December 5-20

Friday December 5, 5 Miles 610′ 36m48s
First run after a 5 day layoff from an exceptionally gnarly stomach bug. Legs were feeling very peppy, I suppose taking the brunt of a week off is enough to let the muscles an tendons heal, and gain some substantial pop back. Turnover felt really smooth, but a few days off made down-hilling more trepidatious than usual.
PM 1 hour Climbing
Went to the rock gym with Jeff, felt generally secure on trad routes, but lacking overall grip strength limiting my willingness to try any bigger moves.

Sat Dec 6, 7.5 Miles 794′ 56m59s
Legs were still feeling pretty poppy, stayed generally in a MAF training zone for the duration, while actively trying to increase the tempo/keep the heart rate up on the downhills.

Sun Dec 7, 15.6 Miles 3369′ 3h13m
Dunfield Creek TH>Tammany>TH>Racoon Ridge>TH(via AT) Awful stomach, just plain awful. Whatever stomach big I had the week prior seemed to come back in the middle of the night, so even leaving the house was probably a foolish idea. Couldn’t eat much of anything or the duration of the day (including breakfast) combined with wicked heartburn and a general queasiness throughout the day. Legs felt fine, which is encouraging, but a bonky run is always frustrating, especially when you’re neither physically or emotionally prepared for it.

Totals: 28.1 Miles, 4774′ 4h47m 
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Mon Dec 8, 3 Miles 151′ 21:49
Usual Monday shakeout, starting to trend a little faster now, which is usually a good sign of incoming fitness, but something I should make a deliberate effort to hold off on, it’s supposed to be a recovery effort after all.

Tues Dec 9, 5 Miles 636′ 38:57
Exercise induced heartburn. Undoubtedly one of the most frustrating things going on with my body right now, especially considering how easily (chemically) controlled it is… note: keep tums in your shorts.
PM Climbing 
Generally feeling weak. I should know better than to expect to have a shitty day in one activity that requires a certain synergy between mind and body and then expect to do better in the same day at something comparably mentally and physically challenging.

Wed Dec 10, 5.5 Miles 1122′ 47:27
Reger Road Repeats. 5x the ~215′ climb (over 0.4 miles) up the hill nearest my home. Maximal effort on the ascent followed by a pseudo-jog back to the base. Huge positive splits over the course of the day, and kind of a disappointing amount of willingness to suffer anaerobically.

Thurs Dec 11, 10 Miles 758′ 1h23m
True Recovery effort. Quads were generally shot from Wednesday’s hill effort, and heartburn reared it’s ugly head again, thankfully Donde Es had some tums in his trunk saving me from more discomfort than necessary.

Fri Dec 12, 3 Miles 151′ 21:19
Feeling a lot peppier today than expected, especially with regards to how shitty my legs felt upon getting out of bed.

Sat Dec 13, 10 Miles, 935′ 1h8m
Last minute schedule changes convinced me to toss the long-run for the weekend and instead try a hilly tempo out my front door. Slight cramping showed up in my left calf, which is a definite first for me, but otherwise things felt really good, super-consistent heart rate, only 1BPM above MAF range.

Sun Dec 14, 5 Miles 689′ 38:32
Supposed to be a recovery run, but instead seemed to get a little out of hand… or at least on paper it looks a little more out of hand. Knocked off one Strava segment while coming within 1s of another all while maintaining what seemed like a rather comfortable/sustainable effort throughout.

Totals: 41.7 Miles 4452′ 5h20m

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Mon Dec 15, 5 Miles, 676′ 36m38s
Exhausted after work and Manhattan commuting, but forced myself out of the house after getting home, and running trails by headlamp for the first time since May. Legs were feeling exceptionally poppy, and I’m starting to get a lot more comfortable moving at a higher sustained effort/pace. I think using the HRM intermittently is becoming a great tool for quantifying my general effort level, and acknowledging what kind of effort is actually sustainable.

Tues Dec 16, 1 Mile, 23′ 7m30s 
Streak-keeper before work/holiday party.

