Sunday, December 27, 2015

Back to Riverview

I've been wanting to get Tammany for some time now.  Even though it is warm, it has been gloomy.  This morning, it was super foggy, so I passed on that run again.

Back when I used to run pavement regularly, Riverview Park was the one place I didn't get sick of.  I'm not even sure why that is.  I haven't run there in well over a year.  I decided to head there on this miserable afternoon.

It was cloudy and there was a slight chill in the air.  However, it was still too warm for a jacket.  With no breeze, I opted for shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  That was perfect. 

At first, I considered heading to the Boat Launch.  Then, I opted to go the other way, toward Easton.  It has been so long, that I was unsure of the mileage in this direction.  The plan was for a 7 mile day.  I'd run out until I felt like it and then turn around.  If needed, I'd go the other way.

I saw a few walkers and bikers early on.  There weren't many people out though.  I ran over the bridge over the Lehigh River.  I was on the canal path now.  There were some shady looking guys, but they did nothing.

The first mile felt a bit crappy, but it got better as I ran along.  Still, I continue to feel sluggish and heavy now.  I guess that is because I am.  My fitness is quite low.  

The river was rushing pretty good.  I stared at it and some of the old structures that are all along the canal towpath.  Most of the run was uneventful though.  As I approached Easton, I was nearing three miles.

I thought about turning around at the Forks of the Delaware, but decided to continue on the path along the Delaware River.  This would be another .5 miles out and back.  This section is stone, but it wasn't too bad, even with all the recent rain. 

I did enjoy this part, but couldn't wait to get back.  I turned around at 3.5 miles.  It was nice to click off every half mile after.

I guess maybe why I like running here is that the back part doesn't seem so bad.  Usually, going out is fine, but coming back sucks.  That isn't the case on this route.  Still, I wasn't in great spirits with the terrible weather.  It has put a damper on my energy all around right now.

Before I knew it, I was back near Hugh Moore Park and then running over the Lehigh River again.  I ran back to Riverview Park and finished up right where I started.  The pace was under 8:30, so I was happy with that.

It was good to get something done.  It wasn't a terrible run or a great run.  Any run I can do these days, I'll take.  Running is still such a struggle right now.

Tomorrow, I'd like to try Tammany.  However, it appears to be another crappy day in store for us.  I'll play it by ear.  Maybe I can at least run somewhere.

7 miles - 58:34 (8:22 pace) 108 feet of elevation gain

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Super Warm 5 Miles

The last few days have been yuck rain.  I didn't run.  Today, was supposed to crush all kinds of records for warmest temperature.  Christmas Eve and it is supposed to be around 70 degrees.  Still, I wanted to run.

I had a morning order and an evening order at work.  I opted to run around my neighborhood right after the first order.  It was cloudy and didn't seem too warm.  Boy, was I wrong.  I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt and wished that I had even less on.

The plan was the standard 5 mile loop.  It encompasses the other neighborhood, plus a small neighborhood across another road.  I headed out from my house, feeling pretty crappy.  I thought it would subside.

It never did though.  I felt like death throughout the run, even going easy.  Breathing was a struggle.  It was just too muggy for this time of year.  It felt like the miles you run after crashing bad in a marathon.

A bunch of people were out running.  Luckily, all of them seemed to be going different ways, with all the neighborhood options.  With my suffering, I could envision a 9 year old girl blowing by me.

I struggled up every hill.  It seemed forever to get to mile 2.  I eventually made it to the other little neighborhood.  This is the steepest hill and it was torture.  A guy was walking his dog up it.  He was probably laughing at me.

After the top, another guy was going to his car.  He started signing, "It's beginning to look a lot like Easter" (instead of Christmas).  I got a chuckle out of that.  As much as I could anyway with my suffering.  I didn't even have the energy to say anything witty back.

I was so glad to get to mile 3.  I was suffering so much that I even contemplated stopping there and walking back.  If I was planning anything more than 5 miles, I probably would've cut the run short.  It just wasn't very productive.

At least I was running a sub 8:30 pace.  What a struggle though.  I could barely make it up hills.  With all the trail running I do, road hills don't bother me much any more.  However, today they were a beast.

I actually didn't even care about miles from this point.  I just thought about the hills left, as it was that bad.  I got to the next one, which would be the 2nd to last one, around mile 4.  I struggled up that.

I must've looked at my watch about a million times.  When I was at 3.1 miles, I thought that being at 4.1 miles would be awesome.  Getting to 4.1 miles was a milestone.  I took my watch off then, for the rest of the run.

I usually like to do that as a symbol that I'm almost done.  I still had one more hill though.  Normally, I go even farther here and slightly uphill.  However, today I cut straight across at the top.  I ran back to the highway and across the street to the school.

I finished up before the black path.  There was no way I'd be running up that anyway.  I had 5 miles in the books and was thrilled to be done.  It was so bad that I even got dizzy when I walked in the house later.

I could do without this weather.  I don't know when winter will arrive.  I don't need a lot of cold, but I could use some.  I could also use some snow.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to make it to Mt. Tammany.  I'd love to get in 2 loops.  I have Christmas lunch first though.  I may not make it up there in time.  I'll play it by ear.

5 miles - 41:30 (8:18 pace) 109 feet of elevation gain

Monday, December 21, 2015

Night Nazareth 3 Miler

I actually ran two days in a row.  What a rarity.  I didn't have the energy to run during the day.  I had to let my heavy dinner settle in my stomach, but decided to head out after dark.

It was around 8 PM when I got started.  I didn't want a headlamp, so I opted to run on the sidewalks in town.  The plan was for just three easy miles.  That was all I could muster.

I wore a jacket to be visible.  It was quite warm, even that late at night.  The jacket probably wasn't needed.  I was sweating by the end.  Wearing shorts was great.

I parked in the circle and headed out to the high school.  I didn't feel great, but took it nice and easy.  I even was able to hold back, even though it was downhill to the school.  When I got to the school, it was buzzing with activity.

I was at about 1 mile at this point.  I decided to run down to the middle school and loop around it.  I ran a loop around the old parking lot that I used in high school.  Then, I ran around the middle school.  Since the school wasn't there when I was in school, I peered inside when I could.  There wasn't much to see.

I was over 1.5 miles as I looped around the school.  I had to be careful with all the cars that were picking kids up from some activity.  I ran on to the sidewalks where I could.

As I headed back, I took the road next to the elementary school into town.  This had some tough uphill.  I passed a woman and her daughter walking.  Most people were inside by now.  I hit mile 2 at the school and was now in the last mile.  As I looked at the watch, I knew I'd finish very close to where I had started.

I crossed over Broad Street and then turned on Main Street.  I headed to the YMCA, as I finished up.  I hit mile 3 right by the start of the circle.

It wasn't much of a run, but it was a run.  Any running I can get myself to do these days is a good run.  Running on back to back days is great.

Tomorrow, I'd really like to go to Mt. Tammany.  Who knows though, as it is quite the task for me to drag myself up there.  Two loops there would be great.

3 miles - 25:49 (8:36 pace) 132 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Light to Dark Run

I haven't run in over a week.  It was a combination of being lazy and also busy at work.  I almost didn't get out there today.  However, after some TV, I went around the neighborhoods.  It was nearly dark by then.

The plan was another short and easy 5 miler.  I wore a yellow jacket, gloves and a headband.  I had on shorts, even though it was about 40 degrees.  I was comfortable and took off the headband later.  I could've probably even taken off the gloves, but I didn't.

I ran across the road at the school.  A car actually stopped to let me cross, but there were cars coming the other direction.  I decided to run the shorter loop.  This was nice and easy.  It was still light out.  I figured that I had until about mile 3 before it would be dark.

This loop was done quickly.  I added on a short part.  However, I cut over a road before I wanted to.  I was around mile 2 now, as I headed back to the school.

I was nearing mile 3 when back at the school.  I felt kind of crappy and almost called it a day at 3 miles.  However, I pressed on.  I figured I could managed 2 more miles.

I decided to head to the neighborhood on the other side of the school.  I went out up a hill.  By now, it was getting dark and I had to be careful with cars around. 

I came back downhill.  I headed to the school.  I was approaching 4 miles now.  I then went over that and headed to the school.

I got back to the school in the darkness.  I had about 2/3 of a mile to go.  I looped around the school, using the lights of the parking lot to see my watch.  I finished up just after a loop.  I had 5 miles in the books.

This was a pretty bland run.  However, I'm happy any time I can get myself out for a run.  It is rare these days.

Tomorrow, I'd love to run again.  I really need to get to Mt. Tammany again a bunch of times before the end of the year.  Maybe I could do 2 or 3 loops there.

5 miles - 44:59 (9:00 pace) 36 feet of elevation gain

Friday, December 11, 2015

Nor-Bath Afternoon Run

After a day off, I wanted a Friday run.  I have a busy weekend ahead and I'm not sure if I'll run at all.  I wanted to run at Tammany, but decided against it, since it is bear season.  Instead, I headed to the Nor-Bath Trail.

It was already late afternoon, so I figured on just a 5 miler.  This weekend is supposed to be record warmth and I thought today was too.  However, the sun wasn't out, so it was a bit chilly.  Still, I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  I can't complain about that and I was sweating by the end.

I started off at Bicentennial Park.  I didn't want to cross Airport Road.  I thought about heading each way, but opted to just go toward Northampton for as far as I could tolerate.

I started off nice and easy.  Pace didn't matter at all.  I was breathing a little heavy, but not too bad.  I was chewing gum.  I passed a walker early on.

I was happy to get over the road with no issues.  I cruised along.  I was enjoying myself so much that I even noticed a building past one of the bridges.  I had never seen that before when I was running hard.  The trail was a little muddy, but overall it was great.

I nearly caught a slow runner, but he turned around.  I crossed the next road.  After that, I came to some youngsters messing around.  They were climbing and playing with some branches.  I ran through the neighborhood.

