Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week in Review: 10-20-14 to 10-26-14

Finally my body is feeling recovered from the marathon and biking.  I decided to celebrate by beating it back into submission last week. 

Monday: 11 miles - long hilly road tempo solo.  Unplanned workout.  I was feeling so good at the start, and my pace was peppy without too much exertion.  I began from the park and ride on Rte 2 in East Greenwich.  My plan was to run roads today and mix in some long hills.  I mapped a course that included 3 miles up, 1 mile down, 1.5 miles up and then turnaround.  The weather was cool, but perfect for running.  By the time I crested the first hill at three miles, I had a good pace going, and decided to keep it up.  The second hill (on Bates Trail) was new to me, and seemed way longer than I remembered from the map.  I was really pushing myself up this hill, knowing that it was mostly down hill once I finished it.  The way back was fun.  I didn't settle for easy descents, instead I worked them.  My last two miles dropped to the 5:40's and 5:30's.  I put a good amount of effort into this run, but certainly there was more in the tank.  This definitely put the idea of running a road half marathon in my head.  Total time: 1:08:46 with 726' of climbing.  Average pace: 6:14.  GAP: 6:06. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - middle Big River trails alone.  Fun run with some exploration.  I was feeling tired from yesterday's workout and decided the mellow trails in the middle of Big River would be perfect.  There are some hills, but the trails are mostly smooth, and definitely not technical.  After getting confused for a bit between Hopkins Hill Rd and the Cardi Rd, I popped out of the woods and reentered on the Sizzler single track.  I made my way north and then remembered seeing a faint trail off to the north after Sizzler peters out to the west.  I took it and hoped I could figure it out.  I thought there was a loop segment somewhere, but was worried I was wrong, or there would be other trails to get confused on.  Well I found it - the mtn bikers call it Archie Says.  There was no evidence of any recent use, and with all the fallen leaves, the trail was barely still visible.  It's a fun loop, and one I will probably incorporate into my routine.  I returned via the more straight wide trail to the Cardi Rd.  I then ran some more trails, finally returning up the hill via the new single track.  Total time: 1:20:13. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Workout Wednesday?  Sort of.  It was a crappy weather day and I needed some inspiration to get out the door.  I decided to head over to Ryan, a favorite rainy running spot, and try my luck at two new segments in the park: one I tried before NipMuck that is .8 miles on the wide dirt/gravel lane through the fields (no GPS match) and the other is a 3.3 mile loop of the main trails around the pond including Oak Hill Road (paved).  I've never done this loop.  I figured I would warm up for a mile or two on single track, then run this long loop at a CR pace (I needed to be in the low 7's), then run the field segment hard back to my car.  I ended up running a 20 minute warm up before beginning the long loop segment.  I tried to just run smart, taking advantage of the road section (which has a steep descent).  I ran the loop in 21:40, good for a 6:40 average pace, and the CR.  I then recovered for a few minutes before embarking on the field segment.  I ran this fast, not as fast as my attempt a few weeks ago, but ended up averaging 5:41 pace and grabbed the CR.  I ran a mile cool down before calling it a day.  Total time: 56:31. 

Thursday: 11 miles - SK road/trail mix with Galoob.  I knew I may be in for some trouble based on how my legs were feeling and the fact that I was meeting Mike for a run.  We kept the pace peppy throughout this fun jaunt through trails, the bike path, and neighborhood roads.  We even ran a short powerline section that had just been cut.  Literally we were running on top of brier stubs.  It was fun talking about XC racing (I was assuming at this point I was racing the Mayor's Cup on Sunday).  The miles on pavement were in the 6:40's with a 6:20 finish.  Total time: 1:12:54. 

Friday: 8.5 miles - Carter Preserve trails alone.  This was just the spot to keep the pace easy, but the fun high.  I had the place to myself.  Total time: 1:07:28.  In other news, it looks like Sunday's race will be a no go for me. 

Saturday: 16.5 miles - Tillinghast Pond - Wickaboxet trails with Muddy and Matty P.  I quickly made a plan to run with Muddy in the morning and I've been hoping to show him these trails for a while.  I then decided to reach out to Matty P, who lives nearby these trails, to see if he wanted to join us.  He was in too, except that he only was looking for 45 minutes or so as he continues his Hartford Marathon victory recovery.  We met up at 7AM and ran a fun loop on these relatively easy trails with lively conversation.  We dropped off Matty P after 48 minutes and then headed back out towards Wickaboxet.  We detoured off the well marked trail system to check out Rattlesnake Ledge.  After briefly getting off track coming back down, we re-followed the blazed trail.  We then took the white trail into the Pratt Preserve which had a good sized hill, and at the end, followed it back down.  We then ran the north segment of the trail system, finishing up on the scenic Logging Trail.  Total running time of 2:15:09 with 783' of climbing.  No fuel either, which meant a stop at D&D on the way home for donuts and more coffee. 

