Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Break Week: 12-23-13 to 12-29-13

I have the week off from work, but will be busy with Christmas festivities throughout making running a bit of a challenge. 

Monday: 7 miles - CHS track workout alone in the early morning.  I arrived at the track at 6:30AM.  It was still dark and empty.  I wanted to work on my one mile game so I decided to run 2 x 800 at mile pace followed by 4 x 200 hard.  I know from my last outing on the track that my short interval times aren't where they could be and also I've seemed to forget how to run them.  I knew the 800's would be hard.  I was very pleased to run 2:34 then 2:32 (with 800 rest).  A couple of seconds off my 2:30 target, but close enough for now.  My laps were not consistent (74/80 on 1st, 78/74 on 2nd).  I then did the 200's.  These felt pretty good too.  I was going really hard, but able to stay consistent: 33/33/33/33 (200 rest).  I had to deal with a little light rain during the workout, but dodged the steady rain that moved in for most of the rest of the day. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Grills Preserve group trail run with Muddy, Jeff, Nate, Mike B, and Garvin.  We met up at 6:30AM in the dark for this Christmas Eve run.  It was hard to see the trails for the first couple of miles.  Somehow I was leading the group during this time.  Luckily the trails are not technical.  Then we reached the Tomaquag Brook bridge and ran the gnarly single track to the Polly Coon Bridge - can't get enough of this trail - just awesome.  After detouring to the overlook, we then ran on the Westerly side of the preserve - along the Pawcatuck River and then pushed the climb up Big Hill.  After a break at the top we made our way back, taking the most direct route.  Fun way to start a busy day. 

Wednesday: 5 miles - local hilly roads Christmas tempo.  I was planning on a casual run in the middle of the day, but there was a lot to do after presents to get our house ready to host 14 people for dinner.  I was given a 30 minute window to run.  I decided to try for 5 miles.  I put on my new warm tights and other winter running gear for this 20 degree run.  I headed south from my house down Shumankanuc Hill Rd and continuing down Kings Factory Rd.  The cold dry air made things a little uncomfortable on the first climb.  I could tell I was moving pretty well, despite my tired legs.  At 2.5 miles, I turned around and headed back.  Now I was running into the wind, and had to do a lot of climbing.  I gave it a good effort, not going all out on the hills.  I was happy to see I hit five miles in 30:08.  One thing that is interesting to see on Strava is the Grade Adjusted Pace.  I was talking to Muddy about it the other day.  Could this be the sabermetrics of running?  New school versus old school?  For example, the last two miles (both with net gains in elevation) had 6:05 and 5:56 splits.  But this doesn't capture the extra effort I was putting in on the climbs.  My GAP for these two miles accounts for this and records them as 5:47 and 5:40 miles.  The overall all GAP for the run was 5:56. 

Thursday: 12 miles - roads from my house to my in-laws house alone in the early afternoon.  I was feeling rather anxious this morning and really needed to run.  Once the houseguests headed out, my wife told me to go run.  I was to meet her and my kids at her parents house, 12 miles away.  I've done this run a couple of times before.  This is not my favorite kind of run - busy straight roads - but I couldn't wait to do this today.  My plan was to go slow.  My body is beat up after workouts Monday and Wednesday.  I didn't wear my watch, but rather used the Strava app on my phone and strapped it to my arm.  I couldn't see my progress or my pace.  The run went pretty well.  My body is definitely creaky, and I did manage to keep my pace in a comfortable zone.  When I finished up I was surprised at the total time - 1:23.  I thought I would be a little over 1:30.  Turns out I averaged 6:57 pace for the run on an easy day.  Also, this run (after the initial downhill mile) is mostly all uphill.  I even search out a steeper road (Nichols Lane in Hope Valley) to run just for "fun".  I'm pretty stoked about my conditioning at this point. 

Friday: 11 miles - Westerly Town Forest trails and surrounding roads with Jeff and Mike B.  Typical dark start at 6:30AM.  It was very chilly (20 degrees) and I was glad I donned my new North Face tights.  We made a loop of roads including Boom Bridge, Anthony, Laurel, and Potter Hill.  Big climb at the end felt good.  We then jumped onto the frozen trails which included a little sliding and two more good climbs.  Fun morning run! 

Saturday: 5 miles - Pitcher Mountain road/dirt/trail climb with my brothers.  This was an impromptu run after a big meal and beers celebrating Hammett Christmas.  Glenn, Greg, and I headed out to run and meet everyone else (driving then hiking) hopefully at the summit.  That part worked well, but the huge heavy meal was weighing down my brothers and the pace was pretty slow.  It got cold in the wind near the farm at the top of the hill.  The trail up to the summit had snow hiding a lot of ice.  Cold again at the summit in the wind.  Mostly hiked back down with my family, with some more running mixed in. 

Heading back on the Pitcher Mtn fire road

Sunday: 10 miles - Stoddard snow covered dirt roads (some with my wife) and snowmobile trails (solo).  My wife and I headed out for a run along the lake and then made one good climb to get higher up in the neighborhood.  After about 30 minutes, I headed up Kings Highway and she ran back to the house.  I wish I had Yaktrax as the footing was not good.  I hit the 4x4 section and continued on to the Good Sheppard house (scary dog place).  Here I began running up then down (for a long time) on a snowmobile trail that I hoped would take me to another hill (Jackson) and also lead to the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway trail.  No dice.  I was very alone in the deep woods sharing a trail with many coyotes from the tracks.  A couple of snowmobiles had been through so the footing was pretty good.  I never reached an intersection I was hoping to based on maps, but it was time to turn around.  I then made the long (but not too hard) climb back to Kings Highway.  Then I weaved my way back to my parents house.  Good quality run with a second straight day of 1000' of climbing. 

Awkward Selfie from the Good Sheppard

Overall:  A very fun week of running and the most miles I've been able to put together at this busy time of year. 

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 62 miles
Year to Date: 3219 miles

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week in Review: 12-16-13 to 12-22-13

Another busy week and another late blog post.  New Year's resolution?  I didn't log a lot of miles, but I got plenty of quality miles in.  This was mostly a product of the snow/ice on the trails.  The pace may be slow, but the effort is intense.  Also I got in a hard hilly tempo run of 8 miles.  This finished off my legs for a few days! 

Monday: 8 miles - Ryan Park snow/ice covered trails alone.  This was the day after the Christmas 10K.  My legs weren't feeling very jolly and work was busy.  I headed out for the closest trail option (Ryan) and hoped for okay conditions.  The parking lot was mostly ice.  The weekend storm of snow to rain was now frozen solid thanks to the chilly temperature.  I donned Yaktrax and took my chances.  The main trails were in bad shape due to uneven ice (boot holes), but the side trails, although slippery, had a thin layer of snow on top to grip.  I wandered around the east side (thanks to the new mtn bike trails) and then ventured west.  I was enjoying myself (at least I warmed up fast) until I saw the ATV destruction.  Someone tore up some of my favorite trails.  The damn things are so wide and heavy.  I finished by running a mile back on the roads. 

