Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Weekly Log 26-May to 1-Jun-2014

Memorial Day weekend coasting into June.  Beach season, tri season, and fun runs are now just around the corner.  As for races, I will be going from not having raced in two months (Big River in early April, final race pre-surgery) to potentially a race every single weekend in June:  BRR, Pawcatuck Lions, Niantic, OMG, Bottone.

41 miles!  FiveK met me at my house at 5:45am and we biked to the Y to meet up with Chris, Mike B, and B's friend and fast rider Dave.  Mike had planned out a route from Westerly to Chariho to Hope Valley, then 138 to Rockville where we rode Canonchet Road out to Route 3 before the return to Westerly.  Canonchet Road was like a hidden road, downhill most of the way, and under a thick canopy of tree cover.  I had fun gazelling downhill, felt I could hold my own on the flats, but was humbled on the uphills, especially on the 5% Hopkinton City climb where Chris and Dave quickly pulled out of sight from me.
Quick stop at the Old Stone Dam on Richmond / Hopkinton line,
dating to 1700s.  History and recent repairs here.

Two happy, energetic cyclists

One old and tired cyclist,
and one happy, energetic cyclist trying to prop him upright

En route to Mike B's childhood tour,
a quick stop outside the gates of the Puddin' Palace
(If you look real closely in front of the flowering bush upper right, it looks
like Mr Puddin' had set out his pink cycle planning to ride with us,
but he was nowhere to be found)

Mike pointed out his childhood home.  Given his advanced age, I had expected that all that would be left of his childhood home would be stone foundations from a bygone age (like the ones in Woody Hill), but he pointed out a home with electricity and running water.  I'm guessing he's old and confused and pointed out the wrong home.  Good ride; thanks Mike for planning and for the coffee stop.

Afternoon:  I'm all for the cookout and fun of Memorial Day, but now it was time for the more traditional meaning of remembering those who served and are no longer with us.  My father served in US Army intelligence in Germany in the early 1960s, where he met my mother.  I was happy Jana and the boys came along for the ride to my father's grave and helped plant a geranium, especially as the meaning is not quite the same for them having never met him, as he was taken by lung cancer at an early age of 58.
The resolution is poor, but I still like the picture:
My Dad and I at the beach in July 1968

6 miles.  10K Sunrise Beach Run.  Softened the back-to-work blues after a long holiday weekend.
10 miles.  Brief, breezy bike ride with Matthew.

6 miles.  Had a one hour window of time anywhere between Providence and Camp Watchaug.  Opted to stop at Big River, with the goal not to get lost.
Well, if I did get lost, it looks like I'd have a place to sleep ...

Odd to see this along the single-track.  It was unlocked and
open, but I avoided as it looked like an invitation for tetanus.  I don't
need any more ailments this year.
I'm guessing this is Pump Trail?

5 miles.  Picked up the pace on a morning run.  Pace varying 6:08 (downhill) to 6:57.
17 miles.  Coastal ride with FiveK.  Pushed it hard on the Ocean View and Atlantic segments.

650 yards.  Barely upping the yardage.  Tiring.  I know I need to do this more.
14 miles.  Solo run from the Y along the river in Pawcatuck, trails crossing through Barn Island, and back on Greenhaven.  Felt really good.

13 miles.  Group breakfast run hosted by Chris.  Felt good at start, but somewhere in the middle I just completely ran out of steam.  Really nice for Chris et al to host breakfast on their deck for 9 sweaty runners.

21 miles.  Group ride with FiveK, B, and Chris.  From my house out to Bradford, back Klondike Road, Charlestown.  Stop at Dave's Coffee for proceeding on for a brief oceanside ride through Weekapaug and Misquamicut.  Looking forward to continuing these rides throughout the summer.
5 miles.  Back Road Ramble.  Write-up to follow.

Weekly totals:
49 miles
89 miles
0.4 miles

Week recap:
Happy to get in a solid week of both riding and running.  From here, it's a matter of upping both, adding in open water swimming, and starting to figure out a fall marathon plan.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekly Log 19-May to 25-May-2014

Cruising into Memorial Day weekend, it's high time to resume all three tri activities.

Monday:  0
Rest day.

5 miles.  Champlin trails with Crutch, after wrapping up some club business.
18 miles.  To Bradford with FiveK, out via Dunn's Corner Bradford Road, back via Klondike.  First time post-surgery that I felt really good on the bike.  Looking forward to more group rides.

7 miles.  Great Swamp Management Area.  Time was tight before a meeting, so I upped the pace to make it a progression run:  7:24, 7:09, 7:05, 6:45, 6:32, 6:15, 5:57.

