Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stone Cat 50 Mile Race Report

I know for many Ultramarathoners that a 50 miler may seem the usual, but for a back of the packer that had really only started running on January 1st of this year, it seemed like a monumental if not overwhelming first year goal. I had researched earlier in the year what was an achievable 50 miler, and the only one that seemed to fit the bill, including being in New England, was Stone Cat. Registration day came and I arrived early to work to sit at my computer, credit card in hand and the open slots would fill in a little over an hour and fifteen minutes, and I was in. I probably put in a few less miles than I should have, and probably a LOT less miles than my co-runners getting ready for it, but the alarm went off at 3:11am Saturday November 3d and off I would go.

Paul and I at the start
I had made plans to ride up with Paul G, as I was unsure how I was going to feel afterwards and Laura was coming up later in the day to see me for a few laps and the end of my journey. Dropped my car off at the Charlie Horse Restaurant at 4:30 and an hour later, Paul and I were setting up our race stuff (ok honestly I was setting up my race stuff, Paul brought a bottle of Gatorade). Prior to race time, we would meet up with Dean, Mike, Eric and a few others I have been lucky enough to meet my inaugural year of trail running.

The race started about 15-20 minutes late, but the weather was great and no one seemed to really mind. But as we started a snake of headlamps would go out for the first of four 12 ½ mile loops. I would go for awhile with Paul, who is much faster, but once I hit the first aid station and realized how far ahead of my preplanned pace that I was, I let him go. I felt really good coming out of the second aid station and then the usual happened and happened quick. Before I knew it I was face down in a pile of leaves. Luckily I didn’t hit any rocks. Unluckily I tweaked my right groin, but not enough to slow me down YET, but it would hinder me the rest of the day. Regardless I came through the first lap 12 minutes ahead of my pace, but albeit sore, still felt really good.

Second lap was like the tail end of the first, feeling really good, but the groin not particularly happy with me. By this time, with the exception of the 4 or 5 runners that we kept passing each other back and forth, I was running alone. The weather was perfect for running and the course was well marked. Somewhere near the end of lap two, the ball of my left foot was starting to get really tender and I could feel every twig and rock. Having two miles to go, I kept my head down a little more than usual to watch my footing, and decided to change over from my Salomon’s to my Hoka’s at the turnaround for the third lap. I finished lap two 16 minutes ahead of pace, but would give back 11 minutes of that, with changing shoes and eating a little more at the aid station than planned.

Third lap was almost a carbon copy of the second lap, feeling good but not pushing overly hard. I know I was only half way thru and was just looking to get thru this lap until Hayley, my pacer, would help to drag me thru my last lap. I would end up giving back those 5 minutes (ahead of pace) that I had worked at, but the Hoka’s were doing their job, and I was pretty happy to be 37.5 miles in, and dead on my pace. I would hit the aid station and Laura was there to welcome me. I was getting cold so I decided to change my shirts. I text’d Hayley and out from the parking lot, she came running ready to get me thru.

Hayley has run a few Ultras, and is one of my Saturday running partners (along with Todd W), but with conflicting schedules, the three of us haven’t run much lately, so it was nice to catch up and lose a few miles in conversation. That is not to say that she was going to have any part of us taking a leisurely walk. She was the perfect pacer, pushing me when needed, encouraging me when it was obvious that I was hurting and getting me thru the aid stations as quick as possible.

I really can’t go any further without giving the aid station volunteers their due. They were absolutely the best! They were so accommodating and friendly, I can’t say enough good things about them. That being said, I regretfully did not catch his name, but at the first aid station on my last lap there was one individual in a clown costume that really made his mark. I was inhaling a grilled cheese and tomato soup when he came over and started talking and asking questions. Hayley mentioned that this was my first ultra. The genuine enthusiasm, pride and support that he showed to me, a perfect stranger, really got me excited to finish. I wish I knew who he was to truly thank him. Besides finishing, it was truly one of the great memories of the day. Well back to lap four….. we left the aid station and continued on. Now don’t get me wrong 50 miles is a long way, but I really hit me how long I was out there when the sun started setting. Thankfully I was somewhere around 48 miles down, so it wasn't too bad.

Hayley and I started down the final fire road heading towards the school. I thankfully had grabbed my headlamp for the finish. Just as we were taking the last left to go, we saw two glowing eyes looking back at us. A few steps later and this good size doe ran off into the woods. We turned the corner and started across the field. Hayley ran ahead and called out for Laura so she knew I was coming. That last 100 yards or so was almost surreal. It was like time slowed down as I passed the last family and friends waiting for my fellow back of the pack finishers, and heard Hayley and Laura cheering for me. I crossed the line in 11 hours and 46 minutes and 34 seconds, stopping a few feet afterwards to put my hands on my knees and to revel in this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. I had finished my first 50, I had gotten my finishers jacket, I had done it!

I am so appreciative of all the people that put the race together. The course was perfect and the volunteers were awesome. I also want to thank Laura and the people I know and love for all their support and for dealing with moving around their schedules and lives so I could get my runs in.   I couldn't have done it without you, and I thought of each and every one of you at some point(s) during the day. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Well it's time..........

Well it's finally here.  I've been eyeballing Stone Cat since December of last year, when I figured I would attempt a 50 miler.  I've put in some decent mileage, although probably not as much as I should or could have, but there is nothing I can do about it now, so I look forward to Saturday. 

I ran the course a month ago or so, with a couple runners I had met at different races, or via Facebook or Dailymile.  It's a 12.5 mile loop that we will run 4 times.  It has a few uphill sections, but absolutely nothing like Bear Brook or Nipmuck.  And although the water crossing area was dry during my practice run, I guess we wont know until Saturday how Hurricane Sandy has left her mark on that part. 

Yesterday I sat down and came up with a pacing plan that I think will keep me on track to finish with plenty of time prior to the cutoff.  I just have to remember to start a little slower than I have been training lately (well actually a fair amount slower), to stop and drink at the aid stations, and finally to eat. 

