Thursday, August 30, 2012

Schonning 5K

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Results here.  2nd overall; 1st in age group.

The old man takes a PR!  I had no idea if I had another one left for me in this lifetime, so this was a special thrill.  Better yet, this was on a certified course, and my last one was not. 

Solo warm-up.  Anxiously waiting for the gun to go off, it seemed like a lengthy speech on detailed pre-race instructions.  Please remind me to keep my remarks brief at WTAC events!
Start of the race:  Tom, Justin, Jeff
The gun went off, and I was in 5th place for the 1st half mile or so.  I loved running my favorite part of the course:  downtown High Street and Main Street, traffic-free behind a police cruiser.  On Main, I passed speedy local teens Riyan and then Nick, and from there on it was the same basic view for most of the race:  the back of Justin's and Tom's WTAC singlets.

1st mile split on Margin Street at 5:25!  Didn't even see the beautiful river views, just the WTAC singlets.  At turnaround at the cemetery, I was parched and actually grabbed a water to at least rinse my mouth from the dryness.  Slight uphill on Clark to Elm St.  I could feel this tiny hill!  Slight downhill to Mile 2 split at 5:50.  I had slowed 25 seconds, partly due to the net downhill, however slight, from the Y to the river, and then slight uphills in mile 2.

Sprint to finish
Final mile:  caught up to Tom on the small rollers.  You know Tom isn't quite right if I'm catching him.  Tom verbalized some motivation for me to get at it.  I hit mile 3 at 5:52, and then picked it up to a near sprint in 5:06 to finish between Justin and Tom at 17:49.

A lot of NRA singlets out there, but WTAC singlets in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd!  Cooldown with Justin, Josh, and Mike C before a nice spread in the rear parking lot and my kids each "forced" me to run the Bolder Dash mini obstacle course.  The Bolder Dash officials asked if I'd sign up for the actual race Sep 15.  The day before Surftown?  Not happening. 

Great showing from Team WTAC.
Also put this shot on WTAC website.
Great turnout and performances for WTAC:  Justin defended his title, Tom is back if not 100%, Mike B had another PR and strangely exactly 1 minute behind me again, Elise won women's title, both my boys placed, Steve broke his target sub-21, and Mike C tied his PR.  Record 129 runners for this race!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekly Log 27-Aug-12 to 2-Sep-12

Monday:  0
Calves feeling tight after two good runs past weekend.

6 miles.  Stonington Fun Runs:  final fun run of the year.  L Solo warm-up, then ran the 2-loop course and the cool-down with Mike B and Glen C.  6:31 pace

7 miles in the morning.  Saw the kids off to their first day of school, then got out the trail shoes and headed out for some 'xploring.  Parked at Wahaneeta, ran through there and Woody Hill.  Great fun.  Once I've got my bearings down better, I'm going to plan to incorporate this as part of future group run.
Trails on Camp Wahaneeta,
Westerly Land Trust newest parcel.
Nice to see "Welcome" signs

Cool rock outcropping on
today's run

6 miles in the evening at Schonning 5K.  Fantastic race!  See separate write-up.

4+ miles in early evening.  Shore => Maplewood => 1 mile on beach east => Montauk Ave, and home.  Woman on beach whistled at me!  Or was she jeering?

8+ easy Misquamicut beach loop.  Stopped at new Weekapaug bridge, and learned that in 1880, there was a toll wooden bridge across the breachway upstream, primarily used for hauling of seaweed!  Cool!
Next 2+ miles on beach; hard going against the wind and in soft sand at higher tide.

Being the last day of August, started to look out for fall races.  See 2012 tab.  Good news:  no problem at all finding races I want to run; bad news:  I filled up every single weekend until Thanksgiving!  Some of those "tentatives" will have to go; don't think I want to be racing every single weekend; doubt my family does either.

