Archive for December, 2013

2013 – Year End Review of a Runner

December 29, 2013

What a long crazy year – that will probably be my highest mileage year ever and a year where I did a lot, suffered a lot and learned a lot. I hope to be smarter going forward. The year began as I returned from Arizona with a 62 mile/100km finish at Across the Years 24 hour race. I ran through the winter and learned a lot about my bad ankles and feet and how little tolerance they have for snow and ice – and mud – even with proper traction. I just cannot deal with lateral motion – it really lays me out and can make even walking difficult.

 Training and injury

 Basically I trained too much with no breaks until November. The fear of being entered in two, then three 100s kept me going even thru injury. I cannot help but think how stupid of me it was to keep training hard after the effects of the TARC 100 (25 horrid miles) had on me. I probably could have hit the Bear 100 stronger if I cut back for July – but I soldiered on…limping, wearing braces etc. Walking disaster. After a better fall I really cut back to much lower training levels for November and December and feel much healthier going into 2014. I did a lot of training in the White Mountains to get the elevation training I needed for Utah.Image

Start of the TARC 100 – just look at those smiling faces…think “All night ambush scene in Platoon.”


 After volunteering at the TARC Spring Thaw my first race of the year was the TARC Spring Classic 50k – which I paced my friend Kim to her first 50k finish. It was just a run with a friend – she did not need any help! A couple of weeks later I did 18 miles at the GAC Mother’s Day Race and then I headed into the abyss of the TARC 100. The mud bowl that was that race shredded my ankles and I was done after a very slow 24 hours. It was fun to hang out and watch the carnage – and I was glad I was out of it.

 It was all pointing toward the “big” event – The Bear 100 in Logan, Utah. The race was in late September and I trained the best I could for it with so much ankle and foot pain – but I knew it was not enough. My real hope in the entire thing was to just get thru the night – beyond 24 hours and go as far as I could. It really went well – if slow. I was out there for near 11 hours and they pulled me off the course arbitrarily after I got about 50k. So – that was a disappointment but I also know I never would have finished…I think I could have got 60-75 miles. It all turned super positive when I was able to be part of a great crew with Eric Sherman, Dean Hugo and Mike Maher as we helped to get our friend Scott Baver in under the wire as an official finisher! The trip was a great experience and even with my result I am so happy I went.Image

The gang at the start of the Bear 100 in Logan, Utah

 A few days after getting back from Utah I decided to enter the local Ghost Train Ultra. I figured I was trained for a 100 so I might as well use that training and go for it again – on a flatter and easier course. I am so glad I did this – it was an excellent experience for me and I was able to get to 62 miles/100km again. Bob Crowley, Eric Sherman and Scott Baver helped me a lot as I plugged through this race. It was also great to see my family show up at the 30 mile mark. At mile 52 I thought I was in excellent shape for a real shot at 100 miles – then in the next 20 minutes severe foot/plantar pain ended that. I pushed through it for a couple of very slow hours to get my 62 miles but I knew at the paces I was moving at it was not going to happen. I dropped.Image

Start of the Ghost Train Ultra – [photo courtesy of Lindsay Topham)

 I recovered fairly quickly and had my first massage the next day – that was a huge help. Two weeks later I was at Stonecat hanging out (and was going to pace my friend Rob who ended up dropping early) and was able to pace Brenda Morris for her last two laps in the 50 miler. It was a lot of fun and a nice relaxing run in some beautiful woods.

The Numbers

  •  Total miles 2575
  • Running workouts 214
  • Walk/Bike workouts 222
  • Total cardio workouts 415
  • Calisthenics sessions 189 (5,670 push ups, 7,560 leg lifts, 9,540 sit ups and trunk rotations with heavy ball)
  • Total hours of cardio 576 (1.6 hours/day average)
  • Total hours of exercise 631 (1.7 hours/day average)

 Total elevation gain 239,030 feet (about the same as climbing Mount Washington 60 times – or Mount Everest from Base Camp 20 times)

 Other crazy stuff

  •  Number of runs over 5 miles 158
  • Number of runs over 10 miles 60         
  • Number of runs over 15 miles  24
  • Number of runs over 20 miles  11
  • Number of runs over 25 miles    7
  • Number of runs over 30 miles    4
  • Longest run  62.5 miles at Ghost Train Ultra

 Where I ran and walked (number of times)

  •  Willowdale/Bradley Palmer       30
  • Middlesex Fells                        43
  • Lynn Woods                            14
  • White Mountains                      28
  • Danvers Rail Trail                     15
  • Treadmill                                   81
  • Roads                                      144

 The Aftermath – where do I go from here

 I decided to take a saner approach for 2014. It is not going to be twelve months of nonstop hard training. There is going to be a method to the madness. I am building base slowly and recovery between November and the end of February and I will begin to push the envelope in March and April as I prepare for my 24 hour race at Three Days At the Fair in New Jersey in mid May. Really want to put a very solid effort in there –which to me would mean I was moving for almost the entire 24 hours – whatever mileage that translates into would be fine with me – obviously I always want to beat my best of 62 miles and the 100 mile carrot is always dangling. I will run the TARC Spring Classic 50k as a final tune up for this but as the race in New Jersey is paved I will be changing my training routine a bit…I will not be running exclusively on trails this year.

 The second “key” race will be a return trip to the Ghost Train Trail ultra in New Hampshire. I will stick to my guns that this course is my best shot at a 100 mile finish. It is close to totally flat – well supported and just a lot of fun. This race is in late October and I will run the Pisgah 50k as my final big training run.

 As both of my key races are close to flat I am going to be sure to train on that type of terrain. I will do more pavement than ever and I will do some very long rail trail runs. I have a 50 mile road/trail training run mapped out that I will do as prep for New Jersey and possibly again for Ghost Train.

 In closing I want to thank my family and friends – particularly my awesome running community of friends that I have met through TARC. The sense of belonging and camaraderie I feel with all of you is something I have never known.

 All the best to all of my friends and family in 2014.