Sunday, May 31, 2009

Where Did My Energy Go? - May Training Recap

I ended the month of May with a less than a stellar run today. The plan called for a 4 hour run with fellow "ultra runner in training" RunninRob but from the very start of the run I just didn't feel right. I wasn't that concerned at first because I often feel sluggish during the first 30 minutes of a long run but then shake off the cobwebs and get into a groove. Today was different. The groove never happened. I can probably blame my Wednesday double that included a 5 mile tempo run for my fatigue, but knowing the cause didn't reduce the suffering I felt today.

I was not alone. Rob was battling his own demons today. His GAC Mother's Day 6 hour run, along with some recent speed and hill training took a toll on him also. Although we were maintaining our predetermined pace, we were both working too hard at it. When the trail got technical running at a decent clip became impossible. We finally came to a mutual agreement to call it a day at 3 hours. Less than what we wanted but still a good workout under the circumstances.


Long section of boardwalk crossing Meeting House Swamp (Not very swampy right now!)



Highlights for the month include 4 races, 3 of them first time races for me (MorFun, Soapstone Mountain and Trav's). Another first for me this month was running the 21 mile Wapack trail from end-to-end. Actually 22 miles for me because I got lost. I also set a PR for time on my feet at 6 hours and 48 minutes. This is not a record I want to break any time soon! On the downside, I didn't run over 140 miles for the month like I hoped to but I was pretty close.

May Training ReCap:

Total Miles: 134
Longest Run: 22
# of Runs: 18
Avg Miles: 7.4
Race Miles: 46
# of Races: 4
Avg Race: 11.6

Sleep should come easy tonight....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Double The Fun

I didn’t plan on doing a double today it just worked out that way. I planned to run in the evening at the kickoff to the 2009 Lynn Woods race series. I wasn’t going to race but instead use it to get in a good tempo run on the trails. Well, it was raining off and on all day and I didn’t think I was going to make it to the woods after work so I went out for a lunch time run instead. I did an easy four miles around the park where I work. Nothing exciting, just two loops and then back to work.

As the afternoon progressed I noticed it wasn’t raining in the city and thought maybe it would be a go for Lynn Woods. I didn’t want to double but I also didn’t want to miss the first race because it was going to be a “Tour” meaning the course would not just be on the fire roads but trails as well. The tours are the best races in my opinion.

Fighting my way through rush hour traffic is never fun but it seems so much worse when I have to be somewhere at a certain time. I made it to Lynn Woods with a few minutes to spare, registered for the race and said a few quick hellos to a few folks I haven’t seen in a while. Then we were off running. I went out slow and settled into a comfortable pace but harder than my usual training runs. I passed a number on runners in the first 1.5 miles and then ran most of the race alone until I passed two more runners one mile from the finish.

The course was a mix of dirt road and trails with just enough climbs to make it interesting. I averaged 8:30 per mile and felt fine doing it. I did have some leg fatigue most likely carried over from my race on Sunday and the fact that I’ve run three day in a row. This is unusual for me since I only train 4 days per week. I didn’t hang around after the race to socialize because I had a bad back spasm and wanted to get out of the cold.

I’ve had this nagging back pain and tightness for weeks now but I think it’s at the point were I can no longer ignore it. I know the cause and the cure but I just don’t want to make the one hour drive to Hingham to see my Chiropractor. I think I’ll have to make an appointment to see him next week. What we’ll do to run!


A good turnout on a cold, wet evening. 57 runners went long and 35 went short. Complete race results HERE

Later….

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekly Training Update - May 18 - 24

This was my second easy week since the Wapack End to End race. I feel like I have fully recovered and I'm looking forward to getting in 40+ miles during the week ahead. Without any races planned it should be easy to do if I run long, 20 miles or more, on the weekend. I ended this week with an easy 3 mile race yesterday. It felt good to run without all the extra gear, food and fluid required for a 20 mile race.

Weekly ReCap:

Total Miles: 21
Long Run: Didn't do one !! :-)
# of Runs: 4
Avg Miles: 5.2

Hope you enjoyed your day off...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Trav's Trail Run Race Report

This is just the "break" in needed! After 4 consecutive weekend races, and 6 out of the past 8, the thought of another 2 to 6 hour race was not a pleasant one. Then along came Trav's Trail Run to the rescue (race # 5 on the Eastern New England Trail race series). This 3 mile race on wide, tame trails covered with pine needles and wood chips (wood chips, are you serious?) made me want to come back again to explore the trails of Maudslay State Park at a more leisurely pace. This was more of a cross-country race than a trail run but no matter what you call it, it's a FUN race.

RunninRob made the drive with me and we met Pixie and Vivian (one of Pixie's students) in the parking lot before the race. The sun was breaking through the clouds and the temperature climbing as we made our way out onto the course for a 20 minute warm up. By the time we returned the race was about to start. I was standing in back talking with Pixie an neither one of realized the race started without us. We both shouted "Oh, Crap!" and off we ran in pursuit.

The race started on an open field and quickly descended on a sunken, washed out path that had the trickiest footing of the entire course. I worked my way though the field looking for Rob but with my bad start and 260+ runners I couldn't find him. After crossing short bridge the course made it's longest climb up a loose gravel path. It leveled off and then made another short climb onto a sweet, wide cushioned trail. Having to work my way though the field for the first mile really slowed my pace and I went thought the mile in 8:24.

The second mile was nearly flat and I continued to pass runners even as the field thinned out. The running here was the best I have ever seen in a trail race with long stretches of trail covered in pine needles or wood chips. I increased my speed gradually throught the second mile and ran a 7:47 split for mile two. Still no Rob in sight!

I was starting to feel a little hurt coming on after mile 2 and was contemplating slowing down a bit but I told myself this is only a 3 mile race and you're supposed to hurt in a 3 mile race! With all the long slow stuff I've been running lately I forgot what it feels like to run short and quick. Sort of like getting tossed directly into the fire instead of being slowly roasted over the coals!

The last .75 miles of the race was the same as the first except we ran it in the opposite direction. Coming down a long hill I saw Rob crossing over the bridge ahead. He had a good lead on me and I didn't think I had a chance of catching him but I put my head down and motored on. When I crossed the bridge and made the turn up the final climb to the finish I could see Rob had about 50 yards on me. The only way I could catch him is if he really slowed on the climb. He didn't.

Cresting the hill I sprinted to the finish but Rob put it into another gear and pulled away. I crossed the line in 23:23 for a 7:12 split on the final mile. Vivian wasn't too far behind with Pixie about 2 minutes behind Vivian. (Pixie also ran the
Wachusett Mt. race the day before). We hung around for the huge post-race raffle but we all struck out there! Oh well, still a great time and a welcomed change of pace from the longer Grand Tree events of the past several weeks.

NO races for me for the next 2 weekends and I'm looking forward to the rest. Well, not exactly rest. Rob and I have already planned a 20 mile training for next Sunday. And to Nipmuck Dave if you're reading this. I'm happy to help fill in any holes in the entrant list for the
Nipmuck Marathon on June 7th. You can even charge me double and I'll bring a gallon of water!

