Sunday, January 20, 2019

Weekly Log 14-Jan to 20-Jan-2019: Battles with the Alarm Clock

It's the latter half of January now.  Time to start planning out some 2019 races.  While the schedule will certainly change, here is my first draft:  Tentative 2019 Races

Monday:  0 run, 1/2 swim
Core stretching regimen before work.  Legs still pretty sore after 20 miles on Saturday and 12 more on Sunday.
Easy non-stop 900 yard swim at lunch at Westerly Y.

Tuesday:  12
AM:  After a fitful night where I must have gotten up at least eight times, when the alarm clock went off, I only had this response, as I climbed further under the covers:
Noon:  6 mile progression run, on a usual quiet room from the Y downtown out to White Rock / Springbrook and back via the North End.  Ran from 7:40 down to 5:47 pace for the final mile.  Winded.
PM:  Late afternoon recovery run in the Barn.
Beautiful sunset at the end of my run at
Wequetequock Cove.

Wednesday:  5
My planned morning run was once again thwarted again by me being a wimp.  Dark and 18 degrees when the alarm went off.  How does Jeff Vuono get up religiously to ride at 4:30am, when the guy is retired??!!!

Late afternoon run in Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.  Sign at main entrance (Route 1) advising to enter at your own risk, due to embarrassing federal shutdown.  Deserted out there.

Thursday:  12
Finally got my sorry butt out of bed when the alarm went off and summoned to me, "Get up, Fatty".  Fatty (me) got up.  Drove to the Y at 6am and ran the Boombridge loop out to North Stonington and back through Ashaway.  23 degrees; comfortable.  Once I got out there, it was great.  It got light after a few miles (beautiful red sunrise, in fact), but I'm so glad I started out with a headlamp, as the first mile along Canal Street was a little busy and very dark.

Friday:  4
First visit ever to "Grills East" trailhead at Route 91.  Interesting terrain back there.  Some trails a little hard to follow, but it looks like more to come.  At one point, it looked like I was entering someone's private field, so I turned around, but I'm not sure if I was.  I think I ran all the trails in there, but once they add more, this could be an interesting place.

There was a historic cemetery on "Cemetary [sic] Trail", so of course, I went in to read some of the visible stones.  Some of the interred were born back when this was British soil.  The largest and most prominent stone was quite ornate and featured the words "In the midst of life we are in death".  I found that interesting and attributed it to the fact that he was age 14 when he died, in the midst of his early life, but when I Googled it, found it came from something called "The Common Book of Prayer" (?) and had medieval origins.

Saturday:  18
Local, long run through Weekapaug, Misquamicut, Watch Hill, and Avondale.  Mixed in two 5-mile sections at MP.  Ran them at 6:25 pace, thought it would be relatively easy.  It wasn't.  Isn't MP supposed to be at conversational pace?  Will need to try a few more MP sections and then decide what makes sense based on reality.

Sunday:  10
Woke up in Waterbury, CT (family wedding)
to several inches of snow and freezing rain.
While I love to run in new areas, I would have been
relegated to running icy city streets and dodging plows.
Skipped the run.

On the drive home through inland CT, so many tree branches were snapping
under the weight of ice.  At this awkward juncture, I had to back up the car
and find another way around.
Got home, and by mid-afternoon the freezing rain and rain had stopped, and it was time for a run.  Did a "'Round the Pond" run with Matthew, with trails in Champlin tacked on to get ten.  Very windy; roads completely flooded in Misquamicut.

Weekly mileage:  60 miles run, 0.5 miles swum

Weekly synopsis:  Good week with the mileage I was looking to get.  Had a minor knee annoyance twice this week, but both times it went away after a mile or so.  Hopefully nothing.

Weekly highlight:  Barn sunrise run.  Fun run, beautiful sunset, got to play with dogs at the cove.

Weekly lowlight:  Multiple lazy responses to morning alarm clock calls to get my lazy butt out of bed and get running.  Mind over matter; it really shouldn't be that hard.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2018 in Review; 2019 Goals

Time to start the annual running review.
(Well, I started this December 31, but it took me 2+ weeks to write this, on and off; 
very late compared to Seth, Leslie, Beth, etc.
Finally it's done:  2,192 words, 2 graphs, 30 pics [Yes, I'm a total stats nerd])
Let me just get it out there that 2018 was not my best running year by any stretch.  This was given the initial drought due to a crazy work project having me work 7 days per week and nights, and then a long non-running period over the summer due to a nerve injury and recovery.  I'm conscious of writing a balanced review instead of spewing negative drivel.  Hmm, so in that light, how I would I classify the running year 2018?

