Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weekly Log 21-Mar to 27-Mar-2016: Return to High Mileage

I read an online article this week about the nine things that tick off runners the most.  The two below, while not serious enough to boil my blood (like drivers texting or on phones, and not paying attention to runners, or unleashed dogs barking at me), were ones I could well relate to:

Not that I'm on the track often, but I find more often than not, when I go to the track at Needham,
there are people walking in Lane 1, sometimes two abreast talking.  Can't they use any of the other SEVEN lanes?
I certainly do when recovering, warming up, or cooling down.

I like this differentiation.
Yeah, why is it that I feel offended when someone calls me the dreaded J-Word?   When a colleague recently and
innocuously said she saw me out jogging, another colleague stepped in and said, "Jeff doesn't jog;
he runs" before I could get my feathers all ruffled up.

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  6
Went to Barn Island for my lunch break.  I can think of worse things to do.  So neat that it's even possible to get away for a trail run at lunch, shower, and come back to work.  Certainly was not possible while working in downtown Boston.

Wednesday:  10
AM:  5 miles easy around Winnapaug pre-work.
Noon:  5 miles.  Continuing my lunchtime trail theme, went over to Burlingame Campground to help me decide whether or not to run Brrr-lingame race this coming Saturday.  Had so much fun running the single-track that I'm in!  Not for a race so much as to make it part of a needed long run. 

While likely no edition of this race will ever be as exciting as the 2013 Snowy Sufferfest version, I do enjoy getting out there for the trail race every year.

Thursday:  10
AM:  5 miles, pushing the local hills in No Bottom Pond and Chin Hill neighborhoods.
PM:  5 miles in Bradford Preserve and Woody Hill, inspecting the soon to be cleared WHS XC course.

Friday:  8
Mystic run in the rain with Matthew.  Ran a counter-clockwise loop on both Stonington and Groton sides of the river, then some segment hunting on hills that Matthew found. (He took the CRs, but I placed decently.)

Saturday:  22!
Started out with a solo run on Li'l Rhody course.  Finished that run and picked up my Brrr-lingame race bib just in time to go out for a warm-up on the trails with Jonny, Muddy, and Jackman.  Their warm-up was intentionally short and I continued on to get 11 miles just before the start of the race.

75 runners toed the line for the start; 50 in the 10-miler and 25 in the 5-miler.  Lined up about 3 rows back and after the run across the field, found myself in about 20th position.  After 1/2 mile or so, it was just Leslie O'Dell, a NH runner I had just sort of met on the warm-up, and me.  Went past Colburn on the ridge, who said the lead pack was just ahead, but I never anyone ahead of me or behind (except Leslie right behind me).  I felt good on the first loop, but was really getting winded on the 2nd loop.  The only silver lining is that crossing the start/finish line to start the 2nd loop, I didn't have the usual mental block of having to start another loop, like I do when I am racing it.  The hills, ridges, and bogbridges just wore me out by the time we re-entered the campground, as I was on Mile 19.  Leslie came up to take the lead and I welcomed her on, saying how strong she looked.  The race ended, I somehow came in 11th and won my age group, but I had another 1+ mile to get to my long run goal of 22 miles.  Oh, that was tough, even at a snail's crawl.  So happy to finish.  Caught up fellow WTAC'ers post run, including Elise with a grapefruit-size swollen ankle, Crutch, Paul, Denise, CarolAnn, and Beth.

Sunday:  8
Easter Sunday.  Matthew wanted to run Great Swamp, so off we went to Kingston.  Fortunately, this was primarily dirt roads because that was enough for my warn out legs to endure.  Had never been down to the hangar on the shores of Worden's Pond, so that was interesting.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  65

Weekly synopsis:
 After two consecutive weeks of less than desired mileage, was really happy with this high-mileage week.  I am cognizant that "high-mileage" is quite subjective (Muddy would probably be disappointed), but this was a very good week for me.  I think running 65 miles on roads would be mentally tough for me, but breaking it up with different terrains and different locales kept it interesting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Weekly Log 14-Mar to 20-Mar-2016: Farewell to the Winter that Wasn't

Winter 2015/16 has come to an end.  Unfortunately, this one was personally disappointing as it was characterized by well above average temperatures and save for a single week, almost no snow.
  • Trail races in snow:  0
  • Snow-shoeing:  0
  • Cross-country skiing:  0
  • Snowy sufferfests:  1 romp in Woody Hill in foot-deep snow

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
Damp late afternoon run through Weekapaug.

