48 hours

alright, 47 hours and 48 minutes. that’s how much time i spent running during the month of march…and yes i am resisting the urge to gear up and run another 12 minutes before midnight.

if that wasn’t obnoxious enough, this past saturday i ran the Trailbreaker Marathon as a training run. that just sounds downright arrogant to say, am i right?

to be honest, within some circles it’s considered normal. just like everyone else, i paid my entry fee and had a chip tied onto my shoe for timing purposes.

one thing i did a bit different was to wear my race-supplied number under my jacket rather than displaying it outwardly; which is a slight breech in runner’s etiquette. to be honest, a small action like that helps to keep me from slipping into a competitive mindset.

so my “training run” began by running the first twelve miles at roughly 8:30 per mile pace on the paved glacial drumlin trail. the next four miles of the course rolls through wooded trails that were strewn with roots, rocks and awfully greasy mud. just to add to the fun, in the middle of this section we get to climb to the top of a 45 foot observation tower and ring a bell at the top.

Lapham_Peak_tower

trailbreaker-elevation

yes, that spike in the middle of the chart is the tower and the rather long hill that we got to climb up before we even reaching the tower.

so i rang the bell and then headed back into the woods to slog my way back to the paved trail. in all honesty, my pace didn’t matter much in the woods as i was really focused on not falling on my arse. once back to the civility of the (paved) glacial drumlin trail there was roughly ten miles to the finish line.

so with ten miles left, a glance at my watch said i’d already been at it for two and a half hours. some simple math told me that if i lollygagged those last ten miles at 9 minute pace, i’d be stuck with a 4:## finishing time…which isn’t exactly what i had in mind.

did i mention the return route was downhill? if you’ve got your head and legs ready, this section of the course can be a lot of fun. three years ago, i went full on berserk through this section en route to a 3:19 finish. this year, i opted to keep my pace dialed in at a much more reasonable 7:45 per mile effort.

i rolled into the finish with an official time of 3:48:57, which got me 26th/106 overall and 3rd in M40-44. this was my sixth Trailbreaker Marathon finish (60% of the way to the “Ten Tower Club”) and 23rd marathon finish…so i’ve got that going for me.

otherwise, at the moment i can’t say that i’ve got any firm plans for racing this year. maybe one of these days when i’m surfing runningintheusa’s online race calendar i’ll decide and commit.

oh, yeah…and if you keep reading, you’ll see that i logged 325+ miles for the month; which is a personal best. previously, my best month was 300 miles back in August of 2004.

3/1 – 7 miles AM, 9 miles PM
3/2 – 6 miles
3/3 – 7 miles
3/4 – 7 miles
3/5 – 7 miles
3/6 – 6.25 miles
3/7 – 11 miles
3/8 – 7 miles AM, 13 miles PM
3/9 – 7 miles
3/10 – 7 miles
3/11 – 7 miles
3/12 – 7 miles
3/13 – 7 miles
3/14 – 11 miles AM, 9 miles PM
3/15 – 8 miles AM, 12 miles PM
3/16 – 7 miles
3/17 – 7 miles
3/18 – 7 miles
3/19 – 7 miles
3/20 – 7 miles
3/21 – 15.25 miles AM, 8 miles PM
3/22 – 15.25 miles AM, 9.25 miles PM
3/23 – 7 miles
3/24 – 7 miles
3/25 – off
3/26 – 7 miles
3/27 – 7 miles
3/28 – 26.2 miles (Trailbreaker Marathon) in 3:48:57
3/29 – 9.25 miles AM, 10.75 miles PM
3/30 – 6 miles
3/31 – 7 miles

MTD – 325.25 miles (30/31 Days, 47 Hours & 48 Minutes)
YTD – 747.5 miles (88/90 Days, 114 Hours and 37 Minutes)
Odometer – 40,903 miles

