Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weekly Log: 1-27-14 to 2-2-14

After some soul searching post indoor mile, I've decided to go ahead and give the Super 5K a good shot.  I had thoughts of just not running it and concentrating on the next trail race (Belleville Pond 10K) coming up February 9th.  I don't feel prepared for any sort of road race, and I'm not really sure what sort of time to expect.  I don't even really like the course, but it will be a fun team event.  Training this week should be interesting with more winter weather and managing mile recovery with 5K taper.  Or I'll just train through both! 

Monday: 10 miles - Quonset Bike Path and Mount View roads alone.  My legs were a tad sore from the mile yesterday, but overall I was feeling decent.  My plan was easy miles on pavement to get ready for this Sunday.  It was rather windy, but warm.  I ran the bike path out to the beach and then hopped onto the road.  I decided to not complete a loop via roads as planned.  I just didn't feel like dealing with traffic.  Instead, I ran the grid of roads in the Mount View neighborhood before returning on the bike path.  I didn't check my watch until near the end of the run.  I'm happy with the snappy pace without much effort. 

Tuesday: 8 miles - URI indoor track workout alone.  The cold settled back over the region and it seemed like a good day to head indoors.  I wasn't sure if I would actually do a workout or not.  I ran with music again and set off on a two mile warm up (14:20).  The track was nice and quiet.  Somehow I decided I would try running a couple mile repeats at 5K pace.  In the past I would overestimate my 5K pace and go for 5:20 (which corresponds to Daniels I-pace for me).  Today I figured that I could run 41 sec 200's for a 5:28 mile.  This is more representative of my 5K pace (that's the plan anyway).  Using my useless space watch, I somehow nailed this time: 5:28/5:28/5:28.  I did 800 recoveries.  My body did feel a bit tired running fast, but I didn't have trouble maintaining the pace evenly over each interval.  Do I think I can run 5:28 pace for 5K on Sunday?  Not confident, but with rested legs I could possibly do it I guess.  Total time: 54 minutes. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I had a short window to run so I snuck over to Ryan Park and ran the Belleville Pond Trail 10K course.  The temperature was in the low 20's, but the full sun felt good.  There was about an inch of new fluffy snow on the ground.  I experimented using my Nike Terra Kiger's with Yaktrax.  Today's conditions reminded of the race conditions last year.  My footwear combination worked well.  Not perfect, but I would do it again.  I set off at a controlled hardish pace.  I passed a guy early on who asked me how I liked the trails.  Could this be the trail maker?  Probably assumed (correctly) that I was the one whose footprints he would see on his creations soon after making them.  I continued on, noticing a couple of hidden icy spots on the railbed.  It was then time to hit the more undulating Rte 4 trail which definitely slowed me down.  I can't let this happen in the race, but it was fine for today.  I spent a lot of time thinking about racing on this run.  Last year's race went so well, I'm not sure I can duplicate my time.  Of course I want to beat my time, but it will be a challenge!  After pushing through the single track near the pond, I increased my effort even more on the railbed and the remaining single track.  I finished the 10K in 41:32.  Decent, but I need to be 3 minutes faster in 10 days. 

Thursday: 11.5 miles - Wakefield roads and snowy trails with Galoob.  I decided to meet up with Mike today and run with him even though he was planning on a workout: 4 x 1 mile @ T-pace with 1 minute rests.  I figured I could warm up/cool down with him, and decide if I felt like doing the workout.  My legs seemed pretty good.  We ran Tri-Pond trails to a neighborhood road loop Mike had mapped out.  Then we pushed on further to check out a new place Nate was considering.  By the time we got back to the mile loop we had already run over 5 miles.  I decided to give the workout a shot.  The loop was a long gradual downhill and then flat and slightly uphill back.  There were a couple of snow covered spots, but mostly it was dry pavement.  My first mile was 5:41 (the loop was a few seconds short of a true mile).  I then ran 5:40, 5:43, and 5:42.  This translated to roughly 5:50 pace, a little faster than what I should have been running.  Fun workout.  We began running back and Mike reminded me that the workout called for 4 400's at the end.  Yuck.  I was done.  Instead we did 2 "200"'s.  Overall it was a good day. 

Friday: 8.5 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I couldn't meet up with the Wakefield crew for a group lunch run, so I ran solo near the office.  I realized both pairs of my trail shoes were left home, so instead I wore an old pair of Nike Frees.  The temperature was in the low 40's and it felt warm in the sun.  The snow was melting fast, and the trails had just a narrow coating of wet snow in most places.  As I looped around the trails on the east side of the park, I noticed a couple of ice fishermen.  Hmm.  I've never run on a pond before.  I decided to give it a shot.  I ran across the eastern side to a trail on the other side.  There were always footprints nearby, so it seemed safe.  The ice had a layer of wet snow that was good for traction.  My only issue was the glare - I should have worn sunglasses.  I then ran out on the pond again in a different location, one that didn't have much use.  The ice seemed fine, but I was nervous being all alone in this area.  I ran trails around to the west side of the park, and then checked the pond in one more location.  I didn't see any tracks here, so I didn't go out.  I returned via the road and then decided to make the eastern side of the pond crossing one more time. 

Saturday: 7+ miles - Misquamicut roads and trails with Jeff and Mike B.  The usual 6:30AM winter start time.  Enjoyable route that included a snowy Mastuxet trail and a loop around the Glacier Park. 

Sunday: 11 miles - Super 5K - Narragansett, RI - 17:29.  Slow time, but a PR for me on this course (17:35 last year).  Slow 2nd mile did me in.  I tried hard though.  Good finish. Separate write up to follow. 

