Sunday, March 27, 2011

WEEKLY SUMMARY: Mar 21 - Mar 27

Mon-PM:  11.5 miles (1:15) Oaks-Betzwood-Sanctuary loop, 348'
Trail wet from rain all morning.  Don't know what got into me running this fast for a "recovery" week, but it felt pretty good.

Tues-PM:  10.5 miles (1:13) LL-GWHQ-JOY lollipop loop, 753'
Met up with Ben for easy run on trails.  Legs felt a little tired on hills, but all in all getting through it.  Ran two parking lot loops before Ben arrived.

Wed-PM:  9.65 miles (1:12)  LL-GWHQ-Joy lollipop loop, 753'
Raining and 39 degrees, but didn't feel cold.  Ran Joy with some passion, could have went longer, but it was getting late.

Thurs-PM:  11 miles (1:27)  Joy-Misery X2, 1604'
Cold day in the afternoon.  Ran from Waynes Woods parking lot to Mt. Joy, then Mount Misery.  Repeat.  Then run up Joy and back to lot.


Saturday-AM:  31 miles (4:33) Joy-Misery X8, 5306'
The Joy-Misery Loop is a loop consisting of two east coast "mountains" in Valley Forge Park, which measures ~700ft of vertical gain for a total distance of 3.85 miles.  From the Knox's HQs Parking lot, head up the paved path toward Mount Joy.  Take a left onto the trail after the tree stump.  Mt. Joy is relatively devoid of rocks, however, does have some sections on the climbs.  There are also two fallen trees which test your agility.  After Joy, the loop heads over to Mt Misery after crossing Rt 252.  You are only on the road for about 0.1 mile, then you start the 370' climb up the very, rocky side of Misery on the start of the Horseshoe-Trail (a 141 mile trail that leads to the Appalachian Trail).  The climb lasts about 0.8 miles at which point, you shoot down another less rocky section with many log steps, joining up with Yellow Springs Road.  Taking a left on Yellow Springs head through the Covered Bridge and up Rt 252 to finish the loop at Knox's HQs.

Started running at 5:45am and completed 2 loops with headlamp.  Met Jason (winner of St. Croix 50 miler) at 7:00am and ran 6 more loops with Jason.  Jong showed up during my 4th loop.  Very nice run.  Temperatures were 21F at the start and 36F after run completed.  Refueled with 2 bottles of Ensure, 1 bottle after loop 4 (15.5miles), and 1 bottle after loop 6 (23.3 miles).  Ran with fuel belt to see how this would feel for Vermont 100.  Felt really good and you can pack alot of stuff in it.  Today, I used a water bottle with Endurox and refilled it with water after loop 7.  All in all, felt really great the whole time.  We reversed the loop on loops 5 and 8.  Those climbs are tougher, but I didn't power walk/hike at all.  Kept the body moving. 

We ran into Alex on loop 5 and chatted for about 5 minutes.  It will be nice expanding the running group with Alex and Derek.  We just need to get on similar pages.  I think these Joy-Misery loops would do them well, especially with Highland Sky (Alex) and Pine to Palm (Derek) coming up.  There just aren't any other places close-by that offer this type of climbing (i.e.  Western States-ish climbing).

Sunday-AM:  20 miles (2:31) Betzwood-Sanctuary, 747'
Met up with Jason at LL parking lot and ran 3+ miles with him, then headed back to LL to meet Terry and Patrick.  Went out easy along Betzwood trail, up Sanctuary, and back along SRT.  Ran the last couple miles of SRT at faster clip (6:40; 5:55).  Felt pretty good, surprisingly.  Patrick dropped the hammer even more with 0.5 miles to go.  I think he hit 5:43 or so.  Couldn't get my legs to move that fast after yesterday.

Pretty good week of running and will serve as a good base for training leading to Ice Age and Vermont.  Who knows, if things go well at Ice Age, maybe Western States too!  Acquired over 9000' vertical this week, but will need to focus on getting more vertical in my daily running routine, so probably means more Joy-Misery Loops

Mileage = 93
Vertical = 9511'
Days off = 1

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The HAT Debacle

On Saturday morning, I drove down to Havre De Grace, MD for the 23rd? running of the Hinte-Anderson Trail (HAT) 50K.  I entered this race as training buildup for a tough summer of racing ahead and I learned alot from the experience.  As I mentioned in my last post, the HAT run was not a focus race for me, however, I wanted to run well there and compete no matter what the competition turned out to be. 

