I did it! I ran from my house at 7AM to break the 3000 mile barrier. The conditions were a bit miserable - icy roads and cold. I stopped at Poquiant Brook at the two mile mark to celebrate 3000. Then I kept running. I finished with a hilly six on the day and 3004 for the year!
Monday: 4 miles - 12 loops of my home trails in the morning. This was all the running I could fit in today. Despite being off from work this week, logging miles will be a challenge with the holiday festivities, traveling, and staying home with the kids while my wife works. All fun things, but I'm still chasing 3000 miles. I ran pretty hard and had my best lap splits ever. Total time: 27:34.
Tuesday: 5 miles - Burlingame campground single track with my dad and Glenn in the morning. I was able to get out of the house for a nice little run with my family. We parked at the camp entrance and ran a loop CCW. Total time: 43:48.
Wednesday: 8 miles - CHS track with Glenn, Muddy, Jeff, and Tom. A chilly post Christmas run, but the sun and no wind felt great. We ran a three mile warm up on the surrounding trails with good conversation. On the track we did one of Tom's staple workouts in college - sets of 200/200/400. The first set was inconsistent, but the final three were identical. Despite the lower than normal mileage the last few days, my legs didn't feel fresh. The 400's were a bit of a struggle. Results: 33,36,72 35,35,73 35,35,73 35,35,73. Pretty pumped about the times (a couple of seconds below VDOT). Running as a group on the track really helps. Shortish cooldown on trails and fields. Total time: 1:07:40.
Beaver River field trails
afternoon hike with the kids
Thursday: 14 miles - Burlingame trails with Jeff in the early morning. The weather was truly dreadful, but I was happy to have the rain stop (temporarily) as we started in the dark at 6:30AM. We ran down Sanctuary Rd and then ran the NWS trails to Burlingame. Well, that was the plan, but in the darkness I missed a turn and we ended up running trails(?) in Kimball before finally locating the right trail. We then ran the single track of the Brrr-lingame 15K course. These trails drain well and we were having fun. Once we got to the wet bog bridges and then VG trail, it began to rain again. We were chatting away, still enjoying the morning. The tide turned when we reached Buckeye Brook Rd as the rain was more evident and my clothes were soaked through. We fought the elements and finished up the VG loop back to our cars. Total time: 1:50:23. Glad to have a partner crazy enough to join me today!
Friday: 7+ miles - Ninigret trails and fields with Tom and Mike B. It was chilly this morning when I met the guys at 7AM. We ran some trails for a 3 ish mile warm up. My legs were feeling sluggish at times keeping up with the snappy pace. We then did some tempo work in the form of 1000's around a field Tom had measured. I'm not sure of the exact distance (until I upload my GPS data), but it seemed pretty accurate. The planned pace was to go hard but stay under control. I felt really smooth on all four, and enjoyed running on the frozen grass. I was about 3:25 on the first three and 3:14 on the final one. Some drama unfolded when my key fell out of the key pocket in a new pair of shorts I was wearing. I had a time deadline to get home (wife had to work), so I was nervous when we couldn't find it right away. Karma kicked in and Tom found it. Crisis adverted. One mile cooldown at a fast pace. Total time 57 minutes.
Saturday: 6 miles - Stoddard NH hilly snow covered dirt roads alone. Lots of snow on the ground up there. I put on my Yak Trax over my MT 10's - a nice combination. Right away I had to climb the very steep Kennedy Brook Rd and then continued climbing up Kings Highway. After two exhausting miles uphill at a fast pace, I got to run downhill for over a mile. I added some side roads, including another long hill, for a rather speedy 43:25 total time. I played around in my snowshoes later in the day, looking forward to my first real snowshoe run tomorrow.
