Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekly Post: January 9-15 2017

Well the foot of snow from last weekend disappeared after three days thanks to very warm January weather.  I was happy with this.  I like winter conditions to come and go.  I got in three awesome snowshoe runs, beating up my body in the process, but happy to return to open roads and trails.  Here is a Go Pro video (thanks for the motivation Seth!) of my "run" up Shumunkawall last Sunday.  It's a little long, but entertaining (to me anyway).

Monday: 7 miles - 1:01:15.  Snowshoe run in Ryan Park with Gunshow and Galoob.  It felt like old times, meeting up with these two guys for a midday adventure.  The temperature was still nippy (20's).  We headed out in the still deep snow from Ben's new house/farm that borders Ryan Park.  Breaking trail was tough, but conditions were much better on the railbed.  It was relatively hard packed by cross country ski tracks and walkers.  To my surprise, most of the single track trails were also well tracked.  We weaved around the east side of the park and then returned to the railbed and did a short loop on the west side before ending back at Ben's.  GPS had this at 5.6 miles, but it felt like 7 to me.

Tuesday: 11 miles - 1:37:43.  Long solo snowshoe run in Ryan Park.  It was a quiet day at work and I had the opportunity for a 1.5 hour run.  The rain was holding off and the temperature was now in the 40's.  This was perhaps my last chance to snowshoe run for a while so I went for it.  Conditions were awesome!  The packed trails were melting, but solid footing for my snowshoes.  Trail shoes would have been posthole hell.  I wore less winter layers.  I pretty much exhausted most trails in the park, except that extreme west side was not packed at all.  I did the Rte 4 trail, following one pair of boot tracks - that's it.  This was tiring, but the rest of the run was mellow and pleasant.  GPS had me at 9.1 miles.

Wednesday: 10 miles - 1:23:48. Saunderstown mix.  I parked at the King Preserve parking lot on Rte 1A.  Very warm (50's) and rather sunny.  I ran around the Plum Beach neighborhood roads before jumping on the beach and running north.  The tide was super low, and I debated ditching my planned loop to see if I could make the Plum Point - Casey Point connection.  I decided to press on with my course.  So much coastline was exposed and I was clearly running well under the normal low tide mark.  I made my way around Rome Point and then jumped back on the roads, this time heading south, mostly on Gilbert Stuart Rd.  It was then time to hit the trails in King Preserve.  The trails were in worse shape than I thought, and I had low expectations.  I tried to find the firmest options, and made my way over to the dirt road on the south side.  This hardpacked dirt road was so soft.  I got rather messy.  I finished up with a mile plus heading north on 1A, mixing in 5 strides.

"GPS looks like Bart Simpson giving someone the finger"
Quote by BLS 1-11-2017

Thursday: 11+ miles - 1:25:29.  Narragansett loop with Galoob.  Easy paced run mostly on roads in Middlebridge and Bonnet Shores, but included some dirt on Walmsley Ln and Bonnet Shores beach.  Very warm (56 degrees).

Friday: 11 miles - 1:21:40. Charlestown Chili 5K course finalizing in Ninigret Park.  Quiet in the park, and I had a good chunk of time to work on the course.  I was happy that my idea squeezed in rather nicely.  Out on the bike path to the crit course and back on the bike path.  My first run at 7:15 average pace netted 3.09 miles.  The second run was faster (6:35 ave. pace) with optimal tangents(?), and came out as 3.06.  I'm not surprised that faster on GPS usually equates to shorter.  I will run it again (same start and finish line) nice and slow and see what I get.  I may need to tweak start or finish lines.  Here is a quick course map I did (looks like a toddler may have done it....):

Charlestown Chili 5K, Saturday January 28th, 1PM

New bike path!

Can't wait to have the race use this! 

Saturday: 16 mile double.  AM 10.5 miles - 1:21:44.  Burlingame trails with Jon Short and Jeff.  Up Sammy C's at a brisk pace (I was dragging a bit), then VG to Lenny's Lane, over to a loop of VG, unnamed trail, Stillwater Rd, and white dot.  VG back to King's Factory Rd.  Chilly, but good fun.  I went home and stacked wood for about an hour.  After lunch - 5.5 hike with Sarah and the kids to my parents' house via Burlingame trails.  3 miles of no whining, and the kids carrying their backpacks with gear necessary for their overnight stay.  Sarah and I hiked back, cutting off part of the trails as it was very cold and looking like it may snow any minute.  Met up again with Jon Short and his better half in Westerly at the Malted Barley before heading over to the Knickerbocker to watch Soulshot play.  Missed the Patriots game, but I always enjoy this talented 10 or 11 piece band play.  Tiring day!

Sunday: 19 miles - 2:15:00.  Long run / workout mix solo.  I wasn't going to be able to join the group long run that I was planning which was frustrating.  Oh well.  I hoped I could still get a good run in at some point during the day, but truthfully, my body was rather tired from a busy Saturday and a big week of miles.  It turned out that I could get out around 11am for the long run I desired.  I quickly put together a nearby loop of trails and roads.  My idea was to run the road sections at marathon pace and run easyish on the trails.  I began at Meadowbrook Pond and saw Galoob's car in the parking lot.  I thought about running my loop in reverse thinking that I might run into him, but I figured he had been running for quite some time and probably wouldn't want to join me for my loop.  I warmed up for 1/4 mile on the road, then picked up the pace since I was on roads, and a flat one to boot.  The speed felt challenging without a proper warm up, but after tackling the rise over the train tracks, it was a breeze to speed down hill and then the flats leading to Carter Preserve.  I ran the frozen and lightly snow coated powerline trail.  I was wearing road shoes, and I was slipping a little bit with every step.  Not a big deal, but it proved to be tiring as the run went on.  Anyway, I jumped onto the wooded single track and made my way over to Charlestown School.  After this pleasant 3 miles it was back to pavement, and my longest stretch of it for my run - almost 5 miles.  I ran down into Shannock and then had to battle a continuous uphill the rest of the way (North Rd and Beaver River Rd).  After a while, I got into a good groove.  I was moving too fast for true marathon pace, but I was doing work and feeling good about it.  I finally made it to my turn off - still briefly paved but snow covered, and I fell into a jog.  4.67 miles at 6:12 ave. pace.  I was happy, although struggled up the slippery Wilbur Hill in the Grass Pond Preserve.  My respite on the trails was short lived, and it was back on pavement.  I now headed west down Wilbur Hill Rd and along Kenyon Hill Rd.  I reached my planned turnoff onto the NST in Carolina, but decided to tackle the huge hill in front of me.  I was again moving well (sub 6:10 for almost 2 miles), and I was making good work of the hill.  The steepness and length eventually took its toll, and I stopped once the road turned into dirt.  Kind of lame, but I was toast.  I jogged up the rest of the hill and then into Carolina.  I missed a planned turn, which added distance, more hills, and better trails.  I'm pretty sure I was seeing Galoob's tracks in the snow.  After a pleasant stroll (except for my tightness from slipping), I reached Pine Hill Rd.  This would be a short paved section, but uphill on tired legs.  It was a grind, but indeed short.  Back on trails.  I was feeling really good for 2 hours of running (and 80+ miles for the week).  I reached the open fields and the sun felt warm and the snow was gone.  I jumped onto Rte 91 for one more mile of speed (6:08), and then did a short cool down before stopping at 2 hours and 15 minutes.  My lower core was very tight and pain was setting in.  I took some vitamin I and felt fine ever since.

