Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekly Log: 4-21-14 to 4-27-14

It's weird not having any immediate focus races on the horizon.  I know that I want to be in top shape for the Beaver trail race in July, but surely I'll find other races to do before then.  I've already begun the internal dialogue about Pisgah 50K vs. 23K in September.  I'm leaning towards another sub 1:40 attempt in the 23K and switch to the 50K in future years.  I can be easily persuaded though.  I'm planning on the Nipmuck marathon a couple of weeks later.  I hope to tag along with some local guys to a mountain race and also do a new Grand Tree race.  And then Muddy has me thinking about the Traprock 50K next April! 

Monday: 9+ miles - Burlingame loop in the fading light.  Late start for me (6:30PM) on this day off from work.  I spent the morning following the marathon and then hiking/lunching with Muddy and our kids.  After a late meal I ran out the door for a trail run before it was too late.  Thanks to Hop Notch, I was having a little trouble focusing on my footing, but never fell.  I kept up a good effort the entire run.  I entered Burlingame at the beaver pond and took Sarah's Trail up to Buckeye Brook Rd.  I then did the north camp/pond loop, getting my feet completely muddy in the process.  I decided to head down Vin Gormley to Sammy C's.  I was surprised I didn't see anyone out on the trails, but I guess it was too late.  It never got too dark on Sammy C's and I returned back on the roads.  Total time: 1:08:48 with 556' of climbing. 

Tuesday: 9+ miles - north Burlingame hill workout alone.  Another day off from work, but this time a morning run.  I decided to stay on the north side of Burlingame and run all the hills at a good effort.  I began with a snappy pace and tried to maintain it to the end.  Five good climbs with other easier ones mixed in.  I was surprised to again see no humans, not that I'm complaining.  Total time: 1:07:46 with 798' of climbing. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - CCMS track workout with Galoob and Gunshow.  Finally back to the track after a long break.  After yesterday's hill workout, my body wasn't feeling particularly fast.  Also it was pouring rain at work when I left.  Luckily in Wakefield it had stopped when I arrived.  I began warming up alone to loosen up.  There was a lone Canada goose on the soccer field the track circles.  As I ran by, it lowered its head, began hissing, and charged at me.  I screamed like a girl, but it stopped.  I then avoided that thing until the big guys showed up.  That thing wasn't so tough anymore and flew away.  Anyway, I didn't know what Daniels workout Mike had planned for us other than something that included T, I, and R pace.  At the track he revealed the full plan:  4 x 1 mile at T-pace with 1 minute recoveries, then 3 minutes rest until 2 x 1000 at I-pace with 1 minute recovery between, 3 minutes rest then 4 x 200 at R-pace with 200m recoveries.  Yikes!  I was debating doing my own thing, but I love a good challenge.  Since the 1 minute recoveries would make it impossible for us to stay together during the workout, I jumped right into the first mile (I really just did 1600's).  The wind was strong, so I had to work harder into the wind and then try not to relax too much with the wind at my back.  Despite not feeling fast, I fell into a good rhythm on these.  The one minute recovery seemed really short.  My goal was 5:52 but I was under that: 5:43/5:45/5:46/5:46.  Next were the 1000's at I-pace (3:23 target for me).  These sucked, but I got through them: 3:20/3:24.  Although feeling like I was sprinting in slow motion, the 200's went well:  35/36/35/36.  It felt good to nail this workout.  Huge volume. 

Thursday: 10 miles - Big River trails alone.  My legs felt pretty good as I wandered around.  I parked at Greasy Joe's, but wanted to run the single track up the road that began from the park and ride lot.  Good call as I really enjoyed this twisty trail very close to I95 at times.  I crossed Division Street, and ended up running down Foster's Folly and Spider until I connected with the new switchback trail I really like up the ridge.  I thought about running the blue arrow trail for fun, but it took way too long to connect over, so when I reached pump house trail, I took it up to the NLT.  I wasn't ready to be done yet, so I ran through the pines to the middle section of Lego.  I was impressed with the mtn bikers speed as they talked to each other through this twisty section.  Fun run.  Total time: 1:17:36. 

