Thursday, March 29, 2012

Weekly Mileage 26-Mar-12 to 1-Apr-12

Monday:  0
Rest day

Tuesday:  3 miles
Geriatric shuffle to get the legs moving on day 3 of a stomach bug.  Was complaining to myself about my maladies and shin splints, when mid-run a neighbor pulled his car over to chat, and I got the latest update on his battle with leukemia and learned he had lost some internal organs.  Time to stop my whining and put things in perspective.

Wednesday:  0
Running clothes just sat there.  Work day unexpectedly started at 2:45AM and continued into the evening.  On the few breaks in between, I had neither the time nor energy to attempt a run.  The weekend cannot come fast enough.  I am so run down and behind on everything professional and personal, including running.

Thursday:  0
Can't get a break at all this week!  Left work early at 3PM, looking forward to a late afternoon run.  Then came the 5 hour commute from hell due to a derailed Amtrak train in North Kingstown.

Friday:  4 miles
Back roads in Misquamicut.  Wish I had more time, but for the first time this week felt great to be out running.  6:51 pace.  I survived the work week; bring on the weekend!

Saturday:  7 miles
39o and steady rain late morning; took a while to warm up on this one.  Parked at WHS.  Ran down hill and past the Y out to Canal and White Rock.  Ran past Springbrook School, before starting to head back via Potter Hill area and out to Route 3.  Finished by climbing Narragansett and Top St back to WHS just in time to pick up boys from track practice.  Turns out they were running hill repeats in the rain on Narragansett as well - I'm impressed!  7:06 average pace.  Glad to be back running!

Sunday:  15 miles
8 miles on sand (I think a PR, no April Fools), plus 7 on the road
A chilly 32to start.  I read in RW that the average threshold for runners to wear shorts vs long pants (tights, etc) is 40o.  I'm guessing my threshold is somewhere in the 20-25o range.
Part of today's
sand trail run
Turn around point:
Breachway, Charlestown
Miles of deserted beach
for me to explore

I ran Shore Road to Noyes Neck, then backroads of Weekpaug, plus the public ROW that Tom had shown me.  Then took the Weekapaug Sand Trail (protected for public foot access year round by a 1997 RI court order) for the approximate two miles out to Quonochontaug Breachway in Charlestown.  Ran the length of the beach all the way past Weekapaug and Misquamicut, except for the small section in Weekapaug that I needed to get on Spray Rock Road. 
At the west end of Misquamicut, I paused to sit on a rock, soak in the sun, gaze out at the sea, and solve the meaning of life.  Beautiful place!  I had intended to finish the last 2 miles of beach out to Watch Hill, but after sitting there for a while, I was done and jogged home.  Ran into two neighbors that I shared my morning beach expedition with, and they advised never to take our beautiful surroundings for granted.  Great counsel; try visiting the slums in India some day.

Weekly mileage:  29
A paltry mileage week, and a rough few first days of the week, but an awesome end with my beach adventure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Running in India: Weekly Log 19-Mar-12 to 25-Mar-12

Monday:  0 miles
Arrived India.  While I didn't run, can't exactly call it my usual Monday "rest" day, and I'm exhausted.  Flew British Airways from London Heathrow to Bangalore Hindustan Aiport, India.  Cleared customs, met my hired driver "Murthy", who navigated me for the hour plus over the dusty roads from the airport to my hotel in Bangalore.  My first visit to India.  Anything goes on the roads.  Sometimes there are lanes, sometimes there aren't and you just muscle your way through.  Everything is on the roads from a few modern cars to aging buses, thousands of motorcycles, horses, entire families on a single moped, and many rickshaws, all just criss-crossing each other.  Showered, changed, and off to work.  Fought to keep my eyes open all day, especially through meetings.  Ate dinner outdoors at the hotel, and to bed.  My Indian colleague hosts are very kind and gracious.

Tuesday:  8 miles
Bangalore, India.  82o F. Woke up and time for some exploring.  The traffic is light in the morning, as most firms here work a staggered shift of 11AM - 8PM local time to align closer to the UK and US business hours, as this is a prime location for technology and customer service support for major European and American firms.

