Ho hum. Another crappy weather week ahead. It's hard to get excited about my daily runs when it's mid-March and still 35 degrees. Last year this week, it was 70+ degrees 7 days straight. I hope to log alot of miles and have a couple of good workouts. I'll get it done, but I might not enjoy it. We'll see.
Monday: 10 miles - Quonset Bike Path (8M) with Calf Pasture Beach (2M) mixed in near the end. Ah, the classic run harder than I planned because I was racing myself on pavement routine. This is another reason why I should stick to trails. My legs felt rather lackluster today, but I can't help but try to maintain a pace once I see it on my watch. I did an out and back on the main bike path, mostly running 6:30's. I wasn't really enjoying the pace, but I wanted to maintain it until I reached the beach (6+ miles in). Unfortunately, the sand was really soft, so despite an equivalent effort, my pace dropped to about 8 minute pace. It was difficult, even with the wind at my back on the way back. My pace quickened once on the bike path again, and it felt easier. I was really pushing the last mile, but I didn't have much spring in my step. Total time: 1:08:07. Decent run. I still don't feel like I'm at the same fitness level pre-virus.
Tuesday: 8 miles - NK roads alone. Really terrible weather - mid 30's with rain in varying intensity. I was able to get out the car door and begin this run. I parked at Ryan Park off Lafayette Rd, but the trails were snow/slush covered and not an appealing option. Either was the other option, but I just went with it - roads. Unfortunately, I picked busy roads with narrow shoulders. I tried to avoid most puddles when cars weren't coming. I dressed about as well as I could, but still got soaked to the bone. I might have enjoyed this wet run if it was warmer and less traffic. Total time: 57:37.
Wednesday: 8+ miles - SC Bike Path 6x400 workout with Mike G. I was excited to meet up with Mike late in the afternoon for a track workout at CCMS. Unfortunately, the entire track was mobbed with track practice. We wandered around for awhile and checked again (still packed) before deciding to use the bike path for intervals. I always enjoy Mike's workout plans, and today the key was going to be fast paced recoveries. We used a marked quarter mile on the bike path - I cannot confirm or deny it is certified by Ray Nelson. It's flat, but not completely straight. Mike, who had a pleasant hacking cough, was going to run at my pace. My legs were pretty sore going into the workout and I was nervous that I had lost any speed gained on previous track sessions months ago. Off we went. The first one felt easy for the first 200 meters, and then I could tell I was going too fast. 70 seconds - too fast and unmaintainable. I stopped for a second to catch my breath, but Mike was ordering me to pick it back up for a marathon pace (ish) recovery (about 6:50). We backtracked and then repeated the process. We didn't talk about how many repeats we were shooting for (I assumed 8), but I could tell after 3, that 6 was going to be plenty with the speedy "recoveries". Results: 70/76/77/77/77/75. This was a solid workout. We ran back and checked the track again (still busy) before embarking on and easy out and back cool down on the bike path. Total time: 1:00:00.
Thursday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone. This was just an easy recovery run. I made it a point to run trails today and not look at my watch. My legs were tired, but I was able to have a good attitude throughout the run, so I felt relatively good. I was happy to even see my shadow a couple of times, since the weather forecast was for snow. It was nice to see ospreys today - both on the nest at the top of Point Judith Pond and on the nest at the Ryan Park softball field. I even ran through some gnats on the roots trail (despite the high 30's temperature). Total time: 1:14:24.
I updated my potential race schedule in case anyone is interested. Please let me know if I missed anything....
Friday: 14 miles - Big River trails with Galoob. We met up at the always sketchy Exit 7 Park and Ride with the goal of plotting out the upcoming Big River Half Marathon course. We ran the 1/4 mile down the road to the probable start/finish on the New London Turnpike (dirt road). We then ran clockwise around Carr Pond utilizing Foster's Folly, Spider, Water Tower, and the other single track trails around Carr Pond before climbing the hill to the Hopkins Hill Road lot (5+ miles in - probable unmanned aid station). We then descended back down the hill and navigated the tricky rocky single track near the streams and then up on the ridge. We then turned west and then headed south back along the west side of the ridge. The first half of the race is going to be awesome and extremely challenging. Eventually, we met up with a wider trail that took us west towards the New London Turnpike. We then followed mtn bike tracks down a side trail that we linked up to the trail along the north side of Tarbox Pond. The mileage seemed to be working out nicely, and there's an opportunity near the road to set up another aid station at the 8+ mile mark. We finished up by taking Dead Shed to Lego. Mike was wearing his footpod, and we hit 13.1 miles at the 12 mile mark on my GPS watch. We still weren't back to the projected finish, but the good news was that there was enough trails to get the full half marathon in. We did link back up with the New London Turnpike right near the finish and then ran the last bit of road back to the cars. 14.1 miles on the footpod, 13 miles on the GPS watch. We both were getting hungry out there, especially since the run ended up being just over 2 hours! This race is going to be epic.
