Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Weekly Log 27-Feb-12 to 4-Mar-12

Monday:  0
Usual Monday rest day for me.

Tuesday:  7 miles
Avondale Preserve and No Bottom Pond.  Sunset run that ended in the dark.

Wednesday:  18 miles
Great solo run.  Misquamicut to Bradford to Charlestown and back.  With the new company I keep, I've been running a lot of trails, which I love, but I wanted to check my road fitness level.  Clear and 31o.  By the time I reached the bucolic farms on Dunn's Corner-Bradford Road, the sun was up and warmed me.  Followed 91 past Bradford Preserve, and then climbed up Woody Hill Road.  The hill is only about 2/10 mile long, but I was huffing and puffing due to the steep incline.  Reminded me of Jonny dragging us up Shannock Hill a couple months back.
Turned on to 216 for a brief section, then decided to hit Buckeye Brook Road for another section of hill climbing.  I know I was getting into Hammett territory (not sure if you need some kind of special permit or something), and I was figuring the hills around here are perhaps what enables Jonny to attack uphills so aggressively.  Turned onto Charles and then a nice downhill section on Klondike, which downhill is my cup of tea.  Hit my mile split for mile 10 at 6:40!  Whoa, Nellie, slow it down, it's a long way back to Westerly.  Many trails beckoned me on Klondike, but not for today.  After Klondike, Route 1 back to Westerly and Shore Road.  I'm not a fan of running Route 1 by any means, but along this stretch of Charlestown, there are so many side spurs and jug-handles for me to run that it didn't bother me.  When I hit the Westerly line, I picked it up to finish each of the last consecutive 5 miles at sub-7 pace. 
Final tallies:  18.08 miles, 2:06:51, average pace 7:01!
This was the longest road run I've done since Hartford Marathon last fall, and I'm thrilled with my fitness level today, especially for an old geezer pushing 50!  Signed up for Cox Marathon, went out for a sushi lunch (with my wife and Mom) and I've got the following U2 lyrics in my head:
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away
You're on the road
But you've got no destination ...

Thursday:  11 miles
SK.  Wet mud fest.  Ran with Muddy, Jonny, Mike G, and Mike's friend Ben.  Started at Tri-Ponds trails in Peace Dale.  Ran trails I had never been on, plus part of South County Bike Path, to Curtis Corner Middle School where the final trail series will be held.  Ran one warmup on the course, followed by 4x1 mile intervals, with about 1/4 mile recovery.  Starts off on athletic field, which was completely soaked today, and then goes through trails with plenty of hills, and at least for today, plenty of mud.  Splits:  6:50, 6:45, 6:48, 7:02.  By the 3rd mile, I was starting to fall apart.  I had nothing left for the 4th one, and by then my lunch enchiladas were coming back up and my rubbery legs gave out completely on a slippery bridge and I went down.
I would have never made it to the 4th mile if it weren't for the group camaderie.  My legs are completely trashed this evening between yesterday's and today's run.  Will either take a zero tomorrow or just jog 2-3 before Saturday's long run.

Friday:  0
Legs trashed after two consecutive hard days of running.  Need a day off.

Saturday:  16 miles
Another fun long run with fellow WTAC'ers Tom, Jonny, Muddy.  6AM start from Westerly Y in what was supposed to be heavy rain and 20 mph wind, but the rain stopped overnight and there was no wind.  Warm in mid-40s.  Downtown then through Pawcatuck, neighborhoods out to Greenhaven and down to Barn Island for about 5 miles of trails.  The trails were wet and muddy, but nowhere near as much as either I expected or as we experienced in SK on Thursday.  Stonington roads back to Westerly. 
Car beeped at us on our way back, which turned out to be Tom McCoy, 2:52 marathoner, SHS running coach, pioneer of WTAC 37 years ago, and namesake of our WTAC summer runs.  Called him afterwards to catch up; hard to believe we'll be starting up fun runs in just 3 months.

Sunday:  5 miles
Hare Hop 3-Miler.  See separate race write-up.

