Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30 (Wednesday)

April 30 (Wednesday) - More redlining.  This time, 6 miles but in 1:13:10.  Went off trail at the base of the highest point and ended up rock climbing and scaling up across a huge wet mess, only to find out later that I was way off trail. I missed a right (that I think is new) that goes around a disaster of a rock/tree slide down the top of the Old Paugus trail.  I found the right way on the way back down, but it added a ton of time to my journey.  Redlined the upper section of the Old Paugus Trail up to Bee Line, then came back down and finished off the very top of the Big Rock Cave trail.  Then headed back.  Tons of snow on the upper part.  Knee deep in a lot of spots, which made it very slow going.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29 (Tuesday)

April 29 (Tuesday) - Headed over to do a small section of redlining that has been staring me in the face.  From the Liberty/Brook trailhead parking lot in Tamworth.  Headed up the Bolles Tr. for a small section I hadn't done (parallel to the Bee Line Cutoff) and then hooked a right and headed UP the Bee Line trail towards Chocorua. It comes out right at the junction of the Brook Trail where the uprooted trees are peeled back from a large slab of rock. In all it was 2.8 miles of new trail I got to redline pretty easily, although the route up Bee Line was packed in with a lot of snow up high.  I had to walk in spots as I was punching through, knee deep in spots.  I hit the junction of Bee Line at 6:53pm. I was about .6 from the summit but decided to bag it as it really wasn't in the plan and I didn't think I had enough daylight.  It's a slow .6 because of all the snow and wet slabs.  I did have my headlamp, but I decided to head down the Brook trail instead of going back the way I came (because of all the snow).  The Brook trail was relatively clear of all the snow, but a lot of it is just really rugged and it's my least favorite trail to run on in that area.  I've come down that a few times now and regret it each time.  7.3 miles round trip.  I botched my watch on the way down and lost about 12 minutes of data, but it was a solid run.  Only 7.3 miles but the time on my feet was like a long run.

Starting to see more snow on the trail as I make my way up.

I missed this all winter.

Deep snow in sections.

Junction of Bee Line section I hadn't run previously.

The only 'view' I had...on the way down the Brook Trail

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28 (Monday)

April 28 (Monday) - 5 miles (easy) on the trails w/ Darin Brown from his house, down to Freedom Town Forest and back.  Legs felt a bit heavy but OK considering the effort yesterday.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27 (Sunday) - Muddy Moose Trail Race

April 27 (Sunday) - Headed over to Wolfeboro, NH for another go at the Muddy Moose 14 mile trail race (results) (which feels more like running 20+ miles because of the amount of energy expenditure you need to use to get through it).  This was my 3rd year running it and it's getting harder to pass up because it's relatively local (2 towns away and about 35 minutes of nice quiet country roads).  The weather was very different than last year, as it had rained most of the day on Saturday and was dreary and cold on Sunday morning.  That would make for an interesting race and interesting conditions for sure.  I decided on my Mudclaw 265s for the journey, as the aggressive outsole seemed to be a good fit for the course.  Also, it had 'Mud' in the name :).

By race time (and after a couple of easy miles with Frank Holmes to warmup), I was thinking that considering none of the 'usuals' were there I'd be able to win this if I could get through it.  It would be my single longest run (pretty pathetic to say) since last year.  I was unsure about my legs and fitness but that's why I was there to begin with.  At the very least it would be a great test of strength and a good workout.

As the race went off, a pack of about 5 or 6 young guns took it out hard. I mixed into the pack and let them push down the paved and then dirt road that starts the race.  There was a guy in Vibrams, which I just didn't understand. The most horrific terrain in a normal 'trail race' around and he was wearing footwear with almost zero protection.  I understand Vibrams (somewhat) in a road 5k... but not in this race.  I was hoping for his sake he was doing the 4 miler (which runs at the same time as the 14).  The other 4 or so dudes looked pretty fast.  I found myself itching to move out front but stayed put as the pace was about as hot as it was last year when Ferenc took it out like he was being shot at.

