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.


Running Store Fail

Disclaimer: The author of the following rant is a bearded, long-haired, barefooted mountain runner who often runs multiple times a day exclusively in “minimalist/barefoot” shoes. While he chooses not to self-apply the name hippie, it would not be an inaccurate description, and the following paragraphs should be read with this in consideration. Also, this rant is about the running store in general, not any specific establishment.

Rant written by this guy…

I hate the running store. It bothers me on many different levels, from the most basic frustration that there is an entire industry built upon selling us things we don’t need, to the brick and mortar face value experiential existence of these awful establishments. This being said, I understand the necessity of the running store, I have to wear shoes, I have to buy them somewhere, someone needs to make money selling these shoes, and someone needs to make money manufacturing these shoes. These are all very simple concepts, and I have no qualm with the capitalistic nature of these endeavors. In fact, I’ll even forgive the running store/shoe company for manufacturing the over-built foot-coffins that they sell the most of. I’ve long since given up on the idea that the majority of runners will abandon these form debilitating shoes in my lifetime.

My gripe with the running store this time around is substantially more personal. In the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting different stores in an attempt to find a new pair of road running shoes to replace my present pair of MR10’s. Now, when I go into a specialty store, there is a certain degree of knowledge I expect from the salespeople, I also expect them to look their part. So if I go into a camping store to buy a new 65 liter backpack, I expect to be sold this item by a knowledgeable person, who most likely has attempted, if not completed a thru-hike in their life. This would usually constitute them as an expert in the field, and compounded with the abundance of knowledge that the representatives of companies impart on the floor-sales persons, should give the salesperson the knowledge to effectively assist me in finding the most appropriate tool for my needs. In my experience, no one works at a specialty store unless they’re specifically interested/active in whatever that store sells. You work at one of these stores to be around the community, and take advantage of the fantastic discounts it avails you, not for the meager wage that they most often pay. This in mind, I expect my running store to be staffed by runners who make me look/feel like a recreationalist. I do not expect to be assisted by Kilian Jornet, Ryan Hall, and Anton Krupicka, but I would like to at least be able to imagine my salesperson having run the Boston Marathon, or at least A marathon, or have participated in collegiate XC, or something to that effect, but instead I am approached by individuals trying to hide their beer bellies under a polo and track pants….

Secondly, the running store almost NEVER has what I desire. It took me five stores to finally locate a pair of 3/4 length tights, (located at REI… not a running store) and I’ve yet to see the MT110’s in any establishment (mine were ordered online). Split shorts for men are also in short demand, and while my choice in attire may not be the most popular, we ARE talking about a niche store, are we not? I expect them to be able to provide me with the running garb I desire. Never mind the often pathetic selection of shoes for my demographic. As previously mentioned, I’ve been looking for a replacement for my MR10’s. The update is officially out (Minimus Zero Road) although, no stores anywhere near me seem to stock it, and while I love my pair of MR10’s, they have 833 miles on them to date, meaning that what little cushioning they had, is long-gone, making a new pair feel rather cushy to my foot these days. I’d continue to run my present pair, happily, if the outsole were not beginning to fail, but replacing them with a new, identical pair, would require a few hundred miles just to break down the cushioning enough to make them feel similar to these.

833 Miles… and still ticking
Upper Still intact…

This last bit, has less to do with the store, and more to do with the manufacturers of running shoes. As I mentioned previously, I understand the economic requirements of the industry, at an elementary level at least, it’s simply not worth making something that doesn’t sell… this, makes sense. However, the running shoe company continuously fails to provide my demographic with a sustainable shoe, something that I do not have to modify to fit my needs.

