Friday, September 30, 2011

Easy and Cool Morning Run

I finished up my weekday runs this week with an easy morning 4 miler at the Nor-Bath Trail.  I was hoping to get up earlier, but I ended up starting after 9.  That caused me to miss some of the Paul Short Invitational Cross Country meet at Lehigh.

With all the rain we had the other day, there was quite a bit of washout on the trail.  It was certainly runnable, but a lot of the gravel was gone.  Some maintenance crews were working on it. 

The weather was sunny and nice and cool for a change.  I didn't have to sweat so much.  I ran along at an easy pace.  I just mainly focused on my form.  My legs definitely weren't as strong as I would've liked to, but luckily it was an easy run.  I was able to get through it.  I ran a fairly consistent pace.

After the run, I did do my 8X8 second hill sprints.  I ran them on a hill in the other neighborhood.  The hill wasn't as steep as I thought though.  There are plenty of hills around, but not as many that are as steep as they seem when driving on them.  Last week's hill sprints were on more of an incline and thus a bit harder.

I took an ice bath after the run too.  This time I did it right.  My legs were freezing, as they should be.  Usually I put it too much water.  It is tough to sit there with a lot of ice though.  It was great for recovery.

Tomorrow is a 10 mile long run.  It'll be good to get into double digits.  I'm likely going to run in the AM with the Breakfast Club Runners.  This time, I think I'll run out and back with them and then do another out and back.  That way I don't run as much of it alone as I did last week.  It'll end up being a second straight 35 mile week.  I'm very happy where I'm at.

4.09 miles - 36:59 (9:03 pace)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Faster Group Run

I didn't feel good this morning.  My legs were sore.  I've just been doing too much running lately.  Because of that, I skipped my morning tempo run.  Instead, I just ran with the LVRR Group this evening.

It rained most of the day, but cleared up nicely for the run.  Thankfully, we had a couple faster guys running this week.  The fastest guy was interesting.  Another guy, I convinced to come during a chat on Wednesday.  We started off on a brisk pace towards Fish Hatchery Road.  It was a bit tough for me early, because I'm used to starting off slow and picking it up.  Plus, it started with an uphill early on.

After we hit the road, I decided that we should go a little longer and head up the trail past there.  We did that and then looped around back.  There was another serious climb by the Route 78 bridge.  We ended up passing some of the group that had turned around earlier.  Before we got to the clubhouse, we the guy from the chat dropped back a bit.

After getting to the clubhouse, we decided to go farther.  We crossed the bridge there and then looped around to the Robin Hood Bridge.  We then had to stay on the road because some of the path was partly flooded.  The route ended up being a little over 5.5 miles.

It was good having some people to talk with and to run faster with than the last couple weeks.  The group is growing too and that's great to see.  We are also getting repeat running.  I'm glad everyone is happy with how it is going so far.

This route ended up having a lot of hills.  The early hills seemed to take their toll on me.  I had more left it the tank, but I was quite worn out considering the pace wasn't that fast.  Maybe the miles I've been running lately have taken their toll.  Either way, it was good and productive effort.  I'm actually glad that I didn't run hard this morning.

Tomorrow is an easy run.  I have to get out there early because I am heading to Lehigh for the Paul Short Invitational.  It features some of the top colleges in the country and some of the best high schools around.  The girls HS race will be great with some of the top runners in the state competing.  I'm hoping to get some good photos.  I just wish my Nazareth team was in it.

5.59 miles - 47:39 (8:31 pace)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saucon Rail Trail Tempo

Fall is definitely here as I witnessed along the Saucon Rail Trail today.  Leaves are falling all over the well groomed trail.  It is a cool place to run with some nice wooden fences along the trail.  It passes along and over streams as well as by some nice houses and a golf course.  They also kept some of the old signals up from the railroad days, so that's cool too.

I as I got my shoes on and got out of my car, it started to pour.  It looked like a passing shower, so I waited it out and sure enough it was gone in about 5 minutes.  I then headed out for the cloudy tempo run.  The plan was for 5 miles with the last 12 minutes at a moderate pace.

When I started off, I just concentrated on form and running tall.  That was my main focus throughout the run.  It allowed me to move along at a brisk pace.  I was breathing maybe a little harder then I should've been early on, but didn't feel like I was going too hard.  My legs felt slightly dead early on too, but they came around as well.

I just cruised along at a nice steady pace.  It was actually quite humid again once the rain lifted.  I saw two deer sitting in someone's yard along the trail.  I've seen plenty of deer before and plenty even sitting, but never in someone's yard.

When I hit the turn around a little after halfway, I took my shirt off.  That really cool me off for the tempo portion of the run.  I just kept focused on small segments.  I picked it up with a mile and a half to go.  Those last few minutes seemed to fly by.

Without overdoing it, my final mile was a speedy 7:27.  Both of the final two miles were under 8 minutes, thanks to the tempo pace.  I finished up right before a road crossing, so that worked out well.  I felt very good.

I thought about running some hill sprints, but my legs have been bothering me a bit lately.  It isn't a problem when I run, but they're sore afterward.  I might take an ice bath after tomorrow's tempo run.  My legs have really put on the mileage lately.

Tomorrow is an AM tempo run and a PM group run with the LVRR.  I think I'll likely head over to the Wilson Bike Path for the tempo run.  I've been trying to recruit more people to the group run.  I was on the LVRS chat today and might have got some new converts there.  We'll see how that turns out.  I actually like the easy pace that we've been running so far, but I want to get more people involved.

5 miles - 41:00 (8:12 pace)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to the Finish Line

It has been about a month since I last did a group run at the Finish Line Running Store.  I headed over there for today's run.  It was mostly new runners, including one of the guys from the Breakfast Club group.

We were doing the short loop to the nearby park and back.  It started off at a nice pace, but after we got going, I had to push the pace a little more.  It wasn't comfortable, but wasn't hard either.  I was ahead of the other couple guys.  I cruised around the park, hoping that I'd take the right route.  For all the times I've run there now, I still don't know exactly where I'm going.  On the way back, I turned sooner than we usually do.  I still got back to the same place, but it ended up being a different route.

I ended up getting to the store and it was only about 2.5 miles, so I decided to head down the street and add on a simple out and back.  The one guy was just behind me, so we ran together for the last 2 miles.  He is from the Palmerton area and runs trails, so we chatted some about the trails up there.  Eventually, I'll head there for a trail run.

Some how we ended up doing an out and back, but wound up about two streets over from where we started.  It was quite puzzling.  I have no idea how that happened.  It ended up being a nice run under 4.5 miles.  The guy from BCR did five miles and came back later.  We thought we might've lost him.

