Monday, March 30, 2009

...back to life.  Many days of down time, physical therapy and patience have
rejuvenated the knee, and consequently, the soul of Matthew Cartier.  I am
inclined to believe that I am back on track, and can once again, focus on the
training needed to complete the 2009 Lake Placid Ironman.  Over the
weekend, I had the chance to spin for 65 miles on my road bike, and to
trail run for 40 minutes virtually pain free.  What a relief!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Finally, an update...  Thank you all for your concern.  I am recovering from the
'mental aspect' of the patellar tendonitis; however, the 'physical aspect' seems
to be going much slower than expected.  After meeting with a sports doc, and
having x-rays done, the findings are inconclusive.  I may have to undergo an 
MRI.  At any rate, physical therapy has begun.  I am able to spin on  a road bike,
and still attend yoga classes, but running is not an option.  Imagine 6 weeks 
without a  run!  

Monday, March 2, 2009

After meeting with a neuro-muscular therapist this morning, it has been made obvious that my body needs rest...  the nerves, and the ligaments behind my right patella are so inflammed, and stressed that it is with great difficulty that I attempt to walk today.  Unfortunately, my snowshoe race season could be over.  If the season were to end today (which it may have for me), I would be fortunate to be ranked:

I do plan to meet with a sports medicine doctor tomorrow.  Perhaps, it will be the findings from both medical professionals which determine my immediate future and subsequent plans.  Bummer.
If only the 3.8 Mile Hawley Kiln Snowshoe Race finish was this dramatic...

In this photo, featured from left to right:  Tim Mahoney, Dave Dunham, myself and Tim Van Orden, break away from the pack about one mile into the race.

All four would eventually finish top 5, as Dave would lead the charge, followed by myself, TiVO, and Tim M. The conditions were as difficult as any yet this season... due to the mild temperatures and snow chemistry.  Somehow, Dave Dunham was able to 'float' across the snowpack, while the rest of us seemed to break through with each step.  Great race to all.

Sunday, March 1, 2009 you think this photo illicits the actual pain?  I may spend the next few days being supported by 'crutches' because I was too stubborn to accept defeat.  (And, consequently, take time off).  What seems like the most difficult winter thus far, I am now dealing with acute tendonitis in my right knee.  I thought that if I took 8 advil prior to the race, I would be able to race pain free.  And then, be pain free post race as well.  Well, this logic did not get me anywhere, besides the couch.  I have been prescribed rest, anti-inflammatories, and ice.  Bummer.  What a reward for trying to be healthy!  At any rate, maybe I will learn to play that guitar, navigate my new IMAC,  and/or brew some beer.  Believe it or not, I still finished 2nd in this race...  I would have to say that the mind is the strongest muscle in our body.

Monday, February 23, 2009

...two days post the 1/2 marathon on snowshoes (up trails in and around Mt. Greylock one and half times), I find myself still sore.  Perhaps, today will be a rest day.  Or, maybe an active rest day.  At any rate, the pain is lessened with the news of the latest New England Snowshoe Rankings.  I am thrilled to have my name mentioned in that exhaustive list of accomplished runners.

...two more races to go.  Will I finish with a podium spot?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Although not completely recovered from the Tahoe trip, I thought it was in my best interests to run a half-marathon today...  on snowshoes.  The race was designed so that all of the racers had the option to do the full-distance or be content with a shorter 4 mile race.  At any rate, all of the racers began together, and whether or not you chose to further your pain, you could continue on for the remaining 9 miles up and around the summit of Mt. Greylock ~ the highest point in the state.

