|Training and Racing 8/31-9/13
||[Sep. 13th, 2009|07:40 pm]
Me and Al Bernier at the Ollie 5 Miler - Photo by Kristin Kozlosky
M- dead tired again
Tu- 10 easy (1:26:08) in the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge scouting the area for a job at work. Really cool place to run:
W- 6x1k at 10k pace (5:10), 400m/2:00 recovery, good workout, not easy, but not hard (3:09 3:13 3:14 3:14 3:11 3:07) wu/cd 5
Th- 7 easy (1:05:20) at Trout Pond trails scouting for work, pretty tired from workout
F- 6 easy (41:51) on the roads of Bradford, MA from DD's house
Sa- Ollie 4.91 Mile New England Championships, 25:22 (5:10 pace) 31st place. Really happy with this race. I was hoping to run around 26 flat or faster to get ready for the NE GP 10k next week. Worked w/ teammate Patrick Rich from 2.5 on. 5 seconds slower than my 5 mile PR from 2004 during the Beach to Beacon 10k (25:45).
Su- 18 easy on roads (2:05:26, 6:58 pace). Wow. I was pretty tight from the race.
Totals: 61 miles 7.8 hours. Another solid consistent week. Next week I'm going to cut back a little and hope to PR (32:08) at the Lone Gull 10k in Gloucester.
Ben Nephew headed towards Garfield during the Pemi Loop
M- dead tired
Tu- 5.1 easy at Whitaker Woods
W- 16x1k at MP, 200m/60 sec recovery, good workout, got in a groove after number 10 (3:27 3:32 3:34 3:32 3:32 3:30 3:33 3:33 3:33 3:29 3:30 3:32 3:32 3:32 3:31 3:33) 1:13:16 for 19.2k (6:08 pace); wu 3, no cd
Th- 6 easy (47:10) on Corridor 19 trail w/ Paul
F- 31.5 7:04:47 Pemi Loop w/ Ben Nephew , see previous post
Sa- 8.5 easy (1:10:41) on Corridor 19 trail w/ Paul
Su- 12 on dirt roads and trails (1:45:47) w/ Paul, soaked in Chocorua Lake for 30 mins after
Totals: 78.1 miles, 13.0 hours. Good week. Bummed I missed a day on Monday, but I was pretty tired and probably wouldn't have gained much.
|Pemi Loop Record Attempt 9/4/09
||[Sep. 5th, 2009|01:04 pm]
Let me start by saying that this record attempt was tougher than most races that I have done, both physically and mentally, but a lot of fun at the same time. |
The Pemi Loop is one of those grand challenges that hikers and trail runners in the Northeast can look to as an epic adventure and a test of their abilities. 31+ miles of rugged trails with 9000+ feet of elevation gain will test anyone's abilities. I did my first Pemi Loop in 2005 just to see if I could do it (http://www.viewsfromthetop.com/forum...record+attempt) and ran 8:14:14. I bonked big time going from Garfield to Lafayette, but thought I put in a pretty good effort. Later that summer Alex Kahl ran around 7:25 and set a new record. Last September Charles Dona ("Youngblood") ran 7:26:31. Back in early August a newcomer on the seen, Ryan Weltz ("Farmer") recorded a 7:05:32 (http://www.viewsfromthetop.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31618) and left me and a few others a little shocked that anyone could run the loop that fast. I received an e-mail shortly after from my Inov8 and CMS teammate Ben Nephew, a 9 time winner of the Escarpment Trail race in New York, ultra runner, and owner of a sub 1:07:50 PR at the Mt. Washington Road Race. Ben was fresh off a 16th place finish at the IAU World Trail Challenge in Serre Chevalier, France and was looking for a new challenge. I just came back from an 8th place finish at the Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado, and had done a bunch of 3-4 hour mountain runs in the Whites all summer. We both had Labor Day weekend free and decided to give it a go.
