Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week 17 -- 4/21/14 - 4/27/14

April vacation hopefully means sunshine, gardening, playing with my spawn, a little fishing, and a lot of running.  Heading into the week I'm a bit despondent because of major expenses/repair issues with my boat.  Essentially, blown hydraulic system that I cannot fix myself (over $1000).  I'm willing to starve my children to pay for it though.  I simply see it as a long term investment as I can feed my family in fish, crabs, lobster, and shellfish (and laughs and memories) throughout the late spring, summer and fall. Whatever.  B.O.A.T.-Bust Out Another Thousand. Toys and playing are expensive too.

But at least there's running....

4/21 (Mon.)-
3mi. - a.m. - easy shakeout (a.k.a. "bad parenting") again.  Ran it just as the first corral was heading off the line in the "other" Hopkinton.

7mi. - p.m. - after hiking and playing with the Hammetts during the day (while Jonny and I stalked the marathon on line), I headed out for a mix of roads and trails.  My large dome is rather sunburned and sweating made it feel even "better".  Thought a lot about Meb's win, Shalane's non-win, and just marathoning in general during the run. Running is really the best.

4/22 (Tue.)-
10mi. - a.m. - beautiful, sunny conditions.  Ran down into Grills Sanctuary and through Pelloni Preserve on the way home for a nice mix of roads and trails.  Ran an honest pace but my legs felt/feel a little run down. Later in the day took the girls to Trustom for a walk, a picnic, and some birding.  I'm so ecstatic that Rosalie, 7 year old, has become infatuated with birds.  Binoculars + field guides + astonishment/wonder equals a recipe for awesomeness.  "And it's free, Dad".

4/23 (Wed.)-
10mi. - a.m. - WHS track solo workout.  Rainy and a stiff NW wind made the front stretch and turns one and two miserable.  Tough to hit paces and times.  2 x (1 x 800, 2 x 400, 3 x 200) @ R.  Struggled mightily on the 800s.  400s were normally tough.  200s were just nice because they're so short.  Splits: [2:35, 73, 74, 35, 36, 36 / 2:29, 73, 74, 36, 36, 36].  After 60 miles over the last 5 days, I'm spent.  That's a lot for me in only 5 days.  Need to go easy on Thursday before diving back into weekend and end of vacation fun.

4/24 (Thu.)-
8mi. - a.m. - ran fairly easy in Duval Trail system in SK today.  Windy as hell. Spent some time during the run thinking about Ryan Welts, Adam Wilcox, and the Traprock 50K next year.  A fun possibility.  Picked up my boat at Snug Harbor after the run.  One step closer to getting salty is the positive.  The negative is that it really would've been helpful to make the repairs myself.

4/25 (Fri.)-
8mi. - a.m. - cruised down to Potter Hill dam. A slew of cormorants hanging out there, gobbling up herring.  Nice weather, good base pace. Man, these easy April mornings are a bitch, aren't they?

4/26 (Sat.)-
15mi. - a.m. - early morning run in Arcadia with Bob, Jonny, and Martin T.  Light rain and raw but a lot of fun climbing and descending.  Over 1300' total in elevation. Chafe city.

4/27 (Sun.)-
7+mi.  - p.m. - ran in Carolina North Side.  Felt pretty good.  Only a tiny bit of fatigue on some of the ups but still a good run.

TOTAL: 68 miles
YTD: 854 miles

--> I managed to accomplish my goal this week of upping the mileage a bit.  A bunch of trail fun made me happy with a hard (for me) track workout on Wednesday that really humbled my hopes for a 4:59 or better mile in a few weeks.  Going back to last Saturday, I've got 98 miles in 9 days.  A little tired now but content.  Back to school tomorrow so I'll drop back down into the 50s for mileage.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Week 16 -- 4/14/14 - 4/20/14

Sunday night, after the Clamdigger race, I began thinking ahead towards the next several weeks.  The emphasis of my train of thoughts was : "try and get focused" and "try to get back into focused workouts", "try to be more organized and disciplined", "try and stay below 157 lbs", "try not to drink so much".  Then I thought of Yoda.

Well, hopefully I can "do" all of the above....ok, maybe not the last one listed.  But the rest should be attainable. Get back to track workouts, one long run, and a third quality uncomfortable run in the LT area.  I feel as though I haven't bagged this trifecta in months.

