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.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ultra Strength

We did it, and had a great time. More to follow later, but in the meantime I can say that our cumulative finishing times were approximately equivalent to Andrew Skurka's 2nd place finishing time at this year's Leadville Trail 100.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vermont 50 Mile Mudfest?

The weather forecast is calling for a lot of rain on the trails of Vermont in the next 48 hours which means this could be a very muddy 50 miles on Sunday, especially considering that the runners start after about 600 mountain bikers hit the trails.

Bring it on!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fall is Here

It was only in the very low 40s this morning when I headed over to Falmouth for a run, and I was actually excited about the addition of a little variety to my running attire that comes with cooler temperatures. To the normal shorts and t-shirt I added wool socks, a pair of very thin gloves and a pair of Moeben sleeves. Perfect for these temps, and even though my feet eventually got soaked they stayed nice and warm. Today's group was uncharacteristically small with only Erik and Jeff showing up, we did however have a couple of four-leggeed companions since Erik brought Django and I am looking after James' dog Maury for the weekend. Emma, who is feeling under the weather, decided to stay home and do an easy run on the roads. No need to push too hard since it's now only a week until the Vermont 50.

Jeff led the way for this run since he's familiar with these trails which was a nice break for me since I've been leading the group at Bradbury most recent weekes. The only down side to this - which is actually an up side - is that Jeff has made a triumphant return from injury and is very fast now, and I felt a bit like I was holding him back.

The cooler weather was perfect for running and with the sun shining it was a glorious day for a run. I felt really good throughout the run and am looking forward to the 50 miler next weekend. I remember a time, not too long ago, when I thought that running a marathon might be a once in a lifetime achievement. A few years later and I'm getting ready for my third ultramarathon of the year and already thinking about the Stone Cat 50 Miler in November. Thats trails for ya. I felt like I could have run all day today, lets hope I feel this way next Sunday morning in VT.

Jeff, Erik and I talked about organizing races since Jeff has been cooking up a race plan on some of the trails that we were running on this morning. Unfortunately he has run into a few road blocks along the way which is a shame since these trails would be great for racing and Jeff would love to punish participants as much as I do by creating a brutal (but very fun) course. One more likely event, or series of events, that we talked about is a weekly 5k series at Twin Brook in Cumberland. The idea is that this would be a fall series of free 5k cross country races, every Wednesday night, carrying on in the tradition of the Weekly Back Cove Series. It's a whole year away until this series would actually begin but it's never too soon to start planning.

So fall doesn't officially start until Monday, but it feels like it's already here and I'm loving it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bruiser Results


Thanks to everyone who showed up in the rain to run and to all the volunteers who helped make this race happen!

Congratulations to the Bradbury Mountain Trail Running Series Champions Peter Keeney and Gnarls Barclay, and runners-up Jeff Walker and Katherine Creswell.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pineland Trail Marathon

Over the past month the size of our group has grown considerably, which is great to see. Today's group of 13 actually seemed small for a Saturday run.

Coming into this run I was a little apprehensive about completed the planned 26.2 miles because I had been having some pain in my legs that was reminiscent of femoral stress fractures I had a few years ago. The weird thing is that the pain is most noticeable after sitting on my ass all day at work. Ryan made the brilliant suggestion for me to quit my job, which sounded very appealing but isn't likely to happen any time too soon. Anyway, I felt good when we started but had prepared myself to stop early and weep in the car while Emma finished the long run on her own.

Luckily I never faced any pain during the run and the whole thing went fantastically well. After a somewhat haphazard few miles where Emma and I got separated from the group and started running the opposite direction of everyone else we eventually caught up to the rest of the group around 10 or 11 miles. Most people called it a day at 13-13.5 mile but Jim G joined Emma and me for a second lap of the Oak Hill trails. We got off of that loop just in time because there were some college cross country runners just about to start a meet and at least one person didn't seem to like the fact that we were running on their course. Whatever, their stupid course didn't even take in the big hills of the Oak Hill loop, wimps.