Tuesday: 8 miles - Narragansett trails and beach with the lunch crew.  I met Mike and Nate at the Black Point parking lot during a break in the day's light snow.  We ran the Resolution 5K course.  The wind was very strong.  We then veered into the woods on the other side of the road for a while before returning to our cars to drop off Nate.  Mike and I added another fifteen minutes on the trails along the ocean. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - Rome Point snow/ice covered trails with 3 x 1 mile workout solo.  After a couple of easy days,  I was looking to do something a little more challenging.  I decided to run the Rome Pt yellow dot loop (hilly single track that measures just under a mile on GPS).  I again donned Yaktrax.  The trails had a half inch or so of snow covering ice.  Not ideal for running fast, but these are conditions I may face in the upcoming trail race series.  I warmed up for 27 minutes and then did the loop 3 times with a few minutes of rest between.  I was able to run them well.  I had to be very careful about my balance.  I didn't encounter anyone on the trails during the intervals.  Results: 5:48/5:43/5:52.  Really pleased.  I've only done the loop faster once and that was during a workout back in May.  Even with the slippery conditions, I made good time up the longish hill climb on the second half of the mile.  I was pretty pumped about this and feeling good about racing trails again soon. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Big River trails alone.  I wasn't sure where to run today, but ended up at the Hopkins Hill Rd lot.  I put on my trusty old Inov 8 Roclite 295's instead of Yaktrax.  Today was rather warm (low 40's) and I figured the snow here would be wet, but I would get good traction with just my shoes.  Being further north, there was more snow on the ground (about 2 inches), but still hiding ice in many places.  I took my time getting down the steep hill, as I began my CCW loop around the ponds.  I picked up one human track - someone running with Yaktrax.  It was cool to see that we followed the same course for 3+ miles.  Lots of other tracks on the trails.  Nothing alarming other than coyote.  I was surprised when I was the first person to pass by the large chimney and parts of the ridge trail.  I was slipping out there and missed my Yaktrax.  Coming off the ridge I crossed some ice over a wet spot.  Sure enough I punched through, cutting my ankle and dunking my foot in the cold water.  The bleeding wasn't too bad, but it was pretty swollen by the time I finished.  I made my way to the beaver dam and gingerly crossed, trying not to repeat falling in water.  I decided I had the time/ambition to run up to the Blue Arrow Trail and run that in reverse.  This twisty trail was not easy in the snow.  I kept sliding around the corners and into the small trees.  Not easy!  I was happy to reach my car after climbing the hill. 

Friday: 12 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads 8 mile tempo alone.  After finishing up work for the year at about 1PM it was time for a good run.  Needing a break from the messy trails, I opted for roads.  I got the idea to try breaking the course record for the Gilbert Stuart Rd climb one last time this year (this was one of my running goals this year).  I parked at Rome Point and ran the rather flat way to the hill.  My pace was already perky as I anticipated a strong climb.  At the museum I picked it up even more.  Time to bear down and do this.  I ended up going too hard too fast, but still managed a good time (my PR but 9 seconds short of Galoob's CR).  I had trouble recovering my breathing, but eventually it evened out on the long Snuff Mill Rd climb.  I was moving pretty fast, but not working nearly as hard.  This climb actually felt good.  I kept pushing the pace as I crossed Rte 1A and dropped down into the Plum Beach neighborhood.  I pressed up the shorter but steep Cottrell Rd climb (GPS didn't match segment).  I was toast after this.  I decided to push on down 1A back to my car rather than attempt any more hills (or return via the tricky coastline as I first thought).  There was too much traffic on the road and it made me want to finish faster.  I knocked out a 5:39 last mile and averaged 6:21 pace for the full eight miles.  666 feet of climbing! 

I followed the tempo up with an extended cool down run on roads and trails. 

Saturday: 14+ miles - Sunrise Solstice group run with Muddy, Jeff, Seth, Nate, Mike B, and Chris G.  We met at the graveyard in Perryville at 6:30AM.  I mapped out a course of mostly roads for the first hour.  We ran through Green Hill and then hit the beach running east toward the soon to be rising sun.  The waves were pounding on this foggy warm morning.  Just as we reached Moonstone Beach Rd, the sun was coming up and we stopped for a couple of pictures. 

We then ran back up Moonstone Beach Rd to Perryville.  We stopped again at our cars and saw Muddy off before entering the DuVal trails.  Nate led us down to the new trail out to Bull Head Pond.  The valleys still held snow and were 10-15 degrees cooler.  It was interesting to keep feeling these pockets of warm and cold air.  We dropped Nate, Mike, and Chris off at the graveyard, and Seth, Jeff, and I continued running the slippery hilly trails for another half an hour.  Good fun and almost 2 hours of running.  Later in the afternoon my family took a nice hike around Browning Mill Pond in Arcadia where we were able to enjoy the setting sun.  Happy Solstice! 

Sunday: 3 miles - home trail loops "with" my kids.  I awoke early in the morning, excited to get another good run in, but then fell back to sleep and woke up late (7AM).  By then I noticed how sore my body was from the hard week of running.  I didn't have much interest in doing much of anything, nor the time.  I did get outside with my kids and ran 3 miles of loops on my trails.  Each kid ran a loop or two with me, beforing just running around playing in the woods.  I decided to try Shumunkawall.  The wet leaves and snow made it almost impossible to run as you needed to use your hands in many places.  Total time running was 28 minutes. 

not a great shot of Shumunkawall

Weekly Total: 62 miles
Last Week: 53 miles
Year to Date: 3159 miles

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas 10K 2013

I feel like a lot has already been written about this race:  the weather was a big question mark, the race time was delayed, the weather ended up being decent, the turn out was poor, the WTAC vs. TNT battle didn't materialize.  I ended up running 35:37 this year, good for a 17 second PR and 4th place overall.  I should be relatively happy about this.  The event itself was great fun with many running friends in attendance.  The problem is that I didn't perform well and I'm probably going to focus on it until I get to race again.  And my problem is completely mental, it is not physical - that part I train well.  Here's a lowdown of where I fell short and how I need to improve: 

1.  Pre-Race - Despite nailing the final workout in the training plan I was doing (3x2 miles @ goal 10K pace) I have been feeling slow.  This happens when I haven't been doing as many hard runs, or most of my runs are on trails.  Actually, I'm doing the right thing by tapering for a race, but mentally I feel like I've gotten slower.  Doubt about hitting my goal pace (5:40/mile) set in. 

Once it appeared the weather would be an issue, it seemed like that would automatically mean a slower time. 

Rather than getting excited/nervous about the race as the day approached, I was more preoccupied with work, Christmas, and travel logistics.  This can be a good thing, but this goal race was becoming an afterthought. 

2. The Race - Basically, due to the small crowd this year, the race was a time trial for me.  What I've enjoyed about this race in the past is the level of competition.  This helps a weak minded competitor like me thrive.  I run better when I'm chasing or being chased and not concerned with how I'm feeling at the moment.  At the race start, I latched onto Bob Jackman's shoulder briefly, but when he pushed ahead, I "knew" I couldn't keep up with him today.  This is not based on recent experience, rather his results in this race.  So after a half mile or so, I was alone.  I could watch Mike Galoob (in first) followed by Bob and Chris Garvin (2nd and 3rd) for a while.  I heard no one behind me.  Begin time trial. 

My first mile was a little fast, but it is mostly downhill and I wasn't working hard at all.  Then I had to work harder to maintain a slower pace, but I didn't have the drive to push hard enough to at least keep my goal pace.  I had my watch set to display my lap pace, but never hit the lap button, so I could see my average pace for the entire race (or where I was at a certain point).  I just watched as the average pace slowly ticked up the further I got.  The course is beautiful and possibly a nice distraction, but it didn't help me.  My mind was made up that I was not going to hit my target time, and I had no runners around me.  I wasn't running hard enough not because I wasn't capable, but rather because I was settling. 

