Thursday, October 31, 2013

Weekly Log 29-Oct to 3-Nov-2013

End of October.  Hard to believe just late last month I swimming in ocean triathlons.  For the remainder of the year, I'll likely have just three races:  Westerly Land Trust's "Setting the Pace for Conservation" 5K, Li'l Rhody, and Christmas 10K.  Yes, there are plenty of other good races, but there is only so much you can do, and I don't want to burn out like year.

Monday:  8
30 degree sunrise run around Winnapaug Pond.  Had to get the gloves and hat out for the first time this season.  Roads out to Weekpaug, and then finished the loop on beach at low tide back to Misquamicut.  The beach was just so "peaceful" (words from Beth on my Strava post).  Two fisherman and a walker greeted me; otherwise it was just me, the sand, and the waves.  Near utopia.

Last weekend at a family Halloween party, sitting under an immensely stocked private bar, my cousin said to me, "If I could die and go to heaven, this [free access to an immense and varied bar] would be it".  Interesting choice, but mine would probably be the the beach.  They can always bring a drink to me on the beach, but they can't bring the beach to him at his bar.

Tuesday:  6
Workout Wednesday moved to Tuesday for this week, and to a different location:  Stonington High School track.  Had to make sure FiveK was up for this, as the last time he ran SHS track it was the start of a long injury.  His choice of punishment for today was 10 x 400, with 200 recovery.

  • First 6 on track:  77, 77, 76, 77, 76,75
  • Last 4 on grass field:  73, 78, 73, and a near-sprint of 66 (caveat:  measurement 0.23 miles)

Wednesday:  6
I was dressed and ready to head out the door for a Burlingame run, when a text came in, "Dad, I forgot my notebook.  Can you bring it school?".  With Jana getting Matthew ready for school and getting ready for work herself, off I went to WHS, which then made more sense to change destinations to Barn Island.
No worries; I'm running Burlingame Sunday as a Li'l Rhody prep, and I love the Barn.  Mostly all single-track on my favorite trails, including Shot Shell Trail and Take the Long Way Home.  Ran the Stone Fort Loop Strava segment, but didn't come close to my PR.  I don't know if it was the cold or the work-out just 12 hours earlier, but I was really winded.  A great day at the Barn, and no hunters this time.

Thursday:  0
Spent the time playing with Halloween setup and fires instead:

Friday:  3
Woody Hill jog 'n clear.  Good news is I think I only have one more small section to clear to finish my Swamp Trail Bypass, then I'll be able to run the loop back to Wahaneeta without running through swamp mud.  Bad news is on the way back on "my" Obstacle Course trail I was really dismayed to find half a dozen littered and shot up Coke bottles and paint cans.  Bullet holes and leaking paint made a real mess.  Callous idiots!

Saturday:  8
Woody Hill.  Two accomplishments:  1) Finished the Swamp Trail Bypass!!  Only 0.16 miles long, but on higher ground, I'm hoping will stay drier and allow us to bypass the mud.  2) Picked up the target shooters' trash:  11 cans and bottles ripped apart, plus shotgun shell casings.  I shouldn't have to, but it was really annoying me.
Woody Hill:  Don't all clamor at once, but the Swamp Bypass Trail is open for business now.

Sunday:  11
Fun WTAC group run; our biggest yet at 8 runners.  Ran the VG Trail as warm-up for Li'l Rhody, and the tagged on a few extra miles through Kimball and Ninigret trails.  Finished up at a cool new lookout on Kettle Pond property overlooking Route 1, the ocean, and Block Island.

Weekly log:  42 miles

Week recap:  Fun and varied week.   YTD mileage goal is a disappointment, as I ran the math and found I'm running about 160 miles short of my goal.  That's substantial, but less races and more holidays in Nov and Dec still make it possible.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Charlestown Police 5K

Sunday, October 27, 2013

17:33, 5:40 pace.  4th overall, 1st in age group.  PR!  Full results here.

