Monday, September 29, 2014

Nor-Bath Fall Evening Run

Since my body has been beat up, I'm backing off now.  I took the entire weekend off.  That is super rare for me.  I decided to run today, but it was rather warm for this time of year, so I waited until the evening. 

I ate an early dinner and headed out to run around 6 PM.  The plan was for 6 easy miles on the Nor-Bath Trail.  I thought that the softer surface would help my beat up legs.  It is getting dark earlier and earlier, so I knew I didn't have a big window.

It was still a little hot for a fall evening, but overall, I can't say that it was too bad.  I wore a sleeveless shirt and wasn't sweating too much in the first two miles.  My grey shorts weren't even that wet after 6 complete miles.  It's still not the weather than I like, but it is much, much, much better than summertime.

I went to Bicentennial Park to start the run.  I thought I'd run in both directions, but that didn't happen.  I began by heading out toward Northampton.  I figured I'd at least go a couple miles in that direction.

I thought two days off would make my legs feel great, but that wasn't the case in the early going.  They weren't totally sluggish, but they weren't sharp either.  It was kind of in between, with some minor soreness.

It was fun to watch the elevation gain and not worry too much about my actual pace.  I did open with a 8:26 mile.  That was decent, but not super quick.  A squirrel ran across the trail and startled me in the early going.

I was thrilled to make it over Weaversville Road without stopping for traffic.  Then, I was on to the section that I enjoy most.  The trail was fairly busy.  I encountered a couple runners and a huge group of families that were walking.  Everyone was taking advantage of the nice night.  I had no idea what mile 2 was, but it ended up being a 7:52.

I crossed over Savage Road too with no issues.  There was a guy on a dirt bike that went by.  I guess he was riding on the field next to the trial.  I checked to make sure he didn't head on to the trail.  I then went through the paved neighborhood section.  That is a nice downhill.

Originally, I was thinking of going out like 2.5 miles.  When I got to that point, I was feeling decent and figured that I might as well run to mile 3.  I ran to the end of the trail and had less than a quarter mile to turn around.  I ran on the road for that brief stint.  That road is nice because it is lightly traveled.  Mile 3 was 8 minutes flat.

I had no real goals for pace, but I certainly wanted to run under 8 minute pace anyway.  I was going easy and wanted it to stay that way.  Halfway through and I was still slightly over that pace.  Coming back had the nice uphill segment.  That was about half of the uphill of the entire run.  I didn't try to pick up the pace, but I guess I did.  Mile 4 was a much quicker 7:46.

Again, I crossed Savage Road with no issues.  Then, it was back to my favorite section of the run.  One moment was almost perfect.  The leaves are changing along the trail and there was also an open part in the sky.  The setting sun made the sky a mix of pinkish orange and blue.  It was so relaxing.  Plus, it was getting cooler too.  Mile 5 was a solid 7:26.  I crossed Weaversville Road easily again.

The last mile was starting to get kind of dark, especially amongst the thick trees.  I had planned this run out perfectly.  I finished up right where I started.  I do need to work on stopping my new watch correctly.  I stopped it at 5.99 miles.  The pace for that final mile was 7:29.  The legs felt awesome by the second half of the run.  I cut off a lot of time in that half of the run too.

This was a nice and relaxing run.  It's so much better when I just go out and run, instead of trying to force myself into a long, double digit mileage run.  I need to do this more often.  Maybe a couple weeks of backing off will mentally recharge me too.  We shall see.

I might take the next two days off again.  I really don't want to run more than 3 days this week.  I may go into double digit mileage later in the week, if I feel good.  Otherwise, it might be runs just like this one.  Time will tell.

5.99 miles - 46:58 (7:50 pace) 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Paying for It

In preparation for my mountain 50k, I've been putting in runs with a lot of elevation gain.  I had one week over 5,000 feet and the next over 6,000 feet (maybe even 7,000 feet).  That is a lot for me.  I felt good doing it, but I think I'm paying for it now.

I've felt awful all week, when I've tried to run.  Today, it continued.  It was a tough weather day in that it was kind of cool, yet still humid and the sun was blazing.  I headed out to Trexler to run.  I figured that I didn't have a lot of time, so I'd probably cut it short and cut back through the zoo.

I took it slowly at the start.  I went up the early big hill nice and easy.  It was a struggle though.  The legs just don't have it any more.  I'm sure the heat didn't help.   I didn't feel great at all.

I ran past the bison pen.  It appears they are now gone for some reason.  I made my way up the long, slow climb.  Once again, the dogs barked at me.  That always disrupts an otherwise peaceful run.

While I did fine thus far, the quads didn't feel strong.  I knew the bigger hills might give me fits.  I was kind of getting a little exhausted too.  I enjoyed some downhill after the great open view.

One cool thing is that I was able to adjust my watch, so that I can now see my total ascent for the run (in real time).  That is a neat feature for trail running.  I'll keep that on during my races.  It is more important than pace for those type of races.  It seemed fairly accurate too.

I made it up some the of the smaller climbs before the big ones.  They weren't easy though.  I was feeling drained.  I thought maybe I could will myself up the largest climb.  I made it about 2/3 of the way up and it was just too much.  A good part of this climb is mental and I surely didn't have that today.  Being stronger physically is a big plus too though.

I just felt so worn out and the legs were dead.  I started up the next climb, but had no energy.  I ran some of it and walked some more of it.  Then, I had to be cautious on the steep downhills.  I was almost out of control.

I finally fixed my handheld, so at least it wasn't leaking.  I was able to get more water than the last few days.  I enjoyed the coolness of the creek crossing. 

I headed to the long hill toward the zoo and was so wiped out.  I ran some of it, but walked a lot of it.  I tried, but my body wouldn't respond.  It was very disappointing and discouraging.  In fact, this is what it used to feel like for me running here.  It felt like old times.

There was some nice downhill by the zoo as I cut across.  I was approaching 1,000 feet of elevation gain.  If only I had run all of that.  Oh well, at least I got up it.  My pace was slower than usual, but at the same time, I can't say it was too terrible.  Had I done the whole loop, I probably still would've been under 1:30.

It is quite the climb up from the zoo back to the Environmental Center.  I wish I was stronger, so that I could see if I would be able to run the whole thing.  I never have before.  It was a 300 foot climb in about half a mile or so.  That is tough.  Again, it was a mixture of running and walking (mostly walking though).

I was just happy to be done and at least get a semi good workout in.  I got more elevation too.  That said, I haven't been doing a lot of miles, but the climbing is clearly wearing on me.  It is two weeks out from my race, so it is time to back off.

I thought about big runs tomorrow and Sunday, but that obviously isn't happening now.  I need to listen to my body.  I might go to the BCR run tomorrow, for some easy miles.  If I do, it will be a short run and mostly I'll be there simply to catch up with everyone.  On the plus side, it is supposed to be another hot weekend, so I don't mind skipping runs, from that standpoint.  I'm not sure if I'll run 5 times between now and the race.

6.11 miles - 59:42 (9:46 pace)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Struggling Through 8

Today was a tough day.  First, I just had no desire to get out the door and run.  I wanted to run 10 miles again and that sounded awful.  I like trail running and look forward to new adventures, but I can't do that all the time.  It rained almost all day, so the trails would've been a mess.  That meant it was a boring road running day.

Finally, I dragged myself out the door.  I didn't have the energy to drive anywhere.  I guess I wouldn't have too much trouble if I would keep my runs in the 4-6 mile range, but going out every day for 10+ miles is becoming a challenge.  I figured I would at least start and do as I felt.

The weather was tricky.  It felt freezing cold as I was walking before the run.  It was also pretty windy.  That made it on the chilly side.  However, following the rain, it was still quite humid.  I wanted to take my shirt off during the run, to prevent chafing, but it was too cold.

I started running as I got to the elementary school.  I felt slow and a little sore in the beginning.  The legs came around a little.  It actually felt nice to run in the beginning.  I was cool for the first mile to mile and a half.  That opening mile didn't feel great, but it was a fairly quick 8:07.  In the summer, that same effort was close 9 minutes.

I went around and did the extension loop that I often do.  That adds about a mile to a mile and a half to the normal loop.  I came across an older guy that was running the other way.  Mile 2 picked up to a 7:42.

I was taking it easy and even chewing gum.  I began running consistent miles.  That was amazing, considering I didn't quite know my overall pace and the terrain did change.  It does go up and down.  I was back on the main loop and mile 3 was a 7:40.

I was starting to sweat.  I anticipated cooler weather, so I didn't have my handheld with me.  It probably would've just spilled half of the water out anyway.  I climbed the biggest hill in the short loop during this next mile.  This was another consistent 7:38.

The legs were starting to tire and I felt like I was really struggling as I began heading back.  I did enjoy some of the downhill and the wind when it blew into my face.  Mile 5 was my fastest of the run at 7:26.

I decided to run part of the earlier loop.  Rather than run the whole thing, I cut straight across.  That was still probably around an addition mile.  I got through mile 6 with a 7:33.  I was exhausted by now and probably could've used water.  The sun was peeking out too.  I decided at that point that 10 miles was too much and I'd just opt for 8 miles instead.

I made my way back to the start.  I climbed the final short uphill.  There was a young girl running by in the other direction.  I didn't see her and I spit before getting to her.  She must've loved that.  Mile 7 was a 7:35.

