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Monday, February 27, 2012

Week of 2.27.12 - 3.4.12

MON.- 6mi. (trails) -- Canochet Brook Preserve.  Repeated some areas and attacked the hills hard (out of frustration?).  Didn't feel perfect but better than nothing on this aggressive run. [43:55]

TUE. - 8mi. (roads) -- I kind of screwed this one up.  A true, mapped out 8.1 miles but too much "uffda".   My legs felt sluggish out of the gate so out of frustration/anger/pschosomatic BS I pushed it a little too hard for a regular base run.  There are 3 fairly significant hills on this one and I struggled on them (and they slowed my pace way down).  I think I need to get my head right.  I did NOT lose fitness during my illness.  I'm NOT still feeling the effects.  I'm NOT crazy (just a drunk). Don't know if I'm pleased or upset because I let my emotions get the best of me.  Hard days hard, easy days easy, right idiot????  Stupid.  Easy day tomorrow.  [57:34]

WED. - 4mi.  (roads) -- super slow and easy in the slippery slush and snow.  Looks like this guy is into training too....I've gotta get going planning out my summer.  [31:34]

THU. - 11mi (trails & bike path) --  Soggy and muddy course was fun, but legs tired now. Warmed up with Galoob, Ben, Jonny and Gazelle from Tri-Pond park and ran most of the loop for what should be a fun race   .  4 x 1 mile repeats at hoped for 6:30 pace: 6:27, 6:25, 6:32, 6:34.  The numbers fail to reflect my effort. Good workout. [1:28:XX]

FRI. - 0mi-- no running but I did get out with Mason to ride a chilly but easy 4 miles in  A-town...easy gears just spinning my legs.  Good conversation.  Realized I haven't even ridden a bike in over 2 years.  Ha!  Fittest Puddin' around.....

SAT. -16mi. (roads & trails) -- with Jonny, Gazelle, and Tom from Westerly into/around Barn Island Preserve.  Really warm and damp...I sweat a lot!!  Probably a tad short of 16 but we were consistently clipping off 7:15-7:25 pace. Good run. [1:56:00]

SUN.  5mi. (roads) -- my quads were still rather sore for this one but still enjoyed the run. As I passed back by homebase, I decided to stop after only five rather than go 3-4 more.  My legs will thank me for it, I'm sure.  [37:15]

TOTALS: 50 miles
Sexiest quads around
-->a decent week (after last week's miserable performance).  I ran semi-hard on Tuesday, really hard mile interval efforts on trails Thursday with the guys, and a longerish run at a solid, slightly faster pace for LSD.  I know this is why my legs feel somewhat wasted away right now.  Previously, I had planned a hard workout next week in addition to the Spring Forward 1 Hour Trail Race but now I'm not so sure. I'm really looking forward to the unique format next Sunday afternoon and having run most of the course already, I know it's going to rock my world.   In fact, I'm contemplating taking TWO zeroes next week.....because I can.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week of 2.20.12 - 2.26.12

MON. - 9mi.  (roads w/ some trails)-- stole this one from KG.  I was feeling a little antsy after yesterdays "failure" so I ran down into Grills Preserve (Hopkinton side).  Ran a "Light Switch" (on/off): 14 x 1 min. hard/1 min. easy.  Felt good to turn them over but the last 2 were more tiring than I had anticipated.  More important note: Big ups to the Chargers!  Congrats guys!! [64:58]

TUE. - 10mi. (roads) -- good run in early morning but so cold I had to stop 2 miles in and put my gloves over my toes!  Size 12 feet crammed into what felt like size 10 shoes. Don't laugh, it helped.  [73:02]

WED. - 0 -- not sure if I can count 5 hours of quad-crushing down hills on Mt. Sunapee as an "off day" but at least it was fun and Mason can rip it up on the slopes now

THU. - 4mi (roads) -- tried to sneak in a short easy run this morning in NH by the lake.  The trails were unwalkable, forget about running so I had to stick to the asphalt.  Took it easy but my legs and whole body were really sore.  [31:24] /// Intended to double down.  Had planned a sweet hill workout but got really achey, chills, bathroom galore and headaches on the drive home. Terrible. We'll see what 12 hours of sleep can do. 

