Sunday, December 6, 2009

Building a foundation in the mountains

Me on the summit of Mt. Jackson
A busy week of work and running, more work than running, but not bad. I managed a whole 29 miles this week, but the motivation to want to train is starting to come back. Maybe the post by DoubleJ about Mt. Washington being the lone mountain qualifier had something to do with it.

Yesterday I had an intersting run in the Southern Presidentials. I was hoping that there would be enough snow above treeline to get in some good snowshoeing, but it was a mixed bag. The weather was great, but the trails changed from rock, to streams, to snow, to ice and back to rock. I went prepared with my Dion snowshoes and Khatoolas. I ended up using both. I was able to make it to the summit of Jackson, the 46th of 48 Four Thousand Footers I've run up, in 54:57. I put on the snowshoes for the section between Jackson and Pierce and hit the summit in 1:52:14. Next I headed to Eisenhower where I used the Khatoolas above treeline along the Crawford Path. A lot of people were out taking advantage of the nice weather. I summited Eisenhower in 2:33:52. The trip down the Crawford Path back to the Highland Center was pretty uneventful, except for catching a spike a few times on bare rocks as I was getting tired on the downhill. I covered the +/-11 miles in 3:51:08. Not an impressive pace, but I felt like I was working the whole time.

Today I got out for a nice 6.2 mile, 65 minute run in the singletrack along the base of the Green Hills. There was a couple of inches of snow, but nothing to make the going too slick. During this run I thought a lot about what I'll need to do this winter to be ready for Snowshoe Nationals, and ultimately Mt. Washington. This week my main goal is to get a run in everyday and get in another long mountain run next weekend. I need a place to start and then I need to build from there.

View of Eisenhower, Monroe and Washington from Pierce

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekend Warrior

Once again another week has gone by, and the totals aren't pretty, but I had a great weekend. Saturday I headed up to Crawford Notch to check out the 6-10 inches of new snow that they got Friday night. I couldn't find a plowed out trailhead anywhere so I parked at the AMC Highland Center and broke trail on the 0.7 mile Around the Lake Loop. It was fun to get on the snowshoes again. I looped the lake 3-4 times (lost count) plus added on the Red Bench Trail for a 40 minute +/-4 mile run. On the ride home I found muscles that I haven't used in a while!

Jess braving the elements at Bretton Woods on Saturday

In the afternoon Jess and I headed up to ski the Bretton Woods golf course. They had 4k of groomed terrain that we were more than happy to sample. We spent about an hour classic skiing, then I helped Jess on some technique on her new skate skis. I'm looking forward to winter. Jess seems to like skate skiing so far, and I bought our seasons passes to Jackson XC, so it better be a good snow year.

View of Mt. Washington from Black Cap

Today I headed up to the Green Hills Preserve right here in North Conway. Part of my training plan is to get in a long mountain run every week, so I started my run by heading up the Red Tail Trail to the summit of 2,369ft. Black Cap. The trail climbs about 1,700 ft. in 3.4 miles. It's great windy singletrack most of the way to the summit. It is the hidden gem of the valley. From there I headed down the Mason Brook snowmobile trail towards the summit of Peaked Mt (1,793 ft.). I hadn't been on this mountain since 2004 or 2005. Wow, I forgot how great the views are from there. After heading down Peaked I made my way over to Middle Mountain (1,857 ft.), the last summit on my journey. I've been on Middle once, many moons ago. I found another great view with some more great trails. This was the halfway point. From here I headed back across the ridge skipping the summits and headed back down the Red Tail. The whole trip was around 15 miles in 3:04:36. The elevation gain was around 4,500 ft despite the fact that I never topped out over 2,400 feet. Kind of like 7Sisters!

Nice rockwork on the Red Tail Trail

Weeekly totals: 27 miles, 6.5 hours

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

View of Franconia Ridge from North Kinsman

I've had a lot of time in the last couple of weeks to think about my life and running and how they're intertwined. I've spent the last 12+ years as a runner, and it has consumed a good amount of my effort and time. Running has given me so much over the years and made me a better person. It has had it's ups and downs, but its always been something I've come back to as it is something that I truly enjoy doing. At times I have taken my running too seriously, to the point that when races haven't gone the way I had hoped, I completely shut down. My motivation to train goes into the toilet and so does my motivation to do just about anything else. When you expend so much time and effort on a goal and you don't meet it, it can really drag you down.

I've had a hard time getting the motivation back since running the Bay State Marathon, but it hasn't been all bad. I've been able to focus on all the other great things I have in my life like my wife, my family, working on our condo and moving along with a career that I really enjoy. I live and work in a beautiful area and get to experience it on a daily basis. I'm a pretty lucky dude.

The motivation will come back. I'm not going to force it. Running and competing are not always easy, but when you're having fun it makes running in the dark before work or snowshoeing through four foot snow drifts on the side of a mountain a lot easier. It will come back, it always does.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Head in the Clouds

Me doing my best sketchball impression on Mt. Cabot

M- 0 adjusting to working outside again

Tu- 0

W- 0

Th- AM: 6.0 Wal-Mart / Corridor 19 50:49, felt ok, ran easy w/ Paul

PM: 4.0 Settlers Green 39:09 ran easy w/ Roger, 5x80m easy strides after

F- 6.0 Wal-Mart / Corridor 19 49:11, felt better than yesterday, ran easy w/ Paul

Sa- Mt. Cabot, the Bulge and the Horn, 12.0 miles 2650 ft gain, 2:33:14. Nice run, got out before the heavy rain. No views but nice trails.