  • It was the best of times; it was the worst of times?  No, too cliche, and too dramatic on both extremes.
  • The ends justify the means?  No, only one of the two bookends (end of the year) was good; beginning of the year was mired in non-running due to a major work project consuming my time.
  • Good things come to those who wait?  Yes, this works for me.  Patience is not really a virtue of mine when it comes to running, but finally, as of this writing, my running is back to where I want it.
Yikes!  What caused the precipitous decline?

Drilling into my 2018 running failures

Per the usual order of year-end review writing, let's jump into the 2018 goals and try not to get too depressed.  Goals copy/pasted verbatim from a year ago, with year-end responses in red:

2018 Goals:

  • Mileage:  2,600.  Time to up it again!  Fail.  Not even close.  1,721.
  • Marathon:  Run a spring marathon.  Not signed up for any yet, but a repeat at Newport (April) or Providence (May) are both possibilities.  On the other hand, would prefer not to drag marathon training out until May, and it also increase the risk of heat.  Fail.  Never ran a marathon all year.
  • Run at least one new trail race.  Success.  Sort of.  Ran the Twilight "Trail" Race in June, although with mud the RD wimped out and removed the single-track sections.
  • Run a race that I've never run before (e.g., snowshoe, indoor, mud, etc).  Success.  Ran the BU Mini Meet #3 in December, 3K indoors.
  • Left over from 2016:  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.  Fail.  I do want to do this at some point, and was just asked by the WLT for an update, so I'll put it on yet again for 2019.  Will it be three strikes and you're out, or the third time is the charm?
  • Go on night headlamp group runs.  Pass, unless I focus literally on the single versus plural "runs".  Ran a cool headlamp run with Chris, Jonny, and Jonathan in the snow in late January.
  • Run at least two of the USATF-NE mountain circuit races.  Sure, I'd like to run all 8, but let's start with something more practical.  Fail.  Ran zero.  Signed up for Loon, but was injured.
  • Frequent big chain coffee shops less and independent coffee shops more.  Success.  A trio of us at work walk several times per week to Wakin' Up Waggin'.  I made a lot of visits in 2018 to Dave's Coffee.  I also really enjoy The Bakery in Charlestown and Fresh Grounds in Richmond.  The former pairs well with beach runs in Charlestown, and I think Chris turned me on to the latter on a bike ride a few years back.
  • Go camping at least one night.  I miss it.  Success.  Camped six nights in 2018!  Four nights in Maine, and two in NH.

Pretty poor goal success rate at only 50%, but it is what it is.  Next, on a more upbeat note:

Monthly pictorial highlights of 2018:

January:  running in snowstorms, usually with my friend Tommy, is always a winter highlight for me!
February:  Old Mountain Field 5K - my favorite of the Galoob winter trail series.
With no schedule as of this writing, is this series really going to happen in 2019?

March:  more fun with Tommy in the snow!

April:  Clamdigger!  Chilly, windy race.  Very slow 5K time of 19:22,
which somehow won the race (the faster guys were running the 5-Miler).
On a sad note, this race would be the last time that I would see friend Steve Bousquet.

May:  no races or major running fun this month;
proud to be part of Matthew's signing of National Letter of Intent
to run for University of New Hampshire
June:  Back Road Ramble - fun time with my WTAC comrades
July:  my 16th annual Blessing of the Fleet
Pretty embarrassing time on the clock, but after a long injury,
I was just happy to be out there and finally able to run at all.
(This race was all about Matthew, with his blazing 55:30 finish)
August:  Mt Katahdin, crossing one off the bucket list.
My longest hike ever.  Remote and worth it.
September:  My 16th consecutive run at the
Charlie Stavros Memorial On the Beach Run.
I always have so much fun at this race.
October:  Run for the Pumpkins 8K,
my favorite of the WTAC Fall Trail Series
(probably because of the varied, hilly terrain and 0% asphalt)

November:  it was a wet and wild ride at Li'l Rhody this year,
amidst the wettest fall in my memory.
(Yes, this is the course!)

