Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Log 25-Jan to 31-Jan-2016: Solid Week - Snow Runs and Hill Runs

Monday:  0
600 yard swim.  Struggled with this, even at such a short distance.

Tuesday:  11
Morning:  6 miler, mostly on Beach and Elm.
Noontime:  5 miles in deep snow at 50 degrees!  This one was fun!  The snow was melting fast, but still a lot left from the weekend's snowstorm.
Running in Woody Hill
over established snowmobile tracks

Tranquility of a snow-covered
stream in the woods

Wednesday:  8
Matthew convinced me to run at 4:50am.  Besides being dark, it also started raining along the run.  Raw!
Went for a Noontime spin class that Polly hosts, although unfortunately Polly was ill and away.  Not the same.

Thursday: 5
Coyote Chase run.  Ran out of daylight deep in Woody Hill.  I heard howling coyotes behind me, and got a little freaked out when their sound seemed closer to me than the last time.  Picked up the pace, but it was tough navigating the single-track in pitch darkness and stepped right into a stream before twice running off the trail into brush.  Pretty scraped up.  Glad to finish this run.

Friday:  8
To Watch Hill via roads, and returned home via the beach.

Saturday:  15
Not my longest run this year, but certainly my toughest with just about 1,000 feet of elevation.  Ran from Tom's house in Weekapaug out to Bradford School via the Charlestown hills. Group of 4 with Tommy, Shara, Mikey, and me.  Started out in mid 7s, but Tom and I really pushed the pace on the back half even with the hills, with 6 of the last 7 miles being sub-7, and a few of those sub 6:30.

Sunday:  11
AM Run 1:  5 miles solo local roads.  Ran last 1/2 mile with Schonning and Duda.
AM Run 2:  6 miles Wahaneeta / Woody trails with Matthew.  Gave him a preview of intended Wahaneeta Trail 5K course and asked his input on a few features.  Added in a couple of miles in Woody, and finished with 4 x 150 progressive sprints.
Wahaneeta Cabin:  hope we can use this for registration

Parts of the race will be technical

Weekly Mileage Totals:
Run:  59 (biggest mileage week since July!)
Bike:  1 45-minute spin
Swim:  0.3

Weekly Synopsis:
Really happy with this week!  Not only did I hit my target mileage (58) but unlike last week, I achieved it in a consistent and well planned out manner.  Highlights were the snow trail run and the 15-miler hill run.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekly Log 18-Jan to 24-Jan-2015: Snow at Last!

Started off the week with an inch or so of snow, followed by 10" at end of week.  My kind of winter weather!

Monday:  6
First of many Champlin trails runs this week.  Fun running on snow-covered trails.

Tuesday:  0
Sick.  Good day for a day off.

Wednesday:  0
I seldom take a double-zero, and there's no reason I can't run with a bad head cold, but I just have no energy or motivation today.

Thursday:  18
Back at it with an unintended triple, kind of:
AM 10 miler around the pond, plus a little extra.  Slow and sluggish, but I'm out there.
Noon 2 miler showing Elise the potential new WHS XC course. 
PM 6 miler at Champlin.  Joined many Land Trust members for a #DStrong pic at Charlie's Overlook, then continued in the trails until dark.
I'm in the back row clad in orange.  Think I was supposed to wear blue, but
I'm not the only who failed on that request.  I'm also the only one wearing shorts,
but you can't tell that here.

Friday:  0
Poor planning on my part.  No other excuse.  Disappointing.

Saturday:  21
AM 16 Miler.  4 easy, 8 targeted at MP, 4 easy.  Matthew joined me for the middle 10 miles.  My 8 middle ranged from 6:49 down to 6:07.  A bit all over the map, but with an average of 6:26, pretty close.  Finished as the snow was starting to stick to the secondary roads.
PM 5 Miler.  Working indoors starting on my taxes, was just itching to get outside in the snowstorm.  Very slow going in Champlin, with most of it in 8" of virgin snow.

Sunday:  5
Sore from shoveling 10" and yesterday's runs.  Drove to and ran from Bradford with Matthew.  Ran a number of snow-covered roads I had never been on before.  Popped into Woody Hill for a bit, but the roughly foot deep of virgin snow proved a bit too strenuous for today.  Good run to end the week.

Weekly totals:
Run: 50

Synopsis:  Happy that I got to 50, but not the inconsistent manner in which I achieved it.  Taking 3 days off from running in a week does not a successful marathon plan make.  Let's move on and have more consistent weeks going forward.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekly Log 11-Jan to 17-Jan-2016: Week 18

This week starts my 18-week marathon training plan.  Not that I'll follow it to a T, as you never what life and weather throw at you, but I'll try to hue pretty close.