Weekly miles:  57
Assessment:  Had a blast running this week, but the latter part of the week I feel I ran too hard and too fast to sustain on a regular basis.  Still nursing the shin splits which are better but still haven't gone completely away.  Will try to press for a lower mileage and less workouts next week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Log 20-Feb-12 to 26-Feb-12

I can really relate to this cartoon from yesterday's paper, especially with a few tweaks, as perhaps some of my guy running friends can as well?  After you read it, you'll understand some of the reason I like to go for runs at 6 or 7AM, before anyone else in the house gets up; otherwise my run may not happen.
Monday:  13 miles
Fun but taxing Presidents' Day run with Tom.  Thankful to George and Abe for having the day off, but man, what a workout!  Tom had a ladder workout planned after 15 minutes of warm-up; glad we "eased" into that warm-up with two miles at a "slow" 6:50 pace!  The ladder was 5 minutes running at 5K pace, 1/2 the amount (2:30) recovery, resume 4 minutes at 5K pace, 2 recovery, you get the picture, taking 1 minute off the hard run part each iteration until you're down to 1 minute, then finishing with a 30-second hard run.  Did most of this on Tom Harvey, Links Passage, and backroads to Moonlight and Shore, finishing just before Noyes Neck.  I should have set my GPS watch to record the pace, but looking back at mile splits now, I see one of the miles covering the 5-minute hard run plus part of recovery was at 6:06 pace, I'm guessing I ran sub-6.  After a quick breather, we ran down into and through Weekapaug along the water before returning back to Shore Road and into Champlin Glacier Park for a mostly uphill 1 mile trail trek.  By that time, my legs were trashed and I was hungry as Muddy (is that possible?).  The donut factory smell wafting off Tom Harvey did us in, and Tom altered his breakfast plans to pick up donuts on the way home - I think he's still there.  Somehow amazingly the final mile split back on roads was 6:49 - it must have been the need to get to breakfast ASAP.  Total time 1:28.

Tuesday: 0
Rest day.  My legs and shins thanked me.

Wednesday:  6 miles
Morning:  Cross trained with swimming.  Met my goal, which was not to drown.  Swam 500 yards and was happy I was able to do that comfortably.  Then swam some faster (or less slow) 50s before cooldown.
Afternoon:  Ran 6 incorporating 1 mile on beach west of Misquamicut, plus most of fun run.  6 should be easy, but just had no energy left.
Evening:  Registered for a bunch of races to beat the March 1 price increase (see my "2012 Events" page).  Figure between myself and kids, I saved about $75.

Thursday:  0
Any chance for a run today was thwarted by a 4AM call from my "friends" in India who somehow thought I'd rather spend the next few hours with them.

Friday:  5 miles
SNOW!  Slept in late until 7 on a day off, and was surprised to see snow.  12"!  (OK, I missed the decimal point; it's really 1.2")  Finally! - perhaps my only chance to try out my Yax-Trax that are still sitting in the box as we've had no snow.  Tried them out first on wooded trails in my backyard.  Not invincible, but seemed to offer quite a bit of grip.  Turns out someone else (see photo at right) has already been running on my trails this morning.
1st use of new Yak-Trax
Next on to the roads.  Unfortunately, unlike the dirt trails that can absorb some water, the water on roads has nowhere to go and it's pure slush.  I didn't get 1/2 mile when my feet are completely soaked, and my legs all red from the splashing slush.  Dumb idea; turn around before a neighbor looks out a window and reports me to a psych ward.  Fortunately, the adventure portion of my brain wins out over the sanity portion, and I trek on to Champlin Park.  I run my usual favorite trail, not at "full gazelle mode", but at least 2/3 gazelle mode, still jumping some rocks, logs, etc.  Finish the trail and decide to run one more trail before quitting.  By the time I get back home, the plows are out now and the frozen mix has turned into a steady rain and my feet have gone numb. 
Final experiment:  were the Yak-Trax just a placebo?  Take them off, and run the same trail in my back yard.  I don't fall, but slip all over the place on a steep downhill section, and can't even run uphill; I need to slowly walk it.  Verdict:  Keep the Yak-Trax, worth the purchase at least for some year when we really get snow.

Saturday:  15 miles
Early morning trail run in Burlingame with Jonny, Mike, and Aaron.  Trails were wet, but not nearly as bad as I had expected and nothing like yesterday's slush fest.  Ran some of the trails that Li'l Rhody is on and final part of Brrr-lingame course; most other trails I didn't recognize but were a fun diversion.  I continue to be amazed with the sheer size of the park, and went online afterwards to orient myself with where we were at one point on presumably the western boundary of the park along Pawcatuck River.
Got back to my car to find 3 missed calls and multiple pages from work, and had to spend the next 4 hours on phone and computer.  Arrgh.  Thankfully I got my run in first, or I would have been miserable all day.