Race results HERE

Use it or lose it....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lynn Woods Summer Race Series

A North Shore tradition for nearly 40 years, the Lynn Woods Cross Country summer race series kicks off the 2009 season next Wednesday (5/27/09) at the Great Woods Road entrance to Lynn Woods. Started originally by the Lynn Park Department, the races are now administered and sponsored by the North Medford Club, North Shore Striders, and the Lynn AC. The series is a social event as much as it is a race event. Familiar faces are seen week to week, friendships are fostered and a little friendly competition develops as the series progresses throughout the summer.

Races are held on Wednesdays during June, July, and August. All but the last two weeks of the series are free but I strongly encourage you to drop a small donation into the “coffee can” when you register for the race. There is a modest entry free for the 10 Mile Relay (4 person team) and the Handicap race. Bill Mullen the RD for over for over 30 years I think, with the help of a few volunteers, makes these races possible by marking the course, registering runners, recording results, and providing post-race Gatorade and water. Talk about giving back to the sport! He is truly a great guy.

Each week 2 races are run simultaneously; a short one of 2-3 miles and a longer one somewhere between 4 and 8 miles. There are also a 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile races for children. The courses are run mostly on dirt roads and trails. The beginning and end of each race is on 200 yards of pavement. Footing can be difficult in parts. All of the courses can be described as hilly and challenging. No cars are allowed within the Woods. You may encounter some mountain bikers or even a horse or two along the way. My favorite races are the one’s Bill calls “Tour de Woods”. These gems take you on some of the less traveled paths and trails in the reservation.

So, if you’re interested in some mid-week tempo work or want to get in a hard workout in the company of others, consider a dive to Lynn Woods. Heck, you can even RACE if you want to!

Complete race schedule can be found HERE.

Hope to see you there….

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Weekly Training Update - May 11 - 17

I dropped my mileage down this week to aid in my recovery from a nearly 7 hour run on the Wapack trail last weekend. I felt good early in the week but struggled though my last training run before the Soapstone Mountain race. To my surprise I ran well at Soapstone, better than expected anyway. I think the easy training week definitely allowed me to fully recover. Another low mileage week ahead and then I'll crank it up again.

Weekly ReCap:

Total Miles: 27
Long Run: 14 (race)
# of runs: 4
Avg Miles: 6.8

See you at Trav's

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Suprised at Soapstone - Soapstone Mountain Race Report

Sunday morning I made my way down to the Shenipsit State Forest in Connecticut to run the Soapstone Mountain 14.5 mile trail race. Soapstone is race # 6 on the Grand Tree Trail Race Series schedule. Of course I didn’t make the trip alone. Along for the ride to conquer “Killer Hill” was my trusty side-kick KZ, running our fourth trail race together this season. Next weekend he’s on his own though. I’ll be coasting through an easy 5K at Trav’s while he’s grinding out 50K at the Pineland Farms, his 3rd 50K in 3 months. Dude’s got a death wish!


Kevin preps for the start.

I was totally unprepared for the weather that greeted us when we arrived at the race. It was cold and damp with a raw wind whipping across the grass field where the race registration and bib pick-up was held. I was cold but happy. This is the type of weather in which I usually run well. The lines for both pre and post-registration were very long so I new the turnout must have been large (169 finishers). Of course I got in the wrong line and stood there freezing my butt off for at least 5 minutes before I realized my mistake. I was a little surprised when I saw Jim Johnson waiting in post-registration line. Jim is a speedster on the roads and dominated the 2009 Granite State Snowshoe Race Series leaving the competition in his rooster tail. Now he’s turned his talent to trail racing? Watch out Ben Nephew! (Double J finished 3rd overall, 10 seconds behind Nephew.)


Me and Michelle after we learn there is much mud on the course.

I was somewhat concerned about the getting lost on the course after reading two 2008 race reports by Ben Nephew and Steve Wolfe. Both got lost at last year’s race adding at least 5 minutes to their overall time. (Ben still won!) Steve was running with the RD and still got lost! How does that even happen? Maybe the RD was embarrassed by getting lost on her home course because the trail was now well marked with many freshly painted, bright white blazes on rocks and trees.


View Larger Map

The race start was a 5 minute walk from the parking area through the woods. I lined up somewhere mid-pack with KZ, “trailgrrl” Michelle and “Nipmuck” Dave. The first mile was a fast dash down a dirt road that gradually lost elevation. I kept my pace in check not wanting to go out too hard only to pay for it later. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt! The second mile was a mix of wide and single track trail with a series of small ups and downs. I was still running very conservatively here but that didn’t prevent me from tripping over a rock or root and falling to the ground. I didn’t think I had done any damage but after the race my finger was sore and badly swollen. The feeling was the same I had when I dislocated a finger this past winter. I still had good range of motion so I don’t think I dislocated it. Probably just a bone bruise.


Just crusing along, until I fell!

Around the two mile mark I looked up to see a string of runners climbing an extremely steep and long trail up to the top of Soapstone Mountain, or “Killer Hill” as the locals fondly refer to it. There was no running here, just a long, hard power hike up this ½ mile, 33 degree grade with more than 450 feet of elevation. If you wanted to slow down your competition all you had to do is reach out and grab the ankle of the runner in front of you. It was that steep! Not only would that have been poor sportsmanship but foolhardy as well. The trail was so steep the person you just tripped would end up steamrolling you on the way down!


Holy crap!


Just grinding it out.


Although I was huffing and puffing I handled the climb pretty well (for me) and recovered quickly at the top. The fact that this climb came at mile 2 instead of mile 12 made a huge difference to me. I never would have recovered from it if the hill came late in the race. Running under an observation tower, we immediately descended the mountain on a steep, rocky trail. At the bottom of the hill KZ made a pit stop and I didn’t see him again until after the race. I later learned the ankle he injured at MorFun Wapack last week blew up on him again during the race.

Miles 4 – 7 were constantly rolling but overall there was a net elevation loss over the 4 miles. I continued to run at a moderate but comfortable pace passing runners along the way but never getting passed by anyone. I think it was around 7 miles when the trail turned into a rocky, downhill stream. Yes, we ran in the stream! Usually I run very slowly under these trail conditions but today I ran headlong down the stream/hill dancing from one wet slippery rock to another flying past many cautious runners in the process. I actually found running this way easier and less tiring than trying to tiptoe my way around the rocks and roots. Way more dangerous though!

Miles 7.5 – 10 involved a lot of climbing and I maintained my motivation here by picking off clusters of runners grouped together but moving slower than me. I’m sure I passed 15 – 20 runners in the course of 2 miles. I stared to feel some fatigue setting in at mile 10 so I tucked in behind a runner that was maintaining a decent pace and picking very good lines through the technical sections. I followed him for 2 miles until he went off trail to let me pass. My time sucking off him sadly came to an end.

At mile 13 there was another long climb up twisting single-track. By now I was tired and had to take some walking breaks to make it up the 300 foot hill. My spirits were lifted when the volunteer at the top of the hill shouted “Nice job, it’s all downhill from here.” He lied!!! There was a wicked drop down from the hill, and some more downhill running on a short paved section of road but the rest of it was uphill. Maybe the volunteer thought it best to keep the truth from me. Perhaps he was right. I’m not telling!

