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.


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It’s a good hurt… I Promise

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, Fuck, Ouch, Fuck, Ouch, How much further? Fuck, Ouch…. that was what was going through my mind on this mornings ~10 miler, where Mile 2 felt remarkably similar to mile 25… Oh the joys of stacking mileage, forgoing rest days, running doubles, and being on pace for 140 miles in 14 days. Yes, that’s correct, I’m on pace to run 140 miles by midnight on Saturday… that means in 14 days, I’ll run 87% of the distance I covered in the previous 31… so much for prudent increases in mileage. If I stay on pace, that means that in January I’ll run 150% of the mileage I ran in December, no small feat, and certainly not the mileage increase that more sensible types would pursue…. although, seriously speaking, when have I ever been known to be sensible!?

All masochism aside, I thought I’d speak about first why I am pursuing these miles, and later, how I’ve been going about it. I’m NOT running this much with the intention of hurting myself (although if someone decided to go Tanya Harding on my knees this morning, I’m not sure I’d have complained too much…) If it was my intention to be masochistic/injure myself/facilitate an abundance of discomfort I could find much more efficient means of doing so. As previously stated, I actually enjoy maintaining a high(ish) weekly mileage, although, the first few weeks of it are typically a bit of a grind. The jump in mileage is primarily to pursue a strong base before I start introducing more functionally specific workouts. I’ve already mentioned my plans for the year involve pursuing Marathon and Ultra-Marathon distances almost exclusively (at least with the intention of competition…. I’m sure I’ll enter a few shorter races, but with less lofty expectations). This means that unlike runners of shorter distances, it’s advantageous for me to run in states of varying depletion/discomfort. In fact, I NEED to train my body to continue running even though my legs feel as if they’re on fire/being repeatedly stabbed my annoyingly fast midgets, and there is no way of getting used to this other than simply running a lot… even if that means running when my legs feel as if they’ve been repeatedly pummeled by a meat tenderizer.

Now, increasing your mileage by 40% from one week to the next is certainly not the most reasonable progression. In fact, it’s not something I’d recommend… period. As much as my “training” seems to be a result of flying by the seat of my pants, my body is actually quite adequately prepared for this sort of abuse. I’m very fortunate to have rather neutral bio-mechanics, and to be able to pay a lot of attention to small details/feedback that my body is giving me before, during, and after a particular run, both of these things seem to help me reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries. Also, as last weeks mileage demonstrates, I’m not running particularly hard right now. Some of my runs are fast(ish), but last weeks avg pace is ~8:45. The lack of “hard” workouts is deliberate. Yes, I’m running hills, Yes, I’m running some decent-ish tempo runs, but at no point last week, or this week am I intending on running full-out… more like ~80%. I expect this to be my M.O. for most, if not all of January, as I try to establish a strong base before integrating harder workouts (Hill repeats, up tempo trail runs etc).

That being said, knowing the strain that this is putting on my body, I’ve also been much more diligent about post-run recovery. Normally, my recovery process is not so dissimilar from 1970’s Canadian Hockey players… plenty of beer, fall asleep eventually. In spite of beer obviously being a fantastic recovery drink, this plan is less than ideal. The majority of my (plant based) diet revolves around whole foods. When I’m “training” (such an ugly word….) I’m substantially more diligent about what I put into my body, especially when it comes to hydration (3-5 liters of water a day seems to do it) and protein content. I also deliberately eat more frequently, and in smaller amounts, in an attempt to avoid the Food Coma my seemingly endless post-run appetite often induces(this allows me to function like a normal human throughout the day… rather than a bonk-induced semi-zombie). Other than that, I often wear compression socks (are they a placebo… or are they real…. the world may never know) and spend a good amount of time with Mr. Foamy. With that said, it’s time to return to the misery stick for a few hours, then back out the door for another 4-6 miles.