I remained consistent as I was heading back to the school.  I got to the road crossing with about half a mile to go.  There was too much traffic and I didn't feel like waiting.  Therefore, I looped around and did the very short final loop.  That was a little over half a mile, so I stopped early.  I had thought about running more, but the slight uphill bothered my legs too much.  Still, I remained consistent with a final mile of 7:32.

Some days, I drag myself out there and feel better than I anticipated, once I start going.  Today wasn't one of those days though.  It was terrible and a real battle.  The legs were tired and I became hot.  I was glad I gave it a try though.  I think all of the trail climbing has been wearing on me.  I may need to back off.  I might even need to take a few days to a week off soon.  There's no point in forcing it.

I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow.  Hopefully, I can get back on trails.  I was thinking of doing a track workout, but that might not be a good idea with my legs already feeling dead.  It is supposed to be another hot weekend.  I can't wait for the very cool weather to get here.  It has been better lately, but it is still not to my liking.

8 miles - 1:01:15 (7:39 pace)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First Round Valley Trip

I decided to just give myself off yesterday.  Today, I needed to get back at it and back on trails.  I wanted to run 10 miles and run somewhere different.  I have been meaning to get to Round Valley Reservoir in New Jersey for some time.  My dad kayaks there fairly often and then also have some trails.  The main trail, the Cushetunk Trail goes out 9 miles.  I wasn't going to go that far out.

The weather was a little tricky.  It was definitely cool, fall like weather.  The wind coming off the lake made it much cooler too.  Still, I was sweating some.  There were sections without a lot of tree cover, so that made it a little hotter.  The conditions bothered me a bit early on, but I felt better as the run wore on.  I wore a shirt and only just began to chafe by the end of the run.

Originally, I went to the first boat launch area.  Then, I saw no maps, so I went to the main area.  I easily found the Cushetunk Trail, right near the parking lot.  It is blazed red.  I took it out to start the run.

Early on, I was climbing a hill.  There was loose rock and I figured my footsteps must've been loud.  However, apparently this hiker never heard me and he leaped when I said "on your right."  I don't know why hikers don't seem to be more aware.

This early climb was tough.  My body didn't feel great and I was tired.  The trail wasn't smooth either.  Adding to the frustrating, my handheld was leaking water all over me.  I need to fix that.

This first mile is like a roller coaster.  It is up and down, up and down.  I didn't expect this run to be easy, because it is trail, however, I wasn't prepared for the hills.  That is for sure.  It was wearing on me early, even with an easy effort.  I was quite frustrated between that and my handheld issue.

I was hoping for a smoother trail, but oh well.  The one nice thing is that the trails were wide.  I didn't have to worry about any overgrowth.  That also made it fairly fast, as there wasn't a lot of wasted in and out.  There were some nice views of the lake in the beginning.  Then, I was climbing along the backside of a hill.

Somewhere around 1.5 miles, I began to go down and down.  There were man made stairs on this steep part.  I knew I wouldn't enjoy this too much on the way back.  I continued along.  I went to an open grass area below the dam.  They were drilling on the dam for some reason.

Next, it was time to climb some more.  Up and up I went.  I was exhausted and this was a very tough climb.  I survived it though and really didn't slow down too much.  I was taking it easy.

Finally, after flattening out for a little, I found the campground area.  I knew it was a rustic campground, but wow was I surprised.  First of all, it is 3 miles out from the main area.  You have to hike or boat everything in there.  Other than the posts, it is hard to even really notice the campsites.

I had thought about turning around, but the campground area was actually quite nice to run on.  It was very, very small crushed stone.  It was smooth and nice and soft.  That road was also wide and the trees in there were very tall.  You had some views of the lake too.  It was quite scenic and relaxing.

Even the campground area wasn't exactly flat.  It had some up and down to it as well.  I was low on water and saw water near a primitive bathroom, but the sign said to let the water run for a bit first.  I thought, "no thanks, I'm not that thirsty."  I continued on.

After some uphill and more downhill, I turned around at mile 4.  It was time to head back.  I had a lot of ascending ahead of me.  I figured that if I felt good, I'd get take another trail and run to mile 10.  If not, I'd stop back and my car at mile 8.

Going back through the campground was nice.  That is, until I got to the end of it.  It was a very steep ascent.  I was breathing super heavy and not too far from needing to walk.  I pushed through it though, once I saw the top wasn't too far off.

Then, I had some slightly rocky, but relatively flat parts to run along.  There was downhill until the grassy part below the dam.  It was good to get to miles 5 and 6. 

I knew there were rolling hills at the end of this route, but had forgot about the steps climb.  I took those again and it was tough.  It wasn't as difficult as I envisioned though.  I was breathing heavy, but made it up the hill.

The thing that was bothering me more than anything on the way back were the downhills.  They were taking their toll on my quads.  I took it easy and survived though.

With a little over a mile to get to my car, I came across and man and a woman and a dog.  They were carrying a ton of gear.  I guess they were hiking their stuff all of the way into the campground.  Good luck to them.  I had seen no one else in the mile of the campground that I was at.  I guess maybe they will be on their own.  I did see a couple deer and in fact, quite a few deer over the entire route.

I stopped to take photos several times.  Once was in the last mile of this first part.  There were some nice views along the lake.  Then, before I knew it, I was back to the parking area.  I wasn't ready to pack it in yet.

The short trail across from the parking lot was called the Pine Hill Trail.  I do like pine forests, so I thought maybe running there would be a good idea.  It actually kind of sucked, as the trail was largely bare and open.  I passed a woman and her dog.  The dog kind of jumped up at me.

There was some early slight up and down.  Then, it leveled off a bit.  Toward the end, it dropped down through a nice forest section.  I did like this part.  I figured that I wouldn't mind climbing back up so much.

I came out to a small dam that leads to the first boat launch.  I knew exactly where I was now.  I ran over the paved section of the dam.  At the other end, I turned around.  I was just under 9 miles at that point.

This was turning out pretty good.  I got back and saw a trail along the lake.  That looked much more pleasant than running up the hill.  I decided to take it.  I hoped it lead back to my car, but I wasn't 100% sure, but I thought I recalled that from looking at the map.

This section was chilly, next to the water.  It was singletrack and pretty smooth.  There were roots and rocks here and there, but it was neat.  I love singletrack.  There were views of the water too.  I went pretty far and the trail continued on.

I then came across the early hiker going the opposite way.  I assumed that he came from the parking area.  Then, I saw the woman and the dog again, so I knew somehow she got there from the other trail.  I continued on.  I figured this was the more round about way to get back to my parking area.

There were great open views, as I neared mile 10.  I really couldn't see the parking area until I was almost there.  I ran back to my car and to mile 10.25.  It was a good, productive run.  I had over 1,600 feet of elevation gain.  I wasn't expecting it to be that high.

I wasn't prepared for the elevation gain, but now I know for next time.  I look forward to running there again.  I wasn't crazy about the loose stone, but if I'm looking for a challenge, it is a good place.  It would be great for a pretty challenging long run too.  There is water if I really need it too.  That could be a good place to run in the summer, although they do charge a fee in the park.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'm doing.  I have to work at night, so I need an afternoon run.  I'll probably just hit the pavement for an easy 10 miles.  I'm not crazy about it, but I don't have a lot of great options.

10.25 miles - 1:38:03 (9:34 pace) 

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Garmin Fenix Run

After running the half marathon yesterday, I wanted a short test run for my new Garmin Fenix watch.  It's more of an outdoor/trail running watch.  It was charging all afternoon, so I didn't get out to run until the evening.  I drove all the way out to Trexler and was going to run the short half loop there.

I had read that since this watch was designed for hiking, it was a bit confusing to run with at first.  Still, I thought I could at least get it to do basic things, such as record everything that was needed.  I got a satellite signal and was ready to go.  However, the watch would only show the pace and it wouldn't start recording a time.  I pressed every button and went through all the menus, but still couldn't get it to start.  I was very frustrated.

I saw my friend Tim run by and I should've just joined him for part of the run anyway.  However, I just headed home.  It was a wasted trip.  I figured that I would run in the dark after I figured out how to work the watch.

I went out around 9 PM.  I learned that I had to set the watch to Auto Start to get it to work.  It worked this time and I was off.  The plan was a mere 4 miles.

Earlier it was cool and windy and with the sun setting, that was even more true now.  My eyes were actually watering in the beginning, it was that cold.  I was so happy for the cool weather that I wanted to cried.  It was awesome.  I just wish this was around yesterday.  At least I have something to look forward to.

I ran into the other neighborhood and decided to run the short loop.  I was really enjoying myself and feeling pretty good.  I was struggling a little with breathing in the cool air, but it was nothing like yesterday. 

Mile 1 was an 8:17.  I felt great and was barely even breaking a sweat.  The one frustrating thing was that the display was showing a real time pace and not an overall pace or a per mile pace.  I'll have to adjust that.

I added a bit to this loop and figured that I would get around 2.5 miles when I arrived back at the school.  Since was feeling good and enjoying the weather, things were awesome and the run was flying by.  Mile 2 was a 7:48.

I still had no idea on the pace at the time.  I didn't really care though, as I was in a groove.  Coming down one hill, I knew a car wouldn't see me, so I ran into the grass of a yard.  That was good because it would've been a close call.

I got to the road crossing by the school.  I had to shortly loop around, as a car was coming by.  Then, I was able to cross the road.  I was back into my neighborhood shortly.

