Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 20 - Thursday

Snuck in 5 miles today lunch... Did the Madison '5k' course and then continued on the train tracks and popped out on Forest Pines and back out to the house.  Felt a little beat during the 4th mile because I was probably running a bit too fast..but recovered well enough to make it back to the house.  Hips and legs a bit tight and tired as I would have expected for this week. Ribs are still killing me but better than the previous 3 weeks.  It makes it tough to breathe deep when I'm running which is a problem for anything under a certain pace... The goal was to go from 0 miles the last 3 weeks to 40ish this week so I'm well on my way to rolling in in the 40s without much trouble...then maybe bump it up a bit to 60 or so next week ....but everything still easy.  It's weird running through an injury that has nothing to do with my legs, feet, calves, hamstrings, knees, etc.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 19 - Wednesday

Easy 5 miles today at lunch...up to the top of Shackford Pass and back down to the house.  Solo.  Beautiful day...a few ticks south of 80 degrees according to my thermometer.  Nice and easy...will probably alternate 5 and 8s this week just to try to ease back into it.  Ribs were a little rough today but I got through it.

backyard colors...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October 18 - Tuesday

Got in a slow 8 miles today with Downtown Darin Brown in cold, damp conditions.  Finished just in time as it was very dark by 6pm due to the weather conditions...and the fact that winter is coming.  My ribs  were an issue but I got through it.  My legs and hips were tight and sore!  That felt good!

Well, it has been exactly 10 years.  10 years today since I drove from my then-office in Newton, MA to Wakefield, MA to run the Mystic Runners' Lake Q 5k as my first race back.  It is a weekly 5k series around Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield.  It was my old stomping ground in my home town.  I used to run the lake all the time in both high school and college.  It is pancake flat and it was a good chance for me to make my 'comeback' to running and racing.  It was my first race since hanging up my college spikes in April of 1999 after not being able to figure out a then-nagging injury and falling out of love with running. I didn't' run one single race from April ??, 1999 to October 18, 2006. I barely even ran let alone did any races.  I started 'training' again in August of 2006 (I think the 28th if my memory serves me).... So I had been running for just shy of 2 months when I headed over to the Lord Wakefield Hotel to signup for the 5k.  I was near 190 lbs when I started back so at the time of the race I was still probably in the high 170s if not heavier.  That was up from 130 lbs in college.  I headed over to the lake for my first race in the new century despite completely being undertrained, overweight, and unprepared for the pain that was to follow.  Of course I had no clue how to race as I had completely forgotten...and my body forgot how to respond to the pace and pounding.  I did not fare well over the latter part of the race.  I got smoked by a former rival from Peabody (Ricky Provost) who blazed a 19:19 to my 19:37. I earned every step of that 19:37. It was ugly...and painful.


The funny thing at the time was that when I finished the race (I was ecstatic that I got 2nd!) I talked to the winner and only then found out who it was. I had roomed with his teammate in college and used to hear all about him.  I knew most of those Peabody guys by name as they had a great XC team.  I found out that we were both trying to do the same thing.  We were both the same age and we both decided relatively recently to get back at it.  He had just started running too and it was really a crazy coincidence that we both decided to go there to get back to racing at the same time.  I also just started training under Fernando Braz, who happened to be his old high school we had that in common too.  Fast forward all these years later...I have never come across Ricky's name anywhere any results I've been in (at least none that I've seen).  I sometimes have wondered if he kept going...maybe he moved away...maybe he just decided after all was said and done that he was done with competitive racing and training.  Maybe he did continue but at a more reasonable intensity than I did :)....  I'm not sure. I should look him up one of these days...shouldn't be too hard to find him now with all this world wide web stuff on the computer machines.

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17 - Monday

A view from atop the Chimney in Freedom, NH.  Hiked w/ my Dad this past weekend.

I actually ran today.  5 miles (5.06 miles to be exact...gotta add the extra .06 to make sure Strava can handle a full 5 miles).  37:19.  It's only my 3rd run since the VT 50 on 9/25.  I tried running a couple times (one 5+ mile day and a 3 mile day) a week and a half ago but it was too painful.  I've had 'ok' days and bad days.  The last couple days were 'ok'.  I didn't want to start a 4th week in a row with no running so I went out today after work for an easy jaunt down the street.  The weather was awesome and it felt great to run but it was painful.  It's like running with the worst side stitch and then some...

I've been taking some strong pain medication which helps me get through the day and helps me get some ok sleep, especially over the last week.  The first couple weeks were rough with trying to sleep. I had to sleep sitting partially up the first week after the race.  The second week I was able to start laying very carefully on my back and partially on my left side.  This past week I can sleep comfortably on my back or left side although rolling over and getting up/laying down need to be done very carefully. It feels like I'm tearing something whenever I roll over or get up.  

The GOOD news is that my legs feel great! :).  They should after not running for 3 weeks and running slow today.  I've done a fair share of walking as I've been detecting just about every day for at least 1-2 hours.  Today was the first day in a long time that I haven't at least swung the coil for even just a little while.  Now that the days are getting shorter, I may not be able to get any detecting in until the weekends.  I need to get focused back on training again but am going to take it slow.  I've backed out of everything I had planned for the fall (race-wise). I need to bail out of the last two Seacoast Series races but I already have my 6...enough to wrap up that series.  No fall marathon for me.  Perhaps it's for the best.  I'm going to focus on getting back to some running each day and then hopefully by the start of November I can start a serious push for 2017.  Probably no racing until the snowshoe season starts...hopefully there's a season this year.

Some colors from my afternoons detecting around Madison...

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Catching Up - October Edition. VT 50 and travel.

Not much Running and then the longest run of my life... The Vermont 50 ('51') Miler.

Morgan at Harts Turkey Farm... she colored on the placemat and didn't' eat. Typical restaurant trip. 

Post Reach the Beach I took basically the entire week off as my leg was pretty much smoked.  I ran on a hurt IT band/calf/hamstring leading up to the relay legs and I barely made it through... with the Vermont 50 looming, I decided to take the week off basically, and recover for the ultra.  As the week progressed, the leg felt slowly better and better.  By the time the week was over, I was still pretty tight and had stiffness on the right side but it was too late to do anything about it.  Had I run on it, it would have been worse for sure.

