Friday, December 29, 2017

Week of 18 December 2017

Mon. (12/18):
7+mi.  (58:29) - raw and drizzly. Took it pretty easy.  Had minor brain freeze in beginning of the run.  Definitely coming down with cold (coughing, tightness in chest, sneezing like a wild man).  Hope it is minor. 7.3 on watch.

Tue. (12/19):
5mi.  (38:20) - easy from home to Bradford.  Hard time breathing. Really congested in sinuses, ears, eyes, nose, etc.  Not sure if I'll be able to meet my obligatory 60mpw goal this week.  Feel kind of run down but don't want to take a zero.

Wed. (12/20):
9+mi.  (1:10:03) - not feeling that great for the final day of fall.  I wandered up Chase Hill and back around along the rivers.  Head and chest feeling a bit better but legs and body feeling really tired.  Another very early to bed night (asleep on the couch by 1800....three nights in a row!).

Thu. (12/21):
4mi.  (31:16) - shorty close to home and briefly on trails in Pelloni Preserve.  In a bit of a rush to get to Jonny's to celebrate the Solstice.  Feeling better now that everything has slid down into by lungs and bronchi.  Standing around a fire and staring into the stars, sipping a beer and laughing with others is healing.  We even offered up the token "Jul/Yule Log"- last year's Christmas tree- to the flames (make sure you save a portion and keep it inside to start next year's Solstice fire) and then burnt a sacrificial offering to the Solstice Overlords. The sun shall rise again!

"It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority."
Acts 1:7
Fri. (12/22):
6mi.  (44:29) - first day of winter. Awoke in the dark at 0415, thinking about school (UGH!).  Got up and ran local roads. Felt pretty good for a change. Somehow running at a 'different time' and with building excitement regarding an impending break from work always makes things better. The only down side was spending 10 minutes searching for both of my good head lamps.  Apparently, the spawn "borrowed" them.  I was finally forced to roll out the door with a friggin' Hello Kitty head lamp.  Very inferior quality but a dimly-lit run in the dark is still a run. Hurry up and get this school thing over with!!

6+mi. - (53:49) - added on easy double in evening for some junk miles. Running in morning makes it so much easier to get out in afternoon. 6.6 miles on watch brought me to even mileage for the week’s total.

Sat. (12/23):
8mi - (60:07) - boring on the treadmill. Did this simply because I know I’ll have to begin putting in some runs on the hamster wheel over the next few months. Forgot how much I hate it.

Sun. (12/24):
15mi. -(1:45:50) - Parked at the usual spot in a Shannock and then looped around onto Worde s Pond Rd, back through Kenyon, and up Beaver River Rd into trails,  before looping back. Felt pretty good and most of the run was pretty spicy. Near the very end of the run, as I spilled back out into Shannock Hill Rd before climbing up onto West Shannock Rd, I caught a guy who was running at decent pace. I passed him on the climb up to West Shannock. He looked over at me and made a face. What are we 7 years old buddy? Finished up the run and then headed home for Christmas Eve festivities.

TOTAL: 61 miles
Hit my mileage goal again. Trying to get used to chasing miles and sticking to “plans, albeit very rough and not difficult ones.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Week of 11 December 2017

Mon. (12/11);
7mi.  (51:15 ) - another "joyless" wander around local roads.  Decent pace but feeling a bit rundown from a larger-than-normal (for me) weekend.

Tue. (12/12):
4mi. (30:53) - shorty close to home on roads and Pelloni trails.  Didn't have time for anything else as struggled (late) to parent-teacher conferences for 2/3 of my spawn.

Wed. (12/13):
11mi.  (1:18:52) - ran from home into Charlestown and then had planned to loop back through Burdickville back to home.  Changed my mind on Kings Factory Road and turned onto Buckeye Brook Road instead.  Not sure what I was thinking.  Would've made the run more like 15 miles instead of 10-11 and I was running out of daylight.  Ran into Bradford instead and stopped at a friends house to hang in his man cave and have some beers and kill it on guitar for an hour while waiting for my wife to come and pick me up.  Like a little boy, playing and having fun.  Winning Wednesday.

Thu. (12/14):
6mi.  (47:41) - regular, boring filler run at a slow, tired pace.  Yuck.

Fri. (12/15):
7mi.  (55:57) - easy but very cold (9 degrees!) sunrise run in Ninigret. I forgot they closed the actual sanctuary trails for youth hunting program for two weeks in December so I was relegated to looping in the park itself and Arnolda loop.    I did get to "play" 18 holes on the disc golf course.

4mi. (30:02) - easy but slippery 30 minutes before dark.

Sat. (12/16):
14+mi.  (1:44:02) - a cold and "tough" flat run with Gazelle in Charlestown and SK.  No elevation but roads were slushy and slippery with the overnight snow.  Really tiring with little traction. Still a good run though otherwise. 14.1 on the watch.

Sun. (12/17):
7mi.  (50:46) - Weekapaug (very slippery) side streets.  Good run.

TOTAL: 60+ miles
And the 60 mile per week slog rolls on....not sure about any gains, just mindless running.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Week of 4 December 2017

Mon. (12/4):
7mi.  (56:33) - very easy, almost recovery-like jaunt around Tomaquag Valley loop.  Legs felt a little blah.

Tue. (12/5):
7+mi.  (52:XX) - another boring filler run.  Had to run a bit hurried (not faster) to beat the oil boiler repairman home (he didn't show up until 1800 though).  No really hot water for showers has been great fun. Only having a tankless coil for domestic hot water use has really cut down on the production of usable hot water.  I enjoy the spawns' complaints and their really quick (60-90 second showers). 7.4 miles on watch.

Wed. (12/6):
6+mi.  (48:48) - slept in for second straight  morning.  This means I skipped Workout Wednesday. UGH.  Just not feeling it.  And most definitely "couldn't" do it in the later afternoon.  Just drearily trudged local roads and trails close to home.  Mind instead focused on plumbing problems, hot water/big oil boiler problems, and a slew of other breaking/broken home issues. The least life could do is give me a kiss while it repeatedly keeps f*$%ing me.   Is home ownership really the American Dream or have we all been duped? Not a good day. Imagining if I could fake my own death and live in northern California in a small rented cabin with just running clothes, a watch, and a dog. 6.2 miles on watch.

Thu. (12/7):
4mi.  (30:04) - Ewwww....just not enough time to get in anything more than an easy thirty minutes.  Planner's full....

Fri. (12/8):
10mi.  (1:11:53) - a fun romp around the ol' CnB route.  Felt really good.  Felt even better when I got home and tackled two of many less-than-fun house debacles and repairs.

Sat. (12/9):
16mi. (2:00:05) - a very enjoyable mix of roads, with some snow-flurried trails in Carter on the far end, and roads back home.  I waited a bit for it to actually start snowing and really enjoyed the solitude of gray, overcast, human-free trails.  Felt pretty darn good throughout, even the climb back up into Ashawy.

Sun. (12/10):
10mi. (1:18:41) - easy dawdle around Ashaway roads to get to my weekly goal of 60 miles.  Was sort of overdressed (ran in tights!) as I didn't know it was going to be so fair out. Legs a bit tired but felt better afterwards.

TOTAL: 60+ miles

Managed to continue adding onto/building the pre-marathon training base.  Ideally, if I can get 5 straight weeks of 60 miles it might possibly give me something to carve/mold into Boston shape starting in 2018.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Week of 27 November 2017

Mon. (11/27):
8mi.  (1:02:15) - easy but blustery wander around the lower 'Shway.  Took it pretty easy.