Before each race, I do my research of the starting field to determine what the competition may be like.  However, I did very little research on this one.  I did know a few names that were entered and some that miraculously entered about a week prior to the race.  Alex Barth is always a strong contender in any race that he runs and my early focus was on him.  He has run the course about 3 times and won it twice before.  My initial race strategy was to run with Alex and try make a move sometime during the race.  Knowing he's a better trail runner/hill runner than myself, I knew this would have to happen on some of the flatter sections.  Unfortunately, a new name popped onto the list, in the form of Gabriel Rodriquez.  Mr. Rodriquez ran a very respectable CR time at Blues Cruise in October, which was a race that I had used as a training run leading up to Tussey Mountainback.  Unfortunately, I succumbed to injury the week before Tussey and had to take a deferral until 2012.  Anyway, my race strategy had now changed and I decided to go out faster than I otherwise normally would on such a hill inundated course.  Disaster!!

Every once in a while.....I have to run "outside" yourself to test your fitness.  You have to push yourself beyond what is comfortable.  This is what I tried on Saturday.  The HAT run starts with a relatively flat 2 miles.  I ran a pace which has usually been a pretty easy marathon pace in the past.  I went out with a modest 6:29 mile followed with a 6:31.  The next little starter loop proved to me that the rest of the race would be difficult.  After entering the woods, the course takes you through a series of twists and turns, rises and falls.  Rocks and roots litter the course and make for some technical challenges.  Being that I am not the most experienced trail runner, I fell off the pace into 4th behind Rodriquez in 1st with Barth and Dixon running about 1 minute back.  At most I fell about 200 meters behind going through 5 miles in 36:30 (~500ft elevation gain).  Coming out of the woods, I successfully closed the gap back to Alex and Mike.  We ran together over the next couple miles hitting mile 10 just under 1:15 (~1000ft e.g.) until hitting the pavement around mile 12.  At this point Dixon starting making a break for it chasing down Rodriquez.  My guess isthat he started hitting 6:00min/mile or under while I kept a 6:40 pace until nature "called".  Barth pulled ahead, but was still in sight.  I progressed comfortably to the aid station refilling my water bottle.  The next few miles include a couple of difficult climbs which will be difficult on the second loop.  After making my way back to the start/finish, Barth was no longer in sight.  I stopped at the pavillion to refuel with my old man fuel of choice (Ensure Milk Chocalate Shake) and grab another water bottle with Endurox (orange).  17.4 miles was passed in 2:10 still under 7:30 pace.  As  I started the next loop, nature started calling again.  Long story short around mile 22, I hit the wall and lost any mental capacity for finishing the race.  Coming around to the aid station at mile 25, I decided to call it quits.

As it turns out, Mike Dixon broke the previous mark by 14 minutes, blazing through the course in what must have been a negatively split race.  Alex came home in 2nd a good 22 minutes behind with 3rd place another 10 minutes back.  Derek Schultz surprised with a 4:16 and Matt Wilson, my training partner, ran a good race finishing in 4:23, not bad for a 49 year old.

I look forward to running the course in the future using a differenct race strategy.  I learned alot about my training from this race, past, present and future.  The past is the past and I can't always compare things to what I used to be able to do on the road.  I need to run in the present and take into account current fitness.  For the future, I decided to drop the races in April, namely Trail Runners Dont Run Boston 50K and the Boston Marathon.  As mentioned previously, the Ice Age Trail 50 Miler is my early goal race.  I have 2 months to get in shape...luckily I still have the legs to do it.

The day after HAT, Matt and I headed out for a nice easy 11.5 miles with Terry Kelly on the completely flat Betzwood trail, running between 7:30-7:40 pace.  Legs felt great and now the real training begins.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My first post

Don't really know what to post.  Since the Febapple 50M, I've been trying to get into shape for some of the "faster" ultras/races that I have coming up.  I've been getting in some decent tempo runs with Matt.  Amazingly, the workouts have been pretty "easy".  After all the LSD runs, I still have some sort of speed in my legs.

My first test comes in less than 36 hours when I toe the line at the Hinte-Anderson Trail (HAT) 50K in Havre de Grace, MD.  The race is going to feature some good road and trail runners that will be tough to beat.  Gabriel Rodriquez was added to the start list late and should be the toughest competition there.  Although you can never count out Alex Barth, Matt Wilson, Angus Repper, and Frank Leiter.

I'm not all that consumed with this race.  My main goal is in May at the Ice Age Trail 50M.  After failing to win a lottery spot for Western States this year, I figured I would try to race my way in.  Ice Age is shaping up to be a semi-competitive race with some higher profile runners making another appearance, namely Zach Gingerich, Lon Freeman, and Glen Redpath.  I just need to finish in the top 2.