December:  Christmas 10K in Newport,
where I ran my second fastest ever 10K in 36:38!
I'm feeling that I'm back and ready to tackle 2019!

Other memorable moments:

Of course I continued another year of blood and gore on trail runs.
This carnage was after I cleaned up the wound at home after a nasty
fall at Brrr-lingame trail race, but before going to Urgent Care
to get this thing properly cleaned of sand and debris.
Painful.  I'm such a clod.
Proud to be part of the team that rebuilt the Bradford Preserve bridge
(on the Pumpkins and XC courses) as part of Matthew's senior project

Camping and fires!  (This is in Baxter State Park, Maine)
So happy to return to camping.
It's Brady!!  This pic is while running the trails with him at Bluff Point State Park, CT.
Mark's dog came to visit us for four weeks at Christmas time.  (Mark came as well.)
He really brought so much fun and laughter into our lives each and every day.
I was previously ambivalent about dogs, and now concur with several comments on Strava
and this blog that maybe it would be beneficial to get a similar
canine companion and running friend.
Time will tell ...

Housing woes:

My 2018 woes and worries were not limited to running alone -
May 2018:  Scattered clues that we needed some exterior house remediation included:
small rot sections such as this,  
broken wood clapboards at their joints,

and cracked, split, and warped clapboards.
However, we thought these were small, localized areas that would be minor repair work.  Unfortunately, as the contractors started to "peel back the onion":

June:  After seeing many areas of exterior damage,
the plan and contract that we arrived at was to remove and
replace all of the clapboard and old tar paper,
and replace with new "Typar" and new wood clapboard
However, every time the contractor uncovered
rot or mold on the underlying cheap particle board,
work stopped, and that had to be removed,
and replaced with solid plywood

... unless of course, even the beams behind the particle board
were also rotted and moldy, in which case those
and even the sheetrock (internal wall) that you see here
had to be removed and replaced.
Yeah, pretty disgusting.  We had no idea this was lurking behind
our walls.
Ugh.  Definitely a stressful and very expensive time,
as each finding of rot or mold added days and thousands
of dollars to the project.
In the worst cases (such as the picture above this one with rotted mold-infested
beams), that meant the entire exterior and interior wall had to be completely 
torn down and rebuilt.  (Here we're looking from our family room
directly into the backyard; obviously rain days caused further delays)

Sometimes I'd wonder if we'd ever make progress
and stop the wallet drain, but eventually things
started to be rebuilt and replaced, and with
better craftsmanship and better materials.
(Note original cheap particle board on left, and
new "CDX" plywood replacement on right)

The new Typar weather barrier went up, and is supposed to be much better
at keeping air and water out than the original tar paper that was on the house
from when it was built in the 1990s.
(Not sure if my analogy is right, but I'm thinking cotton running clothes from
the 90s as compared to wicking technical running clothes today)
We found the deck to be partially rotted as well,
but had to draw the line somewhere, so we had
the contractor "patch" it for now and we put it onto
the 2019 replacement project list for a new deck/patio.

Finally, it was great to see "real" progress when all new flashing,
window and door trim, and pine clapboards (pre-primed) were installed.
By the time we got to this stage, my stress levels went down a bit,
as we knew we had at least reached the end of the project delays and cost overruns.

My neighbor came over to tell me he really liked
my new "lawn ornament" and that we might
wake up one morning to find the door open
with him sitting there with nothing but a
newspaper in his hands.  Thanks, Mike.
I told him if there was enough money left over
after this project, we might just spring for indoor plumbing.
The project started in early June, and by late July,
all of the carpentry work had been done and the site was cleaned up.
All that remained was for the painting crew to put on two coats.

And by early September, the painters were done.
African Gray is the new color.
What a relief to have this behind us.

