Sunday, February 28, 2016

Springlike Jacobsburg

It is the end of February, but today it felt like spring already.  Even though I've run 6 straight days, getting out today was a must.  I wasn't looking for the usual long run Sunday though.  I opted to get out to Jacobsburg for a few miles.

As I mentioned, the weather was gorgeous.  No need for anything but shorts and short sleeves.  I forgot to bring a Buff to wipe my face.

I knew the park would be crowded, but didn't anticipate just how crazy it was.  I normally park in the new lot by the main building anyway.  Today, the lower lot was full and that lot only had about 3 empty spaces.  Usually, it only has 3 cars parked there at most when I go there.

I decided to run the route a little different.  I headed out toward Sober's Run.  Not surprisingly, there were a ton of people already, as I just started.  Many, many hikers and a lot of them had their dogs out.

I crossed the road and ran along.  I headed to Sober's Run.  I went out on the singletrack first.  This is one of my favorite sections.  I cruised along on the ridge.  Luckily, this part isn't popular and I was the only one on it at the time.  The people watching had distracted me earlier and now I was distracted by the awesome trail.

As I came out the wider stone section, I came across some mountain bikers.  Then, I went around a hiker in the slop.  I got to the small lot after crossing the creek.  Then, it was on toward the powerline.

As I neared the powerline, a little girl was running.  Her dad was behind her.  I thought he had on a facemask and I found that very odd.  Turns out it was a massive beard.  His son was behind him.  He said hello to me and I asked him if he was having a good time.  He said he was and I smiled.

Now, it was up the powerline.  This isn't hard, but it sure reminded me just how out of shape I am.  I was huffing and puffing most of the way.  Sure, I've run a bunch recently, but not hard.  Also, I have to get used to the warm air.  I did make it up the powerline climb though.

Going downhill was interesting.  There was a huge washout.  All the stone was gone and I could see the pipe they set up for drainage.  I never knew it existed.  Around this point, I was somewhere around 3 to 3.5 miles.

I cruised downhill.  Around one turn, I came to two horses.  Luckily, I had plenty of room.  They were the only horses of the day.  I wanted to add mileage, so at the bottom of the hill, I did the out and back.  A mountain biker passed me on the way out.

I ran back and then took the singletrack along the creek.  A few people were out there, including a couple dogs.  Throughout the run, a few dogs barked at me.  They were all leashed though.  The part along the creek wasn't too bad.  It was a little muddy.

I headed back toward the main lot.  I wanted to make sure to get more mileage.  Instead of going back to the car, I opted to run up behind the new building.  This climb was struggle too.  At least I kept running and my pace wasn't terrible.

I then got to the ridge singletrack.  This was kind of fun.  It was all sloppy mud.  It gets no sun.  Passing people was kind of challenging here.

I continued to head around and over the creek.  Before crossing, I had a fun downhill section.  Then, I crossed and ran out to the nearby lot.  I was getting close to mile 6 now. 

I decided to go out to the road and back nearby.  This was uphill to start, but downhill to finish.  I began heading back along the creek and the most popular trail.  I knew it would be a pain running around people and it sure was.

It was cool to see people on the ridge above, thanks to the trees having no leaves.  That area feel cool too, from the creek.  It looked pretty, with some ice still hanging off the cliffs.  They never see any sun.

I finished up this trail.  I headed back to my car in the other lot.  The lots were clearing a little now, as it was late afternoon.  They were still crazy though.  I finished up with over 7 miles.

This was a solid day.  I'm not a huge Jacobsburg fan and I don't like crowds.  However, it is hard not to enjoy a day like today, especially after winter.

My body could use a day off.  I'd love to take a rest day tomorrow.  However, it is supposed to be warm and I may have to take advantage.  I'd love to hit up some more trails.  I do need to rest soon though.

7.26 miles - 1:09:54 (9:38 pace) 451 feet of elevation gain

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Grinding Out 11

Today was simply a day to get it done.  The plan was to run 11 miles, so I could get 65 for the week.  The trick was finding time.  Since Kristin didn't meet me in the morning, I didn't get up to run early.  Instead, I ran in between sessions of wrestling.  I decided to go to SteelStacks to start my run.

It was a fairly decent weather day.  The starting area had a killer wind.  It always does there.  I was comfortable most of the rest of the run, even along the Lehigh River.  I wore my shell with short sleeves.  I also had on shorts.

I was thinking of running a loop, mostly on pavement.  I headed out and decided I'd go over the Hill to Hill Bridge.  Rather than running around town, I elected to go northbound on the D&L Trail.  I was going to run around the old industrial area first, but forgot to do that.

After looping off the bridge, I got to the D&L at Sand Island.  This is some stone and some dirt.  I was on there early spring one year, so I knew it would be a mess.  If it got too messy, I'd turn around.  I got on the trail just before mile 2.

It was definitely sloppy and a mess, especially on the first mile as I headed toward the Allentown Canal Park.  I saw a couple walking early, but most of the route was on my own.  The legs didn't feel too bad on pavement.  I was slow, but not hurting.  The soft trail messed with me early on though.  My lower leg and back hurt.  I trotted on.

I saw a few geese, but was glad they moved out of the way.  I always worry they might attack me.  I try to give them plenty of room.  They were fine.  I worried about the way back.

I tried to run wherever the best footing was.  Often, that was the grass in the middle of the two tracks.  Going out was kind of uneventful.  It was a flowing river on one side and the canal and train tracks on the other. 

Originally, I was thinking 2.5 miles would be good.  Then, my body started to feel better.  I went to mile 3 and on toward mile 3.5.  I kept talking myself into another half mile.

I knew the more I went out, the less I'd have left when I got back.  I thought mile 4 would be good and was finally going to turn around.  Then I came to some bikers going the other way.  They looked slow and I thought I might have to pass them if I turned around at that point.

I just continued on.  I figured 4.5 miles would be good.  I was getting a little chilled.  This would get me 9 miles when I got back.  I couldn't resist though, I went another half mile.

Finally, I approached a dog walker just before mile 5.  That was a good time to turn and head back.  I was happy to be heading back, but realized I still wasn't even halfway through the run yet.

I just continued on and plugged away.  I was trying to fight the boredom.  I tried to only look at my watch every half mile.  That made things better, but it didn't last.  Getting to mile 6 and then especially mile 7 was great.

The trail was getting sloppier as I went.  I thought about my total weekly mileage and that seemed to help too.  I kept repeating something about mile 62 when I was going toward that point.  I hit that a little before Sand Island.

I got by the geese cleanly again.  There was a guy hiking with a pack.  Then, I saw some more people near Sand Island.  Very few people were out at all.

I wanted to kind of loop around.  However, I didn't want to go over 11 miles, so I went back the way I came.  I struggled a lot when I got back on pavement.  Going uphill to the Hill to Hill Bridge was tough.

Normally, I take my watch off with a mile to go.  Today, I decided to do it at two miles to go.  I cruised along very slowly now.  In fact, coming down the Hill to Hill Bridge, I was startled.  A young Lehigh girl ran right past me.  She wasn't even running that fast, but I was a slug at this point.

I ran back toward SteelStacks.  It was great to finally get there and have just a mile left.  However, I was going so slow.  I just kept moving.

I went out and looped around a parking lot near the Sands.  Coming back was into the headwind and very cold.  I was sputtering, but finished the day and the big week at my car.

It wasn't a pretty week, but I'm glad I got the job done.  I pushed through a lot of crappy days.  I hit mile goal mileage.  Now, maybe I'll back off a little bit again.

Tomorrow, I'd love to hit some trails.  It would be the 7th straight day of running.  I want to run the Golden Eagle Trail near the ES100 course.  I don't know if I'll have the energy to drive all the way up there though.

10.99 miles - 1:43:20 (9:24 pace) 55 feet of elevation gain

Friday, February 26, 2016

Switchback Trail and Fireline Trail

I needed to get on trails badly.  I headed out to Jim Thorpe for that this afternoon.  I wanted to at least get 10 miles in.  I started at Mauch Chunk Lake Park.  I knew from there, I could take the gradual climb up the Switchback if needed.  What I really wanted to do though was go behind the lake and up the Fireline Trail.  I had never been there.

It was a bit cold today.  I had on tights and shorts over them.  I wore my shell over a long sleeve shirt.  The top of the ridge was the very windy part.  When I stopped for photos, that was tough.  Otherwise, it wasn't bad.

I began heading along the flat part of the Switchback Trail.  This is beautiful, as it runs along the creek.  It was a sloppy mess though today.  It's also a lot of stone and like a rail trail.  I'm not crazy about that part of it.

I began going super slow.  The legs were tired.  I sort of felt like I had to go to the bathroom beforehand.  I didn't though.  I ended up having to walk in the first mile.  I thought I might have to cut the run short, but it went away and I had no issues with that.

The Switchback Trail was icy in spots.  The mountain laurel provide some beauty and shade.  I enjoyed looking at the water.  I then got to the Fireline Trail.  This was super wet at the start and didn't look promising.

I continued on though and it got much better.  After a bit, the mountain laurel was gone and it was sunny.  It got windy as I climbed though.  I was surprised at how steep it was.  I guess I'm rusty on my climbing.

I had been at the bottom of this part, but never the top.  I wanted to get up and run along the ridge.  Finally, I got there.  It was a double track road type of setup.  I headed toward Flagstaff.  I had no idea what I'd encounter.  It was quite windy up there.

