Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Gambler

For some reason the lyrics to this Kenny Rogers song popped into my head when I thought about how I wanted to write this post.  It was a crazy week for me, between work stress and having a big ramp up in my workouts.  My weekend was filled with two big runs.  The first was me scouting out BearBrook park for the Marathon next month. While I was out there I ran into another running group and spent the second half of the run hanging out with them.  They were nice folks and it was cool to meet some new people in the running community.  Supposedly they are reversing the course this year so all the technical running will be done in the first half. We scouted out the second half and I’m pretty familiar with it.  Going to be a good run, Very confident that I am going to finish this run no problem.

A few things I noticed this week that are making me feel really good.  The first thing is how strong I am feeling.  Strength in my legs is at an all time high.  It’s not just my legs though.  The rest of my body seems to be getting in shape also.  I’m doing crossfit once a week, I need to add another day, but over all I feel strong.   I’m still having issues with my busted up shoulder..there are certain things that I try to do and the arm just doesn’t work.  Hard to describe..it’s not pain, the arm just won’t work.  Regardless , other things, pushups, lifting, walking I just feel strong.  Even my wife has notices some changes too.  It’s helping with my confidence and it’s reaffirming that I am doing this right.  I’m also healing pretty fast too.  Not sure if it has anything to do with it but I’ve been starting every day off with a protein shake made with Hemp Protein and amazing Grass superfood.  So far, no stomach issues and , yea feeling great!

That being said, I think I found a limit..or THOUGHT I found my limit today.  I had another busy day lined up so I wanted to get out to Pawtuckaway early but I got to bed late and , well you have to strike a balance. Sleep = healing and I had just run 13.5 miles and had another 12-13 planned today.  I headed out around 7am and I felt REALLY good again, I was kind of worried. (Yea, I’m a bit of a pessimist)  It was already warm and I didn’t really consume enough calories for breakfast.  I had two bottles of tailwind but not sure there were enough calories there. I figure I would just take my time and not push it.  I had the mighty mighty bosstones cranked and was really excited to run.

Things started out well..kept a slow pace, kept my heart rate low. The deer flys were bad and for some reason they were biting my legs so that started to get annoying but dealt with it.

I don’t want to bore you with the details so I’ll try to summarize what happened.  The first part of the run is A LOT of climbing and I started to feel fatigue about 45 min in.  I started to take in water and calories but wasn’t having much impact.  I finally made the peak of south mountain at about 1:28:00 .  This put me on track for a decent run, but I was hurting at this point.  I was having pain in my hip and right leg.  My feet were not happy.  I headed down the mountain and some of the rocks were very slippery and I had to ease up a bit.  I opened up when I could to make some time but the fatigue was getting worse and I was having trouble keeping my feet under me.  The second half off the mountain is extremely technical and it was chewing up my feet and my hip was getting worse.  I had a choice.  I could cut the run short or finish out the last section.  I was pretty close to calling it off.  It would have left me short for the week but I didn’t care at this point.  I ran the last section to the junction and the smoother trail had helped me feel a bit better so I decided to go for it.  Twenty feet into the woods my hip started screaming again.  This part of the course is technical but more of a flowing up down technical.  I pushed on talking lots of walk breaks.  I got to the 1 mile to go sign and I was pretty pissed.  I had felt so great earlier but it was all gone.  I felt broken and weak and I was getting chewed apart by bugs and the trail.  I started off to finish and then something hit me, can’t really describe it.   I thought, one mile?  Let’s push it, let’s see what I have left in me. I kept it controlled but purposeful.  I knew the rest of the trail was mostly down hill, some ups and downs but it was twisty and single track goodness.  I went from running 12-14’s to a 9:50 for that last mile and finished in the 7:00’s and all the pains were gone.  I gambled and won ..this time

Sometimes in life you have to just make a decision and stick to it.  Not once during that last mile did I let myself think, this is a bad idea, why am I doing this?  Instead I embraced the trail, and let it take me to the end, enjoying the challenge, letting the my legs seek their own path.  I went for a ride and it was worth every second.

 

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I just ran a swim race….

