Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Weekly Log 9-Jan to 15-Jan-2017: Happy Dog & Group Run Fun

A more positive and engaged week for me. 

To keep myself motivated, I've started to put together a list of tentative races for this year.  Like Crutch, I will keep and intersperse my "standard races" (e.g. Blessing, Block), but otherwise, it looks like my year is roughly shaping up with a tilt towards the following breakdown:
  • Spring:  Road marathon(s) and prep
  • Summer:  Mountain races, triathlons, and hopefully a destination race
  • Fall:  Trails
The tentative schedule will continue to evolve, with some races added and some dropped, but here is my current thought on 2017 Events.

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
White Rock / North End.  10 x (60 seconds on, 30 off).  First few felt easy, but by the 7th or 8th felt I hadn't caught my breath when it was time to take off again.

Wednesday: 5
Needham, MA.  Sloppy mess with ice, mud, melting snow, and slush.  Opted for roads.  The only time I saw another runner, we were both sliding on ice covering a dirt road.  They can't all be good runs!

Thursday:  5
Back in the woods.  Single-track from Wahaneeta with a loop into Woody Hill.  What a great feeling, especially after yesterday's slop run dodging cars and slush.  As I came back into Wahaneeta, heard someone in the distance yelling something unintelligible.  I also couldn't ascertain the distance or direction, and just hoped someone wasn't yelling for help as I stopped briefly and then trucked on.

Finished up just as it was getting dark.  Started the car and saw something small and orange go by in the headlights.  A fox?  Got out to check.  It turned around and is headed back my way.  A dog.  A small orange dog. Ran right up to me.  Very active and happy little dog.  Not little like a rat-dog, but maybe just a little smaller than Gus.  Now it's running circles in the dirt parking lot, occasionally coming back to see me.  Is it lost?  Does it know how to get home?  I check for a dog tag, hoping for a phone number I can call.  Nada.  When I re-open my car door, he looks like he's going to jump in.  I'm guessing now that the previous yelling was calling the dog, and I'd be happy to bring him home, but again I don't know what direction the yelling was coming from.  I trying yelling myself.  The dog took off into the woods.  Nope, it's back with a stick in his mouth.  He wants me to play fetch!  Just as I'm hoping he'll throw the stick and I can run after it, an SUV comes down the adjoining dirt road.  I run through the brush to get out to the road and the driver sees me and stops.  I ask him if he's looking for a dog, and he smiles and says, "Yes, but you can take him home with you if you'd like!".  While I don't know him personally, I know who the man is and I'm relieved that the dog and owner are reunited.  He thanks me and says he sees me in the trails often, and we share a laugh recounting the time I scared the heck out of him last summer in Wahaneeta.
Our fetch game is interrupted as the dog's owner arrives

It is only after he leaves that I remember learning from the WLT that just less than a month ago he had the tragedy of losing his daughter. Instead of a scary dog and irresponsible owner story that I occasionally write, this one had a happy ending.

Friday:  5
Back to the trails.  Woody north this time.  As with yesterday's run and Woody Hill runs in general, I never see a single soul during my run.  Just love it here.

Saturday: 12
Group trail run at Burlingame with Jonathan and Jonny.  When I got an e-mail from Jonathan, I didn't think I would be able to make this one as Matthew had an all-day meet in Providence.  There was an open mile in the meet, and I actually contemplated that until I realized the open mile was at 9:30am and Matthew's first event at 1:30pm.  Too much sitting around, as I'd be here all afternoon.  How out of character would that be for me to run an indoor track mile?  I've never set foot on an indoor track before.  Matthew lowered his mile PR to a 4:29.

Anyhow, the run was fun.  When isn't it fun to get into the woods for a trail run?  Ran 3+ miles on my own going up to the tower in Kettle Pond and back via the campground.  From there, met up with the Jonathans and we ran the length of Sammy C's CCW.  What a great trail; so much fun playing on the rocks.  Ran west incorporating VG and some twisty NEMBA fun on "Lenny's Lane".  A good run.

