Monday, July 29, 2013

Crabman Sprint Triathlon

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Overall results here.  1:03:19.  39th out of 429 finishers.  3rd in age group!

A perennial favorite of mine.  We had five of us (3 of us Walkers, plus Crutch and FiveK) meet up in Westerly in the wee early dark hours of the morning to start our adventure.  We arrived an hour early, rode the 3/4 mile from the Matunuck school parking lot to the start at South Kingstown Town Beach, got body marked, and set up our space.  I felt there was a lot more space this time than in other tris.  FiveK and I went on a short run warm-up on the course, and before we knew, it was time to get ready and head to the water.
Pre-swim jitters with the gang

 The Swim:  10:48, one minute slower than last year.  I was in the very first wave (mens 45 and over) that left the beach at 6:45AM.  I got into my rhythm, slow but steady.  Got kicked a number of times but I just go with it at this point.  The first buoy came up pretty quickly, as I rounded the buoy and headed for the second.  I actually couldn't see the second buoy at first, and just concentrated on following the rest of the pack.
Now just about every tri I commit some kind of bonehead move.  Here's mine:  I rounded the second buoy, sighted the crowd on the beach, and kept swimming.  After a while I saw a lifeguard on a surfboard right in front of me holding up his hand up in a "stop" gesture.  He asked "Are you OK?", and I just answered yes.  He then told me I was swimming way off course.  I looked and saw indeed my other pink capped Wave 1 peers were swimming in a different direction!  S*%&!  It turns out there were two crowds on the beach, one at the start and one at the finish.  Most people swam towards the finish, while I'm heading back to the start!
My pink cap swim wave starts

The swim is over!  Rejoice!

The Bike:  30:32, two minutes faster than last year.  Felt really good on the bike (except when Jeff D blew by me early in race).  Near pancake flat, able to push up to 26 mph in places.  Average 21.6 mph.
Finishing lap 1 of 2-loop bike course

The Run:  18:48, ten seconds slower than last year.  I had a good run overall, as I got into my groove passing runners early and kept all my splits sub-6 minute pace.  I caught up to Ben ("Gunshow"), ran with him for a bit before passing, and kept making my move up.  When I passed Chris Huesman, he kindly told me there were 4-5 runners in our age group ahead of me (you can spot people's ages marked on their legs).  That gave me the incentive to pick up the pace a few seconds, as did seeing FiveK on one of the loops, as I was determined he wasn't going to pass me.

Finished the race, and then one nice part of being in Wave 1 was that I could go back out onto the course and see friends and family finishing their run.  Saw Tom running it in, then ran out and ran with Mark for a bit before waiting for Matthew.  Ran in with Matthew, which he said he was appreciative for.  Great race!
Mid stride pacing near finish
Congratulations / thanks to:

  • FiveK for completing his first triathlon and with awesome times.
  • Mike Crutchley for also completing his first triathlon and vanquishing his swim fear.
  • Crutch again for saving the day by ferrying all of our bikes to the tri and back.
  • My two boys for finishing well and improving their Crabman times (Mark took 4 minutes off; Matthew 5) .
  • Shira for finishing and winning her age group!
  • Jana for getting up at 4:30AM with us, putting up with our whining, and taking all these photos.
Post-race:  The WTAC gang

Blessing of the Fleet

Friday, July 26, 2013

I have run this 10-mile mid-summer race every year since I started running in 2003.  The first nine years I raced it, ranging from a high of 1:11:52 in my debut to a low of 1:02:43 in 2010.  This year and last has been a special treat to run together with my 13-year old son Matthew and watch his triumphs and help in any way I can (e.g., fetching water, advice on tangents, etc.).

The weather was favorable this year, overcast and low 70s.  We ran a warm-up with Mike B and settled in probably 10 rows back from the start.  Last year Matthew ran a 1:17 in this race as a 12-year old, and this year he initially was gunning for 1:14 but then upped the goal to 1:10!  OK - 7 minutes average, meaning a number if not majority of miles would have to be dipping into 6:50s.

