Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weekly Log 24-Feb to 2-Mar-2014

Final week of February, and final consecutive week of race-free running for a while.

Monday:  4
Easy run on the beach at sunset.  A lone walker yelled to me that it's too cold for shorts.   30 degrees - nah, not too cold at all.

Tuesday:  7

(Park entrance road into Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH)
Yeah, I'll be needing the Yaks with the carbide bits

Trails well marked.  It would be interesting
to see what the trails look like when
the snow melts (in May).

Running downhill on this glare ice section was
a true test for the carbide bits

Running this single-track through the
forest was both beautiful and a workout

Don't slip off the edge of this trail!

Finished up the day with a spinning class with FiveK.  I appreciate that people have different tastes in music, but just could not get into this at all.  Tom referred to the music as "sorority girlish".

Wednesday:  5
Feet a little beat up from yesterday's NH Ice & Snow romp.  Seeing all the snow gone from my front yard, thought I'd go for an easy run on Champlin trails.  Fool!  When I am going to listen to sage Trail Master Jonny's advice (which in this case was his posting not two days ago on Strava advising to have patience as the woods hold snow longer)?  There were indeed nice long bare trails sections great for running; but alas there were also long sections covered in frozen snow and ice that were just treacherous and I slid many times not having my Yaks today.  Finished up on roads.

Thursday:  0
Just couldn't will myself to get out, and it did the body good to take a rest day.

Friday:  5
Tough getting the motivation to get out there today, with highs only in the low 20s.  Short and easy neighborhood run.

Saturday:  16
Chilly group run with the WTAC guys:  Muddy, Jonny, Mike B, FiveK, Chris, and Nate.  I planned out a route on roads I grew up with during my childhood:  from Charlestown Elementary, through Shannock and Kenyon villages, Lewiston Avenue, Heaton Orchard, Beaver River, Shannock Hill, etc.  When I asked my Mom if she minded if I set up a water stop at her house about half-way, she did one better and insisted we come inside out of the cold and had prepared water and granola bars on her own.
Is this March 1st?  Really?

Cold start to the day.
Chris and Mike B apparently looking for some shared body warmth.
Leaving Mom's house, I quickly got cold again, but after climbing Shannock Hill, warmed up right away and stayed warm.  Jonny, Muddy, and FiveK charged the uphill Strava, and I charged the downhill one.  The last mile was a 6:15 pace, pretty fast for nearly all uphill.  By then, I was near overheating and started stripping off layers.  Don't worry; no body flesh revealed.
Attacking the run up Shannock Hill:
Mike B in foreground, Muddy in orange,
and Jonny and FiveK way up ahead
Sunday:  10
Solo 8-mile progression run:  7:51, 7:37, 7:19, 6:57, 6:48, 6:34, 6:18, 5:46

I wanted to quit a few times on this one, and was happy with my perseverance to see it through.  I find it hard to continually adjust the pace faster, but it is good training to run faster when fatigued.  Finished up with a 2-mile cool-down.

Weekly totals: 
Run:  47 miles
Spin:  1x

February month totals:  234 miles.  While the month tally was high, this week's tally at 47 miles was my least since early January.  It's ironic as just a few years back 47 would have been a really high mileage week for me that would have been during marathon training.  Highlights included a snow run in NH, the Saturday group run, lowering my own Shannock Hill downhill CR, and sticking to my progression run.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekly log 17-Feb to 23-Feb-2014

Coming off a record mileage week of 82 miles this past week, I'll be looking to dial back the mileage a bit this week and mix in other activities.  Next race (Ocean's Run) is still 3 weeks away, so I'm hoping to get a long (15+) group run in on the weekend again.

Monday:  7
Noon run:  Y out to Pawcatuck neighborhoods, Greenhaven and back.  Running downtown on High Street, I heard "Is that the fastest you can run?!".  Who's heckling me now?  Next comment will probably be something about my snowman!  Looked over and saw Jeff Duda laughing.  He's a possible for both Ocean's Run Half Marathon and Rhode Warrior Half Ironman.

Afternoon swim:  900 yards (1/2 mile).  500 warm-up, 400 mixed.

Evening spin:  Rounding out the tri efforts for the day, went to spin class with FiveK.  The instructor was an older woman I didn't recognize, and the music a little too "easy listening" style for me, but the moral is "Don't judge a book by the cover", as it turned out to be an a#% kicking hills section.  There was a U2 song thrown in there, and ended with Bon Jovi's "Runaway".

