Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Weekly Log 25-Nov to 1-Dec-2013

Thanksgiving week, and then we're into December already.

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
Headed to Barn Island for a 7AM run in which I thought I'd have the place to myself.  Wrong!  Shotgun deer hunting season just started in CT, and as such the parking lot was overfull and trucks and cars parked along the road.  Maybe I'll just come back another time, like after Dec 10 when shotgun season ends.  Now ... where are trails where hunting is NOT allowed?
Westerly Town Forest!  Hadn't been here in a while.  Had the place to myself.  All but the orange trail were in good shape, with the latter quite overgrown (make note to self to contact conservation commission).  Fun running.  The hills wore me down.

Wednesday:  5
4:30AM run with FiveK.  Dark, rain, and winds of 30+ mph.  I just don't understand why we don't get lots of runners to join us!  Running down Weekapaug Road through the open marsh / pond area was just brutal and tough to make any forward progress.  Mike B was planning to join us, but I think we lost him with the news of the impending rainstorm.  We should have just told him that over here in RI it was dry, calm, and clear - he's a fellow Chariho graduate, so he probably would have believed us.

Thursday:  10
Thanksgiving solo run in Misquamicut.  Had strong tailwind on Atlantic Ave as I ran 6:30s pace.  Back into the wind on Shore Road home, I pushed hard just to maintain high 6s.  Average pace 6:44.

Friday:  9
Group trail / road mix run in Usquepaugh section of Richmond / SK.  Mikes G and B, Seth, and me.  Started off right away with long uphills on trails in Crawley Preserve.  Wound around and out to Punchbowl Trail, where we had another steep ascent of just about 200'.  After that, it leveled off as we went back into the woods, mostly on logging trails along a ridge with a really cool view.  Exited out onto James Trail, where we found some cool single-track trails through the pines and around small ponds.

Saturday:  12
17-degree group long run from Long Pond, Hopkinton, with three Mikes, a FiveK, and a Muddy.  Right off the bat you could tell Mr Puddin' wasn't himself, as we were missing his witty repartee and frequent stretching of the legs and knee at rest stops.  Hope he's back for Christmas 10K.  A fun run up through Yawgoog Trails up to and around Hidden Like, then Dinosaur Caves, and a trek through Green Falls Pond. The "Clamshell Trail" quasi-marked with quahog shells and white rocks was more bushwhacking than trail running, but otherwise all good stuff.  FiveK decided he was too warm, and put his foot in the drink.  Frigid!

Sunday:  3
Short & easy solo local roads.  Near 50 degrees for 1st day of December, but rainy.

Weekly mileage total:  44

Decent mileage week!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Weekly Log 18-Nov to 24-Nov-2013

Fall race season ends for me on a positive note at Li'l Rhody.  Happy personally with my PR, and for the club with a record turnaround.  Taking the next few weekends race free, and looking forward to some fun runs with running friends, including getting back to some long runs and hitting the trails.

Monday:  8
Usually my day off from running, but there was clean up work to do on the Li'l Rhody course.  A little more than I thought, as I spent two hours at sunrise on the trails cleaning up (in the rain no less!), and then another hour in the afternoon cleaning up the parking lot.  All for a great race and a good cause.

Tuesday:  0
OK, now I need my day off.  Feet a little blistered from yesterday's soaked run and all the puddles I went through.

Wednesday:  17
AM:  8 miles.  Easy recovery run around Winnapaug Pond.  Out Shore Road to Weekapaug Road to the breachway.  Near the breachway, I see a car approach me, but driving completely on the wrong side of the road.  Momentarily confused - am I in England?  or worse, India?  No heaps of garbage on the side of road - good, at least I'm not back in India.  No, you dunce, he's driving in courtesy of YOU and giving plenty of room - really nice - I give a friendly thank-you wave.  His courtesy puts me in a good mood, as I jump onto the beach for a tranquil beach run in our little piece of utopia.
PM:  9 miles.  Met up with FiveK for a run down to Hell Field on Workout Wednesday.  5 x 400 (76, 80, 75, 75, 69), 3-minute walk/jog rest, followed by 5 x 200 (36, 34, 34, 35, 34).  For the 200 set, we alternated one of us leading the way, with the other trying to stay on the leader's shoulder.  Made me really push myself, which is good.  Cool down through Weekapaug along the ocean at sunset.

