Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sunday Muddy Sunday analysis

Alot of people like to got out fast and see how long they can hang on. I agree with the letsrun brothers that "even-splitting a race is the only way to go to get a world record in a long distance event." Or, more generally, even splits result in any optimal effort (the fastest one can run on that particular day). So I wasn't going for a world-record Sunday, but I did want to give the race my best effort. My splits:

1st half: 6.6 miles, 245 ft. net elevation gain, 57:36, 8:45 min/mile pace
2nd half: 6.6 miles, 245 ft net elevation loss, 1:02:11, 9:25 min/mile pace

That is a big positive split and emphasizes just how different trail racing is from road racing. On roads, I can hit mile mile splits within a few seconds of my expected time and I always slightly negative split, except for the two time that I've cramped at about 8k of a 10K. The result is, invariably a good race. At the Craig Cup 5K, I also have slightly negative splits, largely because I know the course and can run it blind. Again, I've always had good races there.

But a trail race, especially on an unkown trail, is very difficult to get an even split. If you go out too slow in the first half, all the speed in the world in the 2nd half isn't going to get you the place you could have achieved with something closer to an even split. But if you go out too fast, you bonk and slow hard in the 2nd half. Given the highly variable effort in a trail race, from mud to steep ups to steep downs to flats on hard surface to tight single track, it takes either huge skill to achieve that perfect (even-split) pace or an intimate knowledge of the course. So that's a skill to work on, finding that race pace that balances the too slow (creating a big negative split, which ends up with a sub-optimal time) and the too fast (creating a big positive split, again with suboptimal results).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I don't have screw shoes, maybe I should buy these

Here is a nice review of the inov-8 mudclaw 330. My question is, how quickly do the lugs on the sole wear? Since I don't run in the winter, these may be the perfect shoe for December/April running (I'm being optimistic that I won't be running much in March either).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Base racing

My running goals this spring were to do 40-45 miles per week (over 5 runs) at a mostly easy pace. Since I run routes that are hilly and I tend to speed up on climbs, I would get some strength work in just as part of these runs. And the occasional short race, like Blackstrap Heaven, thrown in to get some neuromuscular training at speed seemed like it couldn't hurt.

Then I decided to race Muddy Moose. OK not in the schedule but we can adapt. Then I met Ian, Erik, Jim, Chuck, and James "man are you sucking wind too" Demer for the regular TNR at Twin Brook.

We started at a slow pace but my HR already seemed high and my breathing was heavy. James noticed. I lost my shoe in the first mud hole just before the jump across the creek. Everyone stopped to watch me jump it but I didn't give them a show. But I heard Ian made it. The pace stayed relatively slow for the first half but I wasn't feeling very perky.

Apparrently, we've now instituted sprints into the TNR and the first (and only tonight) sprint ended at the entrance into the A loop. Jim took off before we even got to the big bridge crossing one of the twin brooks - he wanted to take advantage of the downhill. I took off just after the bridge, which meant I had about 300 yards maybe, mostly uphill, to the finish line. I actually felt pretty good, which surprised me given how lethargic I was up 'till then. I got a good jump on James and Ian and I'm not sure if Chuck took the bait and entered the fray. Regardless, I couldn't hold off James, who blew past me with maybe 50 to go.

It's good to throw fartlek style stuff into a run like this, so we don't forget how to run fast (really, that neuromuscular training at speed is important). But James used the sprint to push the pace for the rest of the run. At this point I should have just let him go and returned to a sane pace, especially since I just had a hard run 2 days ago in Sunday muddy Sunday. But no one wanted to crack and we followed James like a pack of hounds after the fox. The HR graph pretty much says it all.

For whole 2nd half of the run, I had an ache about mid-tibia that I thought might be either shin splints or a stress fracture. When we finished the run, I looked at my shin and was instantly reminded that I have a bruise/cut from the log that jumped up and hit me during my sprint down big sandy hill at the muddy moose. I guess I forget about these things but was relieved none-the-less.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Muddy Moose race report

The short report is here. This is the looooong report...

