Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekly Log 27-Oct to 2-Nov-2014

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
Beautiful run on the beach at lunchtime. An added bonus was taking a Weekapaug CR from an out-of-stater that stole it from Tommy.  Let's see how long that lasts.

Wednesday:  8
High Rock Town Forest,
Needham, MA
Trails are well marked

The view from (presumably) High Rock

Thursday:  5
Champlin trails at lunchtime. 

Friday:  0
Halloween fun.
A few neighbors stopped over for
the driveway fire and drinks.

I still love to carve
A 50-year old kid at heart.

Saturday:  7
Barn Island trails with Mike B.  Couldn't get any other takers to join the "old guys".  Tough following the trail in a few places in the dim early dawn light.  Plenty of hunters out there, but we wore orange, kept the talking going the whole time, and had no issues.

Sunday:  7
39 degrees, howling wind, and rain in the morning.  Quite cold for the first mile or so.  Still shorts weather for sure, but first time I wore a second layer over my shirt.  No short shorts and singlet today! No one else on the beach today in the windy rain and pelting sand; can't understand why.

Weekly run mileage:  32

Rest / recovery from Hartford is over.  Time to start stepping that back up.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Log 20-Oct to 26-Oct-2014: Charlestown Police 5K

Monday:  5
Took advantage of the proximity of my new place of employment:  quick dash home at lunchtime, change, and run out to the beach and back.  Fun!

Tuesday:  5
Rockridge loop.

Wednesday:  6
Breezy hospital loop with a side order of 2 CRs taken back from RI Freshman champ.

Thursday:  5
Took a cue from FiveK and went to Hell Field on my lunch break.  3 x 800 was all I could fit in:  2:43, 2:45, 2:48.  Hopefully FiveK will be returning to his stomping grounds soon.

Friday:  0

Saturday:  7
An awesome morning with crisp fall dry weather.  The weather was dry, but my feet were not, as I tried and failed to outrun a wave in Misquamicut - all good fun.

Sunday:  6
10th annual running of the Charlestown Police 5K.  I like this race.  It has a small-town feel, it's almost exclusively on quiet park roads, pancake flat, has good food afterwards, and RD Sgt Phil Gingerella does a really nice job.  In past years, we've had a good sized WTAC crew, but this year was just Mike B and I for regulars, plus newer members Roy, Rose, and John Ficarra.

17:40, 2nd place overall of 71.  Full results here.
No t-shirts this year;
instead everyone got a nice pint glass

In discussion with Matthew before-hand (side-note he qualified for RI State Meet next weekend, so no races for him until after that), I set 3 goals: 
A)  PR (better than 17:33)
B) sub-18 (hadn't done this in past 11 months)
C)  beat anyone who sprints out ahead of the Colonel

Mile 1:  Running the course with Mike before
hand chipped away at my confidence with the gusting wind.  Lined up on the front line between a bare-breasted guy with fake coconut boobs ("Coconut Guy") on my left and the Colonel on my right.  Sure enough, Coconut Guy sprinted out in front.  The Colonel kept glancing to his left, as if "Is this guy for real?".  Even at the first intersection, Coconut Guy was still in front, but by 1/4 mile he petered out and the Colonel took the helm.  When the dust settled, I was in 4th place.  Mile 1 split: 5:41 - it looks like a PR is out.

Mile 2: Passed one guy just at the start of the 2nd mile, leaving the Colonel way ahead of me and a 20-year old kid just in front of me.  Passed the kid about mid-mile, but he was persistent and hung with me through the rest of the mile.  Mile 2 split:  5:52.

Mile 3:  As soon as we turned onto the bike course, we went into a strong headwind.  After a long stretch to the turnaround, I now had the wind with me for most of the remainder.  I couldn't hear the kid's footsteps anymore, but I didn't want to leave it to chance.  Pushed it to the finish.  Mile 3 split 5:43, beat the kid by 20 seconds.

The Colonel was unusually chatty post-race.  Talked about this race and how the wind thwarted him from a CR repeat, Hartford Marathon, and his next marathon in Tallahassee this winter.  Mike and I cooled down before getting a meal of salad, orzo, and chicken.  Not bad!  Fun race and a fun day.  RD indicated he may not direct the race next year, but hopes someone else in the CPD will pick it up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014 RI Freshman State Champ!!

I'll put aside my whiny recovery blogging for a moment to highlight a true accomplishment:

RI State Freshman X-C Championships
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Goddard Park, Warwick

Link to Westerly Sun article

Just one slice of the chaotic start, 208 runners

About 1 mile in, neck-in-neck with an East Greenwich runner
who was the winner of the 2014 RI Injury Fund X-C Freshman Race

Out of the woods a mile later, he's dropped the EG runner

This year's 2014 RI State Freshman Championship winner!!
Approx time 13:43 (2.5 miles), average pace 5:29

To the victor go the spoils!

