Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weekly Log 27-May to 2-Jun-2013

3 mile Memorial Day barefoot beach run.  Tom, Matthew, and I ran from the Town Beach to the breachway in Weekapaug and back.
1/4 mile, give or take.  Matthew was the wiser as he continued on for a few more miles of running solo on the shore, while watching two fools jump into 55 degree water to splash around for a while.  It was frigid!
Two fools in the frigid water

Tom (left) and Jeff (right) navigating the chilly waters
The sane (left, sticking to running on the beach) and
the insane (right, into the frigid waters)

5 miles.  Stonington Fun Runs - 1st week.  Temps in the 50s and rain, plus early in the season, helped keep the numbers quite small at about 35.  2 mile warm-up with Matthew, followed by the Fun Run itself.  Two 20-somethings took off from the start, so I thought I'd try to hang with them if I could.  Mile 1 was 6:21, where one of the them dropped back.  It was still a comfortable pace when my watch beeped for Mile 2 and I told the one guy left we had just run 6:08, to which he replied between pants that it was the fastest mile he ever ran.  I congratulated him, but was feeling kind of weird staying right with him, so I went ahead and ran my final mile at 5:59.  Matthew finished up shortly after me, and Jana ran the full 5K route as well.  Drinks on the deck were quick as it was still raining.

1,000 yard morning swim.  Back at the pool with FiveK.  450 warm-up, 2 sets of 2@50, drills.
14 mile evening ride.  Quick solo ride through Weekapaug & Misquamicut.  Average 18 mph; top speed 30 on Shore Road.

19 miles with FiveK.  Invited the two Mikes, but didn't work out for them.  Rode out to Dunns Corners and then up to Bradford.  That part was mostly flat, but then the hills on 216 in Charlestown were not.  We pushed it pretty good on the hill climbs, before a loop down through Weekapaug/Misquamicut.  Average speed 17mph; tops 35mph on 216.
Mike B asked us to schedule the next bike
trip down in Misquamicut.  I did, but his
loss as he didn't show up for it

A break in Weekapaug
after trying to give FiveK a workout

6 miles with FiveK.  445 Club.  Very humid!  Between the last two nights' rides and this morning's run pushing the pace the whole way including up the Westerly Hospital hill, I can really feel it.  Matthew asked me to run a brick with him this afternoon - I hope he takes it easy on me!  Average pace 6:29.
16 miles.  Afternoon.  Ride portion of brick workout, including 10 miles with Matthew.  Out to Avondale and back, then Urso hills to Noyes Neck, and back via Atlantic.
3 miles.  Run portion of brick with Matthew.  82 degrees - yuck!  I hate the heat (sorry, Mike B), but know I need to get acclimated.  Transitioned immediately from bike to run, and with the Gumby-like legs, Matthew asked me if that's what if felt like to be drunk.  I told him I didn't know since I've never been drunk, but I'd ask my running friend Muddy what it feels like to be drunk!  Kidding - he wouldn't have believed me anyway.
7 mile slow pace cool-down.

5 miles.  Pawcatuck Lions 5K.  Hot and humid.  Separate write-up to follow.

1/4 mile open ocean swim with FiveK.  Was fearful of a repeat of a week ago where I just froze the whole time, but this time I got gradually acclimated.  Don't get me wrong - that water is still cold, but I was able to stay in for 15 minutes today and felt much more comfortable.  Today's struggle was seeing in the dense fog, and got clobbered by two waves close to shore.
7 miles.  Back Road Ramble.  Separate write-up to follow.

Weekly Totals:
Run: 29 miles Bike: 56 miles
Swim:  1,800 yards

Week recap:
Haven't reached 30 miles running in the past three weeks.  Don't mind that the mileage is lower per se, and expect it even with swapping out running time for the bike and swim.  However, what I do mind is the lack of a weekend long run.  In that spirit, I'm just going to have to have some weekends where I'm not running races, or at minimum, not a Sunday.  Let's see how I do with getting a few race-free weekends, but looking at my 2013 Races tab, I see it will have to wait another two weeks as Mystic Tri next weekend.  See, I don't exactly have a good track record there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


North Stonington Education Foundation 5K.
Saturday, May 25, 2013

49 degrees.  Rain, wind, raw.  Is this really Memorial Day weekend?

After a brief 1+ mile warm-up, lined up next to Jeff Duda, last year's winner. After an initial gun mis-firing, the race got started, and I quickly found myself in about 10th place, as mostly teenagers bolted out from the start.

