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

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.