The first mile was the usual chaos of just trying to stay upright while weaving through people.  Despite this the first mile came through at 6:35.  We backed off for a 2nd mile of 6:49, and after checking with Matthew, he felt good.  Mile 3 was really fast again, but I'm not sure if that was attributed to feeling good or Matthew's Boumenot sighting as he wanted to reel him in.
(l-r) me, Matthew, and an unidentified kindly runner
helping to run Matthew in

Final steps to finish at near sprint

As we turned out of Scarborough and up onto busy 108, the miles slowed back down for 4-6:  6:44, 6:46, and Matthew's only mile north of 7 minutes at 7:05.  Mile 7 was a fast 6:37 in the dark wooded hollow as he caught up to Mike again.  By Mile 8, Matthew was saying it was starting to hurt, but with 8 miles into the game, I told him just to try to hold his course.  Miles 8 and 9 were 6:46 and 6:45, and we're at the final mile!  With a quarter mile to go, a strong black runner went past us and signaled back to Matthew to catch up to stay with him.  Matthew glanced at me, I nodded, and he took the bait!  A really fast final mile in 6:31!  Awesome job for a final finish of 1:07:47, 6:47 pace.  136th place of 2,406 runners.  Top 5%!  Not bad for a 13-year old.
Goal of 1:14 1:10
All destroyed as Matthew takes 10 minutes off last year's
time to go under 1:08 with a 6:47 pace

Friday, July 26, 2013

Weekly Post 22-Jul to 28-Jul-2013

Mid-summer is here, and with it come two of my favorite races:  Blessing of the Fleet on Friday, and Crabman Sprint Triathon on Sunday.

Monday:  0
Rest day after yesterday's endurance fest.

7 miles.  Fun in the Borough at weekly Stonington Fun Run series.
FiveK, JP, and WhichWay way out in in front (far right)

Matthew & I about 100 places back

Lots of people enjoying a drink dockside tonight
3 miles.  Westerly Fun Runs, just 4 weeks left now.  18:19.

Thursday:  0
Car broke down on way home from work, and killed any chance of fitness.

4 miles.  Mid-day Misquamicut road and beach run with Crutch.  He's still nervous about Crabman swim, but glad he's sticking it with it.
11 miles.  Blessing of the Fleet race with Matthew.  Separate write-up to follow.

1/4 mile ocean swim with Matthew pre-Crabman.
1 mile easy shake-out on the beach.

1/4 mile Crabman.
11 miles Crabman.
6 miles Crabman, including warm-up and cool-down.

Weekly totals:
Run:  32 miles
Bike:  11 miles
Swim:  1/2 mile

Light numbers, but that worked well with double races on the weekend.  Psyched about Block Island Tri coming up next weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weekly Post 15-Jul to 21-Jul-2013

Monday:  0
Rest day.

4 miles.  Hot Misquamicut Beach mid-morning run on a day off.
2 miles.  Nick Bottone Track Mile.  5:13.  Full results here (including a mug shot of Muddy, Jonny et al that I posted)

Temperature on both my car and a local bank read 92 degrees as I pulled into the track at ~5:30PM.  Last year I was disappointed and literally depressed for days after I ran this race one second slower than my PR (5:11 in 2012 vs 5:10 in 2010), so this year, especially given the heat where I know I perform poorly, I completely threw out any notion of a sub-5.  I set a very aggressive goal of a PR, and a more moderate goal of 5:20, one which I knew would still require a lot of hard work.
Finally, start of the heat
 This year I learned from repeated constructive criticism last year (see, I can listen!) that running in the Masters group hurt me, as the 2nd place guy in last year's Masters heat was more than a minute behind me and I had no one to pace off.  I toed the line with the Elite heat, where I don't belong based on my age or speed, but it definitely helped.
Damn, these top 4 guys are fast and efficient looking!

