Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weekly Log 6-24-13 to 6-30-13

Lots of interesting running things going on this summer.  There is a ton of interest in weekly track sessions - to be held early on Tuesday mornings.  Westerly Fun Runs on Wednesday nights with family and friends.  Group long runs on weekends.  Doubles!  And even the occasional race or two.  I was thinking about the Nipmuck South Trail Run (14.1 miles) this Sunday, but it's not going to work out with the family schedule.  I may get to race the Four on the Fourth in Keene, NH.  It would be awesome to race with my brothers and sister-in-law, and be humbled by the fast Keenyans up there.  The Run with the Beavers (10 mile trail race) is coming up too.  Not to mention all the usual fun summer stuff to do around here. 

Monday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  I wasn't sure how I would hold up as the temperature was 93 in parking lot.  I carried ice water with me and just went for it.  Despite feeling insanely hot walking to/from my car, it is a different story when I'm running.  My body efficiently handles the heat, and I felt fine throughout.  It was hot on the beach, so I stuck to the woods most of the time.  Total time: 1:08:57.  Brought the kids (last day of school) to the pond at night for an hour and half swim. 

Tuesday: 15 miles in two runs. 7 mile track workout at CCMS with Galoob, Mark, and Nathan.  We met up at 5:45AM.  It was humid, but not too bad.  I got there a tad early and ran a mile on the track before the rest of the crew showed up.  My legs felt ready to roll.  We didn't have a plan coming in, so we settled on a ladder type workout (and adjusted as we went along): 2x200/400/600/800/600/400/4x200 with slow 200 recoveries.  The rest of the guys were working themselves into track shape, but I was feeling good and was happy with my results: 34/35/74/1:59/2:43/1:54/75/35/34/33/33

One mile cool down with Mike before calling it a morning.  Second run - 8 miles in Rome Point.  I had a "lunch meeting" with my boss.  We met up at Rome despite the intense heat.  It was 91 in the parking lot when we began (earlier start then yesterday).  We took it easy crusing around the park and finished up in about 35 minutes.  After drinking water and stretching, I headed back out alone.  My energy was really good even though it was hot (and it was my 2nd run of the day).  After another 30 minutes I stopped.  Total time: 1:06:32. 

Wednesday: 14 miles in two runs.  8 mile trail run in Ryan Park in the early afternoon.  My lower legs were sore from the track, but this run was a great way to loosen them up.  The day was noticeably "cooler" than the previous two, but still 86 degrees and muggy.  I mostly stuck with the wider, smoother trails of the park, and also tried to stay in the shade.  Total time: 1:03:02. 

Later in the evening I headed down to Misquamicut for the weekly WTAC fun run.  My kids were not interested in running on this humid night, so I was able to run an actual warm up.  My legs were sore and tired, but the warm up helped.  At one point I was running along and saw two runners coming my way.  One of them shouted out "hey Jonny", and then I realized it was Matty P and some other fit looking dude, probably out on an easy 20 miler at 5:30 pace.  I was hoping to see him in the fun run, but no dice.  There was a big crowd tonight, and there was good competition with FiveK, highshooler Nick, a guy with a college singlet (John B), Jeff, Muddy, and Mike B.  My plan was to run hard, despite the tired legs, and just use these fun runs as 5K experiments.  My experiment tonight was to not shoot off the line into the lead.  I began at a relatively relaxed pace and settled next to Jeff behind John, Nick, and Tom.  I noticed a difference in energy by beginning slower, and near the end of the first mile I moved up with Tom and Nick.  My first mile was still on the fast side, but I ran it smarter (5:30 GPS).  The second mile is impossible to run fast.  I stayed with Nick and Tom for the a while and then Tom picked up steam before the hills.  I hung back a couple of seconds until the start of the long straightaway on mile 3, where the gap between us increased.  I was feeling much better this week, however, and my pace was faster than last week.  I also had more in the tank for the end, finishing up in 17:56 (GPS pace of 5:39).  My splits (5:30/5:51/5:42/5:03) were very close to last week (5:30/5:51/5:45/5:11), but this one felt better.  Muddy and I quickly set out on a cool down before my legs tightened up and I lost interest. 

Thursday: 6 miles - Quonset Bike Path alone.  This was just an easy recovery run that after a quarter of a mile, felt pretty good.  I enjoyed the grey weather and the coolish temperature.  Total time: 42:55.  Band practice cross training at night. 

