Thursday, July 31, 2014

Raymondskill Falls to Milford Knob Trail Run

All week, I've had the urge to trail run somewhere new.  I looked into a couple state parks in New Jersey, but they charge a fee.  I decided today to run at the Delaware Water Gap.  I've already been in the gap itself, though, so I wanted some different trails.  I found just what I was looking for about 20 miles up the road.

I went to Raymondskill Falls to start.  That's one of the tallest waterfalls in Pennsylvania.  I tried to run part of this loop, but it was very difficult.  There were too many people hiking that area.  I ran to the top and was quite tired then.  I was breathing heavy and soaked and I only ran about half a mile at that point.  I toweled off back at the car.  This segment was very short.

I realized that I had stopped my watch partway through and I didn't remember to restart it.  That was fine, since this was a short loop.  Now, I headed out for the bulk of the run.  There were a bunch of trails across the road.

There isn't a lot of climbing in this route, because you drive partway up the mountain to begin with.  However, there is some ascending and it all is early on.  Again, the lungs and legs felt terrible and didn't enjoy the uphill at all.  I ran for awhile, but then was reduced to a walk.  It was too early to keep pushing it.

Eventually things flattened out.  It was a nice run through some pine forests.  I had to stop for a bathroom break.  I came to a fork in the trail and for some reason took the unnamed trail, instead of staying on the yellow Hackers Trail.  That was very stupid.

I began going downhill and I didn't like that idea, because that meant I would have to come back up.  Then, I realized that I was actually on this same section of yellow trail at the beginning.  I turned around and repeated the climb.  Stupid me!

Finally, I was back on track.  This time, I took the correct way through some nice pine forests.  I was loving the run, especially since I wasn't climbing.

I came out to Hackers Falls.  That was cool as it was next to the trail.  I stopped briefly for a few pictures.  Some people were swimming below the falls.  The only people I encountered throughout this entire run were near both of these two waterfalls early on.

I continued on.  There was another fork in the trail.  The problem this time was that the sign post was missing, so I had no idea which way to go.  I went left.  It would help if they blazed a few trees here and there.  The trail intersections are the only places with any kind of trail marking.

I probably ran around half a mile out.  Then, I came to a road.  I thought this was 209, but it was actually a different road.  I knew there were no road crossings, so this must be the wrong way.  I turned around and headed back.  I had some gradual climbing to do.

Retracing my steps, I saw some young girls and then I guess their parents.  They were looking for the falls.  I sore of knew where to direct them, but I was kind of lost myself.  Finally, I saw a marker for the orange blazed Buchanan Trail.  I headed left.  Eventually, I came out to a run down trailer and building.  I read a report about this hike, so I knew I was finally heading the right way.

Then, I came to a small parking area.  There were two cars there.  I now was near the pond loop.  I wanted to take the north side of the pond, but I guess I started at the south side.  I was looking for the white blazed Cliff Trail, but only saw orange blazes. 

After looping around the entire pond, which luckily was short, I checked out the map in the parking area.  Apparently, there was a short segment of the orange trail before reaching the Cliff Trail.  I found that and ran to the Cliff Trail.  I headed left toward the Milford Knob.

I was at 4.5 miles at this point.  This trail was nice because it was basically a ridge run on the top of the cliff.  There were some up and down parts, but they were minimal.  There was one okay view early.  Then, I got to the Riverview Overlook.  That had an amazing 180 degree view of the river, the Route 206 bridge, the valley below and the mountains far off.  There was a colored fence that I walked around to get better photos.

After that, there was a small trail right along the ledge.  I decided to follow it.  It was neat because it provided some nice views in between the trees.  I ran along and that connected to the Cliff Trail.

I continued on along the Cliff Trail.  It was kind of grassy, but it wasn't bad.  It was fast.  After a bit, the trail descended in 2 or 3 segments.  By the last one, I decided that if it dropped any more, I was done.  Then, I came to the Milford Knob.  This view wasn't quite as wide open, but it was awesome.  You can see the town of Milford below as well as both New York and New Jersey off in the distance.

I tried taking some photos, but my camera got stuck in video mode.  At least I had good photos before that.  I was now at 6.25 miles.  The Cliff Trail was supposed to be 2.7 miles long and I was taking it straight back.

I cruised along on the way back.  The small climbs were a little difficult, but I knew they weren't long.  The legs did begin to tire.  My pace was getting very fast too.  I quickly watched the overall pace dip below 11 minutes.  That included stops for photos too.

Mile 7 was a 10:33 and that included stopping for a bit.  After the ascending was over, it was a lot of descending back to the parking area.  That was fun.  It was good to get back to the orange trail intersection.  Mile 8 was a super fast 8:47.

I began really cruising on a descent.  Then, I realized I passed the yellow trail.  I knew I needed that to get back.  I turned around and walked uphill.  After a short distance, I decided to forget it and just run downhill.  If I had to walk back uphill to my car, so be it.

That was a great decision.  I flew down the hill.  The Cliff Trail ended at the yellow trail.  I made a left and a short distance later, I was back at my car.  Mile 9 had been an 8:58 (including some uphill walking).  I ended at 9.15 miles in the parking lot.

That run was everything I had hoped for and more.  It was amazing.  It has so many things to see on a fairly short run.  It also was very runnable.  Although it took over an hour to drive there, for sure I'll make another trip.  Hopefully, I'll bring more people in the future.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'm doing.  I'm hoping to get on track.  I want some short, fast stuff.  I don't know what the weather is supposed to be like.  I don't want to do too much, but I do want to work on my speed.

9.15 miles - 1:36:50 (10:35 pace)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's Been Awhile

Kelley and I haven't got together for a run since May.  I decided that I wanted to make sure that we didn't go too long.  Since I'm running easy this week, today was a perfect chance.  Rather than meet at the Nor-Bath Trail, we met at her house.

The weather was amazing.  It was actually chilly at my house.  Her house felt kind of warm, but still nice.  I went with a singlet.  That worked out good.  I was sweating a little, but not too much.

She has a little downhill in the neighborhood to get to the trail.  Then, we had to cross Savage Road pretty early.  I enjoyed this run because it was nice and easy.  I need to run this pace on my own every now and then.  The first mile was an 8:54.

We cruised along.  The combination of me not running hard and us not running in awhile had me chatting away.  She is going on a bunch of trips over the next few months.  While I wouldn't want to travel that much, I am jealous that she is traveling. 

The run just clicked by.  I didn't look at my watch often.  Mile 2 was an 8:48.  I enjoyed the run on such a nice day.  A few times, we had to move over for bikers, but there weren't many people on the trail.  Crossing Weaversville Road wasn't too bad.

We went toward Bicentennial Park.  Kelley suggested turning around at an upcoming fence.  Her watch was already around 3 miles.  Mine was like .2 mile short of that.  We ran until my watch hit mile 3.  That mile was run at 9:49.

This would be a nice 6 miler.  The miles again just flew by as we headed back.  Mile 4 was a 9:11 and mile 5 was an 8:57.  Crossing the roads wasn't too bad again and conversation made everything go by quickly.

Before I knew it, we were back to her neighborhood.  The uphill we had now wasn't actually much of an uphill.  I hit mile 6 right before her house.  That mile was a 9:09.

This was a nice and refreshing run.  It was slow, but just what the legs needed for recovery.  Catching up with Kelley was excellent too and made the run fly by.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to do a trail run.  I think I'm going to head to the Delaware Water Gap and run some cliff trails.  They sound pretty easy, with some great views too.  There is also a waterfall that I want to run to, right next to the parking area.

6 miles - 54:51 (9:08 pace)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wind Gap AT Run

Since I have no plan, but to enjoy my runs over the next two weeks, I decided to head out on the trails today.  I thought about traveling, but elected not to.  I decided to do something different though.  I opted to run the Appalachian Trail starting at Wind Gap.  I had no mileage plan, but I figured it would be short.

The weather was supposed to be nice and it was.  However, it is still summer.  Plus, this was a challenging run where I was working hard.  Therefore, I was soaked by the end of it, even without a shirt on.

I've run south from here a few times.  That is kind of nice because it is a switchback climb, so not too steep.  This time, I was running north.  I had hiked this part twice before, but never run it.  Both sides were very rocky, so that would make a tough run no matter one.

I started off with a steep climb and was breathing heavy.  That's one thing I don't like about this run, is the climb is early.  You start from the bottom and have no chance to warmup.  With a proper warmup mile or so, I probably could've handled the climb much better.  Instead, I was struggling to go straight up.

I probably spend close to a half mile just climbing.  I was breathing heavy and struggling then.  The problem was that I didn't know how much more climbing I had to do either.  If I knew I was close to the top, I could've kept going.  Since I was unsure, I eventually starting walking.

Once I started walking, I decided to look at my watch for the first time.  That was very, very frustrating because I had not started my watch.  Now, I was starting it from a walk.  Eventually, I made it to the top of the climb.

One nice thing with the AT is that it has tough climbs at gaps, but then a lot of ridge running in between.  While it is challenging, for other reasons, at least it isn't up and down.

Those other reasons I just mentioned became very apparent shortly.  It wasn't long until I was pounding rock after rock after rock.  Many of them are very big too.  I was more like shuffling along now, rather than running.  This was very tough, but also good technical practice.

