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 Café) 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


  1. Did I seem agitated? I meant to seem insanely angry and murderous. In truth, I'm glad you took back that segment, as we haven't had a good back-and-forth in a while. I guess it's my move now.

    As for the DuVal segment, I've had that same annoying experience on that segment of officially being ~30 seconds slower than my watch indicated. After much research and analysis, I'm pretty sure it's because the segment GPS is off a little and requires you to run out all the way to the trail entrance across the street. I've been thinking about creating a duplicate (more accurate) segment for a long time, but now you've given me the motivation I needed. Let's see how it shakes out...

    1. There's nothing more obnoxious than multiple Strava segments that cover almost the exact same ground. I'm afraid you're going to have to leave the segment as is and just deal with it. Or, if you're feeling especially saucy, you can contact Strava and have them alter the segment in question. But under no circumstances should you ram another segment in there.

  2. Glad to see the blog back in effect. Sounds like you've had some fun adventures over the last couple weeks. Happy Anniversary!

  3. Happy Anniversary Jonny and Sarah. Ten years went by quickly! It looks like you guys had fun.

  4. GAP - that was perplexing me this week, and I finally looked on Strava to see what it meant - I kept thinking gap, and I couldn't reconcile what it was the gap between. Thanks for putting it in the blog! Makes sense to understand overall effort.

    Happy Anniversary! Great adventure for you and your wife!!

  5. I love Grade Adjusted Pace! Lets me know that my effort level is there...And Happy Anniversary, looks like a great vacation!