 I perked up a bit during miles 4 and 5 as there were a couple of small hills to contend with, and I attacked them hard enough so my overall pace wouldn't slow down.  In fact, my average pace dropped a second or two.  I was passing walkers, which was a welcomed distraction. 

I hit the Mile 5 mark and the negative thoughts rushed back.  I thought I might start bonking.  This never happened, it was just in my head.  I always muster up a fast last mile plus.  I could have made up some time here, despite the slower terrain.  Instead I slowed down.  I mostly bagged it the rest of the way.  My splits on Strava confirm this: 

Mile 1     5:31     -25ft
Mile 2     5:47      10ft
Mile 3     5:47     -12ft
Mile 4     5:44      -4ft
Mile 5     5:45      -8ft
Mile 6     5:58      44ft
Last .2    6:04      10ft

3. Post-Race - My lackluster performance was outshined by the races my WTAC teammates put together.  Mike won with a fast PR, Chris outkicked Bob, I got to watch 5th, 6th, and 7th places come in close together - Jeff, Nate, and Seth.  Some of us headed out on a cool down and I got to see more teammates including my dad (who won his age division).  The delayed race start made me late for a family gathering on my wife's side, so I had to leave before the awards and the team lunch.  I'm happy to be a part of such a great bunch of people. 

So now what?  I would say I learned a lesson, but it is one I already was taught.  I have the ability thanks to my relentless training.  I need to work on the mental aspects, but this is a struggle for me in not just running.  I am looking forward to the 4th Season Trail Series.  I can't wait to redeem myself. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Slacker Blog Week of 12-9-13 to 12-15-13

I didn't mean to not post anything until Friday.  I had Monday and Tuesday off from work and stayed home with the kids (who had those two days off for conferences).  Wednesday and Thursday were really busy at work.  So here we are....

Monday:  9 miles - Burlingame trails out and back alone.  I was able to get out before dark for a run.  I'm loving the contacts especially on a day like this - drizzly and misty.  My glasses would have been annoying.  I parked at Buckeye Brook Rd and headed south in the non-hunting section of the park.  I ran the NST to the ridge single track loop and then back.  I'm not used to running this time of day and forgot how quickly it gets dark, even more so when it's rainy.  I was happy to be on familiar trails.  I did not fall. 

Tuesday: 7 miles - CHS track workout alone.  I ran after breakfast but before the snow.  My plan was to run a couple time trials and then mix in some short repeats after.  The track was frozen when I arrived.  Yesterday's rain was this morning's ice.  I began warming up, sliding away, trying to think of what to do instead.  After two miles, I noticed I wasn't really slipping anymore, and after a couple more laps, the traction seemed back to normal.  I really took my time warming up/recovering for each interval.  I did the 400 first.  I felt really fast the first 200 meters and then I kind of blew up.  I ended up with a 68.  I probably could be closer to 65 running smarter.  I wish I was faster, and I'll work on it, but I wasn't very satisfied.  Next was the 200.  This one felt great.  Strong throughout.  The result was a 31 which is fine, but again a bit disappointing.  I thought it was faster.  Finally, I did a 100.  This is a fun distance.  I remembered doing a 100 for track and field week in gym class as a senior on the exact same spot on this track.  The result was about 14.5.  I did 4x50 flies after.  I look forward to more of this short speedwork. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Rome Point trails/beach/roads with Dan.  This began as just a normal winter run in the park.  Then we heard a series of close gunshots.  I thought it wasn't from the park, but land nearby.  A minute later we heard another round of gunshots this time very close.  We crossed the main path and headed up and over the hill.  Another very close burst of fire.  I told Dan I was going to take a long detour to get back to the car.  My guess it was a kid(s?) out joy shooting, but you never know.  We ran to the beach and headed south.  At Plum Beach we jumped onto the roads and ran back to our cars.  Nothing seemed strange at the lot when we got there. 

Thursday: 10.5 miles - Narragansett exploration with Galoob and Nate.  We ran a loop of various random trails and roads that connected to places we wanted to go.  There is a new Nature Conservancy property that has a trail connecting to the shoreline north of Camp Varnum.  Awesome place. 

Friday: 9.5 miles - Ryan Park trails solo.  Everything was feeling good today and I enjoyed my time in the cold weather with the light coating of snow.  I ran a little longer than planned. 

Saturday: 0 - mostly planned zero.  Stacked wood. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Christmas 10K - 4th overall, 35:37.  PR but not a great race.  Ran alone with no one to chase and no one pushing me (much smaller field this year due to the weather).  Slowed down last 1.2 miles instead of picking it up (no Muddy to chase).  Still a 17 second PR.  Separate write up to follow.  Team WTAC dominance - 6 out of top 7 finishers, top two men's teams, top female team, numerous age group wins (including my dad!). 

Weekly Total: 53 miles
Last Week: 64 miles
Year to Date: 3097 miles

Thursday, December 5, 2013

World's Best 10K Workout Week: 12-2-13 to 12-8-13

For the past couple of months my partners on the track (Nate, Galoob, and Garvin) and I have been following the MacMillan 10K workout plan found here.  The key workouts include a lot longer intervals and total speedwork than I'm (and I assume most are) accustomed to.  With the Christmas 10K in Newport looming next Sunday, this is the week for the final 10K workout:

WORLD'S BEST 10K WORKOUTAfter this buildup of workouts, you're ready to attack the ultimate 10K workout. I suggest you perform this workout nine to 12 days before your race to allow enough time to recover before the event. Start with your usual warm-up (which you should perform for each workout described in this article), then run three 2-mile repeats at your goal 10K pace. Take a 5-minute recovery jog between each repeat. Prepare for this intense workout like you will your race -- be well-recovered, properly hydrated and fueled, use the equipment you'll use in the race, run at the time of day that you'll be racing.

Thursday is the day.  I'll be taking it relatively easy before to be "well-recovered".  My confidence has waned since I nailed the previous key workout.  I'm sure the speed is still there, but I just haven't used it in a while. Definitely pretty nervous about it. 

Monday: 9 miles - Quonset bike path and Calf Pasture Point beach solo.  What seems to happen this time of year is that I start my runs faster than normal to heat up.  If I'm on a flat road, my pace is pretty quick, and then I like to make my entire run rather peppy.  I was also feeling pressed for time.  I did the 3.5 miles of bike path in 6:30 pace.  I then ran out and back on the beach, falling once in thick sand (2.1 miles @ 7:24 pace).  The final 3.5 miles on the bike path I dropped my pace down to 6:08.  I wasn't working hard, but I was pushing the pace a bit. 

Tuesday: 8 miles - SK combo run with Nate and Galoob.  We met at Mike's and then wandered down to Curtis Corner to scout a 2 mile loop we planned to use for Thursday's workout.  The loop is rather challenging (not flat) and ended up being 2 GPS miles on the nose.  This course is more intimidating than the track and bike path, but a better approximation of the Christmas 10K course conditions.  We hit up some of the fun connecting trails to and from. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Insert easy hour lunch run here. 