Wed Dec 17, 6.5 Miles 1257′ 52m44s
Workout Wednesday. 6X Reger Road sprints with ~90 second break after 3rd repeat. This week had a LOT closer grouping between the slowest and quickest repeat, with a delta of only 28seconds as opposed to lat weeks ~1min differential.

Thurs Dec 18, 11.4 Miles, 886′ 1h31m
Felt okay throughout most of the run, with a few middle miles feeling downright peppy. Mild heartburn show up again at the midway point, followed by the wheels slowly falling off over the final 3 miles. A few hip twinges and general overall tightness combined with some latent fatigue prevented a generally strong finish.

Fri Dec 19, 3 Miles 151′  21m43s
Strava keeps telling me that this route is trending upward… and maybe its a good thing that my “shakeout” road pace is in the low 7’s… although somewhere deep in my stomach I still think this might be too quick for a run designed purely to move some blood through my tired legs.

Saturday Dec 20, 20 Miles, 3497′ 3h55m
High Point>Sunrise Mountain>High Point Failure, pure failure. Undoubtedly the most desultory effort I can think of in at least 18 months, maybe more. I’ve run this route once before in 2012 and while there were a few inches of snow on the ground hiding the rocks, I don’t recall it being anywhere near as technically demanding as it seemed today, in fact I was holy convinced that every step of the route should be reasonably runnable. Setting high expectations for a route is usually the first step towards failure, combining this with a couple of nasty falls (one seems to have banged up my knee pretty well) took what should have been a relatively consistent and strong effort and turned it into a slog of epic proportions. My 1:37 split to Sunrise Mountain was respectable, but already being furious with the obscene technical nature of the trail, slight bonking, and a banged up knee and ankle turned into the worst positive splits I’ve amassed since 2011 or 2012. Looking back at my entry from 2012 on the same route, I managed a 3:39 with only a 13 min positive split… so expecting similar positive splits today, this should have taken ~30 mins off of that effort. Instead it ended up being +25mins. I’ve been doing this sport long enough to know that a single shitty effort is not indicative of fitness, chutzpa, or ability, but such an abysmal outing is surely enough to knock around your confidence.

Sunday Dec 21 OFF

Totals: 46.9 Miles 6499′ 7h25m

My Camera hasn’t been too active lately, so enjoy some photo’s from the picturesque Thanksgiving weekend…

Sunfish Pond

Steve’s first Mt. Tammany

Somewhere on the Kittatinny Ridge

Tammany #27 on the year

Ran into Dr. Lundeen on Summit #28


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Summary August 26 – September 8

Monday August 26, 10 Miles, 1,100′ 1h7m 
Neighborhood loop after a few days off trying to shake a niggle out of the lateral side of my right calf. Feeling solid on a moderately sustained effort.
PM 4 Miles, 350′ 32m40s Evening Shakeout

Tuesday August 27, 11.6 Miles, 3920′ 2h3m Pretty hard blow-up out at Allamuchy, after a few weeks of unseasonable coolness, August decided to return to let me know how little of my heat acclimation was still around.

Wed August 28,  3.3 Miles 2440′ 42m32s Singular loop out at Mt. Tammany, thunderstorms brought the fun to an end far before planned.

Thurs August 29, 5 Miles 360′ 38m29s Broken Shin Loop

Fri August 30 AM 6 Miles, 350′ 42m28s Easy road run through the local neighborhoods
PM 6 Miles, 1560′ 56m10s Tourne park with Brian. Taking things kind of easy for the afternoon in attempt to have some pep in my legs for Saturdays outing with some new folks.