 17+ miles with Jonny.  Narragansett Trail from Green Fall Pond parking lot in Voluntown, CT, west to Wyassup Lake in North Stonington and back.
Today's run

Not what I'd call a flat run!
Met up at 6AM, less an injured Muddy.  The trails were still a little dark for my liking as we took off; but it lightened up quickly.  This was NOT an easy run, and was quite technical.  Should be good prep for my Nipmuck Trail Marathon in 4 weeks.  [2:35:46]

Large boulders at High Ledge;
Jonny's head gives perspective
Wyassup Lake - turnaround point
water is really low

4 miles.  Led Matthew and his cross country teammate through Champlin trails.

5 mile morning run with Tom.  1 mile on beach, the rest local Misquamicut roads.  Good to see Tom out running again!

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  57 miles

Strong mileage week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Fall 2012 marathon is ...

I had been "harassing" Muddy of late about deciding which fall marathon he was running, while hypocritically having no plans of my own.  So here it goes:

... the NipMuck Trail Marathon.

What?  A trail marathon?  What are you thinking?  Aren't you the guy whose only running venture onto trails every year was the Li'l Rhody, and there were no other trail runs never mind trail races?  The same one that's afraid of snow on the trails or running more than 8 miles on trails?  Guilty as charged, but then I ran into these local lunatics trail runners like Jonny and Muddy that showed me more of the dark side.  Ever skeptical at first, over the past 9 months I bought my first pair of trail shoes, ran every one of Westerly Land Trust trail systems, ran up to 17 mile trail runs, ran with huge elevation gains on trails at over 11,000', ran at least 6 other trail races, and even sought out trail runs and trail races on my own.

So why a trail marathon selection, and why NipMuck?
  • I've run 13 road marathons and want to try something different.
  • I just killed my marathon PR by going sub-3 at Cox Providence Marathon, so I have no speed goals or time targets I'm looking to meet this time.
  • I've been traveling a fair amount recently, and looking for a race I can easily drive to.
  • I couldn't resist paying a 1/2 price RD entry fee of just one Andrew Jackson!
  • Two local runners I know are signed up:  Mike C and Rhody Seth.
  • I ran the first half yesterday (see blog entry below) and had fun!
Am I done with road marathons?  Not by any stretch.  I'll most likely be signing up for one of the largest and most historic when registration opens two weeks from today:  2013 Boston Marathon.  In the meantime, this will be something very different and interesting for me.  I don't know whether I'll love it or hate it.  Last year's winner, Ben Nephew, finished in 3:17.  The website indicates you should add at least one hour to your road marathon finishing time, which is looking like 4+ hours for me. 

Life is short, my friends.  Try something new once in a while:  a new race, a new run, a new workout, etc.  Live life to the fullest.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Log 20-Aug-12 to 26-Aug-12

Monday:  0
Rest day after a big running week last week and Battle tomorrow.

6 miles.  Battle of Stonington 5K.  See separate write-up.

2 whopping miles.  Westerly fun runs 1-mile end of season.  My duties there kept me from a pre or post-run. 

Start of 1-mile:  Jonny and I in middle,
and Tom and Mike B on right
Took off together with Jonny.  After passing him, I heard footsteps right behind me at 1/4 mile, and thought it him re-taking me, but it was Tom.  Ran 3rd for a while behind Tom and 15-year old Nick.  Passed Nick out on Crandall Ave, and finished strong at 5:16 (5:10 split on GPS) for running on the road. 

Great finishing photo of top 4 all close:
Tom (5:13), me (5:16), Nick (5:20), Jonny (5:23)

Very low mileage week getting back after vacation, but great back-to-back road races Tue & Wed.

Thursday: 0
Long work day; having trouble getting back to reality schedule. 

Friday:  another 0
Ticked at myself for spending a beautiful day inside working, running errands, etc.  I've got to get back into my routine, or I'll be miserable.

14 miles with Mike B.  Only upper 60s, but very humid.  Two loops from the Y at 6AM, as depicted below.  11-miler out to Boombridge Road in North Stonington and back via hilly Potter Hill.  Quick water break, then ran the Schonning 5K course as a precursor to Wednesday's race.  Average pace 7:22.

