Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weekly Log 25-Feb to 3-Mar-2013

Monday:  0
Rest day.

Tuesday:  5
Evening easy pace blustery run to and onto the beach and back.

Wednesday:  10
3:30AM.  Alarm went off.  Punched snooze a couple of times, but still managed to get out the door before 4AM into the pitch dark, pouring rain, 39 degrees, with 25 mph wind - isn't that the kind of rain soaked run in winter that Mike B lives for?  Ran first few miles into the headwind (brutal!) on Shore Road, before turning onto Noyes Neck into Weekapaug.  Running with the tailwind along the ocean was better, until I stepped into ankle-deep flooded Atlantic Ave at Misquamicut Beach.  Turned onto my road to finish, and got spooked by something big moving in the dark - turned out to be three deer.
Unfortunately, I have to work up in Beantown all five weekdays this week, so I had to adjust my running schedule even a tad earlier and pounded out the miles while you younger cats were still drooling and catching Zzzzs.  [1:10:xx, avg pace 6:52]

Thursday:  7
Ran through the Moonlight and Urso hills - a couple of quick 60' hill climbs, as the sun went down.  Ran rolling hills back.  Ended the month of February with 170 miles, a far cry from Mike G's 303, but meeting my own goals.

Friday:  0
Traded in the running shoes for ice skates today, as I went as Jana's guest to Free Skating Night for YMCA Staff. Short skate, but fun exercise!  Despite the preponderance of teens there, they had plenty of "old goat" music.
Ice skating downtown Westerly

Saturday:  6
Morning run with FiveK near Charlestown Beach.  Good run and conversation as usual on roads I hadn't been on since I lived in this area over a decade ago.  Characters encountered not nearly bizarre as last weekend's run; today's was a runner wearing jeans.

Sunday:  27
RI Sea to Summit.  Apponaug Cove in Warwick to Jerimoth Hill in Foster.  Longest run of my life. Left the house at 4:45AM to work with Mike to set up a car drop and also break point.

Inauspicious start at a parking lot in Apponaug:
7 of us ran (l-r Ben, Dave P, Bob J, Jonny, Mike G, Justin)
Apponaug Cove, Warwick:  sea level
(photo courtesy Mike G)

About 5 miles into run in West Warwick
Countryside in Scituate about 10 miles in
(note uphills are a common theme on this run!)

Water, Gatorade, GU, and snack stop I had set up:
About Mile 14, Tunk Hill Road, Scituate
 About Mile 19, we turned onto Ponagansett Road.  The dirt road for the next few miles was a welcome relief.
812' from sea to summit, but total of 1,981' elevation climbs during run
Last four miles were nearly continuously uphill

Here we go climbing again - Dave P, me, and Ben nearest in photo.
Dirt roads in Foster were a welcome relief. (photo Mike G)

Final section of road before trail turnoff for Jerimoth Hill
(I'm passing sign on left side of road - photo by Mike)

Almost there!  Left Route 101 for the short Jerimoth Hill Trail
to the summit.  Look how much snow cover is still left here on March 3rd!
Made it!!!  RI's highest point.
Muddy and Mike at summit cairns
Jerimoth Hill:  the gang all made it
(photo courtesy Mike G)

We left Jerimoth Hill, where it was near freezing point with very light snow, and Mike drove us back to Warwick, where it was in the low 40s and partly sunny!  It was really funny to see everyone climb out of Mike's van 1/2 hour later all contorted, walking awkwardly, and groaning.

A really tough and long run that I'm not ashamed say I was getting sore and slower on the last 5 miles or so, but overall glad I did and had a good group to converse with and pull each other along.  Not the type of thing I'd want to do every weekend for sure, but a fun and truly epic group run.

