Saturday, October 15, 2016

15 turned into 20

Saturday is typically when I do long runs. Sometimes I start from my house early and other times I head out to various running venues. I'm in a high mileage challenge and decided to get in 15 miles to keep close to the leaders. So I headed out to the Farmington Heritage Trail in Unionville where there is a flat "rails to trails" path for miles. Good for long runs without the headaches of traffic or technical trails. It was just a week ago that I ran the Hartford Marathon therefore I expected to maintain a slow and easy pace. It was early and well before sunrise. Bears are seen here but being prepared with a headlamp and pepper spray I took off.
5:45 in Unionville
It was dark and cold. I wore gloves because my hands are most sensitive to cold. No hat and regualr shorts are fine until about 25f but my hands start hurting after 35f.

I began with a slow pace at about 12min/mile. Gradually I picked up to 11min/mile which was my target. A couple of miles in I was feeling OK. My mind and body started to urge me to go a lot longer than 15 miles. Soon I was confident that 18 would be doable and 20 was with in sight. As the miles piled up the sun lit up the path. The temps became comfortable and I was feeling great. I went up through Collinsville and Canton. The perfect weather combined with fall colors provided some great scenes.
At 14 miles I was back to where I started and determined I had the energy and the time to continue to 20 miles. I felt good and was surprised since seven days earlier I was doing a marathon. The final time was 3h 53s. Pace average was 11:38.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Blisters, running, training

So....a week after the Hartford Marathon and my blisters are being blisters. Fun as usual. At first I didn't know I had any as they are between and under toes. After Sunday the relentless pain started. Popping them always brings relief so I did it again. They are slowly getting better but my daily running streak is probably slowing down any healing that should be taking place. Speaking of daily was day # 612 in a row. The Run Every Day streak website tells me that 612 is more than 1.6 years or about 2% of my life. Hmmm.  In some ways that is a lot but compared to other streakers out there it is nothing. There are "hundreds" of runners with decade long streaks. The longest started his streak in the month of May 1969!! Before the original Woodstock! Being that I'm almost 63 years old I will never get there unless I live to 118 years old.

This time of year is always odd for me. My big marathon is done(Hartford) and a lull in focus begins. Laziness with training, diet, and goals sets in. I know I should be working hard for a few big races but who cares? This happens every year. I'll get it together soon...maybe by tomorrow. But it will kick in and I'll do OK at the Roxbury Half Marathon and then the Full Marathon. 

For the rest of the winter I need a goal. Such a goal has been lacking in recent years. Alas a goal has materialized! That is the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K run on February 4th. Cold, miserable, tough, but crazy race. Only a few take it on. Eight finishers last year and three hypothermia cases. Sounds like fun! As the website says..."This is not a race for wussies". I can do it as running in extreme conditions is always one of my favorite things to do. So...starting my training tomorrow.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016 Hartford Marathon

Marathon #10 is in the books. Ran the Eversource Hartford Marathon yesterday for the 5th time. It was my 10th marathon but my 16th race of 26.2 miles or more when my ultramarathons are included. My chip time 4:47:52. A bit slower than expected but not my worst. I'm happy to be under 5 hours at 62(almost 63) years old.
Britton cheered me on at the finish.
My recent foot problems made me wonder what this marathon would be like. I had twisted it badly a few weeks earlier. I had run 15 miles without issue so I figured it would last the full 26.2. During the race I felt a couple of shots of pain but not bad and not too often. In the end it was OK. Ironically today I ran 5 miles with no pain whatsoever. Great news.

