Monday, April 29, 2013

RI State Police 5K

Sunday, April 28, 2013

17:54.  Average pace 5:46.  6th overall, 2nd in age group.  Full results here.

Only my second time running this race, but one of my favorites.  It's a real shotgun start by a trooper, the course is relatively flat and right along the shore, and it's a party atmosphere with a barbeque beach-side afterwards.

Went out for a warm-up run with much of the WTAC crew, ran a few local trails, and lined up in the 2nd row.  The gun went off, and I took it out pretty hard.  At the first turn about 1/4 mile in, Muddy passed me and I was probably about 10th.  I went through the first mile in 5:36.

My second mile was slower as usual.  There was a small but gradual incline on Boone Street, and I could feel myself slowing down, as I finished the 2nd mile in 5:52.
Two guys are right on my heels at finish,
hunting down the gazelle
Their maneuvers FAILED!
It turns out to be a teen and 20-something, but I was able to hold off both of them.

Mile 3 was downhill to the water and a flat finish back.  I was able to pick it up here and pass about 3 runners.  Passing the 3 mile mark (5:39 split), I could hear a runner bearing down on me.  Fearful of a repeat of last year when I got passed at the very end to end up in 4th in my age group, I sprinted it in and ended up just ahead of my pursuers, who ended up being two runners chasing me down, but neither in my age group anyway.
Cool down with the gang

17:54 final finish.  I had hoped for faster, but looking back, this was 27 seconds faster than my finish last year, so I'm happy with that.  Even happier for my WTAC teammates, including:

  • Tom, overall winner in 16:55!  Redeemed from last year when he placed 3rd and got nothing for it.
  • Muddy, taking 3rd place.
  • Mike B, back from injuries.
  • Mike C, got to see him just alive after previous day's TARC issues.
  • John, winning his age group.
  • Matthew, with a HUGE PR!  Last year at this race, he PR'd in 21 flat.  This year destroyed it in 19:21!
Age group award



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weekly Mileage 22-Apr to 28-Apr-2013

Monday:  0

1,000 yards.  Taxing swim workout with Tom.  We continue to increase the swim yardage.  Started with a 300 yard warm-up, and then a mix of different of pull and kick drills.  Definitely fatigued after this one, which indicates I really need to up the frequency and yardage of these sessions before the first tri in a couple of months.  Mystic Y Tri on June 9th?

10 miles.  Fun down by the seashore.  Mixed in some declining intervals speed sessions (5 min, 4 min, ...) at 5:40s pace on flat Atlantic Ave.  Next hit the hills north of Shore Road on Moonlight, and my calves were feeling really tight, I think from all the kicking at swimming the day before.

Thursday: 0
Alarm went off at 4.  I knew it was my only opportunity to run; I just didn't feel like going out, and it was nice not feeling I had to just to get a few miles in as I don't have any big races or goals at present.
Pardon my crude cell phone quality photo, but athletic highlight of my day
was going to a WHS awards presentation and see Mark get this plaque
Now, if only I had some of his swimming genes :)
900 yards.  Tom and I were waiting outside the Y at 4:55AM in the dark 35 degrees with about 15 other crazies.  Already felt cold before going into the cold pool, but warmed up quickly with a 300 yard warmup.  A few drills, and then 3 x 50 yards on 1 minute literally took my breath way as my form broke down and I got progressively slower:  47 / 52 / 54.  Want to incorporate more of these going forward.  Good workout!
 5 miles.  Ran with WMS track team distance runners, on a trek I picked out on quiet streets and along the river.  We had a group of 5 runners today, and a little slower pace than previously, but when the coach asked the newer girls if they wanted to go on a "long" run with Mr. Walker, their smiles and thumbs up made it all worth-while for me.
Mid-way into the run my cell phone rings (it's a school requirement that I bring it).  I see it's FiveK calling, so I ask what's up, and he's turns it back on me as apparently I've been pocket-dialing him.  I get home, and Jana asked why I kept calling but not speaking.  Oh, no - I look and see I apparently also sent out a few gobbly-gook business e-mails as well.  Note to self:  when carrying a phone on a run, lock the phone first!

