Thursday, December 29, 2011

Weekly Log 12-26-11 to 1-1-12

Monday: 0 - 2nd zero in a row for the first time in a while.  It felt good physically, but terrible mentally.  Hiked Mt. Tom in Arcadia with my family. 

Tuesday: 13 miles - Burlingame trails (9M) and hilly roads (4M) alone.  I left my house in the afternoon feeling kind of anxious.  I ran the roads to the Vin Gormley Trail off of Buckeye Brook Road.  I was going easy, but being mostly downhill I was moving pretty fast (7:03 pace).  I entered the woods, and although I was most likely going slower, I was working hard to keep up the pace.  I rolled my ankle bad enough that it hurt for a minute near Klondike Road.  I always just keep running after doing this, but this one made me think about stopping.  I continued through this technical section being a little cautious, but eventually forgot about it.  I reached the 5 mile mark (assumed) at 36 minutes.  I then turned right onto the North South Trail.  At first the going is slow, and there are numerous bridges.  Once you reach an old dirt road and then turn left up a hill, the trail is really fun and rolling.  I kept checking my watch to see where the 6 mile mark might be, and after 8 minutes, I decided to make it to 6.5 miles before I turned around.  This ended up being right about the time I reached the campground entrance road.  By now, I was focused on my run, and really relaxed.  I was curious if I could maintain this effort for 13 miles.  It briefly rained and the woods were getting darker.  If anything, my pace was quicker than on the way out.  I reached the road, and then had the 1+ mile climb up Shumunkanuc Hill.  I attacked this hill.  I guess killing myself for 2 miles isn't intimidating to me, even after 11 miles.  The first mile I did in about 7 minutes, and the second (which does have one screaming descent) I did in 6 minutes.  Total time: 1:32:46.  Loved this run.  I've felt calm and happy ever since. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - track workout with Boj, Muddy, and Jeff.  I got a text from Muddy Tuesday night, while out at the Mews replacing chromium with my wife and friends.  He said he was meeting Boj at 9AM at the CHS track.  Perfect - this was my chance to finally do a workout on a actual track, and also not do a workout alone.  When I arrived, Muddy was already there with Jeff.  We waited around for Boj to show up, and when he did, he was in classic form.  We ran a warm up around the trails and fields.  Boj had a few ideas for a workout and we decided to do the reverse ladder plan of 1x1600, 2x800, 4x400.  Then commenced the running in circles.  The mile was fun.  Boj, who is faster and has a ton of speedwork experience, was up front.  The pace felt comfortable to me.  I finished up and realized I didn't set up my watch properly.  I was between Muddy's 5:34 and Jeff's 5:37.  Whatever it was, it was a PR.  I was pretty happy about this.  What I didn't like was some lower calf tightness I was experiencing.  We did a 400 recovery and then began the first 800.  Boj was off in the woods, so it was up to the rest of us to figure out how to run it on our own.  I began up front, but was concerned about my calf.  It didn't get worse, so I continued.  Muddy lead the rest of the way, and I clocked in at 2:47 - a 1 second workout PR for me.  Boj was back for the second 800, and this time I finished pretty far back, but again at a good time for me - 2:48.  I asked Boj if we should shorten the recovery jog for the 400's.  He said no, and he was right.  I couldn't believe how hard the first one felt to me - 78.  The next one was another 78, and the last two were 79.  I was very pleased with my workout, despite being noticeably slower than my WTAC teammates on the 400's.  It was great to have Boj join us, and guide us along.  We cooled down in the woods and fields, and by the time we finished, I realized that I was starving.  Overall, it was great to get a track workout in, and not run alone.  I was happy with my times, and also to see what the difference between speedwork on the bike path versus the track was.  I might have been faster if it wasn't for yesterday's aggressive run, but it seems that I am better at the long efforts than the short stuff.  Total time: 1:20. 

Thursday: 0? - I planned for a short recovery run this morning before traveling to NH with my family.  I wasn't too excited about it, but headed out the door anyway.  My wife questioned if I was only doing it to get to 2500 miles for the year.  I said I needed to recover from the workout, but deep down I knew she was right.  I ran .25 miles down the road in the wind and cold and then abruptly turned around.  Maybe I'll run later in NH or maybe I'll fall a couple of miles short of 2500.  What's really the difference between 2492 and 2500? 

Friday: 0 - a repeat performance as yesterday except this time I made it less than .1 miles before bagging it.  Fun full day in NH. 

Saturday: 17 miles. 5 miles AM in Stoddard, NH.  This run was slow and treacherous.  The dirt roads were coated in ice, and it was drizzling out.  I ran the big hill up to Kings Highway and then skated down the other side.  Total time: 41:40.  Back in RI where the sun was shining and it was warm, I ran in shorts and short sleeves in the afternoon.  12 miles of mostly roads, some hilly, and a little bit of trails.  I was moving well the first two miles (mostly downhill) and then worked to keep up my sub 7 minute pace the next few.  Instead of the planned out and back, I jumped onto the North South Trail near the campground entrance, and then made my way over to Prosser Trail, where my legs began to feel fatigued (8 miles in).  My legs were hurting the last three miles, but I was still going 7:16 pace and it was mostly uphill.  Total time: 1:25:30 (actual distance 12.1).  A great way to end the year. 

Sunday: 0 - football on the beach cross training. 

Overall: I procrastinated this week getting to 2500, but pulled it out with the Saturday double.  I wasn't too motivated to run, which seems to happen when the whole family is off.  41 miles in only 3 days of running.  Back to normal next week. 

Weekly Total: 41 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 2501 miles

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Weekly Log 12-19-11 to 12-25-11

Monday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  My desire to run post race was a little weak.  I decided to run the new 3 mile loop in Ryan Park and then add the old 5 mile woods route.  The first three miles perked me up enough to enjoy the last five.  The pond was mostly ice covered except near the bridge where I stopped to view 4 coots.  I only ran into one other person out there today.  Total time: 60:34. 

Tuesday: 0 - I kept going back and forth on running today.  On one hand, I was in the midst of a stressful end of year week at work and could use a relaxing run in the woods.  But my legs were clearly fatigued (8 running days in a row), so I opted for the zero. 

Wednesday: 16 miles - Ryan Park trails mostly alone and then with 3 coworkers.  This run was not planned.  First, the forecast was for rain, and despite my zero yesterday, I was considering a second day off in a row.  We never had steady rain, and with the temperature in the high 50's, it was actually quite nice running weather.  I decided to venture out after getting a lot of work done.  I began by running the new 3 mile loop twice, once in each direction.  I kept scaring the same three deer around the power lines.  I was feeling a bit guilty for stressing them out.  The thought of running them down like I've read in books crossed my mind.  The new single track trails around the fields I do are fantastic fun.  My legs were sluggish, and so was my mind, but after 6 miles and an email check at my car, I was ready for more.  I then did the 5 mile woods route, and then added another 2 miles in and around the fields.  When I returned to the parking lot, it was full of my coworkers's vehicles.  They talked me into running some more.  So, the four of us set out on the 3 mile loop.  If I was tired I didn't know it, I was too busy being entertained by the conversation.  I said goodbye to them and finished up in 2:02:12. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails and beach solo.  Again, after finishing up the year end work, I ventured out for a stress-busting run.  I ruled out a speed workout, and opted for the less traveled trails and beach of Rome Point.  The weather was spectacular - sunny, warm, and light winds.  The parking lot wasn't as full as I feared, but I still had dog trouble on one of the main trails.  I also tripped and fell for the first time in months.  I then spent the rest of the time winding around the woods with an interlude on the beach.  It felt so warm in the sun.  I debated stopping to just bask in the sunshine.  Back in the woods, I got creative to avoid the main trails at all costs.  It was a good day.  Total time: 60:06. 

Friday: 10 miles - Carter Preserve trails alone.  Today was my first day of vacation, but it was business as usual for the rest of the family.  After shopping and chores, I drove over to the Carter Preserve for a run.  I began by taking the Narragansett Trail to the field trail and ran around that.  I was feeling a little underdressed until I had the wind at my back.  I then took the side trail over to the power line.  The hill here is long and steep at times, with great views to the west.  I stopped briefly here and then continued on into the woods.  I ran yellow to blue to red trails.  I was really enjoying myself.  I was going at an easy pace and taking in the sights.  I looped around Split Rock Trail and then headed back on red.  I mixed it up a bit on yellow and blue before doing the power line loop a second time.  I can't resist a good hill.  Total time: 1:16:40. 