I packed up the family and we headed out on Friday to VT.  We hit up Harts Turkey Farm on the way for a nice lunch and then drove 2.5 hrs west to Cavendish, VT.  We rented a very nice condo (much too big for what we really needed but it was a good weekend away and the kids enjoyed having a ton of space to run around in).  I did manage to get a slow 3 mile run in on Friday afternoon (late) in VT on some quiet roads near the condo. I felt terrible as I suspected.  Things were just very stiff and sore.  I didn't run a step on Saturday.  We went over to pick up my bib and then we did a little shopping and got some lunch in the Okemo area.

Tabby and I getting some pizza in Ludlow, VT.

with Bob Dion and the now infamous photo of the 'Thrilla in Hollis'.

Sunday, it was up super early (we packed the night before).  We were out the door by 4:30ish as the race started at 6:30am and we were about 30 minutes away. I needed to get there, check in, listen to the pre-race instructions, and get prepared.  Little did I know, that would be the start of a VERY long next couple of days.  We got to the Ascutney Mountain resort a little early so we hit the small store just past the entrance, which is usually open very early on race morning.  I grabbed a breakfast sandwich and tried to chug down as much water and calories as I could before the race went off.

After checking in, I met up with Andy Drummond and down to the start we went. It was a very quick start as we were only down there a couple minutes and not really paying attention when the race director yelled 'Go!'.  6:30am had come and I was off for what I knew was going to be a lot of pain and suffering.

(Andy's video below)...he had a tougher day than I did...

I immediately settled into my imaginary '50 mile pace' which is in the 8-range and started chatting with Mark Larosa.  We would run together for 30+ miles collectively.   I tried to think about the advice I got from Dave Dunham previously where he said that at any point, 'if you feel like you are working, you are going too hard'.  Well, unfortunately after only 8 or so miles I felt like I was working.  Mark and I kept talking about the pace, who was up ahead, who was behind, and what we needed to do to finish.  In the back of my mind, I was terrified of not finishing.  It looms so large when you have 50 miles of very hilly trails ahead of you.  I was vastly underprepared for this beast and I knew it.  Something was preventing me from committing to this thing even after the race started. I wasn't drinking enough water. I wasn't taking ANYthing to eat (I had 2 gels the entire race).  I never came into an aid station with an empty water.  It was crazy.  I was basically doing everything wrong and I knew it...but somehow, in the back of my mind, I was still trying to believe I could finish.  It was just not going to plan.

Somewhere around 18 miles or so, I started to feel like sh*t.  Things were hurting WAY too much for the pace and distance we had run so far.  Don't get me wrong, there is A LOT of climbing in this race. 8,500 ft or so.  It feels like the entire race is mostly uphill.  That was the ongoing theme/joke of our run... 'is there ANY downhill in this race' we would occasionally say.  Well, the hills were killing me.  By 20 I was a  mess waiting to happen.  It's no surprise considering how my training was going this summer.  But I continued on.  Fully expecting maybe to bail at the 26.2 mile aid station or maybe the 50k aid station.  Those were the goals I set.  If I could make it to the first, maybe I could make it to the second.  Then, from there, who knows.

Mark and I at mile 14.2. 
It's hard to remember everything but there was just a TON of climbing, single track, snowmobile trail, old carriage road, dirt roads, beautiful farm fields, etc. A constant change in terrain was a welcome relief at times but it still was kicking my ass.  Mark and I had been in 3rd and 4th place since about mile 12. Up to that point, Brian Rusiecki was killing it (out of sight almost right away), someone we were unsure of at the time was in 2nd, and my SIX03 teammate Mike Arsenault was in 3rd.  We caught and passed Mike somewhere around 12ish I think.  At the 26.2 mile aid station, Mark and I stopped to refill our waters.  At this point, my former Inov-8 teammate Dane Mitchell caught us.  We were standing there filling waters and I looked over amongst the 50k people (who had pink numbers) and bikers to see a green number dude standing there.  He had snuck up on us very quickly and now we were 3.  We all left the aid station together and we talked for the next mile and a half or so.

On a decent somewhere near mile 28 I ate sh*t for the first time and there would be 11 more like it (I fell a full 12 times). I fell really hard on the way down a double-wide trail section and rolled over a bunch of rocks.  Dane was already taking off on us at this point and Mark stopped to help me up.  He told me to take it easy and he would stop with me but I told him just to go on ahead.  We had run together side by side for 28 hilly miles and now I knew it was his time to move on ahead. He's a much better distance guy than I am and he was well prepared, running up to 30 mile runs on the way into the race.  He started to pull away on the downhills and Dane was out of sight by the time I dusted myself off.

Approx. Mile 30.
It was a lonely next couple miles. The bikers weaved in and out of my way (as they do for 50 miles) and I continued to haul past 50k-ers who were now on the same course we were on (they start 90 min after us and join up to us for a couple of main sections of the course including the end).  I came down into the 50k (more like 30 miles) aid station and noticed Mark was not that far ahead.  He stopped at the aid station to get some food and water and I just ran on by him.  I had almost no illusions of finishing fast, let alone finishing. I even looked around a bit for cars to possibly get a ride back as I passed down into the aid station.  Everything was killing me at this point and I was beaten.  I passed Mark and moved back into 4th place with Dane still ahead and Brian and Colton Gale (2nd) way up ahead and out of reach.

It didn't take Mark too long to catch back up to me. There was a Godawful climb from there and he moved on by me and was gone again.  I just kept my head down and tried to run as much as I could but it was here that I took my first few walking steps on the steep climb.  I just couldn't keep up the rhythm on the steep parts any longer.  A few miles later, I started to actually see Dane again out in some field sections and knew I was somehow gaining on him.  I moved closer to him on some of the steep switchbacks back in the woods.  I even saw him take a tumble as I slowly made my way up to him.  When I caught him, we talked for a bit and he moved out in front of me and kept up a faster pace. I decided not to pass and just latched on.  He was cramping pretty good.  I stayed with him on the entire descent and then we climbed again a small section before hitting the next aid station.  Out of the aid station, there was another climb and this time, it was long enough that I moved around him and then slowly dropped him back.  I turned a few times and eventually saw he was occasionally walking. That would be the last time I saw him and I think he dropped as he wasn't in the final results.  It's funny how things play out in this race. I was hitting a horrible bad patch of running way slower than I was anticipating, feeling terrible, having everything basically go wrong, and yet I was gaining a place.  Sometimes no matter how bad things are going, someone else is having a rougher go at it.