Boulder Brook behind the house
Playing in the snow at the house
More snow playing
The snowy dirt roads I ran
Pitcher Mountain field (2000')
Snowshoeing Pitcher Mountain
Sunday: 4 miles - Stoddard NH snowshoe run alone. 19 degrees and about six new inches of snow. I ran up to Hidden Lake, which included a 2/3 mile climb. I stopped after the climb to adjust my snowshoes, and then never had to fiddle with them again. I probably could have used just Yak Trax on the roads. The trail around the pond was perfect for snowshoeing however. Deep powder slightly packed by one snow mobile I'm guessing. So much fun and not as tiring as I thought. The hood on my outer layer came in handy to keep the flying snow from my shoes off my neck. I ended up circling the pond three times (3/4 miles per loop on GPS) instead of the planned one. I opted for the shorter (downhill) way back. Total time: 36:45.
Overall: I ran every day, but had a low mileage week. I knew it would be tough chasing miles this week. I had a blast on the runs I fit in, and a nice busy week with my family. I can't complain with two speed workouts, a hilly tempo, my first snowshoe run, and a longish trail run. So, two miles short of 3000, but one day left. I again have a short window to run in the morning, and there's six inches of snow on the ground up here on the hill in Charlestown. I'll get it done!
Weekly Total: 48 miles
Last Week: 70 miles
Year to Date: 2998 miles
Two weeks and a day left in 2012 and I'm still on target for my newish goal of 3000 miles. Looking at the extended forecast on Sunday night was a little deflating. It seems I'll be chasing miles in the wind and rain. Hopefully, it's not as bad as predicted.
Monday: 9 miles - Quonset Bike Path (7M) and Calf Pasture Point beach and trail (2M) alone. I felt surprisingly good on this run. The weather was quite dreary (42 and light rain), so my pace was probably quicker just to stay warm and get it over with. After a 7:26 first mile I then ran the next three in the high 6's and then 6:32 and 6:26 for miles 5 & 6. I kept it snappy on the beach, despite the thick sand (it helped to have the wind at my back). My last mile on pavement was 6:37. Total time: 1:02:14.
Tuesday: 9+ miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone. This day looked like a washout, but it was just cloudy when I ran with occasional sunshine. The temperature was warm and the wind wasn't bad. My legs were finally feeling tired (two days removed from a race). My goal was to keep it easy and only run for as long as I was having fun. I did my new normal 3+ mile zigzag to the point and then ran the shoreline south. The tide was high, and I had to turn around at the usually jumpable stream. I ran the mile back along the water and then repeated my zigzag back to the car. Total time: 1:09:59.
Wednesday: 10 miles - Carolina trails with Muddy in the late afternoon. I really wanted to get a workout in today, and finally went to Plan C to do it. Plan A was early track with Mike, but he's been sick. Plan B was to do intervals in Quonset, but the wind was howling, and I needed to find another plan. I should also note that I was hoping to double today by joining some of the other WTAC guys for a 5PM Christmas lights run in Westerly. Plan C was to contact Muddy to see if he was doing intervals and hope that I could take my break at work at the end of the day. Three times was the charm, and we agreed to avoid the wind on a track by running hill repeats in the woods. He has just the hill in Carolina Mgmt Area to use - it was measuring .25 miles on my GPS (of course this was in the woods so it may have been longer). It climbed moderately at first, then easily, before a steepish finish. The first one was the fastest, but still challenging for me. We did six repeats, and I was huffing and puffing behind Muddy on each one. Results: 1:29/1:34/1:35/1:34/1:35:137. This workout was a blast and I enjoyed the dark and cool conditions. It was hard to see the trail on the 2+ mile cooldown back to our cars. Total time: 1:14:25.
Thursday: 11 miles - Narragansett beaches, trails, and roads alone. I was planning to run the usual 10 miles in Ryan Park when I received a text from Mike about checking out the Black Point trail conditions for the upcoming Resolution 5K. This seemed like a fun assignment and I could easily add some miles by running to Pt. Judith or Galilee. I parked at Black Point and ran the new trail loop down to the seashore. I then ran the path along the coast. It was in decent shape:
I ran through the ruins and then hopped onto the beach. The tide was really high so I knew it was going to be interesting. Despite the water coming almost up to the pavilions at times, I had plenty of sand to work with. I reached the end of the beach and then crossed over the field to Ocean Road. I ran to Galilee and then jumped back onto the beach at Salty Brine. I was now running into the wind and the sand was extremely soft. The beach is a bit of mess here too. I eventually made it to the far end of Roger Wheeler beach and then got back onto the road. I debated running to Pt. Judith, but I was worried about the time and darkness, so I headed back. I ran the beach again to Black Point and then circled around there a while more to get 11 miles for the day. Total time: 1:20:46.