Mile 3 was a faster 7:19.  I felt good as I was back near home.  I figured that I'd have the full loop here and then would need to add a little more to that.  This loop went by quickly.  I didn't actually try to push it, but I guess I was picking it up a bit.  I was breathing a little heavier in this final mile.  I was chewing gum though, so it was still only a moderate pace.

I finished this loop and started a partial loop.  I wasn't quite sure how to stop my watch, but I figured that I could press the main button a couple times.  I did that, but it was slightly over 4 miles.  That final full mile was a quick 6:47.

I was happy with my watch, once I figured it out.  I do still have to work on it though.  I need to figure out how to manually start it.  I also would like to have a stop button too.  At least the watch seems to work fairly well though.

I took a lot of time off at the end of last week.  That allows me to run again the rest of the week, if I choose to do so.  I'm hoping to run again tomorrow.  I'd love to hit some trails up.  It should be cool again.

4.02 miles - 30:19 (7:33 pace)

2014 Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon (Philadelphia)

Whenever I've run half marathon races or longer, there has rarely been any competition.  Although I ran awesome over the winter with a PR half marathon, I ended up finishing 20th in that race.  I basically ran miles 5 to 13.1 on my own.  I figured that I could've run faster with someone to pull me along.

That led me to signing up for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia.  I figured that I would be faster by this time and the competition plus a super fast course would be a big help.  Being that it was late September, I also expected decent weather.

Of course that wasn't the case.  It was quite nice earlier in the week, but it went back to crappy today.  Although the temperature wasn't bad and it was cloudy out, it was also super humid.  I knew I was in trouble when I barely got to warm up and was already breaking a sweat.

I started off in corral number 1.  That is all of the faster runners.  We started with the elites.  I knew that there would be some very fast people in the front of our group, so I hung in the middle of the group.  That was almost a mistake.

One reason I don't like big city races is because it gets too crowded at the start and there is nowhere to go.  I figured that that wouldn't be the case in corral number 1.  I thought we would be flying.  While I can't say it was slow, it definitely was much slower than I expected or wanted.  I had no choice but to run the pace of everyone in front of me.  I couldn't waste energy weaving through people.

I was sweating a lot in the first mile and breathing heavy.  With the buildings around, my Garmin was already off by .2 miles within the first mile.  After that, it at least stayed rather consistent.  I came through mile 1 somewhere around 6:44.

I wasn't enjoying this run at all.  I couldn't breathe well and knew it was going to be a long day.  I tried to back off, but it was tough because there were so many people around me.  They sort of just pulled me along.  In mile 2, I ran past my friend Phil.  I told him it was going to be a struggle.  He was happy with how he started.

I continued to plug along.  I made sure to drink at every water stop.  I also took a few GU Chomps.  Both of those seemed to help briefly.  Mile 2 was a fast 6:22.  Since my cheaper watch didn't show the pace, I had no idea how fast I was going.  I had to either guess or calculate it in my head.  I'm not used to that.

I continued to try to keep it up.  Things were really falling apart and I wasn't even back to the Art Museum yet.  It was quite frustrating.  Even the great crowd didn't help.  They were cheering plenty, but I was too frustrated.  They probably would've been awesome if I was running well.

I was passing some people here and there, but by now more and more people were going by me.  Looking at my time as I faded, I realized that I was already dropping to around a 1:30 pace.  It was going to be a super terrible day.

I didn't quite give up yet.  It was nice to get back to the Art Museum and mile 4.  I did live in this area for years, so it was good to run in my old stomping grounds.  One thing I could say is that even with my struggles, the miles seemed to be flying by.  It was much easier running with so many people around me I guess.

I saw an elite woman who apparently dropped out.  At least I wasn't having the worst day, even if I wasn't doing good.  I continued to struggle to breathe.  The even more frustrating part was that my legs were well rested and felt awesome.  They could've run a much faster pace.

It was good to at least be done with mile 5.  Still, I knew it would be a long day.  I was backing off little by little, trying not to completely fall apart.  Mile 5 was a 7:01.

Somewhere around mile 6, I was passed by the 1:30 pacer and Phil.  That was the final nail in the coffin.  I was doing so poorly.  I started to wonder if I would even break 1:40.  Mentally, I completely quit and shut it down at that point.

Mile 6 had been a 7:05.  After shutting it down, mile 7 was a 7:25.  I was now on cruise control.  On the plus side, slowing down got my breathing back under control.  I tried to merely focus on getting to Falls Bridge.  Then, I'd be on the way back.

I started to feel better as I slowed down.  I kind of enjoyed the run now.  Mile 8 was a 7:34.  There was a slight uphill to Falls Bridge, but I didn't mind it.  I was thrilled when I was heading back.  After a short downhill, it felt like we had a slight uphill again.  I struggled a bit with this part.

Now, I was running consistent at least.  Mile 9 was a 7:33, mile 10 a 7:35 and mile 11 a 7:41.  I had no clue of my overall pace and actually didn't care one bit.  I just focused on the next mile and cruised along.  It was great to have less than 2 miles to go.

Finally, I did start to tire a bit around mile 12.  I didn't really fall off though.  I still wasn't running with much effort.  Mile 12 was a  7:41.

I ate all of my GU Chomps and continued to drink.  I felt a little better in the final mile and it was great to see the Art Museum up ahead.  That was big boost.  I was going to just coast on in.

There was a guy running with an American flag.  He had passed me late.  I was right behind him.  I had no desire to race him.  However, I saw the clock and it was closing in on 1:36.  Mile 13 was a 7:35.

I sprinted in and passed the American flag guy in the final few yards.  I made it just under 1:36.  I was glad to be done with such a terrible race.  All race, I had been waiting for Angie to pass me.  I figured she wasn't running well or she would have done just that.  Neither her or Phil did well either, but they didn't fade as bad as me.  My friend Megan finished ahead of me and struggled too.

I guess my biggest downfall today was that I refuse to adjust my pace and goals based on the conditions.  I knew that the humidity was too much for me to handle, however, I still crashed and burned.  I don't quite regret that though.  My goal was to PR and that was it.  I don't care about running a good, smart race.  I'd rather push and crash and burn than run a smart, but slower race.

I knew I was terrible at hot and humid races, but this summer really opened my eyes even more to that.  I need cool conditions or I just destroy myself.  From now on, if I do decide to run more road races, I'll probably just wait until the last minute and the weather forecast before I sign up.  That will be expensive, but at least I won't completely waste money.  I also should probably try working on my breathing.

After today, I'm not sure if I'll ever run another road race again.  I just no longer enjoy them.  The passion is gone and I want to stick to trails.  I want to challenge myself in different ways and also enjoy my races again.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run again and try out the new Garmin.  It has a longer battery life and is made more for outdoors.  We'll see how it works.

13.1 miles - 1:35:56 (7:19 pace)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lost the Daylight

Yesterday, I ran on the D&L and lost daylight at the end.  Then, I didn't get started until almost 7 PM.  Today, I wanted to get to wooded trails and finish before dark, so I headed right out the door after dinner.  That ended up back firing though.

I went to Salisburgy/Walking Purchase Park for a trail run.  I started on Dodson Street Park and began running downhill.  I twisted my ankle pretty good, for the first of several times.  It was a little after 6:15 when I started the run.  About a half mile into the run, I had to stop and go to the bathroom.  I was forced to walk/hike back up to the parking lot and use the bathroom.

Luckily, I brought my headlamp along.  I added that to my regular short sleeve shirt.  It was cool by the end, but still seemed humid there, as it often does.  I was soaked by the end of the run on this cool day.

It was still light out when I started the run, but doing over 5 miles on trails, I knew it would be dark before I finished.  The headlamp would be needed.  This restart made it closer to yesterday's starting time.

Early on, I had fun going downhill.  The only issue is that the inside of both calves are hurting.  I've back off this week, but maybe it is an issue from all the climbing of the last two weeks.  I'll have to be careful with it.

There was some slight overgrowth on the yellow trail, but for the most part, the singletrack was good.  I took the yellow loop to the red loop.  A female mountain biker went by right before I got on to the yellow.  Since she came from one direction, I took the other direction on the loop.  Of course I would come across a guy on a mountain bike on this part.  There were a bunch of bike racks in the lot, so I sort of expected it.

It was good to get onto the red.  This lower part was fun, but also a bit tricky.  Some sections are smooth and runnable, but for the most part, it is quite rocky.  It's not as bad as the AT, but it does slow you down.  I was glad that I wouldn't have to deal with this part in the dark.

The rocks kept me focused.  Every now and then, I'd land on the side of one and twist my ankle.  I need to think about tying my shoes tighter.  I didn't have this problem with my last pair of Salomon's.  These aren't supposed to be technical shoes, but neither was my last pair.

There was a lot of downhill and then some uphill.  This part seemed to go on and on and on.  I couldn't believe how long I was going.  I didn't think of these woods as being that long.  I guess they are though.

There are rumors about whistling sounds along the road at the bottom.  I sort of heard that, but it was just the train cars bashing into each other and putting on their breaks across the river.  I don't know why the legend has so much steam to it.

I went out and out and out.  There were some fun downhill switchbacks.  I kept wondering when the heck I'd get to the stone road.  I didn't realize how far out it was.  Finally, I could see it next to me.  However, the trail went down and down some more before finally crossing it.

I came out and crossed the road and went through the parking lot on the other side.  There was a train going by down below.  A pickup was parked there as well.  It was still light now, but darkness was creeping in.

I looked at the map and saw that the trail just climbed alongside the road, on this side of it.  Then, it would cross over at the top.  I put my headlamp on and it was part light and park dark.

