Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Emmaus Run Inn Group Run

After yesterday's 18 miler, I wasn't about to do anything speedy or run Trexler.  I decided I would take it a little easier.  Originally, I was thinking about doing a double, but then I was still sore from yesterday.  I decided instead to join the group run at the Emmaus Run Inn (formerly the Finish Line).

I saw Chris, the owner of the store, at the St. Luke's expo.  I haven't seen the new store since they moved and changed names.  I figured going to the group run would be a good way to check it out.  It's really nice.  It's a lot more spacious than the old store.

I used to frequent this run often, but it is quite far for me to go.  I don't get there often anymore.  I was hoping Maura would be leading the run, but she wasn't feeling well.  Instead, Frank from the store, was the leader.  I've actually never met him before, but knew he was fast.  Elissa from the store and Kevin were also running.  They were there with their jogging stroller and 8 month old.  I know the two of them, but I didn't know anyone else there. 

There were 9 of us, including me and the store employees.  I wish my Thursday group runs would do this well.  It seemed like it would be a speedy group run, because there were a lot of younger folks.  It was speedier than most, but was quite an easy and comfortable pace.  I remember sometimes these group runs here would kill me at this pace.  I'm just so fit now.  It is a great feeling.

Early on, some of the group ran out in front of a car.  I waited, so I had no issue.  That's one thing I don't like about running on streets.  We ran out to a park nearby.  I've run there before.  It has a nice stone trail that you can run around.  It is just under a mile long.  I've gone out and back to there, but today we did a little more than that. 

As usual, it was good chatting and the miles flew by.  Frank is going to run Quadzilla and VIA, both races I'll be doing.  He's much faster than me though and could potentially win both of them.  It was good talking about those and training.  One you lady, whose name I didn't get, is training for a full marathon and just ran a 1:35 at St. Luke's.  That's pretty solid and right around where I'm likely at at the moment.

After the park, the young lady and I were leading the way, but we sort of had to wait for the others because we really didn't know where we were going.  At one point, we had quite the wait at a light.  That slowed us down, but the pace was quicker than it had been.  We ran some solid miles around 8:15.  That's certainly easy for me.

We were going all through town.  I had no idea where we were until we arrived at Lehigh Street.  Then, we had about a mile to the store.  It was slightly uphill.  As Frank and I were out front, one of the other guys decided it would be funny to pick up the pace and make Frank run faster.  That was fine with me since the pace was kind of slow.  It was a good quick pickup segment.  That got mile 5 to be 8:03.

Everyone else stopped at the store, but I wanted a couple additional miles.  We were just under 5 miles at that point.  I wanted to get in 7 total.  I continued out through town.  I'm good with direction, but I had no idea where I was running.  I don't know the roads of Emmaus at all.  I thought I'd go out and back.  However, I ended at a busy road and just started doing a loop.  There was some downhill around mile 6.  I ran another 8:03.

In the final mile, I came out to Lehigh Street.  I was pretty far from the store though.  I ran similar to where we did earlier, but I think I was another block over.  The last mile had a lot of uphill and my legs started losing it.  I was glad I was almost done.  I sputtered along and finished up near the store. 

After 18 miles yesterday, 7 miles today was a little tough.  Still, my legs are starting to get used to it and should recover.  This was a good recovery run and just what I needed.  I couldn't have handled a much faster pace than this.  It was good meeting Frank and some of the other people and seeing Elissa, Kevin and their baby again.

Tomorrow is a faster day.  Rather than my usual 800 repeats, I might try doing a tempo run.  I need to work on holding a good pace for a few miles, not just short repeats.  A tempo run really should give me a decent idea of where I'm at right now.  I'd like to run about 8 miles total.  Hopefully the weather is as nice as it was today.

7 miles - 58:30 (8:22 pace)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Rainy 18

Yesterday was a fun day watching friends run the St. Luke's Half Marathon, taking photos and going out to lunch.  I didn't run after all of that, so today it was back to business.  Since Sunday is usually a long run day, I had to do that today.

The plan was to run 18 miles.  I worked at the last minute, so that meant I had to hold off on my long run.  My mom wanted to go to dinner, so I had to start with only an hour after lunch.  At times, I burped and didn't feel like my lunch would stay down, but it did.  I also needed to run nearby.

I decided that I would just run on roads.  Going out to Route 512 from my house isn't too bad.  The shoulders are pretty wide.  It is one of the few non neighborhood routes that I'm comfortable with.  I biked something like this route before, so I knew it was about 5 miles out and 5 miles back.

I decided to actually park in the neighborhoods across from 512.  That way, I could run home, grab a drink and also run back to the car and get a drink there.  I could rehydrate properly.

I didn't need to worry about hydration too much, because it wasn't warm out.  It was in the 50s and rainy.  I opted for shorts, a short sleeve shirt and compression calf sleeves.  I had on a hat too.  I also put a change of clothes in the car.  I actually found a neighborhood park to park my vehicle in.

Looking at the weather map, it appeared that the rain would end shortly after I started the run.  It never did.  It didn't rain hard, but it was at least a constant mist all throughout.  I do love running in the rain and it is good practice in case it rains on raceday.  However, I am not a big fan of rain when I have a super long run like today.

I started off by running through the neighborhoods before heading home.  This was kind of nice and kind of boring.  I actually didn't quite know where I was at times.  I couldn't get my watch working properly in the beginning and that was part of the reason for a slow opening mile.  It was an 8:44.

I cruised around the neighborhoods.  There was some elevation change, but it was relatively flat.  I figured neighborhood running would be good because people wouldn't let their dogs out in the rain.  I was trying to run easy, but miles 2 and 3 dipped under 8 minutes each.

After about 3 miles, I was heading home.  That was good because it felt like I was going somewhere.  Also, the scenery changed a lot.  Most of the D&L generally looks the same when I am on there doing my long runs.

As I went near the industrial area of 512, I noticed the road surface changed.  It was slippery.  I wondered what chemical they used or why it was that way.  I continued on.  Township Line Road has one of the few big hills on the route.  I had to go this way though, so that I would encounter less truck traffic.

I got up the hill with ease this time and cruised along farmland on Steuben Road.  I really like this stretch because I don't encounter too many cars.  It is nice and peaceful.  It does have some rolling hills. 

I came to what looked like a big hill at the end.  It was easy though.  I am so strong right now that even medium sized hills seem like nothing.  I wasn't breathing hard at all and might've even run up the hill faster than I was going on flat ground.

There was another decent short hill on Georgetown Road, but I glided up that one as well.  The hills at Trexler are making me very strong.  I headed into the big neighborhood by my house feeling good.  By now, I was somewhere around 6 miles.  My calves didn't hurt at all and nothing else really did either.  Maybe running on pavement isn't as much out a problem as I thought.  Perhaps the stone trails that I run on aren't much better.

I went into the neighborhood and planned on a longer route back to the house, to add mileage.  I had to detour a couple times because I saw dogs out and didn't want to mess with them.  This part added some more short hills.

I was cranking off mile after mile of under 8 minutes as I headed back to the house.  I arrived back there just before mile 8.5.  I left some Gatorade in the garage for a drink stop.  It wasn't raining too bad, so I threw off my hat too.  It ended up laying in a puddle until I got it later.  The stop slowed mile 9's time to 9:02.

Anytime I stop for a drink, it breaks my rhythm and it slows me down.  That is what happened.  I was refreshed though.  Before the stop, I was feeling a little beat.  I headed back out to my car.  I figured that it would be sometime after 14 miles, that I would arrive there.

Going back out had some more downhill.  That was a nice recovery.  My hamstring was somewhat sore, but nothing more than would be expected.  My opposite foot also bothered me a little.  I'm not sure if the cambered road had anything to do with it.

I got through the neighborhood and was back onto Steuben Road.  This time, this section kind of sucked.  It was actually busy with a lot of cars.  I guess it was people leaving work for the day.  One car had on a 13.1 sticker.  I had to laugh, thinking that I wish I was only going that far.  At this point, I was only around 11 miles myself.

Mile 11 was still a solid 8 minutes flat.  Things started to slow after that.  My legs began to lose it a bit as I got close to the half marathon mark.  I guess I have to get them even stronger.  Today, is a good way to start. 

I headed up the big hill on Township Line Road.  This was by far my toughest part of the run.  Still, I got over it respectably.  I knew I would have a nice downhill recovery after that.  That helped some.  What was really great was running on the slippery pavement.  I noticed it was softer and it seemed to help my mildly sore legs recover.  Eventually, there were too many truck on this road and I headed back onto the sidewalk.  Crossing 512 was a breeze the first time, but I had to wait a bit this time.

I arrived back at my car at just past 14 miles.  I took a water break and that helped.  I still couldn't believe that I had almost 4 miles to go.  That seemed like an eternity at this point.  My legs were as beat up as would be expected around this time, but they were surviving.  I could've felt worse.

I headed out through one of the neighborhoods and then came near Wegman's.  I didn't realize that I had run that far down.  I turned around just a little less than a mile from my car.  I went down another road and did a short out and back.

I just tried to focus on each upcoming mile.  I felt like crap at mile 15, but got better by 16 and even better still by 17.  I don't know what it was was, but I felt great as I approached mile 17.  I was even running this stretch uphill too.

I knew that once I made it out to mile 17, I would make it back to 18.  There was a little uphill on the way back and then some nice downhill.  I knew I'd finish with another up and down section.  I was feeling so good in the final quarter mile that I ran harder.  That last mile was a solid 8:09 after a few miles that were much slower than the speedy beginning of the run.