Sat August 31, 18 Miles, 3000′ 2h18m I was invited by a neighbor of mine to join his marathon training group for some Saturday long runs, and all things considered, who am I to decline a chance to meet some new running partners. He described it as a training group for “2:50-3:05” marathoners, with no particular club affiliation (which is always nice) It did turn out that they’re loosely associated with Runners Haven (the stores owner is one of the founders of the training group) which is a local mom and pop style running store, and a rather nice one to boot. Everyone was remarkably friendly, as well as consistent throughout the run, which took us all over Randolph including the towns trail system and some pretty gnarly-steep road climbs.Overall things felt pretty good, although I should have probably hydrated a little more effectively, as the last 5k or so felt pretty tough.
18 mins (2 Miles) Barefoot

Sunday Sept 1, 7 Miles, 940′ 50m
Surprisingly banged up from he previous days 20, c’est la vie

Monday Sept 2, 2.5 Miles, 18m
Treadmill workout (thunderstorms) before I got called into work mid-stride.
PM 4.6 Miles, 1340′ 44m41s Tourne with Brian… turns out that it was stormy at the pool as well, so we decided that we might as well go running.

Tuesday Sept 3, 15 Miles, 5100′ 2h33m Dunfield Creek>Next Fire Road Via AT and back. I forgot how gnarly a lot of this terrain really is, which really seemed to slow me down, nevermind the fact that it was a pretty serious net-gain (~1000′ pos diff). I would have been able to make up a good amount of time had I not rolled my ankle near Sunfish Pond and been reduced to a gimpy limp for the remaining 4 miles to my car (and thus losing out on one of the best sustained descents in the state). When I got home, my left ankle had swollen to the size of a baseball, and wouldn’t agree with taking on any weight.

Wed- OFF

Thurs- OFF

Fri Sept 6, 1 Mile, 7m44s
 Feeling surprisingly okay, no pain in my ankle, no sense of major distrust on lateral movements.

Sat Sept 7, 3.1 Miles, 20m44s Again, pain free…. maybe diving into hardcore recovery has worked out?

Sun Sept 8, 7 Miles 940′ 47 Feeling rather good, no pain, no additional swelling.

Overall, kind of a disappointing first week (volume-wise) and second week through a major curveball with the whole respraining my ankle bit. This is the third time this summer that I’ve rolled the same ankle, with each successive turn being marginally worse than the one that preceded it. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to appropriately deal with it, mostly a combination of Ice, Hot/Cold Therapy, immediate rehab with regards to maintaining/recovering range of motion, Arnica, and consuming a certifiable fuckton of pineapple, turmeric, and Omega 3’s (all natural anti-inflammatories). Right now, things feel solid again, and tomorrow evening I’m thinking of testing things out on some trail which will hopefully inform me enough to make my final decision regarding Mountain Madness at the end of the month (although at time of writing I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to toe the line in the shape I’d like to be in)

Kittatinny Ridge just North of Sunfish Pond

Coolers make the best ice baths

Tammany

Summary July 1-7

Monday July 1 AM 10 Miles, 1100′ 1h17m 
Local run through the neighborhood roads. incredibly mediocre pace, really just feeling like my legs have been replaced with heavy bags of shit, or something to that effect.
PM 3.1 Miles, 23m32s
Short local 5k shakeout-type-thing again with the generally crappy legs, I’m not sure what’s really going on insofar as my ankle is behaving normally, but my legs don’t really want to move at anything faster than the über-cliche ultra-shuffle.

Tuesday July 2 AM 10 Miles, 1100′ 1h15m 
 Another stab at the around-town-ish 10 mile loop, this time with a little more pep in my legs, and by pep, I mean there was a cute girl about a half a mile ahead of me on the long flat-ish section that neither my machismo nor my libido would allow to not be chased down… Legs still felt crappy, especially on the first 5 miles, but by the end, I was feeling surprisingly fresh, apparently it just takes me a long time to… warm up?
PM 6.3 Miles, 2080′ 58m Allamuchy Trails with the Salt Guys. Ran with Mike the whole time, albeit slightly embarrassed at how heavy I’m breathing on what he generally considers an “easy” run for the week. I suppose speed has different meanings when you’re talking about an 8k vs 83k…. either way, it’s great to get out and run with someone who can completely wipe the floor with you on the loop you’re running.