12 miles.  Nipmuck Trail with Mike C.  Left my house in the dark just after 5AM to get this one in early enough.  Started in Ashford and ran 6 miles south to Route 44, and then 6 back.  Singletrack the whole way.  Most of the trail was in great shape, save some bushwhacking at the end.  A mix of flat and hilly trail, dirt trails, and rock gardens.  We never saw a soul the whole way!  My legs felt fatigued on the way back; didn't have the same spring jumping over fallen trees as I did going out.
Blue blazed Nipmuck Trail

At our turn-around at Route 44:
I learned CT does a good job marking
their trail heads along the roads

2 miles barefoot on the beach with Matthew.  Couldn't keep up with his sprinting.
1/4 mile from Old Town Beach out towards New Town.  Ocean was a warm 72 degrees and felt great!

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  36 miles
Swim:  0.25 miles

Week in review: 
  • Much lower mileage than I wanted. 
  • The four days I did run were all great:  two great racing evenings, a fun road run on Saturday morning on quiet roads, and a Sunday morning run on trails I had never been on.
  • Looking forward to the Schonning 5K on Wednesday.  RD Polly told me today a record ~50 preregistrants.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Battle of Stonington 5K

Battle of Stonington Logo

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Stonington, CT.  Celebrating victory over the British in this War of 1812 battle.

Results here.  17:58!!  11th overall out of 244.  2nd in my age group.

Start of 2012 Battle of Stonington 5K
Late getting to race meant a short warm-up time (with Matthew), but possibly warded off the pre-race jitters I often have.  RD Steve Bessette announced this was the biggest Battle attendance ever, about 70 more than last year.  Serious competion here tonight with the top 5 all going under 16 minutes. 
I couldn't find Matthew at the start, until the race took off and I saw him - ahead of me!  A bold start (see him extreme left front in photo above).

End of lap 1:  half-way mark at 9 flat
Jeff Duda and I ran within footsteps of each other, just like 2011,
but a different outcome this year
I ran one of the most consistent races of my life:  5:43 / 5:46 / 5:46, with a 5:10 pace for final 0.1 sprint.  I was pushing it hard, but felt good the whole time.  On the final stretch from the cannons up to the library, there were two teenagers in my sight that I caught and passed.  I sprinted the final "uphill", expecting them to retake me, and they never did.
The teen age group winners got gazelled
by someone 3 times their age!
I saw the clock ticking 17:50, 17:51, ..., and pushed it wondering if I could actually get under 18 this time, the only time close this year being 18 flat at Super 5K.
17:58!  Yes!  2nd fastest 5K in my life, and I've run a few 5Ks.  What a feeling!  Took home a bottle of wine for my efforts.  Caught up with so many runners I knew afterwards, including a huge contingent from NRA.  Congrats to fellow WTAC'ers Mike B and Mike C for PRs!  Mike B went sub-19 for the 1st time ever and just 9 seconds from placing in a stacked race.  Matthew and neighbor/friend Jonny Eckel finished in an identical and impressive 20:48, just 4 seconds off Matthew's recently minted PR.
Apres-run celebration with WTAC running friends Mike B and Mike C

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Colorado Adventures: Weekly Log 13-Aug-12 to 19-Aug-12

6 miles.  Estes Park, CO.  Elevation 8,010'.
Didn't have much time before leaving, but explored a little further into Rocky Mountain National Park today.

Before sunrise, elk were bolder and
came right out on the Y grounds

Between good trail signs and
a trail map, I never got lost

Another day of awesome views while running the trails
in Rocky Mountain National Park
9 mile morning run.  Telluride, CO.  9,500' elevation.  Ran the "easy" Boulevard Trail today.  Totally winded.  0.5 mile in, my Garmin died.  Panic!  Somewhere out there, Greg H is smirking and telling me to just leave the watch behind.

