Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spring is finally upon us!

It's so nice to be running outdoors without having to bundle up in gloves, hats, tights and vests. Discovering some new local trails and lovin' it. I had a good solid week after Highland Forest...miles for week= 60

Tuesday-7.5 miles w/ Tim and Karen on Pink/Cayuga Trails
Wednesday- 9.5 miles (4 in morning at Cass Park...2 before lifting weights and 2 after; 5.5 in evening Cayuga Trail)...
Thursday- 10 miles- Abbot Loop in Danby
Friday- 5 miles w/ Eric at Buttermilk Falls' Larch Meadow Trail (speed work; mile repeats) 1 mile warm up... first mile= 6:10, second mile= 5:45, third mile= mile cool down
Saturday- 12 miles (8 w/ Eric on Cayuga/Pink Trails and 4 by myself at arboretum and Forest Home add on)
Sunday- 16 miles (Sapsucker woods to Cayuga/Pink Trails back to my apt.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Highland Forest 30-mile Trail Run

All I gotta say is WOW!... to the amazingly beautiful and difficult Highland Forest trail course. I did know the course somewhat from last year when i did one ten mile loop and remember it being a challenging event. The ten mile loop consists of some skiing trails and nature paths/gravel roads but mostly singletrack. There are parts that are, in my opinion, very difficult to run. I must say that this race is very well organized, stocked w/ food and energy drinks/gels and extremely well marked. There were not at any time moments of confusion on where to run. Michael arrived at my place early in the morning and hopped in my car for the hour or so ride to Fabius where we discussed some possible plans for the race. We decided that we would try and run with Eric Davis, who would be running 20 miles, and see how we felt from there. When Mark Driscoll (race director) sent us off the three of us took the lead. We were even ahead of the people that were doing the ten mile race but quickly agreed to let a couple of them go past for we had a long,long way to go. We were still moving at a pretty good clip though and it was so invigorating to be in this forest. The changes in elevation and terrain kept it interesting because we were constantly switching gears. Eric would open it up on the downhills and we would chase yelling and joking and having a blast. Then the uphills where i would walk portions and we would all switch out the lead. Eventually we came through the first ten mile loop in 1:20 and we were all feeling great! On we went for the second loop and discussed possibilities for, at least Michael and I, breaking the 4-hour mark. We agreed that it would be very difficult as the course was getting pretty sloppy in some parts from all the trail runners passing through very muddy spots. I started to notice a little strain in my hamstring on the second loop probably slightly tweaking it from jumping over a log or stream or something. Later in the loop probably around mile 17 or so i started feeling slight symptoms of possible cramping. "Oh boy, here we go" i thought but my hammy stayed pretty loose for the most part as i stretched it nicely when i walked the steep uphills. Michael and I ended up pulling ahead of Eric as we entered the start/finish area to begin our third loop and were pleasantly surprised that the second loop was a bit quicker than the first. I grabbed half a Kashi bar, some gatorade, an orange slice and headed off for the final lap. Michael explained that he wasn't feeling too good and was going to take it easy and then possibly pick it up later in the loop. I decided that i was just going to try and get this finished as fast as i could so i picked it up a little and got a little bit of a lead on him. About a mile and a half into the loop i started some minor cramping that slowed me down significantly. I knew it was just a matter of time until Michael caught me because i could hear him in the woods behind me. Eventually he did and passed me as i let out a couple of yelps when the cramps surfaced. I was feeling a little discouraged because this seems to happen all too often to me in races longer than 20 miles but i tried to stay positive and still have fun w/ it. As Michael moved on out of sight i just really focused on myself; fueling, shortening my stride a little, hydrating and giving thanks to be out in this beautiful environment. Before I knew it I was running strong again! I love when that happens. I kept looking at my Garmin GPS and, even though the miles were ticking by slowly, i was almost finished. I pretty much accepted that i wasn't going to make up the lost ground on Michael but still charged for second place and quality points for the Ultra Series. As i hit mile 28 and almost choked on a chips ahoy cookie i knew it was almost over. I made the final stretch through the open field and saw Eric clapping his hands and waving me in. It was also great to have the support of Tim and Karen who stuck around in the rain to cheer us on. As i approaced the finish line everyone was yelling for me to hurry and try to break 4:10... the clock read 4:09:45 and counting. I picked it up and sprinted the last 20 yards through the finish line with a time of 4:09:54 or so. I was so happy to be done and to bag a second place... and come to find out Michael was not even that far ahead of me. I really pushed the pace the final portion of the race... so that was a little boost of confidence. We hung out for a bit and ate some homemade soup with Joe,Lorrie,and Ed as some of the other ultra runners came trickling in. The ride home was a struggle to keep our eyes from closing but eventually made it safely. I have to say that i felt genuinely satisfied for this accomplishment today and had a great time with fellow runners and friends. Next Ultra: Highland Sky Trail Run (41 miles) Davis, West Virginia

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Semester done!