I cruised along a bit.  Then, I started feeling terrible.  I was kind of tired and weak.  I had to hike some easy parts.  Some parts were rocky.  Others weren't bad.  I at least wanted to try to get to 3.5 miles out.

There was a bit of gradual short ups and downs.  This is popular for mountain bikers I think, but it seemed like that would be kind of boring there.  A few times the trail split, but reconnected a short time later.

I was about to turn around.  Then, I saw some sky and what appeared to be a clearing up ahead.  I kept going and was very, very glad I did.

Indeed it was a clearing.  For some reason, a ton of trees were cut in this area.  That might be for houses that are going up somewhere there.  Although it was depressing, it provided an amazing view.  I took photos and videos, especially of Lehigh Gap and the ridge there.

I continued on a bit more.  There were still woods where the trail went, but clear everywhere else.  Finally, it got too sloppy to continued.  Around 4.5 miles, I turned and headed back.

I ran a little more on the way back.  Still, there was some hiking.  I started to chafe on my behind.  My solution was to pull my boxers down.  I still had shorts on as a top layer.  That worked great and saved me, as I was only at about 5 miles now.

I cruised along the ridge.  There's a small pond up there too.  I hit mile 6 and then was back down the mountain around mile 7.  I couldn't run too much of the downhill, as it was washed out a bit.  I guess the recent storm did damage.

I got back to the Switchback Trail at the bottom.  I ran out the other way now.  I took some photos of the stream, including some small waterfalls.  It was beautiful.  The legs were hurting and I sputtered along.

Finally, I headed back.  I decided that when I got back to the lake and dam, I'd run across the dam.  This leads to another way up the Fireline Trail.  The partially frozen dam with the mountains the sun above made things amazing.

I went up the Fireline Trail.  It was even more rocky on this part.  I didn't take it very far.  I only needed a little extra mileage.  I hit mile 9 as I crossed back over the dam.  I ran back to my car and finished up.

This was slower than I thought it would be.  However, it was a blast.  I love running and exploring Jim Thorpe.  Some time, I'll have to go the other direction the Fireline Trail.  I'll also have to see about taking the Switchback toward Summit Hill.

The plan tomorrow is 11 more miles.  I have to get them done in the morning.  I think I'm going to meet Kristin.  That would be a good way for me to get up and get it done.

10.39 miles - 2:25:33 (14:00 pace) 910 feet of elevation gain

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Same Old Thing

Another crappy weather day means more of the same old thing.  I could've run in the dreary, cloudy and windy afternoon.  However, the temperature wasn't going to drop much after dark.  There was light rain sprinkled throughout the day.  My plan was 10 miles again.  I thought about going to Mill Race Park, but that out and back would only get me 7 miles.  It was on to the neighborhoods again.

It was in the upper 30s throughout the run.  I wore tights and my shell over a long sleeve shirt.  I kept my gloves and headband on throughout the run.  I was a little sweaty.  As usual, it was hot with the wind at my back and a little chilly during the other half of the run.  The wind was heading in the normal direction today though.

I was thinking of doing the main loop first, with out any of the branch off loops.  That would get me halfway through the run.  I run a lot of the same areas, but at times, I try to switch it up a bit.  I change the routes on the fly.

Once I got out to the normal second loop, I changed my mind and took it.  The long part of it was brutally cold, into the headwind.  It was good to get done with it.  Without a headlamp again, I didn't look at my watch much.

The legs were very sore yesterday.  That might be because I wore shorts and had no compression on.  I think the tights kept my muscles in place today.  That's what I'll tell myself anyway.  One thing I am happy with now is that my quads aren't an issue.  I strengthened them a lot with all the elevation I did over the last year.  I need to get some more of that.

The first time I actually looked at my watch was well over 3 miles into the run.  That was good.  I continued on and did the loop over the road with the big hill.  I even added a short out and back to the road this time around.  I was trying anything new to add distance.

When I got to the normal 2 miles from the finish point, I was only at 4.5 miles.  I wasn't feeling terrible, but hoped to feel a little better at that point.  I cruised on up the hill.  It seemed like a lot of the cars driving around did see me today.

I thought about going into a small old neighborhood.  I did end up changing and going into another old section that I don't use much.  That would give me the mileage to be over 7 miles when I got back.  The old and uneven pavement seemed to mess with my legs a bit.

After that, I decided to do the same longer loop from earlier.  This time, I went the opposite direction.  That would split the running into the headwind part in half.  That helped a lot.  By the time I finished this loop, I was over 7 miles.

I thought I'd be content to head back to the start and loop around the school.  Then, I made another change.  I went out into a newer section.  Part of it I run regularly.  The first part I rarely go on.  It has a big hill.  A small dog barked at me as I went up it.

Somewhere in part of this small loop, I hit mile 9.  It was good to be almost done.  My feet were sore though.  I looped around to the 3rd road, Gable Drive.  I now knew I'd be close to 10 miles at the school.

I ran back to the school.  I finished the loop and hit mile 10 just past the start of the school loop.  If I felt a little stronger, putting in another mile would've been great.  All these miles this week are wearing on me though.

I was glad to get it done.  I keep pushing myself out there and pushing through.  However, I'm only going to be able to loop around these neighborhoods for so long before I lose it.  At least it will be getting warmer and lighter soon.  I think the only way I can keep up 60 mile weeks is with almost a 50/50 split of roads and trails.  That way I won't go insane.  Big miles could at least be easier when my body is used to it too and no longer sore.

I'm not sure what I'm doing or where I'm going tomorrow.  It will be cold again.  I'm hoping to get on some trail.  Maybe I'll travel a little.  My body and mind both need some trail.  I need 21 miles over the next two days to get to 65 for the week.

10 miles - 1:29:09 (8:55 pace) 232 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Solid 8

The weather made for another interesting day.  It was pouring rain basically all day.  I would've liked to have gone out during the day, but it felt chilly.  I knew it was going to warm up in the evening, so I took a chance.

I got out the door and was surprised at how warm it was out.  I had a long sleeve shirt under my shell.  I didn't need that much.  The shorts were good though.  There was a bit of a breeze out.

I lucked out with the weather.  I thought it would be raining when I started, but it wasn't.  The plan was to stay close to home, since heavy rain and thunderstorms were coming at some point.  I would've liked 10 miles, but I figured if I at least did 5, I'd be good.

I changed it up a bit.  I ran in the neighborhood on the other side of the school first.  I knew I could just about get 5 miles over there.  The headlamp still wasn't charged, so I had to be careful.  This started with some nice gradual uphill.

There are two dead end streets.  I these are good for adding distance, especially with little traffic.  I don't usually run them though, as they go downhill first and then back up.  That can be frustrating.  The legs struggled a bit with the uphills.

I didn't want to run through the industrial park.  There are usually too many cars there and without the headlamp, it wasn't worth the risk.  I did have bright clothes on though.  I think most cars saw me, although some people drive crazy in the neighborhoods.

I decided to go around the little new neighborhood by the industrial park.  On the way there, someone was standing on the road in the middle of nowhere.  It was weird.  I ran on the sidewalk where I could.

I figured that I was around mile 3 now.  I normally run the first street here.  However, they added another street and houses since I began running the area.  I'd yet to actually go on it though.  I ran there tonight.  Some of the houses were moved in, some were being built and some just had dirt lots.  I saw some shady people out at a couple houses.

This added a little distance.  I then saw the person from earlier.  This time, he was walking in the neighborhood.  It was much less weird there.  I headed up the hill and back toward the school.

I ran a little out and back toward the main road.  Then, I decided to take the second dead end road.  Up to this point, things were going great.  It was comfortable and there was no rain.

I was around mile 5 when the rain finally started coming.  By now, I was figuring on 7 miles and not even ruling out 10 miles.  I saw flashes of lightning every now and then, but heard almost no thunder.

The rain luckily didn't get too heavy.  I started toward the school and went around a circle.  I decided to instead cross the road and take a run through the other neighborhood.  I ended up going out on parts of the route that I normally run.  I was around 6 miles now. 

I cut the normal loop short though.  I was starting to feel kind of crappy.  My legs didn't have it as I approached mile 7.  I saw more lightning too.

I just cruised along though.  By now, it was clear that I'd just be shooting for 8 miles.  I'd almost be there when I got back to the school.  One of those speedy cars flew around a corner.  Luckily, it went the other direction.

I came on into the school.  I had to wait to cross the road at first, so I ran a brief out and back.  I finished up in the school parking lot with 8 miles.

The run was more productive than I thought it might be.  I was quite happy with myself.  It was a solid effort and I got lucky.  The storms were very nasty about an hour later.

My legs are feeling the 34 miles I have on them over the last 3 days.  I hope they recover well overnight.  I plan to run 3 more days this week and hopefully get 31 more miles.  A 65 mile week would be great.  The weather should be better tomorrow.  Maybe I can run on trails, although they'd be sloppy for sure.

8 miles - 1:15:44 (9:28 pace) 64 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Even Cold February Rain

Yesterday it was beautiful out.  Today was terrible though.  It was barely above freezing and raining.  I thought of going out in the afternoon.  I hoped it would be better in the evening.  It did warm up a little.  I headed out around my neighborhoods for what I hoped would be 10 miles.

I wore my shell over a long sleeve shirt.  I had my gloves and headband.  Tights were the bottom layer.  Going into the wind was quite chilly.  The other way, it was warm.  The real issue is that I eventually got wet and became very cold.  I couldn't have lasted much longer.  This was a tricky temperature, especially combined with the rain.

