Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wachusett Mountain Race

This past weekend I headed down the 3 hour ride to the Wachusett Mountain Race (results) in Westminster/Princeton MA for the second race in the 2013 USATF New England Mountain Series.  I have been struggling with a bad foot since the week before the first race up in Sleepy Hollow, but truthfully I think I've held my own in the first two races all things considered, as guys like Eric MacKnight, Josh Ferenc, and Brandon Newbould have no business finishing behind me in anything at this point in my running career.   I knew the field for Wachusett would be missing Josh who was up crushing souls at Vermont City this weekend, but I also knew it would be deeper with the likes of the increasingly elusive Kevin Tilton and others who usually show up at the CMS event (which seems to be constantly changing shapes and this year is no exception).  The course this year was an up and down 10K (maybe even a tad longer) that would take me (for the first time ever) up to the actual summit of the mountain.  I have run this 4 times now and it has never gone to the top as long as I have been running it.  The last 3 years have featured some single track even.  This year, it was back to basics (almost) in that it headed up the auto road to the summit, and then came screaming down on the paved road and then gravel roads/ski trails to the base again.

It was an early morning as I had to be up at about 4:30 so I could hit the road by 5:00am or so.  After falling asleep continuously on the way down, I arrived nice and early and in plenty of time to register and take my time getting ready.  The weather was cold and wet.  Not an ideal start to the memorial day weekend.  It was so chilly in fact, that I was contemplating wearing a long sleeve and/or hat and gloves.

I warmed up (in long pants, jacket, hat and gloves) with my old college teammate and high school rival Brad Klinedinst (New Balance Boston) on the first 'mile hill' road and then back down the old single track from the past few years of the race.  It was great catching up with Brad though and he was looking fit.  It was just another lad out there I had to worry about.  The numbers of good runners I was catching a glimpse of on the warmup was increasing.  I was thinking top 10 at least, would be a good goal to shoot for.  I had already seen the Girlaway, I mean Whirlaway squad with MacKnight, Newbould,  Steve Dowsett, and even 'THE' Craig Fram milling around near the start.  Add those names to the list of CMS guys and some of the Hello Kitty AC team members, who for whatever reason decided to race under not only alias' but also incorrect age groups which completely screws up the results.  Don't get me started on how dumb that is...

I decided to go with the new Team Inov-8 uniform and the Trailroc 245s, but also a cap to keep the rain out of my eyes and some gloves and arm warmers, as the weather still was a bit on the chilly side.  I think having the weather that cold in a historically warmer month makes it seem even worse than it actually is.  I lined up right in the mix of all the younger studs and the race was underway.

Immediately the race pace felt pedestrian as there was a gigantic group of runners all bunched together for the first half mile or so.  It seemed like nobody wanted to take the lead.  Brandon and Eric seemed to be itching to go but everyone was holding back.  If this was 2 or 3 years ago I would have been gone.  I didn't mess around back then in these races.  But lately things have been horrible for me and the way my body feels, so I was in no rush to do anything dumb early.  Kevin Tilton seemed to wake up and soon I found him out front bossing people around and pushing the pace.   It looked like classic KT.  He's the best climber in the field but I wasn't sure if he was particularly in 'race shape' enough to go for it and hold off this pack...especially with 3 miles of downhill after the climb.  Had this been a 6 mile all-uphill race, he would have been my pick (even with some subpar training as of late).  But somewhere around the mile mark or so, everyone was waking up.  There was a good established top 5 of Newbould (Whirl), MacKnight (Whirl), Tilton (CMS/Dion/Inov-8/WMM/acidotic), one of the Hello Kitty runners whose name may or may not be 'Trudy' and Jacob Barnett (SRR).  I was hanging back a little and had lost a little ground.  I was having a quiet battle with Brendan Callahan (HKAC), Craig Fram, and a few others.  We were in a chase pack and I felt horrible to say the least.  I knew guys like Ross Krause, Tristan Williams, Todd Callaghan, Tivo, Tim Mahoney, DD, etc. were all lingering as well. My confidence was pretty much blown as my fitness was immediately giving me reason for concern.

