Now That Was Tough – RunLog 7-12-18

I really am a glutton for punishment some days. After this week’s 3K at Quarry Road, I decided that I needed to change some things up and had to figure why I slowed down so much once I came out to what I call the “bumps” part of the course.

The elevation chart is a little deceptive, since the biggest elevation change is just under 30 feet. So the hills or should I say bumps are not that big, it is just that there are so many of them so close together on this section of the course.

I know why I slow down, but that doesn’t mean that I am happy with how I have been running this part of the 3K, 5K or 8K Quarry Road courses.

This morning, I decided to do repeats around this part of the courses. I wasn’t sure about how many I would end up doing, but it was going to be more than one. It would also be the test I need to get my confidence back that the olde body can do better or find out that I need to be happy with the times I was getting for the effort I was giving.

I knew going in that it was going to be a hard workout for me. The “bumps” are just enough that they make me work a lot harder than is normal for a tough speed workout. It was going to be more of a lot of short hills and the distance was over a mile and a quarter. Definitely, not my preferred 200 or 400 kind of workout on a track or a flatter section of a rail trail somewhere.

So I did the workout:

Warm-up: 1.20/10:39 – I ran down to the hut and back down the course a quarter mile, so I would know where the last quarter mile would start (right about where I thought it was)

First Lap: 1.38/11:33 — The first lap hurt – I started at the bridge on the snowshoe trail and ended on the last arrow before heading to the dip before the finish. On this lap I wanted to go as fast as I could to get a nice base time to give me something to work towards in the other laps and about where I should be for race pace. I set my segment CR, so I accomplished what I wanted. Yeah, it didn’t feel all that great.

Second Lap: 1.36/12:27 — On the second lap, I focused more on running up the bumps harder and didn’t worry so much about the pace on the other side of them. The time was only 5 seconds off my time from the 3K race, so that was good.

Third Lap: 1.37/12:25 — The third lap was an attempt to go harder on the loop when I was pretty tired and the legs not having a lot of pop left in them. I wanted to beat my second lap’s time and did by two seconds. Not a lot, but better than I thought it would be by how I was feeling.

Cool-down: 2.01/21:37 — After resting for 3-4 minutes, I was toast, I slowly ran up the new trail along Messalonskee Stream to the end and ran back to first parking area. I didn’t attempt to pickup the pace and just ran comfortably.

I won’t say that this was a 100% effort speed session, but it was a damned tough longer repeat workout with “bumps” that wore me out and I know that the olde les are going to be tired tomorrow. In other words I am damned happy with how well I did this morning.

It doesn’t mean that I will run this section all that fast next week, but this workout gives me the confidence that my body can handle working harder in this section of the course than I have in other races this year.

I did run in the Nike Wildhorse OG’s and they did everything that I wanted from a pair of trail shoes. In other words, when I was running I didn’t think about them at all during the workout.

No the paces won’t get me ready for racing a fast 5K, but they will help me run faster during the Quarry Road races that are left. Well at least that is my hope and maybe I can almost keep up with Julie M someday. Though I have a feeling she is going out to kick my butt next race.

Hopefully, I get to do this a few more times and provide myself a nice base period, that I can get ready for some faster for me road 5K’s this fall. That would be nice. 🙂 I still am not crazy about all the hill work, but it is adding strength to the olde body.

This is just part of doing the work.

I just have to keep doing it. 🙂

Quarry Road 3K Trail Race Recap – 7-10-18

Tuesday night pretty much means heading over to Quarry Road, getting my head handed to me by the course and then smiling, laughing and commiserating with the other runners.

In other words a good time was had by all.

Although I was wondering about the weather for tonight’s run, going by Fred’s Coffee, it read 93*F = it sucks. It cooled off a bit between then and when the race started but it was still in the mid 80’s and did get me about halfway through the race.

Up north, I understand they got a bit of a storm from these clouds, but we lucked out and the race went off as planned.