Early on, I was challenged by the nature of the race...  I was not content settling in, and allowing slower runners to be out in front.  From a longetivity standpoint, it was in my best interests to remain patient, and allow the 4 milers to pass and continue onward and upward.  This mindset only lasted for about 2 miles...  then I sped along to catch up with the pack.  I am not guilty of pushing the threshold; however, I did amp it up to an extent.   When I chose to move along faster, I could see Tim VanOrden and Josh Merlis out in front.  At this point, the racers were very visible as charged up the legendary Thunderbolt Ski Trail.  At the halfway point of the 4 mile race, I was in second place.  I had moved up 15 spots in those two miles...  And for this move, I would inevitably suffer.  On the descent, I did lose a snowshoe cleat, and this would also make for a challenge later in the race, especially on the groomers.

Eventually, TIVO would win this race... and I would finish second.  When I stopped to lose my IPOD, and grab my fuel belt for the remaining 9 miles (back up to the summit of Greylock) I was passed by 3 other half-marathon racers...  two of which I would never see again.  Mile 6 was my first real challenge in the race, ultimately, forcing me to walk.  It was a long, gradual pitch, but it proved itself a challenge.  I was four deep in the field of racers at this point... and I knew I was being chased.  I looked over my shoulder and saw nobody...  Luckily.

After drinking several ounces of water, and chokin' down a GU shot, I was back in action.  We were all blessed with a mile and a half section of beautiful, powdery, downhill singletrack before what would become the most difficult mile I have ever run...  or walked.  On the descent, I did manage to pass Pete (who had driven in from Bar Harbor) and fall, almost literally, into the 3rd spot.  And then, mile 10.  I am not sure what the race director had in mind when he (aka lucifer) had the racers gain an estimated 700 vertical in that one mile.  Pete passed me, as I walked the climb.  

Fortunately, at the summit there was a 'food barrel' and Pete opted to stop.  I am thinking he chugged a water, and ate some fig newtons.  I had my supply on my person.  On the run, I swigged some H2O, and did another GU shot.  I looked over my shoulder and Pete had yet to begin running again.  He admitted to being really fatigued.  The last two miles were all down hill...  and without a cleat on my right snowshoe I was certain I would be pulling a groin... but made it happen anyway without suffering from an injury.  I would finish the half marathon in a time of 2 hours and 17 minutes, and in the third spot.  I was told 38 other racers were a part of the grueling, self-punishment.

It was the longest run of my life... and certainly provided for great mental preparation for this year's Lake Placid IronMan competition.  Hopefully, I will have regained composure before then...

Thanks for reading.
In this photo, my buddy Dan Goddard has submarined himself into a powder pocket.  Believe it or not, it takes him almost 5 minutes to free himself from this situation.  Bummer eh?  We do not usually have this problem on the east coast...
Avy danger?
The tired tele legs continued to push through the fatigue of powder skiing...
As is the case, telemark skiing is challenging enough.  Then add powder.  24 inches of powder.
In this photo, I am resting... from making in-bounds telemark turns at Squaw Valley, located in Truckee, CA. 
I was fortunate enough to enjoy four days in the Tahoe area with mes amies skiing a combined total of four days in 60 inches of fresh powder.  It was snowing when I arrived, and was still snowing when I left.  At last count, the Tahoe Mountain Area received 8 feet in total snow accumulation.  And, lucky for me, I was there...

Monday, February 9, 2009

I have been invited to become a team member of Acidotic Racing...

Thanks, Chris.

