Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weekly Log 1-24-11 to 1-30-11

Monday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  Fantastic run!  I was sick of roads and took a chance with trails and was rewarded with hard packed snow, even on the lesser used side trails.  I had Yaktrax on my trail shoes, but probably didn't even need them.  My splits were not far off of a fast run on clear trails.  I included 1.5 miles of beach, but I think I busted a Yaktrack there.  The bay was busy with birds - huddled here now that there is no open freshwater anywhere.  The temperature was 16 degrees and I wore an extra layer - Patagonia long underwear.  It kept me nice and warm throughout.  Total time: 59:50. 

Tuesday: 7 miles - Rome Point trails with Dan.  It was a whacky weather day - forecast for a chance of a snowshower and upper 30's, but we had light snow all day (about 3" total) until 2PM.  Dan and I decided to run the trails since the roads were a horrible mess.  He brought his iPhone and took a lot of photos.  The footing was a little slower in the woods than yesterday, but tolerable.  A fun run in the snow!  Total time: 57:30. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Rome Point trails with Dan.  I'll save my weather forecasting rant for another day.  Let's just say it was another awesome snowy run (except for the pack of unleashed dogs including a German Sheppard and some giant Alaskan thing).  We ran "fast" for what the conditions allowed.  The moderate snowfall made it hard to see at times.  Total time: 55:31. 

Thursday: 0 - really good cross training day shoveling heavy wet snow for a total of 3 hours. 

Friday: 4 miles - Wickford roads with Gip.  Not a lot of running options today (carless) so I snuck in an easy run with a coworker.  Total time: 32:00. 

Saturday: 6 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads alone.  A nice hilly workout in the morning before my wife had to go to work.  I ran it pretty hard, but could have pushed more.  Total time: 42:24. 

Sunday: 8 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads solo.  Warm day.  Same course as yesterday, but added a mile to the 3 mile out and back.  My plan was to run for an hour and keep it relatively easy.  I was feeling good through 5 miles (35:31) and decided to pick up the last 3 - 6:35 (downhill), 6:52 (uphill - new record for Poquiant Brook up to the old farmstead), 6:28 (up and down).  I feel really good about the 19:55 for these 3 hilly miles.   Earlier in the day, my family and my parents hit up the family swim time at the Y.  Pard and I scanned the dreadmill room for Muddy.  Total time: 55:26. 

Overview: I'm happy that I continue to run almost every day.  This month has been challenging weatherwise.  I'm not doing the workouts that I envisioned (speed day and long day), but I am very happy with my efforts at Rome Point in the snow and the hilly roads at home.  I'm thinking that the Super 5K is a possibility for next Sunday. 

Weekly Total: 40 miles
Last Week: 38 miles
Year to Date: 166 miles

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Weekly Log 1-17-11 to 1-23-11

Monday: 8.5 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads alone.  I got this run in after returning home from our trip to Boston and drinking some coffee for extra motivation.  I decided to do a very hilly route and do it pretty fast.  I changed my course slightly to get a true 8 miles in, but overshot it.  I felt strong the entire run and enjoyed the late afternoon chill - 20 degrees.  Total time: 57:50. 

Tuesday: 0 - not sure where I could run even if I wanted to get something short in - roads were ponds with the sleet and rain.  My legs were tired anyway. 

