Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Weekly Log 12-Jun to 18-Jun-2017: Big Mileage Week

Monday:  6
Cranston Bike Path, a/k/a Washington Secondary Bike Path.  Working in Providence today, I opted to run in a different place.  Went to the Cranston YMCA to drop my stuff (the YMCA network is just fantastic in that for no extra charge, you have reciprocal privileges at any Y in New England, so it makes it fantastic to be able to run and then shower and change afterwards).
With a heat wave in place, it was already approaching 80 degrees by 7am, so the shaded bike path kept me out of both the heat and traffic.  I wouldn't go all the way to Cranston just to run this, but it was an interesting diversion.
Was thinking of getting in a lunch
run.  Yeah, maybe not.
Tuesday:  7
5am road workout from my house, with Mikey and Tommy.  Worked our way out to Avondale and back, and after a 2-mile warmup, we ran 10 x (1-minute hard, 30-seconds easy).  I usually start to really feel it about the 7th iteration, but this time got through it fine.  Looking back at my splits slowing from 5:30 pace to 5:45 pace, maybe that's because I subconsciously let up too much towards the end.
Again?  I must have picked the
two worst days to work in the city.
Wednesday:  8
Hale Reservation, Dover, MA.  Fun single-track routes.  Still get myself a bit lost here, but directionally I can figure it out.
Quiet morning along Powisset Pond at Hale Reservation.
Thursday:  13
AM:  10 miles solo on Burlingame / Kettle Pond single-track.
PM:  3 miles at Jealous Monk fun run, Mystic.  Mix of road and double-track.  Good to catch up with Mike B, Melanie, Jim Roy, Jeff Anderson, and others.

Friday: 15
AM:  6 miles easy on local roads.
PM:  7 mile trail run in Woody Hill with Muddy and Matthew, followed by 2 mile trail maintenance alternating jogging with a weed-whacker and actually using said weed-whacker to trim overgrowth.  In both events we endured occasional downpours. Interesting to see that the Perry Healy Brook remains near dried up after the beaver re-damming at Woody Hill Marsh.
Other than returning to mow the upper field XC trail portion once it dries out a bit, the trails are ready to go for Sunday's Run for Sam Luzzi, the WHS sophomore diagnosed with leukemia.  Thanks much to Muddy and Jonny for coming out for trail maintenance on this rather miserable Friday afternoon.

Saturday:  12
AM:  10 miles.  Fun, but very humid run with Matthew in Jamestown. Road out-and-back from Fort Wetherill to Beavertail. 
PM:  2 miles to/fro upper field at Bradford Preserve to mow field portion of XC trail.

Sunday:  7
Run for Sam, including flagging, running 5K fun run, and course breakdown / clean-up.  Glad to see this event come to fruition.  Disappointed that we only had just shy of 40 runners, but figuring in the short notice, limited publicity, Father's Day, and intermittent downpours, I guess you can't complain.  Ran it moderately pace in just under 7 pace.  I ran behind the boys' XC runners for a while, then just like Pumpkins last year, picked them all off one by one (except Matthew of course).  While this wasn't a race, it reminds me that smart pacing can be stimulating.
Start of the Run for Sam.
Weekly mileage:  70!

Weekly synopsis:  Highest mileage week in almost two years!  Getting sore towards the end of the week, but overall felt great.  A few doubles this week. I don't see another 70 mileage week happening again soon, but I'm really happy with the mileage I've been putting in as of late.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Weekly Log 5-Jun to 11-Jul-2017: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Do you remember the old Western "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"?  A real classic.  Anyway, here is my version from last week:

The Good:  The bloodwork results came back.  I don't have Lyme Disease!
The Bad:  I tested positive for Anaplasmosis.  Again.  If there's a silver lining, it's that I "only" have one disease this time, the complications are less, and the treatment period is far shorter.
The Ugly:  They're both horrible diseases transmitted by ticks while they are feeding on you.  Really vile creatures.

Monday:  8
The meds are starting to be effective.  Best run I've had in a week.  'Round the pond in the rain.  Average 7:23 pace.

Tuesday:  5
50 degrees mid-afternoon, with rain again.  Ran Barn trails.  Starting to get overgrown already.  I guess this place is really best for running November through May.