(All photos by Jana)

Weekly Log 13-Oct to 19-Oct-2014: Recovery Week

Short and easy blog posting for one of my lightest run weeks all year.  Sometimes I've bounced back completely in 2-3 days post marathon; this year's Hartford Marathon was not one of those times.

Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, my mailbox is getting clogged up with e-mails from Strava stating "Uh-Oh!  Matthew Walker has stolen your CR!!".

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  3
Blistering 9+ minute pace.  First run post Hartford; the legs are heavy.

Wednesday:  0
Needed a couple more days off.

Thursday:  0

Friday:  5
OK, let's try this again.  Working up in Wellesley, MA on a new project.  Wasn't sure of traffic and ended up getting up there an hour early.  Found a local Y and went for a run.  Still slow, about 8:15/mile.  Kind of fun exploring a new area.  There are trails in the general area as well, and will have to come back for those another time.

Saturday:  9
Met up with Jonny and Mike B at Burlingame Picnic Area for a 6:30am run.  Despite Jonny's need to get back home for a jaunt to Maine, he agreed to keep the pace slow for me recovering from Hartford.  Was especially interested in seeing the changes made to the VG trail in the section between the campground and Klondike Road.  Wasn't happy to see the bridges extended up and into the covered bridge; the parts where sand was added to fill in some rock garden portions didn't see as bad as I had envisioned.  Jonny also showed us a new RI NEMBA bike path with of course lots of twists and turns and some neat rock formations that the path crosses.  With about a couple miles to go, the legs started feeling really heavy again.  I know, what a whiner!

Sunday:  0
Served as RD for likely the last running of the Run for the Pumpkins on its present course.  Looking into a lot of good suggestions received from fellow runners.

Weekly run total:  17 miles.  Yeah, that's all she wrote.  Mileage has to go up from here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hartford Marathon 2014

Saturday, October 12, 2014

NuHartford Marathon

2:57:35.  54th overall of 2,408.  1st (of 144) in age group.  Full results here.

Goals for Marathon #17:  A) sub-2:50, B) PR [2:51:55], C) sub-3:00.  (That "C" goal saved the day!  I need a wider band of goals next time.)

Way back in mid-summer, Tommy convinced Mike B and I to join him in running the Hartford Marathon.  Fast forward a few months to the fall, and we had an injured FiveK serving as spectator and crew support to Mike B, Shara, and I.

This was Mike and Shara's debut marathon, and accordingly, we had all put in some group long runs together.  Chris even joined us for one or two, and I was hoping we could pull him into the marathon "fun", but he ended up joining the Tommy 5K Injured Athlete bandwagon.

Marathon eve:  Friday after work (yeah, I'm back to being a work stiff again), Mike and I made the trek up to Hartford.  At the expo, we saw lifesize posters of running notables Matt Pelletier (eventual marathon winner), Galoob (whatever happened to him?), Katie Edwards (Surftown winner), etc.  Packet pickup was a breeze.  We ran into a few other runners we know, including Don Weller, and were off to a dinner of shrimp scampi to get our carbo load fix. Great dinner.  Mike even talked them into giving us 20% off, because, well, because we're awesome.  Back to the hotel where a final weather check confirmed that the entire long weekend forecast was awesome except for the exact time we would be running the marathon.  Figures!  We laid out 87 different outfits, from singlets to long sleeves to jackets for post-marathon to garbage bags.
Start of the road trip.  Notice it's not raining!
(Photo by Julie Boumenot)

Tried to get a decent night's sleep.

Marathon morning:  Breakfast buffet at the hotel.  You could tell the runners from the spectators based on what they had on their breakfast plates (oatmeal, bagels, and fruit for the runners, and sausage and bacon and deep fried unidentifiables for the spectators).  Dropped our dry clothes at the bag drop, and shuffled off to the seeded corral where we met up with Shara and her entourage (parents, friend, and this FiveK character).  I settled towards the 2nd or 3rd row of the seeded section (which is just behind elite corral), and awaited the gun.
The gang awaiting the start.  We opted for the latest fashion by Hefty garbage bags.
(Photo by Tom)

Miles 0 - 10:  We wound our way through the streets and bike paths of Hartford.  In the first mile, Stan Mickus of Mystic flew by me and tapped me on the shoulder.  Another day of battling him I thought until I learned he was "only" running the half.  Next I heard my name called out by BAA's speedster Sam Alexander cheering from the side, and then the support thinned out quickly.  I really enjoyed the bike paths along the river.  I maintained a fairly consistent pace for the first ten miles with an average mile split of 6:18.
Mile 4 - along the Connecticut River, and two of Tom's fingers

