In the final eight days of August I somehow managed to do four workouts and spent the other days recovering.
On Sunday the 25th, my last day of vacation, I headed out the door from my house (not too early) to do some sort of long run with a few miles of marathon pace mixed in. I did not run much in Maine, and any runs seemed rather short. I wanted to salvage the running week with something longish, and I decided I would stick to roads to get real data. My plan was to head south down Kings Factory Rd and then connect somehow to the bottom of Klondike Rd, where I would begin my marathon paced miles. For some reason, I had the idea that running mostly uphill on the faster miles would be a good idea, plus there was a long Strava segment I've had my eye on for a while. I figured from there I could continue north, and retake another Strava segment Muddy gobbled up recently on Rte 91. I wasn't sure how many miles of MP to do - my idea was 8, and I wasn't sure which way I would go home. The run began well enough - the sun was out, but it was dry and not too warm - and I clicked off some rather quick miles. I decided to run down Sanctuary Rd (dirt) and then take the rather wide and straight Watchaug Pond Trail (I think that is the name?) to the Kettle Pond Preserve and jump on Rte 1 there. I thought it might be about 5 miles total to the southern end of Klondike Rd, but I hit 6 miles when I wasn't quite there, still on Rte 1. I then picked up my pace and hoped my GPS reception would be good enough so that I could find my marathon pace. The pace immediately felt hard as Klondike Rd is mostly all uphill, albeit gentle. My body adjusted and I knocked off two 6:14 miles (6:14 is my VDOT MP). The third mile was a little more uphill to Laurel Lane, but I was pleased that it was actually dirt and not pavement (due to construction - a welcomed surprise!). This was my slowest MP mile of the day - 6:20, but the grade adjusted pace was 6:01. I headed north on Rte 216, joining up with the Rhode Warrior bike course for a mile or so. I only saw a couple of bikes. I then made the decision to veer left onto Woody Hill Rd. This was another decent gradual hill with a steep decline payoff (6:11, 6:15 miles). I again joined the Rhode Warrior bike course, but didn't see any bikes this time. I wondered how spread out the race was? I was now running north on Rte 91, more exposed to the sun. The five miles of MP was getting to me and I wasn't looking forward to the hill after I crossed into Hopkinton (6:13 mile 6). A surge of adrenaline helped me up the hill. I was surprised at my pace on my watch. I think this is where I got my second wind as I decided once I crested the hill, to run 10 miles at MP, rather than just 8 (mile 7 6:19 - GAP 5:58). I continued on Rte 91, enjoying the more downhill terrain, but feeling really thirsty - I carried nothing but 1 GU that I never used. Mile 8 - 6:12, Mile 9 - 6:17. The last mile was a battle. I was ready to be done and watching my watch made it take forever. I finally finished up mile 10 in 6:11. I slowed my pace, but instead of feeling relief, it felt worse. And I had to run the mile hill back to my house! Luckily I found a distraction in the form of a biker (again on the Rhode Warrior course). She passed me on my road right before the grade rose, and then I proceeded to reel her in and almost pass her on the short steep spot at the curve. It sounds silly, but it helped get me up the hill. I finished up the full 18 miles in 1:59:21, good for a 6:37 average pace, with 701' of elevation gain.
Mike contacted me about doing a track workout on Tuesday morning, and although I was sure my legs would still be tired, it was the last morning before the kids went back to school, and seemed like the best morning to workout. His plan was a Daniels' T, I, R workout. If I did my own I, R, F workout, then we could do the intervals together. This has been working out well for both of us. The plan kind of evolved as we went, but I ended up running 3x1200 @ I pace (5:20), 4x400 @ R pace (5:00) and then 3x200 @ F pace (Mike's R pace which seemed ridiculously fast to me). Results: 4:00/3:58/3:58/74/74/75/73/33/32/32. My legs definitely felt slow on the 1200's, but much better on the shorter, faster stuff.
My hope was to do the Schonning 5K on Friday night, but I knew it would be a game time decision with the kids back to school. We ended up getting invited to a neighbor's house back-to-school party, so no race for me. I also didn't have much time to run during the day, so I decided to run a few T paced miles on the Quonset Bike Path. Well, this was much harder than I expected, probably because of the previous two workouts and also running in the midday sun (warm day). My plan was 1 mile warm up, 5 miles @ T (5:50 pace), and then 1 mile cool down. The T pace felt hard right away and I felt like there was no way I could complete it. The first mile was 5:54. I tried to justify it based on the weather, the GPS coverage, and the fact my true T pace was probably closer to that than 5:50. Things got a little easier (and faster) and any thoughts I had of breaking up the workout into two halves faded by the time I reached the far end of the bike path (almost 3 miles in). Finishing was no piece of cake, but I did complete the full five miles: 5:54/5:50/5:53/5:51/5:48 - 5:51 average.
We spent Labor Day weekend at my parents' NH house. I planned out an early morning run on Sunday the 31st that would incorporate another section of the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway. I would take roads (some dirt, some paved - all hilly) to/from. I've been nervous about bears around here since I've already seen them a few times and my brother Greg's talk about male bear thrill attacks. I was able to overcome these fears and do the run. The steep hill on Kennedy Brook Rd (dirt) right away took my breath away. I felt like I wanted to walk. My legs felt like junk. The hill is super steep though - 200'+ of gain in a half mile. Things evened out, until the next hill on School Street. I then turned onto Center Pond Rd (dirt) and began a long descent to the pond. I stopped briefly at the public boat launch and noticed a bald eagle eating something on the ground nearby. I then backtracked the half mile (all uphill) to the MSG turnoff. The woods were very dark and spooky. The trail was an old road for a while and then became single track. I was nervously cruising along. I couldn't enjoy the Robinson Brook Cascades, but being scared also made the climb out not really noticeable. I made noises the entire time. Luckily I saw no animals or humans. Eventually the trail rose steeply to some blueberry fields and I knew I was getting close to Rte 123. I crossed the road and took the steep path up to the summit of Pitcher Mountain. I kept my steps short and my pace slow on this 1/4 mile 265' climb. I stopped at the chilly foggy summit briefly. I then descended on the MSG heading north until it intersected a dirt road. I then returned to the house via Rte 123 to Kings Highway, to the neighborhood dirt roads. This was a fun run. My pace was peppy and I got in 1,837' of climbing, with good descending practice as well.
August total miles: 278
Week of 8/4: 70 miles
Week of 8/11: 70 miles
Week of 8/18: 48 miles
Week of 8/25: 68 miles
Year to Date: 2,228 miles