Sunday: 5 miles - local roads to Schoolhouse Pond and back alone.  I had a short window to run before we met up with family for the rest of the day and after my wife's morning run with a friend.  My goal was just to grab some easy miles to get 70 for the week.  I ran roads to Schoolhouse Pond, which includes almost 2 miles on dirt, and back.  Total time: 36:36. 

Overall: Great week.  I needed Monday's run to feel fast again.  Sometimes the roads are good for that.  You just can't tell your fitness using GPS data on the trails.  My new plan is to possibly run a longer road race this fall.  I'm feeling confident about Li'l Rhody Runaround on 11/16. 

Weekly Total: 70 miles
Last Week: 64 miles
Year to Date: 2737 miles
October Total: 225 miles

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NipMuck Recovery, Block Island Getaway, and Maine: 10-6-14 to 10-19-14

Catching up on the last two weeks:

Monday 10/6: 0 - recovery day from the marathon.  My running parts felt okay, but soreness in my feet and lower core.  I hiked down to the bay at Rome Point and then soaked my feet in the cool salt water for fifteen minutes.  I then hiked back on the wooded single track.  2.2 miles of walking. 

Tuesday 10/7: 0 - recovery day #2.  Feeling better and better.  Today I went to Wilson Park and played basketball by myself for an hour.  It was windy which made my rusty shot worse, but it was very fun.  The high school kids who showed up near the end didn't ask me to play, which I was kind of hoping for.  I guess I looked too old.  I wore my watch and accumulated 2.7 miles shooting around on one end of a court.  More than I thought! 

Wednesday 10/8: 8.5 miles - Rome Point mostly shoreline out and back alone.  I was inspired by my conversation with Mike earlier in the morning about his Block Island lunar low tide ride he was planning.  The tide today was low in Wickford at 3PM.  I wanted to see how far south I could run along the NK shoreline.  I parked at Rome Point and took some trails to the shore along Bissell Cove.  I then ran the gnarly shoreline around Rome Point and south under the Jamestown Bridge.  Despite the low tide, there was an unusual amount of wave action in this part of the bay.  I made my way south along the rocks and sand beaches, but it wasn't as exposed as I hoped.  I also had to get my feet wet in the waves a few times.  I finally reached a steep cliff side that I could not run under (this is the usual low tide roadblock).  I turned around and trudged back.  Tough running, but fun adventure.  Total time: 1:12:47. 

Thursday 10/9: 9 miles - Big River trails alone.  Today's run was inspired by Garvin's record breaking Lego segment run the evening before.  Even though my body was still recovering, I had the urge to try running fast.  My goal was to also run the Lego segment hard and beat my own PR (3rd place overall behind Garvin and Galoob).  I parked at Greasy Joe's and ran up the road to Pickle Park to run the 95 single track back to my car.  My mind was feeling good, but my legs were still heavy.  No matter.  I was still going to push them.  I then reached the Lego start (a long twisty single track trail that is about 3 and 3/4 miles long in my opinion).  Right away the quickened pace felt hard on my legs and not maintainable.  I wasn't going all out, and didn't really feel that fast.  This trail always takes forever.  I felt like I did a good job throughout and was pleased to see I lowered my PR by 22 seconds (23:29).  I was toast though!  I dragged myself around part of Dead Shed and then some other single track, finishing up on Foster's Folly.  Total time: 1:06:31.  Not ready for prime time yet. 

