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
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Summary Feb 4-10

Monday Feb 4, 4 Miles, 350′ :28 Short run through the neighborhood before rehearsals, feeling pretty okay.

Tuesday Feb 5, 10 Miles 2960′ 1:23 Power Line trails double-loop. Usually I positive split pretty heavily on the course (mostly out of over-exuberance, and generally bad planning) but I ran the second loop faster than the first.

Wed Feb 6, 7 Miles, 940′ :47 Local roads. I’m starting to really enjoy the mile-ish incline in the second mile (I use the same road on a 10 mile course as well). Rather than taking it easy on the uphills I’m trying diligently to really crank the HR on the ups, which I think is starting to pay off.

Thurs Feb 7, AM 5 Miles, 1480′ :38 Pre-class jaunt on the power line trails, really getting this loop dialed in, and much earlier than last year.

PM 5 Miles 720′ :39 Broken Shin Loop with the guys, unintentionally turned into a pseudo-fartlek mostly because I felt like running faster, but didn’t want to be anti-social, causing me to run ahead, and then slow to snails pace until everyone caught up.

Fri Feb 8, 1 Mile :08 Went out in the snowstorm for a quick mile, feeling kind of run down, and generally tired. Thankful for the unanticipated day off from class.

Sat Feb 9, 1800′ 6.5 Miles, 1:50 Post-holing with Jason. I don’t think I’ve ever worked this hard to go this slowly. The whole effort was a heart-in-your-throat heavy breathing nearly vomit-inducing effort for nearly 2 hours straight.

Sun Feb 10, 940′ 7 Miles, :47 Another neighborhood run, feeling pretty tired/beat up from the previous day, but my legs are moving well.

Totals: 45.5 Miles, 10,990′ 

 
 

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 Oct 14-20

Sunday Oct 14, 7 Miles 220′ :58 Early morning run with Gene and Dave. Both Gene and Dave are “getting back into shape” which translates to training extremely cautiously after having some bouts with injuries. Part of their plan it seems, is to run a lot of rail trails, for while I’m more than happy to tag along, after all, they’re great company, and even when they’re “getting into shape” they’re pretty quick (trust me, even though this time doesn’t reflect speed… it also started before dawn)

Monday Oct 15, 7 Miles 410′ :49 Solid feelings through the back-roads. The sunrises over fall foliage have been great, I really should start bringing the camera on my road runs as well.

Tuesday Oct 16, 7 Miles, 410′ 46:48 Quick repeat of Mondays course, time would be near a personal best on course, but I had to make a pit stop at mile 5 or so, which required stopping the watch, and finding some leaves (fortunately it’s autumn) which functionally invalidates the time as a continuous effort. The stopwatch does however reflect total time spent running.

Wed Oct 17 AM, 4 Miles, 175′ 29:56 Feeling lazy, short run. I’m still grappling with the whole running in the morning thing, and the requirements of…. getting out of my bed.
PM 2 Miles, 16:18 Guilt miles, I couldn’t let myself get away with a light morning when my legs felt good.

Thurs Oct 18 AM 3 Miles 21:45 Light loosening up before the day starts. I’m finding that I really prefer not to leave the house for “life” until I get in something at least resembling a run.
PM 5 Miles 360′ 38:47 Highlands Hashers “Ace of Pace” night. Basically, state the finish time you expect, and then try to get as close as possible without using a watch. I finished +27 from my estimated total of 38:20. John won overall, with +7 (or was it -7) Bob got the broken clock award, being off by several minutes (although he was admittedly racing Luis, and ignoring the prediction part)

Fri Oct 19 1 Mile, 8:54 Tired/beat up/lazy/no real good excuse. I suppose since I’m not “really” training for anything I’m allowing this day to be a mulligan… plus it’s probably good to rest a bit while I have the chance.

