Monday, May 29, 2006

Cabot Trail race(s) report

Where to start? It's a long story and don't have much time on my hands lately. In fact, it's now 2 days later and I'm still hobbling around not able to run because of very sore muscles. But what a nice weekend with a great team of fun loving people!

The drive down was a long one, leaving St. Andrews at 830am and not arriving in Baddeck till 5pm. This little town in Cape Breton is the basecamp and ending point for the relay. That night it was meet and greet the old and new team members over a few 'pops' (I mean beer) and a late buffet meal where I ate way too much food. Anthony, our team captain, also sprung the question as to whether I would do a 2nd leg, since we had a late dropout and would otherwise need to take a maximum time for a leg. Being an obvious sucker for punishment I thought about it for about 5 seconds before saying 'Sure, why not, as long as they are on different days?'. And also thinking that it could be just and easy run/warmup before the final leg on Sunday. We got to bed around midnight with wakeup for 530 to get to the startline for the 1st leg at 7am. The 'way too much food' thing kept me tossing and turning all night and didn't get more than a couple of hours shuteye (this is really not the way to get ready is it?)

Saturday was pouring rain at the start but mild temperatures at least and little wind. As the official team photographer my job was to get as many pictures (here) as possible of each runner on his/her leg. The Cabot Trail relay race is unusual in the way that the 17 legs are run as 17 separate mini races with all the runners starting together at the start of each leg. After the start the timing people leapfrog to the end of the leg which is the next starting location and setup the electonic timing for the finish. A red lantern vehicle follows the last runner (someone has to be last) for each leg and the entire race stays relatively together for the 26+ hours of the event. However with 63 teams of 17 runners and their entourage it can get quite crowded on this little 2 lane highway in the mountains of the Cabot Trail. The nice thing about this format is that all runners can feel like they are in a 'race' and not just running alone on a deserted highway with only their teammates on occasion. Instead you get teams in costume like the gnome team shown here and many other pics on my site.
And then you get various 'themed' water stops which all compete to be the most creative and outlandish. The winner is voted at the end of the race and the team gets a free entry into next year's race. The best one that I saw was the group with the Elvis theme in the 1st leg here, complete with loud music of course!
Is this a decent water stop 'or what'?
This crazy is one of the race committee volunteers doing traffic control, 'would you believe?' Does it look like we're having fun in the steady rain yet?
Another great water stop team on top of Smokey mountain, the 1st major climb, with our team captain snuck in with the 'chicks'. It's an all women team with the great name of 'Chicks Running Clicks'. There are some really creative names in the list of teams on the website. So most of the day I had fun following our team around the trail with a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that there was something that I had forgot to do.
Oh yes, here's our team, Aliant High Speed's water stop with the Mexican theme and music. It was good but not outstanding. You really have to go over the top here to get noticed ;-) This was just before my first 17.5km leg (#6) which started at 1530. The leg has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 and is described as:
"The scenery on this seacoast run will captivate you despite a couple of long challenging hills. This leg climbs to the finish at Cabot High School on the right. Elevation 90m. Be prepared for strong coastal breezes."

Let me tell you that I don't remember much about the 'scenery' on this course, it seemed to be all hills that never ended. The start was fast and smooth and the sun had just come out again but the winds were starting to pickup a bit into our faces for most of the route. My 'plan' was to try to take it real easy with heartrate as a guide in order to save energy in the legs for the next day. The 'plan' was a complete failure as no matter how hard I attempted to 'go slow' and take it easy, every time the watch was saying 'slow down', 'too hard', with HR pushing 160 which is over 95% of max for me.
Here's all the geeky data but the key is that you can see I'm steady in zone 5 which is 90% plus for most of the race. Duh, and there was nothing I could do but keep running... You can see there were some pretty good hills too from the green line. slowing down seemed to make no difference, even walking on a few hills and so plan B was to just hook up with other runners and try to run easily with them.