Tue. (11/28):
7mi.  ( ) - once again, easy, aimless wandering with mostly roads and a bit of trails in Kenyon Crossroads.  Felt a bit "off" today and really down and out mentally (non-running-related, life things).  But as always, ending a run always leaves one a bit better off than before they started, even if only temporarily.

Wed. (11/29):
10mi.  (1:10:09) - 10 x 0.25 mile on Rte 216 roads with 2:00 easy recoveries.  Pretty windy.  80/80/80/78/76/78/80/80/78/76.  Tough but manageable.  Felt "good" to put forth hard effort and wrap up a decent run.

Thu. (11/30):
6mi.  - (49:26) - easy local mix of roads and trails. Just a tiny bit longer than Gazelle's ;)

Fri. (12/1):
5mi.  (40:00) - easy Carolina trails. I drew out a map for wife and dog and then sent them off while I wandered around. Caught them at the five mile mark and then walked in the last 1/2 mile with them.  They both enjoyed it, as did I. Sneaking in trails in this area before shotguns tomorrow.

Sat. (12/2):
11mi.  (1:38:41) - with Gazelle and JohnShort (all one word?) at Bluff Point and Haley Farm.  As always, fun single track wandering. Perfectly chilly conditions.

3mi.  (28:XX) - later in the afternoon with das Hund, Molly, on Kenyon Crossroads trails. Nice & easy. Trying to get her used to running off leash with me but staying not too far ahead or behind. She is learning.

Sun. (12/3):
11mi.  (1:24:28) - fun mixer from Carter Preserve, behind Charlestown School, then roads in/around Shannock before looping back through Carter.  Good stuff.

TOTAL: 61 miles
Sadly, t'is the first time I've seen an honest 60 in quite a while

Monday, November 27, 2017

Week of 20 November 2017

Mon. (11/20):
6mi. (49:27) - easy recovery on local roads and Pelloni Preserve trails. Felt ok with some fatigue but no real soreness. Weird. I’m usually really tight and sore in odd, lower leg connective tissues. Guess I didn’t try hard enough at yesterday’s race.

Tue. (11/21):
3mi. - (25:XX? ) - a pathetic run.  Some soreness finally but started out with a mild headache at the beginning that progressed and blossomed into a banger after a couple of miles. Weird as I'm usually not prone to headaches.  Finished up at 3 and walked the final 0.25 mile back home.  Try again tomorrow.

Wed. (11/22):
5mi. (37:48) - drizzly, raw, headache-inducing run in/around Weekapaug from the fishermen's lot.  Ran on the beach for a bit too (!) but the north wind, although normally not a problem, was really bothering me.

Thu. (11/23):
8+mi. (1:14:25) - with Jonny, Gazelle and 5K for a Thanksgiving morning jaunt in both Grills properties along the river.  Good stuff. 8.4 miles on watch.

8mi.  (1:06:46) - solo wander from check station at the campground. A mix of trails and campground asphalt.  Enjoyable run and nice weather. Better than shopping.

Sat. (11/25):
14mi.  (1:35:53) - a medium long run with a workout of sorts in there.  After 5 mile warm-up, I tried 3T (5:48/5:53/5:45) and it really zapped and humbled me.  After recovering for a bit, I wasn't able to muster much else, although the last several miles were spicy (6:38, 6:50, 6:44, 6:28, 6:19).  Not sure what this got me other than exhausted.  I've a long way to go.

Sun. (11/26):
9+mi.  (1:14:18) - ran from Baker Pines (North South Trail) up into Arcadia for a mix of mostly trail with some roads (after I mistakenly stayed on KG Ranch Road instead of veering off into woods again?).  Seth Acton sighting was a bonus as he had parked at the same spot and ran longer. 9.6 miles on watch.

TOTAL: 54 miles

Monday, November 20, 2017

Week of 13 November 2017 - 19 November 2017

Mon. 11/13:
6mi.  - (46:35) - raw and drizzly one squeezed in between a.m. and p.m. sessions of parent-teacher conferences. Long day.

Tue. 11/14:
7mi.  (53:09) - a slightly later start on yet another battleship gray day aborted an attempted easy trail run with Critchlery.  Instead I had to hustle around on local roads and trails in Kenyon Crossroads to beat the dark.

Wed. 11/15:
7mi.  (50:53) - a light "workout" on the back 9 holes at Richmond Country Club. It was fun pushing hard from each white tee box, down the fairways (path of best golf shots?), up to the pin on the green.  Very short recoveries along cart paths between each hole made it a little more aerobic than it seemed. Fun because it was something different.

I didn't even lose a single ball.....

Thu. 11/16:
5mi.  (45:29) - easy mix of roads and trails in Champlin Glacier Park. Pretty dark.  Great Horned Owl in along the path down to the salt pond.

Fri. 11/17:
4mi. (29:35) - easy short loop in/around Shannock before hangin’ with the boys for a few hours.

Sat. 11/18:
3mi. (22:51) - short and easy with 4 strides near the end. As ready as I’ll ever be for the race.

Sun. 11/19:
12+mi. - Race- Li’l Rhody Runaround. A tough day out there for me but about what I expected. Finished in 7th place OA in 50:35, a bit slower due to wet conditions but not at fitness level I want/need to be. Nobody to blame but myself. Still, a fun day overall in my first race as a “Master”

TOTAL:43+ miles

Monday, November 13, 2017

B.L.O.G. (Big Lazy Obfuscation Game)

My running has been pretty inconsistent, at least in terms of structured mileage, focused runs, and workouts.  OK, the last item in that list has been next to non-existent.

So I'm really looking for some motivation.  I need structure sometimes.  My career is too structured and organized -- so much so that when given the chance, I tend to blow off any other form of organization and regiment.  Due to this mental and physical lethargy, I've missed any chance at running a good time/race at Li'l Rhody Runaround (50:00+ is a definite possibility!).  Also, the Christmas 10K in mid December should also be a disappointment (see first two opening lines of this post).

Anyhow, maybe, just maybe, if I begin blogging again, I'll slowly build up motivation, structure, and confidence enough so that I can begin training successfully for Boston in April.

With this in mind, here is a VERY abbreviated update on what has happened since my last post (in JULY!).

1. I've gained weight and lost fitness.

2. I've run several races that were fun but not overly successful ( Blessing of the Fleet, Wahaneeta 5K Trail Race, Run for the Pumpkins 8K Trail Race).

3. I turned 40 in October.

4. My family got a dog.  She loves trails. Just need to get her a little less spooked so that she can go on runs with me regularly (she is afraid of the road, cars, people, cats, noises, air, farts, water bowls, leaves, chickens, me, etc.).

5. I've gained weight and lost fitness.  Yes, I feel as though I've had to write that twice.

I may not blog weekly (I'll try), but no promises.  Sometimes my posts will be just a quick week recap (see below).  Sometimes they'll be just about something fun with regards to running.  Sometimes they may not even be about running. Sometimes they'll be invisible (read: non-existent).

Without further ado:

Week of  6 November 2017 - 12 November 2017

Mon. 11/6:
5mi. (40:02) - boring, blah run on local roads.

Tue. 11/7:
6mi. (48:49) - forgot about muzzle loader season opening the previous weekend.  Ran in Carolina NE area and came across one pissed off black powder hunter walking on trails and then, in the open fields, a very pleasant pheasant (shotgun) hunter with his dog.

Wed. 11/8:
8mi. (59:25) - good run on local roads/standard loop.  Felt good.  Obviously no Wednesday Workout or double.

