Sunday, August 30, 2009

Green Lakes 50K - Done!

I had a blast today at the GLER 50K . I ran far better than expected and crushed my time goal running 5:41:37. I'm very tired from the 6+ hour drive home but will post a more complete race report by Tuesday. Thanks to all for your words of encouragement and well wishes. I'm happy I didn't let you down!

Me sleepy....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pre-race Thoughts - Goals For Green Lakes 50K

Well, the hard training is done, the hotel reservation booked and the gear is packed and ready to go. The only thing left to do is to run the race itself. Oh, and the long-ass drive to Fayetteville, NY! I’m actually pretty excited about running my first 50K. I’ve put in some very long runs this year on the rugged and mountainous Skyline and Wapack trails, up to 6 and 7 hours on my feet, but the miles never reached official ultra distance. My goal for tomorrow is to finally join the ranks of the ultra marathoner.

Speaking of goals, I have a few I hope to accomplish at the GLER 50K. First and foremost is to finish. Some of you may be thinking that isn’t much of a goal. I, on the other hand think it is. I have too much respect for the distance to think it’s an automatic. In a race of 31 miles, anything can happen. It's very easy to trip on a rock or root, fall and twist an ankle, or even worse break something. Hot and/or humid weather or poor hydration/nutrition can also put an end to your race at any moment.

Goal number two is to finish under 6:30. If none of the above mentioned misfortunes befall me, I think I have a good shot of running this time. My long training runs on tougher terrain indicate this is possible.

Goal number three is my stretch goal. Everything would have to be spot on for this to happen. I would have to have one of those days when everything felt into place and you feel like you can run forever. If this happens and I run a perfect race, my goal is to break six hours. I’ll settle for goal #1, be happy with goal #2 and will be thrilled to reach goal #3. It’s up to me and the ultra gods now.

If anyone is interested in following my progress in (relative) real-time, the RD will have a webcast up and running on race day. I’m not sure how much information will be shown but at a minimum it will have the runner’s splits at 12.5K, 25K, 37.5K and finishing time. The link to the webcast is HERE. My bib # is 124 if you need to enter it for the webcast.

Off to NY in a few hours....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Breakheart Goes Hollywood

I haven't been doing any running in Breakheart Reservation lately. Seems like I missed a lot of "action" last week. Below is an article from my local newspaper, The Saugus Advertiser.

Wicked Local Photo by Kathryn O'Brien

Hollywood comes to Saugus
Thu Aug 27, 2009, 09:07 AM EDT

Saugus - An epic battle of man versus nature unfolded at Breakheart Reservation as a pack of irate animals clashed with actors Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields during filming of the family comedy “Furry Vengeance.” Film crews trudged deep into the woods at Breakheart to capture footage of live animals testing wits with Hollywood veterans such as Fraser, Shields, Matt Prokop (of “High School Musical III”) and Skyler Samuels. “Part of the movie is set in the forest and Breakheart Reservation served as an ideal location,” Unit Publicist Scott Levine said, adding the state park is in close proximity to the main staging area up in Topsfield.

“Furry Vengeance” is the story of a real estate developer (Fraser) who oversees the construction of a housing development that encroaches on the woodlands. With their habitat threatened, animals band together and seek revenge by wrecking havoc on the development. “The animals rebel and put up quite a fight,” Levine said. Crews began building sets several weeks ago in preparation for the actual shoot, according to Friends of Breakheart Reservation Board of Directors Chairman Ed Murray.

Cameras rolled last Tuesday for the first time and continued through Friday. Levine said the filming encompassed scenes with human actors as well as their animal adversaries. Director Roger Kumble (“Cruel Intentions,” “The Sweetest Thing,” “College Road Trip”) opted to use real animals for authenticity rather than special effects. Raccoons, skunks and otters were among the animals appearing on the forest set below a canopy of maples and evergreens at Breakheart that matched up against Fraser and his family, Levine said. “These are key scenes that will definitely be in the movie,” Levine remarked.

Breakheart Reservation remained open to the public while the movie filmed. Security prevented the public from getting too close to the set, but onlookers could still get a glimpse of the production trucks stationed in the Northeast Metro Regional Vocational High School parking lot. Levine said the shooting went seamlessly and he commended the park representatives for being so accommodating throughout the experience. “We did our best to be as unobtrusive as possible,” Levine said.

