Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Weekly Log 24-Mar to 30-Mar-2014

Monday:  0
Not a good start to the week fighting illness and injury.  Spent most of the night awake on repeated trips to the throne with a bad case of stomach virus.  In the morning, decided to take a very rare sick day and go to the doctor's instead. 
And here's my bonehead move:  In my stupor on my way out of the house to the doctor's, I slipped and fell down a flight of stairs and landed hard on my back on the final stair. 

Tuesday:  0
Well medicated, back to work I go.  Walking and sitting are awkward with the bruised lower back.

Wednesday:  3
Starting to go stir-crazy, in late afternoon I went to Woody Hill for a short jaunt.  Rather painful, actually, but I needed to get outside.

Thursday:  0
This week I've been spending my nights with my "Triple I" friends:  Imodium, Ibuprofen, and Indians.  It was so nice of my friends from Bangalore to call me at today at 1:30am.  They must have really missed me since they last called me, which would be at 3am the previous day.  Sleep is overrated, right?

Friday:  4
Lounged around the house all day, and by late afternoon went out to Barn Island for a run on the single-track in the rain.  Tried to keep it on the flat trails, as the downhills jar my back.  I've been really looking forward all week to a planned fast group run on the Big River course Saturday morning, but as I lay in the wet muddy leaves after a fall where I was running a blistering 10-minute pace, I thought that I've got to be honest with myself:  I am in no shape to run a trail half-marathon at any pace, never mind brisk. 
Oh well, you take what you can get.  Chin up, give it some time, and make the best of it.

Saturday:  5
Long and Ell Pond trails in Hopkinton with Crutch, his friend Jim, and Beth.  Passed on the Big River course recon this morning as I'm still struggling a bit and didn't have it in me.  Crutch had the perfect solution for me, as I slept in and got a good night's sleep for the first time in a week, I ran a more genteel pace, and most importantly, caught up with running friends that I hadn't run with in a long time.  Crutch was just bounding along and moving well.  Beth amazed me with the number of recoveries from near-falls that she had.  On the section of trail closest to North Road, in some of the valleys you descend into, there was still plenty of snow and ice in there (Mike B would have loved it - he's probably heading out there now to savor the last traces of winter).  The first few miles were a delight and I was chatting it up, learning about Beth's upcoming 50K and other topics, but honestly the last mile or so I was just completely out of energy and looking forward to finishing.  Felt bad to break the news to bounding Crutch, who was thinking of a lot of neat run extensions.  I'll be back again, Crutch, but for today, 5 miles is the longest I've run all week, it was some tough terrain out there for sure, and I'm afraid I'm toast for today.

Sunday:  0
Slept 'til 9.  N-I-N-E.  Then between the deluge of rain and just general low energy with the lingering virus, had zero motivation to get out there.

Weekly mileage total:
Run:  12  (double-digits, wahoo!)

Week recap:  12 miles, that's all she wrote.  Clearly my worst running week of the year, if not in the past few years.  Not going to dwell on in it.  Statistically, the odds are that this virus will end next week, and it can only get better from here.  Happy running, folks!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race

March 21, 2014

1:08:51.  9th overall of 62, 2nd in age group.  Full results here.

Arrived over an hour early as I was bringing 4 boys to help volunteer.  Shortly after 9, most of the usual WTAC crew was arriving.  Noticeably absent was Nate (any confirmed sightings after his return from across the pond?), Tommy 5K (running Holyoke 10K), and Mike B (some more important mission that he needed to be home for a dishwasher delivery?  Did I get that right? :) ).  Went out for a warm-up with the usual suspects, plus Greg down from NH to throw his hat in the ring.  I asked if we could run the last mile or two of the course, as that was the only portion I wasn't really familiar with, so that's what we did.
Cold waiting for the race to start

