Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Weather Week: 1-18-16 to 1-24-16

Heading into this week I was planning for it to be a bit lighter in miles.  I had the Charlestown Chili 5K to set up and run on Saturday, a holiday home with the family on Monday, and plus I needed a break from the last two weeks of heavy mileage.  What I wasn't ready for was a change from seasonable cold but dry conditions to snow on the ground.  Not thrilled about it, but trying to have as much fun with it as possible. 

Monday: 9 miles - Burlingame snowy trails alone.  The surprise storm from last evening left 1-2" of fluffy snow on the ground.  I left mid-morning donning my Yaktrax for the first time of the season.  I ran into Burlingame from Burdickville Rd and then made my way down to the canoe camps (empty) and around the River Trail.  The snow wasn't right for Yaktrax and they were fairly useless.  My traction wasn't great.  Still, it was fun to be the only human for miles alone in the woods.  The single coyote tracks weren't enough to sketch me out.  I crossed Buckeye Brook Rd and ran Lenny's Lane and back on VG.  I was surprised to still see no other human tracks.  I made my way up to the middle portion of Secret and part of Sammy C's.  The last mile home was on the road.  Total time: 1:12:37 with 568' of climbing. 

One of my favorite Burlingame secret spots. 

Ledges near Buckeye Brook Road. 

Before darkness, I headed down to Ninigret with my dad's bike for one last OCD trip around the race course.  I wanted to settle on the finish line and mile markers.  Not pretty but got it done. 

Final Charlestown Chili 5K course

Tuesday: 9 miles - Ryan Park snow trails with Galoob.  We met up for an "uptempo" run with short hill repeats mixed in.  We ran the Belleville Pond 10K course for the most part, which was holding just an inch at most of snow.  I opted to just stick with trail shoes today.  The run went pretty well.  The pace was spicy for me, especially without optimal grip.  The time for the course was about 44 minutes.  We then tacked on another 2+ miles cool down for a total running time of 1:03:05. 

Wednesday: 0 - unplanned zero due to unplanned car problems. 

Thursday: 16.5 mile double.  First run was a first light hill fartlek workout from my house.  5 miles in 34:05 with 456' of climbing.  I hammered some small climbs and did the longer Burdickville Rd climb twice at a good effort.  Nice little workout.  In the afternoon, I parked at Rome Point and decided to do a mix run of trails, beach, and roads.  I began on roads and wandered around the Waldron Ave area for the first time in more than a year.  Finally I returned to Rome Point and ran trails and beach.  My legs/feet are exhausted.  I'm blaming the snow running more than the morning workout.  Total time: 1:27:49.  11.5 miles. 

Morning Hill Fartlek - look at that Grade Adjusted Pace!

Friday: 8.5 miles - Saunderstown snowy trails with Sandals.  I met Aaron at his house and we ran trails on his property and the new TNC over to the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace.  We then entered Camp Nokewa and ran in there, managing two decent hill climbs in slightly slippery conditions.  We returned the same way.  Good run!  Total time: 1:07:48 with 524' of climbing.  Sounds like TNC will be cutting new trails soon as well as putting in a place to park up on Rte 1A! 

Saturday: 12 mile double. My Name is Jonas! 

Fun video - I saw them at an outside venue in Atlanta the same year (1994).  

So the Charlestown Chili 5K was postponed on Friday night due to the impending storm.  The race director was pretty bummed, which I understood because she put together what seemed to be an awesome event.  The weather today was terrible so it was the right call.  In the morning I headed out at 9AM for a trail run as the snow began to fall.  It was so windy at my house (faces NE, on top of a hill) that I debated even running.  I decided to test out the conditions in a wooded valley (parked at Buckeye Brook Rd and ran south on VGT).  The weather was okay, and I seemed safe.  It was snowing the entire time, but only beginning to collect on the trail (Monday's snow was mostly gone by now here).  I ran into quite a few hardy humans which was surprising.  Before the campground, I followed the NST south over the bog bridges and then jumped off to run the ridge trail spur before heading back the way I came.  Good effort throughout on tired legs.  Total time: 1:08:20.  Later in the afternoon, the whole family bundled up to get outside before dark.  The storm was in full swing.  Already 4-6" of snow on the ground and still coming down hard with crazy wind.  I donned my snowshoes for my maiden run this winter.  I ran (where I could) around my sloping property before exploring the wild spaces beyond.  Fun stuff except slow and exhausting.  Total time 35 minutes with 331' of climbing. 