State Central Library,
Cubbon Park

Went out the hotel gates, headed for Cubbon Park, a 300 acre public park named for Sir Mark Cubbon, a commissioner during the time this was British India in the late 1800s.  The roads are closed in the park until 8AM, so it's best to run in early AM for two reasons:  low traffic, and lower temperature (it's forecast to reach 95o F by this afternoon).  I made my way on the sidewalk and precariously crossed one street to make it to the park; less than one mile. 
I immediately saw the impressive and imposing State Central Library (photo left), which I tried to use as a landmark when I got lost.  The park is a mix of streets, cobblestone pathways, and finally I found a bigger wooded section of the park with many dirt pathways.  I was self conscious at first that I was 1) the only person wearing shorts, 2) the only person running (although there were many people walking), and 3) the only Caucasian amongst hundreds of Indians.  After a while, I just got into my groove running, and then I was happy to see an older Indian gentleman out for a run (in long pants) and finally a younger Indian couple out for a run and the man was wearing shorts, so I felt vindicated.
I'll let my photos tell the rest of today's story:
Trail I ran in Cubbon Park
Cubbon Park scenery
Temple in park

"Mike Galoob style"
jump over brook w/ bamboo

Vidhana Soudha -
legislative assembly

I was lost, but after seeing this
helpful road sign, it's all clear
to me!

Wednesday:  6 miles
Bangalore, India.  78o F.  Ran back to and through Cubbon Park today.  More refreshed, or I should say at least less jet-lagged today.  Had just ran past my landmark of the State Library when I spied a group of 3 runners, all in shorts!, one in a singlet, moving at a good clip, and looking like serious runners.  Let's see where these guys go.  I caught up to them, and then feeling awkward running next to them as they glanced at me, I passed them.  Then the lead guy sped up and passed me.  Interesting!  What to do now?  I sped up and tried to hang with the guy, as I followed him for a mile and a half further into the park into an area I hadn't been before.  My Garmin split was 6:20!  This was too fast for me in the heat, I needed to back off, and besides didn't what this guy thought of me following him, so I broke off on a different path.
This area of the park was still closed off to traffic, and was teeming with activity!  Boys were playing cricket, India's national favorite pasttime sport, and men had strung up a badminton net between two trees and were playing some serious badminton!
So many runners here!  I started counting runners as I ran on a long dirt path circling through tropical trees, and finally I stopped counting at 30!  It ran the gamut from people running slow jogs to a group of about 8 guys running repeat sprints of about 50 yards.  This place was great! 
Two runners on dirt path
I ran in Cubbon Park
A relic from British colonial
days:  Queen Victoria,
longest serving monarch in
UK history:  1837-1901

Today's sign WAS actually
helpful, as in Hindi AND
English, and I did need to
get back to Vidhana Soudha
en route to hotel

Time to head back to hotel:
A shopkeeper is setting up what appears to be a fruit stall, and he calls out "hello" to me.  I say "hello" back and he smiles.  I feel great at this minor and rare exchange here out on the streets of India.  From what I hear, most of my US colleagues that have come here don't venture out in the streets alone, and while I was at first nervous, I feel more comfortable today and feel they're missing out.
Let's let sleeping dogs lie...
Cool architecture at the
High Court of Karnataka
(Karnataka is the state I'm in)

Nobody stops at the crosswalk
for nothing!  I follow these
street-savvy young girls to
know when to cross

Back at the hotel:
Entrance to guarded
hotel compound
Walking/jogging path on
hotel's 20 acres of flora and fauna
Me at morning outdoor
breakfast - the fresh papaya
picked from hotel trees is delicious!

Thursday:  9 miles
Lalbagh, Bangalore, southern India.  82o F.  Looked for a different place to run.  On the advice of local colleagues and Internet searches, they all led me to Lalbagh Gardens.  I hesitated because, unlike Cubbon Park, Lalbagh is a ways from my hotel and meant I would have to bother my hired driver, Murthy, to drive me there at 7AM and I know he'll be with me until 9 or so tonight and then again at 4AM tomorrow.  Besides, I'd be getting back into the car filthy sweaty.  On the other hand, let's make the most of my stay in India and GO FOR IT!

