Monday, December 4, 2017

December Running Challenge

Motivation is a tricky thing, and I continue to find ways to keep running day after day, year after year.  I've recently returned to an old standby: chasing miles.  I realized a few weeks ago that I was falling behind my random goal of 3,000 miles on Strava for the year.  I ended November with 2,695.5 GPS miles.  If I still kept track of my miles manually, I would be at about 2,800.  But, I'm too lazy for that, so here I am with a new way to keep myself running every day.  For the month of December I need to run 304.5 miles on my watch.  To maximize mileage, I need to forgo trails (at least technical, twisty ones) for the most part.  With shotgun deer season, this is more palatable.  Also, I won't seek hilly routes every day either.  Hopefully, my body can handle it.  I do have one race (Christmas 10K in Newport on Sunday the 10th) which will throw a wrench into this, but I will try to keep mileage up while "tapering".  Additionally, it can always be tricky training around the Christmas break.  This is going to be fun!  I will update this post frequently during the month.

2017 GOAL:       3,000.0     DECEMBER GOAL:        304.5
2017 TO DATE:  2,892.3     DECEMBER TO DATE:   196.8
MILES TO GO:     107.7
DAYS TO GO:           11

December Daily Log:

(1) 10.4 miles - Mt Tom trails.  1:42:49 with 1,639' of elevation gain.  Not the best way to maximize miles, but a tremendous amount of fun on the last day between deer seasons.

(2) 9.2 miles - local runs.  3 miles in Burlingame with Jackson on his mtn bike.  Good stuff.  Found a very cool historical cemetery (Charlestown #67) by guessing wrong on an old lane.  32:09 with 200' of gain.  A little later I ran local roads - 6.2 miles in 47:18 with 285'.

(3) 13.6 miles - Clark Falls / Green Falls road loop.  Chilly start, but great weather.  Ran solo from Clark Falls up Denison Hill Rd.  After 4 miles, the road turns to gravel/dirt near Green Falls.  Returned via Wheeler Rd (includes a nice dirt section) and Rte 49 (yuck).  To get up to 75 miles for the week, I left the loop to climb up Boom Bridge Road.  Total time 1:46:00 with 860' of gain.

(4) 10.5 miles - Matunuck / Green Hill.  1:23:42 with 196'.  I was in this neck of the woods and it seemed like my best shot for natural light before turning on the headlamp.  Parked at Deep Hole and zigzagged around Matunuck roads and then headed west past Trustom Pond to Green Hill.  I climbed the "hill" and enjoyed the twilight water views.  I decided to make part of my run a loop, and headed for the beach.  Very slow going at first, but then eventually found hard packed sand.  Darkness really setting in, headwind, but a great time running along the ocean.  I hopped back onto Matunuck roads and donned my headlamp.  Body felt good and running felt smooth.  Slower paced than I anticipated, but who cares.  Right?

(5) 10.5 miles - Queens River Loop.  1:19:28' with 326'.  Okay mix of dirt and paved roads with 1 mile of trails at the end.  One decent hill on Glen Rock Road.  Ran early to beat the rain, but it rained most of the time.  Legs feel great.  Perky finish.

(6) 11.5 miles - Exeter / Richmond road loop. About 3 miles on dirt, the rest on mostly back roads.  Feeling surprisingly fantastic.  Chilly, but dressed appropriately.  Pushed the final hill up and down.  1:26:09 with 933' of climbing.

(7) 10 miles - Quonset Bike Path and Calf Pasture Point.  1:15:58 with 250'.  Nice to run here again after a long hiatus.

(8) 9.5 miles - Hillsdale Loop.  1:13:28 with 812'.  Mostly roads (some trails) loop from Crawley Preserve.  Overcast and feels like snow.  Hoping to run early tomorrow before it collects on roads.  Race Sunday.

(9) 6.5 miles - local roads in the morning.  50:20 with 501'.  Began in a snow shower, but it faded after a few minutes.  Legs tight at the start, but loosened up.  Maybe I'll get back out later if I can snowshoe.

