Thursday, July 24, 2014

Big Friday Week: 7-21-14 to 7-27-14

Hey look, a timely blog post!  Hopefully the first of many.  Anyway, this will be an interesting week.  Besides non-running things like a Hammett family get-together, birthdays, and a wedding, I will be doing two organized runs on Friday.  First, I have organized, designed, and will be directing a trail half marathon through Arcadia in the morning for a close family friends' wedding.  I feel like I have everything set up at this point, so I'm hoping this will be more of a group run rather than a race.  We'll see.  I'm hoping for an "easy" two hours.  Then, later in the day I will be racing the Blessing of the Fleet.  I know, I've said I would never do this race again, but my strong feelings have subsided over time.  I'm rather nervous/excited about it.  I'm not sure how the morning run will effect the evening race.  I plan to be well rested going in.  We'll see what happens....

The Wedding Half Marathon Course

Monday: 10 miles - Narrow River roads and hills alone.  Strava inspiration.  I was notified on Sunday that someone had stole my CR on the Walmsley Rd (dirt) climb.  It was a vacationer.  I can't let that stand.  So, this was my goal for Monday's lunch run.  It was sunny and warm.  I parked at Treaty Rock Park and headed north on Middlebridge Rd.  My legs felt rather flat (still feeling Saturday's long hard run?) and my watch wasn't cooperating, showing a slow pace for the first mile.  I thought I could retake the CR easy enough, but I was losing a little confidence on my way there.  Then I saw a runner ahead of me.  Could this be the guy?  I was gaining on him and eventually passed, trying to look unsuspicious and strong.  A dump truck then went by, and I remembered I saw some construction vehicles on the segment portion of the road on my way into work (from Rte 1).  I hope the road is passable.  Finally after 2+ miles, I reached the hill and began running harder.  There were two dump trucks, two town trucks, and a grader blocking the top of the hill.  I just kept running.  No one said anything to me, so I snuck around the vehicles and finished the climb to Rte 1.  I would have been faster if the road was clear, but in the end it was a 1 second CR.  I turned around and ran hard down the hill, passing the other runner who had stopped at the hill.  Was it the vacationer?  I ran down to the river and then back up.  I then made my way south past my car.  My goal now was to run the Torrey Rd hill twice.  This is a steep hill - the Strava segment here has 175' of climbing in .3 miles (ave. 10% grade).  I had the CR going into this run (not sure why Galoob has never run it), but I was able to improve my CR on my first attempt.  I pushed the steep downhill and then went back up.  I climbed well again, although hot on this shadeless stretch of asphalt.  I again pushed the downhill and ran some more to get a full 10 miles in on the day.  Total time: 1:10:59 with 647' of climbing. 

In the evening, we brought the kids to karate on the beach.  There were good waves so I spent a good amount of time bodysurfing (no GPS watch). 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Boj's Big River workout alone.  When I ran with Boj last week, we talked about how last summer he would run the double track around Carr Pond as a workout.  The trail is wide, but full of obstacles.  I checked his blog, and saw that he called it 2.2 miles.  Mapping it online I was getting almost 2.1, so 2.2 seemed correct (shouldn't doubt Boj's math skills).  I decided to give it a go today, as I wanted to do one workout before my Big Friday.  It was hot and humid, especially for this lackluster summer.  I parked at Hopkins Hill, and ran down to the start (I used the dam at the south end).  My legs still weren't feeling fresh, and I was already hot.  Whatever, I gave it a shot.  I've never actually run the entire loop before, so there were some unknowns as I made my way around.  It felt long, and my GPS measured it as just over 2 miles.  I was relieved to finish.  My time was 12:28 (Boj's best last summer was 13:10).  GPS had my pace at 6:10, but using 2.2 miles, my pace was 5:40.  It was solid either way considering the uneven terrain and the heat.  I then ran very slowly for about two miles as I wanted to do another loop (Boj would do 2).  I didn't feel great, but by the time I was nearing the start area, I had recovered enough to try again.  Loop 2 went by faster, and I could tell from my watch that I was running about the same pace as the first.  The end was difficult.  I put in a really good effort.  My time was 12:25.  I didn't think I could negative split today.  I then dragged my tired body back up the hill to my car.  What a fun workout.  Total time: 1:03:06. 