In the 2nd 1/2 of the race began trading the lead back and forth with a female runner that looked familiar and turned out to be G from Saint John. G has done the Ironman and is a top local marathoner and was feeling a bit off today because of a long bike ride earlier in the weekend. She welcomed my company recognizing me but warned that she was not going to be very talkative. Fine, it was nice to have someone to work with and try to keep me under control. We started cruising along nicely and began passing more and more people with special effort for the opposing women runners (G is very competitive, even when tired). The best pass came withing 500m of the finish line on a long grinding uphill. We cruised by the unsuspecting lady on the dirt shoulder with me in the middle hiding G on the inside.
Here we are cruising in to the finish at last and boy was it nice to finish! And who is that guy with the 'skinny' legs? After my 'race' we hung around for a couple of more legs before heading back to the hotel for the night. The drive back took almost 2 hours but we saw some incredible scenery and also encountered a terrified baby moose running down the highway without his mommy (poor baby).
Sorry this post is getting so long but it's hard to do justice to all that happened etc. That night was another late one after having problem getting some food in Baddeck but at least I got a bit more sleep. Slept in till 630 and arrived at my leg start in lots of time for the 945 start. However, I didn't watch too closely and almost missed the start while getting my gear and drinks together. This was a beautiful morning with only a few clouds and light winds. This was a bit of a strange run in that it was a complete opposite to the 1st leg as far as HR went. No matter how hard I worked the HR was low compared to the perceived effort and speed. You can see from the profile and hills that it was not exactly flat and the rating of 4.5 was the same as my other leg.
At least it had a nice downhill finish at the end and all the runners in this leg felt like heroes with the crowds from all the teams lining the finish in Baddeck. What a treat and what a weekend!
But I still can't walk too smoothly, let alone run yet.

I hope that things will be better tommorow. Good night folks!

Jag hoppas att saker skar är mer väl i morgon. Folks för god natt!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I'm 'back' !!

What a great weekend we had at the Cabot Trail relay race, a 185 mile/298km, 17 stage relay race through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world! Legs vary from 12km to 20km in length and in difficulty from steep mountains to the gently rolling Margaree Valley.

Just 'back' and I've posted all 135 pictures at my site on Webshots

Our Aliant Striders team results (we placed 44/63 teams; search on Aliant) are in the middle of the pack and the main goal was to have fun and not worry about times or results. The 1st concern was runner happiness and comfort with alot of newer runners on the team.

Because we were missing a runner for one leg I ended up running two legs and couldn't be more pleased with the outcomes. See my placings in leg 6 (18/63) and leg 17 (28/63)
Middle of leg 6 on cruise...
End of leg 17...

The most important result for the weekend was that I got a huge recharge to the enthusiasm meter for running but the details will have to wait for another day.

Keep on running my friends!

Uppehälle på rinnande min vänner!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mike the Slug

Sluggish, tired, lazy, slowish pace are words that appear lately in my handwritten log of runs that I still keep. Started out on Monday, a rest day, which was merely 'bit stiff and tired' from the 16 miles on Sunday.

Tues was an easy 7.5 miles in 59:00 around the town and 'nothing much happened'. I felt the pace was slow (7:51/mi) with effort and heartrate up higher than desired. 'Tired and listless feeling' but it was a nice day with sun and cloud instead of more rain.

Weds was a 'lazy' day or at least that's how things were feeling at the start of the run. Decided to head out for some hill repeats in preparation for the hills that will be faced this coming weekend around the Cabot Trail. The hill on the Bar Road is actually called the Bunny Hill locally but it's not because of the lack of steepness but rather the fact that one of the residents raises bunnies and there are always running around loose. There's even a cute little sign for 'Bunny Crossing' with a picture of a hopping creature.

Getting back to the hill, it's a fairly steep 1/2 mile decline down to the beach with a couple of undulations and steeper portions. The GPS says it was about 150' drop and started out with a down run in 3:10 at a controlled pace to save the quads as much as possible. After a short rest to get the heartrate down under 110 it was back up the same route in about 4:05 with HR hovering around 150 or 90% for most of the climb. Short rest to let the HR get down and repeat, etc for a total of 4 miles of the hill. After the last one I was tempted to go for 5 but the aching quads begged to differ and instead headed for home along a roundabout route. Total of 9.6 miles in 1:14 and a decent run despite the lazy feeling at the start.