First lap felt OK.  Footsteps behind Muddy, Jonny, and Jackie.  Split of 75 reminded me that sub-5 was out of the question and just try to stay relatively consistent.  Second split was 77.  Like Muddy, by the 3rd lap I was losing it both in terms of speed and aptitude, and the math was too complex for me to figure out my split.  I heard Leanne (WMS track coach) yelling, "Hurry up and catch your father!", so I knew Mark was right behind me as well.  Muddy and Jonny were way ahead of me by now, but Jackie was in range, and even though she's obviously not in my age or sex, she gave me a target to focus on with 200 yards to go, and I passed her just before the finish line at 5:13.35 vs 5:13.81.
End of lap 2: Muddy, Jonny, and way, way behind them is me,
with Mark literally on my heels

Catching Jackie in final 100 yards, and holding off Mark
(Jonny's comment on FB to this photo was perfect:  " Father still ahead of son (barely).  ")

So glad this race is over!  Don't like short distances to begin with, and even less so in the heat.  I'd like to try for a PR again someday, but the conditions would have to be different.

3/4 mile.  Ocean swim.  5 of us:  Steve, Larry, Jeff D, Tom, and me.  I swam 12 minutes east of the Town Beach (by which time the rest of the crew had made it down to Charlestown), and covering the same distance back took me 17 minutes against the current.  Arms were really tired.
3 miles.  Westerly Fun Run week #6.  Results here.  Another hot one, but not nearly as bad as previous night.  I long for the crisp, cool temps of fall, but I also don't want the summer to be over.  Can't we have both ... 40s or 50s in the early AM with low humidity, and upper 70s and sunny afternoon for the beach and BBQs?

Back to reality (my mind wanders easily and often):  Chatted it up with Nick and Tom on the first 1/2 mile (that's as long as I could hang w/those fast cats).  It was really funny that this little guy smaller than Mason, maybe about 7(?) was running right alongside Tom and Nick for the first 1/4 mile.  At one point he slowed, but then he sprinted on Maplewood to catch up with them again.  I joked with Nick that he was his competition for tonight, but finally, after several valiant attempts, the reality and science of pacing had him drop off.  Speaking of which, a fast looking Asian guy about 20 passed me pretty strongly at 1/2 mile in so I didn't flinch as he went after the lead guys (Nick and Tom).  However, again, a pace too fast cannot be held, so I retook the same guy at about mile 1.5, by which time he was panting and ended up finishing 1:20 behind me.  The urge to take off fast is so compelling and one that I've succumbed to too often, so I'm really proud when I see the likes of Mason and my own two boys (as well as others) not sprint out and run a more consistent race.  Final time 18:21, for a 5:54 pace.  Happy with that, especially in heat.

Thursday:  0
Needed rest day.  Haven't run many miles so far this week, but two back-to-back nights of racing in the heat followed by late nights (yes, anything later than 9PM is late for me!) compiling and posting race stats (which I love) have left me exhausted.

6 miles.  Friday beach run and splash.  Weekapaug roads with Tom and Mike B, beach from Old Town Beach to Weekapaug, and then a jump in the water at Fenway Beach.

43 miles.  Long ride with FiveK from his place up into the Charlestown hills, where we went past Jonny's place, but no Jonny's car as he was out early on a group trail run.  After some good climbs, made our way all the way to Watch Hill, where we hammered on Ocean View Highway Strava segment to take 3rd of 239 averaging 26.4mph on the short 1.1 mile section.  It's amazing how many more cyclists use Strava than runners.  Great ride; great training.

Spent Sat afternoon ocean swimming, eating, and jumping rocks with the family
at Beavertail State Park - one of RI's true gems
21 miles!  Ran with Muddy from Weekapaug up to Charlestown hills via Woody Hill and Bradford.  When we were running South Woody Hill Road, Muddy's famous last words were something like, "The deerflies haven't been bad this year".  Ran short trails in Woody Hill, and when we stopped for a pit stop, the deerflies and mosquitos were feasting upon us.  It seemed every swat I took to my head and body felled a deerfly.  Back on the roads, we had several dozen following us for a little while.  Uggh!

Them Charlestown hills are a tough workout.  Ran past Jonny's house for day #2 - this time our yells got a response from him, but we couldn't figure out if it was "What?!", "Strava!", or "Shut the xxxx up!".  Water and snack break on Buckeye Brook put us back into insect territory.  It was a crazy sight as we were dancing around in the middle of the road trying to eat and drink while swatting bugs at the same time.

Took Klondike (newly paved!) down to Route 1, where after already having 16 miles into the game, we set out to run 3 miles at sub-6:30.  We did it (6:08, 6:22, 6:06), but it was as much a mental as a physical challenge going after that 3rd mile.  The cold drinks and jump into the ocean were a huge welcome after this long and hard run.  Smuttynose in just over two months!

