Monday, February 22, 2016

Road Running: Week of 2-15-16 to 2-21-16

Another good bye to the snow.  This is how I like winter.  Play in the snow for a couple of days and then have it disappear.  Because of messy trail conditions, I opted to stay out of the woods this week (except on Monday).  This was also a chance to test my fitness on roads.  Slogging around in snow makes me feel exhausted and slow.  It's nice to see it correlate to road speed. 

Monday: 12 miles - Burlingame snow covered trails in the morning.  Presidents' Day.  Just a great run in the woods.  It was cold.  The trails were packed down in most places by fat bikes, 4x4 trucks (north camp), and others.  I wore trail shoes with Yaktrax for just a little extra grip.  Hit up all the fun single track in the NE corner of the park.  My pace felt peppy throughout.  Total time: 1:33:35 with 635' of climbing. 

Tuesday: 10 miles - Saunderstown roads alone.  It was windy, foggy, and wet.  The temperature was in the low 50's - almost 50 degrees warmer than at the start of my run yesterday!  My plan was a normal run with some good hills mixed in, hoping not to get splashed by cars.  My legs felt tired on the climbs, but I managed a good pace overall (7:21), considering I got 1,025' of elevation gain.  Total time: 1:13:30. 

Wednesday: 13 miles - flat roads of NK workout.  Workout Wednesday.  No Galoob (Quebec), so I was going to go solo.  It was too nice out to do the indoor track.  I opted to do a block of marathon pace (T pace didn't seem appealing to me).  My plan was 2 mile warm up, 10 miles @ 6:14 ave., 2 mile cool down.  I parked at the Quonset bike path lot, and ran around Allen's Harbor as a warm up.  Warm with the wind at my back, but cool running into it.  My first few miles would be mostly into the wind and very exposed on Quonset roads.  I began the M block.  I peeked once at my watch near the 1 mile mark to check my pace (6:08 at that point).  I wanted to make sure I wasn't too fast or too slow.  I then ignored my watch for the next 6 miles.  I just ran by feel.  I reached Rte 1 and then ran east on the bike path to Potter Rd.  At the intersection with Quidnessett, I checked my watch - almost 7 miles averaging 6:13 pace.  I was feeling a bit tired at this point, so I tried to pick up my effort so I wouldn't fall off pace.  I reached Mount View and finished on the 10 miles on the far end of the bike path - 1:01:17!  6:08 average pace.  I guess I picked it up too much the last 3 miles, but I feel good about this workout.  I shortened my cool down to just one mile.  Total time: 1:22:46. 

Thursday: 11 miles - roads with hills.  My legs didn't feel beat up at all.  I decided to park on the NLT near Rte 102 and run roads from there (mostly paved).  I began right away with a hill.  I felt sluggish, but it warmed me up fast.  I continued west on Old Ten Rod Rd, hitting the big hill up to Rte 3.  I then ran south on Rte 3 with the wind at my back to Dawley Park Rd.  I continued to Tug Hollow, Hillsdale, Hoxsie, and Gardiner roads.  This included another 3 hill climbs.  Total time: 1:19:59 with 839' of elevation gain. 

Friday: 10 miles - more roads with hills.  I'm still not feeling beat up from Wednesday.  Good sign.  Today I parked on Congdon Mill Rd.  I again began with a brutal hill climb.  I checked my watch at the top and my ave. pace was 7:52.  This was going to be a slow run.  I meandered on down Robin Hollow Rd and back up the other side.  I turned north onto Fry Pond Rd then east on Sharpe Street (soon turning into Weaver Hill Rd).  Eventually I hit Rte 3 and had to run into the wind up a big hill.  I was very surprised at the finish to see that my average pace ended up at 7:07 (total time 1:11:06).  Another 806' of climbing. 