I'm taking Friday (and Monday) off from work to sleep, relax and pack up my stuff to go.  I'm going to leave a bin at the turnaround with some extra clothes, GU's, My two bottles of premixed and flattened Coke and Mountain Dew, my Solomon's (or Hoka's depending on which I start with), S-Caps, and anything else that jumps out at me as I'm leaving.  I think I am going to go with my handheld water bottle, as there are 3 aid stations (approx 4 miles apart) for each lap. 

I am 99.9% confident that I can do the first 3 laps (37.5 miles) and I have my Saturday morning/Gilbert State Forest running partner. Hayley coming up to pace me the last lap (or perhaps 2 if she gets there in time).  Hayley assures me that come hell or high water (hopefully not to high) that she will get me across the line and to that Bad Ass Stone Cat 50 mile finishers jacket.

Well all, I will do as detailed as possible a race recap either Sunday or Monday.   Until then, Be Well and wish me luck


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bears and Beavers

Can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since I posted, but it is and I have survived two races since then. 
Bear Brook Marathon and Ultra - well lets just put it this way, a complete bitch of a course but I finished (albeit slower than I wanted) but for the first time in a very very long time, I finished a race with a great sense of accomplishment. 
Elevation Map
And I guess since it was a half mile longer than a marathon technically that makes me an Ultrarunner (but I'm going to save that moniker for after I run 50k or Stone Cat).  Anyway back to Bear Brook;  the day started with temps in the low 60's which was a nice break from the 90's that had been plagueing our area for weeks.  Very grass roots in that it started in a dirt parking lot when the race director, Ryan Welts, pretty much yelled GO!  First 9 miles or so where pretty flat with some rolling ups and downs.  That didn't stop me from falling at about 2 1/2 miles, and having my right hip meet a pine root.  That chance encounter would rear it's ugly head off and on the rest of the day, as my lower back started spasming off and on throughout.  But I found a nice rhythm til I ran into the first uphill, around mile 9.  It wasn't too bad for a while, but God it just kept going.  Came down the backside and would run into the second uphill, this one was a bitch.  A few more inclines and then a nice long downhill.  I tried to attack that fairly hard as it wasn't very technical and it helped to stretch out my back a bit.  That would lead into a pretty tight single track, where it came into an opening and body would hit trail one more time.  This time I caught myself from a full face plant, but my left knee came down fairly hard.  But hey, what's a trail run/race without a little blood, right?  Shortly after that you come back around to the 3rd aid station, which is actually the same as the 2nd just on the back side of a loop.  That would lead to a fairly easy fire road, run which went for about a mile I guess.  From here I would meet up with a fellow Dailymiler Mindy R.  We would run the last 12 miles or so together, which would end up saving me twice.  A little after mile 19,  I was walking up this heavily wooded section, which had these rock formations that acted as steps.  It was at this point, that my mind and body just completely crashed.  I had left Mindy about a half mile back for a break, and she came up behind me.  Out of her vest, she pulled out some sugared gumdrops and handed me a handful.  I kept walking and she would go ahead.  About 5 minutes later, the sugar would hit my system, and I felt like a completely different runner.  I caught up to her, and we would run together up the 4th aid station (about mile 22).  Which was being volunteered by Adam Wilcox, fresh off his 7th place finish at Hardrock.  Talked to him briefly as he refilled by vest, and Mindy and I were off.  At about mile 23 the back spasm would act up, and I told Mindy to go.  Stretched it out the best I could and started off.  I then hit a nice downhill area of switchbacks and I took off, catching Mindy and passing about 3 other runners.  Not knowing the course, I then hit the last two uphills.  Simply: they sucked.  Mindy caught me at the last one, Catamount, and I wouldn't see her again til the end.  My hope was to finish in 6 hours, but not knowing the course I ended up running at 6:44.  Loved the race, loved the company, proud of run for the day.
Running with the Beavers:  I took a couple extra days off the following week, as my quads were tender and the left knee that I hit during Bear Brook was pretty sore.  Friday came around and I reached out to Todd, who I run with on Saturday's to ask him if he wanted to do this 10 mile race, instead of doing Gilbert.  Since it was about a 45 minute ride for both we went for it.  It was a double 5 mile loop course.  Todd and I went out for a quick 2 mile warmup, heard the pre-race talk and off we went.  He's a much faster runner than I, although he nevercomplains about my pace during our training trail runs, so about a half mile in, I told him to go.  It was a decent loop, some wood-chipped fire roads, some fairly technical with one "you better walk this" downhill, and some runs along the water.  About the 8 mile mark, my left knee started barking, but not enough to not finish.  I was hoping to do this one in 2 hours, so about a half mile left I checked the Garmin and realized I better take off or that wasn't happening.  So I came up the last incline and took off.  For the most part is was downhill, which helped.  Finishing the last half mile in 3min44 seconds.  Ended up finishing in 1:58:05 for 10.2 miles (I missed a turn in the first loop that I had to backtrack - what a dumbass as the course was more than adequately marked).
To Summarize: 2 back to back Saturday races covering 26.8 and 10.2 miles respectively.  One slower than I wanted, one a bit faster; but in the end I'm very happy with the end result on both.  Kind of babying the knee since Saturday as I haven't run yet, but I'm planning on going out tonight for 6, as I am less than 100 days til Stone Cat 50 miler (Nov 3rd).  Todd and I are looking into some trail marathons and up to use as training runs, as you can only do so many loops at Gilbert. 
Until next time, Be Well ~ Sank

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Optimistically Nervous

Ok, I’m going to be complete honest in that I’m not nervous at all, I am 100% Optimistically Scared Shit. I have Bear Brook Mountain coming up this Saturday. It will single handedly be the longest race, hell for that matter, the longest single run I have ever done at 26.7 miles. So I guess if the definition of an Ultra-Marathon is anything over the standard 26.2 miles of a marathon is true, then I guess this is my first ultra! I know that in the world of Ultra’s this is no big deal, and after looking at the amazing finishes as Western States, Badwater and Hardrock, that I should just deal with it. But hey we’re all human right?