I am a participant in a study going on over at Colby by Professor Millard, in other words I am a guinea pig :-). For the second time I gave blood, spit (before and after the race) and chewed 2 pieces of gum. Lots of fun. The gum tasted nasty, so I have a feeling it was the real thing, not the placebo.

Then I warmed-up by running over a mile. I don’t think that I really needed warm-up all that much with the weather, but it stretched the legs out a bit. I even did a few strides before the race. I really wanted to do well tonight and thought they might have me more ready to go when the horn sounded.

That part went according to plan. I started out great, went through the snowshoe trail by the river without any issues and even did well getting to the first hill on the trail. However, just after the first mile, the bumps caught up with me and the “little” bumps started to kick my butt.

I held off my nemesis Julie M until we got past the power line on the way back and then she flew by me and I just didn’t have the mental capacity to go with her. I did try to pick up the cadence to get my pace up a little, but the bumps had taken their toll on me and I just kept slogging along.

Even so I kept Julie in sight and for the first time this year watched her finish. So I am gaining slowly but surely. She fights to stay ahead of me and I am working my arse off to finish ahead of her. It is good and friendly competition, but she is up 4-0 this year, so it ain’t really much of a competition, more like an ass whooping from point of view. However, I will keep working – I am getting closer.

I also did improve my time from the first 3K by 30 seconds, so that is progress. It does help that the hamstring is fine now and I am getting confidence back in my ability to run hard now that some of the medical issues have calmed back down. Now to actually run harder – at least that is the plan.

Quarry Road Trails are not that bad as trails go, but all those damn little bumps on the 3K course, just take it right out of my legs and get the old heart into red line way too soon. I think I am going to start going over there and doing 3K speedwork repeats on this course, just to strengthen the old brain and legs.

Sometimes I think the problems I have with the bumps trail is more in my head than my legs. Only way I know to cure it, is to go out and over dose running on the damn thing over the next month or so. It will either kill me or cure me of being afraid to run hard on the damn thing.

I used the Nike Wildhorse OG’s for the first time in a race – no issues – they will be on my feet going forward for any trail work that I do this year. That was the good news.

Friends on the 4th 5K Race Recap – 7-4-18

Hot!

Yes, it was freakin hot!

Okay, it is better than having to clean up after a snow storm and you get by with wearing a LOT less clothes, but this kind of hot does affect how I run. Enough whining Harold, get back to the race.

After all the conditions – they are what they are.

I registered last Friday for the annual Friends on the 4th 5K race and never got all that worked up about it beforehand. I thought about it a couple of times, but didn’t loose any sleep over how I was gonna do or think about not going. I treated it more like just another Quarry Road race. 🙂

Continue reading “Friends on the 4th 5K Race Recap – 7-4-18”

UMA Trails 5K – Race Recap 5-6-18

That was a learning experience. I might be in decent road running shape, but I am definitely not in trail running shape and that includes a well groomed trail racing course. This morning’s groomed trail race at the University of Maine Augusta proved that without any question.

Let’s get to the race.

A couple of Striders finishing up…I didn’t get too many photos of the race today, so this one is perfect.

This is a small local trail race over at the University where I used to work. So I got to see a few familiar faces. To be honest I prefer the low-key local races much more than bigger running events, things just seem friendlier and while we run hard there are not crowds of people all around.

I know the UMA trails pretty well and even did the loop before the race as a warm-up. After running that warm-up lap, I changed my prediction to being happy if I broke 9:00 pace for the 5K. It seems I had forgotten how the “little” bumps on the UMA trail upper loop take it out of me.

Brendan did a fantastic job on getting the trails ready for the race, they were in great shape, better than I have ever seen them and the course was well marked. This was going to be two laps of the upper section of the trails and as much as I usually like running the UMA trails, one lap up on top, is more than enough.

Your body remembers what you did that first lap and you know know that you gotta do it again.

At the start I thought about going out with the front pack, because they were not going all that fast, but I also knew that if I did that I would suffer more than necessary on the second lap, so I stayed conservative. However, going down the first downhill, I could hear a couple of runners getting ready to pass me, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pair of sneakers that looked pretty familiar, so I sped up going back up the that next bump.

