My mileage has been great during this miserable winter, but it's time to focus on climbing and descending. Unfortunately, I can't do this yet on trails (still too much snow), but I can certainly make sure to mix in good hills in any type of run.
Monday: 10 miles - Exeter/West Greenwich road loop. I parked at Cuttyhunk Preserve and then headed north on Hopkins Hill Rd. I then went left on Henry Brown Rd. I needed to tack on a bit extra to make the loop exactly 10 miles, so I took a short detour on a road called Orion View. I've been curious about the view and love the name. The road is high up, but I couldn't see over the tree line. I continued on New London Turnpike (paved and dirt) to Falcon Drive. I headed south to Widow Sweets Rd (curious about this name too). I was feeling pretty good as I dropped down the dirt hill on Pardon Joslin Rd (the improved section). When I reached the far end with the big unimproved dirt road climb I was in for a treat. First there was a snow bank to scale and then I had to "run" on 8" of wet untracked snow. I stopped numerous times and was huffing and puffing. According to GPS, my pace dropped to 15 minutes per mile. I made it up, recovered, and then hustled back to my car. Total time: 1:13:57 with 578' of elevation gain.
Tuesday: 11 miles - West/East Greenwich road loop. I parked at the tennis courts on Frenchtown Rd and then headed up Bates Rd to Hopkins Hill Rd. Lots of climbing here. I then continued north to Division Street. I now had the wind at my back and cruised along to Carrs Pond Rd. After a good climb the road evened out and then dropped quickly down Middle Road. I cruised back up the other side to Tillinghast and then returned to my car on Frenchtown. Good peppy run with most miles in the 6:30's and 6:40's except the first uphill 3. Total time: 1:15:46 with 626' of elevation gain.
Wednesday: 10 miles - workout on roads solo. Yesterday afternoon Garvin took a hill segment from me on South Rd in East Greenwich (a long 1.5 mile hill climb). I debated all morning if it made any sense to try and get the record back. First off, I wasn't sure I could. Secondly, even if I did, was it smart to start a Strava battle with Chris? I actually ended up texting him right before I left for my lunch run. He gave me his blessing. Anyway, the plan was to copy his run, but perhaps make it my standard 10 miles (he ran 7). Besides beginning with the roughly 10 minute hill sprint, he then did a 20 minute tempo on a gradual downhill section of roads. I liked the idea of feeling fast again, and doing the same thing, pushing myself hard for 3 miles, taking advantage of the downhill terrain (and the wind at my back). I began from the park and ride on Rte 2 and reached the bottom of the hill climb after a 1/3 of a mile. I pushed hard. I was killing myself effortwise, but I felt like I was running in slow motion. I kept an eye on my watch and it kept showing a faster average pace than Garvin's record. I made it to the top and stopped. It took a few minutes to compose myself. I got the CR by 14 seconds, averaging 6:33 pace. I then recovered for a mile (uphill) before reaching the plateau on Shippee Rd. I then began my three miles hard. It was rewarding to be pushing myself and seeing a fast average pace on the watch. Through two miles I was averaging 5:38 pace before the steeper drop down Frenchtown Rd to Rte 2. I finished up in 16:38 (5:33 pace). That felt good. I debated returning down the busy Rte 2 to my car (about a mile), but decided to take the longer, more scenic way. That meant running back up Frenchtown to Tillinghast. After a mile and a half, there was a roadblock - emergency vehicles turning away traffic. I think there was a tree down on the telephone lines. Ugh. I turned around and retraced my steps back to Rte 2, then headed down the busy road. Total time: 1:06:17 with 448' of elevation gain.
Thursday: 10 miles - NK roads with some snowy Ryan Park trails mixed in. Recovery day. I wanted to see if some of the trails in the fields and powerline were clear of snow. It was a mixed bag, but promising. I then ran a road loop on tired legs. I finished up on more trails which was fun. Total time: 1:17:39.
Friday: 19 miles - local roads to/from the campground and snowy campground trails. Happy Spring! I took the day off for my son's science fair in the early afternoon. Going for a long run all morning seemed like the thing to do. Unfortunately it was overcast and cold (mid 20's). I ran from my house, down Buckeye Brook Rd, to Klondike Rd, to the campground entrance. I averaged 7:05 pace, but it was mostly downhill and didn't feel that easy today. After exactly 6 miles to the Brrr-lingame course loop, I began the trails portion. I would say that the course was about 25% clear of snow, but I was optimistic that a lot more will open up in the next few days. Some parts were still rather deep with lots of postholes. The bog bridge section was actually in the best shape of any on the course. I got lost in the campground, never finding the cut throughs and having to back track and bushwack at times. I finished the loop in about 45 minutes (not terrible at an easyish pace with old road shoes with no traction). I did slip twice on icy snow and fell down, but if I had Yaktrax I would have been fine. I continued on the trails following the NST to the campground entrance. 53 minutes of trail running. I then took roads back to my house, tacking on a little extra to get to 19 miles for the day. Lots of uphills, but I managed to get the average pace to 7:06 for the return trip. I really pushed myself up Buckeye Brook Road. Total time about 2:23 with about 900' of climbing.
A good section near the ridge
tough double track
bog bridges almost completely clear
starting area looking good
Saturday: 7 miles - Yaktrax run in the snow on the South County Bike Path. Not much snow at night, but then surprise snow showers all morning. My son had a birthday party in the morning in Kingston. After a crappy drive there, I parked at Curtis Corner Middle School. I donned tights (I thought I was done with them) and Yaktrax. The snow was tough as it was in my eyes for the whole way out to the train station. There was an inch plus of fresh snow to run on which was perfect for the Yaktrax. My legs were tired and I just wanted to get this run over with. It was beautiful out though. The run back was a little easier, but I was still tired. Total time: 56:15. As soon as I got home the snow stopped, the sun came out, warmed up quickly, and all the new snow (and then some) melted away by nightfall.
Sunday: 11 miles - Richmond road loop with 2+ miles of snowy trails with Muddy. We met up at 8AM at the Richmond Town Hall. I had a fun loop planned out (more fun if the trails didn't have snow on them). We ran down to Wilbur Hill Rd and then stayed on the TNC/RI DEM main trails over to Beaver River Rd. The trails were very snow covered at first, but became less so as we kept climbing. It still wasn't easy with road shoes. We then ran roads to Punch Bowl Trail. Instead of going up the steep hill, we turned left on the old dirt road here. This of course was mostly covered in snow and felt longer than I remembered. Finally we reached Hillsdale Rd and headed north. I'm excited to explore the new state trail system here. We ran up a good long hill before reaching the intersection with Mountain Rd. It seems silly to have a road named that around here until you run it. Long drop down to the river and then a really tough climb back out. We finished up on Carolina Nooseneck back to our cars. I had to get home immediately so that my wife could run. I was jealous that Muddy went back out for more miles. This loop will be really fun in a month or so when there is no snow and we can explore more trails, but still incorporate the road hills. Total time: 1:26:54 with 707' of elevation gain.
Overall: This was a good week. The road workout was fun and a confidence booster, and the solo long run was good too. I ended up with a good amount of climbing for the week also. I'm really itching for clear trails and the weather next week should do the trick for most spots. I'm excited to race the rescheduled Brrr-lingame 10M Trail Race on Sunday the 29th.
Weekly Total: 78 miles
Last Week: 56 miles
Year to Date: 789 miles
March Total: 201 miles