Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weekly Log 21-Jul to 27-Jul-2014: Blessing and Crabman

I went from running 76 miles the previous week down to 26 this week!  Fortunately this is an anomaly, as I was tapering for a double-race weekend and getting in ride and swim miles to boot.  Here's my story:

19 miles.  First time on the bike in almost three weeks, due to being overseas.  Solo ride out to and through Quonochontaug.  Have to resume getting longer rides in before Rhode Warrior.

5 miles.  Tuesdays in summer means Stonington Fun Runs for me.  Turned it into a progression run with average 5:50 pace.

0.4 miles.  Group swim.
5 miles.  Two miles on the beach, followed by three at Westerly Fun Run at easy pace, mostly with Chris G as both of us running Blessing.

Thursday:  0

11 miles.  Blessing of the Fleet.

This was my 12th annual running of the Blessing of the Fleet, my first race in my new age group, and my only remaining race that I have run every year since I started running.  My record to date:

2003:  1:11:53
2004:  1:07:46
2005:  1:08:31
2006:  1:06:25
2007:  1:05:16
2008:  1:04:03
2009:  1:06:34
2010:  1:02:43
2011:  1:06:25
2012:  1:17:21 *paced a 12-year old Matthew
2013:  1:07:47 *pacer for Matthew - huge improvement for him

Sunny weather, but not too hot with temps in the low 70s and decent humidity.  How will I fare this year?   I have an overly aggressive "A" Goal of sub-60, another aggressive "B" Goal of a PR, and a "C" Goal of just have fun to avoid the possibility of a pouting miserable weekend.  Headed to Narragansett with Mike B, and Jana dropped us off in plenty of time for us to take care of business, warm up, and schmooze with running friends old and new.

Early miles (start to Mile 3):  Lined up about 5 rows back.  Chit-chatted with a few runners while anxiously awaiting the starting gun.  Finally the chaos begins, at least for the next 1/4 mile as runners meander through and past one another.  Towards the end of Mile 1, give my Mom a sweaty high-five and continue to Ocean Road.  Mile 1 - 5:44.  Whoa, a bit too fast there.  I see Muddy just ahead of me and Chris and Jonny a little ways ahead of him.  Ignore Muddy and the urge to run up to him; run your own race.  I narrowly avoid becoming one of those he describes in his blog post as running past him and he knows he'll catch later.  About 2 miles in, a young boy hands Glen Guillemette a cold water bottle from his cooler, and after taking a few gulps, he says he doesn't want to waste it and hands it to me.  Nice!  That water was COLD and good.  I run miles 2 and 3 with easing up just a tad, comfortable and fast at 5:54 and 5:55.

Suffering middle miles (4 - 6):
Still felt good on Mile 4 approaching Scarborough, but something must be wrong with my new Garmin because the pace shows as spiking up into the high 6:1x range.  Checked it a few more times (sorry, Greg) convinced it was wrong, but no, I'm running into the slight wind and now open sun.  I close mile 4 at 6:13, and this is before I hit Route 108.  OK, "A" Goal is out the window; let's see what I can salvage.  Mile 5 I feel like I'm overheating and dehydrating as my saliva is clammy; not good.  I pass Tom Gruczka, frequent Li'l Rhody runner and swim coach, and we exchange commiseration.  Mile 5 I keep in check at 6:12, but Mile 6 on hot sunny Route 108 I balloon all the way up to 6:21.  Ugh!  I figure my "B" Goal is unattainable, let's go into fun mode for my "C" Goal and enjoy the upcoming dark neighborhood (dark as in very little sunlight penetrating the canopy of trees, not as in supernatural and evil).

The finish (Miles 7 - end):  I get a little bit of a 2nd wind and return to a 6:09 pace for Mile 7.  I get some encouragement from the Principes spectating here, and I start to do needed pace calculations for remaining miles to hit my "B" Goal, and it's actually sounding plausible now!  Just stay under a 6:30 - I'm suffering, but think I can do it.  Mile 8 is a 6:13, and Mile 9 slows slightly to a 6:17.  Slight downhill to the finish.  It actually goes by quickly and I finish Mile 10 in a 6:01!
Finish line in sight.  Trying to avoid friction by keeping my feet off the ground.
(Photo by Jana)

Final stats:  1:01:32, average 6:09 pace.  44th of 2,881 overall.  2nd of 275 in my new age group.  Getting old has its advantages!  Full results here.