Friday:  13.1 miles - Wickford roads solo.  I couldn't pull the trigger on the 5AM beach run, but I was able to get in a decent workout in the middle of the day.  Fridays are extremely slow at the office in the summer, so I decided to do a hour and a half run, mostly on roads.  I ended up sticking to the roads (drier than the soggy woods probably full of hungry deer flies).  I hit up the bayside neighborhoods as I worked my way south on Rte 1A.  I then crossed over to Rte 1 and ran neighborhoods back to the office.  I ran 13.0 miles, but Strava revised it to 13.1, so I guess I ran a half marathon.  I was outrageously sweaty when I finished.  Super humid day.  My miles were low 7's through the first 8.  I was running easy, but the mugginess made it feel a tad uncomfortable.  I was feeling pretty darn good the last 5, and ended up with an overall pace of 6:59 - 1:31:17. 

Saturday: 0 - too lazy to run early then spent the rest of the day with the kids.  We hiked Mt. Tom ledges in the light rain and had a mosquitoey lunch on some high rocks.  We all had alot of fun though. 

Sunday: 16 miles - Chariho road loop with Ryan and Marie.  Ryan and I exchanged some emails about running together when he's in town during the summer (after meeting through Strava).  He brought his very fast sister-in-law along, and the three of us did a peppy 16 mile loop beginning at the high school.  They seemed to enjoy the backroads and it was hillier than I thought.  It was also ridiculously humid.  It was a fun run with good conversation.  Hopefully they'll join some local group runs too.  16.2 miles in 1:57:04 (7:14 pace). 

Overall: Another solid week of running with even a day off mixed in.  I'm loving the doubles on workout days.  Excited about getting back on the track. 

Weekly Total: 72 miles
Last Week: 69 miles
Year to Date: 1540 miles

Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekly Log 6-17-13 to 6-23-13

Monday: 11+ miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Great weather today, but a tad hot (84 degrees).  I began at the high lot on Oak Hill Rd and zigzagged the west side of the park for 35 minutes before taking the rail bed over to the east side.  I was thinking to myself how quiet it was, and then I ran into a bunch of people the rest of the way.  My pace started slow, but was decent the rest of the way.  Total time: 1:24:30. 

Tuesday: 8 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  Another nice day.  My plan kept changing, and I ended up just staying in the park today.  Right at the start I was chased by an angry beagle.  The mother/daughter owners were very apologetic, but I was annoyed.  I then proceeded to pass them four more times during the course of my run.  By the end we were laughing about it.  My pace was peppy on the trails and slow on the shoreline.  I felt pretty wiped out at night after two days running in the heat and humidity.  Total time: 1:02:55. 

Wednesday: 9 miles.  Doubled down today.  First, I ran an easy five miles in Ryan Park.  My energy and legs felt much better than the night before.  My plan was to run hard at night, so I kept the miles and intensity low.  Kind of fun.  Total time: 40:08. 

At night I was able to do the 5K Westerly Fun Run.  I met my kids and parents down in Misquamicut after work.  I ran the kids race with my daughter as a "warm up".  My legs felt tired and my high hopes of putting up a good time were tempered.  The start is always fast for the 5K.  Lots of teenagers go out fast, and I wanted to be in front of all of them.  I led the way for the first mile.  Glancing at my watch, I could tell the pace was a little hot.  Oh well. My first mile was 5:35 (5:30 GPS).  I could tell I had one person close behind as I began the second mile.  I did my best to run it strong, as this mile is always slow on this course.  I soon could tell that my company was a fast high school kid.  I stayed in front of him as we descended the short hill and then we hit the short but steep climb.  I sprinted up it thinking that this was the place I could pull away, but the kid latched onto me.  After passing the 2 mile marker, he then went past, and I was in no shape to stick with him on this night.  I tried my best to hold onto a decent pace (mid 5:40's).  The last 1.1 miles took forever and I finished up in 17:55.  This is a slow course, and roughly translates to 17:30's.  My overall GPS pace was 5:41 (I was hoping for low 5:30's).  It was still a blast hanging out with family and friends on a beautiful night. 

Thursday: 7+ miles - Old Mountain Field trails and nearby roads with Nathan.  We met up at SC Commons for a lunch run.  We are trying to revitalize the group lunch runs we did earlier in the year.  We took the wide grassy trail through the woods over to athletic fields and then ran the short bike path over to the start of the OMF 5K course.  I knew the trails would be muddy and overgrown, but Nathan didn't have any reservations, so we went for it.  Not as wet as I thought, but the path was only slightly still visible.  We followed the course (more or less) and then ran some more roads before taking the wide trail back to the commons.  The pace was quicker than what my legs were expecting, but it was great to have some weekday company.  Total time: 56:50. 

