Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Weekly Log 22-Dec to 28-Dec-2014: Christmas & Final Race of the Year

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  6
Started off the day volunteering for the Westerly Land Trust,
this time clearing brush in Winnapaug Farm Preserve.
Get this, Mikey B, they asked if the "young" guy could help with the heavier
stuff, and they were referring to me!
Hoping for some perimeter trails here in the future.

Drizzly afternoon run through Moonlight and Urso hills.  Shin splints in left leg were bothering me enough that I considered returning home and skipping the run, but I figured I'd see if it got better after a mile or so, which fortunately it did.  Just read that the average duration of shin splints is 71 days, so I'll manage through it and perform a number of shin splint exercises I read in Runners' World.

Wednesday:  6

'Twas the night before Christmas
When we drove down to Weekapaug,
Our hearts were all set
For a run out to Quonochontaug,

First up was a run on Fenway Beach
Where we saw folks enjoying the surf,
Could Crutch be amongst them?
No, this isn't his turf.

Next up we were on Weekapaug beach,
Where Matthew hoped for some hard pack,
But being high tide meant soft sand
And a slow pace turned him into a sad sack.

Halfway out to the point
it started to rain,
Is this really Christmas?
The weather is insane.

We got out to the breachway
And jumped up onto the rocks,
Between the rain and dodging waves
All wet were our socks.

The run back on the Sand Trail
Was hard and taking its toll,
We were all alone
As we saw nary a soul.

Via Hell Field we continued
In our quest to make six,
We finished in a downpour
But got in a good mix.

We wished to our running friends
as we ran out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all
and to all a Good Night!

(My annual apologies to Clement  C. Moore.)

Thursday:  6
Christmas Day run on the beach.  Temps in the high 50s; wore a singlet.  Time to bring some good ole fashioned New England winter weather.
Santa brought new road shoes,
trail shoes, and a Nathan strobe clip-on light
Friday:  11
Mike B (aka Mikey) didn't get enough mileage in with his morning 5-miler on the track, and joined me for 3-town, 2-state tour from the Y out to North Stonington via Boombridge, and back Potter Hill Road.  He even indulged me to run the short but fun trails in the Whitely Preserve.

Saturday:  8
Solo run around the pond and back home via the beach.

Final Race of the Year:
Matthew is at the TOP of the Podium,
Freshman Mile at RI Indoor Classic, Providence

He lowers his PR again! (Sorry, FiveK, your Fitch runner got 4th).

Sunday:  12

Led Chris, Mikey, Matthew, and Seth on a group run in one of my favorite areas:  Barn Island.  Everyone was good for the full 11.5 mile option, including the two short Strava segments.

Weekly mileage: 49 (not good enough to make the WTAC Strava leaderboard, but still pretty good in my book)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Old Mountain Field 5K

Sunday, December 21, 2014

South County 4th Season Race SeriesThe world-famous 4th season trail race series has commenced!  First up in the series is Old Mountain Field ("OMF"), a twisty, curvy, root-gnarled, rock-scramble, and at least for today, a muddy escapade through OMF trails.  Tough, but really fun run!  I feel bad for the folks that missed out on this one, and hope their lives are otherwise going OK.  This includes Matthew; understandable absence for him as he raced two of the past three days already.

Arrived not as early as I would have liked (9:20?).  Temps in the low 30s and drizzly, but somehow not feeling cold at all.  Checked in, and went for a warm-up on about half the course with Muddy and Mark Fuller and some random 1st timer that joined us midway.  Finished warm-up at 9:51am, giving just enough time to lose the long sleeve shirt (real RI'ers run in shorts and singlets - we'll get Chris and Crutch to drink the Kool-Aid someday), drain the lizard, and get to the starting line.

Way out:  The siren went off, and let the sprint chaos to the woods begin.  Normally of course, prudence dictates a conservative pace at the start to save some endurance for later in the race.  In this race, knowing tight single track (translate:  difficult to pass) awaits you in 1/4 mile means I throw prudence out the window and hoof it as fast as my legs can carry me in order to get a good position going into the woods.  At a pace of about 5 minute/mile, I run just behind Jonny and Muddy, and next to Seth most of the way on the field.  Just before entering the woods, I sprint ahead of a kid about age 12; no doubt he'd be faster than me in an 800 and maybe a track mile, but my instincts serve me right that we won't be able to keep up with me on this race.