Raised heel? Not if my breadknife is handy…

I’ve tried on several pairs of shoes over the past few weeks. Mostly a collection of Saucony, and Brooks models, attempting to find something that I feel like I can run high mileage in, but won’t interfere with my form/posture. My basic requirements of a shoe can be seen here. For the most part, my requirements of a shoe haven’t changed very much, lightweight, wide toe box, small-ish stack height, minimal drop (4mm seems about right, i also like zero drop) fundamentally, I want to feel the trail/road, but not be annoyed by it. The shoes I’ve encountered however, meet few if any of these requirements, and these are what the manufacturer is claiming as a minimalist/barefoot shoe! Most often I find that the shoe has a stack height akin to the traditional over-built running shoe, but has omitted the raised heel, and while I understand the impulse to do this, these are NOT the shoes that I’m seeking! Otherwise, it seems, that if a shoe has a reasonable stack height, and a reasonable drop, it’s outfitted with an over-cushy insole that negates the whole purpose of a shoe like this. If I wanted my feet to feel like they’re walking on clouds, I’d buy a pair of Asics, or Hoka’s, but I want a glorified racing flat, that allows me to feel the ground, and doesn’t bother my form. Now I know, I can remove the insole, and I do, but shoes with removeable insoles often use the insole to hide the shoddy sewing work that lies underneath it, which for those of us who prefer to avoid socks like the plague, is a complete deal breaker. All I’m asking for, is access to shoes that I can wear sockless, and let my feet feel the earth. Is this too much?

I very well may be a barefooted sot, an idealist searching for a shoe that doesn’t exist, or perhaps it does, but it’s yet to be donned by my foot (until I bought the MT110’s I didn’t think my ideal mountain running shoe existed without extensive modification). Understandably, with the obvious exception of multi-day music festivals, the barefooted long-haired 20-something demographic is not traditionally the most lucrative demographic to appeal to, and it seems that the available running shoes reflect this. Some companies understand (*cough* New Balance, *cough* Merrell) So perhaps I’ll break down, and mail-order a pair of Minimus Zero’s, they’ve gotten good reviews here and here, so it’s probably worth the gamble, especially knowing that it appears to meet my needs.(I may also try the road glove) While I may have just wasted a bunch of time ranting about the running store/shoe companies, this does not mean that I’m going to refuse them my patronage, but rather that I’m going to patronize them begrudgingly, because in spite of their consistent failure to satisfy my needs, they’re still the best (only) game in town.

Summary Feb 12-18

Sunday Feb 12, AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 44:50 Power Line trail, still obviously sore from the previous day’s 21 miler, but it’s good to get out and shake the legs, try a bit of vert, and hit some technical trail.
PM, 1 Mile, 8:18 Quickie form tuneup, making sure the feet/ankles feel loose and fluid.

Monday Feb 13, AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 42:52 Not feeling 100%, but nowhere near as beat up as Sunday morning, the way the body recovers never ceases to amaze me.
PM, 4.0 Miles, 230′ 31:35 Originally planned to do 6, but I ran after dinner, and little to my surprise, bean burrito’s are not a good choice for running food.

Tuesday Feb 14, AM 7.1 Miles 450′ :51 Woke up feeling unusually slow/lethargic, any sort of movement seemed to require herculean efforts, both physically, and mentally. After the 7 miles (of an attempted 10+) everything seemed to fundamentally shut-down, giving me a pretty good excuse to sit on the couch for the remainder of the day… sometimes, you just need to rest a bit.

Wed Feb 15, AM 10.15 Miles, 550′ 1:15 Snappy 10 miler at 7:30 pace, everything felt nice and fluid again, no extraneous effort to keep moving, damn it feels good to be a runner sometimes.
PM 2.0 Miles 15:53 Short little shakeout, a little faster than usual for these miles, but I wanted to see what it felt like to go quick-ish in a pair of VFF’s as well as confirm some stride-oriented suspicions that I wouldn’t have been able to do at 10 minute pace.