First and foremost, hats off and good luck to all our WTAC comrades running the TARC 50K today.  Certainly a distance I've never run.  I'll look forward to hearing all the war stories.
24 miles with FiveK.  Chilly 37 degree start from my house (after FiveK had already put in ~3 miles getting here).  It was my turn to pick the route.  When I explained the route I had in mind to Tom (Pawcatuck, 49 up to Clark's Falls, 216 to Ashaway and Bradford, 91 and back roads back), I wish I could have captured the look on Tom's face - priceless!  Explaining that it was "only" a 24 mile ride didn't seem to help; you'd think I'd just asked him to do a full Ironman.
Once we got going, I think it was fine with him, as I gave a few options to shorten the route, but he was good.  Very COLD start; took me a long time to warm up.  The Dunkin Donuts in Boumenot territory was mighty appealing, but we kept going.  Quiet roads through North Stonington were enjoyable, especially as the sun came out.
3 miles.  Other than the "Gumby" feeling at the start of our run, we had a great run on Misquamicut roads.  Tried to keep it easy, but found ourselves running 6:49 / 6:34 / 6:47.

 6 miles.  RI State Police 5K.  Separate report to follow shortly.

Weekly Totals:
Run: 24 miles
Bike: 24 miles
Swim:  1,900 yards

Week in review:  Shortest run mileage I've had in a long time, but that's fine by me.  My marathon is done, and I want to get into some fun stuff, especially triathlons.  Really pleased with my two swim workouts and single bike workout this week.  Running will likely always be my forte, but it's fun to mix it up a bit and I'm psyched for tri season.
Trying to plan out some different runs this coming week - stay tuned.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekly Log 15-Apr to 21-Apr-2013

 28 miles.  Boston Marathon.  See separate write-up.

Tuesday:  0
Sore and limping.

 6 miles.  Headed out for a ride with FiveK on a nice warm afternoon.  Going along fine through Watch Hill, until I had a tire blowout.  Replaced the flat and barely continued on when the tire went flat again.  FiveK rode back to get my car, while I started walking, as I only had one tube.
Brought the tire into Ray Willis later and the owner cut his finger on a short steel wire he found protruding through the tire that he had to use tweezers to remove.  Said I could have changed the tube 100 times and still would've gone flat.

3 miles.  Rotten day at work, where in addition to various issues, I was asked to return to India soon to train new hires there.  But wait, there's more good news:  1) the average daily high this week is in mid-90s, 2) I've been asked to spend more than one week there this time, and 3) yes, they also had bombings in Bangalore this week.
Nice to visit the trails in the forest again,
even if my legs aren't quite ready
Really need a stress-buster, so I went to visit an old friend:  the Westerly Town Forest.  Slow and still sore, I just took my time enjoying the trails and solitude.  Needs some clearing on red trail.

16 miles.  Redeemed myself with FiveK by having an honest ride with no flats or other issues.  Wound through Weekapaug, Misquamicut, and Watch Hill.  He's already at the distance for a sprint tri, so should have no problem.  From here, it'll be adding some speed and hill work.  Avg speed 16 mph.

 8 miles.  1 mile tarmac, the rest trails in Woody Hill and Wahaneeta, in the rain, with Crutch, Muddy, and FiveK.  I woke up to a steady rain and was expecting to see texts like "Do real men run in the rain?" (yes, they do), or "are we going to delay it until it stops raining?" (no, we're not).  Fortunately, no such texts at all, and all of us showed up at the appointed time (well, except for that guy that had recent surgery, so we'll give him a break, but this time only).
Started off cold as got pretty wet right away, but a hill climb up to the Woody Hill entrance got us working.  Took the main carriage road over to the Swamp Trail, which was delightful in the rain and mud, and then worked our way over to Wahaneeta - kudos to the Westerly Land Trust on a great job with clearing and new signs.  Ran over to South Woody Hill Road, and then some single-track over to the Woody Hill Dam, before working our way over the boulder and single-track out to the quarry and Quarry Road back.  We took the pace easy and had a good time. Got home and hosed the mud off the trail shoes.
 15 minutes Aqua-Jog in warm Buckley Pool (warm pool), followed by 700 yards in Fuller Pool.  FiveK showed me how to use Aqua-Jog while we waited for the lap pool to re-open.  I will never smirk at people Aqua-Jogging again - much, much harder than it looks.  I was certainly feeling it on today's workout, especially in the chest and arms.  I really need to get into the pool more often.

