Monday, December 31, 2012

Weekly Log 31-Dec-2012 to 6-Jan-2013

Monday:  6
Final run of the old year.  Ran some hills through Chin Hill and No Bottom Pond neighborhoods, then finished up for a short distance on Misquamicut Beach.
Showered and then right off to a family New Year's Eve dinner and drinks at Margaritas, where we had a nice surprise of running into Jonny and his wife and family.

Tuesday:  5
First run of the new year.  Short easy paced run on roads and Misquamicut Beach.

Played around in Javascript and was pleased that I was able to write some code to display a moving slideshow on our WTAC webpage.  That and a trail race in 5 days partially compensated for my double depression today of taking down the Christmas tree and my longest vacation in years (12 days) coming to an end today.  L

Wednesday:  6
Snow covered trails in Wahaneeta Preserve and Woody Hill.  Coldest day of the season thus far.  Got out of the car at 17 degrees; was tempted to get right back in.  After a mile or so, I was warmed up pretty good.  Had the Yak-Trax on and ran 100% on snow covered trails.  Slower going for sure, but lots of fun.  There were other human tracks for a while, but once I got out towards the dam at Woody Hill Marsh, the only other tracks I saw were deer.  It was really neat to be out in the snow covered wilderness - still amazed every time that this exists right here in Westerly.

Thursday:  0
After 13 consecutive days of running, perhaps a record for me, I'm taking a day off.  Recuperate today, and then two days of running before Resolution 5K on Sunday.

Friday: 7
445 Club - first get-together of the New Year.  Tom and I started from his house at 23 degrees.  Our first mile was the slowest (7:01) and was chilly in shorts but acclimated after that.  Tom picked hills today (Moonlight, Urso, Meadow Ridge).  I could feel everyone of those hills, and from the first hill at mile 3, for the rest of the run, I was panting most of the way.  This was a chilly, but brisk run, and a good way to start these morning runs off for 2013.  [45 minutes; average pace 6:36]

Saturday:  7

Met up with Mike C and showed him some of the trails in Champlin Glacier Park and gave him chance to try out my Yak-Trax.  Most of the trails were packed snow, but there were definitely a few spots that were icy where I was slipping without the Yak-Trax and he had traction with the steel coils from the Yak-Trax, especially on corners and hills.  After hitting a few of the trails in Champlin, including highlights of Charlie's Overlook and frozen kettle ponds, we left Champlin and ran 1/2 mile of road to Rotary Park.  We finished up with running the Mastuxet Brook Trail, another Westerly Land Trust property that essentially is a brookside trail.  At the very end, with the trail snow covered, Mike managed to get a foot into the water, which I'm sure was mighty cold.  I guess I continue my recent legacy of getting a Mike into the drink during each trail run.  Good run; good times.

Sunday:  9
Resolution 5K.  See separate write-up.

Weekly mileage totals:  40

Week in review:
The first week of the year is in the books.  Just slightly below my new target average weekly mileage of about 45, but still a good week.  Will be looking to up the mileage the next two weeks, especially as race-free until three weeks from now.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Weekly Log 24-Dec to 30-Dec-2012

Monday:  6
Twas’ the morning before Christmas when all through the Walker house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,

Not wanting to wake up the family on this fine day,
Didn’t start the car and instead pushed it down the driveway,

At the bottom of the hill, I popped the clutch,
And was off to a running haven I enjoy very much,

To the Westerly Town Forest trails I went seeking a thrill,
But first awaited me a workout on a steep hill,

I jogged down Laurel and Potter Hill at dawn’s first light,
Then pushed it hard up the hill with all my might,

Now finally it was time for my fun romp through the trees,
Clad only in shorts and a shirt in twenty-seven degrees,

Through the forest on single-track I did wind,
Bringing great pleasure to my body and mind,

Finishing my trail run was a great start to my day,
Indeed the run was a great way to start the Christmas holiday,

Once again running has set my mood so right,
I wish a happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.

(With my annual apologies to Clement C. Moore; Merry Christmas readers and friends)

Tuesday:  5
Christmas Day.  My family thinks I'm insane (what else is new?); this time for going out for a run on Christmas Day.  Fortunately they also realize it makes me less irritable.  Went for an easy pace run out to and on Misquamicut Beach.  Passing another run who wished me Merry Christmas vindicated me on my run today, and got me in the spirit for heading to Mom's to celebrate with family, good food and drink.
Santa was good to me:  the new version of NB 890 (lighter and less
heel drop), a blue cycling jersey, an orange Hartford Marathon
cycling jersey, and a lightweight Brooks running jacket

Wednesday:  9
Went to Chariho and ran with three other Chariho alum (Muddy, Jonny, and Glenn), and some guy that's a transplant from western Mass.  Warmed up (literally - it was 26 at the start) with a 2.5 mile run in the woods, then ran 4 sets of (200, 200, 400):  (34, 37, 72), (35, 35, 72), (35, 35, 73), (35, 35, 73).  Started out a little too fast, then hit the splits remarkably consistent.  I would have never run such consistent splits on my own.  (Actually, I would have never made it to the track on my own, but that's a different story.)  Cool-down back on the trails while we tried to plot another run.  By the time we finished, I had stripped off a layer, a hat, and gloves, and was basking in the sun before the storm.
By the way, guess who's got a new blog?!  Tried to comment on his blog, but his settings don't allow me.  Wonder if Mike B is blocking everyone or just me?

Thursday:  14
Met up with Jonny at 6:30AM in the dark and rain for a longish trail run.  It had snowed overnight, but by the time we got started, it was just mud, puddles, overflowing brooks, and rain.  Against this backdrop I couldn't understand why no one else showed up, and I couldn't understand why we didn't see a soul out there walking, running, or cycling.  My best guess is that it's because all of them were at "my" Swamp Trail at Woody Hill, which is popular enough on a clear, dry day, but with ripe muddy conditions such as today, would just be too hard to resist.
We started at Burlingame Picnic Area and ran trails into Kettle Pond Wildlife Area and Kimball Refuge.  After that, we basically ran the Brrr-lingame 15K course, followed by the Li'l Rhody course.  It was a light rain when we started, but got progressively harder during our run.  As is usual for me, I started out trying to avoid puddles, but at some point was soaked to the bone and just went through whatever was in my way, including stepping right through an overflowing river at one point which was quite COLD.  Full disclosure:  I fell once, but managed to recover without any blood loss today. 
I was afraid Jonny might cancel today, but I'm glad he didn't and we were able to get this one in.  I hadn't run the Brrr-lingame 15K in a year, so it was good to run these trails before the upcoming race in February.  In spite of today's weather, a good run and good conversation as always.

Friday:  5
As much as I hate to pass on a group workout with running friends, my legs were telling me to take it easy it today, so I declined on the Ninigret workout.
Instead, took a solo easy paced twilight run through Chin Hill and then the short Mastuxet Brook Trail.  I had enough light on Mastuxet, but after that, jumped into Champlin trails.  It had become completely dark now, and I fell once and stumbled twice, so I exited and finished on roads.

