Monday, September 21, 2015

Catching Up on the Last 2 Months

Mixed bag of training over the last 2 months.  Lower mileage weeks were for races and vacation.  Elevation has been pretty good.  Pisgah write up forthcoming. 

Here's some photos during the time period:

40th party
 Birthday paddle/float on the Queens River
custom hand plane
NH vacation run up to Pitcher Mtn
day out on the Salty Puddin'
lobster lunch on the way up to lake house
father/son hike up Valley Peak - meeting everyone else down below in the harbor
relaxing on the lake
birthday boy on Dorr Mtn hike

Dorr Mtn Ladder Trail!
crazy fog over the islands in the bay
the kids all made it to the top of Dorr Mtn
father/son hike up Cadillace Mtn West Face

checking out the view during Cadillac Mtn climb

birthday girl fishing at the lake

foggy morning run up and down Great Pond Mtn with Brett

more hiking with family and friends
first egg from our chickens when we got home

after school beach trip with the kids

Labor Day trip to NH

bro run on the MSG

another after school night at the beach

Monday, September 14, 2015

2015 FIRMMAN Half Ironman Relay

As of my last posting, I was possibly going to do this race.  After being connected with a team that needed a runner and offering my services, I didn't officially know that it was official until Friday night.  No biggie either way, but it was good to finally know for sure.  I had taken it easy on Thursday (6+ miles in Ryan Park).  Friday was another planned easy day, but I ended up running with Nate (it's been a while!).  We did 10 miles beginning with a loop of the Crawley Preserve trails, connecting over to Hillsdale Preserve via the steep beast of a road hill on Punch Bowl, ran a loop of mostly easy trails in Hillsdale, and back over Punch Bowl.  It was a great time catching up and we inadvertently kept a peppy pace.  Oh well.  My legs are feeling fresher.  Saturday was a day of rest and I met my teammates Ethan Andrews (bike) and Dave Polatty (swim) at registration.  Seemed like good dudes and we had a fast team put together.  I felt like I needed to perform well.  For a race I didn't know about a few days ago, I was pretty pumped. 

It was not a typical race day.  I had nerves which is a good sign.  I just wasn't sure what time to get there and what to do once I was there.  Dave's swim heat began at 7am and it was only going to take him 20-25 minutes.  Then Ethan was planning to be 2:15-2:30 on the bike.  So most likely I would start my running leg at 10am.  I arrived at 9am.  On the way I got to see Ethan killing the bike portion way out in the lead.  I knew this probably meant I would be running solo.  Hopefully the pressure to perform would keep me motivated on the run.  At the transition area, I checked in - or more accurately, asked someone if I was all set, which I was.  Not many athletes were milling about, since most were out on the courses (half ironman and sprint tri).  I found my team's spot and dropped my bag.  I decided to go for a warm up - 2 miles out and back along the seawall.  Good surf, overcast and not warm (about 70 degrees), but of course muggy, with a breeze that I couldn't figure out.  I returned to transition where the director announced that it would be another 45 minutes before the first biker would be finishing, which I assumed was my teammate.  What to do?  I saw local runner Glenn G. milling about (not racing) and chatted with him and a couple of other NRA runners for a while.  I reconfirmed with an official that I was all set.  Then I spent the last 15 minutes talking with Tommy 5K who was there cheering on his wife doing the half ironman.  The director kept counting down the time until the first bike would be arriving.  I was getting really pumped up now.  Tom snapped my picture:

Pre-race jitters at transition.  Photo by Tommy 5K

They announced one more time that the first bike's arrival was imminent, and Dave showed up in a wet suit (just got out of the water to see the transition).  And then Ethan came roaring in on his bike, gave me the team ankle strap, I slapped it on my ankle, and then I was off.  I weaved through transition and out onto the road.  The adrenaline level was high.  The team excitement and also the excellent crowd support fueled the rush. 
And it begins.  Photo by Tommy 5K

I tried to slow down and focus on my form as I jumped on the empty (of runners) road.  I was a tad nervous about staying on course, but then I got a bike escort which was nice.  There were aid stations every mile (some even with portapotties).  The volunteers were awesome.  I felt bad not taking any water or Gatorade from them.  I was well hydrated and had eaten a granola bar and GU beforehand.  I debated grabbing water to throw over my head, but I just kept trucking on.  Even though I was all alone, running on roads (not my cup of tea), I was continually passing by people who would utter words of encouragement.  It was pretty fun leading a race. 

The course itself seems flat.  This wasn't the case when running.  I felt like there were many sneaky uphills that I needed to be aware of.  There also were two out and backs along the narrow river.  First on the east side, through neighborhoods I had never been in.  The second was on the west side along Middlebridge Road.  I'm very familiar with this road and have done tempo workouts on it in the past. 
My plan was to try to keep my miles just under 6 minutes for as long as possible.  If I was better rested, I would have been very optimistic that I could do this for the duration. Today I wasn't sure what would happen.  My GPS watch was not cooperating today, and even though I did a lot of pace watching, the miles rarely matched up.  This was usually in a good way, but it was frustrating. 