I was prepared this time with a singlet, but of course the weather wasn't bad.  It was hot earlier in the day, but actually became cloudy before the run.  Luckily, the rain held off until just after we finished up.  I forgot to run hill sprints after my run.  I'm terrible at remembering that.

Earlier in the day, I went to the Nazareth Cross Country meet.  Freedom's top runner won and the great Liberty girl ran away with the girl's race.  There was a scary moment though in the girls race.  One of the top runners, from Freedom, staggered to the finish and collapsed.  They were giving her water and pouring it over her too.  Hopefully she just cramped up and was dehydrated.  It wasn't pretty to watch.  It is something you might expect to see at the end of a marathon, but not really a 5K.  I guess she really pushed it.

Sometime, I might run the Nazareth Cross Country course at the Borough Park.  It has a nice hill and runs through some wooded trails.  I'm not crazy about running on the uneven surface of grass though, so we'll see.

Tomorrow, is a 5 mile progression run with the last 12 minutes being moderate.  I'd like to incorporate a hill at the end of it.  Not sure where I'll run yet though.  My leg has started bothering me again and I might need to stick to the trails.  I didn't notice it while running, but the high ankle on my left leg is sore now.  It was a problem back in the spring and forced me to take a week off.  Hopefully, I can treat it better this time around.

4.32 miles - 35:39 (8:15 pace)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Varying Speed Paces

This morning was another interval session.  I headed to the D&L Trail in Cementon for the 6 miler.  It was the same setup as last week (one mile warmup and cool down with 3 minutes at goal pace +30 seconds and 3 minutes active recovery), just a mile further.  This added one more interval to last week.

I was surprised at how well my legs felt early on.  They were kind of dead last week, but fresh at the start of this one.  I had to push a bit on the first interval, but it was good.  The second interval was very tough though.  I went harder than I wanted to in order to stay under the 7:30 pace.

Things seemed to start getting a little out of whack on the third interval.  I managed to get well under pace, but it took awhile.  At one point, my watch went from over a 7:30 pace to under a 7:15 almost instantly.  I guess maybe it was missing signals.

After the third interval, I recovered for a couple minutes and then turned around.  The problems with the GPS were more of the same on the 4th and 5th intervals.  I felt like I was running with about the same effort for both, but after 45 seconds, interval 4 was barely under a 9 minute pace and interval 5 was under a 6 minute pace.  There is no way I was running that fast or that slow in either.  Obviously, the paces get more accurate as you run farther, but this was messing me up.  Even with the crazy slow start to the 4th interval, I finished with a 7:34 pace.  The 5th and 6th intervals were both under 7 minute pace.

I was really tiring by that final interval (the 6th).  I was really battling the heat and humidity.  It was rough.  There wasn't much shaded either.  Time seemed to slow down, although it seemed to do this during the active recovery segments as well, so that was nice.

Overall, I'm very happy with the effort.  I think from now on, I have to be less concerned about the interval pace.  I just need to run steady and hard.  I don't want to keep changing my paces as much as I did today.  I'll use the watch as a guide, but not the be all end all.

My legs aren't too sore, but my back did bother me a bit while sitting down.  I'll likely run with the Finish Line Group tomorrow evening.  Hopefully that will be an easy run.  Even if it isn't, I have quite a bit of time to recover from today's run.

6 miles - 50:47 (8:28 pace)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Berwick Distance

I ran my long run this morning with the Breakfast Club Runners.  We ran at the Plainfield Rail Trail.  Most people were only doing about six miles, but I ran 9 miles.  That's the furthest I've done so far since I've come back to running.  Since I missed my 8 miler last week, 7 miles had actually been my previous long.  It is also the same distance as my Thanksgiving Day race in Berwick.

It was good because two of the girls from my relay team were there.  I ran with them for 3 miles until they turned around.  They were running 12 miles and had already run 6 of them.  There were also a few more people in that pack as well.  I think we had 7 people total.

The pace was perfect.  At first, it didn't actually seem fast enough and I considering going ahead.  I looked at my watch and thought it was slow, but realized I just read my watch wrong.  We were running under 8:30 pace.  That's ideal for where I'm at now.

The trail was wet and full of leaves, but thankfully the weather was good.  It was very comfortable.  There were a lot of black walnuts on the path and avoiding them became a bit of a pain.  Overall, it was a good day though.

My legs were definitely a bit dead from all the miles and consecutive days that I ran this week.  When the girls left me, I slowed my pace.  I did still stay under a 9 minute pace throughout the run though.  I tried to concentrate on form and that really helped.  Running tall sure does make things easier.

I was actually struggling and relieved when I hit the turnaround.  Just before that, I passed a group that looked like middle schoolers.  I was hoping to catch them, but they stopped right away.  Most of the run was uneventful.  With less than three miles to go, I hit somewhat of an uphill portion.  That became a little tough.  With two miles left, my IT band acted up a bit.  It never got too bad though.

The trail is basically flat, but there is definitely a slight incline at spots.  It is very noticeable on a long run like this when you are tired.  Even slight uphills can be tough, while downhill parts seem cake.  Most of the change in slope is so minor that it isn't even visually noticeable.

I just kept focusing on each mile at a time as I got toward the end.  I knew the last two would be pretty tough and they were.  With about a mile and a half to go, they was a noticeable hill and I struggled some through that.  I never fell off the wagon though.  My last mile was actually among my fastest of the run.  I was happy that I wasn't too sore afterward.  It was better than I expected.  I did still take an ice bath at home though.  I was wearing grey shorts and my crotch area and behind were noticeably sweaty.  I'll have to make a note not to wear those again for a group run.

After the run, I went over to the middle school and watched a 5K.  A few of the Breakfast Club Runners were in it, so I took some pictures too.  I debated running in it, but just wanted to run my long run.  Too bad too, because it wasn't very fast.  The winner was just over 18 minutes and only 7 people broke 20 minutes.  I'm sure I could've placed, but I'm not looking to collect more hardware.  I just like running races in my hometown, so that really would've been the reason to run it.

Watching the race was a good recovery.  Better than sitting there stiff at breakfast would've been.  Tomorrow is a much needed off day after running 6 days this week (7 runs).  Monday is back into the groove with some speedwork.  Not sure where I'll run that at yet.

9 miles - 1:17:11 (8:35 pace)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Easy Rain

I went out and got my easy 3 mile run done in the rain today.  I decided to start at Riverview Park and do an out and back.  When I started, it was a light drizzle so wearing just a shirt was a no brainer.  I did want to stay dry, so a jacket would've been nice, but it was just too humid as well.

