Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot Week

I got two shortish runs in early this week.  My body was definitely sore from Sunday's workout, but I pushed through the sluggishness.  Monday, I drove up to Big River on my lunch break and ran my "loop" around Carr Pond.  I almost made it all the way around without getting off track.  I thought I had taken every right turn until I ended up someplace I didn't expect (but I did run into a big snake here).  Despite how my body felt, my mind loved running these trails.  Tuesday, with the temperature at 84 degrees, I ran the short loop in Ryan Park with Dan.  We took it easy for the most part.  Dan had an incredible sprint on the P!#$% Trail - he left me in the dust.  We hit it hard on the way back as well.  It's a nice little twist to an otherwise easy workout.  On Wednesday, I planned to run the trails of Rome Point and maybe jump in the ocean as a reward.  The drawback would be the mile plus jog in wet clothes (uphill) back to my car.  As I checked the weather, the idea or running seemed a little silly (and possibly dangerous).  At 1PM, the temperature was 95 degrees.  Okay, I could still run, but it would have to be slow, and it would take a lot out of me physically.  At 2PM, I decided to "run" to D&D for an iced coffee instead.... 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Solo

Sunday, I had the rare opportunity to get a good run in.  The kids had a sleepover at the in-laws so my wife and I could go see a show (Reverend Horton Heat) at Mohegan Sun on Saturday night.  Fun night with some old friends, good music, and midnight Krispy Kreme.  I went to bed at 1AM wondering if I would wake up early enough, and more importantly,motivated enough to do the run I had planned. 
My plan was hatched out over a late afternoon coffee buzz.  I wasn't sure if I would run Saturday afternoon in Arcadia - this idea quickly fizzled out as I had no ambition to run after a busy day with the kids.  My new plan was to run early Sunday morning from my house - "warm up" by running up and down the hills to get to the Vin Gormley Trail, run the 8 mile loop as hard as possible (Lil Runaround course) and then "cool down" on the hills back to my house for a total of about 11.5 miles.   I was hoping to get Justin to run it with me, but it was a little too last minute for it to work out. 
I woke up a little after 6AM, had some breakfast, threw on my trail shoes, and headed out before I could second guess myself.  It was a summer-like morning - overcast, humid, and in the low 60's.  As I veered off onto the first trail, I felt a twinge of anxiety, worried about an early morning encounter with some wild creatures (didn't happen as usual).  I tried to keep my pace slow, but it's still quite a workout with the two decent hills to climb.  As I approached the VG Trail, I saw someone walking a dog on the road - I was convinced it was my dad and stopped running to chat.  Oops, not him!  I really missed my glasses on this one.  I walked to the start of the loop and took off at a fast pace.  Where I start the loop just happens to be a long, technical, challenging section.  The "reward" is the 2 mile section on paved and unpaved roads that follows.  I hate this part.  Maybe it's because I'm in trail shoes, or maybe it's because after doing some serious trail work, running on a road seems lame.  Eventually, it returns to single track (briefly) before entering a large campground.  I couldn't wait to hit the single track again.  Then I ran into it - the biggest mud bog of a trail I'd ever seen.  My guess is that the was due to the flooding two months ago.  Two wooden walkways over muddy sections must have floated off the trail (they were not in the same location anymore).  I couldn't find where people were getting around this section - I guess they were just turning around.  This wasn't an option for me, but I also wasn't planning on testing the depth of the muddy water.  I stopped my watch, and worked my way around this quagmire.  Back on the trail, I felt invigorated, and really felt fast, especially through the tricky brook crossings and down hills.  I was afraid to check my watch, not wanting to be disappointed.  The last mile is another technical stretch that is all uphill, including the longest hill of the loop at the very end.  I've never felt so fast going up it.  I stopped again and walked and check my time - 59:53 - not really happy about it.  I know my times are slower in the humidity, but I thought I was going to be faster.  I know I'm faster now on roads and smoother trails than I ever have been.  There's something about this particular trail that I'm never satisfied with the result (time-wise - I'm always happy to run it!).  I jogged the trails back to my house, which includes a really steep one, but I was encouraged by how good my body felt after this workout - lengthwise and intensity-wise.  I returned home ready to see my kids and to drink some coffee! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Link to Pics of Land Trust Property

In a recent post I mentioned running in this SK Land Trust property.  Here's a link to see some pictures - courtesy of my mother-in-law. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Last Week

I didn't get a lot of running in this past week, but was again happy with the quality.  Monday, Dan and I ran (raced?) 8 miles on roads.  In our typical fashion, we pushed ourselves the entire time.  I finished up in 55:47, a time I was very happy with.  Tuesday, Dan and I ran again.  Recovering from our workout the day before, we ran an easy 7 miles of trails in Ryan Park.  I experimented with sprinting up the hills.  After two off days due to laziness (Wednesday) and chaperoning a field trip for my son's preschool (Thursday), I ran trails in Rome Point on Friday.  Again, I decided to keep a comfortable pace and then really push the hills.  I'm hoping this will help with any trail races I may get to do later this year.  We'll see! 