Thursday:  5
4:37AM, 23 degrees.  Reality of dark and cold hits.  My bare legs were cold for the first mile or so, but warmed up.  Ran with FiveK out to Westerly Hospital and back.  Hilly, but spirited last three miles:  7:01 (100' elevation gain up Westerly Hospital hill), 6:40 (100' loss), 6:44 (70' gain).  We actually saw two other separate runners out there.  No, it was neither Boumenot celebrating the impending winter, nor Crutch out there getting in some early morning miles.

Friday:  3
Late afternoon Woody Hill.  Combination jog (with shears; you're not supposed to run with scissors, right?) and clearing on the Cliff Trail.

Saturday: 9
Afternoon run out to Watch Hill.  Low 7s pace.  Jumped onto the beach at East Beach.  High 6s pace on the beach run back to Misquamicut.

Sunday:  10
22 degrees and 20+ mph winds as I left the house to meet up with Mike B and Sean for a sunrise trail run from Wahaneeta Preserve.  Quickly warmed up as we ran the trails into Woody Hill.  When we exited onto the roads in Bradford for a short spell, it reminded me that running trails was a good idea as the cold and wind gusts were frigid.  Feel for my running friends waiting in this weather at start of Mews race today!  Back into the woods, passed a few hunters as we made our way out to the Cliff Trail and over the dam.  Showed Sean the fort - it is pretty cool!  Finished up via the renowned Swamp Bypass Trail and through Wahaneeta.  Good run with lots of talk about respective Li'l Rhody experiences.

Weekly mileage total:  52!

52 is probably a low mileage week for Jonny, but for me, it's the furthest I've run since marathon training a few months back.  Really happy with that, and feeling good.  Into the holiday season we go:  more time off from work = more running fun.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Li'l Rhody Runaround

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Our signature club event. If the pre-registration tallies were any indicator (a record 215, which is 50 more than last year), this was going to be a big event.  Little did I know we would eclipse 400, with 439 entrants and 414 finishers!  (our previous record was just about 300)

50:14.  11th of 414 runners, 3rd place age group.  PR!  Full results here.
We're off.  A sea of orange, with Greg leading the way.
(photo by Jana)

Mile 1:  5:42.  No time for a warm-up with various RD duties, so it was fast off the block at the start.  I always try to get out fast the first mile of this race, in order to get a good position going into the single-track.  This time I think I overdid it with a pace too fast.  I caught up to Tom (that should have been a clue!) and passed the age-grouper always ahead of me, Brian McNeiece from the NRA.  3/4 of a mile in, the pack had settled quite a bit, as I entered the trails just ahead of Tom and Brian, and a few places behind Jonny and Jackman.

Mile 2:  5:58.  Yeah, Mile 2 was no slouch either.  Got passed by teen Dan Linkinhoker in the campground, who had some very polite words for me.  The guy is fast, and was ahead of me at Shad Bloom.  This section of trail out of the campground is pretty fast.

Mile 3:  6:38.  This is the section starting from where the trail meets Klondike Road and through the covered bridge.  Between my overly aggressive pace the past two miles and now hitting the rock gardens, I was already feeling the effects and had to slow a bit.  Jonny and Jackman were about 100 yards ahead of me, but this was to be the last time I'd see them.

Mile 4:  6:37.  I could no longer see anyone in front of me, but heard footsteps pretty close behind me.  