This was a great run.  I was still beat up after 18 miles.  I think it is hard not to be.  However, I felt much better than I did after my 17 mile run or any of my other longer runs.  I feel like I could've even willed my way to 19 or 20 miles today, especially with some flat or downhill running.  Even though it rained the whole time, it was a very productive outing.  I haven't done a solo run this long since 2010.  That was good mental preparation too.  It is kind of funny how I focus so well during a long run like this.  Occasionally, my mind drifts, but for the most part I'm focused on the conditions and what my body is telling me.  I don't really think about things.  I'm less focused on group runs.

Flo wanted to run Trexler tomorrow, but after this run, I think I'm going to have to hold off on that until Thursday.  I might head out to the Emmaus Run Inn and check out the new store and run with the group in the evening.  I haven't been there in awhile.  If I make it out to Trexler with Flo sometime, I won't have to worry about a separate trip out there.  It will just be tough squeezing a run in there before work. 

18 miles - 2:28:02 (8:13 pace)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Fast Ten

I took yesterday off and didn't even get to ride at all.  I was at the Allen Invitational all afternoon and evening.  It is a busy weekend all around.  Today, I spent the early afternoon volunteering at the LVRR stand at the St. Luke's Half Marathon expo.  I then took photos of the youth races for the event and after that, finally found time to run. Tomorrow, I'll be taking race photos.

It is so much fun watching the little ones run.  They start off so fast, but then tire and walk.  Some of the good ones can keep going.  You can sure tell who runs regularly.  The Parkland High School teams volunteered for the youth run.  Some dressed in costumes and stuff.  The coolest thing was what their best runner did.  She just placed 2nd at the Allen Invitational 1600 meter run yesterday with a time of 5:10.  Today, she was encouraging runner after runner and ran into the finish with a bunch of them that were walking or just struggling.

After all of the fun of today, it was time for business.  I wanted to get some mileage in, so I decided that I would run 10 miles.  I opted to start near the stadium in Allentown and run a lot of the St. Luke's course through the Parkway and then back out.

It was a beautiful spring day.  I ran along the cherry blossoms that are in full bloom.  That is such an awesome site.  It will be great for the race tomorrow.  I then went through Cedar Beach and it was buzzing with activity.  I couldn't believe how crowded it was.

Originally, I had thought about getting up early and really trying to push myself with a hard run with the BCR.  Instead, I just decided to take it easy.  After standing all day, I wasn't sure what my body had.  Running easy was actually pretty fast today.  With the rest day yesterday, my legs felt so fresh.  Usually my first mile is the slowest, so when I opened with an 8:03 mile, I impressed myself.  This is typically around my easy run pace for a run like this.

I couldn't believe how good I felt as I soldiered on.  I managed to cross Hamilton Blvd with no trouble.  That was quite the feat and I did it twice during this run.  This section was tough because there is some uphill.  It isn't too significant and I just battled through it.  I was on to busy MLK Blvd. next.  The 2nd mile was an impressive 7:42.

I continued on and everything felt great.  It was all so easy.  It was just one of those days.  I headed in to the lovely setting of the Parkway.  Really the only issue of the run was that I was wearing my GoPro camera on my head, on top of a hat.  That made me very sweaty.

Normally, I look at my watch a lot when I run alone.  That is especially the case on long runs.  For whatever reason, I just soaked in the beauty of the day today.  I ran along feeling great and loving the activity of everyone in the Parkway.  I did get strange looks everywhere I went.  I must've been quite the sight.  I had on a lime green shirt, white calf compression sleeves and then a camera on my head.

I originally thought that I would run the whole Parkway loop, but as I got to the covered bridge, I was already over 4 miles into the run.  I decided at that point, that I would just run the rest of the course and add mileage at the end.  The 3rd and 4th miles were 7:33 and 7:51, respectively.

Around this point, I did start to feel a little fatigued.  Still, it is far better than I usually feel at this point in a long run.  I continued up and down the hills of the Parkway.  I was amazed that my pace stayed under 7:50.  I wasn't putting in that much effort.  This is normally the effort I would put in for an 8:05 pace.  Maybe I am really getting faster or perhaps I was just having a good day.

I cruised back out of the Parkway and on to MLK again.  I ran back up the hill at St. Elmo's.  That must be tough at the end of the race, even though it isn't that steep.  When I arrived back in Cedar Beach, I wasn't too far over 8 miles. 

I decided to run through the Rose Garden.  I've never been through there that I can recall.  It is another outstanding setting with brick pavers, water and lots of trees.  Plenty of people were walking through there or just hanging out.  I ran out to 8.75 miles and turned around.  Miles 6, 7 and 8 were all 7:50 or below.

I was tiring a little, but still feeling good.  The run finally did start to get to me in the last mile.  I headed into Cedar Beach again.  Some little girl yelled, "you're not that fast."  I had to just laugh as I was run under an 8 minute mile at that point.  I finished going uphill near the stadium.  The final mile was again an 8:02.  Only my first and last miles were even over 8 minutes.  I wonder what I could've run if I pushed it. 

This was such a great run.  I hope it continues.  I feel like if I was running this run hard, I could've reeled off mile after mile under 7 minutes.  That would be excellent if I am in that kind of shape.  I hope to PR (1:33) in my half next month.  I was thinking that I'd love to break 1:30.  I don't know if that is realistic, but after today's run, I'm a lot more confident that that can happen.  I still have a few weeks of training to get faster too.  The tough thing is that the field will be small, so I'm not sure I'll have much competition.

This has been a great week, capped off by a great run.  I'm now up to 47 miles this week and I'm feeling good.  I've been a little beat up, but taking it relatively easy since the winter has been a huge plus.

As I mentioned, tomorrow will be spent running around taking photos.  I did that last year and it was quite the workout.  It's almost as hard as a run.  I sprinted all over the course.  That said, I am in much, much better shape than last year.  There is an outside chance that I'll try to do a long run.  More likely, I'll hold off on the long run until Monday.  With some rest, maybe I can run strong.  One of these weeks, I'd like to run a shorter, but faster long run.  At least I want to run some fast segments anyway.

10 miles - 1:18:23 (7:50 pace)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ten Miles and a Ride

I didn't run as much as I had hoped yesterday, even though it was a quality session.  Therefore, I decided to do some extra running today.  Originally, I was going to run after work.  Then I thought, why run and then run again 5 hours later.  Why not just grab some extra miles right before the LVRR Group Run.  That is what I did.  First, I went for a nice and easy half hour bike ride after work.

For work, I had to drive up to Jim Thorpe for the 2nd time this week.  That was a pain in the butt.  I do want to run there though, so at least I'm getting to know the area better.  It is a beautiful area.  It's a cool little town surrounded by spectacular mountains.  As I was driving home, I thought of a killer route that would be fun for a special, long group run.  When I got home, I mapped it out and it is just over 10 miles.  I think it would be significantly tougher than the South Mountain 10 Miler.  I have to drive it and maybe run it sometime too, but hopefully I can put something together for June.

There was some great weather for today's run.  It was pretty warm and humid, but at least there was a nice breeze.  I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  I wanted to have a fresh shirt for the group run, so I wore two different shirts.  I changed in between runs.

I figured that for the group run we would just run the regular route through town.  Therefore, when I started early, I decided I would run on the canal towpath along the Lehigh River.  It is nice and flat, but starting from Steel Stacks was anything, but flat.  First, I had to go uphill out of the steel area.  Then I had to run up the Minsi Trail Bridge.

Although I didn't run a lot yesterday, I did run some tough hills at Trexler.  That clearly took a toll on my legs.  They felt like crap today.  It seemed like I was going so slow in the beginning, especially as I headed uphill.  I was actually surprised that it was an 8:24 mile.  I didn't think it was that fast.

Shortly after the first mile, I had to go down steps off of the bridge to get to the canal path.  That was interesting.  I was then onto the path.  I'm not a big fan of this path because it isn't consistent.  Some is stone, some is dirt and some is rocky.  I better start getting used to it though, because I plan on running a marathon there in the fall.  I'm going to have to start practicing some running on it over the next few months.

I was planning on going out to 2.5 miles and then turning around and heading back.  My legs still felt crappy through the 2nd mile.  I was dreading the remainder of the run.  Not too long after that, I started feeling better.  The 2nd mile was an 8:20. 

One thing that surprised me is all the women walking or running on this path.  I saw quite a few of them and only one guy riding a bike.  This area isn't dangerous, but it is a little shady.  There is brush surrounding most of it.  It is kind of a nice setting though, especially when the path is dirt.  That did seem to help lessen the impact on my legs.

I turned around right before the bridge over to Freemansburg.  It was 2.5 miles into the run.  Coming back, I was running into the sun.  Throughout the run, I had to be careful.  There were a lot of gnats and I didn't want to swallow any of them.  I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard, but my time was quite quick.  It was a fast 7:46 3rd mile.

I continued on through the heat.  I knew when I got to mile 4, I'd be back on the bridge.  Going back up the steps was very tough.  That was almost like a workout of its own.  I was breathing heavy when I was at the top of the steps.  Then, I still had some slight uphill to get to the top of the bridge.  Because I was running up steps, the pace was thrown off for this 4th mile.  It was an 8:19 mile.

It was all downhill from that point.  I cruised down the bridge and back into the steel area.  There was some wind at my face as I headed to the Steel Stacks.  As I got there, I was around 5 miles.  This 5th mile came in at 7:41.

I still had some time before the group run, so I went out and back for another mile.  That all took place within the steel area.  I cruised along nice and easy.  I ran around the parking lot that my car was in, so that I could grab a shirt when I was done.  I finished with a final mile of 7:56.  It was a solid 6 miles.

