Monday, September 18, 2017

Stonington Cross Country 5K

Stonington, CT
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Started working together with Tommy 5K and the Stonington Recreation Department back in February on this event.  Stonington Rec was looking to work with WTAC to put on a running event, and they were absolutely great to work with.  After looking across respective schedules, it was decided upon to hold in late August as the closing event of the very popular Tom McCoy Summer Fun Run Series.  Tom and I went out on the trails a number of times to plan out a route, and then in late summer to review and help clear as needed.

I really didn't know what to expect in terms of numbers, and gave estimate to the Stonington Rec Director (Rich) of fifty.  Between the kids' 1/2 mile run and 5K run, we ended up with 150!  At my request, SNERRO graciously donated their services to time, and I think the counts overwhelmed them as well, as they ran out of index cards and it was tough to keep up with the finishers.
FiveK, Muddy, and I arrived early
to setup and mark the course,
including new WTAC signage.

The race:  As I'm quite late in writing this, I'll rely mostly on a pictorial write-up:
The event kicked off with a 1/2 mile on the track for
children aged 10 & under.  36 participants.
The inaugural Stonington XC 5K is underway,
with a start and finish on the track.
1/2 mile in, on one of the few asphalt sections on the course.
Why are they letting me lead?
Mercifully, about a mile in, Chris passed me and others followed suit.  First mile was 5:55, which despite just one day after racing the Battle of Stonington, felt easy and one in which I engaged in conversation with my WTAC teammates. 
In the 2nd mile in the woods, with Tom and Matthew behind me.
(Pic by Schane Tallardy)

Single-track "hill" section:
A slight bump in the course that was fun.

Bridge crossing in 3rd mile.
(Pic by Rich Ward)

Track finish with the sun in my eyes.

2nd mile in the woods was naturally slower in 6:53, and closing mile was 6:17.

Final results:  19:19, 6th out of 112.  Full results here.
Awards given out to 18 youth
aged 16&under who completed five or more 5Ks
during the summer series.

Some old guy was talking at the awards ceremony
and putting the masses to sleep. 
Young Tommy McCoy to his left cheerfully participating in the
closing of the 42nd annual fun run series which bears his name.

What may be the funniest picture of the event:
The WTAC street gang pose, looking tough and mean.
(Chris appears to be the only one that didn't get the memo
about wearing club colors, but I wouldn't want to argue with this tough looking gang.)
In Tommy 5K style, pluses and minuses on the event overall:

  • Turnout far exceeded expectations.
  • Runners reported enjoying something different with a mix of track, trails, and grass fields.
  • WTAC volunteers stepped up to make for a well run event.
  • Co-host (Stonington Recreation) actively participated and promoted event to make it successful.

  • Congestion on short 2-way section of trails became congested for mid-packers.  NOTE:  We're looking into addressing for next year.
  • Too many people filled out paper waiver instead of recommended free pre-registration, resulting in working until Midnight to compile and submit full results.  NOTE:  We'll be instituting a modest fee for post-registrants only next year as an added incentive to sign up online.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Weekly Log 4-Sep to 10-Sep-2017: Beach Run

Finally, blogging all caught up with weekly blogs!  I need to keep the pattern of just blogging once per day on that day's run, and posting at end of week.  It's so easy that way, takes little time, and I actually REMEMBER what I ran and how I felt instead of looking up on Strava to see "what did I even run on Monday"?

Monday:  11
Labor Day.  Fun technical run with Jonathan Short CW loop through Yawgoog, up and around Green Falls Pond in CT, back to RI on the Freeman Trail to Hidden Pond and back the east side of Yawgoog Pond.  Four ponds; could have easily added two more by tacking on Long and Ell Ponds, but the legs were already feeling it from a rather technical run with lots of rocks and a few cliffs.

Tuesday:  5
Run for the Pumpkins 8K course run.  Ran the full course, although walked the new connector trail that exists with flags only at this point.

Wednesday:  11
AM 8-mile 'Round the Pond solo run.  Soupy
PM 3-mile Carter Preserve bushwhacking.  Tried to run on new mapped trails, but still not cleared.  Overgrown and soaked, it was tough going and I gave up after 3 miles.

Thursday:  10
AM 5-miler on Washington Secondary Bike Path, Cranston.  Was short on time with impending meetings in Providence, so it became an unintended progression run with the last mile 6:09 and average pace 6:33.

