Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weekly Log 23-Jun to 29-Jun 2014

No more races on my upcoming race calendar for over a month now!  Yes, I'll be running Bottone Mile on Friday, but not having trained for it in lieu of longer distances, I have no expectations.  That leaves me a few solid weeks for training in swimming, biking, and running.

By the way, now that we've changed seasons again, please take a look at the collage of photos from 2013 Summer races above, and comment on your guesses for which races they are from.

Monday:  0
Rest day after 2+ hours racing Oh My Goddard on Sunday.

8 miles.  Morning pond loop easy pace.
Tempus fugit!  Matthew trying his best to frown as he ends an era.  Our youngest
graduates Westerly Middle School with a plethora of graduation certificates:
National Junior Honor Society (thanks Crutch for writing recommendation!),
President's Award for Academic Excellence, and the only recipient of the
2014 Perfect Attendance Award.

21 miles with Mike B, Matthew, and Jonny E to and from the Stonington Fun Runs.  Traffic busy on the way out, much better on return.
6 miles.  Stonington Fun Runs, including warm-up and cool-down.  Fun comfortable run, plus a drink and good conversation on the docks afterwards.

7 miles.  Humid morning run through Avondale and back home via Misquamicut.
3 miles.  Westerly Fun Run.  Started off with FiveK and Muddy, but only hung with them for half a mile as the pace was a little fast for me.  About a mile and a half in, I heard footsteps just behind me on Shore Road.  No idea who is hunting me down.  As usual, I gazelled it downhill on Kathleen Drive, and then was just waiting for the footsteps to reappear and to be passed.  I hung in there for the rest of the race, and then see it's Matthew behind me!  Days are numbered.  Mark even ran the 5K today; wish he'd join us for more of these.  5:52 / 6:11 / 5:50.

6 miles.  Started in the rain, ended in drizzle/fog.  That's OK, it actually felt good.  Local roads on my Westerly Hospital loop.

0.5 miles.  Open ocean swim.  Last e-mail from Steve the day before gave directions to arrive at 5:45am and start swimming at 6am.  Arrived Town Beach at 5:48am, the group had already taken off swimming!  And I thought runners were punctual.  Not an issue - it's not like I can keep up with Steve, FiveK, or Shara anyway.  Fortunately, Mike B circled back and we swam together back to the Town Beach and then out to Windjammer and back.  Much easier getting into the water than just a week ago.
5 miles.  Barefoot beach run with Mike B.  The rest of the swim crew had to skedaddle, so he and I had a nice leisurely run out to Weekapaug, reversed direction out past Misquamicut State Beach, and back.
2 miles.  Bottone Track Mile at SHS.  Full results.  By far my least favorite distance.  Yes, there's something flawed in my wiring that I'd prefer to run a marathon over a mile any day.  By mid-afternoon, I was starting to fret over this race, I hadn't trained, etc.  Calm down, don't be silly, just go out and run it.  Lowered my expectations to 5:30 (last year 5:13, PR of 5:10).  I knew after Lap 1 clocked in at 76 seconds it was going to be a slow time for me.

Ended up running 5:25, my slowest time in 10 years.  You know - if you don't train, you're not going to get there.  Yeah, I could throw in my down time for surgery, but it's easy to find excuses.  Will have to "man up" for next year and throw in some short distance training.

  • Matthew passing me on lap 3 and getting a PR of 5:22.  (He's thrown down the gauntlet by saying he's going to beat me at next Wednesday's fun run also!)
  • A challenging top 2 finish in the elite heat with Tom running an impressive 4:46.
  • Really great facilities at SHS (thanks Tom for arranging).
  • Fun seeing many WTAC and other familiar faces.
57 miles!!  My longest ride ever.  Mike B set this one up.  We rode the majority of the upcoming Rhode Warrior course.  Hilly!  Especially on Route 49 in Crutch territory.  Took a break at West Bakery in Hope Valley, where Tom treated.  I need a refueling by then.  Total ride 3.5 hours!  Will need to do this distance and level of hills a few more times before August race.
Mike B riding in his usual position of wrong side of the road :)

Beautiful scenery along Route 49 in No Stonington

Along the ride ... I think this sign was meant for Muddy :)

Looked like nobody home at this familiar house, so we stopped for
a swim and a slide

11 miles.  Intended a long solo run, but the legs were really heavy after yesterday's hillfest.  Fog was thick as pea soup.  Fun running on beach at low tide.
1.1 miles.  Tri-Mom swim clinic at Watchaug Pond, Burlingame.  $25 for a 1.5 hour training session.  Wasn't sure what to expect or if it's worth the money, but I certainly can use any tips.  6 students swam 1 mile (1/4 mile at a time with breaks at every 1/4 mile) while two instructors paddled alongside swimmers and gave individual stroke technique assessments and tips.  (They would stop you during the swim, as well as give feedback at breaks).

