Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weekly Log 1-28-13 to 2-3-13

This should be another "taper" week for me as I'm racing the Super 5K in Narragansett on Sunday.  A PR would be nice, but history has shown that I'm not at my fastest for these early road 5K's.  We'll see.  I'm not going to keep the intensity that low again this week just for this race.  I'm more interested in a strong performance the following week at the Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race. 

Monday:  6 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I headed out in the light snow to go pick up the flags from the race on the western side of the park.  This was just what I was looking for today, as it was very relaxing.  Total time: 53:06. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Wickford roads alone.  What to do today?  Despite the warmish temperature (high 30's) the damp overcast conditions made things a bit dreary.  The trails seemed like they would be too messy, and the roads would be full of puddles (melting snow).  I decided to run from my office on a route that I know to be in decent shape for these conditions.  Right away, I felt pretty smooth and I knew I was going at a good pace (refusing to look at my watch).  I decided to keep it up for the duration.  It felt hard at times, especially during miles 3 through 5.  Then it got easier until I upped the intensity the last two miles.  I swear that the GPS was off a tad, as I mapped it online and was expecting an earlier finish point.  Whatever.  Strava had my 10 mile time as 1:02:15 - 6:13 pace.  It felt good to do a run like this. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - Quonset bike path and roads alone.  I wanted to get in some short intervals, so I utilized my favorite open, flat, and straight road in Quonset to do a 12x200 workout.  The wind was howling out of the SW, so I made sure to run with the wind on all of them.  This required backtracking on most of my recoveries (full 200's).  My legs felt sore today, but I got through the workout without issues.  Warm today (57 degrees) - shorts and t-shirt weather.  I felt hot running with the wind, and chilly running into it.  My warm up was mostly into the wind, but ended up being a rather snappy 7:04 pace for 18 minutes.  The intervals felt a little sloppy in the beginning, but then I got into a good groove.  Results:  34,37,36,35,33,33,33,32,34,34,34,34  Longish cooldown that felt terrible at times completely exposed to the wind.  My legs were fatiguing so I stopped at 9.12 miles.  Total time: 1:03:06. 

Thursday: 11.5 miles - Big River trails alone.  I began the day sore and unmotivated, but the warm sun perked me up and I decided to take advantage of a quiet day at work and head out to Big River.  I pulled into the Hopkins Hill lot, and it was teeming with mountain bike activity - middle-aged men in orange fiddling with the bikes.  I wasn't sure my exact itinerary, but I decided to begin by running around Carr Pond.  I was expecting my legs to feel like junk once I got moving, but they were holding up well.  I was feeling rather low energy-wise the first 30 minutes.  I'm blaming it on having soda with lunch instead of the usual water.  Anyway, I was moving along at a comfortable clip that was probably high 7's pace.  The shelter of the woods was perfect for avoiding the screaming winds.  The sun and warmish temperature felt fantastic!  I ran the usual circuit of trails: Pinto, Flipper, Water Tower, Upper Spider, Ridge.  I successfully was able to connect to Foster's Folly, something I couldn't figure out last fall, although I'm not sure I can remember exactly how I did it today.  This trail seemed more twisty than I remembered and may have been my favorite spot on today's run.  I popped out onto the New London Turnpike and headed west to the mannequin trail.  I have to say the mannequin is not in great shape, but is still quite creepy.  I continued past the vacuum and then reached the Turnpike once again.  I then followed Dead Shed (some new fallen trees to climb through) back towards Tarbox Pond.  I looped down around the pond, but didn't feel like attempting the beaver dam crossing (I leave that for the Turtles!).  I hit Hopkins Hill Road at 1:29, so I just tucked back into the woods and did the steep climb up to the parking lot to complete my "loop".  I loved this run!  Total time: 1:33:41. 

Friday: 7.5 miles - Exeter backroads & Queens River Preserve trails with Galoob and Gunshow.  We car shuttled from Barber's Pond and began our run in the preserve.  Mike led us on a tour of this smallish trail system.  The river is really impressive here, and there is a single track trail through mountain laurel above the river which was nice.  We then began heading south on dirt roads.  The pace was probably a bit too fast to be called easy, but it was an enjoyable run.  Total time: 55:31. 

Saturday: 7 miles - DuVal trail early morning group run.  Eight of us met up at 6:30AM for a relaxed trail run.  Had to laugh at Jeff pulling into the parking lot blasting "Running with the Devil" on his radio.  After a quick check of the message board to see if there's been any recent cougar activity (no missing pet signs), we headed off.  Most of us were doing a shorter run, as we were racing the next day, but others were doing a long run.  It was fun to move back and forth and conversate with different people along the way.  After some indecision, we ran the dirt road out to Gravelly Hill where we then bid the long runners adieu.  We returned to DuVal and split up in 3 ways, depending on who needed to get back when.  I finished up with Muddy in 56:25. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Super 5K in Narragansett, RI.  10th overall - 17:35.  Huge WTAC turnout and team win.  I had a blast at this event, but had a subpar race.  Separate write up to follow. 

Overall:  I had a great week of training, but unfortunately it was too much for my legs come race day.    I knew this going in - I'm more focused on the 10 mile trail race next Sunday, but I still feel some disappointment.  I'm going to really play it smart next week. 