PM 5-miler in Big River on return home from Providence.  Ran Lego trail out and Fosters Folly back.  Really like both of these trails, as they're twisty single-track, but with so many connecting criss-crossing trails, I always get tripped up a bit.  Missed one final turn on Lego and ended up on asphalt on Hopkins Hill Road.  Fortunately the asphalt section was short before re-entering trails and getting my bearings back.

Friday:  3
Stavros Beach Run.  Due to the way the tides fell and the only two 6pm low tides in September being on Sundays, we had to move the event one hour earlier this year to a 5pm start.  Because of that, I was afraid we wouldn't get much participation, but we ended up with 72 finishers, 20 more than last year!  Yes, half of those were high school runners not affected by a 5pm start that working folk might be, but the high school contingent was also there last year so not sure why the uptick.
Start of the 2017 Stavros On the Beach Run
Low tide was at 4:18pm, so the tide was already incoming at the start.  At a number of points heading out, I opted to run in shallow water over going up higher on the beach.  It worked for me, and aided by a strong tailwind, my Mile 1 split was a strong 5:42.  At the turn around, Matthew was in the lead, followed another high school, John Walker (unrelated), and then me.  I also saw perennial adversary Eric Ciocca on my heels, which worried me.  (Eric finished 3 seconds behind me last year.)
Our biggest contingent in a while, with 72 finishers

I figured on the way back I could make up the distance gap the 2nd runner had on me and my endurance might help, but I underestimated the effect the headwind had on me.  Also, about another 1/2 mile in, I went right into some soft sand and nearly tripped.  It threw off my gait, I lost a few seconds, and figured Eric was about to pass me any second.  I never looked back, put in a decent effort that felt embarrassingly slow, and kept my position for the rest of the race, never passing nor getting passed.  2nd mile was 6:18 (1/2 headwind, 1/2 tailwind), and 3rd mile was a slow 6:42.
The tide has been coming in for an hour now as I finish up here,
but still a fun time to run on the beach

Final results:  18:37, 3rd out of 72 finishers.  Full results here.

Matthew was well ahead of me by 1:25, but the 2nd place runner was just 18 seconds ahead of me.  I wish I had pushed it harder on the outbound headwind section to stay with him.  I do love these barefoot beach runs, and hope next year we can hold it closer to actual low tide time, and get lucky with a calmer day.
Check out our cool new FINISH flag, thanks to the grant that Mike B secured for us.

Saturday:  13
11 mile challenging trail run with Jonathan Short.  He had expressed interest to run trails north from Beach Pond.  Since I had never run in this area, I was game.   We met up at Beach Pond at 7am, then ran north on the Pachaug Trail.  We ran as far as the Wiclabouet Marsh, then turned around.  This was a much tougher trail run than I expected and was getting winded towards the end.  Technical most of the way, and many short climbs and rock scrambles.  1,500' elevation gain.  Swim in Beach Pond was heavenly.
Tacked on a 2-mile run with gas can at Bradford Preserve to mow the upper field XC trail portion.  Am feeling unbelievably beat.

Sunday:  13
AM:  9 miles.   First time ever NOT running Surftown Half.  Six consecutive years was a good run, but with the last two years being humid sufferfests, I just had it and lost interest.  (Of course, this year was low humidity and 50 degrees!)  Anyhow, had a pleasant road/trail/beach mix with Chris, and took in the Surftown Half watching a number of our WTAC teammates run it.

Late AM:  Worked with Muddy to create the new Pumpkins connector trail, while 4 other WTAC members worked to maintain existing trails.  Even with both of us using WLT weed-whackers with blades, I found this to be really tough work.

PM:  4 miles in the Westerly Town Forest with Jana.

Weekly Mileage:  67!

Weekly Synopsis:  Fun week with some tough runs.  Really happy with the mileage this week!  Only downside is I would like more of the mileage to come from longer runs.

Weekly Highlight:  So many good runs that it's tough to choose.  I would have to say the Pachaug Trail run with Jonathan Short.  It really beat me up, but it was a challenging, hilly, and technical run.