Friday: 8.5 miles - Arcadia Trail run alone.  My wife and I commuted to work today and on the way back to get the kids at her parents' house, I had her drop me off on Rte 165 at Appie's Crossing.  I then ran the entire length of the Arcadia Trail (and then a short road section to the in-law's house).  Despite running this trail on a few occasions, I still forgot how hard it was.  It's one long obstacle course with hills and very few breaks.  Certainly good prep for technical trail races.  Total time: 1:05:33. 

Saturday: 15.5 miles - Arcadia trail loop in the early AM with Muddy, Jackman, and Martin T.  I was happy that it wasn't raining yet for the 6:00AM start.  We met at the Midway parking area and then headed over to the Mt Tom Trail.  Flat and easy at first, until you reach the ledges.  I was having a blast, but realized that this type of terrain may not have been comfortable for all - especially with wet rocks.  Unfortunately I had planned out a challenging loop.  After crossing Rte 165, we ran some mtn bike trails around Old Ten Rod Rd.  We then ran back up the hill and jumped on the Escoheag Trail heading west.  This trail is really gnarly and fun.  We made our way up to the top of the hill and then took a break by running Austin Farm Rd (dirt) back down to the start of the Breakhart Trail.  It was beginning to rain at a steadier rate.  I wanted to run up Penny Hill hard to take back a Strava segment from Seth.  I didn't realize the segment started before crossing Plain Rd, so I just ran the last steep section hard.  Good fun, but exhausting.  We continued on towards Breakheart Pond.  The worst part is a sneaky mile plus uphill after Acid Factory Brook.  It is relentless.  We finished the run by taking dirt roads back to our cars, as time was short for me, and we were all drenched anyway.  Total time: 2:05:09 with 1,371' of climbing.  Awesome long run! 

Sunday: 12 miles - threshold run on local roads solo.  I made up this workout at the last second.  My wife was running at 9AM, and then we were meeting her parents for an Earth Day cleanup of the Wyoming Dam (our assigned spot from the WPWA).  I had 70 minutes to run.  I began on roads at a good pace and then opted to just stick with roads for the duration.  I was more concerned with my time running than my pace, and didn't check my watch until I reached Rte 1 from my house.  I then knew I could easily get 10 miles in, and I was pretty close to my adjusted for time 1 hour T-pace.  I was having fun and working pretty hard.  I had to take some side streets to get in the full ten miles (and avoid bigger hills near my house to make up the difference).  I figured my run was rather flat (except for my house being on top of a hill), but I was surprised with how much rolling it involved.  Finally, I approached the long climb up Shumunkanuc Hill.  I dug in and ran as hard as I could run this tough hill on this day.  It was rewarding to summit, but the road then plummets and climbs one more time to my house.  I finished up the ten miles in 1:03:16, good for a 6:20 average pace.  But when you factor in the 544' of climbing, the grade adjusted pace was 6:14.  Not bad the morning after a long run.  I then ran two miles (6 loops) of my home trails as a cool down. 

Overall: Another big week of running.  Seventy miles is feeling routine to me.  I need to race soon! 

Weekly Total: 75 miles
Last Week: 75 miles
Year to Date: 1042 miles
April Total: 266 miles

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekly Log: 4-14-14 to 4-20-14

No real focus this week other than chase miles.  I'm still dealing with tightness in my lower core that popped up after the weekend of racing over a week ago.  I will just continue to actively recover. 