Within the first mile, I came upon some deer right along the trail.  I really didn't even notice them until they were in the woods just a few feet from me.  I guess I was concentrating too much on running.

Most of the run was quite uneventful.  It has some decent scenery, but is really just flat and straight.  I was surprised that I nearly made it to the Route 33 boat launch after a mile and a half.  I didn't think it was that close.  The rain picked up quite a bit and it was steady.  My clothes eventually were soaked.

Again, I worked on form and trying to run tall.  That really seemed to help when I put in a fast final mile.  I certainly didn't put in any effort, but my time picked up.  I've become really good at starting off slow and upping the pace significantly without any effort.

When I biked this area a couple months ago, I remember coming across a steep hill near Riverview.  I found it and it was perfect for short hill sprints.  I haven't done those enough and need to get into a habit of incorporating them more.  My hill running has definitely strengthened me and made these sprints much easier.  I didn't feel it at all until the last two.  The seventh (and final one) did bother my right hamstring after I finished up.  I was glad I didn't have to do anymore.  I made sure to stretch the hamstring good too after the run.

Tomorrow is my long 9 miler.  I'm planning on running it with the Breakfast Club Runners on the Plainfield Rail Trail.  I'm also hoping to get over to the NMS and watch a 5K which some of the group is running in as well.

3 miles - 26:30 (8:50 pace) 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Running and Socializing

One of the nice things about running the LV, is that I'm starting to socialize more.  I'm making important connections down the road, especially since I want my life and career to be centered around running.  In addition to tonight's LVRR group run, we had a meet and greet social afterward.  It was good to meet a bunch of people with the same interests.  I was looking forward to meeting the women who runs the Lehigh Valley Running Scene website.  She's very involved in running around here and that's what I want to be too.  I don't normally socialize well, but with running as a common link it is much easier.

I also am pretty excited as I got one of the girls from the Finish Line running store to commit to running a nighttime trail run with me at Bear Creek.  I know some people that would be crazy enough to do it, but I'm not sure if any of them would be fast enough.  She's cute too, so that's a nice bonus.

On to the actual running.  Since the group run easy last week, I decided to run a fartlek in the morning.  My legs have been taking a pounding on the roads lately, so I decided to hit the trail.  Since I was planning on running hard, I opted for Jacobsburg.  That was a good decision.

I ran the typical loop starting at Henry's Woods and then added an out and back portion.  I actually did turn left instead of right on the uphill portion of the loop.  That made the loop a bit longer, but it came out at the same place.  It could just be me, but that uphill part seemed more challenging than the normal route.

The first fast segment was for four minutes.  I felt good and cruised along.  I recovered for four minutes as well.  The thing that was tough was the humidity.  The hills aren't the most difficult that I've run on, but the pace was faster than I usually run on hills, so it presented a challenge as well.

The second four minute segment was at a blazing 6:57 pace.  I didn't even realize I ran that fast.  Some of it was downhill if I recall correctly.  I wanted to do a minute shorter second recovery segment, but I didn't look at my watch close enough, so I ended up doing four minutes.  That segment might've been too fast as the third four minute segment just killed me.  I really slowed down.

After just a three minutes recovery, I closed it out this time with two minutes of fast running.  That was challenging, but felt good.  My legs felt great once I really starting going.  The break from the roads was a huge advantage to them as well.  I finished up with an easy half mile and felt good.

My biggest concern was the chafing problems that I had a day earlier.  Before I started the run, I was so sore from chafing that I wondered how I could even run.  The cream I put on definitely helped.  I actually felt good after a mile and had no more problems.  I had no issues with going to the bathroom in the morning, so that was great too.

Before the meet and greet, I ran with the run group.  A few of the women came from last week and we added another guy as well.  Our other run leader couldn't make it in time.  We ran the same route as last time, except in reverse.  I paced the guy and it was about a minute faster than last week.  It was good chatting with him and I clearly gave him a good workout.  We had to stop and take walk breaks several times throughout the workout.  I was a little disappointed because I could've just slowed down the pace and we could've finished better.  Hopefully next time I'll have a better feel for his pace.  I want to be a good pacer on these runs.

This heavy week of running is almost complete.  I have two more days left.  Tomorrow is a very easy three miler.  I think I'll like head to the Route 33 boat launch or Riverview Park and do a simple out and back.  I do need to do some hill sprints and/or drills as well.  I didn't concentrate on form as much today.  Saturday will be a nine mile run (hopefully with the BCR).  That will be my longest run to date during this comeback.  Things are going pretty well.

5 miles - 45.22 (9:05 pace)

4.1 miles - 42:02 (10:16 pace)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Schoeneck Progression

Today was a solid 4 mile progression run around Nazareth.  I ended with the last ten minutes at a moderate pace and most of it was up the wonderful hill that is Schoeneck.  The weather was good, but my body didn't feel great.

The start was easy (effort wise) as I cruised around town.  I started off with some hills, so the beginning was a little slow.  I ran from the high school basically to the circle, to the pool and back to the high school.  That put me at around 2.6 miles.

My legs still didn't really come in at that point, but I pressed on anyway.  The hill was tough for a change because I was pushing the pace.  I kept going though and it became very rewarding.  This is the first time I've run any hills at speed since I did some hill repeats there a few months back.

I didn't quite get to the very top before turning around and heading back down, but I was close.  I had run 3.8 miles at that point and wanted a brief downhill portion.  I cruised for the last .2 miles.  It was a good workout.

I just haven't felt that great in the last week or two.  I had too many trips to the bathroom before this run.  My legs are feeling a little sluggish.  Hopefully, it is just a rut in the middle of training.  I'm at that point in this training cycle where I'm far from the start, but still not close enough to the finish line yet.

The rest of this week worries me too.  I have a double session tomorrow with a fartlek run in the AM and the LVRR group run in the PM.  Friday is a short run and Saturday is a 9 mile long run.  This will be my first 6 straight day running week since before I got sick.  If I don't feel good next week, I might have to back off a bit.

In addition to the group run tomorrow, I'm looking forward to the meet and greet at the clubhouse.  I've met a few of the leaders of the LVRR, but I'd like to get to know more of them.  Maybe we'll get a good turnout for the group run too.

4 miles - 34:41 (8:41 pace)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Running Tall and Running Tangents

I didn't feel very good today, so I ran near my house rather than with the group run in Emmaus.  It was an easy five miler, which I often seem to dread.  I like a challenging run.  The weather was close to perfect though, I will say that.

