Thursday, June 28, 2012

Week of 6.25.12 - 7.1.12

MON. - 0 -- legs are amazingly sore.  Rode stupid bike for 30 mins.

TUE. - 0 -- still sore but noticing improvement.  Rode stupid bike again for 30 stupid minutes.

WED. - 3mi (road) A.M. -- easy, (just a hair over 8:00 pace).  Just to shake out my legs and see how everything felt.  [24:11]
3mi. (road) P.M. -- planned on doing the WTAC Fun Run with Mason but we had to skip it so I repeated the same route as in the morning. Felt about the same.  [24:02]

THU. - 6+mi. (track) -- met Mike and his friend Mark at Curtis Corner Middle School track for some pace work.  I was a little nervous about my legs and how they would feel/hold up.  Felt no soreness, just a little fatigued but still OK.  4 x 800, 2 x 400, 2 x 200 with 400 recs after 800s and 200 recs for others.  [2:41/2:43/2:42/2:42/77/77/36/35]. 

FRI. - 6mi. (road) A.M. -- so happy to finally run a "regular", base run.  Think I was into it a little too much.  Sweaty and humid.  Suprised to see the overall pace when I was finished.  No Man's Land again. [41:30]
4+mi. (road) P.M. -- ran with Mott briefly before attacking fish on the boat.  Flat roads in East Matunuck.  Standard, easyish run for me, sort of a tempo run for him.  Legs were tired though.  [31:57]

SAT. - 11+mi. (trails) -- ran with Jonny, Mike, and Incredible Gun Hulk in Fisherville and Cuttyhunk Nature Preserves in Exeter.  Pretty fun.  I'd never ventured in there before.  Legs were a little tired but fun on some of the hills.  We stumbled upon a weird, white trash meth farm in the middle of nowhere too.  Dr. Seuss was correct--"Oh the places you will go".  [1:32:XX]

SUN. -6mi. (trails) -- wrong choice of venue to run in Black Farm Mgmt. area today.  However, then again, where can someone run in the woods in the northeast, in July, and not encounter deer flies.  I was looking for an easy, base pace run but immediately had to push it to escape the flying death squad.  My legs protested.  I resorted to taking my shirt off and rocking the terrorist look with it dangling off of my head, covering my shoulders and back.  Allah akbar.  Nice swim/splash session in Plain Pond immediately after the run.  That water is so damn clear! [42:50]

TOTALS: 40+ miles
Suck it deerflies!!!
-->another low week but still okay for a recovery week and starting off with two goose eggs.  My legs, although a tiny bit fatigued, are back I guess.  At the midway point in my 2012 running season and I have some serious reflecting to do.  Not exactly a stellar year so far and not specifically what I was hoping/looking for. Gotta focus and up my mileage big time.  I'd like to consistently  have two quality, hard session (speed and long) and start sticking in one mediumish, hard effort (on/offs or tempo runs) mixed in.  Hopefully just fishing, running, battling deerflies and smiling on the immediate horizon.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Presi Traverse -- Epic Fail

New chapter in next edition: "Muddy the Moron"
For the last few months I was anxiously anticipating my first ever attempt at the Presidential Traverse For a few quick overviews of the basic premise check here and here and here.  Ever since learning of this dandy of a trek, and also, after finding out that several running friends were planning on tackling it again, I decided that I wanted to give it a try.  After weaseling my way in on their trip I was super excited to get high and do some rock hopping. 

The plan was for seven of us total, (2 Presi non-virgins) to stay at one of the  guy's condo near Loon Mtn. and then head out Saturday morning and try to tackle it.  Given our different age groups, fitness levels, goals, etc., it was sort of determined/accepted that we would each be moving at very different paces and would thus be split up.  Our ultimate plan was to start around 0800 at Dolly Copp Campground (Daniel Webster trail) and then bag Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Clay, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower, and Pierce before reconvening at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford.  Personally, I knew I would NOT be near the front but figured I should be about middle of the pack and, hopefully, finish in about 6.5 hours.  Well, the best laid plans of mice and men.....