The muddy moose broke me, but I'll try to keep my excuses and whining to a minimum. My day did start well. Since I only decided to race the race the day before, I had not prepared my mind and body for a 14 mile run in mud and steep hills and didn't want to repeat my Great Glen bonk-a-thon. About 4PM I sent out a distress e-mail to the TMR blog for gu packs but panicked enough to call Peak Performance, which came through with a couple of packs for me in my favorite flavors. I met Shauna, Jim, and Erik in the Back Cove parking lot and away we went with Shauna driving to Wolfeboro NH. At the race we met Ryan, Danielle, Ian, and Carter.

The temperature was about 72F throughout the race and 56% humidity, not bad if you were picnicking under a tree in the shade. The race started off on a road so the start was fast. It slowed down quickly. What slowed the race was about 1.5 miles of snowmobile trail that was mud from start to end. We had been told at the start that this was a "dry year". Huh? These weren't the fun little mudholes like Blackstrap but long, long stretches of energy-sucking muck with enough buried rocks and sticks to keep you really alert. Actually, these were fun, at least at this point in the race. The mud was followed by 1+ mile of dirt road that took us down to someone's sweet little camp on a small pond. At this point, two lovely women told the runners to take a left, which took us onto a 200 foot climb, the first 4/5 being about a 60% grade. I walked immediately but still caught a small pack of runners running the climb. The pack sort of bottlenecked at the top, the pack being 5 of us, including Andrew Clemence, who skies for UNH now and skied for Falmouth a few years ago. Following the uphill, Matt Silva took the lead with me close behind, as we flew down a fairly steep cut with loose sand, dropping all of the elevation that we had gained on the climb.

We passed the 5 mile aid station and I took the lead (in my little pack) at this point as we started a long, 1.5 mile 400 foot climb. Not a bad grade but the trail had a few rocky water holes (more like mountain water holes than snowmobile trail mud pits). At this point I started to develop a slight side stitch, which has happened in two previous 10Ks when I'm racing right at my limit. I slowed and the Andrew, Matt, and a masters runner named Jeremiah Fitzgibbon passed me. Jeremiah was nice and asked if I was ok. Luckily the grade started to steepen, allowing me to walk at a pace hardly slower than those running. Also around here, Justin Freeman, who was leading the race blew by going downhill (did I say that the race is an out and back?). The leaders kept running past, and kept running past and I quickly realized that we had a lot of runners ahead of us. Wow, I knew this race was part of a series and they had a record registration but I was surprised to see how far back I was, especially all those masters runners. Somewhere in all this rocky, wet stuff, I moved back close to the lead in my little pack, just behind Andrew.

Then I saw Ryan and gave him a big hi-five. Seeing Ryan meant that I had, in fact, made the turn, and I was passing racers that were behind me. So maybe I wasn't that far back. The course isn't really out-and-back but there is a one mile loop at the turn-around, which runners can take in either direction. My plan was to go counter-clockwise but I never saw the split in the trail so didn't realize that I was on this loop. And I went around clockwise. Ian must have gone around clockwise too because I never passed him.

The pack of five was little spread out at this point. Andrew had really motored around the loop and was losing the rest of us. Following the loop, there was a 1+ mile gradual downhill, which was a great relief, especially because I had successfully rid my sidestitch. At the 9 mile aid station, I stopped to take 3 cups of water with my rasberry hammer gel. Gel good, 3 cups of water bad. Jeremiah passed me here. The fun quickly stopped as we returned to another climb. The pack contracted and I was now in back by the time we reached the 100+ foot steep, steep climb of sandy road/trail/tree cut. We were all walking this, except Stephanie Crawford, who passed me as she ran up the whole climb. I hadn't seen her till now and thought, "well she's done" as she ran up. So much for my forecasting. From the top, we had to gently descend back down the 60% grade to the sweet little camp. At this point, with 3+ miles left, I had little energy left in the tank and couldn't keep up with my pack. Andrew had been long gone since the turn-around while Matt, Jeremiah, and Stephanie slowly disappeared into the distance. One other runner in the pack, Tom Miller, also seemed to be slowing. I slowly worked my way along the dirt road back to the 1.5 miles of mud.