Saturday:  13
A challenging but fun run with Muddy and Mike B.  Ran the RI portion of the Narragansett Trail.  Started at the terminus at Asheville Pond in the dark at about 6:45AM.  The first part was especially technical, and the ice covered boulders you run across slowed us down more.  That section was short.  The steep climbs and descents were with us for a bit longer, and were reminiscent to me of the Narragansett Trail between Groton Sportsman Club and Lake Wyassup.  The views were killer, and I regretted not bringing a cell phone to snap some pics.
Cool rock formation on the trail at Long Pond, Hopkinton, RI
(Photo obviously not taken today with leaves on trees)
Trail goes to left and up to top of this boulder for great views.
Soon after the awesome views at Long Pond, Mike continued his recent proclivity by once again going into the drink on a river crossing. This time it was his left hand/arm instead of the feet, but still must have been cold and there was concern as the new Garmin went in the drink as well - hopefully all is well with the Garmin. Continued through this neat patch of rhododendrons where we learned that their leaves curl up at 32 degrees; the approximate temperature for most of today's run. Made our way up and around Hidden Lake on the Yawgoog Scout Reservation, including a spur with a sign indicating it connected to Dinosaur Caves over the CT line.
Starting in lower right at Ashville Pond, today's run took us NW up yellow trail,
and back on red (mostly roads)

Most of the return trip was on a series of roads, with a final trail up to a washed out dam.  In total, we went past "Seven Sisters" - seven different ponds as you can see on map above:  Ashville, Long, Ell, Hidden, Yawgoog, Wincheck, and Blue.  (Muddy, keep me honest here.)  Great run. [2:01]

Sunday:  5
Winter wonderland!  5" of new snow.  Pictorial essay:

This was the condition on the local
roads early morning - plowed, but
frozen crusty snow and black ice
This called for putting on the Yak-Trax
over the trail shoes (and yes, this was the first time
 this season not wearing shorts!)
... and now into the trails we go.
This is what many of the trails
in Champlin Glacier Park looked
like this morning.
Frozen kettle pond along the trail
View of Winnapaug Pond and Atlantic Ocean
from Charlie's Overlook just after sunrise

The iRunFar 50 Mile Holiday Challenge
Bonus:  I finished my Strava "50 Mile Holiday Run Challenge",
with two days to spare.  But next Mike C, Seth, and some of the guys
have me into a January 2013 "Base Mile Blast" competition!

Weekly total:  57 miles

Week summary:  Had a blast running every single day this week, with much varied terrain and conditions.  Ran at sunrise and sunset, had trail, track, and road runs, on conditions everything from sunny to pouring rain and mud, to making tracks in fresh powder.  Ran a very high mileage week for me, and got to run with many but not all of my running friends.  What can be better?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Weekly Log 17-Dec to 23-Dec-2012

Monday:  0
My usual rest day.

Tuesday:  6
The only upside to getting woken up to work on a business technical issue that lasted from 3AM to 10AM was that I missed all my morning trains, stayed home, and got in some late afternoon trail running before the sun set. 
With shotgun deer season on a respite until December 26, I went out to run trails in Wahaneeta Preserve and Woody Hill Management Area.  Tried two new trails; the first was in Wahaneeta and was awful as too overgrown and had stream crossings too wide for even a gazelle to leap.  The second trail was in Woody Hill and reminded me of the second mile of the Old Mountain 5K 2012 course - swampy, muddy, and ended with cutting through a patch of mountain laurel bushes.  Only downside was where this trail entered Wahaneeta Preserve, I got my lower legs cut up pretty good on a small section going through briars to bypass a downed tree.
Highlight was a brief stop on a rock ledge at Wahaneeta at sunset.  Took in the moment and scenery - not a sight or sound of humans or human evidence.  I love that this is possible even in busy Westerly!  As of late, this place is my solitude and sanctuary!

Wednesday:  11
AM [5]:  Back to Wahaneeta at sunrise.  First order of business was to eliminate the downside from yesterday's run - the downed tree obstructing the trail.  So, the first mile was difficult as I brought along my friend Ryobi for a chainsaw jog.  Not terribly heavy, but it is when you're running and throws your balance off.  Made minced meat out of the tree; now the trail is fit for incorporating into a long run.  Put Ryobi back in the car and continued a short jaunt before getting back for meetings.
PM [6]:  The 445 Club participants (Tom, Mike B, and I) got together for a 5PM "Christmas Light Run".  We could have called it the 5PM Club, but it probably would have confused Mike, so we just went with "Christmas Light Run".  Ran through the Chin Hill, Wicklow Road, and Sea Glen neighborhoods taking in the lights of the season and enjoying a friendly, group run.  Always a good time.

Thursday:  0
My last work day of the year before starting a 12-day vacation!  Taking the day off from running, as tomorrow will start my own version of the "12 Days of Christmas" - running each and every day will be the glorious plan!  Looking forward to spending time over the holidays with my family and running friends.

Friday:  5
Easy pace afternoon run on local roads out to Rock Ridge and back. Rain ended, but still quite blustery.

Saturday:  14

First full day of winter!
Really fun group run with Mike B, Muddy, Jonny, Seth, and Tom.  Ran from Dunn's Corners at 6:30AM, and spent the first half (7 miles) in a big loop in Woody Hill Management Area.  Ran trails past many quarries, remnants of stone foundations from yesteryear, through an obstacle course of a tree that I had intentionally sawed and removed only selected branches from, up and over a rock outcropping, some downhill gazelling single-track, before arriving in Bradford behind a telecommunications shed and out onto roads briefly.  On the return portion of the loop, we took the trails that brought us to and around the pond at Woody Hill Marsh, including over the dam where the water was flowing about the highest I've seen.  Some double and single-track sections brought us back to a gated entrance where Tom had dropped off his car. 
Stone stairs and foundation along the trail
Woody Hill Marsh - along the trail
Said our good-byes to Tom, and the rest of the crew continued on for the second half of the run.  Went through my obstacle tree again, and then started veering west on a trail that brought us to what I call "The Swamp Trail".  Usually, the immensely popular Swamp Trail is teeming with hikers and runners, so I couldn't understand why we didn't see anyone today.  J  I'm not sure I won too many fans on this trail (Mike B said "what trail?" as it's pretty loosely defined), but I know I had fun romping through the mud and swamp on this one.  At this point, it was actually starting to snow lightly!  At the end of The Swamp Trail, we headed south on a more worn trail that brought us to the Westerly Land Trust's newest property and a gem, a 72-acre parcel of land on a former scout camp from the 1930s, now called Wahaneeta Preserve.  On the second stream crossing/jumping, Mike B didn't quite make it across and went into the drink!  He was a trouper and kept going.  I showcased both the man-made features (1930s cabin to be restored, old chimney in the woods, etc) and natural features (rock ledge, more stream crossings that Mike was looking forward to).  The talk was largely on competition (Turtles) and upcoming races (Resolution 5K) as we wound our way through the newly marked trails, some still a work in progress. 
Mike went down on a muddy trail
in Wahaneeta

Few trail runs are complete for me
without earning badges of honor
of blood and gore
Finished our run in Wahaneeta as we left the preserve for 1 mile of windy, car-infested tarmac back to the parking lot as Jonny and Mike led the way.  I think the last mile on roads made us appreciate the calm and solitude of the trails today even more.  We parted ways thinking out possible next get-togethers over the holiday period.  I think I heard a track session, another Christmas Light Run, a pub run, and another long trail run as possibilities.  I hope we do them all!

