Tuesday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. Rain. I drove to the upper parking lot, jumped out of my car, and began running before I decided it was too miserable. My head is stuffed up today, but my body felt good, so I went for it. I was drenched within a minute, but at least it was warm out. I ran the usual ten miles, but in a different order. Zero humans. Two painted turtles on the trail. Total time: 1:16:53.
Wednesday: 11 miles - South County Bike Path with Tri-Pond, Spring Forward, and unnamed side trails/power line exploration. I wasn't going to be able to leave work early to meet the rest of the guys at Ninigret, so I went to the bike path to see what sort of run I could muster up. I wasn't feeling speedwork, or any run in general, but I got my act together, and ended up happy. I parked at Rte 108 and took the outrageously wet, rooty, bog bridgy, trail and then continued on the wider dirt trail past Asa Pond and out to the bike path. The sun had just come out, making the soupy conditions even hotter. I then ran the Spring Forward course. Exciting note: woods chips have been laid down over the really muddy section. After one loop, I began another, as I wanted to stop for a drink at a water fountain I noticed. Unfortunately it didn't work. I wandered around a little bit and then backtracked to the bike path. After crossing South Road, I used the marked 1/4 miles to try some intervals. I was worried I was going to be really slow, but I managed a 76 and 77, without going too hard. This is probably because it is all slightly downhill, as I struggled on the way back. Anyway, I continued until almost reaching Genessee Swamp and then I took the last side trail to the north. I was hoping it connected to the powerline and it did. There were a couple of blooming wild rhododendron in here. I ran through the woods and then onto the powerline briefly. The trail went back into the woods and then back onto the powerline. Good views, as it's a decent hill. The trail reaches a road. I was looking for a trail on the otherside that continued on the powerline, but I didn't see one. I turned around and went back down to the bike path. I then ran a marked 1/2 mile, but I stopped at the wrong mark and only ran 2:36. My marker wasn't too far away. Probably about 2:50 pace. I jogged to Rte 110 and then turned around - 55 minutes in. I ran a full 1/2 mile this time in 2:49 (slightly uphill). I then did two 400's, but they felt incredibly hard and my times were slow 81, 83. I then jogged back to the Asa Pond trail and around the smaller pond. Total time: 1:23:24.
I stopped at Ninigret on my way home and found Muddy on his cooldown. We're pretty excited for Sunday's Wachusett adventure.
Thursday: 10 miles - Rome Point trails and beach with Dan. My legs were tired today and Dan's were fresh. I was worried what might happen, but I was able to keep up with the decent pace throughout the entire run. The shaded woods felt good. The beach was nice too, but really tiring for some reason (soft sand?). We dipped our hats in the bay a couple of times to stay cool. Total time: 1:15:31.
Friday: 14 miles - DuVal and Browning trails with 2.5M of road between both preserves alone. I was looking for some sort of longish tempo run today. I just wanted to test my fitness. I thought about a flat road run, but then I got the really fun trails of Perryville stuck in my head, so I opted for that. I didn't get rained on, but I had a nice film of sweat and dead black flies by the time I was done. I parked at the Quaker lot and then took the longer out-and-back, which I believe is about 3.75 miles. I was just attacking this course, stopping only briefly to deal with an unleashed dog. It was afraid to run by me, and began running away from me for about a half a mile until it veered off into the woods. I wasn't sure what to do, but I didn't feel like stopping to help out the owner - not my problem and I had a good run going. I reached the end of the trail in 25:22 (6:45 pace). I turned around and headed back, wondering if I would see that dog again. I didn't. Once I reached the crossroads with the Quaker trail, I turned right and headed north toward Gravelly Hill Road. I was following the SKLT signs and missed the turn for the road. I found myself on a newly cut trail, that eventually brought me back to the Polly's Rock intersection. I turned around and ran back on this new trail until I found the road. I was 52 minutes in. The road was miserable. Not fun in trails shoes. It was here I realized how many black flies I had stuck to me. After 8 minutes, I reached the Browning Trail and did this lollipop course as I hard as I could at this juncture. The map says I ran 2.5 miles in 23:15. Really? If that is accurate then I'm going to quit running. The trail is smooth and not as up and down as DuVal. I was moving fast (probably low 7's at this point). Must of been measured with a space watch! Anyway, the road back was torture. Mostly uphill. I hit the new trail and then finished up through the burial ground. Total time: 1:40:23. Awesome run.
Sunday: 13 miles - Crow Hills and Wachusett Mountain trail run with Mike, Ben, and Muddy. We headed up from southern Rhody early in the morning and then began our run on the Midstate Trail at the Wachusett Inn. I was excited about this run, and then a little nervous about getting involved with a Mike Galoob Adventure Run. Too late. We set off about 8:15. The morning was already sunny, hot, and humid - at least for my taste. I knew we were in for 3000' of climbing and I wanted to conserve energy. Mike's pace was pretty aggressive, and Ben was up for the challenge. I decided to play it smart and go a little slower, probably still a tad faster than I wanted with the warm conditions. Luckily, Muddy and I were on the same page, so he hung with me. I liked this section of trail, but I couldn't stop to smell the roses. Eventually, the trail went up, steeply at times, until spilling out onto the steep ledges of the crow hills. The footing was a little more tricky, but if you could look away, there were nice views to the east and south. At one point the trail forked and I missed the turn initially and then stopped. Muddy had to stop quickly behind me and whacked his shin on a log. There was a good amount of blood. We found Mike and Ben, and then assessed the situation. The wound was pretty deep and probably needed stitches. Poor planning left us without a first aid kit, but luckily there were some climbers nearby who were prepared, and Mike fixed up Muddy's shin. We decided we would continue on to Rte 140 and then see what he should do from there. Mike and Ben took it easy on this next stretch as we were able to more or less hang with them. At the road, Muddy decided to run back to the car and wait for us. Then there were three.
I was a little nervous continuing on without Muddy. The trail was gradual uphill to the Wachusett Ski Lodge. It took us a minute or two to find the Midstate trail here, but eventually we were on our way to climbing the mountain. I was feeling fine physically, but I didn't have my normal energy running uphill - probably due to the heat. Mike and Ben looked strong. I felt like we were just about to summit the mountain, when we took a side trail and began descending. Apparently, Mike wanted to torture us a few times before using the steepest trail (Pine Hill) to summit. Some of these trails were outrageously technical, and I was resorting to hiking. I was beginning to worry that I was going to run out of water on the way back. Pine Hill trail was very steep and I couldn't run much of it. At least I was passing all of the hikers. I reached the busy summit and found Mike and Ben. I was at 1 hour 50 minutes of running. We stopped for a few minutes and then began a more direct route back down to the ski lodge. It was pretty steep at times, and I steadily made my way down as Mike and Ben raced eachother way ahead of me. At the ski lodge we decided to have Muddy pick us up at Redemption Rock on Rte 140 rather than have him wait for us to complete the Crow Hills trail again. Fine with me. I finished up the run in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Thanks to my long run with Muddy a couple weeks back, my body was in good shape. My legs never got tired. I was mostly just thirsty. And really impressed with Mike and Ben's mountain fitness. We made our way back to RI, stopping briefly to pick up "lunch". Mine included a cold Pepsi, cold chocolate milk, and a giant ice cream Snickers bar. Yum.
View from Crow Hills out to Wachusett Mountain
Last Week: 49 miles
Year to Date: 1145 miles