Summary Feb 11-17

Monday Feb 11 AM 8 Miles :59 Really crappy outside, and since I’m paying for the damn gym membership, I might as well avoid ~30 degrees outside with freezing rain etc. It doesn’t hurt than I nearly fell flat on my ass just walking to my car… so running on the road, or the trails in that sort of shigginess is probably ill-advised. Sidenote: I really loathe the treadmill.

Tuesday Feb 12 AM 7 Miles, 940′ :45 Unusually snappy road run through the local neighborhoods. Usually I’m pretty content with anything sub :48 total (most runs being in the high 47’s) but on the lat K or so I though to myself “hey, I think I’m running quickly today” and Lo, I guess I was… I’ll take it.
PM 1, 2 Miles, 14:30 Warming up the legs before making them move large plates of iron.
PM 2, 1 Mile, :8 Shakeout, I’m starting to become amused at how shitty my legs feel after lifting, especially since they still seem to operate normally.

Wed Feb 13, 7 Miles 940′ :46 Feeling really laggy from the previous days run/weightlifting abuses, but all systems seemed to be going pretty smoothly. One of the fringe ultra-running benefits of regular lifting (to the point of failure) is that the soreness lingers for a while, causing even short runs to have that sense of desperation/dead-leggedness that you typically can only realize with über-mileage/long runs. (not to imply that high mileage and long runs aren’t going to be part of this ramp-up)

Thurs Feb 14, 5 Miles, 1480′ :41 Power Line trails. Conditions were extra-slippery which cost me some pretty serious time over the duration of the course, but slaves to trail conditions we are.

Friday Feb 15, 11.6 Miles, 3000′ 1:48 Undeniably the most incredibly frustrating run on the week. I went out to Allamuchy expecting to run a reasonable loop, at a reasonable effort, in a reasonable time. What I ended up doing was near PR-ing on the ascent (14:56 car>Summit) and then continuing to attempt to maintain what I had mentally deemed as “normal” splits, which had the trail not been covered in snow/ice would have been totally reasonable. Instead, the continuously varying traction, and über-technical nature of trail that has been melted and refrozen a dozen or so times had me moving at near-vomit inducing nature to hit my “splits” only so that I can run the loop in a very mediocre time (averages from last year were 1:45-1:50 ish, PR is somewhere in the high 1:3X range). I’m sure that had I run that hard on the trails as they normally lie, the time would be a different story… but I doubt I would have bothered to push that much anyhow.

Saturday Feb 16, AM 5 Miles 1480′ :38 Powerline trails back at a normal-ish time.
PM 3.5 Miles :25 Running on the ‘mill because I’m running out of mental steam to deal with the grey/threatening snow conditions.

Sunday Feb 17, AM 5 Miles 1480′ :38 Nice little jaunt through the powerline loop.
PM 8 Miles, 2400′ Laying trail/meeting up with the hashers for a hash laid by Bob and myself through the Allamuchy trail system. Managed to get the whole club up to the summit for a beer.

Totals 64.1 Miles, 11,720′ Vert

Overall a pretty productive week. I’m finally starting to feel genuinely fit, which may be because I’ve finally got a real base under my legs, but it also might have something to do with the mental aspect of finally nearing my groove mileage-wise. I seem to do best when I’m hanging out in the 70-100mpw range, and I’m certainly within a stones throw this week. Also, probably too many treadmill miles overall, but the whole winter thing is really draining me, and often the thought of bearing the cold for a second time, in the dark seems a little too much, so I’ve been shaking my legs out at the gym… I expect this will turn into road miles in the next few weeks when temps start to be a little more bearable.

Trust me, it’s steeper than it looks

Obligatory rock photo
Highlands Hashers make it up the mountain for a beer

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Summary Feb 4-10

Monday Feb 4, 4 Miles, 350′ :28 Short run through the neighborhood before rehearsals, feeling pretty okay.

Tuesday Feb 5, 10 Miles 2960′ 1:23 Power Line trails double-loop. Usually I positive split pretty heavily on the course (mostly out of over-exuberance, and generally bad planning) but I ran the second loop faster than the first.

Wed Feb 6, 7 Miles, 940′ :47 Local roads. I’m starting to really enjoy the mile-ish incline in the second mile (I use the same road on a 10 mile course as well). Rather than taking it easy on the uphills I’m trying diligently to really crank the HR on the ups, which I think is starting to pay off.

Thurs Feb 7, AM 5 Miles, 1480′ :38 Pre-class jaunt on the power line trails, really getting this loop dialed in, and much earlier than last year.

PM 5 Miles 720′ :39 Broken Shin Loop with the guys, unintentionally turned into a pseudo-fartlek mostly because I felt like running faster, but didn’t want to be anti-social, causing me to run ahead, and then slow to snails pace until everyone caught up.

Fri Feb 8, 1 Mile :08 Went out in the snowstorm for a quick mile, feeling kind of run down, and generally tired. Thankful for the unanticipated day off from class.

Sat Feb 9, 1800′ 6.5 Miles, 1:50 Post-holing with Jason. I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard to go this slowly. The whole effort was a heart-in-your-throat heavy breathing nearly vomit-inducing effort for nearly 2 hours straight.