Wed July 3 AM 5 Miles, 1480′ 42m
Power Line trails… I meant to crank out a lot more miles in the morning, but general leg lethargy, dehydration, and the oppressive heat forced me to reconsider and basically promise myself that I’d make them up in the afternoon no matter how shitty I felt.
PM 10 Miles, 1100′ 1h17m Really just a slog of a run through the town. Still being a little wary of lateral movement on my ankle after the previous weeks sprain, but under the impression that if I continue to crank out some pavement sessions I’ll be able to salvage a lot of trail-strength, and perhaps get quicker in the interim without causing any real problems re: the sprain. Unfortunately, in NJ during this time of the year it’s almost always oppressively hot, like sweat just sitting still in the shade kind of hot, so even if my legs weren’t feeling like complete and total dog shit I doubt I would have been able to run substantially faster… jumping in the river ~2 miles from my house was pleasant however.

Thurs July 4 AM 10 Miles, 1100′ 1h17m 
I guess 1:17 is my groove this week… sunrise from the town ridge looked promising leaving the house, but by the time I gained the vert clouds had come in and fundamentally ruined my potential for a kickass view. Otherwise, I’m just glad that my 4:45AM alarm worked and got me out for a jaunt before sitting in a chair all day preventing children from drowning in the lake.

Fri July 5 AM 13.2 Miles. 9760’2h48m 
Quadruple Tammany Ascent/Descent. This was partially because I can, and partially a test for an upcoming race that I’ve yet to officially register for (but am 90% committed to… mentally that is). Basically I wanted to see how my body/mind would react to several repeats of an unusually steep hill (for NJ) in some gnarly heat. I managed to get through on ~300 cal, 100oz of fluids, and 2 S! caps without any serious stomach or hydration issues, although it was seriously hot…

Sat July 6, 3.1 Miles, 23m20s
Compulsory 5k in the evening to make myself feel like I ran today. I tried to go out in the morning before work, but a major case of the trots kept me inside the house (I ran a half a mile and nearly crapped myself). I wish I could blame it on the beer, but I didn’t have any the night before… so I guess I need to start really dialing in my diet, since this is 2 weeks in a row where I’ve lost mileage that my mind and body would otherwise accept, but my sphincter seems to be reluctant to endure.

Sun July 7 AM 15 Miles, 4440′ 2h8m
Really no pep at all in my legs, which considering the abuses from Friday isn’t too surprising, but still a little discouraging with regard to the basic day-off I took on Saturday. Climbing wasn’t necessarily hard, but just weak, as if I was mentally/physically unwilling to push anything.

Totals: 85.6 Miles, 22,160′
Kind of a bum week as far as my attitude is concerned. I really don’t like to put in that much in the way of pavement-oriented mileage, but my general distrust of my ankle for the majority of the week seemed to have made it the only valid option if I was going to get anywhere near my preferred weekly totals. Skipping Saturday (basically) was also a bummer, causing me to fall way short of my projected 100 miles for the week, but c’est la vie, realistically there’s not much I can do about it. Fortunately, the quadruple Tammany run went rather well, and my ankle seems to have made it out completely unscathed, which is really encouraging going into this week, and further increasing my confidence with regard to some upcoming competition.

Tammany Summit

Recovery?

Sometimes I mess up the timer..

View from Tammany overlooking Minsi

Summary June 24-30

Monday June 24 AM 12 Miles, 3200′ 1h28m Allamuchy trails, with a snappy double-summit before succumbing to the heat and humidity, and deciding to take a less circuitous route back to my car. After chugging a liter or so, I got talked into another quickie with Phil, a runner I’ve run into on the trails several times in the past year, finishing out the 12 miles, and gaining a few hundred extra feet of vert.
PM 3 Miles, 24m Quickie shakeout around the neighborhood, soggy legs for sure