Tonight was the first race of the inaugural  Harmony Hill trail series and the weather has been pretty damn crazy the past few days.  Hot- super high humidity.  Today was a little cooler and lots of rain.  I’m still suffering from Chipoltes revenge, Steve’s crossfit and whatever else you want to throw in there.  I left work early because I wasn’t getting anything done and felt like a truck had rolled over me.  I got home and fell asleep for 3 hours. I don’t think I moved.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make the race but I somehow found the strength to get up.  I stumbled around the house trying to decide what to do.  Heather sent a message telling me to get the fuck up and get dressed.  Fine.

Lise came home and asked how I was doing and if I planned on running.  I felt better so I figured what the hell.  I told pottymouth to come pick me up.  Amanda (Who is waaaay cooler than pottymouth) was coming along too.  She just started running this year and just finished a beginner 5k group.  She also started running at a local park and really likes running on the trails.  We figure she is a prime candidate for the cult.  She did great tonight and says she’ll come back for more so I think we have a new convert.  It will be nice to have someone cooler than Heather around.  (Right now I’m guessing Heather is saying things like “Fucker”  “asshole” etc etc)

The race is being organized and run by a local runner Kristina Folcik.  Kristina has been doing some big ultra’s lately and just won the Women’s Overall at the Cayuga 50 in New York.  Her boyfriend Ryan is a hell of a runner also.  Finishing in the top 10 at 50 milers.  It’s pretty cool to have some them sort of in the same running circles.  I might have a chance to run with them this saturday as prep for the Bear Brook Marathon in July.  Ryan and Kristina are co-directing the race.

There were about 50 people there and they gave some instructions and then they  said go!  I wasn’t where I wanted to be but with such a small field it was easy to zip up to the front.  I settled in about 12 th place  (I’m kind of guessing…I forgot to start my watch and they won’t post results until friday.  I could have been further back not sure.  The run starts in a big hay field and all the rain made the grass heavy and hot.  I was watching the lead runner pull away and looked at my watch and I was running a mid 5…and they were pulling away.  Needless to say I didn’t keep that pace.  Once we got in the woods I knew the trail really well. I run this course partly at least once a week.  I was able to overtake one runner entering the woods and then settled in trying to recover my heart rate and breathing.

It was all for not. The humidity was too much and I couldn’t slow my heart rate or breathing without slowing down so I just decided to suffer.  I kept pace with the guy in front of me for a good portion of the race.  My legs were beat though and I heard someone catching me.  I thought it was the guy I passed but it was someone else.   I tried to keep up the pace but I knew the last mile was all uphill so I let him go and just settled in for the grind.  I knew I had at least a minute on anyone behind me so I ran the best I could until the finish.  The water in the air was so thick…I wish I had gills..it was that bad.  It really did feel like I went for a swim.

It was a lot of fun.  The course is a nice 3.5 miles and everyone did great considering the conditions.  Looking forward to how much I can improve over the rest of the races.

More hill work is in my future.

 

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Dirty Dreams

Sorry not what you think.  Well maybe.

Last run I did with Pottymouth we talked a lot about how happy she is with her Pearl Izumi Peak II trails shoes.  Seriously, if you asked her to choose between cake and these shoes, I think her head would explode.

I am really intrigued with these shoes and I’m hoping this fall to try them. Maybe even before Vermont.  It would be nice to have an alternate shoe for Vermont.  The speedcross will be a good shoe if the weather is anything like last year but if it’s dry the course is nice enough for a light trail shoe.

Dirty dreams….Lise and I were planning on meeting pottymouth on the seacoast to do some late evening swimming in the ocean, but mother nature had another idea.  As the skys opened up we decided to stop at Chipolte for dinner.   The rain wasn’t letting up so we headed home and I ate up my burrito.  I realized I needed to be up early so I was passed out by 9:30. At some point I started having lucid dreams about buying several pairs of the Pearl Izumi’s    The store was a giant sized Runners Alley and all the people I know from the stores were there.  Heather was marching around the store yelling at me about buying so many pairs. I remember hiding from her in one of the displays while I had a pair of them on.  I kept laughing knowing it was a dream  (guess that was the lucid part) eventually I woke out of this state only to find my self battling with Chipoltes revenge.

It ended up being an early morning and I got out the door around 5am for about a 55 min run.   The first 3 miles went well but all hell broke loose after that.  I’ll spare everyone the details but let’s just say that Dante’s Inferno should have a special level where you are bent over in the woods with massive stomach and intestinal issues while deer flys chew on your neck and arms and mosquitos bite what’s left over.  Oh and add to that it’s 75 degrees dew point of 70 and everything is just wet and stagnant.

