Monday, July 28, 2014

Run 4 Kerri Week! Week of 7-28 to 8-3

So I've been running for a few years now, and the first race I ever did was the Run 4 Kerri in 2009.  Great cause and a great family.  I've run it every year since, and my previous results are as follows:

2009:  412/883  37:54 @ 9:29
2010:  287/810  34:30 @ 8:38
2011:  204/470  36:48 @ 9:12
2012:  197/693  33:48 @ 8:28
2013:  100/729  28:30 @ 7:08

2014?  Well I guess we'll see how it goes...obviously my goal would be to go below 28 minutes, and I'm gonna shoot for that.  I sure as shit can't shave as much off as I did last year, that was nuts...but a realistic goal is 27:59, and I better get a game plan together this week!

Here's a short video about Kerri, and the history of the race:

Monday, 7-28 - 3 Miles.  Watch Hill, RI.  After karate class, I ended up in Watch Hill.  I knew that the hill going up to the Ocean House was a popular segment, as it's on the Surftown 1/2 route at mile 11, and lots of people run in W.H. anyway.  FiveK holds the CR in a blazing 50 seconds, followed by the Gazelle and Johnny Winter (aka Mike B).  I ain't that speedy, but I knew I could do a bit better than my best time.  Started by running past the old carousel, and out to the lighthouse:

Ms. Swift's of the giant breakwater

Watch Hill lighthouse!

Then looped around W.H., and gave the hill a snappy effort around mile 2.5.  I was moving pretty good, and may have slowed up too soon at the top...but I still managed a decent time, and I'll give it another go soon, it's so damned scenic down there...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Training Log, Week of 7-21 to 7-27

To run the Blessing or not to run...hmmmm...still drumming my fingers on the desk and pondering what to do...on the other hand, I officially registered for the Chatfield Hollow 50K this morning!  So that's on the distant horizon :)

Monday, 7-21 - 0 Miles.  Weights and stretching.

Tuesday, 7-22 - 0 Miles.

Wednesday, 7-23 - a.m. - 4 Miles (Trail) - SHS XC trails, Stonington.  Took the Black Belt kids for a training run.  Two of them go to SHS, and they sort of knew the trails (but not really) day, and they wilted after a little over a mile.  I did a bit more exploring, the secondary trails were a bit confusing and overgrown, but the deerflies seemed to have the day off!  Waiting for FiveK to let me know if there were more trails I missed, or if that was it...

Thursday, 7-24 - 0 Miles.

Friday, 7-25 - 8.5 Miles (Trail) - Chatfield Hollow State Park, Killingworth, CT.  As stated above, I'm registered to run the inaugural Chatfield Hollow 50K in October.  I'd been there before, to run the Chatfield Trail across the street, but hadn't ventured onto the trails for the course so I figured I'd print out a map, grab a handheld, and do at least one loop.  Or that was the plan...

I arrived at the park, and pulled into a parking spot in front of a really nice pond.  Lots of people walking, biking, getting rock climbing gear prepped...wait, what?

Nice pond!

I geared up and set out on the initial part of the run, a short distance down a paved road, then turned onto the first trail section.  And went up.  Immediately a steep uphill section that went on for a ways, followed by a just-as-steep downhill, and technical.  I love this kind of trail.  After it levelled off, I crossed a covered bridge, cut over to the next section, and the climb began again.  And then I made the first of several wrong turns, which was made worse by the fact that my map, which I was holding, was falling apart from my I made it through the main park area and into the eastern side of the course, I made another couple of wrong turns.  I still managed to cover almost all of the course, just not in order.  I also added a trail called the "Witches Hollow Loop,"  because it sounded cool and ended up being a pretty awesome short loop.

Grabbed a quick drink at the truck, tossed out the map, and ran the first section again, just to figure out where my first mistake was.  Got that corrected, and finished up at 8.5 miles with 1150' of elevation gain for my trouble.  Nice day!  Some deerflies and webs, but not as bad as I expected...

Caution Glamorous! Caution Hot!

Going to be a tough course - at 10K, or 20K, and especially at 50K.  I've had a couple of people diss the 5-loop deal, but I've had some good things happen for me at loop courses, as I can set up my own "aid station" with the fuel and hydration I use regularly.  I do need to get back there and nail down the exact course, though, so another trip is on the horizon...maybe I can drop Lori off at the outlet stores up the road, and make it a package deal...