Feedback for me:
  • My sighting is good and was given as an example for the group (surprised, but good to know there's something I'm doing right).
  • My arms need to be much wider apart upon entry into the water and in front of my shoulders instead of my head (this reaffirms what Elise had told me, which I started to do, but evidently not enough, or I reverted to my bad habits).
  • My return (underwater arm pulling) has my elbow at 90 degree angle instead of more normal 45 degree.
  • Bi-lateral breathing improves swimming in a straight line (I'm working on, but it's not taking)
  • Watch swim efficiency videos from Olympic triathlete Andy Potts, including this one
3 miles.  Finished out the day with a barefoot run on the beach with FiveK down to Seaside, chatted w/Mike B, and back to close out the day, before headed out to a 16th birthday celebration for my oldest.  Time really does fly!

Week tally:
51 miles
78 miles
1.6 miles

Week recap:
Looking at the numbers above, I'm really happy.  I'm actually anxious to try practicing some of my new swim tips; I have no illusions that I'll now be one of the first out of the water, but even if I can make minor improvements I'll be happy.  Now to start thinking about next week's holiday weekend training ...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Oh My Goddard Olympic Triathlon

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Overall Results:  2:08:42.  2nd in my age group!  33rd overall of 192 finishers.  Full results with splits.

3:45am wake-up call came early.  Had everything packed the night before, left the house at 4:30am, and after a stop to pick up FiveK and speedy Shara, we were off for the 1-hour ride to Warwick's Goddard Park.  Arrived 5:30am, saw a very nervous Amanda ready for her 1st Olympic tri.  Was Seth here? - no, he was on the couch, er, incapacitated.  Finished setup with Matthew by 6am, and with 30 minutes to spare, I planned a quick bathroom stop then a short run on the course.  No dice!  25 minute line, yes, in the mens' room.  Uggh.  Got my wetsuit on and got to the starting line as they were calling 30 seconds to the start!
The gang is still half asleep upon arrival at Goddard Park

The Swim:  1.5K, 27:44, 152nd place.
Water was warm and calm.  I got through this 0.9 mile swim in my usual slow back-of-the-pack fashion, but had no troubles at all, other than occasionally couldn't make out where the buoys were in the distance.

The Bike:  40K, 59:25, 33rd place.
Really happy with my bike time.  Averaged just over 20 mph for the ride.  The back roads to Quonset / Davisville were quiet and empty.  At times I was wondering if I was still on the course.  Unlike Block Island or Crabman Tris where you constantly see people on the bikes, there were stretches where I saw no one ahead of me.  At one point, I saw something blurry moving across the road far ahead of me.  Eyes playing tricks on me?  Nope, a pack of turkeys crossing the road.  Moving at 26mph at this point with the turkeys at a slow walk, wasn't sure how this would work out.  Fortunately, the last of the turkeys was clearing off the road as I came through.
After the turkey fear, it was clear sailing the rest of the route as the course reversed back onto itself at points, and then the sprint and Olympic courses merged.
Matthew finishing up the trail run

The Run:  10K, 36:52, 5th place.
Off the bike, the legs just did not want to move.  First and second mile were both in the 6:50s.  I was passing people left and right (in fact, I passed 89 people in total), but most of that because I was far back from my slow swim, and I just felt sluggish.  Most of the run was on dirt trails through the park.  At Mile 3, I passed Steve Schonning, and he was kind enough to point out the guys in our age group just a little ahead of us, and give me some encouragement.  The chase is on!  Finally by Mile 4, I had picked it up to 6:12 pace and held that pace for the rest of the race.  Passed those two guys and then 1/2 mile before the end I came up on and had to work hard to pass another guy in our age group (your age is marked on your leg).
Post-race:  A good race day for the Walkers

A happy age group placer

Surprised and thrilled to make the age-group podium

When I checked the results, I was truly surprised to find I had placed second in my age group, especially with the disproportionately long swim.  Shara won the overall sprint race, and Jonny E, Matthew, Polly, and FiveK also placed in their age group.  Good results all around.
(photo courtesy Beth Eckel)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weekly Log 16-Jun to 22-Jun-2014

Tri season racing kicks off this week.  Excited for my first race, yet nervous especially as this dummy didn't realize until now that the swim portion is 1.5km (0.9 mi) instead of 1.0km (0.6 mi).