I sent out an article on the LVRR page about how group runs are beneficial and how people think they are too slow to join them, but they usually aren't.  It created some good discussion.  I hoped it would translate into a bigger turnout for the group run.  Instead, no one showed up on this nice night.

I didn't mind running alone again.  I just wish I could've known that I would have to run alone.  I would've just run 10 straight miles.  I am hoping to run ultramarathons and when I do, I will have to learn how to run after stopping for a few minutes.  This was sort of good practice for that.  I had stopped for about 20 minutes.

My legs really felt dead as I started up again.  I was running into the wind too.  I felt so slow and my pace looked slow too.  I just sputtered along.  The goal was to just run 4 miles and finish the day.

I ran up over the Hill to Hill Bridge.  I passed a guy that was walking a dog and it was unleashed.  I was a little worried to be running by it, but it didn't do anything.  The hills on Main Street and Broad Street were kind of tough at this point.  They aren't very steep, but it was still difficult.

I got slightly faster and felt a little better as the run went on.  I just looked forward to getting up the Minsi Trail Bridge.  Going up that was tough, but it was good when I started coming down the bridge.  I cruised downhill and enjoyed the finish.  I ended the run right in front of Steel Stacks.

It was a good day.  I got a solid 10 miles in.  It would've been nice to have someone to run with during the group run, but oh well.  Tomorrow, I will be off from running.  I might bike if I have the time.  I'll be spending a lot of the afternoon and evening at a track meet.  I'm going run pretty long on Saturday.  That may or may not be with the BCR.  I'm also considering running at Trexler.

Pre Group Run: 6 miles - 48:26 (8:05 pace)
Group Run: 4 miles - 34:02 (8:31 pace)
Bike Ride: 6.25 miles - 28:16 (4:31 pace)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

500th Post

Almost 4 years to the day I started this blog (April 28, 2009), I am now writing my 500th post.  That was the beginning of my many comeback attempts.  In that time, I have wrote about nearly every workout that I have done.  The fact that I'm only up to 500 in that time period shows how many roadblocks there have been in my training.  It has been a lot of ups and downs.  Most of the downs were health related.  Crohn's Disease has slowed me, but it hasn't stopped me and I'm going strong now.

Ever since I began running, I kept a basic running log.  It consisted of the distance, time, weather and how I felt on that day.  I really like writing, so when I made my comeback the first time around, I decided to just write about every run.  It is great to look back on and will be even better to do so down the road.  I can remember the times when I was doing well or even see areas of my training that need improving.  When I ran while living in Philadelphia, I was on my own.  I wrote about my runs, but I was the only one who read them.  Since moving back to the Lehigh Valley, I got involved in the social aspect of the local running scene and made a lot of running friends.  I figured that I would share my running and training with others and since people continue reading it, I continue to share it.

My latest comeback began on April 18, 2012.  I've now been running for over a year with only minor health issues.  That is close to as long of a period as I've ever been able to train.  If I can ever get a solid 5 consecutive years of running together, it will be amazing how far I'll progress.  When I made that comeback at night on the Nor-Bath Trail over a year ago, I could only run one mile and it took me 10:09.  Now, that would be quite the slow mile for me.  I run those kind of times on challenging hilly trail miles.  It is amazing to think how far I've come in just a year.

After a great run yesterday, today's run was pretty good as well.  It was a beautiful day as I headed out to Trexler.  If anything, it was too warm.  The temperature got into the 70s.  I wore a short sleeve shirt, but it was too hot.  A singlet would've been more appropriate.

I was going to meet some faster friends, Tim and Aaron, and run there with them in the evening.  However, the weather looked kind of questionable, so I just headed out on my own in the afternoon.  The storms actually ended up staying away.

I have the 2nd half of the Quadzilla course down pretty well.  I need to get more familiar with the beginning of the course.  I headed to the start area by the zoo today.  I was hoping to run the full 9.3 mile course.  I still haven't run an entire loop on my own.  I've always done it only in a group setting.

I started off easy.  I had a hard run yesterday that I had to recover from.  I also needed to take it easy if I wanted to run the entire loop, especially on this hot day.  The start is great because it begins downhill.  My calves were a bit stiff, but overall things weren't too bad.

It is always entertaining watching cars that get to the ford of the Jordan Creek.  They don't realize they have to drive over the water to leave.  That happened to a car as I was heading to the covered bridge trail.  Eventually, they had fun and flew through the creek.

Last time I ran this way, I had a lot of trouble in the beginning of the main trail.  It is an uphill section.  Today, I felt better and it didn't seem anywhere near as bad.  I couldn't believe how short it was.  I was up it in no time.

I knew it was going to be a tough day.  The hills weren't bad and my legs didn't feel terrible, but the heat was brutal.  I was sweating like crazy and I was only a mile into the run.  The good thing was that I got to take a look the course again.  I don't know this area too well.

There were some up and down sections early on and I crossed the road around a mile into the run.  The tough uphill was yet to come.  That came after the bridge over the creek.  This was a big obstacle because I have never successfully run up the entire hill.  It isn't steep, but it is very long.  It does get steeper near the top.  I just battled and battled and kept running.  Eventually, I saw the top of the steepest part and I made it all the way to the top without walking.  That was a huge boost.

Right near the top, I hit mile 2.  These first 2 miles were 9:45 and 9:27.  That was pretty solid.  At this point, I was near KidsPeace.  There was an opportunity to recover at this point.  It was now flat or rolling hills.  The thing that was difficult was that a lot of the leaves still aren't even on the trees.  A lot of the trail is typically barren, but even the areas that are normally shaded were exposed.

As I headed downhill towards Old Packhouse Road, I took it easy.  I was trying to prepare for the difficult hill up ahead.  I didn't know if I could make it all the way to the Environmental Center, but I had to try.  I struggled, but I made it most of the way up the hill.  Right near the crest of the hill, I gave in and started walking.  If I was planning on quitting near that point, I could've kept going, but I wanted to save myself.  I did make it nearly 3.5 mile without needing to walk.  That was pretty good.

After the Environmental Center, I went downhill and could recover a little.  I knew another really tough hill was coming up though.  I can make it up this one when I start from the Environmental Center, but it isn't easy.  Today, I figured that wouldn't happen, due to all of the earlier hills.

I was correct.  I was able to battle up the big hill, but I only made it 2/3 of the way to the top.  I didn't want to kill myself.  I had recovered well because it wasn't my lungs that limited me.  It was my legs.  It was just too hot to continue on at this point.  It would've been interested in seeing how far I could go, but not without water in this heat.

I went back down the hill and then headed across the trail and on to the road down to the ford.  I ran over the creek and then back up the paved hill to the zoo.  It was difficult, but I sputtered up the hill.  I finished up with 5 miles.  The one with all the hills ended up being 10:39, but every other mile was under 10 minutes.

I didn't run as far as I would've liked, but I ran as well as I could've hoped for over the first part of the course.  I made it up some hills that I wasn't sure that I could run.  I now know that I can make it up every hill, except for the two big hills near the end of the race course.  I can run every other hill as long I'm only running the course in halves.  Now, I just need to run the entire course without walking those hills.  That will take some work, but I have almost 3 months to do that.  Running here so often is really starting to pay off.

I do still want to get through the whole loop on my own.  That is a big goal.  Then, I can progress from there.  Perhaps in the future, I need to do a better job of making sure to just focus on one hill at a time and then recover wherever I can.  Obviously I could get through the loop, but I'd like to do so with as little walking as possible.

I need some decent mileage tomorrow, so I'll run twice.  I want to run in AM before work.  That will probably be 5 miles or so at Jacobsburg.  The evening run will be the usual LVRR Group Run back in Bethlehem.  Hopefully the weather is nice and some more people will show up.  I guess we'll see.

5 miles - 48:07 (9:37 pace)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Awesome 800s

Aside from nailing a goal in a big race, there isn't much more exhilarating than completing a hard workout in the same fashion.  That's exactly what I did this evening.  What made it even better was that I had a less than stellar long run on Sunday.

I wanted to bike yesterday on my off day, but it was just too windy.  I'm not devoted enough to ride in the wind.  That meant that my legs had over 48 hours of complete rest after my long run beat me up and was cut short on Sunday.  My legs thanked me for the rest by putting in a strong performance this evening.

The plan was to do 8X800 repeats with 400 repeats of active recovery in between them.  Last week's workout was pretty good, but I was only able to do 6 repeats.  Today, I had to do more.  I needed to get in at least 7 and was really hoping I could get in 8.

I wanted to run after work, but I was very hungry, so I needed to eat lunch.  That also meant I had to wait a few hours to run.  Looking at the forecast, it looked like things would get a little warmer around dinner time.  I opted to take a nap and head out to run then.  Dinner would have to wait until later on.

I headed to the Saucon Rail Trail.  There was a slight breeze that could be a little annoying at times, but really the conditions were almost perfect for a good run.  I just had on shorts and a short sleeve shirt.

I had to run across the road in front of a car and my calf bothered me a little when I did that.  That was before I actually started the run and I was thinking that this might not be a good day.  Instead, it was exactly the opposite.  The calves only bothered me for a quarter mile at the most.

The warmup was great.  My legs felt strong and had some snap.  I thought this would be a good run.  The rest really paid off immensely.  It was a great night with people running, walking and biking all over the trail.

I started off the first repeat feeling pretty good.  I tried to keep this one under control.  I might've pushed too hard in the first couple repeats last week.  I was still moving at a good clip on these first two, but I felt like I was saving a lot.  There is just such a fine line between pushing hard and overdoing it.  The first repeat was a solid 3:19 and the second an even faster 3:16.