Thursday: 10.5 miles - 3 x 2 miles workout with Nate and Galoob.  I wasn't sure I could join them at the predetermined time, so I was more focused on that then the actual workout.  Luckily I didn't have to do the workout alone and was able to run with them.  We did a 2+ mile warm up with 4 strides at the end.  Then we began the intervals.  My target was 11:20.  My pace would always start fast for the first half mile as it was mostly downhill or flat.  Then I would hit the hill and my pace would slow quite a bit.  The last mile is a gradual uphill on South Road and then a gradual downhill on Curtis Corner Rd.  These roads had too much traffic today and it also seemed to rain only when I was on them.  The workout ended up going really well.  I was able to nail my target even on the challenging course and dealing with the rain.  Results: 11:15/11:26/11:20 with 5 minute recoveries.  The first one felt okay, but was too fast.  My second one felt smooth, but it was a little too slow.  Third one was just right.  So according to MacMillan I will run 5:40 pace at the race.  We'll see! 

Friday: 6.5 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I was surprisingly not sore from yesterday's workout.  The weather was dreary, but I still got out for an easy run.  The mtn bikers have been busy again making even more little single track trails on the east side.  Some seem silly, but I ran a couple of new ones that I really like. 

Saturday: 11 miles in two runs.  First, I got up early (well not that early, but still dark).  My window to run was before 8AM or bust.  I drove over to the Hopkinton Grills Preserve for an hour trail run.  Someone from CT had just taken the hilly twisty Tomaquag Trail Strava segment on Thursday.  I didn't like this, so I thought I would take it back and keep the CR local.  The ground was very soggy, but the trails were puddle-free.  I ran the easy wide paths near the river for 20+ minutes and then hit the single track segment pretty hard.  It's really fun going fast on a roller coaster of a trail like this.  I finished up at the Polly Coon Bridge and then decided to jog for a few minutes on the Bradford side.  I was weary of deer hunters (allowed on that side and it was the first day of shotgun season), but didn't see any.  I ran longer than I planned, but had enough time to not have to hustle back. 

Later in the afternoon, after a busy day taking the kids to the (quiet) aquarium and putting up lights outside, I had the chance to log a few laps on my home trails while the kids did screen time.  After a lap I noticed that my phone app was stating "GPS signal lost".  It eventually was found near the end of my runs.  9 laps for 3 miles: 7:23/7:32/7:27. 

Sunday: 12 miles - Carter Preserve trails with local roads to/from alone.  Another early run with a 8AM deadline.  I couldn't decide on what exactly I felt like running.  It was 21 degrees.  I settled on running to Carter Preserve from my house and then run a loop in there and back.  There was plently of light by the time I reached the single track.  I promptly startled an animal I thought was a deer, but it was something else.  It looked coyote-sized (big one) and had the color of a yellow lab.  Hmm.  I rounded a corner and I flushed it again.  It disappeared in some rocks.  I was getting a little nervous.  The coloring made me wonder if it was a cougar, but the movement made me think canine.  I continued on at a brisk pace.  I decided to run the Red Trail hard since I had made a Strava segment out of it a while ago, and never given it a good effort.  This was fun.  A treacherous at times trail with frozen leaves making things even more interesting.  I recovered on the Blue Trail before heading down to the Grassland Mile.  I decided to push a fast mile.  I felt like I was moving well for the entire lap.  I was a little bummed with the time (5:42), but whatever.  I then ran back home, not loving the mile uphill on Shumankanuc Hill Road. 

Weekly Total: 64 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 3044 miles

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week in Review: 11-25-13 to 12-1-13

Another busy week and another late blog post.  I knew going into Thanksgiving week that  I would have trouble packing on the miles.  I was able to compensate by doing some good workouts in various settings. 

Monday: 10 miles - Ryan Park with Dan.  Normal run that was nice to have some company on. 

Tuesday: 8.5 miles - SK bike path and trails with Galoob.  We met up at TriPond park and ran the trails on both sides of the bike path before heading up to the Curtis Corner ball fields and further on to Potter Woods.  On the way back we did 6 strides with walking recoveries using the width of a lacrosse (?) field.  Time to prep for short distance speed. 

Wednesday: 12 miles - South County Bike Path longish tempo-type run alone.  I was bummed out that today was the only day I had the time to run long, but the weather was terrible.  Windy and 3 inches of rain.  I decided that the bike path would be better to run on then soaked trails and puddled streets.  The wind wasn't too bad and the rain was mostly on the light side when I ran.  My goal was to run the 6 miles out towards the Kingston train station at a good pace and then run even faster on the way back.  My first three miles were in the 6:50's and didn't feel that great.  I had to stop at intersections.  I was feeling slow and tired.  Finally I saw improvement in mile 4 (6:28) and then kept it there until the turnaround point.  I then tried to pick up my pace and ran low 6's the rest of the way back.  The miles passed rather quickly.  I was soaked, but not cold.  I really hate stopping at intersections.  Overall average pace was 6:27. 

Thursday: 7+ miles - Carter Preserve with Nate in the early morning.  We met up for an easy hour on the fun trails at Carter.  We even kept the grassland mile easy.  Good stuff. 

Friday: 9 miles - Cambridge parks alone in the early morning.  The kids woke everybody up early at my sister-in-law's apartment so I decided to head out for an early run.  My plan was to run in two nearby parks, and sure enough there were Strava segmens to hunt.  I was excited to get some speed work in.  The first one was an almost 1 mile loop in Danehy Park.  The first thing I noticed was that it was cold, and my lungs were not acclimated to the cold air yet.  I ran a smaller loop hard.  This wasn't on purpose, but served as a good first interval of about a half mile.  I then jogged the full loop to make sure I understood where to go.  Then it was go time.  I ran pretty hard, scaring dog walkers along the way.  I ran the loop in 5:21 and a Strava CR.  Now to head over to Fresh Pond Park.  After playing Frogger trying to find the entrance I was ready to begin this long segment of about 2.5 miles.  This is a popular running loop and there were 108 people on the Strava leaderboard, including a CR that was too fast for me.  Anyway, I ran the loop at 10K pace feel.  My phone app was showing 5:40's pace most of the time.  I finished up in 14:35, good for 2nd place overall.  Turns out the top guy did a shorter version of the loop, so I wasn't as far back as I thought.  I then had to figure out how to get back.  Good workout! 

Saturday: 9.5 miles - Pitcher Mountain dirt/paved roads and short trail alone.  I ran on this cold morning (10 degrees when I began, 4 degrees when I woke up).  I did this run this past summer.  It's 4.7 miles uphill from Highland Lake to the summit of Pitcher Mountain.  The total elevation gain is a little over a 1000 feet.  It seems daunting before and during.  The run went well as I was warm enough and kept a good pace until the steep trail at the end.  I was slowly grinding up the hill, but the trail became icy.  I had to walk one section and slipped once. 

I stopped at the top to upload my data (no service down below) and take a couple of photos.  Then it was time to head back down.  The other trail down was easier, but still treacherous in spots.  It felt good to let the legs loose on the roads.  Tough run. 

view of Pitcher Mtn fire tower from Rte 123
view to the north (towards Sunapee)
view to the south (Monadnock)

Sunday: 4+ miles - NH dirt roads with my wife.  This was an easy recovery run (except for the hills) through the neighborhood.  Roads icy in spots. 

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 72 miles
Year to Date: 2980 miles

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week in Review: 11-18-13 to 11-24-13

A little late posting this with a busy start to last week and traveling over the weekend.  The weather has definitely changed to a more wintery feel.  I'll be honest and admit my desire to run every day has waned.  Running with others will help me get through the cold lousy days.  I should be able to mix in lunch runs with a few different folks, and mix in some longer group weekend adventures. 

