Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Weekly Log: 12-21-15 to 12-27-15

Very busy week interferes with normal running routine. 

Monday: 8.5 miles - Ryan Park trails with Galoob.  Fun to have a lunch run partner in Ryan Park.  Hit up the good stuff on the western side before sticking with mostly wider easy trails on the eastern side.  Total time: 1:08:31. 

Tuesday: 0 - last day in the office for the year.  Then I had to run a bunch of errands.  It rained a lot too.  Celebrated the Winter Solstice with a bonfire at my house. 

Wednesday: 17 miles - long trail run in Burlingame.  My wife and I began together and ran a techy loop of Sammy C's and Vin Gormley trails.  After 55 minutes together, I then headed back out solo.  I circled around Secret, Schoolhouse Pond and Sammy C's trails.  I then did the north camp loop and Lenny's Lane for the next hour.  I finished up on the wider and hillier trails north of Buckeye Brook Rd.  The sun came out (the day was already warm and humid) and I ditched my shirt.  This weather is crazy.  Total time: 2:28:24 with 928' of climbing. 

Thursday: 0 - too much going on. 

Friday: 8 miles - Vin Gormley trail loop alone in the morning.  Merry Christmas!  I was able to head out after presents and breakfast for a HHH run in the woods.  I parked at the red gate on Buckeye Brook Rd and ran the yellow dot trail counterclockwise from there.  Uneventful run other than the fact that it was very steamy out and I again had to go shirtless for the end of the run.  Total time: 1:03:26. 

Saturday: 12.5 miles - Carter Preserve trails alone in the late afternoon.  My running plans again took a backseat as I had hoped to run the Nooseneck 18K.  Too much family stuff going on.  I instead got out around 3pm for a cruise around Carter.  I mixed up my routine to make it longer than usual.  Pretty dark by the end.  Total time: 1:31:48 with 731' of climbing. 

Sunday: 8 miles - CHS track workout alone.  I got a late start - 3:45pm.  We were busy in the morning and then I wanted to watch the Patriots.  I ended up leaving before the end so that I wouldn't end up with 3 zeroes on the week.  I parked at the track and did a cross country warm up of 2.5 miles.  I changed into my spikes (checking up on the game at my car) and then did two laps around the track with strides.  My plan today was to do 200's.  Hopefully a lot of them at 35 seconds.  This first one felt hard but I was surprised to see it was a 31!  Way too fast.  I tried to take it down a notch, but then did 5 more in 33, 33, 33, 33, and 32.  200 rest.  I did not and possibly could not do anymore at that speed.  I jogged for 1000 and decided I would try to do 2 or 3 800's at I pace (2:40ish).  These felt pretty smooth: 2:36, 2:37, 2:36 with 400 rest.  I was stoked!  1 mile cool down on the track in the dark.  Patriots lost.  Total time: 56:02.  If you're keeping track at home, I ditched my shirt again during the run! 

Overall: Well I did manage a long run and a workout and I feel like my fitness is still there.  It's weird taking zeroes however. 

Weekly Total: 54 miles
Last Week: 51 miles
Year to Date: 3,448 miles
December to Date: 225 miles

Monday, December 28, 2015

Old Mountain Field Trail 5K 2015

Can this really be the fifth Fourth Season already?  Saturday the 19th was the Old Mountain Field Trail 5K.  Experience has told me that I usually finish around 5th place in this race.  Too many fast dudes come out and I don't have the speed to match them on such a short race, even though it is rather technical.  My hope this year was that with RD Mike Galoob tinkering with the course to make it even tougher, adding 2 ascents of the "Old Mountain", I would fair better.  But honestly I didn't feel like my training had been that great the previous few weeks.  I was very uncertain how this race would pan out. 

Race day and the weather was feeling rather wintery, at least cold compared to the extremely warm temperatures we'd been experiencing.  The rain the previous two days left the course very wet and muddy, except on the "mountain".  It was hard to keep my feet from getting wet on my warm up over the first 2+ miles of the course with Jeff and a young WTAC teammate.  I decided to wear my Inov 8 Trailroc 245's rather than something lighter due to the conditions.  I really hoped the messy trails and the additional hill climbs would help me.  I was feeling good and strong.  I chatted with many WTAC teammates pre-race and some rival team frenemies.  I did a bunch of strides in the parking lot and tried to stay warm through a delay to the race start.  Finally it was race time! 