Once we got around the closed gate (yes, it was closed this year) and started working across the muddy and mangled mess that is the second half of the first mile, I started to notice that most of the guys were starting to get a little hesitant.  I pushed across the mud and tall mush of grass and knarled tree limbs and occasional sharp rocks.  The 'pack' strung out at this point.  One guy stuck right on my shoulder though as the drier sections came.  I pushed on for the first mile and a half or so, with him right in tow.  He seemed to almost want to go passed me, but he stayed on my shoulder.  Then somewhere before 2 miles I put a gap on him all of the sudden, across another completely mudded out section.  The first couple miles were brutal.  Much worse than I remember the first two years I ran this.  It seemed like the mud was almost the entire way, and there was a lot of standing water.

By the time I made my way up to the point where the course goes left (for the 14 miler) or right (for the 4 miler) I was sure that I would be alone and everyone else behind would take a right.  Well, I kept looking back as I was now on the dirt road section, and eventually the guy in second came out and took a left for the 14!  I was pretty shocked.  I knew at that point it wouldn't be an easy win.  As I looked back again, I saw more of those guys all take a left.  One of them looked to have taken the right, but I had company.  They gained on me a bit on the mile or so of dirt road.  I took this bit a little easy, as I knew what was in store up ahead.

By the time I got up and then down to the start of the 'Escarpment', I was ready for the grueling climb up the steepest and longest ascent of the day.  This is a trail section that goes straight up.  The last two years, I actually had to walk small sections of it.  This year I just kept the head down and the legs moving.  About 1/4 of the way up, I peeked back and saw a small group of those guys now starting the climb.  It's deceiving on the climb because they seem like they are right behind you, but it takes so long to climb it, it distorts the distance.

At the top of the Escarpment there are multiple little up and downs across exposed rock slabs.  It was incredibly slick.  I kept slipping sideways and almost losing it.  I had to tip toe across and then walk/scramble on the backside, as the trail becomes a section of literal rock climbing to get down.  Once beyond that section I hit the nice downhill along snowmobile/jeep trails.  They were muddy and soft and wet as hell.  Most of it I had to run on the side of the trail to stay on fairly runnable stretches.  I kept looking back to gauge how much the Escarpment hurt those guys (if at all).  I would continue to do this most of the race, however little did I know that after that initial climb up, I would never see one of those guys behind me again).

For the next bunch of miles it's more of the same.  Up and down. Steep climbs, steep drops, and twisting and turning through mud and standing water.  Every so often, planting down and having the mud go up to your knees almost.  Sometimes there were ways around it.  Sometimes not.  Sometimes it was hopping up in to the woods and through branches and over rocks and sometimes it was a few walking steps through water and knee-deep mud.  I told myself on the first bad section during the first mile, that time was out the window.  I was just going for a strong run and try to get the win.

Once I eventually got up to the 'choose your own adventure' section of the course (which is a loop at the far end of the most remote section of the course), I decided to go left.  You can either go left or right and it's probably 15 minutes of the most disastrous terrain I run all year.  Going left or right, it really doesn't matter.  It seems like left has more of a gradual down at first, followed by a steep climb back up.  Going right seems like you have a very steep drop early, and then a long grind on the way back up.  Either way you go, it is a rocky, wet mess.  And there are two huge sections of standing water.  The lowest of which is called 'the beaver dam' because of, well, the beaver dam.  It has destroyed that bottom section, making it a small pond. go right across it.  A plus is that if it's hot out (which it wasn't), it will cool you off.  Another plus is that it will clean you up. You come out of there nice and washed off...but that lasts about 30 seconds and then you are back to being gross again. By the time I got through all that and started to climb back up, I wondered when (if at all) I'd see the guys behind me either coming at me from the other direction, or catching me in there.  Last year, Ferenc and Najem and I all went the same way, so I never saw those guys.  Two years ago, Kevin and Justin Freeman went the opposite way, so I actually saw them pass by me. Even if they do come at you, it's very tough to judge how much time you have on them.  I didn't see anyone until I was pretty into the loop.  I saw a guy in green first.  I wondered if he was in 2nd, but then figured probably not because he wasn't one of the guys in that pack.  Then later, I saw another guy just before I popped out of the loop.  I figured the pack of younger guys went the same way I did, so I knew they were within probably 5 or less minutes at that point.

