Friday, November 30, 2012

Virgil NY Run-Snow Showers

Friday marked a fun and interesting run. I ended up heading out along Kellogg Road into Blodgett Mills and then into Virgil. This is a great run because it begins flat right in Cortland then slowly and surely creeps up with jaw-dropping climbs that make Central New York mountain running what it is.  As opposed to other great running meccas such as Boulder, Mammoth Springs, Flagstaff, Central New York may not be right in the heart of steep rocky mountains with vistas in the 7,000 range to 14, 000 range but rather I feel you still can get a great workout in with the amount of steep and long maintained climbs along the calm and peaceful roads of the area.  Though you can only top out at about 2,400 feet or so, every climb that is made range from the 400ft to 1,300 ft range in terms of vertical gain. So as the run progresses, you can easily get 5,000-8,000 ft of vertical gain which is insane for this area but trust me these figures are true.  So I made some nice climbs and it made my left hamstring on the way back feel a little sore but I ran today like a tempo. I hit the climbing sections like I was racing Mount Washington and maintained a strong pace through all the climbs never slowing my 7:35 climbing pace.  It was incredible to do such as I usually have a tough time with some ascents and then can dominate others.  The day has been cloudy and overcast as snow showers blanketed the return trip.  I continued to run through Virgil all the way onto the roads such as Strafford Road that I ended up running to on my 2 hour Sunday long run.  I could not believe how far I went and I was only at 37 minutes!  I ran one more incline then headed back at about 44 minutes.  I encountered one car today which is something I am not used to but is great. I had the run all to myself.  The snow showers on the way back was lovely since I have not seen much snow in a long time living out in the south but man it truly puts you in the holiday spirit.  I ran a nice 1 hour and 28 minute run pretty much running even splits.

Tomorrow, I am planning on running out at Hoxie Gorge to run some trail work to mix things up as I have been running the roads a bunch lately.  Maybe the soft surfaces will help to make my hamstring feel a little better.

Saturday--Hoxie Gorge Trail Run on Mcdermont Trail.  I discovered all kinds of new trail sections through the forest which is awesome.  I ran tons of great uphills and had a ton of run. Ran 75 minutes of trail slipping action on the wet leaves and light snow.  Found the Hoxie Gorge Lean-to and checked that out.  Today was not a super fast day, but it was one where I had the chance to test myself on different terrain which was nice. The views I had in the pasture of the run were just jaw-dropping.  Great run in 30 degree temps .

Sunday---Run in the rain. As always my luck went south this morning as it was a lovely 40 degree day.  I set out the door ready to run and as I set out the door, only 5 minutes passed and it started sprinkling. Rain always starts out nice and slow.  I headed out along Kinney Gulf Road and I must say that there were tons of cars out on the roads today-something pretty rare around here.  By the time I was on Kinney Gulf, the rain really picked up. Of course I had a thermal 1/2 zip on something better for a cold dry day not one with rain. So of course I endured the rain for 1 hour and a half as I headed home with frozen hands and a wet top and bottom.  I ran Kinney Gulf all on the flat sections to rest my hamstring and to just run nice and easy. I logged about 15 today and felt just fine. My fitness is solid right now and I am ready to make the big leap to being a full-time professional. I think I truly have what it takes at this point in time and the training here in Upstate NY is really working out so far. I am very excited for the snowshoe season and I hope to see how the winter works out.

Monday---I went out and ran along Ames Road off of highway 13. Probably the steepest climb up in Cortland.  Ran nice and relaxed the whole way and logged about 75 minutes or about 11-12 miles.  The weather has recently warmed up and really 40's felt warm.  I found an alternative path down a dirt road that was super steep. I felt like I was at a waterpark heading down one of those tunnels but my tunnel was carved out by trees. It was pretty cool to see.  I am looking forward to my next few days of running leading up to my big 5k. I hope I can score a first place prize at the Wonderful Life 5k and maybe win some money too. I hope to use my earnings to get Ashlee an awesome blender!

Tuesday---Nice 70 minute run in 65 degree weather-made some nice climbs up along East Homer hills. Came back on 11 through Homer then back home. My body is tired from all this stress from writing and composing my last papers for the semester but all is going well. I am in tip top shape for the 5k this weekend and should come out on top. I am looking for a sub 15 minute performance to ensure a nice victory.