The more the climb progressed, the more I lost touch with that lead pack.  Somewhere shortly after the race took a turn down off Mile Hill Rd. and dipped a little bit, Kevin all of the sudden seemed to come back a little bit.  I found myself only a hair ahead of Tristan Williams and not too far behind Kevin.  The group of 4 runners up front continued to pull away slowly.  For the next mile or so I broke a little away from Tristan and remained within shouting distance of Kevin, but he continued to push ahead and I couldn't make up any ground on him.  I started to feel around 2 miles or so, like I may be able to hold 6th if I could just survive the climb, not get passed on the way to the top, and then try to destroy the downhill.  I noticed Kevin continuously looking at his watch and he started to seem like he was no longer making a push to try to keep in contact with the lead group.  As we crested near the top of the climb I started to reel him in.  As we hit the turnaround at the top I had just about caught him. It came very fast.  I went from thinking he'll get me at the top by 20 seconds or so and then pull away on the downhill before I even get to him, to just about being even with him at the summit and thinking I'd have him on the down.

As we started the descent, I pulled up along side Kevin immediately and asked him quickly whether we were going down the same way we came up (because it looked like we were going to do that).  He quickly told me that we take another turn and head down the other side.  Right after that, I opened up my stride and started to push downhill (which seemingly doesn't bother my foot nearly as much as the climbing).  The first mile or so of the downhill is all on pavement and it is pretty steep down.  I stayed on the gas and tried not to think of the downhill as a recovery but rather a place where I needed to continue to accelerate and maybe make up some time on people in front of me (and lose some guys behind me if possible). I was shocked to see that during the first mile of descent I quickly came up on the Hello Kitty runner who was out front on the road climb for a while.  He looked to be running cautiously downhill but was flailing around like he was out of his element a little bit.  I came up next to him and he kindly gave me some encouragement and kudos for the downhill running I was doing.  He said 'I don't know how you are running so fast downhill'...  I looked over at him and told him to get back on the gas and come with me.  He gave a little up on me at first and dropped back but when the course leveled out a bit, he pulled up beside me again and I looked over at him and told him to get after it and go get those next couple guys.  I told him to just stay on the accelerator and actually race the downhill, not just coast or survive it.  He actually responded and took off on a little surge.  It was pretty cool to see, but I started to think that maybe I should have not said anything :).   Not too long after that though, once the course started to dip again, I found myself going back by him.  Then the course turned onto the dirt road and that was it.  I didn't see him again.  I quickly gained distance and knew that if he was not running as hard on the paved section because of the slope of the course, that the dirt section was probably going to slow him down even more.

The more the course descended on the dirt access road, I knew I was going to get 4th at the worst.  I couldn't really see anyone behind me for a long while.  Up ahead I started to see everyone.  I could see Eric, Brandon, and Jacob.  They were all close together but the distance seemed too much to make up. I was on the gas but I would have needed to run 20 seconds faster per mile on the way down to catch Eric and that wasn't going to happen. I was already in the 4:40s.  Near the end of the course, there is a small uphill section before the last bit of rough, rocky, uneven downhill and I mailed it in from there.  I knew that my few seconds of actually thinking of being able to catch Jacob and Brandon were just a pipe dream and I really lost them in the last half mile or so.  I dropped back and ended up rolling down in 4th place overall.  Not a bad finish considering my fitness (or lack thereof) and my foot problems.

I cooled down again with Brad down the road and around some off road areas on the way out of the ski area.  My legs were beginning to get sore and my calves were really tightening up due to all the downhill.  As I write this entry, I am still tight 5 days later.  On a positive note, no one older than me beat me.  I guess I have that going for me....which is nice.

Top 10 Overall:

Place Time Name Town, State Team
1 35:50 Eric MacKnight    Ballston Lake, NY  WRT 
2 36:09 Brandon Newbold   Nottingham, NH     WRT 
3 36:12 Jacob Barnett     Medford            SRR 
4 36:58 Jim Johnson       Madison, NH        BAA 
5 37:28 Trudy Delhagen    Brooklyn, NY       HKAC
6 37:40 Tristan Williams  Jackson, NH            
7 37:53 Todd Callaghan    Beverly            CGCS
8 38:06 Kevin Tilton      N Conway, NH       CMS 
9 38:29 Brian Keefe       Medford            SRR 
10 38:36 Ross Krause       East Thompson, MA  CMS 

