Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Marsh Creek State Park

I didn't end up running yesterday.  Instead, I went out today.  I was going to a concert in the Philly suburbs.  Although it wasn't too close by, I opted to try Marsh Creek State Park.  It would be a new adventure.

The weather was interesting.  It was chilly, cloudy and drizzled at the end.  I wore a light weight long sleeve shirt and shorts.  The sleeves were rolled up, so it was basically a short sleeve shirt.  I was a bit sweaty with all the damp air.

I had some trouble finding the boat launch/parking area.  Finally, I saw a sign for one and it turned out to be the right place.  There are trails at different parts of the reservoir, but not all around it.  I studied a map and headed on the white blazed trail.

This was flat, smooth and easy.  It began near the water.  Going around a cove, I could hear people chatting on the other side.  Eventually, I passed two women who were hiking.  One had on a big pack.  Shortly after that, I passed a woman and her dog.  There are fancy houses around and she was dressed out of place for the trail.

This section was nice.  It was a little wider than singletrack.  It had some slight elevation.  It was on a ridge above the water.  Around mile 2, I came to the dam.  I looked for the yellow trail, but couldn't find it.  I continued to follow the white trail down below the dam.  It was now a stone path.

I didn't like the path, so I was happy to see singletrack with the words "short loop."  I took that.  This was a fun section.  It was made by mountain bikers, but it was too bad.  It had a couple with a couple switchbacks.  Eventually I ended up coming back to the other side of the dam.

This wasn't what I hoped, so I headed back the way I came.  I took a different branch, thinking I would still end up at the stone road.  Much to my surprise, this went down a small hallow and then climbed back up.

Every thing was so lush and green.  The understory is well developed, even if the canopy isn't fully green yet.  There was much more green than there is around here.

I tried to stay straight as much as possible.  I soon realized there were too many unmarked turns.  There is no way I'd remember every one I took.  I just kept going out.

There was more fun up and down and some turns.  I saw no people in this section.  I enjoyed myself, as I made my way past mile 3.  There was a shirt at one intersection that had many options.  I came along some houses a few times too.

Finally, as I neared mile 4, I decided to turn and head back.  I tried to head in the general direction that I thought was correct.  However, I took different branches whenever possible.  This ended up with me doing a loop to the shirt.

I knew I'd never get lost with houses on one side and the water on the other.  Eventually, I'd see one of those.  Finally, after some more short climbing, I did.  I came to the water.  I popped out on the other side of the dam.

It was good to know where I was.  I headed to the dam and then mile 6.  I was back on the white trail.  I passed a mountain biker there.  I heard the woman across the cove again.  I passed them again.

I cruised on in.  I basically ran the whole time on these rolling hills.  I thought of going out to mile 8, but getting to my car was good enough.  I finished with over 7 miles and a solid day.

This was a fun day and better than I expected.  I want to run again tomorrow.  I'd like more elevation, so I'm hoping I can get to the Delps Trail.  I'd like to run 2-4 repeats.

7.25 miles - 1:16:20 (10:31 pace) 475 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Duncannon AT Run

It rained yesterday morning, so I didn't get out early.  Then, I just continued to slack off, despite a nice day.  I had to get out today and wanted to run somewhere new.  Visiting different trails has become so addicting.  I decided I would hit up the AT along the Susquehanna River in Duncannon. 

The weather was almost perfect.  It was sunny and even had a slight chill.  I wore my AK vest, so I was a little hot, especially while climbing.  However, my shorts and short sleeve shirt were good otherwise.

I wanted to drive to near Marysville because the trail crosses over 2 different ridges.  I figured I could get some elevation here.  The sections along the river, I figured would be very crowded.  I couldn't find the trail in the initial location, so I opted for the more crowded section.  It turned out that it wasn't that bad.

I ended up going past Duncannon.  I eventually found the trail on the other side of the river and followed it into Duncannon.  I parked in a city lot near an old train depot.  I was a little worried as there was only one car in the lot at the time.  However, things worked out okay.

This is a trail town.  I saw the well known Doyle Hotel.  Many thru hikers head there.  Running on the pavement wasn't much fun, but it did give me a warmup.  I hit the woods in about 3/4 of a mile or so.

I was climbing up to Hawk Rock.  That is supposed to be a nice view point overlooking the river.  I ran a bit early on.  This trail was a little tough, but the climb certainly wasn't bad.  If I wasn't so hot, I wouldn't have had much trouble.  There were a lot of stone steps.

The trail wasn't steep though.  It skirted the mountain and I found it somewhat gradual.  It is still a long climb.  I was anticipating more boulder scrambling, but it wasn't bad.

I was expecting more people too.  I saw a few families coming down.  There were a couple hikers with packs too.  I passed some going up as well, but it wasn't even close to as crowded as I thought it would be.

I ran by a young couple on a woods road type section.  Then, I passed a woman right before a steep switchback.  I wasn't quite to the top, so I didn't think I'd be at Hawk Rock yet, but I arrived there shortly.  Four people were already there, so I didn't get great photos before leaving.

There was a short climb to a backpacking site.  Someone had a tent setup there.  I continued along the AT.  I knew I'd be on the ridge now and mostly running.  This section was great.  I was able to run a lot and my feet actually touched dirt.  I'm so used to the AT being rock after rock after rock.