Sunday:  3
3 quick miles on an afternoon loop to and through Champlin was all I ended up fitting in today.  Surprised and happy to see Carol Ann and her kids and Denise (from Groton Fun Runs) and her kids running the trails here in Westerly.  Tried to talk them into running Resolution 5K, but had to be on my way for a busy family afternoon:
Took the family to Wahaneeta Preserve for a 2-3 mile hike and cabin showing, before turning in the keys back to the WLT.
Followed up the hike with watching "The Hobbit".  Started slowly for a while, but then kept me riveted for the rest of the movie.

Weekly mileage total:  39

Started my holiday vacation, which is now going by much too quickly.  Had fun on group Christmas Light Run and then Woody Hill/Wahaneeta Run.  Looking forward to a few more group runs over the holiday period.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Old Mountain 5K Trail Race


Old Mountain 5K Trail Race.
Sunday, December 16, 2013

7th overall.  1st in age group.  19:53.  Full results here.

The second annual "4th Season" Trail Race series kicked off with 135 runners.  Temps about 40, and threatened rain held off until awards ceremony, making the race itself fine running weather, especially compared to the brutal cold we had at last year's race.  Arrived about 8AM and helped Mike G with course marking and then joined together with Jonny and his kids to finish up marking.  Jonny, Muddy, Mike B, and I then ran almost the full course as a warm-up to get the lay of the land.

... and we're off!
With a start and end on grass fields, the siren went off.  I ran a pretty fast pace to get into the woods quickly, and entered 2 places behind Jonny.  After the root section and bridge crossing the river, this was the only place all course that I passed a runner, and almost tripped on rocks doing so.  I didn't think I could keep the pace, but managed to keep Jonny and the guy behind him pretty close in front of me for the next two miles, including slipping through the muddy spots.  I actually did fairly well on the rocks, just taking one or two carefully chosen steps and running right through it.

Still 1/2 mile to go; not much left in the tank.
After the swamp and new single-track, we headed back towards Old Mountain Field.  The trail was clean, but after a couple of uphills I was starting to feel spent.  At the top of one such, I knew Muddy was now behind me as I recognized his groan at the top of the hill.  I was wondering if I should pull over and let him pass, but I felt at that point I was keeping right behind the guys in front of me.  Past the mile 2 marker at the top of the next hill and neat cliff/look-out on your left, and then the stone stairs going down.  Placed one foot about 3 stairs down, and then just jumped the rest of the flight of stairs.  Landed off the trail, but ran through some brush and got back on.  By the time we had wound around (and around and around) and started to climb again, I was starting to drop back now and I heard Muddy utter "Jeff", followed by something I couldn't understand because I'm pretty sure he was speaking Serbo-Croatian to me.  I yelled "GO!", and he went past.  Past the balanced rock, and now all the twisty-turny-curvy-damn-you-Galoob turns.  Uh-oh, on the switchbacks I see a guy in blue right on my tail.  One more uphill and switchback, and now downhill to the field and final sprint on grass around the ball field.  I picked up the pace downhill, took a final peek back at the ball field, and saw I had opened up distance on the blue shirt guy. 

Finished just under 20 minutes!!  Jonny led the way for WTAC in 5th place, followed by Justin in 6th, and me in 7th.  Tried to catch my breath as I watched Seth and Mike B finish, followed by my two boys, and then Carol Ann, John, Mike C., etc.  Short cool down while picking up flags, and then awards.  The older David Principe had taken1st place in our age group at the sweltering Run 4 Kerri this summer, so I was especially happy to regain 1st place age group this time.  For my prize, I actually took the same New Balance backpack that Mike G won as his age group prize at Run 4 Kerri, and with the same selflessness as Mike, I gave it to son Matthew, who had been coveting the backpack ever I since I picked up for Mike that summer day and it sat all summer in our dining room until I gave it to Mike when I saw him in the fall.  What goes around comes around!  Matthew was very happy, and I was just happy overall with my performance and the team's.


My 38th and final race of the year is in the bag.  Looking forward to 2013 races, especially with my WTAC teammates, with the kickoff at Resolution 5K on January 6.  GO WTAC!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Weekly Log 10-Dec to 16-Dec-2012

Monday:  0
Needed rest day after Christmas 10K race.

Tuesday:  6
Nightime run through Chin Hill and No Bottom Pond neighborhoods, before circling through Misquamicut and home.  Easy 7:39 pace.

Wednesday:  8
Had intended to meet up with Mike G and Jonny for a morning trackwork session, but due to time constraints, didn't make it over to South Kingstown.  To recompense, I added Tom's ladder drill with 1/2 recovery to my run out to Watch Hill and back:

Except for the 5th and 6th short runs, none of the paces were as fast as I would have liked, although note that the first two sets were on roads, the third combination of trail/beach, and remaining on the beach.  So not exactly a fair comparison, but you can also deduce that by the 4th set I was pretty worn down with a 10:37 pace recovery.
Beautiful run back on the beach to Misquamicut; the last time I ran the beach from WH was two days after Sandy with a much different terrain.

Afternoon performed minor requested clearing in Champlin and then went up to Woody Hill to clear out a couple of obstructions on trails.  Even with the chainsaw running, I could hear two loud gunshots that seemed closer to me than they probably were.  You know what, 4:30PM, getting dark, shotgun deer season, I think I'll call it a day and come back in brighter daylight.

Thursday:  0
Between leaving for work at 4:30AM today and WTAC party tonight, even a 345 Club wouldn't have been early enough for a run.  Hoping to get in a good run or two tomorrow (Friday), and then easy run on Saturday before Sunday's Old Mountain trail race.

Friday:  6
A much anticipated return of the 445 Club!  Mike B, Tom, and I ran in the dark from Tom's house ran through the Weekapaug area including along the ocean on Spray Rock Road and past the new Weekapaug Inn.  Glad to have Tom back running!  While the pace wasn't quite our usual exuberant pace, it was still an honest 6:52 average.

Saturday:  3
1/2 mile on indoor track (BORING!), followed by easy miles with Matthew and his friend winding through fish packing plants in New Bedford.