Thu. 11/9:
6+mi.  (45:41) - 6.2 miles from my parents' house, on roads and then the front 9 holes at Richmond Country Club.  Fun running from every single white tee box, down all fairways, up to the pin on each green.  Not a single human in sight/around.....just the way I like it!

Fri. 11/10:
7+mi.  (53:53) - a 7.2 mile run on local roads and some trails before spending the day with Mrs. Puddin'. It is/was our 16th anniversary.  Where is the time going?

5mi.  (HIKE) - a day trip in/around Mount Misery in Pachaug with wife.  Very chilly and brisk with stiff winds but still a beautiful day with child-like exploration, laughing until tears, getting dirty, discovering interesting things -- a day of childish wonder and awe. Nature always provides and heals. Good for the "soul".

Sat. 11/11:
5+mi.  (38:26) - a little over 5 miles (5.1) on local roads and trails. Leaves in the yard and then striper fishing in the evening (caught a bunch but soooo tiny -- 12-14").

Sun. 11/12:
10+mi.  (1:17:28) - 10.3 miles on roads with Grills Sanctuary and Grills Preserve mixed in the middle.  Felt really good.  Perfect running weather (gloves and thin hat).  Enjoyed it.

Total: 47.8 miles
A somewhat typical week that embodies what I've been doing all along. Sort of a maintenance mode with insufficient mileage or hard efforts.  Oh well.  Still alive I suppose.  Could be worse....

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Big Ketchup: Weeks 25, 26, and 27: 6/19/17 - 7/9/17

Yeah, so I've slacked off a bit.  Nobody will read all of this so I suppose it is basically for recording of data.  Just forcing myself to update so that I'll get back at it.

Week 25 - 6/19/17 - 6/25/17
Mon. (6/19):
8+mi.  - (1:06:21) - nice and flat, but soggy, easy run in Ninigret with Jonny.  We did most of the perimeter, mixing in grassy fields, tarmac, and soft gravel trails.  Very foggy and damp.  Nice SW wind to help move around the air though. 8.5 miles total.

Tue. (6/20):
3mi.  - (23:31) - very short and easy shakedown in preparation for Wednesday fun and activities.  Met my new "neighbor" from California ("Hang loose, bro.")

Image result for summer solstice
Wed. (6/21):
8mi.  - (1:04:55) - group run in Weekapaug along the sand trail, down to Quonnie Breachway, back along the beach and then remainder on quiet Weekapaug roads.  All followed up by a chilly but awesome (quick!) dip in the sea.  Felt great. Almost late to school (again).

8mi.  - (1:09:XX) - sneaky lunch run. Instead of eating I went to the Westerly Town Forest and did loops in there with some powerline descents, stream crossings, and road loop back.  I got a "Lost Signal" on my watch but then, after hitting "OK", it kept running time and kept distance.  However, when uploading it, it only shows 3.7 miles (point at which I lost signal), and that's it.  Even stranger, it doesn't show up at all in my profile or feed, yet it counts it all towards my overall distance accumulated for the week.  Very annoying, this Corrupt Time File!

5mi.  - (37:30) - McCoy Fun Run #1, including warm up/sign placement, 5K easy, then subsequent sign grab.  I didn't feel badly.  Fun fire and relaxation at Jonny's afterward in honor of Jesus Christianity St. John's Feast Day  Trump 'Murica The Longest Day of the Year. Glad I got to 21 for the day. I know it is stupid and totally meaningless but it is my juvenile way of recognizing real calendar events that matter and "stickin' it to the man" (why am I still in school?!?)

Thu. (6/22):
3mi.  - (23:42) - short and easy.  My back hurts quite a bit.  Pulled a muscle in my lower back I think while leaning over/changing oil in the tractor.  Getting older is all about complaining how tired you are, wishing you had never made those plans you agreed to, and wondering how the hell you hurt your back.

Fri. (6/23):
7mi.  - 53:27 - improvement in the back.  Last official day of school! Rejoice!

Sat. (6/24):
5mi.   - (XX:XX) - super fun hike with M and the Hammsteins up Wildcats E and D.  It was fun to bag another 4Ker.  I was super impressed with the kids.
J & J enjoying the views, looking towards the Presidentials
Two spawn descending back down Wildcat ski trails

Sun. (6/25):
0mi.  - after lounging at Diana's Baths all morning with the Hammsteins and M, a long drive home.  Tired back in Rhody and just unpacked and drank more beer.

TOTAL: 47 miles

Week 26 - 6/26/17 - 7/2/17

Mon. (6/26):
7mi.  - (51:15) - first "real" day of summer vacation.  Local loop and loving life.

Tue. (6/27):
10mi.  - (1:10:12) - typical CnB loop into NoSto but rallied for a good one.  Felt great (7:01 pace OA). Gobbling up summer life.

Wed. (6/28):
8mi.  - (1:10:04) - wander into Carolina Management Area before doing 4 x Kenyon Hill Trail climb (a.k.a. "Haberek").  More tiring than I thought (wanted 6-7 of them).  Impromptu workout but still good. 

6mi.  - (45:19) - easy at the Fun Run. Just going through the motions but it can't hurt.

Thu. (6/29):
0mi.  - not even sure why? don't even remember what I did....but it wasn't run.

Fri. (6/30):
8mi.  - (1:00:22) - boring loop around the lower 'Shway.  Was really dragging ass. Not feeling it. 

Sat. (7/1):
11mi.  - (1:35:XX) - easy Burlingame trails with Jonny.  A lot of deer flies and sweating.  Very moist, damp, drizzly, humid.  

Sun. (7/2):
0mi.  - didn't run but did a shit ton of bottom fishing with the Ol' Man out off the beaches.  We slayed a mess of fluke and a "giant" black sea bass (18"!).  Pops out fished me once again -- so annoying.  Very hot inland but fackin' PERFECT out on the salty plains with a stiff SW wind. 

Total: 50 miles

Week 27 - 7/3/17 - 7/9/17

Mon. (7/3):
7mi.  - (52:56) - waited until later (1000). It was warm by dry(ish).  Not too bad in the shade on local roads.

Tue. (7/4):
9mi.  - (1:07:38) - a repeat of yesterday in that just a wander around on local roads.  Sunny but at least it was dry!

Wed. (7/5):
9mi.  - (1:00:56) - 5 x 1T with 1:00 recoveries.  Humbling as it reinforced my (lack of) current fitness.  The last one was tough -- hot, sweaty, headache, dizziness.  At least I got to dunk in Meadowbrook at the finish to cool down. Didn't double in the evening as I was recording times and names at the Fun Run in the evening.  Did still get to swim in the ocean afterwards with Hammsteins and Girl Spawn.

Thu. (7/6):
7mi.  - (50:28) - felt really good for Tomaquag Valley loop.  Love it when it feels good on a Thursday.

4mi.  - (32:05) - a fun but short run from Zeke's Bridge in Coventry, along the origins of "Big River" and atop the granite overlooking I-95.  Legs a bit tired.

Fri. (7/7):
6mi.  - (45:51) - felt pretty blah (mild nausea and stomach "weirdness"). Very humid and misty.  Last day in Rhody before driving north to NH. 

Sat. (7/8):
16mi. - (1:52:36) - a good, "true" long run (haven't done one in a looooong time) on roads.  It was warm and humid but I managed really well. 7:02 pace OA.  Did cheat at one point when I stopped at my parents' for a drink of water.  Showered, loaded up the truck and drove up to Grantham, NH in the afternoon. 