Lincoln Woods to Mt. Flume (5.5 miles, 1:09:47, 12:35 pace)
We headed out from Lincoln Woods a little after 8AM and headed out on the Wilderness Trail on our way to the Osseo Trail. I had done the Pemi Loop two other times, but both times were counter-clockwise. Ben talked me into getting the majority of the climbing out of the way first, so up the Osseo we went. The lower part of the trail is pretty good running, including a lot of the uphill. Ben convinced me to slow up on the upper section with the ladders, as we would need our energy later. We hit the summit of Flume where we fueled up and ditched out shirts due to the warm temperatures.
Mt. Flume to Lafayette (5.0 miles, 1:13:52, 14:46 pace)
Clear skies and a light breeze greeted us as we headed across the ridge on our way to the high point of the loop. We started to see more people as we passed Little Haystack and power hiked our way up Lafayette. Both Ben and I were still feeling good, so we made a quick refueling stop and made our way towards Garfield.
Lafayette to Garfield (3.5 miles, 1:00:41, 17:20 pace)
The Garfield Ridge Trail is one of the most grueling trails I've ever tried to run. This would be the first time I would be relatively fresh while running it though, so I figured it wouldn't be as daunting. Wrong. The ups and downs on this trail never end. I was so glad to go up the steep cone of Garfield as I knew there would be no useless bumps to go over. On one of those useless bumps I ran into my friend Marc Chauvin who was guiding some younger guys. He urged us to not stop to talk and to go for the record. He also mentioned something about going for the Presidential Figure 8 record. That's another level of insanity!
Garfield to Galehead Hut (2.9 miles, 53:28, 18:26 pace)
After a quick refuel at the Garfield summit, we encountered some wet rock coming down from Garfield, but found a lot of runnable terrain on the way to Galehead Hut. We were both getting tired, but just kept our nose to the grindstone and put one foot in front of the other.
Galehead Hut to Bondcliff/Twinway Jct. Trail (2.8 miles, 55:06, 19:41 pace)
At the hut we spent a good ten minutes draining our bottles and refilling. Ben loaded up on four cups of lemonade and I ate a Larabar. We also threw in Nuun caplets in our water to help with the impending cramping we were bound to have on our way down on the rest of the loop. The climb up South Twin was a bear. I had never been up that trail in that direction, and I don't intend on doing it again. From the top of South Twin we knew we would have to boogie to break 7 hours and break the record. Ben's downhill running ability on technical terrain really showed here. I had to really concentrate to stay with him in this section. When we hit the Bondcliff/Twinway trail junction we were both tired, but in cruise control mode, so we didn't bother stopping for fuel and made our way to Bond.
Bondcliff/Twinway Jct. to Mt. Bond (1.3 miles, 18:34, 14:17 pace)
Once again we stepped it up a notch as Ben put the hammer down on the downhill and we pushed the up the best we could knowing that it was the last real climb of the day. I took one last gel at the summit, And I led the way down towards Bondcliff.
Mt. Bond to Wilderness Trail (5.6 miles, 1:04:15, 11:26 pace)
As you can tell by our pace, there is a lot of downhill and we were really moving. It was a little depressing passing Bondcliff without taking any pictures, but we really wanted the record. Once we got below treeline I continued leading as fast as I could. In hindsite I should have let Ben lead this section as he's faster on the downhills and I could have tucked in behind him.
Wilderness Trail to Lincoln Woods (4.7 miles, 29:51, 6:21 pace)
As we made the turn of the Bondcliff Trail and onto the Wilderness Trail, I looked at my watch and noticed that we had about 25 minutes left to break 7 hours and about 30 minutes left to break the record. I ran this section of trail in 34:11 in 2005 and wasn't sure it would be possible to run that fast, let alone faster with 26+ miles under our belt. Ben had other thoughs. He didn't hesitate as he made the turn and just started hammering. I had a hard time keeping up at first, but I eventually settled in behind him and took over pacing duties after a mile. He asked me "Are we running sub 6's?" I stated maybe, but that was all that I could get out. We upped the pace a little as we left the Wilderness and hit the wider trail. As we passed the Osseo Trail I told Ben we had an optimistic 10 minutes to go. He wasn't too happy as he looked at his watch and realized we wouldn't break 7 hours. We kept hammering anyways. Ben dropped his pack half a mile from the finish and picked up the pace. I went with him and we finished in 7:04:47! Nothing like running 7+ hours to beat the record by less than a minute. We finished the last 4.7 miles on the Wilderness Trail at 6:21 per mile pace, which is the equivalent of a 19:41 5k, but over rotted railroad ties.