297 Total Finishers

My history at Wachusett:

2010 - 4th (up and down on road and trails)
2011 - 1st (up and down on road and trails but more single track and more dangerous that 2010)
2012 - 3rd (up and down same as 2011)
2013 - 4th (up and down but longer and no single track...longer ascent on the road)

Maybe next year I'll get that 2nd I have been after... or 5th... This year's edition of the course is my favorite by far (so far).  Interestingly enough I have never run the original course but this was kind of close for the first part of the race...  I gathered my things after the awards (I was 2nd in my age group because Brandon Newbould is starting to get old, but not as old as I am) and I hit the bricks.  3 hours back up to God's country.  Hopefully I can continue to train around my foot issue and try to get back into shape while trying to figure out what is wrong.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Another Training Update and Trying to Catch Up

On top of Mt. Pierce (4,310 ft) in Beans Purchase, NH w/ Kristina and Ryan on MAY 26th...Yes, MAY 26th.

Training Week: 5-20 - 5-26

Had to make the tough decision to forego the Redhook 5k for the first time since I started running again back 6+ years ago. I have done that race every year since 2007. But with the foot bothering me, Wachusett on Saturday (the day before), and lackluster training that would not benefit me for a 5k, I decided to just run Wachusett, then spend some family time on Sunday w/ my girls (after the morning mountain run of course). Had some Garmin issues this week so things are a little off, but good to see my climbing up to over 6000 ft this week on 6 days. I was able to salvage data but it screwed up and shortchanged me on a couple runs this week including the Pierce run...  Still maintaining over an hour per day average of running so that's good... Will try to keep better track of things from now on....maybe back to a day by day...who knows...

50.7 miles

Running days: 6
Rest days: 1
Races: 1
Total running time: 6:59:10
Elevation Gain: 6100 ft

5-26 - Sunday: 7 miles - (mountain) Carroll, Beans Purchase, NH.  Garmin data got messed up.  Garmin has been screwed up all week.  Met Ryan and Kristina at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch and up we went on the Crawford Path to Pierce and then down the cutoff to Mizpah Hut and then down to the Crawford Path again. Strange seeing the hut full of people when it was snowed in.  Half a foot or more of snow on the trail and in the woods with more falling as we were running up. Very cold and windy at the summit. Incredible for May 26th (Memorial Day weekend)!.
5-25 - Saturday: 12 miles - Westminster, Princeton, MA.  Wachusett Mountain Race (results) - 4th OA.  (race data).  Warmup + Race + cooldown.  Horrible climb, decent descent.  Not a bad effort all things considered.
5-24 - Friday: 8.1 miles.  (data) - North Conway, Albany, Hales Location - Thompson Falls loop with Don from Westside Rd.  Nice trails back in the Mineral Site area.  Good run.
5-23 - Thursday: 10.6 miles (data) - North Conway, Albany - Mineral Site run (solo).  Digestive distress late in the game, but good trail run. Set of 10 strides afterwards.
5-22 - Wednesday: Off (I think...can't remember and Garmin is messed up)
5-21 - Tuesday: 6.6 miles (data) - Madison, Conway, NH.  From Ward Parcel.  Wanted to check out some new short trails in Madison at one of the areas of town I've never been in.  KT met me over there near Tasker Hill and we explored the conservation land before wandering around some of the other trails near Eidelweiss and the surrounding areas.  Rainy and dreary day.
5-20 - Monday: 6.4 miles.  North Conway, NH (data) from Walmart. Messed up Garmin data.  Short by a mile or so.  Ran into a big black bear to the northwest of the High School.  First couple miles solo and then the rest w/ KT on single track mountain bike trail around the school.

Video from our Memorial Day run up to Pierce.  It definitely was a memorable run... I love the White Mountains.

Tabby hates Daddy's injured left foot!