Wednesday:  3
Plotting course for Wahaneeta Trail 5K.  Came out to 2.9 miles on GPS.  Assuming approval on April 1, I'll revisit with a measuring wheel and then tweak as needed.

Not depicted well here, but there will be a few hills to keep it interesting.
Nothing major, max ascent about 40' and descent about 70'.
Thursday:  5
700' of elevation gain in Bartlett, NH, including 375' on a steep hill in the first mile.  Huffin' and puffin'.

The run was followed up by 15.2 miles of downhill skiing,
under beautiful sunny skies.
Mt. Washington is the snow-covered peak in center.

Friday:  6
Bartlett, NH.  A bit of everything from snow and ice-covered trails to asphalt to dirt roads to mud.  All on rubbery legs.

14.9 miles of skiing today.
End of the ski season brought great bargains in not only lift ticket
prices, but also scored a 2-bedroom ski-in/ski-out condo pretty cheap.
(Mark in black in front of the condo unit we stayed.)
Saturday:  7
Back home.  Ran in Woody Hill.  Legs still trashed.  No long run this weekend.

Sunday:  9
Matthew picked the trails:  technical trails Long / Ell / Ashville Pond and back, and then up to and around Hidden Lake.   Crossing the dirt road before Hidden Lake, a guy went by on an ATV, and Matthew remarked that he looked like he just murdered someone.  He did look pretty scary and unfriendly indeed.  Hope he didn't think he same of us.
Matthew scrambling up the toughest ascent of the day.
I remember running here with Crutch and Beth a couple years back.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  35

Weekly synopsis:
Mileage fell apart here.  What should have been a mileage week well into the high 50s didn't come close.  Not sure if there's any complementary cross-training value from downhill skiing, but that was the price of skiing two full days that I'm willing to accept.  No excuses next week!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Weekly Log 7-Mar to 13-Mar-2016: Collision with a Rock Garden

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
Went to Buckeye Brook Road for another lunchtime hill run.  Got out of the car, and the legs were just too tired.  Ran a loop on NST in northern Burlingame and back roads.

Wednesday:  7
AM:  5.  New run location:  trails in Hale Reservation, Westwood, MA.  Unfortunately I was only 1/4 mile in when I slid on wet leaves in a rock garden and smashed my right knee into a rock.  Ow!  Lay there a few minutes and then decided to keep running.  Not sure if that was the smart thing to do, but I wanted to explore more.
Watch the footing.

I will not be running 6 minute
miles here.

Had the reservation and views to myself
PM:  2.  Beautiful winter(?) day with temps near 70 and sunny.  Went for a run at Big River.  Knee very painful.  My hope that the pain would go away was just wishful thinking, and had to abort the run.  :(

Thursday:  0
I woke up hobbling and limping.  No running today.

Friday:  5
Barn Island with Matthew.  Retesting the knee on some soft trails.  Dull pain, but nothing severe.  Let Tom know I was in for tomorrow's long run.

Saturday:  20
Started with Tom and Shara at the Y.  Tom had mapped out a 20-mile loop on nice country roads with 4 major hills:  Boombridge climb in No Sto, Maxson Hill, Chase Hill, and Potter Hill.  Ran 3 miles with T&S at low to mid 7s before venturing on my own for the next 12 miles, occasionally looping back to stay somewhat together.  When I crossed the bridge into CT, I heard something to my right and saw a pack of cows ("pack" can't be right, what are a group of cows called?) running next to me!  Seriously!  No hallucination.  Don't think I ever saw cows run before.  They ran with me for a hundred yards or so until they reached the end of their roadside fence.

