Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monthly Training Update - March

My last run of the month was and easy (8:57 pace) 4 mile run around the park between the Museum of Science and Fenway Park. There were signs of spring all around me, guys tossing around a baseball, teens playing hoop and college girls sporting their spring break tans. It didn’t feel like spring though. The temperature was in the mid-forties but the raw wind from the east made it feel 10 degrees colder.

I’ve recovered just fine from my 5+ hour flogging at the Fells on Saturday. The only fallout from the Fells Trail Race was tweaking my bad ankle again. I blame it more on my bad tape job than on the minefield of rocks and roots that occupy much of the Skyline trail. I ran with my Aircast ankle brace today and didn’t feel too bad.

March ReCap:

Total Miles: 133
Race Miles: 24
Longest Run: 24
# of Runs: 16
Avg. Miles: 8.3
Trail Miles: 68%

I plan on cutting back on the miles this week to give the ankle a chance to rest and heal.

Later….

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reality Check - Middlesex Fells Trail Race Report

Yesterday was the 3rd running of the Fells Trail Races. This unique race offered by Race Director Bogie D allows runners to race 4 distances of their choosing. The 8 mile race which covers one loop of the Middlesex Fells Skyline trail is the first race of the Eastern New England Trail Race Series. The Ultra race is for those looking for a bigger challenge. This race gives runners the option of running 3 – 5 loops of the Skyline for a total of 24 – 40 miles. What makes this race unique is that runners are allowed to run the race loop in whatever direction they want.

I ran this race last fall for the first time. I was in good shape then, having just run the Stone Cat Ale marathon 3 weeks prior. I felt very strong during that race but an ankle injury forced me to drop out earlier than expected. I knew I was going into the race this time under trained but not concerned. I was just intending to use it as a long training run with a bunch of strangers and a few friends. It would also serve as a test of my current fitness level.


I had a difficult time sleeping the night before the race. Nasal congestion and a sore throat from a cold kept me awake the good part of the night. At O-dark-thirty (4:30 AM) I decided to get out of bed. I put on a pot of coffee and made some French toast for breakfast. I had already prepared all my gear for the race the night before so there was no need to rush. After breakfast, I changed and began the tedious process of taping both feet and my right ankle. Taping the arches is really not a big deal but I have a tough time trying to tape my ankle on my own. After several tries, taping, removing the tape and taping again, I finally got right. At the start of the race I met a Physical Therapist who noticed my tape job. She then showed me hers. Where I had used several feet of tape to hold my ankle in place, she used two short strips to accomplish the same thing! I’ll have to give it a try next time.

I arrived an hour before race start and I was happy I did. The number of race entrants had doubled from last year and parking in the small lot was tight. Kevin was already there and going through his gear. We exchanged greetings and he introduced me to the PT mentioned above. A short time later, Emily arrived with my new pair of camouflage print Gator-Bait Gaiters. These gaiters are a great addition to my gear box. I used my tiger print ones during the race and didn’t get any trail debris in my shoes during my 5+ hour run. Good stuff!

Race is about to begin. (Photo Credit: BogieD)

When we lined up for the start of the race I realized I forgot to put on my gloves. Just then, the starting horn blew and everyone was on the move, except me. I ran back to my car to get my gloves. By the time I got back to the starting line I was far behind the pack. I started out faster than I want to but I was trying to at least latch on to the back of the pack. The pace was much quicker than I expected for a race of this distance. I was moving quickly but barely making progress in catching up with the other racers.


I guess I wasn't the last to start after all! (Photo Credit: BogieD)

About 2 miles into the course I finally met up with Kevin. I wasn’t feeling very good at this point, my breathing was labored. I wasn’t sure if it was the cold or the fast pace causing the problem but it felt good to see a familiar face. Kevin and I have run the Skyline trail several times now and we work well together, keeping each other on trial. We ran while discussing our strategies for the day. Kevin just turned 33 and was considering running 33 miles to celebrate his B-day. He called me today to confirm he finished the 4 loops. Awesome run Kevin! I, on the other hand, was only planning to run half as far. I told Kevin I would consider doing a 3rd loop if I was feeling pretty good after 16 miles. After a long climb we reached Wright’s tower. We both were in need of a pee break so we stopped here briefly. It was a good sign that our pre-race hydration was not neglected.


