Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall is Here!

Fall has swept the Northeast as the trees are turning the bright oranges, yellows, greens, browns, all of it.  I ran out on 281 today to highway 90. Took that road up and down the hills and had a great time. Really relaxed run of 82 minutes and 12-13 miles.  I am signed up for the Syracuse Empire State Half Marathon Oct 21st and I hope to podium at the event. My training has been coming along nicely as I have not been working a whole lot so I have time to run and to work on my lavish graduate studies.

With the coming of fall means pumpkins, apples, cider, doughnuts, candy, nice weather, and all.

Thursday---A nice 19 mile run and 1 hour and 50 minutes of action. I ran to the town limits of Truxton, NY today on 13.  I was about 1.5 miles away. I was able to get in a nice all run though it felt a little warm from what it has been when in the sun.  Still, the weather is made for long-distance running in comparison to Oklahoma.  This weather has been lovely and I am getting into stellar shape for the fall road races and then snowshoe season which I hope I can win the New York Federation and then have a chance to compete in Bend, Oregon for Nationals and maybe worlds in Italy.

Here are some Google Photos that illustrate what Up State New York Looks like this kind of year. Picture 2 is what I see on my daily running. I get up into the hills and mountains and have a nice panoramic view of the countryside.
Friday--Sept 28--off day.

Saturday Sept 29---Nice morning run out along Albany street then up along the big incline by the cider mill.  Ran by Lightninghouse road then back to home all across highway 13. A nice cool morning run before work at Olympia. Got in 80 minutes

Sunday Sept 30---run in the rain at Limehollow nature center. 70 minute run along the trails. It was a little slick but a great run. The trails through the center are incredible. Great singletrack and snowshoe trails.

Monday October 1----Run out along Kinney Gulf road then I took a left turn up a nice steep hill and ran the local countryside. Nice cool morning and it was another relaxing 82 minute run.  Got the legs moving on some sections but took it easy for the most part.

Review of this week's training----Today I ran out along Tuller Hill State forest on the xc ski trails and the hiking trails all along the route.  It was a rainy morning and it can be hard to stay on trail with all the leaves hiding hidden slick rocks and roots. My first 20 minutes of the run was slowed from the slick conditions but once I left the technical single track into the xc ski trails, I was flying.  I hit some mud spots but my savvy La Sportiva Raptors ate up the trail. I finished the run with some tempo running up the various powerline sections of trail and then finished at Gatherings restaurant. 1 hour 40 minutes of hard work for about 16-17 miles!

I am feeling really strong of late.  I can run up these mountains now pretty relaxed and then recover at the top of them and keep going. I still need to incorporate inclines and ascents into my training as constant climbing is my weakest ability in mountain running and it is a very crucial skill needed. I just have to keep it up averaging 13-14 miles a day to build that base.

Right now in my current racing, I am just working on running some road races before I embark on the snowshoe running scene in New York. I have the Empire Half marathon scheduled and some 5ks in the surrounding Finger Lakes region from now up til December 8th. I had a nice uphill tempo on Tuesday and I feel like  I am going to make some noise in 2013. 2013 will be my year!!!!

Run out along State Bike Route 11 towards Hoxie Gorge State Forest. Let me just tell you that this run today was incredible. Hoxie Gorge is soooo incredible as it is truly a gorge with steep ravines and an incredible forest all right under interstate 81. Really incredible. The run had plenty of sun and started at 3:30pm and by the turn-around point, the clouds came in and then a strong westerly wind came storming in. It was a tough run back but made a nice 1 hour and 31 minute run. Getting in some nice mileage say about 7.2 one way so about a 14.4 mile run plus maybe a little more say 14.5-14.8 mile run! Fall is here as all the leaves have changed and the weather is cool and nice and the running has been ideal just like everyday here. For once in my life when it comes to running, I am beyond happy.  Upstate New York has so much to offer for trail running and just running in general.  I am so excited to continue my journey here and to hopefully develop into a USA team member

Sunday--Nice 80 minute run out along Homer up to Tully NY. It was a nice cool day and the legs felt great.  Had some kids commenting on my rad running shorts and I told them to stay in school and not to do drugs. The weather is really starting to become a whole lot cooler around here and that means I can really continue to ramp up my training. I have loved the fact that I have not had to compromise any bit of my running here because the weather is so conducive for endurance athletes and I do not have to work full-time which helps to give me some flex with my running schedule.

