Healing

Few things are as frustrating as waiting, especially when you’re waiting for your body to heal, or just simply feel “normal” again, as I’ve been doing for the past week and a half. So what exactly has my strategy been for getting through this bout of ITBS? It’s really quite simple, starting primarily with an abundance of foam rolling, mostly to loosen up the tissue surrounding the IT band, all of which was surprisingly sore, like screaming in pain when I first started rolling kind of sore (and I’d like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for physical pain). Beyond that, I’ve been icing rather regularly, as well as stretching all of the supporting muscles (as it’s nearly impossible to stretch the actual IT band) and doing a handful of exercises designed to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings (whose weakness supposedly leads to ITBS…).

Right now, my leg/knee feels surprisingly… normal, there’s an occasional twinge here or there, but I can run down the stairs again (as opposed to limping like a geriatric old man) without any discomfort, and have even harnessed the gumption to ride the bike a bit, and spend some time picking things up and putting them down. As far as getting back into “real” training, I’m planning on taking at least a few more days of unaggravated existence before I ease into running again. I still have a pretty solid base level fitness, which I don’t think has regressed too much in the time I’ve taken off, and I’d much rather allow this to heal properly, than aggravate it again, which will only end up with more time on the couch. So, while I’m not running as much as my typical volume (zero miles at the moment…) I’m planning on using the bike a lot more, and considering finally getting a gym membership (no guarantees on the last one).

Otherwise, my strategy for the next race(s) is primarily the same as it was for the NF 50, run as much as I physically/mentally/logistically can, with an emphasis on trails and vertical gain. I’ve also decided that I should try to capitalize on the lessons learned at Bear Mountain, and am actively trying to spend more time doing core exercises, toughening up the soles of my feet (see: spending more time barefoot) as well as exercises designed for overall stability, and hill climbing strength. I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, but they’re very much in the experimental stages right now, so I’ll only allude to their existence at the moment, and if they seem to be helpful, I’ll write about them later (diet, mid-run fueling, hydration etc etc etc).

I also tried some “alternative” therapies

Failed Recovery

I’ve fallen victim to one of the cliche troubles with running ultra-distances, the post-race injury. It seems that this is a rather common occurrence, and, to me at least, seems to make sense. After training at a sub-maximal level for months on end, topping mileage out at a near maximal level, eventually the body simply needs a rest, which should commonly come before the race (see: taper) and then afterwards in the recovery phase. However, like any over-zealous cocky runner who see’s his fitness as having peaked for a race, I decided to begin running again immediately, on what were obviously sore/tired/un-healed legs, and have as a result, found myself dealing with ITBS.
ITBS, or Iliotibial band syndrome is probably best described here. Fundamentally it’s and inflamation of the IT band that manifests itself as lateral pain in the knee. So, as a result, I’m relegated to resting, icing, limping around (even though it no longer causes much discomfort, limiting the flexion of the knee reduces strain on the IT band, and should be advantageous in helping it heal) and generally doing…. nothing.
Since I cannot run, for at least a few more days (this is day six of consecutive non-running) I’ve found myself with an abundant amount of additional free time, which is… well, very strange. If I look at my average totals for the year thus far, I’ve “gained” at least a solid work-day’s worth of time, if not more, and frankly, the extra time, and inability to run is starting to get to me. So, with that in mind, I guess I’ll concentrate on some core work, continue icing the heck out of my knee/IT band, stretching, and pleading with my leg to hurry up and heal, as I have some over-training to get back to, and the trails are calling my name as I sit here, reading.

Training Summary April 22-28

Sunday April 22 1 Mile 7:50 Very typical shakeout. I’ve been enjoying the idea of taking a nero every week, and for some reason Sunday’s seem like the best day for it.

Monday April 23 5.1 Miles 740′ :42 Painfully slow time, especially since my legs should  feel rather fresh, but instead, I was feeling like I had no business whatsoever running. It turns out, this is a sensation that I’d be dealing with for the majority of the week.

Tuesday April 24 5.1 Miles 740′ 38:38 More of a “typical” time for me on the power line trails, and while the stopwatch is respectable, the entirety of the run felt…. uncomfortable. I can’t seem to find my groove, there’s no sense of flow, which is incredibly frustrating. Usually on any route I run with some regularity there are a few spots where I can just let loose, but for whatever reason, I’m feeling unable to get that sensation.

