Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Hard Run and an Easy Run

One thing I need to do is get more marathon goal pace miles (6:51).  I decided to do that today, since Mertz was running his last 20 miler before Boston.  He was going to run slightly under that pace for the run.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to run that hard or not, so I did text Angie as well, in case I wanted an easier run.

I showed up at Eddyside before 8:30.  I saw Mertz coming back as I was driving there.  I was going to run his last 10 miles with him and whoever else showed up.  I thought about doing more and coming earlier, but I was unsure about the possible rain.  I figured 10 miles would be enough.

I wore a short sleeve shirt and shorts.  I was the only one there dressed with so little.  I was happy with the attire though, since I planned on running hard and the temperature was in the upper 40s.  I knew I would be screwed if it rained, but it was clear at the start.

Mertz, Ryan, Phil and I, all started out together heading toward Easton.  It was a brisk early pace and I wasn't feeling great.  I knew it was going to be a difficult run when I was working hard in the early going and our pace was only a 6:57. 

The first mile was under 7 minutes.  Phil ran with us for a little bit past that point, but then he dropped back.  I stayed behind Mertz and Ryan.  They are both faster than me and more comfortable at this pace.  It's kind of easy for both of them.

After a 6:54 first mile, things picked up.  The second mile was a 6:51.  I was battling both my legs and struggling with my breathing.  I continued on though.  The third mile was a faster 6:46.

I run this route along the canal quite often.  I did it twice last week.  It has some nice, small hills.  They are easy most of the time, but they are definitely a challenge when running hard.  I wasn't able to talk much during the run, thanks to the faster pace.

The effort was tough for me.  I thought this pace would feel easier.  I did run hard on Thursday and fairly hard again on Friday.  Perhaps I was worn out.  I also didn't eat anything before the run.  I forgot to bring a drink too.  Normally, I have no problem running 10 miles without a drink during this time of year, but it was hard to do at this fast pace.  Mertz wisely had water stashed on the course.

It was good to see some familiar faces out there.  Shayne was running with her friend in the other direction and we saw female Gayle and Karl too.  Everyone was out on this Sunday morning.

Ryan turned around at mile 4, because he was only running 8 miles.  I kept going with Mertz.  I was hanging on though.  The 4th mile was a 6:43.  That last mile before the turnaround, slowed a bit, to a 6:53.

I knew I only could run about 2 more miles at this pace, so I told Mertz that.  I then backed off slightly.  The good thing I learned recently is that I'm able to recover fairly well if I slow down just a bit for about a mile.  I did that and this mile was a still a 6:58.

We saw Shayne and her friend again.  I joked to them that I ran 3 miles farther than Mertz and that was the only reason he was ahead of me.  Of course they knew that wasn't true.  While he did gap me, I was able to speed up a bit and at least keep him in my sights.  That helped a lot as I was struggling.

Even the small hills killed me on the way back.  It was raining too and coming down pretty good toward the end.  I just kept trying to keep pushing.  Mile 7 was a 6:52.  I got very encouraged when I finished mile 8.  I felt like I was falling off, but that was a 6:46 mile.  I was doing well.

The uphill heading into downtown Easton slowed me slightly.  I focused on getting to mile 9 and then eventually mile 10.  Those final two miles were 6:49 and 6:44.  It was quite the struggle, but I was glad to get 10 hard miles in and run them fairly consistent.  The fastest mile was a 6:43, while the slowest one was a 6:58.

I need more runs like that and even longer ones at that pace.  Hopefully, I can just get faster too.  I definitely need to start coming to these Sunday morning runs more often.  The longer distance is a big plus.  There were 7 of us that went out to breakfast too, so that was a nice bonus.

I wanted to get more miles in.  I was busy most of the day, so I couldn't get back out there until dark.  I figured that I would run a nice recovery run.  It would be an easy 5 miler around my neighborhoods.

It got colder at night, plus it was raining.  Since I was running easy, I put on a jacket.  That was a good choice, as it got quite windy.  I also had on long pants.  That was a great decision too.

I went down the school and ran a short loop around the lot, before heading to the other neighborhood.  I started with the short loop over there too.  After doing the loop, I thought about cutting across to the main loop.  However, that would've meant a lot of time fighting the wind.

The wind dictated a lot of the run.  When it was at my back, it was nice and comfortable.  When it was in my face, it was very uncomfortable.  I added onto this short loop. 

I started to head toward a downhill.  Then I got sick of the wind, so I turned around.  By the time I made it back to the school, I was around the 5k mark.  That meant less than 2 miles to go.

I ran around the school lot twice.  That was a mixture of nice and annoying wind.  It added almost a mile to the run.  It was good to get the distance.

My legs felt great.  The recovery idea was certainly working.  With just over a mile to go, I headed back to my neighborhood.  That meant one, long loop around it.  Going into the wind was tough, but I managed.

I finished up shortly after the first loop.  It was great to be done with 5 more miles.  I thought it was kind of odd that I only recall coming across one car during the entire run.  These roads are never busy, but they usually aren't that empty.  It was only after 10 PM.  The final two miles were both 7:40.  That is some consistency.

Tomorrow will be a much needed off day.  I'm looking to run hard on Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I might run somewhat long in the afternoon.  I may meet Kelley on one of those mornings too.  I want to put a lot of miles in this week.  I'm hoping to get back over 70 again.  I need to mix in some trail miles too.  That might help save my legs.

AM Run 10 miles - 1:08:16 (6:50 pace)
PM Run 5 miles - 40:07 (8:02 pace)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rainy Town Run

I wanted to get up and finish the week off with a BCR run.  However, I was in bed for about 2 hours before falling asleep.  Therefore, I was on my own later for this 6 miler.  I wanted to get to 50 miles for the week.

I decided to do something different.  I know it is 5 miles from my house to the high school.  I had my mom drive me there and drop me off to run home.  Then, I'd add another mile near my home.  It would make a nice downhill course.

I didn't know what to wear.  It was in the upper 40s, but cloudy and it began to drizzle at the start.  I went with a short sleeve shirt and shorts.  That was okay, but I would've been better off with some kind of rain gear.

When I looked at, it said expect occasional rain to begin at 1 PM.  So of course, we had a solid rain already by 11:15 AM.  It was coming down fairly steady throughout the run and it definitely made me a little uncomfortable. 

Coming out of the high school is a challenging uphill.  My legs weren't quite recovered from the faster runs of the last two days.  Thus, it was a struggle to climb.  Eventually the legs came around.  I ran that opening mile at an 8:08.

I really do enjoy running through town.  It's a nice, little town.  I remembered how much sidewalks bothered me earlier in the week, so I opted for the roads as much as possible.  Through the heart of town, I did use the sidewalks.

The pace did pick up again.  I ran mile 2 at 7:41.  There was some climbing in this part of the run.  I was starting to get very wet as time went on.

I knew this next mile would be awesome.  It is a pretty good drop coming out of town and running toward Gracedale.  I cruised along and ran it at a 7:08.  Other than the rain coming down, I was comfortable.  I did wish I had a hat on to keep the rain away from my eyes.  I started to develop a little chafing problem too.  I was glad that I was only running 6 miles.

After leaving town, I was now getting closer to home.  Mile 4 was more flat than mile 3 and I ran a solid 7:15.  This road has a decent shoulder, but it was kind of busy on a late Saturday morning.  I watched my overall pace drop and drop.

As I was nearing my house, I thought about adding miles.  There is an industrial park nearby.  I ran into that and did a short out and back.  At times, I had a decent headwind in my face.  That made some of this run tough.  This mile was another solid 7:16. 

I headed back home.  I was so glad to get into my neighborhood.  I came to my house with a quarter of a mile to go.  I ran a short out and back up the one street.  The final mile was a 7:13.  Despite the rain, it was a nice run to end the week.

I'm not sure what I'm doing tomorrow.  Mertz is doing a long run and earlier in the week, I was talking about joining him.  I'm not sure if I'm up for a faster pace or not.  I'm also unsure about what the weather will be like.  There is supposed to be a lot of rain this weekend.  I would like to run 17 or 18 miles, I think.  Maybe I'd do less if they were run at a faster pace.

6 miles - 44:42 (7:27 pace)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Drizzle Day at Saucon

Yesterday was a hard workout.  I was amazed at how well I recovered from it.  I had no problems heading into today's run.  The plan was to run 10 easy miles and get close to 50 miles for the week.  I haven't been to the Saucon Rail Trail in ages, so I headed there.

The weather was kind of a problem.  It wasn't raining hard, but it was coming down off and on.  It made choosing clothes difficult.  I knew wearing a jacket would be overdressed, but I did so anyway.  I wanted to stay dry.  The temperature was in the upper 40s.

I started from Water Street.  I planned to head out 5 miles and then come back.  The legs felt good at the start.  I was slightly worried because I had some issues running longer distances on this surface last year.  I cruised along with an 8:06 opening mile.

I came across a few walkers and joggers here and there, but not many people were out.  This is usually a busy trail, but not on this day.  It was simply too miserable I guess.  The effort didn't pick up in mile 2, but the pace did, as I ran a 7:36.  This trail is slightly uphill to start.  I still felt good, but I was fighting a slight headwind.

It seemed to take forever to get to miles 3 and 4.  Eventually, I got to them though.  I came to mile 4 right at the Upper Saucon Community Park.  I was starting to struggle as I headed toward mile 5.  Fighting the wind and being overdressed was catching up to me.  I was sweating quite a bit.