I wore my compression socks all day.  Whenever I do that, it seems to help my legs out a ton.  They felt pretty good throughout this run.  Some of the uphills were a slight struggle, but overall I wasn't bad considering I put 16 miles on the legs yesterday.

I started off with a partial loop of my neighborhood.  I didn't go around the circle.  I had thought I charged my headlamp battery, but it was still dead.  Luckily, there aren't many cars.  I wore a reflective vest.  Of course, I saw two cars in this first loop.

I went down to the school and was around mile 1.  I headed out to the first small loop.  I heard a new dog's collar making noise.  It didn't bark or follow me though.  Without a light, I could only see my watch when I went by houses with lights on outside.

I did that loop and went into the older part.  By the time I was back to the main loop, it was over 3 miles.  Time was flying.  However, I was getting wet.  It wasn't raining hard, but more than I had expected.

As I headed out, I saw a car approaching.  I decided to cross the street.  I nearly ran into a dog walker.  I didn't see her.  She did see me I guess, as she moved over.

I went on to the next loop.  I didn't quite do this whole one either.  It was only partial.  I was struggling to get myself to do a lot.  However, I knew the more I could force myself to do, the less I would need to do when back at the school.

After this loop, I was somewhere around 5.5 miles I think.  I knew I had a terrible uphill coming.  I took my time with it.  Of course the pace wasn't fast.  I wasn't going to go into the extra loop with the big hill, but I ended up doing so.  It's a nice mile.

The wind was tricky because it was the opposite direction from normal.  I was near the 2 miles to go part of the loop and I realized my shirt underneath was soaked and my stomach was getting very cold.  I was hoping I could tough it out.  I put my hand there to warm it up for a bit.

Regardless, I had to at least run home and that would get me to mile 9.  Things were a little better when I had the wind at my back, but that wasn't much on this return.  Mostly, I was heading into the wind.

I finished up the route without much else happening.  Three cars did go by at once.  Before that, I'm not sure if there were even 10 cars out throughout the entire run.  I did a short out and back.  That got me to the school at a little over 9 miles.

I knew I was wet and cold, but I was also determined.  I figured it wasn't dangerous yet and one more mile likely wouldn't make that much of a difference, so I kept running.  I ran behind the school first.  That got me to around 9.7 miles.

I finished up with a loop around the parking lot.  Some cars were still there.  I guess for basketball practice.  I was cold and wet, but I was glad to be done.  I made it to double digit miles.  I made the short walk home.

Tomorrow looks to be another crappy, rainy day.  At least it will be warmer.  Winter rain sucks, especially when it is nearly freezing.  I'd love to be able to get into double digit miles again.  A 60-65 mile week would be awesome.

10 miles - 1:29:25 (8:57 pace) 200 feet of elevation gain

Monday, February 22, 2016

Loop Around Easton+

I wanted to get my long run done yesterday.  I thought it would be nice out.  The temperature was good, but it was gloomy and miserable.  Then, it rained.  I decided to just use it as an off day.  Instead, I went for my long run this afternoon.

It was a gorgeous day.  The temperature was in the upper 40s to low 50s.  Nearly perfect and great short sleeve weather.  The only issue I had was a little windburn afterward.  It was slightly breezy.  The sun was shining.

I wanted to do 16 miles.  That's one more mile than I did a few weeks ago.  I decided I would loop around Easton, using the various paths.  That would make the run less boring.  The only issue was I would have no choice then, but to finish the loop.

I started off at Riverview.  That would allow me to begin with one of my favorite sections and also have a nice, late downhill.  There were a lot of people out.  Many walkers, especially with dogs, a few bikers and some runners.

I headed out and then across the river.  The first mile went by quickly.  I was cruising along nice and easy.  The day off didn't help much, as there was definitely some soreness still going on.  This early, that was a bit of a concern.

I love running here right along the Lehigh River.  Before I knew it, I was out near downtown Easton.  The path goes under a bridge and apparently that was recently flooded, as it was muddy.  My feet had some early fun.  I hit mile 3 right around this time.

I headed up and toward Larry Holmes Drive.  I ran through some parking spaces, to avoid some people and some geese.  Then, I went under the free bridge and along the river.  There was a guy in this area on a unicycle.  That was rather interesting. 

I headed under the Route 22 Bridge.  I was going toward the Karl Stirner Arts Trail.  He recently passed away.  They are working on a small bridge before it, but luckily I could still run on it.

The one road crossing is tricky.  Then, you run along the road a bit.  It's not a busy road, but a massive truck went right past me.  While time and miles were going by rather quickly, I was concerned about my sore legs.  Also, my energy levels seemed low.  That was a worry, as I took no calories or water.  I was only approaching mile 5 at this point.

Before I got to the Arts Trail, I came across two young girls running on their own, probably Lafayetee students.  I guess they came from that trail.  I'm not sure I'd be comfortable running there alone, if I was a woman.

I headed on to the trail.  The beginning has some uphill that is quite tough.  My legs could've used a break.  I ran okay though.  I continued on and before I knew it, I was off that trail and over 6 miles.

I still couldn't believe I had 10 miles to go.  Running along the road for a bit was interesting.  I started feeling pretty crappy and was only at mile 7.  I was at Crayola quickly though.

Then, it was up the Hackett's Hill.  That thing is a beast and it is about the halfway point of the loop.  I wasn't sure if the loop would actually be 15 or 16 miles.  The hill was snowy and icy at first.  Even when it cleared, it was no easier.  Going up the hill on the road was a beast too.

At least I knew some downhill was finally coming.  It did give me a nice relief for the legs.  I came to a guy with 2 unleashed dogs.  I was worried, but they were friendly.  I think I even heard one of them sort of running behind me.

I then crossed over Route 22.  After another road crossing, it was more uphill.  I was excited to be over 8 miles, but also exhausted and a bit beat up.  I knew I had to just keep moving and focus on breaking the run down into different parts.

I passed a kid coming home from school I guess.  I went behind Taco Bell and there were more kids.  It was kind of secluded and I think they were smoking weed.  I sure didn't care.  I ran by Easton High School and more kids.

I was happy to get on the Palmer Trail.  I figured that I had probably less than 8 miles to go.  I was at mile 9.  I startled a guy when I was coming up behind him and his dog.  I yelled because the dog was close to the edge of the trail, even though leashed.

The old pavement of the Palmer Trail gave me some issues.  It may have been slightly uphill.  I don't know, but around mile 10, I had a very brutal mile.  My legs had been doing a little better, but this mile trashed them. 

I just focused on getting to the bridge over the one road.  Then, I'd be starting to head downhill.  I just ran along.  This section of the Palmer Trail did get better.  I was focused on getting each mile down. 

Just after mile 11, I came to the bridge.  I knew I was about 4 miles from finishing.  Therefore, I'd be just over 15 miles when the loop was completed.  It was a little rolling, but generally downhill.  By now, I knew I would finish the loop at the very least.

The downhill mile wasn't as good as I thought it would be.  My legs still hurt, as it was getting late in the run.  My pace was still solid.  A biker passed me and I thanked him for ringing his bell.  I went under the Route 33 Bridge.

I came out to the Boat Launch at about 13.25 miles.  The legs were feeling better.  I just focused on getting to mile 14.  I saw two deer cross the trail.  That was near where I saw two deer in the snow.  I bet they were the same ones.  They hid well up the hill, as I couldn't see them at all.

I got to mile 14 and kept plugging away.  I took my watch off earlier than usual.  I just focused on getting back to Riverview.  I passed a mom with three kids who were having a blast.

I continued along.  Then, I hit the Chain Dam and shortly after that, mile 15.  I decided to start heading the other way.  Since the legs felt better, I was going for mile 16.

I ran 15 miles a few weeks ago.  My pace was relatively good through 15 miles today, but the last mile I felt like I was crawling.  It is amazing how that happens.  I didn't want to cross the road, so I went back toward the Chain Dam. 

I basically went out to the dam before turning around.  I was happy that my pace was probably close to 8:30.  I wasn't looking for any particular pace, but that was good.  I turned and headed back.  I stopped at mile 16 and walked in.  The legs were a bit sore and I hobbled, but I've been worse.

This was a great way to start the week.  I think I eventually want to build up to 20 miles, even though I'm not doing any races.  I'd like to run once between 15-20 miles every week.  I just want to be consistent and get my overall miles consistently around 60 per week too.

Tomorrow, the crap weather is returning.  It won't be freezing cold, but it might snow a little then eventually rain.  I need to get out and do something.  Anywhere from 7-10 miles would be an outstanding day.  I may stick to pavement with everything being wet.

16 miles - 2:17:38 (8:36 pace) 540 feet of elevation gain

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Springlike Tobyhanna

I wanted to run 10 miles today.  I wanted to be on trails, but I also wanted to RUN most of the time.  That didn't leave me with too many options.  I thought about Jacobsburg, but then realized it was a warm day and there would be horses everywhere.  They are annoying.  I opted for Tobyhanna State Park in the Poconos.  That is fairly flat and the loop around the lake is very runnable.

The weather today was amazing.  After freezing last weekend, this weekend jumped to the 50s.  Even up in the Poconos, it was still in the 50s.  I briefly thought about a jacket, because there was wind.  However, it was just too warm for that.  I went with short sleeves and shorts and it was great.  The breeze was perfect.

