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