Weekly Total: 61 miles
Last Week: 58 miles
Year to Date: 304 miles

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Belleville Pond Trail 10K 2013

Race #3 of the South County 4th Season Series was the Belleville Pond Trail 10K.  The course was essentially the same as last year, except for a new single track section that paralleled a less exciting segment from last year.  The course lies within the boundaries of Ryan Park, a place where I have been running once or twice a week for the last seven or eight years.  Familiarity was not going to be an issue, but footwear choice was.  The trails had about an inch or two of light snow on them, packed down in most places.  Visually, this was appealing, but choosing the right combination of shoes with or without traction devices was weighing on my mind.  I run most of the time in Nike Free Runs, but also carry a trunk full of trail shoes with me.  My options were lightweight trail shoes with YakTrax (since my trail shoe options all have poor traction in snow), my trusty old Inov8 Roclite 295's (bulkier and heavier than I'd like to race in, but excellent traction, no YakTrax necessary), or what I eventually settled on - Nike Frees with YakTrax.  I had a lightweight shoe I'm comfortable racing in, with the traction of the YakTrax.

I did a good job of tapering prior to this race, something I've only recently got better at.  I still ran everyday, but limiting the intensity, especially cutting out intervals, really had my legs feeling fresh for the race.  I was less nervous and jittery the night before and pre race, and feeling oddly confident. I guess this was due to feeling strong physically, knowledge of the course, and happy to figure out my footwear.

I headed out solo to the race, pumping myself up with some old favorite tunes.  At registration, I met up with my brothers - Greg, who was not racing here (going for a WR in the 4x800 later that day!), but there to watch, and Glenn, who we talked into it the night before.  My dad also was running, and has not missed one of these series races yet in two years.  Justin was also there early.  He and I headed out for a warm up after we sat in our cars with the heat on for a few minutes.  The day was nice enough, with the temperature about 20 degrees and sunny.  The problem was that the wind made things frigid, especially as we first ran by the pond.  The shelter of the woods allowed us to finally feel warm (and overdressed).  On the rail bed, we ran into a group of Turtles (TNT), and Justin instinctively picked up a snowball and threw it at them.  You've got to love running club rivalries!  After exchanging pleasantries, we kept on with our warm up.  Justin and I began worrying about our pace.  Why did they look so fast and effortless?  Should we be running faster?  We finished up our 4 miles with 10 minutes left to race time.  This seemed perfect, although unplanned.  I had enough time to retie my shoes, adjust my YakTrax, and get my racing gear on - thin technical long sleeve with WTAC singlet over it, hat, and thin crappy gloves (as I may be the only runner whose hands don't get cold).

There were plenty of familiar faces at the starting line.  I lined up with my teammates Justin and Jeff on one side, while the Turtles lined up on the other.  In between was series champ Derek J.  I kept telling myself "Don't go out too fast!", but after a slow start by everyone the first 100 meters, I ended up out in front.  My first thought was that I hoped my brother Greg couldn't see me, as he wouldn't approve of this strategy.  The pace seemed relaxed, and it was what I was comfortable with, hopefully for the duration.  I kept waiting for someone to take over the lead, but everyone seemed content to follow closely behind me.  Despite being in this strange position, I did my best to just run my own race.  I knew the best lines and where are the small hills were.  I was still in first when I hit the flat, wider rail bed.

Turtles on the left, WTAC on the right, Derek in the middle

This is where I expected the faster guys to make their move.  At the one mile mark, Derek passed me, with Bob Jackman in tow.  They were really moving, and I now focused on staying with whomever was behind me, assuming this was going to be my battle.  I could hear plenty of footsteps and heavy breathing.  I was hoping to hold them off on this easy section, and gain an advantage back on the trails.  Near the end of this straightaway I could hear the young Principe moving very close behind me.  I dug in, and held him off before we spilled out into the icy parking lot.

We then entered the field section, and I seemed to have gained some breathing room.  Just ahead Derek made a wrong turn, but quickly got back on course.  There then is a steep short hill on the power line, and I was able to make up ground on the two leaders.  I shouted ahead for them to make the sharp left on a very tricky section.  It's a narrow and overgrown side trail to avoid a very wet and muddy section in the power line.  Bob slid on a turn and I caught up to him.  I decided to surge past him, and use my knowledge of this technical spot to my advantage.  I remained in second as we popped back out onto the power line and made our way up another short steep hill that leads to the trail along Route 4.

I really like this trail, and think of it being flat for the first half, and then hilly the second.  Bob passed me early on during the first section.  He was only a couple of seconds ahead, and when we reached the first hill, I was able to close the gap, and then pass.  I now hammered every uphill knowing that he has more speed than me, and was making up ground on the downhills in particular.  I was able to stay in front of him as we reached the southwest corner of the park.  Here the course turns back to the north and you are able to briefly see the runners behind you.  Besides Bob on my heels, I was surprised to not see anyone.  It didn't seem right.  At this point (the 3 mile mark), I wasn't sure how fast I was still going, and if I could keep it up for another 5K! 

I reached the field and felt really warm with the wind at my back and the sun in my face.  As I approached the parking lot, I saw Greg encouraging me on.  He told me that I could catch the leader (Derek), who was only 15 seconds or so ahead.  I was more focused on holding off Bob, who was again right on me after a fast descent into the woods.  I figured that I could really attack the twisty single track here - knowing every turn and obstacle would again be an advantage.  Carrying out this plan proved tough, as my legs were losing some steam.  I made a huge leap over a waist high downed tree - one I usually carefully climb over on training runs.  I again sprinted the small hills, but there was no shaking Bob.  Mentally, this was a bit defeating, and I was expecting him to pass me once we got back onto the wide rail bed. 

We turned sharply off the single track trail and were now on the rail bed, with a little less than 2 miles to go.  I allowed my legs to go faster on this easy stretch.  Bob didn't make a move to pass me.  At times he felt closer than ever, and I tried to pick up my pace.  Nearing the end, he made a move and passed, but  I quickly countered.  Finally, as we eclipsed the 5 mile mark, he made another surge, and passed me for good.  This is the one part of my race that I'm not content with.  I didn't try to fight back and sort of settled for my position behind him.  I'm not sure I could have beat him - but I might have been able to make it more interesting. 