Right on its heels would be the Yawgoog run, the On the Beach Race, and the run with Chris 'round the pond spectating Surftown.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Wahaneeta Trail 5K

Westerly, RI
Saturday, August 19, 2017

Our 2nd annual Wahaneeta 5K was upon us.  This race was put together under the auspices of creating a 3-race Fall Trail Series, with this race the first.  In the inaugural year, we had a mere 31 finishers and just broke even.  Breaking even is OK, as we kept this as a "no frills" race (no shirts, no police, no portajon rentals - they have toilets there).  Still, it would be better to go higher than 31.  And we got our wish!  This year would see 59 registrants, and 50 finishers, a 61% increase!

We arrived just after 7am for the 9am race.  The next two hours were a total blur of unloading the car, marking the course, and getting volunteers in place.  Speaking of which, there is no way we could put on this race without all the WTAC volunteers that came out, including Beth, Jonathan, Eric, JV, Jana, Tom, Kate, Elise, Justin, and Matthew.

First loop:  The 50+ starters lined up on a chalk line on the field.   A guy I didn't recognize in all black and high knee socks rocketed out to the lead, followed closely by Tom and Matthew.  So that's how it's going to be?  The first half-mile is double-track, with the rest of the race single-track.  At the end of the double-track section, I did not expect the following to happen:  the leader slowed, and there were now 5 of us in a tight pack, including Muddy just ahead of me.   Just as we started the single-track, with Tom, Matthew, and Muddy having passed the leader, I followed suit and didn't see him again.  The next half-mile seemed slow to me, to the extent that I consider passing our merry little group, but it was early in the race, so I held my place.
Start of the 2017 Wahaneeta Trail 5K
(Pic by Sheilia Beattie)

Start of the race, as the guy in black (right) takes the lead out,
with Matthew (left) to follow suit
(Pics by Jana, unless otherwise noted)
Finishing up my first loop.  Pick up the pace, would you?!

Second loop
:  The second loop starts the same as the first loop, but is much shorter and adds a technical short but steep drop onto a bridge crossing before reemerging into the field for a second time.  The four of us (Tom, Matthew, Muddy, me) came through in single-file, all in green WTAC singlets, which was pretty neat.  But starting the 2nd loop is where Matthew made his move, and shortly after that, I never saw him again.  (Well, until after the race, of course.)  There was some separation between the rest of the three of us, but places never changed, and I could see Muddy ahead of me pretty much the whole way, and on the few straight sections could see Tom ahead of him.
Finishing up my second loop
The Wahaneeta cabin makes such a great backdrop,
as you pass by it twice

Final short out and back:  I'm not a huge fan of out-and-backs, but tacking on a couple of tenths of a mile on the orange trail worked to make this a 5K, and besides, we worked out a short loop at the turnaround to avoid any cone turnarounds.  As I came into the field to start the OAB, Matthew was already finishing up.  Followed pretty hard on Muddy's heels and may have narrowed the gap just a tiny bit, but not much.  Finished just 4 seconds behind Muddy, who in turn was just 4 seconds behind Tom.
On final out-and-back
(Pic by Sheilia)
I look real awkward about to jump up on this
wet and slippery bridge crossing,
before final turn home
(Pic by Sheilia)

I LOVE that the stream was actually
flowing this year on orange trail OAB
(Of course, I wish it were waist-deep,
but I'll take what I can)

Final results:  21:27, 4th overall, 1st in age group.  Full results here.
Slower than last year, but not by much.
Closing time was faster this year than last, and faster than my teammates.  Should have pushed harder early on.

The race was challenging and tiring, but not exhausting.  In retrospect, I wish I had taken the bold move of taking the lead for a bit towards the end of Mile 1.  It wouldn't have changed the place results, but might have pushed us all to a slightly faster finish.  Fun race.  Thrilled to see the numbers go up, and especially so many WTAC volunteers and racers that all came together.

May be time for a new club banner at some point,
as several races have been added, but still a nice touch to see the WTAC colors
As I was closing up the cabin and locking up,
came around the corner to see this guy sunning himself.
Isn't he a beauty?!

Weekly Log 28-Aug to 3-Sep-2017

Monday:  7
Woody loop with Matthew early morning.  Went on RINEMBA trail Pour Judgment (my favorite of theirs thus far) for the 2nd time, and Hazy Day for the first time.  I always enjoy running in the Woody.