One of the reasons that I rationalized doing this rocky run was because I know have better trail shoes.  My cheap ones definitely beat up my feet more.  Still, it wasn't easy with these good shoes.  The bottoms of my feet were constantly bashed by sharp rocks.

The one good thing is that it wasn't bad enough that I had to walk.  Still between the early uphill walking and the rocky section, mile 1 was a 15:10 shuffle.

Things got a little better as I got sort of used to the rocks.  What also made it tough was running with my GoPro and taking pictures and videos.  Every now and then, I'd bash the front or side of my foot on a rock and that would hurt briefly. 

Finally, at one point, the trail opened up to sunlight.  There were actually some ferns.  Even this section had some mild rocks.

This second mile (by my watch) actually wasn't anywhere near as bad as the first.  It was much more runnable and I took full advantage.  I passed a couple hikers.  They were nice and I think they might've been thru hiking.  They sure had a lot of gear.

I wanted to turn around at mile 2.  However, since this part was runnable, I decided to keep going until it became rocky again.  Mile 2 was a much faster 11:37.

Finally, at mile 2.12, a bug flew in my eye and I decided to head back.  Later on, another bug did the same thing.  The good thing was they didn't seem to bother me.  I had sunglasses, but couldn't wear them because it would be too dark and I might trip over a rock.

I came to the hikers again.  This time, they were looking at maps at a stone road crossing.  At least they didn't have to move for me.  Mile 3 was a solid 11:52.

I thought this 4th mile would be very tough.  It was the rocky section.  I guess I had adapted to the rocks by now though.  It wasn't nearly as tough as the first time through.  However, my feet were definitely getting sore from the pounding that they were taking. 

I hopped along over the rocks.  I was surprised when I started hitting the ridge line along the edge.  That meant that I was through the worst rocks and it wasn't too bad.  Going downhill was tricky now too.  It was rocky, with loose rocks, and I tried not to slip.  I didn't, but I did come close.  Mile 4 was an 11:59.  I was now running consistent.

The final half mile was mostly downhill and I put on the brakes.  I cruised along, not wanting to fall.  I looked at my watch right near the end and decided to stop at 4.5 miles.  I probably ran close to 5 miles in total. 

It was a challenging run, but this is a section I need to run more often.  The rocks are tough, but they make for good practice.  I want to hit challenging terrain in the future, so this place will be good for me to train at.  I got used to it after awhile too.  It forces you to really concentrate and focus.  Otherwise, there will be lots of falls.

I've enjoyed the last two days of running whatever I feel like.  These were enjoyable days.  Tomorrow morning, I'm going to meet Kelley for a run.  I might do some short track workouts later on too.  I look forward to a good day.  I hope the weather is nice.  I'm back to being addicted to trails and now considering a 50K next weekend.

4.5 miles - 56:45 (12:36 pace)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Post Marathon 4 Miler

Since I didn't finish the marathon on Friday night, I could jump back into running fairly quickly.  I traveled and took Saturday off.  On Sunday, I found a new trail in Phillipsburg.  I just hiked that one, but since it was long, I ran here and there. 

I decided to go for my first run after the marathon attempt.  I was busy looking up trails to run for later in the week, so I didn't get out the door until the evening.  It poured right at dinner time.  Luckily, it was dry and the sun came out before my run began.

The rain did cool things off.  I wore a sleeveless shirt.  It became hot eventually and I took it off during the run.  Really, I couldn't complain about the weather though.

I decided to just head to Riverview for a short 4 mile run.  I actually ended up starting from Hugh Moore Park instead.  I'd go out 2 miles toward Easton and the come back.

The legs felt crappy in the first mile.  I thought maybe they'd be a little sharper.  I did push fairly hard on Friday night I guess.  Maybe I could've used more time off.  The opening mile was a slow 8:52.

I had no care about pace anyway.  The legs began to slowly come around, as I headed out.  It was nice to see the canal full again and equally nice to not see any geese.  Although I looked at my watch too often, it was still a relaxing run.  That's exactly what I intended it to be. 

There were a few bikers out on this normally quiet section.  I saw a few walkers as well and even another runner.  Shortly after the overhead train bridge, I was at mile 2 and the turnaround point.  I ran that mile at 8:12.

I was slowly getting faster with each passing mile.  I heard a dog bark from across the river.  That was weird because there don't seem to be any houses over there.  I just cruised along and enjoyed the nice and relaxing and uneventful run.  Mile 3 was an 8:03.

At one point, I looked down and couldn't believe how much the pace had dropped.  It was well under 8:30 overall.  I thought maybe the satellites got messed up with the cloudy weather, but when I finished, it was at least very close to where I started. 

I came back into Hugh Moore Park.  The park had a few people, but was kind of quiet.  That final mile was under 8 minutes (7:48).

I was happy with this short and simple run.  Although I can bounce right back from training now, I want somewhat of a break.  For the next two weeks, I decided that I'll run when I want and take off when I don't want to.  I'm setting no distance/mileage goals.  I want to mentally refresh and reset myself in time for fall.  If it's nice weather, like this week is supposed to be, I'll probably run more.  If not, I'll just rest.  I would like to get a short, fast effort this week.

Tomorrow, I don't have a plan of course.  However, I'm leaning toward traveling to some trails.  I might go to the Scranton area or maybe even New Jersey.  I want to enjoy the run if I do run.  That probably means that I'll be on more trails these next two weeks.

4 miles - 32:56 (8:14 pace)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Another DNF Marathon

My last marathon attempt didn't go so well as I dropped out at mile 16.  I struggled with downhill and knew I needed a flatter course.  Since there aren't a lot of options for a fall marathon before Boston registration opens, I decided to try a flat course.  The catch of course was that it was a summer marathon.  I thought that having the race at night would help.

I drove up to Massachusetts for the Ultra Around the Lake Marathon.  I couldn't have asked for better weather for a summertime night race.  However, it was still a summertime night race.  Getting to the campground before the race was a nightmare.

Since it took me much longer than expected, I didn't have time to relax.  I pitched my tent and drove right to the start.  I did at least have smooth traveling between the campground and the race location.  Without much time to spare, I didn't get anything to eat for dinner.  That might've been costly.  Looking back, I had enough time to go look for food before the race.  Instead, I had two fruit bars and a bunch of pretzels.

This is a neat little race.  It has a 24 Hour Ultra as the featured event.  That brings a good crowd and a lot of tents, since there is a relay too.  It is kind of unique.  I wandered around and some guys starting talking to me.  They let me leave some of my gear next to their tent.  That would be a plus if I needed to stop.

I couldn't decide what to wear at the start, I went with a singlet, but took that off quickly.  At the start, a bunch of guys were talking about running around a BQ time.  One of those guys was just using this as a training run.

We took off and I was in the top ten.  It was tough to tell if everyone was in the marathon or if some were fast relay runners.  I followed the training run guy, thinking he'd be running a good pace.  I looked at my watch though and it was 6:35.  That was certainly too fast.

I backed off and tried not to lose too much contact.  A bunch of people passed me and I did let them go.  I was breathing pretty heavy and sweating a bit.  I knew I needed to back off.

To get to the required distance, this first loop actually began with a loop around the parking lot.  That wasn't too bad.  There was a decent crowd with all the relay people.

My legs just felt awful.  I can never seem to get that right when it comes to marathons.  I knew I was in trouble already in the first two miles.  Then, something surprising happened.  I began to feel better and get faster.  My breathing came around and I wasn't struggling.

Thanks to the flatness of the course, I was able to run pretty consistent.  The course was tricky because it was dark or dimly lit.  The surfaces changed all the time too.  Sometimes, it was sidewalk, other times pavement.  I tripped and stumbled a few times.

I came through the first loop with a solid 6.56 pace.  I was very happy with that and not feeling too bad.  I had a handheld, but since it was cool,  I wasn't drinking too much.  That was a mistake.

The first half of the loop seemed a little more uphill.  The second half downhill.  I slowed to start this loop, but picked it back up again.  I was feeling so good in this second loop.  I caught up to the training run guy and actually passed him.  There was a fast woman too and I passed her as well.  I was cruising along.

These loops went by pretty quickly and didn't get too repetitive.  It was nice to know what was coming up.  Things did start to get annoying on this second loop.  Some of the slow ultra and marathon people were already getting in the way.  While it was nice to blow by people, it was also annoying.  The second loop was another 6:56 pace.  I was very consistent.

I got around 8.5 miles and realized I was a third of the way done.  I wasn't struggling, but I also wasn't feeling as good as I had hoped for.  While I started to slip in the third loop, this loop only fell to a 7:07.

The fourth loop was where I really fell apart.  Fairly early on, around mile 11, I got a side stitch.  I was in trouble as it got very bad.  I just about knew my goal was done at this point anyway, but having to walk confirmed that.  This loop was a disaster and I wasn't even at the halfway point yet.  I got passed by the training run guy and the woman and a number of other people.

I came through this fourth loop knowing it was over for me and I thought about packing it in.  The pace for this loop was an 8:32.  Even though I knew I was toast and a long way from finishing, I decided that I might as well at least make it a decent training run.

I went back out for a fifth loop.  This one was very slow and even some relatively slow relay people were passing me.  It was terrible.  I walked a bunch.  I had been chafing and since I was going so slow, at least I could add BodyGlide.  I should've drank more.  I didn't like stopping to fill up my handheld though.  It would've helped, but I doubt it would've made a huge difference anyway.