As I made my way back down the way I came in, you pass people heading out to the loop.  I noticed one of the guys who was in that early pack, sort of struggling and he hadn't even gotten to the loop yet.  I was shocked. It made me wonder if the rest of the guys were still to come and had faded way back...but I didn't see anyone. I saw a lot of others though, and most offered encouragement as I worked the downhill back to the junction.  Once down to the junction, I took a sharp left that I missed 2 years ago.  This is the last new section of the course before you eventually hook back into the last 4-5 miles of the course as an 'out and back'.  This section is fast and downhill.  Two years ago when I went back the other way, it actually adds next to nothing for distance, but is way slower terrain-wise.  I wasn't going to make this mistake again and rolled on down this section.  I still looked back as there are very long stretches of straight trails where you can see close to a quarter mile back. I never saw anyone.
Finally I hit the water stop junction and hooked a left and headed back against runners again who were back at the back of the pack. Again, they offered encouragement as I pushed on.  After this section, it was another left and then up up up to the Escarpment again.  But from this end, it is a LONG climb up horrendously muddy and slow jeep trails.  I was gassed here but was still feeling alright leg-wise.  I eventually got up to the rock climb and had to carefully walk up /scramble up to the top of the Escarpment.  You can not run this section.  Once at the top, it was tip-toeing across the wet slabs and then I took it very easy on the way down the first part of the Escarpment, which was raked clean of most leaves, but it was still so steep you really had to be on the brakes on the way down.

Once down the bottom, it was time for a mile or so of dirt roads.  This is where I essentially bonked two years in a row and had to use gels.  I had 2 gels with me but didn't need them. I felt good here.  I pushed on and never even glanced at my watch as I never considered time to be a factor in this race due to the conditions.  On the way to the trail junction, I saw one of the dudes who was in the chase pack early in the race, doing a cooldown towards me.  He most likely had run the 4 miler (and probably won it).  I finally hit the trail again and the crew working that section motioned for me to take the right and they said 'this way to mud alley'.  I laughed and thought to myself that the entire course had been 'mud alley'.  This section was the slowest though.  I really struggled over the next mile or so, to maintain the rhythm, but I really did feel fine from head to toe.  Eventually I made it through, crossed the road again, and then hit the last mile which is about half gnarly trail and half road.  I popped back out onto the road and meandered up the last half mile which is almost all uphill.  I peeked at my watch for the first time, just as it clicked over to 1:30. I was shocked. I had made it a point not to look.  But now I thought to myself that that was a great time for the effort it took on the course (without anyone pushing or anyone to try to catch).  I kept the same tempo up and came rolling up through the finish. I came across the line and stopped my watch about a second or so after I crossed.  I had 1:32:13 on my watch. I thought nothing of it...until I got home and looked up my time from last year and saw 1:32:12!!!! Unreal.  The results then showed I ran 1:32:11.  That is a full 1 second improvement from last year in a lot worse conditions... In recent years it has been a rarity for me to improve on a course from a previous year... I think the last time I probably did that (snowshoe racing aside) was Ascutney, 2 years ago.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

April 26 (Saturday)

April 26 (Saturday) - a wet, hilly trail (mud/muck-fest) run w/ Mr. Brown-stone.  Raining.  From his sprawling  palatial estate off Lead Mine Rd. up Daniel Ward Rd. (class VI) up to Goe Hill Rd. and down to Shawtown.  We started to climb up Mary's mountain and just before, Darin had indicated he wasn't feeling well.  Then on the climb, he fell back...then he the ground.  His legs started wobbling and his head went back and his body just started shutting down.  It was very scary.  He got down on the ground and we stopped for a few minutes.  He was seeing flashing lights and lost his senses for a bit.  I was thinking I would have to hoof it out of there and go get the car (which would have taken forever).   But he collected himself and we headed back down and made the decision to run back out Shawtown Rd. to Ossipee Lake Rd. and then dip back into the Freedom town forest and come back on the flat snowmobile trails.  He was able to make it the 8.4 miles round trip (we were going for 10 originally).  He just ended up having an epic bonk at the wrong time.  Finished up in 1:10:25.  Hamstring twinged ever so slightly on the way back. Not a big issue, but I noticed it for the first time in a real damage done.