Training Week: 5-13 - 5-19

Better.  I'm not a complete slob, but it's getting better than it was.  Even on my low weeks mileage-wise I'm still getting an hour or so a day in (because of varying terrain and climbing).  So that's not too bad.  Time on my feet I guess...I still did get over 5000 ft of climbing on 6 days of 'easy' running... Seems like if I stick to roads and flatter trails I'm ok.  Roads seem to be no problem.  Off camber running is killing my foot right now.  I've been running with some added cushion and inserts (and bulkier trainers even on trails).  Seems to be helping.  Also been icing, stretching, massage, all the usual stuff.  Starting to think about bailing on some racing and just getting healthy and making a push towards some stuff later in the year.  I may still hit up some usual stuff locally but will not go bat sh*t crazy and try to drive hours to races when I'm not 100%.  The great thing I have going right now is just about everything else.  Family, home, and work are really going along great.  I have got a lot of projects going around here, some things on the way, and life as a Dad is completely taken over my focus.  It's the best thing that's ever happened to me and it makes being hurt not even seem remotely important in the grand scheme.  If I didn't have her, I'm not sure how I'd handle being hurt, missing racing, etc.  Really the only things that I did in my time other than it doesn't even matter...I run when I can and the rest of the time I'm not even thinking about it. For the Dads out there that can relate, you know what I'm talking about.  It's a wonderful thing and I'm just a little down sometimes that I didn't have kids earlier in life...but I try not to dwell on that.  I just can't wait until she is old enough to do some kid races!  Maybe by that time Mt. Washington will have a mini kids race up to like the 1/4 mile mark or something :).

50.4 miles

Running days: 6
Rest days: 1
Races: 0
Total running time: 6:26:46
Elevation Gain: 5369 ft

5-19 - Sunday: 8 miles - (data) - Madison, NH (solo) - Out and back up and down E.Madison Rd. towards Conway.  Squeezed this run in before Chris and Heather Searles-Mahoney dropped in for a day visit.
5-18 - Saturday: 8.6 miles - (data) - Madison, Freedom, NH (solo) - From King Pine at the end of E.Madison Rd.  Up nordic/snowmobile trails and up up up and around the snowmobile trails on the backside of Mary's Mountain and back up Goe Hill and down E.Madison again.  Foot was tolerable.
5-17 - Friday: 7 miles.  (data) - Madison, Freedom, NH (solo) - Late jump out of a long day at work.  Got a work call halfway up the climb near Mary's Mountain and stopped for 10 minutes to talk (was carrying my work phone).  Did a loop down the access rd. to Shawtown Rd. and then back up the trails  and down snowmobile trails back to Lead Mine/Black Brook. Foot felt ok but was junk if I pushed off.
5-16 - Thursday: 10.6 miles (data) - Madison, NH. Solo Lake Bang.  Foot felt ok because I kept it relatively easy and no climbing...
5-15 - Wednesday: Off 
5-14 - Tuesday: 7.5 miles (data) - North Conway/Intervale, NH.  Black Cap Run Up - solo.  From water tower off of Hurricane Mt. Rd.  Up to summit and then down on Red Tail Trail.
5-13 - Monday: 8.7 miles.  Madison, Freedom, NH.  (data) - Trout Pond and Pine Barrens loop w/ KT. Snowmobile trails off of Lead Mine / Black Brook Rd. out through airstrip and back around to Lead Mine through Pine Barrens.  Foot hanging on...

Black Cap Summit - Looking North towards Washington

Training Week: 5-06 - 5-12

Week of attempted recovery from foot issue again.  After limping through Sleepy Hollow I took a few days on and off to try to rest the obviously sprained / strained / upset left foot.

27 miles

Running days: 4
Rest days: 3
Races: 0
Injuries: 1
Total running time: 4:01:38
Elevation Gain: 1500 ft