Travel and organization logistics caused us to not start until about 1030.  It was warm, bright, sunny and pretty humid.  Two of the "older" guys (Nick and Glenn) were dropped off earlier and started about 20-30 mins ahead of everyone else.  It was agreed that this would allow us to become less split up and finish roughly near the same time.  When the rest of us were finally set up, Aaron, Ben the Incredible Gun Show, Brian M., and Mike (about 10 mins behind us) clicked the watches and were off. 
Ben and I broke ahead by a small margin immediately.  However, about 10 minutes in, I began slowing and let him keep up the aggressive pace.  All alone, I continued climbing the trail and once I got above the deciduous trees and was in evergreens and rocks only, I began to realize how hard I was already working and how much I was sweating.  I had mistakenly assumed that once I got above the tree line it would be a short distance to the summit.  Wow, was I wrong.  At this point I was working MUCH harder than I had anticipated and there was practically zero running going on.  I was able to manage short stints of jogging but the rest of it was climbing/hand scrambling at about 30 minutes per mile pace.  I slowed so much that the other two guys (Aaron and Brian) were able to catch up to me.  At this time the faintest nagging of self-doubt crept into my mind as I already began fatiguing but I pushed it aside and pressed onward. 

The three of us reached the summit of Madison and didn't really pause before continuing onward.  The views (still sunny and clear) were most excellent but we scampered downward and focused on Mt. Adams close by.  I choked down some crackers and kept continually slurping water from my pak but again still couldn't believe how tired I was already.  I was even moving at a slower, more conservative pace than I had originally planned--just to be safe.  At this point I knew it was going to be a long day but, as Mike flew by us, I resigned myself to the fact that everything would be better once I got to Washington and moved beyond it.  Ha......yeah right.

Aaron, Brian and I continued on to Adams, more or less together.  At summit #2, Aaron gave me a Nun tablet and I ate a little more as we moved on.  In the distance we spotted the early starters, Nick and Glenn, about 15 mins ahead of us and figured we catch them before we got to Jefferson. There was still no sign of Ben, who apparently was cruising and making GREAT time. I still felt alright here, despite still being hot.  The cool breezes above the treeline now helped considerably so I wasn't really too worried about the rest of the trip.  Every hiker we passed was friendly and most were knowledgable.  Still a somewhat pleasant experience, just keep plodding along and everything will work out.  Still able to joke a little, I paused to reflect on the situation I was currently in (video below):

In the saddle between Adams and Jefferson, Aaron pulled away from me and I/we caught the two slower guys. I was able to run a little more here although the footing is still less than stellar.  I had a hard time envisioning the jagged granite edges one has to hop/run around on, despite Mike's descriptions and one of our training, rock hop adventures several months before.  Now I began fully appreciating the grind of the traverse itself.  Even if one were simply hiking this at a slow pace it certainly wouldn't be easy.  As such, the ascent of Jefferson I began to bog down a little.  I was forced to pause a couple of times for about 20 seconds.  Telling myself it was just to look around and enjoy the views and drink more water, I still conciously knew (worried) it was because my legs were starting to protest.  Also, an added bonus of fog and clouds began rolling in quickly.  Still amazing to me how fast the weather can change at higher altitudes.  I already knew that and had read a bunch of literature regarding this phenomenon but reading and experiencing it are two very different critters.

I descended Jefferson and at this point (I think) I encountered Mike.  As I approached him I immediately worried that he, or one of the other two guys up ahead had seriously injured themselves.  Out of habit I mistakenly paused my watch (stupid) and chatted with him for about a minute.  He informed me that he had really cramped up badly but the other two guys were still cranking ahead.  I told him I definitely had plans to keep going and was moving onward to Mt. Washington.  He crushed my dreams by reminding me that I had to hit the "mini-summit" of Clay first before turning and finishing the climb to the highest and most infamous peak.  Damn!!  Secretly, I wondered briefly if he was just busting my balls, but I cleared the fatigue cobwebs from my brain and then remembered that technically, although NOT a president, Clay was still considered by most to be part of the true traverse.  Shit.
Now the weather was really starting to weigh upon my mind.  Winds picked up a little and thunder could be heard in the distance.  The group of three behind me had stayed down at the base of Jefferson and went around to find a place to hunker down for a little while, given the impending weather.  Lucky for them, they found a perfect little cave, just big enough for the three of them to wait out any potential inclement weather and play touchy feely.  Good for them.