6 miles.  Started at Wahaneeta with FiveK, ran up into northern Woody Hill, new town property down to lax field, and back.  Couldn't hold a candle to Muddy's "The Woody" 9% incline hill road segment; don't know how he cranked out eight of these the other day.

11 miles.  Solo run from the Y through No Stonington farmland, back Laurel and winding my way downtown via Potter Hill, Forrestal, and Old Hopkinton Cemetery Roads.  Kept average pace under 7, while climbing some decent hills for a 544 foot elevation gain.  Felt "good".

PS - Why are so many old guys my age hanging up their running shoes?  Has Galoob been talking to them?  Ran into Earl Thomas in Springbook on my run today; asked him if he's running anymore, and he said no.  This was a guy I used to run 20-mile long runs with when we were prepping for Boston.  Add him to the list of Larry Orlando, Peter Weeden, and I think John Ward who called it quits.  Schonning runs very little now and Vuono has repeatedly said he'll hang up the shoes at age 52 (less than a year away?).  What gives?

500 yards.  Y pool.  It wasn't pretty, it wasn't far, but on the upside, I didn't drown, and there was no pain this time.

15 mile Woody Hill group run with FiveK, B, and Muddy.  New trails to run on, plus a few more planned in the fall.  Running from FiveK's place gives a lot more trail option.

Rest day.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  44
Bike:  18
Swim:  0.25

Obviously 500 yards of swimming is paltry and isn't going to carry me for the upcoming tri season, but it's a start and I'm happy I was able to get all three activities in.  From here, it's ramping up the frequency and intensity, as well as starting to plan out a rough schedule for fall marathon training.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Weekly Log 12-May to 18-May-2014

Well, this should be my 4th and final prescribed week of recovery, after which I should be able to resume any physical activity without constraint, unless my body tells me otherwise.  Will try to dip into the pool again late week, even if just for a few hundred yards.  Otherwise, plans include resuming the biking and continuing to increase the run distance and intensity.

Monday:  0
Top of the Podium!  (awards 6 deep)
Matthew is this year's Middle School 1,500 champion
 in the RI Southern Division Championships held Monday at CCMS.
He was boxed in at the start by two Narragansett runners, trailed for most of the race, but ran smart as he overtook the lead runner with about 600 yards to go and never looked back.  PR of 4:50.  5:11 average pace - yeah, I'm in trouble at the Bottone Mile.  On my all-time list of "proud Dad" moments!

Matthew wraps up his middle school running career at the RI State Meet on Saturday.  He has several fast female WMS runners going with him, but he's the lone boy from Westerly that qualified for any running event (he qualified in three - 800, 1500, and 3000).

Tuesday:  5
430 Club.  Finally dropped the pace below 7, with a 6:44 average pace.  No pain, but I was sure huffin' and puffin'.  Progress.

Wednesday:  11
Woody Hill solo morning run.  Varied it up a little by running more of the southern portion of Woody Hill, and starting from Bradford instead of Wahaneeta.  "Found" a single-track trail all the way to Robin Hollow.  Was very happy with that.  Short run from 5K's place to get this additional access point.  Studying Westerly plot maps, the path looks legit to be entirely on Woody Hill state property, save for maybe a 1/2 acre at the very end owned by Cherenzia.

Thursday:  6
Road/trail run w/FiveK.  Let me share a few tricks of the trade if you're running with FiveK and want  slow him down a bit:
  1. Run with him AFTER he has completed a full track workout.
  2. Run him on twisty single-track, especially over a few full stream crossings!
Friday:  12
Double down.  Ran first with WLT president Sheilia, as she showed me the new trails in Woody that the WLT crew have been cutting which will link just north of Wahaneeta to the main N-S Woody Hill gravel road.  The WLT had asked if I can help to map the trails.  Happy to oblige.
Finished up, and felt like I still wanted more, so parked at Weekpaug Breachway and ran out Weekapaug Sand Trail and back on the beach for a Breachway-to-Breachway solo run.

Saturday:  Run 11, Bike 16
We were originally hoping for 6, but with the threatening weather and time changes, it ended up being just FiveK and I for a brick from his place:
Peppy run on the beach westbound to Misquamicut and then mostly Shore Road back. 
Bike out to Watch Hill and back.  Couldn't hold a candle to him when he flew down Ocean View Highway, but felt good overall.  No pain or discomfort this time.  Just tiring.
Matthew (boxed in 3rd from the back in this photo) running the 3,000 in his
final middle school meet:  RI State Meet 2014
23 runners from around the state qualified for and ran the 3,000.

