Thursday, January 31, 2013

Entry Forms for My Next Snowshoe Races

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Looking Back and Ahead

A-OK 25 K

Finishing a fun fun Oklahoma trail run!

Syracuse  Syracuse in the Morning at -6
I am already excited for a fast race come March 24th. By march, this sleeping giant we call Syracuse will come alive as top runners from all over flock to the inaugural Syracuse 13.1 extravaganza!  

Running has been going well and I must say that after my snowshoe race the other day, I am hooked. I love snowshoe running so much that once we get some more snow out there, I am going to go out there and run some more trails with my shoes.  Tomorrow should bring some more showers and warm weather is taking hold.  But I hope that we end up with some more snow so that Beaver Lake Nature Center Snowshoe race will not be cancelled this weekend.  Running in Oklahoma really fostered my love for running and the urge to take this thing to the next level.  My ultimate life goal for the state will be to establish a state forest system there since that state with more trees would probably not be so hot and it would provide great environmental, water quality, air quality and recreational movements and opportunities for the state.  Living in Up State New York has taught me a lot about the natural environment, about the differences in people, and the appreciation for those things in life that truly are priceless. I have learned that the environment both the natural or organic and the artificial manufactured settings provide both a balance and system of living and coexisting that we must be wary of.  What makes running special to me? It gives me that ability to tap into my senses, to feel, see, smell, hear, and sometimes taste the world around me.  It opens my eyes to the surrounding area. I can see economics, politics, botany, recreation, philosophy, law, and history all in play based on my surroundings.  The environment around me is my textbook. I run to learn about myself and the outside world.  Our youth today struggles with a condition called Nature Deficit Disorder where kids lose a sound connect with the environment and become negligent or disconnected with the outside world.  To them, the world revolves around video games and playing indoors.  

We need to get back to learning to love and loving to learn about our world, about the place that we too often take for granted. Running is my instrument for interpretation. What's yours?

Wednesday Jan 30th I ran in the pouring rain after work at the Finger Lakes Running Company and headed from my car with my headlamp out to Ithaca College and South Hill. I ran that South Hill pretty well then headed into the campus of Ithaca College. I saw glowing blue buildings in the campus that looked like something from outer space (pretty cool) then continued to run laps up and down the parking lots.  I then headed out of Ithaca College and back towards my car on Hudson and Giles. I then headed out by the Six Mile Creek trail and ran uphill through the back-streets then headed back. I traced about 10.5 miles and it was a nice hilly run that was not too tough on my legs. All the snow has melted here so we just have to wait and see if we end up with anymore soon as it is in the forecast to receive about 4-6 inches by Sunday.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winona Stonewall 5k Snowshoe

It was a crystal clear day at Winona State Forest.

Ashlee and myself made the nice drive up to the course at around 8am and besides all those road salts on our windshield, and a wrong turn, we made it to the race no problem. Winona State Forest is an amazing race venue up in the snowy Tug Hill Region. We made our way up interstate 81 and then hit the woods of Upstate New York.  The race site was awesome as registration went well and it was time to warm up for the run.  It was cold out in the shade of the trees but the sun was out and temps were going to make it near 20 today so perfect for a snowshoe event. I went on my warm-up on the trails and they were amazing. The first section was groomed and man could you run fast on that!  I jogged a little to the single-track section and I knew that this section would be more difficult as the snow was low in some spots and was slippery. I returned back to the site and began to suit up.  I strapped on my Dion snowshoes and off I went.  The race had a decent amount of people and with a blow of the horn, we were off.  I went with the group and the first kid neck and neck through the first groomed straight-away.  Once we hit the right turn into the woods, I was in the lead and I was running like a crazy person so it seemed.  As my first snowshoe race, I was running as hard as I could through the tough single-track. It was a narrow trail with rocks, logs, roots, steep winding down hills and up hills.  It was an honest course. At every log crossing which we had over 10 easily, I stopped to crawl over them so that I would not risk getting a snowshoe caught on the downed trees.  My heart-rate was way up and it felt like a tough mountain run. My legs were fine but my lungs were feeling it. I went out way too fast the first 1.5 miles I would say.  The terrain really slowed me down as I began to slow and adjust my pace.  At mile 2, I felt alright and did enjoy running through the forest but was a little afraid I could be caught.  I crawled up the major uphill as my standard cleat was slipping because of the slope and every sharp turn I was slipping and sliding. The race was so much fun and a great first snowshoe race!  I came out of the single track ready for the last mile or so to the finish.  Heading into groomed trail again I wanted to pick it up but my legs at this point just could not find the trail. I was running in slow motion. Once I came across the last straight-away that was there at the start, I was ready to bring it home. My cleats gripped that snow and in I went.  I finished in 23:24 about anywhere from 7:30-7:15 minute pace depending on how long the course actually was.  I was running in the six minute pace for the first 1.5 mile section then slowed into the late 7 maybe 8 minute pace then surged ahead the last 800 meters.  It was a lot tougher than I imagined.  How am I going to blaze a 10k in two weeks?

