Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekly Log 30-Jan-12 to 5-Feb-12

Monday:  0 miles

Tuesday:  0
Day 3 in a row with no running.  Feeling lethargic and like a junkie going through withdrawal symptoms, but on the positive side today was the first day in almost a week that I did not have a dull pain going up and down stairs, so I hope I made the right choice to take a few days off.  Let's see what tomorrow brings ...

Wednesday:  5 miles
1st day back running after a 3-day hiatus.  2 miles trails, 3 roads.  Felt good, but not great.  Very slow 8 minute pace.

Thursday:  4 miles
Ran closer to 7 minute miles, and threw in a few faster short surges.  So I think I can do it and run Super 5K on Sunday.  The dull pain came back, although with less intensity.  Talking to runners with similar shin splints symptoms and researching on web indicates rest is the key and either stopping or reducing running.  Also suggests this could last 3 weeks to several months.  Let's hope on the lesser side.  I'm in new territory here, so I'll play it day by day and assess after Super 5K whether to give more rest, cross-train, or continue.  Very frustrating.

Friday:  7 miles
Longest and best run in over a week!  Three progressively faster miles on roads (6:42, 6:28, 6:12), followed by two miles on the beach, and a two-mile cooldown.  That's more like it!  The left leg buckled at mile 2, and I thought about walking but hobbled through it for about 10 yards and it was gone.  Dull pain still there, but I ran through it.  My comrade has told me "chin up", so I scrapped the plans to pick out a cemetery plot and will leave that for another day.  This boy has a race to run, and today is race day minus two.

Saturday:  6 miles
2 miles on trails, rest on roads.  Was thrilled to see Westerly runner Mary Minn running in Chin Hill (no, I did not have a WTAC membership application on me!), as well as people hiking on both Mastuxet and Champlin trails.  Actually did some gazellin' in Champlin during which time I forgot completely about my shins until I stopped running and took a break at Charlie's Overlook of Atlantic Ocean and Block Island.  7:15 pace overall.  Psyched for Super 5K tomorrow!  Snagged one more Westerly runner (Jeff V); he promised not to wear his NRA singlet!

Sunday:  6 miles
Super 5K!  While unfortunately it was not a super day for the Pats (21-17 loss), it was for the WTAC (1st place!).  See separate race write-up.

Weekly total:  28 miles
Lowest mileage since I started this blog last November, but that's OK.  At the beginning of this week, I didn't know if I'd race at all with the shin splints and seemed to take one step forward, one step backward much of the week.  I had a great finish at the Super 5K well ahead of my expectations, and that gave me a much needed huge mental boost that I can work through this and will just have to be smart to periodically back the miles down.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weekly Log 23-Jan-12 to 29-Jan-12

Monday:  0
Planned rest day

Tuesday:  8 miles
48o and heavy mist.  I could hear one of my favorite natural sounds, the surf pounding, as soon as I stepped out my door at 4:30AM.  Ran deserted Misquamicut pond loop mostly near the middle of the road.  New Weekapaug Bridge had these neat globe-like lights that I could see for a distance in the dark.  It was the ascent to the lofty 10' elevation to the bridge that was the challenge, and I could see discarded oxygen tanks scattered from previous failed expeditions, but I mustered up the strength and scaled it with alacrity.  Atlantic Ave was flooded in a couple of places from last night's rain and melting snow.  Reminded me of last year's Clamdigger, minus that day's brutal wind.  I crossed the Clamdigger finish line in 1st place today (no, technically there were no other runners on the course, but this was my moment) and the crowd in my mind cheered me on.  Good pensive run - it felt like a runner's high.  7:32/mile.

Wednesday:  9 miles
35o and sunny run at sunrise.  Run on flat and empty Atlantic Ave, including 2x1 mile intervals.  Had contemplating hitting the track, but just couldn't muster up any enthusiasm for running in circles.  Ran Mile 2 @ 5:42 and Mile 4 @ 5:40.   Looked back at when I ran the same thing in December and the times were 5:54 and 5:58, so I'm very happy with today's times.  Left the road at Weekapaug Breachway, and ran on the beach 2.5 miles back to Misquamicut, where I exited at the state beach and ran home.