Friday: 21 miles.  Another double.  8 miles - Summer Solstice Sunrise run with the WTAC crew and Chris G.  Muddy organized this 2nd annual event, and we all met up at the Weekapaug fishing lot at 5AM.  It was much cooler than last year, but a very pleasant morning.  The six of us: Muddy, Mike B, Jeff, FiveK, Chris, and myself headed east through Weekapaug and then continued towards the rising sun along the beach.  We stopped for a quick photo and again at the breachway before heading back mostly on the sand trail.  This was really challenging in the thick sand and gentle headwind.  My legs and hip were sore, so running with friends definitely helped.  We ran by our cars after 5 miles and continued west along Atlantic Avenue.  We crossed over to the ocean at the Westerly Town Beach, and ran back to the breachway.  The finishing touch was a quick swim/bodysurfing session in the chilly ocean water.  Great time with good people.  Total time: 1:05:13. 

13 miles - Summer Solstice Half (half trails half roads) solo.  It was very quiet at the office today.  I decided to leave from work and run to Ryan Park.  I was feeling tight and tired before I left, but immediately had good energy running.  My hip was tight, but it didn't get worse as I went, so I just ignored it the best I could.  I ran through the village and onto Loop Rd (dirt).  This interesting road passed through some estruaries and then I picked up the old railbed at the end of it.  I connected it via some other roads to Ryan Park.  I then ran mostly the wider easy trails of the park.  I headed over to the west side and ran the Rte 4 trail, the field trails, and some wooded single track.  I then ran back east and ran around the pond and athletic fields.  My pace was good the entire time as was my energy.  I returned to my office via the railbed and Wickford roads and then tacked on another mile to get 13 for the run and 21 for the day (to properly celebrate the June 21st Solstice).  Total time: 1:37:24.  Fun long day in the sunshine! 

Saturday: 5 miles - Burlingame trails with my wife.  My body is beat up from the Solstice.  This was an easy run through some of cooler trails of Burlingame.  We ran part of Sammy C's to Secret to Schoolhouse Pond, to VG, to the north camp loop, back to VG, and the old lane back to the end of Shumankanuc Hill Rd.  Is it just me or does everything seem more overgrown than usual?  Total time: 57:17. 

Sunday: 8 miles - Glacier Park trails with connecting roads alone.  I skipped the early group run knowing that I needed to let my body recover further.  I was feeling better today, and thought that if anything, I would sneak in a few miles after the kids went to bed.  Instead, I found myself running in the midday heat as I had some time to kill after dropping my son off at a birthday party at the Water Whiz in Misquamicut.  Beforehand, I wasn't sure what sort of party it would be (parents stay or leave?), and at the last minute I threw running shorts into my car.  Good call.  I drove to the Glacier Park, but the lot was full.  I decided to park 3/4 mile down the road at Rotary Park.  Crossing a very busy Airport Road was annoying, but the rest of the run was great.  I was cruising around the trails, hitting most trails in both directions.  I pushed a little harder on the way back up the green dot trail as there are a couple of steep little climbs.  I decided to make a Strava segment out of it, and found that my time just barely beat out Jeff on a run he did back in December.  Should be some fun competition on this one.  Total time: 58:56. 

Overall: Another solid week of training.  It definitely took some time to recover from the 10K.  I'm looking forward to the start of summer track sessions and maybe a long tempo run next week. 

Weekly Total: 69 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 1468 miles

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Niantic Bay 10K

I ended up running the Niantic Bay 10K this past Friday evening on short notice.  I was looking for a Father's Day weekend race that wouldn't interfere with family time.  There had been some emails regarding this 10K exchanged amongst my WTAC teammates.  Everything sort of came together early in the week, so next thing I knew I was preparing to race.

I really enjoy the 10K distance.  Basically run at close to the same speed as a 5K, but double the length!  My goal was just to run hard.  A PR would be nice (currently 35:54 at Christmas 10K this past December), but being summer, I wasn't expecting it.  The race was canceled last year, but previous results were a mixed bag.   Some years, there was fast competition and others not as stout.  Who would show up this year?

I arrived about an hour early with my dad on race day.  The forecast was for an overcast chilly day, but the sun came out and the temperature had climbed to the low 70's.  A strong wind was rapidly diminishing to a pleasant breeze.  The setting at the park along the ocean was spectacular.  There was a nice sandy beach, a live band rocking out in the parking lot, and new clean restrooms.  We registered and then chatted with the many other WTAC runners in attendance.  SNERRO was timing the race, so I talked with Way Hedding about the course and the competition as he is always in the know.  He said a bunch of fast local guys ran a race the night before and that I had a good shot.  Yikes!  I wasn't expecting that, and now the pressure was on. 