Saturday: 18 miles with Jeff ("Bloody") and Muddy @ 6AM in Misquamicut.  Chilly start, but not in the teens as was forecasted, so I opted for shorts today.  It seems that we start much quicker when it is cold, and then hold a good pace throughout the duration of the run.  The first few miles of roads were very dark.  We reached the beach as the first light was emerging.  The tide was very high, and we had to detour around manmade rock walls twice.  The sand was extremely soft and challenging.  It was here I determined two things: after all the miles I put on this week, I was in for a struggle today, and Jeff excels on the sand.  At the second roadblock, we followed a path into a parking lot where Jeff went down hard.  Because of the poor light, we didn't notice a thin low rope that acted as a tripwire.  His knees were bloodied, but he managed to break his fall with his gloves.  The beach portion of our run mercifully ended at the Weekapaug breachway.  We then followed flat roads around this neighborhood before hitting the hills north of Shore Road.  Jeff had some interesting side trails around car dealerships, stores, churches, etc. to avoid Route 1 at all costs.  I kept checking my watch to see if the end was near.  Soon I realized this would be longer than our typical 2 hour run.  My legs were done just as we entered the Champlin Glacier Park.  This would usually be the highlight of the run for me, but I was so exhausted I just tried to hold on.  I wanted to run in the back behind Muddy, but he was battling his own demons (hunger - and the smell of donuts in the air was torture).  We reached the ocean overlook and looped back up to Tom Harvey Road.  Jeff looked to be having the time of his life, effortlessly cruising the trails, bounding over rock walls, and letting it fly on the descents.  On one such descent I "tripped" (over a twig), fell, and slid to a halt on my back.  I let my partners know I wasn't hurt, but I savored the moment of lying down, not running.  Back on my feet we finished up our run.  Total time: 2:19:26. 

Sunday: 0

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 54 miles
Year to Date: 2460 miles (40 left to go)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Old Mountain Trail 5K

On Sunday, I got an early Christmas present in the form of a new local trail race - the Old Mountain Trail 5K.  Leading up to the race I had the chance to scout the course on two occasions, and felt that I had a good plan.  Not knowing who would show up for this thing besides my two fast WTAC teammates, I decided to go out very aggressively to reach the woods ahead of the field, and then let my trail running experience carry me through the technical trails that followed.  I didn't want to start too slow as to get stuck behind inexperienced trail runners who I couldn't pass on the narrow trails.  I knew this was a tad risky, but because of the layout of the course, it seemed like my best shot. 

The morning was very chilly.  I was wearing warm up clothes over my racing gear, but still couldn't stay warm.  Justin and I headed out to run the course as a warm up.  I noticed that despite our easy pace, my lungs felt like they were working hard.  The ground was frozen, so it made the muddy and wet sections much easier.  We got back to the start just before the schedule 10AM start.  Due to the long line at registration, the start was pushed back to 10:30.  It was hard to believe so many people came to run on such a cold morning one week before Christmas.  I fidgeted in my car with my family and my Dad until 10 minutes to go.  I ran around the fields and then waited up front with my coworkers Dan and Brad, looking for Justin and Jeff, and noticing some other fast-looking dudes around me.  Finally it was time to start. 

Waiting at the line with Dan and Brad

At "Go!" I took off.  I was up front, but had company.  Right before entering the woods I got passed by two runners - one who looked like he should win and another who looked like an overzealous teenager.  He then moved well over the rooty pond trail so maybe I was wrong.  Before reaching the far end of the pond I was passed by two more runners.  

I was feeling a little disappointed, and questioned my rationale for going out so fast.  One more guy in a racing singlet muscled (literally) his way by me before we turned onto a side trail that had the only significant hill on the course.  I went by the guy here, and then quickly was in a line of 4 runners trudging up the the steep climb.  I was desperate to get ahead and use my climbing ability to regain position.  I snuck by one person, but ran out of real estate.  As we began the descent, the man in the singlet passed me again.  Now in 5th place, I was gaining on the teenager, and finally I went by as we crossed a power line.  I was feeling okay.  I was going as fast as I could, and felt like I could maintain my speed for the duration. 

After I carefully made my way over the rocky stream crossing, my teammate Jeff Walker went flying by me with another guy in tow.  Just like when he went by me in the Li'l Rhody Runaround this year, he was moving incredibly well.  He likes to contend that trails aren't for him!  I made my way along this twisty trail that frequently crossed dry (or barely running) brooks.  The last crossing I noticed Jeff and two others first splashing through the brook and then getting tangled in briars on the other side.  I knew to stay right and hopped the brook, which helped me momentarily catch up to these three.  The course turned left onto a level grassy wide trail and I fell behind again.  I could also hear footsteps behind me.  As the trail then turned into a field, I caught a runner for the last time.  A new runner went by me a minute later, and right after passing the 2 mile mark, my teamate Justin caught me.  He kept mentioning something about getting stuck behind a dinosaur.  I eventually realized he meant the runner in the giant dinosaur costume I saw at registration. 

The last mile I ran alone.  I tried to keep up my pace.  A couple of times I looked back and saw no one.  I wasn't far behind Justin and the other guy, but I wasn't making up any ground.  I made sure to push the last hill and descent to the finish.  I ended up in 7th place in 20:36.  Official results here.  Overall, I felt good about my effort.  If I didn't start so fast, I think I would have been stuck going slower than I wanted on the trails, possibly behind a dinosaur.  

Post race, I chatted with my wife and then Justin and Jeff (5th and 4th overall respectively).  I got to see my coworkers finish and then my Dad.  Anyone who wore shorts had bloody legs.  Jeff's looked particularly disgusting.  My running team - WTAC won the team competition. 

This was the first of a 5 race series.  Can't wait for the next one in three weeks!  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Weekly Log 12-12-11 to 12-18-11

Monday: 0 - I couldn't think of any place to run that seemed appealing so I walked instead. 

Tuesday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  Again, I was lacking in motivation, but enjoyed a drama-free run in the woods and beach.  I spotted an oriole in the cedars on the point and there were people with scopes checking out the seals.  My pace was moderate throughout, but I forgot my watch - about 1:20. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Calf Pasture Point warm up and cool down.  I wasn't feeling my usual reverse ladder, and wanted to do shorter stuff since I just raced Sunday and have another race this Sunday.  My plan was to do 800's on the bike path - 3 out and 3 back.  I decided to throw in a 200 (approximate) at the end of each set.  Despite tired legs and mind, I was able to muster up a good effort.  Results: 2:53/2:49/2:50/37 2:51/2:52/2:51/38 .  I added a layer and drank some water at my car, and then headed out on my usual cool down.  It was dark and lonely out there.  I was reminded of what time of year it is.  I counted 160 brant on the bay and more flew in.  I also scared up a decent sized deer.  Total time: 1:19. 

Thursday: 7 miles - 2xOld Mtn Trail 5K course with two coworkers.  We met up at the parking lot and successfully navigated our way around the trails.  The river I couldn't cross last week was now just a dribble.  The rocks here are treacherous.  The rest of the trail I didn't scout last time was technical including a jump into and out of a dry creek bed.  We completed the loop in 26:01.  I'm not sure if we followed the course exactly.  Dan and I did a second loop.  We pushed it pretty hard and this time finished up in 24:23.  I can't wait to see how fast I can go on Sunday. 

Friday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I avoided running near the bay with the strong winds today.  I had a really fun, slightly exploratory trail run.  Nice and easy.  Total time: 1:07. 

Saturday:  9 miles - Burlingame roads 7M and trails 1M with Muddy and Jeff.  The latest installment of our early morning runs was roughly half the usual effort as the three of us wanted to be fresh for the race on Sunday.  It was my turn to pick the route.  I wanted to do the Gravelly Hill trails, but it didn't match what we were looking for, so we ran the roads counterclockwise from the Burlingame Picnic Area.  The course was mostly flat accept for two noticeable hills.  Muddy and Jeff were quick to point them out to me.  We finished the run by taking trails to connect Klondike Road with our cars.  Despite being a "short" easy run, it is always fun to get up early and run with these guys.  Total time: 1:13. 

Sunday: 7 miles - Old Mountain Trail 5K - separate write up to follow.  Big team win for WTAC. 

Weekly Total: 54 miles
Last Week: 56 miles
Year to Date: 2400 miles

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas 10K 2011

Yesterday I ran my first 10K road race.  I wasn't even planning to do this race until a few days beforehand, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had to go to the internet and find the VDOT calculator to help me.  Based on my recent 5K PR time, VDOT told me I could run a 10K in 38:06.  I then used an online pace calculator to see what 6:10 pace for 10K would work out to be (I recently had a 5 mile workout at that pace).  The calculator told me 38:19.  Lastly, there was a local runner I beat in a recent 5K by 50+ seconds, who ran 39 minutes last year.  Based on all this, I set my expectation to be between 38:00 - 38:30. 

I traveled to the race with my fellow WTAC teammate Justin.  We were disappointed that race day registrants could not enter their team affiliation.  We did anyway hoping that maybe WTAC would be included by our names.  We then headed out for a 3 mile warm up.  We noticed a nature preserve right across the street and wanted to go check that out.  We spent time exploring the trails.  The park has some impressive cliffs.  We then returned to the car to figure out what clothes to race in.  The morning was chilly (21 at my house when I woke up), but warming to the high 30's.  I opted to just run in short sleeves with a hat and gloves.  We then jogged down to the starting line.  There we ran into some fellow Chariho friends.  Before I knew it the race began. 