Breaking out of the woods and onto a grassy field about 200 yards from the finish line I started my kick to see if I could pass 2 more runners ahead of me. I really didn’t’ want to do it but they were too close not to try. They didn’t have anything left, or didn’t have any interest in more pain, and I went by them easily. I was more than happy with my finishing time since it was about 30 minutes faster than I though I would run based on my other race performances this spring.

It was definitely a day of surprises. Soapstone IS a challenging course but I was surprised that there were several very runable, non-technical sections suited to my style of running. (A former road runner with decent speed “back in the day.”) I was surprised that I finished so close behind Michelle who has been kicking my A$$ big time the past few races. To be fair, this course played more to my strengths than hers. She is more of a mountain goat than a speed demon. Not that she looks like one. A goat, that is! I’m certainly very surprised that I ran under 2:34 but I think the cold weather helped me out. I run much better in cold weather vs. the hot stuff. Overall a great day considering I just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep when I woke up at 5 AM Sunday morning!

Race photos by Scott Livingston HERE
Race Results HERE
Trav’s in 5 days…..

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Life On Muddy River

Spring is always a wonderful time along the Muddy River where I do my lunch time runs. The grass has tuned from brown to green, the daffodils are in bloom, the tree cover provides some relief from the warm rays of the sun and the goslings are scampering along the banks of the river.

No matter how many times I see these little walking tennis balls I never get tired of watching them, if only for a minute before moving on to complete my run. I have to admit I get a laugh out of seeing how close I can approach them before an adult starts bobbing it’s head, hissing at me with a curled tongue!













Yes, I’m easily entertained….

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So, What's Your Type?

I was talking with a friend recently about some GI issues she has been dealing with. I know exactly how miserable she must be feeling. For years, I too have battled with many symptoms of an unhappy and unhealthy GI tract. I’ll leave out the details for your benefit. I always suspected it was related to the foods I ate but I had no idea what specific foods I should eat or avoid.

All that changed when I enlisted the aid of a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) as my nutrition coach when I was preparing to compete in the Musclemania Atlantic Bodybuilding Competition in 2004. I realize I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger so I’ll wait for the laughing to subside. Are you done yet? Yes, believe it or not, I competed as a natural (meaning drug-free) bodybuilder for 10 years. Like the sport of boxing, bodybuilding has various weight classes in which to compete. OK, where was I? Oh yeah, now I remember.

My ND introduced me to the Blood Type Diet, something I had never heard of. To keep it simple, certain foods are beneficial, neutral or harmful to an individual based on their ABO type. What may be a beneficial food for a Type O individual may be one to avoid for a Type A person. After reviewing my diet the ND told me I was eating too many harmful foods and it was the cause of my stomach distress. These improper food choices (at least for my blood type) were also keeping me from reaching my potential as a competitive bodybuilder by causing my body undue stress and fatigue.

I was very intrigued by the belief that there is a relationship between blood type, food and optimum health. I did not only want to follow the advice of my ND, I wanted to learn as much as I could about this fascinating subject. I read a book by Peter D'Adamo, ND titled “Eat Right 4 Your Type” and followed the blood type diet given to me by my trainer. Within two weeks all my GI symptoms had vanished. My energy level increase dramatically. I was able to weight-train five days a week and run four times a week. I often did double work-outs on days when I only ate a total of 30 grams of carbohydrates! At age 49, I was in the best condition of my life and lowered my body-fat percentage to 3.9% for the Musclemania event.

For all you non-believers:
























My point is you don’t have to be a competitive bodybuilder, runner, or even an athlete to benefit from eating right for your type. If you are concerned about your general health, prevention of diseases or just plain tired of being tired, you should give this a try. You won’t regret it.

Below are brief summaries and characteristics of the four blood types taken from Peter D’Adamo’s website. I find the personality traits most interesting. Which one are you?

The Type O Profile


Type O was the first blood type, the type O ancestral prototype was a canny, aggressive predator. Aspects of the Type O profile remain essential in every society even to this day – leadership, extroversion, energy and focus are among their best traits. Type O’s can be powerful and productive, however, when stressed Type O’s response can be one of anger, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. When Type O wiring gets crossed, as a result of a poor diet, lack of exercise, unhealthy behaviors or elevated stress levels, Type O’s are more vulnerable to negative metabolic effects, including insulin resistance, sluggish thyroid activity, and weight gain. When you customize your life to Type O’s strengths you can reap the benefits of your ancestry. Your genetic inheritance offers you the opportunity to be strong, lean, productive, long-lived and optimistic.

What Makes You Unique

As a Blood Type O you may be predisposed to certain illnesses, such as ulcers and thyroid disorders. In the 1950’s it was discovered that Type O’s had about twice the instances of ulcers of all kinds than the other blood types. These findings have been replicated many times since then. Type O’s tend to have low levels of thyroid hormone and often exhibit insufficient levels of iodine, a chemical element whose sole purpose is thyroid hormone regulation. This causes many side effects such as weight gain, fluid retention and fatigue. Dr. D’Adamo does not recommend iodine supplements, rather a diet rich in saltwater fish and kelp to help regulate the thyroid gland. Bladder Wrack is also an excellent nutrient for type O’s. This herb, actually a seaweed, is very effective as an aid to weight control for Type O’s. “The fucose in bladder wrack seems to help normalize the sluggish metabolic rate and produce weight loss in Type O’s,” says Dr. D’Adamo. Type O’s also have a higher level of stomach acid than the other blood types, which often results in stomach irritation and ulcers. Dr. D’Adamo recommends a licorice preparation called DGL (de glycyrrhizinated licorice) which can reduce discomfort and aid healing. DGL protects the stomach lining in addition to protecting it from stomach acids. Avoid crude licorice preparations as they contain a component of the plant which can cause elevated blood pressure. This component has been removed in DGL. Dr. D'Adamo also recommends Mastic Gum and Bismuth to soothe Type O's common and even frequent tummy troubles.

Type O Personality?

In Japan, blood type has long been associated with personality type. You might well be asked your blood type on a job interview! In an independent study of 45 MBA students, Type O’s most often described themselves in ways related to the following characteristics; responsible, decisive, organized, objective, rule-conscious, and practical. Both male and female Type O’s reported a higher percentage of the mesomorphic body type when compared to controls. Interestingly, Type O’s also scored significantly higher than the rest in “sensing” – using the 5 senses to gather information, and in the sensing-thinking combination, indicating that they are more detail and fact oriented, logical, precise and orderly. “I believe that the tendency to sense and get facts right stems from the inbred hunter-gatherer need to observe and accurately assess the environment in order to insure survival.” Says D’Adamo.

