Monday, September 30, 2013

Appalachian Trail (Connecticut)

I spent the weekend camping at an auto race in Salisbury, Connecticut.  That meant some running and biking, but not as much as I would've liked.  I did bike around the track in the dark one night.  I was also fortunate because the track is less than 2 miles from the Appalachian Trail.  How lucky is that?

The races ended before dinner on Saturday evening, so I headed out to the Appalachian Trail to explore before it got dark.  I had no idea what to expect, so I had no idea how far I'd run.  I had explored where the trail was via bike, but I wasn't on the trail at all.

I cut through the track's infield and headed out a back gate.  That made getting to the AT much easier.  I ran along the busy road for a bit.  That was a little tricky because the shoulder of the road wasn't wide and there was a lot of traffic leaving the race.  I ran behind a Lamborghini when I crossed a road.  We saw it at the track earlier in the day.

I was then to the AT parking lot and found the trail after initially going down the wrong trail.  This started off as a fun section.  It was flat and through a narrow tree line.  On one side was a creek and on the other side was a farm field.  There were some boards to run over when crossing some feeder springs/streams.  It was a decent little warmup.

This section was rather short and then it actually came to a road.  This was near where I had run earlier.  Basically, I had run through the middle of a triangle. 

Now, the fun began.  I was definitely looking to do some climbing.  I wasn't sure how much I could handle.  I knew the mountains behind the track (where I was headed) were pretty good size.  I grabbed a trail guide at the road crossing and actually didn't even bother looking at it.  That was good because it was pretty much useless.  The AT isn't hard to follow.  It is just a bunch of single white blazes with two blazes at turns.

The climbing was a bit tough and I was breathing heavy.  It was still a little hot and humid at this point and I was wearing a short sleeve shirt since it is the fall and I was in New England.  Up there it is nice because the leaves are changing more than they are down here. 

The trail was tough, but it is much better than the sections around here.  There are rocks, but far less than here in "Rocksylvania."  Most of it was very runnable.  There was a lot of pine forest too and it was an enjoyable climb.

I still had to walk stretches, but those were only brief.  This climb was only a couple hundred feet.  Not as big as some of the climbs that I've done.  Plus, I didn't actually go all the way to the top.

After climbing for some time, I got to Belter's Bump.  I guess this was a lookout to a mountain across the road.  You couldn't see that mountain too well with the trees in the way.  I was really hoping that I would find an overlook onto the race track at some point.  I did see a rock outcrop while I was at the track.  If you can go there, I never did so.

After the bump, it was flat for a bit and then climbed some more.  I came to a couple that was hiking.  Luckily, they were looking at a water section just off the trail.  I kept going.  Climbing and climbing.  Huffing and puffing.  It's always tough to see the top of a mountain when you are on it, but I think I was close to the top.  However, it started to get to rocky.  Breathing heavy was one thing, but I didn't want to deal with rocks.

I turned around after a mile to mile and a half into the climb.  Heading back was fun.  I didn't want to go too fast and trip in the middle of nowhere though.  I got back down the mountain and it was still early in my run.

I decided to head back on the AT, but this time in the opposite direction.  It headed toward the big mountain and I wondered if it would climb that.  I ran over a road bridge that is part of the trail.  Then when I got to a stoplight, I realized that the blazes when to the left inside of to the right and up the mountain.

I followed the blazes along the road.  This was boring and I wouldn't have done this much longer, but then they finally turned back into the woods.  I ran through this section and it was really a blast.  It was a lot of pine forest and rolling hills.  Nothing was too steep or too technical. 

Most of it was open too, although I did encounter some overgrown parts.  I ran through some big boulders too.  I was having fun.  When I got to 3.75 miles into the run, I figured I should head back.  I wanted to make it in before dark.

I ran back and enjoyed this section again.  I videotaped some of it.  I brought my GoPro along and managed to get a few good pictures on the run.

I ran past a really neat farm.  This time, I ran the long way around to the track's main gate.  There is a cool, old vineyard right before the track too.  There are a lot of nice charming quintessential New England houses in this rural area.

I got back into the track and hit mile 7.  I wanted to run another mile.  I headed down that paddock and decided to loop around there.  That was interesting because all the race teams were packing up and their equipment was everywhere.  I had to dodge it and it was kind of like a trail run.  I finished up at my campsite at mile 8.

It was a solid and fun run.  It was unique and the trail was easy to follow.  The weather was pretty good, although I still had some chafing issues.

This coming week will be very easy.  I have a 50K on Sunday and I need to rest.  I hiked about 3 or 4 miles on the AT this evening near my house.  I'll probably hike a little more.  I'll run and bike much less than usual.  My left calf is still a little sore and it definitely could use some rest.

8 miles - 1:23:08 (10:24 pace)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Easy Nor-Bath Run

After back to back days exploring some new places, today was just about easy and convenient.  I headed out to the Nor-Bath Trail for a basic 8 mile run.  I started from the east end of the trail as I often do and figured that I would run 4 miles out and 4 more back.

It was a nice day.  Actually, it was a little hotter than I would've liked, so I switched from a regular short sleeve shirt to a sleeveless one.  That was a good choice as I was soaked by the end of the run.  I'll take this weather any day though.  It was 100X better than the summertime.

I was a little slow in the beginning.  My calf was stiff like it has been.  I thought at first that I might struggle to even do 3 miles.  I just plodded along.

Crossing Airport Road was a breeze for a change.  That is rare during the middle of the afternoon.  This trail is kind of boring, but it amazing how much more enjoyable a run can be when the conditions are nice.  The first mile was kind of slow at just under 9 minutes.

There were a few people on the trail, but overall it wasn't too busy.  It rarely is.  That's why I was very surprised at what happened next.  I heard someone coming up from behind.  The guy passed me.  That's never happened on this trail before.  I was actually more impressed with myself for not getting into a race with him.  I could've run his pace, but it would've taken some work.  He turned off at Bicentennial Park and that was the end of that. 

I ran on as I still had a couple miles to go before I'd even turn around.  I felt great.  I was flying.  Without much effort, I was running in the low 8 range.  I got over the next road crossing easily.

My legs did start to bother me a little when I hit the pavement and the following road crossing.  That had some up and down and I struggled slightly with that too.  The pace didn't feel hard, but maybe it was a little brisker than I'm used to. 

When I came out to the neighborhood section, I decided to run on the sidewalk for a short distance until I got to mile 4.  I then turned and headed back.  Again, the pavement was tough.  I was wondering if I might have to slow my pace.

Things picked back up though and I was cruising along.  I guess I was headed slightly downhill.  That seems to make all of the difference.  The final 3 miles were solid.

I was just counting down the miles because I was getting hot.  It was great to get to miles 6 and 7.  Crossing Airport Road was frustrating this time.  I had to wait between 5-10 seconds.  That cost me some time in the final mile.