Monday:  11 miles - crazy mix of trails, roads, powerlines, hills with Galoob.  We met at Barber Pond on Rte 2 on this warm, muggy, and windy day.  We climbed a couple of good hills in a nearby neighborhood before jumping on a powerline.  We then ran some 4x4 trails before rejoining the powerline.  Snakes everywhere!  We made it to a dirt road and had to figure out which way we could go next.  We ended up crossing the tracks and running old trails in the North Woods of URI.  By the time we popped out on top of the hill, we had been running for  52 minutes.  We ran roads back, including the long climb up Wolf Rocks Rd.  We finished up on the flat dirt Barber Pond Rd.  Total time: 1:24:28 with 674' of climbing. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  This was a very stormy day.  I left earlier than normal to start my run during a break in the action.  It was already beginning to rain lightly when I started and it was very windy.  After about twenty minutes of winding around the eastern side of the park, I ran the rail bed hard over to the other side.  This was an attempt to get back my KOM from Chris Garvin.  I may have started the segment too late (not wanting to start too early and burn out).  I lowered my PR, but I'm still 11 seconds behind Chris.  It was now raining steadily, and with the strong wind, it was rather miserable.  I recovered on the other side of Lafayette Rd and then did a protected loop on the west side of the park.  I was soaked.  Eventually I took off my shirt to avoid chaffing and the extra weight.  I decided to run the rail bed back hard.  I have the CR for this almost mile segment, but tried to lower it.  It was funny running hard in the pouring rain and crazy gusts of wind coming off the pond.  I again missed the CR, this time by 5 seconds.  I quickly returned to my car since the conditions were deteriorating.  Changing in my car was a challenge without getting everything wet.  Total time: 1:10:36. 

Wednesday: 8.5 miles - Big River recovery run alone.  I was feeling lazy about running today.  Eventually I drove around until I ended up at the Hopkins Hill lot.  I got out of my car and just shuffled around some trails.  My plan was to run the new single track trail I found last week.  I took the long way there.  It was annoying to see spots with snow (we had a coating overnight), but the April sun felt good (despite it only being mid 40's).  I ended my run by wading through the Carr River, since there was no easy way to cross.  It was up to my shorts.  Total time: 1:11:38 with 460' of climbing. 

Thursday: 11 miles - workout with Galoob and Jakoboski.  We met up at Treaty Rock Park on Middlebridge Road for a 2 x 3 mile @ T pace workout with short hill climbs between reps.  Mike was excited to try out his skipping up the hill he read about online somewhere.  He called it bounding, but it was definitely skipping.  Anyway, after a 2 mile warm up and a couple of strides we began the out-and-back 3 mile threshold run.  My target was 5:55, but I figured having two fast guys ahead of me would make me be faster.  There was a chilly headwind on the way out, but at your back on the way back.  I chugged along, paying way too much attention to my watch.  Mike and Derek were going to run a little longer down the road than me so I hoped we would finish up closer together.  Nope.  Those guys were so far ahead.  Humbling.  Still I ran 17:29 (5:50 pace).  Next we did some reps up Torrey hill (rather steep road).  Instead of skipping, I opted to take more powerful steps than normal as I climbed.  I did five reps and took it very easy coming back down.  I then jumped into the next threshold run.  My legs felt fine, and the time passed more quickly on this one.  Unfortunately, my pace was a tad slower, but still good - 17:40 (5:53 pace).  Short cool down after. 
Total time: 1:16:28.  This was a great workout! 

Friday: 10 miles - Arcadia single track and dirt roads alone.  Good Friday means leave work really early.  I had to pick up the kids at my in-laws, who happen to live in Arcadia.  So, I parked at the Midway lot and ran up to the old Ten Rod Rd (dirt).  I then weaved around forgotten mtn bike trail gems.  I worked over to the top of Mt Tom and planned to run down the valley and back up Escoheag Hill.  This is what I ended up doing, but frankly I was lost.  Once I descended into the valley, trails appeared to be everywhere and nowhere at once.  Is this a trail or a wash out?  I would find dirt bike tracks occasionally.  I knew that I would end up hitting Austin Farm Rd, Barber Rd, or Escoheag Rd.  I did end up at the top of Austin Farm Rd.  I ran down that (dirt) until I picked up the white dot Escoheag Trail.  After a steep climb, I continued on Mt Tom Trail and back down old Ten Rod Rd.  Fun run (except for missing the valley trail I was looking for) with 890' of climbing.  Total time: 1:22:29. 