I am fairly confident that I can do this race, if I stay on top of my hydration (unlike my Pineland 25k issues) in which I have started to implement S-Caps with good success; and run a smart and conservative pace. From what the news says, it seems like the Weather Gods are shining down on me, as they have (or supposed to anyway) dump the Hell, Fire & Brimstone weather, for low humidity and temps in the high 70’s. Which is huge for me, as I perspire pretty good in the winter. 

But back to my nervousness, my training schedule does concern me.  I have kicked up my mileage over the past months; but per usual for me it's always something.  Be in work, life, my recurring respiratory infections, blah blah blah, excuse excuse excuse.  But I've been doing them.  I know it's not technically that long, but I have tried to taper a bit this week, to rest up my legs somewhat.  I skipped last night due to the weather (hot, humid, and some impressive lightning), but will do 5 tonight, and rest Friday.

Although I don’t know anyone personally, there’s a couple people that I “know” from either Facebook or Dailymile that are doing it, but I have never met anyone of them face to face, but obviously there’s a pretty good chance I will after Saturday.

Well that's enough for now.  I wish everyone racing at Bear Brook, Vermont 100, and a handful of others this weekend nothing but their perfect race.  If your not racing and you happen to look at the clock Saturday morning, send me some positive Karma.  Hell I can use all I can get.

Be Well ~ Sank

I put the map down below, as a point of reference.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Catching up

Been a bit since I posted, well except for my Stone Cat registration post, so I figured I would take a minute half way thru 2012 to catch up.  Been an interesting year so far in many ways.  I'll spare you all the personal details, except to say that; after the passing of my dad and my divorce in 2011, there wasn't really any where to go but up. 
Running wise the I've been pretty good about staying out there.  After hitting a short lack of motivation time, I have been more committed to the trails and extending my distance.  With the exception of running two Boston's (albeit as a bandit) in the mid-80's (yup I'm that old) and the numerous triathlon's I have completed, I ran my longest official (trail) race of 25k at Pineland Farms.  And with the exception of some hydration issues, I absolutely loved it. 
Lately I have concentrating on getting my base mileage higher and so far so good.  I calculated today that since the first of the year I have ran 475 miles or a daily average of 2.65 miles per day (including rest days).  And with a couple ultra's signed up for this year, I should be able to still hit my yearly goal of 1000 miles fairly easy. 
Sorry a pretty boring post I know, but wanted to touch base. 
Be well ~ Sank

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stone Cat Registration - COMPLETE!!

Well it looks like I've done it this time.  Actually after the past week or so, I am so excited about the opportunity to do this.  Registration started at 8:10 (a little late) and by 8:28 it was half full. 

My training as been going pretty well, and will continue to put "time on my feet" now that my other obligations (mostly coaching the boys team) is now over and my weekends are free.

Been also looking at some additional races to do, more as organized training runs, but hey if I can share the agony with a few others, who am I to be selfish. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jurek and McDougall at Harvard

Been dealing with some motivation issues, for as much as I loved the Pineland Farms 25k I ran, the hydration issues were leaving me questioning my running and putting doubts in my head about going longer distances.  I had bought a ticket a few weeks ago for a book 'review' discussion over at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge (right near Harvard University) where Born to Run author Chris McDougall and 7 time Western States Champion, who also just published a book, Eat & Run, Scott Jurek, were together to discuss their two books.

So I left work to take on the Cambridge traffic taking the 35 minutes to go 4 miles (about right).  Upon entering the theatre they handed us some literature and a free sample bottle of Udo's Oil.  I was in between books, so I put down my $ 26 and bought Scott's book. 

A few minutes after 6 the two guys came on stage and started to talk.  I was fearful that it was going to end up being a "lets turn everyone into Vegan Zombies" talk, but to my relief it wasn't.   The back and forth between Scott and Chris (although at times a bit scripted) was informative and fun.  You weren't going to get the secret of Ultrarunning success but it seemed to be just what I needed to get me back on track.  Chris McDougall is extremely friendly and outgoing.  Scott Jurek told some great stories but didnt seem to be a ease up there.

I ended up sticking around another 35 minutes or so at the end to get Scott to sign my book, and (being the 2nd to last in line) I asked for pic.  He said they had to head out of the theatre as another event was going on but told the few of us left, that he would meet us out front.  I was able to get a pic with both of the guys.  I have to say that in a one on one setting, Scott's personally was engaging and friendly. 

I am so glad that I got the opportunity to go and more importantly to get a chance to talk with the two of them quickly.

Well back to the trails tonight,
Be Well ~ Sank

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pineland Farms 25k Race Review

Let me start off by saying that the race directors for the Pineland Farms Trail Festival really put on a tremendous event.  They have paid attention to all of the details and really make it one of the "go to" events in New England.  It's about 20-25 minutes north of Portland, Maine.  I absolutely love Portland, but sadly haven't had the chance to get up there for many a year.  So it was a great opportunity to combine the race and the long Memorial Day weekend into a nice mini get away for Laura and I.

It was a beautiful weekend as we went up Saturday.  We had arrived in the area too early to check in so we went right up to the course to register for the race.  Saturday was the race day for the shorter events and the Canicross.  I was totally blown away when I saw that the winner of the Canicross event finished in sub-6 minute pace.  Now I know it's only a 5k, but they're running with a dog on a leash no less!

Anyway, so Sunday comes around and the weather is beautiful.  Low 60's to start but it warms up to mid-70's by race time with not a cloud in the sky.  The 25k goes on a really nice course. Actually the 50k is 2 loops and the 50m is 3 loops with a slightly longer first loop to start.  The course is kind of unrelenting in that the roller coaster hills just dont stop and when out in the fields the side to side slanting makes it a bit tough at times. I set myself up near the back to start as I didnt want to go out to fast as they said the first 5k was downhill. I went out at a good pace and kept checking the garmin to make sure I stayed fairly steady. As I said the weather was beautiful but the sun was really bright when out of the woods.  Being cooler in the start I decided to wear a long sleeve wicking shirt.  In hindsight, maybe the long sleeve wasnt too wise.