Weekly Total: 63 miles
Last Week: 58 miles
Year to Date: 277 miles
January Total: 259 miles

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Indoor Mile Week: 1-20-14 to 1-26-14

This Sunday will be the day for my first indoor track race.  Running 8 laps in 37 seconds each seems daunting.  I'm in my third week of training on the URI indoor track and at least I can say that I've gotten used to the short 200 meter oval.  My legs don't feel beat up anymore and I should be able to make a strong push for sub 5 minutes in the race.  I still get queasy even thinking about it (or typing).  Hopefully I will not be in the same heat as my brother Greg and Galoob.  We'll see (check Mile/All Divisions/Men to see everyone who is registered and their seed time).  At least with the cold and snowy weather this week I shouldn't be able to overtrain. 

Monday:  12 miles - Carter Preserve trails with local roads to/from alone.  After a morning family hike in Trustom NWR, I had a chance to run in the afternoon on this holiday.  I ran the roads and powerline to Carter Preserve, looped around the park, and then ran back home.  I kept the pace on the spicy side.  I had a blast on the single track and ran into family friends out for a hike on the blue dot trail.  After a quick stop and chat, I was back cruising along and ran the grassland mile in a controlled 6:57.  The powerline was a muddy mess and I almost slipped and fell a half dozen times.  Got to love the mile road climb at the end to get home too. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - URI indoor track workout with Galoob.  The winter storm was beginning early, but I still decided to head over and do a workout at the track.  Mike ended up getting there at the same time (we weren't sure if our schedules would work out).  He told me the Daniels workout for the day, and it sounded way harder than what I had planned for myself.  I compromised by doing 8x400 @ mile pace (first I thought 4x400 and then 200's, then 6x400, then I got talked into 8x400).  My warmup ended up being rather long (4+ miles) since I was almost 2 miles in when Mike showed up.  The workout itself went very well.  I definitely got into a groove, and was able to repeat my mile pace over and over.  Results: 74/74/74/74/74/75/73/75 (400 recoveries, target 74 or 75).  This was satisfying, but I'm still not sure if this will translate into 4 74's at the race on Sunday. 

Wednesday: 6 miles - Rome Point snowshoe run solo.  So the storm didn't drop as much snow as forecasted, but with the chilly temperatures, the roads were still mostly snow covered when I ventured into work.  I snuck out later than normal in the afternoon and kept it local by going to Rome Point.  I donned my Atlas Run snowshoes and headed out in the mid teens winter wonderland.  The main trails were not fun to run on as there was already a lot of boot holes.  The snowshoes were a better option than shoes with Yaktrax.  I really enjoyed the side trails without any or very little traffic.  It was cold near the water with the frigid wind, but I stayed warm enough for this 50 minute run.  I forgot my watch at home and so I used the Strava app on my phone, but after 17 minutes, the phone died.  When I got back to my car, it came back to life again.  I guess it was a cold thing, not a battery thing.  This was a pretty good snowshoe run. 

Thursday: 8 miles - URI indoor track tempo workout alone.  I wasn't sure if I would head down to the track (feeling lazy) or snowshoe in Ryan Park.  Both ideas seemed hard, but since it was a quiet day at work, I decided to go to the track.  My plan was do to another Daniels tempo run.  Last week I did 3.5 miles and today I was entertaining the idea of 5 miles, mostly because I saw someone else do this on their blog (Goupil).  As always, I let my body dictate what it felt like doing and today that meant 4 miles.  I experimented with music, since last time I got bored doing so many laps alone.  I carried my iphone and used the headphones that came with it (never tried them before).  I think the music helped.  Maybe it was my choice today:

I did the four miles in 23:58.  The first three miles I was a tad off pace, but I had to use the 2nd lane since a guy was doing 300 meter repeats in lane 1.  Once I got to use lane 1 the last mile + , my lap times went down 1 to 2 seconds each.  I was happy with the result.  I wasn't feeling super motivated and I thought about quitting early on.  By the end I was debating going for 5 miles.  Maybe next time.  2 mile warm up (14:57) and 2 mile cool down (15:19) on a rather quiet day on the track. 

Friday: 7 miles - Old Mountain snowy trails with Yaktrax alone.  I headed down to Wakefield to see if I could find any spikes at Camire's for the indoor meet.  I was happy to score a pair at a reasonable price.  I then headed over to Old Mtn Field to run trails in the woods rather than be exposed to the biting wind on the roads or bike path.  I put on Yaktrax over my old Inov8's and gave it a shot.  I kept the pace slow and effort as easy as possible on snow covered trails.  The results were mixed: I enjoyed being out in the woods, I stayed warm, but it was a slog.  I ran the 5K course in a blistering 30:49!  I then looped around the pond and hill trails until I had been running a little over an hour. 

Saturday: 10 miles - windy Charlestown/SK beach and road loop with Jeff, Muddy, and Mike B.  Woke up to howling winds.  If I wasn't meeting others, I probably wouldn't have ventured out this morning.  It was comical trying to run down to the breachway.  Once on the beach and heading east, the running got much easier, as the wind pushed us along.  Mike B hung back with me on the road return.  We reached our cars, and they all went back out for more miles.  I was feeling good, but knew I had to stay fresh for tomorrow.  Brought home some scones from the Charlestown Bakery.  Need to run from here more often on morning runs! 