8 mile Misquamicut spin with Mark.  Bad news for Tom and I at Crabman - the kid is strong on the bike as well.

4 miles with Matthew.  It should have been an easy run, but for some reason my legs were feeling sluggish by this point in the day.

Weekly totals:
Run:  43 miles
Bike:  51 miles
Swim:  0.75 miles

Weekly recap, and week ahead:
Incremented my age by 1 (Mike B - are you thrilled that I'll be exiting your age group next year?); however, I'm not quite ready for the retirement home yet.  Really pushed it by riding 43 hard on Saturday, and then running 25 the very next day.  Although I still wasn't able to PR in Bottone (early in week), I am feeling elated by the endurance test of the past weekend.

Now the next two weekends will be back-to-back double race weekends:  running the Blessing with Matthew Friday as I try to help pace him to a PR, and turn around early Sunday morning with the Crabman - excited to race Crabman myself, but also to see how FiveK and my boys will fare, as well as several other WTAC'ers.  The following weekend will be Block Island Tri (my favorite), followed by Run 4 Kerri.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sailfest 5K

Sunday, July 14, 2013

18:03, 5:49 average pace.  11th overall out of 234.  1st in age group.
Full results here.

Was happy that both of my sons wanted to run this race.  Matthew is a regular fixture on the local road racing circuit, but for my 15-year old (Mark), it takes coordination when getting up earlier than Noon in the summer.

Caught with Tom and his college teammate, Kevin.  The five of us went out for about a 1.5 mile warmup.  Although it was overcast at that hour, it was clear that it would be quite a humid run.

Mile 1:  Lined up about two rows back at the start, and after 1/2 mile or so, settled in about 15 places back.  I could see Tom up ahead in a pack of clustered runners.  When a volunteered at a "Mile 1" sign barked out "5:11" I was shocked and concerned as never ran a mile in a 5K anywhere near that pace.  (In fact, 5:10 is my mile PR on a track.)  Worries ended when my own watch showed 5:35 and 0.95 miles.  My GPS split was 5:38; happy with that.
Just before race finish

Mile 2:  Uphill start to the second mile.  Took an extra second or two to avail myself of both hoses spraying water on the course.  Ah, temporary relief!  At the top of the hill, caught up to James Rose, a 15-year old that I battled and lost to at the Lions.  It took me 4 times passing him this time before I stayed ahead of him.  Looking at his results, I'm guessing he slowed a lot in final 1.5 miles.  Mile 2 split 5:56.

Mile 3:  Forgot that part of the final mile was uphill.  Back to my position as an island, I tried to focus and stay strong.  Neat finish through vendor stalls and crowds.  Final mile 5:59 to an 18:03 finish.
Just after the race

Watched my boys come in, and then hung out under a shower set up from a fire hydrant.  Congrats to Tom and Don Weller on their age group wins.
1st in age group award

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Weekly Log 8-Jul to 14-Jul-2013

Highlights from NH mini-trip:
The four of us near top of hike-
the old man looks like he's about to collapse

Lunch and blueberry picking along the trails

Ahhh - post-hike relief from the heat in the Swift River
Camouflage is really cool
Fun in North Conway
Back at the campsite - it was fun until the downpours
13 miles
Run #1:  10 mile hard run.  Went online and found somebody done stole my Bartlett NH Strava hill segment from February.  I can't mention any names, of course, but the accused has the initials "SA" and hails from Charlestown.  Well, we'll have to leave any reclaim attempt for another day as that's a far run from here, and in meantime scan out local Tamworth, NH area Strava hill challenges.  Here's what I found and went after:
In the middle there is a 307' climb up Page Hill Road.  You better believe I was huffin' and puffin' running up that bad boy.  Reached the top and then had 2+ miles of downhill.  Mile splits were all over the place, from 8:03 uphill to 5:55 down.

Run #2:  Got back to the campsite, took off my shoes and socks, spied the wife coming out of the tent and thought, good, a shower and breakfast.  No deal.  Instead, she asked, "Want to go for a 5K?".  Of course, that's exactly what I was thinking!  Put back on the sweaty socks and shoes and played a good husband/tour guide for a 5K on a mix of dirt roads and back roads.