I enter the woods just behind my nemesis Dave Principe, and not much changes in position over the next two miles.  Naturally, the pace slows in the woods and over the bog bridges, but I'm in oxygen debt for about 1/4 mile until we cross the wide bridge over Indian Run Reservoir.  We pass probably only one runner through here, and then Dave gets stuck behind a gray shirt runner for a long time, which reinforces how important it is to get a good position going into the woods.  Just as I'm breathing like a dinosaur behind Dave, I can hear someone is hot on my heels (it's Seth).  Dave almost wipes out on a craggy rock-crossing, otherwise we just keep following Mr. Gray Shirt.

Cool running bibs this year!

Way back:  Seth has dropped off now, and it's just Dave and I following Gray Shirt.  Dave tries and fails a few times to pass him through the boggy sections.  Finally, just before the first of two short uphill sections, Dave yells "on your right" and bushwhacks past him.  Headed for the first of two short uphills means this is not my forte, but I feel I have no choice but to do the same and go past Gray Shirt.  Coming up to the "cliff", Dave comes right up behind a 20-something guy in URI garb.  Down the stairs and up the tiring climb, then past the big rock with an engraving the three of us follow in close succession.  After the rock, we start a slight downhill section with lots of sharp curves that will bring us down right along the parking lot.

The gutsy "move":  About 1/2 mile to go, and running out of downhill, I know it's now or never for me to make a move.  Knowing my very worthy opponent, if I wait for an easier pass until we get out onto the grass, I won't have much chance of holding him off by then.  This is going to have to be swift and deliberate, no pussy-footing around, no calling out my intentions to pass in advance.  Exiting a sharp trail turn with a slight straight-away before the next turn, I sprint in overgrowth past Mr. Principe and past the guy ahead of him, emerging back on the trail.  I can't rest on my laurels and need to put some gap here.  After we pass the "old" race finish, and start the final uphill climb, I glance at a switchback and am thrilled to see I've put some gap on the 20-something and Dave is jammed up behind him.  Unfortunately, by the end of the hill climb and 180-degree turn, I see Dave has now passed him and is coming after me.  Damn!  Full speed ahead downhill onto the grass, across the road, behind the baseball diamond, I think I can't run any faster until the final turn towards the finish when I hear commotion behind me, glance back and see both of them sprinting after me.  The young guy re-passes Dave Principe, but I finish just ahead of both of them, by 2 and 4 seconds, respectively.  Yes!  My move paid off handsomely.

Final results:  20:05, 10th of 171 finishers, 1st in age group.  Full results here.

Wow, what a race!  I was nervous going into it, but the time really went by quickly.  After I caught my breath, I went back out to run the course with much of the WTAC team, picking up flags along the way.  The rest of the WTAC fared well, with Chris setting a course record, Justin and Jonny coming in a second apart for 6th and 7th, and an overall mens team win.  Did the womens team win as well?  We had a huge team turnout with 21 WTAC runners!!!  A large representation on the WTAC womens team as well.  Dave Principe later told me he'd have the image seared into his mind all day of my sprinting move passing him, but he'd be back to battle at Resolution.  Last time there he beat me by 5 seconds, but I'll be back to give it my all, knowing I'll have fun whatever the result.

Thanks Mike Galoob and family for putting on another great race.  Did I mention how much fun I had?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Weekly Log 15-Dec to 22-Dec-2014: Running respite

Running respite:  Feeling shin splints coming on in my left leg, which if past experience is any indication, they'll be pestering me on and off over the next 1-2 months.  Between the shin splints, and the realization that I'll need to get into ramp-up mode soon for Boston, this week sounds like a good one to take some downtime.

Monday - Thursday:  0

Tuesday highlight:  Hiking / clearing in the Westerly Land Trust property known as "Crandall Swamp Preserve".  Nice marked trails in this property of approximately 400 acres.  Two downsides are 1) much of this is wetlands (Aguntaug Swamp is the proper name), and 2) this property is not open to the public, due both to fragile environment and also contentious rights-of-way and neighbors who don't want people on the property.  The yellow trail is a sylvan loop, while the red trail goes through bogs out to Wolf Island, supposedly named for the location of where the last native wolf in Westerly was shot, dating back to agrarian days.
Remnants of an old sawmill - cool diversion in the middle of the woods along the yellow trail

Thursday highlight:  Vicariously running through Matthew's first indoor dual meet.  Running a 3K indoors translates to 15 laps on the track!  Ran about 6th place for much of the race, picking off runners for much of the last few laps before passing the lead runner with about 50 yards to go for the win in 9:45 (5:15 pace).

