Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weekly Log 2-25-13 to 3-3-13

I entered this week with a bit of a bad attitude.  I've been feeling stressed and have been dealing with anxiety related physical issues.  This is nothing that I haven't battled before, but it's frustrating to know my anxiety problem will pop up from time to time (no matter how much I run - the best medicine there is!).  What's not helping is the weather and the lingering snow.  Instead of looking forward to runs, I have to will myself to do them.  I guess I'm sick of overcast, mid 30's, and windy conditions.  I've been hitting the pavement way too much, because of sloppy snowy trails.  I also haven't done any hard workouts in the past week, so I'm feeling slow (despite knowing I had some good ones the week before).  Enough whining - the snow is being washed away by a very rainy Wednesday - and my body is beginning to relax.  Bring on spring. 

Monday:  9 miles - Wickford roads alone.  My plan was to get in a fast mile on the loop off Waldron Ave and then log some miles.  I parked at the Rome Pt lot and then headed north on 1A.  My first mile was pretty quick (6:18), and I slowed it down a bit for mile 2 (6:49).  I then did the mile loop at a fast pace.  I didn't look at my watch, but was happy with my effort.  I was a bit disappointed when I found out it was 5:27, but it did feel good to do it.  I then recovered on the neighborhood roads with awesome views of Narragansett Bay.  I was feeling content with my run, and wanted to just finish it at 5.  The dark side of running took over, and I felt compelled to run more miles.  My legs were tired and I couldn't get back to a good pace as I ran more side roads.  Finally, back on Rte 1A, I began running faster when I thought a group of high school runners turned my way (I could hear them talking) and I didn't want them to pass me.  I passed my car and continued on up the hill and back down for a full 9 miles on the day.  Total time: 1:01:40. 

Tuesday: 8.5 miles - Big River mostly trails with various amount of snow on them with Galoob and Gunshow.  Driving to the Exit 7 parking lot, it seemed like the snow was really melting along the highways.  The weather was borderline nice - 46 degrees with some sun.  Maybe the trails would be okay?  Nope.  Still plenty of snow.  We all just wore trail shoes, so this run was quite the workout.  At first, Mike was going at a good clip, and I was struggling to keep up.  After a mile or so, the snow slowed him down, and the pace was fine for me the rest of the way.  It was still hard to find some of the trails.  We did find Dead Shed and some other familiar ones before heading back on the snow covered New London Turnpike.  A fun adventure, but exhausting. Total time: 1:17. 

At night, I got a text from Boj asking if I was in Big River today.  Apparently he was there running as well.  He didn't see us, but saw our footprints.  How did he know it was me? 

Wednesday: 7.5 miles - Quonset soggy and wet intervals (12x200) alone.  The radar showed a break in the rain, and I thought I could run some easy 200's with the 30-40 mph wind mostly at my back.  I was actually excited about it as I got ready to go.  I parked in the usual lot and ran into the wind on the bike path heading towards Calf Pasture Point.  Wow it was pretty miserable out.  And then it started to rain again.  I ran over a mile and then turned around.  Instead of running all the intervals on the open road (for maximum GPS accuracy) I decided to begin them on the bike path.  I knew the first few would be on the long side because of the tree cover, but I didn't want to run another mile to reach the open road.  I worked hard on the first two and was having trouble invisioning another 10.  3 and 4 were more to the south, so I had the wind in my face (they ended up being the two slowest).  The rest were on my usual stretch of open road.  I ran them relaxed.  I didn't expect to be running in completely wet shoes and clothes.  After seeing the results, I probably should have worked these harder, but the conditions were so miserable I was just happy to get the full workout in.  Results:  34,35,38,38,36,35,37,36,37,35,36,36

I then had to run all the way back to my car into the wind.  I worried about how cold I might feel since I was so wet and it was only 41 degrees out.  I muscled through.  There was some serious tree carnage on the bike path, and still snow in places!  Total time: 51:20. 