About 4 or 5 miles out my right calf started cramping. The rolling hills helped a bit for me to be able to stretch it out, but by the 9 mile mark I realized that I had fallen way behind on staying hydrated. I started drinking what I could (another hindsight mistake was not bringing the hydration vest) and eating anything salty I could get at the aid stations (potatoes/pretzels/pickles) but with only 10k to go, I knew I was doing it to hold me over that I wouldnt be out there long enough to recover completely.

At one point at one of the last aid stations I was getting pretty lightheaded, so I sat for 15 seconds or so til it subsided; as there were just 3 miles to go and I knew I could finish this off. The legs for the most part felt great, and up until that last aid stations my pace was good.  I wasnt winded, I was just having a hard time focusing and at the finish, everything I saw was really bright and twinkling. It was a tough go near the end. Felt really weird when I finished, thank God Laura was around and taking care of me. Sat down for a bit, drank anything and everything I could get my hands on (I have a new love of chocolate muscle milk), and after a while we grabbed something to eat and I eventually felt ok. Chalk it up to a learning experience as I do sweat alot but I have never had issues like this with hydration before.  In the first day or so I was questioning what I should do and if my goals were too optimistic.  But last night and today I really have been realizing that it was a hydration issue, and that I could really have done well had I been able to stay hydrated.  Best to learn this during a shorter controlled environment with Laura around to help me.

So back to the trails I go.  After the next two weeks my basketballcoaching stint is over, and can commit the time needed.  I may pick up a few basketball ref'ing assignments to put a little cash in my pocket.  But I cant wait to lace up the Salomons.  Thanks for reading and Be Well ~ Sank

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

For what it's worth..... this guy has my respect.

Here's my disclaimer:  I have absolutely no idea who this guy is.  Never met him, never talked to him, never....nothing. 
The background story: If you have a YouTube account, when you log on, it will give you a list of videos that are similar to ones you've watched before.  So I sign on late last night and this one shows up.  I figure what the hell.....
This is the 2nd half of the run but it in a just 14 minutes video snipit, it allows you to share briefly, with his journey.  The pain, the anquish, and the triumph as he finds the last minute energy to run out to the finish of his 100 mile run.
So if you know this guy:  Shake his hand for me and tell him that somewhere up in Southeastern Massachusetts, there is a runner named Sank, and let him know that he has my respect and admiration.

Be well ~ Sank

Friday, May 11, 2012

Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 review

Well my experiment with the New Balance Minimus has come to a sad conclusion.  Let me start off by saying that the NB's felt like slippers.  They are so comfortable, and I will continue to wear them when I go walking.  However being that I run at Gilbert, which is very rocky and technical in nature; coupled with my size and running style, my feet were consistently bruised and sore.  So I went on the hunt for some new shoes.
Unlike prior times, I went in with no preconceived ideas of what shoes to get.  I tried on some Montrails, some New Balance, some Salomons, and some La Sportivas.  Then I went home with a list of 2 or 3 shoes and did some research.  Went back to EMS, and tried back on the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2s.   LOVED THEM. 
So Wednesday night, I had the chance to finally throw them on the feet and try them out.  I was concerned a bit that coming from the Minimus and the "blocky" feel that they had coming out of the box that they might feel a bit stiff.  And in comparison they are, but it only took a little while for that feeling to totally go away.  It was and had been raining for days, so the trails were very wet and slick, but the XA's gripped well and held their footing great.  And surprisingly they feel extremely light.
But after 4 miles in I would branch off of the Megley Trail at Gilbert to an area that is fairly long, steep and very rocky.  Unlike the Minimus where I had to virtually tiptoe down, the sole of the Salomon let me really attack the downhills with no worries about my midfoot.
Final thoughts:  Love the Quicklace One-Pull lacing system, and the pocketed tongue to hide while running.  Lets you really ratchet them down and can quickly tighten if need be.  The mesh breathes well, which is great cause I most definitely do not avoid puddles!  And finally for someone like me that stubs my toe ALOT, the Toe Cap and Mud Guard is a "toe" saver.
All and All I give the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 a well deserved:  A.
Take care and Be Well ~ Sank

Friday, May 4, 2012

First Owl "sighting" of the year and request!

For those of you that had read my blog, you know that I take great pleasure in my run-ins with the Barred Owls that reside at F Gilbert State Forest, in Foxboro MA near where I live.  I have had then fly in front of me to land on a stump and watch me, or hearing a large group "hooting" back and forth while I ran the trails beneath them, to hearing them start their calls as the daylight ends and dusk falls upon the woods.

Last night, about 90 minutes before dusk, I heard my first call of the year.  Regardless of how I am running or the weather or what have you; the call always brings a sense of youthful exuberance to me.
So today I was googling Barred Owl's for a cool picture to post and I came across this website: http://savethebarredowl.com/.  I was absolutely floored that this is happening to there wonderful birds.  It's amazing that our government can sit in judgement to eliminate one type of owl, in this case the barred, to try to save another, the equally beautiful but sadly endangered spotted owl. 
If you have a moment please go to the website, and sign the petition.   Takes all of about 20 seconds.  It will be a sad day indeed, if the woods of Gilbert ever fall silent.
Thank you all and Be Well ~ Sank

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bronchitis, Motivation or lack there of, and Pineland/Bear Brook

Well it's finally May which means I am 27 days away from running my first official 25k Trail Run race.  From all I had researched it seems like Pineland Farms run a great festival.  It's also a nice chance to get away for a long weekend (being Memorial Day), as this spring has been insanely busy between: trying to keep the house a float, coaching a 7th grade boys AAU team, working, training, "Dad"ing, etc etc etc........

I had been debating on running the 50k, but after talking to a friend about it, he suggested to do the 25k and then do a training run in to get in some more mileage.  I'm pretty glad that I picked the 25k as the bronchitis that hit me in early March thru mid/late April, really did a job on my lungs and my endurance shape.  But this week, I have felt a world better, and been getting in some quality runs (not too much quantity but quality). 

