Motivation is a tricky thing, and I continue to find ways to keep running day after day, year after year. I've recently returned to an old standby: chasing miles. I realized a few weeks ago that I was falling behind my random goal of 3,000 miles on Strava for the year. I ended November with 2,695.5 GPS miles. If I still kept track of my miles manually, I would be at about 2,800. But, I'm too lazy for that, so here I am with a new way to keep myself running every day. For the month of December I need to run 304.5 miles on my watch. To maximize mileage, I need to forgo trails (at least technical, twisty ones) for the most part. With shotgun deer season, this is more palatable. Also, I won't seek hilly routes every day either. Hopefully, my body can handle it. I do have one race (Christmas 10K in Newport on Sunday the 10th) which will throw a wrench into this, but I will try to keep mileage up while "tapering". Additionally, it can always be tricky training around the Christmas break. This is going to be fun! I will update this post frequently during the month.
2017 GOAL: 3,000.0 DECEMBER GOAL: 304.5
2017 TO DATE: 2,892.3 DECEMBER TO DATE: 196.8
MILES TO GO: 107.7
DAYS TO GO: 11
December Daily Log:
(1) 10.4 miles - Mt Tom trails. 1:42:49 with 1,639' of elevation gain. Not the best way to maximize miles, but a tremendous amount of fun on the last day between deer seasons.
(2) 9.2 miles - local runs. 3 miles in Burlingame with Jackson on his mtn bike. Good stuff. Found a very cool historical cemetery (Charlestown #67) by guessing wrong on an old lane. 32:09 with 200' of gain. A little later I ran local roads - 6.2 miles in 47:18 with 285'.
(3) 13.6 miles - Clark Falls / Green Falls road loop. Chilly start, but great weather. Ran solo from Clark Falls up Denison Hill Rd. After 4 miles, the road turns to gravel/dirt near Green Falls. Returned via Wheeler Rd (includes a nice dirt section) and Rte 49 (yuck). To get up to 75 miles for the week, I left the loop to climb up Boom Bridge Road. Total time 1:46:00 with 860' of gain.
(4) 10.5 miles - Matunuck / Green Hill. 1:23:42 with 196'. I was in this neck of the woods and it seemed like my best shot for natural light before turning on the headlamp. Parked at Deep Hole and zigzagged around Matunuck roads and then headed west past Trustom Pond to Green Hill. I climbed the "hill" and enjoyed the twilight water views. I decided to make part of my run a loop, and headed for the beach. Very slow going at first, but then eventually found hard packed sand. Darkness really setting in, headwind, but a great time running along the ocean. I hopped back onto Matunuck roads and donned my headlamp. Body felt good and running felt smooth. Slower paced than I anticipated, but who cares. Right?
(5) 10.5 miles - Queens River Loop. 1:19:28' with 326'. Okay mix of dirt and paved roads with 1 mile of trails at the end. One decent hill on Glen Rock Road. Ran early to beat the rain, but it rained most of the time. Legs feel great. Perky finish.
(6) 11.5 miles - Exeter / Richmond road loop. About 3 miles on dirt, the rest on mostly back roads. Feeling surprisingly fantastic. Chilly, but dressed appropriately. Pushed the final hill up and down. 1:26:09 with 933' of climbing.
(7) 10 miles - Quonset Bike Path and Calf Pasture Point. 1:15:58 with 250'. Nice to run here again after a long hiatus.
(8) 9.5 miles - Hillsdale Loop. 1:13:28 with 812'. Mostly roads (some trails) loop from Crawley Preserve. Overcast and feels like snow. Hoping to run early tomorrow before it collects on roads. Race Sunday.
(9) 6.5 miles - local roads in the morning. 50:20 with 501'. Began in a snow shower, but it faded after a few minutes. Legs tight at the start, but loosened up. Maybe I'll get back out later if I can snowshoe.