Wednesday:  12

AM:  7 miles early morning with FiveK.  Included Hell Field "cut down" workout, with 2 x 800, 2 x 600, 2 x 400, 2 x 200. 
PM:  5 miles easy in Woody Hill.

Thursday:  12
Solo road run on local roads from Avondale to Misquamicut.  Made it up as I went along.  46 degrees, cool, and dry!  Started off the first couple miles in mid 7s, then was quickly humming along in upper 6:30s.  The running is coming back!  Felt great.
Came home after a great run and signed up for "The Blessing".
No, not The Blessing from Aunt Bethany.

Friday:  8
AM:  6 miles on Back Road Ramble course.  Ran both the short and long courses as I wanted to see the trail conditions given the race is now two days away.  In really great shape.  Some mud and water, but mostly dried up.  Picked up a number of branches along the way.  Stopped at each intersection to plan which ones could benefit the most from signs as opposed to flags.
PM:  2 miles.  Alternating running and using loppers to trim overhanging branches on long course, which were mostly concentrated on the sections down to North Camp and parallel single-track back.  Good to go; stop fussing.

Saturday:  6
Solo run at Bradford Preserve / Woody Hill.  Ran to inspect the WHS XC course in advance of next Sunday's Run for Sam.  Needs some minor maintenance, but not bad.
Was really impressed to see that in just three days, the beaver(s) had rebuilt their dam at Woody Hill Marsh.  Crafty creatures.

Sunday:  16!
Back Road Ramble:  Course marking, race, course un-marking.  Write-up to follow.

Weekly mileage:  67!

Weekly synopsis:  Really happy with this week.  Started the week off sick with Anaplasmosis, but the symptoms quickly went away under medication, and had a huge mileage week and a successful race at Back Road Ramble, both my own racing as well as helping this come to fruition.  Next week's heat wave will slow me a bit, but hopefully it's short lived.
No slouching for me this week!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Race Shirt Dilemma

It is said that the first step to curing an addiction is admitting you have a problem.  OK, here goes:

I am a hoarder.  Probably of too many things, but to be clear, I am a hoarder of race shirts.  

I have more race shirts than I know what to do with.  At the start of each winter, I heft my short sleeve shirts and singlets up into the attic for storage, and bring down my long sleeve shirts, quarter zips, etc.  Recently I just reversed the winter storage process, brought down my summer race shirts, and was somehow astounded by how many containers I now have of race shirts.  How did this happen?

I know that when I go to registration to get a race shirt, no matter how ugly I feel the race shirt, no matter if all they have left is extra-large, no matter how unlikely that I will ever wear the shirt, I take it.  It's like eating a meal at a restaurant; I may be full, but I paid for the dinner, so I have to eat it all.  Time to stop this nonsense!

Anyone else have a race shirt problem?  I'd love to hear about it.  Here are just a few of the shirts that made the recent toss pile to go to charity:
How many drab green shirts do I need?

The Newport Christmas 10K is a fun race,
but seriously, would you wear this outside of the house?

What?!  Sacrilege!  How could I get rid of a
Boston Marathon shirt?
First of all, it's from back when they were cotton,
and second, it's nearly thread-bare.

The only reason I considered holding onto this one is because
it's from a trail race I ran in Colorado years back.
But it's also two sizes too big.  Good-bye.

Say it isn't so.  I'm not really giving away a tech shirt, am I?
This is the infamous 2014 Blessing shirt that due to the large orange crescent-shaped press-on overlay, had horrible chafing.
Wore it once, and two miles into a long run with chafed nipples, took it off and threw it on the side of the road.
Why did I even go back to pick it up?
I'm a proud alumnus, keep up with the coach and team
members to this day, but just don't need yet another white
cotton t-shirt.


I did it!  Took 62 race shirts
to the charity bin.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Weekly Log 29-May to 4-Jun-2017: Temporarily Slain

Lost three CRs this week.  😞  All were fast and legit:  downtown Providence, Pawcatuck, and unfortunately my only CR on the west coast (Seaside, Oregon).

