Thursday, July 24, 2014

Big Friday Week: 7-21-14 to 7-27-14

Hey look, a timely blog post!  Hopefully the first of many.  Anyway, this will be an interesting week.  Besides non-running things like a Hammett family get-together, birthdays, and a wedding, I will be doing two organized runs on Friday.  First, I have organized, designed, and will be directing a trail half marathon through Arcadia in the morning for a close family friends' wedding.  I feel like I have everything set up at this point, so I'm hoping this will be more of a group run rather than a race.  We'll see.  I'm hoping for an "easy" two hours.  Then, later in the day I will be racing the Blessing of the Fleet.  I know, I've said I would never do this race again, but my strong feelings have subsided over time.  I'm rather nervous/excited about it.  I'm not sure how the morning run will effect the evening race.  I plan to be well rested going in.  We'll see what happens....

The Wedding Half Marathon Course

Monday: 10 miles - Narrow River roads and hills alone.  Strava inspiration.  I was notified on Sunday that someone had stole my CR on the Walmsley Rd (dirt) climb.  It was a vacationer.  I can't let that stand.  So, this was my goal for Monday's lunch run.  It was sunny and warm.  I parked at Treaty Rock Park and headed north on Middlebridge Rd.  My legs felt rather flat (still feeling Saturday's long hard run?) and my watch wasn't cooperating, showing a slow pace for the first mile.  I thought I could retake the CR easy enough, but I was losing a little confidence on my way there.  Then I saw a runner ahead of me.  Could this be the guy?  I was gaining on him and eventually passed, trying to look unsuspicious and strong.  A dump truck then went by, and I remembered I saw some construction vehicles on the segment portion of the road on my way into work (from Rte 1).  I hope the road is passable.  Finally after 2+ miles, I reached the hill and began running harder.  There were two dump trucks, two town trucks, and a grader blocking the top of the hill.  I just kept running.  No one said anything to me, so I snuck around the vehicles and finished the climb to Rte 1.  I would have been faster if the road was clear, but in the end it was a 1 second CR.  I turned around and ran hard down the hill, passing the other runner who had stopped at the hill.  Was it the vacationer?  I ran down to the river and then back up.  I then made my way south past my car.  My goal now was to run the Torrey Rd hill twice.  This is a steep hill - the Strava segment here has 175' of climbing in .3 miles (ave. 10% grade).  I had the CR going into this run (not sure why Galoob has never run it), but I was able to improve my CR on my first attempt.  I pushed the steep downhill and then went back up.  I climbed well again, although hot on this shadeless stretch of asphalt.  I again pushed the downhill and ran some more to get a full 10 miles in on the day.  Total time: 1:10:59 with 647' of climbing. 

In the evening, we brought the kids to karate on the beach.  There were good waves so I spent a good amount of time bodysurfing (no GPS watch). 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Boj's Big River workout alone.  When I ran with Boj last week, we talked about how last summer he would run the double track around Carr Pond as a workout.  The trail is wide, but full of obstacles.  I checked his blog, and saw that he called it 2.2 miles.  Mapping it online I was getting almost 2.1, so 2.2 seemed correct (shouldn't doubt Boj's math skills).  I decided to give it a go today, as I wanted to do one workout before my Big Friday.  It was hot and humid, especially for this lackluster summer.  I parked at Hopkins Hill, and ran down to the start (I used the dam at the south end).  My legs still weren't feeling fresh, and I was already hot.  Whatever, I gave it a shot.  I've never actually run the entire loop before, so there were some unknowns as I made my way around.  It felt long, and my GPS measured it as just over 2 miles.  I was relieved to finish.  My time was 12:28 (Boj's best last summer was 13:10).  GPS had my pace at 6:10, but using 2.2 miles, my pace was 5:40.  It was solid either way considering the uneven terrain and the heat.  I then ran very slowly for about two miles as I wanted to do another loop (Boj would do 2).  I didn't feel great, but by the time I was nearing the start area, I had recovered enough to try again.  Loop 2 went by faster, and I could tell from my watch that I was running about the same pace as the first.  The end was difficult.  I put in a really good effort.  My time was 12:25.  I didn't think I could negative split today.  I then dragged my tired body back up the hill to my car.  What a fun workout.  Total time: 1:03:06. 

Wednesday: 0 - resting up for Friday.  I ran some errands instead of running.  I did swim with the family at night at my in-law's small pool. 