Lalbagh Gardens gate
Lalbagh Gardens has a number of differences from Cubbon Park.  Although slightly smaller at 240 acres, there are no roads whatsoever in this park and it's completely gated off to vehicles at all times.  Dating to 1760, it predates even British India colonial days.  There are no British references or statues here.  The entry fee is 10 rupees (~ US $0.20, yes that's twenty cents), but to encourage Indians to walk and exercise in the morning, if you enter prior to 9AM, the fee is waved.
I'll let my pictures tell my running story again today, but first, a few quick interesting encounters with local people:
1)  A man asked me a question in some Indian language, and when I didn't answer, pointed to my watch.  I realize I never changed my Garmin from Eastern time.  I can do this, add 9.5 hours for the time zone difference, and I respond it's 8:30AM.  He smiles, flashes me a thumbs-up and departs.  OK, here's the wierd part:  I'm looking around, and again I'm standing out like a sore thumb as the only Westerner or even non-Indian in a sea of what must be more than 1,000 Indians in the park, most Indians have watches on their wrist and presumably speak either his local language or the national language of Hindi, and he has to walk over to see me to ask the time.  He must have chosen to ask me because he wanted to try to talk with me. Cool.
2)  A runner comes up to talk to me!!!  He starts with "Excuse me, Sir, but you look like a marathon runner".  What a way to butter a guy up!  He speaks impeccable, if not accented, English and we talk for 5-10 minutes about the Boston Marathon, how he started running two months ago, is up to running 6 km per day now and is training to run his first ever race, a 10K coming up in two months, and he asks me for advice.
3) I'm running up a steep dirt hill when two elderly gentlemen sitting on a bench at the top begin pointing at me and saying something.  I imagine it to be "Look at the form and stamina on that gazelle of a runner", but it probably was, "Hey Bob (or Kumar), look at that idiot!".
Scrub cactus along my run
Most arrive by moped-
car ownership is not common

Running dirt trail out to
island in Lake Lalbagh

I'm about 1 hour 15 minutes into my run, when my cell phone rings.  It's Murthy asking me where I am and when I will be back.  OK, time to head back.  Later he apologizes for his "disturbance"; it turns out he was just worried about me.  He explains that he's been driving Western visitors for Fidelity and other major firms  for 8 years now, and during this entire time, he has never once had a visitor want to venture out of their hotel compound in the morning, and occasionally in the evening he is asked to bring people around town, but just to look, not to get out and walk into the parks.  He says the Western visitors that exercise will do so in the hotel gym and hotel treadmills.  He doesn't know what to make of me.  Travel 8,000+ miles to India and run a treadmill?!! 

The unfortunate side of India:
huge wealth gap & abject poverty
Bizarre, eh?  Fortunately it
didn't apply to running
The trail climbs stairs, then
turns to a rock climb to right

My pace for today's run was about 7:30, except for when slowing down to drink in the scenery.
Finishing the run following
others with an uphill sprint
on rocks up to
Kempe Gowde Tower

Kempe Gowde Tower,
constructed in 1597 and relocated here

Friday:  0
Bengaluru Hindustan Airport, India.  Arrived airport 5AM Friday (7:30PM Thursday Eastern time).  Awaiting flight departure for an 11-hour flight to London.  Layover in London this time too short for a run or even excursion.  21 hours after this flight departs, I will touch down at Boston's Logan Airport.  Next run will be Saturday in RI.
What a wild week!  Reminds me of lyrics from Supertramp:
I really have enjoyed my stay,
But I must be moving on ...

Saturday:  17 miles
Charlestown, RI, back in the USA.  Trail run in Burlingame w/ Muddy, Jonny, and Tom.  Wasn't sure if I'd get this run in with the guys as jet-lagged and just a few hours sleep since arriving home at Midnight.  Woke up at 4AM and couldn't sleep anymore; let's go for it.  6AM start in the dark with a couple of miles up Prosser Trail and Kings Factory, before taking a trail out to Schoolhouse Pond.  Most of the rest of the run was a repeat of the neat run we did with Jonny, Sandals, and Galoob back on Feb 25.  The section down by Pawcatuck River and ensuing single track is especially fun.  I was feeling it on the uphill climbs and my legs in general now are sore.  Glad I made it today.

