Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weekly Log 3-26-12 to 4-1-12

Monday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  What began as a run with no expectations (and into the annoying wind) turned into a nice progressively faster run with a fast finish (thanks wind).  I parked at the athletic fields and ran half of the woods section before I jumped onto the new field trails.  I was not enjoying myself at first.  It was so windy, especially near the pond.  I also was kind of cold.  Somewhere in the middle miles I picked up my effort, and I was working pretty hard on the technical trails before hitting the railbed.  I naturally went faster, but also had the wind helping too.  I kept up the hard effort for the 2+ miles back to my car.  Total time: 1:10:08. 

Tuesday: 6+? miles - Big River trails alone.  I really was unmotivated today, especially since I was cold sitting in my office all morning.  Running around Carr Pond seemed like the best choice on this windy day, although I didn't have a lot of energy.  I decided to loop around the pond and explore a couple of side trails.  This worked out well, as I linked together some single track that will add distance and avoid some wider and busier trail sections.  Also, there are some new markers out there that make it easier to find the trail between the ponds.  I had to improvise my running outfit today as I wasn't prepared for a 40 degree day.  Total time: 49:28. 

Wednesday:  10 miles - CHS track workout with Muddy, Mike, and Ben.  A rainy afternoon turned into a sunny, warm, and humid evening.  We arrived late enough that the track was empty.  We ran a warm up through the woods, fields, and roads around the school.  Mike's plan was to take it easy on us today, since Muddy and I have a 5K coming up on Sunday.  Ben, Muddy, and I ran 7x400 at 5K pace with a 600 at the end.  My goal was to run 85's, which is probably faster than my 5K pace.  However, once out on the track, I ran slightly behind the other two, and clicked off the following:  80/81/82/81/81/82/80 2:03
We cooled down as a group before Mike and Ben had to leave for their next workout.  Muddy and I then ran around for a few extra miles.  Total time: 1:10.  The 400's seemed easy at first, but did get harder.  I don't think I overdid it.  Excited for Sunday's race. 

Thursday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails solo.  It's funny how I almost quit as soon as I began and then I ended up running ten miles.  I was lacking motivation today, and the overcast 48 degree weather with a damp breeze didn't help.  I ran about 4 miles of technical fun trails and then I wandered down the railbed and around the pond, changing things up enough to keep it fresh.  My pace was okay, but I hit the downhills hard as well as a few other sections.  Total time: 1:16:34. 

Friday: 0 - basketball at Wilson Park for 1.5 hours.  We played fullcourt for a while.  Gip and I ran circles around these 18-20 year olds.  Good crosstraining.  The rest of the time we played 3 on 3 and my shot was off.  Still fun.  I was thinking about not running anyway or going extremely easy. 

Saturday: 0 - instead of running, I'll be spending the day "playing" fantasy baseball with the usual group of math nerds. 

Sunday: Chariho 5K - sub 18 or bust.  Update: bust.  8 miles total.  18:19 2nd Overall. 

Weekly Total: 44 miles
Last Week: 61 miles
Year to Date: 706 miles

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Weekly Log 3-19-12 to 3-25-12

Monday: 3 miles - loops around trails on my property.  Instead of running on my break at work, I got talked into playing basketball.  It's funny how tiring it feels right away, but then I gradually gain energy as the time goes on.  Three of us played hustle for an hour in the midday heat - high 70's.  Not bad for the last day of winter.  After dinner, I ran loops with my kids in our woods.  I billed it as a trail fun run.  My daughter did two laps and my son did three.  He was moving pretty fast on the third one and navigates the technical spots nicely.  After the kids went to bed I ran 6 more laps of a longer loop before it was pitch black.  I was moving at a pace that felt like 7 minutes, but undoubtedly it was slower.  Still a fun way to get a short run in and I was a sweaty mess afterwards.  Seriously considering opening the outdoor shower. 

