Outdoor Nation Recap

This past weekend, courtesy of the folks at Merrell I attended the Outdoor Nation Summit in New York. In addition to camping out in Central Park (literally creating a tent village) the 50 or so attendees (the other ON summits have ~200 people) spent the majority of the weekend learning about non-profits (as in, how to start/run one) grant money,  and creating plans to encourage young (which ON defines as ~16-28) people to get outside.

The attendee’s were broken down into 5 separate groups, based primarily on location (although my Jersey-centric group had a few locational outliers) with the intention of creating projects designed specifically to encourage people to GTFO through whatever means possible. The projects ranged from urban farming, to social-networking, databases, to literally creating space.

The project I was directly involved in should be launched in ~3 weeks, and primarily focuses on using social networking (facebook, blogger twitter etc) to incentivise people to bring their friends out. Focusing the lack of mentorship amongst outsiders, we’re hoping to motivated the experienced to share the wealth of information, using a combination of prizes, and competitions, the plan is to mobilize those of us who are regularly outdoors to take those among us who aren’t along on our adventures.  More on this later as the project fully-develops (we’re in the process of determining the official name, branding, and creating a logo before the official launch).

The most inspiring part of the summit was hands-down, the diversity. Usually when you think of the “great outdoors” in the parks and recreational sense of the word, you’re thinking of a bunch of crusty old white dudes hiking slowly through our national parks (and getting aggravated when they’re passed by a half-naked tarzan in split-shorts). But, this collection of people was as American as could be. Every demographic was well-represented, socially, economically, racially, and I think that’s arguably the most encouraging part of the whole thing. Getting out has no barriers, and with some luck, ON will succeed in their mission.

OH, and Merrell gave everyone a free pair of Mix Master 2’s!

Yoon was very excited about his free Merrell Mix Master 2’s

VERY excited


Carlos, the Jester

Brandon

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!!!

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.

Recovery

It’s no surprise that a 50 mile race would leave me pretty beat up, after all, it’s quite a long distance to run, and definitely causes a lot of physical stress along the way. While all of my scrapes and bruises are for all intents and purposes, healed (okay, most of the scrapes are still showing, but they look way better, I swear!) I’m still feeling a good amount of the latent soreness/lethargy that you would associate with a sustained effort of that magnitude. With the help of my mortal enemies, the foam roller, and the stick, things are going okay, and here’s the recap.

Sunday things were overall really tight, and while I could move around pretty well, my overall fatigue level was surprising. I managed to eek out a half a mile running…. in a blisteringly fast 6 minutes before throwing in the towel. Then I spent the rest of the day drinking beer, lying on the couch, and watching reruns of Top Gear… Who says recovery isn’t fun!?

Monday I was feeling substantially better, albeit still rather sore/tired. So for the majority of the day, I didn’t do very much, just tried to eat my weight in protein/carbs/otherwise nutritious foods and drink as much water as I could, I also ran a single mile, somewhere in the mid 9 minute zone, it was tough, but didn’t feel as hurculean as the task seemed on Sunday. Also, my feet feel fine now, which is a pretty big deal considering how awful they felt at the end of Saturday.

Tuesday I’m beginning to feel increasingly human, as opposed to the zombie-like state I’d spent the previous two days in. I managed to muster up the energy to leave the house for a bit, run a mile in the 8min-ish area, and do some solid cooking. Walking down stairs in the early morning is still a bit troublesome, but getting better.

Wed, I’m almost back, ran 3.2 miles in the 8ish minute pace range, which felt surprisingly… normal. Still some latent soreness, and no sense of strength to push any harder, but it definitely felt good to feel like a runner, instead of a lazy couch potato.

Thurs. I’m planning on running the Broken Shin Loop tonight with the guys, although expecting to go pretty slowly, and hoping that tomorrow, or the following day I’ll be able to get out on the mountain for some “real” running, and begin training again very soon for my next race(s).

Early in the race, Shiggy
First few miles
Dave Franz (behind) Pacing and Motivating
Finish Line!

