Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Winter Conditions: 2-13-17 to 2-19-17

This was another strange week of running.  My legs got trashed and are still recovering.

Monday: 8 miles in 1:02:43.  Solo snowshoe run in Ryan Park.  Late afternoon start from the upper Oak Hill Rd lot.  The main trails were packed rather nicely (a bit uneven but good for RI).  I ran through the fields, down the rail bed, around the pond, and back.  My average GPS pace was right around 10 minutes per mile.  I was moving well.  At the end of my run, I encountered another snowshoe runner coming my way - Scott Mason.  We stopped and chatted for a few minutes.  He went on to the power line and said the snow was deep and untracked.  Glad I stuck to the main trails.

Tuesday: 8 miles in 1:04:26.  Snowshoe run in Ryan Park with Galoob.  Met at the same lot as yesterday, and conditions were still good.  Mike was leading and the pace was a touch hot for me.  I kept up without much trouble, but this was a good workout.  Our average GPS pace was around 9 minutes per mile.  I think I got my fix of snowshoe running.

Wednesday: 12 miles in 1:24:37.  Solo hilly road run in West Greenwich.  My legs and lower core felt tired, but I had the opportunity to do a fun run, so I just battled through it.  I opted for a very hilly road run.  It began on a side street 2/3 of the way up Plain Meeting House Road climb, then headed back down the hill (west) on the road all the way to the four corners.  My GPS couldn't find me until 3.3 miles into the run which was annoying.  I continued west down Liberty Hill Rd.  I then went south on Hudson Pond Road, which is in the middle of nowhere along Kelley Brook, and beautiful.  I then went west on Falls River Rd.  I had hoped to summit Escoheag Hill via this dirt road, but ran out of time.  I turned around at Stepstone Falls and retraced my steps.  This direction was a long climb up Liberty Hill Road and finished with the Plain Meeting House monster (360' in 1 mile).  My average pace for the run was pretty good, once I figured out the GPS glitch, and considering the hilliness.

Thursday: 4.5 miles in 34:13.  Short recovery run with Galoob in Saunderstown.  We both were hurting (he did a 22 mile run the day before) and we cut our planned easy hour short.  I thought I might head out later to gobble a few more miles, but my day got way too busy.

Friday: 15 miles in 1:42:25.  Solo hilly uptempo run in West Greenwich.  Parked at the same place as Wednesday, with plans to follow my same out-and-back course, but this time making it up and over Escoheag Hill.  I pushed the hills a little harder today, and also kept a steady pace on the flats and downs.  I was averaging 6:42 pace until I hit the climb up Falls River Rd.  Here I encountered iced over snow on the dirt road that climbs dramatically straight up.  I had to find traction on the non-icy snow, which I sank in.  This was a horrific experience.  I made it to the top without stopping, but it was a slow sufferfest.  I then continued on Escoheag Hill Rd (paved) heading north, back down the hill.  Here I had to deal with a loose, aggressive dog.  It looked mean and was harassing me.  My loud stern voice wasn't working.  A car came down the road, and paused to watch the interaction.  It distracted the dog enough that I could run by.  I began hammering the down hill, and the dog was soon out of sight.  Annoying!  Anyway, I reached my turnaround point, but I didn't want to repeat the Escoheag Hill debacles.  I soldiered on up the road, hoping my memory of maps was correct.  I was heading north for quite a while, but did find a connecting road to Hudson Pond Rd that I thought existed.  A bit of a relief, but I wasn't sure what my mileage back to my car would be.  I reconnected to my original route, having to blast up the two big hills.  I got my average pace back down to 6:49 (6:41 GAP), but it was no doubt much faster without the slow snow climb.

Saturday: 4.5 miles in 32:00.  Short solo run from my house.  Legs felt trashed.  We were traveling up to Maine later in the morning, so I forced myself to do a run beforehand.  The weather was really nice and I tried to enjoy myself.  I began mixing in short strides, which did seem to help loosen up my legs.