I ran to 2.5 miles and turned around.  I was getting to a crappy section anyway.  I felt slow as I went up the hill.  The kids were gone when I got back there.  There is a dog park by the road crossing.  It was packed.

I headed back cruising along.  I crossed both roads again with no issues.  I was surprised by the pace.  I also passed a lady running the other way.  She said hello in an overly friendly way.  I acknowledged her, but continued on. 

I noticed my watch seemed like it might be off slightly.  I approached the park and got to the starting point around 4.85 miles.  I ran to mile 5 to finish up.  It was at least close.

This wasn't a great run, but at least it was a run.  It was good to get out there and get it done.  I'm over 20 miles for the week, which has been rare lately.  I'd like to run tomorrow, but I'll be pretty busy with work and watching football.  Maybe I can run right near here.

5 miles - 39:49 (7:58 pace) 140 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

No Plan Run

I had a bad headache one of the last two days and just slacked the other day.  I almost didn't make it out until darkness, but did head out late this afternoon for this run.  I didn't have much daylight left, so I ran from home.  I had no plan of where to go.  I was just hoping for 7 miles.

It is still unseasonably cool.  It's more like early October weather than early December.  That made for perfect running conditions.  I went with a light long sleeve shirt and shorts.  That was a great choice.  It was orange, in case I was out a little after dark.  I had started at 4 PM.

I went down to the school.  I ran a loop around it.  I thought about doing loops until 7 miles, but I knew that would be boring.  Instead, I headed over to the neighborhood next to the school.  Even then, I really had no idea where I was going.  I was making it up on the fly.

I decided on an out and back on a dead end street.  That was good and it came back going uphill.  I was happy to be running a sub 9 minute pace, but really pace didn't matter.  I just cruised along.  I can't say I felt great or bad.

I decided to go out some more then.  There is this other small neighborhood that I sometimes go to.  This time, I ran it clockwise instead of counterclockwise.  I saw a dog walker and a woman walking.  It was cloudy out now. 

Heading back, I had to go uphill.  I was around 3.5 miles now and pretty happy.  I headed back toward the school.  I saw an Indian couple walking.  I've seen them a few times while out running or riding in this area.

I arrived back at the school after mile 4.  I decided on a couple loops around the school.  Darkness was creeping in.  I got bored after only about 2 loops.

I headed back to the other neighborhood and just ran around the circle.  I only did that once.  I think I was probably around 5.5 miles at that point.  I don't quite recall.

I figured I'd do some more running around the school.  Some times, I'd go in the back of the school.  Other times, I merely looped around the front.  After mile 5, I had to just keep moving.  My body wasn't hurting, but I was feeling weakened.  I just focused on mile 6.

It was good to get past that and continue looping around.  I had to avoid some cars picking up their kids at the school.  There was a dog walker in the grass.  I finished up at mile 7, as I went up the black path.

There was noting special about this run.  It was easy and 7 miles long.  It was pretty boring.  However, I got out there and got it done and got some exercise.

Tomorrow, I'd love to get to Tammany.  I need to put in 10 loops there before the year is over.  We'll see what I can do.  One loop doesn't sound bad, but two or three loops at a time doesn't interest me at the moment.  I do love running there, but it is quite the challenge.  There's no such thing as an easy day there and I need easy days now.  That's about all I can muster.

7 miles - 58:58 (8:26 pace) 44 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Unseasonable D&L Run

As usual, I slacked off and only ran once last week.  Yesterday, I used lack of time as an excuse, but really that wasn't a good one.  This Sunday, I had no excuses left, so I headed to the D&L.

I love the section between Cove Road and Slatington.  The scenery there is great, so I headed out there.  I was hoping for a 10 miler, but any running at all would be better than what I've been doing.  I haven't run 10 straight miles without some hiking in some time.

The weather was unseasonably warm.  It was nearly 50 degrees as a high.  That is crazy for December.  I went with shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  My legs were a little chilly early, but it was perfect.  I'd take this weather all year long.

I felt awesome at the start.  I was nice and fresh as I began past the bridge.  It starts with some uphill, but I didn't even notice it much.  The beginning of this run was awesome.  I didn't even look at my watch until .87 miles into the run. 

The scenery is great and exactly what I needed.  You are above the Lehigh River on one side.  The other side has these cool rock cliffs.  It is stone rail trail, but it is about as close to nature trail as you can get.  My mind was in a great place and I was enjoying myself.

There were a lot of people out.  Mostly it was people on bikes.  I only saw one runner and a handful of walkers and dog walkers.  One woman on a bike asked if I was cold.  I told her how perfect the conditions were for me.  Bikers were definitely bundled up more.

I continued checking out the scenery.  I was looking around to see if there would be any cool places there to meditate.  I might have to try that in the future.  I'm not sure how I'd get up the cliffs.  I could also probably sit down by the river.  There is a spot where there was an old bridge.  I didn't look at my watch for a 2nd time until 2.4 miles.

I was going nice and easy.  My breathing wasn't smooth, because the air was a little cold.  I focused now on getting to mile 3 and then mile 4.  I wasn't quite enjoying the scenery as much.  I was happy to get to mile 4.  I figured mile 5 would be near Slatington. 

There is an old signal near there.  That is neat.  I kept on moving along.  I was happy when I finally got to mile 5.  I turned around and headed back.

I had recently started looking at my time.  I was over 8 minute pace, but it was dropping.  I figured that maybe I could get below that by the end of the run.  The focus from then on was getting to the next mile. 

I really had been focusing on mile 7 as a bigger milestone though.  Then, I'd be inside of 3 miles to go.  Whereas I enjoyed the scenery going out, I didn't going back.  I couldn't wait to finish and watched my watch way too much.  I was figuring out the pace too.

Getting to mile 7 was great.  I ran past where there are often horses out.  They weren't there today though.  I continued to focus on the next mile.  My pace was a little quicker now.  I figured I was probably running well under 8 minute miles and indeed the data shows that I was.

Around 7.5 miles, my hip started to bother me.  I've always had issues on these stone trails after a long time.  That was the case now and it was no surprise, since I haven't run far on any trails lately.  I pushed on though.  I figured I could handle 2.5 miles.

The nice thing heading back is it is a lot of downhill.  I tried to look at the cliffs again, but it was hard to relax now.  I wasn't running hard, but I was running comfortable either.  I was happy to get to mile 8 and then mile 9.

In the final half mile, my watch lost its signal.  It got messed up and thinks I ran across the river.  The distance was going up very fast.  I hit mile 10 about 2/10ths of a mile from the bridge.  I stopped my watch, but ran on to the bridge. 

It was a nice run.  I wish I could've enjoyed the second half as much as the first half.  I'm thrilled to get into double digit miles.  It was a good Sunday and a beautiful day too.  I'd prefer some colder weather, but if it stays warm, I guess I'll take advantage.

10 miles - 1:16:18 (7:38 pace) 84 feet of elevation gain  NOT ACCURATE DATA

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Drizzle Dark Palmer Trail Run

I was busy working and then followed that up by slacking.  I had not run since last week.  This was the second straight day of rain, so I almost didn't run again.  Finally, I got out there a little after 5 PM.

It was still drizzling during the run and pretty warm as well.  I had on my shell and was hot as the run went on.  I was definitely glad I had on shorts.

Since I didn't want to run much, I opted to just do 4 miles.  I parked off of 25th Street at a shopping center.  The plan was just two miles out and two more back on the Palmer Trail.  This starts off industrial and goes behind some prefab plant.  They had pieces labeled "Morris Street" on them.  I have no idea where that is.

I first looked at my watch after half a mile.  I was running nice and easy.  Even so, I was getting bored already.  I had to wait at the road crossing by the post office.  I didn't really have to stop at any other intersections.

When I got to the park along the trail, I came across a woman with two dogs.  I actually had not even noticed them until I was right there.  She was off to the side.  A short time later, I saw two lights on the trail.  I came up to them and it was another woman and her dog.  The dog had a light on too and I told the woman that that was neat.

I was approaching mile 2 at that point.  I couldn't wait to turn around, as I was so bored.  It seemed a lot more misty now.  I found that annoying.  Wearing my visor was making me hot too.  I was very happy to get to mile 2.

I continued to go nice and slow, as I turned and headed back.  I just focused on getting to mile 3.  Then, the last mile wouldn't be too bad.  Since the mist was annoying in my light, I took the light off my head and carried it.

I saw the woman and the dog with lights again.  The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  I was happy to get back to the industrial area.  I finished up behind the shopping center at 4 miles.

It wasn't a great run or a fast one.  However, I did get out there and the conditions kind of sucked too.  At least I finally got some miles in.

Hopefully I'll run again tomorrow, but who knows.  Getting on the trails would be nice.  It is hunting season though, so I'd have to be careful.  I need some more runs at Tammany before the month is over.

 4 miles - 35:31 (8:53 pace) 90 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

No Leaves Tammany

I haven't been getting on trails much lately and I think I've only been to Tammany once this fall.  Since I'm not sure how busy I'll be at work this week, I decided to head there today.  The plan was for two loops.

It was a chilly afternoon.  I wore a light weight long sleeve shirt and my shell.  I had on shorts too.  I was sweating a lot early, but even a little chilly later.  I was happy with my clothing choice.  This time of year, a jacket rarely hurts.

Now that it is late fall, the trails are much more vacant.  This is especially true on a chilly Tuesday afternoon.  I probably did see 10 hikers or so throughout the 2+ hours out there.

I struggled with my breathing a little bit early.  I ended up hiking most of the beginning anyway.  It was clear early on that I lost a little bit of fitness or strength.  I'm not too bad, but not where I was in the summer.  My lower back hurt a bit during the first climb.  It's been a little bit sore after meditating lately too.

