Summary Dec 5-11

Monday Dec 5, 6 Miles, 449′ 47m56s

Overslept the 4:30 wakeup call which meant leaving the house at 6:17 on a compressed schedule. Generally the legs felt okay but lacked any sort of snappiness as has been the norm since the Fallback 50K right before Thanksgiving. Fortunately my hip seems to have recovered better, and is substantially less sore.

Tues Dec 6, Warmup 1.5 Miles 59′ 12m, Workout –6.7 Mile, 174′ Tempo, 45m13s 

Pre-dawn solo Tempo Tuesday. Avg HR was 167 throughout the workout, and the first 3 miles felt exceptionally grueling, add to that a very dejecting 6:52 split for mile 3 made me rethink the idea of tempo runs in the cold-pre-dawn hours without a training partner around to push me. Final 3.7 miles felt better, but didn’t provide much more in the way of snappy splits despite the elevated HR effort. Afterwards my hip flared up a bit an felt tight for the remainder of the day — back to fire-hydrants and foam rolling. .49 Mile cool down 

Wed Dec 7, 8 Miles 745′ 59m59s

Forecast called for snow, so rather than doing pre-dawn battle with the snow-plow man I chose to sleep in and hit my run after work. Naturally no snow was on the ground when I got up, but conditions after work were ideal, so I can’t really complain. First two (downhill) miles out my front door were recklessly quick — especially relative to the “8 miles EZ” written in my plan for the day. Legs felt confidently snappy making for a very enjoyable outing

Thurs Dec 8, 7 Miles 338′ 51m

Negatives workout with JP. JP has been espousing his regular negative split workouts running from 8-830 pace down to a final all-out mile, so I finally got myself together and joined him for a 7 mile version. Mentally the need to consistently best your previous mile makes for an interesting workout from a pacing/effort calculation point of view, and the constant acceleration facilitates a sort of fatigue that for now feels more than a little unique. Splits were 8:29, 7:55, 7:27, 7:06, 6:54, 6:40, and 6:19.

1 Mile cool down (9m9s 39′) followed by 5 Mile Social run (44m43s 337′)

Fri Dec 9, 2.3 Miles, 259′ 19m56s 

Easy neighborhood shakeout. Generally fatigued throughout the day and wanted to take the chance to recover a bit before Saturday’s inevitable sufferfest.

Sat Dec 10, Warmup — 2.3 Miles, 180′ 18m3s, Workout — 13.1 Miles 1h27m33s

Typical Chatham loop Saturday course with Jay and Jeff. With Jay and I just starting our training blocks, and Jeff in between a PR and planning his next races no one was checking their watches until we hit mile five or six. Surprisingly we were only a few seconds faster than our agreed upon pace of “45-ish” although I still can’t seem to wrap my head around how much easier tempo runs seem to get after the first few miles. We finished the workout alternating 400m pace line pulls dropping the group down to a 5:59 final mile, and according to my watch, the last 10th got to 5:47 pace.

Sun Dec 11, 11 Miles 1578′ 1h52m1s Allamuchy TH>Overlook>White>Waving Willy>SBX>Cement Mixer>TH with Pack and Eric

Woke up feeling pretty stiff/fatigued from Saturday’s effort as well as ravenously hungry, with some disconcerted swelling in my necks lymph nodes. Overall effort was pretty relaxed on the mountain, and considering the vert over the course I’m actually quite pleased that low 10’s are possible with an avg HR of 135. Great day to get out with some friends and hit up some always stellar trails.

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Eric at the Overlook
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Pack’s first Allamuchy Ramble
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Mmm, Mate

 

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Gunks Fat-Ass Fallback 50K

The Shawangunk ridge, known as Kittatinny Mountain (or Kittatinny Ridge) in New Jersey, and Blue Mountain in Pennsylvania is the continuation of the long easternmost ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Gunks as they are locally known extend from the NY/NJ border to the Catskill mountains, and are arguably best known as a climbing destination.

