Saturday, February 21, 2015

Weekly Log 16-Feb to 22-Feb-2015

3 miles on the dread.  A few minutes between dropping Mark off to catch a bus to his divisional swim meet and heading up ourselves.  3 boring slow miles.

Anyway, today was not about me; it was about the boys:  Matthew became RI Freshman State Champ in both events he competed in (1500 and 1000) and was the only freshman to win more than one event; Mark came in 5th in Division I Championships.  More in really nice article here.

8 miles.  Snow run with FiveK and Shara.  Met up at lunch time for a run on quiet roads with 2" of fresh snow.  Running on the snow covered roads was far more pleasurable than slushy, sloppy, wet heavily salted main roads like Watch Hill Road.  At one point, a truck drove close to us (despite no one in opposing lane) and splashed Shara and I with wet slop.  Other than that, it was a lot of fun.

7 miles on Satan's Conveyor Belt.  You read that right; the anti-mill guy got in 7.  Up in Needham for my weekly visit, and the 6' snowbanks combined with many icy and unplowed sidewalks make it dangerous to run outdoors. So how did I fight the boredom to get through 7 miles?  Two factors:  1) I ran intervals [2 miles warm-up, 6 x (.5 miles @ 5:27 pace, .25 recovery jog - if it sounds fast, it's only because it's on the dread), 1 mile cooldown], and 2) the treadmills at Charles River Y all have their own built-in entertainment systems, so I switched channels on every recovery jog.

6 miles through Avondale.  On the plus side, it was finally warm enough for shorts.  On the minus, it was real windy.  Saw Matt Anderson along the way, and we both stopped and caught up for a minute on how our Boston training is going (his much better than mine).

Friday:  0

4 miles.  Short, slow run, with low motivation. 

While I had no motivation to run, I did have motivation to research one of my favorite places in Westerly, Woody Hill.  One of the leaders of the Westerly Land Trust recently sent out a document he typed up with various historical reference points in Woody Hill (who the fort belonged to in the 1800s, certain stone foundations that I run past being part of the Woody Hill School house in 1898, etc).  He used my map, for which he gave me credit, as well as saying I had been helpful with my search of Westerly town land records that made up the Woody Hill acquisition.  He really whet my appetite, and in the afternoon I went to the library for the first time in years.  I remember in college using microfiche at a library in Providence to research some aspect of World War I on newspapers from the time.  Today I researched newspapers in 1936 regarding the Woody Hill acquisition, and it turns out the microfiche techniques have changed little.  I was giddy as a schoolboy.  At any rate, the Westerly Land Trust has asked me to research and write an article on the history of their Avondale Preserve from colonial times to present, and while I would have dreaded research assignments in my school days, I am really excited about this!

7 miles.  Planned to get a long run in, but when Jana came back from her run with soaken wet socks and shoes, I just had no ambition to get out there and run 20 in wet slop.  My plan quickly changed to sit around and sulk all day, when mid-day Crutch texted me for a Watch Hill run.  Yes, my feet got soaked, but it was overall just a pleasurable run mixing in beach, sun, warmth, and good conversation.

Weekly Mileage Log:
35 miles.  Clearly not where I want to be this close to Boston.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekly Log 9-Feb to 15-Feb-2015

Guess I'd never be accused of
wearing parashorts.

1,000 yards in the pool. 

9 miles. Frigid early morning run on the beach.

8 miles. Needham, MA, buried in feet of snow.  Ran 4.5 miles outdoors between 6' high snowbanks, using sidewalks when I could, otherwise, skirting cars.  Came inside to run 3.5 miles on the Dreadmill.

6 miles.  Lunchtime Misquamicut run with Crutch in unusually balmy 32-degree weather, while fat snowflakes fell around us.

4 miles.  Cold run in the teens Friday afternoon.  Wilcox Park, plus part of Schonning 5K run.  Caught up with FiveK and Muddy, both of whom opted for an indoor run.

6 miles.  Originally was going to run long with the group, but couldn't turn out a request from Matthew's coach to run a workout on Narragansett hills instead.  15 minutes warm-up, 5 x (hard up Narragansett, jog down), 15 minutes cool-down.

6 miles.  White-out windy snowstorm run with FiveK and Matthew.  Soon after running from FiveK's place, a woman shoveling out her driveway yelled out to us, "Are you crazy!?", to which I could only reply, "Yes!".
At Fenway Beach in the falling snow

Two fools in a snowstorm
Whiteout:  Looking down
Spray Rock Road, with
Weekapaug Inn in background
(This is the visibility we had
at times)

Running into the wind

FiveK in the blowing snow
in front of Weekapaug Inn

5 miles.  Tacked on 5 more solo with Yaktrax in the afternoon.  11 miles running in the snow today.  I'm wiped.  Long live winter!