Going up was slow.  That was due to my fitness, but also the frequent stops.  I took a new camera and wanted to take a lot of photos.  All the leaves are basically down now.  The trail isn't at its best, but it is always pretty.

Toward the top, my back became more sore.  I was disappointed when I arrived at the overlook.  With fewer hikers out, I thought I'd have it to myself.  Instead, there were two young ladies there.  I went farther down than usual and took some photos.  I was in no hurry.  It was a slower day.

The Blue Trail was a mix of running and hiking.  I ate a sandwich before the run and I guess that doesn't have much nutritional value.  I didn't feel great and struggled to run consistently.

Because I didn't feel great, I descended the Blue Trail kind of slow.  I was also cautious because on the steep parts, it was the only place with leaves still on the trail.  My shoes are getting older too and don't have much grip.

On the most technical section, I came across another group of women hiking up.  They had 3 or 4 dogs with them.  The first one was well ahead and turned back down the trail when I was coming.  They were all friendly and caused no issues.

I continued to run on down.  The trail was wet in spots.  The waterfall was beautiful at the bottom.  It was good to get on the Appalachian Trail and arrive back at my car.

I stopped for some water.  I also needed a GU or this second loop would get very ugly.  After that, I started hiking back up.  Near the bottom, I cam across the two women from up top.

I took less photos, so I might have gone uphill faster this time.  However, I wasn't flying.  I did try to run a little more.  Since I'm not strong, that was tough.

The climb was pretty uneventful.  I know this loop by heart now.  I even know the best way to go to get up each part the easiest.  I saw the women with the dogs again.  They were near the top.  I petted the one, as it was friendly.

This time, I had the top all to myself.  I didn't stay long.  It was cloudy by now and getting chilly.  I looked forward to the Blue Trail and the descent.

The descent was pretty uneventful.  The GU steadied me a little, but it wasn't a big boost.  Those have often made me better.  My weak legs were a bit of a problem too.  I had switched my water to the other side of my vest and that might've helped my lower back a little.

I went into autopilot as I descended.  Usually, I'm focused on the rocks.  This time, I was thinking of other random things.  I didn't run fast, but got to the bottom in what seemed like no time.  I ran back on the AT and to my car to finish the second loop.

This run was slow, but it was good to get some climbing done.  It was nice to be back here.  I want to finish 50 loops by the end of the year, so I'll have to get here a few more times within the next month.  One weekend run of 4 or 5 loops would sure be nice.

Tomorrow, I'll try to run.  That is if I have the time and the desire.  I have a late night order and then a busy Thanksgiving Day.  Any running I can manage will be a plus, since I won't be running at all on Thursday.

7.32 miles - 2:06:54 (17:21 pace) 2416 feet of elevation gain
The 39th and 40th loops of Mt. Tammany in 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Exploring Pennel Run

I only ran once last week.  I was slacking and also busy.  I went back and forth with whether or not to run today.  I had skipped the Eagles game, so I had plenty of time.  I finally talked myself into traveling a little and running somewhere new.

I headed into the Poconos, about an hour north of here.  I wanted to run Pennel Run, which is a short loop in the Delaware State Forest.  I drove up there and the trailhead was easy to find.

It was chilly, more of late November weather (compared to what we've seen lately).  It was cloudy and windy at times.  I wore shorts, but also a long sleeve shirt and my shell over it.  That ended up being a good combination.  I was sweating a little by the end, but it was typical.

I started off by following the Thunder Swamp Trail, which was blazed orange.  This is a big loop around the State Forest.  Some time, I might run the whole thing.  It is supposed to be wet and a bit overgrown too.  Maybe I'll try it with some light snow on the ground.

Early on, I had to stop.  There was one car in the lot and I guess I ran into this group of hikers.  They had a dog with them that was bothered by me.  It was off the leash and barking like crazy.  I walked on by and began running again when everything was good.

Running was still tough.  There isn't much elevation here, but it is typical rocky Pennsylvania trails.  It was difficult because the footing was so uneven.  It wasn't as bad as the AT, but it sure wasn't smooth running.  Throw in the fallen leaves and things were that much more challenging.

The trail is so lightly traveled that it is hard to follow the actual path.  There are plenty of blazes on the trees thankfully.  After being kind of crappy early on, it went along some water.  I think that was Spruce Run.  It was still hard to run on, but at least the water and evergreen trees were pretty.

The trail then crossed the water over a footbridge.  I got my feet slightly wet earlier.  It wasn't bad though, only slightly muddy in spots.  At one point, I lost the blazes due to a large blow down.  I did find my way again though.

I got to the turn with Pennel Run and followed that.  It is yellow on the map, but the blazes were actually red.  At least they had signs, so it wasn't confusing.  I was running and hiking through this slow part.  There was some uphill.  I hit a few small branches and could see how overgrown this trail likely is during the summer.

Around 2 miles, I got to the loop portion of the Pennel Run Trail.  I was excited for this, as I was on a part called "Hay Road."  As I anticipated, it was a runnable woods road.  I didn't run the whole time, but I did run often.

I headed north on the loop.  This was runnable, but quite boring.  I hiked some times too.  There were no views and it was just a standard woods road.  After a mile, I lost the blazes and the road seemed like it was different too.  I decided that I wasn't sure how far I'd have to go for the loop, so I just turned around and headed back.

I was disappointed, because I figured the cool part was the other half of the loop, along Pennel Run.  As I headed back, I never did find the turn I missed.  It was apparently quite close to the Connector Trail. 

I got to the intersection from earlier, but decided to stay on Hay Road.  At least I knew that was runnable.  Going back on the rocky trail would've been slow.  Of course, I was only hoping I could stay on Hay Road.  It looked like this came out to Snow Hill Road (where I started), but I wasn't 100%.

I had to navigated over some big blow downs.  Clearly, this trail isn't used too frequently.  There were plenty of briars too, which scratched up my legs.  I was glad that none of them drew blood.

I saw the blazed turn toward Pennel Run, but due to a blow down, I didn't see the trail.  I just ran along Hay Road anyway.  I was over 5.5 miles now.  I figured I had less than a mile to get to Snow Hill Road.  Eventually, I came out to some "No Tresspassing" signs.  I took my chance, as it was too far to turn around.

Things looked promising when the road became more roadlike.  There were tire tracks in the mud.  I continued to run along.  All throughout the run, I heard a shotgun in the distance.  I assume they were practicing, since there is no hunting on Sundays in this state.

This road eventually came out to Snow Hill Road.  I saw a car up ahead, but luckily it drove away before I got to the gate.  I wasn't sure if I should be there.  I ran along Snow Hill Road for a bit.  I knew I was heading the right way when I got to the bridge over the water that I had crossed earlier.

I knew I still had some distance to go though.  I had a tough uphill finish awaiting.  It seemed to go on and on and I was breathing heavy.  I saw a sign up ahead, but was frustrating to find that it wasn't for the Thunder Swamp Trail.  Finally, at a little over 7 miles, I saw my car and ran to it to finish up.

I love exploring.  From that aspect, this was a disappointing run.  I didn't see much.  However, I did get myself out there running.  I got some exercise and still enjoyed myself.  Not every run is going to be an A+.  I'm happy with a solid run.

I have no idea when I'll run.  Part of it is motivation, but I also may be busy at work.  Hopefully, I'll have the time and desire to run tomorrow.  I must at least get out there once before Thanksgiving.

7.06 miles - 1:28:47 (12:34 pace) 549 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Standard Night Loop

As usual, I was slacking over the last few days.  I had three straight days of no running.  I got out there tonight after dark.  While I'm not enjoying running right now, I do kind of like night running.  The pavement I could do without.

The plan tonight was just to run the basic long loop around the neighborhoods.  I figured it would be about 5 miles.  My Garmin showed me way over that, but it probably wasn't correct.  The first mile was definitely off.

Thankfully, it was much more chilly tonight than lately.  I wore the usual attire, a lightweight jacket and shorts.  I hate wearing my visor, but my headlamp doesn't stay up well otherwise.  I was chilly at first, but then a little hot later.  My visor definitely made me hotter.  I might have to work on adjusting the headlamp and not wearing the visor.

I started out at my house and headed across the highway to the other neighborhood.  I went nice and slow, almost ultra pace.  I ate less than an hour before the 6 PM run, so I had to take it easy.

I just ran along.  Since I knew exactly the route I wanted to take, I didn't even bother to look at my watch.  I thought about some things related to my run and some things related to life.

It wasn't long before I was going up the first big gradual hill.  I cruised up that.  There were quite a few cars out, since it was still early in the evening.  Some walkers and dog walkers were out too.

I went over to do the small neighborhood loop too.  This was pretty easy because I took it easy.  With the air a little cold, breathing wasn't the easiest thing.  It was very manageable though.  I passed some walkers at the top.

Then, I was back to the other loop.  I figured I was probably around 3 miles now, but I didn't want to look at my watch.  I thought about not looking at all.  My pace and distance really didn't matter.

One nice thing is that with no running in the last three days, I felt fresh.  I still can't totally shake my sore foot from the spring.  I'd think with less miles now, I wouldn't feel it at all.  It doesn't bother me, but I can still slightly feel the tenderness in that area.  Maybe I'll need full rest for it to go away.

In no time, I was to the 2 mile point of the old Blue Eagle 5K course.  The marker is still there.  I didn't want to look at my watch, but I couldn't help it.  I was surprised to see that it said 4.4 miles.  I figured there was no way I went that far or was running a sub 8 minute pace.  I was barely moving.  Looking at the data now, I think the first mile was messed up.

Really, it didn't matter.  I just continued to run along.  I got back to the school and finished up like I was running the Blue Eagle 5K.  I kept going and got to my house.  I could've run to mile 6, but there wasn't much point.  I just finished at the driveway.