Finally, I got back to the starting line.  I was through 5 of the 8 loops.  Rather than waste more time, I just quit.  I figured that I could run/walk, like the ultra people, but I decided what is the point.  This loop's pace was a 9:47 and overall, my pace went from 6:56 to 7:49 in just three loops.

I was very disappointed.  Even though I didn't expect to BQ, I thought I could run an okay time.  I figured that if I fell off, it would only be slightly.  I thought I ran a pretty smart race in the beginning too.  It didn't seem too out of control.  However, I crashed badly.  I clearly can't handle summer running.  Even a cooler night didn't help.

I am happy with how I trained for this event.  I pushed through some tough summer stretches.  They were definitely out of my comfort zone and will make me tougher.  I now know to never waste my time with a summer long race again.  I did like this event and wouldn't mind putting a relay team together for it.

I felt disappointed after the race.  I did look at the results though and felt better.  Only the winner even broke the BQ time.  All the other guys ahead of me, either fell off and quit or finished very, very poorly.  At least 3 or 4 guys ahead of me dropped out after the 5th lap too.  I noticed in previous years that the race wasn't very fast.  Now, I see why.  All the fast people either drop out or drop off badly.

I saw no point in trotting along and suffering more.  It is one thing if I just slowed.  In that case, I would've finished and made it a training run.  Since I was running and walking, I just accepted defeat.  Maybe I should forget this one and throw it away, but I'd like to try to learn something.  I'm not sure what.  I know I need to run shorter, faster stuff.  I also need more goal paced running, but that was hard to do during the summer.

I feel like I might need to get to the point where a 7 minute pace is almost easy.  That might be the only way I can conquer the marathon.  Otherwise, it will always be a struggle.  For now, I might take a break.  Soon, I'll dip into half marathon training and really work on Rock 'n Roll Philadelphia training.  I'm not sure on when I'll run again.  I'm also leaning toward the Harrisburg Marathon later in the fall, but I have no idea yet.

16.7 miles - 2:10:35 (7:49 pace) 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Almost Go Time

Tomorrow it is finally here, the Ultra Around the Lake Marathon.  I guess I'm crazy to be running a marathon in the summer.  However, I'm happy with how I prepared.  Now, I just have to run smart.

Yesterday was very frustrating.  I was so excited about the side trip to Ithaca.  It was raining on and off.  The rain was very heavy, when it did come down.  When I got to Ithaca, it was really coming down and didn't look like it was going to get better.  I had to skip the run, so I was very frustrated.

My legs don't often feel too great after an off day.  I definitely didn't want to head into the marathon with 2 off days in a row.  Of course, I didn't want to run much either.  I just wanted to keep the legs loose.  I opted for 3 easy miles.

It was beautiful out this afternoon.  So much so that I even wore a shirt.  That did have me sweating a little by the end though.  I'd sure take this weather all summer.

I started at my house.  I decided I'd run most of the Blue Eagle 5k course.  I tried to go insanely slow.  So slow that it almost felt like walking.  At least I was relaxed.

Originally, I was thinking this would be about 9 minute pace.  I couldn't even manage to go that slow.  Mile 1 was an 8:38.

I tried to stay consistent and slow.  The legs were good and capable of so much more.  I am happy with that and they are very well rested.  Mile 2 ended up with a little downhill and while I tried to remain slow, I did end up running an 8:22

I continued to just coast.  This run was quite uneventful and there wasn't much to monitor for a change.  I just moved along.  I thought about that fact that this is actually race pace for some people.  I was right around 8:30 overall.  The last mile was an 8:29 and overall I ended up with an 8:30.

It certainly wasn't a productive run today.  It was good to shake the legs out.  I'm so ready for tomorrow and to get going.  The weather looks decent for the night race, so I'm excited about that.

I thought I adapted very well to the warm weather at a slower pace.  I wasn't very confident that I'd run a BQ time.  Now, I'm not sure.  It might be nice enough for me to do that.  The weather will certainly be the biggest factor in this.

I'm bringing a lot of different stuff and I'll make game time decisions on what to wear.  I think I'm definitely going to run with the handheld.  Hopefully that will help me stay fueled and hydrated.  That would be a big plus.  I guess no matter what, I'm going to just try to go and have fun.  I'll be off for a week or two after the race.

3 miles - 25:29 (8:30 pace)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Trying Plainfield Again

I got about 3 hours of sleep, so I cancelled my run with Kristin this morning.  I really regretted that when I stepped out the door and felt the heat and humidity.  I caught up with sleep in the afternoon and headed out to run 7 miles in the evening.

I decided to run somewhere different.  I opted to give Plainfield another try.  It is probably my least favorite place to run.  Rather than run the usual close section, I headed out to a trailhead farther down.  I was happy to find it.

As I arrived, there was a rooster walking around and eating grass.  That is sure something you don't see every day.  I guess he must live nearby.  It was interesting.  This area is very rural.  The parking lot was crowded.  Some woman had 3 small kids and a dog.  I said to her, "that looks like hard work."

Since it was quite humid and still around 80 degrees, I went shirtless.  I was a bit hot, but I've had worse days.  At least almost all of this trail is shaded.  The sun was beginning to set.  I was soaked by the end of the run, but I'm used to it.

The start was awful and I was quickly reminded how much I hate this trail.  It was slow and a real struggle.  The surface is bumpy paved stone.  I find it very annoying.  I also guess I must've been going slightly uphill.  The first mile was a terrible 8:22.

I had run the beginning part of this section or at least biked this far before, but I was close to as far as I'd gone.  Things got worse before they got better.  I did get slightly faster, but not as much as usual.  Mile 2 was an 8:08.

After crossing Grand Central Road, I was on to a section I've never been to.  This part was stone.  It went around the landfill.  This section was tough.  First, it was small stone.  Then, it shifted uphill and was bigger stones.  I had run that part before.  It was rolling hills and mostly uphill.  It was very tough.

I just battled the small hills.  I was losing pace.  I knew I'd turn around at 2.5 miles.  Finally, I hit the end of the trail and ran very briefly on the road, to get to 2.5 miles. 

This section still sucked coming back.  At least it was mostly downhill.  I felt like I could've used trail shoes for it.  I don't think I'll ever run this part again.  I did it once before, when I started from that end.  I don't remember it being so hard.

It was great when I finally got back to the regular stone.  The hills had slowed me big time.  Mile 3 was a terrible 8:28.

Things improved like crazy as I headed back toward the car.  It was now a nice downhill and suddenly the legs felt awesome.  I was finally cruising and enjoying myself.  Mile 4 was a 7:40.

I continued to cruise down the slight downhill.  My overall pace was getting faster and faster.  I knew I'd be back at the car soon.  I was catching a woman running, but she stopped and drank.  I got back to the car after passing the rooster at mile 5.  That mile was a 7:11.

I headed the other direction now.  This seemed downhill for awhile, but then it did get a little tough.  I passed a guy who was running slow, the other way.  There were a few bikers and walkers out too. 

I got out a mile and turned around.  That mile was a 7:27.  I now pushed it on the way back.  The final mile probably had some uphill, but I was going a bit harder.  My pace had actually been around 8:20 after the big hilly section earlier, now it was under 7:50. 

I passed the slow guy near the finish.  I flew on in.  The last mile was another 7:11.  It was good to be done and at least the finish was much better than the start.

I wasn't excited about this run, but I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.  I'm stuck going to Syracuse, so on the way back, I'm heading to Ithaca.  They have some gorge trails that just look amazing.  It might be the coolest place that I've ever run.  I'm more excited for that than the upcoming marathon.  After that, I need to rest on Thursday.  Maybe I'll bike or loosen up the legs with some drills.

7 miles - 54:26 (7:47 pace)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Confidence Booster

I've been both happy and disappointed with my training this summer.  I'm thrilled with how I'm training.  I'm putting up a lot of mileage and working hard through some tough heat.  I'm happy with my speed from an easy effort standpoint.  I'm just disappointed that anything more than a moderate effort is a challenge right now, especially when I go longer and longer.  Breathing is so difficult, even though I've adapted fairly well to the weather.

Because of the above, I'm not very confident that I can run a sub 3:05 marathon on Friday evening.  I'll give it a shot though and see what I have.  Today's run did give me a little bit of a shot in the arm.

I couldn't get up to run with Mertz in the morning yesterday.  I was busy most of the day and tired by the afternoon.  I elected to make it my off day, rather than today.  That meant that I'd head out there today.  It was before 3 PM when I started this run from my go to place, Riverview Park.  The plan was for 10 miles.

The temperature was in the low 80s.  The humidity wasn't the best or the worst we have had this summer.  It was pretty manageable, as summer running goes anyway.  Breathing was still a little tricky.  I notice that whenever I come up from behind, people can hear me breathing.  That doesn't happen during cooler weather or the winter.

I came into this run in the right state of mind for a change.  I have to go to Syracuse for some court stuff on Wednesday.  While I'm dreading that part of it, I realized that I can go to Ithaca on the way home and run some trails.  When I started looking into it, I found some amazing trails there and what looks like an awesome 5 mile loop.  It could end up being the best place that I've ever run at.  I'm so pumped for it!  That got me excited going into this run.