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 25 (Friday)

April 25 (Friday) - 5 miles easy w/ the Doctor.  He told me the most disturbing story I've ever heard in my life, so it was worth it.  Out and back in neighborhoods up in Forest Pines.  4 w/ Darin (who just got some new wheels)...+ 1 mile up and back on E.Madison Rd. solo, to give me my 5.  35:47.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24 (Thursday)

April 24 (Thursday) - another Lake Bang w/ Doc Brown.  10.4 miles in 1:18:55 just easy does it.  Not bad for the hilly bang this time of year at conversation pace.  I'm well on my way to 38 now....

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 23 (Wednesday)

April 23 (Wednesday) - My birthday. Celebrated with a nice solid 5 mile run back from dropping my whip off at Albany Service Center.  My car was making all sorts of awful noises and there was loud thumping and grinding when I turned the wheel.  Needless to say I needed some work done (new wheel bearing, etc). Brakes, inspection, oil change, etc.  Dropped the car off and rock n' rolled home on 113.  31:42 for the 5 hilly miles up and down 113. Felt really good (for 37).  Chinese food w/ my parents and the family afterwards... good times.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22 (Tuesday)

April 22 (Tuesday) - Lake bang back in full effect. 10.4 miles w/ Downtown Darin Brown around picturesque E.Madison and Silver Lake.  Nice and easy (1:19:49).  Legs felt pretty stiff over last few miles.  Very strange tightness and pain in my hips.  Maybe it's because I'm almost 37.

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21 (Monday)

April 21 (Monday) - 5 miles (out and back) down 113 to 41 and back w/ Darin + another mile on my own to get 5.  Nice and easy.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20 (Sunday)

April 20 (Sunday) - Another run (this time in the morning as I was pressed for time) in Pembroke and Duxbury.  Nice quiet roads (mostly in Duxbury).  Another day where I felt great and wish I could have gone longer.  It made me realize quickly that my slower pace around my house and up in the valley is absolutely quicker (and a better effort) that I think it is.  6.3 miles in 42:10 and felt like a jog.  This effort in Madison would have been close to an hour :).  Maybe it's the elevation.  Went to Braintree for Easter and then back home (3+ hours).  Didn't get back until pretty late.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 19 (Saturday)

April 19 (Saturday) - Headed out late afternoon in Pembroke, MA for 10 miles on the roads and trails.  Felt great.  Running on flat MA roads really seems night and day at this point.  I was amazed at how easy a quicker pace feels when you aren't constantly going up hill ;).  I took it very easy for the first mile or so, then landed (after 3 miles) at the Willow Brook Preserve .  I hopped in there for about 3 miles (easy on trails and old carriage roads).  It was awesome running in there.  Pembroke itself (and neighboring  Duxbury) has a lot of very old properties and homes that are beautiful to run past.  This preserve was like going back to the 1600s-1700s.  Stonewalls, open fields, and old bridle paths.  At the far end was an observation tower I climbed to look out across the marsh.  Very cool.  Out another 3 back to the house.  1:08:45 for the trip which was really good considering the middle 3 miles were all slow trails.

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18 - Friday

April 18 - Friday - Easy run in the Cascades again + out to Mooney Hill.  3 miles very late in the day after working late.  Better than a zero.  Legs feel ok.  Heading away for the weekend.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 17 (Thursday)

April 17 (Thursday) - Out and back on E.Madison Rd.  Up and over to a small neighborhood going towards King Pind that I've never run in. Meandered around there and then back down and up (and down and up and down and up and down) to my house.  8.1 miles.  54:06.

Took Tabby down to Rochester, NH (Lilac Mall) to get her picture taken w/ the Easter Bunny.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16 (Wednesday)

April 16 (Wednesday) - Out and back on Chocorua Lake Rd. in Tamworth and Albany.  9.5 miles total.  A little brisk out but good run.  Some small stretches of the road still had snow and ice on it (the unmaintained-in-the-winter section specifically).  Ran up and down and out to the Liberty trailhead and headed up about a half mile to check it out (very wet) and then turned and came back down and out.  Great day for a run.  1:08:40.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April 15 (Tuesday)

April 15 (Tuesday) - Easy late day jog up to the Cascades.  Ridiculous rapids up there from all the snowmelt and rain we've gotten.  Lots of down trees and limbs too.  Will be a good amount of work to clean it up in there. Just 4 miles easy.