There were a few rocky sections that I did walk over.  It was good to get past mile 2 and then mile 3.  A couple asked me about road crossings, but I told them they had some distance to go. 

I saw the Cove Mountain Shelter side trail.  A couple guys were across from it.  They had a seasonal view.  The leaves are starting to come in now.  I continued on the AT.

I decided I would run to mile 4.  Then, I kept going.  At around 4.2 miles, it was becoming too rocky.  I turned and headed back. 

I was a little tired, but I think using some Tailwind helped.  When I got back near the shelter, I took the path down to it.  That was a nice descent.  I went even farther, down to the spring.  I climbed back up to the AT then and got a couple hundred more feet of elevation gain.

I was almost at 6 miles now.  It continued to mostly run along the ridge.  I really enjoyed it.  If the sections by me had this few rocks, I'd be on them much more often. 

I passed the one woman again.  I got back to the tent site and the tent was gone.  That was good because there was supposed to be a side trail to a better view.  I took this fun singletrack.  It was about half a mile to a mile to the view.  I saw some other hikers coming back, so I figured that I went the correct way.

I got the view and it was amazing.  You could see up and down the river.  It was right at a bend.  Also, the mountain ridge was directly across.  There are several other mountain ridges behind it too.  This young couple was at the view, but let me have it to myself then.  The guy had a Liberty shirt on and he was from Bethlehem.  How funny was that?

I passed them as I headed down.  I ran some, but this way was narrow and very rocky.  It was slow.  I think I might've even went off the trail and took a short cut.  I then made it back on the AT.  I ran on down out to the road.

I was nearing mile 9 now.  Right under the highway bridge, there is a BBQ joint.  Bikers were there now, but I'd imagine it is popular with thru hikers.  I ran back through town and finished up at my car and over 9 miles.  I wish I could've gone to the other side of the river, but that would've required a few miles more of road running, which I had no desire to do.  The climb would've been cool though.

It was fun to go somewhere new.  I got some climbing and mileage in, but I didn't tax myself.  The view was pretty good too.  I'm really getting a bigger and bigger AT itch these days.  I just love that trail more and more.  It's probably only a matter of time before I attempt a thru hike or fastpack run/hike.

Tomorrow, I might run or take the day off.  I should start running back to back days soon.  I want to climb on Tuesday if I take tomorrow off.  Wednesday, I have a concert to attend, so running could be tough.

9.21 miles - 2:11:07 (14:14 pace) 1631 feet of elevation gain

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Delps Trail '16 Week 2

I couldn't get myself out there yesterday.  I was tired, it was hot, and there were a million excuses.  I might've been able to go out for something, but I wanted to do these tough repeats again.  Instead, I headed to Delps Trail after an early dinner this evening.

It was quite hot at the start.  I had on shorts and a sleeveless shirt.  Steep ascents were making me sweat a lot too obviously.  It got cloudy and looked like rain, but none ever came.  I was starting to get some chafing, so I took my shirt off for the final repeat and a half.

I knew about this trail, but I'm so glad I started going here.  Not only is it super tough, but I have it all to myself.  This is the second time I was the only one in this remote lot.  For the entire 2.5 miles, I never saw another person.  I assume I'll only regularly see people on the AT or going from the AT down to the spring.

I took off running, feeling strong.  I ran a little farther than most of the time last week.  I went for a short distance past where it started to really get steep.  I want to work on getting even farther in the future.

My breathing became super labored.  After the first log type step, I began to powerhike.  I moved up the steep stone steps quickly.  I climbed and climbed and climbed, as I was sweating.  I ran some of the flat near the top.

I got to the AT in just over 15 minutes.  That crushed my time from last week.  I want to eventually be able to get up this climb in less than 15 minutes, on a consistent basis.  I was feeling good, so I ran where I could on the way down.  I still can't run the stone steps of course.

I got to my car around 1.5 miles.  I stopped briefly for a towel and drink.  I had some water and some Tailwind.  I took both.  I needed to get some calories.

The good thing was that this took a little less than half an hour.  Still, that is a slow 1.5 miles.  I wanted to do 5 loops and I knew that if I kept close to this pace up, I'd have just enough daylight for that.

I began hiking a little sooner the second time out there.  It is always tricky because I could push more up steep terrain, but then my breathing would get more labored.  Even after I hike up for a bit, it is so steep that I can't recover.  I'm breathing heavy, most if not all the way up the stone steps.  I was hot and I believe I drank from the spring this time.  I had no issues with doing so last week.

It was good to get up and head back down.  I walked down a lot more rocky parts this time.  I was slightly lightheaded and didn't want to chance it.  I was happy to finish this repeat and be 40% done.  I was also still under an hour into the run.

I headed back up for the third time, after another brief car rest.  I might need to make these rests longer when it is hot out in the summer.  I don't give myself much recovery though and that is good.

I felt the burn just slightly as I went up this time.  Near the top, it began to get cloudy.  I thought it might rain.  The rocks would be slick in the rain.  The good thing is if it did rain, I can get down in about 10 minutes or so.

At the top, I was now over 2100 feet of gain and hurting a bit.  I had been good this week of not looking at my watch too much.  I just moved forward.  I ran on down again.  There was still a lot of walking.

I was back to the car briefly and on to the 4th repeat.  This is the one where I started to feel it.  It was a lot of gain in such short distance.  This felt like the point of an ultra where I would start to tire.  I'm sure I drank from the spring again, as I was quite thirsty.  The spring is just past halfway up and in a perfect location.  The spring is a huge bonus to this run.