Snowshoe running dork. 

Droopy trees somewhere behind my house. 

I found this holly with berries somewhere. 

Sunday: 12 miles - Burlingame snowshoe run alone.  This was tough!  We ended up with probably 8-10" of snow.  After my wife's snowshoe with a friend and then a trip to town, I had a limited window to run before the Patriots game.  I thought about running roads, but it didn't seem appealing or like a good idea (limited shoulder because of snow).  Snowshoe running in the woods would be beautiful but demanding.  I began by running from my property back into the woods and up through state land to the beaver pond gate.  This was all bushwhacking in deep snow.  I then was in north Burlingame on double track, but the going was still tough.  At least there was one xc ski track to try and run in.  I crossed Buckeye Brook Rd at the red gate and jumped onto the VGT.  Luckily there was a set of snowshoe tracks on it, but unfortunately I immediately caught up to and passed the person making them.  At the north camp road, there were the xc ski tracks again so I decided to do the loop and let the snowshoer get ahead of me again on the VGT to break trail.  I briefly stopped at the pond, but then had to lay the first tracks back up via the single track to VGT.  This was terrible.  Back on VGT heading toward Kings Factory Rd, there were 3 sets of snowshoes!  This made conditions decent.  I ended up catching up to all 3 people snowshoeing though.  I briefly chatted with them, and one couple had tracked Sammy C's.  Hmm.  I decided to go that way at the intersection.  This was another struggle for a couple of miles before reaching the bottom of Shumankanuc Hill Rd.  I took off my snowshoes at this point and ran the mile home on the road.  My legs were so trashed at this point I felt like I was running 10 minute mile pace.  Total time was 1:33:21 with 491' of climbing.  I'm calling it 12 miles because of effort although it felt like double that. 

Snowshoe run - check out those paces. 

Overall:  I made the best out of the week.  Not much speedy stuff, but hopefully the snow slogging is making me stronger.  The race got postponed until next Saturday (1/30).  I'm planning to race that hard and see where I am. 

Weekly Total:  67 miles
Last Week: 77 miles
Year to Date: 241 miles
January To Date: 241 miles

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

First Two Weeks of January

It's been good to get back into the normal routine after the craziness of the holidays.  My plan was to step my mileage back up while continuing to mix in speed, hills, and long runs.  Even though it has finally gotten colder (which I don't mind at all), it has remained snow free.  Scary hunting seasons are over, so I can comfortably run everywhere.  Work has been very busy, so sometimes I can't venture too far for my lunch runs. 

Monday 1/4: 10 miles - Ryan Park trails.  Crazy first day back to work, but I was able to focus and organize.  Treated myself to a later than normal run.  Cold and flurries.  Total time: 1:18:55. 

Tuesday 1/5: 8.5 miles - Exeter dirt roads/roads/trails with Galoob.  We met up at the intersection of the dirt NLT and Rte 102.  It was surprising to see a coating of snow on the roads "up" here.  Footing was a bit of an issue on the trails.  We hit some good hills, explored a bit, and even got lost.  Total time: 1:06:11 with 740' of climbing. 

Wednesday 1/6: 10.5 miles - Saunderstown mix.  Began from the Rome Pt parking lot and ran roads (Gilbert Stuart, up Snuff Mill, around Plum Beach neighborhood).  I didn't feel like figuring out where else to go on roads so I jumped onto the beach and ran to the Rome Pt trails.  Fun mix and I managed 606' of climbing in 1:16:03. 