Lessons from the race: *Do not go out 100% all out from the get-go. * Pace yourself.  * Snowshoe running makes your heart and lungs suffer so easing into a nice pace allows for a strong finish.  * Practice makes perfect!   * Just like trail running but with snow and weird things on your feet. *You warm-up so much from snowshoe running that heavy layers are not needed!

Thank you to everyone responsible including Matt Westerlund for a wonderful event!

The Race Photos!!!!!

Here are the listed results:

And an article about the race:

Monday--90 minute long hill run in the snow. First half to Strafford Road in Virgil had me inhaling ice particles. On the way back, the snow/mix subsided which was very nice! A solid 15 miles in today and some nice climbing with snow underfoot which doubles the amount of effort. It was honestly a nice workout considering the icy snow hitting my face.  The whole way out, the wind and the sleet was forcing me to keep only one eye open at a time as the pummeling precipitation made things a little difficult.  Overall, it was a good workout and my legs are sore from both the snowshoe effort and today's run.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Arctic Blast

It has been so cold in Cortland as of late.  We have been in the single digits at best and below zero consistently for about 4 days.  I have tried my best to run and have succeeded. Yeah it is really cold, but with the right layers, gloves, hats, socks the whole deal, then ultimately, you are cold for the first few miles then BAM, you are nice and warm.  I have my first snowshoe race of the season at Winona State Forest Sunday morning and the weather is going to cooperate with sun and highs in the low 20's which many would argue is perfect snowshoe weather since the race is in a forest and wind chill does not exist in lush pine.  That is what I also learned from this week. Running in heavily forested areas in extreme cold days is the way to do it as the wind chill cannot reach you while you are hidden away in the woods.  Most people would think that running in any cold is crazy and it is but I enjoy the challenge and I train in this weather with the preparation for the conditions meaning I do not take any risks because it could mean something horrible.  So remember, understand the conditions. If it is a cold -14 windchill day but the regular air temp is 10 degrees, run in the woods with Yaktrax or snowshoes so that your run is not in sub zero conditions but rather warmer ones.

Thursday Jan 24th--A frigid 7:30 am below zero run where the temps were about 6 to 10 below. It was so cold that my breath froze my scarf!  Ran up Pendleton and ran a side neighborhood road once at the top. I ran about maybe 4.5-5 miles out then headed home.  Everyone is dropping their kids off at school and it can be a little crazy trying to negotiate all the crazy parents but luckily there are nice wide bike lanes here which allow for me to stay as far away as possible from those parents.  I ran probably just under 10 today as my pace was in the 6:40-7 minute range I would guess.  It was not a hard effort just getting outside was an accomplishment in itself.

Friday Jan 25th---Ran with Chris for about an hour then add 14 more minutes to that for a total of 74 minutes and about 10-11 miles.  We ran the old Suny Cortland school loop up on the top of the hill past the athletic fields just as snow was coming down. It has been cold but not as bad since the temps have not been below zero.  I made sure it was an honest pace around 7 mins a mile through the snow-covered streets. We looped up another hill off of Mcclean road back over to Route 222 then headed back. The stretch on 222 was freezing as there are no trees and the wind can be strong that way especially since there is an airfield right on this road.

I am excited about the Winona 5k snowshoe race this Sunday and I think it is going to be a fun event. I hope to run fast and it should be a nice day.

The race starts at 10:30am and registration is from 9:30-10:15am.  How many chances do you really get to run at such an amazing venue?  The answer is not too many so I am going to make the most of it come Sunday!