It was a slow go to the top, but eventually I trudged my way up there.  I was just shy of 2900 feet of gain.  I rested very briefly at the AT and headed down.  It was good to make it to the bottom for a 4th time.  I was getting a little sore, but not too bad. 

My times were slipping a little.  It was now just over 2 hours when I got back to the car.  I had some slight nipple chafing going on, so I had taken my shirt off during the previous loop.  I dropped it in the car now.  My stomach bothered me a little too.

Although I was tired, I knew this was the final repeat.  I made it a goal to blast up there.  I ran past the log a bit.  I don't know if that was a good thing.  I was super labored by the stone steps and couldn't get my breath back for some time.  I tried to even hike fast.

I stopped briefly at the spring, but then plowed ahead.  The elevation was surely taking its toll now.  It was good to get near the top.  I moved as fast as I could.  I ran when I could.  It was starting to get a little dark too.

I was happy to be at the top.  I had less than 13 minutes to descend.  I wanted to be under 2:30 and average less than half an hour per repeat.

I figured I could make it in time if I really pushed.  I didn't run fast, but I made sure to run as much as I could.  I ran a lot of parts that were pretty rocky and that I had not run much in other loops.  I put on an intense focus and that really helps over the rocks.  I can do that for short periods while trail running.

I ran most of the way to the spring.  Of course, I had to hike down the stone steps.  I made sure to try to hike fast, without falling.

I looked at my watch and it was 2:25.  I now had a more runnable descent.  Still, I had to go over a quarter of a mile.  There were some rocks to navigate too.  I couldn't see my watch while I was running, so I just kept running and I kept pushing.

I was thrilled to be to the bottom and finally done.  I had just beat my goal time for the repeats.  Even if I didn't run a lot, it was a great day and a tough outing.  I need more workouts like this.

I hope I can commit to doing this weekly.  If I do, I should get faster over time.  This is a great section for training on tough terrain.  It is perfect for my mountain races and not too far away either.  It is so time consuming that I'm not sure I'll ever do more than 5-7 repeats.  Doing 3500+ feet of gain over 7 miles is a great workout though.

Tomorrow, I will take off.  On Saturday, I'm sure I'll run again.  I hope for a Sunday run as well.  I should get to Tammany sometime.  I don't like it on weekends, but maybe I'll go there.  I'd love more elevation.  I think next weekend I'm going to Shenandoah National Park.

7.16 miles - 2:28:16 (20:42 pace) 3554 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Up and Down the Wind Gap AT

I wanted to run yesterday, but the temperature was like a million degrees.  Instead, I ran today.  Still, it was hot, so I waited until after dinner.  The plan was 6 miles on the AT at Wind Gap.  I'd go up and down each side once.  I'd probably go out 1.5 miles in each direction.

I wore shorts and short sleeves of course.  That worked out well.  With the sun setting, the temperature was nice.  It was super windy by the evening.  Wind Gap isn't the best place to be on a windy day.

I started off by heading southbound.  This is a fun switchback section.  I knew I could run up this, but it is tough.  I was breathing heavy early on.  Still, I was able to keep running and moving along. 

I never know how many switchbacks it is, but I kept going.  Eventually, I got to the top of that part.  I continued to run along.  I ran over some big rocks with some more uphill.  I had to start hiking the rocks at one point though, as I got to Hahns Lookout.  That was about a mile into the run.

The ridge part was a mix of running and hiking.  I couldn't see too well, with the setting sun in my face.  I also only ate an hour before the run and didn't feel great.  I kept moving forward until mile 1.5.

Coming back was more of both running and hiking.  I was walking down the rocky part and saw someone walking up.  He said hi, but I didn't know who it was.  He was wearing khakis and a hat.  I thought it was a hiker, but it turns out it was Ryan running. 

I ran on by him.  Now, I was able to cruise downhill.  This descent is fun.  It has all the switchbacks and isn't too technical.  I got to the bottom and back to my car.  I was at 2.9 miles.

It was now time to head northbound on the other side.  I ran a little early, but I wasn't feeling great.  Also, this side is steeper.  I mostly hiked up.  I was now well over 1,000 feet of gain at the top.

I ran a little along the ridge.  I was still climbing slightly.  I thought about going out farther, but I didn't feel like running on the rocky ridge.  I headed back down.  I ran a good portion of it.  I was going slowly.

Since I was only a little over 4 miles into the run, I decided to climb the other side again.  I'd head across the road and go southbound.  Ryan's car was still in the small lot, so I knew I'd see him.

I ran on up, but had to hike early.  I was tired and not feeling great.  It was a mix of running and hiking.  I could've pushed myself to run, but I didn't want to overdo it.  Today isn't that important of a run.

In the second half of the climb, I saw Ryan coming down.  He turned to run up to the top with me.  I was leading the way.  Now that I was with him, I kept running.  We went off the trail a bit for more gain.  We headed toward the tower.

Next, we turned to head back down.  I opened it up, because I felt like flying.  I felt great descending now.  I pulled away a bit on the smooth stuff, but Ryan would catch me on some technical stuff.  We got to the bottom.  He went back up for another repeat.