Department of Conservation and Recreation Press Secretary Wendy Fox said “it’s always a compliment” when Hollywood producers select one of the organization’s state parks to be featured in a movie. The arrangement called for the makers of “Furry Vengeance” to reimburse the DCR for the additional staffing required at Breakheart, Fox said. Although Breakheart has been featured in various educational/environmental programs over the years, Murray couldn’t recall any production the size and scope of “Furry Vengeance” descending upon the park. "It’s a feather in the cap for us,” Murray said.

With the Breakheart sequence in the rearview mirror, Levine said filming is almost finished on “Furry Vengeance.” All that’s left are some interior scenes, and the production is expected to wrap up in the next two weeks. D Robertson of Wakefield was taking her daily walk at Breakheart Reservation last Tuesday when she ran into Brendan Fraser and the film crew in action. “Fraser was sitting and reading a magazine while the crew set up the lighting and sound,” recalled Robertson who commented, “I think he is super handsome.”

“Furry Vengeance” is scheduled for an early spring release.
— Saugus Advertiser editor Kathryn O’Brien contributed to this report.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Changes To Blog Layout

I've come to realize I let my blog sidebar get way out of control. In my attempt to provide my readers with comprehensive coverage of several trail race series, race schedules, results, and other information, the sidebar grew ridiculously long. I've made a few changes to reduce the clutter and to make it more user friendly. Here's whats been updated:

Race schedules and results: I've replaced the long listings of individual races and results with a photo icon labeled accordingly. Just click the photo and you will be taken to a page with the complete schedule of upcoming races or past results.

Gear I Use: Again, I've removed the listing of products I use most often with a photo link. Just click on the photo to view the gear I prefer with links to the manufacturers. More gear will be added to this page as I test and evaluate products. Check back occasionally for updates.

Other Sites I Like: I've eliminated the list since most were not running related and probably of little interest to most readers.

Blog Posts: Instead of having the five most recent posts on the main page I will only show the latest one going forward.

It's still not as compact as l'd like it but it's an improvement, I think. Please let me know what you think on the changes, like, dislike, don't notice any difference ;-). Feel free to offer suggestions.

Weekend On The Trails

Not a whole lot happening locally this weekend as the last month of summer comes to an end. I'll be packing my bags and heading out to NY with running mate Paul Y. for the GLER 50K.

Saturday Aug 29th - Thomas Chamberas 6K XC Race, Carlisle MA - This is race #10 in the Eastern New England Trail Race Series and is run on the grounds of Great Brook Farm State Park . It's eveything you expect in a cross-county race; dirt, grass, hills and even a cornfield. The race attracts all levels of competitors from first-time cross-country runners all the way up to Olympic trials qualifiers and other top-ranked local runners.

Sunday Aug 30th - Green Lakes Endurance Runs 50K & 100K, Fayetteville, NY - The 12.5 km course has a varied trail surface. Two ascents and one long descent traverse the upland forest. These steep shaded trails have some roots, ruts, and stones. The trails in the upper meadows are mostly dirt, grass, rolling, and unshaded. The meadows are referred to by the locals as the Serengeti. Each lap's 5 km of running in the Serengeti can make for a challenging summer ultra if Mother Nature offers a warm sunny day. The lake trails are shaded, have a few roots and are generally flat. Overall, the course lends itself to quick running without technical hikes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Road To Trail

I was a road runner long before I was a trail runner. In my 30+ years as a competitive track, cross-country and road racer I was always focused on winning and race times. I took racing very seriously and would often get “butterflies” before the starting gun was fired. Once the running began, I was focused on beating the guy next to me or catching the runner ahead of me. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

Since transitioning to trail running I have mellowed considerably, somewhat out of necessity but mostly by choice. Injuries and inexperience made me a much slower and less competitive trail racer than road racer. At first I didn’t like the fact that I was so slow. Then I decided to accept it and to be thankful that I was able to run, period.

Running in the woods seems more natural than running on pavement. The tranquilly of the trails is refreshing to the soul and spirit, and embraces you in a certain calmness I never felt when running on the roads. The beauty found in nature is my reward. To me, it’s more valuable than running fast or winning races.