This time, the mud broke me. It reduced me to a pathetic blob of tissue. My balance was shot, which made it really hard to run through the puddles with all of the sunken rocks. Mud had worked it's way into my band-aid and was grinding against my blistered skin from the blister I got nearly two weeks ago. Now I had thoughts of walking in or running barefoot. Walking actually seemed to rub the blister more so I tried to run but really had zero balance and didn't want to go down in the mud. This all made 1.5 miles of hell. But Tom was still just ahead of me and he played the part of the rabbit. I passed Erik, who had run the 4 mile race and was now out on the course taking video. He should have good footage of a very broken man. I finally reached the road and was able to muster enough energy to run the final 1/2 mile at a decent pace, good enough to just break 2 hours for the race. The 100 foot tree-cut sandy climb hadn't broken Stephanie, who finished 3 minutes ahead of me and was the first woman finisher. I finished 16th overall, 2nd master and 1st in AG (Jeremiah was first master and is 50+). But I thinked I picked a good year to run this race since past results suggest that New England's fastest masters trail runners didn't show this year. Full results are here.

Not long after I finished, the other trail monsters came in. Jim looked great - I think he's the only one of us that had real fun during the race, despite running 12+ miles with mud in his eye. Ian and Ryan looked about how I had felt and were probably semi-dehydrated, like me. And Carter had stopped sweating so he was in deep dehydration mode. We all need to do better with hydration for our next race. Shauna and Danielle, who had done the 4 mile race, were there to cheer us on at the finish and took some nice pictures, one of which is up top. Shauna finished 2nd in the 4 mile race and woulda had first had she not aided Jim's eye. Following the race, we had a nice bacon-burger-beer fest, which made everything feel better.

The race director put on a great race. He ordered up mud and got it. The course was well marked. Lots and lots of volunteers on the course giving us directions and working the aid stations. The bi-di loop is a great addition. And the homemade cookies and brownies at the end were sweet. This race will definitely remain on my calendar.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

OK, maybe I'll race it tomorrow...

but I'm definitely not racing seven sisters.

(it being the Muddy Moose. Until 5 minutes ago, my plan was to run a tempo, or maybe a fartlek, or maybe 1/2 of it at race pace, or whatever. You know, something that falls within the parameters of my highly specialized and extremely scientific training plan for the Craig Cup 5K in October. What attracts me to racing it is that it is part of a series and while I'll be gone for the 2nd race of the series I might go do the 3rd race, which is on the famous Oak Hill trails in Hanover).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How many miles riding = miles running?

That is my wacky HR profile for my 5.5 mile/2o minute bike commute into work yesterday. First, my max HR is only about 175, and that big peak at the beginning is a wierd artifact so ignore it. Most surprising to me was the average HR of 120 over the whole ride (about 60% of my heart rate reserve). I have to run really slowly to keep it at 120. I was riding reasonably hard during this ride (I never stop pedaling when I ride, except when I'm stopped at a traffic light), enough that my thighs were feeling it.

My run at twin brook tuesday night was at a 9:20/mile pace and my average HR was 129 (about 65% of heart rate reserve). Let's say, then that a 10:00 min/mile pace would keep me at 120 b/m, equal to the bike HR. So I'm burning the same amount of aeobic calories on my bike at a pace of 16.6 mph as running at 10 min/mile. Interesting. Anyway, this means that I would need to go 16.6 miles (what I'd do in 1 hour on the bike) for every 6 miles of run (what I'd do in the run) to use the same amount of energy (or burn the same number of calories). That's almost 3X. I'll be able to nail that number down a little better when I get more HR data but its a pretty good comparison to how the professionals have measured bike miles to run miles conversions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Twin Brook