4/14 (Mon.)-
12mi. -- p.m. - separated over two different runs in two different locations.  Ran in and out of the woods around Ashaway.  Legs a bit tired but felt good otherwise.  So fun exploring and wandering trails.  Saw my first ever "other person" in Pelloni Preserve.  Ran for 7 miles.  Got home to find that I only had 8 minutes to shower, change, and get my son to lacrosse practice.  Just stayed grimy and ran again in woods (with some roads) in Bradford, up and into/around Woody Hill Mgmt. area.  Have to remember to bring small clippers to cut a path from fields up into WHMA main road.  Good day for the day after a race.

4/15 (Tue.)-
ZERO- wouldn't have minded running in the pouring rain.  I like that, sometimes.  However, got home really late for me and had to grocery shop, chores, etc.  Take a rest I guess.

4/16 (Wed.)-
6+mi.--p.m.- felt sluggish but tried to keep the pace honest despite some annoying left knee discomfort.  All too familiar feelings. Looked back at log and realized I haven't stretched (static or dynamic) or done any strengthening drills in over 4 weeks.  Hmmm. Still stayed focused on my form (upright, hips forward, ass tucked in, quick arms, etc.).

4/17 (Thu.)-
8mi. - a.m. - back to the dark WHS track.  Haven't been there in a looooooong time.  8 x 400 @ R with 2:00/400m recoveries.  Was a little off kilter for the first few then settled into goal pace of 74s. Splits: 72/76/74/74/74/74/75/74.  Nice to be back hitting the ovals. Sophomore class selling Krispy Kreme donuts before school as a fundraiser.  I ate three because I care about the kids.  Thought about going for 4 (it is Bad Thursday after all) but I don't want to run 90 second 400m repeats next week.  Moderation.

4/18 (Fri.)-
4mi. - p.m. - easy and short through Pelloni Preserve and its rocky outcroppings before watching the Bruins playoff game 1 at in-laws.

4/19 (Sat.)-
19+mi. - a.m. - Carolina Mgmt. Area circuit with Jonny, Garvin, and Bob Jackman.  Started at 0600 from weird "fisheries" lot along Rte. 112.  Tried to run clockwise through some single track and mainly double track wides along/around the management area.  We intended to hop into the old, abandoned Foxwoods Golf Course off of the N/S Trail but when we hopped out on it was readily apparent that they are still tending the grounds.  We also briefly checked out Grass Pond and also a newly added DEM section called Delbonis. It looks like this is a nice connector to Beaver River Road.  Nice to add to the arsenal.

4/20 (Sun.)-
10mi. - a.m. - later run from home to my parents for Ishtar Festivus and the celebration of fertility, sex, nature, and spring (emphasis on candy and eggs for the kids I suppose). Felt really good.

-->a relatively fun week with Saturday's long run and Thursday's track workout the highlights.  Knee appears to be fine but I really must continue stretching and strengthening.  Ate and drank like a disgusting pig over the last 3-4 days.  Somehow that makes my recent running for maintenance more so than improving fitness.  Gotta be careful.

TOTAL: 60 miles
YTD: 786 miles

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Week 15 -- 4/7/14 - 4/13/14

Another week, another race.  As stupid as this sounds, I cannot wait to be race free for a little while.  I didn't get to run the Clamdigger (5 miles) last year and I've been disappointed with my performances at said race so far.  Sunday is a new day.

4/7 (Mon.)-
5mi. - pm - a mix of roads and woods, with a newly minted trespassing path shortcut. Legs pretty tired but amazingly no real soreness. Strange.

4/8 (Tue.)-
6mi. - pm - ran to the town hall to vote on the proposed school budget for next year.  It's only just under 2 miles from home but when I got there I was sweating all over the registration table and my ballot.  The woman checking me in was repulsed.  I was sure to throw her a wink as I walked away.  Continued on back through woods in Tomaquag Trails North Side to home.

4/9 (Wed.)-
6mi. - pm - ran the fraternal twin (not identical) version of Jeff's run earlier today from Bradford Lacrosse fields up into Woody Hill Mgmt Area.  Definitely new beaver activity as the dam on the south end of the pond in there is bigger with newly added branches (fresh chew marks).  Awesome except that it is now impassable without plunging into standing water.  Even more awesome.

