Thursday, October 29, 2015

Race Week: 10-26-15 to 11-1-15 UPDATED W/ RACE REPORT

I'm hoping to stick with the weekly format going forward.  Wish me luck!  The plan this week is to take it easy.  I need to recover from the last 3 weeks of heavy training and feel fresh for Sunday's trail race - Busa Bushwhack.  Unsure if I will do a workout mid-week or just bag it until next week. 

Sunday afternoon leaf pile jumping

Monday: 8.5 miles - Rome Point coastline and trails alone.  Decent day - mid 50's and not windy.  I realized staring out my office window that the tide in Wickford was looking rather low while I was eating my lunch.  I remembered it was a full moon and so running the coast south of Rome Point seemed appealing.  I kept the pace very easy for a mile or two of trails and then jumped on the beach.  The tide was very low.  I had timed it perfectly.  I made good progress to the spot that I can go no further, even on these lunar low tides.  I was able to squeeze a little more running in to officially make it my furthest southern turnaround.  My dream of making it to Casey Point will have to wait.  I returned to the trails and followed a new trail on the western edge of the preserve.  It's nicely done, but does not climb the hill as I had hoped.  I decided to do a few trail strides near the end of my run, just to keep my legs honest.  Total time: 1:11:01. 

Tuesday: 10.5 miles - another new Big River loop alone.  I parked at Greasy Joe's for the first time since Spring maybe.  I had a general idea of where I wanted to go - how to start and finish, but made up the majority of it as I went along.  The day was really nice - high 50's and sunny, and it was good to see others out in woods (mtn bikers).  I again kept the pace easy, but did mix in 6 random trail strides near the end.  These are fun!  Hopefully they don't make me sore, or I'll have to call these runs workouts....  Total time: 1:22:21. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - Yawgoo Pond/Wolf Rocks area with Galoob.  It was good to have a partner today and an earlier than normal start time.  The weather was deteriorating fast and I might not have run by myself later.  We met at Barber Pond and ran the small Yawgoo Pond preserve trails.  We then crossed Rte 2 and into a neighborhood that has good access onto a powerline.  There are a couple of trails that head east down the hill and we made a loop out of it.  We then ran back down the roads, back to Yawgoo Pond to repeat the trails there.  I was cold and soaked by the time we finished.  It took me a long time to warm up back at my office.  Total time: 1:08:58. 

Wed AM foliage (before the storm).  Peak season on the hill. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Ken & Barbie loop in Big River alone.  Sunny, warm, and humid.  Began with a shirt but had to take it off after a couple of miles in.  I parked off Congdon Mill Rd and took Sweet Sawmill (dirt) up to the Ken and Barbie single track loop.  Easy pace, soft, smooth trails.  Perfect option for the day.  Total time: 1:05:17. 

Friday: 5 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Nice day except a tad windy.  I just kept it nice and easy on the west side singletrack.  Total time: 38:37.  I followed this up with 25 minutes of basketball.  Felt warm in the sun and protected from the wind.  Shot well. 

Saturday: 4 miles - mix of roads and trails from my house in the morning.  Legs feel fresh, but my entire body feels tight.  Good ol' pre-race jitters.  31 minutes.

Sunday: 14 miles - Busa Bushwhack 10M Trail Race - 1:04:05, 6th overall.  Quite the competitive field.  My time would have won the previous two races, but not today.  Rhody trail runners represented finishing 1, 5, 6, 9. Congrats to Bob on his win and Brightman for holding me off at the finish.  No separate write up so here it goes:

I was looking for a race to run before Li'l Rhody, possibly a road half marathon.  Luckily I checked the Grand Tree Series and found this one instead.  Not too far away on a day that worked for my schedule.  Also, it seemed to be a fast paced trail race - perfect prep for LRR in two weeks.  My high volume training with hills and trails makes me feel strong, but not fast.  This race would hopefully help that. 

It became apparent that a couple of other Rhody trail runners would be joining me - Bob Jackman, Steve Brightman, and Chris Fox.  I knew that this would add to the challenge, and certainly help keep me motivated throughout the race.  Also, looking at past results, the race attracts some pretty fast dudes from time to time.  It was like the Li'l Rhody of metro west Boston.  My nerves were kicking in big time leading up to race day. 