Tuesday: 14.55 miles - Wickford/Saunderstown roads alone.  I mapped this 14 mile route before running, but after I finished something wasn't adding up with the last four miles, so I re-mapped it, and it came out to be longer, which makes more sense.  My 5 mile split was 33:20 (fast first mile of 6:27), and my second 5 mile split was 33:54 (long uphill into the wind on Rte 1A).  I felt tired the last 4 miles and extremely hot the last two (wind at my back and 78 degrees), but I felt like I was going faster, but my split was 29:04.  This was calculating to 7:13 pace which was definitely off.  Remapping it, the final 4.55 miles I did in 6:23 pace.  Overall, this was a great confidence boosting run - total time 1:36:19.  I averaged 6:37 miles on an unseasonably hot day, over a good distance.  I was feeling discomfort in my legs after descending Snuff Mill Rd, but the only other factors I had to deal with were the heat and my mind.  I wanted to do a longer road run to keep up with the South County Joneses.  Now I can return to trail running and avoiding roads.  Here's the link to the run. 

Wednesday: 0 - another basketball day.  Another 77 degree day.  Played hustle again and finally won.  It's annoying to be the only one trying on defense and then never get the rebounds.  Good workout.  Then we played 2 on 2 with this familiar looking guy.  Finally figured out it was fellow bassist Joel from Badfish.  I'm happy to get in basketball on easy or zero running days.  My legs were tired and I wasn't planning on anything crazy for a run.  It's great to play basketball again. 

Thursday: 15.5 miles - Ryan Park trails (10M) and Wickford road (5.5M) to and from Ryan Park alone.  Yet another scorcher - sunny and 80 degrees with no sea breeze today to cool me off at times.  My loose plan was to run to Ryan Park and then do some sort of loop and then return on the roads.  I instantly felt tight and slow on the roads, probably a combination of Tuesday's hard run and basketball yesterday.  I was surprised that I was going about 7:15 pace however after two miles.  I then entered the park and ran the normal woods section clockwise.  At the halfway point, I jumped onto the fields trails (no longer in the field) and did a long outer loop, and then a shorter interior one.  Despite not feeling 100%, I was happy with my ability to keep running at the same pace for so long.  I was baking in certain exposed spots, but there was enough of a dry breeze to keep me from overheating.  Lot's of characters out today on the trails, but nothing annoying.  I was feeling tired by the time I finished the 10 mile trail loop (73:33), but I had enough energy on the roads to add an extra half mile to even out Tuesday's half.  Total time: 1:53:13.  My average pace on the roads was 7:15 and the trail pace worked out to be 7:21 (not GPS - that pace would be 9:21). 

Friday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path warm up and 4x800 workout with Mount View/Calf Pasture Point roads, beach, and trails cooldown alone.  (Map here).  I didn't have a lot of energy in my legs, but I wanted to get in some speed work this week.  I blatantly stole the workout from Boj.  I didn't feel up to the challenge of more reps, and I wanted the 800's to be fast (for me).  The weather was a more manageable 70 degrees, but I was still hot during the workout as I opted to wear a shirt - I feel like a tool running shirtless like a maniac on the bike path passing the elderly and mom's with strollers.  I also didn't feel like warming up, but as soon as I began running, I knew I needed to.  My body was tight.  So I ran a mile warm up and then began the workout.  I ran the 800's hard, and each one was terrible in it's own special way (1st one hurt, 2nd one really hurt, 3rd one into the wind, 4th one into the wind and hurt).  Results: 2:48/2:47/2:49/2:51.  After the 4th one, I did a slow recovery jog to a shaded bench and stopped.  I stretched and assessed what to do next.  I opted to leave the path and jump onto Fletcher Rd.  I felt really slow for the first 10 minutes, but eventually got back into a decent grove.  I distracted myself by checking out all the early blooming going on and with all the golfing activity at Quidnesset.  I reached the beach and was amazed at the very low tide - I then remembered it was a new moon.  The footing was good, and I didn't mind the stiff headwind.  Entering the trails, I instantly got hot again, and my legs were beginning to fatigue.  My time was telling me that the run was going to be a little over 10 miles, so I added on a side trail (paved) to get to 11.  Total time: 1:22:09. 

