Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back From the Dead

Running is supposed to be fun. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I love running all types of races. Track, cross country, trail, mountain, road, relay, snowshoe. I enjoy running different types of races at different times. Unfortunately, when I schedule some of these races I don't quite have the motivation for them that I need to do well. Case in point: this year's cross country season. I decided after Washington that I needed to switch gears a little and work on some speed and racing tactics, especially after running a couple of 10k PR's during my mountain training in the spring. I have always loved cross country, but it has always conflicted with a fall marathon or half marathon.

My summer slowly dragged along as I couldn't get motivated to get any consistent training in. I put in a few good workouts and a few good weeks of training here and there, but I just couldn't string them together. I ran the Topsfield XC race slower than last year (it was pretty windy), and dropped a stink bomb at Mayor's Cup, basically jogging in the last half mile. I knew NE's wouldn't be any better, so I decided to pull the plug.

After wallowing in self pity for a day, I started getting in some good mountain runs, because I wanted to run, not train. By the end of that week I had run 66 miles in 6 days, and climbed 12,000 ft. in 11.5 hours. The next week saw me cover 61 miles in 11.9 hours, climbing 12,250 ft. This last week I only ran 5 days but got in 50 mile s in 10.5 hours with 7900 ft. of climbing. I have really been enjoying my runs. I haven't done a workout since Mayor's Cup, but my 3 long runs have been 18.6 miles/3h 40m/3100 ft, 23.2 miles/5h 18m/5350 ft, and 19.5 miles/5h 04m /4400 ft of gain. And they have genuinely been fun.

As for the upcoming year, I have a few things planned. I don't know what exactly I'm going to put my focus into yet, but I know I want to try few new races. I may also race a little less too and focus on getting in some good quality running and not travelling so much. I made some gains in the last year and I hope to build on them. Whatever I do, it will be fun.

View of Crawford Notch from Mt. Willey

Thursday, October 21, 2010


It's 7:30PM. I'm sitting on my couch eating dinner. I haven't run yet. I have accomplished pretty much nothing today. My motivation to train has pretty much been in the shitter. I have been racing ok, but I could be racing a little better if I actually got in some solid training. I'm not in the worst shape of my life, but I know I am not anywhere near where I was this spring. I know the solution is as simple as getting out and running more and stop being such a whiny little bitch, but the day to day grind of life seems to have caught up to me. I'd like to know what happen to the days where I was willing to run up mountains at 5:30AM or do speed work around snowy parking lots in the dark. I'll stop my ranting and get some sleep so that hopefully I don't embarass myself at Mayor's Cup on Sunday.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Running with a Purpose

At the beginning of the year I said one of my goals is to do something positive with my running that would help other people. I’ve been running for 13+ years now and have got so much out of the sport. I’ve tried to give back whenever I could, whether it being volunteering at races or helping out with youth track.

My Dad passed away on July 30th of this year. He was the type of guy who would do anything for anyone. He spent much of his time volunteering at events throughout the Valley, whether it was running events, car shows, umpiring little league games or raising money for the DARE program. My Dad had a lot of energy to help people despite the fact that he had many health problems that most people didn’t know about. When my Dad was in his late 30’s he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, the same disease that you see Jerry Lewis raising money for every Labor Day weekend.

My Dad was never afraid of physical labor, and he wouldn’t let the disease slow him down. Doctors told him he would be in a wheel chair in 10 years, but that didn’t happen. My Dad may have not been the most physically fit person, but he would mow lawns or shovel driveways or move furniture if it meant feeding his family and keeping a roof over their heads.

Running is something that has given me a lot of enjoyment throughout my life, but it can be a selfish act. I often complain when my training isn’t going well or when I have a bad race. These are minor problems when you consider the fact the thousands of kids are born every year with a disease that doesn’t allow them to walk or run, let alone play sports or be a normal kid. I feel very privileged to wake up every day and go for a run or ski or hike. I was blessed to be born healthy and have the ability to see places that most people can only dream of.

Muscular Dystrophy is a disease that doctors and researchers have been trying to cure for years. They’re getting closer, but more still needs to be done. My Dad benefitted greatly over the last 20+ years from the research done by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His quality of life would not have been the same without their research and support.

My goal for the coming year is to raise awareness of this dreaded disease and help raise money for the cause. I am planning on trying to run 3,000 miles throughout the year. I ask that if you can afford to pledge a penny per mile, it will add up to a $30 donation. That’s a little over 8 miles a day. I will keep a tally of where I’m at on the side of my blog. I’m hoping that every mile that I run will help, even if it’s small.

My Dad helped a lot of people in his short life. He set a good example that I hope I can fulfill.

If you would like to make a donation follow this link to the MDA website: http://www.mda.org/home.htm

If you make a donation feel free to send me an e-mail at kltilton1@gmail.com. I’d like to keep a tally of how much we can all raise together.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Days Gone By

Just reminiscing. I've been lucky to run and race in some pretty cool places.

2004 Snowshoe Nationals in Tahoe

Leading the Open Race at the 2004 World Mountain Trophy in Italy


Finishing at the 2005 World Trophy in Wellington, New Zealand

2006 Vail Mountain Qualifier. Sucking wind at the start leading the women, but finished 2nd.

Photo from Running Times Article on 2006 World Trophy

Flattop Mt., Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

2009 Pikes Peak Ascent

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catching Up


M- 6.9 miles Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail 1:18:04, 45:57 to summit, quads and calves stiff, light rain and fog, 10x80m strides after

Tu- 4 miles in about 40 minutes at Whitaker Woods with the local crew. A little stiff from the mountain running this weekend.

W- 5.5 miles Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Hurricane Mt. Rd. 1:03:15, felt good, 43:35 to summit, rolled ankle pretty hard about a 1/4 mile down from summit. Walked it out to Hurricane Mt. Rd. and ran the last 1.8 down on the roads

Th- Tonight I jumped in to the "Kennett Challenge", a 2 mile xc race against Kennett High School, Fryeburg Academy and the local White Mountain Milers running club. Ran the 2 miles on grass xc course in 10:26 (5:06, 5:20), got smoked by Silas Eastman, a sophomore from Chatham, NH. He ran 10:07 going away. Remember that name. I raced pretty hard, but never could catch Silas. I ran 4 sec slower than last year when I had just come back from Pikes Peak and was in pretty good shape. It was a fun event (potluck dinner and dessert after!) and a hell of a workout on xc terrain. 2.5 wu, 2.0 cd. I wore my ankle brace and it seemed fine.

F- 0 long day at work

Sa- 0 didn't make it happen

Su- Got out today for a fartlek on Rob Brook Rd., a gated, gravel forest service road. Ran a 1.6 mile warm-up, then ran 33:47 of random fartlek over rolling terrain (5.4 miles), then 1.6 cd. Felt ok, certainly nothing special, but it was pretty hot.

Total: 31.5 miles I really need to work on the consistency, even if it's a mile a day. 5 days this week is better than none though. 31.5 miles on the week.


M- 0

T- 0

W- 0

Th- 0 spent last 4 days installing flooring in our condo

F- 5.0 Wal-Mart Singletrack w/ Paul and Frank 52:00 felt good, ran easy, amazed I could even walk after putting the flooring in

Sa- 27 miles Hut Traverse Attempt +/-10:30 After not running all week I decided attempting a hut traverse would be a great idea! Jim Johnson thought it was a good idea too, so we left the 19 Mile Brook Trailhead at 5:10AM and headed to Carter Notch Hut. After 50+ minutes on running over rocks in the dark and nearly breaking our ankles, we tagged the hut.
Our trip through Madison Gulf was pretty uneventful, but we were catching glimpses of the northern Presis as we climbed. We refilled our camelbaks at Madison Springs Hut and scored some free chocolate chip blondies from the hut croo (Thanks!). From there we started some running again along the Gulfside Trail. Jim's hammy was starting to bother him a little, but kept moving forward on a beautiful day.
We refueled at Lakes in the Clouds. At this point we were both a little tired, but running down the Crawford Path will rejuvenate you. We were making pretty good time until Jim took a pretty good header, skinning both knees and his hands in the process. I was seriously worried that he had broken something. After Jim dusted himself off we headed towards Mt. Pierce, the only 4,000 foot peak we would summit during the day. I was starting to bonk a little, but we took a quick break at Mizpah Springs Hut and our energy came back; for half a mile.
Once we started descending the Crawford Path, both of our quads we starting to feel the last 8 miles of downhill running. We reached Crawford Depot about 10 and a half hours after we left the 19 Mile Brook Trailhead. It was 3:30PM and we knew we still had a long day ahead of us. My lovely wife Jess met us at Crawford with food and water and was able to give us a ride back to the start once good sense came over us. Pretty fun day.


