Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week of April 18 - April 24 - Muddy Moose Trail Race

4th Muddy Moose race for me...2nd win.


Week of April 18 - April 24 - Muddy Moose Trail Race

April 18 (Monday) - AM: 6.2 miles snow-mo trails w/ Andy. Up to the Chimney from the road and then out to Youngs Hill and back (redlining another section I've never done).  Nice weather...ticks are definitely out in full force.
April 19 (Tuesday) - AM: 5 miles easy roads. PM: 11 miles as 3.1 mile warmup on the trails and then repeat miles with 400 jog in between. I did 3 solo and then 2 with Andy.  I also did half (2 laps) of another one of Andy's as we were staggered after he had to use the bathroom.  My 3 miles were 5:04 / 5:06 / 5:06 ...all into ridiculous wind.  Just seems always windy when I'm trying to run hard.  So the effort was definitely a little better than the numbers indicate.  The reps with Andy were 5:28 / 5:26 (he was gunning for 5:30 so I was just pulling him through).  The other half was at the same sub 5:30 pace.  All those felt ridiculously easy thank God.  Track laps for cooldown.  Doc Brown was also there doing some mile reps.  My hamstring popped something awful during the last lap of the cooldown. Had to stop and stretch and hobble the last bit.  Good timing.  Hammy/calf may become a serious issue though...
April 20 (Wednesday) - AM:  5 miles easy roads.  PM: 5.3 miles snow-mo trails w/ Ryan.  Hamstring clicking and tight the whole time.
April 21 (Thursday) - AM:  6.5 miles easy roads. Hamstring is bad.  Had to stop and hobble again. RIP Prince.
April 22 (Friday) - AM:  4 miles with pickups to try to see if I could race later in the day...plan was NHTI 5k but it was a no go.  Hamstring/calf was horrible.  Made a game time decision to not head down to Concord.
April 23 (Saturday) - off.  My birthday and was down in N.Andover w/ the family (it's my nephew's birthday weekend too so we had a family get-together at my sister's house.  Leg was bad.
April 24 (Sunday) - AM: 2 mile w/up + 13 mile race (Muddy Moose Trail Race - 1st OA - results) decided to forego the Maloney 10k because my leg was pretty much unusable. I could barley jog on the warmup without really bad pain.  I decided to give the trail race a go instead of trying to hammer 6.2 miles on the roads.  Every step was basically reminding me that I'm probably running myself into an early retirement.  Bad pain almost the entire race.  Felt like someone hit my calf with a baseball bat. Every once in a while the hamstring would light up with searing pain and my calf was pretty much the worst I think it's ever been other than maybe Dave's race in Winnikenni a few years back.  I probably should not have run but didn't want to go a weekend (in which I had 2 planned races) without a race.  I may avoid the track for a while and just try to get some tempo road stuff in, or some hill reps (once my leg heals of course).

Weekly Summary: 58 miles for the week on 6 days with one lingering injury.  1 race and one surprising win despite limping for 13 miles.

Not sure what the future has in store this week but I'm icing this as we speak (I also stood in b*lls cold water in my parent's lake for 20 minutes today as well)...may just try to heal up this week to salvage the start to the Seacoast Series this coming weekend... It was a good weekend for family stuff as we spent the day on Saturday down in MA at my sisters for my co-birthday party with my now 18 year old nephew (who's following in the Johnson tradition of going to U-Mass Lowell in the fall).  Then Sunday we spent the day in Wolfeboro and then Wakefield NH at my parents.  That's 2 different birthday cakes / celebrations on back to back days for those counting at home... I needed the extra miles on Sunday for sure.

In non-running news...yet another legend goes down.  Still hard to believe a few days later as I type this that one of the first artists I ever 'noticed' when I was very young, is now gone. I was super into music at a young age because of my brother and sister (10 and 9 years my seniors) and the corresponding MTV craze of the early/mid 1980s.  Prince was making music almost my entire life and I grew up watching his videos (and movie), and listening to his endless list of hits and deep cuts.  I have all his albums up until he turned his name into a symbol.... He was one of the best musicians and song writers of my time for sure and I was always just assuming he'd be here making music, giving legendary performances, and inspiring / influencing others...and now he's only a memory. I think this hit me harder than some of the other icons of my generation who have now passed on... Here are my favorite tracks that I can share on this family-oriented website :)...

