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AAR 7/21/19 HOT HOT HOT!! Records were broken, flies eaten,snakes jumped

Challenging weather – or PERFECT weather as David Goggins would say!  HOT HOT HOT and humid!

Fri night interval training: after setting PR for mile run in 7:48 min (best by 6 sec), could barely finish the next and was pretty slow on the last but solid effort!  Two flies in the mouth.

Sat bike:  Biked 42 miles – furthest ever (my tracking got messed up as I forgot to restart once en route) with Teresa Kimberley here in Hollis which is a record for duration, 178 min 1562′ elevation, 3:06, 14.1 mph.  One bee sting on leg, one chain incident, homemade pancakes by Kenny at the end!!

Sun run:  17.68 miles total 99% running on Hollis trails (all but ~4 miles shaded) in very hot/humid weather.  12:27/miles pace in 3:40 hours.  Traded off hills for distance in shade today with the heat.  Furthest I’ve ever run by ~4 miles and am not crippled at all!  Ran last mile in 10:43!  One fly in mouth, jumped a snake, chased by one dog, one tick, two idiots in cars, two bathroom breaks at Silver Lake Park, one nice farmer who helped me when I went awary into his fields

What went well:

  • Hydration and nutrition – followed plan and used new inov-8 pack
  • Felt absolutely awesome on bike – not even stiff from riding/could have easily kept going
  • Did run in heat and humidity and practiced running tired
  • Carrying toilet paper for runs paid off
  • Didn’t do a lot of downhill running and feet felt good in the Altra superiors/not technical trails
  • Because right shoulder feeling better, started doing pull ups this week (crippled today)!!!!  Let’s get working that upper body now

What to do different:

  • Fix bike light situation/rear wasn’t charged.  Need USB power strip by door to keep lights charged.  Should get light for helmet
  • More mobility

Checkin on body composition/looks – nowhere near six pack which is discouraging – maybe not the best lighting but here I am:


Tough Mudder 6-29-19 AAR

I was a last minute stand-in with a great “Herd of Dirt Turtles!”  ~7.5 mile obstacle course race in Charlton, MA.

  • Morning run to get my time in pre-race:  1 hour, 5.43 miles, 11:03 avg mile pace, 127 avg HR(Z3)/142 169 cad
  • Tough Mudder: 7.5 miles, 3:47:01, 719′ elevation, 12:59/mi moving pace.  Had huge thunderstorm near end so they had a few obstacles closed and about a 20 min wait before we finished when they closed the entire course.

Lessons Learned:

  • Bring enough food, etc and not rely on the course.  Just before we raced, they said this course has tons of food so I left all but 1-2 gels behind only to have 2 aid stations over the ~45 hours.  Besides the lack of aid stations, there were also unexpected long waits at obstacles.  I did not wear a hydration vest, just brought the gels and a bunch of salt stix.
  • Altra Superior shoes were fine for this but seemed to hold more water at first than my Inov8 F-235 lites/drained eventually.
  • Being on a team is way more fun than doing it alone and I liked the team obstacles where you had to help each other
  • I skipped all the heavy shoulder obstacles but did the wall climb overs
  • Loved the hanging down electrocution strips – got zapped on my bum at the very end.

Hills & Mountains for Training

TO DO: (from Dave Fatula)


skyline trail

Pemi Loop! Shut in by wind and rain on Lafayette Mountain and Garfield Ridge we finally saw the sky at Bondcliffs and through the descent back into the woods! 30 miles, 9,700’ elevation gain, nine 4,000 footers in the White Mountain National Forest in just under 15 hours.


Osceola (tough footing)




Nashoba Ski Resort (Westford, MA):  Do hills there every Tuesday morning 6:30am.  Each one is 0.20 miles and 250′.  Soul sucking but convenient and am among friends with weight vests, sandbags and buckets. Latest walk/run record is 3:11 on 6/18/19, 5:08 40 lb sandbag, 4:32 20 lb vest.  Hill steeper than it appears below.  My life changed the day my coach showed me hill climbing technique and I also realized that steady “walking” can be faster than “running.”  Also the value of pacing yourself – last week I had total muscular failure near top from going out too hard – have not had that happen before.  If I go steady, I like to be able to run the last 30 yards.