Monday: 6 miles - Big River trails alone.  I was just looking for some easy trail miles post Li'l Rhody.  I was able to head over to Big River and ran the Turtle Loop, until I remembered there was a rabid fox seen nearby a few days ago and decided to head back towards my car. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Narragansett trails and roads with Galoob.  Hopefully the first of many lunch runs this winter.  We met at Boone Street and then ran some new marked trails and some that were not marked.  We ended up at Black Point and ran the trails there.  We then ran mostly roads back, with one trail section mixed in. 

Wednesday: 15 miles - local roads and Ryan Park trails alone.  Quiet day at the office so I got in a long run.  It was chilly, but I warmed up eventually.  I took some roads and the old rail bed to Ryan Park (3.25 miles) and then began wandering around there.  I was able to zigzag in a new way which was refreshing.  I then returned the same way back to the office, adding a little bit of roads to make my run longer. 

Thursday: 15 miles in two runs.  First, I got up early to meet Chris Garvin at the track.  It was very cold (22 degrees) and dark.  My legs weren't feeling very lively, and I wasn't sure how fast I could run in the frigid air.  The plan was our own version of the Oregon 30/40 workout.  We did 200's in 38 with 48 recoveries for 13 reps (5K total speedwork).  This workout was hard!  I think it would be much easier in warmer conditions, but it seemed impossible to complete as we were doing it.  We took turns leading every 2 laps.  Chris cranked the last 200 (31), but I could only manage a 37.  We did a good job on pacing throughout.  Total 5K time was 18:08. 

In the afternoon, I headed over to Rome Point for an easy recovery run.  The weather was decent, and I had a great run.  I saw plenty of seals, winter ducks, and two late Great Egrets. 

Friday: 11 miles - DuVal trails alone.  Half day at work, and the rain stopped enough for me to get a good trail run in before traveling up to Maine.  I parked at the cemetery, and I ran a loop of the trails on the west side of Gravelly Hill before hopping over to the other side.  I mixed in 8 hill sprints on this portion that lasted anywhere from 8 to 25 seconds.  At the far end of the trail, I took a break and ran the easier dirt roads.  I then ran back mixing in 8 downhill sprints - easier but out of control on this twisty trail!   I then finished up a loop of trails on the far side and was feeling pretty beat by the time I was back in the cemetery. 

Saturday: 9 miles - Westbrook/Portland trails, powerlines, and some roads with Brett.  I talked to my friend about Strava the night before and he seemed intrigued.  He wanted to go out in the morning and run some segments that he used to run as a kid.  He wasn't interested in connecting them by running, so this was classic segment hunting.  Being the good house guest, I obliged, but felt a little guilty doing it.  Each time I would run longer and explore.  We hit some good climbs on powerlines (I love them!)  and snowmobile trails.  Later in the afternoon, our families hiked around Mackworth Island that is also a popular running spot.  It has a mile and a half loop trail around the shoreline.  I had to run this and try to get on the top of the busy leaderboard. 

Sunday: 7 miles - Stroudwater Trail out and back alone.  Brett wasn't interested in running this morning with me, but suggested this trail.  It was super cold.  Low 20's, but felt like 0 with a strong wind.  There was some relief in the woods.  The trail was mostly single track and followed along a river most of the way.  I'll upload some photos later.  I was dressed in full winter gear.  What was missing was my winter running beard, and have since begun working on it.  The trail was a blast - twisty, short up and downs, the occasional technical section, some open powerlines.  The trail had recently been extended and next time I could run it from my friend's house without having to drive.  Great stuff. 

Overall:  A fun week with plenty of variety.  Turkey week looks a bit dicey weatherwise.  I hope to get a couple of good workouts in.  Not sure about how many miles. 

Weekly Total: 72 miles
Last Week: 45 miles
Year to Date: 2920 miles

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Li'l Rhody Runaround 2013

I recently looked back on to see just how many years I've been doing this race.  Turns out the family tradition began in 2000 and this year would be my 12th in 14 years.  One year I was too out of shape and another I was sick.  I wondered if this year might be another miss as I was dealing with a chest cold, and felt rather crappy the Friday and Saturday before the race.  This was a real bummer as I love doing this race and was anticipating my fastest time yet.  Even if I ran it, I assumed I wouldn't be 100%.   I woke up on race day and felt noticeably better.  The race would be on!  I dropped my kids off at my parents house where my brother Greg further pumped me up by making fun of my cold.  Now I felt obligated to run my heart out today. 

I couldn't believe the number of people I knew at the race this year.  Everyone from family, running friends, non-running friends, WTAC members, and co-workers.  The registration/getting ready process was very festive.  I ran a warm up with my brother, Mike Galoob, Boj, Bob Jackman, and Scott Mason.  I happened to catch a falling oak leaf in my left hand as we ran and thought back about this blog post.  Maybe this was a good sign.  Some of the guys stopped at the campground, but I took Bob and Scott on a short tour through the NWR to make our warm up more interesting (not to tire them out).  It was almost show time by the time we got back.  My body seemed fresh (took the last two days off) and my lungs felt fine.  The weather was cloudy and a bit warm (high 50's), so I just wore shorts and a technical orange t-shirt (no hat or gloves, etc.).  I opted for my trail shoes - Nike Terra Kigers.  Time to line up.  I slid into a spot in the front row.  The competition looked fierce.  I knew Greg, Galoob, and Chris Garvin would be too fast for me, but I considered everyone else fair game. 

at the start - photo by Jana Walker

As usual, the start was very fast at the gun.  I let my body go, but kept my breathing in check.  After a 100 yards, I was in 3rd place (behind Greg and Galoob).  I kept expecting a few more people to go by me, but no one did right away.  It wasn't until about 3/4 of a mile in Ryan Woolley (fellow WTAC teammate) went by me.  I didn't know he was here today.  The kid is fast, so I wasn't surprised to see him go by.  Bob Jackman (TNT) was on my right shoulder.  We've had quite the fun year of trail battles, and I knew today would be another.  I could hear many other footsteps behind me.  I entered the first short single track section in 4th place and tried to keep the pace hot through here.  I emerged into the campground with a first mile (GPS) of 5:32.  This was faster than my first mile in a recent road 5K that I set my PR in.  Good thing I wasn't looking at my watch. 

front page photo in the Westerly Sun

Along a campground road Chris Garvin pulled along side of me.  I tried to stick with him for a short time before falling behind.  Steve Brightman (last year's 2nd overall here) also got ahead of me.  I thought I might have a shot at beating him today and figured my best shot was on the more technical trails later.  So I re-entered the woods in 6th place.  Bob was still right on my heels as I could tell by his distinctive foot strike.  I continued to push the pace, faster than I should have, but this section of trail is straight and rather easy (mile 2 GPS split of 5:55). 

At about the beginning of mile 3, I heard someone other than Bob gaining on me, and quickly.  I tried to pick up my pace, but this person was really moving, and passed me.  I didn't recognize him, but he looked young and tall.  I was happy with my race so far, and glad/nervous that Bob was still with me and not ahead.  We reached the technical rock gardens and stream crossings section.  I thought I might be able to shake Bob here since I know the best lines and run this spot so much.  No dice.  At about 3 miles (GPS 6:42) I was anticipating a strong move by him to get by me.  Instead, I noticed that after a couple of the small hills, he wasn't right on my heels anymore.  This kind of perplexed me, and I ended up kicking a root (on a very easy section) really hard and almost fell.  I tried to keep pushing the pace.  I was still seeing Steve Brightman and the kid ahead of me (10 seconds maybe) and Bob was about 5 seconds behind. 

