Monday, November 23, 2015

Now What? 11-16-15 to 11-22-15

The week after Li'l Rhody is always a bit of a downer since I put so much emphasis on it, and it more or less marks the end of my racing year.  This year, my body didn't feel too bad after the race.  The weather was also super nice, so I didn't rest up as much as I should have. 

Monday: 3 miles - Whale Rock Trail and coastline hike/rock hop. My favorite taper or recovery spot.  Nature Conservancy trail down to the rugged coast south of Bonnet Shores, north of the Narrow River.  Bright sun and relatively warm.  I almost ran today, but stuck to my plan.  I hopped my way down to the big rocks at the Narrow River mouth and then back tracked.  61 minutes. 

Tuesday: 11 miles - Big River trails alone.  Nice day but gray.  I had a rough outline of my itinerary today: Slalom - Allen's Ave - Dumbo - Sawmill - Steeple Chase.  I parked at Tarbox Pond to avoid a steep downhill start.  I did stick to my plan.  I got a little lost on Allen's Avenue (really a bunch of trails) due to thick leaf cover and not a lot of use.  Steeple Chase was a new trail to me - not very exciting, but I need to learn them all.  I did a bunch of strides the last mile and a half.  Total time: 1:25:03.  600' of climbing but it probably was more.  Seemed like it. 

Wednesday: 12.5 miles - 3 x Fish Hill Rd workout.  I've been eyeing this workout for the last few weeks, but it required the right circumstances to come together.  This happened today.  Fish Hill Road (paved) climbs about 350' over 1.8 miles.  There is a dip in the middle so it feels like two hills.  My plan was to just go run up and down the road three times at a normal pace.  After the first one I noticed my pace was relatively spicy, so I kept it up.  On the second one I actually ran into someone I knew out pushing his daughter in a stroller.  I knew he lived nearby, but it was quite the coincidence to meet up during my workout.  I stopped and chatted for a few minutes.  Third one felt fantastic.  I averaged 6:47 pace (6:37 GAP) for the run and gained 1,332' of elevation.  I loved this run!  I decided to cool down on a double track trail in an obscure section of Big River. 

Thursday: 10.5 miles - abandoned campground trails and hilly roads alone.  I parked at Camp Nokewa and did my usual loop in there before heading up and over the big Gilbert Stuart Rd hill.  I then headed east up Snuff Mill Rd and into the Plum Beach neighborhood for another hill.  I then ran south on Rte 1A and then entered new Nature Conservancy land on the Narrow River.  So much protected land!  A little spooky to be in there by myself.  I had run back here one other time with Sandals a couple of years ago, and some places looked familiar.  I found the double track that dumps out at the bottom of Snuff Mill.  I ran another loop in Camp Nokewa, but was wary of the hunters (bow only - but I could see them out there in the open woods on their stands).  Total time: 1:20:20 with another 910' of elevation gain.  Here's a map of the protected land in the area:

Friday: 11 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I thought I might do speedwork, but my body is telling me no.  I listened.  Instead I parked at Ryan and just planned to zigzag my way around the park.  Gorgeous weather and blinding sun with all the leaves down.  I had to wear sunglasses the entire time and even then I had trouble with the low sun angle.  I did mix in some strides on the rail bed near the end, but my body really wasn't moving all that fast.  Total time: 1:29:23. 

Saturday: 8.5 miles - Barn Island group trail run in the early AM.  10 of us showed up to run with Mike B.  A fun romp in the crisp air spent catching up with other running friends.  Total time: 1:11:39. 

Sunday: 4.5 miles - Pachaug-Nehantic trail loop hike with my son.  Boys day out.  My wife was with my daughter at horseback riding lessons and I gave my son 3 options: mtn bike, run, hike.  He wanted to hike and wanted to explore in Pachaug.  This seemed like a good choice since there is no hunting on Sunday in CT.  He came up with a loop that I was familiar with running.  We parked at Green Fall Pond and hiked counter clockwise: Pachaug Trail to Nehantic-Pachaug Crossover to Nehantic Trail.  It was wet and occasionally rained on us.  This was a great loop - only part of the Nehantic Trail is rather boring.  Total time: 2:07.  I had planned to run today in Carter Preserve, but after we got home from the hike the rain increased in intensity and the wood stove was cranking.  I got my outside fix so I bagged it. 

Weekly Total: 61 miles
Last Week: 51 miles
Year to Date: 3150 miles
November to Date: 204 miles

Friday, November 13, 2015

Li'l Rhody Week! 11-9-15 to 11-15-15 w/ RACE RECAP

It's here!  The biggest race of the year for me.  A month or so ago, I figured there was no way I could duplicate my finish time from last year, but now with a good hard trail race and speedwork under my belt, I'm feeling much more confident.  Here's a breakdown of my results:

2000    1:07:13  104th
2001      DNS
2002    1:03:32   91st
2003    1:01:29   69th
2004      DNS
2005    1:01:39   51st
2006    1:04:31   83rd
2007    1:05:05   78th
2008    1:00:00   44th
2009     58:19     40th
2010     54:02     19th    recap
2011     52:38      9th     recap
2012     50:04      7th     recap
2013     48:59      7th     recap
2014     47:10      5th     recap

That was fun putting together.  The first year was the last year the course ran in the opposite direction and was only 7.9 miles.  Looks like I began to get my running addiction around 2008. 