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14 (Monday)

April 14 (Monday) - Out and back easy 10 miles in Madison.  From my house, up E.Madison Rd. to Lead Mine to check out the condition of the road through to the beach on Silver Lake.  The road was in awesome shape.  Some mud and very soft, but not bad.  Took it really easy on the hilly side of the lake. (1:17:37)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13 (Sunday)

April 13 (Sunday) - off.  Resting the legs which were slightly beat after the race.  Had my parents visiting for the day for the first time since they returned home from their winter vacation.  Pleased that I wasn't limping around and figured if I felt pretty good after the race (just some slight leg pain that usually comes with racing nowadays), I wouldn't push it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12 (Saturday) - Merrimack River Trail Race

Photo by Emily Trespas

April 12 (Saturday) - Headed down to the River Trail in Andover, MA for the Merrimack River Trail race (10 miles) (results).  Despite doing nothing of quality and only near 50 or so miles per week, I decided to race this weekend and not miss another chance to at least get into a race situation and give my brain some exposure to racing again (even if my legs weren't going to cooperate).  I didn't think a 5 miler or 5k on the road would do me much good with the way I was feeling.  So I figured a 6 minute pace (or so) effort on the trails at a longer distance may be better.

The weather was nice and warm and the trail was relatively clear.  I headed out for a warmup with Kevin along the first mile and a half of the course.  The legs felt banged up as usual and I couldn't really fathom how I was going to push them at 'race pace' but I was about to find out.  On the starting line was Brandon Newbould, Kevin, Sam Jurek, EJN, Ethan Nedeau, Tim Cox, and a few others I was worried about.  Looking at Brandon and Kevin, I knew I would be in contention (if I had a miraculous run) for a strong 3rd place.  As the race began, I found myself quickly in around 7th place as I was being elbowed pretty aggressively by a shirtless older (older than me anyways) gentlemen who got a pretty good start.  I got wrangled back into the line that immediately hits the single track about 20 feet from the line.  If I have one complaint about the race course, it's that.  I know it's tradition, yadda yadda, but the course (like any other) should give you just a bit more time to at least play out a little before going immediately into tight single track.  It's like a stair climb race for cripe sakes.  You take 2 steps, then are at a dead stop almost as you go into single track.  Just my two cents.  Everyone has them.

After stretching out the first 100 yards or so you head straight into the underpass of Rt. 93.  Under this on the far side was a mountain of snow and ice.  The flagging went directly over the side of it, which made for a very slow, one at a time, pass through.  There was apparently a bypass to the right of this, on the other side of the bridge support (pictured at the top), but that really wasn't much faster as you had to tip toe along a thin/tight stone path and make sure not to fall in the river in the process.  As I got to the bridge, I saw someone disappear to the right of the bridge support.  Kevin went straight up and over the ice (he was leading).  Behind Kevin was about 4 others in front of me.  I knew that they would have to queue up in front of the ic,  wait for the person in front,  and scramble over.  I took the 'high road' and went up the slope to the very top, and came screaming down the little trail path that was to the far left.  It was probably 'off course' and to the observer, it looks far slower and longer to go that way, but I did it anyways and to my surprise, I came down right behind Kevin, now in 2nd place.  Brandon appeared from the right and ducked behind me in 3rd.

We continued now, in single file, following Kevin. I knew the pace was slow. I could feel it.  I ran 59:08 last year and even that felt slow.  This year, I knew by mile 1 that no one was breaking 60 at this pace.  I figured Brandon would blast on passed us sooner than later.  But he sat.  Mile after mile, I stayed right behind Kevin as we ran 5:30s or so for the first couple miles and then got a little slower as the course played out and got a little tougher.  There were slick bridges (every bridge I had to tip toe over and a couple times I almost went down after losing my footing) and slippery, muddy sections.  I saw Brandon go down once on a climb.  I inadvertently threw my arm out and nailed Brandon in the number (right in the middle of his chest) as I slipped off a slippery board that spans across a muddy section that is muddy all year.  It was a bit rough in spots, but still the course was in great shape compared to what I'm seeing back home.