After being sick for almost 6 weeks, I am hoping to get some mileage under my belt, as after Pineland I have registered for the Bear Brook Marathon and Ultra in July.  At the end of the 6 weeks (last week actually) I was seriously starting to question my running and my commitment to it.  So I made a deal with myself (does anyone else actually do that?) that I would put in the time and effort and do my absolute best to get myself ready for Pineland.  If when I had run that I wasn't into the distances, I would run Bear Brook (doing the 26.7 course) in July, but would NOT sign up for Stone Cat 50 miler in November. 

Actually being able to run without sounding and feeling like I am breathing in an iron lung machine, has definitely changed my mood.  My short term goal now is: a 30 mile week this week and to drop 7-10 pounds in the next few weeks (GOOD BYE ICE CREAM :(   going into to Pineland.

Well enough for now, hope all is well with everyone and anyone that reads this.

Be Well ~ Sank

Best Trailer to Date

Ok I have no problem admitting it, I am a pretty big Batman fan.  And no one, and I mean NO ONE, has done a better job bringing any of the comic book genres to the big screen better than Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale.

That being said, I cannot wait for this movie to be released in July.  Sad part is that this is the last one in the series with Nolan and Bale.  But it looks absolutely kick ass.

Be safe ~ Sank

Monday, April 9, 2012

Great Pre-Playoffs Video for all you B's fans

Upcoming Races & Garmin

I'll get the Garmin part done first. After a few years of consistent frustration with the Garmin 405 (mostly when it get damp and the beeping and bezel issues), I found a slightly used Garmin 610 on eBay.  Like to tell you how great it was, blah blah blah, but the truth is, it was at my office door this morning when I got it, so I cant honestly say anything.  But I will soon.....
I've been fighting this damn bronchitis (now that I finally wussed out and went to the dr's) for the past 3 weeks.  I'm on antibiotics but after 3 days and I thought I was getting better it is not going to go down without a fight.  Coughing and rhaspy voice back in full force today.  Hated taking yesterday off, being a Sunday and my long day, but figured I would live to fight another day.  My plan is to hit the trails today, probably an easy 4 or 5 and take each day as it comes.  If I dont feel much better tomorrow, I'll see if I can get another dose of meds before I leave for Myrtle Beach on Friday.
Ok - races:  The registration for Stone Cat 50 miler isnt up yet, but I'm still preparing the best I can try to plan so that I can be ready come November.  So in the past few days I have signed up for the 25k at Pineland Farms on Memorial Day weekend in late May and Bear Brook Marathon, which is a 26.7 trail marathon in mid-July.  I guess since Bear Brook is greater than 26.2, technically it would be my first Ultra, but whatever I just want to do the work and prepare so that I have the best shot I can to beat 11 hours at Stone Cat, and these are my first two steps in doing so.
Enough for now.  Until next time ~ Be Well, Sank

Monday, March 12, 2012

Two year Anniversary

Well it's been two years today that I had my neck fusion surgery. Boy times sure fly. If you truly have no life or nothing better to do today, the blog posts are still up if you want to read them (not sure why anyone would). Still one of the best things I ever did. The feeling and use from my upper arm down to my left hand and fingers has returned almost 100%. Although my neck muscles still get a tad tight and sore off and on, and I can generally tell you when it's going to rain, I'ld make that decision over again 100 times over.  Never ever, take your health for granted.

On a training note: Ref'ing officially ended for me this weekend. Which from a financial side kinda sucks. However, I came out of it unscathed this year. The tweaked hamstring is happy, and the fall I took landing on my head and shoulder had no long term effects.

So it is now time to start kicking in the mileage and getting myself ready for Stone Cat in November. With the exception of my 4 day hiatus that I took in the beginning of the month, I've been staying fairly regular running (5 days a week), but I need the mileage. Daylight Savings, for as much as I hate it, now allows later trail runs without the headlamp and knucklelights.
Well enough for now, have a great day.

Be Well ~ Sank

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's all their fault.....

I have to say that even though I haven't been consistently hitting (or posting) on the blog lately, I have been as dedicated to getting out on the trails and roads, as I have been in a long long time.  And I joke that it's their fault, but truly the Dailymile Community plays a large part in my refound enjoyment. 
Now the opportunity or the actualization that I will ever actually meet any of my DM followers/friends are extremely remote; but the positive feedback and sense of being part of a support group, plays a huge role in it.  At least it does for me. 
Not to mention the ability at a click of a button, to see my running history and progress is huge.  I have set it up so that it sync's with my Garmin Connect account, so between going to the garmin account on-line, or simply viewing the map on dailymile, it has made it so much easier, quicker and streamlined, that it is another feature. 
And then there's the feeling that if you miss a day or so (I actually missed 4 in a row last week), that you are letting the group down.  Not that I am of course, as it's not like someone is going to send me a message saying "WTF Slacker?! Get off your ass".
Anyway, I am going to try to post more here as it really gives me more the flexibility to post and say more than a quick little blurb.  But in the end, the fact is : I am running more, enjoying it more, and that is always a good thing.
Be Well ~ Sank

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Touching base - Mid-Feb

I've been absentee since Feb 1st, in regards to posting anything on the blog, so I figued I would take a couple minutes to post.

Been dealing with a fairly busy schedule; between life, refereeing on weekends, trying to get on the trails when I can (Thank God, the days are getting a little longer for the post work trail access), running at night and a hectic work schedule; but I've been staying motivated and out pounding the trails and pavement.

Been also treating myself to a few gadgets and new shoes too:

I bought the Petzl headlamp off of eBay. I have to say that I really, really like it. It is extremely comfortable and when you put the deflector up, it really does a nice job illuminating in front. I've been using it almost every night going out, as Pine Street is so riddled with potholes, that it gives my feet and ankles a fighting chance if I can see what lies ahead of me. I've taken it out on the trails as well. I used it one moon-less night coupled with my knucklelights. And although the addition of the knucklelights did make a difference, I have to say that I almost preferred not having anything on my hands and just the headlamp.