I started off from the main lot.  It is weird running in such warm weather, but having the lake still frozen over.  There were a ton of people hiking.  The trail is beautiful, but they put down stone.  Normally, I don't like that, but it was wet and soft, so better than normal.

The views in the beginning are great.  The trail also goes by a swimming area, which was obviously closed.  I then ran back into the woods.  I had to pass a few people, but was moving pretty well.  Then, I came near the campground.  The trail was blue blazed and very easy to follow.  The first mile flew by.

I kept looking for the other trail.  Last time, I tried to go to Gouldsboro, but that trail was just too rocky and frustrating.  I remember taking a trail when camping a few years back and it was good.  I found that trail and headed out.

This trail starts out as a woods road.  It was very runnable.  There were rocks and roots here and there, but not too bad.  I cruised along.  The plan was to go out 2.5 miles and head back.

This isn't the most exciting trail I've run on.  I was actually thrilled to get to a stream about half a mile out.  Then, I was also relieved to see a bridge over it and off to the side.  I was unsure what I would've done if not for that.  The water would've been cold, but not only that, it was high and flowing.

I ran along after crossing over the bridge.  It was quite windy, but the wind was at my back.  I was a bit hot and actually getting kind of tired.  I was more tired than I should've been this early on at least.

The trail became more singletrack and much more rocky.  There were a ton of blow downs that were frustrating.  There were some branches sticking out too.  I definitely started walking here and there.  I was still mostly running.  The most rocky stuff was surely a hike.

I kept watching each half mile click off.  I was debating when to turn around, as I wasn't enjoying the trail.  I went past a powerline and nearly ran on that.  I wasn't seeing much in the way of features.  Just dead winter woods and more dead winter woods.  I even got excited for a short evergreen section.

I was thrilled to get out 2 miles.  The trail became a little less rocky, so I kept going.  It was muddy in a couple spots, but not too bad.  I was able to run most of the time.  The trail had a lot of short up and down parts.  Near the turn around were some flat rocks.

Finally at mile 4 overall and 2.5 miles out, I turned to head back.  I expected some tough running.  There was a lot of uphill, but it was better than I expected.

I don't know why, but I was able to run much better in this direction.  Maybe it was the slight breeze.  Maybe I was focused on making it back to the main loop.  The sun was in my eyes, so that wasn't easy.  I lost the trail a few times briefly.  The yellow blazes were hard to see.

Each half mile clicked by fairly quickly.  When I got to the bridge, some young ladies were having their photo taken on it.  I had to cross it.  I told them in the summer, I might go through the water, but not today.

The last half mile or so back to the main loop was great.  It was wider and much more runnable.  I was now heading toward mile 6.5 overall.  There was still a bit of running left.

I got back to the main trail.  I looked at my watch.  My pace was a bit over 11 minutes per mile.  I knew this stretch would be much faster.  It seemed like a lot of early uphill.  I tried to run hard up the short hills, but eventually that became too exhausting.

Right as I was thinking this would be a good bike riding trail, but no one was doing that, one came the other way.  I saw a runner and dog coming that way too.  This trail was certainly very fast, but a little sloppy.

It was good getting to miles 7 and 8.  I was now right around 11 minute pace.  I didn't push, but I was probably running a little faster than I would've.  It felt so good, running in these great conditions.  I looked at the watch often.

I saw the pace drop and drop.  I had enjoyed myself, but couldn't wait to be done now.  I was back in the woods and couldn't really see the lake, so visually I couldn't see how far I had to go.  I just kept moving.

I hit mile 9 and took my watch off.  I wanted to get done under 1:45.  It looked like this would certainly happen now.  That is if I stopped at 10 miles of course.

With around half a mile to go, I came out to the dam.  I ran on top of it and it was amazing.  It was beautiful overlooking the icy water with the sun shining on a warm day.

I knew I'd be over 10 miles when I got back to my car.  I just decided that I'd keep running to my car.  I passed a couple hikers.  I knew and snow part was at the end.  This part sure was snowy.  I ran past the rest of their group.  I had to be a little careful with some of the ice.  I finished up a bit over 10 miles.

This was a pretty good run and it accomplished exactly what I was looking forward.  I took a few more days off this week, but still put in a solid 40 mile week.  I'm now ready to consistently put in 50-60 miles per week.

Tomorrow is a long run.  I'm thinking I might go to Ironton again.  I don't know, as I'd kind of like something a little longer.  I will be on pavement though.  It will be another warm day.  I look forward to that part of it.

10.16 miles - 1:45:45 (10:24 pace) 226 feet of elevation gain

Friday, February 19, 2016

Weiser State Forest - Roaring Creek Tract

Yesterday, I didn't get out to run.  Today, getting in double digit miles was a must.  I didn't have to work and wanted to hit some new trails.  I thought of going to Maryland, but it was almost 3 hours to get there.  Instead, I opted to head up to the coal region and run the Roaring Creek Tract at the Weiser State Forest.

It was below freezing today, so I had to wear tights.  I had a on my shell over a long sleeve shirt.  I wore my gloves and headband during most of the run.  Although a little chilly (especially on the mountain top), I did enjoy the temperature.

I parked at the lot along Roaring Creek.  This was a water department area with a few dams.  There is a stone road by them that is closed to traffic and basically makes a rail trail.  There are also trails across the road and up on the mountains on each side of the valley.

I drove by and couldn't find the exact trail I was looking for.  However, the map showed some trail across from the main lot.  I headed on that.  It was called the Homestead Trail.  I ran up the hill.

This part was a little icy.  I could run up it, but it was frustrating.  It had some old pavement too.  I wasn't enjoying it and almost headed back down and then the other direction.

Then, I came to an intersection with the Pogy Road Trail.  This was a little better in that it was a woods road and downhill.  Still, I found it kind of boring.  Luckily, I came to another trail a short time later, after crossing a bridge over the creek.

This turned out to be the trail I was looking for, the Headwaters Trail.  I started out by going right on it.  It was a wide woods road at first and then turned into a singletrack.  All these trails were marked with wooden signs at their intersections.  The trees were blazed, but every blaze was red.  There were no different colors for different trails.

The Headwaters Trail was a mess.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  All these small streams were coming down the mountain and running on to the trail.  It was hard to avoid the water.  My feet got soaked over and over again.  It would be cold for a few minutes, then fine again.  This was not the best trail to run in the winter.

At times, I thought I wasn't stepping in water, but got soaked anyway.  The other frustrating thing was that this trail was kind of boring.  There were no rocks, not a lot of turns and no interesting trees.  It kept going by pine trees, but never through them.

I passed several trails on the way out.  I figured that they went up to where I was going.  I was hoping to keep going out on the Headwaters Trail though.  At about 2.5 miles, I chased a few deer away.  They ran fast.

I kept going and going.  Near mile 4, the trail finally turned and headed south.  That was the direction I wanted to go, so I was happy.  I would not have been able to keep going east much longer.

I went through some pine trees now.  I was surprised that I didn't cross the creek.  I did see a small creek, so maybe that was it.  I continued on and the trail began to climb the mountain.  Now, I was on the dark side of the mountain and it was still snow covered.

At one point, I came to the Homestead Trail.  Since I at least knew where that was, I decided to take it.  Looking at the map now, I really wanted to go in the other direction first.

Still, this did work as I was now climbing up Big Mountain.  I was on an old woods road.  It had about an inch of snow on it, which made it challenging.  It was just steep enough that I could get a good workout, but also continue running.

I plugged away and kept running.  For the most part, I had run the entire time, except when I stopped to take photos.  There was a cool photo op near the top.  There were some partially frozen waterfalls.

I went up through the woods because I thought maybe there was a reservoir up there.  It turns on there was nothing, but I did hook up with the Big Mountain Trail.

This trail was much more fun than the other trails.  It was rocky and winding along the ridge.  There was quite a chilly wind.  Although I was basically at the top, there was still a gradual uphill that I found frustrating.

After a little bit, I came out near the forest headquarters.  I took the Overlook Trail, but never did actually find the overlook.  I did have a bit of a seasonal view through the trees.

I crossed the road and continued to look for the Big Mountain Trail.  This section was open woods road and what looked like it might be old mines.  I was near 7 miles now and hoping that I was going the correct way.

I did find the Big Mountain Trail.  I ran along.  The trail was a little icy, due to vehicle traffic.  I tried to run a short bit back in the woods, but that didn't work.  Around 7.5 miles, I found the Pump House Trail.

This trail began to descent pretty quickly.  Again, it was like a woods road.  The Big Mountain Trail got sunlight and was clear, but this trail was now snow covered.  At least it was easy running.

Someone had cross country skied on it.  If they went uphill, I am very impressed.  I ran on down.  I came to a powerline.  The trail kept going out and out.  Finally, it did switchback.

It then followed the powerline.  I ran downhill and was now over 8 miles.  I came out the main trail, the stone covered Roaring Creek Trail.  Sure enough, the Pump House trail came out right to a pump house.  I went by it and took some photos of the frozen water.

I started to run on the Roaring Creek Trail.  I then could see the end of it and realized I needed more mileage.  Therefore, I ran out until hit mile 9.  I turned and headed back after that.

This part was boring, but a good way to finish up with some easy running.  As I was nearly done, three young guys pulled up.  They went running on that trail too.  I was glad to be done with my 10 miles.