Week to Date: 85 miles
January to Date: 135 miles
Year to Date: 135 miles

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Weekly Post: January 2-8 2017

I'm looking forward to a busy January of running.  First up is Galoob's Resolution Beach & Trail 5K this Saturday the 7th.  I also am involved with the Charlestown Chili 5K again this year, and need to be out in Ninigret Park working on a new course that utilizes the recently finished bike path.  The race is Saturday, January 28th.  Other than that, I'm thinking about my goal races for the year.  I'm pretty interested in the Baystate Marathon in October.  It's an easy course and also serves as the marathon for the USATFNE Grand Prix.  Hopefully, I can knock a few minutes off my Manchester City Marathon time (2:53).  The date of Baystate most likely means the short race (23K) for Pisgah in mid September.  It's still early.

2016 ended with a great, mostly trail run.  First it was a group of 6 WTACers running from Ashville Pond, north on the Narragansett Trail to Camp Yawgoog.  Then we ran around Hidden Lake, connected with Tippecansett Trail, and followed north to Beach Pond.  This was a nice casual pace and very enjoyable for me.  Muddy and I then made a loop back to Ashville Pond via the techy and remote Deep Pond and Dye Hill Trails, and then jumping on roads (mostly Canonchet) back.  We passed 9 ponds on this route: Ashville, Long, Ell, Yawgoog, Hidden Lake, Beach, Deep, Grassy, and Wincheck.  I surpassed the 3,000 mile mark on Strava during this run.  I didn't try to keep track of my real miles, but I'm guessing around 3,200 or so.

Monday: 7 miles - 1:04:40.  Slow technical trails in Burlingame.  I zeroed on the 1st (Sunday) thanks to a busy day with family and a chest cold.  Today was the last day of vacation for everyone, so we took it slow.  I still had crud in my chest, but got out for an easy run on Sammy C's down to VG to Schoolhouse Pond to Secret and back to VG.  I ended with 4 random length strides on the road.

Tuesday: 0 - 0:00.  Wild day at work and very rainy.  I didn't bother to even entertain the idea of running today.  No big deal.

Wednesday: 11 miles - 1:22:48.  Quonset Bike Path and two Calf Pasture Point loops.  Work was much quieter and I had the time to run!  My idea was to run CPP since it is similar terrain to the Resolution race.  I wanted to do a light workout as well, but not too hard since I'm still getting over head/chest crud and race is on Saturday.  After 3 miles on the bike path I did two CPP loops, mixing in 5 x 1 minute on/off.  4 out of the 5 were on the very slow beach (peak high tide) and the last was back on the bike path.  The sprints felt taxing but very slow.  I'm not sore from it, so that's all I wanted.  Long cool down back to my car.

Thursday: 9 miles - 1:09:20. King Preserve and Camp Nokewa single track with about a mile of pavement and dirt roads in between.  I ran into Sandals and stopped and chatted for a few minutes.  I was hoping the trails would be frozen (only 33 degrees and windy), but they were very wet and muddy - especially the Blue Dot high up on the hill.  I did my best to leave no trace, and just plow through the slop.  This was a fun out and back.  GPS had it at 8.1 miles, but my effort was peppy, and closer to 7:30 feel.

Friday: 5+ miles - 44:06.  Black Point trails and Scarborough Beach.  We received 3-4" of fluffy snow in the morning (kids had a 1 hr delay) and I needed to see what the race course would be like.  Plenty of tracks on the Black Point trails and decent grip.  Not many icy spots as I had feared.  It was high tide, but the sliver of exposed beach (not snow covered or under water) was flat and firm.  I took a few photos to post on Strava:

Fluffy snow in the Black Point parking lot

Creepy selfie on the ocean trail

trail heading toward the ruins

icy in the ruins

large tidal stream that the course usual passes over

Saturday: 10 miles - Resolution Beach & Trail 5K - 5th overall, 19:00.  What an incredible day for a race.  Big snow storm brewing, and the flakes began falling a few minutes before start time.  It was 25 degrees and very windy (out of the north).  I ran 4+ miles of warm ups over 3 different runs.  I was excited for the normal team battle, as well as the fact that my wife and 2 kids were both racing as well!  On top of that, I had convinced a couple of friends to sign up for WTAC and join in the fun.

By the time I had finished my wardrobe change for the race (wind briefs, shorts, short sleeve shirt, singlet, hat, gloves, and xc spikes!), and ran to the start line, it was time to go.  The wind driven snow really picked up, and it was clear this race was going to be in epic conditions.  Lots of smiles at the line, and then the race began.  I wanted to just hang with the lead pack, only if the start was not too fast.  Brightman went out hard, and I settled into a chase pack of fellow teammates Muddy and FiveK plus other guys.  At the flag turnaround, I was fifth in a strung out train.  We now needed to run almost a mile down the beach directly into the wind and stinging snow.  It was crazy!  By the mile mark, I was passed by Rhode Runner Mike Macedo (who I narrowly beat last year here) and another local runner.  I tucked in behind them (didn't help), and then made a move around both just before the slow, snowy beach dune trail.  This worked well.  The footing wasn't great and I felt slow, but I had created room.  I felt like my quick cadence and spikes gave me an advantage.  That was until the 1/4 mile road section.  I did my best to fight the wind and the clackety clack of my shoes.  My margin was slim as I reached the Black Point parking lot.  Onto the snow trails, I again just focused on turnover, and using any slight downhill to my advantage.  Soon I was safely ahead of Mike again.  Up ahead, Muddy made his way around FiveK (3rd and 4th overall) and I wondered if I had a shot to catch FiveK on the trail portion.  I knew my shoes had much better grip than his (we warmed up together) and trails aren't his forte.  I made up a bit of ground, but he did a great job in these conditions.  I reached the ruins, jumped down to the beach, over the tidal stream, and onto the long finishing stretch.  In six years, today had the best conditions - firm flat sand and a wicked tailwind.  I went into rapid turnover mode.  Peeking back, I could see I wasn't going to get caught from behind.  FiveK was not to be caught by me however.  I finished up in 19:00 flat.  Fifth overall for the 2nd year in a row.  This time 10 seconds ahead of Mike Macedo (as opposed to 2 seconds last year).  I was also 10 seconds behind FiveK.  Rhode Runner finished 1,2,6 and WTAC was 3,4,5.  Close, but no cigar for the men's team.