Manage Your Type O Stress

The legacy of your Type O ancestry causes an immediate “fight or flight” response in people of this blood type. However, this finely tuned response to stress, so vital in early Type O’s, is not always so beneficial in modern times. The Type O response can cause bouts of excessive anger, temper tantrums, hyperactivity and even create a severe enough chemical imbalance to bring about a manic episode. Since there is a powerful, synergistic relationship between the release of dopamine and feelings of reward, Type O is more vulnerable to destructive behaviors when overly tired, depressed or bored. These can include gambling, sensation seeking, risk taking, substance abuse and impulsivity. To avoid becoming overstressed, Dr. D’Adamo recommends following the Type O diet, which focuses on lean, organic meats, vegetables and fruits and avoid wheat and dairy which can be triggers for digestive and health issues in Type O. Additionally, he suggests that Type O’s avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can be particularly harmful because of its tendency to raise adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are already high for Type O’s.

Energize - The Essential Exercise Component

Type O’s benefit tremendously from brisk regular exercise that taxes the cardiovascular and muscular skeletal system. But the benefit derived surpasses the goal of physical fitness. Type O also derives the benefit of a well timed chemical release system. The act of physical exercise releases a swarm of neurotransmitter activity that acts as a tonic for the entire system. The Type O who exercises regularly also has a better emotional response. You are more emotionally balanced as a result of well regulated, efficient chemical transport system. More than any other blood type, O’s rely on physical exercise to maintain physical health and emotional balance. Dr. D’Adamo suggests that Type O’s engage in regular physical activity three to four times per week. For best results, engage in aerobic activity for thirty to forty five minutes at least four times per week. If you are easily bored, choose two or three different exercises and vary your routine.

Live Right!

In addition to exercising and eating foods that are Right For Your Type, here are a few key lifestyle strategies for Type O individuals:


  • Develop clear plans for goals and tasks – annual, monthly, weekly, daily to avoid impulsivity.
  • Make lifestyle changes gradually, rather than trying to tackle everything at once.
  • Eat all meals, even snacks, seated at a table.
  • Chew slowly and put your fork down between bites of food.
  • Avoid making big decisions or spending money when stressed.
  • Do something physical when you feel anxious.
  • Engage in thirty to forty five minutes of aerobic exercise at least four times per week.
  • When you crave a pleasure releasing-substance (alcohol, tobacco, sugar), do something physical.
Dr. D’Adamo recommends that Type O, “Approach this program as a long term strategy. This is not a short term goal, rather a lifestyle that you adapt for a lifetime of health and well being. There is no doubt that there is a connection between the mind and the body. The knowledge that we can do something to change our genetic destiny is powerful.”

Type A History


The Type A emerges into the 21st century with many more complex challenges than their ancestors could have imagined. The key factor in the development of Type A can be traced to the struggle for survival long ago, when there was a rapidly dwindling supply of hunting game stock. Having exhausted the great game herds of Africa, humans pushed farther out from their ancestral home into Europe and Asia. The cultivation of grains and livestock changed everything. For the first time, people were able to forego the hand to mouth lifestyle of the hunter/gatherer and establish stable communities. Over time the adaptations that produced Blood Type A were based on the need to fully utilize nutrients from carbohydrate sources. These biological adaptations can still be observed today in Type A's digestive structure. Low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and high intestinal disaccharide digestive enzyme levels permit the more efficient digestion of carbohydrates. According to Dr. D'Adamo, these are also the very factors, along with low levels of intestinal alkaline phosphatase, that make it difficult for Type As to digest and metabolize animal protein and fat.

What Makes Type A Unique

Many neurochemical factors in the Type A genetic disposition favor a structured, rhythmic, harmonious life, surrounded by a positive, supportive community. The harried pace and increased sense of isolation experienced by so many in today's society often make these needs difficult to achieve. Type A best exemplifies the powerful interconnections between mind and body. This was vital to the shift away from hunting and procurement to building and growing. However, Type A's more internalized relationship to stress, which served your ancestors well, can be a challenge for the modern Type A. The Blood Type Diet's proactive mix of lifestyle strategies, hormonal equalizers, gentle exercise and specialized dietary guidelines will maximize your overall health; decrease your natural risk factors for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The result: high performance, mental clarity, greater vitality and increased longevity.

Type A Diet

"When we discuss 'diet,' we are not talking necessarily about a weight loss plan, that's a side benefit to following this plan. We are actually discussing diet in the more traditional sense, meaning a way to eat," explains, Dr. D'Adamo. Type As flourish on a vegetarian diet - if you are accustomed to eating meat, you will lose weight and have more energy once you eliminate the toxic foods from your diet. Many people find it difficult to move away from the typical meat and potato fare to soy proteins, grains and vegetables. But it is particularly important for sensitive Type As to eat their foods in as natural a state as possible: pure, fresh and organic. "I can't emphasize enough how this critical dietary adjustment can be to the sensitive immune system of Type A. With this diet you can supercharge your immune system and potentially short circuit the development of life threatening diseases."

Handling Stress

In this busy, ever changing world, it's almost impossible to avoid every day stress. Type As have a naturally high level of the stress hormone cortisol and produce more in response to stressful situations. Cortisol is released in 24-hour patterns, typically in the early morning between six and eight A.M. with a gradual decrease during the day. It helps to cue the body's other cyclical rhythms. Due to the naturally elevated cortisol in type As, additional stress often manifests in several ways; disrupted sleep patterns, daytime brain fog, increased blood viscosity (thickening), and promotes muscle loss and fat gain. In extreme cases in Type As, stress can manifest in more serious ways, causing obsessive-compulsive disorder, insulin resistance and hypothyroidism. To help balance cortisol levels, Dr. D'Adamo recommends that you limit sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Don't skip meals, especially breakfast; eating smaller, more frequent meals will also help to stabilize blood sugar levels.

He also points out that the following factors are known to increase cortisol levels and increase mental exhaustion for Type As - be aware and limit your exposure when possible:

  • Crowds of people
  • Loud noise
  • Negative emotions
  • Smoking
  • Strong smells or perfumes
  • Too much sugar and starch
  • Overwork
  • Violent TV and movies
  • Lack of sleep
  • Extreme weather conditions (hot or cold)
Calming Exercise - The Critical Component for Health and Well Being

Heightened cortisol levels make it harder for Type As to recover from stress. Research has demonstrated that overall cortisol levels can be lowered through a regular program of exercises that provide focus and calming effects. Make these activities a regular - and life saving - part of your lifestyle. Dr. D'Adamo recommends, Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi and Meditation and Deep Breathing Exercises. Meditation has been studied for its effects on stress hormones. It was found that after meditation, serum cortisol levels were significantly reduced. Writes Dr. D'Adamo, "While it's fine for Type As to participate in more intense physical activity when healthy and in good condition, be aware that these forms of exercise do not act as safety valves for stress in your blood type. I have seen Type As excel at weight lifting and aerobic activities, but you have to be careful about not overtraining, as that will actually raise cortisol levels."

The Personality Connection

Blood Type is a marker of individuality - and perhaps of personality as well. In Japan, it has long been believed that Blood Type is an indicator of personality - in fact, you are likely to be asked your blood type in a job interview or while out on a date with a potential mate! In a study conducted by Dr. D'Adamo in 1999, he found some interesting connections between blood type and personality. Type As most often described themselves in ways related to the following characteristics: sensitive to the needs of others, good listeners, detail oriented, analytical, creative and inventive.

Live Right!

In addition to exercise, stress management and eating the right foods, here are some key lifestyle strategies for Type A individuals.