Erik and I ran Twin Brook tonight for our regular TMR TNR. We did the usual loop but skipped the creek crossing because I didn't want to violate the warranty on my new Garmin 305 on its first day out. The trails are holding up extremely well to the rain. Almost all of the trails other than the far back cloverleaf trail are devoid of leaves and so dried out beautifully this week and have a nice, smooth surface. Consequently they were holding essentially no water even after raining all day. Despite the nice trails, it was a cold rain that was falling and I was happy to crank up the heat in my car on the ride home.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Beef up your Training Log

My Garmin 205 is not dead yet but it's close enough to throw on the cart. Starting in February, the watch would Spontaneously Turn Off Power (STOP). This seemed to happen near the beginning of a ski for whatever reason but once I made it past 5 or 10 minutes, it seemed to stay on for however long I skied. This occurred maybe once per week, or even every other week. On Friday, the watched STOPed about 1 mile into James and my run to mark Blackstrap Heaven and on Saturday, it STOPed about 5 s into the race but then it worked fine during my Saturday afternoon run to pick up the course. Sunday, I had 4 STOPs during our 12+ mile run at Pineland and then this morning on my commute into school, I had probably 20 STOPs! Yes, I kept turning the watch on and it would just pick up where it left (or turned in this case) off. So while I seem to have extended the useful life out of my watch, with little frustration, for about 2 months, I think it's time to retire it.

The good news is that I purchased a 305 through Amazon and paid the $3.99 for 1 day shipping so I should have it for Twin Brook tomorrow night. Curiously, my watch worked almost perfectly on the commute home from school but did STOP with about 1/4 mile to go.

Interestingly, my run at Pineland yesterday and my commute home today were safely recorded in the watch's history and so I was able to load them into MotionBased. But my morning commute, the one with the 20+ STOPs, didn't get recorded into the history. Since I am anal about having all my activities in my log, this could have sent me into a deep depression.

Luckily I figured out how to trick MotionBased (or any digital log). I exported a previous commute-to-school-activity as a garmin training center file, which is simply a text file that can be opened in any text processor. Each data point is time-and-date stamped, so I did a global search and replace of "04-20" for "04-14", resaved the file, imported it into MotionBased and presto, there was my ride in this morning! The time of the activity is shifted about 20 minutes since I didn't change the time-stamp but I can live with that. Also, my ride in this morning wasn't quite so fast since I kept futzing around with the power on and start buttons (not recommended while riding on Forest Ave in morning traffic).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TMR SuMR @ Pineland

Pictures of Heaven have been posted to my race report from yesterday (thanks Mindy!).

This morning Team What's Snow , their buds Nate, Shannon, and Finley, Mindy & I ran at Pineland Farms. Maybe Ryan is still running. It was cool at the start, but since everyone was waiting for me, I, at least didn't get that cold. The trails are drying out nicely but deep muck spots can still be found. We took it at a nice easy pace with Mindy and I running the hills at the pace Ryan and Danielle were walking them. Whose HR was higher do you think? My Garmin 205 is misbehavin' again. I think it must be a loose battery connection inside. Plenty of juice but it spontaneously turns off. I turn it back on and it works fine. So now I'm in search of a good deal on a 305. Danielle shortened her run by doing the Oak Hill inner loop and Mindy and I stopped after Oak Hill while Ryan kept going, hoping to hit 20m. Mindy and I soaked our feet in the pond for a few minutes and then Danielle and I enjoyed the comfy leather couch and a gorgeous view of the rockpile while I had my (what is becoming) regular cup of coffee and cinnemon roll. I felt no guilt as I was talking to Danielle and Shannon in front of the Market as we watched Ryan making the 180 degree turn at the top of the stadium. Go Ryan!

Week totals
Run distance: 40 miles, all trails
Cycle distance: 30 miles, all road

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to win a race

1. Host a race on your home course with lots of turns and hills so you know where to turn and when to slow down and when to hit the gas
2. Have said race on Boston Marathon weekend so that 1/2 the field is away
3. Only invite friends that train for 100 mile runs, but make sure the race is no more than 5 miles.
4. Be sure to encourage entrants to run the course just before the race to "get to know the course".
5. Run hard and hope #1-4 did their job!

amendment #1. Make sure Gnarls "would have done the race as a cool down to my scheduled 30 miler and still beaten Jeff" Barclay is working that day

Blackstrap Heaven - race report

Thanks to Mindy for taking the pictures...