Total: 32.0 miles


M- 7.5 Bolles Preserve w/ Brown University Coach Al Bernier, 57:31 felt ok, stiff

Tu- Jim Wellinghurst Memorial "5k" 15:50 3.0 miles. 1st. Good racing, but the time was not pretty. The first mile is downhill (5:07) then turns onto a dirt road that has a slight incline. Tim Livingston and I battled up the hill. I was able to open a slight gap before the logging road section. I did have to avoid a skunk in the last mile. I wasn't the only thing that stunk that night. 2.5 wu, 2.0 cd

W- 0

Th- 0

F- 10.5 Merrimack Rivah and Andover Trails 1:14 w/ Double J, nice run, felt good, ran easy

Sa- Bridge of Flowers 10k 35:05 40th place. Not pretty. I was able to race until 4 miles, but fell apart after that. The lack of training, motivation, and lack of focus the last few weeks added up to a shit show. Not terribly surprising though after the Wellinghurst race on Tuesday. 2.5 wu, 2.5 cd

Su- 0, 2 hours of mountain biking w/ Jess on the Guinea Pond Trail

Total: 36.7 miles

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Training 7/26-8/8

M- 11.0 Sawyer River to Birch Hill to Sawyer Pond 1:43:00 felt good, nice loop, first time looping those trails together, 5x80m strides after

Tu- Whitaker Woods Fun Run 3.1 miles 17:53, felt ok, legs heavy, ran in control w/ Tim, 5:45 6:03 6:04(1.1), 1.5 wu, 2.0 cd

W- 8.0 Nanamacomuck to Rocky Gorge, dead legs 1st mile, better after, ballistic exercises after

Th- 6x1600m, 400m recovery (2:30-2:40) 5:38 5:34 5:32 5:33 5:34 5:29 felt ok, hard to find pace, little windy, not hot! 2.75 wu, 1.0 cd barefoot

F- 6.5 Rec Trail 50:19 felt ok, ran easy, 10x100m at track after (15.3-15.9, 14.6 on last one)

Sa- 3m on 3m off fartlek on Kennett XC course (flat, grass), 1.1 mile loop, 5 laps, 32:05 5.5 miles (5:50 pace) solid workout, 2.0 wu, 1.0 cd

Su- 6.0 Wal-Mart singletrack 56:10 ran easy w/ Tim and Kennett XC crew, hamstrings tight from 100s on track

Total: 59.9 miles. Pretty good week running wise, back on track and in a routine. My dad passing away definitely sent me through a loop though.

M- 0

Tu- Whitaker Woods Fun Run 3.1 miles 17:23, felt good, ran w/ Tim, 5:26 5:59 5:57(1.1), 3.0 wu, 2.0 cd

W- 2.9 Alpine Garden & Lion Head Trails, 44:56 nice run above tree line, bad planning so limited on time

Th- 0 Dad's funeral

F- 0

Sa- 12.0 Wal-Mart to E. Conway Powerline Junction (hilly snowmobile trail) 1:20:21 (6:41 pace), 9.0 tempo in 56:12 (6:14 pace), pretty good workout, struggled but gutted it out, 3.0 wu. Ran this same route this winter and spring and was slightly faster today.

Su- 19.6 Owl's Head Loop, 3:30:09, good run, quads tired last 3 miles. This run made me realize how much I love trails. Most of it was old logging railroad bed and pretty dry. Quite a wild area. Photos on Facebook:

Total: 42.60 miles. Not a great week all around, but really felt good to get back to running.

Bridge of Flowers should be interesting this weekend. Could be good or bad, but I'm willing to run it as a fitness check / rust buster.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back to Blogging

This was week 1 of 16 of my training schedule for XC season. I figured I should start blogging again as it's a good way of holding me accountable. I know it will turn all of your worlds' upside down if I start missing a bunch of days or stop blogging about it :-P.

M- 0 12 hour day at work, early and late

Tu- 3.1 mile “tempo” at Whitaker Woods, 17:30, went out a little hard in the first mile. Should have gone 4 miles, but I didn’t have it in me. No wu (back late from work), 2.0 cd

W- 3 easy on Kennett Track between lightning storms. Did ballistic exercises after

Th- 7.2 total, 21:57 for 3.65 miles (6:00 pace), fartlek on field and dirt road loop at high school, XC terrain, felt pretty good, 2.5 wu, 1.0 cd barefoot

F- 8.0 Lower Moat Brook singletrack and dirt road, felt like poop for second half, a bit warm and humid

Sa- 0 hiked up Mt. Washington w/ Jess and Laura Pelletier

Running on the Shoal Pond Trail, Pemi Wilderness

Su- 18.6 Pemi Wilderness “Rail Trail” 3:50:31, great run with Jim Johnson, Dan Verrington and Al Bernier, a little wet in spots, but a fun run. Took a pretty good digger about half way in.

Totals: 41.8 miles, 7.0 hours. Not a pretty week, but I have to start somewhere. I was happy with the fartlek. Kicking myself for not getting Saturday’s long tempo in, but I’ll be more consistent this week. I’m definitely having motivational issues, but the urge to train slowly come back with each workout.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer/Fall Schedule

This fall looks to be a good old fashioned cross country season. A couple of things I want to work on this fall are my speed and my race tactics. I'm shooting for a good race at New Englands. I was thinking of doing the Pikes Peak Ascent again in August, but I can't justify spending the money on that right now. I think it will be a good thing to focus on cross, as it was the part of running that I enjoyed the most in high school and college.

8/14 Bridge of Flowers 10k
9/12 Bradbury Brusier 12 Mile Trail Race
9/17&18 Reach the Beach Relay
10/1 Gary Millen 5K
10/10 Mtn. Epic 12 Mile Mountain/Trail Race
10/16 Topsfield XC Festival 8k
10/24 Mayor's Cup 8k
11/7 USATF-NE 10k


Friday, June 25, 2010

MWRR 2010: The Race That Never Was

DNF. Those are three letters that I never thought I would be associated with at Mt. Washington. The forecast all week called for highs in the 80's at the start and high 50's at the summit. I knew that I normally would wilt under those conditions, but I was confident in my fitness, especially after running a 10k PR the week before at Market Square Day. I tried to stay relaxed all week and not stress about the race too much. I think I did a pretty good job and slept pretty well most of the week and didn't get to pre-occupied with the concept of racing up a 6,200 foot mountain.

Race day dawned with warm, but not too humid air. I have found I can handle heat or humidity, but not both at the same time. The drier air was buoying my confidence of having a good race after 4 lackluster finishes in the last 4 years. I tried to stay hydrated before the start and stayed in the shade under the tent. The butterflies started to kick in a few minutes before the start, but not any worse than any other race. I knew I was geared up to run hard.

The start was packed as usual with an interesting mix of mountain running veterans and newbies who had never even seen the road. I lined up right behind the eventual women's winner, not overly concerned with getting out too hard, especially on a warm day. Before I knew it the canon had been fired and I was mired in a quagmire of runners who were hell bent on spriniting the first part of the race. Did I mention there were a lot of newbies? I finally worked my way up to the back of the lead pack a few hundred yards into the climb. I just tried to latch on and do as little work as possible. I noticed my heartrate was high and I was breathing pretty heavy, but I figured it was just because of the fast start.

As we ascended the moutain on the hot black top, things weren't getting any easier. The grade steepened and a few people dropped back, but I was intent of gutting it out no matter how bad I felt the first 2 miles. I knew from my spring races and workouts that it took me a good 2 miles to get into a good rythmn. A few guys started to string the pack out and passed the mile in around 6:12, with me and a few others passing the mark in 6:20. I was thinkning the split was a little quick, but not insane and I was where I needed to be to race for one of the top 6 spots.

Mile 2 is a gut wrenching mile (as if they all aren't) where you really need to bear down and just grind, especially if you plan on racing and not just finishing. I was losing a few spots in this mile, but felt the effort was where it needed to be, and I was keeping people in sight and not losing time to them as they passed me. I battled back and forth with Justin Freeman to the 2 mile mark (8:38). Seing the split got me a little worried, as I was hoping to come through about a minute faster, but I knew the heat was going to slow me down, and hopefully everyone else.

I made it to the infamous 2 mile mark, but I could tell I was starting to crack. I started losing ground to Justin as we commenced the grindind after we crossed the Appalchain Trail. My shoulders were hunching up, my stride shortened, and I started running on my toes. I really worked on using my quads more in training this year, but the heat was causing me to lose my focus. As I rolled into the 2.5 mile water stop I knew it was going to be a long day. Numerous thoughts crosseed my mind. Do I want to finish? Can I still manage a 1:05 or will I crawl across the line in a 1:09 and embarass myself once again? I took a cup of water and dumped it over my head, but I felt no relief; from the heat or the anguish of knowing that I was going to have another shitty race. I say shitty in English because it sounds more convincing than in French. At that point I spiked my water cup into the road, grumbled an expletive or two, and tried to avoid being run over by people who were mentally stronger than me on this day. I sat on the concrete headwall that overlooked a small stream which was washing away the mountain water as quickly as the heat had dried up my dreams of gaining a spot on the US mountain running team.