Mile 5:  6:38.  On Buckeye Brook Road now, just after the water stop.  I can hear someone coming right up on me now, and I fear it's Brian overtaking me.  No, it's Tom!  What a welcome sight!  We're both feeling beat,  run together on the pavement, and although I ask him to go ahead of me going back into the trails, he insists that I go first.  Tom, Brian, and I are in a tight pack here.
Buckeye Brook Road:  with Tom, and Brian just footsteps behind
Heading back into the woods ...
(above photos by Beth Eckel)

Mile 6:  7:05.  There are about 50' of climbs in here.  My pace slows and I'm getting tired.  Someone comes up on me pretty fast from behind, so I politely move to the side on a wider section of trail and mention that if he wants to pass me, now's the time.  He does, and it is not Tom or Brian, but rather someone I don't recognize. (strange post-race story:  the guy passing me is age 25, but his sloppily scrawled age is picked up as "75" and he unintentionally steals the 70+ 1st-place age group from John H, whom we'll make amends to)

Mile 7:  7:03.  Final rock gardens.  I'm feeling slow, but at a switchback, I'm surprised to see I put some distance on Tom and Brian.

Mile 8:  5:41.  Exit on to the road.  I expect Tom to pass me, and that's fine, but I up the pace as I really want to hold Brian off and I know he's a faster road runner than me.  I want to just stop as my legs and lungs are asking me to, but just keep the faith a little longer.  When I finally reach Sanctuary Road, I sprint it home.  Finished just 10 seconds ahead of Tom, and ending up holding off Brian by 29 seconds to place in my age group.  This was my 10th consecutive year of running Li'l Rhody, and I'm thrilled to take another PR here, if only by 11 seconds.
About 100 yards to go to the finish.  Tom is behind me,
 as he's just turning off of Prosser Trail onto Sanctuary
(photo by Jana)
"Flying" into the finish.  Just a few feet to go now!
(photo by Beth Eckel)

Just an awesome day.  Tom made his Li'l Rhody debut.  Matthew and Jonny Eckel took 3 minutes off their already fast time from last year, and there were so many runners from WTAC out there.  Many many thanks to all my WTAC board brethen who helped organize and make this a success.

Thoughts for next year:  1) new age group - will try to go for a win; 2) sub-50 at age 50, or am I dreaming?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Weekly Log 11-Nov to 17-Nov-2013

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
4:40AM solo run.  Westerly Hospital loop.  So glad I got out there finally.

Wednesday:  18!
AM:  8 miles. Solo Li'l Rhody recon, taking a page from Jonny's book.  27 degrees!  Still shorts weather, but wore two tech shirts, gloves, and a hat.  Frigid for the first mile until I got into the woods and into a rhythm.  Ran this really hard, and was disappointed to find myself struggling and breathing hard, especially on the uphills.  52:25.  Not bad, but don't see how I could shave off another two minutes to get to my PR time from last year of 50:25.
PM:  10 miles. Finally got indoctrinated to Hell Field with a workout with FiveK:  5 x (800, 400).  Results:  (2:52, 83), (2:50, 81), (2:53, 83), (2:52, 82), (2:51, 74).

Thursday:  3
Durham, NC.  Run on paved path around hotel and industrial park with Jana.

Friday:  3
Triangle Park, NC.  Looked up on internet for running suggestions, and found a nearby "American Tobacco Trail", no doubt in recognition of the tobacco history here.  Drove just 10 minutes to trailhead.  Trail was well marked and in good shape.  Ran a short section of the extensive trail with Jana.
Running a section of the American Tobacco Trail today in North Carolina

Saturday:  4
Local trails in Champlin.

Sunday:  8
Li'l Rhody Runaround.  See separate write-up.