Weekly Mileage Log:
1x, 0.6 miles
43 miles

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Belleville 10K Snow Race

Saturday, February 11, 2015
North Kingstown, RI

My third year of running this race (I missed the inaugural race due a conflict with kids' meets.)


As you can see, the pattern is snow, and this year would be no different with about two feet of snow on the ground.  I ran a very short warm-up, as I didn't want to wear myself out before the race even started.
With deep snow at the start,
the race quickly turned into near single-file on the most established path.
(Photo by Jana)

The start:  Lined up in about the second row. We had the full width of the field to utilize, but as the siren sounded it became quickly apparent that the path of least resistance was to run single-file in established tracks.  As we reached the parking lot, there were two choices:  run to the left in deep snow, or run across the parking lot in sheer ice.  In Jonny I Trust, and thus I followed him across the icy lot.  My Yak-Trax "Run" model with the carbide bits served me well here, and I had no issue at all with traction.  A possible downside is at the end of the lot we had to run through parked cars to get back onto the main trail, but it didn't seem to add much.  After crossing the pond dam and passing one other runner, we were now behind Seth.  About a half-mile in Jonny followed Seth, and I followed suit as Seth shouted words of encouragement.
Jonny (2nd in shorts and green) leading the way onto the ice;
I'm following (in similar garb) directly behind him
(Photo by Jana)

I followed Jonny for a while, but he gained distance on me on the 2/3 mile elevated rail bed.  After the sharp turn into the parking lot, it's a short distance to the power lines.  At a switchback, I looked back and saw Rhode Runner's Chris Fox just behind me and catching up.

The suffering:  Starting with the power line crossing, the path was no longer packed down and it was hard work churning through the deep snow.  I kept Jonny in sight as we ran close to Route 4.  At times I felt I was narrowing the gap on him, but most of the time I just felt like I was stumbling and spinning my wheels.  At least I was putting distance on "frenemy" Chris Fox.  About 3 miles in, we exited the single-track into a field crossing, and the trail became runnable for a short while.   It was here just before re-entering the woods that Jonny passed a guy that had a big "Z" on his back.  That was the last I saw of Jonny.  Back into the woods on single-track.  Slow going but packed a lot more than the Route 4 section.  Not being the sharpest tool in the shed, I slid numerous times on the sides of the trail before finally having an epiphany that trying to run in the center of the packed trail yielded better traction and ergo, better results. 

After a short time, I caught up to Mr. Z and attempted to pass him.  The only way to pass here is to venture into the deep snow, which I did.  As I caught up to him (me in deep snow, he on packed trail), he picked up the speed and with his trail advantage, I couldn't pass him and I retreated back onto the trail, behind him.  Damn!  I resumed following close behind him until a slight downhill where I swiftly went back into the deep snow and near sprinted just to get past him.  As I passed him, I saw he was sporting a Greater Boston Track Club jersey.  By the time we reached the rail bed again, I glanced back and saw no sign of him.

The finish:  The rail bed is much easier running and I am enjoying the respite, until just near the end of the rail bed when I see Mr. Z has caught up to me again.  As we turn off the rail bed and toward the pond, we have a full mile to go, but returning to softer snow is playing to my advantage as I'm able to put distance on him again.  I only ever run these trails during this race series, but I'm starting to see the familiar sights on this final section and each one gives me comfort that I really am getting close to the end.  The final trek around the baseball field is the most difficult section of all and I'm down to a 10-11 minute pace, but the end is within sight.
Literally kicking up snow in the heart-racing
trek around the field
(Photo by Jana)

I finished exhausted, but 7 seconds ahead of Z and another win in my age group.  After catching my breath, I went up to Z to congratulate him and told him I had been fearful that he would catch me and beat me.  He mumbled back something to the effect that "If I were on roads, I would have".  Seriously?  That's your response?  But you weren't [on roads], and you didn't [beat me].  A class in sportsmanship and humility may serve you well on the path of life, young man.
Relaxing / recuperating at the finish line,
with a smile on my face.
(Photo by Becky Galoob)

Final results:  48:17, 7th out of 93.  Full results here.

Unfortunately, I had to leave almost immediately to go watch Matthew's meet (he took a second in division championships 3K with a 9:28), but was super glad I was able to make it.  Thanks again to Mike G and family for putting on this fun event.  My team won overall, as I learned later.  Chris took 1st!, Muddy did really well placing 5th despite not being enamored with snow runs, and Jonny came in 6th, and I came in next in 7th, albeit nearly 2 minutes behind Jonny by the finish.  At this point in the winter, each of you probably hears someone every single day whining and complaining about the snow and winter in general.  I take a different tact in that knowing the reality that the snow cover will be short lived, I want to make the most of it while it's here and will be seeking out more winter runs in the snow.  Rock on friends; it's winter in New England!