Sun Feb 10, 940′ 7 Miles, :47 Another neighborhood run, feeling pretty tired/beat up from the previous day, but my legs are moving well.

Totals: 45.5 Miles, 10,990′ 

 
 

Post-Holing

This morning Jason and I braved the post-Nemo drifts of snow to do some post-holing up through Allamuchy. Now, this may seem like a bit of a ridiculous endeavor, we both have snow shoes, which are designed specifically for moving through (or over) large amounts of snow, in fact, they’re arguably the most efficient means of bi-pedal transportation through the mountains when there’s a substantial amount of snow to negotiate. We however, decided to throw efficiency to the wind, after all, we’re “mountain runners” so run on the mountain we shall! Knowing full ahead that things would be incredibly slow, I decided to travel unusually heavy, carrying a pack with some extra gels, water, and a couple of “oh shit, there’s a foot of snow on the ground and I’m cold” layers, as well as a phone (which I never do).

Now it’s worth mentioning here that I don’t necessarily recommend going out substantially under-prepared/dressed when there’s the better part of a foot of snow on the ground, but Jason and I are pretty well experienced in the woods, and in spite of our generally light loads, we were more than confident that we had planned well enough to handle a few miles in the snow. So, we strapped on some MICROspikes, and started heading up the mountain. Within a few hundred yards however, it became brutally obvious that we were in for one heck of a gnarly workout.

We ended up going from TH>Summit>Parking Lot>Summit>Parking Lot>Summit>TH in just under 2 hours (1:50) covering roughly 6.5 miles, and  3600′ of total vertical change, alternating between literally breaking trail (trust me, it’s as strenuous as you think) to following some snowshoe footprints, which offered little respite from the inherently arduous task of moving on trail through that much snow. While the obvious additional drag of that much snow obviously makes things tough, more frustrating is that general lack of traction in spite of the MICROspikes. While spikes are incredibly in almost every setting, it seems that in deep snow, they’re really just putting a band-aid on a bullet wound, so for every time you plant your foot, you’re losing at least 6″ before the chains gain purchase (it’s way worse without the spikes…)

I’ve found that one of the best parts of being a so-called mountain runner is that you simply have to roll with whatever the mountain gives you. Sometimes, it gives you a fantastic day, and sometimes you slip and slide your way to the slowest 6.5 miles you’ve ever run. Normally, I’d be concerned about what will surely amount to a pretty low weekly mileage, especially since I’d planned (mentally) to go pretty far today, but 2-ish hours of heart pounding nearly vomit-inducing slogging up and down the mountain in nearly a foot of snow is probably a better workout that anything I could have imagined otherwise, and certainly required a longer sustained heavy effort than I would have managed without such conditions. So the next time there’s some serious-ass snow on the ground, you’ll find me charging up the nearest mountain, knee deep in snow, breathing heavily.

Look! I packed a bag!

Jason on some recently packed trail

Obligatory summit shot. Photo: Jason Friedman

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Summary Jan 21- Feb 3

Monday Jan 21, 11.7 Miles, 3000′ 1:54 Allamuchy with Jason, relatively relaxed pace, probably should have brought spikes for the last 4 or 5 miles, it was pretty slippery.

Tues Jan 22, 7 Miles, 1:04 Treadmill. Trying to use the ‘mill for some sustained uphill climbing, since you can’t really do that in New Jersey. Breakdown as follows:
20 mins @ 7:30 pace for a
10 mins @ 10% incline
10 mins @ 7% incline
5 mins @ 15% incline
18 mins @ 8 minute pace, flat, to shake out

PM 1 mile :9 Shakeout

Wed Jan 23, 4 Miles, 350′ :30 Way too cold outside (~7 degrees)

Thurs Jan 24, 8 Miles, 1:00 Another day on the dreadmill, these freezing temps and wind are really annoying.

Fri Jan 25, 7 Miles, 940′ :47 Usual neighborhood jaunt

Sat Jan 26, 7 Miles, 940′ :48 Rinse and repeat

Sun Jan 27, 1 Mile :8

Mon Jan 28, 5 Miles 1480′ :41 Pedestrian effort on the power line trails

PM 1 Mile :8 ‘Mill mile before leg workout

Tues Jan 29, AM 10 Miles, 1100′ 1:15 Tempo-ish road run
PM 1 Mile :8 ‘Mill miles again, decent shakeout

Wed Jan 30, 10 Miles, 1100′ 1:15 Solid back to back with the same pace, even on softer legs. Pretty excited about this, really.

Thurs Jan 31, 5 Miles, 360′ :42 Broken shin loop with Bob and Dave, eventually Jason showed up at the bar post-run.

Fri Feb 1, 1 Mile, 7:30 Long day, not much time for running

Sat Feb 2, 14.5 Miles, 960′ Ran with Dave and both of the Bob’s at the functional ass-crack of dawn, in spite of the low teens for temps, it was a good run, with a nice pickup at the end.

Sun Feb 3, 5 Miles, 1480′ :41 Satisfying jaunt through the power line trails.

Overall a lot of road… actually, a shit-ton of road. Starting to get back on the trails as my schedule becomes a bit more consistent, so we’ll see what the upcoming weeks look like.

Jan Totals: 217 Miles, 35,960′