Thank god it's over...all in all it was a good semester and i feel that i did very well. It'll be nice to not worry about any least for the next couple of weeks until summer session begins! It's still been great making the transition from running road to trail...

Sunday 5/11- 5 miles on roads to shake out some of the soreness from Thom B. and get home from Scottie's garage after i dropped my car off to be fixed.
Monday 5/12- rest from running; light weight lifting
Tuesday 5/13- ran about 7 miles w/ high noon group (Adam,Eric, Bruce) w/ 2 minute 10k pace intervals.
Wed 5/14- ran the Buttermilk Falls Tortoise n' Hare trail route plus add on= 7 miles
Thurs 5/15- rest/ swam a little
Fri 5/16- easy 4 miles
Saturday- rest up for Highland Forest 30-miler on Sunday -- Should be cool, wet and messy...sounds fun!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thom B. 26K race (Hammond Hill State Forest) May 10,2008

Winning this race this morning was a nice way to start off my 2008 ultra-marathon season. I wanted to use this race as a long tempo trail run to prepare me for next Sunday's Highland Forest 30-mile ultra...and i defintely accomplished that! I started off w/ a few of the fast guys from the 13K and then decided to back off a bit since i would be running double. When i did that i was passed by Jason Clark. I yelled to him, "Hey, are you doing one loop or two?" He turned around and gave me a hand signal of two...whoa...he was movin'. I kept him in sight, eventually caught up to him and then chatted w/ him for a while. As we approached the first water stop i grabbed a quick cup and he didn't. This put some distance between us and i actually didn't see him for the rest of the loop. As i came into the start area for my second loop i grabbed a quick gatorade and asked the race director if anyone has started the second 8-mile loop yet. He informed me that i was in second place by one minute. As hard as it was i charged up the hill and, looking back, i believe this is where i caught him. I pursued Jason for about another mile until i recognized his lime green sneakers way off in the distance. This really motivated me. I kept picking it up every so often and eventually was right on his heels. I could see he was struggling a little bit so i exchanged a few words with him and charged on. It was so cool to be running next to this woman who was horseback riding. It seemed as when i came up on them the horse wanted to run w/ he did. At this point i was at about mile 12 and realized that i probably had it wrapped up... I was feeling great! I kept looking around at the beautiful scenery in this forest and at this time of the year you can get some pretty nice views in a couple spots. Then i kept looking at my GPS watch and realized that i could break 1:50 if i I did! The good news is that most of it including the final stretch to the finish line is downhill... I was catching air off some of the humps and definitely covering some ground quickly. As i came through the last bit of forest i saw and heard the gathering around the finish. That's a great sight! I looked at my watch and it read 1:49 and change and i felt very satisfied. It was great to hang out w/ the normal FLRC crew and enjoy the post-race snacks by the outdoor fireplace. So glad the snow has melted!!! Woohoooo!!!!!!!!! Next up:Highland Forest 30-miler (May 18th)which will score me points toward the WNY Ultra Series.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Ready for the trails!

Tuesday I did a nice 7-mile loop out by TC3 and ran the roads toward Greek Peak ski resort... with the semester coming to an end and me moving on I will miss those hilly country roads in Dryden. However, i will be running plenty of the trails just a few miles from there starting tomorrow in Hammond Hill Forest.

Wednesday morning early Ian picked me up and we met Eric S. and Andrew W. for a 13K trail run...(Thom B. run through) The trails were beautiful and it was nice and cool...what a great way to start the day!