I definitely should get back on some trails sometimes soon, even if it is just Jacobsburg.  These short, night runs are about all I can muster though.  I wanted to hit some D&L Trail today, but couldn't get myself to do so.  Some running is better than no running I guess.  It would be nice if my hunger would come back.

5.73 miles - 45:19 (7:54 pace) 99 feet of elevation gain  NOT ACCURATE DATA

Friday, November 13, 2015

Daylight Neighborhoods Run

Last night, I went out for a darkness run.  It was a raining a bit when I stepped outside, so I went back in.  Today was super windy.  It looked like another excuse.  However, around 4 PM, I realized that the winds had died down.  I made myself get outside.

The plan was for 5 miles around the neighborhoods.  I can usually bargain myself into that short of a run.  I hate being on pavement so much, but at least that makes the run go by quickly.  I need to get on more trails though.

I wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt.  Although the wind died down, it definitely wasn't gone.  It was windy and causing my nose to run.  I'd take these conditions though.

I started off at my house and headed to the neighborhood on the other side of the school.  I don't think any of my recent runs have gone over there.  I was there in no time and comfortably climbing up the slight hill.

The plan was to run to the end of the small industrial park over there and back.  I knew I'd need to add some to get to 5 miles.  There was a vehicle parked in a weird spot along the road into the industrial park.  After that, it was a nice downhill.

There was no wind on the descent, so I knew it would be tough on the way back.  I was surprised when I started looking at my pace.  I was running easy and barely over an 8 minute pace.  I figured that I'd be closer to a 9 minute pace.

When I got to the industrial park turnaround, I was only near 2 miles.  I went around a building at the end, to add more distance.  I headed back and after turning, it was into the wind.

Still, this wasn't too bad and I headed to do a short add on around some fairly new houses.  This is also slightly uphill.  Then, it was back to the main road.  The short climb was windy and tough.  The sky was a pretty pink, as the sun was setting.

At the top, a guy with a baby was talking selfies or something.  I have no idea.  I turned to head back home and was able to enjoy a windless stretch.  This was a descent too.  Earlier, I twisted my ankle a few times, but now it felt good.

Before the circle in this neighborhood, I hit mile 4.  It was getting close to dark, but I had timed the run perfectly.  I ran around the back of the school.  Then, I added distance around the front of it too.

When I got back to my neighborhood, it was around 4.75 miles.  I figured I'd do the medium loop.  I didn't quite finish this loop when I hit 5 miles.  I stopped my watch right then.

Again, it wasn't a great run, but I got the job done.  One thing I keep forgetting to do is run strides.  I want to work on my speed a little, without actually running hard.  I was happy just to get out the door today.

Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be windy again.  I'd love to get to the DWG.  I haven't been there in some time.  Three loops of Tammany would be awesome and doable for sure.  I'm going to watch some friends, Kristin and Angie run a 5K in the morning.  That should be fun too.

5 miles - 40:01 (8:00 pace) 40 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Changing the Route

I struggled to get out there again yesterday.  I used the rain as an excuse.  I raked leaves this afternoon, so I ran in the dark today.  I am able to at least push myself out the door for less than an hour of road running.  Even if I don't enjoy it, it is over quick.

It's still warmer than it should be this time of year.  Again, I wore my light jacket and visor.  I was soaked by the end of the run.  Cooler weather will be nice.

At times, I've run with a decent effort on roads, since coming back to them.  Today, I ran more of a very comfortable and slow ultra pace.  It was nice and easy.  I was just looking to get a run in.  I figured I would go 5 miles around the neighborhoods.

I changed the route up tonight.  I ran through my neighborhood too.  That was pretty uneventful.  It's over a mile long, so I was 1/5 of the way done after that.

I ended up figuring out percentage done throughout the run.  I went over to the other neighborhood next.  Instead of the usual parts, I ran past an old friend's house.  I rarely go over there.  Even after that loop, I was less than 2.5 miles into the run.

I went back to the normal route.  I wasn't going to go very far though.  I got to a part where I normally extend the run, but instead, I made it a loop.  This was part of the Blue Eagle 5K course.  I realized that I'd be over 4 miles when I got back to the school.

I continued on.  There were a few cars and leaf piles to avoid.  Mostly, I was just alone and it was peacefully.  A few times dogs were barking, but I didn't encounter them.

I got back to the road and crossed the street to the school.  I had a little over 3/4 of a mile to go when I got to the Blue Eagle 5K finish line.  I went back to my neighborhood.  I did the regular loop there.  That wasn't quite enough to get me to 5 miles, so I needed the shortest loop there too. 

It was slow, although I went under 9 minute pace, but I got the run done.  Any running is better than no running.  I want to love running again.  I hope that will come back, but I'll try not to force it.

I hope I can run again tomorrow, but who knows.  It is supposed to rain again I believe.  I'd love to get to Tammany, as I haven't been there in awhile.  It is quite a trek for someone who isn't motivated though.

5 miles - 44:16 (8:51 pace) 26 feet of elevation gain

Monday, November 9, 2015

Leaf Covered Gorge Run

Today was a nice fall day.  I wanted to run some trails.  I decided to head to the Gorge over in New Jersey.  It's not too far and the scenery is great.

I wore shorts and short sleeve shirt.  That attire was good.  It was slightly chilly, but overall not bad.  I'd take this weather all the time.

Last time here, it was pouring rain.  Today was much nicer.  I went on the "up" trail first this time.  Last time, I came back that way after starting "down."  I was thinking that this first part would be near the top, but actually I was quite wrong.  I had to climb pretty early.

This early part was characteristic of what the run would be.  All the leaves are down now.  It made running up the steep parts almost pointless.  Instead, I hiked.  That was frustratingly slow.

Once up a lot of the way, I ran a little.  The trail was tricky, as there were some rocks.  Not being able to quite see them, caused me to run less or at least slower.  I kept moving forward though.

I got to the actual gorge itself.  Last time, I ran on the trails at both the top and the bottom.  This time, I ran down the blue blazed trail to the bottom.  This was a pipeline.  It was smooth and easy to run down, although leaf covered.  I was hoping the trail would go along the flowing water.  Instead, it was above it a bit.

Apparently, there is a trail on the other side that goes at least partway up.  I'll look for it more next time.  At the bottom, I went out more.  This was mostly runnable, to the white blazed trail.

I do like the white trail, as it is a switchback up the mountain.  Still, it is quite steep.  In good conditions, it is probably a runnable ascent.  With all the leaves today, I didn't even try.  I just hiked and hiked.  At spots, I ran briefly.

At the top, I started to go out the other way.  However, I realized that this would be a waste.  It was too leaf covered along the narrow ridge and hard to run.  I turned and headed back.

I was just over 2 miles now and realized this would be a short run.  There was no point in trying to run too much of this somewhat dangerous ridge.  Instead, I ended up hiking a lot of the way back.  I stopped briefly at the gorge.

There are some cool rocks along the trail.  Some of the downhills were steep.  With the leaves, I elected to carefully hike down those.  It wasn't long until I was at my car.

It was less mileage than I wanted.  At least I got out there and ran some.  I could've done more today, but what I did is better than nothing.  If only I could be motivated to run every day.

Tomorrow, maybe I'll run again.  Who really knows.  I'm just taking this day by day now.  I should run some with people in the near future.

3.57 miles - 57:41 (16:10 pace) 710 feet of elevation gain 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Back on the Delaware

As is the current pattern, I slacked off for a few days.  The motivation is just so low.  Even today, I had time for several hours of running, instead I made it a short one.  It was still better than nothing.

I headed south of Easton to run the canal towpath along the Delaware River.  This is absolutely one of my favorite places to run.  I figured there would still be some colors on the trees too.  The plan was for just a solid 8 miles.

It was a bit chilly, but still not cold.  The shady parts and some of the slight wind were interesting.  Still, I was okay in shorts and short sleeves.  I brought a handheld too.

The plan was to run 2 or 3 miles south on the trail.  I thought this would take me by a really cool section and indeed it did.  I've never run here on the weekend and there were quite a few people out.  Early on, I was running directly into the sun.

The legs and body didn't feel too bad, but probably not great either.  I was grateful to be on this flat path.  There's some stone and other parts are completely unimproved.  It was a nice day along the river.  The first mile zipped my quickly.  This was an 8:15 opening mile.  I really had no goals, other than to try to run pretty consistent.  The effort throughout wasn't super easy, but probably on the higher end of the easy category.

Around 1.5 miles was my favorite part of the run.  The canal towpath is directly between the river and the canal.  There's a road and steep cliffs on both sides of the river.  The views are clear and it is just stunning.  I even found some rocks in New Jersey that look like they would be an awesome place to sit.  I took it all in.

I continued on, not feeling great or terrible.  I was hoping my legs would last.  I simply focused on making it to mile 3.  That wasn't easy though.  I ran through Riegelsville, including by a cool little cafe next to the canal.

Shortly after that, I did hit mile 3 and turned around.  I kind of couldn't believe I had 3 miles back to the start and 5 miles total.  While wasn't in awful conditions, I thought I should feel better.

After the first two miles were over 8 minutes each, the pace began to pick up.  The 4th mile was a speedy 7:38.  I wasn't going any harder, so I guess it was downhill.

I focused on each upcoming mile.  In the cool area, a guy moved over with his dog that he was walking.  I was happy to make it to mile 5.  I didn't feel any worse than a mile earlier.

I continued to cruise along.  While I had no goal time, once I saw my time I was shooting for a sub 8 minute pace.  That became easier and easier as I clicked off each mile.  I kept watching my time.

I made it back to the park and mile 6.  The plan was to go out another mile and come back.  Then, I'd be finished up.  This part going north runs past some houses.  Before 6.5 miles, I came to some people walking and an unleashed dog following them.  I realized later as I was driving home that the dog was not actually with them.  Because of the dog, I had just decided to play it safe and head back.