I headed onto the new section.  The stone by the library sucks and I struggled getting through it.  I ran on the grass next to the trail for some time.  I just focused on making it to mile 5.  I did that with a 7:37.

Heading back to the park, there is a lot of downhill initially.  The pace got quicker without more effort.  I ran a 7:10 sixth mile.  Things then got a little interesting.  A guy running around the park followed me up the trail.  I couldn't let him pass me, so I picked it up a little.  I doubt he'd run 7 minute miles anyway.

This was still only about a moderate paced effort.  With the downhills though, the times dropped.  Each of the next 2 miles were run at 6:52.  I tried to focus on each upcoming mile.

Being able to get to that 8th mile was great.  My pace dropped even more in the final 2 miles.  I kept watching my overall pace dip and dip.  Mile 9 was a 6:44.

I didn't feel like I was pushing on that last mile, but I guess I must've been.  I was starting to lose it a bit as I was sweating a lot.  I came through with a strong 6:34 and finished up right before the road crossing.

It was great to be done with the run.  Perhaps most importantly my legs didn't bother me at all.  I ran all of the final 4 miles under 7 minute pace and averaged under a 7 minute pace for the back half of the run.  I need more quality runs like this where I push a little, but not too much.

I'm now at 44 miles for the week.  I'm hoping I can get up to run with the BCR tomorrow.  That's always hit or miss for me though.  I do need to run 6 miles regardless.  I want to up my mileage even more next week.  It is time to kick it in gear during spring training.

10 miles - 1:12:29 (7:15 pace)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Out of My Comfort Zone

Originally, the plan for today was to run 7 miles at about a 7 minute pace.  It was just to prepare for Sunday's marathon.  However, the weather forecast for Cape May went from great to terrible.  They are now calling for rain, wind and cold weather.  Since the marathon is expensive now and I had nowhere to stay, I opted not to run it.

That left today open for a quality workout.  I haven't actually done many of these over the last few months.  All of my hard workouts have basically been races.  I've had injury problems and I've been afraid to run hard too often.  Plus, it isn't easy to do in the winter.

Now that spring is here, it is time to turn everything up a notch.  I need more hard runs and more moderate runs.  I'm not going to keep making gains like I have been, unless I start pushing myself out of my comfort zone.  That meant a hard effort today.

I went out to The Route 33 Boat Launch.  I wasn't sure what pace I'd run, but I wanted to try to sustain a hard effort for 7 miles.  I started off and half a mile into it, my watched beeped.  The battery was almost dead.  I thought it was half full, but obviously it was not.  I didn't want to run a quality workout without a watch, so I went home after a mile and recharged the watch.

About an hour and a half later, I was back there to run again.  This time, I figured that I'd warm up with 1 easy mile, then run 7 hard miles and another easy mile to finish up.  I felt pretty good in the earlier mile today.

The temperature still wasn't great, as it was barely over 40 degrees.  There was a bit of a cold wind too, but at least that was at my back to start out.  It was warm enough to wear only shorts and a short sleeve shirt for this hard run. 

The first mile went great again.  Now, the legs were warmed up.  I gradually picked it up as the mile went along and ran it at 7:45.

Now, it was time to turn it up a notch.  I ran what felt comfortably hard.  My breathing was a little heavy, but I recalled that that is sometimes the case early on and after a mile or so, I'm able to adapt to the pace better.  I hoped that would happen today.

It seemed like a good pace.  I came through that first hard mile at 6:17.  I was happy with that, although I was hoping maybe I'd be a little faster with the effort I was putting out.

I saw a guy earlier, as I was getting ready to begin my run.  He got well ahead of me, but thanks to this hard effort, I was closing in on him quickly.  I was disappointed when he turned around at Riverview.  I wanted a pacer.  I kept going.

I headed over to Hugh Moore Park.  This mile had some early downhill and then eventually a little uphill.  The hills are all small, so they don't slow that pace much.  They do provide a decent challenge.  I was amazed at how consistent I was.  This second hard mile was a 6:17.

It didn't seem like the effort was hard in the beginning, but by now, I was feeling it.  I pushed on though, rather than slow down.  I wanted to at least get 3.5 hard miles and then hit the turn around and see what I had coming back.  This next hard mile was exactly the same at 6:17.

I ended up hitting the turnaround just before the concrete section that heads into Easton.  Immediately, I hit an uphill and a headwind.  That was so deflating.  I pushed on, but it slowed me down significantly.  I came through the fourth hard mile at 6:22.

By now, I knew I was toast.  I couldn't sustain this effort any more, so I backed off.  I didn't completely shut it down though.  I ran more of a moderate effort.  After about half a mile, I recovered and got back into a better groove.  This fifth hard mile was still a solid 6:46.

Since I had recovered, I started to really push it as I neared Hugh Moore Park.  I was cruising against the wind.  The hill after Hugh Moore Park took a ton out of me and slowed me down.  I was determined to press on and at least put in this one last good, hard mile.  It was a 6:31 and I was happy that I bounced back.

Again, I backed down, but not completely.  I went to a moderate effort once more as I headed from Riverview to the Route 33 Boat Launch.  This mile was certainly slower with a 7:21.  Maybe I need to mix recovery into these runs so I can handle them better.

I saw a guy holding his dog.  As I got closer, I realized it was a police dog.  That scared me a little because if it got loose, it could attack.  I'd imagine those are usually trained well.  Still, it left me a little uneasy.

I finished up right before the parking lot.  This last mile was a solid 7:06.  I didn't quite run 7 hard miles, but I did do 6 miles all at 6:46 or under.  I obviously went out too fast.  I guess I was disappointed that I wasn't able to run more consistent, but I was happy with the effort anyway.  I had Mexican food about 2 hours before the run, so I'm sure that didn't help, as my stomach didn't feel great.

In addition to more hard runs, I need to start hitting the weights a little.  I think strength training could help my often sore quads.  I worked my core yesterday and forgot how weak that area is.  It is actually amazing that I can run as fast as I am right now, with such a weak core.  I know I won't workout a lot, but maybe I can get some benefit by doing a little bit twice a week.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'll do yet.  I'm thinking about 10 miles.  It will likely be for recovery, so maybe I'll run them at Jacobsburg.  I guess I'll decide before I run.  The weather looks quite nice next week, so I'm looking forward to that.

1 mile - 7:55 (7:55 pace)
9 miles - 1:00:42 (6:45 pace)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Marathon Test Run

I took off yesterday, after running every day but one since my marathon attempt.  The body had not been doing well and I knew it needed that rest day.  I figured I would go out there today and run 13 easy miles and see what kind of soreness I felt.  After Sunday's tough 10 miles, I wasn't sure I would feel good and be recovered.

The weather wasn't terrible, but it was chilly again.  It was still in the 30s and there were snow flurries.  Originally, I was going to wear a jacket, but with no wind, I would've been too hot.  I had on a light weight long sleeve shirt and long pants.  That was a good choice.  Without gloves, my hands were a little chilly, but overall I felt good.

I went to Riverview Park in Easton.  The plan was to run out to the end of the path, just past the Route 22 bridge and then turn around.  I'd head the other direction when I got back to get to 13 miles.  I started off nice and easy.  I was shocked at how good my legs felt.  Every run last week had early soreness.  There was none today.  I clicked off a decent 8:23 opening mile.

It was nice to be able to run along the path and not on Lehigh Drive.  The snow is finally all gone and it is clear.  When I went to Hugh Moore Park, I decided to begin with a loop there.  That went well.  I had to stop for a quick bathroom break, but continued on.  My miles began to dip into the sub 8 minute range.

I kept telling myself to hold back even more and slow down.  If I felt good after this run, I was going to probably sign up for the Ocean Drive Marathon.  If I'm going to run that, I have to hold back early on.  Therefore, I felt it was a good idea to do that during this run.

Things did speed up though, even with the same effort.  Mile 3 was a 7:31 and mile 4 was a 7:36.  I felt good and was running happy as I got to Easton.  It is nice running along the river, even on a crappy day.  I didn't see many people out today, so I was on my own.

Some of the short climbs around Easton, as well as running on the sidewalks, did slow me down.  I still ran sub 8 minute miles.  I went under the Route 22 bridge and decided to keep going.  I did this short loop.  Then I decided to throw in a challenge.  I ran up College Avenue to Lafayette's campus.  That is quite the hill and difficult even at an easy effort.

I ran through Lafayette's campus.  It's a nice campus, so that made it fun.  It was a little hilly.  As I got back to the downhill part, I was now at 6.5 miles.  It was good to be halfway done.  I cruised down the hill.  The uphill had caused me to run an 8:05 mile, but I was now back to 7:50 and under miles.

I got back onto the path and was starting to feel like crap.  I began thinking maybe I wasn't as recovered as I wanted to be.  I wasn't in terrible shape yet, but I was hoping to feel better at that point.  I came to 7.5 miles and thought to myself that I wish I felt this way at 12.5 miles, but I figured it would get worse.

I was actually wrong on that assumption.  Once I got back onto the paved path, things got much better.  The soreness didn't completely leave, but it got reduced.  I think the pounding of the sidewalks had taken their toll in the miles before that.  Now, I was enjoying the slightly softer pavement.

I ran pretty consistent from that point on.  My fastest mile was a 7:32 and the slowest was a 7:48.  That's exactly the kind of consistency I'll need if I run this weekend (but a faster pace obviously).