Going out is always tough here.  It is more uphill.  Knowing that, I knew I had to just battle through the first half.  After 4 repeats, it would get easier, even if I was more beat up.

I didn't think the first two repeats were that hard, but clearly I overdid it and paid for it on the next two.  My times dropped to 3:26 and then 3:27.  The latter was still under a 7 minute pace.  I started to get a side stitch during that one.  My legs still felt good.  Clearly they were stronger than my breathing.

On the way out, I passed a lot of people.  Plenty of them were mixing running and walking.  I'm not sure if they were new to running or just didn't get out much in the winter time.  They could've been a group.  I also ran by two huge dogs that an owner was walking.  They looked like small horses, maybe mini clydesdales.  I wasn't too worried about them because they appeared to be old.

I ran almost the entire trail.  I did dart out kind of in front of a car one time, but didn't really have any trouble with the road crossings.  I turned around right after the 4th repeat.  Going around people slowed me here and there.

Much as I expected, heading back in was easier.  I was starting to slip though, so it still took some effort.  I was pretty good through 6 repeats.  That is as far as I've gone through this cycle.  I just tried to stay focused on the next repeat and I tried to recover well in between repeats.  I tried to start each repeat under control and then push it towards the end.  The 5th one was a conservation 3:21, but the 6th one dipped back under 3:20 with a 3:17.

I saw an older lady going the other direction as I was heading out.  She was probably in her 50s, but seemed pretty fit.  She ended up being a big help.  I caught her and passed her right near the end of the 6th repeat.  She definitely pulled me along.

The final three repeats were consistent from a time standpoint.  They were all 3:17, but each one got much harder.  The 7th one was certainly tough, but I used the same strategy that I had been (start out conservative).  It was good to be done with that repeat.  After that, I knew I would be running an 8th one.  I just didn't know how fast it would be.

In between my 7th and 8th repeats, I ran into Gayle and Jessica from BCR coming the other direction.  They are racing this weekend, so I guess they were taking it easy.  I know quite a few people who run this trail, so I figured that I might see someone on this nice evening.  Usually, I run in the afternoon, so I don't see anyone I know.  Most of them have normal schedules.

Again, I started off slowly on the 8th and final repeat.  My legs were good through 7 repeats, but now they were shot.  I just had to battle through it and post whatever time I could.  I figured that I could muster a hard tenth of a mile, so I just needed to get to .4 miles into this one.  My pace was over 7 minutes at some points, but I picked it up towards the end.  I ran that final tenth hard for a 3:17.

I decided to recover with a 3/4 mile cooldown.  That would end the run at 7.5 miles.  That worked out well since I did 14.5 miles the other day.  It evened the weekly mileage out. 

This was such a great run.  I was actually pumped up on the way home.  I love when that happens.  I figured that on an even surface, I could probably run pretty consistent 3:20s.  That ended up being exactly what my times averaged out to today.  Yasso 800s would say that I'm in 3:20 marathon shape, if I could run two more repeats like that.  I don't have the long runs for a marathon yet, but I am probably pretty close to 3:20 shape.  Not bad, considering I've done less than 10 hard runs this cycle.  I'm shooting to get under 3:00 in the fall marathon.  That will take some work, but I still have almost 5 months to pull that off.

Tomorrow, I'm running at Trexler.  Hopefully, I can build on today's strong run.  I might run with my friends Tim and Aaron.  They go there nearly every week too and are faster than me.  I need to start running with them, so I can race even better there in a couple months.  May the good week continue.

7.5 miles - 55:42 (7:26 pace)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Slatington and Walnutport Long Run

After some tough running yesterday, today was the time for the long run.  I couldn't figure out where to go.  I wanted to kind of run somewhere different.  I'm getting tired of running the D&L Cove Road Trailhead every week.  I thought about heading to Jim Thorpe to run the D&L through Lehigh Gorge.  I really want to do that.  However, that was just too far to go today.  I wanted to make it back in time to watch the IndyCar race.  When I was looking at a map of the Slate Heritage Trail, I stumbled on a section of the D&L across the river from Slatington, in the town of Walnutport.  I figured I would try running there.  I could run multiple places then.

I headed out there around lunchtime.  The weather was great.  I was actually going to wear a singlet, but it was too windy for that.  Luckily, I brought a regular shirt along.  It was actually the D&L Half Marathon shirt.

Starting from the Slatington Trailhead, I could run in 5 different directions.  I could run either way on the main D&L Trail, go either way on the trail in Walnutport or head to the Slate Heritage Trail.

I started off by heading south on the D&L.  I figured that I would just do a bunch of short out and back segments.  After the hard day yesterday, my legs didn't feel that great.  I was hoping that they would come around.  I decided to carry water today, so I brought along my Camelbak.  I haven't used that in about a year.  I figured I would give it a try for this planned 18 mile run.

The pack isn't fun to wear in the beginning.  It is full of water, bounces around a bit and is heavy.  It gets better as you drink water and it weighs less.  Still, I knew I wouldn't be wearing it very long.

I went out the planned mile and a half.  The pack slowed me down to a more reasonable pace.  It was right around 9 miles.  It was quite windy when heading back.  My legs actually started to get sore from the pack.  My Achilles was bothering me.  It wouldn't be the last time it would be a problem.  I got back to my car after 3 miles and just ditched the pack.

I next wanted to head onto the Slate Heritage Trail.  This trail is paved, so I wanted to make sure that I ran on it early in the run.  My calves were sore as usual and this section was tough in the beginning.  It goes uphill.  I wanted to get a little farther on this trail than I was on the first segment.  I hoped to get out 2 miles on this trail before turning around.

I have run this trail before and it is pretty nice.  It goes along the creek and has a cool covered bridge among other things.  It goes right through Slatington.  There were some people out on it, but I was surprised that more people weren't using it.

I went out about 1.5 miles on this trail and then encountered something interesting.  I passed a guy walking a puppy.  The puppy went crazy when I went by.  I saw a bike course next to the trail at one point.  On my way back, someone was riding a dirtbike on it.  That was kind of cool.

Shortly before going out 2 miles, the trail changed from pavement to stone.  The stone felt better on my legs.  I wanted to keep going, but right at that 2 mile point, I saw a dog with a family.  I'm not sure if it was on a leash.  After the barking puppy, I didn't want to mess with another dog.

The rest of the way back to the car was mostly uneventful.  I came to the puppy again and he went crazy again.  It was funny.  I also had to run in between two dogs on leashes.  I was 7 miles into the run when I got back to the car.  The truck next to me in the parking lot was getting fixed.  I saw those guys a couple times and they must've thought that I was crazy for running so much.

I was only 7 miles into the run, but my legs were already quite dead.  I had no idea how I could run 11 miles more.  I already felt worse than I did after 12 miles last week.  I had to just battle on though.

After grabbing some water at the car, I headed across the bridge into Walnutport.  The canal path there was supposed to be around 7 miles long.  I was hoping that I could run a lot of it.  I didn't know what to expect of the terrain.  The website I saw did say it was an earthen path.

There were a lot of people fishing in the canal.  The path wasn't hard on my feet.  It was better groomed near the town.  I headed out north because that would be into the wind.  I wanted the wind at my back on the way back.  I really wanted to get 3 miles out on this path, but it wasn't too long into the run that I knew that wouldn't happen.

The uneven terrain man it somewhat tough.  There were some small rolling hills as I got farther out.  It was getting quite remote as I got 1.5 miles out, so I just turned around and headed back.  When I hit 9 total miles, that was a big plus.  I was halfway toward my goal for the day.  I had to laugh though because I was thinking there was no way I could go 18 miles.

I continued to plug away and just took it 1 mile at a time.  I thought about all the people at the Boston Marathon tragedy and that helped me get through some of it.  Right before I got into Walnutport, there was a stick along the trail that I didn't see.  I really bashed my foot on it.  I was hoping that I would be sore enough that maybe I would forget about all of my muscle soreness. 

Finally, I was back to the Slatington Trailhead and into double digits at the 10 mile point.  I didn't want to head north on the D&L, because that section uses different stone and is always harder on my legs.  Therefore, I headed back south again.  Stopping at the car and restarting was always tough on my legs.  I also didn't know how far out to go.  This time, I took a snack that I had.  I ate about half of it, but I started having some gas, so I threw the rest of it away.

I would've loved to have made it 4 miles out and then I would've been forced to run or walk back to get to 18 miles.  I figured that just going out 2 miles was probably more realistic.  That is what I did.  I passed some goth teens on a bench before turning around.

I was just past 12 miles when I turned around and by now, my left Achilles was really started to bother me again.  I thought it would be a struggle just to make it another mile.  As I passed the goth kids again, they tried yelling something that they thought was funny, but it wasn't.

I guess I picked up the pace a little and maybe it was slightly downhill, because suddenly my Achilles was feeling better.  The rest of my legs were beat up too, but feeling better at this point.  I figured I would keep running until it started to get worse.  I made it through 13 miles and was still feeling good.

I continued on.  As I got near Slatington, my Achilles acted up again.  It was starting to get worse.  I was through 14 miles and figured that I would just run to 15 miles.  I changed directions several times on the trail, hoping that it would get better.  It kept bothering me though.

I didn't want to do any more damage, especially to an area that had not bothered me before.  I stopped at 14.5 miles.  A few miles short of what I had hoped for, but still a decent long run anyway.  Clearly running last night took its toll.  Maybe if I didn't run the 4 miles, I could've completed all 18 miles today.  I'm not sure.