I don't usually say never about anything, but I find it hard to believe that ANYONE will break 7 hours any time soon. I don't mean to say that to sound like an egomaniac, but Ben and I ran as hard as we could and don't have many places where we could have looked back and said we ran faster. I towed Ben on the ups and he towed me on the downs. We ran flat out the last 5 miles. It is going to take one hell of an effort to beat that one.
Total Loop, 31.3 miles, 7:04:47, 13:34 pace
|Training Week 8/24-8/30
||[Sep. 2nd, 2009|09:22 pm]
Me on the Lawn Cutoff above Tuckerman Ravine
M- 2 easy on Stark Rd. in the dark with Al Bernier. Thanks for the kick in the butt Al.
Tu- Kennett Challenge XC Race 1st 10:22. Won by 7 seconds over Silas Eastman and Tim Livingston. Silas is a freshman at Fryeburg Acadamy and is the real deal. Watch out for him.
W- 8 on the Kanc 56:23
Th- 8.5 Boott Spur & Lion Head 2:36:15, just ran easy, cool enough above treeline for hat and gloves. I love this weather.
F- 8 Bloody Arm Loop+ w/ Paul 1:06:31
Sa- 4x2 mile @ MP (5:45) w/ 2:30/400m rest. 11:33 11:35 11:27 11:25, 56:08 for 14.4k (6:16 pace) good workout, but had a hard time feeling good at MP.
Su- 14.9 Trout Pond Trails w/ Paul, tired but good run
Totals: 60.9 miles, 9.27 hours. 8 weeks til Bay State at the beginnning of the week. I plan on doing a lot of short stuff @ MP for the first few weeks, then some GP races and an XC race for speed work, then some long runs w/ long segments at MP. Then we'll see if it sticks on Oct. 18.
|2009 Pikes Peak Ascent
||[Aug. 23rd, 2009|09:19 pm]
Me above treeline sucking wind on Pikes Peak (from Incline Club picasa page)
“Why would anyone want to run up a 14,000 foot mountain if you don’t live at altitude?” That is a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times. It’s hard. It’s a challenge. I couldn’t find a better race in August to fill my schedule.
I blame Paul Kirsch (White Mountain Milers President / Cranmore race director / “running spouse”) for planting the seed in my head a few years back, after reading his first-hand account of his 2001 Pikes Peak Ascent in the White Mountain Milers newsletter. His story of little oxygen and trails with no roots peaked my curiosity, as those are things that are abundant in mountain races in New England. I was curious about how the other side lives.
Scouring race reports and looking at others people’s photos can only hold you over for so long. In 2006 I finally signed up for the Ascent, to test my climbing abilities in one of the oldest races in the country. I had proven myself as a mountain runner at New England races and the famed Mt. Washington Road Race, but I wanted to see how hard running at 14,000 feet would be. This is where Pikes Peak became my white whale. I had to forego my entry that year as I had made the US Mountain Running Team and would not be able to travel for both Pikes Peak and the World Trophy.
2007 was a year where training and racing was going great in the winter and spring. I was pumped to try the Ascent knowing that I was in good shape. Funny how quickly plans change. I got a mold spoor in my lungs in April that hampered my training and racing after the Tuckerman Inferno, where I managed to beat Paul Low in the uphill climb into Tucks by about 20 seconds.