All 3 of us passed up and over the power line climbs, which are short, but steep.  At about 4.25 miles or so (in the '5' miles out and back course), Brandon made a move.  Kevin didn't go.  I stayed behind him.  I was pretty pumped that I made it to the turnaround without issue.  My legs were bothering me, but no more than usual (even at the 'faster' pace).  I was confident as we turned, that I could eventually go around Kevin and at least get 2nd. I'm not sure why.  I had no basis for thinking that.  He's been training like a mad man this winter/spring.  But I just had a feeling he was slowing and by the way Brandon took off and left us out of view in the span of a mile, I figured it was close to time I went around Kevin and started pushing back towards the finish.

Photo by Michael Quintal - Associated Press - North Andover Division

As we started climbing back up from the turn around, Kevin was moving OK on the ups but he was tip toe-ing on the descents.  He shouted back at me to go around him if I wanted.  He said he wasn't feeling good on the downs.  I let him know that I was content where I was at the time (we still had some climbing left) and that I'd go later on if needed.  We worked together for another half mile or so, up and over all the steep ups and downs.  A couple of stream crossings we had to hop over seemed to take the steam out of his race.  He also rolled his ankle hopping over a log.  I felt he was having a tough time and I felt great (all things considered).

Somewhere around 6-6.5 I decided to go.  I went around him on a down and pushed.  I know every inch of the course and knew I had a little up and down to come, but I was feeling great and decided to go.  In the span of a half mile or so, I had completely dropped Kevin.  On some of the peeks back, I could barely see him. I put a lot of space on him and started to focus on just holding 2nd.  This could have been my big mistake.  I was 100% sure I was at least going to get second.  I had no doubt.  I pushed on and eventually by 7 miles, I could see Brandon!  He looked to be almost jogging up ahead through the woods.  As I passed by some of the runners who were still on the course heading out, they even told me that he wasn't that far ahead.  By 7.5 I thought that I may be able to get close.  By 8 miles I thought I was possibly in contention to win.  By 8.5, that tone changed.  I started to peek back and noticed to my surprise (even as I was still gaining on Brandon) that Kevin was starting to charge and come back to me.  I had been asleep at the wheel and got content at catching Brandon, but not holding off Kevin. I was slowing and had lost momentum.  By the steep uphill near the 2/8 mile marks, Kevin's footfalls were now in earshot.  I could hear the very recognizable clearing of his throat as he was breathing.  It was only a matter of time.  

Right as I hit the 9 mile mark, I moved over a bit and Kevin blew passed me.  I told him that Brandon was just up ahead and he could catch him.  He responded for me to go with him.  I think if I made that decision, I would have maybe finished differently, but hindsight.... I told him I was done and convinced myself that I was.  I am just not in race mode yet and I folded.  I settled and Kevin took off on his torrid pace.  He was killing it over the last couple miles.  Something inside of me was pleased to see it, even though I knew I was throwing in the towel for no reason other than I didn't want to feel the pain that he was obviously feeding off of.  Over the last 5 minutes, I watched as he pulled away and moved closer and closer to Brandon who was almost in arms reach now. In the end, I rolled across the line almost 2 minutes slower than last year in 1:01:01.  38 seconds behind Brandon and 22 seconds behind Kevin.  My prediction of no one under 60 was definitely spot on.  I was pleased about finishing where I thought I would before the race... but had mixed feelings about thinking I was not only going to be 2nd, but also might win, not even 20 minutes earlier... All in all, I was definitely pleased I could actually run faster than a jog, which is what I've seemingly been doing for that was a plus.

Photo by J-Paw

A cooldown on the course again w/ a good pack of guys, mostly talking w/ Sam Jurek (who fell and was all bloodied), for about 2 miles...  15 miles for the day.  I knew that would be my last run until Monday. I was fully planning on not being able to walk on Sunday :).