Making his way up to about 6th place
(blue Westerly jersey in lane 2)

Final results:  a PR of 10:33 (5:39 pace),
2nd fastest in the state in the 3,000!

Sunday:  Run 10, Bike 10
Morning:  2-mile warmup run to Avondale, then 1 mile @ 5:48, followed by 3 x 400 (81, 78, 80).  Cooled down on the Avondale trails, then slow run home via Misquamicut Beach.  Not the kind of pace I was looking for, but you have to start somewhere.
Afternoon:  10-mile comfortable pace bike ride with Matthew out to Watch Hill and back

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  55
Bike:  26
Swim:  Nada.  Didn't happen

Week in review
Most importantly, this was Matthew's week.  The WMS girls team had a solid victory, but for the boys Matthew was by himself and turned in an awesome finale to his middle school career.

For myself, I'm thrilled to have a second 50+ mile week of running.  Increased the rides, and will need to work on the swim.  Psyched with the warmer running weather, although it's a narrow window before it gets too hot and muggy around here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Weekly Log 5-May to 11-May-2014: Recovery Week #3

Purported penultimate week of surgery recovery.  Goals for this week include getting back up to 40+ running miles, dropping the pace to 7 flat by end of week, and taking another shot at getting back in the saddle.  All right, let's get at it!

Monday:  13!
Noon:  [8] A good cure for a Monday is a good trail run.  (I know Mike B agrees, as he's even taking to the trails lately.  What's up with that?  Anyway...)
Found myself at home on Monday (long story short:  Mark's post-surgery follow-up went well, so he'll be back to track shortly).  For lunch, ate up eight miles of Woody Hill.  Rewatched 60s classic "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" last week with Matthew, so here's my take for this trail run:
  • The good:  Westerly voters passed the referendum to add 433 acres of open space to the mix, so I've got plenty of exploring to do.  My mind is racing with trail ideas.  Been in touch with some of the Westerly Land Trust on their own ideas.   Might go trail running with WLT president Sheilia next week.
  • The bad:  Narragansett Indians have asked runners to stay off their 130+ acres of land, south of Wahaneeta exiting via blue trail; a new stone wall has been built across the trail.
  • The ugly:  
    Beth, the competition is back on!  Yeah, maybe I should stay ON the trails.
Afternoon:  [5] WMS track coach asked me to lead the team's distance runners on a long run.  This time he assigned TWELVE runners to me.  I asked him if they're always this noisy, and if I can drop the pace on them to quiet them down.  He smiled, and said, "You can try!".
Getting 12 runners of varying speeds across major road intersections was a trip, but I got it done.  Kids liked the weird things I added to the run, including running up stairs between buildings downtown, running through a cemetery, and surprisingly telephone repeats on a quiet road (that was the only thing that quieted them down!).  Highlight for me:  a new 6th grade runner coming up to me afterwards, saying that was really fun and could we do it again?!  Also, back home, Matthew telling me that was his best group run ever!

Tuesday:  5
Return of the 430 Club!  I know Crutch will be excited to hear this and looking to get in on future 430 Club meetings.  FiveK met me at my house in the dark for my hospital loop.  I had to put a governor on his accelerator and hold him to 7:30 pace.  First time I was back running with any of the crew in 3 weeks.  Good stuff!

Wednesday:  Run 4, Walk 3
The low mileage here belies that I got a lot done and laid the groundwork for future running.  Greg's "time on feet" indicator may have been a better metric, as all told I think I spent five hours in the woods today:

Morning trail scouting:  Had an hour before meeting up with the Y.  Exploring northwest Woody Hill, I was walking/running abandoned trails now overgrown with briars and what looked like cleared paths to get a vehicle in years back for perc tests and lot planning for new home construction (which fortunately will never happen now - thank you voters of Westerly!).  Was able to cobble together a rough route, and left a few "breadcrumbs" for myself.

Morning race planning:  From Camp Watchaug, finalized the 2014 BRR course (wheel-measure 3.12 miles, GPS 3.07).  It'll be interesting as it starts and ends at the waterfront, reduces the logjam trail start, cuts down asphalt from 1.2 miles to 0.4 (it's a TRAIL run, Mike B!), and adds more single-track.  There is interest to expand the trail portion for 2015, but this year we didn't have enough time to get a needed permit.

Afternoon trail-building:   Armed with a bow saw and pruning shears, returned to this morning's breadcrumbs and started to lay waste to briars and downed branches.  Spent two hours making a runable trail (it will need iterations of running over it).  Finished with a short run on the trail with my first victim.