Wednesday: 9.5 miles - Saunderstown roads solo.  I repeated my run from last week with a few tweaks.  I found a new exclusive shoreline neighborhood along the way.  I was feeling rather sluggish the first 6 miles.  I perked up attacking the hills of South Ferry Road and carried it through the last 3 miles.  It was cool to see bluebirds in a snowy field of Casey Farm.  Total time: 1:10:10. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Calf Pasture Point trails 2.5M & beach 2.5M with Quonset roads 3M alone.  I wanted to try some trails today before more snow tomorrow.  I thought with the rain and above freezing temperatures the snow cover would be tolerable with Yaktrax on my trail shoes.  Wrong!  The trail (usually a road) out to the beach was covered in 4 or 5 inches of thick, wet, crunchy, annoying snow.  I didn't mind the extra effort or the slow pace.  It was that the footing was so tricky that I couldn't even look up for a second without taking an awkward step.  I was closing in on the beach when I heard two fish crows somewhere nearby - I couldn't risk looking up to verify.  The beach was wonderful.  Lots of birds, sunshine, and a mild (for January) temperature.  Even the wind wasn't an issue except for the southern end.  I hit the snow again, and by the time I was almost back to my car, I was cursing it under my breath.  I decided to take off the Yaktrax and run a couple of miles on the roads.  My five mile trail run was at over 9 minute mile pace.  Yikes.  I took the road out towards Allen's Harbor and explored the public access points (NK town dock, Spink's Neck beach).  Total time: 1:06:41. 

Friday: 8 miles - Saunderstown roads with Dan.  I was planning on 5-8 inches of snow and no run, but instead I was greeted to 2" and an awesome 8 mile run with Dan.  Another nice day - sunny, 34 degrees, but with a decent NW wind.  Total time: 61:21. 

Saturday: 4 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads alone. I snuck out for a quick run at 3PM. I left the watch at home, but still ran fast knowing we had guests coming over soon. Despite the obnoxious media telling me how cold it was, 26 degrees with sun and no wind made for a glorious January day. My wife and son did an awesome hike today as well. Lots of tracks - none human (except theirs).

Sunday: 0 - nice long hike with my son around our woods.  I found a oak tree near my house with two huge oval holes - definitely made by Pileated Woodpecker(s).  Pard says they may be roosting in there, and maybe nesting!

Overview:  Weather again is making life challenging for runners.  I'm very happy with my efforts despite not getting in true speed workouts or long runs.  I feel like every run is a hill workout!  I want to change it up, but we'll see with another midweek snowstorm brewing.   

Weekly Total: 38 miles
Last Week: 38 miles
Year to Date: 126 miles

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Weekly Log 1-10-11 to 1-16-11

Monday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I wore my Yaktrax over trail shoes.  The trails were fun where it was just 3" of powder.  The trouble spots were where the snow was hiding ice footprints underneath.  Once I got into a grove I really enjoyed this run.  I stopped to check out a lone American Coot and a few Ring-Necked Ducks (presumably) in the open water of the pond.  Total time: 1:10:47. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Calf Pasture Point and Quonset Bike Path roads 3M, trails 4.5M, beach 2.5M solo.  I checked the bike path and it looked to be in really good shape so I just ran in my trail shoes.  However, I was greeted by a lot of snow (covering ice footprints) on the road sections - there wasn't much blacktop at all out there today.  The run was slow, tiring, and challenging.  I was even having trouble finding firm sand to run on the beach.  Total time: 1:20:05. 

Wednesday: 3 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads alone in the snow.  After a full day of shoveling a foot of snow, I snuck out for a quick run before returning to my cross training chore.  I began the run with my Yaktrax, but took them off as the roads were in really good shape.  Untimed, but I ran this hilly out and back pretty fast.   