Sunday:  8
Old Mountain 5K.  See separate write-up forthcoming shortly.
Weekly mileage total:  31 miles

Week in review
Another light mileage week.  The races are now over the year for me, but I'm looking forward to a lot of running over the holiday period, including hopefully a number of group runs and hopefully rescheduling Woody Hill/Wahaneeta. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas 10K

Sunday, December 9, 2012
Didn't prepare well for this race well at all.  For a guy normally in bed by 9 especially the night before a race, I was indulging in food and drink late into the night before and had to be up and out by 5AM to bring Mom and friend up to the airport.  Eating four desserts at the end of the neighborhood Christmas party was the epitome of unnecessary gluttony.  Really, Pig, a cookie or brownie couldn't have cut it?  After five hours of fitful tossing and turning and quaffing much water, I was up and out for the day.  When my carpool mate Mike C texted me about 7:30AM that he wouldn't be making it, I was really tempted to bag it myself and go to bed.
That's the backdrop, now's here's my report of my surprisingly decent race:
Tale of two races:
The first half:  After a neat trail and rock warm-up with fellow WTAC'ers Muddy, Jonny, Seth, and newest member Mike G, sauntered to the starting line.  Someone recognized me as Li'l Rhody RD, as we chatted for a while, as I tried to talk her into trail shoes and running the 4th season winter trail series
The gun went off, and I ran the through the first mile in a rapid 5:43 together with Jonny and Muddy, with a nice downhill helping me to catch them.  At about one mile, Muddy pulled ahead and I thought I wouldn't see him again until the finish.  At about this point, I went slightly ahead of Jonny and felt really good running along the water.  Just after mile 2 I found myself about 20 yards beyond Muddy, and was following right behind him up onto and off sidewalks for maximum tangent optimization on the curves up to Brenton Point.  Felt good right through miles 2 and 3, which I both hit in sub-6 pace.
The second half:  Now here's where the wheels came off the wagon.  Turned into the wind - not terrible, but enough to feel the effort, and the start of some small uphill sections.  Neither the wind nor the hills should have been much of an obstacle, but the two of them plus a now upset stomach were all wearing on me.  Jonny passed me about mile 3.5 and was looking really strong.  Even on the downhill coming into mile 4 I couldn't catch him.  As he passed me, he gestured to a turtle in front on us and said something about going after him next.  Jonny caught up to him in short order; it took me well after mile 5 before I caught and passed him.  The turtle hung with me for the next mile - really frustrating but kept me working.  Right at the mile 6 marker when I have nothing left, he passed me at the start of final hill climb, only about a 50' hill, but again there's nothing in the tank.  I hung with him on the hill, and then at the top just before the driveway into Rogers HS and the finish, I overtook him for what I hoped to be it.  Despite a 5:37 pace on last 0.2 section, it wasn't the case, as he repassed me in the driveway itself, stood hunched over in the finishing chute 1 second ahead of me.  I felt the impending upcoming vomit, and quickly exited the finishing chute and found a private spot for some "alone time".

Afterwards, caught up with the gang for a cool-down but when Mike G and Jonny wanted to then run to the waterfront, my stomach wanted nothing to do with any more running despite the pedestrian pace and I then headed back with Seth, who had an awesome run himself with a 38:13.  Muddy and Jonny had finished up the race about 1/2 minute ahead of me, both with excellent runs and PRs.  Hung out inside the HS chowing and talking it up with the team before heading back to Westerly.  Felt like crap all afternoon and evening, as my stomach was queasy, but glad I had made it out with the team.

Final results:
36:22 / 5:52 pace
15th overall out of 459 (full results here)
  • Not a smartly run race.  Besides the poor form shown in my race preparations in the 16 hours leading up to the race, I ran a progressively slower race.  Every mile split was slower than the previous:  5:43, 5:48, 5:50, 6:02, 6:02, 6:03.
  • Losing to a turtle in an end-of-race duel.  It was fun(?) to have the duel, and I gave it all I had, but humbling to lose it by a whisker in the end.
  • First and foremost, running with my WTAC teammates.  While we missed winning the team competition, still spent the better part of two hours with the team between warm-ups, racing, cool-down, hanging around eating, and awards ceremony.
  • Huge PR!  I took 2 minutes and 7 seconds off my PR from last year's race, which was in turn 2 1/2 minutes off my prior 10K PR.  No, that kind of improvement is clearly not sustainable!
  • Placing second in my age group (or third, depending on whether you count the winner not able to double-dip), good for $20 gift certificate to Camire's.  Clear improvement from last year's 7th place divisional finish.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weekly Log 3-Dec to 9-Dec-2012

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  3+ miles
Balmy 56 degree evening run was all I could fit in.  Easy 5K route through Misquamicut at 7:30 pace.  Couldn't get into a groove; see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday:  3 miles
In the careful what you ask for department, got a request from WLT to clear a few more downed branches in Champlin.  Actually, I was happy to go back into the woods to help clear.  Maybe Mike C and I and our twin lime chain green saws will both be maintaining running trails?
Late afternoon got a package with new trail shoes and I had to try them out.  Off to Champlin for a quick jaunt at 5PM.  Run on trails in the dark with no lights?  Am I crazy?  (It's a rhetorical question.)  Ran on the trail I knew best and felt like I knew every curve and jump coming, so I did OK.

NB610:  Shoe colors are getting wierd - I should've gotten these for Halloween.
Tried on the 1010s last week, and while I liked them, the warning sign on the shoes told me to hold off
for now, something to the effect if you're not running in minimalist now, run in these for no more
than 10% of your total weekly mileage to start.  After my shin splints early this year, I think I'll
keep easing my shoes progressively lighter.
Thursday:  8+
Misquamicut/Weekapaug loop at 27 degrees.  Ran 20 minute warm-up on Shore Road, then threw down a mile at 5:44.  It was slower than I was looking for, and it hurt as I was panting like a dinosaur at the end of the mile sucking in air.  Do you think it might have anything to do with running a grand total of 6 miles in the previous 4 days?  Or maybe no focused speedwork sessions in past few weeks?  Doesn't bode well for Sunday.  Was planning to run either 2 or 3 x 1-mile, but threw in the towel with my disappointing mile.
Ran/hopped the rocks out to the end of the breachway, and then ran the full beach back to Misquamicut.  By now the sun was up high enough and its rays felt good.

Followed up with a guided walking tour of the Wahaneeta Preserve, put on by the WLT which I'm a newly minted member of.  There were 20 participants; it was really really informative to learn about the history of the place, the boundaries, and next priorities in trail clearing.  They were also asking me about some of the running I've done in Wahaneeta and Woody Hill, and I got the chance to give some input on future trails in Wahaneeta.  Sweet.

Friday:  0
The closest I came to running today was redeeming an age group award from North Stonington Education race for a free lunch-for-two at Capt Daniel Packer Inne in Mystic.  Nice!

Saturday:  8
Late morning (7AM) group trail run in the rain with Muddy, Jonny, and Mike B.  Carter Preserve in Charlestown on a fun run led by Jonny.  A much needed cathartic run where we voiced out our collective issues on work, honey-do lists, and solved the world's problems during an hour and seven minute run.  Everyone should go on an occasional group run - it would make the world a better (or at least happier) place.

Sunday: 10
Christmas 10K.  Separate write-up shortly.

Weekly mileage:  32 miles

Week in review:  Much fewer miles than I had hoped for this week.  I need to get back to it this week, including some early morning runs, plus some form of speedwork.  Looking forward to the Old Mountain 5K next weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Weekly Log 26-Nov to 2-Dec-2012

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  0

Wednesday:  5
After double-zeros, shook off my laziness and romped in Champlin on some trail loops.  Overtired from a busy work week; good to get out even for a short run.