Saturday Jan 26---Night run on the east Homer Hills.  The moon was out, it was cold indeed but the glimmer from Cortland below and the blue hues given off from the moon hitting the snow was glamourous. Just so peaceful like right out of a story book.  I ran about 10 miles and 65 minutes or so. Ran the uphills strong to prepare for tomorrow's snowshoe race.  I am going to be racing Acidotic so I want to show up in full style.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

School Begins, SNowshoe this weekend, Training and Life

Jan 27th, I will embark on a nice run at Winona State Forest in the Tug Hill Region of Upstate New York.  It should be a nice snowshoe event and I hope to run a blistering 5k time on the course.  Training as of late has had its ups and downs. I have been getting in the time and mileage but my body has been tired.  Some days I fly up the ascents and some days, I squirm like a dying worm straight up to the top.  Yesterday was a rest day for me as Ashlee and myself hung out along mainstreet in Cortland just hanging out and talking to people.

Today, Jan 20, it is not a super cold day but the wind is much like a windy Oklahoma day.  There has been a wind advisory issued here and boy is it windy.  I wanted to run a nice long run with some serious inclines so I headed out along Albany Street up to Corl Hill Road.  These roads I am talking about are steep and long hills that take you from a little river up to almost 2,000 feet so imagine about a series of 800ft climbs every mile or so. Once I had made it up the first big uphill, the wind was at my back and was thrusting me downhill.  About a mile down the road, I turn a corner and whooosh the wind almost picked me up.  If it gusts around 50-60 on the valley just imagine what the summits of these mountains are like.  I did my slogging run up these steep inclines to a nice turn-around point overlooking the hills and countryside.  As I turned back the wind was now in my face and the first uphill I felt like death was imminent.  I was on an exposed tier of the mountainside and the wind cut through me like a jackhammer. It had to be gusting 80mph as my cheeks flopped in the gusts and I held onto my hat as the wind pierced my ears and almost made me feel as if my ears were bleeding.  I suffered on the way back and once I was off of the higher elevations, I was so relieved.  I did not run fast today. I probably logged about 15-16 miles in 1 hour and 36 minutes.  It was a tough run but I hope that work and football later today will be much better.

School begins this Tuesday and it is going to be another great semester.  While working at the Finger Lakes Running Company, I hope to have the chance to run some great trails in Ithaca. I will keep you all posted.

Monday-Jan 21--84:55 minute run. Ran out along Scenic Bike Route 11 out to South Hill Road. The road is nice and gently rolling so I can really get my legs moving.  South hill Road is the only major uphill section which only lasted for the last half mile before turn-around.  I went out nice and strong as we have snow showers!  Almost all of the snow had melted then today snow is covering the ground once more.  It is not coming down in vast quantities but it is sticking.  The run was very peaceful and I bundled up properly.  I had the chance to get the legs moving and it worked out well for me.

Tues Jan 22---Limehollow Snowshoe run. Today, the weather is arctic. Wind chills in the -14 range can make anyone freeze.  I decided to do a snowshoe run because I knew it would keep me in tree-lined single and double track trail so I would be protected by the wind.  After work, I drove to my usual spot by Tunison Labs on the back-side of the trails.  I strapped on the snowshoes and set out on my adventure. The snow was about 4 inches deep which allowed for fast running and the occasional running into roots and rocks underfoot. I felt very natural running my 9.5-10 miles or so for about 70 minutes.  The bitter chill I faced initially soon disappeared as my hands warmed and so did my body. I ran right around sub 7 minute pace running the Chicago bog trails and up into snowmobile trails. It was a great time out there and I really enjoyed the winter wonderland.

Wednesday Jan 23---Nice 78 minute run out through Homer, NY. I headed out my usual route along the downtown of Homer and the sun came out just as I started my run and though the temps were below zero, the sun warmed it up. I really never felt that cold while running which was nice and I got in a little extra exercise running through the snow on the roads and the sidewalks.  I ran to the Tully Lakes area near Health Camp Road then turned back.  I tried to avoid open areas that would be subject to some wind and really I have found arctic running to be not all that bad.  There is so much technical apparel out there that you can go and run in great wicking layers that keep you warm but do not weigh you down.  I headed back and finished strong sprinting the last straight-away before my street.  I probably logged about 11 miles today because some moments through the snow, I had to go slower than usual so my pace lagged at those moments.  It is almost time for snowshoe season to begin for myself and I am eager to seeing the season begin.

Photo taken from Trip for Hope Lake Lodge

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snowshoe Season 2 weeks away

I am now two weeks out from my first snowshoe race of the season. The warmer weather and rain has cut almost all of the snow pack. I hope we will have enough snow in two weeks but Winona is a location that gets about 300 inches of snow a year as the Tug Hill area in Upstate New York has the tendency to get pummeled with snow.  It should be a fun day.  I am recovering from a little cold but my fitness is fine and I should be able to run a 5k snowshoe.  I cannot wait to race acidotic with our new uniforms and though I do miss the sun, I hope the once winterwonderland Cortland became can become that again.  Jan 27--Winona Stonewall 5k, here  I come and I hope there will be snow there when race day arrives.

