Archive for August, 2011

I have been back in NYC for one week and I have experienced an earthquake  and a hurricane. Fortunately the hurricane did not do a lot of damage in NYC, but the surrounding areas got hit pretty hard.

In anticipation of the big storm I met my friend Les to do a 13 mile run on Friday night. It was really fun running in Central Park after dark with a nice cool rain. We ran until about 9:30pm that night. I woke up a bit sore. After 12 weeks of soft sand and nice trails the cement is a bit tough but I am sure I will get used to it quickly. I had an awesome run pre-hurricane on Saturday. It was raining then too, but it was nice and cool.

On Labor Day is another wonderful Holiday Marathon in the Bronx. I can’t wait. That will be a good day of some hilly, dirty, running. While I really miss the New Mexico mountains I am embracing the wet cool weather of NYC.

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Trade Offs

I am back in NYC. I traded the trails for the cement, snakes and coyotes for rats and throngs of humans (how human is debatable) Gee am I already hateful and I have not even been here 12 hours?! Instead of mountains I will be running bridges.

I am excited to be back. I was really excited to get a hair cut and be in a nice clean apartment that it not covered in sand. This sand problem has nothing to do with cleaning, I can sweep daily but there is no getting rid of sand in the desert.

The dogs are mad, they keep shooting me evil looks. But you know, after 18 years in this Manhattan neighborhood it just may be getting time for me to move on.

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I planned on driving back to NYC today, but, I didn’t run yesterday and I can’t run during my 4 day drive because of the dogs so I am staying an extra day, to run and “stuff.”

Conrad rolled in some cooking oil the neighbors threw out, then in sand so he is a big mess and needs washing. The car is packed but I have a slow leak in one tire, that needs repair.  I have all kinds of excuses to stay. The biggest is, if I arrive in Manhattan  Friday there will be no parking, I will have to carry my stuff several blocks because I can’t leave it in the car or my car will be broken into, so it is best to arrive Saturday morning when it is quiet.

Today begins the 12 week countdown to marathon and I have 7 x 1000 plus 2 miles warm up and cool down to do. If I can get up really early I can run 8 in the a.m. but it is pretty unlikely since I will be ready to drive.

That is all the news for today, I want to spend the rest of my time outside enjoying the dry desert air.

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I learned some good lesson yesterday while running the Alpine Vista Trail at the Santa Fe Ski Basin. The trail starts at 9,988 feet and goes continuously  to 12,024 in just 5.83 miles. That is a 6.6% grade.

I started out what I thought was very conservative knowing our high elevation and that the mountain only went up, no switchbacks or leveling off.  One of the guys and I took the lead of our group and we were all alone. At about a mile and a half I said “man, racing up this must be brutal.” There is a race in October called the Big Tesuque Trail Run.  He replied, “we are at race pace.” I looked at my garmin and said, “we are running 13:00 miles.” He said, “yes that is race pace going up.” And this is from a guy who is lightning fast. I looked up results from last year, the male winner was Mike Ehrmantraut – 1:25:40 (7:19 pace) his marathon pace three months previously was 6:06, not a PB, but to give you an idea. Lead woman was Rachel Earley – 1:31:28. The two slowest people ran 3:30 and 4:47 and they were 80 and 82 years old respectively!
A person can haul ass going back down the mountain, that is if they did not stupidly wear minimalist  shoes. Lesson No. 1. I wore my much loved New Balance Minimus but the rocks tore through my soles bruising my feel and sending tears to my eyes on more than a few occasions, so my downhill was slow and cautious with the exception of the last 1/2 mile when one of the women who blew me away on the downhill came back to help me out.  It was smooth at this point and we ran 7:30’s to the finish. Note to self, buy good sturdy trail shoes.
But here is the lesson I did not expect. As I was trotting up the mountain, my first partner took off and left me, one of the guys that had previously not been in sight came up behind me and actually walked by me. Huh? While I take the “I think I can” cho-cho train attitude and kept chugging along, Jim does a walk/run combo. He alternates about every minute or so.  When it is super steep or hugely loose rock gravel he walks. So I joined him. Heck if he was going to walk by my trotting I was going to try his method. It was awesome. Because we walked, my legs and hips got stretched out and when we ran, we  ran, not just shuffled. My time for the last two and most difficult miles was a whole minute per mile faster.  I was faster walk/ running than  trotting. So how does this effect HR training paces? Interestingly my heart rate fluctuated between 153 and 158, there was no large dip because we alternated so quickly and walked on the toughest areas.  That kept me right around my 80% MHR, which is  a bit harder than I need to run for  aerobic endurance, to metabolize fat, build capillary density, and facilitate more blood and gas transport. The real beauty of these tough runs is that while my mileage is low, especially for marathon season training,  my time spent running is good.  Last week’s run was over 3 hours and this weeks over 2 hours, so I am getting the time in and I feel that I am  greatly reducing my chance of injury by running short distances on the mountain rather was long, 18+ miles on the road.
I followed up my run with coffee and a brownie from the Chocolate Maven in SF and met my friend Lisa for a hike in La Bajada, NM to check out some petroglyphs. Here is a link to a meet-up groups photos. We hiked on our own, but being in direct 99 degree sun in the middle of the afternoon took it’s toll and we were out of them in under 3 hours but it was extraordinary.