I found this article on running your first trail race in the September 2002 issue of Running Times Magazine. The author has a good sense of humor and I thought it worth passing along to you.

Ready to go from road racing to trail racing?

Been running trails for years and want to step up to racing on them? Nothing should hold you back, especially if you prepare by laying a proper foundation, which begins by acknowledging the many distinctions between trail and road racing.

In Due Time

Spontaneous combustion is one of the biggest problems that first-time trail racers suffer, especially if they are long-time road or track runners. They typically go out way too fast and blow up. Such incendiary starts are embarrassing, wreak havoc on one’s confidence, and can lead some runners to quit trail racing before giving it a real chance. Think negative split, especially if the second half of the course is easier than the first, such as in the common up-and-down format of mountain races.

Trail races are almost always slower than road races and pace is crucial to enjoying—or even finishing—a first trail event. Never try to set a time goal in a trail race that correlates directly to a road or track race of equivalent distance. Trail races are often run on hilly terrain and many are held at higher elevations. They often include challenging terrain that slows runners down as they try to avoid ankle twists, blown knees or major falls. Some trail races are rough enough that they demand almost double the time it takes for a road race of the same distance.

Even comparing the same trail race from year to year is not a fair measure of performance. Trail conditions can change dramatically due to weather, wildlife, trail maintenance and other exogenous factors. Consider the prospect of being bogged down by mud, ice, snow or all three. Route finding can slow the pace, especially at high altitude when marmots are wont to eat flagging and other trail marking materials. And don’t forget the chance encounter with moose, bears, wildcats and other wildlife.

Vertical Velocity

Unlike roads, which are often graded and winding in order to avoid steep ascents, trails frequently run straight up mountain faces. If the trail is extremely steep and the race is long enough to warrant energy conservation, then it is often best to power hike some of the ascents. Some people are more efficient if they climb up hills leaning forward a bit at the hips and swinging their arms to match an equivalent leg stride. Maintaining a consistent rhythm is crucial to powering up a big climb. Others find it best to trudge along in a running motion, taking baby steps in order to keep up their cadence as they make it to the top. Some alternate the two to vary the strain. Practice both and try to determine the ideal style given your body type, personal strengths, the course on which you will be racing, and the length of the race.

Another consideration when contemplating a first trail race is the difficulty associated with passing people on single track. There is a certain etiquette involved in gracefully telling the bozo in front of you to shove over so you can sneak past him. Practice makes perfect, so go to local trails and try zipping by people without starting any fights.

Trail ‘Tudes and Rules

Speaking of fights, keep in mind that most trail runners are pretty laid back and that the prevailing attitude in most trail events is that of: "We are all out here together to have a groovy time with nature, dude." Trail races tend to be less "competitive" than road races and racers will often help each other along and coordinate finishing in unison. It is considered bad form to run into the finish with someone and surge in front of them in the final meters, unless they were pushing the pace and being competitive by drawing first blood. In that case, just trip them up or push them in a mud bog. What do they think this is, a race or something?

Finally, if you are used to drinking from cups and tossing them on the pavement in your road races, or leaving gel or energy bar wrappers on the course, be immediately disavowed of that lame habit. Trail races are conducted with a strict "leave no trace" ethic and many race directors will disqualify those who litter the course. Public stoning is a more suitable punishment.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Weekly Training Update - Aug 17 - 23

This was an easy taper week for me. No hard running except for a few miles in Lynn Woods Wednesday night. I didn’t do a long run either, just 10 miles at the Moose on the Loose race on Sunday. I’ll do two or three short, easy runs this week and wont do any running beyond Thursday. I want to be well rested going into the GLER 50K on Sunday.

Weekly ReCap:

Total Miles: 33
Long Run: 10
# of Runs: 5
Avg. Run: 6.6

I not a big fan of the taper….