Wednesday: 0 - resting up for Friday.  I ran some errands instead of running.  I did swim with the family at night at my in-law's small pool. 

Thursday: 2 miles - blueberry picking in Ryan Park alone.  1 mile each way to secret lowbush blueberry grounds.  40 minutes of picking.  Total time: 16:51. 

Somewhere in Ryan Park

Friday: 31 miles!  Long day of running.  After a restless night sleep worried about course prep for the wedding half marathon, I was out of the house early.  I dropped off coolers at my two water stops and then stopped at D&D for my normal pre-long run breakfast.  I arrived before most at Alton Jones and then immediately headed off to the south hoping to quickly find a connection to the Breakheart Trail in Arcadia.  Besides running through a large field that got my shoes soaked, I was able to make the short bushwhack to the trail I was looking for.  Sweet!  I could now relax, except for the part about worrying if the wedding party would get lost on the course.  I had already emailed maps and directions, had a bunch printed out with me, and then I also decided to run with a bunch of blue trim painting tape to mark questionable intersections.  I was happy to see there was a good group of people excited to run (12 or so).  They all had running gear on and looked fit.  And then there was Shaun Horgan.  He said he would run up front with me.  I told him that I was also running the Blessing tonight and not to expect too much.  The bride arrived with custom visors and we were soon off.  I was surprised that most of the group was going at a very relaxed pace.  After the bushwhack and making sure everyone was all set, I headed out ahead with Shaun.  Immediately we heard yelling behind us as the bride and groom were being stung repeatedly by ground bees.  Ugh!  No one was allergic or discouraged so we moved on.  After a while Shaun took off ahead of me (I later learned that he had a time constraint and didn't run the whole course).  I continued on at an easy pace that I thought wouldn't tax my legs too much.  Unfortunately there was a lot of climbing in the beginning (Penny Hill and Mount Tom).  I began stopping at intersections to use the blue tape.  I refound Shaun a couple of times who got off course (he had a map and would figure it out).  I hoped the others were seeing my tape.  I made my way past the first water stop, crossed Rte 165, and continued down the Mt Tom ledges.  This is an awesome stretch of trail, but challenging.  I continued to stop and mark as needed, possibly being stung once, before getting into a nice groove on the flatter easier middle portion of the run.  The deer flies were out and I hoped this wasn't too much of a nuisance for the mostly out-of-towners.  I decided not to take any water or GU that I left at the second cooler, leaving everything for the rest of the group.  I was feeling fine, but the minutes on my feet were piling up.  I finally was getting hungry the last two miles on Breakheart Trail.  I had also run out of tape and had been marking intersections by drawing giant arrows on the trail.  I finished up at the Acid Factory Brook bridge and began my wait for the others.  My total time for the run (which I'm calling 14 miles) was a little over two hours (Strava had my moving time at 1:58).  I took off my shoes and soaked my legs in the brook. 

nothing like a soak in acid (factory brook)!

getting artsy while I waited

After about a half an hour a person from the group emerged on a bike.  I met this guy before the run and he decided to try biking it rather than run.  He is quite the character.  He made his own way around Arcadia using the map on a bike that had a pedal fall off pretty early on.  Anyway, I was thirsty and hungry, so he agreed to wait at the bridge as I made the 1 mile round trip to my car.  I didn't have anything to eat, but at least I had more water bottles.  Finally, people began to emerge from the run.  Everyone had stayed together until the last mile or so, where some chose to run and others hiked.  They all loved the trails and stayed on course until near the end.  They figured out their mistake and found another way back onto the planned route.  They probably ended up running about 15 miles, but were all in great spirits.  I also was pleased that they all enjoyed soaking in the brook post run.  That was my idea going in. 