I peeked back before we entered the next single track section to see if anyone could chase me down.  I knew the last mile was pretty technical, and that I would be able to run it faster than most.  If I didn't see anybody, then I could relax, and finish my race.  When I looked, there was no one in sight.  I looked again.  Still no one.  I continued to follow Bob by about five seconds, waiting to see if he faltered on any of the hills or obstacles.  He was finishing strong, and that was that.  I mustered up a mad sprint down the final hill to the finish line, again being cheered on by Greg. 

last few strides to the finish

Final time 38:56, 6 seconds behind Bob, 19 seconds behind Derek.  I congratulated both of them, and then watched to see how the team battle would turn out.  Justin finished next, and there was a gap between him and the next Turtle (Principe Jr).  So far so good, WTAC in the lead.  The top three times score, so it wasn't over yet.  After another gap, the third Turtle crossed the line (Principe Sr).  I could then see Jeff rounding the final turn, and began screaming to/at him.  It was going to be very close.  We then watched other friends, family, and teammates finish their respective races.  Everyone had a smile on their face.  Trail races, especially in the cold and snow, will do that.  It's a blast!

Official Results here

I put on more clothes, ate half a donut, and drank a cup of scalding hot chocolate.  Justin and I headed out for a cool down, that became less ambitious the further we got.  I was definitely heading into bonk mode and couldn't wait to get back to the closing ceremonies for water and a bagel.  I collected my prize for 3rd place, and then learned that the Turtles eeked out another team victory.  What really hurt was their prize - a case of Long Trail Hibernators - one of my favorites!  We'll be battling them again soon enough.  Kudos to Mike and his family for putting on another great event! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weekly Log 1-21-13 to 1-27-13

I began this week a little worn out from Sunday's Pachaug adventure with Mike.  I still was motivated to run on the holiday, excited to easily scamper around the Carter Preserve.  With Monday night's snow (about 3" here), and forecasted cold, I guess the trails will be snow covered all week.  It should make for an interesting race on Sunday - the Belleville Pond Trail 10K.  My plan is to run the course today (Wednesday).  Yaktrax might be the way to go for this race.  I decided against intervals this week.  I want to let my legs continue to freshen up to 100% for Sunday.  This doesn't mean I won't be running!  I still hope to get out there everyday, no matter how cold. 

Monday: 8 miles - Carter Preserve trails alone.  I parked at the Rte 112 lot, and did my normal course, hitting up all the trails.  The frozen ground didn't feel good on my tired and sore feet.  Wasn't it just 52 degrees yesterday?  24 today on my run.  No animal or human encounters out there.  My time ended up being much faster than the 1:05 - 1:08 I projected - 1:00:56. 

Afternoon hike/trail run with my kids in the Champlin Glacier Park.  There were no gazelle sightings, but my son learned the thrill of "gazelling" down hills (on the Green Dot trail). 

Tuesday: 10+ miles - Great Swamp snowy trails with Galoob and Gunshow.  I had a planned half day at work, and was anticipating a solo run maybe on the beach, but Mike contacted me about running in the snow.  We met up with Ben at the Kingston station and ran briefly on the bike path before darting into the woods.  We were on trails I had never been on, and eventually we linked up with the powerline trails.  The gusty wind and low 20 degree temperature made things chilly at times, but the bright sun also made it feel warm sometimes too.  It was fun running on new trails, and the pace felt snappy in the snow (and still tired feet).  We then ran around the pond on trails that I was familiar with.  We reached the far side and began running up the hill.  I began feeling really good here, and I ran the next sections well.  Was it the motivation of Strava segments?  Soon enough, as we made our way back through the powerlines, I found myself dragging a bit behind the other two.  They were moving well through the snow.  Total time: 1:22:16.  I wanted to call this run 11 miles. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  16 degrees and windy.  At least the sun was out?  I parked at the athletic fields with the plan of running the upcoming 10K course.  I began at the basketball court and headed out.  I felt cold right away, and remained cold until about the 2 mile mark.  The trails have about 1or 2 inches of fluffy snow on them, a little less where there are more tracks.  I ran with my lightweight New Balance MT10's with Yaktrax.  This was a good combination, but the snow still made things slipperier (sp?) and slower overall.  I was pushing myself fairly hard.  I was the first human to break the trail near Rte 4.  Any hill (all small) felt particulary grueling with the snow.  I made my way to the new single track along the pond.  It was fun to run this stretch at a faster pace than usual.  I returned to rail bed and then had a fast finish on the last trail section.  Total time for the course: 43:49.  I'm not sure if Mike will use the same start/finish line after he measures it on his bike.  I then had a nice easy cool down on the trails around the pond and fields to get 9 for the day. 

Thursday: 9 miles - Lafayette and Slocum roads alone.  Although the temperature was a little higher than yesterday (20), the screaming winds made things a bit chillier on today's run.  This is partly because I was more exposed on roads.  I parked at Ryan Park off Lafayette Road.  I thought about experimenting with trail shoes without Yaktrax on the 10K course, but the shoes I wanted to use were frozen with ice in my trunk.  Okay, now what?  I decided against the trails, and thought I would run on the nearby roads.  At first, I was running into the wind and uphill.  I wasn't looking at my watch, so I couldn't tell if I was running fast or slow.  I was on the cold side until I reached Dry Bridge Road and had the wind at my back.  The vehicle traffic picked up in intensity as I continued to Exeter Road and then Lafayette Road.  I was getting closer to my car, so I opted to explore the Audobon Road neighborhood before returning to Lafayette.  I told myself that if my watch beeped 8 miles before I reached my car then I would keep running until 9 miles.  That's what happened.  I ended up running 9.1 miles in 1:01:56 (6:50 pace). 