Thursday: 2 miles - blueberry picking in Ryan Park alone.  1 mile each way to secret lowbush blueberry grounds.  40 minutes of picking.  Total time: 16:51. 

Somewhere in Ryan Park

Friday: 31 miles!  Long day of running.  After a restless night sleep worried about course prep for the wedding half marathon, I was out of the house early.  I dropped off coolers at my two water stops and then stopped at D&D for my normal pre-long run breakfast.  I arrived before most at Alton Jones and then immediately headed off to the south hoping to quickly find a connection to the Breakheart Trail in Arcadia.  Besides running through a large field that got my shoes soaked, I was able to make the short bushwhack to the trail I was looking for.  Sweet!  I could now relax, except for the part about worrying if the wedding party would get lost on the course.  I had already emailed maps and directions, had a bunch printed out with me, and then I also decided to run with a bunch of blue trim painting tape to mark questionable intersections.  I was happy to see there was a good group of people excited to run (12 or so).  They all had running gear on and looked fit.  And then there was Shaun Horgan.  He said he would run up front with me.  I told him that I was also running the Blessing tonight and not to expect too much.  The bride arrived with custom visors and we were soon off.  I was surprised that most of the group was going at a very relaxed pace.  After the bushwhack and making sure everyone was all set, I headed out ahead with Shaun.  Immediately we heard yelling behind us as the bride and groom were being stung repeatedly by ground bees.  Ugh!  No one was allergic or discouraged so we moved on.  After a while Shaun took off ahead of me (I later learned that he had a time constraint and didn't run the whole course).  I continued on at an easy pace that I thought wouldn't tax my legs too much.  Unfortunately there was a lot of climbing in the beginning (Penny Hill and Mount Tom).  I began stopping at intersections to use the blue tape.  I refound Shaun a couple of times who got off course (he had a map and would figure it out).  I hoped the others were seeing my tape.  I made my way past the first water stop, crossed Rte 165, and continued down the Mt Tom ledges.  This is an awesome stretch of trail, but challenging.  I continued to stop and mark as needed, possibly being stung once, before getting into a nice groove on the flatter easier middle portion of the run.  The deer flies were out and I hoped this wasn't too much of a nuisance for the mostly out-of-towners.  I decided not to take any water or GU that I left at the second cooler, leaving everything for the rest of the group.  I was feeling fine, but the minutes on my feet were piling up.  I finally was getting hungry the last two miles on Breakheart Trail.  I had also run out of tape and had been marking intersections by drawing giant arrows on the trail.  I finished up at the Acid Factory Brook bridge and began my wait for the others.  My total time for the run (which I'm calling 14 miles) was a little over two hours (Strava had my moving time at 1:58).  I took off my shoes and soaked my legs in the brook. 

nothing like a soak in acid (factory brook)!

getting artsy while I waited

After about a half an hour a person from the group emerged on a bike.  I met this guy before the run and he decided to try biking it rather than run.  He is quite the character.  He made his own way around Arcadia using the map on a bike that had a pedal fall off pretty early on.  Anyway, I was thirsty and hungry, so he agreed to wait at the bridge as I made the 1 mile round trip to my car.  I didn't have anything to eat, but at least I had more water bottles.  Finally, people began to emerge from the run.  Everyone had stayed together until the last mile or so, where some chose to run and others hiked.  They all loved the trails and stayed on course until near the end.  They figured out their mistake and found another way back onto the planned route.  They probably ended up running about 15 miles, but were all in great spirits.  I also was pleased that they all enjoyed soaking in the brook post run.  That was my idea going in. 

I was hungry and tired by the time I left the group at Alton Jones.  I had run 16 miles at this point, and needed more fuel and a nap.  Unfortunately, time was not on my side.  I had to pick up the coolers I had left on Rte 165, and then get home, quickly eat lunch, and then pick up my kids at camp.  My nap didn't materialize.  I had iced coffee instead.  Soon it was time to drive over to Narragansett for the next running adventure of the day - The Blessing of the Fleet.  I got annoyed with the early traffic and decided to park at the elementary school.  This meant I was a mile away from bib pick up.  I made the run, and my legs felt great.  Bib pick up was mobbed with people and overwhelming.  I looked around for Muddy and then ran back to my car.  I snacked on trail mix, and had a GU.  I then felt ready and texted Muddy to see where he was at.  He was back near registration and going to warm up soon.  Hmm.  Well, I did this race to socialize with my running friends - running a top notch race was not happening anyway at this point.  So, I ran the mile back to his car where we found Galoob, and ran a two mile warm up.  I did start to feel fatigue in my legs on that fifth warm up mile.  Muddy and I went back to his car for one more GU and Gatorade.  21 miles already completed, now for a 10 mile road race! 