7 miles.
Site of today's run.
Never been here before, but in perhaps my last day ever working at the Smithfield campus,
I thought "What would Seth do?"  (Kind of like "What would Jesus do?", only different)

Trails ranged from open fields to ...

forests to ....

I think this log stream crossing was part of the
"Connector Trail", but I'd need an  official ruling from Rhody Seth.
Tuesday:  0
After running 24 miles on Sunday and a good trail run yesterday, my body told me it needed a rest.

22 miles to and through Quonochontaug.  Bonus surprise was catching up with a woman that knew my grandmother.  I had stopped to look at the houses my grandparents lived in when I was a kid, along Quonochontaug Pond, when a woman came out from next door asking what I was looking at.  I explained the family background (my grandparents bought property including her homestead and moved here in the 50s, I spent much time in my childhood summers here, etc).  She said she had lived her for 40 years and seemed skeptical and asked me my name, and when she heard my last name, that was the turning point.  "I remember Mrs Walker", as her eyes lit up, I seemingly became her new best friend, and she invited me into her house and gardens.  She is 89 years young, and was just finishing up her garden chores before going out on her daily walk!
Final bonus:  a stop at Dave's coffee.  The $5 bill I got in change seemed a little odd.  On closer look, it has "Redeemable for gold ..." printed on it and is dated 1928.  A quick check on the Internet shows the value varies from $20 to $250.  Cool, but I'll just hang on to it.
5 miles.  Brick workout.
Just another day in ugly coastal Rhode Island.  Wished I was back in India now for that last business trip
they were trying to get out of me.
3 miles.  Oppressive run at Westerly Fun Runs.  Just kept slowing the pace intentionally, as the 84-degree was just draining me.

Thursday:  0
Another rest / taper day before OMG race.

16 miles.  Easy Watch Hill and local spin with Matthew and Jonny E.

 0.6 miles.  First ocean swim of the season from Westerly Town Beach.  F-R-I-G-I-D.  FiveK, Shara, B, Matthew, Jonny E.  The boys were the coldest as they didn't have wetsuits, but even for myself it took me 3-4 minutes of swimming before I warmed up in the 59-degree water.
3 miles.  Same group, plus Crutch and his friend Jim Haskins.  Down to Weekapaug Breachway and back, barefoot.

Sunday:  Oh My Goddard Olympic Tri - separate write-up to follow shortly.
0.9 miles (1.5K). 
21 miles (40K)
6 miles (10K)

Week tally:
24 miles
49 miles
1.5 miles

Week recap:
Running mileage was way low, as expected due to Olympic tri training and tapering.  Had a great tri.  Expect to get back at training next week and get the mileage back up about 50.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Weekly Log 9-Jun to 15-Jun-2014

NuHartford Marathon
Signed up for Hartford as my fall marathon!  Seeded entry.  October sounds far away, but it's only 18 weeks, which means it's time already to ramp up training mode.  Although I'm not off to a great start this week, I do expect most weeks going forward to run over 50 miles and ramp up from there.  Now how do I fit in marathon training plus tri training plus 3x/weekly fun runs plus family and a job and life in general?  When you guys figure that out, please do let me know.

One activity that will be trailing off (pun intended) will be trail runs.  With the bugs imminent and most of my races for at least the next four months on roads, it's the logical choice for me.  I did finish out my fun job of mapping Woody Hill trails and the WLT said they want to put my new Woody Hill  map on some of their nearby kiosks.  Wish I could turn my job search and labor of love into getting a paying job mapping trails, or clearing trails, or anything running or fitness related.

Monday:  0
Rest day.

Tuesday:  6
600 yards.  Short window of time between the Y opening and catching the train out of Westerly.
6 miles.  Stonington Fun Runs.  Happy to be back at these fun events.  Ran mostly as a pack with Jeff V, Mike B, youngsters Matthew and Jonny E, and Brandi.  Although not much of a beer drinker, I did enjoy a Sam's Summer dockside while catching up with many of the WTAC CT-based contingent.