Having run this race most years, I'm familiar with the hilly course:  first 0.5 miles uphill, next 1 mile downhill, then turn around and repeat.  After 1/2 mile, I had passed all the teens (actually, they had run out of gas and were slowing) and caught up to the leader.  I hung just behind or next to him the remainder of the course out to the turn-around.  At one point, two deer leaped in front of us and startled me.  He seemed to be running with ease (the leader, not the deer) but mentioned a few times his concern with the uphill return.  Just before the turn-around, I could sense another runner approaching the two of us, and at the turn-around my fears were confirmed: Jeff Duda had entered the challenge.
Hunting an aging gazelle
(Jeff Duda 3rd)
A moderate first mile of 6:05 plus running downhill left me with plenty of energy for the return.  I actually picked up the pace to take the lead and after another half-mile or so, I couldn't hear footsteps anymore.  I don't know any more of my splits, as I tried to silence my watch with it beeping from the rain hitting it, and inadvertently stopped the timer instead.  Didn't notice it until I kept waiting for Mile 2 beep to pick up the pace again, and then found myself within 1/2 mile to finish, where I kicked it in.
Outlasting my competitors at finish line
Final results:  18:31, 5:58 pace.  Full results here.

Slower than my usual 5K, but I'm happy given the hills.  Matthew took 5th overall, followed next by Mike B with a 1st in his age group.  John H won his age group, as did Polly, and Steve placed as well.  Good day overall.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Weekly Log 20-May to 26-May-2013

5 miles.  Lunch time run on Misquamicut roads.  2 mile warm-up, followed by 4 x (400 yards hard, 400 yards easy).  It wasn't pretty:  73, 76, 79, 80.  Uggh!  Guess I need to resume getting some speedwork in on a regular basis.

6 miles.  Late afternoon run to the Town Beach, and ran the beach back.  Even on the coast, it was 73 degrees.  Chatted with owner of Two Little Fish as I stopped in all sweaty for a water.  On the plus side, singlet weather is back.

1,000 yards with FiveK.  400 warm-up, 4 x 50 (49 for the 1st, slowing to 59 for the last), and miscellaneous drills.

17 miles with FiveK.  This time he shows up with a road bike and bike shoes - didn't recognize the guy.  Headwind out to Watch Hill, and we pushed it hard on Ocean View Highway and again on Atlantic before easing up through Weekapaug along the water.  On Atlantic, averaged 23 mph.  Average 18 mph overall, maximum 29 mph.  Can feel it in my thighs this evening.  Good workout.

9 miles.  Met up with Mike B and FiveK for a 4:45AM run from FiveK's house.  The pouring rain had let up to a light rain when we started.  4.5 miles with the group down to Weekapaug, then another 4+ solo run home through Dunn's Corners neighborhoods.  Good start to the day.

6 miles.  North Stonington Education 5K.  Write-up shortly.

35 miles - my longest ride in two years.  Really fun ride with the guys out to Mystic and back.  Tom came over my house at 7AM, and we met up with Mike B in Pawcatuck about 10 minutes later.  Mike planned a good route to minimize traffic, and we had a coffee break mid-way courtesy of Tom.
Could feel I was at my limits on the way back, especially on hill climbs.  Felt like a game of cat and mouse; I was pushing to try to stay with Tom on uphill climbs, and then downhill Mike would blow past both of us and it was time for some "Boumenot hunting".  Gotta get more of these in.

Weekly Totals:
Run: 26 miles
Bike: 52 miles
Swim:  1,000 yards

Week in review:
The week was a little light in swimming and running, but just can't fit everything in.  On the plus side, I got a physical activity in every single day of the week and am loving the variety.  Two weeks to go to Mystic Y Tri, and I have two 5K races between now and then.  Need to remind myself to ease up on signing up for races, and just enjoy the fun.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Weekly Log 13-May to 19-May-2013

Monday:  0

4 miles.  Hopkinton side of Grills Preserve.  Had never run here before, but unexpectedly found myself driving home from Mom's and decided to drop in for a run.  Comparing my Strava output to the map link from Muddy's recent blog, I think I found every trail in there EXCEPT the trail to the famed new bridge to the Westerly side!  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to come back ...
First part of run is through fields

followed by nice trails in pine forests

24 miles w/ Tom.  It had been two weeks since I'd been on the bike - it wouldn't exactly have traveled well to India.  Out to Watch Hill and back.  Going out into tough headwind, but pushed it on return and was able to keep 23mph w/tailwind on Atlantic Ave.  Followed with a good hill workout.  Avg 16 mph.