Sunday:  6 miles
Been out of it and sick all day since yesterday afternoon with headaches and stomach bug, inevitably tied to my trip and/or jetlag.  Finally got off my duff in the late afternoon and ran an easy 6-miler out Shore Road to Rock Ridge and Links Passage.  Ran in the woods around Lewis Pond, until I went off the trail and scraped my knee along a big rock.  When I got home, my son asked me why I frequently come home bloodied.  Finished up with a slow mile and a half through the wooded trails of Champlin Glacier Park; struggled through here on what is usually my bread and butter.

Weekly totals:  46 miles
High points:
  • Running in exotic locales:  1) India most of the week, and 2) English countryside at beginning of trip
  • Compliments that gave me a mental high:  1) runner in India telling me I looked like a marathon runner, and 2) descending out of the local Westerly trails yesterday, passing a woman out walking who called out "Wow, great legs!".  She was probably 20 years my senior, but she still sure made my day (by the way, why is her checking out my legs considered a compliment, but if I "check out" a female runner, it's considered that I'm a pervert?)
Low points:
  • India:  the heat (up to 97F), the dust, and the insane traffic flow making it near impossible to cross streets
  • India:  seeing throngs of people living in crowded dirty slums without running water or electricity, and trying to promise myself I won't take things for granted.  I think I'll rent "Slumdog Millionaire" to watch and show my kids, even if not 100% realistic, at least to show the scenery.
  • Getting sick:  I tried hard only to drink bottled water, avoid salads, etc.; hope I didn't bring home a parasite like I did from Jamaica a few years back.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Running in England

Sunday, March 18, 2012
Landed Heathrow Airport just after 5AM.  With 8 hours layover before my next flight, what should one do?   Before I left, I asked a colleague who had taken a similar flight.  He said he just stayed in the airport security area, as it’s far too difficult to have to clear UK customs, security, etc.  Wrong answer for me!  I would go bonkers sitting in an airport security area for 8 hours.
Canal towpath
Crossing through cornfield
Well marked trails
Farm animals along trail
Nice wooded section of trail
Next looked online to see if possible for a local race.  Thought I had found one with the Adventure Trail Run out in Dorking (yes, that’s really a place!) where you cover as much as distance as you can in one hour (sound familiar?), but with a late race start of 11AM, it didn’t give me enough time.  Too bad; according to the race website, after the event, you get to “download your dibber and collect your results whilst enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit”.  How about that?   A UK colleague of mine speaks of the US and UK as “two countries separated by a common language”.
Part 1 (of 2):  Colne Valley Trail – 5 miles.  I’ve run many of the parks and tourist areas in downtown London (according to my passport stamps, this is my 6th visit to London in 8 years).  This time I wanted to get out to the countryside, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Took a train out to Langley station.  The trail started out as a towpath along the Slough canal built in 1882 to connect local villages.  After a bit, the trail crossed over the canal, and then went through farmlands.  A photo above is crossing through a cornfield, the only place I saw another runner. 
Muddy section before bridge
The trail went through muddy sections, through fields with turnstiles you had to open and close to keep stray farm animals from leaving their "tenanted farmlands", and on wooded paths.  Was concerned on the time and when I ended up back at the train station after 5 miles, decided to end the run (or so I thought...)

Part 2 (of 2):  To get back to Heathrow Airport, had to change trains at Paddington.  Looked at my watch and saw I had about 40 minutes to spare.  I am familiar with the Paddington area streets, and know it's less than a mile to Hyde Park.  Ran to and through Hyde Park, where the place was teeming with runners, families picnicing, kids playing soccer and rugby, cyclists, etc.  It was a crowded and different experience from running in the countryside, but certainly very exuberant!
Serpentine:  site of 2012 Olympics
triathlon and open swim
Didn't have time to run the whole of Hyde Park (several hundred acres dating back to the days of Henry VIII, with multiple criss-crossing paths).  Thought of running to nearby Buckingham Palace, but just too busy and too little time.  On the way back through Hyde Park, ran past the Serpentine, a body of water so named for its serpent-like shape.  This will be the venue in August for the 2012 Olympics triathlon, including the swimming start and 10K running end with four laps around the Serpentine. 