That last mile was still quick though.  I felt great on the other side of the road and just decided to push for the last half mile.  The overall pace even dropped a couple seconds after a 7:49 mile.  At some point, I do have to get back to working on my speed.

It was a good run and nice to be done with 8 miles rather quickly.  I've put in a solid week of shorter runs.  I plan on another run or two on the Appalachian Trail while I'm camping in Connecticut this weekend.  Tonight, I'm hoping to bike some more too.

  8 miles - 1:05:54 (8:14 pace)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Appalachian Trail in Bushkill

I've been meaning to check out some of the close sections of the Appalachian Trail for my runs.  Since this is supposed to be short mileage week, I decided to head to a section in Bushkill Township.  I hiked this spur trail (Kateleen Trail) with my dad a couple years ago and figured that it might be worth running.  It was getting dark that day, so we didn't check out too much of the AT itself.  We just walked by a shelter.

I don't go up that way often, so I didn't quite know how to get to the trailhead.  I had to go off of a combination of memory and reviewing a map an hour earlier.  Plus, I took a different road to get there.  At first, I ended up on the wrong road, but I did find the Moore Township Appalachia Park.  I had been wondering about that place.  It has some trails, but they appear to be small.  I might check it out in the future anyway.  It was definitely remote.

Eventually, I found the small parking lot I was looking for.  It is off of Old Mine Road.  As I passed the lot, a cop was parked in there.  By the time I came back, he was gone.

I knew this would be a tough run because I'd be going almost straight up from the bottom of the mountain.  There are no switchbacks, like the Wind Gap section has.  I probably should've warmed up on the road first.  Maybe I'll do that in the future.

It was a decent weather day.  It was a little warmer than yesterday, but overall not too bad.  I knew I'd sweat a bit today though.  I had on a shirt, although I didn't wear orange.  I think this is a hunting area.  I'll have to be more cautious in the future.

Going right uphill was definitely difficult, although it wasn't as steep at the bottom.  The big issue was that this trail was full of loose rocks.  My feet couldn't get any grip and I had to work a lot harder. 

I knew even making it up the 3/4 mile to the top would be tough.  I figured that I would have to walk.  That happened at less than 1/2 mile into the run.  I walked for about a tenth of a mile and ran again for another tenth.  One section is really steep and has these high steps.  I'm not sure I could even run up them.

It seemed to flatten out a bit toward the top.  Still, this was a tough 3/4 mile.  Hopefully in the future I can run all the way up and just recovery when I get there.  My left calf was fairly sore on the climb.

At the top, I came to a wide powerline.  It is flat on the mountaintop, so I actually didn't have a view.  I ran across and began going on the Appalachian Trail.  This part immediately sucked.  As I feared, it was super rocky.  The rocks would not have been too bad, expect they all seemed to point straight up.  I had to be very careful or I could really hurt my foot.  This was a super slow go.  It is good technical practice, but I would really worry about tripping if I was very tired.

I didn't go very far before turning around.  I figured I'd run along the powerline and see if I could get any views.  That was a good choice.  I ran to the north first.  This area was wide open and not too rocky.  It had a gentle climb to it.  When I got to the top, I had a spectacular view of the mountains all around.  Unfortunately, I realized part way up the mountain that I forgot my GoPro.  Next time, I'll have to bring it with me.

I ran back and headed the other direction.  It was kind of hot in this exposed area.  This direction wasn't quite as easy to run.  There was some high grass along the trail and some rocks.  I ran on it for a bit, but it did seem like an area where rattlesnakes could potentially hangout.  I didn't want to chance it all alone on the mountain, so I turned around.  Maybe when it is colder, I'll run that direction and check out the view.

I was now around 2 miles into the run.  It was a slow 2 miles though.  I figured that I might as well head back down.  Going downhill was fun, although I had to be cautious with all the rocks.  The steps part was quite tricky.  I passed a couple guys that were hiking near the top.  They did look a little shady, but I didn't worry about it.

When I got to the bottom, I was around 3 miles into the run.  I still had some time to kill before I went to a cross country meet.  Therefore, I decided to run on Old Mine Road.  I did that for about half a mile and turned around.  I finished up near my car, with 4 miles in the books.

They were a challenging 4 miles, but it was fun.  I'll definitely run here again since it is close.  Maybe I'll do hill repeats here.  I'd like to run the whole hill in the future.

I biked in the evening again and finally bought a much needed bike light.  Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run again somewhere.  I'd like to bike some more too.  It might be my last workout day of the week, before I go camping.  It has been a productive week so far.

4 miles - 44:53 (11:13 pace)

Monday, September 23, 2013

D&L Trail (South of Easton)

Most people run the normal, popular trails.  Me on the other hand, I'm always looking for something "off the beaten path."  Every time I drive on mountains, I am looking for hidden trails along the road.  I guess I love to explore and run alone.

Today's run wasn't totally remote, but it definitely wasn't a common running place either.  The D&L from Cementon to Lehighton is well groomed and at least fairly well used.  The section from Allentown to Easton is the same.  I've never run on the section south of Easton, so I decided to run there.  It was definitely a different experience from the other parts of the trail.

I knew directly below Easton, the trail had washed out during flooding.  I figured that I could go a little farther south though and actually wouldn't be all that far from home.  It took be about 20 minutes to get to the Theodore Roosevelt Recreation Area.  This is an old lock house on the canal.  There was only one other car in the parking lot when I began the run (late in the evening).

I wanted to run the trail south.  I had driven by some of this section and I was wondering if it was even runnable.  I thought some of it would be washed out and maybe overgrown.  I was looking for more of a rocky nature trail type run than a typical smooth canal path.

The run started off with a lot of smooth running and fairly well maintained trail.  Still, it was a far cry from the nice stone paths on the Lehigh River section.  This Delaware River portion had high grass in between the doubletrack.  Some of the doubletrack had stone, other parts were dirt and rocky.  I cruised along and was enjoying myself.  Every now and then there were views of the water.

The farther out I got, the rougher the terrain was.  I suspected that I wouldn't be able to ride my bike through this section and that was definitely the case.  There was still a path the whole way though.  At times, it was a singletrack and occasionally it went by muddy sections.

I was enjoying the run so much largely because of the weather.  It was a perfect, cool fall day.  I could not have asked for better weather.  This area is exposed to the sun, so it is probably brutal in the summer.

Somewhere around 1.5 miles was the section that I was most looking forward to.  On the road, there is a clear view of the river, with a mountain on the other side of the road.  The wall on the mountain side is made of stone.  From the map, it appears that this would be the Kleinhans Creek Aqueduct.

I knew the canal was very narrow here.  I was hoping this section would be passable.  It was, but barely.  At one point, I was running on a ledge and if I fell to the left, I would've fallen into the river.  I could've fell the other direction and it would've been into high grass, so I just slanted myself in that direction.  The view was definitely worth the trip and running in and out of this section was fun.  I took my GoPro and got some pictures too.

After this section, the trail was back to being more of a normal canal towpath.  There wasn't much going on.  I had passed a guy walking his dog in the aqueduct section and another guy earlier, but few people use this section.  Just what I like.