The start.  Photo by Jana Walker. 

My plan was to not go out fast.  Usually this race is a mad dash to the single track, but this year the course ran around a field and then entered a wider trail up the mountain.  It would be very easy to burn myself out on a layout like this.  Luckily everyone else seemed content to not sprint at the gun.  Brightman went out to the lead (which I assumed he would do), but not too fast.  I settled into a chase pack with current Level Renner coverboy Eric Lonergan and Bob Jackman.  We circled the field and then dashed up the hill in the woods. 

Early chase pack (Brightman leading).  Photo by Mwangi Gitahi.

Into the woods.  Let the fun begin!  Photo by Jana Walker. 

Once in the woods, things got interesting.  Steve led us up the hill at a pace that felt very confortable to me.  We fell into a single file line once we got over the top of the "mountain".  The trail narrowed dramatically and Steve really slowed down the pace.  Bob and I (3rd and 4th) got antsy and we made our move around Steve and Eric as soon as possible on the more open downhill.  Bob was up front now, but I felt the pace still was too slow.  Throwing caution to the wind, I made my way around him to take the lead.  I was feeling strong since I wasn't winded from a too fast start.  I pushed the now technical single track to the best of my ability.  I could feel Jackman staying right with me, but it seemed that Eric and Steve had fallen back a couple of seconds.  I ran over the rocks and began with the wet and muddy trail I affectionately call "zero track" since it is barely a trail.  I was slipping a lot, but I needed to be aggressive to keep the lead.  I did well for a few minutes, but then had a hard fall on a wet rocky section.  Luckily I braced my fall enough to not let my abdomen smash onto a large rock.  I got up quickly and tried to regroup.  Bob slipped by me, but I got going again before Eric and Steve could.  Bob had a second or two lead and I heard Steve tell Eric to "not let Bob go!".   Eric tried to pass me, but it was too passive.  He found another spot and finally went by.  I was still regrouping, happy that I didn't feel injured.  Then Steve made a move around me.  I had to laugh because it wasn't a great spot and I could have stopped him.  I knew the course was about to get more interesting, if that was possible, and it would be in my favor, at least compared to Eric and Steve.  I trailed a second or two behind a really wet section until we reached the river crossing.  Even though Mike and I had opened up the dam to let the water drain faster, it was still roaring over the rocks.  The three leaders stopped in their tracks and I was back on their heels.  I wanted to just pass them since they were tiptoeing, but my only choices were to push them off the rocks or jump into the deep water and wade through.  I was annoyed because if I could have made it to this spot in the lead I definitely could have created space on them.  Anyway, we now were single file on the longish climb back up the hill.  Bob was fading.  Steve and Eric went by and then soon after I made my move.  We crested the hill and then had a very treacherous steep drop.  Steve and Eric again brought the pace down to what seemed a crawl.  Bob was right back on my heels itching to hammer this downhill.  So was I.  Unfortunately there was no place to pass.  Once we got down to the bottom, the trail flattened out and ran around the pond.  This trail is rather technical too.  Plenty of roots and slippery bridges.  I trailed Steve and Eric by 2 or 3 seconds as Bob seemed to slowly fall further behind me.  We spilled out of the woods at the bottom of the pond.  I picked up my pace and had spectators and RD Galoob shouting at me to catch up. 

Less than a mile to go!  Photo by Jana Walker. 

I did just that on the next steepish hill climb.  I closed the gap, but was sucking wind at the top.  I guess we all were, because the pace remained slow for the next minute or so.  We then hit the single track descent.  I again fell slightly behind.  Finally we hit the bottom and had to take the slow switchbacks back up.  I remembered at this point that the race was very close to being over.  It was now or never.  Duh!  I tried to pick up the pace climbing the hill, but I wasn't closing.  I was afraid I would get toasted on the last little descent to the skate park and the field around it.  Surprisingly this wasn't happening.  I was remaining the same distance behind, even when they had a sprint battle to the finish.  Final time was 20:47, 3 seconds behind the winners (Brightman by a nose over Lonergan). 