I focused on the upcoming miles.  It was great to get to mile 9 and then mile 10.  I decided to loop around Hugh Moore Park to add another mile.  I was glad that the geese there got out of my way.  The same thing happened with some other geese throughout the run.  I'm always happy to avoid them.

I got back to Riverview at 11.9 miles.  I had a short out and back the other way.  The legs were still feeling solid and I was enjoying the run.  They did feel better than they had at 7.5 miles.  Shortly after heading out, I saw 3 deer run across the trail.  Then a tenth of a mile or two later, I saw 2 more deer go in the other direction, followed by 3 more.  I don't know if those were the same deer as earlier, but they were pretty far apart.

I got out to where I wanted to turn around and just kept going.  I felt good, so I thought why not go over a mile out and back.  I turned around at mile 13.

Of course it was slightly breezy as I headed back.  It wasn't too bad though.  As I got close to Riverview, I saw a woman in pink coming the other way.  It turned out to be my friend Gayle.  She must've just started as I was finishing up.

It was good to be done.  I did better than I thought, so I might try to run the Ocean Drive Marathon.  The issue is that registration has already closed online.  I would have to sign up at the expo if it is still available.  The weather looks great, with a low of 40 and a high of 54, so I guess I should give it a try.

I'm definitely resting tomorrow and want to see how I'll recover.  I'm thinking I'll run 6 or 7 miles on both Thursday and Friday and try to do them around a 7 minute pace, just to get used to that pace.  Then, I'd take Saturday off and race Sunday.  That should get me sharp enough and also give me just enough rest for Sunday.

If I run the race, the game plan is to be more conservative this time.  I'll shoot for a sub 3:05, rather than a sub 3 hour marathon.  Instead of trying to run the first half under 1:30, I'll see if I can run it at 1:32 and pick it up a little in the second half if I feel good.  I'll try to run smarter and see if it works and if not, I'll run either a summer or fall marathon.  I'll try to put no pressure on myself to run a certain pace, even though I typically don't put much pressure on myself anyway.

14 miles - 1:49:07 (7:48 pace)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chilly Run with Angie

I didn't feel all that great yesterday, even though the weather was nice.  I decided to see if Angie was doing a long run today, because I needed some company.  I figured with Boston training, she probably would be.  She told me she was running with Bob, Alison and Christina at 8.  They were doing a hilly 9 miles together and she was continuing on after that.  Since my quads can't take hills very well right now and I like to start later anyway, I decided to run the last half of the run with Angie.

I arrived at the parking lot of the Forks Community Center and couldn't believe how cold it was.  Winter came back today after yesterday's nice run.  It was in the upper 30s and cloudy too.  I saw everyone was coming, so I went into my car to get some gloves.  Then when I looked back up, they were gone (doing another loop).  I had on shorts, but was glad I started off with gloves and wore a jacket too.  That broke up some of the wind.

They were only doing a short loop and then came back around.  This time, I ran with them as the other three finished up.  I didn't start my watch and I used this as a warmup.  I've been to the community center before, but I've never run there.

The plan was for Angie and I to run about 10 miles.  We'd head down to Penn Pump Park and back.  This would be my 7th run in the last 8 days.  Only last Monday was a day of rest.  I haven't been doing big mileage, but I've been running frequently.

I strapped on my new shoes and we took off.  We began chatting away.  We talked plenty about training, races and running in general.  It made time breeze by.  Going down a big hill early on was nice too.  Before I knew it, we were at Penn Pump Park and onto the trail.

I had no idea which direction we were running.  We headed out toward Tatamy.  There were a few walkers along the way.  It was a bit chilly out for most people.  I didn't even look at my watch until about 2.3 miles.  I rarely looked at it from that point on.

It wasn't long that we were to the stone section and then through the edge of Tatamy.  We turned around where the trail ended and headed back.  It was slightly under 5 miles at that point.

The pace was excellent.  It was just over 8 minutes per mile.  That is usually my easy run pace.  I was kind of surprised we were going that fast actually.  Angie was running 20 miles.  I don't usually even run my 20 milers at that pace.  Maybe that's why I struggle so much with faster paced marathons.  We did talk about that and I definitely need some more runs at goal marathon pace or at least close to it.

We were back at Penn Pump again in no time.  At one point, I looked at my watch and it was 7.5 miles.  I couldn't believe we ran that far.  It sure seemed like we had run only about 3 miles at that point.  The company was so great.  It was good practice too, since we'll be running 50 miles together in 2 months.  I guess it's a good thing that we get along.

Leaving Penn Pump was a bit challenging.  There is a good uphill.  I went ahead of Angie a bit because I don't like to run uphill slowly.  She quickly caught up though.  My legs were feeling it once again.  They definitely haven't recovered from last weekend.  They aren't killing me or anything, but I really shouldn't be sore on an easy 10 mile run.  I should be used to it by now.

We got back to the community center and ran another loop to get to mile 10.  I stopped a little before her and began walking to my car.  I wanted some recovery, especially since I was sore.  I did some brief stretching and then went to Dunkin' Donuts.

Tomorrow, I'll finally give my body the day off.  After today, it surely needs it.  I can't believe how beat up I feel.  I'll try to run about 13 miles on Tuesday.  If I can't handle it better than today, I'm going to scrap my spring marathon plans and work on training for one in the summer.  I'll concentrate on a lot of mileage to prepare for the 50 miler.  I'll work on getting faster too.

This was my second run with someone this week and it was great.  I definitely need to join people more often.  If I ever get over 80 miles per week on a regular basis, I'll probably have to run at least 3 times a week with someone.  It makes the miles pass so much faster.

Tomorrow is an off day.  Tuesday will be a longer run.  It will probably be on pavement to test things out.  I need to see what I have.  It will be on a flat surface too, maybe at Riverview Park.

10 miles - 1:20:35 (8:04 pace)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Back on the Cementon Section of the D&L

It was a beautiful day.  I didn't get up this morning to run with the BCR.  That meant that that I was on my own for the planned 7 miles.  I figured most trails should be good, so I went to the D&L at Cementon.  That can be nice and soft if it is wet.

It was in the mid to upper 40s when I started the run.  I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  It is great to be able to do that.  I broke in my new shoes too.  They did end up being a mess by the end of the run.

A couple people were about to ride bikes and I overheard a guy telling them that there was snow up the trail.  I couldn't believe that it didn't melt, but I figured that I would head out there anyway.  It wasn't snowy initially, but about .4 miles into the run, I encountered the snow section.

It was tough to find a clear spot.  It was like a trail run.  I'm not sure why it was still there.  This section was in between two gates, so maybe they actually tried to plow it and it got compacted.  There was a layer of melted ice.  Eventually, I made it through this .6 miles of snow.

That slowed me up, as did the fact that it was the opening mile.  Still, with my new shoes, the legs felt amazing.  There is nothing quite like wearing new shoes.  That first mile was still an 8:03.

I saw a runner in the snow section and a few more runners and walkers.  I was planning on going out to mile 3.5 and then I'd turn around.  I got into a nice groove.  I felt like I was going easy, but was impressed to see that my second mile was a 7:30.  It is amazing how much faster I can run when it gets warmer in the spring and the layers come off. 

Although I was moving well, the quads were definitely still sore.  I'm not sure if the soft surface was helping or hurting them.  This first half of the run went by quickly on such a nice day.  I weaved through a couple with their dogs and I told another guy and his dog that I was passing, but he had on headphones and didn't hear me.

Mile 3 got even faster at 7:18.  I still wasn't putting in too much effort either.  Plus, I knew I was going slightly uphill too.  I was curious to see what would happen when I headed the other way.  I turned around shortly before Cove Road.

Coming back was faster, but it did seem a little harder.  I had a slight breeze in my face.  Going downhill did help though.  Mile 4 was a 7:14.  By now, I knew my overall effort would be under 7:30.

The pace dropped and dropped.  I still was trying to run easy and be consistent.  The body soreness increased as I continued along.  I blew past this women that was running.  I saw a couple other women running in the other direction too.  I looked at my watch too often.

Even without going hard, I was now really moving.  Miles 5 and 6 were run at 7:03 and 7:05, respectively.  I was now back at the snowy section.  I didn't want to back off.  Instead, I actually wanted to push.  I did just that.  Even with the snow, I was around a 7:07/7:08 pace for that mile in the early going.  Once I got out of the snow and into the clear, I pushed a little more.  That got this final mile under 7 minutes.  It was a 6:48.

The legs continue to be sore and probably need some rest.  I'll keep at it for a week or so and if they don't get better, I might take more time off.  I'm hoping they are just slow to recover from the last few weekends.  I could really run some fast times if I can get them back to 100%. 

It was an enjoyable day today and I'm looking forward to the remainder of the spring.  I like to suffer through winter so that I'm very strong when this good spring weather comes around.  I think it will really pay off.  Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run 10-13 miles.  I'm not sure where at yet.  It would be nice to have some company.

7 miles - 51:02 (7.18 pace)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shorts and Short Sleeve Weather

I haven't been able to put in quite the mileage that I was hoping for this week.  The attempted marathon beat me up pretty good.  I also haven't rested too much since then.  None of my runs have been 6 miles or more, but I've run frequently.

Today is another busy day of NCAA basketball games.  I didn't have to work this morning, so that meant that I could run before the games.  The plan was to attempt 10 miles at Sand Island.  I thought about running at Jacobsburg, but I wanted a flat and soft surface.  I'm also not sure if all the snow has quite melted there yet.  I got out for the run around 10:30 in the morning.