This weekend I was able to get a couple of nice hikes in with my kids.  Saturday, I took them to Mt. Tom in Arcadia.  We have done this hike before, and my son had been requesting to do it again.  I was a little nervous to take them by myself.  The trail rises through some woods and then up onto open cliffs.  Instantly, my kids were spotting lady slippers on both sides of the trails.  A got an upclose look at a pine warbler flittering about in a tree right above us.  My kids did a great job of exploring and climbing, but staying away from edges.  We reached a large flat rock on top of the "mountain" and had lunch.  My 2 year old daughter requested a shoulder ride for the way back.  It was quite the workout.  On Sunday, I took my son down the road in the jogging stroller to a portion of the North South Trail in Burlingame.  He wanted to hike a trail with dots (blazes) on it.  We reached the trail, ditched the stroller, and hiked.  The goal was to reach a really nice valley that he had never seen before.  He was pointing out the blue dots on trees to me, and I was pointing out the birds we were hearing (ovenbird, great crested flycatcher, wood thrush, and worm eating warbler).  He wanted to climb a steep rocky ridge that was off the trail and I was happy to oblige - finding the safest way up and down.  By the time we reached the bottom of the valley, he was ready for a shoulder ride back.  This was a very challenging hike back for me, but very rewarding! 

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It has been another great week of weather and running.  After a busy weekend, which included a day trip to visit friends in Maine, I was feeling too lazy to run on Monday.  I also was sore from sprinting around our friends' backyard catching a football.  I don't know what was worse, the tight hamstrings or the horribly sore arm and rib cage.  Instead of running, I shot hoops on my lunch break. 

Tuesday, after a few days off, I decided I was going to do a long run from my office.  It was a pretty hot day, but I really wanted to get a lot of miles in, so I went ahead with my plan.  I never carry water with me - I usually just drink a lot before going out - but on a warm, humid day I try to play it smart.  I ran three miles of roads at a comfortable pace with a water bottle.  Upon hitting my Ryan Park trail loop, I ditched my bottle and my shirt on the side of the trail, hoping they would both be there seven miles later.  The woods are now very dry and the leaves are just about 100% out.  Things look different - trails are darker, once prominent features disappear, new growth creeps up, in, and down.  The woods are now much cooler than exposed roads or fields.  I felt that I was keeping a decent pace, without overdoing it in the 82 degree heat.  I thought I might want to stop at a stream to cool off, but I never felt that hot.  After completing my trail loop, I stopped to finish my water bottle, and opted to leave it and my shirt on the side of the trail for retrieval on my way home from work.  I started to feel tired as I finished the last three miles on pavement.  My total time was 1:41:11 for 13.15 miles - 7:41 pace. 

Wednesday, Dan joined me for a run in Big River.  I've been excited to show him this area after "discovering" it last week.  He was recovering from the Cox Half Marathon on Sunday.  He had a great showing - 1:40 flat.  I was pretty beat from my run the day before, but I was really looking forward to some serious trails.  We ran around Carr Pond - man the water looked good enough to swim in, heck drink from.  I didn't feel very energetic for the first half.  Luckily, we were both happy to go a slowish pace.  We reached the old chimney as planned, and then I got off course as usual.  I can't figure out how to go exactly where I want to.  I picked up the pace as I hoped to stumble upon a familiar landmark.  Eventually, this happened, and we crossed the stream and finished strong up the long hill back to the parking lot.  This was my longest run here yet, 45+ minutes.  With the effort I'm calling it six miles. 

Thursday, I met up with my friend and band mate Jon after work to run some trails in Perryville.  He runs them frequently, and I have hiked them with family and friends on a few occasions.  A South Kingstown Land Trust property, it features hilly terrain with open woods dominated by pitch pine and oak above and mountain laurel and blueberry bushes below.  The footing is easy for the most part.  We maintained a good pace, slowing from time to time on the steeper sections.  We reached the far end of the preserve in 22:45.  The trail has been re-routed in places, and it felt like it was much closer to 3 miles long than the 2.4 on the map.  After a quick break, we ran it backwards.  There is definitely more downhill in this direction, but plenty of uphills along the way.  We finished up in 45:15.  This is an awesome place to hike or run.  I hope to do it again soon! 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Quality not Quantity

My mileage this week has been the lowest in quite some time.  Usually, I would be bummed about this, but not this time.  I did one fast 7 miler on roads, and then did three exploratory trail runs in Big River.  I couldn't stop going back.  Because of how far away it is from my office, I can't really run for too long.  But the quality of these runs is awesome.  My ankles were actually sore one day from the tough terrain, and I run trails all the time.  By the third day, I was able to comfortably navigate two thirds of the trail system.  There is still a section that I can't quite figure out.  There is a ridge that runs between the two ponds - Carr and Tarbox.  Getting to the ridge is easy, finding the way out is tricky.  Luckily, any trail is fun and challenging, so it's not the worst place to get lost.  Eventually, I will find the boulder filled stream that connects the ponds and then I can relax and climb the tough hill back to my car.  I can't reiterate enough how much I love running there!