Friday, April 11, 2014

April 11 (Friday)

April 11 (Friday) - Late afternoon 8 miles (57:29) with Kevin Tilton. Yes...Kevin Tilton.  Haven't seen or heard from this guy in ages.  He's been training in secret and getting in monster shape.  At least someone is up here.  We did a nice road loop from the Jr. High.  Eventually made our way up past Tin Mountain and the Darby Field Inn and dropped down onto the Kanc and headed back. I got both town lines (Albany/Conway). It was incredibly warm.  In the low 60s.  Lots of exposed snow took a major hit in the open areas like the fields at the school...

A snow covered Mt. Washington from the Jr. High parking lot.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 10 (Thursday)

April 10 (Thursday) - Late run again after work. Almost didn't get out.  Nice weather but slightly chilly when I headed out.  Everything is still snow and mud so I stuck to the roads and went up E.Madison to Maple Grove/Pound/Moddock Hill/Colby Hill and did the loop w/ 1000ft of elevation gain in 8 miles in the 'neighborhoods' near my house.  56:51 for the loop.  Nice and relaxed.  Didn't work it but felt beat up during and after.  Muscles just are not recovering at all.  Feeling my age + 15-20 years.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 9 (Wednesday)

April 9 (Wednesday) - Legs still trashed but managed 10 miles on 2 runs just because.  Just feel really banged up even doing slow miles.  Hit up 4 VERY easy miles at lunch on a beautiful day.  Out and back down to Silver Lake.  Then did 6 more miles later on after work in 41:40 (out and back up/down E.Madison Rd.).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8 (Tuesday)

April 8 (Tuesday) - Raining and crappy out but relatively warm.  Everything is either rotten snow or mud.  The fog from the melting/evaporating snow was crazy-thick.  I headed out aimlessly and found myself parking in the mud off of Potter Rd. in Eaton and doing (or trying to do) and out and back.  I got about 3 miles up Potter Rd. to the point where it really wasn't plowed.  I tried to continue but was punching through snow and deep mud.  I turned and headed back down, then did and out and back to the Eaton Town Hall on the main roads.  8 miles total (57:21).

The infamous Potter Rd. (looking back up towards the entrance and Rt. 153)

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7 (Monday)

April 7 (Monday) - Headed out late after work and didn't have too much time in, but got over to the Lower Nanamocomuck Ski Trail in Albany, NH for a rip on the trails.  I'm not quite sure what I was expecting.  I half expected there maybe to be some 'trails' but instead it was just a ton of rotten snow.  I tried to handle it with the Microspikes but no dice. I had to turn around and head back after about a half mile of postholing.  I threw on the Dions and headed back out for more but it was just too awful.  Postholing and near falling on my face continuously.  Turned back after not too long and called it a day after only 3 miles of torture (and 30:11).

The road isn't quite open yet...

Lower Falls from the opposite side

Maybe the last ride on the Dions until the fall/winter?  Maybe...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 6 (Sunday)

April 6 (Sunday) - Worked out in the shed all day building a workbench and organizing the winter mess into a Spring mess.  By the time I finished the project, it was 6pm. My back was killing me.  I still got out for 7 miles easy on the roads. I'm glad I went when I did though...I saw something I've never seen before and I'm not sure I ever will again.  As I was running up E.Madison Rd. near the junction of Granite and Maple Grove, I saw 5 nice white tail deer run about 30 yards in front of me across the street.  They stopped about 20 feet down Granite rd. and turned and stared me down as I went by.  About 400 yards up the road on the other side, stood 7 more...just chillin' and watching me.  When I stopped, they turned and ran into the woods on the other side.  That was cool (so I thought) that I had seen 12 deer in the matter of about a minute or two.  However, that was NOTHING compared to what I saw at the top of E.Madison, in the field just before Goe Hill.  I stopped in awe and at first thought that for some reason there was a ton fake deer standing in the field as they were all staring at me and none were moving.  Then, as I stopped for a moment, one moved.  Then I saw another.  I quickly started counting. 82!  EIGHTY TWO more.  And by the time I had finished, I notice some more in the woods but I could not make them out to accurately count those.  I could not believe how many there were and they were all within 100 yards of me.  Then a couple started to run and the rest got spooked and they all turned almost at once and bolted.  I don't think I've ever seen that many of the same animal like that all together with the exception of maybe birds.... 94 deer in about a half mile span of my run.

