111 miles in August! WooHoo.. first 100 mile month this year

FINALLY! Was so close in July (89) but travel and a really bad cold cut the miles.

2015-08-30 07.01.22 Saw a couple of real turkeys at the start of the run

Okay, so what’s been up since I last posted? Running…. what else, right (well, work, etc). Yesterday was my 17 mile run and I messed up and hit the save button at around 2 miles on my watch. SO, starting over, I had to get 15 more miles to make the 17 miles. I did the Balanced Rock loop (about 10 miles) and added a run around our local high school and one of the elementary schools to make it 12 miles as ran back passed my home to reload my water/sports drink bottle and eat a power bar (didn’t go in, just stayed on the roadside).

2015-08-30 08.32.16 Heading east on Wallace Hill Road just off NY116 in South Salem NY

I felt quite strong the first 6 to 8 miles but then it was like the tank just ran dry! It was very humid but only 81 degrees and as I was running around 9am, the sun wasn’t that strong yet. Not sure why I had such a struggle but that is the way of running! Some days, the dragon almost wins!

2015-08-30 09.31.35 Local Soccer Match between two local geese teams at Scottland Elementary School!

I was doing some quick mental calculations to figure out how to make the run be exactly 17 miles and made a few changes as I ran. I realized about 1.5 miles out from home that I was really 2.5 miles from home. Talk about being an unhappy camper! Given I was slogging along and NOT having fun at this point, I wasn’t going to give in so I made a sharp right hand turn and headed down Main Street to Copps Hill Plaza and then a left to head back up to North Street. A quick right and left through a local cemetery and boom, I was back on track. I will tell you that those last 2.5 miles were a struggle. I walked some, stopped some, but I kept on in a forward direction :)

2015-08-31_15-38-46 My route map. You can click on this to make it larger. You see how hilly my course is too. The really wavy line is my pace, NOT constant!

Got to love how the second half of my run was mostly uphill vs. the first half. Hmmm, I must enjoy pain.. :)

Side note, the day after, I am feeling pretty good! Not sore, and just a minimal level of tiredness. I did go to bed at 8:30 Sunday night so those 9 hours of sleep may have helped!

Until next time, Run Safe and Run Strong!

Hills, hills, hills, ……. (hills are good for you, right?)

2015-08-02 07.13.10 Moon setting over pond around mile 2

This past Sunday I logged a 14.1 mile run rather than the 9 mile run scheduled. The 14 mile run should have happened this coming Sunday but I will be out of town traveling and I didn’t want to miss NOT doing the run! So, off I went to put in my 14 miles. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning! 59 degrees, bright sunshine at 6:30 AM as I headed down the road.

As always, my long runs are slow, about 90 seconds off my hoped for marathon pace so I was finding myself running about a 12 min mile. Now, for most of you, that is CRAWLING! But, I was okay with it :)

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2015-08-02 08.02.55 Vail Lane in North Salem, NY

Around mile 7, I was up on Vail Lane. Getting here the way I chose was not an easy task. The vertical distance from the lowest point of the run (mile 5.2) to the top of Vail Lane is about a 200 feet over less than a mile. Okay, western mountain types and such, don’t laugh. It still gets you breathing harder.. haha. Once at the top, it is a beautiful horse farm meadow and very flat. Always a stunning view as you can see by the photos above.

From there, I worked my way north and east to Spring Valley Road back in CT. Lot’s of down hill (yay) and shaded lanes of tree lined roads. So peaceful.

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I am so blessed to be able to run in such beautiful country!! Going to take two days off to let myself recover and then back on plan. :)

Until next time, Run Safe, Run Strong!

12 Miles at dawn…… (sounds like a book title, doesn’t it?)

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Having missed my 12 mile run this past Sunday and not wanting to fall behind in the training, I finally got my 12 miles in (well, 12.5!) this morning! Of course it’s supposed to be the hottest and most humid day of this current heat wave so I set the alarm for 4:30 AM to be sure to get some breakfast before I headed out. One small bowl of Cheerios later, I was out the door at 5:02 AM to find it a delightful 67 degrees! Still quite dark, I headed south on North Street into the center of town. Oh, did I mention that the humidity was about 85%? Needless to say, after about 1 mile, I was already “glistening”, no, I was SOAKED :)

Following the rules of a long run, I made this an LSD run. Long, Slow, Distance. Knowing I had 12 miles to run, I kept the pace VERY slow.

