This is the point. There are no limits… but keep trying to find them my friends! Now that is a journey. The fun of it!
I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking and taking a few lessons and thinking about being someone who can improvise for 20 years now. I’ve been so ashamed I am tied to the written page, sometimes afraid I will have nothing musically to say, and afraid to really try. Now that my big race is over, I called up Billy Novick, clarinet teacher extraordinaire, who I found through a famous New Orleans clarinetist who a friend of mine went to Harvard with a few years ago. He declined and said he was retired but then offered to see me irregularly. I went to his house the next day!
Hadn’t played in over six months, squeaked, tonguing was horrible, scales were horrible, and he made me just play in C or D while he played some chords on piano. I WAS TERRIFIED! I did better than I thought but also was pretty bad – gotta start somewhere. I was thinking he had no idea what he got himself into when he offered to see me next week as well….
Have some hard homework in memorizing chords and improvisation to do for next week but the journey has begun…
Last Thursday (T+4) I went out for an hour easy run – first one since race, Zone 2 and my heart rate bounced between 80 and over 150 – couldn’t maintain Z2 for the life of me. Crazy. I felt pretty hurt the night of the race going to bed after telling Kenny “DO NOT TOUCH ANY PART OF ME.” I felt great the next day – a little stiff but honestly better than after the 2 Spartan Supers and after some of the weekend long runs. My only pain was the top of my foot above my bunion which has taken over a week to not hurt all the time. Felt worse on Monday – darn tired and emotional driving to work being proud and sad at the same time. The following Sat, I did a 30 mile bike, 2000′ climb in total with some friends to family apple picking and they worked me! This included the biggest hill I have ever gone up on a bike (the first steep one). This is the famous “Mt Vernon” hill….Note that a few hours later I was fast asleep in the middle of 30 people and worn out for the rest of the day!
I’ve pretty much been tired every night since the race. Today I missed the standard Nashoba hill runs but did six in my neighborhood that used to be scary and were surprisingly easy!! That is exciting as I used to only get to the 2nd mailbox…..and was pretty psyched a few months ago when I actually made it (barely) to the top.
I did have enough energy though to get myself into the Stone Cat 50k on Nov 2, which will replace the marathon I had been planning to run. I want to be able to say I am an ultra runner. Decently flat course – 3 10 mile loops and one month to recover and prep.
I also found a podcast I like:
and found two things in this podcast I’ve been thinking about:
- I think I like long runs and training because of the problem solving aspect. I am always learning something, or doing something I have never done before, seeing new things, making new friends, getting super tired and beat up with bruises all over – I love it! You run into the void not knowing what will happen and just do the best you can – it’s you against you and I am a formidable enemy.
- I disagree when they went on and on about how “nothing matters.” I agree that petty worries don’t matter and that we are all pampered with not a ton of real serious issues – waking up after having my rib taken out proved to me how happy I was just to be alive and put things into perspective. Plenty of stuff that doesn’t matter has bothered me over the years and I’ve tried to get better at dealing with it. But a lot of things matter and they don’t have to be big huge things like the planet is being destroyed. Just being kind to someone who’s having a bad day matters.
Spent some time this week getting mentally prepared….remembering all the hard work I’ve done this year, all the friends made, how much I’ve learned and improved…
I also spent some time trying to figure out if my coachs’ recommended mile pace (26 min/mile 1st loop and 28 min/mile 2nd loop) was in line with what I’ve been doing on my last big runs. I made this comparison to compare runs. Critical factors:
- Elevation gain/miles run – Great comparative factor
- Obstacles (bonefrog, boston super/sprint)
- Super rock technical trail (and slowest times) (Skyline, mountain runs) vs. grassy run
- Similar obstacle course on grass with elevation (Bonefrog)
Comparison looks like this and Garys’ recommended time of 26 min/mile 1st loop and 28 min/mile 2nd seems right on if not a little conservative.
I’ve got my plan and bin ready to decorate also – my plan is to get in/out of transition as fast as possible. During tomorrow’s last longish run (90 min), I will eat chicken soup and try taping calves in preparation so its not the first time I do this in the race.
I am surprisingly not nervous about it.
AM JUST GOING TO GO OUT AND DO WHAT I DO…. work hard over a long time loving every second of it.
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:
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.
- 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.
- Presidential traverse 20 mi
- Cannon Mtn loop 11 mi then ride tram down
- south and north baldface
- mount chocora loop trail
(from Dave Fatula)
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: https://www.thenorthface.com/get-outdoors/endurance-challenge/massachusetts/course-guides.html
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