I ended up running behind a restuarant that was on the other side of the canal.  The plan was to run out about 3 miles.  I was hoping by then I could get to Riegelsville.  I had to be careful because it was getting dark quickly.

At around 3 miles, I arrived at Riegelsville.  This is a cool small little town along the river.  There was a neat bridge that ran overhead.  I passed a restuarant that had tables outside right next to the path.  That would've been an awesome place to get a drink if I had time.  Maybe next time around.

I went out just past the bridge.  There were some cool houses with their backyards right up against the canal on the other side of it.  My side had a some houses with barking dogs.  I didn't go far out and then I turned around.  One of the dogs came to the edge of the yard and barked at me.  I stopped running briefly and he went away.

I figured that I had to at least cross the bridge over the Delaware River.  It was an awesome little bridge.  I ran over and had a great view of the river on both sides.  I saw a runner on the opposite side.  When I got to New Jersey, I realized that there wasn't much over there.  There wasn't a point to running there, so I turned around and headed back.  By now, I was at about 3.5 miles.  I figured 7 miles would be a perfect run.

I headed back as it got darker and darker.  When I was back on the canal, I noticed the runner up ahead.  He was the only runner (and one of the few people) that I saw the whole time.  I was gradually catching him, but he was pretty far ahead.  At one point he stopped and was walking.  He turned around and saw me and began running again.  He crossed the canal to the restuarant and I never did see him again.

I was happy that I made it to the difficult section before it was dark.  That might've been tough to navigate in the dark.  The only other interesting thing was the next section.  I was nearly finished when a deer ran up the canal and onto the towpath in front of me.  It didn't really have anywhere to go, so it ran on the path in front of me for some time.  That was pretty cool, although it was getting so dark that I couldn't see it well.  Eventually I guess it ran down to the river.

I arrived back at my car at 6.3 miles.  I can't just stop there, I always have to get to the next mile.  I was curious about the canal in the other direction, so I decided on a short out and back.  This part was interesting because just north of the park, the towpath goes directly behind houses.  It is like you are in people's backyards, except you can see the trail.  There were some nice houses too.

I didn't go very far.  I turned around at 6.7 miles.  I finished up at mile 7 and it was getting very dark.  It was perfect timing.  This was an excellent run and exactly what I was hoping for.  I will certainly be back there to run again and hopefully farther.  It will probably be sooner rather than later too!

I ended up biking in the dark later on.  I'm hoping to ride some tomorrow and I'd like to try to get in a run before I attend a cross country meet.  I really do need to explore the AT not too far from my house sometime.  If I have the time and energy to climb, I'll do that.  This is supposed to be a taper week.  Since I'm camping at a race over the weekend, my training will probably be slacking at the end of the week.  I don't mind working hard now.

7 miles - 1:00:25 (8:38 pace)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Switchback Trail Run

Today was a very busy day.  Chris called me yesterday and wanted to see if I would pace him and his friend Ryan on my bike while they ran this morning.  They wanted to preview the Runner's World Half Marathon course.  There are so many turns on the course and it is tough to follow.  Of course we got lost on the one section that I didn't know very well in one of the neighborhoods.  It ended up being 14.5 miles total.

That workout was a good warmup.  It was nice and slow on the bike.  They ran fast of course.  I've been wanting to head to Jim Thorpe and check out some of the trails.  The place is beautiful (with huge mountains everywhere).  I convinced my dad to drive up there with me and my mom came along too.  It was only going to be short run.

There are supposed to be some really amazing trails, but for now I was just sticking to one of the main ones, the Switchback Trail.  The trail used to transport coal rail cars between Jim Thorpe and Summit Hill.  It later became a ride and a big attraction that put Jim Thorpe on the map.  Now, it is a recreation trail.

I started at Mauch Chunk Lake Park, outside of town.  This was a pretty setting to begin.  They had some cool signs there that dated the history of the trail.  They also had an old rail car.

I ran toward Jim Thorpe.  It is a nice stone path through the woods.  I cruised along and enjoyed the beautiful fall day.  It is so nice to be able to run without sweating everywhere.

The trail was rather flat in this section.  It was like a normal rail trail around here.  There were quite a few families and people riding and biking.  The forest that it went through had a lot of pine trees.  I love pine forests.  They are so cool.  The trail also ran along a creek.  It was so peaceful.

I plugged away.  I wasn't feeling too bad, but I can't say I felt great either.  My calf is still a bit sore after last week's long run.  A softer dirt surface might've helped that out a little, but I didn't have that here.

I was disappointed that this section wasn't more technical.  I know there are some pretty technical parts of it with elevation change.  After looking at the maps, it appears they are on the upper loop.  Instead, I just had a nice picturesque run.  Since I was only planning to run about an hour, I wasn't too concerned.  I just wanted to get a feel for the place.

The path went out about 2 miles before coming to Flagstaff Road.  I could've actually parked at this spot and I might've made it close to Jim Thorpe.  The problem is that I was unable to find the trail.  I ran along the road a bit and went on to what I thought was the trail.  It was a nice, short singletrack section.  It came out back where I had come from though.  I then ran the other direction and came to a dead end in the pine forest.

I tried running on Flagstaff Road to see if I could find the trail again, but I had no luck there either.  When I got home, I saw that it was actually behind some industrial building across the road.  Now I know.

I was able to get to about 3.5 miles before heading back, since I was running all over the place.  Going back on the main trail was a little tough because it is slightly uphill.  I got used to it though.

When I was heading out initially, I saw signs for a couple spur trails.  I decided to run up one of them.  It was the Fire Line Trail.  This was a fun singletrack with some climbing.  I only went out about a quarter of a mile though.  It was good to explore a little.

I got back to main trail and ran toward the lake.  It wasn't too long and I was back there.  I finished up right at 6 miles.  That was a solid day.  I then noticed the trail across the street from the lake.  I'll have to try that direction next time.  Hopefully I can find the more technical parts in the future.

The ride and run weren't quite enough.  I wanted to ride a few more miles.  I went out in the dark and rode around the neighborhood by house.  I added a solid 10.5 miles to a productive day.

I've already biked 25 miles, so I'll likely have 100 miles riding by the end of the week.  With my 50K coming up, I'll probably taper the running portion of my workouts this week.  I'm feeling good and energized, so I might consider running again tomorrow.  The weather could play a big role in that decision.  I haven't been to Trexler in some time, so maybe I'll go there.

6 miles - 54:59 (9:10 pace)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Back on the D&L

I've slacked off a little lately and today was my first run of the week.  Of course that meant that it had to be long.  I didn't feel like the usual trails, so I decided that I would head to the D&L and start at Cove Road.  I figured since I ran so well on the other section of the D&L for the marathon, that I might be able to do well here.  I was wrong.