Friday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. Wow did the weather change quick. It was raining all morning and into the early afternoon, very heavy at times. I had mentally prepared myself for a zero, but when we closed the office early and it was time to go, the sun was peaking through the clouds and the screaming winds had diminished to a whisper. I couldn't resist getting a run in. I put on my old Inov8's that I use only for messy trail conditions. The temperature was 53 degrees! I ran down the rail bed, splashing most of the way. The rest of the trails drain well. I pushed the Strava segment called "Root Run", but it was for naught, since the GPS didn't line up correctly. It worked my lungs hard though. I finished up on the trails in and around the fields. What a fun surprise run! Total time: 52:12.
Saturday: 14 miles - Woody Hill and Wahaneeta trails with Jeff, Muddy, Mike B, Tommy 5K, and Rhody Seth. We met up in the dark at 6:30AM in the Benny's parking lot. We then briefly ran S. Woody Hill Rd before hitting up the trails. I'm a bit embarassed that I have never run here before, especially since it is so close to my house. The feedback I had received in the past was that it was full of ATV trails and teeming with hunters in the fall and winter. Jeff has been exploring in here recently, and also has been helping out the Westerly Land Trust with the new trails in their Wahaneeta preserve. He was excited to take us on a tour this morning. We made a large loop around Woody Hill. Most of the trails are wide old roads. The footing is easy enough that you don't have to concentrate too much and can enjoy your surroundings (once there was enough light to see!). There was a cool pond in the middle and we had to cross a dyke/beaver dam. We also hit some zero track - a trail(?) Jeff called the swamp trail. He seemed to know where he was going so I guess it counts. Soon we were in Wahaneeta, and Jeff showed us the various interesting geological and human features of the property. We finished up on the road back to Benny's, where I caught up to Mike B. and then ran with him for a fast finish, including a good hill. I love these long morning runs. Total time: 1:48:16.
Later that morning I ran 1 mile (3 loops of our home trails) with my son (and daughter for half). He had his fastest time despite some drama on the trails - all three of us fell at different points!
Sunday: 9 miles - Charlestown hilly roads before sunrise alone. Today was going to be a busy day, and any chance of running was going to have to be early. I'm terrible at getting out the door for a solo run in the dark, but I pulled it off today. I started at 6AM and used my headlamp for the first two miles. I was a little creeped out running Buckeye Brook Rd in the dark, wondering what creatures were lurking. When I reached Poquiant Brook, I turned off my light, and had enough natural light to see the road. I was moving well, but never checked my watch. I ran out to Rte 216 and then looped around Laurel and Klondike until heading home. I felt good on all the climbs. I was happy with the overall time of 1:02:04.
Overall: Big week, getting to 70 miles. Only 50 left to go for 3000.
Weekly Total: 70 miles
Last Week: 52 miles
Year to Date: 2950 miles
I began asking (nagging?) Mike Galoob back in September if he was putting on his winter trail race series again. Yesterday, the wait was over, as it was the day of the first race - the Old Mtn Trail 5K. Mike had been working on a new course this year, one that had more single track in the woods, and less open fields. I even got to help out with some of the trail work the past couple of weeks. The end result was a new loop course that was really challenging and extremely fun. I ran it a few times this past week to get a feel for it. Basically, it's two miles of slowish technical trails followed by a hilly twisty final mile. The course definitely runs slower than last year.
I didn't have any concrete goal going into the race. I didn't really settle on a strategy either. Last year I jetted off the line to try to get to the trails first and suffered the rest of the race. This year I had a better idea of the competition (I would not be first or even fifth probably), but I still wanted to not get stuck in a trail bottleneck. I needed some sort of balance.