Now onto 2018 stats:

  • Races run:  25 (2017: 22, 2016: 29, 2015:  36)
  • Race breakdown by terrain:  Road - 12, Trail - 11, Beach - 1, Tri - 0, Indoor Track - 1
  • Age group wins:  14
  • Miles run:  1,721 - lowest since I started tracking in 2012
  • Elevation run:  121,509' 
  • Most elevation gain in a single run:  1,647' (yeah, pretty pathetic.  This was on a run in Yawgoog)
  • Hours run:  246 (2017:  360)
  • Days run:  240 (2017:  315)  Yeah, that's pretty bad.
  • Lowest mileage week:  0 (injured in early July)
  • Highest mileage week:  77 (final week of December, finished the year strong)
  • Highest mileage day:  18 (long run in late December)
  • Highest mileage run:  18 (ditto)
  • Longest running streak:  21 days (again, late December)
  • Longest non-running streak: 12 days (long forced break in early July due to injury; many walks)
  • Number of tickborne diseases:  0 (only possible benefit from my July injury, as I had 1 in 2017, and 3 in 2016)
  • Number of segment CRs:  7 (only four retained by year-end)
  • Number of states run in:  8:  RI, CT, MA, NH, ME, NJ, VA, NC (down from 15 previous year; this was the first time in 4 years that I didn't run in all New England states)
  • Number of countries run in:  1 (Guess which one?)
  • Run furthest from home:  Greensboro, NC

And, finally, some 2019 goals:

  • Mileage:  2,600.  Same goal that I failed miserably in 2018.  Let's hope I keep injury at bay.  
  • Marathon:  Run a spring marathon.  Again, a failed leftover from 2018.  
  • Run at least one new trail race.  
  • Left over from 2016 and 2017:  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 and Woody Hill.
  • Become a mountain goat, by running at least six of the eight USATF-NE mountain circuit races.  Definitely a stretch goal and super aggressive, especially as last year I failed to run any, but again this is contingent on staying injury free, which I couldn't do in 2018.  
  • Run in every New England state.
  • More dog runs (besides those I already ran with Brady in early January).
  • Run a warm-up, cool-down, or other non-race run with someone I've never run with before.
  • PR in any distance I've already run.  Now, what makes me think I can possibly PR in my advanced age, especially given I haven't had a PR since 2015?  The fact that in 2018, I ran just 16 seconds off my 10K PR.  I would say my 4M, 5M, and 10K are all possibilities, albeit a bit remote.  This is why we have goals; to give something to shoot for!
And that's a wrap!  Looking forward to a much more successful year in 2019, and continued fun with running friends and frenemies alike.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weekly Mileage Log: 7-Jan to 13-Jan-2019

Monday:  8
'Round the pond midday run with Matthew.  Pretty fast for me at average 6:35 pace.

Tuesday:  8
7am hill workout with Matthew.  Glad I did this, but pretty sure I would not have had the mental persistence to get out there on my own.

  • 5 x Narragansett Hills - I thought Matthew was going to lap me on this
  • 5 x 200 on track - 39, 40, 40, 40, 36

Wednesday:  9
Dedham and Boston, MA.  Blue Heron Trail CCW, including Millenium Park, Boston.

  • First encounter:  a dour human.
  • Second encounter:  two white-tail deer.  They moved off the wooded trail (barely) and just stood on the side of the trail looking at me.  Pretty sure I heard one say to the other, "I remember that trail runner guy.  He used to be much faster and thinner."

Thursday:  9
Started in Bradford at 7am, and ran hills with Matthew.  I was struggling on the long climb on Buckeye Brook Road.  Had some fast miles after that, with the final mile at about 6-flat, albeit downhill.

Friday:  8
Woody Hill late afternoon with Matthew.  Absolutely nobody out on the trails.  It got really fun when it got pitch black and we deep in the woods on single-track.

Saturday:  20!
Tough getting out there.  23 degrees.  Took me a good three miles for my hands and bare legs to warm up.  Ran from home through Misquamicut and Weekapaug before heading out to Dave's Coffee in Charlestown at mile 8, where I met up with Matthew to run the final 12.

Headed north up 216, where Matthew summarily dropped me, or so it would appear.  We were running low 7s on rolling hills, and I was feeling it and questioning whether I would be able to finish 20.  Felt slightly better on the downhill sections of Klondike and down to the beach.

At an environmental break at the beach at Mile 16, it was really tough for me to get going again, and I knew the final four miles would just be holding on to finish.  The last three miles Matthew picked it up a bit and ran in the 6:40s and then 6:30s.  Great, just what I need.  I did my best to not drop completely off this train, and finished in 6:40s.  This run was tougher than I imagined, but I finished the 20 miles.  Longest run in 15 months.