I do need to get mentally tougher, because in the future I want to run ultramarathons.  In those races, I will have to battle through problems like this.  That said, today wasn't the day to take a chance and risk further injury, just for a couple extra miles.  I tried to stretch that area out afterward, but it is still pretty sore.

Tomorrow is supposed to be an off day.  I might do a short 3 or 4 miles shakedown run on a trail like Jacobsburg.  There is a track meet at the high school and I will probably bike there and back.  That would be 5 miles each way.  A decent, little workout.  I'd like to run a little bit longer in my mid week runs, but I'd also like to keep my overall mileage pretty consistent for the week.  I don't want to overdo it.  I really do need to look into a massage at some point in the near future.  That could be a big help before my half marathon a month from now.

14.50 miles - 2:05:25 (8:39 pace)

Saturday, April 20, 2013


The plan today was to make the weekly trek out to Trexler.  I would've preferred going in the morning, but Lafayette had their football spring game.  Instead, I took off later in the afternoon.  Originally, I was hoping to do the whole loop, but after seeing how windy it was at home, I knew that wasn't happening.

The winds here were around 20 miles per hour, so of course they were much worse there, especially at the Environmental Center.  The good thing was that the temperature was in the 50s, so things weren't as bad as they could've been.  I was going to run from the Environmental Center, but right before I started, two people headed down the trail walking their dogs.  The one was barking a lot when I was behind them walking, so I opted not to run there.

Instead, I headed to the parking lot by the zoo.  The good thing is this would allow me to run the section that I'm less familiar with.  It starts off with a steep hill and it was already windy.  I had on a long sleeve shirt and that was actually too much, because the temperature was fairly high.

I made it up the hill, but I was then onto the grass and going slightly uphill again.  It's a lot of climbing in the early going.  I hate the grassy section too.  Plus, it gets a lot of wind.

Finally after a short while, I was out of that area and conditions got better.  They rerouted the trail, but I took the old trail.  I don't mind the reroute except that it just goes through grass and they haven't even bothered to cut a path through the grass.  I had a chance to recover in this section.  I was dreading how much uphill I would have on the way back.

I already knew I'd be doing an out and back.  I was hoping for 2 miles in each direction.  My legs just didn't feel great.  That often seems to be the case when I run from this area.  I need to get over that.  I don't know what it was, but the calves were sore.  It seems like my body actually feels worse after a day of rest.  It is like it gets all stiff.

After the first mile, I crossed the road.  On the other side, it started to go uphill.  My legs just didn't have it, so I turned around and ran back to the road.  I was disappointed that I couldn't go farther out.

I was right near the covered bridge, so I just decided to head on that trail.  It is a flat stone trail along the creek.  I ran along the east side of it.  I didn't feel good at all.  I couldn't wait to get to mile 2.

By this point, I realized that I wouldn't be running 4 miles.  I started to focus just on getting to mile 3.  Some of this section was windy.  It definitely wasn't comfortable.  I ran past the ford.  I thought about running through the water, but I was borrowing my parents car and I thought they might get pissed if I got it wet. 

I was about to run over the pedestrian bridge.  Then I saw a double blue marked trail.  I opted to take that for a short distance.  I gave up quickly though as it was climbing and climbing.  I then headed back down and crossed over the creek.  I ran around the outside of the zoo to get some more mileage.

I was now on the pavement and my legs didn't enjoy it.  There was also a hill too.  I managed to get to three miles and finish the run.  I was glad to put in some mileage there and run an unfamiliar section, but it was mostly just a wasted trip.

I was thinking about ways to run differently at Trexler.  I'm always running the loop slowly.  I need to come up with ways to run faster.  I thought about running one mile moderate to hard, then one mile easy and repeat that off and on for the whole loop.  That will get my body used to running hard there, without over taxing it.  I'll try that in the future.

Since I was so disappointed in this run, I decided to head out for a night run for a few easy miles.  I'm becoming quite the night runner.  I really love it.  This would just be a short two miler on the Saucon Rail Trail.  That is usually where I go at night.  Nor-Bath is closer to me, but I like Saucon more in the cover of darkness.

I am tired of starting at the same spot.  I decided tonight that I would begin from the south end of the trail.  There is a park there, but I figured that it would closed after dark.  I parked at nearby DeSales University instead.  That turned out to be a good decision.

I was just a few hours removed from my first run, but I felt good.  The legs weren't sore any more.  It was windy and chilly, but actually not that bad.  The wind definitely started dieing down.  I still had to wear a jacket, just it case it was worse than I thought.

I had on a white shirt, but I ended up putting the black jacket over it.  That wasn't the best thing, because I was planning on running on the road briefly.  Flo has my reflective vests, so I couldn't use those.  I thought I had my headlamp in my bag, but I left it at home.  It certainly wasn't the safest running conditions for me tonight.

I took off from the DeSales gym and headed toward the trail.  After I left the gym parking lot, I realized that I put a backpack in my car and then started running.  I was hoping no one saw that because after the Boston bombings, that could look strange on a college campus.

As I was running alongside the gym, a campus cop vehicle pulled out from behind the gym.  I was worried that he might say something, but he didn't.  I ran on the shoulder of the road and then into the grass if a car came.

It was about half a mile to the park.  That was good because I was planning on running 4 miles and the out and back to the trail would take up a good chunk of the run.

I ran into the park and saw a group of people walking out.  They informed me that a cop was kicking everyone out of the park.  I was glad I didn't park my car there.  I wasn't stopping in the park, so I kept running.  I made sure to run right behind the cop's car.  That way he could see me and stop me if he really wanted to.  I'm not sure if he was in his car or not, but he never said a word if he saw me.

I was onto the Saucon Rail Trail in no time.  It was now about 2/3 of a mile into the run.  I felt like I was really cruising.  The conditions were great and it was a peaceful night.  I think I was running downhill too.

Of course running alone on a dark trail, not much happens.  I did come across a guy on a bike.  I barely even saw him.  He was dressed darker than me.  At least I had my white shirt exposed.  I wondered if he would've even seen me, if he came up from behind. 

Before I knew it, I was through miles 1 and 2.  The 1st mile was only a 9:02, but the 2nd mile sped up to 7:57.  I went through one of the flashing road crossing sections right before turning around.  I think this one even lights up a sign way down the road, because cars are coming up a curve.

As I was going out, I thought I heard people in the yard of a house above the trail.  As I ran back by them on the return, I could see two people at the top of the bank next to the trail.  I didn't want to startle them, so I didn't say a word.  I assume they saw me though.

I passed the biker again.  Most of the remainder of the run was uneventful.  I could tell that I was now going slightly uphill.  The terrain was annoying at times too.  I would go off the middle of the trail and end up running in soft stone.  I didn't enjoy sinking in.  Even with these obstacles, mile 3 was still run at 8:03.

I went back through the park and everything was closed off.  My calves felt great up to that point.  I think I was running more on my toes at that point.  However, once I hit pavement, I started getting sore.  I finished up right near the DeSales gym.  The calves were quite sore.  They were clearly bothered by the lack of rest.  I tried massaging and stretching.  Now, I'm doing some icing.

I know I need new trail shoes.  I have to check the mileage on my road shoes.  I think they have a lot of mileage on them.  That could be part of the problem.  They should probably be replaced

I was glad to get a couple runs in.  I got some solid mileage and ran over 44 miles for the week.  If I could shake this calf issue, I'd be doing even better.  I'm just under 5 months from my planned marathon and my mileage is already in the mid 40s.  That is solid.  I might have to keep it in this range for awhile if I don't get healthier. 

Tomorrow will be my long run day.  I'm hoping to run 18 miles.  I'd like to get it done in the morning.  It most likely would be late morning.  Some BCR people are running at 8 AM at Jacobsburg tomorrow morning.  That would allow me to get some miles in that weren't done alone.  The downside is that I would have to run all of it on a trail instead of a flat route.  I also wouldn't have much recovery from tonight's run.  The other big issue is that it is supposed to be around the freezing mark that early in the morning.  It will be near the 50s later on.  I'll have to get up early and decide then.

Run 1: 3 miles - 28:06 (9:22 pace)
Run 2: 4 miles - 33:15 (8:19 pace)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jacobsburg and St. Luke's Course Preview Run #3

I ran twice again today.  I planned to run with Flo this morning, but she cancelled on me.  It was actually kind of funny considering doing the same as I didn't feel great in the early morning.  Since I didn't have any work today, I decided to head out for a run around lunch time.

I'd like to start running double sessions at least twice a week.  I'm thinking I'll often just do 3 or 4 easy miles in the morning, probably at Jacobsburg or somewhere else nearby.  Since I had the LVRR run later in the evening, I elected to just run 3 easy miles at Jacobsburg.

I went straight across from the main parking lot.  The plan was to run 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back.  After running hard last night, I didn't feel all that great.  My calves were sore.  Taking it easy didn't help.  At least I wasn't going very far.

It was actually cloudy and cool.  It was ideal weather.  I'm really enjoying spring so much.  It is just so energizing after a harsh winter.

I heard someone firing off rounds, so I elected not to go on the outskirt trail.  Then when I did take one of those trails, I realized that it seemed like it was actually coming from the other side of Route 33.  Still, it was better to be safe than sorry.

I didn't feel strong over the hills today, but they were still relatively easy.  I thought back to when I first ran here last year and I struggled immensely on these same small hills.  I've made such progress now.