My splits according to the course markings were as follows:

Mile 1:   5:56 slight uphill from town beach to Narrow River
Mile 2:   5:52 uphill near Camp Varnum then slight downhill on Rte 1A
Mile 3:   5:42 downhill through neighborhood on east side of Narrow River
Mile 4:   5:45 same as mile 3
Mile 5:   6:24 seemed long - cone turnaround then uphill
Mile 6:   5:56 up out of the neighborhood then big downhill to Middlebridge
Mile 7:   6:06 very slight uphill along Middlebridge Rd
Mile 8:   6:09 basically flat along Middlebridge Rd
Mile 9:   5:53 cone turnaround and slight downhill along Middlebridge Rd
Mile 10: 6:10 basically flat
Mile 11: 5:48 flat then tough uphill out of Middlebridge
Mile 12: 5:43 downill heading back
Mile 13: 6:44 flat but this was a mess - read below
Last .1:  5:40 sand then cone turnaround on pavement through chute
Total:    1:18:36 (this is not official - should be a few seconds less, started watch in transition area)

almost done
Relay Champs - Dave, myself, Ethan

The end result was an average pace of about 6 flat.  I'll take it.  It looks like I lost 45 seconds to a minute on mile 13.  I was following the bike when he stopped and waved me to turn around.  I backtracked to an entrance in a parking lot and ran to the beach (this is where registration was the day before so it made sense to me).  When I got out onto the beach, I saw no markings, except much further down where the course really went.  Ugh.  I trudged through the thick sand.  It was miserable.  I then reached the flags on the real course.  It was only about 200m of sand running rather than the 1/3 of a mile I ended up doing.  It all evens out considering that the course runs about a minute short (as per Glen G and others I've talked to).  It's not easy running a race by yourself (I finally saw 2nd place after crossing Mile 11 - his Mile 6).  It was like a time trial, but with lots of support.  It was cool to have my family there at the finish and getting to hear my name called as I approached.  Dave and Ethan did awesome and they were great guys to hang out with post race.  This is definitely a possibility for next year. 


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Quick Update of Sorts

I cannot keep up with this thing.  Life has been good.  I'm busy doing mostly fun things.  I still run a lot. 

I'm currently focused on two rapidly approaching trail races: Pisgah 23K on 9/20 and Nipmuck 26.4M on 10/4.  After a monster first 6 months of training this year, I had lower volume months in July (spent racing - 3 races) and August (spent celebrating and vacationing).  I'm on week 3 of a 3 week block of heavy mileage and hills. 

First week was 78 miles.  It began with tired legs and a tight left groin from the last few days of vacation.  I ran a 5:16 road mile at the final WTAC Fun Run.  The effort felt 10 seconds faster than that.  I began bumping my mileage up after that including a field trip to the Snake Den and Arcadia trails near Deep Pond.  On Saturday, I met up with Ryan and Marie Davenport for a 6 mile tempo run in Weekapaug - 2 laps from the intersection of Shore Rd and Noyes Neck Rd (uphill final mile).  I was able to stick to my T-pace (despite my fatigued legs), but I was losing steam on lap 2 and decided to quit at 5 miles.  To avoid a pit stop, I gave up at 4.67 miles.  Ryan and Marie ended up only going 5 which made me annoyed that I didn't hold on for another 1/3 mile.   No biggie - 27:20 min @ 5:53 ave. pace.  Sunday was my day to run long, but my running window only was going to allow for 2 hours.  I had company in Woolley which meant a peppy pace and new vocabulary words. For the week I ran for 9 hrs and 53 min with 3,366' of climbing. 

Second week was 80 miles.  This was exhausting.  My body is not fully recovering, but I'm not allowing it to, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  My kids began school on Monday and now my son is in middle school.  This leaves quite a bit of down time between getting him on the bus and then getting my daughter up.  My solution for this gap is running!  I ran doubles Tuesday - Friday.  I did 5 mile runs on roads from my house.  This means hills.  I enjoyed them.  My lunch runs were run in sunny and hot conditions.  I did a good mix of paved and dirt road hill climbs.  I accumulated 6,490' of elevation gain (with my watch, not GPS app) on over 10 hours of running.  And I took a day off! 

Third week is this week. On Monday (Labor Day) I was in NH and got to do a trail run with my brother Greg.  The morning was beautiful and we planned a 1.5 hr out and back on the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway from Pitcher Mtn.  A few minutes in, Greg had a calf issue pop up.  We cut the run short (1 hr) and kept the intensity down, but it was hilly.  Hopefully he'll be good to go at Pisgah in two weeks.  Back to school on Tuesday and that meant another double.  Ditto for Wednesday.  Very hot and muggy lunch runs too (93 with 74 dewpoint then 87 with 75 dewpoint).  Sunny hills in Saunderstown with a quick swim in the bay on Tuesday and then a twisty trail run in Big River on Wednesday with some new to me trails mixed in.  36 miles in 3 days with 3,671' of climbing.

The plan for the rest of the week is in flux.  I received an email regarding a relay team needing a runner for Sunday's Firmman 1/2 Ironman.  I volunteered my services after clearing it with my boss.  I'm not 100% sure if this is happening or not (as of lunchtime Thursday), but I need to plan like it is.  That means emergency taper.  I want to run fast, and think that a good 1/2 road effort will help me mentally and physically for the following Sunday (Pisgah).  I think it can be more beneficial than a longer slower trail run at this time.  We'll see.  Should be fun! 

So that's that.  I still want to do a full post(s) on my August shenanigans.  Until maybe then....