At about 6.75 miles, I arrived back at the start.  I headed back in the original direction and into the setting sun.  I figured I'd turn around at 7.4 miles.  I was coming up to a dog when I hit that point, so it was perfect timing.

Also, a couple on bikes had just gone by.  They were now ahead of me, as I went back.  They were riding slightly faster than my running pace, and thus pulling me along.  I picked it up and little and they slowed down in the final quarter mile.  I ended up flying by them.  I finished up with a nice 7:20 mile.

Although it wasn't trail and this run wasn't as long as I would've liked, it was a run.  I just need to get back out there.  I wish I could enjoy running again.  I'll just do what I can get myself to and not worry about it.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping I can run again.  Who knows though.  Going to Tammany would be nice.  I have not been there in some time.  I do hope the cool weather like today remains.

8.01 miles - 1:02:38 (7:49 pace) 64 feet of elevation gain

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Eales Preserve Run/Hike

Much like earlier in the week, I didn't get a call in the morning.  However, today, I didn't have to work at all.  That meant I had to trail run.  I thought about Maryland, but it was just too far.  I wanted something new, so I went to Eales Preserve near Scranton.  I've been wanting to go there for some time, but haven't made it.

Dressing was a huge mess.  I wore my lightweight orange long sleeve shirt.  That was way too much, as it was in the 70s.  This trail system is almost completely exposed to the sun.  I needed the orange, because this is a hunting area.  I saw no hunters though.

I saw a hiker early on.  He had left his vehicle just before me and was heading back and guess hiking elsewhere.  I went out on the Blueberry Trail.  That had a nice sign on it, but that was about it for trail markings.

This trail is small blueberry bushes.  Everything was brownish now, but I guess it was a beautiful red a few weeks ago.  I should've been there then.  The beginning was quite rocky and interesting.

I found this trail to be a little annoying.  It had a lot of quick turns.  That's how you can tell it was built by mountain bikers.  I also kept going up and up.  It was a very slight incline, but annoying nonetheless.  I felt like crap today, so that didn't help.  The sun beating down was killing me too.

At least this was relatively easy running.  Even so, I got frustrated and hiked for a bit.  Then, I came out to a powerline.  I didn't have a map with me, but thought I'd be able to figure out where to go.  I headed one way on the powerline, hoping to find the Waterfall Trail.  Luckily, I turned around when it started to descend.  Looking at the map now, I was going the wrong way. 

I hiked some of the powerline uphill.  I was hot and frustrated.  I ate pizza and hour before the run and started to feel like shit.  I even felt like I might need to shit.

I badly wanted to get into some woods and have actual cover.  Not sure if there would've been any with all the leaves down now.  I found a trail into the woods, but it was heading toward a private lake.  I turned back around, to the powerline.

I frustratingly walked up a lot of the powerline, still hoping to find the Waterfall Trail.  I followed a singletrack section then.  I came to this fork in the trail and remember it from another blog I was reading.  I went right and it turns out that that was the correct way.

However, not knowing for sure, I ended up turning around.  I didn't want to get stuck too far out.  I had to go to the bathroom.  I was around mile 4 and hiking out.

I followed the powerline again for a bit and then got back on to a main dirt road.  This preserve has old roads, as it was supposed to be a business park.  Rather than stay on the road, I decided to run more singletrack.

This section was awesome, as it had great views of the valley below and the mountains across the way.  The low brush provided some great views.  I bet they were outstanding a few weeks ago.  It is probably cool up here in the snow too.  Maybe I'll snowshoe around there this winter.

Someone had made a neat rock circle along the trail.  After a bit, I decided to get back on the main dirt road.  I thought this was the road right back to my car.  However, I wasn't over far enough.

I ended up back on some singletrack.  I didn't quite know how to get back to my car, but I knew the direction to it.  I just had to find the correct trail.  By dumb luck really, I came on to the trail that I originally took.  I thought I recognized a few parts of it.  Still, I wasn't 100% sure.

I had been hiking for awhile, but was back to running now.  I got over 5 miles and hoped I could get to 6 miles.  I kept seeing more and more things that looked familiar, but wasn't completely sure I was on the right trail.  I was glad to be going downhill.

Finally, I came out to the part near my car.  I hiked some, as bathroom issues were reoccurring.  I finished up near where I started, at over 6 miles.

This was an okay day.  The trails were hard to follow.  I should've carried a map and things would've made more sense.  Now, I know them a little better.  This is only an hour away and mostly highways, so I might go again.  Maybe in a better season.  I didn't even run on that much of the preserve.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping for another day of running.  I might try the gorge trail section near Phillipsburg.  There might still be outstanding colors there.  It's a cool section of trail that I need to hit up more.

6.25 miles - 1:18:51 (12:37 pace) 413 feet of elevation gain 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Forced Run

Well today was another tough one, but I did make myself run.  I would've liked hill repeats, but it was simply too warm.  That would not have been a quality session.  Therefore, I waited it out until dark again.  I knew I couldn't do as much as last night.  I aimed for 3.5 miles around the neighborhoods.  It wouldn't be much, but I figured it is still better than sitting in.

I headed out after dinner.  I just wore a bright yellow shirt, as it was still warm.  I don't like wearing my visor, as I sweat a lot, but it is needed to hold up the headlamp.

I started from my house.  The plan was to just do the short loop across the street and see where I'm at.  Then, I'd wander around to get the needed miles.

I got startled by a dog after crossing the road.  My legs were so sore in the first mile.  They don't like pavement and felt awful.  Thankfully, they came around.

It was a nice night for sure.  Again, I had to avoid a few cars.  I decided to add a hill and a part that I don't normally run.  This was a nice and easy climb.  My pace was slow again. 

This is a new section of the neighborhood.  I thought I knew this area, but I guess I got confused in the dark.  I missed a turn and wound up in the old section.  I just headed back toward my house.

I got to the road and crossed again.  Since I was around 2.75 miles, I decided to loop around the parking lot.  Then, it was back up to my neighborhood.  I did the short loop to finish up at 3.5 miles.

It wasn't a productive run.  However, I got out there and got the job done.  A night of running is better than no running.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run again.  Maybe it will be cooler.  I'll have to see.  I'd love to try the repeats.  I need to get back on to trails and save my knees.  That's for sure.

3.5 miles - 31:41 (9:03 pace) 73 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Neighborhoods Run (Been A Long Time)

I've been slacking a lot lately.  It's been nearly a week since the last run.  I was about to head down to MD, because it didn't look like I'd have work today.  Instead, I was called to work late.  I could've run in the afternoon, but didn't feel like it.  Instead, I got out there after supper.  Now, it is dark at that point.  The plan was simply to run the neighborhoods around here.

Weather and darkness made things a little tough.  I had to wear a yellow shell jacket, but that was more than I needed.  It was a mix of warm and chilly, since it was dark.  During the day, it was around 70 degrees.

I didn't have a true plan for this road run.  I figured I'd loop around most of the main stuff.  I estimated that that would get me around 9 miles and be a solid run.  This would be my first pavement run in over a year.  Last week, I was on rail trail.  This run I took off much more relaxed than that one.

I'm definitely not used to road running.  In the first mile, I had a bunch of small aches.  They went away, although I never felt great and have some minor soreness at the moment.  I definitely will have to get used to this.  The good thing is I still don't plan to road run much.

I do enjoy running in the cover of darkness.  However, there were a lot of cars out.  They all saw me, but it was still annoying.  A few people were out walking dogs too.  Some of the dogs barked at me.

I did a short loop and didn't look at my watch until after 2.5 miles.  Still, I was disappointed, as I thought I was farther along.  I simply don't enjoy road running, even on a decent night like tonight.

I just kept plugging away, nice and easy.  Before I knew it, I was on to the other small loop.  I figured this was around 1.5 miles long.  This has a gradual hill, but it wasn't bad.  I thought about looking at my watch, but there was no point.  I knew where I had to run.  The distance didn't matter much.

One nice thing about night is you have to hold your watch up to your headlamp.  Therefore, I look at it less.  I didn't care about mileage or time/pace anyway.

I got to running along a gradual hill.  Then, it was the far loop across the road.  This has the steepest climb.  I ran easy and wasn't breathing heavy there either.  I barely noticed it.  I was definitely running this ultra style.

I crossed back over the road and headed back.  This had another small hill.  I finally looked at my watch around here.  It was over 7 miles.  Last time I had looked, it was around 3.5 miles.  I looked a little more after this.

I continued to simply cruise along.  I was getting a little more sore and tired.  I'm not used to continuously running for this long.  I usually break up my runs with hiking.

I got back to the school and headed to my house.  I could've run some loops to get to 9 miles, but there was no point.  I got over 8.5 miles and was quite happy with that.  I was happy to be out there running.

It wasn't the best run, but not the worst either.  I need to start running more.  I definitely can't run on roads more than once or twice a week.  I need some new road shoes at some point too.

I'm hoping to get back on trails tomorrow.  I'd like some Katellen Trail repeats.  That would be fun.  It might still be warm, so that part might suck.  I need to run hill repeats more often.  I need to incorporate a lot of different things into my training.  I have to improve in several areas.

8.64 miles - 1:15:47 (8:46 pace) 185 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I slacked off again and didn't run yesterday.  That meant I needed to run today.  Even though it was pouring all day, I still planned to run.  I tried to convince Angie to tag along, but she is too wise.  I went to Trexler and decided on the longer 11 mile loop.  I haven't done that it awhile.

Dressing was certainly tricky.  It was kind of warm, but raining so much.  I had on my shell and everything was soaked after nearly 2 hours.  Luckily, I've run in rain like this and worse before.  The beginning was a challenge because it was windy, but most of the trail wasn't that bad.