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Slow Runners to the Right!" - Moose on the Loose Race Report

The Moose on the Loose 10 mile race and relay [results] is 2.5 mile loop course in the tranquil Mine Falls State Park in Nashua, NH. It's part of the New Hampshire Gran Prix Race Series so it draws its share of speedy runners and teams looking to grab points and prizes. It's also race #9 in the Eastern New England Trail Race Series and my reason for making the trip. I had no intention of racing 10 miles with my 50K only seven days away. I am in a tight battle in the ENE Series and knew I would have to show up and score some points today if I wanted to stay in contention for a spot in the top three.

This really isn't a trail race in my opinion so I fully expected NOT to see anyone I knew today. The course is more like a cross-country race suited for road runners with speed. It's flat and fast! I was just there for the ride. Much to my surprise I saw a bunch of folks from Wicked Running and a friend I haven't seen in nearly two years. And right before the start, Trail Pixie and Sara showed up. I introduced Pixie and Roz to one another and we discussed how fast, or should I say, how slow we planned on running today.

Roz and I were planning to run the same pace so we started the race together. It was pretty hot by the time race started but fortunately most of the course was shade covered. The only time we were in the sun for any length of time was along the winding canal. The first loop passed quickly as we talked about what we've been up to over the past two years. By the end of the second loop we both needed a bathroom break due to excessive pre-race hydration! Luckily for us the port-a-johns were located right at the start/finish line.

I can't remember exactly when this happened but when one of the top 5 female runners was passing us, yes I was lapped, oh the shame ;-), she started angrily yelling at some runners ahead of us, "Slow runners to the right!" At first I thought, "how rude" but then I just started laughing out loud as Pixie looked back and laughed too. I've heard, "passing on your left/right", or "coming through" and a few other friendly warnings during trail races but never that one. I'm sure she was a road runner! Way to serious.

Well, I ran really slow and finished near the back of the pack but I didn't break anything! I just wanted to score a few points and make it through the Moose unscathed so it was a successful race in that respect. I'll be taking it easy over the next week, doing just a few short runs and should be good to go for my 50K next Sunday.

Ok, I'm moving to the right. No yelling please .....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weekend On The Trails

A few notable races in New England this weekend. Cooler temperatures are forecasted so get out there and make tracks.

August 23rd - Mt. Toby 14M, Sunderland, MA - From Sunderland's Town Park (elevation 250’) to the top of Mt. Toby (1269’) and back, using a mixture of jeep roads and trails. Total climb is 1900’. The footing is rocky in places, but overall it is good for a trail race. The route first ascends steadily for 2 miles on the winding North Mountain Rd., follows old woods trails for 1.5 miles with little change in elevation, then makes a short climb over Cranberry Ridge before joining the jeep trail for the last 3 miles to the summit. The return is downhill. Yippee~!

August 23rd - Moose on the Loose 10M and relay, Nashua, NH - a 2.5 mile loop of flat non-technical dirt trails and fire roads in Mine Falls State park. Some rock and roots on the climb by the power lines but a very easy course by trail race standards.

August 23rd - Bramble Scramble 15 and 30K, Williston, VT - A fun and challenging course over Catamount's best terrain. The 15 kilometer loop starts out with some flatter trails and climbs upward to the "top" of Catamount and then progresses across the road to some more open trails. It is a great mix of both double and singletrack trails, and is primarily wooded with some more open areas at the end of the loop.

Let's have fun out there...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Product Review - Cool Off Bandana

HEAT! It's the four-letter word that brings fear to many runners. It saps our strength and will to push ourselves ever faster and farther. I'm one of those runners. If I was Superman, heat would be my kryptonite. Here are some things you can do to get you through the dog days of summer.
  • Run in the early morning. If you need to do a longer run and don’t have enough time, do part of your run in the morning and finish it up in the early evening when it’s cooler again. Not ideal, but better than just a short run or no run at all. I like to start my long runs by 8AM in the summer months.
  • Find a route that provides more shade or hit the trails which usually provide more protection from the sun. Running on a shaded trail can feel up to 10 degrees cooler than running in direct sun.
  • In addition to hydrating well before your run, make sure you carry water or sports drink with you on the run by either wearing a hydration belt with one or more bottles, a hydration pack, or carry a handheld bottle. I use any one of these depending on the distance of my run.
  • Splash it on! Fill one of the bottles on your hydration belt with water. Not to drink, but to pour on your head during your run. Regularly pouring a little water on your head/body during your run can help to increase the evaporation-cooling effect. I find pouring cold water on the back of my neck helps to cool me down. Unfortunately, the cooling effect is temporary.
  • Wear a visor or a hat with a bill. This will provide shade for your eyes/face as well as help to keep the sweat rolling off your head from getting in your eyes. Make sure to use a hat appropriate for the heat that’s made of lightweight technical fabric that will promote evaporation.