When did DD starting selling these?

Why we run
Hey, where are all the women?
a. working
b. on their way to Ft. Collins
c. behind the camera
d. all of the above

Why we buy Weber portable grills

Results are here.

Jamie's report, starring Ryan as a carrot
Ryan's report

My race report: Perfect weather for running but too cloudy to get good views of Mt. Washington from the tree farm. Not that we were going to appreciate the view or anything. The usual spring pools were full and the creeks were running well, despite the week of dry weather. I set the pace hard on the first (road) uphill to get the race going and didn't really let up except when I stopped to reset a few orange flags. Ran fast on all the downhills and on the flats but everyone else seemed to run faster. Ran hard on all the uphills and this seemed to work in my favor. Had to push it on the final 1/3 (road) mile because James "I'm not strong at short races" Demer was gaining ground quickly and I new he'd catch me on the flat. Luckily, the ground ran out before he caught me.

Blackstrap Hell, of course, has no aid stations, but Blackstrap Heaven, as one would expect, did. The aid was coffee brandy provided by Ian P. and handed out by Randy W. who also volunteeried as videographer. Never heard of the stuff. Nice addition Ian!

Great food at the apres-race cookout. Lots of good stuff to drink and eat. Sarah and Ava Demer brought coffee (thanks!), John W. brought pancakes, someone else brought a sweet bowl of fruit, and Ryan T. brought donuts with a maple frosting topped with bacon. Ryan also won the strawberry preserves for "best strawberry" (gash occurred during race). John won the chocolate decadence spread for "mud highest on the body". And Mindy won the popcorn to sprinkle behind her on her next trail run for taking the "most likely to get lost had she not been called back" award.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Blackstrap Heaven - The Other Side of Hell: Course Info

Blackstrap Heaven - The Other Side of Hell is on for 9AM tomorrow! James, Mory, Rodney, Sasha, and I flagged the course today. Like it's name, this is heaven compared to the other side. It's only 5.3 miles and has only 770 feet of elevation gain. Despite the fire warnings today, there is plenty-o-puddle along the route, including a couple that will require high-stepping. You'll need to pay attention to the orange flags and arrow signs too, which is part of the skill of the game. Come out early and run the course before hand. An easy pace will get you through in 1 hour. Just remember to turn right onto Hardy Rd. after the orange flags stop and you find yourself on a dirt drive beside a bunch of trucks. That's right, the last 1/3 mile is on the road.

Afterwards, we will be eating a hearty breakfast, so bring something to share!

Directions to the parking area are here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Squishing mud 'tween the toes

I had to return some rental skis that my kids used to the MWSC at Pineland so I used the opportunity to run the trails. The trails are drying out nicely and there is, effectively, no snow. Twin Brook last night had much more snow.

The goal today was to do everything but Oak Hill, starting from the Visitor's center, then campus loop, River Valley, Valley Farm, back to River Valley, and back to the Visitor's center. Everything felt great until about 4.75 mi in, at the bottom of the River Valley loop, I thought I had sand rubbing between my big toe and it's neighbor toe. It wasn't sand but fresh tissue from a blister that I must have given myself last night at Twin Brook running with wet socks in shoes with too tight of a toe box (inov-8 mudroc 280). Other than once when I ran with no socks, I have *never* had a blister, and I praise Wright Socks for this history. Long story short, in the span of two minutes I went from cutting my run short and skipping the River Valley loop, to walking, to walking with bare feet, to running with bare feet.