While arguably find-able on the internet there is a fast-growing fat-ass running community led by Mike Cat Skill* (This is not Mike’s actual surname).Those of us lucky enough to know Mike are aware that he spends countless hours doing trail work, runs and scrambles like a certified boss, and then in his spare time comes up with courses in his backyard to satisfy whatever distance he’s currently dreaming of, then posts them online and persuades people to run them on the same day.

On Nov 19, Mike laid the groundwork for the Fallback 50K, a nearly perfect (distance-wise) point to point run through the Gunks that hit all of the iconic landmarks, several scrambles, and a fair mix of single track and carriage road. Our group of 9 managed to stay together for the entire day, hitting 31 miles with 4488′ of gain several scrambling routes, one minor medical emergency (that we came upon, not within our group) in a casual 6h41m. Here are the photos

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Len braves the early morning cold
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Scott getting ready
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Jayson Stretches off the drive
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Can’t begin without coffee

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Scott finishes our first scramble
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Seems like a reasonable place to hang
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Guiseppe has the reverse
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Mike was grinning the whole day as he admired his handiwork
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Happy James
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Laura Drops the downhill
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Final Crossing

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Summary, Aug 29 – Sept 4

Monday Aug 29, 6 Miles, 404′ 53:57

Exhausted post-work grind on a usual neighborhood loop. Sunday’s Marathon Pace Tempo really did a number on my system, leaving me basically useless for the remainder of the day,  and even running easy on Monday it was still obvious that my body hadn’t had the proper time to sort itself back out.

Tuesday Aug 30, 6.1 Miles, 459′ 48:37

Feeling a lot more spry today. May have been the early morning start (as they’re usually my best efforts) or more likely the increased recovery. Added an extra 10th of pure running to make it back to a meeting on time (rather than walking it in as a cool-down).

PM 4 Miles, 312′ 31:59

Kittatinny State Park with Steve, Stat and Zack from the Salt Shakers group. Tried to keep things as non-aggressive as possible due to the moderate amount of funk still hanging out in my legs This led to the group slowly pulling away from me during the last mile as I tried to keep my HR under 150.

Wednesday Aug 31, 1.5 Miles 138’14:21

Early morning Shakeout — Legs have been feeling crappy all week, combined with actually having to commute into the office led to a particularly short day.

Thursday Sept 1, 8 Miles 768′ 1h7m

Ascending HR run, still trying to stay under 155 (151 avg HR). Utilized the downhills for HR recovery which kept the average pretty low, but the final climb into my apartment is so steep that without actually hammering the last 1/2 mile it will inevitably sink the average pace for the day.

PM 10 Miles, 734′ 1h19m

Double BSL with Mark then Dave. Last few miles felt unusually good, and was one of the fleeting moments where I entered the space wherein time stops, and nothing matters but the rhythm of your breath, feet and heart.

Friday Sept 2, 1.5 Miles, 148′ 13:50

Another light shakeout.

Saturday Sept 3, 18.2 Miles, 1480′ 2h34m

Scouting run with Steve and Zach through Allamuchy and Kittatinny. First time I’ve ever run my usual Allamuchy trails in reverse as we were scouting to determine the viability of a course I’ve dreamt up. Overall the legs felt good, and even found the opportunity to slide back into the flow state for the final 5 or 6 miles, which is unusual.. typically if I get there once a week that’s a great week, but this week I’ve found myself entirely lost within my run twice, and frankly couldn’t be happier about it.

1.8 Miles — cool down 16:52

Drop the bottle, lose the shirt, kick-start the ultra-shuffle.

Sunday Sept 4, 10 Miles 302′ 1h35m

Total jog/slogfest. Nothing particular was bad, but absolutely nothing in my body was feeling good either. Lack of sleep and general malaise.