One thing I learned quickly is that I need a brighter headlamp.  It was tough to see the rocks with this one.  I had to be cautious and go slow.  At least I was climbing, so that was taking me upward slowly.

I was now around 3.5 miles into the run.  I didn't have too much opportunity to loop at my watch.  If I did, I would've tripped over rocks.  There were plenty of rocks, especially on this climb.  I almost ended up on the blue trail, but realized my mistake in time.

I saw the truck drive by on the road.  Then, I hit a switchback section.  At one point, I was alongside the road and thought the trail would cross it soon.  However, it kept going up and up and away from it.  I didn't quite remember this part and I was wondering if I was going the right way.

The trail was still marked in red, so I kept going.  Eventually, I finally went through the rocky section and came to the part I remembered.  I crossed the road and went to the other side.

I remember having to briefly go through the overgrown section during our group run here in June.  Other than it being dark, this singletrack section back was a lot of fun.  It would go in and out and it climbed, but it was very gradual.

It was rocky at parts, but also very smooth sometimes too.  When I could, I opened it up.  I could hear someone talking loudly at one point.  I wondered if they were on the trail or down below near the train tracks.  It was a little unsettling, as this isn't the safest place around.  It was getting very dark now too.

I cruised along and was thrilled to get to mile 4.5.  I ran as much as I could.  Once the sun was nearly set, it started to get very cold.  I cleaned my handheld the other day and didn't get it back on correctly.  Therefore, I lost more water than I actually drank.  It was a good thing that I didn't need it, on this quite cool evening.

Eventually, I came out to the junction with the yellow loop.  Somehow, we got a little lost in this area in June.  However, since I went down and hiked back up earlier in the run, I knew exactly where to go.  I continued to follow the yellow trail and began climbing.  I knew I was getting closer and closer to the park.

It was very dark in the woods by this point.  I nearly made a wrong turn, but I didn't.  I came out right where I started.  I looked at my watch and it was almost 6 miles into the run.  The sun was about to set.

I was happy to be done.  The first few times I ran here, I thought it was super rocky.  Then, in June's run, it didn't seem as bad.  Today, I guess it was a mix.  It was quite rocky on the first half, but the climb back up on the top was much smoother.  This is a fun little run that I need to do more often.  When I have more time, I'll extend it to the full outer loop.  That would be around 10 miles.  I have never done this whole thing.

I have to be careful with the calves.  They were quite sore after the run.  I'll definitely back off for the rest of the week.  Maybe I'll even take off a day or two.  I don't know, as I don't like doing that.  If it starts bothering me, I definitely won't force it.  Because of that, I have no idea when or if I'll run tomorrow.

Pre-Bathroom Trip 0.60 miles -  6:46 (11:16 pace)
Main Segment 5.80 miles - 1:03:51 (11:00 pace)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Half Marathon Test Run

I've been running a ton, but it has been mostly long, slow trail miles.  I also did some shorter faster track workouts.  With the hot summer weather, I wasn't able to get any quality faster and longer stuff though.  Heading into this weekend's Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia, I had no feel for what to expect.

I needed a run at half marathon effort to see what pace that would produce.  I wanted to do that last week, but I put it off.  I decided to do it today.  The plan was a mile warmup and cooldown with 4-6 miles at half marathon pace in the middle.

It was nice and super cool in the evening when I started.  I had dinner and hour earlier, so I wasn't sure if the food would be settled, but I had no problems.  I wore a sleeveless shirt and that seemed to work out great.  I was sweating by the end, but felt awesome and cool.  I hope this weather is here to stay and that it makes an appearance on race day.

I began the run from Riverview Park, right before 7 PM.  I took the first few strides and knew it was going to be an awesome day.  I've been off of roads for the most part over the last month.  I also only ran 4 miles on Sunday and none yesterday.  The legs haven't felt that fresh in a long time.  I hope to feel this way on Sunday.

I headed out toward Easton.  I began easy and enjoyed it.  I passed a few people out on the path.  Everyone was enjoying a nice night out, even on the remote section.  The opening easy mile was a 7:28.  I'm usually much, much slower than that to begin.

I then turned things up.  I continued to feel great.  There is some minor soreness in the inside of my calf, but I don't think it is a big deal.  It sure didn't hold me back.  I was flying along the canal path.  Since my Garmin Forerunner 405 isn't working, I've been using my Garmin Forerunner 10.  That is cheaper and only displays two things.  It was only showing me overall distance and time.  I would've needed to calculate the pace.

I knew this was fast, but I wasn't quite sure how fast this mile was.  I didn't feel like figuring it out either.  When I came through mile 2, it clicked off with a 6:26.

I was so thrilled with how quick this was that I almost didn't bother running any more.  I continued on though.  I figured that I would at least bang out another fast half mile.  My breathing was only slightly labored at this point.  I certainly had a lot more in the tank.

I continued on.  I passed a few people along the river.  One of them was fishing.  I went past the Forks of the Delaware.  I headed south on the towpath.

I saw two people walking their dogs up ahead.  As I got closer, I realized that it was my friend Sarah and her husband Adam.  I said hello, but felt bad that I was flying and didn't have time to chat.

I hit mile 3 shortly after this point.  It was a 6:24 mile.  Again, I was thrilled.  I thought about continuing on.  Then, I decided to turn around and head back.  Darkness was beginning to creep in.

With two outstanding miles in and feeling great, I knew I could keep it up.  However, I decided that I accomplished all that I was hoping for.  I just wanted to get a feel for what half marathon pace felt like.  I did exactly that.  There was no point in pounding the legs for more.

I came back past Sarah and Adam.  This time I was running slower, so I could say a few words.  I was cruising back along now and feeling great.  I was thrilled with how this run was going.  Easy mile 4 became a 7:25.

It was now growing very dark.  A guy was walking on the path and not paying attention.  I think I startled him as I ran by.  I wasn't quite sure on the pace with my watch and I actually liked it that way.  That might be good for my half marathon.  Too often, I rely too much on my watch's pace.  Near Hugh Moore Park, I hit mile 5.  That was a slightly faster 7:16.

I headed back to Riverview.  I was cruising along and it was very dark by now.  I had to be careful when crossing the road.  After that, I hammered up the short hill.  I was glad to see some street lamps near Riverview.  I didn't know how to work my watch's light, so that was very helpful.  I finished up with a nice 7:03 final mile.

This was such and awesome run.  I felt great and cool.  Now, I'm very confident, heading into the half marathon this weekend.  I'm also very thrilled about the fall weather that is arriving.  It will only get better too.  I can't wait to see my times improve.

Tomorrow, I'm getting back on trails.  I'd like to travel if I can.  Maybe I'll go to High Point State Park in New Jersey.  I have been wanting to visit there for some time.  That should give me some climbing.  It is supposed to be cool again too.  I look forward to a fun remainder of the week.  I'll take it pretty easy too.

6 miles - 42:02 (7:00 pace)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Easy J-burg Recovery Run

I didn't initially feel too bad after my longest training run ever of 31 miles on Saturday.  However, I developed some soreness as the night went on and then was quite sore this morning too.  That ruled out racing the Double Trouble 15K/30K or doing the Jacobsburg morning group run that Gary setup.

Instead, I rested and watched football for most of the afternoon.  I knew I had to get some running in.  The legs got better as the day wore on.  I decided to go to Jacobsburg for a recovery run late in the afternoon.

The weather is starting to get much better.  I still ran shirtless and was sweating, but it felt a lot cooler.  I'll take this weather and look forward to when it gets even cooler.

I parked at the new Environmental Education Center.  No one ever parks there.  I decided that I would head the opposite direction as usual.  Initially, I was going to run the open field loop, but I changed my mind.

The legs were stiff and took a bit of slow going to loosen them up.  It didn't take long until I felt pretty good.  I decided to cross the road and loop around Sober's Run.  That would give me some fun singletrack to start.

I wasn't paying attention, so I missed the turn for the singletrack.  I back tracked and ran there.  I felt awesome on this flat and smooth ridge section.  I wish the trail had more parts like this.  It was very helpful for the legs.

That section is never long enough.  Before I knew it, I was heading toward the small parking lot.  A guy went flying by super fast on a mountain bike.  Luckily, we crossed paths at the right spot.  I'm not sure he could've stopped if he had to avoid me.  That section is open and very rideable, but you would think someone would be more concerned about people.  There are blindspots.

I then crossed the bridge and headed over to the powerline.  It was a little cooler there as I made the climb.  My legs were a little sore, but it wasn't too bad because I took it very slowly.  It was nice and easy.

I always look forward to the downhill part and it was awesome.  I was coasting along and dropping my time.  I didn't pay too much attention to my time though.  My watch is having trouble charging now, so I switched over to my FR10.

I was back on the flat main path in no time.  I was over 3 miles into the run at this point.  I came across to people on horses.  They didn't move over and I had to walk briefly to make sure I didn't startle the horses.

I was back on track in no time.  Then, I was on to the road and headed back to parking lot.  I went over 4 miles right before that.  I passed a few hikers coming the other way at this point.  My leg started bothering me slightly.

I had planned to run the open field section for 3.5 more miles.  However, with having some minor leg problems after a big day yesterday, I decided to play it safe.  I ran out to 4.35 miles and over 40 minutes and just called it a day.

It was a solid recovery run.  It would've been nice if I could've done some more mileage.  I probably could've handle a lot more, because I felt pretty well recovered.  However, I wasn't going to push the envelope and take too much of a chance.  I have a key half marathon next Sunday and I do need the rest.

