Thursday, October 28, 2010

Well, I made it.... to the Start Line

This will be quick, but I wanted to quickly post to give a quick update.

First, I am not sure what I am thinking by doing this, but for Stone Cat I am upgrading from the Marathon to the 50... yeah, don't ask, but I will say it is like that quote where the reporter asks the climber, "Why did you want to climb that mountain?", and the climber replies, "Because it is there."  Realistically, six days after a road marathon I am not sure I'll have the juice to finish a trail marathon, let alone a 50, but I will be going very conservatively, lots of run/walk breaks!

Second, I leave for DC tomorrow for the Marine Corps Marathon with mixed feelings.  All of a sudden my time goals are gone and I will be using a run walk strategy to try to a.) limit muscle damage, b.) speed recovery, and c.) FINISH.

I am not completely broken, but the last 4 weeks have scared up a few nagging injuries, and where they aren't enough to keep me off the course, they are things that make me wonder what the day will be like.

All in all, I KNOW I can do 26.2 miles, there is not question there.  The big question is how much carnage I will need to endure to arrive at the finish line.

So I cheer for the victory of just arriving to the line, whether I DNF at MCM and all goes to waste, or finish both races, I know that just by trying I am accomplishing something... right?

For all my friends, I believe you can track my Bib on race day if you like, shoot me an email for the details.

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Upcoming Event: Tuff Ten Trail Race - 10/17/2010

WHAT:  Tuff Ten Trail Race (10k)
WHERE: Breakheart Reservation, Saugus, MA (very conveniently only a couple minutes off route 1)
WHEN:  Sunday, October 17th, 2010, 10 a.m. Start
Howdy folks, just a quick plug for an upcoming first ever trail race on the trails of Breakheart Reservation in Saugus, MA.

Trust me, if you make the trip you will not be disappointed!  The tough ten will be a 10 kilometer jaunt over all of the types of terrain that the Breakheart Reservation has to offer.  The intrepid runner will get to see the softer side, with nice single tracks of forest floors carpeted in pine needles, to rugged climbs to the top of one of the many vistas that should provide a clear view of the Boston skyline.

Here are a few shots of some of the trails and scenery from my training run at Breakheart around this time last year:

Proceeds for this race will go towards the continued preservation of the suburban trail running gem, which is all the more reason to come out and enjoy some fantastic trails so close to the city.  Seriously, where else can you run some rugged trails with a decent amount of a challenge and then be enjoying some pasta or pastries in the North End less than 30 minutes?

This will be a great take, and the RD is a REAL trail runner, so you know it'll be good!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nothing a Little Mileage Can't Handle...

So not that I ma breaking any records with this, but I officially logged 49 miles this past week of training.  Sure, much of it was based on run/walk type training, but somehow I arrived at the end of the week with nearly 50 miles and just a little soreness in my knees from yesterday on the trails.

I won't go into great detail about the long run yesterday, but basically Breakheart Dan and I met up to run the Stone Cat Course.  We took it really easy and added in many walking breaks.  The day was amazingly brilliant, and a classic New England Fall day, and it was one that you live for as a runner.  Was really glad to share it with Dan, but after hearing his ITB flaired up big time today, I am a little disappointed.  Dan is a great person, totally dedicated to the sport of trail running and ultra running, and deserves way better than he is getting right now with his ITB tendinitis issues.

After Dan and I completed the loop, 12.5 miles, I headed back out on the trails for a few more miles on the trails, as well as a few miles on the roads home to my place.  All told I grabbed another 5 to 5.5 miles on the trails, and then about three on the roads home.  Total for the day was 21.25 miles, at about 4 h, 12 m.

I felt pretty crushed for the rest of the day, mostly because I didn't hydrate nearly enough before and during the run, but Sunday brought more great weather and I was really looking forward to getting outside.