I started off going toward Easton.  Usually, the legs aren't all that great after a day off.  That's why I wasn't sure whether or not I should take the day off before this marathon.  However, they felt good and rest is clearly just what they've needed.  I haven't felt this fresh in a long time.  Mile 1 was an 8:11.

It is nice to have the canal drained and no geese around.  I nearly stepped on a turtle.  That was neat to see.  I was going nice and easy during this one.  It was a little hot, but not too bad.  I added some Nuun to my drink and I think that helped a lot. 

I came through mile 2 at 7:45.  I wasn't looking at my watch too much.  I was just enjoying the run.  I passed some people walking dogs.  One woman had stopped in the middle of the trail to give the little dog some water.  There were a few bikers through this section too.

I wasn't sure how far I wanted to go out.  I kept on going though, as long as I felt good.  I came to the Forks of the Delaware.  I passed another dog walker here.  I then headed south on the D&L.

I don't care for this section too much.  It is loose stone.  I figured that I could stay on it a short while though.  I was on it for just about half a mile each way.  I hit mile 3 with a 7:39.  I decided to go out to 3.33 miles before turning around.  That would get me 1/3 of the way through the run.

I couldn't wait to get off this section and back on the pavement.  I had passed a couple before, but didn't see them now.  They must've wandered down to the river.  I then came to the dog walker and her new friend.  They had three dogs total and I had to slow a little to get through them.  Both of the girls were cute.

I was thrilled to be back onto pavement.  I worked on getting to mile 4.  That mile was a 7:35.  I still felt good.

I guess the pavement helped a lot.  I didn't feel like I was going faster, but my times did get quicker.  Maybe my legs were getting into a rhythm.  I was shocked at a 7:12 mile 5.  The pace was getting quicker and quicker.

I kept focused on making it back to Hugh Moore Park.  I figured that that would be around mile 6.  I passed the other group of dogs again.  They weren't a problem luckily.  I got back to the park and decided to run the loop.  Mile 6 was a 7:18. 

The loop was nice.  I also added on the out and back and the end of it.  When I got back to the canal path, I turned around.  That added some distance.  I now knew I'd be over 8 miles when I got to the car.

I felt like the heat was slowing me, but it wasn't much.  Mile 7 was a 7:22 and mile 8 was a 7:18.  I came to that right before the bridge over the river.  The short uphills were kind of tough, but luckily, there weren't many of them.

I was back to the car at about 8.60 miles.  I needed a short out and back to finish up.  I felt like I was slowing a little, but I guess not.  I thought about pushing toward the end of this run, but it was still hot, so I didn't want to take a chance.

Near Riverview Park, I ran passed a family of bikers.  That is always hard to do when I know they should be faster.  I came up to a slow woman too, but she began walking as I got to her.  Mile 9 was another consistent 7:21.

I turned around at 9.4 miles.  I headed back and picked it up ever so slightly.  I still had a bit left in the tank.  I was flirting with a 7:30 pace overall.  I got just under that at the end, with a 7:17 final mile.

I never pushed this run and surprised myself with how quick it was.  I finally feel fresh and ready to go.  Hopefully, I can feel this good on Friday and run even better.  The temperature should be about 10-15 degrees cooler at night.  It looks like it will be slightly more humid up there, but not too bad.  Maybe the conditions will be good enough for me to run a sub 3:05.  I know for sure that I'm in much better shape than that right now.  I just need halfway decent weather.  If it doesn't work, I should be able to pull it off in the fall.

Tomorrow, I'm looking to run 7 miles.  I'm not sure yet if it will be with Kristin or not.  I'll take it easy again.  Wednesday, will hopefully be in Ithaca on some beautiful trails.  That will be about 5 miles, but challenging.  Here's to hoping for a good week.

10 miles - 1:14:57 (7:30 pace)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hugh Moore 4

I camped out in the yard and didn't get out and run with the BCR this morning.  I only had 4 miles left anyway on this easy week.  I headed out early in the afternoon to run it.

I couldn't decide where to go at first.  Finally, I thought I'd head to Riverview.  Then, I decided to go across the river to Hugh Moore Park to start the run.  It would be a lot of the same route as Riverview.

I was quite nice out.  The temperature was in the 70s and the humidity was low.  Having shade was a big help too.  I ran shirtless again.

Rather than take the usual road out of the park, I decided to run the canal section.  I run the canal farther down, but never in this section.  It wasn't bad, but it is a nature path and the grass is a little high.  I had to avoid some animal poop in the beginning.  I had done a short paved loop before that.

The legs felt the last two days of running.  They weren't terrible, but a little sluggish at the beginning.  I felt pretty good by the end of the run though.  It just took a bit to warmup.

The first mile was an 8:26.  This ended right where the canal met up with my normal section.  I was running nice and slow.  Of course as I got faster, the pace picked up a bit.

I noticed that the canal had very little water in it.  I'm not sure if they drained it for some reason.  On the plus side, the geese were nowhere to be found.  I headed out along the pavement and saw a number of people out on bikes.  I guess that is because it is a nice Saturday afternoon.  Usually, this section is quiet.

I had to go out past mile 2.  I finished that mile with a solid 7:42.  I continued on.  Shortly after that, I came to a circle part of the trail, that goes under an old railroad bridge.  I wanted to take another path, but it was overgrown a little, so I turned around and headed back.  I was at 2.3 miles.

I cruised along some more and just enjoyed myself.  I finished up mile 3 with a 7:36.  I was getting faster, but still taking it easy.  I wasn't breathing hard and I was chewing gum.  I looked at my watch more frequently.

My final mile was a 7:27.  I finished up with the 25th Street Bridge overhead.  I had a short walk back to the car.  It was a nice and solid way to end the week.

I have less than a week until the marathon.  I will be taking it very easy.  Tomorrow will probably be my last decent run.  I'm hoping to do about 10 miles.  I'd like to meet up with Mertz in the morning, if I can.  I want a decent pace for it.  Maybe I can build a little more confidence.

4 miles - 31:12 (7:48 pace)   

Friday, July 18, 2014

Feeling Good 4

I think that tapering is finally starting to have a positive effect.  I was sluggish early on during it, but I'm now feeling pretty fresh.  I still wish I felt super strong right now, but I can't complain.

I only needed 8 more miles this week.  I headed out for a short 4 mile afternoon run.  It was in the upper 70s and supposed to be low humidity.  It was far from the worst weather of the summer obviously, but I still found myself sweating a lot by the end of this one.  Maybe that was due to the pace.

It wasn't worth making a trip anywhere for such a short run.  Therefore, I headed to the other neighborhood.  I decided to run the Blue Eagle 5k course and then add a little more.  When I got to school, I looped around the front parking lot.  I was over a quarter of a mile into the run.

I was cruising pretty good.  I wasn't pushing it, but I wasn't holding back either.  I was still able to chew gum, so it wasn't too hard.

The first mile was over in no time.  It was a quick 7:32.  Since I was running more of a moderate pace, I was more focused during this run than usual.  My breathing was slightly labored. 

I was happy to see mile 2 was under 7 minutes (6:55).  I felt fairly good.  I was glad to be halfway done.  I kept on working at it and remained focused.  I flew up the hills and focused on mile 3.

Things got even faster for this mile.  I ran a 6:47.  I kept watching the overall pace drop.  I couldn't get across the highway to the school right away, due to traffic.  I ran a short out and back. 

I was over 3.5 miles when I finished the 5k course.  I decided to run the shorter loop of my neighborhood to finish up.  I noticed that the overall pace was getting closer and closer to 7 minutes.  I did push a little harder, but I still was feeling fine.  I ended with a 6:39 mile to get the pace under 7 minutes.

This wasn't a difficult run, but it was 4 miles around my marathon goal pace.  It was harder than it should be.  I'm not very hopeful for the race.  Of course, being that it is at night could help a lot.  I didn't have any shade during this one.  We shall see.

Tomorrow, I'd love to get up and run with BCR in the morning.  That's always a hit or miss for me though.  They are running at the Saucon Rail Trail.  If I get there, it will be a fast 4 miles.  If not, I'll run on my own later.

4 miles - 27:54 (6:58 pace)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quarter Mile Repeats and Easy Run

Yesterday was a nice and cool day.  Today, it was more of the same.  Even though it won't help me for the marathon next week, I wanted to do some fast running today.  I decided on a track workout. 

Last week, I ran 4 X 1/4 mile repeats on pavement with Tom, Flo and Erin.  Since that went well and I'm tapering now, I decided to add a 5th one.  This time though, I headed to the Nazareth High School track.

Even though it was cool, I went shirtless.  I figured I wouldn't sweat too much, so I wore grey shorts too.  That was a mistake as they started to soak through by the end.

I opened with about 4 laps around, for a mile.  It's kind of like the legs were ready to go, because without pushing it, I ran a 7 minute flat opening mile.  There were some hoses on the inside lanes, so I had to go out and around them a little.

After the warmup, I took a brief drink and used my towel.  I decided to run in lane 2.  That would be close to .25 miles each lap.  I opened up trying to be smooth and consistent.  This is definitely a pace that I'm not used to.  I was breathing heavy, but felt pretty good.  The first repeat was run at 1:12.65 (4:50 pace).

I always stopped the repeats at .25 miles.  For the recovery portions of the run, I'd just run back to the starting line.  I ran generally 1/4 more for each recovery too.  I wasn't trying to kill myself.  Even by the time I got done with the recovery segment, I was still breathing heavy.  Last week, we walked to recover.  This week, I wanted an active recovery.