OK, all of that is well and good but I discovered something that works better than anything I have tried in the past. It's called the Cool Off Bandana. The Cool Off Bandana is not your basic cotton bandana. It's a double layer bandana with a piece of chamois sewn inside. There is a large opening on each side to load ice into the pocket of the bandana. Fill it with ice, roll it up like a cigar, tie it around your neck and you're good to go. As the ice melts, the cold water is absorbed by the chamois keeping you cool and dry, no dripping water down your back.

I did a 2:40 long run in 88 degrees and felt very comfortable the entire time. Although the ice melted rather quickly, the chamois held the cold water in the bandana so the cooling effect was felt long after the ice had melted. By rotating the bandana every 20 minutes it remained cool for about 1.5 hours. Keeping the carotid arteries and the major vascular network at the back of the neck cool during the run helped to keep my core body temperate from rising as much as it would have without the ice wrap.

The Cool Off Bandana is well made with quality material and strong, tight stitching and should last a good long time. It's available at Zombie Runner for the ridiculously high price of $18. I was fortunate to get mine for $13 but I still feel the profit margin on this item is out of sight. If you have any talent with a needle and thread (Trail Pixie) I'm sure you could make one yourself for less than $3 dollars. Since I have none, I got out the plastic and ordered mine online. Another alternative is to use a regular bandana filled with ice cubes. It wont work as well but it's better than nothing. After seeing (and feeling) how the Cool Off Bandana performed in the heat, it's worth every penny to me!

Superman out....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekly Training Update - Jul 10 - 16

No running for me today. Too much yard work to catch up on while my wife lounges at the beach! I got in a quality tempo run mid-week and a decent long run yesterday. I will be backing off slightly over the next two weeks, doing a semi-taper for my upcoming 50K on Aug 30. I hate tapering!

Total Miles: 46
Long Run: 15
# of Runs: 4
Avg Run: 11.5
Trail Miles: 89%

OK, back to the yard work....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Heat Training In Bradley Palmer

Today I went for my last long training run before the running a 50K in two weeks. I intentionally waited until noon so I could run during the hottest part of the day. I feel I am already well acclimated to the heat but a little heat insurance couldn't hurt. Bradley Palmer has some open grass fields fully exposed to the blazing sun. They are smaller but similar to what I will encounter during the 50K so I wanted to get a feel for running in the open without the benefit of tree cover. I'm not a very good in the heat but the run went better than I expected, actually, it went very well. I never felt like the 88 degree temp was an issue.

The plan was to run only 15 miles so I didn't see the need to follow the Galloway method on this run. I just maintained a very steady, comfortable running pace for the entire workout. My 5 mile splits were very consistent:

Mile 5: 53:30
Mile 10: 53:38
Mile 15: 53:17

I came across 4 riders on horseback and 2 mountain bikers but other than that it was a very quiet afternoon in the woods.

Today, I also tested out a new item for hot weather running. I give it an A+ and I'm convinced it's one reason why the heat didn't bother me today. I'll post a complete review in a day or two.

Here's to sunshine....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tour de Lynn Woods IV

Not having any plans on this third day of my "staycation" I had ample time to make it over to Lynn Woods this evening for Tour # 4 of the summer race season. I arrived the the woods about 5PM so I could do a warmup on the race course. I figured the RD would have it marked already and I was right. All I had to do was follow the freshly sprayed chalk arrows.

I started my warmup run at a very slow pace. I thought the temp was pretty comfortable but the humidity felt pretty high. I felt crappy during the entire 5.5 mile run. I'm not sure if was the humidity or the fact I ran 3+ hours of technical trails yesterday. The old legs were feeling heavy. Not a good sign for the actual race where I wanted to run a strong tempo pace. I got back to the start/finish line and checked my watch...57:46...ouch! I had 30 minutes before the race would start so I had a gel, drank some water and toweled off because I was soaked from the run.