Saturday: 19.5 miles - Carolina early morning group run with Muddy, Garvin, and Jackman.  We met up at 6AM at the management lot on Rte 112.  Muddy put together a good loop from there, which was mostly all easy trails.  After the long dirt hill climb on Kenyon Hill Rd, we reached Muddy's aid station he set up.  We then left Carolina and headed up the North South Trail to Rte 138.  We backtracked on roads to our cars, but veered off onto Wilbur Hill Rd to check out some more trails (except Chris who at 1:45 had run long enough).  We explored the Grass Pond Preserve (TNC) and Delbonis (State of RI property).  Hilly!  Can't wait to explore a little more here.  We ran back to our cars via Kenyon Hill Rd and a wide dirt trail.  Total time: 2:28:15 with 986' of climbing.  This was my longest run in quite some time and I felt good until the last 2 or 3 miles. 

Sunday: 5+ miles - quick Burlingame loop recovery run alone.  I wasn't sure if I'd run at all today, after feeling terrible last night (chills, sweats, muscle aches), but woke up feeling way better.  I decided since I had the time before Easter festivities to run a few miles.  I ran a loop of my road to Sammy C's to Schoolhouse Pond to Vin Gormely to the Beaver Pond and back.  Everything felt good.  Total time: 41:06 with 397' of climbing. 

Overall:  Happy with this week.  Big mileage with a challenging workout and a longer than normal long run.  I was able to get in almost 4K feet of climbing.  My body even feels back to normal. 

Weekly Total: 75 miles
Last Week: 68 miles
Year to Date: 967 miles
April Total: 191 miles

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Week in Review: 4-7-14 to 4-13-14

This is a very late recap of last week.  I decided to change the format of the blog a bit.  I added a Strava feed so that those not on Strava could see the daily runs as I upload them, and also it means I won't be posting the Strava recap in the blog text.  I think this makes sense. 

Anyway, last week was spent actively recovering from the Big River Half/Chariho 5K weekend. 

Monday: 10 miles - hilly paved and unpaved roads with Galoob.  I didn't feel terrible, and I was able to meet up with Mike for a hilly run.  We parked at Allie's Donuts in NK, and ran up Stony Lane (long hill), eventually cresting and then continued on the unimproved dirt road section.  The pace wasn't as snappy as the previous week, but on dead legs, it felt challenging.  Plus parts of the dirt road are tricky.  We crossed Sunderland Rd and then continued west on Pardon Joslin Rd until we reached the far end.  This worked out to be five miles, which was perfect.  We turned around and retraced our steps back.  No donuts this time.  10 miles in 1:15 with 933' of climbing. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  This was an easy recovery run (which never feel easy).  I don't remember much about this run other than it was soggy because of all the recent rain, and I wanted to try to get my CR back from Garvin on the railbed segment, but successfully talked myself out of it.  Total time 1:12:44. 

Wednesday: 7.5 miles - NK mostly trails with Sandals and his dog.  I was thinking about joining Mike for a track workout (although my legs still felt like junk) until I received an invitation from Sandals to run the trails behind and around his house.  The weather was sunny and warm.  Sandals took me on a tour of his hour loop.  The conversation was lively and it was fun checking out new trails.  Total time 1:00:58 with 454' of climbing. 

Thursday: 10 miles - Big River trails alone.  The weather was awesome again, and I had the opportunity to head to Big River.  I parked at the Hopkins Hill lot and ran around Carr Pond (opposite direction of race) until I reached Foster's Folly.  I then ran south along the ridge (also opposite direction of race).  At the spot where some of the 1/2 marathoners got off track and connected with the 10K course, I did the same.  I then ran north along the wide pond path looking for the new single track Mike added to the 10K race this year.  I found it and it is awesome.  It might be my favorite trail in the park.  Kudos to the mtn bikers who made it.  It winds through granite slabs and rocky ridges, eventually connecting back with the most used ridge trail.  I then followed the half course trails to Tarbox Pond, before adding some different stuff to make my run longer.  Finally, I returned via trails after debating a sprint up the road back to the parking lot (Strava segment).  I still don't have the pep in my legs.  Total time: 1:20:12 with 560' of climbing. 