Wright's Tower

Descending the long hill from Wright’s tower we caught up to Michelle. The three of us made our way down to the base of the hill and continued running together for a mile or two. Michelle had planned to run the full 40 miles but she told me she was also not feeling 100% today. She was reevaluating her goal for the day and would run for as long as she could. I just met Michelle this year and I am very impressed with her sheer determination. She hasn’t gotten in much training this year but still managed to kick my butt through 24 miles. Wait till Northern Nipmuck trailgrrl! ;-)
I started feeling better about half way thought the 1st loop. The second half of the course, in the direction I was running, is easier than the first so I picked up the pace and finished the strong. My split was 1:36 which was 9 minutes faster than it should have been if I was going to try for a 3rd loop. Michelle and Kevin came in about 4-5 minutes later.
The temperature had been rising all morning so I changed out of the wet, long-sleeve shirt I was wearing and into a nice, dry short-sleeved one. I stuffed two more packets of GU into my pockets and added a little more Succeed to my Camelbak. I tried to keep my transitions from dragging on for too long but before I realized it, 9 minutes had already passed. Time was wasting away, I had to get moving.
I turned to head back out on the course and Streph was standing there. I never saw him before the start and assumed he was far ahead of me. We went back out on the course to run our second loop together. Streph was wearing a heart rate monitor and was trying to keep his heart rate below a certain threshold. This worked out well for me as Streph’s threshold rate seemed to be right around the level that I felt comfortable running. We were holding a good steady pace, keeping Streph’s Garmin from beeping a warning signal except on a few occasions. I lead for most of the 8 miles with Streph preventing me from taking a few wrong turns along the way. Streph and I had a good, long conversation about many topics during this loop.

The clouds broke and the sun was shining brightly. (57 degrees and high humidity) I was feeling warm and drinking more fluid than usual for this time of year. My Camelbak ran dry but luckily I was able to refill it with water placed by Bogie on the course near South Border Road, below the water tower. We walked up the hill to the water tower and then began running again. I was hungry now and the GU didn’t have enough calories to maintain my energy level. Streph offered me his peanut butter and banana sandwich but I figured we were getting close to the end of the loop and I would just hold on to the finish. I was beginning to tire quickly and thought I would call it a day after this loop. We finished up strong on the flat trail leading back to the parking lot. My split for loop #2 was a more reasonable 1:46.
I was feeling hungry and tired after 16 miles. My body was telling me “enough already” but my mind was trying to convince me to go for another. I decided to rest a bit and eat some solid food. I devoured a PB&J sandwich in 4 bites, ate half a boiled potato with salt and nibbled on an Odwalla bar until most of it was gone. I took and S-Cap to replace lost sodium and drank about 8 oz of Succeed Amino. This took about 16-18 minutes and by then I was thinking I could push my way through a third loop. Unfortunately, Streph had already departed and no one else was heading out on the trail at that time. I would have to do this alone.

Elevation Profile - Can you say hills?
I felt good for the first two miles but then my leg just completely gave up. I walked all the uphills except for the smallest ones and ran the flats and downhills. I kept telling myself that this is good ultra training. Your mind must remain strong when your body is weak and craving rest. The ability to push yourself though total exhaustion is a key requirement for completing an ultra marathon. This run was also a reality check for me. I have so much more work to do if I expect to have a chance of finishing a 50 mile event this year. Fortunately, I have plenty of time to prepare myself.
Quitting was not an option. I struggled and suffered through the final miles but I did finish. That is all I expected from myself. (Split for loop #3 was 2:06, Ugh!). It was good to see Streph waiting for me with a big smile on his face. I was as done as an overcooked turkey! The thought of going back out on the course never entered my mind. Instead, I enjoyed some pizza and coke, and traded war stories with my fellow crazies!
Next up, Northern Nipmuck….

Weekly Training Update - 3/23 - 3/29

I recorded two highs for the year this week, most miles (42) and longest run (24). I also reached my longest 'time on my feet' ever run (5 hours and 53 minutes) at the Fells Ultra Race yesterday. More to follow on my race later. I'm taking a well deserved day off, drinking coffee and starring out my kitchen window at the rain. Oh yeah, there will definitely be a nap in my immediate future.

Total Miles: 42
Long Run: 24
Number of Days: 4
Avg Miles: 10.5
Trail Miles: 81%

Zzzzzzzzz....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Three Days, Thirty Miles

I had a good stretch of running between Saturday and Monday accumulating 30 miles over the three day period. I covered an eclectic mix of terrain as well. One day I ran the tough, rocky trails of the Middlesex Fells. Next up was some easy running on the quarter mile track near my home, and the third day was spend on the fire roads of Lynn Woods. I have to say that the most enjoyable run was the 16 miles covered at the Fells. Not because I like training there particularly, but because I was able to do it with friends.