Now to the race itself. The 5.5 mile course was a double lollipop that looped the north and south side of Walden Pond. It included a good deal of technical single-track as well as the usual fire roads. I started off conservatively but noticed right away that I felt much better than I had during my warmup run. The first mile was mostly dirt fire road with some rolling hills. My split for mile one was 9:27

The second mile was all technical single-track and mostly uphill. It was obvious here that most of the people in front of me were only comfortable on the dirt road and probably didn't have much experience on rocky single-track. I was going slower than I wanted to here but passing was difficult. Whenever I got an opening I put in a short burst of speed to pass the runner ahead of me. Mile two split 10:07.

The next mile was all dirt fire road that gradually lost some elevation. Even though it had an abundance of rocks it was wide enough to make passing easy. I ran hard here and passed a few more people on a rocky downhill. For some reason I was very fleet-footed today and picked my way through the boulder fields with ease. Spilt for mile three 8:08.

After the three mile mark we crossed over the dam for the second lollipop on the south side of Walden Pond. Mile four was almost all uphill running with a lot of rocky single-track. I got stuck behind a group of four guys having trouble with all the rocks. I wanted to go by them but knew it would be hard with them being strung out on the trail. I knew the trail opened up at the top of Stone Tower Hill so I decided to just wait it out until we got to the top. Still I managed to get past two of them on the climb to Stone Tower. Mile four split 9:15.

Once I crested Stone Tower Hill I picked up my pace and flew passed the other two runners on the downhill section of a dirt fire road. I was still feeling very good, the best I have felt all season, and continued to increase my leg turnover. I passed two more runners, a female and a teen aged boy, on the rolling dirt road. My split for mile five 7:34.

Only a 1/2 mile to go so I poured more coal on the fire. I didn't want the woman or kid I had just passed coming back to me. One last downhill and another 1/4 of paved road and I crossed the finish line. The last 1/2 mile was run at a 6:39 pace. I guess I still have some leg speed after all! My overall time was 47:20, over 10 minutes faster than my warmup run and it felt easier. Go figure! This was a very good tempo run for me and also an 11 mile day.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vibram Trail Running Technology

I was contacted last week by a representative for Vibram, the world leader in high-performance rubber soles. She had recently been following my blog and asked me if I'd be interested in doing a product test for them. Of course being the gear hound that I am, I agreed to do the test. Yesterday, I received a pair of Patagonia’s Release shoe with the Vibram outsoles to test out on the trails. After I get some miles on them I will offer an honest review of the sole and the shoe. Check back with me in a few weeks for the results.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The "Other Dam" Race - Oxford Dam Race Report

Saturday morning I made the hour drive to the Hodges Village Dam in Oxford, MA with KZ, Rob and Paul L. in tow. The Dam Race is race # 12 in the Grand Tree Trail Race Series and race # 8 on the Eastern New England Trail Race Series. An opportunity to bag points in both series I am competing in this year made it a "must run" race for me. Oxford Dam may not have the cult-like following of Wakely but it does have its share of loyal followers as evidenced by the 117 runners that tackled the trail [results].

At the pre-race briefing the RD explained the changes he made to the course this year. The race would run on some different trails the last couple of miles and go down the pipe-line hill instead of up like last year. I didn't really pay much attention to all he was saying. I knew I would have plenty of people ahead of me to follow! I was happy to know we still had to make the water crossing at the French River. I have to say this is my favorite part of the race and another reason for returning this year. View race course profile here.

Soon the race was underway and I was in my rightful place at the back of the pack. I like to start out way back because it prevents me from going out too fast. It's also fun to pass a lot of people during the race and chat with them along the way. I actually had forgotten how much twisting single-track there was in the first few miles of the race. This, and the fact that the trails had an abundance of rock and roots, made it difficult to pass at times. I followed when I had to and passed several runners when the trail allowed it.

The first 5 miles were the most challenging with rocks, roots, some water, many rolling hills and 2 or 3 big climbs. The next 2 miles were easier but some of the trails had long stretches of whoop-de-dos created by dirt bikes. For you skiers, whoop-de-dos are the same thing as moguls. Running over these things really tired me out! I was holding back a little during this part of the race and planned to crank it up for the final 4 miles after the river crossing.

