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    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Backyard Burn Race #2 Preview

    Sunday's race will be at Hemlock Park in southern Fairfax County. It is a really nice park situated on an old farmstead. The terrain varies greatly - steep short hills, scrub oak forest, and open fields. The southern edge of the park is bounded by the infamous Bull Run Creek; farther upriver is where the famous Civil War battles were fought.

    The race starts with a very fast slightly downhill prologue that follows a dirt road before winding between some old farm buildings. The course crosses a small field and then runs along the sides of a farm pond before hitting the first short hill. This portion of the race was very fast last year!

    After crossing the same road the race started down the course goes into the trees on some relatively tight singletrack as the course winds down towards the Bull Run. Once along the creek the route becomes very "technical," literally running riverside over a very narrow rocky path.

    This portion of the course ends with the longest climb of the day - a series of two steep climbs that bring the runners back level with the farm. Into the singletrack around a series of fields the course picks up speed as you cross several open areas and then race around the farm pond againt to the finish.

    Last year I finished 7th at this course with a time of 40:48 for 5.8 miles. I am hoping to place better - into the top five again. If i can secure two top five finishes during the series my chances of a top five place overall will be very strong.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Race Week

    This week has been a little hectic but for the most part I hit my training gates. Monday to Wednesday I was at a seminar away from my usual office here in DC. While I greatly enjoyed it - the subject was Africa - it complicated my daily training plans!

    My swim workouts for Monday and Wednesday were the first victims; thankfully they were really the only ones as well. I started the week with a three mile very fast speed workout on Monday. I didn't want to push too far and long due to the long ten mile run on Sunday afternoon. Tuesday was strictly a weight room day - have I mentioned I love my new work out regimen? I will post it soon. Wednesday I ran five miles at a nice tempo pace - resistance training as well with all the wind! Thursday was an interval workout on the treadmill and that afternoon I was able to get to the gym too.

    Tomorrow will be a short two-mile run and a swim workout (finally!).

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    Weekend Recap

    Friday was a good day. Intervals and a swim. My legs were smoked so Saturday I didn't even bother with a run.

    Hoyawolf Jr. scored his second goal of the season in his soccer match on Saturday morning. It was excellent - playing down-field he took a decent pass and punched it straight into the goal. The real challenge was a bunch of kids playing in the rain for a full hour. Hoyawolfette was in rare form for her soccer - she was convinced she wanted to go home until about two seconds after she ran out onto the field.

    Today the weather was great - cool and sunny, but very breezy. I ran a double five mile loop by the house. Did I mention we live in a VERY hilly area? Ugh, my quads are burnt.

    I am hoping to get two speed/tempo workouts in by Thursday so I can rest fully on Friday and Saturday prior to my next race. If I can lock up a top five finish next Sunday then I will definitely be in the hunt for overall series top five as well.

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Speed Week

    No fast cars here just a lot of hard effort running! Tuesday was back on my feet and I did a nice middle distance tempo run - five miles at seven mins per mile. Later that afternoon it was weight room session one for the week.

    Wednesday was a short - three mile - but fast workout. I did the three miles at 6:18 per mile and then went immediatly to the pool. Swam 5x200's and then headed back to the office. All in all it was an efficient hour-long workout including stretching/warming up.

    At this point I must confess that although I have had the intention of running from home in the early morning hours sleep overtook me on Tuesday. Monday had just been too cold to be outside and I am still in my summer mindset.

    Thursday I made the break - at about 31 degrees it was damn chilly. A nice small loop near the house at a slower pace. Tomorrow is my interval workout - death!

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Race and recovery

    Sunday's race went excellent. The morning was cold and clear - lows in the high 30s - with bluebird skies and sunshine. I love running through the trees and fields on days like that.

    The race was Wakefield Park - like mentioned in a previous post it was mostly flat and FAST. The prologue is about a half-mile down the road until you hit a turn onto the single track. The pace was furious to make the turn. Luckily I was in the lead group of about 20 or so and had good positioning.

    I ran very well through the first three to three and a half miles. Then I started slacking up a bit until I picked it up on the last mile to finish strong. I only had one fall - whew!

    I finished fifth in the five mile race so I was pretty happy. Unfortunately I pulled out to head home a little early and they did not post the results as quickly as usual. My friend called me (he was in the 10 mile race) to tell me the results.

    The most important thing that happened this weekend however was that Hoyawolf Jr. did the monkeybars!

    Today's training was just a recovery day. I was in the pool for about 2000m - swam two 500s, five 100s, and 10 50s. Then i just sat in the hot tub for about 15 mins....bliss.

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    Simmering down...

    Ah yes - the late fall season and with it the blessed end of long multi-hour runs that last distances beginning with the digit 2,3, or 4!! The flip-side is short but fast workouts that leave you feeling like you have been knifed and beaten with sand-filled rubber hoses.

    After being in Turkey for an entire week and not running at all it was back to grind. This week I put down a few nice tempo runs of about 7 and 8 miles with two shorter speed workouts; one interval session and one three mile race-pace run.

    I am feeling pretty good about this weekend's race at Wakefield Park. The course is relatively flat across multi-surfaces; road, singletrack, crushed pathway, and open fields. The technical portions (ie rocky!) are along Accotink Creek. There are a few steep but short climbs up from the creek that cross several of the draws as you break out of the trees toward the finish with about a half-mile across an open field. The finish is great with lots of folks there to cheer on the racers.

    Last year I finished 10th in this race. I am looking for a top five this time. I am going into the fall series four pounds lighter at 150 with a good bit more mileage in my legs although perhaps not as much speed work. The weather looks to be cool - low mid 40s by the 9:00am start. Look back here Sunday night for a race report.

    Saturday is also Hoyawolf Jr and Hoyawolfette's soccer day. The last game Hoyawolf Jr. scored his first ever goal. It was beautiful and his interest spiked accordingly. Hoyawolfette continues to blaze away at her tiny kickers sessions as well. There is no one cuter in pigtails kicking a soccer ball that I know!

    Bring on the race, I am ready for the post-run beer. Happy Trails.

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    It's been a while...

    I just got back to work this week after being in Turkey last week for work. I didn't do a single bit of running - which was glorious. Instead concentrating on 12 ounce curls - actually .3 litre curls it was Europe you know. The Sheraton in Ankara is very nice; if you get upgrade room to Club Level drinks and snacks free during happy four hours daily. I highly recommend it, especially on the government dime.

    Just before I took off I ran the Army Ten Miler here in DC. My time was 1:15:02 for about a 7:30 pace. Not too bad and I was pleased with the effort - especially given all the recent running I had done.

    This weekend will be the first race in the Backyard Burn Trail Series. I finished 8th overall last year and am hoping to medal this year.

    I just joined Facebook as well - on an invite from a friend. I can't believe how many folks from high school and college are on there.