Tuesday:  0
Thus endeth the running streak.  Didn't realize until Mike B pointed it out, as it was unintended, but I ran 21 days in a row.  Not much of a quantity for a true streaker, but probably the longest in my life.

Wednesday:  15
Morning run:  (8).  Very icy 14 degree run.  At one point, I went down hard, and ended up with a bloody knee.  Worse, several holes in my only pair of running tights.  Might not need them again this season, but still a bummer.  By the time I got to Weekapaug, the roads, especially Atlantic, were a sheet of ice.  Ran the beach back despite being high tide, so I could at least get some traction.

Afternoon skate:  Being the very mean father that I am, I took the day to spend time with our two teenage sons, forced Mark to get out of bed at the ungodly hour of 11AM, and took them to Newport for lunch, ice skating, and dessert / drinks at Starbucks.  Yes, we have our own very nice rink in Westerly, but there's always the risk there that one of their friends might see them out with their Dad and embarrass them.

Afternoon workout:  (7).  Chase Hill Road, Ashaway.  FiveK planned out a workout from Grills lot out to Route 3 and back, where for the outward portion, we would run 2 minutes hard towards Route 3, and then 1 minute easy reversing the direction.  Sounds easy at first, except the whole road is basically a hill in one direction or the other, and we did eight repetitions with the 2-minute hard sections mostly run at low-5s pace.  Beater!

Thursday:  5
Early morning:  Another icy run, but not as bad as yesterday.  Hospital loop.
Spent the rest of the day X-C skiing with my uncle (pictured here) and my cousin
at Maple Corner Farm in Granville, MA.
Proud of my father's brother, 75 years young and out there at it all day.

Friday:  4
Afternoon went for a run in the fog.  Slow, bloated from a heavy lunch, and lethargic.  Just wasn't into it.  Shortest run in a long time.

Followed up with 1,200 yards in the pool with FiveK, until we were kicked out of the pool because of thunder.  Yes, thunder in February, and no, the thunder and lightning was not inside.  Longest swim since last year.  A little cramping in my calf, but seemed to go away.

Saturday:  15
Group run from the Y into Stonington with Muddy, FiveK, Chris, and organizer Mike B.  The weather was warm, the route and water stop were top notch, but unfortunately the icy roads were unnerving for me.  I had grandeur visions of trying to run the last 2-3 miles at MP, but after a fall I was overly cautious and my legs were quite tight.  As usual, a good time and good workout.
FiveK apparently didn't get enough of a workout, as he headed next for a swim, while the rest of us bemoaned not bringing a change of clothes so that we could visit the sauna to decompress and commiserate.
Yes, another body parts photo that I know you've all been craving!
Chris, this is what you missed after breaking off from the group.  A
fall on ice landed first on my right knee (to complement the bruised
left knee from another ice fall earlier in week) and then on my left hip.  Ouch!

Sunday:  11
Solo run through Weekapaug and Misquamicut.  Yesterday's desired miles at MP were not to be, so today, sans yesterday's ice and tight legs, I dropped three contiguous faster miles mid-run:  6:22, 6:17, and 6:20.  Cool down back on the beach.  Felt much better.

Weekly totals:
Run:  57 miles
Spin:  1 x 45 minutes
Swim:  1.2 miles
Ice skating:  1x
X-C skiing:  1x

The run mileage was lower, but still historically quite high for me at 57.  Also happy to mix in quite a few varied athletic activities.  Even got into the pool twice.  Wound down the week with a few MP miles today; I need to do more of that if I want to fare decently at a late spring marathon.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Weekly Log 10-Feb to 16-Feb-2014

After Belleville Pond, now begins a one month hiatus until the next race.  I have a boatload of races I'm signed up for in 2014 already, so it will be nice to take a break.

Monday:  11
Noon:  5. Beautiful deep snow across bridges, through forests, along frozen rivers.  It seems like I'm in NH.  Oh, wait, I am - Mine Falls Park in Nashua.
Evening:  6.  Mews night WTAC celebratory run out on bike path, loop around Narragansett Pier area.  Followed by celebration dinner/drinks at Mews.

Tuesday:  5
No Bottom Pond evening run.  Easy pace.

