Summary Nov 20-26

Monday Nov 20, REST

Usual scheduled rest day, did some walking around, standing desk working, light stretching, and tons of foam rolling/R8 abusing.. you know, the usual crap

Tues Nov 21, 10.3 Miles, 312′ 1h15m

Very controlled effort at the rez, keeping things consistent/autopilot-ish. Threw in 4x30s fast with 2min recovery in the last 3 miles, for a little extra stimulus.

Wed Nov 22, 11.3 Miles, 476′ 1h26m

Plan was for 4 miles easy, 12x1min fast, 1 min easy, and 4 miles back, so I decided to start the run from my front door and head towards the reservoir to hit the intervals on the cushy gravel before heading back to the house. Overall I was feeling pretty soggy out the door, but perked up when it came time to put in “the work.” Return trip was plagued by some mild heartburn, and some seriously waning motivation so I basically jogged it in, slowly removing some more rubber from the bottom of my shoes

Thurs Nov 23, 11 Miles, 1493′ 1h42m

Martha dropped me off at the TH for Sanitas so that I could out and back the swoop (lion’s lair) and run back home within the prescribed daily distance. Caught a dude on his deck near Wonderland Lake blasting “Alice’s Restaurant” so I had to join in for chorus while I passed. Overall things felt really controlled/easy, and definitely warmed up the oven for some Thanksgiving consumption.

Fri Nov 24, 6 Miles, 420′ 50m

Super casual out the front door jog on the Foothills trail. Kept things deliberately easy/ controlled before driving to Crested Butte for the weekend.

Sat Nov 25, 15.3 Miles, 2014′ 2h38m

Martha found what looked like a pretty chill trail out the front door of our Crested Butte rental, so that seemed like the best idea for some higher altitude trail running. I didn’t however plan for the terrain being either ice covered, or shoe-sucking mud for the entire route, so after knotting my fists for a while I decided that it would just have to be an adventure, and that I might as well enjoy the scenery while I’ve got it. After slogging through the day (and forgetting to eat the gel I carried) i was pleasantly surprised at the overall pace — it almost looks like running!

Sun Nov 26, 12 Miles, 2264′ 2h2m

Front Door>Wonderland Lake>Goat Trail>Red Rocks>Sanitas via Swoop>East Ridge>Goat>Dog Park>Home. Threw in 4x 30s uphill striders before leaving the Sanitas Valley and cruising back home. Legs are feeling pretty solid after a big week, and even the late-run strides felt pretty reasonable.

Summary: 66 Miles, 6978′ 9h55m

Overall a good week. My legs have felt really solid through the increased distance, and intervallic work. I’d like to get a bit more vert, but that was mostly a symptom of time/location, and I’m pretty confident that next week will be ripe for some more climbing, and speed-work while keeping the volume similar.

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Looking North (Sanitas)
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Crested Butte (Pic: Martha Scheler)
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More CB (Pic: Martha Scheler)
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Summary Oct 16-22

Monday Oct 16 REST

Scheduled rest day after 2 weeks worth of business travel with a wedding sandwiched in-between. Really enjoying the new 7-3 schedule my boss requested, it has both the advantage of increased overlap with my co-workers (who are mostly on EST and GMT) and allowing me to wrap up unbelievably early. Spent the evening getting intimate with my R8 Roll Recovery, and hitting the rack early

Tuesday Oct 17, 8 Miles, 1565′ 1h16m46s

Very casual effort on the Mesa trail starting at Chautauqua and heading South. Fell into taking the uphills comfortably hard, and really relaxing on the downs. I haven’t spent much time on the Mesa trail–mainly using it as a means of accessing Green/Bear/South Boulder, so I was pleasantly surprised by the vertical gain/loss, as well as the rockier stretches.

Wed Oct 18, 10 Miles, 906′ 1h22m52s

4.1 Miles out my front door through Boulder and over towards the Centennial TH for repeats. Ran 10x30s uphill repeats from the TH enjoying the cushy gravel and views up the Canyon/over to Sanitas during recovery periods. Followed the repeats up with a casual jog back and around Wonderland lake before heading home. Perfect late afternoon sunshine over the foothills made for a nice cool-down.

Thurs Oct 19, 9.5 Miles, 1109′ 1h23m04s

MAGS! I texted El Jefe to make sure that it was okay to run Thursday’s effort up on Magnolia Road, and was pleasantly surprised when he not only green-lit the idea, but suggested hitting up Mags for anything that isn’t a slow/chill day. Headed out super-casually from the South end of the road for 4 miles, followed by another 10x30s uphill  session and a 4 mile casual run back to the truck. Some moderate heartburn ensured — note to self: spicy lunch and afternoon runs aren’t a great combo.