Friday 10/10: 10 miles - DuVal trails alone.  Coming off my two recent races, I felt like I had the right to not worry about training smart for the next week or two and just do whatever I want.  That meant more segment sprinting today.  It was a beautiful afternoon before a long weekend, so naturally everyone in the office left early.  I drove to the graveyard and began my run there.  My legs still felt trashed.  I ran for about 2 miles and then decided to go for the CR on the Bull Head Lollipop segment that Garvin took from me recently.  I knew the time to beat and that I needed to push myself very hard.  That's what I did.  It's mostly downhill on the way out and I was flying.  I then reached the end loop which is hilly and awkward.  I tried not to lose much time here.  The way back out was brutal. I was already tired, but now running uphill.  I knew Garvin probably paced himself and finished strong, so I tried to dig deep.  My watch showed a CR time, but you never know how the GPS matches up until later, which I found that I did get the CR.  Garvin seemed agitated, so I'm not expecting to keep this one for long.  I also don't think I can run it any faster.  Anyway, I recovered for a couple of more miles, taking the main trail out to Red House Road.  Then I ran the long segment (my guess is 2 miles) back hard, hoping to better my PR from two years ago (again 3rd place behind Galoob and Garvin).  I pushed the hills, both up and down very well.  I was stoked to see my time as 11:52, but somehow GPS had it as 30 seconds slower at 12:22.  Frustrating!  I still would be in 3rd place, but much closer to the other guys.  Fun nonetheless.  Total time: 1:12:23 with 726' of climbing. 

Saturday 10/11: 14.5 miles - Burlingame trails with Muddy.  We waited out the rain and ran in the middle of the afternoon from my house.  We had two things to do on this run: check out the new single track cut by NEMBA, and check out the bathroom situation at the picnic area.  The fun part was all the trails to and from both and the new trail is really fun to boot.  We kept the pace lively (NipMuck pace?) throughout.  Total time: 1:52:37 with 781' of climbing. 

Sunday: 10/12: 0 - Block Island 10th anniversary getaway with my wife.  We took the early ferry ride over with bikes and hopefully everything we needed for a couple of days on the island.  Riding a bike around the island was super fun, even with saddle bags and a backpack.  We road along the coast to Black Rock Beach, where we hiked down to the shore.  After hanging out there we rode north to New Harbor for lunch at The Oar.  We had to hustle out of there to check into our place by 1PM, finally getting tired on the bike, especially going up hills.  10 miles total riding on the day.  We opted to get a taxi at night into town for dinner (Mohegan CafĂ©) rather than more biking. 

Black Rock Beach
The Barn

Weekly Total: 42 miles (+15 miles cross training)
Last Week: 57 miles
Year to Date: 2603 miles
October Total: 91 miles

Monday 10/13: 5 miles - Block Island early morning mix.  I awoke to the early light and headed out at sunrise to run a loop I hoped I could complete.  I ran down to the shoreline and then ran east.  The beach was not easy terrain - thick sand and large rocks and debris.  I ran for two miles and then backtracked after I realized I missed the trail climb through the bluffs I was looking for.  Luckily the trail (with a rope) did exist and I was now on trails in Rodman's Hollow.  I was feeling pressure to return, so I picked up my pace as I navigated north to the road.  It was all uphill!  Finally, I reached the road and hammered back (half paved, half dirt) the last two miles in low 6 minute pace.  Total time: 36:19. 

Sunrise along the bluffs during my run

We then biked to breakfast (diner at the airport) and then the north end of the island.  We wanted to hike in the maze, but had trouble finding it.  After our 10 miles of biking we located the trailhead (Clay Head Trail).  We hiked north along the top of the bluffs with incredible views and nice foliage in the shrubbery.  The maze was to our left, but we left that for the return back.  From one spot, we saw a pair of peregrine falcons flying in and around the bluffs.  We reached the end of the trail at a boarded up building that had views of the lighthouse.  We then noticed something really strange in the water - a large headed seal with a very big ray in it's mouth!  Luckily we had binoculars and watched this spectacle for the next 15 minutes.  I'm pretty sure based on the size and head structure that it was a hooded seal.  It eventually ripped off the "wings" of the ray and ate them.  We then walked back, this time exploring the maze.  I was beginning to bonk, and used my GPS to "cheat".  We made it out rather directly. 

We then rode back into town starving.  Everything was closing for the season, but luckily we stumbled upon a sandwich place still open.  We then loaded up on groceries to make dinner back at our place and had to ride again.  8 more miles riding on the day. 

Tuesday 10/14: 14 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  We had to take the early ferry back in the morning which meant one more ride (4.5 miles).  Once at home, I had time in the early afternoon to run before we greeted the kids at the bus.  I ran in Burlingame from my house, keeping a peppy pace throughout hitting up my favorite single track.  Great run.  Total time: 1:46:35 with 849' of climbing. 

Wednesday 10/15: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Felt good on this run and again ran at a good pace.  Total time: 1:11:47. 

Thursday 10/16: 10 miles - Cuttyhunk and nearby trails alone.  Pouring rain.  Miserable conditions.  Great running fun!  Total time: 1:21:01 with 766' of climbing. 