Tuesday:  5
As I was meeting Tommy and Stonington Rec Director Rich for a 7:30am meeting in the Mystic area, I had planned a 7 to 8 miler on roads from the Mystic Y.  All I had to do was get there for 6am, but I was dragging and tardy.  Cut it down to a 5-miler, and at that the time was tight and made it into a progression run:  7:44, 7:14, 7:00, 6:41, 6:14

Wednesday:  7
Yawgoog trail mix.  Wow, this one was fun.
You can sort of see the red trail marks
on trees here. The trail just goes smack dab
through the middle of this massive rock garden.

Don't think I had ever been to "Southwest Marker" before.

Looking across Wincheck Pond back towards Camp Yawgoog.

Thursday:  11
Noon:  6-miler in Riverwood.  Actually saw a guy in there walking his dog.  He crossed the tracks in the southern end to enter.  I crossed tracks when I was a youth, but can't imagine doing it with faster and quieter electric trains today.  Of course the northern end access is no picnic either, and is primarily the reason that I seldom visit here.  The property owners abutting the access clearly do not want people here with the several "No Trespassing" signs, despite them being over a Land Trust right-of-way.  What a shame; otherwise, such a nice preserve.

Ran the outer perimeter loop trails first, then went on the interior more technical trails.

PM:  5-miles in Grills.  Entered from Hopkinton side, crossed over Polly Coon bridge onto Westerly side, where unfortunately it's really a mess with the logging activity and overgrown.  Pushed the pace from Polly Coon back to the Hopkinton bridge, and in the process, took a CR from Chris Garvin (he must have been jogging it).

Friday:  6
North End run at lunch.  Wasn't feeling it.  Slow 7:30 pace.  In the North End, I got a "Run, Forrest, Run" yell.  Funny.  Not.

Saturday: 11
AM:  6 miles at East Greenwich High School spectating at Matthew's 1st cross country meet of the year.
PM:  5 miles early afternoon on Town Beach.  Barefoot beach run and ocean dip.

Sunday:  8
Tom and I had signed up for the Rhode Warrior Tri, but like many others, based on the forecast downpours and rough surf, decided not to do it.  Three of us went for a group run in the rain in Woody Hill instead.

Weekly Mileage:  55

Weekly Synopsis:  Mileage about where I would like it to be.  What I'm missing is some quality long runs (16 miles or over).  Need better planning.

Weekly Highlight:  Solo Yawgoog trail run on Wednesday afternoon.  Hit some technical trails I hadn't been on before, and really enjoyed the rock garden at Southwest Marker.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Weekly Log 21-Aug to 27-Aug-2017: Stonington Back-to-Back Racing

Busy week of events coming up.  Battle of Stonington 5K on Tuesday, the all-new Stonington XC Fun Run on Wednesday, and the Schonning 5K on Friday, which I will miss for the first time years as will be away on college visits with Matthew.

Monday:  5
Enjoyed a sleep-in until 6:30am, so lunchtime was my time to run.  Not very smart, as it was 85 degrees, so it became an easy choice to head for the woods and out of the sun.  Ran Woody North and came across new MTB trails made by NEMBA.  I wasn't overly enamored with some earlier new RINEMBA trails I was on as they were short with too many intersections, but today ran on a gem with a wooden sign naming the trail "Pour Judgment".  Naturally the hills are small here (this is RI after all, not the NH or AK mountains I ran this summer), but still had some short fun rollercoaster twisty trail over rock outcropping.

Tuesday:  8
Battle of Stonington 5K.  Got there in plenty of time to change from work clothes into running clothes, register, and take a leisurely solo 2+ mile warm-up.  The temperature was not bad and had cooled off from the 80s mid-day to a pleasant 73 degrees; it was the humidity that was awful.

Some years this race had deep competition; looking around the front line, I saw only Sam Alexander, Nick Migani, and Matthew Ridley as top competitors (who would all be out ahead of me), and frenemy Stan Mickus as my competitor to do battle with. 
With Paul Gray before race start.  Looks like Brandy facing us.
All shots from New London Day video
And we're off.  Stan Mickus on my left, race winner Migani on my right.

The gun went off, and Alexander and Migani went out ahead, along with a kid, and a guy wearing unusually large headphones.  I figured the kid and Headphones Boy would drop right away.  1/4 mile in, the kid had dropped, Headphones Boy was still with the leaders, Ridley passed me, and Mickus was right up beside me.  Had targeted Mile 1 at 5:35, but unfortunately went through in 5:48.  Race over.  Depressing, and the rest of the race went downhill from there.
About 1/2 mile into race. Mat Ridley (#428) on my right would place 3rd,
Headphones Boy just ahead of me would place 74th.

