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