After finishing and watching finishers for a few minutes, I remembered I needed to go check on how my kids were doing.  Jon Short joined me, and we headed off back into the wind and snow, both sporting some serious ice beards.  We made it all the way around Black Point, through the ruins, and back on the beach.  I caught up to one friend and their 9 year old daughter, but never up to my family.  I was happy to hear they all had finished without incident, and seemed rather proud of their accomplishments in such a crazy weather day.  I hung around the boiling water pot for awards, but most people had smartly headed home.  The snow was sticking to the roads, and coming down hard.  I began shivering uncontrollably, so I had to bail as well.  Long ride home, but uneventful.  The Galoobs did it again!  Another race I will never forget!!

Jackson and Ellie and their friends at the start
Photo by Annie Campbell

ice beard post race and cool down
Photo by Maria MacLellan

end of the race: FiveK with me in the background
Photo by Shara Bousquet

Huddled around the boiling pot of water post race.  
Photo by Leslie O'Dell

Me at the starting line.  
Photo by Annie Campbell

And the race begins!
Photo by Scott Mason

Sunday: 8 miles - 1:07:01. Local snowshoe run mostly in Burlingame.  GPS had me at 5.3, but with about a foot of new powder to blast through, I'm giving myself credit for 8.  It's my blog and I can do what I want :).  I began by slogging out Shumunkawall Trail on my property.  After less than a half mile at 22 min/mile pace, I jumped onto the road and ran along the snow covered edge.  I then veered into north Burlingame by the beaver pond - breaking trail again, but at least downhill.  Just as I had hoped, the main loop of double track in this management area, had fresh 4x4 truck tracks on it (DEM or just someone out joy riding).  I hopped into a wide track and the going was much easier.  I stayed in the track for a mile or so, before deciding to again blaze trail - this time the single track portion of the River Trail.  This was tough, but I knew I just had to make it to the canoe camps, and the double track up the hill should be tracked by the 4x4.  Along the way I spotted a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker which was exciting to me.  Unfortunately no 4x4 tracks at the canoe camps - just a lonely fox or coyote track that was not remotely useful.  The long climb was a soul crusher, and I had to walk a lot.  After forever, I reached the top, and the 4x4 tracked main loop.  A couple of minutes later I took a digger on a downhill and shouted loudly.  Right around the corner, I spotted two skiing humans on the Ledge Trail who must of heard me.  We didn't acknowledge each other.  I took the loop back to the beaver pond, and then slowly climbed out to my road using my previous tracks.  Despite the cold temperature (high teens and cold wind), I was a sweaty mess.  This was also after I spent an hour shoveling, so I was really pooped by the time I came back inside.  Hunger ensued.  I took a couple of Go Pro videos (thanks for the motivation Seth!) on my Shumunkawall adventure that I might post on the next blog update.

Weekly Total: 50 miles
January to Date: 50 miles
Year to Date: 50 miles

Friday, September 9, 2016

September 1st through the 11th

Hi there.  I will try my best to revive regular postings on this thing.  Running over the summer months went decent.  I seem to be speed workout adverse in my 40's.  I continue to enjoy plodding along on trails and hills of any kind.  Work is much busier this year, so sometimes my options of lunch runs is smaller.  That is kind of a bummer.  I also seem to be busy doing other fun things on weekends, and don't get in all the long runs I'd like.  However, when I get the chance, I'm satisfied with my fitness.  Hills work.  I also haven't been bothering to keep a "real" tab of my miles this year.  I just upload my activities to Strava, which has my mileage (through 9/8/16) as 2,168.  Obviously, I disagree with this, but since I don't want to go back through every run, I came up with a rough estimate.  Strava has my hours of running at 312.  I'll multiply that by a conservative 7.5 miles per hour (8 minute miles).  That puts me at 2,340.  Good enough.

Running conditions this summer were a bit frustrating.  I got a ridiculous tan thanks to the poor leaf cover in the woods.  The poor trees had to deal with infestations from winter moths, tent caterpillars, and then gypsy moths.  It was eerie at times, running through sections of forest that looked dead, including pines, shrubs, and ground cover.  The forest floor was brown and orange.  You were exposed to the sun.  And at times, you would have incredible views of the surrounding countryside - views not even possible in winter due to evergreens.  This made for hot runs, even though the summer was dry and the temperature moderate.  

As September begins, we are dealing with tropical conditions.  Still waiting for cool mornings and dry pleasant days.  I'm trying to motivate myself to mix in speed work.  Still haven't made it to the track.  I have continued to run hills as much as possible.  Here's a rundown of the days: 

9/1 (Thu): 5 miles (41:33) - Glacier Park trails. I snuck in this quickie after an obnoxiously busy day at work and right before a WTAC board meeting.  I kept the pace easy, but had fun roller coastering around the moraine.  I tried to hit every trail.  I also tried not to get too sweaty, but it was humid!  

