Thursday, November 29, 2012

Weekly Log 26-Nov to 2-Dec-2012

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  0

Wednesday:  5
After double-zeros, shook off my laziness and romped in Champlin on some trail loops.  Overtired from a busy work week; good to get out even for a short run.

Thursday:  4
Nightime beach run.  No, in case you're wondering, or in case Julie is wondering, there were no other idiots on the beach at night, in the dark, on a cold and windy night.  I was the only one.  As with my previous venture on the beach post-Sandy, it wasn't hard running on the beach; the hard part was getting off the beach with all the debris and police tape.

Friday:  7
Wahaneeta Preserve and Woody Hill Management Area.  All trails.  A lot of serious clearing of fallen trees has gone on in Wahaneeta even the main trails of Woody Hill since I last ran here with Tom four weeks back.  They've also extended the trails slightly further in Wahaneeta and looks like they continue to work on them.  Great stuff!

Saturday:  21
AM:  [15]  Nice early morning group run of 5 WTAC'ers:  Jonny, Muddy, Tom, Mike B, and me.  Was hoping to get more trails in via a run in Woody Hill, but being the first day of shotgun deer season, Jonny brought me to my senses and we'll do that hopefully in a few weeks.  Ran from the Y in the 32-degree darkness up to Boombridge crossing into North Stonington, Anthony down to Ashaway, and Laurel Road to Potter Hill Road for a few circles in Whitely Preserve.  I likely Whitely; it's small but fun leaf-covered trails along the river.  We then ran 7 sets of [2 telephone poles @ 10K, 2 rest] which brought us up to the mother of a hill climb up Potter Hill and then all the way up to the Westerly Town Forest.  It's always a fun romp in the Town Forest for me, with plenty of good hill climbs and descents.  Today was no different; I especially enjoyed running hard on the long climb on the orange trail back up to the power lines.  Ran the the trail along National Grid poles back out and then main and side streets back to the Y.  Pushed the final mile, especially with Tom.  Final mile was a 6:06 average.  It's tough to push on tired legs, but it's good practice for race day.  Biggest group for a long run in a while.  Look forward to more of these.  [1:53]

PM:  [6]  Spending 6+ hours at the South County Y, I got out for a break mid-afternoon.  Ran 2.5 miles at Old Mountain Field with Matthew and his friend, and then we were joined by Mike G for another 3.5.  Mike showed us some newly cut neat loops near Old Mountain Field and then some trails he was in the middle of clearing behind the Y and dog park.

Two good runs, but the legs are spent now.  Bonus:  I broke through my full-year goal of 2,000 miles today!  Most miles ever in one year!

Sunday: 0
Spent the day on yardwork, shopping, and our search to find the "Griswold family" size Christmas tree, which the quest appropriately ended in the town of Griswold.  With three boys in the household, my wife has long given up on trying to convince us to go with a much easier and more normal size tree.  Fortunately Mark is strong as an ox to help me fell, drag, and hoist our 16-footer up on top of the car, and we had four of us to stand it up in the house.  It still comes down to being all about the size.

Weekly running mileage:  37 miles

After two weekends off from racing (first time in many months), next weekend I'll be running Christmas 10K with a few of my WTAC teammates.  I'm looking forward to racing on the team and crushing my PR from last year (38:29, 6:12 pace).  Only time will tell if this is trash talking or not.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Weekly Log 19-Nov to 25-Nov-2012

Monday:  7 miles
Li'l Rhody course minus the final road section, with Steve.  I think this was my 7th time on the course in the past two weeks.  If I spend any more time here, I'm going to have to apply for room and board at Jonny's house.
Our WTAC sweeper did a really good job with the flags, signs, and police tape, and there only a handful of items for us to pick up.  Sent an e-mail to DEM and RI NEMBA on trail status; got a nice response back from both and very appreciative of the WTAC.  Was glad Steve got out on the trails to see them and the results of our clean-up effort.
I think my 1st pair of trail shoes are toast.
Do they normally wear out like this?
Tuesday:  0

Wednesday:  7
445 Club with Tom and Mike B.  Mostly flat and quiet roads through Misquamicut and Avondale, but then pushed it on the 100' climb through Chin Hill on the last mile.