Weekly mileage log:  55
February totals:  170

Week in review:
Clearly the highlight was today's Sea to Summit Run.  Never done anything like it.  A distant second to that was having the wherewithal to get out super early in lousy weather to get some miles in.  A busy work schedule kept some miles down, but I still got in 55 for the week.
Next week I'll taper down a bit for the Ocean's Run Half, but then I expect to ratchet it up again for the two subsequent weeks before then reducing for Big River and Boston.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Log 18-Feb to 24-Feb-2013

Monday:  0 miles running, but 4.5 miles X-C skiing late afternoon
Started flat skiing in the meadows (Jana, with Mt Washington in background)

Then my distance runner boy asked if we could find some hills

Matthew next picked a back-country trail and then exclaimed,
"This is just like Mike Galoob's Snowy Sufferfest course"

Tuesday: 7
Hilly workout in Bartlett, NH.  14 degrees.  "Cow Hill" was a killer on the thighs for me.  Followed that up with a full-day of skiing at Attitash.

Mark tearing up a mogul field.

Guess which trail I took?
Wednesday:  7
Bartlett, NH.  29 degrees with 3" new snow.  Local roads.
Hilly road climb and beautiful views on today's run
Matthew picking his way off a ledge on a glade trail today -
6" fresh powder at Bretton Woods

Thursday:  8
Bartlett, NH.  Thigh killing run up Cow Hill again.  Uploaded to Strava to find most of 350' hill climb was between a 15 and 19 degree incline.  It was a mental struggle to keep going and fight the impulse to stop.  Running downhill at similar grade was crazy.  Picked up Matthew and his friend at Mile 4, and took them up a 200' hill with up to a 13 degree incline.  Impressed that they both made it.  This run was a real thigh burner!
Cow Hill between Mile 1 and Mile 3

Friday:  5
Morning:  Champlin Glacier Park trails.  23 degrees, clear and calm.  Hoping to get out this afternoon also, but just getting back to Westerly and seeing most of the snow gone in my front yard, was itching to get into Champlin.  Made note of a few downed trees to clear later and notify Westerly Land Trust.  Brought along my Yak-Trax, which turned out to be a good move.  While there were long sections of trails that were bare ground, most of the trails were hard packed snow and ice.  Trails that had many frozen footprints weren't bad, but the few trails I went on that had just one or two prior sets of footprints were tough as had to keep breaking through the frozen crust. Took off my Yak-Trax prematurely before jumping back on a final trail, and regretted it, as was slipping all over the place.  Definitely a Yak-Trax day today.
Afternoon:  Never made it out for another run.  Went clearing downed trees in Champlin instead.  Sent my trail report to Westerly Land Trust, and they responded saying they're either going to erect a statue of me in Champlin, or put my name on a tree stump.  I'll go with the latter!
Before (blue trail blocked)

Saturday:  16
Group running tour of Hopkinton.  Met up at 6AM with Muddy, Jonny, and Seth.  Originally we were hoping to have a group run in Big River with Mike G ahead of next weekend's festivities, but due to schedules not aligning and Jonny's reconnaissance report of heavy snow covered trails, we opted for [mainly] roads instead.  Early on, we took the Tomaquag Trail, one certainly I had never been on.  The first part was enjoyable with shallow snow, but the last half was really tiring breaking through deeper virgin snow.   This was followed up by several hilly miles on roads - there were some honest climbs in there.  My favorite was Tomaquag Valley Road, a dirt road, hilly and winding, with picturesque countryside dotted with homesteads.

We had a welcome drink and snack break (thank you, Muddy!) about 8 miles in at the Grills Preserve Hopkinton.  Trails too snowy to run on today, but would like to get back in there now that I know where it is, especially after Polly Coon Bridge is rebuilt sometime in the spring to connect to the Westerly Land Trust trails.  Next a run up fairly steep Chase Hill Road, which Muddy promised would be the last hill (he lied).  Wound our way back to Ashaway along the Westerly line and Pawcatuck River, and finished up with a hill climb up to and onto Route 3.  By now, all conversation and running strength had pretty much died.  Certainly a good workout today!  Thanks Muddy for putting this one together. [2:00:24]