9/2 (Fri) 27 miles (3:53:27) - Arcadia trails.  Epic solo run as a test for the upcoming Pisgah 50K.  The office was closing early, so I decided to just take the morning off too and get in this long run that I really needed before the 50K.  It took some planning (aid station drop), and I used a similar course as a 3:15 run I did here during the summer.   I've been running in my uber comfy Nike Flyknit 3.0's (older model that I found a few pairs left on a website) and decided to experiment using them today.  I ran with my fuel belt with 4 small water bottles that I also find comfortable.  I debated wearing a singlet since it was a nice morning (about 60's), but after my first climb on the defoliated side of Mt. Tom, I'm glad I didn't wear it.  No Gu's in the house, so I packed 2 small Cliff bars and had salty bbq chips stocked in my "aid station" cooler at around GPS mile 16.  The loop course I had mapped came to 26.6 miles, with many opportunities to cut short after 20 miles if necessary.  The first 10 miles went well except for spider webs.  I did get more hot than I planned.  After 2 ascents of Mt. Tom on mtn bike trails, Escoheag Hill via Escoheag Trail, and Old Voluntown Rd, I was ready for some flat sections.  However, miles 9-13 were brutal on the Pachaug Trail around Beach Pond.  This trail is the most technical I can think of in southern NE.  At GPS mile 10, I stopped to briefly cool off in Beach Pond, with the trickiest of trail just ahead.  It did not disappoint.  It feels like forever, scrambling over rocks, up and down, up and down.  I had some slips.  Ripped off most of a shoelace on a branch (good think my shoes fit like slippers!).  I cursed frequently (I encountered ZERO humans the entire 4 hours on the trails).  I was happy to finally reach a old dirt road, but fatigue was creeping in slowly.  And I was looking forward to my "aid station".  Another good climb up Escoheag Hill via Canonicus Trail and then a screaming descent down the road.  I could rest, drink (Pepsi, Gatorade), and eat chips.  I had been running 2 hrs and 39 minutes.  I was in good spirits knowing that at most, I had about 10 miles left.  My quads did cramp a bit when I sat down.  That I didn't like, but I was able to stretch.  I also refilled my water bottles.  I was ready to get back on the trail.  Pretty quickly things got hard again as I climbed Escoheag Hill (again!) via a steep old ski trail.  I switched to power hike mode briefly.  The climb was so hot, sitting exposed to the bright sun on the grassy slope.  It took a while to recover, but I had a nice gradual downhill to get to the start of the Breakheart Trail.  I had another monster climb up Penny Hill on this trail that found me walking a very short steep section near the top.  At this point I was toast - hot and burnt out.  I was mentally not loving this long run anymore.  As I continued on the Shelter Trail, I noticed a couple of pings of quad cramps.  At least it took 3 hours and 15 minutes to run into my cramping problem.  Well, it never became a problem (at least until my ride home), I just knew it was ready to attack.  I rambled on, feeling fatigued and hot.  I forced myself to run up the double track from Breakheart Pond to my secret soaking hole.  Man the water was so cold and delicious.  I sat in the pool for a couple of minutes, feeling my core temperature drop.  I was refreshed, but done running.  I still had 3 miles left on my planned route, which included 2 good hill climbs.  I instead opted to just do the climb up the Bliven Trail and then work my way down the hill directly to my car.  I finished with exactly 25 GPS miles.  I'll call it 27.  Strava had the elevation gain as 2,527.  Once in my car (now cramping and annoyed with having to drive to pick up my "aid station") thoughts of emailing the Pisgah race director and switching to the 23K were in my mind.  A day after, I felt like I'm in good shape for the 50K.  I'm sure I'll struggle at times, but I'm ready.  

9/3 (Sat): 1 mile (45 min) - family hike at Pitcher Mountain.  Nice relaxing time with great views.  Then a 30 minute SUP on Highland Lake.  I'm not sure what the data means, but I was working hard!

9/4 (Sun): 1 mile (1 hr) - family hike in Arcadia.  Another pleasant stroll with kids and cousins around the hatchery.

9/5 (Mon): 0 - Hermine day on the hill.  Strong NE winds all day.  I attempted to go out late in the afternoon, but it seemed silly and probably dangerous.

9/6 (Tue): 13.5 miles (1:40:20) - East Greenwich roads (short trail section) lunch run.  Sticky tropical air.  Overcast, sometimes rain, sometimes sun.  My watch seemed funky, always reading much slower than how I felt.  I took 3 days off from running, I think I was moving pretty well.  Whatever.  Also, it mapped on Strava to over 800' of climbing, but Strava gave me only 666'.  Whatever.  I mixed in some speed the last 1.5 miles on the slightly down hill terrain.

9/7 (Wed): 10.5 miles (1:20:09) - Exeter/Richmond dirt and trail out and back.  A repeat of a fun run I did the week before, but I found a side trail this time which eliminated most of a short paved road section on Rte 3.  Good Pisgah prep with gnarly double track climbs.  I felt like I was moving well, but again GPS wasn't showing it.  Sprint down hill finish (5 min pace for 2/3 mile).

9/8 (Thu): 11 miles (1:23:41) - Wickaboxet Trails and 2.5 x Plain Meeting House Rd climb.  Good workout.  This mapped out as 1,500' of climbing on Strava (result was 1,339').  I ran through Wickaboxet, first on double track then on single track, crossing into the Pratt Preserve.  The steep hill here was challenging, and the tropical air made it hard to breathe.  I then had to motor up the last steep 1/3 of the road to the top of Bald Hill (yes another one).  I then went down, up, down, up on this 1.15 mile section of road (360' elevation change - yes, the biggest mile road climb in the state).  I performed well, keeping the pace under control and steady.  Peppy finish back through the woods to my car.  I'll do this one again.

9/9 (Fri): 11 miles (1:26:30) - Exeter dirt and paved roads out and back.  I again parked on NLT near the baseball fields and ran the 2 miles of hilly terrain out to Rte 3/165.  I then ran paved roads (Black Plain Rd and Austin Farm Rd - which turns to dirt) to Arcadia, near my favorite soaking spot.  It was scorching hot out when exposed to the sun and ultra humid.  My legs were tired and I used the mid run soak as motivation.  It was fun exploring a couple of new miles and I survived.  951' of elevation gain.

9/10 (Sat): 0 - busy day with the kids that began with a 8AM soccer game.  Not easy getting out the house for that one.

9/11 (Sun): 17 miles (2:10:20) - long run on local roads and trails.  This will be my last real run until Pisgah next Sunday.  I began by running down my road and Kings Factory Rd cheering on the Firmman Half Ironman participants on their bikes (usually I do this from my house).  I ran about four miles of roads out (with trail diversions in Schoolhouse Pond and Charlestown Moraine Preserves).  I was having so much fun cheering, that I opted to spend more time on pavement than planned, and did shorter trail sections in Burlingame (but kept it nice and hilly).  I couldn't resist a swim in the Pawcatuck River at the canoe camps.  The water is so refreshing and deep.  More hills to get home.  I'm feeling good about my fitness and I think I got my body ready to suffer.  1,100' of climbing.

Family trip to Galilee in the afternoon once the weather broke - sunny, dry, and fun little waves to body surf.  Champlin's for dinner.  Yum!

63 miles for the week with about 5,000' of climbing (probably closer to 6,000'), and 8 hours of running time.  My plan is to barely run at all the next 6 days until the race.  Maybe mix in a little fun cross training.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

USATF NE Trail Championship 2016

Earlier this spring I was able to race the USATF NE Trail Championship in Andover, MA aka the Merrimack River 10M Trail Race.  Usually the race conflicts with other things, but I had no excuses this year to skip out.  It is a trail race, but races like a track meet.  Because it is the trail championship, part of the ATR series, and also the first trail race in the established Grand Tree Series, this race attracts a ton of fast runners.  Because the course is easy, it attracts a bunch of fast road runners.  I had no expectations in regards to finishing place, even for just the Masters division.  I instead focused on my overall time, settling for a number I thought made sense based on comparisons to other runners - 64 minutes.  My brother Greg who has experience at this race, set the bar higher for me: 61 or 62.  He was adamant that I could be that fast here.  I had plenty of trail racing under my belt already this year.  I was pumped! 