Thursday: 9 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads solo.  I headed a little south today and began my run at the park and ride near the Jamestown bridge.  The roads near my office are an absolute mess, so I thought I would stick to the main plowed road and then explore if conditions looked favorable.  I ran Rte 1A south past Casey Farm and then veered off onto Old Boston Neck Road.  This road holds some of the biggest houses around - I couldn't even speculate the square footage - just monsterous.  At the intersection with South Ferry Road I turned left and ran up the hill to South Ferry Church, and then did the screaming descent down past the URI Bay Campus to the water's edge.  Okay, it wasn't screaming today since this road was either slushy or sandy, and I hoped that I could keep myself under control.  The hill looked intimidating as I headed back up it, but my body enjoyed the challenge.  Back on Old Boston Neck Road i decided to check out an exclusive neighborhood overlooking the bay - Crosswynds, Sea Ridge, Horizon, and Wyndcliff roads - nothing says class like replacing an "i" with a "y".  Another good hill in there though.  I made my way up to Rte 1A and then took the first right down Ferry Road and followed it straight down to the bay.  This hill was not as steep as the one on South Ferry, but very long and consistent.  I made my way back to 1A, took in the sights by Casey Farm, and then explored more side roads - Cottrell, Lloyd, Wilbur Hazard, Spring, Plum Beach.  The last being another great hill - steep and long.  This brought me back to 1A right near my car.  This was a really fun route - 5 significant hills - tolerable traffic - very scenic.  Total time: 64:28. 

Friday: 0 - couldn't get motivated to run in the afternoon

Saturday: 3 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads alone in the early morning cold.  I had the opportunity to run early, but the extreme cold made me revise the distance.  I left the house at 7:15 and it was 1.8 degrees.  It had warmed up to 2.9 when I took the following pictures.  Using the kitchen clock instead of a watch, it took about 20 minutes. 

Sunday: 4 miles - Fresh Pond and nearby roads in Cambridge, MA with Chris.  Family trip to my sister-in-law's today.  The ladies took the kids to the Children's Museum in the afternoon while Chris and I watched a horrible football game, made a delicious Gluten free, vegetarian dinner (well Chris did it all), and I talked him into a pregame run.  It's interesting running in the city - I'm definitely not used to it - lot's of stopping at intersections (every minute or so) and very busy on the trail around the pond (unleashed dog heaven).  The weather was perfect - 34 degrees and sunny.  Untimed. 

Overview:  Strange week due to weather and schedule.  I was happy to run 6 days, and it was almost 7.  The down side was not alot of miles, but I was happy with the efforts. 

Weekly Total: 38 miles
Last Week: 50 miles
Year to Date: 88 miles

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Weekly Log 1-3-11 to 1-9-11

Monday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I wore my Yaktrax as I could see ice/snow conditions on parts of the trail.  A great run to start the year.  Total time: 63:44. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Calf Pasture Pt/Quonset Bike Path roads 6M, beach 2.5M, trails 1.5M alone.  Warmish today - near 40 degrees and low tide.  Parts of the roads were ice covered which slowed me down at times.  The highlight was running the beach at low tide.  The lowlight was having to shout (pleasantly) at a guy to leash his Akida (or whatever mankiller dog it was).  The thing definitely wanted to shred me to pieces - it should not have been loose (plus it was scaring off the wildlife).  Total time: 1:16:10. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - Wickford roads solo.  My body seemed a bit tired and I decided to take it easy today.  I ran my normal pace which toes the line between comfortable and uncomfortable.  I was surprised to be slightly under 7 minute mile pace most of the way.  I did cross that line on the last mile and ran it in 6:14.  It's really nice to see my easy pace creep slightly below 7.  Total time: 54:36. 

Thursday: 6 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I was hoping to get in a longer run either yesterday or today, but my legs haven't been up to it.  I was happy to be outside on a crisp, yet windless winter day.  Parts of the trail were ice footprint covered and really slowed my run down to a trudge.  After 2 miles I was mentally and physically dragging, but I got it together and had a nice finish.  Total time: 46:06. 

Friday: 11 miles - Calf Pasture Pt/Quonset Bike Path roads 7M, beach 2.5M, trails 1.5M alone.  My body felt alot fresher today and I decided to repeat (sort of) my run from Tuesday.  Not as many icy spots, but the bike path especially had its moments.  I was hoping for a snowy run, however the sun was out for most of it.  Highlights included no dogs, only 3 humans - an elderly couple I see walking the beach frequently, a fast female runner who may have been doing some sort of speed workout on the bike path, 100+ brant, and 6 sandpipers (probably sanderlings).  I pushed the last two miles (measured on bike path) for fun and completed them in 13:11 (with slow icy spots).  Total time: 1:22:33. 