Friday:  6
3rd annual Christmas Light Run, this year from my house.  Muddy and Mikey joined me for the first loop, and Tommy & Shara joined the fun for the 2nd loop.  Good times.
This year we have a "short" 14' tree.

Saturday:  5
Solo run through Misquamicut, including some beach time.  Threw in a few strides, as I haven't run all week and have the race tomorrow.

Sunday: 8
Old Mountain Field 5K trail race.  Awesome fun race!  Write-up to follow shortly.

Weekly total:  19.  Knowingly and intentionally very low mileage.  Needed to take a break.  Hope to bring it back up next week and to have some fun holiday runs.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weekly Log 8-Dec to 14-Dec-14

Monday:  0
On my long 1.2 mile commute to work, I heard on the radio that if you're going to get murdered at work, statistically speaking, Monday is the most likely day.  Nice - thanks for that!

Tuesday:  5
Absolute downpour.  Actually thought about skipping this one.  Yeah, man up, and get it done, and I'm glad I did.  Got soaked real quick, so then was comfortable just running through all the puddles.  Another upside was wanting to get this done quickly, I averaged 6:32 pace.  Really happy with that.

Wednesday:  5
Up in Needham, MA for my weekly visit.  With it still raining and dark, decided to avoid the trails.  Did not bring reflective gear, and it left me a little uncomfortable, but fortunately many of the streets here have paved paths about 5' in from the street edge.

Thursday:  5
Watch Hill at lunch in snow squalls.  This was a really fun run.  Ran down to the lighthouse, a little on the beach, and on various quiet Watch Hill roads, especially this time of year.  Would have been much happier if we got snow that stuck to the ground, but it was still technically my first snow run of the season.

Friday:  0
Feeling some possible vestiges of shin splints, decided to take a complete zero.

Saturday:  11
32-degree group run with Chris and Jonny from the Quaker cemetery in Perryville.  Remarks:

  • Jonny and I wore "matching" uniforms of shorts, yellow shirt, and orange hat.  Chris didn't get the memo, and showed up in dark clothing and tights.  Isn't that guy from colder NY state?  You'd think today's run was balmy for him.
  • Scariest part of the run was the redneck house with 7 vehicles in the yard with raised chassis, barking dogs, and No Trespassing signs.
  • These trails are tiring with the uphills/downhills but make for great trail training.

Sunday:  7
Matthew asked if I'd run with him on the Brrr-lingame trails.  If you insist!  Did fine with finding the right trails until we got back into the campground after crossing VG.  After a while, just ran roads down to the waterfront until we picked up the trail for the last mile or so.

Weekly mileage:  34
Much lower mileage than I would like, but if I do have shin splits recurring, I want to be careful of that as well.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Weekly Mileage Log 1-Dec to 7-Dec-2014

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
Woody Hill bushwhacking in new town properties adjacent to Route 91.  Trying to follow vestiges of trails that mostly led nowhere.  At one point, came upon a 10' monument dated 1880 recognizing the Vars family emigrating from France to Newport in the 1600s.  Odd!

Wednesday:  7
Rainy 37 degree run in Needham, MA.  With soaking rains overnight, decided to stay off the trails.  Ran to a local track, and ran 5 x 800:  2:46, 2:50, 2:52, 2:53, 2:54.  Disappointing.  Need to work on this. 

Thursday:  8
Beautiful sunny day in the mid-40.  For my lunch break, I ran roads out to Watch Hill, and then beach back to Misquamicut, re-capturing my CR from Matthew in the process.  Running an average 5:57 pace on the beach for 2 miles was not easy for me, but it had to be done!  (If or probably when Matthew re-takes it from me, that will likely do it for me.)

During my segment run, a few people were out walking the beach.  One of them cheerily said something like "Beautiful day out there, isn't it?  Hope you're enjoying the run."  I hope they weren't expecting anything as verbose, as I mumbled back something incoherent while drooling and spitting in their general direction.  Hope they picked up at least on my positive sentiment, but somehow color me skeptical.

Friday:  5
Back to Woody Hill for some more bushwhacking.  Spent time in a pine forest where I'd like to put in a trail connector.

Saturday:  16
Met up with Chris and Muddy at Charlestown School for a 6:30am run.  We ran roads into Richmond on many familiar streets from where I moved to at age 12.  Other than very short sections on Routes 2 and 138, most of the run was on quiet streets.  Didn't realize until afterwards that for the first 12 miles, we had run an average of 6:58/mile.  Very happy with that!  Chris parted ways after 12, and Muddy led us for 4 miles of trails in Carter Preserve before calling it a day.  Very solid run.