Friday: 9 miles - Burlingame north hilly trail threshold run solo.  I had an hour window to run in the late afternoon.  It was 68 degrees.  I headed south from my house and entered Burlingame at the beaver pond trail.  I then ran the dirt road loop which is about 2.5 miles.  I was running pretty hard - what I considered T-pace feel.  The loop is hilly!  I ended up doing three loops with no rest, all in about 17 minutes flat.  I kept up the hard pace all the way back to my house for a total time of 1:01:11 (886' of climbing).  This was a great workout, one I'm sure to repeat.  The wide double track is reminiscent of Pisgah. 

Saturday: 16 miles - Carter Preserve trails with Seth and local hilly roads to/from alone.  This group run turned into just a two person affair.  I awoke early and was out the door at 5:55AM.  There was already plenty of light and the temperature was warm (low 50's) and muggy.  Lots of birds singing.  My legs were back to feeling like junk after yesterday's workout.  I took my time running the four miles to the Rte 112 parking area, which included running the powerline hill.  I waited for a couple of minutes until I saw Seth arrive (he also ran from his house).  We paused for a few more minutes to make sure no one else was joining us and then ran for an hour in Carter.  We kept the pace easy and the conversation about trail races.  I also was hungry.  We then parted ways after exhausting the trail system.  My run back was decent.  I took the longer way home.  I was not going fast at all, but the weather was splendid.  More hills.  Good run.  Total time: 2:05 with 915' of climbing. 

Sunday:  6.5 miles - Burlingame north loop alone in the late afternoon.  Most of this day was spent with family and friends.  We hiked Mt. Tom in Arcadia.  My son and I didn't stop with everyone for lunch at the ledges, and instead completed a loop hike that he picked out of a book.  Walking down Old Ten Rod Road (dirt) made me remember my mtn biking days in this section.  It looks like no one uses these trails anymore.  Too bad.  We met back up with everyone at the stream back near Mt. Tom.  The book called the loop 3.6 miles, but my GPS measured it at 4.1, and you know my opinion about that.  Fun 2 hour loop. 

Waiting for the adults to catch up. 

After spending 4 hours outside with the kids, it was my chance to run.  I wasn't too enthused, since I already felt relaxed and exercised.  But the allure of chasing miles was too strong, and out the door I went.   I ran a loop that I had my wife and friend run a week ago.  I kept the pace easy, but still had to do some climbing.  I saw zero humans.  Great way to end the week. 

Overall, it was a decent recovery week.  My body still doesn't feel all the way back to normal, but then again, I haven't given it much chance to rest.  I was happy to accumulate 4,388' of climbing for the week.  Friday's hilly trail threshold run was awesome. 

Weekly Total: 68 miles
Last Week: 58 miles
Year to Date:  892 miles
April Total: 116 miles

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Big River Half Marathon 2014

I had my sights on this race since the beginning of the year.  I hoped that the training I had put in would put me in top shape for this particular kind of race (grueling long trail race).  After a slow start to training this winter, I was able to put up over 300 miles in March, most of them on trails.  On top of that, I was able to run the course (well most of it) twice the week prior to the race.  The trails were in great shape and I was wearing the shoes I'd be racing in.  Familiarity can be a big plus in a trail race. 

After the first 4 races of the South County 4th Season Race Series, my Big River goal had been tempered.  The competition has been fierce, and all the top guys showed their prowess at the 10 mile Brrr-lingame race two weeks ago.  I finished pretty far back, despite my own strong race.  This race would be harder (terrain) and longer.  Could I bridge the gap at this one? 

