Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Weekly Log 3-25-13 to 3-31-13

Big race coming up this Saturday.  The excitement has already started to build.  The course (technical, hilly, twisty single track) and distance (half marathon) hopefully will be in my favor.  The plan is to just run hard and maintain.  I'm going to take it easy after Tuesday's workout, so I should be at full strength come Saturday.  I will probably have to run at least a few miles each day just to curb my racing enthusiasm.  I just get pumped typing about it! 

Monday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  My legs weren't sore, but rather tired from Sunday's long trail run.  I thought I might run at Rome Point, but the screaming NE winds made that option sound unappealing.  Instead I parked at the high lot on Oak Hill Rd and ran Ryan Park trails from there.  I kept the pace easy, and felt pretty good the first 3 miles or so.  I then felt tired and a little unmotivated.  I was thinking that 8 or 9 miles would be doable, but I ended up only running 7.  I think it was the right call, and the run was rather enjoyable overall (despite the predictably gloomy weather).  Total time: 55:01. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - 4 x Gilbert Stuart hill trains with Nokewa trails warm up/cool down with Galoob, Gunshow, Mark, and Nate.  Mike set up a group hill workout at 1PM.  We met up at the Gilbert Stuart Museum lot and then ran the Camp Nokewa trails as a warm up.  We then did a train up the hill (225' elevation gain over a half mile) - we ran single file at a steady pace, with the guy in back sprinting up to the front.  It was a great way to workout together, and make climbing this monster hill more tolerable.  This was probably my favorite hill workout I've done.  My splits were 3:47/4:02/4:01/3:54.  The last one was tough, as the train was down to just three, so the sprints came up faster.  I finished up alone by running another loop around the Nokewa trails and then continuing on a bit to get about 10 for the day.  Total time: 1:19:38.  Total elevation gain: 1,096'. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Arcadia trails alone.  I had an uncomfortable dentist appoint in the afternoon in Hope Valley, and I couldn't resist running some trails in Arcadia afterwards since I was in the neighborhood.  I parked at the Forestry Headquarters off of Arcadia Road and then jumped onto the Arcadia Trail across the street.  My loose plan was to run this yellow blazed trail until I reached the old dirt road up Teft Hill.  I then wanted to follow the dirt road and run under Interstate 95 and up the hill to the Rte 3, just because it's something I've never done, and I think about it everytime I drive I-95.  The Arcadia Trail is extremely gnarly and technical.  I was cruising along at a pleasant pace where I could, and took my time through/over the boulder fields.  There is also a decent amount of climbing.  Eventually I made it to the intersection with the dirt road, and I then followed it.  First it went past an old campground or picnic area.  I then saw I-95 and followed the wide dirt road under both overpasses.  As I reached the other side and began climbing, I noticed a marked single track to my right.  Hmm.  I reached the top of the hill and saw where the dirt road intersected Rte 3.  I turned around and then checked out the single track trail.  It had all sorts of faded blazes, and definitely gets some regular use.  Eventually it led to a large dilapidated shelter - same style as other old state campground ones.  I was afraid who/what lurked inside, so I high-tailed it out of there.  I backtracked to the Arcadia Trail, and then continued to follow it to Roaring Brook Pond.  At this point, my legs were beginning to fatigue and I decided to not run trails on Bald Hill, but instead just run the boardwalk down to Browning Mill Pond and run around that.  I've hiked this trail many times over the years, but never run it.  I then briefly ran on Arcadia Road, before taking an old overgrown lane back into the woods.  I detoured to explore an open field area, but turned around when I saw some unleashed dogs (that I first thought were coyotes).  Total time: 1:20.  This was a really fun run, despite part of my face being numb with novacaine. 

Thursday: 5++ miles - Big River trails alone.  I was really thinking today would be a zero after finally feeling the pain from Tuesday's hill workout.  But when it came down to it, I couldn't resist doing something.  So, I decided to run a portion of the half marathon course that I might be marking tomorrow.  The course from the Hopkins Hill lot to Tarbox Pond is a bit tricky, and some of it was new to me.  I wanted to make sure I could duplicate it.  Mission accomplished with no wrong turns.  The rocky downhill and stream crossings from the lot are going to be challenging at a fast pace.  I then tripped and fell on my hands on a short steep section.  I got a cut on each hand - nothing major, but it hurt.  I settled down as I ran the ridge trail.  I weaved my way through the trails, happy I didn't mess up.  I reached Hopkins Hill Rd at Tarbox Pond and wanted to run for a few more minutes, but this meant climbing the good hill back to the parking lot.  I didn't need that.  Total time: 45:19. 

Friday: 9 miles - Big River trails with Galoob and Gunshow.  After a half day of work, I met up with the guys who had already been out working on the half marathon course all morning.  I parked at Tarbox Pond and then ran the course backwards from there to find them.  We met up on the ridge trail.  Mike went ahead on his mtn bike to measure the rest of the course, while Ben (also on mtn bike) and I flagged the course until we met back up with Mike.  I planned on running about 5 miles or so at an easy pace.  I did keep the pace easy, but Ben and I ended up marking 5+ miles of trails.  At Mile 11, I took the dirt roads back to Hopkins Hill Rd and returned to my car.  Total time about 1:25 - a little longer than I planned, but I was happy to help out. 