(10) 13.1 miles - Christmas 10K in Newport. 7th overall - 35:39. Pretty good race. I warmed up with a group of Turtles, officially meeting Zack Kudlak for the 1st time, and my legs and body felt really good. I wasn't sure with all the recent mileage. After lollygagging in my car, changing into my race attire, I got another mile plus in of jogging and strides. As for the race, I went out at a decent clip, hanging with a chase pack (Bronson out all alone immediately) that included local nemesises Bob Jackman, Steve Brightman, Mike Macedo, and Zack. Also there was a shirtless santa and another guy (last year's winner). After some hemming and hawing for two miles, things got strung out along Brenton Point. I was feeling strong, but maxed out speed wise. I watched as last year's winner, Jackman, Mike and Steve, pulled slowly ahead of me. I thought that 6th place would be my calling today, although you never know who may slow near the end (assuming it wasn't going to be me - haha). At 3 miles, Zack caught me, which was a surprise. I was not slowing. He pulled ahead by a couple of seconds and then remained there. I couldn't bridge the gap: not on the ups, downs, or flats. Frustrating! No one appeared to be remotely close behind. My race was in front of me. On and on the race went along Ocean Drive. There was a great tail wind and the road was in decent shape, especially since yesterday's snow. Near mile 5 there was a huge puddle/pond in the road. I watched the guys ahead try to run around it, but it looked muddy and wet anyway. I plowed right down the middle and it was deep! I wish Scott Mason had a hidden video camera here. Anyway, the last mile is the worst finishing mile in any race. There is a half mile plus long life-sucking hill. My strong point, I really thought I would catch up to Zack and a now fading Jackman here. No dice. After a way too brief screaming downhill, there is another steep wall to climb, before a long finishing shoot at the high school. I couldn't catch up and finished in 35:39, 7th overall. I was happy with my effort and can only guess the difference between this year's time and last year's (surprising PR of 34:57) was the mileage on my legs. I wasn't doing any speedwork last year either, but definitely had less miles coming in. This year was only 2 seconds behind the 35:37 I ran in 2013, when I trained so hard specifically for this race, and was doing a ton of workouts. Interesting to note. Long cool down with the Turtles again. Bonking by the end. Met up with WTAC teammates inside and ate too many Allie's Donuts halves. Yum! 2nd place Master - Brightman needs to get out of my age group! 2nd place team. Fun event.
(11) 7.1 miles - local road loop. Recovery run with a speedy finish. Ran the gamut from feeling horrible to fantastic. 52:11 with 431'.
(12) 0 miles - couldn't find the time to run. Yuck.
(13) 11.3 miles - Saunderstown hills. A wander up and down sheltered hilly roads (stiff NW wind) and a short romp on trails at the end. 1:27:42 with 1,129'.
(14) 6.6 miles - late afternoon on snowy Burlingame campground trails. Another crazy day, but I salvaged it with this run. Loved being alone in the dark woods with a cover of snow. I wish I remembered I don't have any Yaktrax (I threw out the 3 broken ones in my car last year). They would have been perfect. 59:07 with 341'.
(15) 7.1 miles - afternoon run on the north side of Burlingame. A little more snow on the ground. I began from Burdickville Rd and realized that shotgun season was still going on. Checking online, Burlingame is in Zone 1 and the season didn't end until 12/17. Oops. The hunter I ran into on the River Trail was very pleasant. I felt bad. I also hadn't seen any deer tracks on this trail, just coyote. I crossed over Buckeye Brook Rd and ran trails close to the road. No hunters here. 1:00:02 with 607'. Not feeling optimistic about completing my GPS challenge, but I'm enjoying these shorter (and much tougher!) runs in the snow.
(16) 10.2 miles - afternoon run in Carter Preserve. The 3rd straight day of measurable (albeit not much) new snow. My body felt tired and sore in the usual places after snow running. I muscled through a bad attitude and zigzagged my way around the preserve trails from the Kings Factory Rd lot. I was laying down first tracks in the middle section, but a few others had been out before me near the parking lots. I did pop out onto Rte 91 after 70 minutes of tough running and ran mostly roads back (except for the powerline). 1:33:00 with 646'.
(17) 16.2 miles - morning solo long run. I quickly mapped out a couple of ideas for a long run before jumping out the door. It was chilly (mid 20's). I ran local roads and then headed out to Rte 91 in Alton. I then continued on back roads in and around Ashaway. I warmed up once I headed back east after 10 miles (west wind). I was pushing myself harder (and feeling faster) on this hilly return. Plenty of hills throughout the run. My body happily didn't feel awful, but my pace on the early miles was lackluster. 1:56:31 with 1,152'. I'm happy to end up with 58.5 GPS miles on the week. I still might be able to do this.
(18) 11.0 miles - dark, mushy, rainy bike path. Work is just so crazy busy. I left late and ran the safest spot I could think of on my way home. Why is it raining? 34 degrees. The bike path was plowed, and the remaing snow and ice could be mostly dodged. Really wet though. 1:21:39 with 233'.
(19) 13.3 miles - long loop around Richmond/Exeter. 1:39:02 with 814'. I parked on Hillsdale Rd at the Beaver River. I headed north and decided to increase my planned loop of all roads by following Bell Schoolhouse Rd north. Half of this road is a "Pass At Own Risk" dirt road, and is rather messy these days. I continued on dirt - NLT to the very hill Ten Rod Road west to Rte 3. One more short stretch of dirt on Carolina Back Rd. Rather hilly loop. Felt really good.
(20) 9.2 miles - Carter Preserve workout. My plan was to run hills, but ended up at Carter off Rte 112. Ran the awesome singletrack trails to the Grassland (3.2 GPS miles). Ditched my wind breaker layer and ran 3 Grassland loops in 18:10. This should measure about 5K, but today my watch gave me 2.8 miles. BS!! Each lap usually measures a little over 1 mile (1.03 or so) and I ran 3 in a row in 18:10. No peeking at my watch until the end of lap 3. Strong tempo effort. Cool down back around the Grassland, over to the powerline, and back on Old Mill Rd. 1:14:02 with 420'.