Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Weekly Log 8-27-12 to 9-2-12

Monday:  13.5 miles - South County Bike Path with TriPond trails and other unnamed trails mixed in alone.  I was looking for a flat course today after running hills in NH this past weekend.  I parked in the TriPond lot off of Rte 108 and headed out without a clear plan.  My pace felt terrible as I ran the trails on both sides of the bike path.  I hopped onto the bike path and still felt slow.  I decided to run the Spring Forward course in reverse. Still felt terrible.  Back on the bike path, I began to feel better, and my pace was beginning to get snappier.  I dove into the trails on the north side near the swamp, first finding a dead end, and then finally figuring out where I wanted to be.  The trails in here are fast and fun, and on the side of a hill.  In here I realized that I had inadvertently stopped my watch which was annoying.  Back on the bike path, I continued out to the train station, now running low 7's.  I turned around in the parking lot and then picked up the pace some more, staying on the bike path for the next four miles: 7:04, 6:45, 6:32, 6:26 according to GPS (the last mile felt faster).  I then shut it down and took the pond trail back to my car.  This was waiting for me when I returned: 
Clearly a play on surfing localism, I immediately had a good guess who left it there.  I was right!  Total time about 1 hr 40 minutes. 

Tuesday:  5:50AM - 6.5 miles - CCMS track workout with Mike G and Ben.  Not too sure if I can get track work in once kids go back to school, I was happy to wake up early and drive through the darkness to meet the SK crew on their turf.  After the long stretch of fantastic weather, we were greeted by outrageous humidity and on and off rain.  Luckily, we avoided the rain, but the track was a tad squishy.  After a 2.5 mile warm up (mostly solo waiting for the others), we were ready to do the following workout:  1x1600 4x600 with 400 rest after 1600 and 200 rest after 600's.  My legs felt junky when I began the warm up, but loosened up enough by the time the mile started.  However, the mile did not feel good.  My legs felt flat, but I still mustered up a 5:33.  The 600's went better, but they were tough.  I could really feel the effect of the thick air.  Results: 2:02 (guess - messed up my watch)/2:02/2:00/1:59.  Ben and I really pushed eachother the last 100 meters on the last one.  Short cooldown after. 
                 2PM - 6 miles - Calf Pasture Point roads, beach, and trails alone.  The weather cleared up, and after clearing up my desk, I headed out for an easy recovery run.  It was much hotter than I anticipated and I wished I hadn't picked this exposed place to run.  My legs felt okay, but the heat was getting to me.  Total time: 47:19. 

Wednesday:  10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Really nice weather today.  I wish my legs were fresher, as I would have liked to run longer.  As it is, I probably should have zeroed, but I couldn't resist.  Quiet on the trails without the flies and spider webs.  I did scare up a deer and whatever a flock of wild turkeys is called.  Total time:  1:15:25.  Back to school!

Congrats to my WTAC teammates who ran the Schonning 5K tonight.  I'm frustrated I had to miss it.  Great weather.  Probably would have been very pleased with my time.  Too busy of a night to make it. 

Thursday: 13.5 miles - Big River trails alone.  This wasn't planned at all.  I thought I might zero or go very short today, but my legs felt rejuvenated by the time it was time to go out and do something.  At the last minute, I decided on Big River.  The weather was great - almost cool in the shade.  After a couple of minutes, my legs were ready to go.  I cruised along at a steady fastish pace.  After 3 or 4 miles, I didn't feel great, but I soon snapped out of it.  I stayed on trails I knew for 40 minutes, before exploring.  I found some more cool single track out there, and figured out how to connect more sections.  There is still more to explore!  I eventually made it back to Hopkins Hill Rd at Tarbox Pond.  I made the decision to press on across the street rather than head more directly back.  I also ignored my watch so I wouldn't worry about how long I had been running.  Thirsty by the end, and tiring.  Awesome day out there today.  Total time: 1:42. 