Hyde Park

Runner in front of Victoria Gate
at edge of Hyde Park

I fan faster than this winged
guy on top of pedestal
 By now, I had to high-tail back to Paddington to make my train.  Made it to Paddington with just a few minutes to spare to find the right platform (there are 14 of them).  It was a fast packed morning, but I took the "lemons" (long layover) and turned it into lemonade (a really fun morning of exploring and running in England).

Paddington Station, London: 
end of a really fun run in England

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weekly Log 12-Mar-12 to 18-Mar-12

Monday:  0 miles
Planned rest day after an incredible weekend of skiing and trail race.

Tuesday:  0
Some moron set his alarm for 4:30PM and was somehow shocked that the alarm didn't wake him up at 4:30AM for a run.

Wednesday:  14 miles
Morning:  Winnapaug, Weekapaug, Misquamicut.  45o, sunny/foggy.  10-mile run with a little bit of everything:  1 mile of trails in Champlin before continuing east on Shore Road, then ran the 2 miles of the Clamdigger course that are east of the Weekapaug Breachway.  Surprised to see so many clam shells on Spray Rock Road, until I spied a seagull dropping them to break on the asphalt and then eat them.  Crossed the mighty Weekapaug Bridge, then took the path along the breachway down to the beach for the 2.5 mile trek in the sand back to Misquamicut.
Afternoon:  Ninigret Park, Charlestown.  65o !!  Short 4-mile cooldown run on trails with Muddy and Mike, after their speed workout.  Great to run in short sleeves.

Thursday:  3 miles
Was thrilled to go for a run with my 13-year old son.  It's a rare occurence.  Ran out to Champlin Park, then the trails in Champlin, and back home.

Friday:  0 miles
Leg bothering me; took the day off.

Saturday:  21 miles
All winter long when Mike or the WTAC trail gang planned a really long trail run I came up with every pansy excuse in the book (it's too long, it might snow, I don't have the right shoes, my hemorroids might flare up [well, maybe not that excuse], etc), so when there was a 21-mile epic trail run planned for today by Jonny, I finally signed on the proverbial dotted line (or at least the modern equivalent:  e-mail).  Wouldn't it figure then that today's run would be canceled?!
The show must go on.  Ran LSD from my house roughly down Beach Street and Main into downtown, then up Canal, White Rock, and Boom Bridge into North Stonington, CT.  Followed Anthony Road into Ashaway, then Laurel to Potter Hill to cross back into Westerly at the Potter Hill Fish Ladder.  At this point, I wanted to shake it up and do something different so I explored the trails in the Whitely Preserve.  Short, but fun, with a picnic table down by the river.  Back on Potter Hill, I turned left at the first intersection, which was Forrestal Drive and immediately found another Westerly Land Trust property:  Wildwood.  Went in there exploring, but that trail was even shorter.  Eventually dumped out on to Route 3, which I crossed and took Old Hopkinton Road back and then neighborhoods behind Tower Street school.  Ran up to and through WHS campus, including a lap on the track.  I was the only soul there, but I know that will change with track season starting next week; my boys will have WMS practice every day Tue - Sat. 
Wound my way back home via Westerly Hospital area neighborhoods to East Ave, then took Mastuxet Brook Trail home.  Normally I like jumping and dodging roots and rocks, but that's when on fresh legs.  At mile 20, this was a chore to me.  Total time 2:50.
Stealing a feature from Tom that I love (I probably owe him copyright infringement fees now in addition to what I owe Jonny for overdue non-Hammett-Buckeye-Brook-tolls), here are my pros and cons:

Best part of run:
  1. Running 21 miles!
  2. Finishing 21 miles, and not feeling like I need to crash on the couch all day or hobble up stairs.
  3. Running down the middle of road in North Stonington for miles of rolling countryside with nary a car.  I think the only "vehicle" I saw was a farmer crossing Anthony Road in his tractor, and he waved and stopped to let me pass first.
Least favorite part of run:
  1. Running Canal Street.  I like running along the river, but this pothole-wreaked surface is a mess.  Is it this year that they're fixing this?
  2. Trying but failing to find Riverwood trail system.  I ran down Boy Scout Drive until I hit a "No Trespassing" and "Dead End" sign, looked along Old Hopkinton Road, and even ran back Route 3 up to the Hopkinton line.  I think I need Muddy's help.
Time for something new:  I've been looking on the 'net, and for tomorrow am planning to solo run what I hope will be a really cool trail run on a trail and area I've never heard of.  Stay tuned ...

