Thursday, August 28, 2014

August in Review: Part 1

Okay, so I'm a hypocrite.  I really enjoy reading running blogs, but I'm having trouble updating my own.  I haven't figured out a great time to do it.  Life is busy, and the free moments I have, I feel lazy.  I won't let this blog die however.  It's been an important part of my running the last five years. 

August is always an interesting month.  I take two consecutive weeks off from work.  So does my wife.  We have birthday parties for our kids (born two years and one day apart).  We go to Maine with my wife's family (I've been doing that for seventeen years) and close college friends.  We also go to my parent's house in New Hampshire for a few days.  The kids go back to school and I have to go back to work. 

Runningwise, this year began with a zero and a trip to Boston to see Katy Perry.  You read that correctly, and I can't say I ever envisioned this happening - but it was a night out with friends, no kids, good eating, and an entertaining show.  I then spent the next few days running around in the woods, gearing up for my next running adventure - 39K run to work for my birthday.  Logistics were easy enough: bring an extra lunch and clothes to work the day before, my wife was working the day of in NK so she could bring me home, and drop off water bottles at two spots along the way.  I used the same course as my run to work in 2013, but tweaked it a bit to get an even 39K (24.2 miles).  The morning of my birthday arrived, and I made it out the door by 6AM.  My running plan was to just wing it, but I hoped to average low 7's if I was feeling good.  The weather was fine, not too muggy, not too sunny.  I was annoyed that I had to wear a shirt (weird to show up to work without one).  I carried 5 GU's in my pockets and nothing else.  I hoped my stashed water bottles would still be there.  The run began well.  A downhill 6:56 and a flat 7:06.  Then I hit the powerline, which always slows down the GPS.  Still I managed a 7:30.  I then had an uphill mile and did another low 7.  Mile 5 is where things got interesting,  it was downhill into Shannock, and without trying, I ran a 6:41.  Uh oh.  I might be in for a world of hurt later.  After another low 7, my pace then stayed in the high 6's.  I was feeling good, so I went with it.  I stopped at 8+ miles for my water at the Beaver River playground and a GU.  Okay, now the hilly middle portion.  Mile 9 - 6:30 - nervous anticipation?  I then reached Small Pox Trail.  This was all uphill, but at a gradual grade.  My pace was still 6:40's.  I turned the corner onto Punch Bowl Trail and things got steep.  My pace still was under 7.  The downhill was steep as well on the other side, and I worried about the abuse I just put my legs through.  I recovered on the flat section of Glen Rock Rd along the reservoir, but then I had to deal with a surprise long climb soon after.  This was challenging, but I was moving really well (and also ate a GU at the same time).  The terrain mellowed out for the next few miles until I reached stop #2 at the entrance to the Queens River Preserve.  I hammered another water and ate another GU.  I stretched out some tightness in my lower core.  I ran with a 2nd water bottle I had stashed now.  My average pace kept getting faster as I went, and I spent a good number of these miles in the 6:30's.  I decided to change my course in North Kingstown, by staying on roads and avoiding the trails (old rail beds) I had planned.  I stopped briefly at Ryan Park to ditch my water bottle, eat another GU, and stretch out my annoying tightness one last time.  I then dropped some even faster miles on Rte 102 (taking an unknown segment in the process).  The hardest part of the run was the finish.  I needed to get to 39.0 Kilometers, but it was taking way too long to get there.  I had to run around the neighborhood at work, begging my watch to cooperate.  Finally, I hit the big 39.0K and stopped.  Total running time of 2:43:17 with an average pace of 6:43!!  Total unplanned.  I was blown away.  I kept thinking that I should have just run another 2 miles and put up a decent marathon time.  Oh well.  After a short day at work, it was off to pick up the kids at my in-laws, first swimming (really helped loosen up the legs), before celebrating at the Rathskeller. 

You would think I should take time off after this day or at least do some easy runs.  Strava had other plans for me.  I spent the next day in Big River, finally figuring out a longish segment called Sizzler, in an obscure part of the park.  This was my third attempt at matching the route, and most definitely my slowest.  Still, I took the KOM.  On my way back, I decided to sprint a short segment called Sporthill, and took that KOM as well.  This was a mistake, as it inspired Bob Jackman, and a Strava battle ensued for the next few days.  He went out the same night and took back Sporthill, and then a couple of other new segments in the park.  I stubbornly went back the next day, despite my now aching legs and lower core.  I felt so terrible on my warm up to the segments I was attempting to take back.  Still I managed to succeed.  Well, Bob went back again, and took one back.  There was a threat of getting Garvin involved, but has been all quiet since.  I was happy for a very easy weekend of running after. 

The following week was my first on vacation.  I began Monday with a DuVal/Burlingame double and then met up with Muddy for an early morning trail adventure the next day.  We parked near Green Falls and ran camp trails to Tippecansett Trail north to Rte 165.  We were pushing the pace, and on a longer dirt road section, even our watches were showing 6:30 pace.  This was a great run, as it mixed tricky terrain with occasional faster spots.  We looped over to the Pachaug Trail (running 6 flat on the Rte 165 hill).  At Green Fall Pond, we ran the east side single track, before finishing on wider old roads back to our car.  This was a great 15 mile loop that we did in 1:48. 