I think those two runners stayed right (they pushed me to do better than I would have otherwise) with me right until the big hill coming back out of the woods – I don’t know for sure. I don’t look behind me during a race most of the time, especially when I can hear someone back there. It was something that my old Cross Country coach hammered into our heads – don’t ever look back on trails to see what is going on behind you or you will eat dirt and give blood. Of course I learned the hard way and since then, I don’t look back on trails.

Somewhere between the hill and the before the first downhill on the second lap, I got a bit ahead of them, because I saw the shoes again coming the other way around the corner.

However, I did see another runner up ahead who seemed to be struggling a bit, so I focused on his back and while I got close a couple of times, he always seemed to have just enough to hold me off. When we got to the tar, we both picked up the pace a bit and while I closed the gap, the old legs didn’t have enough to pass him in the home stretch and he beat me by a couple of steps.

I somehow managed to get under a 9:00 minute pace for the race and while my GPS watch claimed it was only 3.0 not 3.1, I tend to trust Brendan’s measurements than the GPS.

It was pretty happy with my effort level and knew beforehand that my time wouldn’t be great, there is just something about running on trails that I don’t run nearly as fast and tend to just run. Sometimes I think it has something to do with the idea that I am more focused on running safely, that running not to fall, than I am on running hard. I do not have that old daring-do that good trail runners have, especially when bombing down hills.

I have become too concerned with the idea that I don’t bounce nearly as well as I used to…yeah I am getting old.

The other thing was that I decided to use my Zealot 3’s versus my Green Silence racing shoes or Boco Sol trail shoes, since the course was either all groomed trail or tar. I didn’t need the extra grip of the trail shoes, but I needed a little more grip than the Green Silence have. The Zealots fell right into that sweet spot lighter than the Boco Sols and better grip than the Green Silence. Saucony’s outsole is a nice multi-purpose outsole and the cushioning was such that in the one sort of rocky downhill area it didn’t slow me down any. They worked well for what I wanted from my running shoes today.

A really good day and Brendan and the volunteers all did a great job today.

Although I did learn that I need to do more trail running to get myself in better shape, maybe getting to the trails on Thursdays should be a regular part of my routine now that most of them are open. The Quarry Road and Bond Brook trail running series will be happening in a month, so I do need to get ready for them too.

Ka-Ching – Do I Really Want to Run in Your Race?

Okay another one of those old fart soapbox posts, so if you don’t want to read about my whining and blathering, this is a good place to stop. Especially if you tend to get your knickers in a bunch very quickly about one of running’s sacred cows.

I was looking at what races I think that I want to run over the course of the rest of the year and got to thinking about some of the races I have run in the past.

Believe it or not – not all of my race experiences have been positive and it has not had anything to do with how I ran.

The causes, charities, organizations and for-profits that seem to dominate organizing races nowadays do not always give the race experience we anticipated when we willingly, well coughed-up, errrr paid our registration fees for “their” race. I won’t even get into how much races cost in this post that is saved for another day.

I guess that is what bothers me, is that so many race organizers seem to believe or have the attitude that it is a privilege for us to run in their race/event and support their cause. Is it?

Continue reading “Ka-Ching – Do I Really Want to Run in Your Race?”

Racing, Patriots and Better Weather – Week In Review 1-21-18

The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, I ran in a race and ran outside more than I did on the treadmill, so it was a pretty darn good week.

My favorite photo of the week:

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Photo by David Colby-Young

A group photo after today’s race and yes, Gene get well soon.

All is right with the world, the Patriots are going BACK to the Super Bowl. They did what many didn’t think they could after going down 20-10. However, I didn’t watch it, I just can’t watch them play, I get too wound up. I’ve been this way for a couple of years, but I get to support them otherwise enjoy the post-game shows and interviews. Now to see if the Vikings can get in too – not looking too good right now.