I tracked down Jeff, and we headed out on a warm up with his son and Mike C.  We ran the first (and last) 1.25 miles of the mostly out and back course.  Despite being a relatively flat course, this section had some small rollers.  Also, the roads were not closed to traffic, so running perfect tangents was not going to be an option.  The wind helped keep the body cool, but it did feel hot with it at your back in the sun near the finish.  We returned with 10 minutes to showtime.  I ditched my hat and glasses and then jogged over to the start.  I then got a couple of strides in as I saw Jeff and his son doing them.  Lining up, Jeff and I scoped the crowd one final time.  There were a couple of potential fast guys, including one tall kid.  We lined up front and waited for the gun. 

Niantic Bay 10K start

tall kid scoping out the WTAC competition

I was out front early.  I did my best to keep relaxed and just go with my usual quick start, making sure it wasn't too quick.  The first mile is up, down, and up some more.  I was running alone, but could still hear plenty of people not far behind, and I was following an East Lyme police car (kind of cool).  After about a half mile, someone was moving closer.  I was checking my watch for pacing, and was still moving at a good clip.  It didn't sound like Jeff.  Eventually, this person moved along side of me, and I recognized him as the tall kid I had noticed before the start. 

The race was on!  I decided to stick with this kid and see what happened.  The pace felt a tad aggressive for 10K (more like 5K), but I wanted to challenge myself, and this is the way I've been racing recent trail races.  I hoped that either the pace would eventually break him or he would pull me along to a fast time.  We went through the first mile at 5:39 (according to my watch - 5:47 according to the mile marker). 

Mile two descended down to the water, and ran basically straight north to south.  We were still side by side.  I felt that I was working harder than I normally would be, and too fast for this distance.  But I continued to match his pace.  We negotiated a few puddles and dealt with a headwind at times.  Being used to the elements, I thought I might have an advantage here, but there was no let up in this kid.  We reached the point, and the course was a tad hilly again.  My watch was not matching the marked miles, and I couldn't figure out what my 5K split was.  We made the turn on roads around the point and ran down a hill back to the main road we just had run on.  At this point, the kid was usually a step or two ahead of me, dictating the pace.  Back on the main road, we were now passing other runners on their way out to the point.  I was getting alot of cheers and "go Jonny!", thanks to the huge WTAC turnout (and fellow bloggers).  I typically return the cheer, but I was too focused on the task at hand today, and couldn't muster up anything audible. 

We continued side by side (or me a step behind) for most of the long straight stretch along the water.  I couldn't tell if we were slowing down, but the effort was still pegged high.  Suddenly I noticed a waver in his form.  Was he tired?  I didn't dwell on it, but for some reason I surged ahead.  I had tested him a couple of times early on in the wind and going uphill, and he easily matched.  Would he do the same now?  Surprisingly, he did not catch back up.  We passed a water station, and I blasted through and I think he grabbed water.  I kept up my charge, and as I reached the long climb to the mile 5 mark, I couldn't hear him anymore.  I was not expecting this, and I felt a twinge of anxiety knowing that I could really win.  But there was still 1.5 miles (hilly and in the sun) left. 

I climbed the hill, nervous I might go too fast and blow up or too slow and get caught.  I reached mile 5 in 29:15 (mile 5 GPS time was 28:48).  I was all alone now in the middle of the road, with some people lining the street.  I was trying to look strong, but I could feel the fatigue setting in.  As I reached the final climb, I got a long look behind me and I couldn't see anyone.  I knew I was going to win, and my pace definitely slowed.  I had only a down hill section and a flat finish left, but it was taking longer than I remembered.  Finally I saw the finish line and heard Way Hedding announce my name as I crossed the line. 

alone near the finish

Total time 36:25 - 5:52 pace. I was surprised it wasn't closer to my PR, but people did say that the Christmas 10K was short and people here were telling me this race was long.  GPS had my 10K split at 35:53 and my overall pace at 5:45.  That seems more accurate to me. 