Sunday:  9
Session 1:  FiveK was looking for 6 miles, and I was looking for 8-10, so I ran a few solo first, running yet more hills, from Y up Narragansett Ave to WHS (130'), and winding back down through Wilcox Park to meet up with FiveK at Y parking lot.
Session 2:  Funniest thing all run: We were running through the North End, when we passed an elderly man walking towards us, as he was inhaling hard on his cancer stick.  I politely said "Good Morning" to him, but he uttered nothing as that would have required removing the cancer stick from his mouth, which he never did.  Instead, he just kept staring us up and down, like he'd never seen such creatures.  FiveK glanced back as we rounded a corner, and said the guy was still staring at us.  Wierd!  The old man went home, and said, "Mabel, you wouldn't believe what I saw today.  After all my years in the North End, never saw anything like it.  There were these two guys wearing shorts in the middle of winter, and get this, they were running!  Probably high on drugs, or running to or from their drug deal."
Rest of the run was more normal, with good conversation on running, skiing, and triathlons.  We had more hill climbs in store on Canal to Potter Hill to Autumn Lane (140' climb), adjacent to hill climb up to the Town Forest.  FiveK just texted me that our last three miles were 6:15, 6:21, 6:21, without even realizing it.  Good run!  Finished in time to spend some time in the Y sauna, and watch Mark qualify in today's time trials in his 3rd event for YMCA New England Championships in Springfield, MA next month.

Weekly mileage total:  52

Week highlights:

  • Fun week of skiing, cross-country, and running challenging hill climbs in NH.
  • Fun group runs on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Getting permission from the boss, and signing up for two events in Block Island:  Shad Bloom Trail race, and BI Tri.

Good Boston prep with hills and 50+ miles this week.  Need to try to keep in that range through end of March, plus get 3 more 20-milers in.  Next up:  back-to-back 1/2 marathons next 2 weekends - Big River and Ocean's Run.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weekly Log 11-Feb to 17-Feb-2013

Monday:  3
Still sore from the Brrr-lingame Snowy Sufferfest.  Took Mark to the Mystic Y for a swim workout (Westerly Y pool closed this week as electrical system destroyed in blizzard), and while we were there, it was easier to go for run rather than drive home and back.  Matthew accompanied and we ran out onto Enders Island where the traffic was a little quieter.  Slow slushy run.

Tuesday:  0
Rest day.  Started strategizing on Boston prep runs (3 more 20's and a 23?) and also 2013 races over the next six months or so (see my new "2013 Races" tab).

Wednesday:  9
Had to bring my car in for oil change and state inspection, and took a page out of Seth's and Mike C's book by showing up in running clothes, and dropped my car and ran home.  Crossing four lanes of traffic on Route 1 with snowbanks on shoulders was a trip, and not in a good way.  Fortunately only 1/4 mile or so.
Remember the old video game "Frogger" where you try to negotiate frogs
across lanes of busy highway traffic?  That was me running across
Route 1 this morning.  You can play it here.  Maybe old guys like
Mike B will remember it.
28 degrees.  Cut through Mastuxet and Rotary Park.  Trails not negotiable with bowed over trees.  Tried to run in Champlin, but just torture through snow crust, chunks of ice, and footprints frozen solid.  Back on to the roads.  I hit Links Passage in full sun - nice and warm.  Worked through the hills of Urso and Moonlight.  Was working up a sweat and getting thirsty as I ran past Tom's parents' home.  I had expected them to have a water stop set up for me; made a mental note to talk to Tom about that.  What a beautiful morning for a run.  Getting into trails didn't work, but still very picturesque running the roads with all the snow and snowbanks.

Thursday:  0
Disappointed with myself for being a lazy slouch and not getting out of bed to run.

Friday:  6+
45 degree afternoon run.  Broke out the short sleeve and short shorts running gear.  What a day!  Headed out towards Watch Hill with Mike C and FiveK.  We were talking it up and having a good time through Avondale, but on the way back I could see Tom near wincing in pain, and he even had to stop for a while.  Not good at all.  Hopefully his calf issues going away with some R&R.

Saturday:  20!
Today's form of pain consisted of a 20-miler at 6AM.  Fortunately, Mike G, Jonny, and Muddy joined with me to share the fun.  Went out from my house towards Weekapaug, with a unexpected momentary hard stop about 5 miles in when Muddy and I both planted our legs in a snowbank and sank waist deep.  Ran along the coast from Weekapaug then through war-torn Misquamicut and then a brief break on Ocean View Highway for hidden snacks and water.  Restarting from this, our only true stop, was really tough to get going again (about mile 12 by now). 
Wound our way down to Watch Hill Lighthouse, where it was snowing by then.  My legs felt every hill.  Wound back through Avondale, where we really picked up the pace (thanks Mike!), and the last 5 miles were all sub-7 pace.  I had one final "present" in store for the guys:  a 100+ climb up Chin Hill in the final two miles.  After some groaning, but we got through it.  Mile 19 was 6:39, and Mile 20 was a blazing 6:17!  What a way to finish up.  It's tough running 20 miles on roads anytime, but easier with running friends and good laughs and conversation.
Afternoon:  1 mile jog in Wilcox Park with Matthew.  Painful.