The photo at the top was taken in town just as the dawn was starting. Very subtle colors, very pretty. I didn’t see any cars the first 2 miles of the run!

I continued south to my turn point and then west a spell and then headed back north to begin my return leg. When I got to the high point of the run (High Ridge Road, good name, right?), the sun was just rising.

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The first part of the course was primarily uphill for about 4 miles. The next part was 4 miles of downhill! Love when that happens (I did sort of plan it that way :) ) Continuing north, I found RT116 and ran to the high school and then looped back east to Ledges Road and then south to find North Street and home.

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Respecting my age (don’t go there.. haha), I knew my pace would be between 11:30 and 12 / mile. For so many of you, that is crawling! I was fine with it. I am not a fast runner but I do try to always finish what I start. I got home around 7:20 just in time to get ready for work.

Afterthought; A 12.5 mile on a very humid morning after getting up at 4:30 AM is not recommended if you want to feel totally awake and fresh at work! :) Let’s put it this way, I am on my 3rd cup of coffee and it’s only 11:15 :)

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Until next time Run Safe, Run Strong!

The hazy days of summer training

2015-07-28 07.01.24 Along my run this morning…

Not too much to report so far. Had planned on doing a 12 mile run this past Sunday but I held off as I found myself dealing with allergies! Thought it was a cold coming on but it wasn’t. (That was the good news!)

Told myself I would do the 12 miler today Tuesday but when I got up at 4:10 AM, the fog was so thick outside, I felt it wasn’t a safe option to run both in the dark and FOG. Went back to sleep for 90 mins and then put in a 6 mile run. The fog was burning off and it was only 71 degrees but wow was it HUMID!

Now, I cannot put off the 12 mile run so I must do it tomorrow Wednesday.I am doing the Hal Higdon Intermediate One Marathon Training program for the Marine Corp Marathon on October 25th and really want to follow it correctly. Of course, this will be the HOTTEST day of the heat wave :) Not too worried about the heat at 4:30 am but the air quality and humidity should be interesting. This will be my first time ever running 12 miles and then going to work :)

Stay tuned! Now that I have put it out there, I have to run, right?

Until next time, Run Strong, Run Safe!

Colorado running!

My family and I were blessed to have a nice vacation in the high country of Colorado over the July 4th weekend and into the following week! It was a wonderful time having all of us together watching the parade, fireworks, walking, and exploring! 2015-07-05 12.18.18

After the kids left, we stayed through Friday and I got in a few runs :)

2015-07-09 07.24.58 A view from one of the trails I ranTen Mile Peak and Peak 1

My first run was with my daughter Kara! She and I are both running the Marine Corp Marathon in October. What a great way to start our training! Running at 9100 feet with only 2 days acclimation! The results? We got in THREE miles before we died! Kara could have gone much further if it weren’t for my needing to stop for O2.. lol Anyway, it was a good run and we enjoyed it :)

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The next day, I headed out for a 4 mile run up the trail that goes from Frisco to Copper Mountain and then on to Vail Pass. What a neat trail! Paved, of course, for the bike riders, it follows Ten Mile Creek and I70 west. Again, as I wasn’t really ready for the altitude, my pace was SLOW but I did it and felt good after. Here are a few photos from that run:

2015-07-07 09.25.46 Ten Mile Creek

2015-07-07 09.15.39 Trail to Copper Mountain and on to Vail Pass

I gave myself a days rest and then decided to run south on the same trail system (Summit County trail system) towards Breckenridge. I began to psych myself for an 8 mile run. Crazy, right? 9100 to 9200 feet with lots of small hills along the route. It was an out and back run. Waking up at 6:30 AM, I headed out in a BRISK 39 degree day with the sunshine starting. It felt GREAT!!!