A nice e-mail from Strava.  I like this feature.

A not so nice e-mail from Strava.
(Page Hill Road Climb in Tamworth, NH; I probably won't be taking this one back anytime soon.)

Monday:  7
Lincoln Woods run.  Was at Lincoln Y for Mark's high school swim meet, and almost across the street lie trails leading to Lincoln Woods State Park.  Took a wrong turn on a trail running onto private property and soon had 3 German Shepherds running towards me with their owner yelling at me.  Yikes!
After getting my bearing, the rest of my run was uneventful, but fun, with a run around the lake on road tarmac and twisty single-track bike trails.

Tuesday:  9
Went into this planned training run a little cocky, and came out humbled.  Plan called for 9 miles with 4 miles in the middle at Half Marathon Pace.  Despite the HMP 4-mile section being almost entirely on flat Atlantic Avenue, I really struggled with this one.  To be fair, as Muddy pointed out, my HMP is about 6:10 and I ran splits of 6:13, 6:08, 6:04, and 5:57.  Tough and honest effort.

Wednesday:  5
Road / trail snow-covered mix in Needham, MA.

Thursday:  0
Day of rest.

Friday:  10
Sunrise ocean run.  Amazing bright-red sunrise as I ran along the ocean on the return home from Watch Hill.

Saturday:  5
After spending the day in New Haven watching Matthew's meet, my legs needed stretching.  Dark run along somewhat busy streets, but made sure to wear fluorescent colors and my headlamp with pulsating lights front and rear.

Sunday:  16
Tom & Shara were kind enough to invite me along.  We started off from Hopkinton Grills with a group on six, including Mike B, Matthew, and Aaron.  After a hill climb up Tomaquag, Tom, Shara, and I split off and headed towards Chariho.  We ran a few trails behind Chariho (Tom's idea, no, seriously!), and then really picked up the pace for the last 4-5 miles.  Miles 11 - 15 included up hills, and Tom and I ran them progressively at 6:49, 6:48, 6:31, 6:19, and 6:14 before regrouping and running in with Muddy for the last mile.  Shara looked really strong out there.  My first "long run" of the season (defined in my training plan as 16 and longer).  Great run!

Weekly mileage total:
Run:  52!

Training week 1 of 18 is in the books.  I tracked pretty close with the plan calling for 54 miles, including a 15-miler, 9-miler w/ 4 @ HMP, and an 11-miler.

As now visible on our refreshed WTAC website,
our awesome club logged nearly 100 runs and over 600 miles this past week!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekly Log 4-Jan to 10-Jan-16: Last Base Week

Final week of base mileage, before starting my marathon training plan next week.

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  10
Morning 5-mile frigid 7-degree run.  Started on windy roads, warmed up in the Champlin trails.
Noontime 5-miler.  Had warmed up to 23 degrees.  Back to shorts weather!

Wednesday:  0
Participated in Polly's spin class.

Thursday: 5
Noanet Woodlands, Dover, MA.  Frozen trails, some snow-covered.

Friday:  5
Wahaneeta trails.  Trying to envisage a 5K course.

Saturday:  15
Longest run since Surftown Half Marathon back in September.  Ran with Shara, Tom, and Mike B.  Local roads from the Bousquets out to Watch Hill and back.  Low 7s.  Comfortable.

Sunday:  6
Intermittent pelting-rain run with Tom from the Y.  Followed up with a swim.  800 yards until we got kicked out as swim team practice was beginning.

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  42 miles
Bike:  1 45-minute spin class
Swim:  800 yards


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Resolution 5K: The short version

January 3, 2016
Narragansett, RI

One of my 2016 goals should have been to write more timely race reviews.  I was going to delay writing my Resolution 5K race report until I had chance to read Mikey B's write-up of the race, but then again, I might be dead by then.  At more than one week in arrears now, some of the details from the 2016 edition of Resolution 5K have now been purged from my few remaining brain cells.  Hence, the short and sweet version:

Perhaps a record 33 WTAC runners came out on this sunny day to start their resolutions.  You can see the full listing at the updated Team WTAC page.  While not a cold morning with temps wafting into the 40s, the wind gusts of up to 30 mph would make for some challenging headwinds on the return.
Beautiful, sunny, but oh so windy day.