Friday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails and beach with Galoob.  Easy run on the snow packed trails and frozen shoreline.  Much warmer today - 25 degrees and light winds.  I was happy that the tide was low enough to show Mike the new exposed beach south of Plum Beach.  I was tempted to make this run longer, but I need to be smart about the race on Sunday.  Total time: 1:05:04. 

Saturday: 1.5+ miles - Burlingame trail run with my son.  This was his longest run ever (1.6 on GPS) and almost 26 minutes.  We did a lollipop course from Buckeye Brook Rd heading south on Vin Gormley and then looping back on a couple of unmarked old doubletrack.  The trails were snow covered, and my son would continually reach down and grab some to eat along the way.  This course was rather hilly, and I'm not sure he had as much fun as last week.  But he still seems to look forward to these trail runs and I'm happy to run with him! 

Sunday: 12.5 miles - Belleville Pond Trail 10K - 3rd overall! 38:56 - well over 2 minute PR.  Separate write up to follow. 

Overall:  I began the week with lingering fatigue from lots of miles and workouts.  By lowering the miles and intensity, I felt strong leading into Sunday's race.  I also felt rather calm on race day.  Confident too.  I need to remember this week and carry it forward on future race weeks, starting with the next two! 

Weekly Total: 58 miles
Last Week: 70 miles
Year to Date: 243 miles

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Weekly Log 1-14-13 to 1-20-13

I'm looking for another high quantity and quality week and then keep the intensity lighter next week for the upcoming Bellevue Pond Trail 10K.  I'm bummed about missing the Big River sufferfest last Sunday, and hope to get in a long trail adventure with the crew this weekend, unless I go to NH.  If that's the case, then I might get to do some more snowshoe runs.  No more snow, and not much mud left around here. 

Monday: 11 miles - Calf Pasture Point & Mount View roads, beach, and trails alone.  My legs were unusually tight at the start, which I'm blaming on wearing my New Balance MT10's on yesterday's long trail run.  I'm not used to that distance in "barefoot" shoes.  Anyway, the weather was obnoxious - 62 degrees and sunny at the start, with a light breeze.  My plan was to run the Calf Pasture Point beach and trail loop 2 or 3 times and assess what I wanted to do from there.  After the 2nd loop, I decided to check out the beach north of Mount View.  Then I ran the grid of roads in this neighborhood for a while.  After 9 miles I headed back on the bike path, and since I was at 10.4, I decided to tack on more to get a full 11 on the day.  Total time: 1:24:17. 

Tuesday: 10+ miles - Ryan Park trails with Mike G.  We met up at the athletic fields to run the upcoming 10K course.  I had a few tweaks in mind (newer single track to use) that I wanted to show him.  The weather was much cooler (41 degrees) and overcast.  The newish single track will probably work out well, but mostly the course should be the same.  I decided to push the "Roots Run" Strava segment.  We were almost derailed by an unleashed dog on a very narrow section, but I was able to regroup and retake the KOM from my coworker - sorry Dan.  We finished up the course and then headed out for some more miles.  We took the road up to the high lot, and then I showed Mike a few different cool sections that aren't part of the course.  I again decided to go for a long Strava segment on the rail bed and was able to eek out a PR.  It was fun, but we'll see how I feel running the hill repeats tomorrow.  Total time: 1:18:20. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Yawgoo 3 x hilly 5K workout with Muddy, Galoob, and Gunshow.  I was able to join the guys for a hill workout today at 4PM, beginning at the ski lodge.  I was happy to hear that we were not going to just repeat last week's brutal and demoralizing routine, but run laps around the block, which happens to be 3.1 miles.  We began with the steep hill right away and then it evens out, decends for a long time, rises, falls again, and then levels out with some rollers.  After attacking a couple of segments yesterday, I was content just to go with the flow, and not worry about results.  Running straight up the steep hill with no warm up hurt.  It took a couple of miles to get back to normal breathing.  We completed the first loop, at a moderate to easy pace.  After a quick stop to drop gear, we began the second loop.  I made sure to not attack the hill too hard and my breathing was much better at the top.  The overall pace was still on the moderate side.  I jumped right into loop #3,  feeling a time crunch.  I climbed nicely, and then increased my pace on the flat section.  I was getting into a good groove, so I picked it up even more, and felt like I was going low 5 minute pace on the endless down hill section (it was too dark to read my watch).  I was beginning to hear footsteps behind me which I recognized as Mike's.  I also was coming to a long (but not that steep) hill.  My goal was to keep motoring up the hill and avoid being passed.  In the dark, it was impossible to know when the hill was going to end.  Finally, the road leveled off, and then dropped.  Mike went screaming by me  and disappeared by the end.  I was able to maintain a high intensity pace through the finish.  I did a very short cool down and then had to leave. 

3 x 5K results: 22:59/21:30/18:20

Total time: 1:08:52 Elevation gain: 822'

Thursday: 9 miles - Saunderstown roads alone.  The Rome Point lot was full of cars, and the idea of zigzagging through the trails full of people and dogs was not at all appealing to me.  So I kept driving to the park and ride lot and began my run there.  My idea was to run a loop, and maybe check out the trails in Camp Nokewa.  I ended up running the roads of Plum Point and then continuing south on Rte 1A and ran around neighborhoods on either side of the road.  I kept the pace very comfortable and never looked at my watch.  I wasn't excited about the two mile finish into the chilly wind, but it was a good challenge mentally.  Total time: 1:06:30. 