Wachusett Dam:  105′ each, nice loop to go up and down with.  First time I ever did it, only made it 75% of the way.  Separate post on this one elsewhere.

Neighborhood hills on Buttonwood:  0.23 miles, ~2:27

Pack Monadnock:  Did 6/2/19, 2.77 miles, 1:07:58, 919′ elevation.  Only took ~45″ roundtrip, too short and not hard at all

Mt. Monadnock: Did 6/23/19.  116 Poole Rd, Jaffrey, NH.  Took 2 hours roundtrip, 3.85 miles and 1800′ elevation.  Not much flat part to run – very rocky and a lot of rock clambering going up.  Need shoes with good tread for the rocks, which can be steep.  Slightly wet /got one shoe wet.  Tried out new Nathan vest (very sloshy) and Altra superior shoes (tread not good for this).  Took recommended route of White Dot trail going up from visitor center and White cross trail going down.

Skyline Trail – Blue Hills 7/13/19  Super Technical Trail, 15.79 miles, 6:12:54

21:16 moving pace, moving time 5;35 (rest was crying on side of the path), HR 126/170, 4170′ elevaion. Fell twice



Wachusett Ski resort  (7/28/19) Can get a variety of courses from the North Face Endurance Races:

Started at ski lodge parking lot but opposite area from lodge, Balance Rock Trail.

I followed 2/3 of the half marathon choosing to go straight up to the top. 11.02 miles, 3:42, 2507′ elevation (to summit twice plus up a short ski lift once).  Hot day.  18:13/mi moving pace

Trails way less technical than Skyline with clambering only on short stretches near the top.  Bicentennial trail although wrapping the bottom is technical – Visitor center for bathrooms/water


Hydration and Shoes


After sliding down the slopes multiple times during bonefrog in my Inov8 F235Lites, I decided I needed some shoes with tread for future races – not an easy task to find.  Evidently, trail running is a niche activity so the typical stores (all sporting goods, REI, EMS, specialized running stores etc) don’t carry many of them.  I ended up buying:

Altra Superior (shown at top):  wide toebox, good for hard packed trails, not so different from my inov8 f-lite 235s.  Used today for run up Mt. Monadnock and it drained very well but sucked on rocks/tread is not that great.  I had forgotten what any cushion felt like!  I took these out of the box and ran a 9 mile interval workout without issue.

However, I used these shoes for 15 mile technical trail run on Blue Hills Skyline trail and they about killed me – toes hurt like crazy and no support for all the rock scrambling so…..


Salomon Sense Ride 2 – used on Wachusett 16 miler and did well on rocks and also on the scree at Nashoba hill runs; however, I got a blister on the inside of my bunion on the right foot halfway thru the Spartan Super 8 mile race so…..

Just got two new pairs to try:

Inov8 X-talon 260 Ultra – the 260s have a wider toe box

Altra Lone Peak 4 – these were similar to the Sense Ride at the running store


Now that I am over 2 hour runs, am trying to do a better job with carrying water.  I had a 3 hr run last weekend so got the Nathan hard plastic waist bottles (each ~10 oz) ~$50 seen below and ran in a loop to refill every hour.  Mixed water with 1 scoop Tailwind and split between the two drinking every 15 min.  Was weird at first as you have to hold your elbows slightly out so they don’t hit bottles but was fine this week – no issues at all with waist carrying.

For this week, I wanted to plan a 4-5 hr mountain hike so needed a bladder.  I went to Runners Alley in Manchester, NH (good store) and got this basic $70 Nathan 1.5 bladder (as the small hand carry bottle alone was $40 I just upped the size). Several issues:

  • Evidently I forgot to get rid of all the air so it was horribly sloshy
  • The hose you drink from when hanging down, leaked whenever pressure was put on bladder.  I ended up tucking it upwards to help with this after my leg got wet.

Hike ended up being way shorter than planned (2 hr vs. 4-5) so I mostly just used the waist waters and a little of the bladder.