The kid finished second 49 seconds behind me.  Jeff sooned came in after that.  The WTAC runners kept coming and coming.  Lots of great performances including another age group win for my dad. 

my dad finishing strong

Results here

Team WTAC: Pard, Pres, Gazelle Jr, Gazelle Sr, Miles, Critchlery, Jeff V

I chatted with the 2nd place finisher - an 18 year old high school runner and 16:45 5Ker.  He had never run a 10K before.  It was a fun battle.  Jeff, Steve, Josh, and I headed out for an easy cool down.  My legs were extremely tight, and I hobbled along at a PW pace.  We finished up along the beach back to the parking lot.  The post race scene was festive with good food, the band still rocking, and lively conversation.  It was nice to meet Beth in person after reading her blog the last few months.  My dad and I received our awards and then made the journey back to RI.  This was a great event and I can't wait to do it again.  Getting the "W" was pretty awesome too! 
Photos courtesy of Jana Walker

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Weekly Log 6-10-13 to 6-16-13

I'm pleased to be doing another Friday night race in Connecticut this week - the Niantic Bay 10K.  Muddy emailed the WTAC crew about it a few weeks back, and after not thinking I'd be able to do it, I was able to make it work.  It's funny not having a race on your radar and then jumping into it.  Honestly, I've only been thinking about medium distance trail races lately, so a road 10K should be interesting.  I guess I'll shoot for sub 36 (35:54 PR).  We'll see.  The race was canceled last year, but here are the two most recent results: 2011 and 2010.  Who knows who will show up this year. 

I aggravated something in my hip/glute after the National Running Day triple.  It went away after two days, but returned after my run on Sunday.  It feels tight/sore, but not strained or anything.  I might need to rest it before Friday's race.  Hopefully the weather will be crappy enough to make not running palatable. 

Monday: 10 miles - 4 x Pardon Joslin Rd Hill workout alone.  I decided that this would be the only day I would do anything challenging before the race on Friday night.  I don't remember how I settled on hill repeats, but that's what I did.  I parked at the Cuttyhunk Preserve and ran the trails there, before navigating the messy Stony Lane (unimproved dirt road) to get to Pardon Joslin Road (also unimproved dirt road).  I ran down the long hill until the road leveled off.  I collected my thoughts and then began the workout.  The Strava segment starts from the Fisherville Brook parking area and measures .4 miles with 7.8% grade and 183' elevation gain.  I was starting below the parking area, so my climbs ended up being about 215' each.  Each climb felt strong.  I wasn't sprinting, but I was moving quickly and efficiently.  The road is in bad shape, so I had to pick my lines.  It felt alot like some of the double track climbs in Pisgah (but not as long).  My side/glute was pretty tight.  It didn't bother me going up, but was annoying me on the descents and flats.  According to Strava, my climbs all ended up between 3:28 and 3:31.  Consistent!  I finished up taking Sunderland Road (paved) back to my car, not wanting to deal with Stonly Lane again.  Total time: 1:18:06.  Total elevation gain: 1,148! 

Tuesday: 8 miles - Big River trails alone.  I was looking for dry trails with no hills and I thought that running an out and back on Lego would do the trick.  The weather was clearing and turned out rather steamy.  My hip/glute felt fine the first mile or so, but began biting after that.  The trail was remarkably dry for the amount of rain we've had recently, but still slippery in places.  The nonstop twists keeps up your guard and passes the time more quickly than open roads.  Total time: 1:09:59

Wednesday: 10 miles - Quonset bike path solo.  I debated taking a zero, but I'll leave that to tomorrow rather than run in miserable rain.  Instead, I was rather anxious about testing my hip tightness and 10K fitness.  I figured I could do both in the same run if all was going well.  I kept it short as to not tax my legs.  I ran west on the bike path and with the NW wind in my face, I felt slow.  My legs are still heavy from Monday, but at least my hip did not bite today.  After a 7:02 mile, my legs loosened up, and with the same intensity I knocked out 6:37 and 6:39 miles.  Mile 4 was planned to be at 10K pace (5:47).  I nailed the time, but it did feel like a challenging pace to keep up for 6.2 miles.  I dialed down the effort on the last mile, and was very pleased to see that it came in at 6:20.  I stopped and stretched briefly, happy knowing that my body should hold up well on Friday.  I then ran a mile cooldown. 

After work I met up with my dad and kids at the first Westerly Fun Run of the summer.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but both kids did the kids race (my son mentioned possibly doing the mile instead).  He was pumped about his PR.  Before the mile/5k start, I decided to go for the 5K if someone didn't mind keeping an eye on the kids for me.  Thanks to Mike C, I was able to run.  The race started when I was still at the finish line, so I had about 10 seconds to make up.  The first mile was faster than I thought, but I was not overdoing it.  It was fun catching people as I went along.  After getting by 4th place at the 1.5 mile mark, I now had Jeff in my sights.  I thought I might catch him on the short steep hill.  I got close, but then he created space soon after.  I was going fast enough, so I finished up at more or less the same pace (10K race-ish).  Official time: 18:22.  Besides being a fun time, this gave me further confidence that I can run a good 10K on Friday night.  No tightness issues and my legs feel great. 

Thursday: 0 - planned rest day. 