Monday--Oct 8th----Run out along East River Road ---35 degrees this morning as I layered up with a jacket and gloves and half-tights.  I felt pretty good while having another smooth flat run. Tomorrow I think that I am going to hit the mountains pretty hard. I might even drive over to Hoxie Gorge and run the trails and roads there since they are really awesome and I would like the chance to explore them more.

Wednesday---Oct 10--Run at Hoxie Gorge State Forest Trails!!!  Nice 70 minute run on some slippery trail. Nichole is heading home today and it is sad. I know both Ashlee and myself hate to see her go but it is out of our control. Hoxie Gorge has trails that were set-up by SUNY Cortland which is really cool. The trails are great as all Finger Lakes Trails are. They have roots, run by ravines, ups and downs, slippery footing and it winds all around the woods.  It was a great time.

Thursday Oct 11--Quick 50 minute run out on Kinney Gulf Road. Then came into work for a 12-7:30 shift. A long day but fun.

Friday Oct 12---Worked the morning then ran in real cold, we had sleet and some snow today and it is only October.  The temps were 41 with wind chill around 32 and 13 mph winds gusting to 30.  I ran out along 281 North which I have never done before and also cut through 90 in Homer. It was a nice cold day of running and I must say I love wearing tights and gloves. It feels great to run in weather like this.  I am also jotting down that today is the first day without my grandmother Ginger, as at almost 94 years old, she sadly passed away. My hopes and wishes go out to everyone in my family as we share this huge loss. She was the happiest woman alive and I think some of her happiness rubbed off on me.  I love you Grammy and may you continue to inspire in your legacy!

I will be running a local 5k at Greek Peak tomorrow in preparation for the half marathon almost a week from today. It is going to be a nice cool day to race as morning lows will be like 27 degrees and the high maybe at 50.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Back To the Drawing Board

Wednesday Sept 19---Ran the Finger Lakes Trail at Virgil Peak.  I ran the ATV trails into the private roads of the Kennedy State Forest.  It was a nice cool morning with the temps in the low 40's. THe sun was out and the weather was lovely. I had my water bottle as I made the steep climbs and the sharp descents. It was a standard nice run.

I have been able to run a consistent amount of solid running with some climbs.  I started the week with one hour runs but now I have regained my training back to 80-90 minute efforts on Tuesday and this Wednesday with the great trail run.

It is time to hit the roads, hit the trails, and train hard for the Empire State Half Marathon on October 21st!  This will be my first half marathon effort and I am looking to place with the best of them.

Thursday--84 minute run at 3pm, I had the chance to debut my new Karhu Fasts and they were awesome. Light, breathable, and you can really throw the hammer-down at will when you need to. I ran the back sections from Kinney Gulf Road out to Mclean road. I had some climbs but nothing too intense.

Friday---A really nice run in the 50's had many many many nice ascents. About 5 super climbs of 1,000 ft and back down in a matter of 6.3 miles.  I ran out to Locust Ave in Homer up the climbs to O' Shea road and then over to Corl Hill Road in Homer. I did not feel especially fast up the climbs but I had great practice staying consistent. I was able to run about 13 miles and 84 minutes. A really nice strong run. Had some moments of leg turnover but really it was an endurance climbing day.

