Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekly Log 23-Apr-12 to 29-Apr-12

Monday:  5 miles
Today's blog posting is dedicated to the memory of one of our own WTAC members, Laurie Lamb, who passed away one week ago and services were today.  I met Laurie when I started road racing 9 years ago, and she was always friendly and encouraging.  When she stopped participating due to her illness, she was still there at the races cheering people on.  I last saw Laurie at the Super 5K, and last communicated with her on fixing an online registration issue when she was registering Colburn for Clamdigger, incidentally the day of her death.  I had a good phone chat with Colburn yesterday, who at age 76, is planning to run many more road races this year, including State Police.  I was thrilled to be able to say a few kind words for her today at the service on behalf of WTAC.  At the reception after the service, I ran into a lot of runners from WTAC and Mohegan Striders, and officials from SNERRO. 
Having taken the afternoon off, after the reception, I went running in Champlin alone.  Life is short, as I reflected that both Laurie and my father died just weeks shy of their 59th birthday, reminding me I need to live life to the fullest.  In that spirit, I did some extra gazelling in the park.
Rest in peace, Laurie.

Tuesday:  4 miles
Short Tom Harvey loop at 5AM.  Cold, dark, and howling wind.  Got spooked by a sudden clanging metal sound that I was sure was chasing me down; the "monster" turned out to be a real estate sign.  Good thing gazelles can outrun metal signs.

Wednesday:  14 miles
Last 10+ miler before Providence.  Ran out to Weekapaug.  The rising sun on Noyes Neck Road felt good; the farm "aroma" did not.  Took Tom's shortcut grass trail to Spray Rock Road, where I picked up and ran the remainder of Clamdigger course.   Surprised I didn't see Tom and Muddy ahead of me on the course; oh that's right, at this point they were so far ahead of me I didn't see them that day either. 
Although the rain stopped 2 days ago, Atlantic Ave in Misquamicut is still competely flooded out.  Had to run high up people's driveways and through some scrub brush to get through.  Continued out to Ocean View Highway half-way to Watch Hill, then back via Watch Hill Road and Shore.  Tried to push it hard on this run, but by last couple of miles had trouble even maintaining low 7s.  Average pace 7:00 flat.

Thursday:  0 miles
Volunteer timer at WMS track meet in the rain.  Mark ran quite well and qualified in the 3,000 with an 11:01.  Today was Matthew's day.  Two years Mark's younger, he was looking to take 3 seconds off his previous 3,000 time of 12:03 in order to qualify for RI State Championships in mid May.  He ran a really consistent race and killed it by taking 37 seconds off to finish with an 11:26.  He surprised himself and was thrilled that the HS track coach commented that it was a really good time for a 6th grader.  (Sorry for the bragging from a proud Dad.)

Friday:  5 miles
Blustering late afternoon run on the beach in western end of Misquamicut.  Had to hoof it home to pick up the boys from track practice; average pace of 6:45.

Saturday:  8 miles
Fun jaunt with Muddy, Jonny, Tom, and newest weekend runner Mike B.  Ran from Bradford School to and through Grills Preserve.  Most of the run was spent on discussing various races and runs, reminiscing on Chariho soccer, etc.  The aptly but simply named Big Hill was the highlight for me; the views are incredible from the top.  The funny thing is that 8 miles now seems like a "short run" or at least a medium run to me, and when we finished today, I wished that we had kept running longer.  Oh well, plenty of time for that; better to cut it short today between tomorrow's 5K and next weekend's marathon.

Sunday:  6 miles
RI State Police Foot Pursuit 5K.  Separate write-up coming shortly.

Weekly total:  42 miles
Final tapering week coming up now before Providence Cox Marathon.  My rough plans are to take two days off completely, mid-week run of 5-8 with a few short pick-me-ups and Saturday run of 3-4 easy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekly Log 16-Apr-12 to 22-Apr-12

Monday:  0 miles
Race winner:  2:12:40
at mile 25

Fastest American runner:
4th place
Took a break from work to go see the finish of the Boston Marathon.  Upper 80s; glad I was watching it instead of running it.  Slowest winning time in 5 years.  More than 4,300 runners took advantage of an option to drop out and defer to next year.  More than 100 runners went to the hospital with heat ailments.
Reminded me of running 2004 when it was 86F and full sun at the start, back when it was a 12Noon start.  Vowed I would never run it in that heat again. I have a qualifying time for next year by 13 minutes.  Registration opens Sep 10; we'll see ...