Friday, November 23, 2012

80 minutes: My Bread and Butter

I love going out running my 80 minute runs. I figured I can average a solid pace for that distance. I cover often times 12-13-14 miles or so.  Just the right amount of mileage and my body responds to any form of run: tempo, fartlek, hill run, easy day, surge run, an interval day, it does not matter. I always get in the time and distance and it has been my bread and butter. Today, Black Friday, I worked from 4:30am-12:45. It was not too bad at work though very busy.  Then I headed home and got ready to run. It rained on and off during the run as I went out on Highway 13 and then turned off by the Sole Kote cement center and then hit East River Road and ran the flat gentle road straight into farmland and peace and quiet. Today, the run consisted of many pick-ups and I averaged a strong pace as the course I ran is a part of a half marathon the YMCA : Leaf-Peeper.  On the course I ran 76 minutes which is about a 5:48 mile pace.  Honestly, I can now run in that sub 6 range pretty comfortably which is awesome.  I finished my run with 5 extra minutes and about a half mile which means I ran about 13.67 miles or so.  THe rain was gentle and cool and is the lingering effects of a lake-effect snowstorm coming this way. We shall see what happens. Tomorrow morning, I plan on running some dirt roads up at Tuller Hill State Forest at Greek Peak for a nice 1 hour 35-1 hr 40 minute run tomorrow. It should be run. May the snow fly since a lake effect snow deal is coming our way. Snow showers and maybe 3-5 inches when all is said and done we shall see.

Saturday---Long run at Greek Peak--Tuller Hill State Forest. I ran on the dirt roads through the state forest. It was cold and windy out there today with temps in the teens in the wind and in the low 30's maybe 20's the whole time. I was layered up so I was just fine. A NICE 9AM JAUNT!  I got out of my car at Greek Peak Ski Resort Lodge and then headed out towards Clute road.  There was a little bit of powder snow out on the slopes and on the roads. The inch of snow that had melted on the road iced over and was a little slippery at times but the overall traction was not too bad. While on Clute Road, it is a straight uphill shot to Tuller Hill State Forest. I hit Pipeline road, a rocky dirt road that meanders throughout the state forest and connects to all the trail sections.  I hit the hills hard and worked on that strength.  Once into the tree-line of Tuller Hill, the 30pmh gusts were muffled and actually was pretty cozy.  I settled into a nice pace and as I crested each hill I noticed tons of trucks parked at the side of the road. I thought, trail maintenance?  Probably not. The snow-covered road was slippery in the 2 fred-marks made by some trucks so I ran in the median of the dirt road where the snow was nice and fresh. As I made my descent into the turn, my earlier preconceptions were revealed. Tons and tons of hunters were out trying to kill of some deer this Saturday. They had their rifles, orange vests and cameo, and honestly as I passed by I got a nice "hello buddy, how are you doing?" which was welcoming from these guys.Of course  I responded and told them that it was so nice out here today, probably a perfect day to catch deer.  I then crested another hill and hit the final descent to Snyder Hill road. Usually when I run here, I go right, this time I went left.  I took the road out away from the State forest with more hills out to a blacktop road.  It was Stafford Road.  I then headed downhill on Stafford road to West River Road. From my vantage point, it was a beautiful countryside with the hills having a light dusting of snow.  The wind began to pick up here then I hit West River Road which borders a railroad track that looked unused and a nice little river as it felt like no one was alive out here, just me and the hunters.  I encountered more hunters out here and even hoped to get back up the mountain so I turned into a snowmobile trail straight up the mountain. The snowmobile trail had 2-3 inches of fresh powder on it and it was a challenge to run up the beast.

It was really fun to run up the trail and I felt like I was almost back to Snyder Hill Road then from out of the woods, I came out along a farmstead. I thought well, I am 56 minutes in, I should just turn-around.  I bursted down the snow-bank and retraced my steps. I came onto River Road again knowing I had to make up time. I picked up my pace as best as I could while enjoying the gorges overhead.  I then retraced my steps all the way back trying to handle each uphill like it was my last though they were steep and the footing at times was difficult. As  I was coming out of Tuller on the last climb, I saw two more hunters trotting along the road. They made way for me as we both greeted each other.  I then descended down Clute to home base. Today was a run where I feel so much alive running in winter time. It is a time where we all want to hibernate but by being outside being active in the elements is rejuvenating knowing that mother nature is taking a rest. I logged 1 hour and 51 minutes about right on pace with my out pace for today. It was a great run and I put in some great work for today.  I look forward to running again tomorrow in the snow and cold again but this time out along the town limits.