Sunday: 6(?) miles - USATF NE Master Indoor Championships, Providence.  I ran the mile in 5:06.  This was kind of my worst case scenario, as I hoped to run sub 5 minutes, and my PR from the only other time I raced this distance (outside) is 5:02.  I ran pretty well, but didn't take my pace up a notch to a more uncomfortable zone when I was falling behind.  I managed to kick the final two thirds of the last lap at what I believe was a 200 PR of 30 seconds.  This felt awesome, passing people, especially on the turn.  Obviously I had enough in my legs to run harder during the majority of the race.  Post race, people told me that indoor track times (especially flat tracks) will be 3-4 seconds slower than outdoor.  This performance still would have fallen short.  I'd like to take another stab or two at this distance this winter, as I feel like I have some unfinished business. 


Doing my first ever track meet.  Never ran when I was younger.  This was an awesome experience. 

Hanging with my brother, running friends, and new acquaintances.  There is a ton of down time waiting for your event(s).  It was fun to kill time with other runners including Greg, Chris and family, Mike and family, George Adams, Dave Principe, Chris MacGill, and others I didn't catch or remember their names. 

Wearing spikes!  Loved them.  Need to find excuses to wear them more. 

Competing in the mile.  I'll never be super fast in this event, but it was awesome to be in a competitive field at this meet, and the distance is a good challenge. 

Watching the 800.  This race was incredibly exciting!  Mike, Greg, and Chris were top 3 for laps 2 and 3 (a couple of guys went out too fast in the first lap).  Chris sprang to the lead to start the final lap.  He seemed like he might pull away from Mike (Greg began cramping and looked in pain the last lap).  After the final turn, Mike began gaining on Chris and the two ran side by side the final straightaway.  Mike won by a nose. 


Getting lapped in the mile.  Thanks Mike. 

Being a rookie.  From worrying my spikes were too long, to arriving hungy, there were some first time jitters going on.  Not a big deal, but I will feel much more prepared/relaxed for the next one. 

Not reaching my time goal.  It happens. 

800 Lap 2 (Galoob, Greg, and Garvin)

800 Lap 3 (Galoob, Garvin, Greg)

800 Lap 4 (Garvin, Galoob)

Too fast for my camera

Weekly Total:  58 miles
Last Week: 65 miles
Year to Date: 214 miles

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Return to Normalcy Week: 1-13-14 to 1-20-14

This week I was finally able to bang out a normal (for me) week of quantity (miles) and quality (workouts).  It feels like forever since I've strung together a week like this, but it probably hasn't been that long.  My sore left foot/ankle and sometimes tight right foot have been improving, and now don't hinder my runs.  I was able to hit the track twice and still able to engage in normal runs, and not feel like I had to go super easy.  I was really happy to string together some longer runs with good intensity.  This is something I enjoy and I felt like I was missing the last few weeks. 

Monday:  10 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Nothing too interesting about this run, but I was happy to start the week off with a double digit number.  I also strung together a new route that kept me interested.

Tuesday: 6 miles - URI indoor track solo.  I did it again.  I already had plans to meet Mike tomorrow, but with a rainy day, I decided to take advantage of my membership and run inside.  My plan was to run 20 minutes at T pace.  I liked the simplicity of this, and had read an article by Daniels about the benefit of these workouts.  My T pace for 20 minutes is the high 5:50's, but to keep things easy, I used 45 second 200's (6:00 pace) as my target.  The track was busy again, so I was happy with my decision.  After a 2.5 mile warm up, I got to it.  I would have to weave around different lanes to avoid getting in the way of the women's team doing 200 meter repeats and the men's team warming up in the opposite direction.  I was very consistent  (within 1 second of 45) the entire time and the pace felt under control.  The hardest part was how long it seemed to take since the oval is so short.  I decided to extent my 20 minutes to 3.5 miles (21 minutes).  Result: 20:55.  The track was then getting even busier with the men beginning 50 meter strides across all lanes.  I kept my cool down to just 4 laps and got out of there.  I can't wait for more of these workouts. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - URI indoor track with outside warm up/cool down with Galoob.  Today was a speed day.  The Daniels workout we were attempting was: 2x200/1x800 @ R pace, then 600/400/300 @ F pace.  All with long recoveries.  My body was feeling okay after yesterday, but  I wasn't feeling confident about the workout.  After a 2 mile warm up outside and then another mile inside with strides mixed in, we were ready to begin.  The track was free of college athletes, but there was some basketball traffic as described on Mike's blog.  My target time for the 200's was 37 and I began with a 34 (oops) and then a lazy 38.  I need a regular watch.  I felt some soreness and just a lack of speed on the 800, and I missed my 2:28 target (2:32).  This wasn't a good sign for the fast intervals.  I didn't have a good attitude.  The 600 ended up at 1:50, 4 seconds too slow.  The 400 and 300 I nailed though, which felt good: 70/52.  We then went back outside for a cool down through fraternity circle and the dorms. 

Thursday: 11+ miles - Wickford roads and trails alone.  My body felt stiff and terrible at the start, but after a couple of mile it loosened up nicely.  My pace was a decent effort, but slow thanks to the two workouts.  I explored side streets and found some new trails.  This was a really fun run.  There is a small trail system behind the shops in Wickford called Brush Hill Nature Reserve.  I also wandered around Wilson Park and explored the abandoned rail bed some more, including finding a useful side trail that leads out to Annaquatucket Rd.