Wed April 25 5.1 Miles 740′ 38:13 Hitting the splits, but feeling like shit, ugh.

Thurs April 26 10.2 Miles 1480′ 1:22 Doubled the power line trails, feeling okay on the first loop, and very mercurial on the second pass. Nothing specific seems to be dragging me down, just generally not feeling fast.

Friday April 27 5.1 Miles 740′ 39:35 Finally feeling okay, not particularly great, just, fine.

Saturday April 28 11.6 Miles 1500′ 1:43 Allamuchy trails, and certainly the most ambitious run of the week. This morning was the first time all week that I genuinely felt like a well-trained runner. It’s also the first time of the year that I deliberately avoided power-hiking the steepest sections of the trail (which, for all intents and purposes should be hiked, it’s arguably as fast, and less stressful on the legs). The overall time is probably on the lower-end of average for the past several months, and ~5 mins slower than my course PR. That being said, I wasn’t particularly trying to push today, but mostly concentrating on consistency of effort, and trying to enjoy myself after a week of definite slogging.

Totals: 43.2 Miles, 5940′ Vert, 5h51m

By a long shot, the fewest miles I’ve run in a week since the first of the year (~60% of my average weekly tally). In spite of the obvious slogging both mentally and physically over the course of the week, I think it was still relatively productive. Some consistent GI discomfort has made me surprisingly comfortable with the inevitable fact that I don’t have the strongest stomach. I’m also relatively comfortable, and confident in the fact that I can continue to run (usually relatively well….) when the wheels begin to fall off, and I begin to certifiably feel like crap. Also, by running shorter distances this week, I’ve really begun to notice how long it takes my body/legs to warm up, and feel comfortable, which I think had a lot to do with the general unease in my five mile trips (it tends to take at least 5 to start feeling good.. minimum 30 minutes of movement). With that in mind, the next week is going to be even more severe of a taper, hopefully with a little bit of a concentration on some inclines, in an attempt to relieve the remainder of my lingering soreness, without compromising any fitness.

Training Grumble

After several consecutive days of less than stellar performances on my feet, I’m beginning to get increasingly frustrated with myself, and the form that my training has taken. Realistically, I shouldn’t be overly concerned, and should, in fact, be embracing the latent soreness, lethargy, and overall slog-like feeling I have going into my 2-ish week “taper” period leading into the NF 50, but after a few days of sub-par efforts it’s tough to stay positive.

In an attempt to justify my lackluster motivation, and overall shitty feelings on trail in the past few days I’ve been rethinking about my diet in the past several days (less than awesome, by a good amount) and my general stress level, which I think is affecting my running more than I’m willing to admit. Fundamentally, I really need to pick myself up by my proverbial bootstraps, and get my ass out on the real mountain, perhaps without the stopwatch for once, and just run, to really reinvigorate myself with the base level appeal of this activity. I know that my fitness is by no small margin better than it’s ever been, and that it’s mostly my head that’s preventing me from logging quality miles in the past several days, so hopefully I can muscle through this “funk” and get myself back on the train in time for the race.

Summary April 15-21

Sunday April 15 1 Mile, 7:52 My legs are still feeling pretty beat up, and with Saturday being the last concert of the season, complete with all of the associated after-party-effects, doing very much running today just wasn’t in the cards.

Monday April 16 AM 10.1 Miles 550′ 1:19 Usual road loop around town. Typically I like this as a tempo run, but with some latent fatigue/soreness, moving “quickly” requires hurculean effort, and that’s assuming that I can run with any sense of quickness on my legs as they feel presently.
PM 1 Mile Barefoot 8:44 Nothing seems to cure the leg soreness than a bit of barefootin’

Tuesday April 17 AM 10.2 Miles 1480′ 1:23 Aside from struggling with the unseasonable heat, this felt like a pretty good jaunt through the power line trails. Legs are still a bit soggy, not quite 100% but feeling generally better than the past couple of days.
PM 1 Mile Barefoot 9:06 Trying to be more diligent about letting my characteristically tight left achilles tendon release fully to the ground, which, when I’m succeeding, generally leads to less soreness in the lower calf as a whole. (note: I’ve tried to concentrate on this while wearing zero-dropped “barefoot” shoes, but nothing seems as effective as going unshod)

Wed April 18 AM 1 Mile Barefoot Typical Wednesday, long day, keep the streak alive… see above for barefoot justification.
PM 2 Miles 14:39 I suppose moving a bit at the end of the day could help flush some of the mucky muck out of my legs.