Tuesday:  zilch
Closest I got to running was picking up new "Marathon" book by Hal Higdon.  When I went to pay, the clerk at our local bookstore said he was reading it as well as he's preparing to run his first marathon in Providence next month.  Small world ...

Wednesday:  23 miles
Wednesday's run:  hilly and long
Tri-town challenging (at least for me) run.  Shore Road in Westerly out to Route 1.  Continued flat crossing into Charlestown near Shelter Harbor. 
Hill climb #1:  Turned left (north) onto 216, also known as Ross Hill Road.  Long climbing hill up from Route 1.
Hill climb #2:  Right onto Buckeye Brook Road.  These hills are killer, and just keep climbing fairly steep ascents.

Got a respite running past entry and exit points on Li'l Rhody course.  In fact, there are all sorts of neat trail junctures around here beckoning to me (funny how I never paid attention prior to trail running), but today is a road day.  Onward.
Hill climb #3:  On the eastern portion of Buckeye now.  The hills pick up with the same intensity as the earlier climbs.  It seems around every corner the climb just continues.  Mercifully the road is coming to an end as I sight the cemetery on right and stop sign dead ahead.  Having traversed the entire length of Buckeye, I can't imagine how much the non-Hammett toll will cost me.
Turning left onto Shumunkanuc Hill Road, I have another slight respite in a gradual decline.
Hill climb #4:  Upward now on part of the Firm Man Half Ironman course.  This climb is much shorter; nice views from top of hill.
Turning left onto Burdickville Road, there is a screaming descent down to the Amtrak bridge.  I remember this as just a crazy tight turn on the bike course; running it is just killing my quads.
Hill climb #5:  From the Amtrak bridge up to Riverside Farms.  Like the previous hill climb, this one is not so steep or long, but at mile 13 of this, I can really feel it.  At the top of the hill I see what appears to be a haywagon moving on its own.  Focus!  The wagon isn't moving at all.  Not good.  Take another gel and Gatorade; one more climb to go.
Ascending Mt. Burdickville
Another downhill section to the Pawcatuck River and crossing into Hopkinton.
Hill climb #6:  This one is only 1/2 mile, but man is it steep (see picture of me ascending this at right).  My stride becomes shorter and shorter as my pace slows to a shuffle.
At mile 15, turned left (west) onto Route 91, there is a long slow decline to Bradford.  At Bradford, I cross back over the Pawcatuck into Westerly, which sounded good until I realized it's a long ways from Bradford back to the Misquamicut area.
Don't look at the Dunkin' Donuts
At mile 19, I reach Dunn's Corners and hear a voice in my head.  I look right and I see it calling to me in all its glory:  the DD palace!  My left and right side of my brain are fighting between "Wouldn't an ice coffee and some food hit the spot" and "Don't look at the DD".  Good thing I don't have any money on me.
By mile 21, even the rolling hills on Links Passage are painful, but I'm getting close.  Stumble my way home.
Final stats:  mileage - 22.7 miles, time - 2:52:07, average pace - 7:35, weight loss - 7 pounds (not good to lose more than 5% of my body weight), legs - sore for the rest of the day.
Outside of a marathon, this is the longest non-stop run I have ever done.
Thursday:  3 miles
Short slow run at pre-dawn in Misquamicut to try to get the kinks out of the legs from yesterday's adventure.

Friday:  0 miles
Hiked 5 miles with family at Valley Forge National Park, PA.  Legs were more tired than if I had run 5 miles.
Housing of Gen James Varnum of RI,
Valley Forge encampment 1777-78

Saturday:  4 miles
Schuylkill River Trail, Philadelphia, PA.  Easy morning run with my two boys.  Trail system here branches out for miles, including 20 miles out to Valley Forge, and eventually connecting to Appalachian Trail. 
Obligatory "Rocky" run up
steps of Philly Art Museum,
end of Philly Marathon course