I started off nice and easy and was really cruising around.  It was certainly a good pace through the first two miles.  Because I was bored, I decided to focus on form.  I think my form really tends to get sloppy in easy runs.  It should be smooth all the time.  The book I recently read by Arthur Lydiard talked about "running tall."  That just what I focused on doing.  It seemed to make my back a little sore, but I was definitely smooth and faster with little effort.  I need to keep working on this.  I definitely need to start doing more form drills to keep sharp too.

A friend ran a half marathon over the weekend and her watch said she ran .23 miles farther than the half marathon distance.  Since I was bored during this run, I focused on running tangents where I could.  That would be good practice for races and could eliminate the problems that she had.  It gave me something to do as well.

Again, the hills were easy.  I barely noticed them.  I kept my effort the same, but naturally my pace increased.  I went from clicking off 9 minute miles early on to a speedy 4th mile under 8:30.  The last mile was a little challenging as I just didn't feel like I had a lot of energy.  I got through it though.  Sometimes, that's all you can do.

Tomorrow, is a 4 mile progression run with the last 10 minutes at moderate pace.  That should be a more interesting workout.  I might up to even run the last 10 minutes uphill.  To do that, I'd likely have to go to Lehigh and run up South Mountain.  That's definitely a possibility.  I'm also cat sitting tomorrow, so the run will have to come in the afternoon.

5 miles - 44: 21 (8:52 pace)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Doing Some Intervals

After at least salvaging Friday's run, the rest of the weekend was terrible.  The plan for the trip was to run the Appalachian Trail for my 8 mile long run.  Instead, I was sick in bed all Saturday with stomach cramps.  Too bad, because the short part of the trail that we hiked on Sunday seemed pretty nice.  It was a drop in elevation too.

I felt much better today, so I headed out for the scheduled interval session.  I decided to use the flat Nor-Bath Trail.  As it gets closer to the race, I might do speedwork with more hills to get used to it for the challenging race.  I started at Bicentennial Park, so I wouldn't have to cross busy Airport Road and I also could run further west on the trail than I ever have before.

The plan was for one mile of warmup and cool down.  The three miles in between consisted of intervals of 3 minutes at a 7:30 pace, followed by 3 minutes of active recovery.  This certainly seemed reasonable.

I did have to work a little more than I would've liked to keep the first interval around 7:30.  Even after a mile warmup, my legs weren't ready to run as fast as I needed them to be.  I still just tried to concentrate on good form though, rather than pushing it.  The second interval, I got into a better groove.  It seemed quite easy actually.  Things got tricky though as I hit a new section of the trail.  It had some paved surfaces, rather than gravel, as well as some hills.

I turned around a little before I got to Northampton.  The third interval started out easy.  I was barely working at all and staying comfortably below pace.  It seemed to easy, until I hit a hill.  Then I had to push to stay under pace.  Right after I started the fourth interval, I passed another run.  He seemed startled.  I guess I was going to fast.  It seemed like he was catching up during my recovery portion.  I didn't want to pass him again, so I picked it up a little more.

I could've finished with 4 intervals, but I had enough distance left yet to do a 5th interval.  I don't know if my watch was right or not, but I was running under a 7 minute pace in the first 45 seconds and it just seemed too easy.  The whole interval was well under pace and maybe harder than I should've run it.  You want to work hard, but not overdo it.  My legs were starting to tire at the end.

I've become good at running a consistent pace.  That makes it go for tempo runs.  It seems that I have to work on intervals though.  My legs get stronger and I run them too fast as time goes on.  I need to be more consistent.  Adding hills will be great for these runs too.  My goal is a 7 minute pace right now, I'm very confident that I could do that on a flat course, just not sure if it is realistic with Berwick's hills.  We shall see.

Tomorrow, is an easy 5 miler.  I'm definitely going to run at the Finish Line.  I haven't been to their group run in a couple weeks.  Hopefully, there will be someone there to push me, but not too hard.  I don't want to be overly taxed.  It will be good to get back with that group though.  This will be my first week of 6 straight days of running during this training cycle.  We'll see how well I adjust to it.

5 miles 40:46 (8:09 pace)

Pine Grove Furnace

On Friday evening, I took in an easy run at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  I kept hoping for the cold weather to break and it never did.  Eventually, I just ended up running in it.  I wasn't sure that I could complete the scheduled easy 5 miler, but figured I better get out there and get something done.

I noticed that the road by our campground was a public road.  It had some elevation change, but it was gradual.  I decided to give it a try.  The route was actually perfect.  It ran through the woods and was lightly traveled.  I only encountered one car during the whole run.

It started uphill, so I went easy.  The hill helped me keep my pace under control.  I cruised along very comfortable (other than the cold).  It was a good start as I passed some small creeks along the way.  I decided to turn around at about a mile and a half.  My IT band was acting up a little and I was still cold.

Going downhill only made the weather worse.  I had a long sleeve shirt on, but really needed gloves and ear protection.  My ears began to ache and I hands were getting numb.  I didn't push it at all downhill.  I wanted to make sure I recovered from Thursday's tough run.  At one point, I even stopped for a bathroom break.

I saw a flash of white going through the woods next to the road.  I thought it might've been a deer.  Sure enough, a second deer came running up the road in front of me and then jumped into the woods.  I keep seeing so many deer on my runs.  That's so cool.  I finished up at the campground and at least got 3 miles in.  I was just too cold to do any more.  There was no reason to make myself feel worse.  It wasn't what I hoped for, but I at least got out there and ran.

3 miles - 31:11 (10:25 pace)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

LVRR Group Run

Tonight was the first group run with the LVRR.  It was unseasonably cold, but we still had 4 runners show up in addition to the two of us leading the run.  The other runners were all women, so it wasn't a fast pace.  It turned out to be a comfortable run.  We ran south from the clubhouse and looped back around to the covered bridge and back to the clubhouse.  It was a little over 4 miles.

I led the whole group and the other guy stayed back with one of the women.  I ran a little faster with another women.  It was good talking throughout the run and I was able to share a lot of my running knowledge.  We picked it up a little and finished at just under an 11 minute pace.  It was good because I was a little worried that I'd have trouble even running that slow.  It didn't bother me though.  If the group continues to be that easy, I'll make it the second run of the day.

After the run, I decided to go for my tempo run.  The first run made for a good warmup.  I basically just ran the 5K course.  The goal was to hit those three miles at a 7:30 pace.  The first mile in the cold went well.  I was under pace.  Some of the hills slowed me down and I was about a second over pace as I hit the last set of hills.  That slowed me down and the pace slowed to 7:32.

I was really starting to fatigue after over 6 miles run total on the evening.  I wanted to meet my goal, so I really pushed it in the final quarter mile.  I started to get a side stitch, but I managed to get faster.  I finished with a very satisfying 7:28 pace.  I probably shouldn't have pushed so much for a couple seconds, but that's the competitiveness of me.