Thursday:  8
Turkey Day.  Saw Muddy's truck next door at Champlin Park, and figured I'd see him on the trails for sure.  Ran multiple trails through Champlin, but never saw a glimpse of him.  Then went into Mastuxet to romp on the trails along the river.  Fell into a hole up to my knee; fortunately grabbed a nearby rock and wedged myself out of there before whatever was living below pulled me further down for its Thanksgiving feast.

Friday:  15
I got an e-mail telling me to meet in secret in a cemetery in SK on a day called "Black Friday" at a time just after sunrise.  Knowing that the sender (Jonny) is kind of a sketchy character, I didn't really know what to expect, however, despite my fears of being killed and sacrificed, it was all good running on SK Land Trust Trails with Jonny, Muddy, and Mike G.
Ran first through winding rolling trails in Duval.  This was the largest expanse of trails, and next after a little bit of running on roads, ran on the Browning Trail just off Shannock Road near the Charlestown line.  The final mile back Mike and Jonny were pushing the pace pretty good, but we recovered on the road back before one final fling into the Duval Trail.  Got back to our cars and saw a posted sign for a mountain lion sighting two days earlier!  Can that be true?  [2:00]

Came home from trail running, and crossed a few items off the "honey-do" list, which earned me permission to go back out in the woods to play.  Took my new saw, and with Westerly Land Trust permission, cleared up a few trail obstructions:

Saturday:  9 miles
Ran with Mike B at sunrise from Westerly Y down Mechanic/River in Pawcatuck to end; back Greenhaven/Mary Hall.  Warm at 46 degrees, but quite windy.
Came back home to find a tree that snapped during Sandy had now fallen to the ground in the wind.  In the past, this would have been a pain, but now it was an excuse to get the chainsaw out again and get my clearing crew (sorry, boys, video game time is over) out for some "fun" work.  Wrapped up the afternoon with a family viewing of "Skyfall".

Sunday:  4
Late afternoon 39-degree windy run with Matthew.  Ran through Chin Hill, and then circles on Mastuxet trails and back, peppered with conversation on cutting a new trail in our backyard.  Suddenly our acre of land no longer seemed sufficient; he was wondering if we could buy up the woods of our neighbors or at least secure the right to cut trails on their properties - I like his thinking!

Weekly total:  50 miles

Running recap:  50 miles is huge for me!  Having the 4-day weekend definitely helped me getting more running time in with more running partners, and I'm feeling good.  Mild depression of returning to a 5-day work week on Monday in tempered by the upcoming holiday season, two upcoming WTAC team races, and 12 consecutive days off at the end of next month.  Hoping to get some form of speedwork and a long weekend run in next week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Li'l Rhody 8-Mile Trail Race

Sunday, November 18, 2012

8th overall of 285 finishers.  2nd in age group.  Results here.

The day was finally here.  This is the most preparation I had ever done for helping to organize any race.  Sure, it started one year ago with securing the date with SNERRO, followed by the usual getting registration and web site setup, CoolRunning, Active, media sites, etc., but I mean the real work performed by several WTAC members and myself was the clearing of the trails post-Sandy over the past two weeks.

Got to the race a little before 9 to setup for registration starting at 9:30.  People really helped out and it was like a well-oiled machine this year.  I never had to work registration myself this year, which was good because it freed myself up for answering questions as they came up, addressing the few inevitable issues, directing volunteers especially race course marshals, and coordinating with SNERRO.  Somehow the 2 hours pre-race flew by, I managed a brief warm-up of almost a mile, and it was time for final remarks and to hit the starting line.