Mile 1:  The first 1/2 mile or so heads southerly directly into the wind.  I did what I could to get directly behind some of the front-runners, especially Jonny and Jackman, in a perhaps futile attempt to block the wind.  Fortunately, we were only in the headwind for about 3 minutes.  Passed Seth on the way out, and then just at the turnaround I got passed by Muddy and another runner.  Passed one runner on the return to the pavilion and finished up Mile 1 for my fastest on the day in 5:57.
Start of 2016 race - photos by Jana.
(I'm behind Jonny and on Jackman's left shoulder)

On the way out to the 0.5 mile turnaround.

Almost a mile in.  Being chased by the guy in gray.

Mile 2:  I could hear a runner just behind me as we finished up the beach section.  Didn't know if it was Seth coming after me or another runner, as I never looked back.  One downside to a relatively warm day meant the deeper sand heading away from the beach was softer and slower than frozen sand in recent years.  Pretty uneventful section for the rest of the mile with a little bit of tarmac on Ocean Road before a wide crushed stone trail section of Black Point.  6:08.

Mile 3:  The hardest and slowest mile.  Heading once again southward, we were back into the wind.  Some of the trail alongside the ocean was protected from the wind; in other parts you were running full into it.  In addition to the wind, an obstacle this year was the mud.  Some places were so slippery I was afraid I was going down; tried to run on little mounds of grass where I could.  Running through the stone house is always a trip; fortunately figuratively not literally.  Scott Mason was there snapping some of his amazing pics.  Exiting the stone house brought us full bore into the headwind.  I could hear someone behind me again, but fortunately held him off.  Felt like I was running 10-minute pace; final mile ended up being a 6:28.
Near the end of the race.  Still being chased by the guy in gray, and the
swirling sand.

Final steps.  Glad to be done.

Final results:  9th out of 164, 1st in age group.  19:08.  Full results here.

Finished up the day with a 2-mile cool-down with newer WTAC members Jeff Huckle, Sean McDonald, and Eric Dauphinais, then collected my award of a bag of chocolate truffles (they didn't last long!).

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekly Log 28-Dec-15 to 3-Jan-16: Into the New Year

Belated blog on my final days of vacation.  Set my goals for 2016, including spring marathon in Maine.  Set out a loose training plan.  Good start to the New Year.

Monday:  5
Local roads.  Mundane.

Tuesday:  6
Soaking rain solo run from Westerly Y through Stonington, including trails at SHS.  Fun!

Wednesday:  9
Tough progression run from 8-minute start to sub-6 finish.  Glad I did it, but oh so tiring!

Thursday:  6
Fun Lantern Hill group run.  Thanks to Crutch for putting this one together.

Friday:  9
Starting the New Year off right with hitting the trails.  Even Mikey joined us on the trails!  Always fun running at Barn Island.

Saturday:  5
Early morning run with Tommy and Mikey from the Y.
Followed this up with 400 yards in the pool.  Puny amount, but you have to start somewhere, right?  Arms sore even from this.  (Tommy swam quadruple this amount.)

Sunday:  7
Resolution 5K.  See separate write-up (when I write it, that is).

Weekly mileage:
Run:  48.  Highest week in 3 months.  My training plan calls for one more "base" week in the 40s, then after that to ramp it up into the 50s.
Swim:  0.25

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 in Review, 2016 Goals

2015 in Review:

Let's start this review off with the obligatory review of 2015 goals:

  • Mileage:  2,200.  Surpassed (barely).  Actual mileage 2,207
  • PR goals:  I specified goals only for the half marathon (1:20:47) or full (2:51:55).  Achieved neither.  My first half-marathon (Ocean's Run) was short in distance due to snow/ice, my 2nd half (Surftown) was off my PR by over a minute.  With regards to a full marathon, this was the first year in 13 years of running that I didn't run one at all.  Didn't plan well; more on that later.  (The irony is that I PR'd at a number of unspecified distances:  5K, 4-Mile, 5-Mile, 10-Mile, and finally broke 50 minutes at Rhody!)
  • Volunteering:  In 2015, I look to keep volunteering for WTAC, Westerly Land Trust, and at least one other cause / organization.  Exceeded.  In addition to the aforementioned, volunteered at the ice skating rink, at the WARM Shelter, for the YMCA Back Road Ramble, for the Westerly High School Rivalry Run 5K, and most recently accepted an invitation to join the Westerly Land Trust Finance Board.
  • Stepping up the distance:  Full Ironman.  Failed.  Never materialized beyond the dream stage.
  • Keeping it funPassed.  Still really enjoying running, group runs and rides, tris, vicariously running through Matthew, and helping to put on events.
Miscellaneous 2015 Running Stats:
Races run:  36
Age group wins:  27  (As Mike B would tell you, that's only because by the time you get to my age, there's nobody else left that is still running)
Miles run:  2,207
Hours run:  294
Days run: 304
Lowest mileage week:  20
Highest mileage week:  70
Highest mileage day:  32
Highest mileage run:  25
Longest running streak: 20 days
Longest non-running streak:  2 days
Number of states run in:  9 (including all New England states!)
Number of countries run in:  2
Run furthest from home:  Treasure Island, FL
New Strava CRs (that I still hold at EOY):  15 

