Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Back Road Ramble Week Recap: 5-26-14 to 6-1-14

Another busy week, another late blog post. 

Monday: 4 miles - 12 home trail loops in the evening.  This was a busy day!  Began in NH for a Hammett family gathering.  In the morning I took my dad and my son down to Mt. Monadnock for a hike.  This was my son's choice and he picked the course.  The hike ended up being longer than we all thought, but I have to say he did another great job of putting together an awesome loop - the highlight being heading down the Cliff Walk trail.  The entire hike was 4.5 miles with just under a 1000' climb. 

My dad and son looking south from the Cliff Walk

We drove back in time to meet my brothers and their families for a Memorial Day get together.  It's always fun to talk running with Greg and Glenn.  I was getting fired up about the Mt Greylock race.  Eventually, everyone had to head home, which meant I would be driving the 3 hours back to RI while my family napped.  We stopped for ice cream as an early dinner.  Once home, my wife asked if I was running today, which I kind of had ruled out at that point.  Well, I guess I could do a short run?  I ran 2 miles of my home trail loops, ate some real dinner, and then ran 2 more miles.  Total time: 32:21. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - trails/dirt roads hill workout alone.  My plan was 5 repeats of the Pardon Joslin Rd hill plus the hills in the Cuttyhunk Preserve.  I would run the ups steady and push the descents.  This was to simulate Greylock: I need to grind out a steady climb - not push too hard and then run fast downhill.  Despite my fatigued legs, the run went great.  It was hot too.  Total climbing: 1427'.  Total time: 1:17:19. 

Wednesday: 13 miles - NK/EG roads alone.  Overcast and rather chilly day.  I wasn't motivated for anything, and decided to just run some roads, making sure to add in a good climb or two.  This was going to be an easy day of 8 or 9 miles.  As is the case more often than not, my pace was faster than anticipated on pavement, and then I just went with it.  I made some choices along the way that extended my run, but honestly I thought it was going to be 11 miles.  Oops!  I did the run in 1:26:32, incorporating the 3 mile climb up Stony Lane to the top of Shippee Rd.  My average pace was 6:39, but my GAP was 6:31.  After the first mile I was in a good groove.  Going fast, but not really trying.  Felt great! 

Thursday: 10 miles - Big River trail loop alone.  Ugh!  Legs are dead.  I did a nice loop, but the easy pace felt challenging.  This was a fun course that I'd do again, except that crossing the beaver dam was really hard.  Also, the blue arrow twisty trail feels like it takes forever when you're not sprinting it.  Total time: 1:21:46. 

Friday: 8 miles - Great Swamp with Galoob.  Legs are still trashed.  We ditched the planned T pace on the bike path for a flat easy run on the wide trails of Great Swamp.  The weather was great and this run was just right for recovery.  37' of climbing!  Ha.  Total time: 1 hr flat. 

Saturday: 14 miles - Browning/DuVal mostly trail loop hosted by the Garvins with the WTAC Crew.  9 of us today!  We met at Chris's house and ran down and around Browning, dirt roads, into DuVal, back up the road to Browning again.  The pace was snappy as usual.  this was a great loop that thanks to some exploring by Chris, eliminates almost all tarmac.  The breakfast spread post race was fantastic.  I felt guilty having to leave so early and not partaking in my specialty of doing dishes.  Thanks Chris and Katie!  Total time: 1:46:27. 

Sunday: 4 miles - Back Road Ramble 5K.  This was another long busy day, so it's funny to only get four miles of running in.  I began by meeting some friends at Deep Hole in Matunuck for a dawn patrol bodyboarding session.  Well I was the only one with a sponge, everyone else was surfing.  It felt great to get back in the water.  After figuring out how to get all my gear on, I spent a solid hour and a half paddling around and catching a ton of waves.  We stayed on the eastern break and had plenty of room (the other peaks were packed despite the early morning).  Really fun session. 

Later in the morning I headed down to Camp Watchaug for the 3rd annual Back Road Ramble.  I was excited to do this race again, especially after Jeff had a hand in altering the course and made it more interesting.  My legs didn't feel too bad, but I had already tempered my expectations after running long the day before and bodyboarding earlier in the day.  I knew Tommy 5K was racing, and my only chance of beating him would be if he was more sore than I was (after also doing the long run) and if the single track sections might slow him down.  My wife was out running the Vin Gormley Trail, so I wasn't able to get a real warm up in, instead hanging out near the pond with my kids.  My dad did stay with them so I could sneak in a mile right before the start.  It was hot in the sun - mid 70's.  The hill climb start seemed daunting and then I noticed Spy Barros was in attendance.  This was going to be interesting!  After sweating out the start (waiting for my wife to arrive to watch the kids with two minutes to spare) I lined up next to Spy, Tom, and Jeff.  My plan was to just run hard and at worst get a good workout in.  I took off at the siren and was out in front on the climb up through the amphitheater.  I hit the trail downhill section to the parking lot really hard (why not?) and then found myself alone on the trek down Sanctuary Rd (gravel/dirt road).  I was waiting for Spy and Tom to pass me here, but neither seemed that close to me.  I felt someone move up closer as we were about to enter the Kimball Preserve single track.  I put in a surge and ran the trail hard.  I did not get separation, and as I emerged into the campground, Spy pulled along side of me.  We stayed together for the next half mile until the water stop (about halfway?).  I knew that I was running out of steam and then Spy pulled away on the next trail section.  I tried to maintain a steady pace, but I wasn't digging deep.  Post race this annoyed me.  My body was not in top form, but I could've fought harder the last mile.  Anyway, as I emerged back into the campground I had new company in the form of Tommy 5K.  I tried to stay ahead as we jumped back onto the Kimball trail section, but as soon as we reached Sanctuary Rd he took off.  Again no fight.  I found myself peaking back to see if anyone else was within striking distance.  I was settling.  I continued up the never ending Sanctuary Rd and then ran across the hot parking lot.  I managed to put forth a decent trail climb/road descent finish.  18:31, 3rd place.  Spy won in 18:00 and Tom was 18:07.  After the race I immediately had to drive home to get my kids' bathing suits as they wanted to swim in the pond in the worst way.  Couldn't blame them.  I soaked in the pond and then enjoyed a picnic lunch and the awards.  Jeff talked me into a quick dunk in the pond which felt great. 

The Start.  Photo by Jana Walker

Charging up the hill to the amphitheater.  Photo by Jana Walker

My wife and kids post race at the pond.  Photo by Jana Walker

After a great time at the race, my family was off to the Grills Preserve for a geocaching group hike.  This is something we'd never done before and thought we'd check it out.  The long and short of it is that it was a beautiful afternoon to hike.  The kids got tired, there was a brief meltdown, and then we hiked back.  I don't know if geocaching is something I'll ever do, but I was happy to learn about it. 

Post hike we were all exhausted.  What a day!  Time to relax at home and finally try that homebrew Muddy gave me a couple of months back.  Aged well! 

Weekly Total: 63 miles
Last Week: 76 miles
Year to Date: 1402 miles
May Total: 322 miles!!


  1. I'll trade you more of that shitty homebrew if you'll do dishes (your specialty) at my house!