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    Sunday, November 30, 2008

    Downtime and forced rest

    After last Sunday's long run and the following Monday's swim I was psyched to train hard last week.

    The best laid plans of mice and men....

    Tuesday I took off to recover and we drove to NC for Thanksgiving. Tuesday night and Wednesday I ended up being very sick. This laid me out until Friday when I did a six mile run. Saturday and Sunday I ended up feeling week as well.

    Hopefully I will not lose too much before my race next Sunday. I will have all week to train and plan on making up for the time lost.

    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Cold Miles

    Brrrr is the word of the weekend. I haven't run in weather this cold since I left Germany.

    Saturday I did a quick six from the house over some nice rolling hills. Sunny, bluebird sky and a killer wind! It was biting quite deep. I was layered up in a long sleeve tee, pearl izumi long sleeve top, knit cap, gloves, and fleece-lined tights. I was warm enough when not in the wind but for about half the run the wind was slicing through my clothes. I was regretting not wearing my windblocker vest.

    Sunday I met my boss - aka known as Sasquatch or the Northern Virginia Minotaur - for 15 cold miles. We started and finished and Burke Lake Park with some additional loops thrown in for fun. It was about 24 degs but thankfully no wind. I wore my waist belt Camelbak and had all the cold water I wanted to drink. My mini clif bar froze though and was like eating cardboard.

    I followed up the morning run with a nice Thai lunch while shopping with Mrs. Hoyawolf for Hoyawolfette and Hoyawolf Jr. The only thing I ran through faster than the Northern VA woods was my cash at Toys R Us!

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    Slog Week

    This week has been rough. Work kept me quite busy and I have been fighting a little respiratory cold. To add difficulties I have been hoovering up any food I can get my hands on completely blowing my training diet. Not by eating too much, just rushed for time and eating too much junk!
    Here is a recap of my training over the past week.

    Monday - 1600m swim, 100m - 200m - 300m - 400m - 300m - 200m - 100m

    Tuesday - 5 mile tempo run, 7-7:30mi/min pace

    Wednesday - no training due to work intervention - argh!

    Thursday - intervals, 12x400m with 400m in-between laps

    Friday - weights
    1600m swim, 1000m free, 200m w/kickboard, 200m w/bouy, 200m with fins

    Forecast for the weekend is pretty cold. I am planning to run Saturday and Sunday with a long run Sunday. Check back Sunday night for more details.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Montrail Hardrock Trail Running Shoe

    The 2008 Hardrock is an excellent shoe for long distance and technical courses. Long a trail running favorite Montrail delivers yet again with this year’s edition.
    Ample cushioning where it is needed most ensures a comfortable ride. The well padded heel and forefoot mitigate much of the shock of hard surface running, especially when pounding down steep singletrack. The stiffened toebox gives good protection to the little piggies as well – always nice when running a very rocky trail.

    The aggressive “Griptonite” sole supplies purchase under almost all conditions. The high-density medial post in the shoe lends reinforces the arch and the overall stability of the shoe. The uppers breathe adequately and even though I am prone to excessive foot heating during long runs the Hardrock performed well.

    The lacing provides a tight fit that goes long down the foot and allows a tight fit to the running platform. The shoe’s sizing runs a little small – I usually wear a 10 to 10.5 but fit an 11.5 Hardrock. The medium volume gives room for foot expansion without leaving too much wiggle room for shorter jaunts.

    I have put about three months of satisfied running into my new Hardrocks. On a recent half-marathon they performed well overall , including on one paved section. For longer training runs the cushion and support is appreciated, shorter events in the 10k range probably do not need this much shoe unless on very technical terrain. The shoe's real test for me will be in February 2009's ICY 8 Hour Trail Run.

    Bottom Line: I would buy this shoe again and would recommend it to friends. It is an excellent performer for long runs and on technical terrain. It’s beef cushion, solid footbed, and tight lacing allows you to plant each stride firmly without breaking stride – even on steep downhills.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Race Report - Fountainhead Regional Park

    Sunday dawned cold and slightly overcast with winds gusting to 20mph. The temperature at race time was about 38f with the windchill around 31f - freezing my bare legs. After check-in and number pick-up. I started my warm up with a nice jog from the parking lot down to the marina and around the lake side. I was warmed up by the time I got to the truck and stretched out almost right up until race time. My boss has been running the same series as well - except he is running the 10 mile races. We are both signed up for a half-marathon to finish our season off on 12 December down in Fredricksburg, VA - The Blue and Gray HM. It runs from downtown over the battlefield and back. Sounds like a good time!