I started off and knew I'd have the trail all to myself.  I surely did.  There were some nice fall colors, but they were kind of masked by the wind and clouds.  In the new section, I already began hiking.  The top of my quads were sore.  That was probably from the rail trail run the other night.  I haven't had issues with them, other than at J-burg, since I went to all out trail running.

It was frustrating to feel sore, but I pushed on.  I ran for awhile.  When I got to the long, gradual uphill, I decided to hike there too.  I could've pushed through, but it was still too early.  The road below was beautiful.  The trees were orange and yellow.  I enjoyed that.

At least with the rain, the barking dogs weren't out.  If not for the rain, it would've been a peaceful run.  I was starting to get a bit wet, as I headed out to the view.

Then, it was back into the woods.  The grass that was high last time was now dieing off.  I also think they probably trimmed a lot of it too.  I cruised along, still running a sub 10 minute pace.  I wasn't feeling great though, thanks to the soreness.

I walked some of the shorter hills too.  With the shale on the trail, it is hard to get traction anyway when things are wet.  Even if I felt stronger, I likely still would've hiked.  I was continuing to make okay time.

After struggling up the two biggest hills, it was time to cut across on the green blazed trail.  This had another climb, that I ran some and hiked some.  I couldn't quite go the way I wanted, as they are tearing down a ton of invasion trees on the top here.

Since it was raining and it was clear no work was being done today, I jumped over some caution tape and ran through the closed off area.  There were some branches, but it was very runnable.  When I came up to an open field, I noticed singletrack off to the right.  That is the direction I wanted to go.

That was the correct turn, as it took me down the Broken Arrow Trail.  This is a series of switchbacks.  Everyone loves running down this.  It is okay, but I'm not really a huge fan.  Each part seems too long to me.  Back in the trees, this section was pretty.  The rain had picked up too though, so it was very wet.

I cruised on down this.  Then, I crossed the road and went up the blue blazed trail.  I simply hiked the nearly 300 feet to the top.  By now, everything was soaked.  It was pouring and my nipples were even starting to chafe a little.  I was glad to be closing in on 7 miles.

I got to the top and then cruised downhill.  This was fun.  After that, it was across the creek on the bridge and then along the stone path by the creek.  I followed this out and connected back to the Border Trail.

I was very happy to be at the Border Trail, because the hard stuff was now behind me.  I ran a lot over the next few miles, although I still hiked some.  I was hoping to make it in under 2 hours and knew I'd now be very close.

By now the trail was soaked.  The heavy rain basically made it a stream.  I ran in the grass at times, but for the most part just went straight through it.

After crossing over the bridge on the road, it was good to get to the last big climb.  The muddy section before it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I hiked up most of this climb.  I then ran near the top and along the KidsPeace road.

I knew I had to run the rolling hill section.  Even though the legs were sore, the good news is that my breathing wasn't an issue like it would be in the summer.  That is always what slows me down here.  I knew I could run over these rollers and I did.

I crossed the final road.  I knew if the distance was 11 miles, I'd be in under 2 hours.  If it was a few tenths of a mile longer, things would be close.  I ran the hill for awhile and even scared 4 deer away.  However, the new section just took too much work, so I hiked that.

I came out to the original section.  I was a few minutes under two hours.  I ran up the last short hill and finished the loop.  I was a bit exhausted.

This was a quality workout.  I wish I wasn't sore and could've run more, but I'll take it.  I wasn't looking to push myself.  I put in a nice double digit mileage day.

I'm hoping to run again tomorrow.  Recovery could be a big key to what I do.  I think I need to spend some time on the foam roller tonight.  If I get back on roads, I might need to do that more often.

10.99 miles - 1:57:30 (10:41 pace) 1659 feet of elevation gain

Monday, October 26, 2015

First Rail Trail Run in Over a Year

I was a little beat up on Saturday after that run at Lehigh Gap.  I almost got out to Riverview Park yesterday.  That would've been my first road run in over a year.  I just couldn't drag myself out there.

I did need to end this trail running streak.  I wanted to head north today, but didn't have the energy.  Instead, I elected to finally get on some rail trail.  The last time I did that was on the Nor-Bath Trail over a year ago.  Much like today, I would run in the darkness.

It was a little chilly.  I wore a short sleeve shirt with my shell over it.  I was sweating by the end with my visor to hold up the head lamp.  Not surprisingly, I ran a little faster than I wanted to.  It has been so long since I've been on this type of surface.  I actually had to use old road shoes.

I parked at the Bath end of the trail.  There were some dogs about to go for a walk.  They barked at me.  I knew that I'd have the trail all to myself.  I did see animal eyes twice, but that was it.

I started off nice and comfortable.  I felt amazing and fast.  Of course I knew I wasn't going as quick as I felt.  It felt good to run a little differently though.  Not only do I not run with speed any more, but I stop and start so much.  Running the planned 6 miles straight through would be a big thing.

I was thrilled to cross Airport Road with ease.  There would only be two road crossings, but I feared that would cause me some trouble.  Although the miles went by kind of quickly, I sure got bored early.  I was happy that when I first looked at my watch near Bicentennial Park, it was 2.16 miles.  I had less than a mile to turn around.

I focused on the Weaversville Road crossing.  Even now, my legs were a little uncomfortable.  I was definitely working different muscles than I normally do.  I crossed over the road with ease and over the foot bridges farther down.  I turned around at 3 miles. 

I was shooting for a sub 8 minute pace.  I was glad to see that I had built up a decent cushion to that.  Of course I wouldn't settle for that.  I knew I'd end up picking things up a little more.  It was nice to be on the back half of this run.

Again, I was able to cross the road with ease.  I was shocked by this, as it looked busy.  I cruised past Bicentennial Park again.  My legs were definitely hanging on.  I focused on each half mile.

Getting through mile 4 was huge.  I was now looking at a sub 7:45 pace and figured I could do that.  This stretch from the park to Airport Road is simply a lot of nothing.  I got very bored, as I focused on mile 5.  It was great to get there and be well under 7:45 pace.

I calculated pace in my head again and realized a good final mile would put me under 7:40, so I shot for that.  At least I had something to keep me busy.  Once I got past Airport Road, smoothly again I might add, I picked up the tempo.  I wasn't going all out, but was definitely a little uncomfortable.

I finished up under 7:40 pace.  My breathing for most of the run wasn't too bad, although I did get a side stitch.  It was my legs that were holding me back.  They need to get stronger.  I need to mix in more runs like this and faster ones.  I still want to focus on endurance, but find a nice mix of speed.  I think adding striders would help with that too.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to get back on the trails.  We'll see what I'm up for.  I'd love to go somewhere new.  Maybe I can make it to the Thunder Swamp Trail System this time around.

6 miles - 45:38 (7:36 pace) 68 feet of elevation gain

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Colorful Lehigh Gap Run (Perfect 1,000th post)

I really slacked this week and haven't run since last weekend.  I needed some big running today and maybe tomorrow too.  I wanted to get to Tammany again and really push myself on the loops.  However, I slept in a little and knew the lot there would be full.  I drove through Lehigh Gap yesterday and figured that would be awesome.

Just driving in and seeing all the colors at their peak was great.  I knew with the views and terrain there, this would be a fantastic run.  I planned to climb each side of the game and get somewhere near 18 miles.  That would be a very productive day. 

I went with a short sleeve shirt, shorts and a shell.  I was sweating a lot early, but later often a little chilly.  The shell was certainly a good choice.  Plus, I could carry my camera for some epic videos.  I have so much to go through and eventually will make a movie from them.

I arrived around 11 AM and headed out.  I was starting on the west side.  I planned my usual loop, LNE to the Prairie Grass Trail to the Charcoal Trail to the North Trail to the Appalachian Trail.  That is somewhere around 7 miles and it is outstanding.

I ran along nice and easy on the LNE.  There we some dog walkers.  Even down there, the colors were great.  The Prairie Grass Trail is a nice and gradual climb.  It isn't too technical.  I should do repeats on there some time.  With the sun beating down in the summer, this is route is tough, but today it was great.

The Charcoal Trail is steeper and more rocky.  I ended up hiking a lot of this.  The colors were great up there.  Lots of yellow, orange and red trees.  I just took my time.

I got to the blue blazed North Trail eventually.  Somehow, I missed the turn to Devil's Pulpit.  Maybe it was the army guys doing rescue training.  It didn't matter anyway, since I had plenty of views to look forward to.

The North Trail is just spectacular.  There are open views along the ridge.  The zinc plant destroyed the trees, but it led to some beauty.  I couldn't help but think about how everything up there was destroyed, but has bounced back to some extent.  I have had a tough time lately and I need to bounce back too.

I passed a couple hikers as I enjoyed the terrific views.  There were hikers throughout, but it wasn't as crazy as some other places that I go.  I felt like I went on this trail longer than before.  I was almost out to the Lehigh Tunnel.

Eventually, I got to the Appalachian Trail.  This trail goes back in the woods and made things cooler.  It was fun to be running downhill too.  I had hiked a lot earlier, but now I could mostly run.

Most of it is runnable.  The trail gets quite technical near the AT shelter though.  I flew down some technical rocks and wondered how people can run that stuff faster than me.  I was basically out of control already.

I went down the Woodpecker Trail.  I came out back at my car.  I was under 2 hours into the run.  I refilled Tailwind and toweled off.

It was time to head to the east side of the gap.  I ran across the river on the bridge.  That was beautiful.  I was enjoying every moment of it.  I then crossed the road and was back on the AT.

This part is crazy technical.  There's a huge boulder section.  It is often climbing that requires you to use your hands.  Even before that though, it was steep.  Much steeper than the other side and I was tiring.

I took my time over the boulders.  I also grabbed some video there too.  I took it all in and had a blast.  This is what I enjoy so much about trail running.

Going over the boulders, I came to my biggest issue of the day.  I was hiking over loose ones and slipped.  I caught myself, but one of the sharp rocks cut my hand.  It didn't hurt too much, but started to bleed like crazy.  I was getting worried.  If it kept bleeding at that rate, I would've had to turn around.  Luckily, it calmed down quickly.