6 miles.  Got back to RI late afternoon, enough time to unpack and head to Stonington Fun Runs with FiveK.  Caught up with Mike B and all the usual cast of characters.  Well, that would be all except for the guy who gave us crap about not showing up last week.  How did he end his Stonington Fun Run blog post last week?  - "Love the Borough!  See you all next week!"  Not sure where that Critchlery dude was intending to see us all, but it apparently wasn't in the Borough.
Ran out with FiveK with a target of 6:30ish.  Mile 1 was 6:05, so I dropped and let him go.  Slowed to 6:13 for Mile 2, and as was feeling good, ran Mile 3 in 6:03.  18:56 finish, followed by a quick cool-down and drinks and laughs dockside.  Always a good time.

3/4 mile (?).  5:45AM swim with Steve, Larry, and Tom eastbound from Old Town Beach.  Swam through thousands of small jellyfish - at times you could just see them floating on the surface.  Very foggy.  Soon lost sight of Steve and Tom, tried to keep Larry in my sights, and when he turned around (15 min), I followed his lead.  10 minute swim back to the beach with the current.  Arms tired.
2 miles.  Tom had to head off to work, but the three remaining ran out easy pace towards Seaside and back.  Steve initially was going for running shoes but then decided this was better practice barefoot for BI Tri in 3 weeks.  Psyched!
3 miles.  Westerly Fun Runs week #5.  18:27.

Thursday: 0
Long stressful day in the concrete jungle of Beantown.

13 miles.  Didn't run as early or as long as I would have liked, but still a decent long run, especially as just sub-7 pace.  Met up with me, myself, and I at the Watch Hill gazebo at 5:20AM, and all of us ran up to and through Avondale, before winding back along Ocean View Highway.  Met up with FiveK back at the gazebo at 6AM for Round #2:  7 miles, including the hill in No Bottom Pond, and then last 2.5 miles on the beach, hammering final mile on sand in 6:18, before jumping in the ocean at East Beach, Watch Hill.  Awesomeness!

Next Friday's edition is likely at East Beach, Charlestown.  Any takers?

Signed up today for Blessing, Run 4 Kerri, and Smuttynose.

True work conversation today with a business colleague in UK:
He:  Jeff, when I talked to you at 4:30AM your time today, did you say you were already up, mate?
Me:  Yes, that's right.
He:  What are you, one of those crazy marathoners or something?

Ha!  He nailed that one right.

18 miles.  Easy pace bike portion of brick, average 15 mph.  Unfortunately even easy short hills kicked my butt today.  While I'm sure somewhat due to sopping humidity, the reality is I haven't put time in the saddle recently and it shows.
3 miles.  Run portion of brick.  Lulu joined us for the run just as it started to rain.  Easy pace down to Weekapaug and back to Tom's house.

5 miles.  Sailfest 5K, including warmup.  See separate write-up.
3 miles.  Barefoot beach run to Seaside and back.  Was enjoying the beach with my sons, when I spied a Boumenot running by.  Matthew and I chased him down.
1/4 mile open ocean swim with Matthew.
12 miles.  Evening ride with Matthew out to Weekapaug, Misquamicut, Avondale.
3 miles.  Run portion of brick with Matthew as it's getting dark.  Busy day.  Getting real tired now...

Weekly totals:
Run:  48 miles
Bike:  30 miles
Swim:  1 mile

Week recap:
A really good week on balance!  I think the only thing I missed was any speedwork, but I got in a lot of runs, including serious hills and a summer race.  Also got in two rides and two swims, which has been my elusive goal.
Looking ahead to next week, I have Bottone Mile on Tuesday, which truth be told, I'm not looking forward to as I don't like track or ultra-short distances, but it'll be over in 5 minutes or so.  The most fun event for me will probably be the beach run and splash on Friday, and then I'll be looking for a long ride Saturday (40+?) and long run Sunday (20?), as it'll be my last free weekend before launching into back-to-back double race weekends (Blessing/Crabman, followed by Block Island/Kerri).  Lovin' the summer!