Friday: 8 miles - Browning Trail tempo with DuVal Trail & Gravelly Hill Rd warm up and cool down alone.  The news tried to scare me about the weather today (hot and bad air warning), but once I began running I remembered that I just spent the entire summer training in the heat.  My legs felt tight, but not sore.  My plan was to run easy to Browning Trail and then run this approx. 3 mile lollipop course hard, possibly dethroning Galoob's KOM effort back in April.  It seemed doable, but you never know what the GPS pace is out in the woods.  I ran through the woods for a mile + and then suffered through another mile + on the road.  I perked up when I saw the entrance to the Browning Trail parking lot.  I took off and was working hard.  The first half is a gradual uphill and it's downhill on the way back.  This trail is condusive for running fast, and it's quite a thrill - soft, not too technical single track with enough twists to make it dicey at times.  I had my doubts about maintaining my effort after a half mile or so, but after getting past the halfway mark, I knew I could keep it up.  I never glanced at my watch to guess my time or see what my GPS pace was.  I reached the road again and finally peeked down - 6:11 pace.  I wish I knew what the real pace was.  I immediately slowed down to a crawl and felt hot.  Slowly, I recovered as I trudged up the long slow hill (maintaining 7:30's).  I jumped back onto DuVal, mixing up my return route slightly from the warm up.  Reached my car after 61 minutes feeling spent, but happy.  This was a really fun tempo run.  The cliffhanger is that I cannot upload my data at home, so I have to wait until Tuesday to see if I achieved KOM status.  To be continued....

Saturday: 17.5 miles - Narragansett Trail out and back from Sand Hill Rd near Green Fall Pond to Wyassup Lake with Jeff.  This was a really challenging trail run, and way harder than I anticipated.  From the information I could gather, I thought we could easily make it to Rte 2 and possibly all the way out to Lantern Hill and back in three hours (the high end planned running time).  The only description of this portion of the Narragansett Trail online stated that it was rather flat and wet.  I wish I remembered that this trail was included in a small hiking book I have entitled "Walking the Watershed".  Their description is as follows:  "This is one of the least traveled portions of the Narragansett Trail.  It is wooded, marked by rugged ledges, and has long, aerobic ascents.  Follow the blue blazes."  This was way more accurate!  I met Jeff at 6AM in the darkness.  The trail looked overgrown from the parking lot.  I decided to wear my heavier duty trail shoes in anticipation of mud.  Turns out I needed them for all the rocks.  Good choice.  With questionable light, we began.  The trail was littered with rocks and roots, and passed some impressive cliffs.  Then it climbed.  After crossing a road, we were in the Groton Gun Club.  This area was wide grassy lanes, and we had our first confusing intersection where we couldn't find the blue blazes.  Eventually, we made it out to Rte 49.  Easy enough so far.  We then veered down a side street that turned into a dirt road.  We ran for some time, before we decided we missed a turn somewhere.  I checked my map, and we backtracked to the first unmarked single track, assuming that this had to be it (despite no blue blazes).  The trail was really cool.  Unfortunately it wasn't the correct one.  We reached the dirt road again.  We checked the map and decided to follow it a ways back to the Narragansett Trail, cutting off the single track we missed.  We ran down this dirt road (a rather long steep down), before climbing.  We then reached another dirt road intersection, and this time it looked like we had no option but to back track.  Ugh.  Back down the hill, and then the long climb.  We then found the single track with blue blazes we were looking for.  How did we miss it!?  After a mile or so we reached Bullet Ledges - a giant rock cliff, all by itself.  We stopped for a minute and then carried on.  The trail then climbed a ridge, which we ran along until it reaches High Ledges.  We stopped again, taking in the views, and reassessing our plan, as we were 1 hr 20 minutes in, and nowhere near as far as we thought we'd be.  We also couldn't find how the trail descended the ledges.  Finally, Jeff scampered down a cliff and found the trail.  I reluctantly followed.  We continued on for another few minutes before reaching Wyassup Lake.  I finally spoke up and said that maybe we should turn around since we were halfway into the planned 3 hr run.  I was really happy that Jeff agreed with me.  We turned around after checking out the pond.  The trail up the ledges (that we missed) was a really challenging steep climb that reminded me of climbing the Pisgah Ridge (except not nearly as long).  I ran the entire time, but this probably did my legs in.  I was tired the rest of the way.  The unrelenting rocky footing was exhausting.  The single track section we missed on the way out, was really great.  Jeff had enough energy to gazelle down a long hill.  I heard a loud crack, and I hoped I wasn't going to find him lying on the trail.  Apparently he stepped on a log that broke underneath him, but he was fine.  The trail then followed a babbling brook for a mile or so, until the trail branched off and reached the dirt road that we were all too familiar with.  At this point we were 2 hrs in, and I was hungry and tired.  I tried eating a little bit of my granola bar and drank more water, although I was craving something sugary to drink.  At least I knew the end was near.  We reached our cars without incident after 2 and half hours.  I have only been happier to finish a run one or two times more in my life.  I was completely spent.  Jeff handed me an ice cold water bottle - unbelievably refreshing.  A great, challenging run. 