Finished

NF Bear Mountain Race Report

Like almost any race that starts as early as this one did (5am) one of the initial concerns is simply getting some sleep the night before. So, after a couple of hours under the covers, Dave, Gene, Sean and I woke up grabbed some coffee, and hit the road to pickup my bib and timing chip right before the start of the race.
Start to Anthony Wayne
Crossing the line at 5am, the course went immediately into the trails, as the leading runners fell into a single file group of about 30 runners, packed in rather tightly, especially considering that the sun wasn’t rising any time soon, forcing everyone to run with headlamps. With the course trending uphill, through mostly technical trail, the initial clump began to split. The runners fundamentally sorted into 2 groups, the lead pack, and a chase pack, although getting to the first aid station the chase pack was only a few hundred yards behind. Already carrying a handheld, I didn’t do anything at the aid station other than hand over my singlet to my crew.
Anthony Wayne to  Silvermine
 Leaving the first aid station, we started heading uphill, right back on technical trail, with a good amount of single-track. This seemed to be the section where most of the initial position jockeying would happen, as runners were beginning to get a feel for what the days running would be like, as well as the sort of trails that were were going to be in store for for the remainder of the day. When I hit the aid station, I dropped off my headlamp, and exchanged my now empty handheld for a freshly filled one.
Silvermine to Arden Valley Road
Honestly, I don’t recall very much during this section, other than some moderate jockeying for position, and a couple of really sweet downhills. I’m pretty sure that it was during this section that I linked up with Ryan and Jason, with whom I’d run through mile 27. Arden Valley would be the first aid station without crew access, and as a result of it being used for both the 50 Mile and the Marathon being run that day, they were limiting GU’s to one per runner, which meant that in the large gap of time between crew sightings I would exhaust my supply of GU(note: I was carrying up to4 GU’s at a time, which was ~2 hours of food, seeing as I would consume 1 GU every 30 minutes)
Arden Valley Road to Lake Skannatati
This was a relatively uneventful section of trail, excepting my now dwindling supplies. The group that we were running with had reduced from 6 or 7 to now 3, Ryan who would eventually DNF, and Jason who would end up finishing in 8th place. When we hit the aid station we all decided to take a little more time, drink as much as we could, and try to resupply before the long stretch of trail we had coming up.
Lake Skannatati to Camp Lanowa
The longest section of trail without any aid, this was also the most challenging portion of trail. Jason Ryan and I had decided to stick together until Lake Skannatati at the very least, knowing that running as part of a group is always much better than running alone, since it relieves you of the individual pacing burden, and the comradery takes your mind off of the mounting discomforts. By the time I finally got to Camp Lanowa, I was feeling a bit tired, and my feet were getting rather beat up from the constant wetness, and dirt coming into my shoes, so knowing that from here on out, I would have a pacer, I took a few moments to refill my supplies, finally put on some socks, and pound a redbull before Gene and I took off down the trail again.
Camp Lanowa to Tiorati 
But Gene, my legs hurt! In spite of loading up at the aid station, and finally putting on socks (which felt unbelievably good) I was still lagging from the previous sections grind. Gene was brilliant in encouraging an uphill powerhike, and downhill run strategy through this leg, and pushing me just enough to keep me moving well, without pushing too hard. When we hit the aid station, Gene asked them what place I was in, which turned out to be 15th overall, so we stocked up, and hit the trail, after first being left behind by another 50 miler, putting me in 16th overall.
Tiorati to Anthony Wayne
Hey, do you think you can catch that guy? This was arguably the nicest section of trail, rolling single-track, not very rocky (finally, something without F***ing rocks!!) and after a mile or so, we began to see 50k and marathoners for the first time in the day. Everybody loves having a carrot in front of them, so seeing other runners in front of me, I started to rely on my training miles, and start running at a good clip again, enjoying the fantastic trail, and picking off runners from the other races. When we got to Anthony Wayne, Sean was waiting with new handhelds for me, and I was able to exchange Gino for Dave heading into the final 10 miles.
Anthony Wayne to Queensboro
That ain’t so bad! What’s another 10 miles, right? feeling really beat up at this point, already 10 miles beyond my longest run, the alternation between feeling awesome, and like complete and total crap was in full-swing here. Gene had been a chatterbox for his pacing duties, alternating between trying to make me laugh, and trying to piss me off, Dave’s methods of distraction weren’t too dissimilar, but with a lot more singing. When we hit the Queensboro aid station, Dave subtlely let me know that the other 50 mile runner we ran into there had previously had a ~5 minute lead on me, so we hurriedly boogied out of the aid station (running obnoxiously quickly for the first 400 or so yards) to try to get a gap going.
Queensboro to 1777
This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around. With Dave acting as a human jukebox, he soon realized that any time he broke into some talking heads, I could run faster. Although with one of the most difficult, and rocky ascent/descents all I could think about was how much my feet hurt, and how desperately I wanted to be off of this (insert a torrent of expletives and negative adjectives here) mountain. After grinding through this section, we finally made it to the last aid station.
1777-Finish
This is water. This is water. Dave kept saying this to remind me to be in the moment here, enjoy this, accept this, and for Pete’s sake, just keep running. There was less than a 5k between here and the finish line, mostly downhill, on some comparatively forgiving trail. Running the final mile as hard as I possibly could, crossing the finish line was a truly tremendous experience. 9 Hours, 3 Minutes and 35 seconds on trail, 50 miles, 7038′ of vertical gain, 7038′ of vertical loss, 15th place overall.