Monday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  Busy day at the office and no energy to run.  Luckily the weather was spectacular and running in the woods cheered me right up.  Total time: 1:06:53. 

Tuesday: 11 miles - 3 x 1 mile (sprint-float-sprint) on the Quonset Bike Path.  Rainy conditions.  I wanted to do speedwork this week, but I wanted plenty of rest between it and the race.  Today was the day.  I ran around Calf Pasture Point for a warm up and then ran the full length of the bike path west using the measured miles as my guide.  I actually followed through with my plan, although bailing after 2 was extremely appealing.  Just like last week, my plan was to keep the floats spicy.  A really challenging workout.  Results: 5:30/5:30/5:33 with 1/2 mile rest between miles.  Very happy with this.  My cooldown was a bit of a sufferfest mostly into the wind and rain.  My hands got really cold.  I survived and treated myself to a large coffee.  Total time: 1:18:16. 

Wednesday: 7 miles - Burlingame trails alone.  Day off from work and school.  I had a chance to run after the chimney sweepers came to our house.  It was really windy, so I decided to hit up some nearby sheltered trails.  My legs feel pretty terrible with a combination of fatigue and nerves.  The run cleared my mind however.  Someone (I'm assuming mtn bikers as this seems to be an issue in other places they ride) has used a leaf blower on parts of the Vin Gormley Trail.  Pretty lame.  The leaves are a nice challenge, but more importantly, healthy for the trails.  No leaves encourages erosion, and the trail certainly doesn't need to get any more rooty.  Whatever.  I'm sure the wind will blow plenty of leaves back onto the trail by Sunday.  Total time: 1:00:00. 

Thursday: 7 miles - Rome Point trails alone.  More rain, but not too raw out.  I just did some mindless zigzagging in the park.  It's amazing that people were still in there walking their dogs in this weather.  I bushwhacked up the hill from the new blue blazed trail until I hit brier hell.  Total time: 58:14. 

Friday: 5 miles - local roads in the early morning.  Beautiful morning and with a busy day planned, I was happy to run early.  Clear skies and windy.  Legs feeling good.  Spent most of the run thinking about 47 minutes of pain on Sunday.  Just kidding, I was thinking 46 minutes.  I can dream at least.  Total time: 37:41. 

Saturday: 1.5 miles - Burlingame trail run with my kids.  Busy day, but I talked the kids into a late afternoon romp in the woods.  I wanted to check out the course conditions and shake out my legs.  We had a lot of fun, especially going off trail to explore rocks and even climb a tree.  Vin Gormley was freshly leaf blown which did anger me.  When we returned, we ran into Crutch and Paul who were out marking the race course. 


Sunday: 10.5 miles - Li'l Rhody Runaround 8M Trail Race. 

Let's get the pleasantries out of the way: favorite race, local, family, friends, party, pressure

Everything about the day was awesome including my race.  My time was just slower than I anticipated.  I went out hard, somehow was leading the race for the first mile (NOT PLANNED), held on through the trails to a tough pace, blasted the road home to the best of my ability.  Finished up 6th overall, 48:10 - exactly 1 minute slower than last year.  I wasn't surprised to not match last year's incredible time, but I thought that I had run (based on effort) pretty close.  Unfortunately I can't even compare my GPS mile splits because my new watch measured it .4 miles shorter than last year.  I don't think I was in noticeably better shape last year, the weather was good, the course was in excellent shape, and I ran in a similar fashion (fast start).  Muddy was nipping at my heals most of the race keeping my pace honest.  I'm not the only one, most people ran slower today (except for the Walkers!).  Curious, but I'm still pleased.  I still beat plently of fast dudes today.  I was top Master.  I got to build and stoke the fires at registration and cross names off the pre-registration list (more fun to me than I should admit). 

The start.  Photo by Jana Walker. 

What is going on?  Photo by Jana Walker. 

Mile 6ish. Usual trail race photo of me and Muddy. 
Photo by Scott Mason. 

Weekly Total: 51 miles
Last Week: 78 miles
Year to Date: 3089 miles
November to Date: 143 miles

Friday, November 6, 2015

Weekly Log: 11-2-15 to 11-8-15

Tweener week between races.  I'd like to pack on the miles, but also do a couple of workouts (speed, hills).  Not sure how my body will respond while in recovery from the Busa race.  As usual, I'll just train as I feel. 

Monday: 10 miles - Big River trails alone.  My body felt terrible last night, but pretty good today.  I ended up doing a fun "loop" in middle Big River.  Smile and wave at the scary dirt bikers.  Total time: 1:21:30. 