  • Cultivate creativity and expression in your life
  • Establish a consistent daily schedule
  • Go to bed no later than 11:00 PM and sleep for eight hours or more. Don't linger in bed, as soon as you get up, get going!
  • Take at least two breaks of twenty minutes each during the work day. Stretch, take a walk, do deep breathing exercises or meditate.
  • Don't skip meals
  • Eat more protein at the start of the day, less at the end
  • Don't eat when you are anxious
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Engage in thirty to forty five minutes of calming exercise at least three times a week.
  • Plan regular screening for heart disease and cancer prevention.
  • Always chew food thoroughly to enhance digestion. Low stomach acid makes digestion more difficult.
The Blood Type B Individualized Lifestyle

The mechanics of blood type's influence have to do with the way the genes influence each other, seemingly unrelated, genes located immediately adjacent or nearby. This mechanism explains why your blood type can have an impact on such a diverse number of bodily systems - from digestive enzymes to neurochemicals. Many nutrition experts are baffled when they first hear about the link between blood type and digestion. That's because they are only considering the physical significance of blood type as a surface antigen. Actually, it's not your blood type antigen that is influencing the level of acid in your stomach, but rather the gene for your blood type influencing other seemingly unrelated genes located immediately adjacent (or very close) to the ABO blood type gene that can exert an effect on your stomach acid levels. This phenomenon, called gene linkage, isn't well understood yet, but it is well known: Many genes influence the actions of other seemingly unrelated genes. As we explore Blood Type B, we will learn more about this intriguing relationship.

B Is for Balance - B Blood Type History

Blood Type B developed in the area of the Himalayan highlands, now part of present day Pakistan and India. Pushed from the hot, lush savannahs of eastern Africa to the cold highlands of the Himalayan Mountains, Blood type B may have initially mutated in response to climactic changes. It first appeared in India or the Ural region of Asia among a mix of Caucasian and Mongolian tribes. This new blood type was soon characteristic of the great tribes of steppe dwellers, who by this time dominated the Eurasian Plains. As the Mongolians swept through Asia, the gene for Type B blood was firmly entrenched. The Mongolians swept northward, pursuing a culture dependent upon herding and domesticating animals - as their diet of meat and cultured dairy products reflected. Of all the ABO types, Type B shows the most clearly defined geographic distribution. Stretching as a great belt across the Eurasian plains and down to the Indian subcontinent, Type B is found in increased numbers from Japan, Mongolia, China and India up to the Ural Mountains. From there westward, the percentages fall until a low is reached at the western tip of Europe. The small numbers of Type B in Western Europeans represents western migration by Asian nomadic peoples. This is best seen in the easternmost western Europeans, the Germans and Austrians, who have an unexpectedly high incidence of Type B blood compared to their western neighbors. Modern sub continental Indians a Caucasian people, have some of the highest frequencies of Type B blood in the world. The northern Chinese and Koreans have very high rates of Type B blood and very low rates of Type A.

What Makes Type B Unique

As a Type B, you carry the genetic potential for great malleability and the ability to thrive in changeable conditions. Unlike blood types A and O, which are at opposite ends of every spectrum, your position is fluid, rather than stationary, with the ability to move in either direction along the continuum. It's easy to see how this flexibility served the interests of early Type B's who needed to balance the twin forces of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. At the same time, it can be extremely challenging to balance two poles and Type B's tend to be highly sensitive to the effects of slipping out of balance.

The primary challenges that can get in the way of optimum health for Type B include a tendency to produce higher than normal cortisol levels in situations to stress; sensitivity to the B specific lectins in select foods, resulting in inflammation and greater risk for developing Syndrome X; susceptibility to slow growing, lingering viruses - such as those for MS, CFS, and lupus; and a vulnerability to autoimmune diseases. "If I were to generalize," says Dr. D'Adamo, "I would say that a healthy Type B, living right for his or her own type, tends to have fewer risk factors for disease and tends to be more physically fit and mentally balanced than any of the other blood types." Type B's tended to have a greater ability to adapt to altitude and interestingly, are statistically the tallest of the blood types.

Type B Diet

For Type Bs the biggest factors in weight gain are corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts and sesame seeds. Each of these foods affect the efficiency of your metabolic process, resulting in fatigue, fluid retention, and hypoglycemia - a severe drop in blood sugar after eating a meal. When you eliminate these foods and begin eating a diet that is right for your type, you blood sugar levels should remain normal after meals. Another very common food that Type Bs should avoid is chicken. Chicken contains a Blood Type B agglutinating lectin in its muscle tissue. Although chicken is a lean meat, the issue is the power of an agglutinating lectin attacking your bloodstream and the potential for it to lead to strokes and immune disorders. Dr. D'Adamo suggests that you wean yourself away from chicken and replace them with highly beneficial foods such as goat, lamb, mutton, rabbit and venison. Other foods that encourage weight loss are green vegetables, eggs, beneficial meats, and low fat dairy. When the toxic foods are avoided and replaced with beneficial foods, Blood Type Bs are very successful in controlling their weight.

Handling Stress

When it comes to hormones, type B is closer to type A, producing somewhat higher levels of cortisol. When a Type B is out of balance, this manifests in overreaction to stress, difficulty in recovering from stress, disrupted sleep patterns, daytime brain fog, disruptive to GI friendly bacteria and suppresses immune function. This leads to increased risks for depression, insulin resistance, hypothyroidism and high stress can further exacerbate virtually all health challenges.

The Nitric Oxide (NO) molecule also has implications for Blood Type B's stress response and ability to recover quickly from stress. NO has emerged as an important substance capable of modifying many biological processes - including the nervous system and the immune system. Nitric Oxide functions as a kind of mediator of certain types of neurons in the central nervous system. Unlike the other neuro-transmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, NO does not bind to specific sites on the cell, but rather is infused into the cell and works directly at the biochemical level, making it a "rapid response" neurotransmitter. NO also seems to be involved in the regulation of the endorphins produced in the brain. The ability to rapidly clear NO can be highly beneficial to the cardiovascular system, but it also has implications for the activity of neurotransmitters, enabling faster recovery of stress. Scientists found that patients who possessed the Type B antigen appeared to clear NO more rapidly than do people of other blood types - the scientists had no clue as to why this might be, however, one of the possible answers lies right next to the ABO gene as the gene that influences the ability to modulate Arginine conversion to NO is right next to the gene that codes for blood type. Remember the gene linkage that was discussed earlier? Does this sound familiar? Dr. D'Adamo has observed that type B's have a wonderful gift to be able to gain physiological relief from stress and maintain emotional balance through the utilization of mental processes such as visualization and meditation.

Exercise

To maintain the mind/body balance that is unique to Type B's, Dr. D'Adamo recommends that you choose physical exercise that challenges your mind as well as your body. Type Bs need to balance meditative activities with more intense physical exercise. "You tend to do best with activities that are not too aerobically intense, have an element of mental challenge and involve other people." Says Dr. D'Adamo. Excellent forms of exercise for Type B's include tennis, martial arts, cycling, hiking and golf.