Friday: 11 miles - Narragansett intervals with Galoob and Gunshow.  Ugh.  This was a bit of a grind.  The weather was cold and windy.  We met up in Wakefield and then ran some roads and the Canonchet Farm Trail to the wall in Narragansett.  The plan was for some long intervals on the upcoming Super 5K course.  The good news was that the chilly wind would be at our back for the most part.  The bad news is that it became apparent we were all dealing with dead legs from Wednesday's hillwork.  The first interval was to be 1.5 miles from the race start to the turnaround point.  I felt good at first cruising along the seawall.  My pace was snappy.  Then at the end of the wall (about 1K in) my body felt terrible and my pace was dropping.  I turned the corner onto the castle road and was now running uphill and into the wind.  This was awful.  I felt uncoordinated and slow.  I turned the next corner and finished up the best I could, at least with the wind at my back again and level (or slightly downhill) terrain.  I didn't know the exact place to stop and I ended up going 1.53 miles in 8:43 (5:41 pace).  We regrouped and jogged back to the pier.  We decided to use just the seawall as the interval distance, thinking it was about 1200 meters.  It turned out to be 1000.  I felt good for a while, but this distance felt really long.  The next one felt really hard, and my form was starting to go.  Results: 3:24/3:28.  We decided to stop the intervals and head back.  I was feeling really slow and tired at times.  I did enjoy running the trail though.  Total time: 1:21:14. 

Saturday: 1+ miles - Burlingame trails with my son.  After yesterday's debacle, I had decided to rest up today and hope that tomorrow I would feel good for the long run.  I mentioned to my 7 yr old about running a mile on our home trails at breakfast.  He said he wanted to run, but that the home loops were beginning to get a little boring.  Well said.  He then came up with his own course in Burlingame that ended up being 1.2 miles on GPS.  He had his longest run of 17:26, and this was on some of the best single track around.  Fun afternoon spent playing on boats at the boat show in Providence and Indian food for dinner. 

Sunday: 18+ (or 19?) miles - Pachaug trails with Galoob.  This was an awesome long run on trails I had never been on.  Mike did an awesome write up on his blog here.  For me, it took me some time (45 minutes?) to relax and get into a good groove.  I wore my old Inov-8's that are sure-footed, but feel clunky after two hours.  I like the mix of single track and old dirt roads.  The farm was sketchy.  The single track climb up Mt. Misery is legit, and despite being near the end of the run, felt good (but really hard!).  The pace was comfortable throughout, a little snappy at the end.  Total running time was just over 2 hours 30 minutes. 

Overall: Solid week of training.  Lots of highlights.  Race week coming up, so I'll tone down the intensity and mileage. 

Weekly Total: 70 miles
Last Week: 65 miles
Year to Date: 185 miles

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weekly Log 1-7-13 to 1-13-13

I'm hoping for a bigger week mileage-wise (65ish).  The weather should be more pleasant, even mild.  The trails will probably be a mess with melting snow and ground thawing.  I'll probably choose to spend more time on pavement then I'd typically like. 

Monday: 10 miles - North Kingstown roads (7+M) with Calf Pasture Point beach and trails (2+M) alone.  I'm not sure why I felt so good today.  The race on Sunday left my upper hamstrings tight (from sliding on the ice probably), but everything else was fine.  So instead of running an easy recovery run of 6 to 8 miles, I opted to stretch it out to 10, at a moderate pace (but I wasn't checking my watch).  I began on the bike path, which was a mess of hard packed snow and ice, with the occasional clear spots.  I left the path for the open roads: Potter to Essex to Potowamut to Old Forge to Quidnesset.  It's a mix of woodsy neighborhoods with too many cars and not a wide enough shoulder.  Not unpleasant, but not my cup of tea either.  I made my way to Mount View, and ran a few roads until my watch beeped 7 miles.  Then I jumped onto the beach and ran around the point.  I was sweating with the wind at my back and the sun in my eyes.  Once the beach ended, I had to run on the wide trail back to the bike path.  The trail was a mess!  It looked like mud season in NH.  I slogged through it and then finished up the last mile on the bike path at a good clip.  Total time: 1:12:22. 