Thursday: 12 miles - Wickford roads alone.  My goal was to do a longish fastish run.  I mapped out a 12 mile course online, and had the idea to run around 6:50 pace.  I didn't check my watch until the 2 mile mark.  I then tried to maintain that effort, which was on the challenging side, but not hard.  I was suffering a bit on mile 8 (Snuff Mill Rd climb), but I was able to then cruise back on Rte 1A at a faster clip.  Total time: 1:18:07 (6:30 pace).  Good run.  Splits below:

Mile 1 14ft
Mile 2 16ft
Mile 3 27ft
Mile 4 3ft
Mile 5 -38ft
Mile 6 19ft
Mile 7 -7ft
Mile 8 155ft
Mile 9 -106ft
Mile 10 -49ft
Mile 11 -15ft
Mile 12 -17ft

Friday: 7 miles - Big River snowy trails alone.  Welcome to March - where the trails are still a mess and most likely covered in snow!  I was excited for today's recovery run in Big River.  My plans fell through with Boj, so I hit the trails alone.  Still snow in the Hopkins Hill lot, and I was afraid my car was going to sink in the mud.  I thought the trails would be mostly clear, as I barely saw any snow left anywhere else.  Wrong again!  They were still close to 100% snow covered, and still relatively deep in places.  Some trails I was laying down the first human tracks.  My plan only included heading out to the overlook, and then making it up from there.  My feet got wet crossing the little brook on the way out, and with all the snow, my shoes felt heavy and waterlogged the rest of the way.  I found the overlook, but didn't go the way I normally do.  I then wanted to run some other single track, but messed that up as well, but at least I knew where I ended up.  I then explored (and broke) trails to the west of the paved road.  Deep pockets of snow in spots.  How is this still possible?  I eventually spilled out onto the New London Turnpike near the beaver dam and then crossed over on more trails to Tarbox Pond.  At this point, I decided to stay closer to my car, and finished up in 1:01:00.  I fell twice, and slipped often.  It was fun, but I wouldn't mind getting my trails back. 

Saturday: 0 - confirmed I will be joining others for a Sea to Summit run tomorrow. Better rest up since I'll be running with some fast dudes.

Sunday: 27 miles - RI Sea to Summit (separate write up to follow)

Weekly Total: 71miles
Last Week: 53 miles
Year to Date: 545 miles 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekly Log 2-18-13 to 2-24-13

Monday: 6 miles - Burlington, VT roads and bike path alone.  The plan was to spend the day snowshoeing, but the lack of snow, and proximity to downtown, led to a day walking around town, and a short run in the morning.  I wish I brought road shoes, as the trail ones I brought were not comfortable on the paved surface.  I ran down Main Street, with clear views of Lake Champlain and the mountains beyond.  I tried to avoid stopping at intersections, a running in a city pet peeve of mine.  Instead of finding the bike path, I found a decent hill to climb on a sidewalk that led to a park overlooking the lake.  I looped back down the hill, and found the bike path along the shore.  It was mostly clear - ice and snow in some places.  I ran north into the wind until I reached a large sandy beach.  The water was wavy and super clear.  I turned around and made my way back down the bike path, and then up the long hill on Main Street.  A fun little run.  Total time:  42:18. 

Tuesday: double!  6 miles - Burlington, VT roads and bike path alone.  I woke up before breakfast and got another short run in.  This time I headed down Main Street and went south on the bike path.  I was enjoying the early run, although it was cold again.  It was nice to see other runners out.  The path ended at a road and I went left following a guy on a bike.  It turned out to be just a side road, but I didn't have time to explore the other direction.  On the way back, I climbed the Battery St hill again, and made a point to run the full length of the pedestrian only shopping road (Church Street).  Fun stuff!  Total time:  44:12. 

          3 miles - snowshoe run on my home trails in the late afternoon.  I had the day off from work, so why not go out and run again after a long car ride and grocery shopping?  It was warm - high 40's with light rain.  I thought this might be the last chance to slap on the snowshoes this year.  My trails had a couple of bald spots, so I adjusted the course as much as possible.  There were still deeper spots though, and I was working pretty hard.  I found a good groove and maintained it.  Made me wish I tried more snowhoe racing.  Total time: 28:22. 

Wednesday: 9.5 miles - Exeter/West Greenwich roads alone.  This was a completely random run.  It was windy all day and I wanted to run somewhere protected.  I was too tired for hills in Saunderstown, so I decided to park at Ryan and run some snowy/sloppy trails and then maybe some nearby roads.  The lot had never been plowed!  Now what?  I drove on to see if I could park at the Cuttyhunk Preserve in Exeter.  It was plowed, so I parked and got ready to run.  Too much snow in here for trails, so I opted for roads.  I knew I could potentially make a loop, but I wasn't sure exactly how to do it.  I ran north and then headed west on Pardon Joslin Rd, an unimproved dirt road on this section.  It was snow covered with a few icy vehicle tracks.  I almost fell, so I crunched through the snow.  I reached the plowed section of this dirt road, and made the long climb up to Widow Sweets Rd (paved).  I decided to attempt the loop, so I head north on roads I've never seen.  After climbing for a long time (over a mile), I was beginning to worry about my plan.  I did eventually meet up with the New London Turnpike (dirt/paved).  I ran on, hoping to find Henry Brown Rd, if not soon, I would then backtrack.  At the 5 mile mark, I found it!  I was much relieved.  I knew I could connect back to my car.  I was now guessing how many miles the loop would be, and it ended up being 9.5.  I wasn't interested in trying to squeeze another half mile in, so I stopped.  Total time:  1:09:12.  It was nice to make an adventure out of a road run on a day I wasn't too motivated to run. 

