Saturday, February 21, 2009

2/21/09: Back to the mountains

This week I paid the price for running harder than I should have last week at the George Washington Birthday Marathon. I was pretty worn out the rest of the week, but managed to hit 75 miles for week.

I was feeling better towards the end of the week and decided that I'd head out to the Massanuttens for some mountain running on Saturday. The last time I was out there was MLK weekend in January, and I won't be able to get back to the mountains again until Elizabeth's Fat Ass 50K on March 14th, so this was a good weekend to do some serious climbing.

I went back to Buzzard Rock where I did MMT training run # 1. I did the same first 4.5 miles climbing up to Buzzard Rock and then explored some different trails after that. It ended up being a tougher course than MMT # 1. It was all rocky, steep single track trail with no fire roads (let alone actual roads) to be found.

It was a beautiful day and a really fun run. I had a tough time getting going and didn't really warm up until after the climb up Buzzard Rock. My legs still weren't exactly fresh for any of the run, but I did feel pretty decent once I got past the first 5 miles and loosened up. I ended up hitting around 26 miles and probably had around 5K feet of climbing.

Today it warmed up to the mid 40s and was a bright, sunny, clear day. I brought along the camera and took some pictures. Unfortunately I think my camera is broken and it died about 45 minutes in even though I had just put new batteries in it. I still managed to get a few good ones in though.

(Start of the trail coming off the trailhead. Pretty runnable, right?)

(Let the climbing begin!)

(View from part way up to the climb to Buzzard Rock)

(Classic Massanutten rocks. Lots of today's run looked like this)

(The other ridge of the Massanuttens from most of the way up the first climb)

(You can see the top of the first climb in the top left)

Monday, February 16, 2009

2/16: George Washington Birthday Marathon

I decided to jump into the George Washington Birthday Marathon for a fun, hard training run. This is part of my new philosophy that if I'm going to be doing long training runs anyway, I might as well do some more races. It's more fun to have some other people to run with, and I always like the race atmosphere too.

I knew I wasn't in top marathon shape given that I had just been skiing in Utah, had run 12 miles the day before, and hadn't done any speedwork in more weeks than I can remember. Nonetheless, I figured I could take it a little bit easy and finish ok in the 3:20 to 3:30 range.

The race had a really low key start in a residential area of Greenbelt, MD. I really like these laid back races where a few hundred people basically just show up to have a good time. The course was 3 7.5 mile loops with a few miles before and after you hit the loop section.

Early on I spotted a guy wearing a JFK 50 shirt. I started talking to him in the first mile, and we ended up running together and talking ultras. Jim was looking to qualify for Boston and had done a bunch of other marathons and ultras before. We were running just under 7 minute miles, which was definitely faster than I should have been running, but it was good company so I figured why not?

We ended up running together for all of the first 20 miles. I had felt pretty good up until then, but then my legs started shouting "What are you doing?! This is supposed to be a training run!" I had already run way too hard and didn't need to tire myself out anymore, so I backed off the pace. Jim went flying ahead to a great finish in 3:06. I plodded through the last 10K to finish in 3:13.

All in all, I was still pretty happy with how it went. It's good to know that I can crank out sub-7s for a long time even when I'm not in the best shape. I ended up getting 2nd place in my age group. Not sure yet where I placed overall (they haven't posted full results yet).

I'm feeling pretty good today - a bit sore but not too bad. I'm planning to run some today to loosen up and will probably hit the gym too for some cross training or lifting. With work being really crazy, I haven't been able to do much lifting for a while. I definitely felt it yesterday! My arms were almost as tired as my legs, which is kind of pathetic. Hopefully now that work is getting a bit more reasonable I'll be able to do more strength training.

My next race is the Seneca Greenway 50K, which I'm also looking forward to. It's also a very low key run, and it'll be nice to hit the trails.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

2/14/09: Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

It's been a while since I posted. Things have been pretty crazy. Jen and I have been traveling a lot, and I've been working a ton too. Luckily things have calmed down a bit.

It took a little while to recover from the MMT training run I posted about last time, but I've had some good solid training since then. I hit 95 miles the following week with a 35 mile trail run and got another 30 miler in the next week.

This last weekend I "recovered" while skiing out in Utah. We had lots of snow out there and some great powder skiing. I was lucky enough to sign up for Utah's Interconnect tour on the day when we got 2 feet of snow. The tour hits 6 ski areas all on skis traveling mostly throughout some awesome backcountry areas. We only hit 4 of the ski areas due to passes closing with all the snow, but it was hands down the best day of skiing I've had. I came back from Utah feeling a bit beat up from skiing but pretty fresh running wise.

Now that I'm more rested, I'm planning on some pretty serious training in the next month and a half. Here's the schedule:
  • Feb 15 (tomorrow): George Washington Birthday marathon
  • Feb 21: drive out the Massanuttens for a long mountain training run
  • Feb 28: take it a bit easy (getting our new puppy this weekend!)
  • March 7: Seneca Greenway 50K
  • March 14: Elizabeths' Fat Ass 50K in the Massanuttens
  • March 21: take it a bit easy
  • March 28: Bel Monte 50 miler (has 11K elevation gain)

It'll definitely be more racing than I've done before. I'm planning to treat most of the races as hard training runs, so hopefully I'll be able to stay pretty healthy throughout.

I'm also still trying to figure out what my peak race will be for late spring/early summer. I'm planning to peak for the JFK 50 this fall but haven't decided what I really want to gun for in the first half of the year. I'm contemplating heading out west for a big mountain race, but we'll see. I'll keep you all posted.

Also, the site I raised money for with the Vermont 100, Firstgiving, did a bit of a spotlight on me. Check it out if you're interested at