I am amazed at my pace and progress.  I basically ran the tempo segment at my 5K race pace from early August.  That is after running 4 miles before starting the tempo run.  The hill running and other group runs have been a huge help.

I was in some pain after going to the bathroom, so I didn't get to stretch.  Hopefully I won't be too tired tomorrow or sore.  I'll be doing an easy 5 miles.  It'll most likely be at the state park that we are camping at.  Saturday I'll be running 8 miles there on the Appalachian Trail.  It should be a fun weekend.

4.18 miles - 45:05 (10:47 pace)

3 miles - 22:24 (7:28 pace)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Club at Morgan Hill

Since The Finish Line is having some sort of a fun run tonight and I needed a more serious workout, I decided to get some easy hill running in.  I decided to try running to the Club at Morgan Hill.  It is a golf course on the side of a mountain with some houses there as well.  It offers amazing views of downtown Easton.

I looked at some topo maps and decided I could park at Heil Park in Easton.  It is a little league baseball and football field.  I scouted out the route and was a little worried about the shoulder width on Morgan Hill Road and the fact that there was quite a bit of traffic and some blind spots as well.  None of it turned out to be a problem though.

I started off mid morning.  It was comfortable out.  The first mile is mostly flat or downhill.  That made it good to get into rhythm.  Right as I hit the mile mark, the climb really began (just over Route 78).  Climbing to Clubhouse Road wasn't too bad.  The road switchbacks so that it isn't too steep.  The one sharp blind turn was a little steep, but it was brief.  Right before turning onto Clubhouse Road, it is pretty steep too, but again only for a short stretch.

The start of Clubhouse Road allows for a recovery.  The run isn't as straight up and down as South Mountain.  There is more rolling hills and more opportunity for recovery.  I pushed a bit harder once I hit the final uphill before the turnaround.  The top by the clubhouse over 700 feet in elevation.

Of course after that I was able to cruise downhill and recover.  I didn't realize how much uphill was still left as I exited the neighborhood on the way back.  Of course it always looks worse than it actually is.  One nice thing about this run and South Mountain is that the road curves so you never actually see the top.  If it went straight up, it might seem overwhelming.

I zipped back down Morgan Hill Road.  I had a little bit of a close call with a car near the bottom.  It was coming around a turn and the gravel shoulder was broken.  I had to hop through some grass.  It wasn't too bad though and overall there was plenty of room to run alongside the road.

Finally as I headed back towards Heil Park (my starting point), I started to feel it a little.  There was another short climb and it took a little out of me.  I pushed though and it still wasn't that bad.  My IT band had hurt a little earlier in the run, but even it held up there.  Although sweaty, I still finished feeling pretty fresh.

I certainly wouldn't go as far as to say the run was easy, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be.  It is still good practice for Berwick.  Now that I'm in good hill shape, I guess the next step is to work on getting up these hills faster and really pushing myself.  That will get me to where I need to be on Thanksgiving Day (race day).  I'm hoping my pace will be under 7 minutes then.  I have a long way to go before that can happen though.

Tomorrow, I'm off.  The rest will be good.  On Thursday, I have a tempo run scheduled, but also our first Roadrunners group run.  I think I'll try to do both.  Maybe I'll go with the ice bath after the AM run.  I feel strong now and I like I can handle more of a workload, so maybe a double day won't hurt.  If I see that it starts to, I'll just have to adjust my schedule to work with the group runs.

5 miles - 43:27 (8:42 pace)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Allamuchy Trail Run

Today I was debating whether or not to run.  I decided to head for a new trail.  I went to Allamuchy Mountain Park near Hackettstown, NJ.  It was about an hour drive each way.  I ran on the south portion of the park because I didn't want to run too hard.  The north section is much more difficult.

Getting to the trailhead was sure interesting.  It started with a normal run, but then came to a road that said it wasn't maintained.  It didn't look too bad, so I decided to drive down it.  It was very rough in spots and tough for my car.  Certain sections were pretty washed away from the recent rains.  It was still driveable though.  There was a gate after parking lot number one, but it was closed, probably due to all the water around it. 

I was very happy earlier in the day when I got my Garmin working again.  The battery had completely died and I was just able to get it recharging then.  Apparently, it had just froze yesterday and on the Garmin website there is a way to unfreeze it.  That's good to know in case it happens again.

I started my run shortly past the closed gate.  This was blazed as the blue trail.  I was planning on running it until I met up with the white trail.  The blue trail actually began as a dirt road.  It was wide and flat with some rocks.  It was certainly a section you could go fast on.  There was some elevation change too, but it wasn't too challenging.

After the first mile, I came upon the pond that the trail runs alongside.  It wasn't bad and provided for a nice view.  When I got into the open space next to the pond, I came across a lot of grasshoppers.  Most of them hopped away ahead of me, but some of the slow reacting ones ended up jumping at my legs.  That was annoying and I couldn't wait to get through there.  I have noticed other times that they tend to like the sun.

Around the pond, the blue trail met up with the white one.  This confused me because I thought that the blue one ended at the white one.  I decided to head onto the white trail because I was planning to loop back on that.  This part was fun because it was a dirt singletrack through the woods.  There were some rocks, but for the most part it wasn't bad.  There was some small climbing to be done from the low elevation of the pond though.  I also encountered some water running on the trail and mud.  I navigated over that well.

I was grateful that the bridges they build over the streams were high enough.  I didn't feel like a water crossing today.  During part of this section, I ended up eating a bug.  That was no fun at all.  I started to cough and was nearly choking.  It was tough to run and breath.  Things got better for a few moments, but then my throat itched again and this episode was even worse.  I almost had to stop running.  Luckily, it eventually got better.

I was fairly confident I was going the right way, but the intersection of the blue and white trails threw me off earlier.  I didn't want to take a chance of running too far, so I turned around at mile 2.6.  I was actually probably pretty close to the end at that point.

The run back was good, although it seemed a lot more uphill than going out did.  One downhill section was tough because of all the rocks.  I went a little faster than I should've through there.  I didn't run harder, but my pace picked up in the final two miles.

I was thinking about stopping at mile 4.  I knew if I did though, I'd have a pretty long walk back.  I felt good, so I opted for another half mile.  There was some tougher uphills in this part.  Still, nothing too bad though.  After I hit that half mile, I was still feeling good, so I ran to mile 5.  I finished that up in no time too.

There were a couple unmarked spur trails that looked like fun, but I didn't want to get lost.  It was a little humid, but overall not too bad.  Of course the woods provided shade as usual too.  The run was fun and I'll definitely head back.  Next time, it'll likely be when I'm looking for a harder workout.  I'll head to the more challenging northern section then.