FRI. - 0  -- another zero = rest.  Feeling better and able to keep in fluids!!!   We'll see what tomorrow brings.

SAT. - 3mi. (road) -- an easy test run.  Definitely still nowhere near 100% but at least the guards can call off the suicide watch. [23:00]

SUN. - 0

TOTALS: 26 miles
--> obviously a terrible week in terms of running.  A virus (?) kicked my ass on Thursday and Friday.  I feel better physically despite upper respiratory issues.  I took a zero today to visit with relatives and bottle 5 gallons of an IPA instead.  Back to school tomorrow.  Everything starts over again brand new.  I'll be back, I promise.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Week of 2.13.12 - 2.19.12

MON. - 5mi. (road) -- slow, sloppy, & sore. [39:08]

TUE. - 0

WED. - 6mi. (road) -- legs felt better but hills still were a bit challenging.  Better run than Monday. Saw a hatch of small gnats hovering in a cowfield, (as I stopped to catch my breath at the top of Tomaquag Valley).  Don't they know it's friggin' February?!?!? [44:08]

THU. - 10mi. (trails, some road) -- started at Canonchet Brook Preserve and toured Asheville, Blue, Long, & Ell Ponds.  I was pretty impressed by the washed out levee at Blue Pond.  Water is powerful stuff!! Cruised most of it around normal pace but slowed to a crawl/scramble when I forgot how tough parts of Narragansett Trail are around Long Pond.  Had to fly on the road back to the truck to make up for the slow parts. Damn!!  [77:33]

FRI. - 5mi. (trails) -- pressed for time in Carolina Mgmt. Area.  Ran in my new Inov-8 F-lite -195s .  Man I think I may have screwed up on these.  I wanted a light, fast trail shoe for "racing" trails.  Be careful what you wish for.  These are TOO light. I like the look and they fit great, despite being really narrow (on my ugly woman feet) but I feel like I'm running in my Nike Zoom Streaks.  I should've gone with this shoe but a few styles "heavier".  Not sure if I'll be able to handle these bad boys.  Feel like I'm going sandal style a la  Aaron.  Oh well. Live and learn. [37:22]

SAT. - 15+mi. (trails w/ some road) -- really fun run in the early morning woods with Jeff and Tom.  Explored Woody Hill Mgmt. Area then moved down to the "other side" of Bradford and played around in Grills Preserve.  WH definitely needs further exploration! Ran at a pretty solid pace the entire way. [1:54:22]

SUN. - 6mi (trails) -- late afternoon in Vin Gormley, Sammy C's, Secret Trail and a few short spurs.  Just couldn't get it going.  I've a nice new head cold and can't breathe nor hear.  I just felt tired and blah.  Too bad given the excellent weather and the beautiful trails. [44:22]

TOTALS: 47 miles
A monkey sounding, avian ant-eater.
--> kind of an up and down week that fizzled out at the end.  Thursday and Saturday were awesome but the rest of the runs were so-so at best.  Not many highlights.  However, I did manage to see a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers at my in-laws this morning.  Those crazy bastards are my favorite Picidae by far!!  So awesome.  But as far as running: maybe I'll chalk up the less than stellar week to not racing at all.  I feel like I've raced much more this winter than ever before (thanks to SC 4th Season).  Maybe my body is just out of sorts? Also, I'm disappointed with my Inov-8 purchase--def too light...have shin splints written all over them.  Oh well.  Full steam ahead!! I have well-laid plans for a fun week of running, skiing, playing with the family.  Hope my head cold doesn't deter my prospects for world domination!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Brrr-lingame 15K Trail Race

Finally some chilly-ass weather for the 4th race of the South County 4th Season series.  Exactly how it's supposed to be in February.  Without snow and ice, I knew going in that the Brrr-lingame 15K trail race promised to be fun.