I was now back in 4th and thinking of trying to hold the same spot I had gotten the time before (in 2014).  Somewhere near mile 38 or 39 I hit a long patch of downhill on a carriage road and I hit one of the low points for sure.  I continued to fall here and there and basically cramp everything from head to toe.  It was getting annoying. I bit the dust again on the descent and started moving so slow I was sure at this point, I'd be caught. I started to dread the 11-12 miles up ahead more so than ever.  I had caught a bunch of 50k people on the long uphill trail and road section and then they were actually starting to catch me back on the downhill. I just couldn't keep things moving on the downs.  I was surprisingly not having much problems on the climbs.  I felt great on the previous mile long road climb ('great' being a relative term) and then felt like complete death on the descent.  I got blown past by a relay guy at the bottom of the hill. I thought it was a 50 miler at first but then noticed his blue number and realized he was just a relay guy.  He confirmed it as he passed by and he was out of sight pretty quickly.

I eventually made my way down to the 40 mile aid station which was in a slightly different place this year.  I couldn't believe I was still moving but I was.  I was going very slow, but progressing towards the finish.  I started thinking about the long road stretch and climb up Mt. Ascutney that happens in the last few miles and started really getting nervous.  I had no one in sight (50 miler-wise) on the long lookbacks across the field at 40 miles, and started thinking that maybe I could hold it together for 4th place if I could just keep moving without stopping or walking.

As quickly as that dream of repeating 4th place came, it went.  Around mile 42, back in the woods on some single track, GBTC's Eric Wyler caught me and rolled on past me (he was 2nd last year in 7:02) like I was standing still.  I was now in 5th and my only hope now was to have someone further up ahead, come back to me. I wasn't going to pass Eric and couldn't stay with him. He was moving way too quick for this deep in the race.  He was also in pretty good spirits and way too happy for being 42 miles into the woods. I knew he was going to kill the last 8 miles and had to immediately let him go on alone.  He ran a crazy last 8 part of the race for eventual 3rd overall.

When I came out onto the road section one of my worst fears came true.  I started cramping in my calves and hamstrings.  Full on cramps.  I had to drop the pace way back and was actually starting to be caught by 50k people who I had already passed a long time back.  I didn't want to stop.  I held on to a running (barely) pace all the way into the Johnson aid station at 47 miles.  I was walking the fine line of cramping for a good 3 miles.  I felt surprisingly better once I refilled my bottles and took a couple S-Caps.  I had only had 2 gels and was surprisingly bonk-free.  But my legs were trashed.  I actually ran out of the aid station (something I didn't do back in 2014) and kept moving far better than I thought.  As the climbing started, I continued to 'run' and felt like I was definitely in better position hitting this part of the course than I was previously. It's a horrible 2+ mile climb before dropping down to the finish.  I kept running and didn't have to walk anything.  Just as I was mentioning that to a 50k-er I was passing, I ate sh*t again pretty hard. I was pissed.  I had fallen 7 or 8 times and it was getting harder and harder to clear rocks and roots as I continuously got more fatigued.

Once I got to what I thought was the top, the course was slightly different and a volunteer told me that it was a little different from previous years but would join back to the original course up ahead.  It seemed to take forever and the miles and minutes passed.  I had 47.4 miles on my Garmin last time (losing 2.6 miles over the course of 50 with the woods and single track shortage).  This time, 47 came and went.  The stretch near the top was way longer than I remembered and it started kicking my ass.  I started to trip all over the place and wiped out a few more times.  With about a mile to go, I took the worst spill of the day.  I stubbed my toe on a rock and fell right down hard on my right side.  When I hit the ground (ribs first), my entire body locked up.  It was like I was hit by lightning or electric shock... from head to toe I locked up into a stiff board.  I felt my entire abdomen across my ribcage and lower into my stomach go completely stiff. It was like my midsection cramped up.  I knew I had strained everything and possibly cracked my ribs. I couldn't move.  My hamstrings and calves both cramped completely as well as my lower back.  I had to roll slowly onto my side and try to get back on my feet. It probably took me a half a minute or so to stand up.  Once I got back up, I started shuffling to the exit of the woods and the beginning of the last descent to the finish. My legs felt like someone had taken a baseball bat to every inch.

The race was actually closer to 51 miles and my time from last year came and went. I was just in finish mode at this point and was so happy to see the signs indicting '1 mile to go' and '0.5 miles to go' , etc.  I was out in the sun again, on the slopes of Mt. Ascutney, and weaving in and out of 50k-ers and bikers again.  I was just trying to find the finish and did keep glancing back to make sure I was still ahead of any charging 50 mile guys... little did I know, there was one lingering.

1 mile to go... coming down Ascutney.
As I made my way around a switchback, I glanced back one more time and saw to my absolute shock, a GREEN bib coming right for me out of nowhere.  It was pinned to the shirt of 31 year old Liz Gleason of Waterbury Center, VT.  She was running with a pacer next to her (the pacer had a bib that said, cleverly enough, 'Pacer'). They were both grinning from ear to ear and actually may have been laughing.  I was doing anything but.  As I looked back repeatedly, she was definitely running me down.  Then, around a corner, I heard the pacer yell to her 'GO GET HIM!'.  I was like 'hell no' and I put my head down and forgot about everything that was going on in my legs and abdomen and took off as hard as I could for the bottom.  It was like that story about the woman who defied physics and was able to lift a car off her baby... Mind over matter... I went numb and I started hammering.  I was moving faster than at any point in the race.  I ran literally as hard as I could (like it was the decent of a USATF Mountain championship) for about 30 seconds and turned to look again and to my absolute shock, she was GAINING on me.  It felt like no matter what I was doing, I couldn't drop her.  I was blowing by bikes and runners and screaming at people to get out of my way.  Once I got off the single track across the slopes, it dumped out onto the dirt access road and I tried again to open up a lead.  She was right behind me.  Only on the last bit of grass downhill at the end of the race (the last 200 meters or so are lined with ropes, flagging, and the spectators) did I open up what would eventually be a 13 second lead.  Looking at the splits, she outran me by about 5 minutes from 40 miles to the finish.