 

Totals:67.6 Miles, 4787’9h36m

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Have truck, will chill
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Steve and Zack Apres
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El Nido is all set for the runbum life
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Who’s got some Heady Topper!?
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Allamuchy Obligatory

Summary Oct 19-25

Sunday Oct 19, 2.3 Miles, 249′ 19m15s

Standard neighborhood shakeout type run, Monday’s are typically a hectic workday, which seems to gel pretty well for my lightest planned running day for the week.

Tuesday Oct 20, 9.7 Miles 315′ 1h3m

Started at Jay’s house, and “jogged” (~7:30pace) The 1.7 miles to Emman’s Road, our standardized tempo-stomping ground. We both stopped the watch to reset the metrics and crank out 8 miles @6:20 pace with a slight negative split in the last 3k. Generally it’s been feeling pretty good to open up my legs and see what they can do on a flat road course, although admittedly the sensation of a consistent grinding tempo run is still a little bit foreign to me.

Wed Oct 21, 9 Miles 466′ 1h9m

Left my apartment to drive the 2 miles into Flanders mostly to avoid running on bad roads during rush hour, although eliminating the ~250′ climb from the main road back up to my apartment was a nice bonus. Should have brought my camera with me, as the sunset on the ridge overlooking town was spectacular, I need to make a mental note that when running during golden hour it doesn’t matter if I’m on the roads, I should be bringing a camera… Overall the legs felt pretty solid after Tuesday’s tempo effort, even if they were a little bit heavy.

Thurs Oct 22, 4.5 Miles 571′ 40m3s

Standard HH 3.5 mile route with 5x repeats on the first half of the first hill. Coached Donde through my typical hill-repeat routine, which is primarily a strength building exercise with each repeat ending at LT effort, and a super-easy recovery jog back down the hill.

PM Run #2, 5 Miles, 413′ 40m15s

Standardized broken-shin loop with Smitty, relatively uneven pace as the legs wanted to go a bit harder than I had planned, forcing me to put the brakes on every mile, mile and a half to keep things from getting out of hand.

Fri Oct 23, 4 Miles, 741′ 39m58s

Easy Allamuchy loop with an overlook tag. The weather was just simply too stunning to keep myself relegated to the roads for another day. Unfortunately trail runs don’t seem to have a solid way to fit into my marathon training, and I’ve definitely been missing the mountains.

Sat Oct 24, 15 Miles, 456′ 1h50m

An overnight update of my iOs seemed to deactivate my alarm causing me to midd my scheduled run with Jay and Jeff, so in lieu of training partners I decided to throw in another workout. 3 Miles warmup in the 7:30 range followed by 10 miles under 7, and a 2 mile shakeout/cooldown. Admittedly I was a little disappointed about the splits during the 10 mile tempo, which definitely show how much pop the 8 miler and hill repeats took out of my legs.

Sunday Oct 25, 2.4 Miles, 236′ 21m56s

Super-easy shakeout run

PM HashOween 6.3 miles 558′ 2h53m

Nothing like crawling through sewer pipes, wading through rivers, getting lost in cemetery’s, and having  couple of wood-beers to wrap up your week… Dave and Gene officially lay the worst hashes every (and seem very proud of it)

Totals: 58.6 Miles, 4006′ 9h37m

Overall a pretty good week. I’ve been concentrating on working out more, and “running” less as I get tuned up for the Phila Marathon on the 22d. Coming off of MoMa I have a lot of confidence in my long-legs, and general ability to grit things out when it gets tough, but having not run a marathon since 2011 I’ve certainly been feeling a lot of internal and external pressure to put up a reasonably good time at a distance that’s so easily comparable across the field. The concept of running consistently hard splits, with nary a downhill for recovery still feels somewhat foreign to me, but looking across training logs I’ve been seeing my tempo runs get progressively faster, often with slightly lower HR’s associated as well, which keeps me optimistic that I’ll be able to deliver a solid performance come race day.