5-12 - Sunday: 8.1 miles - (data) w/ KT.  At Rob Brook off Bear Notch Rd.  Loop up through Upper Nano trails.  Dropped my cell phone off a bog bridge.  Ran additional mile before I realized.  Kevin and I backtracked and KT spotted it off the bridge in some weeds.  Lucky I brought my white phone!
5-11 - Saturday: Off .
5-10 - Friday: 5.1 miles.  (data) w/ KT.  Trails from Walmart in NoCo.  Out past Pudding Pond.  Single track and snowmobile trail.  Just trying to keep foot in check.
5-09 - Thursday: 7.6 miles.  DD style with 3 runs...but my 3 runs were all within the same hour of time.  I just wanted to stay flat and easy but off road so I shot down the Kanc and explored 3 different forest roads I've never been down.  Only one of them had any real distance to it.  Good times.  Still some snowbanks on the side of the Kanc.  (data) and (data) and (data).  Foot junk.  Watch was off for about 1/4 of a mile on the way down the first run...
5-08 - Wednesday: Off.  Foot no good.  Just need to heal up. Did a short hike up to Cascades.
5-07 - Tuesday: 6.1 miles   North Conway, NH.  From Whitaker Woods. First mile solo then w/crew on a couple bangs of Whitaker. I didn't take notes so I can't remember who was there but I think it was Roger, Darin Brown, Don F, and a few others.  (data) and (data)
5-06 - Monday: Off.  Foot was a disaster after the weekend of forced climbing and racing on a sprain or strain or whatever it is....

More horrible views from Rob Brook

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Update... Training and Racing, etc.

It's been a little while since my last blogging escapade so here's a QUICK summary of what I've been up to 'running-wise'.... seems a little insignificant now that I'm a proud father and that's obviously the priority, but since this is called 'doublejrunning', I figured I'd come back to this and make some updates...

Photo - Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race by Scott Mason

Training Week: 4-29 - 5-05

Good, Bad, and Ugly week with the first mountain race of the 2013 season (which was good)... The bad was that my foot problem resurfaced out of the blue.  The ugly was the fact that I may have let a great opportunity slip away at Sleepy Hollow... more on that in a race report (hopefully).

57.8 miles

Running days: 6
Rest days: 1
Races: 1
Total running time: 7:40:17
Elevation Gain: 5580 ft

5-05 - Sunday: 10.4 miles - Huntington, VT - warmup (data) w/ Ferenc, MacKnight, Newbould, around some of the course + Race: Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race (results) (data).  4th OA.  40:29.  Was in 2nd at 4.5 miles. 3rd at 5 miles. 4th at 6 miles.  See the trend?  Not bad though considering my foot is a problem again.  Cooldown with same crew + Todd Callaghan (data).
5-04 - Saturday: 6 miles - Huntington, VT - running over the course (solo) at about 4pm.  Foot really bad on the climbs (data).
5-03 - Friday: Off.  Foot really bad.  Stretching and massage but stayed off it to try to help heal whatever it is that is going on... just trying to salvage Sleepy Hollow at this point.
5-02 - Thursday: 6 miles (data).  Madison, NH. Down 113 from my house to Silver Lake train station, then up along the dirt roads off the snowmobile trails and back.  Foot getting bad.  Took it really easy.
5-01 - Wednesday: 7.6 miles (data).  Madison, NH.  Down 113 from house to Silver Lake train station, then up along the power lines to Boulder Rd. and then back to the house on Conway Rd.  Ran into some serious flooding and had to take an awful, grown in, old side trail around.  Bushwhacked through thick woods, got ticks all over me, and had to scramble across a beaver dam to get across.  Foot starting to bother me pretty good.  Not good!
4-30 - Tuesday: 11 miles (data).  North Conway, NH.  From Whitaker Woods. First couple miles w/ KT. Then wandering as he did a workout.
4-29 - Monday: 16.8 miles.  Madison, NH.  First run at lunch - 9.7 miles (data) from my house down to train tracks and then up NH Corridor 19 then on dirt access roads up to Boulder Rd. then back on 113. Second run (trails) after work w/ KT at the Lower Nano trails off the Kanc in Albany, NH (data).

Photo - Muddy Moose Trail Race - by Tad Thomas

Mount Washington from near the summit of Chocorua
Training Week: 4-22 - 4-28

Good week of 7 days of training, over 9 hours of running, and over 9000 feet of climbing.  1 race in which I got my arse handed to me and ran substantially slower than last year but one place better... Got to also get up and climb Chocorua for the first time this year which was awesome.