March 31, 2015 by Jerry Cameron
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2015 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships

a few weeks ago i placed in my age group at a USSSA sanctioned snowshoe race so i met the eligibility standard to register for the National Championships race. this year the Nationals event was being held in my (adopted) home state of Wisconsin, only about a three hour drive from where i live.

i drove up on friday night and on saturday morning i arrived two hours before start of the Mens 10K race. while getting ready for a short warm up run, i noticed the (indoor) concession stand was already grilling bratwurst. nothing says “hello wisconsin” like the smell of bratwurst being grilled first thing in the morning.

after a ten minute warm up run, i bound my feet onto my snowshoes and headed to the starting line. while the temperatures may have been in the single digits, the sunshine made it feel much warmer. after some final instructions we were sent on our way.

at the start i purposefully lined up near the back of the pack. while i got into the race i’m not exactly contenting for a title. as we made our way through the first mile and onto the first section of single track, i dialed into a solid pace and was able to avoid a jackrabbit start.

the course was a nice mix of single track sections alternating with wide open sections that allowed room to pass or be passed. another benefit from starting a bit further back is that i was able to reel in other folks as the race went on. from a mindset perspective, it’s much more encouraging to pursue rather than to be pursued.

in the middle part of the course there were some really challenging sections of single track where if you made a wrong step you’d be off the trail and tumbling down a hill. i also remember a real steep downhill in that section that i was chopping my steps in a frantic effort to slow my momentum so i could make a sharp right turn at the bottom of the hill.

i glanced at my watch when i saw the halfway mark and noticed that i was on track to finish in under an hour. the second half of the race did have some fun single track sections but what was most memorable were the steep uphill climbs. each time i looked up from the bottom of a hill i dialed down the pace and focused on getting my cadence high with short strides until i was up and over the hill.

before i knew it, i saw the 9K marker which meant there was only about a half mile to go to the finish. i made my way through one last uphill single track section while keeping tabs on a few guys ahead of me. while i couldn’t quite close the gap, as i approached the finish i could see it ticking with fifty three minutes and change on it. i lumbered along as fast as i could muster to cross the line with 53:47 with exactly six miles on my gps watch.

overall, the snow conditions were packed very firm and was likely the best track i’ve had the opportunity to race on. checking the results i finished 59th overall and 8th in my age group.

recent training
——————-
2/9 – 7 miles
2/10 – 7 miles
2/11 – 7 miles
2/12 – 7 miles
2/13 – 7 miles
2/14 – 14 miles
2/15 – 8 miles
2/16 – 7 miles
2/17 – 7 miles
2/18 – 7 miles
2/19 – 7 miles
2/20 – 7 miles
2/21 – 17 miles
2/22 – 8 miles
2/23 – 7 miles
2/24 – 7 miles
2/25 – 6 miles
2/26 – 5 miles
2/27 – 5 miles
2/28 – 1 mile warm up, 6 mile snowshoe in 53:47

February Totals: 209.25 miles
(27/28 Days, 33 Hours & 6 Minutes)
YTD: 429.25 Miles
(58/59 Days, 66 Hours & 49 Minutes)

March 1, 2015 by Jerry Cameron
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Treehaven Tromp

over the weekend i ventured to the northwoods of wisconsin for a ten kilometer snowshoe race at the Treehaven preserve. it’s not uncommon to see folks racing with kilts on and admittedly i felt a bit of envy being kilt-less.

the race started with a flurry of folks kicking up plumes of snow. admittedly, i’m much more of a tortoise on snowshoes so i kept to the side of the course and settled into my own pace.

the (very well marked) course wound it’s way through open wooded trails and narrow single track sections. while the race organizers did their best to groom the open wooded sections, the snow was a bit…fluffy which made it tough to maintain momentum through those sections. there was less snow through the single track sections and it was well compacted which made it much easier to run through.

for what it’s worth, snowshoes really just redistribute your weight to a greater area so you don’t sink as far into it. also, the less weight you carry the less you sink and the more compacted the snow is the faster you can motor along.