Thursday:  7.5 miles - 3 x Gilbert Stuart Rd hill solo.  I wasn't sure if today would be a zero as my stomach has been off and on queasy the last two days - not sure if it is a bug or just stress/anxiety.  I decided to drive to the Gilbert Stuart Museum and see if the parking lot was plowed.  If so, that would be my queue to run.  I figured the quiet wooded road would keep me sheltered from the very strong NW wind.  The lot was clear.  I decided to do an impromptu hill workout.  I wasn't looking to set any speed records, but just have three decent climbs up the baddest hill around.  My body felt better as soon as I began running - magic!  I felt slow on the first climb, but a peek at my watch made me feel good about the pace.  I turned around after a mile and headed back down.  I repeated this two more times.  The second climb felt the fastest and the hardest.  I tried to not overdue the last one, but was still able to almost duplicate the second.  I tacked on a mile and half of flatter roads at the end.  Total time:  52:51. 

Friday: 5+ miles - Big River snowy trails alone.  I decided to scope out the conditions for tomorrow's run.  The parking lot was barely plowed - enough for 3 cars to fit - and still lots of snow on the ground.  I ran with just shoes, figuring that's what I would be wearing tomorrow.  The main trail down the hill had enough tracks on it to make the footing decent.  I decided to take the normal route around Carr Pond, but the trail had only one set of faint snowshoe prints on it.  I ran for a few hundred feet and decided to turn around.  No sense in killing myself today if I was going to be going long tomorrow.  I then took the main trail around the pond until I reached the water tower trail.  This trail had a couple of human tracks on it, so I thought I would give it a shot.  It wasn't easy, especially climbing.  At the top, I stuck with the single track I avoided earlier.  There is still a few inches of wet or crunchy snow (depending on sun exposure).  I was going slow, but enjoying myself.  Snowshoes would have been perfect.  I'm hoping for all rain from this storm this weekend and a warm week to follow.  Total time: 46:34. 

Saturday: 16 miles - Ashaway roads with Muddy, Jeff, and Seth.  We skipped the snowy trails of Big River, and opted to run mostly roads today.  I met the guys at 6AM in the dark.  My body was feeling super tight, and I was curious how the long run would go.  We ventured up to Hopkinton City (5 houses) before veering off the road and onto the Tomaquag Trail.  You won't find it on a map since the Hopkinton Land Trust does not have a web presence.  I don't know how Muddy even knew about it, but it was there and had signs.  The snow wasn't too bad to punch through, so we stuck with it.  The trail varied betweeen an old farm road (I'm guessing) and woods.  It was a nice connector to Collins Road, as it avoided a few miles of pavement.  We then did the sneaky long climb to the intersection with Tomaquag Road.  The pace felt challenging on my tight legs and lower core, but GPS seemed to be lost in the woods.  At different points when we hit open roads, the GPS would correct itself back to around 7 minute pace, but the overall pace of the run on GPS seemed way off.  I probably wouldn't have cared if I was having a good day, but since I was struggling, I at least wanted to think that it was because the pace was fast.  We reached the new Hopkinton Land Trust parcel at the intersection of Rte 216 and Chase Hill Road.  Muddy had stashed water and snacks for us there.  I welcomed the break.  We then began the climb up Chase Hill.  I pushed it here as I remember this being the baddest hill in town back when I was a kid.  We were now in my old stomping grounds of Ashaway.  We decided to head down Narragansett Way to add mileage since we skipped some trail sections earlier.  This narrow road(?) seemed way longer than I remembered when I used to ride it on my bike.  We couldn't make it too the end unfortunately as it wasn't plowed and there were a bunch of trees down.  We backtracked and then continued on to Old Hopkinton Cemetery Lane.  As we approached my old road we then jumped onto the powerline to cross over to River Road.  Running through snow again really did everybody's legs in, and we all seemed anxious to finish.  I wasn't comfortable at all, but tried my best to maintain the pace through to the end.  Total time: 2:02:21. 