Sunday:  0 miles
Family recreation and fun day.  The four of us hiked all through the Westerly Town Forest.  Trails had dried out from Friday's slush and were in good shape.
Followed the hike with a swim at the Y.  Was thrilled my 12-year old wanted to swim a few laps with the old man.  We split a lane, and he made minced meat out of me passing me with his freestyle, breast stroke, flip turns, etc.  So graceful; I have much to learn.  So surprised to see WTAC member and WHS running star Riyan in the adjacent lane.  We talked about, take a wild guess here ... that's right, running.  He said he swims only as cross-training for running, and I tried to talk him into running the Clamdigger again, which he said he hopes to but need to get permission from his coach.   Finished up with playing around and "tag" in the warmer and smaller Buckley pool. 
Seems funny to put a "zero" down for today when I got lots of exercise.  Maybe I should follow Mike's lead in adding other activity counters in this blog? 

Weekly total:  39 miles
Wasn't the plan to take three days off from running this week, but somehow still managed to hit my desired average of about 40 weekly miles.
Coming to the end of February, we're roughly 1/6 of the way into the year, which puts me right on target for my 2,000 2012 mileage goal at 333 miles run YTD.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Weekly Log 13-Feb-12 to 19-Feb-12

Monday:  0 miles
Away on business in NH.  Soaked my sore legs in the hotel whirlpool; tried to cover my open knee wounds to avoid scaring people off.

Tuesday:  9 miles
Nashua/Merrimack, NH.  Awesome adventure.  One of the things I love about waking up in a different location is trying out a new running route.  Got up at daybreak (19o), and as I often do, asked the hotel front-desk clerk for running suggestions.  Sometimes they're very helpful with routes; this time the conversation went something like this:
Jeff:  Do you have any quiet roads around here you would suggest for running?
Clerk:  Outside?
Jeff:  Yes (thinking to myself, do they have roads inside the hotel here?)
Clerk:  We really don't suggest you run outside.
Jeff:  Why not?  Was there a nuclear explosion? 
Clerk:  No.  The roads here are very unsafe.  We suggest you use the treadmill in the hotel gym.
End of conversation.  Reminded me of the definition of treadmill in Feb edition of Runner's World:  "Treadmill (n.):  A torture device perfected in the 20th century, designed to destroy one's mind through sensory deprivation and monotony."  -p. 19
Outside I go.  I didn't have a lot of time, but remember a paved path by the busy road the hotel is on; maybe I can cobble together 4 miles or so.  I follow the path for about a mile and it leads off the busy road and ends at a neighborhood. Time to turn around? 
No, the path continues across the street through the pines.  It goes for another mile past more neighborhoods and through forested areas.  It crosses a bridge over a frozen river or pond.  A sign says welcome to the town of Merrimack, and the path ends.  Time to turn around now?  This would make 4 miles.
No, let's try the road to the right as it has a "dead end" sign.  The road is deserted.  There seem to be dirt trails off the road, but they all have strict signs "No trespassing - violators will be prosecuted - Pennachuck Water Works".  The road comes to an end.  I can see a gate ahead with more "No Trespassing" signs. 
I get up to the gate.  Smaller print shows "Property of Fidelity Investments - Merrimack, NH".  Really?!  Now I'll take my chances.  If I get stopped; I'll give them my Fidelity badge number.  I run along a gravel road that has turned to ice.  To the right, there's a clearing with a trail.  Let's take it.  I soon see marked signs for different trails, and decide on the "Ledge Loop Trail".  There are different hiking signs; I figure I left Fidelity property and am in some nature conservancy until I get to the top of the hill and see another Fidelity sign.  How cool is this?  This should be on our HR intranet site as one of our benefits.  The trail turns from hardpack dirt to a long section of hardpack snow and then I hit another trail intersection.  Turn back?  You know the answer.  Followed the North East Path to then the North East Trail Loop, and kept bounding on, up and down hills, until I reached the familiar Fidelity buildings.  Now I finally turned back, as I was out of time and hungry.  Amazingly traced my steps back through the trails, dead end road, and back to Nashua and my hotel where the breakfast buffet awaited me.  4 miles of bike path, 1.5 mile of deserted road, and 3.5 miles of trails.  Never crossed a busy street.  Felt bad for the souls on the treadmill. 

Wednesday:  7 miles
Back in Westerly.  Legs are sore.  Headed to the beach for some soft surface running.  3 miles on Misquamicut Beach; balance on roads.

Thursday:  0
Between a long day commuting back and forth to work in NH again, and sore legs, took a zero.

Friday:  4 miles
Quick run at dusk.  Ran into Champlin Glacier Park just as it was getting dark, was pitch black by the time I finished.  I had no trouble staying with the trail, as I'm quite familiar with it, but the problem was multiple mis-steps (no falls) due to not being able to see the rocks and roots.