Sunday: 5 miles - Burlingame trails (and some roads) alone.  I woke up not planning to run after the grueling run yesterday and the chromium replacing with Muddy's family at night.  For some reason though, I wanted to run.  I decided to run a loop that Muddy, Pard, and I ran a few times one winter 8 years ago.  My legs were in pretty good shape.  I felt very relaxed.  I was able to really enjoy this run. 

Overall:  A new weekly mileage PR!  Great week of trail running with a nice track workout mixed in. 

Weekly Total:  80 miles
Last Week: 62 miles
Year to Date: 1978 miles

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Pisgah Switch

I officially downgraded to the Pisgah 23K this week. I kind of wanted to do this race all along, and my 50K training was lacking really long runs, and life looks too busy the next few weeks to get any in. So, instead of running slower than I want for a really long time, my new goal is to run hard the entire time on the short course. Not sure what a realistic goal is - 2 years ago I ran 1:58 and I've run a ton since then.  Can't wait!! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Weekly Log 8-20-12 to 8-26-12

Monday:  8 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Back to work after a two week vacation.  I spent the day feeling queasy and plowing through piles of paperwork.  I needed a break, so despite feeling lousy, I ran.  I parked at the athletic fields and did the usual routine, except only running the outer loop of the field trails.  I felt like my pace was decent.  I can't tell with the space watch.  Stomach issues made me walk the last quarter mile back to my car.  Glad I ran though.  Total time:  57:52. 

Tuesday: 6AM 7 miles - CHS track workout alone (planned).  I showed up at the track, still dark, and saw Muddy's truck.  I thought he was running with Mike and Ben in SK.  I looked around the track and couldn't find him.  Finally, he emerged from a porta-potty - that's how Muddy rolls.  After a 1.5 mile warm up, we agreed to do 400's and 200's: 4x400 8x200 and then possibly some more 400's.  My stomach still wasn't feeling that great, and my body felt tight, but I was happy with my performance:  78/76/77/76 35/35/35/35/35/35/36/34 76/77 all with 200 rest except 400 after the set of 200's.  The 200's felt really good, and I was pleased with the consistency.  My form was fading on the last two 400's, but the times were good.  I had to fight the urge to hurl after a few of the intervals, but feeling fine now (later in the afternoon).  1 mile cool down. 
               1PM 9 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  Feeling better - both mentally and physically, I headed out for a run in the fabulous weather.  My lower legs felt trashed, but improved vastly by the end.  I was enjoying the sights and zoning out when I tripped and fell on rocks and roots - banged both knees and hands, an elbow, and scraped up my abdomen.  I need to remember that this is a trail run.  Pay attention.  Anyway, unfazed, I kept chugging along.  I had been staying away from here because of the crowds, but it's getting a lot quieter.  The tide was too high to make it to the bridge.  Lot's of bird activity near the tidal pond including a flock of a few hundred tree swallows and some really small sandpipers I couldn't indentify.  I finished up my zigzagging, including twice running up the "hill".  Total time: 1:09:11.  16 miles for the day. 