First is my favorite track from the Hits/B-Sides release (disc 3)... It's a seldom heard track called '17 Days' (the full song is actually called '17 Days (The rain will come down, then U will have 2 choose. If U believe, look 2 the dawn and U shall never lose.)').  I remember getting this CD when I was in college and I gave it to the DJ upstairs at Axis to play one night, as he didn't have it and he hadn't even heard it before.  It was actually the B-side to Let's Go Crazy.  It's very tough to actually find online (you can't get it on Youtube as it seems to always be removed) for a quick stream so I uploaded the track here.  Requires Flash so if you're using an Iphone/Ipad you are out of luck...

Another is this gem from Purple Rain...



Here are my Beautiful Ones....






Monday, April 18, 2016

Week of April 11 - April 17 - SMA 5k



Week of April 11 - April 17 - SMA 5k

April 11 (Monday) - PM: 5 miles wet dirt roads/roads w/ Andy Drummond (2015-2016 Tuckerman Inferno Champ) and Squall.
April 12 (Tuesday) - AM: 5 miles wet dirt roads/trails w/ Andy.  Checked out Doc Brown's new trail...some cool views of Silver Lake.  VERY MUDDY.  PM: 8 miles hilly road/class vi road loop. Very wet in spots but good solid run with some serious climbs.  Actually ran in the sunshine which was strange.
April 13 (Wednesday) - AM:  5 miles roads.  PM:  8 miles.  Bailed on a track workout just 4 quarters in.  Felt terrible.  Have a touch of something and my stomach was off.  Wanted to run a dozen 71/72 quarters with 200 in between.  Got through 4 and had to jog off the track as I knew it would be too much of a struggle to run quick today.  Ran an angry run in the rec trail instead.  8 total.
April 14 (Thursday) - PM: 10.4 miles w/ Andy. Honest paced Lake bang.  Not feeling 100% but not terrible.
April 15 (Friday) - AM: 5 miles at lunch (trails and roads).  Feeling a little off.
April 16 (Saturday) - AM: 3.5 miles w/ up + 3.1 miles race (SMA 5k - 1st OA - 16:17) + 3 miles cooldown.  Then 4 hours of walking around in the woods.
April 17 (Sunday) - AM: 13 miles snow-mo trails from King Pine up to The Chimney in Freedom and back + a little add-on at KP.  Gorgeous weather.

Weekly Summary: 69 miles for the week with a race and a win.

A ho-hum week again but I'm looking to pick up the pace now that the weather seems a little better.  I had some issues with feeling run down, a stomach issue for a couple days, and a slight touch of what I think is just a head cold.

Despite all that, I got in another 5k effort in Dover on Saturday.  I ran the SMA 5k in Dover (results) for the second year in a row.  Last year the race was the day before Reds (and I ran both).  This year they were a week apart.  I ran 16:07 last year and was killing myself doing it. I ran hard and had Nate Huppe and a couple others pushing me during the early mile. This year I was on my own after about a block and had to contend with some good headwind in a couple spots.  The course also has a couple of decent hills.  Slightly uphill at the beginning for a while (and into the wind) and then a long uphill and another smaller climb during a very slow mile 2.  Mile 3 has got some flat and some downhill but also has the steepest hill on the course (though not too long).  I remember the course being slightly long too. Last year I was bummed, even though I won, because I was really looking to break 16. Up to that point I hadn't done it in 2015.  This year in 2016 I've already cracked 16 three times so I don't have that added pressure.  I've also done a couple of more challenging 5k courses where the effort was probably equivalent to a sub 16 so far this year but I'm definitely still behind where I was last year fitness-wise and it's my own fault.