I used to run here all the time, but with my quads getting so beat up, I stopped running anywhere that wasn't a nature trail.  It was a perfect, cool fall day.  Actually, I was a little hot in the sun, so I went shirtless.  That was a questionable call.  I was a bit chilly in the shade and this trail has a lot of that.

I started off heading north toward Slatington.  My legs felt awesome in the beginning.  I felt like I could go so fast and I often had to hold myself back.  For once, I was relaxed in the beginning of this run and it didn't feel like a grind.

I just took in the scenery, although after some time, it gets kind of repetitive.  It is trees, trees and more trees with a river on the other side and some cliff walls too.  There are a couple houses here and there, but not much.  I did come across quite a few bikers, some walkers and the occasional runner.

My plan was to run 20 miles.  I wanted to make sure I got out over 5 miles, so that I would be over halfway done with my run when I arrived back at my car.  I had my handheld bottle with me, so I could go a lot farther.  I never ran with that here in the past.

I felt awesome for about 4 miles.  Then, the repetitiveness and pounding of the hard surface took its toll.  My left calf started to get sore.  This area actually wasn't a problem at all until the marathon.  The good thing was that my quads were holding up.  I was hoping that all of the riding and running on soft surfaces would help.

I figured that I would try to get to Slatington and turn around.  I thought that would be about 5 miles.  There was a hot dog stand in the parking lot when I got there.  That is something new.  I decided to keep going a bit farther.  I figured that I could at least get to mile 6.

I knew going past Slatington would be a gamble.  The section between there and the Lehigh Gap bothers my legs even more than the other section.  I kept going though.  I was enjoying the scenery and not feeling too bad.

I went to mile 6 and then 6.5 and just kept going.  I ran past the small airport just near the Gap.  That is cool and the view is neat.  I decided to just keep going to 7.5 miles.  That would get me to 15 miles and I could quit at my car if I had to.

The 2 miles or more heading back to Slatington were a real grind.  My legs were getting sorer and sorer and I felt like they were tied to the ground.  I knew it would get better at Slatington, but at that point, I still would have 5 miles to go to my car.

Finally, I made it to the Slatington Trailhead.  My water was almost gone and I planned on refilling it there.  There are some nice bathrooms there and I thought a water fountain too.  I guess I was wrong about that though and I had no money with me to buy a drink at the hot dog stand.  I just had to be cautious with my water.  At least I would be on the cooler section of the trail until I got to my car.

The legs did feel a little better when I got onto the different surface, but they were still sore.  I just had to try to ignore them.  I had to keep pushing along.  Still, I couldn't believe how awful I felt at miles 11 and 12.  I felt amazing in the marathon until about mile 17 and I was running almost the same pace as that day.  Maybe I didn't recover enough from the marathon, but I doubt that is the case.  I've hardly run at all since the race.

I just focused on each mile.  Getting to 13.1 was big.  Passing one of the houses, a big dog came to the fence.  I was a little worried because he was so huge that I thought maybe he could jump the entire fence.  I guess he was just being playful.

The last 2 miles felt awful.  I was getting worse and worse.  There was some slight downhill, but even that wasn't helping.  At mile 14, I was falling off like crazy.  I knew by now that even stopping at my car and resting for a bit wouldn't help.  I would just have to get to mile 15 and call it a day.  That's exactly what I did.

I am so disappointed with how this run went.  After feeling great during the marathon, I thought maybe I was finally past the leg soreness issue.  I guess not.  I suppose it just depends a lot on the surface that I run on.  I know that I need new shoes and that might help, but they are the same ones that I used in the marathon and had no problems.  I guess the pavement and then dirt trail helped a lot during that race.  I felt just about as bad today after 15 miles as I did after the marathon's 26.2 miles last week.

I could've pushed another 2 or 3 miles and maybe 5 miles if I was willing to kill myself.  I am so close to my 50K and won't get a lot of benefit from this run, so I decided that it just wasn't worth it.  I'll save my legs for the trails.

The one good thing to come from this is that I won't waste any money running the D&L Marathon.  Since last week's marathon went so well, I was actually considering it.  That won't happen now though, since my legs can't handle this trail.  I'll stick to the ultrarunning.

I biked 15 more easy miles on the Nor-Bath Trail after dinner.  That helped loosen the legs up some.  I'm hoping I can run tomorrow, but I don't have much time.  I don't know if I'm working, but I'm going to the Eagles game in the evening.  I'd like to run in the morning, but getting up is always difficult.  Maybe I can run down there while we are tailgating.  I'll have to look into it.

15 miles - 2:08:16 (8:33 pace) 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Kind of Pointless Run

I have an engineering degree, so you can say I like numbers.  Most weeks, I've set a goal of 40 miles of running and 100 miles of biking.  I wasn't planning on doing it this week, but when I recovered so well from my marathon, I figured I might as well do so.  After all, I didn't have to run much after 26.2 miles on Sunday.

I had to cut my last run a couple miles shorter than what I would've liked because of humidity.  That meant that I needed 2 more miles of running to get to 40.  I had some time this afternoon, so I went for a short run.  I decided to drive to the industrial park near my house.  I figured I could loop around the nearby neighborhood.

My last run was only a couple days ago, but what a difference in the weather.  It basically went from summer weather to late fall weather.  It is like we just skipped the beginning of fall.  I wasn't even sure what to wear.  Since I wasn't running much and wouldn't sweat, I opted for a jacket.  I quickly took that off though.

I ran a short out and back in the industrial park.  It was .4 miles long.  I ran at what I guess I would call a moderate pace.  It wasn't hard, but it wasn't easy either.  The first mile, as I warmed up, was certainly easier than the 2nd one.  It was an 8:16 opening mile.

I ran into the neighborhood next.  It was a nice little loop and a chance to see some new houses and some houses that were under construction.  After leaving the neighborhood, it was mostly downhill to my car.  That meant that the pace was pretty quick.  It was a 7:26 final mile.  I didn't feel like I was working too hard either.

I felt like I might be able to run that 2nd mile pace for a half marathon.  If that were the case, that would be pretty impressive.  Maybe my endurance is actually helping my speed too.  I hope I'm getting stronger.

The thing I really had to do over the last two days was ride my bike.  I slacked off riding earlier in the week and only had 30 miles in the books with 2 days remaining in the week.  Yesterday I rode twice, once 15 miles and the other 20 miles.  I ended up doing the same thing today.  Two of those rides were after dark too.  That was fun, but cold.  Riding 70 miles in two days wasn't easy, but I'm feeling good.  It is nice to have another solid week done. 

I might ride again tomorrow if I have time.  If not, I'll definitely run on Monday and hopefully ride.  The run will be a 20 miler.  I need to incorporate some more of those in my training, especially if it stays cool.

2 miles - 15:41 (7:51 pace)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Humid Philly Run

I headed down to Philly tonight for a Team Challenge fundraiser.  My friend Lisa is running for Team Challenge in a couple months and since they help with Crohn's Disease, I figured that I should go there and support the cause.