Was aiming for about 6:30 pace.  At first was disappointed when my first 3 miles were in the 6:40s until I realized those were all uphill and the next few miles were much better.  Maxson Hill wiped me out.  Don't think I had ever run that before.  By the time you summit Mount Maxson, you've been climbing for about a mile and a half, gaining about 200' elevation.  Maybe this is good Sugarloaf training.  My twelfth and final mile was uphill on the steep section of Chase Hill.  Of course it was!  Paced varied with hills, but I actually averaged 6:32 over my 12 miles, so not bad.

Finished the last five miles running together with Tom & Shara, and finished up on fumes.

Sunday:  7
Trail run in Carter Preserve with Matthew and Aaron.  Again, sought refuge on soft trails.  Legs are very sore!  Matthew ran Grassland Mile hard in 5:20.  I ran it slow and easy.  The clear-cutting there is real ugly, as at Champlin.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  45

Weekly synopsis:
45 is well below what I was expecting and have been running.  After the knee / rock injury, I fought the temptation to make up lost miles, so I'm happy with myself there.  Also very happy with Saturday's long hilly run, so all in all, a good week!


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ocean's Run Half 2016

March 5, 2016

After approximately eight years in Matunuck, this year the race moved to Misquamicut State Beach.  This fit well not only for the proximity, but also as a tune up race for my spring marathon.  I'll give an abbreviated version here, especially as I'm over a week late in posting.

The start:  The race listed a 9:15am start, so when runners started walking en masse to the start at 9:04am, I wasn't sure if this was really the start or runners just lining up early.  I asked an official standing nearby, who said it was going to start any minute and I better rush to get to the starting line (about 100 yards from where I was).  Quickly shed my running jacket and long pants to Jana, and hustled to the start.  Kathy (RD) told me it would be at least another 5 minutes, so rather than shiver in my shorts and thin shirt (it was 28 and cloudy with a light breeze), I did a few strides and short jogs.  After what seemed like an inordinate wait, we were off.
A number of WTAC runners in attendance. Notably absent is the ailing Seth.
What is Tom pointing to, and where is his WTAC garb?
(mix of pics from Jana and TRIMOM FB posting)

Miles 1 - 5: The start was very odd, where you immediately take a 90-degree right turn right off the starting line.  I was chatting with Chris Fox briefly and after about 1/10 of a mile, you take a 180-degree turn in the complete opposite direction (that's how 180 degree turns work), plus you're confined between metal guardrails.  Chris was clearly not impressed.  Hopefully that part of the race can be removed in future years.  I saw the gap of runners ahead of me growing, with Matthew out front (running the 4-miler) and Muddy and FiveK about 3 runners ahead of me. 
Unusual 90-degree turn right at the start.

... put us next into tight turns and runs between guardrails.
After already running a race in Mystic an hour ago,
Matthew leads the pack out en route to his 4-mile win.

I passed two people on Shore Road, and next up ahead of me was "Headphones Boy", a guy in his 20s who made two major faux pas (my blog, my rules) of 1) shorts over white tights, and 2) huge headphones.  Headphones Boy missed the marked right turn off of Shore Road onto Uzzi, a dirt road.  I yelled to him, but he wasn't hearing anything except whatever was in his headphones.  The guy that I just passed asked me if the turn I made was for the 4-miler or half, and I said both.  When I approached the waterstop on Uzzi, one of the volunteers yelled out "Here come the 1st and 2nd runners!" to me and the guy on my heels.  Uh oh; something went wrong.  When I got onto Atlantic Ave and saw Muddy and Tommy turning off a different road ahead of me, I figured the lead runners went off, but seemingly on a parallel road.
Mile 4 - headed to Weekapaug

For my race, I was hoping for a 6:05 pace, and came pretty close on the first five miles:  5:53, 6:03, 5:55, 6:07, 6:13.

