Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reverse Arcadia Loop 6-27-11

I was listening to some old Lagwagon on Friday afternoon when suddenly I had the urge to text Boj to tell him this.  Then it dawned on me that he might be coming to Rhody soon, and maybe he'd want to run.  Sure enough, he was actually in his car travelling to RI at that moment.  It was our destiny to meet up in Arcadia for another epic adventure. 
He suggested the loop we ran in November with Greg and Justin, only this time in reverse.  I was thinking of the exact same run.  Rather than ending on 2.5 miles on dirt and paved roads, we would start with it, and get it over with.  The entire loop is 24 miles, and encompasses Mt Tom, Escoheag, Breakheart, John B. Hudson, and Arcadia trails.  Last time, Boj showed up completely unprepared, but I was pleased when he let me know he had eaten and hydrated well, and that he was bringing Gatorade and granola bars.  I was unsure of what I wanted to carry with me, but after speaking with him, I thought that we would set up two aid stations for ourselves, and be able to run light.  I stashed Gatorade and granola bars on top of Mt. Tom at the approximate 1/3rd mark, and Boj dropped of Powerade and bars at the entrance to the John B. Hudson trail at the 2/3rd mark.  We were well prepared for an epic run. 
We left the DEM Headquarters a little after 1PM.  We took it nice and easy.  I started to feel hot as we scaled the ledges of Mt. Tom.  It seemed to be more humid than I expected, and the temperature was in the low 80's.  I was a little concerned about the heat, so I kept the pace slow, and knew that we would have several streams to cool off in a few miles ahead.  As we descended Mt. Tom and approached the Falls River, I couldn't wait to get wet.  I was able to cool off by splashing water over my head and back.  My shoes and running shorts got wet, but I didn't care.  I felt completely rejuvenated.  Boj said he was ready to push on, and we began the steady and at times steep climb up Penny Hill.  I was climbing really well and felt fantastic.  Boj was dropping back and was possibly overheating.  I wasn't concerned since the weather wasn't that hot, and he has run in much worse conditions.  We reached the next major stream crossing, and he took a long time trying to cool himself off.  He was beginning to get annoyed with himself and didn't want to mess up the run.  I was beginning to get concerned, but I thought if he could get to our next aid station on Rte 165, everything would be fine.  We were about 3 or 4 miles away. 
I kept thinking that it was mostly downhill - except for the hill right after the second stream crossing (Acid Factory Brook).  Unfortunately, this hill was a lot longer and tougher than I remembered.  I was still feeling great, but worried.  Boj lagged behind on the hill, and didn't sound very optimistic.  Things improved as we ran downhill to Breakheart Pond.  We reached the northern end of the John B. Hudson Trail - 1.5 miles left to the aid station.  Boj stopped running.  He said he would die if he ran anymore.  He told me to run ahead and get what I wanted out of the run.  He apologized for messing it up for me.  I was very worried.  I wasn't sure what the proper procedure was in this scenario.  I told him I would run the most direct route back to my car (5 miles away) and come back and pick him up.  He would just need to walk or crawl 1.5 miles.  As I ran away, horrible thoughts ran through my head, but I tried to not overreact.  I didn't stop to drink, and ran at a good clip until the last half mile when my legs got tired.  I reached my car after 2 hours and 32 minutes of running.  I felt really good just about the entire time.  I normally would have been really excited about this, but I was still worrying if Boj made it out of the woods.  I drove to hopefully meet him. 
I was so happy to see him standing by the road.  He was in decent spirits.  I was elated.  So I ran 19 miles instead of 24, but at least Boj was alive.  I guess we'll have to wait until next time he's in Rhody to complete the reverse loop. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekly Log 6-20-11 to 6-26-11

Monday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  I wasn't super motivated to run after a busy weekend and a frustrating day at work, but the pre-run iced coffee perked me up.  I took it relatively easy today and there was nothing out of the ordinary to report.  Total time: 64:50. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails 2 x 5M alone.  A repeat workout from a couple of weeks ago.  For some reason I really enjoy running the 5 mile course hard, stopping briefly at my car for water, and then running the 5 miles again.  My legs felt pretty good today, so I kept a swift pace and then ramped it up on the last 3/4 mile straightaway (old rail bed).  My speed seemed to be faster than my 400 efforts on the bike path.  My first lap clocked in at 33:29 - 6:40 pace.  I'm thinking that this 5 miles may be a bit long based on recent results.  My second lap again began as a recovery run, but after a few minutes my body worked itself back up to a nice pace without any thought on my part.  After two miles, I felt like I was flying again.  I did a good job of sprinting the last 3/4 mile.  2nd lap - 35:41.  Total time: 69:10. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads solo.  I began my run from the Rome Point parking lot instead of the park and ride.  This made for a nice 2 mile flat warm up.  The radar looked ominous, but it never really rained while I was out there.  The hills felt easy today, but I was going a little slower than normal.  I couldn't figure out the best way to end the run (more roads or maybe trails?), and ended up just stopping when I reached my car again.  No point in overdoing it.  Total time: 61:45. 

Thursday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I wanted to keep it easy today and opted for trails in case it rained.  I ran the 7 mile course, but started from the pond to mix things up.  Instead of repeating a portion to get to 10 miles, I explored some side trails (mostly just re-finding dead ends I had found years before).  One of these dead ends was an awesome technical single track I had somehow missed.  I would like to incorporate it into my routine, but the set up tent and campfire chairs I saw spooked me.  This coincided with a darkening sky and then rain.  I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  By the time I reached my car, I was hearing the first rumbles of thunder.  Total time: 1:17:39. 

Friday: 9 miles - 9x400 workout on the Quonset Bike Path with Calf Pasture Point cool down alone.  I wanted to do a track workout for once and drove over to the local high school to do it.  Unfortunately, I was greeted by a couple of intimidating signs warning me not to use the track.  I'm pretty sure the public has the right to use it, but I wasn't looking to be a rabblerouser, and I drove over to the Quonset Bike Path.  The streets were lined with cars, as the annual air show is this weekend, and the locals know that Friday is the training run day - same planes, less crowds.  I couldn't help but get angry though as I watched birds and animals move around frantically, horribly stressed out by this spectacle.  Don't get me wrong, it is really amazing to watch.  But it is incredibly loud - like the end of the world loud.  Back to the running.  I have an iphone for work now.  I read in a coworker's magazine about a running app that seemed interesting to test out called Runkeeper.  This was the perfect opportunity to measure and time real 400's on the bike path.  The GPS signal was strong, so I think it was accurate.  The trick was stopping at 400 meters - a couple of times it stopped at .41km, so I subtracted a second from my time.  Is that fair?  The results: 85/82/82/84/84/86/85/84/82.  I usually opt for a full recovery, but this time I was having so much fun playing with the app that I cut the recovery jog short.  After the 5th one I wished I hadn't done that.  I wasn't even going to do a 9th one, but I'm glad I was able to put together another 82.  The cooldown was more enjoyable than normal, even though the tide was too high for me to get very far on the beach.  In the woods, I decided to run up the large high rocks (50ft elevation gain - rest of park flat).  I heard a large animal rush to get out of my way.  I was a little alarmed, until I noticed it was a cute, white spotted baby deer.  I don't know why it was hanging out on top of the rocks, but the scary loud planes probably are to blame.  Total time: 66 minutes. 

Saturday: 1 mile - South County Bike Path with my family.  I thought I would run alongside my son on his bike for a nice little recovery run from Friday's workout.  Unfortunately, my son was not in the mood to ride very far, and took frequent whining stops.  It was still a nice day to be outside (the sun!). 
Sunday: 6 miles - Gravelly Hill out and back trail with Jon.  A nice morning run before the sun came out.  We started pretty easy, but before long we were crusing along at a good clip.  We reached the end of the trail (3 miles) in 23:01.  We kept up that pace for most of the way back until slowing it down a tad at the end.  Surprisingly, we were about a minute faster for a total time of 45:08. 

Overall: A fun week of running.  I'm excited to do the long Arcadia Loop with Boj on Monday! 

Weekly Total: 53 miles
Last Week: 48 miles
Year to Date: 1119 miles

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Weekly Log 6-13-11 to 6-19-11

Monday: 5 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  I didn't feel sore after my long run yesterday, but I had no energy in my legs, and my mind was dwelling on a busy day at work, not on enjoying the outside.  My first 10 minutes were faster than I thought, and then I really dragged until I stopped for a break at the bay.  I regrouped, cut my run short, and ran back to my car. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads alone.  I was excited to do my usual hill workout, but also a tad nervous I might have another bad run like yesterday.  My legs still felt tight and tired, but I was climbing the hills really well - maybe the best I've done to date.  I'm positive I descended better than ever - I'm trying to relax and let my body go, even when it feels out of control.  New PR 64:25. 

Wednesday: 0 - busy day: 1/2 day of work, daughter's last swim class (entire family swims), and son's kindergarten graduation.  Why is a day like this more tiring than a hard run? 

Thursday:  12 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Warm day - 86 - but dry.  My plan was to get some miles in today.  I took it easy and enjoyed the run except for the parts in the sun.  Total time: 1:33:50. 

Friday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path and Calf Pasture Point roads, trails, and beach solo.  I didn't have a real plan today, other than chasing some miles.  Somehow I decided to drive over to the bike path and while I was enroute, I determined I would throw in a 2 mile tempo (inspired by Muddy's Wed run?).  I wasn't sure what I wanted to run with: shirt?, old shoes? (wet), water bottle?  I chose yes, yes, and no.  I soon realized that no, yes, yes would have been preferred.  It was really humid, and the all day rain was just ending when I began my run.  I began my 2 mile tempo almost immediately.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  I glanced down at my watch after 1 mile and was pleased with the 6:09 I saw.  I tried to maintain my pace through the end of mile 2 and finished up in 12:24 - roughly my 5K pace.  I slowed down and began the scenic portion of my run.  I ditched my shirt and had a vision of cooling off in the bay when I got there.  I also decided that I would repeat the 2 mile tempo at the end of my run if I felt into it.  As soon as I turned onto the trail section, a furry black creature ran across the trail, looked at me, and quickly ran back into the woods.  I'm assuming it was a mink and not a fisher.  When I reached the bay, I was greeted by a screaming headwind.  It cooled me off instantly.  The tide was really low, and there was a Great Egret poking around.  I passed an upside down horseshoe crab trying to flip itself back over.  I had a moral debate if I should help it out or let nature run its course.  Turning around was welcomed as the wind now pushed me.  I didn't see the mink again in the woods.  As I approached the bike path, I was feeling good so I decided to attempt the 2nd 2 mile tempo.  I was running into the wind this time (didn't notice the tailwind on the first one) and I was hoping to just keep it sub 13 minutes.  My first mile was 6:31, but I was able to go faster on the second, for a 12:51 total.  I was pretty happy with my effort and finished the run in 1:19:17. 

Saturday: 0 - great hike with the kids in Parker Woodland - 3+ miles.  My son hiked or trail ran the entire way.  My daughter required shoulder rides at times, but whining was at a minimum for both.  Flacos and the park at night. 

Sunday: 11 miles - Burlingame trails (mostly northside) with my dad in the morning. I ran the two miles down to Poquiant Brook to meet my dad, who I found pishing at a flycatcher. We ran the North South Trail up to the white dot river trail and then looped back on the NST. Great weather, not too wet, and not too many deer flies. Thousands of young spring peepers on some sections of the trail. Total time: 1:29:46.

Weekly Total: 48 miles
Last Week: 61 miles
Year to Date: 1066 miles

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekly Log 6-6-11 to 6-12-11

Monday: 10 miles - Wickford roads 3M to Rome Point trails 7M with coworker.  I ran the (boring) roads to Rome Point in 7:10 pace, and it was challenging with the warmer weather and noticeably higher humidity.  Running in the woods was such a relief.  We took it slower, but increased the pace as we went.  Our time was 51:46 for this portion.  Nature highlight: a female American Redstart on the trail.  Total time: 1:13:14. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - 8x400 workout on Quonset Bike Path with Calf Pasture Point cooldown.  I mixed things up a little bit this week.  The hot muggy weather forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday convinced me to get my speedwork in today.  Today was hot too, but not very humid - 85 degrees with a light breeze.  My plan was to skip my typical 3-4 mile warm up, as I thought I might opt to ditch the sprints when it came time to do it.  Instead, I planned to do the workout first (short sub mile warm up), and get it over with.  This seemed to work fine, and I was happy with my 400 guesstimates - definitely faster than last week.  After completing the speedwork, I stopped at my car and drank some water.  Then I put on my running hat (to keep the sun off my newly shaved head and also to dip it in the ocean later), and headed off on my cooldown - a little over 5 miles.  The tide was high, but I was able to jump the tidal stream with a really good leap.  I stopped twice to splash water on my arms and face, and to fill my hat with the cool salty water.  Heat was never an issue today.  We'll see what kind of runs I can get in the next two days.  Total time: 1:16:21. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  I planned on a conservative run today due to the heat.  I arrived at the parking lot at 1:30PM and it was 91 degrees out.  My plan was to run 7 miles with a number of stops at the shore to cool off in the bay.  And keep it slow.  I found a nice pace and never got too hot.  It didn't seem very humid out.  I actually wished it was windy.  I didn't need to swim - I just dunked my hat three separate times.  Total time: 52:34. 

Thursday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  Today ended up cooler (if you can call 86 and humid cool?) than forecasted, and thus my run was longer than I had forecasted.  I had the trails to myself today, as was evident by all the spiderwebs I was collecting on my head and body.  I was keeping the pace on the easy side again, but I was 30 seconds faster out to the point than yesterday.  I had to stop on the hill, as there was a mother and baby deer in the trail.  The baby was small and adorable, and the mother looked angry at me.  Eventually they wandered off the trail so I could continue.  I ran the beach today, but I was cut short by the high tide.  The sun was hot, so I kept my shoes on and headed back for the woods.  The rest of the run was uneventful, and my mind was on the Pisgah 50K race I've decided to do in September.  I was also thinking about how well adapted the human body is to running in the heat.  Total time: 66:01. 

Friday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails (2 x 5M) alone.  I wanted to do my usual hill work on the roads, but the lure of the woods on another hot day (as the bumper sticker states - "trees are cool") was too strong.  I know I'm always mentioning weather forecasts, and I'm going to again.  How does low 70's and low humidity turn into low 80's and high humidity?  At least the heat created storm clouds.  I couldn't tell if I was feeling raindrops or deer flies out there.  My plan was to do the woods loop twice, with a water break between efforts.  I wasn't planning on pushing too hard, but running alone tends to turn into a time trial.  On my first lap, I set out in my on the edge of normal and hard pace.  I tried to ignore my watch, but inevitably I glanced at it, and then raced to finish sub 7 minute pace.  I reached my car in 34:56 and got some water.  I never felt hot today, but I couldn't help but notice how sweaty I was.  In fact, my shorts were so wet in front it looked a little suspicious.  Luckily, by the time I was a couple of miles into lap 2, my shorts were completely sweat soaked, and didn't look so weird.  I began lap 2 at a recovery pace, and then after a mile I was back to lap 1 effort.  I checked my watch at almost 4 miles, and was one minute behind.  I wasn't sure if I could (or wanted to) duplicate the half mile plus sprint of lap 1, but my legs felt really strong, and I was able finish up in 35:58.  Total time: 70:54.  With this run I reached 1000 miles for the year! 

Saturday: 0

Sunday: 15 miles - North South Trail (Burlingame portion) out and back alone.  Pretty interesting run - worth a separate write up.  First of bimonthly long runs for September trail 50K.  Total time: 2 hours.  Also, family trip to Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. 

Weekly Total: 61 miles
Last Week: 51 miles
Year to Date: 1018 miles