Sunday: 0 - I ended up taking the day off.  Sort of bummed about it, but it made sense as the weather was crappy, it didn't fit into the family plans, and I had no urge to do it anyway.  I did manage a two mile hike with the family in TriPond Park (and bike path).  It was quite the adventure as the trail was a mess to navigate through and the rain picked back up and soaked us.  We all still kind of had fun. 

Overall:  This turned into a cutback week, although not planned.  I didn't do anything that intense and the mileage was low.  I know this is okay, but I don't feel great about it. 

Weekly Total:  53 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date:  474 miles

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Weekly Log 2-11-13 to 2-17-13

Racing 5 miles with snowshoes in deep snow has completely trashed my legs.  I haven't felt this sore in a long time, and usually bounce back from any race pretty quickly.  In one way, it lets me know what an incredible workout it was.  One drawback is that I have had no interest in running in snow again this week.  And it is still everywhere.  Where to run? 

Monday: 0 - rest day.  This was my first day off since December 7th I believe.  This was our fourth day without power (it came back at night) and school was canceled.  It was raining most of the day and I was really sore from the snowshoe race.  Taking the day off was an easy call, although I kept thinking I should go out and do something.  The streak ends. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Saunderstown hilly roads alone.  My legs were still very sore, but I needed to run.  The best place to go for clear roads was in Saunderstown - I've had good luck there in the past.  Of course, this would mean hills.  I began from the park and ride lot and headed north to the Plum Point hill.  I felt good climbing, but terrible descending.  I made a point to not look at my watch and turn this into a race.  I didn't need that today.  I then continued north on 1A,  which with the limited shoulder and wet conditions, was pretty miserable.  I turned onto Gilbert Stuart Road and the conditions improved.  My legs were still sore - it wasn't a matter of being tight and then loosening up.  I reluctantly ran up the biggest hill in South County.  It went well, but it was probably due to a slower than usual pace.  The next hill to tackle was the long slog up Snuff Mill Road - it's not that steep, but over a mile.  I got into a better groove here, and then carried that momentum through the end of the run through Plum Beach.  I didn't set any records today, but I was happy with what I could do.  Total time: 1:10:32 (962' elevation gain). 

Wednesday: 10 miles - NK roads (7M) with Calf Pasture Point snowy death romp and beach (3M) alone.  No great places to run again with melting snow and shoulderless roads.  I parked at the Quonset bike path and decided to gut it out on the snow and then hit up some roads.  The snow covered bike path was terrible, and I hated every second of it.  My lower legs were still sore from the snowshoe race, and the awkward steps were infuriating.  I decided to run out to the beach.  The wind was at my back and I felt warm in the sun.  I amused myself by counting the brant (geese) on the bay - 135.  I was happy to reach the roads.  My legs felt like junk and the miles were going by slowly.  Once I hit the halfway point, my attitude improved, and my pace quickened.  By the end, I was moving pretty fast, finishing up with a 6:15 mile.  Total time: 1:12:58.  When I uploaded my data, I saw that I had negative splits for every mile - not planned, but kind of cool. 

Thursday: 10 miles - Wickford roads solo.  My legs were finally feeling better and I decided to do another time trial on the 10 mile course from my office.  I'd like to get under 60 minutes either in a race or a workout - I don't really care which.  The weather was nice again today (mid 40's and sunny), and the roads were in okay shape after waiting for the 3 inches of new snow overnight to melt.  I wasn't sure how fast I could do it today.  Two weeks ago I was in the 62's.  I wanted to ignore my watch, but I couldn't resist at the five mile mark (31:13), and then I checked it often after that.  The run felt hard, but not as hard as two weeks ago during the early middle miles (2-6).  My pace seemed pretty quick during miles 6 and 7 (according to the watch), but mile 8 was slow.  This could just be a GPS thing, but mentally it bothered me, and I thought I was slowing down and tiring.  My last two miles were decent, but not the super fast finish I'm used to.  Total time for 10 miles: 1:00:45.  Sweet!  When I map it on, the run comes out to 10.25 miles.  My time at the 10 mile mark according to that map was 59:36.  Stupid space watch.  Whatever.    I'm sure I'll be doing this again in two weeks trying to knock off 45 seconds....