3 miles.  Had been itching all day to get out for a run, but the annual 1st day of Westerly Fun Runs is a nervous and busy day for me getting all the forms in order, final contacts, loading/checking/fixing course markers, etc.  Everything went quite smoothly and for the first night we had a very good showing of 35 in the children's run and 93 in the 1 mile/5K runs.

My surprise was my own finish in the Fun Runs with a course PR for me!  We switched to the "new" 5K course in 2011, so I figured I've probably run this course about 30 times.  It's not a fast course as it has so many turns.  My fastest time was 18:10 in 2012, so to finish today in 17:57 was a special treat.  Results posting to web are a work in progress.  Greg would be proud of me - I didn't check my watch once, but rather just ran hard.  Splits:  5:27 / 5:48 / 5:41.

9 miles.  Running at 4:30am on days I need to go into Boston usually means I have time for 5 miles at most.  A quick Amtrak check showing my train running 30 minutes late gave me time to run around the pond plus run 3+ miles on the beach.  Great start to the day!

1,100 yards.  500 warm-up, plus a mix of kicking and pull laps.
10 miles.  Niantic Bay 10K.  Bummed a ride from Mike B out to Niantic.  We were worried about the heavy rains earlier in the afternoon, but we actually had worse weather:  extreme humidity and no breeze at all on the course.  From the moment the two of us went out for a warm-up, you knew it was going to be one of those sweat-fests.

1st half:  Lined up just behind front row of fast looking runners.  Followed a pack of six much younger runners until the pack disintegrated about 1.5 miles in.  Mile 1 was my fastest at 5:47, followed by 5:57 for Mile 2.  After that I slowed way down as I knew there was no chance of a PR, the humidity was tough, and no one was around me.  Mile 3 6:14.  At Mile 3.5 the course reverses back onto itself for the stretch home, and it was here I saw a limping Mike B walking the course.  Ran over to him, but he told me to just go, and to chase the two kids you could see a ways in the distance.

2nd half:  Mile 4 another slow mile at 6:10.  I gauge the nearer of the two kids (aged 14!) at three telephone poles ahead of me.  I can gauge I'm closing in at him as I check the phone pole distances a few times and see it keep shrinking (does anyone else do this?).  Finally on an uphill at mile 4.5, I pass him, and finish the mile in 6:06.  Impressed that he shouted out "Good job" to me.  OK, a mile to go.  The next kid (aged 26 actually) is two pole lengths ahead of me, but catching up to him is harder and requires more work.  Mile 6 is a more respectable 6 flat.  Pass the kid on a downhill stretch with a 1/4 mile to go, but as the course flattens, I hear his footsteps behind me again!!  Ugh.  Pick it up to a near sprint (if you can believe GPS, a 5:01 pace) and held the kid off.

17:34, average 6-flat pace.  5th overall, 1st in age group.  Full results here.

32 miles.  2:15 bike ride w/Chris and Steve from Perryville up through Charlestown and Richmond.  Pace was quite peppy at times, as Steve was setting a good pace, and Chris is so fast on uphills.  Shannock Hill was a steep climb.  Welcome stop at the end at The Village Bakery on Charlestown Beach Road for an iced coffee before finishing up.  Notably absent were FiveK and MikeB, temporarily sidelined on the disabled list.

21 miles.  LSD run.  Originally intended to run only 15, but had a Forrest Gump "I just felt like running" kind of morning.  Highlights:
  • Saw Elise twice running through Misquamicut.  Looks like she's upping her training.
  • Passed a woman on Wicklow, who immediately said "That's it; I've had it".  Surprising reaction.  I looked back and recognized her as Mary Griffin, and then she recognized me and said "Oh, it's you.  I guess it's OK that you passed me as you're such a good runner."  Nice comment.
  • In Watch Hill, ran into WTAC Sunday regular group runners Josh, Kate, Clem, and Buddy.  Ran the last five miles back with Josh.  Saw the 1841 whaling ship (last remaining one in the world) sailing off Misquamicut.
0.5 mile open water swim with Matthew.  1st of the season for me.  Real confidence boost.
3 mile barefoot beach run with Matthew.  Brought me to 24 miles on the day.

Week tally:
52 miles
32 miles
1.5 miles

Really good training week.  Back over 50 miles running, including a long run.  Got in 3 swims, including my first open water swim.  Only deficit was just one ride instead of a planned two, but overall, a great week,