I arrived early with my family so that my wife and I could help out with registration/set up. I was given the duty of marking part of the course with a couple of other familiar trail race faces, and my kids enthusiastically tagged along. Once completed, I managed to run the course as a warm up with some of my teammates. We got back with minutes to spare. I stripped down to my shorts and singlet, and then jogged some more to stay warm. The weather was fine - overcast and mid 30's. It felt like winter.
At the siren, I took off at a good clip, but I was behind a few others. After the first turn in the fields, I could see DJ the young fast Turtle up front with another youngster or two, and last year's series winner Derek J closely in tow. Bob Jackman went by, and I briefly tried to stick with him, not wanting two Turtles up front. I was in fifth position entering the woods. I was hoping that I would catch a couple of inexperienced trail runners on this rooty section. I also was already huffing and puffing after the quick start. Uh oh, not again!
I kept running as hard as I could, and after the wooden bridge, I was able to pass a tiring runner to get into 4th position. There was a 5-10 second gap between me and the top 3. I really wanted to close and daringly pushed the tricky spots to do so. I also really wanted to widen the margin between myself and whoever was stalking behind me. Best guess was Justin or Jeff, but I didn't recognize the breathing or footsteps. Maybe it was last year's race winner Tom G?
I was losing ground on the leaders as I passed the Mile 1 sign in 6:05. This was the first and last time I looked at my watch. The second mile begins on a twisty squishy new trail. I was working hard, but I had company on my heels. The fear of being chased willed me to not slow down. I was able to nimbly sprint across a long rock garden (way faster than I've ever dared) and I momentarily gained some space. But as soon as the trail got easier, my lead shrank. I didn't feel optimistic about maintaining my position. Soon, the course was gaining elevation, and I again dug down. After the long climb to the ledges, I had trouble recovering, and definitely slowed down. I did increase my advantage, and I was able to get a glimpse of who was behind me - someone in blue, not a teammate or a Turtle.
I reached the summit at the large boulder and looked forward to getting my pace back up and my breathing under control on the next downhill section. What I didn't account for was how tight the incredible amount of switchbacks were, and how hard it was to run these fast. I couldn't stay in rhythm. When I reached the bottom, I could see the guy in blue close behind me with Justin and Jeff right there too. Ugh. I felt tired. We ran by the crowd near the parking lot, and then began the switchbacks up the hill. Usually, this hilly spot would be an advantage for me, but I was struggling. Getting caught seemed inevitable. I was still fighting though.
I made the sharp turn onto the wider trail that descended out of the woods. I assumed this was where my race would turn ugly. I managed to hold my position until at last the guy in blue made his move with a 1/4 mile left. I mustered up the energy to counter his move, by passing him right before a small hill around the final curve. This was my only chance. As soon as we hit the final straightaway (on grass), he sprinted by me and there was no catching him this time. I looked back to see if Justin was going to run me down as well, but I had enough space to not worry at that point. I crossed the line in 19:33, one minute faster than last year, even though this year's course was slower. I was really excited and totally exhausted. Not the smartest way to race (going out fast), and it's unnerving to feel like you're being chased, but the result was satisfying.
The guy in blue introduced himself as Chris G - a fellow Charlestown trail runner. I remembered his name from Li'l Rhody. I then saw my coworker Dan finish. It was going to be another close call on the team competition between the WTAC and TNT. Just like at the Christmas 10K last week, it was two Turtles followed by three WTAC, and then another Turtle. The top 3 times would be added for scoring. Eventually I headed out for a shorter cool down with my teammates as we chatted about our races. Everyone seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the challenging Mike G course. We then returned for the awards where TNT again was victorious. That's okay, four more races to go and we're getting closer to the return of Tommy 5K! Much thanks goes out to Mike for putting on such a great event. I love seeing such a turnout for a local trail race.
This will probably be another lower mileage week. I had a strange start to the week with no work and the kids home for parent teacher conferences. I'm also racing the Old Mountain 5K Trail Race on Sunday, so no long run this weekend. I'm fine with the low mileage, but I do want to reach the 3000 mile mark by 11:59:59 12/31/12. This wasn't the plan at the beginning of the year, but I'm right on target. I don't have any concrete goals for the trail 5K other than a team win. The new course is awesome and challenging. It will be a fun race for sure.