Friday: 8.5 miles - Bonnet Shores roads with Mike.  The original plan was to run around Middlebridge and then Bonnet Shores, but we weren't going to have time for that.  We missed out on running by the 12' snow phallus in the news unfortunately.  The weather was nice - upper 40's and sunny, but a stiff south wind.  The pace felt super slow and my body felt tired, however when we checked the pace we were going high 6's!  After looping around Bonnet, we headed down Ferry Road to the URI Bay Campus.  There was a huge octagon cage on the beach, much more interesting than the snow "sculpture" we missed out on.  We then had the pleasure of running up the very steep hill back out to 1A.  We had a few minutes to spare, so we extended our run another mile or so.  Total time: 59:17. 

Mike has set up the final race of his winter trail race series - Big River Half Marathon!!  Sunday March 3rd and 11AM.  I really can't wait for this one.  Awesome single track on the east side of the park.  I hope some Keeneyans can make it down for this....

Saturday: 20 miles - Westerly roads with Jeff, Muddy, and Mike.  I was going to bail on this run the night before because of tired legs and lack of motivation.  I decided to just wake up early and see what happened.  We met up at 6AM, with a little bit of light beginning to emerge.  I thought it would feel warm since the temperature was 35 degrees, but the damp wind made things chilly for me in my shorts.  My legs felt tired from the start, but I was really pleased that I never felt worse as the miles clicked away.  The first few miles were rolling through the moraine north of Winnapaug Pond.  Jeff set the pace, and the conversation was excellent.  We then worked our way south to Weekapaug, and then ran along the ocean roads heading west towards Watch Hill.  I checked my watch at the 10 mile mark (1:15), and the pace was in the low 7's at that point.  I still couldn't imagine another 10 miles.  At mile 12, Jeff had stashed water and snacks for us, so we stopped for a quick break.  It was awesome not to have to carry my handheld the entire time as I planned.  We then weaved through Watch Hill, and taking a quick diversion out to the lighthouse.  It began to flurry here.  Mike, who was suffering in the back, perked up, and was now out front.  Jeff and Muddy tagged along, and I felt myself falling behind.  I checked my watch - pace was in the 6:50's.  Rather than giving in, I picked it up knowing that there were only a few miles left.  My legs began to feel happy at this pace once we made it through Avondale.  We now had about 2 miles left, with plenty of hill action.  I was feeling really good on the climbs, and then would fall back on the descents.  The last mile was a very quick 6:10!  Total time: 2:24:05.  This was a confidence boost, knowing that I can run 20 miles on tired legs at a good clip. 

Sunday: 1.5 miles - home trails snowshoe run alone.  More snow overnight, and it was windy and cold.  We have a long day of traveling ahead, so I just wanted to get something short in.  I ran 5 loops on my home trails.  The snow conditions were fair.  Total time: 17:00. 

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 57 miles
Year to Date: 421 miles

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brrr-lingame 10 Miler errr Snowy Sufferfest

So I spent the last couple of weeks focused on running a strong 10 mile trail race that turned into the craziest running event I may ever have the pleasure of partaking in - the Brrr-lingame Snowy Sufferfest. RD and training partner Mike Galoob was determined to put on some sort of race on Sunday, a day removed from a blizzard that dropped almost two feet of snow on the race course in Burlingame State Park. He was assured the park entrance would be plowed, and after waiting out a state-wide ban on driving, he and Ben Folsum picked me up on their way to mark the course the afternoon before the race. The camp road had been plowed, and two frigid looking porta potties were in place. The race would go on! The three of us proceeded to lay tracks with snowshoes in the winter wonderland. This was an exhausting exercise, but the snow-caked trees and fading light made for quite the distracting backdrop. I spent the evening stoking the wood stove (no power) and spreading the word about the race on my dying smart phone.

Laying down tracks the day before the race

Race day - sunny but a chilly 20 degrees. My journey was short, but the roads were still in very poor shape. I arrived an hour early and was happy to see other people had made it. The Turtles were already there, and we discussed footwear options. I was really looking forward to racing in my snowshoes - something I never had the chance to do. The Turtles have experience with snowshoe racing and seemed happy to get to race with them in Rhode Island. My WTAC teammates would be racing in trail shoes (I'm the only one with snowshoes), except for Carol Ann, who brought her cross country skis. Besides the various footwear options, the race had multiple distance options. I was going for the longest version, the one Mike dubbed the Death Race - five miles of challenging terrain in deep snow and droopy trees blocking your way. I did a short warm up with Tom and Seth. By the time we finished, the race was about to begin.