Wednesday:  3 miles - Westerly Fun Run Season Finale 1 Miler - 4th place, 5:23 (or 5:13 on my watch).  I showed up a little early and ran a mile warm up with Mike B, fresh off his 5K PR the night before (sub 19!).  My legs felt like junk.  Tuesday's workout was rough.  I still was optimistic that I would feel fine once the race began.  The run was only 1 mile so that awards could be handed out afterwards.  I got confirmation earlier in the day that at least Jeff would be running it hard (even though he also raced a 5K the day before going sub 18).  Tommy 5K was there, looking more like a bodybuilder than a runner (how many pushups is he doing while injured?).  He was going to give it a go, but was not planning on anything too speedy.  Muddy was in flip flops, and unless he was going minimalist, he was definitely not running.  I lined up front next to Jeff and a bunch of teens and tweens.  At the start, I shot off to get good position in front of the young kids, and was briefly in second behind one young lad, until Jeff went by me.  After the first few hundred meters, my quads and hamstrings felt like garbage, and I relaxed my pace, knowing that it wasn't going to be my day.  Tom passed by me, and I was alone in 4th.  As they pulled away, I thought about veering off the course, but I was indecisive, and kept running.  Eventually, I glanced at my watch, and my "easy" pace was 5:13.  That did it.  I decided to finish, maybe even push the last quarter mile and see who I could catch.  Well, first I got caught by a kid, but then surged to get back in front of him.  I was getting close to 3rd place (kid), but he had a final kick to stay comfortably ahead of me.  I passed the 1 mile mark according to my GPS at 5:13 (easily a PR for me).  10 seconds later I crossed the line in 5:23.  Tom ended up running a low 5 without much effort.  Jeff was close to his PR.  A really fun event that I wish I was fresher for!  1 mile cool down with Tom and Dave S followed by a jump in the ocean and bodysurfing a couple of waves, before returning for the awards ceremony. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Big River trails alone.  Mentally, a really great run.  My legs still feel junky, but they warmed up on the challenging single track.  After 3 or 4 miles, I really picked up my pace, and ran hard the rest of the way.  GPS can't find me in the woods and is basically useless except for making fun maps.  Total time: 57:10. 

Friday: 10.5 miles - Big River trails alone.  I explored new trails for the first 45 minutes and then tried to connect them via the paved portion of the New London Turnpike with other trails I know.  Well, I messed up, and ran about a mile on the paved road before hitting up trails I knew, but not what I planned.  Oh well.  Fun exploring the north side of Tarbox Pond.  The trails west of Hopkins Hill Rd and north of the New London Turnpike were mostly dirtbike/ATV trails that lead to a giant sand area (RI desert?).  There is a certain thrill in exploring and not knowing exactly where you're going to end up.  I still haven't touched over half the trails out there.  Total time: 1:21. 

Saturday: 7 miles - Stoddard, NH hilly dirt/trail run alone.  I drove the family up to NH in the morning, and then after a lazy afternoon spent at the pool, I snuck out for a run.  I've been kind of missing hill work, so I got exactly what I was looking for - 3.5 miles nonstop uphill and then 3.5 miles downhill.  I began the steep climb up Kennedy Brook Rd and was not feeling great right away.  Looking at my watch, I was going 6:48 pace, so I shouldn't be feeling great.  By the time I reached the 4x4 more technical portion of Kings Highway (about 2 miles in), I had been climbing in the low 7's and feeling rather spent.  I continued on in this wilderness.  My pace had dropped to mid 8's, but that might have been the GPS.  I ventured further than I had ever been, and was surprised that the road kept climbing.  Finally I hit an open area that marked the beginning of a long descent, and I decided it was a good place to turn around.  At times, I felt like I was flying down the better dirt roads, but my watch only said I was going in the 6's.  It felt way faster.  I returned to my parents house in time for chromium replacing with my brothers.  Total time: 49:29.  A great hard effort. 