I still needed almost half a mile for 6 total miles.  I started going northbound on the tougher side now.  I ran some and hiked some.  At 5.8 miles, I turned around.  I came back down and finished up.  Ryan was still running.

This was a short run, but still some quality elevation gain.  I just wanted over 1500 feet of gain and I got that.  Not bad for only 6 miles.

Tomorrow, I'm thinking about some repeats.  I hope to go to the Delps Trail again.  That is something I want to do every week or nearly every week.  I'd love to get 5 repeats and over 3500 feet of gain.  That would be about 8 miles.

6.06 miles - 1:28:04 (14:32 pace) 1626 feet of elevation gain

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Storm King State Park (Climbing and Views)

Spring is finally here.  I had to get out there today.  I wanted to travel too.  I headed to Upstate New York.  I decided to run at Storm King State Park, along the Hudson River.  I've run at nearby Bear Mountain and across the river at Breakneck Ridge.  This was a new run.

I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  With all the climbing, I was hot at times.  Open areas on top of the ridge were cool though.  I also had on my UD vest, which made things a little hotter too.  Of course, there is still no shade.

I wanted to park off of 9W, but that lot was full.  That ended up being okay, because I think the lot on 218 that I started from gave me more more elevation gain.  Luckily, I saw two hikers coming down one trail and going up the other.  The two trails were a little hard to spot from the road.

I followed behind the hikers on the white trail.  My heel was rubbing, so I had to loosen my shoe.  This was steep uphill early.  Some of it was runnable though, so I cruised past the hikers.  Then after climbing several hundred feet, I got on the blue trail to the right.

This trail went downhill and then followed a stream.  I knew I'd have a lot of climbing ahead of me.  It was quite rocky.  I began to switchback up the mountain, but it was still steep.  Some older guys with packs were going very slow.  I blew past them and continued past some younger hikers with a dog.

When I got off the blue trail, I turned right on to the white trail.  Although, I was most of the way up, I still had to climb a little too.  This was a fun trail.  This is the main loop and most popular loop.  I started coming across many people.  It was a mix of running and hiking.

There were a couple viewpoints.  The real views started on the yellow spur trail.  It climbed to the very top.  There was an incredible view in the beginning.  You could look straight up the Hudson River.  You could see nearby Bannerman's Castle and Breakneck Ridge across the river.  Far off in the background was the Catskills.  They looked amazing.  I chatted a little with a couple here.

I then ran along the ridge.  There were more people all over.  A few couldn't believe I was running, but it wasn't bad at the top.  I stopped briefly at a couple views, but none were as good as the first one.

I then started to descend.  I couldn't quite run this.  It was a mix of running and hiking down.  It looks like I could've looped out farther here, but I did end up seeing all that I needed to see.

At one point, I thought I was heading back the way I came.  I was correct.  Instead of heading down to my car at the white trail, I went the other way.  I was adding the second loop.

This was a nice woods road type section now.  I had to hike up it though, as I was tired.  I had no food with me, just water.  I also ate no lunch.

I almost missed a sharp turn on the blue trail.  It is a good thing I didn't miss this amazing part.  It was a bald type area at the top.  I could see the mountain I had just climbed.  At one point, I could see up the Hudson and Breakneck Ridge too.  I took a lot of photos and videos.

This was fun, but I was now exhausted, as I hit mile 5.  I saw much fewer hikers here, which was too bad, as this section might've been better.  I checked out several more decent views.

There was a nice one a little lower down.  I talked to another couple there.  I was disappointed to find out I couldn't run down much.  Going the other way would've made this loop more runnable.  Still, I did run some of this steep rocky descent.

The bottom near the car was a lot more running.  Then of course I slipped and fell right near my car.  My leg stretched out, but luckily there was no issue.  I got back to the car near 6.5 miles.

This wasn't a long run, but it sure was tough.  There was so much climbing packed into it.  The scenery was amazing too.  I love this area of Southern New York.  I will be back often and have other nearby places I've yet to explore.

I've run two straight days, so tomorrow will surely be an off day.  I'd love to hike somewhere or maybe bike.  I'll get back at it Monday.  My leg is feeling good now.  Eventually, I want to run 6 days a week again.  That will probably be 3 days of road, 3 days of trail.

6.4 miles - 2:11:30 (20:33 pace) 2056 feet of elevation gain

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Late Evening Katellen Run

I didn't end up running early in the afternoon.  I thought we would go to eat.  That didn't work out.  By the time I was ready to run, I didn't have much time.  I wanted some elevation anyway.  I headed to the Katellen Trail for a few miles.  It was already after 6:30 in the evening when I started.

The weather was great all day.  It started to cool down and was perfect with the sun setting behind the mountain.  I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  A lot of times I've run there when it is too hot.  Today was probably the best day I've been there.

I started off running, as the bottom is only slightly uphill.  My breathing was a little labored.  Since I wasn't thinking of running repeats, I hoped I could run most of the way up.  I had been surprised when I saw two cars in the parking lot.  One guy was hiking down near the bottom and the other guy sort of looked like he was running down near the top.

It got a little steeper and I was still running.  That didn't last though.  Once the step portion of the trail started, it was too difficult and I had to power hike.  That was frustrating.  The steps part is steep, but the spacing makes it tough too.

Things did level out a little.  I began to run again when they did.  The top part near the AT shelter is too steep though, so I power hiked again.  No one was at the shelter.