This year's race, despite the wind, possibly being a tad long (the start and finish lines are exactly the same place), and me not feeling too great all week, went surprisingly well.  I didn't get a workout in this week because I felt like crap but that didn't seem to matter when the gun went off. I 'relaxed' during the first mile and still hit around 5:03/5:04 for the first mile which had a headwind and a net climb (long slow uphill after an initial drop).  The second mile is very slow but by that time I was just looking to hold on to the win.  The third mile went well and I was able to just keep rolling without killing myself and finished off with a 16:17 (only 10 seconds behind last year when I was really going for it).  I was glad to get another good race effort and situation in...and also pick up $125 for the W.  Good to have my girls there to support me and my parents who made their way down to another race.

Race article: http://www.seacoastonline.com/sports/20160416/johnson-repeats-at-st-mary-academy-5k







On the treasure hunting scene I found about 600 oxen shoes (a little exaggeration but probably not that far off), multiple axe heads and big lunky iron relics, etc.  But I did manage to find my first ever 2 cent piece.  They only made 2 cent-ers for 9 years (1864-1873) and they were the first coins to feature 'In God We Trust' on them.  I found an 1864 (first year).  It was a crusty mess when I found it but I cleaned it really good (too good) and it looked MINT for like 10 minutes...then it started to deteriorate when the air hit it and it started to dry.  Now it looks like sh*t.  But I did snap a couple pictures of it before it started to fall apart.  I am really bummed about how fragile it got and how flaky it became. Next time, if i ever find another one (that may never happen) I am not touching it and will let a professional help me out.





Snow still lingering in East Madison

S.O.S. pointing the way towards the Chimney and Heartbreak Hill

Looking towards Green Mountain

The Chimney
Chocorua, Passaconaway, and Whiteface.

Mt. Washington (snowcovered) in the background

Washington (zoomed)

The Chimney

The Ossipees (Mt. Shaw) and Ossipee Lake in the foreground

Gunstock Ski Area (zoomed) in the distance

The Chimney

Chocorua

The last of the trail up to the Chimney



Monday, April 11, 2016

Week of April 4 - April 10 - Red's Race for a Better Community




Week of April 4 - April 10 - Red's Race for a Better Community

April 4 (Monday) - AM: 5 miles roads in the snow. PM: 8 miles roads in the snow.
April 5 (Tuesday) - AM: 5 miles roads w/ Andy. PM: 6.2 miles roads/trails w/ Andy (some whacking and climbing as we explored some 'new' backwoods trails in Beast Madison.
April 6 (Wednesday) - PM:  10 miles roads/dirt roads w/ Ryan.
April 7 (Thursday) - PM: 6 miles roads/dirt roads w/ Andy and Squall in the pouring rain.
April 8 (Friday) - AM: 5 miles roads / trails.  PM: 6 miles hilly roads/dirt roads.
April 9 (Saturday) - AM: 8 miles roads.
April 10 (Sunday) - AM: 3.5 miles warmup + 5 miles race (Red's Shoe Barn 5 Miler (results) - 1st OA - 26:18) + 2.5 miles cooldown with Matt Garfield and Phil Erwin.

Weekly Summary: 70.2 miles for the week.

Opted to only race once this weekend and that was Reds in Dover, NH.   I like this race a lot.  It's easy for me to get to, it's an honest and challenging course, and it's definitely a legendary area race to attend in NH (35th Anniversary this year).   The down side is that as this month has been so far, it was cold and windy.  The race was delayed because literally right after the National Anthem an emergency vehicle had to respond to an issue along the first mile of the course.  So more strides and running around before the race actually took off was needed to keep warm.  Once the race got underway I was quickly in the lead and started cutting through a little bit of wind in the first half mile...then we had seemingly a slightly cross/tail wind up to mile 2 - 2.5 or so (it could have been at our backs but it wasn't very noticeable as a tailwind seldom is) and my splits were a few ticks slower per mile than last year and I knew it wouldn't be quite the race I had last year (knowing how the wind would be as the course headed back in the last couple miles) so I backed off after 2.5 and on the way back, I was just running to keep my lead at that point.  Amazingly, I ran 26:18 which with the wind (very hard headwind in the last 2 miles) is actually way faster than I thought I'd run.  I was only 16 seconds off what I ran last year and it was close to being perfect at that race.  It was my 4th win at Red's in 5 runs...  The only other '4 time winner' of the race is Mike O'Brien...so I'm in good company for sure.