snowshoe-meme

roughly two miles into the race i ran past another participant who was fiddling with his snowshoe bindings off to the side of the trail. after the race i heard that one of his bindings had broken and he had to complete the course without snowshoes…which unfortunately DQ’d him.

besides fighting through the fluffier snow sections, the most adverse thing i had to deal with was that my nose was running like a sieve. thankfully i didn’t have anyone too close to me so i simply snot rocketed with the wind and kept motoring along.

rolling into the last mile through the narrow single track, folks doing the accompanying five kilometer race were kind enough to step the side of the trail as i approached. while i was working hard, i still made the effort to say “thanks” or “much appreciated” as i passed them.

cresting the final hill there was a five kilometer participant ahead of me who was really working hard to get to the finish. rather than prancing past i simply downshifted then enjoyed the final stretch by waving and smiling at the folks who were hearty enough to stand out there as spectators.

my gps watch measured the course at exactly six miles which i covered in 1:05:14. since i stayed the night before, i headed back to my room for a very welcome hot shower then made my way to the post race chili lunch; which included beer from a local brewer. the results weren’t posted so i patiently waited through the silent auction and door prize giveaways to be rewarded by hearing my name called for third place in my age group.

treehaven

(3rd M40-49 & 14th Overall)

Splits
1M - 9:55
2M - 11:06 (21:01)
3M - 10:58 (31:59)
4M - 10:48 (42:47)
5M - 11:29 (54:16)
6M - 10:58 (1:05:14)

i’ve been competing for…years and i do believe this is the first time i’ve gotten an award made of wood. in all, i had an enjoyable time in the northwoods…even without a kilt.

also, the race was the final qualifying race in the region for the 2015 Dion Snowshoes National Snowshoe Championships. since i renewed my USSSA membership earlier in the week and finished in the top five for my age group, i’m now eligible to compete in Eau Claire, WI at the end of the month. so i’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

1/26 – 7 miles
1/27 – 7 miles
1/28 – 7 miles
1/29 – 7 miles
1/30 – 7 miles
1/31 – 8 miles

Jan Totals – 220 Miles (31/31 Days, 33 Hours & 42 Minutes)

2/1 – 6 miles
2/2 – 7 miles
2/3 – 7 miles
2/4 – 7 miles AM, 7 miles PM
2/5 – off
2/6 – 7 miles
2/7 – 1 mile warm up, 6 mile snowshoe in 1:05:14
2/8 – 7.25 miles

MTD – 55.25 Miles (7/8 Days, 9 Hours & 12 Minutes)
YTD – 275.25 (38/39 Days, 42 Hours & 55 Minutes)

February 8, 2015 by Jerry Cameron
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Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay

so over the weekend i was lucky enough to be able to do some left turn racing with my teammates from hillrunner.com at the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay. we settled on a strategy of evenly dividing up the race’s 95 laps among the four of us by taking two laps at a time then switching to the next runner. i think all four of us went out a bit too fast for our first leg and settled into a more manageable pace as the race went along.

our team was in the coed/mixed division and it wasn’t long before our competitive mindsets had us checking the scoreboard for who was ahead of us, which turned out to be a team of college students from Marquette University. we did what we could to keep tabs on them but in the end they finished a little more than three minutes ahead of us.

regardless, our finishing time of 2:42:53 was good enough for 12th overall and 2nd in the coed/mixed division. doing a bit of math, we averaged 6:13 per mile…which was much faster than i think any of us expected.

looking back to 2014, i was able to log a few miles more than my previous best yearly total. in a practical sense, those extra few miles really don’t amount to much. however, i do buy into the concept that i am competing against myself, so being able to better my previous best is good enough for me.