Sunday:  5+
2" new snow.  19 degrees and 25 mph wind.  Between the snow-covered streets and trail, wind, and legs very much feeling yesterday's monster run, I kept it short and slow.
Running the trail down to Winnapaug Pond was slow going:
sometimes I'd sink 2" in snow, sometimes a foot
Snowy Winnapaug Pond from the trail this morning, and
the Pyramids of Giza Misquamicut in the background

Weekly total:  44

Week wrap-up:  High point was certainly the monster group run on Saturday.  Although tough and leg-burning, it was a great prep for Boston and other runs.  Wish I had gotten more miles in elsewhere in the week, but the week ahead gives me good chances with the holiday and a few days off.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Brrr-lingame Snowy Sufferfest

Sunday, February 10, 2013

4th in series of 5 winter trail races.  Results.

After a blizzard dropped a foot and a half of snow on southern RI Friday through Saturday, and then I struggled to run even 0.5 miles of trails in Champlin Glacier Park Saturday afternoon, color me in the skeptical column that this race would ever transpire.  But add in the doggedness (read "insanity") of RD Mike Galoob, updates on the web and FB, beautiful sunny weather near 30 degrees Sunday, and indeed on the order of 30 runners in various shod devices came together for an afternoon of outdoor fun.

Final Yak-Trax adjustment before start

 WTAC was out there sporting our colors, not quite in the numbers seen for Super 5K, but we still a group of 8 hearty runners shod in anything from running shoes, YakTrax, snowshoes, and even cross country skis!  After two days of heavy snow-shoveling, I saved what little strength I had by not going out for a warm-up and instead just taking a few strides on the hard snow-packed road.
And we're off ...

The siren went off and the odd assembly of racers advanced.  The first 1/4 mile or so was on the hard-packed snow covered road, and my newly re-minted YakTrax helped here.  I passed a few racers and then entered the woods just after Tom and just before Ben.  Only Sandals (today clad in  some flavor of socks!!!) and Bob Jackman (on snowshoes) were ahead of Tom.

BRUTAL was the order of the day, especially the first two miles with the hilly terrain.  Step down into the snow, lift your back foot back out of the snow, repeat over and over again.  Uphills were near a walking pace; downhills gave a slight if ever so short relief.  Tom, Ben, and I stayed together as a group, and we quickly could see no one ahead of or behind us.  Our pace for the first two miles was about 13 minutes!!  Mile 1 shows 10:44 only because partly on roads, and Mile 2 split shows a more honest 12:56.  At more than double the pace from Super 5K, and about double from most of my shorter trail races, that should give you a feel for the brutal effort we were making to run through the snow drifts.

On one of the ridges, Tom fell down into the snow - wish I had a camera for that!  For a split second, I contemplated passing him, but really was appreciating not being stuck out here as an island and was more enjoying the beautiful winter wonderland and camaraderie as opposed to the usual hard fought competition.  Anyway, I appreciated stopping for a moment to catch my own breath as Tom got up.
Finishing up the race

On the last uphill, Jonny Snowshoes caught up to and passed us, and the rest of the course flattened out.  Ben dropped back about this point, and Tom and I finished the rest of the race together.  At some points, I'd actually get into a rhythm, however slowly, but then would suffer when I planted a foot into deeper snow.  Back onto the road, a sign pointed left for snowshoers and right for runners, so we ran the road to the right back, although it turns out people varied in which route they chose regardless of wearing snowshoes or not.
Look at the snow-covered trees behind us!