I made the trek up with Mike Galoob.  We got there early, signed up, and decided to walk the first part of the course.  The race begins in a parking lot, but in a matter of feet, narrows to a muddy single track section (that becomes quadruple track during the race).  I made the note to not bother to try to get across on the bridge and just aim straight through the mud.  The trail then meets the river and is a very pleasant path along the shore.  It was more of a trail than I was led to believe, but still very fast.  After our hike, we then headed back out for a warm up, change into racing gear, and strides in the parking lot and grass.  The vibe was more machismo than friendly trail venue.  Super focused speedsters not messing around.  I was a little underdressed for the chilly start temp, but I knew I would be working hard and never cold during the race.  I snuck into the far right hand side of the starting line.  I didn't want to be up front, but I also didn't want to get stuck behind people tip-toeing through the beginning mud bog. 

The race began and it was a quagmire.  Some people fell.  I remained upright and stuck to my plan. 

Here we go!  Tucked into the left corner. 
Straight through the mud I go.  Stink eye from blue shirt. 

Ended up next to Galoob who took the bridge.

Things quieted down.  I was in a decent spot (20th?) of a long single file line, although I felt a little out of place, seeing some of the runners I was with. 

I shouldn't be near that guy in front of me!
The running felt fast.  I was pushing myself pretty hard, but trying to keep my pace to something I could reasonably maintain for 10 miles.  I thought the sorting out was done after a mile or so, but I got annoyed as people continued to pass me at the two mile mark.  I felt like I was in 50th place (exaggerating).  I decided to increase my effort and stick with a group of three runners who just passed me by.  After 3 miles, I anticipated the hills.  I was told there were three in each direction.  I hoped this would be my strong suit, but honestly I also preferred a slower grind to a fast sprint at that point.  The hills went well, but it was hard to catch my breath at the top and crank down the other side.  There were a few tricky descents.  I was reeling in the group of 3.  Then, on the steep hill at the powerline, I snuck by two of them after the pace dropped to a crawl (they actually power hiked and I ran).  Check out the 2:15 mark of this video for the action. 

I continued to trail the last of the 3 in a yellow SRR singlet.  I figured it was only a matter of time and I remained close.  I definitely had put good distance on the other two behind me.  Then as the turnaround neared, I began seeing the leaders coming in the opposite direction.  I was very wary of making way for them.  I was bummed to see that Galoob wasn't as high up as I thought he would be.  I reached the end and had to ask what I was supposed to do (just turn around and run duh!).  I think my split was 30:40ish.  Running against traffic was a bit nerve wracking.  At first, it was scary to see all the competition not far behind me.  Then it was a bit frustrating to not always get cooperation from slow runners much later.  I wasn't as aggressive as maybe I should have been here.  I let the SRR guy get too far ahead at time during the hills, and missed my opportunity on the powerline hill in the opposite direction as I got very close to him.  Check out footage from the above video at the 6:20 mark. 
Honestly I remember thinking that I wasn't giving it my all on my return trip through the hills.  It was somewhat because of oncoming traffic, but really I was tired and I had no pressure from behind.  I couldn't see anybody.  I actually was looking forward to the last 3 miles of flatness.  I knew that I would be able to pick it back up and finish strong.  The SRR guy was putting distance on me and I gave up that fight.  That is until I reached the flat riverbed again.  I clearly was catching up to him.  I found a comfortable gear with quick turnover and just tried to stick with it.  His lead on me was shrinking, but at a painfully slow rate.  My best hope was to make a surge near the finish.  Then I caught a glimpse of someone gaining on me from behind - another SRR jersey being worn by Eric Ahern.  I know him from the TARC 50K (well 40K for me) and few years ago, and that he is a great ultra runner who looks fast.  I wanted to beat him.  There was about two miles left.  Running scared now - I was moving even faster.  With about a half mile to go he caught and passed me.  I tried to hold him off, but I think my speed was pegged.  I could only watch in disappointment as he then battled his SRR teammate the last stretch to the finish.  I made my way gingerly through the mud (almost slipping) and crossed the finish line.  See 9:40 mark of video. 
The finish. 
1:02:12.  I was really happy with my time.  Greg nailed it!  Turns out that I was 14th overall and 3rd master!  Results here.  It felt good to compete so well on a big stage.  The race was more "traily" than I thought going in.  I enjoyed the sprint-hills-sprint format.  I definitely feel like I need a little more speed (complete lack of speedwork probably didn't help) for the flats, but I really can't complain. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wapack 21.5 Mile Trail Race 2016

Saturday, May 7th, I ran my second consecutive Wapack trail race.  Last year I surprised myself with a 2nd place finish that was the third fastest all time on this course.  I led the first 17 miles before fatigue in my lower legs (calf cramps!) set in, and I lost 10 minutes over the final 3.5 miles to the race winner Ryan Welts.  I was determined to finish stronger this year.  I also wanted a rematch with Ryan, but he didn't enter.  I was slightly bummed, but I rallied to still put up good training over the last couple months.  Hill repeats.  Technical trails.  Trail races.  Long trail runs (well not as many 3 hour ones as I hoped for).  I felt ready.  I felt like I could put up a sub 3:30 time just by finishing the last 3.5 miles running.  My goal was to not be too aggressive on the first (and biggest) climbs and descents of the day.  Last year I was definitely pushing it trying to stay ahead of Ryan.  It was very possible that no one would be with me this year anyway. 

Race day.  It was cool (mid 40's) but muggy and overcast.  It looked like there might be some showers during the race, but no major downpours.  The trail would be wet this year.  I opted for my sturdy and extremely sticky Inov8 Roclite 295's that may be from 2009.  I don't wear them much, but they are still very grippy, and my go to choice on wet rocks.  I know I can trust them.  Despite the cool temperature, I just wore a singlet and short shorts.  I carried 7 Gu's (ate one on the bus ride to the start) in my new fancy fanny pack.  It is super comfortable and has 4 small water bottles.  No hat, gloves, or sunglasses.  I stuck to myself and stayed focused on my plan.  After the bus ride to the start (northern end - finish and parking at southern end) I ran some strides and scoped out the competition.  Despite being ranked #1 on, I knew there are always surprises.  That were a handful of other guys doing strides as well.  I don't remember anyone doing them last year.  There was a younger friendly guy who introduced himself and asked my name.  He then exclaimed to another runner that he had found Mr. Hammett.  His name was Ben (didn't remember a Ben on the registration list) and he was hoping to run 3:30 and stick with me.  He reminded me of Boj. 