Start of race; I'm fighting to stay near the front as indicated with arrow
Mile 1:  [5:46 pace]  I lined up in the second row and the gun went off.  I try hard to push it on Sanctuary Road to get a good position hitting the single track.  Usually I'm behind Jonny Rocket at the start of races, but I found myself running next to him, before he pulled just ahead of me to enter the trails.
Mile 2:  [6:02]  A past run through the campground.  Got passed by Muddy here, and then settled for most of this mile just behind Jonny, who was just behind Muddy.
Mile 3:  [6:51]  Slowed down here due to the terrain getting more technical with rock gardens, covered bridge, and foot bridges.  That was the last I saw of Muddy as he took off, and Jonny opened his gap on me just after Klondike Road, as he passed one guy who I then followed.
Mile 4:  [6:55]  Didn't see Jonny most of the mile through here; ran behind the guy he passed.  Ran well overall, but slowed at the few detours around the really big fallen trees.  Passed the guy on a straight-away with smooth terrain just before the water-stop.

Race course
Mile 5:  [6:52]  On Buckeye Brook Road, I can see Jonny again.  He's several hundred yards ahead of me, but I do what I can on the road to narrow the gap slightly before entering the woods running along the rock ridge.
Mile 6:  [7:10]  Slowest mile of race.  I am tiring on the uphill sections, but somehow at one point I'm within about 20 yards of Jonny once again. 
Mile 7:  [7:02]  At one point there is a switch-back coming up, where I just know Jonny is going to look back my way.  I was actually thinking if I could hide behind a large tree, maybe he wouldn't see me and would then slow down.  No, not only did he see me and widened the gap again, but now I can hear two guys behind me closing in.  Despite the fatigue, this was the mental push I needed to pick it back up again.
Mile 8:  [5:38 pace]  Exited on the roads to see Jonny just about 100 yards ahead of me.  Is it possible for me to catch him, especially with a downhill finish?  No, first comes a gradual uphill climb, which is his forte, and he's probably 400 yards ahead of me starting the descent to the park.  I finish strong in 50:25, staving off the two guys behind me, 3 minutes off my time from last year, and a huge course PR for me by about 1 1/2 minutes.

I caught up with Jonny and Muddy, both of whom I'm also thrilled to see had huge PRs.  After quick chatting, I head back onto the course to find Matthew, who together with his friend and XC teammate Jonny Eckel is running his longest trail race ever.  I think their previous longest trail runs were the middle school cross country meets of about 1.8 miles, and nothing technical.  Holy smokes - Matthew is finishing already!  13 years old, youngest competitor in the race, 8 miles on the trail, placed in his age division which goes up to age 19, and he broke an hour!!  He put a short posting on his blog (link here) which I thought was defunct - if you know him and thought he did well, he might appreciate posting a congratulatory comment for his efforts.  After the race, he and I spent much of the afternoon and evening discussing the race.  Even the family dinner talk was all about minute details of the race.

Final strides; drained of energy but a strong finish
Great, great, race overall.  I counted about a dozen WTAC finishers, many with PRs, including I believe a trail race debut for Mike B.  Indulged myself by buying one of my favorite pies of the season, a pecan pie which I noshed on in the evening - hope I'm not packing on the pounds by the end of the holidays.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weekly Log 12-Nov to 18-Nov-2012

Monday:  0
Needed recovery day.

Tuesday:  4
AM:  Still sore,especially hips and calves; skipped run. 
PM:  Got home from work, and it was dark, 40 degrees and rainy.  Perfect - let's go out running!  Just ran the Tom Harvey/Wicklow/Shore route slowly to get my legs going.