Sunday:  8
Run with Matthew and his friend from Tower St school to Riverwood and back.  Tried to keep up with Matthew on Old Hopkinton Road segment, but nothing doing.

Weekly mileage total:  49

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weekly Post 24-Nov to 30-Nov-2014: Thanksgiving week

Monday:  6
Normally my day off, but took a zero yesterday, so got out in the pouring rain for a hospital loop.  I didn't melt.

Tuesday:  6
Lunchtime run in Avondale.  Loving this part of my job to allow me to run mid-day and just have more time in general.  Just heard from a CHS grad friend of mine who also took a new job in September, but with quite a contrast:  he drives (from southern RI) to Bedford, MA five days per week, leaving the house at 4:45am and returning at 7:30pm.  Uggh!

Wednesday:  0

Thursday:  10
Turkey Day run with Mike B and Matthew.  Ran trails from Bradford Preserve, a winding loop around most of the perimeter of Woody Hill (except the southern portion), through Wahaneeta and back.  Starting to think about where we could lay out a 5K in the fall.
One of my ex-Fidelity colleagues sent me this pic in a T-day
e-mail.  It was at my send off party in Boston.
Get your own bottle of wine!

Friday:  10
Black Friday run with Jonny, Justin, and Seth.  Becoming somewhat of an annual tradition.  Met up at the Bakery at Charlestown Beach before running roads out to Charlestown Breachway.  Ran the beach to Green Hill, where Seth left us to bring his daughter to the DMV to get her permit - good luck with that, I know riding shotgun with Mark has aged me (even more). 

Anyway, back to the run.  The funny things about green slimy rocks is they're really slippery.  Slipped a few times before going down for the count.  Was good to get off the rocks.  Ran roads back and enjoyed a scone, coffee, and titillating conversation to end the run.  The guy serving us noticed Jonny's WTAC shirt; it turns out he was in the WTAC in the 1970s.  Jonny asked if I was in my 30s then.  (Mike B was absent today, so somebody had to fill in for the smarta$@.)

Muddy asked what time I had to be at work.  8am, but it's 8:10 now - since I don't have a flux capacitor, I don't think I can make it on time.  E-mailed my boss to let him know I'd be an hour late on account of a Black Friday group run.  He answered with two words, "I'm envious".

Saturday:  5
Grills trail run with Matthew.  He thought Big Hill was pretty cool.
Came home to leaves galore

Moved into the 21st century with
this impulse buy.  Matches the
green Ryobi chainsaws Crutch
& I bought.  Crutch, do
 you have one of these bad-boys?

At 185mph output, this
thing moved wet thick piles
of leaves, sticks, gravel,
and small children.

Sunday: 9
Barn Island trails with Matthew.  One of my favorite spots.

Weekly mileage total: 46
Pretty happy with that.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Log 17-Nov to 23-Nov-2014

Monday:  8
Annual post-Rhody Monday morning sunrise course sweep.  Mandy and Tammy had done the best sweeping job I've ever seen, as there were only 3 gel wraps and a single flag left behind.  The weather was raining and cold with much of the course flooded.  That's OK; at least it was dry for all the runners racing yesterday.

Tuesday: 5
Weekapaug Sand Trail run at Noon.  Don't know what I was thinking.  Run down to Quonnie Breachway on the beach with strong wind at my back was great, but I knew what I was coming back into:  20mph headwinds, freezing temperatures, and sand blowing onto my legs and face.

Wednesday:  9
Return to Blue Heron Trail (Dedham, MA) to try to navigate the full loop again. Success!  That did require bringing my paper map and actually hanging onto it this time, as well as ignoring a well-wisher offering me directions and going with my own instincts.  24 degrees.  The only other runner that I saw was bundled up much more than me, and yelled something to me about my shorts.  I'm sure it was complimentary, right?
First section was rough with
ice and frozen puddles;
fortunately most of trail was dry

Whatever this yellow thing is that's coming up over the
horizon, I hope it warms me up

Am I lost?
No, it turned out just to be a couple
of blocks inside city limits, before
back onto single-track in Dedham

Stopped at DD on way home to use bathroom.
On second thought, I think I'm all set with ordering food today.

Thursday:  5
After 5 consecutive days of running trails (the sand trail counts, doesn't it?), mixed it up.  Lunchtime beach run.  Windy and cold again.