Utilizing the Standing-Desk to break up my workday
Utilizing the Standing-Desk to break up my workday
Allamuchy never fails to deliver
Allamuchy never fails to deliver
More Allamuchy, this one from a recovery hike Post MoMa (Photo Credit: Luisina Figuero Garro)
More Allamuchy, this one from a recovery hike Post MoMa (Photo Credit: Luisina Figuero Garro)

Race Report: NJ Trail Series Mountain Madness 2013

When I woke up at 4:30 AM sans alarm clock on Saturday morning I finally realized that I was actually pretty anxious/nervous to toe the line at this years Mountain Madness 50K. MoMa has a reputation as being one of the tougher 50k’s in the Northeast, which is definitely represented in it’s 4h39m course record (held by Mike Dixon) which, for a low-altitude race is patently indicative of how tough of a course it is. Race reports, both published in blogs as well as orally dictated to me by myriad runners of varying abilities articulated only one thing for sure: rocks. Surprisingly, peoples impression of the course ranged from calling it near-impossible, to wheelchair accessible, so obviously some of the opinions I found were outliers to say the least.Considering this, it looked to me like I should be expectant of a rocky course with a substantial (6000′) amount of climbing.

Rick McNulty provided the oral countdown leading precisely into 9AM (apparently he’s consistently punctual about start times) and we were soon rounding Shepherd Lake and heading into the woods. Within a mile or so (after hearing some runners in the chase pack yelling “too fast!” at us) the lead pack had reduced to a trio of Myself, Seth (who looks like Tarzan carrying a camelbak) and Bill Cuthbert. We headed up the initial climb at a staggeringly fast pace, and maintained what to me seemed like a relatively reckless clip through the first aid station (5.6 miles) wherein no one took any aid, and continued through several miles of the next leg until Seth and Bill gained ~200′ on me as Mike Dixon caught up, only for Bill and Seth to miss a turn (which Julian, who was taking pictures eventually reeled in and re-directed).

Mike and I dialed things back to a more manageable pace heading into AS2 wondering if Bill and Seth would go too far off course, and taking some comfort in the lead that we had developed over the chase pack (at AS1 we were “reportedly” 5 mins ahead of Mike, and the chase-pack proper was supposedly several minutes behind him at this point). I refilled my bottle, downed a cup of Coke, and a couple of cups of water, snatched a few gels, and the two of us were out of AS2 reasonably quickly. I had been expecting to see Mike on the course, and since his reputation preceded him as a dominant runner at pretty much any race up to the 50-Mile distance (as well as a solid sub-24-hour showing at the WS100 in 2012) I was glad to be able to run with him most of the way into AS3 before I started to lose the pace, giving him about a minute lead going into AS3.

Seeing Mike leaving as I came in, I tried my best to keep myself together, drink a bit, fill up my bottle, grab a couple of gels and give chase, but admittedly I was already starting to feel some stomach issues rising, primarily what seemed like an insatiable thirst, and a surprising reluctance to continue forcing down gels. The route from AS3-AS4 was an out-and back consisting primarily of fire roads with a stretch of single-track in between. Roughly 1/3 of the way to AS4, Seth caught up to me, and the two of us took full advantage of the downhill, basically running recklessly into AS4, while I was mentally coming to grips with the fact that this 3-ish mile downhill was going to turn into a 3-ish mile uphill before I knew it, and a low point was definitely coming up.

Seth came into AS4 and left without taking anything, roughly 30 second ahead of me, not feeling so great, and already noticing some of the early onsets  of dehydration (dark urine, constant thirst) I took a few moments to collect myself, grabbed a fresh bottle from Dena (who was slinging bottles for the day) socked back a few cups of water, and started my way back up the hill. The nice side of the Out-and-Back is that you can see any competition/friends, as well as how they’re doing. As I was leaving, Bill was charging into the aid station, followed by Jason, Lindsay, and David Allara, all of whom have had some rather successful races in the recent past, and from what I knew going into the race, Dixon, Hamoudi, and Allara should be the Raritan Valley triumvirate to look out for. I also had the pleasure of running into the Parakeet, as well as Robbie and Adam from the Salt crew on this stretch, and their encouragement was more than welcome to say the very least.