Tuesday June 25 AM 10 Miles, 2960′ 1h21 Rough run through the power line trails, shiggy conditions and not feeling like I have much pep in my legs. Humidity was also really killer, soaked my shorts within the first 5 miles, which is never really a good feeling that early in a run.
PM 7 Miles, 2000′ 58m Allamuchy Trails with the guys from Salt. Cool little club they have going on, including the obligatory post-run beers. We basically ran from the pub to the top of the mountain and back, which gave me a chance to run with Mike, an XC runner at St. Thomas Aquinas, who to no surprise of my own was able to run me rather ragged over such a short course. Having never really developed that sort of leg speed, it was pretty encouraging to see what kind of running collegiate athletes are capable of, as well as have someone to really push me on trail. I did unfortunately roll my ankle pretty hard on some technical terrain and heard an audible crunch not unlike the exaggerated knuckle-cracking sound from a shitty street fighting movie.

Wed June 26 1 Mile, 9m Ankle was feeling pretty djanky, so I called it quits before I did any real damage.

Thurs June 27 AM 7 Miles, 940′ 51m39s Road run through the local neighborhoods with the ankle feeling surprisingly stable, especially considering the egg-like shape it had taken on throughout Wednesday. Unfortunately, in the true sense of “when it rains it pours” my stomach was to understate heavily… disagreeable.
PM 3.5 Miles, 480′ 27:28 Started running with the Hashers, but quickly realized that my stomach was going to have none of it.

Fri June 28, AM 4.5 Miles, 860′ Meant to go out and do 7, but the stomach virus is definitely raining on my parade… felt generally shitty the whole time.

Sat June 29, 7 Miles, 940′ 48m21s A lot more like it… Afternoon run after my bowels decided to start agreeing with me again. Pretty muggy out again, but such seems to be the case with NJ summers.

Sun June 30 AM 7 Miles, 940′ 49m59s A little bit dead-legged, which isn’t very surprising, since my legs haven’t felt very strong since Tuesday, probably due to not eating very well, and the whole stomach virus deal.
PM 3 Miles, 1240′ 25m Snappy ascent to the top of Allamuchy (14m) and a reasonable downhill (11) I could definitely have run it faster, but I’m not wholly trusting in my still sort-of weak ankle.

Totals: 65 Miles, 13,920′

Generally not an awful week, all things considered I really shouldn’t scoff at putting 65 miles in the proverbial bank,  but having mentally committed to >100 in the same 7 day period I’m a little disappointed. In the grand scheme of things, I supposed that if I was going to get sick for a couple of days, and sprain an ankle this summer, it’s kind of fortuitous to have them coincide, mostly because is consolidates the time I’m unable to run, rather than making two separate occasions, nevermind the fact that I had mentally positioned June as a “rebuilding” month that would generally be devoid of any real workouts, and if all goes as planned should pale in comparison to the volume I’m planning for the next 8-10 weeks.

Allamuchy Summit #3 of the week

This hurt roughly 1000x more than rolling it did

Injury(ish?)

They always star out the same way: just a little niggle on a shakeout run, nothing to really worry about, you say to yourself “well, I’ll see how it feels tomorrow, no need to do anything yet” or some other trivial affirmation in an attempt to avoid the inevitable. It’s still there the next day, and the day after that, and before you know it, that approach of “meh, it’ll feel better in a day or two” has only exacerbated your little niggle into something more serious. So now you start testing it going down the stairs, kicking a soccer ball with the dog, and running across the street to avoid being the victim of vehicular homicide. Those days turn into a week, and before you know it, that slight discomfort is now something you’re really concerned about, something that might even convince you to *gasp* take a day off.

After the Bear Mountain race, I started this very familiar sequence of convincing myself that I wasn’t hurt, when in reality I was. I had taken a few diggers over the course, and one of those involved my left knee doing battle with an oak tree, which inevitably it lost. Of course during the first few days after the race, nothing seemed unusual, mostly because I was spending all of my time either sleeping, or on the couch, so it was pretty hard to really tell what was going on with my legs… I mean I just ran 50 miles, everything did (and should) hurt. But when I started moving again, there was that familiar niggle, this time on the medial side of my left knee… nothing to worry about yet, but that’s always a slippery slope.