Saturday, 7-26 - 0 Miles.

Sunday, 7-27 - 10+ Miles (Trail/Road) - Three runs in North Stonington:

     a.m. - 1.2 Mile dog jog on trails up the street.  I let the dog lead, and he kept to the trail very well.  I ate three webs...

     a.m. - 3-ish Miles on the Narragansett Trail with Jim H.  The last time I took a shot at the High Ledge segment, I was pretty sure I had it but my GPS was screwy and I didn't get credit for it.  This time I worked for it and got it, and by 1 second.  Shhh...don't tell Jonny!

     p.m. - 6+ Miles on local roads.  The girls went to see a play, so I went for a run.  Muggy!  Went out with the intention of getting a longer run in, and added a few pole-to-pole sprints, and took a shot at a Muddy-owned segment, but fell short by 4 seconds.  Next time!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week of 7-14 to 7-20

No scheduled races this week!  Oddly, I don't officially have any races scheduled for about 3 weeks...I'm still on the fence about the Blessing of the Fleet race, haven't committed yet.  Going to just take each day as it unfolds, run or surf or whatever, and make sure the kids have the best Summer they can get.

Monday, 7-14 - 3 Miles (Track) - Black Belt candidate track workout, Westerly.  So I have two Stonington kids and a Westerly kid, three teenagers who are starting off on the right foot and asking for help with their running, at 4 months out from the test.  They have to do a 3 miler in 30 minutes or less (as do I).  Seems easy enough, unless you haven't been training, or don't consider yourself to be a runner.  This is the part of the test that scares the Hell out of most people, as it's the beginning of a 4 hour sufferfest...

We started out with a 9-ish mile, and then eased off a bit, but I added some 200m fast, 200m slow bits, and tried to explain why the track is important, which I'm just starting to grasp.  Good second day, humid and breezy, but progress is being made!  I wish more kids were this proactive :)

Tuesday, 7-15 - 1.5 Miles (Trail) - Lantern Hill trail fail.  I put on all the bug spray, a hat, and set out for a little trail action.  The second I hit the trail, the deerflies and other assorted biting things were on me, and didn't seem to give a shit about my coating of Deep Woods OFF!  I had them hitting my neck, face, eyes...and pulled the plug at 1.5 miles.  Will try again tomorrow, the humidity was pretty thick as well...

WTF (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) - 0 Miles - Had the kids, and worked Thurs.-Fri., and a run just didn't happen.  No worries, rest is a good thing, although Mike B. did text me on day three to make sure I was alright...

Saturday, 7-19 - 4 Miles (Trail/Road) - Scoping out some new (new to me, anyway) unmarked trails off Lantern Hill Road.  Sketchy feeling knowing that this was where that whole "Hybrid Wolfdog" scare from a few months ago happened, but on the construction job Friday, I noticed a fairly well-traveled trail across the street.  Didn't quite get to that one due to time constraints, but did find a couple of other trails off the road.  Got lost on one, but not for long, and had to muck my way through a swampy area, but I was able to connect it to the Foxwoods trails, which adds a bit more to an already cool trail system!  Good stuff :)

Always a good day for a trail run...

Lantern Hill, as seen from across the pond

Sunday, 7-20 - 13.3 Miles (Road) - Local HM loop.  Needed an easy, long-ish run.  Roads were the best time-wise, so I set out on this overcast day toward the beach, breezy and a bit humid but not bad!  Then Lori called and said they were skipping the beach so I changed the route.  Stopped at my "aid station," the Mobil at the I-95 truck stop exit, to refill my handheld and rinse off with some water.  The girls there were not taken aback at my sweaty mug buying drinks.  Good slow run, and felt about right with hydration/fuel...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Run With the Beavers Week! Week of 7-7 to 7-13

The third and final trail race in the 2013-2014 RI Triple Crown of Trail Racing is this Saturday.  I'm one of the people lucky enough to have made it to all three, and I'm looking forward to it.  If it's muddy, even better!  I ran this race last year, and Bob Jackman and the team at A Better Pace do an awesome job with everything.  I recall last year there was enough sponsor swag that pretty much everyone walked away with something!  The white Fuel Belt hat I'm always wearing, to protect my shiny melon from the elements, and biting flies that mean bad news?  I still have it and wear it every day...thanks guys!