The Personality Connection

The connection between blood type and personality has long been studied. In an independent study, Dr. D'Adamo found that most Blood Type B's often described themselves in ways related to the following characteristics: subjective, easygoing, creative, original and flexible. In another study, Type B's scored significantly higher on "intuiting," indicating a preference or sixth sense information; and they scored high on the "intuiting/feeling" combination, indicating that they tend to be insightful, mystical, idealistic, creative, globally-oriented, people-oriented and good at imagining. They also reported that they learned best through listening, then reflecting on and interpreting what they had observed. Perhaps the nomadic life of the steppes contributed to long hours given over to talk as well as ample time for meditation and reflection.

Live Right!

Here are Dr. D'Adamo's key lifestyle strategies for Type Bs:

  • Visualization is a powerful technique for Type Bs. If you can visualize it, you can achieve it
  • Find healthy ways to express your nonconformist side
  • Spend at least twenty minutes a day involved in some creative task that requires your complete attention
  • Go to bed no later than 11:00PM and sleep for eight hours or more. It is essential for B's to maintain their circadian rhythm
  • Use mediation to relax during breaks
  • Engage in a community, neighborhood or other group activity that gives you a meaningful connection to a group. Type Bs are natural born networkers
  • Be spontaneous
  • As they age, Type Bs have a tendency to suffer memory loss and have decreased mental acuity. Stay sharp by doing tasks that require concentration, such as crossword puzzles or learn a new skill or language

The Blood Type AB Individualized Lifestyle


Type AB blood is rare – it’s found in less than five percent of the population. And it is the newest of the blood types. Until ten or twelve centuries ago, there was no Type AB blood type. Type AB resulted from the intermingling of Type A with Type B. Type AB is the only blood type whose existence is the result of intermingling rather than environment. Thus, they share both the benefits and the challenges of both Type A and Type B blood types. Type AB has a unique chameleon like quality – depending on the circumstances, this blood type can appropriate the characteristics of each of the other blood types. Type AB is sometimes A-like, sometimes B-like and sometimes a fusion of both. Today, as we look back at this remarkable evolutionary revolution, it is clear that the genetic characteristics of our ancestors live in our blood today.

Eat Right for Wellness

Type AB reflects the mixed inheritance of their A and B genes. According to Dr. D’Adamo, “Type AB has Type A’s low stomach acid, however, they also have Type B’s adaptation to meats. Therefore, you lack enough stomach acid to metabolize them efficiently and the meat you eat tends to get stored as fat. Your Type B propensities cause the same insulin reaction as Type B when you eat lima beans, corn, buckwheat, or sesame seeds.” Inhibited insulin production results in hypoglycemia, a lowering of blood sugar after meals and leads to less efficient metabolism of foods.

Type AB should avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially when you’re in stressful situations. Dr. D’Adamo recommends that Type AB focus on foods such as tofu, seafood, dairy and green vegetables if you are trying to lose weight. “Avoid all smoked or cured meats. These foods can cause stomach cancer in people with low levels of stomach acid,” recommends Dr. D’Adamo. There is a wide variety of seafood for Type AB, and it is an excellent source of protein for Type AB. A few highly beneficial fish are mahi-mahi, red snapper, salmon, sardines, and tuna.. Some dairy is also beneficial for Type AB – especially cultured dairy such as Yogurt and kefir.

Dr. D’Adamo also recommends smaller, more frequent meals, as they will counteract digestive problems caused by inadequate stomach acid and peptic enzymes. “Your stomach initiates the digestive process with a combination of digestive secretions, and the muscular contractions that mix food with them. When you have low levels of digestive secretions, food tends to stay in the stomach longer.” Explains D’Adamo. He also suggests that Type AB pay attention to combining certain foods. For example, you’ll digest and metabolize foods more efficiently if you avoid eating starches and proteins in the same meal.

Stress and Exercise

Even though people have different capabilities for accommodating stress, we ultimately all have a breaking point. Given enough stressors of a high enough intensity for a long enough period of time, anyone will maladapt. For a Type AB, when it comes to stress hormones, you most resemble Type O in your tendency to overproduce catecholamines like adrenaline. Yet you also have the additional complexity of Type B’s rapid clearing of nitrous oxide, so you suffer the physical consequences of high emotions. Your greatest danger is the tendency to internalize your emotions, especially anger and hostility, which is much more damaging to your health than externalizing it. Exercise plays a critical component in stress reduction and maintaining a healthy emotional balance for Type AB. Dr. D’Adamo recommends a combination of both calming activities and more intense physical exercise to help maintain an optimal balance. For example, three days of aerobic exercise such as running or biking and two days of calming exercise such as yoga or tai chi.

Personality

Type AB often receives mixed messages about emotional health. While you tend to be drawn to other people and are friendly and trusting, there is a side of you that feels alienated from the larger community. At your best, you are intuitive and spiritual, with an ability to look beyond the rigid confines of society. You are passionate in your beliefs, but you also want to be liked by others and this can create conflicts. In an independent study, Type ABs described themselves as emotional, passionate, friendly, trusting and empathetic. Type ABs are considered some of the most interesting of the blood types, both John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe were Type ABs and although both are long gone, they hold a place in our national psyche to this day.

Live Right!

Here are Dr. D’Adamo’s key lifestyle strategies for people with Blood Type AB:

  • Cultivate your social nature in welcoming environments. Avoid situations that are highly competitive
  • Avoid ritualistic thinking and fixating on issues, especially those you can’t control or influence
  • Develop a clear plan for goals and tasks – annually, monthly, weekly, daily – to avoid rushing
  • Make lifestyle changes gradually, rather than trying to tackle everything at once
  • Engage in forty-five to sixty minutes of aerobic exercise at least twice a week. Balanced by daily stretching, medititation or yoga
  • Engage in a community, neighborhood or other group activity that gives you a meaningful connection to a group
  • Practice visualization techniques daily
  • Also carve out time alone. Have at least one sport, hobby or activity that you perform independently of others
  • Break up your workday with some physical activity, especially if your job is sedentary. You’ll feel more energized

I hope this post will get you to think about how the food choices you make impact your overall health and well being.

I'll be back...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More What? - MorFun Wapack End-2-End Race Report

Regular readers of this blog know I like to put a lot of detail into my race reports, at least as much as my tired mind will remember. As much as I'd like to do the same for this report, let me say work has been totally crazy and duties at home and my volunteer work have left me with little free time. An abbreviated Wapack report will have to suffice. Better a short recap than no report at all, right? That brings me to my second thought. I'm not sure if I should be calling these posts "race reports". Although the effort in which I run most of these "races" is harder than a training run, they're usually not all out assaults. I only have one goal race this year and it's the Stone Cat Ale 50 Mile in November. It's not until I prepare for this race that I will add tempo, hills and speed work into my training. That is the only race I expect to leave it all on the course. Until then, I'm having WAY too much fun running many races with friends and not having one bit of worry about my elapsed time. OK, enough babbling.