Monday: 4 miles - 3 trail loops (1 mile) with my son in the early afternoon. He shaved 11 seconds off his time from a few days ago. My daughter ran about a half mile too. Total time: 12:38. 9 loops (3 miles) at 4PM. It was getting dark and the rain picked back up in intensity. The twisty trails keep you focused and are definitely a good workout for trail racing. Total time: 22:39.
Tuesday: 4 miles - 12 trail loops at 4:30PM. After spending time collecting kindling and stacking wood I headed out for another trail workout at home. I ran 4 laps without a headlamp, and the last 8 with one. Total time: 31:49.
Wednesday: 11 miles - CCMS track workout with Mike G at 6AM. I arrived in the darkness on this chilly dark morning and began running laps waiting for Mike and maybe others to show up. After 2 miles, I was wondering if it was going to be just me, but Mike arrived after I had run another mile. The plan was a simple sounding 8x400 at 1 mile pace. This meant my target time would be 75 seconds. This sounded challenging, but not as daunting with a full lap recovery. I wasn't feeling super motivated at the start, but the workout came together nicely. Results: 73.4/76.2/73.8/73.8/75.3/73.6/73.4/72.5
As usual, the first rep felt really easy and then the 2nd was slow. I was happy to be below my target time for the most part. I dropped Mike off at his house and then drove to Old Mountain Field to run the new course as a cool down. With all the rain, Mike wasn't sure if the river crossing was passable, so I wasn't sure what I was in for. First off, running trails as a cool down is great. No pounding. I reached the river and it was low enough to jump to the exposed rocks. I then saw two hunters in orange 20 yards away on the power line. I'm not sure it's legal to hunt there, but I smiled and waved, hoping they wouldn't shoot me. I then ran the newly cut trail that I have helped Mike work on. There was a good amount of water out there, but the placed rocks and log bridges worked like a charm. I continued to follow the new trail to the existing fading 4x4 trail. This meets up with the new trail from last year's race, now run in reverse. The course's last mile zigs and zags up and down the hill and surrounding woods until a fast finish back around the athletic fields. I did the course in 27:05. Not easy! Total time: 1:24:33.
Side Note: I keep checking the Ultra SignUp site for registered entrants in the Old Mtn race. It's now up to 56 including some pretty fast runners. This is pumping me up!
Thursday: 7 miles - Old Mountain trails alone. I was feeling rather blah today and not really excited about running. When it was time to do something and I went outside, I was reinvigorated by the nice weather (sunny and not windy). I drove to Old Mountain Field to run the 5K course twice. My first lap I got off course somewhere on the old 4x4 path and bushwhacked to the sewer right of way. I then proceeded to take a wrong turn on the hill. I regrouped and began my second lap. My pace, like on the first lap, was rather brisk at first. I then was able to negotiate the tricky spots better, and even managed to stay on course. Running up and down the hill after two miles of technical single track is rough. Hopefully, this will be an advantage to me during the race. As I was barreling down the wide trail to the skate park an unleashed dog ran after me. I was nervous at first because it had a pitbully-look to it (it really wasn't). I stopped and stearnly told the dog to go back. It was acting on the aggresive side and not leaving me alone. The skater owner said that the dog was friendly to everyone. Great. Can you get it to leave me alone! I began running again and the dog made a mad dash at me. I stopped and yelled louder. The skaters yelled at me, saying I didn't need to yell at their dog. I yelled back saying it was a strange dog and acting aggressive. One skater shouted back that I was acting aggressive. Good point. I tried to be more civil. The owner had to eventually walk over and restrain the dog so I could continue on my way. I think the ordeal ended okay. The drama made me lose out on becoming KOM for the new course. Total time: 53:36.
Friday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. A nice run in the decent weather. I kept the pace on the easy side but my overall time was still rather snappy. Earlier this year with the same effort here would be five minutes longer. I ran into one unfriendly horse rider - is it too much for me to expect a 'hello' or a 'thank you' for me stopping my run and stepping off the trail for you to pass? Total time: 1:13.