Wednesday:  16
AM (8 miles):  Ran Li'l Rhody course a final time; this time with Mike C.  40 degrees.  Chilly near the start, but once we got into the woods it was fine.  Impressed with how good the course looked after clean-up until we got to one downed tree that we missed about mile 6.  Damn!  What to do now?  Get the saws for another mini-cleanup?  No, a mile in from closest road.  Opted to make a small detour; this one was an easy one.  Glad Mike got to run the whole course pre-race; it's the least he should get after all the work he's put in.
PM (8 miles):  Doubled down with my first "legal" Misquamicut run post-Sandy, as the roads finally opened up this week.  Ran down to Weekapaug, and along the way, ran 12 sets x (2 telephone poles hard, 1 easy).  Jumped onto the beach just west of Weekapaug Bridge - ah, how good it felt to run on my beloved hometown beach again.  Ran the beach 2 miles or so to Windjammer, until I had to exit because it was no longer passable.  Just getting the short distance from the beach to Atlantic Ave was quite a chore, as it was dark now and I was wading through chunks of concrete and debris, and then under police tape (an outlaw once again) onto Atlantic Ave.  Running along Atlantic Ave was just eerie as it was a ghost-town, running in the dark, road still sand-covered in many places, and running along huge piles of sand and debris.  The few cars that passed me just kicked up clouds of sand, which wasn't pleasant.  This wasn't the Atlantic Ave that I know.

Thursday: 0
AM:  Closed, finalized, and submitted Li'l Rhody pre-registrants (166) at 4AM; missed opportunity for a run.  Hopefully in afternoon.
PM:  No dice.  This will be my day off.  Friday it's the 445 Club, followed by an easy 5+ on Saturday.

Friday: 12
AM [7.5 miles]: Well, well, look who's joined the "445 Club":  Mike B.  Just when I thought there were no more lunatic runners in the greater Westerly area, we rustled one more up out of the woods.  After finally getting it through to Mike (he's a Chariho grad) that the start time for "445 Club" is actually 4:45AM, he still followed through and the 3 of us started from Tom's house.
Today's was a good workout route that Tom picked:  hit the hills of Moonlight/Urso, first 5 miles were between 6:26 and 6:43 pace, before going down onto the beach at Fenway, past the new Weekapaug Inn, and then a gradual climb from sea level to 116' to end the run, with a near-sprint at the end.  Average pace 6:45.  Fun stuff!  What else is there to do at 4:45AM?!
PM [4.5 miles]:  Matthew was looking for a running partner to go into Champlin (we don't let him run there alone).  Easy pace; it was neat for him to suggest trails he likes.

Saturday:  5
Newport, RI:  Mid-day run in sunny upper 40-degree weather, with Matthew, and neighbor/friends Jonny and his mom Beth.  Ran from the Newport Y, then on the beach at Easton's Beach, and onto the CliffWalk.  Easy pace, as it's the day before Li'l Rhody.

Sunday:  9
Li'l Rhody 8 Mile Trail Race.  Separate write-up shortly.

Weekly totals:  46 miles

A good mileage week, culminating in one of my favorite local races.
Looking forward now to some down time over Thanksgiving, hopefully a good trail run with running friends on Friday, and a weekend free from racing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Avondale 5K

Setting the Pace for Conservation 5K at the Avondale Farm Preserve
(That's way too much of a mouthful for me, so I'm going with "Avondale 5K")

Sunday, November 11, 2012
17:39; 5:42 pace.  3rd place out of 72; 1st in age group.  Results here.

This is a new race put on by one of my favorite local non-profits, the Westerly Land Trust.  They have so many great trails in Westerly, most of which I've only recently explored over the past year.  Several are within easy running distance from my home, most notably Champlin Glacier Park, so I am very pleased to help support this event and their cause.

I ran the full course as a warm-up with Jonny.  I was still tight from my week of trail clearing activities, but feeling I could work through it.  We also used our GPS watch measurements to help SNERRO set where the starting line should be.  Not a certified course, certainly, but we'd do our best to get it reasonably accurate with tangents to 3.11 miles/5.00 kilometers.

