Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Weeknight training

With the park-o season wrapping up, CSU runners still need to train!  Tonight we ran two sprints, in Newton, on maps that Ed just made last weekend.  I think he spent two days and delivered two maps - that's pretty good for a weekend's work!  We had pretty good attendance, 11 runners came to do the two sprints, and followed it up with dinner at our place.  All training should be followed with food, I think.

It felt awesome to really push the pace.  I felt like I was just rolling through the course; definitely tired legs from yesterday's trail tempo workout with the juniors, but I have two qualifiers in a row at WOC coming up pretty soon, so it's good to push the tiredness!  The maps are of pretty small areas, but Ed set good courses, and because the terrain was so open and fast, I definitely outran my brain more than once.  That's the goal!

The first sprint was at the Newton City Playground, which had some really interesting little route choice options.  I lost precious seconds from 4-5 going north (d'oh!), and should have thought to take the right-hand route from 5-6, saving even more seconds.  Just because I'm not racing the sprint at WOC doesn't mean I can't run good sprints!  Another mistake at 8 when I went up the wrong trail, and then some confusion at 13, but overall, quite a good run.

Once everyone had finished up, we jogged over to Newton City Hall, for the second pain-fest of the evening.  This one, I thought that the stupid loop around the lake was just gratuitous running, but it turns out it was enough to make me skip a control!  Not acceptable.  I never went to 7, didn't even see it.  Booo.  It was good to have the course finish with some fast open running, because I had to dig deep to try and keep moving.  I averaged 4:45/km on this course, which doesn't sound super fast, but that's pretty good for including all the accelerations at controls and the mistake at 2!  Despite the mispunch, I feel pretty good about this sprint, too.

Now I'm properly wiped.  Time for some more technical training in the forests, and to recover a bit.  Sometimes I love the feeling of tired legs a little too much...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lafayette ridge

The day after the Mt. Washington race, I'd scheduled an adventure run with some of the CSU junior ladies, and two other coaches, Sue and Kathy.  We ran over the Lafayette ridge, up the skookumchuk trail and down falling waters, and it was a perfect mountain day.  This put me back into a happy spot, I love running in the mountains.  We ended the run with some ice cream, the proper reaction to running in mountains.

Looking toward Garfield.

A fine lookin' group of ladies atop Lafayette

My favorite ridge.

Lafayette, from Lincoln.

Sue and Kathy.  We've all three determined that we need to stop hanging out with each other, because clearly, we just encourage each other's craziness!

Sonya taking in the view.

Shining rock!

Tempted to slide, if it didn't end in a waterfall...

How many photos do I have of myself over the years in this same spot?

Kathy, post head-dunking.  this is why we get along.

From there, I headed southwest, and landed in Peekskill NY, for a low-key week of orienteering training based out of my friend Neil's house.  The first two days I was joined by a Finnish couple, on holiday to NYC, who really wanted to run at Harriman.  They were crazy fast.  After they left I stayed on for another few days, finally leaving on Thursday, having racked up something like 19 hours of orienteering.  It is so great to have such awesome technical terrain within driving distance!  Or in Neil's case, within walking distance - he lives ON the Blue Mountain map!  This did make it a lot easier to get in a solid couple hours of work in between trainings, which was a prerequisite of going down there.  

Blue Mountain is a pretty technical place... take away all the features except contours, and it gets nigh on impossible.  Yikes!

Some more technical training on Polebrook, in Harriman.  A control pick, followed by a line, that eventually I bailed on because I got sick of the rocks.  Then more controls.  

Longer route-choice-y training on Hoegencamp map, this one with the Finns.  Saw lots of snakes on this map!  I was convinced they were all poisonous and definitely hungry for some human flesh.  They were THIIIIIIIIIIS big!

And some speedwork - O'tervals!  Definitely managed to outrun my brain - check out the wanderings around #7.  Oops.

The final exercise, on Rockhouse Mountain.  All the white woods were super thick with high blueberries, which made it tough to run through.  This was also the first day where it got stupid hot, so that lake was a welcome sight on my jog back to the car!

Back in Boston-land now, attempting to not melt in the heat as I futz with model variables.  At least when you're running you get a slight breeze... 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mt. Washington road race

I don't know if I've ever picked an "A" race to train for.  Usually, I have a "season", and I'm trying to hold my form through the entire thing.  When you're peaking for an entire season, when you have bad races, you just sort of forget about them and wait for a good race, which inevitably comes.  That said, I tend to be fairly scientific about recording what affects my good races, and what I've done to cause my bad races, and at this point I have a good handle on what my body needs prior to a race to make it a good race, from training sessions months ahead of time to what I eat for breakfast.  So, signing up for a race and choosing to make it an "A" race - one that you train specifically for, that you care about a whole bunch - that didn't seem like that big a deal.  I'm good at this stuff.