Back in the day, I was pretty much a solitary runner and preferred it that way. If fact, my nick-name when I was competing on my high school track and cross country teams was 'The Hermit'. I earned this label because of my propensity to leave my teammates during organized training runs and wander off on my own, only to return to the school gym locker room after my teammates had already showered, changed and were heading home for dinner.

I now find myself enjoying the company of friends and looking forward to planned group runs on the weekends. It's a time to share the love of the sport with others who appreciate the beauty offered by mother nature. The trail runners I know are a fun, caring, optimist and creative bunch, which helps to temper my pragmatic nature. This is a time when I don't take life, or myself so seriously, and learn to live in the moment. How could I possibly do that on my own?

Views from the Fells:

Train leaving the station.


Chatting with 'Nipmuck' Dave


Happy bunch of runners!

Photo Credits: Kevin Z.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekly Training Update - 3/16 - 3/22

Another solid week of training for me as I welcomed the first weekend of spring with a tough long run on the MS Fells Skyline trail. Despite the difficult terrain the run was very enjoyable as it was shared with several of my runner friends. We even picked up a couple people along the way that joined in for two loops!

Total Miles: 30
Long Run: 16
# of Runs: 4
Avg Miles: 7.5
Trail Miles: 53%

Next up is the Fells Trail Race. The distance is 8 - 40 miles on the Syline trail depending on your level of insanity. I'm only aming for 16 but I may attempt 24. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gear Box Inventory

Well, spring is just around the corner and I will be spending many hours on the trails in the months ahead. Last night I thought it would be a good idea to take an inventory of the gear currently in my possession to determine if I have everything I need for the many long weekend runs I'll make as I prepare for a fall 50 miler. You can never have enough gear and by looking at what I have I was hoping I would think of something else I still needed.

After reviewing my inventory, please feel free to comment on anything you think could be a useful item that I am lacking. REI is just down the block from where I work and any excuse to visit is fine with me!



One bottle Fuel Belt - good for runs up to one hour. The zippered rear pocket is small but can carry your car keys and a packet of gel. Fine for short runs







GoLite Gazelle Waist Pack - with two 20 oz bottles it's good for runs up to two hours. Large and small rear pouches provide plenty of room for a cell phone, camera, trail map and other essentials. The two side pockets on the belt are small but can hold gels and energy bars, etc. This pack gets the most use from me
.




CamelBak Octane XC - With a 70 oz fluid capacity this is my hydration pack of choice for runs up to four hours long. It has one compartment on the back of the pack near the fill hole. It's great for carrying a cell phone, car keys and your wallet. There are two small zippered side pockets that can hold gels, bars , TP and other small items but overall there's not a lot of storage. I use the Octane mainly as a hydration pack and carry my food items in the pockets of my Race Ready shorts. This pack is good for long races because it is light, fits snug to the body and doesn't bounce around.



CamelBak M.U.L.E. - This is the largest of my hydration packs. A 100 oz bladder and 600 cubic inches of storage for long, unsupported runs. There's plenty of room to food, gels, a headlamp, medical kit, multi-tool, a light jacket, and the kitchen sink! You can never have too many hydration packs, can you?






Petzl Headlamp - The Tikka Plus is light-weight with an adjustable lamp so you can aim the beam down at your feet or out ahead of you. The 4 LEDs have a maximum output of 35 lumen that can reach out to 32 meters. There are 3 light settings and a strobe function. The battery life is a very long 100 hours. Although this is a good product I'm not crazy about the light provided by headlamps in general. It's too diffuse and never quite bright enough for me.



Princeton Tec Flashlight - The Amp 3 is a small, light and rugged flashlight that has a high and low beam. The battery life is 60 hours at a max output of 40 lumen. The beam of light is focused and concentrated and provides much better lighting than my headlamp. I often like to use the flashlight and the headlamp together. I can keep the headlamp focused on what's in front of me while I use the flashlight to scan from side to side so I don't miss any turns in the dark. Plus it helps to scare away the lions, tiger and bears, oh my!



