Totals: 106 Miles, 9585′ Vert, 14h51m

 Overall, a pretty productive week, more miles in 7 days than I’ve ever done before, although, part of me thinks that I can more than likely do more both comfortably, and without substantial risk of injury (time/motivation etc providing of course). This also puts me at ~3 miles short of 200 miles in 14 days, making for a rather substantial prolonged effort as well (also 14 day PR). Overall, things feel rather solid, the usual list of minor discomforts that one would typically associate with higher mileage, but nothing is setting off any red flags. I’m getting rather comfortable with the soreness in my legs, as well as finding my bonk point to be a bit further delayed(running for ~2hrs today at an aggressive clip with no energy related troubles, just the GI issues). For the next several weeks, assuming things remain healthy, I’m going to try to stay around the same general mileage, but probably integrate a lighter day, and extend the long run in preparation for the upcoming 50 mile effort, as well as trying to hit a bit more concentrated vertical gain, and continue working on the impending bonk/hydration issues.

New Balance Minimus Road

Shirt as neckerchief

Summary March 4-10

Sunday March 4 AM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 40:02 Power Line trails, relatively quick trip up and down, feeling a bit soggy from the previous day.
PM 1 Mile 8:17 Light shakeout run to end the day, things feel pretty loose.

Monday March 5 AM 1 Mile 8:13 Unsure how busy I was going to be, so I decided to get the early AM mile in to keep the streak alive, and cross my fingers that I’d be able to do some “real” running later.
PM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 41:17 Power Line Trail, a student cancelled on me, giving me enough time to get a quick 5 in before the sun set. I decided to run in a more minimal shoe, to try to put a bit of a built in limit on my speed on the technical portions due to the lack of protection underfoot, I’m not sure it actually slowed me down, but it certainly made me a lot more mindful with regard to where I placed my foot on the rockiest sections of trail.

Tuesday March 6 AM 13.2 Miles 4880′ 2:45 Drove out to Mt. Tammany to try to muscle through some vertical gain and loss over some exceptionally technical terrain. 4 Consecutive summits while self-crewing from my car in the parking lot. Finished the run in the midst of a pretty substantial bonk, and rather dehydrated. 2 Miles Barefoot 16:48 Done immediately upon returning home, it felt great to lose the shoes after beating my feet up on typical NJ rocky trails for a few hours.

Wed March 7 AM 10.2 Miles 1480′ 1:24 Double trip on the Power Line loop, academic requirements shortened my morning, so I had to decide between more miles, or a better view point, miles won out.

Thurs March 8 AM 11.2 Miles 1300′ 1:36 Schooley’s Mountain via Columbia trail. Since I’d been trying to concentrate on hitting some more substantial uphill, I thought it would be best to hit up Schooley’s instead of Allamuchy. I typically access the mountain via ~3 miles of rail-trails before beginning the ~5 miles of up and down that the mountain provides, so the vertical gain and loss is fundamentally concentrated to the middle 5 miles of the route, with no real relief from vertical change. It’s not the highest local point, but the trails seem to go straight up the mountain, and straight back down, forcing you to crest the top twice in each loop, with very few switchbacks, and almost no stretches of true flat. Bonked pretty hard on the rail-trail return, only to have it exacerbated by my body’s acute inability to adjust to the ~70ish degree temps we had; a far cry from the 30’s and 40’s of late. Also, first time I’ve lost my shirt since Jan 1st, complete with some tree-induces scrapes from the descent, man it feels good to be outside with that degree of exposure again.
PM 2 Miles Barefoot 18:20 Shakeout immediately upon returning home, trying to keep the calves loose, and remind my heels to fully release.
PM part deux 5 Miles 360′ 41:30 Broken Shin Loop. Relatively light group this week, Just the Bob’s, Brian and myself, everyone took it easy for the most part, keeping it as a decent shakeout trot.

Fri March 9 AM 20.4 2030′ 2:39 Ran the first ~10 on local roads at ~7:30 pace, then quickly changed footwear for a double loop on the power line access trails. Things felt great until ~mile 12 where the bonking started rearing its ugly head. Bonk number one was relatively easy to recover from, sucked down a GU, and kept things moving, but ~5 miles later it hit again, with no sugary GU left to save me, I had no choice but to grin and bear it. Strangely enough, after the inclines were done, and I was able to run down some technical downhills, my spirits lifted, carrying me through to the end with relative ease, at a much quicker clip.

Sat March 10 AM 15 Miles, 500′ 1:56 Met Dave and Jeff for a wicked early pavement session (as in pre-dawn) through the greater Denville area. Things felt surprisingly solid/consistent throughout the run, with a minor low point in the 13ish mile range, but I think it was more related to knowing that the finish was near than it was a metabolic lag.

Totals: 91.2 Miles, 12030′ Vert, 13h15m 

This was without a doubt, the bonkiest week in recent memory, it seems like every time I went out for more than 60 minutes, (excepting this morning, where I took a GU at the 1hr mark for a 2hr run) I had to struggle through some sort of depletion-oriented low point. Granted, in the shorter runs it was only for the final mile or so, but on the longer, more sustained efforts, it seemed as if I’d hit that low point several times. While the bonk is inherently unpleasant, with it’s grogginess, and associated low mood, it’s good training for the inevitable low points that a 50 mile race is going to provide, as well as an opportunity to look inward, and find some of that extra grit. On a positive note, a 7 day 90 mile effort hasn’t left me too beat up, in fact short of the usual soreness, nothing is out of order.

The naked runner returns…

Power Lines!

