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Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 26 - 6/22/15 - 6/28/15 (The Approximate 1/2 Way Point)

Mon. (6/22):
5mi. - easy meander on mix of very local roads and trails.  HLT started blazing some new, short single track in Pelloni Preserve so that's exciting at least.  After arriving home, heard the UPS truck roll up and deliver my new space watch to the front steps.  Garmin Fenix 2.  Hopefully this will reignite some of the dwindling excitement about running that I've been feeling lately.  It's still super fun (i.e. last Friday's long swamp run). But I just kind of feel stagnant.  School isn't helping either.

Tue. (6/23):
10mi. - rolled the ol' Kakkenballz 10 mile loop (a.k.a. Jonny's Rockpile) through North Stonington.  The start time of 1430 left the sun out, temps right around 80F and humid.  I'm still not really acclimated to this yet so this run was a bit tiring for me.  BUT, I pushed through at a solid base pace (7:13 OA) and got to test out my new space watch-- Garmin Fenix 2.  Pretty spiffy....but it still gets completely covered in sweaty, grimy, salt crystals. Tired but felt good at the conclusion of this one.

Wed. (6/24):
Feelin' goooooood for this cruise interval
10mi. (a.m.) - back to WHS track for what I thought was going to be 3 x 2T with 2:00 recoveries.  I knew right away in the first block, (during warmup actually) that I was still feeling lingering fatigue from Tuesday's run.  After the first block (11:45) I decided to keep going but halfway through the second block (11:40) I didn't figure I would be able to handle a third 2T session.  I decided to "half -way quit" and split the last block into two 1T cruisers (5:50 and 5:46).  The times were a bit on the fast side and under T-pace right now but I was still glad to get it done and not die.  Tempo stuff usually doesn't feel quite that hard but I'l chalk it up to a slightly overzealous pace, fatigue from Tuesday and the heat on Tuesday, and the elephant in the room--I'm not in as good of shape as I think/should be.

4mi. (p.m.) - easy shakeout around Green Hill. Checked out the weird little SK Land Trust Sculpture Trail with some rather trippy outdoor art hidden around.  Later on in the evening, after a brief respite from real life at the O' Mist, I got to play in a 1967 Mercedes Coupe.

Thu. (6/25):
6mi. - normal Ashaway road loop.  Legs felt ok.

Fri. (6/26):
7mi. - from my parents into Carolina.  Found a "new" section of single track off of Pony Express North that I somehow had missed before.  I then had fun running in Carolina NE section,  an aread that I haven't been in more than 3-4 times before. Nice mix of road and trails.

Sat (6/27):
15mi. - trails and some roads in/around Burlingame with Ryan D.  Enjoyed the run and the animated conversation, filled with anecdotal "data" regarding the current state of running (and all competitive sports) and doping.  Ryan tapped out back at the picnic area lot after 11+ and I tacked on 3+ solo up into Kettle Pond Preserve and ended the last 0.6 or so on Sanctuary Rd at MP effort.  Enjoyable. 2 hour trail runs are my favorite.

Sun (6/28):
7mi. - after a gluttonous 2 hour nap (yes you read that correctly), ran an Ashaway standard loop but with strides.  I need to incorporate strides 2-3x per week in standard runs. Felt great!

TOTAL: 64 miles

YTD: 1603 miles

--> a pretty decent week.  Feeling a little bit better in terms of focus but still disgusting in food and beer intake.  I've actually GAINED 4 pounds over the last week or so.  Awesome. Corpulent Puddin'. Final day of school is Monday (29 June!!!!!) so hopefully I can begin doubling more often, increasing mileage, and spending more time fishing, gardening, and watching my chickens. Run With The Beavers 10 Mile trail race and the Blessing of the Fleet are very close!

This week completes the unofficial 1/2 way point of my 2015 running.  I've begun going back and flipping through my paper log and rereading daily "posts".  Several are humorous, some very strange, and a few are just down right gross.  I'll share the interesting ones in a post as soon as possible.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 25 - 6/15/15 - 6/21/15

Mon. (6/15):
6+mi.  - a very moist, wet, Monday local road loop.

Tue. (6/16):
8mi. - a Grills Sandwich run (both sides/preserves).  Enjoyed this one despite feeling kind of tired at the beginning.  Killed my first deerfly (only 1 but was pestered by several more) and ran second half with a keffiyeh.

Wed. (6/17):
8+mi. - WTAC/Tom McCoy Fun Run #2.  The usual cast of characters was there.  After a pleasant solo 4 mile warm up , I ran the 5K again at T pace (about 5:52-5:54).  Got beat by everybody in the group as they pulled away from on the last mile.  I'm proud of myself for not overdoing it too much (but still running a little too fast for T pace). 18:28 was the real actual time over all (as opposed to stupid watch claim of 17:41...how the hell does that even happen?!?!)

