Wrap Up: 97.7 miles for the week including one long/hard effort at Wapack. Doubled every day during the week but missed my goal of 100 because I had a wake to go to on Thurs and it was too late to run long by the time I got out....This felt like a very long week for me, with the way I've been feeling physically. I am really banged up as far as leg/foot/hip tightness and pain. I felt like every day is the day after Cranmore, all week. I hope it will get better. The good news is that my feet have held up and I was able to go from 0 to 97.7 miles in two consecutive weeks. My plan now is to hang on to try to do Pisgah, which is a great challenge, then potentially some cross country and other random races before Cape Cod (God willing) at the end of October.
09-04 - Sunday:
am 20 miles - Adhoc Race Report: New Ipswich, NH - Ashburnham, MA. - Windblown Ski Trails - 1.5 m. w/up & striding (most w/ Greg Hammett) + 18 mile Wapack trail race (and then some). First extended effort back after the World Trophy. I was really worried about my legs and feet for this one and wanted to just finish this 18 mile trail race (which is a bruiser) in one piece. My plan was to just forget about racing and go out and do a tempo style (as much as possible on this course) run without trying to kill myself for 2nd place (which is what I did last year, behind David Herr). Even if I was the only contender there, I made up my mind to run just to run and for the first time, in an actual race, I would do just that. With a field made up of Brandon Newbould, David Herr, Brian Rusiecki, Greg Hammett, Chris Hayhurst, and a few others (including Dan Verrington), it was an easy decision to make, and I just hung back at the start for a bit and let everyone else go crazy.
I sat back for a mile to a mile and a half and just eased into the race, taking the first of the climbs really easy. I sat w/ Dan for a bit before weaving my way through the pack a bit and ending up in 7th or 8th place for a bit. Somewhere around 20 minutes or so in, I hooked up with Greg Hammett and David Herr, as Brandon and Brian were way ahead (out of sight) and Chris Hayhurst was further up, but within view. I ran behind Greg and Dave for a while, just going through the motions and paying attention to my body and how everything was feeling. Right around 25 minutes, during the rolls between the first summit and the second, David took off. I pulled up behind Greg and started chatting with him. We eventually followed Chris into a dead end at the top of one of the summits and we were lost for a short while. I backtracked out behind them and we got lost again on another faux trail off of the summit. The second time we went wrong, I turned first and found the right trail, now ahead of those two. I pushed on down and just coasted but made a little bit of ground on them. I couldn't see Herr or Rusiecki at all but just kept up a smooth, relatively easy pace until the massive downhill push to the turn around. I saw Brandon near the bottom and he looked strong as he went past me on his way back up the killer climb on the way back. I hit the main road that goes down to the turnaround and aid station at 9 miles and passed Rusiecki and Herr going the other way as well. I looked at my watch and I was about 1 min. behind them. Not bad, and I thought maybe if I just kept taking it easy, I could actually 'run' the whole thing back and catch them without much effort because I was taking it way slower than normal. That was wishful thinking though, as I hit the aid station, filled my bottle, turned, and not too soon after, saw Greg and Chris coming the other way. My lead on them was pretty small and I knew it would be interesting on the way back.
I hit the turn back onto the climb on the way up, but somehow missed a section where the trail hooked a bit and I completely got lost. One what should have been the easiest trail to follow, I got lost worse than I ever have in a race. I eventually noticed that the 'trail' or actually forest floor, was getting softer and softer. I started stepping in holes. I then started climbing over downed trees and bushwhacking and realized it was going bad quick. I came to a ridge and couldn't go over anymore. I started doing the only thing that made sense and started to go up. Just up up up as much as I could, but breaking limbs and climbing rocks (really climbing). It was an awful feeling. I wasn't really trying to race, but now was completely killing my day by adding onto an already painfully long race for me, and losing ground on everybody. Eventually, through pure luck and the knowledge that I had to climb as much as possible, I came out onto the summit and saw a runner coming in the opposite direction. I knew he was still on his way out, so I just ducked into the trail the way he came out and I was back in the game, but now was pretty sure I lost a ton of ground. I figured Greg and Chris had gone by me and probably a few others too, without me knowing.