This was arguably one of the most challenging, and coolest experiences I’ve ever had. I really can’t thank Gene, Dave and Sean enough for their support throughout the race, as well as their pacing, and general encouragement. I figured out that I ate 16 GU’s, a couple of handfuls of pretzels, 8 S! caps, 1 Redbull, a few glasses of Mountain Dew and a lot of fluids, which worked out exceptionally well, since I didn’t “bonk” at any point, and managed to urinate with a decent amount of regularity. Now, my entire body is sore, much more so than it’s ever been, but it’s a good sore, the kind of soreness that you know you’ve truly earned.

They even let me pretend to pour pints!

  

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 8-14

Sunday April 8 5.1 Miles, 740′ 39:25 Easter Sunday, and feeling unusually sore from the previous days effort. In fact, I can’t recall being this sore after a 20-ish mile run in quite some time. Noticeably, my times have been getting faster, and I’m sure that the moderate increase in tempo has been both advantageous, and the root of my lingering soreness.

Monday April 9 10.1 Miles, 550′ 1:17 Running through the local roads. relatively typical time, perhaps a couple of minutes slower than my usual splits. Nothing particularly substantial, although I have found that running up-tempo-ish road miles in  a zero dropped shoe seems to be good for tightening up form, and working my lower legs a little more than my typical 4mm dropped trail shoes.

Tuesday April 10 5.1 Miles, 740′ 39:57 Exhausted, in fact, unreasonably exhausted. I can’t pinpoint any major change to lead to such a degree of fatigue, so, listening to my body, I took a rather light day (especially considering the lack of other commitments).

Wed April  11 2 Miles, 14:18 Wed is an extraordinarily long class day, so a quick couple of miles before I set off to campus was all I had time for.

Thurs April 12 15.2 Miles 1340′ 1:50 Tempo run on the roads with 5 miles up up-tempo trail tacked on to the end. In the front 10, I dropped 4 minutes off of my previous course PR, which is no small feat. This was also one of the first runs where I didn’t NEED to hydrate/fuel but chose to do so to practice eating on the run, and carrying a handheld. While I’m intent on maintaining my “rule” of not bringing food/water for anything that’s <2hrs (really I don't take anything unless I expect to be in at least the 2:30 or greater zone…) it was very nice to not have a dry mouth, or any drops in energy.

Fri April 13 30 Miles, 2700′ 4:06 Finally, a true “long” run. I ran mostly on the Columbia trail, with two sets of Schooley’s Mountain loops. This was the first “fully” fueled run in a very long time, although crewing from my car is much less than ideal for hydration purposes (and I’m still only consuming 1 GU per hour, at maximum, compared to 1 every 30 mins during race conditions). I did find out that the bathroom in the park was open at around the 3 hr mark, which was enough of a morale booster to keep me feeling great through the final hour. While the soreness from this run is still lingering in my legs (3 days after) I’m very pleased with the time, and general comfort level over the course, especially having run rather hard the day prior.

Sat April 14 3.2 Miles, 24:13 Total recovery run, rather happy with how my legs felt, which I can only describe as somewhere far below good, but definitely not like complete crap. Tolerable, really, not overly heavy, although going much faster than ~8 min pace was definitely not a possibility.