"Hmmmm...this cave reminds me of something."
As I descended "little" Mt. Clay the wind picked up even more and visibility dropped even more.  It began raining lightly so I stopped to throw on a windbreaker, which a little later on, did nothing to keep me dry.  I hopped over near the Cog Railway and began the ascent up to Mt. Washington and at this point, the main act of the shit show commenced.  I hit a mental and physical wall here and my legs just fell apart.  I had run out of water just prior to Clay (great planning not stopping at one of the huts earlier and topping off my pak).  Also, precipitation now increased in intensity and mixed in pea-sized hail just to make it more enjoyable.  Lightning (still off in the distance) and rumbles of thunder caused the hikers around me to begin scampering.  I slowed my pace even more, which was still faster than most of those hiking around me and simply put my head down and continued grinding up towards the summit.  As the railway went by I was able to manage a half-hearted wave to the passengers but under my breathe, cursed everyone of them to a fiery death.  As I became really soaked, my teeth began chattering and I couldn't stop shivering.  Uh-oh.  Not cool.

Finally, I made it to Washington and ran into Ben and Aaron.  They had paused a few different times for about 20 minutes waiting for everyone and were now waiting out the weather at the summit station.  I stripped off my shell and soaking shirt and Aaron gave me a long sleeved shirt to throw on.  This helped a little but I felt nauseous and couldn't warm up fully.  After drinking a bunch of water, Mike met up with us and it was determined that Mike and I would bow at and descend Tuckerman's Ravine while Aaron and Ben pressed onward.  I was really disappointed here but I felt so worn down and hungry that I figured it was pretty damned unwise to press onward.  We wished Aaron and Ben well and moved into the cafeteria to eat.

I felt better after eating chowder and drinking some Gatorade.  We inquired as to the price of a shuttle down to the base of the auto road ($30 per person) but after being shocked at the extortion going on atop the mountain, we headed down.  We split off at LionsHead and then were actually able to really move pretty fast down to Pinkham at the base.  It was fun to rip down the wet, rocky trail and blow past hikers (most were polite and accomodating).  My knees and quads were protesting again but the fun outweighed the fatigue.  Finally, 4.1 miles later at the lot, we hopped in the car and played the "drop off vehicles/shuffle around to pick up various parties thing".  It began pouring at this point but luckily we were enroute to pick up the heroic finishers, Ben and Aaron. Congrats to them.  They finished in about 7 hours but would've been an hour faster if not for the waiting. 

In closing, I'm really, really disappointed with myself.  However, I can draw some conclusions from this:
1. The heat and humidity up Madison really cost me (us) a lot of energy.  This was probably detrimental to my overall well being later on.
2. I was not at all prepared for this.  I thought I was but now I'm not so sure. There is very little that R.I. has to offer in the way of preparation and training.  Now I know for next time (if there ever is another next time).
3.  I think I ate enough food but given my exertion, probably not. 
4.  I need to be more concious of water intake.  Running out was retarded on my part.
5. I need to improve my core and overall fitness if I want to accomplish this beast.  I can run road and trail races and compete at a decent level.  This is a whole new ball o' wax and I was not up to the task.
6. I'm unsure how the hell someone can complete this in only 4hrs50mins (Ben Nephew).  Wow!
7. I didn't make it but I didn't die or injure myself. So that's cool.