There were a couple women running through the parking lot as I arrived.  They had on long sleeves and tights.  However, I know that most runners wear too much and especially women.  I wanted to run with shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  The shorts were a definite.  It was the top layer that was in question.  It was warm, in the 40s, but there was a breeze.  It was too warm for a jacket.  Eventually, I settled on short sleeves since this was a long run.

It was a bit chilly in the beginning and it took a mile or two to get warm.  The short sleeve shirt ended up being a good choice though.  I knew the trail would be sloppy, so I wore trail shoes.  I wanted to run out 2.5 to 3 miles toward Allentown, then turn around and finish up in the other direction.

The beginning of the route was sloppy.  There was a little snow and ice in one section.  It was tough to get good footing at times because where the snow had melted, the ground was very soft. 

With the nicer weather and the soft surface, I was very relaxed early.  I ran easy and barely even noticed my pace.  I rarely looked at the watch.  The trains on the other side of the canal weren't too loud yet either, so everything was peaceful. 

I kept going out and was feeling good.  I came to several geese at different spots.  It was funny to see their different reactions to me.  I stayed clear of them, but one of them still hissed as I went by.  Two others flew away, long before I even arrived at them.  At least none of them attacked me.

The breeze wasn't too bad and it did have a cooling effect.  After some time, it did get somewhat annoying though.  I was glad that it would be at my back for most of the way back.  I got to 2.5 miles and felt good, so I kept going.  The more I could do before turning around, the better. 

I thought that if I go to 3.5 miles, that would be great.  I got there and still continued on.  Then, I figured 4 miles would be the turn around point.  I decided to keep going though.  I even got to Allentown Canal Park.  I continued on to the access road to it.  I could see the City of Allentown across the river.

I wanted to run to 4.5 miles.  However, I saw some geese up ahead and they looked defensive.  I turned around at 4.4 miles.  I was glad to be heading back, although not feeling great.  The brief stretch of pavement helped.

As I went on, I started to feel worse and worse.  I guess the dirt surface was too soft.  My legs don't like surfaces that are too hard or too soft.  I need it "just right."  I guess I'm the Goldilocks of running.

I tried to focus only on the next mile.  I got to mile 6 and wanted to get to mile 7.  I figured that if I got to mile 8, I could walk back if needed.  For the longest time, I realized that since the parking lot, I had not seen a single person.  That was over 45 minutes.  It was odd.  Usually there are at least some walkers.  Finally, around mile 6, I saw another runner.  It was a guy with a big beard and shaved head.  He looked kind of familiar.  About a mile later, I saw a lady walking.

I tried to keep a consistent pace.  A train went by and I tried not to let it cause me to pick up my pace.  The opening mile had been an 8:25.  Miles 2 through 8 were between 7:39 and 7:57.  Most were in the 7:50s.

My quads were sore, but my calf started to bother me too.  I couldn't wait to be done or at least off the canal path.  It was a struggle, but I made it back to Sand Island.

I was slightly under 9 miles at that point.  I didn't want to continue on the soft surface.  Therefore, I decided to run on the pavement.  I headed toward the Colonial Industrial Quarter.  I knew that was lightly traveled.  The City of Bethlehem puts all their snow there and I actually went the wrong way and had to turn around.  I then ran through the old buildings. 

I went past an older couple.  Just before 9.5 miles, I ran on the footbridge over the creek.  I finished up right before my car.  After an 8:02 mile 9, I ran the final mile at 7:56.  Amazingly, they pavement made my quads feel better.

I have to watch this quad situation closely.  The weather looks great for the marathon I wanted to do next weekend.  However, I don't think I'll be recovered enough by then to sign up for it.  I don't want to totally destroy my body.  I might have to plan for a summer marathon instead.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run again.  I'd like to go with the BCR.  We'll see if I can get up.  I have no mileage plan.  Anything from 6-10 miles would be great.  They are running at the Saucon Rail Trail.  I haven't been able to run there in some time.

10 miles - 1:19:13 (7:55 pace)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Windy Start to Spring

It is the first day of spring and also the first day of the NCAA basketball tournament.  That meant that I didn't have a lot of time to run.  I would've liked to have run in the morning, but it didn't happen.  I was hoping to run between the afternoon and evening games.  Then I found out that I had to work at night.  That meant I needed to squeeze the run in during the mid afternoon.

Since I didn't want to waste much time, I elected not to travel.  I would've preferred a Jacobsburg run.  Instead, it was a short run around the neighborhoods.  The plan was 5 miles.  I figured I'd start with a short loop, then run the Blue Eagle 5k course and add onto that if needed.

The weather was interesting.  It was quite warm in the 40s, but the winds are crazy.  They are 20 MPH.  I would've preferred 10 degrees colder and no wind.  At least I could wear shorts.  I had on a jacket and that was good against the wind, but otherwise it was hot.

I ate at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and that was only 2 hours earlier.  At least I was running easy.  The stomach was a little unsettled early, but overall not bad.  I have new shoes, but have yet to lace them properly, so I ran with the old shoes.

I did the short loop and encountered a lot of wind.  I tried not to push, but I think I sort of have a habit of doing that when I come to a headwind.  My first mile was an 8:02.  That's faster than I usually start at.

My legs did enjoy the freedom and I think I ran faster, but at the same time, I think the compression tights helped my sore legs yesterday.  They were definitely a bit sore today.  I had some KT Tape on too, but it started falling off very early on.

I enjoyed when I had the wind at my back.  That wasn't often in the beginning though.  As I approached mile 2, I noticed the pace had dropped a lot.  I was settled in now.  Mile 2 was a 7:27.

I was to the halfway point and not long after that, I was headed back.  Now, the wind would be behind me for the most part.  I ran very consistent.  Miles 3 and 4 were both 7:28s.  Most of the final mile was with the wind at my back, but it was a mix of that situation and headwinds. 

I got back to the road across from the elementary school.  There was too much traffic on that road, so I turned around for the final tenth of a mile.  This final mile was slightly faster than the previous ones.  It was run at 7:17.  I'm amazed at the pace I can now run easy, especially considering that my legs are sore and my lunch was still in my stomach.

Tomorrow, I want to try to run in the morning.  I'm hoping to hit the trails.  I'd like to get to Jacobsburg before work (if I have work).  I'm hoping I can get 10 miles in.  I'm also hoping that my legs will thank me for the trail run.

5 miles - 37:42 (7:32 pace)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pre-Spring Run

Tomorrow is the first day of spring.  It's still quite chilly, so it doesn't exactly feel like it.  It was cloudy and cold as I ran this morning.  I decided to run with Kelley at the Ironton Rail Trail.  Now that it is getting manageable outdoors, she can get out there and run more with her baby.  It's only been a few months since I last saw him, but he's getting big.

Kelley was happy because she never runs the whole loop there by herself.  We met at the lower lot and then started off heading through the boring, crappy section first.  That meant running through the neighborhoods to finish up.

Because of the cold, I had tights on.  I also put on a jacket and lightweight top underneath it.  I started with gloves and a headband, but they came off.  It was in the 30s during the run.

Having company was great.  I like running alone, but when running as many miles as I do, that gets hard after some time.  Being able to chat made this go by fast and I don't see Kelley as much as I used to when we were training together regularly.  She kept commenting about the pace being too slow for me, but I didn't care at all about pace.  I don't run fast that often.  Most of my runs are still only around 8 minute miles.

The first mile today was an 8:44 and we followed that up with an 8:46.  I enjoyed the fact that I didn't bother looking at my watch until somewhere past mile 3.  Miles 3 and 4 were run at 8:30 and 8:34.

I let Kelley be friendly and say "hi" to every runner or walker we came across.  It was too early for me to be too friendly.  I had to stop twice for phone calls from work, but I caught up to her quickly.

As we were going through the neighborhood and nearly finishing up, apparently this old lady said something like, "that baby is going to be cold" and shook her umbrella at Kelley.  I was trying not to pay attention to people, so I didn't really even notice or hear what was said.  I guess the lady didn't see that Kelley had a clear plastic cover over the stroller.

I was happy that we were nearly done.  Then, I realized that we parked in the lower lot and not the upper one.  That meant an additional half mile or so to go.  At least we had a nice downhill finish.  Mile 5 was an 8:54.  I actually stopped when the loop was done, instead of running an extra 7/10 of a mile to even it out.

It was good to get the run in and the miles went by quickly.  My quads felt significantly better than yesterday.  I had virtually no soreness at all.  I'm not worried about mileage too much right now.  I'm just getting out there and running.

I wanted to run in the afternoon too.  I need to start running some double sessions and build my mileage back up, now that spring is coming.  It was raining all afternoon and still somewhat cold, so I didn't bother to.  Maybe tomorrow I'll run twice, although the NCAA basketball tournament is starting.  I will probably be somewhere in the morning.

5.29 miles - 45:50 (8:40 pace)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sloppy Sand Island Run

I took off yesterday as I'm still recovering from my marathon attempt.  The legs seemed pretty good walking around, so I was hopeful that I could run 10 miles.  I wanted to stay off of roads though, so I decided to head to Sand Island in Bethlehem.

I figured this could be a messy run and that was fine by me.  I put on my trail shoes, shorts and a lightweight long sleeve top.  This morning was chilly, but by the time I got out there, it was in the 40s.  It was pretty nice, even with the slight breeze.  One guy ran by shirtless.  That was taking it a bit far.

