Thursday, December 13, 2012

Refrozen Ground

A week removed from my last run at Bradbury which featured a wet, soft ground, whereas the week before it was all frozen, and now, well, frozen. I wonder what will happen next week? Maybe some snow. That would be nice. I am looking forward to breaking out the snowshoes. Not to run, but just to enjoy.
Well, I did one loop of the Breaker Course again. I haven't studied my times comparing weeks, but I felt good. Took in the views a little less, although I did try to look more west from the summit, really hoping to see some of the Whites, but instead only got a view of a smokestack probably from a mill in Westbrook. It was about then my stomach started feeling very uncomfortable. After I turned on the Tote Trail, it got much worse and soon I was running off trail. I tried to dig a little hole, but of course the ground was frozen, so I did just what I needed to do. That is something I love about trail running. System all set and back to normal, no need to feel too uncomfortable for too long. It was a further challenging with the ground frozen that all the leaves seemed to be frozen to the ground as well. But I managed to free up just enough, and used some more to cover my remants along with a couple sticks. Chances that someone comes across that same exact spot and soils their shoes is probably greater than winning the Powerball, but with much less reward. Sorry.
After the Tote and up Northern, I decided to head down the Terrace Trail instead of the Switchback as there was some ice and the Switchback has a few known wetspots. It was after coming down the Terrace that I opened it up a little heading back to the parking lot. I always love running almost all out here on the Boundary Trail. And I especially love it when I know there aren't going to be any people around. It felt great to come in to the lot breathing heavy but still having my legs feel nice and fresh. Even as I fired up the minivan I couldn't wait to come back later in the day for a walk with my Quinn and Wild.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Runner's World vs. Trail Runner

Just when I was really missing some good literature that I could bring into the bathroom with me, two periodicals arrived within a day of each other. The first to arrive was Runner's World, and although I immediately flipped through the pages, I really didn't find any great stories that made me want to put on my running shoes right away. I was also planning a zero day anyway so I took it as is and played more with the dog while the kids were at school.
However the next day, Friday, came around and Trail Runner magazine was in the mailbox. Although this wasn't the greatest edition ever, it did get my blood boiling. After I dropped Quinn off at pre-school I drove over to Hedgehog Mountain to run on trails that I hadn't been on in probably well over a month. Mostly that is due to the fact that hunting is allowed there, and well, I don't think I'm tough enough to withstand metal piercing into and tearing my flesh apart.
It was great to be back out on those trails. I had been the past couple of days with Wild, and Quinn but now I could cover much more. Not an awful lot of changes, but it 's fun to notice the small subtle changes. Like the way a bridge is slowly perching to one side, how the trail is getting wider around one large tree, or especially how a tree has fallen across the trail, or even one that has been removed. I was a little bummed that I couldn't see Mt. Washington but I did the day before. I also had to tack on some repeat trails in order to come to a full five mile run. Mostly a steady pace, but a couple places that I always like to pick it up, I did just that.
It was fun to come home and read my new mag while downing some lunch. This issue featured race listings for the whole year throughout the country. And although there wasn't even one that I could say that I really wanted to do, or could at least easily plan into my real world life, the issue got me realizing that I can't go on for much longer just being a recreational runner. Training will have to start again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Soft Ground

A week ago I ran on frozen ground at Bradbury in shorts. Today was much different. I awoke this morning to read my thermometer over forty degrees. I had laid out my lightest running tights the night before so I still threw them on along with a long and short sleeved shirt. After dropping Maggie off at her school and Quinn at his pre-school that he goes to one day a week that is close to Bradbury, I headed right over there for my run. I decided to do one loop of the Breaker course. I had the park all to myself except for some of the staff. I moved at a moderate pace and of course slowed down for the ups. We never had any real rain the previous days but the air had certainly been damp which softened the ground right up. I did notice a few familiar running shoe tracks in the ground so I assumed some Trail Monsters must have been here at least the day before. I did take a moment to take in the views from a couple of spots on the South Ridge Trail. Even though I hate running up the summit trail I went up, reduced to a walk in some spots but deciding to run, well really jog in a couple of spots not so steep or rocky. Down the Tote and back up the Northern Loop and then back down the switchback trail to my car which was still the only one in the lot. I was amazed just how warm it really was as there wasn't even any wind to reduce the air temperature. My time was less than stellar for the four and a half miles but this wasn't a training run. But at least it was still a run and there was much pleasure in that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Just a run