Immediately I took off in a comfortable sprint, and after a few hundred meters, settled into my position (about 15th or so).  The first mile went by pretty quickly.  The course has rolling hills every mile.  Justin and I crossed the 1st mile marker in 5:48.  He then moved ahead of me.  I wanted to stick with him, but knew I was in danger of overdoing it way too early.  But around the next corner was a nice little hill and I made a move around a small group of runners and briefly reunited with Justin.  The next mile I was either part of or slightly leading the same group of runners.  In this group was Dave Schaad  - the guy who I beat in a 5K in November and who ran 39 minutes last year.  I used him as a barometer, thinking that I would want to be in front of him to reach my goal time. 

Working our way around Brenton Point, most of this group of runners went by me, including Dave.  My mile splits were getting a little slower (6:00 mile 2), but I was still under my goal pace of 6:10.  I tried not to worry.  As the course veered east, I was expecting the light wind to be at my back.  Unfortunately, the wind was more NW than the forecasted SW, and it was right in my face.  If anything, I knew this would help my overall race position, but maybe not my time.  I reached the 3rd mile marker in 17:54 for 3 miles (6:06 split) which seemed pretty fast for me.  I tried to pick up my pace slightly, and I was able to pass a TNT runner.  I now had my sights on Dave.  With every small hill I was gaining on him, even though my 4th mile was my slowest yet (6:09).  Finally with a looming long uphill ahead, I pushed myself to go faster and passed him.  I could hear him working harder to stay with me.  It was sort of scary - the feeling of being chased.  I thought he might get me after the summit, but after a short descent, there was another significant climb.  I continued to push myself and passed the mile 5 marker (6:04 split). 

I knew I was getting close now.  I was confident in finishing the last 1.2 miles strong.  The sixth mile is a challenge.  It is mostly all uphill and into the wind.  I wasn't worried about anyone behind me.  I could see a couple of runners ahead of me, but I didn't think I had a shot at them.  As the gradual uphill mile wore on, I began to close on one of them.  After a screaming descent, there is one final short but sweet hill.  It was here (also the mile 6 marker - 6:01 split) that I put on a sprint and passed the runner ahead of me.  He encouraged my energy at this point in the race.  As I closed on the finish line I had the urge to throw up, so I took it down a notch and crossed the line in 37:24 (last .2 in 73 seconds) - good for 10th place overall and faster than I thought I was capable of. 

Official Results

Justin and I watched fellow WTAC teammate Jeff finish his race (17th overall) before embarking on a cool down in the nature preserve.  Justin had a huge PR and VDOT busting time of 36:08.  We had a festive ride home, which included a stop at Taco Bell.  Next year, we'll make sure to pre-register our team and give the TNT's a run for the title. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Weekly Log 12-5-11 to 12-11-11

Monday: 11+ miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  I was feeling pretty stressed out at work and not really excited about running, but I knew that once I got out there I would be alot happier.  The weather was muggy and warm for December.  My body felt tight, but my pace felt snappy.  I decided to add some extra distance to my standard 11 mile course, as it is probably a little short.  So when I reached the bridge on the beach, I continued to head south until the beach ends at steep rock cliffs.  This added a half mile.  Once I was back in the woods, I began running into countless unleashed dogs.  I'm sick of ranting about this, but it is making me not want to run here anymore.  Someone (the raker?) decorated the trails in a couple of places, including bulbs on a small American Holly tree.  The raker also cleaned up the last leaf-cluttered side trail.  Thanks dude.  Total time: 1:17:52. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Gravelly Hill trails alone.   I repeated my course from a couple of weeks ago.  It was damp, but warm.  I realized a mile in that I had left my glasses on which became a nuisance once the rain began (3 miles in).  I tried to keep the pace under control.  I restrained myself from sprinting up the hills.  This kept me from getting fatigued and hopefully won't hurt my chances for a strong workout on Wednesday.  Total time: 1:13:38. 

Wednesday: 0 - really too wet to want to run

Thursday: 14 miles - Old Mountain Park and Tri-Pond Park trails (11M) with 3M on Bike Path and sidewalks.  I took a half day at work and was able to get this really nice run in.  After getting the course directions from Mike for this upcoming trail 5K, I parked in Peace Dale at the bike path.  I ran along the roads to get to Old Mountain Park.  I then ran the course as best I could.  Having never run here, I was surprised at how technical the trail around the pond was.  Then it is single track up a nice little steep hill.  This is followed by more twisty single track until a rocky stream crossing.  Due to the 3+ inches of rain the days before, this stream crossing was a river.  I would've had to wade to get across so I turned around and explored trails until reaching the start.  I then began a second loop, this time increasing my pace.  I left the course to explore other trails and found access to a short bike path that lead to the dog park and athletic fields.  I ran around the fields to see where the other end of the trail would be and then decided to follow the last mile of the course back to the finish.  For good measure, I ran once more, connecting the first mile of the race to the last mile.  I'm pretty excited about this race.  The course is technical.  I'm not sure how fast you could run it, but it definitely is a real trail race.  I ran back on the roads to the bike path and then headed up to the trails of Tri-Pond Park.  I first looped around the blazed trails near California Jim's Pond.  Then I ran the other side near the other two ponds.  The trail between the ponds is rooty and features many bridges of all shapes and conditions.  I carefully navigated my way to the smaller pond on 108.  The trail circles the pond and was much easier going.  I then made my way over to Asa Pond where I got a good look at four Ring Necked Ducks.  My legs were getting tired from the beating they were taking from all the technical trails.  I crossed the bike path and spent some more time on the California Jim side before returning to my car.  Total time: 1:49. 

Friday: 5 miles - Rome Point trails with coworker.  This was a fun easy run.  I debated going back out for more miles, but keeping it light before racing the 10K on Sunday made sense to me.  Total time: 39:46. 

Saturday: 5 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill and surrounding roads alone.  This was just a short morning run that I tried to run as slow as possible.  Total time: 41 minutes. 

Sunday: 11 miles - Christmas 10K - 37:24 (6:02 pace), 10th overall.  Awesome race!  Separate write up to follow. 

Overall: I'm happy with my week and excited about the 10K.  Another race coming up next Sunday (trail 5K) that I plan to attack in a much different way. 

Weekly Total: 56 miles
Last Week: 55 miles
Year to Date: 2347 miles

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Weekly Log 11-28-11 to 12-4-11

Monday: 10 miles - Rome Point trails and beach with Dan.  Decent run on a warm muggy November day.  Nothing out of the ordinary to report.  Total time: 1:15. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  My body was telling me "day off", but my mind wanted to run.  I kept it slow throughout.  I ran the standard 7 miles and then spent the last two exploring side trails around the field.  I'm pretty excited about incorporating one particular trail to my usual routine now that I found where it connects (I've had trouble before figuring it out).  Total time: 67 minutes. 

Wednesday: 0 - I was having the same internal debate as yesterday, but I let my body talk me into resting.  Plan B was to go for a walk and bring my binoculars, but the howling wind on the water nixed that idea as well. 

Thursday: 11 miles - Reverse Ladder Workout (2 Mile, 1 Mile, 800, 400) on the Quonset Bike Path with Calf Pasture Point roads, trails, and beach warm up and cool down.  Absolutely fantastic running weather today - sunny, light winds, and temps in the high 40's.  After my mile and half warm up and ditching my hat and gloves, I got to work.  My goal was to run hard and either match or better my best 2 mile time set a couple of weeks ago.  Perhaps due to the cool air, my lungs were burning.  I felt like I gave it my all and completed the 2 miles in 11:44 (one second off my PR).  I was initially wiped out, and my recovery jog almost began with a crawl.  Three minutes later I found myself running hard again - this time for 1 mile.  I was tempted to quit at 800, but pushed on and ran 5:53.  My recovery jog was almost as terrible as the first, and then I finished up with my 800 (2:55) and my 400 (80).  I happily stumbled to my car for water and to put my hat and gloves back on.  I always look forward to my long cool down, especially when it's going to be nice on the beach.  The sand was even firmer than usual as an added bonus.  I returned on the trails and spooked a large owl that I have seen here before.  I briefly stopped to take in the views at the top of the rock outcrop, and I finished my run by exploring a side trail that produced a decent amount of waterfowl in a hidden cove.  Total time: 1:22. 

Friday: 9 miles - Calf Pasture Point road, trail, and beach out and back with Mt View roads alone.  I was drawn back to the beach I ran yesterday, probably because the weather was so similar.  My legs were tired from the workout, but I was able to manage an easy pace with no real problems.  The flock of brant has now reached about 125 on the bay.  The tide was very high, but I was able to jump the tidal stream both ways.  Today was a good day.  Total time: 1:09. 

Saturday: 16 miles - Hopkinton/North Stonington paved and dirt roads with Muddy and Jeff.  We met extra early this morning to accomodate my schedule.  It was rather novel beginning at 6AM, almost a full hour before sunrise.  We began at the Exit 1 Park and Ride and headed north up Rte 3.  We all were chilly at first as none of us overdressed, and this may have lead to the faster than normal pace.  Visibility was an issue for footing.  By the time we reached Denison Hill Road (25 minutes in), there was adequate light.  I remembered this paved road as eventually changing to dirt, but that didn't occur until the last half mile or so.  What I didn't remember was that the road steadily climbs for miles.  Nothing major, but after every turn, the road would go up.  This became a running joke (pun intended).  The road passes through Pachaug State Forest and there were plenty of hunters out.  We reached Green Falls Rd (dirt) and then headed east through the Camp Yawgoog boyscout camp.  Back on paved roads, the course finally veered south for the duration of the run, most of it on North Road (some parts are dirt).  My legs were tiring at the 1:30 mark, but Jeff kept up the pace by hammering the downhills.  We made it back to the parking lot in just over 1:57 - good for low 7:20's pace.  Fantastic run. 