Sunday:  5
After a group run in Arcadia fell apart, just couldn't get it together to figure out what I wanted to do.  By the time Tommy texted me about a trail run in Champlin (yes, you heard that right), I had already showered and just eaten breakfast and started a project.  Ended up running in Hopkinton Grills with Matthew, before the three of us went to see "Patriots Day".  Watching the movie about Boston Marathon 2013, the last year I ran it.  Watching and reliving the chaos, murder, and terrorism that ensued that day and week just left me angry.  I will take some solace the same day that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suffers the same fate as Timothy McVeigh.

Weekly mileage:  38.

Weekly synopsis:  Mileage was pretty pathetic and uninspiring.  A paltry and meager five five-milers, plus a 12-mile fun trail run.  This isn't going to get me to a spring marathon.  On the other hand, I've snapped out of my torpor, the group runs are motivating, and tomorrow is a new week.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekly Log 2-Jan to 8-Jan-2017: Back to Work Blues

17 days off is my longest stretch in a long time, likely quite a few years.  Hit a number of my vacation goals, including a 20-mile, a 60+ mileage week (2 in fact!), and got some skiing in. Even replaced the leaky kitchen faucet, although the garage door opener replacement job is only half done, and I have parts and wiring from both the old and new assemblies spread across the floor -yeah, I really should finish that.

Monday:  5
Last day of vacation. Had planned out a 16-miler, but by the time my window of opportunity opened, it was raining and 36 degrees.  Went to SHS instead to explore any options there for a summer event the town rec department would like us to host or co-host there.  Will see how that plays out.  They really have been most gracious and supportive of us thus far by offering us to host Bottone last year and this year with all fees waived, when Westerly declined and Chariho approved but with about $200 of fees.
Anyhow, there's plenty of asphalt, grass fields, and trails there (not to mention a fantastic track!) to put together something pretty interesting.

Tuesday:  6
Road, trail mix through Champlin. Depressed for work restart.  Gets me thinking more about retirement planning.

Wednesday:  6
White Rock / North End loop from the Y.  Post-holiday depression has officially settled in.

Thursday:  0
Sloth-like and unmotivated.

Friday:  6
So excited to see snow falling!  Tried to avoid roads where snowplows were out, so headed down to Misquamicut.

Saturday:  14
This was the first time ever that I had missed the Resolution 5K, and it looked like it would be fun in the snow, but with Matthew having a meet every Saturday until late Feb, I'll miss most races unless the times diverge enough.
I got up to run and it was 18 degrees, so I put a pair of tights on instead of shorts.  I may have been able to get away with the shorts, and there were times when I felt a little too warm, but also felt brisk with the northeast ocean breeze.  Other than the first and last miles, all my miles were sub-7, so felt really good with that.
Sigh.  The end of another holiday
Sunday:  5
Fresh snow!  8 inches of the white stuff.  My torpor is gone, and I'm excited to get out to play.  The unplowed roads beat the plowed, wet roads.  Fun, but exhausting run in the deep snow on the trails in Champlin.
As with manual transmission drivers, us snow-shovelers
are a small and shrinking minority.  Most in my neighborhood either
use a snowblower, or worse, hire someone to plow/shovel while
they remain indoors.

Just a beautiful day to be outside!
Not looking forward to inevitably hearing people
at work complain about the snow, or how they
spent the entire day plopped on the couch watching
football and other TV.

Weekly mileage:  42

Weekly synopsis:  Not the mileage I was looking for, but I knew this week would be a struggle to get the miles in.  Low and depressing points were end of the holidays, end of a long vacation, return to work, and bringing Mark to the airport likely not to be seen again until late April.  The only high point and motivator to me this week was the weekend snowstorm.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Out with the Old, In with the New: 2016 Review, 2017 Goals

2016 Review:

Another year has passed.  While there were a number of setbacks for me in 2016, there were certainly some bright spots as well.  Let's jump into it with a review of goals:

  • Distance:  Run 2,315 miles.  Exceeded!  Final tally of 2,340 miles is my highest ever.
  • PRs:  I set 5 specific distances to PR in.  This is my biggest disappointment, as I didn't really even come close to PR'ing in any distance.  Sure, I can come up with plenty of excuses, but I have to face reality that this was the first year in my 14 years of running that I have not had a single PR.  I still think it's possible to pull another PR, but they're going to be few and far between and likely at the longer distances.
  • Return to the Marathon:  Run a full marathon in 2016.  Did it!  It was a tough day at the Sugarloaf Marathon being soaking wet, cold, and shivering, but I still managed to pull out a 2:58:44.
  • New trail course planning:  Success all around: 1) Added a 5-mile option to the BRR (only to have it last a single year as DEM said no events in the campground during campground season going forward - more on that later), 2) added the Wahaneeta 5K as WTAC's newest race and first in the Fall Trail Race Series, 3) together with a number of WTAC volunteers, planned, cleared, and mapped a new WHS XC course.  All of these were a lot of fun and personally rewarding.
  • Trail running:  Run at least one destination trail race.  Success in a major way.  During the month of July, ran both the Loon Mountain Race in NH and the Westfjords Vesturgatan 24K Wilderness Race in remote northern Iceland.  What a blast!
(before) Helping to clear a stone-laden section that would become
the new Westerly HS XC course
(Thanks to my brother Greg and his equipment above)
(after)  Looking better!  This was one of my proudest accomplishments in 2016,
of planning, and leading the clearing and marking of the new course.  The XC coach
and a number of the runners feel this is now one of the best courses in the state.
Stay tuned:  this will become part of the Run for the Pumpkins 8K course in 2017.

Miscellaneous 2016 running stats:
  • Races run:  29  (2015:  36)
  • Race breakdown by type:  Road - 14, Trail - 10, Beach - 2, Tri - 3
  • Age group wins:  17
  • Miles run:  2,340 - highest ever!  (2015:  2,315)
  • Hours run:  313
  • Days run:  290 (2015:  304)
  • Lowest mileage week:  12 (slammed by triple-whammy of tickborne diseases)
  • Highest mileage week:  68
  • Highest mileage day:  26
  • Highest mileage run:  26 (Sugarloaf Marathon)
  • Longest running streak:  17 days
  • Longest non-running streak:  5 days (see above tickborne issue)
  • Number of deerflies killed during runs:  50
  • Most number of deerflies killed during a single run:  12
  • Number of deerflies eaten:  1
  • Deerfly kill season:  Jun 22 - Aug 13
  • Number of horseflies killed during runs:  1 (New Jersey)
  • Number of states run in:  10 (including all New England states for the 2nd consecutive year)
  • Number of countries run in:  2
  • Run furthest from home:  Iceland
2016 Pictorial Review by Month:

Jan:  Started off the year with the Resolution 5K. 
2017 may be the first year I miss this event.

Feb:  Feb 7 was one of the few
snowstorms (7") to get out and run
in the snow in 2016

Mar: Was having a good run at
Ocean's Run Half, making it all
the more disappointing to find out
it was a long course.  2017 edition
is supposed to be certified.

Apr:  Cleaning up the team award at RI State Police 5K,
with WTAC teammates

May:  Running is more than just your own individual
feats.  Running is a community of support.  Above, giving
some support to Tommy 5K, who became "Tommy 42K"
for the first time at Providence Cox Marathon.
Look at the smile on that guy!

Jun:  Running what would become the final edition of the Back Road
Ramble to go through Burlingame Campground, per DEM change in
rules.  Working with the YMCA for alternatives for this race in 2017.

Jul:  Iceland!!  Vesturgatan 24K Wilderness Race, ├×ingeyri, Iceland.
Friendly people, amazing scenery, fjords, mountains, icebergs, and caves.  I crossed this off
my bucket list after decades of wanting to visit, yet I am left with a strong
yearning to visit again someday.

    Aug:  My favorite triathlon, the Block Island Tri.


    Sep:  My dazed, cadaver like expression
    and sweat-drenched clothes were
    just too frequent in super humid and hot
    racing this summer.  (Surftown Half:
    my 6th and perhaps final for a while.)
    Brutal summer racing conditions were a
    real turnoff for me.

    Oct:  Run for the Pumpkins trail race.  I've put a lot of effort into this one,
    as have many volunteers, and I'm super thrilled with the way this nascent
    trail race has turned out.

    Nov:  Rhody, a perennial favorite.