4/10 (Thu.)-
9mi. - pm - awesome afternoon running with Gazelle, Galoob and 5K from the Westerly Y up into the Westerly Town Forest.  Muddy and wet trails followed up by an "Uh oh, we have to hurry to get back to meet everyone else!" An almost tempo run back to meet the rest of the guys in town for a brewery tour at Grey Sail  followed up by pizza and a lot of beers (thanks, Mike!).  The 2+ miles back were just slow enough to not be T pace but fast enough to make me feel it.  No Man's Land pace but there was important fun to be had -- apparently too much fun.

4/11 (Fri.)-
4mi.  - fun run from Zeke's Bridge (Hopkins Hill Road) in very north side of Big River.  Pretty cool running along granite ledges 30-40' above traffic along Rt. 95 south.

4/12 (Sat.)-
0mi. - just didn't run today.  Managed to spend all day outside though, which was a huge plus. 5 hours in the morning as an amateur arborist, rope climbing up into trees and limbing branches. Then home for yard work and uncover the boat and clean it up a little.  So ready for spring and summer!
Almost ready for salty adventures. All are welcome
for fishing, clamming, spearfishing, etc. 

I'm not afraid of heights really...just afraid of the ground. 

4/13 (Sun.)-
10mi. - Clamdigger 5 Mile Road Race.  Finished 4th OA in 28:28 (results here) Was shooting for 28:20 so I'm pleased overall.  It is a PR for the distance and a CR for this one, as all of my other attempts at racing 5 miles were really soft.  Ran the entire thing alone but managed to stay relatively on pace--shot for 5:38 but was just off this slightly.  A cooldown with Mike B, Galoob, and Garvin down to the end of Atlantic to check on Tay-Tay's house.  Amazingly creamy and fat filled seafood chowder at post-race awards (did everyone get a medal?!?).  Good day.

TOTAL: 40 miles
YTD:726 miles

-->rather low on the mileage but given my zero on Saturday and hangover on Friday (thanks to Thursday night), it'll have to do.  Glad the Clamdigger is over with so that now I can focus on whatever in terms of running (Quahog Mile, trail running, a little "mountain" running, long runs, etc.).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Big River 1/2 Marathon Recap

I'm not really sure how to recap this super fun event that ground me down to wimp dust near the end.  Many of the other runners from WTAC (Series Champions!) have already summarized the main ideas.  I'll try to not be too repetitive and wordy regarding the big points--i.e. registration, flag thief (thieves?), resulting runner mix up, etc.  It's easier to just give an overview from my own point of view (DUH!?!) in chunks.  However, even with that, I'm beginning to realize that I'm not very observant when racing.  Apparently, even on road courses, but especially on long trail races over unfamiliar courses, I'm terrible at judging distances/locations as well as recalling exactly when or where something transpired.  Given this, I suppose my recap should simply be:

We took off.  I passed some people.  I ran hard.  I fell twice.  I was covered in mud and a little bloody.  I fell apart the last mile and a half.  I finished 4th OA.  It was friggin' amazingly fun. 

However, since I had so much fun, I'll try and be a little bit more verbose and descriptive than the above synopsis.

After getting there a little on the "too early" side and chatting with Mike G, trying to get some tips on the course and racing strategy, I helped Gazelle and his fawn (?), set up the two water stop/aid stations.  When we returned, back to the start I changed up into some racing attire and then ran a short warm up of approximately 1.25 miles with Seth.  We stuck to New London Turnpike with just a bit of the single track on the west side and then returned.  I felt loose, limber, and excited--ready to roll.

At the start I settled in behind the usual suspects with a couple of unknown runners that haven't partaken in the SC4S series fun yet.  About a half mile in (?) I moved past Seth solely so that I could see the footing.  Man, I loooooovvveee racing trails but I go crazy when I cannot see upcoming footing and associated rocks, roots, divots, etc.  I'm not a pansy but I like to rely on visuals to aid me in my idiotic bumbling around courses. At that point, I was just behind Jonny and about 10-15 seconds ahead were Greg Hammett, Bob Jackman, and Steve Brightman (no pun intended with that Block Island Sports Shop singlet), in that order. And that is how the race would stay for quite a while apparently.

Way more fun and challenging than it looks.