Thursday:  0
Feeling sore and stiff in the shin and calf area yesterday and this morning.  Not sure if it's the 2 interval miles from yesterday, or all the high mileage catching up with me, but decided to give the old bag of bones a day off today, and see if that helps.  Will try to reduce mileage next week going into Super 5K.

Friday:  6 miles
Went to local running store (Kelley's Pace) and bought my first ever trail shoes (photo at left).  Tried on a few pairs, decided on a pair of NB with lugs in the sole.  Rained all day today, and went out to the local trails (Champlin) in the late afternoon rain (conditions I would usually stay away from trails).  Didn't like running in the new shoes on the road as it felt like I was wearing soccer cleats or something, but enjoyed them on the trails and felt like I had a much better grip.  Ran my favorite trail (green) twice, otherwise, looped through the park.  Tried to slide on the muddier sections, but couldn't.  Ran a path down to Winnapaug Pond where there was lots of mud at shore edge where I was able to get the shoes to slide there!  Got home and ran in the soaking wet lawn where I would usually get my feet wet in my regular road shoes, but didn't here.  3.5 miles trails; balance roads.
Still feeling soreness in the shins; I'm thinking a slow long run early tomorrow and then avoiding the hills and speedwork next 2 weeks until after Super 5K and Brrr-lingame 15K.

Saturday:  11 miles
Early morning 5-mile run in Westerly.  1 mile on beach, balance on neighborhood roads.
Afternoon 6-mile run from Cape Cod YMCA, through Cape Cod Community College grounds, and quiet neighborhoods down to a pond back.  Very slow (8 min pace) and easy flat miles both runs; trying to mitigate this shin issue.

Sunday:  0
Shin splints continue.  I'm going to take the next 2-3 days off completely from running, and see if that re-energizes me.

Weekly mileage:  34 miles
Lower than I'd like, but more important to get the legs back up to speed.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Log 16-Jan-12 to 22-Jan-12

Monday:  9 miles
Total of 18 runners!  Muddy, Jonny, and I, and 15 NRA.  Biggest group I've run with.  Kudos to Mike G for putting this all together.  Tuckertown Park, SK, and trails south in SK Land Trust.  Pace started slow, then we broke up into smaller groups of varying paces.  Ran w/Aaron Rome for a while, whom I met at L'il Rhody 2010.  Aaron really pushed the pace and it felt good.  After a while, a smaller group of us (WTAC 3-some plus Glen Guillemette and Keven O'Neill, winner of our Clamdigger 2009 in 27:22) broke off again for the remainder of the run.  Jonny pushed the trails pretty hard and then on the roads Glen led with what was a fast pace for me of 6:49/mile. 
Felt guilty leaving before the others came back, but not as guilty as I felt leaving my two boys at home alone while indulging myself in running.  Lessened the guilt by taking them ice skating at the new Westerly Land Trust skating center.  After running 50 miles in 4 days and some hard skating this afternoon, my legs are feeling sore!

Tuesday:  0
Planned rest day.

Wednesday:  17 miles
Double workout.  Morning:  Slept in and went for a "late" run at 5:45AM.  Steve and Jeff D had just finished their run before I even started mine.  Left the Westerly Y, ran Boombridge Road into North Stonington, took Anthony Road to Ashaway, Laurel Road past Ashaway Line & Twine mills, then Potter Hill Road for the long climb back to Westerly.  Saw Larry running the same loop in opposite direction.  Westerly Town Forest tempted me, but will have to wait for another day.  Steady 7:34 pace overall.  Felt warm for much of course (45o), but past open cow fields and places of headwind the 20mph wind was quite nippy.
Afternoon:   Brutal wind, temperatures dropped 15 degrees during the day down to freezing.  Joined late to a track workout at CHS with Muddy and Mike.  How late?  They were on their very last 200, so I joined them for that only, plus a cool-down w/Muddy.  Continued to do half their workout:  6x200.  Times all over the place, anywhere from 32 to 37 seconds.  I find I'm incompetent with timing these things and pushing the dang button at the start and stop line.  Shouldn't be that hard, right?  Scary since I regularly helped time WMS track events last spring, but then I didn't have to run AND push a button.  Geez.

Thursday:  0
Had it all figured out last night:  run at 4AM, swim at 5, catch the train at 6.    Got up this morning, the legs are super stiff and sore.  Might have overdone it yesterday with the double; actually felt much better last weekend the day after running 24 miles in a day.  Since I won't get home from work until 7 tonight, I think I've lost my window for any hope for a run today.