Thurs Feb 16, AM 11.6 Miles, 1500′ 1:49 Snowy/rainy/sleeting for the duration of my double-ascent of Allamuchy. I also had the distinct pleasure of crapping in the woods, something I haven’t had to do in a very long time (excepting backpacking trips, where crapping in the woods is your sole option) good thing I retained all of that knowledge from how to shit in the woods. Trails were getting increasingly shiggy, but the general discomfort of continuous precipitation (in spite of a hardshell) made the idea of a 20+ in this weather a grueling proposition for which I was neither mentally nor physically prepared.
PM 15 Miles, 1080′ 1:58:41 Tripled the Broken Shin Loop, timing my last loop to meet up with the Hashers totaling 26.6 miles on the day, with the last 15 at just under 8:00 pace.

Fri Feb 17, AM 11.6 Miles 1500′ 2:03 Wicked recovery run, everything is soft/sore…. ’nuff said.
PM 6.5 Miles, 740′ 59:28 I realized this afternoon that I was 6.5 miles short of running 100+ miles in seven consecutive days (Saturday the 11th-Friday the 17th) so I couldn’t not do it. Strangely enough, things felt great on the Power Line trail portion, although the final mile or so was a bit of a grind.

Sat Feb 18, AM 17 Miles 1280′ 2:20 Pavement Session with Dave. Trying to maintain low 8 pace for 17 miles after running as much as I had in the past few days (61.7 miles in 3 days) is certainly one of the more challenging things I’ve done lately. It’s amazing how much a partner can take the pace burden off of your shoulders, as well as prevent you from dropping to a walk when things get really tough. The whole run had several ups and downs, as my body is certainly beyond sore, and my glycogen supplies suspect at best.

Totals: 96.15 Miles, 8070′ Vert, 13h40m

All in all, a productive week, lots of mileage (100.15 if you go Sat-Fri, 117.15 in the past 8 days, 61.7 in the final 3) not exactly a lot of vert, but such is running in NJ. On running 100 miles in 7 days… well, that’s 20 miles greater than I’ve ever done in that time span, and while the actual time commitment isn’t that tremendous of a challenge, this sort of residual fatigue really wreaks havoc on the body, making my runs later in the week increasingly mercurial as I struggle to find some leftover glycogen stores/switch to burning what little body fat I’m carrying. Not to mention the sensation that someone has been beating my legs with a meat tenderizer for a week straight. More notable than the discomfort however, is the pure joy the past couple of days (61.7 miles in 3 days) have provided me. I ran in a snowstorm, and on one of the most beautiful afternoons of the year, through the mountains, and with a backdrop of the agrarian lifestyle that seems all but forgotten in society today. So while my legs may feel ravaged, and I’ve found myself still running beyond the bonk, it’s great to feel that alive, and in touch with myself/my surroundings. So after that effort, It’s time for a hoppy brew, a couple Nero’s, and then back onto the horse!

Snow Storm, Allamuchy

Same rock, 24 hours later

A man needs to eat…
Hoppy Brew! (Thanks for the recommendation Jeff!)

Summary Feb 5-11

Sunday Feb 5, AM 5.1 Miles, 42:04 Power Line trails, left calf/ankle has been sore, making technical terrain a little more difficult.

Monday Feb 6, AM 1 Mile, 9:32 Originally left the house to do ~5 miles, but my calf/ankle was really acting up, causing me to turn around at the half mile mark.
PM 2.0 17:02 Short shakeout run in VFF’s to try to diagnose the goings on in my lower left leg. Allowing the heel/achilles to fully relax seems to help a lot.

Tuesday Feb 7, AM 11.6 Miles, 1:42:43, 1500′ Allamuchy loop, powerhiking most inclines to take the stress off of my left calf. Powerhiking seems to be getting faster, as I’m losing very little time compared to when I run the whole course (~2-3 mins over 12 miles).
PM 2.0, 16:36 Continuing the shakeout, strangely, a slow-ish couple of miles at the end of day seems to really relax my left leg.