Results here

I was stoked!  I had a great race and it was exciting.  This course was really awesome and one of my favorites despite only being a 5K.  I definitely wonder what would have happened if I could have remained upright when I had the lead, but that's trail racing.  A huge thank you to the Galoob family for putting on the race and the RI trail racing community for coming out and supporting these great races.  See you at the next one! 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Starting up the 4th Season! 12-14-15 to 12-20-15

It's that time of year again!  Saturday is the first race in the South County 4th Season Race Series.  The Old Mountain Field Trail 5K already has a stacked field registered.  It looks like WTAC will have its hands (feet?) full with many Rhode Runners and Turtles already signed up.  I had the chance to scope out the trails at OMF a couple of weeks ago with RD Mike Galoob.  This race has the reputation of being pretty tough for a trail 5K and he wants to make it tougher.  We'll see what he comes up with! 

In unrelated news, the Grand Tree Series results are in for 2015.  I'd love to run a bunch of these races every year, but I'm happy that I got to do 3 this year.  Anyway, I was surprised to see the results based on Top 3 races for the year:

Pretty cool stuff!  Not as impressive as my brother winning the Series (based on Top 6) multiple years, but I'll take it. 

Monday: 0 - stupid car issues sucked up all my free time today.  I got a flat tire the night before coming home from my company Xmas party.  Apparently my car (2012 Hyundai) does not come with a spare - although it looks like there is one in the trunk.  Surprise!!  I had to have it towed to my house late at night, and then towed again in the morning to a tire place.  What a debacle. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - hill repeats on my favorite improved and unimproved dirt road - Pardon Joslin Rd.  It was super windy today and running did not seem appealing.  I figured that sheltered hill repeats would be my best option.  I even broke out my headphones for this one and listened to a podcast to help distract me from the monotony.  I ran out and back on the road 3 times and then ran up and down the longer east side an additional time.  1,354' of elevation gain.  Total time 1:15:38. GAP 7:16. 

Wednesday: 11 miles - 50/50 mix of paved/unpaved roads in Exeter.  I began in the same spot as yesterday, but at the west end of Pardon Joslin Rd, I just kept running until I hit 5.5 miles (at the top of NLT on Pine Hill).  Lots of uphill on the way out.  It was in the high 40's, but felt cold (or seasonable).  The way back was much quicker.  Total time: 1:18:08 with 849' of climbing. 

Thursday: 9 miles - Rome Point trails in the rain.  At least it was mild and not windy.  Mindless zigzagging on the trails.  The tide was high so not too much beach running.  Easy pace.  Total time: 1:12:08 with 451' of elevation gain. 

Friday: 3 miles - OMF trails alone, but then ran into Galoob.  I did some shopping in Wakefield while it rained and then made my way over to OMF to scope out the new course for tomorrow.  Very wet out there!  I could hear the stream before seeing it and it sounded like a raging river.  The north end crossing is high and dry however.  I continued on the mushy trails until I saw Galoob jogging with a rake.  We stopped to chat and then another runner came by.  It was a Turtle.  After the standoff, Mike and I made our way to the lower water crossing.  This one was not high and dry.  We moved some rocks around to let it drain faster which should do the trick.  I then finished up the new course up the hill and back down, around the pond, and back up the hill and then down and out to the skate park.  Running time about 30 minutes.  Tomorrow is going to be awesome!!

Saturday: 8 miles - OMF Trail 5K -3rd overall, 20:47 (top 2 were both 20:44).  Really great race.  Separate write up to follow. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Carter Preserve trails alone in the morning.  Nice crisp run.  The temperature was in the mid 30's, and there was ice in some spots on the powerline trail.  My body was pretty beat from yesterday's race, but this run actually felt pretty decent.  From the powerline I ran the grassland loop before climbing the hill and entering the woods.  I popped out at Rte 112 to run the hill up to the school trail entrance.  I made my way back to the grassland, did another lap, and then backtracked through the woods to the powerline.  I was happy to get in my 1:20 of running before traveling up to Boston for the afternoon/evening. 