Friday: 11 miles - Quonset Bike Path and 2 Calf Pasture Point beach/trail loops solo.  This run felt good.  My legs were bouncing back and my pace was fast without putting in a lot of effort.  I ran the length of the bike path to the Calf Pasture Point trail.  I checked my watch and saw that I ran the first 3+ miles in under 22 minutes.  This was a pleasant surprise as I felt slower than that.  I then ran two loops around the point, which includes 3/4 mile on a wide trail, 1+ mile of thick sandy beach (with shells and other obstacles like stream crossings) and then a short 1/3 mile or so of bike path.  I increased my intensity right away on the first loop, to a moderate level.  My time was about a minute slower than my PR.  I upped my speed some more, but still not a hard effort.  This time I clocked in a new PR!  I then had to run 3+ miles back to my car on the bike path.  My lower legs were a bit fatigued, but I was able to maintain a good pace for the duration, and even went longer to get an even 11 for the day (final 3.6 miles in 6:34 pace.


Saturday: 9.5 miles - Burlingame (mostly) trails with Muddy and Ryan D.  I wasn't sure what my running window was going to be on this day, but I was able to join Muddy and Ryan for some local trail fun.  We began at the campground entrance and ran the mtn bike trails to Vin Gormley (after briefly taking some campground roads).  We then ran up to Buckeye Brook Rd, taking the old left fork.  We continued on VG until I had to detour back to my house.  Fun run.

Sunday: 9.5 miles - Burlingame north hills alone.  I bailed on my plan to segment hunt in Massachusetts after the wedding in the morning since there was at least 6" of new snow up there.  Instead I ran on the clear trails and roads near my house when I got home.  I ran down Burdickville Rd to the northern most section of Burlingame.  I ran the powerline hill in a couple of directions, but really liked one short but steep side.  I ran it 5 times total, making a small loop the last three times that might be a fun Strava segment.  I then ran up and down Burdickville Rd to get some more hill action before jumping into Burlingame north (proper).  I zigzagged my way to Shumankanuc Hill Rd by running up Ledge Trail and the beaver pond switchback.  One more hill on the road to reach my house and I had banged out a nice hilly run.

Weekly Total: 65 miles
Last Week:  58 miles
Year to Date: 156 miles

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race 2014

This past Sunday I ran the 3rd annual Resolution 5K Beach and Trail Race in Narragansett, RI.  This was the second race of the local winter trail race series.  The first race was a snowy sufferfest.  On this day, conditions were much better - mid 40's and partly cloudy.  There had been a lot of rain the day before and much melting and thawing the entire week leading up to the race.  I knew the trails through Black Point would be wet and muddy, but I couldn't believe how much standing water there was.  The beach had some runoff streams to contend with as well.  The surf was pounding, and despite the low tide, there wasn't nearly the usual amount of beach exposed.  The sand was firm though. 

My expectations for this race were mixed.  There was the goal of beating last year's time (19:04).  I also wanted to place better than in the race last week (6th).  The truth was that I was lacking confidence because of fatigue from two early week track workouts, and lingering foot/ankle issues since Christmas (thanks Santa).  I also know that I tend to do better in the longer trail races.  This race is a "fast" course, and for whatever reason, I don't seem to do well in it.  But, by the morning of the race, I was feeling rather excited. 

I rode with my dad to the race and got there on the early side.  The rest of my family was coming later, so that my son (8) could run his first 5K.  After milling around the registration tables talking with the Galoobs and various running friends and watching the surf, it was time to get in a warm up.  It was rather windy (surprise surprise) and I got rather cold standing around for so long.  A group of WTACers headed out to check out the course.  As stated before the beach was fine.  We crossed over onto the sand trail and then ran into the giant puddles (ponds).  There was no avoiding them and they looked deep.  We turned around and headed for the stone building ruins, also part of the course.  The entrance/exit were going to be slow and tricky, and the inside was filled with water.  We continued along the coastal trail of Black Point.  This trail was just as I expected (muddy and wet), but runnable.  At this point, it was down to just me, Woolley, and Justin.  This was the same crew I warmed up with last week foolishly through the deep snow.  This time, we kept it easy and returned via the road.  There was ample time to make final preparations (left on my trail shoes - Nike Terra Kigers and shed my upper layers to leave just my WTAC singlet).  I found my wife and kids and made sure everyone was all set for the race. 

Waiting for the start.  Photo by Scott Mason

The field spread out along the start line, which was the width of the beach.  I found myself near the water, next to Bob Jackman and some Turtles.  Most of my teammates were higher up.  I figured the sand was firmer where I was (if not wet in places) and I had a more direct route to the turnaround flag (the race begins as an out and back on the beach).  At the siren, I took off in a controlled manner.  There were plenty of people ahead of me.  The wind was blowing mostly into our faces and I figured I would take my time, but not letting any competitors get away from me.  At the flag (about a 1/2 mile?) it was Woolley in the lead, followed by Dan Hawkins and Bob Jackman for TNT, with Tom Bosquet (WTAC) and myself trailing them.  I wasn't feeling great, but I made sure to keep my intensity high, especially considering how many fast guys were right behind me (Justin, Jeff, Nate, Seth, Bob Corsi, etc.).  The southern end of the beach was more pebbly than sandy.  These are beach conditions I'm more accustomed to running in North Kingstown, and I thought this might be an advantage.  After reaching the starting area (about a mile in), the beach is all sand, and the only obstacles are two runoff streams. It is rather strange to see which lines people run.  I could see Woolley hugging the shoreline with Jackman way off to the left.  Tom had passed Dan, and I was still trailing by a few seconds in fifth position.  Justin was close behind me ( couldn't see him, but I just knew). 