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2015-07-09 07.21.00 Ten Mile Peak and Peak 1

I have to tell you, it was an amazing run! Very few folks on the trail aside from the “commuters” on bikes riding between Frisco and Breckenridge. Stunning views, bright sunshine, it was so much fun. YES, I was slow and YES, I really felt it around mile 6 but I finished the run :) I was blown away that I was able to do that distance at that elevation with only 5 days at altitude. (okay, I will stop patting myself on the back now).

We finished out the last two days in Frisco and headed back down towards the Greeley area for the last 3 days of the trip. I did get in one more 5.5 mile run at 4400 feet (wow, what a difference!! pace was strong!) near my parents old house (which we were selling).
2015-07-12 07.40.25 Farm Land by my parents old house. Can you say FLAT? :)

2015-07-12 08.01.07 Shadow Selfie

Until next time, “Run safe, Run Strong!”

Back in training!

Sunrise near the Hickories Sunrise on my morning run in Ridgefield this week

FINALLY I’m back! Hey, it’s only been a year or so, right? I can find a number of excuses on why I stopped blogging (burn out, tired, busy, etc) but, since no one reads this, who cares! :)

Anyway, I am back with my 2015 goal of running the 40th anniversary Marine Corp Marathon with my daughter Kara! Totally pumped about this and looking forward to the start of my 2015 marathon training season.

So, what was I doing the last year (with respect to running, of course)? Ran a few races!

Hartford Marathon 2014! 5:04:30 A totally unexpected time! Rained the entire 26.2 miles. Now I know I can run in the rain :)

Weston Reservoir Run 2014! My third time running this and again, an excellent and beautiful course. I have written about it here before.

Redding Run for the Cows 2015! My third time running this race as well. Probably THE best half marathon course and race I participate in. The race director and his team just do an amazing job every year!!

Marine Corp Historic Half Marathon in Virginia 2015! I ran this with my daughter Kara and one of her very good friends Abby.323620_197697839_XLarge Was a very warm and HUMID day there. Great race, excellent post race support and great crowds along the very historic course. 323621_198048943_XLarge (1)

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At some point, I will try to do race reports for each of the races listed above along with photos. Not today. I just wanted to get the blog started and up and running again so I am COMMITTED to doing this :)

I have been getting over a silly cold for the past two weeks which really killed any running to speak of. Starting Monday of this week I ran the following:

Monday 5.2 miles 5:30 AM
Tuesday 6.1 miles at 5:30 AM (that’s where the sunrise photo at the top of the blog came from)
Wednesday 4.1 miles at 12:00 Noon on the North County Trailway in Westchester County

I travel to Colorado on Thursday for 11 days so I will be reporting on runs from the trip soon!

My 2015 marathon training has officially begun as of today! It will be SUCCESSFULLY completed on Sunday October 25th in Washington DC when i complete my 9th marathon running the 40th MCM!!

Until then, run hard, run safe, have fun!

110.4 miles

Google ChromeScreenSnapz009 110.4 miles in July!

The last two weeks of July marked the start of my formal training for the Hartford Marathon this October (as I mentioned in my last blog). The plan has me running about 36 miles a week (so far) and that was quite the jump up from my normal 20 to 25 miles. One nice thing about the increased miles is I passed the 100 mile / month mark! First time since 2012 and that marathon training year.

It’s funny how these artificial milestones become so important to me. I may have mentioned in past years (in the blog) that I am a distance junky. If I don’t pile on the miles, then I feel like I am not pushing. I know that isn’t true as there are some short distance workouts that would kill me (short term pain vs the long term pain of distance?). Hitting that 100 mile mark felt good and I am quite sure that I will do so in August and September as I peak the training for October 11th. Right now, as of August 5th, I am 564 miles for 2014. In 2013, I almost made 900 and back in 2012, I hit 1021 (if i recall correctly). What that really translates into is TWO pairs of running shoes each year! :) Let’s see how 2014 turns out.

Lake Mamanasco Lake Mamanasco State Park in Ridgefield, CT Click to enlarge

This past Sunday was my 15 mile long run. The clouds kept the temperature down to about 75 (vs the normal 85+ this time of summer) but the humidity was up there around 68%. I modified my route to stay a bit closer to home and included the nice (and very FLAT) run along Lake Mamanasco. I did this last Sunday as well and it’s a delightful new addition to my running routes. Only 3 miles from home, in all 15 years of my running in the area, I haven’t really used it as part of my distance training.