I was on to the second repeat before I knew it.  Again, I felt good and in control.  I was cruising.  I finished this one at 1:11.69 (4:46 pace).  The third one was another consistent 1:11.70 (4:47 pace).  I felt like my legs were starting to slip about halfway through this one.

I recovered again and was back at it for round four.  Running on the track was definitely better, as my legs were as sore as last week.  My calves really bothered me that time.  The fourth repeat was run at 1:12.45 (4:49 pace).  This one was getting tough toward the end, but I battled through.

Last week, I really fell off on the last one.  This time, I struggled a little bit early on and had to really push myself at the end.  However, I remained consistent.  The fifth and final one was a 1:12.66 (4:49 pace).

This was an outstanding workout.  I was blown away by my consistency.  Every repeat was within less than a second of each other.  That is amazing.  Really, I was thinking I would run easier than last week and run more like a 5:30 pace.  I was impressed that every one was a 4:50 pace or better.  That's so much faster than I'm used to and I hope it helps.

I was at around 3.5 miles when I ended the hard running.  I decided that I would run about a 1.5 mile cooldown.  As I was ending the main workout and starting this part, a cute young lady started to run.  She ended up doing her warmup for like a mile while I cooled down.  I assumed that I'd catch her.  I wasn't gaining ground though.  Then, it dawned on me that although I slowed down, I was still running a fast pace.  I looked down and realized that I was running under a 7 minute pace.  She was moving too.

The young lady was doing sprints and I thought she looked familiar.  Then, she tried to remove some hurdles, but they were locked up.  I knew it was a girl that ran track and graduated a few years ago.  She was very fast and actually made it to states in the hurdles.  As I was leaving, I introduced myself while she was resting.  I usually don't approach people in situations like this.  I guess I'm getting better at that.

This first run was so fast, that it would've been a 5 mile PR (even with a slow start and finish).  After the good run in the afternoon, I decided on a short evening run.  I planned for just 4 easy miles.  I figured with the cool weather and my legs sharp, it might be kind of fast.  I actually wore a sleeveless shirt this time around.

I decided that I'd run around the school parking lot by my house.  I did about 2 loops there initially.  Then, I got bored.  I was over a mile into the run.  The first mile was a 7:59.  That was pretty speedy.

I headed over to the neighborhood on the other side of the school.  I decided that I'd loop around the circle there.  I ended up continuing on, up the slight uphill.  I was going to go to a certain mailbox, but I got distracted by some birds.  I just ran to the first street and turned around.  I was at 1.8 miles.

I was going downhill, now that I turned around.  I ran mile 2 at 7:36.  I got back to the school in no time.  It was very active there.  A kid was playing with her family.  A woman was riding her bike and two others were walking.  I looped around the parking lot again. 

I think my GPS was off.  Mile 3 ended up being a 6:44.  Maybe I was moving a little faster, but it didn't seem like that much.  I was breathing a bit while chewing gum.

I went in my neighborhood for the last mile.  I was cruising along.  My overall pace really dropped some more.  Again, I think my GPS might have been screwed up.  I ended right by my house.  I was probably about 1/10 of a mile short.  Either way, my watch said I ran a 6:24 last mile.

This was a nice short workout after an outstanding first one.  I can't wait for cooler weather.  I will nail more of these fast workouts.  I need more hard running to really improve my speed.  My endurance is great, but I'm still letting my speed drag behind.  I can improve a lot with some faster stuff.

I only have 8 miles left to run in the next two days.  I think I'll run 4 miles each day.  That will get me to 40 miles for the week.  I'm taking it easy and finally feeling pretty good now.  Hopefully, it will carry over into next week.  If only I could get some good weather for my marathon.  That would be nice.  I'm not hopeful though.

Afternoon Track Workout 5 miles - 31:39 (6:20 pace)
Evening Run 4 miles - 28:43 (7:11 pace)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Not Humid!

Two days ago, the weather was awful and I was running alone.  It was miserable.  The weather still sucked yesterday, but at least I had company.  I was alone again today, but I had heard the humidity would be low.  It was and that was a welcome change.

It did take me awhile to get out there.  I slept most of the afternoon.  Finally, after dinner, I headed to Riverview for a run.  I was hoping I could knock out 10 miles before sunset.  Although it seemed nice, I figured I'd wait an see how I felt during the run. 

Even though it was nice out, I ran shirtless.  Almost all of the run had shade.  I still did sweat, but much less than usual.  I could deal with running in this conditions.  It would be nice if they'd last.  It almost took me until I was through a mile to actually break a sweat.

Originally, I was going to take my usual route toward Easton.  As I was about to start, a fast looking guy ran that way.  I knew if I followed him, he would naturally pull me along faster than I would've liked.  Therefore, I headed the other way toward the Boat Launch.

I figured that I was just go out a mile and then head back.  Then, I'd run the section to Easton.  Early on, the legs were just okay.  Not bad, but not great either.  The pace was pretty solid though, as I opened with an 8:03.  I passed a very cute young lady in this section.

After a mile, I just decided to keep going.  I figured I'd go to 1.5 miles.  I felt better though and as I got to that point, I continued on.  Rather than go through the Boat Launch, I headed uphill on the paved section.

This was a little tough and the legs didn't feel all that great.  I knew once I turned around, I'd have a nice downhill.  I passed a family that was heading down the hill.  Mile 2 was a 7:39.

I figured that if I got to 2.5 miles, then I'd be a quarter of the way done.  I did that and still decided to keep climbing the gradual hill.  The farther out I could go, the better.  Mile 3 was a slower 7:48.

I figured that one more half mile was enough.  I started to get some sun peaking through the trees.  I was getting tired of climbing too.  I got near the St. Luke's Conference Center and turned around at 3.5 miles.  When I hit the turnaround point, my overall pace was 7:50.

The legs had not felt all the great, but going downhill changed the whole run.  Suddenly, I felt awesome.  The miles were going by quickly now.  I hit mile 4 with a 7:35.  I passed the guy that was running earlier.  He was now walking uphill.  Another guy was running up the hill and later on, I passed a woman running.  It was a very active night.

I continued to enjoy the downhill.  It was great to get to 5 miles and the planned halfway point of the run.  That mile was a speedy 7:23.  I wasn't pushing at this point either.

When I got to the road to the Boat Launch, I turned there.  I decided that I'd run out half a mile and come back.  When I'd do that, I'd be back at my car at mile 8.  I ended up running on the stone portion of the road for just a short distance.  That wasn't too bad.

The legs were feeling quite good now.  I wore compression socks and I think that helped.  I'm also trying to make sure to drink more during the day before my runs.  I think that would help with some of the minor soreness that my legs have.  Mile 6 was a 7:35.

I was on flat ground and headed back to the Boat Launch.  It had already been pretty cool and it was getting even cooler.  More importantly, I wasn't slaving through this run.  I was actually enjoying it for a change.  Mile 7 was a 7:34.  I got back to the parking lot at mile 8.  I ran that mile at 7:22.

Things were picking up and I was feeling great.  I headed out in the other direction.  I didn't want to go downhill though, so I didn't quite make it out half a mile.  I turned around and headed back.

I decided that I'd try the lower path at Riverview Park.  That didn't last long though.  That section was beat up and rolling.  I turned around very soon.  I was at mile 9 though.  That one was a speedy 7:15.

Since my overall pace was getting faster, I did push it a little toward the end.  It wasn't hard, but it was definitely a moderate paced effort.  I headed back toward the Boat Launch briefly.  I then turned around and finished up my run with a 6:53 final mile.

It was such an awesome run for a change.  I wasn't looking at my watch every minute.  The weather was a huge plus for once.  I was beginning to wonder if maybe I was overtraining, but it is definitely more of a heat and humidity issue as to why I've been dragging.  For now, I'll battle through the rest of summer and look forward to an awesome fall.  I hope my times will drop like crazy.  As for the upcoming marathon, if I can get weather like this, I might BQ.  If it is more of the typical summer humidity, I don't see how I could pull that off.

I think it is supposed to be nice again tomorrow.  I'm not sure.  I want to run some fast stuff.  I'm leaning toward 5 or 6 repeats of 400 meters.  I'll do that on the track, if I do decide on that.  Even if it is a little hot, this will be a short workout.  It shouldn't matter too much.  Hopefully, I can enjoy the rest of this taper.

10 miles - 1:15:08 (7:31 pace)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Company

Yesterday was a disappointment, but it was time to put that behind me.  I was very excited to be meeting up to run with Kristin this morning.  I need company more often and we get along well.

The plan was to meet at 8 AM along the D&L at Farmersville Road.  A couple weeks ago was the first time that I actually started there.  We were going to run out to the east and back.  It would be a total of 7 miles.

I was wondering how this section would be.  We had a lot of storms last night.  It wasn't bad.  The temperature was nice, but the humidity was insane.  It was noticeable right away during the run.  I was glad that I went shirtless, even though that didn't help enough.  My shorts were completely soaked afterward.

The legs didn't feel all that great early on.  I'm honestly not a big fan of this section.  I don't know why, but my legs don't like the stone all that much.  I got a phone call from work early on.  That interrupted the run.

I told Kristin to continue on and I'd catch up.  I has to push a bit though.  I forget how much of a speed demon she is.  Eventually, I got to her.