I was hungry and tired by the time I left the group at Alton Jones.  I had run 16 miles at this point, and needed more fuel and a nap.  Unfortunately, time was not on my side.  I had to pick up the coolers I had left on Rte 165, and then get home, quickly eat lunch, and then pick up my kids at camp.  My nap didn't materialize.  I had iced coffee instead.  Soon it was time to drive over to Narragansett for the next running adventure of the day - The Blessing of the Fleet.  I got annoyed with the early traffic and decided to park at the elementary school.  This meant I was a mile away from bib pick up.  I made the run, and my legs felt great.  Bib pick up was mobbed with people and overwhelming.  I looked around for Muddy and then ran back to my car.  I snacked on trail mix, and had a GU.  I then felt ready and texted Muddy to see where he was at.  He was back near registration and going to warm up soon.  Hmm.  Well, I did this race to socialize with my running friends - running a top notch race was not happening anyway at this point.  So, I ran the mile back to his car where we found Galoob, and ran a two mile warm up.  I did start to feel fatigue in my legs on that fifth warm up mile.  Muddy and I went back to his car for one more GU and Gatorade.  21 miles already completed, now for a 10 mile road race! 

Muddy and I weaved our way up front and it felt like we were the last two people to arrive.  I found a spot next to Seth, Garvin, and Matty Bo.  I wasn't sure what was about to happen, but I planned to try my best to still sneak under an hour.  After the crazy start, I settled into the downhill mile.  I felt good.  I wasn't looking at my watch, but I knew I was ahead of Muddy and Garvin which was probably not smart.  I wasn't going to worry about it, just see what my legs had left today.  Garvin went by after a mile, and soon after Muddy, with the lead woman in tow.  I hung around a few steps behind them for awhile, but then gradually faded.  Each mile had a clock, and I could see that I was slowing down, but still on pace for under an hour.  The downhill miles on Ocean Road were negated by a headwind, which was a bit of a bummer.  Despite not feeling overly hot, I made sure to grab water at most miles.  I poured most over my head and tried to sip the rest.  My right calf and hammy felt a little tight and I did not want to cramp.  I felt good about my effort as I ran.  I really think on a normal day, this would equate to 5:50 pace.  Rte 108 is endless, and I remembered how much I hated it as I ran.  I picked up my intensity once the course veered off onto the side roads in miles 6,7, and 8.  I was now no longer on target for sub 1 hour however.  According to my Strava splits, I was also slowing down.  I would occasionally get passed which was frustrating, especially by people I knew like Brian McNeice.  The crowds were great though and helped me pretend to look strong.  I passed the 8 mile clock and I believe I saw 48:02 (looking back I was wrong).  I was pumped that I could still pull this off (or so I thought).  Mile 9 has some climbing to it, and by the time I reached the next clock, I knew I had no chance.  I also didn't have much left in my legs.  I tried, but my last mile was lackluster.  I only sprinted the last 100 meters when I saw a shadow gaining on me.  I didn't want to be passed by anyone else.  I finished the race in 1:00:50.  Unlike at most races, I was feeling completely beat.  I caught up with my WTAC friends and I tried to eat fruit to fend off my light headedness.  Garvin graciously walked back with me to my car as the others ran a cooldown.  It was fun running into a spectating Shaun Horgan.  I didn't officially know at that point if he had ever made it out of the woods.  I perked up a bit at my car and met Garvin, Gazelle, Jana, and Mike B for a fun late dinner.  What a day! 

Saturday: 0 - no urge to run early in the morning which was my only window.  Fun night of cross training at the wedding where we camped out too. 

camping at the Alton Jones wedding

Sunday: 6 miles - Alton Jones trails alone in the early am.  After not much sleep and a headache, I laced up my shoes and ran while everyone else was still sleeping.  I didn't feel good at the start, but I knew this run would make me feel better.  I wandered around trails, scared a large raccoon (scared me too), and got lost.  I figured my way out of there after running for about 50 minutes.  Good enough.  Quiet rest of the day, until it was time to head to Galilee to celebrate my wife's birthday.  The annual tradition is dinner with family and friends at Champlin's, followed by swimming at Salty Brine Beach, and completed with birthday cake.  The weather (as usual) cleared just in time for a fun night at the beach! 

Weekly Total: 58 miles
Last Week: 72 miles
Year to Date: 1902 miles
July Total: 245 miles


  1. Jeez, a half marathon in the morning and you'll still kick my ass at the Blessing. That Arcadia course looks legit and fun. I don't I ever realized the Breakheart Trail ran so close to Whispering Pines.

  2. The Wedding Half Marathon sounds great and really for dessert the Blessing? Best wishes and I am sure you will do well in both!

  3. Friday sounds like it was insane...nice course plotting for the wedding half, and great job at the Blessing!!!