Sunday: 9.5 miles - Stoddard, NH dirt roads alone.  I ran again in the morning.  I stayed on the "neighborhood" roads.  Plenty of climbing, not just nonstop like yesterday.  My legs took a few miles to warm up.  I enjoyed the pleasant weather and the easier pace.  I was still moving pretty fast though, and the hills are challenging.  Total time: 1:09:58. 

Overall:  I feel like I'm not getting any long runs in at all recently, but the weekly mileage is still fine.  With summer ending, I'm hoping to get longer runs in.  Hopefully, I get one more week on the track too. 

Weekly Total: 62 miles
Last Week: 52 miles
Year to Date: 1898 miles

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekly Log 8-13-12 to 8-19-12

Monday: 3 miles - Hancock, ME dirt roads with my wife.  Easy run in the oppressive humidity before packing up and driving home from Maine. 

Tuesday: 9.5 miles - CHS track workout with Muddy, Mike, and Ben.  I got to the track a little early and began running in circles waiting for the others.  I ended up running for 3 and half miles.  Tired at first, I was ready for the workout.  Mike's plan was for 6x1000 (first 200 fast, then 800 at 5K pace) with 200 rest.  This very ambitious workout was truncated after it became apparent that it was too hard to finish, at least for me.  My first 1000 was 3:18 (36 sec first 200).  I couldn't duplicate that time however on the next 3:  3:21/3:22/3:25.  I'm happy with my times, I just wish the times went down instead of up.  Not having any experience with 1000's though, I shouldn't complain.  The short rest definitely was a factor as well.  Nice long cooldown that none of us timed or counted the laps - 3 miles at least. 

Wednesday:  3.5 miles - Westerly Fun Run - 1st Overall, 18:09.  I thought I might double today, but we had a busy family day (still on vacation!), so I was only able to do the fun run.  Originally, my whole family was going to run, but everyone was too tired, and it looked like it might rain (or thunderstorm).  No Jeff this week, so my dad, Justin, and Tom, were sharing his duties.  After a very brief warm up during the kids' run, I lined up for the 5K.  I tried talking Justin into running, and Tom was debating it (still working his way back from injury).  At the start, I navigated through a few teenagers and then was out in front.  After a couple of turns, I couldn't hear anybody.  Despite yesterday's workout, my legs felt decent.  Rounding the corner before the one mile mark, I heard people cheer someone fairly close behind me.  Who?  First mile was 5:28 or 5:29.  It was difficult to maintain my intensity the second and third mile.  No one was near me and I was getting hot and the air was thick.  I cruised along at a slightly slower pace than two weeks ago and didn't have a strong finish.  It turns out it was Tom catching up to me on the first mile, but he shut it down after that.  Fun chatting with everyone post run. 

Thursday: 11 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  It was nice to get back on the trails.  I began at the Vin Gormley Trail on the west side of Poquiant Brook and headed south.  My legs took a while to loosen up, but my pace was decent right away.  I ran to the campground and split off to the south to run the Brrr-lingame 15K course backwards.  I was happy to remember the turns, but the spider webs were obnoxious.  It was muddy in the usual spots, and wet because of the recent rain, but no more deer flies!  Total time:  1:22:32. 

Friday: 10 miles - Burlingame trails with Greg.  Strange day.  I went out for a run in the morning - a planned 6 mile hilly road out and back, but turned around after .1 miles because I wasn't feeling up to it.  I had the opportunity to run in the evening, and before I left, my brother Greg drove by my house on his way to my parents from NH.  I quickly called him and he joined me for a run.  We were both on the tired side, but had a great run.  The spiders are out of control.  Total time: 1:10:58. 

Saturday: 15 miles - Burlingame South Loop with Greg in the early AM.  We tried to get some other people to join us, but it was just going to be another bro run.  I met Greg on the VG Trail off of Buckeye Brook Rd, and then we headed south, on the same course I did on Thursday.  Instead of backtracking, we continued counterclockwise on the VG Trail until reaching Sammy C's Trail.  We started off at a good pace, and the run went well, even though my legs were still fatigued.  It rained for part of the run, but it was only enough to make a mess of my glasses.  I really enjoyed this loop.  Total time: 1:51:32. 