Of course I can't take a trip anywhere without going for a run.  Being my old stomping grounds, I just had to go to Wissahickon for a trail run.  I love it there.  Even with all the places to run around here, that is still right there near the top of my favorite places.

I always park at Valley Green and it is busy there.  I love the true trails though and most people workout on the wide stone path.  The last few times there, I started right on the trail next to the Valley Green Inn.  Today, I decided to start on the opposite side of the creek.

It was very humid and I wasn't sure what kind of impact this would have on the run.  I've dealt with plenty of humidity during runs this summer, but this was possibly the worst.  It was in the 90s and humid and that was after some cooler weather last week.  I ran without a shirt and was still soaked very quickly.

Right as I started on the trail, I saw some people who had just been swimming.  It is a popular place in the summer.  It has been so long since I ran this section that I sort of forgot where to go.  I was hesitant to start there because I thought there was a creek crossing.  I figured that it would be dry this time of year though.  I think I was actually supposed to head uphill more to go where I wanted to.  Instead, I ran the bottom trail, near the creek.

I forgot how fun this side is.  It is some up and down and in and out.  There are rocks here and there and some of them are even huge boulders.  Most of it is very runnable, although I did have to walk some of it.  I also lost the trail at one point and had to find it again.

The sun wasn't beating on me, but it was peaking through the trees and that probably didn't help.  When I came to the small creek as it fed into the main creek, I ended up running by a bunch of people who were swimming.  I'm pretty sure someone in the group yelled "Way to go whitey" or something along those lines.  I wasn't paying much attention to them though.  The creek was largely dry and I was just trying to navigate over all the rocks.

I'm not sure if where the people were swimming was the "Devils' Hole" or not.  I can't quite remember where that is, but I know it is over that way somewhere.  It would've been nice to take a dip today.

This section is so unique.  There is one part where the trail just goes through 2 huge boulders.  Another section had a lot of steps and I walked up those.  Then there was a pedestrian bridge over one part.  Definitely some fun stuff that you don't see on every trail run.  I do miss running there.

The up and down of the trail was wearing me out though.  Plus, I was running late and really trying hard to squeeze this run in.  With the time constraints and the humidity, I knew I wasn't going to run the 7-10 miles that I had hoped for.  To get more distance in and not destroy myself, I got back onto the smoother main trail when I could.  This was about 1.25 miles into the run.

I wasn't very far along and already the humidity was getting to me.  My legs are still slightly beat from the marathon.  Perhaps the worst thing is that I had a cheeseburger and fries for lunch.  That didn't sit well in my stomach and I felt slow and heavy.

I went out to about 1.75 miles before turning around.  Since I was struggling so much, it was time to just focus on one mile at a time.  Even having a water bottle didn't help much.  By mile 2, I figured I would be past mile 3 when I got back to Valley Green, so I'd at least get that far.

I was amazed at how many people were running in the heat and humidity.  I think some of them were high school cross country runners.  I also saw a beat up looking old guy that looked like a trail runner that you would expect to see in the mountains.  Then there was another long haired young guy that looked like of like Blake from Workaholics.

Before getting back to Valley Green, a guy passed me.  My pace was now around 9 minutes for each mile.  He actually wasn't going that fast, but fast enough for me to let him go in this weather.  I got to Valley Green just after 3 miles.

The guy was stopped at the water fountain.  A young lady turned around right in front of me and I was now chasing her.  I knew this couldn't be good.  Actually, I didn't push myself too hard and she ended up being a nice pacer for a half mile or so.  I reeled her in, but never quite got by.  Near the top of a hill, I decided to turn around and head back toward Valley Green.

I figured that some short out and back runs would get some distance without over extending me.  I was beat at 2.5 miles and it was only getting worse and worse.  Once I hit 4 miles, I knew that I could muster out one more easy mile.  I did that, but it sure wasn't easy.  There was some slight uphill past Valley Green.  I battled it and turned around and finished up right before getting to Valley Green again.

Although I didn't get as much mileage or as much trail running done as I would've liked, it was still a productive run, given the conditions.  Any time I can run at this location, I'm happy.  The fundraiser was fun too.  I caught up with some old friends and met some new ones and it was all for a good cause.

The plan tomorrow is a good amount of cycling (since I didn't ride any today) and possibly a short run.  The weather is supposed to suck tomorrow, so I'll have to play it by ear.  Hopefully it won't be too bad and the good week can continue.

5 miles - 48:58 (9:48 pace)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Solid and Easy Seven

When it became clear that I couldn't qualify for Boston at the VIA Marathon, I knew that I would use that as a training run for the Blues Cruise 50K.  I hoped I could recover well from an easy effort marathon, but it is still a marathon, so I wasn't sure.  However, after 2 days, I have recovered very well.

If I really pushed it, I could've ran yesterday.  I was fairly sore though and it wouldn't have been worth it.  Running on tired legs is one thing, but sore legs is another.  Basically, I felt like I do recovering from a hard effort half marathon.

I got out there to run today, since I was feeling good.  To save the legs, it was back on the trails as usual.  I headed to the Jordan Creek Parkway after work.  I thought summer had left us, but I guess not as it was back in the 80s and humid again today.  I was glad to be in the shade of the trail.  It was back to wearing no shirt again.

I started off on the flat disc golf hole section along the creek.  I figured that this is nice and easy and a good way to get the legs going.  There weren't too many people using the course, so that was nice. 

I ran over the creek and around a couple ponds.  Something jumped off the trail and into one of the ponds as I ran by.  I think it was a frog, but I don't know.  I didn't see it.  It was quite a loud splash.

I looped around and tried taking one of the many paths.  Somehow, I ended up back at the bridge over the creek.  I thought I was heading the complete opposite way.  That's the second time that I've done the exact same thing and been disoriented.  I generally know where to run here now and where I am, but it will take me some time to figure out the correct paths to take to get exactly where I want, especially in this section.

I continued to wander around.  Eventually, I came to the rocky uphill on the disc golf course.  Finally, I turned off the trail and was headed the correct way.  I wanted to run the uphill and then fast down the long hill.  I did have to be a little cautious going down as it is rocky and there isn't much of a ledge.  I did stumble a few times during the run.  I never fell though.  Once, my toe hurt pretty bad.

I came out by a woman walking a dog.  I saw a few people doing this throughout the run.  Most were on the main paths though.  I pretty much had the trails to myself.  That's the nice thing about a weekday afternoon.  I'm really enjoying running this place.

After a short distance on the paved path, I crossed the "Bridge to Nowhere."  I took the path along the creek.  That gave me about 2/3 of a mile out and back.  I was getting near to the 4 mile point at this point.  I was soaked, but by now I'm used to the humidity.  It almost doesn't bother me unless I run over 2 hours.

After that section, I climbed a little bit on the top ridge.  This is a fun, little loop.  I noticed that one section where I had to climb over a fallen tree, I was now able to run right through.  I guess the mountain bikers maintain it well and they cut the tree apart.