 6 miles.  Misquamicut Beach solo run.  Still a little sore from yesterday's workouts, combined with yard work yesterday and today.

Weekly totals:
Run: 45 miles
Bike: 22 miles
Swim: 700 yards

Week wrap-up:
Nice to have the marathon behind me, and to be able to focus on fun stuff coming up, such as Tri season and RI State Police next weekend.  Having said that, I've already starting Googling fall marathons, looking for a flatter run than Boston.  Hartford?  Smuttynose (NH)? Maine?  We'll see.  Not planning to sign up for anything immediately, but rather just enjoy the fun running, biking, and swimming, and hopefully some warmer weather!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Marathon Race Report

Writing this two days after the marathon, I still feel shocked, distraught, and angry at the explosions and needless death and injuries that day.  However, the marathon and our traditions will prevail and carry on, and I don't want some nameless coward to rob me of my marathon efforts and experiences, so in that spirit I write this report:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Alarm went off shortly after 4AM.  After a breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries and a bagel, my ride (fellow  Westerly runner Jeff Vuono) picked me up at my house and we were off to Saunderstown to catch a chartered NRA bus to Hopkinton.  Very comfortable!  I actually fell asleep for much of the ride up to Hopkinton.  This was my 6th Boston, but my first time riding in a chartered bus, and I learned when we got to Hopkinton, that unlike the provided school buses I've ridden in the past, you could get on and off the bus at any time up until race time.
Entrance to Athlete's Village at Hopkinton start

We arrived Hopkinton at 8AM, so we still had two hours before race start.  Spent the time going to the Athlete's Village with bus organizer Dave Tetreault and a few others, small talk, calls and texts.  About 9:15 or so, I stripped down to my running duds, left the bus, and went to the bag drop off bus.  9:30 - slow jog for the almost mile from Athlete's Village to the start.
Endless runners and port-a-jons before start

Now for my bonehead play of the day:  Jogging to the starting line, I notice many runners have GU gels tucked into their pockets, belts, etc.  Where are my gels?  It's not in my pocket.  Did I put it there?  No, the 3 gels I had laid out were in my bag that I just left at the bag drop.  Moron!  Now what do I do?  A light bulb went off - run back to the Athlete's Village and get some Power Bars.  That's exactly what I did, and they fit in the little pockets in my shorts.  Not ideal to eat on the run, but hopefully will work.  Got to my starting corral at 9:53AM.

Start to Mile 10:  The gun went off at 10AM.  No movement for a while.  Finally we moved forward into a very slow jog, and then complete stop.  A few more iterations of this, and then we arrive at the starting line 2 1/2 minutes later in a slow jog.  Thousands of people, network cameras, staging, etc.  It seemed to take a couple of miles before I could move comfortably, and I decided to conserve energy by not weaving around people.  The first ten miles were uneventful.  Bustling in Framingham, but quiet in a number of places.  Average pace for first ten was 6:38.

Mile 10 to 16:  I was feeling good coming into screaming Natick Square and crossing the 10 mile mark. I decided to pick it up just a little bit here.  The girls at Wellesley College were boisterous and infectious as usual.  "Kiss Me - I'm from Florida, [CA, OR, etc]", "I won't tell your wife, girlfriend, etc", were some of the many signs.  Some years I've ran right up against the barriers and slapped hands with them, but this year I was boring and cautious and stayed on the far opposite side of the road to conserve strength and focus.  Mostly flat miles here, except steep downhill in mile 16.  Halfway split was 1:27:10.  Average pace for this section was my fastest at 6:28.
Just before the hill at Mile 16:
Still feeling really good here
(Photo courtesy Terry Hiltz)