Still keeping it close to home, I ran around our local high school/middle school complex and then did 3/4 of a mile on the outdoor track. After about two laps, I remembered how much I do NOT like running in circles (okay, ovals) and headed out across the lacrosse field to find a way back to the road. Having not run here since my daughter graduated from high school four years ago, I didn’t know they had installed a nice new high security fence (way over on the other side) and locked up the old gate that I used to go through to get to the field. This exciting discovery, at around mile 11.5, convinced me that I had to backtrack around the complex to find someway out! I finally found the old steps that lead up to the upper level and the tennis courts. I bounded up those steps, haha, NOT A CHANCE, rather I SLOWLY walked up those long step steps, to the top and regrouped to head home. In the end, It was fun and now I know about the new fence! :)

Google ChromeScreenSnapz008 Screenshot from NikePlus of my run. Click to enlarge

The Hickories Field at The Hickories. Click to enlarge

Earlier in the week I ran my 7 mile run and found myself running past one of the remaining working farms in Ridgefield. It’s called the The Hickories and it is very focused on Community Supported Agriculture. I could hear the goats and sheep calling in the distance as I ran by (I am sure they were commenting about the old / slow / silly runner going by in the heat of the afternoon).

pink flowers
I am always on the lookout for things to photograph with my phone when I am running. I post many of them to Facebook as a part of my “Along the run…” series. Sometimes, flowers and closeup shots of things take precedence over scenic views (like when the weather is cloudy or I just can’t find something else to photograph!) Truth is, it is a nice excuse to stop and take a short break on the run as you need to take time to smell the flowers, right? :)

This week is a sort of taper week with a half marathon on Sunday. I am not running a scheduled one but I will run the Ridgefield Half Marathon route as if it was live and see what I can do with my time! Let’s hope for LOW humidity and LOW temperatures!

Until next time…..

Run Safe and Run Strong!

Hartford bound….October 11th!

2014-07-22 06.00.28 Sunrise along the run last week

About two weeks ago, I signed up to run the Hartford Connecticut Marathon. This will be my 8th marathon and I am excited to nail this one down on October 11th! I had been back and forth in my mind as to which marathon to run this year and Hartford won out as it was the most convenient one to run this fall being only 50 miles away. Thinking about some cool destination marathons for future years.

Having committed myself to the marathon, it was time to get my “training” a bit more formalized. Two years ago, when I ran the Air Force Marathon, I followed Hal Higdon’s Intermediate One Marathon plan and it served me well! I still poked around at a few others but I like how he has laid it out and decided to give it another go this year. You can find this plan at

http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51139/Marathon-Intermediate-1-Training-Program

The plan is for 18 weeks which is a bit longer then I need and I was comfortable with half marathon distances (having run two this spring). I worked the plan finish date (October 11th) backward and found myself landing in week seven as my “starting” point.

Interesting factoid, week seven is a 36 mile week! I haven’t run a 30 plus mile week in ages (like 2012!). Right now, this summer, I was averaging about a 25 to 28 mile week in my normal routine. So, taking a deep breath, I dived in :)

37.1 miles later (I tend to run a bit more each time then the planned distance), I finished the “first week” of my formal training! I DID it and wow was I tired! Okay, for most of you, a 37 mile week is sort of a yawn thing but for me, at my age (62 just this past Saturday) it took a bit out of me (actually, it took a LOT out of me!) One key thing to point out is that both days were very high humidity (thankfully, they were cooler in the 80s). The first 10 miles of the Sunday run felt pretty good but those last four just trashed me. I ended up with an over 12 minute / mile pace. Oh yes,forgot to mention, had a wonderful thunderstorm at mile 12 to make it even more interesting :):)

2014-07-27 11.33.05

Time to regroup? Well, first thing I did was to take TWO rest days after the weekend. Saturday was a 7 mile run and Sunday was a 14 mile run). I was supposed to take only one day (cross train) and hit the road this morning with an “easy” 4 miles. I knew yesterday (Monday) that I needed two days rest to recover. So, now what to do the rest of the week? The plan says 7 miles on Wednesday, 4 miles Thursday, REST Friday, and then 7 miles Saturday and 15 miles Sunday. What I think I will try to do is 7 miles Wednesday, 5 miles Thursday, rest Friday, and then the normal weekend. His plan clearly states that the TWO weekend runs are designed for a purpose,