Lap 1:  At the starting siren, the front-runners flew out.  Not wanting to be stuck back on the trails, I pushed it to get a better position, just passing WTAC teammate Josh before the trail start.  I didn't ease up on the trail, and after 1/4 mile or so went past Seth and then passed three noisy teens through the brush.  I was just behind Muddy now, and followed him closely.  Watch beeped mile 1 - 6:37 - Fool of a Took!  Fortunately no Balrogs came out to chase me, but I would pay for this blunder the rest of the race in terms of oxygen debt and declining paces.  Crossing the main campground road, I could see Muddy, Jonny, and Chris for a while on longer stretches, but soon there was no one ahead of me.  Making the sharp left switchback to start the ridge trail, I could see two runners close behind me.  I was hoping at least one would be Seth or Jeff Duda, but it wasn't to be.  By the time we rejoined North-South trail on the double track running past the cabins, I had one of them right on my tail.  Thought he would pass, but he didn't.  All through the bog bridges and campground, he was breathing down my neck, and as I was breathing much harder than him, I wished he would just pass me.  Finally, with about 1/4 mile to go on the 1st lap, I made a slight wrong turn and he called to me and passed me.  I could now see it was Todd Bennett, who is in my age group.  So be it.  Coming to the finish line, I stripped off my hat and gloves and threw to Matthew (tending the water stop), took a drink, and was passed by "Green Shirt" who I didn't recognize but was clearly much younger.  33:29, 6:42 pace.
Mile 4:  The fight for the 40s age group:  Todd right on my shoulders
(Photo courtesy Scott Mason)

Lap 2:  Mentally tough to start another lap as I knew it would be.  I saw Todd and Green Shirt for a while, but then fell on the first hill climb, one of the few muddy sections on the course, and by the time of the road crossing, I was back to "no man's land".  Glanced back at ridge trail switchback, and saw no one.  Once on the ridge trail highline, I saw Seth below running towards the switchback.  I couldn't gauge how close behind me he was, so I picked it up a bit and didn't see him again.  The next section from the end of the ridge all the way to the cabins is pretty fast, with the exception of the hill climb away from Klondike Road.  The bog bridges were really tiring this time:  jump up, jump down, jump up, jump down, watch the rocks, watch the roots, repeat 19 times.  Now into the campground, I just keep telling myself to try to keep the pace I was running.  Now I start passing people - it's the lagging end of the 5 milers.  They're all very polite, step aside to let me pass, and offer words of encouragement.  Down by the pond now, really running out of steam, but is that Todd ahead of me that I can see again?  Half a mile left - let's pick up the pace again.  Crossed the finish line completely spent.  2nd lap was 35:22, 7:04 pace (22 seconds per mile slower than first lap, ouch!)
Approaching the Campground main road
(2nd lap, about 7 miles in now)

Immediately just lay down on the ground, completely shot.  After several people came over to ask if I was OK, decided this wasn't a good idea and at least sat up.  After many drinks, a cookie, and some oranges (thanks Mike!), I thought I had enough energy to run a 2-mile cooldown with the crew, but truth be told, even then I was suffering to get it done with.  So surprised to see Jeff Duda running; the last time Mike B and I dragged him on trails through Barn Island with hunters shooting and giving us dirty looks, I thought he'd never run on a trail again.  He asked since he made the trail race, where was FiveK and Mike B (see above).  As for coming in 2nd in my age group, it turns out Todd slowed quite a bit as well in the 2nd lap and I ended up just 35 seconds behind me.  Publicly on the megaphone, Mike G said "Todd just edged out Jeff Walker" and privately he said to me, "Looks like you got your a#% kicked in your age group today!".  Sounds like Mike, right? :)  My solution to that should be "run faster", but I think instead it's "hurry up and get out of the 40s age group"!

As always, running with all my awesome WTAC teammates.
Ran a decent (not great) race overall and willed myself to stick with it 2nd half when I really just wanted to crawl up into a bush and die.
Beautiful day!  Despite weather warnings, was sunny and temps rising to close to 50 by Noon.
Another great race put on by the Galoob family.

