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