I continued to cruise around and just enjoy nature.  As I approached 1.5 miles into the run, I was at a road crossing.  I could've turned around, but decided to continue on over the road.  Right after crossing it, I came to a man running with his dog.  He had on a St. Luke's Half Marathon shirt and I asked him if he was running it again and he said he was.  I told him I was taking pictures for the race.  I was jealous of him running with his dog.  I can't wait to have a dog of my own to run with.

I didn't want to run into the guy, so I went out a little farther than I planned.  I also knew it would be a little shorter back, so that was fine.  I ran out to about 1.6 miles.  I then turned around.

I headed back over the hills again.  Most of the rest of the run was uneventful.  In the final half mile, it began to rain.  It was quite refreshing.  I was glad I wasn't caught in it too long though.  It was great to finish up near the parking lot.

This evening was the 3rd and final part of the St. Luke's course preview.  Again, it was a big failure.  At least I tried to generate more interest in the group run.  It had rained earlier and was cloudy, so I'm sure some of that scared people away.  It was fine during the run.  The weather for these runs hasn't been the best.

The only people that showed up were a couple.  They were cool and it was a good run.  It was interesting because she was from the area, but they now live in Denmark (where he is from).  I think this was our first international runner to join the group run. 

We were just running through the Parkway.  They had never run here before.  We chatted a lot about running.  He is the one running the half marathon.  She hasn't run that far yet.  He's run a half marathon and a marathon in the past year.

We started off together and ran for quite awhile.  The pace was pretty solid.  We got to the covered bridge together.  I told them that there were some hills on the course and these were pretty typical.  The woman did fall behind us after a bit.

After we got to the end of the Parkway and crossed over to the other side, we made sure to wait for her.  That way she knew where we were going.  She fell back again, but now she how to get back.

The last mile didn't seem that quick, but it was.  That one was run in 7:43.  We finished up just over 4 miles.  It was a good run with some good weather.  I always enjoy the company.  I gave them some ideas of other places to run near where they are staying.

I'm putting in a lot of miles this week, so tomorrow is finally a rest day.  That said, by resting I'll probably bike something like 20 miles.  I'm determined to improve my conditioning even more and lose some weight.  On Saturday, I'll have to make that weekly trip out to Trexler.  I hope I can get through the whole loop on my own.

AM run: 3 miles - 29:27 (9:49 pace)
PM run: 4.15 miles - 34:06 (8:13 pace)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Plainfield 800 Repeats

After a hard day yesterday, it was on to 800 meter repeats today.  I was hoping to do them in the afternoon, but my car was being inspected and I had to pick it up just before dinner.  I went out before eating, but in the evening.  I ran 6 repeats a few weeks ago, so the plan was to run 7 or 8 this time.

When I was originally planning the run, the ground was still wet from some overnight rain.  So, I decided that I would run on a paved surface.  I picked the Plainfield Recreation Trail.  The last time I was there was with the BCR in the snow.

It was a great evening for running.  I think the temperature was in the 60s.  The sun was beginning to set.  I was nice and comfortable with my singlet on.  The trail was very busy with walkers, runners and bikers.

I really dislike running there, so I don't do so very often.  I don't know what it is.  I'm not crazy about the red stone paved sections or the uphill start.  It is also boring running through mostly fields.  It is fairly close to me though.  Today, I was too focused to notice much of the scenery.

I can typically tell from the warmup how I'll feel.  Today, I was indifferent.  I didn't feel great or bad.  I did move along pretty briskly.  Early on, I was running on the rough red pavement.  There are stones that have been sealed over.  It is very uneven and awkward.  I was already in a negative mindset coming into the run because I don't enjoy the trail, so this didn't help the cause either.

I battled through it though.  I felt pretty good on the first repeat and was moving fast.  I could definitely tell that I was running a little faster than I wanted to.  It was a pretty brisk 6:38 pace.  For a lot of the repeat, the pace was under 6:30.  I do always seem to slip in the later half of the repeats.  I probably look at my watch too often too.

I took a nice and long recovery after that hard one.  The second repeat wasn't much easier.  I tried to back off slightly and I did, but I was still pushing pretty hard.  These first few were definitely tough.  This one did go downhill under and bridge, but right back up.  I passed a family that was playing in the water under the bridge.  The one good thing about this repeat was that it was done on normal pavement.

After two repeats, I was wondering how in the world I would complete 5 more of them.  I was so beat up.  I knew I had to keep going though.  I just figured that I would do one more in this direction anyway.  I assumed that my pace would really start to slip soon and I'd be over a 7 minute pace.  Even though I felt like I backed off, this second one had been a 6:42 pace.  I was more consistent throughout the repeat.

The third one was another difficult one.  I was back on the red surface and really hurting.  I just kept going and going.  The one thing that helped was that my pace remained under 7 minutes.  Usually when it slips over that, I quit too easily.  It is just a mental thing.  I pushed very hard at the end of the repeat.  It ended up being my slowest repeat at a 6:53 pace.

I continued out a bit with another recovery segment.  These were a lot slower than I usually do them at.  I definitely needed recovery today.  I didn't have much left, but I just turned around and decided to keep pushing on.  I started off a bit easier on this one, but my pace was quick.  I was definitely going downhill.  It is amazing what a big difference a subtle change in grade can do to the pace on such short segments.  I didn't have much in the tank, but I was able to go fast enough slightly downhill so that I could match my pace on the the earlier repeats.  This fourth one came in at 6:43.

I knew at this point that I'd likely be able to at least get 5 quality ones in, especially now that I was going downhill.  I figured that I had to at least start each repeat and see what happened from there.  Again, I didn't push too hard and I was under 7 minute pace.  It seemed like I would get faster and faster as the segment wore on.  That was a big boost.  I pushed pretty hard towards the end of this one.  It was on smooth pavement again, so that was a big help.  The pace was a 6:48.  I was happy to be under 6:50 pace again.

I was super dead by this point, but I had to start another one anyway.  I began it and my watch showed it well over a 7 minute pace.  I got discouraged and started to slow down, but then I noticed that the pace was still dropping.  When it went back under 7 minutes, that was a huge boost and I picked it up again.  I was so burnt out during this one.  The last two tenths of a mile were just killer.  I dug deep.  I thought about the bombing in Boston and that helped keep me motivated.  The end of this repeat seemed uphill, but I managed to get through it.  I finished this one off at a nice 6:46 pace.  Again, I was under 6:50. 

At this point, I was done.  I could've done a seventh repeat, but it would've been pointless.  I'm sure it really would've slipped.  I had given all I had at that point.  Getting 6 quality repeats in is certainly better than 7 or 8 so so repeats.  I wish I was a little faster at this point, but there isn't much I can do.  I just have to keep training hard and see where it takes me. 

I'm going to be so close to my PR time for the half marathon next month.  Hopefully this time I can beat it.  I'd like to get some faster miles mixed into my long runs.  I still have almost 5 months to get where I want for the marathon.  It will be hard, but I am up for the challenge.  I might have to rely on some fast friends to train with so that they can pull me along or keep me going whenever I want to quit.  Thankfully, today wasn't one of those days.

Tomorrow is my LVRR Group Run.  It is the third and final part of the St. Luke's Half Marathon course preview series.  This time, we will be off of the streets and in the Lehigh Parkway.  It should be much nicer.  We'll be doing at least 4 miles, maybe more.  I might run a couple miles in the morning or maybe bike at Jacobsburg.

6 miles - 45:49 (7:38 pace)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Run, Bike, Then Run 2.62 More Miles

Today was a busy day.  I figured that I would be beat up from the 17 miler yesterday, so I didn't want to go to Trexler and half ass it.  If I am going to go there, I want to make it a quality session.  Instead, I opted for an easy afternoon run closer to home.  Things actually grew from there and it wasn't a short or easy day at all.

I was a little sore in the morning, but felt pretty good by the afternoon.  My body is adapting well to long runs I guess.  Since I didn't want to go far, I decided to check out the new Bushkill Township Trail.  It was supposed to officially open on Friday, but rain postponed that.

The trail runs from Jacobsburg State Park to Route 512.  The paper said it was 3 miles long, but I found out that it doesn't go out that far.  I just parked in the small lot off of Belfast Road on the north end of Jacobsburg.  The Bushill Township Trail starts directly across the street.  Before I saw it in the paper over the weekend, I didn't even realize that there was such a trail being constructed.  I have been in that area, so I'm kind of surprised that I never noticed any of that.

It was pretty hot and humid.  The temperature was near 70 degrees.  Of course there was the usual wind, but today that actually made it nice.  It was also cloudy.  I brought my GoPro camera along to take some photos.  That combined with my hat made my head quite hot.

I started off at a nice and comfortable pace.  The start of the route is still in the park I guess or at least it is still a nice, wooded area.  The creek runs under the trail at one point and along the side for awhile.  It is nice and peaceful as the trail winds in and out.  It isn't exactly flat or straight.  It goes in and out and up and down.  All the hills are small though.

The first mile was a nice and slow 8:56.  My legs felt pretty good.  There was some soreness in the calf area as usual, but nothing too bad.  I took some decent pictures early on, but then my battery died.  The only good thing about that was that I could take off the camera and my hat and let my head breathe.

After leaving the wooded area, things do get kind of boring.  There are just a lot of fields or stretches of nothing.  A small powerline goes through there, but that isn't much to look at.  I did spot a hill past some weeds.  It could be good for hill repeats.  Eventually, I came to a road crossing and a house with a cool pond along side of it. 

After the road crossing, it was more of nothing.  This certainly isn't much of a scenic trail.  It is a decent stone path and fairly close to me, so I'm sure I'll be there quite often.  I just wish it was longer.