I ran in the Central Maine Striders 39th Annual January Thaw Road Race. I did pretty good with Ron’s help, beating my time from last year by almost 2 1/2 minutes. Not that I am in better shape, but more that I had a good pacer to keep me honest and it was easier running in shorts than being all bundled up like I was last year. You can read more about it here.

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The weather has broken and with the temps out of the negative numbers and the ice being off the roads, it makes things more runnable outside up heah in Maine. Which means that I get to do something other than run on the treadmill, which is a very good thing.

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I got to 30 miles again this week, so I achieving one of those things that I want to over the course of the year – consistently get to at least 30 miles for the week. I had a couple of runs that were sub 8:00 minute pace and even took a day where I actually rested most of the day!

One thing that I did on purpose was cut back on the number of miles that I am doing on the elliptical. I wanted my legs to be more fresh for the race and then didn’t feel the need to get on it after the race today. I kept my total mileage under 70 for the week and the legs are feeling pretty good right now. Although I am getting 20,000 steps in many days during the week.

Running outside more also “allows” me to slow down the pace more than I do on the treadmill. It doesn’t mean that I am not working as hard, it usually means that the footing is not as good (that snow/slop or icy stuff) or that I am playing around on hills. Not that there are many of those around where I live.

I do have to get my eating habits under better control. The weight stayed pretty much the same for an average, but it isn’t where I wanted it to be at the end of this week. Gotta shut the pie hole a bit sooner I think.

Running Shoes

It was a Newton Gravity kind of week.

I ran for the first time outside in the Gravity 3’s in today’s race and they did great. No issues and they felt comfortable the entire race. At this point in my running, maybe being more comfortable in my race day shoes is more important than them being super light like more racing flats are.

Also since I ran outside more this week, I got to spend more time in the Gravity 5’s. While I would not use them as my race day shoes (when I compare them to the 3’s), they are definitely growing on me and I can see me putting a lot of miles on them through the rest of winter into spring. Surprisingly, the grip they provide in slush or snow is better than my current trail shoes – gotta be those big front lugs.

Which really makes me want to look closer at Newton’s Boco Sol trail shoes at some point. Especially, if I have a chance to do more trails this year.

The reality is

It was a pretty good week and I am happy where I am at this point in my training cycle. I don’t have the multitude of little aches and pains that seemed to follow me over the course of the past few years, which is helping me to run a lot more comfortably and consistently.

One thing that I do like is that using the elliptical is helping me get in extra time (miles?) that are helping to strengthen my legs and lungs. Although during the race I did open up some passages in the lungs that haven’t been open for a while (going fast uphill sucks) and they let me know about it the rest of the day and I dredged up some pretty nasty stuff that had been hanging around – which is a good thing.

A good week of running and some other decisions that I can’t share right now, but are very important, good things and will definitely effect my running later this year.

39th Annual Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race Report

What a freaking gorgeous day to have a January Thaw road race!!!

Hells bells, I even wore shorts – in January – in Maine. The part where I didn’t need a hat or gloves was pretty good too

Temps in the 40’s, not too bad of breeze, clear roads and lots of sunshine, besides the great company of runners to compete with.

What more could you ask for after all the crap/cold weather we have had this winter – a true January Thaw.

Well another 37 seconds, but then I would just be greedy.

Getting back to the race, the organizers have it down to a pretty good routine, but unfortunately one of the co-race directors was in the hospital today, so get well soon Gene.

Photo courtesy of David Colby-Young

I renewed my Central Maine Striders membership (gotta get one of those shirts like Ron’s) and paid the registration (which at $10 is a bargain), less than most single registration fees are nowadays. I tend to like local no-frills races more than the big event ones, you get to talk with other runners more and it is more about the running than the hoopla or the cause they are attempting to raise money for.

I really was not all that sure about how I would do today, I haven’t raced a lot over the past year (twice) and am just starting to get back into some semblance of shape after a bad September/October.