Saturday: 17 miles - Burlingame trails with Tom, Muddy, and Jeff.  The Westerly trail crew met up at 6AM at the picnic area for the usual two hour run.  Originally I thought I might be running alone, but things came together, including a jet-lagged Jeff just back from India joining us.  I thought there would be adequate light for the trails, but due to the cloud cover, we had to run on the roads for a while.  We headed north up Kings Factory Road and then took the dirt road down to Schoolhouse Pond.  After a brief stop we headed back up the dirt road and across the street onto Schoolhouse Pond Trail, where there was now enough daylight to see.  I was curious what sort of pace we would be doing today as I had a lot of miles on my legs for the week, Muddy was recovering from an epic rock running adventure, and Jeff was barely awake.  Tom was the X-factor, and he took the lead on the trail.  He pushed it up the hill and was moving well until I shouted out the wrong direction at an intersection (the first of a few).  I lead the group through Secret, VG, and Governor's trail at a slower but steady pace until we reached the wider trails of north Burlingame.  We climbed Ledge Trail and then did the River Trail loop.  Jeff and Tom gazelled down the hill to the river.  My legs were still holding up well, but I didn't try to stick with them.  We stopped at the river, and it looked like Jeff might try the rope swing.  We made our way back to the VG trail, stopping to check out an old dam on Buckeye Brook.  We worked our way counterclockwise around VG.  My legs fatigued, and I knew I was going to have a miserable last two miles.  Luckily, no one pushed too hard on the last dirt road, so I was able to finish with the group.  Total time: 1:11:34. 

Sunday: 0 - trip to Boston

Overall:  I'm happy with the mileage despite only really 4 days of running.  The hard runs this week give me confidence going into next Sunday's Chariho 5K.  I hope to get under 18 minutes.  I'll try to be rested for the race which means light runs after a workout Wednesday.  We'll see. 

Weekly Total: 61 miles
Last Week: 51 miles
Year to Date: 662 miles

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weekly Log 3-12-12 to 3-18-12

Monday: 8+ miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  My body wasn't feeling too beat up from the trail race the day before, so I headed out for a run in the early summer-like weather - 71 degrees!  Despite my anticipated slow pace, I could tell my body wasn't acclimated to this temperature, so I ran shirtless for the first time of the year.  I did 2 long loops (slightly different) on the single track around the fields, which at 24+ minutes at an easy pace I'm calling 3 miles.  I then ran a random interior loop that ended up being a tad longer than I planned.  I forgot to check the time when I got back, but it was about 67 minutes. 

Tuesday: 0 - zero cross training activity as well.  This didn't help mentally, but I'm hoping it was the right thing to do.  It's been a while.  Sort of torture with the really nice weather. 

Wednesday: 12 miles - Quonset Bike Path warm up and workout with Allen's Harbor cool down alone.  I was hoping to meet up with Muddy, Mike, and Jeff for a group workout, but I couldn't make it work with work, so I did my own workout on the bike path.  The idea was to warm up running out on the path, then do 3 800's back, 3 800's out, and 3 800's back.  I figured that if I was 2.5 miles from my car after doing 6, I would rather do 3 more than jog back.  My goal pace was 2:55 - my 5K PR pace.  It was a bit windy out and warm (low 60's).  I wasn't sure how these things would effect my performance.  Pulling into the parking lot, there was a lot of activity, so it seemed like there would be plenty of traffic on the bike path as well to contend with.  Here are the results:

2:47/2:50/2:52/2:53/2:56/2:55/2:57/2:54/xx  83/80

I obviously began a little too fast, but overall I felt that I ran under control without overdoing it.  Gas pains on the last 800 made me stop at half way.  I jogged for a couple of minutes and then did another 400, so I still got the total distance of speedwork in.  I was feeling strong near the end and I thought about the marathon workout Muddy did last summer - I think it was 10x800? and I'm not sure what the rest between was supposed to be.  On the bike path my rests are either .3 or .2 miles (just the way the .5 mile markers each way work out).  Instead of stopping at my car for water, I decided to keep running.  I thought if I stopped I might not want to do a cooldown.  My feet were hurting by the end.  Total time: 1:26:02. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails with Dan.  A repeat of Monday's course with a couple of tweaks.  The pace was faster than I planned after a hard workout, but Dan and I always go rather fast.  He really liked the new single track.  A little chilly at the start (I was underdressed), but it was perfect running weather.  The sun even came out at the end.  Total time: 1:00:56. 