At first I thought Bogie (the RD) must have named this race "MorFun"to distinguish it from "the other" Wapack race held in late summer. That one is and out-and-back course running from Windblown to Mt. Watatic and back and covering a distance of 17.5 miles. The MorFun Wapack starts at the most northern end of the Wapack trail, at North Pack Monadnock and finishes at the most southern end at Mt. Watatic for a total of 21 miles. I assumed the MorFun referred to the "extra" fun we would have running the additional 3.5 miles. I couldn't have been MorWrong!


View Larger Map

MorFun also means more mountains; 11 of them ranging in elevation from 1,742 feet at Stony Top to 2,290 feet at Pack Monadnock. Three of the mountains are over 2,200 feet. There were also a few lesser hills around 1,400 to 1,600 feet sprinkled in to keep you on your toes so to speak. MorFun also means more elevation, like 10,500 feet of leg numbing elevation gain and loss. That's right, 9.5 miles of lung bursting uphill running and 8.5 miles of quad burning downhills! Get the picture?



Now to the race itself. It was raining lightly as fifty-one fearless runners started the 1.5 mile climb up from the base of North Pack Monadnock. I settled into the middle of the pack and tried to maintain contact with my friend Kevin. It was evident pretty quickly that I could not run his pace and survive 21 miles so I backed off a bit and prepared myself for a long day. I watched as a long train of runners dotted the mountain side along the wet, rocky and root-infested single-track trail.

The climb up the mountain was made more difficult by the wet conditions. It was hard to get any traction on the slanted, granite slabs and I found myself slipping with nearly every step. It didn't take long for me to figure out if I ran flat-footed I was able to keep more of the sole of my shoe in contact with the wet stone. This helped to reduce but not eliminate the slipping and I made better progress. I was passed by several runners during this first climb. I stink at climbing! I chuckled to myself thinking this is a 21 mile race and they will have to pay for it later. When they do, I'll be picking them off one by one. I was wrong. I never saw most of them again!



"Slip Sliding Away" - Simon and Garfunkel up North Pack (Photo credit: Steve Latour)

I did maintain contact with one runner (Betty) after she went past me. We ended up running the rest of the race together except when she got a burst of energy in the final mile or two and scooted off without me. I had a great time running with Betty. She maintained a very positive attitude throughout the race and was constantly smiling and laughing. We even joked about going off course and losing about 15 minutes before finding our way back to the trail. What really surprised me was that this was only her second trail race ever! I guess she likes a real challenge.



Boston Betty trying to keep her feet dry.

At the Windblown aid station (mile 12) we met up with Kevin. He twisted his ankle badly shortly after the mile 5 aid station but decided to hobble his way to Windblown to rest and regroup. He said he wanted to continue the race (that didn't surprise me) but before we left me and Betty changed into dry socks. It wasn't easy keeping your feet dry on this day. Mud and water were plentiful on the trail but my Injinji's kept me blister free! The three of us were on the move and I was happy to be running with Kevin again. Misery loves company.

The first 4 hours had gone pretty smoothly. I kept a regular regular regiment of hydration, calories and electrolytes and it was working well. I had a good level of energy and was feeling fresh considering the terrain and time on my feet. Things started to go south when I switched from Succeed Ultra to Succeed Amino at Windblown. I'm not crazy about the taste of Amino so I started to drink less often after the switch. I think this contributed to my slowdown during the later stages of the race. That, and the fact my CamelBak MULE weighed about 10 lbs fully loaded!

The run from Windblown to the Binney Hill aid station at mile 16 involved two killer climbs up Barrett and New Ipswich Mountains. The climbs were long and steep and the bugs seemed to be getting worse by the minute. It was here where my energy began to wain and maintaining pace was harder than before. We celebrated the end of the climbs with a photo shoot on both summits. This gave me chance to catch my breath and to cool down a bit. Despite the clouds and fog, there were some nice views from the mountain tops.



Are were there yet?





Smiles return when the climbing is over.

I was very happy when we made it to the Binney Hill Road aid station. Next stop would be the finish line. The volunteers at this station were as friendly and helpful as all the previous ones had been. Hats off the them! We hydrated here and I also found some nice treats at the station. Candy fruit slices are one of my favorites! I enjoy one or two of them, or may three before leaving. When it comes to sweets, I'm a kid at heart. Betty and Kevin were ready to go so I followed them onto the trail. As I was leaving the aid station I called back to a runner who was still lingering there. I told her to "get a move on" and join us for the final push to the finish. She came along and now we were 4 strong.



Candy makes me happy!

We had one more mountain to climb and I was a little worried about it. Much to my surprise the climb up Mt. Watatic didn't seem nearly as bad as I remembered it from when I ran it last year at "the other" Wapack race. Was my mind totally numb by then? I don't know but whatever the reason, this climb was uneventful. Betty and Kevin ran ahead at this point and I was left with the runner we picked up at Binney Road.

In my fatigued state I forgot my manners and never introduced myself to her but she was very nice and I enjoyed running the final mile with her. We talked about trail running, snowshoe racing, the benefits of ART and so many other things that I almost forget how tired my legs had become. Soon we descended Watatic and made the turn to run the last 1/4 mile to the finish. With about 200 yards to go the 50 mile winner ran past me. I congratulated him on a great race and he said something like "This was the hardest day of my life." I agreed 100%. When I crossed the line I was greeted by Betty, Kevin and my friend Michelle who kicked a$$ and ran the course in 5 hours! We hung out for a while and then me , Kevin and Michelle went to get something to eat. We were starving!



Paying homage to the Wapack Trail.

Michelle took us to her favorite "dive bar", her words, not mine. I thought it was great and the beer was ice cold! Funny thing about dive bars. No one even noticed 3 smelly, mud-caked people sitting at the bar. We sat around talking about what we had just accomplished but soon moved on to what was next on the race calender. We all decided to run Soapstone Mountain this Sunday. I was psyched because I have wanted to run the race for the past 3 years but never made it there. My excitement was short-lived when Michelle blurted out, "Yeah, Soapstone is a hard race." Damn! Some things are best left unsaid.

On to the next challenge....

More Race Photos Here. Many thanks to KZ for taking them.

Steve Latour's race photos and hilarious comments Here

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weekly Training Update - May 4 - 10

I completed another solid week of training hitting 40 miles for the second time in three weeks. I also reached another personal record for 'time on my feet' at 6 hours and 45 minutes on the Wapack Trail. An excellent training and learning experience for my upcoming ultra attempt this fall.

Weekly Recap:

Total Miles: 40
Long Run: 22
# of Days: 3
Avg Miles: 13.3
Trail Miles: 90%
# of Races: 1
Race Miles: 22

Wapack race report is on the way....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Best Kept Secret – Overlook Trail Race Report

Probably the most overlooked race in the Eastern New England Trail Races Series, the Overlook Trail 7 mile race in Saima Park has much to offer veteran trail racers and rookie runners alike. Single-track trails, rocky paths, stream crossings, mud, pine needle floor trails and a trailside junk art exhibit are just some of the highlights an adventurous group of 42 enjoyed this past Sunday. I almost hate to hype this race too much lest the word get out and hordes of dirt devils descend on the race next year and spoil the charm of this small, low key event hosted by the North Medford Club. And don’t let me forget the hungry mosquitoes. They were out in full force pre-race but not a problem once the race began.


