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.