The first mile was an 8:36.  I think that might've been when I stopped too.  We picked it up after that.  I was already soaked and glad for the company, to take my mind off of it some.  There were a few people on bikes that went flying by.  Most of this section, we were on our own though.

We ran through the singletrack section to the Boat Launch.  The rain had soaked the path and some of the weeds next to the trail were now draping over it.  I ran first and hit a couple spider webs too.  That part was no fun.

I was surprised that we weren't even at mile 2 when we got to the Boat Launch.  Kristin went cruising up the hill.  I just relaxed.  It did suck because the sun was out now.  At least we had coverage earlier.

I enjoyed getting on to pavement for awhile.  The run was moving by fairly quickly.  Conversation kept me from looking at my watch too often.  Mile 2 was a 7:38 and so was mile 3.  That is sure consistent.

I was struggling with my breathing at this effort.  It was a lot like yesterday.  It felt humid, but the air just seemed even thicker than normal.  It was hard to breathe at this easy effort.

I was glad to get to 3.5 miles and turn around.  My watch was actually at 3.47 miles.  Kristin was a little ahead because I forgot to restart my watch right away after work called.  Work called again around mile 4 and I had to stop again.

Now, I had to chase Kristin down again.  That was a bit of a challenge.  Mile 4 was an 8:01.  Before I caught Kristin, she actually stopped to work out some kinks in her quad.  She ran Spartan on Sunday and was still recovering.

I kept going and was running alone for a bit.  Kristin reeled me in, but it took awhile.  I was glad to have a little time to recover alone.  It allowed me to run my own pace and since I was struggling to breathe, I tried slowing down a bit.  She caught up soon after that.  The leapfrogging was over.

Instead of taking the bottom route from the Boat Launch, we took the wider main road.  This was much better for today.  No cars were headed to the Boat Launch either.  I ran mile 5 at 7:37.

Things were actually feeling better now as I headed back.  I guess I got a little more used to the awful conditions.  They were sure brutal.  These final 2 miles just flew by.  Mile 6 was 7:53 and mile 7 was 7:35.  Kristin ran the last one even faster, as she cruised ahead at the end.  I stayed relaxed.

It was a terrible run, from a weather standpoint.  However, Kristin made getting through it so much better.  I was very grateful for that.  It was an easygoing run, thanks to the company.  Summer running would be so much better with her or other friends to run with regularly.  Although I don't like getting up early for a run, it is nice to have the run out of the way.

I'm right on schedule for this low mileage week.  I think I might run a little bit longer tomorrow.  Maybe it will be 10-12 miles.  It is supposed to be less humid on Thursday.  I'd love to hit the track then.  That would be a shorter workout.

7 miles - 54:58 (7:51 pace)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Caught Off Guard

I didn't get a chance to run yesterday.  That was my off day, so I was back at it today.  It was another week of tapering.  The plan was to run 7 miles.

I wish I could've got up early to run.  I didn't work, so I could've run in the late morning too.  However, as usual I put it off.  I did finally begin around 1:30 in the afternoon.  Some powerful storms were coming, so I had to get out there.

I wore the usual attire, no shirt and just shorts.  I knew it would be humid.  It sure was and it even caught me off guard.  The plan was to run straight through the other neighborhood and on more of a backcountry type road.  This made for a different route near home, but also added some lightly traveled roads.

I headed out through the neighborhood.  I was planning to take the shortest possible route there.  As is usually the case after a rest day, the legs felt kind of crappy, rather than fresh.  I did work with weights last night, so that might've had something to do with it.

I ran by a woman emptying her garbage and then a ton of people were doing yardwork before the storm.  Mile 1 was kind of uneventful, but a decent 8:11 pace.  It was nice to have a different route.  I wasn't getting bored, but the humidity was a little interesting.  It was cloudy during the run.  I was glad because I didn't have much shade, if I would've needed it.

I headed out of the neighborhood.  I was then on my way to Steuben Road, to run by some houses and fields.  As I was turning, I happened to see someone from elementary and high school drive by.  He owns a business and was in his car.  I wasn't sure if he'd recognize me, but he waved.

I was going a little faster at mile 2.  That mile was a 7:35.  It didn't feel too fast, but the dense air was making it kind of hard to breathe.

I focused on getting out to mile 2.5 and then 3.  This was a bit of a struggle.  There aren't any killer hills in this part, but it is a gradual climb.  I crossed over one road and shortly after that, I hit mile 3.  That was a 7:24.

I turned around and headed back.  I wish I would've gone out another half mile, but I was beat.  I figured I'd add on somewhere in the neighborhood.

Coming back was such a struggle.  It was very tricky, as it didn't feel super hot and humid, but it was clearly getting to me.  I just focused on the upcoming mile. 

I arrived at mile 4 with a 7:36 mile.  I was falling apart though.  I knew I'd make it to mile 5, but I wasn't sure of anything beyond that.  I should be more used to the weather than I was.  Maybe that got me or maybe I didn't eat enough lunch.  Whatever the case, the legs were very tired too for some reason.

I climbed a short, but steep hill near the neighborhood.  I had to run around a garbage truck.  I was then back into the neighborhood.  The beginning of this 5th mile was a 7:51 at one point.  It got back down to 7:42 by the end.  The road had flattened out.

It took a lot for me to keep going after mile 5.  It was clear I was slowing down and of course I could finish the run, but it was starting to seem like a waste.  I just kept on at it.  I at least could get back to the school and mile 6.  Then, maybe I'd add another mile. 

I had taken a slightly longer route back to the school on the way back.  That added a little more distance.  I hit mile 6 right near the school.  That was a slow 7:52 mile.  I was falling off a lot.  Even very easy slight uphills were a struggle.

Ran than push on for another worthless mile, I stopped and walked home.  At least I got to mile 6.  This run was very disappointing though.  I sure can't wait for better weather.  I'll be flying in the fall.

Tomorrow, I'm going to meet Kristin in the morning.  We will run on the D&L for an hour.  I guess that will be like 7 or 8 miles.  It will be good to run with someone.  I'm only running 40 miles this week, so that shouldn't be too hard to get to.

6 miles - 46:21 (7:43 pace)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Getting Back on Track

The beginning of the week was frustrating.  I was tapering, but felt like crap.  I guess now that the week is ending and my body is recovering, I'm starting to feel great.  I needed 9 miles today to hit my goal of 55 for the week.

I didn't want to run all 9 miles at once.  I didn't make it to the race this morning.  I was kind of pressed for time for the first run.  I headed over to the elementary school for a few short loops.  I figured that if I could knock out 3 miles, I'd only have to do 6 later on.

It was nice in the morning, but by 10:30 AM, it wasn't all that great.  We've had worse days for sure.  It was still hot though.  My shorts got pretty sweaty in a short run.  I went shirtless as usual.  I guess running out in the open wasn't helping either.

The first mile was a 7:53.  That was faster than usual.  The legs were fresh and sharp.  I got bored with these loops fairly quickly.  Not only was I going around the front and side of the school, but I looped around that back too.

Each loop was about a half mile.  I guess I did 5 of them and maybe 6.  I'm not quite sure.  I got bored and lost count.  I thought about going a different way, but decided to stick with this.

I wasn't pushing any more, but the speed was getting faster.  Mile 2 was a 7:23 and mile 3 was a 7:11.  That was solid.  I was very happy to sneak the pace in under 7:30.

Since the second run would be short and I felt fresh, I considered running it hard.  Then, after standing at Quadzilla registration, my legs were tired.  I figured I'd just run however I felt.

I was out in the western part of the Lehigh Valley.  I thought that that was kind of close to Jim Thorpe.  Really, it wasn't.  However, I drove there anyway.  I knew that fresh scenery would be a huge advantage.

I parked by the Glen O Falls.  It was packed there as I expected.  My plan was to run the D&L to downtown Jim Thorpe.  I'd add on any needed mileage in the other direction.

I headed out toward Jim Thorpe.  The road into the parking area is very long.  Since there isn't too much traffic, I started by running on the pavement.  That was better than the stone trail.  The scenic train went by early on.

I was probably about 3/4 of a mile into the run when I had go on the trail.  There's a really cool bridge over the river.  This part was annoying because a lot of slow bikers were there.  I actually ran past 2 of them.  Mile 1 was a super fast 7:11.

Running over the bridge on the was outstanding.  Then, it was on to the stone trail.  I don't like this part much.  The stones are small, but they seem quite loose.  Still, the pace was quick.  Mile 2 was a 6:58.  My pace definitely wasn't easy, but not hard either.

It was hot and humid for sure.  However, the temperature difference when compared to back home was noticeable.  I wore a sweatband too.  That might've helped some.  There was a little breeze as well.

I passed some old trains that are in different states of repair.  I next got to the train station area in downtown. I ran out to mile 2.5.  That was good enough for the turnaround. 

They are putting a big bridge in this area too I guess.  I'm not sure what for.  It looks interesting though.  I did enjoy that the parking lot had pavement.

Heading back was tough.  I was back on stone and it definitely felt like I was running uphill.  Mile 3 was a 6:47.  I was still cruising. 

At one point, my overall pace changed like crazy.  I looked at my current mile and it said 7:52.  The pace then went back to where it was supposed to be.  I think it just had a glitch, but fixed itself.  Mile 4 was a solid 7:04.