Saturday---Nice 82 minute run up along Page Green Road and then to 215. We have had a bunch of rain come through here and let me tell you, when you are on top of a 2,000 ft mountain, when it rains, it pours. I ended up soaked completely with still  4 more miles to go. A really nice smooth training day.
Sunday--Trail Run at Tuller State Forest and Greek Peak--Day of Virgil Crest Ultras
So, this morning, I went running out at Greek Peak Ski Resort in Virgil, NY.  I parked at the ski lodge and then headed out along Hope Lake and the many many networks of XC/Snowshoe trails.  The grass was wet and at 10:30am, the temperatures were still around 45-50 degrees. It was a sunny and picture-perfect fall day. The leaves are starting to change and let me tell you that it is beautiful!  I cross along some high ridges and then across a slippery bridge over to the xc ski lodge.  I hit the lodge and found that the Virgil Crest Ultra race was still going on as I later found out that the 50k was in progress.  I also finally got myself a pair of La Sportiva Raptors and let me tell you I am in love with these shoes.  For the types of trails here in Upstate New York, these shoes can do it all. The trails and roads out here are very steep with 8% inclines everywhere you look and some that have topped out at 28% (found out by the road signs) and the terrain is rocky, muddy, rooty, ups and downs, tree limbs everywhere and a deep dark tree canopy like something out of Oregon. I then followed out on Clute Road-a local forest road up a massive hill/mountain to the beginnings of Tuller Hill State Forest.  I then turned onto a rocky gravel road and then soon was being cheered by driving spectators who realized that I was not racing but just out on a Sunday Long Run.  WHile in the forest, the temperature was cool maybe low 40's as the tree cover can make it as dark as night in some sections.  I ran by an aide station then continued my run to another connector road with a farm at the top of the large incline.  I then turned back around and then hiked it up to the aide station. I spent a good 30-40 minutes talking to the people at the station and then proceeded to run the last section of single-track back to home base. There was so much rain from the day before that the trail was extremely muddy in sections but those raptors gripped the rocks, dirt, mud and roots like a vice-grip.  The sticky-rubber on this shoe is incredible as I feel like Spiderman gripping onto anything in my way.
Descending with these shoes was a breeze as the heel-stabilizer really grips perfectly.  I headed back through the woods onto Clute Road and then back to the lodge.  I logged 1 hour and 45 minutes and spent a good 2.5 hours at the ski resort.  It was a great Sunday and I am excited to begin another week.

All the training I have been up to lately I feel is going to make some amazing things happen for me.  I run inclines everyday for the most part and have great access to hills, quiet roads, great cool weather, and trails or soft surfaces at all times.  I will still admit that climbing is still a hard endeavor but I amaze myself each day with the luxurious views I get to see over-looking the entire country-side and the mountains in the distance.

Monday  Sept 24--Run of 11.6 miles in about 80 minutes continuous running clock out along Route 222 to Groton then I turned the corner on Sears Road up to Fuller Road.  A nice cool morning around 48-52 degrees.  It is amazing how easy it is to run here.  Nice workout and a nice tempo mid run for 2 miles running 5:40's. Getting ready to do some homework.

Tuesday Sept 25---Another nice morning run out along Route 11 then out along the backway to Ames Road. By the way, Ames Road in Cortland in so far one of the most intense uphills ever designed.  It is a solid 1.5-2 mile hike straight up a 16% grade.  It makes Mount Washington seem like a jog.  This road kills you the moment you step onto it and then I wanted to test how hard it was and literally trying to sprint up it actually makes you walk.  The only way to move is to push off the ball of your foot as fast as you can to improve the foot cadence.  That is about it.  I suffered to reach the top after attempting another steep incline 5 minutes earlier.  Let me tell you that Cortland has some great roads for running so close to town.  I run just a mile or two in any direction and can be up a steep road with no traffic and a nice dip about 2-5 degrees cooler.  Right now the mornings have been in the 45-50 range so it has been nice and running lately has just come easy.  For once, I am not suffering from heat.  I can run without a bottle and I still feel like I get plenty of sunshine which is always nice.  Ran about 85 minutes for about say 12-14 miles.  Another great day!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reach The Beach New Hampshire Recap

Team Photo before we headed out to Reach the Beach New Hampshire!

So Reach the Beach was an incredible experience.  There was a lot of lack of sleep, great sugar cookies, bee stings, and seeing the sights of New Hampshire with an incredible crew.  I drove over to New Hampshire on Thursday and had the chance to stay over with Chris Dunn, the creator of Acidotic Racing.  We had delicious meatballs that really set the tone for the long 24 racing experience.  That next morning, we loaded up the vans and headed to the rendezvous point at Northwood.  This is where we had the chance to snap the photo right by the Dunking Doughnuts truck.