You see like every stubborn runner, I’ve always been afraid to actually admit that I’m hurt… and this is obviously counter-productive. It’s probably a result of some misguided machismo, and fear. Lots of fear. Fear that if I’m actually hurt, then my fitness is inevitably going to recede, and as everyone knows, it’s a hell of a lot easier to stay fit than it is to get fit. Foolishly however, it seems that when we take time off for that minor discomfort it will heal, wherein when we continue to do the same thing we always do, which is to say run, on a RUNNING injury, it’s likely to get worse, forcing an even longer layoff, and the actualization of those fears we were trying to avoid.

Last year, if anyone cares to remember, I had some pretty gnarly IT band problems as a result of over-training, and then racing 50 miles. This cost me the majority of the summer as far as running is concerned, seeing as I didn’t feel reasonably healthy until roughly August, and even then, I had lost several months of maintenance-training, nevermind opportunities to improve. So, with this knowledge, I decided that this time, I’d seek professional help at the onset of my discomfort, and try to salvage my running season as best as I could. (there might have been some help from my mother)

After a visit to a physical therapist, it was concluded that I have sprained my MCL, but fortunately it’s basically healed right now (although still tender). This is good news, since in spite of my lack of posting in recent weeks, I’ve been pretty regular about running (albeit at significantly reduced volume). Unfortunately means that I’m going to have to withdraw my entrance to the Cayuga Trails 50 next week, because even if I’m healthy enough to run it, my lack of mileage in the past 3 or so weeks compounded with my lack of complete trust in my left leg really only means that running the race will either result in a DNF, or worse, an injury, neither of which am I really willing to drive 8 hours round trip to deal with. While disappointed about missing what looks to be a tremendous race, I’m much more concerned with salvaging a summer’s worth of running, and not losing several months of training as a result of hubris.

This means that for the present, I’m relegating myself to dealing primarily with road-running since lateral movements are still a bit iffy, and with a little bit of luck (and ice, lots of ice) I should be able to pretty quickly resume high-volume training, and get back onto the racing scene. In the meantime, maybe I’ll go hiking, that sounds like a good idea… and I guess I should kick that ball around with my dog more, since for once, I seem to have more energy than her.

Summary April 22-28

Monday April 22, 15 Miles 4440′ 1h57m Easy run on the power lines. The 2 hour run seems to be feeling really regular as of late, which is really encouraging. In fact, looking over the past several weeks it seems that most of my runs have been really consistent on the stopwatch, in spite of some pretty wide variations in energy levels and outlook.

Tuesday April 23, 1 Mile 8m Oh yea, about that consistency thing… apparently a nero is part of that deal. Frankly the whole really long, slow spring has been draining on me, so whenever the weather is cold/gross I just can’t seem to muster up the energy to get out for a run. My legs felt fine, but my head just wasn’t with me.

Wed, April 24, AM, 15 Miles 4440′ 1h57m Feeling really normal on the trails, and basically just trying to keep up my fitness levels without doing anything stupid like getting myself hurt. Been cranking around in a really busted up old pair of MT110’s, whose rock plate and mid-sole have seen way better days… which I think is helping inform my footing on technical descents, as well as making sure I stay light on my feet.
PM 2 Miles, 15m Easy road-jog to shake the legs out… feeling a little stiff this time around, and relatively exhausted after a long day at class.

Thurs April 25, 17 Miles, 2160′ 2h21m  Pretty relaxed road run on the broken-shin loop, albeit really low-energy. I positive split pretty heavily over the course of the run, which is probably due to a lot of latent fatigue in my legs, and a complete and utter lack of road mileage in recent weeks.

Fri April 26, 10 Miles, 2960′ 1h18m  Easy Power Line run, finally warm enough to don nothing more than shorts and a singlet.