7 miles.  Barn Island trails.  Mostly single-track through the woods, finishing up on carriage double-track.

6 miles.

Drove past this sign many times; stopped to investigate and
run.  Nice new pine forest trails, but too short.  Hopefully
they will add on.  Charlestown Land Trust website just
says "Trail map coming".  Any familiarity? 
Onto Mill Pond Preserve, another Charlestown
Land Trust property.  Remains of an old fish hatchery.
Neat bridges and trails, but overgrown in places.
Unfortunately, sprained ankle pretty good here.  Hopefully
a day of icing will relieve.
Ended the trail portion of my run at a place called
"Hayes Point" with Route 1 in background;
ran Gen Stanton / Narrow Lane back

1,000 yards.  First swim with Tom since back in US.  He's getting more equipment and getting faster!

Barn Island group romp with Muddy and Mike B.  We were hoping Jonny would join us, as this was at least 75% single-track, but Jonny had just done a massive road run the day before (what's backwards with this picture, boys?).  Mostly easy conversational pace run, but we pushed it hard on the three short Strava sections - all twisty, turning singletrack.  We spaced our distance apart to give room on the tight trails, so we didn't know how we fared 'til we got home - shocked to hold off Muddy by one second on two of them and tie on the 3rd.  No doubt if they were longer he would have taken me, as my lungs were spent.  All good fun.  Good to see Mike getting back into longer stuff.

The day of Walker running events continued as we went to Matthew's middle school state championships.  He went to his race pretty nervous and 72 degrees in sun didn't help, but he ran a good 3K at 10:51(5:49 pace).  In typical Matthew reaction, being 8 seconds off his PR and coming in 5th, he was really disappointed.  I tried to tell him 5th in the state in awesome, the 4 in front of him were all 8th graders and he'll be back next year, and he was only one of 3 boys in all of Westerly to even qualify to run today and the only one to score.  The Westerly girls meanwhile had an awesome day with winning the first ever Westerly middle school championships.

The afternoon brought us back to the Westerly track for Mark's Class B state championships.  The sun went away, the temps dropped, and it's was Mark's day, as he dropped a 4:31 for his 1,500 race, a huge PR (4:51 pace).  Looking forward to how he'll do at Freshman States on Monday.  If Mark keeps running during the summer, the old man will be toast at the Bottone Mile, and that will be fun to see as well.

28 mile group ride.  Mike B came back for a 2nd straight day of punishment, and Tommy5K joined in as well.  Rode out to West/East Beach in Charlestown, before crossing north of Route 1 for some hill climbs.    Figured my brother would have pancakes out for us as we went past his house - fail!  Worked the Buckeye hills and looked for the pancakes next at Jonny's house - 2nd fail!  The hill climbs on Burdickville Road were hard, but Tom & I both agreed not as hard as running them.  Route 91 back to Dunn's Corners, where our last chance for a pancakes at Tom's parents' house was a 3rd fail.

Weekly Totals:
Run: 29 miles
Bike: 52 miles
Swim:  1,000 yards

Week recap:
1st full week home from India - how sweet it is to be home!  The running mileage is less than it had been, but between Boston now over and done and now squeezing biking and swimming for tri season, I think that's the way it's going to be for the next 4 months.  Speaking of which, I just signed up for Mystic Y Tri, which is only 3 short weeks out, and will thus push me to get into open water swims - Brrrr!

I expect my summer to be mostly peppered with 5Ks and sprint tris, possibly the longest race being the Blessing, and hopefully lots of group stuff.  Still have yet to figure out my fall plans, but I'm leaning towards  focusing on a Half Ironman (TBD) and road marathon (TBD).  Bob Jackman put a nice listing of local fall marathons together here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Shad Bloom 10K Trail Race: A Tale of Two Races

Block Island, RI
Saturday, May 11, 2013

I had signed up for this race back in February, else I probably wouldn't have gone.  Fresh off a 30-hour door-to-door trip from India with still some Indian stomach distress, I arrived home at 11:30PM Friday, got some mixed sleep, and Mike C showed up at the house Saturday morning to graciously transport and entertain me for the day.