62.1 miles
Running days: 7
Rest days: 0
Races: 1
Total running time: 9:22:36
Elevation Gain: 9256 ft

4-28 - Sunday: 15,7 miles - Wolfeboro, NH - warmup w/ Najem, Ferenc, and Justin Freeman on trails and dirt roads (data) + Race: (dataMuddy Moose Trail Race (results). 2nd OA. 1:32:12. Got destroyed by Ferenc who said almost said 'hoof!' to the course record on a very warm day... No cooldown as everyone was dead from the race...
4-27 - Saturday: 5.3 miles (data) - Madison, NH - short, easy run (solo) on some trails and roads from house.
4-26 - Friday: 6 miles (data) - Tamworth, Ossipee, NH - Logging Roads, dirt mountain roads, snowmobile trails. Summited Mt. Whittier w/ KT + wandering on logging roads and snowmobile trails.
4-25 - Thursday: 12.5 miles (data) - Albany, Conway, Hales Location, NH - Mineral Site w/ KT (first 2 miles solo...last 10.5 w/ KT).
4-24 - Wednesday: 12.2 miles (data) - Wandering around Madison trails, dirt roads, snowmobile trails, train tracks, etc. A little bushwhacking in there too...Solo.
4-23 - Tuesday: 3.1 miles (data) - Madison, NH.  Birthday run...from my house, up Cascades trail and up to Mooney Hill. Solo.
4-22 - Monday: 7.3 miles (data) - Albany, NH.  Chocorua run-up via Liberty Trail (up and down). Solo. 1st ascent this year. Lots of snow past 1.5.

Looking down the Ski Jump off the Kanc

Training Week: 4-15 - 4-21

Ho-hum week of lower mileage, 1 day off, and 1 slow grind of a 5k on a windy and rolling course.  Got a good win though with close to 2000 people which is awesome.  Bought a shed after the race on Sunday which is totally awesome.  It won't be delivered and constructed until late June...can't wait.

49.6 miles
Running days: 6
Rest days: 1
Races: 1
Total running time: 5:48:01
Elevation Gain: 2690 ft.

4-21 - Sunday: Off.  Spent the day at my parents and family in Wakefield NH at the lake.
4-20 - Saturday: 10.9 miles - Londonderry, NH.  Warmup 4 miles over course (data) + Race: Stonyfield Earth Day 5k (results)(data) - 16:35 - 1st OA. + 3.7 mile cooldown over course (data).
4-19 - Friday: 5 miles (data) - Conway, Albany, NH - Run from the middle school over some trails and the XC course + over to the ski jump off the Kanc. With KT.
4-18 - Thursday: 10.6 miles (data) - Madison, NH.  Silver Lake bang w/ Ian on his bike filming...
4-17 - Wednesday: 9.1 miles (data) - Tamworth, NH.  Chocorua Lake Rd. and snowmobile trails w/ KT.  Muddy good times.
4-16 - Tuesday: 10 miles (data) - Madison, Albany, NH.  Out and back in Madison, Albany. On 113 (solo) from my house up and down to Rt 16 and then to the White Mountain Waldorf school road entrance and then back.
4-15 - Monday: 4 miles (data) - Albany, NH.  Mineral Site w/ KT.  Short and easy. KT still feeling sick and I was good w/ just doing something short.

Looking North on the airstrip in Freedom, NH

Training Week: 4-08 - 4-14

Lackluster week with a race I really didn't ever want to do but did it to cross it off the list... Other than that, 2 off days right before that effort didn't help.  Legs were just beat.

46.6 miles
Running days: 5
Rest days: 2
Races: 1
Total running time: 6:10:30
Elevation Gain: 2955 ft.

4-14 - Sunday: 6 miles (data) - Pembroke, Duxbury, MA trails and roads (solo). From Kristin's parents house to Duxbury Conservation land...then wandering...
4-13 - Saturday: 12.5 miles - Andover, MA. Warmup on river trail 2 miles (data) + Race: Merrimack River Trail '10 miler'. 9.5 miles (data).  1st OA.  59:08 (results).
4-12 - Friday: Off.
4-11 - Thursday: Off.
4-10 - Wednesday: 10.5 miles (data) - Madison, Freedom, Ossipee NH - Snowmobile trails and roads. Loop from Black Brook Rd. out to airfield, around to Pine Barrens and back to Lead Mine via powerlines and snowmobile trails (sloppy). Solo.
4-09 - Tuesday: 10.6 miles (data) - Madison, NH - Lake bang w/ KT.
4-08 - Monday: 10 miles (data) -  - Eaton, Freedom NH loop w/ KT. Roads/Dirt roads.