Saturday: 7 miles - Burlingame trails alone. Late AM start (10:00) on this easy recovery run. My legs were feeling tired from yesterday, and running seemed better for them than not. I entered the park from Burdickville Rd and then ran the trails down to the river and back around to Buckeye Brook Rd. My legs really felt like junk on the climbs. I crossed the road and then ran yellow dot to the high rocky part of Sammy C's. I was feeling good now. I then caught up to another runner on this remote section. It was a guy named John who I had met on a group run before. We chatted for a few minutes until the trail split and we went our separate ways. I ran the hilly mile on the road back to my house. It felt easy, but was a rather snappy 7:08. I added some home trails to get my time to 54:20. Long run tomorrow - hope my legs are ready.
Sunday: 19 miles - Burlingame trails with Mike G, Aaron, Seth, and John. The plan was to meet up at the Schoolhouse Pond lot and run 8 miles easy followed by 8 miles at 50K race pace. This part would be done as an out and back on the Vin Gormley trail to avoid the 9AM mtn bike race and the zoo at the picnic area. I decided the night before to just run from my house to the start of the run since it was less than 2 miles away. This was good, because we ended up having less time than originally planned. We began by running the dirt road down to Schoolhouse Pond and then loop back on the trail (in bad shape with massive white pine destruction from Sandy). From there we crossed into Burlingame and ran a fun technical loop. Back near the cars, John left, and the rest of us prepared for the hard portion of the workout. I checked the distance on my watch, but not the time - it was somewhere between 70 and 75 minutes in (8+ easy miles). Mike was wearing his footpod so I was assuming that the turn arount point would be before my watch reached 4 GPS miles. We all took off at a good clip - probably closer to trail half marathon pace than trail 50K pace. It's hard to know how fast to go, but the spirit of the workout was to run at a good pace after already logging a bunch of miles. I was going to sniff my PR weekly mileage total, so my legs were pretty worked over by the time we began. I initally was behind Aaron, who was moving really quickly, but he pulled over for me to go by. I kept up his fast pace (who knows what it was - no thanks space watch). I could see Mike ahead of me for a while, but eventually he disappeared. Running hard on the trails is way more fun than on roads. I was pretty sure I was overdoing it, but it was a blast. I hit the short road section and my watch was reading 6:47 - 6:52 pace. Back in the woods south of Buckeye Brook Rd heading towards Klondike, I was able to keep up the pace. Even my watch was showing low 7's. After crossing the rock gardens I passed Mike coming in the opposite direction. He told me where the turnaround point was. When I reached it, it was the exact 4 mile point on GPS, so now I don't know what to think about the footpod. Anyway, I soon crossed paths with Aaron and Seth. They were moving fast. On the way back I had to run off the trail (rather than stopping) for numerous mtn bikers out prepping for their race. It all worked out, except for the cuts on my shins. After the road section, the trail turns technical, and mostly uphill. My legs were hurting here, but I kept up the intensity if not the pace. As I was nearing the intersection with Schoolhouse Pond Trail, Mike had backtracked to me. We ran together briefly, and then I stopped to chat as he had to go in a different direction to go help out at the race. Three mtn bikers passed me as I talked, and when I restarted (less than a half mile to go) I realized the bikers were going alot slower than me. I awkwardly followed them (feeling jerky trying to pass) until they realized I was there and let me go by. It was kind of a weird finish to my 8 mile interval! Instead of stopping at the end point, I relaxed my pace and continued on until the next intersection where we had dropped off extra clothes. A couple of minutes later Seth and Aaron arrived. I then had to make my way back to my house, and I was running short on time. I ran Sammy C's out to Shumankanuc Hill Rd, and then had to run a hilly final mile on pavement. Total running time: 2:34:04.
Overall: Big week, 2nd most miles ever, and I had alot of fun on the trails. My confidence is building again, and I hope to really run well next Saturday at the Big River race.
Weekly Total: 76 miles
Last Week: 44 miles
Year to Date: 678 miles