Friday 10/17: 8 miles - 3 x 1 grass mile repeats along the Quonset bike path alone.  Ugh.  This workout was a bummer.  I felt like I had bided my time after the marathon and after the shock of biking to begin regular workouts again.  My next big race on the radar is Li'l Rhody, and as a tune up, I plan on doing a XC 5K race on 10/26 (Mayor's Cup).  I did a local XC 5K last year and it was fun.  Today, I wanted to practice grass running at 5K pace.  My hope for was for 5:30's.  I went to the Quonset bike path to use its measured miles and I knew I could run the grass along the side of it.  As I warmed up on the actual path, I noticed the grass looked thick and uncut.  This was going to be challenging!  I ran two miles with some strides and then began my first mile (uphill/flat/downhill).  My lungs were burning early on, but I liked my pace on my watch.  Then my pace got slower and the mile felt harder.  The grass miles were measuring a little long, which made sense, so I was just going to wait and see what my average pace was for each and use that time.  My plan was 2 minutes rest between each, but I had to use the bathroom in the woods after the first one.  The second one was in the opposite direction which has a little longer uphill in the beginning.  My pace on my watch never looked good to me and I was struggling aerobically again.  This was terrible!  I jogged for 2 minutes and then ran the same mile location as the first one.  I knew I was going slower, but at least I was on the last one.  Results: 5:41/5:46/5:52.  At least my Grade Adjusted Pace looked better: 5:36/5:35/5:45.  Here's Strava's discussion about GAP:

Grade Adjusted Pace (GAP)

Grade Adjusted Pace estimates an equivalent pace when running on flat land, allowing the runner to compare hilly and flat runs more easily. Because running uphill requires extra effort, the Grade Adjusted Pace will be faster than the actual pace run. When running downhill, the Grade Adjusted Pace will be slower than the actual pace.
The adjustment generally becomes larger as the grade steepens, although research has shown that the downhill adjustment peaks around -20%, after which it becomes slightly less extreme. Grade Adjusted Pace does not account for terrain differences or the technical difficulty of running downhill. The calculation of Grade Adjusted Pace is inspired by work done by C.T.M Davies and Alberto Minetti studying the effects of grade on the energy cost of running. 

Total time: 56:52. 

Saturday 10/18: 9.5 miles - Burlingame trails with Jeff and Mike B.  Early morning group run to scout the Vin Gormley trail conditions for next month's race.  We began in the dark at 6:30AM.  It didn't get light out until we reached Klondike Road, but I was happy no one fell.  Fun chatting with the guys and the course seems to be in good shape.  We detoured on the new trail cut where we ran into a female bow hunter.  Total time: 1:19:02. 

Sunday 10/19: 7.5 miles - Prouts Neck coastline singletrack repeats with Brett and family.  We drove up to Maine Saturday morning and stayed with our close friends who live in the Portland area.  After the ladies ran in the morning, Brett, myself, and two others drove to Prouts Neck in nearby Scarborough.  There was a Strava segment here that called itself single track that Brett thought would be really interesting.  After finally finding a public place to park (Ferry Beach) we ran the mile of roads to the trail head.  We then broke up at that point, with a plan to meet back up at the car.  I wanted to hammer this trail, maybe a couple of times if it was fun.  It was more fun and amazing than I realized!  It was single track with jagged rocks up on a bluff overlooking a rocky coastline.  Sometimes you had to run across a rocky beach.  There were quick ups and downs and tight turns.  There was a high danger factor.  It was awesome!  I completed the first one and then jogged for two minutes.  I then headed back out in the opposite direction, a wee bit slower this time.  I got to see the other guys and was happy to see they were having fun (although they thought it was really hard to run on this type of terrain).  After finishing up, I jogged again for two minutes, and headed back out one more time.  This time, I began a little slower, but finished strong.  I was interested to see which one would be faster (1st or 3rd) and I ran them in 7:38/7:39.  My GPS measured the trail as 1 and 1/4 miles long and I think it was a little longer than that.  I think my 2nd repeat (opposite direction) was about 8 minutes.  I then jumped onto the beach and ran the two miles back to the car.  Total time: 46:48. 

Weekly Total: 64 miles (+23 miles cross training)
Last Week: 42 miles
Year to Date: 2667 miles
October Total: 155 miles

Thursday, October 9, 2014

NipMuck Trail Marathon 2014

Not sure how to begin to describe the roller coaster of an experience the 2014 NipMuck Trail Marathon was for me.  The end result was a fast time and a memorable event.  But am I happy about it?  Was there too much pre-race nervousness, too much in-race pain, and too many post-race questions? 

