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!
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