Friday, January 13, 2017

Weekly Post: January 9-15 2017

Well the foot of snow from last weekend disappeared after three days thanks to very warm January weather.  I was happy with this.  I like winter conditions to come and go.  I got in three awesome snowshoe runs, beating up my body in the process, but happy to return to open roads and trails.  Here is a Go Pro video (thanks for the motivation Seth!) of my "run" up Shumunkawall last Sunday.  It's a little long, but entertaining (to me anyway).

Monday: 7 miles - 1:01:15.  Snowshoe run in Ryan Park with Gunshow and Galoob.  It felt like old times, meeting up with these two guys for a midday adventure.  The temperature was still nippy (20's).  We headed out in the still deep snow from Ben's new house/farm that borders Ryan Park.  Breaking trail was tough, but conditions were much better on the railbed.  It was relatively hard packed by cross country ski tracks and walkers.  To my surprise, most of the single track trails were also well tracked.  We weaved around the east side of the park and then returned to the railbed and did a short loop on the west side before ending back at Ben's.  GPS had this at 5.6 miles, but it felt like 7 to me.

Tuesday: 11 miles - 1:37:43.  Long solo snowshoe run in Ryan Park.  It was a quiet day at work and I had the opportunity for a 1.5 hour run.  The rain was holding off and the temperature was now in the 40's.  This was perhaps my last chance to snowshoe run for a while so I went for it.  Conditions were awesome!  The packed trails were melting, but solid footing for my snowshoes.  Trail shoes would have been posthole hell.  I wore less winter layers.  I pretty much exhausted most trails in the park, except that extreme west side was not packed at all.  I did the Rte 4 trail, following one pair of boot tracks - that's it.  This was tiring, but the rest of the run was mellow and pleasant.  GPS had me at 9.1 miles.

Wednesday: 10 miles - 1:23:48. Saunderstown mix.  I parked at the King Preserve parking lot on Rte 1A.  Very warm (50's) and rather sunny.  I ran around the Plum Beach neighborhood roads before jumping on the beach and running north.  The tide was super low, and I debated ditching my planned loop to see if I could make the Plum Point - Casey Point connection.  I decided to press on with my course.  So much coastline was exposed and I was clearly running well under the normal low tide mark.  I made my way around Rome Point and then jumped back on the roads, this time heading south, mostly on Gilbert Stuart Rd.  It was then time to hit the trails in King Preserve.  The trails were in worse shape than I thought, and I had low expectations.  I tried to find the firmest options, and made my way over to the dirt road on the south side.  This hardpacked dirt road was so soft.  I got rather messy.  I finished up with a mile plus heading north on 1A, mixing in 5 strides.

"GPS looks like Bart Simpson giving someone the finger"
Quote by BLS 1-11-2017

Thursday: 11+ miles - 1:25:29.  Narragansett loop with Galoob.  Easy paced run mostly on roads in Middlebridge and Bonnet Shores, but included some dirt on Walmsley Ln and Bonnet Shores beach.  Very warm (56 degrees).

Friday: 11 miles - 1:21:40. Charlestown Chili 5K course finalizing in Ninigret Park.  Quiet in the park, and I had a good chunk of time to work on the course.  I was happy that my idea squeezed in rather nicely.  Out on the bike path to the crit course and back on the bike path.  My first run at 7:15 average pace netted 3.09 miles.  The second run was faster (6:35 ave. pace) with optimal tangents(?), and came out as 3.06.  I'm not surprised that faster on GPS usually equates to shorter.  I will run it again (same start and finish line) nice and slow and see what I get.  I may need to tweak start or finish lines.  Here is a quick course map I did (looks like a toddler may have done it....):

Charlestown Chili 5K, Saturday January 28th, 1PM

New bike path!

Can't wait to have the race use this! 

