Saturday, August 30, 2014

Disappointing Day at Tobyhanna

I don't remember who I was talking to last week, but I said that I have to run these really long runs at a familiar place.  Today, I didn't listen to myself and paid for it.  I planned 25 miles.  I headed out to Tobyhanna State Park in the Poconos.

On paper, this looked like a good route.  There was a 5 mile Lakeside Trail, that I didn't think I'd enjoy.  However, there were two other trail options.  One of them went out to Gouldesboro State Park.  It appeared that there were would be some water there, so I thought that would be perfect.  Things didn't go as planned though.

It was a tricky day.  I wore a sleeveless shirt, as it was windy.  That was especially true as I started near the lake.  I did still sweat a lot though.

I headed out along the Lakeside Trail.  It was a stone trail, as I suspected.  I knew I wouldn't enjoy this too much.  It wouldn't be bad for a short run, but it's not my kind of thing for a long run.  On the plus side, it was super flat.

I walked some of the smaller uphills that I could find.  I needed to be conservative early.  This trail was busy.  It is perfect for families or pet walkers and there were plenty of them.  It had some lake views, but a lot of it was through the woods.

About a mile and a half out, I came to the Yellow Trail.  I think I had hiked that briefly when we camped at this park.  I remember not liking the trails that were there.  I thought it was because I recall it being mostly grassy.  I think some of it was rocky too.  I don't know since I didn't take this trail.

I continued on.  I was looking for the red blazed Frank Gantz Trail.  After mile 2, I came to its intersection.  In a perfect world, this would be a fun singletrack to the other park.  Instead, it absolutely sucked.  It was super rocky and went in and out.  It was almost as bad at the AT.  I was practically walking.

I was very frustrated.  I figured I'd go for a bit though.  I only made it out about half a mile on this trail and decided to forget about it.  It was time to turn around.  This was not going to be a good day, since I couldn't run this path.

I came back out to the Lakeside Trail.  I was less than halfway around the loop.  I could deal with this trail for a loop, or two or maybe even three.  Any more than that though, would've annoyed the hell out of me.

At one point, I was walking and feeling like crap.  The other issue was that my legs didn't feel all that great.  Right as I decided to run, the trail became less stone and more natural trail.  I think that that was the last time that I walked.  At least I enjoyed some of this.

I cruised along, enjoying this boring loop as much as I could.  At least it was easy.  I now figured that this day was basically a waste.  I guess I could've run a second loop, but I figured I'd just call it a day and rest up. 

Eventually, I came out to the dam.  That was kind of fun.  I didn't have to run to the top of the dam, but that was possible, so I did it.  Right after the dam, I came to a deer on the trail.  It was a small one.  I ran toward it and tried to yell for it to move.  It wouldn't and it just froze.  I decided to turn and run back the other way, rather than pass it on the narrow path.  It then started to run on the trail below the dam, behind me.  Then, it saw a hiker there and it froze again.

I turned back around again, now that the trail was free.  I was nearly done with the loop at this point.  I was near mile 6 when the loop was completed.  However, I thought I need 7 miles for 60 miles for the week (it turns out I only needed 6).

I went out a bit.  I thought about going out a full mile, but it was too chilly to walk back too far.  I went out to 6.6 miles and then came back.  I finished up right by a beach area.  I then walked back to the start, very disappointed.

I didn't listen to my own advice of not running a place I didn't know.  I need to save the weekdays for exploring places.  I wish I could find a very good place for long runs.  The fact that I didn't get a good run has continued to eat at me.

I now need a big day tomorrow.  Gary is hosting a run around Nazareth.  However, I think I might go to Trexler instead.  I want to run 3 loops there.  That would be a tough day and a quality workout.  It would be great practice for my 50k.  I'm most worried about how hot it is supposed to be, especially with little shade at Trexler.  I also know that back in the spring, I was very sore after 2 easy loops there.  A third one might be killer, but it's worth a shot.  I do plan on taking Monday off anyway.

7 miles - 1:09:13 (9:53 pace)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nice and Easy J-Burg 6

I was struggling to get moving today.  I felt quite sluggish.  I had to get out and run.  I really wanted to run 10 miles on trails, but I knew as the day wore on that I wasn't going to do that.  I headed to Jacobsburg around dinner time.  I was now hoping for 6 miles.

It was pretty cool by August standards.  I even started with a shirt and that lasted about 2.5 miles.  I wasn't soaked, but still sweating by the end.  The weather is slowly getting better though.

I couldn't decide where to start.  At first, it was going to be the standard loop.  I thought about running it in reverse though.  Instead, I headed to the Sober's Run area, to just stay there.

I ran this loop in reverse of usual.  That meant some nice singletrack pretty early on.  The legs felt quite crappy to start, particularly my upper quads.  The singletrack did help.

I love the singletrack section, it is so much fun.  I wish the entire trail was made up of that.  After the first singletrack was over, I headed to the second fun section, along the other creek.  I was enjoying these parts.

I still wasn't feeling great though.  I dreaded the next section.  It was a long and gradual uphill.  I passed a guy going very slow uphill on a mountain bike.  I ending up surprising him.  I rarely go this way because the ascend is so much more gradual than the powerline cut.  It's not hard, but just long.

Eventually, I was up the hill.  Then, it was down the powerline cut.  I was nearly at mile 3.  I took off my shirt at this point and when I got back to my car, I left it there.  I was just under 3 miles at that point.

I decided to take the loop on each side of Sober's Run.  That would give me a lot of fun, easy singletrack.  First, it was on to the flat path.  Then, I was along the creek.  Toward the end of this first half of the loop, two mountain bikers came flying the other way and I had to move for them.

Again, I enjoyed the ridge singletrack.  My legs did too.  Before long, I was back to my starting point.  It was basically mile 5.  I was surprised that it wasn't shorter than that.

I decided that I would run the same loop again, but cut across the creek to shorten it.  That was nice and ice cold, but maybe not the best idea.  I need to wear those shoes for the long run tomorrow and now they are soaked. 

I finished up with a brief out and back along the main path.  It wasn't my best or worst run, but I got it done.  Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.  I still can't decide where I'm running then, but I'm looking for 25 trail miles.

6 miles - 55:37 (9:16 pace)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Just Go!

Today just wasn't set up as a good run.  I was going to the Eagles game, so I rushed around.  I ate at work and then came right home and basically went out to run. 

Initially, I was going to run 8 miles.  However, I was having trouble even getting out the door, so I reduced it to 5 miles.  I just planned the long loop around the other neighborhood.

The weather was tricky.  It was  chilly at the start, due to a strong breeze.  However, it was actually humid and I ended up soaked by the end.  Sometimes, it was cool and others, I felt hot.  I had questioned whether running shirtless was a good idea, but it was.

While I struggled to get out the door, I figured I needed to at least start.  If I continued to feel awful, I could stop early.  One day, I felt terrible before the run and in the first mile and later on, I came around and felt great.

Today, I started off terrible.  I felt slow and sluggish.  My upper quads were sore.  Although they didn't bother me walking around, clearly the two hard runs yesterday had an impact.  I chugged along.  Mile 1 was a slow 9:06.  I was even surprised that it was that quick.

I continued going along, hoping things would get better.  They did after the first mile, but only slightly.  It was still a struggle.  I guess we could call these "junk" miles.  However, I did feel that I was at least benefiting mentally from this.  I was fighting through a struggle.

A week or two ago, I cruised up all of these small hills.  Today, those were tough.  I did go faster, but still felt slow.  Mile 2 was an 8:13.

The big hill around the halfway point was very difficult.  I battled it.  I just couldn't wait to be done.  I felt bloated and the legs were hurting.  I need new shoes too.  I came through mile 3 with an 8:14.

I just sputtered along.  Eventually, I came to mile 4 and it was 8:02.  At least I was almost done with this run.  I crossed the road and went past the school.  I ended the run with an 8:06 final mile, right next to my house.

The legs felt awful and I was glad to be done.  Sometimes, you have to just get out there and go.  That was the case today, although I'm not sure how much I accomplished.  It was good to get through it though.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure when or where I'll be running.  I'm hoping to hit double digit mileage and likely on trail.  There's a bunch of other stuff that I want to do too.

5 miles - 41:41 (8:20 pace)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Two Quick Runs in the Heat

The heat and humidity was really back today.  In the afternoon, when I chose to run for the first time, it was pushing 90.  I struggled to get out the door.  I'm so hungry to run right now when it's nice, but I so dread it when it's hot.

I haven't been on pavement all week.  It's been since last week that I've done that.  I decided to head to Riverview for 7 miles, since that is my go to place.  I don't get tired of it.

Since it was hot, I went shirtless.  I was soaked by the end.  The pace certainly contributed to that.  It was supposed to be an easy effort, but it didn't quite go as planned.

I started off very slowly.  The legs were kind of like, "oh yeah, pavement...we forgot about that and how it feels."  I tried cruising along, hoping the heat wouldn't get to me.  I heard some emergency vehicles across the canal.  Mile 1 was an 8:51.

Having time off of pavement caused the legs to feel good.  They came around as they got used to it.  My legs can go much faster than the heat allows.  It is my labored breathing in the heat that does me in.  Mile 2 was a significantly faster 7:54.