Muddy and I weaved our way up front and it felt like we were the last two people to arrive.  I found a spot next to Seth, Garvin, and Matty Bo.  I wasn't sure what was about to happen, but I planned to try my best to still sneak under an hour.  After the crazy start, I settled into the downhill mile.  I felt good.  I wasn't looking at my watch, but I knew I was ahead of Muddy and Garvin which was probably not smart.  I wasn't going to worry about it, just see what my legs had left today.  Garvin went by after a mile, and soon after Muddy, with the lead woman in tow.  I hung around a few steps behind them for awhile, but then gradually faded.  Each mile had a clock, and I could see that I was slowing down, but still on pace for under an hour.  The downhill miles on Ocean Road were negated by a headwind, which was a bit of a bummer.  Despite not feeling overly hot, I made sure to grab water at most miles.  I poured most over my head and tried to sip the rest.  My right calf and hammy felt a little tight and I did not want to cramp.  I felt good about my effort as I ran.  I really think on a normal day, this would equate to 5:50 pace.  Rte 108 is endless, and I remembered how much I hated it as I ran.  I picked up my intensity once the course veered off onto the side roads in miles 6,7, and 8.  I was now no longer on target for sub 1 hour however.  According to my Strava splits, I was also slowing down.  I would occasionally get passed which was frustrating, especially by people I knew like Brian McNeice.  The crowds were great though and helped me pretend to look strong.  I passed the 8 mile clock and I believe I saw 48:02 (looking back I was wrong).  I was pumped that I could still pull this off (or so I thought).  Mile 9 has some climbing to it, and by the time I reached the next clock, I knew I had no chance.  I also didn't have much left in my legs.  I tried, but my last mile was lackluster.  I only sprinted the last 100 meters when I saw a shadow gaining on me.  I didn't want to be passed by anyone else.  I finished the race in 1:00:50.  Unlike at most races, I was feeling completely beat.  I caught up with my WTAC friends and I tried to eat fruit to fend off my light headedness.  Garvin graciously walked back with me to my car as the others ran a cooldown.  It was fun running into a spectating Shaun Horgan.  I didn't officially know at that point if he had ever made it out of the woods.  I perked up a bit at my car and met Garvin, Gazelle, Jana, and Mike B for a fun late dinner.  What a day! 

Saturday: 0 - no urge to run early in the morning which was my only window.  Fun night of cross training at the wedding where we camped out too. 

camping at the Alton Jones wedding

Sunday: 6 miles - Alton Jones trails alone in the early am.  After not much sleep and a headache, I laced up my shoes and ran while everyone else was still sleeping.  I didn't feel good at the start, but I knew this run would make me feel better.  I wandered around trails, scared a large raccoon (scared me too), and got lost.  I figured my way out of there after running for about 50 minutes.  Good enough.  Quiet rest of the day, until it was time to head to Galilee to celebrate my wife's birthday.  The annual tradition is dinner with family and friends at Champlin's, followed by swimming at Salty Brine Beach, and completed with birthday cake.  The weather (as usual) cleared just in time for a fun night at the beach! 

Weekly Total: 58 miles
Last Week: 72 miles
Year to Date: 1902 miles
July Total: 245 miles

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Last Two Weeks

Still running, still slacking on the blog. 

Week of 7-7-14 to 7-13-14

Monday: 9.5 miles - Big River alone.  Warm but shady in the woods.  Tried running a hill segment hard, but didn't get the CR or PR.  Total time: 1:10:39. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Calf Pasture Point (3 loops) alone.  Hot day in the sun.  Total time: 1:07:31. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - Wakefield/Narragansett road loop with Nate and Galoob.  Nate got the lunch group back together.  Fun to catch up with the guys.  Total time: 1:10:47. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Big River alone.  Wandered around the middle of the park.  It was really muggy and buggy.  I pushed a new trail segment twice, but also had to run a little faster than desired to keep my sanity from the deer flies.  I fell once and was covered with scrapes and dirt.  I really enjoyed this run for some reason.  Total time: 1:01:38. 

