Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Past Weekend

Over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house

Saturday Mark and I put in a long run. We decided to run to my parent’s house in Bristol, which is 25 miles by the direct route on the roads. I did a little planning and saw that we could substitute a decent section (12.6 miles) of trail to the run and only add about ~8.5 miles to the total distance. So we started our run Saturday morning at 6:15 AM and enjoyed yet another perfect morning for running. After crossing over the Connecticut River and heading west, we met up at about mile 15 with the Metacomet Trail (Blue) at Talcott Mountain . We covered the next 12.6 miles on the blue trail passing Hueblin Tower , Avon Mountain, West Hartford Resevoir and 50 Cents Farmington Mansion . (We stopped at 50’s gate and asked for some Vitamin water.) After reaching Rt. 6 it was another ~ 6 miles on the road to my parent’s house. We finished with 33.5 miles in 5:50. A great run!

Night out for the bride and groom “to be”

Saturday night we headed down to the Mohegan Sun casino for a night out with Keith and Kourtney to celebrate their upcoming wedding. Drinking, eating, gambling and shopping made for a fun night!

Memorial Day

Monday we took the kids to the local parade and then to the West Hartford Resevoir for a picnic and a ride in their bike trailer (aka Super Fast Rocket). The weather was so perfect for a day outdoors!

This weekend coming up is the Nipmuck Trail Marathon. It might be a wet and muddy one! :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Soapstone Mtn. Trail Race

A great day for trail running in New England

Yesterday I ran the Soapstone Mountain 14.5 mile trail race. It was an incredible day for a run through the woods: Clear blue skies, nothing but sun and temps in the mid 50’s! The race started off down a slightly descending dirt road. Having run this race last year, I was ready for the fast pace at the start. Sure enough, things started quickly and it felt like a sprint. Soon the course kicked into the woods onto some single track. The pace was still quick but settled down as the terrain got technical and the elevation rolled. A little over 2 miles into the race things got lofty as the course headed right up Soapstone Mountain. It was a momentum halting 300+ feet straight up. Getting to the top required almost scrambling on all fours. Once up and over, it was a blazing shot down the other side. The loose rocks and steep decent took some serious focus to not crash and burn. After making it through that unscathed, I settled into a groove as the course twisted and turned through the Shenipsit State Forest. About half way through the race, I noticed the trail was not really a trail. The pack I was in was following pink ribbons that were a marker of the course, but there was no more path beneath our feet. The ground was thick leaves, branches, and ground scrub. Wtf? But in our pack was the co-race director, so surely we couldn’t be lost. Then the co-race director commented “I didn’t know they changed the course this year.” Uh-oh. The course wasn’t changed; we somehow took a wrong turn! After a 5 to 10 minute confused detour, we noticed runners up ahead on the trail that we were supposed to be on. We were now behind where we had diverted off. Not only did we trudge through some extra distance but we had looped backward on the course, so we had more distance to make up. No one was too upset, since we looked at it as getting in some extra distance on a beautiful day. Can’t complain about that!! At this point I started to drop from the pack as they seemed to pick up the pace to make up for lost time. The next few miles contained some semi stream beds and pretty technical footing. At one point a guy in front of me was zig zagging across the trail trying to find any dry area possible. This looked like way to much effort so I just blazed down the middle of the muddy stream. I think I scared him as I tsunamied by him. It was fun to stomp through the water and mud. I started to catch another dude up ahead and used him to help push harder. All of the sudden I noticed how he was going up a hill to the left. I wondered how the direction I was running was going to lead me to where he was. Then I noticed a sharp left turn up ahead. Cool, that must switch back up the hill. When I made the turn, the trail quickly turned again away from where the other dude was. Wtf! Then I heard some more runners off in the distance heading where the other guy was. Damn, I had missed a turn! So I had to double back and hook back up with the course. Man, this was a day for extra distance. I increased the effort to try and catch up. Eventually I closed on the guys in front of me and jockeyed positions with them a few times. On the final significant hill (which contributed to the 2,300 feet of total elevation gain for the course) I ran out of steam and dropped back a bit. Once over the final hill I pushed hard to the end and finished as strong as I could for a time of 2:17:19.

Approaching the finish

It was an excellent race and a nice start to the trail running season. I accomplished my goal for the day: Get a quality workout without gettting injured! In two weeks it’s the Nipmuck Trail Marathon and then the VT 100 in July!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Business Trip (Training Recap)

I attended a conference in Oklahoma City this past week, so home base for training was the Sheraton Hotel. On Monday, with traveling, meetings and a group dinner, I had no good opportunity to run. Bummer. On Tuesday, rain, lightning, hail and heavy winds kept me indoors in the AM for an 8 mile run on the treadmill.
Later that day, before dinner, I was able to take advantage of the cleared weather and I snuck in a 5 ¼ mile run at a park (going on a tip from a marathoner dude who works at the hotel) not too far from the hotel. Wednesday morning the weather was the same inclement stuff as the day before. So it was back to treadmill. This time I knew my chances for a 2nd run during the day would be slim so I sucked it up and slugged out a 13 miler. During the hour and 3/4 on the treadmill, my profusely dripping sweat traveled down the belt and sprayed continuously behind the equipment and saturated a pretty big spot on the carpet. Oops. Sorry. Thursday, Mark (he was at the conference too) and I headed out to Lake Hefner for a run around a 9 mile path around the lake. We got a third of the way around the lake and the path abruptly closed and was under construction. So we had to improvise and run along a secondary highway (during rush hour) to skirt around the construction. We managed to dodge the traffic and complete the lake circumnavigation and turned the loop into a 10 miler. Friday it was 7 on the treadmill before hopping on the plane home. Saturday was family and rest time. Shhhhh don’t tell anyone, but Sunday I snuck in a 22 miler at 4 AM before everyone got up…

Happy Mothers Day!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Today is Shan's birthday! Here's a clip of the kids singing happy birthday to their mom. (Notice how Ciara out smarts her big brother to blow out the candles first.)