I came across in 5th place and 10 minutes slower than last time around (although it was close to a mile longer according to not only my watch but also a bunch of people I talked to at the finish line). I talked to Liz a little bit at the finish and she indicated it was her PR for 50 miles by almost an HOUR! Wow. Great run for sure.  No wonder why she was smiling and laughing in the last half mile.

Full Results here.

I wasn't surprised that Brian cooked me by an hour and Mark out-bossed me by 7 minutes in the last 3-4 miles from Johnson aid station to the finish...  Those guys are great runners.  Brian knows his way around ultras and can run for literally days at a a man's pace.  He's one of the best ultra runners in the country and is a former winner of this race (as well as just about every other ultra in New England).  Mark is still a great distance guy and has really good strength. He's a 1:06 Mt. Wash guy on his first time out and has a 2:23ish marathon under his belt.  I figured he'd be in the hunt for the win or podium spot so his 4th place was a little surprising, but I feel partially to blame. He ran with me for 30+ miles. Had he gone out with Brian, he may have finished higher....who knows.  Eric ran strong again and showed me how it was done late in the race.  I was lucky to hold off everyone else.  It was really good running and talking with Mark for so long. I felt better with him there and may not have made it that far without his help for sure.  We helped each other out and teamed up for the first big chunk of the race before I let him loose :).

After I wiped the dirt, tears, shame, and despair off my face, I hobbled around for a bit before heading back to the car to find the family.  As I waited for the awards and chatted with Mark and some others (Dan Princic dropped down wisely to the 50k and tore it up.... Mark Hudson was also in the house)., I slowly started to feel the affects of my last fall. I couldn't take deep breaths without intense pain in my ribs and I couldn't sit or stand back up without feeling like I was tearing something.  I was a mess.  Eventually we hit the road and Kristin drove home thank God. 3 hours of torture later, I was home and in need of an ER visit. I couldn't do anything but stand still without intense pain in my ribs. I hit the ER in North Conway at the advice of Downtown Darin Brown, and had imaging done to make sure I didn't have cracked ribs or any other damage internally.  They gave me morphine to ease the pain and I was eventually discharged at 1am with bruised ribs and strained intercostal muscles.  I didn't get home until 1:30am or so and I had to pack for the airport as I had a 5:30am flight out of Portland.  Since I had to leave the house at no later than 3:30am for the ride to Portland, I didn't go to bed.  I just packed and got in the car and drove. I didn't take the pain meds they gave me as I had to drive.  So the drive there was rough.

Sore and tired...
Once I got to the airport, I took a pill and tried to sleep a bit on the first leg of the trip but I couldn't get comfortable in the airplane seat.  My first leg to NYC was quick so I didn't get to sleep at all.  Once I was in NY, I actually felt the need for coffee and some breakfast so I got something to eat and that basically sunk any chance of me getting some good rest on the way out in the next leg.  From NY it was on to Minneapolis and then from there, to San Jose.  No sleep.  Remained stiff as a board on the plane seat as to not scream in pain.  Once I got to SJ,  I went straight into the office and was there by about 2pm to meet up with my team. It was 100 degrees. Crazy.  I had been up for a day and a half and had run 51 miles and was banged up beyond belief.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  I finally got to sleep on Monday night for the first time since my few hours I got on Saturday night.

The rest of the week was spent at the Adobe offices in SJ and SF.  We hit up a Sharks game (preseason) on Tuesday night (in the sweet company corp. box) and then a Giants game in SF on Thursday night.  Sprinkled in there was a lot of days of sitting in conference rooms, going over some new tools and apps, meeting with engineering and product management, and working with my team.  We get to do this about once a year and it's a great time.  I work all year with all these guys, but only on the phone and chat (as we are all remote employees). So it's great to get some facetime with all these guys and actually hang out for a few days.  But I was definitely smoked by the end of the week.  On Thursday night, I had to get a cab from San Fran after the Giants game, to San Jose. It's about an hour.  I didn't get back to the hotel until about 12:30am and our flight out was at 6:00am.  I got carsick on the ride and was a mess when I got back to the hotel.  I had to be up again and out the door by 4:30am so it was another night of only a few hours of horrible sleep.  I didn't get into Portland, Maine until 10:30pm. I got home at midnight.  By the time I got home, I was gladly up for a couple lazy days of nothing, a little bit of swingin' of course, and some daddy time with the little ladies. Oh yeah...and some sleep.

Sharks win...Sharks win...

Outside the SJ office at Adobe
It's official Dave Dunham!... It's 'COOLDOWN' not 'Warm Down'. Please see above for definitive proof.

SF Baseball Giants WIN! 
Good game on a brisk night in San Fran.

I got zero running in during the week as my ribs are still awful. They have been getting slightly better each day but it's going to be a bit.  The goal now is to recover, reset, and start focusing on the winter.  When I finished the race last weekend, I told Kristin I was done with ultras. I told her that was most likely it for sure.  Now a week has passed and I'm starting to rethink things. I'd like to try to actually conquer one of these things.  What that would mean is a sub 7 hour run somewhere...if not VT then somewhere.  We'll see. I have time to think about maybe something again next year.

As for swinging, I did manage to yank a 1735 King George II copper out of the ground before I left last week. It's my oldest coin by 1 year.  I had found a 1736 KG II in my yard earlier this year.  This beat that by one year.  I also found a few old colonial buttons (1700s) and some other doodads before I left and some this weekend when I was home again).  The good news with the KG II I found this past week was that the property has a huge field that has yet to be mowed this year.  The owner said he was going to mow it this past week (although it hasn't been done yet).  I found the coin at the entrance.  There has GOT to be more in the field.  When you find a 1730s copper, that pretty much means that ANY U.S. coin can be on the property (as U.S. coins started being minted in the late 1780s).