Well, still not doing any great miles but still running. I managed to get out for a short run on some trails close to home this afternoon. Only a little over four miles but at least I got out and at least I still felt strong. Quinn asked me while he was eating his lunch why I wasn't eating anything why I wasn't eating. I had to explain to him, a four year old, that I didn't want a heavy stomach before a run. So after I dropped him off at preschool, I stripped off my pants re-tied my shoes and hit the trail. I kind of feel a little like Clark Kent after the drop off, as I keep my running clothes hidden under normal civilian clothes. Unfortunately there are no phone booths close by, or anywhere in the world for that matter, so I just hurry home before shedding the layers in order to save my soul. I also took Wild out again for a light run after I got home. I actually kept my watch on and since it took us under ten minutes to do a short loop I decided to take hime to the local athletic fields where we picked up the pace for a couple semi sprints on the soft grass. I still know he is young and I hope that I am not doing any long term damage to him but he keeps up well and seems to enjoy our little runs together.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Battery Drain

Time to Recharge
Finally I have run down the battery in my Garmin watch for the first time since the Bradbury Punisher race well back at the start of October. I’m sure my body appreciates the relaxed pace of my runs and the infrequency. So I did procure a spot in the Mid Winter 10 Miler. I know it’s a road race, but at least it’s one in the middle of winter,.
Today I drained the battery on a six mile run on the east side of Bradbury. The ground is totally frozen over which actually made the footing much better. I had been over there on Sunday for a Trail Monster group run. Not many people out and I was the only male. A pleasant time, good to get out and stretch the legs and enjoy the trail while not being obsessed with training. I talked a lot of kids literature with Valerie as her kids are college age and mine just starting school, but it was good to hear about what she enjoyed reading to her kids, and what they liked listening too. I’m reading the Oz books to my kids, which actually kind of stink, the movie is so, so much better than the book, and after reading more, we’re currently on the fifth, I know why there are no other movies. But alas, my kids love them and so I read. My wife is almost done with the Narnia series and is wondering what to read next. Valerie gave me some ideas.
Back to running. My pace today was very moderate, so I had plenty left to finish under a seven minute pace coming back up the Link Trail, all 0.3 miles of it. There was nobody else out and just one guy getting ready to bike when I got back to the parking lot. There was ice on the beaver pond and I did step on the edge to check it out and was very surprised that it didn’t crack at all. Especially since I am longer at race weight.
I do think the lack of running has had a negative effect on my body. I had a minor internal infection that had me on some medicine for a couple weeks, and fighting off a fever the last few days. Last year after I stopped training I had some troubles with my nasal passages and surrounding area. It would be an interesting study for someone, much smarter than me, to study a runner’s body after it stops training. I’m sure someone has, I just haven’t read about it.
So while I write this, my watch recharges and my body recovers. I wonder how long it will be before I have to charge the watch again?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