Thurs April 19 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 39:38 Quick jaunt up the power lines, everything is feeling normal, almost good (well, as good as it can when you’ve been stacking miles without a proper break for 4 months)
PM 9.2 Miles 700′ 1:11 Columbia Trail and outer loop of Schooley’s Mountain. Fantastic afternoon, albeit a tad on the warm side. Running uphill felt surprisingly strong, and I’m beginning to get more used to the summer-esque weather, and associated shirtlessness, brow dripping with sweat, and insatiable desire to jump in nearby streams (but they’re still cold, so maybe in a few weeks). I finally brought a camera with me, but to my chagrin, when I reached the summit, two young lovers decided to treat it like an hourly rate motel room, which… was rather hilarious, but robbed me of photographic opportunities, as well as a chance to thoroughly enjoy the view.
PM Part Deux 5 Miles 360′ 35:08 Broken shin loop at an unusually quick tempo. I’m unsure of exactly how we ended up dropping a minute per mile on our usually low-key ~8min pace Thursday night recovery run… I can only presume that with Dave having just run Boston, Jeff being en route to a <3hr marathon, and  Bob aggressively training for 5/10k's that no one thought twice about running faster. I'm pretty sure Jeff landed a CR in the 34:xx range, and all 4 of us PR-ed… not a bad "recovery" run

Fri April 20 11.6 Miles 1500′ 1:46 Allamuchy loop. Feeling generally like crap, heavy legs, tired, lethargic, hot, fundamentally every imaginable runners discomfort seemed to rear its head within the first 2 miles. Such, I suppose is another day on the trail, be wary he who feels too comfortable.
 PM 1 Mile Barefoot 9:02 Typical shakeout-like thing

Saturday April 21 15 Miles  1300′ 2:03 Road loop with a power line extension. Again, feeling like complete and utter shit. I think everything is subject to a certain ebb and flow, and I’m encouraged by the fact that when I feel legitimately bad (sour stomach, legs made of lead, tired etc etc etc) I can still manage ~8 min pace.

Totals: 73.2 Miles, 6,630′ Vert, 9h54m

Overall, kind of a frustrating week, and at the risk of being obvious, last weeks 30 mile run, without fully recovering certainly weighed in substantially this week. Admittedly, I did try to capitalize on the residual fatigue, and have never previously run this hard (or even remotely close to this hard) immediately following an effort of that length (both time, and distance). With that in mind, I really can’t be too frustrated, I did set a PR on the Broken Shin loop, and had some reasonably good runs, ion fact, none of my “bad” runs were even remotely close to my SKT (slowest known time) but rather were just on the high-end of average pace (or perhaps a few minutes slower than average…).  As for what’s next? I think I need to do some serious foam-rolling (and “The Stick” using) and have a beer. Next week begins some “front” tapering, where I’ll probably concentrate on some more highly specific terrain, but with a bit lower gross mileage, so that I’m only moderately sore leading into the taper proper.

Master Chef

Thinking Space

Summary March 25-31

Sunday March 25 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ :42 Typical power line trail run, feeling a little bit sluggish, as the clock obviously reflects. Legs have been feeling pretty good, but no motivation to push anything beyond a leisurely pace.
PM 1 Mile Barefoot 8:35 Enjoying the chance to lose the shoes.

Monday March 26 AM 1 Mile 7:41 Long academic day, trying to keep the streak alive.
PM 1 Mile 8:11 Seemed like I should at least TRY to get out twice, even after spending several hours after rehearsal celebrating a friends birthday (with all of the associated libations) lets call it a gumption-harnessing mile.

Tuesday March 27 AM 18 Miles 1125′ 2:20 Road running through town, for some reason I lacked the motivation to drive to a trailhead to run for a few hours. Occasionally it seems a lot less like a daunting task if I can remove the commute (even though that commute is <15min) for a longer run. The nice thing about the road runs is that I feel less inclined to bring as much Gu/Fluid, which certainly helps me train my body to run slightly dehydrated, and burn fat more easily.