Friday: 6 miles - Ryan Park trails with Dan.  I had no plan for my run today, and I was close to just taking another zero.  My body feels run down, probably from Wednesday's workout and going rather hard on the trails yesterday.  Dan was going back to Ryan to figure out the new trails on his own, so I decided to join him.  The weather was low 40's, raw, and drizzle at times.  We took it slow.  I really enjoyed this sort of run, as it was easy on the body, but good for the mind.  Untimed. 

Saturday: 13 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  I headed out for an hour and a half run from my house around 9:30AM.  It was nice to "sleep in" to 6:30AM and then make my family blueberry pancakes.  I have a  busy afternoon and evening with my band's show tonight at the Crown Plaza in Warwick, and I wasn't feeling up to an early morning run on top of that.  My run began by entering Burlingame from Burdickville Rd and then heading south on the North South Trail.  The new monopine cell phone tower is easily seen from the trail, but luckily we can't see it from our house.  I then went left and down Ledge Trail and up Mills Trail.  I turned left onto Clawson to bag another hill.  I heard a chainsaw nearby which was a little odd.  I turned right onto the Governor Trail(?) and ran into a man doing trail maintenance with the chainsaw.  He seemed pleasant and I stopped worrying that I was going to get chopped up out there.  I crossed Buckeye Brook Rd and then took Sammy C's extension to the Secret Trail.  I was loving this run.  I was moving really well, even on the numerous technical sections.  Maybe it was knowing that I wasn't going for a "long" run.  I was motivated to run hard.  I turned left onto Vin Gormley Trail for two miles and then took Sammy C's.  I saw a couple of mtn bikers resting on a really rocky section so I made it a point to look strong as I passed.  I finally checked my watch when I reached Schoolhouse Pond Trail and turned left (61 minutes).  I debated what to do as I climbed the longish hill here.  I decided to stay on SPT.  I ran into a local runner with his dog on this remote section - I used to see him all the time on the roads, but now I've seen him twice on the trails.  I turned right onto the Vin Gormley Trail and picked up my pace even more as it is relatively smooth.  I felt like I was going 7 minute pace or slightly faster.  I turned right onto the North South Trail, crossed Buckeye Brook Rd, and then took Mills to Ledge to NS Trail back to my house.  I was hammering, including the three significant hills at the end.  Total time: 1:34:53.  Awesome run!  I'm feeling pretty relaxed and ready for the show tonight.   

Sunday: 4 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  After a wild night of playing 50 songs in 2.5 hours (no breaks) and the whole setting up/breaking down process, I was exhausted today.  I did get out for a short run in the afternoon while my kids got in their alotted screen time.  The weather was beautiful, sunny and 60.  I ran down to the beaver pond and then did a loop around north Burlingame before heading back home by the beaver pond.  I felt slow and was looking for an easy run, but there are no easy runs from my house.  Hills galore, but I still enjoyed myself.  Total time: 32 minutes. 

Weekly Total: 51 miles
Last Week: 52 miles
Year to Date: 601 miles

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Forward 1 Hr Trail Race & Relay

Sunday was the final race in the new 5 part winter trail race series.  This was an unique format (to me) for a race - see how many completed miles you can run in an hour, and it's a two mile loop (hour-glass shape).  The week before I ran part of the course with the race director Mike and a few other guys.  We did mile intervals and it was apparent that this course was going to be challenging.  My average mile interval was 6:46, which was my overall pace at the 15K race.  My hope for the Spring Forward race was that I could sneek in 9 miles, but I wasn't confident I'd have enough time. 

The weather was nice again, as it was for every winter race during the series.  It was sunny, 50 degrees, and breezy.  I had an active week, and my legs were still a little sore from basketball two days prior.  I spent the day working and playing in the yard with my family before the 4PM start.  I was as relaxed as I could be heading into the race. 