This is a decent area to run.  It has some climbs, but you can run most of the time too.  It's a bit far, so I won't go there often, but I'm sure I'll be there again.  I would like to explore it more.  There are a lot of trails and I'm almost thinking setting up a marathon course would be possible there, without really repeating anything.

I have 30 miles for the week.  I want to run again tomorrow.  I'd love to get on a trail.  It will be super warm all weekend.  Hopefully I can run in the afternoon, wherever I decide to go.

10.06 miles - 1:59:35 (11:53 pace) 836 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Afternoon Run to Easton

I wanted to travel for a trail run.  However, I had to work in the evening.  That meant a quick run on some pavement in the afternoon.  I decided on Riverview Park for 8 miles.

The weather was tricky again.  It was kind of too warm for tights, but too cold for shorts.  It was just under 40 degrees.  I went with shorts and the legs were a bit cold.  I had on my shell over long sleeves on the top.  I had on gloves and the headband too.

I decided to head out toward Easton.  I haven't gone that way in some time.  I was hoping to get more miles out going that way.  I don't know what it is, but this section along the canal is one of the few paved sections I never get tired of.  I think it is good on the legs.

The first mile went by in no time.  I like running by all the old historic structures.  It's cool to think about what things used to be like.  Before I knew it, I was out to mile 2.  Around there, I came across another runner going the other way.

I think I like this section so much because I don't usually see many people on it.  It is kind of isolated, but still unique along the water.  My legs weren't sore at all, even after 12 miles the night before.

I got near the Forks of the Delaware.  I came across a couple walkers.  Then, I went on south after the pavement ended.  There was a biker there waiting for a friend.

I hit mile 3 and just decided to keep on going, since I was feeling good.  This part was stone and dirt and sloppy now.  All of the recent rain took its toll.  Another biker went by.

I saw what looked like maybe tents across the river.  There might be some homeless people living there.  I'm not sure I'd want to be that close to the water.  I turned around after a half mile on the dirt section.  I was at 3.5 miles.

I headed back, with my legs now cold.  It was just a slight breeze, but still chilly.  I looked forward to getting back on the pavement.  I noticed my pace was well under 9 minutes per mile now.  That was surprising, as I wasn't running any harder than normal.

It was good to get to mile 4 and then eventually mile 5.  I looked at my watch a lot on the way back.  It was messy under the one bridge.  The river must've flooded onto the trail during the storms.

I tried to simply focus on getting to mile 7.  That would be back at my car and nearly done.  I cruised along.  I crossed the bridge from Hugh Moore Park.  I was almost home.

I got back to the parking lot at nearly mile 7.  I decided on a short out and back in the other direction.  I ran over by the softball fields.  I went back over the Chain Dam.  Some young girls were taking photos by the dam.  The water looked fierce.

Just past there I turned around.  I was nearly done.  I ran back to the car and finished up my 8 miles.  It was a productive run and surprisingly fast.  I didn't have any issues with my legs until the last mile.

Tomorrow, I'm working again in the morning.  Maybe I can get on the trail in the afternoon though.  I kind of want to go up near Mount Carmel and run somewhere new up there.  A 10 mile day would be awesome.

8 miles - 1:08:46 (8:36 pace) 134 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dark Semi Long Run

I didn't get out either of the first two days of the week.  The cold and wind of Sunday was a good excuse, although it was better than Saturday actually.  Yesterday, it snowed.  The crazy weather continued again today, as it jumped to 50 degrees and was pouring down rain.  I headed out after dark.

It was in the low 40s when I started.  It was good enough for shorts.  The top was tricky.  I went with a long sleeve shirt under mile shell.  The gloves came on and off.  At times, it was windy and cold.  Going the other way, it go very hot.

I actually started while it was still light out, around 5:45 PM.  The plan was an easy 12 neighborhood miles.  I started by going down to the school and across to the other neighborhood.  I begin with the usual short loop, but then added some of the older sections as well.  My dinner had not quite settled yet, so I did feel slow and sluggish in the early going.  It was good to get through the first two miles.

This beginning had some hills.  By the time I finally finished this short loop plus the addition, it was dark and I was around 3.5 miles.  I headed out for the main loop.

There were some dog walkers out.  I had on my headlamp, but that got too sweaty.  I carried it in my hand instead.  Running into the wind was a challenge.  It was chilly too.

I went around and did the shortish loop out here.  That's about 1.5 miles.  I ran it in the normal direction.  I finished this part up at about 5.5 miles.  It was a mixed blessing.  This distance did go by quickly, but I couldn't believe I wasn't even halfway done.

I just continued on out.  I went up the long hill.  Then, it was over and into the other neighborhood.  This had the steepest hill.  I passed another dog walker.  I wasn't feeling great, but not terrible either.  I was at 7.5 miles shortly after heading back into the main loop.

I just tried to focus on each mile.  I knew getting to mile 9 would be good.  I plugged away slower.  The lower legs were recovered pretty well with two days off, but the quads were bothering me now.

I looked at my watch when I got to what would've been mile 2 of the Blue Eagle 5K course.  I was at 8.7 miles and would get back at 9.7 miles.  I cruised passed some more dog walkers and on to mile 9.

Shortly before that, my headlamp had died.  I had to be careful when cars came around.  It was a good thing I wore a yellow jacket though.  I guess I was pretty visible.  Most of the way back the wind was at my back.

These last couple miles sure were a struggle.  I got back to the school and to the old course finish line at 9.75 miles.  I should've just run around the school without my headlamp working, but I didn't feel like looping around there much.

I went behind the school and was thinking about going in the other neighborhood.  Then, a creature ran across in front of me.  I couldn't see it, but in case maybe it was a skunk, I decided to turn around.

I looped around the front of the school twice.  That got me near the final mile.  I decided to go into my neighborhood and do a loop there to finish up.  It was a little windy there heading into the wind, but good coming back. 

The red light on my headlamp still worked, so I could see distance.  I got back to my house and needed a little more.  I did the shortest loop around the block and finished up over 12 miles. 

My legs and back were a bit sore, but it was a good run.  I'm happy any time I can get double digit miles.  I just love night running so much more too.  I've built up a lo the last couple weeks, so it will be good to back off a bit this week.

I'd like to get on some trails tomorrow, but who knows.  I'd love to go somewhere new.  If I didn't have to work, that would help a lot with that.  If not, I'd have to get my butt moving in the afternoon.  I'm rarely good with that.

12.05 miles - 1:48:25 (9:00 pace) 280 feet of elevation gain

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Decent Day in the Cold

As I sat in the house and listened to the wind, I realized my 12 mile plans were a little ambitious.  I decided to just make sure to get 2 miles in, to get to 50 for the week.  It was hard getting out the door.

Of course, it wasn't quite as bad as I expected.  I wore a facemask, which I hate and that was probably the biggest issue.  I had a pair of sweatpants over my tights.  I also wore a fleece vest and a jacket.  I added big winter gloves.  If anything, it was too much and I was too sweaty.

I started off running around the school, thinking the wind and temperatures were overrated.  Within the first mile, I readjusted my goal for the day and shot for 7 miles.  That would get me to 55 for the week.  After the school, I decided I'd go over to the other neighborhood across the street.

I had to break this run into pieces.  Thinking about 7 miles in this cold was overwhelming.  Plus, my lower legs were a little sore again.  It seemed kind of better today though, maybe because I was focused on other things.

Rather than the big loop, I shot for doing the smaller loop farther out.  I ended up running into a strong headwind and that was a bit cold for sure.  It was quite the battle.  It wasn't long though and I was turning.

I decided to do this smaller loop the opposite direction of normal.  That would break the headwind part into segments.  It worked well.  A few cars drove by and probably thought I was crazy.  With the wind at my back, it was awesome running.  I was even sweating too much.  My beard seemed a little icy and the facemask was soaked.

I went past the halfway point.  I then neared the mile 2 marker in the old Blue Eagle 5K course.  I was heading toward home, with the wind at my back. 

I realized that if I did the short loop near the start, I'd get back to the school around mile 6.  Going into the headwind half of this loop was brutal.  My cheeks were starting to get cold.  I battled though, as I was around 5.5 miles now.  I went through the older neighborhood too.

Finally after some more wind, I was back at the school.  When I got up the black path, I had about 1.1 miles left to go.  I decided I'd loop around my neighborhood.

The start of the neighborhood was brutal.  That half was into the wind.  I couldn't wait to get through the circle at the end of it and turn around.  All my clothes were cold and went.  Their heaviness made me tired too.  I realized I couldn't run much more in these conditions, if I had wanted to.

I was surprised to see my pace well under 9 minutes.  I didn't feel like I was pushing any harder into the headwind, but I guess I must've been.  I was glad to be heading around the rest my neighborhood with the wind at my back. 

I got back to my house, but still had about .15 miles to go.  I went to the end of the block.  I turned around and headed home.  The 7 miles were done.

I wouldn't say the run was easy.  It was a challenge, especially going into the wind.  It was overhyped though and I probably hurt myself by having on too much.  You can't sweat too much in the cold.  I couldn't deal with this weather every day, but I like the difficulty it brings a few times a year.

Tomorrow, I should be out there again.  I'm planning 12-15 miles.  It all depends, as the weather will be challenging again.  I'm hoping I can have my parents drop me off somewhere, so I can run a point to point route.  With the wind at my back, that would be helpful. 

7.04 miles - 1:01:34 (8:45 pace) 96 feet of elevation gain

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hershey Run

I was in Hershey for the state wrestling tournament today.  I had to fit in a run.  I needed 7 miles.  Nazareth won their first match, so I had almost 4 hours of down time.  I decided to run in between.