We then headed out to Cannon Mountain, a ski resort right by Pinkham Notch State Park.  Just from heading off the vans, I could sense the crazy vibe that is the Reach The Beach.  There were people dressed up in funny costumes, and various forms of trash-talking place.  The best way to describe everything was it was like a running circus.  There were so many people at this event it was incredible. Acidotic went through the team check-in and Austin our first leg got ready. Our team began the race at 2:40 pm and I was the next leg in this whole adventure.  Once the race began, it was time to live life out of a van for 24 hours.  We then drove to the first check-point and then waited for Austin to arrive.  It was really great to meet everyone apart of my team and it was exciting trying to place as best as we could.  My legs consisted of distances of 8.9, 7.5 and 6.5 miles.  It was a little warm by the time I began my fist leg and my motive for the team was to catch as many people as I could.  From the gun, I caught two people and just ran hard the whole down-hill stretch. My big mistake was probably splitting 5:10 or so minute miles for the first 4 miles.  I then began to slow my pace. My teammates gave me a nice water break half-way then I brought it home to the exchange point.  I came up to Bretton Woods rather quickly then kicked really hard in confusion of the TA and then handed off.  I split a 52 low minute low 9 mile leg which was not bad around the 5:45 range.  I took a nice rest in the van as we headed along the route watching each member of our team run to perfection.  The sun was setting as we linked up with Van 2 and had ourselves some catching of the football.  Then my favorite portion of the day came...DINNER!  We loaded back up into the van and proceeded to North Conway where we stopped at Moat Mountain Brewery/Restaurant. Last-time I was at this place, it was when I ran up Mount Washington 2 years ago.  The food was YUMMY and the Beer was even better. I had a glass of the amber draft and a greek salad.  With being so hungry, I devoured the salad in no-time.  It was a great meal as we all had time to chat and just relax.  4 more hours or so later and we would half to run our second night-time legs beginning around 11:30 pm.  We gathered again in the van and off we went into the night.

What I soon realized was that this constant running thing was tough on your body. It was like running an ultra ultra race where every aspect of the journey had to be calculated otherwise it would be unenjoyable. Let me explain.  It was a tough time trying to recover for the next leg.

But let me tell you, running fast at night in the deep dark New Hampshire woods was incredible and running my last leg after getting stung by tons of bees was a testament to hard work. At the end of the whole deal, we raced well and finished 17th as a team. Not to bad and let me tell you this will be an experience I will never forget.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reach The Beach Relay--New Hampshire Acidotic Racing!!

Tomorrow, I will embark on a 4-day journey to New Hampshire and to run as a member of Acidotic racing and to compete in the 24 hour/200 mile journey from Cannon Mountain to the beach in New Hampshire!  It should be a great adventure and I look forward to the trip.  I have a little bit of congestion from the ragweed (pretty yellow weeds) that have invaded Cortland, NY.  When I run, I clear-out those nasal passages but it should be an interesting and exciting challenge. My legs average about 8 miles and I will run 3 times so I should put up a marathon in 24 hours which is not bad for 24 hours!  Anyway, training has been going great and Jordan Kinley at Karhu has been very generous with some rocking Karhu Kicks I look to use for training and racing this fall.  By the way, not only does Karhu have some of the best color styles in running, but the shoe line they produce make great shoes that last incredibly well and really does propel you forward with each footstrike.  Let the games begin!

Oh, and I have made a schedule of races this fall with the Empire State Half Marathon on Oct 21 being my next definite race.  I hope to compete well and represent New Jersey/Oklahoma/and New New York to the mix. I am also intrigued with a race up at Skaneateles Lake, NY which is a great harbor town located 20 miles north of Cortland and close to Syracuse where the lake's water is so clear and nice that the city of Syracuse uses the lake water as municipal water because it is so fresh and clean. Anyway, enough rambling and now time to pack!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Virgil Mountain Monster Marathon Race Recap and Moving On

Let me tell you that this race was crazy hard. My spring trail shoe-2013 La Sportiva Ultra Raptor!