If you're feeling adventerous, consider giving this son of a bitch a shot.  It has the makings to be really fun and epic, if you're better prepared than I was.  If it's not your thing, then stick to local road races.  I for one will not think any less of you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week of 6.18.12 - 6.24.12

MON.- 6mi. (road) -- good run at decent clip.  Only struggled a little back up Maxson Hill.  [42:26]

TUE.- 6mi. (trails) -- Canochet Brook Preserve.  A fun place to play but this run just sucked.  No zip in legs at all.  One of the rare runs that when finished, left me a little disheartened.  Consoled myself with some boat time afterwards--the best therapy. [44:24]

WED.- 6+mi. (trails, beach, & road) A.M. -- Summer Solstice Sunrise run with Ben, Mike, and Jonny in Gansett.  Cool but increasing humidity.  Nice to run so early (left a short window of opportunity to sneak in a couple of hours of fluking). A little body surfing post run.   [52:XX]
5+mi. (road) P.M. -- WTAC Fun Run with Mason and Mandy.  Ran 1+ mile w/u then paced Mason to a 5 minute PR.  He went out of the gate a little hot and then the heat got him.  His splits: 9:27/10:45/10:40.  Afterwards I ran a quick mile solo.  Strange evening pace-wise- a warm up, long slow cool down, and then a base-pace "warm down" (?).  [46:22]

THU.- 0 -- a zero but a fantastic installment of Summer: Day #2. Small dead whale outside of the west gap included in the fun (I didn't run over it).

FRI.- 0 -- travel day to NH

SAT.- 14mi. ("trails") -- failed attempt at the Presidential Traverse.  I'm pretty disappointed in myself at only being able to make it 10 miles along the peaks.  Had to bail at the summit of Mt. Washington.  Tried to console myself with the fact that only 2 out of 7 guys completed it but it doesn't help.  A little bit of fun on the trails on the way down to Pinkham Notch with Mike but it still didn't/doesn't absolve me of all blame (disgust).  Oh well.  At least I'm not dead.

SUN.- 0 -- legs pretty sore after car ride home.  Rode the bike for 30 mins.  Easy spinning. Took the kayak out in Quonnie to dominate quahogs with my freakish bare feet.  Only minor improvement in pouting and sulking.

TOTALS: 38 miles
--> a lot of built up excitement, planning and anticipation ended in total disappointment.  I guess this is my 2nd ever "official" DNF.  Somehow this one is more upsetting then last year's Camires Firecraker 4 miler.  My quads are marathon-sore now (2 days later) and stairs are a bitch.  My entire body is actually a little tight in spots, in addition to just the legs.  I thought I was a runner who could handle "ups".  Not even close.  I'm going to need several zeroes in a row I think to loosen up a little before I can begin running again.  Missing days only adds to the frustration but I've no choice in the matter.  Any attempt at running (at least today-Monday) would be futile. I think I'll spend some of this downtime planning a local "mini-adventure" for sometime in the next few weeks to lift my spirits.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Week of 6.11.12 - 6.17.12

MON.- 7mi. (road and cemetary) -- decent post race run.  A little tired.  Maxson Hill seemed steeper than normal at the end of the run.  [51:20]

TUE. - 0 -- tired.

WED.- 9mi. (trails) -- annoyed that I was going to miss the Rock Ramble in 'Gansett, I decided to dabble with my own 'Gansett.  Ran from trail head, up Narragansett Trail to Long Pond parking area.  Although it is not significant in terms of hills, parts force you to focus on footwork.  I wanted to do it 4 times but time constraints only let me do 3.  Uphills: 11:03/10:19/9:34 (only really moving hard on the last one)  and all down hills I took it easier (all about 11:10 or so) but def still not a standard recovery.  Thought it was only a mile up but I was obviously off on that guesstimate. Nowhere near as difficult and taxing as I wanted but still muddy, wet fun.  Newly established FPT (Fastest Puddin' Time) stands at 9:34.   [66:53]

THU.- 11+mi. (road w/ trails) -- I slept in this morning and missed my intended double.  Later, a well thought out plan of running from home, into Woody Hill Mgmt. area and to Mason's lacrosse game didn't work out either.  It turned into a Christopher Columbus run (thought I was here but really I was way the fuck over there).  I was feeling good at the 4.75 mile mark when I entered into the woods for some trails.  My pace was solid (6:58) and my plan was to fool around before hitting a side trail and dumping out on Fern Drive right near the lax field.  I missed the turn and ended up on South Woody Hill Rd. and unfortunately, had to run through McDonalds and Wal-Mart parking lots and along shitty Bradford-Dunns Corner Rd.  The positive: I was able to maintain a solid pace that probably only slowed to about 7:10 or so at the slowest.  Disheartened due to my lack of orienteering but pleased with the run itself.  2 years ago I would've had a tough time with this.  Other downside: killed 6 summer training partners are back. [1:20:39]

