Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31 - Monday - Happy Halloween!

The pumpkin carving Kristin did today...
The same old 8 miles on the mill right after work and then it was down to Burke Field (a half mile down the street) to Trunk or Treat.  The girls had a good time dressed up in their princess costumes and they got their fair share of candy... there were less cars there this year but there was a cool bus from Halloween Town that was there and it was completely converted to a haunted house which was pretty cool. Morgan was freaked out and Tabby was just mesmerized.

Family photo...rare that everyone is looking at the camera!

A Madison firefighter hookin' it up...

Kristin with the girls...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 30 - Sunday - Weekly Recap

I got in 45.6 miles for the week with another day off again but 2 decent back to back efforts on the mill with a slightly uptempo hill run and a light progression run.  Not too bad.  I would have had over 50 if I ran on Saturday.  But this is a decent step forward as I don't want to jump too high too soon after the time off.

October 24 (Monday) - 6.2 miles
October 25 (Tuesday) - 8 miles
October 26 (Wednesday) - 8 miles
October 27 (Thursday) - 8 miles
October 28 (Friday) - 9.4 miles
October 29 (Saturday) - off
October 30 (Sunday) - 6 miles

Total: 45.6 miles

I had to put up w/ poison ivy all week and keep on top of that as it seemed to spread throughout the week. Hopefully it's under control now.

Due to crap weather and the earlier sunsets, I didn't get out detecting all week... plus I was dreading having to clean up all my stuff as I knew there'd be some poison ivy oils all over everything for sure....I did get out on Sunday for about 5 hours (after hopefully thoroughly cleaning my machine, shovel, and other equipment.... I landed ANOTHER 1857 Flying Eagle cent.  My third this year.  This coin is relatively rare as far as the date range goes.  They did circulate them for 2 years (1857 and 1858).  They only made 750 of them total in 1856.  But in the other two years they minted 17 and 24 million of them (a normal distribution)... but for only having been distributed for 2 years out there, I have found 3 of them from 1857 just in Madison alone.  2 of them in the same location (the only 2 coins I've ever found there actually) and one in my back yard.  Crazy.  I'm basically only 1 year off from finding a braided hair large cent.  They actually did make those in 1857 as well... the last year. I have yet to find a 'largie'.  Time is running out on the year and I'll probably only be able to hunt on the weekends now until the snow flies...hoping to land some more goodies before having to put everything away for the year....

Saturday, October 29, 2016

October 29 - Saturday

Spent the entire soggy day down in MA at a birthday party.  I brought my stuff to do a few easy miles and coordinated with Scotty McGrath to get out for some miles but ran out of daylight. The birthday cake didn't make it's appearance until it was dark outside so I didn't meet up with him and took an off day instead.  Good day with the family and the girls had a great time playing with their cousins...

The girls with their cousins... 
It was Matty's birthday but that didn't stop them from wanting to blow out his candles...

She's 2...blowing out a 9 year old's candle

Friday, October 28, 2016

October 28 - Friday

Back to the Mill again for a run on 'the mill'.  9.41 miles in 60:00. Easy progression run. I like this time of year there as it's nice and quiet.  Unlike yesterday, I remembered my iPod tonight so at least I had some tunes to listen to.

It's been a good week so far, all things considered...but there's still plenty of time for it to all fall apart.

Poison ivy update... it SUCKS.  It's a weeping gross mess that has just blown up now on both arms and elsewhere in random spots.  It has expanded 100 fold on my arm since I first had it start bothering me at the beginning of the week.  What a nightmare.  I got horrendous sleep last night with not only this bothering me but also I may have overdone it with my allergy medication as I was a jittery, fevery mess for a few hours in the middle of the night.  Couple all this in with my ribs not allowing me to roll over in bed or sleep on my right side, and needless to say it's not good.  I'm falling apart.

still rockin' the SIX03 sweatpants...all week strong.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

October 27 - Thursday

Back to the Mill after work for another 8 miles. 55:49.  Did a hill circuit this time though.  First 4 miles was alternating a hill program between 3.5 and 7.8 %.  Occasionally there would be a min. of 1.5 % in there for reprieve.  Last 4 were on the lowest program that was between 0 and 1.5 %.  Just something to mix it up a bit rather than the same 8 mile run.  Legs feel OK. Ribs were an issue again but manageable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 26 - Wednesday

Got back down to the Mill after work to get 'back to work'.  8 miles on the mill.  55:49.  I don't want to get too greedy.  With 3 weeks off and only 35 miles on 6 days last week, I don't want to jump up too high with the volume just yet.  Ribs feel a lot better when I'm running and sitting around but laying down and trying to sleep on that side is still very painful.

I talked to Downtown Darin Brown again for about 4.2 of those 8 miles.  He was banging out some miles in preparation for this weekend's Great Bay 5k (which I'm sitting out of).  He's looking for a big PR (masters).  That's his PR course so we'll see.  So far at the mill it has been only him and I other souls dare enter the depths of the most painful room in all of East Madison.  Come January 1st it will be filled with the dreamers again....for a month at most.  Most fizzle out within a couple weeks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25 - Tuesday

And it's that time of year again... a little early this year but it flurried all day and was cold so I decided to jump back down to the Mill again and get started on buildin' some hurtin bombs.  8 miles in 55:49.  Saw Downtown Darin Brown in there just finishing up his miles on the mill as I started mine.