Sun. (7/9):
8mi.  - (1:07:14) - easy Eastman recovery mixer of gravel roads and grassy/muddy XC ski trails.  Felt good!

Total: 66 mi.
YTD: 1489 miles
Image result for yin yang symbol

Yin of the Week:
Not going to bother as three weeks has much too much "stuff" to decide.

Yang of the Week:
See Yin.....

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 24: 6/12/17 - 6/18/17

Mon. (6/12):
5mi.  - (38:48) - easy local road wander before school.  Trying to sneak in some easy, not hot miles.  Should've just done 8-10 in a single shot here.

5mi.  - (38:34) - took an impromptu air conditioned nap when I got home then headed out at 1700 for another short jaunt.  Wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  A faint breeze and shade helped, plus running in the evening made it better than during a 1300 -1500 window.

Tue. (6/13):
7mi.  (58:XX) - another hot-ass day.  another pre-run nap in AC (addicted to them!). Waited until 1630 to run.  It wasn't that bad out as I rolled it slowly and there was once again a pretty stirring SW breeze.  Shade won out again with both HLT properties (17 spider web breakthroughs -- going to get bitten again one of these days).

Wed. (6/14):
5mi. - (1:00:13) - a very easy outing in Carolina north, simply looking for some interesting structures (weird trees, rock piles, and the random colonial granite marker post), while taping out single track trail. It's going to take a lot of work to make the actual trail but the rudimentary stage is there.  Random Jonny meeting along Laurel Trail as I spilled out of the woods, lost and confused. Kind of funny to watch how much I wandered in search of the post/marker. Watch it here. And you can view a cuter "awwwww" version of it here. Special thanks to BLS for turning me on to Relive.  It's cool, just like she is.

Thu. (6/15):
9mi.  (1:03:01) - 2 x 800, 4 x 400, 6 x 200 at WHS track before school.  Been a very long time.  Oh man.  I hate it so much.  It hurts and basically, in all reality, might be pointless for me at this stage of my "career". Seriously, when am I ever going to run this fast in real life?!? 400m recoveries after the 800s and 400s (needed them!) and 200m recoveries after the 200s. Splits: 2:40, 2:37/ 75, 75, 76, 75/35, 35, 35, 36, 36, 36.

5mi.  - (38:42) - an easy afternoon move around before R's 4th grade commencement (man, I'm getting old!)  Didn't feel too tired/crappy.

Fri. (6/16):
7mi.  - (1:00:15) - rainy and wet stroll around Woody Hill with Gazelle and Matthew.  Stopped to check out an outer single track trail that I've only been on a few times which has a stone crossing over Perry Healey Brook.  The newly constructed beaver dam (again!) has blocked it up so the brook is nearly dry at that point.  Followed up the run with a few miles of weedwhacking to tidy up the XC course before a fundraiser event on Sunday.  Soaking wet and raw by the time we finished.  Fun.

Sat. (6/17):
5mi.  - (37:58) - late afternoon lethargy.  Spend the day doing errands and then building a temporary coop and run for the new chicks (a little over 5 weeks old) next to the existing run so the old bitches can meet the new bitches.  Hoping to have them fully immersed in 3-4 weeks.  Basic, easy carpentry is still tedious and tires me out.
The flock grows......

Sun. (6/18):
16mi.  - (2:16:52) - a pretty fun (tiring!) mix of roads and trails around Wyassup Lake.  It was very slow going on the slippery, rocky footing on the trails, especially the first several miles.  Hill climbs were "fun".  1,952' elevation gain. Super humid and some brief downpours.  I haven't done a legitimate long run like this that wears me out in quite some time.  Good stuff. On the downside, I did kill four deer flies -- the first of 2017.  Yuck.

TOTAL: 63 miles
YTD:1326 miles

Image result for yin yang symbol

Yin of the week:
Didn't really have a bad one this week.  I guess I'll take the Saturday blah run.  Just wasn't into it. They really were empty, meaningless miles...sort of.  When you're tired and your head/heart aren't in it at all, the run is just ugh. They can't all be HRs though.  

Yang of the week:
The Father's Day long run with Jonny.  As I said, it always feels good to feel "badly" near the end of a 2+ hour run.  You know you've done something right. Also, some of the ledges along the single track trail (i.e. Bullet Ledge) are most impressive.  This was a tough selection as I had fun, in different ways, on several very different runs this week (i.e. Woody Hill with Gazelles, Stone Marker finding and trail taping, etc.).  'Twas a good week on all accounts. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 23: 6/5/17 - 6/11/17

Mon. (6/5):
9mi.  - (1:15:19) - from M's lacrosse practice on the recurring tour of Woody Hill.  This time I tried to head to the southern-most portion in the hard-to-find single track that connects out to Twig Drive in Robin Hills Estate.  I found the start but got lost in the treacherous swamps of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  I enjoyed the run but was slightly annoyed by space watch performance on the Hansel & Gretel section.  I ran it moderately hard (not race pace) and it had me at a mediocre pace (8:40 for the entire mile?!?!). I've forgotten how much I hate satellite action on wooded, single track trails.  Now I remember.

Tue. (6/6):
7mi.  - (58:09) - a loop of the outer perimeter or so of Carter Preserve. Pretty grim in there with the various caterpillar deforestation. Even the trees that I thought "don't look that bad", upon closer inspection, are covered and about to be crushed.  Disheartening.  But the run was enjoyable -- started off sluggish and shitty but felt peaceful and loose by the end.

Wed. (6/7):
*just can't get out of bed at 0400 anymore for workouts...
10mi.  - (1:10:47) - 3 mile w/u, 3T + 6 x 0:45second hills, 2 mile c/d.  Went okay I suppose.  The T felt hard but it was a little too fast (5:48, 5:49, 5:54).  The hills were short enough where they didn't kill me despite rolling directly into them right after the 3T. Legs felt good and heavy on the cool down home.

Thu. (6/8):
5mi.  - (46:33) - very easy trails in Carolina north.  I intentionally went off trail numerous times for exploration purposes.  Found a very strange but cool rectangular granite marker -- about 3.5' tall, upright with a hooked top and carved hole in the top.  I will definitely expand a previously roughed out trail to incorporate this some how.  Fun having no time, distance, or destination goal for a short and easy run.  Nice to not care sometimes.

Fri. (6/9):
14mi  - (1:40:28) - a warm, Friday evening MLR.  Snuck this in before going to a friend's 6 yr. old b-day party.  Didn't want something longish hanging over my head for the weekend.  Did a rolling loop around Kings Factory/Shumunkanuck (sp?)/Burdickville roads.

Sat. (6/10):
4mi. - (32:53) - ugh. Battling back a zero.  After a very shameful  hangover (from a 6 year old BIRTHDAY PARTY!), and then a long day of fishing, I did a short easy one.  Terrible day--other than the fishing. Three 19-20" fluke after a long, slow day.  Still was pretty nice out on the water.

Dull knives make for less-than-fun fileting....

Sun. (6/11):
9mi.  - (1:09:07) - another warm one.  Felt like crap.  At least there was a breeze.  Had to miss the Back Road Ramble Trail Race due to lacrosse tournament later in the day.  Disappointing.

TOTAL: 58 miles
YTD: 1263 miles

Image result for yin yang symbol

Yin of the week:
The ruination of Friday evening and Saturday (in terms of running).  It was completely my own fault. Most adults can consume alcohol responsibly at a relaxing, Friday evening birthday/BBQ.  Apparently, I cannot. Ended with hugging the porcelain bowl and awful remorse the next day.  Very embarrassing and it was the low point to the week-- in terms of running and life.