Mount Washington is high, and while I've been up it a few times before, I've never raced up it.  Rob's done this race 29 times, and I figured if he's done it that many times, it's either totally awesome or he's a total nutcase.  I entered the lottery, my name got pulled, and I started training for this beast.  Maybe I was TOO mentally prepared - I had input from a bunch of different people about what it would be like, how much you suffer, or how much you can't let yourself suffer because there's no coming back.  Everyone has their own theories.  The best was the guy I met in the porta-potty line who makes his own shoes for this race, by adding an extra sole to his existing shoes in order to raise his heel, to put less pressure on his calves.  Wacko, but not totally implausible.  Anyway, after doing a good bit of hill-running this spring, I felt like I had a good idea of how hard I could go up the big hill, and how fast I would do it.  I was a little nervous, but pretty excited to see what I could do.

The day dawned sunny and warmer than I'd anticipated.  Hopefully it would be cooler above treeline, but unfortunately it wasn't.  I was most scared of starting too fast, since that is typically what I do, so I lined up somewhere in the middle of the 1200 runners.  The gun went off, and it took 14 seconds to get to the start line - that's a new experience for me!  There wasn't room to run, just jogging, and it was hard not to get too excited passing people.  Once we hit the hill things spaced out a bit.  Within a few minutes I had room to run my own race, so I did.  No different than my training runs, heartrate hovering in level 2, this was comfortable.  Now it's time to just hurry up and wait, legs ticking over and over and over and eventually I'll get to the top.

The sun was hot, though.  By the second water stop, just before mile 3, I already had heat shivers.  Took two glasses of water and walked through until I'd drunk both of them, poured a third on my head.  Things kind of started to get bad around there, though.  My legs started to burn, despite a relatively low HR.  I started to do some walking, and people started to pass me.  My mile splits were getting more and more pathetic, way outside the range of what I'd expected for time.  This was pretty disappointing.  Mile 5, where you're just chugging along the dirt bit on the eastern side of the mountain, and it just goes straight forward and straight up forever - that part sucked.  Who am I kidding, pretty much everything from mile 2 onward sucked.  It was down to a mental game of counting steps, forcing my plodding self onward.  Because not only do I not drop out of races when I've got nothing worse than a blister, there was nowhere to drop out TO in this race.  The only salvation would be at the top.

I got there eventually.  Three minutes later than any of my predicted times, which spanned a 12-minute range.  I really hate it when I don't meet my own expectations, and it's taken a few days of self-loathing to decide that yes, I am still an athlete.  I don't know why I did so poorly in this race, but stewing about it isn't helping anything.  I'll probably be back some day, because I feel like I have something to prove, but I sucked enough at it that I'm not jumping into saying I'll enter the lottery next year.

It's always so weird to get to the top of Mt. Washington and find all this civilization.  At least this time it was less weird, since I did go up a road.

Jess was there with her team, and she did great.  So speedy!

After running up, Jess and Graham and a friend of Jess's coach decided to hike down.  We went down the Tuckerman ravine trail, and that hike went a long way toward restoring my sanity.  

Clouds moving in on the headwall.


Cool waterfalls.  I skied down that shit??


One last remaining snow bridge.  So cool!

Hi tucks!

Jess and Graham

me and Jess

Then we sat around a campfire drinking home-made apple wine, and life got even better.

More Hurricane Irene damage - all sorts of braided rivers where we used to have channels.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

A haircut

This may be the most girly thing I ever write about on here.  I gave myself a haircut today.  Occasionally I chop off bits of hair around my face, but I've never gone for a full-bore haircut before... that's scary.  But, I read a bunch of things on the web, and since the internet never lies, I decided to give it a try.  The method people were suggesting was basically to make a ponytail on top of your head and lop off the end.  Hmmm.  You could also just flip your head upside down and cut a straight line in front of your face.  Well, I can cut a straight line.  Let's do this.

Too long. Too scraggly.  

Yarrr!  Attack hair with scissors!
Well... at least there's a lot less of it.

Dry.  Yup, definitely layers, definitely bouncier.  I think that'll do!