Today, Thursday's words for the day were 'slow and tired' and 'lethargic' and took it real easy at a recovery pace run by keeping the heartrate below 135 or 80% of max. It was actually kind of nice to run that slow making the run more bearable once under way and it's a good idea to take some of the same advice that I've given Thomas to heart. Overall of 7 miles at 8:12/mi pace.

Perhaps it's time for a little break and the running adventure coming up this weekend should be just the ticket. I can't wait for all the excitement and fun of running with a team who's main motto is to have fun. I'll have a bunch of pictures and a full report as soon as I can.

Have a great weekend!

Ha en viktig helg!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Not a running post

Here's our pond where much of this weekend's attention was focused.
And another view of the yard from the bottom of the hill.
And the plumbing required for the pump to filter the water and keep the fish happy.
All 25 of them!
And one frog who never moved from his place on the rock all afternoon.
The overcast drizzly day makes for perfect lighting of the plants.
Including some beautiful bleeding hearts. And now it's time for a glass of wine and some snacks before getting ready for supper.

Have a nice day!

Ha en trevlig dag!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lonely Sundays

Not actually that much to blog about lately. It's been just a matter of trying to put the runs in and slowly build up the miles again.

On Thursday it was a simple 6 mile loop around town from work and the watch played a few tricks on me once again. I'd set it up for a series of 4x800m repeats with 1:00 breaks but was surprised to see the timer start the workout immediately. It's neat the way you get various bells and whistles during the run, warning beep as the repeat comes to a close and then another warning as the rest period ends and it's time to go again. Didn't really 'go' that hard but simply upped the tempo a bit on each 1/2mile with pace down to 6:40 for the last one.

Friday was another rainy day run, we've had a string of cloud and rain here lately. Managed to get in almost 11 miles in 86:00 around the Ghost Road and Point loop at what felt like a fairly easy pace. Legs were a bit sore at the end and the achilles was tight again but not unduly so. Also tried out one of the alarm functions on the watch getting to beep at me every mile. With all these function the darn thing can get a little distracting at times; might need to leave it home once in awhile...

Saturday, 1st day of our long Victoria Day weekend and of course the forecast is for rain all 3 days! Just did an easy out and back for 8 miles at about 8:00 pace. Legs were still tight and the sun actually came out unexpectedly which was nice. After the run the rest of the day was spent doing yard work and pond plumbing refits so that our pump doesn't get flooded again. I'll try to get some pictures later to show the results to keep the fish happy.

Sunday: It's also been awhile since the Boyden Lake crowd has had a chance to get together for our Sunday long runs. This week Andrew is still in recovery, Jon is off to the Sugarloaf Marathon and Steph is just taking a break (I think). And so it was just little ole me left to carry the flag this week but decided to stay close to home instead of doing the 40 minute drive across the border. The plan today was simply to get a 2 hour run in somehow despite waking up feeling blah and generally tired. Hmmm, too much yard work maybe? Didn't get underway till after noon following church and then a few adjustments to the pump setup before heading out.

Started out at a good clip with the 1st 5miles around town in under 40 before a quick stop at home for extra gatorade. Finished out the remainder of the run as an out and back in Bayside which has a nice ocean view all along the route. The only problem with it is being along the main highway into St. Andrews. Looking at my mile splits the rest of the run must have been primarily uphill but finished up with 16 miles in 2:09 (8:03 overall pace). Also ended up with fresh blisters and sore feet from the new 'Boston' Mizuno's which are starting to be a real pain.

Totals for the past few weeks have been 42 and 46 mi/wk with year to date at 1184. Now only a week to go for the Cabot Trail weekend which is always a good time running event. Hopefully I'll be more blog inspired and will have some exciting news and pictures to report.

I hope all my readers have a great week, enjoy it!

Jag hoppas alla min avläsare har en viktig vecka, tycker om den!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Midweek update and 1 mile challenge

The next few weeks are just easy as-I-feel-like-it running with a few extra efforts in preparation for the Cabot Trail relay race on the weekend of May 27-28. They are also build up weeks in preparation for beginning the next marathon training cycle with the goal being Wineglass on Oct 1 with Andrew and Marc (hopefully).

