Trail Monster Running

Visit the official TRAIL MONSTER RUNNING website for information on upcoming group runs, local trails, trail races and more, including the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival and the Bradbury Mountain trail Running Series.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Windham Pipeline Trails

Earlier this year I thought I had run the wettest run ever. Today definitely beat that. Surprisingly for a late December day it wasn't really that cold, which is part of the reason it was so wet. Temperatures had been above freezing for about 16 hours prior to my run this morning, and it had probably been raining for about 6 hours, so that made for a lot of slush, running water and slippery ice.

Blaine had recently mentioned a run on the trails near where he lives in Windham and I wanted to check them out so I met him at 7 this morning for a run. We hoped to get in 15 miles but as soon as we hit the trails it became clear that 15 miles of slush and ice would not be fun. That's not to say that it was all bad running, but I knew that 15 miles would take a very long time in these conditions. I decided I'd be happy to get in a two hour run regardless of the distance.

After about a half mile of road we got onto a gas pipeline trail that had seen a fair amount of snowmobile traffic before the rain and Blaine assured me it was in good condition yesterday. We followed the pipeline trail southeast for almost 6 miles, had we stayed on it we could have gone into Westbrook (the pipeline crosses the Presumpscot River and runs into Portland). There were numerous trails branching off of the one we followed and in better weather it will be fun to explore this area, but for today we stuck to the relatively well traveled path.

I was glad to have some company for the run today, because had I been on my own I surely would have turned back early, gone home and crawled back into bed.

Oh, it's also worth mentioning that I had some pain in my right ankle after yesterdays run. Perhaps a mild sprain. I didn't notice anything during the run but last night it was sore, and then felt pretty tight this morning when I first got up. Everything was fine during the run today but I was in a fair amount of pain after, enough to ice my ankle and take some ibuprofen. Feels like a strain on the Calcaneofibular ligament, I'd never heard of that before but there is a label pointing to exactly the spot that hurts in this picture. I'm not too concerned, hopefully a day off from running tomorrow will help.

time: 1:55:01
distance: 11.63 miles
pace: 9:51

weather: mid 40's, steady rain

conditions: wet ice and slush, sloppy and slippery

gear: Inov-8 Roclite 315 with screws, Smart Wool socks, short tights, t-shirt, jacket, hat, gloves

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bradbury Powerline 10

December is always a weird month for trail running in Maine. We usually get a little snow, not enough for the snowmobiles to get out and create a network of trails for us to run on, just barely enough for snowshoeing, too much for "normal" trail running. We always see a drop in the size of our groups this time of year, and then they pick up again once we've had a few solid snowstorms.

I decided to run at Bradbury this morning, hoping that at least a few people would have been out packing the trails since I last ran there two weeks ago with Erik. Erik was back for more today along with Valerie and newbie Monster Nate. It was cold weather for standing around but once we got moving it felt a nice temperature and the wind we noticed in the parking lot seemed to disappear once we got into the woods. We headed off on the east side trails not really sure what to expect.

There had been good foot traffic on the Link Trail, and once we got to the Snowmobile Trail we followed ATV tracks that eventually lead north out of the park. No snowmobiles, but the ATV tracks did help to create a narrow lane of packed snow. Shortly after we left the park we hit a section of trail that had seen at least one snowmobile, probably two weeks ago, but it helped. With the recent thawing and freezing there was a fair amount of ice, and Nate quickly understood why the rest of us all had screws in our shoes.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the trails were in reasonably good shape all the way out to the power lines. It's exactly 5 miles from the park to the power lines, this often serves as the foundation for many of our winter runs and it was nice to be able to get all the way out there today. I really wanted to continue on the power lines but hadn't come prepared for a long run today so we turned around here (although Valerie had turned back a little earlier). It was nice to have Erik out running these trails again, we had done a lot of exploring together two years ago but he missed all of last winter due to injury. I'm glad you're back Erik!

On the way back I decided to pick the pace up just a little bit. i hate running positive splits, even though I do it all the time in races I hope that if I train enough with negative splits maybe one day it will pay off in a race. This is a rather difficult route to run a negative split on because it's mostly downhill on the way out and mostly up on the way back. But Nate and I did manage to run almost two minutes quicker on the way back, and we finished the same time as Valerie who (despite turning back early) took a longer way back to the finish.

Now I can't wait for the next snowstorm to get these trails in better shape, I've got some longs runs to do.

time: 1:32:39
distance: 10 miles
pace: 9:15

weather: low 30's, overcast, breezy

conditions: crusty, not well traveled snow

gear: Inov-8 Roclite 315 with screws, Smart Wool socks, tights, longs sleeve shirt, shirt sleeve shirt, buff, mittens

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Couple Night Runs

Tuesday nights at Twin Brook the group is getting a little smaller, but still a decent turnout. We're getting a bit wimpy these days and are skipping some of the muddiest trails and doubling up on the drier stuff. We're still getting wet feet so I don't know why don't just run the really wet trails.

This week Emma joined Jim, Erik and I for the first time in quite a while. Despite gooey trails we moved along at a good pace for the TNR, no sprint lines though, I think we were all feeling satisfied with the fast running from the weekend.

time: 50:20
distance: 5.55 miles
pace: 9:04

Thursday night I took advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures by running in shorts and a t-shirt. Strange for an early December evening. I had one of those days at work where I came home feeling like I really needed a good hard run to work out some aggression. I decided upon the Mountain Loop (up Mountain Road, down Blackstrap). I think I actually went out a little too fast on the uphill side and didn't quite have the fast leg turnover I had hoped for on the downhill side of this loop. I ended up being 20 seconds slower than my best time on this loop despite having the fastest first two miles this evening. My right calf was complaining after the run, so I went for an easy mile cooldown and that helped shut it up.

A good run and a beer, then everything was fine.

time: 40:18
distance: 5.63 miles
pace: 7:12

plus 1 mile cooldown at about an 8:45 pace