Ahh, the river crossing! Well, it wasn't as high as I thought it might be with all the recent rain, but it was still cold and refreshing. Note to self: Roclite 320s do not drain as well as Cascadia 3s. After I made it through the river, and running with heavy feet, I set my sights on two runners about 30 yards ahead of me. I was so focused on their backs I almost missed the right hand turn on the course. Yep, that's right, the one they missed! I stopped and yelled "You missed the turn. Come Back!" but got no response. Then I tried, "Hey girl in the pink shirt. Come back!" That got her attention and I pointed to the pink flags at my feet. She understood and off I went. I only hoped she returned the favor to the guy in front of her.

After the crossing at mile 7 I was pretty much on my own. The terrain was more conducive to some faster running so I picked up my pace here. I felt very strong here and ran my fastest split on mile 8. I passed two runners here and was looking forward to getting this thing over. I wanted to protect my place so I took a glance over my shoulder and saw a red shirt coming on strong. I threw in a surge when the trail turned and hoped when red shirt saw me again he would be discouraged and give up the chase. It didn't work! He was still charging hard. Again I put the hammer down, and again it failed. Red shirt was a man on a mission.

With about .75 miles to go I put in one more surge. I figured if this guy is going to pass me I am going to put him in as much pain as I could and make him earn it. Cresting the top of a climb I caught a rock and went down pretty hard. It drew some blood but I was fine otherwise. Red shirt came roaring past me asking if I was OK. I assured him I was and told him to keep going. I got up and dusted myself off as I watched red shirt pull away. Even without the fall I know he would have run me down. My fall just made it a little less painful for him. I met red shirt (John) after the race. A super nice guy in his first trail race. He had the road speed to run me down.

I finished the race in 47th place. I wasn't concerned about my place but I did want to run faster than I did last year. I ended run running 2 minutes slower but the course was 11.2 miles with the changes this year. Last year's race was 10.5 or 10.7, can't remember exactly. Either way, my mile pace was faster this year so I'm happy. I still don't have any leg speed but that's OK for now. I've only been doing long, slow training for my 50K. I'll start doing track workouts in September.

Next up is Savoy Mountain or Moose on the Loose.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dean Karnazes Footbeds - Product Testing And Review

Unlike the flimsy cardboard or foam insoles (footbeds) that come as standard equipment with most running shoes, the SOLE Dean Karnazes Signature Edition footbeds are built to go the distance. They feature a moldable base layer, softec cushioning, a moisture-wicking top sheet, adjustable arch support and a deep heel cup.

By heating the footbeds in the oven, inserting them into your shoes, and standing in them for a few minutes you can create a custom insert molded specifically to your unique foot shape. These inserts provide much greater comfort and support than your standard insert and will last three to four times longer. The deep heel cup prevents movement than can cause friction and eventually blisters.

I have been using the SOLE footbeds since developing plantar fasciitis in both feet two years ago. It’s the only thing that’s been keeping me running relatively pain free. The custom orthotics I had made at the podiatrists office were bulky, uncomfortable, useless and expensive I might add. Even if you're not currently suffering with any foot issues you can still benefit from this great product.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Galloway Run And Weekly Training Update

Today I did my fourth long run using the Galloway training method. My first three runs were done using a 10:2, 8:2 and 5:1 run-walk ratio respectively. Today I tried a 4:1 ratio and have to say this one worked the best for me. The first 5 miles, like all of my long runs, were rough. It seems to take me a good hour before I start to feel good and get into a comfortable running grove. Maybe it's my tired old bones and muscles!

After my 5 mile "warmup" I felt strong and ran negative 5 mile splits the rest of the way.

Miles 1-5: 1:03:00
Miles 6-10: 59:42
Miles 11-15: 56:33
Miles 16-20: 53:37
Mile 21: 10:08

My legs weren't exempt from fatigue but much less so than on any of my other Galloway training runs.

I hit another "high" for 2009 by running 6 days and 51 miles this week!

Weekly ReCap:

Total Miles: 51
Long Run: 21
# of Runs: 6
Avg Run: 8.5
Trail Miles: 86%

Next weekend I'm racing at Oxford Dam. Yeah, no long run!