Thursday:  4
Nightime beach run.  No, in case you're wondering, or in case Julie is wondering, there were no other idiots on the beach at night, in the dark, on a cold and windy night.  I was the only one.  As with my previous venture on the beach post-Sandy, it wasn't hard running on the beach; the hard part was getting off the beach with all the debris and police tape.

Friday:  7
Wahaneeta Preserve and Woody Hill Management Area.  All trails.  A lot of serious clearing of fallen trees has gone on in Wahaneeta even the main trails of Woody Hill since I last ran here with Tom four weeks back.  They've also extended the trails slightly further in Wahaneeta and looks like they continue to work on them.  Great stuff!

Saturday:  21
AM:  [15]  Nice early morning group run of 5 WTAC'ers:  Jonny, Muddy, Tom, Mike B, and me.  Was hoping to get more trails in via a run in Woody Hill, but being the first day of shotgun deer season, Jonny brought me to my senses and we'll do that hopefully in a few weeks.  Ran from the Y in the 32-degree darkness up to Boombridge crossing into North Stonington, Anthony down to Ashaway, and Laurel Road to Potter Hill Road for a few circles in Whitely Preserve.  I likely Whitely; it's small but fun leaf-covered trails along the river.  We then ran 7 sets of [2 telephone poles @ 10K, 2 rest] which brought us up to the mother of a hill climb up Potter Hill and then all the way up to the Westerly Town Forest.  It's always a fun romp in the Town Forest for me, with plenty of good hill climbs and descents.  Today was no different; I especially enjoyed running hard on the long climb on the orange trail back up to the power lines.  Ran the the trail along National Grid poles back out and then main and side streets back to the Y.  Pushed the final mile, especially with Tom.  Final mile was a 6:06 average.  It's tough to push on tired legs, but it's good practice for race day.  Biggest group for a long run in a while.  Look forward to more of these.  [1:53]

PM:  [6]  Spending 6+ hours at the South County Y, I got out for a break mid-afternoon.  Ran 2.5 miles at Old Mountain Field with Matthew and his friend, and then we were joined by Mike G for another 3.5.  Mike showed us some newly cut neat loops near Old Mountain Field and then some trails he was in the middle of clearing behind the Y and dog park.

Two good runs, but the legs are spent now.  Bonus:  I broke through my full-year goal of 2,000 miles today!  Most miles ever in one year!

Sunday: 0
Spent the day on yardwork, shopping, and our search to find the "Griswold family" size Christmas tree, which the quest appropriately ended in the town of Griswold.  With three boys in the household, my wife has long given up on trying to convince us to go with a much easier and more normal size tree.  Fortunately Mark is strong as an ox to help me fell, drag, and hoist our 16-footer up on top of the car, and we had four of us to stand it up in the house.  It still comes down to being all about the size.

Weekly running mileage:  37 miles

After two weekends off from racing (first time in many months), next weekend I'll be running Christmas 10K with a few of my WTAC teammates.  I'm looking forward to racing on the team and crushing my PR from last year (38:29, 6:12 pace).  Only time will tell if this is trash talking or not.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Weekly Log 19-Nov to 25-Nov-2012

Monday:  7 miles
Li'l Rhody course minus the final road section, with Steve.  I think this was my 7th time on the course in the past two weeks.  If I spend any more time here, I'm going to have to apply for room and board at Jonny's house.
Our WTAC sweeper did a really good job with the flags, signs, and police tape, and there only a handful of items for us to pick up.  Sent an e-mail to DEM and RI NEMBA on trail status; got a nice response back from both and very appreciative of the WTAC.  Was glad Steve got out on the trails to see them and the results of our clean-up effort.
I think my 1st pair of trail shoes are toast.
Do they normally wear out like this?
Tuesday:  0

Wednesday:  7
445 Club with Tom and Mike B.  Mostly flat and quiet roads through Misquamicut and Avondale, but then pushed it on the 100' climb through Chin Hill on the last mile.

Thursday:  8
Turkey Day.  Saw Muddy's truck next door at Champlin Park, and figured I'd see him on the trails for sure.  Ran multiple trails through Champlin, but never saw a glimpse of him.  Then went into Mastuxet to romp on the trails along the river.  Fell into a hole up to my knee; fortunately grabbed a nearby rock and wedged myself out of there before whatever was living below pulled me further down for its Thanksgiving feast.

Friday:  15
I got an e-mail telling me to meet in secret in a cemetery in SK on a day called "Black Friday" at a time just after sunrise.  Knowing that the sender (Jonny) is kind of a sketchy character, I didn't really know what to expect, however, despite my fears of being killed and sacrificed, it was all good running on SK Land Trust Trails with Jonny, Muddy, and Mike G.
Ran first through winding rolling trails in Duval.  This was the largest expanse of trails, and next after a little bit of running on roads, ran on the Browning Trail just off Shannock Road near the Charlestown line.  The final mile back Mike and Jonny were pushing the pace pretty good, but we recovered on the road back before one final fling into the Duval Trail.  Got back to our cars and saw a posted sign for a mountain lion sighting two days earlier!  Can that be true?  [2:00]

Came home from trail running, and crossed a few items off the "honey-do" list, which earned me permission to go back out in the woods to play.  Took my new saw, and with Westerly Land Trust permission, cleared up a few trail obstructions:

Saturday:  9 miles
Ran with Mike B at sunrise from Westerly Y down Mechanic/River in Pawcatuck to end; back Greenhaven/Mary Hall.  Warm at 46 degrees, but quite windy.
Came back home to find a tree that snapped during Sandy had now fallen to the ground in the wind.  In the past, this would have been a pain, but now it was an excuse to get the chainsaw out again and get my clearing crew (sorry, boys, video game time is over) out for some "fun" work.  Wrapped up the afternoon with a family viewing of "Skyfall".

Sunday:  4
Late afternoon 39-degree windy run with Matthew.  Ran through Chin Hill, and then circles on Mastuxet trails and back, peppered with conversation on cutting a new trail in our backyard.  Suddenly our acre of land no longer seemed sufficient; he was wondering if we could buy up the woods of our neighbors or at least secure the right to cut trails on their properties - I like his thinking!

Weekly total:  50 miles

Running recap:  50 miles is huge for me!  Having the 4-day weekend definitely helped me getting more running time in with more running partners, and I'm feeling good.  Mild depression of returning to a 5-day work week on Monday in tempered by the upcoming holiday season, two upcoming WTAC team races, and 12 consecutive days off at the end of next month.  Hoping to get some form of speedwork and a long weekend run in next week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Li'l Rhody 8-Mile Trail Race

Sunday, November 18, 2012

8th overall of 285 finishers.  2nd in age group.  Results here.

The day was finally here.  This is the most preparation I had ever done for helping to organize any race.  Sure, it started one year ago with securing the date with SNERRO, followed by the usual getting registration and web site setup, CoolRunning, Active, media sites, etc., but I mean the real work performed by several WTAC members and myself was the clearing of the trails post-Sandy over the past two weeks.