Saturday: 17 miles - long road run/workout with Muddy.  I was happy to get in a quality long run this weekend and not do it alone.  I was nervous about Muddy's plan of 3E, 6M, 1T, 5M, 3E.  I didn't think my legs could hold up to this, but guessed that he was also not feeling fresh after another monster week of training.  It turns out we were in the same boat physically.  After our hilly warm up of 3 miles, we got to work.  Immediately, the pace felt too spicy to me and unattainable.  Muddy soon after was expressing his displeasure as well.  I pushed on the best I could thinking we just needed to get to 5 miles and then reassess.  Somewhere in the 5th mile I began feeling better, and mentally I felt like I may be able to knock out a few more miles at this pace.  The key was to just make it up the hill on Pine Hill Rd in one piece.  At the top of the hill I heard Muddy shout out behind me that he was going to stop.  It was at exactly 6 miles (37:07 - 6:11 ave. pace).  We got moving again, this time at a pace that felt easy (but was in the high 6's).  We then began another undetermined amount of marathon pace work.  We were running into the wind on Pine Hill Rd and I couldn't wait to turn north onto Switch Rd.  I pushed hard, too hard, and had to back off a bit.  We turned down Sandy Pond Rd and my watch began acting up (bad GPS signal in the pines?).  Despite my best effort, my average pace kept showing slower and slower.  I was frustrated.  Another turn onto Woodville Rd with the wind at our back and bright sun.  Unfortunately it was mostly uphill back to Switch Rd.  This was tough, but I felt good about my effort.  We were closing in on 3 miles as I began fighting the strong wind in the turf fields.  I wanted to get to 4, but I noticed I couldn't hear Muddy behind me, so turned around to see he had stopped.  I decided to stop as well (3+ miles @ 6:15 ave. pace).  We then had 4 more miles to go to get back to my house on top of the hill.  I was tired, but ok.  Muddy was bonking, and suffering.  Glad we made it back in one piece.  Total time: 1:53:11 (6:40 ave. pace) with 516' of elevation gain (Muddy's barometer based watch had 816'). 

In the afternoon, I took my son on a long hike (he picked) in Wickaboxet (the blue loop).  It was advertised as 4 miles, but my GPS watch measured it as 4.5+.  We walked clockwise, saving the highlight - Rattlesnake Ledge, for last.  Still snow in the darker spots, but it was a warm day (mid 50's).  Total moving time of 2hrs 8 minutes.  Spirits were high and fun was had on the ledges. 

Top of Rattlesnake Ledge. 

The full ledge from below. 

Sunday: 0 - rest day.  After 73 miles in 6 days, plus over 4 hours of moving time yesterday, I was happy to not run today.  I thought about it a few times, but I just wasn't motivated.  I still spent plenty of time outside working in the yard and also walking for about 40 minutes in Ninigret with my wife as the kids biked.  Good enough.  Thus begins my taper for the Belleville Pond Trail 10K next Saturday. 

Weekly Total: 73 miles
Last Week: 63 miles
Year to Date: 510 miles
February to Date: 197 miles

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cold Week: 2-8-16 to 2-14-16

This week was a mixed bag.  I got in two track workouts, slogged around in snow, braved frigid cold, and dealt with a nuisance head cold.  Ideally, I'd like to be in the low 70's for mileage every week except race weeks, but with winter, you can't be too picky. 

Monday: 8 miles - Burlingame snowshoe run.  Another day home with snow.  This time it was much colder and the snow was light and fluffy.  After a lazy day inside working on a puzzle and checking work emails, I headed out in the late afternoon for a run.  I donned my trusty snowshoes and ran down the road (not plowed at this point) to Burlingame off of Burdickville Rd.  I was breaking trail and the going was slow.  At the intersection with the main loop, there were very fresh 4x4 truck tracks (the gates are open during hunting season).  They were wide enough for me to run in which was a surprise bonus.  I followed them all the way down to the canoe camps where I saw the pickup truck parked on the trail.  I just kept my head down and motored past, not wanting to know what they were up to.  I was now breaking trail again, this time on the hard to follow white dot single track.  Very tough going for a while until I reached the main loop again.  I quickly was passed by the pickup truck (the people were friendly and told me that I was moving fast).  It was nice to climb the hill in the wide tracks again.  At the top of the hill, I encountered a family out sledding (this is the middle of nowhere!).  I was quite impressed.  I pushed on to Buckeye Brook Rd.  I crossed over and ran single track (mostly untouched) to the bottom of my road.  I then ran the road back (now plowed).  I stuck to the sides since I still had my snowshoes on.  I decided to bushwhack the rest of the way to my house.  There isn't a trail yet, but I'm beginning to take the same route every time.  Soon enough, I'll have a trail.  Fun, tough run.  Total time: 1:10:09 with 464' of climbing. 