The drive up on the Sunday morning after Halloween was strange.  The highway was empty.  I pulled into the parking lot for the race over an hour early and it was already mobbed with people though.  I found Bob right away and then chatted quite a bit with another Rhody trail runner Eric Wyzka.  I fiddled around in my car until it was time to do a warm up with Bob and fellow TNT'r Lindsey Amherst.  The finish was at the school (registration/parking), but the starting line was up a road a bit.  Even from the starting line there was a decent amount of pavement (1/3 mile?) to the trailhead.  We checked out the trail and then turned around.  With the pavement start/finish, this was even more like Li'l Rhody than I had anticipated. 

Fast dudes were everywhere during pre-race instructions.  Besides the guys I knew, the Northeastern Univ. XC team was there.  I figured they were doing the short race (5.3 miles), but a few of them had the 10 mile bib colors on.  Then there were runners that Brightman and Jackman were talking about.  At this point I joked that I hoped to be Top 20.  Brightman would have none of that, he was adamant that the 3 of us should be up front leading this thing.  I wasn't so sure, but impressed with his attitude.  I was hoping to do very well, but based on who was there, and the fact that the course was easy trails (with a couple of decent hills mixed in), I wasn't as confident. 

The race began and quickly the 3 of us found ourselves up front, but behind a single runner in a gray shirt (I would find out later that this was Rob Bond, who just won Baystate in 2:29).  I was thinking that surely others should be ahead of us, but I shouldn't have doubted Rhody trail prowess!  We entered the trail single file ( I was 3rd). Rob seemed to slow, and Brightman quickly surged by.  I followed and so did Jackman behind me.  The pace was quick, thanks to Brightman leading.  I stuck with them for a while, but after a mile or so I fell a little behind.  I wasn't too concerned at this point.  It was a long race and I've caught both of them from behind in trail races before.  Let's see what happens on the hills and late miles.  Besides, their pace was too fast for me.  I was moving as fast as possible and I needed to hold it for another 9 miles! 

The next couple of miles were tough.  I was dropping more places (NU runner, skinny young guy, random guy in white shirt).  The fast start was hurting me, mentally and physically.  There was a good climb that felt really hard.  Then there was a fast descent and it was difficult catching my breath and letting go.  I just wasn't feeling fast.  I could still see Brightman (in his standard bright orange singlet) and a couple of others ahead of me.  I was more concerned about whoever seemed to be closing in on me from behind. 

Things got a little better in the middle miles.  There were more hills.  Despite not feeling fast, I seemed to be catching the guys in front of me and creating distance on the ones behind me.  Finally, on a hill climb at about mile 6, I caught the skinny young kid (he was someone Brightman had pointed out to me pre-race as being really fast).  This was really encouraging!  Not only that, but I was quickly gaining on Brightman too.  I now had company on my heels.  I wasn't sure who it was, but it was obvious they were feeling good.  I continued to focus on running hard and eventually overtook Brightman near mile 7.  It seemed that he was struggling and I didn't think he was going to hold on.  A few moments later Rob Bond passed by me.  He looked really comfortable and I didn't have another gear to stick with him. 

The last couple of miles are fast and flat.  I knew that going in.  I was not hurting like earlier.  I was moving well, but losing time to Rob and white shirt guy (3rd place at the time).  I felt like I was going to remain in the 5th spot.  That was until I heard heavy breathing coming from behind me.  Ugh!!  I pushed even harder.  There was no shaking this person.  I was worried it was a fast road runner who would overtake me at the end.  I was wrong.  It was Brightman fighting back and passing me on the trails with less than a mile to go.  He is a beast!  I followed him out of the trails and onto the road.  This would be interesting.  I just let my legs go like I do at the end of Li'l Rhody.  I had the strength to finish strong, I just wasn't sure what Brightman had.  It was frustrating.  I couldn't catch up.  There was a slight hill with a 1/4 mile to go that didn't help me.  I sprinted the final 200 but so did he.  I crossed the finish line 3 seconds behind him. 

This was a good race.  I loved the competition.  It is a nice course with some good hills.  Not technical however.  Hopefully this will whip my legs into shape for Li'l Rhody in two weeks!! 

Check out the Strava playback!!  here

Weekly Total: 59 miles
Last Week: 83 miles
Year to Date: 2960 miles
October Total: 312 miles


  1. Great race, Jonny! See you at Lil Rhody. Sounds like you'll be ready for a good one.

  2. Your write ups always get my heart rate going. Maybe this is how I should cross train. Great race, and an exciting battle with Brightman. You'll get your revenge on your home turf next week!