Monday, December 24, 2012

Weekly Log 24-Dec to 30-Dec-2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekly total:  57 miles

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


  1. Merry Christmas to you as well! Excellent holiday write up, about to head out the door soon myself, not sure where yet though...

  2. I really enjoyed your 2nd annual Night Before Christmas poem. Thanks for running with me in the gloomy weather Thursday!

  3. Gazelle, you are correct with the aquatic listings. Good fun out there today!! I've already begun scheming on how to make it into a one way, 8-10 pond bag session.

  4. What can be better you ask - how about 70 degrees and sunny

  5. Nope. 70 is too hot. 40 degrees yields PRs.