Friday: 5 miles - Yawgoog Pond trail loops alone.  I ran loops in this small but beautiful SKLT property.  I finished with some strides on the dirt Barber Pond Road.  Ready to race tomorrow.  Total time: 42:22. 

Hidden beach on Yawgoog Pond

Saturday: 13 miles - Run with the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race.  1:08:22, 4th overall, see separate write up

Beavers cool down

Sunday: 8.5 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  A great week ender on my local trails.  Peppy.  Total time: 1:00:11. 

Weekly Total: 63 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 1772 miles
July Total: 115 miles

Week of 7-14-14 to 7-20-14

Monday: 13.5 miles - Wakefield/URI mostly roads with Galoob.  The usual advertised 10 miler that goes long.  Mixed in some hill climbs on the URI campus.  Spent some time in Potter Woods, Peckham Farm, and the bike path.  Peppy pace throughout on tired legs.  Total time: 1:34:08. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Pardon Joslin (unimproved dirt) Rd hill repeats solo.  Hyper humid day.  I ran 6 repeats of this roughly 220' hill.  I tried to push the pace running down and climb back up at a moderate effort.  With the thick air, this was tough.  I was happy to complete it though.  Total time: 1:09:59 with 1,390' of climbing. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - T pace workout on the Quonset Bike Path alone.  Today was the muggiest yet.  Dew point in the low 70's.  My plan was to run a few miles straight at T pace (5:50 per mile), but I didn't have the energy, or so I thought.  It felt very challenging to run the desired pace, and I decided to break up the miles: 3, 2, 1.   I completed the 3 miles in 17:35 (5:52 pace).  I jogged for 6 minutes (2 for every T paced mile).  Then I ran 2 miles in 11:33 (5:47 pace).  This was much easier for the first 1.5 miles, then it hurt.  I jogged for 4 minutes and then did 1 more mile at T pace - 5:42.  I was super pumped with this workout.  It would be much easier on a drier day.  Total time: 1:05:51. 

Thursday: 10.5 miles - Big River with Boj.  We met at Greasy Joe's and meandered along the half marathon course all the way to the top of the ridge.  We then dropped down and ran along Carr Pond so that I could show him my new favorite trail (the ledgy switchbacks).  He then showed me a new favorite of his which was nearby on top of the ridge.  The entrance and exit were close, but this faint, twisty trail was about 15 minutes long.  Awesome!  Total time: 1:28:48. 

Friday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails with Galoob.  An easy hour zigzagging the western side of the park and then a little on the east side. 

Saturday: 19 miles - Burlingame trails (and some roads) with Muddy.  Great long run in the early AM.  We kept the pace snappy throughout and I was exhausted by the finish.  We ran 5+ miles of roads from my house to the bottom of Klondike Rd.  Surprise Gazelle encounter on Buckeye Brook Rd.  We then ran the campground single track (reverse direction of the Brrr-lingame race) before running out to the NWR overlook.  Quick stop for GU and then back on trails in NWR.  We then hooked up with the Vin Gormley Trail on Sanctuary Rd and ran north until the intersection with Sammy C's.  I thought it would be fun to run this long trail (20 minutes) at a faster pace.  Get the suffering done with sooner.  I let Muddy lead until he got off trail, so then I took over, but couldn't go very fast.  It was a cool morning (50's), but it must have warmed up enough for the deer flies, which attacked us for the final 30 minutes of the run.  This meant running fast enough so they wouldn't land on you.  It was so hard on tired legs.  Hills in north Burlingame and Burdickville Rd to finish the run.  Total time: 2:17:12 with 882' of climbing. 

Sunday: 3 miles - roads to/from beach in Watch Hill alone.  Rather fast paced short runs (1.4 miles @ 6:49 pace and 1.6 miles @ 6:20 pace) dropping off/picking up my car at a friend's house in Avondale.  Just for kicks, I wore my watch while bodysurfing to see what it looked like on GPS. 

Top speed was 9.6 mph. 

Weekly Total: 72 miles
Last Week: 63 miles
Year to Date: 1844 miles
July Total: 187 miles

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Run with the Beavers Trail Race 2014

This past Saturday was the third annual Run with the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race.  It was also the final installment of the RI Triple Crown of Trail Racing.  And to round things out, it would also be a team battle between Team Hammboj and the WTAC.  I was highly anticipating this race! 