Although I felt the least confident (nervous) about this race out of all the series so far, I still felt a little decent because Mike ran the course during the week with Jeff and me (sounds grammatically awkward but that's just a weird hang up I have).  That coupled with the fact that I also had the privilege of marking part of the course with Mike and Ben Folsom(?), gave me a slight advantage.....maybe .  It wasn't the distance that bothered me at all, 9.3 is fine, it was the rolling, glacial morraine and 2 lap aspect that made me apprehensive. 

After registering, I met Greg,  Jonny, Steve, and  Jeff for a short warmup.  We ran the first "part" of the course until we dumped back onto the road.  It was pleasant warming up with them (despite being made fun of for wearing "Depends"). Perhaps we should've run the whole loop for a warmup but my legs were pretty tired and I had already seen the course before so I was good. Plus, time was of the essence.

At the start, I made a conscious effort to not go out too hard.  Since we began by immediately crossing open fields and wrapping around before entering the single track, I didn't want to let myself get caught up in the dash to the woods.  I felt like I did a decent job of this but I still felt that inevitable tug of "Go! Faster!". When we entered the single track, there was a lead group (expected) of about 3 or 4  fit leaders well out ahead of me. No chance of sniffing them at all.   I was a tiny bit bogged down behind a group of 5 guys but it was still an okay pace at that point.  Unfortunately, I wasted a little bit of energy getting around them before settling in behind 2 guys (one of them Ben).  The three of us remained together throughout the single track until we dumped back into the campsite area (site 790) of the park.  Here it opens up into a wide gravel road.  Despite an annoying fatigue in my legs (already) I picked up the pace a tad and passed both of them.  I expected them to hang with me during my geriatric push but they stayed back.  By the time I got back into the single track before turning  onto the North-South Trail, they had dropped back considerably.
 
The rest of the first loop was not very pleasant.  Stutter-stepping over the NEMBA foot bridges, I spent more energy and began to worry that I wouldn't be able to hold up.  Is it good when your legs feel like shit only 4 miles into a 15K?  Probably not....but I pushed on. Around this point I did some complicated man math and figured, without glancing at my watch, that I would have about a 31:30 minute first lap.  I was pretty surprised to see 30:15 when I rounded the shelter and started lap two.  Wow!  That Tom Gruczka guy even said my name as I ran by the start/finish!!  Muddy is famous?  Oh wait, he had an iPad with runners' numbers and names. I'm just gonna pretend he was enamoured by my skills.

Lap 2 was pretty much on again, off again misery. Any incline at all caused protest from my quads with verbal grunts from my spit-coated mouth.  There was a very short but very steep incline in the single track along  the first mile that I had to basically crawl up.  Luckily, you're greeted by a downhill immediately thereafter.  Relief??? I finished up the east side single track, crossed the road and realized that I was pretty lonely.  I couldn't see the guy in front of me (Tom Bousquet - WTAC) anymore and the runners behind me were nowhere in sight.  I'm not sure which I prefer:  being hunted down by guys right behind me or being solo in the wilderness. How do you gauge your pace?  Was I slothing it or still pushing pretty well?  I couldn't tell what my pace was but it felt like I was working harder than El Guerrouj on his world record setting mile run....obviously I wasn't.

The highlight of the second portion of the loop is/was definitely the extended, gradual downhill portion before entering the campsite area/cabins area again.  I was able to fly, comparatively speaking, here before entering the bridge section again.  Once again, upon entering the foot bridge area,  I questioned if they were "fun" or just sucked all around.  Are both answers possible?  What a paradox.

I turned back onto the very short section that followed Vin Gormley trail (dead gray squirrel) and then worked my way through the brush and undergrowth portion before the homestretch.  As I crested the tiny, wooded hill before turning back to the finish I became happier-- the fun was almost over.  I finished, surprisingly, in an upright manner and possibly looking only partially near death in 61:06, 6th O/A [results here]. Although I didn't run negative splits, or remotely close to even splits for that matter, I was still pleased.


Team WTAC...chilly but victorious!
 In the end, a lot of friendly faces did really well.   Aaron came in then Jonny, Boj, and Jeff (despite taking a massive digger) all finished in pretty much one big cluster.  I realized that I knew/recognized a lot of the finishers (WTAC members, Jen Hammett, etc.).  WTAC won the team portion again.  Is this only because we're cold weather running idiots who happen to live geographically central to the race locations?  Perhaps. Fellow southern Rhody native turned NH resident Greg won the race (surprise, surprise).  Overall, super fun despite my dogged legs. Congrats to Mike for putting on another fun one (AND getting results up so quickly, with 1st lap/2nd lap splits)!

I'm a little sore and tight now due to no cool down after the race (too tired and cold/sweaty).   But fret not, 'Gansett 16s helped me self-medicate. Oh yeah, and thanks to Eazy-G's win, I "made" the CMS Blog, albeit inadvertently/just by chance. Ha!!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week of 2.6.12 - 2.12.12

MON. - 10 mi. (road & trails) -- ran down to Tomaquag Trail behind the town DOT garage.  Got a little lost in there after discovering an extension of the trail.  Definitely warrants further exploration.  At one point I jumped out (trespassed) into a cow field.  After getting chased by a bull and falling twice in mud and cow patties, I leaped back over into briars and sprinted back for the trail.  On the way home I paused atop the Rt. 95 overpass, (bloody and stinking like cow turds), and watched the sun setting over CT to my right and a big fat (almost) full moon peeking over trees in RI to my left.  Man, I wish that when people asked me "Why do you run?" I could show them today--THIS is why I run!!  [76:03]

TUE. - 5mi. (road) -- took it easy today.  Have to zero on Thursday--meetings after school and then WTAC meeting at 1730 so today was a must (mentally) of sorts.  [37:46]

WED. - 10mi. (trails) -- ran 2 easy before Mike and Gazelle arrived then we ran up into the park and along Brrrr-lingame 15K course.  We did 3 pickups at estimated race (trail) pace.  Jeff and I tacked on part of the course (and 2 more pickups) in the return back to the car.  Good fun.  [75:02]

THU. - 0 -- sort of too bad.  I was offered a "Squatch Run" in Great Swamp but had to decline.  This in turn inspired me to buy another headlamp.  Next time!!

FRI. - 8+mi. (road) -- ran this one a bit agressively.  I couldn't help it.  Just happy it's Friday and I was running.  Frontier hill at the end got me and forced me to slow it down considerably.  Mapped it out just now and it was 8.19.  [58:32]

SAT. - 5mi. (road & trails) a.m. -- dropped Rosalie off at dance and ran down into Black Farm from the "back way".  Nice and easy. [38:33] ///// 5 mi.  (trails) -- p.m. helped Mike and his buddy Ben mark the Brrr-lingame 15K course.  Very slow and easy putting out flags.  Took a wrong turn at one point and had to double back.  Legs tired now.  Hope I don't pay for my running gluttony tomorrow.  Fingers crossed....[49:XX}

SUN. - 12mi. (trails) -- "Brrr-lingame 15K Trail Race" .  Good fun.  Ran hard.  Not sure but I think I finished 7th O/A in 61:07. Good showing by Team WTAC again (1st place). Write up asap.

TOTALS: 55 miles
--> I had a good time this week despite no organized speedwork or a long run.  Oh well.  But damn I'm having fun. Isn't that all that really matters in the end?  I'm looking forward to a race-free week [sic] and the chance to do some focused stuff and a long, cold, dark run with Jonny and Jeff.

Super 5K

Yesterday I had the chance to run what is probably my 6th Super 5K race.  Put on by the NRA it has been one of my more consistently entered races, especially given the timing of the event (what else is usually going on this time of year?). It's a good crowd and a nice, fast course.