Sunday: 0 - good cross training day with stacking wood, and a family hike (2.5 miles) in the Glacier Park:
Visibility was awesome.  Bock Island can be seen on the left:

You could even see Montauk, Long Island on the right:

Overall: I opted to not chase miles on Sunday to get to 60.  I'm happy with my week.  2500 miles for the year is in reach. 

Weekly Total: 55 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 2291 miles

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Weekly Log 11-21-11 to 11-27-11

Monday: 9 miles - Calf Pasture Point & Mt. View roads, beach, and trails alone.  I wasn't sure if I would even run today after Sunday's race, but I decided on an easy run since I was feeling in okay shape.  I brought along my iphone and tracked my run using an app called RunKeeper.  It's just like a Garmin using GPS technology accept worse.  I've tried it before in the woods and it lost me.  I figured today's run would be interesting to track since it's more open and mostly straight.  The results were still frustrating as it was telling me my miles were getting slower when I was going faster as the run went on.  By feel, I estimated I was running in the high 7's and the total run was 9 miles (total time 1:10:17).  Here's what RunKeeper came up with:

If you zoom in on the map you will notice that I was running through yards, houses, and the bay at times. 

Tuesday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  By the time I got out this afternoon, the clouds had rolled in and it was dark.  Right away I could tell I was moving pretty well without much effort.  Maybe I do this to warm up?  I reached the point in 9 minutes flat.  Then I ran into a pack of four various sized and tempered dogs.  The woman "walking" them had no leashes with her.  I just stood still and covered up (like I was in a soccer wall) while I hoped I wouldn't get bitten - especially by the biggest one.  I'm not sure what this woman's plan was to be out there with 4 dogs, no leash.  There were about 15 cars in the parking lot.  After I was able to get away from the pack, I could then hear the woman yell at them to get out of the water.  They probably were chasing the numerous waterfowl in the cove.  Hopefully, they weren't harrassing the seals.  Anyway, I kept up the good pace, but after I reached the beach, I was feeling tired.  I usually welcome the slower pace of the beach and the level terrain.  I saw a harbor seal on the beach, and as I approached I could see that it was dead.  Kind of sad.  Back in the woods, my pace quickened again.  I'd like to thank the "raker" for clearing the single track trails for the second fall in a row.  I was enjoying not slipping on the leaves.  I felt fast the rest of the way and finished up in 1:12:05 - a PR by a few minutes.  The mileage may be closer to 10.5, but I definitely was going sub 7 today. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Gravelly Hill trails solo.  I wasn't sure if the rains would let up during my running window, so I planned to run in the woods rather than attempt a speed workout on pavement.  Besides, running the hilly trails here are always a good workout anyway.  I came up with a way to extend the usual 3 mile out-and-back course.  I ran a 10+ minute loop of trails near the parking lot before embarking on the usual routine.  At the far end of the trail, I went right down a paved road I thought came out on 1A.  After a couple of minutes it turned to dirt, and soon after I reached the SE corner of the preserve.  I followed the old lane back to a spot that I recognized and retraced my steps from there.  This took me 36 minutes flat each way.  My 3 mile splits for the usual trail were both 21 minutes.  I was working hard on the hills and I was getting fatigued by the time I had the 10 minute loop left.  A relatively close gunshot gave me the adrenaline to finish strong and preserve my life.  Total time: 1:12:40. 

Thursday: 0 - planned and needed day off. 

Friday: 16 miles - Misquamicut/Watch Hill/Avondale roads with some trail and beach mixed in with Jeff and Muddy.  I woke up super early excited for my weekly long run and trip to NH.  I left my house at 5:30 and had breakfast with a full dining room of hunters at D&D.  They seemed a little suspicious of my bright orange shirt and running clothes.  I enjoyed watching first light on this crisp morning.  Eventually it was 6:30 and time to run.  Jeff had a fun course planned out.  We first headed east along Shore Rd and then north and west through various neighborhoods.  North of Shore Rd the terrain is rather hilly, being part of the Charlestown Moraine.  After a few miles we dipped into the Champlin Glacier Park.  I have never ran or hiked here, but I was pleased with the trails both in quantity and quality.  We next ran through the level streets of Misquamicut that I am more familiar with.  I hoped we could jump onto the beach and run to the wall at Watch Hill, but we hit a roadblock with a high tide washing high up on a man made boulder field.  We backtracked to the road and I pushed the pace for awhile until Jeff mentioned how fast we were going.  I got a little carried away cursing about RI water rights.  We did run the beach from Manatuck Ave to the wall.  It was noticeably warmer and brighter.  The sand was extremely soft, and despite running beaches frequently, I was having a tough time with it.  We then made our way back onto the roads of Watch Hill and Avondale.  My legs were beginning to fatigue.  I think I enjoyed climbing the last hills more than the down hill and level sections.  We finished up in 2:04.  Another successful group long run!

Saturday: 8 miles - Stoddard NH trails with Joel.  I was able to meet up with Joel on Saturday morning for a run.  I was excited to explore new trails near my parents house that he could show me.  I didn't plan for all the snow up there however.  I met him at his house and then we began the long climb up to Kings Highway.  Once we reached this 4x4 road, the footing became challenging.  The road was mostly covered with any icy top crust of snow with either soft snow, or mud, or water underneath.  We ran north up Kings Highway before taking a snowmobile trail off to the east.  This trail hadn't been used by anyone except the occasional large or small mammal.  The top layer was slicker and harder to punch through, but at least it was downhill.  I wish I had worn pants as my ankles were getting scratched from the ice.  I was afraid they would be a bloody mess by the time I finished.  At an intersection with another north south snowmobile trail we went south.  We had easterly views of the hills behind Highland Lake.  The sun was beginning to soften the snow here.  We then headed west and uphill back to Kings Highway on another snowmobile trail.  We had to do a balancing act over a very narrow beaver dam, although I wasn't too concerned about falling in since my shoes were already soaked.  The smooth and clear dirt roads down hill to his house were welcomed.  Total time about an hour - definitely a mileage by effort day. 

Sunday: 6 miles - Wood River Junction roads alone.  After driving home from NH in the morning, and then spending 2 hours outside raking and cleaning up the yard, I decided to get in a run.  My family was headed to my in-laws for dinner and I ran towards their house.  My wife would pick me up along the way, wherever that might be.  I didn't have any expectations for this run.  My first mile felt pretty snappy, but easy (it's all downhill).  When I noticed it took 6:30, I then worked hard to keep it up.  I also wanted to see how far I could get before I got picked up, and knew it would be sooner than later.   At the three mile mark I was at 18:30 (12 flat the last two miles).  I had a nice little workout going, but how long could I keep it up?  At 4 miles I was at 24:40.  I considered ending my run here, but figured I could try to maintain my hard pace some more.  Finally, I stopped at Sandy Pond Rd, as I knew that it was just over 5 miles (actually 5.03).  Total time 31:00 for a 6:10 pace.  I switched into recovery mode, until my wife picked me up a few minutes later.  I was really excited about this impromptu workout! 

Overall: 60 miles and great variety of runs.  I'll try to keep this up. 

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 47 miles
Year to Date: 2236 miles

Monday, November 21, 2011

Li'l Rhody Runaround 2011

My favorite and most anticipated race of the year took place last Sunday.  This was probably my 10th time running this race, as it has become a Hammett family tradition.  Last year I surprised myself with a 4 minute PR, and knowing how many miles I had under my belt this year, I was hoping for a similar result.  The question was how fast I could go on the trail.  My plan was to start fast and then run the single track as hard as I could. 

My brothers Glenn and Greg, and my sister-in-law Jen, and I arrived nice and early.  Our dad was already there helping with the set up.  At registration, I ran into Jeff and Justin.  Spirits were high.  I was feeling a little tense, so I snuck away for an early warm up to ease my mind.  I returned to the parking lot, and met up with Jon Short and my coworkers Dan and Tom.  Then my wife (running her first Runaround since 2003) and kids showed up with our close friends from Maine.  It's quite the reunion.  Jon and I broke away from the socializing to get a warm up in (my second).  We timed it nicely as it was time to line up when we returned.  I crammed in behind Greg and Boj and in front of Dan and Tom.  Everyone was pumped. 

At the gun, I took off as fast as my body wanted to go.  For the first 200 meters, I was in 5th place and surprisingly (and foolishly) ahead of Boj.  I could see Greg in the lead.  Eventually, I was passed by a number of people, but not as many as in prior years.  My pace was still very fast.  Before reaching the first trail section, Jeff Walker tucked in front of me.  I was sure Justin was lurking nearby too.  We entered the woods, but the pace was still aggressive.  Knowing that there aren't many trail runners in the area, I was amazed with how fast and comfortable the runners around me looked.  We popped out of the woods and into the campground, and Justin moved in front of me.  I wasn't ready to let him get ahead of me, so I picked up my pace and passed him before entering the trails again. 