Sunday: XT - Shawnee Peak skiing with family and friends.  This was my first time skiing in maybe 15 years, and the first time taking the kids somewhere besides Yawgoo Valley (for lessons).  It was very warm on the mountain (mid 50's in the late morning, down to high 30's at 5pm).  We got in a full day of skiing with our Maine friends, and everyone had a great time.  It was fun!

Weekly Total: 52 miles
Last Week:  62 miles
February to Date: 165 miles
Year to Date: 447 miles

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekly Log: 2-6-17 to 2-12-17

This is shaping up to be a weird week of running.  Lethargy early in the week after Super Sunday's long run, then a random midweek long run, then a snowstorm leaving behind plenty of snow (on trails) and really crappy road conditions.

Monday: 3.5 miles in 30:39. Mount Tom trails in Arcadia after work.  I had to stop by my mother-in-law's house on my way home, so after putting off a run all day, I opted to sneak one in near her house.  Sunset on the Mount Tom ledges seemed lovely.  I had more spring in my step than anticipated and enjoyed running up the ledges, across 165 and then did a loop around the old "Broken Rib" mtn bike trail.  I then had to return via the ledges as the light was really fading.  My watch had 513' of climbing so probably a couple hundred more in actuality, Suunto would give it 950'.

Tuesday: 8.5 miles in 1:07:52.  Carolina hills after work.  Another day of no motivation until the last minute.  Drizzly and dark when I began at 4:23PM and pitch black when I finished (no headlamp) at 5:30PM.  I drove the dirt road north on Pine Hill Rd to the end (impatiently driving through potholes).  I then ran north then west up and over a hill to get to the trout pond parking lot.  I ran north to Kenyon Hill Rd (half dirt, half paved).  This is a good hill from both directions.  I summitted 4 times, twice in each direction.  These felt good as I seemed to be recovered from the long run, and I wasn't pushing too hard.  I debated the merit of returning back to my car through the woods the way I came, but just went for it.  I managed to stay upright on the long down hill at the end.  Strided it out on the flat dirt road just for good measure.  Well over 1000' of climbing.

Wednesday: 15 miles in 2:00:21.  Hilly roads and trails in West Greenwich.  Quiet at work and I had extra time to run.  Spent too long trying to figure out where/what to run.  Big slow hills won out over tempo/interval work.  It's that kind of week.  I parked at the Wickaboxet SP lot and ran down and then up Plain Meeting House Rd (biggest climb in RI I think).  Instead of summitting, I took a right on Stubble Brook Rd, which climbed anyway and then was a roller coaster the rest of the way.  This was a nice road, out in the middle of nowhere near the URI Alton Jones campus.  I reached Rte 102 and had a short stretch uphill to the Fry Pond Conservation Area - a WG Land Trust holding.  I had run in here once before (and also hiked with my family) and remembered how rugged this small trail system was.  Well, it was even tougher than I remembered, and my legs were fried from all the hills this week.  I stumbled a couple of times, falling once, but it is a beautiful place and worth the effort to visit.

Hillside trail is no joke.  Great views of cedar swamp and pond from loop.  

After 30 minutes, it was back on the roads the way I came.  Once I reached Plain Meeting House Rd, I head right up the final 150' of the hill climb and then went back into the woods via Welch Hollow Rd (an unimproved dirt road that is currently a humungous mess).  So it was really warm (mid 50's), and the ground was thawing bigly.  I couldn't wait to get into Wickaboxet and onto firmer singletrack.  I was tiring, and a little worried about the climb back out to the roads (via the WGLT Pratt Conservation Area ).  

Pratt Trail map

This is a very steep hill, but I kept my pace to grind mode and made it through.  By now I was weak, wobbly, and hungry.  However, I wanted to get to 2 hours.  This meant a detour back up Plain Meeting House Rd to the summit, and then all the way back down (and then up) to my car.  Tough run.  1442' of climbing on my watch, which is not easy to do!  