Jonny and I drove over together and after picking up our numbers went back to my truck to fester and wait--too early to start our warm-up but too late to eat or do anything else.  Finally, after some more fretting, we slithered out of the cab and ran the course as a warm up.  The start and finish on the out and back are along the ocean and the remaining part of the race turns up a couple of side streets.  There is only one very small hill at the 1 and 2 mile mark (only a short distance from one another) so the course is usually fast.  I had high hopes of  running  a good race and finishing in the top 10.  A look at previous years' results showed that the field of 300+ runners is fairly competitive near the top.  I figured a PR would be necessary for me to sneak in the top 2.5% of the field, and I thought that I stood a decent shot of pulling one off.

At the gun I took off at a fairly aggressive pace.  I was shooting for around 5:30-5:35 pace overall but I'm pretty poor at guesstimating my speed.  All that I was aware of was that my legs started to protest after only about 800 meters.  Right around this time I quickly counted the field ahead of me along the straightaway and found myself in 13th.  I knew that I had to make up some ground, even though it was apparent that the race was going to be quite uncomfortable the entire time !

As previously stated, the one mile marker is halfway up a gradual hill.  Something about hills--they suck but they suck more for most other runners.  I was easily able to pass two more guys and pull away, moving into 9th.  Crossing the 1 mile sign at 5:32 was a good sign. 

The second mile is largely a straightaway to the turnaround so you get to see the rest of the field as you pass back by them.  Usually I "enjoy" this part, but not yesterday.  I was zoned out (or in actually) on solely my pace and my form--don't over extend your stride length, stay upright, no arms across your body, don't be an a**hole (3 outta 4 isn't bad). I began the descent down the small decline and clocked in mile 2 at 11:14 (5:41).  A little slower but probably due to the climb up right at mile one.  Keep going.

We turned back out onto Ocean Road and I flirted with the idea of pushing even harder.  I could see fellow WTAC teammate, Tom Bousquet waaaay out in front of me but I thought I might be able to push it even more and catch the guy behind him.  Another reassessment made me realize that I was already pushing it about as hard as I possibly could at the time.  Just past Monohan's Pier the course allows you to see the infamous 'Gansett Towers.  Damn, they looked so freakin' far away!!  I didn't think I would ever get there.

Finally, after crossing underneath them I hopped up onto the sidewalk just before mile 3.  There are very few things I despise more than running on concrete but I'll do anything to shave a few feet off the course.  Technically on the course and therefore still very legal, (everyone else was doing it too), I reminded myself that "tangent" is one of the most beautiful words in the English language to a banged up, fatiguing runner.  At mile 3 I clocked in at 16:48 (5:34).  Back on pace.  Just push it home.

I rounded the corner and saw the clock.  Unfortunately, I gained very little satisfaction (at the time) from seeing low 17s and knowing I had just run a PR.  I entered the chute (17:21, 9th O/A), walked to the end, and tried to get my sh*t together to greet other runners. Jeff, Jonny et al were right behind me.  After a short cool down, I headed inside to eat and check overall and team results.

In the end, WTAC ran really well and we ended up winning the team competition (prizes were beer and a $100 gift certificate to the Mews).  I also finished 2nd in my division ("sub-master"? what the hell is that?) and won an NRA fleece beanie running hat.  Too bad it won't fit my freakishly large head.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Week of 1.30.12 - 2.6.12

MON. - 5mi. (roads) -- felt good and accidentally ended up running it too fast.  Had to hurry to beat the dark--I don't trust fools driving in the 'Shway after dark.  Almost a "no man's land" run.  Be careful, Muddy. These will cost you. [35:08]

TUE. - 6 mi. (road & grass/cemetary) -- legs a little tired.  I was going to zero out today but I couldn't pass up the nice weather.  [45:28]

WED. - 10mi. (roads & beach) a.m. -- met Aaron in Green Hill and ran down to and along Green Hill Beach in the dark.  Nice run. [77:15] /// 4mi. (road) p.m. -- slow and easy.  I just couldn't handle being inside, knowing it was a beautiful, sunny 58 degrees out.  Not being a mileage whore, I simply wanted to play outside briefly. [31:23]

THU. - 0

FRI. - 6mi. (trails) -- Canochet Brook Preserve.  Pretty fun.  Topo contour lines can be a bitch. [45:19]

SAT. - 7mi. (trails) -- Carolina Mgmt. Area.  Felt good to run on soft trails. [52:49]

SUN. - 8mi (road) -- "Super 5K".  Ran hard and was uncomfortable the entire time.  Finished 9th O/A in 17:21.  WTAC won the team division (case of 'Gansett kingers and a $100 certificate to the Mews).  Not sure which I'm happiest about:  my performance, WTAC's success as a team or the $100 at the Mews. Think I'm leaning towards the Mews here.