My history at Reds:

2016 - 26:18 (1st)
2015 - 26:02 (1st)
2011 - 25:25 (1st)
2010 - 25:56 (1st)
2009 - 27:16 (2nd)

Photos: Maine Running Photos on Flickr

Fosters Article: http://www.fosters.com/article/20160410/SPORTS/160419890

Photo: David Colby Young: Maine Running Photos

Photo: David Colby Young: Maine Running Photos

Red's Start (by Kristin):


Red's Finish (by Kristin):



A kind of ho-hum week though aside from the race.  I really didn't do any runs of any significance and if I want to continue to get better, I need to get serious about my weekly runs at least a little bit or I'm going to start going backwards...Truth be told,  I'm not very motivated right now to run and certainly not to race or workout.  In all honestly I'm thinking about stopping just about every day and may end up doing just that sooner or later.  I'm kind of just hanging on and would rather be doing a lot of other things including doing just about anything w/ my girls... Now that the weather is getting better (I hope) and the days are getting longer, maybe I'll have more time and motivation to get out the door but really the passion for running and racing is dying pretty quick this year all of the sudden and I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to force myself to keep doing it. I kind of feel at this point that I'm wasting my time and that's not good.  Once the fire starts to burn out it becomes more of a hassle than an enjoyable hobby.  I am starting to kind of understand why/when people hang it up...Of course being back at the Red's race with my family was a step in the right direction.  Hopefully I can keep focusing on the positives....

After Red's we spent the day at my parents house helping them get ready for the year.  It was another fun day out with the family despite the chilly temps.

Hilarious picture of Morgan with her Mama

My Dad and I after the awards...



Didn't too too much diggin' this week as the weather was absolute crap for most of it...but I did manage to pluck my first 3 cent piece out of the ground right next to my house (under a plum tree next to the side door).  It's an 1876 3 cent piece of the nickel variety.  They actually made the nickel ones from 1865 to 1889.  The silver version (which a lot of people find and have no clue what it is) was minted from 1851-1873 and is still one of my dream coins to find....but I'll take this one any day.  Two cent coins are even rarer but 3 cent pieces are pretty weird by today's standards and a funny conversation piece for sure.  You can't tell from the photo but it's the size of a current dime.  I need to get a better camera to take closeups with...


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Week of March 28 - April 3 - SEA 5k



Week of March 28 - April 3 - SEA 5k

March 28 (Monday) - PM: 10.7 miles hilly roads with Andy (9 w/ Andy, 1.7 solo). POURING rain.
March 29 (Tuesday) - AM: 10 miles workout (58:16).  Short but uptempo warmup and cooldowns wth 6 x 1 mile in the middle at 5:10 with 400 rest in between (at 6:58 pace).
March 30 (Wednesday) - AM:  7 miles roads/snow-mo trails relatively easy.
March 31 (Thursday) - AM: 5 miles roads/snow-mo trails.  Got home and sat down at my desk chair and sat on a hornet that proceeded to sting me 3 times in the left hamstring. PM: 8 miles roads/trails.
April 1 (Friday) - AM: 6.2 miles roads / trails w/ Andy.  PM: 5.2 miles easy roads w/ Andy.
April 2 (Saturday) - AM: 3 miles warmup + 3.2 miles (5k) race (SEA 5k - 1st OA - 15:55) + 2 miles cooldown.
April 3 (Sunday) - off

Weekly Summary: 60.3 miles for the week.

