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