Thu. (6/18):
3mi. - Garmin Forerunner 210 finally shit the bed.  The screen has been cracked in half for over 6 months now.  Whenever water gets "inside" it makes the watch go crazy (light flashing on and off, constant beeping).  It finally moved onto the fairy tale land in the sky. I ran a very short and disgruntled and slow 20ish minutes.

Fri. (6/19):
Baptized by the pristine Pawcatuck "River"
16mi. - took a final personal day from school (central office "dared" me to by telling me if I didn't take it I was going to lose it at the end of the week).  Dusted off the monsterous Forerunner 205 space watch (it still works!) and ran from Horseshoe Falls in Shannock. Cloudy and overcast morning made for pretty decent conditions.  Ran Wordens Pond Road (3T block) then Rte 110 (a lot of cars!) and then a 2T block on the bike path and down Great Neck Road into the Great Swamp Management Area.  Deer flies kamikaze action errywhere (killed 5 total).  It is a shame that I cannot upload watch data to Strava as I really attacked the Levy Climb segment and nearly killed myself by the time I got to the top.  Not sure if it would've been enough to take it but it sure felt like it. Garvin is safe....for now. The real fun began once I looped back down along the southern lip of the containment pond and decided to "swim" across the swampy headwaters of the Pawcatuck River.  At this stage of the game, it was little more than a slow moving, smelly, muddy creek (think "Stand By Me").  On the opposite side, when I put my feet down, I sank up to my abdomen in thick mud.  After panicking for a few seconds, I realized that I could pull myself out with branches.  Gross, stinking, and petrified of brain-eating amoebae and flesh-eating bacteria, I pushed on through very tall grass, briars, and weeds, to stumble out onto Biscuit City Road and then back to Shannock.  I was laughing and having fun out
there.

Sat. (6/20):
9mi. - skipped workout with Davenports and Jonny (don't think my legs could handle back to back T days) and instead ran a decent meander around lower Ashaway roads.  Felt good.

Sun. (6/21):
6mi. - late afternoon run from home to my parents' house in Richmond for father's day festivities.  No watch is annoying.

TOTAL: 56mi. 

YTD: 1540 miles


--> another "filler"/maintenance week.  I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to focus on a healthy dose of T-pace running over the next several weeks to try and get ready for the Blessing. Feeling fat at times and beer grossness abounds.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 24 - 6/8/15 - 6/14/15

Mon. (6/8):
7mi. - ran around main streets of Ashaway in "switchback" pattern plus looped around repeated "switchbacks" in the town cemetery. Decent run but felt a wee bit tired.

Tue. (6/9):
3mi. - ugh.  The Terrible Tuesdays continue.  With my wife in class, I'm forced to squeeze in pathetically short runs very close to home while the spawn are left to fend for themselves.  As much as I hate(d) to admit it, my legs, body, and mind felt like such sh*t that I actually was okay with only 3 lazy miles.

Wed. (6/10):
9mi. - (a.m.) - a mental health day from school to try and make myself "well again".  Ran from Meadowbrook Pond parking lot, along North South trail up and around a few areas of Carolina Management Area.  After looking at Strava yesterday, (Garvin's run) I realized that I don't think I had ever run Laurel Trail in the "up" direction.  I tried to push this one hard to take the course record.  This run was really enjoyable -- a perfect way to start the day.

6mi. - (p.m.)- the first of the weekly WTAC/Tom McCoy Fun Runs.  Ran a very short, rushed mile warm up before running the 5K at T pace with Garvin.  The first mile was near perfect (5:54) and then we chatted (sort of ) intermittently throughout the rest of the course.  Ended up running it a tiny bit too fast for T but whatever, I'll take it.  It was about 5.5 miles total so I'm just calling it 6 because I can do whatever I want. Fun time. My new bromance is solidified in the local press too

Thu. (6/11):
5mi.  - easy Grills Sanctuary stuff.  Warm but not too bad in the shaded trails of Grills.  Only stuck to the Sanctuary side (stopped halfway across Polly Coon Bridge). Still no deer flies so that's cool.

Fri. (6/12):
8mi. - a little less humid than previous day.  Just wandering along the western most side of Ashaway. Ran mostly roads, tiny bit of trail (horse trails across the street from home) and a tiny bit of abandoned gravel bank.

Sat. (6/13):
5mi. - spent the entire morning (one full dropping tide) striper and fluke fishing with my father in/around Watch Hill reefs and Misquamicut beaches.  I was sunburned and exhausted.  This pissy little run was all I had in me.