Last year I finished in 2nd place overall, one spot behind my brother Greg. I was super pleased with my (barely) sub 1:10 performance.  After the first quarter mile, I ran this race all alone, which is not ideal on the trails.  This year, things were going to be a lot different.  Besides Greg who would most likely win, I had a few familiar foes to contend with, plus a couple of unknowns.  My goals for the race were as follows: 

1.  finish ahead of Brightman and jump into 2nd overall (but top Rhode Islander) in the Triple Crown
2.  Team Hammboj win over WTAC - we would need great races from everyone
3.  finish in 2nd overall - that means ahead of Muddy (50/50 chance) and Garvin (not great odds)
4.  set a PR - after looking over last year's summer's training I wasn't so sure

I road up on race day with my dad who was doing the 5 miler.  The weather was decent - sunny, not too humid, not too hot.  It still felt hot in the sun milling about in the parking lot, but this is summer after all.  I hung out with Greg, Boj, and my WTAC enemies for the day: Muddy, Garvin, and Seth.  A few of us ran a warm up on the beginning of the course and found the trails to be in excellent shape - no water or mud this year.  I spent the last fifteen minutes trying to stay out of the sun, even splashing water over my head to keep cool, and trying to focus on the task at hand.  It was funny, because I didn't feel nervous at all.  I was having trouble believing I would be racing in a few minutes.  I wandered over to the start area and did a few strides, noticing a few unfamiliar fast looking runners.  I wasn't sure what to expect at the start, but I'd soon find out....

At the siren, I managed a controlled charge up the immediate dirt road hill.  I was behind Greg, but ahead of everyone else.  I was feeling nervous and exhausted already.  The grade levels out and a new guy asks me if I was a Hammett brother.  He said to not worry, he was in the 5 mile race, but wanted to stick to us.  This was amusing to me.  Anyway, I entered the single track still in second.  I felt a gap open immediately and hoped this 5 miler guy would slow everyone else behind him down, and maybe I could get some separation.  I didn't want the pressure of Garvin, Muddy, and who knows else breathing down my neck so soon.  My breathing got back under control (after the initial climb) and I was making quick work of the tricky technical trail.  It all seemed familiar to me, but a lot longer!  I was impatient on the first lap - just wanting to get it over with.  I continued on, pressing the pace (and possibly my luck) up, down, and over the long single track section.  I finally reached the open dirt road at the aid station.  No time to relax - I was ready for some company - so I ran the road hard. 

As I re-entered the trails in a pine forest, I had someone closing in on me.  I assumed, since we were getting close to the end of lap 1 (still over a mile though), it was the 5 miler guy.  The breathing was very heavy.  I was surprised to see Steve Brightman pass me.  He looked strong and quickly put a few seconds on me.  Damn.  I expected him to start fast and then maybe catch him later.  I assumed that since I was ahead from the start, I would stay ahead.  I could now tell I had new company closing in and a glance back confirmed it was Garvin and Muddy.  No surprises there!  I led them along the beaver pond, the clumsy hillside, up and over the "big" hill, and through the finish of lap one.  I was tiring, a sweaty mess, and quitting at 5 seemed like a good idea.  But what's another five miles of trail race battling? 

I forgot to check my watch at the exact half way point, but when I did I was still under 34 minutes.  That's fast!  Too fast?  Doesn't matter now.  Lap 2 would be all about positioning with the three people I worried about pre-race: Brightman, Garvin, and Muddy.  Garvin quickly went by me on the dirt road climb and latched onto Brightman's shoulder.  I wasn't sure about Garvin's conditioning coming back from injury.  This was my only hope of beating him today, but he looked well on his way to negative-splitting this thing.  Muddy was now right on my heels.  I told myself to not let him pass me, as I thought I would be too mentally weak to fight on from behind.  My best shot of staying in this race was to keep ahead of him and see what happens with the other two guys. 

I made it a point to push hard before entering the single track and any wider trail sections as I knew this was prime Muddy passing territory.  I felt exhausted, but determined.  We could still see Brightman and Garvin on longer looks.  I heard a few near falls by Muddy behind me.  At the start of the technical downhill I felt Muddy moving closer and made sure to push myself even harder.  I descended well and next thing I know, there is a runner right in front of me.  Brightman!  We were now in the middle of the slowest, gnarliest part of the race.  I was reinvigorated.  I charged over slippery logs (falling to my hands once) and jumped rocks to get up on his heels.  I then had to wait for at least a somewhat straight section to pass.  I got my opportunity, and blew past without looking back.  I tried to keep the hammer on for a while, but returned to my tired state after the adrenaline rush was over.  Soon enough someone caught back up to me. I looked back to confirm it was Muddy, but more interestingly, Brightman was no where to be seen.  This was opposite the experience at Big River.  What was similar, was having Muddy trailing me.  I hoped I could again outlast him. 