Wed Feb 8, AM 5.1 Miles, 38:42 Power Line trails trying to push the speed, new course record, and  positive I can run it much faster if I go all out.
PM 1.0 8:17 Neighborhood loop, cold roads are forcing me to give my Five Fingers a workout instead of going naked foot.

Thurs Feb 9, PM 1 5 Miles, 40:23 Broken Shin Loop with the guys, typical Thurs.
PM 2, 1.2 Miles, 11:00 John Needed to keep his streak alive, and traffic made him show up to the run just as we were finishing the five mile loop, so, Not to let anyone run alone at a social run, another mile tacked on for the streak.

Fri Feb 10, AM 11.6 1:45 1500′ Allamuchy loop. Mentally I had planned to use Fri/Sat as back to back 20+ mile runs, but halfway through the first loop, it was becoming obvious that doing a 20 today would be a total slog-fest. In spite of the week being relatively light, I’d been less than diligent with my hydration/nutrition, which seemed to catch up to me here.
PM 1.0, 8:23 Shakeout

Sat Feb 11, AM 21 3:18:18, 2900′ 21 Mile through Allamuchy with 1 crew stop at my car to replace a handheld, change my shirt, and grab a Gu. I often find that long runs done solo involve a tremendous amount of mental strength, especially when fatigue sets in. The run itself was very mercurial, ranging from about as tired as I’ve felt on a run, to several minutes later feeling great about moving through the woods, the body/mind are strange things (and how we operate metabolically is even stranger). In spite of feeling like I had been going rather slowly for the duration, I finished only ~1 minute behind my previous time.

Totals: 67.6 Miles, 9h58m vert 5900′

Strange week, with the nagging leg soreness, and fundamentally bailing out on two runs, but within the range of mileage I had hoped for, as well as surprisingly consistent times considering how slow I was feeling at times.

Split shorts in February…

Incline

21 miles in Snow…

Summary Jan 22-28

Sun Jan 22, AM 10 Miles, 1:40:10 Snow covered Allamuchy. Spent the majority of the run breaking trail, and wishing I had a pair of microspikes since the traction was questionable at best. 3 separate falls, but I had the unique opportunity of knowing I was the only person who’d been out that far on those particular trails over the weekend, as well as being the first person to summit since the snowfall.

Mon Jan 23, PM 5.1 Miles, :45 Powerline Loop with a few added tenths, Rainy, Slushy, Muddy, Slippery, overall kind of a miserable day to be outside. 1 Fall

Tues Jan 24, AM 10.2 Miles 1:30:43 Typical Allamuchy 10 miler, missed a turn though, which added a few tenths. Snow was all but melted, but now things are getting muddier, making it hard to estimate when my shoe will find purchase.
PM 2 Miles 16:53 Short shakeout through the neighborhood, trying to flush some of the mucky muck out of my legs, and keep things loose.

Wed Jan 25, AM 6.0 44:29 Quick little road run, every-so-often I need the repetitive action of predictable terrain.
PM 1.0 8:06 Trying to reintegrate the evening shakedown mile(s)

Thurs Jan 26, AM 9.9 Miles, 2:17 Triple Ascent of Mount Tammany with Dave. ~3500 feet of gnarly terrain, throw in some freezing rain, a major bonk, and increasingly frowzy shoes, and you’ve got a pretty good time on your hands.
PM 5.0 41:19 Broken Shin Loop with the usual suspects Most of the run felt like a death march after the morning-time bonk, but a relatively reasonable time.

Fri Jan 27, AM 5.1 Miles, Powerline Loop, surprisingly quick, especially considering the abuse that my legs took the day before, had I not added the extra wee bit, it would have been a CR for the 4.85 mile course.
PM 1.0 8:21 Continuing the trend.