    Dec:  Christmas 10K:  A fun team outing, race, and lunch.
    By December, after a long miserably hot and humid summer,
    I was finally getting comfortable with road running again.

2016 Runs by Terrain:

Notable observations:
Beach runs were quite sparse, especially in June/July when tick disease medicines kept me out of the sun.
2016 trail runs were the most in quantity that I ever ran.  The uptick is especially notable from Sep - Nov,
where I would go weeks without a road run after a depressing hot and humid summer.

2017 Goals:

  • Mileage:  2,400.  Time to up it again!
  • Marathon:  Run a spring marathon.  Not signed up for any yet, but Ocean's Run (Westerly) and Newport Rhode Races are both possibilities.
  • Run at least one new trail race.
  • Run a destination race.
  • Run a mountain trail race.
  • Run a 50K trail race.  Could this be the year?
  • Document history of one of my favorite and most frequented running areas:  Woody Hill.  The WLT has requested that I research and write up the history on Wahaneeta, which I'll do but include adjacent Woody Hill and Sunnyacres Preserve.
 Well, running friends, that's a wrap!  Happy New Year, and happy running!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Weekly Log 26-Dec-2016 to 1-Jan-2017: Closing Out Another Year

As I write this on New Year's Day, I'm trying to avoid a post-holiday funk as start un-decorating and get ready to go back to the rituals of work and school.  Key to keeping my interest level up will be to get out running goals for 2017, which I expect to post in the next couple of days.

Monday:  20!
Longest run since my last marathon in May.  Ran 5.5 solo from Dave's Coffee south throughout Quonochontaug, then back to Dave's to meet up with FiveK and Mikey for the balance.  Rest of run was north through the Charlestown hills.  The legs were a little sore afterwards as we sat down for coffee at Dave's, but nothing terrible.  Happy with this accomplishment.

Tuesday:  5
Downtown Providence run.  Matthew had 3 hours between events, so I thought I would take advantage of the downtime and sunlight to get outside for a run.  Ran from Providence Career & Technical Academy ("PCTA"), where most indoor meets are held in RI, out to Brown University, and back a different route to make a loop.  The run varied from scary locations to busy downtown to dodging pedestrians on sidewalks on the East Side to pleasant running through near-deserted Brown campus.  Managed to take one CR ("Governor Street") as a plus.

Wednesday:  8
Workout at Ninigret Park with Tommy and Mikey.  This was one that Tommy had put together.  warmed-up with Matthew, and then he branched off as the rest of us went on for 4 x 400 on grass, 10 minutes at HMP on bike path (I ran 5:55 pace), and then 4 x 200 on grass, before cool-down.
Upon arriving at Ninigret, Mikey informed me that a headlamp or
parking lamp might be out on my car.  Kudos to him for noticing.  My headlamp
lenses had become so incredibly oxidized that I couldn't see through them.

Spent more than an hour later that day cleaning the lenses with a 3M
headlamp restoration kit, including progressive sanding disks and polish.
Incredible how they cleaned up, as seen in "after" photo here.
Mikey was right - the parking lamp (lower, slightly off-center to the right) was burned out,
but until this moment I couldn't even tell that there were two bulbs in this
headlamp.  This has got to have a positive effect on night visibility.
Maybe I'll hate driving at night a little less!

Thursday:  0
Nasty rain day.  Ended up taking a zero.

Friday:  11
Scone run!  Run with Tommy and Jonny from The Bakery in Charlestown.  Got both legs into the ocean trying to get past a pile of rocks in front of a house in Green Hill.  The ocean water ran out of my shoes pretty quickly, but was left with a fair amount of sand in my shoes for the rest of the run.  Warm scone and coffee hit the spot!

Saturday:  10
Group trail run from Ashville Pond to Beach Pond.  Met Jonathan Short at Beach Pond, where I dropped my car and he gave Matthew and me a ride back to the start (Ashville Pond), where we met up with Crutch, Jonny, and Muddy.  The first few miles were very technical, and while enjoyable, I was glad we were not returning through here.  North of north road, the trails were much more runnable.  We broke up a few times, but always regrouped.  North of Hidden Lake up to Tippecansett was the only part I hadn't run before, but Crutch helped me us on track.  My least favorite part was the double-track north of Route 138, as it went on much, much longer than I anticipated.  Overall, a good through run that I had planned for a while, and was fun to execute.
Saying farewell to the old year at a bonfire
at Ninigret Park, Charlestown,
while catching up with Tommy and Jonny and their families.