I came back down the hill and over the "Bridge to Nowhere" again.  Then, I ran the other section along the creek, back toward the starting area.  This is nice and flat too and a lot of fun.  When I arrived back near my car, I was at 4.85 miles.  I had a few short miles to go yet.

I decided on an out and back along the disc golf course again.  I went out and over the bridge and then along the baseball field.  I looped all over the place in that section and when I got back to my car area, I still had about half a mile to go. 

I decided on the section along the creek in the other direction then.  I did a short out and back and finished up with a solid 7 miles.  I was getting pretty tired by that point.  Part of it was leg fatigue and part of it was the humidity.  I could've run another 3 miles or so, but much more than that would've been a struggle.

I also got out there tonight and rode a humid 20 miler on the bike.  Since I recovered so well from the marathon, I'm going to shoot for another 40 miles of running and 100 miles of biking this week.  At some point I'll taper for the 50K.  I don't think it will be too much of a taper though.  After that is over, I want to build my endurance even more.  I'd love to run 50 miles a week and bike 125 miles.  That would require me to get up earlier and also ride and run in the dark as we are already losing daylight quickly.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to ride another 15-20 miles in the morning.  Then, I'm headed down to Philly for a Team Challenge fundraiser that a friend is doing.  That is a group that raises money for Crohn's, so I figured that I should probably go to it.  I guess it is another good reminder of what I've overcome too after major surgery less than 2 years ago.  Before the fundraiser, I'm hoping to squeeze is another 7-10 miler on one of my favorite trails, Wissahickon.  It is going to be even hotter and more humid tomorrow.  I can't wait until this weather ends completely.

7 miles - 1:11:00 (10:09 pace)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2013 VIA Marathon

Today was an outstanding day all around.  First, I ran the VIA Marathon (our local marathon).  Then I watched with the rest of the BCR as April finished her first marathon.  In the evening, we went to the Brew Works in Bethlehem.  The only downside was hearing that Flo got sick and couldn't finish her race.  Thankfully, she was okay and joined for dinner.

I signed up for this marathon hoping I could qualify for Boston or at least get close that 3:05.  Instead of getting faster, I was getting slower and slower, so I decided some time ago that this would become a training run for my 50K in a month.

The race started at 7 and at 6:20, we encountered a major traffic jam on the highway exit.  Luckily, we we are local and knew how to get around it.  We got of the next exit, came through the start of the course up Fish Hatchery Road and drove right into the hospital on Cedar Crest.  I did have to use the bathroom and our car was parked far away, so I cut it very close to making the start on time.  I got to the line with 2 minutes to spare.  I'm glad this wasn't a big city marathon or that would've been tough.

We started off with a short loop.  That was one of the few times you could actually see the leaders and I saw that Mertz was 4th overall, because he led off their relay leg.  I cruised along nice and easy.  That first mile was slow, over 9 minutes.

Everything I've done in the last couple months has been slow and long and on trails.  I had no feel for the kind of pace that I could run on a road race.  I figured I'd at least break 4 hours.  I was just going to run easy.

Going down Fish Hatchery Road was awesome.  There was just a sea of people that you could see all the way down to the bottom of the hill.  This steep downhill made for a fast 2nd mile of this point to point course.  I saw Kelley, Jessica and the rest of their relay team early on.

I knew that we ran in the Parkway, so I assumed that it would be on the gravel paths, but it wasn't.  It was actually on some of the wider roads through the Parkway.  We ran through the covered bridge and just before that I saw Leslie from the LVRR.  It was good to see another LVRR singlet.

I slowly passed some people, although I wasn't enjoying all of the pavement.  I couldn't wait to be done with that section.  We were out of the Parkway before too long and on to MLK Boulevard.  I was glad it was still early because the sun was beating brightly here.

This section was pretty long and I had forgotten about the relay checkpoint.  I was reminded of it as I approached it.  It was tough thinking that only one leg was gone.  I had not enjoyed all the pavement running.  My body isn't too used to it.  I continued along though.  I figured that I had quite a few miles until we were off of that surface.

We ran along the open road.  Someone had asked about the PP&L Building, so me and another runner gave him a history lesson.  I then came to a friend JP, who ran a couple group runs with me.  It was good seeing some people that I knew.

I couldn't wait to get off the pavement.  There was a nice run over the bridge over the Lehigh River.  It wasn't long until we were at the towpath.  First, I had to use the bathroom, so I went in the woods.  Then I filled my handheld bottle and threw in an electrolyte tablet.  Those two things slowed me down and made that mile about a 9:30.  I decided to just take water or gatorade from there on out and not fill my bottle.  I wasn't drinking much anyway.  I probably wasn't drinking enough, but I felt fine.  I wasn't thirsty.

The soft towpath was so energizing.  Suddenly, my legs felt awesome.  I started flying.  I still wasn't running hard, but I was passing a lot of people.  I just tried to maintain a fairly consistent pace.  There was a guy without a leg and I ran passed him after we leapfroged each other a bit.

I continued to just cruise along until Sand Island.  When I ran the relay a couple years ago, this was an exchange point, but I didn't know where the runners had to go.  I didn't realize that it was back onto pavement for an entire loop around the whole Musikfest area.  This was an awful mile or so on pavement.  I came through the half at 1:52 something.  I was well under the 4 hour goal.

I ended up talking to a couple guys that I was passing in this section.  They thought I was crazy for considering an ultramarathon.  I guess I kind of am, but I don't plan on running that hard.  I love the idea of trail running too.  I was starting to have chafing issues around this time, so I took off my shirt and carried it the rest of the way.

I was so happy to be back on the towpath.  Again, I felt awesome.  I really started flying now.  Going easy, it was like I had just started running.  My endurance is outstanding now and I could tell it by this portion of the run.  I've done a lot of 15 mile/3 hour runs and I was strong until I got past both of those points.  I was amazed at how many people you can pass if you just stay consistent in the second half of the race.

The path wasn't too crowded, but sometimes I would have to sprint around a big group to position myself how I would like.  I saw my friend Ron walking after a water stop and he said he was having a bad day.  I told him I felt great.  It's amazing how some people do well and other not great.  It was was nice to be on the good side of that fence for once.

I rarely got passed from about miles 13-18.  If I did, it was often by relay runners.  I felt amazing.  I've never felt so good at this distance before.  This was a great, easy course.

Somewhere around or just before mile 18, I suddenly started having soreness in my left calf.  This was the first time I had a problem.  That was the start of some issues.  I was still moving at a steady clip and passing a lot of people.  That made it a ton of fun.

A runner was down and needed a medic when I went by.  I was surprised because it didn't seem like too difficult of a section.  I had heard of some runners tripping.  I guess I'm just so used to trails.  In fact, the one section with a few rocks, I tried dancing along them pretending that I was trail running.

I knew the paved section would be awful for my legs.  At the Route 33 Boat Launch, we went on the rocky road.  This was just terrible.  It broke up my rhythm and really slowed me down.  Then came the pavement after that.