In spite of the obvious proximity of formidable competition, my own waxing misery was starting to get the best of me, especially with respect to the seemingly interminable climb (which, for the record was a blast to go down) so as I was getting close to AS5, Bill eeked by me a few hundred yards before the aid station. Coming into AS5, I could see Dixon and Seth heading out, and Bill refueling unbelievably quickly and hustling after them. Feeling dejected and dehydrated, I had my bottle refilled by a kindly volunteer, drank a few cups of water, and rudely informed (upon being asked) another volunteer that you could get a buff with a visor from the internet (the same place you can buy anything) before I headed back out on the trail to try and hunt my way back into podium position.

Feeling fundamentally miserable, I recognized that it’s precisely this point in any given race wherein you can really test your gumption, and after mulling over the idea of DNF-ing at the next aid station, I began to slowly, but surely start grinding my way back into the game. Fortunately, this section was (at the start) pretty steep and technical, so power-hiking no longer felt like I was surrendering to fatigue, but rather a smart game plan. I began to regain some strength and energy, finally reeling Bill back in on one of the extended declines. Little to my surprise however, on the next incline Bill quickly went out of sight (and apparently soon after took a wrong turn). Before long, I could see Shepherd Lake again, and started to pick things up headed into the aid station.

Upon retrieving my bottle, slugging back a cup or 2 of water, and ditching my singlet, I was informed that I was in 3rd place, with the leaders only 5 mins ahead of me (it turns out that this was a grossly wrong estimate of the amount of a lead that Mike had on me), so elated,I left the aid station at full-steam(and letting out a primal scream). As I was leaving, I saw Lindsay coming in, figuring that I had ~90 seconds on him, and that if I really went hard I just might catch up to the leaders, I was acutely aware that I was both hunting, and being hunted. With every squirrel that moved, or breeze that blew a tree, I was convinced that someone was catching me on the final seven mile loop headed into the finish, running scared is a wonderfully exciting, as well as stressful endeavor. In the final 7 miles there were several sections that utilized switchbacks, with my fear of being caught up to, I found myself incessantly looking back on every turn whilst trying to keep a low profile, foolishly hopeful that this might make me harder to see (it doesn’t). After just over an hour of running like my life depended on it, I came across the finish line to find myself in 2nd place, 5:15:15 elapsed, and laid down next to the finish line to take off my shoes and soak in some sun.

Bill came in 2 minutes later (5:17:16) Seth DNF’d, Lindsay came in 4th (5:24:36). Jason finished 9th in 5:45:15, Adam 20th (6:32:49) Robbie 30th (6:45:06) and the Parakeet DNF’d after reportedly taking no water for the first 6 hours.

A special thanks goes out to the following: Jeff Perry, for his incredible advice with regards to tapering, and race planning, Dena Orkin, for tossing bottles all day, and Jayson Kolb, for the race description, and the Saturday long run guys for their companionship the past few weekends out.

Taking off the shoes right after finishing (Photo Credit: Dena Orkin)
Sun-soak post-race (Photo credit: Dena Orkin)
Chewing the fat Post-Race with Dixon and company (Photo credit: Dena Orkin)

Race Report: TNF Bear Mountain 2013

As much preparation as normally goes into an ultra, sometimes you’re just not quite ready, or willing to really deal with the trials that the day is going to give you. In an endurance event, the cliche always seems to be that it’s “all mental” and a humungous portion of the challenge actually is, but sometimes in spite of how good of shape you’re in, your body can refuse to do the task too. When you combine a weaker mental day with a bad physical day, that’s when things get interesting. This was one of those days. Things started off on the wrong foot by getting to the start mere moments before the race actually kicked off (I had enough time to grab my bib, take a leak, and eat half of a clif bar) so before the gun even went off, I was already running a little bit ragged.