  • First encounter:  A black SUV slowed beside us on 216, and the driver rolled down the window and yelled out "Walkers, pick up the pace!".  (My brother Greg)
  • Second encounter:  Off East Beach Road, a friendly puppy coming towards us was carrying a stick that was bigger than him (or her).
  • Third encounter:  Off West Beach Road, an elderly woman seeing us coming had stopped and pulled Jagger (a yellow lab puppy) close to her.  He was well heeled and sitting until I went up to them and said to Jagger, "Want to come for a run?", and then he started jumping excitedly.

Sunday:  12
Matthew and I met up with Chris at DuVal for a slightly longer than planned 10-miler.  Mostly trails, some roads.  Warm on the trails; cold on the roads.  18 degrees; this is about my low threshold for wearing shorts, but oddly I was warmer than yesterday when the temp was higher.  I attribute this to the relative warmth and absence of wind in the woods.  Good discussion on Nathaniel Philbrick books, AC/DC, Strava segments, and injury recovery.

Weekly mileage:  75

Weekly synopsis:  Struggled a bit with getting back into the boring and time-sucking routine of a five-day workweek, yet proved that I can still get in the mileage.  Let's see if I continue that pattern next week, when it will be harder with the double whammy of temps in the teens and nobody to run with mid-week as Matthew returns to the Granite State.

Weekly highlight:  While I wasn't feeling it during the run, it would have to be the 20-miler on Saturday.  My legs are still feeling it as I write this log 24 hours in arrears, but am thrilled to have completed this.

Weekly lowlight:  Only the reality of going back to my first 5-day workweek since Thanksgiving.  Otherwise, running healthy and injury free.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Weekly Mileage Log: 31-Dec-2018 to 6-Jan-2019: Musings from the Road, and a Farewell

Monday:  11
Vin Gormley loop, plus Burlingame Trail and up to Kettle Pond ocean lookout tower, with Matthew.  While trails aren't quite as wet as the day of Rhody, the back half was still quite wet.

Tuesday:  9
New Year's Day.  From Canonchet Brook Preserve - North Road trail head, ran Canonchet trails up to Stubtown, the first part of Narragansett trail, and a few roads, with Matthew.  Much of the trails were just soaked from the unusual amount of rain we've had in the fall and winter to date.
In the afternoon, we took Brady for a walk at Grills Preserve.
Brady got lots of attention at home,
including from Matthew and spoiled with a new bed and toys
we bought him.

Wednesday:  6
Back to work.  Ugh.  Solo North End pensive run at lunch.

Thursday:  7
Final run with Brady in RI for a while.  Matthew brought him and met up with me on my lunch break, running CCW from Fallon Trail through Wahaneeta and Woody Trails.   Really fun to watch him bound over fallen logs, blast through stream crossings, and scramble rock faces, all seemingly effortless.

Friday:  0
Long, long drive from Westerly to Myrtle Beach.  Left the house at 4:20am and arrived Myrtle Beach about 9pm.  In between were numerous stops for coffee, meals, bathroom breaks, and dog exercise breaks.  It’s amazing how well Brady travels; certainly much better than me.  We open the back door of the Volvo wagon, he jumps in, lays down on his blanket and makes no noise or fuss.

I drove most of the way, until it started to get dark.  Mark finished the drive to Myrtle Beach.  He started to put on music and I’m reminding myself that everyone’s tastes in music are different and to indulge his hip-hop without complaint.  When what do my wondering ears do hear is none other than the Stones, I am befuddled.  He said, “Dad, I’m going to play some classic rock for you; is that OK?”  Um, yeah, if you insist.  He said the Stones are his favorite rock band, and that’s what most of the music is, but is sprinkled with Def Leppard, Foreigner, and even AC/DC.  I think I’m just tired and this all just a dream.  Weird.

Saturday:  6
Myrtle Beach, SC.  I would be on a tight schedule to get to the Charleston, SC airport for flying home, so I had set my alarm for 6:15am the night before and reviewed the Strava segment that I was planning to gun for.  No dice; I got up in the morning fine, but the black dog was up and waiting for me.  Well, maybe I'll take him and run the segment with him.  It's only a 1.5 mile segment.  Ran the two blocks from the hotel to the beach, and took him off the leash on the beach.  Once I did, he was having fun sprinting up and down the beach, chasing sea foam blowing in the wind, and just enjoying himself.  This would be my last few hours with Brady for months, so I nixed the segment plans and just had fun with him on the beach.
Brady:  a happy dog at the beach
Very well behaved.