Saturday:  15 miles
Early morning run with Muddy and Tom, mostly on trails.  Ran from Bradford School through Woody Hill Management Area, an 819 acre state property off 216, exploring all the way.  Ended up in a new housing development called Haversham Preserve, which turns out to be off South Woody Hill Road.  Wound our way through multiple trails, crossing a small dam and running through Copar Quarry, which with its massive piles of sand resembled the Giza Pyramids of Egypt.
Exited Copar Quarry back on to 216, and then ran through Bradford down to the Grills Preserve, another fantastic Westerly Land Trust property.  I continue to be amazed by the all land trust properties, and had not been on this one in several years.  When I retire someday (more than a decade away), I will want to keep myself busy - maybe volunteering for the land trust could be it.  Ran to a place at the Pawcatuck River where the "Polly Coon" bridge used to be (left), and then ran up the appropriately if not creatively named "Big Hill", where we had an awesome view overlooking Chapman Pond and swamp towards downtown.  Retraced our steps back to Bradford School.  Another awesome group run.

Sunday:  5 miles
Mid afternoon run, split between roads and loops within Champlin.  Legs felt a little sore after, but actually felt much better later after swimming a few hundred yards at the Y and then splashing around in the smaller pool with my boys.

Weekly total:  40 miles
Good to see mileage back to the 40 range.  Shin splints still there, but manageable.  I'm enjoying taking two weeks off from racing and getting back to weekend long runs. 

Brrr-lingame 15K

Brrr, the Brrr-lingame 15K was a cold run on a day that never reached freezing.  Went for a warm up on the first 2 miles of the course with Greg, Jonny, Muddy, and Steve.
Finishing lap 1
Lap 1:   The start was through a field in the campground before entering the woods.  I saw Justin just ahead of me entering the woods, and then never saw him again until after the race.  Jonny, on the other hand, passed me upon entering the woods, and we were in close proximity back and forth for much of the race.  Jonny set the pace, which I thought was quite fast, but I tried to keep just behind him, including passing the several runners that he overtook along the way.  At one point I passed he and another runner as they missed a sharp left turn and I yelled out to Jonny to catch back up to me, which I was happy he did as we ran together along some double track.  I was feeling pretty good at that point and took the lead briefly as we went through the bridge section.  By the time I wound back to the campground, I was starting to fatigue.  1st lap in 31:19.
Finishing race
Lap 2:  Boj passed me in the open field section and we briefly commiserated on having to run this thing yet one more time!  Jonny passed me as we re-entered the woods, and we ran in a tight pack of 4 (Boj, Jonny, myself, and Aaron behind as I could hear his sandals) for a couple of miles until Aaron passed all 3 of us WTAC'ers.  Jonny passed Boj and then took off faster, as at the next ridge, he put a lot of distance between Boj and me.  I tried to at least keep Boj in my sights, and I did so up through entering the bridge section.  This was painful the 2nd time.  Steve later told me he counted 19 bridges!  Coming out of the bridges, I was surprised to see Jonny again ahead of me, and Boj just in front of him now.  We were getting close to the campground and I picked up the pace to try to narrow the distance between me and Jonny and 3rd runner that he was now even with.  I thought I was crossing just leaves, but it turns out the leaves were filling up a ditch and I went down hard.  I cut up my knees pretty good.  Damn it hurt!  I laid on the ground disoriented for what seemed like minutes but had to be mere seconds.  I looked up and everyone was gone.  I got myself up, and finished the race in 1:03:16, 20 seconds behind Jonny and 22 seconds behind Boj.
Fun, but exhausting and very cold afterward.  Came home with battered knees and blood splattered clothes again.  Another huge win for team WTAC!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Weekly Log 6-Feb-12 to 12-Feb-12

Monday:  0
Planned rest day.  Shin splints returned with dull pain climbing stairs, but I know I can work through it with a couple of rest days.

Tuesday:  0

Wednesday:  8 miles
Fun trail run in Burlingame with Mike and Muddy.  Ran Sunday's course, with a few faster pace pick-ups in between.  Legs felt great.  Ran through mud with confidence in new trail shoes.  Just slippery on the boardwalk; that will probably play into Sunday's experience, as it's supposed to be cold and maybe even a little snow or ice left over from Saturday.  Muddy and I ran a few cooldown miles after Mike had to leave.

Thursday:  3 miles
Expedited 4:30AM romp through Misquamicut, as I had to leave for work by 5:15 today.  Fun on a couple of sections where snow had covered the road from last night's flurries, but most roads were just wet.