Monday:  16
1)  Early morning 6 mile run / hill workout with Matthew.  Wanted to get a run in before a planned group ride at 7:30am.  Ran from Stonington High School out the trails to Field Street, where I ran 5 x Field Street hill.  Only 1/4 mile long, but at 10% grade, probably one of the steepest hills of its length in Westerly or Stonington.

2) 9 mile run with Mikey and Tommy, as the group ride got changed to a group run due to the weather.  Running on East Beach in front of the Ocean House, we got pelted with cold rain.  Some Memorial Day!  Running the short trail in Avondale, I slipped in my road shoes on a wet, muddy, 90 degree turn and went down.  A little mud and blood - no worse for the wear!  The rain let up and then stopped altogether for a while, so we went back to the beach - this time to run out to the tip of Napatree, where we paused at the ruins of Fort Mansfield.
Built in 1899, Fort Mansfield was erected to add to our coastline
defenses and remained in operation from 1901 - 1917.
Tuesday:  0
Felt tired and sore.  Skipped the day.

Wednesday:  13
AM:  7 miles on the Blue Heron Trail.  Hadn't been here in a while due to ongoing construction disrupting my 10-mile loop, but changed to a 7-mile lollipop instead.  Why am I still tired?  Ran easy.

PM:  6 miles at F Gilbert Hills State Park.  Had to stop frequently as I get disoriented in here, and used GPS location on my phone compared to a map to try to figure direction and place.  Some really cool single-track in here, that I'd like to continue to explore.  Took one CR, but it's not run often and the paces were quite slow.
I like it when trail designers take the time to incorporate
natural features such as running alongside this boulder.

Keep your eyes on the trail, if you want to remain upright!
A dumping ground for 1950s (?) era cars?

Thursday:  5
Goddard Park, Warwick.  Had to give a presentation in the Providence office in the morning, and return to the Westerly office in the afternoon.  Perfect situation for a lunch time run on the Goddard Trails.  Sleepy and out of it.  Reclined the seat and leaned back just a little when I arrived at the beach at Goddard, and promptly fell asleep!  At 12 Noon with lots of little kids playing loudly at the beach.

I blamed the 81 degree heat on my lethargy, but my body is feeling really creaky and achy as I run. Ugh.  Ran a slow loop on easy trails, and kind of enjoyed it, and kind of wanted it to end.

Back in Westerly, after work, I am walking to my car in 70-degree sunshine at 5pm and I start to shiver uncontrollably.  Uh-oh.  I think I know what this is, and I don't want to wait until tomorrow to try to get in to see my PCP in Wakefield.  Drove to South County Hospital Urgent Care, where I was duly impressed with this new facility in Westerly and its caregivers.  The nurse taking my vitals informs me I am running a fever with a high temperature.  That confirms it for me, given chills, shivering, lethargic for a few days, achy, and creaky, my medical history, and now a fever, but let's defer to the doctor.

Diagnosis:  will officially await blood test results, but she is "highly confident" that I have either Lyme (again), Anaplasmosis (again), or both (again).  Certainly not appealing for sympathy, but I also don't need to be chided for my lifestyle choices of running in the woods.

She asks me questions such as "how much time do you spend in the woods" (about 5-8 hours per week), "why do you spend so much time in the woods" (only a non-trail runner or non-outdoors enthusiast would ask this), "how many ticks have you been bitten by in the past 4 weeks?"  (about 4), "how many miles do you run per week?" (about 60 lately).  Upon each answer, she gave me what appeared to be a perplexed or perhaps even disapproving look, such that I got mildly defensive and starting extolling the virtues I have experienced from my chosen activity (safe from traffic and exhaust, lower weight, lower heart rate, lower cholesterol, more endurance and energy, etc), to which she responded that it's all very impressive, but really confirms her suspicions on the diagnosis.  Oh, OK.  I was afraid her writing was on an admission ticket to a psychiatric hospital, and if she next asked "weren't you the guy that was spotted last week running into the woods with a can of gasoline?", and I answered truthfully, that would seal the psych ward deal.

Friday:  0
No running today.  Not no way, not no how.  Spent most of the day on the couch, miserable.