Tuesday: 15 miles on two runs.  Beautiful warm sunny morning, so I ran 5+ miles after my son got the middle school bus.  I was just going to run local roads, but the trails looked so inviting.  I had trouble seeing since I hadn't put my contacts in yet.  37 minutes with over 300' of elevation gain.  In the afternoon I ran a good mix of trails and roads in the Ryan Park/Wickford Village area.  The weather couldn't have been nicer.  Total time: 1:15:12. 

Wednesday: 12 miles - Big River trails alone.  Another really nice day.  I still don't feel up for a workout.  I parked at Greasy Joe's and ran a zigzag course in the NE corner of the park.  Should have worn trail shoes as a lot of leaves are on the ground.  I felt like I got in a good amount of climbing, but GPS didn't even give me 500'.  Whatever.  Total time: 1:31:27. 

Thursday: 9 miles - solo hill workout in Saunderstown.  Legs still feeling sluggish.  Even though it was another warm day, I wasn't motivated to run anywhere.  I decided to just slog out some hills.  Then I couldn't decide where.  I ended up just sticking close to the office and doing 7 repeats of Plum Point Rd.  This is a very steep and challenging paved road climb.  My plan was to do 5, but I was feeling comfortable climbing and enjoying myself in some sick way.  It's funny to keep passing by the same unfriendly people in their yards over and over again.  I was just going to return to my car at the nearby Park and Ride, but then I figured I should get in a nice round number of miles.  I ran down and back up Fleetwood Drive (another 150' climb) to finish up.  Total time: 1:07:25 with 1,308' of climbing.  Looks like I eclipsed the 3,000 mile mark for the year today! 

Friday: 10 miles - finally speedwork!  Woke up with my legs feeling much fresher.  I did a lot of stick rolling last night.  Why don't I do this all the time?  Anyway, after reading the latest Level Renner I really wanted to try the Sprint-Float-Sprint workout that Nate Jenkins wrote about.  He mentioned a few variations and I of course was drawn to the fast float option.  My goal was to do 5K of this - sprint 100m float/100m repeat over and over.  Nate mentioned how hard this could be, especially with the fast float.  I still thought I could complete 5K of this.  Wrong!!  I headed out to the Quonset bike path.  It was super muggy, overcast, and there was a stiff SW breeze.  Not wanting to sprint into the wind, I warmed up into it.  The bike path had some areas covered with wet leaves, so I opted for the leaf-free Davisville Rd for most of the workout.  I had my watch displaying distance in kilometers.  I decided not to keep track of 100m splits, just run hard and see what the final time would be.  I can't really tell how fast I was running the sprints (about R pace?) or the floats, but it looks like my GPS pace never dipped below 6:40 pace.  The 100m floats went by so fast!  It was clear 5K was too ambitious, so I thought I would stop at 2 miles.  I then realized I was displaying kilometers and I have no idea what the 2 mile equivalent was, at least not while I was working out.  I decided to go 3000m, which seemed like a standard track distance.  This gave me 15 sprints and 15 floats.  Result: 10:53.  I stopped and caught my breath, dripping sweat.  I then jogged to the start of the bike path and then did 1500m of sprint-float-sprint.  It was a shock to my system to start doing this again, but I got back into the groove.  Result: 5:15 - 8 sprints, 7 floats.  I then did a long cool down around Calf Pasture Point and on the bike path.  This workout was awesome!!  Total time: 1:13. 

Saturday: 16 miles - Burlingame trail loop with Muddy.  A last minute plan came together to run in the early afternoon.  2 hours.  We ran from my house into Burlingame and did a big clockwise loop.  After 2 straight days of workouts, I knew right away this run would be a grind for me.  Luckily Muddy had done a longish run yesterday so he was happy to keep the pace in check.  Lots of leaves on the trails.  Most of the oaks have dropped their leaves.  Hopefully a week of use will crunch them up nicely for Li'l Rhody Runaround next Sunday.  Total time: 2:08:08.  My watch had 608' of climbing, but Muddy's barometer watch had over 1200'.  I hate GPS watches if you didn't know. 

Sunday: 6 miles - course planning in Ninigret.  I was asked a couple of months ago to help out with a new local 5K race.  It is a fundraiser for the preschool both my kids attended - the Charlestown Early Learning Center.  They recently had a new building built that is 3/4 of the way funded.  Read more about it here.  Anyway, the race will be on January 23rd, hoping to attract runners during a time on the calendar that is empty of races.  I was impressed right away with how well the event was organized.  I came up with a potential course - starting and finishing at the Senior Center (where registration and post race festivities will take place).  Today, after a couple of hours of yardwork, I hussled down to Ninigret to measure the course with my watch and phone before the Patriots kickoff.  My plan flowed nicely, but was a little tight for 5K.  I  tweaked the starting line then ran it again, and it worked better.  Zero elevation gain according to my watch.  Should be nice and fast.  I did my best to hide from the wind.  Here's the course: 

I wanted to run two more miles to snag 80 for the week, but it was time for the game so I left.  The link to sign up if you're interested can be found here

Overall:  A great week!  Feeling ready to rock Li'l Rhody. 

Weekly Total: 78 miles
Last Week: 59 miles
Year to Date: 3038 miles
November to Date: 92 miles