I'm taking a rest day tomorrow.  That will be good to get things done.  I'm hoping to get on the road and do a fairly hard run on Tuesday.  I simply want to see where I'm at and about what pace I can expect to run on Sunday.  The remainder of the week will probably have a little climbing, but plenty of rest and shorter runs too.

4.35 miles - 40:14 (9:15 pace) 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Watchung Training Run (50K)

This weekend was planned to be my big training weekend before my 50K.  I wanted to try to run a 50K today and considered a 30K race or another long run for Sunday.  This is definitely out of my comfort zone.

I set up a group run at the Watchung Reservation for this morning.  It is an easy place to run and perfect to do loops.  The response wasn't very good.  I rushed there, as I was running late.  A buck jumped out in the road in front of me. 

I got there a few minutes late.  Christina was the only one that committed to the run and the only one to show.  At least I had some company, even though I would've like it for the entire run.  She was planning 10 miles or two loops.

It was a very chilly morning, when we started at 8 AM.  I put on a singlet because it was too cold to go shirtless.  It took me awhile to get everything ready.  At times, I was a bit chilly and after the first loop, I was already soaked.  It was kind of an odd day.

We began with a counterclockwise loop.  It was a little tricky finding the pink loop, but we managed.  The plan was to run just the pink loop, which is about 6 miles.  It starts off with a nice flat section next to the lake.

On the other side of the lake, we ended up missing a turn and were on the white trail.  That was no big deal, as we were just lower along the lake.  Eventually, we followed that out and headed up on a road.  That climb led us to the parking lot on the back side and up to the pink trail.

We were running nice and comfortable.  I run alone so often, so it was nice to have company.  The conversation made the run fly by.  We were 3 and 4 miles into the run in no time.  There was a washed out section that was tough to get through. 

We continued to follow the pink trail and every now and then had to check and make sure we were going the right way.  It is well marked.  On the turn that I screwed up in the spring, we headed the correct way this time.

After a rocky part, we went over a bridge.  Then, it was a short climb.  Christina walked up it and took a gel.  I rested briefly at the top.  We then had some fun singletrack high along the ridge. 

This trail was busy, as we came across a number of runners, plenty of hikers and even a few mountain bikers.  Often, we had to move out of the way.  One guy was just flying as he ran down the trail.  He had to be in double digit miles too, because we saw him often.

Toward the end of the first loop, somehow we lost the pink trail.  We came out just below it.  We ran up the parking lot and I refueled and dried off after the first loop.  My Nip Guards fell off and my nipples were chafing.  I put Vaseline on every trip and that helped a ton.

We headed back out for a second loop.  As we went down the road, I suggested that we run the loop in the opposite direction.  Christina liked the idea.  It changed things up and the trail looked different.  We found the section we missed this time.

We went around the singletrack and were running most of the time.  We were down the hill and over the bridge and through the rocky section again.  Time was just flying by with great conversation.  We talked about training and racing and all sorts of things.

In no time, we were through the washed out section and then the back parking area.  There's an open field section after that too.  Then, it was back to the lake.  Christina only wanted to do 10 miles, but decided to keep it up to finish the loop.  There were volunteers out on the other side of the lake.  We had a some tough, climbing to get back the parking area. 

We were now done with 12 miles.  I was thrilled to have company and it made this part of the run so smooth.  Being on my own would be tough, but I was feeling pretty good and still running well.  I quickly refueled and headed back out there.

This time, I ran counterclockwise again.  It was good to get through the half marathon distance.  I had a lot of energy.  I kept trying to focus just on a few miles at a time.  That made things more manageable.  Getting to the middle of the loop and around mile 15 was big for me.  However, I still had a long way to go.

I probably didn't eat or drink enough with Christina.  On my own, I was more careful with that stuff.  I felt like crap for awhile during this loop.  The quads were getting sore.  I don't know if it was the GU Chomps that I ate or just a change of terrain, but the last 2 miles or so of this 3rd loop went great.  The quads felt better.

Again, I was back at my car and over 18 miles into the run.  I knew by now that I'd definitely do a 4th and was still hoping for a 5th loop.  I started off the next loop clockwise.  That made for a fun and easy beginning.  I ran with a portable charger for my watch.  That took some getting used to, but it wasn't bad.  It did work well.  I'll have to figure out how to use it in my race.

Getting to mile 21 was both a high point and low point.  I was thrilled to be through 3.5 loops.  However, thinking that I still had 10 miles left was daunting.  I simply focused on the remainder of the loop and I kept running.

Every now and then, I'd walk a hill or walk briefly, but those times were few and far between.  I ran almost the whole time.  Most of the end of this loop was downhill, but there would be an uphill finish.  I enjoyed the flat part by the lake while I could.

I did walk some uphill back to the parking lot.  I continued to run a lot too though.  I needed to keep moving.  I was doing well as I refueled before the final loop.  I was taking S-Caps too.

It was cloudy all day and seemed to be raining a bit in the parking lot.  However, I never felt that in the woods.  I took three GU Chomps early in this next loop.  I wanted to get my energy high.  My legs were getting a little sore again, but it wasn't too bad.

Climbing after the lake was tough.  Getting to mile 25 and then of course 26.2 was a big boost.  I tried to focus on mile 27 and then of course 28.  I was slowing a bit now, but still running and chipping away.

One thing that was nice was that I was running easy and going to crush my time from my first 50K last year.  Things were getting tough though, because this was now my longest training run ever (25 miles had been my longest).  The only time I've run as much or more were my two ultra races.

Running downhill was nice.  I tripped on a root one time, but I was going too slow to fall down.  I had to walk most of the uphills now, as I got to mile 28.

I focused on each upcoming mile.  After going over the bridge and climbing, I was to mile 29.  It was good to be getting closer and closer.  My legs were losing it though and physically I was exhausted.  One short climb was a struggle to even hike. 

For the most part, I was able to keep running.  I took some more calories in and felt a little better.  I was moving so slowly though.  After coasting along, I came to the parking lot around 30.25 miles.  I need .75 miles yet.

I ran on the road for a bit.  That was tricky, as it was slightly uphill.  I then came back downhill and went around the parking lot.  I finished up at mile 31, 44 minutes faster than my 50K race last year.  It was great to be done and I'm hoping that I can run a 50K here early in the winter.  I should be able to post an even faster time.

Having someone to run with was a huge boost.  I need to do that more often.  It would really be great if I had someone to run the whole time.  Maybe in the future.

I was happy to run almost the whole time.  I felt much better than I ever have at anything near this distance on trails.  However, I want runs like this to be comfortable and even easy in the future.  I have a long way to go.  Eventually, I want to be able to run back to back 50Ks.

This allowed me to see where I'm at.  For my upcoming 50K, I was hoping to run a 5:30.  I could probably do that on a flat course like this.  However, it probably isn't very realistic on a mountain course.  At least I also have a better idea of how hard to run too.

I was hoping to run a race tomorrow, but that's not realistic.  I'm too sore.  I'd love to run double digit mileage tomorrow, but that's probably not likely either.  I might run with Gary and a group at Jacobsburg in the morning.  Then I can just do as much as I can handle.  I do have a lot of chafing to keep an eye on too.

31 miles - 5:48:05 (11:14 pace)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bear Creek LVRR Group Run

I originally planned to run a tempo run on roads to get ready for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon next weekend.  However, I just had no desire to run hard or on roads.  Instead, I took a nap in the afternoon.

There was a LVRR Group Run at 5 PM at Bear Creek.  I thought about going earlier to do 2 loops, but I elected not to.  I have a big weekend coming up, so one loop would be enough.

Lisa and her husband Brian set it up.  Jerry was also there with his dog Boone.  I had run with a few of the other ladies once or twice too.  There was an older guy as well.  I'm not good with names.

It was a nice weather evening.  Being in the woods helped too.  However, I still was soaked by the end.  Part of the reason for that was that I wore a singlet, instead of running shirtless.  My nipples are now sore, so I think I need to keep running shirtless for a bit longer.

We took a group photo and then headed out for the run.  The women suggested that we lead.  I was kind of hoping that they would and then I'd gradually pass them.  Instead, I was out front and flying.

I kind of don't like to lead because then I often run too hard.  The bottom section is fun and quite technical.  It is rocky, but there are plenty of good spots to place your feet as well.  However, not too long into the run, I landed funny and twisted my ankle.  It was quite a shock and painful.  I was limping while running over the next few steps.

Jerry and Boone kept up with me pretty well through this section.  At times, Boone would pass me and run ahead.  Then, he'd stop and wait for Jerry.  It was kind of funny.  The dog runs well on these technical trails.  I was impressed.

I was trying to keep a good pace, so I was breathing pretty heavy.  The two of them were right on my tail too (doggy joke).  Luckily, I know the route pretty well, so I knew there would be opportunities to recover.  There was quite a bit of climbing that was taking its toll.

After some ascending, it flattens out briefly.  Then, it is on to the steepest and most technical part of the route.  It goes right up along the ski slope.  It is very rocky and does switchback at least.  I was moving pretty well and really couldn't handle too much more of it.  I got to the top, breathing very heavy.  A few years back, I had to walk a lot of this part.

Jerry and Boone had lost a little ground before the climb, but I noticed they were still not too far behind as I neared the top.  Jerry is a pretty good runner and obviously Boone is too.