Wednesday:  11
Afternoon:  8.  Pond loop around Winnapaug Pond.  6:50s pace.
Evening:  3.  Schonning 5K course while at Y anyway, followed by sauna relax.

Thursday:  12
Another week, another snowstorm!  Wanted to get out there before change-over to rain.  Had just started my run when my phone rang.  It was FiveK looking to get some mileage, so he met up with me on Clifford Ave before we proceeded to run in the snow along the shore.  Love runs in the snow!
FiveK near Fenway Beach

Fun run in shorts in the snow!

I probably won't be able to land a job building snowmen,
but at least I'm keeping Muddy's and Chris' request to not grow up.
My two teenage boys had the day off from school.  One was sleeping and the other watching a movie, while the old man was outside playing in the rain building a snowman.  What's wrong with this picture?  Maybe I need to take a page from Mike B's blog and kick them outside and tell them to come in when it gets dark?

Friday:  11
From Y, Boombridge loop out to North Stonington, back via Potter Hill.  Legs felt really achy, not sore though. Think it's due to a rare cold I've come down with.

Saturday:  21
With just about everyone race-free this weekend, we had one of our largest ever group runs today with 8 runners.  Jonny planned out a 16-miler winding through all 3 Chariho towns and in typical Jonny style, incorporating quite a few hills.  Wanting to get 20 on the day and ramp up my spring marathon training (for which I still have not signed up for anything!), I showed up 1/2 hour early at Chariho HS and basically ran the Chariho 5K course tacking on a little more by running Pine Hill Road as far as N-S Trail, and deducting out the snow-covered track portion.
At my alma mater for the start of today's long run -
here are my WTAC teammates ready for some fun

We started out with hills pretty early with almost exactly a 200' climb up Woodville Road after crossing into Hopkinton.  After about 5 miles, FiveK, Chris, and Nate decided we were slowing them down too much and so they split off at Collins Road to finish early while dropping sub-6 minute miles in their wake!  Five of us (Jonny, Muddy, "Action", Mike B, and I) continued on for more hill torture, including hills on snow & ice covered Tomaquag Valley Road, climbs up 91, screaming downhill down Burdickville into Charlestown, then a series of climbs over the next two miles before a brief water respite at Chez Hammett.  The last 2-3 miles were flat, but by then I was just getting real HUNGRY. 

Average 7:20 pace, ended up with 21 miles.  All good stuff.  Extra kudos go to Jonny for putting this together and to Mike for the 1st water stop.

Sunday:  11
Finished shoveling the driveway; time for a run.
Yes, I'm old fashioned and still use a shovel.
Snowbank ever higher after the umpteenth snowstorm this winter.

East Beach trail, Watch Hill
Headed down to the ocean for a beach run

Slow and hard going in the fresh snow in Champlin Glacier Park.
Should I petition Mike Galoob to add a Champlin Snowy Sufferfest to the series?
Weekly mileage totals and recap:
Run:  82

A record high mileage week for me.  In spite of the winter weather (or maybe actually because of it?) I've really enjoyed getting out for a lot of 10+ milers this week, including the 21 miler with the gang on Saturday.  I know I need to play it smart and back off a little next week, but I'm hoping to keep in the 50-60 mile range for a while, especially with no races on the horizon.  I'm loving winter running!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Belleville Pond 10K

Sunday, February 9, 2014
North Kingstown, RI

49:44.  3rd overall of 99; 1st in age group.  Full results here.

Went for a mile-and-a-half warm-up with Jonny.  It was enough to tell me that today's run was going to be a sufferfest and leg burner through 6" of crusty snow.  Realizing I'd be warm quickly burning up the calories, opted for shorts and a lighter hat.