Another missed run on Sunday (three in a row) but the weather was crap, I was feeling run down, and there was relics to find.  I opted out of Paddy's because I wasn't feeling the drive, running in freezing cold, wind, and snow (as it is now officially April)... Another 6 days with a day off.  One race and a nice win.   Ran the SEA 5k (results) in Concord, NH on Saturday for the second time ever.  I got 2nd to Chris Mahoney back in 2009.  This year we switched places and both ran faster than the previous match up.  I was 28 seconds faster than in 2009 but I'm not sure if the 2009 course was slightly long as I think it is now... there's a possibility because I didn't have a Garmin back then.  This year I had 3.2 on my Garmin and splits of 4:55, 5:01 (9:56), 5:03 (14:59) and then a very long 56 seconds to the end.   My watch matched up pretty much dead on the mile markers with a couple steps.  I went out quick, held pace as best I could, but still Chris caught me steadily over the first mile and went by me at about 1.25 miles and I thought that was it.  I caught him back probably around 1.5 and then actually put some steps on him until around 2 when he pulled right up on my shoulder again.  He went a step or so in front of me again and I thought for sure (again) that that was it.  But then I slowly passed by and put a small gap on him that by 3 miles was probably 6 or 7 seconds.  He looked to be slowly gaining on me after the third mile split and the long push to the finish but I was able to hold him off by a measly 5 seconds. I knew at 2 miles we were running well and thought 15:30s high/15:40 was sure to come.  Even at 3 miles I was just one tick under 15 and was sure it would be 15:40 or just under but alas that came and went.








On the treasure hunting front... hit up a new secret spot / honey hole and yanked a few interesting items this week including some old colonial buttons and a couple Indians.  The first one I got was a 1865 and is in decent shape... I didn't clean it too much as I tend to ruin them everytime from overdoing it.  The second one I got was an 1863... my first 'fatty'.  They made noticeably thicker Indian heads from 1859 - 1864.

1865 Indian
1863 'fatty' Indian
6 Indians stacked on top...can you spot the fatty?

Below are some shots of the crotal bell I found on Sunday back at the colonial orgy site.  It has the J N maker's mark which I believe dates it to 1800-1803

James North, Jr.
J N or I N maker's mark on petal bells.
James (born 1777, died 1825) made bells in his New Britain foundry from 1800 to 1803 after he and Joseph Shipman completed a metal-casting apprenticeship in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Both men worked together in 1800 casting sleigh bells, then went their separate ways.  James then operated the North foundry with his younger brother Seth (below) until James moved to New York state in 1803.  Bells marked with I N are thought to be older than the J N bells. Bells have either a drilled shank or a U-shaped cast shank.



And lastly, a couple of other doodads I picked up including this pretty sweet bell (this weekend was the weekend to dig bells I guess) and a nice 1827-1840 Scovills (Waterbury CT) brass button.

And the bell in the pasture...









Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week of March 21 - March 27

The girls waiting for Grammy and Grampy...
Week of March 21 - March 27

March 21 (Monday) - PM: 10 miles roads with Andy.
March 22 (Tuesday) - PM: 8 miles roads and trails.  Lots of climbing.  Found a possible 'honey hole' of colonial settlements in my travels.  Scoped it out and will be going back in there when the weather breaks a bit more to see what I can find.
March 23 (Wednesday) - PM:  10 miles roads (64:23). Feel like I didn't run a half marathon this past weekend which is a good thing.
March 24 (Thursday) - PM: 10 miles roads / dirt roads w/ Andy. Cold and snowy!
March 25 (Friday) - PM: 9.1 miles roads w/ Andy.
March 26 (Saturday) - AM: 13 miles roads w/ Nate Huppe in Wakefield (roads/dirt roads around Lovell Lake and some Cotton Valley rail trail).
March 27 (Sunday) - Off.

Weekly Summary: 60.1 miles for the week.  All singles so it was a pretty decent week if you factor in my lack of 'lunch runs'.  Took another Sunday off as we had Easter here and there was a lot of work to be done plus I wanted to spend the morning w/ the girls rather than lonely cold miles out on roads.

My parents came home this week for the season so it was good to see them again and have them here for Easter.  I helped them move back in on Friday and we had the entire family (brother, sister, and their families) here for Easter on Sunday.

Morgan hunting for Easter eggs... 
Tabby filling her basket...