Friday:  3 miles
Slid on ice several times early in 4:30AM run on Misquamicut roads.  Had been expecting light snow overnight, but instead only got rain that had now frozen.  Decided to make the run very short and very slow.  Slid at one point for about five feet, but somehow didn't fall.  Had trouble getting traction on a slight uphill section.  The problem running in pitch dark is that I'm going along fine and then can't see the ice.  In retrospect, I should have gone to the Y treadmill that I've been avoiding this season thus far, but they don't open until 5 and I was already out.  Will have to learn about Jonny's Yaktrax and see whether they apply for icy roads as well, or just trails.

Saturday:  16 miles
First day of snow!  Pre-sunrise run with newest WTAC team member Tom on backroads of shoreline Westerly.  I passed on a long trail run with Muddy, Jonny, Mike as I don't feel I have the right equipment or trail fitness.  The snow cover on the roads was only 1-2", so it was good to get this run in before the forecast 6".  Ran through the short trails in Avondale Preserve, otherwise all roads.  First five miles were screaming fast for me, as all were sub-7 and it takes a little more effort for me to run in the snow.  Went from Avondale out to Watch Hill Lighthouse.  It was a neat contrast running along the ocean with the snow coming down and making fresh tracks in the snow.  Wound our way from Watch Hill through Misquamicut and to Weekapaug.  Avoided slushy Shore Road by running up hills on Moonlight.  My quads were burning going up the hills.  Tom said this was a good test for him for running Hyannis Half  next month.  I loved the run, but overall it was very fast for me.  Total time 1:53:24, overall pace 7:09/mile.  Time for some cross training with snow shoveling!

Sunday:  5 miles
1 mile on Misquamicut Beach, the rest on Misquamicut back roads.  Fun running in shorts in January snow.  Afternoon swam 500 yards at Y, then played with kids in the smaller pool.

Weekly total:  50 miles
Back to back 50 mile weeks, wow!  A little more sore and stiff this week than past, but nothing major and no injuries.  Time to think about and plan out spring races.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weekly Log 9-Jan-12 to 15-Jan-12

Monday:  0 miles
Planned rest day

Tuesday:  5 miles
Swam 500 yards at Y.  First swim in 4 months, will need to seriously work on endurance.  Running will always (hopefully) be my core and favorite, but it's the new year and time to get back into cross-training and thinking about Tri season starting in June.  Ran into friend and WTAC prez Steve.  He was pumped up about Saturday's run and WTAC team.  Before I even started my swim, he had already done a swim workout at 5AM, followed by an hour of spinning, and then straight to the treadmill for 3 x 7-minute miles.  I asked the Ironman if he was done for the day after his mini "triathlon", but he wasn't and was just about to go to a 1-hour Pilates class for core strength training!  I am really impressed with his dedication, but also a tad jealous that I don't have a job closer to home to give me more free early morning time more than 1x weekly.
Wequetequock Cove
site of Tue and Sat runs
The run (I digress as usual) - after finishing my meager swim, I drove the short distance to Barn Island.  900 acres to myself again.  My mission today was to try to extend the trail portion distance of our coming Saturday run, and I was successful by finding a nice wooded single-track loop for about a mile in the northern "new" section of the preserve.  Ran some fun repeating trails before I ran out of time and needed to head back for work meetings.

Wednesday:  3 miles
Legs really stiff and didn't want to move; I can only surmise this is from the swimming yesterday.  My run was soon punctuated by a lost motorist looking for my help in getting to the Westerly Police Department.  I was happy to help, especially as she seemed frantic and I can't imagine any positive scenario of having to drive from Riverside to the Westerly PD at 5AM.  However, standing there talking in the 29 degree weather in just shorts and a shirt chilled me and further dampened any enthusiasm for the run.  Shuffled back home.

Thursday:  0 miles
Pounding wind-driven rain.  Wimped out and hid under the covers.  That brings my mileage for 4 days out to a whopping 8 miles, which works out ... let me see - I need some long division here ... 2 miles per day!  Pretty impressive,eh?!