After a few minutes of wallowing in self-pity on the side of the road, I headed down as the masses headed up. I knew how mind-numbing it can be to run down the road in training, but it did nothing to prepare me for the mental beating I took as I walked along the edge of the travelled way with my head down and my singlet in hand, trying to hide the fact that I was potentially the first person to drop out of the race. The good intentioned questions from friends who were still pushing up the hill were appreciated, but each one hurt a little as I acknowledged there concerns.

After nearly an hour of walking and jogging, I finally made it to the base. I gathered my warm-up gear and soaked in the Peabody River before finding a spot in the shade to lay down and sulk, far away from anyone who knew me.

Nearly a week has passed since the disatser that was my race, but I'm over it, mostly. I've moved onto thinking about new challenges and focusing on the future of my running. Cross country is going to be my main focus this fall. I learned a lot about myself this spring in training and in racing. I'm convinced that Washington was an anomally. I was well prepared, in great shape, and mentally ready to run well. It just wasn't my day. This has also made me realize though how hard I need to work in order to achieve my goals. I'm not going to make the US mounain running team on a bad day. I have to have EVERYTHING come together at the right time. I don't have a 1:06 half marathon or 14:xx 5k to fall back on. My genetics and home climate don't seem to allow me to run well in the oppressive heat that others thrive in. To some this might be discouraging to have the odds stacked against them all the time. To me int's nothing new. It's all about putting one foot in front of the other, then repeat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Market Square Day 10k

Me riding shotgun just before the mile mark. Photo by Krissy Kozlosky

That went pretty well. I was hoping to break 32 coming into this race, knowing that I was rested and had been racing pretty well recently. I had run this race one other time in 2006, but managed to get of course at the 6 mile mark (in 31 flat) and recorded a DNF. At least I knew that the course was fair and had something to go off of for a race plan.

I knew that I hadn't touched on anything faster than 5 minute pace most of the spring, so I was planning on going out as hard as I could without getting into too deep of a hole. The lead pack went out at 4:50-4:52 pace and I was off the back immediately in around 8th place. I was a little worried as we came through the mile, especially knowing the caliber of guys ahead of me. I missed my split at the mile mark (did the same thing in 2006), but was happy with the effort that I was running. Just before 2 miles I caught Double J and passed him, hoping that he would latch on and help me chase down the lead pack. He wasn't feeling it though and I kept working my way up. I caught Bob Wiles a little after 2 miles (10:01) and hoped the same, but the fast early pace and the long week he had with the birth of his second child was catching up to him.

The pack started to fall apart at the top of the hill after the 2 mile mark when Pat Moulton threw in a surge that no one was able to cover. I was already starting to gain ground on those guys, but that only helped my cause. I held 5 minute pace through 3 miles (15:02). I was able to pass Wes Dinnan and Matt O'Connor (UNH guys) before I hit 4 miles in 20:19 (PR). I was feeling good and just working and trying to gain ground on the guys in front of me. I passed Eric Jenkins around 5 miles (25:24, PR) as we made out way closer to Strawberry Banke. I could see John Mentzer not too far ahead, and could even see Pat on the longer straights. I really worked the the sixth mile (30:36) knowing that a sub 32 and a PR were within reach. The last 0.2 were the only part of the course I had never been on, and I found the hill in this section to be a real kick in the balls, but I knew it was near the finish, so I just ran it hard. I crossed the line in 3rd place in 31:42, good enough for a 16 second PR. Conditions were pretty good, other than the high humidity, but it wasn't hot. I am really psyched with how well I have been racing recently, especially with Washington right around the corner. At 5 miles I was working hard, but I had to remind myself that the race was almost over after I've been in the mindset to be racing for an hour.

Me grinding to the finish. Photo by Krissy Kozlosky

It was good racing with a good sized CMS contingent. Market Square Day has a great atmosphere and the race is pretty good too. Video of the race here: http://fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100613/GJSPORTS_01/706139811/-1/FOSSPORTS

I'm really looking forward to Mt. Washington on Saturday. This spring is by far the best training I've ever put in for Washington. I had 9 weeks where I averaged 1000 ft of vertical gain per day, great track workouts, great hillclimb workouts, hill repeats, and some pretty good races. I am more prepared for a good run than I have ever been. Saturday's race is going to be competitive, it's going to hurt, and only 6 guys are going to Slovenia. I truly think I'm going to be one of them if I can put everything together.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Coming Down the Mountain...

Paul running the Moat Brook singletrack

M- 5.2 mile tempo into 3.0 mile hillclimb (1700 ft) up Black Cap via Hurricane Mt. Rd. 55:23, 50 sec faster than February, 5:33 pace for tempo, 8:49 pace on the climb, hot day. 11.2 total

Tu- 6.0 Whitaker Woods 60:00, ran easy, left hip/back a little stiff, last mile barefoot, 5x100m barefoot strides

W- 6.9 Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail 1:13:40, 42:50 to summit, felt good, ran easy, HOT

Th- 6 laps sprint/float/sprint 8:07 (5:25 pace), 34 sec faster than when I did the same workout last year, 2.5 wu/cd, did this at 8:30PM.

F- 4.5 Maudsley State Park 35:00 ran easy w/ Paul, 3x80m strides barefoot

Me hanging w/ Eric at Wachusett, Photo by Krissy Kozlosky

Sa- Wachusett Mt. Race 30:21 2nd place 5.1 miles, 37 seconds behind Eric Blake, went out hard chasing Eric and Ryan Carrara. I couldn't hang with them the first mile, but was pushing hard and they weren't able to put any additional time on me by the time we turned onto the park road. I caught both of them on the downhill singletrack and passed them in the bushes to open a gap before the gravel fire road. Eric finally caught me before we turned onto the uphill singletrack section. I stayed with him on the lower section, but he pulled away the higher up we went. I may have lost a few seconds to him on the 1.5 mile gravel downhill, but not much. I'm pretty happy with the race. wu/cd 6

Su- 13.0 Moat Brook singletrack 2:21:28 with Paul, was planning on doing 10 with Paul first then adding a long climb up North Moat, but we went a little long on the single track and figured 2:20 would be a good long run. Really nice run.

Totals: 56.6 miles, 8.3 hours, 4400 ft gain. Solid week. Not huge volume or climbing, but some good workouts and a good race. I had a little twinge in my left lower back/hip area, but it seems to have worked itself out and I'll probably get a massage this week. The barefoot strides seem to help.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Hocking looking stylish on the summit

M- 5.6 miles Hurricane Mt. Rd. & trail 1:02:27, felt ok, ran easy w/ Roger, found another mountain bike trail! 1500 ft gain

Tu- 0 Felt like death warmed over

W- Mt. Washington Auto Road, good workout, was planning on running easy, but it was nice weather (cool, rainy) for running hard so I upped the effort each mile. 7:37 8:24 8:25 8:21. The fourth mile split was about as fast as I've ever run that mile, including race day. 4.0 down, 2300 ft gain

Th- 3 x 1 Mile, 3:00/400m rest, not a good workout, supposed to do 6, but still beat from the 10k and the unplanned hard run yesterday, 5:04 5:06 5:15, 3.5 wu, 1.0 cd barefoot w/ Roger

F- 7.0 Upper Moat Brook singletrack, 1:04:45, tried to run easy as possible, I love those trails

Sa- 0 Jess's sister's graduation + cheeseburger & beer = no workout

Su- Mt. Washington Auto Road with Dan Hocking and Coby Jacobus 7.6 miles 1:16:24. Dan wanted to see the course and try to run it easy to get an idea what to expect race day. Coby wanted to come along and maybe run the trails down to get a long run in. I brought along my Camelback with clothes and food and wore trail shoes for the trip down. We ended up not running the trails down, so we didn't need half of the stuff I brought. I'm glad we didn't take the trails down though, Dan and I were both a little wiped when we hit the top. Oh well, good weight training. 2 mi wu at Great Glen Trails. 4650 gain

Totals: 38.2 miles, 5.75 hours, 8500 ft gain. Not a great week, but I've had much worse. I think racing a 10k at 9PM and getting home at 3AM did not help this week. Very happy with the way I felt on the Auto Road Wednesday. I should have skipped Thursday's workout after running hard the day before, but I'm dumb. Saturday I was supposed to do a 5.2 mile tempo on the roads, then head straight up Hurricane Mt. Rd. to Black Cap, but that didn't happen. I was able to do this workout yesterday (Monday) though, and ran it 50 sec faster than I did in February. I ran 5:33 pace for the tempo, then averaged 8:49 pace for the 3 mile climb to the summit of Black Cap. Even more encouraging is the fact that I averaged 8:22 pace on Hurricane Mt. Rd. (1.8 miles, 1000 ft gain, 10% grade) on a hot day. If that's my settle in / blow-up in the heat pace, I'll be psyched.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