Saturday:  5
What I had hoped to do:  Run the Cranmore Mountain Run
What I actually did:  A 10-minute pace local run.  More of a shuffle, actually, but I was out there.

Sunday:  5
Need to minimize the amount of direct sunlight I get while on the Lyme meds, and since I slept in and the sun was up by the time I dragged myself out, that means I'm back in the woods with my friends (the ticks).    Ran dirt roads in Burlingame.  Felt better than yesterday.

Weekly Mileage:  45

Weekly Synopsis:  Obviously a disappointing week.  Started the week strong and by mid-week, it was all headed downhill fast.  I'm hoping this latest illness bout will resolve quickly and I'll back running well soon.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Weekly Log 22-May to 28-May-2017

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  7
Early morning run in Woody.  Running past the dam, heard a loud splash in the water and looked over to see a large beaver splashing and swimming!  Stopped for a while to watch him frolic.

The good news is that the dam is passable now; the bad news is that it's only because the water level of the pond is quickly draining.

Wednesday:  16
AM:  11 miles.  Hale Reservation and Noanet Woodlands, Dover, MA.  Finally was able to traverse both parcels.  Opens up a lot of opportunities for longer single-track runs for me.
PM:  5 miles.  Technical single-track at Yawgoog. 

Ran CCW around Yawgoog Pond
Dicey flooded water crossing

A number of rock scrambles on the east side of
Yawgoog Pond

Don't slip here!  It's a long steep ways down.

Fun rock jumping.

Thursday:  13
AM:  8 miles local roads.  Light rain and tight legs.
PM:  5 miles at Woody Hill North.  Drizzly, wet, and muddy.

Friday:  8
AM:  6 in Hopkinton Grills, with a dash into Westerly side to run Blue Trail CCW.  Totally flooded, but fun.  Along the Blue Trail, started the Memorial Day weekend with visiting the grave of Revolutionary War soldier Mr. Hiscox.  Based on the markers and dates on his grave, it looks like he fought at age 15.
PM:  2 miles "Gas Can Run" from Bradford Preserve to the upper field to fuel and mow the XC trail, and back.  Jonny later reported that I was seen running into the woods carrying a gas can.  An arsonist?  No, just that weird old guy that hangs out in Woody Hill so much.

Saturday:  10
Was already planning to run early in Woody with Jonathans Short and Hammett.  Then we get an e-mail that Chris Garvin would be in town for the weekend, and the group grew to nine!  Most of the group split off from us after four miles due to time commitments, not wanting to run more than six, rolled ankle, whatever, and Muddy, Jonathan Short, and I forged on to the rock ledges in the northeast corner, then watched the beaver swim, visited the stone fort before wrapping up ten miles of trails.  Great day!  So happy to see so many came out.
The gang is all here.

Happy to see so many come out.

Sunday:  7
Big River run with Matthew and Aaron.  Single-track fun.  Really enjoy these twisty trails.

Weekly Mileage:  61

Weekly Synopsis:  Another 60+ week!  Super happy with the mileage levels and how I've been feeling on runs lately.  The weather helped this past week, with the temps mainly in the 50s and 60s.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Weekly Log 15-May to 21-May-2017: Heat and Frass

Coming off a great race on Block Island, I would like to get in another trail race soon, but my guess is my next one will be Back Road Ramble on June 11.

Monday:  6
Roads in Watch Hill, reasonably fast.  Took a 3.8 mile CR that had been out there for 4 years and was held by someone from San Fran.

Tuesday:  5
Returned to Westerly Grills for the first time since they re-opened due to the forestry initiative.  Very disappointing.  The better parts of the preserve are still closed, and much of the open parts, save the blue trail, are swampy and overgrown.  Also coming into the season of frass dropping out of the trees.

The only positive on the run was a massive turtle crossing the trail, and of course, I didn't have my phone on me to take a pic.

Wednesday:  13
AM:  7 miles in Hale Reservation, Dover, MA.  I took a wrong turn and serendipitously "discovered" some really fun single-track that eliminates a dirt road portion.
PM:  6 miles in Big River.  86 nasty degrees.  Running shirtless did not help.  Kept the pace easy to offset the heat.  Fun twisty single-track, including Lego and Foster's Folly.