Friday:  0
Intentional rest day.
Is this really is a good thing?  Got to be better than Christine Parker.
I can't make this stuff up.  Am I a magnet?

Saturday:  17
Start at Beach Pond on Route 165 at RI/CT line.  Mike G, Bob Jackman, Muddy, Jonny, and me.  Jonny had warned me that the run would be "longgg", so I thought it a good opportunity to get some more time with my Camelbak.  Stashed some GU and phone in addition to 32 ounces of Gatorade (it holds 100, but won't need that much today).  Started off south on Tippecansett, and the first few miles were on pretty rugged terrain.  Worked our way west into CT and out to Green Falls Pond, after which I led for a mile or two and was having a lot of fun bounding along the trail.  The last four miles I was starting to fatigue, especially on Pachaug-Tippecansett Crossover Trail back to RI.  I thought I held my own on the flats and downhills, but struggled a bit on the uphill sections to keep up.  Great group long run; I need to get back into more of these.
17 degrees at the start.
Can you believe none of these wimps wore shorts? 

Stop at Deep Pond along the way
Mike Galoob and Bob Jackman got confused and thought this was a
multi-sport activity today

By not wearing shorts, the other four also missed out on these
awesome bloody badges of honor that I earned.
(OK, picking out the small pieces of wood out of my cuts was painful;
the rest was all good.)

Sunday:  0
Slouch Day.  Volunteered for WHS Rivalry 5K today, as I watched Matthew win the whole race.  Wish it were actually 5K instead of 2.97 GPS miles, as he was en route to yet another PR.

Weekly mileage:  44

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Li'l Rhody Runaround 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

50:16, 13th overall, 1st in age group!  Full results here.

Already many awesome posts on this race from fellow WTAC'ers.  Here's my abbreviated story:

The preparation:  The 23rd annual running was finally here, after setting the date a year ago, advertising, web posting, planning, spending Saturday on gathering final supplies and sorting shirts in our living room, we left the house at 7:30am and were ready to go.  Volunteers were awesome this year, including adding a new feature for parking lot attendants which ended up being our most organized parking effort ever.  The hours before race time just flew by and all of a sudden Way from SNERRO was asking me to give pre-race remarks and get ready for the start.
2014 mass start

The 1st half:  As usual for me at this race, no time for a warm-up or cool-down with RD duties, just the gun goes off and you run.  Fast!  First two miles were intentionally sub-6 to hit the trails post-campground in a good position.  I saw about 3 guys ahead of me, including Tom Gruczka, and then they were gone.  Between campground and Buckeye Brook, I think I was passed by one and I passed one.  Grabbed a water at the stop, mumbled a thank you, and off we go to the second half.

The second half:  Just before the ledge climb, I caught up to and passed Tom Gruczka as he gave me some words of encouragement.  That would be the last person I saw until Kings Factory.  As usual, I was tiring on the next two miles of climbs and rock gardens.  I looked back at a couple of switchbacks and saw no one.  Exited onto the road, and despite being spent, I knew I was close to my PR (50:14) so I somehow pushed a 5:39 average pace on the road to the finish.  I stopped my watch at 50:15, one measly, tiny, infinitesimal, minuscule second off my PR.  Really?  (SNERRO later posted my time as 50:16 - I guess missing your PR by two seconds is better than by one?)
My finish - close to a PR, but no cigar

Race over:  My plan is to catch my breath and then jog back on the course to find Matthew.  I turned around and who do I see crossing the finish line just behind me?  Where the heck did Matthew come from?  Really happy that we both won our age groups.  So many PRs set by fellow WTAC'ers today, as well as a CR by Mike Galoob.  I was perhaps even happier to get so many positive encouraging e-mails post race, to the tune of "favorite race", "awesome volunteers", "well marked", "can I get that Critchlery guy's autograph?", etc (well, OK, maybe not the last one, but he helped out awesomely in pre-reg as did many of our volunteers).  I have many e-mails to respond to!