    The wind was ripping by the time the race started so when the siren sounded I was ready to run. It had rained for three days straight so the course was trashed - the creeks were full, the hills muddy, and all the rocks covered with lots of leaves. Trail racing at its finest! This race course's prologue was about a half-mile down a rolling paved road. It was very fast. I was in the first break of about 15 runners when we turned off the pavement into the woods. The trail was fast down to the first main creek crossing, the far side of which was mud puree! Made for an interesting climb up - I could only imagine what it would be like after the pack got through there. It was a quick few rolling up and down hills and back onto the ridge for a slight uphill climb to the road crossing.

    After crossing the road the trail turns along the paved road and follows it for about a half-mile over mostly even but winding track. This portion ran fast. The course turned back into the woods and the next three and a half-miles would be in the back reaches of the park, great isolated cold and windy trail running on superb singletrack.

    There were a few very steep but fast descents - they all ended dead into creeks and water crossings. This made for some chilly hooves on my part - thankfully I had wore my gore-tex shoes. By the time the trail winded its way to the final mile it dropped steeply back to the reservoir and proceeded to climb a longish winding trail up to a rolling ridge. Some needle packed singletrack and then a hard left turn brought me to the finish chute with a 6th place finish.

    Overall my race was good and I really enjoyed it. Although the lead-out was fast I recovered my wind by the road crossing. I cruised at a very solid pace during the next three and half miles until the last half-mile where I really started to charge home - running up the large hill in good form. I am not sure how I slipped to sixth place. I was only passed once - and by a ten mile runner (they have red numbers).

    Now the mark is set for the last race. I am tied for fourth overall and the third place finisher is only one point ahead. So the final race in three weeks will be a real race. Lots of speedwork will be the order of the day!

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Backyard Burn Race #3 preview and taper summary

    This week's training has been good and I feel strong going into the weekend. My legs are a little sore overall from the amount of speed work I have been doing lately but two days of rest should freshen them up.
    Wednesday morning I ran four miles worth of intervals at 6:20 min/mile pace. My afternoon swim was four sets of 300m free, 200m w/kickboard and fins, and 200m w/pull-bouy. I finally replaced my old worn out, yet lovable, goggles. My new ones are Speedo Vanquisher, after two swims my initial impression is pretty good. A more comprehensive review will follow in the coming days.

    Thursday began my taper to the race - a short tempo run followed with weights in the afternoon.

    The course for this weekend's race is at Fountainhead Regional Park, which is situated along the banks of the Occoquan Reservoir in Western Fairfax County. This park is beautiful and feels surprisingly remote for being so close to Washington D.C. The racecourse consists mostly of hiking trails (including the Bull Run Occoquan Trail), horse trails, and old dirt roads.

    Last year my time on this course was 40:37 with a sixth place finish. After two fifth place finishes (currently third overall) I am really hoping to break into the top three.

    This is a moderately technical and fast course. The race begins in the main parking lot and runs down the paved entrance road for approximately a half-mile over rolling hills. The course then dives offroad and runs along some excellent singletrack over a wooded ridgeline. A short but sharp descent brings the racers to an intermittant stream crossing with its subsequent climb. Last year there were a number of tumbles at this creek crossing. The course then climbs out of the draw and loops through more of the scrub oak forest before merging back into the ridgeline where you run out the same way the track entered the woods.

    Once crossing the entrance road the course follows alongside the road for a little ways before going back into the farther reaches of the park. The race course from there until the finish is a series of rolling ups and downs with numerous stream crossings. The course feels very isolated on these back stretches because the numerous draws keep the majority of runners out of view from each other.
    After dropping down to run beside the Occoquan Reservoir for a short distance the final stretch climbs quickly back up to the ridge top and runs over a few small hills before bursting out of the woods and literally directly into the finish chute.
    Hopefully the weather will hold and it will be cool yet dry this Sunday. Stay tuned for the race report.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Soccer season wrap-up

    Here are a few pictures of Hoyawolf Jr's soccer season. He really progressed a lot over the year and had a good time. Perhaps not as much as his dad who really enjoyed watching him play!