Look at the pacing!  Slog city up Shumankawall at the end. 

Tuesday: 9 miles - snowy Exeter trails/dirt roads with Galoob.  We met at Cuttyhunk Preserve.  I waited down the road for him to drive into the snowed in lot first, since my car may have gotten stuck.  We decided to just wear trail shoes, even though the conditions looked snowshoe-able.  We ran the trails to Stony Lane, which was snow covered and extremely wet.  We crossed over to Pardon Joslin Rd and then did the very snowy north Fisherville loop.  There was an unbelievable amount of animal tracks here.  No humans.  We then did 3 repeats of Pardon Joslin hill.  Luckily there were 4x4 tracks on it, or the conditions may have been unbearable.  Mike had to shoot home, so I took the long way back down Stony Lane and Cuttyhunk.  I ended up with 1,009' of elevation gain.  Total time: 1:15:51. 

Wednesday: 10 miles - URI indoor track workout with Galoob.  Mike had 3 possible workouts to do, and we agreed to do this one: 2 sets of 6x500 @ 5K pace with a 300 float.  4 minutes rest between sets.  My target was 1:42 (5:28 5K pace), but got into a groove of 1:39's in the first set and 1:38's in the 2nd.  This equated more to my 3K pace (5:15).  The floats were kept to a peppy pace in the low 7's.  This made the workout challenging.  In the beginning, I thought there was no way I could complete 2 sets of this, but my body acclimated and the second set felt way easier.  Confidence booster!  Total time: 1:06:01. 

Thursday: 8 mile double (sort of).  Cold day with a chilly breeze.  First I parked at the RI Desert (part of Big River) to look for my daughter's gloves she left here over the weekend when we went sledding here with friends (best place to sled ever BTW).  I couldn't find them.  I ended up just slogging around in the snow on the dunes on both side of Division Street.  Felt like the arctic.  I should have worn my snowshoes.  Many, many climbs up steep dunes were exhausting.  GPS only gave me 200' of elevation gain however.  Stupid technology.  I stopped after 45 minutes.  I then decided to bag a few more miles, this time doing an out-and-back on the roads.  I began into the wind which was mind numbing.  Very cold.  Way back wasn't much better. 3 miles in 21:11. 

RI Desert map
The snowy desert. 

Friday: 10 miles - URI indoor track workout alone.  A really cold and windy day that was perfect for running circles inside.  My goal was a 5 mile block of T pace, but I knew that 40 nonstop speedy laps might be way too much for me to handle physically (legs tired from Wed workout and snow slogging) or mentally.  After a 2 mile warm up, I began the T block (5:52 pace - 44 sec laps).  My legs were feeling heavy and the laps were not going by fast enough.  I willed my way to 3 miles in 17:35 and then jogged for 800.  I decided to shoot for a T workout that I've done in the past (3T, 2T, 1T).  The 2 mile block was much better (11:42).  I was fatiguing the last mile (5:51), but got it done.  1 mile cool down.  Total time: 1:04:29. 