Sun. (6/14):
17mi. - fun "church" run with Jonny.  Started from Canonchet Preserve (North Rd trail head) and ran pretty technical trails up through Long and Ell Pond, then Yawgoo trails out to dirt roads and bombed asphalt roads back the final 8 miles (?) or so.  We were moving along at a solid clip for a long run for the over more than 50% of it.  Good run.

TOTAL: 60 miles

YTD: 1484

--> still in lost and wandering maintenance mode.  Guess I need to start digging down and focusing more on T-paced workouts midweek and blocks during long runs as the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race and the Blessing of the Fleet are fast approaching (approx. one month away).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Chubby Mystery Kid In The Land of Track Surprises

This post is a little bit past due (about a week old) but I made a mental note that when it happened I wanted to share it with everyone else.  Alright, all 5 people that view this.

Last Thursday, on a rare mix up, Workout Wednesday became Workout Thursday.  As I have recently been doing, I arrived at the Westerly High School track with a plan to do short, R-paced intervals at some short distance to work on speed and leg turnover (two things that I lack and probably never had in the first place--ever!).

Just as I finished my final 200m repetition, as part of the 5 x 400/10 x 200 workout, I jogged a very easy 400m recovery.  Since I grow very tired of running in the same counter-clockwise direction, I immediately switched it up and ran my cool down laps the other way.  Immediately, I noticed a rather portly boy sauntering out onto the track.  I don't want to call him "fat" because of its derogatory connotations and, truth be told, by today's societal data here in 'Murica, he wasn't/isn't "fat".  Stout perhaps. Chunky. Portly.  Choose your descriptor.  However, it can be summed up that this young man's morphology certainly lent itself to video games, junk food, and a sedentary lifestyle vs early, sunrise track running.  I'm not trying to be a dick here but I was just surprised to a boy, about the age of 13-14 years old, 5' 4" maybe and perhaps about 195 lbs (?) up at the ass crack of dawn....to run....and do it on the track!

I lost sight of his efforts as I passed him walking on the front stretch, but once I turned around I saw him begin running out of turn 2.  I passed him along the back stretch (remember, we were running opposite directions at this point), and tried to make eye contact with him, something I'm wont to do in almost every social setting, especially at an early morning track session.  Glancing back over my shoulder, I witnessed him revert back to walking in turn 4 and continuing out of it onto the front stretch.  I passed him again along the front and once again, staring over my shoulder, watched him pick it up out of turn one into turn two. Okay, looks like 200 meter intervals.  Walk 200 recovery, then 200 "hard" (relative term).

I don't know why but this young kid's discipline, motivation, will, etc. made me want to stay out on the track and keep watching.  My one mile cool down turned into two.  Now, as we passed each other at various points, we'd smile.  We nodded.  And finally, as I finished my second mile of the cool down, I finally said, a little too enthusiastically, "Nice job, man!".  He returned the smile with a huffed "Thanks".  As I left the track he yelled out over his shoulder "You too, mister!".

What was it about this kid that moved me?  It seriously made me so happy.  It was like watching an emotional movie from my heyday (Rocky IV, Hoosiers, etc.). You know the ones--although you know it is Hollywood, so cliche they are actually terrible plots, but you can't help but get pumped and being so emotional and happy. I have no clue what the kid's pace was nor how many reps he did (at least 5 while I was there).  But I wanted to stay and watch him finish (I didn't--I'm not a creep).  I wanted to shake his hand and congratulate him.

Being a high school teacher, I'm growing apprehensive about young kids, teenagers, etc.  Does anybody do anything anymore besides social media, video games, and wait for (hopefully) sex?  How many middle school to high school kids are willing to wake up prior to sunrise to go lug their bodies around a track? This kid, despite his lack of fitness, was doing it! He didn't sleep in.  He wasn't laying around playing video games, scarfing down shit food, looking to others for excuses for his problems. He was working at something, a goal that no matter how difficult and far off in the future, was/is still there. He was UP....at SUNRISE....running fu*$ing 200 meter intervals! Again, I'm not exactly sure why this did, and still does, move me-- but it does.  For the rest of the day at school I thought of him fondly several different times and it made me smile.

Kid, I don't know your name or your story but you're a friggin' champion in my book! You sir, my portly little hard worker, deserve the highest of fives!  This is now the second time (last year, little old Italian lady) that I've encountered someone on the track that has completely surprised me and, in turn, pumped me up and made me happy.

He has given me hope.  Not all is lost in society.  Some people are still willing to work hard toward achieving their aspirations, no matter what their situation may be.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Week 23 6/1/15 - 6/7/15

Mon. (6/1):
8mi. - a good run around lower Ashaway side roads. Just barely beat the pouring rain.