I raced another 3 or 4 miles before I started to really feel the extra effort I took when I got lost and I started to slow pretty good. I had no motivation to try to run fast, as I was sure I wasn't even in the top 10 anymore and I started to get lazy. On one of the downhills, I tripped when I caught a rock and went completely over, landing on my back and rolling down the downhill about 10 feet. I rolled a couple times, skinning both knees and landing on my back, crushing my water bottle. I got up, brushed most of the mud off me, fixed my belt, and examined my bloody knees before heading back. About a minute or so later, Chris Hayhurst came up behind me but we were both walking up a steep climb. We walked together for a while and talked about the race. I was surprised he was still behind me and he told me he was in 5th place and I was still in 4th...but I knew he'd just go past me when we got up to the top. When we finally reached the summit, I moved over and let him go. Within a few minutes he was out of sight and now I just sat and waited for Greg to come up....but for the rest of the way, I never saw anyone else behind and just went through my motions again.
My big toes were really hurting me from the downhills and I had a big blister developing on my left foot, but other than that, I was fine. I didn't have any foot or leg issues other than that. My right foot wasn't hurting like it did in the 50k, my plantar wasn't bothering me, and I wasn't cramping at all. I was really excited to think that after 2+ hrs, I was still in one piece. As the race wound down, I kept glancing at my watch every once in a while and knew I'd be really slow this year, but wasn't too worried. I just wanted to hold my place and would be completely content with 5th place in a race I was never really in. I hit the last stretch of downhill out to the main grass road and my toes were basically preventing me from doing much of anything except hobble until I got out onto the grass. Then, from there, it is one of the longest stretches at the end of a race. Last year I thought it was never going to end. This year, it was the same. Finally I came up to the finish and had been 'running' (and wandering) for 2:43:00+. 14+ minutes slower than last year, but with getting lost for 5-6 minutes at least, plus a couple other missed turns, and having just started out really slow, I'll take it.
The big + was that I got through it relatively unscathed! No cramping, no severe pain in my legs and feet (which have been killing me all week) and no ass problems (my left arse cheek had been tight all week). I was really glad to have the monkey off my back from the 50k. This was also my longest race that I finished since Eastern States in March. I dropped out of Boston and dropped out of the 50k Worlds, so this was a really good indicator that I can actually run races over 10 miles without dropping out!!!
Brandon won in a big way, running basically alone for most of the race in 2:26 something. David Herr was 2nd and slower than last year as well. Brian was 3rd and Chris was 4th. I ended up 5th and there were two blokes behind me before Greg came in. Greg had run a 5k race the day before and was doing what I was doing in just running this race for a good workout/long run effort before Pisgah in 2 weeks. Dan had a good time, running a solid race just behind Paul Young. I think Keith Schmitt was up there as well (he may have been one of the guys just ahead of Greg). I am now 0-2 vs Chris Hayhurst. He got me at Moody Spring the day I spent most of my race, down face-first in the snow. :). He's a strong runner who just does trails and snowshoe. He reminds me of a cross between Ken Trip and a young George Adams. He looks like he can beat your ass, but then he outruns you when the going gets tough.
09-03 - Saturday:
pm 5.2 miles - solo (roads) - Salem, Methuen. Out and back. Nice and easy yet again. Legs still stiff and my left rump is again still an issue although I ran so slow that it really didn't get bad. Just trying to hold on enough to get through the week. [37:07]
09-02 - Friday:
am 5.2 miles - solo (roads) - Salem, Methuen. Out and back. Nice and easy again. Legs still stiff and my left rump is still an issue although it came on right near the end of the run, which is an improvement. I've been stretching it out the past couple days..we'll see. [34:08]
pm 10 miles - w/ Emery Bickford - (roads) - Methuen, Haverhill. From Whirlaway, 8 mile loop + add-on up to Scotland Heights and back down. Left butt still killing me but didn't 'go' on me. Just hurt the whole time. My right quad also got sore on the outside. Just feelin' beat but enjoying running...I guess I just have to get used to running in pain :)....[1:10:37]
09-01 - Thursday:
am 5.2 miles - solo (roads) - Salem, Methuen. Out and back. Nice and easy. Body still pretty sore and stiff. Feet feeling OK. [34:42]
pm 3.4 miles - solo (roads) - Wakefield, MA. 1 lake bang. Was planning on 3 loops to get 10+ miles but I had to go to a wake down in Watertown and it was a nightmare getting out of town with the traffic. I didn't get to Wakefield until 8:15pm and started super late. I don't like running in the dark too much, but the lake isn't too bad, as it is well lit. However 2 miles in, my left ass started to kill again. It got super tight and started to pull on me. I cut it short after 1 bang and called it a night. The late hour and the cramping/tightness was enough for me to call this a rest day. [22:33].