I REGRET having ordered the extra hot salsa….Yes–that was cherry on top of this giant disaster of a morning. … I walked for a bit trying not to cry , it was pretty sad.

After awhile the cramping abated and I was able to do a slow run back to the house.   I guess with all the highs you have to suffer some lows right?

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Stealthy post

Heather is switching to Mid’s  , which means my running partner is going to be a zombie for a few days.  I thought I would help by giving her some entertainment at 2 am.  I found the neat little thing in wordpress that allows you to post at a specific time after the post has been written.. Very cool.

Problem is that I now have to be entertaining which isn’t always successful. I already told her about my hallucinations on my Saturday run.  Her running has been really impressive lately.   Glad she stopped caring.  It was a good lesson for both of us.  I struggle to balance what is good for her and having someone to run with.  She’s been keeping up with me – maybe not on the long back to back runs but she can fill in the gaps and still bust out a 9-12 miles if she has time.  It’s difficult to tell her no.  She really likes running..I mean REALLY likes it.

Her new outlook on running is working well, she’s happy and running better for it.   I’m trying to take some of that with me moving forward.  Her enthusiasm can be contagious but I think her stepping back and re-evaluating is helping to keep me more focused.  I was really upset at my previous performance in Exeter.  I’ve already forgotten about it and ready to take on my next challenge.  Loon is coming up in three weeks and I’m scared shitless.  I know how hard it is to try and run up these mountains and the weather could be brutal.  I can’t wait to see how I do among some of these crazy people.  I am going to cut myself some slack this time.   I’m no where near good enough to expect great results.  I am giving myself another year to improve my aerobic base before I really really try to best my own times.  I have to constantly remind myself that these are personal tests.  I’m only competing with myself.

 

Speaking of….

tk

 

Anton Kuprika is making an attempt at the Nolan 14 today.  That’s 14 14,ooo+ ft peaks in one go at it.  Expected time was 30 hours.  I have been following since he started at  2am  (See that Heather…there are some people awake  🙂   )   He was running strong but this picture was recently posted and his handlers just said that it’s hour 13 and he’s hurting.   I can’t imagine what it must be like at that point.   In all his photo’s never really seen him like this.  I’ll remember this image next time I’m complaining the my legs are tired or that the flys are annoying.  I’ll consider it my perspective adjustment tool.

I just realized I have crossfit tomorrow as well as a 55 min run and a massage…gahhh.  Means I have to be asleep in about 45 min so I can be up at 4:30am to get my run in.

Until next time!

 

 

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Exeter 10K Trail race- Lessons in humility

This weekend I participated in Acidotic racings 10k Exeter trail race.  Originally it was going to be a few of us but due to injuries and schedules Katie and I are were the only two going.  At some point on Saturday I decided I was going to actually race and see how well I could do among the crazy elite runners that were going to be there.   It was about this point everything went downhill.  I guess I made the mental decision to go fast but I did NOTHING and I mean NOTHING to prepare to go fast.  I did everything wrong and I know better.  I was pretty upset with myself after the race, but I need to chalk it up to making that one mistake..not taking it serious.

At first it’s easy for me to dismiss this as a mistake but having chewed on it I need to own up to what it could represent which is self sabotaging my attempt at the longer distances.  I know better , and I know me too well.  To be honest it’s not like my time was bad or I was slow, it was the execution of the event and my thought process during it that was all wrong. I did the opposite of everything I preach.  I’m disappointed in myself and know I have to make up for it.  I want to know that when I say I am going to do my best , that I truly do exactly that.  I don’t want to look in the mirror and know inside that I could have done better.

Now for the details…if anyone cares feel free to read on.  Some of it may not seem like a big deal but to me some of this is.

1.  Pre-pack- have my shoes and socks picked out, I don’t want to be scrambling in the morning.   (Grade  F)  I didn’t pack shit.

2.  Know what I am going to carry for food/drink and have a plan.  (Grade  D)  I knew I was going to carry tailwind but no idea how much

3. Get plenty of sleep. Get up early.  Eat a good breakfast – get fuel in me.  (Grade C)  got sleep, had my shake but didn’t eat more which I should have.