Racers ahead of me.  Photo by Scott Mason

Racers behind me.  Photo by Scott Mason

I continued to push hard on the beach.  Finally I reached the sand trail through the dune area.  The thick sand makes things slower.  I felt like I was gaining on Dan.  I reached the "ponds", and took wide strides right through them.  My feet were soaked, but my shoes drain fast, and I'm used to dealing with this thanks to all the trails I run.  Justin was still on my heels.  We reached the short (1/4 mile) road section that is a gentle uphill grade.  I kept my effort high, but I'm sure my pace quickened with the easy footing.  I was catching Dan fast, and motored by.  I then hoped he didn't catch back up to me.  This was not to be, as I immediately had company once on the gravel trails of Black Point.  I was tired, and wanted a break, but unfortunately, there weren't going to be any breaks today.  This would be good for my overall time, but it was going to be a grind.  I tried to push hard on the trails - on the downhill, through the mud, down another hill, through more mud.  No dice.  I finally reached the tricky section near the stone ruins.  I checked my watch and saw there was only 3/4 of a mile left.  I can do this.  I splashed through the ruins, navigated the rocks on the other side, and reached the final beach stretch. 

Ready to splash through the ruins.  Photo by Scott Mason
The final beach section is tricky.  You can see the finish line, but it is so far away.  The wind was mostly in your face and you are tired.  I let my legs carry me faster on the firm sand.  Immediately I was overtaken by Dan Hawkins.  I wasn't ready to give up my spot so I put in a strong surge.  I passed him back and put some distance on him.  This move was quickly countered by him, and this time I was content to let him stay in front of me, since there was probably still 1/2 a mile of race left.  I did my best to have positive thoughts and finish strong.  I did peek back twice to see if Justin was running me down. 

Tom (3rd), Dan, Me, Justin nearing the finish.  Photo by Jana Walker

Finally, as the finish seemed like it was actually close, I began sprinting.  Dan had a pretty big gap, and although it was unlikely I could catch him, it felt good to finish the race strong, gain ground, and make him have to work hard to stay in front of me.  I crossed the line in 18:53, fifth place overall, one second behind Dan.  WTAC won the team competition.  I felt really good about running hard and relatively fast, despite my pre-race worries.  I even set an eleven second PR. 

A funny side note is that when I finished the race, I realized my watch wasn't on my wrist anymore.  It had fallen off somewhere during the last 3/4 miles.  After checking on my daughter (thanks to Becky Galoob for entertaining her during the race), I needed to go search the beach.  Luckily, someone saw it during the race and picked it up.  Space watch crisis adverted.  Although it lost my race data and I wasn't able to upload to Strava. Ha!  Instead of running a cool down, I hunkered down out of the wind, but in the sun with my daughter, drinking scalding hot hot chocolate, waiting for my son and wife to finish.  Eventually we could see his blaze orange shirt in the distance! He was going to make it. 

My son in orange, finishing up his first 5K!  Photo by Scott Mason

My son finished up and seemed rather proud of himself, albeit very tired.  This was not an easy first race.  He ran the first two miles, walked a little, and ran the rest.  He even won his age group and took home some candy from the prize table.  You can see from the pictures it was an amazing day at the beach, and one I won't soon forget. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Resolution Week: 1-6-14 to 1-12-14

Resolution Beach and Trail 5K week.  I'm hoping for a strong performance on Sunday, but my body has been beat up as of late.  I began feeling better early in the week before knocking out two straight indoor track workouts.  I took the plunge, and grabbed a 3 month alumni membership to URI so I could run on the indoor track a couple of times a week.  I ran back to back days because of the cold weather, and I wanted a few easy days between speed work and the race.  The track itself is really fun.  My left leg is definitely sore from so many turns on the 200 meter track.  But my splits have been pretty good overall.  I do find the basketball courts tempting....

Monday: 8 miles - Narragansett roads out and back with Galoob.  This was an easy day, but my creaky legs made it challenging.  It was pretty warm when we started, but we ran into the wind.  The way back was faster, but the temperature definitely was dropping.  Good to have company on this damp day. 

Tuesday: 7.5 miles - URI indoor track workout with Galoob.  The plan was to jump into a Daniel's training schedule.  Today was going to be 4 x mile at I pace.  This meant 5:20 miles for me which seemed really ambitious.  I ended up bailing after 2 repeats and then just ran 400's, the first two at the same I pace, and the next two faster.  These seemed like a decent workload for me on this day.  My first mile was too fast (5:14) and my second was too slow (5:25).  I hated running 8 laps for a mile and I don't care to run mile repeats anymore after doing so many this fall.  The 400's were a better distance: 78/79/75/75. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - URI indoor track workout alone.  Another chilly day and I was feeling good enough (not great) to head back to the track.  My plan was to do either a 20 minute tempo or a workout of mixed short intervals at different paces.  I went with the short intervals since I will be racing 3 miles on Sunday.  The plan was 1x600 @ R pace, 2x400 @ F pace, 1x600 @ F pace, 2x300 @ F pace, 4x200 @ R pace all with what I would call long recoveries except 200 meters for the 200s.  My left leg felt pretty stiff from all the turning yesterday, but my legs had some life in them for the workout.  Results: 1:53/71/71/skipped 600/52/52/35/35/35/35.  I skipped the 600 @ F pace because I wasn't feeling up for it.  I also was feeling a little self-conscious as I was the only one on the track except for the URI women's hurdlers and sprinters and the basketball courts were filled with frat boys.  My target paces were 1:52/70/53/37.  I can't tell what I'm doing with my current watch, so I did a good job. 