I knew it wasn't quite as cold as yesterday, but still it was cold.  I decided to go with my fleece vest over my lightweight long sleeve shirt.  I had tights, a headband and gloves.  Even though it was cold, it wasn't as bad as earlier in the week.  My legs weren't red afterward.  It was slightly less windy.

I thought about a couple loops around the edge of the parking lot.  Then, I saw there was a paved trail somewhere in town.  I didn't know exactly where, but I decided to head out of the park and try to run to it.  Most of the first mile was around the parking lot and park area.  It was cool running by all the roller coasters.

I then went under a tunnel.  I crossed the main street and continued through town.  These streets weren't too busy.  Somewhere near mile 2, I found Hershey High School.  Their complex was huge, so I figured I'd at least run around it.

Then, I saw the trail.  I ran on it around the perimeter of the complex.  There was some tough uphill.  I've put in a big week and my lower legs are starting to get sore.  That was slowing me down, but I kept moving along.  I was determined to finish this run as planned.

I went through some of the school parking lot, as I approached mile 3.  Then I saw the smoke stacks to the chocolate plant.  I decided to run toward them and take a photo.  I then started to head back in the direction I began at.

The legs came around a little.  Around mile 4, I knew where I was now.  Since I still needed more miles, I did an out and back near the plant.  Every now and then I took some photos.

After the out and back, I found a different route back to where I had started.  I ran out near the old arena and football stadium.  I had a long run through the parking lot remaining and still over a mile to go.

I realized I'd be short of 7 miles at my car, so I ran around a snowbank in the parking lot.  I was surprised at how much snow that area still had.  Ours is pretty much gone now. 

I ran back in front of the Giant Center.  I was still a little short of my goal, so I added some parking lot running.  I then finished up with over 7 miles.

It wasn't a great run, but it was solid.  It was fun to explore some place new.  The scenery of Hershey is cool too.  At least I know where to go next time I'm in town.

Tomorrow is the end of the week.  It should be interesting, because it is supposed to be brutally cold.  I'm hoping to knock out 12 miles and get over 60 miles for the week.  My legs are starting to feel the pounding of the pavement, so I'd really like to get on some trails.  Mostly likely, I'll be running in the afternoon.

 7.06 miles - 1:05:56 (9:21 pace) 164 feet of elevation gain

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cold Night Run

I had a tough decision when to run.  In the afternoon, it was 24 degrees, but the wind was howling like crazy.  It was 17 MPH then.  I opted to go out after dark.  Then, it would drop to 20 degrees, but the wind would only be 9 MPH.  I headed out around 8 PM to run 7 miles around the neighborhoods.

I decided to dress with more today.  I wore a ColdGear top with a fleece vest.  I had on a winter hat, which was probably too much.  I had on thin tights with shorts over them.  That wasn't enough, as my legs were very red afterward.  In one direction, it was comfortable, but the other way was cold, with the wind.

I started with a loop around my neighborhood.  That was comfortable at first, but then became cold as I turned and headed west.  I went down to the school and looped around once.  I often go to the neighborhood across the street from the school.  Today, I wanted to go to the one on the other side of it.

I headed there and up the slight ascent.  This was into the wind and cold.  I turned to the dead end road and did an out and back.  That was comfortable going out and then cold coming back.  I thought about going out and back on the second road, but opted not to.

I headed to the small block of townhouses.  This had a nice downhill that was with the wind at my back.  I was going to loop around there, but I decided to keep going to the small industrial park.  I went to the end of the road and then back.

The industrial park road was crazy busy.  I guess everyone was getting out of dance class.  I ran a loop around that building.  I think I was now past the halfway point of the run, maybe farther.

I now went to the townhouse neighborhood.  I looped around that.  I was over 5 miles and heading to 5.5 miles.  I knew this remaining stretch back to the school would be great.  It was downhill with the wind at my back.  I got to mile 6.

Then, I was about to take the path back to the school.  However, I heard a dog barking and saw a backyard light on.  I think the dog next to the path might've been out.  I opted not to go there, even though I think it stays in the yard.

I looped back around and crossed the road.  I decided I would add an extra mile to the run now.  I don't normally run this stretch and another dog was out.  It started chasing me a little, until I began to walk.  Then its owner was able to call it back in.

I headed on the slight uphill.  Now, I was nearly done.  I looped around the usual part and went back to the school.  As I reentered my neighborhood, I hit mile 8.  I decided to keep running to my house to finish up.  I didn't need to walk much in the cold.

It was a productive run.  I really enjoy the cold.  I just make sure to wear enough.  This weekend will be crazy cold though, so that should be interesting.  I plan to run anyway, but I'll need extra layers for sure.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping for 7 miles.  I might go out to Hershey for some wrestling.  Therefore, I'm not sure when or where I'll be running.

8.08 miles - 1:11:58 (8:55 pace) 63 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Raccoon Ridge Run/Hike

I took off yesterday.  Since I didn't have to work, I wanted to do something longer today.  I decided to go to the Delaware Water Gap.  Rather than run up Tammany, I'd head out to Sunfish Pond and then hopefully Raccoon Ridge.  I got started a bit after lunch.

It was super cold and chilly in the parking lot.  I had on all the winter gear.  I had tights with shorts.  I had a heavier long sleeve shirt that usual.  I wore my shell.  I had my headband and gloves on too.  Most of the time I was comfortable.  Every now and then, it was a little cold on the windy ridge.  It wasn't as bad as I expected.

I parked in the lot and almost no one was there.  A car pulled up next to me right away, as I was trying to change.  These people were hiking in jeans.  I passed them going uphill early on.  I ran a bit early, but knew this would be a mix of running and hiking.

I was surprised at how little snow there was.  It snowed a bit last night down here.  Everything was bare in the hollow today.  It was warm there early on too.

I've only gone out to Sunfish Pond a few times.  I don't exactly remember all the ins and outs of the route.  I know there is a section that curves around the side of the mountain.  However, I thought it was after a rocky part.  It wasn't though.  Eventually, I got to the intersection with another trail.

After this, there is some flat rock.  Although I wanted to run on it, I opted to hike.  I didn't slip, but that can often happen on that type of terrain.  I was very careful and going slow as I climbed.  There was a little more snow, as I went farther on, but still not much.

My left leg bothered me a lot when I tried to run uphill.  I ended up hiking plenty.  The leg was much better as the run went one.  I went over some more super rocky stuff.  I was over 3 miles out as I hit the camping area.  I was surprised that there wasn't more wind up there.  There was definitely some, but not a lot.

I was most of the way to the top, so I was able to run a bit.  It wasn't long and I was at Sunfish Pond.  That was spectacular, as it was frozen and covered in snow.  I took a bunch of photos.  I had never gone past Sunfish Pond.

The AT runs right alongside the pond here.  I thought I lost it one time, but I didn't actually.  It was very rocky and not runnable.  Plus, I took a ton of photos of the great scenery.  It was stunning.  People put rock cairns up at certain rocky places along the shore of the pond.  Finally, after about a mile, I was at the far end of the pond.  I was near mile 5 of the run.

I couldn't find any good info on how far Raccoon Ridge was.  It would've been closer from Mohican Outdoor Center, but that road is dirt and I thought it would be a mess.  Since there wasn't too much snow, it might not have been bad.  I estimated Raccoon Ridge at mile 6, based on the map I have.

There were some cool seasonal views after Sunfish Pond, along the ridge.  This section was rolling, up and down.  It wasn't too bad.  Since I was still mostly going uphill, I hiked a lot more.  It was a slow go.

A bit later, I crossed a mountain stream.  There was one by Sunfish Pond too.  Those are so cool.  I was able to cross this one without getting wet.  I had seen some Asians hiking early on and their footprints had stopped at Sunfish Pond.  I was alone for most of this run and there were no tracks way up here.

After the stream, it was a short climb.  There was a bit of a nice view along the ridge.  I didn't think this was Raccoon Ridge.  I recalled seeing another viewpoint on the map. 

I got to mile 6 and still wasn't at Raccoon Ridge.  I hated to turn around knowing I was close.  However, I couldn't go much farther either.  I went up one more climb.  Now, I was on a ridge with seasonal views.  It seemed like it could be part of Raccoon Ridge.  It was pretty up there.

Finally, I saw a rock pile in the distance.  It looked open too.  There was a cool pine tree as well.  Indeed, I had arrived at Racoon Ridge.  There's an outstanding 360 degree view from there.  You can see the upper and lower reservoir on one side and the Delaware River and mountains on the other side.  If it wasn't getting later and it wasn't so chilly, I would've spent more time up there.  I took some photos and videos and then left.

I ate some of this organic Clif gel.  It was bad, but I did need some calories.  It took me almost 2 hours to get out.  I knew coming back would have a lot of downhill and less stops.  It would be much faster.

I ran along where I could.  Some sections were too rocky.  Downhill running was much easier though.  It wasn't long and I was back to Sunfish Pond.  I was getting tired and sore now. 

I got over the rocky section as fast as I could.  The sun actually came out for a bit.  It wasn't long and I was at the other end of Sunfish Pond.  I now knew I what I had left.  It was mostly downhill and much more runnable.