In the fall of 2007 I got healthy and was able to train hard all winter and spring. Once again, I signed up for the Ascent wanting to test my newfound fitness. Unfortunately, I could have used a lobotomy as I ran below my standards at Mt. Washington and barely trained all summer and got fat. My lack of fitness did not deter me from going to Colorado for vacation though and attempting to run in the land of little oxygen.
Race day greeted us with freezing rain, lightning and four inches of snow on the summit; on August 16th mind you. Cold weather is usually not something that bothers me while running. In fact, I usually relish it. It’s a little different story when you mix it with rain and lightning. 10 miles into the Ascent I decided that dying in the Rocky Mountains did not sound all that appealing. The race directors also realized this after 2/3rds of the first wave had already finished. It was only the 4th DNF of my life, but I had no regrets and still don’t.
2009 started much like 2008. I had a solid winter of training, some decent races in the spring, but another disappointing Mt. Washington. This year was a little different though, as I didn’t pack it in after Mt. Washington and hide in a cave for the summer. I rebounded nicely at the US Mountain Running Championships at Mt. Cranmore by placing 9th. I was still a little disappointed in my climbing ability, or lack thereof, and vowed to add more climbing to my training. After a month of three to four hour mountain runs and numerous ascents of 2,367 ft Black Cap, I felt about as prepared as I could for a race into the rarified air of a Colorado mountain peak.
Having raced at altitude a few times, I have a pretty good routine down to prepare myself for racing up mountains whose starting elevation is higher than the peak of Mt. Washington. I don’t get there any earlier than two days before the race and I drink lots of water. I also had the luxury of staying with CMS teammate Peter Maksimow, a former top five finisher in the Ascent, and his girlfriend Nora Duane, at their cabin, about a mile from the start.
Walking to the start I felt pretty loose and not terribly nervous. Weird considering I was staring 8,000 feet up at the finish line the whole time during my warm-up. This year’s weather was much better. Cool at the start, but warm enough to warm up in my Inov8 singlet and X-Talon 212’s. No humidity like the wet blanket that covered us at Mt. Washington.
The start of the race felt a little like the start of a New England mountain race. After the cannon went off we ran up the main street in Manitou Springs and I recognized White Mountain Milers Linda Comeau and Allan Aldrich, CMS teammate Peter M., US Mountain Running teammate Anita Ortiz, and blogger George Zack. It was like running in front of the hometown crowd!
Despite the fact that the racecourse climbs 7,815 feet in 13.32 miles, some people still feel the need to sprint to the front. Mike Selig, Zach Thomas and myself decided that it was too early to race and worked together in a chase pack to feast on the lactic acid ridden corpses that would soon lie in our path.
Most of the first mile of the race is on paved streets, passing businesses, houses and Colorado’s non-smoke spewing version of the Cog Railroad. I passed one guy who looked like he was racing a triathlon and caught former UNH runner Matt Russell after turning off Ruxton Ave. and onto the famed Barr Trail. Matt, Zach and I worked together on a set of switchbacks known as the W’s, as we passed Payton Batliner, who was already having a rough day two miles into the race.
At the top of the W’s the course flattens out a little and I opened a little gap on Matt. I noticed the gap and reminded myself not to push too early while going after the leaders. Little did I know I was entering no-man’s land.
I passed through Barr Camp (7.6 miles into the race) just under 1:11. According to multi-time race winner Matt Carpenter’s race pace calculator I was right where I needed to be to run 2:20 to the summit. Unfortunately, the race didn’t get any easier.
I kept my steady pace up, just putting one foot in front of the other. I could tell that all of the mountain running that I had done in the last month was paying off. The flats were where I was feeling the most discomfort. Every time I opened my stride I could feel the altitude in my quads. The flats didn’t last very long though.
The last mile or so below the A-Frame (10 mile mark) are as technical as it gets on this trail. It’s still pretty tame compared to most of the trails in New England though. Most of the rocks were well placed and fairly easy to run on.