I wasn't enjoying the stone, so I just tried to look forward to the pavement again.  It wasn't long before I was crossing back over the river.  I ran along the road again.  I was breathing a little heavy by now, but trying to stay consistent.  I didn't have any water with me or in the car, so I was a little worried.  I stayed with it though.

I passed a bunch of people heading back, including a very cute young lady.  It was good to get back to my car.  Mile 5 was a 6:46.  My overall pace was flirting with 7 minutes flat for awhile.

I headed out on the stone section to the north.  That didn't last long.  I didn't enjoy that section.  I decided to just run out and back on the access road for the last mile.  I was going to go to mile 5.57, but I continued on past that.  Finally, at 5.65 miles I turned around.

I had just a short bit to go.  I finished up with a 6:44 last mile.  I was pushing a bit with the heat by that point, but not falling off.  I was just looking to run this run with a sub 7:30.  I was very happy to run it under 7 minute pace.

It was good to push myself a little in the heat.  I'd like to get two runs of 8 miles at this pace or faster this week.  I want to get used to a 7 minute pace.  That would be nice to run in the marathon, although I think it will be hard.

Tomorrow, I'm going over to Quadzilla to watch the race.  It will be fun to do that for a change.  I'm not sure yet if I'm going to run or take off.  I'll be off either tomorrow or Monday.  I'm not sure yet.  I guess we'll see what I'm up to tomorrow.  This coming week, I'm only going to run 40 miles.

AM Run 3 miles - 22:26 (7:29 pace)
PM Run 6 miles - 41:30 (6:55 pace)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Double Digits with Melissa

A solid day yesterday got my week back on track.  I needed 19 miles in the last 2 days to get to my goal of 55 miles for the week.  It's a taper week now.

I'm not the only one struggling with the heat.  Earlier in the week, my friend Melissa commented about the same.  Since I could use some company, I recommended running together.  Initially, I thought it would be an afternoon run.  Instead, she was doing her 16 mile long run this morning.  I met her near her house, at Sand Island, after 7 AM.

She has already run the first 6 miles.  I brought some water along for her.  The plan was to go out about 2.5 miles in each direction and then we could stop so she could get water.  I had my handheld.  The weather was actually great at the start.  Still, I ran shirtless, and was glad that I did.

We began by heading toward Allentown.  This section is a little bit on the rough side.  Melissa didn't care for it much.  I wore old shoes, because it rained last night.  The shoes didn't work that well and I developed some minor soreness.

We chatted a bit early on about running and other stuff.  The company was good and so was the weather.  It helped me relax a lot.  We were clicking off miles at about a 9 minute pace.  That's slower than usual for me, but I was fine with it.  I think it did bother my legs, but that was worth trading off for some company.

It wasn't long until we got to point where Melissa wanted to turn around.  That was actually 2.35 miles out.  That was fine by me.  It was close enough. 

I didn't get much sleep the night before, but I wasn't doing too bad.  The run was easy enough.  Heading back kind of sucked, in that we were running into the rising sun.  We came to a few people out running or biking in this section.

Melissa started to tire as we neared Sand Island.  The pace slowed a little.  It wasn't bad though.  We were back at the car and stopped for a drink.  I toweled off too.  I stopped a little early because I got a phone call from work.  I was at 4.65 miles.

We then headed out toward Freemansburg.  The sun was still in our face.  At least coming back, it would be behind us.  Since Melissa had been slowing and getting near her limit, I tried to make sure to let her lead.  I followed behind.  Since she was working hard, we talked much less.

I knew getting to the turnaround would help.  We didn't quite make it to Freemansburg before we hit that point.  That was at mile 7 for me.  The pace had slowed some more.

We cruised on back.  I figured we'd get back to Sand Island around 9.2 miles.  Melissa was struggling, but I thought she'd get through it.  She said she was going to run/walk the last mile.  I offered to try to pull her in.  I was disappointed that I couldn't convince her to do that.  I hated to see her walk when she was so close to the finish of the run.

Once she started walking, I kept running.  I picked up the pace.  Overall, it was around a 9:17.  Now, I was running an 8:19 mile 9.  I went toward Sand Island for a bit, but then a guy ran by in the other direction.  I didn't want to leave Melissa alone, so I ran back toward her. 

I ended up doing another little bit of an out and back to add about half a mile.  I ran by someone with a dog.  I never did catch Melissa.  Right after I was done though, I saw her walking from the water fountain.  I made it to 10 miles.  My last mile was an 8:03 and my overall pace dropped to a 9:04.

It was great to be done with a run and have company and enjoy it for a change.  It was also good to knock out a run in the morning and have the whole rest of the day free.  I wish I could do that more often.  As Melissa had some issues with the distance, it made me appreciate how strong my endurance is and where I'd come from.  I was in her same shoes 2 years ago.  I just kept working and working and working at it though.

I'm hoping I can get up again tomorrow morning.  I want to run the Steps 4 Stellar 5K at Cedar Beach.  It looks like it is very competitive every year.  I think the Lehigh XC Team usually runs it.  No matter what I do, I want to run 9 miles total.  I am working the registration at Quadzilla in the afternoon.  That will be good to see some friends.

10 miles - 1:30:34 (9:04 pace)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vastly Different Runs

I ran twice today to get some more mileage.  Those two runs couldn't be more different.  Even though the first one was a short 4 miles, it wasn't as enjoyable as the longer 8 miler in the evening.

I am struggling mentally right now.  I always get my runs in, but I put it off and off.  The idea of running in this heat and humidity has just become such a big turnoff.  I'm so sick of it.

It was supposed to be less humid and I guess it was.  However, it was still humid.  I was pretty sweaty by the end of my 4 mile afternoon run.  I went shirtless as usual.  The breeze wasn't too big of a help.  I guess I wasn't running on a shady path, so that was an issue.

I headed out for a short 4 miler in my neighborhoods.  I figured any running would be better than nothing.  Again, I was surprised that the legs didn't feel sharper.  I went to the neighborhood on the other side of the school.  I thought about running at the school for a bit.  I elected not to.

I figured if I ran the two dead end out and back segments, I'd be around 3 miles at that point.  I could then just add on.  The first mile was faster than most first miles at 7:59.  I rarely begin that fast unless I'm pushing the issue.

I went down the first dead end road.  That was nice going out, but a little tough going back.  It is a slight uphill.  After that, I went back up the main hill.  I turned around at the end of the neighborhood.  Mile 2 was a solid 7:28.

I headed back and took the second out and back.  That was tough too.  I mean this run was only 4 miles, so it wasn't super hard, but it was more difficult than it should be.  Going back toward the school was nice, since it was downhill.

The third mile was an even faster 7:22.  I wasn't going any harder.  I got back to the school around mile 3.5.  I looped around the school parking lot once and then did a partial loop to finish up.  I didn't plan to run faster, but the last mile was a 6:58.  It was a nice and short, productive run.  I was glad I got out the door.

It poured shortly after the run was over.  It was just a passing shower.  I wanted to get out again for a second run after supper.  I decided to head to my go to place, Riverview Park.  I don't know why I never get tired of that place.

I actually debated even running again.  Finally, I headed out after 7.  I didn't have much time to run before sunset.  The rain cooled things off significantly.  I still ran shirtless and was glad I did.  The plan was 6-8 miles, but really I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do more than 4.

I headed out toward Easton, as usual.  The start was nice and relaxed.  I didn't even look at my watch.  I was enjoying myself for a change.  I finally took a peek at mile 1.  It was a slow 8:48.  That was fine, as I was in no rush.  I only had about 3 hours to recover from the first run too.

I ran by the geese in their usual spot.  There were a lot of them out.  I was glad they weren't blocking the path.  One had chased another a bit, so that had me worried.  I was relaxed and cruising along, just enjoying a nice evening.

These first two miles seemed to go by like nothing.  As I was nearing Easton, I got passed by another guy.  That was a huge surprise.  I'm never, ever passed around here on runs.  I can't remember the last time that happened.  He wasn't going that fast, but I had no desire to keep up.  I was going slower than usual and enjoying the run.

As I got to the bridges by Easton, there was a guy fishing.  His dog was on a leash.  I had to be careful because a families was biking in the other direction too.  There were no issues getting by.

I ran south of Easton for a short distance, to get to mile 3.  Now, I'd at least have 6 miles when I got back to Riverview.  Getting by the dog on the way back wasn't too bad.

My miles were quite slow.  It was good to get to mile 4.  The legs began to feel it a little though.  They were getting kind of sore.  I ran by the geese again and couldn't believe how many there were.  It had to be between 30 and 50. 

I was going to loop around Hugh Moore park.  I started running there, but a short time later, another huge pack of geese were in the road.  I just decided to turn and head back.

It was good to get back to Riverview.  I had almost stopped near mile 6, because I felt like I had to go to the bathroom.  That went away though.

I was around 6.2 miles at Riverview.  By now, I figured I was going to get my 8 miles in.  I ran out the other direction for a bit.  I passed a family with a couple dogs.  I decided I didn't want to come up from behind on them, so I ran out farther.

I went out to 7.25 miles and then turned around.  There were a lot of people walking around this late.  It was weird, because it was nearly dark out.  I enjoyed the final mile.  I came back in and finished right before Riverview.