I ran with the lead pack through the first aid station, and feeling really solid on my feet, having a great time chatting with the top runners, and generally trying to take care of myself. 50 miles is a long day for anyone, and it didn’t seem even remotely worthwhile to start to get into any sort of pissing contest before dawn, so I gladly let myself drop to the back end of the leaders and kept pace. I continued with the pack through roughly mile 6 or 7, by which point I had fallen about 100 yards off of the lead pack as we re-entered some single-track. Foolishly, on our way into Silvermine, ~1.5 miles from the aid station, myself, and about 4 other runners missed a turn entirely… you’ve got to be fucking kidding me, right? when was the last time we saw a course marker? shit, fuck, okay, lets turn around. I figure we added at least a mile, maybe more, and lost a solid 10 or 15 places… naturally the turn we missed also caused us to gain several hundred more vertical feet over foot-crushing terrain… brilliant.

I bounced back pretty quickly however (or at least thought I did) since there’s really nothing you can do about getting lost after the fact, but it took a pretty serious toll on my overall mental state. When I got into Silvermine, I handed off my headlamp, picked up my sunglasses, and exchanged a bottle, which was followed by a helpful yell from Sean reminding me to drink more fluids…. Apparently at both aid stations I changed over a bottle, but had barely drank from either (I was at least eating the gels they stashed in the pockets for me) this would come back to bite me in the ass later.

From Silvermine to Arden Valley Road, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to recoup some of my lost positioning. I was still feeling rather spry, and really comfortable on my feet. I made up a lot of time, but I still wasn’t drinking very much, and even gels were a little tough to get down. I refilled my bottle at the aid station, grabbed  a couple of gels, and went on my way.

Leaving Arden Valley Road, I was still feeling okay, but starting to realize that I was on a pretty rough path mentally… I hadn’t really dipped into bonking yet, and wouldn’t for a while, but the trouble I was having digesting food and absorbing water were definitely not good, I’d only urinated once, and it was coming out florescent (which I attributed to the pre-race vitamins I had taken…). This was definitely the nicest section of trail on the course, giving us some 360degree views, but the exposed rock left little for the RD’s to use to mark the trail, and being gun-shy from getting lost once today, I definitely took my sweet ass time, and became increasingly frustrated at every less-than-perfectly marked deviation.

By the time I got into Lake Skannatati I had already been seriously considering dropping out. My stomach wasn’t agreeing with me, and my brain had already begun to lose it’s desire to fight, in spite of the fact that my legs still felt great. I was seriously losing the battle. Seeing my crew at the aid station gave me enough of a kick  to get moving out of the aid station (after not letting them on as to how shitty I was feeling) but within a quarter of a mile I realized that I’d gotten myself in some deep shit mentally and physically. I tried to pee again, but it was a lost cause, my stomach was sloshing, and nothing was sitting well.

I had worked a bit of a lead coming out of Skannatati relative to the guys I came into the aid station with, but in a period of mental weakness, I slowed and let them catch me simply so that I would have someone to run with. Once I left the singletrack, and hit the fireroads I was caught up to by the eventual Women’s leader (who went on to crush the women’s CR) so I latched onto her for the final 5ish miles of the trail going into the aid station.

When I picked up Gene at Camp Lanowa I was in a lot better physical shape than the previous year, my feet were fine, my legs felt good, but I was having a real problem digesting food and absorbing water. We ran rather easily out of the aid station, all the way to Tiorati, and for a brief period of time, I thought I might be able to salvage a decent performance for the day, but coming out of the aid station I started having a really sloshy stomach, and terrifically low energy levels.

Eventually we came upon some 50k and marathon runners, which gave me an opportunity to feel like I was making progress by passing other runners. After I ground my way through the low patch, I managed to leave Gene behind entirely for about 20 minutes. Gene then handed me off to Dave as I tried my hardest to drink at the aid station, choke down a gu, and throw back a redbull to try to get through the last 10 miles.