The days leading up to the race went well.  I tapered.  I helped race director Mike Galoob mark the course on Thursday and Friday.  I was even relatively relaxed until race morning.  Then I was my nervous self.  I got to the race nice and early with my dad.  My brother Greg was already there with Boj.  Many of my WTAC friends were there, as were the TNT guys.  I got my bib and then fidgeted in Greg's car, until I needed to go warm up and calm my nerves.  I headed out alone on the Lego Trail, which would be the end of the race.  The ground was damp from the earlier rain, but still firm.  The sun was trying to come out and the temperature was good for racing (mid 40's).  I took it really slow and the legs were feeling great.  I returned to change shoes and get into my racing gear (just a singlet and shorts).  A few minutes later it was time to start. 

I really wanted to run this race smarter than last year, when I went out super hard hoping to get away and hide from everyone, only to have Bob Jackman stick with me and then surge the last third of the race while I faded.  I was told by Mike and Greg to start easy and pick it up later on.  That's what I did. 

Not up front

The opening pace seemed really relaxed by everyone except the unknown guy in front.  Entering the single track I was in 5th place.  We were in a nice single file briefly, before getting more strung out.  I was happy to see Greg overtake the lead at the top of the hill.  Bob and Steve Bright(orangeshirt)man were staying close to him.  The unknown guy was already fading and I soon made my way around him too.  It was at this point (about the 1 mile mark) that I knew Justin was now right behind me.  As I weaved my way around the tricky Spider trail, I began worrying about him.  After the easy start, the pace was now spicy.  I didn't want to push it any harder, just maintain.  Did he want to go faster? 

Spider had the first really muddy and wet section on the course.  Because of my fear of being passed, I made the decision to just plow through and take the most direct route.  My shoes drain well and my smartwool socks have done me well in the past.  I hoped my feet would hold up.  As we reached some easier wider trails near the water tower, I again worried Justin would make his move.  Often it would seem like he was on my right shoulder, only he never went ahead.  He mentioned something about Brightman getting away, and he seemed antsy about it.  I told him that we'd catch him later on the more technical stuff, but again I was paranoid he would run ahead to not let Brightman get away. 

The next two miles or so of single track along the far end of Carr Pond were uneventful.  Justin and I kept our pace, but didn't have any other runners in our sights.  Then we hit the climb up to the Hopkins Hill lot.  I noticed the flags missing, and felt angry.  Brightman was up ahead telling us which way to go.  We could also see Bob and Greg.  We climbed to the top and I told the helpers at the lot to call Mike Galoob and tell him flags were missing.  I was relieved that the flags were still there on the way back down. 

The next few miles would be interesting.  The terrain is the hardest on the course.  Lots of rocks, short steep hills, and water crossings.  I knew the course well and knew that was an advantage.  I was confident that I could maintain my position, and possibly even catch Brightman.  Justin made sure to stick with me.  We crossed the overflowing Carr River in two spots.  The first was a wet straight shot through.  The second was a gnarly wet rock balancing act.  Justin took a different line and I nervously sprinted to beat him to the other side.  A minute later we hit the big puddle.  We splashed right through, but it was deep.  Scott Mason was there (literally in the middle of the water) snapping pictures. 

This is a trail race! 

Running through deep water and then immediately climbing a steep hill completely exhausted me.  My breathing was out of whack.  Did I overdo it?  Unfortunately there was yet another water crossing and steep climb.  Wow, I was hurting here.  It took quite some time to get back under control.  Soon enough, we were being distracted by the bright orange shirt of Brightman.  We were slowly reeling him in.  I knew there was only a mile or so of the tricky single track on the ridge left.  I'm pretty sure I increased my effort, hoping to catch him before things got easy again.  Closer and closer.  It was very exciting at the time, catching up to someone who I'd never beaten in a race before.  Finally, I knew I'd make a strong move on a short steep climb that is followed by a rock-laden descent.  I passed him at the top and got separation.  I kept on the heat until I navigated through the rocks.  Justin had moved by as well, and again was on my heels.  We blasted along the next smooth section and then made a crazy fast descent down toward Tarbox Pond.  It was too fast for my liking, but I was committed.  Brightman didn't give up, and our bold move seemed to re-invigorate him.  I was continuing to run at a too fast pace, and it was hard.  Finally, after huffing and puffing up a hill, we got a little breathing room. 