And some light digging this weekend in NH...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Training Week: Week of September 12 - September 18

Week of September 12 - September 18

September 12 - [Monday] - PM: 18.3 miles (roads/dirt roads) with Andy. Leg/knee really sore but did this anyways...probably regret it later. 2600 feet of elevation over the backroads of Madison.
September 13 - [Tuesday] - PM: 10.6 Miles (roads) easy with Darin.  Leg and hamstrings really bad.  Paying for yesterday and not stretching properly after Fox Point.  Legs are a mess.  Had to stop and stretch on the way back as I was cramping up.
September 14 - [Wednesday] - PM: 2 miles (roads) super easy late in the day to assess the damage.  Really nervous about Reach the Beach this weekend.  I want to make sure I can make it to the line and finish my legs of the race.  Didn't want a complete zero so just jogged a mile down the road and back.
September 15 - [Thursday] - PM: 6 miles (roads and snowmobile trails) easy with Darin. Legs are a nightmare.  Right leg is very sore around IT / knee area and high calf.  Super stiff and sore.  Can't squat all the way down on my right side.
September 16 - [Friday] - PM: 3 miles (warmup) + 10.9 mile race (Leg 6 of Reach the Beach - 1:00:07 for 10.93 (5:29 pace) ). Leg felt 'ok' surprisingly but stiff and wonky.  It still allowed me to run a good pace on it.  Relay leg was a lot of long, steady downhill (nothing steep but still mostly all down).  There were a couple of small rollers mixed in but it kept steadily dropping until into Bartlett.  54:48 for my 10 mile split.  Solid effort considering my state.  Passed exactly 30 bodies on that leg and handed off in 1st for Six03 teams.
September 17 - [Saturday] - EARLY AM: 1 mile w/up + 5.7 mile race (Leg 18 of Reach the Beach - 33:06 for 5.76 (5:44 pace) with a nasty steady climb for 3 miles of the leg...all uphill). Definitely my most difficult leg with the hill but scalped 58 teams in the process.  The hill was a killer and a lot of people were walking or just barely moving. I did run down 10 people in the last quarter mile into the exchange zone.  Again, passed all the SIX03 teams on this leg.  The leg went off about 12:20am or so and I finished just shy of 1:00am... Definitely my 'earliest' run of the year.  LATER AM: 1 miles w/up + 3.1 mile race (Leg 30 of Reach the Beach - 16:46 for 3.15 (5:19 pace).  Blew up badly after first mile. Kept getting slower and slower.  Was pretty much spent after ZERO sleep and being up since 3:00am on Friday.  Pretty much 32 hours awake with a couple of relay legs already in the bag and super tight knee/IT band/calves/hammies.  My legs just died and I was content for just running it in and then it was beach time!  Held it together for a 5:33 last pretty flat mile as I whizzed past 25 bodies in just that 5k leg alone for a total scalping of 113 runners passed during my 3 legs.  Another 200 meters of running in at the very end of the relay on Hampton Beach with the team... Plus some other milling around on Fri/Sat that probably added up to a mile here and Garmin activity on the running around as I would have had 100 activities and it would have looked ridiculous.
September 18 - [Sunday] - Rest day.  Legs smoked.  Had a birthday party down in North Andover to go to.  Thought about brining my running stuff....thought about it.... but then stopped thinking about it.  May take some serious time off this week to recover from my week of hurt.

62 miles for the week.  OK week of 'training' with 60+ miles on 6 days but it was all over the map. One of those days was a 2-spot and the weekend was a mixture of being all over the place with relay legs, little to no warming up or cooling down, no sleep, and then a zero mile day.   I was very banged up this week.  My right leg is bad.  I held it together for the relay legs which I was stoked about, but I have a serious issue that I felt happen right during the cooldown after Fox Point over a week ago.  I'm not sure what is going on but it's a mixture of IT band, calf, and hamstring.  Nothing knee related I don't think but it's surrounding my knee which is concerning.  Taking some serious time this week to try to recover as I have a LONG race this coming weekend that I am just wanting to try to finish.  Competitive running is out the window for it.  A serious lack of focus on the 'long' runs in prep for a 50 miler (or non-prep for) is going to hurt....combined with a possible right leg injury...makes me 'probable' for the start on Sunday in VT but 'questionable' for a finish.

All in all thought I had a blast at Reach the Beach. This could be one of my favorite events on paper...just the logistics of it is super interesting and the experience is great.  But it's draining I'll admit. Maybe it's because I'm getting 'old'...but it is a lot of fun.  One of these years I'd like to get a competitive team together to try to place high up in the rankings and start towards the tail end of the relay and see how we can do.  Maybe I'll try for that next year.  This year it was all about me getting some redemption on my experience 2 years ago in 2014.  Back then, we rocked as a team but I was a hurting unit.  I had severe stomach issues for almost the entire thing and it made it very difficult and unpleasant.  I couldn't enjoy myself.  This year, it was just my leg that was a concern.  Everything else was fine and I was able to make it to the end with a smile on my face which was a nice change.  The weather was ideal and my legs were awesome.

Olympic relay teams got nothing on our hand-offs....
T-Hoop and I showing how exchanges are done.

Andy telling me to slow the 'F*ck down!'
Van 1 gettin' it done...
discussing strategy with D.Hamel
Ran into my homey Nick Symmonds at the finish line...we caught up on old times...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Training Week: Week of September 5 - September 11

Already losing...Alex and Zac already laughing...

Week of September 5 - September 11

September 5 - [Monday] - PM: 6 miles (roads) easy.
September 6 - [Tuesday] - PM: 11 Miles (roads/trails). New Rd. trails in Madison.
September 7 - [Wednesday] - AM: 5 miles (roads/snowmo trails) easy. PM: 9.6 miles (roads/trails) with Darin. More New Rd. trails in Madison.
September 8 - [Thursday] - PM: 10 miles (113 up into Albany and back).
September 9 - [Friday] - AM: 4 miles (roads) easy. Very hot! Was gonna do 5 but stopped at 4. 90+ degrees on the thermo.  PM: 6 miles (roads/trails) Walmart trails + Westside Rd. and some other rambling around.
September 10 - [Saturday] - PM: 3 miles (warmup) (not all captured on the Garmin) + 5 miles race (Fox Point Sunset 5 Miler - 3rd OA - 26:39 (results)) + 3.2 miles (cooldown). All on the roads of Newington.  Calf/hammy very tight. Locked up during the cooldown.
September 11 - [Sunday] - off

62.8 miles for the week.