Cool down with Tom

Final time:  40:07.  Ten seconds behind Tom, and good for second in the "long run course".  Went for a 1.5 mile cooldown with Tom, and came back for awards and hot chocolate.  Went home with a box of Girl Scout cookies, as did Matthew.  Won't help me to lose the 5 pounds I'm trying for, but they'll taste good!  All in all, a very fun and challenging day in deep snow conditions not likely to be repeated anytime soon.
A smaller but hearty Team WTAC comes out today

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Weekly Log 4-Feb to 10-Feb-2013

Monday:  0
Sloth Monday.

Tuesday:  5
Ran at dusk in Champlin in lightly falling snow.  Normally I dislike wearing my trail shoes on any road portion, but with the roads covered in snow, it was fine.  It got dark while I was in Champlin, but something about the white snow-covered paths helped the visibility a bit.

Wednesday:  13+
With a 1/2 marathon road race next month and Boston the month after that, I want to start to sprinkle in some medium runs midweek and more long runs on weekends or whenever they fit.  Tested my fitness today by running essentially a half-marathon.
28 degrees.  Ran down into Bousquet territory and past the Weekapaug Inn.  Secondary roads were still coated with snow, but not slippery, from last night's dusting.  Ran through the "war zone" of Misquamicut with pyramids of sand, pyramids of debris, and various bulldozers and excavation and demolition machines at work.  Onto Ocean View Highway and a slight breeze along the water, followed by my slowest mile (6:52) on the 50' climb up Browning Hill.  Picked up the pace a tad on Watch Hill Road and Shore Road to home.  Felt really good running today!  [1:28:24, average pace 6:41]

Thursday:  4
Solo edition of 445 Club.  Clear, calm, 21 degrees.  Tom Harvey to Shore loop.  No one else out there in shorts today.  Did see one person walking.  Gazed frequently skyward to the bright starry canvas this morning.

Friday:  13+
"Mid" morning run trail run with Muddy and Fivek.  6:30AM start from Bradford School.  We were able to get a later start today as schools are closed due to impending snowstorm.  Would early morning run mean 4:45AM, or since 4:45AM is a normal run start time on Fridays, would "early" have to mean earlier than 4:45?
Atop "Big Hill" in Grills.  Today was Orange Hat Day.
Anyway, we went into Grills and took the long perimeter path around (blue to yellow to Big Hill, wandered around, orange back).  After a few miles in Grills, we headed over to Woody Hill Management Area, but just before entering Woody Hill itself, we ran up the steep hill on Woody Hill Road.  Muddy was so happy with my choice that he had really special words that he used for me, and then spelled them just to make sure I got his sentiment.
New trail Tom and I found last week exploring in Woody Hill.  The trail
comes right along the edge of the top of this boulder where pictured.
Wandered through the eastern side of Woody Hill, past the marsh where it was snowing pretty good by this point, down to the south gate and back.  Opted to take the single-track over to Quarry Road, but first had to get up an over a by now slippery rock outcropping.  Let's just say the "aging gazelle" held this own and was pretty nimble through here.

Afternoon:  Good bonding and learning opportunity for me as I went with Mark to the Y for a swim workout.  We swam for an hour (actually, Mark swam for an hour, and Dad swam for < 1/2 hour and then went to the sauna!).  Humbling how fast Mark swims by me.  Swam 600 yards only; really tiring for me - good thing tri season is still 4 months away.  Asked Mark for pointers on what I was doing wrong.  He was kind, but you could tell it was more like "where do I begin?" or "how much time do you have?".

Saturday: 3
Spent six hours outside today in the aftermath of the blizzard, shoveling, making a snowman, and going for a run.  My teenage boy came out for 20 minutes, then asked if he could go in because "there's nothing to do"!

Charlie's Overlook in Champlin Park today
Tough running the trails with so much snow and many
branches went over from weight of snow

Remember my Yak-Trax broke at Belleville?  Jerry-rigged them using a needle-nose plier and vice-grips, and off we go.  Running on the plowed but snow covered roads was just fine, but running the trails in foot and a half snow was exhausting.  Ran for only 1/2 mile in Champlin, then gave up.  Following the footprints of some snow-shoers was a little better than making fresh tracks, but still just so slow and tiring.