The pavement was at about mile 20 and I really started hurting.  I just tried to focus on the next mile or two.  The fact that I was still passing people helped a lot.  This was when the easy run was no longer easy.

Just before hitting the pavement, I took a gel and some water.  Stopping and starting again at water stops was difficult.  The legs didn't like that.  I kept doing it though.

Riverview Park was the last relay exchange point.  It was packed.  There was now about a 5K left.  We went straight across the road and I was upset.  The only path I knew of over there went straight uphill.  It would've been tough.  I then saw that we were actually on a new section.  This was nice because it was downhill.  It did curve though, so that was a bit weird.

After crossing the pedestrian bridge, there is some tough up and down.  It is small hills though.  Because I was running relatively easy, I never got tired and didn't bonk.  The only issue was just my legs being incredibly sore.

At one point, I thought about the fact that I was almost to Easton and had begun at Emmaus.  That helped.  My pace started slipping in the final 5K.  For some time, I figured that I was under a 3:45 pace.  Then when my pace fell, I calculated that I was too far behind it and wouldn't finish up that quick.

Since I wasn't going to get under 3:45, I backed off a bit and took it easy for the last two miles.  I looked at my watch way too often in this area.  I just kept counting down.

Inside the final mile, I could see the finish line across the river.  That was a huge boost.  Even though it was still pretty far, I knew I'd be done in a few minutes.  There was a short uphill to get to the bridge.  That wasn't bad as I was picking my pace up a bit.  It was as low as 8:29 at one point, but had dipped to 8:35 by now.  Still, I had not fallen off too bad.

I was pushing some, but I came onto Larry Holmes Drive in cruise mode.  Then I looked at my watch and how far I had to go.  I realized that I was at 3:43 and could actually make it in under 3:45.  I really started booking.

I ran in hard and almost was annoyed by a relay team that was coasting in together in front of me.  If you are going to do that, you should check around you first.  I got in 19 seconds under 3:45.  That was awesome!

Although I was sore at the end, I had a fun race.  I never thought I'd say a marathon was fun, I usually see it as a task.  Running easy made it fun though.  Maybe I'll just have to do this again in the future.

I enjoyed the course and its flatness (unlike the Run for the Red's fake flatness or useless downhill at mile 8).  I also thought the weather was great.  A lot of people complained about the humidity.  It was much better than I expected.  Some of that was because I ran easy, but I think the fact that I ran all summer during the hottest part of the day was a big help.

This was my 3rd marathon ever and actually 1st since my major surgery a year and a half ago.  I guess that's a good accomplishment, even if I'm not as fast as I want to be.  I may never beat my Crohn's, but at least I delivered a big blow.  Hopefully, there will be more to come.

It was tough waiting around a couple hours until April finished, but she did finish and it was worth watching.  Almost no one was left, but there were about 15 people from the BCR cheering her on as she finished.  What a fun group.

I'm pretty sore, so I don't know if I'll run tomorrow.  I'd like to get out on the trails and just see how I feel.  If nothing else, I'll bike.  I wanted to run this easy so that I could recover and jump back into running quickly.  We'll see how I do.

26.17 miles - 3:44:45 (8:35) Watch Time 3:44:41 Official Time

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lehigh Mountaintop Nighttime Trail Run

I had a busy afternoon and evening as I went to a high school cross country meet and then took photos for the LVRR at their Twosome Relay to end the Summer Series 5Ks.  I had some time before that for a run, but it was kind of a tight window, especially since none of my workouts are short.  Therefore, I decided to run after both events.  That meant a run in the dark.

If I would've rushed out to the trails after the LVRR race, I could've actually run most of the time in daylight.  However, I ate some food first, so it was completely dark when I arrived at Lehigh's Mountaintop Campus.  I was a little worried that there would be no cars in the lot at night and that Lehigh's security might check out my car closely.  It was a big relief when I got there and saw cars everywhere.

I started off running on the road and under and around Iaccoca Hall.  There were a bunch of people above the road on the walkway.  They looked like they were dressed for a nice event.  If any of them saw me running with my headlamp, they likely thought I was crazy.  I ran onto the trail and followed Decker's Loop.

My headlamp isn't very strong, so I really had to be careful.  I could only see right in front of me and couldn't scan the trail as far ahead as I normally do.  It was also a little hard to have depth perception.  Sometimes I couldn't quite tell out big the rocks were and there were plenty of rocks.  My eyes did adjust a little better as the run went on.  

I cruised downhill.  At one point, there is a turn that is slightly difficult to notice in daylight.  Since I could only see just up ahead and completely forgot about it, I missed it.  I wasn't on this section before, so I was interested by it.  Running an unfamiliar section wasn't the best idea in the dark though.

I kept going down and down, but I didn't want to climb back up.  I was hoping I could cross the road soon.  Some of the turns on the switchbacks are banked and that was kind of tricky in the dark.  Finally, I had an option to go back uphill or possibly cross the road.  I just decided to head back uphill.  It was a tough climb, but eventually I came to the part where I missed the turn earlier.

This worked out great because it added around a mile to the run.  I was at almost 2 miles now.  I was across the road.  Then, it was on to the uphill section.  I ended up walking some of that. 

I was sweating quite a bit.  It wasn't that hot or humid, but I wore a shirt for the first time in a long time.  At the top of the mountain, it was quite cool and windy.  I wish I didn't wear a shirt when I was in the woods, but when I got back to the top, I was glad I had it.  One thing that made this run a challenge was that I had no water with me.

Most of the ribbons that Decker put up in June are still there.  However, it was really tough for me to see them.  Luckily, I knew the course from running the loop about 10 times or more.  I only screwed up a couple times.

After the top of the mountain section, the trail turns back into the woods.  I did that and came face to face with a deer.  I was probably about 10 feet from it.  I don't think I've ever been that close to one.  It had surprised me and had my heart racing a little.  Right by that deer was another one, just sitting in the woods.  It ran on the trail a bit.

I did end up missing one of the turns and I had to turn around.  I knew I went to far when I saw parking lot lights.  I was near the disc golf course.  It is good that I know the area.

The part that had me concerned all along was up next.  It is a lot of downhill and it is very rocky.  I knew that would make it easy to trip.  I did trip a couple times, but never fell.  Because I couldn't see the rocks too well, I often landed my foot right on them.  Usually, I do a pretty good job of prancing around them.  Now, they were beating up my feet.  I could've turned around, but by the time I was having issues, I was close to the road anyway.  Because I had to be cautious, my times were definitely slow.

I really get a kick out of running the short road section.  I figured that there would be people at the lookout and sure enough there were.  They must've thought I was crazy when they saw me.  A car saw me cross the road behind them and run up into the woods too.  There was an area where people pitched a tent over the summer and I was very glad that no one was there tonight.