2015 Pictorial Review by Month:
January:  Fun group run in Misquamicut on MLK Day.

February:  Final Super 5K.   Such a shame; we have a huge
WTAC team attendance (above) complete with finishing time
wagering and Mews celebration.

March:  Snow still on the ground at the end
of March at Brrr-lingame race.  This was
just an awesome winter for those of us that
love to run and play in the snow.

April:  Running on Florida gulf coast
beaches and trails.
May:  New experience pacing a group at the
inaugural Mystic Half Marathon.

June:  Northfield Mountain, MA.  Grueling, but rewarding and
bonding experience at the Ragnar Trail Relay.  When else
do you run trails at 3:30am with a headlamp and come back to
a roaring fire and Smores?
Anybody have a pic of Chris limping around the next morning
like an 80-old guy?  Hilarious (at his expense).

July:  My 13th consecutive Blessing of the Fleet
10-Miler was my fastest and funnest ever (1:00:52), despite
the soaking rain.
August:  Block Island Tri.  Enjoying a post-race
lunch on the island with the WTAC team.  My
favorite tri.
September:  Myrtle Beach, SC.  Fun runs on the beach while visiting
southern colleges with Mark.
October:  Run for the Pumpkins 5K Trail Race.
So much fun both organizing and running this
inaugural race.  Leaves me yearning for more trail races
and trail planning.
November:  Li'l Rhody.  A perennial favorite, but this year even more so with a
 sub-50 finish and a PR of over a minute!
December:  Christmas 10K.  Fun race, but even more fun
was the gathering with the WTAC team for warm-up, cool-down,
and post-race lunch at Brick Alley Pub.  Thanks Tommy for planning this one!

2016 Goals:

For 2016, I am going to get back to some very specific and measurable goals:
  • Distance: Run 2,315 miles.  Why such an odd figure?  To beat my highest mileage year ever (2014: 2,314 miles)
  • PRs:  Surprised myself with big PRs in the 5-mile (36 seconds), 10-mile (40 seconds), and Rhody (1 minute, 4 seconds).  This suggests to me that even at my advanced age, there may still be room for some additional lifetime PRs.  So here's laying down the gauntlet for PRs to be broken:
  1. 5K (current PR 17:32)
  2. 5-Mile (29:36)
  3. Rhody (49:10)
  4. 10-Mile (1:00:52)
  5. Marathon (2:51:55) 

What do you think:  will the New Year hold any PRs for me?
2015 results give me room for optimism.

  • Return to the Marathon:  Really disappointed in myself that after 13 years of consecutive marathon running (17 marathons total), I didn't run any in 2015.  Had signed up for Boston and plunked down the three Grants, but backed out of it when the NRA bus fell apart and the logistics got worse.  Then I planned on a fall marathon, er ... I didn't plan at all, but rather I just kept thinking about it and somehow felt that would be enough to get it done.  Failure! 
    So here goes my 2016 marathon plans:  Sugarloaf Marathon, May 15.  Registered! (to keep myself honest)  A new and interesting venue for me.  Planning out my rough training schedule now.

So what about the Full Ironman I keep talking smack about?  Yeah, um ... honestly, having trouble pulling the trigger on the entry fee of seven Franklins, before transportation, hotels, etc.  Thinking Mark's college and a 2016 family vacation should get higher budget priority.  That's my latest excuse and I'm sticking with it.
  • New trail course planning:  Had a lot of fun designing and planning out the new Run for the Pumpkins 5k course in 2015.  While none should require the same amount of work, potential new race courses that I may have a hand in during 2016 include 1) Back Road Ramble - 5 Mile Option, 2) WHS new XC course, 3) new trail 5K possibility for WTAC that is just in the conception phase.
  • Trail running:  Run at least one new trail destination race that I've never run before.  Had so much fun running the Catamount 10K trail run in northern Vermont last summer.  I have a couple possibilities in mind for 2016, but nothing I can commit to yet.
Well, that's a wrap!  Happy New Year, friends and frenemies alike, and happy trails (and roads, track ovals, beach running, bike routes, swim lanes, etc.)!  What are your aspirations?  I look forward to reading them.