“..pace runs are placed on Saturdays ahead of the long runs on Sundays for a purpose. The main reason is to tire you out a bit in the first workout Saturday so you are not tempted to do the second workout Sunday too fast. It is also difficult to hit race pace on Sunday the day after a draining long run. Some runners ask if they can split these two workouts, for example, running pace on Friday and long on Sunday. They can, but it defeats somewhat the purpose of two “hard” workouts back to back on Saturdays and Sundays. Most runners have more time for their training on the weekends. So modify the program if you want, but if you make too many modifications, you’re not following the program.”

I was about to move that Saturday run to Friday! So, let’s try it again this weekend and see if I survive better this time. :)

Stats from this past Sundays run are below:
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Early morning runs are back! :)

As hard is it may be to rise and shine around 5:15 AM, the effort is well worth it! This morning I got out for my first early morning run of the 2014 season. No music, just the sounds of the birds (so many of them!!), watching the sunrise begin, and the feeling of starting the day off the right way.

Saw a couple of the “regular” early morning runners from past years but I did start late (5:35 vs my old 5:15 start from last year) so many may have already past by the route where we see each other.

Running into town and down main street in Ridgefield is so nice. No traffic (aside from those who have to be at work at 6am) and everything so quiet and fresh. I ran 6 miles yesterday afternoon at work so my legs weren’t as fresh as I would have liked but I still felt good. I normally don’t eat anything before I go out on these so the “tank” was a bit empty as I finished the last mile or so.

I won’t have a chance to do another early morning run for about 10 days as I will be traveling with my wife and son to our daughter’s college graduation (yay Kara!!) and then in NYC for meetings Mon-Wed of next week. I will get in at least one run in NYC and try to explore more the running routes along the East River like I did a year ago.

Until next time, “Run Strong and Run Safe”!

Slowly starting back…

Interesting how my recovery from the half marathon in Redding has gone. I pushed hard in the race trying to beat last years time but missed by 3 minutes. Checking some stats, I found I was 4 pounds heavier this year and the wind was stronger. Okay, I will suggest that these were the things that made me slower. I did about the same amount of training before the race including some good solid long runs over 13 miles in the weeks prior to the race. Now, my time is S L O W compared to many runners but it’s MY time and I like to push against it and improve. I REALLY hurt the next day (sore in many places I never was sore before) and I allowed myself another day to rest. On Wednesday, I went to our indoor track (well, a carpeted balcony around the basketball court here on campus) to do an “easy” three miles. SURPRISE, after only a mile, I was not feeling the love :) I pushed to get two miles in and called it a day. Time to think about this recovery and what I need to change. I have another half marathon on June 22nd and hope to run a full marathon this fall (still picking it).

Over the past two years, I have been doing my own training plans for my half and full marathons. Times were slow but I just accepted the fact that getting older, etc. were the factors. Age, of course, has much to do with it! I don’t think I will ever see my PR times from 2006 where I had my best 5K, half marathon, and marathon times ever. However, I do feel that I can do better if I focus and train correctly. I pulled out some old books I purchased way back when I started running 15 years ago about how to train and prepare for half and full marathons and low and behold, I found I had forgotten SO much about the process. True, I build up my millage and do all that stuff but I was NOT at all focusing on how to improve CORE strength, my stride, breathing, pacing, and so forth.

Time for a change! I am going to find a good plan and apply those basic techniques to see how much improvement I can make in my times AND my recovery after. I really don’t want to feel like I have felt this past week. Proper preparation will go a long way to having the strength to finish strong and recovery correctly.

My goal is to use the equipment at the fitness center here on campus 3 times a week to build my core. With summer coming, I can start running in the early mornings at 5 AM. I love running at that time so this will work allowing me gym time at lunch on my non-running days. Core alone will make a huge difference and the expanded running will help with the weight loss.

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Good intentions mean nothing without putting it out there in public and being held accountable :) So, I will work on logging my workouts and milage and weight as this gets started and see what happens!