Planning to do this race was a no brainer after last year's surprising 2nd place finish.  The race went outrageously well for me at a distance I didn't have confidence in.  The weather was terrible, and it was highly probable this year the weather would be better.  I've been faster in all repeat trail races this year as well.  Plus the experience of knowing the trail would be to my benefit.  Muddy was also running the race, so I knew that I would most likely have someone to race with, pushing the pace throughout, rather than running all alone.  I didn't have a fixed time goal.  I knew I should be a few minutes faster this year.  Could I knock off eight minutes to get to 3:30? 

I felt like I prepared well for the race.  I knew my fueling strategy, acclimated to my new shoes (the 1 ounce lighter Nike Terra Kiger 2.0's), and tapered appropriately.  Mentally, I was more nervous than I've been for recent races.  Last year, I had low expectations, but this year I was expecting a lot out of myself.  I was anxious all week.  I couldn't wait to get the race over with. 

My bag was packed for my 5AM wake up and I even managed to sleep okay.  I wolfed down my normal pre-long run D&D meal and then carpooled with Seth and Muddy to Ashford, CT.  We arrived about an hour early.  Most of the hour before the start was spent in Seth's car fidgeting.  It was cold - about 45 degrees.  Finally I headed out for two short jogs, just to loosen everything up.  Things felt good, and I was now focused on having a great day in the woods.  With 10 minutes to go, I wandered down to the pre-race meeting still wearing a long sleeve jacket and hat.  Just before the start,  I stripped down to just my WTAC singlet (I debated keeping the hat).  I lined up front, noticing a shirtless Sam Jurek.  I was pretty sure he would win, but you never know with these things.  Time to go....

Race photo of the start

I was very deliberate on the road climb up to the trail, but I found myself up front.  I then entered the woods, and I got to be the trail "finder" in the lead.  The blue blazes are numerous,  and good thing.  The trail (like last year) was hidden under a coating of wet leaves.  Sometimes roots and rocks would peek through exposing themselves.  Most times you just found them after stepping awkwardly on them.  Sam latched onto me after a minute or two, but kindly let me lead.  I knew this was probably just his early race strategy, unless the pace was too slow.  I didn't mind leading, since I was dictating the pace I wanted to go, and I could keep tabs on everyone else.  After a few minutes of silence, he began chatting with me.    The conversation (about running) was fun, and helped pass the time on the early miles.  Occasionally on turns I would notice Muddy lurking just a few paces behind us, finally joining us just as we reached the 6.2 mile turnaround. 

Race photo from early on: me focused, Jurek eating, Muddy's shoes lurking

I didn't take any aid and just turned around and headed back north.  I noted my time was two minutes faster than last year.  That seemed perfect.  Muddy had now joined the conversation and the three of us talked as we made the long climb back up, passing runners coming in the opposite direction.  I made sure to take my first GU at about an hour, and sipped water from my small handheld, even though I wasn't thirsty.  The trail already seemed to be drying out.  I remained the leader of our group throughout the return to start/finish area.  Sometimes Sam would get right up on me, and I wondered if he was going to make a move.  I figured he would be content to stay with us for a while based on our time, and his comment about working together for 3 sub 3:30 finishes. 

I took my second GU right before the next aid station at the start/finish area.  I quickly had my handheld refilled with water while I gulped down a small cup of Gatorade.  I then was off, noting the time was 1:31.  This was five minutes ahead of last year and it took me 2:02 to complete the northern out and back then.  Clearly, 3:30 was in play!  I was momentarily excited, but then Sam took the lead on the trail. 

For the next few minutes, I tried to stick with Sam with Muddy in tow.  It was clear the pace was quickening, and finally I accepted that it was time to bid him adieu.  I verbalized this to Muddy, and I was happy that he seemed content to stick with me at a slower pace.  I was already noting signs of fatigue in my feet and lower core.  These are my problem areas on longer technical runs.  Sometimes they pop up and sometimes they don't.  I was not happy that they did today.  This was going to be a struggle! 

We still were making good time, at least compared to my race last year.  We crossed a dirt road in 18 minutes (took 20 minutes last time) and then reached the Iron Mine aid station (didn't stop) in 27 minutes (now three minutes ahead of 2013 pace).  The last few miles out to the Boston Hollow turnaround were now upon us.  I knew this section was hilly, but I may have over estimated it, as it didn't seem that bad to me this year.  That was the only good part.  My feet were aching and I hated the down hills and the rock garden valleys.  At least I had Muddy there to commiserate with.  Complaining was now my distraction technique.  I got a bit impatient anticipating the Boston Hollow staircase to the aid station.  We crossed paths with Sam who stated that he was two minutes up on us.  Right before the stairs I fumbled my GU (#4) and had to stop to pick it up off the ground.  Muddy went ahead of me, and I sort of panicked.  Luckily the stairs are slippery and awkward, so there was no place for him to surge. 