7300 ft of Climbing = 10k PR

Crusing along in the 10k, Photo by Mark LaRosa

M- 8.2 Rattlesnake & Middle Mountains 1:28:20, felt good, left hamstring a little tight, 8x80m strides after, 1400 ft gain

Tu- Cathedral Ledge Rd. hill repeats, 3.1 wu at WW, then 3:00 up 4:00 up 5:00 up, then 6:52 to the top (0.9 miles, 7:38 pace, ~11% grade), kept the rest intervals on the downhill the same as the repeat times. Really good workout. 1200 ft gain, 7.9 total

W- 6.9 Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail 1:13:31, 42:11 to summit, felt good, ran easy

Th- 2x(5x400m), 100m/40sec recovery, 400m/2:40 between sets. 72 71 72 74 72 72 71 65. Solid workout. Was originally going to do the mile repeats, but switched it up when I decided I was going to do the 10,000 at the New Balance Boston Twilight Meet on Saturday. 2.0 wu, 1.0 cd

F- 5.0 Puddin Pond Singletrack 46:23, ran easy w/ Paul, felt pretty good, 5x80m strides after

Nate yelling at me to get my ass in gear, Photo by Mark LaRosa

Sa- New Balance Boston Twilight 10,000m 31:58, 4th place, 8 sec PR. Pretty good race. Went in hoping to run 75 sec laps until I couldn't handle it anymore. Found 75's weren't comfortable from the start, but just tried to gut it out. I never really felt good or confident of even finishing most of the race. I seriously considered dropping out before 5k. Felt like I got into a little bit of a groove after 4 miles, and after 8k I knew I could finish. The second half wasn't pretty, but 5:10s is a lot better than 5:20's like I would usually blow up to. Big thanks to Nate Jenkins for pulling me along and encouraging me. Middle of the packers like me don't get that on the track very often. Also a big congrats to Dan Hocking on the W and a sub 30 in his track 10k debut. Dan wasn't able to run for 6 years as a result of a knee injury, but was able to start training last year and has been on fire ever since.

Su- 14.0 Green Hills from home 2:25:46, felt pretty good. Just got in a rhythm and went. 3000 ft gain

Totals: 59 miles, 8.9 hours, 7300 ft gain. Pretty solid week again. Good amount of climbing, faster track work, and a PR to boot. I would have liked to have run faster on the track, but I just never felt in a rhythm all race. The time is slightly faster than what I ran at Market Square Day in '06 (before I went off course at the 6 mile mark) and I was in really good shape for Mt. Washington that year. I feel like the specific climbing fitness is there or can be tweaked slightly and I should have the tools when I have to reach deep.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Much Needed Down Week

Looking out over the Sandwich Range Wilderness

M- 3.0 Elm Brook & Echo Lake 23:43, super easy, soaked in the lake for 10 minutes after

Tu- 0 felt awful, needed the rest day.

W- 5.5 Puddin Pond singletrack w/ Paul, 49:38, felt better, 8x80m strides after

Th- 6x1 Mile 3:00/400m recovery 5:01 5:00 5:01 5:02 5:06 4:59 Windy! Especially the last 2. Really happy that I was able to break 5 on the last one. 2.5 wu, 0.5cd

F- 6.2 Mt. Kearsarge North 1:12:35, 2600 ft gain, 37:41 to summit, ran easy and was only 1 sec slower than my summer PR. Ran right after getting a massage form Jean Brauel.

Sa- 12.0 Trout Pond Trails w/ Paul, 2:09:42, ran easy, pretty tired, we had planned on an easier long run this weekend, but still accumulated 2000 ft of elevation gain over the run!

Su- 3.0 Mile Cranmore Retro Hillclimb 22:06, 6 sec faster than a few weeks ago, pretty sore from the massage and the long run, and the fact that I ran this at 7AM. Good effort though. 2.0 wu, 3.0 cd

PM: 9.5 mile hike with Jess into Black Mt. Pond, then up to the shoulder of Sandwich Dome. Ran into light snow and heavy wind up high. Luckily, Jess is still speaking to me.

Totals: 45 miles, 6.7 hours, 5700 ft gain. Pretty good down week. My body needed the rest early in the week. Still a little tired near the end of the week, but much more manageable. Very happy with the easy effort up Kearsarge. It’s a ball buster of a climb (16% grade, VERY technical). Happy with the mile repeats. Would have liked to have been a little faster, but the wind was definitely a factor. I expected to easily break 22 minutes up Cranmore on Sunday, but the odds were stacked against me a little. Still faster than the last time, despite the lingering fatigue.

My lovely wife taking in the view

Monday, May 3, 2010

10lbs of poop in a 5lb bag

Panorama from Peaked

M- 6.9 miles Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail, 1:15:25, 42:58 to summit, felt good, ran easy, no shirt

Tu- Long tempo run in Whitaker Woods. Averaged 6:01 pace for 12.4 miles. May not sound all that impressive, but the course was pretty tough. I used our weekly 5k cross country course in North Conway (1st mile flat, 2nd mile has 200+ ft of climbing, 3rd mile down then last ½ mile flat) and rooted. Ran 18:48 18:34 18:39 18:40. I didn’t kill it, I just cruised. My fastest time all out on the course is 16:41. It’s pretty tough. I’m pretty happy with it. Longest and fastest long tempo of the year so far.

W- 6.9 miles Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail, 1:19:57, 47:26 to summit, felt good, fresh snow the whole way, 5” at summit!

Th- 6.9 miles Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail w/ Paul, 1:21:20, +/-48:00 to summit, felt good, ran easy, added on 3x4:00 repeats on Hurricane Mt. Rd. (0.57 miles, 10% grade). Felt like poop doing these, but I found out when I got home that I ran 7:11 pace for each repeat based on an accurate survey we have done on that part of Hurricane Mt. Rd.

F- 7.0 Upper Moat Brook singletrack, 1:01:31, pretty tired, ran as easy as possible, still the second fastest time I’ve ever run on that loop, almost got hit by a falling tree

Sa- 6x1 Mile, aborted after first repeat. 5:06 for the 1st one, but ran 75,76,77,78 for each lap. Calves were pretty dead and I was putting in a lot of effort to run that 78. Didn’t bother cooling down. 2.25 mi wu

Paul running up Middle

Su- 14.4 miles in the Green Hills, 3:14:00, 3000+ ft gain. Good run. Both Paul and I were pretty tired, but got in a solid long run anyway. Found more trails that I didn’t even know about.

Totals: 63 miles, 10.5 hours, 9600 ft gain. Pretty good week other than the aborted workout on Saturday. I think I was just dead tired and didn’t know it until I started the workout. I don’t know if I should have gutted it out, but it was quite an effort for the first one. I was thinking of taking a “down” week this week, cutting out any climbing M and W.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Week of White Mountain Running

Paul near the summit of Table Mt.

M- 3.8 Peaked Mt. 49:45 with Paul and Frank, ran pretty easy, 27:06 to summit, 1200 ft gain

Tu- 3.1 wu at Whitaker Woods, 3.0 mile Cranmore Hillclimb Retro course 22:12, supposed to be a hard threshold run. I’m not sure if I ran too hard but it was a good workout. 2.0 cd Ran the course 5 sec slower than when I used it for a training tune-up in 2006 before the World Trophy. 1100 ft gain. I’ve run 21:05 and Dave Dunham has the course record at around 20 flat.

W- 6.9 Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail 1:12:55, 41:57 to summit, ran super easy and still managed to run 2m 30sec faster than last week to the summit, 1700 ft gain

Th- 2.5 wu w/ Roger, 6x1Mile 3:00/400m rest 5:01 5:03 5:01 5:01 5:03 4:59, 0.5 cd Great workout. Felt like garbage on the wu, but found pace pretty easy once I got started. Last 2 were pretty tough, but good effort.

F- 5.7 Green Hills single track with Paul 58:06, dog tired. Easiest run I did all week in terms of terrain, but stumbled through the whole thing. Marked the Mud Muck Moose course after work with Paul and Roger.

Sa- 2.0 wu, 10x300m hard, 45 sec/100m recovery w/ Tim Livingston. 49-51 sec for repeats. We ended up taking about 53 secs for recovery on each one. Tim was a big help on this workout as he has a little more speed and switched the lead with me on every other one. Quads were pretty dead on this one. 0.5 cd. Timed the Kennett track meet after

View from Table Mt.