It was good to be done with 8 miles.  I had a solid 12 miles for the day.  At least I found out that I can enjoy a run during cooler weather.  If only we had more of it coming.

Melissa was complaining about the weather too.  Therefore, I asked her to run.  We are going to meet tomorrow morning at Sand Island at 7 AM.  That will be tough for me to get up, but having someone to run with will help.  She's running 16 miles.  I'm just going to run the last 10 of them.  The company should be good for both of us.

Afternoon Run 4 miles - 29:48 (7:27 pace)
Evening Run 8 miles - 1:06:39 (8:20 pace)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Slow Six

Another run, another muggy day.  I went out for a short run at 2 PM.  I decided to run 6 miles.  I headed to the D&L Trail and parked on Farmersville Road.  I've never parked there before, but I have run that section many times.

Since it was super hot, I went shirtless.  I was running mostly in shade, so that part of it was nice.  I figured this was about a good halfway point between Freemansburg and the Route 33 Boat Launch.  Normally, I park at either one of those ends.  Now, I could run out and back in each direction.

I started off heading toward Freemansburg.  I wasn't really sore or anything.  The legs just felt kind of dead and my desire to run is pretty low these days.  I started off very slow on the stone trail.

At least I was kind of relaxed.  The first mile was over 9 minutes.  I got faster after that, but not a lot faster.  There were branches all over the trail.  I guess the storm last night was pretty nasty.

There were a few people out walking and biking.  I was to Freemansburg pretty shortly.  It was very hot there, because I was in the sun.  There was at least a breeze again.  I was happy that the geese were on the other side of the canal.  I ran to 1.5 miles and headed back.

I was glad to be 1/4 of the way done.  Going back seemed kind of slow.  It was nice to get back into the shade.  I cruised along.  It seemed awhile, but I was back at my car at mile 3. 

This next part of the run was the worst.  It was very short going, out 1.5 miles, but it seemed so long.  Sometimes, I find that short runs can be harder than longer ones.  This section always seems to be a struggle for me.  I feel like I'm going slowly through here.  It might be slightly uphill.

I was so thrilled to finally make it to mile 4.5 and turn around.  At that point, I was right near the Boat Launch.  I did plan out this run great.  It was pretty much a perfect location for a 6 miler.

I headed back and it was a little better once I finally made it to mile 5.  I passed a woman that was running earlier.  I had nearly caught her before she started walking.  It was great to get to mile 6 and be done.  This run was shorter than most, but it actually seemed much longer.  The final mile (7:52) was the only one under 8 minutes.

I'm so frustrated now.  I was hoping backing off and tapering would be good for me.  Instead, I feel awful.  My body never feels fresh when I do this.  Maybe it will be better of the next 2 weeks.  I guess I'll find out.  This week is still sort of high mileage.

A short evening or night run would've been nice.  I had no energy for it though.  Tomorrow, I'll need to put in a double digit day.  Maybe I'll feel better.  I'll probably go to Riverview.  I talked to Melissa about possibly running with her on Friday morning.  She's been struggling too.

6 miles - 49:45 (8:18 pace)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

4X400 Group Workout

I wanted to get up and do some track repeats in the morning with some friends.  However, I was awake until after 3 AM.  At that point, I knew there was no way I was getting up just a few hours later.

I thought about skipping the fast running altogether.  Then, Flo asked if anyone wanted to run.  Tom said he was doing 4X400 repeats at noon.  I was kind of unsure if I wanted to join the group and make it 3 people on the narrow trail.  Then, Erin chimed in and said she'd run it too.

We met on the bike path near Easton (at Warrior Fit Performance).  I was there early and no one had shown up yet.  They all got the message that Tom would be a little late.  We started off around 10 minutes after noon.

It was very hot and humid already.  I went shirtless as usual.  I was glad that is would be a short workout.  I did need some fast running, but I didn't want to kill myself in the heat.

We went out a mile toward the Route 33 Boat Launch.  There was a truck from the township on the trail.  At least we were only warming up.  I hung behind the other three and didn't say much.

After the warmup, we took off.  I really took off and Erin wasn't far behind.  I could hear Flo complain, cause she didn't expect the pace to be so fast.  I guess she figured it was a conversation pace.  Tom and her sort of ran together I guess.

I didn't know what to expect.  I was just trying to run hard.  I haven't run repeats this short in a long time.  I didn't even pay much attention to my watch, other than to look at the distance.  I was just running on feel and trying not to fall off.

The pace was a little bit of a challenge, but not too bad.  I came through the first one at 1:14.92.  That is a 4:55 pace!  I can't remember the last time that I ran that fast for any distance, no matter how short. 

Flo commented about how fast the pace was.  She's recovering after doing the SDR.  I commented that the repeats were short and we were only going to do 4 of them.  We walked for a short while to recover.

Then, we took off again.  Again, I led the way and was flying.  It was awesome to look at my watch and see how quickly the distance was going by.  I ran another consistent repeat at 1:15.15.  Not bad considering that I haven't run this kind of pace in a long time.

I ended up walking and talking with Erin after this repeat.  We were behind Tom and Flo.  We walked past the truck.  Tom and Flo then began the repeat and took off.

I was glad to have someone to set the pace this time.  I went by Flo and then Tom.  Getting by Tom was close because we were also passing two walkers.  We ended up finishing this repeat up right about where we started.  Again, I was consistent at 1:15.21.

I commented to Tom that I was feeling it now.  My legs were certainly not used to running so fast.  It was kind of like "woah, what are we doing here?"

For the last repeat, we had a road crossing up ahead.  I suggested going to it and turning back.  That would be around 400 meters.  Instead, when I got to the road crossing, I kept going (because it was clear).

The rest of the group turned around.  I ended up turning around before finishing too.  I don't know if the change of direction cost me or what, but I slowed quite a bit on this last one.  It was a 1:19.72.  Still, pretty fast though.  I was around 30 seconds faster with these than I had been last time I ran these.  I think I ran about 1:09s in high school track, so this was quite fast.

We ran out half a mile and back.  That was a cool down and another good chance to talk.  Flo has a tri coming up as well as an ultra.  Tom is doing a marathon and the same ultra.  Erin is mostly trying to get and stay healthy.

Because everything I've been doing has been slow, for the most part, I haven't be sore lately.  This hard running definitely stressed my legs more.  My calves were very sore when I walked around afterward.  I wore compression socks and recovered pretty well.  This was an awesome workout and I want to do it again.  I need to run fast and have others there to really push me.

That run wasn't much over 3 miles.  Therefore, I wanted a second run.  I thought about running before dinner, but I thought more rest and recovery would be a better idea.  I went out after supper.

The plan was to run 7 miles.  I headed to the Nor-Bath Trail.  I wanted a softer surface for this recovery run.  I also needed to be close, because thunderstorms were on the way.

I started at Savage Road.  It was still hot and humid, even at 7 PM.  Therefore, I went shirtless again.  I began by heading toward Northampton.  I don't run this way too often.

This made for a nice downhill start.  It got me warmed up.  It was paved, but that didn't bother me much.  My legs weren't too bad.  There was some minor soreness and the lunchtime run took a little out of them.

A few people were out biking on this day and some runners here and there, as well as walkers too.  I got to the end of the trail, just before mile 1.  I kept going on the roads and ran out to 1.25 miles.  I'd get back to my car at 2.5 miles.

I nearly quit on the way back.  After a decent first mile, I struggled with the gradual uphill.  Much worse though, was that I had some bad chafing going on.  The sweat was getting into the chafed area and it was burning.  I remember this happening before though and it getting better as I ran.

I kept going past mile 2.  It did start getting better.  This mile slowed my pace down, although I wasn't very fast anyway.  It was good to get back to my car at 2.5 miles.

I then headed out toward Bath.  I figured that I'd go out pretty far and then run back.  This seemed to take forever though.  It was a long time until I got to Weaversville Road.  I had no issue running over that road crossing.

After that, I headed toward Bicentennial Park.  I tried to focus on making it to mile 4.25.  That would get me back at 6 miles.  Then, I could add on a little more.

When I got to 4.25, I decided to keep going to the Bicentennial Park entrance.  I went some more after that.  I ran to 4.5 miles.  I turned around right in front of some bikers and then I ran in the grass and gave them room to pass.

I just tried to focus on getting to mile 5 and then mile 6.  The heat was getting to me and the legs were tiring.  I was battling on though, even with a slow pace.  Eventually, I crossed over the few bridges on the trail.

There is another park that I came to at 5.98 miles.  I decided to do a short out and back here.  I needed an extra half mile.  I ran out to 6.25 miles and turned around right before a family that was walking.  There's a slight uphill on the way back.  That was a little struggle.

I was glad to get back on the main trail and have less than half a mile to go.  I continued along.  A short while later, I was back to Savage Road.  I hit mile 7 right before crossing the road.  That was perfect.  I was soaked but thrilled to be done.

It was a nice pair of runs today.  I got a very good workout and a recovery run.  I'm hoping to get my legs fresher over the next few weeks.  I need to head into the marathon with fresh legs.  That would be a huge help.

I don't know what's on the agenda for tomorrow.  I need 35 more miles this week.  I'm thinking I might run like 12 miles tomorrow.  If I do, it likely be at Riverview Park.  I hope my legs recover even better from today.

Noon Run 3.18 - 22:29 (7:04 pace)
Evening Run 7 miles - 56:24 (8:04 pace)