The remainder of the race was simply a matter of survival. Every time I drank, or tried to eat, it seemed like it would just sit in my stomach and slosh around, which led to side stitches, and near-vomiting on several occasions. Dave basically had to drag me through this section of the course, occasionally I’d run, especially the downhills, and generally my legs felt okay, but the gas tank was empty, and wouldn’t even begin to entertain the idea of refueling.

I eventually gutted my way across the finish-line in 9:35:38 in 24th place overall, which I really shouldn’t bitch and moan about. But racing isn’t really that different from running, just running, and even though I have very little racing experience, I’ve run… a lot… especially in the last few years, and absolutely in the last several months, and this was just a shitty day. I lost track of where/how many times I fell, but I know it was at least 4.. maybe 5, which is FAR more than my average of 1 every 350 or so miles. If it were a normal run, I would have absolutely thrown in the towel after the 20th mile, recouped for a day, and tried a true long run a couple of days afterwards, but this was a race, and there’s an expectation to finish. As far as how I’m going to change my plans from here on out? I definitely need to learn to eat more, and drink more on-the run. Scheduling a recital the day before probably took a lot more out of me mentally than I expected. On the bright side, I’m still rather confident in my fitness, and my legs have recovered remarkably well so far, especially compared to last year… so I think that if I can dial in my race-nutrition a bit better then I still have a good shot at realizing some of my ultra-goals for the year.

10 Mins after getting lost

Climbing at Mile 47

Summary Feb 11-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Totals 64.1 Miles, 11,720′ Vert

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

Trust me, it’s steeper than it looks

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

Summary Jan 14-20

Monday Jan 14 AM 4.7 Miles, 860′ :37 Local neighborhood loop with a couple of decent hills thrown in. This is usually a lame cop-out for a seven mile loop when I’m not feeling so spry.
PM 2 Miles, :16 Treadmill
Loosening up before hitting the weights for the legs. I’m beginning to recognize that the rhythm of the treadmill has some small advantages in pace-location.
PM 2, 1 Mile :9 Treadmill
“Official” shakeout mile after weights.

Tuesday Jan 15, 7 Miles 940′ :50 Slow-ish jaunt through the local roads, adding weight training is definitely having an effect on my recovery-time, as well as the general weightiness that my legs are feeling

Wed Jan 16, AM 5 Miles 1480′ 42:30 Power line trails. Trails were covered in a mix of ice, sleet, and snow, I probably should have worn spikes, but the roads accessing the trail were completely clear.
PM 2 Miles, :16 Treadmill
Typical pre-weights loosening
PM 2, 1 Mile :9
Shakeout

Thurs Jan 17, AM 3.5 Miles 1150′ :33 Power line trails, abbreviated version. Trying to get a good “recovery” pace in my legs (it turns out that I’m really awful at forcing myself to run at a sub-maximal effort)
PM 5 Miles 720′ 44:15 Broken Shin Loop at a true recovery pace. First time in quite a while that absolutely no one was looking to push the pace the slightest bit. Good recovery run.

Fri Jan 18, 6.6 Miles 4880′ 1:22 Mount Tammany repeats with Bob and Dave. I’m hoping to get out for a lot more in the way of hill-specific training (in spite of the fact that most of the courses I run are rather hilly) in an attempt to feel more comfortable on uphills, and not lose strength as quickly. Trails were icy and snowy, which in spite of using micro-spikes made a 3rd loop (when already fatigued) seem like a bad idea.

Sat Jan 19, 9.2 Miles 1400′ 1:14 Colombia Trail>Schooleys Mountain. I thought this would be a rough/slow run, and at times it certainly felt like it, but overall the pace was pretty spot-on. I still need to work out my pacing however, since I definitely was feeling a little ragged on the final 5k back to the car

Sun Jan 20, 4.7 Miles, 860′ :38 Planned to do 7, but as soon as I got out of the neighborhood, that started looking like a bad idea. My legs just weren’t having it, and in actuality, felt like they had already run 30 or 40 miles today, which certainly isn’t a good thing.

