Ouch! (Traprock 50k Race Report)

The Traprock 50k was on Saturday. It was my first trail race in over five months, and I was definitely looking forward to it.

I got up at 3am on Saturday to make the four-hour drive to Connecticut. I arrived with plenty of time to warm-up and relax before the start. They lined us up around 8:30am and off we went.

The course climbs over 200 feet in the first half mile, and Brian Rusiecki and I separated from the field. We ran and chatted a little. The trails were dry and quick, and the course was quite nice. It was pretty rocky (hence the name Traprock, I suppose), and it required some concentration in parts.

Apparently, I wasn’t concentrating enough. Somewhere around six miles, I clipped a toe on a rock. I started to stumble, and because of the rocky section, I was unable to regain my balance. I went down hard on some pretty decent rocks. My right hand, left hip, left knee and chest took the brunt of it. Ouch.

I was definitely stunned and I had the wind knocked out of me. I didn’t feel anything break, but I knew my day was probably done. After a few minutes, nobody had gone by me, and I decided to start walking. A few minutes after that, I figured I would try jogging. I actually caught up to Brian briefly – he had made a navigational miscalculation, and he was just finding his way. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything left. Everything hurt and my knee was starting to swell. I walked back to the start and took a DNF.

On a scale of one to ten, with one being victory and ten being death, this was about a seven or eight. My hip still feels lousy and I definitely have a rib issue. I was planning on a 100-mile week this week, and that pretty much went up in smoke. On the bright side, I’m not seriously hurt, and I should be able to get back on track with my Western States training in the near future.

Ugh. Anyhow, Rock the Ridge is next.

How was your weekend?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Back to the trails…

I just finished a fairly challenging three-week block of training. It included the Syracuse Half Marathon, which went fairly well. My weekly mileage totals were 80, 80 and 95, and I also got in a respectable amount of vertical. I really have no complaints except for the fact that I caught a cold (what else is new?!). I’m almost better and I’m hoping to be close to 100% for my race this weekend.

On Saturday, I’ll be racing the Traprock 50k in Connecticut. The slightly revamped course is pretty challenging, as it features nearly 6,000 feet of vertical over 50k. It’s also – you guessed it – quite rocky! It’s actually a pretty stacked field for an early-season race in the Northeast. Brian Rusiecki will be the man to beat, but Jim Sweeney, Rich Kopacz and Jack Bailey are no slouches either (I’m sure there are others, as well).

I don’t have a time goal since the course is foreign to me. Also, it’s mud season. While things might dry out a little this week, there’s no telling what kind of footing will await us on Saturday.

After Traprock, I’ll have a few weeks of tough training leading up to Rock the Ridge 50-Miler. Western States is getting closer, and these races are a key part of my buildup.

How is your training going?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Syracuse Half Marathon Race Report

The Syracuse Half Marathon was yesterday. This was my first race in over five months. I got a decent night of sleep the night before, and my stomach was pretty cooperative in the morning. I made it to the race with time to spare, and I snuck in a chilly warm-up. The race started right around 7:45am, and nearly 5,000 people took off toward the big climb on the course. I felt pretty good heading up James Street, and I knew it would be a decent day.

photo credit: Laura Kline

After a couple of miles, I had to pee! What a nuisance?! At first it was just annoying, but by mile five, it had to happen. I stopped as quickly as I could and pissed away 31 seconds – literally. I was a little stiff when I started running again, and it definitely took some time to get back into the flow. I had been passed by one runner, and I was sitting in about 15th place.

I started to run out of steam around 10 miles, and my last three miles definitely were not my quickest. From mile five, when I stopped, to the end, I passed two people and I got passed by two people. I ended up finishing 15th place out of 4,652 finishers. My official time was 1:17:17. My running time was 1:16:46 – curse you, bladder!! I snagged third in my age group, which earned me the bottle of Finger Lakes wine pictured at the bottom of this post. I was a little over my goal time, but overall, I’m pretty happy with it.

The race was extremely well organized. There were great shirts this year. Excellent medals. Perfect course direction. A fantastic post-race party. I really have no complaints at all!

Full results of the race are available here.

Have you ever won alcohol at a race before?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Back to Racing: Syracuse Half Marathon

It has been about five months since I’ve done a race. The truth is, there aren’t very many races in central New York during the winter. While it doesn’t quite feel like Spring yet, it is officially Spring! This Sunday is the Syracuse Half Marathon.

I did this race a few years ago, and it’s a great race. The weather does not always cooperate, but I think this year will be okay.

This isn’t an “A” race for me, so I haven’t really taken a break in my training – I will still be around 80-85 miles this week. With that being said, I still have goals! I would really like to finish in the 1:14:00 to 1:15:59 range. If I finish in the 1:16:00 to 1:18:00 range, I’ll be cranky and disappointed. If I’m over 1:18:00, you should probably steer clear of me for a day or two.

It’s a great course, and it’s only about ten minutes from my house. The race starts at 7:45am. This year, there will be over 6,000 runners! I have several friends in town, including a bunch of folks from my Strong Hearts Vegan Power crew. As I said above, the weather will be okay. The forecast is for rain showers and temps in the low 30s.

The course is a little different this year:

It’s not a fast course, but the worst hill is early on, so it’s not a slow course either.

