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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Blessing of the Fleet 2017

Blessing of the Fleet
Narragansett, RI
Friday, July 28, 2017

The 46th edition of the Blessing, and my 15th in a row.  Like many summer races, you never know if you'll be running be heat, humidity, both, or whether you'll happen to luck out with favorable running conditions.  I've run this in decent 69-degree weather, temps of almost 90, sunny weather, overcast, and thunderstorms with downpours.

This year the temps were not bad (mid 70s), but the humidity was oppressive.  Giving that I'm writing this report two weeks in arrears, finer details are eluding me and thus I'll strive for brevity here.

Fast first three:  Despite my efforts to hold back,the first mile is always fast, as you're getting pulled out and it's a net downhill of -44 feet.  Muddy passed me early in the 2nd mile on Ocean Road and said something about this was not shaping up to be a great race for him.  I noticed at that time I was already almost soaked, but was able to keep the pace fairly steady all the way down to Scarborough Beach. 
Splits:  6:00, 6:08, 5:57.
1/2 mile in.  So far so good.
Matty P on my right, out for a stroll.

Struggling in miles 4 - 6:  Mile 3 was my fastest mile on the day at 5:57, and by the time I turned off Ocean Road, I was already slowing quite a bit.  I was absolutely saturated and drenched by now, and it was a sufferfest.  Felt the tiny incline up to the right-turn onto Route 108, which is always my slowest and least enjoyable section.  It should have been some relief that it was at least overcast, but it didn't seem to help.  I was reasonably confident that I was in 1st place for my age group at this point, but I was just slowing and slowing and knew the vultures were circling very close behind, waiting for the kill.  I felt at any moment that age group competitors Norm and Clay were going to pass me (in fact, post-race, both told me they could see me and had caught up behind me at this time).  Last year I ran a painstakingly slow 64:58 in a very hot and humid race, and I was fearful at this point that this year would be even slower.
Splits: 6:24, 6:18, 6:26 (slowest mile on the day)

Slight second wind for finish:  Turning off my dreaded 108 onto Windemere, I was able to pick it up slightly to return to 6-teens (6:1x pace).  It wasn't enjoyable or pretty and I still feared being passed by others in my age group, but soldiered on and conquered.
Final splits:  6:18, 6:17, 6:14, 6:04

Mile 7.5.  Form has broken down.  Just get me to the finish line.
(Pic by Matthew)

Final results:  1:02:33.  43rd out of 2,365 runners.  1st in age group!  Full results here.

Finally.  Very happy to be done.

Nothing left.

Soaked from head to toe, even drenched socks, at the finish.  For some reason, my Mom, who was spectating, didn't want to give me a hug!  Hung around for awards, where I picked up $75 to the Wakefield Running Store, plus a bunch of technical socks, before heading for dinner in Wakefield and then home.  #15 is in the books.  Results could have been better, but given the humidity and still winning my age group, no complaints.
It was dark by the time the awards given.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weekly Log 23-Jul to 30-Jul-2017

Monday:  6
Run in the rain downtown at lunch.

Tuesday:  10
AM:  5 on B-game trails with Tommy, followed by a 1/2 mile swim in Watchaug.
PM:  5 at Stonington Fun Runs.

Wednesday:  9
AM:  1/2 mile trail fail.  Blue Heron Trail.  Just too overgrown.
PM:  5 miles at Arcadia, on single-track Hudson Trail from 165 to Heartbreak Pond, CCW around pond, and back.  Followed up with 3 at Westerly Fun Run #6.  Slowest fun run of the year at 21:04 for the 5K, given that Blessing is 2 days away.

Thursday:  4
Slow and easy Blessing shake-out on local roads.

Friday:  11
The Blessing.  My 15th in a row.  Write-up to follow.

Saturday:  5
Recovery / reconnaissance at Wahaneeta.  Sore legs.

Sunday:  7
Bike:  28 miles with Chris and Mikey through Stonington.
Run:  7 with Matthew combining Grills Hopkinton and Westerly tracts.
Swim:  1/4 solo open ocean at East Beach, Charlestown.

Weekly mileage:  53

Weekly synopsis:  I'm doing a much better job keeping up my running then I am keeping up my blog!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Weekly Log 17-Jul to 23-Jul-2017

Blog catch-up.  Three weeks behind.  Ugh.  No one to blame but myself.

Monday:  8
Back to work Monday after 16 days off.  Solo 'round the pond.

Tuesday: 11
AM:  7 miles.  Descending ladder drill with Tom.  Matthew ran his own, but hung with us.  From Old Town Beach out to Ocean View Highway and back, with a refreshing jump in the ocean at end.  Saw a young coyote at intersection of Ocean View and Browning.
PM:  4 miles.  Stonington Fun Run.

Wednesday:  8
Turned 53 years young today.  After run a 50K on my 50th birthday, 51K total but not contiguous on my 51st, and running up Mount Esja (Iceland) on my 52nd, I had nothing to top it with this year.  Not complaining; just came back from an amazing natural trip in Alaska and had two weeks off from work.  Will plan future birthday adventures, but none this time around.

AM:  5 miles.  Adams Farm, Walpole, MA.  Deerfly assault.
PM:  3 miles.  Westerly Fun Run.  Good to be back to these.  I missed them.

Thursday: 6
Bradford Preserve and Woody.

Defending myself against deerflies by wearing a shirt (I so prefer singlets
in the summer heat) and my Nipmuck Trail Marathon buff.
Mikey said I look like a thug, Crutch said mafia, and Tommy said ghetto.
Whatever works!

Friday:  12
AM:  5 mile Burlingame dirt road / trail run with Tommy, followed by a 1,000 yard swim in Watchaug Pond.
PM:  7 miles at Groton Fun Run, including warm-up and cool-down.

Saturday:  13
Warm, humid run with Tom, Matthew, Mikey, and his friend Eric.  Goal was to run 5 miles in the middle at target Blessing pace.  I was shooting for about a 6-flat pace, but disappointingly ran progressively slower.  Impromptu stop at Cooked Goose on the way back, where they were kind of to provide 5 sweaty runners with glasses of ice water.

Sunday:  6
After a nice 30-mile group ride in the morning, still had enough energy for a solo barefoot beach run mid-afternoon at low tide.  Nice way to finish out the week.

Weekly mileage:  65

Weekly synopsis:  Other than my laziness with blog writing and disappointing pace on the Saturday workout, always happy when I can get in a 60+ mile week.