(10) 13.1 miles - Christmas 10K in Newport.  7th overall - 35:39.  Pretty good race.  I warmed up with a group of Turtles, officially meeting Zack Kudlak for the 1st time, and my legs and body felt really good.  I wasn't sure with all the recent mileage.  After lollygagging in my car, changing into my race attire, I got another mile plus in of jogging and strides.  As for the race, I went out at a decent clip, hanging with a chase pack (Bronson out all alone immediately) that included local nemesises Bob Jackman, Steve Brightman, Mike Macedo, and Zack.  Also there was a shirtless santa and another guy (last year's winner).  After some hemming and hawing for two miles, things got strung out along Brenton Point.  I was feeling strong, but maxed out speed wise.  I watched as last year's winner, Jackman, Mike and Steve, pulled slowly ahead of me.  I thought that 6th place would be my calling today, although you never know who may slow near the end (assuming it wasn't going to be me - haha).  At 3 miles, Zack caught me, which was a surprise.  I was not slowing.  He pulled ahead by a couple of seconds and then remained there.  I couldn't bridge the gap: not on the ups, downs, or flats.  Frustrating!  No one appeared to be remotely close behind.  My race was in front of me.  On and on the race went along Ocean Drive.  There was a great tail wind and the road was in decent shape, especially since yesterday's snow.  Near mile 5 there was a huge puddle/pond in the road.  I watched the guys ahead try to run around it, but it looked muddy and wet anyway.  I plowed right down the middle and it was deep!  I wish Scott Mason had a hidden video camera here.  Anyway, the last mile is the worst finishing mile in any race.  There is a half mile plus long life-sucking hill.  My strong point, I really thought I would catch up to Zack and a now fading Jackman here.  No dice.  After a way too brief screaming downhill, there is another steep wall to climb, before a long finishing shoot at the high school.  I couldn't catch up and finished in 35:39, 7th overall.  I was happy with my effort and can only guess the difference between this year's time and last year's (surprising PR of 34:57) was the mileage on my legs.  I wasn't doing any speedwork last year either, but definitely had less miles coming in.  This year was only 2 seconds behind the 35:37 I ran in 2013, when I trained so hard specifically for this race, and was doing a ton of workouts.  Interesting to note.  Long cool down with the Turtles again.  Bonking by the end.  Met up with WTAC teammates inside and ate too many Allie's Donuts halves.  Yum!  2nd place Master - Brightman needs to get out of my age group!  2nd place team.  Fun event.

(11) 7.1 miles - local road loop.  Recovery run with a speedy finish.  Ran the gamut from feeling horrible to fantastic.  52:11 with 431'.

(12) 0 miles - couldn't find the time to run.  Yuck.

(13) 11.3 miles - Saunderstown hills.  A wander up and down sheltered hilly roads (stiff NW wind) and a short romp on trails at the end.  1:27:42 with 1,129'.

(14) 6.6 miles - late afternoon on snowy Burlingame campground trails.  Another crazy day, but I salvaged it with this run.  Loved being alone in the dark woods with a cover of snow.  I wish I remembered I don't have any Yaktrax (I threw out the 3 broken ones in my car last year).  They would have been perfect.  59:07 with 341'.

(15) 7.1 miles - afternoon run on the north side of Burlingame.  A little more snow on the ground.  I began from Burdickville Rd and realized that shotgun season was still going on.  Checking online, Burlingame is in Zone 1 and the season didn't end until 12/17.  Oops.  The hunter I ran into on the River Trail was very pleasant.  I felt bad.  I also hadn't seen any deer tracks on this trail, just coyote.  I crossed over Buckeye Brook Rd and ran trails close to the road.  No hunters here.  1:00:02 with 607'.  Not feeling optimistic about completing my GPS challenge, but I'm enjoying these shorter (and much tougher!) runs in the snow.

(16) 10.2 miles - afternoon run in Carter Preserve.  The 3rd straight day of measurable (albeit not much) new snow.  My body felt tired and sore in the usual places after snow running.  I muscled through a bad attitude and zigzagged my way around the preserve trails from the Kings Factory Rd lot.  I was laying down first tracks in the middle section, but a few others had been out before me near the parking lots.  I did pop out onto Rte 91 after 70 minutes of tough running and ran mostly roads back (except for the powerline).  1:33:00 with 646'.

(17) 16.2 miles - morning solo long run.  I quickly mapped out a couple of ideas for a long run before jumping out the door.  It was chilly (mid 20's).  I ran local roads and then headed out to Rte 91 in Alton.  I then continued on back roads in and around Ashaway.  I warmed up once I headed back east after 10 miles (west wind).  I was pushing myself harder (and feeling faster) on this hilly return.  Plenty of hills throughout the run.  My body happily didn't feel awful, but my pace on the early miles was lackluster.  1:56:31 with 1,152'.  I'm happy to end up with 58.5 GPS miles on the week.  I still might be able to do this.

(18) 11.0 miles - dark, mushy, rainy bike path.  Work is just so crazy busy.  I left late and ran the safest spot I could think of on my way home.  Why is it raining?  34 degrees.  The bike path was plowed, and the remaing snow and ice could be mostly dodged.  Really wet though.  1:21:39 with 233'.

(19) 13.3 miles - long loop around Richmond/Exeter.  1:39:02 with 814'.  I parked on Hillsdale Rd at the Beaver River.  I headed north and decided to increase my planned loop of all roads by following Bell Schoolhouse Rd north.  Half of this road is a "Pass At Own Risk" dirt road, and is rather messy these days.  I continued on dirt - NLT to the very hill Ten Rod Road west to Rte 3.  One more short stretch of dirt on Carolina Back Rd.  Rather hilly loop.  Felt really good. 

(20) 9.2 miles - Carter Preserve workout.  My plan was to run hills, but ended up at Carter off Rte 112.  Ran the awesome singletrack trails to the Grassland (3.2 GPS miles).  Ditched my wind breaker layer and ran 3 Grassland loops in 18:10.  This should measure about 5K, but today my watch gave me 2.8 miles.  BS!! Each lap usually measures a little over 1 mile (1.03 or so) and I ran 3 in a row in 18:10.  No peeking at my watch until the end of lap 3.  Strong tempo effort.  Cool down back around the Grassland, over to the powerline, and back on Old Mill Rd.  1:14:02 with 420'. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Almost Race Time! (9/14 UPDATE)

Getting ready for the Kismet Cliff Beast of the East mountain race in 2 weeks (registered), and hopefully squeaking in the Pisgah 23K next Sunday too.  It was an awesome summer of fun and running went rather well.  GPS mileage hasn't looked great, but I've been spending an inordinate amount of time deep in the woods running up and down obscure hills.  The time on feet is there.  The elevation is there.  The couple of times I've tried, I've still got decent road speed.  I'm looking forward to testing fitness in races!

Week of 9/4/17 to 9/10/17:

GPS miles: 62.6
Let's call it: 67
Time on feet: 9 hrs 32 min
Elevation (non-barometer watch): 6,562'
Synopsis:  Really great work week and then petered out on the weekend.  I'm fine with it.  It's good to listen to my body and train accordingly.  After some research, I purchased a new trail shoe for technical stuff/mountain runs: La Sportiva Bushidos.  I've used them 3 times and like them.  They are a bit heavier than what I typically wear (10.5oz), but that hasn't been an issue.  I find I have more confidence descending on tricky footing which is exactly what I need to improve in this area.  I will continue to run in them before my upcoming races: Pisgah 23K and Kismet Cliff Beast of the East.

Yes!  Pisgah looks like a go for Sunday.  We are going to a party at the Puddin's on Saturday night, so I'll need to behave and also drive up super early on race day.  I've done this before and it's a pleasant drive.  It will be great to continue my tradition of doing the Pisgah races (10 in a row?) and hang with my brothers and other local runners I've befriended over the years.  It's a bit intimidating to think about the 23K.  Running all out for 15ish miles of hilly trails is exhausting.  I'm not sure what to expect timewise, but I will do my best.

Week of 9/11/17 to 9/17/17:

Through 4 days:
GPS miles: 31.9
Let's call it: 36
Time on feet: 5 hrs 4 min
Elevation (non-barometer watch): 4,104'

Looking for a couple of more days on rocky hilly terrain and then shutting it down to taper mode.

9/14/17: I've had a little too much fun running technical trails and hills through Thursday.  Oops!  At least I'm getting used to the new shoes.  I will take it easy Friday and Saturday (this will be my mantra).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Long Weekends: 2-20-17 to 2-26-17

Monday: 7 miles in 1:00:09.  Snowshoe run in Westbrook Maine on snowmobile groomed trails.  This was great.  The morning after skiing, I was feeling pretty good and excited to run.  My friends suggested a place to start (Community Ctr), and I began heading north on the power lines.  Right away I had the biggest climb of the day and it was tough.  The snow was good to run on, but because of yesterday's warmth and this morning's near freezing temperature, it was a bit frozen and uneven in spots.  No worries.  After dropping down the other side, the terrain was less hilly and I got into a decent groove.  At 2 miles I stopped at an intersection that had a kiosk with map.  There were 2 fatbike riders there as well who were very friendly and told me how hardcore I was.  Haha, maybe that's why I liked them.  I decided to go west on a very wide power line, cross a road, then continue west on the same powerline until it hit the Mountain Division Rail Trail.  The sun in the wide power line felt delicious, and this was a great way to (hopefully) finish winter running.  After a mile heading south on the rail trail, I found my exit to the east bringing me back out to the road, across it, and into a groomed golf course.  I hoped it connected to the original power line so I could get back to my car.  After a few nervous moments, I could see the connection I needed.  Instead of following my tracks back, I opted to veer into the woods and follow a trail that should get me back near my car.  This was great.  Deep woods, groomed, and rolling.  I popped out just above my car.  Great stuff.

Tuesday: 20 mile double.  AM - 17 miles in 2:15:29.  North Stonington MLR turned LR with Muddy.  Vacation day!  Convinced Muddy to join me for an easy longish run.  I revised my plan to include less hills, but it included some new terrain for both of us.  A great sunny cool morning.  We parked at the NoSto basketball courts (where my brothers and I would play in the summer after a greasy day working down the road at McDonald's).  We headed south down Rocky Hollow Rd, west on 184, then north on Jeremy Hill Rd (with a sneaky picturesque open summit).  We then traveled east to and across Rte 2.  We now ran through the village center, somewhere I had never been.  Cool old houses and buildings.  We then made our way north on Wyassup Rd.  We veered NE on Chester Main Rd, which was a very big hill past the winery.  Our deep conversation made this hill pass without much notice.  As we approached Hangman Hill Rd, I had the idea of mixing up the run.  We decided to head north and jump into the Tefftweald Preserve.  I had noticed it the previous night looking for places to run in town.  There was still a couple of inches of wet snow on the trails, but we had so much fun exploring this interesting place.  A great place to go back and take the family hiking.  We then took the shortest way back to the car via roads.  This included backtracking on Hangman Hill and up and over Chester Main, back into the village.  Ended up going longer than planned, but such a good run.

PM - 3 miles in 56:03.  Family hike on the Cliff Walk in Newport.

Wednesday: 7.5 miles in 1:01:43.  King Preserve trails with Nate.  Fun recovery run from the parking lot on 1A.  It was muddy, but not as bad as I feared.  Good conversation as we wandered around.

Thursday: 11.5 miles in 1:20:14.  Saunderstown roads with hills plus strides at the end.  I pushed the hill climbs (Cottrell, 2xGSR, Plum Beach) hard enough to call this a workout.  6 x 30 seconds on/off at the end along 1A.  Mapped out as 1,200' elevation gain.

Friday:  2 miles in 30 minutes.  Vacation Day!  Home with the kids on a very warm and sunny day.  Did outside chores then spent a lot of time just reading in the sunshine.  I fell asleep in the afternoon when my wife came home rather than run.  Later, she and I briskly walked around downtown Westerly while the kids had karate class.  Dinner at the Pizza Place followed.

Saturday: 17 miles in 2:07:55.  Long trail run/workout in Burlingame solo.  I was motivated to run in the morning and got out the door on another mild day.  I kept my running easy as I made my way around the north side of the park.  I then approached the north camp trail on Buckeye Brook Rd.  Earlier in the week, Jeff had measured out a potential new point to point course for this year's Back Road Ramble.  It began at the top of the camp double track, headed south to the pond, back up the single track on the other side, all the way up to Sammy C's.  It followed Sammy C's all the way back down to Vin Gormley, before exiting the trails on King's Factory Rd.  I'm really excited about racing this.  So after 42 minutes of easy trail running, I ran this course rather hard.  It was fun and challenging.  The rocks were wet on Sammy C's which made me cautious, but I still managed to run 19:19 (new CR) for this segment.  The entire tempo took me 35:39.  I felt good about my overall effort and this also seemed like a good workout for the upcoming Ryan Park 10K.  I caught my breath and then headed back into the woods via VG.  I then did Lenny's Lane, back to VG, and then across the street to the hilly north side.  It ended up being over a 50 minute "cool down".  Good stuff.  Opened up the outdoor shower after.

Sunday: 12 mile double.  In the AM, I decided to head to Woody Hill and explore the trails there on my own.  I've only been in there with a guide.  I parked at the field and ran up the hill.  I then took lefts and backtracked when necessary.  Some of the terrain is really fun.  Hills and rocks.  I eventually made it to the top of the pond, but the beaver dam looked too treacherous to cross on this day.  I then made my way to Hansel and Gretel Trail, and then explored the upper field.  I didn't realize there was a fun, well-marked trail on the other side.  My pace quickened as I ran down this hill.  It popped out right at the field.  I tacked on one more hill climb, and ran the road down the hill back to my car.  10 miles in 1:23:52.  In the PM, my son, mother-in-law, and I hiked in Arcadia.  We were going to do Ben Utter Trail, but the dirt road was closed.  We opted to park at Frosty Hollow Pond and follow the Shelter Trail up to Breakheart Pond.  Such a cool trail.  We made a loop by taking John B Hudson Trail back.  2 miles in 35 minutes.

Weekly Total: 77 miles
Last Week: 52 miles
February to Date: 242 miles
Year to Date: 524 miles

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Winter Conditions: 2-13-17 to 2-19-17

This was another strange week of running.  My legs got trashed and are still recovering.

Monday: 8 miles in 1:02:43.  Solo snowshoe run in Ryan Park.  Late afternoon start from the upper Oak Hill Rd lot.  The main trails were packed rather nicely (a bit uneven but good for RI).  I ran through the fields, down the rail bed, around the pond, and back.  My average GPS pace was right around 10 minutes per mile.  I was moving well.  At the end of my run, I encountered another snowshoe runner coming my way - Scott Mason.  We stopped and chatted for a few minutes.  He went on to the power line and said the snow was deep and untracked.  Glad I stuck to the main trails.

Tuesday: 8 miles in 1:04:26.  Snowshoe run in Ryan Park with Galoob.  Met at the same lot as yesterday, and conditions were still good.  Mike was leading and the pace was a touch hot for me.  I kept up without much trouble, but this was a good workout.  Our average GPS pace was around 9 minutes per mile.  I think I got my fix of snowshoe running.

Wednesday: 12 miles in 1:24:37.  Solo hilly road run in West Greenwich.  My legs and lower core felt tired, but I had the opportunity to do a fun run, so I just battled through it.  I opted for a very hilly road run.  It began on a side street 2/3 of the way up Plain Meeting House Road climb, then headed back down the hill (west) on the road all the way to the four corners.  My GPS couldn't find me until 3.3 miles into the run which was annoying.  I continued west down Liberty Hill Rd.  I then went south on Hudson Pond Road, which is in the middle of nowhere along Kelley Brook, and beautiful.  I then went west on Falls River Rd.  I had hoped to summit Escoheag Hill via this dirt road, but ran out of time.  I turned around at Stepstone Falls and retraced my steps.  This direction was a long climb up Liberty Hill Road and finished with the Plain Meeting House monster (360' in 1 mile).  My average pace for the run was pretty good, once I figured out the GPS glitch, and considering the hilliness.

Thursday: 4.5 miles in 34:13.  Short recovery run with Galoob in Saunderstown.  We both were hurting (he did a 22 mile run the day before) and we cut our planned easy hour short.  I thought I might head out later to gobble a few more miles, but my day got way too busy.

Friday: 15 miles in 1:42:25.  Solo hilly uptempo run in West Greenwich.  Parked at the same place as Wednesday, with plans to follow my same out-and-back course, but this time making it up and over Escoheag Hill.  I pushed the hills a little harder today, and also kept a steady pace on the flats and downs.  I was averaging 6:42 pace until I hit the climb up Falls River Rd.  Here I encountered iced over snow on the dirt road that climbs dramatically straight up.  I had to find traction on the non-icy snow, which I sank in.  This was a horrific experience.  I made it to the top without stopping, but it was a slow sufferfest.  I then continued on Escoheag Hill Rd (paved) heading north, back down the hill.  Here I had to deal with a loose, aggressive dog.  It looked mean and was harassing me.  My loud stern voice wasn't working.  A car came down the road, and paused to watch the interaction.  It distracted the dog enough that I could run by.  I began hammering the down hill, and the dog was soon out of sight.  Annoying!  Anyway, I reached my turnaround point, but I didn't want to repeat the Escoheag Hill debacles.  I soldiered on up the road, hoping my memory of maps was correct.  I was heading north for quite a while, but did find a connecting road to Hudson Pond Rd that I thought existed.  A bit of a relief, but I wasn't sure what my mileage back to my car would be.  I reconnected to my original route, having to blast up the two big hills.  I got my average pace back down to 6:49 (6:41 GAP), but it was no doubt much faster without the slow snow climb.

Saturday: 4.5 miles in 32:00.  Short solo run from my house.  Legs felt trashed.  We were traveling up to Maine later in the morning, so I forced myself to do a run beforehand.  The weather was really nice and I tried to enjoy myself.  I began mixing in short strides, which did seem to help loosen up my legs.

Sunday: XT - Shawnee Peak skiing with family and friends.  This was my first time skiing in maybe 15 years, and the first time taking the kids somewhere besides Yawgoo Valley (for lessons).  It was very warm on the mountain (mid 50's in the late morning, down to high 30's at 5pm).  We got in a full day of skiing with our Maine friends, and everyone had a great time.  It was fun!

Weekly Total: 52 miles
Last Week:  62 miles
February to Date: 165 miles
Year to Date: 447 miles

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekly Log: 2-6-17 to 2-12-17

This is shaping up to be a weird week of running.  Lethargy early in the week after Super Sunday's long run, then a random midweek long run, then a snowstorm leaving behind plenty of snow (on trails) and really crappy road conditions.

Monday: 3.5 miles in 30:39. Mount Tom trails in Arcadia after work.  I had to stop by my mother-in-law's house on my way home, so after putting off a run all day, I opted to sneak one in near her house.  Sunset on the Mount Tom ledges seemed lovely.  I had more spring in my step than anticipated and enjoyed running up the ledges, across 165 and then did a loop around the old "Broken Rib" mtn bike trail.  I then had to return via the ledges as the light was really fading.  My watch had 513' of climbing so probably a couple hundred more in actuality, Suunto would give it 950'.

Tuesday: 8.5 miles in 1:07:52.  Carolina hills after work.  Another day of no motivation until the last minute.  Drizzly and dark when I began at 4:23PM and pitch black when I finished (no headlamp) at 5:30PM.  I drove the dirt road north on Pine Hill Rd to the end (impatiently driving through potholes).  I then ran north then west up and over a hill to get to the trout pond parking lot.  I ran north to Kenyon Hill Rd (half dirt, half paved).  This is a good hill from both directions.  I summitted 4 times, twice in each direction.  These felt good as I seemed to be recovered from the long run, and I wasn't pushing too hard.  I debated the merit of returning back to my car through the woods the way I came, but just went for it.  I managed to stay upright on the long down hill at the end.  Strided it out on the flat dirt road just for good measure.  Well over 1000' of climbing.

Wednesday: 15 miles in 2:00:21.  Hilly roads and trails in West Greenwich.  Quiet at work and I had extra time to run.  Spent too long trying to figure out where/what to run.  Big slow hills won out over tempo/interval work.  It's that kind of week.  I parked at the Wickaboxet SP lot and ran down and then up Plain Meeting House Rd (biggest climb in RI I think).  Instead of summitting, I took a right on Stubble Brook Rd, which climbed anyway and then was a roller coaster the rest of the way.  This was a nice road, out in the middle of nowhere near the URI Alton Jones campus.  I reached Rte 102 and had a short stretch uphill to the Fry Pond Conservation Area - a WG Land Trust holding.  I had run in here once before (and also hiked with my family) and remembered how rugged this small trail system was.  Well, it was even tougher than I remembered, and my legs were fried from all the hills this week.  I stumbled a couple of times, falling once, but it is a beautiful place and worth the effort to visit.

Hillside trail is no joke.  Great views of cedar swamp and pond from loop.  

After 30 minutes, it was back on the roads the way I came.  Once I reached Plain Meeting House Rd, I head right up the final 150' of the hill climb and then went back into the woods via Welch Hollow Rd (an unimproved dirt road that is currently a humungous mess).  So it was really warm (mid 50's), and the ground was thawing bigly.  I couldn't wait to get into Wickaboxet and onto firmer singletrack.  I was tiring, and a little worried about the climb back out to the roads (via the WGLT Pratt Conservation Area ).  

Pratt Trail map

This is a very steep hill, but I kept my pace to grind mode and made it through.  By now I was weak, wobbly, and hungry.  However, I wanted to get to 2 hours.  This meant a detour back up Plain Meeting House Rd to the summit, and then all the way back down (and then up) to my car.  Tough run.  1442' of climbing on my watch, which is not easy to do!  

Thursday: 5 miles in 42:05.  Snow run from my house around north Burlingame.  No school or work because of the storm.  It rained for a while, then sleet, then finally snow around 10am.  The ground and road were coated with snow when I decided to go do a short run before the weather got really nasty.  I put on my Inov8's and got out the door quickly.  I wish I had Yaktrax!  My 2 pairs from last year got thrown out over the summer when I realized they were all broken.  I was getting by without them this winter, but man they would have been perfect on this run.  Snow over wet trails = a lot of slipping and very tiring on tired legs to begin with.  The wind was terrible on the road, which led to stinging sideways snow.  The woods were magnificent however (minus the slipping).  I wished that I didn't tell my wife I'd only be gone 30 minutes, because I could have spent way more time wandering around the trails.  Oh well.  I stretched my run a bit, and the headwind on the final 1/3 mile to my house gave me an ice cream headache.  Back inside for the duration of the storm.  

Friday: 9 miles in 1:19:25.  Snowshoe run/slog in Ryan Park with Galoob.  Surprisingly, we were the first to lay tracks on the rail bed.  We took turns leading and doing the grunt work.  After a loop around the pond, we decided to turn around and take advantage of the snow packing we just did.  It still wasn't ideal, but a little easier.  We then opted to head back down the rail bed and back.  Tough work and tiring.  Talked to a couple from Vermont who just finished up their xc ski.  They also run trails and were excited to hear about the upcoming Belleville Pond 10K here in a few weeks.  

Saturday: 0.  My run (snowshoe) had to be early or late.  I wasn't motivated for either.  Errands with the kids in the morning and then we went to Hope Valley School to sled in the afternoon.  I didn't sled, but got a workout shoving my kids at takeoff.  It was getting really warm, but their tubes still gave them good rides.  Annoyed at night that I didn't make the effort to do a short run, but whatever.  

Sunday: 21 miles in 2:29:34.  Solo long run on roads in the morning from my house.  So not motivated to do a long run, especially alone.  I don't really have a long race coming up, so there really isn't any urgency.  I just like doing them, more so when I can mix in trails.  Another storm was brewing and I thought I would get caught in rain or snow while out on my run.  I mostly stuck to a route I came up with the night before, heading down Burdickville Rd, 91-216 to Tomaquag Rd.  West on Woodville to Hopkinton City.  I was feeling sluggish the first 3 or 4 miles and not mentally tough.  The roads were in decent shape - some icy spots from melting the day before, until Tomaquag Rd.  Lots of ice and snow and the going got harder.  There was also a strong north wind in my face making me cold.  I pressed on and felt better by the time I was nearing Hopkinton City.  I then made up the rest of the route as I went.  South on Rte 3 to Wellstown Rd. 216 up to Cemetery Lane and then up Maxson Hill.  I pushed this hill a bit, wanting to put up a decent effort on Muddy's home turf.  At the top, I accidentally swallowed my gum, which mometarily brought on panic as it felt like I was choking at maximum heart rate.  I relaxed and continued down Diamond Hill, finally peaking at my watch (13.8 miles).  19 would get me to 60 miles for the week - a nice arbitrary goal, so I opted for a longer way home.  I ran down 216, through Bradford, and onto Buckeye Brook Rd.  It began snowing at this point and was hard enough to begin collecting on the road.  I was wearing my favorite trail shoes ever (Asics FujiLytes) and gription was not an issue.  My thighs and lower core were tired and in pain.  Climbing still felt good, but downhills were torture.  I perked up the last mile, excited about throwing down 21 miles on roads all by myself.  Decent average pace of 7:07, and GPS gave me exactly 1000' of elevation gain.  No fuel, and didn't need it.  Feeling strong although not sure about my speed.  The snow continued most of the afternoon before turning to rain.  This was a strange week of running, but I'll take it.  