Jim finshed at about 18 miles and Emma and I set off for another 8 miles that included the Campus Loop, River Loop, Valley Farm and then back (the way the RACE goes minus the unmown fields). This meant finishing on the long uphill of the Campus Loop which I always think of as the hardest part of the race, yippee! At 24 miles, just as we crossed the Valley Farm Road about to enter the Campus Loop Emma suggested we run all the hills for the rest of the way.

"You mean run down all the hills right?"
"You do realize it's all uphill from here?"

It's all good training I guess. We finished the 26.38 mile run in 4:15:42 and made our goal of completing this distance faster than we ran the 24 miles at Bradbury last weekend. Bradbury is killer. Pineland is plush. After the run we stopped by the revamped Visitors Center for coffee and some amazing peanut butter and chocolate things that replaced all 2,500 calories we burnt during the run.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Last Few Runs

Saturday Emma and I once again planned to run two laps of the Bruiser course to get in a 24 mile run. We had originally planned to run at Pineland this past weekend but a few folks wanted to return to Bradbury so we agreed. Although it's not particularly hilly the bruiser course is particularly difficult to do a long run on. The technicality of the trails forces you into an ultra-like pace (very slow) but even doing an 11 minute pace here can be extremely taxing on the body after a few hours.

We set off around 7:10 with a group of somewhere near 20 runners, probably our biggest group ever. The pack thinned a little at 6 miles and then by the time we were in the O-Trail the group really started to get spread out. Interestingly we finished the first lap in 2:13 which is the same time we ran last week on our first lap. After a short break to refill with water a few folks continued running on the west side trails while Emma and I headed back out onto the Bruiser course with Floyd. We decided to do the race course in reverse this time so we could get the O-Trail out of the way, it's a hard trail to run at the best of times but after 20+ miles it's ridiculous.

Somewhere within the first mile I suggested we try to run a negative split and do this second lap in 2:10 or less. Emma was in the lead at this point and had no trouble setting a faster pace. I did have a little trouble keeping up but wasn't about to say anything, I just wanted to see how long I could hang on. I struggled a little since the weather was getting hotter and at the rate I was drinking I was sure I wouldn't have enough water to get me through this whole lap.

At around mile 19 we crossed a small stream and took the opportunity to cool off which helped revive everyone. Unfortunately this meant that Emma's revived state was still stronger than mine, but I think I kept up pretty well. I did take a good fall late in the run and took the opportunity to pause and catch my breath, which only made getting going again harder but the end was in sight and we all pressed on. We managed to run the second lap in a little under 2:10 and make our goal of a negative split.

I can't imagine how I ever ran this race last year in a time of 1:44, I must have been on performance enhancing drugs. Or maybe it's because it was before all the long slow runs made me forget how to run fast.

Sunday we went out for a 10 mile "recovery" run on the roads of Falmouth. It actually ended up being much closer to 11 miles. We started off very conservatively since it was the middle of the day and pretty hot, but once we got loosened up the pace dropped a bit and we cruised along pretty comfortably. The last 4 miles all got progressively faster and we even managed to bust out a sub 8 minute pace for the last 0.8 miles.

Monday Emma got up freakishly early to get in a 4 mile run while I lay in bed. Later in the morning, like 7am, we met Jim and Shauna and headed up to Camden Hills State Park for a hike. We got in a nice 7 mile loop that took in many great views of Penobscot Bay and the little hills of the midcoast area. It was a beautiful day and the trails would have been great for running if I wasn't so damned tired. I must remember to return here soon for a run, and hopefully some day somebody will organize a race on these trails.

Tuesday I had to skip the Twin Brook run because of work but managed to get in a 6 mile run from home that took in Back Cove. I wanted to get some flat miles in that would let my slightly achy joints recover from all the abuse over the past few days. This was one of those great runs where I felt 10 times better after the run than before I went out.

Tonight was a similar scenario of getting a late start to my run which was nice because by 7pm it was nice and cool outside. The first 5 miles of the run got progressively faster from a first mile split of 7:45 down to 7:16 for the 5th mile. I then found myself back at work where I had to take care of a few things, ten minutes later I was back out running again for an easy 2 miles home.

I plan to do 10-12 miles tomorrow, take Friday off from running, run a slow marathon at Pineland on Saturday and then let the taper begin. 3 weeks until the Vermont 50!