Kool Tie - This is my hot weather lifesaver! If I were Superman, heat and humidity would be my kryptonite. A Kool Tie is a fabric tubular scarf that contains tiny polymer crystals. When soaked in cold water, these crystals expand and absorb more than 400 times their original weight creating a tube-like scarf. When tied around the neck it cools the blood passing through the carotid artery through the natural process of evaporation which in turn lowers your body temperature . This cooling effect is continuous and will last for 2-3 days before a re-soaking is needed. Bring on the heat!



Zensah Compression Sleeves - The Calf/Shin recovery sleeves are made with gradient compression which provides wide ribbing in the front for shin support, and tight ribbing in the back for calf support. This isn't something I run in but since I came accross them I thought I would fill you in why I have them. I purchased the sleeves after speaking with a triathlete/adventure racer/ultra runner about treatments for plantar fasciitis. She worn the sleeves at night during her bout with PF as a means of increasing blood flow to the lower leg muscles which helps keep them loose. Tight calf muscles are a contributing factor in the development of PF. Although my PF has not gone away, my calf muscles are more flexible in the morning when wearing the sleeves overnight. And don't you agree they're sexy too!



Gator Bait Gaiters - these purring kittens are great for keeping dirt, twigs and small stones out of your shoes and socks. A shoe full of trail debris is not only uncomfortable, it's also a major cause of blisters on long runs. Very useful during the summer months when the trails are dry and 'junk' is easily kicked up when running.




REI Mini Multi-Tool - This little gadget is made with tough stainless-steel components and has an anodized aluminum handle. It is compact enough to fit in your pocket and light enough (around 2 oz) to carry on your trail runs. Hey, you never know what you'll encounter out there that may require the use of one of these handy tools. This little wonder has a pliers, wire cutter, a straight-edge blade and saw, a phillips screwdriver, standard screwdriver, bottle opener, wire stripper, file and scissors.



This compact pocket foot care kit is designed for blister repair on the run. All the items fit in a zip-lock bag and it's small enough to fit in your pocket. The kit ncludes blister patches and other essential items, Benzoin ampules (2) Alcohol preps (6) Antibiotic ointment (2) Spenco Blister ads (2) Blist-O-Ban Blister Pad (1) Sterile lancets (2) 3" x 5" baggies (2) BlisterShield Powder, packet (1) Engo Performance Patch (2). I don't carry this much anymore but it's still nice to have. Since I starting wearing Injinji socks, blister are a thing of the past.



Adventure Medical Kit - I have to admit I didn't even think about safety until a recent accident on a trail run convinced me to take this matter seriously. I picked up this kit at REI. I like it because it only weighs 3.5 oz and is small enough to fit in my GoLite waist pack. The kit includes Bandage materials: eight 2x2 sterile dressings, two butterfly closure bandages, five 1x3 adhesive bandages, Plus: three knuckle adhesive bandages and 0.5-inch x 10 yards tape. Medications include: four ibuprofen (200mg), two antihistamines and two After Bite® Sting Relief. Wound management includes: three After Cuts and Scrapes® towelettes and two antibiotic ointments, Plus: Moleskin® for blister treatment and two safety pins. I have also added a roll of self-adhesive compression wrap, good for treating sprains or stabilizing fractures.




Nathan Quick Change - This bag was designed for triathletes and adventure racers but I think it also works very well for trail and ultra runners. You can pack just about everything for a race in here and this bag is great for organization and easy access to your gear. The combination handles/shoulder straps make for easy carrying. There is a mesh bottle holster on one side, a waterproof internal compartment, a ventilated shoe pocket, several nutrition and organizer pockets, and felt-lined pockes for sunglasses, camera, etc. There is also a fold-out transition pad for making quick changes on the go. I use the external helmet carrier to hold my trail shoes. This is the best bag I have ever owned.


Time to go shopping....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Weekly Training Update - 3/9-3/15

The year started off slowly with low motivation, snow-covered trails and pavement avoidance keeping my weekly mileage to a minimum. It may have taken me 10 weeks but I'm happy to report I've finally broken the 30 mile barrier topping out at 35 miles on 4 days of running. I did back-to back longish runs over the weekend with two short lunch runs during working hours. Spring is just a few days away and it's time to kick it up a notch!

Total Miles: 35
Long Run: 15
# of Runs: 4
Avg. Miles: 8.8
Trail Miles: 73%

Happy Trails.....

I ran so fast I almost ignited!