WTAC singlet-clad Tom, Jeff, and Jonny at start
I lined up with Jonny and Tom on the starting line.  The better part of the first mile and the last half-mile is within the preserve, which is neat, except on this date that meant headwind along Grassland Way on the same section that we'd run twice.  I thought Jonny took off unusually fast (even for Jonny!) and he led the pack for the first half-mile until Tom caught up to him.  I hit the 1st mile split (on Watch Hill Rd) in 5:35, but was already starting to huff-and-puff.  By the turnaround on Champlin Road, Tom had opened his gap and it was Tom, Jonny, and I in 1-2-3 with a fair distance separating each of us.  I came through mile 2 in 5:48, but thought if I could pick it up on the 3rd mile I still had a chance at a PR.  I was really working hard that 3rd mile through Avondale and along the water, but never really felt strong, and then had the headwind again re-entering the Avondale Preserve.  My final mile was also 5:48, and my final time 17:39.  I just came through the finish and Tom was trying to introduce me to this parents, but I was too busy panting and wheezing like a dinosaur to say anything coherent to them at the moment.

My recent position the past couple of 5Ks:
Me (background) following Jonny (foreground) in to the finish

Final strides
PR?  Nope, not this time.  Off by one second, as I think Jonny might have been also?  I really have no complaints, though.  The headwind and my soreness may have taken away a few seconds, but I'm really happy to have run a 17:39.  It was great to see such a WTAC turnout.  Congrats to Tom and Kelsey each doubling-down on back-to-back Saturday and Sunday 1st place wins!  I liked the flat course and almost all on quiet streets and within the preserve.  The race could use some better publicity, but overall a good race and great local cause.

Team WTAC; some of us sporting our singlets and age-group awards.
I love the camaraderie and am looking forward to WTAC entering
true team competition races next month.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekly Log 05-Nov to 11-Nov-2012

Monday: 0
Needed rest day
Tuesday:  7 miles
Track workout at Curtis Corner w/ Muddy, Jonny, Mike G (he is alive!), and Ben.  It was a frigid 24 degrees.  Jonny joked that my winter running gear apparently consists entirely of shorts that are 1" longer, a hat, and gloves.
Difficult to run hard in such cold temperatures that I haven't yet acclimated to.
4x200:  37, 36, 36, 30 (the first 3 at "glider" pace, the last one hard)
4x400:  52, 51, 50, 56 (I thought we were done after 3, so I put my effort into that one, and had nothing left for the 4th.  Thanks Galoob!)
2x200:  37, 34
Cool-down on the Spring Forward trails.
Spent the rest of the day clearing Li'l Rhody trails with Mike C and Muddy.  Made a lot of good progress today.  Hard physical work that left me exhausted and starved, but to me a grueling day of tree-clearing beats a good day at the office anyday.
Wednesday: 6
Winter storm run.  The weather got progressively worse throughout the day, and by my next opportunity to get out a run (late afternoon), we were in the middle of a Nor'easter, 34 degrees, 30 mph winds, pouring rain with some snowflakes mixed in.  Out we go ...
Other than a quick jaunt out to the pond via the short trail in Lathrop Wildlife Preserve, I ran entirely on the trails in Champlin Glacier Park.  It was my first time in there since Hurricane Sandy; I ran most of the trails, and the trails were in amazing shape.  Just a few places that could use a saw; I may contact the WLT and see if that's OK.
By the time I finished up, the temperature had dropped to 32 degrees and the mixed precipitation had changed to all snow and was sticking to the ground.  I came in the house soaked to the skin, cold to the bone, spattered in mud, and dripping water and snow, and proceeded to ask each of my family for a hug.  The response:
  • Mark told me I had rabies (apparently I was foaming at the mouth as well?) and to stay away.
  • Jana just gave me a disgusted look, as if questioning (again) why she ever married me.
  • Matthew not only me took me up on the offer of a hug, but then proceeded to come outside to throw a few football passes with me on the lawn, in the soaking wet 32-degree weather, dressed in short pants, short sleeve T-shirt, and for some reason socks but no shoes.  Yeah, I am worried that the boy may have gotten a few too many of my genes!
Thursday:  0
Wimped out on running in the morning for a second run in the winter storm; then no time left rest of the day. 

Friday:  8
Li'l Rhody course recon w/ Mike B for the first few miles and Muddy for the full.  Car breakdown and delay of start turned out to be running out of gas due to a faulty gas gauge - could've been worse.