The race began and I took the lead immediately.  Once in the woods, I tried to not rush, but sure enough, Ben was right with me.  The climbing soon starts (almost a 1000' climb) and he continued to stick to my heels.  He said the pace was perfect.  I slipped a couple of times on steep mud sections and he took the lead.  He was moving really well, and I decided to not give chase.  I needed to save my body for later.  Who knows what this kid is capable of?  This first climb is steep and technical.  I felt like I was doing a good job with it (later confirmed on Strava that it was only 7 seconds slower than last year).  No sign of Ben.  I began the tricky descent.  The wet rocks made things dicey, but I thought overall, it would help my race by taking it slower than last year.  No sign of Ben - lots of 50 Milers coming in the opposite direction though.  I then climbed South Pack.  This climb is still long, but not nearly as hard.  I ran every step which I did not do last year.  I wasn't rushing and felt really strong.  No sign of Ben.  Time for the hardest descent of the day.  So many wet boulders!  I fell once.  Eventually I could hear traffic on a road.  I was getting close to the bottom.  Then I heard cheering from the first aid station.  Probably for Ben.  I was anxious to get down, but missed a blaze and descended a bit before realizing my mistake.  I backtracked back up and then found the blazes.  It's hard to look up for blazes when your tiptoeing on wet rocks!  This year I stopped at the aid station.  I drank Coke and had one of my bottles filled with some more.  I was told I was 45 seconds back, but it seemed to me it was more like 2-3 minutes.  Whatever.  I needed to run my own race.  Looking at Strava, my South Pack climb was 23 seconds faster than last year, but my descent was 2 and half minutes slower.  Crazy! 

I crossed the road and began the third climb of the day, which is a rather long one, but up a service road.  Good footing.  I again didn't walk a step (I briefly did last year) - beat my time up by 12 seconds.  Now I was on a fun part of the course.  The trail runs along a treed ridge line, with some small ups and downs for a couple of miles.  You can really crank here.  I felt pretty smooth.  No sign of Ben.  Or humans really.  Eventually, I reached the longer descent down to another road.  Somewhere here I slipped and fell onto my hands and knees.  I had a good puncture would in my left palm, and tore skin off my left pointer finger.  There was a good amount of blood and swearing.  I ran on.  I reached the road, this year knowing which way to go (down the road!).  No Ben.  Felt pretty good though.  I reached a long not-steep double track climb.  I remember being confused by the lack of blazes last year, but this year hey were brightly painted.  Thanks!  I also was climbing really well.  No walking breaks.  I knew I was making up quite a bit of time in this section.  The climbing does seem endless though.  Finally I hit the descent and reached the 2nd aid station.  I was at 2 hours which I thought was close to last year.  The volunteer said I was like 5 minutes back.  Come on!  I grabbed some more Coke and water and headed back out. 

I crossed another road and was now in the Windblown XC trail system.  At first, it is very runnable and fun.  Then you hit this ridiculously steep double track climb into the deep woods.  This is where things turned ugly for me last year.  I tried to have a better time of it, but it is terrible.  I hiked up, purposely trying to get my breathing under control, and not rush things.  I still was focused on being able to run the last few miles in.  Things were not going as planned however.  My running on the flats and downs was slowing down.  On the next climb I felt the twinge of a calf cramp coming on.  Oh no!  I did my best to make positive movement, albeit slower, and not let my race fall apart.  This section has many small climbs and descents.  I kept thinking I was close to dropping back down for good and getting to the final aid station.  Where is the photographer?  Finally, I hit open ledges in the fog and there was the camera.  My face shows how I was feeling here.  Soon after passing by, the trail began descending.  This is what I was waiting for, although the pain going down was awful.  Then I tripped and fell on my side and back.  As I fell my left calf locked up on me.  I shouted in pain as I tried to free my stuck calf.  I wondered if the cameraman could hear me.  I stretched out both calves before commencing running again.  It seemed to help.  I reached the bottom and soon was on the double track to the final aid station.  My spirits were up.  Last year this was my lowest point.  I wasn't hurting as bad this time.  I stopped and the awesome volunteer refilled my bottles with water and Coke while I sat on the ground and stretched some more.  I was ready to rock out the relatively easy double track up the backside of Mount Watatic.  I left the station at the 3:04 mark.  I believed I was 3 or 4 minutes behind last year, but I was going to make up the time.  I was running! 

The running went well for two miles or so.  I felt like it was taking too long to reach the summit.  Then I began to crash mentally and physically. I had to slowly walk the last 100' or so to the top.  I thought I still was okay.  I could still finish just a tad faster than last year.  No shame in that.  I tried to jog down the mountain - less than a mile to go I hoped.  I couldn't do it.  I was feeling out of it and my calves were screaming at me to not use them anymore.  I hiked down and ate another Gu.  I wasn't hungry, but I thought this would help me get down.  I felt woozy.  Was I going to make it to the finish line?  I passed by a group of 3 hikers.  They asked if I was running a race.  I said I was, but I couldn't run anymore.  They asked how long the race was and told me I was almost done.  Just after passing by them I fell to the ground with a powerful calf cramp in my right leg.  I couldn't get it to release the tension.  I was screaming in pain, and afraid I might pass out.  One of the hikers made her way down to me.  She asked if it was okay if she touched my leg.  She didn't massage it, just held her hands on it.  She told me to breathe slowly.  This grandma figure saved me!  My calf felt better.  I stood up, thanked her profusely, and marched on.  After a minute or so, my energy came back.  I had survived the bonk!  I tried to jog, but my legs wouldn't have it.  I made it to the finish line though.  3:46:36.  12 minutes slower than last year!  I was happy to just have made it off Mount Watatic without medical assistance.  According to the Strava segment for the Watatic descent of .5 miles, it took me about 18 minutes.  That has to be a course worst!  This was 7 minutes slower than my pathetic 11 minutes last year. 

Limping to the finish.  Photo by Jesse Veinotte.

Ben had a very good day.  He was all smiles at the finish.  He just set the course record by 3 minutes!  We chatted for a while and then his friend came in (3rd place in 3:57).  I ate some food, drank lots of water and Coke.  I finally hobble to my car to change.  My calves and quads now were cramping.  This sucked.  I did my best to loosen up and decided to just start driving home.  It wasn't fun, but not terrible. 

Post race chatting with Ben.  Photo by Jesse Veinotte. 

Some time has past since the race.  I'm okay with it.  This course is a known butt kicker.  I climbed really well.  I descended slowly - partly due to conditions, partly due to not being chased.  My body fell apart again.  I'm blaming lack of long runs in mountains.  I felt good on long technical trail runs leading up to this race.  I can't mimic the pounding of 5K of elevation gain and loss.  Fueling and/or hydration played a role.  Even though the weather was cool - never got higher than 48 degrees - it was very muggy.  I'm a novice when it comes to this stuff.  I rarely carry anything on my local long runs.  Oh well.  I now have two top 10 finishing times on this course.