I came through the A-Frame aid station in 1:41 high, about two minutes behind 2:20 pace, but still felt pretty strong and wanted to go after anyone that may have fallen off of the lead pack. As I peaked out above treeline I could see Alex Nichols, a Colorado guy, a couple of switchbacks ahead of me. I didn’t know how he was feeling, but I figured that at 12,000 feet we were on even ground, literally and figuratively.
I lost site of Alex at the 2 miles to go sign, but found an overwhelming feeling of lethargy come over me. The altitude was really starting to hit me. Not surprising considering I live at 500 feet above sea level. I immediately went into damage control mode, walking the short, steep stuff and rock steps. Most of the trail above treeline is well graded with switchbacks, so I was able to run (if you want to call it that) most of the way to the finish. Mike Selig caught me with about a mile and a half to go as I stopped in the middle of the trail staring at two different rocks, trying to figure out which one to go over. Did I mention I was getting lightheaded?
With about a mile to go Matt Russell passed me and offered me some encouragement. I needed more than encouragement, I needed an oxygen tank. Unfortunately I had to settle for an energy gel. Taking a gel at almost 14,000 feet with a dry mouth is like trying to eat a peanut butter sandwich after swallowing sawdust. I managed to force down the chocolate gooeyness, and made my way through the last of the 16 Golden Stairs, a set of switchbacks leading to the summit. I put on my best game face and ran the remainder of the way to the finish. I crossed the finish line in 2:31:50 for 8th place. The last 3.2 miles took me about 49 minutes, probably the slowest 5k I’ve ever run. The NCAA altitude conversion charts probably convert that to a 45:00 though.
Racing at 14,000 feet while living at sea level is probably not a bright idea, but it was a unique challenge and really tested my limits. Plus, I got to east a donut at the finish.
|Training Week 8/3-8/9
||[Aug. 9th, 2009|03:34 pm]
M- +/-6.5 Rob Brook short loop, 51:52, felt good, trail overgrown|
Tu- 0 dead tired
Rolling down the backstretch at NHMS w/ two flat tires
W- NH State Police DARE 5k @ New Hampshire Motor Speedway 16:22, 2nd place. Humid, tired, felt like crap on warm-up, but thought I'd feel better during the race. Came through the mile in 5:03, 10 sec back of Double J, but had nothing for him. wu/cd 5
View from Mt. Potash
Th- 4.2 Mt. Potash 55:11, 29:05 to summit, 1400 ft gain, felt good, ran easy
F- 6.5 Bloody Arm Loop 55:00, felt ok, a little tired, ran easy w/ Paul
Sa- +/-7.5 Whitaker Woods 1:01:19, 12x15 sec hills near end, felt better towards end
Trail? What Trail?
Su- +/-12 2:46:54 planned on going up Wildcat Valley Ski Trail (+/-2000ft climb) but found it was overgrown above the birch glade, hit Hall's Ledge on way down and added on Bog Brook Loop (6.5 miles), time a little excessive considering Pikes Peak is next week, but if I can't recover I shouldn't be running.
Looking south from near Hall Ledge
Mt. Washington from Hall Ledge
Totals: 45 miles, 7.44 hours. Decent week. Was really hoping to get a better climb in on Wildcat, but bad planning on my part. Not a big deal though. Disappointed in the race Wednesday, I wanted to at least break 16, but I think I was pretty flat from the long run last Sunday. Good thing is I won't be running 5 minute pace up Pikes Peak! I'm going to do one last hillclimb up Black Cap hard tommorow, then an easy hour each day this week. I fly out to Denver early on Thursday, and will have a few days to get ready for Pikes Peak. I'm more confident in my climbing abilities than I was a month ago.
|Training Week 7/27-8/2
||[Aug. 3rd, 2009|10:11 am]
Paul running above treeline on the Davis Path
M- 11 easy up and down Black Cap and other trails, 1:39:58, +/-2000ft gain
Tu- 7 easy 1:04:53 at Whitaker Woods
W- +/-7 on dirt roads 52:08, 5x50m sprints near end in thunderstorm on way back to car, was hoping to do hill sprints, but didn’t want to get electrocuted.