The hour ferry ride went by quickly as we also met up with another Westerly runner, Colleen Saila, as well as Dave Seddon.  Took a school bus to the Block Island School, where we caught up with the remainder of the WTAC crowd:  Way, 3 of the Gray clan, and Eric & Yvonne.  Ran a 10 minute warm-up with Dave, who was giving desired pointers as he ran this last year.  Also psyched to hear he's signed up for the BI Tri in  August - I think that makes about 6 of us from WTAC.

Race 1 (Start to Mile 2.5):  It was about 60 degrees and drizzling at the start, as 203 of us lined up in the BI School parking lot.  For the first 2.5 miles, there were four prevailing common elements to this part:  a light drizzle of a rain, a ferocious headwind, flat to downhill terrain, and surface was gravel roads.

The eventual winner and a kid flew out from the starting gate.  Passed the kid at about 1/2 mile and never saw the winner again.  Behind the leader, we ran as a pack of about 6 for the first mile, and then we strung out quickly.  I was in 5th place, where I'd remain for the race, never to pass or be passed.  Despite the howling headwind, the net downhill and gravel roads made for fast times:  Mile 1 in 6:16, Mile 2 in 6:11.

Race 2  (Mile 2.5 to Finish):  Stunning scenery as this next section picked up right along the ocean at "Split Rock Cove" (see above Strava map).  I have never been to Ireland, but looking up now at the next section of the race is what I envision Ireland to look like:  meandering footpaths climbing through green meadows uphill overlooking cliffs down to the ocean.

What changed in "Race 2" from "Race 1":
- A change in course direction ended the headwind.
- Replace "gravel road" with "narrow singletrack"
- Replace "drizzling rain" with "downpour"
- Replace "flat to downhill" with "steep climbs and rolling terrain"
Dave bringing up this group of runners
towards end of trail portion of race

Mike looking like a drowned rat
as he approaches Mile 6

The next mile was figuratively and literally taking my breath away.  I managed a 6:52 pace for Mile 3, but only because the first half of Mile 3 was part of the "Race 1" downhill on carriage roads.  At one point, the man in front of me looked back at an open field switchback and saw me probably 150 yards back, but from here on in I ran as an island.  I looked back at the same switchback and saw no one.  By the time I pulled into Rodman's Hollow at the Mile 4 (7:24 split) mark, I was sucking wind.  The RD warned us about the next part:  a 130' foot ascent at grades varying from 10% - 18%.  I jogged the first third of the steepest ascent, but found I could walk the same speed with less effort, so I chose the latter until the slope lessened.  There was a water stop at the top of the hill climb where we briefly emerged onto a road before a wooden ladder over a stone wall onto more trails.  Mile 5 split 7:29.  The final mile leveled out, but the biggest danger here was slippery wooden planks in the pouring rain.  Mile 6 split 7:05.
Soaked post race (l-r): Dave, Mike, me, Eric, Yvonne

Final results:  full results here
41:50, 6:45 average pace.  5th overall.
I was already soaking wet, so I jogged back to the trailhead to see fellow WTAC'ers finish.  Back at the school, a hot shower and a dry change of clothes hit the spot.  Hung around for awards and snacks before Dave gave 4 of us a ride back to the ferry home.  Great fun!  I was chipper in the morning, but starting to return to zombie jet-lagged mode by mid-afternoon, so especially thankful to Mike C for the ride home.
Loot I took home for my efforts

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Weekly Log 6-May to 12-May-2013: Overseas Running Week 2

4 miles slow pace recovery run after being wiped out from yesterday's run.
I'm not in Misquamicut anymore.
Man carrying food back to his home.
After spending time in third world
countries, it certainly puts a
different perspective on poverty and
class divide.

Garbage so many places in the parks.
The last day I was in the US, I was miffed that someone
left a single water bottle in Woody Hill Management Area,
and I carried it out on my run and brought it home to dispose.
Again, puts things in perspective.

800 yards.  Cross training day.  Tom failed to show up for my morning swim, so solo I go.  Swam a mix of slow 100s and fast (well, less slow) 50s until it was time to go for work.