Side note of awesomeness... this is just part of some sweet poison ivy I picked up when I was down in MA metal detecting on Sunday at Kristin's parents house.  I have a bit more 'down under' some how... below the belt.  I'm not sure how that happened... The funny thing is that I knew I was poking around the stuff but had an awesome signal and tried to pick around it ...I have it on video where I actually say 'I hope this isn't poison ivy'...but it obviously was.  I ended up pulling that nice military serviceman's button out of it...but paid the price.  I had to wash my clothes multiple times and still ended up throwing them away.  I threw away all my gloves and will have to heavily scrub my machine now if I take it out again this year....but it may be all she wrote for the season.  We'll see.  For now, this is the price I pay for the good relics.  I'll spare you the photo of the other area for now.

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24 - Monday

10k run (6.2 miles) incorporating some roads and trails in town. Was going to go longer but my original loop was going to take me through the chain of ponds trails and it sounded like Fallujah in there with hunting season in full swing (although deer rifle season hasn't started yet...could have been small game or black bear hunters).  I scared a deer right out of the bushes as soon as I hit the trails along the power lines and then the shooting started and got closer and closer the more I headed towards that area so I just decided to follow the tracks out and run back on the road so the run was a little shorter than originally planned.  My ribs felt the best they've felt on a run so far but just shy of a mile in, I slipped on the edge of the pavement where it meets the sandy shoulder and stumbled a bit and actually tweaked my damn ribs again... not too bad though, but it sucked feeling a pull in that area when it's getting better.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 23 - Sunday - Weekly Recap

I was down in MA all day on Sunday... up before the sun, back after it set. I actually got back home about 10:00pm so I wasn't about to try to sneak in 5 miles.  I put in 6 days in a row back this week from 3 weeks of basically nothing.  Trying to reset and start a push towards the 2017 plans.  I ended up with 35 miles this week with the one day off. I was anticipating trying for 5 a day anyways so it was right about where I wanted to put a first week back.  Every step was pretty uncomfortable but the last 24 hours or so have been a lot better with my ribs. It's been a noticeable step forward in the right direction.  We'll see how this coming week goes.

I did get a chance to detect my wife's parent's house down in the south shore of MA but didn't' have much luck with old coins. I found 60+ coins in total but mostly modern clad and zinc pennies.  I did land an 1864 Indian (my FIRST signal of the day) which was weird because nothing else was even close. I had 3 wheats as well but the rest were modern.  I did find a WWI or WWII serviceman's button which was awesome.  Kristin's great uncle who lived in the house for 80 or so years was in WWI and his son was killed in WWII.  I also found a seemingly gold ring (which I had to 'donate' to her mom)...I think it was an alloy of some sort though. It was too dirty to be solid gold.  It could have had some plating on it.  It also had a small dark gemstone still in it.  I found a cool looking old scale, a broach pin, and another couple of buckles and odds and ends as well.  NO SILVER.  WTF.  SOMEONE had to have been there before.  They said no one to their knowledge has ever metal detected it before but I bet that from the 1970s - mid 1980s when Kristin's parents bought the place from her great uncle, he or someone else had already cherrypicked the place.  There's no way I'd find this many newer coins and almost zero old coins without someone having already poked around....All things considered though, not too bad.  It's always nice to detect a new area and dream about finding some good stuff.  Nice weather too...but winter is coming!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

October 22 - Saturday

6 miles at lunchtime in some wet but mild conditions.  Way overdressed.  Felt a little tired and side was a little bit of an issue still but not awful.  Took it relatively easy compared to yesterday's effort.  Headed down to the parents house for the day w/ the girls.  6 days running in a row.  It's been a while since that happened.  Tomorrow is a busy day and I'll be lucky to get a run in but we'll see.

Friday, October 21, 2016

October 21 - Friday

6 miles (solo) from house. Out and back on 113/41 so pretty flat.  Slightly quicker than I should probably be trying to run right now but I'm eager to get going.  Ribs are problematic as usual.  Doctor said 4-6 weeks and I'm starting to believe it...At first I was like 'no way it will take that long' I'm HOPING it will be ok by then. Weather was crap and I got a late start so it was probably for the best that I only did 6...although 6 kind of feels like 12 right now... I know that will pass though.

Also, with getting this in the mail today, I guess I will need to train this winter... That kind of gets in the way of me being a lazy slob we'll see.  One time I showed up to this race prepared...and then, a bunch of times...I didn't.  The sh*tty thing is that this race is 6 days...SIX DAYS BEFORE my 40th birthday.  So I will only be still 39.  That sucks.  In 2018, I will basically be a few days away from 41 when I get to run Boston as a 40 year old.  Do you think if I emailed the BAA about this, they would consider pushing the 2018 race out a week?  It wouldn't be on Patriots day anymore but it would help my situation.

More junk mail from the BAA

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...