We reached the wide open dirt road and again I ignored the water stop.  I really could have used some water to at least dump over my head, but I couldn't waste any time.  I tried to at least appear I was still feeling strong, and ran the roads hard.  Muddy stuck with me, but Brightman still could not been seen on long looks back.  And look who is up ahead now - Garvin.  Is he tiring?  We seemed to be gaining on him.  We dove back into the woods on the pine trail.  I wasn't feeling nearly as fast as lap one.  Then Muddy fell.  Was this like Big River and a sign?  I powered on, but Muddy eventually sprinted right back up to me.  I figured he was probably motivated to not repeat Big River, but also tired.  I wasn't sure what was going to happen with only a mile or so left.  After another brief dirt road section (climb) we descended to the beaver pond.  No longer seeing Garvin, I was waiting for Muddy's move.  I felt slow.  It was then time for the big hill and Muddy pulled along side of me.  I tried to stay in front, but I didn't have my normal power in my legs on the climb.  At the top he went by.  I didn't give in and let my legs loose on the downhill.  About halfway through I passed him back and remained in front until the bottom of the hill (the old finish area).  Here Muddy went by again and my legs could not respond on this gradual hill section.  My mind also didn't have enough fight.  I still did a decent job of finishing strong, but couldn't catch him on this day. 

I finished in 4th overall, in a new PR of 1:08:22.  That's more than a minute and a half faster than last year.  I'm sure having fast company the entire race helped, but it's good to know I'm still improving.  Greg won in convincing fashion by three minutes.  Garvin was only 17 seconds ahead of me in 2nd, and Muddy was 5 seconds better in 3rd.  I finished with enough cushion on Brightman to hopefully catapult me into 2nd overall in the trail triple crown (still awaiting final standings).  As far as the team battle, Hammboj just narrowly missed beating WTAC.  Boj put in an awesome effort to finish in 1:17 (he guessed 1:25).  I missed my window for a post race cooldown, and instead enjoyed the ice cold iced tea instead.  Thanks to Bob and Jackie for another great event. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Blogging Blahs, a Time Trial, and a Race

 I just can't seem to keep up with this thing.  It's not for a lack of interest in running.  I guess my normal blogging time has been gobbled up by work and home stuff.  I'll get back on track eventually. 

The last two weeks of running have been good.  My overall mileage is still a little lower than in the spring, but weather has been the dictating factor.  I'm remembering why I liked sneaking in doubles last summer.  But still, I've had really good workouts, so the fitness is there.  Here's a quicker recap:

Week of 6/23/14 to 6/29/14

Monday: 10 miles - 2 x 3 miles at T pace workout on the Quonset Bike Path.  Target 5:50 pace. Results on a hot windy day with bright sun: 5:49 pace out, 5:55 pace back.  I forgot my watch doesn't show the lap distance so each one ended up being a little over 3 miles.  I did the Calf Pasture Point loop as an extra long recovery in between efforts which I needed on this warm day.  Super pleased with the results. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails and beach alone.  Total time: 1:10:38. 

Wednesday: 12 miles in two runs: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Sweat fest.  Total time: 1:02:38.  3.5 miles at night while my son biked in Ninigret.  Total time: 28:47. 

Thursday: 0 - busy day running around not with my feet

Friday: 8 miles - midday solo track workout at CCMS.  1 mile time trial followed by 4x200 with 200 rest.  Tonight was the Bottone Track Mile and I couldn't make it.  I decided last minute to head to the track for lunch and give a mile a shot.  My legs were fresh from the day off.  The weather was sunny, low 80's, but dry.  I hustled through a 2 mile warm up at 6:30 pace, mixing in some straightaway strides the last two laps.  I then tried to talk myself into the mile trial.  I walked up to the mile start line, stopped, and then started the trial.  My goal was 4:59, but I figured sub 5:05 was more realistic.  My first lap (plus 9 meters or whatever it is) was right on target - 75.  I already had thoughts of quitting however.  I continued on and ran a 76 lap 2 - which was still fine.  More mental battles and finished lap 3 in 77.  Ok, I can finish this, just try to sprint the last 200 and see what happens.  I couldn't muster up the desire to sprint until the last 100 and even that wasn't my best.  I completed lap 4 in 74 for a 5:02 mile, which ties my PR.  I was both happy about this and disappointed.  Surely, if I was at the race tonight I could have improved on this, or even if I had someone else at the track with me like Mike to verbally push me.  I was super hot and sweaty, and took a couple of slow laps to recover.  Now what?  I've only gone 3 miles and I took a zero yesterday.  I needed more miles, but didn't have much desire.  I settled on a few fast 200's and then a cooldown on the trails around the cross country course.  I ran hard on the 200's, they felt hard, but the times were fast - 34, 33, 33, 33.  All with 200 recoveries.  This workout felt good.  The 3 mile cooldown did not. 