I tweaked the lower part of both of my hamstrings refereeing the other day, so I've been babying them for about a week. I stopped by CitySports on my way to the train after work the other night and picked up some 3/4 compression shorts. And after resting from running Sunday and Monday, I put them on and went out. I was cautiously nervous about tweaking it again and having to walk home. I shortened up my stride considerably and about half way through the run, I actually felt fairly fluid in the run. And although I thought the compression shorts would be more binding and tighter, I’m impressed. Wednesday night, the right hammie reminded me it was still not happy as I left the driveway, but it behaved itself to let me finish. Today I put on a compression wrap for work today as it was sore this morning, and took it off around lunch time.  I hear that the foam roller's are the way to go.  I'll have to plan on picking one of those up. 

In regards to shoes, I am still totally loving the New Balance Minimus. And with not being able to hit the trails much, I've been treating myself wearing them around town. I just love the feel of those shoes.  My ONLY complaint is I wish they made them in half sizes for the larger feet. I take a 13 but they were a bit short in the toe box, so I had to go to a 14. Been tripping on the trails and I'm almost thinking that is the reason. Or then again I could just be a klutz. As my old Nike's are SO old and tired, I bought a pair of Asics for the days I'm on the roads. Took them out the first night for a 3 mile run and about half way through my right ankle was simply not happy. Got home, put the Nike's back on, went out for a half mile; pain gone. So I called the local Sports Authority that I bought them at and they said that I could return them. I was not only happy (as they ran $ 104) but also impressed. And who says customer service (like chivalry) is dead?

Well enough for now. I also just bought a Natham backpack, that hopefully I can tryout this weekend, but with only 2 weekends left to make any substantial money refereeing, the christening of the Nathan may have to a wait.

Until then ~ Be Well ~ Sank

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stone Cat and January

Well I've made my decision.  I had been kicking around the idea of doing the Vermont 50 in September, but after researching races, figuring out my summer and trying to plan things out I've decided to do the Stone Cat 50 miler in November of this year.

I think that coupled with the fact that Stone Cat is a loop course (4 at 12.5 mile per loop), obviously a much flatter course than Vermont, me being a novice at this distance, and that the finish times across the board seem to be faster; I went with Stone Cat.

Even if I do or don't plan on entering the Western States' lottery, knowing that it is a faster course, makes the 11 hour WS100 qualifying time more optainable if I decided to try to get into Western States 2013, also helped me to pick Stone Cat in the end.  But WS is obviously a much bigger commitment, but we can cross the moss covered trail bridge when and if we come to it.

While researching races for 2012, I keep coming across the name of an experienced and fairly successful trail runner in my town.  I sent him out a note and he was nice enough to respond.  And is willing to help me when I hit a question regarding training at the ultra's and regarding racing the longer distances on the trails. 

And no I'm not talking about Ben Nephew from team Inov, who is extremely successful, who I have to admit, even though I have spent almost 99% of my 49 years in Mansfield, MA, I have never seen Ben running on the roads.  But I digress.....

I finished January with a montly total of 69 miles.  Having not run since my dad passed away on August 4th of last year, I honestly wasn't sure where I was going to be at the end of the month as I was only trying to keep track of having a weekly increase, while trying to build up the tendon strength in the right ankle.  The ankle feels a thousand times better than it did at the beginning of the month, so I am looking to finish February somewhere around 105-110 miles for the 29 days.  I think it is realistic goal and will keep my ankle happy (especially if I continue to do the exercises I found on line). 

Enough for now, Happy February to you all.  Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  Seriously it is.  I mean how can you not love a holiday based around a rodent and if he sees his shadow.

Happy Ground Hog's Day everyone

Be Well ~ Sank

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Belleville Pond 10k Trail Race

First of all I want to send out props to Mike Galoob and crew; who ran a well organized, well marked course, but most importantly a very fun race today. 
Kate and I at the finish
I had been kicking around the idea of jumping up to a 10k trail race when I saw this one listed on line.  Not knowing anything about it, I decided to run it.  And later talked my fitness queen niece, Katelyn into running it with me.
Got there early, on what turned out to be a beautiful January day.  Sunny and mid-40's.  It had rained a lot yesterday so I expected a muddy course, but it drained out really well, and with the exception of a very few spots the footing was pretty good. 
I had planned on really just using this as a training run, but per usual for me I went out to fast and the quads would remind me of it around mile 4, but not enough to stop me.  Had planned on running somewhere around 1:15, with not knowing the trail, the anticipated mud, and just not in shape to run a heck of a lot faster.  But came in just over 1:06, so I was pretty happy with the day as a whole.
I continue to be very happy with the NB Minimus, although I am still working on perfecting my stride and midfoot strike, but that will come in time.  No ref'ing today, but will get a run over at Gilbert tomorrow morning, before I have to head to coach and then two late games to ref.
Until then, Be Well ~ Sank

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

50 degrees in New England in January - gotta love it

I had seen this video last week and meant to post it, but never got around to it.  So I'll post it now.  With the 2 small snowfalls we had last week, it's a good motivational tool on those days that you dont feel like getting out there in the cold and wet.  Although I have to admit that so far this year, I have looked forward to getting out there in whatever the weather was, and actually looked forward to the different scenarios that were thrown at me; be it from weather, work and life restrictions, or time of day. 

So with temps today in the low 50's, I am definitely going to get my butt out on (HOPEFULLY) some trails tonight.  Just got a pair of Knucklelights, that I tried out last night on the roads.  So I am going to strap them on tonight along with my headlamp, and do all I can to hit Gilbert.  After a couple runs, I'll do a quick review on them. 

So enjoy the video, the scenery is absolutely beautiful.  Not to mention that Anton Krupicka makes it look so effortless.