Running on the trails with bare feet felt great, especially the cold wet mud oozing past the blister. I stayed on the River trail at the yurt, expecting to just cut the run short, but then I crossed a few sections with loose gravel so decided to exit the trail into the fields. The first 1/4 mile was open field - no trails and running on the grass felt great. So I decided to stay in the fields and I cut back down toward the yurt to do the "Field loop". Every so often, a turgid blade of grass would spear the tender, fresh blistered skin, which didn't feel so great! I stayed in the fields on the way back to the Visitor's Center, or the side of the road when I got back to the campus (the road had a lot of loose gravel too). In the end, I got in about 1 mile less than I wanted; 7.5 miles total with the last 2.5+ miles barefoot.

I often close my runs at Community Park in Falmouth with 1 mile at a fast pace on the soccer fields, which helps to build foot strength. So today was an unexpected foot strength session, but not quite as pleasurable as running on a Falmouth soccer field barefoot (yes, we have *really* nice fields).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekly Rap-up

If I had an ounce of creativity or even a hint of musical talent, I'd set this to a Beastie Boys tune and video it. Oh well.

Mon - day of rest (ok, I was consumed with programming all day)

Tuesday - 7+ mile run at Back Cove with Ian, Chuck, and Jim. Fast pace. When was the last time a TNR was at Back cove?

Wed - 12 miles of bike commute + 5 miles at Back Cove at even faster pace than TNR (ok, its good to get out running again)

Thur -12 miles of bike commute + 6 miles of trail running on Blackstrap with the dogs

Fri - 12 miles of bike commute

Sat - 12+ miles at Pineland with everyone at right. Quickish pace. First 8 miles felt strong but legs quickly noticed the pace and distance by start of Oak Hill. The dip in the pond at end felt great!

Sun - 6+ miles with James and dogs on Blackstrap. James kept going and completed the climb-o-rama loop backwards.

Running total - about 37 miles/5 run days. Too much too soon? I started off super slow last spring with many, many walks and 2 mile runs. Worked like a charm. I'm shooting for 40 mile weeks generally with close to 50 miles during peak weeks.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Blackstrap Heaven - The Other Side of Hell

We're fast approaching peak spring race season so it's a good time to get out for a little tune-up followed by potluck pancakes and bacon. So tune-up, and celebrate Spring, at the 1st annual Blackstrap Heaven - The Other Side of Hell - an approximately 5 mile run on the west side of Blackstrap Ridge - this Saturday April 18 at 9AM. Following the race, and pending good weather, we'll cook up pancakes, bacon, sausage or whatever on my spiffy weber grill. Below is the approximate race course although I might throw in one more loop up and down Skillin's tree farm (because it's there). The route will include the famous "three sisters" aka "three bitches", but these are easier to climb (at least for a runner) than the tree farm. There will be mud. There will be rocks. There will be hills.

Meet at the Hardy Rd. pull-off, 0.6 miles from the junction of Blackstrap Rd. and Hardy Rd. Carpool if you can. You can get directions here. Please contribute to the apres-race breakfast (pre-made pancakes are easily heated or pre-made pancake mix can be thrown on the griddle, meat, OJ, fruit, etc.). I'll bring one grill but others can bring one too! Finally, please RSVP so that I can get an idea of the numbers.

UPDATE *** - Course info is here.

Running Man revisited

The Endurance Running Hypothesis, The Idea That Humans Evolved As Long-Distance Runners, May Have Legs Thanks To A New Study On Toes...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to get dogs across the invisible fence

The invisible fence goes right up with duct tape, sliced bread, and blogger as a can't live without invention. The problem is, I cannot get my dogs to cross over the fence when I want to go for a run from the house. They sit on their butts and refuse to budge. So for the last three years, I've always driven somewhere to go run with them. This often resulted in running home with them to drop them off (they'll cross from the road side), then running back to the car. But I found the solution a few days ago. My car is parked on the side of the drive, parallel to the road, and about where the fence is. I open the non-street side door and they hop in and I take off their collars. I walk around to the street side door, open, clip on their leashes, they hop out and we take off! Cacky is worried what the neighbors would think after seeing this.