At the aid station I refilled my handheld and sucked down another small Gatorade (or 2?).  I noted the time was 2:31 - seven minutes quicker than 2013.  It took exactly an hour to get here from the start area.  That was two minutes faster than last year, however the split from Iron Mine (34 minutes versus 32) was slower.  We were clearly slowing down.  I figured that I could survive the final seven miles, and minimally better my PR of 3:38.  I wasn't optimistic about a sub hour finish that would get me to 3:30.  Maybe there would be a second wind somewhere? 

I resumed my position in front of Muddy as we struggled our way out of Boston Hollow.  It felt so slow.  And then we began seeing the runners behind us, including Seth in fourth.  I estimated we were only 4 minutes ahead of him, and clearly he was having a great race and ahead of last year's effort.  I was very worried about being caught by him.  More runners went by, all seemingly looking strong, fit, and fast.  More commiseration with Muddy.  Were we doomed?  The only positives were that I was still running and Muddy wasn't surging by me. 

The return to Iron Mine was a real running low for me.  There was no second wind.  Just increased leg pain.  It was taking way too long to reach the aid station.  I was still with Muddy, but I was really worried about being able to finish the race running.  But surely if I walked Seth and others would pass me.  I trudged along with a bad attitude.  Even passing Becky and Crutch didn't give me a mental boost (even though they both had fantastic positive attitudes).  Finally I knew the aid station was near and I ate my last GU (#5).  I really wanted to make a quick stop for the mental break from my misery.  Muddy kept going.  Damn.  I sucked down two small cups of Coke, shook out my legs, and resumed running.  This leg took 32 minutes which really wasn't that bad at all.  At 3:13, I still had a decent PR going.  The end seemed to be in sight. 

Race photo nearing the finish

I made my way on the 1 mile (?) road portion.  I could see Muddy ahead of me, and I thought briefly that there was a chance he would either slow down or I would make headway on the long climb.  This didn't happen.  I fought off urges to quit running on this hill, but it was a grind.  After a short trail section I crossed the final dirt road and noted that it only took 10 minutes.  Only 20 or 21 left!  I tried not to anticipate the finish too much.  My body had long ago failed me, but at least my energy was good.  I told myself to just keep running (not at all fast) to the last climb and then I can walk it.  I peered back on long stretches to look for Seth.  I surprisingly kept passing people still on their way out on the course.  It wasn't easy, but I was making progress.  I then reached the final climb and was able to continue running.  At the rock scramble at the summit, I stopped to stretch my legs to make the last two minutes more enjoyable.  Instantly my hamstring began seizing up, and I quickly resumed running before disaster struck.  I ran faster, concluding with a mad careless sprint down the final hill to the finish line, crossing in 3:34:43. 

Results here

I was so relieved to be done.  My legs were now even tighter and screaming at me.  I shuffled around congratulating Muddy (3:31) and Sam (3:26), and made my way up to Seth's car to change, seeing him finish up in 4th (3:41).  Good day for team WTAC!  After throwing on clean clothes and many layers, I was able to make my way back to the finish area for some veggie soup and Coke.  I then found a spot in the sun, sheltered from the wind, and relaxed and ate.  No bonk this year.  We then made our way back to RI.  My feet and lower core were so tight and painful.  I spent the afternoon and evening massaging, applying heat, etc.  It was the most suffering I felt after a race ever. 

A few days later my body is now fine.  I took Monday and Tuesday off from running (like last year), but still stayed active.  The pain went away on Monday, and the tightness just about completed disappeared by Wednesday.  I have mixed feelings about how my race played out.  Did I go out too fast?  I don't really think so.  If I ran slower early on, I might have felt better at the end, but netted the same time.  I'm feeling better and better about my result.  3:34 for 26.4 miles of technical trails and about 2,500' of elevation gain is something to be proud of. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Post Pisgah Pre Nipmuck Doldrums: 9-22-14 to 10-5-14

After the Pisgah race on Sunday, 9/21/14, I suddenly realized there wasn't much time before the Nipmuck Trail Marathon on Sunday, 10/5/14.  Last year there were three weeks between them.  I wasn't worried about the timing, just that I would be stuck doing boring runs recovering and then tapering.  You might be saying to yourself - take days off, it's no big deal.  I can't!  The weather is too nice this time of year and besides that, I need the mental break of some quality time outside. 