Saturday: 15 miles - Hopkinton trails with Muddy.  Great morning in the woods on fun, mostly technical trails.  We met at the Canonchet Brook Preserve on North Rd and then ran over to Asheville Pond where we picked up the Narragansett Trail.  We ran this challenging section from here, past long and ell ponds, across North Road again, and along Yawgoog Pond.  The conversation was lively and time was passing quickly.  Surprisingly quickly, when we realized we didn't have a lot time for too much more.  We ran around Hidden Lake and then ran up the Narragansett/Tippecansett Trail to Dinosaur Rocks.  We then found some marked trails (but new to us) back to Yawgoog Pond Rd before heading back on the Narragansett Trail to North Road.  Fatigue was setting in for me.  We opted to take North Road back to our cars.  Total time: 1:58:50. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Burlingame trails tempo alone in the late afternoon.  This was after a midday family paddle with Jon and Colleen in Glen Rock Reservoir, which included swimming from a sandbar.  I headed out for my favorite trails with the idea of running Sammy C's rather hard to see how my time would compare to mountain bikers.  My pace was rather brisk getting to the south end of the trail, using Vin Gormely Trail and some north Burlingame trails to get there.  I then ran rather hard on Sammy C's.  The trail is technical, with many short steep up and downs and rock negotiating.  I was losing steam after the long first section to the intersection with Schoolhouse Pond Trail.  I kept up a good effort for the duration.  Once I hit Vin Gormley again, I didn't let up.  I took the long way back through north Burlingame and picked up my pace even more.  I hit the hills pretty hard and felt like this was another quality running day for my week.  Total time: 1:09:38.  I ran Sammy C's (up) in 19:06.  The Strava KOM for mtn biking is two minutes slower by a guy who I know is legit.  Pretty cool stuff. 

Swimming from the sandbar on a hot summer day

Weekly Total: 64 miles

Week of 6/30/14 to 7/6/14

Monday: 8 miles - Ryan Park trails.  Exhausting recovery run in 1:05:02. 

Tuesday: 16 miles in two runs.  10 miles in the early AM with Muddy at CHS track.  5 x 1200 @ I Pace.  Our target was 4:00 reps (5:20 pace).  It was very muggy out and my legs still felt dead from the previous hard runs the last few days.  I was not confident in completing the number of reps or hitting the target times, but somehow we did it, and it felt awesome.  We took turns leading the reps and the 4th one felt so hard to me that I didn't want to do a fifth.  But the last one felt fine.  Weird.  Results (with 4 min (800m) recoveries): 4:00/4:02/4:00/3:59/3:58.  6 miles in the afternoon at Calf Pasture Point (2 loops).  Hot, but felt good to keep the legs loose.  Total time: 48:21. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - DuVal trails alone.  Very muggy, but with a moist seabreeze.  I finished up my work stuff and then headed to DuVal since the temperature there was 10 degrees cooler than in NK.  It was still super tiring.  I decided to make a Strava segment out of the new Bull Head Pond trail out and back.  I tried to push the pace, but I wasn't going very fast.  I'm sure Garvin will destroy it very soon.  I then looped back to my car after 35 minutes.  I cranked the A/C and had a drink.  I went back out and took the main trail out and back to Red House Rd.  I felt much better this time, not sure why.  Total time: 1:16:17. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Stoddard NH hilly dirt roads in the AM alone.  Vacation!  We drove up to NH last night and I got in a good hour run in the morning.  It was chilly (high 50's), but I was soon sweating on the hard climbs.  This was a good hour course with two Hidden Lake bangs mixed in and 831' of climbing.  Much swimming in the pool the rest of the day. 