Mile 17 to 21 - The Hills:
Now come the dreaded four hills.  At the base of the first (a 3/4 mile climb over expressway), I hear my name called and look in time to see annual spectator Terry Hiltz snap my pic and shout good luck.  An 80' climb spread over 3/4 mile is not steep, but I'm feeling it at end of climb.  My pace slows to about 6:50.  The next two hills are shorter but steeper.  That third hill has me muttering expletives, but I've only got one to go:  Heartbreak Hill - a 1/2 mile, 90' climb.  Not terribly high, but more than two hours in and more than 20 miles, I'm really feeling it climbing this one and can't wait for it be over.  There are people walking at this point - shouldn't I join them and be more comfortable?  Been there; done that; not today.  Finally, top of the hill and the Mile 21 marker.  Average pace for this section (hills) was my slowest at 6:55.
Why are all these people running straight forward?
Clearly, running sideways uphill is the more efficient form.
(Photo courtesy Terry Hiltz)

Mile 21 to finish:  Just hang in there is what I told myself.  Don't look at the Prudential Center finish - it's still 5 miles away!  The college crowds are BC are on fire and have been drinking since sometime early morning.   The quads are killing, but with the next 3 miles of net downhill with a 200+' elevation loss, I'm able to gazelle back to 6:30s pace.  Mile 24 sign - 2 to go.  Even if I drop to 8 pace now, I can break 3 hours, but I push ahead and finish mile 25 in 6:41.  Mile 26 is a blur - tiny bumps and over / underpasses feel grueling at this point.  Finally turn on Boylston Street with the 26 Mile marker and finish in sight.  I hear my name and "Westerly, RI" called out as I cross the finish line.  A volunteer asked if I'm going to puke before she gives me award - that must have been an indication of how great I looked at that point.
Funniest quips:
From a boy about age 5, at train station after marathon, in my Boston Marathon kevlar wrap "cape":  "Mom, look, is that Superman?"  [really]  "No, son, that's Super Gazelle" [ok, the retort isn't real, but the question was]
From my sister-in-law in Georgia, on her Facebook, after the events:  "So scary today ... my brother-in-law ran the marathon today ... Thank god he is faster than a speeding bullet and was long gone!"

Final stats:
Boston #6
Marathon #15
Net time:  2:56:16!  (a PR by over 3 minutes from last year's Providence Marathon, and a Boston PR by 12 minutes)


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon explosions

Other than limping from marathon soreness and mentally shook up and tired, I am fine and safe.  I was not near the finish line when the explosions went off.  In the afternoon and evening after the marathon, Jana and I got probably close to 100 e-mails, phone calls, and texts, so we appreciate your concerns and thoughts.

My heart goes out to all the innocent victims of the bombing, including an 8-year old boy who lost his life.  Accordingly, I'm going to defer any celebratory mood or posting for now.  Ultimately, the marathon and marathon spirit has to go on, and we can't let the senseless coward(s) behind this prevail.  I will probably post my race report on Wednesday.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Weekly Log 8-Apr to 14-Apr-2013

Final tapering week before Boston.  Re-reading the following mile-by-mile course and history to get me energized for the race:

Monday:  0
Cheerfully took a day off after Clamdigger success.

Tuesday:  4
76 degrees!  Better today than next Monday.  Easy run through Misquamicut.  No pain!  No soreness!

Wednesday:  8
Loop around Winnapaug Pond.  On Atlantic Ave, ran 12 x [2 poles hard, 2 poles jog].  Felt good.

On a side "proud Dad" note, went to Matthew's 2nd track meet of the season, this one was a 4-team meet on Galoob's turf at Curtis Corner Middle School:  He was really bummed that the coach made him run the 1,500 instead of the 3,000 - I'm guessing most other middle schoolers would feel the opposite?  He started out in about 5th place and just kept pickin' 'em off.  He passed the leader just at the start of the bell lap, but the leader wouldn't have any of it - each time Matthew passed him or came up next to him, the leader would surge ahead.  Came down to the final 100 yards when Matthew apparently had more in the tank, and he finished by winning the race by 1 second in 5:08.  The 800 and relays were more humbling for him, but his 1,500 win was really cool to watch.