PR!  Lifetime PR at Age 50!  Psyched!  Celebration time now with WTAC and other running friends, many of whom had PRs themselves.  I had never come close to placing in my age group, and shocked to find out the next day that I placed 2nd!!!  Caught up with Mary Camire, who explained the awards are selections of running shorts and tops from her store, but I would have had to stay until 8:30 for awards, an hour past when we left and had a celebratory dinner with Mike B, Jonny, and Chris.  The results were enough of an award for me.

Saturday:  0
Tired and legs a bit sore.

0.3 miles.  Crabman.
11 miles.

5 miles, including short warm-up and cool-down.  

Crabman Triathlon.

The legs are still reeling from Friday's all out race (yes, I have plenty of excuses!), but the Crabman has become an annual tradition for me.

1:04:06.  25th overall.  2nd in age group.  Results here.

Geek notes:  This was the first triathlon using my new Garmin Fenix 2 Multisport watch.  Selected "multisport - triathlon" mode on the beach, pressed "Start" just before the swim, pressed "Lap" each time I crossed a mat, et voil√†, it uploaded really neat onto Garmin Connect, and even uploaded T1/T2 as "Transition", which I had never seen before.  Strava on the other hand, not so neat, it couldn't figure out what to do with these activities and gave me errors as well as classifying beginning to end as a 14+ mile swim, but fortunately I could export GPX files individually out of Garmin Connect and then import into Strava.

Swim:  9:08.  Slow, but 10th out of 27 finishers in my age group is better than I expected.
Yes, the swim is done!
(Photo courtesy Beth Eckel)
The water is really choppy today, and I struggle more than usual.  On the way out to the first buoy there is more physical contact with other swimmers than normal, as the waves are tossing us around.  I got kicked in the chin pretty hard.  Just after rounding the first buoy, I got punched in the head right near my eye and my goggle filled up with water.  Tried to keep going, but had to stop to drain and fix my goggles.  Can't see the 2nd buoy for a while with the waves, but manage the rest of the swim without further incident.

Bike:  31:59.  4th of  27 in age group.  Average 20.5 mph.  Decent, but not great - on a short course like this, I would have expected faster.
Out of T1, and onto the bike
(Photo Beth Eckel)
In T1, I see Mike B just ahead of me, and he exits T1 as I'm still fiddling around.  Based on my T1 time, I'm guessing I spent too much time combing my hair and applying my mascara there.  Finally get out to the road and mount my bike, but it seems to take me a while to get into my groove.  I pass Mike B, and then on Moonstone Beach Road, I see Vinnie on the side of the road.  I muster a half-wave.  He doesn't wave back.  No problem; he's probably engaged in the race-at-large.  I'm wondering if Vinnie came solo or if he came with Beth, when just ahead, I see Beth flagging riders onto Route 1.  She does acknowledge me.  How she can identify individual cyclists out of the helmeted, crouched, blurred mass is indeed a mystery to me.  The rest of the ride is uneventful, except over the last few miles I pass and get re-passed by a guy in a Timex outfit several times.  He isn't in my age group (much younger, but who isn't?), but it still somehow irks me that he re-passes me again just before the finish.

Run:  19:40.  Slow, but handily took 1st in age group.
Let's get the rubbery, tired legs moving.  I quickly get the last laugh on Timex boy as I easily pass him on the run, and unlike the bike he has no response.  But before I even hit Mile 1, I got passed twice in succession.  Not used to this in the tri.  Passed by two Toms!  Tom Gruczka and then by FiveK (he's allowed!).  Mile 1 and Mile 2 are a pedestrian 6:16 and 6:14.  I finally am able to get going and pick it up to a 5:56 in the final mile, fast enough to catch up to and re-take Tom Gruczka.
Finishing up the run
(Photo Beth Eckel)
Another 2nd place finish this weekend.  This one came with $75!
Finished up celebrating with friends, and went home and took a nap!

Weekly Tally:
6 miles
30 miles
0.7 miles

Highlight this week was clearly the Blessing of the Fleet.  My PR there and placing in my age group kept me on Cloud 9 all weekend.  Now time to focus on Block Island, plus somehow ramping my paltry mileage back up to respectable levels with a little over two months to fall marathon time.


  1. Impressive double performance this weekend. Well done! Bummer you missed out on some running garb on Friday.

  2. Awesomeness. Galoob nailed it after the Blessing when he referred to you as Benjamin Button. Nice job!

  3. Nice! All time PR in the Blessing, nailed it! Got through the misery from mile 5 and 108, well done! Awesome job two days later at Crabman! 50 has brought great things for you. Enjoy! The only person I couldn't identify was FiveK.