Part frolic with Brady, part run, as the sun rose over the ocean.  Warm 51 degrees, so I was just in shorts and short sleeve shirt, but seeing others on the beach, they looked like they were dressed for a cold winter day.  Is 51 degrees cold for SC in January?  After a shower and breakfast, came back to the beach with Mark and Brady for a short playtime, then it was off to the airport with a hug from Brady and sad sendoff as I got on a plane back to RI.  Oh yeah, I'll miss that Mark guy too.
I did have dogs in my childhood, but it's been a while.
(Left to right above:  me, my Dad, my Mom, and our dog Zenta)

I don't know if Brady is smiling as much as I am in this photo,
but I am really missing him now.  I never imagined that.

Musings from the road:

  • Tolls in NY and NJ are ridiculously expensive relative to other states.
  • Rest areas in NJ are dirty and lack decent and healthy food choices (Roy Rogers greasy food at nearly every stop), whereas the rest areas in MD were very clean and had a wide variety of food choices.
  • Pet exercise areas are a nice touch at many rest areas, especially VA and NC.
  • I had no idea so many hotels are pet-friendly, but you have to watch their pet cleaning fees, ranging from $0 to $175 per night.
  • I am much more awake and alert on the road at 5am than I am at 3pm.
  • Our first president should have been honored with a more regal bridge than the one bearing his name crossing from NY to NJ.  That is a really unappealing area.
  • Charleston (SC) airport has to be one of the cleanest and most efficient airports that I've ever traveled through.
  • The Volvo wagon I gave to Mark is still on the road and in good shape at 202,000 miles.  While it wasn't his first choice, it was free, and seems very suitable to transporting a dog, crate, and various supplies.  Hope it lasts him a while.
  • Westerly to Myrtle Beach is a damn long drive, and I "only" drove as far as NC.  It would have been much harder alone, and I can't imagine Mark driving solo (even with Brady) straight through from FL.

Sunday:  12
Arcadia Management Area, with Matthew.  I'm always reticent to run in Arcadia without folks that know the area better than me (that would be most anyone who goes to Arcadia on a semi-regular basis).   However, recent runs there, mostly with Jonathan Short leading the way, have boosted my confidence and this run went really well.  Started on eastern end of Mt Tom trail, ran the length of Mt Tom Trail, followed by Escoheag, Breakhart, and JB Hudson trails.  Mt Tom north of 165 was absolutely flooded and not too much fun, but all the rest worked out great.

Weekly mileage:  51

Weekly synopsis:  It's odd that 51 is a "down week" for me, but it is.  So happy to be running injury free.

Weekly highlight:  I really had a lot of fun runs this past week, so it's hard to pick a single one.  I would say the Woody Hill trail run with Matthew and Brady, only because I loved the terrain and the trails weren't flooded like so many other recent runs.  The way Matthew and Brady were bounding about suggests it wasn't a bad run for them either.

Weekly lowlight:  That's easy:  the departure of Brady.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Weekly Log 24-Dec to 30-Dec-2018: Ending the Year on a High Mileage Note

Monday:  6
Christmas Eve run with Brady in Burlingame.  There was a light coating of snow, but really more run mud than snow on this run.  Put an orange vest on him as we were going in hunting areas; he hated it and pulled at it.  On Sammy C's, he would stop at the bottom of rocks, until I went past him and up the rocks and he finally figured out to just go up and over the rocks each time.

On a rock bridge crossing a swollen river, he fell off right into the river waist deep!  It was my turn next on a low-lying puddle that he impressively leaped over, while I tried to cross on a snow-covered log and went into the drink.  Ankle-deep, no big deal, but my feet were now soaked and it's 32 degrees.
He did not like the orange I put on him.