I've run this race most years, including back when it was run in August.  Billed as "the flatest course in RI".  I think the Avondale course might be slightly flatter as the Ninigret has max elevation 39' and min 10' (29' difference), whereas Avondale has max 23' and min 0' (23' difference), but certainly both are very flat.  Arrived one hour early, and gradually saw my WTAC teammates piling in.  Ferocious winds from yesterday were gone, and it was looking like a nice sunny day in the 50s.
Odd mix at the starting line, but soon thinned out

Mile 1:  After about 1/4 mile, the dust had pretty much settled.  I passed Action Acton, then Jay Seekell, and remained in 4th for the rest of the race.  Until just before the mile mark, I was pretty much on Jonny's heels, as were the two behind me on my heels.  Mile 1 split:  5:39.
Checking my Mile 2 split:
Greg H is shaking his head, telling me to throw the Garmin away and focus on the race

Mile 2:  This is the section going out to Route 1A, and then back into the park.  Distance is widening between the top guys.  I can no longer see the lead vehicle nor The Colonel in 1st place, and can only see FiveK (2nd place) on long straightaways.  Mile 2 split:  5:49.
FiveK in nice smooth form finishing up

Jonny in short efficient strides

Not sure that my bounding arms and legs are efficient,
but it gets me there

Matthew finishes up breaking 19 minutes
Now this Critchlery dude is just way too serious;
we'll allow it as he's en route to another killer PR

I'm not sure if this guy is trying to flap his wings to go faster,
or if he's just happy

Mile 3 and finish:  Turned into the bicycle criterium course, and am now going into the wind.  No complaints, as much less wind than last year.  I'm starting to get tired now, and am actually counting the number of turns remaining to pass the time.  I tell myself to stay focused and will myself to keep the pace.  Mile 3 split:  5:42.  I cross the finish line in 17:33, good for 5 seconds off my previous PR of 17:38, one year ago on this same course.

The WTAC gang.  Fast and fun times all around.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Weekly Log 21-Oct to 28-Oct-13

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  0
Lazy, lazy, lazy.

Wednesday: 11
AM:  3 mile slog 'n clear in Woody Hill.  Continuing to work on creating a Swamp Bypass Trail.  This trail is so short, so I really get a feel and appreciation for all the work that Mike Galoob does on OMF and other real trails he creates.
PM:  8 miles.  Made up for my laziness yesterday by getting out in the 45 degree drizzle for Workout Wednesday with FiveK. All distances approximate, as on grass fields, 2 each of 800 (2:46, 2:45), 600 (2:01, 2:10), 400 (74, 74), 200 (32, 35).  Note to 5K:  that second "600" was indeed long, at 721 yards vs 633.
Six minute break, followed by running the road course for Sunday at 10 x (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds jog).  Averaged 5:02 pace for the ten 30-second hard segments.  30 seconds sounds easy, but by the 7th or 8th segment, I think both of us were about dead, but kept pushing.  Really good workout.

Thursday:  0
Alarm went off at 4AM knowing that would be my only opportunity to run all day.  36 degrees and dark; rolled back under the covers.  About 5:15 when I got up for work, Jana asked, "I thought you were going out running at 4AM?".  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I'm going to have seriously "man up", as it's only get to get colder from here.

Pretty pathetic thus far, 1 out of 4 days running.  Maybe I should go the opposite of Muddy's streak, and see how many consecutive days I can go without running?

Friday:  6
Woody Hill.  Thought I had the 819 acres to myself (as I usually do), until I ran into chainsaw noise while running.  A crew of 4 were cutting along the main north-south carriage road.  When I stopped to talk to them and inquired further, they said they were part of a temporary agency working with federal grant money to clean up after Superstorm Sandy.  Glad to see trail clearing, but it seemed they were doing the exact opposite of what DEM rangers instructed me:  don't clear all the way to the side of the carriage roads.  Some of the clearing is great (see photo below), but at this point, I don't think we need any more wide swath clearing, especially on the taxpayer dime.  Hope they stay away from the single track.
What a beautiful fall day along the trails in Woody Hill!

Saturday:  3
Easy and short local roads.  First frost.  Picked the rest of the tomatoes the previous afternoon.  Best year ever for tomatoes.

Sunday:  7
Charlestown Police 5K.  Separate write-up.

Weekly mileage:  27

Lowest mileage in quite a while.  One lazy week won't hurt me; but let's not repeat that anytime soon, shall we?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Run for the Pumpkins 5K

Sunday, October 20, 2013

18:21, 5:55 pace.  3rd overall of 47.  1st in age group.  Full results here.