Today we ran up Blackstrap Rd to the Hardy road trailhead of the Blackstrap ridge trail. We did one down and up through the Skillin's tree farm then came back the same way. The trail is completely free of snow ( a little in the woods) and ready for some action.

I also ran back cove on Tuesday for the TMR TNR and wednesday at lunch. I log back cove as a trail run, although I always feel guilty doing this.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sad really

This was supposed to be an animated gif of the snow disapearing from Southern Maine, but blogger converts the animated gif to a .png file. If anyone knows how to insert an animated gif into my blog, do tell. I obsess over these snow maps all winter and wanted to create an animated gif from the start. But I didn't start actually saving the files until March 18 - the beginning of the end.

Anyway, not sure what the title refers to. The disappearance of the snow? My inability to insert an animated gif? Or maybe, the fact that I obsess over graphs like this instead of being productive to society.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

TMR SMR @ Pineland

This morning was my first saturday morning run with TMR since December, and it was TMR's first run at Pineland Farms for 2009. Conditions were typical Maine early spring running - lots of ice, a little soft snow, and some ankle-deep muck. It was nice to see many of the TM running buddies (blog links at right), especially Ryan, who just announced that he's pregnant (at least vicariously). Woohoo!

Don Medd also showed up. Don ran with us once in the fall, at Bradbury, and has done the Pineland Farm's trail challenge at least once. Don was having fun skiing on the ice. I tried it a few times but I couldn't slide as well. I'd like to think it was because he was wearing road shoes and I trail shoes, but I suspect it was because he's a bad-ass Bates skiing alum. Hopefully Don will keep running with us.

I also met Carter somebody for the first time. We ran most of the first 9 miles together (where I stopped) and we had a nice chat. I'm glad he's running with the group.

Ian, Ryan and I stopped at 9 miles (I ran a little more on the first leg because I did the cloverleaf on Valley Farm 2x), changed into some dry clothes and went to the Visitor's center and talked all things trail running on the comfy leather couch with some coffee and high-calorie baked stuff. Later we were joined by Emma, Jim, and Carter. Super relaxing - indeed I was on the couch for longer than I ran.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Need to find the running mojo

I skied Oak Hill today - but more on that later...

I've had a hard time this week finding my running mojo. I did run twice, on the roads, on Tuesday and Thursday. A little over 5 miles each. But I've not been too motivated. Part of this demotivation is due to the dreary spring weather we've had this week. Not a good excuse. Part of this demotivation has resulted from biking to work this week (since I get excercise biking, why run?). Still not a good excuse. Most of the demotivation, though, is the direct consequence of my motivation to program. A little background. From about age 22 to about age 39 I spent most of my waking life sitting in front of a computer programming the code necessary to compute some statistic or simulate small insect flight or visualize shape differences. I didn't get out much.

But I programmed in Pascal, a thriving language in 1990 but the Latin of computer languages by 2000, when I started my job at USM. Fortunately, I was able to keep programming in pascal and re-purpose my old code because Apple did a bang-up job simulating the old system 9 OS in Mac OS X. But the times they are a changin' and I wasn't changing with it. Starting in about 2004, I had effectively stopped programming, because I was too resistant to really dive into a new language. So my research productivity dropped sharply after 2005 and, not coincidently, my outdoor recreational activities rose sharply! But my trip to Colorado last week re-motivated. I'm now using R. And I'm now sucked into the vortex of my programming life and can't get out to run. Just like 1995.

So, back to the ski. Yeh, 5+ miles on Oak Hill. The snow was surprisingly hard and icy - not so good for skiing but I guess ok for running. It took me a while to get into into but once I decided that my rock skis really are rock skis and I could lightly jog across the bare spots without de-skiing, it became much more fun.
M - nothing
T - bike 2X 6 mi, run 5 mi
W - bike 6 mi, bike 10 mi
Th - bike 2 X 6 mi, run 5 mi
F - ski 5 mi

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring's not here yet!

Hold off on that run at Pineland - I talked with the nordic center yesterday and they said they would groom Friday night if tonight's and tomorrow's forecast holds. Sweet huh? April skiing!