Good week although ended with an unexpected day off. Step in the right direction generally. More miles, less laziness, one relatively decent race considering how things have been since the summer.  My hamstring and IT band locked up on me on the cooldown after the race on Saturday night. Sunday I debated running on it but did some detecting instead and a bunch of walking around.  Decided to just take a day.  Seeing last week was so abysmal mileage-wise, I think 62 miles was probably a good enough jump up before trying to hit the normal load again (which is always ideally 70+ if I run 7 days).

Fox Point was a good sign. I've done zero fast work other than the occasional race so to run 11 seconds quicker than last year was definitely a plus.  Considering what little progress I see lately, I'll take it.  I don't have the speed right now to hang with the likes of Zac or Alex just yet (even when they just tempo together) so I had to kind of run in no man's land for the entire race, but it was good to land some more race cash this year ($50 for third) and get my much needed points for the Seacoast Series.  I think I officially may have wrapped it up, as you need 6 of 8 and this was the 6th race (I've done them all so far).  Between 2 different courses and 4 attempts at this race since 2008, I've won twice and been 3rd twice.  Amazingly though, this was my fastest time at this event.  That's kind of another positive.  Last year I won in a slightly slower time.  I also won it in 2008.  In 2008 and 2009 I doubled. I ran the Ollie 5 miler in Boston earlier in the morning (both years) and then ran Fox Point in the afternoon (hence my slower times).  In 2010-2014 I was more focused on trail and ultra racing (or hurt) so I skipped the event.  It's a great race, really nice course (which I really think Strava doesn't do justice with 'elevation-wise'), and a rare 'nighttime' 5 mile race.

Some local NH/ME all stars: Alex Leuchanka, Downtown Darin Brown, Miles Brady, JJ, Kevin St. Laurent, Matt Sawyer, and Amanda DeBlauw.

Stole this photo from Jason Saltmarsh (

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Training Week: Week of August 29 - September 4

Mommy and Daddy with the birthday girl

Week of August 29 - September 4

August 29 - [Monday] - PM: 3 miles (roads) easy.
August 30 - [Tuesday] - PM: 10 Miles (roads) easy with Darin.
August 31 - [Wednesday] - AM: 8 miles (roads) easy with Darin.
September 1 - [Thursday] - off.  Morgan's birthday!
September 2 - [Friday] - PM: 2 miles (warmup) + 1 mile (Millen Mile - 2nd OA - 4:48) + 1 mile cooldown.
September 3 - [Saturday] - off. (I did do a short hike with Kristin's dad and took the kids on a walk in the stroller but didn't get a run in).
September 4 - [Sunday] - off. (I did do a few hours of metal detecting late in the day).

25 miles for the week.  Even worse week than last week as far as running goes but I knew that would be the case.  With Morgan's party over the weekend and a lot to do around the house plus work being crazy (end of quarter), I didn't have the energy to sneak out for miles when I had the chance to sneak them in.   The well project is finally done but the yard and house had a lot to be done before we had all our families over for the weekend and I was literally out working on things in the yard until the sun went down.  Kristin's parents stayed Saturday - Monday.  We had the party on Saturday which was really fun.  It was nice having my family here with all their kids, plus some friends as well.

The Millen Mile was a big shock to the system. I'm surprised I broke 4:50.  I'm also surprised my body was able to ever run faster than this for an opening mile of a 5k with any sort of ease in the past.  It felt awful.  I tried to sit tucked in behind Zac for the first quarter and didn't even make it 400 meters...and he was running conservatively.  He's a 4:10 miler not too far back and is still in pretty good form for the shorter stuff.  I dropped way back on the second lap and just tried to stay moving and in 2nd place the rest of the way.  It was actually really fun as it was at night, under the lights, at halftime during the opening football game of the year at Kennett HS.  It was the 6th annual event and they typically invite a handful of the local top runners (men and women) to make up the one heat that goes off right at halftime of the game.  Roger took video (below).

Two beautiful ladies...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Training Week: Week of August 22 - August 28

Week of August 22 - August 28

August 22 - [Monday] - off.
August 23 - [Tuesday] - AM: 5 Miles (roads) easy.  PM: 3 mile w/ up + 2 miles XC Race (1st OA - 10:18) + 3.4 miles cooldown.
August 24 - [Wednesday] - AM: 5 miles (roads) easy with Downtown Darin Brown.
August 25 - [Thursday] - off
August 26 - [Friday] - PM: 8 miles (roads). Hot!
August 27 - [Saturday] - PM: 9 miles (roads).
August 28 - [Sunday] - PM: 25 miles (roads / dirt roads).

60.4 miles for the week.  Bad week all in all, but salvaged 60 miles on just 5 days (with one of those days being a 5 mile day only).  I got almost half my weekly mileage on Sunday.  Struggled for most of the week with headaches and pretty bad allergies. Couple that with getting a well drilled all week to the tune of almost $26K.  It was just shy of $16K for the drilling (808 feet with 141 feet of casing) which yielded next to nothing for water.  Then I had someone come hydrofrack it for another $3k.  Now we are looking at hooking up the pump system for another $6k this week.  The front yard is completely destroyed from all the digging and trucks and equipment.  The fracking got us more water but not a's manageable now but certainly in my opinion not worth the money that it has cost us.  The whole thing just sucks and is what led to a couple days where I just couldn't get out of the house (and probably the root cause of my headaches).

I did manage a good run at the Kennett XC Challenge though.  Since I lived here, I have run it 3 times (two 1sts and one 2nd) and missed the race in 2012 and 2015. This year I ran a 10:18.  In 2013 I ran a 10:31 for 1st OA and then in 2014 I ran a 10:07 for SECOND when Tim Livingston kicked my ass in the last quarter mile.  This year, Tim has had some knee issues preventing him from getting his normal training in. I was able to hang with him for about a mile and a quarter.  The first half of the race is on flat grass.  The second half is single track in the woods for half of it and then back out in the grass for the finish.  I stayed right behind and next to him on and off for about a mile, then moved around and once we were in the woods, I was able to slowly move away from him.  He did comeback hard at the end on the final 100 yards across the playing fields and he almost caught me as I had kind of settled into just running to the line...I looked back just in time near the finish to see him taking the tangent to the finish (which I wasn't doing by seemingly a lot) and almost catching me.  I kicked the last few strides in to make sure I got the win.