TOTALS: 46 miles
Super Bowl: causing loss of fitness
one runner at a time.
--> a few more miles would've been nicer in total but overall I can't complain.  Some fun runs in the woods and a PR made for an enjoyable week.  I went into the Super 5K wanting to finish in the top 10 and I managed to achieve that (barely).  Despite skipping speed work this week, I did get to double down on Wednesday and given my slightly faster run on Monday, I'm cool with that. Hoping I can stay healthy and continue to improve.  Time to rehydrate now before dominating the Super Bowl and all of its associated gluttony.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Belleville 10K Trail Race

This past Saturday, on a gorgeous January day, I ventured to Ryan Park in North Kingstown for race number three of the five part series, South County 4th Season Race Series.  I was really looking forward to this one because it upped the ante on distance and provided a pretty damn nice course through the woods and fields.  For this reason I was really excited to see who would show up and run.  At the registration, a quick glance around proved that there were some higher quality runners here.  Perhaps it was the nice weather.  Perhaps it was the fact that Ryan Park was a more "central location" for many.  Who knows?  But I immediately had to reassess my estimates (starting pace, anticipated finishing time, etc.). I had anticipated about a 5th-7th place finish but I began to have doubts looking at all of the fit people.

After running an easy 25 minute warmup along the first part of the course, I lined up in the front near Jonny, Steve S. and Aaron R.  Once Mike made his pre-race speech about the course and apologized about the bathrooms (I found a huge and spacious restroom along the course, no big deal) we took off.  I made a concious effort not to go out too hard and after about 300 - 400 meters I passed a few more people and settled in to 7th, with Boj and Jonny ahead of me. I worked my way up to 5th and was very surprised to be close behind Boj so "far" into the race.

We turned off the bike path and right at the mile 2 marker, the course veered up onto a small hill and into the woods to avoid huge mud and water pools.  It was at this point that the four leaders in front of me either took a wrong turn or stopped, unsure of themselves.  I passed by and was (very temporarily) in sole possesion of 1st place!  Reality came crashing back down when about thirty seconds later Keven O'Neil, the second place guy, and Glen Guillemette blew back by me.  I picked it up and tried to hang on.  Surprisingly, I was able to stay fairly close to Glen and hold on to fourth. 

The race kept moving along and the rolling course began to take its toll on my legs.  I think that having 3rd place so close helped me push my effort.  However, I made the mistake of thinking that once the course doubled back onto the only repeat section (flat and fast, old rail bed) I'd be able to stretch my legs and pass into 3rd.  No such luck.  Glen opened up a considerable lead and I humbly hung on to fourth.

We wandered back down, across Bon Jovi Bridge and its "Slippery When Wet" sign.  I could see 3rd place but knew that it was now up to me to just keep it together and not be stupid.  Fatigue was really starting to be a factor here so I simply tried to focus on staying upright and not getting sloppy.  Rounding the ball field I managed to push it a little more into the chute in 39:40, good enough for 4th O/A.  Pleased with the results I snacked and rehydrated waiting for others to finish. 

About 10-15 mins later several of us headed out for a cooldown.  Jonny veered off at one point to return back to the finish line and Boj and I continued on to run the entire course again.  It was the third time I had run it in as many days.  This time, it was nice to run it at a relaxed pace, and although I was pretty tired, I enjoyed it.  When we returned back, post-race festivities were over.  We found Mike and his wife packing up supplies.  Thanking them, I headed home, happy with my effort and WTAC's second place team finish.  A very fun course and another great race!!

Onward and upward......