Th- Hard tempo up Mt. Washington via Tuckerman Ravine Trail, 4.2 miles in 59:35, hard effort, ran all the way to the bottom of the Bowl (+/-3 miles) in 36:00, ½ running ½ speed hiking to summit. About 7 minutes faster than my time from last summer, 7.5 down on auto road and trail, 11.6 total, 4250 ft gain. Only 5 people have ever run the road race under 60 mins. I might be the first by trail!
F- 8 easy on singletrack 1:07:29, felt awful first 30 mins
Sa- AM:7 easy on singletrack w/ Paul 1:09:24
PM: 2.5 roads 18:38 back to car after hiking Mts. Eisenhower and Pierce w/ Jess (+-3000 ft gain in 7+ miles)
Su- 15.8 up Mt. Washington via Davis Path with Paul 5:03:09, 6750ft of elevation gain, never bonked, ran most of it. Slow pace, but good workout. Felt strong.
Totals: 70.0 miles 13.28 hours, 13,000 ft of climbing not including the hike w/ Jess on Saturday. That was probably the perfect week for me right now. I may have overdone it a bit with the climbing, but I think it will help with Pikes Peak.
Eating chili at the summit of Washington
|Sub 60 on Mt. Washington 7/30/09
||[Jul. 31st, 2009|11:06 am]
Yesterday I set out for a run after work to the top of Mt. Washington. I've run to the summit numerous times on the auto road, both as part of the road race and in training. I've been up through Huntington Ravine, summited on a Presi Traverse, and hiked up Lion Head in the winter. Last summer I wondered how fast can I run up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail? It's shorter than the auto road by about 3.5 miles, and about 500 feet less elevation gain. Can I run faster than my 1:03:42 PR in the road race? It was a question I really wanted to know the answer to.|
About this time last summer I headed up from Pinkham on a wet, dreary day and summitted in about 1:08, a good time, but slower than I hoped. It re-affirmed that I wasn't in the type of shape I wanted to be in. Flash forward to this year. I've been training pretty heavy for the Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado on August 15. I've done a cool run over the Carters and one over Passaconaway and Whiteface. I needed a good uphill run this week to zero in on the effort level of the race.
I started out a Pinkham making sure I didn't try to run too fast in the first half mile, like I have done everytime I've run this trail as part of the Tuckerman Inferno. Navigating the rocks is a big challenge on the Tucks Trail. Concentration is almost more important than sheer fitness.
I reached HoJo's in 26:45 and knew I was on a pretty good pace. When I ran the Inferno in 2006 I made it to HoJo's in 25:09, which is actually faster on snow. I made it to the bottom of the headwall in just under 36 minutes, running every step to that point. I knew that I had about 1.2 miles to go and 24 minutes to cover it if I wanted to make my ultimate goal, a sub 60 up Mt. Washington.
Only 5 people have ever broken 60 minutes in the road race, and none to my knowledge via trail. I really wanted to join that club. I reached the top of the headwall, trying to avoid the stream running down the trail so that I wouldn't slip on the rocks. My Inov8 X-Talon 212 (http://www.inov-8.com/Products-Detail.asp?PG=PG1&L=27&P=5050973028)trail shoes did great on the rock though. They are super light weight (7.5 ounces/212g each) and have great sticky rubber on the bottom that grips just about anything.
Pushing up the summit cone was tough, as there isn't much of a trail. I tried to run whatever I could and speed hike the rest. At 55 minutes I was in the clouds, but could see that the rocks were straight across on the horizon, which meant I was near the lower parking lot. I hit the pavement in 58 flat and knew I had to boogie to break 60. I sprinted up the last wall of the road race course, ran across the deck that crosses the RR tracks, and sprinted like a mad man for the summit rock pile. I stopped my watch at 59:35, exhausted, but very happy with my effort.