This youngster chased me for a while (about a mile in),
but eventually dropped back.

Early in Mile 2, I passed Headphones Boy, but otherwise would hold my position for the rest of the race.  My Mile 2 split was 6:05, and Mile 3 mildly better at 6:03.  If there was a silver lining, it was that I was being chased by rival Stan which kept me from giving up in the humidity, as I really wanted to beat Stan.

Final results:  18:13, 5:52 pace.  4th out of 215.  1st in age group.  Full results here.

Wednesday:  5
1st annual Stonington Cross Country Fun Run.  Will endeavor to write a short report separately.

Thursday:  5
Dual purpose run through Stonington trails:  1) sweep course after last night runs and pick up the few remaining signs and flags, and 2) scout out possible alternatives to the section of trail that doubles back on itself for 2-way running and congestion.

Friday:  3
Groin pain set in during a long day visiting Boston for campus tours.  Easy evening run with Matthew looping through Champlin.

Saturday:  14!
Two plus hours on feet.  First time that's happened in quite a while.  My longest run since running trails in Texas in early May.  Still having this bizarre dull pain in my groin area, and that hampered me for the first mile or so until I forgot about it.  Ran entirely on trails in Burlingame with a circuitous CCW loop including Burlingame Trail, NST, VG, North Camp, and Sammy C's.  By the time got to Sammy C's in the 11th mile, I was really feeling tired.  Slow and easy throughout.  Finally, the bugs are gone, and at least for today, the head and humidity dissipated as well.

Sunday:  9
Morning almost-bug free run in Great Swamp with Chris.  The run went by so quick with conversation that as we ran back into the parking lot, Chris asked if that was enough running for me.  Looked at my watch for the first time, and was surprised that we had already run 7.5 miles.  Tacked on a bit more to make 9 even.  Good run.

Weekly Mileage:  50

Weekly Synopsis:  It's interesting that a 50-mile week is my lowest mileage week in two months!  The "low mileage" week is due to back-to-back racing and just being tired and sore.  I'm confident I'll ramp back up to the 60 area in the coming weeks.

Weekly Highlights:  1) Seeing the Stonington XC Fun Run come to fruition.  2) Finally get in a longer trail run (14 miles).

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Weekly Log 14-Aug to 20-Aug-2017

Monday:  6 run, 16 ride
Recon with Tommy on Stonington XC Fun Course.  Course is overall in good shape, but disappointed to see a number of areas could still use weed-whacking and pruning.  It will all come together, and happy to partner with Stonington Rec on this one.  Hoping for a great turnout to sustain a repeat event each year.

Being off for the day (Victory Day in RI), after a bunch of yard work, went for a coastal bike ride.  Traffic a little heavier than I would like.  Bike is making a lot of clanking, the gears are pretty worn, and I just want to see the bike get through another 3 weeks before end of my biking season and likely when I will retire the bike for good.

Tuesday:  13
AM:  8 mile workout with Tommy and Matthew.  Opted to stay off soaked Hell Field and run the roads of Weekapaug.  4 x (200, 200, 400).  Light rain on and off through workout.  Legs were just dead; all of my paces were pretty much at 5K pace.  Had planned on jumping into the ocean at end, but left towel at home on the counter (little good it did there) and being wet from the rain damped the enthusiasm.
PM:  5 miles at final Stonington Fun Run of the year.  Easy 7:30 pace while I caught up with many, including Mikey, Paul, Denise, Beth, Way, and someone named Tom that works at Pfizer.

Wednesday:  12
AM:  9 slow miles at Hale Reservation, Westwood, MA.
PM:  3 miles 5:57 pace at final Westerly Fun Run of the year.

Thursday:  5
Afternoon run / final prep for Wahaneeta.  Took out a fallen tree obstructing the perimeter trail.  Thus, nearly a mile of running with the chainsaw.  Felt especially heavy today.

Friday:  0
An unplanned zero.  Ran around like crazy trying to get my RD duties for tomorrow inline.  Ended late at night at Staples photo-copying entry forms for the morning.

Saturday:  6
Wahaneeta Trail 5K went off without a hitch!  Race report to follow.

