It was another fantastic start to the week despite the lousy weather. With temps hovering around 50 degrees, overcast, off and on showers, and lots of wind, my desire to run has been a bit subdued.
On Monday, I was thinking how much I didn't really feel like going out, but Dan talked me into doing a "short" run on the roads. He is planning on running the Cox Half Marathon this Sunday in Providence. I'll be skipping this one to visit friends in Maine. We decided on a 7 mile course (mapped online 6.92). After the usual vow of taking it easy, Dan pushed the pace after the first mile (7:08). We ran at a nice uncomfortable pace - Dan leading the way. Not knowing exactly where the mile markers were, I still had the feeling that this might be a PR for us at this distance. When Dan slowed down at about 4 miles in, I pushed ahead - not because I was feeling good - just in the hopes of a good time. As we turned the corner onto busy 1A, I pushed even harder. Our 5 mile split was just about 35 minutes even, if I had the location right. My stride shortened to trail running mode and I hammered (for me) the last 2 miles. I finished up in 48:03 with my lungs burning. I set a new PR - 6:56 mile pace for 7 miles. I think Dan will have a really good time this Sunday.
Tuesday, it was a quiet day at the office. After running with that guy Boj last week, I had the idea of exploring the Big River Management Area. He runs there quite often when visiting RI. I always thought of it as easy smooth dirt/sand trails - nothing too exciting or technical. Bojo told me otherwise and I was now curious. I found this map on a local mountain biking website of the area I was interested in. It's the closest point to my work (20 minute drive) and has the most interesting terrain. For my first attempt, I decided to keep it short and simple - run for 15 minutes and then backtrack. The trail from the parking lot starts on top of a hill and drops steeply. I ran with the map, but I was having trouble deciphering where I was. I stopped a few times to get my bearings. At the bottom of the hill, I decided to stay right on a green dot trail that I believed circled Carr Pond. This single track had it all: rocks, roots, water crossings, mud, hills, and scenery. I was a little anxious, feeling completely alone in this wilderness maze. But, I was enjoying the running too much to really worry. At about fifteen minutes, I came to an old dirt road that lead to the pond. I stopped and took in the view, and figured out on the map how I got there. I was tempted to keep circling the pond, but thought better of it this time, and retraced my steps on the green dot trail. When I reached the trail that headed up the hill to my car, I thought about exploring some more, but the number of trails in this section was a little overwhelming, so I pressed on up the hill. Based on the time and effort, I guess it was 4 miles. I can't wait to return!