I wanted to at least got to the Forks on the Delaware before turning around.  At least I had a lot of shade on this trail.  That made a huge difference.  Running in the shade wasn't so bad, but out in the open was brutal.

A biker startled me as he went by.  I only saw him and one other guy on the trail past Hugh Moore Park.  It was lonely in the heat.  That made it peaceful and sort of enjoyable.  When I got to the Forks on the Delaware, I decided to continue on.  I was close to mile 3.  I headed on the stone part of the trail until I hit that point.  That mile was a 7:50.

I felt pretty good as I headed back, other than a little hot.  I guess since the pace was getting faster, I ended up pushing a little more.  I just tried to be solid and focus on the next mile.  As I got to the halfway point, my overall pace was 8:06.  Now, I just wanted to get under an 8 minute pace.

I guess I was pushing pretty good and really flying.  Mile 4 ended up being a 7:27.  I made up a lot of ground as I was on my way back.  Mile 5 dropped to 7:21.  By now, I was under 8 minute pace already I believe.

I thought about going through Hugh Moore Park, but opted instead to run back and just go out a little the other way when I got to my car.  I didn't want to go up the Hugh Moore Park hill.  The curved hill back toward Riverview was tough enough.  I got back to my car around mile 6.  That mile was a faster yet 7:14.

My pace had been dropping like crazy and I was pushing fairly hard.  Every mile ended up being faster than the one before.  So much for going easy.  I finished up with a short out and back at Riverview Park.  The final mile was a 7:03.  I was exhausted.

I had a few hours of rest.  Then, after dinner, I headed to the track.  It was still hot, but a little better.  I just wanted a few solid, faster 400s.  I was figuring on 5 of them.

It was crowded with walkers when I got there.  They were mostly women.  A couple of them were quite cute.  It was annoying though, because they often took the inside lanes or even worse switched lanes.

I began with a mile or so warmup.  That first mile was a 7:16.  I then took off for the first 400.  I was cruising along.  With about 150 to go, I saw my time was slipping.  I picked it up to finish in 1:21.15.

I then did a 400 active recovery.  I would've liked to do 200s, but not with this heat.  I tried to take it easy and get my breathing down as much as I could.  I then started the second repeat.  I tried to be solid, but slightly slower this time.  Although the first one didn't seem bad, I didn't want to overdo it.  I just wanted some repeats out of my comfort zone.  The second one was a 1:25.08.

I'm not quite sure why I was off by so much.  Maybe because I had to navigate around the walkers a bit.  I did have to change lanes.  After the recovery, I took off for repeat number 3.  I had passed the walkers at the right time, so I now had a free track ahead of me.  I pushed fairly hard, but definitely left something in the tank.  This one was a 1:21.94

That did take a lot out of me.  I recovered as well as I could for the next one, but I figured that it would probably be my last one.  It was hot and these were tough.  A fourth one would be enough.  I was pushing fairly hard on this one, especially toward the end.  I had to pass some of the walkers, but it wasn't too bad.  I ran another pretty consistent one at 1:21.30.  It is amazing that 3 of the 4 repeats were within the same second.

That went much better than the last time I tried to do those in the morning.  I was happy too considering the heat and that I had run fairly hard a few hours earlier.  I ran a little over a mile to cool down.  The final mile was a 6:53.

I was happy with this day.  I didn't overdo it with the heat, but I was able to push myself a bit with two workouts.  I never go out there and try to kill myself.  I'm usually on the conservative side with these workouts.  I only try to get out of my comfort zone a little bit.  I don't want to push the limit too far and struggle with my next workouts.  I'll save that extra little bit for my races.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'm doing.  I won't have a lot of time in the afternoon, since I'm going to the Eagles game.  I may try to get up in the morning.  I'd really like to get 10 miles in.  I'm thinking that going to Jacobsburg or trails somewhere, anyway, would be a good idea.  I guess I'll find out in the morning.

Afternoon Run 7 miles - 53:41 (7:40 pace)
Track Workout 4 miles - 26:34 (6:39 pace)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Katellen Trail (Up and Down the Mountain)

Yesterday was a nice day off.  After 45 miles over the weekend, I was feeling recovered by today.  I decided that I would do some climbing.  I had no idea on the mileage, I just wanted to get vertical.

Last year, I had gone to the Katellen Trail.  It is a trail from the bottom of the mountain to the Appalachian Trail.  It goes near a camping area and is commonly used for hikers to get water from the springs.

I ran up it once last year and then back down.  It's about 750 feet of climbing in 3/4 of a mile.  That's definitely tough and what I needed to do.  When I looked at AT maps before, I saw what looked like a trail down the other side of the mountain.  I talked to Janine, who finished the ES100 and lives in Wind Gap, and she had suggested this route.  Since it was already in my head, I figured that I'd give it a try.

It was humid and in the 80s when I arrived.  It always takes me some time to find the small parking lot.  Not surprisingly, I was soaked by the end of the run and I ran shirtless, as usual.

I didn't want to begin with climbing, so I did a short out and back on the road.  That gave me a nice and easy mile warmup.  There are a few houses there.  I grabbed as much shade as I could get.

It was then on to the trail.  It's pretty easy in the beginning with only a gradual slope.  Since I discovered to take smaller strides to go up long climbs, that has helped a lot.  I try to keep my breathing light.

What does make this trail challenging, isn't just the elevation, but the terrain.  It's made up of tons of loose rocks that just slide under your feet.  It is a lot like Trexler in that regard.  When it isn't loose rock, it seems like solid, pointy rocks.  It's a bit hard on your feet.

I managed to make it a little over a third of a mile up the climb.  Then, there is a section where it gets very steep and they built steps into the trail.  It was hard to climb up those and I got very winded, so I walked a bit.

The trail wasn't nearly as steep after that section.  I thought it might stay steep, so that was why I began walking.  Had I been more familiar with the trail, I probably would've run the whole thing.

Near the top, I saw a hiker.  He asked if there was water and I said there was, but I wasn't sure how to get to it.  I was now running and feeling pretty good.  Before I knew it, I was at the top.

At the top, the AT passes through a powerline cut through.  I might explore this more when the brush dies off.  Now, it is too build up.  It's also rocky and sunny.  I would think it is a prime rattlesnake area.

I was back into the woods and very briefly came to a road.  At first, I thought the road/trail I was looking for was farther down, but I figured this must be it.  I turned back and began the descend down it.

This is a wide doubletrack trail.  It also has a lot of loose rocks and sharp rocks.  It is better than the actual AT though, by far.  It was nice to be going downhill.

The uphill mile had been run at 13:20.  Now, I was cruising downhill.  One thing that sucked is there were a lot of spider webs, even for a wide trail.  I'd guess that there probably aren't more than 5 people that actually use the thing in a week, if not a month.

There was a gate that I went around.  Later on, I saw that a path went around it.  Instead, I ducked under it.  Mile 3, the first downhill, was 9:54.

This trail was a couple long switchbacks.  It was so much more gradual than the Katellen Trail.  I guess that's so trucks can get up to the powerline.  Still, it seemed to go down and down and down.  It was lasting forever.

I did notice that some sections were flat, before dropping again.  I figured this would be great on the way back.  However, I was wondering how I would be able to climb for this long on the way back. 

At one point, I could sort of see through the trees.  I could tell I was still very high.  I was wondering how I was still so high, since I had dropped down so much already, it seemed.

It was basically two miles down to the bottom.  I finally, I came out to a clearing.  There were fields around.  I wasn't sure where to go.  I went one direction, but it was uphill.  I didn't want to climb, until I began heading back.  I went the other way.  It was a dead end into a farmer's field.  I didn't want to mess around in the hot sun.  It was pounding on me and I wasn't enjoying it.

Therefore, I just decided to head back.  The second downhill mile was a 10:18.  Now, it was time for the long uphill climb.  It wasn't so bad when I started off.

At one point, it got quite steep and I thought I'd have to walk.  Then, I could see the end of the steep part.  I was breathing heavy, but I battled up it.  I was going slowly, but climbing.  Even after the steep part, it still climbed.  It was a more gradual ascent, so I recovered a bit.

I was so grateful for the switchbacks and flat parts among this climb.  I just continued along.  I was thrilled to climb a mile.  That was a solid 11:27.

I just kept going and figured that I would walk whenever I had to.  At least now, I wouldn't be doing mostly walking, which is what I had expected when I was at the bottom.

The rest of this uphill seemed to be perfect.  I took it easy and never struggled much.  My breathing got slightly labored every now and then, but that was about it.  This uphill mile was a 10:30.

Somehow, I missed the turn off for the AT.  I ended up coming back to the powerline cut through.  I then headed over to where I thought the AT was to head back down the Katellen Trail.  However, I somehow took the wrong route.

The powerline cut through isn't completely overgrown, but there is a lot of tall grass.  I ended up with all kinds of grass seeds on me at the end.  I was more worried about bumping into a rattlesnake though.  I was surprised that I never found one.

There is no view where the AT cuts through, so once I started to see a view, I knew I went the wrong way on the cut through.  I headed back down the other way and eventually linked up with the trail. 

The final mile was downhill on the Katellen Trail.  However, this trail is so steep and has so much loose stone that I couldn't just let it rip.  I had to run cautious down it, especially since I was tired.  Maybe in the future, I'll get used to it and know how to go faster.  The last mile was a 10:56.

I figured that there was no point in a cool down road mile.  I had been going easy by coming down the mountain.  This was a solid run and gave me some good vertical.  However, I thought it would be harder than it was.  The gradual section on the other side of the mountain was definitely easy.  I guess it is because I'm so fit right now.  Maybe in the future, I need to run this harder.  Today was a first trial though.  I'll also likely just do Katellen Trail repeats.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'm doing.  Maybe I'll get back to a little road running.  I am loving trails so much right now, but I have to mix it up some.  It's going to be hot again, so a lack of elevation could be a great thing.  The Pagoda Pacers are having a group run tomorrow too.  Perhaps I can make it to that.

7 miles - 1:15:54 (10:51 pace)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jacobsburg 25 Miler

Yesterday's 20 miler was kind of challenging.  That is just a long time to be on the trails.  I wasn't backing off today though.  In fact, I wanted more.  I headed to Jacobsburg with a goal of 25 miles.

The big thing that worried me was the weather.  While it wasn't terrible by summer standards, it is still summer.  I knew I'd be drenched.  I just hoped that I wouldn't struggle too much.  I was super tired, so it was almost lunch time when I actually got up.  I got a later start than I had hoped for.

It was 1:30 PM when I began.  The plan was to try to do 3 loops of about 7 miles each and then go from there.  I didn't want to run the crowded main path, so I began by crossing the road at the main lot.  I was parking next to it at the new lot.  I was running shirtless with compression tights.  I probably looked funny, but I needed to be comfortable for this long day.

I tried to start off nice and slow and be very conservative.  I walked a few of the short early hills, that I'd never even think about walking during a normal run.  Early on, I thought about how 2 miles at this place used to be a struggle.  Now, it is cake.

It was a little hot in the open part near Route 33.  It was tricky because parts were warm and then there was a breeze and in the woods, it often got cold.  Eventually, I became somewhat comfortable.

I walked uphill some near the road crossings.  I came across a few people on horseback in this section.  It was the first of many encounters with riders.  That was kind of annoying, but I usually just stopped.

I enjoyed some easy running until the powerline climb.  That was hot and tough.  I knew it would be downhill after that though.  I looked forward to it.  I cruised down the hill.  Before long, I came to the singletrack section along the creek.  I wanted to run through this fun portion.

I then went to the two sections along Sober's Run, to add distance.  This would be perfect for getting an extra 2 miles each loop and also running on easy and fun singletrack.  Of course, it was much more fun this time than later on.

I ran a lot of both of these two singletrack sections and in fact ran most of the way from there back to the car.  It was about 7.33 miles for the first loop.  That was solid. 

I stopped to towel off, refill my drinks and also eat part of a sandwich.  I cut a sandwich in half.  I didn't want to waste too much time, as my pace was already getting slower by standing around.  Usually, I like to stop my watch when I rest, but I wanted to see the actual time, so I kept it going.

I began heading out for loop number two.  I walked and ate my sandwich.  I walked some of the early uphill.  I had some decent energy now.  I cruised along.  It took me awhile to get out the Sober's Run area.  I couldn't believe that I was only around mile 10 at that point.  I didn't feel terrible, but I sure wasn't fresh either.

The powerline had been crap again, but going down the backside was great.  The only thing I'm not a fan of is that a lot of these trails are stone.  My legs aren't crazy about that.  I walked a little here and there, but tried to keep moving forward and run as much as I could.  I definitely walked more today than yesterday.

I got to the halfway point and then half marathon point and was simply exhausted.  I had already been running for a couple hours too.  My body was dragging, but there wasn't a lot of damage, so I kept going.

As I was looping around Sober's Run, I had to yield to a few more riders.  I had actually passed them earlier.  I also took a different route when I saw them, so that I would avoid them.  It didn't work though.

I was near mile 14 when I saw them this second time.  The lead woman said, "You're still running!"  I said, "I'll be running for 4.5 hours."  They were amazed.  This was only 2.5 hours into the run.  I had felt pretty crappy before this point, but knowing the loop was nearly over was a big boost.

I had no idea how I could really do 25 miles, when I was so beat at 14 miles, but I had to keep plugging away.  I could always walk more if needed.

I got back to the car around 14.5 miles.  Again, I did the refuel and eating thing.  I wiped the sweat off too.  I definitely knew I could do another loop.  The only question was whether I'd quit there or do the remaining 4 miles.

These breaks were always nice and much needed.  I had run low on water during the previous loop.  It was great to get past mile 15 and be into the final 10 miles.  For how long this was taking, that seemed overwhelming though.  I just took it a mile at a time.

I walked a bit during this loop.  I ran when I could.  Again, I knew the powerline would suck, but it would be awesome after that.  My toe was hurting, but nothing else was too bad.  I was just slowed by the heat.  By now, my pace was pretty consistent though.  I was running a little over an 11 minute pace.  It was actually pretty close to yesterday's pace.

It is nice to get the mileage into the high teens.  That's when I feel like I'm making progress, even if I have a long way to go yet.  I continued on running pretty well on the downhill after the powerline. 

I went back into the singletrack along the creek and hit another low point.  I'm always reminded that long trail runs like this are full of highs and lows.  It is amazing how you are often able to bounce back. 

I was walking an easy section, but I decided that it was something I had to do.  I needed to try to recover.  It was also a good chance to take my only gel during the run.  I figured that that could give me a boost in the final 5 miles.  I was nearing mile 19 now.

After walking a bit, I felt a little better and got back to running.  I wasn't great, but I was moving.  I was getting near mile 20.  I did the singletrack loop around Sober's Run.  As I was heading back, one horse was going crazy.  I tried not to move.  At least the trail was wide and eventually, it went on by.

Going downhill near the end of this loop, the top of my foot began to hurt.  I walked and that seemed to help.  It felt like a rock was in my shoe, but there wasn't one.  I was so glad to be done with the third loop.  I was at mile 21.8 at that point.

I headed back out for more damage.  The plan was to run the short loop around Sober's Run.  This time, I'd do it in reverse.  It was great to get through mile 23.  I had passed the four hour point some time ago.

I walked some during this loop, but I tried to force myself to just run.  I wasn't slowing down any.  I was still running under 11 minute miles, even with some walking sprinkled in.

My foot hurt again in nearly the same section of trail.  It got better after that though.  It was great to get onto the singletrack on the way back.  I knew this would be a lot of fun.  Well as much fun as it could be this late in the run.  The legs weren't much of a problem, but the feet were quite sore and I was just fatigued.

I ran and ran though.  Mile 24 was a solid 10:20.  I was still moving along okay.  I got back to the road and that wasn't much fun, other than the fact that I was nearly done.  If I wasn't close, I would've walked this part.  I kept going though.

I finally hit mile 25 right at the end of the trail.  I could've stopped my watch there, but I figured I'd go the extra tenth of a mile and run to my car.  The last mile was a 9:36.  Then, once I did finish, a big fly began biting me.  I then tried running away and it was still following me.  I finally, I ran downhill to the water fountain.  I then got away and was able to get to my car cleanly.

I was sore and tired, but I've felt worse.  These two runs were almost perfect.  They stressed my body and put me through some low points, but I didn't completely destroy myself.  I think that's kind of the point of long run training.  If you are going to overdo it, save it for race day.  My body can now handle this kind of training.

It is amazing how challenging these runs were though.  I'm hoping this will pay off big time during my October 50K.  Nicer weather should help too.  I know I'll finish the race, unless there's a problem, but I want to run pretty strong too.  I want a few more quality long run weekends.  Having someone to run with would be nice too.

I didn't run much last weekend, but I sure made up for it this weekend.  Tomorrow, will be a much needed rest day.  As long as I recover well, I'll be back at it on Tuesday.  I would like to get some more climbing in or a track workout maybe.  We'll see how it goes.  The weather is supposed to suck this week.

25.15 miles - 4:40:08 (11:08 pace)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lackawanna State Park Long Run

It's time to start training for my upcoming 50K.  I don't want to just finish, I want to do fairly well.  It is going to be a challenging course.  I need to pack in some quality long runs over the next few weeks.

Today, I decided to do the first of back to back 20 milers.  I went to my friend Eric's to do the Ice Bucket Challenge.  I wanted to run a trail fairly close, so I went to Lackawanna State Park.  I ran there when we camped last year and I love it.  It's great for looping long runs.

It was a rare day without warmth and humidity.  Instead, it was cold and rainy.  That was just as tough.  I had to actually wear a shirt.  I actually waited in the car for over an hour until the rain nearly stopped.  It was almost 11 AM went I started.

I parked in the lower lot and ran through the camping area.  Near the dump station, the trail begins.  Within this first half mile, I was into the woods and saw a deer.  I love this section with huge pine trees.  The needles make everything so soft.

When I ran there before, I ran the loop counterclockwise.  I also didn't run the whole thing, as I sort of got lost.  Today, I decided to try running in the opposite direction.  The early pine forest part was a slow go.  It was downhill with a lot of flat rocks and roots.  I had to be cautious and not slip.

This was a fun section.  There is so much beautiful singletrack through the woods at this park.  It is among my favorite places to run.  I wish it was closer to my house.