Sunday: 0

Overall: Decent week, although less miles than I'd like.  Good workout on Tuesday, and the Fun Run Wednesday.  Lots of trails after that. 

Weekly Total: 52 miles
Last Week: 40 miles
Year to Date: 1836 miles

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekly Log 8-6-12 to 8-12-12

Monday: 0

Tuesday: 7 miles - Westbrook, ME roads alone.  I ran a 6:55 first mile and then decided to make this a tempo run, despite feeling like the majority of this run was uphill.  Total time: 45:22 (6:28 pace). 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Hancock/Lamoine roads alone.  Mostly flat except one hill at the halfway point.  Total time: 49:14 (7:14 pace).  Family outing to Schoodic Point (east of Mt. Desert Island).  Rockhopping, tidepooling, porpoises viewing, before hiking the Anvil Trail to the summit of Schoodic Head.  Looped back down via Alder Trail. 

Thursday: 5 miles - 1 x mile (2 min rest) 5 x 2 min (1 min rest).  Family hike on Day Mountain near Seal Harbor on MDI.  This was followed up by a visit to Thuya Gardens in Northeast Harbor and then popovers and ice cream at the Jordan Pond House. 

Friday: 8 miles - Hancock/Franklin roads alone.  Total time: 61 minutes.  My last run in my blue Free Runs.  Went to Cadillac Mtn Sports later in the day and bought Inov-8 F-Lite 195's.  Family boat trip aboard a four masted schooner in Frenchman's Bay in the afternoon. 

Saturday: 6 miles on dirt/paved roads.  7:47/7:08/7:11/6:28/5:43/8:26.  Winter Harbor Lobster Festival in the afternoon and The Mex in Ellsworth for dinner. 

Sunday: 7 miles - mostly dirt roads in Hancock.  53 minutes.  Really awesome hike despite the intermittent rain later in the day.  Explored the Tunk Lake Maine Public Reserve Lands.  We hiked Schoodic Mountain (800' elevation gain) 1.3 miles.  The kids did great and it reaching the exposed rock summit felt like an accomplishment, even without the views (in the fog and clouds).  Hike back down 1.0 mile to Donnell Pond.  Gorgeous sandy flat beach on a huge pond, with mountains all around.  We stopped and swam in the rain for quite some time.  .5 mile hike back to the car. 

Overall:  Fantastic week in Maine.  I was able to get in 40 miles before our usual fun family day trips. 

Weekly Total: 40 miles
Last Week: 73 miles
Year to Date:  1784 miles

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Weekly Log 7-30-12 to 8-5-12

Monday:  8 miles - Cuttyhunk trails and Exeter dirt roads alone.  This was just an easy run in the very pleasant weather.  My legs were tired and I wanted to run on an unchallenging surface.  I explored Pardon Joslin Road out to Widow Sweets Road.  For some reason I thought that road would be dirt, but it was paved.  Bummer.  I turned around and ran all the way out east to where the pavement begins on Stony Lane.  I then backtracked to Cuttyhunk and then took the trail back to my car.  Total time: 1:04:19.  My watch said I climbed 683ft.  Not too shabby for an easy run. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - 6AM CHS track workout with Mike and Muddy.  I had no plan going into this workout, and it became apparent that none of us did.  We all had run races the past weekend and were lacking a little focus.  We warmed up on the track for a couple of miles (I did 3) and it wasn't until just before we began that we settled on starting with a 1600 at goal 5K pace.  Like last week, I was shooting for 5:45, but I didn't care if I was a little faster.  I finished up and my watch showed 5:36.  When I got home and uploaded the data, it turns out it was 5:31.  On our recovery lap, Mike discussed running 3 x 1600 as the workout.  Muddy and I were game, so that's what we did.  I wasn't sure I could hit the same splits, but I was very happy with the final results:  5:34/5:33.  This was challenging, but I didn't over do it.  I have to say it's pretty fun running circles on a track.  3+ mile cooldown.  The weather was fantastic - high 50's and no wind. 