12/11 – 7 miles
12/12 – 7 miles
12/13 – 6.5 miles
12/14 – 10 miles
12/15 – 7 miles
12/16 – 5 miles
12/17 – 7 miles
12/18 – 7 miles
12/19 – 7 miles
12/20 – 10 miles
12/21 – 9 miles
12/22 – 6 miles
12/23 – 5 miles
12/24 – 7 miles
12/25 – 9.25 miles
12/26 – 7 miles
12/27 – off
12/28 – 10 miles
12/29 – 7 miles
12/30 – 7 miles
12/31 – 7.25 miles

MTD – 216 miles (29/31 Days, 32 Hours and 32 Minutes)
2014 Total – 2,610 miles (345/365 Days, 383 Hours & 53 Minutes)

1/1 – 7 miles
1/2 – 7 miles
1/3 – 7 miles
1/4 – 6 miles snowshoeing
1/5 – 7 miles
1/6 – 6.25 miles
1/7 – 7 miles
1/8 – 7 miles
1/9 – 7 miles
1/10 – 6.5 miles
1/11 – 6 miles snowshoeing
1/12 – 7 miles
1/13 – 7 miles
1/14 – 7 miles
1/15 – 7 miles
1/16 – 7 miles
1/17 – 12 miles
1/18 – 6 miles
1/19 – 7 miles
1/20 – 7 miles
1/21 – 7 miles
1/22 – 7 miles
1/23 – 7 miles
1/24 – 1.5 miles w/u, 12 x 886 meters with ~10 minutes rest in between
1/25 – 7 miles

MTD/YTD – 177 miles (25/25 Days, 27 Hours & 11 Minutes)
Odometer – 40,325 miles

January 25, 2015 by Jerry Cameron
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forty thousand

…miles that is. this morning my personal running odometer rolled to a new set of digits. how about that.

other than that, i haven’t had much to write about. all i’m really focused on at the moment is keeping consistent and not pushing the pace.

rolling 40K this year was pretty much the last goal i had set for the year. there was (of course) the intent for doing a “beer mile” but that’ll just have to get added to next year’s list.

while it wasn’t a goal for me at the beginning of the year, i am in sight of my best mileage for a year. having a goal helps get me out of bed in the wee hours of the morning so i guess i’ll take aim at passing 2,600 miles by 12/31.

10/25 – 5 miles
10/26 – 10 miles
10/27 – off
10/28 – 7 miles
10/29 – 6 miles
10/30 – 6 miles
10/31 – 6 miles

October Totals: 176 miles
(26/31 Days, 26 Hours & 4 Minutes)

11/1 – 7 miles
11/2 – 9 miles
11/3 – 6 miles
11/4 – 7 miles
11/5 – 6 miles
11/6 – 5 miles
11/7 – 6 miles
11/8 – 8 miles
11/9 – 7 miles
11/10 – 7 miles
11/11 – 6 miles
11/12 – 7 miles
11/13 – 7 miles
11/14 – 6 miles
11/15 – 10 miles
11/16 – 7 miles
11/17 – 7.25 miles
11/18 – 7 miles
11/19 – 7 miles
11/20 – 7 miles
11/21 – 7 miles
11/22 – 9 miles
11/23 – 7 miles
11/24 – 7 miles
11/25 – 5 miles
11/26 – 7 miles
11/27 – 7 miles
11/28 – 7 miles
11/29 – 7 miles
11/30 – 8 miles

November Totals: 210.25 miles
(30/30 Days, 32 Hours)

12/1 – 7 miles
12/2 – 7 miles
12/3 – 7 miles
12/4 – 7 miles
12/5 – 7 miles
12/6 – 9 miles
12/7 – 10 miles
12/8 – off
12/9 – 7 miles
12/10 – 7 miles

MTD – 68 miles
(9/10 Days, 10 Hours & 16 Minutes)
YTD – 2,462 miles
(325/344 Days, 361 Hours & 37 Minutes)
Odometer – 40,000 miles

December 10, 2014 by Jerry Cameron
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