Saturday: 10 miles - local roads in the morning.  Forecasted to be wicked cold all day, I was happy to have a temperature in the high teens when I ran at 8:30AM.  I decided to do an out-and-back on roads from my house, first heading into the wind to get the worst of the cold over with.  I went out Burdickville Rd, down Rte 91 to Rte 216, then up Tomaquag Rd to Tomaquag Valley Rd (snow and ice covered dirt).  The cold wasn't that bad as the sun was out and I was dressed appropriately.  I thought this route was hilly, but it didn't feel like it as I ran.  I was pleased to see that GPS had it at 802' elevation gain when I uploaded it.  Total time: 1:12:24. 

Sunday: 8 miles - mixed road/snow trails run from my house.  I waited for it to warm up to single digits before heading out.  I have to say that my North Face balaclava was a smart purchase last year.  The thing keeps me warm no matter what.  I ran down Buckeye Brook Road before veering off to test trail conditions.  Most places had packed down crunchy snow which made running in just trail shoes nice.  Total time: 1:03:13 with 472' of climbing. 

Weekly Total: 63 miles
Last Week: 61 miles
Year to Date: 437 miles
February to Date: 124 miles

Friday, February 12, 2016

Postponed Race Week: 2-1-16 to 2-7-16

This week was going to be light on mileage and intensity to rest my body up for the Belleville Pond Trail 10K in Ryan Park on Saturday.  My legs have been feeling rather tired from winter conditions running, so this was welcomed.  The race ended up getting postponed on Friday afternoon due to a messy storm.  So this ended up being a quiet running week which is probably not a bad thing. 

Monday: 12 miles - Burlingame trails in the morning.  The high temperature got up into the mid 60's today, but because of an appointment, I had to run when it was only about 50.  Muggy!  I did a good loop from my house that included all the fun stuff north and east of the pond.  Total time: 1:33:10 with 737' of climbing. 

Tuesday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails with Galoob.  We met up to tweak the 10K course since there has been so much single track added to the park over the last 3 years.  The course is the same flow, but incorporates more single track and small hills.  This is going to be fun to race!  Total time: 58:53. 

Wednesday: 8 miles - URI indoor track with Galoob.  Just a tune up for Saturday's race.  3 mile warm up then 4x1000 @ T pace: 3:30/3:35/3:34/3:35 with 1 minute recovery.  Added in 4x100 strides during 2 mile cool down. A little too spicy on the 1000s. Total time: 54:31. 

Thursday: 7 miles - Ryan Park trails alone.  I ran the new course mixing in a few strides near the end.  Going over race strategy in mind.  Total time: 52:28. 

Friday: 0 - heavy rain overnight changed to heavy wet snow in the morning.  What a mess.  Luckily we didn't lose power like others nearby.  Everything was drooping with snow.  I was content to not run with the idea of a snowy sufferfest race looming tomorrow.  Got the call from Galoob in the afternoon that Ryan Park was a disaster.  Race needed to be postponed.  Bummer. 

Saturday: 16 miles - half beach half roads long run fartlek alone.  I had a decent morning window to run, but wasn't sure where.  Yesterday's wet roads would be very icy (low 20's overnight).  The trails would all be blocked by drooping trees.  Plus I would have to snowshoe.  I decided that running the beach would be a good option.  I parked at the top of Charlestown Breachway Rd not knowing if the beach lot would be plowed.  I then ran the two miles of road to get to the breachway.  The road was terrible and I hated every car that passed me by.  Finally I reached the breachway and hopped onto the beach.  It was a mid tide but receding.  The sand was decently firm.  It was cold out, but the sun was bright and the light breeze at my back.  I warmed up quickly and took off my gloves.  I tried to enjoy the solitude and scenery, but in the back of my head, I knew I had a lot of sand running to do and I wanted to get it done.  The rocks of Green Hill were a little dicey and I wished I had done the road detour.  Moonstone wasn't as stony as usual, and I was getting into a good groove.  I saw my first human here.  I kept moving along until I reached an unplanned roadblock - Cards Pond was breached and there was a raging deep river emptying into the Atlantic.  I stopped and reassessed.  I was only at 6 miles.  I decided to make my way back, but I would run around the roads of Green Hill too.  And while I was at it, I thought I would mix in some speed play.  I ran back along Moonstone Beach at a tempo effort for 1.3 miles.  I then slowed things down over the rocks and the icy streets of Green Hill for a mile or so and then did a hard road mile.  My time wasn't great, but the road conditions were crappy.  I jogged around for another mile or so, hopping back onto the beach, before running hard from Green Hill to the Charlestown Breachway (a distance of over 2 miles).  This was challenging and I cursed every time I took a step in soft sand.  More people and dogs out now.  The tough part was seeing the breachway, but it taking forever to reach it.  I was happy to be done with it.  I then jogged for another mile on the icy roads back, before engaging in another hard icy road mile back to my car.  I was at fifteen miles, 8 had been on the beach and 7 on the road.  I figured 1 more road mile made sense.  Total time: 1:59:37 with about 5.5 miles of tempo work mixed in. 

