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, August 31, 2009

Camden Hills Run (a while ago)

On August 22nd Emma and I celebrated National Trail Running Day with Mary, Peter and Jeff by heading up to Camden Hills State Park. Expecting cool and possibly rainy weather I had planned a 15 mile route, but it turned out to be a very hot and humid day and we ended up cutting the run short and actually running the last few miles on the roads.

By the time we reached 5.5 miles at the top of Bald Rock Mountain it became clear that we wouldn't have enough water to get us through the whole distance so we revised our plan. By about 7.5 miles at the top of Cameron Mountain it was clear that we wouldn't make it the 4 miles or so back to the car by going back up over the ridge of Mt Megunticook so we again revised our plan and took the shortest/quickest way out which meant a few miles on roads. We did take a nice break on Cameron and picked blueberries for a while which helped refuel a bit.

Luckily we had started our run from a parking lot on Rt 52 just across from Lake Megunticook so as soon as we finished the run we were able to jump in the lake for a refreshing swim, then followed that up with a good meal at the Waterfront in Camden.

time: 2:34:25
distance: 10.98 miles
pace: 14:03

weather: mid 80's, humid, some clouds and fog

gear: Inov-8 Roclite 315, Balega socks, shorts, t-shirt, hat, Nathan HPL #020

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The 10 Mile Recovery Run

Emma and I have a tendency to do 10 mile road runs the day after long trail runs. I think I've gone through this before, not really a recovery run, more like extended training, or back-to-back long runs, although I don't really consider 10 miles to be a long run any more.

We decided to go to Falmouth and check out some of the roads that will be in our neighborhood when we move in a few weeks.

Lately I've been doing all my road runs in my fast shoes, Saucony Grid Sinister. The first few times I wore them earlier this year I ended up with strange pains in my legs following the runs and I had pretty much given up on wearing them, but over the past few months I have been making an effort to incorporate barefoot running into my weekly runs, and have been doing a few runs in Vibram Five Fingers so these leightweight, low to the ground Saucony's are part of the whole move to a more minimalist approach to footwear (which Inov-8 is part of) and everything seems to be going well for me now. Emma is also jumping on the minimalist bandwagon and just picked up a pair of Asics Speedstar. Not the most minimal road shoe but she's weening herself off of fat cushiony shoes and orthotics so it seems like a good transition shoe for her (sans orthotics).

The first few strides of our run were a bit creaky but it didn't take long to get warmed up. The weather was perfect, sunny and cool. Two miles into the run we came across Falmouth High School and decided to check out their track. Probably the slowest 400m we've ever run, and probably the first time I've set foot on a track in the past 7 years. Nice to know it's going to be close by if I ever get the urge to run on a track, although I don't know why I would when I've got many miles of trails and hills that are even closer.

There were a few good hills on the loop we ran, nothing major but enough to keep it interesting.

time: 1:29:28
distance: 10.44 miles
pace: 8:34

weather: mid 60's, sunny, very nice

gear: Saucony Grid Sinister, Wright Socks, shorts, t-shirt, hat, Fuel Belt

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Double Bruiser

Since the Bradbury Bruiser is coming up in two weeks I thought it would be a good idea to run the course, to make sure everything was okay out on the trails. And to make sure that I did miss anything I thought it would be a good idea to run it a second time in the opposite direction.

Emma and I did this run last year with Floyd and finished in about 4:21, under hotter and drier conditions. We had no intention of trying to beat that time today, just get in a good long run, but Emma and I do have a tendency to push it a little bit when we run together.

We arrived at the park a little before 8 and were soon joined by Valerie, Jim and of course Danny (the tropical storm), who brought with him steady rain and cooler temperatures. I have to say that I was delighted to have Danny in town, my performance at most of my races this summer has suffered because of the heat and humidity so it was a relief to be running in cooler air and I didn't mind the rain at all (I learned how to run in Scotland). Not expecting anyone else to show up we headed off just after 8, but were surprised to bump into Jeff and Yana on the Island Trail about 1.5 miles along the course, they had arrived a little late but luckily knew how to find us on the race course.

We made pretty good time around the course considering the wet, slippery, puddly conditions and we all hung together until hitting the O-Trail. As is to be expected the group thinned out a bit here, but one of the fun things about the O-Trail is that when the group breaks up it's actually easier to see the people right ahead of you or behind you as you pass going opposite directions on this labyrinth of a trail. Near the end of the O-Trail we bumped into Chuck who was getting a very late start, but since we are so predictable he knew just how to find us.

My Garmin struggled through the trees and thick cloud cover, there is no difference between the way we ran the course for each lap so there shouldn't be two parallel lines along the route.

Intimidating looking elevation profile which misrepresents the course, it's actually very flat.

We finished the first lap of the Bruiser course in 2:09 which is a little better than many of the runs that we did on the course last year. I don't think the trail conditions played too much of a factor in slowing us down. Jim, Jeff and Yana finished here, Emma, Chuck and I made a quick stop and headed back out and I think Valerie was going to do a second lap of just the O-Trail since it's so much fun.

Apart from when we finished the first lap I wasn't looking at my watch at all, I really didn't care (that much) about how fast we were running, but I was trying to keep from slowing down on the second 12 mile lap. Generally speaking I was feeling good and full of energy. There was a slight pain in the arch of my right foot, perhaps a results of running the TMR TNR in Vibram's this week, maybe too much of a jump up in distance. Both my knees felt a little "tired", but nothing that had me concerned or made me think I should slow down.