The race began on the plowed road for about a 1/4 mile. I didn't want to start too fast, but I also didn't want to get stuck behind faster trail shoe runners that would have a tough time once we got on the trail. At the siren, Bob Jackman (my main competition on snowshoes) took it out hard. I tried to keep my composure, but I was going faster than I wanted trying to not get behind too many non-snowshoe runners. I was feeling winded. Bad sign for a very long snowshoe race! I turned into the woods behind Bob, Aaron Rome (wearing only neoprene socks!), and trail shoe runners Tom B, Jeff, and Ben. I had two more runners closely following me.

Quite the assortment of footwear.  Photo by Jana Walker

Heading off to the sufferfest.  Photo by Off Rhode Racing

In the woods, I was able to get into a really good groove. I wasn't working too hard, as my breathing was smooth. My legs were turning over in the deep snow nicely, despite the unpacked conditions. I was surprised that the snowshoes didn't have an advantage in this type of snow as the regular shoe runners around me maintained their distance from me. I was getting concerned about the back of my legs. I was kicking up a lot of snow on them, and my tights were getting wet, making my legs cold and numb at times. I tried to convince myself that I was working too hard for frostbite.

As I neared a ridge at the one plus mile mark, I could see my competition ahead of me. Bob was still flying up front with Aaron in tow. They seemed to already have two minutes on me! I reached the ridge, and was now gaining on the three runners in front of me. I was still churning along at my consistent pace, so I guessed they were beginning to fatigue. It didn't seem like anyone was close behind me anymore. By the time we reached the North South Trail again, I was right on the heels of Ben. On a hill he let me pass, and then I quickly caught my teammates Jeff and Tom. I briefly wondered if they might catch me on the ensuing downhill, but that didn't happen. I maneuvered as quickly as I could through the droopy tree section, before the trail opened up in the campground. I was now alone on the course, and I began thinking about how numb my legs were again.

I made it to the plowed camp road at about the 3.5 mile mark feeling good. I knew I would be able to finish at my steady pace. I didn't hesitate to choose the death race option, and headed off back into the woods. Mike warned us that this trail was a mess and would be excruciatingly hard (we didn't have time to mark it the day before). I had plenty of energy and knew the trail well, so I hoped for the best. Maybe Bob was tiring just around the corner? My positivity had a setback when I found myself walking a few steps around a tree. The snow was so deep and my stride didn't match up with Mike's or Bob's. Was I seeing Aaron's sock prints?! I soon was finding myself walking the small hills and around annoying obstacles (becoming more and more frequent). No sign of Bob or Aaron, and I surmised they were battling it out minutes ahead of me. I felt secure in my position, and just focused on getting through this trail. More downed trees, and more deep snow. I knew I was getting closer to the road, but the trail kept getting harder.

Finally, I climbed over the last fallen pine tree and reached the road. I had a 1/4 mile left on the camp road. My legs felt like junk. I thought about ripping off my snowshoes. I decided to just finish the best I could. Looking back, I saw a runner on the road, but I thought he was not on the death course, but the shorter "long" course. As I closed in on the finish, Mike was gesturing to me to hurry up. The dude behind me in shoes was gaining fast! I managed to hold him off (turned out to be teammate Seth) for 3rd place on the death course, 2nd in snowshoes.

Last strides to the finish.  Watch out for Seth!  Photo by Jana Walker

Team WTAC.  Photo by Jana Walker

Results here

I was surprised to find out that Aaron won by a wide margin. It's funny to think that socks was the fastest footwear of the day. Bob finished about a minute ahead of me. I instantly began thinking about the what ifs, but I'm happy with how consistently I ran in snowshoes, and for such a long time - 58 and a half minutes! It was very festive at the finish line, and I had zero urge to run a cool down. Everyone had such an awesome experience today. I wasn't sure how this crazy race would turn out, but it was a smashing success. And maybe a once in a lifetime event in southern RI.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weekly Log 2-4-13 to 2-10-13

Late post this week thanks to a very busy week at work.  At least we have today (Friday) off for the blizzard.  I began the week really focused on easy runs looking to keep my legs fresh for Sunday's 10 mile tail race.  I bought new shoes over the weekend and ran with them Monday - Thursday.  They are New Balance Minimus Ionix 3090 - super light, but have a stiffer feel then Nike Free Runs and the bottom have a "cleat" feel to them.  I liked them in the store, but wasn't sure if I made a mistake when I laced them up before the first run.  I barely noticed them when running (which is a good sign).  They have alot better traction than the Free Runs on trails.  They're kind of "clackity" on pavement - still comfortable, but they seem better suited for trails (I'm not sure if that was NB's intention). 