Saturday: 1 mile - 3xhome trail loop with my son in the AM. He told me he wasn't going for a PR today, just a training run. Total time: 12:56. 7 miles - Burlingame campground trails in the late afternoon alone. Not looking for hills or hunters, I parked at the picnic area and ran the dirt road to the campground. I picked up the NST at the bog bridges and worked my way backwards on the Brrr-lingame 15K course. It was getting rather chilly and I wished I wore another layer. Other than that, I was loving the empty trails. I stayed on the trail rather than running back through the campground. I was soon in the NWR. I found the wider trail that skirts the eastern boundary and dumps you back onto Sanctuary Road. I really liked avoiding the campground and will probably use these trails more to do so. I finished on the beach rather than the dirt road. The fading light was really nice from the water. I wasn't the only one enjoying the sunset, as I noticed a middle aged couple in the cabin embracing. Looked like a Cialis commercial. Total time: 52:30.
Sunday: 8 miles - Old Mountain Trail 5K. 5th overall(?), 19:32, top WTAC finisher. Separate write up to follow tomorrow.
Weekly Total: 52 miles
Last Week: 55 miles
Year to Date: 2880 miles
Sunday was finally the day for the much anticipated Christmas 10K in Newport. Last year, I had no idea what to expect as it was my first attempt at this distance. This year, I had a clear idea of what my goals would be: sub 36 minutes and a WTAC team win.
There is something really fun yet hard about racing 6.2 miles. Using the VDOT and McMillan running calculators, you notice that 10K pace is only a few seconds slower than 5K pace. But it's twice the distance! I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't had it work for me last year. In fact, I beat them. This year, the calculators were telling me I would run just over 36 minutes, so my goal was to beat them again. I needed to average 5:47 pace to sneak into the 35's. I've been using 5:45 pace as a target in recent 10K pace work, and would use that again during the race.
Adding to the excitement, was the fact that the WTAC (my running club), would be competing as a team in this race. We began team racing after the Christmas 10K last year. The fastest top three times for each team were used for scoring. TNT won last year, but depending on who showed up, it seemed that we had a good shot at the title.
All of this led to a lot of excitement and nervousness before the race. My wife (running her first 10K) and I headed over the bridges after a stop to pick up WTAC's newest member, Mike Galoob. We registered and found the rest of the team. We noticed a group of Turtles (technically a bale of turtles) that included Bob Jackman and Alan Bernier (top two finishers last year). Then we saw a couple of BAA and New Balance jerseys and hoped neither entered as teams. The field was packed!
Justin, Jeff, Mike, Seth, and I headed out on a warm up. I was looking forward to the trails across the street. We wandered around there and then ran the last mile of the race course. Despite last night's margaritas and general nervousness, I was feeling great. My legs were fresh, thanks to actually tapering for once. We ran back to our cars for last minute prep, and then jogged down the road to the starting area. Besides exchanging greetings with the usual people, I was happy to run into old friend Matt Crowley.