Barely holding off the freshman state champ after his 5-minute PR. 
Last time beating him?
Epilogue:  Got home about 3pm to find our first floor in disarray.  Pots and pans and appliances on the hardwood floors, a food closet emptied, couch moved, and a tennis racket on the floor?  What gives?  Went to have a talk with Mark and asked if there was a fight in the house while we were gone.  Sort of.  He said a mouse scurried out from under the couch, and went into the food closet.  He got the tennis racquet to whack the mouse (if you think that's cruel, you weren't here when we had 40 mice in the basement 2 years ago breeding in clothes storage - disgusting).  Mark cleared out enough of the food closet to get the mouse on the move again and failed to dispatch him with the racquet, as he scurried into our gas fireplace.  His plans to cook the mouse failed as we hadn't turned on the gas to the fireplace for the winter season yet.
Later that evening ... We done have bar-b-qued mouse.
(or so I thought, as that damned thing scurried out once it got hot.  this
went on for 2 more days before the mouse finally went to a "better place")


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Weekly Log 10-Nov to 16-Nov-2014

Li'l Rhody week!  Wasn't it just yesterday that it was summer?

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  8
Happy to have the day off for Veterans' Day, a new experience for me.  Banks have generous holiday schedules.  Spent the morning volunteering for the Westerly Land Trust.  The Land Trust president's husband, upon seeing me, immediately informed the rest of the group that my son beat me in their 5k race.  I sarcastically thanked him for pointing that out!  My work assignment today was to help clear trails in Mastuxet and Dr. Lewis Pond properties.

In the afternoon, I did a dry run on Li'l Rhody race.  I ran very hard, but not all out, and was happy to come in at 53 minutes.  It bodes well for Sunday.

Wednesday:  6
Another Wednesday working in Wellesley; another opportunity to scout out a new running route.   This time I had researched and picked the Blue Heron Trail and parked at one of the trailheads.  Armed with a printed trail map, off I went.

Start of the Blue Heron Trail
Should be as easy as following
Blue Heron symbols, but
somehow I still got off the trail 

Ran on a boardwalk through a marsh, and then through a railroad tunnel over to single-track trails.  At some point, I lost my trail map.  My planned loop was now out the window, and I just followed the trail for a while.  I came to a second railroad tunnel, which looked identical to the first one.  Dag-nab-it (that's what old people say - just ask Mike B), I've been running in circles.  If there's a silver lining, I found the trail map I dropped, but I've lost too much time to try running the loop now.  Good excuse to come back again!
This boardwalk made for
some fast running

I think this one would be good
for breaking toes and ankles

Some fun in the mud before a Galoob-style bridge

Thursday:  0

Friday:  5
Evening sunset beach run.  C-H-I-L-L-Y.
Found another "Matthew Walker just stole your CR!" in my inbox.  Actually, as you can see,
it's a regular feature in my inbox these days.  Stole his Timothy Drive 1/2 mile segment a few weeks
back with a 5:12 pace.  I thought I done good with a 5:12 pace, until he stole it back with a 4:59.

Saturday:  8

Sunday:  8
Li'l Rhody.  Write-up to follow.

Weekly mileage:  35

So much for my plans to up my mileage.  Time to take a break from races for a while and get back to fun weekend long runs. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Westerly Land Trust 5K

Sunday, November 9, 2014
Avondale Farm Preserve, Westerly

This was the 3rd running of this annual fundraiser for one of my favorite non-profits.  The Westerly Land Trust has 29 properties with almost 1,500 acres.  At least 7 of these have trail systems open to the public for running and hiking.

Went for a warm-up with Mike B and three local high-schoolers from the neighborhood, including Matthew and Jonny Eckel just coming off awesome cross country seasons.
Start of the race:  looks like I'll be battling 3 teenagers today

Mile 1:  About 70 of us toed the line.  At the gun, a kid about 10 sprinted out ahead of all of us as Matthew mumbled something about there seeming to be one of these at every race.  Sure enough, 1/4 mile in his dazzle was done as he got passed left and right.  When the dust settled, Cooper (former WHS track runner who graduated last year) was in the lead, followed by Jonny and then Matthew and I.  Matthew and I ran pretty much together for the first mile.  He would later tell me he felt I was pushing the pace, so if I somehow helped him in this part, I'm happy.  Mile 1 split 5:33.
Positioning at end of 1K:  Cooper, Jonny, Matthew & me

Breathing hard (as Matthew would later tell me)
to try to keep up with Matthew

Mike B out sporting his club colors

Mile 2:  The course doubles back on itself here on Champlin, so you can see all the runners behind you.  Gave Mike B and others props.  I hung with Matthew until the end of the 2nd mile and then the race composition started to change.  Jonny passed Cooper for the lead, and Matthew started to pick up the pace.  I gave Matthew some encouragement to go after the two lead runners, and off he went.  Mile 2 split 5:41.