This kind of in-between race training is some of the most enjoyable running there is, with no pressure of a schedule with time and distance goals for each run. However, it's still fun to make each run some sort of a challenge besides just running an easy 5-6 miles around town. And now that I've got the new Garmin toy, well it's that much easier to play ;-)

Monday was a day off (are you listening ANDREW?) after the 10k effort on Sunday. I was feeling good with only a bit of tighness in the legs and lower calves and was even thinking about how nice it would be to go for a little run, but resisted the temptation on a perfect sunny spring day.

On Tuesday the setup for the Virtual Partner was to go slow (9:00 pace) because I wanted to go real easy and not race the watch. However, it was a light rain and had to pick up the pace just to stay warm being underdressed in just shorts and t-shirt. Ended up doing 6 miles at 7:52 pace, feeling strong but holding back the entire run and whopped VP rather unfairly.

Today, Wedsday called for a tempo or hilly run on the pseudo schedule and setup VP for 1 hr at 8:30 pace or 7.1 miles. The run went entirely different as I felt decent for most of the way. After a quick stop at home for water and sunscreen it was out on the highway for this out and back run with some tempo. In the middle I did one faster mile in 6:40 which I'm going to submit to Karen's 100x1 mile challenge to all running bloggers. Here's the gory details and proof of that mile Karen! Check out her challenge and submit your mile for running glory and virtual prizes to be named!
The faster mile sorta did me in while on the out part of the out-and-back run. Thought at 1st that I'd do another fast mile in the opposite direction on the return but my body started sending signals to do otherwise. Rest of the run was still at a good pace and left old VP in the dust on this run once again. Beat him by about 1/2 mile and overall run was 8.2 miles in 62:20 at 7:36 pace overall. The funny thing is this would be my goal marathon pace and it didn't even feel like a hard run today except for that one mile in the middle. Running is weird some days...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Fredericton 10k race report

First up is a Happy Mother's day to all those wonderful Mom's out there and here are a few flowers to show my appreciation to you.

Up at the normal time today since the race didn't start till 11pm and the drive was only about 90 minutes to Fredericton. After parking the car and on the way to get my race kit we saw this lovely old dog. We just had to take a picture of this old guy. He just lay there wagging his tail when we talked to him as all the crowds and other dogs went back and forth in front of his home. We used to have a Golden and think they are the nicest dogs in the world.The start was kind of crowded with about 250 runners in the 10k. The Fredericton marathon with 92 entrants started about 2hr earlier and the 1/2 with 320 runners had started just 1/2 hr before this race. My warmup for the race was about as structured as all the training I've done for this race with a short jog, walk, run around the block, a few half hearted pickups and then some lame stretches. Sure, now I'm ready to run faster than I've run for months all in one go. (Oh, what fun this is going to be). And we're off like a shot...

Now what happened today? It was a perfect spring day with sunny skies, mild temps and only light winds on a flat fast course run mostly on the dirt and gravel trails in the city of Fredericton.

As I said the start was fast and the race stung out immediately with the under 19 kid in yellow leading from start to end with a time of 33:19. I was back in the pack trying not to go anerobic and went through the 1st kilometer in just over 4:00. My Garmin was a distraction today and after misfiring a couple of buttons I had it so screwed up that I wasn't even sure what time zone I was in. Trouble is that I never raced with it before and by not resetting it after the warmup, the displayed time was a meaningless number. Instead of ditching the watch I just went by breathing and heartrate for most of the race. Also tried to stay with a local runner, Rob who is usually near me in races but backed off whenever the HR got too high and I'd start gasping/wheezing.

At the turnaround point of this out and back course my placing was 21st and about 2 spots back on Rob. Over the next few k, it was just hanging on and trying to keep the legs moving while telling myself, just a few more kilometers. With about 2 to go, Rob stopped and then looked back before taking off again. A bit later I caught up and encouraged him to run in with me and work together to the finish. This only lasted another minute or so before he had to stop again while I moved on alone. All that I can remember of the last kilometer is counting and thinking the last turn would never come and then more counting and trying to keep my breathing under control for the finish line that just seemed to go on forever.