We decided on taking the kids on a short hike through Maudsley State Park, and covered a couple of miles.  I even got a little running fix by wearing my INOV8's for the hike and challenging the kids to a couple short trail races over the terrain.  Maudsley is a fairly popular park, and it is hard to find a trail where you are ever alone for too long, which can be good or bad, but we also had the opportunity to stop and listen carefully, and heard a Great Horned Owl off in the distance.

After our excursion I wanted to get a short couple miles, which inevitably turned into five when I tried shortening my stride and taking it very easy.  I think I found that true marathon pace, and with a good taper and a little recovery might be able to go sub-4 hours at the Marine Corps Marathon, which would be fantastic.

Nevertheless, I am not afraid of the start or the race itself.  I had some serious soul searching and BIG thoughts today.  All of our personal hang ups seem to get rapidly burned away when you realize that one day you will be dead, and this current life we are living will be over.  No matter what you believe, all that you have in this life will be gone, and as far as I can see, there is no proof if we will carry our memories with us.  So the best I can come up with is to try my best as a Father, be good and reliable to my friends, and not pass up any time to spend with loved ones, or miss out on any adventures because of emotional distress.  This life seems long and arduous sometimes, but it is always moving, more and more rapidly as they days go by, and we have to cherish each one.

In love and truth, be who you want to be, do what you need to do, and make a difference in the world.  As the old campsite mantra goes, leave it better than it was when you arrived.

Happy trails!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Here and There... Yet Again.

Back in August I was feeling like I was making a serious breakthrough.  Unfortunately, I feel like those are the times when I need to back off the most, because my body is usually not far behind with a reality check.

Following Moose on the Loose I developed a bit of a lower ab, groin issue which wouldn't allow me to run across the parking lot, let alone extended miles on the trails.  Quickly races came and went, and I ended up eating the race fees for Beverly Commons, which should have been NSTS race number three for me, as well as NSTS race four - ECTA 10 miler in Hamilton.  I was also not able to run a really important marathon training run/race - The Nahant 30k.

Amid all of this I was able to get a few decent long runs with significant time on my feet.  First a 23 mile excursion through Willowdale, and second a 20 mile road run which did me in entirely.

The 23 miler was incredibly inspiring, gave me hope I could overcome the injuries, but then on the road 20 miler I developed a pain in my ankle at 6 miles, and like a dufus I ran through it.  When I got home it progressively got worse with more pain, tightness, and swelling.  It could have been shin splints, it could have been a stress fracture, it could have been compartment syndrome.

Most times I would avoid the doctor, but I was in to see my GP, who sent me to get some happy radiation to take a couple glamour shots of my lower leg.  No stress fracture, YAY, but strict instructions to not run for two weeks.  Hard to news to take when one is 7 weeks out from a marathon!  Of course, since I use running as my way of treating depression and anxiety, it was painful to be sedentary.

So there I was, sitting with my sad sack self, thinking about how I would now be burning money for race fees, plane fares, and hotel rooms that were locked in for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC.  I was bummed out about having a third straight Fall season where I was sitting on my butt, eating race entry fees - as well as ice cream, and lamenting at how injuries seem to love me this time of the year.

Finally I made my way out of the darkness and am back to running, back to the marathon goals, and the fun trail runs with the guys from the club.  Back to dreaming big.  I am a little bummed out that I probably won't be running any fantastic times in DC and at Stone Cat, but the Fall goal of running two marathons in a week is still on, and I have decided I am going to try to run the Fells Ultra in December.

The Fells will be an epic challenge.  It has always tested me mentally while running the short 8 mile edition of the race, now I need to reckon what it'll be like running that same 8 mile loop another 3 or 4 times!  It is a course where my lack of eyesight becomes an incredible disadvantage, but I am not going to not try because of those limitations.

Oddly enough, I am sitting here with a reply of the 2008 Ironman in Kona going on in the background... that is surely a harsh reminder that every step is a blessing, and it is all about the journey to the finish line.

I am still out here living the journey trail friends...