Saturday: 15 miles - Big River Trail Half Marathon - 2nd overall, 1:32:25(?).  Separate write up to follow. 

Sunday: 0 - did keep the legs loose by chasing my kids around the house/woods in the morning and a family hike around Browning Mill Pond in the afternoon. 

Weekly Total: 56 miles
Last Week: 76 miles
Year to Date: 734 miles

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weekly Log 3-18-13 to 3-24-13

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

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekly Log 3-11-13 to 3-17-13

Monday: 0 - still feeling sick.  Went to doctor and he confirmed that I have a virus that I needed to let run its course.  Running will only make things worse.  Should be a few more days off.  At least I feel less anxious about things. 

Tuesday: 0 - first day without muscle aches/chills.  Feels good. 

Wednesday: 5 miles - form drills with Mike outside at URI.  This was my second day of feeling better, and I couldn't resist running in the warm (55 degrees) sun today.  Mike was doing something easy, so I decided to join him.  We worked on some easy form drills on the dilapidated outside track.  Basically, my form seems good.  It was fun to try something different.  Total time: 45 minutes. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I was a little nervous to see how I felt after running yesterday, but I had another good day.  I knew it was windy, but I was surprised that the temperature was only 32 degrees when I ran since the forecast called for low 40's.  Yuck.  I parked at the high lot on Oak Hill Rd, and then ran the single track out to the railbed.  I then did the usual "woods" loop.  My pace felt snappy and I felt very close to normal on this run.  It was chilly in spots, especially near the pond.  On the return I took the Rte 4 trail.  I was still feeling good when I finished up in 58 minutes. 

Friday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I wanted to do the traditional 10 miles from the athletic fields.  The weather was sunny and 40 degrees - not great for this time of year, but fine to run in.  I began my run and felt a little tired the first 2 or 3 miles.  This was a familiar feeling, not from being sick, but rather from having soda with lunch.  The feeling passed, and I decided to push the Rte 4 loop Strava section.  I wasn't going all out, but was moving pretty well.  I was tired by the time I finished up in 10:31 (9:43 is my PR and CR).  I continued on weaving around the single track.  Near the end, I pushed the roots Strava section in 2:18 (2:05 is my PR).  I was pretty pumped to finish and see my total time was 1:08:11.  I think this is a PR for me, and more importantly, I feel like my old self again. 

Saturday: 12 miles - Big River trails with Bob and Scott.  Bob sent me an email about a Big River run and it seemed like it would fit my schedule, so met him at 7:30 for a few miles before the 8AM official start.  It was colder than I had hoped and I wish I brought more clothes, but other than that the run was good.  Bob and I ran an easy loop and then met Scott back at the parking lot.  He was the only other person joining us on this fine morning.  I led the guys around Carr Pond since they were unfamiliar with those trails and most of them should be part of the upcoming half marathon.  The trails were in great shape - no downed trees and only the occasional muddy spot.  After running along the ridge between the ponds, Scott headed back.  Bob and I were able to continue on and connect up with Foster's Folly.  This is my second time in a row of finding the trail, so I think I have it figured out now.  Based on time, we decided to head back the most direct way after reaching the New London Turnpike.  Good run.  Total time: 1:32. 

Sunday: 9 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  My goal was to run down to and around the big pond loop to get 15 for the day and 50 for the week.  Reality set in, and I only was going to get an hour run in before traveling to Boston for the day.  My legs also were feeling tired - I guess getting used to running everyday again.  So I set off on an abbreviated run that was run at a nice pace on really fun trails.  I ran down the road and jumped into the woods near the beaver pond.  I ran out to Buckeye Brook Rd, and then ran down that briefly so that I could hit the fun single track along the ridge.  I continued on (VG trail) all the way out to the start of Sammy C's trail.  I passed about 20 mtn bikers who were all very friendly on this chilly (sub-freezing) morning.  Sammy C's was much quieter and really fun.  I'm assuming NEMBA had recently cleaned up the trail.  At one point I tripped and fell in the middle section.  I ran all sections before jumping onto Governor's.  This trail was hit hard by Sandy, and has not been used much since.  I was able to negotiate around the fallen trees, but I had to pay attention for branches.  I was happy to reach the main trail again and I pushed it up the switchback hill near the pond and back to my house.  Total time: 1:07. 

Overall: I was very happy to get my health back and string together some normal runs.  I wish I could have ran longer on Sunday to get 50 for the week, but it's not a big deal.  Hopefully, lots of miles next week with a couple of good workouts mixed in. 