View Larger Map

I made the drive to Fitchburg, MA with trail buddy RunninRob. The time flew by as we discussed the impending race, our injuries, ultra plans and other non-running related topics. I got a little too deep into our conversation and missed a few turns despite the frantic warnings from my GPS. They’re only useful if you listen to them! A couple of detours later we pulled in the parking lot of Saima Park just as I received a call from Trail Pixie giving me instructions on how to find the place. HA, too late!

We got our “numbers” and a very cool long-sleeved shirt at the registration desk. We also saw Sara who I met at the Fells Trail Races back in March. The Fells may have been her first race (way to pick and easy one, right?) and I think this was her first race since then. I tried to recruit her for Soapstone Mt. in a couple of weeks. She didn’t commit but I hope she makes it down there. It will be a good opportunity to test her new Gator-Bait Gaiters under race conditions. Come on Sara. I’ll be looking for you!

Rob and I got to the starting line and vowed we would not have a repeat of last week’s Blue Hills flameout. To help keep our promises, we lined up in the middle on the pack. As the race started we settled into a nice comfortable pace. A few runners went by us in the first ¼ mile but then things settled down and we maintained our position. Approaching the first mile, I went around a runner on a rocky descent and got separated from Rob. Shortly after that I heard a horrific scream behind me. I knew someone must have gone down hard on the rocky section I just ran through. I turned around and saw Rob and others had stopped to check on the fallen runner. I thought for sure something must have been broken but thankfully it turned out to be a bad sprain.

Climbing a washed out trail complete with leaf-covered rocks, roots and downed trees branches I passed a few runners and tucked in behind Cynthia from the GBTC. She was running a good pace and I was too lazy to do my own work so I followed her into a twisting section of single-track. I noticed she was a little stronger on the up hills than me (big surprise huh?) and I was quicker on the descents and flats. She noticed this as well and offered to let me past on one of the down hills. I said “Thanks” but declined as I wasn’t quite ready to be lead dog. We passed one or two runners here, and since I was feeling good, decided to go pass Cynthia too.

I set my sights on a runner up ahead and began to work on reeling him in. I was beginning to feel like the Dan of races past, starting out slow, picking off runners one by one and finishing with a strong kick. I was closing in on my prey but when I took a look over my shoulder I saw that I had not completely dropped Cynthia. The hunter was also the hunted! I caught the runner ahead of me after we crested the climb up Flat Rock trail. As I passed he told me to “Hammer it home” so I knew then he was all done. I said “Thanks, nice race” and poured it on down the other side of the hill not wanting to give him time to reconsider his surrender.

After Flat Rock hill there was easy running on a non-technical trail so I maintained a fast pace here. Turning right on a sharp switch-back I looked up hill and saw the runner I just passed had fallen way back and Cynthia was out of sight too. I felt like I was almost home free but there was still about 2 miles to go. Dropping down onto some more single-track I could hear the sound of rushing water. I was getting close to the water crossings, my favorite part of any trail race! Speeding down a short, steep hill I leaped into the stream and kept moving forward. One more hill and I would be nearing the finish line.

My pace slowed a bit on the long, final climb but I kept moving forward. The rest of the way was either downhill or flat and I continued to push the pace thinking there could be another runner around the next corner just waiting to be caught. Sadly not, but I finished strong and feeling good. The thing that pleased me most is that I ran a smart race and passed many runners, but was never passed by anyone after the first ¼ mile. I’m not saying I am back in racing shape but at least there was no repeat of my crash and burn flameout from the week before. Promise kept!

Next up MorFun Wapack. Say a prayer for me, maybe two….

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lost In Lynn Woods

I went out for a planned 3 hour / 15 mile run this morning starting in Breakheart Reservation, making a big loop in Lynn Woods and returning back to Breakheart. The temperature was comfortable, near 60 degrees in the morning , but the humidity felt very high when I started out from Breakheart. My legs were feeling tired from the Overlook Trail Race on Sunday so I started out slow and kept it slow for the entire run.

When I made it over to the North-East corner of Walden Pond I decided to detour from my usual route and took an unmarked trail to see where it would take me. As I followed this trail there were several forks in the trail and I continued to head in the general direction of my intended run. After a while the trail ended at the base of a high, steep rock cliff. Not wanting to retrace my steps I decided to do some rock climbing.

It was a hard, slow climb but my reward for reaching the top was a spectacular view overlooking Walden Pond with Boston visible on the horizon. I had the option to go right or left at this point so I went right. This trail made a steep descent from the rock back down to the pond. This trail also ended as abruptly as the first. I wandered around trying to pick up another trail but didn't have any luck. I was never really lost, just temporarily misplaced! Reluctantly I retraced my steps back up the rock and took the trail on the left. (If you look near the north-east corner of Walden Pond you can see the fish hook shaped route I ran. This is where I backtracked to locate the trail.)


View Larger Map


After following this trail about a half mile I was able to locate my usual running trail and the rest of the run was uneventful. I did see one rider on horseback on my return. A very handsome, black horse sporting a very shiny coat. No other wildlife though. I haven't seen any dear on my past 2 or 3 runs here. Bummer! My legs were feeling pretty shot when I got back to Breakheat so I ran straight to the Ranger's Station and didn't add any more miles there. I finished with 13.1 miles in 2:40:37. Slightly over the 12 minute miles I wanted to run but still close enough. I'll be taking off a few days before the weekend to rest my legs for MorFun Wapack!

Have I ever told you how much I hate running mountains!

April Training Update

April was the fourth month in a row that I increased my monthly mileage total. It was a mixed month with my weekly totals fluctuating between 20 and 41 miles, longs run from 12 to 20 miles with one decent race and one poor performance. Overall, not a bad month as I try to work on nutrition, hydration and pacing for an ultra attempt while jumping into a race here and there to get in some faster running.

April Recap:

Total Miles: 137
Longest Run: 20
# of Runs: 19
Avg per Run: 7.2
# of Races: 2
Race Miles: 26

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Product Testing and Review - Injinji Toe Socks

When it comes to the gear we use socks are not the sexiest item in our inventory. Sexy no, essential yes. Socks protect our feet from debris that enters our shoes, wick away perspiration keeping our feet dry and blister free (in theory) and provide an additional layer of cushioning to the pounding our feet endure on the trails. Over the years I have tried many different brands of socks but none of them kept me blister free. Coating my feet and toes with BodyGlide and other anti- abrasions didn't offer 100% protection either.

I figured I was destined to a life time of popping blisters until I discovered the Injinji Tetratsok. Unlike convention socks that cram your toes together causing friction and eventually blisters, Injinji toe socks separate your little piggies. Individual anatomical toe sleeves form a thin anti-blister membrane between toes to eliminate skin-against-skin friction. I have been wearing the Injinji's for 2 years now and haven't have a single blister even when doing runs of up to six hours, and with very wet feet.

They come is different styles from micro-mini to crew to match your individual preference. They are also made with various materials such as CoolMax, NuWool and NuBamboo, an Eco Series collection made primarily of natural, organic, and sustainable fibers. If blisters have been a problem for you, you may want to take the Injinji toe socks out for a run. You've got nothing to lose but your blisters!
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