After moving around to the southeast side of Carr Pond, I began getting really antsy.  I was just off Jonny's shoulder and began wondering if we should run a bit harder.  We couldn't see any of the three runners ahead of us, barring the occasional glimpse through the trees of Burning Brightman.  I didn't figure we'd see Greg or Jackman as the two of them were problem ripping it up, beating each other into submission.  I inquired whether or not "Brightman would blow up" and "Is there anyway we could catch him".  I knew he was right around our fitness level and racing ability as we've run against him before (he doesn't have my beer belly though).  Jonny calmly replied: "Don't worry.  We'll catch him."  With the virtual pat on my back to assuage my race nerves, we settled in and continued grinding along.  Jonny set the perfect pace and effort and although I found myself tiring, it was still the optimal pace at that point for us to be at. The other benefit of running, probably annoyingly, right off Jonny's backside was that he knew the course like the back of his hand.  The need to have a tour guide became evident at several spots where, although clearly marked, I may have charged right past flags/marked turns.  In Jonny We Trust......

The climb up to the approximate mile 4 mark and the first water stop along Hopkins Hill Road had a few too many contour lines a little too close together for my liking.  It tired me out but I tried to run smart.  I knew that as we turned through the aid station, and I took a water (no fuel), we would then plunge back down through technical footing and a lot of stream crossings and the "real race" would begin.  From here about 4.5 miles up to around 7.5 miles or so is just relentless.  Up and down, over glacial till and granite ledges we ran. There was a whole heck of a lot of mud and super fun water crossings, some of which were almost 20" deep or so.  Scott Mason was there to forever document my poor stream crossing form and fatigued egghead running form.  Thanks, Scott (I think).

 We managed to catch Brightman in this section on a downhill but he stuck with us.  Jonny expertly threw in uphill surges on every ascent no matter how long or short here.  Not sure if it was in an attempt to break me or to break/gap Brightman.  I struggled and really had to work hard on the ups to stay with him.  I knew I was starting to tire when we reached the second aid station near Tarbox Pond and I felt like it was mile 10 but yet it was only about 7.5.  Gulp.  Now the real fun started as it was here where I began to get "Big River Delirium" (where are we? what mile is this? where is that vacuum cleaner? where is the mannequin head?).

We crossed over New London Turnpike to get onto the northwestern portion of the course into what is perhaps the most fun, softest, and twistiest part of the course. Much to my chagrin, I glanced over along one of the seemingly infinite numbers of switchbacks and saw that Brightman had gobbled up the gap and was back on us again.  I mumbled "Here he comes again" to Jonny.  Damn it! It was discouraging.  Jonny didn't appear to worry as he threw down another surge up a significant rise that nearly crippled me.  I reached down and managed to stay with him but it cost me dearly.  Looking back, that was the point at which I began falling apart.  Fortunately, that allowed us to pull back away a bit from Brightman.

At this point, I glanced at my watch and given the time, I surmised we probably had about 2 miles or so left.  I breathlessly mumbled to Jonny this guess and he concurred with a grunt.  Immediately I began making plans for the final push and my "winning" race strategy.  A glimpse inside my race weary mind:

"Ok....look for a decent short straightaway or a brief downhill and try to bomb past him.  Then, as much as it hurts, push it home to stay in front.  There's no way you can catch or overtake him on an uphill. Be smart.  Look for your spot.  Maybe around 1 mile or 1.25 miles to go?  Make sure you keep pushing through the surge and try and break his spirit.  Don't do it at the incor......"

 Oops...I tripped and fell at this point.  I wish it were on film as it was probably a textbook headfirst slide into home plate.  It was not at all painful as I was able to immediately hop to my feet, grunt and push it so I caught back up to Jonny again.

" lucky there.  Pay attention.  Pick your feet up.  You can still do this.  I know your legs are tired.  Just dig down and do it.  Any time now should work.  Just go for it. Make sure that...."

Boom! I fell again.  This time, although not hurt, it was tougher to get back up.  When I did rise and start running (only a second later), I saw that Jonny had pulled away.  As we crossed over a tiny plank bridge I knew there would be no catching him.  He was just too strong.

I knew Brightman was too far back so I simply kept running as hard as I possibly could at that point (not saying much), and finished in 4th place in 1:29:53  (results here). No cool down for me--I was SPENT.  Instead, it was more enjoyable munching bananas and pizza, (even drank a soda--EWWW!) and watching all of the finishers.  We all had war stories and it was a blast.

Great fun and thanks to Mike Galoob, race director extraordinaire for making my "fourth season" so much fun (minus Old Mountain Field 5K and Belleville Pond 10K--they were brutal and I "hated" them).