Thursday:  11
Early morning super-humid run in B'game.  Happy to get it in before a long work day, but not enjoying this weather.

Friday:  5
Back to B'game for a run on the old BRR course, before the final BRR prep meeting.  By 9am, it was mid-70s and humid and I was wilting on the final mile in the open sun on Sanctuary Road.  Got back to Camp Watchaug and promptly dove under water at Watchaug Pond.  Refreshing.

In the evening, went out for drinks with colleagues.  We sat outside along the river, which should be nice, but it felt hot, and I complained about the frass on the table.  Not a single one of the eight or so colleagues had any idea what frass is.  I rephrased it as "caterpillar sh%t" and they got it.

Saturday:  12
Six easy on the long course with fellow BRR committee member Sergio.  Followed up by six in Burlingame North, plus Sammy Cs, VG back, and Lenny Lane.  Ran on a real sketchy connector trail from NST in Burlingame North back to Buckeye Brook Road; otherwise good trails.  Picked a big tick off my leg.

Sunday:  7
Groton Cross Town Trail with Matthew.  Ran CCW from Haley to get the road section out of the way first.  Second time running this; didn't need to stop as many times to try to figure out the route.  Finished up with some fun twisty single-track in Haley.

Weekly mileage:  59

Weekly synopsis:  Really happy with this mileage.  3 out of the past 4 weeks have been at or about 60 miles.  One road run, and seven trail runs.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Shad Bloom 2017

Block Island, RI
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Had run this trail 10K four years ago in a time of 41:50.  I remember it being hard and that I opted to power hike the hill at Rodman's Hollow, described as "The Wall".

In last year's inaugural version of the "Clamshell Series", we had featured the North Stonington Education Foundation 5K as the May race, but will only 2 WTAC participants, we switched to the Shad Bloom 10K.  We were skeptical how many would actually show for a race which you had to take a 1-hour ferry each way (the fast ferry only runs during summer), but it worked out quite well and I was pleasantly surprised to see 15 WTAC runners had made the trek to Block Island!
Team WTAC (missing a few)
just before the start of the race

Start to Mile 2:  After a warm-up with Jonathan Short and newest WTAC member Cliff Dimon, we were lined up in the driveway of the Block Island School and ready to go!  The gun went off, and when the dust settled, I was in 6th place.  There was an old guy (translation:  my age) just in front of me that as I passed him mumbled something to me that I should get up to 3rd place.  Then a tall thin teenager in front of me abruptly stopped and moved to the side of the road.  Very odd. 

The first two miles are on dirt roads with slight net downhill to the ocean.  About one mile in, I passed a young guy to put me in 3rd, with the 2nd place guy a good 100 meters ahead of me and Brightman completely out of sight.  Mile 1 split 6-flat, Mile 2 5:53.

Miles 3 and 4:  We leave the dirt roads behind, and start climbing away from the ocean through open grass fields.  I can see Brightman (for the last time) climbing up the hillside, and see the 2nd place guy a little ways ahead of me.  The pace naturally slows, but I'm feeling pretty good.  After a decent climb and a field crossing, we exit onto dirt single-track.  I'm gradually getting closer to the 2nd place guy, and I notice he keeps looking back at me.  After a few more turns, I come up right behind him, biding my time.  At a steep downhill on dirt and rocks, it's time for me to go.  I shout "ON YOUR LEFT!", and bomb down the hill past him.

Final two miles:  As we enter Rodman Hollow and start to climb "The Wall", I can hear him breathing right behind me.  Midway up the climb, his breathing drops off a bit, but I don't want to let up now.  How cool would it be to finish in 2nd place?  As we finish the climb and exit onto a road, I'm feeling really good and wondering to myself if that was Rodman Hollow or just another hill climb.  We run on a road for about 1/4 mile and I ask the guys manning a water stop how far back the next guy is.  Their reply of "a good ways" isn't the quantitative answer I'm looking for, but I soldier on, coming up on 5 miles and confident now that we did indeed climb through Rodman Hollow's "The Wall".