Cards Pond Breach looking east

view to the west

jumping back on the beach at Green Hill

Sunday: 11 miles - early morning run on mostly roads from my house.  The roads were not icy like I feared.  I ran south down roads to the Burlingame Picnic Area.  I then ran the VG trail out to Klondike Rd.  Conditions on the trails were good to.  Just an inch or two of crunchy snow and ice.  The bridges felt a little sketchy though.  I then ran hilly roads back to my house.  Total time: 1:18:20 with 583' of climbing. 

Weekly Total: 61 miles
Last Week: 72 miles
Year to Date: 374
February to Date: 61 miles

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Quick Thaw: 1-25-16 to 1-31-16

Well that didn't take too long.  This is the way I enjoy the snow.  Play in it for a couple of days and then go back to normal.  My plan for this week was to pack on miles early and then taper for Saturday's Charlestown Chili 5K.  I hoped to have a good race while fretting about course set up and helping with directing. 

Monday: 14 mile double.  First light keeps coming earlier and earlier these days.   I got out about 10 minutes after my son hopped on the middle school bus and ran a Burdickville Rd (plus a little more) out and back.  Decent hills in both directions.  5 miles in 36:08 with 397' of climbing.  In the afternoon I donned my snowshoes for the third day in a row and checked out the conditions at Ryan Park.  I was happy to see a lot less snow than Burlingame and there were many snowshoe and other tracks already on most of the trails.  I basically ran the 10K course in just over an hour.  Not too bad.  I then ran another mile on the road without the snowshoes as a cool down. 

Tuesday: 15 mile double.  Another early morning start from the house, this time out and back on Buckeye Brook Rd.  More good hills.  5 miles in 35:54 with 379' of climbing.  Things were melting pretty fast and trails and roads seemed like gross options.  I opted to run up and down the straight hilly roads in Saunderstown despite exhausted legs.  I felt slow and out of shape on the climbs. I also had a stiff headwind going up.  The weather was nice though and I shuffled along my planned route.  10 miles in 1:13:07 (faster than I assumed) with 1,342' of elevation gain. 

Wednesday: 9 miles - T paced mile repeats in Wickford.  Work has been more demanding these days and I couldn't make the time to meet Galoob at the URI indoor track.  I ended up doing a solo workout on a road loop mile near my work.  The Waldron Mile segment was created 3 years ago and used a couple of times by myself, Mike, and Gunshow.  It's a quiet neighborhood, with slightly undulating terrain.  It's a fun spot for this sort of thing.  My plan was 5 x 1 mile @ T pace with 1 minute recoveries.  I was worried about how tired my legs have been due to mileage and snowshoe running, but this workout went extremely well.  Results: 5:52/5:50/5:52/5:47/5:48.  These felt smooth!  Total time 57:47. 

Thursday: 6 miles - Calf Pasture Point+ easy run.  Tired.  Most of this run was on sand along the bay.  Total time: 50:19.  Checked out Ninigret - looks like the 5K course has melted nicely and Saturday's weather is looking good! 

Friday: 6 miles - Ryan Park sloppy trails alone.  Some wet snow remains, but mostly just bare trails that are very muddy in many places.  I zigzagged on the western side for 48:32. 

