Sunday, February 21, 2016

Weekly Log 15-Feb to 21-Feb-2016: State Meets and Hills

Leading off this week's blog with a slightly different athletic topic, this week saw the culmination of my son Mark's high school swimming career.  It seems like yesterday that Mark started going to the Y pool at age 6 months, and swimming lessons were followed by him joining the YMCA Dolphins swim team at about age 9, where he broke a Y record before moving on to four years of swimming for Westerly High School.  He was a captain of the team this year, and at their last home meet, they took on unbeaten Cranston East and defeated them for the Division title.  What a way to go out!  At the state meet at Brown this weekend, Mark lowered his 100-fly time (0:58) to take 10th in the state, and got a new PR in the 50-free as well (0:24).  To put that in perspective, I swim about the same time for half of the 50-yard distance.

Mark swimming at age 3 1/2,
as Matthew and I look on

Somewhere in my 40s, I took up swimming myself, as much like my Dad before me, I wanted to understand my sons' sports better.  (My Dad was a wrestler in his youth, but helped volunteer soccer coaching when we played youth soccer, and came down to play racquetball with me when I took up playing in racquetball leagues post-college.)  Wish my Dad were here to see my sons' accomplishments, but focus here (not one of my strong points).  I'm still trying to figure out this swimming thing, but it's led to the fun sport of triathlon and all the folks I've enjoyed seeing at tris, including Tom, Mike B, Chris, Steve, Polly, Shara (she's more fish than human), Nicole, Terry, Melanie, etc.
Mark & Matthew before start of 2010 Mighty Kids triathlon

As I watched Mark swim his 4th and final event of the day this past weekend, I had a Lion King "Circle of Life" reflective moment realizing this was his last ever high school swim meet.  Thus, while Mark's swimming career may be coming to a close (he's indicated he won't swim competitively in college), it's been a great ride that I've enjoyed watching him grow, learned a lot from, and will continue through tris.

Without further interruption, this week's running blog:

Monday:  7
Chilly 18-degree Presidents' Day run with Tom and Shara.  Actually felt decent, given that yesterday's run was at -5F.

Tuesday:  7
6:43 pace run with Matthew, culminating with 4 x 150 progressive strides.

Wednesday:  7
AM - 1 mile trail fail on ice in Dedham, MA.
PM - 6 mile trail run redemption from Hopkinton side of Grills.

Thursday:  7
Another fast run with Matthew.  This time out to Westerly Hospital and back via Rotary Park.  Finished up with 4 200s fast.

Friday:  7
Hill repeats for lunch.  I knew I needed to get back to some hills.  Studied Strava routes looking for something similar to Mile 8-10 (uphill) of Sugarloaf.  Opted for Buckeye Brook Road eastbound from intersection with VG trail out to Shumankanuc.  Roughly 1 mile in distance and 270' in elevation.  Ran up and down twice, with 1/2 mile jog in between.  Mile splits:
6:39, 5:28, 6:37, 5:11

Saturday:  5
Quick Watch Hill Road and Misquamicut loop with a Tom & Shara sighting.  Swapped my longer run to Sunday, as today was double state meet day:

  • Mark - recapped above
  • Matthew - placed 7th in the state 3,000 meet with a PR of 9:04.  Top 6 advance to New Englands, with one of the top 6 unable to make it, Matthew advances to Boston next weekend.  Sat next to Principe and Jackman catching some of the awesomeness (DJ won the 3,000 and took 2nd in the 1,500 and 1,000)

Sunday:  15
Split my morning run into two parts:

  • 'Round the pond solo 8-miler
  • Hopkinton & Westerly Grills 7-miler with Matthew and Aaron.  For those of you that have been to the top of "Big Hill" recently, what do you think of the new stick-built structure?

Weekly mileage totals:
Run:  56

Weekly synopsis:
Every 4th week in my training plan is a recovery week.  Somehow that made running 56 miles this week seem "easy".  My own running highlight this week was the Friday Buckeye Brook hill workout, but my overall athletic highlight of the week clearly was watching my two sons qualify for and excel at their respective state meets.  Swim, run, or bike on, my friends.  Hope this week's log wasn't too sappy for you.


  1. Outstanding reflection, pictures, and job raising the boys! I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Mark and Matthew progress athletically and accumulate their various athletic accolades over the past few years.

  2. Awesome post, Jeff! Two questions:
    1. What is this stick structure you speak of? I haven't been up on Big Hill in awhile.

    2. In the pool picture of you with the youngins, what is all that dark stuff all over your head?!?

    1. Muddy, thanks for the chuckle (albeit at my expense!). Sounds like you've been to the stick fort by now. Not as cool as the stone fort at Woody, but still a cool hangout away from civilization.

  3. Awesome post!! It's nice to see under the hood of the Gazelle in these non-focused posts where you speak from the heart sharing how proud you are of your boys. Couple of amazing kids. It's been fun watching Matthew excel over the last 4 or so years.

    Bravo, one of your best posts yet!