It wasn't too long and I was crossing the road.  I was off of the North Woods Trail.  I was now on to the Bull Hill Trail.  This part was a lot of fun too.  Last year, I got confused in this area.  This time, I knew where to go coming the other direction.  I ran by a pond and was then into the woods. 

This section seemed to go for awhile.  It was back and forth, back and forth.  There are old stone walls and a few times, the trail crossed over into them.  There was some up and down, but it wasn't too steep.  It was all so runnable, although not fast.

The changing directions so often, did get annoying at times.  I kept on going though.  It was damp and I had on my visor, so I was a bit wet.  Looking at the map, I guess I ran through the Ziegler Preserve too.

I had run through an open field section earlier.  That was kind of dull, but at least different.  The trail through Ziegler Preserve seemed to take forever.  Part of me wondered if I was on the right path.  The trails are marked, but they aren't too great if you aren't paying a lot of attention.  There are nice big signs when new trails intersect.

Finally, I came out to the road.  I thought that I had to go to the left to cross the road and get on the trail.  I did that as I approached mile 5.  I walked up the steep hill for a bit.  I got to some houses and realized that I must've gone the wrong way.  At least the road made the pace slightly faster.  I came back down the hill and not far after the lot I came out of way the next road. 

It was a dirt road that quickly led to the next trail.  I took the Abington Trail from that point.  It ran along the lake and then went uphill.  I had no desire to climb, so I stayed along the lake and took the Lakeshore Trail.  This was a lot of fun.  At times, there were nice views of the lake.

More importantly, this trail was more straight and smooth, when compared with the earlier trails.  I was able to fly and gain a lot of time there.  I was running most of the time, since the uphills were only minor.  I saw a deer on part of this trail.  It was right in my path and ran up the trail.

After running along the lake, the trail went into a cove.  That was cool too, with some more water views.  The trail was along a ledge, so I had to be cautious in the wet conditions.  I was amazed that I never fell at all.  I only slipped a few times during this run.

After this section, I was crossing the road again.  Before and after the road was some sections with a lot of brush and less trees.  Even so, they weren't too overgrown.  Things were quite well maintained.  I crossed over Route 534.

I was now to the Turkey Hill section.  I ran this a lot before.  This is similar to the Bull Hill Trail.  It's up and down, in and out.  It goes by, around and over some old stone walls too.  The legs were feeling it a bit, so I stayed on the lower trail, when I had the choice. 

I ended up coming out to the main road sooner than I wanted.  I wasn't 100% sure how to get to the next section, but I thought I had to run down the road and then in a park road for a bit.  I was correct and I found that trail kind of quickly.

I was already over 8 miles and it was apparent by now that this loop was longer than I anticipated.  I thought it would be 7 or 8 miles and that it would be perfect for refueling.  I was getting low on water, but I kept plugging away.

The trail had some short climbs.  Again, I was rarely walking.  I was slowly going up these switchbacks.  This time, I stayed on the middle trail, which was the Frost Hollow Trail.  That was kind of flat with some decent longer up and down sections.  It was very runnable though and I probably gained time on it.

This sure isn't a fast trail run though.  It wasn't long and I was through this section and out along the dam.  That's cool to see.  I then took a stone road for a bit.  After that, it was back into the woods.  The North Woods Trail section was very dark. 

I took some switchbacks and was back at the camping area in no time.  Then, it was downhill to my car.  This segment was way longer than I thought it would be.  It was about 10.5 miles and took over 2 hours.  That did include some extra running when I was slightly lost.

There was a church service at the pavilion near my car.  I enjoyed some music.  I stopped for a few minutes, but kept the watch running.  I refueled with a bar and refilled my water and added some Nuun.  I used a Hammer tablet earlier.  Both seemed to work okay.

I thought about pushing myself for another full loop, but I didn't think I'd have enough water for that.  Therefore, I planned the shorter loop that I ran last year.  That was a better option.  This time, I ran counterclockwise.

After going up to the dump station, it was a nice downhill through the woods.  Then, I was back to the dam.  I climbed up above it and enjoyed the Frost Hollow Trail again.  I continued to run, as I made my way through miles 13 and 14.  The legs were getting beat and I was tiring, but I need to work on running more on long trail runs.  No more taking it easy and being conservative.

It seemed like I was going slow, but it wasn't long until I was to the main road.  This time, I took the Abington Trail across the road.  It was fun running up initially.  I did walk a little, but the uphills were so runnable that I kept plugging away.  I went through mile 14 and so on.

I then ran on Joey's Trail and the Turkey Hill Trail.  Again, I stayed low when I could.  I didn't want to climb more than I needed.  I just continued to run as much as I could.

Instead of going behind the lake, I crossed over it on the road bridge.  This would be the way to go for the shorter loop.  I ran this section on the closer side of the lake last year and it was fun.  I came across a few mountain bikers.  Almost no one was out biking or riding today.

This trail is called the Orchard Trail.  It goes up and down, but they are very small climbs.  I was running decent at mile 16.5 and quite happy.  I continued to move along.  I came out to the road crossing.

I headed back to the North Woods Trail.  In no time, I was at the pond where I got lost last year.  Since I came the other way earlier, I knew where the trail was after the road crossing.  I walked some of the grassy uphill.

After crossing the road, I got back to running.  I wasn't moving fast at this point, but I was clicking off the miles.  I drank a lot more water early on this time, so it was nearly gone. 

Again, I enjoyed the North Woods Trail.  It's just so beautiful, deep in the woods and so much fun.  I was hurting a little as I approached mile 18, but I continued along.

I didn't want to climb and go back to the camping area, so I headed out on the stone road and then to the dam.  I was over 18.5 miles at this point.  I ran up and above the dam.  I was still running most of the time.  I even managed to put in a solid 11:18 mile with some trail at this point.

I turned around sometime past mile 19.  I wasn't going to head all the way back.  I came back to the dam and ran up the grassy road next to it.  I was beat and walked a little here, even though I was nearly done.

I had a short climb on trail.  Then, I was out to the day use area.  I was over 19.5 miles now.  I ran out on the pavement and ran past my car, into the next lot over.  At that point, I turned back and headed for my car.  I was going to stop at mile 20, but I saw that my time was close to 3 hours and 45 minutes, so I continued until that point.

This was a great run and I'm glad I went back to this park.  I'll be there often.  It's not the fastest trail run, but it's so much fun and the trails are just outstanding.  I find sections of trails that I enjoy like this, but rarely do I enjoy so many miles of trails, like I do at this place.  I was happy to get in 20 miles and not get to wet.

I felt much better after this one than some of my other trail 20 milers.  I guess I'm getting stronger.  I was especially happy with that because I probably ran 98% of the time for this run.  Still, 20 trail miles is tough.  It always sounds much better on paper than it ever is.  I enjoyed the beginning, but the end was a struggle.  My feet were a little sore and my quads too, but I should recover okay.

Tomorrow, I want to knock out 20+ miles again.  I'm really hoping for 25 miles.  I want to up my training big time this fall and winter, as I prepare for more ultras.  I need a lot of long runs, not just total mileage.  I should probably find someone to run with.  That might be a big help.  I think I'll probably go to Jacobsburg tomorrow.  That run should be faster. 

20.10 miles - 3:45:01 (11:12 pace)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Much, Much Better Than Expected

I haven't been feeling all that strong this week.  The legs were beat at times and the humidity later in the week was killing me.  Wednesday and Thursday were especially terrible.  I was a little more hopeful for today.

I changed my mind though when I looked at the forecast.  Although the temperature was low, the humidity was over 80%.  That sounded awful, so I postponed the run until the evening, even though the forecast wouldn't change much.

I was unbelievably surprised when I got out there in the evening and started running.  Of course I was still soaked by the end and ran shirtless, but it was so much better than I expected.  I could deal with that type of weather for 10 miles any time.  The temperature was in the low 70s and it was cloudy, so I guess that made up for the humidity.

I headed to the Nor-Bath Trail for the run.  I thought about starting at the Bath end, but I wasn't sure that I really wanted to run the entire trail, especially when I thought the weather would be crappy.  I ended up on the Northampton end, because then at least I could run the D&L or around town if I wanted to split the run up.

I parked next to the Northampton girls' soccer field.  I made sure to park behind the fence, so that no balls hit my car.  I had a nice downhill start on sidewalks.  A guy commented that they had just fixed the curbs. 

I came across a party in a pavilion next to the high school.  It was going on when I came back too.  They looked bored.  About a mile into the run, I hit the Nor-Bath Trail.  Mile 1 was an 8:43.

The legs felt kind of crappy early on, but got far better.  One of the reasons I decided to run there was that I hoped the softness would help my legs.  Maybe it worked, but regardless of why, I felt good.

I had some uphill.  There were a few bikers and a bunch of walkers.  I don't think anyone else was running.  Mile 2 was an 8:17.

I wanted to get to at least Weaversville Road.  That would put me over 3 miles.  I got to that road and would've crossed it, but traffic was too heavy.  I turned around and headed back.  Mile 3 was a 7:50.

I decided that I would at the run through the park when I got a little farther.  I headed there and had to pass two women with a dog and baby.  There was another uphill, but at this easy effort, it was nothing. 

I usually turn around not far after the hill.  I wanted more mileage though, so I went as far as I could.  I even headed into the park and the parking lot there.  It looked like maybe there were some paved paths there, but they weren't far.  Mile 4 had been a 7:58 and mile 5 a 7:43.