Anyway, as the week went on, it became apparent the race (in its current form) may be in jeopardy.  Mike seems determined to put on some sort of event, so I'm prepared to race.  Kind of have a little cold going (just started Thursday night) which is annoying.

Monday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I wasn't super motivated the day after the Super 5K and it was chillier than I thought (because of a strong wind).  However, after slogging a couple of miles, I perked up, and was happy to complete the normal 10 mile circuit.  My pace was peppier than I thought too.  Total time: 1:12:07. 

Tuesday: 10.5 miles - SK trails, bike path, and roads with Galoob and Gunshow.  We received a coating of snow in the morning, and I wasn't surprised to get the text from Mike wanting to run in the snow.  I met up with the guys at the Tri Pond Park trails.  We ran trails on both sides of the bike path, before continuing west to the Teft Hill trails.  After some elevation gain, we ran some neighborhood roads, taking some short SKLT side trails along the way.  We then ran through Potter Woods, before making our way back.  We ran most of the Spring Forward course and more Tri Pond trails.  Good fun in the snow.  Total time: 1:19:33. 

 Wednesday: 7.5 miles - Ryan Park trails with 2 miles of roads mixed in alone.  I wanted to rest my body today and I had to run an errand, so I could only do a few miles at the nearby Ryan.  I took it easy, and spent my time watching my watch.  I was able to see what sections of trail the GPS loses contact.  It does a pretty good job, but there are spots that the pace just drops off the map.  At the halfway point, I hopped onto the road and did an out and back.  I then completed the "woods" course before tacking on some more single track just for fun.  Total time: 55:42. 

Thursday: 9 miles - Calf Pasture Point loops alone.  I again wasn't planning anything too exciting today, but I was happy with what I ended up doing.  I ran the Quonset bike path to the Calf Pasture Point loop segment I created.  I run the loop in whatever direction the wind will be at my back on the beach.  Today, with the NE wind, I ran clockwise.  It was a little chilly into the wind on the trail and bike path, but on the beach it was sunny and warm.  I had the idea of three loops if I could tolerate the repetitiveness, which I did.  I ran each one faster.  I was surprised by my pace on the last one, as the beach can be slow, and I wasn't working very hard (moderate?).  Total time: 1:03:10.  3 loops results (2.2 miles each):  17:00 (7:42 pace)/16:01 (7:16 pace)/14:44 (6:41 pace). 

Friday: 8 miles - Burlingame trails from my house alone.  I ran in the early snow at 8AM.  I had trouble sleeping dealing with a minor head cold, but my body felt normal, so I ran when I could.  The snow began at a moderate level right away, and with the wind it made visibility a challenge.  I wore a brimmed running hat (under a winter one) to keep the snow off my glasses, but it didn't work.  I had to carry them.  But the run itself was really fun.  Easy pace in the lonely expanse of Burlingame north.  My stated 5 mile run kept getting longer.  I tacked on some home trails to get to 8 for the day.  Total time: 1:06:11. 

Saturday: 5 miles - Burlingame snowshoe run with Galoob and Gunshow.  Lots of shoveling the two feet(ish) of snow in the morning.  Our road hadn't been plowed in over 12 hours and I was assuming tomorrow's trail race would be called off.  Not so fast!  Mike contacted me about joining him and Ben to go check out the course.  If the entrance and parking area were plowed the race would be on.  I debated the sanity of running through deep snow in the woods in the late afternoon, but it seemed like too much of an adventure not to do it.  The guys picked me up at my house and we were able to make it to the campground entrance.  It was plowed!  We then decided to mark the course by simply laying down tracks with snowshoes.  The snow had pinned down many trees to the ground, and it took us some time just to find the trail entrance.  Once on the trail, we basically had to lay tracks down based on memory, since so many trees were in the way and there was little evidence of where the trail would be under the snow.  The going was slow.  We tried running exclusively at first, but that quickly fizzled to walking the uphills.  That deteriorated to running occasionally as the going was slow and energy-draining.  The woods looked spectacular, especially in the fading light.  I was getting a tad nervous with the dropping temperatures and wind, and how slow our progress was going.  Mike had to alter the course through the campground and eventually we made it back to the plowed camp road.  We had already been out there an hour, and darkness was upon us.  We skipped the last section of trail and ran the road back to the car.  Total time: 1:09:46. 