Weekly mileage total:  43

Finally, mileage back up over 40!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Avondale 5K

November 10, 2013

The real name of this event is the Westerly Land Trust's "Setting the Pace for Conservation 5K", but that's too much of a mouthful.  The WLT is such a great organization, as the protector of 29 parcels of land in Westerly, amounting to over 1,500 acres of open space, with miles of trails.  As such, I want to take opportunities like this 5K to support the WLT wherever I can.  Not to mention this is a flat and fast course where I thought I might have a shot at another PR.  Alas, that was not to be, with winds gusting to over 20mph.  Hey, I have to have some excuse, right?

17:51, 5:45 pace.  2nd of 84 runners.  Full results here.

Consistent splits, if not wind affected:  5:39, 5:48, 5:49.
Trying to fend off young Jonny Eckel at about 1K (0.6 miles).
Why does it look like I'm an old fat guy struggling, and he's running with ease?

Finishing stretch:
for today at least, the old guy triumphs putting some distance on his competitors.
Love the fall background setting.

A smaller team showing today,
but good results all around
This was my 31st race of the year, not counting many fun runs that I raced.  I'm doing slightly better this year at my goal of racing less than last year, but only slightly.  I'm feeling "raced out".  Likely my last 5K of the year.  Glad I ran this one in my "backyard" and supported one of my favorite causes, but also slightly envious seeing Jonny and Muddy's trail run on the Narragansett Trail today.  Looking forward to a number of fun long trail runs over the winter.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Weekly Log 4-Nov to 10-Nov-2013

1st full week of November.  I do enjoy running in the crisp, cool fall air.

Monday:  0
Planned day off.

Tuesday:  0
Really disappointed with myself for not getting up to run before work, my only window for running today.  Driving to the train station and seeing two separate runners in the dark did not help.

Wednesday:  7
Off to Avondale to run on Sunday's race course.  FiveK had a workout planned for us that really kicked my butt:
2 x 1-mile (5:38, 5:39), followed by 2 x 800 (2:52, 3:04).  I was completely spent by that 2nd 800 and just wanted to stop.  But, if you want race well, you do have to get in practice, so next up to finish off the series was 5 x (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy).  Really tiring for me, but I need it.

Thursday:  4
4:35AM start on local roads in the dark, wind, and rain.  I'd like to say I finally found the fortitude this season to "man up" and run early morning in the dark, but the reality is I had a partner in crime to keep me motivated. FiveK showed up and we got at it.  The first quarter-mile was tough with 20-mph wind gusts and getting soaked, but we got into a rhythm, and it really wasn't bad.  Average 6:56 pace, and even unknowingly banged out a 6:36 third mile.  Hopefully this is the resumption of many early morning runs for me.

Friday:  11
Double Down Friday
AM:  5 miles with Mike B in Barn Island.  Had all 1,000 acres to ourselves for just a fun morning run.  Saw a pheasant scurry right in front of us (fortunately no hunters chasing it), and some eagle-like bird with a huge wingspan take of in front of us that we were afraid would pick us up and carry us off to its lair.  We needed a Hammett for identification.
This was the size of the eagles we saw taking off from Barn Island;
just like the ones in Lord of the Rings that picked up people and carried them off.

PM:  6 miles with a group run of 6 in Woody Hill.  Started off at 4PM in daylight, romped through the highlights of Woody Hill, and finished up in the dark just after 5PM.  I would have liked to have kept running, but it was getting tougher to sense my way in the dark.  The mystery of the Wahaneeta gate being locked when we arrived and unlocked we departed was solved:  Westerly Land Trust advised me that they opened it for National Grid to come in over the weekend to electrify the cabin.

Saturday:  4
Easy pace, local roads plus a trip through Champlin.

Sunday:  7
Westerly Land Trust's "Setting the Pace for Conservation" 5K.  Separate write-up shortly.

Weekly total:  33 miles

Disappointing mileage volume; really want to get it up to 40 and above as a regular week.  On a bright note, I had a lot of fun running a double set of trail runs on Friday and racing with some of the crew on Sunday.  Ideally, would like to get back into Burlingame one more time before next Sunday's Li'l Rhody, which is always a good time.