There's something unsettling about running as fast as you possibly can on a trail, but hearing and feeling footsteps right behind you.  It almost seems easier to let whoever it is pass by so that you can relax.  I tried to focus on the trail.  This section is always muddy.  Instead of trying to avoid it, I just worked on running a straight line.  I stepped in plenty of mud, but I thought it was better than taking extra and possibly awkward steps.  I opted to not run on the first bridge.  I took the next few, although I avoided the ramps.  I was able to pass a runner after the last bridge and quickly caught up to another.  I knew we were approaching some really technical wet/muddy/rocky spots.  I really wanted to pass, but I had to go right and got stuck in some bad spots and deep mud.  I then noticed Justin sprinting by both of us on the left and then turning on the burners on the following bridge.  I had to wait until the covered bridge to finally pass this runner, but Justin had already put some distance on me.  I tried to just keep up my pace and attack the technical terrain near Klondike Road. 

Soon after, I could hear close footsteps again.  I thought that I would plow through a couple of upcoming challenging spots, and gain some ground.  This was not to be.  I was soon passed by Jeff (again) and another runner.  Jeff looked really strong on the following hill and soon I was a few seconds behind him.  I wasn't sure what to make of this.  I was running as hard as I could, but I was falling back in the field.  I gained a little confidence passing a younger runner on a hill and then worked hard on the last 3/4 mile of trail before reaching Buckeye Brook Road.  Jeff was again in my sights as well as another runner.  I glanced at my watch for the first time, and was surprised (not in a good way) at my time.  I was dwelling on this until I had to re-enter the woods and then pay attention to my footing.  This part of the trail could be the most picturesque, and really challenging to run.  I was able to zip by a runner right before the small rock climb, and almost caught Jeff here.  I paid for my effort on the next little hill, and Jeff again pulled a couple of seconds ahead of me.  I've run this section hundreds of times, but I found myself out of control and taking lines I've never done before. 

Finally, we reached the biggest hill of the race.  Last year I passed a handful of runners here.  I was hoping I would have similar results this time.  I didn't feel great about my climbing, but as I neared the summit I was able to catch Jeff and another runner.  I dug deep to put some distance on them, but I wasn't confident I could.  After a minute or two, I caved in to my curiousity and looked back.  I was happy to see I was successful.  I was able to relax, and just concentrate on working as hard as I could (if that makes any sense).  The last section of trail is the most difficult.  It is technical and generally up hill.  I was trying to run straight lines and stepped in plenty of water and mud.  At some point I considered taking off my shirt as I was getting hot.  There was a runner in front of me, and I didn't think I could catch him, but on the last hill before the road, I passed him.  I didn't let up.  I kept looking at my watch and wondering what time I could still get.  I was at 47:28 when I turned onto Kings Factory Road. 

I don't like this last .9 miles of pavement.  I always get passed here and usually feel terrible.  But this time I felt fast and smooth.  I could now see Justin for the first time since mile 3.  I still hated the road, but at least I was feeling fine.  I made the final turn into the park and began an all out sprint.  I saw my kids, family, and friends cheering me on.  In my mind I was flying.  I finished up in 52:38.  Good for 9th place!  I wasn't excited about my time (I thought I could possibly get under 51 minutes), but I was really happy to finish top 10. 

Everyone I spoke to post race wasn't thrilled with their time, and there were some theories as to what might have lead to that (abnormally warm day, heavy oak leaf cover).  All I know is that I couldn't have been any faster.  I executed my plan to run as hard as I could for the entire race.  I watched the rest of my family and friends finish - Glenn, Jon, Dan, Pard, Tom, Jen, and then my wife.  She looked happy crossing the line.  Megan finished up and then everyone headed over to my house for post race food and chromium replacement.  Congrats to Greg on his 5th Li'l Rhody Runaround victory.  Boj finished 4th, and Justin was 8th and had a new PR.  Jeff was 11th and looked really strong on the trails.  Official results here.    A great day overall. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weekly Log 11-14-11 to 11-20-11

Monday: 8 miles - Middlebridge and Narragansett roads alone.  I planned out a 11 mile route that went through the Bonnet Shores section of town as well, but I got disinterested on tired legs and dealing with all the traffic on Boston Neck Road.  At least the run along the Narrow River was fun, and it was a great day to be outside.  Total time: 59:53. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Gravelly Hill trails with Jon Short.  We met up for the usual 6 mile out and back course.  The trail had heavy leaf cover, and this lead to inefficient sliding steps especially on the hills.  It was still a great run, with plenty of Lil' Rhody Runaround conversation.  We were interrupted by a couple of dogs (both labs).  One that wanted to run with us, and one that was scared of us.  Even with this diversion we made it out in 22:20 which is pretty fast for the trail.  We kept up the peppy pace on the way back and finished up in 45 minutes flat.  I was looking for a few more miles, so I went back for 4 more.  This time I took the longer perimeter trail and then turned around at the overlook (the ocean and Block Island still visible despite the grey day).  My legs were beat by the time I finished (26:00).  Total time: 1:11:00. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Rome Point trails with Tom.  I was going to do an easy workout on the bike path as suggested by my brother, but I was talked into running the trails with my coworker.  We hit up the best trails in the park, and were going pretty fast (9:25 to the point).  After 32 minutes, I ditched my glasses and went back out alone.  I decided to get in my planned workout on the wide main path.  I ran 4x35 seconds (roughly 200's at a good but not blistering pace) down towards the water.  I then ran the shoreline past the bridge and back.  It was here that the steady ran began to fall.  I didn't mind, but  I was getting wet and a little cold.  I then ran 4x35 seconds again, but this time on gnarlier single track.  This was kind of exciting, but also scary as my vision without glasses and in the rain was rather poor.  I then hit up some more single track including the hill, and finished up my run in 1:13:20. 

Thursday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  This felt like an old school run.  I parked in the higher lot on Oak Hill Rd, and headed out on a lonely recovery run in an empty park.  It was grey, damp, and chilly (47 degrees).  This reminded me of my runs here years ago, when no one even knew I was running at work, and the park was barely used.  I want to take it easy the next few days for the race on Sunday, so I decided on a course that I wasn't going to be tempted to add miles to.  I figured I would run this in the low 8's, but when I finished I was in the high 7's - total time 54:46. 

Friday: 0 - on the fence about running, and I was talked out of it.  Legs still have lingering soreness and I want to be fresh for Sunday. 

Saturday: 0

Sunday: 12 miles - Lil' Rhody Runaround 8 Mile Trail Race - 52:38 9th Place. Separate write-up to follow. 

Overall:  Less miles than planned, but I wanted to be fresh for the race.  I was happy with my effort, but not excited about my time (but still a PR).  More miles next week. 

Weekly Total: 47 miles
Last Week: 53 miles
Year to Date: 2176 miles

Monday, November 14, 2011

Charlestown FOP 5K 2011

Sunday was the rescheduled Charlestown FOP 5K in Ninigret Park.  Usually taking place in August, I welcomed the cool air of November.  I was excited to run a flat course, and see where all my training this fall had gotten me.  My stated goal was to run in the 18:30's, but I was gunning for something even faster than that.  I knew that the race always attracted some fast runners, and that my winter running partners, Justin and Jeff, would be there. 

The weather was terrific.  A little warmer than forecasted, it was 57 degrees by 8:30AM.  The wind was not as strong as anticipated, but still noticeable.  I grabbed my bib, found Justin, and did a warm up.  We noticed that the course was not the same.  Instead of running a lap of the bike loop at the beginning and again at the end of the race, the course now began on the roads and then finished with two laps of the bike loop before spilling back out onto the road.  We wandered back to the starting area where we met up with Jeff.  We decided to run a little more as we had five minutes to the start time.  Justin and Jeff pointed out two really fast guys shooting for the course record and the extra winnings that came with it.  I still lined up front and waited for the gun. 

I found myself sprinting off the line and settling into 3rd place (1st and 2nd were quickly out of sight).  I could hear plenty of footsteps behind me and I knew that I would at least be seeing Justin soon.  I knew my first mile would be fast, and I wanted to just go with it.  My speed workouts would hopefully give me the strength to carry it through the last two.  The first mile winds through the park on twisty roads.  Since I couldn't see the leaders, I used my best judgement on finding the shortest lines on the turns.  At about 3/4 of mile in, Justin moved by me.  I initially decided to stay right with him, but I wasn't comfortable at his pace, and he looked strong.  Then another runner caught up to me.  We passed through the 1st mile in 5:41.  Too fast to keep up, but I was happy with how easy it felt. 

The second mile is always my slowest.  At least I had company to keep me honest.  The runner at my side moved ahead a couple of times, but I wouldn't let him get away.  As we neared the entrance to the bike loop I surged through the headwind, and put some distance between us.  The wind was an issue, but I'm very used to it running near the water, so I didn't let it bother me mentally.  I could still see Justin in front of me, but by now he had 20+ seconds on me.  Finally, the wind was at my back as I passed the 2nd mile marker in 11:50.  I was a little concerned about my second mile.  I was still on pace for a PR and my goal, but I didn't like it took me over six minutes, even though over half of it was into the wind. 