When we hit 20 miles I stopped to pee and Emma took over the lead, and of course she picked up the pace a little. I think she was hoping to run a negative split. In fact, later she did admit that she was hoping to run a negative split, but I guess I wasn't pushing it enough in the first 2/3's of the second lap because as we neared the end of the run it became evident that it wasn't going to happen. With about 1 mile to go Chuck (who had run 11 miles less than us) took the role of rabbit in hopes of providing some incentive for us to really pick up the pace, but we didn't even try to keep up with his sprint. We did pick it up a little and it was lot of fun running right behind Emma through the tights turns of the Island Trail.

Our last two miles were probably the fastest of the day but we finished the backwards lap of the Bruiser course in 2:13. I didn't really expect to run a negative split so I'm not dissapointed that we didn't. I had a great run, it was so nice to do a long trail run with Emma again and it was nice to get out running with Chuck who we haven't run with since before the VT100.

Following the run we stopped by Stone's Cafe for bunch. First thing on the menu was "Monster Hash and Eggs" so I had to get it, what better way to recover from a long run than with a festival of pork products on a plate.

time: 4:22:02
distance: 24 miles
pace: 10:55

weather: low-high 50's, steady rain

conditions: wet, muddy, puddles

gear: Inov-8 Mudroc 280, Wright Socks, shorts, t-shirt, hat, Nathan HPL #020

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Nights at Twin Brook

Photos from last week's TMR TNR by Peter Buchanan

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bradbury Mountain Breaker Results

Results for the Bradbury Mountain Breaker are now posted on the race website


Thanks to everyone who came out to run and thanks to all the volunteers who helped make it happen. Despite very hot weather everyone seemed to have a good time on the though course.

Congratulations to all the Trail Monsters who turned out good performances at the race!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grafton Loop Trail

38.6 miles, 10,500 feet elevation gain (21,000 total elevation change) 13 hours and 15 minutes

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Half Breaker

This past Saturday I had originally planned to go up to Sunday River to do some mountain running on the course of the Mountain Epic race planned for this fall, but when I found out that a family reunion had been scheduled for Saturday I decided to do a local run so I could spend time with my family.

Since it's the week before the Breaker I thought there might be a few people interested in running the course so that's what I planned to do. Mindy and Valerie decided to run the Scuffle course, Carter, Don and Susannah joined me on the mountain. Although I knew that I needed to save something for a long run/hike planned for Sunday I let myself get a little carried away with the pace, and none of the people running with me were about to tell me slow down.

Carter and I were flying on the downhills, I think I could hear him giggling behind me he was having so much fun. I have no idea how he manages to run so fast on technical downhills wearing Vibram Five Fingers. As we were making our way up the summit trail I called out to the others: "anyone who can run all the way to the summit will get $5 off their entry fee to the race". Susannah and Don made it all the way up running so I will honor my promise if they choose to race, I hope they do!

More fast running on the Tote Road, I was feeling good. The Switchback Trail coming down from the summit was a little hard to follow, I know the way but it will need goo marking for the race. It's hard to run this fast with all the sharp turns but we did a pretty good job of it. When we got to the bottom and I looked at my watch I was a little surprised. We did the first lap of the race course in 40 minutes, which is pretty close to the time it took me to race it last year. Oops. Perhaps a little too fast. For fear that I was going to wear myself before Sunday's long run I decided not to do another lap of the Breaker course, and everyone else agreed that heading across the road for slower, flatter miles would be a good idea.

time: 1:06:50
distance: 7.18 miles
pace: 9:19

weather: perfect

conditions: perfect

gear: Inov-8 Mudroc 280, Wright Socks, shorts, t-shirt, hat

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Been busy with stuff, and some other things so not much time for blogging. Still getting some runs in but not as much as I had hoped to. I've given up on the Iroquois 100 this September, no way that I can get enough training in over the next 6 weeks. I had thought about the 50 miler at Iroquois but not sure that I want to travel all that way. The two rough races that I've had this year (Muddy Moose and Escarpment) have made me think a little more cautiously about committing to any long race where there's potential for hot weather.

So my "plan" has been revised, it no longer includes a 100 miler. Instead I'll try to have as much fun running as possible, and slip in some 50 miler training while I'm at it.

Speaking of fun, last weekend while most people around here were running the Beach to Beacon, or wishing they were, the Trail Monsters took part in the first ever Bitch to Bacon trail run. No time to write anything worth reading, so check out Snowman's blog. I'm pretty sure we had more fun, and more coffee brandy than anyone who participated in the Beach to Beacon. And donuts stuffed with bacon... there aren't words to describe the joy's of trail running.

So what could have been just a 4.something mile run ended up being about 7.5 miles (following a 4.5 mile warm-up with Emma and Carter).

On Sunday Emma and I went to Bradbury to lead the monthly trail maintenance day. We were joined by 10 National Guard troops (thank you Four for calling in the National Guard) a few other Trail Monsters and a couple bikers. Since the Breaker is coming up soon I wanted to focus our efforts on the neglected east side trails that make up the race course.

We worked to drain a section of trail that has been thick mud for the past 10 years and reroute the trail around it, build a bridge over a stream crossing and reroute a section of trail that was outside of the park boundary.

I've got a some good runs planned for this weekend so hopefully I have the time to document them...