As the conflagration settled, the roman numerals (lower left)
for the new year appeared.

Sunday:  7
Back to technical trails again!  From Voluntown on the Green Falls Pond Road, ran up to the dam and then around the pond clock-wise.  Very technical!  At one point, in a rock garden, I got my foot caught under a rock outcropping somehow, and down I went.  My shin smacked onto a rock, and then my knee was next.  That smarted.  Got up as quick as I could and continued, trying not to focus on the injury.  Took Narragansett Trail out to Dinosaur Caves and the blue/yellow blazed trail hugging the CT/RI border.  Ran Hidden Lake clockwise (Matthew ran it counter-clockwise)

Weekly mileage:  61

Weekly synopsis:  Second consecutive 60+ mileage week!  Also, banged out my first 20-miler in a long time.  Granted, having these two weeks off was very helpful in getting me here.  Now let's see if I can manage to keep it up as I return to work next week and get deeper into winter.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Weekly Log 19-Dec to 25-Dec: VT Skiing & Christmas

Penultimate blog post of the year.  "Fast away the old year passes."

Monday:  18
Chilly in the low 20s with a breeze.  Took me a few miles to warm up, but was still able to wear shorts.  Solo run around the pond, with a few extensions to bring it up to 18.  Longest run in 7 months.  Legs were not happy. Average pace 7:30.

Tuesday:  12
Noon:  Solo Champlin and Mastuxet run.
Evening:  Christmas Light Run from my house with 6 of us.  Most of the lit houses were in Sea Glen (my neighborhood) and Chin Hill.  As most of us had headlamps, I threw in a short 1/4 mile trail run on Mastuxet North to get over to Benny Drive/Babcock neighborhood.
Fun Christmas Light Run with the guys.

Wednesday:  6
Winter Solstice.  Late afternoon trail run from Wahaneeta up to Bradford Preserve and back.

Thursday: 5
5am local roads in the dark, before heading up to Vermont for a short ski trip.

Friday:  10
Warren, VT.  Ten hilly, snowy, and mostly in the dark miles.  Despite some initial trepidation, I'm really glad I went out for this one.  It had snowed most of the day before, and initially the only people I saw outside were snow plow drivers.  The first three miles were rolling hills, and then I got a little nervous when for the next three miles, the road just kept going down, down, and down.  I had better footing and confidence on the snow-covered dirt roads than I did on the asphalt roads that were fully plowed, but still had a thin veneer of ice/snow.  By the time I had dropped down to Route 100 for a short, relatively flat section, I had lost 850' of elevation.
Time for the return.  A 650' climb in just one mile, with an average grade of 11%!  By now, daylight was appearing and I was able to switch the headlamp off.  Got back to the condo and the others were just getting up to get ready for skiing.  Great run!  Total elevation gain of 1,585 feet, concentrated in just a few miles.

Beautiful view later that day skiing at Sugarbush.

Plenty of snow.

Fun skiing in the woods with Mark
and my cousins.
Saturday:  5
Back in RI for Christmas Eve.  After some last-minute Christmas shopping (not my strongest suit), I stopped on the way back at dusk for a run in Champlin.  Really neat to have found a decorated tree in the woods.  Despite having a headlamp, missed a stump and fell hard on some rocks, drawing blood.  Such is the life of a trail runner!

Sunday:  6
Christmas Day.  Local road and beach run.  Temps near 40.  Quite a few people out walking the beach in Misquamicut.

Weekly mileage:  64!

Weekly synopsis:  Finally, a week that I am really happy with my mileage.  Run highlights were the group Christmas Light Run and the hilly, snowy run in Vermont.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Weekly Log 12-Dec to 18-Dec-2016

Heading into my two-week vacation soon.  I will have a total of 17 days off.  I already know they will fly by quickly, so besides lounging around for the holidays, I had better set some objectives:
  • Run at least 65 miles in a week
  • Ski
  • Volunteer for a good cause
  • Register for a spring marathon
  • Get at least something done on the honey-do list (replace leaky faucet, fix broken deck door handle, etc)

Monday:  0
Rest day after Christmas 10K.  Good news:  we have the heat working again!  First time in a few days the indoor temp has seen above 58F.