Friday, February 6, 2015

Weekly Log Post 2-Feb to 8-Feb-15

Harder to get out between snow clogged streets and near impassable trails, but the winter scene has its pluses of nature's beautify and serenity.

6 miles.  Snowstorm run in Misquamicut.
Heading out the door into another
fresh batch of snow.

0.5 miles.  Pool run / lap combo.

6 miles.  6 degrees.

5 miles.  "Forced" inside onto a treadmill.  Needham, MA.  As they're still digging out from 3' of snow now, it would have meant running on the roads dodging cars.  Varied speed between 9mph (6:40 pace) and 11mph (5:27).  It was a long 30+ minutes to get this in, but one plus is it does make the training easier to maintain a certain target pace.  Maybe Muddy is on to something afterall?
The Y treadmills have modernized quite a bit since I last used one, as I watched clips of recent sports highlights being played on the screen on my treadmill.

4 miles.  The mileage understates the effort.  This was a hard, but very fun run in Wahaneeta.  I'll let the pics tell the story.
The access road to the trails was
all ice.  Yaks saved the day.

This shot of the trail covering a
babbling brook just epitomizes
the sheer beauty of winter to me.

NH?  No, running the trails in RI
with about 2' of snow on the ground.

It turns out crusty snow can be quite abrasive on the legs.
Who knew?

7 miles.  Belleville Pond 10K snow race.  Separate write-up shortly.

18 miles.  Longest run this year to date.  One solo 10-mile loop, then a 8-mile loop with Matthew.  Was really fading on last few miles, especially with sore legs from yesterday's race.

Weekly mileage totals:
1x, 0.5 miles
47 miles

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super 5K 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015
Narragansett, RI

18:15 (5:53 average pace), 17th out of 213, 2nd in age group.  Full results here.

What a difference a day makes!  Sunny and warm race day.  The day before the race (Saturday), the high was about 20 degrees with sustained winds over 20mph, while as I write this the day after (Monday), we've had several inches of snow, with a coating of sleet, then rain, then back to snow as the thermometer plunges towards single digits.

Got to the race about an hour early to get bib, turn in printed roster, WTAC race predictions, etc.  By the time I realized it, we were only 30 minutes out, so I joined FiveK, Shara, and Chris for a short warm-up.

Mile 1:  Lined up in second row.  After the dust (or snow?) settled, I was 20-something places in as we passed Freddy Bartlett managing traffic in his moose antlers at the corner of Ocean and South Pier.  As we turned onto Earle's Court for the short ascent, I passed one Turtle that I didn't recognize.  Mile 1 split - 5:51.

... and we're off
(Pics courtesy of Jana)
Mile 2:  Left onto Kinney Ave, I see another Turtle ahead of me (Corsi).  It is fun at this point to see the pack coming back at me:  Pelletier, DJ, Chris, Jackman, Muddy, FiveK, Jonny, etc.  Prior to the cone turnaround, I pass Corsi.  I was counting Turtles ahead of me, and thought there were now only 3 ahead of me:  2 Principes and a Jackman, but I didn't realize Martin Tighe was hiding out it in non-Turtle garb.  That should be illegal.  Mile 2 split - 6:01.  Another slow mile, but let's at least finish strong.

Mile 3:  Slight downhill back to Ocean Road, then the long straightaway to the finish.  Trailed just behind Tom Gruczka, and then picked it up ever so slightly to pass him just before the Coast Guard House. Mile 3 split 5:48 - fastest on the day - did I leave something out there?

Perfect sunny weather for a singlet and short-shorts
(approaching finish with the iconic castle behind me)
As I wrote in last week's blog, I really had no expectations for this race.  Intermittent shin splints and lack of speedwork training top my sorry list of excuses.  Last year I was miffed that I ran 18:03 and missed going sub-18, whereas this year was my slowest run in a few years and I was fine with it.  I resolve to get back at the training (easier said than done in this weather) and run sub-18 at RI State Police 5K.
WTAC: We should have also won "Largest Team Award"

After a cooldown, it was back to Amalfi for pasta, camaraderie, age group awards (I got mittens), team awards (WTAC men's team won by a nose) and a fun new addition by Muddy in the form of WTAC individual runner race predictions (I won the $40 pot).  The women's team didn't fare quite as well, but we did have a great showing for both sexes.  Next time I'll have to take my race a little more seriously, especially as the 5th place runner for WTAC, but all's well that ends well.  What the heck does that mean?

My research and analysis paid off with the overall closest prediction