I got my bib number, and then headed out to run the 2 mile loop with Eric W, a local trail runner I met at the 2nd race when I noticed his 2011 Pisgah Mtn Trail Race shirt.  I was familiar with the 1st mile.  Unlike the week before, the ground was dry, except for a very deep muddy section near the bike path.  After this spot, the course veered left up a newly cut trail, with a few high logs to jump for good measure.  The first mile ends at the start/finish area, and the 2nd mile quickly climbs up a fairly steep hill.  After the summit, it passed between some ballfields before entering the woods on another brand new single track trail.  This trail was technical due to the two rocky stream crossings, the numerous logs to jump, and the tight turns.  However, it was mostly flat.  The 2nd mile then climbed a switchback back up to a baseball field and then dropped quickly back down to the start/finish area. 

After the warm up, I ran into Jon Short who decided to give the race a try after our 6 mile run on Thursday.  My family arrived and found the playground.  I chatted with my WTAC teammates Jeff, Justin, Tom, and my dad.  The other usual suspects were there too.  Mike explained the format and the course to the field, and next thing I knew, I was running. 

After a quarter mile, I was in 3rd place (not a great idea) behind the series leader and my teammate Tom.  Soon I could hear familiar breathing behind me, and knew it was Justin ready to pass, which he did right after the first mile (6:31). 
Justin ready to pass

The second mile was probably the most exciting.  As we entered the single track, I could feel people right on my heels.  I tried to hammer this technical area as best I could, but I wasn't shaking whoever it was.
Once we were on the wider switchback, I was passed by Aaron and Ben.  I knew Aaron would probably finish ahead of me, but I hoped to catch Ben again before we finished.  So there I was in 6th place before the 2nd mile finished (6:33 split).  I began my second loop and watched the race play out in front of me - Justin was now with Tom and Ben was sticking to Aaron.  It didn't seem anyone was close behind me.  I kept up my intense effort, but would've liked some company.  I also felt slower, which was manifested in my 6:56 3rd mile. 
nobody else around

I began a lonely mile 4, except for lapping the occasional runner, including Mike's 7 year old daughter near the end of the woods!  After crossing the start/finish area (6:44 split), I could see the runners ahead on the open field.  Justin was now ahead of Tom, and Aaron and Ben were catching up to him.  I was probably 20-30 seconds behind.  But once I was back in the woods, I was all alone again.  I finished mile 5 in 6:57.  Mike told me it was time to make my move.  I liked the encouragement, but the steep hill I immediately had to climb, soured my enthusiasm.  I did look forward to the single track in the woods every lap though.  At the switchback section, I checked to see who was behind me, and still there was no one.  I finished mile 6 in 6:50 and could now see that Tom was the closest person ahead of me.  I thought there was a chance I could reel him in over the next couple of miles.  I also was debating in my mind if I was going to have a shot to go for 9 miles.  It seemed possible.  But after completing mile 7 (6:53) and then struggling up the steep hill, the idea of stopping at 8 seemed like a good plan.  I wish I had the energy to really hammer the last mile, but it wasn't to be.  When I hit the switchback and looked back, I could now see WTAC teammate Jeff closing in on me.  I feared he was in full-fledged gazelle mode, and I knew he'd try his best to catch me.  I tried to find another gear as I finished my 8th and last mile in 6:52.  Total time 54:20.  Mike told me to go back out and try for 9, but there was no way I could have done a 6:40 mile, not to mention the 5:40 I would need.  Jeff finished up 20 seconds behind me.  We then got to watch the exciting finish, of runners sprinting to the finish line before the 1 hour time limit.  Aaron just got in 9 miles, but Ben missed out by mere seconds.  What a great concept for a race! 
my dad