I couldn't believe how great the legs felt as this point.  I was so happy.  I tried to tell myself to slow down, but I really was already running easy and feeling good.  I got back on to the Nor-Bath Trail and figured that I had about 2 miles yet to get back to my car.  That was around mile 6.  That mile was run at 8:10.

It was good to get over Savage Road and then have some downhill.  I coasted along.  Mile 7 was an 8:01.  I ran past the party and then soccer practice was nearly over.  It was starting to get dark as I got to mile 8.  That was a 7:56 mile.

I decided that for the final 2 miles, I'd run to the Northampton Canal Park and back.  I could've run on the D&L, but I didn't want to cross the road for such a short run.  I got to mile 9 and that was run at 8:04.

I was running easy now and pretty consistent.  I had cut through the backside of Northampton on the way out.  I headed back at 9.3 miles and this time took the long way down Main Street.  I finished up about 2 blocks before my car.  Mile 10 was an 8:05.

I love days like this where everything feels so great.  I wish I could bottle it up for a race.  Hopefully I'll at least feel fairly good for my long run tomorrow.  I'm planning on running 20-25 miles at Lackawanna State Park.  I ran there once before and really like it.  Maybe this time, I can run the entire loop around most of the perimeter of the park.  That would be nice.  I think that would make 7 mile segments.

10 miles - 1:20:44 (8:05 pace)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Muggy Jacobsburg Run

Although the temperatures sure weren't high today, the humidity sure was.  I ran at Jacbosburg and was completely drenched in less than an hour.  I can't wait for the end of summer.

I didn't have a lot of time, so I headed to Jacobsburg around lunch time.  I would've preferred 7 miles or more, but again I didn't have that kind of availability.  I had to do what I could.

It was wet there when I arrived and super humid as I ran.  The first mile felt kind of comfortable, but after that it was awful.  I was going to run the regular loop, but then decided to go to the Sober's Run area and stay there.

First, I went to the singletrack along the water.  I passed a couple near the bridge on the way out.  I then came across a park ranger trimming brush.  I was happy to see them doing work.  It wasn't long and I was back to where I parked and near mile 2.  It was a slow go with the humidity. 

I went up to do the normal loop next.  The powerline climb was quite the struggle, but knowing the route did help me get through it.  I was wearing compression socks and I think they helped my sore legs. 

After the climb, I enjoyed the downhill.  I knew the rest of my planned run would be easy.  It was almost all downhill or flat.  The pace got quicker as I went on.

It wasn't long and I was in the final stretch.  I was back on to the fun singletrack again.  This time, I started closer to the bridge before heading back.  The humidity did slow me, as I neared the end.  I was glad to be done in these miserable conditions.

I'm happy that the run is over.  It was good to get something done.  It wasn't pretty, but at least it was a trail run.

I'm not quite sure of the plan for tomorrow.  I might try to run double digits.  I also may head to the track and combine that with another shorter run.  We'll see how it plays out.  The weather may be a big factor in that decision too.

5.10 miles - 45:29 (8:55 pace)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Point Mountain Reservation

Today was another day of exploring new trails.  However, it was also a reminder that summer isn't over.  I ended up beat by the end of it and I ran again in the evening.

I didn't want to go too far, but last week I found a place about 40 minutes away in New Jersey.  It's called Point Mountain Reservation.  It is broken up into 3 sections, the North, Central and South.  It appeared that you could run the perimeter and get over 11 miles of running.  That sounded good to me.

It was super hot and humid.  I was shirtless and drenched anyway by the end.  Even my legs looked like I had just stepped out of a pool.  It was gross and I can't wait for summer to end.

I wanted to start on the South Section.  That part begins in an open field and is near the top of the mountain.  That would've been good for the beginning of the run.  However, the trail was just too overgrown and I was worried that there might be ticks there.  Maybe in the fall, winter or spring, it will be a better place to start.

I headed partway down the mountain and found the other parking area.  I was now going to run the Blue Trail.  It's a very short climb out of the parking area, but then the Blue Trail begins and the Orange Trail goes to the top.  I didn't want to climb yet, so I took the Blue Trail.

It was flat in the beginning and a wide singletrack.  It was a little rocky, but not too bad.  It went past a really cool, huge boulder.  Then, it gradually went downhill.

A lot of the Blue Trail runs along the creek.  That was very nice and pretty.  Before long, I met up with the other end of the Orange Trail.  This goes out into open fields.  I sure wasn't prepared for this.  The sun was beating on me and eating me up.  It was bad because there was a lot of ascending too.

I was trying to go slow, but was already getting exhausted and soaked.  The Orange Trail has all these little spurs to it.  It is kind of confusing.  Eventually, I came out to a parking area and I knew the North Section was across the road.

I went looking for it by running down the road.  I crossed over the creek and found a trail next to a swimming area.  A bunch of teens were swimming there.  The trail went uphill and then ended at Route 57, so I headed back.

Earlier, I knew that part of the Orange Trail went into the woods.  I followed that.  At first, it went through another field, with another short climb.  That was exhausting.

Then, I was into the woods and it was an uphill climb.  I took it slow, but it was a struggle with the humidity.  Eventually, I ran out of the Orange Trail and continued climbing on the Red Trail.

I didn't mind climbing, because I knew there was a view somewhere at the top.  I wasn't sure what the Red Trail was and I still don't as it isn't on my map.  It seemed to be everywhere though.  At times, it was a nice singletrack.  Other times, it was overgrown.  I saw some deer and wasn't crazy about running the overgrown parts.

At one point, I found a road and some houses.  When I realized I wasn't going to find the view, I decided to head back the way I came.  I must've been circling around the same places on the Red Trail for around half an hour.

I couldn't even find my way out.  The problem was that the section that I came up on was overgrown.  Finally, I made it down.  I still could never find the remainder of the Orange Trail loop.  Maybe it does go through there.

I went downhill exhausted.  I was glad to make it through miles 5 and 6.  I eventually linked back up with the Blue Trail.  There was a gradual climb back to my car, so it wasn't too bad.  I passed some women that were walking dogs.

I was dead tired as I hit mile 7.  I tried to climb up the Orange Trail near my car, to get to the view.  I didn't have the energy though and I headed back down.  I'll have to try it again another time.

This was a fun run and I'll have to explore it even more next time.  It's very runnable, but also has some quality climbing.  Add on to that that it is fairly close by and I'll be there often I'm sure.

Since I didn't run quite as far as I wanted, I decided to head out for a night run.  Originally, I was planning 5 miles.  Then I changed it to 3 miles and eventually ended up doing 4 miles.

I was going to run 3 loops around my neighborhood, but that got boring after one loop.  I headed across the highway and ran the short loop that I often do.  I ran it in reverse direction this time though.

It was good to get to mile 2 and beyond.  I didn't feel that great.  I wasn't rested and I think my shoes are dead.  The legs were quite sore.  My left hip almost felt like it wanted to collapse and didn't want to move.

It was also humid, but I do enjoy night running.  I find it very calming.  It made the weather more bearable.  This was a slow run, as it was mostly over 8 minute pace.

When I got to my neighborhood, I did one of the shorter loops.  I finished up just past my house at 4 miles.  It was good to be done and now I need rest.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the Eagles preseason game.  I need to find time to run.  If I don't work, it will happen in the morning.  If I do work, it will be in the early afternoon, before I head out.

7.42 miles - 1:16:45 (10:21 pace)
4 miles - 33:47 (8:27 pace)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Humid Evening in Jacobsburg

After the Trexler full loop run yesterday, I wasn't sure what to do today.  I wanted to run fast, but didn't get around to it.  Instead, I headed out to Jacobsburg in the evening for 10 miles.

Yesterday evening was very nice.  Tonight, was semi cool, but it was very humid in comparison.  I ran shirtless as usual and was dripping with sweat by the end.  This summer hasn't been as bad as it could be, but I can't wait for it to be over.

The body felt decent after yesterday.  I wasn't going to run hard tonight, but I did have to hurry, because I didn't have a lot of daylight to get 10 miles in.  I started right around 7 PM.

I went out and did my usual loop.  The beginning was uneventful.  I came across some horse crap.  There was a lot of it throughout the trail.  I ran pretty easy.

I struggled mildly with the short climbs.  It was mainly due to the humidity.  It made my breathing labored slightly.

As I was running the technical section before the road crossings, I ran into some mountain bikers.  Luckily, I saw a big group later on, but they were resting for a minute.  I was surprised because in the early part of the run, I saw 3 people trail running.  I rarely see anyone trail running at Jacobsburg.  It is always just hiking and mountain biking.

After the road crossing, I came to the powerline cut area.  I was startled as a groundhog ran out about 4 feet in front of me across the trail.  Wildlife was everywhere today.

I took it easy and was breathing a little heavy up the powerline climb.  I don't enjoy this part, but I always look forward to the downhill after that.  It is a lot of fun.  I cruised down that and ran by a couple that was walking.

Rather than continue on the loop, when I got to pedestrian bridge, I made a right.  I went to the fun singletrack along the creek.  I wanted to add some distance.  I came out and was past a woman with her dog that was walking earlier.  I was glad for that.