08-31 - Wednesday:
am 10 miles w/ Emery Bickford - (roads and trails) - Salem, Pelham, Methuen - Salem snowmobile trails from my house. If I don't have poison ivy all over my legs tomorrow it will be a miracle. Again it took me 20 minutes + to warm up the legs. Felt incredibly stiff this morning so I waited and ran with Emory in the afternoon. It was pretty hot out so we ducked in the snowmobile trails off of Hampshire Rd. instead of staying on the roads. [1:12:26].
pm 4.6 miles w/ DQ - roads - North Salem. 'Chasing Miles' again w/ DQ. About as disastrous a 4.6 miler as you possibly can get. After running mid afternoon with Emery, I went back out for a jaunt from DQ's palatial estate in North Salem. After taking the town line between Derry and Salem, I rigged up with a cramp in my left ass right before the turnaround. It was like a massive charlie horse in my caboose. I tried to stretch it out a bit and it was no use. On the way back down, about halfway back, I bonked HARD. I started to BONK so bad I was borderline incoherent and had a tough time staying in a straight line. I haven't eaten much in the past couple days and my mileage has gone up a bit, so it was inevitable I think. I got back to Dave's and piled a dozen cookies into my piehole before hitting the road. I picked up some dinner and headed home. I saw 3 more deer (so 9 in 2 days) on my way to Daves. I've run like 600 miles in the Whites with Kevin Tilton and have never seen a deer with him. Usually we don't even see a bird or squirrel or anything, let alone deer and other cool animals. Salem and Andover have actual animals, which is pretty cool. [36:04]
08-30 - Tuesday:
am 6.8 miles w/ DQ. Salem, NH. Hitching Post road, up Spicket Hill, down for a long loop back, then back up and down and then up and down again on Spicket. Legs trashed from yesterday...but it's a good hurt. Good to be back on the horse again. [53:27]
pm 10 miles solo. River trail from hotel. Nice and steady but kept it slow. My first time doing the entire river trail since June. There was only really 1 downed tree, and no real damage in there from the hurricane (zero flooding and in fact it was completely dry..no mud or puddles at all). Only saw a couple people in there and one dog (and of course it was off-leash). On the way out, I heard a bunch of deer but didn't see anything. On the way back, I saw 2 sets of 3 deer and the first set ran parallel to the trail with me for a bit, then cut across in front of me by about 15 feet as I was running! I saw the next set further up on the opposite side right before the bridge under 93. No foot issues to speak of, but my legs took about 20 minutes before they were loosened up to a manageable comfort zone. Legs still really tight and sore. 6:15pm is now right on the edge of being too late to start a 75 minute run. It was borderline too dark in the trails by the end. [1:14:22].
08-29 - Monday:
am 6.1 miles w/ DQ. Salem, NH. Hitching Post road, up Spicket Hill, down for a loop, back up Spicket, down and around for one more loop going back up Spicket for a third time (2 times from Stanwood side). First run back after my down week after the 50K. Foot felt OK. Plantar still an issue on both sides. Very easy [51:00]
pm 11.2 miles solo. Salem, Methuen. Wandering loop. Started easy and eased into a rhythm until my quads and hips got a bit tight. Legs definitely felt the down week. Finished off with 8 barefoot striders in the grass behind the manor. PF is killing me. Left foot (not the foot I hurt last week) was the pain today...my right foot felt pretty good. No swelling or tenderness in that area. Fingers crossed. Time to start rebuilding. Yesterday marked my 5 years back running (to the day) after not running a step since 1999. My experience in the Netherlands last weekend (and my week off) really made me think about what I'm doing and made me realize I need to get a little more serious with my training and my routine if I want to get where I truly want to be. I've never been as motivated with my running as I am right now...that is a great sign.