After a couple more climbs, I recognize the final field and it's a short distance now to the dirt road, which will bring us back to the start/finish.  I remembered that from the trail end back to the finish is just 1/4 mile, so I drop it back down sub-6 to the finish.  I see the clock showing 39:xx and am surprised and ecstatic!

Final results:  39:29.  2nd overall of 177 finishers!  Full results.

I hung around to get a drink and watch Jonathan come in (6th place!) and then head out with Brightman for a cooldown, and catch up on his latest and upcoming trail races.  Back at the ranch (or school), we hang around for awards.  The other "old" guy (who's actually two years younger than me at age 50) that I passed early in the race came up to me and asked if I finished in 3rd place.  No.  When I told him I got second, he enthusiastically thanked me and explained that this was his 9th attempt at trying to win his age group here (awards only go 1 deep in age group, but 3 overall), and with me out of contention as you can't double dip, he won the 50-59 age group.  I was really happy for him.

Great day for a race, and so much fun.  Taking 2 1/2 minutes off my previous time here and coming in 2nd overall was just a bonus.  By the time Jonathan and I got to the ferry, every single inside seat was taken and we ended up sitting on the floor for the ride home, but I was happy and it was all good!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Weekly Log 8-May to 14-May-2017: Mud, Ticks, & Block Island

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  8
'Round the pond run.  Nice, cool 39 degree run.  6:58 pace.

Wednesday:  12
AM:  Solo 7-mile CW run from Wahaneeta up to Bradford Preserve, back via and around the Woody Hill Marsh.  Many waterfowl in the pond.  Didn't even try to traverse the broken up beaver dam, and just forded the knee deep river.
PM:  5-mile Ninigret run with Matthew on the bike path and gravel trails.  Easy and flat.  This was just after seeing an orthopedic specialist for him and him getting cleared for at least easy running while awaiting an MRI and PT.  Hopefully on the road to recovery.

Thursday:  5
Midday run on Barn Island.  90% single-track, 100% fun.

Friday:  6
Copp Family Park, Groton, CT.  First visit here.  Started off on manicured double-track, moved onto very steep, technical single-track, followed by twisty trails through dense rhododendron, fields where the smell of honeysuckle was overpowering, and plenty of mud and slop.  Got myself disoriented a bit; would like to come back here at some point.
Pulled out one of these nasty
varmints that was well entrenched
in my leg.

Mud galore

Fortunately there was a stream near the finish of my run,
which I waded into to get some of the mud off before getting back into the car.
Saturday:  9
Shad Bloom 10K.  Block Island.  Great race!  Write-up to follow shortly.

Sunday:  8
Sakonnet Greenway Trail, Middletown.  Drizzly rain, flooded fields, muck and mud.  At the start of the run, Matthew and I were just splashing through soaked soft grass trails, making it hard to get any traction.  We were thinking of turning back when after 1/4 mile or so we got into sections that were much more passable.  We certainly hit many more flooded and mud sections, but there were also quite a few trail sections that were passable.  Absolutely not another person out here today.

Weekly mileage:  49

Weekly synopsis:  After two consecutive 60+ mileage weeks, a drop in mileage was bound to happen, especially with a race this week.  I'm really enjoying these higher mileage weeks and am just getting out there and having fun.  While I do miss catching up with marathon training partner Tommy, I don't miss the pressure of marathon training at all.  I think my next road race is 2 1/2 months away (Blessing), so I'll run roads periodically, but will definitely be on the trails more.  Enjoying it, and it will help me building up to nearer term trail races.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Weekly Log 1-May to 7-May-2017: Texas Adventures

Monday:  0

Tuesday:  5
Was so happy that my two airline companions were Absent and
Invisible.  They were nice guys that were really quiet the whole
flight and didn't even mind that I put my feet up on them.

Cool airline entertainment system.  Punched in some Stones,
Aerosmith, even The Knack.  Remember The Knack?
Grapevine, TX.  86 degrees and sunny in the late afternoon.  Welcome to Texas.
Arid and hot.  Got sunburned.
Inside the atrium of my hotel,
where I ate dinner Tuesday.
Yeah, it all looks nice and clean, but my
gripe is it's all fake, kind of like Disney.  I
guess you go to Disney expecting fake,
but when I'm in wild Texas, set me out on the
real trails in the real outdoors and I'm happy.