While taking a short break during a trail run the other day, Emily noticed I was evaporating. If you watch closely, you can see steam rising from the back my shirt. Very bizarre!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Marathon, Almost

No, I didn't enter a marathon and DNF this weekend but I did run two good workouts totaling 1/2 mile shy of the marathon distance. First up was a 10.8 mile fun fest with friends beginning at Ward Reservation and following the A.V.I.S. trail system in Andover. On Sunday I was on my own for a 15 mile cross town run though Breakheart Reservation in Saugus and Lynn Woods, in Lynn of course.




It was still in the 20s when Emily, Kevin, Rob and myself met in the parking lot of Ward Reservation on Saturday morning. I had been looking forward to this run all week, excited about running on unfamiliar trails. Ward is home territory for Emily, who would be our tour guide, but this would be a first-time run for the rest of us.



The trails in Ward, Hammond Reservation, Mary French and Skug River were very different from what I am used to running. I was surprised by the lack of rocks on the trails; much less I am accustomed to at Breakheart and Lynn Woods. Also surprising was how much snow was still in the woods but it was the hard, crunchy type and very easy to run on without screws or Kahtoolas.



Emily leading the way!
video


Much of the run was on twisting single track but we also ran on wide trails, grass covered hills and also crossed a very long boardwalk spanning a partially frozen marsh. It was awesome! In fact, I have never run over so many boardwalks as I did on this run. And how could I forget the hills! We climbed Holt Hill and Boston Hill, both over 400 feet high and offering spectacular views for many miles.


The longest boardwalk I have ever run!

video



This was the most fun I had running in a long time. I was very happy Emily offered to show us around and glad Runnin' Rob was able to join me and Kevin on this day filled with sunshine and a lot of laughter. Sharing the trails with friends makes training a joy.


Goofing around!



Kevin and Emily in a wrestling match. Who's going in bog first!






On Sunday I managed to crank out 15 miles even though my legs were a little sluggish from my run through Ward Reservation. I discovered another new single-track trail in Lynn Woods running along the banks of Breeds Pond for almost it's entire length. This is the best running in Lynn Woods as far as I'm concerned. The trail is sort of an out-of-the-way trail so I hope it remains relatively undiscovered.

Sorry about the lack of details but I've been very busy and don't have much time for writing.

Don't drink the green beer!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekend Plans

Tomorrow I'm meeting some friends for an 8-10 mile run at Ward Reservation in Andover, MA. I've never run there so I'm looking forward to covering new terrain. I always get pumped when I go to unexplored places. The forecast is for temps in the upper 40s and sun. Nice day!
On Sunday it's back to my unusual stomping grounds for a 16 mile run though Breakheart Reservation and Lynn Woods. I haven't run this double woods run since August of last year so even though I'm very familiar with both parks it will still feel like new to me.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gear Box - Kahtoola Microspikes

After much internal debate as to the need for another item to add to my gear collection, I finally purchased a pair of Kahtoola Microspikes. Yes, I know the trails are nearly snow free and spring is around the corner but I got a great price and free shipping so I couldn't pass on this deal.

Another thing that prompted me to make this purchase was the fall, and subsequent ankle break, of a friend during a training run on ice. My screw shoes have served me well on many runs this winter but the Kahtoolas offer a more aggressive grip that gives an added measure of safety when descending steep, ice-covered trails. I hope I don’t need these until next winter but it’s nice to know I’m good to go if Old Man Winter decides to hang around a little longer.

I can't make a first-hand recommendation but I've gotten several good reports from trail-runner friends that used the microspikes this winter. I'll do a complete product review after I actually get to run in them. Hopefully, not for a long while!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gator-Bait Gaiters

If any of you know Emily, (aka "Trail Pixie") you know she is always the one with the most colorful and original looking hats, gloves and gaiters at any trail race. That's because she handcrafts her own accessories using carefully chosen fabrics. At my request, she made a pair of her Gator-Bait Gaiters for me. I only asked she make them in orange and black but she was free to pick the design. I have a thing for those two colors. I'm not sure why, but I think its because Halloween was my favorite holiday as a child. I have a thing for candy too!

Emily made my gaiters using an orange material with black tiger stripes! They are very cool and I don't believe I've ever seen anyone with this design. Even better, as I hate being just like everyone else. I used my gaiters on a recent 2.5 hour trail run where I encountered snow, ice, mud, dirt and stones. The gaiters worked great keeping my socks and shoes debris free for the entire run.