Just went out way too fast.  For Big River, I'm going to have to keep reminding myself to run my own race.  Push it, yes, but not as hard at the beginning, lest I suffer and fall apart.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weekly Log 17-Mar to 23-Mar-2014

Time for a change of seasons this week, even if the weather doesn't feel it.  Spring ushers in a new blog header, with the usual quiz to identify the spring races above.  This one is pretty easy, isn't it?

Monday:  0
Rest day.

Tuesday:  10
The good news is there is still PLENTY of
snow on the trails, and will still be
there during Saturday's race.  The bad news
is it's in the WRONG place, as this is NH and
I need it at Brrr-lingame to slow a few

Continuing my run in Mine Falls Park,
Nashua, even the open sunny areas
are snow-laden.

The sole other runner I saw called me
"Mike".  I've been called some nasty things
 over time, but this one takes the cake.

Now for the next quiz:
How many more runs do you think I can get out of my NB trail shoes?

Nearing the end of the run, took a break to lie down in the snow
and cool off.  What a fun and challenging run!

OK, on to one of my other favorite places in
the Granite State.  Who says I don't like to
go shopping?!  No, even at NH prices,
I won't be buying my namesake in blue label.

Well, doesn't this sound foreboding?!  They
need to work on their marketing.
Meanwhile, I bought my usual brand

Wednesday:  14
Morning:  6. Final course recon on Brrr-lingame trails.  Can't tell exactly where the final mile or so is, but I think I get most of it.
Afternoon:  8+.  Workout Wednesday with FiveK.  4x1-minute hills, followed by 4x400 at Hell Field(81, 81, 81, 79).

Thursday:  0
Had intentions of running 5-8, but woke up in the middle of the night with very sore legs.  Guessing it's from two relatively hard days (10 mile snow run, followed up by a double with a workout).  Opted to take a zero instead, as I want the legs to be relatively fresh for Saturday.

Friday:  3
Happy New Shoes day!
Time for newest version of NB890 (V4).
A full ounce lighter than the V3.

Replaced the trail shoes, long overdue.
Was disappointed with the way the uppers on the previous 610s fell apart
after about 300 miles.  Gave it another try, as hopefully running in
so much snow and constantly drenching these shoes all winter contributed to
an early demise.
Took these on a short trail shakeout in Woody Hill this afternoon.  Whole body
felt achy; hopefully a good night sleep will resolve.

Saturday:  14
Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Race.  I am beat!  Write up to follow shortly.

Sunday:  6
Recovery run with Tom.  Local Misquamicut roads.

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  47

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weekly Log 10-Mar to 16-Mar-2014

Monday:  0
Needed rest day after Ocean's Run Half.  After the half Sunday, I came home and napped on the couch, and was sore the rest of the day.  (Don't tell the WTAC guys, lest they razz me.)

Tuesday:  5
Knowing I would be working at Fidelity's Smithfield campus today, I reached out to Seth in advance to see if possible for him to coordinate a run.  He did not disappoint.  Westerly and Smithfield may be in the same small state, but today the terrain could not be any different, as the Smithfield campus is still completely covered in snow, yes, even with temps in the high 50s there today.  Today's run was probably 75% trails and 25% roads. 
The trails we started on near the Fido buildings had only a few inches of snow and were relatively easy, but the farther away we got, the deeper the snow the got.  We paused at a loop around a vernal pond, where a small sign stated its inhabitants are "fairy shrimp".  Fairy shrimp, really?  Good to learn something new.  On to a long single-track where we were running through virgin snow that in many places was a foot deep.  As we circled back first on to an old dirt road and then onto the campus proper, the snow depth again diminished.  Wow, what a workout!  Thanks Seth!

Wednesday:  5
Afternoon run in the rain in Champlin Glacier Park.  Trails 99% clear of snow, as previously advised by Crutch.  Rolled my ankle really bad, and had to stop for a few minutes.  Otherwise, fun running.

Thursday:  0
Woke up to the sprained ankle bothering me, and between that and the weather (howling wind, rain/snow mix), I punched the alarm back off at 4am and slept some more.
On the positive side, two weeks ago, I e-mailed YakTrax company
to inquire if possible to buy spikes to replace a bent and missing one from this winter,
and this arrived in the mail today for FREE!