Sat April 27, 15 Miles, 4440′ 2h Easy run on the power lines again…. probably the last “real” run before the TNF race next weekend. Finally warm out, which was wonderful, according to the sunburn on my shoulders. The heat also gave me one last chance to dehydrate myself before the race, and seeing as I only carried 20oz with me, and wasn’t totally spent by the end, I’d say I’ve done pretty well as far as training myself into becoming a camel this year.

Sun April 28, 5 Miles 1480′ 35m I figure that if I’m going to run less, I ought to run a little quicker, to you know, stay sharp or something
PM 1 Mile 9M Barefootin’

Totals: 82 Miles, 19,920′

I decided to lay off a little bit this week, realizing that I probably wasn’t going to be able to reap any real training gains from overdoing things this close to a race, but in actuality I would probably just end up making myself tired out. With the exception of the fundamental day off in the middle of the week, It was a reasonably good training week, and had I not thought that I should begin to lower my mileage today, I could have easily kept running for another 15 or 20 miles as things were really feeling solid. From here on out, it’s really just about maintaining confidence through my taper (and making sure I can be tired enough to sleep). I’m really happy with how the past 6 or so weeks have stacked up, an frankly I’m not sure I’ve ever been this solid on the hills and more technical terrain, which will hopefully carry through on race day.

Try Again.

It looks as if I’m falling victim to the overly cliche never-ending injury cycle. Every time I get a glimpse of some positivity with my IT band, I do exactly what I would be doing if I were truly healthy, which is, run as much as I possibly can until something hurts, the sun sets, or I’m too tired to keep running. This obviously is NOT the way to recover from an over-use injury (this is where you cue in a quote from my mother saying that one should not cure overtraining by overtraining.)

After having a really encouraging week in the Pine Tree State without any hints of needing to slow down, I ran the River to Sea relay with the Highlands Hashers. Whilst the R2C jaunt only totaled a pedestrian 12.6 Miles, of entirely flat terrain, in 2 legs, on road… cranking it out at ~7:15 pace proved just a little too much for my knee, as well as my calves (which, after a week, are finally feeling normal again). So, after limping around for a few days, having 2 really shitty runs, I decided that it would be a brilliant idea to run with Dave on Friday morning to check out the course for the Wildcat Ridge Romp. As you could expect, this only re-aggravated my knee, and wiped me out pretty well.  (Yes Dave, you kicked my ass on this one)

So what does this mean in the broad scheme of things? I really need to focus my energy on trying to run pain-free for a bit right now, especially with autumn (my favorite running season) right around the corner, and some pretty lofty (albeit unspoken) goals for next year. So for the time being, I’m going to pretend that racing is non-existent, and concentrate on simply enjoying my runs, pursuing the terrain, and courses that I really want to run on. So hopefully if I stop dangling the idea of racing in the near future in front of myself, I can do a better job of increasing my mileage in a prudent way, instead of the reckless mileage spikes I’ve been having lately.

As for how I’m feeling about all of this… maybe some graphs can make it easier:

My fitness level since getting hurt:


 Here’s how I feel about myself, and my eating habits:

 And how my mileage effects my life:
 

Hints of Normalcy

I’m (not) back. This past week I was able to scrounge together a seemingly normal running week for the first time in what seems like ages. Six consecutive days of running (Mon-Sat) with ~23 miles, and even a couple grand worth of Vert. While this is really chump change mileage-wise in comparison to the volume I prefer to run, nevermind the volume that I had thought I’d be putting in over the summer, I’ll take it. After several weeks of not running, running in pain, or running hesitantly, I’m beginning to fully see how massive a part of my life this really is.

While I choose to arbitrarily quantify my “weekly” totals with regard to the literal calendar week (Sun-Sat) today marks my 8th consecutive day of running, and 3rd consecutive day of getting on trail/some not so embarrassing vert (~140’/mile). While I’m certainly not in the sort of shape I’d like to be in at this part of the year (how can you not want to run all day during the summer…) I’ve managed to maintain a pretty fair amount of fitness, which I can really only attribute to the solid base I had until I got hurt, as well as some diligent gym visits utilizing both strength and cross-training.