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Off and Running

    Monday is a day-off for me, as is Tuesday. Perfect way to start any work week!

    My training over the past few days was decent. Friday was a weight room day at work and a short but fast tempo run after work. These days it gets dark quite early so running in the dark is the evening norm.

    Saturday was a day off for me - my legs hurt from my interval workout and from doing several lower body exercises at the gym. We also had soccer all day - Hoyawolf Jr's final game was Saturday. He mostly played half-back all day and had two nice blocks; one of which he was the only thing between the other team's striker and the goal.

    Sunday was a middle distance run in almost perfect conditions - upper 60s and sunshine. That afternoon was Jr's soccer team party. It was held at Fuddruckers. An odd location for a youth party and I gorged myself on a huge burger, fries, and a beer. That shot my nutrition plan for last week!

    Monday morning I did a nice 10 mile loop from the house - the weather was definitely more fall-like. Cool, breezy, and sunny I was bundled in long sleeves, tights, and knit cap. This afternoon I am going swimming. First I have to get some new goggles - mine suffered complete failure last week at work.

    Thursday, November 6, 2008


    I started off the day right - with a very hard track workout. 4x400 at 6mins/mile, 3x800 at 6 mins/mile, 2x1200 at 640mins/mile, 2x800 at 6.40 mins/mile, 1x400 at 5.40mins/mile. My trackworkout starts with an 800m warm up and I ran 200m between the first sets of 400 and 800 but then full 400m between the 1200s and the remainder. My quads have been screaming at me all day.

    In the afternoon the pool beckoned. I swam 5x200, 1x200 w/fins, 1x200 w/pullbouy, and 1x200 w/fins and kickboard. As always the pool was quite chilly and it takes the first 200m or so to warm up. What I like best about pool-day is sitting in the hot tub afterwards. Today I was in no hurry to get back up to my hobbit hole so parked there for 15 glorious minutes.

    Yesterday I did five miles. A progressive tempo run starting at 730 mins/mile and then moving to 650 mins/mile for the last mile. It was a great day to run - misty and cool. After missing my Tuesday run and only swimming on Monday it felt nice.

    Tomorrow is weights and a short run.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    Race Pictures

    Here are a few pics from Sunday's race. They were taken at the top of the huge climb between miles three and four.

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Blue Monday

    My hammies were a little tight after the hills at Hemlock yesterday. Subsequently today's pool workout hurt - at least for the first three hundred meters!

    I also found out that I am sitting third overall in the Backyard Burn Trailrunning Series. If I can manage one more strong finish I will be in a solid position to place for the overall series.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008

    Race Report - Hemlock Park

    Perfect weather, a super course, and a decent finish - a great day! I expected a cold morning but was pleasantly surprised when it was low 50's and slightly overcast. Perfect race conditions and the trails were in great shape. The total mileage was 5.5 miles for the race with a short prologue.

    The route was as challenging as last year; although, I had forgotten how steep the climbs were!!!

    From the start the race was fast. The prologue went very quick; I hit the first .7 miles at 3:45 - yikes. The long downhill to the river continued at the same pace but hit the slow-stop along the banks. The trail went to big rocks, little rocks, huge rocks, stacked rocks - you get the picture. In several places I had to stop running and "mantel" myself up onto the next section of trail. There were several sections along the river totaling approximately 2 miles.

    The last climb was absurd - probably about a half-mile and gained several hundred feet very steeply. The upper portions were over large steps composed of split ties.

    Although I started to fade just over the middle of the race after the long climb the race broke out into some open fields. I was able to get my wind back and power strong to the finish.

    I finished 5th with a time of 40:15. I wanted a little faster time but was happy with placing again. My interval workouts helped me with the endurance at high speed but I think it will be another two weeks before there is enough "speed" in my legs to run sustained. However, I am positioned quite well for the overall series standings and will post those results when they are released.