I really enjoyed the downhill.  The climb had taken a ton out of me.  I was able to recover.  I had to back off a little or I'd really fall apart.  I was now running alone.  We saw a mountain biker earlier, but that was the last person I saw on the run.  Other than seeing Jerry and Boone on switchbacks every now and then, this was a solo effort.

It was good to get to 2.5 miles.  I thought I was running faster than my watch said.  Still, I was making good time and having fun.  I flew gracefully over a lot of the rocks.  I do enjoy running here.

It's nice that the trails goes around the mountain and not straight up it.  However, that means that after climbing, it drops down and then comes back up again too.  I cruised over some boardwalks.

The last ascent section was very tough.  I was breathing hard as I reached the top.  I've been lost in this area before, but was glad that I found the correct trail this time.  Around mile 3, I was at the top of the ski slope.  I didn't bother to stop.

Now, it was mostly downhill.  This part is fun and easy.  There is a rocky section here and there, but most of it is fast and smooth descending.  I enjoyed it.  The beginning was tricky, as the trail was overgrown a bit and had loose rocks.

I had worn myself down.  Therefore, I didn't work too hard and just enjoyed the downhill.  It went by fairly quickly.  The end little segment was a nice in and out and up and down run.  I was back at the parking lot in no time and happy not to be lost.

I ran out to where we started.  That finished up a nice loop.  I waited around, but was surprised that Jerry and Boone didn't come.  They seemed to be right behind me at the top.  Brian didn't show either.  I waited and waited and waited.  Finally, Lisa and the rest of the group arrived.  They somehow took a different route.  Apparently the guys ran back to them.  At least no one was lost.

It was a fun and tough run, since I pushed myself.  It was a good group too.  I just wish I lived closer to that place.  I would run there more often.

Tomorrow is a big day.  I'm going out to the Watchung Reservation for a slow, long run.  I want to do at least 3 loops of 6 miles each.  I'm hoping to run 5 loops for 30 miles.  That would be one of my longest runs ever.  I invited a lot of people, but so far only Christina is coming.  She'll be there for at least 2 loops.  That means that I'll have 1 to 3 loops on my own.  I hope the weather is good.

5.02 miles - 49:23 (9:50 pace)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Trying Some Mountain Repeats

Climb, climb and climb again seems like about all I do these days.  I wasn't traveling today and since it could storm, I skipped going to the Bear Creek run.  I headed up to Wind Gap to run the Katellen Trail.

I was tired, so it took awhile to get out the door.  It was supposed to be humid and I was sweating, but it seemed no worse than most days.  I ran shirtless, as usual.

The plan was to run a few repeats there.  Clearly with a lot of elevation gain, I wasn't going to run big miles.  It's less than a mile to the top of the mountain and the Appalachian Trail.

I began with an easy half mile warmup on the road.  The legs were okay, but not great.  It was time to hit the trail.

I ran up the trail.  It begins pretty gradually, so that wasn't bad.  I forgot about the fact that it rained overnight.  I had to adjust to the slippery rocks on this trail. 

I knew the big area of concern would be the rock/wooden stair like section.  That's very steep and I had to walk it last time.  I was determined not to this time.  Knowing the route now, was a big plus.  I knew that that was the steepest part.

I was breathing super heavy through this section and going slowly.  Climbing up was a challenge and I nearly slipped on a wet rock.  The legs began to burn and I was getting close to my breaking point.  Finally, I was through this part though and very proud to be still running.

While the gradient got better after that, it was still uphill and kind of steep.  There was no chance to recover, so the breathing continued to labor.  At least the legs no longer burned.  I kept going and going.  I saw the shelter at one point and knew I was near the top.

It was a huge relief to make it all the way up.  I ran the whole time too.  That is progress.  Now, I was on top of the mountain and on flat running.  That didn't exactly make things easy though.

I decided that I would continue on the AT for a bit.  This section is very rocky and really sucks.  I headed south.  I had to almost tiptoe over the pointy, wet rocks.  I didn't get very far and for the second day in a row, I saw a snake on the trail.  I think this was probably a rat snake too (like yesterday).  I didn't stick around to find out.  I figured that that was my cue to turn around.

I decided that I'd run partway down the woods road on the other side of the mountain now.  Somehow, I missed both this turn and the turn for the part of the AT that I came through.  Apparently, I was still on the rocky AT.  I looked everywhere for snakes now. 

This part was also slow and rocky.  I wasn't on it very long and it came out to the end of the powerline.  That was awesome.  It has an amazing view of the mountains to the north.  I will surely take this route again in the future.  Perhaps I can bring some others up here too.  I wish that I had a camera today.

I turned around after the view and looked for the woods road again.  This time, I found it and headed down.  This would've been nice except there were a ton of spiderwebs.  I got tired of eating them pretty quickly.

I got to the gate on the road and was going to go around that, but there were more webs.  I decided to head back and climb slightly.  I had thought that I went down more than I did.  I was disappointed with the lack of elevation gain, when I looked at the data later.

I felt kind of recovered now, from all the running on top of the mountain.  Therefore, I elected to head back down the Katellen Trail and try to run back up again.  This would be a great challenge.

I thought getting down would be slippery, but most of the rocks were so loose.  It wasn't a problem, as long as I avoided the flat rocks.  I cruised on down the hill and felt solid.  It is fun descending.

When I got to the bottom, there was a guy in the parking lot with a camera.  I toweled off very briefly at my car and then refilled my water bottle.  It was time to ascend again.

On the way down, I told myself to keep going to the top no matter what.  If I had to walk, so be it.  There's no point in turning around once you start walking.  Battle through it and get to the top.

The bottom wasn't too bad, but climbing once already surely had an impact.  I wasn't picking my feet up as well and I was stumbling on some of the rocks.  My breathing was slightly labored on flatter sections too.

I made it to the steep steps area.  I knew that this would be the biggest challenge by far.  I made it up a few of the steps and pushed and pushed, but it was just too much.  I had to walk.  I walked the remainder of them.

After the top of that section, I began to run again.  I was struggling though and the trail went up and up and up.  Even after walking, I wasn't sure I'd be able to continue running to the top.

At one point, the trail leveled off briefly.  I was about to turn around.  Then, I realized I was at the AT shelter.  All I had to do was run up a few more feet.  I could see the top of the climb, so I ran up there and on to the powerline cut through.

I turned back around and enjoyed that I was descending now.  I was kind of careful going down, but a little faster this time.  It was fun heading down the trail.  It did seem like it took awhile to get to the bottom.  I came across the guy with the camera, near the bottom.

I got back to my car and was nearly at mile 5.  I ran out on the road briefly.  Then, I was done for the day.  I thought I had climbed a lot, but it was only 1200 feet.  I thought that it would be closer to 2,000 feet.  It was still a good day though and plenty of climbing for such a short run.

Tomorrow, I need to get back on the roads.  I'm hoping for 6 or 7 miles at tempo pace with some easy miles before and afterward.  I have to stop worrying so much about my mileage.  It's not as high as it has been, but I'm getting much more elevation gain with most of my runs.  I need to embrace that and know that that is making me stronger.  If I recover well enough from that and have time, I might go to Bear Creek for an LVRR group run.

5 miles - 1:02:25 (12:29 pace)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Time at Hamburg Reservoir

I've been wanting to go to the Hamburg Reservoir to trail run for some time.  It is quite the popular place, with the AT running through it and plenty of side trails.  The AT leads to two excellent views, Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle.  We were out that way on Saturday, so we found the trailhead.

I was debating for awhile whether or not I wanted to make the 45 minute drive out there today.  It's not far, but it isn't close either.  On a weekday late afternoon, that can be tough.  I didn't have anywhere else that I actually wanted to run at though, so off I went.

It was quite cool today, as we are headed for fall.  I wore a singlet.  It was soaked by the end anyway, as were my shorts.  I took the shirt off late in the run and probably should've just went without it.  It isn't completely cool out just yet.

I really, really disliked the start.  It was a wide gravel road.  Not only that, but it was climbing gradually.  I wanted to climb for sure, but I wanted to do it on the trail.  I actually ran through the grass next to the road, in this part.

It was about half a mile until the gravel finally ended.  I then headed right on to the AT.  It looked like there were several trail options in this area, including an awful climb up on the gravel.

The AT was actually great.  I was quite worried going into it.  With the AT in Pennsylvania, you never know what to expect.  Rocks are typically plentiful and sometimes to the point where it is almost not runnable.  That's not to say there were no rocks, there were still a lot, but not many by AT standards.

Not only were the rocks not too bad, but the gradient of the trail was great too.  It was going up and up and up, but gradually.  I was breathing a little heavy, but overall not bad.

It seemed like it went on forever, as I continued to climb.  At one point, I heard a strange sound on the trail and something black went from off the trail into the bushes.  I don't think it was a rattlesnake or another snake, but I can't be 100% sure, since I never actually saw it.

Shortly after this encounter, I came to a more rocky section.  Still, it was quite runnable.  On this section, I passed two cute young ladies who were hiking down.

I continued on and it began to get more rocky.  I knew I must be close to Pulpit Rock.  However, it was still runnable.  I had to go at it at a much slower rate though.

Finally, the trail became a real rock scramble, about 2 miles into the run.  It was steep, super rocky and hard to even find the trail at times.  I had to start hiking.

I hiked briefly and then began a slow run up the rocks, on a slightly less rocky section.  I came around a tree and stopped dead in my tracks.  There was a huge black snake right in the middle of the trail.  It wasn't moving.