I was glad to get to the top by the powerline.  I decided that I'd run on the AT for a bit.  I headed southbound.  I've done some of this before, but very briefly.  It is so technical and I usually get frustrated.

Today actually wasn't too bad.  It was slow though and I twisted my ankle once.  Surprisingly, I didn't have any issues with lack of calories, considering I had no dinner.

There was a little more up and down here.  I ran most of this, although slowly.  After one short climb, I just decided it was too slow.  I was out .8 miles on the AT before turning around.  At least I went out a little farther this time.

I ran along, heading back now.  I looked forward to getting to the powerline.  That didn't take long.  Now, I had some fun downhill on the Katellen Trail.  I wasn't even at 3 miles yet, so I planned to repeat this trail.  I got down fairly quickly.

I turned to head back up.  It was getting cold in the air, so my breathing struggled.  Again, I made it to the steps before hiking.  I hiked on up those.  I was only doing two of these, but I was surprised at how easy they felt.  Maybe I didn't lose as much of my climbing legs as I thought.

It was good to get to the top this for a second time.  I turned to head back down.  I was losing daylight, so I wanted to be done.  I ran down and again it felt easy.  I finished at the bottom, just before 8 PM and just over 5 miles of running.

This was a short, productive run.  I think I'd like to start doing it weekly.  There should be enough time if I start a little earlier to get in 4, maybe even 5 loops.

Since I didn't run much today, I might go out again tomorrow.  No idea though.  I'd love a little more vertical for sure.  I may run with people over the weekend.

5.12 miles - 1:10:35 (13:47 pace) 1262 feet of elevation gain

Monday, April 11, 2016

Crazy Buggy Merrill Creek

I felt good after the Trexler run, except I had an upset stomach that day.  I took yesterday off, so I would be getting out there today.  I'm starting to at least feel a little hunger coming back.  Maybe it is with spring around the corner.  I didn't work, but since it was a rainy and cloudy day, I didn't want to take a chance with traveling.  Instead, I went to Merrill Creek.  I wanted to get in 7 miles.  That is a little more than a loop.

I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  The rain had stopped in the afternoon and it was quite warm for a change.  It wasn't bad running weather.  The pace ended up being a little quick, so I was sweating by the end.

I went to the bathroom beforehand and saw tons of bugs.  I thought they were just hanging around the bathroom.  I'm not sure what they were, but they were everywhere.  It was insane.  I started the loop and there they were.  I couldn't keep my mouth open or I'd swallow some.

I cruised along nice and comfortable.  It was still buggy back in the woods, but nowhere near as bad.  Then, I hit the first dam and wow, they sure were back.  I ran along anyway.  The first mile was a little over 9 minutes.

Again, I was back in the woods and much better.  I was running quite well and almost enjoying myself.  There was no one on the water and I couldn't see any people hiking on the trails or over the dams either.

I was starting to feel good and then I came to the second dam.  It was way worse than the first one.  It was so crazy and I almost couldn't see or breathe.  I had to cover my mouth with my shirt and simply peek with my eyes.  I ran over this dam quickly.

The second mile had made the pace nearly 9 minutes flat.  Now, I knew I'd slow.  I was on the singletrack.  All the blowdowns that were probably there recently were now cleared.  I cruised along, having fun on some less buggy stuff.  Even in the woods, if I was close to the water, it was buggy.

I finally saw a woman hiking with her dog.  Then, another guy was hiking with two dogs.  I wasn't pushing hard, but I wasn't exactly cruising either.  I believe I was under a 9 minute pace at mile 3.

There was some slight uphills that were a little challenging.  I ran over them though and made my way to dam number three.  Again, it was more bugs.  Dam number four is close as well and of course there were bugs there.

I love the next singletrack section.  It was slightly less buggy there, but the keyword is slightly.  They were everywhere and it was hard to see and focus.  This terrain is quite rocky too.  Of course my pace now slowed to over 9 minutes and I knew it would stay that way.

Eventually, I got to the footbridge at the edge.  I usually take the black trail.  However, the yellow trail actually hugs the shoreline and is longer.  At one point, I got off course and ended up adding a little distance. 

Back on the yellow was the craziest part yet.  It was so rocky.  It was like running the AT.  I had to dance all around and focus.  This, all while bugs were everywhere.  This might've actually been fun without the bugs.

I came to mile 5, glad to be through the technical stuff.  Now, it was grass and woods road type of terrain.  Some times, the bugs were less of an issue, others they were crazy.  I startled a couple hiking and they were annoyed by the bugs too.

I was glad to be over 10K now.  I got to the main building around 6.5 miles or so.  I ran out briefly on the entry road and then turned around.  I ran down to my car and was covered in more bugs.  I choked on one, right as I was finishing up at mile 7.

I wanted to stretch at the car, but I needed to just get in it and away from the bugs.  To say they were the story of the run would be an understatement.  I've never run with that many bugs around.  It was insane.  I was glad I kept going and got the 7 miles done.

I was planning on an off day tomorrow and another run on Wednesday.  I found out I have a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, so maybe I'll run tomorrow instead.  I'll probably just run 3 days this week.  No need to rush this build up.