Saturday: 0 - 4" new snow - lots of bird activity including 2 pileated woodpeckers!

Sunday: 6 miles - Shumunkanuc Hill roads solo.  More snow overnight (3"), but the roads were mostly black-topped in the morning when I ran.  I debated wearing a watch knowing that if I brought one, I would race myself, and if I didn't, I would have a relaxing run (except for all the hills!).  My wife talked me into the latter, rationalizing that weekend runs should be easy and enjoyable - save the hard stuff for the weekdays.  Good plan.  Untimed....
Weekly Total: 50 miles
Year to date: 50 miles

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Review, 2011 Goals

I've been enjoying reading the other year end blogs, and I'm excited to get to finally write mine.  2010 was by far my best year of running.  After years of running as a part time hobby, I felt like I became a real runner the past twelve months.  The consistent training and increased weekly mileage helped.  But it was finally putting together a great race and exceeding my expectations that really boosted my confidence. 

I had a couple of disappointing races early on - two 5K's over 20 minutes, and the 10 mile Blessing of the Fleet over 70 minutes (70:58).  I felt like I was a better runner than that, and I was beginning to think that was as good as I would get.  In September, I ran my 2nd Pisgah Mountain 23K Trail Race.  I had a plan after my experience the prior year and I was able to carry it out.  In the process I improved 19 minutes, ran sub 2 hours, and finished 5th overall.  This was the race I needed.  In October, I ran a strong 5K on a hilly course and set a 37 second PR - 19:33 - finally under 20 minutes.  Then in November, the one race I know I will be running every year, the Lil' Rhody Runaround 8 mile trail race, I set a 4:16 PR and finished in the top 20 at 54:02.  I thought I had an ambitious goal of going sub 56 and was completely surprised that I could average 6:45 pace on this decently challenging course. 

This past year I learned alot about what works for me training-wise.  My body can comfortably handle 50 mile weeks.  It's just a matter of timing.  My best weeks are when I can run all five days on my lunch break at work.  I have a hard time running at home.  It's just not a priority for me.  I really enjoy family time, and at the same time, it is very exhausting.  The decision between choosing a quick afternoon run and taking a catnap or brewing some coffee usually doesn't lead to the run.  I don't think this will change for me and I'm able to accept it.  Vacations and holidays are especially lackluster for mileage.  But my training during the week continues to get better and better.  I'm able to put in long runs, fast runs, tempo work, hill work, and the occasional speed workout.  I get a good mix, mostly on feel, and think that I continue to get faster overall. 

I've been thinking about goals for 2011 and here's what I've come up with: 

1. 2,000 miles (40 miles per week) - most weeks I should be able to run 40 to 50 miles.  There will be a few under 40, and maybe a couple under 30, but I think I can get the average at 40 for the year. 
2. sub 19 minute 5K - I feel that I can make the leap this year to 18. 
3. sub 1:30 half marathon - I think that I could do this tomorrow, but the fact is that I've never run a race at this distance, and if I did, I know I would want to be under this time. 
4. try this local trail triathlon
5. do the Elijah tribute as described by my brother Glenn here

Possible or Possibly Silly
1. run a trail marathon or 50K - I'd like to see how I would do at this distance - maybe do the Pisgah 50K
2. finish ahead of Bentley just once  in a race - this could be the year! 
3. start a company running team
4. win that new local triathlon - why not? - I know the trails - I have decent mtn biking experience and can run - need to work on swimming - maybe no one fast will enter it? 
5. get Nick Cash to follow my blog

1. enter an interesting race somewhere and make a mini family vacation out of it - maybe in Maine - I've got a couple in mind. 
2. new local epic trail runs
3. find new places around me to run
4. stay mentally healthy - keep anxiety in check
5. keep running fun

Okay, time to work on these goals....