Su- 13.6 Bear Notch Ski Touring to Diana’s Baths via Attitash Trail 3:50:24 nice easy long mountain run with Paul. Ran into some snow on the last 1.5 miles on the Big Attitash ridge which slowed us down, but all of the climbing was runnable. Started at the ski touring center where I directed the Mud Muck Moose trail race in the morning and ran to the trail head in North Conway. 2800 ft gain. Photos are here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=60117&id=1315312930&l=8d189a62b7

Totals: 53.3 miles, 9.5 hours, 6825 ft gain. Really happy with the week. That’s 3 really good weeks in a row. Once again the strides and drills took a back seat, but I was tired as hell all week. I’m especially pleased that I got in all my runs and workouts despite a busy week at work and a demanding weekend of volunteering. Things are really clicking. I’m pretty tired, but I’ve been staying on top of the sleep and eating right and hydrating and that seems to be making the difference. I’m really pleased with that mile workout as I would have had a hard time doing that in college with all the speed work I was doing, not to mention all the climbing and hard work that I had done leading up to it now. Sunday’s run wasn’t very hard, but it was time on my feet and I didn’t bonk at all before the end of it. I’m going to skip 7 Sisters this weekend as I don’t want to chance messing up my ankle, plus 8 hours of driving doesn’t sound appealing after a long weekend. I’ll get a long tempo in Saturday and a long mountain run on Sunday.

Paul Postholing near Big Attitash

Monday, April 19, 2010

Burn Baby Burn, Tuckerman Inferno

Me running up the Tucks Trail. All photos taken by my beautiful wife.

M- 6.9 miles 1:17:35 Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail, 45:14 to summit, ran easy, 1700 ft gain

Tu- 5x1600m, 3:00/400m rest 5:11 5:09 5:10 5:09 5:05 good workout, felt yesterday's climb. 2 wu, 0.5 cd

W- 6.9 miles 1:16:46 Black Cap via Kettle Ridge, down Red Tail, 44:31 to summit, ran easy, pretty tired, 1700 ft gain

Th- Cathedral Ledge Rd. 1.5 wu w/ Roger, 3x3:00 repeats (0.25 miles) using the "Equalizer", a chord attached to my waste that allows me to pull Roger up the hill. It slows me down but work my quads more while he has to run like hell to try to keep up!, 4:00 repeat (0.5 miles, solo), then 6:57 to the top of the road (0.85 miles, 8:11 pace, ~11% grade). Pretty good workout. 1100 ft gain

F- 9.2 Upper Moat Brook singletrack w/ gate add-on, 1:20:24, couple inches of fresh snow! 3x80m strides at end

Sa- 14.6 miles 1:42:39 (7:02 pace) Stark Rd. Eidelweiss Loop. Ran easy w/ Pete Mallett. Was supposed to run the Tuckerman Inferno today, but the race was postponed to Sunday due to safety concerns for the bikers in the notch and the skiers in the ravine. Both Pete and I wanted to keep the long run in the schedule for the week so away we went.

Laura ripping it up on the Sherbie

Su- Tuckerman Inferno 1st place team! Congrats to Al on the run, Sean in the kayak, Pete on the bike, and Laura on the ski! For me, 25:33, 2.4 mile hillclimb on snow, 1850 gain. My PR to Hermit Lake shelter is 25:07 in the 2006 Inferno, but with a course change this year's race was about 0.1 miles longer. Doesn't sound like much, but when you're running 11 minute miles that adds up. I definitely felt Saturday's long run, but gutted it out. Fun event as usual. wu/cd 2.5

Totals: 57 miles, 8.37 hours, 6350 ft gain

Pretty happy with the week. Doing the easy climbs the day after hard workouts was tough, but I think I'm adapting to it. The workouts still went well too. I would have liked to have been faster on the mile repeats, but I wasn't any slower than last week and still closed in a 5:05. I simply forgot to do strides on Monday and drills on Wednesday (maybe a little tired?!). Really happy with the week as a whole though.

As far as the Inferno, it's tough to compare to previous years, but I'm pretty pumped with the results. It's only a 2.4 mile climb, but I was tired from the long run and the rest of the week, I wasn't 100% into it mentally due to the date change, it was slicker that the year I ran my PR, and I still ran a PR type time. I think it shows that my climbing fitness is there. In previous years I've run some fast times in the spring because I've been in good shape and I was racing well. This spring I don't feel I have been racing all that well, but I'm still running comparable times. Hopefully that means I will have some sharpening to do for the big one.

Keeping it classy

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rollin' on The Rivah

M- 8.0 Hurricane Mt. Rd. 1:09:13 felt good, tried to run easy, 9:08 pace up N. Conway side 9:08 pace up Chatham side, 2200 ft gain, 5x80m strides after

Tu- 5x1600m, 3:00/400m rest 5:18 5:09 5:10 5:06 5:05. Good workout. No sense of pace on the first lap of the first repeat, but found it after that. 2.5 wu w/ Roger, no cd, 8.5 total

W- 5.0 Cranmore Access Road, 58:01, easy run w/ Seth, 1200 ft gain

Th- 0 long day of surveying in Rye, NH at Odiorne Point State Park

F- 6.5 Merrimack River Trail 52:27, wet, ran with ankle brace for first time, felt good, ran back with the Brothers Quintal, was going to do strides, but was pretty cold from the rain

Sa- Merrimack River Trail Race 1st 59:05. Good race against Ben Nephew (11 sec back). Felt good on the fast stuff and climbs, but really favored the ankle on the downhills and really technical stuff. Headwind in both directions. 4.5 wu/cd

Su- 16.0 Hurricane Mt. Rd. 2:23:40 This may have been one of the dumbest ideas I've ever had, but it was a hell of a workout. 4400 ft of gain. Ran the first over and back with Paul Kirsch in 1:16:25 (9:33 pace), then went out and did it again. I felt pretty good on the climb on the N. Conway side (8:30 pace), but it was tough coming back up from Chatham the last time. I managed 8:41 pace for the last climb. It felt a lot like the last few miles of the race at Mt. Washington. I stopped at the top to regain my composure before the last descent to the car. It was not the most interesting run, but it was probably one of the toughest runs I've ever done from a mental perspective.

Totals: 58.5 miles, 7.89 hours, 7800 ft elevation gain. Solid week. Would have liked to have run Th, but didn't make it happen. I also need to get back to the ballistic exercises and strides this week. I'm beat.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mixed Bag

The weeks since Snowshoe Nationals have been a mixed bag, much like the weather. I had a great race with Jim Johnson at the Granite State Snowshoe Championships, where we finished in a dead heat in some of the best conditions of the snowshoe season, and ran a stinker at New Bedford, tying up pretty badly in the last 5k. This past week wasn't much better.

M- 6 on Saco River Trail w/ Paul, 49:26, pretty stiff after New Bedford

Tu- 2.2 roads w/ Roger, 22:15, his knee was bothering him and I was in no mood to run solo in the cold rain

W- 6.5 Town Hall Rd. (dirt) with Jim Graham & Roger Sayre, 51:59, felt much better, moved washer/dryer in the morning and my back stiffened up after dinner

Th- 7.9 Office to quarry via singletrack, 1:03:43, 4.5 mile fartlek (36:35) in middle on singletrack, back started spasming after run. Back and lower front rib cage really tight, had to get a prescription for muscle relaxants to fix it.

F- massage from Jean Brauel in AM, really loosened back up

Sa- 12.0 1:20:12 on Corridor 19 snowmobile trail, 2.3 wu then 9.7 mile tempo in 1:01:54 (6:22 pace). Good workout. Trail muddy and hilly. A little slower than when I did the same workout on snow a month ago, but I was holding back a little to keep the back in check

Su- 5.8 miles, 55 mins trails. Started a long run from my house to Peaked Mt. and back (15 miles), but rolled my right ankle really badly 5.8 miles in on a pretty easy piece of trail. Had to limp a mile out of the woods to the nearest trailhead. Caught a cold in the process.

Totals: 40 miles. Happy with the workouts, but not happy with all the other stuff that happened. Was not in the mood to run at all yesterday. Ankle is pretty stiff this morning. I’m going to try to go easy tonight, then get back on schedule depending on how it feels. I’m going to stay away from the trails until this thing heals for good. I have plenty of really hilly roads in the area, so I think I can still get in some good climbs despite no running on mountain trails for a little while. I hope your week was better than mine.

Looking ahead, the results of the Mt. Washington lottery were put up today. It is going to be deep. I know I'm on track for a good race, but I still need to put the nose to the grindstone to run my best. Keys to running well this year:
-Lots of easy mountain running. Many easy days are going to be easy climbs.
-Lots of hill repeats and mile repeats on the track at 10k pace or faster. Need to work on getting that heartrate up and feeling the burn.
-Long hard climbs. Need to simulate the mental ups and downs of the first few miles on the road.
-Long run in the mountains. I'm really happy with the long runs I did on snowshoes in the mountains this winter and want to keep that going. For the meantime, I'm going to be doing long, really hilly road runs in Jackson like this one until the ankle is better.