Before I knew it, I was at the north end of the trail at Route 512.  When I looked down at my watch, I was disappointed to see that it was only 2 miles.  It was pretty much exactly 2 miles in fact.  If it was closer to 3 miles, that would be much better for my easy runs.

Today, I wasn't too disappointed that it was only 2 miles, since I wasn't feeling strong and this was only a recovery run.  I headed on back and figured that when I arrived at the start, I would add another mile in Jacobsburg.

I had the path all to myself, but apparently I wasn't the only one using it.  There are signs at all the entry points that say no horses, but someone has already been ruining it with their horses.  There was manure left on the trail, but worse than that, the hooves were already tearing up the trail.  It wasn't designed for heavy horses.  Why can't people just follow the rules of the trail?

After that slow first mile, the remaining miles were under 8:20 each.  It seemed like the trail was uphill going out, but it didn't feel any easier coming back.  Regardless, I kept a steady pace.  Before I knew it, I was back at the parking lot.

I ran in Jacobsburg for a bit.  The Sober's Run Trail is kind of a continuation of this powerline and old railroad bed.  I went out on it for .75 miles and then turned around.  It was getting quite hot now.  At least it didn't rain.  I finished up and walked a little.  After I was done, I saw 2 guys go over and use the Bushkill Township Trail to run.  It was good to see others using it correctly.

After dinner, I headed out for a short bike ride.  I just went through the neighborhood by my house.  It was meant to just be a nice and easy recovery workout.  I still struggled some with the rolling hills.  Before I hit those hills, I thought about running again later on.  Eventually, I was pretty beat up and regretting the idea that I would run later.  My quads were working a little extra.

When I was watching the news today, I saw they had a run at 9 PM in New Jersey to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.  I couldn't go that far, so I decided that I would do a second run at that time.

My friend April came up with the idea to run 2.62 miles to honor everyone.  Obviously doing 26.2 would be hard.  I thought that that was a cool idea, so I copied that distance for this evening.  I headed out to the Saucon Rail Trail just before 9 PM.

I took it easy and went nice and slow.  It was so slow that I almost felt like I was walking.  I barely picked up my legs.  I wanted to make sure the run was just an easy recovery run.  It was a beautiful night.  I could even feel the cool air coming off the creek water.

Since I was running slow, every half mile did seem like it took forever.  I didn't mind too much, because I was in no hurry.  I just enjoyed the evening.  I noticed that one of the road crossings was lighting up again to alert traffic.  I think it might always do that though because I was so far away from it.

The first mile was 10:44, but I couldn't help but go faster after that.  I took it easy, but was down to 9:46 for the second mile.  It was good to turn around and head back.

On the way back, I noticed a light along the creek.  I think it was a headlamp and someone fishing in the dark.  I guess I'm not the only crazy one doing my activity after dark. 

Not much happened on this run, but I did have one interesting moment.  The trail is fairly well lit, so you can sort of see objects.  I noticed something near my feet, but it didn't move until the last minute.  It was a bunny.  The funny thing though was after that one scattered two more ran near me too.  It was near a compost pile, so I'd imagine they like that area and are very active there.  It was kind of startling at first, but fine afterward.

After a couple road crossings, I was finished.  It was pretty amazing because when I clicked the watch off, my time was 26:23.  That's very close to 26.2.  I couldn't see the watch often in the dark, so that certainly wasn't planned.  What a neat sign.

My legs, particularly my quads, are a bit sore now.  It was definitely a tough day.  They need some rest.  I might try to setup a massage some time too.  The legs could definitely use it.

I have a hard 800 repeat session to do tomorrow afternoon.  If I'm feeling good, I might go for another easy bike ride before work.  It probably wouldn't hurt to rest a little more.  I have to walk that fine line of working hard, but also staying healthy.  It is a tricky balance.

Run 5 miles - 41:54 (8:23 pace)
Bike 7 miles - 33:01 (4:43 pace)
Run 2.62 miles - 26:33 (10:04 pace)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Parkway 17 Miler and Boston Marathon

I was planning on starting this post talking about my long run today, but I'll have to begin with the Boston Marathon.  There was a bombing there at the finish line this afternoon.  I had a few friends there and I'm glad to hear that they were okay.  Two people were confirmed dead and dozens others were injured.  I'm praying for those involved and their families.  It does look like it could've been worse.  I am trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon and this won't stop me from running the race whenever I do get there.

Anyway, on to my run.  I wanted to run long yesterday, but was windy when I was photographing the Emmaus 4 Mile Classic race.  I also was starving because I didn't eat, so I couldn't begin a long run after that.  I almost ran the long run in the dark later at night.  Trying to fit in a run that takes over 2 hours can sure be tough.

I decided to just take off yesterday and run this morning.  It did work out great because I didn't have any work today.  I was hoping for that, so that I could get the run done before the Nazareth track meet.  I decided to run a few loops in the Parkway in Allentown.  The meet was at nearby Allen High School.

Last week, I ran 16 miles for my long run.  The plan for today was to run 16-18 miles.  I was really hoping to run 18 miles.  I went into the clubhouse to change into my shorts and short sleeve shirt with compression sleeves.  As I walked out, it was raining a bit.  I had to wait in the car for it to stop.  I don't mind running in the rain, but I certainly didn't want to start a long run in it.  Things cleared up rather quickly.

I made sure to put on my hat in case it did rain again.  It was cloudy and cool and that made it almost perfect running weather.  At times, there was a breeze, but it wasn't too bad.  It did drizzle a little bit, but it was brief.

I started off heading towards the covered bridge.  I was hoping to run one loop in this direction, one loop in the other direction and then a 3rd loop in the original direction.  The loop is about 6 miles, so that would give me 18 miles.  I haven't run in the Parkway since I moved our group runs out of there in October, so it was good to run there again.

One reason I wanted to run there was so that I wasn't running alone.  There were quite a few other runners out there.  I passed some of them several times.  I was never really too close to anyone, but it was good to have company.  I'm sure the rain scared some people away.  There were still a lot of people fishing in the creek.

The scenery is great there and it is one of the best places to run in the area.  It is just far away.  I should probably get there more often.  The funny thing is that I'll be running there again on Thursday for our group run.  The St. Luke's Half Marathon course goes through there.

The opening mile wasn't bad.  As usual, my calves were sore.  Everything else was good though and I felt pretty strong.  It was nice and slow.  A comfortable 9:08 pace.  I wish I could've kept that pace or just a slightly faster one, but even running easy, I end up in the low 8 minutes.  There was a group of what looked like cadets running from the Police Academy right by the start.  That was cool, but I didn't see them again.

The beginning has some hills and this route is definitely not as flat as a lot of my long runs.  Still, other than the Fish Hatchery Hill, none of the hills are too big.  I was able to manage them today.

I got to the Fish Hatchery Hill a few miles into the run.  I did plan on going up it, at least the first time around.  I figured by the end, it would be a struggle.  This time, it was sort of difficult.  It was certainly nothing I couldn't handle, but I was breathing pretty heavily as I got to the top.  I always thought it was easier in this direction, but I'm not so sure.  It seems steeper this way and not as gradual.

Going down hill was fun.  I took it easy, instead of flying downhill like I often do.  Shortly after the hill, I passed a couple with a dog.  The dog sort of ran with me in the grass for a short bit.  I think he really wanted to run into the creek though.

After about 5 miles, my legs started to come in.  I was glad when I finished the first loop.  It was tough mentally though because I knew I had a long way to go.  I should probably run with some other people instead of going solo all the time.  I finished up the first loop at just over 6 miles.  I stopped for water right after that.  That is one good thing about the Parkway, there are a lot of water fountains.

I looped around and headed back out in the other direction.  I just focused on getting to mile 7, then 8, then 9 and eventually 10.  I knew when I got to double digits, I would feel a lot better.  It was great knowing where everything was along this route.  That was especially helpful in the closing miles.

Eventually I made it to mile 10.  Between miles 10 and 11, I ran up the big hill at the Fish Hatchery again.  This time, it was in the other direction.  It was surely hard, but not as bad as I thought.  The question was more so whether the hill would have any cumulative damage for the later miles.

I hit mile 11 and felt great.  Even with the big hill in it, I still ran that previous mile at an 8:18.  This was kind of typical of my pace.  It did fall off toward the end.  I hope that one day I can feel this great after 20 miles.

I did still feel good through mile 12, but as I approached mile 13, I started slipping.  My legs just start to get sore and my lower back was getting sore as well.  My calves were actually pretty good from 5 miles on.

Somewhere near the 13 mile mark, I went past two runners that were now walking.  They said, "looking good."  That was a nice boost.  I saw them quite a few times during the run.  They probably ran for a good hour and a half or more.  One of them actually had one of our LVRR shirts on.  Not sure how she ran so long in it, since it isn't a tech shirt.  Props to them though for going long.

After 13 miles, I really started to slip.  I just plugged away.  I was wondering how I could run almost 5 more miles.  I tried to focus on getting to mile 14.9.  That would put me a 5k from 18 miles.  At this point, I was on my third loop.  I kept running in the same direction as the 2nd loop.  I wanted to have a nice downhill finish.

One thing that did keep me going was thinking of my friends that were running the Boston Marathon.  At the time, I didn't know about the bombing.  I knew a couple friends were running there while I was.  If they could get through that tough race, I could get through a long run.  That was a big help.

I stopped for water before the 3rd loop.  The brief water stops were good.  It allowed my legs to freshen up and I didn't feel too bad when I restarted.  I knew I couldn't run the full loop this time, because the Fish Hatchery Hill would just be too difficult.