Afternoon:  Mesa Verde National Park with family:
Climbing up 32' ladders to Pueblo
cliff dwelling ruins
Pueblo "Balcony House" ruins
circa 1200AD
8 miles.  Uncompahgre National Forest.  PR!  What kind of PR, you ask?  That would be an elevation gain running PR:  1,100'.  Not as in I ran 100' up and down 11 times, but rather I started at 9,500' and my highest point was 10,600', so total elevation climb would be even more.
I am not ashamed to say I ran some 11-minute miles and took a number of breaks, but I didn't walk any and was thrilled I did it.  The screaming downhill finish was intoxicating and insane.

Along today's trail

3 miles into my run today,
damn near all uphill climbs

Cool forest singletrack
up at 10,600'
3 miles downhill to finish:
somewhere in the valley is where I started

Afternoon:  Strenuous family hike (Matthew picked it) up to 11,900'.  Followed by frolicking in the pool.  It was all good until reality hit when my boss reached me and asked if I could sign on to help resolve a technology problem that was holding up a project.  Arggh!

14 mile mountain run! 
  • Elevation range:  9,300' to 11,200' (not a typo)
  • Temperature range:  47 degrees at start, 61 at finish (perfect running weather)
  • Humans encountered:  1 (another crazy early morning trail runner at start)
  • Animals encountered:  chipmunks and marmots (wierd gopher looking animal living in rocks)
  • Course:  Prospect Trail (billed as longest single-track at Telluride at 10 miles), plus a few trail spurs added on
  • Views:  priceless!
Neat stream, sorry "creek", crossing
Trail crosses cool rock strewn field;
I had to stop and climb the rock pile
Priceless views along the trail
Which way does the trail go?
"It's better to get lost in the woods than
in a maze of cubicles" - Merrell
Soaking my weary body in Ouray Hot Springs Pool
after a tiring day of mountain running, hiking, and lap swimming
400 yards at Ouray

4 miles was all I could fit in early morning before checking out and the long drive back to Denver.  Re-ran the "easy" gravel Boulevard Trail with "only" a 300' continuous climb.
Afternoon break enroute at Garden of the Gods, where we ran on and jumped on the freakish rocks:
Garden of the Gods,
Colorado Springs, CO
Saturday: 0 (flight day back to RI)

15 mile early WTAC group run with Muddy and Mike B.  Wood River Junction to Carter Preserve trails, roads through Shannock, back Pine Hill Road in Richmond to North-South trail back to WRJ.  "Jonny's run", but without trailmaster Jonny we inadvertently took a shortcut and left out the "fun" uphill climb along the power lines.  Actually felt good running up Shannock Hill - was that because I didn't have Jonny pushing the pace uphill today, or because the mountains and altitude in CO helped me?  I'm going with both.
Good running company; I don't think I would have been able to get this one out on my own being tired after two consecutive days of travel.
Afternoon:  3 miles barefoot on sand from Westerly Town Beach to Seaside and back.  Apparently none of us got in enough running from this morning's long run?   Muddy went out for a few more.  The two CT Mikes went for a 5-miler on the beach at Noon.  Does that make 20 miles on the day for Mike B and a record for him?  Caught up with Mike B again at Seaside.  Mike C had bailed before I got there (apparently he had heard I was on my way and high-tailed it out of there - I can understand that).

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  59 miles!
Swim:  0.25 miles

Week in review ramblings:
  • Our country is just so massive, and so beautiful.
  • Pace doesn't mean much in the mountains; it's just more indicative of your elevation gain/loss, altitude, and how trashed your legs are at any given moment.
  • After the week I had out west, it's going to be really tough to go back to that maze of cubicles in the concrete jungle tomorrow.
  • Don't ever take for granted our proximity to the ocean - certainly one thing I missed out in CO.
  • I've been prying Muddy for his fall marathon plan, while I still have yet to make my own.  Decision within the week.