I wasn't too close, so I watched it.  It then slowly moved across the trail and climbed some rocks.  I noticed it didn't have a rattle, so it wasn't a rattlesnake.  I think it was probably a rat snake.

I wasn't too bothered by the snake, but I didn't need to encounter any more of them.  Plus, I was hiking too much now, with the trail so rocky.  I wanted to run.  Even though I was probably very close to Pulpit Rock, I turned around.  I'll go back and check out the views when snake season is over in a month or two.

Climbing had been a bit of a struggle.  Now, it was nice to cruise downhill and recover.  I moved pretty well as I headed back.  Near the bottom of the trail, I came up behind the young ladies.  I yelled to them while I was far off, so I didn't scare them.  However, they were still startled on this peaceful trail.  At least I was there during the week, so it wasn't crowded.

I knew that it would only be over 4 miles if I headed back to my car.  I was in no hurry to stop, so I decided to head out in the other direction on the AT.  This was a nice and flat singletrack.  The other side was much wider and clearly used more often.  This was slightly overgrown.  I thought it would ascend, but it didn't for the short distance that I was on it.

I didn't go out too far and then I turned around.  I wanted more mileage and climbing, so I decided to go back the other way on the AT.  Then, after a short distance, I took another singletrack to the AT shelter.  That was nice and climbed a bit.

It wasn't long and I was back at the gravel road, but higher up.  This part was super steep.  Even though I didn't like the uphill on gravel, I began ascending.  I went up for a bit and I think I was actually near the top.  I was breathing heavy and my legs began to burn.  It was just too much, so I went back down the hill.

I saw a red trail off to the side as I was descending.  I ran on that very briefly, but it was just too steep and rocky.  I was getting hot and tired by this point.

I decided to head back on the AT.  I continued to climb, but it was much slower now.  I began stumbling over rocks.  However, the trail wasn't too challenging, so I kept going.  Finally, after a few hundred feet of elevation change, I headed back down the mountain.  I was almost at 7 miles by this point.

It was fun going downhill.  I stopped for a photo.  I came out to the gravel road and there was another cute young lady.  A guy had his dog playing in the water next to the trail.  I cruised downhill.

I was now nearly at 8 miles and 1 hour and 30 minutes of running.  I wanted to get over both of those.  When I got to 1 hour and 27 minutes, I decided to turn around and climb the gravel road again.  I did that for 3 minutes and then came back down the trail.  It ended up working out great as I was slightly over 8.5 miles at that point.  I finished up right before the end of the trail.

This was an excellent run.  My quads were getting beat by the end.  They were really feeling it.  I was hoping to be over 1,000 feet of elevation gain and figuring around 1,200 feet.  I was stunned to see that it was over 1,750 feet.  The climbs were plentiful, but so gradual that it surprised me.  I loved this area and there were a lot more trails.  I'll definitely be back and have to explore more.

Tomorrow, Aaron set up a group run at Bear Creek.  I'm hoping to make that and do 2 or 3 loops.  The weather might suck at some point tomorrow, so I'll have to check on that first.  Otherwise, I may need to go elsewhere.

8.55 miles - 1:33:23 (10:55 pace)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pair of Speedy Runs

Today was a juggling act for me.  I had to work and go to a doctor's appointment.  I decided to break things up into two runs.  I'd hit the track between work and the appointment.  I needed new shoes, so I decided to go to the Emmaus Run Inn group run in the evening.

I didn't want to go to Nazareth's track during school hours, so I headed down to Lehigh.  I got a bit later start than I would've liked.  The plan was to run 4X400 repeats.  I didn't want to push too much, but just run slightly faster than I'm used to.

The weather was quite nice.  The challenging thing was that it was windy.  I had to account for that during each lap.  I ran shirtless and that was a good decision.

I began with a mile warmup.  There was another woman running slowly.  She took lane #1, so I opted for lane #3.  At least it wasn't busy at this point.  A few more people showed up later.

I took off on the first repeat.  I tried to run in control and be smooth.  I was more careful on the backstretch, with the headwind.  I felt awesome as I flew down the homestretch.  That first repeat was run in 1:20.

I recovered with an easy 400.  I was happy because my legs didn't feel great earlier, but now were pretty good.  I took off again, for the second repeat.  This seemed a little more challenging and maybe even slower, but it was the same time, 1:20.

I did the recovery thing and took off once more.  Now, I was starting to feel a little tired and it showed.  I tried to be consistent, but I slowed to 1:22.  Another easy 400 and I was on to the last segment.  Since I knew it was my last one, I pushed a little harder.  I definitely was still saving something though.  I thought my time would be faster with more effort, but it was still only a 1:19.

I didn't have much extra time, so I only did a cooldown, but I opted for 2 miles of that.  Now that the weather is improving, I'd like to do a couple sets of these in the future.  I hope this pays off a little, as it is some faster running.

My doctor's appointment took long, but I made it to the Emmaus Run Inn early and got my new shoes.  I'd break them in during this run.  There was an impressively large group.  This used to be so small when I started running here a few years ago.

I figured that I might try to hang with Aaron.  He used to destroy me on these runs, but I got better.  The big question was how recovered would I be from the short track workout.  I had to try to stay with him, because I didn't know the route at all.  I still don't know Emmaus one bit.

Since it was cooler, I opted for a regular tech shirt.  That was okay, but I did still sweat a lot.  I should've went with a singlet.

There were a bunch of young guys there and I thought that they might be fast.  I planned to stick with Aaron and drop back, hopefully to Brian, if I couldn't hang.  Aaron went to the front and I followed him.

It turns out that the young guys weren't all that fast.  We pulled away in no time.  I was breathing a little heavy, since I began at a fast effort.  I settled in and was still able to have a conversation.

We talked about training and a lot about ultra running, since he's done some of that.  He just destroys me on trails.  The miles did click by.  We were heading to Salisbury Middle School.  I had never run this route.

I let Aaron lead the way and really I had no clue how to get back either.  I wasn't paying much attention.  That first mile and a half or so wasn't too bad, but mile 2 to the turnaround killed me.  There was this very long and gradual hill.  It didn't seem that hard, but it went on and on and on.

I started to fall back at this point.  Aaron didn't get too far away though.  I knew we were only going to 2.5 miles and turning around, so I dug in.  It would be downhill on the way back.

Aaron may have slowed, but whatever the case, I was on his heels when we finally hit the turnaround.  I was relieved.  I was very happy to head back.

I don't know if we backed off our effort, but going back was much, much easier.  The downhill was a piece of cake.  My breathing was no longer as labored and the miles really flew by this time.  It helped to pass everyone that was going out.  Dorf was impressed with how far ahead we were.

Aaron said he wanted to slow down even more.  That was fine with me.  I was in no rush.  This was a good workout, but I wasn't looking to kill myself with it.

Before long, we were back on the main road.  We passed someone who had turned around early.  She commented that we were going fast.  I thanked her.  Rather than cross the road and worry about traffic, I did a short run out to get to mile 5.

It was a productive pair of runs.  I was happy with the track workout.  I wish the evening run felt a little easier at that pace.  Maybe it was the hill that bothered me.  Either way, I need to run a half marathon faster than that next week.  Hopefully the weather will be nicer and I'll sweat even less then.

Tomorrow, I'm not sure what I'm doing.  However, I do plan to get back on trails.  If I have the desire to drive, I might head out to the Hamburg Reservoir.  I want to explore those trails sometime.  That could be fun.

Track Workout 5 miles - 35:54 (7:11 pace)
Emmaus Run Inn group run 5 miles - 34:22 (6.53 pace) 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cool Weather for Trexler

I took off yesterday because of the Eagles game.  After another muggy day on Saturday, today finally felt like fall.  I didn't head out until late in the evening and it was definitely much cooler then too.

I headed to Trexler for a run.  I was hoping to try to find the 10 mile loop.  It was quite windy and I ran shirtless.  I probably didn't need to, but it felt nice.  The only thing that was really wet by the end of the run was my shorts (and my shoes from the creek crossing).

I had trouble deciding where to go, but settled on Trexler.  I wanted around double digit miles and I decided that I didn't feel like traveling.  This would also give me a somewhat challenging run.

I started off the loop nice and easy.  Even early on, I didn't feel all that great.  I passed a hiker in the first mile.  The first real hill was a little struggle, but not too bad.  I was disappointed to see that the bison area was closed.  I don't know where they went.  Mile 1 was a 9:10.

I continued to cruise along.  Another woman that was hiking came down the long hill.  She had 3 little dogs with her.  They were cute and didn't bother me.  Later on, as I ascended, the dogs at the house next to the trail barked (as usual).

Even though I was going uphill, mile 2 was fast.  It was a nice 8:13.  That long hill has become so easy at this point.  Although this climbing wasn't hard, the legs didn't feel sharp.  That was surprising after a rest day.  Maybe it was due to all the elevation gain from last week.  I was also only doing my second run in my new shoes, so I wasn't sure if that had any impact.

My overall pace continued to drop.  Mile 3 had a lot of downhill and was a speedy 8:01.  This section was slightly overgrown, so I wasn't crazy about that.  I worry a lot about ticks at this place.

Finally, I got to some of the moderate hills and then the big hill.  They slowed me down a little.  The smaller hills, I still cruised up.  The big hill, I went very slowly.  The top of it is really the hardest part.  It surely does help that I know this hill by heart now.  I was breathing heavy, but got over it.  Mile 4 was a 9:38.  Not too bad, with the big hill included.