Monday 9/22: 7 miles - Rome Point easy trails and beach alone.  Too nice not to run.  My legs didn't feel that bad after 21 miles the day before.  Other parts of me (lower core) were sore from the pounding descents in Pisgah.  Total time: 59:22. 

Tuesday 9/23: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Another nice day.  My legs again felt pretty good and I decided to shoot for 10 miles in the park.  Total time: 1:15:18. 

Wednesday 9/24: 10 miles - Cuttyhunk trails and nearby dirt roads alone.  I wanted some more hills today and also some more technical footing.  I can't remember if it rained on this day, or was just overcast and very humid.  This was a good run that took a while for my legs to get loosened up, but felt speedy at the end.  I pushed the pace on the downhills and managed to get 843' of elevation gain.  Total time: 1:17:38. 

Thursday 9/25: 10.5 miles - SK/Narragansett roads/trails/beach with Galoob.  Light rain, but not as bad as we expected weatherwise.  We ran from his house on roads, through woods, parking lots, and more roads, and on to the Canonchet Farm Trail.  We then ran on the town beach, which is hardpacked and way easier than the other beaches I run on.  We stopped and chatted with Gunshow who spotted us from his car.  He was out scouting surf.  We returned on the CFT and then on roads and parking lots through Wakefield.  Legs felt great.  Total time: 1:13:58. 

Friday 9/26: 10 miles - Charlestown breachway to Matunuck out-and-back on the beach alone.  Gorgeous afternoon - high 70's, sunny, and offshore wind.  I parked at the Charlestown town beach lot and ran out to the breachway.  I hopped on the beach there, and ran east along the shoreline.  The wind (NE) was in my face on the way out, which was a bit challenging.  There were many people out enjoying the late season beach day.  The tide was low enough that I could pass in front of the wall at Green Hill and the couple of houses further down near Roy Carpenter's Beach.  I made it all the way to the large rock wall in Matunuck and then turned around.  Running west felt much easier, but hotter.  The sweat was pouring off my head now.  I couldn't wait to reach Charlestown town beach again and swim.  The swim felt fantastic and then I only had a short walk to my car.  Total time: 1:15:00. 

Saturday 9/27: 4 miles - hilly road tempo loop from my house.  Fun day planned with the kids and I didn't have much time to run in the morning, so I decided to grab a few miles from my house.  As my window diminished, I threw on my new Nike Free Flyknit 3.0's and decided to run the short hilly road loop from my house.  This was the first time running fast since Pisgah, and without looking at my watch,  I wasn't sure how fast I really was going.  I ended up doing the 3.7 mile loop in 21:47 - quite a large PR and good for a 5:49 average pace.  This included my fastest climb up Shumankanuc Hill Rd from the north which I was happy about since I worked incredibly hard on this finishing ascent.  Fun body boarding at Misquamicut with the kids and friends after.  Shenanigans with Muddy's family at night. 

Sunday 9/28: 15.5 miles - Hillsdale/Beaver River Preserve mostly trail run with Galoob and Seth.  I wasn't feeling great at the start of this run, but I knew I would feel better for doing it.  We met at the Beaver River D&D and ran from there after throwing down some breakfast and coffee.  We ran up the paved Small Pox Rd and then veered left onto the jeep road portion of Punchbowl Trail.  We stayed on this until reaching Hillsdale Road.  We then explored the wide trails of the newly acquired state land in this area.  The trails (clear double track) are great for running and the surrounding woods (with their drought induced stunning fall colors) are beautiful, and mix in some undulating terrain.  It was like Christmas for trail runners.  We reached Old Mountain Rd and ran up a nice long hill.  The cool temperatures we had been experiencing changed to warm and muggy as we reached the top.  It was quite the contrast.  We veered north into a neighborhood with big houses until a dead end where the Beaver River Preserve trails are located.  I've never been here since it's not a big area, but now it is close to more trails.  This single track was rocky and hilly, and tremendously fun.  After exploring all the trails, we climbed back out to the roads.  It felt great to descend back into the cool temperatures of the valley.  We returned through Hillsdale, taking a different way back to Punchbowl Trail for most of it.  We finished up in 1:53.  We were moving pretty quickly throughout this run.  Great place to run and I hope to go back soon. 