Friday: 11 miles - Niantic Bay 10K - 36:25 1st overall!  Separate write up to follow. 

Saturday: 15 miles - Burlingame trails with Jeff.  We planned to meet up at 6AM after our 10K 12 hours beforehand.  The morning was gorgeous - sunny and dry.  The trails however were still wet.  My legs felt tired (as they should), but our pace was honest for the first hour and a half.  We began at the picnic area and headed west, jumping on the trails around the campground.  The bog bridges area was a wet mess. We then followed Vin Gormley up to Buckeye Brook Road.  More water in the low lying areas, but not too bad.  Once we reentered the woods on the north side of the pond, there was no more avoiding the puddles, streams, and mud.  We splashed around down to the old north camp, and stopped briefly at the beach (not much exposed with the high water).  My legs were really tired by this point, but we pressed on.  Instead of heading straight back on VG, we detoured up to Sammy C's, Secret, and Schoolhouse Pond trails.  We were extremely muddy by the time we hit a small, almost knee-deep pond back on VG trail.  Jeff laughed when I decided to just jump into it, and wade across.  It cleaned off my legs and my shoes though!  Total time: 2:03.  Great morning run!  No way I would have been motivated to do this run on my own the day after a race. 

Sunday: 6+ miles - local roads to complete Strava 10K challenge.  This run wasn't going to happen, as I was enjoying a quiet, lazy father's day with my family.  I knew I could probably run during the afternoon, but my body was not into it, and I took a nap.  Finally, as the window of opportunity was closing, my wife talked me into running (sounds funny).  My plan was to run the 4 mile loop of roads from my house.  It's hilly, but if I go clockwise, I start with a mile down hill.  I opted for that.  I felt fine, but soon was struggling with going uphill.  I also was getting annoyed at the traffic on Kings Factory Rd - I didn't want to get smushed on father's day.  Anyway, after climbing up Shumankanuc Hill Rd, I began feeling good, and next thing I knew I was convincing myself to run 10K to complete a Strava challenge (even though I ran one on Friday night and did a long run yesterday that should have done the trick).  I passed my house and then ran an out and back on Burdickville Road.  It's pretty hilly as well, and by the time I finished (6.3 miles), I was a sweaty mess.  Total time: 47:01. 

Overall: A really fun week.  It felt good to race hard on Friday, and to get the win.  Thanks to my family for an awesome father's day. 

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Last Week: 71 miles
Year to Date: 1399 miles

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weekly Log 6-3-13 to 6-9-13

Monday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I was feeling pretty beat from Friday night's race.  In particular my feet and lower legs were tired.  I parked off of Lafayette Road and planned to run just the west side single track.  When I began, I decided to run the easy flat rail bed to get my legs loosened up.  It was extremely muggy out, and wet trees and shrubs sagged over the trail.  I kept the pace easy, and the miles lower than normal.  Total time: 1:02:00. 

Tuesday: 11 miles - Big River trails solo.  Today was gorgeous - 70 degrees, sunny, and low humidity.  I had the opportunity to go a little longer today.  My plan was a lollipop route from the Hopkins Hill lot.  I wanted to be on the ridge between the ponds, so I ran that, following the half marathon course.  My legs were feeling much better and my pace was decent.  I continued along the course planning to go all the way to Greasy Joe's and then back down Foster's Folly before running the ridge back.  As I approached the long switchback on Dead Shed I heard a loud noise in the direction I soon would be heading.  It sounded like a shed collapsing or a tree falling.  I stopped to listen.  Silence.  I got creeped out and turned around, running rather quickly now.  I then crossed HH road and ran along the New London Turnpike for a while before hopping onto some familiar single track I hadn't run recently.  One of my favorite hilly switchback trails is in bad shape.  Lots of blowdowns has turned away the mtn bikes and nature is reclaiming the trail.  It was still fun, but soon will probably be gone.  Checking my watch, I decided I had time to go to the overlook.  After stopping for a moment to take in the view, I heading back to my car, pushing the pace up the hill from the stream.  Total time: 1:27:39. 