Friday: 7 miles - Keene Four on the Fourth race.  9th overall, 22:28.  I got a call at the Stoddard house on Thursday night from my brother Greg.  I had mentioned the race to him last week, but soon forgot about it as it didn't seem like I could easily fit it into our vacation schedule.  Using his power of persuasion and after talking it over with my wife, I was soon to be racing.  The forecast was rain and it was accurate.  The temperature was cool (mid 60's) which was good.  I drove down to Keene and instantly found George Adams.  We went and registered.  The rain picked up in intensity and I wished I had other shoes with me.  I found Greg and fairly soon afterwards we headed out for a warm up on the bike path with George and recent 2:37 marathoner Andrea Walkonen.  I guessed that I would be "chicked" today.  We got in 2 plus miles, but got drenched.  I again wished I had another pair of shoes to change into, but whatever.  I didn't have any expectations for the race.  I figured I could PR, since I have only done one other 4 mile race (Run4Kerri) at it was on a sunny summer day.  But since I didn't taper for this thing, I wasn't so sure.  My plan was to not look at my watch and just run.  Try not to start too fast and finish strong.  There were so many fit and fast looking runners before the start, I wasn't sure if I'd even be top 15 or 20.  I settled into the 2nd row and waited for the gun. 

The first mile is on the bike path and gradually rises throughout.  I went at a pace that felt easy and under control until the adrenaline wore off and the grade increased.  Greg, Andrea, and George were all ahead of me in a large lead pack.  I found myself running in front of/next to/and behind a short balding bearded guy (like myself sans beard) who I later figured out was a Keene local named Chris Barry, that knows my brother and Boj.  We seemed very similar, and I thought this was the guy to guage my race off of.  He pulled ahead a couple of seconds during mile 2, which was on side streets, both climbed and descended, had a wet grass crossing at a school, and awkward turns on itself.  I was maintaining a good effort, but I knew I was slower than mile 1.  Mile 3 had more climbing in it, even a rather steep spot.  We were coming back on the course and there was plenty of encouragement from other runners.  I was following Chris, another taller fast looking dude, and a kid by a few seconds.  Once I realized we were closing in on the last mile (which would be downhill) I perked up my effort.  I was moving well, knowing (hoping?) that I could finish out this last mile in a strong fashion.  I was gaining on the 3 ahead of me.  Finally at the canal bridge I surged past all three.  The taller guy and the kid seemed tired, but Chris seemed to have some fight in him.  I guessed there was half a mile left.  I was ready for a sprint battle.  I sensed I had a couple second gap on Chris as I rounded the last turn to the finish which was probably 300 meters away.  I had already been increasing my pace, but now I began to sprint.  It felt good.  Suddenly I hear the crowd cheering for someone behind me.  What's going on?  I sprinted even harder as the crowd kept cheering.  I honestly felt like I finished as fast as I've ever run in my life.  No one caught me.  Final time: 22:28, 5:38 pace and a top 10 finish!  It was a 12 second PR to boot.  Fun race. 


Greg loved this.  Guess who is KOM on the Keene bike path? 

Saturday: 0 - Mount Cardigan hike with my son, wife, and dad.  Awesome place to go.  It was a long drive, but worth it.  A big mountain feel with a lot of exposure above treeline.  Ridiculously windy on this day. 

My son near the windy summit

Fire Tower at the top

Heading back down

Clark Trail - outrageously steep! 

Sunday: 11 miles - Pitcher Mtn to Jackson Hill out and back on the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway.  I wasn't sure if I would have enough courage to do this run as this part of NH is so full of bears and I knew I would be all alone out there.  I woke up early and went for it.  I drove up to the Pitcher Mtn parking lot and began from there.  The MSG is well marked, but overgrown in this area.  I was familiar with Pitcher Mtn, but the rest was all new to me.  I had a lot of fun and only got nervous once near Fox Brook when I scared up a large creature in the woods.  I would frequently make vocalizations in the deep woods sections hoping to avoid contact with any other animals.  The views from the remote Jackson Hill were surprisingly good.  I fell twice and cut up my knee, but it was an awesome experience.  Total time: 1:34:18.  Later in the morning, I took the family back to Pitcher Mountain for a nice little hike before it was time to head back to RI. 

Map of the MSG through the Adorra Forest in Stoddard, NH

View east from the remote Jackson Hill

Later in the morning at Pitcher Mountain

Weekly Total: 60 miles
Year to Date: 1709 miles
June Total:  259 miles
July Total: 52 miles