Fri Oct 19, 6 Miles, 480′ 47m22s

Easy-does-it front door effort on the  Foothills trail. It took the first three miles to shake the brain fog off of the work day.

Sat Oct 20, 14 Miles 3796′ 2h33m02s

NCAR>Bear Peak (8459′)>Green Mountain (8148′)>NCAR Via Mesa, Bear Canyon, and Green/Bear. Decidedly casual effort up to the top of Bear. I picked it up in the last 500 or so feet mostly because I was getting a chill from the winds. Built up some nerve headed back towards Green, where I ran into Ben, and the two of use decided to let loose back towards NCAR. Probably took the downhill a little faster than I should have (6:58, 7:53 through the switchbacks, 7:04 and 7:35 back to Mesa) but it felt too good to open up a little. Took a pretty gnarly spill about .5 miles from the mesa trail due to pure idiocy, but seem to have gotten out pretty much unscathed. Followed the run up with a proper FATurday celebration, and found myself no match for the Boulder Beer tempeh burger… I’ll try harder next time.

Sun Oct 21, 10.5 Miles, 2490′ 1h58m53s

Plan called for an “easy” 10 miles anywhere I wanted followed by 4x30s uphill strides, so I drove out to NCAR and headed up to Green Mountain via Bear Canyon>Green/Bear.  This is definitely my favorite stretch of trail in the area–a decidedly non-technical cushy stretch of single-track that averages 500’/mile (enough that you know you’re climbing, but not so steep that you can justify hiking). Ran much more conservatively than Saturday, really just soaking in the sunlight and enjoying paradise. 4x30s uphill at the end of the day was a serious junk-punch, but driving some quick turnover while run-down was still pretty fun.

Summary: 58 Miles, 10344′ 9h21m

Overall a really successful week. I’m unbelievably stoked to have some help with my training plan, and the feedback loop included within. While I’ve never had trouble getting the motivation to step out the front door, there’s a different degree of accountability driven by having a coach… and that makes those end of week uphill strides that much easier to do harder to avoid. I’m really excited to see where this goes as we head into winter, and start making concrete plans for 2018.

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Hmm, the #Tonkamotel might need some winter upgrades
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I can see my house from here!
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NoBo towards Green
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Green #35 (lifetime)
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No #cleanplateclub for me today 😦
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Summit #36

Home

In my increasingly hectic life I’ve lately been longing for a truer sense of home. Not in the basic roof-over-my-head variety, but rather something more consistent, somehow more meaningful. This desire for home is why we fill our spaces with tchotchkes, hang pictures, and painstakingly debate which shade of taupe really represents us when choosing a couch. As much as I enjoy my living space, the joys brought on by accruing more stuff are ephemeral. To me, home (for the last several years at least) and its sense of belonging has always been intertwined with motion.

In the fall of 2011 I began running around Allamuchy with Gene’s guidance. The short 12 minute drive from my house made it an obvious choice for daily small adventures, as well as time crunched weekend outings. As years have passed I’ve logged hundreds, if not thousands of miles in the park. I’ve summited the overlook countless times, and waxed poetic of a special downhill section of single-track behind the lake. Despite all of this the park has for some reason always been mistakenly classified in my mind as a compromise outing… It’s the place I go when I don’t have the time or resources to travel further, yet every time I return I’m amazed by the variety of terrain, and total joyfulness associated with running its trails.

This morning as I laced up my flats I could feel the stress slowly leaving my body, from the snappy (15m) ascent to the overlook, and long descent to the creek crossings, the wrinkles in my forehead began to relax, and as each footfall gained purchase in the soft earth, I could only think of the ideal state in Lieh-Tzu. It is not a state of withdrawal, but a state of heightened perceptiveness and responsiveness in an undifferentiated world. My mind concentrated and my body relaxed, bones and flesh fused completely, I drifted with the wind East or West, like a leaf from a tree or a dry husk, and never knew whether it was the wind that rode me or I that rode the wind. This feels like home.

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Last fall on a post-race recovery hike

December 5-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Totals: 41.7 Miles 4452′ 5h20m

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Dec 21 OFF

Totals: 46.9 Miles 6499′ 7h25m

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

Sunfish Pond

Steve’s first Mt. Tammany

Somewhere on the Kittatinny Ridge

Tammany #27 on the year

Ran into Dr. Lundeen on Summit #28


Summary November 3-9

Monday November 3, PM 3 Miles 200′ 21m21s
Generally Lethargic post-work outing. Monday’s are trending towards relatively lazy runs as a result of residual running fatigue from the weekend combined with my unreasonably early wake-up call to start the work week.

Tuesday November 4, AM 10 Miles, 863′ 1h15m
I was lucky enough to be able to work from home, so I sent a text message to my friend Jay (who also works remotely) to see if he wanted to snag some midday miles. It turns out that Jay’s out-the-front-door 10 miler is a lot hillier than mine.
PM Climbing Gym 1 Hour
I recently joined the local climbing gym, and have been making an effort to drop in as often as I can. Of course with my current (lack of) climbing fitness, an hour is about as long as I can continue to climb before my arms/hands start failing.

Wed Nov 5, AM 7 Miles, 653′ 54m33s
Mid-week grind sesh. Dead legs, and generally pretty tired, It’s obviously been too long since I’ve managed to maintain any sort of day-in day-out consistency, and the 10+7 kind of got to me
PM Climbing Gym 1 Hour
Didn’t feel sore all day, so I figured back to back climbing days would be fine/fun… turns out that routes I could climb easily yesterday are near impossible today.

Thurs Nov 6, PM 8.1 Miles, 506′ 1h1m
Broken-shin and a half with Jason Dave and Jeff. Stopped the watch to collect the guys for the usual 5 miler, which made things look a little goofy on strava. Started out feeling reasonably tired, and heavy-legged, but the final five miler turned into more of a fartlek than a recovery run, or at least the perceived effort seemed like it

Fri Nov 7, 3 Miles, 157′ 21m35s
Easy day shakeout before the inevitable Saturday long-run.

Sat Nov 8, 22.7 Miles, 4623′ 4h13m
Sometime in the middle of the week I got a text from Eric asking if I’d be interested in a 20-25 mile outing at the Delaware Water Gap. Normally, considering that my longest “run” since May has been in the 15 mile range, I would decline something this foolish, but it turn out that the Auto-Correct on my phone changes “that’s probably not the best idea” into “count me in” someone needs to fix that bug in iOS 8….. We took the longer/less steep blue trail up Tammany, passed a few people running the DWG 50K before taking the fire road out behind Sunfish Pond, and finishing the day with back to back ascents on Minsi and Tammany again via the AT and Red dot trails respectively. Much to my surprise my legs felt reasonably solid all day, and my energy levels were much more consistent than I would have expected considering how long it’s been since I’ve put out any real  long efforts on the trails.

Sun Nov 9, 6.2 Miles, 823’1h
Oih, tired today. Legs felt surprisingly solid, very little residual soreness, but generally lacking strength, especially on climbs. Otherwise, I just felt well…. tired, and rounding out the 10K was all I could really muster out of myself for the morning….

Totals: 60 Miles, 7825′ 9h7m

This is the first week since April that I’ve managed to string together consistent daily mileage without re-aggravating any lingering dings or niggles. While I know that 60 miles over 7 days is still a sub-maximal effort, I’m glad to recognize that I’ve got a reasonable base right now, which will give me something to build on for the 2015 racing season. After close to 5 months of inconsistent mileage, aches, niggles, and fear of re-aggravating old injuries, the familiar indicators of training are a comfort; walking down the stairs sideways in the morning, eating as if one of your legs is hollow, or even the most banal: sleeping through the night uninterrupted. While it’s obvious to me that I have some serious work to do to get back to top shape, having some consistency right now feels like a major victory.

Tammany with Eric Photo courtesy of random Stranger-Girl
Crossing the River
Summit of Minsi. Photo courtesy of Eric Ashley
Looking West off of Tammany
Post-run recovery with some BioSkins. Photo courtesy of Eric Ashley
Sunday Allamuchy

Summary March 31 – April 6

Mon March 31, 7 Miles, 459′ 51m9s
First “real” run since coming down with an unusually aggressive stomach-virus the previous Thursday. Still feeling marginally weak, with the sensation that my stomach could only hold a few ounces of food/liquid combined without being knotted up.
PM 1 Mile, 7m30s Treadmill session after work, stomach faring substantially worse.

Tues April 1, 9.4 Miles, 3547′ 1h55m
Three anti-clockwise trips up and down Mt. Tammany. Overall a relatively consistent/substantial effort on the mountain, especially considering the havoc that the winter had wreaked on both my access to technical ascents/descents and my overall vertical gain. My stomach was still showing signs of the weekends distress, evidenced by its reluctance to take in food/water, but even with some mild bonking I’m really happy with the performance of my legs.

Wed April 2, 10.3 Miles, 1217′ 1h24m
Power-line trails in the late AM. I was wholeheartedly expecting my legs to be completely shot after Tuesday’s vertical fiasco, but other than some very generalized soreness, the whole kinetic chain was functioning properly and without complaint. I probably should have pushed a lot harder, but just wasn’t seeing the point  of it… some general mental fatigue combined with a little prudence yielded a much more compassionate pace.
PM 2.5 Miles, H20 Treadmill, 20m
Unusually grinding effort, typically I feel rather free taking advantage of the underwater treadmills at work, but today everything just felt kind of sloppy/difficult.

Thurs April 3, 14 Miles, 988′ 1h45m
Kind of a modified Broken-Shin-esque outing from Morris Ave. Ran into Dave a few miles in, and talked him into joining me for the remainder of my primary loop before meeting up with the rest of the guys for the usual 7pm jaunt. I decided to pick things up in the middle of the typical 5 miler, rounding down into the low 6:00 range for a couple of miles to generally see how my legs would respond to some up-tempo running with some substantial residual fatigue and found that in actuality, it was pretty effortless.

Fri April 4, 11 Miles, 314′ 1h26m
Generally a desultory outing, mist/rain combined with a complete lack of pop in my legs pretty much guaranteed a pretty miserable experience. I could probably justifiably blame some of the shittiness on the knowledge that Saturday was going to provide great weather, and my longest outing of the year (providing some incentive to take things lighter) but really it was just a crappy day to be outside, and a crappy day to be using my body for running.

Sat April 5, 25 Miles, 5279′ 4h33m
Dunnfield Creek>Tammany>Sunfish Pond>Dunnfield Creek>Minsi>Tammany>Dunnfield Creek>Tammany>Dunnfield Creek. Probably the most technically demanding and vertical intensive course I could imagine without putting some serious mileage on my car as well. The initial ascent, was only 28 seconds slower than my PR(18:18 as opposed to 17:50), but felt pretty awful, and generally speaking it took a solid hour before I began to really find any sense of rhythm. Once I managed to settle in, things began to flow a lot better, and even exerting maximal effort seemed not just right, but compulsory.
Sun April 6, 6 Miles, 420′ 46m35s
Shakeout, not overly sore, but generally a perfunctory effort. Suffering from some indigestion (Falafel was a bad idea) and generally feeling fatigued.

Totals: 86.2 Miles, 12,254′ 13h10m

An exceptionally productive week. Running in the mountains again I’m constantly reminded of the flow that we seek in every single outing, that perfect synergy of mind and body wherein comfort transcends the physical, and becomes a sensation of rightness, of total immersion in the activity at hand, a place where the tedious and the sublime hold equal levels of importance. Long days in the mountains are nothing if not an intense self-examination of experiencing a moment with full attention.

Summary March 25-31

Monday March 25 AM, 8 Miles 1:00 According to weather.com it was going to rain/snow this day, so I planned to suffer the treadmill with my buddy Pete (one of the few upsides of the dreadmill is that you can do so alongside friends who wouldn’t otherwise keep up). Instead, it was decent out (at least in the AM) so we were inside for nothing. Anyhow, I still think there’s validity in an even-paced effort on the suffer-machine.
PM 4 Miles, :30 Now it starts to precipitate… finishing the day off on the ‘mill again followed by some leg work with the weights.

Tues March 26 AM, 10 Miles 1:35 2500′ Ran the Wildcat Ridge Romp course with Dave. Surprisingly this isn’t too far off of the single-loop CR… and also near Dave’s PB on the course
PM 3 Miles :20 Evening shakeout, not too hard, just trying to keep the blood moving through the legs.

Wed March 27, 6 Miles 39:30 580′ End of day run.. Had to go into the city in the morning which functionally eliminated the chance for a morning run.

Thurs March 28, AM, 7 Miles 45:15 940′ Pre-class morning run through the local neighborhood roads. Didn’t expect to run particularly quickly, nor did I feel like I was exerting myself at all throughout the run. Overall pretty pleased with the outing.
PM 8 Miles 1:02 1020′ Ran into Dave as I was pulling into the lot (early) so we ran a pretty snappy 3 mile loop with a couple of intervals followed by the usual casual broken-shin-loop.