7 miles - 1:05:48 (9:24 pace) 549 feet of elevation gain

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Trexler w/ LVTC

Kate and some of the Lehigh Valley Trail Chasers met today at Trexler for a group run.  The catch was that it was at 6:30 AM.  I knew I'd never wake up for that, so I really didn't sleep.  I got maybe half an hour to 45 minutes.  I wasn't feeling too bad after a cup of coffee.

It was supposed to snow today.  Yes, snow in April.  How crazy is that?  Since I thought it would be cold and snowy, I wore tights.  I also had on a light weight long sleeve shirt and my shell.  It surprisingly felt nice at the start.  I ended up being overdressed.

I ran along behind Kate, Kristin and Tommy.  Tommy is really fast.  He ran in college.  Kristin ended up waiting for Kate and the others.  Tommy and I kept going.  I'm used to running alone, so company was certainly nice.

This was quite the distraction, as I was chatting away not even paying too much attention to the fact that I was running the whole time.  We ran up the long hill.  Of course I can still do that, but on my own, that seems to take some effort. 

Tommy and I talked about a bunch of things, such as racing and camping.  He's running Hyner and then Worlds End.  I might take the whole year off, but I do have some experience.  I saw a fox run in front of us in the open field.  That was cool, as those sightings are rare.

We were cruising along.  I felt bad because I was holding him back.  I'm just nowhere near as fast as I was a couple years ago though.  We were surprised to see another fox at the open view part.

As we were heading toward the hills, I became a bit startled.  Someone came flying up behind me.  I thought we lost everyone.  It turns out it was Kristin running strong.  Of course, that should be no surprise.

Her and Tommy pulled ahead as we got to the biggest hills.  I couldn't keep up and didn't want to try.  I came to the realization that I was overdressed and overheating.  I had to get under control a bit more.

I made the turn to do the 11 mile loop.  I knew they couldn't be too far ahead and I couldn't see them, so I figured they just did the Border Trail.  There some uphill here and a lot of trees have been cleared now.  It's quite weird.

I saw no one behind me and realized I was probably the only one on this loop.  For some reason, I thought they were planning to run this longer loop.  I'm not sure where I got that idea from.  Since I was stuck running on my own and needed miles anyway, this was fine.

I ended up missing the turn for the Broken Arrow Trail.  I saw another fox.  I was kind of close to another sighting, so it could've been that one, but I doubt it.  I couldn't believe there might be several foxes visible.

I went down the Broken Arrow Trail.  This switchback seemed neverending.  At least it was downhill.  I was happy to finally be done with it and on to the Blue Trail.

Now, it was more hiking and climbing.  I realized I was only at 1,000 feet of gain, with another 1,000 feet to go.  I sure was suffering too.  A woman was running down as I was going up.  A man was following her with a dog.

I made my way up the climb.  I saw two hikers coming down.  It was good to get to the top of the Blue Trail and cruise on downhill.  Thankfully, it was runnable for a bit after that too.

I finally linked back up with the Border Trail.  I kept trying to figure out the mileage left.  Of course that made no difference, as I knew the correct route anyway.

Although I had no water and calories, my crash wasn't getting any worse.  I could still run solid on the downhills and flats.  If it was really hot out, this would've been very ugly.

I cruised along, looking forward to the last climb.  I made it up that.  Then, I had some flat and rolling stuff back to the last road crossing.  I couldn't quite run all of it, but I did well.

It was good to be within sight of the Environmental Center.  I hiked most of the rest of the time.  I ran into the parking lot to finish.  I thought maybe I'd catch some of the slower 9 mile people, but I didn't.  All their cars were gone.  They checked on me with texts, which I didn't see until later.

This was a crash, but far from my worst crash here.  I was glad to get some decent hills in and a solid 11 miles too.  It has been awhile for me being here.  It was also good to run with people, even if it was only the beginning of the run.

I'm having stomach issues at the moment and feel like crap.  The leg actually feels great now.  I probably could run again tomorrow, but I won't likely chance it.  I think I'll run again on Monday.  I have no idea where at.

11.17 miles - 2:08:21 (11:29 pace) 1489 feet of elevation gain

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Evening at J-burg

The weather has sucked royally lately.  It poured like crazy yesterday.  Today, it was cold and windy again.  Still, I finally forced myself out after dinner.  I convinced myself that I could just handle 4 easy miles at Jacobsburg.

I wore a long sleeve shirt under my shell.  I had on shorts.  Since it wasn't as windy as at home, I was a little hot.  The attire worked out good though.

I had no real plan on what route to take.  I normally don't run this short there.  I decided to go straight across from the main lot.  I usually do a loop farther out.  This early part today is fun with a neat curved trail. 

I thought I heard a couple mountain bikers earlier.  Then, I was startled a few minutes later, when they actually passed me on this stretch.  They slowly went ahead.  I had rushed out the door after eating, so I didn't feel great.  I felt heavy.

I continued on though.  I ran slowly along the trail next to Route 33.  I decided I would just loop around this area.  It seemed like I was going slowly.  I started to not feel so great.

Things got bad as I went downhill.  I had to stop and hike.  Normally, that makes the urge to go to the bathroom go away.  It didn't today, so I had to go in the woods.  That's only the 2nd time that has ever happened to me.

Since I was only 1.33 miles or so into the run, I decided to just start over.  I'd run 4 miles from the point where I stopped.  I decided to head back a little different way.  I did feel better now.

I wasn't moving all that fast though.  I cruised along and eventually went past the red barn and crossed the road.  I decided I'd go up the fun ridge part.  I normally run this the other way.