Tuesday: 7+ miles - Cuttyhunk trails and surrounding dirt roads alone.  This day was incredibly close to being a zero.  My body was feeling tired from the race finally, and I couldn't think of where to run.  I took it as a sign to not run for the first time since December 7th.  But something made me get outside and figure something out.  I didn't need to run physically, but mentally I was demanding it.  I thought of Rhody Seth's recent run in Cuttyhunk and decided to go run there, even though the place creeps me out.  I figured I could run a loop of trails a couple of times or run some of the adjacent unimproved dirt roads, depending on the footing.  I wore my trusty old Inov-8's and at the last second, decided against Yaktrax.  The trails had some traffic on them, but the snow was still soft.  My footing was okay.  As I got further away from my car, I began noticing some huge paw prints on the trail.  I was hoping it was a large dog, but why didn't I see them before and I'm not sure dogs are even allowed in here.  I tried not to think they were mountain lions, but that didn't work.  I was now running scared and couldn't wait to get to the sketchy dirt road.  I reached the road and ran east until I was getting close to pavement, and then turned around and headed west.  The road was still snow covered, but packed down by truck tires.  Despite the easy pace, I decided to press on to Pardon Joslin road (unimproved dirt most of the way).  This meant some big hills would now be included into the run.  The hills ended up feeling rather easy at the slow pace (low to mid 8's).  I was surprised to see I had the fastest time on one Strava segment and 2nd Place (to myself) on another.  I returned to the trail with the large paw prints (still there!) and relaxed when I stopped seeing them as I got closer to my car.  Total time: 1:00.40. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - Yawgoo hill workout with Mike, Muddy, and Gunshow.  The plan was to meet up at the ski lodge and run hill repeats on the road (steeper than the ski slopes?).  I showed up a few minutes early, only to see the three others out running a warm up warm up.  We exchanged insults and then I was able to join them for a real warm up.  We ran around the block, 3.25 miles and hilly (250+ elevation gain).  This was a good time to gossip like school girls, but the fun soon ended, and the intervals began.  Despite the darkness and the nonstop traffic, the conditions were excellent for suffering hillwork (cool and damp).  I was happy with my effort overall - high intensity but I didn't explode.  My legs felt great today, it was purely an aerobic grind.  This hill is legit.  Mike talked about doing 6 intervals, but time was short for me, and everyone else had no problem quitting at 4.  I was able to squeeze in a mile or so cool down.  Total time about an hour.  Strava had the longest segment at .3 miles with 149' elevation gain at 10.8% average grade.  My splits (not sure of the order) were: 1:53, 1:57, 1:59, 2:01. 

Thursday:  10 miles - Rome Point beach and trails alone.  Awesome run today.  I noticed that the tide was really low in Wickford harbor, so I thought I would head down to Rome Point and run the shoreline.  Maybe this is only entertaining to me, but I couldn't wait to see where and how far I could go.  I put on my trusty old Inov-8's (Roclite 295's - I finally looked to see what model they were), and opted for shorts, a long sleeve under shirt and a short sleeve on top (orange).  No hat or gloves in the 47 degree weather.  Sunglasses for the snow and sun glare.  The trails were in okay shape - most of the snow has melted, but the trail has lots of ice. In fact I slipped twice, but avoided going down or injuring myself.  I reached the point and then hopped onto the beach (well rocks here).  I ran south with the wind at my back.  The tide seemed wicked low.  I was clearly running where the ocean should be.  I was able to run around jetties instead of over them.  At the bridge, I was able to run over mussel beds I've never seen exposed before.  Then I was able to go alot further south then ever before.  I felt like I might end up in Saunderstown, but I did eventually hit a road block (rock cliffs).  I turned around and faced the wind.  I was too excited about my travels on the shoreline to care about it.  I returned to the woods and retraced my steps until I realized my run was getting really long.  I stopped at 1:19. 

Friday: 10 miles - 3 x 1 mile road loop workout with Galoob and Gunshow.  After exhausting research, we found a mile loop of roads in North Kingstown to use for intervals.  Mike was looking for road race conditions, and we found a loop that did just the trick.  I met the guys at the Rome Point parking lot, and then we ran 2 miles to get to the loop, and then ran it once to get a feel for it.  It has a couple of small hills and curves.  The weather was colder than forecasted (high 30's and raw), but this was perfect for running hard.  The target pace was goal 5K - I was shooting for 5:30.  My legs felt good, and the intervals went well.  Recovery was about 3 minutes for each.  Results:  5:21, 5:25, 5:25.  Super pleased with these, and just think what I could have done if Muddy brought his angel of  suffering to watch.  We then did a nice 3.5 mile cooldown for a fast 10 on the day - 1:11:22. 

Saturday: 4 miles - 12 home trail loops "with" my kids. I needed some fresh air after spending 14 hours sleeping over at the aquarium with my son. My daughter ran the first lap with me and then I ran the rest alone, but my kids were running around cheering me on in different spots on the trail. Total time: 31:53. Much needed chromium replacing with friends and family at night.

Sunday: 16 miles - Burlingame trails alone in the afternoon. I ran the mile plus down the road to Burlingame and then jumped onto the Vin Gormley trail heading CCW. I felt a little off energywise the first few miles. My legs were in decent shape, but rather tired. The trails were in great shape, with only a little mud in spots, and not a trace of snow anywhere. At the campground, I headed south on the North South Trail, and then followed the Brr-lingame course in reverse, adding on the NWR trails to completely avoid actually running in the campground. My feet were tight, but I was in a good groove - full of energy. I was back on VG and made my way around Watchaug Pond (still ice covered surprisingly). My plan was to return home the way I began, but I hadn't been running for as long as I wanted. So, I continued on VG and then took the NST north across Buckeye Brook Rd. This added some hills to my rather flat run. I finished up in 2:05:00, still full of energy. I feel good about the TARC Trail 50K in April. Plenty of time for long runs in the woods in the next three months.

Weekly Total: 65 miles
Last Week: 56 miles
Year to Date: 115 miles

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Resolution Beach & Trail 5K 2013

Sunday I ran race #2 in the South County 4th Season Trail Race Series. The Resolution 5K took place on Scarborough Beach and Black Point in Narragansett RI. As I had mentioned in an earlier blog post, I had a tough time with this race last year. I was not happy with my race at all, and I wanted to improve my showing this year. I wasn't really nervous leading up to the race, but rather just not as excited as I usually am.