Miles 6 - 10:  This section was Misquamicut down to Weekapaug, with a slight breeze in my face and running as an island.  From here on I slowed quite a bit.  At mile 7, after rounding the breachway bridge, there he was!  I was slowing, but Headphones Boy was slowing even more.  As I went to pass him, he latched on and ran astride me.  OK, whatever, just running my race here.  That went on for only a 1/4 mile or so, and then he dropped back.   My feet are getting painful; what's going on there?  Next I saw Crutch at mile 8 at the corner of Shore and Noyes Neck, and it was good to see a familiar face and get some encouragement.
Mile 8
(pic by Beth)

While breeze, minor hills, and isolation had some factor, I realized I was slowing in these miles:  6:11, 6:16, 6:23, 6:11, 6:17.

I finished mile 10 by running up the hill from the ocean on Noyes Neck Road against the wind with increasing foot pain, and was mentally defeated and ready for the race to be over.

Miles 11 - Finish:  The last three miles of the course are nearly identical to the Clamdigger finish (other than finish at state beach versus town).  I'm finally out of the wind, but I'm running out of gas as I pass Matthew at the Town Beach, who is long done with his own race and cheering on runners in the half.  The feet are really hurting!  I give what I have left and as I get to the finish with 13.1 on my watch, and am distraught to see that I have another 0.2 each way out to the far western-most gate entrance and back.
Final strides.
Am I bloated?  And where did my neck go?

1st place in my age group!
(and yes, there were other finishers
in my age group, Mikey)

I cross the line in 1:23:05, which later shows me as 7th place.  However, Headphones Boy has already finished ahead of me!  How is that possible?  Someone must have cut the course.  I am going to have to ignore my watch-recorded distance, as well as my finishing place, and focus on what I came here for:  a tune-up run to gauge my own fitness (6:10 actual pace vs 6:05 target - not terrible, but some work to do) and race with friends and frenemies in a beautiful oceanside setting.  From that vantage point, success!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekly Log 29-Feb to 6-Mar-2016

A lower mileage week, leading up to the Ocean's Run Half as a tune-up.

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  6
Morning work for the Westerly Land Trust, building a parking lot (right black section) 
for their Crandall Family Swamp preserve by placing down interlocking "geo-cells"
 that will be covered with sand and hydro-seeded.
Tough work, but as I told the rest of the crew, "A bad day at the Land Trust beats
a good day at work".
Beaver dam viewable from the newly built platform / deck
looking into Crandall Swamp.

Solo afternoon run on mostly single-track trails at Barn Island, against a setting sun.  Awesome.
Awesome afternoon at the Barn.  1,000+ acres to myself.

Wednesday: 9
Dedham / Boston:  CCW loop on Blue Heron Trail in the rain and mud.  Surprisingly, there were actually a few people out walking their dogs.

Thursday:  6
Bradford Preserve and Woody Hill solo trail run.  Around the dam (water is very high) and then single/double-track mix back, including entire Pumpkins course, even the deep woods "Hansel & Gretel" portion as Muddy calls it, because you'd need to leave breadcrumbs.  Cars heard:  0  Humans sighted:  0.  Peaceful!

Friday:  5
Easy paced morning shake-out on the western portion of the new Ocean's Run course.  Running down Uzzi feels odd, as it will be the only dirt road portion on the course.

Saturday:  16
Ocean's Run Half Marathon.  Write-up to follow shortly.

Sunday:  7
Recovery run in Charlestown Beach area with Muddy, Tom, and Shara.  Easy paced and good conversation, followed by scones and beverage at The Bakery.  Good times.
Last swim meet ever?  High school swim season is over now.
Mark is at Boston University this afternoon, competing in
Southern New England YMCA District Championships.

Weekly mileage:
Run:  50

Weekly synopsis:
Low mileage week of "only" 50 miles.  Training plan called for 67 miles, but that wasn't going to happen if I was going to fit in the half marathon.  The half woke me up that I have a ways more to training to go; more on that in race write-up.  10 weeks to marathon day.