Sunday---77 minute run out in the snow along Homer out to Route 41 then back again. It was nice and wintery which is a nice change for me. I ran nice and relaxed the whole way through the run and though at first felt a little cold, warmed up nicely.

Monday--Nice 84 minute run. Forget exactly where I went again but I think I did the Kinney Gulf road loop thats right I went to drop off a movie and then hit Groton-Highway 222 then caught the road up to  Kinney Gulf. Did some nice hills again and really worked on that strength. Felt real smooth and just building that strength. I did some strong hill bursts about 6-10 towards the end of the run maybe about 400m just to tax the body.

Tuesday--Morning run out along to McGraw then did a loop up to Ames road and then back to home base. My legs were tired at 7 am this morning but I was able to run pretty well up the hills.

Wednesday---4pm run with a Cortland High runner-Chris. We ran through downtown and then headed up Blue Creek Road. There was this great thick snow falling which made the run very festive. We talked and got to know one another. I think this kid has the potential of running pretty well.  We ran up the hills and down as the sun was going down and the Christmas lights were lighting up the sky beautiful. And from out vantage point, we could see all of the lights in town too. Really nice to see. I logged about 10 miles and it was a solid recovery day.

Thusday--Run out on 13 to Health Camp Road up some insane climbs which really pushed my legs and then back home again. It was a cold morning say 33 degrees and feeling like the mid 20's but honestly, I was never cold once and with the sun beaming outside, it felt awesome.  I can really run well in this kind of weather.  I was not able to run as hard as I would have liked up the steep climbs off of Health Camp but I made the most of it.

I ended the run with 82 minutes in the bag and about 13-14 miles.

Some Sweet 3/4 tights from Mountain Hardware I am saving up for!
Tomorrow, I might make a long run happen just to test my recovery rates as I prepare for the It's A Wonderful 5k next weekend.

I hope to run some snowshoe races this year and to make the USA team: Here is the awesome gear they get for making the team:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cortland YMCA Turkey Trot

Tomorrow is the Turkey Trot in Cortland, NY. I have no idea what the competition will be like but I look forward to seeing the community of Cortland come together for the event. Olympia SPorts will be in strength at the event with store's 20% coupons so come to the event to get the holidays kicking!

So, it was so nice to have a local 5k a mile away. I got everything organized and then joined with Ashlee where we waited for the race to start. It was a nice cold morning with temps in the mid to low 30's. For me, I can handle that!  I warmed up well and then just awaited the race start. Scoping out the competition, there was a couple of guys that could potentially give me a run for my money.

From the get go- I was with this one tall blonde dude and he was trying to push the pace.  We were totally at 4:50 pace and I just made sure he was not going to try anything heroic. We stuck together really well with him making mini-moves from a half mile in all the way through the mile at 4:51 to the turn-around point at 1.5 miles.  From the 1.5 mile marker, I kept running my pace at around 5 minutes a mile and the guy I was with let me take the lead. From then on, I kept that pace at 10:00 through 2 miles and then straight into the final push. The last 900m straight-away felt like forever as I knew I had the race in the bag and so I relaxed and brought it home. I hit the line right at 15:30 which was a decent effort. It was a ton of fun running a local turkey trot for once which was my first ever.  I donated the first place turkey to the Salvation Army or maybe to second place. I was pleased with the win and with meeting some pretty fast guys as I think 4-5 guys were right in the 16-17 range which is not bad at all.  Overall, a great day!

Now time to rest, time to watch the Macy's Parade and to watch football while eating yummy Ashlee Prewitt food! Cornish Hens, biscuits, gravy, green bean casserole, and so much more!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ascent and Descent

I have been stringing together nice runs of varying difficulty and each run has had some form of incline.  My climbing is getting better and better up these steep roads. Today, I ran out along Highway 11 and up along Signal Hill Road in Mcgraw, a very steep steeep steeep road. With the winter fast-approaching, the sun sets by 5 pm so my afternoon run at 4:15 was light for the majority of it before the last 20 minutes were in the waning darkness.