I spent today running with Chris the high school Cortland student and we ran a nice easy 75 minutes about 11 or so miles out along East River Road. I thought it might rain but the 50 degree weather made for feeling what the thaw in April might feel like here.  It was cool, damp, day.

Pics from the Empire State Half Marathon:

Here are some photos that come from the Empire State Marathon Facebook Page:

Preparing myself for 13.1 fast miles.

Talking to the Race Director!

They are off!

The Famous Start!
Making a Move with the sun in my face at mile 8-10
Coming In Strong 5th  Place 70:45

Monday Jan 14--Run at night after long day of work.  Had a blast at the Finger Lakes Running Company.  Ran out along Main Street and the Suny Cortland campus out to Mcclean and to Groton-222 and back home again. It was cold out there but I managed to run strong and to get the miles in. Ran for 70 minutes and 11 miles.  Nothing crazy. Tomorrow I plan on doing a nice long hill tempo and work on building some strength running ascents.  Snow is in the forecast again too. Bring it on!

Tuesday--Jan 15--Long Run through main street up Page Green Road. I hit my first climb running what felt was slow. I just kept plugging away trying to get the wheels turning after getting over a head cold.  The colder weather felt nice as 28 is a very tolerable long-distance temp for winter. Having no wind is always nice too.  I hit Blodgett Mills Road and turned left onto it.  Here I ran the little rolling hills before heading down the massive slope.  I made it to the town at 40 minutes on the watch and decided to head out towards Virgil and up to Tower Road.  For those of you who do not know what Tower Road is. It seems to be one of the highest hills in Cortland County.  At close to 2,000 feet, the radio tower at the top of the road overlooks everything and the sky as you look up makes you feel as if you could touch the stars.  I ran up the more inclines of Tower Road as since I made it into Blodgett Mills, I had been climbing for a solid 15 minutes.  Finally, I had made it to the top of Tower Road. I stopped the watch and began to relax and take in the views. Unfortunately, it was getting dark and it was time for me to hurry back.  I headed on Pendleton Road back home just as night was settling in.  What a day! 1 hour and 33 minutes for a whopping 15.65 miles. Not bad. 

Wednesday Jan 16---Run in the snow showers out along Blue Creek Road out to Groton.  The footing was a little off, but I managed a decent run besides waiting forever to cross 281.

Thursday Jan 17--Worked at FingerLakes Running Company from 12-3. Ran some errands in Ithaca then headed home. While Ashlee went off to the gym, I went for a nice run with my headlamps.  Ran about 75 minutes and 12 miles or so.  Went out through Homer onto 281 where the traffic is almost non-existent. It was a cold run on the way out but on the way back without the wind, my 4 layers made me feel nice and toasty. The run was very peaceful as the cars on 281 were minimal say maybe 2 or 3 that I caught.  I feel like I have everything in order for the most part as school is about to start again, I will have a steadier income, I have time to run and hang out with people, and chores around the home are getting done.  Ashlee and myself I think are finally adjusting to the big move and we are doing real well.

Friday  Jan 18---Worked at Olympia then headed home at 2. By 3:20 or so, I was out the door to run tempo some hills and enjoy the rare sunshine.  We have a few inches on fresh snow on the ground from the other day so the sun beaming off the snow was blinding. Luckily I brought along some shades for the trip.  I ran starting out along 13 out towards Truxton then veered off at Loring Crossings Road onto East River Road. From there, I hit the first right on Parks Road up the rolling inclines to the crest.  We have a very chilly blast of Canadian air making things pretty chilly.  My face was freezing on the way back as I hit some steep climbs.  Every incline I ran all out to the very full-on point of exhaustion.  Once I reached the top, I would let the downhill relax my aching legs.  I ran about 81:23 today which was a nice solid day. I put about 13-14 miles in and ran a nice strength workout.  I was probably running in the low 6:10 range sometimes maybe near 5:50 which is nothing too insane but fast enough to really stress my legs with climbing up some steep hills. Tomorrow, I am going to bundle up even more than today because it is supposed to be even colder maybe in the single digits.  This is winter in Upstate New York I guess....