Beginning mile 3, the wind was still at my back, and I tried to quicken my pace.  I felt strong (thanks to my workouts), and was feeling confident.  As the bike loop turned into the wind again, I also had to now deal with other runners entering the loop on their first lap.  Despite the traffic, I was able to run the tangents and lines I wanted for the most part.  I was thankful to once again get the wind off my face and onto my back.  I knew I was getting close to the finish, but I wasn't sure how far down the road the finish line was.  I didn't even think to look for the 3rd mile marker, but had my sights on the finish.  I noticed my wife, kids, and dad cheering me on, and put together a finishing kick.  I couldn't believe the time on the clock as I crossed the line.  18:08, good for 4th place and a 52 second 5K PR. 

I met up with Justin, who was third in a PR time of 17:33, and Jeff (6th place, 18:33).  We chatted about our races, and then I was congratulated by my family.  After a few minutes, I began getting cold, so we went inside the Frosty Drew Nature Center, where the registration, food, and facilities were.  Eventually, my kids wanted to go back to the playground, so Justin and I ran a cooldown through the park as we waited for the awards ceremony. 

Overall, I was thrilled with this race.  I can't believe I ran 5:51 mile pace for 5K.  I knew I could get under 6 minute pace, but this was a surprise.  I think that I could have run even harder, especially if I had company the last mile, and gotten under 18 minutes.  Before this race, I wouldn't have thought that was possible.  Now I can't wait to run another 5K. 


On the bike loop:
Justin looking strong, but distracted?
Finishing up

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Weekly Log 11-7-11 to 11-13-11

Monday: 13 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads (10.2 miles) and Camp Nokewa trails (3+ miles) alone.  My plan was for 11 miles.  I parked at Rome Point and ran north up Rte 1A and then up and down the Plum Point and Plum Beach neighborhood roads.  I then ran down Snuff Mill Rd and up and down the Gilbert Stuart Rd hill.  I took a detour into Camp Nokewa.  I noticed more signage for this now state-owned property, so I thought I would wander around for a better look.  I spent quite some time checking all the side trails and main path.  I think I could string together a 2 mile loop.  I was in there for a little over 24 minutes.  Back on the road, I finished up my run back to my car.  The total time was 1:40:23.  A little longer than planned.  The road section was 10.2 miles which I average 7:27 minute miles.  Just for fun I tallied up the elevation gain on this run using a topo map and came up with 930 feet.  Not too shabby for southern RI. 

Tuesday: 6 miles - Rome Point trails and beach with Tom.  This was a great little run.  Gorgeous weather (almost 70 degrees, bright sun, no wind).  This was a tempo-ish effort, with certain stretches run pretty hard.  We did a little exploring that was interesting.  Got some additional hill work out of it.  We flushed a barred owl and got a great look at it flying through the woods.  Total time: 45:48. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Calf Pasture Point warm up (1.5M) and cool down (5M) alone.  Despite my tired body from the hills two days prior, mentally I was excited to do my normal reverse ladder workout - 2 mile/1 mile/800/400.  The one difference today was that I opted for a tighter pair of Free Runs, and I was pleased with the results.  The 2 mile is the time I am the most focused on.  I checked my watch every half mile.  Today my times at the splits were 2:54, 5:51, 8:50, and 11:43.  I put in a great effort and was rewarded with a significant PR by 7 seconds.  I was wiped out after completing it, and wondered if I should even bother finishing my workout.  I did finish.  My times were not great, but decent enough based on how tired I was - 5:54, 2:56, 80.  The 400 time was an estimate as I was interrupted by a dog in my lane.  I stopped at my car for water and an email check, and then headed out on the relaxing portion of my run.  Lot's of people out today on yet another spectacular fall day.  Total time:1:23:05. 

Thursday: 0 - dreary and then heavy rains cancelled my planned short easy recovery run. 

Friday: 16 miles - Burlingame trails with Muddy and Jeff.  We were able to schedule our weekend long run on the holiday as we are all running a 5K on Sunday.  A little chilly at the start (6:30) due to the strong winds, especially near the pond.  The trails were leaf covered and the bridges and rocks were a little slippery.  My legs are still tired from Wednesday's workout and I didn't feel as peppy as last week.  We did the same route, but somehow avoided the hunters this time.  These two hour runs breeze by with company.  Total time: 2:04.  My family then spent the day hiking/exploring in Tiverton, RI.  So far away in Rhode Islander terms (over an hour), but well worth the trip.  Separate blog entry to follow. 

Saturday: 0

Sunday: 7 miles - Charlestown FOP 5K - 18:08 4th overall.  52 second PR.  Separate write up to follow. 

Weekly Total: 53 miles
Last Week: 64 miles
Year to Date: 2129 miles

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Weekly Log 10-31-11 to 11-6-11

Monday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails with Jon Short.  This was a good tempo-type run.  Jon pulled a Dan and pushed me faster than I normally go for a couple of miles.  We slowed it down once we turned around on the beach at the tidal stream - too high to cross.  A really nice day to be out there.  Total time: 57 minutes. 

Tuesday: 3 miles - Calf Pasture Point alone.  My body was telling me take a zero, but when I went outside on my lunch break, I couldn't resist doing something on this sunny crisp day.  I decided to run with my phone to take pictures.  When I reached the beach, the tide was really high, and the wind off the water was creating waves on the bay.  There was literally no sand to run on, but I thought I would see what the tidal stream looked like (a river).  I turned around and slowly made my way back.  Untimed. 

Wednesday: 12 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Mt View roads and Calf Pasture Point beach and road cooldown.  My goal today was to run 1x3 miles sub 18 minutes.  A few weeks ago I did this in 17:57.  The day couldn't have been nicer - mid 50's, sunny, and only a light breeze.  I ran the the length of the bike path from my car as a warm up (about 2.5 miles) and then got to work.  I felt loose on the warm up, but my legs were lacking freshness, and my confidence wasn't as high as I hoped.  My first mile was 5:58.  Right on pace.  My second mile was a frustrating 6:08.  I always have a slow 2nd mile when I run 3 miles/5K.  I still thought I could salvage my time by finishing strong on the last mile.  I clocked in at 6:00 for a 18:06 total.  I was slightly disappointed overall, but it wasn't far off of what I was looking for, and my legs were not 100%.  I returned to my car for water and to check email and then headed out on my cooldown.  I ran a loop of roads through the Mount View section of NK, before reaching the beach and running to the tidal stream.  I then looped back via the Calf Pasture Point road to my car for a nice 6 miles.  Lot's of people out today enjoying the perfect weather.  Total time: 1:28:11. 

Thursday: 14 miles - Charlestown Breachway out to Matunuck beach with the return on roads.  I had today off so that I could watch my daughter for the day.  She did have preschool for a couple of hours in the morning, so after drop off, I decided to go for a two hour run.  I parked at the town beach parking lot and then ran the road out to the breachway.  I was happy that I would be running west to east on the beach, as there was a strong SW wind.  Rounding the corner onto the beach I instantly felt warmer.  I was having trouble finding firm sand, but the wind pushed me along.  I enjoyed the solitude, watching the birds and the decent surf.  I wasn't sure how far I would get on the beach as there are a couple potential roadblocks.  The first is in Green Hill.  There is a rather large house with a manmade pile of boulders in front of it.  The tide was rather high.  As I approached, I could see the water reach the rocks, but it looked like there might be a chance to sprint by.  Determined to stay on course, I went for it.  I only made it halfway before the ocean rushed in and soaked me up to my shins.  I cursed at the house, and then reached the other side.  My soaked shoes (Free Runs) dry quickly, and my wet feet were only a distraction for a minute or so, because of the next roadblock, also in Green Hill.  This one looked impassable, but as I got closer, I noticed that I could safely and dryly skirt along side a concrete wall.  Now I was on the stretch of beach in front of the Trustom Pond NWR.  Earlier this year I had to stop here as they had the entire beach to the LOW tide line roped off for the piping plovers and least terns.  This time of year you can exercise your State of RI right to access of the shoreline below the mean high tide.  I did feel guilty when I had to pass by a large flock of gulls that flew off.  Sorry.  The next possible roadblock was the Card's Pond breach.  I've seen this salt pond connected to the sea as a raging river, a stream, and not connected at all.  Since my shoes were wet, I figured that if I had to get wet I would, unless it was too deep and quick.  Luck was on my side as the pond wasn't quite connected to the ocean this time.  I then passed another large flock of gulls (mostly great black-backed) that began to fly off, and then decided I wasn't a threat, and returned.  I was pretty excited to now be running on a stretch of beach I had never run or walked on.  I had only one more obstacle before reaching Matunuck.  There was a large house (or 3 houses?) with a manmade structure in front that the ocean was reaching.  This was before Roy Carpenter's Beach.  Having no previous experience with this hazard, I was nervous, but there was a lull in the wave action and I made a mad dash for it.  Now I was on the last stretch of beach before a massive rock wall in Matunuck that would end my beach run for the day.  I tried accessing the road from a parking lot, but it was fenced in for the winter so I had to backtrack to the SK Town Beach and find my way out from there.  I then began the rather unexciting road portion of my run.  The scenary on Card's Pond Road is nice, but the headwind was bone chilling.  I turned briefly onto Moonstone Beach Rd, before spending a few miles on Matunuck Schoolhouse Rd.  I reached Charlestown Beach Rd sooner than I projected, so I continued on and ran around the Blueberry Lane neighborhood.  I finished up in 1:52:26.  I had ample time to clean myself up and get a coffee and a scone at the bakery I hadn't been to since college.  I then picked up my daughter from school, took her out to lunch, and then the aquarium for a really awesome day off. 

