Saturday, March 25, 2017

Snowy trails-warm temps

Saturdays are usually long run days. Today was no different. The recent snow storm resulted in trails with 12+ inches of cover and nearly impossible to run. But we have had warmer and rainy days which greatly improved conditions. After about 8 miles on the roads of Burlington I headed into Sessions Woods. The Beaver Pond Trail was lump but also soft. Not bad for running but slow going. There were some sections down to gravel. Today was my first test of the Tailwind drink. Lots of great positive comments about the product. I liked it and I felt good throughout the run.I will use it at my 50K in April.
On the Tree ID Trail inside Sessions Woods
The soft snow trails had tons of animal tracks. Mostly dogs and I assume coyotes. I always keep an eye out for a great bear track. Though I saw some today but no photo worthy. The image below is a dog or coyote.
In the middle of the forest the ground is still completely snow covered. Very soft but a good 6-8" remains. Easy running. I always stop just to experience the quietness of nature. A few woodpeckers pounding away and a few birds chirping. I did come across a Snowy Owl. Beautiful and staring at me. I tried to get a picture but it flew off just as I got out my phone.

I assume this will be my last snow run until the end of 2017. That's OK because I need toi step up my training for Trap Rock and Lake Waramaung.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bolton Road Race

Sunday was the annual 5 mile race at Bolton. Simple but a running tradition in the state. The final hill is the main attraction as it's dramatic climb in such a short distance is famous. I have run it 4-5 times now. Before the start I wasn't sure what my finish time would be. It was cold with temps in the 20's and a biting wind. As usual there were plenty of 169ers there and a number of CT Trailmixers also attended.
169 crowd.
My game plan was to just run. No expectations, no checking the watch for pace. At the start my head was down, music blaring, and I pushed as hard as I could. Last year my finish time was 45:41. Could I beat that? Match that? I had my doubts. I felt good with no aches or pains in my legs. In contrast to previous races I avoided the watch. Only glanced briefly around that half way mark. To my surprise I was on track for a good run. That emboldened me to run harder. After 3 miles I was flying. At the end of 4 miles the first big hill slowed me a bit but not much. Then after the last turn there it was...the monster hill we all thought about all week. I just kept on running. Slow but never stopped. On that hill was an 8 year old boy who passed me at a great pace. He was singing and not winded. I told him how impressive he was.
After reaching the crest of the hill I began my sprint to the finish. I checked the watch and it was still less than 45 minutes. I flew through the finish with a time of 45:28...13 seconds faster than 2016. Not bad but was only good enough for 6th in my age group.
Me and Andy at the finish.
Happy to be averaging 9 minute miles at 63 y.o. with big hills on the course.
Race results here

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Colchester Half and the Start of March

February 25, 2017 was a winter staple for races in Connecticut...the Colchester Half Marathon. The tag line for this race is "tough as nails" because of the hills throughout the course. Each year the weather is a crap shoot that can be a beautiful day or a frightful winter disaster. This year it was a beautiful day with temps near 60F. That meant shorts and a light shirt. There were 600+ runners this year. Seems like it grows every year which isn't surprising. A low cost, great course, and huge food party after that is just a fun time.
I haven't done any specific training this winter but run a mix of long and short distances. I'm at the point where I know I'll finish but don't know how well. Most years I complete Colchester between 2:00 and 2:10. This year was 2:17. Don't know why and don't care. My new attitude about finish times doesn't let me worry. Finishing is the only goal. I wore my "old guy" shirt for a few laughs.
Old Guy shirt for the Old Guy blog
The usual Run 169 crowd was there as well as a good showing from the CT Trailmixers. Colchester brings out many friends from around the state and all are seen at the key races throughout the year.
Link to Colchester results

Start of March
The warm weather at the end of February melted all the snow. It's amazing how in onbe week the trails are clear and dry. There have been some beautiful morings for running. Yesterday I went fro a long 15 mile run up the Farmington River Trail. Very nice sunny morning althgough cool. My time was 2:55 which is an 11;41 pace. Need more of these before the Lake Waramaung 50K at the end of April.

Today was a simple 6 miler out to Sessions Woods. Basically a recovery run. Ended the week with 56 miles.
Sessions Woods sunrise

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SnowTrail Run At Sunrise

Today started off as a day to get in a long road run as prep for next week's Colchester Half Marathon. As usual I started off through Whigville and headed up Rt 69 in Burlington. I had taken some advice from an ultra blog and carb loaded a bit on Friday as well as having a decent breakfast to ensure I had fuel in the tank. During the run I maintained a decent pace of under 11:00/mile. Good for a training run. Good for me. After turning back towards home I turned down Scoville road towards the back of Sessions Woods. At the Hull Road junction near the blue blazed trail I could see the sun peaking over the horizon. That triggered the urge to hop on the trails.
Just at sunrise. Near the Hull Road side of Sessions Woods.
The sunrise was beckoning me! So I hit the blue blazed trails on the west side of the park. The trail condition at this point wasn't great. Deep snow with no real trail or snow pack from previous runners or hikers. But I pushed on. After about a half mile the trails showed a higher volume of people from Friday and was runnable.   The main Beaver Pond Trail has been packed down by a tractor. Flat and very runnable. The blue and white blazed were a mix of packed trail and sometimes deep snow. The selfie shot below is where the state harvested the non-native red pine trees. That used to be heavily wooded. 
Open now-was thick pine forest before tree harvest

The run was 15 miles altogether....the trails were the best part. Winter runs on snowy trails are relaxing and beautiful. My favorite time of year as a runner.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Real Winter Has Arrived.

Snow has finally started to pile up. The winter was kind of blah up until this week. Storm Chris dumped 19" on Burlington. Nice fluffy stuff. Timing worked out for me to begin a run just as the storm started and ended with a few miles of steady stuff. My favorite. Light snow with no traffic. Non runners will never experience the tranquility of such a run. I realize how lucky I am to live in a rural area. Quiet and peaceful. It's always a toss up on whether to wear my Due North spikes or not. They are perfect for packed streets but useless in deep snow. Also must be sure not to run too long on asphalt because they wear down quickly.
Mid day and mid storm. 14" at noon.
Since that storm we received 6 additional inches and more next week. Now that is a winter I expect. With all this snow the road running becomes tight and trail running is a bit more strenuous. But that's OK. After reaching a trail my mind gets lost and the stress flows out of me. Turning back is always the sad point of these winter runs but reality calls.
My job has me heading off to the north country again and I'll be running in Maine. More snow, more cold, more fun.