Then I purchased my Inov8 Two in one pack which, in addition to having a 2L hydration pack, has two 18 ml side water bottles and an extra, clip on storage area I can carry my shoes with to XFit during a bike ride or extra clothes on a hike.  This pack gets me 5 hours worth of water!  Have been using it for weeks now without issue.  I only wish the side pockets were more contained – feels like stuff can fall out.  I just use them for trash and keep food in my pants.

AAR Last Month – Lessons Learned June 17, 2019, 89 days until Killington Ultra

Lessons Learned last month – documenting lessons learned is a great idea from reading Meb Keflezighi’s book “26 Marathons” along with David Goggins:

  1. Get race experience when you can:  I almost didn’t do Bonefrog because my shoulder was hurt from the Spartan Sprint the week before.  I didn’t realize that it was also a great “mini death march” with total of 3200′ elevation racing experience, 2 more times practice swimming in cold water, practice seeing other obstacles, and a good 2.5 hr race where I cramped in my feet at end from not eating enough salt stix/fueling properly.  It also gives you confidence – I know now what 3200′ at once feels like and know that I can do it with energy left over.
  2. Breaking up mileage makes them easier:  ie. Clovis done May 5 13 miles done in 2 mile segments broken up by 30 burpee jumping pull ups.  Had tons left at the end of this – way easier than running 13 straight miles
  3. Sometimes walking is faster than running:  ie. Nashoba hills.  I was so depressed that running up was so hard.  2nd time I did it, Gary taught me some hill technique and I mixed up running/fast “hiking” and beat my running time.  Walking is not a bad thing and sometimes faster.
  4. Get used to thinking about quitting and what you will think about to not do it.  This occurs to me every single Tuesday when I’m on Nashoba and the other guys leave before I do…..I could just go now and not do the last few runs up.  I always finish because I can’t live with the shame only I know about quitting.  Once you decide you have to do it, you quit worrying about it so much.
  5. Value of body butter:  Picture at top of this blog is my upper arm from a rub I got from a short sleeved in a 2.5+ hr run.  Things that never hurt before can become an issue with time on the road.  Use body butter anywhere anything rubs!
  6. Focus on form when tired:  One of my most hated workouts is interval training.  For two reasons – I am so much slower than high school (ie. 4:00 800M vs. 2:35 or a 7:55 mile vs. 5:47), and it hurts way more.  In the middle of doing some 200s, I started thinking about form and lifting up with knees/feet up vs. back and it made it easier – maybe because I just took my mind off of the pain.
  7. Don’t be afraid to win if you feel good:  think of the district meet when I could have crushed the competition in the mile but was afraid I felt so good and fell back (also not wanting the season to continue/lacked confidence I could keep it up).  Go for it with smarts, especially at the end and fight for every spot.
  8. Prepare in advance for food/water:  Carry what you can with you vs. having to stop somewhere to get it.  Just in case you find a good water fill area, bring extra tailwind, etc so you don’t have to circle by homebase.
  9. How you feel doesn’t always equal how you perform:  Keep trying even when you feel bad.
  10. Clip ins:  As you get going, don’t clip in too early and get stuck trying to unclip with no forward momentum.  Peddle without clipping in until you are going strong.  Recent bike ride last weekend…I thought I had the clip ins down great from unclipping in trainer and then fell down in a driveway. (see pics below)
  11. Get real trail shoes vs. road running shoes (and they are hard to find):  My standard Inov8s just don’t cut it going down grass or rough rock.  Ordered Altra Superiors and waiting for Salomon Speedcross 5 to get some real shoes with tread.
  12. Never hang straight down from any bars without you scaps – this is how I hurt my “good” right shoulder/not using good form.


Hump Day is Hill day – Wachusett Dam 4/3/19

Last time I ran here, I made it up ~75% of the way and totally gassed out.  My buddy was showing off hopping every two steps up and came down to walk up with me.  I was out this time to make it to the top and made it 7x!

Total elevation gain ~755′.  Note that the death march in the spartan ultra is around 1.25 miles with 1700′ elevation (~26% incline) so is 2.5x what I just did just less incline and longer.

The entire course I think is around 6500k elevation gain so 10x what I just did (that seems more daunting!).

A little progress with a lot more to go.  A few more pics from yesterday: