Current Training Status: not blogging... running.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race

This 10.5 mile trail race is very technical, have never seen so many runners at the trial side with twisted ankles. It draws a smaller field from what I can tell, in the sticks of Western Massachusetts very far from any beaten path. Last year I won my age group primarily due to the last two race conditions. I also won my age group becuase I tend to run faster as terrain worsens. There are just more reasons for my feet to stay off the ground and I just fly down the hills.

I hope I can pull this off again, but the statistics are not with me. Sunday, it will have been 8 weeks since my last run of 10 miles or greater. That was the disaster at Savoy, just a few miles down the road from Monroe. I love those woods in the north west corner of the state though, and won't stay away.

This past week I ran my first mountain run since Savoy. There are a few solid years of mountain running in these legs now, and two laps of Mt. Tom weren't that bad. I was in fact doing very well reaching the summit for the second time, and opened up my stride on the downhill for some serious speed.

It was a lot of fun. The next day, my legs were shot. Last night I had a nice casual run up to the summit of East Mountain, behind Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke. It went very well, my feet felt much more confident on the technical sections than they did 2 days earlier at Mt. Tom. till jittery at noises, every large shadow seemed like bear even though I only saw deer. I have had enough rocks under my feet to snap my central nervous system into focus. Hopefully, this means I won't break my neck Sunday and there will be a little bit more adrenaline to propel me.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

On Second Thought ...

Breakneck, what a scary name for a race! I decided against this, it is far too early after my recovery to hit a trail so technical. The fastest times for that 12.4 mile race were 1:45-50. That told me there was a lot of mud or rocks or something, and my feet are not conditioned to that stuff at this point.

Instead, I opted for a shorter local race, the Fit Together 5k in Hadley. It was a nice little race, and may have been actually 3.1 miles. If not, it wasn't too much shorter, and I ran a 20:17. I didn't have much speed or energy toward the end, but I kept a steady pace. Skipping Breakneck, I believe I dodged a bullet. This weekend last year, I began running a sore foot into a stress fracture that took 6 months to heal. Today's choice is quite an improvement in my book.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Breakneck 20k

Great name for a Trail Race! Breakneck takes place in Union, CT, the same parkland as the Nipmuck Trail Races. The footing in those two races is notoriously difficult. I expect this to be great preparation for a shot at Monroe Trail Race the very next weekend. There is no goal time for me, this is a long run. It will be the longest I've run since being sent to the sideline at Savoy. The map below is approximate:

Over the past week I've taken time off due to some plantar fascitis pain. My calves and legs in general were very very tight. I've been very dilligent about ab workouts over the past few weeks, and wonder if there isn't some strength imbalance going on. My diet and sleep habits have been less than ideal, and changing that over the period of two days made a world of difference. I'm going to continue being as dilligent about recovery as I am about my workouts and slowly grow my mileage.

I have a goal race in mind, the Monson Memorial Classic 1/2 Marathon. There will be plenty of races in the meantime, mostly Grand Tree series races that I'll do more as general workouts than races. Of course, the temptation of Bastate Marathon is only 2 weeks away now. I've paid for it and the RD will not let me postpone till 2010 or transfer my entry, so it looks like the Half Marathon there will be the plan.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

1 Week of Recovery Running

My son and I hiked the 7 Sisters trail today, a few miles of it, and I shot the video above. I need to run this by the end of the year. At the race in May I hobbled along a couple miles as spectator.

At some point in the past month, I wrote a lengthly report on my injury which died somwhere in cyberspace. It didn't seem worth re-writing it. I've managed to recover from another stress fracture. Last October it was my right foot, this time it was my left. If all continues to go well, I can run through the part of the season I missed out on last year. I took 4 weeks off to due to this injury. It was an undiagnosed stress fracture, or at least only diagnosed by myself. Two bad excuses, maybe I'm just a hypochondriac and maybe I can still compete in the 5k Grand Prix series, ten days into this 'time off' I ran a 5k. This may have seriously set me back in my recovery. I feel lucky, as I logged almost 20 miles last week without complaint from the foot.

The Baystate Marathon is a month away. This is tempting, to meet this commitment to run my first marathon. There's no chance of the BQ I wanted, but I could still find a worthy goal. A more worthy goal would be to skip it, take it off the table now, and offer my spot to a teammate from my running club. I'm very undecided. There are other temptations along the way to Baystate. At Monroe trail race last year I won my Age Group for the first time, and would like to take another stab at it 3 weeks from now. 5 weeks out is the Bimbler's Bluff 50k where I was a DNF due to the stress fracture I ran through at Monroe last year. More than any of this, I just want to stay healthy and running.

My only concrete plans at this point will be to offer my Baystate entry to any club member who wants it, while I keep my head down and just try to repeat the success of this past week of low-key but thoroughly enjoyable running.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


This is turning into a long run blog. This past week included my very first track workout. I'm actually so inexperienced that I'm not sure that's the correct term. I wasn't wearing spikes or anything, but I went to the local school track and did 4X 800 and 4X 400. Unfortunately I did not gain any speed at the weekly 5k race, two days later. I did not expect to and also did not expect to be so disappointed at slowing down. This will not affect the Grand Prix standings at all.

Incidental to the track work out was the discovery that my spreadsheet pace calculator, for my Runners World marathon training plan, was completely wrong and my paces were actually much slower. The marathon training thing is becoming hard to find confidence in due to all this bologna. Life intrudes and invites me to odd ball running opportunities. I ran to work this week after dropping my car off for service. That was good for 7.5 miles at 7:30 pace, my MGP.

In any case, it is time for another long run. The last one was just plain too hilly. I know that. I also know that I need a good four hour workout of sorts. That would involve 20+ miles on brutal terrain. What can I do but compromise? Mapped out this Trail Mix course, road - trail - road - trail - road, 22 miles and 3500 feet of climbing. There's plenty of flat in it, despite being twice as hilly as the last long run!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Massive Long Run

This is what I'm in the mood for. This morning, I calculated all my training paces for a Boston BQ, using the Runner's World advanced plan. Just looking for speedwork ideas and general weekly structure. My mile PR is called my 'cruise' pace! This is gonna be tough, but I think I can pull it off. Next question to answer for myself is, where can I find a reliable track environment? I'll do a google flyover of the terrain between here and work, first of all. Baystate is 13 weeks away!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wrapping Up & Moving On

Sunday, July 12, the Ascutney Race will conclude my 3rd mountain racing season. I've gotten to compete against some dedicated runners from all over New
England in the past three years. Can't say I've been much of a series competitior this season, but among my familiar crowd I am a contender. In particular, James Porter is the man for me to beat on Sunday. I was able to fight off his incredible surge at Loon last weekend. In 2008 I passed him as we crested the mighty final ascent of that race, and he was out for blood. At Ascutney last year, he was the guy I could not beat. Ascutney is a different race this year, the course has changed to add some trails, but dusting him will be a goal.

This is the second year in a row that I've been sort of jobless and racing in the White Mountains at incredible expense. Last year I was laid off from a crappy job in June. In July I found part time work at FedEx, third shift, and enrolled in state funded program to get a CNC Operator certificate from the local Technical Community College. I completed that short program just before Mountain Season started, with flying colors. Honestly, I was one of the best students in the program. Still, it took a few rejections before I found a job in my field as a machine programmer. On Monday I'll start my first full-time job in a year at Litron Inc. Actually, this is my first real job ever, salaried job with a 401k and benefits. Litron operates at the top of it's field, and it's amazing to find myself there after less than a year studying at a community college, but this is for real.

The banner at the top of this blog referrs to the EORC Grand Prix Series, and this will be my running focus while I begin my new carreer. Each week, at the Holyke Elk's 5k, I'll be competing to earn points in the 12 week series. From the start a few weeks ago, three of us have been neck and neck. Myself, Spencer and Jay. We're all in the 30's age group and in the EORC club. Competition is fierce, but didn't stop the group from working together this past week. Another team member coached the three of us to a sub-20 finish, and I'm proud to have led the way. Spencer and I are tied for 2nd and 3rd place in the series right now, and the competition will continue. He is a deterimined opponent.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Long Run

It is time. Sunday,I took over 7 minutes off my best Loon Mtn. time. It was a great race, but all I've been doing lately is racing. Time for a multi-hour long run. This is the only day of the week to do it. Just mapped this out. It's half trail and half road like the Ascutney race will be, this coming Sunday. Might not get me home before dark, but it is a full moon.

Now, I'm not out the door yet. Hopefully I'll actually run this one, unlike my last post.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cranmore to Black Cap

Sunday will be my third Cranmore Hill Climb. Year to year the course changes, but it looks just about the same this year as last year. It will be two clockwise laps with incredibly steep uhpills and a more gradual downhill. Weather looks reasonably good, unlike the torrential downpours and lightning storm that kicked off the 2008 edition. I'd like to extend my run a little further after the race. It turns out Cranmore is really a foothill to Black Cap Mountain, which rises an additional 1000 feet.

Still a short peak, less than 2500' with a base at about 500' elevation. There is a decent loop to the summit of Black Cap and back that isn't much longer than the race, maybe shorter overall. If I'm feeling up to it on Black Cap, I have the option of looping over to Peaked Mountain. A three peak day would be nice.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


2:00 PR at MWRR, Sunday, with dramatically less training. I still am not pushing it, I want to do serious distance today but will settle for this. Mt. Washington proved it is better to be 80% undertrained than 10% overtrained. This course was mapped long ago and I never got around to running it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

One Hill

This is the big day! After a couple fast 5k's this week, I feel my legs are back under me. I'm in pretty good shape. If I was overtrained last year, why shouldn't I expect to beat that time? So, I'm aiming for 1:45 or faster. This is a very unpredictable race, I may walk or not (which means I probably will).

