Monday: 10 miles - long snowshoe run in Burlingame. Conditions ranged between okay and poor. I began from the trail head off of the bottom of Shumankanuc Hill Rd and ran down to Vin Gormley Trail. My tracks from yesterday were the only ones. I was hoping for more than that! I reached VG with the plan to make a loop of Schoolhouse Pond to Sammy C's to VG. I knew that it had been tracked two storms ago by at least a couple of fat bikes and probably more. Unfortunately no one else had ventured out here in a week or so. I tried to stay in the faint indentations of the old tracks, but basically I was doing a lot of sinking in and putting in a lot of effort for a crawl of a pace. The woods were beautiful, I didn't see any sketchy animal tracks, and I enjoyed myself for the most part. After making the loop I then headed south down an old double track that leads to the pond. There were faint snowmobile tracks and I followed them out onto the frozen Watchaug Pond. I veered west to reach the North Camp beach (where I was yesterday). It was cool being out on the pond (all by myself), but I didn't linger and played it smart. I reached the beach and then followed my snowshoe tracks from yesterday up the old camp road back to the intersection with VG. I then headed up to Sammy C's and back to my car. Total running time of 1:21:44. Exhausting but fun adventure.
Tough spot on Sammy C's
My tracks on Watchaug Pond
In the morning, the family went climbing at The Rock Spot in Peacedale. After watching the kids for a few minutes, my wife and I decided we wanted to climb as well. Super fun! I didn't feel terrible at it thanks to all the push ups (not as many as Seth or Boj) I've been regularly doing for almost a year. I tried a bunch of auto-belay routes and then did some bouldering. I'm sure I'll get super sore from this. Fish tacos at El Fuego for lunch. 2 hours of band practice at night. Long day!
My son climbing at The Rock Spot
Tuesday: 13 miles on two runs. First, I headed out early to the indoor track. More annoying snow to drive through. I decided to do some T paced miles with 1 minute recoveries. Honestly, my body felt lethargic and the first one did not feel easy. They got better as I went along though. Results: 5:51/5:52/5:49/5:52/5:50 (target=5:52). 7 miles in 45 minutes. Later in the day I headed out to Ryan Park for an easy snowshoe run. Wrong!! We received about 4" of snow in the morning. I hesitated about even turning into the unplowed Lafayette Rd parking lot, but took it slow and felt okay about it. My plan was to head out on the rail bed, circle the pond, and come back on the rail bed. If I was feeling good, I would add on from there. Just like yesterday, I was the first person to be on the trails after the latest storm (just finishing up as flurries when I began). This didn't seem like a big deal, but there weren't many tracks from after Sunday's storm (NK got more snow than Charlestown), never mind the nice packed down trails from last week. It was like starting over. Ugh! I tried to stay in some cross country ski tracks from Sunday. I reached the ball fields and after lucking out with the portapotties still being there from the race 10 days before I noticed a minivan stuck in the parking lot. I headed over to help out and then spent the next 20 minutes helping this family back out the 100 yards to reach Oak Hill Rd. Extreme upper body workout. My snowshoes really helped both with my traction and digging out the snow from under the stuck tires. Hopefully this would be good karma, possibly if my own car couldn't get out of the other parking lot. After the delay, I began running again. There was a huge snow drift near Bon Jovi Bridge, that looked like a glacier - 3' high and 10' wide. I was feeling good by the time I was nearing my car, so I tagged on another 15 minutes in the woods and fields on the west side. The snow was deep here and I had to stop every couple of minutes to rest. What I'm calling 6 miles in 48:43.
Hard to tell, but this is the "glacier" that appeared near the bridge
New snow on the trails
Wednesday: 8 miles - snowshoe run in Rome Point. I really just wanted a few very easy road miles, but the side roads in NK are such a mess and the main roads have narrow shoulders. I also couldn't get to the track today because of work, so back on snowy trails it was. Rome Point had been well used as I suspected and I didn't like that the parking lot was almost full when I got there. Somehow, I didn't really run into anybody other than one lady on a horse and a guy walking alone. I stayed on the side trails that had been tracked by mostly just boots. It was a mild 30 degrees, so the snow was decent to run on with my snowshoes. I did a couple loops of the yellow dot trail and then thought I would peek at the shoreline. The beach was covered in snow and ice near the water. The bay north of the Jamestown Bridge looked like it was almost completely frozen over. I saw a couple of open spots that had many sea ducks concentrated in them. I tried taking pictures but my phone froze. I ran out to the tidal stream and back. My legs were getting cold since the frozen mixture on the beach was very wet. I went back into the woods and ran more trails. I tracked out a couple of short side trails I like to run, but I didn't mind too much. Total time 1:07:34.