Tomorrow, I'm definitely going to run again.  I'd like to head to Emmaus again for the Finish Line group run.  I haven't been there in awhile.  We shall see.

5 miles - 48:32 (9:43 pace)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

BCR LV Marathon Relay

This morning was the marathon relay with the Breakfast Club Runners.  We had three women and two guys in the mixed division.  We were the group's fast team and we lived up to it.  We took second place in our group with a time of 3:08.

Things didn't start out great for me.  We met incredibly early, at 5:30 AM.  I knew I wouldn't get much sleep because of that.  I tried getting five hours, but wound up only sleeping one.  Once it got late and I was still up, I stressed out and made it even harder to sleep.

I was also worried about bathroom breaks.  I had to take one really bad as we got to the start at Cedar Crest Hospital.  We took a van and dropped off and picked up teammates.  I ran the 4th of 5 legs.  One of the girls ran the first leg and our fast guy ran the second leg.

I thought we might have a lot of time waiting around for our runners to finish, but by the time we drove to each stop, our runner ended up nearly being there.  Of course we were fast after the first two legs and our third leg was good too.

My run started at Freemansburg and ended at Riverview Park in Easton.  It was almost all flat path.  It started as gravel and eventually was paved.  It was an easy 5.8 mile leg though.

Unfortunately, my Garmin stopped working early in the morning.  I'm not sure what is wrong with it.  I had to run on feel, which luckily I've become good at.

I started off slow.  The sleepiness and tight legs caused me to sputter for the first mile.  Eventually, I hit my groove though.  The weather was nice and cool, so it was perfect conditions.  I thought I'd end up passing a lot of people that were dieing, but actually I got passed a lot.  One of the few guys that I did pass was walking and he tried to run then and stick with me, but I dropped him.

I ran moderately hard for most of the beginning.  After getting some water within the final two miles, I picked it up.  I really just worked on using better form.  I stayed smooth.  As usually, I finished with my big kick.  I started it when I first saw the park and it actually ended up being too early.  Someone tried to race me, but it was crazy because I'm pretty sure he was in the marathon and still had a long way to go.

My goal was to finish under 46 minutes.  I didn't have a watch, so I'm not sure how good I did.  One of my teammates said it was like 42 minutes.  I wish I knew because that's much better than I expected.  It was great and I didn't have to destroy myself either.  I'm definitely getting stronger.

I had not met any of the girls on our team yet.  It was good to meet and get to know them.  It was also fun finishing so well.  It was a blast.  I felt good that I didn't cost us anything because I'm slower than I used to be.  We were 18 minutes behind the first place team anyway.

5 miles - ???

Friday, September 9, 2011

Marathon Relay Prep

I ran my 6 mile long run on the marathon course today.  I wanted to check out how my leg of the relay was holding up after all the rain and flooding.  It is basically and stone and was in good condition.  The only significant problem I had was there was a pretty big puddle at the end of the run at Hope Road.

I started at Freemansburg and ran to Hope Road and back.  That's about half of my actual relay.  It's the part that isn't on paved surface though.  I went out at a perfect easy pace.  The first mile was dead on 9:00.  That was perfect.

It was a little humid and sunny when I started.  Luckily, the path is shaded, so it wasn't bad at all.  I just simply cruised along.  I got a little worried because I thought I might have to go to the bathroom early on.  There was a bathroom at the start, but it was dirty.  Thankfully, I never had to stop and make a trip.

My IT band bothered me a bit.  It has some lately, but it isn't too bad.  I need to start stretching and massaging it better, to stay ahead of it.  It did seem to improve as the run went on.

I was surprised that I didn't see more runners checking out the course.  I passed a few runners on both directions, but most were slow and I doubt running a half or full marathon.  One guy with a dog was doing a nice pace.

My mile splits were pretty consistent.  I got a little bored in the second half of the run, but it wasn't too bad.  I'm just not crazy about running paths like this with no elevation change.  The only excitement were the two trains that went by on the opposite side of the river and the gunshots from the shooting range across the river too.

One time on the way back, I hit a section that was open to the river.  That gave a very cold breeze over me.  I did feel a bit tired towards the end.  I decided in the last half mile or so to focus on my form.  I didn't run any harder, but smoother.  As I did, my pace picked up and I ran the final mile in 8:25.

I ran five straight days now.  I'm not in terrible shape, but I definitely felt somewhat beat-up and exhausted.  Tomorrow's rest day is much need.  I can't wait for Sunday's relay.  It should be fun.  The only thing that stinks is how early we're going to meet in the morning.

6 miles - 52:46 (8:48 pace)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trexler the Humbler

I guess whenever I get overconfident about my hill strength, I can always just head over to Trexler Nature Preserve to be humbled.  There is just nothing around that I've found even close to as challenging as the hills there.  Some are short, but super steep others are long and gradual climbs.  Few are easy though.

The toughest part is just always starting out.  If I could get a flat half mile or so, I'd be good.  However, the run starts with a killer descent quickly following by an even tougher ascent.  Without the legs warmed up, I was forced to walk a short portion of that uphill.  Early on, I came across three deer running on or through the trail.  That was cool.  I only seem to see them in the rain though.

I did manage to survive the tough start and I opened it up for a short period of time around the rare flat section at around the end of the first mile.  This is a nice run through the forest than an open field.  Shortly after running on the road for a few minutes, it enters the rocky stretch along a stream.  That was fairly wet and a little tough to navigate.  My practice on the rocky AT has been a big help though.

Following that is mostly a gradual uphill climb for almost a mile.  I love the open fields of this area.  Even on a rainy and overcast day, the views were awesome.  Speaking of the rain, I managed to get my run in during a window where the rain wasn't too bad.  It was only a slight drizzle and I didn't need a jacket.

I was surprised at how good of a condition the trail was in after all the recent rain.  A lot of it consists of small rocks and they held up well.  There were few muddy spots.  The one I did see had some deer tracks in it.  That was neat.

I wanted to keeping running to the very high point of the park, but I would've had to walk back a lot further after I finished if I kept going.  Therefore, I turned around a little after the two mile point.  Coming back was even harder.  It started downhill, but the paved stretch was uphill this time.  That was brutal and when it ended there was yet more uphill.  I walked briefly at the top of this part of the trail before getting back on pace.  Of course there were a few more hills before I was done, but I finished up before the last killer uphill.  That was hard enough to walk up.