Sunday, because I barely did anything this week, I figured it was as good a day as any to get a long run in (longer than usual).  I wasn't tired from any sort of volume for the week but I was feeling a little off because of everything else. I decided to just run mid 7s for 25 miles along the roads of Madison/Tamworth/Ossipee.  It was a decent loop with some hills early and then flats most of the way back.  I carried water but ran out about halfway (it was hot and I was feeling dehydrated).  I stopped in at a campground in Tamworth to get a refill.  I was directed to the laundry room in the rec barn, which smelled so bad I almost couldn't stand it.  The entire barn smelled like mold.  The water was a custom mix of hot and cold water according to a sign above the sink, so it was obviously warm.  It also tasted awful but it was all I had short of asking a random house on the way back if I could use their hose.   I ran out of that water by the time I got back into Madison. I stopped in at an abandoned business right on the Madison/Tamworth line but the water was turned off when I found the hose out back.  So I had to go the rest of the way back home without water (about 6 miles).

I did get a couple days of detecting in (I haven't' been talking too much about my finds lately but I figured I'd make some more videos's been a decent year of detecting for sure...) and we did have our trash ransacked again over the weekend. I pulled the video from the security footage to show the bandit in question.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Training Week: August 15 - August 21

Week of August 15 - August 21

August 8 - [Monday] - PM: 3 miles (roads).  Just a late day shakeout as the legs were pretty stiff from Sunday's 22+ mile run in the mountains.
August 9 - [Tuesday] - PM: 9 miles (roads) at lunch. Was going to go short lunch run then more later but it started raining during the run so I stretched it out to 9 and called it with one run.
August 10 - [Wednesday] - PM: 10.5 miles (trails and roads).  Up E.Madison Rd., down to the boulder and then up and back to Ledge Pond Rd. via the old snowmo trail.  Then back down to train station via Chain of Ponds trails and then back to the house.  Watch died just as I was in view of the train station.
August 11 - [Thursday] - AM: 5 miles (roads) easy.  PM: 3.5 miles (roads) warmup in Rye before Saunders 10k with Alliette and a little with Huebner.  Then race: 6.3 miles (garmin) Saunders 10k - 2nd OA - 34:05.  Then cooldown - 3 miles (roads) with Garfield and Alliette.
August 12 - [Friday] - AM: 6 miles (roads). Horrendously hot out again...even worse than Wed.  Felt like crap the rest of the day. Allergies bad. PM: 8.4 miles (trails) from Lead Mine into the airstrip via snowmo trails.  Then back up around through the new cutoff trail to the Pine Barrens and back via E.Shore and Lead Mine.  Felt pretty sluggish.
August 13 - [Saturday] - PM: 11 miles (roads).  Almost bagged the run.  Waited until late in the day.  Got out for a decent run up into Chocorua village and back with a small detour up Tall Pines + a little bit of an add-on at the end to get 11 total. Feeling a little run down.
August 14 - [Sunday] - 15 miles (roads).  Felt 'ok' but definitely wanted to bag it before I even started.  Worked out in the yard all day and didn't get out until 5pm.  Watched the marathon in the am then watched the mountain bike race before eventually going out and trying to straighten up the yard and do some late summer de-weeding.

75 miles for the week.   Didn't run quite as long on Sunday as I was originally planning but I haven't felt that great post race on Thursday.  My allergies have been pretty bad this week and my sleep hasn't been good.  The girls are waking up a lot through the night now...probably due to the heat.  They wake up and eventually find their way into our bed and it becomes too crowded for me to get any decent sleep so I've been struggling a little bit and it caught up to me by week's end.  I still managed 75 miles with only a 3 day on Monday and 5 days of only singles... so not too bad.

The race was pretty bad for me but it was kind of expected.  I haven't done Saunders 10K since 2012 when I thought (at that time) that I ran bad to the tune of a 32:32.  That race was actually 'the beginning of the end'.  Back in 2012, it was right after Saunders, that I started getting hurt 'regularly'.  If you look at my race schedule from 2012, I only raced 1 time after Saunders for the entire year (that was Great Bay in October).  That year, Andy Huebner ran away from me and I 'struggled' to run 32:32.  Now that would be a stud time for me.

Going into the race this year, I just wanted to continue to get my Seacoast Series points but also knew it was going to be a sh*tshow in reality. I haven't done any speed work to speak of this summer and 10ks have been horrendous for me over the last bunch of years.  In the back of my mind I knew about 34 would be the range. I never would have thought I would run over 34 but that's what it was.  I went out a little quicker than that pace but then paid the price in the humidity later on as I watched Matt Garfield pull away over the 2nd half of the race.  Andy Huebner was with us for 2.5 miles or so and then fell off the pace when he started getting sick.  I fell off too but was able to hold on enough surprisingly for my third 2nd place in a row.  I'm hoping that with some focused training, I can get back to actually running fast again in at least one distance...right now, I'm continuing to get the miles in and build up a base.  Right now, the only thing I am getting out of racing (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) is some actual 'speed work' and the mental sharpness of being in race situations... but the fast times just are nowhere to be found right now.

I was really glad to see my teammate Matt Garfield run so well again and get the big win here. He does a ton of work and is so serious about racing now...his intensity and focus is admirable.  Hopefully I can give him a run soon enough but I won't be too surprised if this type of outcome becomes the norm.  He's a really good guy and deserves these good finishes he's had recently...his hard work is paying off.  I hope we both stay injury free the rest of the year.

My Saunders 10K History:

2016 - 34:05 - 2nd Place - Matt Garfield 1st
2012 - 32:32 - 2nd Place - Andy Huebner 1st
2010 - 31:53 - 2nd Place - John Mentzer 1st
2009 - 32:20 - 3rd Place - John Mentzer 1st, Alliette 2nd.
2008 - 32:58 - 4th Place - Alliette, Manning, Nurse 1,2,3.

I was killing Matt at this point.
Still beating Matt.
Already leaving Alliette in the dust and working on overtaking Big Al Fernald...
Matt has been finished for a long while and is already giving interviews...

Still out on the course. Matt had already gotten his t-shirt and is now cooling down.
Not done yet. Matt is already in traffic heading back up to Maine.

Matt has already updated Strava with his run and is now getting ready for bed. I'm almost finished.

I could not believe the clock had a 34 on it and I wasn't done yet...