Wednesday: 21.5 miles - three runs in celebration of National Running Day.  Last year Galoob had an epic NRD, and I felt obligated to keep up the tradition.  I woke up a little bit early, and after getting the kids lunches ready for school, I got in a short run on my home trails.  3x9 loops with 1xShumunkawall loop thrown in for fun.  3+ miles in 25:34.  Beautiful morning.  My second run was during my lunch.  I decided to run what Mike and I did last year on this "holiday" - the Hilly Half Marathon.  I parked at the park and ride on Rte 1A and then followed the route through Plum Beach, Snuff Mill/Gilbert Stuart, and then on to the Waldron neighborhood.  I purposely was pushing the pace as we did last year.  I did not look at my time or pace until I finished.  I wanted it to be a surprise (and not effect me mentally during the run).  I kept my effort on the uncomfortable side the entire time.  I was nervous about blowing up on the GSR climb, but it went well.  I was tiring by about mile 8, and anytime I was heading south, there was a stiff wind in my face.  This was especially annoying on the wide open Rte 1A.  It's also mostly uphill (including one good hill).  The hardest part is dropping down Plum Point Road for the huge hill there knowing that you're less than a half mile from your car.  I managed the hill (at one of my slowest times) and finished up pretty strong, albeit into the wind.  Total time: 1:25:41 - 30 seconds faster than last year.  I'll take it.  Tough run.  925' of climbing.  6:36 overall pace. 

My final run of the day was a pub run in Wakefield with Galoob and Gunshow.  Mike and I headed out pretty late (8:40PM?) and wandered down to Phil's after stopping at the bike shop.  The night seemed cool, but we were sweaty messes, so the upstairs outside deck was perfect.  Gunshow joined us here and before I knew it, we were running on the pitch black bike path up to Rhody Joe's.  The bar was busy and bright.  I felt a little out of place in my stinky running clothes and sweaty face.  We hung out there for a while before heading down the road for my first Bobby G's experience.  It didn't disappoint.  Ben was looking for more adventure, but Mike and I were done.  We escorted him (running) to Fat Belly's, before running on the empty streets back to my car.  I was sick of running at that point and National Running Day was coming to a close (about 12AM).  About 5 and half miles of interrupted running.  Total time: 46:14. 

Thursday: 5.5 miles - Calf Pasture Point bike path, trail, and beach alone.  Wow am I sore.  National Running Day did me in.  I haven't felt like this in quite some time, even after races.  The weather was nice enough and looked terrible for Friday, so I headed out for an easy recovery run.  I ran slowly out to the point and then decided to take off my shoes and run barefoot out and back on the beach (2.25 miles total).  First I had to hide my freakishly bright orange shoes somewhere and then I continued my run.  The barefoot beach run wasn't as romantic as it sounds since there are many "obstacles" (mostly broken shells) to negotiate and there was a screaming headwind on the way back.  Still, I made the most of it, and didn't slice my toes on anything.  Total time: 47:38. 

Friday: 0 - I managed to put on my running clothes and drive over to Ryan Park.  Then I sat in my car trying to convince myself to run a few miles in the steady rain.  Couldn't do it. 

Saturday: 15 miles - 2 runs. 8 miles on local roads in a short AM window. Easy pace, but pushed the hills at the end near my house. Total time: 54:45. Will upload GPS data later.

 After an over scheduled day with kid activities, I was able to sneak in a second run while my son was at a birthday party. I had about an hour of running time to play with. I decided to run in Burlingame from Kings Factory Road. I headed up Sammy C's. even though the sun was out and drying up the roads, the woods were another story. With 4-5 inches of rain, water pooled in many places and some of the trails turned into streams. I bushwhacked around a new pond that took some time. My feet got wet anyway, so eventually I stopped trying to avoid the water. After completing Sammy C's, I did the north camp loop. Watchaug Pond was very high as there was hardly any beach exposed. I took Vin Gormley back to my car, then tacked on a half mile of roads to get a full hour, and also dry out my shoes a bit. Total time: 61 minutes.

Sunday: 10 miles - Browning & DuVal trails with connecting roads (paved and dirt) with Seth.  Early start (6AM), but already very bright out.  I was happy that I wouldn't be running alone as my motivation was waning with yesterday's double.  Seth and I took the roads to Browning (about 2 miles).  The trail was a little wet, but not too bad.  Seth showed me a fun side trail that eventually connected with a neighborhood.  After a brief paved section, we then ran on dirt roads that led to the far end of the DuVal Trail.  More trail fun ensued before we ended back at the cars.  Really nice run.  My body is sore again, but it was a big week of miles.  Registered for another Friday night race in Connecticut - the Niantic 10K on the 14th. 

Weekly Total: 71 miles
Last Week: 54 miles
Year to Date: 1339 miles

Monday, June 3, 2013

Twilight Trail Run 2013

I got back on the Friday night summer race horse this past weekend.  Vowing never to run the Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile road race again, I ended up jumping in a 7.4 mile trail race in Bluff Point (Groton, CT) - the Twilight Trail Run.  The competition looked legit, and from what I gathered from people who have run in Bluff Point, the course was flat and fast. 