Thursday 1/7: 15 miles - double.  First light run from the house.  I ran roads for a while but the woods looked too inviting.  Fun stuff.  41:05 with 328' of climbing in 5.5 miles, but my watch stopped recording me before I got back to my house.  My afternoon run was at Calf Pasture Point.  My plan was to do a solo speed workout on the bike path, but increasing the mileage, back to work, back to school, has left me rather exhausted.  Instead I enjoyed the bright winter sun and calm winds.  I mixed in 5 miles of beach, 2 miles of trails, and 2.5 miles of bike path in 1:12:44. 

Friday 1/8: 11 miles - double.  First light run from the house.  My idea was an easy workout of sorts, by doing a few repeats of one of the many nearby road climbs.  I chose Burdickville Rd.  It climbs 150' in .6 miles.  I did three repeats: the first two at a steady pace and third at a faster pace.  Turned out I just bested my CR without meaning to (averaged 6:21 pace!!).  5 miles in 34:54 with 485' of climbing.  At lunch I met up with Sandals at his house in Saunderstown.  We ran his trails back into the new TNC land along the Narrow River headwaters.  It was good to catch up and get a tour.  6 miles in 48:21. 

Saturday 1/9: 17 miles - Burlingame trail long run/workout solo.  I really wanted to get a long run in this weekend, but free time was going to be an issue.  I had to do it today and early.  I ran 5 miles easy in 38:18, then ran the Vin Gormley Trail at a comfortably hard pace (from the north camp area clockwise).  This went pretty well.  It took a while to get in a groove, but then felt fast for the full duration.  Total time was 51:46.  I then did another 4 miles easy (struggling) mostly in north Burlingame in 30:32.  Total time was 2:00:37.  My GPS watch completely lost me and I don't have elevation data.  Overall, felt good about this run. 

Sunday 1/10: 0 - total crap weather day.  Went to the movies for the first time in 12+ years.  Saw the new Star Wars with the family in 3D.  I was skeptical but ended up really enjoying it.  After the movie we went home and spent some time wandering around in the woods behind our house. 

Weekly Total: 72 miles

Monday 1/11: 14 miles - double.  First light spin around the hilly block.  4 miles in 29:14 with 326' of climbing.  Afternoon run in Big River.  Really fun loop of techy trails and some hills (Carr Pond area).  10 miles in 1:17:55 with 586' of climbing. 

Tuesday 1/12: 15 miles - double.  First light run mostly on trails from my house.  Loving early morning trails!  5+ miles in 40:14 with 374' of climbing.  Afternoon run in Ryan Park.  I spent more time wandering around the east side than the west.  Pretty good pace at times.  10 miles in 1:15:41. 

Wednesday 1/13: 10.5 miles - URI indoor track with Galoob.  Finally, the weather was terrible enough to renew my alumni membership.  I met Mike for his prescribed workout of 6x1000 @T with 200 recoveries, 5 minute rest, then two miles with alternating 200's @ 3K and then fast float.  This was high volume, but not high speed.  Perfect for me!  I ran the 1000's a bit spicy: 3:30/3:34/3:35/3:36/3:35/3:34 - target was 3:40.  These felt smooth.  The two mile block of 200's went really well too.  I did the 3K pace 200's @ 38 seconds each and kept the floats to 48 seconds (6:26 pace).  Consistent splits throughout.  Total running time of 1:08:34. 

Thursday 1/14: 10.5 miles - solo hilly road loop.  Not very inspired today, but decided to just run roads with hills.  I ran from the Cuttyhunk parking lot and did the loop of roads that includes Hopkins Hill, Henry Brown, Falcon Ridge, Widow Sweets, and my favorite dirt road - Pardon Joslin.  I felt sluggish (expected), but was surprised at my pace when I finally took a peek.  Total time: 1:14:31 with 661' of climbing.  Note that I rode my dad's bike around Ninigret in the frigid morning conditions measuring the Charlestown Chili 5K course with a bike computer.  8 miles.  Frozen fingers. 

