End of the year

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

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

Rails to trails before the mountain

Base of Mountain… Sunrise

Fog over Long Valley

Rocks can make good tripods..

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

Summary 12/4-12/10

Sunday 12/4 4.1 Miles through local neighborhoods 32:47

Monday 12/5 1 Mile barefoot 10:07

Tuesday 12/6 7.1 miles on local roads with an emphasis on hills. I tried to run this quickly in an attempt to jump start my fitness so that I can return to the local trails with some hill climbing strength, and without my breathing being too labored. total time: 51:19

Wednesday 12/7 1 mile through sleet/freezing rain (shorts were a bad idea) 7:29

Thursday 12/8 Broken shin loop, 5 miles 44:29

Friday 12/9 1 mile 8:29

Saturday 12/10 FINALLY my foot feels almost normal, for weeks, it had taken several steps after waking up for the tightness to go away, and even then, there would be a bit of lingering discomfort, but today, it feels like a regular foot again. 10.62 miles to, and around Schooley’s Mountain. This is one of my favorite trail systems to run, mostly because of its proximity to my house, and despite the fact that it’s roughly 2.8 miles of FLAT to and from the mountain, the trails on the actual mountain are rather unforgiving, requiring very steep ascent/descents, and very technical terrain. This run is by nature slow (my record on the course is somewhere in the high 1:4x:xx range, with an average run taking just shy of 2 hours. Saturdays time was 2:03:56, my longest run (time-wise) in weeks, perhaps a month.

Total: 29.4 miles 4h 39m

So I’m not quite “back” yet, but things are getting better, I spent some time with Mr. Foamy today after a short 4 mile trail run with Brian, and my foot is still a little tender, but runnable. I’ll probably stick with a lot of road running in the next few weeks, working on bio-mechanical efficiency, and trying to get my leg and cardiovascular strength up a few notches so that my more ambitious trail runs take less of a toll on me physically, especially with regard to my energy levels later in the day.

MT 101’s ~260 miles

Ghetto Heel Drop (a la Krupicka?)

Some typical NJ trail

Allamuchy Sun 12/11 Photo courtesy of Brian James

More NJ trail… before my feet went through it
Ice and mud covered feet

When I got to the car, my shoelaces were frozen tied… So enter the shoe dryer

Summary 11/12-19

This past week has been the least productive of the year as far as running is concerned, logging a Whopping 7.3 miles for a little over 1 hour of total running time (3.2 and 4.1, 26:44 and 34:25 respectively). My left foot has been bothering me for weeks, and this week I decided that any illusions of ultra-marathons in the next 6-8 weeks being run well is out of the question, so I figured it would be best to rest my foot, and try to let it recover so I can start feeling healthy, and get back into the shape I’ve been yearning for. Taking 5 consecutive days off was rather troublesome however, I think that after a while, you identify yourself so much by what you do, that when you’re not doing it, you begin to lose some of that association, living in the past to a sense. My foot is still not 100% but it’s runnable, and today’s 6 miler made me feel like a real runner again (and the first time I’ve gone shirtless in weeks). On the bright side, the lack of running allowed me to really hone in on my practicing, as well as do some research for upcoming job openings, one of which is in Utah… which has great mountain running, so… we’ll see!
Since there’s not much running to talk about, here’s some great music, by one of my favorite song-writers right now:

Weekly Update 11/6-12

Sunday 11/6
7.03 miles 59:20 Ran around the local hills on the road, nice to get out and see the area on foot.
AM 4.85 miles 46:23 Often when I don’t have a lot of time to run on a particular day, and want to get on trail, I’ll run the paths for the power lines local to my house. They’re surprisingly technical, covered in medium sized rocks that challenge my running technique, and the paths right by my house essentially go straight up, and down hill. I did however, take a rather hard fall tripping over an embarrassingly small obstacle, which resulted in my knee being sore for a few days, and my foot still being sore today.
PM 1 mile 10:54 slow, almost barefoot(vibram) mile to shake out the stiffness from the mornings fall
Tues 0 Knee and Foot very sore
Wed 0 Foot very sore, limping noticeably (still!)
Thurs 4.85 46:45 Ran the same power line trail as Monday, foot still feels awkward landing on technical downhills
Fri 6.2 miles 1:40
Ran to High Point with Brian mostly through Appalachian Trail, we decided beforehand to take it rather easy, and split the difference between running and hiking, particularly with regard to my sore foot, I’m not sure how much we ran, and how much we hiked (i figure 1/3 hiking 2/3 running). As a runner, we spend a lot of time training in solitude, and it’s nice to have the chance to be social again, especially since my rehearsal schedule has prevented me from our usual Thursday runs with the Highlands Hashers.
Sat 0
Came down with head cold, probably for the better to keep me off the trail, as my foot is still substantially sore, and negotiating rocks/roots isn’t the best game plan to recover.
Totals:  23.93 miles, 4:25 Looking forward to my foot healing some, and getting myself back into the 60’s 70’s/wk

Here are some photos from High Point, Brian and I both decided to wear hydration packs, a deviation from my usual “bring nothing” M.O. With the mercurial weather predicted for the day, it seemed prudent to bring a couple of extra layers, especially knowing that our pace would vary, and that it wasn’t terrain that either of us were intimately familiar with. So, while I prefer nothing more than a handheld water bottle (and boy did the sloshing of the bladder annoy me) sometimes, bringing more is the best plan

Summary 9/25-10/16

Okay, loooong mileage summary here, hoping to get more scheduled with this soon, but for now, a brief listing will have to do.
9/25 AM 1 mile, barefoot, 9:47
9/26 AM 10 miles, Mt Allamuchy 1:34:10 (PR)
9/27 AM 10 miles, Mt Allamuchy 1:52:42 (recover run)
9/28 PM 1 mile, 9:50 (barefoot)
9/29 PM 20.2 miles 2:44:39
9/30 PM 1 mile, 9:42 (barefoot)
10/1 PM 1 mile 8:23
10/2 PM 1 mile 10:23
10/3 PM 1.31 13:06
10/4 PM 1 9:57
10/5 PM 1 9:13
10/6 PM 5 44:07
10/7 AM 9.66, Mt. Allamuchy 1:57
10/8 PM 1 8:29
10/9 PM 1 9:43
10/11 PM 1 9:08
10/13 PM 5 38:48
10/15 AM 1 8:29
10/16 AM 26.2 3:27:16(Atlantic City Marathon race report soon)
This fundamentally covers my last long run, and major taper going into the AC marathon, in the final week leading up to the marathon, a few super-long music days caused me to inadvertently break my streak, which is a little upsetting, but I’m okay with it, I’ve been running strong since May, without any major injuries, and very much looking forward to some upcoming autumnal runs through the mountains, especially once this lingering soreness from the race disappears, and I can resume my rhythm of a summit tag a day.

Also, all of the single miles mentioned above are done barefoot, in the literal sense, typically slowly for recovery, or form-work.

Miles to go before I sleep

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

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