Weekly Total: 51 miles
Last Week: 72 miles
Year to Date: 3394 miles
December to Date: 171 miles

Friday, December 11, 2015

Season's Craziness: Week of 12-7-15 to 12-13-15

It's the most busiest craziest time of year!  I'd love to take advantage of the great weather and run a ton this week, but too much going on.  Cheers! 

Monday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails.  Late afternoon start (3pm).  Didn't think a run would even happen, but a window opened up.  Felt pretty good to cruise around the park.  Total time: 1:07:55. 

Tuesday: 15 miles - local road loop from my house.  Day off from work with a bunch of stuff going on.  My time to run was in the morning.  Unfortunately that's when the rain began from a storm that was supposed to stay out to sea.  My legs were tired and motivation waning.  I managed to complete the full loop I had planned that included a lot of straight roads.  It wasn't fun.  I'd rather spend two hours in the woods, but this is shotgun hunting season and it is the time of year I just stay out of management areas.  I kept up a punchy pace, mostly to get out of the dreary weather and finish sooner.  My legs were pretty sore though.  Total time: 1:47:11 with 742' of climbing. 

Wednesday: 0 - instead of an afternoon run I had to wait for a washing machine delivery at the house.  Did plenty of pushups. 

Thursday: 16 miles - double!  I took advantage of the warm morning and ran 4 miles of roads from my house.  Out-and-back to Poquiant Brook.  Total time: 28:52 with 300' of elevation gain.  In the afternoon, I parked at Rome Point and did an out-and-back of Saunderstown side street hills.  It was muggy and 62 degrees.  I thought about ditching my shirt, but there was a decent breeze.  11 hill climbs in total!  I was keeping the pace easy, except working a bit harder on the hills.  Nothing crazy, but I ended up bagging a lot of elevation - 1,606'!!  Total time: 1:28:55 - 7:23 ave. pace, 7:05 GAP.  I wasn't considering this a workout, but I'm reconsidering.  Good run. 

Friday: 9 miles - Ryan Park trails.  Typical recovery run that starts out terrible, continues to not be fun, and then perks up after a few miles.  My body feels pretty beat from yesterday.  Better call it a workout.  Total time: 1:12:43.  Really awesome weather. 

Saturday:  5 miles - Karate class run.  No workout this time.  Way too tired.  Found my way onto parts of the old Pumpkins 5K route.  7:21 ave. pace.  Run wasn't quite 5 miles, but then met up with friends for a long walk (for the kids) on Napatree Point.  It was rather warm and of course all the kids got wet.  They couldn't resist playing in the ocean.  I barely was able to not do it myself. 

Napatree Point hike. 
Taking a break at the halfway point. 

Sunday: 18 miles - long Burlingame out and back alone.  I couldn't meet up with Seth and Muddy so I had to do this run alone.  Out and back from my house to the Kettle Pond Center.  A little over 2 miles of pavement at the beginning and end, the rest was all trails.  I felt like I was moving really well for most of this.  Feet got tired the last few miles.  Trails in great shape and good running weather.  Total time: 2:14:42. 

Overall: Well I ended up with a lot of miles this week.  Basically piled them on in the 3 days.  It felt good to step up the volume. 

Weekly Total: 72 miles
Last Week: 58 miles
Year to Date: 3343 miles
December to Date: 120 miles

Friday, December 4, 2015

Weekly Log: 11-30-15 to 12-6-15

I'm hoping for a good week of training.