Thursday: 11.5 miles - Rome Point trails and beach with Dan.  The plan was a long slow day.  I had the opportunity, and I've been feeling like a mileage slacker after compiling my data from last year.  My legs were beat.  Dan asked if I wanted to run with him.  This seemed like a good idea for motivation.  I followed him around Rome Point for an hour and a half.  It was nice to not have to think of the course and Dan really mixed it up. 

Friday: 7 miles - lunch loop of mostly trails or bushwhacking with Nate and Galoob.  A pretty dreary day - 33 degrees and light rain - so running with others was a major plus.  Mike was trying to show Nate an old trail to make some nice connections, but it ended up being a briary mess.  I was happy to reach the Canonchet Farm Trail.  The return included a dicey Rte 1 crossing.  Always interesting running with these guys!  Legs (mostly my left) still lifeless. 

Saturday: 9 miles - local roads and Carter Preserve trails with Jeff and FiveK.  Weird morning with darkness, warm temperatures, and icy roads and trails in spots.  We headed to Carter Preserve from my house and I was happy my legs were feeling close to normal again.  Narragansett Trail and the powerline were coated in ice which made things dicy.  We ran through the woods down to the grassland mile for a casual loop.  We then backtracked to the top of the powerline and back down.  We decided to take the longer way back (also hillier but I don't think I advertised it!) for a solid nine miles in the early morning. 

Sunday: 8 miles - Resolution Beach and Trail 5K in Narragansett, 5th overall, 18:53.  Really fun race: my son's first 5K, I ran better than I hoped, team win, interesting course.  Separate write up to follow. 

Weekly Total:  58 miles
Last Week: 50 miles
Year to Date:  91 miles

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Year in Review and 2014 Goals

Here's a look at my stats for last year using the same format I stole from Muddy in 2012. 

Miles: 3236 (3004 in 2012, 2501 in 2011, 1396 in 2010)
Days Running: 328
Average miles per running day: 9
Days off for sickness or injury: 7 sick days, 0 injury days
Highest mileage week: 81 (week of September 2nd)
Lowest mileage week: 13 (week of  March 4th)
Average miles per week: 62
Miles by the month:  279.5/231.5/223/238.5/286.5/281/305/279/298.5/273.5/280/260
Average miles per month:  270

Here's what my goals were for 2013 and if I met them or not:

Sub 17 minute 5K MISS - ran 17:04 and 17:06 5K's
Sub 5 minute mile MISS - ran 5:02 at Bottone Track Mile
PR at every repeat trail race HIT - all 4th Season Series, Beavers, Pisgah 23K, and LRR!!
Run Pisgah 50K again (and train properly) MISS - ran 23K instead but failed at TARC 50K
Run a road half marathon (finally, and sub 1:20) MISS - never raced this distance
Run at least one more long trail race during the year HIT - ran Nipmuck Marathon and came in 2nd!
Run for WTAC in all local team races (and win!) HIT - fun team competing w/ mixed results
Take the KOM titles for the DuVal Trail and Gilbert Stuart Rd Climb MISS - DuVal turned into a turf battle between Garvin and Galoob and is way too fast for me, there is still a chance for GSR
Continue semi-regular long trail runs with my friends HIT - and added a few new faces
Team Hammett Brothers win at the Beaver trail race HIT - although technically Hammboj this year
This list could go on and on and on. I'm hoping for another healthy year (mentally and physically), and lots of miles!! HIT - stayed mentally and physically fit, and chased a ton of miles. 

Goals for 2014: 

I'm afraid that I won't achieve my potential at various road race distances because frankly I can't race all the time, and I love trail racing way too much when I can.  I'm pretty sure I could go sub 17 minutes in a 5K, but I need to run more of them.  I feel the same way about the sub 5 mile.  I'd love to put up a fast time at the 10 mile, half marathon, and marathon distances too.  Don't know if I will ever race these distances on roads though.  That's the reality for me.  Here are my specific goals:

Sub 5 minute mile
Sub 17 minute 5K
PR at every repeat trail race
3:30 Nipmuck Trail Marathon
Run a spring marathon/50K in any format
Win the Big River Half Marathon (unless my brother Greg races)
WTAC team wins for 4th Season Series, Super 5K, Christmas 10K, etc.
Run the full length of the Narragansett Trail
Run a long RI adventure run (southern half NST, Sea to Summit, Rte 1, ??)
Run at least one new Grand Tree or Mountain series race
Run 3000 miles
Continue early morning group runs with my friends
Keep having fun and stay healthy

Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter Weather Week: 12-30-13 and Old Mtn Trail 5K Recap

I eventually will get up a Year in Review post.  It's been a busy vacation with hosting parties and traveling to NH and Boston.  Back to work (sort of - snow day today) and back to normal (except for the interesting weather).  I can't wait to race on Saturday - the Old Mountain Trail 5K.  The area picked up about 6 inches of snow on Thursday/Friday, but it is so light and fluffy, the course should be in OK shape.  Hopefully the conditions will help me and slow down my competition! 