Got to the race a little before 9 to setup for registration starting at 9:30.  People really helped out and it was like a well-oiled machine this year.  I never had to work registration myself this year, which was good because it freed myself up for answering questions as they came up, addressing the few inevitable issues, directing volunteers especially race course marshals, and coordinating with SNERRO.  Somehow the 2 hours pre-race flew by, I managed a brief warm-up of almost a mile, and it was time for final remarks and to hit the starting line.

Start of race; I'm fighting to stay near the front as indicated with arrow
Mile 1:  [5:46 pace]  I lined up in the second row and the gun went off.  I try hard to push it on Sanctuary Road to get a good position hitting the single track.  Usually I'm behind Jonny Rocket at the start of races, but I found myself running next to him, before he pulled just ahead of me to enter the trails.
Mile 2:  [6:02]  A past run through the campground.  Got passed by Muddy here, and then settled for most of this mile just behind Jonny, who was just behind Muddy.
Mile 3:  [6:51]  Slowed down here due to the terrain getting more technical with rock gardens, covered bridge, and foot bridges.  That was the last I saw of Muddy as he took off, and Jonny opened his gap on me just after Klondike Road, as he passed one guy who I then followed.
Mile 4:  [6:55]  Didn't see Jonny most of the mile through here; ran behind the guy he passed.  Ran well overall, but slowed at the few detours around the really big fallen trees.  Passed the guy on a straight-away with smooth terrain just before the water-stop.

Race course
Mile 5:  [6:52]  On Buckeye Brook Road, I can see Jonny again.  He's several hundred yards ahead of me, but I do what I can on the road to narrow the gap slightly before entering the woods running along the rock ridge.
Mile 6:  [7:10]  Slowest mile of race.  I am tiring on the uphill sections, but somehow at one point I'm within about 20 yards of Jonny once again. 
Mile 7:  [7:02]  At one point there is a switch-back coming up, where I just know Jonny is going to look back my way.  I was actually thinking if I could hide behind a large tree, maybe he wouldn't see me and would then slow down.  No, not only did he see me and widened the gap again, but now I can hear two guys behind me closing in.  Despite the fatigue, this was the mental push I needed to pick it back up again.
Mile 8:  [5:38 pace]  Exited on the roads to see Jonny just about 100 yards ahead of me.  Is it possible for me to catch him, especially with a downhill finish?  No, first comes a gradual uphill climb, which is his forte, and he's probably 400 yards ahead of me starting the descent to the park.  I finish strong in 50:25, staving off the two guys behind me, 3 minutes off my time from last year, and a huge course PR for me by about 1 1/2 minutes.

I caught up with Jonny and Muddy, both of whom I'm also thrilled to see had huge PRs.  After quick chatting, I head back onto the course to find Matthew, who together with his friend and XC teammate Jonny Eckel is running his longest trail race ever.  I think their previous longest trail runs were the middle school cross country meets of about 1.8 miles, and nothing technical.  Holy smokes - Matthew is finishing already!  13 years old, youngest competitor in the race, 8 miles on the trail, placed in his age division which goes up to age 19, and he broke an hour!!  He put a short posting on his blog (link here) which I thought was defunct - if you know him and thought he did well, he might appreciate posting a congratulatory comment for his efforts.  After the race, he and I spent much of the afternoon and evening discussing the race.  Even the family dinner talk was all about minute details of the race.

Final strides; drained of energy but a strong finish
Great, great, race overall.  I counted about a dozen WTAC finishers, many with PRs, including I believe a trail race debut for Mike B.  Indulged myself by buying one of my favorite pies of the season, a pecan pie which I noshed on in the evening - hope I'm not packing on the pounds by the end of the holidays.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weekly Log 12-Nov to 18-Nov-2012

Monday:  0
Needed recovery day.

Tuesday:  4
AM:  Still sore,especially hips and calves; skipped run. 
PM:  Got home from work, and it was dark, 40 degrees and rainy.  Perfect - let's go out running!  Just ran the Tom Harvey/Wicklow/Shore route slowly to get my legs going.

Wednesday:  16
AM (8 miles):  Ran Li'l Rhody course a final time; this time with Mike C.  40 degrees.  Chilly near the start, but once we got into the woods it was fine.  Impressed with how good the course looked after clean-up until we got to one downed tree that we missed about mile 6.  Damn!  What to do now?  Get the saws for another mini-cleanup?  No, a mile in from closest road.  Opted to make a small detour; this one was an easy one.  Glad Mike got to run the whole course pre-race; it's the least he should get after all the work he's put in.
PM (8 miles):  Doubled down with my first "legal" Misquamicut run post-Sandy, as the roads finally opened up this week.  Ran down to Weekapaug, and along the way, ran 12 sets x (2 telephone poles hard, 1 easy).  Jumped onto the beach just west of Weekapaug Bridge - ah, how good it felt to run on my beloved hometown beach again.  Ran the beach 2 miles or so to Windjammer, until I had to exit because it was no longer passable.  Just getting the short distance from the beach to Atlantic Ave was quite a chore, as it was dark now and I was wading through chunks of concrete and debris, and then under police tape (an outlaw once again) onto Atlantic Ave.  Running along Atlantic Ave was just eerie as it was a ghost-town, running in the dark, road still sand-covered in many places, and running along huge piles of sand and debris.  The few cars that passed me just kicked up clouds of sand, which wasn't pleasant.  This wasn't the Atlantic Ave that I know.

Thursday: 0
AM:  Closed, finalized, and submitted Li'l Rhody pre-registrants (166) at 4AM; missed opportunity for a run.  Hopefully in afternoon.
PM:  No dice.  This will be my day off.  Friday it's the 445 Club, followed by an easy 5+ on Saturday.

Friday: 12
AM [7.5 miles]: Well, well, look who's joined the "445 Club":  Mike B.  Just when I thought there were no more lunatic runners in the greater Westerly area, we rustled one more up out of the woods.  After finally getting it through to Mike (he's a Chariho grad) that the start time for "445 Club" is actually 4:45AM, he still followed through and the 3 of us started from Tom's house.
Today's was a good workout route that Tom picked:  hit the hills of Moonlight/Urso, first 5 miles were between 6:26 and 6:43 pace, before going down onto the beach at Fenway, past the new Weekapaug Inn, and then a gradual climb from sea level to 116' to end the run, with a near-sprint at the end.  Average pace 6:45.  Fun stuff!  What else is there to do at 4:45AM?!
PM [4.5 miles]:  Matthew was looking for a running partner to go into Champlin (we don't let him run there alone).  Easy pace; it was neat for him to suggest trails he likes.

Saturday:  5
Newport, RI:  Mid-day run in sunny upper 40-degree weather, with Matthew, and neighbor/friends Jonny and his mom Beth.  Ran from the Newport Y, then on the beach at Easton's Beach, and onto the CliffWalk.  Easy pace, as it's the day before Li'l Rhody.

Sunday:  9
Li'l Rhody 8 Mile Trail Race.  Separate write-up shortly.