I again began to focus on Justin.  The technical, hilly stuff was over.  It was smooth trails for now on.  This is where my race fell apart last year.  I did not want to repeat it.  But if he stuck with me through the hard stuff, then surely he would go by on the easy terrain.  I continued to run scared, without a second of let up.  We ran past the beaver dam and along Tarbox Pond.  We reached the unmanned water stop and climbed the hill.  I was still leading as we reached the twisty Dead Shed trail.  At this point, I was confident that I could finish the race at the pace I was going.  However, I didn't think I could go any faster.  Justin never left my heels.  Surely the move would be coming.  And now Brightman is catching back up to us!  I got jittery, and picked up the pace on the last quarter mile of Dead Shed.  Everybody stayed with me. 

We crossed the New London Turnpike and hopped onto Lego - the last trail in the race, but a doozy - over 3 miles of unrelenting turns through mostly pines, with one hill in the first mile and flat after.  Again, I was happy that I was feeling much stronger than last year, but I wasn't sure I could stay ahead of the two other guys.  Justin wouldn't leave my shoulder and Brightman was a couple of seconds back.  I pressed on, pushing and pushing.  I decided to throw in a surge on the mannequin hill and hopefully drop Brightman for good and see how Justin reacted.  I sprinted this hill hard.  I knew I would pay for it on the other side, but I took the chance.  It seemed to work!  Brightman dropped back.  Justin rejoined me, but didn't seem as antsy as before.  Then he asked how much was left - two miles?  There were two miles left.  Damn.  He's just waiting to make his move still.  We reached a short wide section and I made sure to hammer to the next narrow spot, not wanting him to make a move here. 

Now in the middle third of Lego, the crazy twisting began.  I was still feeling good, but not confident.  And then Justin fell.  He quickly caught back up to me, but I was wondering if that was a sign that he was fatiguing, as the trail was smooth.  I marched on, feeling a little better about how this would play out.  I knew that we were getting close to the last opening before the final half mile of single track.  My plan was to try to kick it in from there.  And then Justin fell again.  This time he didn't catch back up.  I ran faster trying to create a gap big enough to deflate his confidence.  Up the little hill, and surprise, there's Scott Mason again! 

Focused.  Almost done. 

I reached the open area and began getting nervous.  Was I going to pull this off?  I had trouble putting in the kick I had hoped for.  Instead I was nervously quick stepping, glancing back at Justin, trying to judge if he was going to mount a mad dash for the finish.  Finally, after one last hill, and knowing the end was imminent, I was confident I had a big enough lead to hold him off no matter what.  I reached the New London Turnpike and sprinted to the finish line - 1:29:46.  Almost three minutes faster than last year and ahead of Justin (who was two minutes faster than me two weeks ago) and Brightman (who is always much faster than me at Lil' Rhody Runaround). 

This race felt good.  I put in the work, raced smart, and had a good result.  Post race was very festive, chatting it up with everyone.  Congrats to Greg for holding off Bob for the win.  Congrats to Bob on another series championship.  Congrats to WTAC for winning the series.  Let's celebrate! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Big River Half Week: 3-31-14 to 4-6-14

Saturday is the big day.  I think I've got myself ready for the Big River Half.  I'm hoping that I can finish higher than I did at Brrr-lingame two weeks ago. 