Thursday: 5 miles in 42:05.  Snow run from my house around north Burlingame.  No school or work because of the storm.  It rained for a while, then sleet, then finally snow around 10am.  The ground and road were coated with snow when I decided to go do a short run before the weather got really nasty.  I put on my Inov8's and got out the door quickly.  I wish I had Yaktrax!  My 2 pairs from last year got thrown out over the summer when I realized they were all broken.  I was getting by without them this winter, but man they would have been perfect on this run.  Snow over wet trails = a lot of slipping and very tiring on tired legs to begin with.  The wind was terrible on the road, which led to stinging sideways snow.  The woods were magnificent however (minus the slipping).  I wished that I didn't tell my wife I'd only be gone 30 minutes, because I could have spent way more time wandering around the trails.  Oh well.  I stretched my run a bit, and the headwind on the final 1/3 mile to my house gave me an ice cream headache.  Back inside for the duration of the storm.  

Friday: 9 miles in 1:19:25.  Snowshoe run/slog in Ryan Park with Galoob.  Surprisingly, we were the first to lay tracks on the rail bed.  We took turns leading and doing the grunt work.  After a loop around the pond, we decided to turn around and take advantage of the snow packing we just did.  It still wasn't ideal, but a little easier.  We then opted to head back down the rail bed and back.  Tough work and tiring.  Talked to a couple from Vermont who just finished up their xc ski.  They also run trails and were excited to hear about the upcoming Belleville Pond 10K here in a few weeks.  

Saturday: 0.  My run (snowshoe) had to be early or late.  I wasn't motivated for either.  Errands with the kids in the morning and then we went to Hope Valley School to sled in the afternoon.  I didn't sled, but got a workout shoving my kids at takeoff.  It was getting really warm, but their tubes still gave them good rides.  Annoyed at night that I didn't make the effort to do a short run, but whatever.  

Sunday: 21 miles in 2:29:34.  Solo long run on roads in the morning from my house.  So not motivated to do a long run, especially alone.  I don't really have a long race coming up, so there really isn't any urgency.  I just like doing them, more so when I can mix in trails.  Another storm was brewing and I thought I would get caught in rain or snow while out on my run.  I mostly stuck to a route I came up with the night before, heading down Burdickville Rd, 91-216 to Tomaquag Rd.  West on Woodville to Hopkinton City.  I was feeling sluggish the first 3 or 4 miles and not mentally tough.  The roads were in decent shape - some icy spots from melting the day before, until Tomaquag Rd.  Lots of ice and snow and the going got harder.  There was also a strong north wind in my face making me cold.  I pressed on and felt better by the time I was nearing Hopkinton City.  I then made up the rest of the route as I went.  South on Rte 3 to Wellstown Rd. 216 up to Cemetery Lane and then up Maxson Hill.  I pushed this hill a bit, wanting to put up a decent effort on Muddy's home turf.  At the top, I accidentally swallowed my gum, which mometarily brought on panic as it felt like I was choking at maximum heart rate.  I relaxed and continued down Diamond Hill, finally peaking at my watch (13.8 miles).  19 would get me to 60 miles for the week - a nice arbitrary goal, so I opted for a longer way home.  I ran down 216, through Bradford, and onto Buckeye Brook Rd.  It began snowing at this point and was hard enough to begin collecting on the road.  I was wearing my favorite trail shoes ever (Asics FujiLytes) and gription was not an issue.  My thighs and lower core were tired and in pain.  Climbing still felt good, but downhills were torture.  I perked up the last mile, excited about throwing down 21 miles on roads all by myself.  Decent average pace of 7:07, and GPS gave me exactly 1000' of elevation gain.  No fuel, and didn't need it.  Feeling strong although not sure about my speed.  The snow continued most of the afternoon before turning to rain.  This was a strange week of running, but I'll take it.  

Week to Date: 62 miles
Last Week: 61 miles
February to Date: 113 miles
Year to Date: 395 miles

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Catching Up (1/16/17 to 2/5/17) and Race Write Up

January got crazy personally and professionally.  I've been in a bit of a haze, but still running as much as I can/want.  Here's a quick recap of the weeks I missed:

Week of 1/16/17 to 1/22/17: 66 miles, 8h 21m time on feet, about 5,000' of climbing.