My finish and no it didn't take 2:42:13 to run a 10k, the clock time on this side is for the marathon which had started earlier (really)!
Now maybe if I twist that button, I can turn this into a PB...Results are here for the 10k but as I said there was also a 1/2 and full marathon. The gory details from the Garmin are still being rehashed and replayed but look like this. If you click it you can zoom in on the info. Main features are the heart rate (red line) which was kind of wacho during the warmup but then consistently in the 90% of max for the duration of the race and maxing out at the end in a new max of 171 where the pointer is at on the screen. The blue line or speed in mph seemed to waver a bit but this is likely an artifact of the unit. Overall result was 42:50 for the 10k (4:17/km or about 6:55/mi) for 18/251 and 3/19 in my age group.

For background, my last 10k was run about a year ago in 42:42, the previous a year before that in 42:48. Hmmm, is there a pattern here with this total lack of improvement or should there be more consistent racing? I'm fairly happy with the result from today's effort and can at least call it a PB as a 50 year old , right? Hope everyone else had a good weekend too!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Just like clockwork

Another day and another run and it's starting to feel like things are more or less back to normal. I think the cautious approach since Boston has been good in avoiding the 'Injury Bug' which is almost as bad as the 'Running Bug' but only more irritating on the victims. In my rundown of unfortunates last post I forgot to mention Hunter who's been down with something lately (hayfever season is worse than ever this year I've heard); get well soon!

Weird, just had some strange issues with editing my blog but now back to normal I hope. For some reason I couldn't type things in and then it went and published itself without me doing it intentionally!?

But back to the running recovery trail:

Monday - a glorious rest day; biked to and from work but was a bit sore and tired from Sunday's little 12 mile jaunt

Tues - ran an easy 5 mile Point loop from home after work on a glorious sunny St. Andrews day. I didn't quite get out of the blocks right away on getting home because A & J were having 'issues' with our lawn tractor and needed help from Mr. Fixit. It seemed that a piece of grass had lodged on the muffler and they thought it was going to catch fire with all the smoke but no harm done and A was mowing away in no time. The run went well despite feeling a bit tired and managed about 7:50 pace. Hip was only a dull ache and the feet are healed up fairly well.

Weds - 1st run from work since the marathon and also the 1st test of the Garmin on my 'standard Point loop' from there. What I'd always called 5.5 mile turned out to be 6.2 and the pace came in at 7:42 on what was intended to be easy pace. Actually felt decent and picked up a bit in the 2nd half which was pouring rain and got soaked (but loved it! it was warm 12C rain ;-)

Thurs (today) - finally got up the gumption to try a harder pace run. Started out with no specific plan in mind except to do 30 minutes out at an easy pace and then return at a faster pace. But once you're on the road then new options present themselves. At 30 min it was close to 4 miles so pushed on a bit further for 4 before turning and heading for home. Instead of using pace I just used effort and heartrate for the return leg, trying to keep it around 150 which is the 90% of max for me. You can see all the gory details in the busy plot from my toy here below. You can see the following:
  • top panel with details of the run and splits
  • green line is the elevation profile; it was a hilly run with lots of steep hills
  • the reddish line is the % of max heartrate and the bands are the different zones; you can see it was low in the 1st 4 miles (except for the blips) and then in zone 4 (80-90%) and zone 5 (90%+) during the 2nd 1/2
  • the blue line is speed in mph and was higher but varied with the terrain
  • cool eh? (if you like geeky toys and lots of data)
The end result was good with the return leg in 28:00 at 7:02 pace and HR pretty steady at 85-90% plus for most of it. Didn't look at the watch much cause I was too busy counting steps and breathing and trying to keep up the effort. It's nice to run faster but it's also hard work!