That's how I may get back down. If it is wet, slippery and treacherous, I'll take the ride I've arranged. If I don't descend on the trails today, I may try and arange to run the Mt. Greylock Half Marathon trail race tomorrow. For today's race, results should be posted for the race after 1:00 at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

East Mtn. Holyoke

This is one of the best local trail workouts I know, a short tour of the Southern East Mtn. range. Much like 7 Sisters course, but not as dynamic. Last year, running every little summit of the East Mtn. range was a project that developed my running skills quite a bit. This cuts short of the Northern End which is truly brutal terrain.

[Edited these maps to reflect the actual run.
The first four miles below link to the second map, last four miles below finish the run.]

I'll run this before the Elks 5k tonight, then volunteer at the race. My final training for Mt. Washington is shaping up nicely. I plan some repeats at Mt. Toby on Saturday, a long tempo run during the week on roads up to Pomeroy Mtn., and I'll run a couple short races for speedwork. Next weekend, Northfield will be my last hard uphill run before the big day.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

18 days till Mt. Washington

Going to bring up the weekly mileage carefully, with key workouts. Climbing was a major weakness at Pack, so I'll have to put in the time on hills. There is no luxury to wonder about last year's training and what to change this year. I have to run as much as I can on as many hills as I can recover from. Today, this moderatly hilly trail run, steady pace will give my legs a stretch on the downhills.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Mtn. season that is. Second race is tomorrow morning and 'under' way is the key word, under-trained. I'm barely prepared to run the distance, never mind the time. With no training basis for time expectations, except slow, I'm going to go for a 90 minute race. Wachusett was decent, so maybe this will go well. I'm not up for the additional trail miles that are possible here, but might prepare for that all the same.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gunning for Boston

It is the thing to do at this time of year, historically. So, besides participating at Lexington on the 19th, Boston has become a real running goal. Recovering fully from my foot injury last fall is still a work in progress, but it is in PROGRESS! I would like to run a fast marathon, to invest my effort into structured workouts and take a stab at 3:15 to qualify for Boston. As I dilligently prepare for the Mountain Season, I'm hoping to lay a good base for marathoning in the Fall.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ron Hebert 8 Mile Road Race

This race is the third in my running club's Grand Prix series. I should not be running it, but will show up anyway to take pictures. I should probably show up in work boots, the temptation is very strong to stay in this Grand Prix series as I won it last year. Why not just jog it? I have spent a month without running, letting this old stress fracture heal. The last week or so was spent on my couch with the flu, completely off the foot since I was kept out of work too. So, I'm building up my mileage again from zero. Working at FedEx has kept my fitness level up, but hobbling around on the sore foot has developed some serious strength imbalances. I'm in no shape to run this race. It has a serious downhill that can be murder on the feet without good form. Maybe next weekend I'll drive out towards Boston for the Merrimack River Trail Race, if I can afford it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Deleted 4 Posts

Had a nasty fever, I'll leave it at that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tempo Run for Jones 10 Miler

Looking for 7:15 - sub 7 miles 3-9. The rest I'll keep between 8 and 9. Look, I don't really know if this type of workout is a 'tempo' run or not. Training is not what it was 1 year ago, and I'm honestly not sure if this is good or bad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Long Night Run

This ought to be my last long run before Jones 10 miler. There is not enough time, with school and work, to go into detail on these things as I used to. All my obsessive energy is directed into Mechanical Engineering issues. I'll continue to post this stuff though, just a map and odd notations. My longer runs have been feelling great, but I'm not sure I'm running enough to streamline my form. My posture in general benefits from running, and not so much from throwing boxes around at FedEx. The foot is still a nagging problem at times. My entire gait is a matter of focus. So, workouts like this smooth things out. Tough logistics though, and quite a wallop in an already physically demanding life. Test driving a camelback, a skiing model that was a christmas gift.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Looking for a night run, icy conditions, low traffic. This has a new hill and decent climbs. I began thinking a 6 mile out and back would be appropriate for today, somehow the square of 6. Really, I just need to get out and run. It has been 3 days since my last workout, and three days off before that one. School, family, the foot, haven't got it all figured out yet. Not just logistics of time, recovery from bodily and mental stress is demanding. Here I go for a dozen.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Still Going Strong

Though it doesn't seem as important to drive several hours and race 16 miles in frigid weather. Why drive? I'll run this tomorrow and think about Derry afterwards.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wintery Mix

What can I say, I've got to give training for Derry a shot. This happens tomorrow either at 2 ish or 8 ish in the AM ....