I took a quick break for some water in the Sherman Adams building, where I got some looks from the State Park crew (I was only wearing shorts, shoes, and a watch; Does that make me negligent if I got hurt?). I ran down the auto road to the Old Jackson Road to Pinkham for a roundtrip time of 2:01:22 for 11.6 miles. A great day on the mountain.
|Training Week 7/20-7/26
||[Jul. 26th, 2009|10:04 pm]
M- 0 wiped out, took day off from work, maybe the heat got to me|
Tu- 7 easy at Whitaker Woods 52: 34 (7:30 pace)
W- +/-9 on snowmobile trails w/ Paul, TIRED, humid
Th- +/- 8.5 in Whitaker Woods w/ Brandon Newbould
F- Uphill tempo, 34:14 to summit of Iron Mt. from Jackson Covered bridge (3.8 miles, 9:01 pace) added on trail down to cliffs and old mine, 9.2 total 2560' gain
Sa- 0 easy 5 mile hike w/ Jess around East Pond Loop (2:30:00), tired afterwards
Su- 12.9 up Passaconaway & Whiteface, 3:22:48 (15:43 pace) 4500' gain
Totals: 46.6 miles 8.44 hours, 7000 ft gain. Decent week, volume should have been higher, but I was really beat early in the week. Rebounded nicely with the climbs at the end of the week. The missed day on Saturday bothers me a little, but I really need to balance other parts of my life instead of worrying about running every day. If I make it all work, then all the better. If not, so be it.
|The ups and downs of the ups and downs
||[Jul. 20th, 2009|11:41 am]
Photo by Gil Talbot, AP
At the halfway mark at Mt. Washington I'm running with CMS teammate Justin Fyffe and he turns to me and says "this is really hard!" No kidding. That's what I was thinking. Mt. Washington was a struggle from the start. I tried to go out conservative, while still in the top 10 hoping to work my way close to the lead pack in the next couple of miles. I came through the first mile in 6:40, about 10 seconds slower than ideal, but I thought that wasn't too bad. By 1.5 I was already starting to feel like junk though. I worked with Jason Bryant and John Tribbia for a while, then Justin caught me around 3 miles and we ran together until the Cragway turn just past 5 miles. I was toast by this point. Everybody and their mother passed me, including the trimmed down slush gut of Francis Burdett, who cracked the top 10 and set a PR at 44 years of age. He had the race of the day. Nice job Francis. I limped my way through the fog, in 1:08:59 for 19th place.
The undercast was cool to look at, but not cool to run in. I felt like I was wearing a wet blanket the whole way. Maybe I need to start training in a sauna or something. I felt good going into the race. Good workouts, well rested. Maybe too rested. I'm not sure if the whole tapering thing is for me. All of my PR's are in the middle of big mileage weeks or when I felt like crap. I think I have this romantisized view of Mt. Washington that to run fast the race has to feel good. In reality, you always feel like crap running up the mountain, whether it be 8 minute pace or 10 minute pace.
Photo by Joe Shairs
With that in mind I headed to Cranmore with one goal in mind, to run the uphill as hard as I could and stay with the lead pack as long as possible. I knew my downhill abilities have been good this year, I just need to put the balls to the bandsaw and hang on the uphill, whether I died or not.
I managed to stay on the back of the lead pack 2/3 of the way up the first climb, where I fell off a little bit and was passed by Aaron Saft and Tommy Manning. I was able to get both guys on the first downhill and wasn't too far behind Eric Blake and Simon Gutierrez at the start/finish after lap one in 8th place.
I tried to close the gap a little on the flats when Tim Livingston told me that 4th place wasn't too far ahead, but reality set in as I started to climb again. I got passed by Tommy and Aaron in about the same spot as lap 1, and caught Tommy on the downhill, but couldn't catch Aaron despite him taking a good spill on Easy Street and me risking life and limb through the glade the last time.