Wed March 28 AM 10.3 Miles 1480′ 1:27 Doubled the power line loop, keeping the pace relatively relaxed. It’s becoming apparent that a big part of this whole “high mileage” thing is slogging through the mundane monotony of getting out for some reasonable mileage on a daily basis.

Thurs March 29 AM 10.3 Miles 1480′ 1:26 Same vibe as Wednesday, starting to feel some of the slog setting in, especially as my motivation/energy levels continue to wane.
PM 1 Miles 8:04 Evening shakeout. ‘Nuff said.

Fri March 30 AM 20.4 Miles 2030′ 2:41 Ran an up tempo road course through the town for the first 10 miles at ~7:20 pace, then followed it up with a doubling of the power line loop. For the first time in a while, I’m beginning to regain some sense of flow, feeling more like I’m floating over the trail than running it. I also managed to negative split on the 2nd of the two power line loops, without trying to, which is rather encouraging.

Sat March 31 PM 8 Miles :57 Joined Jeff and Dave for a run on the Columbia Trail, unfortunately, due to the rescheduling of a dress rehearsal, I had to bail out early so I could shower, and suit up for the concert.

Totals: 76.1 Miles, 6855′ Vert, 9h58m

March Totals:  382.9 Miles, 38,905′ Vert 42h25m

 Not the highest mileage week, I’ve been feeling inexplicably tired, lethargic really, and my motivation is beginning to wane. This, compounded with increased academic responsibilities, gigs, and the ever-failing attempts to maintain a social life that’s semi-representative of the 20-something that I am has been making more substantial mileage a real stretch. Overall, the month of March is my highest mileage in a calendar month to date, which I suppose is something I should be celebrating, but instead I’m slightly concerned/embarrassed at the lackadaisical approach I’ve had over the last two weeks. With this 50 mile race looming over the horizon, as well as some tapes to make, and papers to write, I’m expecting April to be a substantial grind. Hopefully the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to maintain a respectable amount of mileage, grind through the monotony, and complete a couple extra-long runs to test out some nutrition/hydration issues before the race.

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 Jan 29 – Feb 4

Sunday Jan 29 AM 5.1 Miles, 44:14 Power Line Loop in minimalist shoes to recover from the previous days long run.
PM 1.0, 8:20 Shakeout evening mile to keep things loose, also run the “Butters” hash during the afternoon, but not recording it as proper mileage.

Monday Jan 30 AM 6.0 Miles, 44:19 Running local roads slightly up-tempo from my typical off-road pace, feeling a head cold coming on.
 PM 1.0, 9:34  I’m beginning to think these light evening miles are kind of important…

Tuesday Jan 31 AM 10.15 Miles, 1:15:05 Normal pavement 10 miler, definitely getting sick, and losing the motivation to drive to a trailhead.
PM 1.0 9:40 Finally it’s warm enough to run barefoot, although I’ve lost some of the toughness on the soles of my foot since the summer, it still feels great to lose the shoe, and get out in skin.

Wed Feb 1 AM 1.0 Miles 8:44, Wasn’t sure if I would have the energy/motivation to run again in the evening after a ~14 hour day in class/rehearsal/teaching
PM 3.21, 19:05 Mustered up the gumption to put a few miles on, and decided to go quickly, it’s nice to see that I still have some pep in my legs, and even better to think that I can run a ~5k at this pace and not feel like I’m particularly exerting myself.

Thurs Feb 2 PM  6.5 Miles, 55:28 New Shoes!!! I finally retired my MT101’s and replaced them with the “upgrade” MT 110, so far, this shoe is fantastic, the input from Krupicka and the Skaggs brothers has created a killer mountain shoe (more to come on this later, when I have a few more miles in them)
PM 2, 5 Miles, 41:19 Broken Shin Loop

Fri Feb 3 AM 5.1 Miles, 41:26 Power Line loop, testing the new kicks, and feeling like hell as a result of a gnarly head cold.

Sat Feb 4 AM 5.1 Miles, 43:22 Same loop, this cold is really bumming me out.