Friday:  12
Morning:  Short 700 yard swim at the Y, followed by an easy 7-miler into Pawcatuck and back.
Afternoon:  Weekapaug run with FiveK and Lulu.

Saturday:  19+
Unlike the past few large group runs, this time we had just three takers:  Triple J, the original WTAC long run crew.  Chris had a race this weekend, as did Mike G.  Nate was on the side of the pond running in my favorite country.  Mike B missed the pre-race practice opportunity, as he was stuck with a house full of teenage girls, and FiveK had this excuse about not wanting to run trails, but yet found himself on trails in the very same venue later the very same day!  Go figure.  He must have been afraid I was going to wear my short shorts.

I digress (as usual).  Jonny planned out two loops of the upcoming Brrr-lingame course, one easy and one hard.  This was the course from two years ago, not the shortened Snowy Sufferfest course, so parts looked familiar and parts didn't.  After the foot-bridge sections through the bog and back out to Vin Gormley, we did our best to guess the rest of the course and scout trails in the general direction.  Made our way back to the field for the start of Round 2, where we all pushed the pace pretty hard.  Muddy led by a good distance, and I hung right behind Jonny which was especially challenging on the uphills.  After catching our breath, we meandered through the campground and cooled down to the tower on the Kettle Pond Visitor Center property.  For the last section back to the car, I was starting to bonk as I was completely out of gas and spent; very hungry.

We bid Jonny adieu, as Muddy and I fueled on food and drink we had in our vehicles.  The two of us headed out Prosser to Kings Factory, where I was afraid I was going to die by the side of the road.  Fortunately, soon after entering the trails, the GU and granola bar started to work their way into my system, and I was feeling much better.  After crossing the Pastore Center Road (where Muddy's friend from the group home called out to him), we ran north on Schoolhouse Trail circling over Galoob's funky mountain bike bridge, then on Sammy C's to eventually reverse on Vin Gormley again back out KF Road.  Awesome sections of trail, newly marked with orange bands on the trees.

Really, really good run, as well as I'm glad we pushed it hard on 2nd loop to try to simulate race day.

Sunday:  3
Very short loop from Wahaneeta up Fern Drive Trail into Woody Hill, around the swamp on the nascent Swamp Bypass Trail, and back on the main N-S road before veering through my tree obstacle course (which needs some work) and back onto Wahaneeta blue trail.  Stopped many times to pick up branches across the trail from the harsh winter, but the breaks were fine as I just really enjoyed getting back out into the woods, and true be told, still had a tinge of soreness from yesterday's long run.  Truly whet my appetite to get back in here again real soon.

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  44
Swim:  1x

Recap:  Again, much less miles than in recent weeks, and less than I would have planned for.  Highlight was clearly the long trail run with the crew on Saturday, and just getting back out onto the trails in general.  That should help with both confidence building and fun factor going into next week's Brrr-lingame trail race.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ocean's Run Half Marathon 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014
South Kingstown, RI

1:21:16, 6:13 pace.  6th overall out of 487, 1st in age group.  PR!  Full results here.

Mike2 (Mikes B & C) arrived in Westerly at 7:30AM for a carpool to Matunuck.  A few light snow flurries quickly told us it would be a cold weather day.  Met up with FiveK and Shara in the Matunuck School parking lot and indeed we were all cold waiting for the bus in the low 30s (Mike C was more manly and walked to the start instead).  Told FiveK and Mike B that I'd take today's weather for a race any day over a hot, hazy, humid day in the 80s, but the look I got back indicated they didn't share my opinion.

The crew on the frigid wait for the bus to the start.

Went for a warm-up with Mike B, FiveK, Shara, Matthew, and Jeff Duda, but early on in the run, the whole group bailed except JD and I.  Something I said?  Finished out 2 miles and headed to the start.  Stripped down to shorts (the "long" winter version with the extra 1" hem line) and my WTAC singlet.  Looking through the crowd, many were bundled up and I could find only one other runner in a singlet, who himself was wearing full length arm-warmers.  Uh-oh, did I make a mistake?