Feeling fine after the run but got a bit stiff at the desk after the run. Need to remember to drink more before the run and to get up for short breaks more often, especially after harder runs.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Avoiding the injury bug

After 3 weeks of easy running in recovery or anti-taper mode it's looking up for the road ahead as my body has held up so far. However, looking around blogland at some people I follow it seems there is some kind of injury bug going around. Let's see now, Dawn has been under the weather with a cold all week, Flash has issues with his feet, Eric had a great race last week and then just fell apart, Zeke is totally pissed at not being able to run and Andrew just did a marathon on one leg. Here's a vote of encouragement to all these and other injured runners out there and the hope that you are all back in action sooner than later, hang in there!

Finished off the week on Saturday with an easy 6 mile loop around town in the fog for a feeble total of only 28 miles. My only 'issues' recently have been a sore hip and some blisters that seem to be related to my newest Mizuno's (<200 miles). The trick about these little issues is to not 'let on' that they are bothering me and never ever limp in public or 'Coach' will be on me in an instant. Unfortunately 'Coach' often reads my blog and so I may be found out ;-)

As you know I just got a new Garmin and being such a slave to my geeky device it has forced me to adjust my running week to start on Sunday. I guess this can be a good thing and a bad thing.

Good in that I now start all my weeks off with a decent mileage day instead of the usual zero when I used to start on Monday which is always a rest day.

Bad in that I'm being a slave to it.

Good in that now one look at the watch history gives my exact weekly mileage to the 0.01 miles and totals and averages for the week to date.

BAD in being a slave to the proverbial mileage game.

GOOD in that I know better and also cause Coach is watching ;-) (Enough silliness!)

Today's run was an easy (but all alone) out and back 12 miler at 7:58 pace overall. Beautiful sunny day with light winds and temps around 20C (68F). Did the run later than usual for a weekend starting just after noon because I had slept in and couldn't fit it in before church. After church I had time to put down a cushion floor in a bathroom we're renovating before taking off for the run. It only took about 1/2hr to do the job since the flooring was all precut and ready to glue down and it also gave Jo a chance to do some touch up painting while I was gone.

Back to the run, great day but no company but my thoughts and wondering how my fellow runners are doing out there. Andrew and Marc have a big day today running the Holyoke marathon and I'm anxious to hear about how they did. Late breaking new just now from Andrew said he was disappointed but I think he should be proud. Duncan had a 2 min + PR in the Broad Street 10 mile race today but if you know Dunc he's downplaying his fine/amazing/fast/I'm impressed performance. I think he should also be proud of his effort as should Dallen in Chicago who just ran a fast 1:16 1/2 marathon at Indy.

Whew, hard to fit a run in here! So 6 miles out in 48:26 and then turn around and back in 47:30 while trying to hold back the effort. Feeling pretty good today except for the feet which started to get sore from the turnaround. Another weird thing is remeasuring my old routes and finding they are all a bit longer (good thing) than what I'd been recording. Now it looks like I'll be going faster over less distance but I'll really be running slower over a longer distance (if that makes any sense at all tell me what it means).

So, another recovery week and the Fredericton 10k on the weekend. Let's hope that the injury bug will avoid me and it will be a good effort for a marathoner with no speed in his legs recently. And here's to those injured runners out there, hope you all get well soon and are running fast and free very soon. Have a good week!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Too busy to blog

But not too busy to run... That's been the story for the past few days down south here in beautiful Falmouth, Mass which is homebase for the famous Falmouth Road race and the Falmouth Cape Cod marathon.

Most of my runs have been along the well maintained bikeway the runs along the edge of down and runs all the way into Woods Hole which is only a few miles from the hotel. It's called the Shining Sea bikeway and is just as beautiful as these pictures portray. So far this week I've managed to run each day on various out and back routes along this trail....

More later after I get a bite for supper!

Anyway, on Monday it was a 9 hr drive down to this lovely area near Cape Cod and since it was a rest day, then no running. Since meetings were scheduled each day starting early it meant getting up at 6am (but only 7am in Canadian time) to make sure the run was checked off.