Although the hills are tough, one thing that is nice is how open the path is.  It does wind around so you can run pretty fast times for a trail course.  This was supposed to be a fartlek, but it is hard to find places to run fast around there.  I got a good workout anyway.  The hills definitely were a killer.  I really wish I lived closer so I could run this more often.  It is so challenging and so much fun.  If I could get there once a week, I'd be happy.

Tomorrow is a long run.  With the marathon relay on Sunday, I'll probably run my section of the course.  Whatever part isn't flooded anyway.  I'll likely start at Freemansburg.  They are already rerouting sections of the course that are flooded and I'm not sure how more won't be flooded in the coming days.  The ran doesn't seem to have an end.  Oh well, we'll just have to wait and see.

4 miles - 37:33 (9:24 pace)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Making Progress with a Progression

Tonight, I ran a 3 mile progression run.  The last 10 minutes were at moderate pace.  I ran around the Blue Eagle 5K loop in total darkness.  It ended up being my best option with tonight's weather.

Originally, I was going to run down along the Lehigh River before dinner.  The road I wanted to use was closed.  By the time I got to the next location, I had to use the bathroom and there was none around.  Eventually, I made it to the Route 33 Boat Launch.  After the bathroom trip, I watched the water in the river briefly.  It was high and actually flooded the westbound path.  As I was watching the water, I heard a loud sound.  I could actually hear the rain drops coming at me and within a minute it was pouring.  I didn't have any good rain clothes with me, so I went home.

I don't mind one day of rain, but everything was still drying out from yesterday.  I decided to wait until things cleared up after supper.  That meant I didn't head out for the run until 8:30.  I thought about running the Nor-Bath trail, but opted instead for the quiet neighborhood streets.

The weather was perfect.  It was nice and cool as I started out.  I cruised along at a comfortable pace.  I encountered a few people walking (some with their dogs), but not many cars.  It was a pleasant run.  I have definitely become much stronger of a hill runner in just a short period of time.  These short rolling hills of this route felt like nothing.  Even went I ran faster, they were still relatively easy.

After about 15 minutes, I picked up the pace.  I ran a solid 7:55 final mile which is perfect for a moderate pace.  I decided to run to the 5K point.  My total time was less than a minute and a half off my race time on that course a month ago.  Not bad for a moderate training run.

The only problem I really encountered was some minor chafing again.  I wore the shorts that bother me, hoping that they wouldn't be as much of a problem in the cooler weather.  They were better this time, but still caused problems.

After the run, I drove to the biggest hill I know close by.  I ran 5 X 8 second hill sprints.  Those are meant to strengthened muscles and prevent injury.  They seemed quite easy too though.  The mountain running from a week ago really made me strong.  Now, I just have to keep building on that.

I still really want to hit a trail this week.  Therefore, I'll like head to Trexler tomorrow for my fartlek run.  That is probably not the ideal place for a "speed play," but I can take it easy if I have to.  Hopefully I can finally get on the marathon course on Friday.

3.1 miles - 25:23 (8:12 pace)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Playing in the Rain

Today was certainly a fun run.  I'd been wanting to run in the rain for awhile.  I did briefly on Saturday before it started pouring, but it wasn't raining much at the time.  Today, it was coming down in buckets as I headed out the door.

I wanted to go to the Finish Line group run, but figured there was a good chance no one would show up.  I didn't want to drive all the way to Emmaus to run by myself.  Instead, I just ran the neighborhood loop for my easy five miles.

It was tough deciding what to wear.  My water resistant jacket is just too heavy.  It was pretty cold though, so I knew I'd freeze with just a shirt.  I opted for the jacket.  I figured that could keep my shirt dry too and help keep my nipples from chafing.  I used some band aids over them as well.

I started off in the other neighborhood and cruised along.  I love running in the rain.  It just helps build character.  I think my Garmin was screwed up because I didn't run hard and I definitely didn't run the first mile in under 8 minutes.  Plus, when it hit one mile on my watch, I was at the 5K one mile marker on the course and I hadn't run that route.  I was probably off about .1 miles or so.

The second mile went pretty good too.  I kept running easy.  The only thing that bothered me was the occasional breeze.  That made it quite chilly.  My head got wet because the hood annoys me when I run.  I was impressed when I realized that one of the decent little hills on the route had no impact at all.  I hardly even noticed it. 

As I approached the halfway point, I actually saw a girl running up ahead.  She was about 2 blocks in front.  I was hoping to catch her and tell her that it was good to see someone else as crazy as me.  I didn't gain any ground though.  I ran up the steepest hill at this point and it seemed easy too.

I was amazed that I could keep running such a good pace with such easy over a rolling hill course.  I must be getting stronger.  Even the long hill which I struggled on just a month or two ago was nothing on this day.  It wasn't taking much effort to climb.  The mountain running of last week might've really strengthened me.

By the time I hit the last mile, it was getting a little uncomfortable.  My soaked jacket was sticking to me and I could feel chafing beginning.  It was good to be nearly done.  I'm not sure how much longer I could've run in those conditions.  Quite a few cars drove by me, but I noticed that I really shocked one guy with my devotion to be out there in those conditions.

As I was finishing up, I didn't want to wait for all the traffic to clear on Newburg Road.  So, I decided to run along the road until I could cross.  That was interesting because the shoulder was like a river running down along the road.  My feet got drenched.  Luckily, I was basically done with the run.  It was fun, but a relief too.  I'm glad to see my poor Monday run didn't carry over.

Tomorrow, is a 3 mile progression run with the last 10 minutes moderate.  I was thinking of going to Trexler, but since it is so short, perhaps I'll just head to Jacobsburg.  Maybe I'll go to Trexler on Thursday.  It should still be raining tomorrow, so that could be interesting.

5.05 miles - 42.16 (822: pace)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sluggish Tempo Run

I was still at the state park for my Monday run.  I made a few morning trips to the bathroom before getting out to run.  This time, I elected to run on the roads around the park.  The plan was to run to the marina and back and anymore if needed.  By the time I got out there, it was humid (although still pretty cloudy).

I started in the campground and there was a bit of a hill.  Most of the route was fairly hilly.  That whole area is a lot of rolling hills.  Early on, I noticed a weird feeling in my shoe.  It felt like a coin and it turned out to be a penny.  I left it as good luck for the next runner.

The first mile wasn't bad.  The goal of the tempo run was the final three miles at 10K pace plus one minute.  That didn't seem to hard.  I wanted to get under 8 minutes per each mile.  I did end up struggling with the hills.  I kept the pace, but seemed to have to work harder than I thought I'd have to.