Quick Summary Notes--

Things I Did Correctly (a.k.a. "Positives")
1. Thanks to Jonny's tutelage, I didn't go out too hard.  This helped me prolong my race and not run out of steam until about mile 12 or so.

2. Ran the course the weekend before with WTAC guys.  This helped me a little bit in knowing what was ahead and how rugged and fun the course was.

3. Drank a lot of beer later that afternoon and evening. I probably came in first in this "endurance race"

4. Ran the Chariho 5K the next day (at T pace) with Jonny.  Felt tired but pretty decent/no soreness.  Mason ran a big PR by 1:30!

Things I Screwed Up (a.k.a. "Negatives")
1. No fuel.  I skipped taking a Gu at mile 4 aid station (mile 7-8 aid station probably too late to matter?).  In hindsight, this was probably a mistake and helped lead to my demise at the end, although it certainly was not the sole cause.  I blame that on course designer Galoob.

2.  Ran the Chariho 5K the next day (at T pace) with Jonny.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Week 14 -- 3/31/14 - 4/6/14

Going to be a slightly lower mileage and controlled (easier) effort week as I prepare myself mentally for Big River Trail 1/2 Marathon on Saturday, 5 April.  Running the course last weekend has me slightly apprehensive.  Could turn out to be a good grinding yet slow race for me or it could be a painful, miserable debacle.  Either way, it is going to hurt....but I'm ready as I'll ever be.

3/31 (Mon.)-
4mi -p.m.- grumpy, irritable and no clue where to run.  Tried to go into Pelloni Preserve but realized I'd be running almost entirely under water.  Had my fill of that on Sunday while exploring bridges.  Just a blah run and overall day.

4/1 (Tue.)-
5mi. - p.m. - legs still a bit worn but feeling better.  Basically just going through the motions here but still kept the pace honest (low 7:00s). Still not a great run for me though.  No April Fool's here either.

4/2 (Wed.)-
7mi. - a.m. - ran in ovals at CHS at sunrise. Was chilly warming up.  Not a hard workout by any means but I need to start thinking about what lies beyond Big River 1/2 Marathon.  I'll have about 5 weeks to sharpen my talons before the Quahog Mile .  I haven't done speed work in what feels like forever, an my pacing efforts reflected this fact.  I ran a mixed workout: 4 x 1000 @ T pace, then 4 x 200 @ R pace.  My pace was inconsistent as was my mental focus at times (accidentally ran 1200 the first one?!?) but I guess it's a start. The 200s were easily doable but I don't see how it's possible to maintain that pace for another 1409 meters. I don't like short stuff.  I have a lot of work to do....but at least the pressure is not on me!

4mi. - p.m. - easy time killer from Mason's lacrosse practice.  A little Woody Hill trail action and the rest easy on roads.  Nothing gained from this, especially with upcoming race on Saturday, but it entertained me so that's cool I guess.

4/3 (Thu.)- REST

4/4 (Fri.)-
3mi - pm - easy wandering in Shannock.  I managed to discover (on private land) some sort of mini trail system that appears to be rambling cross country skill trails (marked with trail ratings) along a granite ledge.  Fun.

4/5 (Sat.)-
14.5mi.- am - Big River Half Marathon.  4th OA. 1:29:XX.  Results here. Super fun and torturous trail race.  Ended wet, muddy, and banged up but smiling. Write up later.

4/6 (Sun.)-
11.5 mi. - pm - Day two of "racing".  Had to run my sister-in-law's race she puts on as a fundraiser for M & M foundation (cancer) - the Chariho 5K (results here). Ran 7 mile easy loop around and through Carolina Mgmt. Area.  I wasn't really sure what I was going to do.  I didn't feel that sore from BR yesterday but knew I couldn't actually race the 5K.  Met up with Jonny and we both ran a T pace for the race.  Unfortunately, Jonny beat me to the finish line AGAIN! Damn!  We both felt pretty decent which was a huge bonus, given the brutal trail race yesterday. I did win a couple of gift certificates.  I think Jonny said he won $1000 somewhere. I should've kicked harder!

TOTALS: 49 miles
YTD: 686 miles

-->a great finish to a pretty fun week.  It is silly that we ran two "races" back to back days. So did Seth Acton with his Jamestown Bridge 10K (UGH!).  It'll be interesting to see how I feel on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week (DOMS, soreness, etc.).  Then it's another weekend of racing with the Clamdigger 5 Miler.  Boy, I'm looking forward to some race-free running coming up in May.