Sunday: 7 miles - Brrr-lingame Snowy Sufferfest (5 Mile Trail Race) - 2nd place snowshoes division, 3rd overall (Sandals won wearing only socks).  Separate write up to follow. 

Weekly Total: 57 miles
Last Week: 61 miles
Year to Date: 361 miles

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Super 5K 2013

Like the Super Bowl, the Super 5K is quite the event, especially down here in southern RI.  I wasn't too concerned with my time today, as I'm immersed in the winter trail race season.  I trained a little too hard during the week, which wasn't going to help either.  My goal is to run sub 17 minutes in a 5K this year, but at this race I was hoping to be close to my PR of 17:21.  I decided that I'd be content with anything sub 17:30.

Like my previous races, I was relaxed pre-race.  I got to registration an hour early, and immediately began bumping into fellow WTAC teammates.  I made a plan to meet Justin for a warm up at 11:20 and returned to my car to prep for the race and pump myself up with some music.  I then met up with Mike G, Jeff, Justin, Tom, Mike C, and a few younger guys for a team warm up.  Instead of running the course, we ran over to the Canonchet Farm Trail.  It's a nice wide trail through some woods, although a little slick on the snow covered bridges.  I was hoping no one slipped!  We made it back with just under ten minutes to go.  I returned to my car and made final wardrobe decisions.  I opted for just shorts, singlet, and a hat.  The temperature was about 30 degrees, but the sun felt warm, and the wind wasn't bad.  I then ran the long way to the start line, trying to stay loose and warm.  I exchanged greetings with Matty P and then lined up behind him, and next to my teammates.

 Tucked in on the left.  Photo courtesy of Jana Walker.

I took off in control at the gun.  The level of competition was evident when I found myself  a lot further back than in smaller races.  I navigated my way through the crowd and then things settled down quickly.  I noticed Tom and Justin were ahead of me.  Jeff then joined me and we ran elbow to elbow for the length of the sea wall.  I knew I was in for a challenge when the first mile did not feel easy.  My legs already felt taxed.  I glanced at my watch and my pace was 5:27.  Not bad, but not confident that I could maintain it.  After the wall, the road slowly gains in elevation.  I knew from running intervals here recently that I needed to work harder or my pace would begin dropping.

I turned the corner onto Earles Court.  This is the only hill on the course, and for a 5K, feels steep and long.  The runner ahead of me was slowing and I surged past him.  Sprinting up the hill felt better on my legs.  I passed the 1 Mile mark at an announced 5:34 (5:32 on my watch).  I continued up the hill and then it finally leveled off.  I was probably 10 seconds or so behind a group of runners that included Justin and Tom.  I didn't hear anyone behind me.  Uh oh, I had fallen into no mans land!  

As I approached the cone turnaround I could see the leaders running towards me.  Matty P and Will Sanders were battling it out for first, and then after a gap it was Mike in 3rd!  I tried my best to make the 180 turn efficiently, but still felt like I walked around it.  The wind was now in my face.  At least I could watch the rest of the runners, and shout out to all the WTAC jerseys. I made the turn to now head down Earles Court. I finished Mile 2 in 5:55. Wow, was it really that much slower? I tried to pick it up as I descended the rest of this road. At the sea wall, a course marshall told me I was in the top 10 and had no one close behind me. I didn't have anyone very close in front of me either. Okay, time to dig deeper, fight the wind, and finish this thing.

Squinting at the clock - maybe I should have worn my glasses! 
Photo courtesy of Jana Walker. 

As I made my way to the towers, I glanced at my watch. My pace was in the 5:30's again. I was slowly gaining on the person in front of me, but I didn't have the leg strength or mental fight in me today to make a bold move. I was relieved to be almost done. I passed the Mile 3 marker not noticing my split (5:36). The runner I was slowly reeling in was closer than ever, but now went into sprint mode. I did too, knowing that I could at least finish strong. I crossed the line in 17:35, 32 second last .1 mile (4:52 pace). A little slower than I hoped.

Official Results

I was greeted by my teammates who finished ahead of me. I couldn't wait to hear how they did. Justin ran really strong and just missed going under 17 minutes. Mike was just over 16. We then watched the rest of the team finish up, young and old. WTAC was everywhere and dominated the team competition. This race is such a fun event.

Team WTAC.  Photo courtesy of Jana Walker.