Be well ~ Sank

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scared and close to a decision

Ok so for those of you that come over from Dailymile I know that some of what I write is repetitive, but I can go in more detail and rant on more over here.  Anyway, so last night by the time ran some errands, got home, and took a few minutes to hang with my roommates (Jack and Belle), I grabbed my stuff to hit the trails for a cold early evening run.  I had tried out a headlamp that I had bought at a local discount tool store, which I have to admit, with the exception of that it shines a tad low, the fit and stability of it just work for me.  So I hit Gilbert a little after dusk, and started up the trails.  I hadn't really gone out at night on the trails before so it was all new to me.  The wind was really whistling and as the night got darker and colder, all the little sounds started getting a lot clearer and even more scarier.
At one point I was running next to this pond, and I don't know what the hell made that noise, but it wasn't human and I wasn't sticking around to ask.  At this point, I just want to get the run over and quick.  I stayed on the fire roads and just got chugging.  On my way back I had to go thru this one section that is very dark even in the daytime, but it is really really creepy at night.  Once again, I either heard something or my very active imagination heard something, but I was about a 1/2 mile from being out and I took off. 
Well until I stubbed my toe on a rock, went down pretty good and (which I would really find out later) tore up my left knee pretty good.  But fear is a good motivator.  The hell with the knee, I was getting the hell out of there.  Whatever creature was in there wasn't going to eat me while I was checking out a few scrapes.   So up I bounced and out there I went.  You know in hindsight, although I was admittedly pretty scared, it was fun as hell!  Can't wait to do it again.

I've been doing some research and looking into it, and I'm really leaning towards doing the Vermont 50 miler this September.  I know it's a lot of work and mileage, but I know that I will find the time to get it done.  With a goal of less than 10:59:59 it would also make me eligible for entry in the Western States Lottery for the 2013 race.  Probably getting a bit a head of myself, but what the hell, that's what goals and aspirations are for, right?

Enjoy your day, Be Well ~ Sank

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekend project

Woke up this morning and cautiously put my foot to the ground, wondering how my right ankle was going to react after yesterday's 4.6 mile trail run in Gilbert.  Nothing, nothing at all.  Cant tell you enough how pysched I was of that.  I was really concerned as this ankle has been an issue for me for a long long time, and how it was going to handle the change over to the NB Minimus (still loving them) and the increase in mileage as I start to increase it for my 50k (that I havent selected yet). 

Ankle history:  I had a metatarsal ankle fusion surgery back when I was in high school.  Basically they graphed a bone off my hip and fused the small bones that run to the ankle together.  It was so long ago I dont really remember why, just that my parents used to tell me that I limped when I was a kid.  It never stopped me from doing sports, but I was generally the last kid doing laps.  ANYWAY.... enough with the history lesson.  I had gone to a Dr a few years ago, when I started running again after taking about 10 years off after doing marathons and tons of triathlons.  The Dr said that I was just going to have to deal with it.  No shit, really?!?!?!

So back to today.  I am so happy that I passed this test.  Will take today off as a rest day (although I really have the itch to hit the trails again). 

Renovation update:  Some of you that read the blog had commented on my renovation project so I figured I would update you to this weekend's project.  Last post on the renovation I showed the door and window I had put in.  This past week/weekend, I finished the removal of the two 8 ft sliders and the replacement of them with the 5 36inch double hung windows.  Will insulate them this week and them move over the heat to the mudroom that never had it.  I know Jack and Belle (my 2 chocolate labs) will be happy to have some additional heat in their room.

Enough for now, Be well ~ Sank

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two tests two passes

After bailing out of my last two games refereeing (basketball) yesterday with my sore ankle, I was tentative about going out today but after taking the day off to help out my mom, I decided to test out the ankle, and get another run in with the NB Minimus. 
Per usual, I went over to F Gilbert State Forest in Foxborough, and started on the Heart Trail.  It starts with a fairly tough rocky techinical trail, but it seems to get the legs going early.  The ankle felt good after the first 1/2 mile or so, so I kept branching off to longer trails that I knew had cutbacks to the entrance if I needed them.  I did have to walk a couple of the steeper uphills, but all in all I was extremely happy with my ankle, the longest trail run of the year and how the Minimus feel.
Probably going to end up taking tomorrow off as Tuesday are an extremely long day, but after today Wednesday cant come soon enough.
Until then, Be Well ~ Sank

Friday, January 13, 2012

Misc items

Been kind of a weird week between work, home, some 24-36 hour bug that dragged me down a bit and just life in general.  But I did want to touch on a few things I've been thinking about so I could clear out some space in my head for some other useless stuff.

Minimus - Well I ended up returning the Minimus that I bought on ebay (the vendor was awesome and quick with the return).  Anyway so I went down to CitySports on Boylston St in Boston and bought the MT10 with the 4mm drop.  Rushed home, changed and raced out to F Gilbert State Forest Tuesday night.  It was past dusk and I forgot my headlamp in the rush, so I was running very carefully in the dark, but all in all I was pleased.  I had to go a size larger so I was concerned that I was going to have issues with the toe box on the downhills, but they stayed snug around my feet and comfortable.  They had a similar feel to my VFF (Vibram Five Fingers) but maybe the lack of having my toes separated gave me more of a comfort level when going over the roots and rocks.  I also have been wearing them off and on to try to get my feet used to the difference in lift but as of now I am very happy with the shoes.

Dailymile - I had been kicking around in the past with Dailymile.  For those of you not familiar with it, it's kind of a runner/triathlete/athlete specific version of Facebook.  Once set up (which is extremely easy) it interfaces/sync's with the Garmin and inputs the information over to Dailymile.  It then posts on the site keeping track of runs, courses, etc.   But I have to say that most important to me, is the motivation and camaraderie that all of the athletes show towards one another.  Regardless of the pace, length of activity, etc... it seems that everyone is very supportive.  Just another small help on those days when you need it.

Race Planning - Trying to not get ahead of myself too much, but although my running this year is in it's infancy, I am very happy with my running to date and that my ankle soreness is bearable while I am working on strengthening it.  It is fairly easy to find a 5k or 10k any weekend (especially on roads), but I am trying to decide on a 50k for mid-summer and perhaps a 50m for the fall.   But am understandably nervous about trying to figure out if I will be ready to run it in that short a time.   Nothing ventured nothing gained, I know, but ........ 