Weekly Total: 44 miles
Last Week: 13 miles
Year to Date: 602 miles

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Weekly Log 3-4-13 to 3-10-13

This is shaping up to be an epically weak running week.  The week began with two low mileage recovery runs.  I would have run more except family (stayed home with a sick kid on Monday) and work (too busy to get my "lunch" run in on Tuesday) got in the way.  I woke up Wednesday with my son's virus that included a mild fever.  Hopefully I can recover in time for my band's show on Saturday, but.the show will go on nonetheless.  And what about running?  When can I do that again?

Monday: 3 miles - 9 x home trail loops with my wife.  After staying home with my son, I was able to talk my wife into running with me at home while the kids got in their alotted screen time.  The pace was slow, but honestly my legs didn't mind after the 27 miles yesterday.  It felt good to run some twisty snow-less trails for a change.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles - Mews run with the WTAC crew.  We met up to use our Super 5K team winnings (gift certificate).  Some of us got there early enough for a short run, which included neighborhood roads and Thewlis Woods trails - a small SKLT property.  Gluttony ensued.

Wednesday: 0 - sick days are boring

Thursday: 0 - had to work despite feeling lousy.

Friday: 0 - still sick, hoping for some improvement for show tomorrow.  Someday I'll run again.

Saturday: 0 - 3 hour show at night with my band - 48 songs.  I felt decent. 

Sunday: 5.5 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  I needed to get a run in to appease my mind.  I still don't feel 100%, but my anxiety has seemed to replaced my illness.  My run was okay.  It felt challenging, but the pace was faster than I thought.  It was nice to have dry trails and a warm sun.  I did the winter 2004 Pard and Justin loop.  At one intersection I could hear a runner coming up from behind me.  I assumed I was going to get passed, but as the trail began to climb, I pulled away.  Kind of fun.  Total time: 41 minutes.  I'd upload the map, but my watch seems messed up, and I can't upload my last two runs. 

Weakly Total: 13 miles
Last Week: 71 miles
Year to Date: 558 miles

Monday, March 4, 2013

RI Sea to Summit

Mike G and Justin had been talking about the concept of a "sea to summit" run for the past year. That is running from sea level to the highest point in the state - Jerimoth Hill 812'. It seemed kind of far and hard to me. But in the past few days Mike was able to put together a route and plan that seemed doable - 24 miles from Apponoag Cove in Warwick to Jerimoth Hill in Foster. He assembled a fast group of long distance runners, and I was able to tag along. I was nervous that the pace might get too fast too soon, and couple that with the endless uphill terrain and my lack of training for this distance.

We met up in Warwick at 6:45AM. The group included WTAC members Mike and Jeff (who made the van drop and aid station), and Justin; TNT members Bob J and Dave P; and also Ben (Gunshow). We wandered around looking for a spot to access the water, and after a quick photo shoot, we were ready to really begin the adventure. The first few miles weren't the most scenic, but they passed quickly with plenty of conversation. We followed a rail trail before turning down a footpath. I'm not sure how Mike had figured this into his plan, but it worked. After a few more side roads, with the first brief hills, we settled onto a rural and pleasant road called Hope Furnace. I glanced at my watch a few times to check overall time, and did notice the pace was in the 7:20's. I hoped I could maintain it. Soon, the road descended and my fear of the fast marathoners pushing the pace materialized. I dropped back and hung with Gunshow who was already hurting, but he is the toughest dude around, and would gut it out for 2 plus more hours. My watch beeped and it was a 6:44 mile! Yikes.

The pace did even out a bit, but soon we had to stop as we realized we missed a turn. Checking the map, we should have turned right a couple of miles back. Luckily, we could reconnect with our course without backtracking, but we were adding two or three miles to our run. I guess this would now be an uphill marathon. Restarting, I felt cold for the next mile or so. We hit a long gradual hill that warmed me up. Then it was another long descent as we reached the Scituate Reservoir. I would find myself up front on the climbs, and bringing up the rear on the downhills. We soon reached the halfway point aid station Jeff and Mike had set up. We were at 15 miles (1:51). I hoped there was less than 12 left! I had some Gatorade with water, and a gel. I grabbed another one and carried it for later.

Everyone groaned as we began moving again. Our bodies thought we were done. The terrain was rather flat as we ran along the reservoir. We then turned onto a dirt road. The soft footing was much welcomed. We began gaining elevation again. After a rather steep hill that I climbed well, I found that my legs did not recover. This was at mile 19. I then hung back with Jeff and silently suffered for the next few miles. It's tough knowing how many miles are left, and I was out of my comfort zone time and distance wise. At the 2:45 mark, I slowly began eating my gel. This was more for a distraction than for need. Our group got more strung out. I moved up a bit on a good sized hill, but still felt very tired on the flat sections. I finally perked up when I reached the last road, and could see Jerimoth Hill in the distance (I assumed). This was a straight highway, so it took much longer than it looked to finish. Oh, and the last hill was about a mile long. Somewhere on this climb I passed the marathon mark, at around 3:12. Not bad for an uphill training run! I reached the road summit and then waited for our group to reconnect so that we could take the snowy trail to the real summit together. Total distance ended up being about 27 miles, with 2000' of elevation gain. A really unique run with a great group of guys.