I hiked up more now.  The trail goes through some prairie grass near the top.  Then, they rerouted the trail.  I like this section.  It like a woods road along the ridge of the mountain.  The views of Palmerton and the surrounding mountains is outstanding.  This is mostly all runnable, although there is some up and down.

I was focused on getting out to mile 12.  I knew that would be tough.  I passed a few hikers in this area.  Mostly, I still had the trail to myself.  After a few miles, the trail heads back to the Superfund site.

This are is spectacular too.  There are views, but also some cool unique plants and trees.  There were some colors too.  The scenery is like nothing you see in the area.  It's amazing on a normal day, but the colors added even more to it.  I passed two section hikers going the other way.

This section is fairly rocky.  It wouldn't have been too bad, but I was low on calories and bonking.  I stumbled over rocks.  In an odd way, I actually enjoy bonking.  It's an interesting place that your head goes.  I mostly just hiked out to mile 12.  I went past the powerline.  I turned around right at mile 12.  I probably was a half mile from the road crossing at that point.  Some time, I'll have to run all the way there.

Since I was heading back, I got a second wind.  I ran some more stuff that I didn't run earlier.  I was just plugging away.  It still wasn't fast.  I knew when I got back to the smoother ridge part, that I'd move better.

I still took plenty of video.  There was a lot of interesting stuff.  They had a few brush fires on both sides of the mountains this summer.  I saw some small charred areas.

It was great to get back to the woods road like terrain.  Even though I had bonked a little, I ran.  I did have to walk some uphills.  Still, I was making more progress.  Before I knew it, I was back to normal trail.

I wasn't about to head back through the boulders.  Instead, I headed down the Winter Trail.  This a fun switchback sections.  I ran most of it, but some parts were too rocky and steep.  When you get out from the treeline, the view through the gap is amazing.

I then came out to the old railroad bed.  One part of that was boggy.  It always is.  I didn't get my feet too wet though.  I came out to the AT and passed one of the hikers from earlier.  I then went across the road and across the bridge.

I ran around the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.  That added a little distance.  I didn't quite get to 18 miles, but I had enough.  It was an epic day for sure.  In the future, I'll have to create a fall group run here.  That would be awesome.  This place is a great kept secret.  Not too crowded, even during peak foliage season.

I didn't have big elevation gain or many miles.  However, my back and legs were quite beat.  That was very surprising.  I guess the rocks and all the runnable terrain dealt me a pounding.  The cut on my hand isn't too bad.

I hope to run again tomorrow.  Going to Tammany would be nice.  I could use some more climbing and another tough day.  I do need to get to more speed training in the future, but for now, I'll enjoy some tough stuff.

17.83 miles - 4:18:48 (14:31 pace) 3060 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Speedy Fall Double Tammany Loop

I volunteered at the Water Gap 50K yesterday with Ryan.  That was a new experience.  It was fun and a pretty course and good event.  Thankfully, everything went smoothly.

Today, I need to run.  I wanted to get to Tammany to see the fall colors.  They were quite awesome.  Unfortunately, I wasn't alone.  I arrived after 10 AM and the parking lot was already full.  I turned around and drove to the river lot.

Temperature made it tough.  Earlier, it was freezing.  By start time, it was probably around 40.  I went with a short sleeve shirt and light jacket over that.  I knew that might be a bit much and it was.  I was soaked at the end.  However, hiking up some of the windy parts were still chilly.

I began by running on the road.  I came across this massive group on the early steps.  Running by them was frustrating.  I ran to the first steep and rocky part.

There were so many hikers there.  All I seemed to be doing was passing hikers, hikers and more hikers.  Lots of families and lots of slow hikers.  The one good thing was when I'd pass them, I'd often run a little after.

I was flying up the ascent.  I was running more than usual and hiking fast.  I took some video of the first overlook.  I took a few videos, but my camera wouldn't work.

I cruised on up over the technical stuff.  People were going slowly up that.  Luckily, I'm so experienced heading up that part.  I felt pretty strong.

At times, my breathing would get heavy.  I pushed on.  I got to the top in no time.  Even with the road running added on, I made it to the top at just over 27 minutes.  That's about how long it takes me without being on the road.

I took some video at the top.  I didn't waste much time.  I continued on.  I was feeling good, so I ran a lot of the Blue Trail along the ridge.  Even though I was breathing heavy at times, the cooler weather was a blessing for sure.  I could run much more than usual.

I had to pause before the descent.  The low bushes along the trail were all red.  It was gorgeous.  What an amazing place to run.  I hiked a few of the rocks at the top.

Then, it was time to cruise down.  There were less hikers here, but still plenty of them.  Near the top, it was windy and my eyes were watering.  That made it hard on the rocky terrain.  Still I went down at a good pace.

It wasn't my fastest downhill here and I didn't feel awesome, but I was steady and ran.  As usual, people were amazed at my running.  I ran along the waterfall and back to the AT.  I flew down that and back to the parking lot.

Even with the road running, I came in at 52 minutes.  That's a good loop.  Since my car was a bit of a run away and I had enough Tailwind, I went straight back up.

I was a little tired as I headed up.  Still, I moved quite well.  Again, I was running some more than usual and hiking a lot.  I passed more dogs and families and such.

A few of the hikers recognized me again.  They realized I was doing two loops.  There were too many of them for me to remember them.  Surprisingly, I was the only runner there.

I got to top fast again.  I think it was around 1:20 when I made it up there.  This time, I really didn't stop.  Again, I ran most of the ridge.

I felt good, so I flew down the descent this time.  Again, the wind bothered my eyes.  I was really booking downhill this time.  I almost tripped once, but mostly I was good.

More hikers were commenting on my running.  There are few things more fun than blasting down a technical section like that.  I had so much fun jumping and hopping around.  It wasn't my best running down here I'm sure, but it was good.

When I got back to the AT, I really began to push it.  I saw my time and tried to get under 1:45.  I knew I had some pavement to finish.  I ran hard on this and finished up under 1:45.

I was exhausted when done.  This wasn't supposed to be hard, but it ended up being quite the impressive run.  The cooler weather made a big difference.  I think the only time I've run faster there was in the winter when the trail was snow covered and the rocks were gone.

7.95 miles - 1:43:37 (13:02 pace) 2266 feet of gain Not Accurate Data
Mt. Tammany 37th and 38th summit of 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Runner's World Altra 3.8 Mile Trail Race Presented by REI Race Report

Runner's World has been putting on a road running weekend in Bethlehem for several years now.  This year, they added a trail race.  It's on the South Mountain trails that I always run, so I had to go.  One of the good things about being fresh after Trilogy was I could race this one.  I don't race fast and hard often, so I knew this would be interesting.  I'm not used to something this short.

I got there very early, since I was worried about parking.  Turns out that I didn't need to.  I saw Kristin, Russ, Heather and some other friends before the race.  Chatting was good.  I ran around a little to get a feel for the course.  I thought I was well fueled but had no energy.  I knew it could be an ugly day.  The course still confused me too.

I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  It was a perfect day really.  I was sweating some by the end, but it wasn't bad.  I'd take this weather all year.

We started near the bottom of the parking lot.  This race sold out.  Over 250 people, even for a Friday afternoon.  I was concerned with the crowd, going into a lot of singletrack.  The plan was to go fairly hard out the gate.  I lined up even farther forward than I would've liked.

We started in the woods a bit and I took off.  My friend Jerry was slightly ahead.  I was around 10th or so.  We climbed a hill on pavement to start.  Then, to my surprise, we went through the disc golf course.  This is the most rocky part of the course.  I don't know how people didn't get hurt farther back.

I flew past a guy on this technical stuff.  My breathing was labored.  This was very tough.  Not that many people were actually up front and racing, despite the big crowd.  I could've and should've laid back much more.  Oh well.  I was surprising that more people weren't passing me.

I struggled running up the hills.  I think I need to work on that.  I also might not quite be recovered from last weekend.  I plodded up the long paved hill, after we came past the start.  I saw my dad and complained how short and fast the race was.  Another guy near me agreed.

Somewhere near the top of the climb, Erman ran past me.  He's really strong and also clearly ran smarter.  We had downhill after that and I was very happy.  After a bit, there was a water stop, but I didn't stop.

We had more downhill.  However, I could see the leaders coming back up, including my friend Chris, who was near the front.  I knew it would be a gradual ascent up.  It was good to see everyone in front of me.

I wasn't doing too bad in the standings at this point.  Then, we turned around and headed back up.  I was hoping that I recovered, but I had not.  The worst thing was miles seemed to go by so slowly, even though they were pretty quick.

I struggled running up the hill.  Then, I realized the guy behind me was hiking up and I wasn't pulling away.  I decided that hiking was a better option at that point.  I couldn't believe I was hiking a 4 mile trail race.  Oh well, it was the price I paid for going out too hard.

My breathing was so labored throughout this early part.  I just couldn't ever recover.  I saw Russ and Kristin running together.  We did another out and back near the top.  This was a tough one too.  Again, it was down first and then back up.

By now, the uphills were just killing me and forcing me to hike.  I knew I should've been more conservative.  I grabbed water at the water stop, when we got back into the woods. 

Up next was a gradual uphill.  I like this during my training runs.  It is easy then though, because I am going easy.  Today, it was a struggle.  Kristin passed me out of nowhere.  She was flying.  I felt a little bad that she passed me, but then someone told her she was first woman.  I realized they were correct and I felt awesome for her!

She and a couple guys hiked some of the steeper parts of this.  After that I knew there was a descent.  I used that to my advantage.  I was so strong on those.  I blasted down and caught Kristin.  She wanted me to pass, but I wanted to hang with her.  I needed her to pull me along.