Sunday:  9 miles
London, England.  See separate write-up.

Weekly total:  47 miles

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Forward One Hour Trail Race

Sunday, March 11
Trail race results.  Completed 8 miles @ 54:40.  7th overall, 2nd in my age group (the deepest age group), and tied for 1st in my age group for the series.
In the "How not to prepare for a race" category, I skiied the prior two days hard with lots of mogul runs and thigh burns, gorged myself with good food and drink both days, then drove straight from Vermont to RI, arriving at the race about 10 minutes before the start.
It was a beautiful day with temps around 50, yet this was the smallest field size by far, with 41 solo runners and a handful of relay runners.  I'm guessing many runners aren't into this kind of challenge.  I wasn't sure what to make of it myself, but being part of the trail series made it an easy decision for me to run it.
I lined up at the start (left) with the usual suspects, and the first mile was a mix of passing and getting passed.  About a quarter mile in is a sharp left and a steep narrow downhill section to a field and pond below.  I descended in my full gazelle downhill speed (too bad I don't have an uphill gazelle gear to match, but that's a different story), when halfway down the middle of the hill, a runner in a Running Heritage singlet was damn near stopping.  There's not much room here so I did what I could to move past him on the right.  As I did, he swore and yelled at me that this was a really bad place to pass someone.  I guess it's all a matter of perspective, as I thought to myself that this was a really bad place to be braking hard in a pack of runners heading downhill on a steep section.  (We caught up after the race, I offered an apology, then he did as well, and it was fine between us.  Amazing what a few humble words can do to diffuse a potential situation.)
Came through mile 1 back to the start/finish section on loop 1 of a 2-loop figure eight course.  I was still in a pack of runners at this point.  As we entered the woods for a long freshly cut singletrack section, I was stuck behind two runners for the entire length.  I tried to pass a couple of times but to no avail.  I'm curious if Mike has the splits, as I'm guessing Mile 2 was my slowest mile of the day.  Finally exiting the woods behind the baseball diamond, I passed both of them and when I reached the start/finish again and looked over the length of the field, I saw no one ahead of me.
The rest of the race I ran completely by myself, except for several runners that I lapped beginning at mile 5 or so.  Fortunately, the runners I lapped were all very gracious about moving aside and letting me pass, including the RD's 7-year old daughter!  (What an amazing feat for her!) 
From mile 2 until just before the very end of the race (mile 8 for me), I didn't see a single runner in front of me (again, other than those I lapped) or behind me (I checked at the few switchbacks on the trails).  Accordingly, I didn't really feel pressed to run any harder and my goal became maintaining my position. 
On mile 8, coming out of the woods behind the baseball diamond, I spied Jonny ahead of me.  Doing what I could to close the gap, I finished 20 seconds behind him.  Neither of us attempted a 9th mile, with less than 6 minutes to go before the hour cut-off, and that was just fine with me that the time remaining was too short to force a "race as fast as you can for a mile" strategy.  As Jonny remarked afterwards, I think we both preferred the comarderie and challenge of running in closer proximity as we had done in Brrr-lingame, but that wasn't to be today.
Another great win for WTAC, for this race and the series!  Justin had a phenomenal run, being just one of 3 runners to complete 9 miles, and coming in 2nd!  Despite never seeing anyone on the course, Tom, Jonny, and I finished our 8-mile trek within a minute of each other and took 5th, 6th, and 7th respectively.  The next guy after me was more than 3 minutes behind me.  Paul and John rounded out the WTAC team.  Very happy with my personal finish and I guess my skiing had much less impact than I imagined, so glad I made the most of my skiing as well.
Thus endeth a fun trail series spanning 3 months.  Between the trail races, weekend long runs, and the occasional midweek trail run, I've run more trails the past 3 months than I have the rest of my life.  I still envision myself logging plenty of road miles, but now have a better appreciation and zeal for running trails as well.  Thanks Mike for all your selfless hours in putting together a great series!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Weekly Log 5-Mar-12 to 11-Mar-12

Monday:  0
Rest day

Tuesday:  6 miles
Westerly Hospital loop.  Cold 19run, as winter made a brief return.  Saw a runner ahead of me on Beach Street, and sped up.  Why do I always do that?  Is it a competitive thing, or I'm just curious to see who else is out running?  Anyways, glad I did, as it was Mary Griffin, age group winner at Surftown and WTAC member.  Ran and chatted with her a bit before continuing our ways.  Easy 7:40 pace.