Thursday afternoon i parked downtown Ithaca and ran up through the six-mile creek gorge area and ran aimlessly through many of the trails. Although my Garmin's battery died i estimated about 8 miles and also threw in a couple Buffalo St. hill repeats in...that felt good- I spent the rest of the day and night on Nobles Hill w/ my bro, sis n law, and two nieces---what a place out there too! I think i'm ready for Thom B. 26K tomorrow!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sunday May 4th, 2008- Ithaca YMCA Triathlon

An early morning downpour had me thinking about returning to my bed just minutes away from the YMCA but i waited it out and, eventually, it cleared up to be a beautiful day all around. I saw many familiar faces at this local, low-key triathlon and enjoyed chatting it up while they sent us off in heats every 15 minutes. I was in lucky number heat 13 with a couple other ITC members: Val Cross who I knew would be close to me in overall time and I shared a lane w/ president Herman Seiverding who would also probably finish pretty close to me. I started the swim pretty conservatively but was content w/ my finishing time of 7:24 for the 400meter swim. Next, i ran to the transition area to get on my bike. I had a terrible transition here... by the time i got everything situated i realized that i wasted some precious time and even the little uphill out of the parking lot prevented me from effectively clipping into my pedals. Finally i was off for 15 mile bike... The first half i felt pretty good and took a gel as i pumped up and down the same roads i marathon train on. The second half of the bike was rather windy and definitely slowed me down considerably... I did take a moment to reflect as i pedaled through the same intersection i was involved in terrible accident a couple years ago. I looked down at the ground where i had been lying in blood and excruciating pain and thanked god for allowing me to be here and able to do the things i'm doing today. As i sailed down Triphammer rd. to the transition area i was delighted to see my fiancee Erica standing in the entrance of the Y rooting me on. I had a really good transition here. I threw off my helmet, longsleeve shirt, and switched my shoes and began the five mile final leg of the race. I couldn't believe how well i felt as far as my legs go. I mean they definitely felt heavy for the first mile but once i motored up Dart Dr. hill i settled into a nice groove probably putting together a couple 5:35 miles. I grabbed a water at Cherry and Warren and descended into the residential area toward the finish. At this point i passed a couple ITC members..Hal and finally Herman but was really looking for Val. I turned the corner onto Triphammer and still couldn't see her. As i finally made it to the last turn by Watercress i saw her and she saw me and i think we both realized at that point that she got me. What a fun race! I beat my goal of 1:30 and just had a genuinely good time w/ friends. We had a nice brunch afterwards at Watercress and enjoyed each others stories and company.
In my typical triathlon stats...midpack in swim...pretty good bike and stellar run!
Swim= 61st
Bike= 34th
Run= 1st! Overall= 12th place ... Next up Thom B. 26K trail run!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Goals for 2008

When the new year started I made a long list of goals that I wanted to strive for. I've already attained a couple of them (Top ten at Disney Half marathon- 8th overall 1:15:06 and a personal record in the marathon distance in Boston by 25 seconds...whew! that was a close one 2:49:05).

Finishing up my degree was another goal so in August I will finish TC3 and transition into a Physcial Education program at SUNY Cortland in the fall.

Also, this fall I will turn 30 years young and I wanted to do something very memorable to start this new decade. I thought about skydiving or climbing some peak or even an Ironman competition. When out on a run with Sherry Golden discussing this topic she said, "Why don't you run the 100-miler that Ian is directing in the fall?" The timing is ideal and regardless if I finish or not it will be something that I will never forget...I'll think of something for my 40th, 50th, etc. along those lines too!

Also, another goal I set early this year was to be "The Western New York Ultra Runner of The Year"... there is a series of events that I can score in and i feel that as long as i stay healthy and consistent this something attainable for me. Check it out at A lot of these races will help me train for the 100 too. So buckle up !!!!... it's going to be a ride !!!!! See you on the trails!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My first day blogging

Thursday--- two weeks after The Boston Marathon (2:49:05) i feel pretty much recovered so i decided to jump into the Ithaca YMCA triathlon this sunday. I really like the distance (400 meter swim, 15 mile bike, and 5 mile run). This was the first triathlon i ever did in 2005 and also the same bike course i was involved in a near fatal accident two years ago. Needless to say there will be a lot of emotion as i cruise through that intersection on Sunday. I also plan on having a blast with friends and eating some good food afterwards at Watercress Restaurant (my workplace...i talked the chef/owner into opening since it's steps away from the transition area). This brief triathlon training has been great for my recovery from the 80+ miles/week training for Boston and should give me a nice segway into a much anticpated ultra-marathon season!

Getting Started