Tuesday morning, no problem up at 6am, looked out the window and pouring rain and wind with temps of only 6C (43F). Awww, fall back into bed, pull the covers over my head for a few minutes, but I'm awake now right? So I get up, drink some coffee, OJ, nice homemade muffin and gear up and out the door 20 minutes later. It wasn't so nasty once I got out, and the rain slowed to just a steady light drizzle and once on the bike trail out of the traffic and streets it was much more pleasant and peaceful. In fact the trail was completely deserted and didn't meet a single runner, walker or biker on the 5 mile out and back from the hotel. Where is everyone? Are there only fairweather runners or is there another preferred location (doubt it). But that was fine, except for a nagging soreness that has developed in my hip/hamstring area it was a nice easy run feeling a bit tired and sore. The Garmin might beg to differ recording a 7:40 overall pace; it may take awhile to sort out how this thing really works and how believable the numbers that come out of it are.

Weds morning was another 6am wakeup but this time it was just overcast and windy with temps around 8C. I was feeling a bit tired again and so made a deliberate effort to keep the heart rate down in the 70-80% range (less than 135). This time there was no wrong turns to get to the trail and went a bit further right down to the beach and dipped my foot in the surf before turning back for home. Another quiet run with one biker guy sitting beside the trail and only 1 walker along the route. No runners but did spot one off in the distance. The only other wildlife was a number of red winged blackbirds calling back and forth and flying near but ignoring me. Total of 5.2 miles at 8:35 pace which felt very easy and comfortable.

Today Thursday was yet another 6am wakeup (getting better at this) and on the road by 630 for what was supposed to be an easy 4 miler since I was thinking of another longer run later in the day. So I thought, why don't we try this Virtual Partner function that the Garmin has? You can program a desired distance &/or pace and this virtual runner takes off at the same time as you. The watch has a nice display that shows how far ahead or behind you are in relation to Mr. V. It was quite an interesting experiment as I had programmed what I thought was a moderate pace of 8:00/mile over 4 miles.

So I start my watch and immediately Mr V 'takes off' at 8:00 pace leaving creaking, sleepy me in the dust. What the ..?!@ he's got 150-200 ft on me already and we've just started and I'm not even warmed up yet! So before I know it I'm in a 'race' just trying to maintain a separation. This isn't easy... but gradually I begin to get warmed up and before long Mr V was the one being tracked down. The route was more or less the same but today the weather was much improved with clear skies and light winds and temps up to about 12C (50-ish). A few more walkers and the biker guy along the trail again smoking something or other but I was too busy trying to catch my new invisible opponent. Finally by the 3 mile mark he was caught but then it came to me that I was still 2+ miles away from the hotel and this was supposed to be an easier/short run (duh)! So turn around and hammer for home with the invisible man close on my heels, at least until I got to the downhill at the end and he got smoked (ha!) by almost 400 ft at the end. Total of 5.25 miles in 38:20 or 7:19 pace which was way faster than planned but somehow that was what I was sucked into. These new toys are almost as bad as some of my fast running partners but we won't go there today ;-)

But that left my energy for a longer easy run in the sunshine a bit more reduced than planned but certainly not forgotten. Thankfully our meetings ended early today and we were able to enjoy the sunshine and blue skies we've finally been rewarded with after several days of cloud and rain. It was like a perfect June day, not too hot but still warm at 20C (68F), a little wind. After tracking down some sunscreen to protect my sensitive white Canadian skin, I got dropped at the beach near the trailhead and it was off to the races on the same trail but this time well populated with walkers, bikers, roller bladers, kids being pushed in strollers, etc. There really are other people around that use this wonderful trail (I was starting to wonder you know). I ran right to the end in Woods Hole and then returned the whole length of the trail back to the hotel for a total of 6 miles but this time at a much slower pace (avg 9:24 including walk breaks and lights). The HR was elevated for much of the run, even at this slow pace and this was attributed to both the warm temperature and being the 2nd run of the day. My hip felt better but developed some blisters on my feet probably due to the warm asphalt.

Oops, sorry this post got so long but there was 3 days of runs to get caught up on. Hope I didn't bore you too much with my blathering. Speaking of which, there is a really good running podcast by Steve Runner that all runners will enjoy and maybe even some non-runners who want to figure out what the heck it's all about. It's quite entertaining and his Boston experience has to be heard in detail to be believed ;-)