I started  the marathon as usual with a small breakfast of cereal and toast 3 hours before the start. Drank some UCAN 1 hour before. I got there early(5:10am) to secure the traditional parking spot across from the Bushnell. Went out for an easy run/jog around Bushnell Park just to loosen up. As the start time approached I met my 169er friends and my brother and sister in law, Mike and Denise Raymond. Denise was in town to run the half marathon. As usual the 169 crowd took tons of pictures and joked around before the start. Eventually it was time to line up in front of the capitol. I started farther back this year because I wanted to start slow. Maybe a 10:00-10:30 pace. I finally have that under control and do not start too fast. Unfortunately I was so far back the congestion was unreal. I had walkers, groups of friends, kids, etc all slowing down to 12:00 per mile. As we got to Albany avenue, about 1/3 mile out, there were still walkers in front of me. These people need to start farther back. Or I guess I should start farther up! Next year I will make sure this doesn't happen again.
Some of the 169 crowd.
I was keeping a good pace all through mile 15. From mile 6 to 13 I was hyped up and having a blast. Fooling around with the photographers and enjoying my music. This was the first year that running in South Windsor to the 17 mile turn seemed easy and fast. Years past this section was usually a drag and wore on me. I must be getting used to the course. As I approached mile 20 I was clearly running out of gas...probably hitting the wall. I did make sure to have three gels at mile 5,10, and 15 which helped me. After mile 23 the end was approaching. I got a little 2nd wind. On the bridge going into Hartford at mile 25 I took off. The music was pounding and I felt good. Passing other runners was easy and fueled my enthusiasm. I rounded the last turn to the arch and saw my daughter and grandson. Britton almost ran the final 500 feet with me but chickened out. I crossed the finish line to complete my 5th Hartford. Felt good. This is my favorite race.
The in laws. Down from New Hapshire to run the half marathon.
So today I went for 5 miles which was easy and peaceful. And as usual the thoughts of "what's next" start. I have the Roxbury half marathon and Roxbury full marathon as my next big races. Time to start planning and training. I will be back at Hartford in 2017.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

600 Days

600 Days....that is the latest milestone in my run streak. Other than knowing it was the 600th consecutive day, this was like all the rest. Last year I joined "Run Every Day" where streak runners are tracked. 600 may sound like a lot but I'm WAYYY back in the list of streakers. Top guy has 47 years! Check out the "Active USA Streak Runners" list at the site below.
Run Every Day website

Yesterday I did 15 miles as a last long run before the Hartford Marathon. Today was a free day with no plan so I decided to head to Sessions Woods. My left foot is still sore although I'm convinced there is nothing seriously wrong. I was concerned about running the trails and re-injuring it. Each step was carefully placed and in many sections I walked to avoid roots and slippery rocks.

Wild life was everywhere today. Saw two foxes, a Barred Owl, skunk, and a hawk. No bears though. I ran the blue blazed trails in and around the park. The peace and quiet in the park just after daybreak is wonderful.

Back to my foot issue. I twisted it twice in two weeks. No real swelling or discoloration. The pain comes and goes but using ibuprofen seems to help. Each day does seem just a bit less painful. With the Hartford Marathon just 5 days away I'm hoping it clears up fast. Once I'm warmed up and running there is virtually no pain but once I stop it throbs.

Tomorrow I move on to day 601 with my next big target being 730 days...two years. That will happen in February. Between now and then are two half marathons and two full marathons....I better take care of my feet!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Fall...Hogsback, Hartford, and Roxbury

Today was my first "key" race of the fall. The Hogsback Half marathon in Colebrook CT. It was the fourth time running this event. It started with a beautiful cool morning with clear skies and puffy clouds. Perfect for a race. I helped with setup prior to the start. Kelly always does a nice job and is evident by the number of people who feel it is one of the best in the state.
Pre race setup at Hogsback
As the crowds grew many "169ers" and Ct Trailmixers showed up. There were a number of both first timers at Hogsback and first timers doing a half marathon. The excitement and anticipation make the day that much more entertaining. We started off at the top of the hill where I soon cam upon the 2:00h pacer. I decided to stick with him instead of being a zombie looking at my Garmin the whole time. The 2:00 pace was just right. I stayed with him through mile 8 but then started to slow a bit as the gradualk uphill began. Cool breezes and great scenery made the remaining 5 miles easy.
About mile 4 behind the pacer. Felt good.
As I passed mile 12 I began the dreaded "hill". I did not stop. The almost daily hills around Whigville prepared me for such a challenge. As I turned onto the dam it was clear I would get another half finish time under 2:10 which is always my goal. This race helped to confirm I am ready for the Hartford Full and that my twisted foot problem was NOT a problem. My finish time was 2:06 at a 9:36 pace. Perfect.
And of course I indulged in the great food spread at the end.  Next up Hartford Full...followed by the Roxbury Half and Full.
Lea and I after the race.