In 'running' news, the big item of the day wasn't Bekele's Paris run (where he debuted with a 2:05) no.  It was my course record at the Great Bay Half being challenged but NOT taken down.  It lives another year (as weak as it is).  Northwood NH's Derek Hamel ran seemingly uncontested and won by 3 minutes but missed my CR by 27 seconds.  Whew!  I was kind of hoping Jason Porter was going to show up again this year and finally get his W. :).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5 (Saturday)

April 5 (Saturday) - Had a rough night with Tabby being up with a bad stomach ache until real late (we almost decided to make a late night trip to the doctors).  It's very draining emotionally and physically when you see your child in distress like that.  She wouldn't stop crying and flailing's heartbreaking.  We were up very late and finally after some medicine, she calmed down and we were able to put her to bed.  I woke up to the sound of the snow plow, plowing our street first thing in the morning after some wet snow.  By the time I started doing things around the house and eventually got outside, it was very nice out.  After a couple trips to the dump and organizing the winter mess in the shed, I spent some time w/ Tabby while Kristin was out.  By the time I got out the door it was nearly 6pm.  I got in 10.6 miles on the roads down along Silver Lake (out and back), solo. I can not wait until the weather starts behaving itself and acting like April.  It still looks like mid-winter out there...but it is starting to feel just a little bit like Spring...

Tabby feeling better and buried in her animals.

Friday, April 4, 2014

April 4 (Friday)

April 4 (Friday) - Ran from the house up to meet Darin about halfway up Lead Mine.  Then we turned and ran back towards my house and then turned, ran back to his house, and then I ran home solo.  So basically aimlessly back and forth on E.Madison Rd. and Lead Mine for 8.6 miles total (about 3.5 or so with Darin).  VERY easy recovery day.  1:08:23.  No issues w/ the hamstring/calf surprisingly...
considering it happens more frequently when I'm running easy.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 3 (Thursday)

April 3 (Thursday) - My house up 113 into Albany and then around Tabor Circle and back.  About 650 ft of elevation in 10.25 miles (1:09:12).  Started out slow and worked into it but kept it really smooth. My calf/behind the knee popped (feels like tendons or something releasing) again about 3.5 in. I made the decision to push forward and see what happens.  Every time this happens, it doesn't happen again but I stop running because I don't want to have it happen again.  This time I figured I'd see.  It didn't happen again and I didn't ease up on the effort. I just ran through it after hopping a step or two as it first happened.  Admittedly I didn't stretch or roll before I ran today (like I have been) so that could have been part of it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 2 (Wednesday)

April 2 (Wednesday) - Down in E.Wakefield again helping my Dad get settled again and brought the girls down.  Had a nice dinner w/ the parents and Tabby got to visit w/ the grandparents after not seeing them since December.  Before dinner I decided to venture out for a run on the back roads of  E.Wakefield / Acton ME.  It was treacherous getting in and out from their place on the private road (which was all ice and snow and mud). Once out on the main road, I headed up Acton Ridge Rd. into Acton and then eventually hooked a right down onto the 'H' road for a bit (5 out and 5 back).  I had digestive distress about half way through and then the rest of the time.  I had to stop twice in the woods and sift through thigh-deep snow to settle into an inconspicuous place to do my business... A solid hilly 10 miles in 1:07:46.  944 feet of elevation gain.  Solid run for the effort I put in, the stomach issues, and the course.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1 (Tuesday)

April 1 (Tuesday) - 2 hours of shoveling, chipping ice, and carrying things.  Cross training.  My parents came back from their winter vacation and were opening up the house...helped my father late in the day down at the lake in E.Wakefield with shoveling snow, chipping away ice, and unloading the truck.  By the time we were finished it was late and I was pretty tired.  It was an amazing day out.  Super warm and sunny and clear.  I thought about stopping on the way out in Ossipee somewhere for a run as I did have my stuff with me, but I decided to bag it.  Good start to April ;).