Miles 1 - 3:  The Crabman run route.  Pretty aggressive miles at 6:04, 6:07, 6:09.  FiveK was leading a pack of about six through this section.  At turn around points, I could see Seth and Jeff D just behind me, with Mike B and Shara just a bit further back.

Miles 4 - 10:  Long, lonely stretch.  Three miles out to Green Hill Road, and then three miles in Green Hill neighborhood.  In mile 4, I caught up to and passed one guy for the only runner encounter I would have on the remainder of the course; good thing I caught him as it turned out he was in my age group.  At about mile 5, Chris Garvin and family were a welcome temporary distraction on Matunuck Schoolhouse Road.  Miles 8 - 10 wind through Green Hill, with some beautiful sights of the ocean, before headed back out to the main road, Matunuck Schoolhouse Road.  I really got off pace here, between going into the slight wind, minor hills, and just losing focus.  I had a 6:08 and a 6:09 mixed in here, but the rest of the miles were varying 6:16 to 6:21, with the slowest mile on mile 10 going into the wind on Green Hill Road at 6:26.
Mile 7 in Green Hill Beach
(Photo by Seth's family)
Miles 11 - 13:  OK, with the wind and minor hills behind us, time to pick up the pace to finish strong.  At one of the turns in Green Hill, I saw Jeff Duda not far behind me ready to chase me down.  Final miles 6:09, 6:06, 6:04!  Crossed the finish line in 1:21:16, good for a PR by 12 seconds!
Mile 12 - picking up the pace to finish with a PR!
(Photo by Chris Garvin)

Went on a cooldown with Jeff Duda, only to have him bail on me after 1/4 mile.  Circled back and picked up Seth, Mike B, and FiveK, but when I looked back, the latter two had long bailed on me as well.  Why is everyone bailing on warm-ups / cool-downs with me?  Something I said?  A BO issue?  Came back, and caught up with Matthew, who wasn't happy with his time in the 5K, but still managed to win his age group, and then pigged out multiple times on the awesome spread.  Great day overall!
On the podium for my age group, moments before
Mike B joined me on the podium for a man-hug Chris Garvin style.
(Photo by Mike B)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Weekly Log 3-Mar to 9-Mar-2014

It looks like a low mileage week this week with constant work issues around the clock following a major trading system migration.  Anyhow, that might be OK as I'm probably supposed to taper a bit for a half-marathon.  Does anyone really taper for a half, or only for a full?

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  3
3 miles seems paltry and easy, until you see the terrain and effort.  After a while, I got into a rhythm (albeit about a 9:30 pace), but had to stop a few times to catch my breath.  Exhausting.
Blue-blazed Pequot Trail was really tough
going uphill in deep crusty snow
(started at ball field in Poquetanuck)

What in the blazes (pun intended) is this?
Turns out it contains a log book, and
no one had left an entry in over a month;
can't imagine why with the conditions.

Wednesday:  8
Morning:  Easy run roads out to Watch Hill, with a pensive run back home along the beach.  I probably take for granted being able to easily run from my home to the ocean.  I won't be moving anytime soon to interior NC or elsewhere inland for that matter.
Evening:  Bailed out on a planned workout with FiveK for more work fun.  :(

Thursday:  0
Another zero :(.  Crazy work day consumed my time, energy, and motivation.

Friday:  15
Morning:  8 mile pond loop.  23 degrees.  Since I didn't make our Workout Wednesday session this week, I at least threw down 4 x 800, with a 400 recovery on each.  Three on the road:  2:44, 2:45, 2:47, and the final one ended up being completely on the sand while dodging waves, for a 3:06.
Afternoon:  7 miles with FiveK.

Saturday:  6
Beach and road run with Mike B, FiveK, and Lulu.  Warm!

Sunday:  18
Ocean's Run Half Marathon.  Write up shortly.

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  50