September is here and finally it feels like summer. Hmm. My body was not used to the heat and humidity, but I powered through for a big week of running.
I wonder if I'm the only runner having issues with bees this year? I know late summer/early fall is the time for angry aggressive bees, but so far I've been stung on four different occasions. This is too much. I'm at the point that I've been sort of avoiding trails. Running on roads feels so easy and my average pace seems too fast. That's fine except that I'm racing trails this fall, and there is some doubt creeping in that I'll be in top trail shape. Hopefully I'm just being irrational.
Monday: 5 miles - Stoddard, NH dirt roads with my wife. This was just an easy Labor Day morning run together. I thought I might double at night when we got home, but didn't really feel like it.
Tuesday: 4 miles AM - local hilly road loop. I had some extra time in the morning so I snuck out for a quick run. It was going to be a very hot day, so why not? I ended up cruising around the block in 26:49 - 6:41 pace with 306' of elevation gain.
9 miles PM - Rome Point trails and beach. Hot!! I worked my way around the shaded internal trails for a while. Thank you to whoever left the note about the bees nest near the point or I would have been stung once again for sure. The SW breeze felt good heading down the shoreline, but I was roasting on the way back. I stopped and swam briefly. It felt fantastic! High tide so the water wasn't sketchy. 1:10 with 545' of elevation gain.
Wednesday: 9 miles - Big River trails alone. Another hot day spent in the shade. I ran mostly around Carr Pond at a casual pace. I did pick some spots to move faster which included hammering down a gnarly double track trail back to the New London Turnpike. I believe there was a segment there, but there was no GPS match. Good Pisgah downhill practice anyway. 1:08.
Thursday: 7.5 miles AM - track workout with Galoob. This was a big day for me. Mike was going to do some I paced miles. I decided to run the first one with him to try to break the allusive 5:00 mile barrier. After a warm up cut short by a bathroom break (thank you SK for the clean open restrooms), I put on my spikes (why not?), and then I was ready to go for it. Mike set his watch to beep at 37 seconds for every 200 meters. If we could stay on track, this would mean a 4:56 mile. I was keeping time on my watch as well, but after two false starts at the mile line (my watch was having major issues), I took mine off. We began and the pace felt "easy" to me. I didn't like that Mike's watch was beeping before the next 200 meter mark (to get a full mile the first lap is longer). He kept assuring me we were on pace. Laps 2 and 3 felt great physically. Mentally I'm just a mess, but I had Mike reassuring me and shouting encouragement. Lap 4 began, and we picked up the pace a bit. At the 200m mark I couldn't match Mike's additional push around the turn. At the final straightaway, I gave up my fears and got back up to and passed Mike as he demanded. We crossed the finish line just as his watch began to beep. 4:56!! Damn that felt good. I stumbled around for a few minutes and decided to run some fast 200's while Mike continued to do more miles. My watch was still messing up (basically not responding right away when I would hit the lap button), but the reps that the watch did work correctly were 34s. I ran 6 of them with 200 rest. Rewarding day on the track. Mike let me know later that the mile splits were 74/75/75/72.
8.5 miles PM - Calf Pasture Point (3 loops). This was a pleasant sunny double. My legs didn't feel trashed at all and my pace was peppier than usual on the point loop. I guess I didn't really do much speed work. I've been enjoying the loop this summer. On this day I saw migrating shorebirds and possibly a local radio personality. 1:05.
Friday: 12.5 miles - Narragansett/SK roads and trails with Galoob. This run was exhausting. I wasn't prepared for the intense heat - sunny, 84 degrees, and very high dew point. We kept the pace manageable for my legs, but I was struggling. The shaded trails were nice, but on the way back (with tailwind) we were on a quest to find a water fountain. We scored some water at the Narragansett tennis courts luckily. We still had another three miles of pavement to go however, which was tough. Total time 1:28. At night I was nervous about running long in the morning (still going to be super muggy).
Saturday: 17.5 miles - Grills Preserve (both sides) and Woody Hill trails with a few miles of connecting roads with Muddy. I decided to give the run a go and I'm glad I did. I felt way better today. We met in the dark at the Hopkinton parking area. It was 6am and the temperature was in the low 70's. We made our way around with the light quickly filtering in. After crossing the bridge to the Westerly side I got stung by a bee. Ugh! Not again! We made our way up Big Hill and then by Big Rock and finally exited the park onto Bowling Lane. Without changing speeds, our pace magically became low 7's. We stopped (after 1:15) at the elementary school where Muddy had stashed some Gatorade. We continued on into Woody Hill. With the overcast conditions and poor knowledge of the area, I had no idea which direction we were heading. We cruised around the park on mostly double track. Somehow we exited the way we came in. I talked Muddy into finishing on the roads, rather than back down Bowling Lane and through Grills. We still ran for 2 hours and 14 minutes. Solid day on mostly trails.
Sunday: 7 miles - local hilly road loop alone. In the morning, my wife went out for a long run in Burlingame with a friend and I watched the bicycling portion of the Firmman (half ironman) go by my house with my kids. I forgot about the race initially, and when we got outside to cheer one triathlete shouted out "there they are!". It's really fun to encourage the riders up the hill and most seem to really appreciate it. My wife returned, and before we spent a fun afternoon at the beach, I got in a short run from the house. I avoided trails for the bees. Even though I thought I would be slow, I managed a 6:48 pace for my run, which included the hard climb up Burdickville Road. A fun end to a 80 mile week!
Weekly Total: 80 miles
Last Week: 68 miles
Year to Date: 2308 miles