Saturday: 16 mile double.  AM 10.5 miles - 1:21:44.  Burlingame trails with Jon Short and Jeff.  Up Sammy C's at a brisk pace (I was dragging a bit), then VG to Lenny's Lane, over to a loop of VG, unnamed trail, Stillwater Rd, and white dot.  VG back to King's Factory Rd.  Chilly, but good fun.  I went home and stacked wood for about an hour.  After lunch - 5.5 hike with Sarah and the kids to my parents' house via Burlingame trails.  3 miles of no whining, and the kids carrying their backpacks with gear necessary for their overnight stay.  Sarah and I hiked back, cutting off part of the trails as it was very cold and looking like it may snow any minute.  Met up again with Jon Short and his better half in Westerly at the Malted Barley before heading over to the Knickerbocker to watch Soulshot play.  Missed the Patriots game, but I always enjoy this talented 10 or 11 piece band play.  Tiring day!

Sunday: 19 miles - 2:15:00.  Long run / workout mix solo.  I wasn't going to be able to join the group long run that I was planning which was frustrating.  Oh well.  I hoped I could still get a good run in at some point during the day, but truthfully, my body was rather tired from a busy Saturday and a big week of miles.  It turned out that I could get out around 11am for the long run I desired.  I quickly put together a nearby loop of trails and roads.  My idea was to run the road sections at marathon pace and run easyish on the trails.  I began at Meadowbrook Pond and saw Galoob's car in the parking lot.  I thought about running my loop in reverse thinking that I might run into him, but I figured he had been running for quite some time and probably wouldn't want to join me for my loop.  I warmed up for 1/4 mile on the road, then picked up the pace since I was on roads, and a flat one to boot.  The speed felt challenging without a proper warm up, but after tackling the rise over the train tracks, it was a breeze to speed down hill and then the flats leading to Carter Preserve.  I ran the frozen and lightly snow coated powerline trail.  I was wearing road shoes, and I was slipping a little bit with every step.  Not a big deal, but it proved to be tiring as the run went on.  Anyway, I jumped onto the wooded single track and made my way over to Charlestown School.  After this pleasant 3 miles it was back to pavement, and my longest stretch of it for my run - almost 5 miles.  I ran down into Shannock and then had to battle a continuous uphill the rest of the way (North Rd and Beaver River Rd).  After a while, I got into a good groove.  I was moving too fast for true marathon pace, but I was doing work and feeling good about it.  I finally made it to my turn off - still briefly paved but snow covered, and I fell into a jog.  4.67 miles at 6:12 ave. pace.  I was happy, although struggled up the slippery Wilbur Hill in the Grass Pond Preserve.  My respite on the trails was short lived, and it was back on pavement.  I now headed west down Wilbur Hill Rd and along Kenyon Hill Rd.  I reached my planned turnoff onto the NST in Carolina, but decided to tackle the huge hill in front of me.  I was again moving well (sub 6:10 for almost 2 miles), and I was making good work of the hill.  The steepness and length eventually took its toll, and I stopped once the road turned into dirt.  Kind of lame, but I was toast.  I jogged up the rest of the hill and then into Carolina.  I missed a planned turn, which added distance, more hills, and better trails.  I'm pretty sure I was seeing Galoob's tracks in the snow.  After a pleasant stroll (except for my tightness from slipping), I reached Pine Hill Rd.  This would be a short paved section, but uphill on tired legs.  It was a grind, but indeed short.  Back on trails.  I was feeling really good for 2 hours of running (and 80+ miles for the week).  I reached the open fields and the sun felt warm and the snow was gone.  I jumped onto Rte 91 for one more mile of speed (6:08), and then did a short cool down before stopping at 2 hours and 15 minutes.  My lower core was very tight and pain was setting in.  I took some vitamin I and felt fine ever since.

Week to Date: 85 miles
January to Date: 135 miles
Year to Date: 135 miles

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Weekly Post: January 2-8 2017

I'm looking forward to a busy January of running.  First up is Galoob's Resolution Beach & Trail 5K this Saturday the 7th.  I also am involved with the Charlestown Chili 5K again this year, and need to be out in Ninigret Park working on a new course that utilizes the recently finished bike path.  The race is Saturday, January 28th.  Other than that, I'm thinking about my goal races for the year.  I'm pretty interested in the Baystate Marathon in October.  It's an easy course and also serves as the marathon for the USATFNE Grand Prix.  Hopefully, I can knock a few minutes off my Manchester City Marathon time (2:53).  The date of Baystate most likely means the short race (23K) for Pisgah in mid September.  It's still early.

2016 ended with a great, mostly trail run.  First it was a group of 6 WTACers running from Ashville Pond, north on the Narragansett Trail to Camp Yawgoog.  Then we ran around Hidden Lake, connected with Tippecansett Trail, and followed north to Beach Pond.  This was a nice casual pace and very enjoyable for me.  Muddy and I then made a loop back to Ashville Pond via the techy and remote Deep Pond and Dye Hill Trails, and then jumping on roads (mostly Canonchet) back.  We passed 9 ponds on this route: Ashville, Long, Ell, Yawgoog, Hidden Lake, Beach, Deep, Grassy, and Wincheck.  I surpassed the 3,000 mile mark on Strava during this run.  I didn't try to keep track of my real miles, but I'm guessing around 3,200 or so.

Monday: 7 miles - 1:04:40.  Slow technical trails in Burlingame.  I zeroed on the 1st (Sunday) thanks to a busy day with family and a chest cold.  Today was the last day of vacation for everyone, so we took it slow.  I still had crud in my chest, but got out for an easy run on Sammy C's down to VG to Schoolhouse Pond to Secret and back to VG.  I ended with 4 random length strides on the road.

Tuesday: 0 - 0:00.  Wild day at work and very rainy.  I didn't bother to even entertain the idea of running today.  No big deal.

Wednesday: 11 miles - 1:22:48.  Quonset Bike Path and two Calf Pasture Point loops.  Work was much quieter and I had the time to run!  My idea was to run CPP since it is similar terrain to the Resolution race.  I wanted to do a light workout as well, but not too hard since I'm still getting over head/chest crud and race is on Saturday.  After 3 miles on the bike path I did two CPP loops, mixing in 5 x 1 minute on/off.  4 out of the 5 were on the very slow beach (peak high tide) and the last was back on the bike path.  The sprints felt taxing but very slow.  I'm not sore from it, so that's all I wanted.  Long cool down back to my car.

Thursday: 9 miles - 1:09:20. King Preserve and Camp Nokewa single track with about a mile of pavement and dirt roads in between.  I ran into Sandals and stopped and chatted for a few minutes.  I was hoping the trails would be frozen (only 33 degrees and windy), but they were very wet and muddy - especially the Blue Dot high up on the hill.  I did my best to leave no trace, and just plow through the slop.  This was a fun out and back.  GPS had it at 8.1 miles, but my effort was peppy, and closer to 7:30 feel.

Friday: 5+ miles - 44:06.  Black Point trails and Scarborough Beach.  We received 3-4" of fluffy snow in the morning (kids had a 1 hr delay) and I needed to see what the race course would be like.  Plenty of tracks on the Black Point trails and decent grip.  Not many icy spots as I had feared.  It was high tide, but the sliver of exposed beach (not snow covered or under water) was flat and firm.  I took a few photos to post on Strava:

Fluffy snow in the Black Point parking lot

Creepy selfie on the ocean trail

trail heading toward the ruins

icy in the ruins

large tidal stream that the course usual passes over

Saturday: 10 miles - Resolution Beach & Trail 5K - 5th overall, 19:00.  What an incredible day for a race.  Big snow storm brewing, and the flakes began falling a few minutes before start time.  It was 25 degrees and very windy (out of the north).  I ran 4+ miles of warm ups over 3 different runs.  I was excited for the normal team battle, as well as the fact that my wife and 2 kids were both racing as well!  On top of that, I had convinced a couple of friends to sign up for WTAC and join in the fun.

By the time I had finished my wardrobe change for the race (wind briefs, shorts, short sleeve shirt, singlet, hat, gloves, and xc spikes!), and ran to the start line, it was time to go.  The wind driven snow really picked up, and it was clear this race was going to be in epic conditions.  Lots of smiles at the line, and then the race began.  I wanted to just hang with the lead pack, only if the start was not too fast.  Brightman went out hard, and I settled into a chase pack of fellow teammates Muddy and FiveK plus other guys.  At the flag turnaround, I was fifth in a strung out train.  We now needed to run almost a mile down the beach directly into the wind and stinging snow.  It was crazy!  By the mile mark, I was passed by Rhode Runner Mike Macedo (who I narrowly beat last year here) and another local runner.  I tucked in behind them (didn't help), and then made a move around both just before the slow, snowy beach dune trail.  This worked well.  The footing wasn't great and I felt slow, but I had created room.  I felt like my quick cadence and spikes gave me an advantage.  That was until the 1/4 mile road section.  I did my best to fight the wind and the clackety clack of my shoes.  My margin was slim as I reached the Black Point parking lot.  Onto the snow trails, I again just focused on turnover, and using any slight downhill to my advantage.  Soon I was safely ahead of Mike again.  Up ahead, Muddy made his way around FiveK (3rd and 4th overall) and I wondered if I had a shot to catch FiveK on the trail portion.  I knew my shoes had much better grip than his (we warmed up together) and trails aren't his forte.  I made up a bit of ground, but he did a great job in these conditions.  I reached the ruins, jumped down to the beach, over the tidal stream, and onto the long finishing stretch.  In six years, today had the best conditions - firm flat sand and a wicked tailwind.  I went into rapid turnover mode.  Peeking back, I could see I wasn't going to get caught from behind.  FiveK was not to be caught by me however.  I finished up in 19:00 flat.  Fifth overall for the 2nd year in a row.  This time 10 seconds ahead of Mike Macedo (as opposed to 2 seconds last year).  I was also 10 seconds behind FiveK.  Rhode Runner finished 1,2,6 and WTAC was 3,4,5.  Close, but no cigar for the men's team.

After finishing and watching finishers for a few minutes, I remembered I needed to go check on how my kids were doing.  Jon Short joined me, and we headed off back into the wind and snow, both sporting some serious ice beards.  We made it all the way around Black Point, through the ruins, and back on the beach.  I caught up to one friend and their 9 year old daughter, but never up to my family.  I was happy to hear they all had finished without incident, and seemed rather proud of their accomplishments in such a crazy weather day.  I hung around the boiling water pot for awards, but most people had smartly headed home.  The snow was sticking to the roads, and coming down hard.  I began shivering uncontrollably, so I had to bail as well.  Long ride home, but uneventful.  The Galoobs did it again!  Another race I will never forget!!

Jackson and Ellie and their friends at the start
Photo by Annie Campbell

ice beard post race and cool down
Photo by Maria MacLellan

end of the race: FiveK with me in the background
Photo by Shara Bousquet

Huddled around the boiling pot of water post race.  
Photo by Leslie O'Dell

Me at the starting line.  
Photo by Annie Campbell

And the race begins!
Photo by Scott Mason

Sunday: 8 miles - 1:07:01. Local snowshoe run mostly in Burlingame.  GPS had me at 5.3, but with about a foot of new powder to blast through, I'm giving myself credit for 8.  It's my blog and I can do what I want :).  I began by slogging out Shumunkawall Trail on my property.  After less than a half mile at 22 min/mile pace, I jumped onto the road and ran along the snow covered edge.  I then veered into north Burlingame by the beaver pond - breaking trail again, but at least downhill.  Just as I had hoped, the main loop of double track in this management area, had fresh 4x4 truck tracks on it (DEM or just someone out joy riding).  I hopped into a wide track and the going was much easier.  I stayed in the track for a mile or so, before deciding to again blaze trail - this time the single track portion of the River Trail.  This was tough, but I knew I just had to make it to the canoe camps, and the double track up the hill should be tracked by the 4x4.  Along the way I spotted a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker which was exciting to me.  Unfortunately no 4x4 tracks at the canoe camps - just a lonely fox or coyote track that was not remotely useful.  The long climb was a soul crusher, and I had to walk a lot.  After forever, I reached the top, and the 4x4 tracked main loop.  A couple of minutes later I took a digger on a downhill and shouted loudly.  Right around the corner, I spotted two skiing humans on the Ledge Trail who must of heard me.  We didn't acknowledge each other.  I took the loop back to the beaver pond, and then slowly climbed out to my road using my previous tracks.  Despite the cold temperature (high teens and cold wind), I was a sweaty mess.  This was also after I spent an hour shoveling, so I was really pooped by the time I came back inside.  Hunger ensued.  I took a couple of Go Pro videos (thanks for the motivation Seth!) on my Shumunkawall adventure that I might post on the next blog update.

Weekly Total: 50 miles
January to Date: 50 miles
Year to Date: 50 miles