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Downtown Temple,NH

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pics from Jay Marathon (Ultimate XC Vermont Edition)

I took a bunch of pics along with my wife plus I've included some great pics from a couple other runners (Julie and Ron). They're listed in chronological order (hopefully).

Here's a link to the pics as well --> Jay pics

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jay Marathon was totally INSANE!

I finished!

I posted a race report (sort of) and a bunch of pics on another blog. You can read about it HERE.

This video was posted today on the Jay Marathon website . It captures the 2nd half of the race, including the beaver swamp and waterfalls....and the lucky finisher even gets a surprise at the finish.

The results are listed here -->Marathon Results

Monday, July 21, 2008

Never try anything new on race day!

I know, for most this is stating the obvious and as runners we hear it all the time. It doesn't necessarily mean we listen to the advice though. I've tried more than my share of 'new' stuff on race day. Most of it was clothing related.

When I ran my one and only Boston Marathon in 2005 I decided to wear a new pair of socks. Not just store-bought new but new like I never wore this type of sock ever in the history of the world new. I had trained through a pretty cold winter so a 70 degree sunny day on Marathon Monday was not what I was hoping for. The socks were some sort of double lined Coolmax sock. The double liner (and my foot) rubbed together like a couple of sticks trying to start a fire and by mile 7 I had to stop and take off my shoe and sock to check the damage. I already had a huge blister on my arch. I'll just say it was a painful 19 miles...I almost learned my lesson.

As I prepare for my longest (time and distance wise) event I've ever attempted, the brutally insane Jay Mountain Trail Marathon, the one thing I do know is don't try anything new. So I practiced and experimented in the relative safety of my local trails. I've tried the socks I want to wear, the shoes I want to wear and the clothing. I've tried the hydration systems as well (hand held water bottle, fanny pack and Camel pack). I've tried band aids and blister control patches and bug sprays. I've soaked my shoes and socks in the pool before my runs and then ran in every puddle, brook or swamp I could find along the trails to keep my feet wet. I must admit, this was a smart thing to do. I learned a lot about what might work and what clearly doesn't. I can't wait until Saturday!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Temperature goes up, miles go down

I hate running in the heat. Period. The end.
Any questions?

One of my favorite blogs to read is The Science of Sport which offers a scientific analysis of sports and sporting performance. Although it can be very technical at times, it does offer a lot of insight in to the science of sport, especially running.

An issue that I can relate to personally is muscle cramping and specifically cramps during endurance events or running in extreme heat. They had an insightful series of posts on 'everything you ever wanted to know about cramping but were afraid to ask'. I need to read it a few more times to grasp everything they had to say since most of it goes against everything we've been told (loss of salt or electrolytes lead to muscle cramping).
Read with an open mind. The data is very interesting...

Muscle Cramps: Part I
Muscle Cramps: Part II
Muscle Cramps: Part III
Muscle Cramps: Part IV
Muscle Cramps: Part V

There were a couple of other multi-post series on dehydration and running technique that I'll try to link to later.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jay Marathon in 2 Weeks

The Jay "Marathon" is 2 weeks from today. Not sure why they call it a marathon since it is 33+ miles (53k for our metric friends). Calling it 'only' a marathon doesn't give this race the respect it deserves. I actually read a quote yesterday from the RD that said this was one of the hardest trail races in the WORLD! Now that's a bold statement. Maybe he could have mentioned that BEFORE I signed up :-)

It sounded like a good idea when I signed up for it earlier in the year. 2008 was to be my comeback year (having been out with injuries for most of 2007). I was also venturing into the dark side...you know, trail racing. Now I'm having my doubts about this race. The more I hear and read about it the more I think I'm in way over my head and most likely under-trained.
I'm desperately looking for a strategy that won't end in failure. The easy way (and I hear it all the time) is to say "I'm just going to have fun" or "I'm not going to race" or "I'm just going to take it easy". Probably all good advice but it's still a race and I just don't think I could take it easy. I'm sure the terrain is going to dictate what and how I do but I want to have fun AND push myself. The problem is I don't know how to do this on a race that most likely take more than 7hrs to complete.

Based on what I know about the course, this race is more of a very long technical hike then a running event, with monster hills, bogs, mud, sand and lots of water. Even the overall winner last year didn't break 10min mile pace. I haven't done an event (run, bike, hike or otherwise) that has lasted more than 2 1/2hrs for a very long time. Even with that I still feel I have decent endurance and can go slow and long....even really long.

I need to make sure I can control the blisters though. The longer the event the more likelihood I'll get blisters. I have yet to find a way to avoid them. This will be especially tough due to all the water. I had planned on using Moleskin on the known places but I wasn't sure how it would do with all the water. I just picked up a new product very similar to Moleskin but designed for wet conditions. I hope to test it out before Jay.

Deep breath...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Running on the 4th

My town (Merrimack) hosts a 4th of July 5k race each year, which has become quite popular. Surprisingly there aren't a lot of July 4th races to choose from in NH. Also surprising is the fact that Merrimack ONLY hosts one race for the entire year. Seems like there should be more....

I generally don't like 5k races, even ones which are 5 minutes from my house. So I had to make it a challenge just to commit to running. While running the day before I told myself if I ran the last mile of my training run under 6 min pace then I would run the Sparkler 5k. Ran 5:15. Crap.

Nice day for racing though. A little rain, temps a little cooler than normal and a nice 8am start. Sweet. I had a decent race, happy with my results. The last time I ran this race I ran 18:04 (back in 2005). This year I ran 18:08. I got passed by 2 of the 3 masters in front of me during the last 1/2 mile or so. I need to work on my kick (or lack there of). I used to be pretty confident in the last mile or so of a race. Now I just try to hang on and not fall apart. Good race overal.