Fri March 29, 12 Miles 1:42 3000′ Allamuchy. First time back since the hash (I think) feeling remarkably solid throughout, although running conservatively. last 5k was at sub 7 pace without really trying to do so, so I guess hitting flats/roads quicker is starting to pay off as far as setting an automated easy-terrain pace. Also, took a gnarly fall around 8 miles in… more trail rash…

Sat March 30, 18 Miles 2:42 5000′ Originally meant to do more miles to make it a “real” long run, but as the mileage piled on, it became increasingly apparent that it was not the best day to be putting major stress on my legs. Fundamentally I knew that I was going to have to put on some mileage on Sunday to really reap the benefits of a higher mileage week, and if I ran much more I was unlikely to force myself out the next day. As important as I think long runs are… I think the day after, starting on shit-legs and running 10 or so miles in general misery is more important (mentally and physically)
PM 1 Mile 9:00 Easy-peasy shakeout

Sunday March 31, 11 Miles 1:27 2980′  Pseudo-recovery run-ish type thing? Okay fuck it, it wasn’t a recovery run, it wasn’t a workout either… it was mostly a day out on the trails where mile 1 felt like mile 45… hang on and hope for the best.
PM 1 Mile 9:40 Probably the only real relaxation mile of the week.

Totals: 89 Miles, 16,020′
Pretty happy with this week overall, it seems that I’m hitting some reasonably substantial vert while still maintaining some quickness under my feet. I still need some bigger miles, as well as some genuine long runs going into race season, but in spite of my comparatively low mileage on the year I’m feeling reasonably fit and continuing to surprise myself with the strength in my legs during the most tired moments.

Coming off the overlook at Alllamuchy

Testing the Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest

Power-Hike

Sometimes you just can’t run the incline

Recharge

I think for most people, the last few months of the year are always a logistical struggle. There’s the shortening daylight hours, holiday stress, obligatory beer guzzling, and for those of us in academia, the inherent stress of a semesters worth of procrastination peaking in a tremendous fury of papers to be written, tests to be taken, and TA duties to be attended to (after all, our politicians can procrastinate all they like, so seriously, could you expect any better from me?). This all combined means that I’ve either been too lazy to write, too lazy to run, ran too little to not feel like a poser writing about running, or just generally have decided that I am in fact boring and thus have nothing to write about.

That being said, in case you haven’t noticed, the blog is in a bit of an overhaul phase, and will continue to morph until I like it, sort of like Michael Jackson’s face, but way less good at producing pop music, and hopefully less likely to be the focal point of a South Park episode. Using the arbitrary restarting point of the new year, you can look forward to a few dramatic, and not-so dramatic changes. Running-wise, I’ve decided to change my “week” from a Sun-Sat week (a la calendar) to a Mon-Sun week. This comes after much deliberation regarding the separation of the weekend. Pretty much, I’ve decided that I do the majority of my long distance-running between Thurs and Sun, and I should probably keep those days within the same quantified week for logging purposes. Again, this is kind of arbitrary, but I think it’ll help me to better plan my weeks as a whole, and feel a lot less pressured to hit my “weekly” total on Saturday, then restart on Sunday, which I think led to some reckless running last year on my Friday/Saturday routes. I also plan to start counting vertical change as a “total” vertical change, rather than simply vertical gain. This should help to quantify my efforts a little more accurately (as well as make my numbers look less pathetic)

There will also be some additional cooking-oriented posts. Many of you already know that I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time (in fact, many of you have probably tried to convince me not to be over the years) and in looking at some running-related food sources I’ve concluded that recipe suggestions either are completely ridiculous, and require you living inside of a Whole Foods in order to cook, or are based on the idea that “hey, you ran today, eat some fricken cookies” neither of which are really my M.O. So with some luck, expect to see some simple, down-home vegetarian recipe’s that someone with little cooking experience and only access to the most basic grocery stores can make.

Finding the groove

Finally. It’s now been long enough since I’ve had any knee pain worth mentioning that I actually can’t remember the last time things flared up. (note: I have a short memory) I’ve managed some modest trail running (~5 miles at a time) hiked in the White Mountains (with poles/small pack) carried a full load through the Kittatinnies, gone barefootin’ barrelled down techy trails at full speed, and even got 3 (small) runs in today on a variety of terrain… and…. no pain. If I’m not actually out of the woods right now, then I can definitely hear the cars on the road.
While my running times are terrifically inconsistent right now, in the past several days I caught glimpses of the runner I was before the injury. I’m not making any promises about upcoming race plans, not at least until I can string together a couple of serious training weeks. But honestly, I don’t care, all I know is that right now, it looks like I’ll be able to actually run through August, and try to make up for some lost trail time in June/July.

Oh trails I miss you
Dirty feet and muddy legs
My shoes look too new

Little Haystack, Weather kept me from traversing the pass

Weather…
Setting up Camp
Camp

Schooley’s Mtn this morning

 

Hints of Normalcy

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

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

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

Courtesy of ON

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