Monday: 7 miles - track workout in Cambridge with my brother-in-law Chris.  We left NH the afternoon before to avoid the snow and stayed in Cambridge with my wife's sister's family.  It rained alot here and then froze over as the temperature dropped.  Chris and I headed out in the morning for the track at nearby Danehy Park.  The park was a mess.  So much rain now frozen on top (despite being 35 degrees).  We ran a warm up for almost 20 minutes.  The track is awesome.  It sits atop a hill and has an AstroTurf soccer field inside of it.  Unfortunately it was still frozen, with ice in spots.  We scouted it first, and it seemed passable.  We then began the workout of 400's.  My plan was either 6 to 8 at mile pace (75) or 4 to 6 at mile pace plus some 200's.  I ran the first one too fast thinking that I wasn't going hard enough - 69.  I then settled into a good groove of 74's.  I then did 200's and they felt pretty good too.  Results: 69/73/74/74/74/74 32/33/33/34 with all full recoveries.  Solid day on the track and I'm continuing to see improvement in my splits.  On a side note, I've been dealing with some soreness/tightness/swelling in my left foot/ankle.  I began noticing it a couple of days ago.  I believe it may be from running on frozen trails.  The hard uneven surface is to blame.  I've dealt with this before.  I'm wondering if more cushy shoes would help. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Barn Island group trail run with Jeff, Nate, and Mike B.  Last run of the year and it was a fun one.  We met up in the dark at 6:30AM again.  It was cold (16 degrees at the start and finish).  Jeff led us on a tour of the park (almost 1000 acres).  It has a mix of wide lanes through low lying marshes as well as plenty of twisty wooded single track.  The time passed quick as the conversation was lively.  My foot was tight at the start, but felt better after a mile or two.  My beard was super frozen at the end.  Finished the year with 3,236 miles!! 

Wednesday: 0 - house guests and a 70th birthday party for my father-in-law didn't really leave me with a time to run.  I welcomed the day off anyway figuring it was good for my foot.  Year to Date miles: 0! 

Thursday: 6+ miles - Old Mountain trails with Galoob, Nate, and Nate (Mike's cousin).  We met up at the park to scout the course for Saturday's race.  It was cold (about 25 degrees and windy).  There was a fresh coating of snow which did a good job hiding all the tricky obstacles.  The water crossings were tricky thanks to ice and higher than normal water levels.  But the trail was in good shape overall.  Just needs to be flagged and possibly packed down a bit (after the storm).  It was fun to catch up on Mike's trip to Oklahoma and talk to his cousin about running at URI. 

Friday: 4 miles (based on effort) - Burlingame snowshoe loop from my house in the early afternoon.  Since the state closed down for a moderate storm (I would guess 5" of fluffy snow here, but  very cold), I stayed home from work.  After shoveling in the morning and then sledding later on, it was time for a run.  I donned my Atlas Run snowshoes and hoped I would stay warm.  I began by running down the hill in my woods and then bushwhacking to state land to connect to the trails on the other side of the road near the beaver pond.  I was able to connect, but it was not easy.  The woods are wet and full of thick brush including briers.  I had talked about doing this 10 years ago when we bought the house, but never got around to it.  Not sure if there is an obvious place for a trail, but when everything is frozen and covered in snow, you can make it work.  Things got easier once on the trails, but since I was the first creature to lay tracks, it was still slow going.  Eventually my clothes got wet from my snowshoes throwing snow on them.  I made it out to Burdickville Road and then took off the snowshoes.  What a strange feeling running with just shoes.  Fun run, but sort of a sufferfest. 

Saturday: 8 miles - Old Mountain Trail 5K - 25:33!, 6th overall.  Official results here.  This was not the performance I was hoping for, but this will be a memorable race due to the conditions and the fun I had with all my friends in attendance.  First, there was the bitter cold:

Possibly the 2nd coldest night in 10 years at my house

I packed so much gear into my bag and also wore a bunch of layers.  The funny thing was that the day never really felt that cold and it didn't factor into the race really.  What was a huge factor was the snow on the course.  Probably 6 inches deep and not packed sans a couple of snowshoe tracks and a few runners on their warm up.  Footing was terrible.  I ran with my old Inov8 Roclite 295's with Yaktrax.  I stilled slipped alot on my warm up with Muddy and Woolley.  The effort to keep the legs churning in the snow was exhausting and we were going slow.  After a mile or so I wanted to get the heck off the trails, but we were at the far end of the park and there was no choice but to keep plugging along.  My partners were in great spirits nonetheless.  Eventually we bypassed the last mile and jumped on the snow covered bike path (yuck) and then a crusty road, where we saw many of our friends doing their warm up.  It also took us a long time and we didn't have much time to make final preparations (shed layers and retie shoes for me) before Mike Galoob had us lining up for the start. 

The race:  I lined up front next to 25 other members of my WTAC team and many other running acquaintances.  The mood was light, thanks to the conditions.  This was going to be interesting!  I told myself that I was not going to jet out front trying to reach the single track ahead of everyone.  I needed to save my energy for the snow slog.  Well, the start was really slow, and I did move up front with Garvin and a couple of others. 