Friday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  I wasn't sure what sort of run I would be in the mood for.  Yesterday my legs were tired the entire time on my long run, but today they were in decent shape.  I again was drawn to the idea of running on the beach, so I went to Rome Point.  It felt warm in the parking lot - 51 degrees, full sun, and protection from the wind.  As soon as I veered off to the north, I was greeted with a very chilly wind.  At the point, the wind was hollering and miserable.  I wasn't too excited about running the beach anymore.  But I warmed up on the single track through the woods and over the hill, and was ready for the beach portion.  Heading towards the bridge I could feel the wind push me from behind.  Right before turning around I went by a gentleman walking in the opposite direction who looked horribly cold.  Yikes.  Upon turning around, I was greeted with as strong a wind I think I have ever run in.  I passed the man again and mumbled something about how it was a little windier this direction.  At times I felt like I was running in place.  If the beach was sandier I would have been steadily stung by blowing sand.  I tried running with my shoulder turned into the wind.  Can't say that helped much.  I eventually made it back to the woods and had a really fun run the rest of the way.  I felt fast without trying.  Total time: 1:17:46. 

Saturday: 16 miles - Burlingame trails with Muddy and Jeff.  This was the first organized winter long run of the year.  We met up at 7AM at the picnic area.  It was very dark on the drive down, but once we hit the trails, there was adequate light.  Chilly start - 29 degrees, and it never warmed up that much (36 at the finish).  We ran Vin Gormley with a 3 mile out and back diversion down the North South Trail to the campground entrance and a 2 mile extension around the old north camp.  The plan was to stick to the non-hunting side of Burlingame as it was the first day of deer muzzle-loader season.  After reaching Poquiant Brook, we decided we were up to the challenge of dodging bullets on the hunting side.  On Schoolhouse Pond trail, we ran by a hunter luring in deer by smoking cigarettes.  On Sammy C's, we saw another one that looked a little grumpy.  It was a lot of fun running with these guys, as we all have similar running abilities, and had plenty of running to talk about on our journey.  The trails were in awesome shape two weeks before Lil' Rhody.  Our pace was perky from the start, and despite the heavy mileage the last few days, my legs felt terrific throughout.  It was nice to see so many non-hunters back in the parking lot (mtn bikers and runners).  Total time: 2:01:10. 

Sunday: 0 - day of rest.  Muddy and Jeff made me feel like a freak running every day.  Hiked Trustom Pond in the afternoon with the family.  A birder told me there was a northern shoveler off of Osprey Point, but I couldn't find it. 

Weekly Total: 64 miles
Last Week: 64 miles
Year to Date: 2076 miles

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekly Log 10-24-11 to 10-30-11

Monday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  This run was identical to the run last Monday.  I was keeping the pace easy, but my times were fast.  Perfect running weather.  Total time: 1:15:31. 

Tuesday: 13 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads 8M and Rome Point trails 5M alone.  My original plan was to run all roads, but I couldn't stomach that much pavement.  The weather was really nice, even though it was a tad windy at times.  I started getting tired only 8 miles in, but the woods helped maintain alertness.  My last mile felt great for some reason.  Total time: 1:39:37. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Calf Pasture Point warm up/cool down.  I thought that today might be a rainy day, and I would possibly take a zero or do an easy run.  It stayed dry, so I decided to give my normal reverse ladder workout a shot.  I've run alot of miles in the last 7 days, so I wasn't going to be surprised to be a tad slow.  My warm up was just that - I was shivering in the cool air - and it was faster than usual.  I reached the bike path and began my 2 mile sprint.  I try not to look at my watch too much, but I allow a peek at the 1 mile mark - 6:02.  I felt like I was faster.  I pushed it hard the last quarter mile and finished up in 11:53 (5:51 2nd mile).  I was pleased with this.  After a 3 minute recovery, I did 1 mile.  I felt really fast at the start, slow in the middle, and fast at the end - 5:53 result.  Acceptable.  At this point I'm very tired, and I'm not looking forward to the 800.  I was able to muster a snappy finish as I passed a woman rollerblading from behind - 2:51.  Fine.  The 400 seems so short after the longer sprints, I just try to go as fast as possible and then hold on at the end as I'm usually slowing down - 78.  Good.  Overall, things went better than expected.  The cool down was filled with bird activity - an interesting colored red tail hawk, a close great blue heron, yellow rumped warblers, the first returning brant for the winter, large unidentifiable sandpipers, and crows acting like gulls in the low tide mud flats.  The workout and the miles caught up to me near the end, and I was happy to finish.  Total time: 1:21:14. 

Thursday: 0 - Muddy told me to take a day off. 

Friday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails with Dan.  48 degrees, but sunny in the middle of the afternoon.  Dan pushed the pace as he usually does for miles 2-5 and then I took over from there trying to maintain it.  We had to make a long leap over the tidal stream which was fun.  This was my fastest time on this course to date: 1:14:14. 

Saturday: 6 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads alone.  I ran after my wife got back from her 6 mile trail run in the morning.  The wind was really picking up, and at 38 degrees, it felt very raw out.  My plan was to do an easy, untimed run,  but the roads around my house are not easy, and I ended up running fast.  I felt strong on the hills.  After, my son helped me stack wood on our covered front stoop, before the rain began. 

Sunday: 12 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill to Arcadia roads.  I ran from my house to my in-law's in the afternoon.  My goal was to get in a decent run.  It was cold (40 degrees) and very windy.  The challenge was going to be the headwind that I would face almost the entire time on my south to north course, especially in the open areas like the turf fields.  I mapped it out online and made note of a few of the early mile markers.  This is usually a bad idea, as I end up racing myself.  This was the case again as I breezed through an easy first mile in 7:05.  The race was on, and I ran a rather hard pace the rest of the way.  Despite the head wind, I was at 21:00 at 3 miles; right about the spot my family passed me in the car, double checking I didn't want to bail and hitch a ride with them.  The wind was horrible by the high school and the turf fields, but I still hit 4 miles at 28:00.  There was shelter from the winds the next couple of miles, but I didn't know where the mileage markers were, so I had no idea if I was keeping up my effort.  I dashed through Hope Valley and then up Arcadia Road.  Again, I couldn't tell how I was doing, but my pace felt quick.  My legs finally tired of the pavement the last 3/4 of mile.  My total time was 1:21:45 (11.88 miles) for a 6:52 pace into the wind.  I was pretty happy with the effort and was able to immediately replace chromium at my in-laws. 

Overall: Strong week.  I'm working harder on normal runs hoping for a fast Lil' Rhody Runaround in a couple of weeks. 
Weekly Total: 64 miles
Last Week: 63 miles
Year to Date: 2012 miles - surpassed my year goal of 2000 this week!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekly Log 10-17-11 to 10-23-11

Monday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  This was a great run.  I thought I would be slow a day after the 5K, but I had really fast times at the usual places I check.  Total time: 115:33. 

Tuesday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails with Dan.  I repeated the same run as yesterday, but we took it easier.  My legs were feeling tired by the end.  Total time: 1:22:50. 

Wednesday: 0 - I was watching the radar hoping for a lull in the rain.  When I decided to go for it, the rain picked right back up in intensity and I bailed on running. 

Thursday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Calf Pasture Point warm up/cool down alone.  It was obnoxiously windy on this day.  I knew my times might be a little whacky.  I was very happy with my effort.  2 mile/1 mile/800/400 12:16/5:55/2:56/75.  I got really wet trying to jump a tidal stream on the beach.  I miscalculated and paid for it.  Total time: 1:23:24. 

Friday: 17 miles - Burlingame trails with some roads mixed in.  I ran in the crisp morning air.  I wanted to run forever, but my legs were tired, and I had trouble keeping up a decent pace the last 3 miles.  It was still a really great run, and I saw zero humans.  Total time: 2:10:30. 

Saturday: 8 miles - Stoddard dirt roads alone.  After a fun rehearsal dinner the night before, I got in an early chilly run before the wedding.  I ran up hill to the German Sheppard house, and then looped and explored other roads.  Total time: 1 hr. 

Sunday: 5 miles - Stoddard dirt roads alone.  Cold, but with no wind I was fine.  I just ran a loop of the neighborhood, this time going up the north side (Tigola/Rice Brook rds).  Not as steep, but longer.  I let me legs go as fast as they wanted on the steep descents.  Total time: 35 minutes. 