Week to Date: 62 miles
Last Week: 61 miles
February to Date: 113 miles
Year to Date: 395 miles

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Catching Up (1/16/17 to 2/5/17) and Race Write Up

January got crazy personally and professionally.  I've been in a bit of a haze, but still running as much as I can/want.  Here's a quick recap of the weeks I missed:

Week of 1/16/17 to 1/22/17: 66 miles, 8h 21m time on feet, about 5,000' of climbing.

The highlight of this week was a long trail run loop from my house in Burlingame - 17 miles in 2:07:29.  After 95 minutes I did a 20 minute trail tempo which was almost completely on Sammy C's heading up (19:06).

Week of 1/23/17 to 1/29/17: 71 miles, 9h 44m time on feet, about 2,500' of climbing.

A lot of somber miles this week including a long out and back along the beach from East Matunuck to Charlestown Beach and a long point to point run from Arcadia to Shumunkanuc Hill.  I also wheel measured and finalized the Charlestown Chili 5K course and set it up with Pard and race director Laura the morning of the race.

Week of 1/30/17 to 2/5/17: 61 miles, 7h 58m time on feet, about 3,500' of climbing.

Low mileage work week due to a virus of some sort (chills, fever Monday night, weak and tired a couple more days), a trail race(!!), and a Super Sunday long run.

The 6th (and my 6th) Old Mountain 5K Trail Race put on by Galoob was on Saturday, 2/4/17.  I ran the course on Thursday with Mike and remembered how the new course (Dec 2015) went.  Three ascents (short but tough during race effort) of the Old Mountain, plus twisting, messy single track, and many obstacles along the way.  My race ritual was thrown a last minute twist as my son decided to join me.  Instead of hobnobbing with my running friends and running the course as a warm up, I instead hung with Jackson throwing things on the iced over pond and playing in the skate park.  It was seasonable (high 20's), but felt chilly this winter.  I was feeling good about racing since my legs were fresh and my health 100%.  I didn't worry about only doing a shorter, disjointed warm up.

The race went rather well.  With so many kids in attendance, I really didn't want to get stuck early on once in the woods, so I sacrificed my recent theme of starting slower.  I had a clear shot to the front right behind Brightman and Lonergan.  Last year it was the 3 of us (with Jackman for the first 2 miles) battling it out, with me finishing 3 seconds behind the Rhode Runners at the finish.  This year was much different.  Quickly I was overtaken by many people, including what I believed to be some high school XC runners.  I received my penalty for the fast start, as I huffed and puffed up the wider woods trail on the Old Mountain.  Muddy was right ahead of me, and I tried to keep him close, making aggressive uphill passes.  I felt like I was pushing hard on the downhill and then flat techy section, but Muddy and some of the high school kids were not coming back to me.  Out on the zerotrack through the frozen muddy swamp area, I tried not to give up and keep pushing, while keeping myself upright this year.  I was a few seconds back a group of 4 that was being led by Brightman, but gradually losing ground.  I had no one close behind me.  On the last climb up the mountain, I closed in on a young runner.  He regrouped enough on the switchbacks back down the hill to stay just in front of me, but I knew I would pass him eventually.  Then he wiped out on the last turn and I ran by (it was a clean fall and I didn't feel guilty not stopping).  Looking ahead, Muddy had passed another young kid and there was a chance I could as well.  However, this kid hammered the final open stretch and I crossed the line in 20:17, good for 6th place overall.  My time was about 30 seconds faster than last year when I was in contention for the win, so I was pleased.

I then headed back out on the course to find Jackson.  Jon Short jogged with me.  We found him near the pond, and then motivated him (or annoyed him) on his last mile plus of the race.  I was really happy he ran and I think he enjoyed it.  Post race lunch with local friends with kids at the Mews.

Results here.  Scott Mason posted this photo on Facebook the next day - my karate kid technique of running over rocks.

The next day, Muddy met me at my house for a long run.  With the promise of no speed work, I was happy to tag along on his marathon training.   Parts of this run were tough as my legs and lower core were sore, but the miles passed quickly as we rotated between trails (Carter, Grass Pond, Carolina) and roads and gabbed about life and running.  2:42:50 of running time!  GPS had me at 21 miles and Muddy at 21.2.  I'm calling it 22.  Go Patriots!

I finished January with 282 miles.  51 miles for Feb 1-5.  333 miles year to date.

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