Friday 1/15: 9 miles - Great Swamp trails alone.  First I rode my dad's bike on the SC bike path to check the bike computer's calibration.  It was measuring miles consistently at 1.02.  I need to go back and fiddle with the course one more time factoring in this .02/mile error.  I then ran after locking the bike away in my car.  I believe this is called a brick.  I first did some exploring, following single and double track trails and even power lines in the fringes of Great Swamp.  Finally, I figured out where I was and then ran a loop around the dyke.  I was not feeling very peppy, and remembered that I've never had a good run here for some reason.  Finished up on dirt roads back to the bike path and my car.  Total time: 1:11:17. 

Saturday 1/16: 18 miles - Daniels marathon workout with Muddy.  I joined him for a few of these Boston training runs last year and was "happy" to do this one today.  The plan was 2E-2x2T(2 min. rest)-60 min. E-2T-2E.  We figured out a relatively flat place to run, that also allowed for some of the hour easy to be on trails (DuVal).  I was nervous about the 2 mile T blocks on my tired legs.  Everything ended up going pretty well, the best part being the time on the trails (obviously).  11:38/11:30 and then 11:38 for the 2T's.  Total time was 2:03:45. 

Sunday 1/17: 0 - traveling to MA in the late afternoon and my wife had a run scheduled at 8:30.  I thought about squeezing in 3 miles to get to 80 for the week, but decided I didn't really care.  Cross trained with stacking wood. 

Weekly Total: 77 miles
Year to Date: 174 miles
January to Date: 174 miles

Friday, January 15, 2016

Resolution Beach & Trail 5K 2016

Like others, I'm a little late in posting this race recap.  Sunday, January 3rd, was the fifth installment of the Resolution 5K in Narragansett, RI.  The course is extremely scenic and attracts a lot of runners.  Unfortunately, the terrain (mostly beach, with some easy trails) does not cater to my strengths.  It can be very fast.  Last year the top 2 ran sub 17 minutes.  I ran a speedy for me 18:15 and came in 9th place overall, probably my worst finish in 4+ years of the race series.  My expectations for this year were mixed.  I felt great about OMF 5K two weeks prior, but knew I probably wouldn't finish as high (3rd) in this race. 

Race day and the weather would be the story as it often is in these winter trail races.  Last year featured frozen sand and trails making for fast conditions.  This year it was super windy.  Obnoxiously windy.  The temperature was in the low 40's and the ground was not frozen.  This sand near the water was nice and firm however.  The trail section featured some mud (from the thawing ground).  The start and finish of the race would be directly into the wind. 

The notables in attendance were Jackman, Brightman, Lonergan, Muddy, Chris Fox and the ageless sand Gazelle.  Also present was Level Renner's own Eric Narcisi.  He was a wildcard. 

Race time.  I was hoping for another slowish start like at OMF.  I also wanted to hide behind some bigger dudes for the first half mile into the wind.  Yes, this meant Jackman.  It was a very strange scene at the gun: a bunch of unfamiliar people darted out into the strong headwind.  I hung back at what felt like an easy pace with everyone else I was worried about (mentioned above).  This continued for a bit, but I couldn't help but move up as the pace was still too easy for a race.  Besides, the drafting thing didn't seem to be working.  I could still feel the wind in my face, even when I did my best to "hide" behind someone.  The flag turnaround was nearing and I decided to make a move.  I didn't expect to win this race, but someone had to do something.  I pushed ahead of the remaining unknown runners and was now up front.  Soon after I hit the turnaround and the wind magically went away.  I tried to just run fast, letting my legs go.  As usual, this was not fast enough for some others, and Jackman, Brightman, and Lonergan soon passed by.  At about the 1 mile mark, still with the wind at our backs, Eric Narcisi went by, offering words of encouragement.  He looked super strong.  No chance sticking with him.  I could "feel" others behind me.  I didn't want anyone else to pass.  I dug in.  First GPS mile was 5:48. 

Hanging back at the start.  All photos by Jana Walker. 

Taking the lead. 