Weeky Summary 9/18-24

Sunday 9/18
AM: 10 Miles through Allamuchy Mountain State Park with Gene,  1:53:01, 1:01 spent practicing

Monday 9/19
AM: 11.1 miles, Columbia Trail and a double summit of Schooley’s Mtn. 1:48:28, :54 spent practicing (rehearsal day)

Tuesday 9/20
1:51 spent practicing, PM 1 mile barefoot 0:9:25

Wednesday 9/21
AM: 10 miles through Allamuchy, 1:33:45, AM, 2 hours practice, PM  00:48:00

Thursday 9/22
AM: 10 miles, Allamuchy, 1:44:00, PM 1, 2 miles barefoot, 00:20:48, PM 2, Broken Shin Loop (road) 5 Miles 00:41:43, 1:32 spent practicing

Friday 9/23
4:14 miles, 00:38:06 the final 3 with Jason Robillard, done barefoot. 1:42 practicing

Total miles: 64.24, Total Time: 9:10:11, Practiced 9:48:13

Which makes for a relatively light week musically, and medium distance running week. Not bad for still adjusting into a new schedule, and finally having my ankle feel solid after 3 weeks of running with discomfort from a gnarly twist. 

Miles to go before I sleep

I have promises to keep; a job, full-time school as a doctoral student in music, and all of the assorted reading, listening, score study, and of course, practicing that is required to maintain that part of my life. On the polar opposite side, I have my running life, which occupies a lot of time, part of it is a giant release from the stresses of musicianship, and the simplification of everything that seems to result from hitting the trail before dawn, and running until I have to be somewhere, or on the best days, until I can’t anymore, has really put a lot of things in perspective, and helped me to evaluate things more clearly. Not to mention the overwhelming sense of good that has come out of it, having finally secured a stress reliever that feels natural, and pure, has helped me maintain my “cool” in ways I would have never imagined, there is no longer any need to sweat the small stuff, because in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not worth it.

Now it’s my goal to maintain a ~60-80 mpw average (excepting tapering) for the duration of the semester, in addition to my other life, and through the blog I’m planning on posting my mileage as well as my time spent running, AND my practice hourage (dedicated practice, excepting lessons/rehearsals/etc). This will hopefully keep me honest on both accounts, and hopefully fuel my practicing and running work ethic by having everything written down, and posted. On that note, I HAVE been keeping a running log, and have not missed a day since May 23rd (minimum 1 mile) and since that date I have logged 750.98 miles. I documented my practice time in the past, and my estimate is that I’m somewhere in the 8-9,000 hour range total, but my logging has been sporadic (mostly logging as a form of motivation, as this upcoming log will be) so this total number of hourage is at best, an educated guess. So I’ve added times to my running log, and restarted a practice log based purely on time, free, for the public to see. Now for those miles before I sleep..

Advantages

Many of my friends (okay, namely the Highlands Hashers) ask me how my running effects my “professional” life. I’ve always found this to be a difficult question, short of giving the usual stock answers: lowers stress, keeps me fit, etc etc. Now these are NOT the reasons I run, the reasons I run will likely be documented in a following post, but I can assure you that fitness/stress are not what gets me out of bed at 6am to hit the trails…. This past week however, with the start of the school year, comes the usual ring of academic-related auditions, mostly for seating/ensemble placement within the department. Anyone who races has an idea of the stress level associated with auditions, however, the engagement of the fight/flight mechanism is (in my experience) advantageous for a footrace. Unfortunately, as a clarinetist, the fight/flight mechanism is extremely disadvantageous for a performance, increased heart-rate, adrenaline, sweat, none of this bodes well for musical performance.

How has high mileage helped this? Well, as a result of my weekly mileage, and the ensuing fitness level, my resting heart rate is low, I refuse to check it, since I don’t really dig the whole numbers thing, especially regarding heart rate, VO2 max etc etc, but trust me, its low. This means that when my flight mechanism does kick in during the audition setting, the ensuing heart-rate increase begins from a much lower level, resulting in a stressed heart-rate being substantially lower than I can recall ever having in that situation! Not to mention the additional confidence from knowing what you’re really made of. Having run a self-supported ultra-marathon, hiked solo through the Whites and Mahoosucs, grown a massive beard, and lost my fair share of auditions where more than pride is on the line, I’m able to approach the audition in a much calmer fashion than I would have as recently as a year ago, nevermind 6 years ago.

The (relative) success of last weeks 2 auditions, and how I think my running has affected my energy levels throughout these has motivated me to run, and practice more. I’m now more thoroughly looking forward to upcoming races (50k’s 50 milers and a ?hundred?) recitals, and whatever else life throws my way!