Finally struck some silver this week!  VERY limited time to swipe as the weather was crap and we were busy getting ready to host the family, etc....but I got a 1919 Mercury dime...only the 3rd year they made them.  Just missed a Barber by 3 years.... this was in the side yard almost on top of the ground...very shallow.  It's very worn and has a ding on it, but the date is solid.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Week of March 14 - March 20 - Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5k

courtesy of Jason Saltmarsh (@Saltyruns)


Week of March 14 - March 20 - Pursuit of the Holy Grail 5k

March 14 (Monday) - AM: went to the Mill and waited 30 minutes while two people walked on the treadmills.  Finally blew out of there probably for the last time.  Time to get my own machine and figure out a place to put it so I don't have to deal with that again. PM: 5 miles with Andy and Squall on some trails in Madison.  Found basically the only place in the lower valley that has still got a foot of deep snow. It was crazy.  I never thought I'd be post-holing on a run again this year... snowed out the entire time and started to accumulate by the time we got back.  I took a bad spill right near the end of the run and hit my face on the ground.  Got covered in mud.  Awesome day.
March 15 (Tuesday) - AM: 5 miles roads in the rain.  PM: 11 miles workout with the middle as 6 x 1 mile @ 5:10 with 400 rest (7 min pace for rest)  Left leg was bothering me but I plowed through it.  Hamstring barked during the 5th one but I managed to get the planned 6 intervals in.
March 16 (Wednesday) - PM: 6 miles roads with Darin.
March 17 (Thursday) - AM: 5 miles roads and trails.  PM: 10 miles roads/trails w/ Darin.
March 18 (Friday) - PM: 8 miles roads with Darin and Nick.
March 19 (Saturday) - AM: 10 miles roads.  Warmup with DJ Ayotte then 5k race: Pursuit of the Holy Grail (results) (15:40 - 2nd OA) + cooldown w/ Derrick Hamel.
March 20 (Sunday) - PM: day off.  Felt really good after the race but felt like resetting and getting some rest in before starting another week.  Got 5 and a half hours of metal detecting in though...which is about 5 hours of walking around and staring at the ground...so I really got in a good rest day of actively standing/walking.

Weekly Summary: 60 miles for the week with 1 race, 1 day off, and 1 coin older than the United States....

OK week, good race, good workout.  I was very pleased with the mile repeats on Tuesday and then very pleased with the effort on Saturday.  Despite a little wind and brisk conditions, I managed to run my quickest 5k of the year so far.  I got SMOKED by Derrick Hamel but it's all good.  He ran a great race and broke the course record (and also PR'd).  He screwed past me just before the 1.5 mile mark (the first 1.5 miles are a big loop in some nice neighborhoods before the course drops down into Epping center and then climbs up to the Holy Grail restaurant near Rt. 125).  I just couldn't match his downhill pace but I really am happy with the run.  For my effort I picked up $75 for second.  That's $125 in race winnings (cash) in the last 2 weeks (2 second places which is starting to feel like the norm now that I'm old)... I'll take it!  Took the day off on Sunday as I had some treasure hunting to do at a new permission before the winter hits us again this week...

So on the treasure hunting scene, the week started off well with an 1876 Indian head cent recovered from the old tree stump on the north side of my house (during the week I only have time to get out for a little bit after work and running)... but then I really cut to the chase... I yanked a 1736 King George II colonial copper out of the back woods.  This was by far my best find so far... (video below the Indian).... My first thought is that it was a copper but I didn't want to say it.  I knew George II was looking left and I've seen enough videos of people pulling them out to know it could have been one....but I didn't want to sound like a jerkoff on the video so I played it cool (or at least tried to).  I never imagined there would be coins that old on my property.  I have found 1870s coins but this is 130+ years OLDER than that... crazy.  It opens up a whole new world of possibilities now for continuing to search my backyard.  My house was built in 1779 so it's definitely likely that a coin 'only' 43 years older than that would be floating around in someone's pocket. Considering the US didn't start minting coins until 1792/1793 (13 years after my house was built), it makes sense that the earliest settlers on our land would have had colonial copper coins.

1876 Indian

And now...the find of the week....or year....



...and below, Sunday's take wasn't anywhere near as good... but I did find a decent metal toy soldier (civil war soldier) from probably the 1970s.... and a couple of brass birds (still with old string tied to them)...I found the birds many yards apart from each other.   This was in a yard of an 1800s house in Freedom, NH.  I didn't find much else (an old Hotwheels car and some other odds and ends)... a few modern coins...a bullet...etc.... There's definitely more to be had there.... next time!

Some finds in a yard in Freedom, NH - 3/20/2016