Friday:  8 miles
Great run:  2.5 trails, balance roads.  Ran the hills of Moonlight, then guess who found a new trail?!  Passed Lewis Pond Preserve, and said what are those white trail markers?  Never saw them before, may have been freshly painted.  Ran the trail, only about 1/2 mile, but nice diversion.  Finished the run with some gazellin' in Champlin.  Ran a downhill stretch when I saw a kid just ahead of me and his father called "watch out!".  The kid's in the middle of the trail, the gazelle brakes aren't working, off trail jump through a bush here we go.  Went past the kid and his father; hope they're not thinking what a jerk this runner this.  Fast forward 2 hours later picking up pizza:  Kevin Kelliher is with his son Connor and says "Jeff, that's the 2nd time we saw you today".  I'm thinking I haven't seen you in months since Fun Run days, until he starts talking about Champlin this afternoon.  I feel so small, and start apologizing.  He's cool with it and said I was just in my own world as I was flying through the trails.  Whew!

Saturday:  7 miles
Old Mountain Field, SK.  5 miles trails, 2 roads.  Ran from South County Y through the trails to Old Mountain Field, then ran the course from Old Mountain Field 5K.  Actually took me 4.5 miles to run the course because I took multiple wrong turns, but no matter, was having fun.  Found and picked up a course marker for Mike G.  Saw where I had gone off course to ford the brook and briars; it was so obvious in hindsight to see where I went off the trail.  Finished the course and was surprised and disappointed that Mike didn't have hot chocolate waiting for me.  He's probably off marking the course for tomorrow's Brrr-lingame; otherwise I'm sure he'd have the hot chocolate set up.  Finished up with running part of the bike course, plus some nostalgia of running past where I went to kindergarten (Stepping Stones) and grades 5-6 (Hazard School, which apparently is a pre-school now).  Good fun run in the light snow and mud.  Didn't use the new YakTrax, as there really wasn't much snow or ice here.

Sunday:  11 miles
Brrr-lingame 15K.  I am totally spent, slightly injured, and hobbling around the house this evening, but man, did I have fun today!  Another WTAC win!  Race write-up to follow shortly.

Weekly mileage:  37
Another relatively low mileage week (it's all relative, this would have been a very mileage week same time a year ago), but I know I need those from time to time.  Hope to get back to long runs with some of my WTAC teammates, but either way should be ramping up the mileage as we have a 3-day holiday weekend coming up.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super 5K

Super happy on this Super 5K with both my results and the results of our team
Me:  18:00 flat (5:48 average pace).  13th overall; 3rd in age group.
WTAC:  1st place!
After signing in and registering for team, I warmed up with my son for a bit and came back and caught up with a number of runners.  Talked with Dave Schaad, who told me he was now in the 50-59 division, so I told him good, that was one less runner ahead of me in my age group.  Turned out I finished ahead of him anyway.

Mile 1:  Lined up in about 3rd row with my son and Jeff V.  Felt cold standing around, but was fine once we talk off as the sun was out and temps in upper 30s.  I took off fast, and caught up with Jonny at about 1/2 mile.  He had the energy to say hello, I think I had the energy only to grunt something back that was unintelligible and mono-syllabic.  Settled in behind Muddy, but that didn't last long, as by Mile 1 he was 4 places ahead of me and continued to put more and more distance ahead for the remainder of the race.  Ran the first mile in 5:37!  Don't know if that was smart or foolish.  Always open to advice.
Mile 2:  Out to the turnaround and back.  This is the point of the course where you see where you and everyone else stand position-wise and I knew I was running hard, because I usually say "hi", "good job", "etc." to runners I know, but I couldn't muster to say anything to anyone.  The only one I made sure to acknowledge for their efforts was my son, but even then flashing a thumbs-up was the best I could do.  Crossed Mile 2 in 5:51.  Awesome - Mile 2 is almost always my slowest in a 5K, and I finished that one sub-6 also.
Mile 3 & finish:  Back on Ocean Road, I was fatiguing, but just tried hard to keep the pace.  Knew runners were close behind me, but I didn't know how close or how many.  Crossed Mile 3 in 5:48, and just at that point, a turtle flew past me.  Tried initially to chase him, but he was really moving.  I think he may have been planning that move.  Just ran as fast I could on last 1/10, pace 5:27.  I first saw the clock at 17:53 and thought I had plenty of time to get under 18, but it's so deceiving!  Finished in 18 flat.  Actually, I'm thrilled with that.  My 3rd fastest 5K ever.  I looked back at past Super 5Ks and found I've run all but one of the 8 years, my fastest until this year was an 18:23 and I had never before placed in my age group until this year.
Huge win for the team!  Tom led the way for WTAC, Muddy behind him with yet another PR!, Jonny just behind me at 18:18, and Jeff V clinched it for the team with his 18:58 finish.  We had a good turnout with a number of other runners as well.  My son was disappointed with his finish, but I told him the season was early and track starting up next month would ensure he got more training.