Sunday's 6M Moody Springs - Hallockville Road snowshoe race was as demanding as expected.  The course was designed to minimize the need for technical abilites, and intended to challenge the lactate threshold of the racer.  Depite having woken up with what felt like a 'box of nails' in my throat, I decided to race anyway.  Good idea, right?  The start was certainly casual, although Tim Mahoney managed to put a gap between Dave Dunham, Ben Nephew (eventual winner) and myself.  Tim demonstrated his fitness ~ and the all out 6M sprint course seemed to benefit his running style.  Dave, Ben and I yo-yo'ed each other for the better part of two miles.  And, then I seemed content with the fourth spot.  Or at least, that is message the body relayed to the brain.  At the half-way point, the four lead runners made a wrong turn ~ following Tim's speedy feet.  It was not until, one minute or so, that the group discovered the error.  All four runners doubled back, quickly making note of the converging runners who would not make the same mistake.  I was experiencing more fatigue than usual at this point.  I was in fact suffering.  And would have to reach deep to not only keep a healthy pace, but also avoid being passed by well-respected runners behind me.  (Including my girlfriend).    For the next mile or so, I was able to hold down the third place spot ~ but it was Tim who was having the better run.  In fact, I was going to make every effort to get him back into the chase for the top spot with the others.  On the climb, I informed Tim that I was going to go hard, and that he should come with me.  At the top, I would be done, and I knew this, but I was anxious to see him challenge Ben and/or Dave.  Tim was able to climb on my heels, and as expected, I flatlined at the top...  while offering encouragement to Tim.  As the race played out, Ben edged out Dave, with Tim finishing in the third spot.  Although, I was battling my immune system, I was content with the fourth spot.
...and we skied powder for 8 hours in the backcountry.  Two weeks after the last dump!  
At an abandoned ski resort in southern vermont (name which will remain anonymous) we shussed knee high powder for an entire day.  And, we had the place to ourselves.  I might still be attempting to make those telemark ski turns in the powder, if my legs had the power to push the 'skins', skiis and boots back to the summit another time.  The only time skiing freshies for 8 hours is actually a bad time, is the day before a snowshoe race.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Last night, my immune system afforded me the opportunity to run for the second consecutive day.  And, this run was in style.  The sport, or art of running, seems to fulfill the soul when it can be done less on the roads, and more in the woods.  We ran for an hour and a  half through packed powder over a section of the seven sisters trail run in Amherst ~ as the sun was setting.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

After 8 days in waiting, (minimal exercise, maximum virus) I was compelled to re-live the Turner Trail experience.  Although, it was not a race, or a run whereby I was pushing my limits, I chose to run the new and improved Turner Trail singletrack up. Needless to say, it took longer to climb.  I put my race number on to feel like an achiever.  I won today.

Most importantly, it was helpful to make the body experience movement again.  And, to breathe.  The run was certainly a challenge, but it was a good litmus test.  I am back to good health.  I was able to run with my 'Dion' Snowshoes for an hour and a half.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

(2nd consecutive week)

...charging down the Shadow Trail in the Pittsfield State Forest, trying to keep Ben Nephew from reaching the finish line before me (which he inevitably did), I realized that my body was asking for more fuel.  I am by no means making reference to the American diet (Dunkin' Donuts or McDonalds) but rather raw foods, and whole grains.  Wholesome foods.  Ben would eventually go on to win the race; however, I may have lost to myself.  EAT UP KID, YOU GOT A LONG RACING SEASON AHEAD.  

At any rate, the race course was extremely demanding as was the competition.  The Herder Family (Race Course Architects and Designers) would not disappoint the hardiest group of athletes ever to assemble in the PSF.  Curly's Record Run was a success.  Thank you for all of the volunteers and the athletes who are motivating me to live well.    

I was satisfied with my second place finish...


I have chosen to start a blog while simultaneously having chosen to begin a much healthier lifestyle...  in terms of diet and nutrition.  At this point, I am certainly not guilty of being
sedentary but rather the victim of poor diet choices.  My goal, will then be, to eat more whole 
grains, fresh produce, and soy.  I have chosen to eliminate 'fast food' from my diet for the last 11 years...  so I am inclined to believe that I am one step ahead of the shoeshiner.

I write this message on day 6 of a supposed 'Berkshire County Bug'.  I would like to think that I am exhausted, but the 'sweat chill fever' and the sore throat might indicate otherwise.  So, it is with my intention to strive for a healthier lifestyle that I find myself motivated to create this blog.

In addition, I do have some unusual habits which might compliment the blog:  Unicycle hockey, Ultra-running, Whitewater Kayaking, Juggling, and Triathlon training.