Monday: 8+ miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone. I had the urge to run the beach today. I decided to run from the point down to the end of Plum Beach and back. Mapping online, the total out and back was 3.67 miles. I then decided to add a couple miles of trails on the way to and from to get 8 miles in for the day - a planned easy recovery from yesterday's race. The day was supposed to be sunny, but it was mostly cloudy when I ran, and windy on the water. My legs loosened up on the warm up and I was feeling good until I reached the water. The first section is all rocks and my legs were clearly annoyed with me. I then reached a mostly sandy section, but instead of relief, I was greeted with soft sand. The tide was high, and by the time I reached the tidal stream, I thought there was no way to cross without getting wet or taking my shoes off. However, I was able to find a very shallow section to jump through. I had to do some more rock hopping in front of Plum Point because of the tide, and then felt silly as I crossed a private beach with a few moms and kids. I was exercising my right to access below the mean high tide line, but I was waiting for a comment nonetheless. No one said anything and I continued on to the end of the next beach and returned, this time with the wind pushing me along. Total time: 1:07:06. This was a fun way to run here, after kind of getting burnt out from zigzagging the same short trails over and over.
Tuesday: 10 miles - Quonset Bike Path and Calf Pasture Point run alone. I wanted an easy day with no technical footing or hills. I parked at the western end of the bike path and ran the length of it and then continued on to Calf Pasture Point. I turned onto the double track dirt road out to the beach, without diverting to the large rock. I didn't see any fiddler crabs today, maybe because of the gale force winds on the beach. Luckily, I planned my run accordingly and had the wind push me down the beach. The tidal stream was a raging river, so I took off my shoes and waded across. I don't really mind doing this, except for the sand that ends up in my socks. I checked my time, and knew I need to add some more distance to get 10 for the day. I wandered around the Mount View roads and then headed back. My plan was to go slow today, and I my first mile felt like 9 minutes, but it was 7:51. The second mile was 7:20. The last two miles I picked up my pace and ran each one in 6:25. Not bad for a slow day. Total time: 1:13:42. Map here.
Wednesday: 13 miles - Narragansett hill workout, new trail exploration, rock hop, and roads with Mike. He had mentioned earlier in the week about doing a 1PM rock hopping run on this day and it seemed like it would fit my schedule. I wasn't sure if he was still doing it since the rain was lingering. Finally he sent me an email with the run's itinerary - 12 miles, hill workout in the beginning, followed by trails I hadn't been on before, then the daunting coastline rock run to Black Point, with roads back. Hmm. I debated if this run was going to kill me, but decided to go for it. We ran up and down Narragansett Avenue East five times at a consistent pace (400 meters each way). I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I was able to stay with Mike on the climbs and still sort of talk. We then made our way to the Canonchet Farm trails. Access was through a school playground and there were kids out playing. Not wanting to seem creepy, we continued down a dirt road and then tried to bushwack through to the trail, but we ended up in a swampy, briary area and had to turn back. When we reached the playground again, the kids had gone inside so we jumped onto the trails. What I thought was going to be a short trail to the museum, turned out to be much more. The path was wide and grassy, except for well made bridges over any potential wet or muddy spots. We kept running and running, and I couldn't believe we hadn't run into Rte 1A already. We eventually did and then ran along the seawall out to the pier. Unfortunately, it was misty, drizzly, and rainy and my glasses became unwearable. So I began the treacherous rock run with less than stellar vision and only one hand available to climb and catch any stumbles. Mike took off ahead of me and was quickly out of sight - not that I could ever really look up. I methodically made my way jumping from rock to rock, and running on the bigger ones. I was not moving fast and I was breathing easy. The fun was in the concentration and finding a clean line. On the really tricky parts where I needed both hands I would put my glasses in my mouth. I never fell and my old trusty Inov8's stuck to the rocks well. I was really enjoying myself. I eventually found Mike waiting for me at Black Point. We hopped onto a new trail and then found the road. It was raining at this point and I was drenched. My legs were sore in places, but my energy was good. Running the last few miles on the road in soggy trail shoes was a challenge. We did one last hill interval. I couldn't stick with Mike on this one. Overall, a really fun adventure. I wouldn't mind doing it again when it's dry out. Total time about 1:47.
Thursday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. A potential zero day, I couldn't resist running when the sun came out. Despite dead legs, I was able to shuffle around for more than I thought. I began at the top Oak Hill Rd lot and headed through the fields (the first time in a quite some time). Wild flowers were a nice divertion. Next I hopped onto the power line trail and then the Rte 4 trail. I was at 24 minutes and beginning to loosen up. Instead of running back to my car, I decided to hit the railbed and run around the pond. I cut off some of the side trails, but I was still impressed with how long I had been running when I got back to the edge of the fields. I took the pond side trails, doing one loop to avoid a half mile situation, and finished up in 1:11:15.