I'm also going to focus on the little things. I've been eating much better and practically haven't drank at all since Christmas. I also cut out almost all caffeine. I need to keep getting a proper amount of sleep. Without sounding like I have an eating disorder, I'd also like to drop a few pounds. I've been hovering around 133-135 for a while, but I race best under 130.

This spring is going to be fun.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snowshoe Nationals and the Lead Up to It

Photos by Dave Dunham, courtesy of Jim Johnson

At the beginning of the winter my number one goal was a top 5 finish at the National Snowshoe Championships. I finished 7th, but I'll take it. Snowshoe running has always been a form of training that I have thoroughly enjoyed ever since I started doing it in the winter of '03-'04. Dave Dunham and Rich Bolt brainwashed me that winter, and I haven't looked back. As much as I have enjoyed training on snowshoes, I really hadn't raced that much, but with Nationals being in the east this year, I decided I would step up and race a little more. With the advent of the Granite State Snowshoe Series, it was a lot easier to get to more races and not have to travel 5+ hours every weekend.

My racing had been going well all winter (with the exception of Pooh Hill) and things looked to be shaping up for Nationals. After my win at Sidehiller, I felt pretty fit, and was looking forward to more races, but the lack of snow from mid-January on hindered those ambitions.

The lack of snow altered my race schedule more than my training, as the higher elevations around Conway had more than enough white stuff. I was able to continue my practice of getting a 2-3 hour long run in the mountains on snowshoes every weekend. I implemented these thinking that they would give me a big boost for Mt. Washington. Little did I know that I would need every bit of that strength to tackle the Nationals’ course.

The altered race schedule also got me into a little bit of a pickle injury wise. With the lack of snow at the Kingman Farm race, I opted to do the USATF-NE Indoor 5000m race the same weekend instead, to avoid hurting myself by running on icy trails in the dark. Unfortunately, I managed to wrench my ankle on the indoor track on the first lap! I tried to shake it off the best I could and managed to run another 25 laps on it, and ran a 15:50 5k. The minute I stopped though it swelled up. My cool down consisted of 10 minutes of walking as I couldn't put much weight on the swollen joint.

The next week saw me just try to run easy to get the swelling down and make sure that I didn't hurt myself any more. I stayed off the snow and stuck to the roads to avoid wrenching it any further. The one exception was the nice hour plus run I did up and down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to check out the fresh snow in Pinkham Notch.

Sunday, February 28th brought the DH Jones 10 Miler in Amherst, MA, the first race in the USATF-NE GP. I had been looking forward to this racer all winter, as it would be my first real fitness test after a solid start to the winter. I was hoping for an optimistic sub 53 minute run. I went out conservative in the first few miles, then picked up the effort as I ran with Ryan Carrara for a little while and really worked the hills in the middle of the race. My 5 mile split was a little slower than I would have liked (27:16), but I was feeling strong running in around 15th place. I was hoping to do some damage in the second half. Right after the 6 mile mark I must have done some damage to my stomach, as I got the worst side-stitch of my life. I tried jogging it off, then walking it off, but the sharp pain wouldn't relent. I was forced to the roadside, bent over, clutching my mid-section. I was finally able to start walking again, and then jogged. I considered jogging to the finish, as my race was shot, but I started to feel better just before the 7 mile mark. I figured I could run hard until the stitch came back. Luckily it didn't. I was able to run the last three miles in 5:30, 5:20, 5:24. The last 2 miles are significantly uphill, and I managed to pass about 30 people from the time I was clutching my side to the finish. I was especially pleased with the last mile, as last year I ran 5:36 for the same mile while racing someone. The final result wasn't what I was looking for, but I got something out of it.

The ankle didn't seem to flare up during the race, but it certainly wasn't any better after. I called Jean Brauel, massage therapist, to see if there was anything she could do to help speed up the recovery. Luckily she was able to fit me in on Tuesday and work on a bunch of tendons and ligaments that I didn't even know I had. She also worked on my core muscles to try to fix any lingering tightness that I had left from Sunday's race. My ankle had much more range of motion, but my core was really sore on Wednesday. Luckily that went away before the 7+ hour drive to Syracuse on Friday.

Friday's drive marked my longest road trip ever, but luckily the Focus SVT and the Recaro seats were up to the challenge. I picked up Pete Mallett, who was running in his first Snowshoe Nationals and second snowshoe race ever, in Manchester and we headed west. Upon arriving in East Syracuse, we met up with Jim Johnson and did a quick 40 minute run to shake the cobwebs loose. The ankle was still stiff, but it could have been worse.

We awoke Saturday morning to 20 degree temps, which are usually good for a snowshoe race. We assumed the course would be frozen solid and would lead to fast times. We forgot about the fact that it was supposed to warm into the 40’s by the 11:30 start. The junior 5k and women’s 10k race were also before the men’s 10k, which chewed up the course before we stepped foot on it.

Lining up at the start it was pretty obvious that this course wasn’t going to be easy, even if it were pancake flat, which it wasn’t. The snow had been churned up during the previous races, and it was warming up by the minute. During my last minute strides I thought about gutting it out the best I could and used the strength I had amassed throughout the winter and last fall while training for Bay State.

After the horn went off to start the race, the snow started flying and I found myself blinded by the spray of the guys in front of me. I started on the front row, but did not get a good start. I weaved my way through the crowd as we headed into the woods where I was hoping to find some firmer footing. Fat chance of that.

The course started out wide, with plenty of room for passing, that was assuming that you could stay upright long enough to keep moving forward. I picked my way through the pack in the first mile to the point where I was almost on the back of the lead pack, but I couldn’t quite close the gap. I kept the hammer down despite the fact that my heart was in my throat and we hadn’t even hit the hardest parts of the course yet. I tried to run hard and relaxed as we made our way downhill towards the second mile. At this point I was starting to lose sight of the leaders and I was passes by Fred Joslyn, a 2:23 marathoner. Snowshoes are the great equalizer! I tried to hang on to him as long as possible, but he was pulling away on the wide “groomed” trail. As we approached the second road crossing I caught one guy who was starting to fall off the leaders and passed him before we got into the single track. At this point Dave Dunham told me I was in 7th, about a minute back of the leaders. I knew I wasn’t going to make up that time instantly, but I knew the big climbs and the single-track were coming up, two disciplines I excel at.

As I entered the single-track, the pace slowed, but the effort level was still there. I kept the hammer down knowing that I would have a chance to make up some time on the guys in front of me in the twisty stuff. Sure enough, I spotted Fred and Jarod Scott just ahead of me on one of the switchbacks. That motivated me to keep pressing on to get onto their coattails.

After the first section of twisty bits we were dumped out onto another wide, chewed up ski trail. Fred and Jarod took off again and I just kept moving at a steady clip. The first single-track section climbed for quite a while, but I knew there was more ahead. We kept climbing and descending numerous hills on the ski trails, all the while I was inching up on Jarod, who had fallen behind Fred a little ways. When we hit the big climb, I wasn’t too far behind Jarod, Fred or Greg Hexum in 4th place for that matter. I kept the hammer down on the climb trying to make up as much time on those guys as possible. This is where those long snowshoe mountain runs were starting to pay off. I closed the gap to Jarod by half, but he started to pull away again on the down side. My ankle was in the back of my mind on every downhill, but I still ran pretty hard anyway.

Entering the last single-track section I made a last ditch effort to try and close on Jarod. I knew the final climb was going to be brutal, but I figured I needed to be really close to pull off any type of pass there. I got the gap to Jarod down to about 20m before we came out in the field, about ½ mile from the finish.

The final downhill was loose snow that had been postholed by 100+ snowshoes that morning, and it was interesting picking a fast line that wouldn’t lead you to falling or ending up in the neighboring woods. At this point I said screw the ankle and flew down with reckless abandon. Jarod managed to open enough of a gap that I could almost touch him on the final climb, but it was too little too late. The final hill was as steep as Upper Walking Boss at Loon, but I managed to run every step of it. I crossed the line in 46:42, about 4 minutes behind winner Josiah Middaugh of Vail, CO, and only a minute and a half out of 3rd place.

I did not make my goal of top 5, but this was a very strong field and I think I raced as well as I could of considering the problems I’ve had with the ankle over the last couple of weeks. This was the kind of race where shear strength and guts ruled over raw speed. That is what I need to do well at Mt. Washington. Certainly a step in the right direction.

If you thought the weekend’s fun ended there, you were wrong! I was able to talk a group into running the 4x2.5k relay on Sunday morning, despite the fact that most of us were toast or a little hung over. Jim Johnson (14th on Saturday), Matt Russell (10th) and I were game to run as the CMS-Dion team. We were hoping to have Rich Bolt (15th) or Pete Mallett (35th) run for us, but Rich was committed to the Atlas mixed masters team, and Pete had enough snowshoe racing for the rest of his life after a rough race on Saturday. We were able to pick up Kelly Mortensen (9th) who is a sub 2:20 marathoner for our 4th guy.