If you want to show up at your next race wearing Emily's bad-ass gaiters let me know. Maybe I can hook you up or you can just contact her directly. It's a good feeling when you can support a local artist and crafts 'person'.

Later, gator.....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lynn Woods Long Run

While some of my fellow Dungeon Rock Racing teammates were running in the U.S. Snowshoe Nationals at Mt. Hood in Oregon I was alone at the gates of Lynn Woods ready to tackle a long run. As I looked down the fire road into the woods all I could see was melting ice. I had planned to bring my screw shoes in case the roads were still icy but I forgot them in my office at work. I would just have to take it slow. I was actually a little surprised to find that most of my run would be done over snow, ice, water, mud and an occasional dry patch of dirt!

I was only .75 miles into the run when two large adult, white-tailed deer came leaping through the woods about 20 yards ahead of me. They ran across the road and entered the woods on the other side of the road. One continued crashing through the brush but one stopped to keep an eye on me. This one seemed to as curious about me as I was of them.










I walked slowly towards the deer trying to get a better view. The deer remained still, all the while keeping a watchful eye on me. When I got as close as I thought I could without scaring off the deer I stopped and took a few more photos. The deer seemed to be a bit curious but not overly concerned with my presence. The deer was steering me down, almost taunting me alla Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. I did make a move and the deer ran off. I guess I showed him, her?


Are you talking to me?

I spend most of the next 2.5 hours slogging though mud and water and tippy-toeing my way across long stretches of ice. I approached all the ice fields with extreme caution not wanting a repeat of last week's ankle-breaking experience. No B.S., a friend of mine actually broke her ankle from a fall on an icy trail in Middlesex Fells. This obviously effected my overall pace but I was still happy with my 10:35 average for the 14.4 miles. I was most pleased that I didn't need to take any walking breaks, not even up the hill to stone tower, which I ran twice. I think the snowshoe running I did this winter made me stronger on the hills. I sure hope so because I need help in that area of my running.


Still Frozen




Open Water: A sign of spring on Walden Pond.



I knew I wanted to run around 14 mile but didn't plan out a route in advance. I figured I would wander around on the fire roads until I thought I had done enough running to hit the 14 mile mark by the time I returned to the parking lot. Fortunately, I underestimated the distance and as I neared the finish saw that I was about a mile short. I made a detour off the road and picked up a trail I had never run before. This trail tuned out to be a real jewel! It's single-track undulated up and down and twisted it's way along the banks of Breed Pond, and it was snow and ice free! This is one of the coolest things about trail running. No matter how often you run somewhere there is always something new to discover if you are willing lose your way and let nature guide you.



Mindless Wandering


Elevation Profile


More fresh snow outside. time to shovel!

equipment: brooks cascadia 3, injinji wool socks, race ready shorts, ems long-sleeved shirt, camelbak xc octane.
nourishment: 50oz succeed ultra, 2 packets of gu, 1 succeed s-cap
weather: 50 degrees, wind 17 mph

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Big Picture

After weeks of bouncing around from one idea to another without any clear plan for racing this year it finally hit me, do what worked last year. 2008 was a transition year for me. I started running back in January after a 7 month layoff resulting from a few injuries and medical problems. I increased my mileage very slowly and focused all my training for the year on completing just one race, the Stone Cat Ale Marathon. The plan worked well. None of my conditions worsened as I increased my weekly miles and I was able to finish the marathon under my goal time.

I am still dealing with the same medical problems and want to remain as injury free as possible. Overtraining or racing too so could increase my symptoms and prevent me from running the entire year. So why not use the same strategy in 2009 that was successful in 2008? That seems to make the most sense. With that in mind, I plan to focus all my training this year towards running the
Stone Cat Ale 50 Mile in November.

I will use many of the longer
Grand Tree Series Races and other events as training or tempo runs to prepare me for this daunting undertaking. I will use a logical progression to prepare myself to cover the 50 mile distance. My plan is to run a trail marathon in June, possibly Nipmuck if I can bribe, err; convince Nipmuck Dave to let me enter. He has instituted an entry requirement this year and I missed making it by the skin of my teeth.

After the marathon I will enter a 50K in September, most likely the
Pisgah 50K in New Hampshire. I am also keeping the New River Trail 50K in VA as a backup but it’s a little late on the calendar and I also prefer to run one closer to home if possible. I have a lot of hard training ahead but if all goes well I should be ready to take on the mischievous stone cats of Willowdale!

The best laid plans……
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