I finished in 9th place in 52:24, about 2 mins faster than last year, almost 4 mins behind the champ Joe Gray and about 2 and a half mins behind 4th place Rickey Gates. Cranmore was a decent showing. 9th place at the National Champioships is nothing to scoff at. I really wanted to be close to the front, but I feel like I gave it everything I had on race day. Plus, it's the first time that I've been in the top 10 at the US Mountain Championships since 2004.
Since Cranmore, not a lot has happened on the racing front. I ran a small 5k on the 4th of July in Norwood, Ma. Ran 16:04 for second place and 50 bucks. I came through 2 miles in 9:58, but seized up pretty badly (obviously) in the last 1.1 miles. I got a good 2 mile workout though.
Since then I've been focusing on getting the volume up, more mountain running, and a couple of workouts in each week.
M-10.0 Town Hall Rd. (gravel) 1:07:26 (6:44 pace) felt good, hamstrings a little tight, ran steady effort, 35:17 up (7:03 pace, 630 ft. of gain)
Tu-Whitaker Woods Fun Run, +/-7.5 NT, ran easy stiff
Paul Kirsch running towards South Moat
W-AM: 5.8 South & Middle Moat, 1:56:36, 46:25 to South Moat (2300 ft climb total), ran w/ Paul & Rich Miller, beautiful morning
PM: +/-3.5 miles on Mineral Mine / Thompson Falls loop w/ Jess who walked jogged whole loop. I'm proud of her :-) 10x15 sec hills at end
Th-6.8 miles up and down Red Tail Trail to Black Cap, 35:34 to summit (1630 ft climb), awesome trail, Rustic Overtones concert at Cranmore after!
F-Echo Lake & Bloody Arm Loops w/ Paul, 1:28:59 (8:48 pace), ran easy, tired
Sa- Whitaker Woods Progression Run 9.6 miles 55:45 (5:48 pace) 6 x 1.6 mile loop, 10:16 9:32 9:05 8:58 8:57 8:55, humid, 45 sec faster than last October. Happy with the workout, but can't really bust it out at the end, 2 mi wu, no cd
Su- planned on a long run, but mt. biked with Jess for almost 3 hours at Rob Brook. Lot of fun and I probably need a little bit of rest.
Totals: 54 miles, 8.8 hours, 4560 ft climbing. Kicking myself for not getiing in the long run this week, but I think I needed the easier day Sunday. Solid week overall, but I need more weeks like last week. The progression run was solid, but not spectacular. Need to keep on chugging along.
M-11.8 Corridor 19 trail from Wal-Mart 1:13:10 (6:18 pace) Felt good, went with it
Tu- Whitaker Woods Fun Run 16:48 5k in hard rain. Good effort. 1=5:29 2=5:44 3.1=5:34; wu/cd 3
W- 7.6 miles up and down Mt. Chocorua 2:46:24 (2950 ft gain), slow on the climb, but good to get some climbing in. WET
Th-AM: 3.2 miles up and down Black Mt. ski area for work. 33:09 Steep climb (970 ft gain), gradual down.
PM: +/-7 easy on track 1:01:00
F-+/-8.5 Bloody Arm Loop and Echo Lake 1:16:22 w/ Paul
Me running on Mt. Hight w/ Mt. Washington in the background
Sa- 15 in the mountains (Carter Range) 3:39:16 (4850 ft climbing total) Beautiful run. Just tried to run steady the whole time. Took water and gels every hour and never bonked.
Check out the photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=29322&id=1315312930&l=618c884f98.
Su- 3 easy on Stark Rd. at 9:30 PM. 23:14 I should have run earlier, but I went on a 6 mile flat hike with Jess. Glad I made myself go out though.
Totals: 62 miles, 11.66 hours, 8770 ft climbing. Good week. I may have overdone it a little with the volume time-wise, but I just want to get into some consistent training. Got a lot of good climbing in this week. The Carter run on Saturday was awesome. I’m going to start including time/pace for my runs. I think I’ve been running a little too slow on my easy days. I don’t plan on hammering every run, but I think including time/pace/conditions might help me keep an honest effort.
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