Mile 3:  Matthew passed Cooper early in the final mile to move into 2nd place, and about 1/4 mile later I passed Cooper as well.  I wanted to say "good job" to him, but it would have come out all gibberish.  Usually the stretch along the river is long and boring, but I was enjoying watching the race unfold ahead of me as Matthew was narrowing the gap on Jonny, who still had a decent lead up to and back into the preserve.  There was a little breeze headwind back into the preserve, but we've certainly had worse.  Right about the 3-mile mark Matthew had caught up to Jonny.  Mile 3 split 5:49.

The finish:  I had a birdseye view of a race that came down to the wire.  Jonny surged ahead to get a few feet ahead of Matthew and I wasn't sure if that was the final move, but when Matthew caught up again I knew then he'd probably win as you typically can't keep throwing surges.  Jonny ran a great race to finish in 17:33, but Matthew ran past him in the final 100 yards to finish with a PR and overall win in 17:30.
A battle amongst friendly rivals in the final 100 yards

1st place, 2nd, ...

... and 3rd.

I came through the line behind them in 17:46 (still awaiting final online results).  I was really happy with my time to break 18-minutes again as a 50-year old, but even happier and prouder of Matthew.  (Muddy, Seth, Jonny H, and others - be warned - your days of beating Matthew in a road 5K are numbered as well!)  A number of other WTAC'ers had great races, including Mike B, Paul G, and Elise for the female 1st place.  Always a fun time.

Final results:  17:48, average 5:45 pace.  3rd of 68 finishers.  1st in age group.  Full results here.
Today's WTAC contingent

To the victor go the spoils:
I've watched his 5k time come down from low 30s
as a 7-year old  to 17:30 today as a 15-year old.
It's been a great ride with faster times to come!

Next up ... Li'l Rhody in only 7 days!   

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekly Log 3-Nov to 9-Nov-14

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  6
Moonlight hills run before work.  Enjoying having the extra hour of light now in the morning, but that too will be gone by next month as sunrise creeps later.

Wednesday:  9
Wednesdays have become Wellesley Wednesdays for me.  Some of my Westerly co-workers seem to feel badly that I "have" to go to our Wellesley office, but seriously, once a week to Wellesley is not an issue and I like the people up there and the work.  You'd think they were asking me to go back to India or something.  I have my routine:  leave early, beat the traffic, go to the nearby Y with reciprocal privileges, run my newest exploring route that I have planned out, shower, change, and off to work.  I kind of like the change of pace.

This week's run was unusual for me:  a track workout at Mike Fazio field.  They have a beautiful athletic complex there, including an 8-lane track.  Not the speeds I was looking for, but a decent effort for an aging gazelle:
1 x mile:  5:36
2 x 800:  2:47, 2:49
2 x 400:  79, 80
4 x 200:  39, 37, 37, 36

Thursday:  6
A few of my coworkers gave me an odd look as I walked out the building at Noon wearing shorts and a bright orange short-sleeve shirt into the pouring rain.  Drove up to Wahaneeta, and ran through Woody out to the Town's new "Lucey Property" trails.  Poured.  Soaked.  Splattered with mud.  Laughed and had fun.

Friday:  5
Today had to go to training all the way up to Cranston.  HR apologized for the "last minute" change in venue from Westerly to Cranston and "only" giving me a 4-day advance notice.  Fortunately, 4 days notice was just enough time for me to book an overnight hotel in Coventry to break up the excruciatingly long journey.

It turns out the Cranston Y is just down the street from the Cranston bank branch.  Cool.  What can we plan today?  First ran up to my father's grave, as well as my grandparents' (my father grew up in Cranston, before moving to Charlestown as a teenager).  The visit was cathartic and I somehow enjoy going to the cemetery. From there I ran through the cemetery and visited two sets of great-grandparents and two sets of great-great-grandparents.  Ran back via the Washington Secondary Bike Path route.

Saturday:  6
One of the chillier days of fall thus far, with highs only reaching into the 40s.  Still, the sun was out and felt quite good running on the beach at low tide.

Sunday:  7
Avondale 5K.  Write-up shortly.

Weekly totals:  39

Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekly Log 27-Oct to 2-Nov-2014

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
Beautiful run on the beach at lunchtime. An added bonus was taking a Weekapaug CR from an out-of-stater that stole it from Tommy.  Let's see how long that lasts.

Wednesday:  8
High Rock Town Forest,
Needham, MA
Trails are well marked

The view from (presumably) High Rock

Thursday:  5
Champlin trails at lunchtime. 