4. Get to race early -r register  (Grade A)  Thanks to Heather I am now one of those eager beavers

5. Pee even if its close to start…(Grade F)  I held it..sucked…had to stop and put on a show

6. Start up front with faster racers  (Grade FFFF—–) I was almost last person into the woods…bottleneck…walked first half mile because we were so bunched together.  Then had to try and pass on really skinny trails and just took way too much effort.

7. Tech mistakes – wore my hr monitor…forgot to shut off the audible HR zone alert.  My hr spiked to 169 and kept bouncing so every time I passed someone I sounded like an ambulance WWEEEEWOOOWEEWOO.  I kept apologizing saying it was my watch telling me I was about to have a heart attack.

8. Keep up fast pace, pass when you catch people.  (grade C)  I kept pacing people..worrying I wouldn’t be able to keep a pace to pull away.  Every time I glanced at my watch I saw I was running too slow.  I think my problem was I kept listening to my watch telling me my heart rate was too high but IT WAS A RACE, that alarm is for training…GAH  Stupid…

I ended up ripping my hear rate monitor off 3/4 of the way through..I caught up with a local runner I knew and paced her for awhile..the trail got super technical and I had nothing left..mentally I had fried myself.  Jen let me pass with about 1 mile left and I put the hammer down and finished the last mile with a really fast pace, passed 5 more people and then went to the corner to sulk.

I knew I could have done a better job at race management..how much better I would have placed…no idea..wouldn’t have made much difference in the scheme of things.  The top racer finished the 10 miles in 64 min.  That’s insane for the crazy rocky terrain so I have know I am not in the running for any prizes.  It’s the personal failure that I’m trying to wrap my head around.

Next event is the start of a local trail series but I am not going to run the first few too fast.  I want to get a feel for the people and atmosphere.  My next race that I want to walk away from knowing I put it all out there is the Loon Mountain race.  5.7 miles up.  I have this stupid idea that I can run upper walking boss (40%) grade but regardless I just want to put forth 100% of me.  July 7th.

 

Here is my training peaks summary for the race.

Race Summary

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Finally a rest day

I have a few different things I wanted to write about so you might get a few posts in a row over the next few days… It really depends if I can get all literary and shit and incorporate all the topics into this post without it coming off as a crazy man with attention problems.

This is going to be kind of boring technical. I apologize in advance.  So awhile back I started reading up on heart rate training and it peaked my interest.  I think the death of Caballo Blanco kind of worried me.  How does a guy who should be in amazing shape suffer from heart disease.  The theory is that long distance runners can put strain on their heart and cause scarring. I read up on some training techniques by Dr. Maffetone.  The basic idea is to train at a specific heart rate so that you don’t enter an anaerobic state.  I may have written about it before.  The past year I have been trying to keep my heart rate low while training but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve had a reliable way to get the info I was hoping to see.

The other thing I did recently was to join a site called Training Peaks.  It’s geared towards tri-athletes but runners can get a lot out of the site also.  They have a lot of entries about heart rate and lactic acid thresholds etc etc.

I think what I understand out of all this is that you want to be able to run at  a level that is just below your lactic acid threshold.  In other words the muscles can flush out the lactic acid faster than you are producing it.  As you train your body gets better at this.  I do believe you can use your heart rate to know when this is happening.

So here is the little breakthrough I had recently.  I went on two runs this past week.  The first one I was running with my wife and we took a nice easy pace.  I have been suffering from back spasms and really sore legs from crossfit.  I hobbled along and when we reached Lise’s turnaround point I took off on my own.  As I ran along at an easy pace I noticed my heart rate was not really climbing.  I started to pick up the pace a little and pretty soon I was running 8 min and 9 min miles with a heart rate averaging around 135.  As I got to hills I noticed it would start climbing.  My legs were sore so I started to walk on most of the hills and I noticed my heart rate would recover really fast. Down to the 118 level after just walking for 30 – 60 seconds..up hill.  I kept up this pattern the whole run and I was able to run longer stretches at the 8 min pace without having to slow down.  My heart rate staying between 135-145.