A field of about 50 runners came out for the 11th annual edition of the Run for the Pumpkins.  This was the 3rd year since WTAC had taken over management of the event.  While we'd like to see a few more, 50 is sustainable, whereas 17 that we had the last year the Town ran it was not sustainable.

Mile 1:  I followed Chris and Jonny out of the park, and except for downhill portions where I reeled Jonny a little closer, I watched him get farther and farther ahead of me during the race. This course has many turns, and were it not for the chalk lined turns by SNERRO, there is no way I could follow the course.  Mile 1 is mostly flat, and I ran a fast 5:39.

Mile 2:  There is a decent downhill stretch, before the climb begins:  95' at an average 7% grade.  Here is where Jonny really opened up some distance on me.  After the hill climb, I saw Jonny glancing back at me, but I was feeling the hill effects and never could regain the same speed again.  Mile 2 split 6:09.
Finishing up the 2013 Pumpkins run on a beautiful fall day
Mile 3:  Ran mile 3 in 5:53 pace.  I'm certain I could have run it a few seconds faster, but with Jonny way ahead of me and no one in sight behind me, just didn't feel any impetus to push it harder.

Finished in 18:21, which is a time I wouldn't normally be happy with, but immediately after finishing, Jonny came over to me and said, "Wasn't that a PR for you on this course?".  Good point!  Indeed it was!  Now if I get 18:21 next weekend at flat Charlestown Police 5K course I will be melancholy, but for this hilly course, I'll take it.
Team WTAC (minus a few who were out on the course)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekly Log 14-Oct to 20-Oct-2013

Monday:  7
Took Columbus Day off and took advantage of dropping Matthew off at WMS early morning to get in a run from a different location and at least two roads I had never run on before.  Had to run a little bit on Route 1, but not much.  Easy pace.

Tuesday:  4
Body and legs tired on 3 hours of sleep, but mentally needed to get out for a short beach run to momentarily get away from a spate of bad luck:

  • Still digesting the news that my job of 13 years is moving to NC.
  • Mentally tough to see Mark through his injury:  got home at 3AM today after two ambulance rides, and ten hours in two hospitals in failed attempts to set his badly broken arm from a soccer injury yesterday.  Back up to Providence today to learn the details of his upcoming surgery on Thursday, including inserting metal rods lengthwise through his two broken bones.
Self proclaimed "worst day of my life"
 (his broken arm is splinted inside the yellow "cheese")
These will be small blips on the radar in the hopefully near future, but not a great moment at present.

Wednesday:  3
Wahaneeta / Woody Hill slog and trail clear.  Finally started on my "Swamp Trail Bypass".

Thursday:  6
Morning run on local roads and hills to calm the nerves before Mark's surgery.

Friday:  3
Woody Hill.  Spent more time clearing than running.  I know you're not supposed to run with scissors, but I'm getting pretty good at running with a bow saw!  On the way back, miss-stepped on a rock crossing a stream and fell in the drink.  Oh well, a good trail run should always involve some mud or blood, or at least many of mine do.

Saturday:  11
Longest run since Smuttynose two weeks ago.  Early morning run with FiveK and WhichWay from the Y out to Barn Island and back.  Stuck to mostly single-track trails in the woods in "the Barn" as shotgun sounds emanating from near the fields and marshes.  Went through one marsh section on the way out where we encountered two separate hunters with shotguns.  They were both very pleasant, but I just got this feeling they didn't want us there.  That's the one thing I don't like about weekend mornings running trails in the fall, but hunters have just as much as right to be there as us runners, so we'll learn to co-exist.
On to more pleasant topics:  on the way back on Mechanic Street, Pawcatuck, after already running 10 miles, FiveK incites us to run a mile hard.  Only a mile, right?  Just seemed like it wouldn't end, but 5 minutes and 35 seconds later, it did for me.  Good run.