Friday:  10 miles
Double dipper.  Nice 4:30AM 5-mile run on Westerly Hospital loop.  Felt great running.  Being the Friday kicking off a 3-day weekend certainly helped my mood as well.
5 miles additional at dusk on trails to avoid 35 mph wind.  Quick cold run on Mastuxet Brook trail and Champlin Glacier Park.

Saturday:  24 miles!
Early morning 16-mile run with Jonny & Muddy.  5 miles of trails, 11 road.  Ran in darkness from Westerly Y through Pawcatuck, CT neighborhoods and out Greenhaven Road and to Barn Island.  Ran 1 mile of wooded single-track in northern section, then the rest was trails through marshes.  Avoided Wequetequock Cove where shotguns were blasting, tried unsuccessfully to get Jonny to say "Wequetequock" 5 times fast.  Returned along Pawcatuck River back to Westerly and Wilcox Park to Y, just as fellow runners Steve and Jeff D were preparing to go out for a run.
Afternoon 8-mile run in Newport, RI through beaches, trails, boulders, tunnels, and a short stretch of road, almost completely alongside the ocean.  Was fidgeting at Newport Y with a lot of time on my hands before my son's swim meet, and with a beautiful sunny day with temps at 35, I was itching to get outside.  Ran the short distance from Y to First Beach, and ran the beach up to the start of the Cliff Walk.  The Cliff Walk can get crowded in summer, but was pretty sparse today.  I crashed into one woman who walked right in front of me, but because she apologized, I decided not to throw her in the ocean.  I was having a blast jumping from boulder to boulder south of the Tea House and my mind wanted to go on endlessly on this run when my legs and stomach both started to complain.  Made my way back to Newport Y.  Hope I don't pay for choice of double running with hobbling tomorrow, but for today I am a very happy boy.

Sunday:  8 miles
Frigid mid-day run at 19o.  Slow but deliberate pace after yesterday's mega-mileage for me.  Froze running into the wind out to Westerly Hospital, warmed up on way back with a tail wind and face in the sun along East Ave before trail jaunts on Mastuxet and Champlin Trails.  Finished out afternoon with snow-tubing with my boys.

Weekly total:  50 miles
Started the week with almost non-existent running, but had a great finish to the week.  The blog, the new WTAC racing team, and my running partners are all keeping me motivated to get out there and run. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race

Saturday, January 7 - Scarborough Beach, Narragansett
Resolution 5K Beach results.  An unusually warm day in the low 50s greeted us for this fun race.  Despite the sun and warmth, it felt cool due to the stiff breeze out of the south.  I met up with Justin, Jonny, and Steve for a pre-race course run.  The first and last mile were mostly on the beach, with the middle mile mostly trails through sand dunes and woods. 
Mile 1 (6:04 pace):  Registration was real smooth this time, and unlike the Old Mountain race, we started out relatively on time.  The first 1/4 mile was on a grass field and it was a little slow going at first over muddy grass and jumping low barriers.  After this section, I got passed by Justin and passed Jonny as we headed downhill and onto the beach where my pace really picked up.  I loved running on the flat and hard beach, especially with a tailwind out, and by the end of the 1st mile I had passed more runners and caught back up to and was just behind Justin. 
Mile 2 (6:15):  I followed Justin off the beach, through the sand dunes, and gave it a little more distance when he slid in mud.  Justin put a little more distance on me at Black Point, but then I caught up again as the pack of 3 in front of him slowed a bit on the trails, especially going through the remains of a stone building with some tough turns.
Mid-stride sprint to finish
Mile 3 (6:24):  Slowest mile, mostly due to the strong headwind now on the beach coming back.  Justin and I continued to follow the pack of 3 through sand dune trails until we were deposited back on the beach for the remainder of the run.  At that point, Justin passed the three on the outside right, while I passed the three on the outside left, and we ran parallel for a few yards before I ducked behind him and tried to draft anything I could off of Justin.  I looked briefly at my watch - damn, only 2.3 miles - still a long ways to go.  I contemplated whether at some point I should try to speed up and pass Justin, but he soon nullified that option as he threw a surge for the remainder of the race that I could not match.  The rest of the run I picked up the pace as best I could (6:04 pace for last 0.1 mile), fearful that one or more of the pack of 3 might retake me.  I kept thinking the end of the race was just ahead but it ended up further than I imagined. 
I crossed the line in 19:16, good for 4th overall and 1st in my age group.  Justin was 3rd overall, and Jonny 8th, followed by teammates Steve, 11-year old Liz, Polly, John, and CarolAnn.  Tom Bousquet from Westerly finished 2nd overall at a minute faster than me, and while he said he was signed up for WTAC, he didn't appear to count for the team in the final results.  WTAC still won the competition, and I was thrilled for the whole team.  Both the team results and my individual results exceeded my expectations.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Weekly Log 2-Jan-12 to 8-Jan-12

Monday:  0 miles
Rest day after highest mileage week ever (66 miles).  Family hike in Barn Island Wildlife Management Area in nearby Wequetequock.