Saturday:  0
Back onto the Li'l Rhody course with today's clean-up crew (Mike B, Mike C, Lennon from RINEMBA).  Got heckled for wearing identical outfits with Mike B; although Mike C and I also turned up with our new matching green saws.  We sawed through the carnage of trees and limbs and made mince meat out of them; see pics on WTAC web site.  The trail is now clear for the race next Sunday!  Yes, a few detours and jumps over trees, but this thing wasn't passable a week ago.
After another day of heavy clearing, I am SORE!  Legs, hips, back, etc.  No running today; hope I'll be back from Avondale 5K Sunday.

Sunday:  8
Avondale 5K.  Separate write-up shortly.

Weekly mileage totals:  29

Week wrap-up:
Saw this ad in a magazine today, and it just resonated with me after a week where I got called
from work two nights in the middle of the night, and twice Saturday while I'll on Li'l Rhody clean-up.
The unclear text is "Let someone else climb the corporate ladder".  As for me, I'm going running ...
Lowest mileage week in a long time, as I think I spent most of my week living in Burlingame State Park getting course ready for next Sunday. Was good to get back with the original track and trail workout crew early in the week and to finish with a strong local 5K.
On the downside, I am very sore tonight after multiple clean-up efforts.  Mike B suggested taking Aleve, which I did tonight, only mine had an unusual spelling:  TANQUERAY.  I'm sure it's the same painkiller.  No physical activity for me tomorrow; hopefully the soreness passes quickly as I ready for Li'l Rhody next Sunday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tarzan Brown race

37th Annual Tarzan Brown Mystic River Run
November 4, 2012
31:21.  9th out of 641.  3rd in age group.  Results here.

I was waffling on running this one as I've been racing pretty much every weekend, but when I heard so many other WTAC'ers were planning on this (Mike B, Mike C, Steve, Tom, Jeff V, etc), I was in.  Should have pre-registered as it cost me an extra $5 an a shirt.  Live and learn.

I ran this the past two years alongside Matthew, and enjoyed it with him.  The last year that I actually raced this was 2007, when I ran a 33:20.

Went out for a warm-up along the river with Mike C, who was ready to run after being without electricity for 6 days.  Came back and lined up at the start with Tom, with Mike B and Steve a few rows back.  The gun went off and I went out pretty hard.  I went through Mile 1 in 5:46 and was probably about 20th and was feeling good so I kept pickin' em off.  Mile 2 started to get into the rollers, and I came through that slower but still solid at 5:58.

I saw the two lead guys way ahead of much of the pack, and then hit the turn-around in 13th place.  Heard my name a number of times heading back against the throng of runners now and acknowledged a few with a thumbs-up, but was mostly pushing it here, even passed two guys going uphill, which is not my strength.  Came through mile 3 with my slowest pace of 6:04.  Picked it up again for mile 4 at 5:52 and mile 5 at 5:51, where I passed one more guy who was breathing hard and slowing.  Kicked in the final portion at a 5:25 pace, and had nothing left to even talk to Tom at the finish line for another minute or two.

Caught my breath with Tom; he finished 5th overall a minute plus ahead of me.  Watched Jeff V, Mike B, Steve, Mike C and the others come in. 

Went over and introduced myself to Tarzan Brown's grandson as I'm a fan of his grandfather's running feats, and his family was quite friendly and talkative to me.  One family member suggested I go over and talk to Tarzan's wife and shake her hand, as she was sitting in a car with the window down.  I was not prepared for the comment/question I got from her, which was something to the effect that I looked like an "older runner" and did I happen to have run with or known her husband?!  I remembered that Tarzan ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but it wasn't until I got home that I found out he was born in 1914!  I thought I ran pretty well at the race for a 90-plus year old!  Nice woman; it was a pleasure to meet her and her family.

Was thrilled to have finished in the top 10.  It was also the first race longer than a 5K that I had averaged sub-6 pace.  Jogged to Mystic River Park with the Mikes for chowder, cider, and awards.  Congrats to all, and especially to Kelsey who went home with the main trophy for overall female winner.