Friday: 9 miles - Carr Pond and Tarbox Pond trails solo. This was an awesome run. I again debated a zero, but the weather was too nice. I planned on taking the single track trails around Carr Pond and then exploring the maze of trails between Carr and Tarbox Ponds. I took Pinto to Flipper (with some side trails exploration) to Water Tank to Upper Spider. Once I passed the chimney I stayed right instead of taking the ridge trails. I was running for longer than I thought I should be, but there weren't spur trails, so I continued on. I finally came to an intersection with a double track trail. I figured going right I would end up on a road, so I went left - mostly downhill. I began seeing more side trails, but I stuck with the wider lane until I reached a beaver dam at a pond (which I assumed was Tarbox). I backtracked up the hill and then took a side trail to the west. I ended up back on the same lane where I first met up with it, so I was happy to be able to figure out some new sections to run. I then ran back down the lane and went left. Easy enough for a while and then I began running into numerous intersections. I was somewhere between the two ponds, but where? I took single track downhill and ended up on a peninsula (looked like an old camping area) that was on Tarbox Pond. I followed trails along the pond until I finally recognized where I was (big rocks). I crossed the streams and began climbing the hill. At this point I was close to my car, but I wasn't ready to be done. I stayed right and then I was seeing Tarbox Pond again. The trail widened and I found Hopkins Hill Road. I turned around and took the next side trail and found the road again. Third time was the charm and I reached the parking lot where I began an hour and five minutes before. My calves felt sore at the start, but everything was clicking after a couple of miles. I'm getting closer to 3000 mile pace for the year. I don't want to be tempted!
Saturday: 15 miles - Arcadia (NW section) with Muddy, Jeff, and Mike G. This run was really fun. I left my house shortly after 5AM, drove to Hope Valley for breakfast (46 degrees in Wood River Jct!!), and met Jeff at 5:45AM, where I got my new WTAC jerseys. The two of us drove up to the Midway parking area to meet Mike and Muddy. Mike had a great course planned out that used some trails I had only mtn biked 10 years ago, trails I had hiked but never ran, and other trails I had never been on. We began on the dirt roads to Old Ten Rod Road. I was shivering. It took ten minutes for me to warm up, then I was sweaty the rest of the way. We took a windy mtn bike trail to the left that eventually ends higher up on Old Ten Rod Road. I lead the way as I was familiar with these trails and I didn't want Mike to get carried away too early. We maintained a good pace, even on the hills. We crossed Old Ten Rod Rd and then continued on another mtn bike trail I know as "Broken Rib". It was fun running these trails, but they felt longer than when I biked them. We crossed Old Ten Rod Rd again, and then followed Sand Hill Trail all the way to Ben Utter Trail. This trail is scenic and technical, so you had to pick your spots to look up at the sights. I checked my watch thinking we'd been running for 20 minutes, but it had already been 45 minutes. I have no concept of running time anymore! We reached Falls Road at Stepstone Falls (one of the seven wonders of RI). We climbed this very steep road for a while before taking a side trail. By this time, Mike was leading and pulling away from us. I was next in line, and felt obligated to push up the next hill (along a slope of the old Pine Hill Ski area). We met back up with Mike and then he and Jeff pranced off ahead on the next downhill sections. Muddy ended up getting in on the act as well, so I was left alone to descend at a gentleman's pace. We reached Austin Farm Rd uphill from the start of the Ben Utter Trail. We ran up this road until we reached the Escoheag Trail. I had never been on this trail section before. It was really impressive - huge rock formations, glacial erratics, and steep terrain. The trails descends the east side of Escoheag Hill and then climbs the west side of Mount Tom. This final ascent was exhausting. We then reached the Mount Tom Trail and its level terrain. Mike and Muddy were going to press on south of Rte 165. I was on a strict time limit, so Jeff and I took a more direct way back. We threw in Broken Rib Trail (opposite direction) and then finished off on Old Ten Rod Rd and the other dirt roads back to my car. Total time 1:56:xx. Two minutes later, Mike and Muddy emerged. I guess we could have finished with them. Great effort throughout this run. My body was toast the rest of the day.
Sunday: 0 - Father's Day. A great day with my family. Lazy morning followed by a hike in the Carter Preserve. We parked off of Old Mill Rd and took the dirt road to the field. My kids "trail" ran this section. The field was stunning this time of year - huge variety of plants, many flowering, swallows and bluebirds, and a good look at some Prairie Warblers. We stopped at a bench and had some lunch. After circling the field (1 Mile), we took the short wooded crossover trail to the powerlines and then hiked up the big hill. Again, it felt awesome to be out in the sun, and a great view to take in.
This was followed up by a stop at Dave's Coffee for an iced latte, some tree work around the house, and then dinner and margaritas at Margaritas in Mystic with a nice walk/playground stop after.
Overall: Full week of running. It was nice to get up into the 60's again. Strange week coming up, so I'll see what I can fit in.
Weekly Total: 64 miles
Last Week: 51 miles
Year to Date: 1318 miles