Race day was hot.  Low 90's during the day.  I was hoping it would be low 70's along the water and breezy, but when I arrived at 5PM it was high 80's with little wind to speak of.  Yuck!  I wondered how I would run in these conditions.  I collected my bib, and not seeing any familiar faces, just kind of hung out in the shade until I was too antsy to stand still anymore.  I then headed out on a warm up (what if you're already warm?).  I ran the wide dirt/gravel path along the western shore.  My body felt tense and nervous - not about racing but the heat.  I needed to relax, so I pushed on a little further.  I reached an opportune bathroom, and then headed back.  I began to notice a breeze.  There were more runners out warming up, so I tried to look calm and focused. 

I returned to my car for water and to ditch my singlet and hat.  I decided to carry my handheld in case there was no water on the course (I asked a few people who weren't sure).  I returned to the start area and ran into Eric Wyzga.  We chatted about the conditions (he talked me out of carrying the handheld), the course, and recent races.  Besides being fun, it definitely distracted me from my nerves.  The breeze seemed to pick up, and it felt a lot cooler now in the shade at least. 

The start was delayed due to the monster turn out (360 racers I believe).  I ditched my handheld at my car and lined up front at Way Hedding's (SNERRO & WTAC) direction next to Spy Barros and some other friendly fast guys.  I saw a guy decked out in Sportiva gear and I assumed it was Eric Blake.  Next thing I knew I heard the gun and we were off.  I tried my hardest not to sprint off the line and I settled into a group of runners for the first half mile.  Then Eric Blake dropped the hammer and two guys (including Spy) tried to chase.  I was in fourth and kept my pace, knowing that I was already going fast enough (probably too fast).  After a few turns, the three of them were out of sight, and I had company behind me.  We made our way around the point.  I didn't dare look at my watch, afraid of what my pace was.  The course was marked with hanging pink ribbon at intersections, but my unfamiliarity led me to question each turn, as there were many.  As the course veered back to the north, there were frequent short climbs.  The guy on my shoulder was sticking to me and I got the feeling he was going to make a move soon.  It was still early in the race, and I wasn't ready to commit to going any faster than I already was. 

Near the 3 mile mark there was a water stop.  The runner next to me got ahead, but grabbed a water.  I followed his lead and took water to dump over my head.  The course then descended on a trail that was more technical than I thought I'd encounter on the course.  The runner was pulling ahead, clearly descending faster than me.  I kept him in my sights, but he gapped me.  I had to pay more attention to my footing.  The trail eventually leveled off, but was still slightly technical.  I couldn't hear anyone behind me, and I was only concerned with keeping up my pace and seeing if I could catch the guy ahead of me.  At mile 4, the course headed east along a train track.  The loose small stones were interesting to negotiate.  The course was a bit confusing the next two miles as it crossed the tracks and was doubling back on itself.  There were marshals stationed at key spots, so it was well marked, but like Big River, there are so many trails everywhere it's confusing.  After spending time along the tracks and in the woods, the trail opened up into some large fields (Haley Farm).  I could see the guy ahead of me again, and noticed him looking back.  I hoped this was a good sign.  I did not slow down. 

I took water at the cone turnaround and knew that I had about two miles left.  I poured the water over my head and was able to also drink a drop or two.  My shorts were drenched, and when I glanced down, I realized they were sticking to me a little too well.  I was slightly embarrassed, but what could I do?  I was back in the woods, all alone, telling myself to keep it up.  Then I reached the double back portion along the tracks, and was running directly into a stream of runners.  I tried to not worry about my clingy shorts and focused on hammering.  I kept glancing at my watch, only looking at the total distance, trying to garner how much was left.  When I knew I was getting close, I picked up my pace some more, and also got a few more glimpses of the guy ahead of me.  I could hear the loudspeaker at the finish before I could see it, but waited for my final sprint upon eye contact. 

My official time was 46:18 - 6:15 pace and 5th place overall.  The next finisher was a minute and a half behind me.  I was immediately pleased with my effort and happy I didn't overheat (it never was close to being an issue).  I grabbed a water and then was greeted by the 4th place runner - Todd Bennett.  We began chatting and then did a cool down loop through some single track together.  It turns out that we have finished right next to each other in a couple of other races - Li'l Rhody Runaround and Pisgah 23K.  I'm sure we'll cross paths again sometime soon.  Unfortunately I had to leave to pick up my son, so I didn't get to chat longer or see the awards. 

Overall, it was a great experience.  The course was much more interesting than I thought.  I'd love to go back and explore.  I'm still not sure if I had more left in the tank as I recovered pretty quickly after finishing.  I don't think it would have made a difference in my finishing place however.  I can't wait to come back next year!! 

Results here