Friday:  0
Halloween fun.
A few neighbors stopped over for
the driveway fire and drinks.

I still love to carve
A 50-year old kid at heart.

Saturday:  7
Barn Island trails with Mike B.  Couldn't get any other takers to join the "old guys".  Tough following the trail in a few places in the dim early dawn light.  Plenty of hunters out there, but we wore orange, kept the talking going the whole time, and had no issues.

Sunday:  7
39 degrees, howling wind, and rain in the morning.  Quite cold for the first mile or so.  Still shorts weather for sure, but first time I wore a second layer over my shirt.  No short shorts and singlet today! No one else on the beach today in the windy rain and pelting sand; can't understand why.

Weekly run mileage:  32

Rest / recovery from Hartford is over.  Time to start stepping that back up.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Log 20-Oct to 26-Oct-2014: Charlestown Police 5K

Monday:  5
Took advantage of the proximity of my new place of employment:  quick dash home at lunchtime, change, and run out to the beach and back.  Fun!

Tuesday:  5
Rockridge loop.

Wednesday:  6
Breezy hospital loop with a side order of 2 CRs taken back from RI Freshman champ.

Thursday:  5
Took a cue from FiveK and went to Hell Field on my lunch break.  3 x 800 was all I could fit in:  2:43, 2:45, 2:48.  Hopefully FiveK will be returning to his stomping grounds soon.

Friday:  0

Saturday:  7
An awesome morning with crisp fall dry weather.  The weather was dry, but my feet were not, as I tried and failed to outrun a wave in Misquamicut - all good fun.

Sunday:  6
10th annual running of the Charlestown Police 5K.  I like this race.  It has a small-town feel, it's almost exclusively on quiet park roads, pancake flat, has good food afterwards, and RD Sgt Phil Gingerella does a really nice job.  In past years, we've had a good sized WTAC crew, but this year was just Mike B and I for regulars, plus newer members Roy, Rose, and John Ficarra.

17:40, 2nd place overall of 71.  Full results here.
No t-shirts this year;
instead everyone got a nice pint glass

In discussion with Matthew before-hand (side-note he qualified for RI State Meet next weekend, so no races for him until after that), I set 3 goals: 
A)  PR (better than 17:33)
B) sub-18 (hadn't done this in past 11 months)
C)  beat anyone who sprints out ahead of the Colonel

Mile 1:  Running the course with Mike before
hand chipped away at my confidence with the gusting wind.  Lined up on the front line between a bare-breasted guy with fake coconut boobs ("Coconut Guy") on my left and the Colonel on my right.  Sure enough, Coconut Guy sprinted out in front.  The Colonel kept glancing to his left, as if "Is this guy for real?".  Even at the first intersection, Coconut Guy was still in front, but by 1/4 mile he petered out and the Colonel took the helm.  When the dust settled, I was in 4th place.  Mile 1 split: 5:41 - it looks like a PR is out.

Mile 2: Passed one guy just at the start of the 2nd mile, leaving the Colonel way ahead of me and a 20-year old kid just in front of me.  Passed the kid about mid-mile, but he was persistent and hung with me through the rest of the mile.  Mile 2 split:  5:52.

Mile 3:  As soon as we turned onto the bike course, we went into a strong headwind.  After a long stretch to the turnaround, I now had the wind with me for most of the remainder.  I couldn't hear the kid's footsteps anymore, but I didn't want to leave it to chance.  Pushed it to the finish.  Mile 3 split 5:43, beat the kid by 20 seconds.

The Colonel was unusually chatty post-race.  Talked about this race and how the wind thwarted him from a CR repeat, Hartford Marathon, and his next marathon in Tallahassee this winter.  Mike and I cooled down before getting a meal of salad, orzo, and chicken.  Not bad!  Fun race and a fun day.  RD indicated he may not direct the race next year, but hopes someone else in the CPD will pick it up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 RI Freshman State Champ!!

I'll put aside my whiny recovery blogging for a moment to highlight a true accomplishment:

RI State Freshman X-C Championships
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Goddard Park, Warwick

Link to Westerly Sun article

Just one slice of the chaotic start, 208 runners

About 1 mile in, neck-in-neck with an East Greenwich runner
who was the winner of the 2014 RI Injury Fund X-C Freshman Race

Out of the woods a mile later, he's dropped the EG runner

This year's 2014 RI State Freshman Championship winner!!
Approx time 13:43 (2.5 miles), average pace 5:29

To the victor go the spoils!

(All photos by Jana)