Tuesday:  7
Fun, warm (40s and calm), and sunny midday run from West Beach, Charlestown, through the Quonochontaug beaches and neighborhoods.  I'm actually enjoying running roads again. The horrible HHH weather from the summer is a distant memory, and the cool air invigorates me.

Wednesday:  5
Old Furnace State Park, Killingly, CT.  Right off Route 395, convenient for a stop on my way back from working in MA.  The lot was deserted when I arrived, except for two other cars, so I parked far enough away to be able to change into running clothes.  Just as I was finishing up, despite the lot being still deserted, a car with one broken (as in smashed in) headlamp pulled up real close perpendicular to me.  A big guy got out and walked over to my side looking into my car.  Weird!   A cop checking that everything was alright?  Nope.  I got ready to put the window down, and he turned and walked into the woods.  OK, then.
Some water crossings had bridges ...
... and some didn't!

Put on my running shoes, locked the car, and off onto the trail.  Once the trail went into the woods, here's that same guy just standing on the edge of the woods barely into the woods, looking at me.  I say "hi", but he just stares at me.  OK, this guy is creeping me out.  Continued on the trail, and about 1/2 mile in I was relieved the next person I saw seemed much more normal:  a woman in her 30s out hiking with her skittish puppy.  She was stopped on the edge of the lake, said she was from NH but liked hiking here when she was in the area, and explained to me where there were really cool cliffs that I could run.  Sounds good; thanked her and off I went.
Lake shore where I paused to talk to a woman hiking
with her dog.  Lake had a thin veneer of ice.

View from the recommended cliffs was indeed worth the steep climb.

Rugged territory!
Descended on a different trail, which cut across a different parking lot, where I saw the same car with the same broken headlamp!  I didn't see the grizzled creeper anywhere, and once I entered the trail on the other size of the parking lot, I picked up the pace to get away from there.  As I'm continuing further away from my car, I am acutely aware that I am rapidly losing daylight.  The trail continues around the southern edges of Ross Pond, and as it leaves the pond and back into the woods, the trail is getting harder to see.  It starts to get technical as it climbs, and at every intersection I am pausing long enough to make out where the blue blazes go.  The last half mile is getting really tricky as the last vestiges of twilight are fading.  I slip a couple of times, but don't fall.  As I make it back into the original parking lot, night has fallen.  There is only one car in the lot now; you've got it - it's the creeper.  Fortunately, he's in the car with the car running, so I know where he is.  Now his car starts moving and soon his one headlight will be shining on me.  While he's probably fine and I'm probably overreacting, I am feeling very uncomfortable and run into the woods despite no trail here and I can no longer see.  I crouched down until his car passed and left the parking lot.  I don't know why I had such a reaction, but I'm so glad he's gone and I get back to my car, get inside, lock the doors, and hightail it out of there.
Took one CR in the process and am just 7 seconds off a technical CR, which turns out to be Critchlery's from 3 1/2 years ago!

Thursday:  10
AM:  5 miles solo at Riverwood Preserve.  Small and neat preserve with lousy access and intimidating neighbors trying to keep people out with multiple "No Trespassing" signs, despite the fact that the Westerly Land Trust has a right-of-way for public access.  I hope someday they succeed in getting a more friendly access point.  Slipped on ice I didn't see and fell on a rock, but bruised nothing but my ego.
PM:  5 miles in the Borough for a Christmas Light Run with Mikey and Tommy.  23 degrees, the wind made it feel colder than that, but even with shorts once we got going, I warmed up nicely.  The lights were less impressive than just the fun of getting out with friends.  Finished up at the outdoor fire at the Dog Watch.  Just like in the summer, except that it was dark, there were no other nuts out running, and it was just a few degrees colder.

Friday:  0
My last day working for 2016.  A planned late afternoon run didn't pan out, as I kept getting "just one more request" several times over, and ended up working later than I had planned.