As for the future? Right now it’s hard to really consider where the next several weeks are going to take me leg-wise, as after a modest 14 miles on trail over 3 days, my knee is feeling a slight bit twingy, which means, to me, that it isn’t fully prepared for the full on assault that my idea of ultra-marathon training would require. With this in mind, both Running With The Devil and Wildcat Ridge are officially off of my schedule although it looks like I will be at least crewing for Dave (and possibly Gene) at Wildcat. If things continue to progress at this rate, I could potentially be prepared to run at Wildcat, but I think the risks outweigh the desire to race. I am still rather convinced that I’ll run at Jay Peak but I’m mentally preparing myself for the possibility that I will either not be fully healed, or not be in the kind of shape I’d require of myself to undertake it as a race (and I’m not so interested in running ultras for the sake of running ultras). Beyond that, my plans are very much up in the air, I’m eyeing Mountain Madness which looks like a good course up in the Ramapo range, and I really should toe the line at some NJ race this year… I’m also flirting with running another road marathon, but that depends heavily on my ability and willingness to train specifically for a road race, so only time will really tell on that one.

Courtesy of ON

Finally back on the hill in my natural form… excepting the garter belt…

Bear Mountain Video

This is of course, inherently self-serving, (but isn’t the point of a blog self-serving anyhow?), but Dave has just posted the video from the NF 50 over at the Highlands Hashers blog.

Thanks Dave!!!

Frustration

Any high volume runner knows what I’m talking about when I tell you that the inability to run is ineffably frustrating. Putting aside any race plans, and any other associated fitness goals, the real issue is that there’s a tremendous part of my day to day life that’s simply… missing. The smell of the mornings fresh air, the sense of depletion after a run, the joy of a prolonged sweat, all of this seems to be infiltrating my thoughts, memories of what seems like a past life (although it’s only been a few weeks since I was running healthily). In fact, it’s much like getting sick, where after a few too many days of illness, you begin to forget what healthy feels like…  More omnipresent, is the longing for that time spent truly alone. Having the opportunity to tune in, and listen to my body, both the joys and the pains of distance running. Even more, the chance to truly let my thoughts go through my head at their own speed, and simply observe them. So while it’s annoying to think that my fitness is slowly reducing, this pales in comparison to the mental aspect of not being able to hop on trail first thing in the morning (and often times, last thing in the evening) and leave it all behind for a while.

My knee is starting to feel better, in fact, it’s MUCH better than it was when I originally began resting(I’ve now taken 14 of the last 18 days completely off from running). When it first started to act up, I couldn’t make it more than 3/4ths of a mile or so before the pain began to become unbearable, whereas this past Monday, I ran 6 miles on trail(AT, at Sunrise Mountain), without it being beyond a nagging discomfort, and last night I ran 3 miles on the roads, again testing it out, finding the pain bearable, but certainly concerned that a light 3 mile jaunt would still cause some aggravation. With this in mind, I’ve decided to take another ~8-10 days off from running, concentrating on icing, stretching, compressing, and starting to integrate ultrasound therapy. Hopefully this will allow my IT band to fully heal so that I can get back to the trails soon, and retrieve the part of my life that’s been missing for the past month or so.

In other news, I’ve been selected to be a Merrell Delegate for the upcoming Outdoor Nation Summit in NYC. I’m not sure how much Merrell wants me (or any of the other delegates) to divulge about the perks of being sent on their behalf, but the bottom line is that they’re covering my expenses, and have provided me with a generous amount of apparel in exchange for my participation, blogging on their behalf, and a couple of conference calls with their outdoor people. Basically the purpose of the summit is to gather a sizable amount of 20-somethings in a room to discuss ways to encourage more people to get outside, get on trail, and be healthier, so I’m every much looking forward to it.

Gino chased by Bob

John crosses a stream

Jeff doing some downhill