Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blogging Blahs, a Time Trial, and a Race

 I just can't seem to keep up with this thing.  It's not for a lack of interest in running.  I guess my normal blogging time has been gobbled up by work and home stuff.  I'll get back on track eventually. 

The last two weeks of running have been good.  My overall mileage is still a little lower than in the spring, but weather has been the dictating factor.  I'm remembering why I liked sneaking in doubles last summer.  But still, I've had really good workouts, so the fitness is there.  Here's a quicker recap:

Week of 6/23/14 to 6/29/14

Monday: 10 miles - 2 x 3 miles at T pace workout on the Quonset Bike Path.  Target 5:50 pace. Results on a hot windy day with bright sun: 5:49 pace out, 5:55 pace back.  I forgot my watch doesn't show the lap distance so each one ended up being a little over 3 miles.  I did the Calf Pasture Point loop as an extra long recovery in between efforts which I needed on this warm day.  Super pleased with the results. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  Total time: 1:10:38. 

Wednesday: 12 miles in two runs: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Sweat fest.  Total time: 1:02:38.  3.5 miles at night while my son biked in Ninigret.  Total time: 28:47. 

Thursday: 0 - busy day running around not with my feet

Friday: 8 miles - midday solo track workout at CCMS.  1 mile time trial followed by 4x200 with 200 rest.  Tonight was the Bottone Track Mile and I couldn't make it.  I decided last minute to head to the track for lunch and give a mile a shot.  My legs were fresh from the day off.  The weather was sunny, low 80's, but dry.  I hustled through a 2 mile warm up at 6:30 pace, mixing in some straightaway strides the last two laps.  I then tried to talk myself into the mile trial.  I walked up to the mile start line, stopped, and then started the trial.  My goal was 4:59, but I figured sub 5:05 was more realistic.  My first lap (plus 9 meters or whatever it is) was right on target - 75.  I already had thoughts of quitting however.  I continued on and ran a 76 lap 2 - which was still fine.  More mental battles and finished lap 3 in 77.  Ok, I can finish this, just try to sprint the last 200 and see what happens.  I couldn't muster up the desire to sprint until the last 100 and even that wasn't my best.  I completed lap 4 in 74 for a 5:02 mile, which ties my PR.  I was both happy about this and disappointed.  Surely, if I was at the race tonight I could have improved on this, or even if I had someone else at the track with me like Mike to verbally push me.  I was super hot and sweaty, and took a couple of slow laps to recover.  Now what?  I've only gone 3 miles and I took a zero yesterday.  I needed more miles, but didn't have much desire.  I settled on a few fast 200's and then a cooldown on the trails around the cross country course.  I ran hard on the 200's, they felt hard, but the times were fast - 34, 33, 33, 33.  All with 200 recoveries.  This workout felt good.  The 3 mile cooldown did not. 

Saturday: 15 miles - Hopkinton trails with Muddy.  Great morning in the woods on fun, mostly technical trails.  We met at the Canonchet Brook Preserve on North Rd and then ran over to Asheville Pond where we picked up the Narragansett Trail.  We ran this challenging section from here, past long and ell ponds, across North Road again, and along Yawgoog Pond.  The conversation was lively and time was passing quickly.  Surprisingly quickly, when we realized we didn't have a lot time for too much more.  We ran around Hidden Lake and then ran up the Narragansett/Tippecansett Trail to Dinosaur Rocks.  We then found some marked trails (but new to us) back to Yawgoog Pond Rd before heading back on the Narragansett Trail to North Road.  Fatigue was setting in for me.  We opted to take North Road back to our cars.  Total time: 1:58:50. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Burlingame trails tempo alone in the late afternoon.  This was after a midday family paddle with Jon and Colleen in Glen Rock Reservoir, which included swimming from a sandbar.  I headed out for my favorite trails with the idea of running Sammy C's rather hard to see how my time would compare to mountain bikers.  My pace was rather brisk getting to the south end of the trail, using Vin Gormely Trail and some north Burlingame trails to get there.  I then ran rather hard on Sammy C's.  The trail is technical, with many short steep up and downs and rock negotiating.  I was losing steam after the long first section to the intersection with Schoolhouse Pond Trail.  I kept up a good effort for the duration.  Once I hit Vin Gormley again, I didn't let up.  I took the long way back through north Burlingame and picked up my pace even more.  I hit the hills pretty hard and felt like this was another quality running day for my week.  Total time: 1:09:38.  I ran Sammy C's (up) in 19:06.  The Strava KOM for mtn biking is two minutes slower by a guy who I know is legit.  Pretty cool stuff. 

Swimming from the sandbar on a hot summer day

Weekly Total: 64 miles

Week of 6/30/14 to 7/6/14

Monday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails.  Exhausting recovery run in 1:05:02. 