Chillin. Morgan ate an entire watermelon by the time we left.

The three most beautiful girls in the world... 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Training Week: August 8 - August 14

Week of August 8 - August 14

August 8 - [Monday] - AM: 7.6 miles (roads and trails) with Andy.  Exploring new trails on 'New Rd.'.
August 9 - [Tuesday] - AM: 5 miles (roads) at lunch, easy.  PM: 2.1 mile warmup before Madison '5k'.  Then Race: Madison '5k' (Jim Wellinghurst Memorial 5k). (3 miles) 1st OA. 15:48.  3 mile cooldown with Peter, Andy, and Roger.
August 10 - [Wednesday] - AM: 10.3 miles (trails).  In Madison/Freedom town forest.  First 3 solo pushing the pace to catch up to Andy and Hill & Squall. Then last 7.3 with them easy on the trails (single track and snowmo).
August 11 - [Thursday] - AM: 5 miles (roads) at lunch, easy. Horrendously hot out... PM: 8 miles (trails and roads) after work.  First 5 with Darin in the Pine Barrens and last 3 solo on the roads near the beach. HOT!
August 12 - [Friday] - AM: 6 miles (roads). Horrendously hot out again...even worse than Wed.  Felt like crap the rest of the day.  PM: 3.4 miles (trails) in Conway. Just beating out the rain.  Wanted to get more in but felt like sh*t. The heat definitely got to me earlier in the day.
August 13 - [Saturday] - 8 miles (roads).  Early run before heading down to Boston w/ the family for the day.
August 14 - [Sunday] - 22.3 miles (trails). Got lost probably the worst I've ever been.  Thought about having to spend the night in the backcountry. Bad conditions in spots (wet, grown in trails) and trails that no longer exist, etc.  Made the most of the 5 hours I was running all over the place trying to figure out where to go.  At least the weather was ok.

84.2 miles for the week.  Another good step forward.  Got some ok runs in, but nothing too quality road-wise.... I did run 80+ miles for a week for only the 4th time all year.  I did it once in Jan and twice in Feb.  That was it.  Pretty crazy to think I haven't done that volume since but that's the way the year has gone.  No real injuries, just not a lot of focus on putting in the work. The positive for sure this week is that I got to run the Madison 5k again this year (4th time in 5 years I've been here for it...last year had to miss with injury). I've won it 4 times. I have probably timed it just right to have only really faced someone else in or near tip-top shape in the valley once (Tim ran it a few years ago and wasn't too far back).  I haven't had to race Nick when he's been 100% or Zach at 100%, etc. Kevin hasn't been at the race since before I moved here and most of the others that come seem to either run easy for one reason or another....I think maybe the one year I was here and Tim ran all out, he was under 16 (and even then, it was if I recall, after he already did a workout earlier in the day). Every other year, it's been only me running under 16. 15:04 is the record from my first run at it in 2012.  Tim was low 15-teens or so one year I think...and I have found a result with him around 15:20 from some years back.  Through the RD, I have access to all the results going back to the 1990s (a big folder full of hard copy results) so I may put together something this winter as a project, with some history of race times, etc.

  • 2012: 1st - 15:04 (CR)
  • 2013: 1st - 15:32
  • 2014: 1st - 15:15
  • 2015: injured. Didn't race.
  • 2016: 1st - 15:48

Definitely not trending entirely in the right direction with the times but it was still nice to get the race in.  Kristin actually ran, which was great.  It's only her 2nd ever official race.  She once did the Turkey Trot with me in Salem but that was a pretty crappy experience.  It was a very low key race and they didn't bother to wait for her to finish (they forgot she was still out there or didn't even know who was still out on course) before they shut the clock off and all went inside the gym.  I went back to run with her after I finished and when we came up to the finish, there was literally no one there.  They didn't even know she was in the race (we had to tell them when we went inside, what her time was) but it was all good because they messed up the results anyways so they were never even published.  She ended up walk/jogging because of her knees (surgery).  This year, she decided to do the Madison race with me and did great.  She was 50th of 88 people, nearly being able to stay with Roger Marcoux (a former winner of the race) but she had to take a natural break in the woods around 2 miles.  Otherwise she probably would have been able to stay with him to the finish. She still ran 28-mid for her first real 5k race.  My parents came again to watch us run and watch the kids.

We did well for the Old Home Week this week. We hit the beach dance party last weekend (and Kristin and the kids went to the blueberry bake sale after), the race on Tuesday, the ice cream smorgasbord and concert on Monday, and the fireworks on Friday.  We missed the bean hole supper on Saturday, which we usually go to.  It was pouring and we were on our way back from Boston so we decided on a family dinner inside at the best Chinese food restaurant in all of Wakefield.  Boston was fun on Saturday as we took the kids to the Children's Museum.

I opted out of the Cigna 5k on Thursday as I was planning on maybe going down with Nick Brown, who expressed interest in maybe carpooling to the race...but then on Tuesday at the Madison 5k he hinted at not going because his knee was bothering him, so I figured I'd pass too (it was hot as hell on Thursday).  Well, he ended up going anyways but I found out too late so I opted out of it (kind of had no choice as I found out when he was already on the road). Bummer.  Next up will be the next Seacoast Series race in Rye on Thursday night.

with my Mom and the girls... 
Kristin coming around the last corner and me peeling off...

In the home stretch...

The race.

Approaching one of my favorite stretches of trail in The Whites...

Off the Sawyer River Trail...

Sawyer River this view.  A nice tunnel for a couple miles.

Off the Sawyer River Trail 
Sawyer River of my favorites.  Flat, straight, and runnable. Kevin once told me it was an 'old railroad bed'....Ok Kevin told me this a lot more than once...

Sawyer River of my favorites.  Flat, straight, and runnable.

Off the Sawyer River Trail...

Sawyer River of my favorites.  Flat, straight, and runnable. 
Sawyer River of my favorites.  Flat, straight, and runnable.

Greeley Ponds

One of the only humans I encountered in 22+ miles. Greeley Pond fisherman.

Trail into the pond.

Greeley Ponds

Greeley Ponds

View off the trail into Greeley Ponds.

Ironically the only trail sign photo I got...I would come back to this multiple times later on...

Nice new bridge...that I also crossed multiple times...