Live runner tracking is available here.

Results will be posted here after the race.

Check back next week to hear about my race!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Update: Winter, Syracuse Half Marathon, Oil Creek 100 and Western States

Winter is finally here! It has been freezing the last few days, and this week, we are expected to get at least a foot of snow. I think the seasons are definitely confused!

Training Update

My training is going very well. I just finished a pretty tough three-week stretch. I managed 75, 80 and 82 miles during those weeks, while still pushing through one or two workouts per week. In this most recent week, my workout was 4 x 8 minutes with a 4 minute recovery jog. I averaged about 5:45/mile during those repeats, which is right where I wanted to be. I also managed to squeeze in a track workout on Friday (see below).

I’ll probably be cutting back to one workout per week (or three every two weeks) as I push my mileage up to 100/week.

Racing Update

Friday’s track workout was structured, but I wouldn’t consider it a race. I ran it in trainers (while dealing with a few sniffles). I managed to go 9:48 for 3000m. It was a good time and a nice change of pace (pun intended). My first real race of the year is March 26th. My goal for the Syracuse Half Marathon is under 1:15. I think this is doable if I taper my mileage just a little bit that week and the weather cooperates.

Other News

In other news, I signed up for the Oil Creek 100 again. I got a free entry for finishing top three last year, and there’s something about free things… in related (and exciting) news, Karl Meltzer is also registered! If you’re not familiar with Karl, he’s won more 100-milers than anyone else ever. He also broke Scott Jurek’s fastest known time on the Appalachian Trail. He’s pretty much a legend, and it’ll be cool to run some miles with him.

In other other news, the bib numbers for Western States were assigned last night! I’m number 274. Western States is already the most competitive 100-miler in the world, and this year, all of the top-ten men are back and nine of the top-ten women. Add in Walmsley (probably) and Sage (possibly)… and who knows who else?!

How are things with you? Are you getting hit with this last blast of winter?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Training Update

I know it’s been awhile, but I’d like to bring you up to speed (pun intended) on my training.

As I prepare for Western States, I’ve put together a six-month plan that is broken into three distinct two-month blocks. As I’ve mentioned on other occasions, I’m following Jason Koop’s book/strategy, which starts with the least specific training and moves to the most specific training. In plain English, that means the first two months of my training, which I just completed, were filled with short, hard intervals. I ran interval workouts once or twice a week. I ran some of them uphill, some of them downhill and some of them flat. The intervals were generally one to three minutes each, and the recovery was half the length of the interval itself.

Without going into too much detail, these workouts went extremely well. I’m faster than I’ve been in years, and I feel extremely fit, especially for early March. I will know a little more when I do my first race of the year in a few weeks.

The next phase of my training, which starts this week, focuses more on tempo runs. According to Koop, this is generally the hardest phase of training.

So far this year, I’ve averaged about 65 miles per week. However, I’ve been doing three hard weeks followed by an “easy” week, which has brought the average down. The reality is most of my weeks so far have been closer to 75 miles. Over the next few months, I will most likely go as high as 100 miles/week. This is uncharted territory for me, but I got into Western States so YOLO and all that. It’s obviously a challenge finding the time, and I often find myself running at 4:30am, 8:30pm and everything in between.

That’s about it! The weather has been quite kind and I’m ready to start racing after a four-month hiatus. Next up is the Syracuse Half Marathon on March 26th followed by Traprock 50k on April 15th.

How is your training going? When is your next race?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Training Update

To get ready for Western States, I am basically following a six-month training plan. The nuts and bolts of the plan are from Jason Koop’s book. Basically, it involves two months of lower volume/higher intensity; two months of tempo-type work; and two months of longer distances/back-to-back long runs (there’s more to it, but that roughly sums it up). I’ve mentioned Koop’s book elsewhere so I won’t go into it in detail here, but basically, you start with the least race-specific training (in this case, high intensity/low volume) and move to the most race-specific training (in this case, long runs and back-to-back long runs).

For the last several weeks, I’ve been doing two high-intensity workouts per week. This week, for example, I did 12 x 1:00 hard with a 30-second recovery. The workouts have been going really well. My speed is decent, and I’m in pretty good shape for this time of year. I’ve been managing 60-65 miles per week, and I think that is a really good place for me at this time of year. Later this week, I’m planning to do 6 x 2:00 hard with 1:00 recovery. The “hard” parts are generally about 5:20/mile pace, although it’s a little tricky this time of year with road conditions, etc.

My racing plans have changed slightly due to a conflict. As of right now, these are my races for the first half of the year:

Syracuse Half Marathon (3/26/17)

Traprock 50k (4/15/17)

Rock the Ridge (5/6/17)

Cayuga Trails Marathon (6/3/17)

Western States 100 (6/24/17)

I’ve been working on my nutrition as well. I’ve been vegan for more than two years now (yay!). Unfortunately, being vegan doesn’t automatically equal being healthy (although it’s a really good start). With that being said, I’ve been cutting back on bread, nuts (you cannot imagine how many I was eating in some way, shape or form), chips, processed food and a few other guilty pleasures. I’ve added in lots of fruits and vegetables.


How has your training been going? When is your first race of the year?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments