Monday: 10 miles - Ryan Park and Feurer Park trails alone. After my disappointing 5K the day before and dealing with work stress, I ran aggressively today. I continue to do a poor job packing clothes for running, and was left with just a t-shirt and shorts in the windy, mid 40's degree weather. I immediately ran fast enough to warm up and my legs felt fine. I recover so quickly from races now which is a nice sign - just wish I ran them faster! I worked my way down to the railbed and decided to mix things up today. I went left and crossed Lafayette Rd and entered Feurer Park. I do this a couple of times a year - the area is kind of small and littered with 4x4 trails. I wandered around for a while, following a promising side trail that ended at a sketchy house. I turned around and meandered some more before jumping back over to Ryan Park. I did the outer loop and then two more shorter zigzag ones. My pace got faster and faster and I was feeling a lot better about my running than I did yesterday. Total time: 1:12:18. This may have been longer than 10.
Tuesday: 11 miles - "Tri Parks" trails with bike path and some roads alone. I wanted to mix it up again today. I parked at the lot for Tri Pond Park on 108. I ran the rooty bog bridge trail out to the bike path. My legs felt sluggish and I was rather uncoordinated on this technical trail. I ran the bike path up to the Spring Forward course and jumped onto the trail at the muddy section. I ran the two mile loop crossing paths with two other fast looking runners I didn't recognize. Although my legs were tired, it was nice to run this course at a leisurely pace (15:20 for the two miles). I briefly ran on the bike path until I found the side trail that leads to California Jim's Pond. I looped around some different trails making sure to hit the hilly ones before spilling back out onto the bike path. I was 35 minutes in, and looking for more. I continued on the bike path until I reached Peace Dale, where I ran the sidewalks to Old Mountain Field. I then ran the Old Mtn 5K course. My tired legs were feeling more tired, but I was having fun. I completed the course in about 25 minutes and then headed back to my car via roads and the bike path, before ending with a half loop around the smallest pond. Total time: 1:23:44. Fun course on a really nice day.
Wednesday: 0 - true rest day
Thursday: 14 miles - 7 miles Rome Point trails and beach with Dan in the afternoon. Nice and easy shake out (54:30). I felt loose and relaxed afterwards leading up to a night race - Red Rooster Ramble 5 Mile Road Race with Mike, Muddy, and Jeff. We met up in Wakefield for the cross state journey to Warren. We got stuck in rush hour traffic in Providence, so we didn't have much time for a warm up (about a mile). This is the 14th year of the series, and it was cool to see that you get a lifetime bib number. Looking at some results from last year, it appeared that there is usually a good crowd of runners, and fast ones too. I was hoping to go sub 30 on this flat course, but I would be happy with anything sub 31. I was glad that Jeff would be there, figuring we would be near each other (Mike and Muddy would be further up front). The temperature was a tad chilly, but perfect for running. There was just a head wind to deal with the first half of the race. At the start, I tried to keep it under control, but was still near the front, behind Mike, some other guy, Muddy, and Diana D. Jeff soon joined me and we ran side by side. Most of the first mile was on a bike path and our split was 5:58. I was happy that I didn't overdue it, but it still felt hard. We continued into the wind along a seemingly endless road. Jeff and I were still side by side, but the leaders were gradually pulling away. The second mile was my slowest - 6:06, and felt hard. Finally, we turned left (still into the wind), but soon after we turned left again and had the wind at our backs. Jeff started to gazelle down a slight hill and I fell a couple of steps behind. He told me to stick with him, which I did. For a second I debated just holding back and slowing down as I was tired of working so hard. The third mile was 6:02. We continued on this road for another mile, and ticked off our fasted mile yet - 5:57. It seemed that we had a shot at sneaking under 30 minutes if we could muster a fast last mile. I picked up the pace and almost missed a sharp left turn onto the bike path. Jeff was still with me, but soon after he dropped off the pace and told me to keep it up. I tried to keep up the fast pace, glancing at my watch to see if I was close to the finish line. Eventually, I saw a bunch of cones and hoped that meant the finish was near. I pushed harder and by the time I could read the clock (I didn't wear my glasses and it was getting dark) it read 29:51. Three seconds later I finished for a final time of 29:54 and a speedy (for me) last mile of 5:49. I was super excited. I wanted sub 30, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off. Jeff finished a few seconds later in 30:06 - a new PR for him by over a minute. Muddy also set a PR in 28:37. Mike finished 1st in 27:20. We chatted briefly with a few others and then headed off for a short cooldown on the bike path before returning for the pizza and beer. It was a great set up at a pub - registration in a back room that turned into a dining room for the runners post race. It was a fun and successful excursion for the South County crew.
Friday: 0 - 2+ hours of basketball at Wilson Park. Great workout today. Started with hustle, then 2 on 2, and 3 on 3. I spent the first hour grappling with Gip - runner versus crossfitter. Pretty intense games the second hour. Felt quick and coordinated (finally).
Saturday: 16 miles - Carolina/Shannock roads and trails with Jeff and Muddy. This was a repeat of a run the three of us did back on the first week of January. It felt like early January with the 25 degree start. I opted not to overdress, but paid for it the first 3+ miles with frozen thumbs and an ice cream headache. Also similar, was the setting full moon as we began at 6AM, but I was happy that we had adequate light to see the trails in Carter this time. Jeff ran 4 miles even earlier, and the three of us ran (raced) a 5 miler on Thursday night, so I was hoping we would all take it easy. We ran the field loop and spotted a pair of kestrels, probably nesting nearby. I think I finally warmed up on the big power line hill, but my legs didn't have any energy today. I took the lead on the single track trails and kept the pace easy, but steady. We emerged onto Rte 112 a few minutes faster than last time. I was nervous that I would be in rough shape on the next few miles of roads, but felt surprisingly springy climbing the first hill towards the school. We wandered through Shannock and then up North Rd to Shannock Hill Rd, again I was feeling really good on the climbs. Jeff gazelled down the other side getting really far ahead of us. Man can he descend! One more sneaky hill on Pine Hill Rd before we enterend the woods again and followed the North South Trail south back to Meadowbrook Pond. I was in a groove, and lead through the woods, until we slowed down briefly in the fields. I couldn't get my legs moving again, and struggled back to the car. Total time - 2:02:47, three minutes faster than last time. Great way to start a busy day.
Sunday: 9 miles - Burlingame trails alone. I wasn't expecting to run, but I got the greenlight in the morning. I was looking to take it easy, but my planned route was pretty technical. I entered the woods by the beaver pond. I briefly went off trail to check out a pile of sand that caught my eye. Upon closer examination, it was a huge den for some animal(s) - I'm hoping fox, but might be coyote. I quickly backtracked and got on my way. I turned south and then did Governor's to Sammy C's extenders. I checked my watch at the intersection of Schoolhouse Pond Trail (25 minutes), and decided to turn right and follow SPT to Secret. I did the full length of that and before I reached Vin Gormley I ran into the same local runner I've been seeing recently. I then turned right onto VG briefly before heading north on the North South Trail. I went left at the split so that I could run up Ledge Trail. I then rejoined the NS Trail back to Burdickville Road. This was a really fun run, slowish pace for the first 2/3, last 1/3 I ran pretty hard and it is hilly. Total time: 1:08.
Overall: 60 miles over a good variety of runs. The highlight was the sub 30 5 miler. Busy non-running weekend coming up so I'll have to see what I can do during the week.
Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 44 miles
Year to Date: 766 miles