I encountered a deer on the wide path.  It stood and stared at me and then took off into the woods.  Later on, I saw a second deer.  It is funny because I ran about 500-1,000 miles in this park without seeing a deer.  Now, in the last 200 miles or so, I've seen about 15-20 of them.

Originally, I planned to run up into the open field section after the normal 6 mile loop.  I figured that that would be better as it was getting darker.  However, I don't like that section and just didn't feel like climbing any.

I decided to run the fun singletrack section along both sides of Sober's Run.  I figured that that would get me about an additional mile and a half and I'd probably be at around 8.5 miles when I got back to the car.

That was a good decision and a lot of fun.  The legs got kind of sore on the wide stone trails in the park, but the dirt singletrack was much more forgiving.  It was awesome.

It wasn't long and I was out to the road.  I had to run on there and it was tough as dusk was quickly approaching.  Cars had on their lights now.  I arrived back at my car over 8.5 miles.

The plan was to run a short out and back on the main path.  I did that and had a little climbing.  I went past some people.  It was getting super dark in there, thanks to the tree cover.  Luckily, there are few rocks, because I could barely see a thing.

I made sure to let the people know I was coming back as I passed them.  I didn't want to scare them in the near darkness.  I couldn't see my watch, so I ended with a little over 10 miles. 

It was a solid run and I'm just loving trails so much now.  I'll going to run on those a lot more now the rest of the summer and into the fall.  I can't wait to do more ultras.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'm doing.  If I'm not working and the weather is good, I might go to the Little League World Series and then run some of the trails up there too.  The team from Philly plays.  If I don't make it up there, maybe I'll run twice.  If so, I'd do a track workout for sure.

10.04 miles - 1:28:28 (8:49 pace)

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Time Running the Whole Trexler Loop

It was a busy day today, doing post race work after the Eastern States 100.  I didn't get out there to run until the evening.  I had to run trails, since the weekend racing on trails inspired me.  I was going to Trexler to run.

The only real question was how was I going to run.  I wanted to either try running the whole loop once without stopping or run two loops.  If I did two loops, the second one would start after dark.  That isn't the best place to run alone at night.

I figured that I would let my body dictate what I was doing.  If my legs felt like crap, I would walk early and make it two loops.  If I felt good, I would try to run the whole thing.

I started off and felt good.  The first challenging hill was relatively easy.  I was just cruising up it and only had slightly labored breathing.  It was time to give running the whole loop a try.

The weather was quite nice, as it has been all summer.  For me, that still means no shirt and plenty of sweat.  My shorts were drenched by the end, even though I didn't break a sweat in the first mile.

I heard all this noise and then ran by the LCCC campus and realized that a team was practicing next to the trail.  A car was leaving Trexler at the same time as me.  The gate was closed, but I went around it.

I went through the rocky section and on to the long, gradual hill.  I saw a mountain biker at his car, right before the hill.  I came across no hikers or runners all day though.  It was a lonely, but peaceful run.

I cruised along, trying not to work too hard.  The barking dogs didn't bark too much this time around.  The first mile was a 9:16 and mile 2 was an 8:18.

I got to the top with the great 360 degree view and took a rare pause in thought and looked around.  It was one of the few moments where I was really engulfed in the trail.  The sun was nearly setting over the hills.  It was so beautiful.

I didn't have time to worry about the views though.  I was on a mission to run the whole thing.  I knew the real challenge would be the super steep hill around mile 4.  If I could make it over that for the first time ever, I had a chance.

I tried to get up the shorter hills before that by using as little energy as possible.  I was ready to go by the time the big hill came around.  Still, it is hard to know if I'll ever be prepared.

I worked on using small steps and not focusing up ahead too much.  I just took it step by step.  I was breathing pretty heavy as I made it through the toughest part.  I still had a short, less steep section to get all the way to the top.  I made it though and I celebrated at the top!

I was so thrilled just to make it that far.  I had never run that entire hill and wasn't sure if I could run it.  I almost did last time there, when I pushed the pace more, so I thought that maybe I could.

Although the hardest hill was out of the way, it was far from over.  The problem with this course is that it pounds you with hill after hill after hill.  It is like taking body blows. 

I tried to recover as much as possible before the next hill.  If I could get my breathing back close to normal, I'd have a chance.  The legs weren't struggling one bit.  They felt great at this easy pace.

There isn't too much time before the next hill, so that was a challenge.  It took a lot of work, but I made it to the top of this less steep hill too.  Now, it was on to the next section.

I anticipated the uphills to be the only problem.  However, it was the downhill after these two that nearly did me in.  As I was cruising toward the creek, I ducked under some branches and my momentum caused me to fly down the hill, out of control.  I nearly crashed, but I survived.

I guess technically I did walk.  I wasn't going to run across the creek.  I could easily fall and hurt myself.  I did move across it quickly, but I was walking.

I knew I was far from out of the woods at this point, but I was in great shape.  My breathing recovered and the legs felt good.  I guess resting a lot over the weekend likely helped. 

Mile 3 was run at 8:17, while mile 4 was 9:57.  My slowest mile of the whole run was mile 5, which included the big hill.  I ran that in 10:29.  That was by far the fastest that I ever went through that mile.

My big concern now was how I would handle this next hill/hills.  It isn't steep at all, but it is very long and gradual.  After the previous two hills, this one to the zoo usually does me in.  I went slow again and battled up it.  I made it to the top.

The only problem is that it is tough to tell what is really the top.  It turns right after that and goes gradually uphill through some grass.  I hate grass, but it wasn't too steep, so I was able to continue on.  At this point, I was very confident that I could finish by running the whole thing.

I knew that I had almost 2 miles until the next long, gradual hill.  I took all the time I could to recover and go easy.  I saw a deer along a flat section and it just stared at me.  I ran mile 6 at 9:15. 

I was slightly drained, so in between the hills, I wasn't moving as well as earlier.  However, I still felt fine in general.  There's this relatively easy hill that I knew I'd make it over, but I figured this one would be a test for the tougher hills to come.  If I had no trouble with the easy hill, I'd probably be good.  If there was some difficulty, I might not make it up the tougher hills.

The easy hill was very easy and I enjoyed it.  I was so focused by now.  I actually looked forward to the remaining hills.  Knowing this course, nearly inch by inch, was certainly a big help tonight.

I took it slow up the next long hill.  It was starting to get dark in this wooded section.  I was breathing a little heavy, but I made it to the top.

Now, I could recover on the road behind KidsPeace.  I figured the rolling hills wouldn't be too much of a problem.  They used to be a challenge, but now I find them to be a lot of fun.  I got through them with no problem.

There was only one short, but very steep climb remaining.  I felt okay, so I couldn't see how this hill could possibly stop me now that the finish was so close in my sights.  Just to be sure, I left my handheld next to the trail, by the road.  I didn't need it and I wanted to drop the weight.

I took it easy again and this hill was a battle, but I made it to the top.  After the steepest part, it levels out, but isn't over.  I conquered all the hills and was so happy at this point.  Mile 7 was a 9:48 and mile 8 was a 9:15.  Only the mile with the steepest hill took over 10 minutes.

I did have one last very short hill back to the Environmental Center, but there was no way that was going to hold me back.  I went up that one fairly quickly and ended the loop.  I made it without walking for the first time ever!  My shorts were soaked and it was getting chilly with the sun setting, but I was thrilled.

I've been trying to run this entire loop for years.  The hills always crushed me though.  For the longest time, it didn't seem like I was improving any.  I often cut through the middle by the zoo, because it was just too hard.  As I improved my overall fitness, my ability to run at Trexler improved greatly.

When I came back to Trexler for the first time in months back in April, I ran two speedy loops with relative easy.  That's when I knew I was doing well and making a lot of progress.  Then in June, I ran a 10 minute PR for the loop with some help and I nearly ran all of it.  I knew at that point that running the whole thing was possible.  However, I didn't know if I could do it yet or would need cooler weather.

When I was watching the 100 miler over the weekend, I learned a lot.  There were some slow people that I couldn't believe were as far toward the front as they were.  However, it became clear that they were just staying consistent.  I adopted some of that this evening, as I shortened my stride on the climbs and took it even easier than normal.  There's no reason to rush up the hills.  Taking it easy and not wasting too much energy does the trick.  You don't lose too much time that way either.  I'll have to try applying this strategy to future races.  I can tweak how I run too.  This trail running is becoming a fun learning experience.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping for a track workout and another run.  I'm not too beat from this run, so I think I can pull it off.  We'll see what I have in store.  I definitely want to hit the trails more now and work on my climbing.

8.46 miles - 1:19:13 (9:22 pace)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Post Eastern States Run

I was so busy running around during the 36 hours that the Eastern States 100 was going on.  I didn't even get a chance to run during the event.  It is a shame, because I would've liked to have tackled more of the tough trails around the course.  I guess I'll be back there.

We didn't get home until 9 PM Sunday night.  I needed a run, so I grabbed the headlamp and vest and ran around my neighborhoods.  The plan was to just get something done, so I went for 5 miles.

The weather was super cool all weekend and more of the same tonight.  It was so relaxing.  I did sweat with a shirt on, but it wasn't too noticeable.

I just went out and relaxed and had fun.  I rarely even bothered glancing and my watch.  I was just in thought a lot.  I thought about the crazy ultra this weekend.  I know eventually, I want to tackle a 100 miler and maybe even this one.  However, those goals are way down the road.  I want to be better trained, so that I suffer less.