I descended the other side fairly quickly.  I did have to be careful going downhill, because I wasn't used to my shoes.  I wasn't sure how my feet would handle it.

I was breathing heavy and had little time to recover before the next hill.  That one was a struggle at times too, but I knew what it took to get over it.  I was able to do that.

I had changed my mind at this point about trying to do the 10 mile loop.  I really didn't feel all that great.  It didn't matter, since I somehow missed the turn anyway.  I want to try it in the future though, as it is quite challenging apparently.  It has more climbing.

I took my time down the next hill.  I then got to the creek crossing.  I tried to sort of run across that.  I didn't go too hard, because I didn't want to slip.  The water was kind of cold.

The big issue with the crossing was that my feet got wet.  Then, my new insoles began to bunch up.  That was a problem on Saturday too.  I guess I have to break them in or keep them dry.

I saw a deer take off after the water crossing.  I crossed the road and slowly began the easy effort ascent of the next long hill, up to the zoo.  Mile 5 clicked off at 10:13.  Sometime, I need to get this mile under 10 minute pace.  Then, I'll be able to do that for every mile of the run.

I headed on to the grass next.  I used to hate this long ascent, but now I find it easy.  It's amazing how much easier a lot of the moderate hills have become.  It was getting cooler by now too.

At the top of the grass part, I saw another deer.  It just stared at me.  I began cruising this next downhill and flat part.  That was fun, except the downhills were very annoying, with my insole issue.

I went along fairly well.  I knew it was awhile until the next real climb.  I tried to enjoy myself.  I didn't push hard, but I definitely increased my stride a bit and went a little faster.  Mile 6 was an 8:27.

I came near the creek before the climb and a little dog came out and barked at me.  It didn't follow me though.  I was pleased that the muddy section before going up, wasn't muddy today.

I took this climb slow.  I felt better than I had earlier.  Maybe it was because I was nearly done or that it was cooler.  I also had a few GU Chomps.  I was breathing a little heavy by the top, but not too bad.  Mile 7 ended up being a 9:11.  That was pretty good, considering the uphill.

I was now on the wide road.  I guess it is definitely a road, as I had to move out of the way of a KidsPeace security vehicle.  I never saw one of those there.  I thought I had heard someone say something earlier, but I'm not sure.

I felt good as the sun was setting and my pace was quite quick.  I was thrilled that I'd be running a sub 9 minute pace.  That is great, considering I was going pretty easy.  I know I can work a lot harder here.

I really enjoyed the rolling hills.  They go up, but it is gradual and like steps.  Mile 8 ended up being a speedy 7:55.

It was kind of annoying at one point, where I could see the Environmental Center.  I was nearly at that elevation.  However, I had to go down and back up to get there.

The down part was nice.  The up part isn't a lot of fun, but it is doable by this point.  This hill would be much more challenging, if not for the fact that it was almost the end of the run.  Knowing the hill was a huge plus too.  I ran up it and recovered on the short downhill.

I now had one last, short climb.  I noticed that I was going even faster than I expected.  I was close to a sub 1:15.  I busted my butt up the last hill and finished just under that mark.  I've only done that one other time and that was pacing off of Aaron and Pat.  This was my fastest solo run and more remarkable because I didn't even push myself.

It was actually only 12 seconds off of my PR on this course.  Had I known that in the last few miles, I would've really put the hammer down.  I'm sure I could've run a PR today.  Oh well, maybe I'll push more next time.

Tomorrow, I'm hopefully going to run a track workout early in the afternoon.  Then, I have a doctor's appointment.  After that, I'm hoping for a run with the Emmaus Run Inn group.  That would work out great and I need new shoes anyway.  I'm hoping they have my size.

8.45 miles - 1:14:54 (8:52 pace)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Humid Blue Marsh Run

I decided to head to Blue Marsh Lake (near Reading) for a long run.  This was the location of my first ultra last year.  I was hoping to run for 3 hours.  However, it was super humid again and we didn't get there until 11 AM.  I was running on the trail, while my dad was kayaking in the lake.

We parked off of Old Church Road.  That's the one place with a bridge over the lake, so there are multiple options.  The whole trail loop is 30 miles, so I was planning on doing the short loop around the western side of the lake.  I figured that that would be over 6 miles.  I hoped to do it twice and add on mileage too.

There were a few people finishing up their loop in the parking lot when I started.  I headed out on the trail without a shirt and with my half headband on.  I was ready for a tough run.

I headed out on the trail along the lake.  This part is beautiful.  It is mostly flat singletrack.  It's super fast and easy.  I tried to take it at a relaxed pace.  The first few miles were kind of quick.

I tried to force myself to walk a little bit because of the heat.  There are some open areas in the sun in this part, so I walked some of those.  I tried to enjoy it as much as I could.  Even with short walks, I was still clicking off sub 10 minute miles.

After going out a few miles, I came across a tree.  It was very big and I had to climb over it.  I hope that they clear that out before the race.  There were some mountain bikers every now and a few hikers too.  One guy said something as I passed him, but I couldn't understand him.  Mostly, I had the trail to myself.

Before long, I was over 3 miles into the run and headed to the ski slope area.  I knew this hill(s) would be tough, but I'm not finding many overly challenging hills these days.  There were some gradual climbs early on in this part and they weren't too bad.  I hoped that I had enough saved up to climb the big one(s).

I then began the steep ascent.  It was quite steep.  I went up and up and up.  At one point, I thought of quitting and walking.  Then, I saw what I thought was the end of the hill.  However, it was just a short, flat section. 

The hill climbed even more after that.  I began to take on the climb.  It just became too much.  It was super steep and challenging enough.  Throw in the heat and it was near impossible.  That said, on a cool day, I'm not sure I could climb the whole thing yet.  I really only got up about 2/3 of the way.

After that, it was some nice and fun downhill.  I enjoyed this and recovered a bit.  Then, there was more climbing.  This was another steep hill, although much shorter.  I actually was so exhausted that I walked most of it.

I've been a little overconfident lately.  These hills, combined with the humidity, were very humbling.  Eventually, I'll be able to run them too, but it may take awhile.  I'll at least try again come fall.

After the climb, I still walked a little.  It was flat, but it was now a sunny, open field.  These parts weren't much fun though.  They weren't massive hills, but there were quite a few gradual ones.  I was happy to get to mile 5 and at least be that far along.

I began getting very frustrating with some of the rolling hills in this part.  They were tough and I walked here and there.  There was also some annoying stones used as road at one point.  I got lost in this area last year, but this time around, I found my way.  At a road, the trail loops around and then goes on to a park road.  That slightly uphill and hot and annoying. 

I was very frustrated at this point and not sure how much I'd be able to run.  A couple more climbs got me very pissed off.  At least I was back in the woods.  The last mile or so descending through the woods was actually a lot of fun. 

I came out to Old Church Road and had to cross the bridge to get to my car.  It was very hot.  I got there at 7.2 miles.  I thought this loop would be about 6.2 miles, so that extra mile was tough.

I didn't want to waste too much time stopping.  I grabbed some more water, dried myself with a towel and ate an S-Cap.  There was a guy that just started his run as I was doing all this.  He headed toward the other side.  Nothing over there is easy, so I wasn't going that way.

I wanted to run to at least 10 miles at this point and was hoping for 12 miles.  However, I wasn't going to do the first loop again.  That had too much climbing for the awful weather.  I instead went back on the flat, easy section.

The body felt okay.  The rest was nice and prevented me from overheating.  I was at 10:17 pace when I left the car.  I wanted to go out at least 2 miles and turn around.

It was very hot and this section was very easy.  I had to be careful and try to make sure that I'd at least walk a little with every mile.  I didn't want to overheat.  I did just that and ran most of the time.  I looked at my watch too often now. 

The legs sure weren't bad and I could run a lot.  I was super hot though.  I passed some young people that were running for some reason.  They were overdressed and clearly not running much.

I got to the giant downed tree and turned around.  I was at about 2.1 miles from the car.  I cruised on back now.  The pace was close to 10 minutes per mile.

I passed the kids again.  I walked here and there, but tried not to do it too often.  After all, this section was super runnable.  I was getting low on water.

I continued along and came out to the parking area, near mile 11.5.  I decided to go out the other way briefly and keep going.  I'd be at 12 miles soon.  Since I was now running under a 10 minute pace, I decided that I would continue to run until the 2 hour point.

I went out briefly and this section felt slow.  However, it really wasn't.  One of the miles was under 9 minutes.  I stumbled my way back in and then ran partway over the bridge to get over the 2 hour mark.

I was quite happy with this run.  It would've been nice to run for another hour, but I was close to my limit with the heat and humidity.  I was soaked and needed a rest.  I got out of the sun as quickly as I could.  When my dad came back, I jumped in the water of the lake.  That was so refreshing.  I was thrilled to be done.  I'll be more productive whenever the weather gets better.

This is the third time I've run at Blue Marsh and every time has been a huge challenge.  The first time was a training run before the race.  It was a hot day, just like today.  The race itself was hot and today was obviously bad.  Maybe next time, I should come here during better weather.

Tomorrow, I'm going to the Eagles game.  I will probably have to take the day off.  It's either that or run at night.  Perhaps I'll try that, but most likely around my neighborhood.  It will be cooler tomorrow.  Regardless of when my next run is, it will be more enjoyable.  I want a few solid runs and plenty of climbing next week.

12.31 miles - 2:00:25 (9:47 pace)