Tue. (6/2):
3mi. - deprivation Tuesday.  Another boring shawty on another typical Tuesday. Leave the kids home alone...short run....go back to check on them and find no tears, nor blood, nor fires. Victory!

Wed. (6/3):
5mi. - a switch from typical Workout Wednesday.  Slept in and ran a short, easy 5 miler around Westerly instead from WHS (kid lacrosse practice).

Thu. (6/4):
8mi. - (a.m.) -  WHS track workout, one day removed. 5 x 400, 10 x 200.  Trying to find leg turnover and speed (did I ever have those things?).  200 recoveries between each, 400 recover between "sets".  Quick times so I guess it was okay

5mi. - (p.m.) - easy Ashaway afternooner on local roads and some horse trails.

Fri. (6/5):
8mi.  - from Bradford lax fields prior to game.  Was VERY disappointed to find that DEM(?) had bulldozed the beaver dam at the beaver pond in Woody Hill Mgmt. Area.  Pond is quickly draining now and saw the beaver and their lodge is extremely exposed (can see the underwater entrance/exit hole!).  Also, the quarry "people", after some guy fell to his death recently at 0200, has now dropped dozens of trees across single track and spray painted bright orange "Keep Out" all over rocks and trees.  Also VERY disappointing and annoying. Still a good run otherwise.

Sat. (6/6):
16mi. - a kind of fun and enjoyable solo long run.  Mostly roads from home with a very short section of field/trails in Carter Preserve.  Tried to rip an uphill segment (Shumunkanuc Hill Rd).  Started to really fatigue the last few miles.  Really needed a gel and water towards the end.  Good run though!

Sun. (6/7):
5mi. - an easy afternoon fiver but ran into GI issues.  I swear I hold the northeast regional record here in this department. Awful.

TOTAL: 58 miles
YTD: 1424 miles

--> Despite some "down days" (Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday), I was able to salvage a respectable maintenance week.  Now that it is June, I need to start trying to focus a tiny bit more I suppose.  50-60 miles per week is still the goal but need to be a little more organized and regimented with some of the daily filler runs.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 22 5/25/15 - 5/31/15

Mon. (5/25)-
8mi. - used the holiday to run from my parents' house around Carolina Management Area.  Damn, the water is so friggin' low already.  Lowest precipitation for month of May on record all time I believe in RI.  Scary thought for the upcoming summer.

Tue. (5/26)-
3mi. - yup, only three miles.  With my wife at class all day, I had to leave the three spawn unattended at home.  It's tough to sneak in anything right now on Tuesdays unless I start doing it in the early morning before school.  Felt like total crap anyway (really heavy tired legs and whole body felt crappy).  I have to start taking better care of myself (diet, too much fun, etc.)

Wed. (5/27)-
8mi. - (a.m.) - WHS track session. 8 x 400, 4 x 200 @ approx. R pace (maybe a little bit too fast for most). Felt pretty tired near the end but in a good way.  Times were a bit too spicy but whatever.  Just trying to get some turnover.  I haven't really done short, fast track workouts until recently.  Trying to find my mojo. 77/76/75/74/75/75/74/73 and 35/36/35/35,

7mi. - (p.m.) from Bradford lacrosse fields up into trails in Woody Hill and Wahaneeta.  Pretty fun but legs were tired and feeling sluggish on any incline, no matter how tiny and gradual.

Thu. (5/28)-
Tree rapists were errywhere.
5mi. - normal upper Ashaway wandering.  Didn't feel that great (yesterday's workout and double?).  Spent my time crushing the obscene number of tent caterpillars. A lot of inner juices smeared on the bottoms of the shoes when I got home. Gross.

Fri. (5/29)-
9mi.  - from Westerly Yacht Club, down into Watch Hill, around the lighthouse (slow going on the rocks), and back to WYC.  Rich people on Watch Hill Rd certainly do not like to move over. Spent the remainder of the afternoon/evening helping a friend take apart inboard stern drive shafts and props.  A bit unnerving having a 35' huge boat dangling above you held up by canvas straps!

Sat. (5/30)-
13mi. - late morning start (0900!) from home in a new loop around North Stonington.  Mixed in a tiny bit of trails in Avalonia Preserve but mainly roads.  Felt good.

Sun. (5/31)-
3mi. - only 3 miles around dinner time.  I was exhausted (spent the morning into early afternoon playing on the boat in/around Little Narragansett Bay.  Sunburned and unmotivated.  Poor end to the week.

TOTAL: 56 miles
YTD: 1366