End of my driveway:  is this Westerly or Alaska?
I had trouble throwing the snow any higher.
snow drifted - anywhere from 9" to 30" - best guess 20"?
Afternoon fun - we had trouble getting the frozen snow to stick, and ended
up filling up a garbage can with snow to make the head!  He's about 7' tall.
Sunday:  5
Brrr-lingame race.  Separate entry to follow shortly.

Weekly total:  43

Week highlights:

  • Two half-marathons, one of which was a cool trail run.
  • Getting back into the pool, and the realization that tri season is only four months away.  Doesn't look like it outside!
  • A good ole fashioned New England snowstorm.  Love it!
  • Fun but zany and brutal Brrr-lingame race in a foot and a half of snow.  I am sore!

Next week, I need to figure out how to get at least one long run in during the holiday weekend, and at least one to be partially at MP.  Beyond that, mixing in fun excursions and a modicum of speedwork where they fit.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Super 5K

Sunday, February 3

Results.     Photos.

17:55, 5:47 average pace.  12th out of 268.  3rd place in age group.

Got to the race early, turned in the team roster (we ended up getting the “Best Penmanship Award” for a printed, formatted copy), picked up the bibs, secured WTAC tables, and started to gather with my awesome WTAC teammates.  Went out for a warm-up on Canonchet trails I had never been on, with Mike G, Mike C, Muddy, Jonny, Tom, Riyan, and Matthew.

Mile 1:  Despite getting there just over an hour early, the time flew by and I found myself at the starting line.  Dropped to second row to give Mike G a front row start.  I had a single goal in mind:  beat my 18-flat time from last year’s race.  The gun went off, and I ran elbow-to-elbow with Jonny (literally hitting a few times) for the first ¾ mile.  I followed right on Jonny’s heels as we turned off Ocean Road onto Earles Court, and then I felt like Jonny took off, although later data analysis (yes, I’m a data geek) shows I slowed quite a bit.  Mile 1 split:  5:39.

Mile 2:  Left turn onto Gibson, running part of the Blessing in reverse.  Felt good coming into the turn-around, as I saw Mike G, Muddy, Tom, and Jonny coming back at me in their WTAC singlets.  The positions were relatively fixed by now, although just after the turn around I passed one of the Rhode Runner team racers in their distinctive orange uniforms with an anchor symbol.  Now it was just a sea of WTAC singlets coming at me, with Riyan, Jeff V, Mark, Matthew, Steve, Mike C and so on and so on.  Really cool and uplifting!  Now for the down part (what’s the opposite of uplifting?): passed through Mile 2 in a split of 5:57.  What?  18 seconds slower?!  What happened?  I felt like I was running the same pace in the 2nd mile.
Sprint to the finish

Mile 3 and finish:  Disappointed with my Mile 2 split, I picked it up slightly and just tried to hold on to finish.  Come on – that Coast Guard House restaurant still seems far away.  Finally, under the castle, I hit Mile 3 split at 5:44 (much better) and near-sprinted the last 0.1 at 5:21 pace.  Just like last year, I turned the corner and saw the clock ticking away towards 18 minutes, but this time got just under at 17:55.
Yes - made it under 18 minutes this time!  Fastest Super 5K for me.

Post-race cool-down with Muddy, and then with Steve and a bunch of other WTAC’ers.  It was really neat to run in with Mason.  I felt bad for him dodging pedestrians on the sidewalk – probably the safest strategy given that the course was open to traffic, but certainly not the fastest.  Good time back at the restaurant with pasta and awards:  an orange hat for my 3rd place age finish, and $100 Mews certificate for another WTAC outing in the near future.  Mark, Mike C, Muddy, and Riyan all PR’d today for WTAC.
Awesome showing for the awesome WTAC team!

Post-race analysis:  Checked on Strava, and was astounded to find it’s a 74’ rise from Ocean Road to the turn-around.  No way!  I thought it was near flat.  Just as Mike G surmised, I had kept the same physical effort, but did not compensate by running harder up the hill to maintain the same pace.  Strava shows I slowed to a 6:21 pace on “Earles Court Rise”, while Jonny only slowed to a 5:48 pace on same segment (he's smarter than I am, not to mention faster).  Like I said, I’m happy with my overall finishing time, especially for the first road 5K of the year, but not the erratic pace path that I took to get there.  Will try to learn from it.