Tuesday:  10 miles
Double workout.
Early morning:  Sad is the day that an 11-day holiday vacation ends, so I tempered this with driving back out to Barn Island and hitting the trails at the crack of dawn.  Likely one of the sites on my next weekend long run choice in 1.5 weeks.  Even with a 25o start, I warmed up quickly, and ran 5 circuitous miles through marshes and woods.  Had the full 900 acres to myself, and got back home before first call-in meeting at 8:30, a benefit of working from home one day per week. 
Later in day:  Warming up to a "balmy" 31o, I hit the WHS track for a repeat of last week's run with Muddy, Jonny, and Boj.  This time was less one 800 because, well, because I really don't like them, OK?  My times were SO much slower than last week, that I'm almost embarrassed to list them here, but I will for transparency:  1x1600 (5:53), 1x800 (2:54), 4x400 (84, 82, 82, 77).  I attribute the slow times to two factors:  1) headwinds of 20+ mph for each returning 1/2 lap, and 2) not having the benefit of my WTAC teammates pushing me this time.  Track speedwork is probably my least favorite form of running, but I'll attempt to give it the "old college try" more frequently this year.

Wednesday:  4 miles
4:30AM alarm goes off.  It's 10o!  I find it very challenging to get out of bed and hit the roads when I all see is dark and all I hear is howling wind, but finally I prevail and get my carcass moving.  By far the coldest run of the year, so I keep it relatively short and close to home so I can bail if needed, but I finish the loop I planned, and feel better for having done so.

Thursday:  0 miles
Exhausted re-adjusting to back to work.  Decided to take a full day off before Saturday race.  Slept the entire two-hour commute to work; guess I needed the sleep.

Friday:  5 miles
Local roads early morning.  Funny how after running last in 10o weather, 30o this morning feels warm, even in shorts.  Excited and nervous about tomorrow's race.  The only other beach race I've ever run is WTAC's Stavros On the Beach race, which I typically do well in, but that's running barefoot in 70o weather on my "home turf".  Not sure what to expect.

Saturday:  9 miles
Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race.  WTAC takes 1st place again!  Race report to follow shortly.

Sunday:  16 miles
Weekly long run with Jonny and Muddy.  Jonny's choice today had us on a mix of roads and trails in Charlestown and Richmond, starting from Wood River Junction and running a few miles on roads before running through fields along electric lines and gradually entering trails part of the Carter Preserve.  Neat trails; I had never been in here before or even heard of the Carter Preserve.  Fell twice and bloodied my knees for a 3rd time in as many weeks, although this time was by far the most minor.  I'd like to blame my teammates as it always seems to occur in their presence, but I think the reality is I'm just a klutz.  Exited the trails onto a small section of Route 112 before winding into Shannock.  The rest of the run was a walk (or run) down memory lane for me, as it encompassed many of the areas I grew up in since I moved to Richmond at age 12.  We went through Shannock where stores, the Shannock Spa, and the train stop of my youth are all long defunct now, and then ran up North Road to Shannock Hill Road.  Running up Shannock Hill, I joked to Jonny that he should carry the conversation now, and he actually did with ease as he was clearly the strongest running up the hill.  We ran onto Pine Hill Road and then took a trail in the woods near or in the Carolina Management Area.  During high school, when I went into these trails, it was usually for less wholesome reasons.  This was a great trail run that led us all the way back to Wood River Junction.  Fun run!

Weekly mileage:  44 miles
While the previous week's mileage was a record 66 for me, I consider that an anomaly due to having the whole holiday week off and super weather.  I'm thrilled to hit 40+ miles for my first full week of the new year, especially just going back to work.  Hope I can keep it up.