Wednesday:  0
My place of employment woke me up at 2:30AM to work on issues.  Running clothes put out the night before didn't have a chance to get worn today.  Stay away from me today; I'm not a happy camper L

Thursday:  5 miles
Barn Island, CT.  After working 2AM to 7AM for a second straight day, I took the rest of the day off to sleep and then needed a good stress reliever.  Drove out to Barn Island late afternoon, tried running some new trails, including single track along the marsh, then satisfied my curiousity (and I think Jonny's) by running out to Greenhaven and taking the trail we saw last week leading off Greenhaven Road at the Amtrak bridge.  Turns out it ends up right on the first single track trail we ran last week.  Followed that in reverse back to the marsh, then tried a different trail back to the cove.

Friday:  0 miles
Okemo, VT.  Fun day of skiing.  Cold in the morning, but warmed up nicely by early afternoon.

Saturday:  5 miles
Mogul skiing at Okemo
Brownsville, VT.  Easy pace on rolling hills in VT with an odd running partner.  Tough running up a hill on a dirt road covered in light snow from last night, but fortunately my training in ascents up the Weekapaug Bridge prepared me well.  Saw a sign for the "Sport Trails of Ascutney Basin", and followed a meandering hilly trail through the woods when a white animal jumped across the trail in front of me.  Figuring for sure it was a mountain lion and knowing that they eat gazelles, I stopped and froze in the middle of the trail.  The "mountain lion", which turned out to be a mid-size white dog, also crouched and froze staring at me.  After a short time we both figured out neither one was going to eat the other and I continued on my way running, and the dog joined me.  I ran on trails, dirt roads, and paved surfaces, and the dog stayed with me for the remaining 3 miles of my run.  When I returned to the lodging, a girl asked if me if "my dog" was friendly!
Matthew in moguls
Skiied another full day at Okemo.  I started out telling myself to ski conservatively the day before a big race, but by the afternoon I was having too much fun bounding down trails, small jumps, and mogul fields that I decided to live in the moment.  My thighs are screaming tonight, and I don't know how that will affect racing tomorrow, but man I had a blast!

Sunday:  9 miles
Spring Forward One Hour Trail Race.  See separate write-up.

Weekly mileage:  25
Between too many sleep-depriving interruptions from work and a long weekend away skiing, this was an ultra low mileage week.  The winter trail race series is over, and will now be focusing on ramping up for Providence Cox Marathon.  Looking to run 20-milers every other week for a total of 3, starting with next weekend.  Hope to incorporate long runs with WTAC partners into this.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hare Hop

March 4.  Mystic, CT.  Kelley's Pace Hare Hop 3-Miler.
10th overall of 99.  2nd in age group.  18:29.
Nine years ago, this was the first running race I ever ran.  Some interesting contrasts:
Ran 1st mile in 5:59, 2nd in 6:04, 3rd in 5:56.  GPS recorded 3.09 miles.  Official pace 6:10; I'm going with my Garmin pace of 5:59.
The guy after me was upset with recording a 3.10 and another piped up that he had 3.12, so I asked Mary Camire about extending to a 5K, but she said she thought the appeal was to have a different length than the standard 5K.  I don't agree, but that's obviously not my decision.
It was like a fun run to me.  My legs were pretty trashed still going into this race, and I went out for a really fun 16-miler yesterday with the guys knowing I was much more interested in having a fun long run with them than trying to go my fastest on a course known to be long and with hills.
Probably my most fun on the course was when two fast teenagers passed me at mile 1, and I caught and passed them both on the Mile 2 hills.
Post-run caught up with many WTAC'ers.  Went to church (literally) and sat in the pew and chatted with John aka "Pard" as SNERRO's Nick delivered a rather lengthy sermon, then caught up with Steve, Polly, Josh, Kate, Mike G, and others.
This race was a walk in the park; it's the series finale of the trail race series a week from today that has me focused.