Monday: 10 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  Sleet!  The weather was absolutely miserable, but so was my day at work, and I needed to get outside.  I timed it perfectly to get stuck in a sleet squall.  The temperature was in the mid 30's to boot.  I wore an old pair of shoes anticipating water, but happily I was able to avoid it for the most part.  The start felt horrible, but I warmed up, and found the stinging sleet in my face amusing.  I zigzagged in a different way to avoid one very wet section of trail.  I then hopped onto the beach expecting not to make it past the first stream crossing.  The wind was at my back, and the tide was low.  I was able to go way further south than the bridge.  Turning around, the run back was not good - a frigid NE wind in the damp air (the sleet had temporarily stopped then, but kicked back in later).  I ran trails for another 20 minutes before finishing up, happy to get out. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - NK hilly roads with Galoob.  The weather was fantastic today.  Mike had come up with an interesting out and back course that included familiar and unfamiliar roads to me.  Besides the dicey Rte 1 crossing, I really enjoyed the run.  Running on roads felt so easy after so many days of tough trails, despite the hills.  It was nice to have company on the familiar grinds, and we even managed to maintain conversation up most of them.   I was pleased to see the overall pace was sub 7:10 after cresting the last big climb (GSR) and I wanted to pick up the pace a bit and make the run sub 7:00 pace if possible.  We ended up with 950' of elevation gain. 

Wednesday - 5++ miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Taper time.  I ran the railbed over to the east side, and looped around the new and old trails there.  I decided to run the railbed back rather hard, just for fun.  And it was.  I probably would have set the Strava CR if I didn't let up too early. 

Thursday: 5 miles - Big River course marking with Galoob.  Heavily flagged the tricky section between the Hopkins Hill lot and Tarbox Pond.  Total time: 1 hr 22 min. 

Friday: 6 miles - Big River course marking with Galoob.  Flagged the section from the start to Hopkins Hill lot.  Faster going, with less intersections to deal with.  Mike had already done Dead Shed and Lego by the time I met him and then was going back out to finish the 10K course.  Total time: 1 hr 16 min. 

Saturday: 15 miles - Big River Half Marathon - 1:29:46, 3rd overall.  Great race, write up soon. 

Sunday: 7 miles - Chariho 5K - 18:09, 1st overall.  Our family always comes out to this event to support our friends' relay for life team.  Last year this race also fell the day after Big River.  Unlike last year, when I was too beat up to run (so my wife did), I felt okay enough to give it a shot.  My legs felt fine, but my hips and groins (is that plurable?)  were tight and sore.  The day was sunny and nice.  After a big lunch we headed over to Chariho.  I did a two mile warm up on the track where I ran into Mike B.  It felt terrible to run 8 minute miles.  I threw in 4 straightaway strides on the 2nd mile to see how that would go.  Still terrible.  Muddy was running too, and by the time I saw him, he had already run 7 miles and said he was feeling decent.  Wow.  I was impressed.  He said he was just going to shoot for a T-pace workout for the race.  My plan was to run as hard as my body would allow without injury.  I've had similar experiences at the summer WTAC fun runs, where I've done track workouts in the morning and then run the 5K at night.  Usually I would end up around 18 minutes flat.  Maybe that would be a goal, but my warm up was so terrible, I just wanted to get sub 19 (or if that was too hard, sub 20).  After watching my kids do the kids' race, it was time for my race.  I went out slow.  After a 1/4 mile, Muddy went by me.  It was too fast for me.  Then the headwind kicked in at the turf fields.  It was so miserable I decided I would sprint up to Muddy and share in the misery with him.  We then ran together, joking about the wind, how hard running 5:55 pace was, etc.  After a mile, I could tell we were slowly increasing our pace.  I wasn't feeling horrible anymore.  I was surprised at how fast the race was going by.  As we rounded the campus getting near the track finish, I wasn't sure what was going to happen.  I joked about waiting for his sprint to the finish, but he said there would be no sprint today.  I was feeling good and picked up the pace, first getting to the track, and then even more as I ran around it.  Even on my dead legs, sprinting felt wonderful.  What a fun way to run a race!  Anyway, I finished first overall, which my family liked, but  I wasn't sure it really counted, since Muddy probably would have beat me if he didn't stick to his T-pace plan.  Still a fun day overall, and a really great event.  Strava splits: 5:51/5:54/5:39/last .15 4:44 pace (course measured 3.15 on GPS). 

Weekly Total: 58 miles
Last Week: 70 miles
Year to Date: 824 miles
March Total: 303 miles
April Total: 48 miles