At the starting line, I was talking with Ron and he asked if he could run with me??? MMMMM Ron is one of the better runners in the club, and is a helluva lot better runner than I ever was, but has been battling injury for a bit. So without coming right out and saying so he really just wanted to run with an old slow fart to hold him back and not let him reinjure himself by getting too competitive and going with the leaders. I wasn’t complaining though, because I had a feeling that because of him running with me it would cause me to run better than I would otherwise.

That prediction came true!

This course has its challenges for me, if you look at the elevation graph, it starts out uphill, does a quick downhill and then another extended uphill, a bit of downhill and then a long gradual uphill that just takes you by surprise by the time you get 3/4 of the way up it, you realize just how much uphill you are actually running. Then little longer downhill section to another quick uphill and a couple of bumps to the finish.

The one thing that I really notice as I get older is that my ability to run faster uphill gets harder every year – just nature taking back some of the vitality from the old body, but it sure does suck wind. So this course with its multiple slightly longer climbs gets me more each year.

However, with Ron motivating me to run better (just by him being there) and every so often trying to get my attention off how bad I was hurting, by gabbing a little (when I could breath) made the run a lot more “enjoyable”. Well I guess I wouldn’t say enjoyable too loudly, but more passable. In other words I got past the hard spots with his help a lot easier than I would have if he hadn’t been there.

Just before we turned onto the longish downhill section I could hear footsteps behind us. Someone was catching up, well that kind of got to my competitive side and I might have turned-up the pace a little extra going down that hill.

I found out afterwards that it was a young lady behind us, during a race I purposely try not to look back to see where the competitors are, something I learned a long time ago. After the race we were talking about her getting close at that point and how I thought she was going to catch me. She commented that she noticed that we picked the pace up going down the hill and that my stride was more like I was gliding down the hill and that she couldn’t maintain that pace.

Hell, I ain’t had anyone tell me my stride looked I was gliding instead of running for years. So maybe there is hope for all the work I have been doing with my stride?

I finished 10th out of 26 and was the first 60 year-old, but where it is a small race they only have 1st overall male/female for divisions. Kind of old-school, but I tend to like it.

Afterwards it was nice to talk and catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while.

Overall it was a great day for a race and I beat my time from last year by almost two and half minutes, so I have to say a big thank you to Ron for pacing me to a better time than I expected.

And I bet he has another almost the same at home 😉

Speaking of running shoes, the Gravity 3’s worked great as race day shoes, they got their first run outside and did great.

Run, Walk, Roll 5K Race Reflection – 7-22-17

Can you believe it, I actually made it to a race this morning!!!

Finally.

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I have not been to a race since January and thankfully none of the old race anxiety issues raised their ugly head this morning. I went there for a couple of reasons, but primarily to:

  • Go and have fun – I know running your arse off in a race is not most people’s idea of fun – but I know that I am more than a little weird
  • Relax a little bit and do something besides work around the house or over in NH

With those two things in mind (after a good night’s sleep), I headed to Bangor run in the inaugural Run, Walk or Roll for the Ronald McDonald House. I felt good, although before race time there were 4 trips to the bathroom to sit and ponder the issues of world peace and other b.s.

For an inaugural race I like how they did things, but like anything there were a few hiccups – there always are and I am sure those will get ironed out for next time.

So what were my goals for today’s race:

  1. Get to the starting line with a smile
  2. Finish without breaking anything
  3. Anything under 8:00 minute mile pace would be wonderful

That is what I sail last night before the race. Continue reading “Run, Walk, Roll 5K Race Reflection – 7-22-17”

38th Annual CMS January Thaw – Race Recap

Ahhhh January and running = a bit chilly most of the time.

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Photo by David Colby Young

It also means running at the Central Maine Striders January Thaw in Belgrade, ME. Today was the 38th edition, so thank you again to Gene, Geoff, Ron P., DonneJean, Ron P, Alicea and all the rest for putting on what is usually my coldest race of the year ;-). Continue reading “38th Annual CMS January Thaw – Race Recap”