My next race is going to be the Cortland Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day.  I decided that it would be a great opportunity to be a spokesperson for Olympia Sports and see if I can bring home a turkey for the family.  So if you want to go to a great race in Cortland, the Turkey Trot is where it is at and I will be handing out 20% coupons from Olympia as a portion of the goodie bags for the event.  There is hope to provide Olympia as being a more integral part of the Cortland Community.

My next big race will be December 8th for the It's A Wonderful Life 5k which is a historic race in Senneca Falls NY and has 100 for first place that I hope I can bring on home!

In the meantime, I am just training hard running my 80-90 miles a week and just running the flats some days but have been running the ascents and descents really hard so that I can build that strength for snowshoe season come January!

I had another nice run today---My Karhu Fast 3's are getting used up as while I descend, my forefoot is ailing me a little bit from the worn cushioning.  I have the chance to demo a pair of Scott Sport Support shoes to see how they work out but I bet Karhu at the least will win in functionality and color style.  My November 18th run took me out along Kellogg Road out to Blodgett Mills then up the steep steep steep climbs to the backside of Virgil, NY. THis run is such a nice one as the roads here split and create  tough climbing. I ran all the way up probably in the 1,800-2,000 mark and let me tell you, all this 6%-20% degrees of climbing has made my legs and lungs strong and I can really power up those inclines better than ever before. I hope to continue my training and just enjoying the fall/winter weather where 40's-30's and 20's remain supreme which honestly has been lovely running weather.  WHen I run in the afternoon the 48 degree day cools in the shade of the mountains and as the sun sets, the temperature drops.

Had a nice Tuesday morning run---Wore my new Scott Support 2 trainers---these things are amazing. So light weight and the support is great on the shoe.  The rocker technology is just like Karhu with their Fulcrum which is cool. The upper is nice and breathable and the fit of the shoe works with my foot though all Scott Shoes should be sized up a half size.  Then I also was able to get a zip top from the company and these are soooo soft with the internal fleece. I want more of them as they are not only stylish but so comfy.  I ran out along East Homer and headed to Health Camp Road running up and down the big hills of Homer.  Love this route as I am up in the clouds and there are no cars maybe a few tractors and farmers but really not much of anybody.  Such a great run with beautiful views of the rolling glacial mountains.  Upstate New York is visually sooo beautiful and outdoor recreation is supreme from running to biking, hunting boating golf you name it.  I ran a nice 80 mins and am preparing for the Cortland Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Morning.  I hope to bring some Olympia Sports glory as I am giving away 20% coupons for all those that attend the event.  So come on down and support the Salvation Army and the Clothing Bank this Holiday.  ANd may the fastest person win a Turkey!!!!! I hope that will be me!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Back to the Cold

Ran a nice run Tuesday afternoon up along near Ames Road out along the McGraw border and run a nice strong 75 minute tempo up some inclines and rolling hill terrain. The windchill was in the 20's and some of the higher latitudes I noticed snow! It was caked on the trees, the ground, the cars.  Whenever this happens, I feel like I am running in a mountain town. I love that feeling.  I ran really strong and picked up my pace into the low 6's for the last 4 miles or so.  The cool air does not bother me really at all coming from such intense heat in Oklahoma so I really do not mind running in 30's and 20's as long as I have on the needed layers.