Jim elected to run the first leg for our rag-tag bunch. The loop turned out to be around 1800m, with the first leg and the fourth leg being slightly longer to accommodate a separate start/finish area from the exchange zone. Jim got out pretty well from the start, running with a guy from Ithaca college until they disappeared into the woods. We couldn’t see most of the loop, but saw Jim emerge with about a 5 second lead over the Ithaca guy. Jim tagged off to Matt, 7:30 into the race, and Matt took off like a bolt. Once again while he was in the woods we had no idea how big our lead was, or if we had one at all, but Matt came out of the woods WAY ahead of the second place guy. Kelly ran third for us without anyone really pushing him. It seemed like a long time before he came out of the woods, but I think we were just nervous more than anything. Kelly didn’t seem to lose anything to the second place team. I ran the final leg, hoping to get in a hard effort. I knew we had a huge lead, but I never jog once I have a number on. I hammered the course as hard as I could. I felt like I was running the 400m on the track. I knew the race was short, so I figured even if I died it wouldn’t be a horrible death. Running the last leg gave me the distinction of running the second half of the finishing hill that we ran yesterday. Jim tried to “encourage” me by telling me that the other team was right behind me. I kicked it into high gear up the last pitch to grab a gold medal for our team. We beat the second place Ithaca Bombers by 53 seconds. I was also pretty happy with my 7:32 split, especially with the additional big hill.

It was a good weekend of racing against some national-class competition. I had a pretty good race, but I know what I need to do to get to the next level to compete for a US team spot at Mt. Washington. Things seem to be on the right track.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Better Late Than Never

M- 5.0 38:15 Benlor & Back felt ok, a little stiff, 10x80m strides after
Tu- 6 x 0.8 miles @ Settlers Green, 5.0 wu, 4:31 4:25 4:22 4:20 4:23 4:18, 0.8 cd, really good workout, felt good
W- 0 left work early, head cold
Th- 0 worked all day but didn't feel any better
F- 6.0 51:21 Corridor 19 from Wal-Mart, felt ok, ran easy w/ Paul, felt much better than last 2 days
Sa- 9.7 miles tempo 1:01:20 (6:19 pace) on Corridor 19 from Wal-Mart, hilly, slushy and icy, used screw shoes, shooting for 6:00 pace effort, solid workout
Su- AM: 2:15 classic ski w/ Jess PM: 14.6 miles 1:42:57 (7:03 pace) Stark Rd. Eidelweiss Loop, hilly, started about 1 hour after skiing

Totals: 49 miles, 8.4 hours. Pretty good week considering I took two days off. It think it was good to kick the cold though. No remnants of it left.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Glimpse of Things to Come?

M- 6.0 miles 48:37 snowmobile trails/RR Tracks w/ Paul, felt good, 10x60m strides after
Tu- 4.0 mi wu w/ Roger on roads, then 7x2:15 hill repeats on snowshoes in Whitaker Woods, did not feel good, but gutted it out, 8 total
W- 6.0 miles behind Wal-Mart w/ Paul 49:37, felt good, surprisingly quick, ballistic exercises after
Th- 4.5 wu w/ Roger, 6x0.8 miles @ Settlers Green, 4:32 4:32 4:26 4:26 4:23 4:26, 0.8 cd Very good workout, this workout seems to be getting quicker without any extra effort
F- 6.0 miles behind Wal-Mart w/ Paul 48:06, a little faster than easy, but not bad
Sa- 5.2 miles @ 5:41 pace (29:31), then up Hurricane Mt. Rd. to the summit of Black Cap (3.0 mi) in 26:41 (8:53 pace, 10% grade). Very happy with this workout. Was hoping for 6's on the roads and 10's on the climb. 3.0 down Black Cap for cooldown
Su- Hurricane Mt. Rd. to Black Cap to Peaked to Cranmore 14.8 miles 2:42:14, 3,000+ ft of elevation gain, tired but good tired.

Totals: 63.5 miles, 9.0 hours. Around 5,000 ft of climbing. That is probably what I would call a perfect week for me. Good amount of quality, decent volume, and all of the little things. I plan on going super easy today, as I'm a little tired form Sa & Su. I'm doing an interview w/ Channel 5 out of Boston tommorow about snowshoe and mountain racing. Should be fun.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Training Week 1/25-1/31

M- 0 pretty tired, right quad has a good knot in it

Tu- 0 massage in the AM and left work early, pretty tired again

W- 7.0 miles roads w/ Paul 56:17, felt ok, still pretty flat

Th- 4.5 mile wu w/ Roger 45:11, then 29:31 4.8 mile fartlek (6:09 pace) around Settlers Green. Felt much better on this workout. Light coating of snow on the roads.

F- 4.6 mi 38:48 w/ Paul on snowmobile trails, felt good, really cold and windy

Sa- Sandwich Sidehiller Snowshoe Race 5.2 miles 31:08, 1st place. Really good race. Lead from the gun. Had Josh Ferenc on my shoulder for the first two laps, then I was able to open a little gap at the beginning of the 3rd lap, and I held on to the end. Felt really strong and fast. I did not know you could run 6 min pace on snowshoes. Wu/cd 3.4 mi Lap Splits: 10:10 10:20 10:38

Su- 16 easy on snowmobile trails, did first 10 miles with Paul then tacked on another 6 behind Wal-Mart. Tired, but a good run.

Totals: 45.5 miles, 6.16 hours. I am pretty psyched with how the race went. I set the pace and had some fast guys with me, and I just ran away from them. The course was really flat and fast (not my strong suits) and I ran away from Josh and Jim Johnson (who had 4 infected wisdom teeth) who are very good on that type of terrain. It is only one race, but I think it is a sign of things to come. The week wasn’t very impressive, but I think I needed a little rest after 4 very good weeks of training. Last year a 45 mile week with a fartlek, a good race and a long run would have been a good week. Looking forward to getting back at it this week.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Feeling Like Pooh

M- 2.0 Stark Rd. (10:00PM) 14:34, 5x100m strides in 2nd mile, not pretty, but better than no run at all.
Tu- AM: 6x 3:00 up Cathedral Legde Rd. (+/-9%), jog down rest, all on snowshoes, covered about a 1/4 mile on ups, tough workout but solid. 4.4 wu/cd on SS
PM: 3.6 miles roads 36:32 easy w/ Roger
W-Black Cap via Hurricane Mt. Rd. and trail 6.0 miles 1:05:01, 37:15 to summit, ran easy
Th- 6 x 0.8 miles (3:00 rest) at Settlers Green, 5.0 mi wu w/ Roger 47:56, Splits: 4:45 (watch issue? felt same effort as 2nd one) 4:33 4:30 4:28 4:30 4:28 much better than last week, 0.8 cd
F- Black Cap via Hurricane again 6.4 miles 1:14:13, 36:17 to summit, ran easy, beautiful view (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=968823&l=7f39db577e&id=1315312930)
Sa-Pooh Hill(less) Snowshoe 8k, 4th place 36:57. Felt flat. Yesterday's mountain run didn't help, but I needed to blow off some steam. Out of the race right from the start. I had nothing. Double J beat me by 3 minutes, I was hoping to be running with him for the win. He had a great race though. So did Ben Nephew, Bob Jackman and Jim Pawlicki. It was tough gutting it out knowing I had no chance at catching anyone. Great workout either way. Pretty flat course. wu/cd 3.5
Su- 14.6 miles Stark Rd. & Eidelweiss, 1:43:54 (7:07 pace), hilly run, tried to run easy, right quad has a good knot in it, but it's only noticeable on the downhills.

Totals (through Sat.): 61 miles, 8.9 hours

I'm feeling pretty tired right now. Didn't feel bad all week, just showed up this morning. I should be tired from all the work I've put in the last 4 weeks. Just had a bad race. Nothing hurts, just tired. I can live with tired, especially if it means good things in the long run. Looking forward to the Sandwich Sidehiller 4 Miler this weekend. The course is more technical than Pooh Hill, but still has a lot of wide groomed trail. Should be a good race.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Feeling Good

Riding shotgun after the start. Photo by Kristin Kozlosky

M- Wal-Mart Singletrack to Peaked Mt. 7.8 miles, 1:34:21. Good snowshoe run. Felt like crap at the start, but felt better after 3 miles, so I tacked on the summit of Peaked (49:52).
Tu- 6x0.8 mi around Settlers Green Outlets 3.7 mi wu 33:43 w/ Roger, 4:39 4:36 4:34 4:34 4:38 4:27, shooting for 4:24-4:32, felt ok, windy, slower than last week, but tougher conditions, 0.8 cd, 10.6 total
W-Conway snowmobile trails 7.3 miles 1:05:35, felt good, ran w/ Paul
Th- 5k fartlek in Whitaker Woods, 22:37 (7:18 pace) on snowshoes, good workout, 5.1 mile 48:23 wu w/ Roger
F- 0 Got up before work, but I was a pansy and didn't want to run in the cold. Hiked up and down Thorn Mt. at work all day, then drove to Norwood, MA
Sa- Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race, 4 miles 37:18 1st place, pretty good race. good to bust the rust. Felt good on the climbs, but still some work to do. Course was pretty boney. Lost both rear cleats on my well used snowshoes.
wu/cd 4.0 mi
Su- Long run in the Blue Hills Reservation w/ Ben Nephew 9.4 miles 1:58:27. Cool run. Lots of gain and descent on the Skyline Trail. Got to try the Khatoola Microspikes for the first time.