I did the loop that I used to do in high school.  Then, I added on the 1 mile loop in the other neighborhood to climb.  I realized how much stronger I'm getting when I was done with the climb and had been thinking so much that I didn't even notice it.

It was great to be halfway done and then beyond that.  The legs were a little sore, but not too bad.  I'm pretty sure that I need new shoes.

This run was so peaceful and relaxing.  Only a few cars passed by.  It wasn't long and I was back to Newburg Road.  There was a car coming, so I went back in the neighborhood briefly.  I then finished up and had a short walk back.

It was good to get something in at least.  I have a 50K to train for at some point and I want to do well in it.  Therefore, I need to start going longer on trails and hitting the hills.  I'm thinking I may try to do 2 loops at Trexler tomorrow.  That is depending on how hot it is then.

5 miles - 41:43 (8:21 pace)

Eastern States 100 (Friday)

Yesterday was a very productive day.  Today, it was the start of a fun weekend.  I am camping out at Little Pine State Park and watching friends and other folks run the Eastern States 100.  This is the first year of the race and it promises to be one of the most difficult races around.  It is run through the Tiadaghton State Forest.

I wanted to explore some of the trail to figure out where to go to take photographs tomorrow.  We drove first to Hyner Run State Park.  That was okay, but I couldn’t find a great location.  Then, we went to Hyner View State Park.  That was amazing!  It has probably the most amazing mountaintop views that I’ve ever seen.  People come from all over to hang glide there.  We got to see a couple people doing that.  It was awesome to see and maybe
I wanted to go in this area because I’ll probably run the Hyner 50K.  I wanted to run the trails in the view area, but the climbs just seemed like a bit much.  It was nearly dark too.  I went back to Hyner Run to start this short run.
The weather was very cold for a change.  I wore a shirt.  I’m not even sure if I have enough technical shirts to run the rest of the weekend.  It was great to have outstanding weather for a change.
I stared off heading on to the woods road.  It is a gravel road that passes through the park.  The course was marked, so it was easy to follow.  I was hoping there would be a singletrack, but it took some time to get there.  
The area along the road was nice as there was water and a forest.  There were cabins too, although they looked a bit run down and none were occupied.  They were kind of creepy.  I thought that they would make the perfect spot to film a horror movie.
Around a mile and a half, I finally came to some trail.  This went by a creepy cabin road.  Then, it was on to a dirt doubletrack.  I thought that I might have to turn around at a creek crossing, but then I saw a concrete bridge over the water.  It was falling apart, but passable.
I continued on.  After the cabin, it was on to some singletrack.  This was a fun, little climb along a dry stream.  It was mostly soft, with a lot of pine and moss.  That made it a little slick and it could be challenging tomorrow.  
I didn’t want to go out too far, so I came back at 1.65 miles.  This climb was easy, but it was enough climbing for me.  It was slowly getting dark.  I actually saw a truck as I neared the park.  It was the only vehicle on the road.
I got back to our vehicle and let my dad know that I was going out the other way.  I knew that it went back to a singletrack.  I ran up that part.  It was a steep climb initially, but then it leveled off.  It was a nice gradual climb, along another dry seasonal creek.  
This section was beautiful, but it was really getting dark by now.  I turned around after about half a mile.  Coming downhill and not crashing in the dark was a challenge.
I missed the turn for the trail and ended up behind a cabin.  Luckily, it is part of the park.  I still turned around and found the correct route.  I came back to my car and ran the parking area briefly to finish up.  I got 5 miles in for this decent little run.
The race starts at 5 AM tomorrow.  I’m going to get up to watch that and take photos.  Then, I’m going to come back to the camper for a bit and watch the marathon start.  After that, I might rest.  I want to get some photos a bit later on.  I’m not sure where to go as Hyner wasn’t as good as I expected and some of the road crossings areas were disappointing.
I will definitely run tomorrow.  When I’ll be able to, I’m not sure.  This race is so big that I can’t chase it around too much.  At the same time, I’ll be out at one aid station area for hours.  I’d love to do some climbing and maybe I will in the evening, but I may be resigned to simply running miles on the rail trail a few miles away.  It would take some time to get there though.
5.02 miles – 49:29 (9:52 pace)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Track Workout and South Mountain Reservation Run

Yesterday was an excellent run.  The legs felt kind of beat heading into today though.  That was too bad, because I planned 2 runs for the day anyway.

First, I got out to the track in the late morning.  I was just going to take it easy and run 4X400 meters with 400 meter active recovery segments.  It was nice a cool when I started in the late morning.  The humidity was low.  I elected not to wear a shirt.

There was a guy walking as I warmed up for a mile.  Fall high school sports are now going on, so it's quite busy there.  I realized that last week I didn't start with the stagger in lane 3.  Today, I ran the repeats correctly.

I tried to be solid and steady on the first one.  However, that was a disappointing 1:25.  The recovery was nice.  The second repeat I picked it up to 1:20.  Again, I enjoyed the recovery.

For the final 2, I made sure to run on my toes more.  I ran hard for the third one, but wasn't going to kill myself.  There was yelling at the football practice above the track.  I pretended that they were yelling for me.  This repeat was a 1:21.

I wish I could've been a little faster, but the legs just weren't that sharp.  I was breathing heavy anyway and moving well.  The most important thing was to get out of my comfort zone and I was doing that during this workout.  On the final one, I really pushed it.  I ran that one at 1:19.  I then cooled down with another mile.

I'm borrowing my old roommate Bill's camera to take photos for the Eastern States 100 this weekend.  I drove out by him, near NYC to get it.  Then, I went to the South Mountain Reservation on the way back.  I've never run there before.

It was very cool again, but I knew I'd be out there for awhile.  I went shirtless and was hot by the end.  I also didn't have much water, so that didn't help.

I parked at a dog park.  The main road to the top of the park was packed.  There were a ton of people running, biking and walking dogs.  It definitely wasn't as remote as a lot of the trail runs I go on.

I started off on this stone trail that quickly turned to dirt.  It was nice and flat.  It was weird though, because it was right next to the paved walkway, so I could see people over there.  I passed two runners going the other direction.  The first one, a guy, looked like a real trail runner that would hit some good singletrack.  I was hopeful that I was going the right way.  The second was a cute young lady with a small dog.  I doubted she ran anything tough.

My plan was to run on the yellow trail.  As I got pretty far out, I turned toward where I thought that would be.  I ended up going downhill a bit.  I didn't want to go too far down though.  Luckily, I saw a sweet singletrack that cut across.  Even better, it was the yellow trail.

This beginning part really sucked.  It was cool that it ran along a ridge.  However, it was super rocky.  It was rock after rock after rock.  The only place worse around here is the AT.  It was very frustrating.

There were some fun little sections with dried streams.  There were some roots too.  There was a nice and high canopy as well.  Everything was wide open.  At times, it was hard to even follow the trail.  Basically, it seemed like it followed the worst rocks you could find.

I almost fell going slow.  The one thing I did like was that there wasn't much elevation early on.  That would change though.  A couple miles in, I came to a pretty long and tough climb.  I was breathing heavy and unsure if I'd make it to the top.

At least I'm getting fairly good at reading terrain by now.  I could tell that it looked like I was nearly the top and I was.  After that, I recovered.  That made for kind of a slow 11:03 third mile, but I did run the whole thing.  I need to add more climbing to the mix.

At the top, it was less rocky, but it was narrow singletrack with bushes on the side.  I wasn't crazy about that because I always worry about ticks in those situations.  I was glad to get through this part.

I came back to more of the wide woods with tall trees.  Of course that meant more rocks.  I took a picture of this cool stone structure.  As I was walking after that, I tripped on a rock.  At least I didn't fall.

There was a lot of downhill at this point.  I wasn't too crazy about that.  I then came to this cool stone bridge.  I took a photo of that too.  Then, there was another bridge.  Somewhere in this area was supposed to be the orange trail.  I was hoping to do that loop, but never found it.

I then came to this cool little waterfall with a bench.  I tried to take a photo.  There were a ton of bugs in the area.  I tried to get back on the yellow trail, but it seemed overgrown.

There were so many trails.  I just ended up taking one that looked like it was the correct direction.  A lot of the trails are wide stone roads that were unmarked.  The one I took climbed and climbed and climbed.  I went slow and it was very tough because a lot of loose rocks.  Because of that and stopping at the waterfall, mile 4 was a 12:54.

I was so lost at this point, but at least thought I sort of knew the way to go.  My concern is that I was really only looking to run 6 miles and if I got too lost, I'd have to add a lot more.  I knew eventually I'd find something I knew.  This place isn't that big.

I came to a dead end road at one point.  I climbed and went by a guy hiking the other way a little later.  I saw him earlier.  Then, I passed a family.  I figured they must be going the right way.  Finally, I thought I knew about where I was, so I gambled and headed left.

I'll admit, I did get quite lucky.  I came up a hill and saw a fence.  I knew they had a fence near the dog park.  That was where I was at.  I was at mile 5 and quite thrilled.

I wanted to get another mile in, so I cut through the middle on a flat, easy trail.  I then came out to the main road.  I had to run a bit to get to mile 6.

As I was nearing mile 6, I saw what I thought might be a cute woman up ahead.  I figured why not run past her.  I was pounding the pavement now.  I passed her and decided to keep going.