I realized at the top of a small hill at the open burned area that I was running out of steam.  My aggressive pace had taken its toll.  I was still able to run the rest of the trail out to Buckeye Brook Rd pretty well (mile 4 GPS 6:26).  The gaps ahead and behind me were not changing.  I let my legs turn over as quickly as they liked on the short road section.  It felt good to go faster while getting a chance to relax. 

top of the long climb - photo by Robert Ornstein

Back in the woods it was difficult to run fast.  I knew I was slowing down.  The trail is very tricky in spots here and always gaining elevation.  I was afraid Bob was going to run me down, although I could tell he wasn't that close.  I would occasionally see someone ahead of me, but basically I was running alone.  Tired and scared.  I hit the steady climb, usually an advantage for me, and struggled to keep good form as I chugged up it.  I saw my in-laws and neighbors at the top and tried to look happy and smile for the camera.  The trail then briefly gets flatter and easy, but I couldn't get back into high gear.  On a couple of tight turns I peeked back and saw Bob still within striking distance.  This motivated me to dig deeper.  My mile GPS splits were 6:43, 7:06, and 6:50. 

Finally I finished up the last punishing hill section and reached the road.  Muddy (injured) was there and told me that I had a good gap on Bob.  I again let my legs decide on my speed.  Track work has given me the confidence in a strong finish, and I let muscle memory do the work.  It was clear I wasn't catching anybody, but after reaching the top of the hill on the road, I looked back and knew that I would safely finish ahead of Bob.  Finally looking at my watch it seemed I still had a chance at my goal time (sub 49 minutes).  When I was struggling in the woods, I figured my time goal was out the window.  Now I began to push my body faster as I watched my time go from the 46's, to 47's, to 48.  This was going to be close!  I made the sharp turn onto Sanctuary Road and madly sprinted for the finish line.  I saw 48:56 on the clock as I rounded the last corner and dug down even more.  Final time 48:59 (last .7 miles in 5:33 pace).  I was so pumped.  On a day I wasn't sure how healthy I would be, I was able to attain my goal.  A new PR by over a minute.  Results here

nearing the finish - photo by Jana Walker

The post race atmosphere was festive.  Everyone's story was "I went out too fast and suffered".  Mine was no different.  I ran a short cool down with a big group of guys.  When I got back my wife had already finished - 9 minutes faster than last year!  I hung around chatting with everyone until the awards ceremony.  The rain came and it was time to take the celebrating inside with family and friends at my house. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Li'l Rhody Week: 11-11-13 to 11-17-13

Big week!  My favorite race of the year is on Sunday, but will be outdone by the arrival of my new nephew and niece on Friday.  The Hammett family will be getting bigger, but there will be less of us running the race this year. 

I've been thinking a lot about the race recently.  I'd love to finish in the 48's.  I just don't know if I can pull it off.  I was 50:04 last year and feel that I'm faster now.  There should be extra competition this year as pre-registration was way up (215) and this race now part of the new RI Trail Racing Triple Crown.  This should help my overall time and not let me slack off at any point. 

Monday: 11 miles - Li'l Rhody Recon Run alone.  This run just sort of happened out of the blue.  I was feeling a little anxious and/or a little foggy in the morning.  I had the day off and we didn't have anything major planned.  I needed to get out and run, and decided I would head down to the Vin Gormley Trail to check out the trail conditions.  Maybe I would run the course hard as my last workout pre-race.  My legs were pretty beat up from the 5K Saturday and long technical/hilly trail run Sunday.  As I ran the roads to the trail head I wasn't sure if I would bother pushing the pace.  I reached the VGT (near the north camp road), noted the time on my watch, and began the loop.  I picked up my pace and was not feeling fast or good.  The trail appeared to have been raked or leaf blown (probably the latter), which for some reason annoyed me.  I couldn't believe how rocky the trail was as I've never seen it "naked" before.  It felt like a new trail and I was running different lines.  I stuck to my moderate/fast pace until I reached Kings Factory Road.  I told myself that if I could muster up a sub 6 mile on this road section (including some woods) then I would fight for a good pace for the duration.  My Nike Terra Kiger trail shoes feel decent on roads and despite my tired legs, my next mile was 5:56.  Game on.  I ran the rest of the loop as hard as I could go on this day.  To me it was good practice for keeping the pedal to the metal - fighting off the natural instinct to settle into an easier pace.  I was quite surprised when I finished up in 51:45.  This was faster than I thought considering the slowish first mile and a half.  I know during the race I will be at least a minute faster there, and also I will be faster on the roads (with fresh legs).  I need to be faster on the rest of the trails too.  Hopefully racing others will put me over the top. 

Tuesday: 5 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Really blah weather day and if I didn't love running so much, I would have taken a zero.  Damp, 34 degrees, and windy. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails and beach with Dan.  Another cold day (high 30's), but sunny.  Dan asked if I was interested in running with him today and I took him up on his offer.  On these taper weeks and with lousy weather it's hard to be motivated to run alone.  We wandered around the park for an hour.  The pace was okay and the conversation made the time pass quickly. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails and some roads alone.  This was an odd route on mostly the easier trails in the park, plus a detour on local roads for a LRR feel.  Warmer today, looks even warmer for Sunday's race. 

Friday: 0 - my lunch run got nixed as I needed to go help my wife set up her library for tomorrow's book sale.  I'll try to take it easy tonight at Launch (trampoline park) - father/son school activity. 

Saturday: 0 - insignificant chest cold the last 10 days has invaded my head now and gotten worse.  Hoping it won't effect the race tomorrow, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit being bummed out.  Total LRR buzzkill.  

Sunday: 13 miles - Li'l Rhody Runaround 8M trail race - 48:59!!  

Weekly Total: 45miles
Last Week: 65 miles
Year to Date: 2848 miles

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weekly Log 11-4-13 to 11-10-13

Less than two weeks until Li'l Rhody.  I'm trying to tone down my workouts - well just the amount.  I was getting carried away for a little while.  Purposely keeping my runs on the easy side except for workout Thursday and 5K trail race on Saturday - Travel the Trails 5K in Wakefield timed by Mike Galoob. 

Monday: 9 miles - NK roads and Ryan Park trails alone.  This was a half-hearted attempt to add some elevation to the Strava challenge (ending today), while keeping things easy.  Truthfully, I would have rather just stayed in the woods then run roads.  I explored a few side streets off Hatchery Road, finding a couple decent hills, but nothing major. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Calf Pasture Point (3 loops) alone.  This turned out to be a decent run.  I wasn't feeling it early on, but being alone out on the beach and woods perked me up.  On lap two, I believe I saw a flock of about 15-20 snow buntings at the end of the point. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - Big River trails alone.  My plan was to park at Hopkins Hill Rd and run west over to the overlook and find the mtn bike TT loop.  First I looped around some of my favorite twisty trails near the Cardi Rd before crossing over to the overlook side.  I quickly found the marked TT loop and followed it for a long time (27+ minutes) before bailing and headed back due to time.  I couldn't believe how few miles GPS had me traveling, but I guess you couldn't pick a twistier route than the one I did. 