Heading back.  Looks windy! 

4th place, about to get passed by eventual winner. 

The course then veered toward the dunes and a trail full of thick sand.  It feels so slow and people were definitely gaining on me.  I pushed harder and finally reached the short uphill road section.  I was trailing the top 4 by a decent margin, but they were still within sight.  I held off whoever was behind and ducked into the fine gravel trails of Black Point.  No letting up now.  The breathing I could hear was not Muddy's, and I wasn't sure who it was, but I hoped the trail section would be where I could create some more space.  I hammered the downhill and ran the muddy spots as swiftly as possible.  There was one tricky descent of all mud.  I had scoped it out during my warm up and knew the best line.  I barreled down this hill almost slipping at the end.  Maybe this would do the trick.  Nope.  No let up from whoever was behind me.  Was I hearing two people?  Where is Muddy?  GPS mile 2 split was 5:59. 

I kept pushing along the ocean side trail in Black Point.  I made sure to surge on a wide area just before the stone building, knowing this might be a passing spot.  I jumped through the building (no ice or standing water this year) and then spilled out onto the beach.  Jackman and Brightman looked to be pretty close ahead of me and they looked really slow.  Once on the beach I realized why - the wind!!  So terrible and deflating at this point in the race.  The screaming headwind killed any momentum and the last half mile stretch was going to be a struggle.  On top of that, I glanced back and saw two yellow shirts behind me and then Muddy.  I knew I was going to get gobbled up here.  I just did my best to fight the wind and poor thoughts.  Eventually, I decided to just start my "sprint".  Jackman and Brightman continued to be just a few seconds ahead battling it out for third place.  I decided it wasn't acceptable to be passed.  I finished up in 5th overall, 6 seconds behind 3rd and 4th, and 2 seconds ahead of Mike Macedo (one of my yellow shirt chasers). 

The finish. 

My official time was 18:21 - close to my time last year (GPS mile 3 was 6:04).  That made me feel pretty good.  It seemed that this year's version was significantly slower for most, but I was about the same.  I needed to do some research:

Results of the top 10ish who did both 2015 and 2016 races

Runner 2015 2016 Difference
Eric Lonergan 16:52 18:01 (1:09)
Bob Jackman 17:14 18:16 (1:02)
Steve Brightman 17:46 18:16 (:30)
Muddy 17:49 18:38 (:49)
Chris Fox 18:09 18:28 (:19)
Jonny Hammett 18:15 18:21 (:06)
Jeff Walker 18:34 19:08 (:34)
Seth Acton 18:37 19:55 (1:18)

Results based on smallest difference of finishing time 2016 versus 2015

Runner 2015 2016 Difference
Jonny Hammett 18:15 18:21 (:06)
Chris Fox 18:09 18:28 (:19)
Steve Brightman 17:46 18:16 (:30)
Jeff Walker 18:34 19:08 (:34)
Muddy 17:49 18:38 (:49)
Bob Jackman 17:14 18:16 (1:02)
Eric Lonergan 16:52 18:01 (1:09)
Seth Acton 18:37 19:55 (1:18)

I'm not Chris Garvin, but I think this means that I really won :) Not sure though. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Resolution Week: 12-28-15 to 1-3-16

Another crazy week with running on the back burner except the Resolution Beach & Trail 5K on Sunday. 

Monday: 11 miles on two runs.  First, I awoke early to get my run in for the day before my wife had to go into work.  I parked at the Burlingame picnic area at sunrise (just after 7AM).  I ran down Sanctuary Rd and then did the usual campground bypass trails.  Once I reached the VG Trail, I decided to try my luck at finding the bits of single track through the campground, which was easier than other times I've tried.  I finished up trying to connect from the SE edge of the campground via old Kimball trails which I did, but got confused and torn up by briers.  Finish back on Sanctuary Rd and then along the pond between the boat launch and beach.  8 miles in 64 minutes.  Later in the morning my daughter wanted to go bike riding so I loaded up the kids' bikes and headed to Ninigret.  We did two loops: first the proposed bike path that I've been working on (as a member of the Town of Charlestown Ad Hoc Bicycle Pathway Committee) and then another loop that would be better, but probably cost prohibitive.  3 miles in 28 minutes. 