Part 2 - Maine - coming soon.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Week in Review: 7-28-14 to 8-3-14

This was a good week of running.  I ended up with 70 miles despite having one off day.  I didn't get a long run in or a real T pace workout in, but what I did manage was pretty good and super fun.  Looking forward, I will be doing a Run to Work 39K on August 6th.  I'll basically be following the route I did last year, but tweaking some of the middle miles.  Instead of flat dirt roads, I'll be charging up a big road hill.  Can't wait!  I also will be beginning my annual Maine vacation with a race.  The Saint Peters 4 Miler in Portland.  The course looks hilly! 

View the Race course video.  This would be awesome for a trail race!  

Our close friends who live in the area (and vacation with us further north) are running this race.  It is a Friday night at 7PM and just happens to be the day we are driving up.  I was told it is a small race, but looking at the results, there are some very fast dudes who run it.  The vacation house we are staying in is a new place that is surrounded by miles of dirt roads.  I'm very much looking forward to running there. 

Monday: 11 miles - Rome Point mix alone.  I began with some pavement, ran the trails (including the hill a couple of times), and then did a nice out and back along the coastline from Rome Point to Plum Beach, finishing up with some more trails.  Total time: 1:24:26 with 438' of climbing. 

At night I dragged my broken mtn bike out from the basement and road with my son in Ninigret Park.  This was fun.  I need to get this bike fixed.  We rode for about 4 miles. 

Tuesday: 10.5 miles - hilly mix of trails, dirt, and paved roads alone.  I parked at the Cuttyhunk Preserve and ran up to Stony Lane.  I then headed east to Rte 2.  I turned around and climbed the long hill (1.1 miles with 226' elevation gain) back up.  I wasn't feeling that great, but my pace was good.  I stayed on Stony Lane all the way to the end on Sunderland Rd.  I ran well on the sketchy unimproved dirt section.  I then ran down my favorite dirt hill (Pardon Joslin Rd) and then ran right back up.  Again, I wasn't feeling fast today, but I managed my 3rd fastest ascent ever.  I returned to my car, via the gnarly Stony Lane and trails in Cuttyhunk.  Total time: 1:15:38 with 854' of climbing (and pushing the downhills). 

Wednesday: 18 miles.  Double!  I got a text from Galoob on Tuesday night asking if I wanted to meet at the track in the morning.  This was just the motivation I needed.  I've been slacking on the track work.  We met up at 6AM and after a two mile warm up it was time for the real fun: I would be running I paced 1200's and Mike would be doing multiple mile blocks at T pace.  This roughly corresponded to 5:20 pace for both of us.  My plan was to do 5 or 6.  Right away, the first interval felt hard.  My legs felt flat, and I had to "reach" for an extra half second each lap to stay on pace.  I was discouraged, but improved as the workout progressed.  The 80 second per lap pace became ingrained into my legs' memory.  The fifth was a bit challenging and I debated quitting there, but went for one more, which ended up being my fastest:  4:00/4:00/3:59/3:59/3:59/3:57.  Boom! 

Later in the day I ran another 67 minutes in Ryan Park as a nice recovery. 

Thursday: 8.5 miles - Calf Pasture Point loops (3) alone.  My legs were toast, but with uncertainty about when I could run Friday and Saturday, I got out for some "easy" miles.  I did three loops of the beach/trail/bike path circuit.  The breeze kept the heat manageable.  I really enjoy this stretch of beach.  On this day I had a deer grunt at me, chased a flock of semipalmated plovers, saw a ruddy turnstone, and a snowy egret.  Total time: 1:06:45.  Fun evening with my family and friends at East Matunuck.  Decent bodysurfing. 

Friday: 0 - busy day

Saturday: 12 miles - Carter Preserve trails and local roads alone.  I thought I might do a track workout in Cambridge in the early morning, but that never happened.  Instead, I ran later in the afternoon from my house as the rains were subsiding.  I headed to the Carter Preserve, which requires just over two miles of tarmac to reach.  I was moving well (just under 7 minute pace), but my legs were still feeling some heaviness (from Wednesday??).  I ran the powerline trail and then entered the woods and followed blue, yellow, and white to Rte 112.  I then ran up Rte 112 (good hill here) at 6:30 pace to the unnamed trail across from the elementary school.  I followed this trail to red, and then motored on to blue and then another new unmarked trail (I read about on Seth's blog).  This is a nice connector to the grassland.  I found myself running rather fast again, and managed to keep it up all the way home - which included my 2nd fastest time up Shumankanuc Hill Rd (6:42 pace).  Total time: 1:26:38 with 613' of climbing. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Burlingame trails fartlek solo.  Hmm - my legs are sore.  I guess yesterday's run was harder than I thought.  I ran later in the morning after my wife finished her run in Burlingame.  I had the goal of running some tempo paced stuff, and thought Sammy C's trail (about 19-20 minutes) would be good for that.  I took the long way there: entered the woods off Burdickville Rd and then followed the North South Trail to the red gate, turned right on Buckeye Brook Rd down the hill where I ran into Pard (charging out of the woods on his morning run looking super strong), I ran back into the woods following Vin Gormley, but taking the mtn biking detour.  At this point I was moving pretty fast, but really pushing any downhills.  I remembered that I didn't have the KOM on the Li'l Rhody Rise segment on Strava, so I sprinted up the hill, making really good time.  I was sucking wind afterwards however.  I then continued on VG until reaching Sammy C's.  I was not feeling energetic, but tried my best.  I completed the segment a couple of seconds slower than my PR.  I then ran the final 1.5 miles on roads.  Good run and workout.  I really enjoy pushing trail segments.  Total time: 1:13:10 with 641' of climbing. 

Weekly Total: 70 miles
Last Week: 58 miles
Year to Date: 1972 miles
July Total: 293 miles
August Total: 22 miles