Wednesday:  24!
AM:  8 miles in Horseshoe Trails Park.  The local roads are mostly cement, so I wasn't into an out and back, but wanted to get to this trail system.  The solution:  Uber!  This was my foray to Uber.  I'm sure you've all used Uber, and my 18-year old raves about it, but I'm not exactly an early adopter  (how many others out there are driving a 12-year old car with manual transmission?).  It was really cool, efficient, and cheap!  You follow the driver's approach on their app, electronic notification when 1-minute away, you know and pay the price in advance, and it was only $5.95!
Very fun mountain bike trails through the woods.
PM:  16 miles on the Northshore Trail (actually 11 miles on the twisty trail, followed by 5 not-so-fun miles on busy cement roads)
11 miles of single-track, much right along Lake Grapevine.

The red clay soil in Texas is something unique that
we don't have in New England.

Thursday:  5
Recovery on local roads and trails in Katie's Woods.

Friday:  7
Final run in Texas.  3 miles of roads ran fairly hard, followed by trails at Katie's Woods.  Easily took a CR on a 1.7 mile road segment.  Ran it in 5:58 pace to hopefully hold it a bit longer, as who knows if and when I'll ever return to Grapevine, Texas.
Cool waterfowl early in the morning

Very fun running along the lake in my final Texas run

At the airport for the trip home.
My kind of place to eat.  Yeah, not.
While not everyone's cup of my tea, this is more my pace:
Finishing up my trip report,
while enjoying sushi and a glass of wine.

Saturday:  10
After arriving home from Texas at 2am after an aborted landing at Green Airport and diversion to Logan Airport, I was just happy to be on solid ground and looking for a morning run.  While I had initially contemplated running 7 Sisters, between insufficient training and arriving home so late, that just would not have worked out.

Instead, met up with Jonathan Short for a pre-arranged trail running from Roaring Brook in Arcadia.  I had never been here and really enjoyed the single-track he led me on, in spite of the drizzly weather that had turned into a pretty steady rain by the time we finished.
The aptly name Roaring Brook was the start of our run.
Really fun trails.

Sunday:  9
Solo Chariho mixer.  3 miles roads (mainly Switch Road), before a couple of miles in Carolina North (out Laurel, back Pony Express), and finished up in Carolina South (some twisty yellow-blazed trail through young white pines, then NST).  Ran the last mile in a fast 6:23.  I think that's a good thing to run final miles hard when you're tired.

Weekly mileage:  61

Weekly synopsis:   Interesting and fun diversion to run in Texas!  Super happy with the mileage.

61 miles!  Psyched.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

RI State Police 5K 2017

Narragansett, RI
Sunday, April 30, 2017

My first road 5K of the year 2017, a year which is likely to see as little four from me.  It seems just a few years back, many in the WTAC were running frequent road 5Ks, and certainly the same went for me:

The road 5K certainly remains a popular distance, but for me, I find it not as fun or challenging as the endurance required for longer races or the variety and beauty found in trail races.  On with the race report:

Warmed up for two miles on the course with marathon training partner Tommy 5K.  Since I’ve put zero effort into any 5K training this year, was two weeks off a marathon, and have never broken 18 minutes here, I told him I’d be happy with anything 18:30 or better.