Monday, November 12, 2012

22 mile long run

Yesterday, I ran out along Highway 11 towards Tully, NY. It was a nice 70 degree day and I hit the road with my water bottle and GU.  I set out running a nice 6 min a mile clip along the flat road out to Homer then out towards Preble.  I felt a little tired from a fun weekend at Cortaca, an insane NY football game of Division 3 opponents where everyone drinks to their hearts content and then some.  The run was nice and relaxed and I felt great through about 15-16 miles.  The sun was shinning and I felt strong just clipping away at the miles.  One, Two , Five, Seven, the miles kept on rolling. Highway 11 is nice and chill as the traffic was well, nothing and of course the nice shoulder of the road kept me safe.  I hit the turn-around at a farm past Preble and then  decided to drink some water and down some GU.  I felt like I was just out for a fun run as the pace was strong but not erratic.  I made the turn-around and then headed for home.  The sun was right in the center of the sky as I beamed with joy at such as strong and fun run.  By mile 15-16 I felt a little fatigue but then collected myself and ran tough the rest of the way. The last mile I was sprinting to run faster back then the way I went out but the strong 35 mph mile head-wind of course slowed me down by about 45 seconds. I finished in about 2 hours and 1 minute thus averaging about 6 minute miles maybe faster.  I then took a nice bubble bath and relaxed. I put forth a solid effort and saw more of Central NY.  I almost ran half-way to Syracuse one-way and overall trip would be 8 miles from the dead center of the city. Not bad for a day's work.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Snow Showers---

It already feels like winter here in New York. As soon as November hit, we had snow showers. This was the first time seeing snow in 2 and a half years.  It was so amazing running up on the higher latitudes in Mcgraw, NY and being immersed in 2 inches of snow making me feel like I was living in Alaska or something.  After the Endurance Monster Road Race, I have been training well and have been getting the school work done.  Last week, my training was not too intense, but I did get some nice quality long sessions in of 1 hour and 30 minutes.  The snow has been nice and now it is just chilly when I run in my jackets, tights, hats and gloves but I welcome this weather. Living in Oklahoma, this level of cold is nothing as the wind-chill here is nowhere what was once felt.  I enjoy the colder temps as the 30's and 20's are not bad for running and after you warm-up, you are golden.  There is no greater feeling than being perfectly comfortable where you are and once I warm up, I am golden.  The colder weather means snowshoe running too and I am so excited for it. I love fall and winter running and I feel like it is time to get a real taste of a NY State Winter!

I will be running the It's A Wonderful Run 5k in Seneca Falls December 8th!  After that, it is all about Snowshoe!!!! I hope to become the NY State SNowshoe Champion and even have the chance to run at Bend, Oregon for the National Championships for 10k snowshoe!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hoxie Gorge State Forest--A Place of Beauty

Just the other day, I ran a long run at Hoxie Gorge State Forest just 5 miles down the road from my house in Cortland, NY.  I will say that since Ashlee and myself have called Upstate New York home, it really is a great place for recreation and the amount of protected forest resources and trails are just crazy scary.  You cannot go 10 miles in any direction in this state without a decent trail system.  Anyway, it was a crisp day as the fall and winter temperatures are looming.  I drove to my usual spot and decided to run out along Freetown road through the state forest property and out into Freetown.  The rolling terrain was amazing and the weather was perfect for endurance running. I must say there is nothing like the solace of winter running and fall running as people are forced to stay inside because of cold temperatures and the loss of sunlight means running while the sun is up is often a challenge.  I set out along my run and it was amazing to be able to just feel apart of nature.  With school and life just being crazy, it is always a sweet thing to be able ti disengage oneself from the rigors and responsibilities of life to just zone out and reconnect with the wilderness that is only found in small pockets.  The run started out nice and controlled and was an endurance-based climbing run where the pace was not too crazy as the steep inclines slowed me down but on the flats and downs I had the chance to open up.  I wore my new Craft Nordic XC ski tights and let me tell you they are awesome. For being so lightweight, they insulate the crap out of your legs.  Listen, Craft is serious! They make some of the best technical apparel out there in my book and the quality is well worth the price tag!  This run brought me back to what I really like about Upstate:  The roads here can be so peaceful and drivers are very courteous of you.  I never feel like someone is about to attempt to run me over which I did have to endure quite a bit in OK.  The weather is cooler which makes for nice endurance running as never once have I felt like my running was compromised because of the weather.  Yes, people are from New York but many of the farmers and townspeople wave and smile at me and even their pets that often chase me are so loving and kind. I will say no dog that I have found off leash has been without there owner screaming at the dog to come back.  Not what I was used to as my dog encounters were one thing I despised about running in the Sooner State.  And I will say there may not be big mountains here but the hills and the roads are steep and long and really make you work on being a strong mountain runner.

I ran 1 hour and 35 minutes and had a great time!  Hoxie Gorge is totally a place to check-out as it is nice and peaceful and has a nice trail network and smooth country roads that go on forever!