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A quick update. I was getting bummed out because my tempo runs were getting slower every week with my HR getting higher. Well tonight, after 7 hours of standing in direct 100 degree sun at the Tewa Pueblo Feast Day, sweating my tail off I joined the Striders for our regular Thursday night run. At first I thought I really sucked because I was trailing behind the main group, struggling but still not keeping up. At the finish I checked my watch to find tonight’s 6 mile loop was two minutes faster than usual and I had the lowest HR yet. Finally after 10 weeks, maybe my body is responding.

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Run up Santa Fe Baldy, 12,622

I planned to hike with the Sierra Club today but at the last minute decided to trail run with the Santa Fe Striders. Both groups were doing the same mountain, Santa Fe Baldy, 12,622 ft. It would be my first trail run with the group and I was excited.

The morning was cool and overcast, 12 of us met at Fort Marcy Rec Center in Santa Fe and car pooled to the Santa Fe Ski Basin. The elevation at the ski basin is 10,083. We ran Winsor Trail which starts out very steep  climbing 600 feet in the first 1/2 mile and 926 ft in a full mile before dropping down. There were two steam crossings and several switchbacks that leads to  a trail junction at 11,000, 4.5 miles from the Ski Basin. The total distance from beginning to the top of Baldy is 6.5 miles. My Garmin recorded 4,617 ft of total elevation gain.

We had three groups of people, the super speedy, the middle, and the back. It was interesting because some of the super speedy were further back because the hills were so killer; the front pack was wildly strong and fast. I pretty much ran alone in the middle not seeing another person until we approached mile 3 when I started reeling in a couple of the guys who were not having a very good day.  I should say I did not see another runner. I ran into my Sierra Clubs buddies  a couple of miles in at that was really awesome.

The hills and rocks were taking a toll on everyone. We regrouped at the 4.5 mile marker and everyone turned back except for Eric and I, two people never  made it to the 4.5 mile marker. Eric and I  ran and power hiked to the top. About 200 feet below the summit there was a big herd of cattle. I saw the biggest bull I have ever seen in my life. I could not believe they were  there. Maybe it was a mirage, it was hard work getting up there.  Eric is a superstar runner so it is no issue for him. I think it was kind of him to power walk the huge rocky incline with me because I know he could have gone on. After climbing over about 1/2 mile of boulders  we came to a grassy path  and ran to the summit. From mile 5.5  to 6.5 there was 1279′ of elevation gain. That is some serious climbing.

The views at the top were spectacular.  We took photos, walked around and checked stuff out before heading back down. There were big storm clouds brewing.

I felt on top the world today.  It was a very steep climb but so rewarding. It was slow and to give you reference, my 1/2 marathon road mile splits were  between 7:30 and 8:00. My mountain trail run splits were between 12:00 and 23:40.  I hit 7:00’s and 8:00’s during those miles but that was in  bursts of a short downhill running. Most miles were between 12:00 and 15:00, obviously the 23:00 mile pace was a  power walk, or maybe just a walk.  The total uphill took me 1:51, which is wildly slow but I am super proud of it. The downhill was  faster. Total moving time from beginning to end according to Garmin was  3:18 with an overall time of 3:26 for the full 13 miles. I left my watch on during breaks so I assume that is the discrepancy. I may not be getting in my marathon training mileage but I am certainly getting in the time.

Normally hiking I take a pack with my headlamp, 3 liters of water, snacks, rain jacket, warm jacket, etc. Today I had on a t-shirt, shorts and carried one pint of Gatorade and two gels. Near the end my body felt good but I was out of gas to move any faster.  I ran a 12:00 pace for the last three miles, which unfortunately went back up hill after a downhill. At the finish Jim, the Striders President was there with Gatorade, water, cookies and  salted peanuts, it was awesome. I was so happy. I also loved that I had the whole day ahead of me. We were done at noon and if I was hiking with my Sierra Club buddies, it would have been great fun but we would not have finished before 4:00. The Sierra Club book states it is an 8 hour hike and they are always right on. Sometimes a 3.5 hour run is best way to go and today it really was. I can’t wait until next Sunday.

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