Insert lack of blogging excuses here.
Seems like the February mileage total is a little low, but whatever. March is shaping up nicely.
The week of 2/22/16 was spent on the Belleville Pond Trail 10K course (4 out of 5 weekdays) and then the race was on Saturday. See separate write up here. I began incorporating yoga into my morning routine. There is a block of time between when my son gets on the middle school bus and when my daughter and wife get up for school and work. I could (and have) do short runs to really pump up my mileage, but I'm getting in plenty of miles without it. Instead, I've begun dabbling in yoga, and I'm finding it a really nice compliment to my running. I just do easy yoga workouts on You Tube that have the philosophy I like (mix of relaxation, stretching, and strength). Nothing crazy or fast. My body has been responding extremely well. I feel less tightness and soreness from my normal running. My body feels stronger. I still like to mix in some morning pushups and planks, but not as often now.
Week of 2/29/16 recap: the first three days I got in a lot of hill climbing on mostly trails. Good Wapack prep. I'm always a little frustrated with the elevation gain on Strava, especially when I run with somebody with a barometer watch and they bag so much more than me. I need to forget about it and just know that I'm putting in a lot of quality hill work. Strava had the week as 4,272' of gain. Easy day on Thursday, followed by an unplanned (but no big deal) rest day.
Saturday morning I jumped into the Kelley's Pace Hare Hop 5K in Mystic. It was race #3 in the WTAC Clamshell Series. The early morning start and close proximity worked best for the family schedule. I had hoped to travel up to the An Ros Mor 5K (USATF-NE event) with Galoob on Sunday, but it was too much of a time suck. I also considered jumping in the Ocean's Run Half and trying to run with Muddy. It was a little pricey and turned out to be a debacle, so I'm glad I skipped it and went with the Hare Hop. I arrived early, signed up, and then headed out on an early and long warm up along the course. I saw two fast looking guys also warming up early. When I got back, I could see that there was going to be a good sized field. I was impressed with how well the race was organized. The course was no cupcake. An out-and-back with a 80' hill climb in the middle and a couple of sneaky hills at the start and finish. I was feeling pretty good. I did some strides in the parking lot and lined up. It was cold, but I knew I'd be fine when racing. The two guys I saw warming up were there as well as a pack of fast looking teenagers. You never know what to expect with them. Oh, and to my surprise, Matthew Walker was there. Uh oh, there goes my Clamshell win. Nothing to do now but just race. I could use it. It will be good for me. The start was fast and I tried to keep myself in check. After we rounded the parking area (1/4 mile?) we had hit a small annoying hill. At the top I was now in third. Where's Matthew? I continued on the flat open road trying to not go too fast. There was a guy in blue already establishing a clear lead and then 2nd was a few seconds ahead (these were the two guys I saw warming up). I reached Mile 1 in 5:41. This was not my plan. Too slow. I wanted to not go out too fast, but apparently I went too far. Then I reached the big hill. I dug down and climbed hard. I quickly caught 2nd place and motored by. I tried to keep pushing myself, but I couldn't wait for the hill to end. It did, near the cone turnaround, and I made eye contact with the leader (probably 10-15 second lead). I rounded the cone and then got to see my lead on third (5 seconds) and Matthew gaining in 4th. I tried to let it fly down the hill. It was great to get support from my WTAC teammates and others as we passed each other. It was clear that the leader was going to win. He significantly increased his lead. But, based on the cheers behind me, I had put a nice gap on third. 2 Mile split was 5:36. Not bad considering the hill. Back on the flat straight for the last mile. I felt under control and smooth until I hit the small hill before the parking lot finish. I was excited to still be ahead of Matthew (for Clamshell points), but also scared. I felt like there was still a good gap, but not big enough for him to out sprint me to the finish line. I hammered the hill and felt sick to my stomach at the top. I didn't descend well. Matthew was coming. The stupid parking lot took forever to get to the end. Finally I could see the finish and knew that I was going to hold my place. I wasn't thrilled with my finish time (17:24 but add 2 seconds for SNERRO again!!), but it wasn't a flat course. My Mile 3 split was 5:28 and the final .1 was 5:20 pace (this should be way faster). Negative splits. I'll take it. I watched the finish until I got cold and then returned to my car for extra layers. I then did a cool down mostly on a new to me trail system that Crutchley alerted me to across the street. I had enough time to get my award: new GPS watch!
I really enjoyed this event. Again, very well managed. Thank you Kelley's Pace. Results
Sunday I managed to sneak in a long run in three parts during the morning.
Week of 3/7 recap: huge training week. Lots of hill work, miles, trails, and even roads. Thursday I did a combo workout: 2 x road mile (Waldron) and then 2 x trail mile (yellow dot loop in Rome Pt). My goal was to get used to running fast again, no matter how tired I was. 5:17/5:17 on the road miles - very pleased. 5:44/5:36 (CR) on the trail loops. This is super fun single track that twists and has a decent climb. Then on Sunday I got the invite with Muddy to do an organized run on the Boston Marathon course courtesy of Ryan Davenport. Everything was graciously taken care of for me, all I had to do was run. After a mile warm up from Ryan's house to the start line in Hopkinton, we met up with many others and headed off. My plan was to follow Muddy and Ryan's plan. 7 miles easy then 10 at a spicy marathon pace with others at 6:10 pace. Followed by 2 miles easy to the Newton Town Hall at Mile 19. The first miles were fun and fast (8 miles at 6:55 average pace). I talked with different people, but ended up with Ryan and Muddy at mile 8, waiting for the 6:10 group to meet us. They arrived and we were off. It became apparent that they were going faster than advertised (my watch was showing 6:07 average pace). I was feeling good, and since I'm not actually doing a marathon, welcomed the challenge of sticking with these too fast 4. After a few miles, I decided to take a turn leading (strong headwind) but I got carried away on some hills and we went even faster (and dropped someone in the process). The road began getting busier and more confusing, and I let the other two take the lead the last couple of miles. We stopped after 9 miles (for me, 10 for them) in 54:08! We chatted and then they headed back and told me how to continue on the course. I had one big hill to contend with (Firehouse Hill?), but I kept a 6:32 average pace for the last two miles which felt slow and easy. I ended up covering the first 19 miles of the course in 2:02:32 (6:27 ave. pace).
Week of 3/14 recap: another big week, similar to last week minus the roads, adding in even more hills. The highlight of the week was a 3 hour out-and-back solo run on the Narragansett Trail. I kept a steady pace throughout, pushing the pace in a couple of places (Strava segments). I ran from Ashville Pond to Tom Wheeler Rd where the trail has a road block at the Groton Gun Club. I instead continued on down the road which turned to dirt and dropped pretty far. At the 1:30 mark, I turned around and went back. At the 1:47 mark, I tripped and fell, smashing my left knee on a rock. It stung. And hurt. I stopped for a drink of water and a Gu, feeling sorry for myself. I regrouped and carried on, pushing the Green Fall ravine trail segment pretty hard. I was very happy to not have any fatigue issues with my feet or legs. This is a very technical trail, so that is a good sign!
So there it is. Until next time.