Tammanification

This past weekend I (finally) signed up for the NF 50 Miler at Bear Mountain, and as a result, I’ve become less confident that my training has been on track for this distance, especially since I have roughly 8 weeks left to go. So, while I’ve definitely been racking up the miles, and a reasonable amount of vert, I was feeling like It’d been far too long since I really tried to attack some vertical gain and loss, via hill repeats, and Mt. Tammany is the nearest place where I can do so.
The mountain ascends 1220 feet in ~1 mile, then loses it all again in the following 2.3. The ascent is rocky, rooted, and full of talus, with sections so steep that to maintain any semblance of speed/feeling like a mountain runner, you have to proceed with your nose to the ground, on all fours. The runnable sections are for the most part right in between the gradient where you have to make a conscious decision to run or power-hike, because the difference in speed/energy output between the two is infinitesimal at best. Follow this with a modest stretch across the ridge, and another mile and a half or so of quad busting technical downhill, and that’s the course. Granted, the loop on the mountain is an extremely modest 3.3 miles, just an eyelash over a 5k, but with 1220′ of gain and loss, and the entirety of the distance being exceptionally technical in nature. 
So, after taking care of some of life’s requirements this morning, I hopped in the car, drove to the mountain and began running. The last time I was there, Dave and I made the trip to the top 3 times, (note: difference in vert, this time I had my barometric altimeter, which I tend to find more accurate than GPS) so, naturally this being over a month later, I would have to do at least one more, and try to do it at a faster clip. The days total was 4 summits before my legs became achy, and I started worrying about my hydration levels after very dark urine midway through the fourth trip.

Here’s the Breakdown:
Ascent 1: 18:43           Descent 1 18:59
Ascent 2  21:48           Descent 2 20:42
Ascent 3  22:43           Descent 3 20:10
Ascent 4  23:35           Descent 4 19:33

Total: 13.2 Miles  4880′  2h46m

After I got home, I decided to shakeout my legs a bit, and after beating my feet on technical trail for a few hours, it seemed reasonable to lose the shoes…. so, another 2 miles barefoot in 16:48

Worth doing hill repeats

Mt. Minsi in background

Muddy….

Summary Feb 26-March 3

Sunday Feb 26 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 37:25 Power Line trails, I think this is a PR, but I’m honestly not sure, nor do I feel like going through my log to find out… if it’s not, it’s certainly close. Felt pretty snappy overall, we had a cold night the night before, which made the muddy parts of the trail freeze, making for better traction, and more secure footing.
PM Hash No mileage, no time, wasn’t keeping track. Limpy laid a pretty shiggy trail, full of briars rocks, boulders and hills. I’ve decided not to count the hashes as part of my mileage, since they’re much more socially oriented than they are actual running events….

Monday Feb 27 PM 3.2 Miles 690′ 27:43 Schooley’s Mtn. I was going to run 5-6 on the mountain, but I wasn’t feeling into it after the first lap, and had been extremely foolish with my footing which led to some overstretching of my left ankle. I did run into some pretty cool folks on the summit, it’s nice to see people out on the trails again, after a winter of fundamental solitude.
PM Part Deux 2 Miles 17:16 Barefoot shakeout. It feels wonderful to lose the shoes, I’d forgotten how great it feels.

Tuesday Feb 28 AM 12 Miles 1500′ 1:46 Allamuchy Double Summit. For some reason I keep on making wrong turns here, adding a few tenths… I really should pay more attention to the trail markers instead of running straight by them. Beautiful day overall, rather warm, and a wonderful summit.
PM 1 Mile 8:22 Shakeout, not quite warm enough to go naked foot but still nice to move the legs a bit and try to flush them out.

Wed Feb 29 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 39:19 Power Line trails, snowing pretty heavily, but not sticking too much, making for a really fun run. I’ve always liked running through the snow, something about it is very humanizing.
PM 1 Mile 8:06 Cold, rainy shakeout.

Thurs March 1 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 40:49 Rainy, cold, muddy less than ideal running conditions, but the slipping and sliding was both fun and challenging. I run this route a lot, and it’s always a very different kind of experience, especially when the weather is as mercurial as it’s been in recent weeks, in spite of it’s lack of view points, these trails provide a wide variety of challenges, and their proximity to my home is ideal.
PM 5 Miles 360′ 36:51 Broken Shin Loop, trying to earn my pavement sessions by picking up the tempo a bit, and really attacking the uphills (small though they may be).

Fri March 2 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 41:19 This route has gotten progressively slower this week. I’d have liked to run a lot more, but I had to travel into NYC to play in a Mock Audition for the Vienna Philharmonic, so time was a bit of an issue.

Sat March 3 AM 20 Miles 1220′ 2:38 Long run through Denville with Dave. We started at a very reasonable pace (~830-9 minute miles) but after mile 10 we progressively amped up the tempo, running several miles in the mid 7’s, and dropping to 7:10 pace by mile 17, followed by 3 miles back at 8-proper. Pretty good session overall, and it’s amazing how slow 8’s feel after several miles in the low 7’s.

Totals: 64.6 Miles, 6730′ Vert, 8h41m

February Totals: 270.75 Miles 22760′ Vert  38h4m (Vert is low, many runs were not logged)

Not exactly the most productive week, in fact, I think this week goes on record for having the most aborted runs, be it failure to start, or abbreviating planned distances. With the Mock Audition on Friday, I spent a tremendous amount of time in the practice room over the course of the week. I also had to put together my CV and a recording for some potential summer work, which took more time and energy than I had originally anticipated. Hopefully next week I’ll be able to get a more substantial amount of vertical gain, as well as get back into more training-oriented total mileage, as opposed to the sort of resting on my laurels distances that I’ve run in the past 2 weeks.

Since I haven’t been doing anything overly inspiring on the mountain, here are some of the best musicians in the world making wonderful things happen.