Thursday:  5
4:30AM run from my house with FiveK, well, kind of.  I felt good, but right from the start, I could sense something was off with Tom's gait and pace, as it wasn't our usual pushing the pace show.  Ran out Watch Hill Road, but by the time we were down in Avondale area, Tom asked me to just go on ahead so he could walk/jog.  Offered to run home and drive back, but he said he was good.
Ran the couple remaining miles down by the beach at 6:30 pace.  My plan was if his car was still at my house when I got back, I'd drive out and get him.  Fortunately just as I was returning home, Tom was driving out of the neighborhood.  He said it was similar to the time he had hip issues when we went running with Crutch a while back, but not as bad.  Let's hope...

Friday:  0
Planned to take either today or tomorrow off.  Today was an easy call with pouring rain and wind.
Went to Boston Expo and got my bib and shirt.  At work, colleagues asked me various questions.  The most bizarre were serious questions from non-runners, including:

  • Will you finish in less than 2 hours? (uh. that would be a world record)
  • How long is this marathon?  (are they different lengths?)
  • Do you think you have a shot at winning?  (seriously?)

Saturday:  5
Westerly Hospital loop.  Easy 7:20s pace.  Final jog tomorrow before marathon.

Sunday:  4
Final run.  Easy pace run (7:40s) with Tom and Lulu.  At the start of the run (from Tom's house), Lulu was skeptical of me (who isn't?), but seemed to accept me by the end of our Weekapaug run.  Lots of down time and rest today.  Watched "Run, Fat Boy, Run", a funny movie about a totally unprepared guy running a marathon in London (let me know if anyone wants to borrow it), and will try to fight the urge to go outside today and do needed yard work in this nice weather.

Weekly mileage:  26

Week recap:  The taper has finally ended.  Let's see what happens on Patriot's Day, and then I'll probably take Tuesday completely off.  Then so looking forward to mixing it up with starting up triathlon training, and getting back to some fun trail runs as well.  This past week's weather is a tease reminding us that summer is coming soon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Clamdigger 5K

Clamdigger 5K

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Race prep:  Due to the destruction from Sandy, and ongoing beach reconstruction, this year’s Clamdigger was moved away from the beach area and to the Avondale Farm Preserve.  The distance was shortened from 5 miles to 5K as well, in order to re-use an existing course and minimize busy roads.

The Clamdigger is the first of six running events that the WTAC hosts each year.  We started planning for this back in November, and it was great to not only see this through to fruition, but also how smoothly everything went.  I arrived at about 9AM to help setup and organize, and we had a great WTAC crew this year to help divide and conquer:  Justin, Joe, Kevin (and girlfriend?), Mikes B and C, Jana, and Steve (apologies if I missed someone).

About 10:30 I was able to break away from duties and get a warm-up run in with Tom and 4 WTAC teen speedsters as we ran about two miles of the course.  The run gave me chance to give thumbs-up to the volunteer water stop staffed by Service Master, and final pointers to the WMS Track Team course marshals.  Quick pep speech and thank you to runners and sponsors, and onto the starting line.
Riyan leads off the starting line.
From left, FiveK, Mark, and me.
Historic Clamdigger field nearly 200 strong
Mile 1:  Riyan bolted off the starting line to take the lead (Jonny wasn’t here today, so someone had to fill in for him), with Tom behind him.  By the time we were half-way through the first loop (1/2 mile?), Tom and I had both passed Riyan, and that remained the positions for the rest of the race:  Tom, Jeff, Riyan.  We re-crossed the start/finish line as we left the preserve, and it was neat to see so many people there.  I expressed dismay to Mike B at his failure to trip the leader (Tom) as he ran past him – I was pretty sure that was our agreed upon plan.  Mile 1 split:  5:35.
Finishing up loop 1 in the preserve
Mile 2:  This mile was really steep, as there is a 22’ high climb on Champlin Drive up to the turn-around.  Yeah, it was real rough, but fortunately, my training on the sea-to-summit served me well. :)
At the turn-around, Tom and I traded compliments, and then I could see all the runners headed back towards me.  I was thrilled to see my son Mark not far behind Riyan for 3rd and 4th.  Mile 2 split:  5:43.