Weekly Total: 63 miles
Last Week: 45 miles
Year to Date: 1948 miles

Monday, October 17, 2011

Westerly Run for the Pumpkins 5K

Sunday I ran a small local 5K.  I've been looking for a race I could jump in, and this one fit into my and my family's schedule.  My dad told me that his running club was involved this year, and they were hoping for improved turnout.  The course is not flat, and there is a significant hill during the 2nd mile.  Not a course to go for a PR, but that's what I found myself doing nonetheless.  My goal, based on recent workouts, is to run a 18:30 5K before the end of the year.  I didn't think I would do that in this race, but I knew that if I ran hard, I could possibly win, and would set a PR.  What I didn't expect was the wind factor.  I knew it was windy, but I didn't know that it would be in your face on the uphills. 

Upon arrival, the parking lot was full, and it seemed like there was a good chance there were some runners faster than me in attendance.  Last year's winner, and the runner I thought I would battle it out with today, was directing the race, not running, as he ran the Hartford Marathon the day before in 3:12.  Still, I noticed some teenagers with Westerly HS track shirts, I figured one of them would be too fast for me.  I ran about a mile warm up and was feeling really good.  I tried to get to the starting line right before the start, but it didn't begin on time.  I did over hear one of the kids in the WHS jerseys say to his friends he was going to be running in front all on his own.  I made sure to line up next to him. 

At the gun, he took off aggressively.  I pushed myself to stay near him and then as he slowed I briefly passed by.  He countered my move and surged ahead at a pace I was not comfortable with at a quarter mile in.  I peeked over my shoulder to see if anyone else was close, but it looked like it was just going to be me chasing the leader.  His lead only gradually increased during the first mile, which was mostly flat or downhill.  At the 1 mile mark, I was at 5:47 - my fastest mile ever.  I knew this was a little too fast, but I knew that the hills coming up would even things out.  The 2nd mile began with a long straightaway, and his lead grew to about 15 seconds. 

The course then veered west, and not only were we faced with a big hill, but the strong wind became apparent.  At first, he seemed to be climbing well, and I figured that I was stuck in second.  As we continued, he began slowing, and kept chugging along.  I then caught him, and he told me, "good job".  I kept pushing myself, waiting for the road to level off.  It did level off on a side road, but then climbed upwards again.  By the time the majority of the climbs were over, I looked back and was now way ahead.  I then checked my watch looking for the 2nd mile marker and it was already over 6 minutes.  By the time I reached the 2 mile mark, it clocked in at 6:25.  Yikes!  I ran it so hard, but the wind on the hills made you feel like you were going nowhere. 

Beginning mile 3, my goal was now to just win.  The course and weather weren't going to produce a great time, but I felt the conditions were more my style of running, and I wanted to validate that with the W.  Unfortunately, there were more short hills to climb, and being at a higher elevation, the wind felt stronger.  I just tried to run as hard as possible.  Finally, I recognized the last road back into the park for the start/finish.  I was hoping for an adrenaline rush to help me with a strong finishing kick, but I settled for what I could muster.  I saw the clock tick 18:58 and crossed the line.  I heard a discussion about a bet that no one would finish under 19 minutes.  I felt good after the initial urge to throw up. 

I met up with my wife and kids who were pretty surprised to see me win.  I slapped five with the second place kid.  We watched my dad finish, and then talked to some of his running friends.  For the win I received a customized medal and a $50 gift certificate for Westerly Chamber of Commerce businesses.  Can't wait to eat and drink that up.  It turned out that the timing company had my official time at 19:00.  Kind of annoying, but I still think I'm at 18:30 pace on a flat course.  And without too much wind.  It was still a 13 second PR. 

Official results


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekly Log 10-10-11 to 10-16-11

Monday: 0 - day off after 7 straight. 

Tuesday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  A relaxing afternoon run on a busy stressful work day.  I seem to be running this course about the same speed recently.  Total time: 1:17:35. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Calf Pasture Point warm up (1.5M) and cool down (5M).  After last week's 1x3 mile, I decided to go back to the reverse ladder I've been doing this fall.  I feel a lot more confident in my abilities, and I tried to carry that over to my workout today.  I ran hard and felt like I emptied the tank on each effort.  I'm happy to see my times come down.  The workout: 2 mile/1 mile/800/400 Results: 11:50 (5:58/5:52)/5:51/2:54/1:20.  I think I ran my fastest miles ever.  3 minute recoveries after the 2 mile and 1 mile, 2 minute recovery after the 800.  I stopped at my car for water and to check email and then had a nice cool down out to the end of the beach and back.  Windy and grey - it really felt like fall.  Total time: 1:22:42. 

Thursday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails with Dan.  I forgot to pack running clothes so I had to borrow shorts to get this run in today.  Grey and wet, but no rain.  We ran at a comfortable pace throughout.  Total time: 1:23:37. 

Friday: 0 - oops, messed this one up.  I wanted to do a longish run, but when I headed out on my break, it began raining hard off and on.  I couldn't convince myself to do it.  I should have ran early to beat the heavy rains. 

Saturday: 8 miles - Vin Gormley trails with Jon Short.  We met up at 9AM at the picnic area and followed the trail clockwise.  Perfect running weather and the trails weren't as wet as I thought.  Good conversation as we made our way around the pond.  Near the end I was a little surprised at our time as I thought we were going 8 minute pace, but it was actually slower.  Oh well, it was a nice run, and my legs didn't feel that fresh.  Hopefully they will feel good tomorrow as I'm planning to run a small 5K in Westerly.  Total time: 68 minutes. 

Sunday: 4 miles - Run for the Pumpkins 5K - 1st overall, 19:00.  Hilly course and windy.  See separate race report write up. 

Overall: I was hoping for more miles, but the decision to not run in the rain Friday kept the total down.  The 5K was a blast, and winning my first ever race felt good, no matter the size or competition. 

Weekly Total: 45 miles
Last Week: 63 miles
Year to Date: 1885 miles

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weekly Log 10-3-11 to 10-9-11

Monday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  It's beginning to feel like fall out there.  It's definitely darker in the woods now.  My pace was pretty snappy throughout.  Total time: 61:11. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails.  I ran the first three with Gip and then the last six solo.  We kept it easy, and then I picked it up a little bit.  Another really nice day.  Total time: 68:33. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Calf Pasture Point roads and beach alone.  I was equipped with three plans for my workout today, but I was happy I got to do Plan A.  After yesterday's run I had some discomfort in my right calf, so I did a nice warm up to test it out.  It felt fine so at the far end of the bike path I began my workout: 1 x 3 miles.  Mapping it online, I had a very good landmark for 3 miles, but when I tried to extend it to 5K, there were no distinguishing features to utilize.  The reason I wanted to run this distance was to prove a point to myself.  The coolish weather would help with the time.  So, off I went.  I wasn't sure how hard I should be running, and I was nervous when I peaked at my watch after half a mile.  Getting to two miles was the hard part, and the last mile seemed easier mentally.  I ended up proving the point to myself, and finished the 3 miles in a satisfying 17:57 (5:59/6:02/5:56).  I then embarked on a nice slow cooldown, most of which was on the beach.  A tidal stream I jumped on the way out got significantly wider on my return and I got really wet.  Total time: 1:16:00. 

Thursday: 11 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads alone.  This was not planned, but due to construction at the Rome Point parking lot, I had to call an audible.  I began at the park and ride and did my usual course from the spring: Plum Point Rd, Gilbert Stuart Rd, and Snuff Mill Rd.  Then I did some extra weaving through the Plum Beach neighborhoods to get to 11 miles and 6 good climbs.  Total Time: 1:21:03.  My pace was faster than I anticipated, and I worked a lot harder than the easy run I planned.  The weather was so perfect that I wanted to keep running. 

Friday: 11 miles - Rome Point trails and beach solo.  For the second day in a row, I was actually cold running for the first 10 minutes.  Really quiet in the woods today.  I wasn't sure how I would feel today, but my legs felt fantastic.  After dealing with the high tide earlier in the week, it finally was manageable.  A few interesting shorebirds I couldn't identify.  I kept up the good pace for the rest of the run and finished up in 1:16:51. 

Saturday: 7 miles - Burlingame trails 5M and roads 2M.  I was able to get in a late afternoon run that I thought would be easy.  After a pretty peppy first mile to get to the trailhead, I decided to just run hard.  I passed a family of mtn bikers twice and one of the kids asked their dad if I was going to keep up that pace the whole time.  The answer was no.  I went even faster on the last mile.  Total time: 50:21.  In the morning, I had a great hike with my kids in the Grills Preserve.  The ambitious hike we had planned got even longer when I took a wrong turn.  My son thought I wasn't going the right way and I should have listened to him.  Not much complaining on the 3 mile hike. 

Sunday: 6 miles - Burlingame trails with Sarah.  This was a good training run for my wife for the Lil' Rhody Runaround.  I took her on my favorite mtn bike trail and then the loop around the old campground.  We finished through the north side by the beaver pond.  Nice and easy 64 minutes.  Fun afternoon spent at Misquamicut beach.  It felt like summer and the water was still warm enough to swim. 

Overall: A really great week of running and a fun long weekend. 

Weekly Total: 63 miles
Last Week: 47 miles
Year to Date: 1840 miles