Mile 1:  The Rocket
Jonny led out strong at the siren, quickly followed by Chris Garvin and Bob Jackman, and then Nate.  There was a younger gentlemen running hard and fast through the snow on my left, so I thought he was going to rocket ahead fast, and I let him cut in front of me.  Not a great move; as he crossed over the first bridge I felt he was holding me back so I cut in front of him again and ran hard to catch up to Nate.  Passed Nate about 1/2 mile in as we exchanged pleasantries, but I reminded him we had a long ways to go!  Towards the end of the mile, was surprised to catch up to the Jonny/Chris/Jackman pack.  Fastest mile @ 7:24.
Jonny "Rocket" setting a very fast 1st mile pace
Mile 2:  The Strip-Tease
Early in Mile 2, Nate, Muddy, and maybe 1-2 more had caught up and we were in the single file lead pack on raised trestle bed, then through a field and into the woods.  I was able to catch my breath here a little, and was hoping we could stay in this formation for a few more miles to conserve energy, but I knew at any point someone would make a move.  Then it got weird when Bob Jackman took off first his outer shirt layer, then his shirt underneath to be completely topless.  When he started to tug at his tights/pants, I was concerned that he was going to "pull a Garvin" with stripping down further, but it turns out he was just stuffing the outer shirt into his pants (or so I think).  8:07.

Boxed in early in race, 2 positions behind Nate and just ahead of Muddy
Mile 3:  The Surge
After Jonny did the hard work of leading for 2 miles, it turned out to be Chris to make the move and take the lead past Jonny.  Jackman immediately followed, and for some reason I decided to follow and surge ahead with them.  No one else seemed to take the bait, and I was concerned I had made too aggressive a move.  Somehow I was able to stay with the two of them for a good mile, as Chris pushed the pace up and down hills, around tight turns and through virgin snow in a few spots.  9:23 pace, but numbers mean nothing here, as the pace and level of effort were just grueling, at least for me.

Mile 4:  The Separation
All good things must come to an end, and as the three of us turned out of the woods and onto the trail across another large field, it would have been a fool's errand for me to try to maintain their pace as my breathing was getting pretty out of control here.  Chris and Bob also started to separate from each other.  Exiting the field led us into twisty, curvy single-track that was really tiring.

Awesome shot by Scott Mason crossing the final bridge
Mile 5:  The "Sprint"
After what seemed like an eternity, we exited the single track back onto the main trestle bed.  Bob was about 50 yards straight ahead of me, and Chris about 100 yards ahead, but both opened the distance further as they picked up the pace.  Although I couldn't see anyone behind me when I exited the single-track, I knew if I wanted a shot at third, I'd have to pick it up as well and push hard.  7:44

The home stretch:  gave it my all
(Pic by Jana)
Mile 6:  The Suffering
Once we left the rail bed, I could no longer see Bob or Chris.  The bridge came up quick enough (where Scott Mason was taking pics), but after that, especially being only my 2nd time ever running in Ryan Park, I totally underestimated the distance and number of turns to the finish.  At long last we exited to the ball field area, and as I started the run in deep snow there, my legs had just turned to rubber.  Kept reminding myself I only needed to get around that ball field, and finished with an 8:26 pace to finish just under 50 minutes on the day, and then sat in the snow to watch my teammates come in:  Nate, Justin, Jonny, Seth, etc.

With just a few of my WTAC teammates today

Added a 3rd black and bloody toenail today to the collection I've been amassing this winter
trail season (hope you weren't eating when you got to this pic!)
A "badge of honor" - totally worth it for today's results!
Thanks to Mike Galoob and family for yet another fun race.  Truth be told, it was very challenging conditions, but I had a fantastic time in fairly warm weather just trying to push myself aggressively.  For some reason, I seem to do well in the snow, and that added to my enjoyment.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Weekly Log 3-Feb to 9-Feb-2014

With the Super 5K behind us, I'm looking forward to the next race:  Belleville 10K on Sunday, then taking a long lull before racing again.  No idea what the weather or ground cover will be like by Sunday, but I'm up for it as long as driveable to get there.

Monday:  5
Afternoon snow led to a cancellation of Mark's swim meet in Woonsocket, and thus brought me home early.  Shoveled quickly, so I could get out in the daylight to play in the snow!  I love winter!  Seriously.

Stripped off my snow pants down to my shorts (don't worry; I stopped there - this wasn't a repeat of Chris' perceived sausage show at the indoor meet).  Went for a run in Champlin; with shorts on of course!  At one point, I wiped out on a turn and lay there for a while with snow on my bare legs.  Hurt?  Nah.    Cold?  A little.   Fun? You betcha!  I just laid there and laughed hysterically; fortunately no one was there to witness the affair and whisk me off to the nut house.  On the run home in my neighborhood, I threw snowballs at one of my neighbors while he was shoveling out his driveway.  Yeah, someday I probably need to grow up and act my age, but TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.
I brought this spruce tree home in a bucket from Home Depot
about 10 years ago.  The snow on this tree and the ones in background
make the beauty of winter snow look like magic to me.
Running the trails in Champlin Glacier Park.
Many gazelle-like moves needed to skirt around
the bent over boughs and branches.