First mile:  Started on the front line with eventual winner Tommy 5K.  The only other old guy saw around was long-time runner Dave Schaad.   Jostling for position at the start were men many years my junior.  Two asked my intended pace, and when I said 5:50, they were fine with me starting ahead of them.  A third stated he was looking to run 5:30 pace, so I offered to switch and take his 2nd row position, but he declined.  The very cool state police shotgun start occurred, and the 5:30 guy ran around and ahead of me.  Wish he had taken me up on my offer.  By the time we rounded the first corner (1/4 mile), there were about 15 runners ahead of me.  Disappointing.  Based on my breathing, I felt I was going a few seconds too fast, but held on pretty good to pass at least five runners and come through the first mile in 5:48.
Start of race.  Can you see Tommy and me overtaken by
runners sprinting out?
(left side, 2nd row)
(pic by Jana)
Middle mile:  Between an ever so slight uphill on Boone Street and my natural inclination to run the 2nd mile as my slowest, my pace dropped to low 6s.  I still managed to pass two runners in this stretch, and making a mental note that they were both breathing harder than me, made a correct assumption that they would not be coming back for me.  Mile 2 split 6:02.
Along the seawall.  Early in Mile 3.
(pic by Matthew)
Final mile and finish:  At the start of the 3rd mile, who do I come up to and pass?  The guy who sprinted around me at the start, and was looking to run 5:30 pace.  I make my own blunders for sure, but today his is pacing.  Heading on Ocean Road back to the finish, I see two more runners ahead of me, but remind myself that I still have a mile to go.  In the final miles of a marathon, each mile seems to drag painfully on, but this final mile and indeed entire race just went by so fast.  I ended up passing one of the two runners ahead of me, but the second one started and held on to an early kick.  Mile 3 was my fastest mile, with a split 5:45.
Finishing up
(Pic by Shara)
Final results:  18:16.  6th overall out of 812.  1st in age group.  Full results here.

For a race that I put zero prep work into and had zero expectations, my outcome exceeded my expectations.  After a short cool-down with Tommy (even got him onto the trails)!, caught up with fellow WTAC and NRA runners on the deck post-race.  A good day.  Glad I came and ran.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekly Log 24-Apr to 30-Apr-2017: Big Mileage Week into State Police 5K

Monday: 8
Li'l Rhody course in reverse.  Slow recovery run.  As I was finishing up, I passed an older gentlemen who recognized me and said, "Thank you for everything you and the Westerly Track & Athletic Club do for running."  Great way to finish up a run!

Tuesday:  6
With a chilly-ish (that's a word, right?) light morning rain, opted just to stay local and ran roads.  Got an enthusiastic call-out from Steve Schonning on East Ave.  That helped my mood, as my hands never really got warm in the rain in the upper 40s.

Wednesday:  6
Continuing my transition from the marathon to trail races, it's time to put some effort in. Bummed that Big River is canceled this year, I had thought about swapping Seven Sisters in instead. But as pointed out to me, I haven't been training for mountainous trails and I wouldn't be content to just finish it; I would want to do well.  So, no Seven Sisters, at least not this year, but let's start to get ready for other hills / mountain races coming up.
3 trips up Wilson Mountain
will hopefully be part of a training
regimen to make a stronger trail runner
out of me

Sign of a good trail run:
Mud splattered everywhere
Finished out the day with a 15-mile bike ride.  First of the season.

Thursday:  5
Noon time run and puddles run in the Westerly Town Forest.  Power lines section was mostly dry, but the red trail was flooded out.  Had fun running through it.

Evening swim at the Y with Matthew.  500 easy yards.  Arms sore.  I am an upper body weakling.

Friday:  14
AM:  11 mile run in rural Richmond, Hopkinton, and Exeter.  About 5 miles of the run were on dirt roads.  I really enjoyed Blitzkrieg Trail, which is essentially a single-lane dirt road through the forest for about three miles.
PM:  3 miles in my new racing flats, NB 1400 v2.  I typically buy shoes that are already discontinued, as you can buy them about half off retail.  I have no expectations going into Sunday's 5K, but felt better at least run in the shoes pre-race.

Saturday:  13
Solo trail run meandering through Burlingame, including the Burlingame Trail into Kettle Pond trails, Camp Watchaug, Sammy C's, North Camp, VG, and NST back to the campground parking lot.  Very warm and humid.
Vile creature that I pulled off my leg.
Tick season has returned.

Sunday:  7
RI State Police 5K.  Race report to follow.

Weekly mileage:
 1/4 mile.  Good to get started!
 15 miles.  Likewise, first time on the bike this year.
  61 miles!

Weekly synopsis:
Super happy with this one!  Of course, 61 miles barely got me into 3rd place on the WTAC leaderboard, but me, two weeks after a marathon, I'm feeling great and enjoying running.  Happy to also get in a first swim and ride of the year.  As I mentioned on last week's post, my summer focus will be on trail runs, but I'll also be looking to get in at least a couple of sprint tris.