Back home over dinner, I start to regale my family with tales of my day's adventures in the woods, when it becomes immediately clear that no one has any interest in being bored to death.  Switching tactics, I change to my guessing game, and in a dramatic voice, something like: "I was all alone running deep in the woods where seldom do any humans ever set foot, when all of a sudden I heard a loud 'HEY!' and I turn to find ... guess who?"

  • Jana:  "Was it a caveman?"  (was that a subtle hint that I'm spending too much time in the woods?)
  • Mark:  "Was it Jesus?"  (how did I get such a sarcastic family?)
  • Matthew, ever the conservative, required 17 hints before affording a guess.  Meanwhile, Jana apparently lost her patience waiting for her turn again, and correctly identified Muddy.

Thursday:  0
Planned rest day.

Friday:  13
Trails Part I:  [8] Met up with Westerly Land Trust President Sheilia and her two dogs for a tour of Wahaneeta and Woody Hill.  She showed me a number of historical features in Woody that I've run right past and never seen (historical cemeteries, wells, house foundations), as well as planned trails to loop back to Wahaneeta.  She had already found my "Swamp Bypass Trail" that I built last fall, and I showed her the trail I've been clearing recently connecting Fern Drive to Bradford Preserve with the Woody cut-through.   The Land Trust, its people, and their values are all awesome.
Bestowed upon me by the Land Trust for my various trail-clearing efforts,
especially on their properties.  Purportedly requires one calendar year of
duration.  I clearly don't put in a fraction of the time that their volunteer
"CCC" team does (emblazoned on back of hat), but I was happy to add value.
Trails Part II:  [5] Got back to my car to see a text from FiveK, so we hit the trails in Champlin in the rain before he caught a rescheduled flight to visit the land of Dorothy, Toto, and Auntie Em.

Saturday:  15!!
That's not a typo, and it's not missing a decimal place between the "1" and the "5".  Longest, hardest, and funnest (author's writing liberty to make up words) run by far since going under the knife.  And it felt really good!  Well, for the first 12 miles or so anyway, until I fatigued and starting falling.

Met up in B-game at 6am with a large running group (Muddy, Jonny, Action, Galoob, and B).  Right off the bat our newly minted Masters champ made a veiled derogatory comment something about his competitor in a recent race being 47 years old and should've hung up his running shoes years ago.  Ouch!  I expect that stuff from the other Mike that was out there.  Anyway, this 49 year old geezer is far from ready to hang up his running shoes.  Au contraire; I think I was the biggest kid out there on the trails today as I was jumping off rocks, through bushes, and giddily splashing through puddles, mud, and plowing right through river crossings instead of gingerly crossing on rocks or logs.  YOLO, accordingly to Jonny.  The original plan was for me to wimp out at 8-12 miles and bail, but I was having such a blast and feeling good that I kept it going.  Gazelling a few downhills with Galoob and pushing it on twisty single-track especially on Sammy C and Secret was exhilarating.

Sunday:  Bike 10, Run 2+
Went out with Matthew for my first brick of the season.  Got through it fine.  No pain, just fatigue.  Two miles out instantly flatted.  Got through changing the tube when I found the only cartridge I had was already spent.  Way to go, moron.  Called Jana to bring a pump; not home.  Fortunately, a peloton of Mystic Velo riders blew past us (Shore Road in Weekapaug) and one kindly dropped from the group to help.  He carried tools, cartridges, a pump, and who knows what else and was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and fast.

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  52!
Bike:  10
Swim:  won't be happening this week

Week recap:
Met two out of the three goals for the week:  Got back into the saddle again, and destroyed my 40 mile weekly goal by running 52 miles!  Didn't get my 7-minute pace goal only because I didn't try because I was having too much fun running trails.  The endurance is coming back, although my legs were sore and I was winded the rest of the day Saturday.  I'll keep whittling away, and now just one more week before I can start to weave in some form of speedwork.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Weekly Log 28-Apr to 4-May-2014: Recovery Week #2

Two weeks into a projected four week recovery.  Every day seems to yield some improvement. 

Monday:  0
Planned rest day.

Tuesday:  5
Woody Hill jog 'n clear.  Cleared a simple and short trail between Woody main dirt road and Lax Field Trail.  Will need to be run a few times before it becomes obvious.  Did some exploring past the "Private Property" sign on Lax Field Trail, as that private property will now soon become Town of Westerly open space property!  Would like to cut some more trails.  Ran out towards the Woody Hill dam; very dismayed to see recent damage from dirt bikes. 