The plan was to run toward Freemansburg for a couple miles first and then head back and out in the other direction.  It didn't take me long to figure out that 10 miles wasn't happening.  The quads are still quite sore and stiff.  Even the easy effort on the soft surface wasn't much help.  I could run, but I realized I wasn't doing a lot of good.

Most of the path was runnable, but some of the snowmelt had caused serious ponding.  I enjoyed it and ran through it like it was a trail run.  The breeze felt good once I warmed up.  They legs continued to struggle through an 8:53 first mile.

I decided at this point that I would simply run out 2 miles and then back.  I still wanted to get near Freemansburg.  That section was filled in with crushed stone late in the fall and I had not run there yet.  I wanted to test it out.  First, I had to get through the sloppy mud.

I arrived at the stone section around 1.75 miles.  It was pretty nice.  I'll have to run there more in the summer.  This is a place that I need to run at more often.  I like a lot of the dirt surface when it is dry.  There was still some snow as I got to mile 2.  That mile was faster at 8:10.

I was breathing easy and the pace was great.  The soreness was never gone, but it did get gradually better.  I cruised along and tried to enjoy the run.  The mud was fun, but the scenery is so brown yet, so it isn't too interesting.  At least spring is coming and warmer weather is sneaking out.

Mile 3 was an 8:05.  I was gradually getting faster.  I started to feel better and figured I could probably run to mile 5.  However, I decided that that was pointless.  It was good to just get out there today and do whatever the body was feeling.

My overall pace slowly dipped.  This final mile was even under 8 minutes.  It was a 7:58.  That was a solid way to finish up.  I took a less muddy route back to my car to end it.

I guess I have to be patient, but I can't believe how much those 16 miles on Saturday destroyed my quads.  I hope I didn't push too far and that I don't end up having the issues that I had with them last year.  At least this time around, I know some tricks to get them better. 

Now that I can, I'm going to run trails and softer surfaces much more.  That should save my legs and allow me to do more mileage.  I'll hit the pavement from time to time.  Tomorrow will hopefully be one of those times.  Kelley and I are planning to run at Ironton in the morning.  That would be good since I don't run with her much any more.

I've been looking at possibly running the Ocean Drive Marathon next Sunday.  After today, I'm not sure if I'll be recovered enough by then.  I guess I'll take it day by day and hope I get better.  If not, then I'll run another marathon in the summer.  I'd like to try a "no pressure" marathon before then though.

4 miles - 33:05 (8:16 pace)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jacobsburg Recovery Run

My quads were killing me today, after yesterday's marathon DNF.  I'm glad I didn't push through it, or I really would've had problems.  Even though I was hurting, I needed to bounce back with a run and mentally recharge myself.  I've been desperate for a trail run.  It has been months since they have been runnable.  I elected to head to Jacobsburg.  I was there in snowshoes over the winter.  Otherwise, it has been since December that I've been there.

The plan was to simply get the muscles moving again.  I only wanted an enjoyable, fun run.  I decided on a simple 4 miles.  I wanted to start in the section across from the main parking lot.  That would give me a decent amount of singletrack running.

The weather was a bit of a challenge.  I went with a lightweight long sleeve shirt and jacket and long pants.  I also put on the headband and gloves.  Those came off quickly and I was quite hot by the end of the run.  With the wind in the beginning, determining what to wear was tricky.

I didn't know what to expect from the trail conditions.  Our grass doesn't have much snow left.  I figured the woods would be different, especially since the woods near my marathon were snow covered yesterday.  I certainly knew some sections would be melted and muddy.

I started off very easy.  It was hard to even run in the beginning with the stiff and sore quads.  They loosened up though.  The beginning had some slight uphill on the singletrack.  It has partial snow and ice and I was able to run around it.  A little farther up, there was more snow and I had to be more cautious.  I had fun navigating around everything and it was just good to be back to running on trails again.  My legs definitely enjoyed the lack of impact.

I was surprised at how runnable this early section was.  I figured the singletrack through the woods would be full of snow.  I guess since the trees had no leaves, it wasn't bad.  I cruised along.  I was surprised at how fast this easy first mile was, considering the conditions.  It was  a 10:05.

I enjoyed the downhill.  While there was mud, it wasn't as much as I expected.  Some of the worst sections were still snow covered I guess.  They will probably be bad in a week or two.  I went through these sections.  The uphills weren't too bad and the pace was easy.  I headed over to the Sober's Run loop.

I came through mile 2 at 9:43.  I was amazed at how fast that was, considering the trail and the beat up legs.  I had so much fun that I didn't look at my watch very often.  This run was just what I needed.

I decided that I wanted to run the singletrack section through the Sober's Run loop.  I thought this could be fun.  I also figured it might have some snow on it.  It has a cliff face on one side and probably doesn't see as much sun as other areas do.  I was correct.  It was definitely tricky running there.  I was surprised however when I looked at my time.  It was a fast 3rd mile at 9:05.  Only the last little bit of that was on the road.  I guess my legs were coming around.

I headed back toward the start.  I was going to run my usual loop up and down the hill around the new building to finish up.  I figured that that would get me close to 4 miles.  I started going uphill and an amazing thing happened.  One deer ran across the trail and a second deer ran the other way.  I've never seen a single deer there in all my times running at Jacobsburg.  That's probably somewhere around 500-1,000 miles.  It's a lot of runs.

I went downhill shortly after that and the trail was clear.  I came across a guy hiking.  He was the only person I saw out there during the whole run.  I guess others will be out there soon enough.

Right near the end of the route is a tricky spot.  It is downhill with only a narrow ridge to run on.  Below that, it's a steep cliff.  I fell here once before, so I knew to be cautious.  However, I didn't realize how bad it was.  I was barely running and I nearly fell.  I caught myself on the upper side wall.  This section wasn't soft at all.  It was very icy.  It doesn't see much sunlight and it probably got walked on a lot.  I nearly fell again just walking down.

Finally, I was able to make my way down it.  I ran a little bit at the end and went a short distance out to the bathrooms.  The final mile was a 9:44.  Overall my pace was faster than I expected.  It was great to be done and it was such an enjoyable run.  It is just what I needed after a tough day yesterday and a tough winter overall.  I can't wait until spring finally fully arrives.

As far as marathons go, I'm looking into a few.  I might run one in Cape May in 2 weeks.  I have to keep up with the weather first.  It is a flat course that I feel like I need.  The big issue might be the wind.  Maybe I'll give it a try and go into it without expectations.  I'll try to start off significantly slower and see what happens.  I won't even worry about tapering before it.  I'll just run it.

Tomorrow, I think I'll take a day off.  My quads are still quite sore and could use the rest day.  I want to jump back into it later in the week.  I hope I can hit more trails now and start saving my legs.  The pavement has beat them up over the winter.

4 miles - 38:37 (9:39 pace)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

DNF Marathon

I've been running so well all winter.  I've achieved goal after goal after goal.  I guess it was about time for a bad race and that came today.  I ran the Two Rivers Marathon in Northeast Pennsylvania and pulled out at mile 16 with a DNF.

The race was a disaster before it began.  We had trouble finding some of the roads to get there.  Then, we arrived at the finish, where packet pickup was supposed to be, and no one was there.  Some others were looking for it as well.  Instead, it was at the start.  I guess they changed the location of it.  Maybe I missed it in the latest email.  It took another 15 minutes to the start and pick up my packet.  There was a line for the bathroom and I had to go bad.  I still had about 20 minutes to get ready before the race, but I felt rushed.

At least it was a small race and I was able to get out to the front with no issues.  The weather was pretty much perfect at the beginning.  It was right around 40 degrees.  I went with a short sleeve shirt and shorts and had my LVRR singlet over top of it.

The race starts at a resort at the highest point.  It is mostly downhill in the first 6 miles.  It drops over 600 feet over the first 11 miles.  The start was awesome.  I ran a good pace down the hills and it felt easy.  I didn't know whether to hold back at all or just run by feel.  I decided to go by feel and since it felt easy, I didn't worry about what my watch said.  Mile 1 was 6:28.  That was certainly faster than my goal of 6:51, but as long as I wasn't working at it, I wasn't concerned.

Mile 2 was where the biggest drop occurred.  Again, I was going easy and running comfortably.  I guess this one was definitely too fast as I ran a 6:05.  Then, I settled into a groove.  I passed a few people and few people passed me throughout the early part.  One guy, was very bad on the few uphills.

I was so thrilled in these first few miles.  The course was very favorable and I was well under my goal without putting much effort into it.  I thought maybe this was finally my day.  The legs felt great.  It was amazing.  I thought I would just continue to cruise along.

There were water stops and some of them had volunteers, while others didn't.  Sometimes, you were on your own to grab a drink.  I tried to drink at every one, but the cups were small and I probably didn't drink enough.  Maybe I should've taken more.  I think it was costing me later on.

I continued to run comfortable and relaxed.  The next 4 miles were 6:40, 6:43, 6:54 and 6:34.  It was faster than I wanted, but I felt like I wasn't making much of an effort.  My legs felt good and I wasn't breathing heavy at all.  I was taking full advantage of the downhill.

Things got challenging after that.  There wasn't much in terms of hills, but all of them were between miles 6 and 11.  Between miles 6-9 were the worst.  I continued on.  I didn't work too hard on the uphills, but they started taking their toll anyway.  I wasn't struggling yet, but I sure wasn't feeling as great as I did earlier.