Sunday:  10
AM:  9 miles with Tommy, Matthew, and Mikey.  Trail / road mix on a loop from the Barn out to River Road along the river, back Greenhaven to finish on more Barn trails.

Noon:  1 mile barefoot on the beach with Tommy and Mikey.  I got the feeling that Mikey wanted more, but I was starting to chafe in places uncomfortable.  TMI.  The best of my time on the beach today was actually NOT the running, but rather playing frisbee with Tom, his dad, and his father-in-law.  Much fun, especially the ones where I had to jump into the ocean to catch the frisbee.

Weekly mileage:  52

Weekly synopsis:  Low mileage this week, but that is inevitable on race weeks, especially where I'm the RD.  A bunch of small races coming up in the next week or so will likely keep mileage down again, and then I really need to get cracking on planning out my fall races.

Weekly highlights:  An easy one - the successful fruition of Wahaneeta 5K.  2nd place honorable mention - playing Frisbee on the beach!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Bobby Doyle Summer Classic

Narragansett, RI
Sunday, August 13, 2017

This was the 10th anniversary of this race, and my 3rd consecutive year running it.  In 2015, I ran a 5-mile PR of 29:26 in cool and cloudy weather conditions.   Last year, this was just one of a series of miserable sufferfests of the summer, and I slumped through the finish line in 31:46.

This year the weather was not as hot, but it was sunny and plenty humid.  The course changed this year and eliminated the loop out-and-back headed north towards Stop&Shop, and replaced the distance with a run on Windemere heading out to Mile 6 on the Blessing course.
New course for 2017; much of it covers the Blessing of the Fleet course

Fast field at the start of the 2017 race.
Matthew in green WTAC singlet, behind shirtless guy and the guy
who looks like he's about to fall over.
First half:  Unlike last year where I wasted so much warm-up time in long bathroom lines (last year this was a USATF-NE championship run), this time I had plenty of time for a leisurely warm-up.  Lined up a few rows back at the start, surrounded by fast runners.  I went out hard, but as usual saw Matthew only for the first 1/4 mile or so and then he was gone.  The first mile is the same as the Blessing, with a net downhill from Narragansett Middle School out to Ocean Road and I took it out pretty hard in a 5:36.  Was still feeling pretty good as we made the right turn off Ocean onto Windemere right about on pace with CMS runner Jim Pawlicki, who was just ahead of me at Exeter Trail Race and had beaten me handily at Beavers.  Right after the turn is where the trouble started.  I don't want to complain about hills after running Loon Mountain and Pioneer Ridge Vertical Mile this summer, but between the slight uphill all of 45 feet, open sunny spots, and now drenched from the humidity, my pace really slowed here.  Mile 2 split was 6:00, and as I finally turned off Windemere towards the end of Mile 3, I saw 6:17 average pace on my watch.  Ugh.

Thoughts at the half-way mark:  This is going to be another 31 or 32 minute finish.  Why do I keep signing up for these summer road races?

Second half:  Now on a flat to slight downhill, I finished Mile 3 with a 6:10 split.  Mildly better, but clearly not what I was looking for.  There were a few runners passing me here, including Kaela O'Neill.  Fortunately, getting into the shaded section of Kinney Ave gave me a little bit of a second wind, and my Mile 4 split improved to 6:01.  At the left turn onto South Pier Road, I could have really used the crowd support that is at this corner at the Blessing, but it wasn't to be today.  Somehow I still managed to pick it up, pass Kaela and a couple others back, and finish Mile 5 in a 5:51 split.
Finishing up

Final results:  29:43, 5:57 average pace.  61st out of 357 runners.  2nd in age group (out of 29).    Full results here
50s podium:  left to right:
Dave Principe (1st), Martin Tighe (3rd), me (2nd)
Pics by Jana

My favorite part of the race!  The post-race cold water soak.
Of course, this aspect of the race wasn't too bad either.

Thoughts having finished the race:  Ecstatic to be able to turn this around for a sub-30 finish.  Sign me up for next year!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Weekly Log 7-Aug to 13-Aug-2017: Bobby Doyle

Monday:  11

Depressing rainy Monday where I spent the first of five consecutive days in 9-hour meetings.  Got home from work to see a package from Alaska.  My mood changed!
Got a shirt in the mail, a thank-you note, and an award!