Tuesday:  7
Lunch time:  Nashua NH Y.  Started to get changed into my running gear, when I realized I didn't bring the right running gear.  Hey look - my swim trunks and goggles are in my bag; thus salvaged the visit with 900 yards in the pool.  Beautiful facility.
Late afternoon:  Ran Moonlight hills and past Tom's parents' house.  I'm going to have to e-mail them my running schedule so they can set up refreshment stations as needed.

Wednesday:  7
Another day, another snowstorm.  Asked if Tommy could come out to play, and fortunately, he took the bait, although Muddy did not.  Ran 7 miles in 6" of snow covered trails in Woody Hill.  Slow going, but fun, no plows, no slush, no sliding cars, no humans at all.  Quite the workout especially on three hill climbs.
FiveK with the frozen pond in background
At Woody Hill Marsh

Me, same scene.  Looks cold, but really quite warm as long as kept running.
Thursday:  13
In East Providence for a WHS swim meet.  Although it's my home state, running options looked terrible here due to busy roads and ugly strip malls.  Opted to go just over the MA border to Seekonk and run from the Newman Y to give me a place to change and shower.  Don't know this area at all, so I mapped out a run on mapmyrun.com and printed it out to carry with me.
Started on busy and ugly Route 44, but only for a 1/4 mile, and the rest of the run was just beautiful:  back country roads, rolling hills, and snow covered farmlands, all with very little traffic.  A few of the roads were still snow covered, but on those, I was able to run in the middle of the road.  Finished in time to get back to see Mark win two of his events.
With a name like this, I had to run this street!  (Rehoboth, MA)
Friday:  13
Lunchtime:  5.  Beach run with Crutch.  Felt great with the sun shining.
Afternoon:  8.  FiveK took Mike B and I for a beater workout in Watch Hill:  6 x Surftown Hill pops (actually improved my times on these as went along, from 57 seconds to 48), followed by 5 x (1 minute hard, 1 minute easy) on Ocean View Highway, and wrapped up with 5 x (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy).
Was just jogging back to the cars when we heard someone yell to us from an open window in the Ocean House.  Mike B and I thought it was someone heckling us fools out in shorts, but then we heard "Tommy FiveK"!  Turned out it was Woolley on the sunset of his bachelor-hood, as he gets married at Ocean House this weekend. 

Saturday:  5
Easy five on local roads.

Sunday:  9
Belleville Pond 10K.  Separate write-up shortly.  Promise!

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:   59
Swim:  x 1, 1/2 mile

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super 5K

February 2, 2014

A mediocre performance for an aging gazelle.

18:03.  5.49 average pace.  12th overall, 1st in age group.  Full results here.

Mile 1:  Followed in Nate's footsteps up to the mile marker on Earles' Court, before Nate hit the hyperspace button and flew ahead.  Disappointing pace of 5:52 (versus 5:39 last year); I knew right here I wouldn't be hitting any time goals today.

Mile 2:  By the time we turned left onto Gibson Ave, Nate had put three runners between him and me!  I passed one muscle-bound runner at the turn around, and had two more between us heading back.  As always, really cool seeing all the WTAC jerseys coming back at me.  Disappointing 6 flat pace.
The painful facial expression tells it all as
my form is breaking down and I'm just trying
to hold off my age-group competitor (rear left)

Mile 3:  I passed one runner at the bottom of Earles' Court, and now just had one to reel in.  Little did I know at the time, but the remaining runner between Nate and me was the only one ahead of me in my age group.  Passed him on Ocean Road just before the Coast Guard House.  Nate was too far ahead of me at this point, but at least I finally had a really good mile with a 5:32 pace.
Huge WTAC showing!

Negative splits (rare for me) are supposed to be a good thing, but in retrospect I really think I should've pushed it harder earlier in the race.  Next went to look for Matthew, but as soon as I turned around he was coming in as the next WTAC runner.  Great day for WTAC in general - both men's and women's team won!  Kudos to all, but special callouts to Mike G for an insanely fast PR in 15:29 and Nate for his impressive PR in 17:39.