Really rough night last night.  Practiced sprint repeats throughout the night, from the bed to the toilet (don't worry, no details on color or consistency!).  Can't be from alcohol, as that's banned this week to "keep the peace" during state elections.  Pretty sure it's from yesterday's team lunch where takeout food in little plastic bags was brought in by a colleague on a motorcycle in 90+ degree heat.  Probably didn't help matters that many of my Indian colleagues eat with their hands, including rice and curry, then pass food along.
About 1AM, after just getting to sleep after one of my "sprints", the cell phone rang.  "Hi Jeff, it's Paul Duffy [Westerly Town Rec. Director].  Did I catch you at a good time, buddy?"  Arggh - certainly not his fault.
I so need to find a simple Western lunch today or closest facsimile.
7 miles.  Was considering canceling today's run after a sleepless night and with knots in my stomach, but already arranged for driver to pick me up early morning and bring me to Lalbagh Gardens for running.  Off we go:
Entrance to Lalbagh Park

Nice quiet running/walking trail along
Lake Lalbagh

I think today's park was
cleaner and greener than Cubbon Park

Running up this slab of rock to Kempe Gowda
Tower was hard work; running down was
a trip

Final full day in India!  Oh Happy Day!  Oh Happy Day!
5 miles.  Went to Sree Kanteerava Stadium to run 400s on the track.  I don't know if it was the heat (80 degrees) or still being a little sick, but I only got through three of them (74, 75, 76) and I was completely done and gasping.  Ran to Cubbon Park, where I put in some 100 meter strides (one path has markings) and a cool down.
Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where I ran track today.
View as seen from my hotel room balcony.  The green beyond the stadium is Cubbon Park...

... as opposed to the rest of the views from hotel, which are all ugly city blocks.

1,000 yards.  Got in a nice swim session, including a 400 warm-up, 3x50 sprints, and the rest easy.  I will miss this awesome outdoor rooftop pool.

Closing pics from my India trip:

How much crap can you fit on a 3-wheeled pickup, or a
motorcycle?  Wish I had snapped a pic of the family of
four on a single scooter.

Muddy, isn't this bridge just as awesome
as the new Grills bridge?  Yeah,
maybe not.  Look forward to seeing it.
Mike C, I think you need to get out here with
your Ryobi to clear this trail blockage.
Isn't this in your trail jurisdiction?

Jonny, thought of you on this one.
Tom, couldn't get any of these lazy dogs to run
with me.  Where is Lulu when you need her?

Mike B, don't give up those triathlon plans just yet.
I found the perfect green swimming hole for you to train in.

Seth, is this similar to where you park your car for work?
(Yes, there's a "Four Wheeler Parking" sign as well.)
Note the man on left nonchalantly pushing his fruit cart down the middle
 of the road in traffic.  I'm scared each time just crossing the street.
And remember, when visiting India, never set your Googlies on the
road!  (No, I have no idea what "Googlies" are.)

8 miles.  Harmondsworth, United Kingdom.
Left my hotel in India at 3AM for an 11 hour flight to the UK.  Flight arrived almost two hours late, so my first instinct was to bag the layover run.  Nah, we'll just have to gazelle a little faster through the airport, customs, change, drop off bags at "left luggage", and certainly no time for trains into London.  Let's see what we can find locally.  Off we go ...

So nice to have clean, cool air in green surroundings, without pollution.  Absolutely beautiful natural grounds here.  Don't ever take it for granted!

Just a mile outside of busy Heathrow Airport:
60 degrees, clean air as I ran a trail through
this field

Interesting pub I ran past -
no I didn't bring back a pint for each of you

This connected to another trail system -
the trails just keep going and going

Running past Harmondsworth Moor

Nice footbridge crossing to yet more trail systems
Back at Heathrow Airport:
not quite sure I understand wheelbarrows as art.
There were at least 50 of them; wonder if they'd mind if I take just one to
replace my rusty one?

8 miles.  Shad Bloom 10K Trail Race, Block Island.
Write-up to follow.

Sunday:  0
Rest and family time on Mother's Day.

Weekly Totals:
Run: 32 miles
Bike:  ---
Swim:  1,800 yards

Week recap:
After nearly two weeks away in a place of severe air (and ground) pollution, I am so glad to be home!  The time in India this past week was really wearing on me.  Getting sick didn't help.  By contrast, Friday afternoon's run in the UK was just awesome.  Just to take a deep breath of cool fresh clean air and gaze upon miles and miles of green countryside is something I missed dearly.
Back in "the states", it was great to catch up with running friends on "the Block".  Yes, even in pouring rain!  Spent much of family dinners catching up on the boys' track meets that I missed, their upcoming meets, and planning for summer runs (Fun Runs just 4 weeks away!) and summer vacations.  What's not to love?
Did I mention how happy I am to be home?!