Wednesday: PM #1 8.5 miles - Big River (west of Hopkins Hill Rd) trails alone.  My legs are tired today.  I had the desire to do some more exploration in Big River, so I headed out there on my break.  I took it slow at first as my legs were tight and I had trouble navigating any technical terrain.  I didn't really know exactly where I was, but I had a general idea, using the roads as my guide.  I found some really fun trails that I will definitely add to the trail library.  Two in particular stood out: a single track north of the New London Turnpike and a twisty hilly single track south of the turnpike and east of the paved road.  Total time: 1:08:55. 

PM #2 - 3.5 miles - Westerly Run for Fun - 1st overall, 17:56 new 5K PR!  Super pumped about this run.  This was the 5K I was waiting for, but didn't expect it on tired legs/sore calves (from workout Tuesday AM).  My kids wanted to run, so I traveled down to Misquamicut after work.  I ran the kids race with my daughter and my dad ran with my son.  Both had healthy PR's and seemed to really enjoy it.  My mom came down to watch and stayed with the kids while I ran the 5K.  My plan was to run it hard, and see what happened.  I figured I would be in the low 18's, but I thought there was the possibility that my calves would hurt and I would have to shut it down.  At the start, I shot out in front, with Jeff right on my heels.  We then ran side by side.  I tried to talk as we ran, but I was having difficulty conversing.  My legs felt great and I had a strong first mile in 5:27 (according to my watch which was ahead of the posted mile markers).  I knew that I wasn't going to maintain that pace, but I also knew I wasn't going to have a 6+ minute let down.  Mile two is rather twisty and feels like a sneaky uphill most of the time.  Jeff got a couple of steps ahead of me on the one fast descent which I expected, but I was able to keep him close.  After rounding a corner, we then had the one true hill ahead of us.  Short but steep.  I have confidence in my climbing ability, but I was nervous here.  I didn't want to over do it and be toast for the last mile plus, but my instincts took over and I attacked.  I was able to open up a lead on Jeff, but I thought he would catch back up to me as I recovered from the hill sprint to the mile 2 marker (5:43 split).  Mile three is a very flat, very straight road - this is always a challenge mentally to me.  I felt like I was going slower, but glancing at my space watch, my pace was in the 5:46 - 5:48 range.  I knew that I could keep that up for the duration.  The course has a couple more turns, and despite feeling even slower (I was tiring), I was maintaining my pace (5:46 split). I managed to sprint the last .1 to the finish line - just getting under the 18 minute mark in 17:56.  I was elated.  This is an honest course and my watch actually had it as 3.19 miles.  Uploading the data from my watch, it had my 5K split as 17:31(5:38 pace) - something to shoot for later this summer or early fall.  Jeff wasn't far behind in 18:10.  I was hoping that we might both be able to get sub 18.  It was also nice to see the Bentley clan, Mike B, and the WTAC old timers.  Thanks to Elise for the watermelon.  Afterwards, my kids and I got to go swim at the beach.  Waves were big.  Trouble sleeping at night - too excited about this run! 

Thursday: 9 miles - South County Bike Path and Great Swamp dirt roads alone.  Wow, it was hotter than I expected.  This is mostly because I was exposed to the sun way more than I anticipated.  I parked at the train station and then ran the path then road (mostly dirt) to Great Swamp.  My legs didn't feel that bad, but I was hot.  I hadn't been to the swamp in about 10 years, but everything seemed somewhat familiar.  The double track trail I took off to the right to get me to the dyke was overgrown.  I rejoined the more worn double track just before hitting the sun exposed dyke.  The wind was straight in my face, but at least it was keeping the deer flies away.  I chugged along not feeling great.  I wished I was hiking with binoculars and not running.  Mercifully the trail re-entered the woods.  There is a steady climb here that I pushed purely for Strava reasons, but when I uploaded the run, it didn't pick up on that segment.  It seems kind of silly to run hard on a normal/easy run purely for internet bragging right reasons and then it doesn't even work.  Lesson learned.  I also missed the side trail/road down to the old airplane hangar.  I was looking forward to stopping at the pond here and cooling off, but after I realized I probably missed it, I did not want to turn around (thanks to the hot sun and wind at my back making it feel even hotter).  Back at the entrance, I stopped briefly to look at probably the worst map I've ever seen.  Useless.  I continued on towards the bike path.  I detoured down the path to Rte 110, enjoying the full shade and level terrain.  I returned to my car a disgusting sweaty mess.  Total time: 1:07:21. 