There were supposed to be views along this route.  There were some cutouts, but you couldn't see over the trees.  I guess they are seasonal views.  I could see a little bit here and there, but not much.

I went all the way to the end of the pavement.  It ends at a giant loop.  I was around mile 7 now.  I headed back.

Rather than run on the pavement, I went back on the dirt singletrack again.  It was the section that I ran in the beginning.  It wasn't too long and I was back to the dog park.  I ran a little in that area to finish up.  Thanks to the pavement and easy sections, I finished with 8 miles, under 10 minute pace.

Today was a decent day.  The track workout was solid, if nothing else.  I hoped that I would enjoy the trail run more than I did.  It was just too rocky for my liking.  I'd run there again, but I doubt I'd drive out that far just to run.  The one great thing is that I was pretty much exhausted by the end of the second run.  I don't get myself to that point too often these days.

Track Workout 4 miles - 27:30 (6:53 pace)
Trail Run 8 miles - 1:19:19 (9:55 pace)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

D&L Bounce Back

Yesterday was a terrible 8 miles.  Although it was hilly and that slowed me a little, I just felt like shit.  The legs were awful, and even though it wasn't hot, I didn't feel great.  I've backed off this month and haven't felt any better.  It's been frustrating, but things changed today.

I considered running in between lunch and dinner orders.  However, I didn't want to be rushing to get it done.  I decided to do it after the last order.  That ended up being after 6 PM.  I had not eaten dinner myself.  I had a couple bars to get some calories in me.

I decided to head to the D&L in Cementon.  I haven't run there in awhile.  It's also often nice and soft after we get rain (which we did).  I thought it would help my legs. 

The weather was pretty nice as the sun was setting.  I still ran shirtless and was sweating at mile 1.  However, I can't complain at all.  I'll take this weather in the summer any time.  Since it was an evening run, it got cooler as I ran along.

I started off and was very disappointed in the first mile.  I felt like crap again.  The legs weren't sharp at all.  I was thinking this trail wasn't helping much.  Still, mile 1 was an okay 8:27.

I just moved nice and easy and tried to enjoy the run.  I actually had not looked at my watch until I heard it click after the first mile.  The next time I looked at it was after that second mile.  My pace was picking up by then and I was feeling better.  That mile was 7:50.

I was trying to figure out where the turn around would be.  At first, I was remembering the 4 mile point as way out by the horses.  Then I became much happier when I realized that that must be 4 miles from Cove Road.  I didn't have to go out that far.  In fact, I wouldn't be going too much farther than Cove Road.

A lot of people were out biking and walking.  There were quite a few runners too.  At the first trailhead, I passed a family that was walking.  Shortly after that, a guy on a bike went by.  He said something like, "you are moving pretty good."  I didn't think I was, because I was going easy.  That was a big boost though.  I guess my pace wasn't too bad, since mile 3 ended up being a 7:25.

Overall, I was getting faster.  I just tried to be consistent though.  I didn't even notice the house with the dogs.  I was in such a relaxed state.  I came to Cove Road near mile 4.  These early miles were just zipping by.  Mile 4 was a 7:19.

Now, I had some gradual ascending.  I didn't lose much time though.  I felt sharp and still was only going slightly faster than easy.  I wasn't breathing hard at all.  I was only slightly labored.  I came to mile 5 and turned around right before a bike passed me.  That mile was a 7:22.

Right after turning around and before the biker went by, I noticed something running at me up ahead.  It was coming up the trail and then darted into the woods, before the biker got there.  I'm not sure he even noticed it.  I couldn't tell what it was, but it was about the size of a medium dog.  I thought maybe it was a fox, but it was too far up ahead to tell.  Needless to say, I gave it plenty of room when I went passed that section of the woods.

I continued to cruise along.  I went downhill to Cove Road.  Mile 6 was a slower 7:26.  My overall pace was 7:41 at the turnaround.  It would continue to drop and drop.

I felt good and counted down the miles.  I was looking forward to getting to mile 7 and then of course 8.  I passed the family again.  Mile 7 was a 7:12 and mile 8 was a 7:06.

I was feeling good and so happy.  A very attractive, slightly older lady ran by the other way about this time.  That didn't hurt either.  I watched the overall pace go under 7:30.  I never planned to run that fast for this run, but I was running well with my planned effort.

I ran mile 9 at a solid 7 minutes flat.  I guess maybe I was pushing slightly at this point.  I wasn't trying to, but it was probably happening naturally.  I was thrilled to almost be done.  It was nice to be completely in the shade too.  There was some sun earlier in the run.

Someone smashed a computer monitor on the trail.  That was kind of disappointing to see.  I cruised on in and finished up with a 7:05 final mile.  I was very happy.

I hope I can have more runs like this as it gets nicer.  I can't wait for the fall.  I hope to be even faster.  It would be nice to feel good again.  If it doesn't continue, at least I had one good run this week.

Tomorrow, I'm definitely going to pick up Bill's camera.  I'll run some trails at the South Mountain Reservation around there.  I'm also hoping to head to the track for a bit of a track workout in the morning.  That would be a great day.

10 miles - 1:14:11 (7:25 pace)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Original Decker Loop and More

Today was a pretty crappy day.  I wanted to do a track workout in the morning and go on a trail run in New Jersey in the evening.  However, I got little sleep and then it rained all day.  I opted to stay local and run in the evening. 

I thought about running at 4 PM, but it said the humidity was 80%.  However, a bit later, I checked outside and it felt cool.  I decided to head to Riverview after supper.  It was cool enough that I went with a shirt to start.  That still only last a mile.

Normally, I just run all around Riverview in both directions.  Today, I decided to run a different route.  Several years ago, Dave Decker introduced us to a hilly route.  It was his first "Loopy Run."  I decided to do that route and add on the distance, since it was only a bit over 4 miles.  I wanted to run 8 miles total.

I ran out toward the Boat Launch.  I didn't feel great.  I was slow and sluggish and the legs weren't sharp.  I was thinking that maybe the unhealthy meals I had today weren't helping much.  Mile 1 was an okay 8:34.

Within this first mile, I came across a deer.  Nothing unusual until it remained in the grass next to the pavement.  It turned and faced me and stared at me.  It didn't run away.  I was hoping that it wasn't planning on charging.  I went into the grass on my side of the trail and gave it plenty of room.  This is the second time that I've come that close to a deer on the trail.  I'm not sure I passed it more than 6 feet away.  I almost considered turning back.

I continued to cruise along.  I saw a pair of walkers.  There wasn't much else though.  Once I took my shirt off, I felt much cooler.  Before I knew it, I was getting near the Boat Launch.

I saw something up ahead.  A guy had a dog earlier on, so I thought maybe it was that.  It turned out it was a baby deer and this one was blocking the trail to the right that I wanted to take.  The mother was there too.  I yelled a little and managed to scare the baby into the woods.  The mother didn't budge and she just watched me go by.  I was fairly close again.  I saw another baby deer too in that area on the other part of the trail.  It may have been with those two.

I started the gradual climb now.  It wasn't too long before I was to the other path.  This is a much steeper climb.  After an 8:13 second mile, I began this steeper climb at 2.12 miles.  I was hoping I would be out a little farther at this point.

The climb was steep, but short.  I wouldn't say this section was too difficult, but I sure wouldn't call it easy.  A lot of it was like a paved ridge run.  However, it did go up and down.  It was a dedicated bike lane, next to a one way road.  Mile 3 was an 8:14.

This part goes by some houses, that are pretty nice.  There are a few weird ones too.  There was one short steep section again before the top.  Then, it was off to the descending part.

This descent is paved trail only.  It is fun and I was cruising.  It isn't long and then it tunnels under the main bike path, which used to be a railroad.  You come out to the Chain Dam and that is cool too.  Mile 4 was run at 7:51.

After some bumpy pavement, I was back at Riverview at 4.4 miles.  I wanted to drop my shirt off at my car, but some teens were playing in the parking lot.  I didn't want them to know which car was mine, in case they might do something.  Therefore, I continued to hold it.

I was amazed at how much I still felt like crap.  I continued on, this time toward Easton.  I didn't really want to go on the canal towpath though.  Instead, I elected to loop around Hugh Moore Park.  Mile 5 was a 7:59.

A train went by on the other side of the canal.  I decided to do the out and back segment off of the loop.  I turned around near mile 6.  That mile was then run at 8:15.

I headed back to Riverview, just slugging along and feeling like crap.  I couldn't wait for this run to be done and I was glad I wasn't planning on more than 8 miles.  Mile 7 was an 8:06. 

I got back to Riverview at 7.4 miles.  I'd now do a very short out and back.  I basically got to the Chain Dam.  I saw some people up ahead, so I was glad I didn't make it to them.  I was at 7.75.  I turned around and finished with a 7:57 mile.

It was a terrible run, but I'm glad it's done.  I'll put it behind me and hope tomorrow gets better.  I work in the morning and evening tomorrow, so I'm hoping I can run in between.  I'd love to get in 10 miles, but we'll see.  That definitely won't happen if I feel like this.  Tomorrow, it is supposed to storm a lot in the morning, but I think clear out by the afternoon.  I sure am hopeful for that.

8 miles - 1:05:09 (8:09 pace)