Post race was fun chatting with everybody.  It was nice to see Jon Short complete 7 miles and my dad did 6.  Justin came in 2nd overall and finished with 9 miles.  I was happy with my effort, and my overall pace was one second off my mile interval pace and 15K pace of 6:47.  My first two miles were probably too fast, but I think it all evened out.  I wish I finished 8 miles a little sooner so that I had an outside shot of 9 miles.  My dad and I received personalized mugs for competing in all 5 races and the WTAC won the team title for this race and the series overall!  I'm going to miss these local trail races.  Thanks to Mike for putting this all together. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weekly Log 3-5-12 to 3-11-12

Monday: 9 miles - Saunderstown "Seven Sisters" alone.  I parked at the Rome Point lot and then ran the roads of Saunderstown hitting 7 significant hills along the way: Rte 1A (110'), Plum Point Rd (140'), Champlin Rd (130'), Cottrell Rd (100'), Plum Beach Rd (140'), Fleetwood Dr (140'), and Plum Point Rd (140') a second time. I was running rather easy and pushed the hills.  I haven't done this in a while, but I was really happy with how well I climbed.  The steep ones felt easier than in the past.  My overall pace was in the low 7:20's - actual mileage about 8.7 miles.  Total time: 1:04:26. 

Tuesday: 9+ miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I was feeling good until the time it came to run - I started to feel sore from my hill workout yesterday.  I began by running the standard 5 mile woods section.  I couldn't get into a groove, and felt really sluggish.  I was debating stopping there, but once I hopped onto the new single track, I was rejuvenated with energy - both mental and physical.  I followed the new trail, including a section I didn't explore last week, and then continued on with my 3 mile outer loop.  I then did a small inner loop that included yet another new section of trail that is pretty intense.  By the time I was finished, I felt way better than when I began.  Total time: 1:11:42. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Big River (Carr Pond) trails solo.  My plan was to do a 6x800 workout on the Quonset Bike Path, but I made the quick decision to head out to Big River once I went outside.  The wind on the water was outrageous.  It was warm, but sprinting into the wind didn't seem fun.  Plus doing a speed workout on slightly tired legs and a longish trail race on Sunday didn't seem like the best idea.  What did seem fun was to do my out-and-back course around Carr Pond.  It felt great to run in just a short-sleeved shirt.  I ran the mostly single track trails counterclockwise around the pond.  On the NW side, I like to stay on top of the ridge before turning around at a beaver dam.  I love the nonstop challenge of these trails.  My times were right on my harder efforts from last summer without trying too hard.  My only mistake was to wear my new Nike Free Runs on technical trails.  My feet slide around way too much, even though they fit tightly.  Total time: 1:12:56. 
Thursday: 6 miles - 2 x Old Mtn Trail 5K course with Jon Short.  We leisurely ran two laps of the 5K course, enjoying the varied terrain.  Warm and windy again.  We ran into Mike G and the SK parks director at the end of our run.  More trails coming soon??  Total time: 52 minutes. 

Friday: I hope to be disciplined enough to take a zero.  Update: 0 - but on a whim I went down to Wilson Park to shoot around - seemed more fun than walking or sitting in my car.  After a few minutes, I was asked to play 3 on 3 with college kids home on break.  Sure, why not.  It was an absolute blast and I didn't feel that rusty.  We played for about an hour and a half.  I think I just got the itch to start playing basketball again....

Saturday: 8+ miles - Carter Preserve with Muddy and Tom.  Slightly chilly (below freezing) early morning trail run today.  The muddy spots were all frozen which was a bonus.  We ran red to blue to yellow to the field loop before jumping on to the big hill on the power line.  We then backtracked on yellow to blue to red, finishing up in 65 minutes.  A nice easy run before the trail race tomorrow. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Spring Forward 1 Hr Trail Race - 8 completed miles (4 loops) in 54:20, 6th overall.  A brutal yet extremely fun race.  Separate write up to follow.  Busy day with cutting firewood/brush clearing in the early afternoon and 2+ hours of bass slapping at night. 

Overall: This was a really fun week.  After the hill workout on Monday, I spent the rest of the week in the woods, mixing it up from my usual locations.  Basketball on Friday was fantastic fun too. 

Weekly Total: 52 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 550 miles

Thursday, March 1, 2012