I ran a 7:00, 6:59 and 7:17 over this section.  I wasn't thrilled with that, but I had plenty of fast early miles to not worry about that.  Originally, I had thought about running the downhill part slightly under goal at 6:45.  That ended up being basically what I did.  With the varying terrain, there was no consistency.

I ran by my parents after mile 11.  Those two miles before them were a 6:50 and 6:55.  That was still solid.  I picked up a GU from them at this point and they told me I was doing well.  I thought so too, although I felt like I was slipping a bit.  This was how I felt around mile 5 of the Lake Effect Half Marathon and I consistently was able to grind out the next 8 miles.  I thought I could probably do that again and I'd fall off at the end, but still be under goal.  I was sure wrong.

During the hilly section, I kept telling myself to get to mile 11.  I knew from that point on, it was a relatively flat out and back on one road.  I finally got to that road and was thrilled.  It was short lived.  There was a brutal headwind thanks to the river we were running along.  I was complaining like crazy, but trying to stay focused.

This road was in rough shape after the winter.  It was hard to find a good place to run on.  I knew the wind would be at my back for the last 7 miles.  The problem was running the 7 miles into the wind to get there.  The legs were slowly starting to lose it too.

This section is where the slide began.  I ran a 7:07, followed by a 7:15.  A guy passed me and pulled away.  The miles seemed to take forever.  Every mile in the beginning went by like nothing.  Now, each one felt like 3 miles.

I tried to take it one mile at a time.  It just wasn't happening though.  Those two previous miles might've been fine, but then I went to a 7:26 and a 7:21.  I had 11 miles yet to run and was falling bad.  I started to consider quitting. 

My other concern was that if I got all the way out to the turn around, I'd have 7 miles to go yet to the finish.  If I couldn't continue running at that point, I might have to walk all the way back.  There was almost no one out on the course other than the other runners, so I was unsure if I'd be able to get a ride back.

Finally, at mile 16, I made the decision to pull the plug.  I still had 10 miles to go and a final mile of 8:04 was enough for me to give up.  I knew I could still do another spring marathon, provided that I didn't totally destroy my body.  I faded at the Run for the Red in 2010, just like this and I knew what that was like and the recovery.  I wasn't willing to risk it, when I'm only shooting for a time.

If I felt like I was slipping slightly and it was a bad patch or if I was near the end, I would've soldiered on.  I knew it would be a very ugly final 10 miles though and I'm not sure if I could've finished it or not.  I doubt I would've been able to without walking.  I was already feeling like I expected to at mile 23 and it was only mile 16.

For some people, pulling out might have been tough.  For me, I'm only running a marathon to run a BQ time.  I want to qualify for that, so I can run slow and run with friends and enjoy the experience.  I didn't sign up for this marathon simply to suffer or test my level of suffering.  For that, I have a 50 miler that I'm signed up for.  I don't mind suffering, but I wasn't willing to do it for 10 miles when I had no chance of achieving my goal (even if I was technically still under pace).

I walked for about a mile after calling it a day and thankfully they had a sweeper driving around.  Otherwise, it would've been another 3 or 4 mile walk/run.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to tell them that I DNF'ed.  I did so anyway.

I love running half marathons because you can push yourself hard for a fairly long period of time, but not totally kill yourself.  I also love ultra type running where you just see how far and long you can go and don't worry about pace.  I hate marathons, however.  For me, it's just too long of a distance to push a hard time for a set time.  I could run marathon distance any time, but doing it will a strong effort is difficult for me.

In addition to being reminded of how much I hate marathons, I learned another thing that I sort of already knew.  A downhill course isn't for me.  My quads can't handle it.  It's the same type of thing that did me in at Run for the Red.  I need a flat, consistent course like the Lake Effect Half Marathon course was.  Then I can get into a rhythm and click off consistent miles.  With a course like today's, I'm not able to run the course properly and adjust to the terrain.  I am capable of that with shorter races, but not longer ones.

I'm willing to acknowledge that I went out too quick, even if it didn't feel that way.  I'm not convinced that a slower start would've helped though.  I think my body would've been punished with all the downhills regardless. 

For my training, I knew that I didn't have enough goal paced runs.  It was too much long and slow or short and fast.  I did one goal paced 15 miler and that was tough.  I need more runs like that if I have more time to prepare for a race in the future.

I don't know what is next on the agenda.  There's a full marathon at the beach at the end of April.  It is a flat course, which I think will be more of my style.  However, I don't have any time to actually improve.  It's not so much that I need to improve, but I need to run smart and solve the marathon.  I might hold off on it until I'm even faster and I'm able to run more conservative at the start and still hit a BQ time.

I was looking at a race in July in Massachusetts.  It is relatively flat and around a lake.  It is 8 loops of 3 miles each though.  The other thing is that it is in July.  However, my hope is that I'll be a lot faster by then.  The nice thing is that while it is July, it is at night.  It starts at 9 PM.  I love night runs, so maybe I'd do better in that.  It is a BQ course as well.  It's small though, so that would be another issue.  If I don't do that race, then I'll have to run VIA I guess.  I should be ready to break 3 hours by then.  The concern is that it is right before Boston registration is open.  That means I'm screwed if I have a race like this.

Where I go from here, I'm not sure.  I guess I'll take a few days off to recover.  Then, in the middle of the week get back at it.  I have a 50 miler in May, so I need to start getting some longer, slow runs in and a lot of mileage.  It's probably not best to squeeze in a marathon before that too.  I guess eventually I will decide one way or the other.  Maybe I'll try to do the marathon without a taper or any real prep and just run it.  That way, I can keep some good base mileage and if I don't BQ, I don't BQ.  I'll go into it trying hard, but really with no expectations.  Time will tell.

16 miles - 1:51:36 (6:59 pace)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Preview

The last two days and especially today, we've had a spring preview.  It was in the mid 40s yesterday and up  into the 50s today.  It will be back down to the 20s again in the next few days, so spring is only a preview.  It isn't in theaters yet.  No release date has been announced either.

Alright, enough of the movie jokes.  I planned on running on Saturday and Sunday was hoping for some group runs.  However, my left kneecap started to bother me.  I couldn't chance it a week out from the marathon, so I took some rest.  With the nice weather, I wanted to get one short run in before the race.  The plan was to run 5 easy miles today.

I headed to Riverview on this near perfect day.  Actually, if anything it was too warm.  Last time I ran, it was in 20s.  Now, it was in the mid 50s.  That is quite the jump and a tough adjustment.  It was nice to wear shorts and short sleeves.  I had to break out the sunglasses too.  The shorts I wore were compression shorts that I would like to wear this weekend for the race.  I had not been able to run in them yet, so this was a perfect chance.

I started off nice and easy and headed toward the Boat Launch.  The snow melting process is really going now.  So much so, that there were a lot of puddles on the pavement.  I didn't mind going through them.  It's much better than running on ice.

I felt alright at the start.  My left foot was mildly sore and my legs seemed a bit cranky.  I wasn't as sharp as I was hoping for.  Still, I did have a lot of energy and could've released some speed, if needed.  I held back though.

The pace seemed slow at first, but it gradually dropped.  The first mile was an 8:17.  There were so many people out on the path, especially with their dogs.  I guess everyone is done hibernating.  I was just glad I wasn't running in the city.  Philadelphia is probably super crowded today.

I got into a groove and felt better after the first mile.  The run wasn't quite going by as fast as I excepted.  I thought it would fly by with the great weather and good feelings.  It just seemed normal.  Mile 2 was a 7:40.

The plan was to run out to 2.5 miles and turn around.  I figured the Boat Launch would be a mess, so I ran up the hill.  It's a nice and gradual climb.  Overall, it's not too bad.  I passed some young ladies and then turned around right passed the Route 33 Bridge.  It was good to be heading back.

Now, I was cruising downhill.  My breathing was fine and I was going easy and I was relaxed.  Mile 3 was a 7:28.  The pace continued to dip and the second half of the run sure seemed faster than the first half.  I zipped along.  Mile 4 was more of the same at 7:29.

I watched as my overall pace went below 7:45.  It seemed like I was inside the final mile in no time.  It has a nice downhill and I cruised along.  I passed a woman on one of those low seated bikes.  A cute little girl went by with a football, right as I was finishing up.  That last mile was a 7:16.  The effort was still minimal too.

I wore a shirt that I know chafes when it is hot.  While it didn't quite cause a problem, it got close.  That shows how warm it is.  I nearly had issues after only 5 miles.  I probably could've actually went shirtless.  It's weird how much the weather has changed lately.

The marathon race weather looks interesting.  It may rain some, although not much is likely I guess.  Originally, the forecast up there was calling for 38-40 degrees as a high.  The last time I checked, that jumped to 47 degrees.  That could make the race interesting.  I might do a very brief 2 miles or so before the race, but if not, this will be my last run until Saturday.  I'm as ready as can be.  I just have to run smart and be healthy.

5 miles - 38:10 (7:38 pace)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Neighborhood Route

It seems like maybe the snow is finally done for good.  The problem is that it is still cold as hell.  Therefore, nothing is melting.  That still limits where I can run.  Some of the paths are runnable, but the trails aren't and neither are the stone paths.  It is kind of frustrating and I'm getting sick of running the same places over and over and over again.

Today, I decided to try somewhere new.  I went to Wegman's on Route 512.  I have run the neighborhoods around there and also biked on them before.  However, that was when running from home and it was only part of the total distance.  After resting yesterday, I wanted a solid 8 miles today.  Originally, I was hoping to run with Emily and maybe at her goal pace, but she had some stuff come up.  Instead, I was on my own again.