Sat Jan 28, AM 21 Miles, 3:17:43 Double Ascent of Allamuchy with a few additions. First time in months that I’ve run with a handheld for an extended time, and more importantly, first time since Oct that I’ve breached the 20 mile mark. Also worth noting, is that the last time I was out for >3hrs was December, where I ran for 3:08 and covered 6 fewer miles. Granted, that was a deliberately slow strength building run, but it’s nice to feel a sense of progress. Also, fell pretty hard on my hip during the second ascent, hopefully this won’t affect my running over the next couple of days

Totals: 76.3 Miles  12h 11m, 5 Falls, Vert ~10,000 gain and loss (approximation)

Overall, a pretty productive week. I’m rather happy with where I’m at physically, especially with how much time I have before any upcoming races. From here it looks like I’ll be trying to add more Vert (and find a better way to track it) and slowly add miles over the next few months leading up to the NF 50 at Bear Mountain. I’m also starting to integrate power-hiking as part of my trail running strategy, especially when it concerns steep inclines over fundamentally un-runnable terrain.

View of Mt. Minsi (from Tammany)

Dave’s downhill technique is getting awesome

Split shorts in January!?

Summit number 3

Also, some music I’ve been digging way too much lately… seems appropriate.

and secondly,

Summary Jan 8-14

Sunday Jan 8, AM 5.2 Miles, 47:18 road running to retrieve my car after the Debauchery that was Freezing Cold Hash…. All I can say is… oof.

Monday Jan 9, 4.85 Miles, 42:48 Power Line trails, this route is becoming rather quick and familiar with each progressive run seeming a bit quicker. It’s also proving a great training ground for aggressive down and uphills, furthering my confidence, especially with regard to efficient injury-free high speed descent on technical trail.

Tuesday Jan 10, 9.2 Miles, 1:16:14 Run through Schooley’s Mountain, using access trail and outer loop. Originally intended a few more miles, but some lingering discomfort in my left ankle encouraged me to shave a few miles off and avoid a roll/twist.

Wednesday Jan 11, 10.15 Miles, 1:23 Hilly road-route through town, the parts on the ridge are nice, as well as the opportunity to stretch my legs with a more repetitive run, as opposed to the much more athletically engaging trail variety. Planned a double, but weather got the best of me.

Thursday Jan 12, AM 5.1 Miles, :47 Powerline Trail again, with a few tenths tagged onto the end to stretch out. Legs feeling rotten sore by this point in the week, No rest days since November, shortest run since 12/27 was 4.85 miles (Monday). PM 5 Miles, :44 Broken Shin Loop, hung with the crowd for the majority of the run, right calf uncharacteristically sore.

Friday Jan 13, AM 2 Miles, 14:30 Lack of motivation, sore, super-windy, officially abandoned pursuit of 70 miles for this week, sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

Saturday Jan 14, AM 10.15 miles, 1:15:19 I’d forgotten how fresh legs felt, running an average pace of 7:25 on hills barely felt like I was exerting myself, I think this bodes well for the future, and the emergence of a “rest” day into my training plan might be something I consider seriously. This also makes for a PR for this particular (and very new) loop. Having not felt like I was pushing myself at all during the run, I wonder what a pair of fresh legs, and a desire to run as hard as I can might do on this, and other courses.

Total miles:  51.65, 6h26m Far shy of my goal of 70 miles, weather, and prudence with regard to lingering soreness took most of the miles off, although that’s a rather weak excuse. Next week class starts in earnest, and hopefully I’ll be able to manage the mileage with coursework, I suspect my coffee intake will increase dramatically.

Schooley’s with the Sun
Limpy…. at FCH ’nuff said

Power Lines… trails are steeper than they appear

 
More power line, drops off dramatically about 5 ft from my shadow
Poor MT 101’s…..

