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:
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