Weekly totals:  46 miles

A good mileage week, culminating in one of my favorite local races.
Looking forward now to some down time over Thanksgiving, hopefully a good trail run with running friends on Friday, and a weekend free from racing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Avondale 5K

Setting the Pace for Conservation 5K at the Avondale Farm Preserve
(That's way too much of a mouthful for me, so I'm going with "Avondale 5K")

Sunday, November 11, 2012
17:39; 5:42 pace.  3rd place out of 72; 1st in age group.  Results here.

This is a new race put on by one of my favorite local non-profits, the Westerly Land Trust.  They have so many great trails in Westerly, most of which I've only recently explored over the past year.  Several are within easy running distance from my home, most notably Champlin Glacier Park, so I am very pleased to help support this event and their cause.

I ran the full course as a warm-up with Jonny.  I was still tight from my week of trail clearing activities, but feeling I could work through it.  We also used our GPS watch measurements to help SNERRO set where the starting line should be.  Not a certified course, certainly, but we'd do our best to get it reasonably accurate with tangents to 3.11 miles/5.00 kilometers.

WTAC singlet-clad Tom, Jeff, and Jonny at start
I lined up with Jonny and Tom on the starting line.  The better part of the first mile and the last half-mile is within the preserve, which is neat, except on this date that meant headwind along Grassland Way on the same section that we'd run twice.  I thought Jonny took off unusually fast (even for Jonny!) and he led the pack for the first half-mile until Tom caught up to him.  I hit the 1st mile split (on Watch Hill Rd) in 5:35, but was already starting to huff-and-puff.  By the turnaround on Champlin Road, Tom had opened his gap and it was Tom, Jonny, and I in 1-2-3 with a fair distance separating each of us.  I came through mile 2 in 5:48, but thought if I could pick it up on the 3rd mile I still had a chance at a PR.  I was really working hard that 3rd mile through Avondale and along the water, but never really felt strong, and then had the headwind again re-entering the Avondale Preserve.  My final mile was also 5:48, and my final time 17:39.  I just came through the finish and Tom was trying to introduce me to this parents, but I was too busy panting and wheezing like a dinosaur to say anything coherent to them at the moment.

My recent position the past couple of 5Ks:
Me (background) following Jonny (foreground) in to the finish

Final strides
PR?  Nope, not this time.  Off by one second, as I think Jonny might have been also?  I really have no complaints, though.  The headwind and my soreness may have taken away a few seconds, but I'm really happy to have run a 17:39.  It was great to see such a WTAC turnout.  Congrats to Tom and Kelsey each doubling-down on back-to-back Saturday and Sunday 1st place wins!  I liked the flat course and almost all on quiet streets and within the preserve.  The race could use some better publicity, but overall a good race and great local cause.

Team WTAC; some of us sporting our singlets and age-group awards.
I love the camaraderie and am looking forward to WTAC entering
true team competition races next month.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekly Log 05-Nov to 11-Nov-2012

Monday: 0
Needed rest day
Tuesday:  7 miles
Track workout at Curtis Corner w/ Muddy, Jonny, Mike G (he is alive!), and Ben.  It was a frigid 24 degrees.  Jonny joked that my winter running gear apparently consists entirely of shorts that are 1" longer, a hat, and gloves.
Difficult to run hard in such cold temperatures that I haven't yet acclimated to.
4x200:  37, 36, 36, 30 (the first 3 at "glider" pace, the last one hard)
4x400:  52, 51, 50, 56 (I thought we were done after 3, so I put my effort into that one, and had nothing left for the 4th.  Thanks Galoob!)
2x200:  37, 34
Cool-down on the Spring Forward trails.
Spent the rest of the day clearing Li'l Rhody trails with Mike C and Muddy.  Made a lot of good progress today.  Hard physical work that left me exhausted and starved, but to me a grueling day of tree-clearing beats a good day at the office anyday.
Wednesday: 6
Winter storm run.  The weather got progressively worse throughout the day, and by my next opportunity to get out a run (late afternoon), we were in the middle of a Nor'easter, 34 degrees, 30 mph winds, pouring rain with some snowflakes mixed in.  Out we go ...
Other than a quick jaunt out to the pond via the short trail in Lathrop Wildlife Preserve, I ran entirely on the trails in Champlin Glacier Park.  It was my first time in there since Hurricane Sandy; I ran most of the trails, and the trails were in amazing shape.  Just a few places that could use a saw; I may contact the WLT and see if that's OK.
By the time I finished up, the temperature had dropped to 32 degrees and the mixed precipitation had changed to all snow and was sticking to the ground.  I came in the house soaked to the skin, cold to the bone, spattered in mud, and dripping water and snow, and proceeded to ask each of my family for a hug.  The response:
  • Mark told me I had rabies (apparently I was foaming at the mouth as well?) and to stay away.
  • Jana just gave me a disgusted look, as if questioning (again) why she ever married me.
  • Matthew not only me took me up on the offer of a hug, but then proceeded to come outside to throw a few football passes with me on the lawn, in the soaking wet 32-degree weather, dressed in short pants, short sleeve T-shirt, and for some reason socks but no shoes.  Yeah, I am worried that the boy may have gotten a few too many of my genes!
Thursday:  0
Wimped out on running in the morning for a second run in the winter storm; then no time left rest of the day. 

Friday:  8
Li'l Rhody course recon w/ Mike B for the first few miles and Muddy for the full.  Car breakdown and delay of start turned out to be running out of gas due to a faulty gas gauge - could've been worse.

Saturday:  0
Back onto the Li'l Rhody course with today's clean-up crew (Mike B, Mike C, Lennon from RINEMBA).  Got heckled for wearing identical outfits with Mike B; although Mike C and I also turned up with our new matching green saws.  We sawed through the carnage of trees and limbs and made mince meat out of them; see pics on WTAC web site.  The trail is now clear for the race next Sunday!  Yes, a few detours and jumps over trees, but this thing wasn't passable a week ago.
After another day of heavy clearing, I am SORE!  Legs, hips, back, etc.  No running today; hope I'll be back from Avondale 5K Sunday.

Sunday:  8
Avondale 5K.  Separate write-up shortly.

Weekly mileage totals:  29

Week wrap-up:
Saw this ad in a magazine today, and it just resonated with me after a week where I got called
from work two nights in the middle of the night, and twice Saturday while I'll on Li'l Rhody clean-up.
The unclear text is "Let someone else climb the corporate ladder".  As for me, I'm going running ...
Lowest mileage week in a long time, as I think I spent most of my week living in Burlingame State Park getting course ready for next Sunday. Was good to get back with the original track and trail workout crew early in the week and to finish with a strong local 5K.
On the downside, I am very sore tonight after multiple clean-up efforts.  Mike B suggested taking Aleve, which I did tonight, only mine had an unusual spelling:  TANQUERAY.  I'm sure it's the same painkiller.  No physical activity for me tomorrow; hopefully the soreness passes quickly as I ready for Li'l Rhody next Sunday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tarzan Brown race

37th Annual Tarzan Brown Mystic River Run
November 4, 2012
31:21.  9th out of 641.  3rd in age group.  Results here.