Yang of the week:
Surprisingly, the little 5 mile run in Carolina North on Thursday.  Going "off trail" excites me, especially when finding interesting old colonial (?) stones and such. It makes me want to find, make, explore new spaces and places and trails.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week 22 - 5/29/17 - 6/4/17

Mon. (5/29):
7+mi.  - (1:03:40) - easy Vin Gormley trail loop in the rain with Ryan D.  Relaxed and easy, good to catch up on life, events, running, alcohol(ism), etc. Haven't seen/run with Ryan in quite a long time. 7.6 miles total on watch.

Tue. (5/30):
7mi.  - (50:56) - road loop down into SW corner of Ashaway.  Nothing special.  Good pace (7:16).

Wed. (5/31):
9+mi.  - (1:06:44) - "Light Switch Quarters". Unplanned and not really organized workout (first one in a long time).  6 x 0.25 mile "on", 0.25 mile "off" on flattish section of Rte. 216.  Splits were all over the place (i.e. first one was 83, while another was 73-74).  Not really encouraging but it is a start of sorts. 9.4 miles total.

Thu. (6/1):
4mi.  - (33:17) - easy morning recovery dawdle before school. Late start -- almost tardy to school.

7mi.  - (55:25) - another fairly easy one (not as dawdling as in the a.m.) on local road/trail mix around and through Kenyon Cross Roads preserve.  Felt a bit warm and thirsty.

Fri. (6/2):
10mi. - (1:13:20) - a kind of fun loop into the NE section of Cackalacky Mgmt. Area.  I swung through the state's hatchery property to look at the farm-raised trout.  I was surprised (appalled?) to see sections of pens filled with Golden Trout.  They are bright orange-yellow and look so stupid.  Easy pickings for the local Osprey and Great Blue Herons.  A good run that I enjoyed immensely at a good overall pace, despite much on trails.

Sat. (6/3):
5mi.  - (43:46) - a short run in Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic, CT before meeting a buddy (a lot of Phish shows with him) for local breakfast at a third friend's newly opened breakfast/lunch/dinner place in Crescent Beach.  I really enjoyed the park, although it is pretty small.  My spirits crashed and burned over breakfast as we discussed the friend's upcoming surgery to remove large sections of his colon as he has been diagnosed with colon, stomach, and esophageal cancer.  Fuuuuuuuuuuck.

Sun. (6/4):
0mi. - had full intentions of a long run but didn't get up and do it before sunrise.  Life got in the way the rest of the day with lacrosse tournament, chores, etc.  Oh well.

TOTAL: 50 mi.
YTD: 1205 miles

Not quite what I had hoped for (a recurring theme) but tolerable.  Also, I've decided to start adding something to the end of this pathetic blog each week.  Every night at dinner (at least in between yelling, crying, breaking things, spilling things, etc.), we ask our kids about their day under the guise of "Best Part/Worst Part".  Each of my spawn has to elaborate on what was the highlight and lowlight of their day. You'd be surprised by some of the viewpoints and descriptions you get.  Another question is also "What Did You Fail At Today?" with a vocalized celebration/recognition of what each person (myself and my wife included) failed at today.  Failure is good.  It means you attempted something that isn't rote, easy, and is absolutely outside of your comfort zone. We laugh and high five failure for it is the best teacher and experience.

With that:
Image result for yin yang symbol 
Yin of the week:
My friend.  Easy pick.  Humbling, angering, frustrating.  He has the right response though: "WTF you gonna do, man? I have the best cancer doctor in the world at Yale.  Life always works out, just not how it was planned."

Yang of the week:
My short, easy run Saturday in Rocky Neck (views were great at some points along the coast, elevated up on granite outcroppings). It is a nice place and I really do enjoy running "early" in the morning vs (mostly) afternoons.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Week 21 - 5/22/17 - 5/28/17

Mon. (5/22):
0mi. - resting pesky, weird leg thing (muscle? connective tissue? psychosis?)

Tue. (5/23):
3+mi.  ( ) - easy short local. Still feel faint leg "stuff".  Not sure how to proceed.  Zero running or very short, easy stuff like this?  3.3 miles total.

Wed. (5/24):
0mi.  - played with chainsaw, cut down trees, and split wood instead.  Felt like a kid again....and reminded how much I hated doing this as a young'n.

Thu. (5/25):
6+mi.  - (48:59) - road loop from home. Felt decent at a decent normal pace (7:25) but very faint leg thing still there. No pain...just...."there". (6.6 miles total on watch)

Fri. (5/26):
0mi.  -because.....why?

Sat. (5/27):
10mi. (1:31:26) - fun group run in Wahaneeta and Woody Hill with much of the WTAC group, old and new.  I enjoyed this one and felt fine throughout.

Sun. (5/28):
0mi.  - least I caught a bunch of rats in the river with my father (tiny--nothing bigger than 14"!).

Total: 20 miles
YTD: 1155 miles

So I guess I'm back to Land of the Sloths.  To be fair, I did skip two days for leg weirdness but the other two zeros were for....I don't even know.  Maybe next week...?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 20 -- 5/15/17 - 5/21/17 - This Time I Promise I'll "Try"

Mon. (5/15):
8mi. - (58:44) -  a little spicy Hopkinton Land Trust property banger.  Felt fat but still ran at a decent clip (7:20 OA w/ about 2 miles total on trails). Now, let's just keep this sloth shearing party going!

Tue. (5/16):
8+mi.  - (59:34) - warm, sunny, and fat (still).  Enjoyed the run but got a little too warm and worn down towards the latter part of this one.  8.3 miles total.  Was originally supposed to run at easy 7:30-7:40 pace and then tack on 6-8 strides near the end.  Instead ran a spicier low 7:00s and did zero strides.  Self-Coach of the Year.

Wed. (5/17):
9mi.  (1:06:27) - pretty warm day out there. Too hot to run fast (plus I don't know how to anymore?!?).  I opted for gradual, moderate effort/pace hill repeats on Tomaquag Valley Road.  At least it was mostly shaded.  6 x TV Hills (about .35 miles each up).  Felt fine. Legs a little wobbly on the last one...which is good/the point I guess.
Nothing too hard...just steady ups and downs.

Thu. (5/18):
2+mi. - (20:46) - very fun shorty around the entire island of Sandy Point.  Took the family out on the boat to lounge and have fried chicken and beer while swimming, birding, etc.  I decided to bring my watch and run (not hard) around the island's perimeter to make a Strava segment.  I also had never circumnavigated the entire island before.  Saw awesome birds too although I did almost feel a tiny bit badly about kicking up/stressing nesting birds (American Oystercatchers, Greater Blackbacked Gulls, various plovers, etc.) but it was awesome. Also spotted a Black Bellied Plover, a really skittish shorebird (our largest plover) a first time sighting for me.  Tons of mating horseshoe crabs too. Super fun and the first salt water swim of the year! Summer hath arrived -- for me at least.  2.7 miles total.

Fri. (5/19):
7mi.  - (1:03:44) - a Friday evening slow jam of Woody Hill and some of Wahaneeta Preserve while M had lacrosse practice.  It was pretty hot out but nowhere near as bad as I'd thought it was going to be as I was mostly shaded in the woods and there was a decent breeze.  I enjoyed the easy, relaxed pace.