I followed her down some fun singletrack.  However, I rolled my ankle.  We came to one volunteer and I asked about the hills remaining.  I thought we'd run out on the pavement soon and have the last little climb.  I decided to fly past Kristin again here. 

However, as we approached the road, I realized that we were only at 3 miles.  The race couldn't be close to over, even though I wanted it to be.  We turned and headed back into the woods.  It was slightly uphill and I had to hike.  I let Kristin back by me.

Then, we got to "it".  The worst climb of the course, with less than half a mile to go.  I hiked up it, as did most people.  I could see Kristin and some guys up ahead.  I made myself run some of it, past a telephone pole.  My breathing was still labored.

Finally, we got to the water tower.  I thought it was all downhill from that point and on smooth stone or pavement, but I wasn't sure.  I had downhill legs, so I blasted down this.  It was a fun way to finish.

I was flying and gaining a lot of ground on everyone.  I passed one guy and gained on Kristin, but her and some of the other guys were simply too far ahead.  I finished just under 33 minutes.  Kristin was first female and won shoes.  How awesome!

I was 20th overall out of 223 finishers (I think).  I ended up running about the time I expected, but I sure did crash and burn doing it.  The funny thing is this was about the same pace I run in training there.  Then, I'm more steady and just cruise around, but I can run everything.  No hiking during that.  Had I gone out slower and run smarter early, I probably would've been a couple minutes faster.  Oh well, lesson learned.

I'm not totally disappointed.  I definitely need some faster and harder running.  It was good to push myself out of my comfort zone.  If I do this again, I'll run smarter for sure.  Seeing a bunch of friends was fun too.  This was a well put together race.

Tomorrow, Ryan and I are working an aid station at the Water Gap 50K.  That should be different and fun.  I'm probably going to watch the Runner's World Half Marathon on Sunday.  Then, maybe I'll running somewhere like Mt. Tammany.

3.8 miles - 32:55 (8:53 pace)  20th of 233

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Water Gap 50K Recon

I felt good after the WV Trilogy.  I probably could've even run on Monday.  I recover very well now.  I'm so happy for that.

Today was my first day back to running though.  I was busy making a video for Trilogy and also had a doctor's appointment yesterday.  I didn't work, so I headed to the northern end of the Delaware Water Gap.  Ryan and I are working an aid station at the first ever Water Gap 50K on Saturday.  It is a point to point along the McDade Trail (31 miles).  Our aid station is around mile 20.

I haven't run that part of the trail.  I wanted to give runners leaving our aid station some idea of what was ahead.  Therefore, I decided I'd head north from there and run a few miles.

I almost wore a lightweight long sleeve shirt.  It was orange and would've been good in case anyone was hunting.  I didn't see anyone though.  Luckily, I went with a sleeveless shirt.  It wasn't warm, but for this time of year, I was sweating a bit.

The leaves look like they are perhaps a little past their peak.  There's still plenty of color though and the surrounding mountains are gorgeous.  Our section and aid station will be setup among a field.

Right at the start is a short uphill.  It was easy though and there was more field sections.  The trail is wide and smooth.  It is all stone covered.  It is kind of like a rail trail through the woods.  Not my cup of tea and it would probably destroy my legs after half the race.  However, it is relatively flat and probably a good beginner ultra.

The trail went past Dingman's Campground early on.  That is now closed for the season.  After that, about .75 miles in, it started to climb.  This section was beautiful, as I was now running back amongst the trees.  There was some pine and plenty of leaves on the ground, but lots of shade too.

Around 1.5 miles out, there was a nice downhill.  I was running easy and clicking off sub 9 minute miles.  This could be a PR course if you don't blow up.  Still, there are some challenging little hills that made me work.

At 2 miles, the trail crosses the road.  The bridge there would lead to New Jersey.  I continued along, pretty quickly.  Other than the stone surface, I was enjoying the run.  It was a nice day to run.

After some ups and downs, somewhere around mile 3, the trail flattened out.  There was nearly a mile of almost flat, easy and runnable trail.  I enjoyed it.  Coming into the day, I was thinking I'd probably run 3 miles out and then head back.  Since the miles were going by so quickly, I decided to make it to mile 4.

There was another little climb right before mile 4.  I climbed that and it looked to be flat along the road again.  I headed back though.  It was time to turn around.

Going back was pretty uneventful.  I moved a few sticks from the trail.  I watched the miles click by.  It did seem like a little more uphill in this direction.  Still, nothing was too hard and I ran all of it.  I did tire slightly toward the end.

I pushed a little bit in the last half mile or so.  It was good to be done.  I ran the whole thing at a sub 9 minute pace.  This is definitely a fast course.  I would love it if it was true nature trail and not covered with stone.  Oh well, I look forward to volunteering anyway.  I probably won't run the whole thing ever though.

This was a nice workout.  There were a lot of parts that I'd walk in an ultra.  I need to learn how to run more of the easier hills during a longer race.  I'll practice that more down the road.

Tomorrow, I'm racing.  Runner's World has a nearby trail race where I often run.  I think 250 people on singletrack will be a disaster, but oh well.  I'm going out hard and I'll see what happens.  It is only 3.8 miles.

8 miles - 1:10:07 (8:46 pace) 217 feet of elevation gain

Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 West Virginia Trilogy Half Marathon Race Report

If there was a plus side to not making it past 25 miles on the second day of the Trilogy, it was that I was semi fresh for the Half Marathon.  My legs were only slightly sore.

It was nice to be able to sleep in, although it was freezing cold overnight and I didn't really sleep.  Because of that temperature, I struggled with what to wear yet again.  It was supposed to be warm during the day, but I was still chilly at breakfast.

I wore a light weight long sleeve shirt.  I was going to put on my jacket too, but then it felt fairly warm before the start.  I would've just carried a handheld for this day, but I wanted to take videos again.

I really had no idea what I'd be able to do.  I didn't really think I could race this, but I at least figured I would go fairly hard.  I started toward the front and began to run on our usual loop.

This race is tricky.  All of these fresh people, mostly younger folks, come in just for that race.  It sort of pushes you more than the ultra crowd typically does.  I was getting passed by young girls that I'd normally blow away.  There were people in banana costumes that were faster than me.

I tried to run up some of the short hills in the first loop.  I just didn't have it though.  I was able to run okay on the flats though, so I ran there when we had that.  I hiked the early climbs though.

Then, we got to Cardiac Hill, but got to do it downhill.  What I found is that I had awesome downhill legs.  The young women were clearly less experienced on the actual trails.  They weren't comfortable and I flew back past them.

There was an out and back stretch.  It was runnable uphill, but I could only get myself to run in spots.  I blasted on downhill after the turnaround though.  I passed the young women again.

It was a back and forth game.  I pass them on the downhills, they pass me on the uphills.  Eventually, most of them got by me for good on the uphills.  There was one uphill that seemed easy on the 50K day, but was pretty killer now.

One of the women didn't manage to pull away, so we got to chatting.  It was her first trail half marathon.  I found out her name was Nina.  What's funny is she had pigtails and a cute young girl look to her.  I thought she was one of the 20 something women.  Then she mentioned doing a marathon 16 years ago.  Turns out she's older than she looks.

Nina pulled away on the uphill and flat trail.  This was all the section that we ran during Friday's 50K.  We then got out to the dirt road.  I knew from Friday that I would fly on this.

I usually catch people with ease on these road stretches.  It took awhile to catch Nina.  She told me earlier that she does tris.  It showed.  I blew past her eventually, but then I stopped briefly at the aid station.

After the aid station, there was a long gradual uphill, followed by a descent.  I was warned about this section and it did indeed suck.  It went on and on.  I mostly just walked.

It was great to finally see people just ahead of you.  I then saw Nina and joked that I was coming for her.  I turned and headed down.  I ran well, but I didn't quite have the strength of earlier.  I probably went a little too hard in the first half of this race.

I wasn't catching Nina, so that was discouraging.  I made up some ground before the road.  She had stopped to stretch.  We got back to the road, but this time it was uphill.  I didn't have the energy to run up.

Nina inspired me though.  I was about to walk, but then I thought I might as well just catch her to say hello and then begin walking.  I sprinted up to her.

I didn't fall back though.  We ran together and talked more.  First we hit some more of the out and back.  Then, we turned off to a new section.  It is actually the end of the 50 mile course, but I didn't make it that far.

This section was stunning.  It was an open field.  Nina was having a blast.  She saw my GoPro and wanted some video of herself.  This section was interesting too because they had fences to climb over, to keep cows containing.  I don't know how my cramping self would've made it over that at the end of 50 miles.

This section was followed by a beautiful stream along the trail.  There was so mud, but the half marathoners didn't get to experience the mud like us Trilogy folks did.

Finally, it was on to Cardiac Hill one more time.  This hill seemed to go up and up and up.  It felt longer than earlier in the week.  I hiked up ahead of Nina and also passed one of the bananas.

It was great to be at the top and know how close the finish was.  If Nina was closer, I might've just run in with her.  Instead, I ran in on my own.  It seemed like the course was around a mile short, but I certainly wouldn't complain about that.  Nina finished just after me and was a huge boost for the day.

I did about what I expected for the full Trilogy.  I finished 69 of the 94 miles.  Other than running 50Ks, I really didn't train much over the summer.  I only did about 30 miles per week.  I really need to get my foot to heal.

This was another great experience and amazing weekend.  I will definitely be back again.  Whenever I do come back, I will train more.  I need to work on running more gradual uphill.  Maybe some easier repeats.  I tend to hike more than I probably should.  I also need back to back long runs, but on harder terrain.  All my climbing in the last year has surely paid off, as I was much stronger for this weekend.

This was an outstanding event all around.  It keeps growing and I think one day it will sell out in no time.  I'm just lucky that I've been able experience The Mountain Institute, the amazing West Virginia mountains and the fun people that make up this event.