Quickly the gun went off and the race was on. I did not want to go out fast, but it was frustrating to watch so many guys in front of me. I stuck to the plan and used my GPS watch for pacing. Justin moved up and went by. I decided to stick with him, and the speed was right. Jeff moved up to us on a downhill, and the three of us in our WTAC singlets ran together briefly. I crossed the 1 Mile mark in 5:40 (before my watch beeped the first mile). This seemed perfect: a little faster than my goal, but not too fast. During Mile 2, Justin pressed ahead, and I chose to stay the course. I muttered something to Jeff about keeping up this casual pace for five more miles, and then next thing I knew, he was moving ahead of me as well. I figured that this was one of those days when he was feeling really good. I stayed my course and watched them gain ground in front of me. I passed the Mile 2 marker in 11:31, and was happy about the pace so far. Justin seemed 20-30 seconds ahead of me and Jeff looked possessed trying to catch him. The conditions here were spectacular: sunny, 50 degrees, wind at your back, with views from the rocky shoreline. Then I turned the corner at the end of the point and was greeted with a decent headwind. I was already running hard, but pushed harder hoping to not slow down. I could not hear anybody behind me and I stayed focused on my teammates in front of me. I passed mile 3 (need to upload my watch data for split) still trailing Jeff by a wide margin, but soon I was gaining as the terrain began to roll. On the rather steep hill before Mile 4, I was able to pass him. We were close to a Turtle and I told Jeff to keep working and catch that guy. When Jeff didn't catch back up on the long downhill, I then focused on my pace (seemed consistent) and the TNT jersey I was closing in on. I was able to pass him on a hill during mile 5. I may have picked up my pace here as I now was not too far behind Justin. I couldn't believe it. I was feeling good about finishing strong and wondered if this might be the day that I actually beat him in a race (something that has never happened before). I passed the Mile 5 marker in the high 28's (was it 29's?) and wondered if there was too much distance left to finish sub 36. Justin made his way by another runner and turned the corner. I passes this runner as well, but I felt awkward making the turn. I think I was full of nervous energy. I felt so slow climbing the slow long hill on this new road. Justin was just a handful of seconds ahead, and I debated the merits of sprinting up to his side, or just holding back and keep grinding. Basically, my body told me what to do, as I was working pretty hard already. I steadily gained until I was literally two seconds behind him, before another sharp turn and a long fast descent. Again my turn felt awkward - my legs got out of rhythm and Justin increased his lead to 5 or so seconds. My only hope was the last steep climb right after the 6 Mile marker, but Justin was digging in and I made up no ground. I glanced at my watch and sub 36 was still very much in play. I didn't have a finishing sprint in me, but I tried. Final time 35:54, seven seconds behind Justin, and 12th overall.
I was chatting with Justin and Mike when we noticed Jeff locked in a battle to the finish with the TNT guy from earlier! Jeff just missed out and looked like he had given it his all out there. Still a two minute PR for him. Soon, it was Seth completing his race in an impressive 38 minutes. The team title was going to be close as Mike had finished ahead of Bernier but behind Jackman. Justin and I were the next finishers. We had to wait for the awards ceremony to find out who won.
Our team then headed out for a cool down. We ran the course in reverse so that I could see my wife on the course. Well it wasn't long before she yelled out to me - she was way ahead of her predicted time and finished with a 8:55 pace overall! We continued on our slow shuffle until Mike wanted to head back down to Ocean Drive. I joined him and the rest of the guys went back. The cool down proved to be longer than we thought, and I was getting very hungry and tired. We walked the last hill back to the car. We went back to the post race festivities and met up with the remaining teammates and other running friends. Looking at the posted results, it seemed that we just narrowly lost the team title, and eventually TNT was awarded as the winning team. This was a bit disappointing, but will serve as motivation for the upcoming winter trail series.
Overall I was very pleased with my race. I attained my goal of sub 36 and beat the calculators again. I ran smart and I believe I ran faster the second half of the race. My training has been paying off and I'm motivated to keep working hard.
Big week with the much anticipated Christmas 10K on Sunday. After two normal runs on Monday and Tuesday, and a track workout planned on Wednesday morning, my plan is to keep it short and easy Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Looks like WTAC will have a huge contigent racing in Newport. Looking forward to challenging TNT for the team title.
Monday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. One of those runs where you have no idea how fast you're going - felt hard at times, but on the slow side, but maybe I'm going faster than I think? Warm and sunny. I saw a couple of other runners out there. One guy in jeans jogging with a walking stick who stuck his hand out just as we crossed paths for a high five and I left him hanging. This wasn't on purpose - I appreciate his stoke. I didn't see his hand in time and felt like a tool. Soon after I crossed paths with a fit looking guy in flashy running attire on a twisty side trail. Looked familiar. It took me twenty minutes to figure out it may have been Keven O. The NK raker has been out and about the last week or two. It's nice to not have all the slipping and sliding on leaves. Once I reached the powerline, I decided to pick up my pace somewhat and do the Rte 4 Strava segment. I wasn't going super hard, but felt fast by the end. I was way off my PR pace though. I then ran the two other Strava segments: the railbed and the roots trail. Again I was significantly off my PR pace for both, but I enjoyed picking up the pace. I finished up in a relatively snappy 1:12:03.