Saturday: 12 miles - Charlestown Chili 5K - 1st overall, 17:51.  This event was an overwhelming success.  I began marking the course at 10:30 (1PM start).  After finalizing the measuring last week,  I now was concerned with this task.  The issue is that Ninigret Park can be confusing - many unmarked paved lanes and open terrain.  I really wanted to make sure no one got off course.  This meant first driving around and putting out large cones in places, placing mile markers, as well as setting up arrows for turns.  This was more complicated by the mostly frozen ground and also the wind (I searched around for rocks to keep the cones from moving).  I then ditched my car and jogged the course with a backpack of flags (big thanks to Galoob for letting me borrow all his stuff!!).  This process took way longer than I thought and by the time I was done, it was 12:15!  I then grabbed my snow shovel to clear two corners of snow and ice (plowed in).  Meanwhile the place was filling up with people.  There were plenty of familiar faces both from the Charlestown Early Learning Center (the pre-school that the race was for) and WTAC runners (thanks for the support!).  Things finally seemed good to go.  I was exhausted!!  I warmed up, but legs just felt shot.  Oh well.  Laura (the first time RD) got the kids race off just before 1PM which both my kids did. 

Kids race start.  All photos by Danielle Burbo Photography. 

Jackson finished in 3rd. 
Ellie was 3rd girl, 6th overall. 

It was now time for the 5K.  Somehow I found myself in the back of the parking lot at my car getting my kids settled in (my wife was also running the 5K).  There was whining.  Then I heard a horn.  I looked up and noticed that the race had begun!  For a second I thought about just forgetting about it, but then I took off across the parking lot to get to the race. 

Race start.  Great turn out! 
I jumped into the back of the race and weaved my way up to the front.  By the quarter mile mark, I took the lead.  I wasn't feeling great, but the rush of adrenaline was helping me.  By the half mile mark, it seemed that I was going to run the rest of the race as a time trial.  Unfortunately, I never started my watch in the confusion, so I had no idea how fast I was going.  I pushed along creating more space when I would get glances at turns.  Despite two of my arrow signs blowing over, everyone was staying on course which was a relief.  At times there was a stiff headwind, but you never ran in the same direction for long (which was my plan when I designed the course).  I convinced myself that I was running fast.  I was feeling good.  I kept picking up the pace on the final mile and then got a visual on the clock.  High 17:40's. Ugh.  I motored through to a 17:51 finishing time.  Not what I was planning, but the day was such a success that I don't really care.  It is funny to think that about a month ago I ran the course relatively hard on a very cold morning in 17:43. 
Finishing up. 
Crossing the line. 
It was fun to then watch the rest of the runners finish up the race.  I was stoked for Jon Short to finish 4th overall and average in the 6's for the first time in years.  My wife pushed herself harder than her usual runs and my dad did well as well.  So many young kids did the 5K.  I began getting chilly and then realized I had a long course clean up in front of me.  Better get it over with.  Off I went picking up flags and signs.  It seemed to go by faster than set up, but I was gone a long time.  Things were winding down back at the community center by the time I got back.  In total there were 150+ participants in the races today.  Laura did an awesome job directing this race!  I'm glad I could help out. 
Sunday: 10 miles - Grills Preserve trails alone.  I wasn't feeling that chipper, but it was a nice morning and I wanted to run anyway.  I decided to run around Grills Preserve, hoping that it wasn't too muddy.  I perked up as I went along and had a great run on both sides of the river.  Total time: 1:19:59. 
Overall:  I probably over did it early in the week and ruined my shot at a PR attempt at the 5K.  Not that missing the start and setting up for 2.5 hours before hand helped either.  I NEED to take it easy next week as the Belleville Pond Trail 10K is on Saturday.  Looks like clear trails in (one of) my home park.  Can't wait! 
Weekly Total: 72 miles
Last Week: 67 miles
Year to Date: 313 miles
January Total: 313 miles