Saturday:  12
There's no run like a snow run!  Was just about to head out the door when I got a text from Tommy 5K asking if I was still going for a run this morning.  Absolutely!  Come join me.  Ran around the pond, plus a little extra out Ocean View Highway.  24 degrees means shorts, despite the snowfall.  First half was really nice in the falling snow, but by the second half the snow had turned to rain and was starting to get slushy.  Glad we didn't start any later.
First snow of the season!

Sunday:  8
Slushy run at Bluff Point & Haley Farm State Parks.  With Mike B, Jonathan Short, and Matthew.  The snow was basically gone in Westerly, so I figured it would be the same in Groton.  Unfortunately, it was a lot of slush we ran through.  Still a good time, but at times the feet were quite cold from running through slush and cold puddles of melted snow.

Weekly Mileage:  42

Weekly synopsis:  My runs were fun, even through the slush, but I am not happy at all with the mileage quantity.  It's easy to make excuses, but with being off for the rest of the year now, there should be absolutely no excuse next week.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas 10K 2016

Newport, RI
Sunday, December 11, 2016

I've probably run this race about five times now.  10Ks are not very common in this country, so I like the change of distance, and I really enjoy the course which goes right along the ocean past Brenton Point.  We've had a few off-and-on years of running this as a club, so I proposed to our board that we promote this as a team event again.  Kudos and thank-you to new club Secretary Beth for promoting and organizing.  Several days before the event, I believe only Beth and I had signed up and committed.  I would still go and enjoy it, but the more the merrier.
Fun, nearly traffic-free course,
with 2 miles alongside the ocean.

By race morning, there were 7 of us WTAC'ers in.  Not as many as last year, but still fantastic!  Warmed up with Kevin and Eric, neither of whom had previously been in the park.across the street with cool cliffs and trails.  Changed into my racing flats and headed to the start line.  I got some comments about wearing short-shorts and singlets at the race, but honestly the temps had risen to 30 degrees, it was sunny, and no wind.  Perfect choice of running garb that I didn't regret.
Race start

Miles 1 & 2:  Started off with a pack of 10, including Muddy, Jonny, and Turtles Principe, Jackman, and Venable.  Hung with them for about 2/3 of a mile, and while I'm sure the pace was slow for some of them at just over 5:30, it was too spicy for me.  Dropped off from the pack and finished Mile 1 at 5:42.  Just after Mile 1, another dropped back from the pack.  I thought, good, someone to stay near me and push me, but unfortunately, I easily went past him.  Mile 2 split 5:55.

Miles 3 & 4: Most of this 2-mile section was right along the ocean.  I've run it in the wind, in the rain, with seaweed covering the road, and with salt water spraying on me, but today was just perfect:  again, calm and sunny.  On the downside, I'm running as an island with no one to push me.  At this point, I can only see the next runner (Brightman) on long straightaways.  Similarly, the next runner is quite a ways behind me (I don't look back, but rather when I pass the few spectators clapping, I try to judge based on how long after I pass before they clap or say something again).  I know there is where I become complacent, and I try mentally to keep the pace up.  Miles 3 & 4 splits:  5:56 / 6:01.

Miles 5 & 6:   For the final two miles, we move away from the shore and head inland back to Rogers High School.  There are plenty of walkers on the course at this point, as they walk a 3.3 mile course the overlaps the last two miles of the 10K running course.  Many are supporting and cheering.  The final mile is net uphill.  Turning the final corner before the 6-mile mark and uphill finish, I pass WTAC'er Joe Light leading the walking contingent. Uphill to the school and done.
Finishing up.  Looks like I'm jogging it.

Final results:  36:45.  9th overall out of 251. 1st in age group.  Full results here.

Turns out this was my 2nd fastest 10K ever, 23 seconds off my PR. I don't feel like I had given it everything I had.   Should I have hung with the lead pack a little longer, or would that have hurt me in the end?  TNT took the team title, as they came in 1st, 3rd and 4th overall, but we had a good showing and placement with our WTAC team.  After a cooldown with fellow WTAC runners, most of us headed over to the Brick Alley Pub for lunch.  Fun race, and a fun get-together.