2009 Mountain, Trail and Ultra Race Results

Rhode Island 6 Hour - 11.15.09

 Stone Cat 50M and Marathon - 11.07.09

Busa Bushwack 10M - 11.01.09

Wachusetts Deer Run  5 &10K - 10.31.09

Groton Town Forest 9.5M -  10.25.09

Bimbler's Bluff 50K - 10.25.09

Stone Tower 15K - 10.25.09

Ghost Train Rail Trail Race 15M - 10.25.09

Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon - 10.25.09

 Ravenswood Trail Race 4.3M - 10.18.09

Mountain Madness 50K - 10.17.09

Monroe-Dunbar Brook 10.5M - 10.11.09

Wayland XC 5K - 10.11.09

Breakneck Trail Race 20K - 10.04.09

Houghton Pond 10K - 10.04.09

Ready SEF, GO 5K - 10.04.09

Twilite Hoot 4K - 10.03.09

Vermont 50 - 09.27.09

Curly's Marathon & 1/2 Marathon- 09.20.09

Trapp Family 10K - 09.19.09

Pisgah Mt. 50K & 23K - 09.13.09

Overlook Trail 6.5M - 09.13.09

Farnum Five.5 - 09.12.09

Wapack Trail Race 18M - 09.06.09

Green Lakes 50K - 08.30.09

Mt. Toby 14M - 08.23.09

Moose on the Loose 10M - 08.23.09

Savoy Mountain 22M - 08.16.09

XTERRA Stoaked12.5K - 08.08.09

Ooxford Dam 11.2M - 08.08.09

Fall Mountain Trail - 07.25.09

24 Hours Around The Lake - 07.24.09

Greenbelt Trail Race 10K - 07.18.09

Vermont 100M - 07.18.09

Frenzy in the Forest 5M - 07.11.09

Skyline Trail Race 7.6M - 07.12.09

Finger Lakes 50M & 50K - 07.04.09

Loon Mountain Race - 07.05.09

Exeter Trail Race10M - 06.28.09

Cranmore Hill Climb - USA Mt. Running Championships - 06.28.09

All Out Trail Run 5M - 06.27.09

Green Mountain Relay 200M - 06.20.09

Mt. Graylock 13.5M - 06.21.09

Boxford Forest 10K - 06.16.09

Mt. Washington Road Race - 06.20.09

Six In The Stix 6M - 06.13.09

Northfield Mountain - 06.13.09

Pittsfield Peaks Ultra 54M - 06.06.09

Nipmuck Marathon - 06.07.09

Pack Monadnock 10M Mountain Race - 05.31.09

Pineland Farms 50M & 50K - 05.25.09

Trav's Trail Run 3M - 05.25.09

Soapstone Mountain 14.5M - 05.17.09

MorFun Wapack 21M - 05.09.09

Seven Sisters 12M 05.03.09

Overlook Trail 7M 05.03.09

Lake Waramaug Ultras 100K, 50M & 50K - 04.26.09

Muddy Moose 14M - 04.26.09

Blue Hills 10M - 04.26.09

Merrimack River 10M - 04.11.09

Northern Nipmuck 16M - 04.11.09

Beaver Brook 5K - 04.05.09

Brimbler's Bash 10K - 04.05.09

The Fells Race - 03.29.09

GAC Fat Ass 50K - 01.10.09

Jack London 10K - 11.07.09

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July Training Update

July was a very good training month for me. I ran my highest monthly total for the year (174) and also tied my longest distance run in a day (24). It was a very slow race month for me as I only ran one race. Although this helped me hit a high for mileage, I did get a little bored with all training and no racing. August will be much different with 4 races planned for the month. Two 10 milers, one 22 mile race and one 50K.

July ReCap:

Total Miles: 174
Longest Run: 24
# of Runs: 21
Avg Run: 8.3
# of Races: 1
Race Miles: 7.6
Trail Miles: 74 %


Brooks Cascadia



Dion Snowshoes



Hammer Perpetuem

Injinji Socks

Inov8 Roclite 320


Moeben Sleeves




Princeton Tec

Race Ready LD Shorts

Succeed S-Caps
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