Monday: 10 miles - roads in the Quidnessett area alone.  Late fall/early winter feel.  Gray.  I just wanted to run an easy ten and somehow ended up here.  Way too many cars on these neighborhood roads.  I didn't check my watch until 8 miles in and saw that I was at least keeping a peppy pace.  Is this my normal non-hilly road pace?  Total time: 1:08:15. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - solo bike path workout.  Crappy weather day - a little rain during my run.  I knew I wanted to do speedwork today, but didn't have anything in mind until I saw Ryan Davenport's workout on Strava in the morning: Mile/2x800/Mile/2x400/6x100.  Seemed fun.  His results looked to be in line with what I would look for so I used them as a guideline.  Miles at 5K pace (goal?), 800's at I pace, 400's at R pace, and 100's fast.  I knew this was ambitious, especially being on my own.  I warmed up for two miles throwing in the shortest strides ever.  I then jumped right into it.  The first mile went okay.  I was wearing too many clothes and a bathroom break seemed like it was in my future.  5:26 - perfect.  I briefly stopped to use the port-o-potty but it was occupied.  I dropped off a layer at my car and got back to my 2 minute jog. I then went for the 800's.  Faster paced than the mile and they felt good, at least for a while, then they seemed long.  2:37/2:40 with a minute jog between.  So far so good, but I was not looking forward to another mile repeat.  So I skipped it.  I decided to do 400's now.  Again they felt great for a short period and then seemed long.  I did two (75/75) and then figured I would finish with a mile of sprint-float-sprint.  I kept the floats spicy and completed this mile in 5:31.  That surprised me!  The end result was a pretty good workout overall.  Total time: 1:00:43. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - hilly dirt roads "recovery" run.  I know it doesn't make sense, but I wanted a nice and easy recovery run on a forgiving surface that also included some hills.  I don't want to quit my elevation habit.  It was another crappy day with occasional rain.  My legs did not feel great with the first immediate climb (on the New London Turnpike).  I then slowly descended forever (about 2 miles) and finally reached the next hill - also on the NLT - this one is bigger and "unimproved".  This hill was never ending and not fun with the uneven footing.  I then headed over to a unpaved portion of Old Ten Rod Rd.  Big hills on both ends.  I ran the west side hill (up to intersection with Rte 102/Rte 165) twice before heading up the steeper east side.  My body felt way better on these.  Total time: 1:18:43 with 902' of climbing (according to my watch). 

Thursday: 8 miles - real recovery run in Ryan Park.  My body is now beat.  I wasn't even sure how long I would bother to run (late start).  It was so incredibly windy and unappealing out.  I figured the woods would give me some protection.  The run itself went well.  I zigzagged the west side trails and decided to keep going.  Brutal wind at the end of the run (on the road) back to my car.  Total time: 1:04:06. 

Friday: 8 miles - OMF trails with Galoob.  We wandered around the trails checking out conditions and Mike was brainstorming ways to make the race harder.  Oh, and there is a bum camp on one of the trails.  Lots of fun climbing the "mountain" repeatedly.  Total time: 1:08:19. 

Saturday: 5 miles - Westerly hills while the kids were at karate class.  I was hoping for a longer run early in the morning, but it didn't happen.  My wife had to leave for work at 8am which meant a sunrise run.  Frankly, since I've been getting up at 5:40am on weekdays for middle school, I have no desire to roll out of bed early on weekends to run.  So, what to do?  Run during karate, which is a shorter class on Saturday.  I decided to drop them off and run nearby hills from there.  This was a fun, but draining hill workout.  7 hill sprints in all, some long, some short.  All high intensity that left me gasping for air at the top.  I took a couple of the longer segments, had a close call on another (looks like the speed was there but I stopped early? or GPS issue?).  Finished up just as class was getting out.  35 minutes with 453' of climbing. 

Sunday: 8 miles - rushed roads with hills in North Stonington.  Another nice day, but another busy one.  I really wanted to run 2 hours, but I ended up just happy to fit anything in.  This time I ran during my daughter's horseback riding lesson which gave me an hour.  I scoped out a run beforehand that was a loop that included one very big out and back hill (250') in the middle.  My plan was to run on the faster side - similar to yesterday, but I immediately got carried away and just went with it.  I guess this was another workout run of sorts.  Up and over Jeremy Hill (nice views!) and then I reached Wintechog Hill Rd.  My average pace at this point was 6:27.  I then climbed up the road for a mile and kept my average pace at 6:28!  This was very challenging.  I really fought hard on this one.  I then backtracked down the hill, watching my ave. pace creep lower.  I knew it was basically down hill all the way back, but nearing Rocky Hollow Rd, there was one last hill to conquer.  Fast down hill finish to the horse farm.  Total time: 49:58 (6:16 average pace) with 563' of climbing.  6:10 GAP. 

Overall: Not the mileage I was looking for, but I seemed to make up for it by picking up the pace.  This seems to happen every December.  Too busy!  Oh well.  Feeling strong and fast. 