Sat. (5/20):
14mi.  (1:46:20) - a solo MLR from home. I mixed/cobbled together Grills Hopkinton Preserve (no real trails marked/cleared yet but all of the maps/kiosks depict them --tease!), to Grills Preserve (Bradford) into Grills Sanctuary, to back home.  Felt pretty decent and managed to keep the pace decent as well.  Nice and cool (compared to Thursday and Friday).

1mi. - (13:XX) - took the girls to ride bikes at Ninigret park.  I anticipated a 3-4 mile very easy recovery.  Unfortuantely, L crashed 4 times and the it turned into a shit show of blood and tears.  We stopped after 1.2 miles.  I'm counting it anyway, even though I shouldn't.

Sun. (5/21):
0mi.  - ended up taking a zero, despite wanting to have a good week.  I spend the morning at the boat (cleaning, rewiring a gauge, just sitting and enjoying the peace & quiet, and a little bit of fishing).  Unfortunately, as it was dead low tide when I was done, I hopped up off the dock onto the retaining wall where my truck was parked.  I immediately felt a burning, stabbing sensation in right quad and glute area.  I obviously strained something. I doubt it is major but I really couldn't (can't?) run on it.  Maybe a few days on the shelf and it'll go away.

Total: 50 miles
YTD: 1135 miles

A little less than I had hoped for but much better than in recent weeks.  At least I sort of did a workout (hills) and I enjoyed creating the segment on Sandy Point Island.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 19: 5/8/17 - 5/14/17

Mon. (5/8):
2mi.  (16:36) - only two measly miles as my left knee started to ache significantly on any descent no matter how gentle (a few other times too). Quit after only two.  Better to stop and "quit" for a few days to rest it.  Pretty sure it is just from descending down Carter Dome Trail with a pack and landing awkwardly a few times after slipping a bit (after removing crampons). I'll try again on Thursday.

Tue. (5/9):

Wed. (5/10):
0 - but I got my box of 16 chicks in the mail AND I also got to sneak out in the boat for some striped bass rats (3 total) in the Pawcatuck River so that's something at least.

Chick Inventory:
3 Auracana (actually probably Easter Egger mutts)
3 Barred Rocks
2 Black Minorca
2 Black Australorps
2 Speckled Sussex
3 Black Cochin
1 White Crested Black Polish (free extra one)

I'm only keeping 1 Minorca, 1 Australorp, 1 Sussex, 1 Cochin, 1 EE, and the freak of nature Polish.

Haaaylp! I can't see shit!

Thu. (5/11):
8mi.  (59:14) - a good one down in Grills Sanctuary and back.  7:24 pace OA.  Felt good to finally run a decent one again.

Fri. (5/12):
10+mi. (1:23:08) - fun Friday into Carolina on the usual(ish) loop.  Really enjoyed myself and the trails are drying out nicely.  10.2 miles OA on watch.

Sat. (5/13):
4mi.  (33:21) - if you don't get it done in the early morning (fishing instead), you probably will find it difficult to get anything done. Yuck.  Just not into it.  Lucky that I even did an easy 1/2 hour.

Sun. (5/14):
0mi. - nothing.  I just didn't want to.  Lethargy breeds lethargy (Greg H.).  Wow.  Do I even like running anymore?!?

TOTAL: 24+ miles
YTD: 1085+ miles

Wow.  An embarrassing week.  I had hopes of salvaging the week and getting into the mid 40s at least with a good weekend but everything just went to shit.  I just didn't enjoy running this week I guess (although Friday was cool).  Seriously need an attitude adjustment and pull myself out of the hole I'm currently in. Start over again on Monday, I guess (I hope).

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 18: 5/1/17 - 5/7/17

Mon. (5/1):
8mi.  (1:06:18) - fun meander in Woody Hill from M's lacrosse practice.  The beaver dam at the pond is BARELY able to be traversed (sink into cold water up to your knees).  I also enjoyed the red dot connector trail as well as Hansel & Gretel.  So many signs of turkey in the woods (scratches in leaf litter).  How did I not see any of them?

Tue. (5/2):
3mi. (25:02) - ugh.  Not even worth it. Just felt terrible for some reason.

Wed. (5/3):
0mi. - busy running around buying/borrowing gear for hiking trip. Plus, I'm lazy sometimes.

Thu. (5/4):
5mi.  (35:25) - a short, quick and spicy one on local roads.  Gonna be a terrible week distance-wise.

Fri. (5/5):
5mi.  (--) - hike with a heavy ass pack (38 lbs) up to Carter Notch Hut along 19 Mile Brook Trail. Then, beat out the weather for a short but sweaty slog up Wildcat A.

Sat. (5/6):
7mi. ( --) - hike from Carter Hut up to Carter Dome then back down Carter Dome Trail to lot.  Disappointing to end the planned adventure early by a day but conditions made it tough and with zero views, all involved decided to bail.  I'll try and do a write up soon with a few pics and video.

Sun. (5/7):
4mi. (31:12) - easy limbering up on local roads.  Knees a bit creaky and shoulders/neck stiff from lugging the pack.

Total: 33miles
YTD: 1061 miles

Not sure if I can/should count the NH adventure as miles but given how heavy the pack was, how much I sweat in the 100% humidity underneath that damn rain shell, and how much postholing I did in ice/snow, I feel depleted and obligated to count them as very, very, very, very slow running miles.

Hope to do a separate post soon on the short NH stuff.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Week 17: 4/24/17 - 4/30/17

Mon. (4/24):
9mi.  (1:11:35) - a rather strange Monday mix of roads and local trails.  1/2 mile in I was summoned by a woman asking me to go inside their home and help her senior citizen father who had fallen down and was heavily medicated.  Then, encountered literally hundreds of pink flagging ribbons everywhere on the empty property and horse trails across the street.  My excitement ('Someone is flagging to make new trails!') quickly abated when I realized they are probably surveying/GPS reading flags?  Ugh.  Then I came across two drunk guys driving a huge pickup down the entrance trail into the same property, buried up to their wheel bearings in mud, and stoned/drunk out of their minds ('Hey, 'sup?').  Finally, in Pelloni Preserver, I noticed some mysterious figure high up on the ridge line overlooking the lower trail, just staring down at me as I ran by.  No problem except he was wearing a weird demon/monster mask.

All just part of a normal afternoon run in A-town.  No big deal.

Tue. (4/25):
5mi. (36:29) - blah...rainy....standard Tomaquag Valley Loop

Wed. (4/26):
8+mi.  - (1:05:39) - drizzly, very wet flooded trails in Carolina Management Area.  I had a lot of fun throughout this one.  The highlights were running on the new (incomplete) connector trail and when leaving the trails back onto the turf fields, I had to cross a chilly "pool" with rainwater up to mid-thigh level.  Tacked on 5 strides on the end. 8.6 miles according to watch

Thu. (4/27):
8mi. - (58:26) - had to take the day to take care of boat things (parts, bottom work, etc.) so I ran near Ocean House Marina in Ninigret Park.  Very flat trails but I felt really good and enjoyed myself.  There was a controlled burn in an overgrown area near Grassy Point which appears to possibly open a small section of "new trail" maybe? Good stuff.

Fri. (4/28):
6+mi.  (48:26) - local roads near home, with a bit of private trails behind Dunkin Donuts/Main Street Pizza into the cemetery.  Just looking to make up for even distance.  Felt a little off but was fine overall I guess. 6.4 miles total.

Sat. (4/29):
5mi.  (35:01) - more boat things.  Finally launched the vessel at the yacht club and then squeezed in a short and spicy 5 miler down into Avondale and back to the club.  Fished with my father and caught a mess of small "rats" in the river.  Unfortunately, I managed to hit the same exact rock TWICE and dinged up my prop and the skeg of the motor pretty badly.  Oh well. You haven't been around until you've been aground I guess.