Enough for now.  Can't wait for the weekend to hit the trails.  Have some renovations to do, and I'm refereeing 7 games, but I am definitely going to find time to strap on the new shoes and explore Gilbert.
Have a great weekend,
Be Well ~ Sank

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I was going to take a moment to bitch about the NB minimus that I ordered on ebay that were the wrong size and that I have to send them back, and then how I had to go and actually hit a store and try on a new pair..............blah, blah, F'ing blah. 
But someone sent me this video, and it kind of puts things in perspective.  I hope you have 5:04 minutes to watch it. 
Hey if you read this blog, it means chances are strong you run and are outside. 
PLEASE WATCH THIS, and send it to people you know.
Be well ~ Sank

Monday, January 9, 2012

First week, Birthday wishes and Thanks

First week down (well actually 8 days) but I'm digressing early in this post.  Actually pretty happy with getting out there 5 times between the trails and roads.  The shin has been a little tight during runs, but mostly on those days when I haven't truly stretched it out as much as I should.  You would think at my age I would have learned more patience, but..... not really.  My ankle (that I had reconstructed using my hip bones many many many years ago) has been a tad sore.  But that happens in the beginning of getting back to running.  But the same stretches for my shin, also help the ankle. 
Hello Stupid (yeah I'm talking to myself here) do you notice any trends here?  Old dogs and new tricks I guess.

My RoadID and my new NB Minimus are supposed to be delivered today, so I am very excited about that.  The Minimus are the trail version, so with my luck it will probably snow 3 ft, but looking at the weather forecast I think I'll dodge that bullet for a bit.  Going to try to keep the same work schedule of getting in super early so I can hit the trails after work.  The days are getting longer, but slowly.  Still need to master the art of running trails at night. 

Going to take today as a rest day, after 3 in a row.  To steal Terry Francona's phrase (or maybe it was Jimy Williams - well one of the Red Sox Manager's), it's a marathon not a sprint.  Been looking at race calendar's and websites to see which 50k I'm going to do this year.  Very anxious and excited.  Thinking I can pull that off by May and who knows maybe do the Vermont 50, in the 50 mile catagory. 

Happy 10th Birthday to my boy, Jack. 

Thanks to EJ, from URG, for her comments the other day.  Sometimes, we all need a little reminder and kick in the back-side. 

Well that's it for now.  Safe running for you all.
Be Well ~ Sank

Friday, January 6, 2012


I've been kicking around the idea of getting some of the New Balance Minimus shoes and yesterday while on ebay I found a pair; my size, at almost $35 less than the retail, and they'll take them back if they dont fit, so I figured, what the heck do I have to lose.  Oh and did I mention free shipping too?

So they shipped same day and I should get them on Monday.  Can't wait. 

And at the same time I found this video about the shoes, but a small insight (well from my perspective anyway) of Anton Krupicka. 

Hoping to get a run in tonight, but very tight time constraints so I'm thinking probably not. 

Have a good day all,
Be well ~ Sank

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Road ID Coupon

Hey Everyone,

I just ordered a Road ID - perhaps you've heard of it. If you haven't, go to their website and check it out. Road ID is a great product that could save your life someday.
When I ordered, they gave me a coupon that I could pass along to my friends. Here's the coupon number: Coupon Number: ThanksTodd9759494
The coupon is good for $1 off any Road ID order placed by 02/05/2012. To order, simply go to RoadID.com or click the link below:


If you prefer, you can call them at 800-345-6336.

Be well ~ Sank

2nd run of year and Movie night

Well I finally got out again last night.  Albeit my shortest course, but by the time I got home from work AND the fact that I layered up (it was 18 degrees and windy), I did it.  Got home, took the Garmin off, transferred the data, clicked on the internet - NO CONNECTION.  WTF's up with that.  Something about a Winsock or WindSock or Tubesock error, whatever it is, but no internet connection for me.

Oh well, so I did the Nelson Loop of 2.54 miles.  But most importantly I felt really really good.  Shins tightened up a little bit (2 brief walk stretch periods) but regardless of the time or not I am very happy with the way the run turned out, especially considering that it was only my 2nd one of the year.

So I ended up posting my miles manually to Dailymile, but hopefully I can get that fixed today.  Oh well, if that's the worse thing that happens this week, I'll consider myself lucky.

UNBREAKABLE - Finally had the chance to sitdown last night (skipped the Bruins/Devils game - Bruins kicked the Devils ass BTW) and watch the 2010 WS100 Unbreakable movie.  It was a lot of fun to watch and definitely will be on the "need some motivation" movie list.  Having never run a 100 mile race, it was eyeopening to see how it goes.  It was amazing to see the resilience and drive that Geoff Roes displayed. 

I give it and enthusiastic   CC

Siskel and Ebert eat your hearts out!

Until next time, Be Well ~ Sank

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yesterday and Tonight

We'll go back to yesterday first:
Really had planned to trying to get a run in, but I got up earlier, started some construction around the house while the weather was high 40's and just didn't get to the roads.  I have a series of windows and sliders that have seen there better days.  So I've been looking at the house alot over the past month or so, to see exactly what I wanted to do with it, now that I am back in it completely. 

So I started on Saturday by taking out three windows, covering two and enlarging the third opening.

Saturday's work

Yesterday I decided to take out the slider, and put in a new window and a nice big 36 inch wide door with half glass.  Really happy with the results.

Inside view
Outside view

Now for today:
For those of you that are not familar with the Western States 100, it is a grueling 100 mile trail race going back to 1974, when Gordy Ainsleigh, decided to attempt the Western States "100 mile - One Day" trail ride on foot.  Well 23 hours and 42 minutes later he completed the run and in the process became the founder of modern trail ultrarunning and the Western States 100 was born.

So I came back from vacation today and totally forgot that I had ordered UNBREAKABLE, the documentary of the 2010 race.  Here's a link -> CLICK HERE if anyone wants to go look at the website yourself.  Cant wait to get home tonight, go for a quick run, and sit down and watch this.  I'll review it more in detail in the next couple days.
I actually stole this from another blog I saw today (stupidly I forgot to write it down so I could give them credit for it - msredrunning/blogspot.com - I think).

Anyway I liked it so I'm stealing it and posting it.

Move Posts later

Be well ~ Sank