The downhill was a little tricky to follow the trail at times.  A lot of it is just tall trees with no greenery and a lot of rocks.  It can be difficult to see the trail during the day and is even worse at night.  I did get lost going uphill.  I came to a section with a ton of branches down.  I thought that it was odd.  We've had a lot of storms lately, but they couldn't all be from that.  I was right, as I turned around and actually found the trail.

Shortly after getting back on track, I saw some green glowing eyes.  I slowed down because they were just staring at me and didn't move.  Then, I realized it was only 2 more deer.  They ran off when I went by.

I could see the lights from the campus above the trail.  I didn't realize the trail goes that close to the campus because I've only ever run it in the day.  Finally, I came out at the road around the campus.  It was around 5.3 miles.  That was about an additional mile to the loop. 

I still had 1.7 miles to go.  I was going to just stick to the roads for the rest of the run.  I ran the road to Iaccoca Hall and then ran around the loop.  I figured this would give me some nice distance.  My pace dropped like crazy too.  It went from 12:21 when I came out of the woods, to 11:38 by the end of the run.

I ran basically one full loop and finished up just past my car.  It was great to be done and this was a lot of fun.  I'll definitely be running there a lot more at night, especially as we keep losing light in the evening.  I just need to get stronger headlamp to make it easier to see.  I put in a solid 10 miles yesterday and now added 7 more today. 

I'll take a break from running until Saturday.  Then, I'll do an easy 10 miler with the VIA Marathon the following day.  I've really slacked with the biking, so I'll hop on it tomorrow for the first time this week.  I hope I can ride 50 miles by the end of the week.  That shouldn't be too difficult.

7 miles - 1:21:22 (11:38 pace)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Slacking Off

I don't follow training plans.  I don't understand why an experienced runner would follow someone else's plan.  I know what I need to run well and be successful and also what doesn't work.  If something changes and no longer works, then I'll adjust to it.  I used to write my own plans, but now I'm not even doing that.  I'm just running a lot and then running some more, biking a lot and then biking some more.

The only guidelines I've been following lately are to run 40 miles a week and bike another 100 miles.  I want to build a consistent endurance base.  I am still incorporating cut back weeks, but the problem is that there is no real plan for these either.  I don't even have any guidelines, other than to run a lot less.  This where I have some trouble.  This is a cut back/taper week (with a marathon coming up).  That means I'm not doing much.

However, with no guidelines, I am becoming even lazier.  I planned to take Sunday off, but get back to working out yesterday and today.  Yesterday, I worked a lot for my job, but was still lazy and didn't bother doing a thing for the second straight day (in terms of running/biking).  The same thing nearly happened again today, but I knew I had to run.  I had not run since Friday and done anything since Saturday.

Even though I got my workout done, it took awhile.  Originally, I was going to try to squeeze it in between work and a cross country meet.  I figured that at the very least, I could ride and then run after the meet.  Instead, I just took a nap all afternoon.

Finally, after the meet, with no dinner, I headed to Jacobsburg to run.  The plan was for 10 miles.  I figured that I would run the normal 6 mile loop from the main parking lot.  Maybe I could find a way to get to 7 miles and then I'd have less to run after the loop was complete.

Summer is unofficially over and it started to feel like it was gone.  I was still sweaty, but it was light years less humid and much cooler than it has been lately.  I ran without a shirt again, but this time I probably could've worn one.

I started out nice and easy.  I barely broke a sweat early on.  The combination of lower humidity as well as rest for my legs made me feel awesome.  I was flying up the short hills like they were nothing.

Other than some people on the first main path, the first few miles were miles of solitude.  That gave me plenty of time to think.  My friend Flo shared her background on her blog and I had no idea what she had overcome from her childhood to be the strong woman that she is today.  It is truly an inspiration and I thought about her often during this run.

Yesterday, we had some significant downpours.  Some sections that are usually bone dry were muddy, so I knew I was in for a treat when I got to the sections that are normally muddy.  Nothing had prepared me for the last section of mud before the Sober's Run Loop.  There was no choice at all but to just run through the muddy water.  My legs were caked in mud by the end of the run.

Early in the Sober's Run Loop, I came to the section that is slightly overgrown.  It seemed a little more clear today then it has been.  I thought to myself, if a big horse came through this area, it would probably clear away some of the brush.  Sure enough, right after that I came up behind a horse.  Thankfully, I think this is the first one I've encountered all summer.

I was kind of annoyed because I caught up to it on a singletrack section.  I hate passing horses anywhere and this would've been a pain in the butt.  I just turned around.  After a short distance, I realized that the horse would be out to a wider path shortly and I probably wouldn't catch it if I turned back around.  I never did see it and have no idea where it went.

Climbing the powerline section was definitely tough, but with less humidity and no sunshine, it was doable.  In fact, I ran the entire time.  The pace was a little brisk too, so I was somewhat beat by the end.

The downhill was nice, although I did have a gas spell for a bit.  My plan now was the finish the Sober's Run loop and continue on the short loop along the creek.  That would add some distance.  This time, the path was clear of horses and people too.  I had fun on the singletrack along the ridge.

Right as I came to the short downhill to the creek section, a little girl was riding her mountain bike with her dad.  I didn't think they would ride down to where I was and I especially didn't expect them to fly by me like they did.  I was impressed.

As I came out onto the main part of the loop, I noticed a runner behind me.  That pushed me to up the pace a bit.  I don't ever like getting passed in a non racing situation and it never happens on trails either, unless it is by friend.  I think he gained some on me, but never got too close.  He went a different way at the road.

I ran back toward the main lot.  I figured that if I continued on the tricky high ridge near the main lot, I would get over 9 miles done when I was back at the parking lot.  First, I had to climb the hill behind the new building.  That was tough, but I pushed up it.  I then had some downhill until the ridge.

While going up the ridge, I an older couple waited for me.  I was impressed that they were hiking such tricky terrain.  They told me to be careful and I said, "I know, I've done this a few times before."  Although I was tiring, I was still focused.  It is when I lose focus that I get into trouble.

I flew up and over the roots.  I came to a group of hikers, most of them were kids.  One woman towards the end didn't see me and I did get a little close to the edge of the cliff as I went around her.  This section is so much fun.  It is such a blast and true trail running.

I then was back on normal trail.  I crossed over the bridge over the creek and headed back on the main path.  This was nice and easy.  I got to the water fountain at around 9.6 miles.  I didn't have far to go, so I did a short out and back to finish up this solid run.

It was good to get out there and enjoy the run.  Usually, I do enjoy the runs once I get going.  Getting started is another story though.  I often put off going out.  I was considering biking after dark, but the idea of doing loop after loop didn't appeal much to me.  I'll hit the bike a little more later in the week.

Tomorrow, I hope to run again and perhaps bike in the morning too.  I'm going to another cross country meet, so I'll have to work around it.  Maybe I'll run less mileage tomorrow.  The meet is at Saucon Valley, so South Mountain is definitely a possibility.  I would like to end the week with a 10 miler the day before my marathon.  It would be very easy.

10 miles - 1:36:13 (9:37 pace)