Totals: 70.7 Miles, 6070′ Vert, 9h11m

A week without doubles… This is really my only substantial complaint looking back at the week in review, although I did seem to have rehearsals/class until rather late most nights, which was certainly prohibitive with regard to getting myself out a second time for some shaking out. Vert was also rather low, which is of some moderate concern going into the NF 50, and with the next couple of weeks looking extraordinarily busy, I’m not expecting to be able to get onto any more serious trails between now and the race, which means I’ll have to rely on some hill repeats (groan) and a bit of strength training (double groan) to boost my confidence leading up to the race. Otherwise, I’m still riding a bit of a high from Friday’s successful 30 miler, which is an initial confirmation that my training plan has been paying off.

No pictures, so enjoy some sounds from a couple of my buddies from college.

Summary April 1-7

Sunday April 1 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ :39 Traditional power line loop. I decided early on that on my shorter runs I should be trying to run harder than I have been the past several weeks. This decision was in part to break up the monotony, but also to try to train myself to run uphill as hard as possible, accelerating my heart-rate, and then trying to recover on the downhills while picking up momentum. Fundamentally it means run fast uphill, then much faster downhill, and convince yourself that your heart isn’t going to explode.

Monday April 2 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 39:40 A little slower today, not feeling very “with it” but enjoying the downhills considerably more. There’s something very freeing about barreling down some technical trail at full speed, I think part of the thrill is knowing that the smallest misstep will result in a pretty killer faceplant…

Tuesday April 3 AM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 39:38 Pretty typical day on the trail, first split was very good, but the return up the hill felt rather arduous.
PM 5.1 Miles 740′ 36:58 ~25 seconds under my previous PR for this loop. Essentially I started out quite strong, and realized about 14 minutes in that I was over 2 mins ahead of schedule for a ~39min effort, so I tried my best to hold on, and kick in the final half mile. I’m pretty bad at keeping a mental log of what my actual PR’s are on a given course, so when I looked through the written log, I was pleasantly surprised (although I knew that if this run wasn’t a PR, it was close)

Wed April 4 AM 1 Mile 7:45 Streak keeping mile, feeling rather stiff, and tired, so the long school day seemed like a good enough excuse to lay off.

Thurs April 5 AM 11.6 Miles, 1500′ 1:38:36 Allamuchy trail run in the late morning. An astonishingly clear day, albeit a tad cold. I made it to the summit in :15 flat, which is pretty peppy, descended to the other side of the mountain in 7:16, at which point I realized that I was likely flirting with a course record here as well. Since I had taken Wed fundamentally off, it seemed like a good idea to test my legs, and plow through the remainder of the run at a quicker clip, besting my previous PR by several minutes.
PM 5 Miles 360′ 36:47 Snappy broken shin loop with the guys. Jeff and I took off pretty early in the run, and basically held onto a low 7min pace from there on out, no real kick at the end, just enjoying a steady tempo.

Fri April 6 AM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 37:23 Feeling especially spry today, not fast enough to break Tuesday’s time, but not so far off either.
PM 5.1 Miles, 740′ 37:37 Right from the start, my legs were feeling sore, heavy, and generally like complete and total crap. Continuing with the weeks theme of running hard(er) and my general training M.O. of running when I feel like crap, I wanted to see how fast I could run under these circumstances. Add in a little bit of indigestion, and some dehydration…. pretty solid.

Saturday April 7 22 Miles, 1700′ 3:05 Ran through the hills in Allamuchy for 12 miles, then met Gino at the trailhead, put on a dry shirt, switched hand-helds, and put another 10 on the Sussex trail, with the final 2 miles in the 7:15 range. Overall a pretty solid effort, albeit achy from the start.

Totals: 70.2 Miles, 8000′ Vert, 9h22m

Relatively low mileage (again) although I think the overall quality of my miles this past week was much higher than the previous two. I’ve also started experimenting with some additional fuel sources on longer efforts (in lieu of just GU) which proved very successful this morning, no low points, or energy swells. With some luck, I’ll be able to get another 10 or so days of higher volume training before I start to slowly cut back in taper, and allow my legs to recover (what do fresh legs feel like?). In spite of the low-ish accumulated miles this week, the increased speed has me at the time of writing feeling more sore than I have in quite some time, which I have to assume is going to be beneficial in the long-run (albeit uncomfortable right now).

Sometimes I need a bit of a rest…

Gino before we ran

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.