The weather was crappy as usual.  The temperature was in the mid 20s again with a slight wind.  I opted for a jacket instead of a fleece vest, but everything else was the typical attire.  Some directions it was warm and others it was chilly.  I ended up taking both the headband and gloves on and off.  That got kind of annoying.

The plan was run easy for the 8 miles.  I had no idea where I was going to run.  I wanted to run a section across from the Hanoverville Community Center, but I wasn't quite sure how to get there.  I'd just run around and hope I could get in enough miles.  It would be nice to do 8 without going on the same parts twice.

I went out and tried to get out of the neighborhood.  I ended up doing a loop that was almost 3/4 of a mile.  That wasn't too bad.  It made for a good start.  I was disappointed that my legs didn't feel all that great.  I thought with all the rest this week, they'd feel much better.  Perhaps they never recovered from the hard efforts of the last two Sundays.  I also bought new shoes, but they are an older model than my current shoes.  I'm not sure if I want to break them in before the marathon or wait until afterward.

I kept running around the neighborhood, hoping to find a way out of it.  I must've passed the mailman 4 or 5 times throughout this run.  Finally, I found my way across the road and exactly where I wanted to go.  This was a relatively new neighborhood.

The first mile had been just over 8 minutes.  The next 2 were under 8 minutes.  I was getting a little faster, but still not feeling great.  There were no big hills in this run, but it didn't seem like anything was flat either.  My legs just didn't have it.

At one point, I noticed that there were 5k markers on the road.  I didn't know where I was going and needed mileage, so I decided to follow them.  I figured that whatever race it was must've started at the community center.  I just kept following them.  I guess I must've ran about the final mile of the 5k.  It did lead to the community center.

I looped around through their parking lot.  I hit the halfway point and mile 4 there (with a 7:20 mile).  I wanted to run back through the neighborhood roads, but take a different route than I had on the way out.  I was able to do that with some success.

As I was nearly through this neighborhood section, two dogs came out and barked at me.  I was glad they didn't chase me.  A bunch of dogs in their houses barked at me too during the run.  That is why I like to stick to trails rather than neighborhoods.  If only I had a lot of options.

I got back into the neighborhoods around Wegman's  I was over the 5 mile point.  I had hoped to run this one loop that I knew, but it was too far out.  I headed in that direction anyway.  I had a couple uphill parts.  I took one road, hoping to cut through and loop back.  It didn't quite work as I had planned.  I was now over 6.5 miles into the run and the pace was slightly under 7:45.

Although the loop didn't work out as planned, in the end everything was good.  I kept considering turning around, but I continued on and was eventually able to loop back to where I had started this section.  I was around 7 miles at this point.  I had a nice downhill as I headed toward Wegman's.

I turned into the neighborhood at about 7.4 miles and could see Wegman's up ahead.  I had no real plan going in, but I had run this route almost perfectly.  I cruised along to Wegman's.  When I got back to my car, I was at 7.93 miles.  I did a short parking lot loop to finish up.  It was good to be done.

I wish I felt stronger and sharper.  Maybe I'll feel better next week, heading into the marathon.  I don't know, but I sure hope so.  Maybe I'll even incorporate more rest.  I'm not planning on running much as it is.  I'm hoping to run with BCR on Saturday and maybe with some other people on Sunday.

I'm a little frustrated because you are supposed to feel great during a taper.  I never really have though.  I actually seem to feel worse when I run less.  I wish my legs felt like they had extra energy and I was trying to hold them back.  Maybe today was simply a bad run.  I guess I'll see. 

I am now 10 days from the race.  The forecast doesn't look great.  I was hoping it would get into the 40s at least.  I wasn't expecting amazing weather, but I thought it would improve slightly anyway.  The high that day is only 36.  That is frustrating to say the least.  The good thing is that I do prefer cold weather over hot weather.  I'm also used to it, so I still can probably run a nice time.

8 miles - 1:01:41 (7:43 pace) 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Simple 5

Sunday's 15 mile goal paced run was very challenging.  I needed to recover from it, so I took yesterday off.  I didn't have much soreness and actually felt quite good yesterday and today.  It was time to run again.  Since I'm in taper mode, I'm not doing much running or much mileage.  Today was only a planned easy 5 miler.

It was another day in the mid 20s with some sun, but mostly cloudy.  What else is new?  It is March now, but no different than the rest of the winter.  I wore my usual attire, including the fleece vest.  That worked out well.

I went to Hugh Moore Park to start the run.  I thought about going to Riverview, but I felt like running toward Easton instead.  I parked near the end of the lot, not far from the National Canal Museum.  I did the small loop by the museum and then headed out toward Easton.

I felt alright, but was kind of hoping that my legs would have more pop in them.  Maybe I could use even more rest during this taper.  As I headed along the canal, I hit the first mile.  I was going easy and it was an 8:01.  I'm starting to notice that even my easy run pace is getting quite a bit faster.  I usually don't open with that quick of a first mile.

I cruised along.  There was ice to dodge here and there.  For the most part, the trail was clear.  Mertz had told me that the lower section was icy.  I figured by now it would've melted some.  I was wrong.  It was a complete sheet of ice.

I went out until I got to 1.75 miles (which wasn't far) and turned around.  I ran carefully over the ice and back up the hill.  That ended up slowing me down and mile 2 was an 8:04.

Now, I was clear of most of the ice and going slightly downhill for the third mile.  The only issue was that I'd have to either run toward Riverview on the way back or do at least 2 loops around Hugh Moore Park.  Even though I had to run on Lehigh Drive, I opted for Riverview.

Running on Lehigh Drive is never fun, especially in the winter with no grass to run on.  This truck came up pretty fast and it didn't look like he was going to slow down.  Thankfully he did though.  I guess I was cruising now.  Mile 3 was a 7:27.

I couldn't believe how easy a sub 7:30 mile has become.  The only thing that made me breathe a little heavy at all was the slight breeze of cold air.  Other than that, it was easy.  I got to Riverview and then ran onto the trail.

I planned to run to 3.75 miles and turn around.  The short uphill part was icy and I had to run over it cautiously.  I turned around and headed back with 1.25 miles to go.  Some dogs were up ahead, so it was good that I turned around.

Mile 4 was another 7:27.  I sure was consistent.  I think part of the reason for the faster times is the day off.  I do notice that my easy pace seems to be a little faster after a rest day.  I guess that makes sense.

I ran back out of Riverview and along Lehigh Drive.  I only had one car this time and it slowed for me.  I finished up by starting the loop and I was right under the 25th Street Bridge when I completed the run.  I did feel faster on that last mile, but it still wasn't too hard.  I was very surprised to see that it was a 7:09.  It didn't take much work.  I guess the downhill helped.

I walked back to my car.  I then did some form drills.  I haven't done them in some time and I don't do them often enough.  I need to start doing more of the little things like that.  I also should get back to doing some type of core work.  I always have trouble sticking to it though.  I can run and run and run, but other stuff is hard for me to dedicate myself to.  I get bored with it too quickly and the results don't come quickly enough.

Tomorrow, I'm taking off again.  Thursday, I will be running.  Emily said she is available that day, so hopefully we can meet up and run 8 miles.  I'm trying to get some extra rest this week, so I'm basically running every other day.

5 miles - 38:08 (7:37 pace)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Goal Paced 15 Miles

I've been running a lot of long and slow miles and some short and fast stuff (namely races).  However, my training has lacked goal paced running.  I did a little of that over the last few weeks and the hard half marathon last weekend surely helped.  Today, I wanted to do my last quality workout before the marathon in 2 weeks.  The plan was 15-17 miles at goal pace (6:51 per mile).

Originally, Dorf was going to try to run about 8 miles with me.  Then, when I asked for others to come along, Flo, Mel and Emily all said they would do some of it later in the morning.  Therefore, I elected to wait to run with them.

The plan was to meet at Ironton Rail Trail, since that is about the only place that is plowed.  I was figuring on three loops.  It would be a good place to run and refuel/rehydrate every loop.  It turned out that Emily didn't see the time change and thus showed up earlier.  Mel isn't feeling too well, so he opted out too.  I kept waiting to see that Flo wasn't going to come either (because of the way things were going).  I actually felt bad that I didn't stick with Dorf, but I saw him before the run and he told me that he would've struggled at that pace anyway.

The weather was around 30 degrees, so that is about the best I can seem to hope for these days.  I planned to wear only one layer, but all winter stuff.  That included a headband and gloves.  With the faster pace, I figured that I would probably ditch those and I was correct.  It didn't take long before I wasn't running with either one.  For the race, I might need to go with shorts regardless of the temperature.

I could not believe how packed the parking lot was.  It was nearly full.  Luckily, there were a couple spots.  I was thrilled when Flo arrived.  I looked forward to some company.  Flo hasn't been running much due to life commitments, so she wasn't sure how well she'd do, especially with the crazy pace I was planning to run.

The nice thing is that it starts with a downhill.  That makes for a good warmup.  We flew down it.  I was slightly ahead of Flo.  I wasn't too concerned with this first mile, but at the same time, I didn't want to be too far off of goal pace.

I wanted to hang with Flo, but as I saw the pace was around 7:20, I felt like I needed to go faster.  She said before the run that she was okay with me taking off.  I still felt bad leaving her behind.  However, I needed to try to hit my goals for this run, to give myself some confident and a better understanding of what I can do.