Mile 3:  My 3rd mile is usually faster than my 2nd, but I was just running out of juice.  By now, I could only see FiveK on the long straight stretches and was running completely as an island unto myself.  This section of Avondale Road along the river seemed longer than I remembered, and I was thrilled to finally turn into the preserve.  Held on into a slight headwind to finish Mile 3 in 5:47.
Finishing strides approaching finish line

I finished the race in 17:47.  Wished I had run Mile 3 better, but I can't complain too much after a less than stellar running week, and my time was only 9 seconds off my all time PR.  
Mark had a huge day:  he sprinted in after Riyan, finishing just 1 second after him in 18:45, good for 4th place and 30 seconds off his PR!  If he's taking 30 seconds off his PR in one whack, that fateful day of him beating the old man may be sooner than I think!
Matthew had his 2nd fastest time ever in 19:56, good for 8th overall and a win in his age group.
Lots of other WTAC runners finished well, including Mike C, Paul Gray, and John.  Great day overall.

Full race results here.  Westerly sun article and pics here.
My stats:  17:47, 5:44 pace.  2nd overall, 1st in age group.
This year's awards and swag (beach towel) were unique.
Age group award.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weekly Log 1-Apr to 7-Apr-2013

Boston minus 2 weeks now.  Heading into the week a little banged up after Big River, but fortunately it's a taper week.

Monday:  0
Stood in the pouring rain in West Greenwich watching Mark's first ever high school meet.  3rd overall in the 3K in 10:49.  Only freshman to place in any event for Westerly - not bad.

Tuesday:  0
Haven't taken a double zero in a while, but the legs are still sore.

Had a local sighting of a FiveK on a bike - could it be?  Yes, indeed.  Right after Boston, I need to get into the bike and swim and start my tri season prep.

Wednesday:  4
Went out for an easy paced road run.  Soreness/stiffness in legs are gone, but still have that mild left knee pain.  Was hoping it would dissipate into the run, and it's pretty minor and not stopping me from running; just frustrating.  Run felt terrible; couldn't wait to finish it.

My highlight today was my bird's eye view as timer for the first WMS meet of the season (thanks also to Mike Crutchley for volunteering, especially so cold and windy!) and getting to watch Matthew run the 3K.  He ran most of the race in 3rd place, then by the 5th lap he took 2nd.  He hung just behind the leader for the next two laps, and on the bell lap he had enough in the tank to surge ahead and win the race in 10:56 and handily beat the state qualifying time.  He was stoked as his first race win ever and the high school track coach was watching him and came up to him afterwards to tell him that was just a few seconds off his brother's 3K time from Monday.  Them's fightin' words!

Thursday:  4
Misquamicut slog.  Very slow, flat, and easy.  Uncomfortable, but less pain than yesterday.

Friday:  6
Legs felt best so far this week.  Led the WMS distance runners on a 4-mile loop run from WHS.  Knee didn't bother me until about Mile 2.  Since I had to wait to pick up Matthew anyway, after a rest I ran 2 miles on the track:  6:14, 5:53 - felt really good on the track surface.

Saturday: 0
Decided to take another day off running to rest.  I did take my bike out for the first time since September.  Literally wiped the cobwebs off the bike.  Bike about 12 miles total, mostly in measuring the "Clamdigger 5K" course, and painting start, finish, and mile markers on the road.

Sunday:  6
Race directing and running Clamdigger 5K.  6 miles includes warm-up, the 5K race, and leading the Kids 1K run.  Fun day; separate report to follow.
Best news of all:  it's the first time since Big River that I ran completely pain-free!  Huge confidence booster for me heading into final week of Boston taper.

Weekly mileage total:  20

Week recap:  This is much less mileage than I was looking for this week, even including the taper.  I had a really tough time recovering from the Big River Half.  Not sure if it was a one-time issue, or just everyone recovers differently depending on surface, distance, pace, etc.
Anyway, even though I didn't have a good week running this week, I'm thankful to be feeling completely better.  Next week should be a really easy week - other than some strides mid-week, I'm looking at running just 4 or 5 days, and avoiding speedwork, hills, and trails.  Weather for the next week looks fantastic!