Tuesday: 0 - I forget why I didn't run, but it wasn't because I didn't want to. 

Wednesday: 10 miles on two runs.  In the morning I had plans to meet the RD for the upcoming Charlestown Chili 5K to go over my proposed course in Ninigret.  I wanted to grab more miles so I got there an hour early and ran the course a couple of times.  The first I did nice and easy, but even with tired legs (from Sunday's track workout?) I managed 6:56 average pace on the course.  I then jogged some trails back and forth from a strategically placed bathroom.  I then ran the course again, this time hard.  A tired time trial I guess.  I didn't feel particularly fast, but I managed a 17:43 which I was happy with.  I still need to measure the course with a bike.  My watch shows zero elevation gain.  And with the numerous turns, you never are going to be stuck in a headwind for long (hopefully never, but I need to be realistic) or get bored (or discouraged) with long straightaways.  I like it.  Definitely a PR course, and I plan to measure using USATF guidelines to ensure accuracy.  See you January 23rd!!  Later in the day I talked the kids into biking again at Ninigret.  I ran as they biked on some of the fun eastern edge trails.  3 more miles for the day. 

Thursday: 7 miles - Westbrook Maine roads.  Last day of the year.  We got packed and out of the house relatively early and began our trek north.  Once we arrived I was super antsy, and finally was told to go for a run.  I didn't need to do anything fast and I'd rather just get in 10 fun miles, but the conditions up there were terrible for running: 6" of snow on the trails and new enough that they weren't "groomed", and icy sidewalks/narrow shoulders.  Plus it was getting dark at 2:30PM!  There are also so many segments right out my friends' door that I couldn't resist.  I ran faster than I thought to a 5K Strava segment loop and then ran even faster on the loop.  I was glad I was running fast because it just felt dangerous even being out there.  I turned it up to 10 on a hill climb which is also a Strava segment that I lost the CR to last summer to another vacationer.  I almost puked at the top (Mexican food and margarita for lunch), but regrouped and finished the 5K segment and added on more because I wasn't sure where it ended.  I stopped my watch at 4.2 miles with a 6:03 average pace.  My third day of speedwork in the span of 5 days.  Definitely not smart and probably not good for Sunday's race, but whatever.  It seems to be how I get my running fix when I can't do the mileage (and hills) that I'm used to.  I then cooled down on a quieter side street before making the trek back up to the house.  Happy New Year! 

Friday: 10 miles - Portland Maine roads and icy trails alone.  I drove into Portland the next morning with the idea of running the paved trail around Back Cove and then connecting up to the Macworth Island trail and back.  Unfortunately, the Back Cove trail was not plowed and just icy uneven packed snow.  I did have on my grippiest trail shoes, so I just went with my plan.  The scenery was awesome.  The streets were messy too with icy sidewalks or unshoveled snow which forced me into traffic.  But it was worth it.  The cold air and amazing views were great.  Total time: 1:15:06. 

View of Back Cove

Back Cove Trail conditions

Mackworth Island from Rte 1 bridge

view from Macworth Island trail

Saturday: 7 miles on two runs.  Busy day shuttling the kids around to separate events.  I ended up taking my son mtn biking in Burlingame in the afternoon while I ran alongside of him.  He did great on a pretty technical trail (out and back from Buckeye Brook Rd south).  3 miles.  I then dropped him off at home and did a run around the block.  4 hilly miles in 29:12. 

Sunday: 8 miles - Resolution Beach & Trail 5K.  5th overall, 18:21.  Another good race.  Separate write up to follow. 

Overall: It wasn't easy, but I ended up salvaging a decent week.  I'm looking forward to getting back to normal running next week. 

Weekly Total: 53 miles
Last Week: 54 miles
2015 Total: 3,476 miles
December Total: 253 miles