Totals: 51.7 Miles, 12,290′ 7h31m

Overall I was definitely feeling pretty well beat-up this week, which is to be expected anytime I change my mileage/workout plans as much as I have in the past several weeks. Weather permitting, I’m hoping to increase my trail-mileage, and subsequently my vertical change, but it may take some time to balance things out with the semesters beginning coinciding with these plans.

Photo: Dave Franz

Photo: Bob Skorupski

Photo: Bob Skorupski

Photo: Bob Skorupski

Photo: Bob Skorupski

Summary Dec 31 – Jan 6

Monday Dec 31, 4.5 Miles, 2400′ :53
  Fresh Powder run with Jason up and around Allamuchy TH>Summit>Far parking lot and back. Saturday brought about 3 or 4 inches of fresh snow, which gave me ample excuse to try out a new pair of MICROspikes on the hill, which probably weren’t necessary in the fresh snow, but over the course of the week because invaluable on the trough like ice-luge that the trail eventually became.

Tuesday Jan 1, AM, 3 Miles 320′ :28
New Years day run with the Highlands Hashers. Really relaxed recovery pace on local roads.
PM 2 Miles :15 Treadmill
This year I’m trying to be a lot smarter about cross-training and strength-training, especially when my mileage is low. Ideally, lifting some weights, and doing some treadmill-specific workouts (such as prolonged uphills, which are impossible to do on the east-coast…) should pay off later. This 2 mile dreadmill session was really just a warmup for a heavy leg-workout which ended up deadening my legs for the remainder of the week.

Wed Jan 2, 7 Miles, 940′ :48
Dead-leg tempo run on roads local to my house. Pretty uneventful overall, in spite of the mild lethargy and general weighty feeling that my legs had throughout.

Thurs Jan 3, AM 4.5 Miles 2400′  :48
First 2 Allamuchy summits of the year. The snow at this point has been packed down into tunnel of ice and hard packed snow, which with the aid of some MICROspikes can be a really fun run.  The snow basically fills in all of the gaps the the rocks create on the trail, making for a rather tame (technically speaking) pathway on which to run, of course, the mid-20’s temperatures that we’ve had since the snowfall seems to have turned a lot of this into patches of ice, and snow packed hard enough that without a traction assistant, you can expect to spend half of the run flat on your ass. I’m still not used to carrying an extra 1/2 pound on each foot, but it seems like I’ll get used to it.
PM 5 Miles 720′ 40:23
Broken shin loop with the Highlands Hashers.

Fri Jan 4, 8.5 Miles, 2400′ 1:26
Double summit of Allamuchy after a few miles of rail trail with Bob. Semi-scouting, but mostly checking out the area, and getting a good run in. By the last 2 miles, I felt unusually bonk-y which is kind of pathetic considering the relatively short run-time, and comparatively slow pace. I can only assume that the previous couple of days weren’t recovered well, which makes sense, considering the overall weightiness of my legs throughout the whole run. Better start the suffering now than have it show up closer to race-season.

Sat Jan 5, 6 Miles Freezing Cold Hash (no recorded time, no altimeter)
Freezing cold hash is an annual hash in Edison NJ. The link should explain it all

Sun 1 Mile 8:30
Feeling some pretty serious soreness in my left adductor, and being a little gun-shy, I decided not to push it. After the mile, everything feels fine, but it’s so early in the year/my training plans that listening to my body on these sorts of things seems like a no-brainer.
 

Totals: 41.5 Miles, 9180′ 5h55m

Definitely fewer miles than I had originally expected to do, but I’m pretty happy with the overall vertical change, as well as Wed’s dead-leg tempo. Things are very early, and I’m certainly not willing to go crazy with my mileage yet, but overall my legs feel really solid, I just need to get used to running a lot again, and figure out how to best integrate strength training into my running regimen.

NYE Allamuchy, Photo: Jason Friedman
Thursday Morning
Bob posing on Friday
Freezing Cold Hash, Photo:Dave Franz

Jason on Allamuchy, NYE