Wednesday:  0
Strange day; lost my run window.  Unexpectedly back up at Hasbro Children's Hospital.  Apparently Mark had a bad reaction to some of the surgery prep drugs used when removing the metal rods from his bones last week.  From Providence to Westerly to bring the boy home, and then from Westerly to Boston to a send-off evening event for a number of my colleagues who also declined to move to NC and whose last day of work it was.  Mixed emotions; it was originally my last day of work as well before recent short extension.

Thursday:  5
Revved things up a notch by going for a 2-lap run of Newbury loop, a/k/a "Jana's route".  1st lap at 8:15 pace, 2nd at 7:15.  I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's my fastest yet in recovery.  I could feel the 7:15 pace was pushing it a bit and a tad uncomfortable in the surgery area, but good progress.

Friday:  13!
Sign that you had a good trail run!

Fun in the mud!
Morning run:  [8 miles] After called at 3AM to work on an issue (is that why management asked me to extend my departure?), I got a catnap when finished, and then it was deservedly "me time".  Went to Barn Island, one of my favorite places for trail running and just had a blast on the trails.  While much of the trails had drained, the low lying areas had plenty of muck, mud, and deep puddles to run through.  Fun!  Even found a new trail to run on, twisty, and then drops 50 feet or so into a swamp, where I briefly lost the trail in some skunk cabbage.  Yesterday, I was a little sore (in the stomach incision only), but today I felt great!

Afternoon bike attempt:  Fail.  Went for a measly 1-mile bike ride.  Flats and downhills felt OK, but uphill motion and effort pulled quite uncomfortably on incision area.  Enough for me to pass on the planned 34-mile Mystic ride with hills tomorrow w/FiveK and B.

Evening run:  [5 miles]  Celebratory run pre-Josh and Kate wedding, followed by drinks and food at Andrea.  On the run, I ran primarily with Paul Gray, out towards Watch Hill and back.  Stayed for tuna tacos and a couple of drinks at Andrea, then left after about an hour.  By then there were about 25 people at the event!  Weird moment - Marlin Hoffman (WTAC runner, Li'l Rhody sponsor, fellow CHS '82 grad) had the same surgery on the same date.  Thanks much to John a/k/a Pard for lending me a jacket and giving me a ride home.

Saturday:  7
Morning swim:  Epic fail.  The bike was tolerable; this was not.  Getting into the pool, talked it up with Greg Niles, who is running Providence Cox Half tomorrow (any original plans for me to run the full are obviously out the window).  From the moment I started swimming, I felt pain (not just discomfort) in the stomach.  Tried to go even slower (is that possible?), but the pain continued with each stroke.  Finished one lap and got out.   Can I avoid Greg on the way back?  Nope - had to explain.  He reminded me that swimming uses a lot of stomach muscles. 
Showered and went to Bess Eaton around the corner and got a double chocolate donut.  I'm pretty sure swimming and eating donuts yield the same cardio-vascular benefits.  Drove home, took some painkillers and laid on the couch till it went away.  Won't be going into the pool again anytime soon.

Afternoon redemption run:  Went on Strava to see what the rest of WTAC is up to.  Thrilled to see everyone's morning achievements (3 on an epic trail run, 3 on a cool ride) while simultaneously angry at myself.  Get your lazy sorry arse off the couch and get outside and do something!  Went to CHS for Matthew's middle school meet.  Intentionally arrived 1 hour early to run local trails.  By the time I was into the pine forest on North-South Trail, my mood had changed around for the better.  BONUS:  got back to CHS in time to see Matthew notch two new PRs and overall wins:  5-flat in the 1500 and 2:24 in the 800.

Sunday:  7
Had proffered up two potential courses to the Y for BRR.  Went for a run with the RD on one of them.  I think either one that they pick will be an improvement over the previous course, and he agreed.  Race committee meeting tomorrow at Arcadia Y to decide what to do next.
Wanted to get in a few solo miles and was intrigued by the mountain bike race going on.  Headed to North Camp Road area off Buckeye Brook Road, and ran 1+ miles of the race course facing the riders so I could always get out of their way quick, and eventually ran part of the NST north of Buckeye Brook, before veering off to the trail to the left down to the raised stone wall and concrete dam and headed back.  Some day I'll learn the trail names and be more conversant.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  37
Bike:  Fail
Swim:  Fail

Weekly recap:
Really, really happy with my run recovery this week.  Surprised and happy I was able to get almost 40 miles for the week.  The bike and swim were a disappointment and patience is not my strongest virtue, but I know it will come.