Running is starting to feel good again. I've never felt really all that bad post fifty miler but my last couple of runs have been really enjoyable. On Wednesday I went out and did my road four mile loop. I left my watch at home not caring about my time and comfortable about knowing the distance to be able to add the run accurately to my log book. A great day for a run, still in shorts with a long and short sleeve technical shirt on. Not even gloves required as my hand are always the coldest part of my body. That run was actually my first back to back day runs in over a month. I had ran my three mile road loop the day before, obviously, and then ten more minutes with Wild. I fastened the leash around my waist and it worked better than expected. I felt less pull from him. Just being under thirty pounds now I wonder how hard he'll be able to pull when he's full grown. I shouldn't say pull but rather 'mush'.
What pleased me most about my Wednesday run was that I felt good, kind of strong headnig up Bow Street hill. A viscious hill that comes with less than a mile left. It actually gets steeper near the top but I felt like I maintained my pace quite well. I wasn't going fast enough to set off the radar gun display the Freeport Police had set up to slow down drivers coming into town. I wanted a Micheal Scott moment of running at a clocked 35 mph. But alas.
I didn't overdue eating on Thanksgiving, just one plate full, not heaped over and just one piece of pie for dessert. I was pleased to see so many people out either running, walking or biking as I drove to my parents for dinner but there were only two cyclists I saw on the ride back home in the afternoon.
So on Friday I didn't feel the need to burn off excess calories but it was such a great day out and after getting some chores done, helping Quinn learn to ride his bike, and after a family walk at Wolf Neck SP, I headed out to Bradbury for a quick loop. Even though the lot was nearly full and I had on my orange Pineland shirt I still decided to head to the west side to avoid being accidentally shot at by unlucky late season hunters. Unlucky that they hadn't gotten one yet. I've made it a point not to be irratated by the number of hikers at Bradbury while I'm out on a run. I go there with my own family and it is good to see so many people enjoying the outdoors even if I need to dodge around them, just as long as they respect the rules of the park I'll happily do my best not to run them over. I seemed to meet people on all the trails except the very backside of the Boundary Trail coming onto the South Ridge. I was doing a slightly modified Bruiser loop, skipping going down the South Ridge and up the Summit Trail as I knew there would be lots of people on the Summit Trail and I also really didn't want to climb that ...ker. So from the Ridge intersection it was over to the summit, down the Tote following the race course again back to the summit and then down the South Ridge and back to the parking lot. Just slightly over four miles and about thirty six minutes. I did bring my watch as I just really wanted to know the mileage, but was moderately pleased about the time. I did really feel like there were spots that I was flying right along and although my watch indicated under a eight pace it felt much faster I suppose because fifty miles at an eleven minute mile pace is not a pace that makes you feel like a jackrabbit. Rabbit or turtle today, it didn't really matter. A fine day to run.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


With racing done for the year, only four this year but a total of 125 miles of racing. Two 50k's, one fifty miler and a trail half marathon. I am now trying to figure out what I want to accomplish next year while giving my body recovery time. I did get out for five light trail miles today and ran Wild for about ten minutes post run.
On Tuesday I could sign up for the Mid Winter Classic, a ten miler in Cape Elizabeth. A great race to keep me running through the tough Maine winter. Registration is open for the Pineland Trail Festival. Not sure which race I want to do, so I can wait making that decision.
Beyond that I'm not too sure. Oh yah, there is a half marathon I'll probably do as my family visits my wife's hometown of Indianapolis. That will be in April. I always enjoy racing in Indy as it's always very flat and I can PR. I've got a bet going with my brother in law about the outcome of today's Pats/Colts game as to whether or not I'll be wearing Colts gear in this race. Go Pats!!!!
I think I may have a different fitness goal going into the new year after I saw Skyfall the other night. I want to be as fit as 007. It may be blasphamous to say that Daniel Craig could kick Sean Connery's ass but I wouldn't mind adding some strength training so I could work for Her Majesty's Royal Service.
Above all else, I need to keep out there. Keep running. Find some races to make it more real. Good to have goals. Keeps me going, as I think the days of espionage are over.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hidden Valley Trail Half Marathon – Tom Whitaker » Trail Monster Running

Hidden Valley Trail Half Marathon – Tom Whitaker » Trail Monster Running

Starting Wild

I'm starting this blog just as I have taken my dog Wild on his very first run. My family adopted him just over a month ago. He is a husky, at least what that's what the ad in Uncle Henry's said, and so did his owner who was selling him after she decided that she did not want to keep him. He is fitting in pretty well with the family. Of course he is still a puppy, just under four months old, and does bad little puppy things. My wife and I figured the best way to get him to behave is to tire him out with exercise. Walks and games outside have done a good job but now at four months and just under thirty pounds I figured now is as good a time to start running with him. So after I dropped Quinn off at pre-school where Maggie is a first grader, I put on my running shoes, kept the watch at home and did my in-town three mile loop by myself, with no watch. I haven't been running that much, first run of the week, and so I didn't need to know how slow my time really is at this point. Wild was lying on the floor waiting for me to come home. I grabbed the leash, hooked it on and out the door we went for about a ten minute run. He did well and was eager enough to run without being a spaz. I was a little worried how he would act when a horse and buggy came our way, but he kept going on with only a little glance back at the large four legged creature. Wild is now resting comfortably back on the floor and me looking forward to another ten minutes in a couple days from now.