Monday, August 27, 2012

"On your left!"

It was twelve years ago this summer that I encountered my first "trail runner." I was home from my first year of college and working my butt off with two jobs. At the first open weekend, I packed up the car and drove North to the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. Parking at the Tuckerman's Ravine trailhead, I grabbed my awkward external framed backpack out of the backseat, tossed in my sleeping bag, a can of cheese whiz, Snickers bars, two books that I never opened, and an assortment of other useless stuff. Over forty pounds for one night! The plan was to hike to the summit of Mt. Washington, overnight at the AMC's Lake of the Clouds Hut nestled on the ridge between Washington and Monroe, and return by the same trail in the morning. It was a beautiful day for a hike and I was moving up the trail at a good clip, taking in the evergreens, waterfalls and magnificent views to be had all around. Then, just as the trail got really steep, I hear a shout from behind, "On your left!" I moved to the side and turned around to see this young guy with running shoes, short shorts and a tank top, running up the incredibly steep, boulder strewn, slope of the Tuckerman's Ravine headwall. No clumsy backpack; just a water bottle. I was impressed. But why on earth, I wondered, would anyone want to run what has to be one of the most beautiful trails in New England? Didn't he realize he was missing so much of the surrounding beauty just to get up the mountain faster? I didn't envy his position, and dismissed it as a rather silly endeavor.
Ascending to Tuckerman's Ravine

Mount Washington Summit with the AMC hut tucked away to the left.

This memory came flooding back yesterday as I shouted "on your left" to a family of hikers as I rolled on down Turkey's yellow trail. Funny how times change!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A new plan


I have this problem. I often get injured while training for longer races (as in above 25k). I have yet to make the starting line of an ultra (and I have trained for a few). While I'm sure there were multiple factors that contributed to my injuries, the long four to five hour training runs stand out. Running for that long for several weeks before a race seems to wear my body down, rather than build it up. So for  this time around, the plan is to go back to back on the weekends without ever running more than 3 hours at once, and never more than 45 miles per week. Will it work for a 50k? Or will I be under- prepared for the mileage? Only time will tell, I guess. One thing is certain though, I will be prepared for hills. Half of my weekly runs incorporate some of the biggest hills you can find around here.

I'm also doing more core work this time around, and the difference is as clear as day. I have greater control over my form and finish runs less sore. I love Tabatas, those furiously intense but quick repititions of crunches, push ups or whatever you need to work on.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rock Mountain High

Hello readers! While my blogging was practically non- existent, my running has been all over the place in the last few weeks. Back on the 28th, I made a rather foolish attempt at a 5k PR in the evening heat. Surprise surprise, I was over 30 seconds behind. Time to give up on that goal until November! On the following day I had a blow up at Turkey, 2 miles in and the body shut down, as in hitting the wall. It got progressively worse when I got home. Still not sure if it was heat exhaustion or some kind of virus, but I was banned by my wiser half from running in the triple digits after that. Thankfully the temps have gone down considerably since then and I've had a couple of weeks of solid training.

We just booked a flight for a short family get away to Colorado for Labor Day weekend. Super stoked for  family, mountains, clean air and delicious brews. I'm running with a little more pep and counting the days...

Speaking of Colorado, today is the Pikes Peak Marathon, a race that has been on my bucket list for along time. Killian Jornet, Max King and a number of other elite runners (but, alas, no Matt Carpenter) are battling it out this morning to the top of that 14er and back down to Colorado Springs. Live twitter coverage here.