Tuesday: 16 miles in two runs.  10 miles in the early AM with Muddy at CHS track.  5 x 1200 @ I Pace.  Our target was 4:00 reps (5:20 pace).  It was very muggy out and my legs still felt dead from the previous hard runs the last few days.  I was not confident in completing the number of reps or hitting the target times, but somehow we did it, and it felt awesome.  We took turns leading the reps and the 4th one felt so hard to me that I didn't want to do a fifth.  But the last one felt fine.  Weird.  Results (with 4 min (800m) recoveries): 4:00/4:02/4:00/3:59/3:58.  6 miles in the afternoon at Calf Pasture Point (2 loops).  Hot, but felt good to keep the legs loose.  Total time: 48:21. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - DuVal trails alone.  Very muggy, but with a moist seabreeze.  I finished up my work stuff and then headed to DuVal since the temperature there was 10 degrees cooler than in NK.  It was still super tiring.  I decided to make a Strava segment out of the new Bull Head Pond trail out and back.  I tried to push the pace, but I wasn't going very fast.  I'm sure Garvin will destroy it very soon.  I then looped back to my car after 35 minutes.  I cranked the A/C and had a drink.  I went back out and took the main trail out and back to Red House Rd.  I felt much better this time, not sure why.  Total time: 1:16:17. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Stoddard NH hilly dirt roads in the AM alone.  Vacation!  We drove up to NH last night and I got in a good hour run in the morning.  It was chilly (high 50's), but I was soon sweating on the hard climbs.  This was a good hour course with two Hidden Lake bangs mixed in and 831' of climbing.  Much swimming in the pool the rest of the day. 

Friday: 7 miles - Keene Four on the Fourth race.  9th overall, 22:28.  I got a call at the Stoddard house on Thursday night from my brother Greg.  I had mentioned the race to him last week, but soon forgot about it as it didn't seem like I could easily fit it into our vacation schedule.  Using his power of persuasion and after talking it over with my wife, I was soon to be racing.  The forecast was rain and it was accurate.  The temperature was cool (mid 60's) which was good.  I drove down to Keene and instantly found George Adams.  We went and registered.  The rain picked up in intensity and I wished I had other shoes with me.  I found Greg and fairly soon afterwards we headed out for a warm up on the bike path with George and recent 2:37 marathoner Andrea Walkonen.  I guessed that I would be "chicked" today.  We got in 2 plus miles, but got drenched.  I again wished I had another pair of shoes to change into, but whatever.  I didn't have any expectations for the race.  I figured I could PR, since I have only done one other 4 mile race (Run4Kerri) at it was on a sunny summer day.  But since I didn't taper for this thing, I wasn't so sure.  My plan was to not look at my watch and just run.  Try not to start too fast and finish strong.  There were so many fit and fast looking runners before the start, I wasn't sure if I'd even be top 15 or 20.  I settled into the 2nd row and waited for the gun. 

The first mile is on the bike path and gradually rises throughout.  I went at a pace that felt easy and under control until the adrenaline wore off and the grade increased.  Greg, Andrea, and George were all ahead of me in a large lead pack.  I found myself running in front of/next to/and behind a short balding bearded guy (like myself sans beard) who I later figured out was a Keene local named Chris Barry, that knows my brother and Boj.  We seemed very similar, and I thought this was the guy to guage my race off of.  He pulled ahead a couple of seconds during mile 2, which was on side streets, both climbed and descended, had a wet grass crossing at a school, and awkward turns on itself.  I was maintaining a good effort, but I knew I was slower than mile 1.  Mile 3 had more climbing in it, even a rather steep spot.  We were coming back on the course and there was plenty of encouragement from other runners.  I was following Chris, another taller fast looking dude, and a kid by a few seconds.  Once I realized we were closing in on the last mile (which would be downhill) I perked up my effort.  I was moving well, knowing (hoping?) that I could finish out this last mile in a strong fashion.  I was gaining on the 3 ahead of me.  Finally at the canal bridge I surged past all three.  The taller guy and the kid seemed tired, but Chris seemed to have some fight in him.  I guessed there was half a mile left.  I was ready for a sprint battle.  I sensed I had a couple second gap on Chris as I rounded the last turn to the finish which was probably 300 meters away.  I had already been increasing my pace, but now I began to sprint.  It felt good.  Suddenly I hear the crowd cheering for someone behind me.  What's going on?  I sprinted even harder as the crowd kept cheering.  I honestly felt like I finished as fast as I've ever run in my life.  No one caught me.  Final time: 22:28, 5:38 pace and a top 10 finish!  It was a 12 second PR to boot.  Fun race. 


Greg loved this.  Guess who is KOM on the Keene bike path? 

Saturday: 0 - Mount Cardigan hike with my son, wife, and dad.  Awesome place to go.  It was a long drive, but worth it.  A big mountain feel with a lot of exposure above treeline.  Ridiculously windy on this day. 

My son near the windy summit

Fire Tower at the top

Heading back down

Clark Trail - outrageously steep! 

Sunday: 11 miles - Pitcher Mtn to Jackson Hill out and back on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway.  I wasn't sure if I would have enough courage to do this run as this part of NH is so full of bears and I knew I would be all alone out there.  I woke up early and went for it.  I drove up to the Pitcher Mtn parking lot and began from there.  The MSG is well marked, but overgrown in this area.  I was familiar with Pitcher Mtn, but the rest was all new to me.  I had a lot of fun and only got nervous once near Fox Brook when I scared up a large creature in the woods.  I would frequently make vocalizations in the deep woods sections hoping to avoid contact with any other animals.  The views from the remote Jackson Hill were surprisingly good.  I fell twice and cut up my knee, but it was an awesome experience.  Total time: 1:34:18.  Later in the morning, I took the family back to Pitcher Mountain for a nice little hike before it was time to head back to RI. 

Map of the MSG through the Adorra Forest in Stoddard, NH

View east from the remote Jackson Hill

Later in the morning at Pitcher Mountain

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Year to Date: 1709 miles
June Total:  259 miles
July Total: 52 miles


  1. It's tougher keeping up with the blog than keeping up with the miles. Don't worry about it. Looks like a fun trip up north. Nice job in Keene!

  2. 5:38 pace for 4 miles?! Wow!
    Love the mountain-top pics as well.