This is what the trail looked like in the gentle sections.  Underfoot, there was extreme roots everywhere, super steep climbs reminiscent of New Hampshire trails but on tight single-track and dangerous descents.  This year the race started at Gatherings Restaurant right near Greek Peak. I began with a group of about 12 at 8am for the long day up and down the highest peak, Virgil Mountain in Cortland County at 2,188 feet above sea level. What is amazing about this area is that you do not need high altitude to face such a crazy intense challenge.  All it takes is many multiple 1000ft steep ascents to destroy your quads.  The first section of the race, I flew up to Virgil Peak and then down the many switchbacks.  I just enjoyed the day and tried to stay focused. Once I made it to the 4.5 mile mark which I thought was the initial turn-around I became confused on where to go. Luckily, I had a man I was passing tell me to follow the private drive about a quarter of a mile to the forest rangers and the next section of trail.  I did just that and then followed down into this new section of trail. I slowed down here to ensure I would not get lost.  This section was disorienting with about 4 creek crossings and a nice uphill to the turn-around at Stonepile Junction.  I fueled up at the turnaround and clocked in at 50 minutes. I knew that if I kept that pace, I would run 3:20 for my overall time.  I ran back through the many people on the trail-slowing as people came by.  I hit Virgil Peak and the the big descent into the beginning of the race.  As I came across the last creek crossing, I saw my father with camera in hand snapping all kinds of photos.  I soon left Tone Road and then hit the finish where I would have to do the same loop all over again. My body still felt pretty fresh but I knew that the next 2.4 miles straight up to Virgil Mountain's summit would be the deciding factor for me.  I power-walked some sections and then ran the easier sections as the terrain began to flatten out.  Once I summited the second peak past Virgil Peak, then my legs were starting to feel it. I was losing my strength in my legs and really needed some food.  I was about 17 miles in and was ready to take a nap.  I just did what I could and kept running tough.  Once I made the major turn-around at mile 20, I was done. I was ready to call it quits at that point and I knew I would run below 4 hours but I was nowhere near low 3 hours.  The trail and the amount of people on it helped to delay my pace.  I almost twisted my ankles about 19 times(each time I came across someone on the trail as I veered off of it).  The last 6 miles I was just trying to survive. I needed more carbs but my stomach was a little off so I just stuck with light water and gatorade to solve those woes.  I walked the tougher uphill sections  I easily ran over the first time and then came the steep descent.  I took all day on this because with my fatigued legs, I did not want to slip and fall into a gorge 30 feet below.  The steep sections were dangerous at times and so I just wanted to manage myself in such a way that I could come back in one piece.

I crossed the line in 3:54 which was not bad for a debut and for learning 4 extra miles of trail I did not run on the Sunday prior.  I won the overall for the race and was given the chance to race in the Cayuga 50 miler which plans on being an insane top-notch race where Max King and Sage Canady among others will be there. I hope I can build on my strength and be able to run 50 of the best miles of my life against these guys.
Time to prepare for the Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire this Friday and Saturday coming up!  I should be running about 23 miles broken up for the event and it should be a great time!

Here are some pictures from the Virgil Monster Marathon!

Monday--Easy run on flats of Cortland, 60 minutes in the rain out on 13
Tuesday---Easy run on the flats of Cortland---75 minutes again, legs were soooo tight.
Wednesday---76 minute hill run on Kellogg Road then Blodgett Mills Road--Insane 28% incline for 2 miles, legs felt like jello on the way down. Plentiful Sunshine and a titch warm.
Thursday--Run of 60 minutes--legs felt really tired. Ran up hill in Homer.
Friday--80 minute mountain run-- up Ames Road-such beautiful country out there! Had a blast!  A little warm and I am in need of a haircut.

Saturday--- Long run on Carson Road Finger Lakes Trail. We have crazy weather coming in and the morning had 45mph constantly flowing through the woods.  Leaves were flying over-head and the trees were swaying like massive pendulums.  I really enjoyed this section if trail! It starts out narrow then widens into a nice xc ski trail going up the face of a mountain.  Really enjoyable.  The weather was in the 60's and my pace on this trail was solid. Unlike the slow Monster Marathon race, I was really able to stretch out and lengthen my stride.  It is such a wonderful thing to have access to hundreds of miles of trails just 8 miles away!!!!!

Sunday--75 minute run up on Lightninghouse road and then I discovered there is a road right by the hotels on the other-side of the interstate. Pretty Awesome actually.  A nice run with big clouds.  11.8 miles!

Monday--Run on Pendleton Road up the high mountains to Tower Road and the Weather Station.  A hard run but the lovely cool fall weather of the 48-52 range made for a nice day.  Ran well and climbed the section up in 35 minutes not bad! THen I came back home in for a total of 78 minutes and 12-13 miles!

Tuesday/Wednesday--75 minute runs in the hills of Cortland/mountains. I am stuffed up from ragweed but I am training really well.