Totals: 52.6 miles 8.50 hours. Decent week. Not happy about the goose egg on Friday, or the lack of hill sprints or ballistic exercises on Wednesday. Off to a better start this week though. I'll be racing the Pooh Hill(less) Snowshoe Race this weekend. Should be a fast course and a fast crowd with the likes of Double J, Ben , Jim P and Geoff in the mix.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More hay in the barn

M- Wal-Mart Corridor 19 6.0 mi 54:45, felt ok, pretty tired, ran w/ Paul, 10x80m strides after
Tu- 6x0.8 mi around Settlers Green Outlets 4.0 mi wu 37:34 w/ Roger, 4:38 4:28 4:33 4:33 4:30 4:28, shooting for 4:24-4:32, felt good, legs stiff during wu, 0.8 cd, 11.1 total
W- 7.5 roads N. Conway 58:03, felt ok, quads tired, ballisatic exercises after
Th- AM: Wal-Mart Corridor 19 6.0 mi 51:36, felt ok, felt good, ran easy w/ Paul
PM: 5k snowshoe hard run, 4.0 mi wu w/ Roger on roads 36:41, hard 5k on Whitaker Woods Fun Run course in 21:46 (7:01 pace), I run this course hard in the summer in around 17:00, about 2/3 groomed, felt good
F- Wal-Mart Corridor 19 6.0 mi 53:32, felt ok, quads dead, ran w/ Paul, skipped hill sprints
Sa- Switchback Way (Jackson) Hill Workout (avg 9% grade, parts much steeper), 3.0 mi wu 22:28, 2 min up, 1:30 down, 3 min up, 1:45 down, 4 min up, 3 min down, 5 min up, 1.7 mi cd, ok workout, legs felt like wooden posts on wu, made it to last utility pole before Juniper Way in 21:00, would like to use this road again.
Su- 3 hour classical ski on Hall Trail (+/-1000 ft elevation gain) w/ Jess, no run

Totals: 51 miles, 10.0 hours. Pretty good week. Didn't get the long run in on Sunday, but I wasn't sitting on my butt eating potato chips either. Quads have been heavy all week, but I've been snowshoeing a lot and been doing a good amount of quality too. Nothing hurts though so that is good. Might race the Feel Good Farm snowshoe race this weekend. Not sure yet.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Go Big or Go Home

M- Old Westside & Moat Lane 9.3 mi 1:04:13 (6:54 pace), felt good, easy run, 10x50m strides after
Tu-AM: Old Bartlett Crown Ridge 5.6 mi 42:53 (7:39 pace), felt ok, very windy, ran w/ Joe Shairs
PM: Settlers Green 3.0 mi 28:27 (9:29 pace), still cold and windy, ran w/ Roger
W-AM: Office to Falcon Way & Back 6.5 mi 50:17 (7:44 pace), felt good, not as windy as yesterday, ran w/ Joe Shairs, drills and exercises after
PM: classical skiing on the Ellis River Trail w/ Jess, 1:20:00 skied easy, quads and abs sore from exercises!
Th-AM: Wal-Mart Corridor 19 Trail 6.0 mi 46:46 (7:48 pace), felt good, still sore from exercises, ran 3.0 mi out w/ Paul for warm-up then did a fartlek on the way back in 19:31 (6:30 pace). Trail was well packed snow/ice. Made for fast running. Used MudClaw O+ spiked shoes.
PM: North Conway Short Loop 3.6 mi 36:23 (10:06 pace), slushy, ran easy with Roger
F-Corridor 19-->Hurricane & Back 10.4 mi 1:40:55 (9:42 pace), felt ok, a little tired, packed snowmobile trail with loose stuff on top, left hip a little sore, 10x20 hills near end, ran w/ Paul
Sa-Wal-Mart to E. Conway Powerline Jct. 12.0 mi 1:40:16 (8:21 pace), felt good, used snowshoes on the snowmobile trails, 2.3 mi w/u in 20:49, then did a 9.7 mile tempo in 1:19:27 (8:11 pace)
Su-Hurricane Mt. Rd.-->Black Cap-->Peaked Mt. 12.0 mi 2:48:35 ( 14:03 pace) 3000+' of elevation gain, felt good until second climb up Black Cap, bonked big time, snow was loose on this climb, but good run overall.

Totals: 68.4 miles, 12.0 hours. Pretty happy with the week considering its the best I've had in a long while in terms of volume and quality. Left hip was a little sore near the end of the week, but it's probably from the addition of running in the snow. It felt better today though. The paces on the snowshoe / snowmobile trail runs probably don't mean much because of varying conditions, but I was very happy with the fartlek, especially considering it's the first hard effort I've had since Bay State. I fell off near the end of the tempo, but not too bad. 8:11 pace is not too bad though for an effort that long on snowshoes, even if it is groomed. I used the same trail for both of those. It's a rolling hilly trail that I've always wanted to run hard but have usually just used for easy miles. I think I'd like to keep using this trail as a benchmark for these workouts. This week I had the luxury of some reduced hours at work, so the volume won't be as high next week, but I will make sure I get all of the quality in. Also, I may cut the long run down to the 2:00-2:15 range until I get used to the volume and intensity, but I want to keep the climbs in it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

2009 wasn't too bad of a year. There are some things I wish had gone better, but on the whole, I was more consistent than years past.

The numbers:
2197.9 miles
42.27 miles/week
6.0 miles/day

352.5 hours
6.78 hours/week
58 minutes/day.

The numbers aren't staggering, as my career best mileage was around 2700 miles, but I didn't really have any long layoffs as a result of injuries or burnout. I took a good amount of time away from serious training after Bay State, but I needed it and I think it will pay off in the long run.

I got to run in some great races thorughout the year. Some highlights:
-3k PR (9:03) by 1 sec at Dartmouth Relays. Nothing special, but good to blow out the pipes in the middle of the winter.
-win at Sandwich Sidehiller snowshoe race. Great course with a lot of snow. Great battle with Double J right to the finish. Felt good to get a win after getting my butt handed to me in the indoor track races.
-7 Sisters was an interesting race that I hope to go back and do again. Very technical with a lot of up and down. Lesson learned: it' s not easy to run away from three ultras guys on a course like that.
-great battle with Ryan Carrara at Wachusett. The new up/down course was fun. Especially running all out on the downhill fireroads trying to make up the gap on Ryan.
-Mt. Washington didn't go the way I had hoped, but the atmosphere around the race is always great. It's great to get to run with my friends and the best mountain runners in the country in my backyard.
-Had a redeeming race at Cranmore. Didn't climb well, but held my own and then some on the downs on the home course. My first top 10 at the USATF Championships in a long time in a loaded field.
-Pikes Peak was a great experience. Was hoping for a faster time, but 8th place in a solid field for a flatlander ain't bad.
-The Pemi Loop 31.5 mile run wasn't an official race, but was one hell of a hard effort. I'll never forget running 6:20's on the Wilderness Trail with Ben Nephew to break the record by seconds.
-The Ollie 4.91 miler is not my favorite race, but was pretty close to a PR. One of the best efforts I had all year.
-Topsfield XC. Good, old fashioned cross country.
-Bay State Marathon. Jogging in the last 7 miles at 7:30 pace wasn't fun, but a PR was good. 2:41 is nothing to write home about, but it beats a 2:53. It will be a long time before I run another road marathon though.

My main goal for 2010 is to have fun with running. In the past I've gotten so caught up in results and expectations that I lost site of the parts of running that I love. I know not every workout or run is going to be fun, but most of the time it should be.

A new goal for me for the coming year is to make my running have a positive impact on other people. I've always tried to help out at races, mentor, and answer running questions to help give back to the sport that has given me so much, but I would like to use my running to raise money for charity or bring attention to a good cause.

I'm not going to get to specific with race goals yet, as I don't know what they are. I'd obviously like to finish in the top 6 at Washington, but I'm going to assess my fitness as the winter and spring goes along to see what is realistic. You've got to set you goals high, but not so high that you can't reach them.