I ran a lot.  I got to a very rocky stretch and had to hike through that.  Then, it was more downhill running.  Every now and then, I twisted my ankles on rocks.  That hurt a bit.  I didn't bonk, but I was low on calories for sure.  I ate some more of the gel and drank some Tailwind.

I ran over the trail intersection.  I watched the mileage go down.  I got over mile 11.  I was starting to wear down.  At least I was mostly descending.  I cruised on all the downhills.  At times, the sun was in my eyes.  That was frustrating, with all the rocks.  I heard planes or helicopters twice, but I couldn't see them.

Most of the descending is toward the end.  With about 1.5 miles left, I saw some backpackers.  One was resting on the ground.  It was a weird time for them to be out.  They would be in the dark if they were day hiking.  If they were camping, it would be brutally cold.

I cruised on down the hills.  I went around the curve.  I stopped for some pretty setting sun photos.  I got to mile 12 and realized I had about one more mile to go.  Then, I came where the blue trail merges with the AT.

I had about half a mile to go.  I cruised on down the hill.  I had poles with me today and they helped going uphill.  I didn't need them now and closed them up.  It wasn't long and I was back to the parking lot.  I was exhausted and sore.  It felt great to finish up though.

This was slower than I thought it would be.  It was challenging, but fun.  I love checking out new areas.  Running 10 miles on pavement is so boring and seemed slow.  This was much longer time wise and much slower too, but trail running is so much more fun.  I enjoyed most of this one.

Last week, I had 35 total miles.  With three days left, I already have 33 miles.  I will likely run each day.  Tomorrow, I'll probably go back to roads and do like 7 miles.  I'm hoping to get on trails again on Saturday.  I haven't been on them much and I need to do that more.

13.02 miles - 3:27:08 (15:54 pace) 1650 feet of elevation gain

Monday, February 8, 2016

Whitehall High School Run

This afternoon, I was going to head to the Nor-Bath Trail.  However, it looked like it may still be snow covered.  Instead, I waited until late in the evening.  I went to the Nazareth wrestling match at Whitehall High School.  I was unsure where to run and then realized I could run around the parking lot after the match.

The temperature had dropped significantly.  Still, I ran with shorts on.  I had a long sleeve shirt with a shell on and added gloves and a headband.  It was windy at times and comfortable at others.  It began to snow a bit during the end of the run.

The match ended and I quickly got changed in my car and headed out.  I figured I could probably get a mile or two going around the parking lot.  It is a big complex, with the high school, middle school and an elementary school and some other buildings.

I had to be careful of traffic leaving the match.  I headed out toward the football field.  I looped around the parking lot there.  A little after that, I was half a mile in.

I saw there was a long road out of the campus.  I decided to take that out and back.  Near the end was another building and I looped around that lot.  I noticed a neighborhood next to the road.  It had a path to it, some street lamps and sidewalks.  Since I wasn't wearing a headlamp, this was the perfect option.

I went there and started on some of the sidewalks.  I was going slow, but feeling okay.  I didn't recover too bad from the 15 miles on Sunday.  I had no idea how long this neighborhood would be.  I figured I'd try to loop around the perimeter.

I made a few turns.  I was happy to get to 1.5 miles and then 2 miles.  I figured by the time I made it back to my car, I'd at least be at 3.5 miles.  That would be great.

The snow started sometime during this loop.  I was always pretty sure what direction I was going, but the roads did curve in this neighborhood.  It wasn't long and I was back to where I started this loop.  I was thrilled to be halfway done, at 2.5 miles.

I went back around the building parking lot again, to add some distance.  Then, I continued my loop around the whole complex.  There was a "no outlet" sign at the middle school.  However, there was a gated road around it.  I used that and was able to add plenty of distance.

I then went out and back for a bit on another entry road.  A car drove by at one point.  I now was over well over 3.5 miles and headed back to the gym and my car.

I arrived at my car right around 4 miles.  I was surprised at how slow my pace was.  It didn't feel that slow, but it was way over 9 minute miles.  I just wanted to finish one more mile.

I went back out to the football stadium lot.  I then ran by the track stadium too.  I now finished a shorter loop, as I headed back toward the gym.  I was happy to nearly be done.

I got back to my car over 5 miles into the run.  My legs were getting a little sore and the snow was falling more.  I was happy to be done.

This wasn't the fastest run, but it was good to get out there.  I'm happy with how I recovered.  I'm also happy with how creative I was finding somewhere to run.

Tomorrow, I hope to run again.  We may get 1 to 3 inches with this storm.  If not, I'd love to get on some trails.  My legs could benefit from an even softer surface.

5.06 miles - 48:43 (9:38 pace) 89 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Finally 15

Yesterday's attempt at 15 miles was a failure.  Today, I wanted to try again.  I went to cheer on friends at the Super Bowl 10K first.  Then, I headed to the Ironton Rail Trail again to try once more.  I got there around noon.  I had not eaten lunch yet.

This weather was much more agreeable.  It was much warmer.  I went with shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  I think people thought I was crazy, as they were all bundled up.  I was comfortable though.  It was slightly chilly early on, but that didn't last.

I saw yesterday that the spur trail was paved and plowed.  I wanted to head on that first.  I had yet to be there when it was paved, so I thought I'd check it out.  It is a cool early section through the Whitehall Parkway.  Already, my watch got all screwed up and added distance.  I estimated it to be about a quarter of a mile.

I cruised along, not feeling too bad.  When I got out to the quarry road crossing, I saw the trail was snow covered now.  The good thing is the road there is very wide and not too crowded.  I ran on the road for a bit.  I came past a dog walker.

I saw the trail was still snow covered, so I opted to take a different road, away from the trail.  This had a slight uphill.  I was already over 2 miles into the run.  I went out for a bit.  Then, I tried to go into a neighborhood.  However, I was in a circle.

I continued on briefly, but then turned around.  I wasn't ready to head back yet.  I decided to go over the snow covered trail anyway.  That was a sloppy and uneven mess.  A bike even passed me.  When I could, I ran back on the road near the trail.  This road was a little busier.

I then turned down Portland Street.  I wanted to see if they extended the trail any more, but they had not.  I did an internship at a building on Portland Street, but the business is no longer there.  I wanted to run by it.

I continued on, adding distance and going a bit slow.  I then turned down a road.  There were a couple houses on it.  I could hear gunshots and saw I was next to Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays.  That must be annoying living there.

This road came out to a main road, so I finally turned to head back.  I was over 4 miles now and feeling okay, but not great.  I had to take it piece by piece.  I headed back.  I got to mile 5 and wondered how I could do 10 more.

My body was starting to get sore already.  I figured if things got worse, I might have to pack it in early.  I was really bothered over the new pavement.  At 6.5 miles, I wasn't very hopeful.

Then, I finally got back to the original loop.  My legs seemed to feel instantaneously better.  I think the new pavement was too hard for me.  I could've gone back to my car exactly at 7.5 miles, but I opted not to.

The big question was whether I could survive with no water or calories.  Going downhill was a great relief for my legs.  When I got to the cement kilns, I bumped into someone I knew.  I reported the trail conditions to him.

I had about 8.5 miles in now.  I knew it would be tough, but I was focused.  At the very least, I had to finish this loop and get around 13 miles.  I continued to look at my watch, as I took it easy.  There were plenty of runners, bikers and walkers.

Getting into 10 miles and then 11 miles was great.  I felt after that that I was gradually going uphill.  That was tough.  I was able to focus on catching a slower woman running.  After passing her, I just focused on each upcoming mile.

I made it to 12 miles.  Then, I had the climb up to the parking lot by my car.  That was around 13 miles, although my watch was still off.

Both directions from the parking lot are downhill.  That would be great initially, but suck coming back.  I was getting very sore and fading bad.  I really slowed down at the end.  I ran around a neighborhood at the top a bit.  I was so sluggish.

It was close to mile 14 on my watch when I headed back downhill.  I wanted to go out and back and then walk up that hill.  This was such a slow go.  I looked at my watch continuously.  Every tenth of a mile seemed to take forever.

I turned and headed back with near a half mile to go.  I finished up with my watch reading 15.24 miles.  I was a little frustrated that when I got back, Strava showed 14.8 miles.

This was a very productive run.  I don't think I have gone over 10 miles in several months.  I had some rough patches, but pushed through.  My experience in ultras definitely helped that.  I was also surprised I went so long without food or water.  That's close to the longest I've ever done that for.

Tomorrow, I hope I can knock out 5 miles.  We'll see how the back and legs feel.  I have a heading pad on my back now.  Hopefully it is better in the morning.  I might just stick to these neighborhood roads if I do run tomorrow.

15.24 miles - 2:17:48 (9:03 pace) 306 feet of elevation gain STRAVA DATA DIFFERENT

Saturday, February 6, 2016

At Least 7

I had a strong start to the week, but faded down the stretch.  I took Thursday off and Friday I wanted to do 15, but I had to work in the afternoon.  I was going to go to Mt. Tammany this morning for 12 miles, but I couldn't get out of bed.  I still hoped for 15 miles in the afternoon.

I haven't been to the Ironton Rail Trail in some time.  I thought that that would be a good place for a long run.  The weather was nearly impossible to figure out.  It felt warm, so I went with just a lightweight long sleeve shirt.  However, the slight breeze was bone chilling, as it pierced my shirt.  I quickly went back to the car and put on my jacket.  I also had tights and shorts on.  I went back and forth between cold and hot.

