Thursday, February 5, 2015

Weekly Snow Log: 2-2-15 to 2-8-15

This is a frustrating time for southern RI runners.  I'm trying to make the best of it.  This Sunday is race #3 in the South County 4th Season Series - the Belleville Pond Trail 10K.  Held in Ryan Park (dubbed Jonny Park by Garvin), I had dreams of tearing it up this year.  Alas, just like last year, it will be covered in snow, which I do not race very well in.  I'm hoping the trail conditions will be okay, especially if I get out there this week and pack it down. 

Monday: 7.5 miles - local snowy roads and trails.  Another snow day with everyone stuck at home.  This time we didn't get much new snow, but plenty of freezing rain, leaving a messy situation on the roads and walkways.  Late in the afternoon I decided I needed to get out and try snowshoeing.  I hoped the upper crust was thick enough to keep me from sinking in.  I set out on my home trails and then descended Shumankawall.  The going was miserable.  My snowshoes were punching through the crust and I would sink down in the deep snow.  My ankles were sore from breaking the frozen outer layer and I kept falling.  I crawled my way back up the other side and ended my attempt at snowshoeing for the day.  I then put on Yaktrax instead and headed out on the roads.  At this point the temperature was dropping quickly and it was freezing over and snowing again.  The roads were crappy, but the Yaktrax worked well.  I ran down Buckeye Brook Rd and decided to give the woods of north Burlingame a shot because there had been a 4x4 vehicle on them after the last storm.  The footing was pretty good, and since I wasn't wearing snowshoes, my footsteps fit in the tire tracks.  Lots of animal tracks, but since the snow is so deep, I couldn't tell what was what.  I made it out to Burdickville Rd and then ran some more roads until it was getting pretty dark.  Total time for both was an hour with about 600' of elevation gain. 

Tuesday: 14 miles  on two runs.  Very cold and terrible driving conditions in the morning.  The kids had an hour delay, but I left early to go run at the URI indoor track.  My legs were tired, so I just wanted to bag a few easy miles and then hopefully run in Ryan Park later in the day.  I ran with headphones and enjoyed listening to my Pandora radio station (Hambone Radio) as I ran in circles.  My pace was easy, but picked up as I went along.  I opted to do 8x100 strides during my last mile:  2 miles in 14:15, then reverse direction 2 miles in 13:45, then reverse direction 2 miles with 8x100 strides in 12:57.  6 miles total in 40:57.  At lunch, I drove over to Ryan Park to snowshoe the 10K course.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I guessed there would be plenty of suffering.  I was happy to see that the main trails around the pond and the rail trail had been nicely packed down already by walkers, quite a few with snowshoes (I saw three different elderly people out there on them).  There were some spots that I had to break trail in the first mile however.  Then in the fields and powerline, there were snowmobile tracks, and these were really awesome to run on.  Unfortunately, the entire Rte 4 trail was untouched.  The snow was still deep out there, and the going was very slow.  I had to take walking breaks, or I would stop occasionally after I fell.  I was so happy to reach the powerline and return to the snowmobile tracks.  In fact, the snowmobile tracks continued for the next half mile or so of the course.  Once I veered off onto single track near the pond, the going got a little tougher.  Luckily, there had been a couple of people who had walked it, so it was manageable.  I returned on the runnable rail trail and path over Bon Jovi Bridge (open water here - thought I might run across on ice).  I had one more bout of misery as I had to punch through the deep snow around the softball field at the finish.  Overall, it was a fun run.  Total time: 68 minutes.  I'm calling this 8 miles. 

Can you tell where the untracked parts were? 
 
 
Rail Trail in good shape

Beautiful but I had to run through it

Loving the snowmobile tracks

View of the pond from Bon Jovi Bridge
 
video


Wednesday: 8.5 miles on two runs.  Another indoor track stop on my way to work.  Just five miles this time.  I again enjoyed listening to music, but my legs were sluggish.  2 miles in 14:15, then reverse 2 miles in 13:43, then reverse 1 mile with 8x100 strides in 6:22.  Total time: 34:20.  At lunch I again went to Ryan Park to snowshoe.  I parked at Lafayette, and ran the Rte 4 trail first to get it out of the way.  It was a bit easier - I didn't fall - but I tried to not follow exactly in the my tracks from yesterday to better pack it down.  Even though it was in the mid 30's, I was getting cold on my legs where my snowshoes were throwing wet snow on them.  I didn't have my good tights on, and the ones I were wearing were getting soaked, numbing my legs.  I also wasn't loving the snowshoeing as much as yesterday.  I was just tired.  I did the western loop and when I reached the rail trail I decided to just return to my car.  3.5 miles in 33:32. 

The powerline hill

Rte 4 trail - my tracks from yesterday
 
 
Thursday: 10 miles.  First I ran the Belleville Pond 10K course again in snowshoes.  This time I only fell once near the end, but never had to walk or take breaks.  The snowshoe running was really fun.  8 miles in 1:02:38 - six minutes faster than Tuesday and that doesn't include my stops then.  I then quickly took off the snowshoes and ran a short cooldown on course trails in just trail shoes.  First off, my feet felt weightless.  Such an awesome feeling.  Second, the running on the packed down trails felt good.  I need traction for sure, but it made me feel better (and more excited) about racing Saturday.  Now I'm worried my legs might be tired.  2+ miles in 17:30. 
 
Friday: 8 miles in two "runs".  First, I stopped at the URI indoor track on my way to work (0 degrees out) for a short easy run.  Legs feel a bit tired.  2 miles in 14:15, then reverse 2 miles in 13:56, then reverse 1 mile in 6:53. No strides today. Total time: 35:04.  Then at lunch, I met Mike and his girls at Ryan Park.  I took a pack full of flags and headed out to mark the Rte 4 trail while he snowshoed with his kids and marked the pond single track.  I didn't do much running, mostly just walking (in snowshoes) and sticking flags in the snow.  I reached the far end of the trail and then backtracked to further pack down the mess out there in the western woods.  Not sure how easy it will be to run in shoes tomorrow, but better than punching through a foot of snow.  3 miles in 1:05:04. 
 
Saturday: 11 miles - Belleville Pond Trail 10K, 46:20, 6th overall, WTAC team win.  Really fun day and a good race.  Separate write up to follow. 
 
Sunday: 13 miles - Hopkinton/North Stonington roads with Muddy.  Peppy recovery(?) run from Muddy's house.  We wore Yaktrax on a couple of the snow covered roads, but overall, we were running on pavement.  This run ended up being way faster than I anticipated and even included a decent amount of climbing (564').  Total time: 1:32:21. 
 
  Overall: This was a surprising week volume-wise.  I didn't expect to get in all the doubles during the week and the longish run on Sunday after the race.  I'm liking the weekday doubles and hope to continue them at least while the trails are only snowshoeable.  With no races for a month, I will get back to two speed workouts a week and keep the mileage high. 
 
Weekly Total: 72 miles
Last Week: 60 miles
Year to Date: 387 miles
February Total: 84 miles

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