Hand written note from the AMR (Alaska Mens Run) RD.
How cool is that?  Seems to harken back to a different era,
and nice to see that politeness is not dead.
AM:  6 solo on local roads.  BI Tri race was 2 days ago, but somehow the legs are still not feeling 100%.
PM:  5 with Matthew after dinner.  Unfortunately, right after dinner, and Mexican at that.  It didn't go well.  No further info.

Tuesday:  15
AM:  9 mile workout at Ninigret with Tommy and Matthew.  1-minute hard, 1-minute easy.  The workout and miles went by quickly.
PM:  6 miles at Stonington Fun Run.  Started off easy with Clay Howland, finished hard with Matthew Ridley.

Wednesday:  11
AM:  8 miles solo 'round the pond in a delightful 57 degrees.
PM:  3 miles at penultimate Westerly Fun Run.  Ran an average 5:43 pace!  Super happy with this run.  Gave me a lot of confidence.

Thursday:  6
Early B-game run with Matthew.  From the picnic area up to the tower and campground trails.  With the deerflies on the wane, it will be good to get back out here.
Finished out a long week of vendor meetings by celebrating
with dinner at Andrea and then drinks beachside at Paddy's with a few
coworkers and vendors that are on our software implementation project.

Friday:  7
Quonochontaug afternoon run with Matthew.  Other than running on sloped sand on the beach, it was all relaxing and enjoyable.

Saturday:  5
Trail run from Wahaneeta up through Woody Hill with Jonathan and Tommy.  Good easy-paced conversational run before meeting up with Beth to work in Wahaneeta to get ready for next weekend's trail race.
While Mark was still home, headed over to Beavertail State Park
to play on the rocks and have a family picnic lunch.

Sunday:  11
Bobby Doyle Summer Classic.  Stoked with this one!  Race report to follow.
Post-race:  a 3-mile barefoot beach recovery and dip in the ocean.

Weekly mileage:  67

Weekly synopsis:  Super happy with this week, both from a mileage standpoint and race performance.

Weekly highlights:
Hands-down, the Bobby Doyle race and my time were the highlights of the week for me.
Running at 5:43 at the Fun Runs, for an 18:25, my fastest time in two years!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Weekly Log 31-Jul to 6-Aug-2017: From the Block to Acca Dacca

Monday:  7
Chariho Fun Runs.  The only one I would make it to this summer.  6:31 for the mile event, as no one took it out fast and I didn't want to look a fool (any more than usual, that is).  18:51 for the 3-miler.

Things run with a more slower degree of organization and priority at Chariho than Westerly.  Much waiting around between events.

Tuesday:  18 (sounds impressive, until you see that it's a double)
AM:  7 miles on Hell Field with Tommy and Matthew.  4 x 1K (3:40, 3:40, 3:45, 3:35), 2 x 200 (38, 37).  Very humid.
PM:  11 miles at Stonington Fun Run with Tollgate coach Norm.  Been talking about getting together with him for a run for more than a year.  It finally happened.  Olympian Deena Kastor and BM winner Geoff Smith were here tonight.

Wednesday:  9
AM:  6 miles in the soupy fog at Noanet Woodlands.  I was the main course on today's deerfly feast, and I retaliated with 13 DFKs.
Technical trail at Noanet Peak in the fog.  Dover, MA

PM:  3 miles.  Westerly Fun Run.  5:52 pace.

Thursday:  7
Combination Pumpkins and Wahaneeta course previews.  Longing for fall trail running.

Friday:  7
Avondale / Watch Hill Roads.  A large coyote atop the hill on Browning was the highlight on this run.  I wasn't intimidated; I didn't want to shoot it; I didn't think it had rabies; I didn't fear for children or small animals; [fill in all the other recent fears in local newspapers].  I just thought it was a majestic animal.

Saturday:  1/4 swim, 12 bike, 7 run
The Block Island Tri!  Normally I post a separate write-up, but I'm just so far behind in blogging that the more minute details escape me now.  Quick summary:

This was my 8th BI Tri in a row.  Was up at 4:30am and out the door by 5am to catch the 6am ferry.  On the ride over, was wondering why I was going at all.  The number of WTACers had slowly grown over the years, from 3 participants when I did it back in 2010, up to a max of 7, before abruptly crashing this year down to one (myself).  Once I got over on the Block, set up in transition, and caught up with competition John Gadrow and Jim Ortel, it sunk in that while it was fantastic to have WTAC friends come over for a day of adventure and a lunch outing, I really do love this race in its own right.
Deserted beach before the start of the tri.  You can have Providence, Pawtucket, etc.