While it was fun, it was a challenge too.  It seemed like a bit of a climb.  I ran up over the tree roots, instead of down them.  I saw a young girl walking.  What I didn't see was her newborn puppy.  I had to go around it, without much room.

There weren't many people out.  This family was the only ones I saw on the ridge.  I thought about heading back to the parking lot, instead, I continued my normal route through here, but in reverse.  I was around 2 miles now.

When I was about to turn and go down the hill, I changed my mind.  I followed the trail.  I wasn't even 100% sure where it would go.  I was pretty confident that it would come out near the end of the field section.  That would add some distance.

It was nice to run some different trails.  I normally just use as much of the perimeter as I can, to get mileage in.  I was just below one of the controlled burn sections.  The wind below some of that in my direction.

There was a blowdown that I had to jump over on the trail.  I saw horse tracks there, but then didn't jump, so I guess the horse went through before the tree went down.  I was correct in that I came out where I thought I would.

I turned right and was headed back toward my car.  I ran past the main building.  A ranger was leading some families on some sort of hike.  I ran past and got back to the parking lot.  Right at the end of the lot, I hit mile 3.

I would head out and back on the main trail for the final mile.  A bunch of people were fishing near the bridge.  It was an uneventful lonely run along the creek.  I was planning on turning at mile 3.55.

I saw the puppy dog and family just before.  I turned around at mile 3.47 instead.  I cruised on back.  I finished up perfectly at the end of the trail and mile 4.

It was a solid, short run, even if it was interrupted.  The leg has been rested and feels good now.  I still won't overdo it though.  I'm glad I made myself at least run a little on this evening.

Tomorrow, I'm hoping to run again.  Kate and I think Kristin are planning on running at Trexler at 6:30 AM.  There is no way I could get up for that, so I'll try to just stay up all night.  It is supposed to be cold and then snow a lot of the day tomorrow.  That should be interesting.  I'm hoping I make it and get the 11 miles in.

Part 1 1.33 miles - 14:35 (10:58 pace) 109 feet of elevation gain
Part 2 4 miles - 38:52 (9:43 pace) 246 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Little Gap AT Run

I didn't run all weekend or on Monday.  The weather sucked.  At least I rested my shin splints.  I had to get something done today.  I didn't want anything too challenging, so I went to Little Gap to run the AT.

The weather did continue to suck.  It was in the 40s and pretty windy.  That was especially true on the north side of the mountain.  I had my shell on and at times I was hot and other times freezing.  I wore gloves and a headband briefly.  Shorts were on the bottom the whole time.

I parked in the State Game Lands lot.  I ran briefly along a pipeline to the trail.  I tried to take a photo of the AT sign, but my camera battery was out.  A ranger drove by with a dead deer on the back of his truck.

I have been on the section heading toward Lehigh Gap a few times.  I'd never gone northbound from there though.  I wanted to see what it was like, so I went that way.  I was hoping for runnable, but fully prepared for crazy rocks.

The beginning was rocky but flat.  That was brief though.  Then, the trail began to climb.  It was quite exhausting to hike up.  It was crazy boulders too.  Some were like steps and I managed to follow those.  It was tricky though and a slow go.

I definitely didn't come into the run with enough calories.  I felt like crap early on.  I was already thinking this might only be 4 miles total.  After the first set of boulders, there was a nice evergreen section.

Then, it was on to more boulders.  At least this part was flat.  There was a nice view to the north.  I only checked it out briefly.  I was hoping at some point I could run.

There's also a dirt road to a tower that I passed.  After this, it was more rocks and more climbing.  While it wasn't as bad as earlier, it was still slow and frustrating.  While it was only a few hundred feet of climbing, this was still quite the challenge.  I don't climb a lot any more either.

The first mile was just so slow.  I kept focusing on moving forward.  Finally, around 1.25 miles, the trail became runnable.  It still had some rocks and occasionally, I landed on them and that led to giant pain.

I was so thrilled to finally be moving.  This singletrack wasn't bad.  It will probably be cool when everything grows back.  Right now, it is all still dead.  I continued on, enjoying how the trail was much less rocky.  I could see parts of Blue Mountain Ski Area through the trees.

This second mile was pretty sweet.  It had some gradual ups, but not too much.  After mile two, I knew I'd keep going.  Still, I was thinking 3 miles out was probably far enough.  This third mile was kind of in between the first two.  It was nowhere near as bad as the first mile.  It also wasn't as smooth as the second one.

I ran along.  My feet were getting a little sore.  I went up and over one this one small hill.  Right after that, I hit mile 3 and turned around.  Coming back was much better.

The sun was in my face.  Instead of making in harder, strangely it makes me more focused and the running is easier.  I cruised on over the rocks.  I was glad to get to mile 4.  I was getting close to a sub 14 minute pace overall.

I knew this second to last mile would be great, before the tough final mile.  I did seem to feel a little better now for some reason.  I guess I was in a groove.  I ran basically this entire mile.  I got through it around 70 minutes.

I was glad to be on the final mile.  Normally, I would hold my watch for that mile.  However, this trail was too rocky.  I ran along.  Eventually, I came to the boulders and couldn't run any more.  I was under a 14 minute pace, but needed to move quickly hiking over them to keep it up.