Sat Oct 20 11.6 Miles 1500′ 1:48 Allamuchy in the late morning/early afternoon. Yea, that’s more like it. This is what running is really about for me, single-track, trees, vert, rocks, mud… Really positive on the first couple of splits, with a 15:57 ascent, 7:19 from peak to the scout parking lot, and back up to the peak in another 8:30 or so. Unfortunately, my over-zealous first hour came to wreak havoc on my energy levels on the final 5k or so, proving that I’ve lost all sense of pacing on trails. It does seem, however, that babying my right knee for the summer, especially while hitting major vert in ME, has made me incredibly more confident in my left leg, which made for some snappy and exciting descents, as well as adding to an overall cavalier attitude on the most technical portions.

Totals: 47.6 Miles, 3078′ Vert

Me Gene and Dave Sunday morning

Back in my natural state

Summary August 26 – Sept. 1

Sunday August 26
5 Miles 740′ 42:10
Trying to nail down a consistent time/effort on the Power Lines, but things keep on fluctuating well beyond what I’d prefer, both in actual elapsed time, and perceived effort. Averages seem to be in the 42:xx range, which is definitely slow for the course, but it’s still early in the recovery process.
PM 1 Mile 9:06 Barefoot It’s nice to have a proper mile course right around my neighborhood…

Monday August 27
5 Miles 740′ 42:06
Two days in a row with a really similar time… I’m starting to feel the groove again

Tuesday August 28
5 Miles 740′ 42:27
Still a slow ride through the trails, but 3 times in a row with a total diff of 20 seconds is pretty consistent by my (non-GPS wielding) book.
PM 2 Miles 100′ 14:55 Jaunt down to the park and back, feeling too soggy in the legs to really go for a run, but it was just too gorgeous out to not be running. I’m longing for the kind of fitness where I could have gone out for a couple hour run on my second trip of the day… in time… in time.

Wed Aug 29
4 Miles 700′ 39:40
Allamuchy TH-Summit in 16:42 then around the rest of the hill back to my car. It’s nice to be finally getting back on my usual stomping grounds, even if the runs are still much shorter. Hopefully in the next week or 2 I can give a test on the 11.6 mile route, and hit the downhills I’ve been missing on this truncated loop.

Thurs Aug 30
5 Miles, 360′ 38:34
Ran ahead of the pack for the first time in what feels like ages (and quite simply has been ages). Bob reeled me in on the top of the first hill, but as our usual game seems to go, we only got faster from there. I didn’t set out to run sub-8s but it’s nice to know I can. Even better is knowing that I can hang on with a little bit of friendly competition (although Bob most likely could have dropped me with relative ease at any point)

Friday Aug 31
5 Miles 740′ 43:23
Feeling rather sluggish, and battling some gnarly heartburn.

Sat Sept 1
4 Miles 700′ 40:33
Allamuchy TH>Summit around and back to the car. Feeling really awful after the first 10 minutes, dead legs, heartburn, upset stomach, really the whole works as far as shitty sensations on the run. Also it’s the first time in a LONG time I’ve seen any runners on these trails, A group of  8 or so were descending on my first sustained climb…. looked like road runners judging by the hesitation, and most of them had dogs with them. Can’t complain though, there’s only one way to get comfy on that terrain, and that’s to run it, and the more people doing so, the better for the sport.
PM 1 Mile 8:40 Barefoot

Totals: 37 Miles, 4820′ 5h21m

Still a little low on totals, but mostly out of laziness, general tiredness, and getting myself ready for the upcoming semester. Overall, my legs have been feeling really dead, but in the sort of way that I know is temporary, once my body adjusts to running consistently the recovery time should quicken up, and allow me to confidently start raising my mileage from there. Even with that in consideration, it’s encouraging to look in my log book and see several consecutive 30-something mile weeks and not have any knee pain…..

Pursuing direct lines

Spending some time in the Pine Tree State running the local mountains… I’d forgotten how much fun, and how challenging running directly up a big mountain can be. For the sake of brevity, and my (still) lack of trust in my right leg, I’ve been choosing the most direct lines to the summit, to reduce the amount of actual mileage, while still getting myself above treeline, which has amounted to pretty short trips (~45 mins) but with maximal effort throughout the entirety of the trip.