End of the year

This morning, I finished my running year with a double summit of Schooley’s Mountain with Dave. Typically my love for sleeping in, prevents me from hitting the trails too early, but whenever I get the opportunity to trail run with someone else, I can’t turn it down, regardless of the start time (7am). In spite of the alarm clock, there are some definite advantages to the early trail run, we had the distinct pleasure of watching the sun rise as we ran to the mountain, which, for those of you who have never experienced a mountainside sunrise, is probably one of the most invigorating experiences available in nature.
Now, as the year comes to an end, many people will be celebrating, and making resolutions for the following 365.2425 days. While part of me still thinks that the change of the year is really an arbitrary deadline, it is a convenient start-date for change, starting over, and gives us all a simple means of quantifying our lives. That being said, I am, in fact celebrating the new year (I’ve never been big on party pooping…) and I do have a litany of lessons I’ve learned over the course of the past year, as well as things I’d like to improve on in the following. With that in mind, I’ve decided to not publish the full extent of my goals/plans/list of random improvements, but I will say this, Next year will include the following:
Ultramarathon(s)
Auditions
Recitals
Increased dedication to bipedal mountain travel
Additional cross-training/core work in an attempt to prolong good form, and make those super-long runs hurt that much less

Now, for some Pictures… according to Dave’s Garmin, we gained and lost just under 1300 feet, all of which during the middle 5.5 miles of a total 11.16 not a bad end to the year…

Rails to trails before the mountain

Base of Mountain… Sunrise

Fog over Long Valley

Rocks can make good tripods..

This was the SECOND stick stuck in my shoe today..

Binge Runs

Thankfully, the semester is over, which means that I have some more time on my hands to run/recover/sleep/eat/drink beer. Now that my foot is feeling (almost) normal again, I figured that since I have no immediate running goals, just the long-term desire to run faster, farther, and harder in some trail races next year, a few really long runs should be in the forecast. Having the lack of running-related pressure allows me the chance to basically run what, where, and however far I please, at least for the next several weeks, and the Binge Run seems to be the answer.

Now, there are a lot of runners out there, and I believe I’m in the minority when I tell people that I really enjoy running long, this is not to say that I don’t end my runs bonking, sore, stiff, dehydrated, and that bonking, being stiff, sore, and dehydrated doesn’t feel bad. It does. In fact, it feels really bad, and not to imply that I’m a masochist, if I were, I highly doubt that unnecessarily long runs would be my preferred method of discomfort and self-destruction (I think I’d choose the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man…). The reality of it, is when I find myself running for long time frames, it teaches me a lot, and allows me to fully decompress. It also helps me to jump-start my fitness, or at the very least stay relatively on-track.

Now the binge-run is a special case, typically it’s an obnoxiously long run (3+ hours?) preferably without any specific purpose. This allows me to not worry about pace, run where I want, and throw in the towel whenever I feel like, allowing me to only concentrate on running, and enjoying the trip. There are a few disclaimers to the binge run, in case any of you are thinking of attempting it.

It DOES require some planning, if you run trails like I do, run in a system you’re familiar with, or at the very least bring a MAP (best plan, do both!!)

Food and Water are imperative! I always bring way more Gu (or whatever I’m eating this week) than I think I need… and carry at least 1, sometimes 2 handhelds.

Let someone know what you’re doing! This sounds like a no-brainer, but the more comfortable you are, the less likely you are to let someone else know whats going on. There is some risk involved, especially on trails, the last thing you need is to roll an ankle 10 miles from your car, and have no one know you’re missing…. not exactly 127 hours, but in the case you get hurt/lost, it’s nice to know someone will eventually start looking.

Lastly, even though this usually goes against my M.O. this run, I was talked into bringing a cell-phone with me. They’re useful in the OH SHIT situations, and most cell-phones have GPS so you can either be located, or map your way out of the woods… Maybe this is worth the weight… although my inner minimalist is still anti-technology.

Phone, Food, Water, Garmin, Map


Trailhead

TURN LEFT!


Mid-Run Snack

Saw this 2.5 hours in… I couldn’t help but yell it out loud

Mountain running may be hazardous to your pedicure