Su- Bloody Arm Loop +/-7 1:02:14 Muddy, ran easy

Total: 35.0 miles. Another not-so-spectacular week, but at this time of the year my goal is just to get some runs in and not get fat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wake Me Up When November Ends

M- 8.75 Stark Rd. Loop, 1:00:16 (6:53 pace), felt good, ran easy, 28 degrees out in the AM

Tu- 8.0 easy on Hurricane Mt. Rd., 1:11:14, 1.8 mile climb, then down 2.2 miles down to Chatham, then turn around and go back over the pass. 1,000 ft of gain up each side. I usually run this workout harder the closer I get to Mt. Washington. Ran easy this week and averaged 9:07 pace on the ups.

W- 0 left knee sore, may have whacked it with a brush ax handle last week and aggravated it with the downhill last night.

Th- 3.6 on the roads w/ Roger 35:44. Ran easy, still feel knee but it doesn't hurt.

F- 0 didn't get out of bed before work and spent the afternoon driving to Norwood,MA.

Sa- +/-4.0 on the roads of Norwood 29:59, felt good, but ate too much before the run.

Su- New England Cross Country Championships, Franklin Park. 34:41, 65th/103. Doesn't get more pathetic than that. This was a race I should have never done, considering I ran a marathon 3 weeks ago. I was hoping to help the team and have some fun, but I managed to do neither. CMS had a strong contingent and placed 4th out of the New England teams. I came through the mile in 5:08 then settled into marathon pace. Now only if I could trade that 10k time with the last 10k at Bay State...

Totals: 33.0 miles Not a great week, but not too bad. Just trying to come back after the marathon. November is my least favorite month of the year. No daylight after work, trails covered in leaves, no snow to ski on. I could do without this wretched time of year. I'm not going to worry too much about hitting workouts and getting the mileage high right now. Just get in some nice easy climbs, get used to running before work, and wait for snow. This time of year is usually busy for me at work too, so I'll need to focus on that until the snow flies.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Moving Forward and Looking Ahead

Me leading the 2006 MWRR. I might have gone out a little too hard.

I was planning on sitting down and writing a blog on my Bay State Marathon experience, but I just don't have the motivation to do so. It's not that it's not worth writing about, more that I'm looking forward to the upcoming months of training. My 2:41:32 at Bay State was a 10+ minute PR, but still 11+ minutes short of what I was shooting for. I felt great up until 15 miles, and still thought I could salvage a decent time up through 19 miles, but the wheels fell off there. Not enough pavement running in training for me.

I took the last 2 weeks easy, just doing some easy running 3 days each week. Time to start building towards Mt. Washington though. I spent the last year working on my general fitness, trying to get back to where I was 3-4 years ago on the roads and trails. I think I'm getting there, just not 100% yet. The next 7 months will be spent working on what it's going to take to run fast at Mt. Washington, lots of mountain running. When I ran my best times at Mt. W in 05 and 06 I was training in the mountains a ton. I kind of got away from that, thinking that I needed to be able to run a fast 10k to stay with the competition. I'm not going to be running 30 flat 10k's or 14 low 5k's any time soon. Mountain running is my strength. How the hell else was I able to run a sub 1:04 at Washington? I know some think that was a fluke, a time from long ago on a perfect day. My next fastest time in the race is 1:06:31. Good point, but I know it wasn't a fluke. There's more there. I managed a 1:04:41 in training solo back in 06 after coming back from the Colorado qualifier.
I'm planning on doing some snowshoe racing this winter with a goal of top 5 at the National Snowshoe Championships in Syracuse, NY in early March. I'll be doing a handful of races in NH and MA to get ready for it. Looking forward to some good competition.

My plan for the winter is as follows:

-Long run of 3-4 hours on snowshoes in the mountains. Sounds ambitious, but I've done it before off of less base.

-Short hills sprints. Works on power and efficiency. Easy workout that can be done just about anywhere.

-Some ballistic exercises. I need some pep in my step. This is one way to do it.

-Threshold run or fartlek on snowshoes. Not a ball buster run, just something to get me working up a good sweat.

-Long hill repeat workout. More than enough long groomed or plowed hills around here. 400m to 2 miles in length.

-Long hard hill climb. Run up Hurricane Mt. Rd. to Black Cap summit and Kearsarge are my favorites.

If I can do this schedule all winter I will be a beast come spring.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Almost There

On Saturday I did my next to last marathon pace workout. Originally I was supposed to do 2x4 miles @ MP with a mile in between in around 6:05. I decided to do 5 miles @ MP on the track, mile @ 6:05, then the Gary Millen 5k at Kennett instead. I ended up running 28:11 for the 8k (5:40 pace), 6:00 for the mile, 5 min break waiting for the start, then the 5k in 17:01 (5:29 pace). I was shooting for 5:45 pace for all the MP stuff, and was very suprised how easy the whole workout felt. The taper must be working. One more workout Wednesday (5k @MP), then off to the marathon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Moving In

I finally moved my blog over to Blogger after a few years at livejournal (which pretty much sucks). I hope the new look and better graphics capabilities are more enjoyable for everyone.