This afternoon I got a surprise visitor at work, Bob "The Screenprinter" Baiguy. Bob did the screen printing on the shirts for Pineland and all the Bradbury races as well as the Trail Monster singlets. He does great work and is a pleasure to work with, he's a cyclist, and not that that has anything to do with his ability to print shirts but it seems to help that he gets the whole race thing. The purpose for Bob's visit was to drop off a few Panther Vision hats for me to try out to see if they'd be any good for night running.
The hats have two super bright LED lights mounted on the front edge of the brim and are made of some lightweight technical fabrics.
I took the hat out for a run around Back Cove to see how well the light worked, but it was hard to tell with all the street lights. The real test will be to go to Twin Brook when it's really dark to see how much light it really puts out. One thing I could tell is that the hat throws light straight out in front of you, which may at first seem like the right place to point it, but I like to have light on the ground 5-10 feet ahead of me so I can see where I'm putting my feet. The only way to get the light where I want it is to pull the hat down over my eyes so I can't see, or tip my head way down. I like to keep my chin up when I run because I think it helps me keep better posture and makes it easier to breath.
So this hat may not be the best for night running on trails, but would probably be better for dark streets and for letting people know that you're coming rather than illuminating the area right in front of you. We'll see how it works in the real darkness of TB. I thought it was a bit odd that the hat says "do not wash" on the tag. I understand that the wires and lights and batteries don't want to get wet but everything I wear running starts stinking eventually and hats are no exception. Bob tells me that I can remove the batteries and put it in the dishwasher. I didn't tell him that Emma is my dishwasher.
As for the run it went really well, and I was surprised to find that my IT band wasn't causing any pain at all. There was a slight sensation that there once was pain, but no sign of it returning during this run. I initially wanted to go out for 8-9 miles but decided not to push my luck and kept it to 5.5 miles. My splits went something like this:
I'll save the longer run for Saturday and hopefully get in a solid 2 hours at Pineland, as long as the knee pain doesn't return. I'm thinking about doing the Trick or Treat Trail Run on Sunday at Lost Valley in Auburn. It's only a 5k so it shouldn't interfere with my recovery/training/taper - whatever phase I'm in right now - but I'll leave that decision until after I run on Saturday to see how I feel. It's too close to the marathon to risk hurting myself now - two and a half weeks!
As for the Stone Cat marathon I've been trying to decide how to pace myself. It's always hard with a trail race you've never done before to know what kind of time to expect. Even though I did the 50 miler last year and I kinda know the course I dont know what to expect when I run it at marathon pace. What is my trail marathon pace? I'd like to try to run 9's or better. That would get me in solidly under 4 hours. I don't want to try to run much faster than that though, Emma ran a 3:52 there last year and I don't think I'm in better shape now than she was then. Although she did say she knows she could have run faster last year.
And speaking of marathons I'm starting to get the road marathon bug. After reading endless blog postings by Jamie, Ryan and Danielle about the MDI Marathon I'm starting to think that I want to do one too. My first thought was to do one as soon as possible, Hyannis in February. But February is a crappy time of year to be running really hard for a long time on a road and I haven't heard many good things about the race, except that Jamie is going to be there. I'm leaning more towards the Sugarloaf Marathon in May. That's where Emma ran her marathon PR (3:13:01) in 2005. I'd like to shoot for a new PR. I've only run two road marathons before, Loch Ness in 2003 (3:49) and Maine in 2004 (3:28). I've learned a lot since my last marathon and think I could do much better, like 1/4 the finishing time of Robert Phillips in the 2006 Stone Cat 50. That's my goal.