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. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Anchor Down Ultra 2016

Anchor Down Ultra is in the books. This is a well run affair on a great course. I was
hoping for 80 miles but finished at 51 miles. Was it possible to squeeze out one
or two more laps? Maybe but it would have been risky given the heat and my worn down condition. I'm happy with the 51. Also met some friends like
Larry Macon(Guinness Marathon record Holder) and Lou Loban.
Larry Macon in the middle with Ed Peters

Lou Loban and Ed Peters.
This course is part trail and part paved path. The trail section was covered with protruding roots. Not usually a big deal but we started at 7PM and quickly had to use headlamps. It was very difficult to distinguish the roots so to avoid falling we had to slow down. The twisting of my feet and ankles over these roots created a nagging pain. No damage but just plain sore. The 6 hour runners finished at 1AM so the course became surreal after that. Thick brush with a moonlit sky. We were usually alone in the woods with so few 24 hour runners. Half way through each loop we came out on the paved path along the coast. We all shut off our headlamps at this point because with the light of the moon we could see everything. Just beautiful and breeze and no waves. After sunrise I took a 30 min nap in a tent then hit the trail again. It soon became apparent the sun bearing down in the open section was taking its toll on me. I could have pushed through a few more loops but wasn't worth it. My final time was 16h58m. 21 laps. 51 miles.This was a well run race with tons of volunteers all night long. Lots of food and water. This was the second year and I believe it will become a top draw in the future for ultra runners. As I write this there are 24 hour runners still on the course. Some of them were near 100miles at 1PM and going strong. There should be a bunch of 100+ results.
Taking a break at 4:30am
 I setup my supplies and lounge chair(folding type) next to the running trail for 
easy access. The RD had plenty of food and drink options. Lots of volunteers as well.
This is very similar to Lake Waramaug for support and amenities.

Tired dogs after 51 miles
Anchor Down should easily be one of the more popular ultras in
New England for all the reasons above. I probably will be back next year.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Post July 4th training

The year is half over. Holidays always seem to be turning points for me when it comes to running. Kind of a "resolution" thing that most people toy with on each new year. One of my goals this year was to do more trails. I have accomplished that goal with some great individual and race experiences. But trails are always a challenge. Here are the reasons...I run very early which means trails would be mostly in the dark and with no one around. That is a recipe for disaster considering my age and bears. Another challenge is that I am getting older and less nimble which has led to a number of small injuries. It's a matter of time before I have a big one and seeing the woman with the broken leg at Nipmuck made me reconsider the type of trails I run.
I will still do trails but less technical and lower mileage.

So today I am starting to train for a fall marathon. Most likely Hartford. It will be my 5th time running it. My average pace on roads is way down from a few years ago as my runs are more leosurely. Time to put the petal to the metal(or road). So today I went out for 6 miles and pushed more than usual. Maintained a 10:24 pace. That is now my baseline.

Hartford is 14 weeks away. My rough plan is to do 5-6 mile runs during the week with longer runs on weekends. Maybe some track work, maybe some weight lifting. Not totally sure. I would like to finish Hartford around 4:15. That is doable but I need to get to work now.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Weekend On The Trails

Saturday and Sunday trail runs. Saturday for fun and Sunday was a race.

Our CT Trailmixers group scaled the Mt Higby trail in Middlefield CT.

Off route 66 we started real early at 5:30 AM. Sort of a sunrise run even though the sun was up already. I had never done this trail before. There were about 15 of us which was great at such an early time. The trail starts rocky and steep right off the parking lot. Much of the trail was traprock and very rough. As we neared the top the trail became a smooth single track with a fine green grass on the forest floor. Great views to the west from various cliffs.

Mt Higby in Middlefield

Today was the annual Nipmuck South 14.1 mile Trail Race. I have run this all four times since it's inception. A scenic course with a little bit of everything. Single track, open dark forests, river banks, meadows, roads, and technical climbs. It is challenging at times with sections of ugly twisted roots grabbing at your feet. One woman broke her leg today. Ugly. I spent time taking pictures which slowed me down. I finished in 3:14. My right ankle was very sore from several bad twists. Felt like ligaments are stretched as I had little control on the rocks. Needs rest.
Many of the CT Trailmixers at Nipmuck

Tons of trail fun but now back to regular road running.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fall Targets

June 1st is almost here. I've done my Lake Waramaug Ultra, some long races, a bunch of new trail runs, etc. In the past week I have been reviewing my options for a 2nd half 2016 goal. The Anchor Down 24 hour run is a big one but that is end of summer. What about the fall? I may run a long trail race such as the Nipmuck Trail Marathon or the Bimbler's 50K. Maybe not. I love trails but those may be too challenging. Needs more thought.

I've been volunteering for the Hartford Marathon Foundation at two recent races. That earns me points for a discount on other HMF races so I may just do the Hartford Full Marathon again. It would be my 5th time if I do. That got me thinking that maybe I should push for a PR. My best full is 4:12. It would take a lot but with a full summer ahead I could work harder with such a goal in mind. To qualify for Boston Marathon I need a 3:55 finish. That is tough when recent marathons have been in the 4:30-4:40 range. I have plenty of time. Needs more thought.

Normal racing is the weekly agenda these days. Did New Fairfield 5K last week and the Wilington PTA 5k today. At Wilmington I placed 2nd in the 60-69yo group.

Next week is the Goodwin Forest 30K. Please let it be cooler than the 90's we are experiencing this week. The week after is the Nipmuck South 14 mile trail race. Two big ones in a row. Goodwin is supposed to be easy terrain. I have run Nipmuck 3 times and know how technical some sections can be. After those my trail races disappear until the Soapstone Assault.

Time to shift gears? Time to reduce my trail running and up my marathon training? Needs more thought!