Now, I was on my own and it was all about cranking out fast miles.  That first mile was a 7:15.  I was merely going to try to hit consistent 6:51 miles from there on out.  Running consistent on this course, with the hills, was a bit tough.

Things did go much better over the next few relatively flat miles.  I ran back to back 6:45 miles.  Then I was almost dead on a 6:52 mile.  Much closer to goal pace.  I was finding it difficult to not run too fast.  I'm fairly comfortable (although it is challenging) at running around 6:40 miles.  Slowing down around 10 more seconds per mile would be huge in a marathon, but it is hard for me to do right now.  I need to get better at that, or I might crash early.

There were so many people on the path.  It was nice having all of the people to run by.  I saw my friends Tim and Aaron running the opposite way.  I ended up seeing them twice on this first loop.  Tim said something to me and I wasn't sure what it was until later on.  He was telling me that Todd was up ahead too.  Seeing familiar faces was a big help.

There is a detour section on the trail and I struggled some with this section.  It is a short, but somewhat steep uphill.  That slowed me to a 6:54 mile, as did the long, gradual uphill toward the caboose.  I don't mind a slower mile or two, as long as I'm not off too much.

I saw Todd as I went up this hill and he ran down looking for Flo.  I knew getting back to the car would be a big help.  I grabbed a quick drink and toweled my sweaty face off.  I headed back out.  This time, I headed in the opposite direction.  I wanted something different, plus I wanted to see Flo and Todd coming back to finish this loop.

I saw them after not too long and they commented how strong I looked.  It was good to see friendly faces again and I was glad Flo had someone to run with.  Now, I had to worry about continuing to hit my goal.  The first loop, I was successful, but it was more difficult than I anticipated.

The downhill start of this loop was awesome.  It caused me to run mile 6 at a 6:38.  I followed that up with 6:45, 6:46 and 6:47 miles.  Continuing under goal pace was definitely a challenge.  I tried to stay focused on each additional mile.  I also concentrated on running to the end of the loop.  I knew that brief rest would be very helpful.  At that point, over 10 miles would be in the books too.  I would at least be satisfied with that.

I pushed up the hill near the finish.  Mile 10 ended up being a 6:42.  During the first stop, I only took water.  I had a gel in the car, so now I took that as well.  I knew I'd need it for the challenging third loop.  The first two took more out of me than I expected.  Tim and Aaron were done running and leaving, so I chatted with them briefly.

I headed out the opposite way again.  These loops were going by quickly at this fast pace.  I had not felt like I had run 10 miles already.  Thanks to this downhill start, I ran another 6:37 mile.  The quads were sore and didn't enjoy the restart after stopping.  They got better after some time though.  I guess the gel kicked in because I flew through the next mile.  It was a 6:35.  I was now under pace and going faster than I planned.  I could've probably held back, but I just went with it.

With a bit over 2.5 miles to go, another friend Stephen came up to me.  He was going to see how long he could last at this pace.  It wound up not being half a mile.  The brief company helped.  I felt bad that I couldn't stay with him longer, but I had to keep on going.  He might've been able to hang longer if I was running 6:51, like I said I was planning, rather than 6:36 (my current mile).

I was now alone and running through the boring part for a third time.  I fell back to 6:40 for mile 13.  I was curious to see what my time was for the half marathon point.  It was about 1:28:45.  Not long ago, I couldn't even run a half marathon that fast.  In fact, technically that is the second fastest I ever ran a half marathon (behind only last week).

Shortly after the half marathon distance, I saw this lovely lady in blue coming up.  Of course it was Flo heading the other direction.  She wasn't with Todd, but I was glad to see she was still going.

After seeing her, I was heading toward some uphill.  It wasn't a lot, but I knew it would take some work to finish the loop.  Instead, I decided to turn around and try to catch Flo.  I had a mile and a half to do it.  I figured if I saw her up ahead, I'd push even more too.

I was starting to slip though.  I ran that 14th mile at 6:53.  Even that took a lot of work.  I think I was fighting a slight headwind.  The discouraging thing was that Flo was so speedy that I couldn't see her up ahead at all.  Not even when I had a long stretch that I could see far ahead. 

I was slipping a lot in the final mile and actually the pace for the beginning of that mile was quite slow.  I pushed and pushed and pushed through the final half mile.  It was a tough battle, but I survived it.  I finished with a respectable 6:54 mile.  My entire run was a 6:47 pace.  I was very satisfied.

The only problem was that I had over a mile to get back to the start now and that included an uphill.  I was completely dead.  I was able to see Flo way up ahead at the end.  I thought about yelling to her, but she was so far out.  I also thought about trying to run to her, but I figured her pace was still too solid.

I then thought I saw her walking briefly at a road crossing.  I was going to walk back at that point, but I decided to run slowly.  I thought it would be nice to get to her and finish up with some easy running and a nice conversation.  I could never catch her though.  I didn't time this mile.  I finally saw her back at the car and she had done 10 miles (although it was a struggle).

Even though I didn't have anyone to run with for most of the run, I was grateful for everyone that came out and it was a big help.  It didn't feel like a solo effort.  I worked harder than I would've liked, but it was good to get a feel for what is necessary in two weeks.

If I'm being honest with myself, running a sub 3 hour marathon is probably a little out of my grasp.  However, I'm still going to go for it.  The big thing is that this course seems very friendly with a downhill start and flat out and back finish.  Today's route was definitely not easy.  No matter what, it is going to take a smart race for me to do well at the marathon.  If achieving goals was always easy, it wouldn't be any fun.  Quite frankly, my last few race goals were rather easy for me.  This one will be a big step up.

Tomorrow is certainly an off day.  It is going to snow anyway.  My quads will probably thank me for the rest.  I'm thinking of running 5-7 easy miles on Tuesday.  I'll likely run Thursday and Saturday again.  Maybe next Sunday will be 10 miles.  It would be nice to have Flo and some other friends for that one too.

15 miles - 1:41:49 (6:47 pace)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

5.29 Miles

The BCR was running at Ironton today.  I love that trail, so I decided to go.  I needed 5 miles too, so it was perfect.  The only issue was my usual lack of sleep.  I was covering basketball games in Pottsville last night.  I didn't leave there until 9:30.  I grabbed a coffee and that kept me awake longer too.  I got a little under 4 hours of sleep.

I knew the weather was going to be cold, but I didn't think it would be too bad since there was almost no wind.  I had on the usual, including a fleece vest.  I opted for a winter hat and that was a good option.  I also was glad to have a second pair of gloves.

We started off and the group split up early.  The first few people went to the right.  I followed Mertz and the other faster people to the left.  I wasn't going to run with him today though.  I needed to take it easy.  I like this direction anyway, because you get the boring desolate section out of the way first.

I think the temperature was under 10 degrees.  Whatever the case, it was cold.  I don't know how people can regularly run during the morning in the winter.  Even with thick gloves on, my hands began to get numb in the beginning.  I went with a 2nd pair of gloves and having my hands exposed to put them on, made it even worse. 

I had to run with my hands in my pocket for about a mile or so.  Then, I was able to warm them up and continue on comfortably.  The rest of me didn't feel too bad.  I was glad that it was sunny.

The first mile was an 8:25.  I took it nice and easy.  I was following behind Gayle and Tom the whole time.  I wasn't in any hurry to work and catch up to them.  They set a nice pace.  I didn't try to run faster, but I guess I did.  I began to reel them in slowly. 

I caught up to them just past the detour section.  That was somewhere around mile 2.  I considered slowing down to their pace to chat, but I liked my rhythm.  I went by them and ran an 8:02 second mile.

I ended up slowly pulling away from them and Mertz was nowhere in sight up ahead.  I was on my own for the final 3+ miles.  That's fine, since it is a short run.  I figured I might encounter runners going the other way soon.  I did see Pete and someone else.  Later on, I saw Sue, Miriam and Diana, but I guess most of the others in the group ran the same direction as I had.

It got a bit cold in some of the shady sections, but luckily that didn't happen too often.  I sputtered along.  Miles 3 and 4 were both 7:51.  That is pretty darn consistent.  At least I had some houses to look at at this point.

I was surprised that the legs didn't feel great after taking Friday off and not running much this week.  Maybe that was because I was just so tired from lack of sleep.  Whatever the case, it wasn't a great morning.

I passed a woman and I guess her mom running.  I had less than a mile to go at that point.  I cruised over the road crossings.  I then got to the last big hill and pushed up over it.  That meant that mile 5 was run at 7:42.

I ran until the end of the path, which was 5.29 miles.  I love round numbers and typically would've run and out and back to mile 6.  However, I ran 13.2 miles and 6.2 miles earlier in the week, so my overall mileage was uneven anyway.

Although it was cold and I ran alone, it was a good, short run.  I don't run with the club as often as I'd like, so it was great to see everyone.  I did join today hoping that they would eat at Griddle 145.  Instead, we went to the Whitehall Diner first and then City View Diner when we couldn't get seated at the first one.  It was a fine meal and good socializing.  Hopefully I'll come out with them more as it gets warmer.

Tomorrow is going to be a tough run.  I'm hoping I can run 15-17 miles at my goal race pace (6:51).  I'm going to run at Ironton and I'm hoping to have a few friends to run with.  It may be a little tough for me with the weather and the trail.  It is a little hilly as well.

5.29 miles - 42:07 (7:58 pace)