FRI.-5mi. (road) -- slow and easy.  [untimed]

SAT.- 15mi. (trails) -- Arcadia with Galoob, Jonny, and Gazelle.  Good fun on a variety of dirt and rock single track along with some dirt roads.  A few of the climbs were tiring on the ol' legs but ripping down a couple of the hills was really fun. At least half of the trails I'd never been on before.  Fun morning but watch  out for warm weather chafing!! [1:57:XX]

SUN.- 0 --probably should've run today but played and went fishing instead.  Best Zero Ever. [pace: perfect & awesome]

TOTALS: 47 miles
-->had some interesting runs this week. I enoyed them all, each in a different way.  Still unfocused but I'm having some fun so whatever.  1.5  more days of school.  So I've got that going for me.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Week of 6.4.12 - 6.10.12

MON. - 5mi. (road) -- a very narrow window of time to squeeze this one in.  A little faster than I wanted to in the chilly rain.  I felt good though.  Bet I feel like shit tomorrow. [34:55]

TUE. - 6mi. (roads) -- didn't feel too shabby except my hamstrings are a tad tight.  Boy are they ever gonna be pissed when they find out what I have planned for them tomorrow....[44:34]

WED. -9mi. (trails) -- 8 x hill repeats in Carolina Mgmt Area (north side) in pouring rain.  Original plan was to do 10 repeats on the hill (varying grade and just a C-hair under 400m) with a 45 second recovery jog at the top and then bomb down the hill barely in control, (of course, focusing on leaning slightly forward instead of back and NOT pounding/slapping my feet).  This was followed by 45 second recovery jog at the bottom before heading back up again.  The nearly non-existent recoveries added up and I struggled on the last few uphills near the top.  Quit after 8 when my hamstrings were really knotty and rigged up.  Ripping down hill instead of jogging added to the "fun" and kicked my ass. [63:22]

THU. - 0  -- Travel day.  Phish night#1.  "Camping" at a campsite without a tent and mosquito repellent.  Awesome.

FRI. - 8mi. (road) -- a late morning jaunt around some lakes in the towns of Sutton and Douglas, MA.   Rolling hills but good exploration to pass the time and cleanse/sweat out the potentially toxic hippie arena air from my body. Phish night #2. [59:40]

SAT. -5mi. (road) -- polluted. [38:02]

SUN. - 8mi. (road) -- "Katie DeCubellis 5K" .  I chose to do this race for two reasons: 1.) I've run it more frequently than any other race (perhaps other than the Blessing) and 2.) I thought I could sneak out afterwards and nail some fluke off the beaches.  Unfortunately I was unable to get out on the boat for the fluke thing however, the race went fairly well.  After a warmup and some last second striders I lined up in the front and glanced around to find that there didn't appear to be any significant competition.  I took the lead off the line and never looked back.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, this is NOT a good strategy for me.  I really need some people that are faster than I am to go out ahead and I can then set/adjust my pace accordingly.  I realized this yet again when only 600m or so in, I started to hurt.  The mile 1 split of 5:12 showed me that I succeeded again in being stupid.  Oops.  I ran a strong second mile also and then really faded hard on the final 1.1.  I finished 1st OA in 17:16 (5:12/5:27/?????) but did falter.  Although it was warm and sunny it wasn't unbearable.  However, I know that this fall I should be able to bust 17 minutes but most likely not until late September or October/November.  July and August are just too damned oppressive. 

TOTALS: 40 miles

--> yet again ANOTHER week with low mileage and not where I want to be.  Hope it isn't detrimental to my overall well being.  However, I'm easing on into the final week of school and the wrap up of my own childrens' spring events so I should be able to ramp it up shortly.  The double header shows in Worcester were great fun (they ALWAYS are) yet I'm not 22 yrs old anymore.  It takes me a full day at least to recover (see Saturday's post).  However, running parallels life once again--I won't be able to do it/have any fun at all when I'm dead so I've gotta get after now while I still can.