Tuesday:  7
Christmas Day
Christmas tree 2018:
A 8' concolor fir
Christmas tree 2017:
the majesty of a 16' tree required a lot
of back-breaking work behind the scenes
Christmas Day run with Matthew and Brady.  Road/trail/field mixer, including trails in Champlin, and fields in Winnapaug Farm Preserve.  Brady would take off like a bat out of hell for the first mile or two, but was tiring towards the end.  He did a lot of sprints to get ahead of us on the trail, then wait for the slowpokes (especially me) to catch up to him, and then repeat, so I guess no surprise that he finally tired out.  We'll have to work out some pace training for him.
Christmas loot is much about the running for me:
new pair of road shoes, trail shoes, running shorts, and gloves
Brady's first Christmas, so glad he came up to RI
At my Mom's house later Christmas Day.
Christmas to me is not about the gifts and money spent,
but rather the festivities and decorations and lights of the season and getting together with family and friends.
(l-r:  my sister-in-law Tina, my two nieces, my Mom [seated upright in black],
my sister-in-law Caroline [on carpet], my brother Kurt, Matthew, Mark)

Wednesday:  12
Boxing day in Newport and Middletown with Matthew.  After a mile warm-up from Newport County Y to Easton's Beach, ran the Cliff Walk as a tempo.  Was running about 6:40 pace until the terrain turned to rocks, jagged rocks, ice patches, and soft sand.  22 degrees, but bright sunshine warmed me about 1.5 miles in.  Inside the first tunnel, my eyes had trouble adjusting, and then I completely missed the hard right turn for the 2nd tunnel and had to backtrack.  This was actually the first time that I traversed the entire length of the Cliff Walk (3.4 miles).

After the Cliff Walk tempo, we ran easy on Bellevue Ave past the mansions, and then out on the Pie Run course.  After a temporary break at Purgatory Cliffs, we ran repeats on the Paradise Road Pie Run hill, before finishing back at the Y, shower and change, and coffee and a scone at Custom House.  Legs a little sore.

Thursday:  13
AM:  8 miles with Matthew, Sam, and Tom at Ninigret Park.  Mix of roads and easy trails.
PM:  5 miles with Matthew and Brady at Bradford Preserve.  Ran the Pumpkins 8K trails, with me lagging behind them pretty much the whole way.

Friday:  18
Solo run from Richmond (Arcadia Y) into Exeter and Hopkinton on very quiet, very rural roads, including at least five miles on dirt roads.  1,500+ elevation gain on rolling terrain.  Cold, soaking rain the whole way.  As it was 42 degrees at start, I wore just shorts and a long sleeve shirt (no outerwear, hat, or gloves).  I was debating on the gloves, as my hands never really warmed up until I got into the hot shower back at the Arcadia Y, but also didn't want to wear soaked gloves.

It was hard to even get out the door, and I was making up all sorts of abbreviated courses even from the start.  After a while I got into a groove and was committed to finishing the eighteen I had planned.  On Blitzkrieg Trail deep in the woods, there were actually a few slick spots with fresh snow that must have fallen overnight there, but the rest of the terrain was just wet.  Shoes, socks, everything soaked to the skin.  No other fools outside during my run.  Glad to have gotten this in.

Saturday:  6
Arcadia recovery run with Jonathan Short.  Brady joined us and was very well behaved, save for stopping in the middle of the trail.  Parked at Midway parking lot; ran up Mt Tom.

Sunday:  15
Road / trail mix with Matthew.  From Meadowbrook Pond in Richmond, through Carter Preserve out to Route 112 in Charlestown, through Shannock, Shannock Hill to Pine Hill, and then back North-South Trail.  I figured four miles on trails, but it ended up being eight!

About halfway through the run, my legs were getting really tired and I knew I was holding Matthew back, but glad to have gotten this in.

Weekly mileage:  77!

Weekly synopsis:  My highest weekly mileage since September 2014!  Back then, I was between jobs, had a month off, and ran 102 miles in one week. Somewhat similar conditions in that I had the past week off from work, affording me more mileage opportunities.

Weekly highlight:  The 18 mile solo run.  I can't say it was really enjoyable in the cold rain, but it was the satisfaction of getting it done and a successful return to long runs.  Looking back to this summer when I was unable to run at all, I feel I've come along way and am pretty happy about that.

Weekly lowlight:  It's hard to have a lowlight when I got in 77 miles and ran all 7 days.  Nope, it was just a great week!