Total Miles:50.16   6h40m

Pretty light week(did I really just say that about a week that had 50+ miles and 12 separate runs?), although I think my body could use some recovery time, and the (still lingering) head cold definitely took some wind out of my sails. Didn’t track vert this week, as I’m still working on acquiring a reasonable means to do so. Otherwise, things feel pretty good, save for some lingering soreness around my left ankle, which apparently has still not regained 100% of its strength since rolling it last July. I’m also experimenting with some different nutrition variables, adding Udo’s Oil again, as well as some supplemental protein and vitamins to try to maintain higher mileage in the upcoming weeks without totally feeling like crap.

Lastly, here’s a video of a great band that a few of my friends are part of:

Summary Jan 15-21

Sunday Jan 15, AM 5 Miles, 42:19 Broken Shin Loop with Limpy, Roadie, and Jeff Boy-ar-Dee. Met the guys for a frigid AM run, wish I had worn socks, and managed to freeze my beard pretty well… although, the companionship made the wind and unreasonably cold temperature a lot easier to deal with.

Monday Jan 16, AM 11.6 Miles, 2:04 Ran through Allamuchy with Dave, again, wicked cold (~8 degrees) but we covered roughly 1550 feet of ascent/descent over the course of 2 hours, without running particularly hard at any point (but managed to test some speed on a few technical downhills). We also took the time to take some rather contrived trail-running photos, and upon returning to the car, and changing, my jacket (a lightweight softshell) froze completely solid… I suppose winter has come….
PM 3.85 Miles, :40, Turkey Brook loop with Roadie, Jeff, and Hairy, a nice second run of the day, trying to stay loose, also wore uber-minimalist shoes to concentrate more on biomechanics.

Tuesday Jan 17, AM 4.85 Miles, 40:39 Power Line Trails, completely frozen over, making for a rather nice variety of rocks, and frozen mud, good traction, fast trail, I think this is either THE, or close to the fastest time for me on this route… eventually I’ll check the log-book and find out. Also, took a pretty great digger tripping over an embarrassingly small rock.

Wednesday Jan 18, AM 10.15 Miles, 1:16:04 Tempo-ish hill run through the local roads, running this route at mid 7 pace is becoming increasingly easy, I’m going to need to find a harder tempo run in the next few weeks… or pick up the pace substantially (still haven’t decided which yet)

Thursday Jan 19, AM 4.85 Miles, 41:02 Power Line trails… Ground has softened up a lot creating a strange combination of really soft mud, ice, rock, and frozen soil, footing is a complete guessing game. This variety of trail conditions is part of how, and why I run the same routes a lot, I may cover the same ground, but each run is fantastically different from those that precede and follow it.
PM, 5 Miles, 37:52 Broken Shin Loop, ran ahead of the pack, and then was chased down by Bob, power of ego overtook my better sense, causing this intended recovery run to be much faster than I would have liked.

Friday Jan 20, PM 4.85 miles, 44:16 I originally tried to run 10+ at Allamuchy, in fact I drove all the way there, stood outside my car for a few minutes, used the bathroom, and instead of running, returned home…. a  few hours later I pushed myself out the door for the Power Line loop, and ran the whole thing convinced that I was falling asleep

Saturday Jan 21, AM 10 Miles, 1:26:41 Ran through Schooley’s Mountain and surrounding Rail Trails during a snowstorm. This was by far the most challenging run of the year, mentally, physically, and especially with regard to the elements. The snow made for questionable traction(causing me to fall on level trail), as well as providing additional drag/forcing me to keep my knees higher than I would otherwise like, not to mention the constant head-wind, and snowfall pounding my face. There’s a beauty to the solitude of being the only runner out there in this sort of weather, and the challenges that face you while attempting to run trails under  these conditions.

Total Miles:  60.15 8h52m, Falls: 2 Frozen Beards: 4

Gino also has his beard frost over

Jeff around Turkey Brook

Dave and I on top of Allamuchy (Photo courtesy of Dave Franz)

Ice Beard at Allamuchy (Photo Courtesy of Dave Franz)

Descent is steeper than this shows (Photo courtesy of Dave Franz)

Finally, it snows

Downhill in the snow

Summit!

Summit Profile

Not quite postholing, but close…