I went on a second run and did the same thing and this time noticed I could continue to run up hill and not get over exerted if I slowed down soon enough.  Legs stayed strong, pace increased over time. The hills are making it a little hard to get reliable data but next time I run down by the seacoast I am going to see if I can maintain a long run at a low heart rate.  I also want to figure out at what level and for how long I remain at that heart rate that pushes me past the point of recovery.  If I can figure that out and start testing it out on long runs, I may have found the key to running a fast race.

I’ll update again after I have had more chances to experiment.

Ok calling this entry done.  I have a few more post topics I’ll be writing about soon so stay tuned!

 

 

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Some complainin’ and updatin’

Updated my photo to something more seasonal.  Been a week since Pineland.  I woke up 7 days ago to 38 degrees- snow and rain.  Today it’s going to be in the 90’s and Florida humidity.  Have to love New England.

Pineland was a great event and next year I’ll be running the 50k for sure.  We are also hoping to get more people up for the 5k and 10k races on Saturday.  Our little team of runners seems to be growing and it’s exciting to have more people going to events.

My last musings were a bit reflective- I really wasn’t excited about the post and , I don’t know how to explain it, feel like it was too personal in some ways but I’ve received some nice feedback on it.  I think what bugs me about it was that it wasn’t really thought out , I sort of threw some shit at the wall and wanted to see what would stick.  I think it’s a bit unfocused, even more so than my regular ADD posts.

So onward we go!   A few updates over the past week.

1.  Please fellow runners, practice good warm up and cool down techniques.  I went for a run on tuesday and felt strong, had a great run. Came back , showered and then hurt my back putting pants on.  I have had really bad back spasms since then.  Still suffering from them today.  I’m still running , which is probably the worst thing to do but I need to get the miles in and I seem to feel better running when the muscles get loose.  I’m going to try to make to a massage this week to see if I can get some relief.  Lots of travel for work this week though is not going to make this easy.

2.  I love running in the heat.  I’ve always sort of known this but damn, I enjoy a little heat and suffering when I run, but there is a limit…I sort of reached it yesterday – My heart rate monitor said “Heart Rate too high…”  yikes

3. I work part-time in parking enforcement for a local beach town.  It’s a major contradiction in my life…well for those that know me…parking enforcement at my primary job drives me nuts. Then I go off on saturdays and do the exact thing I hate. Yesterday was a madhouse with all the warm weather and people were just ignoring signs and blocking roads , it was amazing.  One guy was giving me shit about being in a permit parking only area, looking around like I was insane for suggesting it.  I almost started laughing because the giant sign that says PERMIT ONLY was right behind him and just over his head from my view point.  I had to literally point and say LOOK.  I guess the most disappointing thing from yesterday came at the end of the day.  I was in this one section of town and this really beat up car was parked in permit only.  I knew it wasn’t a local so pulled up and checked and saw the car was probably from Derry from all the stickers but no permit.   I wrote the ticket when a young lady with her young kid came up and started to explain she just stopped to pick up her boyfriend and kids.  I took the ticket and voided it and chatted with her for a few minutes.  Told her to be careful where she parks and we are out there often and ticket fast blah blah.  She was thankful.  (Mind you I did this more than once yesterday..people appreciate you being human once and while)  Just as I drive away a jeep full of twenty something guys, all shiny lift kit, surfboards.  (READ: mommy and daddy paid for)  jeep drives by and the driver yells at me that I have no soul.  Yep…no soul…  I don’t understand how my friends in law enforcement deal with this shit day in and day out.

4.  Cyclist-   I am an avid cyclist..mountain biker, road , you name it.  I am saying this up front because what I am about to say is horrible.  Cyclist are probably the worst people on the road.  I almost punched some yesterday.  I swear , there must be some special “asshole” card the cyclist on the NH seacoast must carry.  Know the FUCKING laws and stop being assholes and maybe JUST maybe people in cars won’t try to turn you into road paste.  I was running along the road against traffic like I am supposed to.  I am a pedestrian , I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.  Four or five cyclist were coming at me and did not move over , I got brushed by them..I started yelling at them to move over , I get a “go fuck yourself”. Classy.  The road was empty, all I wanted was a foot but nope…got a handlebar instead.

I shall end this on positive note though!  It’s summer..it’s green everywhere. The nasty deer-flies are not out yet.  It is heaven running in the woods right now.  I am really enjoying it and enjoying watching my friends grow strong and breaking personal bests.  It’s going to be a fun summer.

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