Thursday: 11+ miles - Quonset Bike Path workout with Bob Jackman.  Early morning track got nixed by crappy weather - rain and wind.  I was hoping that I could still try today's intended workout on the bike path in the afternoon.  Bob was interested in joining me which worked out well since it was still raining and there was no way I wanted to tackle the workout alone.  Sticking with the MacMillan 10K workout plan, today was a 2 x 2 miles (5 min recoveries) 2 x 1 mile (3 minute recoveries) all at 10K pace.  I figured it would be harder to nail this workout on the bike path than the track, but it would be a more realistic feel to race conditions.  We headed out in the warm rain (but not much wind) for a brisk (6:50 pace) warm up.  Then it was go time.  The first 2 miles ticked away rather easily and came in a bit fast at 11:15 (11:20 target).  We jogged for 5 minutes (forgot to record on my watch) before heading back in the opposite direction.  The effort felt a little harder, but the pace was a hair slower, but still right on target - 11:20.  I decided to not record any of the recoveries on my watch.  5 minutes later we began the 2 x 1 mile portion of the workout.  This seemed manageable mentally, but turned out to be harder than I thought physically - 5:39/5:35.  We nailed it!  We finished up with another fastish 2 mile cool down.  My confidence is soaring, and now I'm wondering if sub 35 minutes is possible! 

Friday: 8+ miles - Burlingame trails alone.  A sunny day turned windy, cold, and overcast by the time I ran later in the afternoon.  I ran the trails around the campground.  I saw one mtn biker early on, but the rest of the time I was all alone. 

Saturday: 5 miles - Travel the Trails 5K - 1st overall, 18:11.  This was the first race of a potential cross country series put on by the South Kingstown Rec Dept.  I believe this course is the SK school xc course and was basically two laps (each was a tad different).  It was a chilly but sunny morning.  My dad came along and helped out with the kids while I raced.   I checked out the course on my warm up.  I was already familiar with most of it, but the order and direction were different than what I've run before.  After two miles I was running low on time so I stopped at my car for final prep.  I wasn't sure what to expect with this race.  My body wasn't in racing mode since the hard workout on Thursday.  I didn't recognize anyone in the field.  One guy my age looked potentially fast.  There were also a couple of high school kids lined up front wearing proper running attire.  At the horn, everyone seemed to take off in a sprint.  I was feeling rather slow, and settled into 3rd place.  I glanced at my watch and my pace was fine however.  I just told myself to wait and see what happens.  I knew I could maintain my pace for the duration, who knows about these kids?  Soon enough 2nd place (wearing spikes) was tiring.  I surged past him on a very short but steep hill.  The leader still had a few seconds on me.  After running around fields, we then hit the trail around the pond.  Although not hard, it was the most technical section of the course.  I found myself gaining on 1st.  I then made my move and sprinted by.  I kept it up on a gnarly bridge crossing and before I knew it, I was well ahead and alone.  I focused on keeping my pace steady for the rest of the race.  Mike Galoob (timing) joked that I was on CR pace after lap 1.  Well I guess technically I was since this was the inaugural running of the race.  The second lap was smooth.  I had to deal with some traffic on the loop around the pond.  I was running out of steam near the end, but sprinted the last stretch through the chute.  18:11 (5:52 pace).  It was fun winning a race (albeit small) in front of my dad and kids.  No cool down as my dad and son hiked some of the course and my daughter and I sat in the sun eating first of season clementines.  This was a fun race and very well run.  I hope they do have more of these races in the future.  Results here

finishing up
post race

Sunday: 15(ish) miles - Narragansett Trail (Wyassup Lake to Lantern Hill and back) with Muddy in the early morning.  We hatched this plan over beers the night before.  I had to be home by 9:30 so we decided we could fit in this run (similar to my run last week) if we started at 6:15.  The weather was decent and the trail was in good shape, just covered in a ton of leaves.  Navigating was easier the second time around.  We made it to Wintechog Hill Rd with plenty of time to summit Lantern Hill.  We decided to run down the road and make the climb longer up the hill.  It was steep and ledgy.  Not knowing how far was left probably helped.  Eventually we splilled out onto a expansive rocky overlook.  We paused for a couple of minutes before backtracking down.  My legs were fatiguing on the way back, but I did not fall.  This was a pretty rugged two hour run. 

Overall: Another fun week.  Li'l Rhody is one week away! 

Weekly Total: 65 miles
Last Week: 70 miles
Year to Date: 2803 miles

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Weekly Log 10-28-13 to 11-2-13

Here's a recap of last week's running: 

Monday: 9 miles - Pardon Joslin Rd (dirt) hill workout alone.  I was feeling really good a day after the FOP 5K and decided to run hills.  I thought running the two hills on Pardon Joslin Rd would be fun as it is a quiet dirt road (unimproved on the east side, improved on the west).  My body was beginning to fatigue by the time I was ready to run, but I carried out the plan.  I ran the hills at a steady pace (I did not charge up them).  I ended up with 1145' of elevation gain in 9 miles.  Solid workout.  Negative splits on both climbs. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails with Dan.  We vowed to keep the pace easy today and succeeded.

Wednesday: 9 miles - Big River trails alone.  A gorgeous day in the woods.  Plenty of foliage (beech and oaks) and lots of leaves on the trails.  No humans.  I ran the half marathon course for most of this run before heading back to my car.  Fun easy pace.

Thursday: 15 miles on two runs.  In the morning, post Red Sox victory, I met up with Galoob and Garvin on the track.  Late start (6AM), but still pitch black.  The plan was to do a 5K time trial (as suggested on the MacMillan 10K training plan).  I was excited about this workout earlier in the month, but the heavy load of workouts the last 10 days had me doubting this one.  After a 3 miles warm up it was time to give it a shot.  My plan was to run my aggressive 5K goal pace (I've been training at on the track) and see how long I could hold on.  I couldn't hold it for even a lap.  My legs were flat and I was picturing my brother yelling at me for over training.  It's true.  I've been doing workouts every other day.  Silly.  Anyway, I kept running laps, thinking I would drop out at 1 mile, 2 mile, 10 laps, etc.  After four laps, I settled into my 10K training pace (5:40) and this revised workout went well.  Even on dead legs, this seemed like a pace I could maintain for 10K.  Result: 17:39. 
In the afternoon I headed over to Rome Point for a very easy recovery run.  I debated the merits of this, but the allure of running in the woods/on the beach was too strong.  This run was really enjoyable.

Friday: 8 miles - DuVal trail out and back alone.  After getting contacts at the eye doctor, I headed over to Perryville to try them out on the trails.  I enjoyed being able to see clearly in my periphery.  It was windy and mild, but a fun run.

Saturday: 8 miles - Burlingame trails alone in the morning.  I had an hour between breakfast and soccer to get a run in so I headed out to the hilly trails of north Burlingame.  It was sunny and spectacular colors in the woods.  I had the park to myself.  Next weekend it will be trail runner hunting season.  My pace was rather peppy throughout.  703' of elevation gain.