Sunday:  4
Run for the Pumpkins.  Separate write-up to follow shortly.
Weekly total:  38 miles

Week wrap-up:
38 miles - not bad.  I'm sure having Columbus Day off factored into that.  Now at week's end, we're starting to move forward with the two obstacles life threw at us:  1) Mark is getting back to his normal routine of sleeping until Noon and annoying his mother and brother, so he must be feeling better.  The swelling has stopped, and he stopped asking for Vicodin.  He goes back to school Monday, although driven by car and with a number of accommodations for now.  2) I'm starting to give more thought to my job possibilities, including transferring to NC, searching for a new job internally and externally, as well as staying put at present job until April for incentive reasons.  Unfortunately, neither an early retirement nor a part-time local job is a possibility at this time, especially with two boys that want to go to college.  I tried to convince my kids to drop out of school and move out of the house, but no luck so far. :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Weekly Log 7-Oct to 13-Oct-2013

Post Marathon recovery week.  Still enjoying my "high" from the marathon PR and experience, while I anticipate extremely light running this week.  Over the long holiday weekend, I'm hoping to get out on the trails with my running friends.

Monday:  0
Running out of the question, but at least no hobbling or backwards stair walking today!

Tuesday:  0

Wednesday:  2
Mixed recovery with finally making good on my plans for minor trail maintenance in Woody Hill (it was only six months ago that I got approval from DEM!).  Alternated jogging (with work gloves, a bow sow, and pruning shears) and stopping to clear obstructions on the Fern Drive trail from Wahaneeta up to Swamp Trail intersection.
The highlight of my day was receiving a phone call from the venerable Tom McCoy congratulating me on my Smuttynose marathon.  Like me, he started running at age 39, and also like me, his best Boston was 2:56, but he was quick to tell me I had gone under (barely) his all-time PR of 2:52.   It's hard to find more of a quality, giving, positive person than Tommy.

Thursday:  3
Early morning run in the dark, local roads, at 8 minute pace.  Still some soreness, mostly in the calves and oddly in the ankles.

Friday:  13
- Morning:  6 miles.  Fun running trails on Barn Island.  Do you know what it's like to have 1,000 acres all to yourself to run trails?  Yes, you probably do.  It's a really neat and cathartic experience.  Hope to have a group run here soon.
- Afternoon:  7 miles.  Round 2 - Woody Hill trails with FiveK.  Fun to be back out here.

Saturday:  8
Fun group run with perhaps a record of 7 WTAC runners!  Jonny, Muddy, Seth, Mike B, FiveK, and Chris.  Grills Preserve trails starting on Westerly side of the river, crossed over the shiny new bridge, which was neat but looks so out of place out in the woods.  Onto the Hopkinton side of the Grills Preserve, silver diamond trail was much more technical than I had expected.  Half of us took the roads back to finish up at 8+ miles, and that worked fine for me, as a little calf soreness.

Sunday:  6
Finished out the week with a trail romp through Mastuxet and Champlin trails.  Even had a Woolley sighting in Champlin.  Said he's hoping to run Li'l Rhody next month.

Weekly mileage total:  32

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Smuttynose Marathon

Hampton Beach, NH
Sunday, October 6, 2013

Finish time:  2:51:55!  Average pace 6:34.  5th overall of 948 finishers.  1st in age group (of 128).  Full results here.

Arrived the afternoon before, in time to go to packet pick-up and go for a 3-mile run on the course.  The motel room was a little rundown, but at $89 and 1/2 mile from the start line, it would work fine for the night.  Went out to carbo load on shrimp scampi, laid out my gear, and watch National Treasures 2 until I fell asleep.

Up at 6AM, showered, and ate the breakfast I had packed of cereal, yogurt, OJ, and a bagel.  Met up with newest WTAC member Nate at 7:30 and we warmed up for a mile on the course.  Finally saw Muddy at the start line about 5-10 minutes before 8 start, and the three of us ran a few strides.
My colorful bib and 3 packets of GU ready to go

Miles 1 - 11 (1st loop):  Race started at 8 promptly.  Roads are closed - nice!  Nate went ahead (he was running the half), and Muddy and I ran together in high 6:20s about for three miles.  We ran into a headwind running along the ocean for the first two miles, but fortunately it wasn't a problem after that.  By mile 4 we were out of the wind and into a neighborhood and running into the high 6:10s, so it was time for me to bid adieu to the speedster Muddy.  Ran by myself for a mile or two, then got into a pack of about five that mostly held to a pace of high 6:20s over the next few miles.  At mile 11, the half-marathoners break off from the marathoners, as the marathoners start a second loop.  Everyone in my pack deserted me as they were running the half, and I trucked on solo and lonely.