Sun. (4/30):
13+mi.  (2:04:17) - a grinder with Jonny from Rte. 3 Canonchet Trail head.  We wandered up to North Road and then looped back around.  The highlight was the "discovery" (we didn't know it was there) of a new trail off of Canonchet called the "Table Rock Trail".  It is about a mile long of twisty, undulating single track with a slew of geologic features.  Awesome.  I had fun but I was struggling through much of it -- tired legs, super thirsty.  It was only 13.1 miles but the two hours made it feel like 17-18?

Total: 55 miles
YTD: 1028 miles

Basically what I was looking for in terms of weekly mileage and types of runs (some roads, with more trails).  Boat is back in so that may create some problems with focus and motivation.  Also, I should probably get back to regular, mid-week workouts (Wednesdays).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 16 - 4/17/17 - 4/23/17

Mon. (4/17):
Image result for sheriff buford t justice7mi.  - (1:02:11) - easy wandering around Yawgoog Pond and Boy Scout Camp.  I circled the pond counter-clockwise for the first time ever, which entailed running directly through camp cabins and lodges.  Kind of eerie with nobody around -- Crystal Lake & Jason Vorhees, anyone? On the downside, either allergies or cold symptoms (very sore throat, tired, headache, congestion).  Hope it passes for in the words of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, "We ain't got time for that shit!"

Tue. (4/18):
10mi. - (1:08:31) - nice weather and I was feeling pretty good so I rolled a slightly aggressive one.  Not  a workout but I was able to settle in.  Unfortunately, the PM came calling around mile 6 and a precarious battle ensued.  I just barely beat him home.

Wed. (4/19):
7mi. (1:00:31) - feeling a bit under the weather again (congested, headache, blah).  Opted for slow(ish) plod through trails in North Burlingame off of Kings Factory Road.  I enjoyed the woods time but felt less and less pleasant as the run went on.  Pretty beat up and tired (in a non-running way) by the time I got back to the truck.

Thu. (4/20):
6mi. - (44:08) - felt terrible.  Really struggled to maintain standard, base pace on this one.  Got back home and collapsed on the front lawn.  Felt shitty for the rest of the day.  Took a nap and still felt like crap.  Weird.

Fri. (4/21):
0 mi.  - took the day off to try and recover.  Still feeling strangely fatigued and coughing, snotty, achey.  Yuck.

Sat. (4/22):
10+mi. - (1:25:00) - super fun single track with Gazelle in/around Bluff Point and Haley Farm.  I am embarrassed by how much of the trail section(s) I have never been on.  Good stuff.  Feeling tired but turning the corner/feeling a bit better. Later in the day, made a short secret connector trail (at least roughed out) from Pony Express North to Laurel Trail with Jonny our collective spawn.  Hope it develops into another option.

Sun. (4/23):
9mi.  - (1:21:45) - slow and easy Sunday morning meander with Jonny, back in Carolina again.  Weather was super nice and I finally feel pretty much back to normal again.

Total: 50 miles
YTD: 973 miles

Despite being on April Break from school, I didn't quite get what I wanted/had anticipated.  The goal is back to base of 50-60 per week but it was still a sort of discombobulated, claw-your-way-back week of outings.  Yard work, boat work, and fun in the garden certainly distracted me from running. Hoping next week gets more on track and routine.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Week 15 - 4/10/17 - 4/16/17

Mon. (4/10):
0 - rest and recovery with stretching and rolling things all over my various things.  Thought about running but I was pretty hobbled in the morning.  After vitamin I and stretching I felt better in the afternoon but not well enough to run.

Tue. (4/11):
3mi.  (24:55) - very easy road with short trail section.  Legs clearly beat up but not as bad as I thought. I did develop stiff knee pain on the outside of left knee (pretty sure it is from IT band).  This was the knee that started barking from mile 22 onward during the race.  Should take care of itself over time (afternoon stretch and rolling helped). Sunny and 70 freakin' degrees.

Wed. (4/12):
3mi. - (26:02) - another short excursion, this time from a friend's house in Bradford into Woody Hill trails.  Hansel and Gretel again, this time in the correct direction (mountain bikers are bypassing the over-the-boulder spot).  Legs a tiny bit better.  Several hours of acoustic and electric guitar after the short run. Minor lateral knee discomfort at the very end.

Thu. (4/13):
7+mi. - (1:05:54) - Grills Sanctuary.  7.5 miles on watch. I also crossed over Polly Coon Bridge into Grills Preserve and inspected the trails where they have logged/are logging.  The Yellow Trail down along the river along with the Red Trail up to Big Hill are closed and are an absolute mess! I truly don't understand the clearing.  The climb up from the river on what was once a nice, secluded single track is now wide open and completely exposed.  Not sure what they are going for here but it is depressing.  They've left everything as is too, like they just up and walked away.  Timber in a tangled mess with trees everywhere.  Rumor has it they're renaming this section Bashar al-Assad Trail.

Fri. (4/14):
5mi. - (35:05) - felt fantastic for a short Tomaquag Valley road loop.  Everything was working fine and the weather was unreal for this awesome, school-free Hang 'Em High Day.  Glad my legs are coming back to life.  No knee stuff at all. Spent hours and hours out in the garden playing in the dirt and feeding invertebrates to the poultry.  Batteries recharged!

Sat. (4/15):
6+mi. - (47:19) - Kenyon Cross Roads loop.  6.3 miles total on the watch. Felt good.

Sun. (4/16):
0 - stupid religious holiday ruined it....but damn it sure was beautiful out.  I refused to come inside and eat so the entire family had to come outside and eat in lawn chairs.  White Trash.

Total: 25 miles
YTD: 923 miles

Recovered I suppose.  Now need to work on rebuilding ambition and excitement for running. Tough to do with no goals.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fighting Seabees Marathon 2017

In my usual way of going about things, I had a hindsight revelation.  At the end of last year, it occurred to me that although I was skipping Boston in 2017, I would still have to run a spring marathon to qualify for and race the BAA event next year.  The emphasis was placed upon spring of this year because I hate running when it is hot and refuse to run 26.2 miles in the summer.  Also, 2018 seems like a good year to run Boston (for the third time) because I'll be 40 years old.

With these realizations in place, I set out to pick an "easy", fairly close, cheap BQ marathon.  Several came up that fit these parameters but none quite fit all of them like Fighting Seabees Marathon in and around Quonset, RI. In it's third year, the race was small (100 people!), close by (35 minute drive), cheap ($50), and flat (only about 300' elevation gain total, according to race organizers).  Great....I'm in.
Fighting Seabees 2017 Course -- many loops, turnarounds, and out & backs.

Before I give a quick recap of the race, it is important to note that I don't like racing marathons. I LOVE training for them as the potential is there for one to get really fit if they go about it correctly.  Why the emphasis on the word 'racing'? Well, anybody can jog or walk a marathon and not pass away, but to run/race it with gusto, you have to suffer every time.  Friederich Nietzsche nailed it with "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering".  Yeah, marathons suck.

Anyway, I trained fairly consistently this winter in preparation for the race but I have to be honest-- I didn't really train with quite the same ferocity as I had the previous two winters for Boston.  The drive wasn't fully there and I knew it too.  To be sure, I did work hard but not quite the volume, focus, and dedication that a trip down Unicorn Lane requires.  With that being said, I ran 70 miles per week fairly consistently and tried to be smart about easy days and hard, extended work outs.  The typical Jack Daniels, PhD plan was somewhat followed but I cherry-picked the fruit I wanted and bypassed the toxic, really hard stuff I didn't want.