Top Performances

Friday, April 8, 2016

Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race 2016

Saturday, March 26th, I ran my 5th Brrr-lingame trail race in the very nearby Burlingame State Park.  I was looking forward to pushing myself around snow free fast trails.  Conditions seemed to be very similar to the fast race here two years ago.  I completed the two lap course in 1:06:09 (write up here) and was very pleased with my time at the time.  This year I wanted to PR, but didn't have a strict time goal in mind.  Despite being on local trails that I know well, I never place as high as I'd like.  The fast guys can be fast here, and a bunch had preregistered or showed up on race morning. 

I didn't arrive quite as early as I'd like, but still had plenty of time for a group warm up.  The race field certainly looked fast despite not being huge.  I was feeling well rested (no midweek workout) and ready to rock.  I did a couple of field sprints right before the start. 

I always get carried away at the start of this race.  I just want to hammer the rolling single track and the adrenaline let's me keep up with the leaders.  I really tried to hold back (my current racing theme), but after we crossed the field and enter the woods, I got really itchy to move up.  I settled into 5th place.  The front of the train was already pulling away, and I did my best to just try to keep up with Steve Brightman (in 4th).  We hit the one steep hill during the first mile, and I closed the gap on all the leaders as they didn't seem comfortable with the climb or screaming descent on the other side.  This was short lived and all four of them (Pat Moulton, The Erics (L and N), Brightman)  pulled away from me.  I wasn't surprised by this at all, although annoyed that Brightman is in such good shape these days.  There was no let down in pace after losing contact with the lead pack.  I had Bob Jackman and Muddy close behind me.  My goal was to now discourage Bob, and I really hammered the climbs to create distance.  This didn't work.  I thought he might pass before we reached the ridge at around mile 3.  This is a rather technical section and one that I hoped favored me.  I worked it hard, Bob in tow.  Suddenly as we neared the end, I realized we had caught back up to the lead pack.  This was pretty exciting.  I wanted to blast by all of them, but the terrain wasn't really conducive for that.  Finally, as well spilled off the ridge, all hell broke loose.  Just as I was going to make my move, Bob came crashing around me and most of the others.  I made my way around some of the leaders as well.  It was a great feeling.  I knew this would be short lived as the trail widened and got a lot smoother.  The top 4 again went by, and I found myself trailing Bob as well, with Muddy right on my heels.  I was already mentally feeling drained by the fast race start and racing in this spot for the next 7 miles seemed daunting.  Oh well.  I just kept going trying to keep in front of Muddy and passing Bob on a steep little climb.  After the descent on the other side, the trail opens up to wide double track for quite some time.  Muddy went by me saying he was going to try to reel in Brightman.  I wasn't surprised by this - Muddy crushed this course two years ago, and this distance is right in his wheelhouse.  I then felt someone else pull along side of me, and I made a comment to him assuming it was Bob.  Nope.  A stranger.  Who was this guy?  I picked it up, not wanting this stranger to pass me before entering the famous bog bridge section.  He stayed close though.  Right before the first bridge Muddy (who was a few seconds ahead) took a digger in some mud.  He popped right up and stayed ahead of me.  He seemed to then run angry and increase his lead on me again.  I got away from the stranger.  Now running in and out of the camp roads, I seemed to be heading for no man's land.  I just tried to do my best watching Muddy put distance on me, then he fell again, this time jumping over a high tree obstacle.  It looked bad, but again he popped right up and kept moving.  However, after a few moments he let up and let me go by him, in obvious pain/discomfort from his accident.  I wasn't happy to pass him in this way - I hoped he wasn't too hurt and even wondered if he would drop out after the first loop (that was almost completed).  My first lap was 32:02 - a PR.  I knew I'd have trouble matching this on the 2nd, but I was feeling confident and rejuvenated.  My first mile of lap 2 was lonely, and not as fast as the adrenalinized first time around.  About a mile in I was surprised to hear somebody behind me, and at a corner I could see it was Muddy!  I was happy he was still racing and now concerned for my place.  I picked it up on the rolling hills (both ups and downs).  I reached the ridge and tried to hammer it again, hopefully catching up to whoever was in 4th place (I never could see anyone ahead of me).  No dice, but I did see Muddy closing in by the end.  Ugh. Or was it?  I realized that I was running hard and feeling really good.  I only had 2 miles left.  I had plenty left in the tank.  Time to push.  That's what I did, finally seeing 4th place on the wide double track before the bog bridges - Pat Moulton.  I only know him as a super fast road marathoner (the fastest in RI with Matty P in CT now??).  I've never seen his name in the results of a trail race.  Maybe he was hurting or dejected - another victim of a Mike Galoob course.  He was pretty far ahead, but I was motivated, picking my pace up to almost sprint mode.  Maybe I could catch him on the bog bridges?  It was awesome to feel like the hunter with something left at the end of the race.  At the end of the bridges, I could see that he was only 10 seconds or so ahead now.  One mile left of intermittent single track between camp roads.  He seemed effortlessly fast on the road parts, but I kept closing the gap on the trail sections (which I was absolutely blasting through).  The closest I got was the weird section that goes through thick leaves and berms down to the beach.  I got to within a couple of seconds before he noticed me.  Damn.  Now he knew I was there and stepped it up.  I was still moving fast.  I desperately tried to catch up on the last two short single track sections.  We finally spilled out onto the last stretch of open grass to the finish and it wasn't going to be.  I finished in 5th, 5 seconds behind him.  I did PR, with a final time of 1:04:44.  My second lap was a semi-even split of 32:42. 

This was a great race.  The trails are easy enough to go fast, but challenging enough in spots to keep it honest.  I'm looking forward to racing 10 miles of trails again two weeks later. 

Fun article in Level Renner about the race here

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Catching Up - Last Month of Winter

Insert lack of blogging excuses here. 

The rundown:

The Analysis:

Seems like the February mileage total is a little low, but whatever.  March is shaping up nicely. 

The week of 2/22/16 was spent on the Belleville Pond Trail 10K course (4 out of 5 weekdays) and then the race was on Saturday.  See separate write up here.  I began incorporating yoga into my morning routine.  There is a block of time between when my son gets on the middle school bus and when my daughter and wife get up for school and work.  I could (and have) do short runs to really pump up my mileage, but I'm getting in plenty of miles without it.  Instead, I've begun dabbling in yoga, and I'm finding it a really nice compliment to my running.  I just do easy yoga workouts on You Tube that have the philosophy I like (mix of relaxation, stretching, and strength).  Nothing crazy or fast.  My body has been responding extremely well.  I feel less tightness and soreness from my normal running.  My body feels stronger.  I still like to mix in some morning pushups and planks, but not as often now. 