Sunday: 12+ miles - Narragansett Trail (Wyassup Lake to almost Lantern Hill) with Galoob.  Mike had contacted me the day before about doing a hilly, technical run somewhere.  We decided with my time limit (be home by 9AM), that we would run in Pachaug on the Narragansett Trail.  We did a segment (maintained by Crutchley) that we both had never run before.  The plan was to park at Wyassup Lake and head west to Lantern Hill and back.  The trail was everything we had hoped.  Technical pretty much the entire way, with lots of leaves down adding to the challenge.  Great views along a ledge above Yawbux Valley.  We reached Rte 2 after 30 minutes and I was beginning to wonder if we had enough time to summit Lantern Hill.  We continued on, and picked up the pace on this easier trail section.  We reached another road, but had to turn around unfortunately before the big climb up Lantern.  The way back was easier to navigate and we took turns pushing the pace.  We will be back!

Overall: Really fun week of running in the woods.  The weather has been great.  I will continue to drop down the number of workouts as Li'l Rhody approaches.

This was the final leaderboard for the Trail Animals Running Club on Strava last week.  I ran a lot, for a long time (I was tops in running time too - JG total was minutes not hours), and a lot of hills.  Can't beat a mountain goat at his own game.

Last Week's Leaders

DistanceTotal Running TimeClimbing
Jonny Hammett
63.7 mi
Jason Gray
34 h 8 m
Kevin Tilton
5,041 ft
Jerimy Arnold
62.1 mi
Jonny Hammett
9 h 13 m
Jonny Hammett
4,225 ft
Robert Jackman
60.2 mi
Jerimy Arnold
8 h 49 m
Chad Stashek
3,337 ft

Weekly Total: 70 miles
Last Week: 66 miles
Year to Date: 2738 miles

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recap of Recent Local 5K's

I was able to race two local 5K's the past two Sundays: Westerly Run for the Pumpkins and Charlestown FOP (aka Halloween Hot Pursuit).  These races couldn't be more different as far as course layout goes, but there were plenty of familiar faces at both. 

First off was the Westerly Run for the Pumpkins 5K (results here).  I won this race two years ago (huge surprise to me) and was second last year.  This year looked like at best another runner up finish since fellow teammate and training partner Chris Garvin was registered to run.  I wasn't sure if last year's winner (David Holgate) would be back to defend his title as well.  And what about Tommy FiveK? 

Because of busy family plans, I wasn't sure I could even do this race until a couple of days beforehand.  The morning of the race I was getting pumped up and had talked myself into the possibility of overtaking Garvin and the rest of the field on the steep hill during mile 2 and holding on for the win.  Chris had raced on Friday afternoon.  David had just beat me at the end of the Run4Kerri race this past August and 15 seconds at this race last year.  Surely I would be faster this year. 

I headed to the race with my family and met up with fellow WTAC'ers.  A few of us headed out for a warm up on the course, and it was as twisty and hilly as I had remembered.  The big climb is 98' and steep in spots and is totally out of character for a 5K road race (or pretty much any road race).  We were running out of time to do the entire course and I briefly panicked that I would get us lost trying to navigate the labyrinth of neighborhood roads back to the start.  We figured it out and had just a few minutes to spare. 

I lined up with Chris, Jeff, and many other WTAC teammates (great club turnout for this dual directed race, unfortunately not as many from the schools as previous two years).  My plan was to run the first mile fast (5:20), crank the hill, and then see what happens.  The weather was sunny, seasonable, and a bit windy.  I was ready to roll. 

I followed closely behind Chris for the first 1/4 mile out of the park and into the neighborhood.  He then pulled away and I couldn't match his speed.  The wind was annoying the first mile and I was disappointed with my split (5:29).  Chris's lead steadily grew and I knew that Jeff was probably lurking on the steep descent leading to the climb.  My attitude was sort of bad at this point.  I ran the hill pretty hard.  Whatever ground I made up on Chris wasn't significant enough to make a difference and I still had a bad attitude.  I tried to keep pushing especially since Jeff wasn't too far behind the last time I checked.  Mile 2 was 6:00.  Ugh!  Was I even going to match my time from last year (18:00)?  I pressed on the best I could.  My watch was showing a faster pace during the third mile.  This helped my mind.  I could still see Chris far in front of me, but he wasn't increasing his lead anymore.  Finally, the course leveled off and then dropped back to the park (mile 3 split 5:41).  I glanced at my watch and knew I was going to be sub 18.  I sprinted through the shoot (4:43 pace for final .1) in 17:45.  15 seconds faster than last year (and equaled David's winning time).  Chris unbelievably snuck in under 17 minutes in 16:59.  That's very fast for this slow course.  Jeff also PR'd.  The post race gathering was warm and fun as usual. 

Next up was the Charlestown FOP race in Ninigret Park (results here).  This was my fourth year in a row doing this race.  It is a PR course and I was hoping for one this year, hopefully just under 17 minutes.  I had handicapped my race by running very hard workouts during the week, but an easy Friday and Saturday of running had them feeling good on race day.  The weather was again seasonable and sunny.  There was wind (as usual this close to the ocean). 

I arrived an hour early and met up with many WTAC teammates including Jeff, Mike B & C, Seth, and Tommy FiveK.  We had a big group on a warm up run that included most of the course.  Time was running short again so I hightailed back to my car for final prep.  I then ran a few strides waiting for the race to begin.  I was hoping for third place (cash prize) as Will Sanders was in attendance and I can't hang with FiveK in his signature distance.  There is always the potential for other fast dudes showing up for the race.  I was anxious for the start. 

It was quite the show off the line.  Will Sanders hammered immediately with a sweatshirt/pants guy trying to keep up.  There were others sprinting off the line as well.  After 100 meters the chaos quieted down and I found myself in third place, closely following FiveK.  As we made a 180 turn the wind was now screaming in our faces.  I tried to pick up the intensity, but was losing ground on FiveK (expected) and hearing close footsteps behind me.  I kept checking my pace on my watch to make sure I was where I wanted to be, which I was until near the end of the first mile.  I didn't recognize the breathing/foot strikes of my chaser so I assumed it was Jay Seekell and not Jeff.  Turns out it was both of them plus Seth.  I reached the first mile in an announced 5:30 (5:34 on my watch).  Not fast enough, but mostly into the wind, so hopefully things would balance out later.  The second mile has a few more turns back into the open park and I was now running alone.  I couldn't hear anyone behind me and FiveK had a decent lead in front of me.  I tried hard to not have a mile 2 let down.  I didn't see my split (5:38 on my watch).  The last mile is mostly on an open bike loop.  The first 1/4 mile was into the wind.  I really tried to bear down here.  My pace was okay coming out of it and I now had the wind at my back for the duration.  I was still very alone, and battling myself mentally.  When to push harder?  Can I push harder?  I exited the bike loop and was getting close to the finish.  I passed Chris Garvin (spectating) and he told me I could still go sub 17.  I wasn't so sure glancing at my watch (mile 3 split 5:28).  Once I got a visual of the finish line I hammered it home.  I was running extremely hard, but it was too much too late, and I crossed the line in 17:04 (4:21 pace for the final .1).  A two second PR, but a few seconds short of 16:59.  Oh well.  It was a good race considering my week of running and not having anyone pushing me the final two miles.  My splits were very consistent which was encouraging. 

It was more exciting to watch the rest of my teammates (and other familiar local faces) finish up their races.  Jeff in 4th and a new PR, Seth in a huge PR and sub 18, Matthew sub 19, Shara for the win, Mike C PR?, and on and on.  We had another big group on our cool down out to Grassy Point.  Thanks Jeff for scaring us (hid in the bushes on our way back and jumped out at us).  Screamed like a girl.  Fun atmosphere post race. 

Photo by Jana Walker