Views from the trail:
Fairmount Water Works and
Schuylkill River

Schuylkill River Trail and
Philadelphia marathon route
Trail and river view


Sunday: 6 miles
Morning run with Matthew. One thing about running with a 12-year old is that you have to have flexibility. Matthew designed today's course on the computer, showed it to me, and asked me to remember so that we take the right turns. I focused my feeble brain hard to remember, and about 1/2 mile into the run, he told me he didn't want to run that route anymore! OK, so now what are we doing? Can we run the fun run 5K route? Sure. Switched roads and ran to that course, and then back home adding in one diversion to get 6 miles.  He's intent on gradually increasing the miles to 10+, a condition I gave him before I'd sign him up for the Blessing of the Fleet. 
I checked my in-box later in the afternoon; found an entry from him titled "Next week's route:  7.25 miles" along with a mapped route!
Afternoon swim with Matthew.  He just keeps going!  We swam 750 yards at the Y.  I raced him for 50 yards, but couldn't keep up.

Weekly total:  36 miles
Minuses:  Didn't run as many miles or days as I had hoped.
Pluses:  got in my last 20+ miler, spent lots of time with wife and kids on their spring break, ran 10 of my miles with my kids, fun in Philly

Monday, April 16, 2012

Clamdigger 2012

31:03.  5th place overall out of 167 runners.  1st in age group.
Clamdigger results.
Start of the Clamdigger 2012: 
many familiar faces
I started out with a great pace, and quickly went downhill from there:  5:51, 6:06, 6:19, 6:15, 6:14.  I just had trouble keeping the pace once we got into Weekapaug.  Not sure if that was the warmth, or I needed a pacer, but I had a great time, the wind was only very slight, and the whole race went off quite well.
A record 167 runners.
For the run out to Weekapaug, I was behind Tom, Muddy, and Riyan in that order.  Caught up to Riyan and passed him just before the bridge at mile 1.5.  For the rest of the race, it was a lonely run.  Once I got into Weekapaug, I couldn't see anyone in front of me for pretty much the whole race, and couldn't hear anyone immediately behind me.
It seems like I had just finished and was catching my breath, when Matthew came across the finish line with a 7:13 average pace, having dropped just about 5 minutes off his 2011 time!
Next race:  RI State Police Foot Pursuit April 29
Glad to finish

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Weekly Log 9-Apr-12 to 15-Apr-12

Monday:  0 miles
Rest day.

Tuesday:  5 miles
Ran to the Summer Fun Run course, and ran most of the loop and back.  Several pick-me ups on Crandall and Shore.  Average pace 6:47/mile.

Wednesday:  7 miles
Mid-afternoon run.  Ran Shore Road out to the hills of Moonlight Drive.  Huffed and puffed my way up the hills; came back on a rolling route via Wildflower and Links Passage.  Average pace 6:59.
Got back just in time to help time the WMS track meet vs Chariho and EWG.  Birds-eye view on the track for watching my 8th grade son take 1st place in both the 800 (2:31) and 1500 (5:03); both well below the qualifying time for states.  My 6th grade son put in an awesome run in his first ever school track meet; starting his 3000 in the middle of the pack with majority 8th graders before passing many runners and eventually taking 3rd place in the 3000 with a 12:03, just 3 seconds off the state qualifying time.

Thursday:  0

Friday:  8 miles
Weekapaug/Misquamicut loop.  63o!  Other than India, this was my warmest run this year.  Picked it up for miles 3 and 5 with a 6:19 and 6:14, respectively.  Average pace 6:54.

Saturday:  9 miles
Pawcatuck, CT.  Late morning run.  Dropped the kids off for their track practice, which was at the "bunny" at Wilcox Park, and started my run from there.  Crossing quickly into CT, Mechanic Street was a little busy, but once I got down to River Road, it was dead quiet.  Found a footpath that was gated, but it only had the sign "State of Connecticut", so I tried it.  It turned out to be only 1/2 mile round-trip to a nice outpost on the Pawcatuck River.  Continued to end of River Road at Greenhaven, then went down Riverside Drive, which extends south along the river.  Had never been here before.  Went across marshes and ended at Greenhaven Shores.  Reversed direction back with beautiful views along the Pawcatuck River.  Easy slow run at average pace of 7:51, as Clamdigger race in the morning.

Sunday:  6 miles
Clamdigger.  See separate write-up shortly.