Only a few short months ago, I would be frustrated going for a run where the overwhelming majority of my time would be spent hiking. In fact, it seems that hiking, despite its inherent necessity in mountain running, (especially at the ultra-distance) hiking is often under-appreciated. The reality of the situation is that these more direct lines, while shorter in mileage, more than make up for their brevity by requiring a backbreaking effort throughout. Nothing can compare to an extended incline session with your nose to the ground, hands on your knees, and breathing heavily with every planting of the foot. Sure, it’s not a run, but it’s still the most efficient way to move quickly through the mountains.

 This past weeks worth of serious vertical abuse has helped me to successfully regain a lot of the lost trust in my right leg. In spite of the brevity of my sessions (the longest being ~1h46m) I managed to really attack some vertical gains and losses, and contrary to my expectations, my knee/ITB feel great, even after bombing down scree, leaping over boulders, and generally being reckless. Perhaps more importantly to me is the fact that I was able to consistently get above treeline almost every day this past week (I did take a day off for prudence, and one for travel). and if the sunburn on my shoulders is any indication of summertime mountain-efforts, I’m doing pretty well.

Saddleback in the fog, Photo courtesy of Snake-Girl

Wearing the ITB strap… for prudence

Summit Proper

Return from the Horn

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…

Enjoy the Mountains

No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. — Jack Kerouac

I understand that it’s unbelievably clichè to begin any posting by quoting an author, and even more trite to do so by quoting Jack Kerouac, but he makes a very valid point in this quip from Lonesome Traveler. Kerouac is emphasizing the grand importance of not only self-reliance, but the joy of the wilderness, and this was in 1960. If Kerouac had to emphasize the importance of the outdoors then, well before iPads, iPhones, Wireless internet, HDTV, Xbox, and the litany of other technological distractions we’re privy to in the current generation, how are we to encourage the importance of life outside?

Next weekend I’m attending the Outdoor Nation summit in NYC, courtesy of Merrell, who have chosen me to be among a small handful of delegates attending these summits across the nation. So myself, annd approximately 70 other 20-somethings will find ourselves camping in Central Park, getting to know each other, and brainstorming. Fundamentally, the purpose of these regional summits is to gather young people to generate ideas and projects to encourage our peers to spend more time in the outdoors, reaping the benefits of the woods and mountains, and helping to preserve what is left of our great unadulterated forests.

John Muir once said “Climb the mountains and enjoy their good tidings.” In going outside, and participating in true outdoor distraction-free travel, we can as individuals, discover our strengths, our weaknesses, and more importantly, come closer to the realization of what it truly means to be human.  About a year ago, I decided to backpack through the White Mountains, into the Mahoosuc’s via the Appalachian trail. Compared to the folks who hike the entirety of the footpath, this was a miniscule trip, but by dumb luck, I found myself placed inside of the “bubble” where the Northbound Hikers (who typically start in Georgia in March) and the Southbound Hikers (who start in Maine in June) cross paths. This, by default gave me the opportunity to converse with a wide variety of hikers, all there for their own personal reasons. While the hikers were as individual as could be, they all had a handful of things in common: their love of the woods/mountains, a huge amount of pure guts, and that joie de vivre that you can only get by spending the vast majority of your time outside.

In running, I’ve found similar traits to be prevalent. Trail runners, when they come across each other on trail, seem to always acknowledge each others presence, often stopping to chat for a bit (something I’ve never experienced on the pavement…) and moreso, even within a race, the sense of comraderie is a huge contributing factor to the overall vibe. Outdoor people seem to all know that we’re part of some sort of club, while our activities may vary, the intention is the same, a pursuit of peace, both inner and outer, and the overwhelming desire to embrace our humanity by submitting to nature.

“In every walk in nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” (John Muir) So go out, run, walk, hike, kayak, climb, do whatever you can to get yourself outside, and reap the benefits, they’re free, and will always give you more than you’re seeking. In fact, do one better, and take a friend with you, preferably someone who’s unfamiliar with whatever activity you chose, be it hiking, running, kayaking, or climbing, they’ll thank you for it.

Take a Buddy!

First day back on the hill in 6 weeks…