I was waffling on running this one as I've been racing pretty much every weekend, but when I heard so many other WTAC'ers were planning on this (Mike B, Mike C, Steve, Tom, Jeff V, etc), I was in.  Should have pre-registered as it cost me an extra $5 an a shirt.  Live and learn.

I ran this the past two years alongside Matthew, and enjoyed it with him.  The last year that I actually raced this was 2007, when I ran a 33:20.

Went out for a warm-up along the river with Mike C, who was ready to run after being without electricity for 6 days.  Came back and lined up at the start with Tom, with Mike B and Steve a few rows back.  The gun went off and I went out pretty hard.  I went through Mile 1 in 5:46 and was probably about 20th and was feeling good so I kept pickin' em off.  Mile 2 started to get into the rollers, and I came through that slower but still solid at 5:58.

I saw the two lead guys way ahead of much of the pack, and then hit the turn-around in 13th place.  Heard my name a number of times heading back against the throng of runners now and acknowledged a few with a thumbs-up, but was mostly pushing it here, even passed two guys going uphill, which is not my strength.  Came through mile 3 with my slowest pace of 6:04.  Picked it up again for mile 4 at 5:52 and mile 5 at 5:51, where I passed one more guy who was breathing hard and slowing.  Kicked in the final portion at a 5:25 pace, and had nothing left to even talk to Tom at the finish line for another minute or two.

Caught my breath with Tom; he finished 5th overall a minute plus ahead of me.  Watched Jeff V, Mike B, Steve, Mike C and the others come in. 

Went over and introduced myself to Tarzan Brown's grandson as I'm a fan of his grandfather's running feats, and his family was quite friendly and talkative to me.  One family member suggested I go over and talk to Tarzan's wife and shake her hand, as she was sitting in a car with the window down.  I was not prepared for the comment/question I got from her, which was something to the effect that I looked like an "older runner" and did I happen to have run with or known her husband?!  I remembered that Tarzan ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but it wasn't until I got home that I found out he was born in 1914!  I thought I ran pretty well at the race for a 90-plus year old!  Nice woman; it was a pleasure to meet her and her family.

Was thrilled to have finished in the top 10.  It was also the first race longer than a 5K that I had averaged sub-6 pace.  Jogged to Mystic River Park with the Mikes for chowder, cider, and awards.  Congrats to all, and especially to Kelsey who went home with the main trophy for overall female winner.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Weekly Log 29-Oct to 4-Nov-2012

Monday:  6 miles

Light rain, breezy.  Ran a route mostly on quiet Maine country roads, before the last mile on busy Route 1 ahead of a day of some outlet shopping and seafood dining.

Tuesday:  8
Woke up in coastal Maine, actually disappointed I wouldn't be running in the storm as it already passed.  Wanted to get going early to get back to Westerly, besides, today was my day of "outlet shopping" at one of my favorite stores:  NH State Liquor store.
Back in Westerly, I ran Shore Road out to Weekapaug, where I hit a roadblock in the form of a National Guard Humvee blocking the Weekapaug Bridge, supported by two RI State Police cruisers (how many officials does it take to screw in a light bulb?).  Talked to the Guardsman for a while to try to persuade me to pass; he said I had to stay off the roads, so when I asked how about if I cross the bridge and then run on the beach he said, "If I'm looking at the ocean, and I don't see you run by me, then I'm none the wiser."  YES!  Unfortunately, just got past him when the state trooper yelled for me to come over and have a talk.  He explained the road was under 6 feet of sand and even the beach was unpassable.  I tried to tell him it was much longer if I took the roads back home, and he said he sees me running everywhere and had every confidence I'd make it. Darned! 

Wednesday:  12
Early morning run out to Avondale, Watch Hill, Misquamicut, and home.  Surveyed the damage from Hurricane Sandy; see photo essay here:

Hope no one got caught inside
this, or at least none of my
WTAC team mates!

This guy wasn't
letting me through to

This used to be the path
from Watch Hill to
East Beach - now littered
with snowfence and
lifeguard chair strewn
by Sandy

All that's left of snowfence
is the posts
Hundreds of moon
jellies washed up

Never seen an underground
sprinkler system on the beach;
must be one of those
new-fangled kinds

The beach is now separated by
a river!  What to do here?

Even a gazelle can't jump the
river - it's wading time.  Boy,
is that water cold.

Looking down the middle of
Atlantic Ave, Misquamicut.
How many feet of rocks and sand
bury the asphalt road?

Corner of Maplewood and

Looking down Maplewood;
Mile 3 of the Fun Run course looks a
little wet today

More debris on Atlantic Ave

This guy's windows and shingles are blown away
and concrete steps destroyed.

There's clearly nobody supposed to be here, and I don't need to be arrested, so I go back on the beach, re-ford the rivers, and run far enough up to Watch Hill where I can exit to a road.  Ran back Ocean View Highway and hit another National Guard block at Shore Road.  The National Guard asked me how I got here and chewed me out for running without ID, but eventually let me pass on Shore Road through the next checkpoint.  Wierd running down closed Shore Road where the only vehicles are National Grid and Humvees.

Thursday:  0
Rest day.

Friday:  11
Tom and I pushed back our usual 4:45AM start on account of relaxed work days and desire to run trails in the light.  Ran through Woody Hill Management and new Wahaneeta Preserve trails.  Had a really good run, but was dismayed by the sheer amount of damage and trees fallen on the trails.  Especially bad on the double-track sections more wide open; better on the single-track and around the marsh.
Intermittent pace crossing the trees.  Usual Gazellousquet rapid pace on last mile on road at a 6:08 pace. 

Saturday:  8
Ran Li'l Rhody course with Mike B, Matthew and his friend Jonny Eckel.  Got pretty scratched up running through briars, around trees, falling (of course!), etc.  Trees down in multiple spots that will need clearing, especially between campground and Buckeye Brook Road, and again near Kings Factory.  Picked up and moved many small branches, but will need equipment for larger stuff.  Contacted RI NEMBA (mountain biking group), they informed that NBX has crew working Sunday morning, working with them to see best approach for further clean-up.
Mike showed as the latest of our WTAC runners shod in new trail shoes!  He also showed up in some cool Nike thermal gloves, which I saw at the Nike outlet in Maine for $20+ but was too cheap to buy, yet I had no problem dropping $61 for a bottle of scotch - is there something wrong with my priorities?
Played football with my boys in the afternoon, before setting up my annual bonfire on the front lawn to greet trick-or-treaters for one of my favorite holidays, Halloween, which was rescheduled to Saturday in Westerly due to Sandy.

Rescheduled Halloween:
annual night of fires, freaks, and frights

Sunday: 9
Tarzan Brown race.  See separate write-up.
Weekly run mileage:  54

Weekly round-up:
Wierd week with the Maine trip, storm, loss of power, re-routed roads, Halloween postponement, etc.  Still managed to get in a lot of miles, and all quality miles.  Running the trails Fri and Sat with friends, and then Tarzan Brown Sun was all a cool way to end the week.
Next week's running priorities for me will be ensuring the Li'l Rhody course is passable, final race and 2013 WTAC event planning, and looking to hammer it in Avondale.