We are 100 days into 2014 and running is going pretty well for me. I had some decent snowshoe results this winter, including a 12th place at Nationals. I am certainly not in the same shape that I was in the winters of 2010-2012, but I put in a lot of hard training knowing that I may have to wait until June to see the rewards. Through the first 100 days I have run 577 miles for a total of 102 hours. That works out to 5.77 miles/day and 61 minutes/day. Not a lot by most standards, but I have also amassed 221,000 ft. of vertical gain, for an average of 2210 ft. of climbing per day. That's the equivalent of running up the auto road 47 times this year. I have missed 11 days of running, but 1 of those days I did XC ski up and down a 4500 ft. mountain for 4 hours. I have spent a lot of time on the treadmill just logging miles at 12% grade or higher. It has been good to get a lot of climbing in without having to run back downhill. I have been throwing in some low key tempo, fartlek and progression runs to break up the monotony and to work on my aerobic base. I have managed to lose 7 lbs since Christmas, but I still have at least another 5 lbs. to go. I plan of continuing to log some big climbing weeks through the end of April, then I'll cut back on the climbing volume once the USATF-NE Mountain Running Series starts. Looking forward to racing in the mountains this spring!
Jess and Colin spectating at Snowshoe Nationals. Photo by Scott Mason
A new year dawns and so has my motivation to train and race. After a terrible fall of training and racing, I pretty much shut it down for the month of November to try to recover physically and mentally. I had a good, consistent summer of training and some improving race performances, but that all went to shit when I got back from my running vacation in Colorado. I felt great running 93 miles in the 5 days I was there, but felt like death once I got back to sea level. This has happened the last 2 times I have been to altitude. I have no regrets running that much while I was there, but it is something I will have to think about in the future.
I told myself years ago that if I ever have kids I will probably cut back on the volume of my training (by necessity) and try to include more quality. With the arrival of Colin at the end of November, I realized that I would need to work on my time management skills to be a good father, husband, co-worker and still chase my running dreams. I've been getting a lot of feedback about running once you have kids. Some of it is encouraging and some of it is depressing. I truly believe that you are still the same person once you become a parent, the same person with dreams, goals and aspirations. It's how you juggle your responsibilities that determines your success. I have no delusions that parenting will be easy and that I can just take off for a run anytime I want. I want to spend time with my family and be a good father to my son, but I still want to chase my dreams while I'm physically able to.
Since Colin was born I have had a renewed motivation to run when I can and my time management has gotten better. I got a 3 month membership to the Cranmore Family Fitness Center, where I have been running on my lunch breaks. I am limited to about an hour of running in order to get there, change, run, shower, and get back to the office. I've been doing a ton of climbing each day, alternating between some tempo climbing workouts and easy climbing days. When I have time to get outside, I've been doing some snowshoe running, with a lot of trail breaking so far this winter. I have upped the tempo on my easy runs a bit without going too fast.
Treadmill running isn't terribly exciting, but right now I'm more interested in getting some quality training in than having an adventure and exploring on each run. It has been nice getting my run in at lunch and breaking up my work day, then being able to go right home after work and hang out with Jess and Colin.
I'm hoping to do some snowshoe racing as time and energy permits, with a focus towards Snowshoe Nationals in Vermont on March 1. After that I'm looking forward to some mountain races, especially Mt. Washington (as usual) and the Loon Mountain Race, which is this year's USATF National Mountain Running Championships and the sole qualifier for the US Mountain Running Team.
I may be old and washed up. Maybe my best times are behind me. I weigh 147 lbs right now and my best race weight is around 130. These are all good reasons to give up serious training and start backcountry skiing as my exercise. I think it's too early for that though. I want to push myself to my limits, run some fast times, hopefully win some races and take some scalps in the process.
When I first put this post together, I was going to lament about crappy racing, the flu, DNF's and some broken win streaks. Instead, I had a great year filled with some great snowshoeing, fun races, mountain runs, a great Colorado vacation, car racing, and a new baby. My racing wasn't where I wanted it to be, but much like the Red Sox, there's always next year.
Snowshoe run up Mt. Potash with Jim Johnson on New Year's Day
Awesome winter Presi Traverse with Coby Jacobus in January
2nd place and a broken winning streak at the Sandwich Sidehiller snowshoe race