Friday: 12 miles - Big River trails solo.  Miserably hot this afternoon, but I had it in my mind to do this run after finishing up early at work and beginning my two week vacation.  92 degrees in town, but a "cooler" 87 and muggy in the woods.  I ran with water and took it easy.  My plan was to make a loop out of the trails I know on the east and west sides of Hopkins Hill Road.  I began running the single track around Carr Pond.  After I reached a spot near Tarbox Pond, I then had to guess which trails to take to cross the stream between the two ponds.  I figured this out and than the trails out to Hopkins Hill Road near Tarbox Pond.  I reached the road in 50+ minutes, and I was feeling pretty good, despite the heat.  I crossed the road and then jumped onto the single track trails I figured out earlier in the week.  I reached the paved portion of the New London Turnpike and then crossed over onto more single track that looped back to the road.  After briefly getting sidetracked, I found the twisty narrow trail I was looking for, but I was now tiring and I was exposed at the frequent high points.  This trail is so fun though.  I came upon a huge fallen oak that had fallen within the last 48 hours - and it was hard to climb through.  I kept trucking along and mercifully reached Hopkins Hill Road and my car after a total time of 1:30 minutes.  Strava map to be posted later.  A great loop and a great start to vacation! 

Saturday: 0

Sunday: 22 miles - Arcadia Loop with Muddy.  We met up at the DEM Headquarters on Arcadia Road at 6AM.  The air was incredibly thick and disgusting - 78 degrees with a 74 degree dewpoint.  I think this means you're supposed to die if you exert yourself outside.  Anyway, I was a little nervous and willing to cut it short if we were hurting out there.  I ran shirtless and hatless, and carried just water in a small backpack.  I was worried about chaffing, but I didn't want to wear a shirt.  We set out north on Arcadia Road and then onto Summit Road (dirt).  After 2.5 miles of roads, we reached Mt Tom Trail.  The time was passing quickly while we talked until we began the climbs on the ledges.  The heat and unhealthy air became very evident.  But after crossing Rte 165, the trail levels off and then descends, and I felt better.  My backpack was annoying me, so I made it super tight, which helped.  We reached Austin Farm Road and then began climbing Breakheart Trail, which is steep near the summit.  Honestly, I didn't mind the climbing, it was the descending that was tiring, and I felt slow.  Anyway, we continued on and kept up our honest pace.  There's another stealth hill somewhere out there, before it gradually drops down to Breakheart Pond.  I was feeling confident about completing (surviving) the entire run, even though we still had an hour left to go.  I find the trail around the pond and then the Hudson Trail to be really annoying.  I'm not sure why, just don't like them.  We reached Rte 165 at the 2:15 mark.  Muddy stopped to stretch, but I kept going at a slower pace.  I was running alone until we met back up near Bates Schoolhouse Road.  I thought about suggesting a shortcut, but decided against it.  We pressed on, climbing Tefft Hill, stopping briefly to splash around in a cool stream.  At the hight point, we switch onto the Arcadia Crossover Trail, but took it the wrong way, as we ended up back on the dirt road near Roaring Brook Pond.  So we had to run this flat dirt road and then a few minutes of paved roads to get back to the Arcadia Trail, but the distance was about the same.  We reached the trail, and then finished up the last mile back to our cars.  My legs felt great throughout this run, only fatiguing slightly the last 15 minutes, but not hurting like they normally do at the 2 hour mark.  Despite the soupy weather, I was fine with just drinking a lot of water on the run.  I never got hungry.  And I have plenty of energy afterwards.  I'm feeling super confident about my running right now.  Total time: 2:58:52. 

Weekly Total: 73 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 1744 miles