The highlight of this week was a long trail run loop from my house in Burlingame - 17 miles in 2:07:29.  After 95 minutes I did a 20 minute trail tempo which was almost completely on Sammy C's heading up (19:06).

Week of 1/23/17 to 1/29/17: 71 miles, 9h 44m time on feet, about 2,500' of climbing.

A lot of somber miles this week including a long out and back along the beach from East Matunuck to Charlestown Beach and a long point to point run from Arcadia to Shumunkanuc Hill.  I also wheel measured and finalized the Charlestown Chili 5K course and set it up with Pard and race director Laura the morning of the race.

Week of 1/30/17 to 2/5/17: 61 miles, 7h 58m time on feet, about 3,500' of climbing.

Low mileage work week due to a virus of some sort (chills, fever Monday night, weak and tired a couple more days), a trail race(!!), and a Super Sunday long run.

The 6th (and my 6th) Old Mountain 5K Trail Race put on by Galoob was on Saturday, 2/4/17.  I ran the course on Thursday with Mike and remembered how the new course (Dec 2015) went.  Three ascents (short but tough during race effort) of the Old Mountain, plus twisting, messy single track, and many obstacles along the way.  My race ritual was thrown a last minute twist as my son decided to join me.  Instead of hobnobbing with my running friends and running the course as a warm up, I instead hung with Jackson throwing things on the iced over pond and playing in the skate park.  It was seasonable (high 20's), but felt chilly this winter.  I was feeling good about racing since my legs were fresh and my health 100%.  I didn't worry about only doing a shorter, disjointed warm up.

The race went rather well.  With so many kids in attendance, I really didn't want to get stuck early on once in the woods, so I sacrificed my recent theme of starting slower.  I had a clear shot to the front right behind Brightman and Lonergan.  Last year it was the 3 of us (with Jackman for the first 2 miles) battling it out, with me finishing 3 seconds behind the Rhode Runners at the finish.  This year was much different.  Quickly I was overtaken by many people, including what I believed to be some high school XC runners.  I received my penalty for the fast start, as I huffed and puffed up the wider woods trail on the Old Mountain.  Muddy was right ahead of me, and I tried to keep him close, making aggressive uphill passes.  I felt like I was pushing hard on the downhill and then flat techy section, but Muddy and some of the high school kids were not coming back to me.  Out on the zerotrack through the frozen muddy swamp area, I tried not to give up and keep pushing, while keeping myself upright this year.  I was a few seconds back a group of 4 that was being led by Brightman, but gradually losing ground.  I had no one close behind me.  On the last climb up the mountain, I closed in on a young runner.  He regrouped enough on the switchbacks back down the hill to stay just in front of me, but I knew I would pass him eventually.  Then he wiped out on the last turn and I ran by (it was a clean fall and I didn't feel guilty not stopping).  Looking ahead, Muddy had passed another young kid and there was a chance I could as well.  However, this kid hammered the final open stretch and I crossed the line in 20:17, good for 6th place overall.  My time was about 30 seconds faster than last year when I was in contention for the win, so I was pleased.

I then headed back out on the course to find Jackson.  Jon Short jogged with me.  We found him near the pond, and then motivated him (or annoyed him) on his last mile plus of the race.  I was really happy he ran and I think he enjoyed it.  Post race lunch with local friends with kids at the Mews.

Results here.  Scott Mason posted this photo on Facebook the next day - my karate kid technique of running over rocks.

The next day, Muddy met me at my house for a long run.  With the promise of no speed work, I was happy to tag along on his marathon training.   Parts of this run were tough as my legs and lower core were sore, but the miles passed quickly as we rotated between trails (Carter, Grass Pond, Carolina) and roads and gabbed about life and running.  2:42:50 of running time!  GPS had me at 21 miles and Muddy at 21.2.  I'm calling it 22.  Go Patriots!

I finished January with 282 miles.  51 miles for Feb 1-5.  333 miles year to date.