Week of 2/29/16 recap: the first three days I got in a lot of hill climbing on mostly trails.  Good Wapack prep.  I'm always a little frustrated with the elevation gain on Strava, especially when I run with somebody with a barometer watch and they bag so much more than me.  I need to forget about it and just know that I'm putting in a lot of quality hill work.  Strava had the week as 4,272' of gain.  Easy day on Thursday, followed by an unplanned (but no big deal) rest day. 

Saturday morning I jumped into the Kelley's Pace Hare Hop 5K in Mystic.  It was race #3 in the WTAC Clamshell Series.  The early morning start and close proximity worked best for the family schedule.  I had hoped to travel up to the An Ros Mor 5K (USATF-NE event) with Galoob on Sunday, but it was too much of a time suck.  I also considered jumping in the Ocean's Run Half and trying to run with Muddy.  It was a little pricey and turned out to be a debacle, so I'm glad I skipped it and went with the Hare Hop.  I arrived early, signed up, and then headed out on an early and long warm up along the course.  I saw two fast looking guys also warming up early.  When I got back, I could see that there was going to be a good sized field.  I was impressed with how well the race was organized.  The course was no cupcake.  An out-and-back with a 80' hill climb in the middle and a couple of sneaky hills at the start and finish.  I was feeling pretty good.  I did some strides in the parking lot and lined up.  It was cold, but I knew I'd be fine when racing.  The two guys I saw warming up were there as well as a pack of fast looking teenagers.  You never know what to expect with them.  Oh, and to my surprise, Matthew Walker was there.  Uh oh, there goes my Clamshell win.  Nothing to do now but just race.  I could use it.  It will be good for me.  The start was fast and I tried to keep myself in check.  After we rounded the parking area (1/4 mile?) we had hit a small annoying hill.  At the top I was now in third.  Where's Matthew?  I continued on the flat open road trying to not go too fast.  There was a guy in blue already establishing a clear lead and then 2nd was a few seconds ahead (these were the two guys I saw warming up).  I reached Mile 1 in 5:41.  This was not my plan.  Too slow.  I wanted to not go out too fast, but apparently I went too far.  Then I reached the big hill.   I dug down and climbed hard.  I quickly caught 2nd place and motored by.  I tried to keep pushing myself, but I couldn't wait for the hill to end.  It did, near the cone turnaround, and I made eye contact with the leader (probably 10-15 second lead).  I rounded the cone and then got to see my lead on third (5 seconds) and Matthew gaining in 4th.  I tried to let it fly down the hill.  It was great to get support from my WTAC teammates and others as we passed each other.  It was clear that the leader was going to win.  He significantly increased his lead.  But, based on the cheers behind me, I had put a nice gap on third.  2 Mile split was 5:36.  Not bad considering the hill.  Back on the flat straight for the last mile.  I felt under control and smooth until I hit the small hill before the parking lot finish.  I was excited to still be ahead of Matthew (for Clamshell points), but also scared.  I felt like there was still a good gap, but not big enough for him to out sprint me to the finish line.  I hammered the hill and felt sick to my stomach at the top.  I didn't descend well.  Matthew was coming.  The stupid parking lot took forever to get to the end.  Finally I could see the finish and knew that I was going to hold my place.  I wasn't thrilled with my finish time (17:24 but add 2 seconds for SNERRO again!!), but it wasn't a flat course.  My Mile 3 split was 5:28 and the final .1 was 5:20 pace (this should be way faster).  Negative splits.  I'll take it.  I watched the finish until I got cold and then returned to my car for extra layers.  I then did a cool down mostly on a new to me trail system that Crutchley alerted me to across the street.  I had enough time to get my award: new GPS watch! 
I really enjoyed this event.  Again, very well managed.  Thank you Kelley's Pace.  Results

Sunday I managed to sneak in a long run in three parts during the morning. 

Week of 3/7 recap: huge training week.  Lots of hill work, miles, trails, and even roads.  Thursday I did a combo workout: 2 x road mile (Waldron) and then 2 x trail mile (yellow dot loop in Rome Pt).  My goal was to get used to running fast again, no matter how tired I was. 5:17/5:17 on the road miles - very pleased.  5:44/5:36 (CR) on the trail loops.  This is super fun single track that twists and has a decent climb.  Then on Sunday I got the invite with Muddy to do an organized run on the Boston Marathon course courtesy of Ryan Davenport.  Everything was graciously taken care of for me, all I had to do was run.  After a mile warm up from Ryan's house to the start line in Hopkinton, we met up with many others and headed off.  My plan was to follow Muddy and Ryan's plan.  7 miles easy then 10 at a spicy marathon pace with others at 6:10 pace.  Followed by 2 miles easy to the Newton Town Hall at Mile 19.  The first miles were fun and fast (8 miles at 6:55 average pace).  I talked with different people, but ended up with Ryan and Muddy at mile 8, waiting for the 6:10 group to meet us.  They arrived and we were off.  It became apparent that they were going faster than advertised (my watch was showing 6:07 average pace).  I was feeling good, and since I'm not actually doing a marathon, welcomed the challenge of sticking with these too fast 4.  After a few miles, I decided to take a turn leading (strong headwind) but I got carried away on some hills and we went even faster (and dropped someone in the process).  The road began getting busier and more confusing, and I let the other two take the lead the last couple of miles.  We stopped after 9 miles (for me, 10 for them) in 54:08!  We chatted and then they headed back and told me how to continue on the course.  I had one big hill to contend with (Firehouse Hill?), but I kept a 6:32 average pace for the last two miles which felt slow and easy.  I ended up covering the first 19 miles of the course in 2:02:32 (6:27 ave. pace). 

Week of 3/14 recap: another big week, similar to last week minus the roads, adding in even more hills.  The highlight of the week was a 3 hour out-and-back solo run on the Narragansett Trail.  I kept a steady pace throughout, pushing the pace in a couple of places (Strava segments).  I ran from Ashville Pond to Tom Wheeler Rd where the trail has a road block at the Groton Gun Club.  I instead continued on down the road which turned to dirt and dropped pretty far.  At the 1:30 mark, I turned around and went back.  At the 1:47 mark, I tripped and fell, smashing my left knee on a rock.  It stung.  And hurt.  I stopped for a drink of water and a Gu, feeling sorry for myself.  I regrouped and carried on, pushing the Green Fall ravine trail segment pretty hard.  I was very happy to not have any fatigue issues with my feet or legs.  This is a very technical trail, so that is a good sign! 

So there it is.  Until next time.