Weekly Total: 67 miles
Last Week: 59 miles
Year to Date: 2504 miles
September Total: 276 miles

Monday 9/29: 8 miles - Calf Pasture Point loops and bike path alone.  Mike let me know the Jack Daniels' running plan for the week before a marathon.  Today was an easy hour of running.  The weather felt like fall, and I was running a bit too fast.  Oh well.  Total time: 57:57. 

Tuesday 9/30: 0!!  Finally the weather cooperated and was crappy enough to make me not want to run.  Ideally,  I was going to do an easy workout of 4x1200 @ T pace as prescribed by the good doctor, but the dreary day kept me feeling lazy and I opted to stay inside. 

Wednesday 10/1: 9+ miles: Ryan Park trails alone.  Workout Wednesday!  It was even rainier today, but I was determined to run and do my last workout on wet trails.  I figured that it would be appropriate since with all this rain, the Nipmuck Trail is bound to be very wet on Sunday.  Instead of running 4x1200(approx.) on the rail bed, I stuck to varied terrain throughout the park.  The first interval was the length of the wide dirt trail through the fields on the west side of the park.  Someone made a new segment here, and I wanted to take the CR.  After a almost 2 mile warm up with some strides, I sprinted this .8 mile segment.  I knew I had to go fast to beat the 6:09 pace of the leader.  I maintained a 5:30 pace according to my watch and beat the CR by over 30 seconds, however the GPS didn't match when I uploaded the data.  Ha!  I'll have to try again on another day, maybe when it isn't raining.  I then recovered for a few minutes before embarking on the Middle Trail segment.  This is a fun single track that is in the strip of woods between the fields and the power line.  I ran fast, but didn't sprint (probably the equivalent of T pace on trails).  I recovered for a shorter time and then ran the power line trail segment hard.  I was moving well and finished with my 2nd fastest time.  It was now time to head back to my car.  I did another T pace pick up on the dark single track near the pond (there is no Strava segment for this).  At one point I slipped on a root, but somehow managed to not fall.  I was nervous about hamstring and groin pulls from this.  I reached the rail bed, feeling pretty good, if not very soggy.  I made the decision to sprint the shorter roots segment.  Bob Jackman has an untouchable record from the 10K here in 2013.  I can't get close no matter how fast I go.  It's tremendously fun.  Very rooty and narrow.  I ran really fast, but had to take it slow on the "slippery when wet" bridge.  I need to try again on a dry day.  I ended up tying my PR (Strava has me running it 67 times).  I soon after reached my car, but decided I should cool down for a little bit longer.  I just stuck to the ball fields area.  I had an awkward fall on a bridge however.  I should know better, this bridge has tricked me before.  I planted my foot and it was like a sheet of ice.  I would have fallen into the stream 5' below if the bridge didn't have side railings.  I didn't feel injured, but my upper left thigh got sore immediately after.  I'm a little nervous about it.  Heat and ice at night seemed to make it feel much better in the morning.  Total time: 1:02:38. 

Thursday 10/2: 7.5 miles - Cuttyhunk Preserve trails alone.  My plan was to do a loop or two on the main marked trails and see how everything was feeling after the slip and slide yesterday.  The rain had stopped and the sun would occasionally peak through the clouds on this rather chilly day.  My body was feeling okay, but not great.  The loop was marking shorter than I hoped on GPS, so I ran another one, still feeling blah.  I then went for a third, and my legs felt looser and my thigh thingy wasn't bothering me as much.  I ended up taking a side trail that used to dead end in the middle of nowhere, but now is much longer.  In fact, it goes all the way out to Rte 102 near Purgatory Rd.  I was wondering if there was another trail on the other side of the road, but there was too much traffic.  Back into the woods and up the hill to my car.  Total time: 1:00:38 with 500' of climbing.  This leaves me feeling better about the marathon on Sunday. 

Friday 10/3: 5.5 miles - Calf Pasture Point alone.  Overcast, and with the wind - chilly!  I was happy to run as I've been feeling anxious about the race, but running only a few miles is unfulfilling.  My legs felt tight at times, probably from nerves.  I should be good to go on race day.  Total time: 43:08. 

Saturday 10/4: 0

Sunday 10/5: 27 miles - Nipmuck Trail Marathon, 3rd overall, 4 minute PR, but an absolute sufferfest.  Separate write up to follow. 

Weekly Total: 57 miles
Last Week: 67 miles
Year to Date: 2561 miles
September Total: 284 miles
October Total: 49 miles