Weekly total:  35 miles

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weekly Mileage 2-Apr-12 to 8-Apr-12

Monday:  3 miles
Ran trails in Champlin Park with Mark.  Usually take Mondays completely off, but couldn't turn down an infrequent request from my 13-year old to go for a run.

Tuesday:  6 miles
Late afternoon run.  Ran Shore Road to Rock Ridge.  Found if I skirt behind the guardrail on RockRidge, there is a trail that drops sharply down to Lewis Pond.  Startled a couple of guys fishing, who said they thought I was a deer in the woods.  Should I tell them it's "gazelle", not "deer"?  Nah...
At the intersection of Wicklow and Tom Harvey, found a gravel road to the right.  Ran down this and quickly found a padlocked gate blocking the path.  Didn't see any no trespassing signs, so went around it, continued for almost 1/2 mile until right in front of me are runways.  Surprised they weren't fenced off (other than that gate, of course).  Decided the airport folks probably wouldn't take kindly to me running on their runway, so turned back.  Nice diversion.
Ran my favorite and hilly "green" trail in Champlin to finish off the run at a good clip.
Bousquet sightings:  0 
By the way, do we have a moniker yet for that cat?  Fodder for the next long run ...

Wednesday:  0

Thursday:  7 miles
Red Rooster Ramble 5-Mile Race, Warren, RI.  Traveled with Muddy, Jonny, and Mike.  The race wasn't until 6:30PM, but due to Warren being on the extreme opposite end of our massive state, we had to get together and depart in the morning and allow ourselves enough time for meal breaks and pit stops.  After 8 hours in the car our long and arduous trek came to a conclusion, as the Jonny-mobile faithfully delivered the four of us to the race start.
I have put enough humility in this blog that I can brag here that I am thrilled to have destroyed my previous PR of 31:47 by finishing in 30:06.  Jonny and I ran side-by-side for the first 4.25 miles over roads and bike path, and pulled each other along.  I would not have finished with the time I did otherwise.  With 3/4 mile left, to avoid the rumors that we would finish the race holding hands, Jonny accelerated and I had neither the inclination nor energy left to chase.  I saw Jonny finish just ahead of me and just under the 30 minute mark; super happy for him and for Muddy's PR, as well as Mike's win.  We all gathered back at the Market Street Pub for food and drink to celebrate our PRs and fun before starting the long cross-state journey home.

Friday:  7 miles
Barn Island Management Area, Stonington, CT.
0.5 miles road; balance trails
Trail's end:  Wequetequock Cove,
Barn Island, Stonington, CT
Beautiful afternoon trail run in the mid-50s; what's not to love?  Started with my usual single-track favorite in the NW section, then started exploring.  Followed some new single-trail with plenty of gazelling opportunities, left me to a section of open mowed meadows I had never run before which then turned into a gravel road that brought me close to an area I am familiar with near the Civil War era cemetery.  Followed the salt water bogs back to the parking area.  Fun run!

Saturday:  20 miles
Cold dark solo 25o degree start in Wood River Jct at 5:30AM.  Wondering to myself what the heck am I doing out here?  Ran up to Chariho HS and back and then down 91E for a stretch before finishing 4 miles back at the parking lot.
Muddy and Jonny had arrived by 6AM and went out for another 16.  By this time, most of me had warmed up so I took some perverse pleasure listing to these two complain about the cold.  This was a repeat of a mid-January run the three of us had done.  King's Factory to Carter Preserve out to 112, then backroads to Shannock, and North Road out to base of Shannock Hill Road.  Jonny ascended Shannock Hill with ease and put some distance between Muddy and I before I finally caught up on the downhill.  Ran the rolling hills of Pine Hill before taking North-South trail through Carolina Management back to WRJ.  Had nothing left at the end.  One more 20 miler to go before Providence Cox Marathon May 6th.

Sunday:  4 miles
Easter morning run with Matthew.  He chose the course:  Tom Harvey loop to Shore Road, entered Champlin Park near Venice, and ran trails in there before returning back home via Tom Harvey.  Good conversational father/son run; tight legs after previous day's 20-miler.

Weekly total:  47 miles
Much better and healthier running week.  Got in my 20-miler, as well as a huge confidence booster with the big 5 mile PR on Thursday.