I first ran to the Robin Hood Bridge and then crossed over the creek.  I just wanted to get to the Fireman's Bridge in the other direction.  That seemed far away, so I focused on each segment.  The covered bridge came first.  I stopped at another water fountain near the clubhouse.

Most of this direction was at least flat.  Still, I was falling apart.  It was good to get to the Fireman's Bridge.  At that point, I knew I had about a mile and a half to get back to the clubhouse.  At least, I would have to walk back there if I quit.

I went over the one big hill and then the two smaller hills before the clubhouse.  Getting up the hills at that point was a little challenging, but going down them was great.  It was nice to get some recovery, even if brief.  I remember these hills being a challenge when I made a comeback in 2011.

I hit mile 15 and was plugging along.  I stopped at one water fountain right by the covered bridge before the hills.  About a mile later, I stopped again at the last water fountain near the clubhouse.  I drank and drank and drank.  Restarting was very hard.  I was getting kind of lightheaded at this point.  I was over mile 16 though.

I realized that there was just no way I was getting to mile 18.  Two more miles than last week would just be too much.  After the clubhouse, I ran back on the road.  I went out to around 16.8 miles and turned around.  It was great to head back and finish.  It was a good 17 miles.

The 2nd last mile was over 9 minutes (including a water stop), but I picked it up in the flat last mile.  That mile was 8:34.  I was so much more beat than I was last week after 16 miles.  I think the stone used in the Parkway might be tougher on my legs.  They seemed destroyed.  I was so exhausted afterward as well.  I just wanted to lay down and go to bed.  I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight.  I couldn't get up the energy to walk up the clubhouse stairs and take a shower.  When I got to Wawa, I took forever to drag myself out of the car and put on some long pants.  I did manage to sit around at the track meet for some time.  That gave me some rest and recovery.  I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow.

I'd like to run at Trexler tomorrow, but I'm not sure.  It depends how beat up I'll be.  If nothing else, I should try to at least run 4 or 5 miles there.  I need to be ready to go for some faster stuff on Wednesday though.  Biking tomorrow morning could be a good recovery.

17 miles - 2:23:05 (8:25 pace)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Full Trexler Loop

Today was my weekly run at Trexler.  It was the T-Rex group run that occurs once a month.  I actually haven't made it to this group run since before Quadzilla last year.  It was good to join them again.

The group didn't end up being much of a group.  It was just Aaron, Wayne and I.  Still, it was a quality trio.  I was thrilled just to have any company running here.  All my runs here throughout the winter were solo.

Wayne is training for a 50 miler, so he was doing 3 loops.  I can't even imagine that.  I guess it wouldn't be as bad if you walk a lot of the hills.  I'm just hoping to build up to 2 loops and then maybe one day I'll get to a 3rd loop.

Wayne said he was going fall behind us, but he didn't (at least not in the beginning).  I ran up the big hill by the Environmental Center and was ahead of everyone.  Then Aaron came flying by.  He is so much stronger and more sound of a trail runner than I am.  I guess that's what happens when you run trails a lot.  I only get on them about once a week.

I always fall apart towards the end of the uphill, but I noticed that Aaron was so smooth and consistent as he flew by me.  I definitely could use some form improvement on trails.  I'm much more of a grinder.  Still, I made it to the top of the hill and continued on.

I was talking with Aaron for awhile, but then he dropped back to chat with Wayne.  I could hear them right behind me.  I wasn't running hard, but I was surprised that Wayne was still that close, considering that he was doing 3 loops.  I certainly wasn't going to slow down because I knew Aaron was going easy and would probably pass me on the big hills later on.

We went past the dogs on the gradual uphill and at first I thought we'd make it by them without them barking, but we didn't.  There wasn't much wind today, which was nice.  That made this part much easier than it has been.  It was chilly and in the 40s.  I had on a lightweight long sleeve top and shorts.  It was actually ideal running weather.

I cruised along in front and was feeling pretty good.  There was still some calf soreness, but that has been normal for me.  It wasn't too bad.  I really have this first stretch down pat.  I just have to get better everywhere else. 

There are two semi tough hills before the big hill, but they are quite short.  I battled over them and then recovered.  I can run to the big hill now without stopping, so that is great.  I started up the big hill and then as expected, Aaron passed me.  He gave me an idea of where is a good place to try to run to on this hill (to the turn).  That's one of my big issues is, I still don't know the hills from this point on well enough.  I'm good with the first 4 miles, but I need to learn this section better.  Wayne fell back at this point and we lost track of him for the rest of the run.  It was good to have his company for awhile though.

I walked up the hill and was struggling.  I could've pushed a little more, but I didn't want to take a chance too early.  It wasn't like I was going to run all the way up the hill anyway.  I took the same approach on the 2nd big hill.  Again, I probably could've ran more of it.  I wouldn't have gained much time though.

I forgot how fast the downhill sections were in this area.  I tried to go down easy, but I still almost fell thanks to the loose rock.  It was fun though and I survived.  This is one part that I have to be cautious with.  At every other downhill, I can open it up and just fly.

Aaron stopped and waited for me when we got near the creek crossing.  He asked if I wanted to run through it or take the longer loop.  I love the creek crossing, so we went right through it.  It was quite the shock to the legs.  It was very cold.  It was worse than it was a few weeks ago when I went through there.  I guess that all the rain water we had yesterday made its way into the creek.  My legs and feet were numb for about half a mile.

We crossed the road and headed a semi long hill near the zoo.  I walked quite a bit of this because I knew I'd never be able to run it.  I had no problem going up it when I parked near it and started there, but after the big hills, I was somewhat drained.

For the rest of the run, Aaron stuck with me.  He had some heart issues in the fall and is trying to take it slow and run smarter.  I was grateful to have him because I ran up more of the hills that I likely would've walked.  One thing that is tough is that if you stop on a hill and start walking, your body isn't too happy because it still has to go uphill.  It isn't like you can really recover at that point.

We were now on the grassy uphill section and that was just awkward.  I couldn't wait to get done there.  There was a relatively short uphill that I had to walk again.  It was just too early to push.  If I can get strong enough to run all these medium sized hills, I'll do much better on raceday.

I was then able to get some decent recovery in through the next part of the course.  It wasn't as hilly.  Aaron and I chatted a lot.  He had some similar health problems to what I've been through, so we were discussing that quite a bit.  I don't mind talking about that stuff, but some of it is unpleasant, so I don't bring it up with people that haven't been through it.  The funniest thing was when he brought something up and I said, "yeah, I had that too!"  It seems like I've had every problem and procedure.  I guess it says a lot that the two of us have had issues and just keep going and are running a difficult course nonetheless.

We went through the tough wooded uphill section.  Again, I had to walk before Aaron did.  This hill is definitely one of the more difficult ones.  I had to walk it during the race.  It is early on when we run that route, so I'm hoping I can run it this year.

We were now on to a flatter section or rolling hills anyway.  I looked down at my watch and was impressed to see the pace around 10 minutes flat.  That was pretty good considering I had walked quite a bit.  I ran most of the rolling hills, but couldn't quite run the whole way.  At this point, we were a mile or less from the finish and Aaron just took off.  That was fine since he helped me a lot throughout this run.

I enjoyed the downhill to the road crossing.  I knew the uphill to the Environmental Center would be tough.  As I was walking up the difficult hill there, I saw a deer run across in front of Aaron.  He was looking at the ground and also not at the crest of the hill yet, so he didn't see it right away.  It was pretty cool.  I wish I would've had my GoPro camera with me.  I did bring it along, but I wasn't going to wear it with only 3 people running.  I definitely would've been able to get some cool pictures of Aaron when he was running up ahead of me, especially in this area.

Although I walked up this big hill, I knew it leveled off and I could run for a short distance and then I would have a short, but steep uphill finish.  I had to make sure to run that hill and finish strong

I was very impressed when I looked at my time.  I finished under 1 hour and 26 minutes.  The last time I did this group run, which was almost a year ago, I ran it around 1 hour and 40 minutes.  I then ran the race in 1 hour and 35 minutes.  I walked a lot today and didn't push either and yet I completed the loop at a 10:03 pace.  I am very happy with that.  I was just hoping to go under 1 hour and 30 minutes and I blew that away.  Having Aaron pull me along through most of the back half of the course was a huge help.

I'm still 3 months away from Quadzilla, so I have plenty of time to improve.  I think running the way the race does will be a big help for getting over more of the hills.  Those big hills will be at the end of the race and not the middle.  Hopefully, there won't be a cumulative effect and I can run almost every hill during the race.  I know that I'll have to walk the big hills and probably the medium length hill after that at the end of the race, but I want to be able to run the rest of the course.  I definitely think that is doable. 

Now that I've run the loop, I need to be able to do it solo.  I also need to get stronger on the hills, so I can run more of them without so much walking.  I want to work on my speed too.  I'll run some shorter, but faster paced stuff here.  All the running that I am doing here is going to pay off big time.  I'll probably finish the race ahead of quite a few people that are faster than me, but haven't trained on this course as much as me.  I want to know it inside and out and leave nothing on the table.  I will even practice starting out fast on the paved section.  I went too slowly there last year when everyone was flying.

I feel great after the run.  My body isn't sore at all.  I went over 40 miles this week too.  I should probably add even more trail running into the mix.  It is nice when the body doesn't take as much of a pounding.  Tomorrow will be a long run.  I want to run at least 16 miles again.  I'd like to run 17 or 18 miles.  It will probably be on the D&L, as I usually do.  I have a race to take photos for in the morning, so it will probably happen late morning or in the afternoon.  I might also ride 15 or 20 miles this afternoon.

8.54 miles - 1:25:53 (10:03 pace)