Tuesday: 10 miles - Rome Point beach, trails, and road alone. Mild but overcast. I was thinking I'd only run 8 miles today, but it's hard to break routine. I zigzagged down to the point - well almost, I felt bad passing the same guy and dog from behind a third time, so I turned around before I reached the end of the trail. I then ran the beach south. It was a mid tide. I was curious to see if I would still be able to run south of the PBYC. Yup. A little trickier, but I still made it as far as last week. On the return, I decided to skip the trail on the point, and I kept to the shoreline (very rocky here). Eventually it smoothed out, and I was able to run along the water's edge all the way to the stream near Terre Mar Drive. I then ran the roads back to my car. Total time: 1:19:27. Fun run!
Wednesday: 7+ miles - CCMS track workout with Galoob at 6AM. Our plan was to be running at 6:15, so I pulled into the parking lot at 5:55 (with the temperature reading 55 degrees). It was damp, rainy at times, and extremely dark until the end. I ran a few laps alone until I saw Mike's headlamp in the distance. We ran a few more laps and talked about the plan. We are both racing the Christmas 10K on Sunday, so we weren't going to be doing anything too crazy. The idea was to start with one or two miles at 10K pace, or so I thought, until Mike almost lapped me (okay half-lapped me). He was going 5K or faster pace on his miles. Mine felt really smooth, despite still having some lingering soreness in my upper legs from last week's runs. It was so dark that I couldn't see my splits. We did 2x1 mile: 5:45/5:49. A tad slow, but I would have pushed just a tiny bit harder if I could've seen my watch. We then did 4x400 with a normal pace 400 in between reps (low 7's). We both ran these at 10K pace - it took two laps after the miles to figure it out. Results: 86/88/84/87. My target was 86 - we talked too much during the 2nd one. No time for a cooldown again this week with Mike. I drove to the bike path for a potential easy recovery run, but the rain was steadier, and the perfect excuse to call it a day. Overall, I didn't feel like I really ran hard today, but I got in 3 miles at 10K pace. I think that's a good sign. Total time: 51:33.
PM - trail work on the Old Mtn Trail 5K course with Mike G.
Thursday: 7+ miles - Calf Pasture Point beach, trail, and bike path alone. Gorgeous chilly clear day. I ran the bike path out to the beach and then ran two clockwise loops (to have the wind at my back). The beach has definitely changed since Sandy. High up it looks eroded, but at the water's edge it seems like there is more sand than before. The running was a slow go out there. I was lacking energy at times, but that happens to me on the days leading up to a big race. Nothing out of the ordinary to report wildlife-wise. They are dredging the entrance to Allen's Harbor and there is a lot less beach. Total time: 56:06.
Friday: 0. Drove to Beavertail and walked the trails and shoreline. I brought my binoculars, and was hoping to at least see some Harlequin Ducks. Luck had it that some interesting birds were seen there earlier in the morning, so I kept my eyes peeled. I didn't see anything of note on the trails, but I enjoyed the solitude. There might even be enough trails to run? Along the water I did get to see plenty on Harlequins plus eiders, gannets, black ducks, and mergansers. A car pulled up and a guy asked if I had seen anything good. I said no. He then asked if I had seen any swallows(cave). How about razorbills? No. Then he drove off. He didn't ever get out of his car! Anyway, it was a nice way to spend some time outside not running.
Saturday: 8 miles - Carter Preserve trails with Jeff, Mike B, and Muddy. I was a bit nervous listening to the rain all night. I had organized the 7AM run and wondered if anyone would show in the dreary weather. The rain stopped before the start and everyone was in. We executed the plan to keep the pace easy and the conversation light. Total time: 1:06:30.
Sunday: 13 miles - Christmas 10K in Newport. 35:54 - 1:30 PR!
Overall: light week culminating in an awesome race.
Weekly Total: 55 miles
Last Week: 62 miles
Year to Date: 2828 miles