 My dad and I drove slowly through the early morning snow to get to the race early to help Mike and his family with the set up.  After some heavy lifting, Mike asked if I would help him mark the course.  I happily agreed, as I already knew the course layout, and I'm comfortable with the "skill" required after marking some of his other trail races.  We jogged out to the end of the beach and began placing flags and signs on the more confusing trail section.  Easy enough, except that the ground was frozen, and placing a flag was becoming tedious.  It was impossible to get some of them in the ground.  I improvised where I could, but I began to get a little nervous about the time.  Mike then had to go back to help with registration as things were getting busy, so I was left to finish on my own.  I didn't have a lot left to do, but I felt stressed with the time.  I finished up and ran back along the beach.  I realized that I needed to place a flag at the other end of the beach, and by the time I finished that, I was able to get changed in my car and relax.  I felt so relieved mentally, and I wasn't the least bit concerned about the race I was about to do.  It was a very refreshing experience. 

The start was delayed and I huddled with my teammates in the windy, damp, mid 30's weather.  I was under dressed for not running (just shorts, singlet, and a hat).  I could have used gloves (I forgot them in my car).  Mike lined us up on the beach and off we went. 

I was on the ocean side at the start.  There was a rather strong headwind, and my hands and lower arms felt numb from the cold.  I felt under control, but was surprised that I was up front initially with Justin (who was leading - he never does that!).  I wasn't sure if the elements were slowing everybody else down.  By the time we reached the flag to turn around, I was in fourth place behind Bob Jackman (TNT), Tom B (WTAC), and DJ (TNT).  I was feeling good.  I wasn't working too hard and I was happy to be up front in the thick of things.  Soon, Justin moved ahead, and he just looked like he was going to have a strong day.  I didn't try to stick with him.  My race was going to be holding my position and staying ahead of other Turtles.  I passed the 1 Mile mark in 5:53.  I hesitated to even look at my watch, knowing that splits are useless for a trail race, but I was curious to see if I was running a pace that was maintainable.  I was, and I was happy. 

I continued in my 5th position, with the wind pushing me along the beach.  There seemed to be a gap between me and others behind me, as no one sounded close.  Up ahead, Justin moved by Tom, which was a bit surprising to me.  Pre-race I thought Tom might battle Bob and DJ for the win, but I was forgetting that he was working his way back from injury.  By the time we crossed the dunes onto a wide trail, I was only a couple of seconds behind him.  The trails were a mix of snow and ice.  The pace definitely was dropping, at least for me.  Shoe choice was difficult, because I wanted something tight and light for the beach, but I needed more traction for the ice.  I never slipped and felt comfortable taking even shorter steps than normal for me, but I wasn't going as fast as I wanted.  And soon I could hear company behind me.  On the short road section leading to the trails of Black Point, I got a glance of 2 or 3 runners gaining ground, one very tall runner I recognized from last year's Super 5K: 
History repeating itself
Tom and I entered the snow and icy trails of Black Point.  The 3 leaders were out of sight at this point.  I was hanging a second or two behind Tom.  I wasn't sure how comfortable he was going to be on this surface, and I was watching for any slow down as my queue to make a move.  I also was running a bit scared of the tall guy and whoever else was a few seconds behind me.  They seemed to be handling the trail conditions fine.  I passed the 2 Mile mark and again glanced at my watch - 6:13 split.  Again this is a useless number, and can only hurt psychologically - which it may have for me. 
As we continued on this trail above the ocean, I decided to make a move on Tom before a rather treacherous downhill section.  My plan was to pass before the decline and work it hard to create some space.  I sprinted by and Tom encouraged me on.  He stayed right with me, and I knew that I didn't get the space required to hold him off back on the beach.  I could also hear the other guys still chasing us.  I rounded the corner, with Tom on my heals, and caught a glimpse of Justin hopping onto the beach with the two TNT guys - probably 30 seconds ahead.  I slip-slided my way through the house ruins, jumped down to the beach, and crossed the stream. 
Now we were on the home stretch - a long straightaway into the wind on the beach.  I glanced again at my watch (again bad idea) to see how much distance was left - about 3/4 of a mile.  Ugh!  Tom soon passed me, but I kept within a second or two behind him.  Our company was still only a few seconds behind us.  At one point, Tom moved from the shoreline to a higher section of sand and I followed.  The sand was much softer, and it slowed me down, which is a terrible feeling at the end of a race.  Finally, we were closing in on the finish line and we both cruised in.  My final time was 19:04 - one second behind Tom, and almost a minute faster than last year.  I'll take it! 
Jeff was in our chase group, which finished about 10 seconds after us.  I was thrilled to hear that Justin had finished in 2nd, behind Bob, but ahead of DJ.  The team title was going to be even closer than the previous two team races, and it was going to come down to the numbers once again.  Teammates and other familiar faces kept finishing up as we chatted and watched.  Congrats to Kelsey for being the top female finisher.  I also enjoyed watching Jeff's boys and my dad out sprint other runners to the finish line.  It seemed like WTAC had 15 or 20 runners racing today. 
After running the course as a cool down with my teammates and finally putting on some warmer clothes, it was time for the awards.  The Turtles beat us again, but the margin was small.  This is disappointing, but it's fun to have this rivalry with another team, and they seem to enjoy it as well.  Kudos to Mike and his family for putting on another great trail race.  There was quite the turnout, especially with the snowy roads.  Bring on the 10K in three weeks! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Weekly Log 12-31-12 to 1-6-13

Happy new running year!  Looks like we're in for some real winter conditions this year.  Last year was so mild and snowless that I never had to worry about where and how far I could run on a given day.  This week reminds me of years past.  I love running in the cold, and snow is okay for a while.  It's hard to get in the same mileage.  For example, today (Thursday) I'm wondering if I'll be snowshoeing for 5 miles, or Yaktrax-ing it for 7 or 8 miles.  Any other time of the year I would be banging out 10 without hesitation.  Snow is slow.  And tiring.  Anyway, I'm sort of looking forward to racing the Resolution Beach and Trail 5K on Sunday.  Last year I had a poor showing that I carried over mentally to a few more races.  I should be much faster and stronger this year, but memories of 2012, especially the first mile or so watching so many people pass me, still linger. More importantly, it's time for the WTAC to beat the Turtles again. 