Mile 6 - had the whole expressway to myself crossing over to East Hartford
(photo by Tom)

 Miles 11 - 20:  After crossing over the Connecticut River into East Hartford, there is about an 8-mile out and back section through a pretty quiet neighborhood.  The police did an awesome job with closing down traffic.  I passed through the Half split in 1:24:12, probably my fastest half split in a marathon ever, but obviously a long ways to go.  After the 17-mile turnaround, at least I'm on my way back and can look for a few familiar faces in the running crowd:  Jeff V, B and Shara running together, then Don.  I slowed a bit in these 10 miles, but still managed an average of 6:27/mile.

Mile 13
Photo by Beth


Mile 20:
Great shot by Beth before I start my decline
Miles 21 - 26:  This is where the wheels came off the cart. I did the math in my head and figured if I could even hold to a 6:45 pace, I'd have a shot at a PR, but today wasn't to be.  The rain picked up, my clothes were plastered to me, my arms felt heavy, and I was getting cold.  Mile 21 was my last sub-7 mile, and I just wanted it over.  Each mile got progressively slower until a pedestrian 8:08 final mile; I just couldn't will myself to go faster.  I talked to Jeff V after, and he had the exact same experience.  What a welcome sight that finish line was!
Nice etched-glass age group award for my efforts

Post-marathon:  I watched Shara (3:16) and Mike (3:22) finish great first marathons in less than ideal conditions, but by then I was shaking and shivering, and asked Mike if he minded if we leave.  Off to the baggage pickup for a coat and dry shirt, but it really didn't help much as I was shivering for the next hour until after we got food, picked up my award, and ambled back to the hotel for a hot shower.  I'm happy with my overall time and thrilled to win my age group, but not happy with the rapidly declining paces that I took to get the finish.  I'm sure I'll be analyzing this for a while.  Did I go out at too fast a pace?  Entirely likely.  But I do also feel the weather had some play in this.  Did I underdress by just wearing a singlet (and of course short-shorts)?  Not sure on that one.  Yes, I had much more exposed to the weather and cold rain, but anything I wore would have been soaked.  Overall, a great experience and thanks especially to Mike for the company on the road trip, but it does leave me feeling a tad anti-climatic now and that I now long to run a marathon in cool temperatures and DRY weather.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekly Log 6-Oct to 12-Oct-2014

Lazy condensed log for this week:

Monday:  off
Tuesday:  5 miles Rockridge
Wednesday:  5 miles Avondale
Thursday:  23 mile Mystic ride in the dark w/colleague Tom
Friday:  2 mile shake-out
Saturday:  Hartford Marathon, write-up imminent
Sunday:  4 mile hike with family in Riverwood

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weekly Log 29-Sep to 5-Oct-2014

Welcome to October.  As we wind down into the final quarter of the year, some race planning is in order.  Here are my rough plans for the remainder of 2014, and here's what I've signed up for in 2015.

Monday:  12
Four weeks of "vacation" comes to an end.  The back to work run:  2 easy, 6 at MP (6:20 to 6:35), 4 easy.

Tuesday:  4
Easy run on Mastuxet and Champlin trails.

Wednesday:  7
5-4-3-2-1-0:30 descending ladders, with half the duration for rest (e.g., run 5 min hard, 2:30 jog, ...).  Average pace for hard sections:  5:52, 5:51, 5:56 (wimp), 5:45, 5:11, 4:48

Thursday:  0
Hadn't taken a day off in a while, and pouring rain seemed like a good excuse.

Friday:  4
Riverwood trails.  Was enjoying running here after dropping a tardy Mark off at school, and wanted to run longer until I realized, oh yeah, I have a job I have to get to now!

Saturday:  11
Last group run before Hartford.  Met up with Mike B and his colleague Eric at the Y at 6:15.  Boombridge loop out to No Sto and Ashaway.  The guys indulged me in running Whitely Preserve trail, and then back via Potter Hill and North End.  At one point Mike was jabbering on to Eric about how I am much, much older than himself, when Eric interrupted with "Yeah, but he's faster than you."!  I like this guy Eric now; he's welcome anytime.  :)

Sunday:  5
Easy run down to on the beach, while my tougher WTAC compadres battle it out at Nipmuck.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  44

Next week, the mileage really slows even more as we go into Hartford final taper week.  Looking forward to running Hartford for the 3rd time, then having run with trails and group runs until I get focused in January for resuming swimming, biking (spinning), and Boston training.