Unfortunately, the day before the race (Saturday 4/8/17), found me feeling really shitty.  I was super tired (two naps) and suffered severe diarrhea (sorry).  All. Day. Long.  I could feel myself battling dehydration, headaches, and malaise.  I wasn't full on stomach virus sick like over the winter but things were not right.  My wife was more concerned about it than I was and even offered up bailing on the race and finding another qualifier somewhere else over the next month.  I declined.  Althoug I was worried about dehydration, I told myself that if I became dangerously dried up and dizzy on race day, I'd simply walk off the course.  This wasn't was simply a means to an end.

On race morning I awoke and felt tired but okay.  I drove over really early, (3rd arrival at bib pickup), and hung around, drinking water and watching the clock tick.  Weather seemed almost perfect -- clear skies, 42 degrees at the start and climbing into high 50s/low 60s by the time I would be wrapping up.  There was a bit of a breeze but nothing like the wind we experienced the day before.  I bumped into Mike B. and a few other people I knew.  He suggested I could win the race but I saw Pat Moulton prowling around the parking lot and knew, thankfully, that leading and winning was out the window.  Perfect! That is what I wanted.

After brief pre-race introductions, we were sent off (full and half-marathoners at the same time) with little fan fare into the strange, open, post-apocalyptic waste land of Quonset.  The place is eerily laid out so that it seems like you shouldn't even be there at all, never mind running a race.  I hoped that the middle miles of the race (out in East Greenwich) would be more pleasurable.

At the start, several people went out in high 5:00 pace and I assumed (correctly) that they were half marathoners and would slow down and fade.  The two groups of runners would stay together on the same course until just after mile 7 where they would split off.  I settled into my own little world and quickly found myself in about 6th place, unsure of who was running the half and who was suffering to the fullest. It's quickest and probably best to chunk the report, with highlights and low lights, in 5 mile intervals, so here it goes:

Miles 1-5
Not too much to report here.  I focused on running mid 6:20s but at the same time letting my mind wander too.  The mental strain of focusing is a bitch, especially when running marathons.  As we wound through Quonset and began departing the creepy, depressing area, we hooked around the airport and down to our first real view of the water.  I was completely separated from everyone in 5th place by this point, (Pat and Katie Moulton ahead of me by at least 45-60 seconds).  The only real highlight here was a wildlife sighting -- a Rough Legged Hawk. Did I mention that marathons, especially empty, virtually spectator-less ones are pretty unexciting and boring for the most part?   

Image result for rough legged hawk
Birding to pass the time......
Miles 6-10
I started to feel a bit uncomfortable and "dry" here.  That got me thinking.  And when I think, sometimes I worry.  Was I already feeling the effects of the previous 24 hours of  D & D (dehydration and ...well, you know)? You're supposed to feel fast, smooth, and perfect at this point during the marathon and I was already wanting liquid.  I took a drink at every single aid station without missing one (they were at every 2 miles) in an attempt to fend off physical awfulness and drying up in the sun. 

This stretch led us along Allen Harbor (what a great place to keep a boat for oceanic adventuring and pirating!) and along the bike path to Calf Pasture Point.  Still all alone I was left to my devices and mental fortitude.  I tried not to focus on discomfort, which was there but mild at this point, and instead distracted myself with other thoughts.  It was nice to be out of Industrial Wasteland and into neighborhoods with homes and side streets. Slow and steady pace "wins" the race...or at least prevents marathon death. 

Miles 11-15
Here we descended a bit, down across Potowomut River  and passed a mile marker sign facing the other way.  I knew that the course went out and back here but I forgot how far.  Mentally I guessed that the sign was the mile 14 marker for the way back.  I literally cringed as I passed it and looked back to see "Mile 18".  Ugh...guess we are on the "out" portion for longer than I thought.  As we crossed out onto a busier main road (Ives Rd.), traffic picked up.  My attitude also descended a bit here knowing that there would be a slew of cars and I was still all alone.  Luckily, my wife and spawn made a surprise appearance in the family van.  I didn't think they were coming.  Horn honking and semi-enthusiastic cheering actually helped a bit.  However, I was starting to feel some more discomfort (only at the half way mark!?!?) and my worry grew a bit. How dehydrated was I yesterday? Goddard Park and Potowomut Golf Course were mild, scenic distractions but anything helps. 

Miles 16 - 20
It was at this point I was finally getting some action and excitement.  The runner that was in 3rd place, and had previously had a sizable lead, was quickly coming back to me.  I got a bit excited when I saw him, three separate times, glancing back over his shoulder.  Yes, I'm coming for you. I giddily picked it up a bit (mile 16 into 17) and passed him at a water station.  I love when people slow down at these. I always speed up and try to gain an advantage.  It definitely helped to have some competitive aspect to the race here as running with/against people is so much more interesting and fun. However, after turning back off of Ives Road, and finding myself "alone" again (passing a lot of runners still going out at least), I sank back into the dark mental cloud.  The discomfort was becoming a real thing now (downhill mile 19) and I knew I was fast approaching the desolate Quonset area again.  Ugh.  Temperature and sweat were also becoming an issue.  My face and skin were hot and crusty with the start of a sunburn and drying salt.  

Miles 21-25

And now the real fun begins.  During mile 20, and another jump onto a brief section of bike path, the family again drove by in the van.  The struggle was real at this point and I grumbled something about "hating them right now".  Later my wife would inform me that they were concerned and worried that they had messed up my race somehow.  Nope -- I was just starting to hate everyone now.  This is so normal for me, and probably many marathoners.  Anyone can run 20-21 miles. It's the final 4-6 that really break your balls. 

My left knee was starting to hurt here and it definitely affected my form. I'm sure I became a bit more "saggy" and slap happy with my feet. This in turn compounded the pain in the knee -- a beautiful, positive feedback effect.  I tried not to focus on it but as we entered back into Quonset I was really starting to hurt.  I was all alone, save for the water stop people.  I appreciated their water offerings but could've done without the "You're almost there!" comments.  No I'm not! I'm almost near death.  

Mile 26 - finish
I had absolutely nothing left at this point.  I usually never do.  The knee was barking.  The quads hurt. I was overheating and vision was an ordeal (sweat encrusted eyes). Just want to be finished.  I came very, very close to walking.  I did some complicated running math and figured that I could walk the last mile and still get a qualifying time. However, I also realized that walking would just leave me out on the open, sun-baked industrial avenue for even longer.  Keep running, cupcake. My pace was dropping quite a bit here but I didn't care.  

Unfortunately, in one final cruel trick, the course required marathoners to go past the finish line turn off and around a cone to get the final .2 miles in.  Ugh.  I did it and actually laughed out loud when I saw the sign and realized I had to do it.  At long last, I turned into the parking lot, rounded yet more cones and crossed the finish line in 2:50:25. (results here). I was third overall and I didn't die. 

The family greeted me and after laughing at my appearance, they left and I didn't stick around either.  I drank a bunch of water, tried to eat but couldn't, and changed my clothes (parking lot nekkidness is awesome).  Driving home the six-speed truck was another enjoyable experience as my left quad and knee (clutch side) were not user-friendly.

At least it is over.  Now I can relax and enjoy spring and early summer running, hopefully on trails for the most part. I have no real, major events on the horizon so nothing left to do but heal and smile, smile, smile.