Saturday, January 7, 2017

Week 1 of the Winter Warrior Challenge

This old body got moving early this morning to add more miles in the Winter Warrior Challenge. I covered everything with the run including roads, Nassahegon Forest and Sessions Woods park. My total for the day was 17 miles. Well...16.99 according to my devices. The Garmin died at 15.99 which required me to start my Strava App on my phone. That was over a mile but only registered 1 mile. Therefore I know I did 17 miles but sent in 16.99 to the challenge. I figured out why my Garmin runs out of power so quickly...Bluetooth was on and always searching to link up. It is now off.
The Winter Warrior Challenge requires that all miles are run outside in January. I try to be in the top five each year. A few runners are machines with seemly endless miles in their tank. One guy almost does a full marathon each day has 134 miles so far. After seven days I am at 90 miles which is very good for me but only gets me 5th place in the state.

Nassahegon and Sessions trails were my targets today. I hadn't been in Nassahegon since last fall. Great trails that are relatively easy.
 The bridge below was a wee bit wobbly. Those cut logs are not connected and sag with each step. The ice and snow on top mage it treacherous.
 Always love the falls on Negro Brook in Sessions Woods. If we had more rain this year the ice would have been more dramatic. I also took video and put it on Youtube.
It was a winter wonderland out there as the pictures show.

The aches and pains are real as the miles take their toll. I'm purposely running slower so as not to stress my body. I did notice that there was no pain when running and walking trails through. Guess that's where I'll be tomorrow.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

End of 2016...Start of 2017

Another year of running is in the books. My running streak was responsible for another high mileage year in 2016. As of December 31st I ran 3,181 miles. Hard for me to grasp how far that is or that I could achieve it at 63 years old. Ironically it was five miles short of the distance I logged in 2015. No effort was made to match or exceed last year's just happened. Can I do a 3rd year of 3,000+ miles? Hmmmm...I might as well try.

The last day of the year was also my 690th consecutive day without a break from running. Forty more days and I'll be at the elusive two year mark. I must make it that far. Morning running has become such an important part of my wake up routine I doubt I could go a day without at least a mile.

A new accumulation of miles began with an early and local five mile run then joined the Shenipsit Striders Fat Ass New Years run in Vernon CT. The trails were mostly frozen over wet and compacted snow therefore I wore my Due-North spikes. Some trails had crunchy lose snow or sometimes just leaves.
Ice trails
The air temperature was wonderful ranging from the high 30's to the low 40's. Definitely shorts for running. One person noted that only trail runners would be wearing ice spikes and shorts on the same day.  So true.
I had never been to the Valley Falls Park in Vernon CT. Nice setup with a lake, good parking, and outdoor facilities. The run today was a 2.5 mile loop with valleys, streams, steep hills, and gentle declines. Easy course of just the right length. I completed 4 loops which is just under 10 miles. On the Garmin Map below there is a single extension off the main loop which was needed to get me over 10 miles.

So on a perfect winter day I began my 2017 running with a total of 16 miles of running. Nice course and good runner friends from CT Trailmixers, Run 169 Towns, and Shenipsit Striders.

It's all uphill from here.
Great winter scenery on the run today.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Master Runners

As an "old guy running" I find few articles or blogs for older runners. An abundance of information for under 60 runners is out on the web, podcasts, through clubs, on Facebook, etc. Much of what is out there is geared towards speed, strength training, and how to achieve PRs. I get sucked into new plans and programs that focus on these all the time. I'm rapidly accepting the fact that faster lofty goals may erode the enjoyment of running. Running gave me a new lease on life by improving my health and outlook. I hope to share some running experiences from a senior point of view not as a means to self improvement but how they improve the quality of life.

I  came across the site about Master Running. It is on the Runner Connect site. Here they organize a number of posts by subject such as nutrition, motivation, etc. Good quick reference if fine tuning your training regiment.

Runner's World had a recent article about adjusting one's expectations and techniques in later years. This article breaks down the "master runner" by age groupings. I don't think it is as easy to compartmentalize as they have because of the variations in physical abilities and running history of runners.

My advice for older runners is to run for the enjoyment. Don't kill yourself trying to shave those few extra minutes or seconds off a previous PR. It becomes too much of a job when setting unrealistic goals. Just run for fun and relaxation.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Am I a brave old guy or just a crazy old guy?

Saturdays are my typical long run days. If there is no race I head out in Burlington looking to be busy running for 3 hours. Sometimes all road and other times on the trails. This time of year an early run means it's in the dark.

At 5:30 I headed out through Whigville with my headlamp and flashers. Definitely sticking to roads until the sun comes up. I headed up Rt 69 creating entertainment for the occasional early morning driver. I can hear the passengers now"...what is that old guy doing out here on a barren road with snow piled high?". Yup...gave them something to talk about on Christmas Eve. Soon the morning light arrived and I could start to see into the woods. I had to get on some trails in Sessions Woods. It was still dark.

As I ran down East Chippens Hill Road I approached the blue blazed trail entrance but there was a truck parked there. No one was in it but clearly it had just arrived. Someone must be around and I worried it was a hunter in the woods. Bow hunting is allowed in the park. As I headed into the trail there were clear boot tracks.

My next thought was wondering what it would feel like as an arrow pierced my skin. Morbid but a real concern. My day glo yellow shirt and headlamp would surely prevent such an accident fromn happening. So am I brave or just crazy. Probably both.

I followed the trail and boot prints through the woods. The snow was still deep but not frozen. I wandered through the curvy trail until I came out at Beaver Pond. No arrows and no injuries, Safe!
As I started back on the main trail some bikes with winter tires approached. Three guys heading out for some tough snow trail biking. They can deal with the bow hunter. As I ran back home the light snow turned into a cold rain. A bit uncomfortable but was happy to get in 12 miles on a Saturday and do day 683 of my runstreak..

Tomorrow is Christmas morning which means I'll have to squeeze in just a few miles before the festivities get underway.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Snow Runs

This week real snow(as opposed to dustings) arrived with a couple of storms that hit New England. Saturday I had the chance to get out during the actual snowfall. Everyone knows it's my favorite conditions. Si I headed out to Sessions Woods. The wind had vanished which is just icing on the cake of a good run. Once out on the Beaver Pond Trail the serenity took over. As I ran the simple sounds of powder snow swished with each step. I stopped several times just to enjoy the silence. Nothing like it anywhere as powdered snow combined with evergreen trees absorbs all sound. Quiet!

Key to enjoying snow runs is to get out during the storm before it freezes or gets coated with ice. Even though I had an ice beard I was not cold. My feet were comfortable as well. Of course I wore my Due North spikes.

It's only December so I am counting on many more "snow runs".