Thursday: 10 miles on two runs. First, 6 miles on the indoor track in the AM. Tired body. Easy miles. Total time: 43:51. Then in the afternoon I went back out for another Ryan Park snowshoe run. My body really feels beat up. I believe it is mostly from pushing the minivan two days ago. My plan was to run a few easy miles on packed trails (fingers crossed) and then treat myself to a hot coffee. Bad news. Ryan Park trails are officially a mess. They reminded me of the 10K last year. No one packed it down nicely, just deep boot holes, and with the "mild" 25 degree temperature (probably mostly because of the higher sun angle), it wasn't even frozen. My snowshoes sank slightly on the unevenness. It was not what I had envisioned or up for. I ran the rail bed, around the pond, and back on the rail bed. Total time: 37:25. Snowshoe running has lost its luster.
Friday: 10 miles - Saunderstown roads hill repeats solo. Frigid - cold and windy. Still I was impressed that the higher sun angle still was melting the snow. I parked at the park and ride on Rte 1A and then ran down to Plum Point Rd. This straight road is one big hill. Not quite as hard as Gilbert Stuart Rd, but the second toughest in the area, especially because of the grade. I managed 5 controlled repeats. They felt fine, but I wasn't pushing too hard. I would get cold at the top (wind in my face) and warm back up on the way down. I moved on to another road with a smaller hill, but still a good one - Plum Beach Rd. The lesser grade and shorter climb (150' versus 175') seemed relatively easier. I did four repeats here. I finished up with 1,427' of climbing on the day in a total time of 1:18:07. I managed to stay warm and run outside on a day most people didn't. 2+ hours of band practice at night. Two weeks until our first performance in a year and a half.
Elevation map of the Plumbs
Saturday: 18 miles - long run on roads with Muddy. Today was very similar to last Saturday. Super cold in the morning (again -10 in Richmond), warming up rapidly to 30, and then snow in the afternoon. We again worked our schedule for a midday start to enjoy the best weather for our sufferfest of a run. I came up with a road loop that minimized time on busy roads, but also mixed in some good climbs. According to mapmyrun.com, two of them were Category 4 (however they determine that). I wasn't sure what Muddy would want to do for the run, but I assumed we'd be mixing in Marathon Pace work and possibly Tempo Pace as well. There were a couple of long flat sections that would seem to be good for whatever was in store. We ended up doing a 6 mile block at MP from New Biscuit City Rd to Glen Rock Rd. Our target MP is 6:14, but as Muddy says, it's about the effort. All our miles were either just below or above the target, except one that was a little slower due to terrible road conditions (Lewiston Ave was still snow and ice covered). We reached the village of Usquepaug and slowed it down to recover. Well, not really, because we had to climb Punch Bowl Trail - a 200'+ half mile hill. The road was also a bit slippery. This was soul crushing. We regrouped at the bottom (intersection with Small Pox Trail). We then did another MP block (3 miles) to the end of Beaver River Road. This went okay except for a couple of spin your wheels slippery parts. Again we nailed the pace. However, we were both toast. My upper quads were in pain and very sore. I'm glad Muddy wasn't feeling well either, because I don't think I could have kept up with him on the "easy" miles back to our cars. First, we recovered up Shannock Hill Rd. Enough said. Then we ran down the other side (more torture). I wanted to quit running, but we had 2 miles to go, including one more good climb up side roads to Rte 112. We got it done. Total time 2:03:06 for a 6:51 average pace and 855' of climbing.
Sunday: 5 miles - local hilly roads out and back in the afternoon. Today we pretended it was spring. We didn't run the wood stove and spent as much time as possible outside. It was in the low 40's and at times sunny. It felt great. I put on my trail shoes for a sloppy road run before my wife headed out on hers. My road was just plowed and in decent shape. Buckeye Brook Rd hadn't been and was very slushy. Still, it was quiet out there, and I enjoyed chasing a few miles. My quads still felt very sore, but I had no problems running on them. Total time 35:56 with 335' of climbing.
Overall Theme: Getting it done. My body was beat up thanks to non-running activities. Snowshoeing lost its luster. I didn't get to do I or R speedwork, but did mix in the hills instead. The long run was solid. I still have a few weeks to beat myself up until the next race.
Weekly Total: 74 miles
Last Week: 56 miles
Year to Date: 517 miles
February Total: 214 miles