Miles 12 - 22 (2nd loop):  On long straight stretches (there weren't many), I could see a runner way ahead of me in a white singlet, and wondered if it were Muddy.  Halfway split:  1:25:27 (6:31 pace).  It was lonely up until about Mile 18.  I passed a runner at mile 15, and got passed by one at mile 17, otherwise, running as an island.  Starting at Mile 18, I started passing the back-of-the-pack half-marathoners.  There was plenty of room to pass at all but the last 1/4 mile, and many of them cheered me on as I passed them, so that helped.  The final uphill was leading to Mile 22, and it was only 30' elevation gain, but the legs were complaining and slowed to 6:56 pace.  (Yes, I'm a whiner, and yes, I know the Nipmuck guys had serious elevation, but by Mile 22, I wanted nothing to do with even the tiniest of hills.)

Miles 23 - Finish.  Just bring me home.  The rain has become steady now.  I tried to tell myself to stay south of 7 pace, and with the wind at my back and flat right along the ocean for the trek back, I succeeded.  6:38, 6:37, 6:28, 6:36!  With the finish in sight and clock inching towards 2:52, I said not this time, clock, and I picked it up to 6:07 pace to beat the clock.  Not a negative split, but only one minute slower than my first half - I'll take it!
Rainy finish line

Elation and exhaustion followed.  I walked with Nate for a while (congrats to him on his sub-1:23 half), drank a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade, and then went to the beer tent with him.  No beer for me in immediate post-finish daze, but I was happy to accompany him.  Happy that is, until I started shivering and shaking.  Not that it was that cold (mid-50s), but I was soaked to the skin and even with the mylar wrap, had lost a lot of body heat.  Told Nate good-bye as I walked back to the hotel for a hot shower and dry clothes, and then came back for my lobster roll, chowda, and age group awards.
Smutty finisher award, and various swag for 1st place age group award

Never saw Muddy post-race (he also PR'd!  4th, 51 seconds ahead of me), but he called me later and we caught up.

I ended up with a PR by over 4 minutes from my 2013 Boston PR, which was already 3 minutes ahead of my previous PR at 2012 Providence Cox.  I know that I can't keep defying aging, but for today, the gazelle keeps aging at bay for another day by writing a new huge PR.  Ecstatic!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Weekly Log 30-Sep to 6-Oct-2013

Marathon week is finally here for many of us WTAC'ers!  Taper with 5-8 milers mid-week, light short running a couple days before, and off we go.  Best of luck to all!

Photos (l-r):  Old Mountain Field 5K, Westerly Land Trust/Conservation 5K, Strides 5K.

Monday:  0
Planned zero.

Tuesday:  5
Workout at Burlingame Campground with FiveK.  One mile hard (5:34), followed by 2x800, and 2x400.  Unusually humid evening added to the lung taxing.  First time I had been in this section of the park since the "Snowy Sufferfest"; elicited those fun memories.

Wednesday:  8
Challenged to find a run slot on a work day that unexpectedly began at 3AM.  Managed to sneak away at Noon.  Wow, what a day!  75 degrees and sunny - is this really October?!

After a mile warm-up, ran 3 miles down to Weekapaug at sub-MP:  6:19, 6:18, 6:14.  Then went onto the beach and ran the 2.5 miles back to Misquamicut right on the shore's edge at low tide.  Really fun!  Surprisingly saw about 100 people on the beach.  Mostly all retired - jealous!

Afternoon went to see Matthew run at Chariho, vs. Chariho and Davisville.  He was leading as he went past us; came back in 3rd place, still respectable, but looking dejected.  What we didn't see is that he turned off course and then had to play catch-up.  Bummer!  He was pretty miserable.  At the end of the meet, comments helped a little, such as from Kevin Burr that Jackie had also run off course at Chariho, and later from a Chariho kid pointing at Matthew saying "That's the kid that should've won".

Thursday:  0
Long work day, followed by watching Mark's soccer game in Providence makes this a good day to take my final zero before Smuttynose.

Friday:  4
Easy run about 7:30 pace on local roads.  Final local run before Smuttynose.

Saturday:  3
Smuttynose short run on course.

Sunday:  28
Smuttynose Marathon.  See separate write-up.

Weekly total:  48