Monday: 6 miles - Charlestown hilly roads alone.  This was the run that got me over 3000 for the year.  I wasn't trying to go fast, but my overall 7:15 pace is pretty peppy on this hilly course.  Total time: 43:33. 

Tuesday: 6 miles - Charlestown roads alone.  Less hills, but still hilly.  A nice start to 2013.  Again, faster than expected.  Total time: 41:19 (6:52 pace). 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Quonset speedwork alone.  Despite it being 30 degrees, it felt much colder when I ran.  It was overcast with a decent NW wind.  I wanted to do intervals so I went to my favorite open stretch of road in Quonset to run them.  I programmed 10x300 into my watch (with 300 recoveries).  I wanted to run shorter stuff, and I had run enough 200's and 400's recently, so I went with 300.  I like this distance and run them like long 200's.  I thought 10 repeats would be challenging, and it was!  The last two hurt.  The road was cleared of snow, but the shoulders weren't as wide as normal.  Also, there was a lot truck traffic while I ran, which was annoying.  I ran a 3 mile warm up and a 3+ mile cool down.  Honestly, I could have just gone with 1 mile for each with the elements. The results of 10x300: 

54/56/57/56 (into the wind), 53/56/55/56 (with the wind), 56/57 (into the wind)

I'm happy with the workout.  I thought I would be about 55.  I'd rather be on the track!  Total time: 1:07:57. 

Thursday: 9.5 miles - Ryan Park snowy trails alone.  As I stated above, I was debating what the conditions in the park would be like.  At the parking lot, it looked like there was enough activity to warrant the use of just the Yaktrax.  As I began my run, I was not happy with the uneven footing on the packed trail through the field.  Then I noticed that no one had blazed a trail out to the Rte 4 path.  I definitely could have worn snowshoes.  So I decided to stay on the main paths and eventually I got into a nice rhythm, and my footfalls were fine.  I was moving pretty well too.  When I reached the athletic fields I had to either step into deep snowshoe tracks or just blast through the 5 or 6 inches of powder.  I was beginning to work up a sweat too, despite the 25 degree and windy day.  After making it around the pond, I decided to do another shorter loop since I was feeling good and the trails were packed nicely here.  On the return, I broke through the virgin snow on the Rte 4 trail (someone had to do it).  I'm thinking that I might need to snowshoe here tomorrow.  Great run today though.  Total time: 1:10:55. 

Friday: 9.5 miles - Ryan Park snowshoe run alone.  I was having a moral dilemma about today's run: do a fun snowshoe run in the woods versus put up more miles on a boring road run (I'm currently caught up in a January miles challenge on Strava that alot of fellow runners are involved in).  I decided to compromise by running about six miles on snowshoes (that's fairly long) and then running a few miles on roads.  This didn't happen either, as I spent 1 hour and 20 minutes on snowshoes today.  After some initial frustration with the snowshoes (getting them to stay on correctly and feel comfortable), I soon got into a good groove.  The snow was really nice ( a few inches of powder, but starting to get soft in the 36 degree weather).  I did the Rte 4/power line loop four times.  It just felt good.  I then added on some more trails through and around the fields as I wasn't ready to stop.  Awesome run! 

Saturday: 5 miles - Charlestown roads alone. I ran later in the morning from my house. I headed south for 2.5 miles and then turned around. My pace was too fast, but it felt good. I wasn't feeling sore from the long snowshoe run yesterday. I probably shouldn't have been looking at my watch. Total time: 33:43.

Sunday: 10 miles - Resolution Beach & Trail 5K. 5th overall, 19:04. WTAC 2nd place to the Turtles again. Fun times. Decent race. Separate write up to follow.

Overall: It felt like a light week, but I ran everyday, got a speed workout in, a team race, and a long snowshoe run in. Should be less snow and more miles next week.

Weekly Total: 56 miles
Last Week: 48 miles
Year to Date: 50 miles

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Recap 2013 Goals

2012 was a huge running year for me and in turn, was an awesome year personally. Running has kept my anxiety in check, and also leaves me a lot more relaxed (except when I get excited about upcoming runs!). I was able to stay healthy in terms of sickness and injuries too. Here's a rundown of the stats with apologies to Muddy for stealing his format.

Miles: 3004 (2501 in 2011, 1396 in 2010)
Days Running: 303
Average miles per running day: 10
Days off for sickness or injury: 3
Highest mileage week: 80 (week of August 27th)
Lowest mileage week: 41 (week of January 23rd)
Average miles per week: 58
Miles by the month: 232, 232, 234, 247.5, 225.5, 263, 255, 266.5, 271.5, 252, 277, 248
Average miles per month: 250

For 2013, I'm going to keep pushing myself to get faster. Blogging the last three years has certainly helped me stay consistent with my training, and now also using Stava is further motivation. I love being part of a growing team (WTAC) and racing team competitions. Goals include:

Sub 17 minute 5K
Sub 5 minute mile
PR at every repeat trail race
Run Pisgah 50K again (and train properly)
Run a road half marathon (finally, and sub 1:20)
Run at least one more long trail race during the year
Run for WTAC in all local team races (and win!)
Take the KOM titles for the DuVal Trail and Gilbert Stuart Rd Climb
Continue semi-regular long trail runs with my friends
Team Hammett Brothers win at the Beaver trail race

This list could go on and on and on. I'm hoping for another healthy year (mentally and physically), and lots of miles!!