Charging to the front at the start.  Photo by Jana Walker

We reached the end of the field and now had to run down an embankment.  I was wide right and had to trudge through some really deep snow and then poof! - I fell face first and slid down the bank.  I got up laughing and then noticed Woolley tumbling down in another spot.  I got myself back together and forged forward.  I found myself in 6th place entering the woods, a couple of seconds behind a group of 5 that included Garvin (WTAC), Woolley (WTAC), Jackman (TNT), Mike Galoob's cousin Nate who ran for URI, and a new TNT guy I guessed was Dan Hawkins (I was correct).  I wanted to stick with the group, but they were putting distance on me right away.  I knew there was a train behind me (probably my teammates), but I felt there was a few seconds of space.  I was working hard and not feeling very fast at all.  The footing was even more terrible trying to go fast.  The Yaktrax were just not getting it done today.  I was hoping that everyone else was in the same boat and that I could at least hold my position and then possible catch a couple of the guys up front later in the race if they tired.  The trail is extremely technical, but today the snow covered most of the obstacles.  The stream crossing (on snow and ice covered rocks) went well.  I was plugging along (feeling tired and slow), but after a mile or so, I was catching up to Nate.  I reeled him in and then he let me pass, giving me words of encouragement.  I was happy to be in 5th place, but that was short lived.  My hopes of putting space on everyone behind me and just focusing ahead were quickly doused.  Someone was on my heels.  Ugh!  I didn't have another gear.  I hated being pushed.  Slipping with each step and lungs burning, I was working hard with little payoff.  I figured out it was my teammate Nate.  He just sounded strong.  I tried to go faster where I could (any downhills, tricky spots), but I wasn't shaking him.  I felt like he was just being polite by not passing me.  I felt like a wildebeest being chased down by a lion - the outcome was determined and it was only a matter of time I would have to give in to my fate.  But the race went on.  On the long gradual climb I could see the orange TNT jersey of Dan Hawkins.  I was gaining quickly, and despite Nate on my heels, optimism prevailed.  Dan made it to the top before us and briefly put a small gap on us.  Scott Mason was there taking photos: 

Dan Hawkins ahead of me and Nate.  Photo by Scott Mason

Me taking the longest stride of my life.  Photo by Scott Mason

After the photo shoot I reached the treacherous stone stairs drop.  I took one step and then just jumped to the snow covered ground.  Luckily I didn't land on any rocks and I let out a quick shout.  The course then climbs again - brief but steep.  I quickly caught Dan and passed.  I hoped I put space between me and Nate here, but I could hear him pass as well and then move right back up on me.  I reached the height of the climb at the large boulder and then began the switchbacks down towards the parking lot.  I tried to go faster, but the snow and my shoes were not allowing me to.  This was going to be it I told myself.  Soon enough I hear Jeff's voice behind me.  He then flew by saying that I would catch him on the next hill.  I hoped so, but judging by how fast and nimble he looked, I wasn't confident.  Nate was still right on my tail, waiting for his moment.  Others were back there too.  I reached the bottom and hoped for the best on the switchback climb. 

Full suffer mode.  Being stalked by Nate and look it's Seth too!  Photo by Jana Walker

My climb  did not go well.  I slipped so much and was going so slow, I was embarrassed.  I knew that Nate would pass on the downhill out to the skate park.  Possibly Seth too.  Jeff was long gone.  I accelerated down the hill, but Nate flew by.  I was cooked.  Seth stayed behind me, but I'm sure he was licking his claws.  Unfortunately the snow was super deep trying to get back around the ball fields to the finish.  This was going to be slow and painful.  I kept glancing back to see if Seth was going to catch me.  I made the last turn and tried to go faster, but it seemed useless.  Another peak at Seth.  Did he have a final sprint in him?  I finally reached the finish six full minutes slower than last year.  I ended up in sixth overall, behind Jeff and Nate, but ahead of Seth (barely). 

I was so happy to be done!  Post race was festive.  Everyone had a different adventure to tell.  Jackman won, followed by Garvin then Woolley.  It became apparent that people who had microspikes or really good shoes (Inov8 Talons) did rather well.  Those with Yaktrax (like me) had trouble - most Yaktrax malfunctioned (mine slipped onto the top of my shoes) or broke.  So long Yaktrax, time for something different.  I got to see my dad working the uphill switchbacks from the parking lot and then finish a few minutes later.  We posed for a WTAC team picture and then headed out for a big group cooldown - on roads thankfully.  Yes,  I did just say that. 

All smiles (almost) post-race WTAC group shot.  Photo by Jana Walker

Thanks to Mike Galoob and his family for putting on another memorable winter trail race! 

Sunday: 15 miles on two runs.  My plan was to wake up early and run for two hours (6AM to 8AM).  I had no trouble waking up and getting out the door despite hanging out with Muddy and family the night before.  The issue was the weather.  It was supposed to be 25 degrees at 6AM, but instead it was 12 degrees.  I thought I was still dressed well enough, but I felt cold right away on the dark roads.  I wasn't sure I should venture too far in case I needed to go back and seek refuge.  I decided to make a loop and see how it went.  My hands, head, and lower legs were still cold.  It was single digits in the valleys and the air was damp (unlike the dry air yesterday).  I finally made the decision to go home and try for more miles later.

I finally got back out at about 2:30PM.  It was now about 32 degrees (still colder than forecasted) and a little drizzly out.  My plan was to get 50 miles for the week, so I needed to go another 10.5 miles.  The roads were finally melting.   I thought I would stick to them, but I was finding them boring and unappealing.  I decided to head down Buckeye Brook Rd and then try the woods for a while.  Good decision!  The snow was now wet, and the footing was pretty darn good.  Very little slipping.  I altered my course and stuck to running the Vin Gormley Trail CCW.  I made it to the campground and it's plowed by icy roads.  Annoying, but over quickly.  Eventually I was back on blacktop, running up King's Factory Road to my house.  Thanks to the AH who was speeding, didn't slow down, and buried me with slush.  Both feet were feeling tight, and I was happy to finish with 15 on the day. 

Overall: Fun week in winter conditions.  Not many miles, but that happens this time of year.  Next race is the Resolution Beach/Trail 5K next Sunday!  Trying to be more "bloggy" in 2014.  I will get my year in review and goals post up soon. 

Weekly Total: 50 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 33 miles
Last Year: 3236 miles