Weekly Total: 58 miles
Last Week: 63 miles
Year to Date: 3271 miles
November Total: 277 miles
December to Date: 48 miles

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving Week: 11-23-15 t0 11-29-15

Thanksgiving week is always a crapshoot running-wise.  Might be good, might be mediocre.  I had no big plans, especially with an unknown weekend schedule. 

Monday: 10 miles - workout on the bike path/Calf Pasture Point.  I got the go ahead to do a small local race on Friday morning.  I wanted to continue to do speedwork for upcoming shorter races, so sneaking in a workout today seemed to make sense.  I couldn't figure out the structure, even while warming up.  I ended up doing a pretty fun workout that took advantage of fast conditions (low tide, firm sand due to overnight rain) around Calf Pasture Point.  After a long four mile warm up I did a mile of sprint-float-sprint on the bike path.  My goal this time was faster sprints and slower floats.  The end result was a 5:55 mile.  I then recovered for half a mile before embarking on a hard effort of the Calf Pasture Point loop (1.1 miles sand, .7 miles double track, .4 miles bike path).  I really nailed this.  I ran it in 13:17 (6:02 ave. pace) which was 1:27 faster than my previous CR.  I was pumped!  After another half mile recovery I did another mile of sprint-float-sprint, again in the same manner as earlier, and again completing it in 5:55.  Short cool down.  Total time: 1:10:20. 

Tuesday: 7 miles - recovery run in Ryan Park.  Late start - very busy at work these days.  I wasn't sure how much daylight I would have.  I didn't want to run on roads or technical trails.  I opted to do multiple simple loops of the main double track trails, fields, and a short road section.  First loop was good, but by the end of the second, it was getting too dark for my poor night vision (no headlamp).  It was amazing to see how many dog walkers were in the park at this hour.  Just full of them.  Total time: 53:01. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - Big River trail loop with Jon Short.  We parked at the Hopkins Hill lot and ran a good counter-clockwise loop.  Fun to show him around and catch up.  Total time: 1:13:14. 

Thursday: 8 miles - Carolina trails with Muddy.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Muddy texted me in the morning for a last minute run.  Nice warm morning in Carolina.  Too many hunters and horses.  Total time: 58:25. 

Friday: 6 miles - Chariho Alumni XC 5K race.  17:40, 4th overall.  This was a small yet super fun event.  I was really happy with my time on this flat cross country course.  I figured I would be just over 18 minutes.  I didn't kill myself, just ran a steady race.  I didn't go out with the lead pack (mostly recent former XC runners plus Matthew Walker) and just settled into my own pace.  After a half mile, I had worked my way up to 4th, a few seconds behind Matthew, a current college All-American, and another former XC standout.  Coach Hab called out our first mile times - 5:30 for me.  Seemed about right.  The lead pack seemed to get slightly closer to me and I debated sprinting to catch up.  They eventually increased their lead by the time we finished circling the far south athletic fields however.  Muddy was on my heels.  I tried to push harder as we neared the final field section.  The leaders were pulling away from me, but I also seemed to have a small cushion on Muddy.  I then entered the track for the final lap plus.  I wasn't feeling great at this point, and I didn't have a good finish in me.  I was waiting for Muddy to catch up and then pass, but it became apparent that it wasn't his day either.  I finished up in a surprising 17:40 on this wheel measured course.  Confidence booster! 

Half mile or so into the race. 

2.5 mile or so mark. 

Finish.  This is why I need to always wear sunglasses. 

Saturday: 13 miles - long trail run in the rain with Muddy.  We ran in the afternoon which is when the rain began.  We parked at Green Falls to do a loop that I remembered as being 2 hours/15 miles.  After a slippery slow start, we cranked along the rest of the way.  We got a little cold and very wet, but still had fun.  Major GPS issues.  The run ended up being faster/shorter than I remembered apparently.  Total time: 1:43:05 with a good amount of climbing - at least on Muddy's watch. 

Sunday: 10 miles - Carter Preserve trails solo.  Early afternoon run.  Good push weaving through all the trails.  One decent fall.  Total time: 1:16:27. 

Overall: Ok mileage, a good workout, a good race, and lots of non-running fun! 

Weekly Total: 63 miles
Last Week: 61 miles
Year to Date: 3213 miles
November to Date: 267 miles