The second tempo mile around the marina and lake was a bit of a struggle.  I did stay under 8 again, but had to work hard to do so.  The views of the lake were nice.  It was still cloudy and humid.  When I hit the final mile, I felt the urge to go to the bathroom.  With none around, I tried to keep running.  Eventually, I had to stop around a half mile to a mile from the campground.  I started walking with less than half a mile to go.  I was unable to keep up the tempo pace during the half mile either.

When I got to the campground and realized I still had a lot of walking left.  I decided to run the half mile left.  My urge to go to the bathroom left and didn't come back until later in the afternoon.  It is weird how that happens sometimes.  I finished up a little short of our camper after taking the long loop.

It was a disappointing day.  I'm not sure why I felt so tired.  I just didn't have any snap.  Maybe it was the lack of sleep all weekend or all the walking around the race course.  It could have also been attributed to my bathroom issues.  Perhaps the mountain runs of last week did me in.  If that's the case, I'll find out soon enough.  Hopefully, I can chalk this up to just a bad run and it won't string together.

I'll probably head back to the Finish Line group run tomorrow after missing it last week.  I am torn though because it starts at 6 PM and the replay of the Indy race is on at 7.  I really want to see that.  I have a decision to make.  Either way, it'll be able 5 easy miles (obviously depending who shows up to dictate the pace).

4 miles - 33:21 (8:21 pace)

Just Beating the Storm

Saturday is my usual long run day.  Things were a little different though.  I was going to the Indy Car race in Baltimore and camping about an hour away in Cordorus State Park.  I had to start early to do so.  Because I was at a state park, I opted for a trail run.  Originally, it was 8 miles, but I figured I wouldn't go that far.

There were a lot of horse trails and would've loved to have ran them, but I didn't want to get lost and not get to the race track on time.  I opted instead for the trail that the park ranger suggested.  It was only a mile and a half loop though, so I wasn't crazy about doing it multiple times.  At least I wouldn't get lost though.

The start of the trail was stone and I thought it would be disappointing as I like dirt much better.  It turned out to be a surprise though.  Early on, there was some nice elevation.  It had quite a few rolling hills around the cove at the lake.  Nothing was too challenging, but it wasn't pancake flat either.  Most of it was through the woods, but some was through grass.  The path was mainly dirt. 

Early on, I picked up on some painted arrows, so I followed them.  It wasn't like the trail was hard to find.  I tried to venture off at one point into a narrower trail, but that sort of disappeared.  At one point, I turned to follow the arrows and they ran into the lake and said "swim."  So I had to backtrack to get back on the trail.

The first loop covered about 1.7 miles with the brief add on.  I wasn't going very fast because it was a trail.  At that point, I really started telling myself that I'd be happy to do 5 or 6 miles rather than 8.  During the second lap, I opted for another spur trail.  This ended up going to a gravel road.  When I got to some houses, I finally turned back around.  This added significant distance to the second loop.  I had some chafing of my nipples going on, so I took off my shirt.

It was cloudy throughout most of the run, but I noticed it got very dark after my second lap.  At this point, I figured I only had time for one more lap anyway.  I cruised around nicely, although I was getting a little tired.  I pushed harder though.  This time I went the opposite direction.  I didn't want to overstress one side of my body and I also wanted to see things differently.  This start with a tough uphill climb.  Things were smooth after that though, until I hit about the final half mile.

I was covered by the trees, but I could hear the rain really picking up.  It got louder and louder, as did the thunder.  For most of the run, it was off in the distance.  Now, it was right there.  It really poured within the final quarter mile.  I ran around the parking lot in the storm for the final .05 mile, so I could get to six miles. 

I timed it perfectly as it got even worse as I jumped in the car.  The rain was the heaviest yet and lightning and thunder were really rumbling.  I'm sure glad I wasn't stuck on that trail or the horse trails at that point.  It was great to be done, even if I didn't get as far as I wanted.  The run was better than I expected.

6 miles - 1:01:45 (10:18 pace)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wind Gap Appalachian Trail Run

In keeping with this week's tradition, I decided to do another climbing run.  This time, I ran the Appalachian Trail south from Wind Gap.  I'd hiked some of this, but never run it.  It's tough because the first two thirds of a mile is an uphill climb. 

Luckily, there are switchbacks that make the climb easier.  That said, it is still a tough climb.  One nice thing about Bear Creek is it starts out easy so you can warmup for a little while.  Today, there was no warmup.  It was straight into the grind uphill.  It was also good that I hiked it before, so I knew what to expect.  The climb was similar to the other runs this week in terms of elevation change, but the starting and finishing elevations themselves were much higher.  My ears even popped during the run.

The start wasn't too rocky, but once the climb was over, it was brutal.  There were rocks everywhere.  Almost no stretch of the route was runnable.  Basically, it was a slow shuffle along the technical trail.  Not only are there so many rocks, but a lot of them actually point upward.  Those can just destroy your feet if you land on them wrong.  The run was at least good practice, but the slow pace required little effort.  The real challenge was mental.  You have to stay focused there.  You can daydream or you'll fall and possibly get hurt.

Some sections were so rocky that I had no choice but to walk them.  Even walking them proved challenging at times.  I did find that I could go uphill much better through the rocks than downhill.  It was much easier to see and pick your spots when going uphill.  For awhile, I considered turning around and questioned why I was even running this.  I just decided to keep going anyway.

There were a couple views.  The one rock view to the south was kind of disappointing.  There were too many trees.  Right as I was about to hit the halfway point and turn around, I came across a pipeline.  This opening made for amazing views to the north and south.  It was too bright or I might've even seen the area around my house.  I'll definitely have to head there again, whether during a run or a hike.  I want to get some pictures too.

I was relieved when I finally hit the turnaround.  It was slightly uphill and not too rocky for awhile, so I almost actually ran.  I knew that the final two thirds of a mile would be downhill.  That gave me something to look forward to.  I was also happy that I didn't have to eat anymore spiderwebs.  I must've been the first person through that section today because I hit web after web.  I didn't see any other people, so I guess it made sense.

I was actually tired by the end, but that was really more because I was running so long.  The only time I ran for that much time was my trail run at Hickory Run a few weeks back.  I'll run this every now and then, but it definitely won't be a staple of my workouts.  It could make a good recovery run I suppose and good practice for technical trail running, but it isn't going to push me to the limits physically.

I am going to the Indy Car race in Baltimore this week.  We are camping at a state park in southern Pennsylvania.  I'll at least get my Saturday long run in there.  Mostly likely, that'll be a Saturday night trail run.  I brought my headlamp.  I need to practice some night running anyway for my upcoming night trail race.  It's been a fun week thus far with 6326 of total ascent.  Saturday, I won't be climbing that much though.

5 miles - 1:12:41 (14:32 pace)