The downhill I ran some, but it was quite steep.  No wonder it was hard coming up.  The downhill boulder section was just too tough to run.  I found the step like rocks and went down them.

Finally, I was at the bottom and within the final half mile or so.  I was able to run this.  It was flat and rocky.  I crossed the road and ran toward my car.  I had to run a little more to reach mile 6.  It was good to be done though.

It was fun to explore a new area.  It was a little tough, but not too tough.  I was glad I could run most of the route.  I might come back again on a semi easy day.  I'd love to go out farther.  I'd love to check it out when it is green too.

I feel pretty good after this short run.  I might run again tomorrow.  I'd love to double loop Tammany.  I haven't been there in awhile.  We shall see.

6 miles - 1:23:21 (13:54 pace) 651 feet of elevation gain

Friday, April 1, 2016

Six Mile Run Reservoir

I had a day off from running, but had to get back at it today.  I was feeling fine after the run the other day.  I wanted a decent outing.  Since I didn't have to work, I decided to head to New Jersey.  I wanted to run at Six Mile Run Reservoir.  It is supposed to be a nice, small trail about an hour away.  It took me longer though, since I drove the route through the city.  I was the only car at the lot and almost missed the lot.

It was cloudy before I left.  I thought I might need a jacket for rain.  I stepped outside and realized that wouldn't be the issue.  It was crazy humid.  Luckily, I had a singlet in my bag.  I wore that and could've even gone shirtless.  Of course I had on shorts too.

I tried to take it easy as I started out.  I'd mostly being going out and back on the Red Trail, plus a loop on the White Trail.  I figured that would be about 8 total miles, maybe a little more.  This was a beautiful singletrack.  It was along the creek and at times above it.  The clay was smooth, with few rocks.

I was anticipating an easy run, but it didn't take me long to figure out this wouldn't be quite that easy.  The heat and humidity was a huge factor.  It was through the roof, even taking it easy in the effort department.  The bigger issue was the trail.  I thought it would be flat, but it was very rolling.  It was designed by mountain bikers and had lots of small ups and downs and tons of curves.  I'm sure that is fun on a bike, but it sucks to run.

I should've been enjoying this run in nature, but really I wasn't.  I kept looking at my watch.  It was great to just get to mile 2.  I thought about turning around early.  I nearly stepped on a few small snakes.  The green is definitely coming in along the trail there, more so than it is up here.  Everything is still bare in this area.

I continued to follow the red.  It was nice is the shaded parts, but still frustrating.  I got tired of turning and was bitching to myself a lot.  I kept running though.  At first, I saw no people, but later on there were quite a few mountain bikers out.  I had just missed a dog walker.

After mile 3, I came to a split.  The White Trail was to the left.  I took that way.  I didn't know which part of this loop was shorter, but I was running the whole thing, so it didn't matter.  It turns out this was the harder parts, with more continuous ups and downs.  It was better to hit that earlier.

I continued to just keep moving and keep bitching.  I saw a mountain biker and thought of asking how much farther to the parking area.  I went to mile 4 and then well past it.  I really thought of turning around, but was determined to finish the run as planned.  I went through a field and the trail even turned there.

It was such a relief when I finally came to the parking area.  That was way farther than I expected, at around 4.7 miles.  A woman in the parking lot said "Hi."  I went around to the other side of the lot to keep the loop going.

This part was so much better.  It was actually flat and straight.  I couldn't believe it.  I could run with more efficient strides and open it up a little.  Of course it was exposed to the sun and I was hot.

I continued to follow the red.  At one point, red went left.  I followed it a bit, with more ups and downs.  I noticed the creek was still on the wrong side for me to be heading back.  I didn't think I'd cross the creek, so I turned and headed back.

This was a great choice, as I had just been going farther out.  I went back to the split and headed the correct way now.  This was some fairly flat and smooth running along the ridge.  It was much better than some of the beginning stuff.  I was happy to be through mile 6.

I just tried to focus on the upcoming mile and keep running.  I was thrilled when I realized I was on a section that I had been on earlier.  I was now truly headed back.  I crossed over the concrete bridge over the creek again.

I got to mile 7, but was so beat.  I was slowing badly and barely moving.  It was so awful that around 7.2 miles, I nearly quit and hiked back.  The problem wasn't just that I was dead, but I thought a lot of up and down was coming.

I don't know what it was, but things weren't as bad as I expected.  Sure, I was slow, thirsty and overheating.  However, the hills didn't seem as much of a challenge in this direction.  Maybe just knowing I was going back helped.  Getting to mile 8 was great.

I had wished I known a key point and distance.  I was just running to the end and unsure quite where that would be.  I figured on a little over 9 miles.  It turns out I was correct on that guess.

I started to hear cars around mile 9.  Then, I could see the road.  Finally, I popped out of the trail and to the parking lot.  I stopped my watch and was beat.  I was so overheated.  Unless I ran on perfectly flat, I couldn't have done more than a mile without some hiking mixed in.

It was much harder than I expected today.  I was thrilled to get it done.  The leg didn't bother me at all.  It is mildly sore at the moment, but that should pass.

I may run tomorrow.  Sunday is supposed to suck and I have to get out there one day.  I'd love to get 10 miles in tomorrow, but I also have to work too.  I'm sure I'll stay local if I do run.

9.27 miles - 1:37:49 (10:33 pace) 74 feet of elevation gain NOT CORRECT