I started off not feeling so great.  I just felt tired, slow and sluggish.  With two days rest, at least there was no soreness.  Within the first mile, I figured I was also going to be very hot and overdressed at times.  I quickly realized 15 miles wasn't going to happen.  This wasn't going to be my day.

Even the downhill in the beginning wasn't great.  I ran along anyway.  I knew I'd do one loop of 5.3 miles and I was hoping for 7 miles at least.  That could be a productive day.

A bunch of people were using the trail.  Some were running, some biking and others walking (often with dogs).  I saw a woman that started around the same time as me.  I saw her a few times and she had her face covered from the cold.  I couldn't understand that, as it wasn't that cold.

I was sweating a lot pretty early on.  Any time the wind was at my back, I was super warm.  My gloves went off and my sleeves were even rolled up.  Eventually the headband came off too.

I cruised along, continuing to feel sluggish.  My one foot landed funny a couple times and produced a brief, sharp pain.  It was better quickly though.  The road crossings caused me to wait a little, but they weren't too bad.

I love this trail because it is a loop.  The kind of remote section not far from the river was a little cold at times.  Even this part was busy.  I looked at my watch a lot, but the miles clicked off fairly quickly.

The last time I was there, they were building a bridge.  Now, the trail goes under it, with a cool tunnel.  After that comes the short stone section.  It is the only non paved part of the loop and it was sloppy. 

I knew the worst part was coming down.  It was the gradual uphill by the cement kilns.  Someone on a bike made a comment.  I think she could tell I was struggling, but I didn't hear what she said.  I kept battling, but was feeling so slow.

The one good thing was I was catching this guy.  I finally passed him right at the end of the loop.  I was over 5.4 miles now.  I was determined to get to 7 miles.

Now, I had a nice downhill.  I continued on the loop for a little out and back.  I kept going and had to cross the road once.  At .75 miles into this loop, I turned back around.  I headed back toward the car.

I didn't want to end with the uphill, so instead, I ran out the spur section.  I've been on this before, but now it is paved.  I went out to the Whitehall Parkway and then finished up there and walked a bit back.  Next time there, I want to go out and explore more.

It was a disappointing run in that I didn't do as much as I wanted to.  However, it was probably better than I didn't overdo it this week.  After 18 miles last week, I did 35 this week.  That is reasonable.  If I got up to 50+ miles, that might have caused some issues.

I do want to build on this.  I'm going to watch the Super Bowl 10K tomorrow morning.  After that, I'm hoping to try the 15 miles again.  I may just go to Ironton again, since I like it so much.  Maybe I'll be able to dress better.

7 miles - 1:01:34 (8:48 pace) 92 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Crazy 17 Loops

It rained all afternoon.  At first, I was going to run in it.  Then, I thought it would be better to make it a rest day.  Later on, I decided to get out there anyway and do a night run.

I wanted to get 5 miles.  I thought about 5 loops around my neighborhood.  I didn't want to get out my headlamp though.  Instead, I opted to loop around the school until I got the distance.  I knew it would be crazy, but at least the parking lot is lit.

The temperature was in the mid 50s.  It felt a little cooler, but shorts and a short sleeve shirt were definitely enough.  I think some of the chill was coming off of the snow.

I started off nice and easy and planned for a mentally challenging run.  Even though these loops are short, they feel longer than they are.  I was hoping they would be .33 miles, but it was more like .3 or even less.  That little bit makes a difference when you are doing the same loop over and over again.

The first several loops weren't too bad.  However, by the time I got to loop 6, I was already bored and not quite at 2 miles.  I just had to keep plugging away and reminding myself I do this distance all the time.

Still, it was a mental challenge.  There was fog and it was interesting to notice how it rolled in and then away.  One time, I could see the playground and a couple laps later, the fog hid it.

There were a few cars in the parking lot and people in the gym.  I think some girls were having basketball practice.  Them and their coaches must have thought I was crazy.  I guess they would be correct.

I focused on getting to loops 8, 9 and then 10.  Even still having some distance to go, I knew I'd be pretty far along then.  It was a relief to get to 10. 

From that point, I focused on every 2 or 3 loops.  I do wish these loops were slightly longer.  Initially, I thought I'd be doing 15.  Now, I knew I'd need even more than 16.  I was happy to get to 14.

I was glad no cars had come.  However, one finally pulled up for the last two loops.  I guess it was a parent picking their kid up.  I wanted to get it done, so I really picked up the effort on loops 16 and 17.  I thought about doing exactly 5 miles, but opted instead to finish loop 17 and go over 5 miles.

This was a good workout from a mental standpoint.  Otherwise, it was kind of useless.  I have already run 28 miles this week and for 4 straight days.  I haven't done that in some time.

My legs are starting to get slightly sore.  I need to spend some time on the foam roller.  Tomorrow, I'm hoping for a big step up.  I want to run 15 miles.  I haven't been over 10 miles in some time.  I'm hoping to maybe loop all around Easton.  I'm not sure if all the paths are cleared yet, so that could be some work.  We shall see.  I think it will be fairly warm again tomorrow.

5.14 miles - 43:27 (8:27 pace) 9 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snow Covered Glen Onoko

I ran today for the third straight day.  I had to make sure I got to Glen Onoko Falls in Jim Thorpe before all the snow is gone.  It is supposed to rain heavy tomorrow.  A lot of the snow was already gone in Jim Thorpe.  We still have more left down here.

It was a warm day.  I was able to wear shorts again.  I knew the hollow could be cold and dark, so I wore my shell.  I was sweating pretty good by the end.

I parked at the main lot.  I tried to figure out where to go to get on the trail.  I put on my MICROspikes for the first time this year.  I figured it could be an icy mess.  There was so little snow early on in the sun that I began questioning that choice.

However, it didn't take long to realize this would be an ice covered trail.  There are some steep and rocky parts.  I don't think I could've even made it up without MICROspikes.  The hollow is very dark and rarely sees any sunlight, so most of the snow was still there.  I don't think they got nearly as much snow as we did.

It was beautiful going up along the falls.  It was mostly a hike.  I took my time, trying to capture photos.  There are numerous little waterfalls along the bottom.  The green leaves of the mountain laurel were cool too.

I knew there was a water crossing at one point.  I never have an issue going over it.  However, the snow melt made it a raging stream.  There was an ice bridge and a tree log.  Neither one I was comfortable using to cross.  I could see some people had crossed and others stayed on this side.  I knew the trail would come back over here anyway, so I stayed on the same side.

If I couldn't go up that side, I would've turned around.  I wasn't sure what conditions I would encounter here, so I was fully prepared to back track it if needed.  I was going to risk it alone, especially with so few hikers out.  In fact, I saw no one else on this loop.  If I got hurt, who knows when someone would've come along.

The MICROspikes were great and give incredible traction, even on the steep stuff.  I had to pull myself up with tree branches a few times.  I forgot my poles.  They might've helped.  I did slip a little once, but that was on a bare rock.  That is an issue I have to watch out for.

The two biggest falls were amazing.  They now have a rope above the top of the big waterfall.  Hopefully that will keep people from falling to their death now.  I noticed the water was really flowing in this area too.

I got to the second big waterfall and it was amazing.  There isn't a lot of water, but there is a sheer cliff.  There were giant frozen sections along the wall.  Near the base of the waterfall was the coolest part of the loop.  Huge chunks of ice were there and had fallen on to the trail from above.

I decided to hike up this ice.  This would really test my MICROspikes and they passed with flying colors.  I made sure to check overhead that nothing else could fall on me.  There was nothing.  The chunks on the trail could've seriously injured or even killed someone when they fell.

After this section, it was more hiking uphill. I lost the trail a couple times, but it is blazed now.  I think that is an improvement from the first time I was there.  Some parts up here were seeing sunlight and thus were bare trail.

Finally, I got to the top.  I had to readjust my MICROspikes.  Eventually, the trail became clear and I took them off.  Somehow I missed the part where the trail stays on the ridge.  Instead, I kept dropping down.

Eventually, I came to where I was hoping to go.  I was running some now, but still not a lot.  I had to put my MICROspikes back on now, because it became a little icy and snowy.  Plus, I was going downhill.  Plenty of the rocks were exposed, so I had to be cautious.

Finally, I reached the bottom of the loop.  I was only at a little over 2 miles.  Earlier, I thought about running on the ridge, but that would've been kind of useless.  I decided I'd add some mileage on the D&L.

I headed to the D&L, passing a biking couple.  It was too sloppy and messy and too much work.  Instead, I dropped the MICROspikes in the car and ran on the paved road in.

This road it quite long.  My plan was to run to 3.75 miles and then turn and run back.  That would get me to my goal of 5 miles.  Going out seemed so long.  I was still very sore from the last two days.  I didn't feel it much on the trail part, but I sure felt it on pavement.

A few cars went by and the biking couple again.  Toward the end, I saw a young lady running.  She was blasting music, so I didn't say "hi."

I eventually was able to hit the turnaround point.  It was great to get to mile 4.  With my soreness, I kept looking at my watch and couldn't wait for it to be over.  Finally, I was done.

This was an easier day than the last couple.  It was good to get on some trail.  It was also nice to take in the great scenery.  I love coming to Glen Onoko.  I wish it was closer.

I hope to run yet again tomorrow.  I'm piling on the mileage this week.  If I do run, it will be shortish (5-7 miles).  I may go to Jacobsburg.  It will be raining a lot, so that could be interesting.

5.01 miles - 1:20:06 (16:00 pace) 767 feet of elevation gain