Block Island, Newport, Jamestown, and other southern
coastal towns are the real gems of RI to me.

Then I went for a warm-up, and my glee intensified.  The tide was high when I arrived, so I went on roads.  I planned on about a mile total, and then 1.5 miles out on Corn Neck Road soaking up the scenery and loving the quaint country island run, decided I need to come back here at some point, but maybe I should turn around and actually get to the race that I came here for.
Farm house and dirt roads on Corn Neck Road.  Quintessential Block Island.
Would love to come back here running in the fall.

The swim:  106 out of 320.  I'm a back-of -the-pack swimmer, and this race is the exception to finish in the top third.  I started in the 8th wave.  The water was a little choppy.  As always, the fast guys in my wave reached the first buoy and were long gone by the time I arrived, but there are also so many "tourist" entrants into this tri that you get a wide mix of tri skills.  I passed many a swimmer that were doing the backstroke or some kind of side stroke.  1/4 mile - my kind of swim distance!

The bike:    35th out of 320.  19mph average on hills and tight turns.  A little slower than the previous two years, but still quite happy with this effort.  The problem for me is I had no competition on the ride (the fast guys were way ahead of me and I never saw them), so as I'm passing rider after rider, I think I'm going fast, which I was relative to them, but could have pushed myself harder.  Finally, well into the 2nd lap, a cyclist passes me and I give chase.  We must have been somewhat evenly matched as we took turns passing each other just before finishing.
My challenge for the transition to bike
is always remembering which row is mine in?

The run:  2nd overall out of 320 finishers!  I'm in my element now.  4 barefoot beach miles in 27:34.  Mile splits varied from 6:15 to 6:47, which really was dictated by whether I was running headwind or tailwind.  Gained on my competitors, but finished quite a ways behind BI native Jim Ortel.

There are some that just maybe
should cover up a little bit more.
(Or are people saying the same about me and my short shorts?)
Check out the "bib number" marked onto this guy's arm!
I got a great chuckle out of this.

19th overall in full tri.  Could be better, but not bad.  Did not place in my age group.

The BI Tri is over, and I'm back on the mainland by 3pm, but my day is just revving up:
Scored free parking and free tickets to the Charlestown Seafood Festival (by volunteering).
Went solo to listen to classic rock.  Started in the back far from the stage...

... and slowly made my way all the to front row!
AC/DC (familiarly known as Acca Dacca in their native Australia)
tribute band Dirty Deeds!  They even look like the real thing,
mimicking Brian Johnson (left) and Angus (right)

When they started playing TNT and asked the crowd to get involved,
the crowd went wild.  Stayed for about half the show before heading to the airport
to pick up Mark at 11:30pm, as he was coming home for a 10-day visit from FL.

Amazing show!  Having not been to a concert in decades, the downside that I had
forgotten was tinnitus.  Yeah, the ears were pretty messed up for next 12 hours or so.
Maybe next year I don't go up so close.  And maybe next year I invite Chris,
Tommy, or Mikey to use some of the extra tickets.
The fireworks between sets were also awesome.

Sunday:  0 run, 23 bike
For once, passed on a double race weekend, and rode to Run 4 Kerri with Mikey and Chris to watch Mile 1 and the finish.  It was fun to watch fellow competitors that I know well, but also there a tinge of regret that I wanted to be in the race myself.  Of course, the weather was unusually perfect this year with cooler temperatures and low humidity.

Came home, cleaned up, and went to volunteer at the Charlestown Seafood Festival with Jana, and then we had a rare dinner there with Mark.  Happy to see him for the fleeting moments; completely understood that right after our seafood dinner he was off to visit his friends on a Saturday night.
Not being a soda drinker, I didn't partake, but the general concept
was that you bought a tin mug, and then you could keep coming back
for free refills.  Maybe if these were casks of single-malt scotch?
Is this a southern, or maybe midwestern thing, as they say "pop"?

Weekly Mileage:  56

Weekly Synopsis:  Happy with 56.  Would like 60 on a regular basis, or at least average.  A lot of fun events this week