So I did the race last year in 1:43:44, good for 37th place.  Going for a target of 1:33 this year, or a minute per mile faster.  It's a good course, technical in places but not many, and I think I'm a stronger, more adept trail runner this year, so I expect improvement!

This is a race I can say I've looked forward to for many reasons, and it also kicks off a killer stretch of distance races that go 10M, 10M, 13.1M, 23K, 26.2M, 50K, and the uptick begins on Saturday...

Meantime, my wife has opted for an "I can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em" approach, and told me that she wants to start running???  Even bought a book about starting running from scratch?  Stay tuned, as the only rules are: I can't help, and can't talk to her about it.  Yeah, that's gonna happen...

Monday, 7-7-14 - 8+ Miles (Road) - Run from the house to pick up Lori's car at the shop.  So Saturday, my wife managed to blow out both passenger side tires, and I had it towed to the best damn service station anywhere ever, Evans Mobil.  How good?  They're having their tanks replaced this week, their mechanics were given the week off, and our mechanic was driving by yesterday, saw Lori's car, and came in first thing this morning on his vacation to fix it.  I called down there and asked for the service department, and the woman who answered asked "Are you Mike? Because you're the only person he's taking calls from today."  WOW.  We've been taking our cars there for years, and that just confirms what we already knew.  Ellison and his team run a great business!  Huge thanks to Ernie, master mechanic and all around awesome dude for getting that done...

So in the afternoon, I grabbed my handheld, stuffed my ID and a debit card, phone and some Powerade in it, and ran down to pick up the car.  A bit over 8 miles, including the Rt. 2 beach traffic gauntlet.  Hot as Hell and very little shade the entire run - I took it easy, and took regular pulls from my bottle, and still felt drained after the run.  Summer!!!

Tuesday, 7-8 - 0 Miles.

Wednesday, 7-9 - 3+ Miles (Road) - Short, sweaty out-and-back from the house.  Early evening, I finally had a chance to get out for a run, and the heat and humidity still hadn't really gone away but I wanted to get something done.  Easy does it, but with a couple of faster paced sections.  3 miles and I was soaked when I got home, but it's all good!  Looking forward to a slight cooloff, some surfing in the morning, and the race on Saturday.  Apparently there's only 15-20 of us who'll end up with a Triple Crown pint glass...

Oh yeah, and a good bruising karate class this morning to start things off...I love yakosoku kumite days...

Thursday, 7-10 - Surf! - Surf lesson with the Soph at Matunuck.  Headed out early, and Soph had her first solo session with her new board, got used to paddling out, sitting up, gauging the sets, and timing the waves she wanted.  As it's also all about the experience, she got to meet a bunch of the characters I've surfed with for the last 20 years (and hear some colorful language), and get props from some of them for paddling out on a chest high day.  She did great, and did the barefoot rock dance at low tide with minimal complaining.  So proud of her for that, and I squeezed in a few waves during our sesh.  Great day :)

Friday, 7-11 - 3+ Miles (Trail) - Group trail run leader, Champlin Glacier Park.  I was approached by a friend and fellow Shorin-Ryu Black Belt, who asked if I could help get some of the kids ready for the running portion of their test, and mentioned that they'd like to do a trail run.  Yeah, I think I can make that happen...met them at Champlin, asked a few questions about where they were ability-wise, and we started out.  I figured on two miles to start, and the kids ran until the end of the first mile, then had to do a walk-jog combo.  No worries, it's only day 1.  After I dropped them off, I fit in one more mile at a more peppy pace before heading out.  Good start!

Saturday, 7-12 - 11 Miles (Trail) - W/U, and Run With the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race, Chepachet RI.  Official results:  1:39:03, 37th place of 86 finishers.  Almost 5 minutes off last year's time, and I'll take it!  Warm and fairly humid morning.  New WTAC fast dude Tate met me at my house and me drove up to the race site.  Nice kid, and a really strong runner who's just heading off to college.  Ran into a bunch of my WTAC cohorts, as well as last year's team winners, Team HammBoj!  Got checked in and bibbed up, noting that the start/finish had been moved slightly, which would not only accomodate all the extra runners (record turnout!), but eliminate any chance of a bottleneck at the start.  Did a short warmup run, knocked back a GU and filled a small handheld and walked with Tate over to the start.

After a short comedic monologue by race director Bob Jackman, the air horn sounded and we were off!  The toughest thing about mixing the shorter distance runners with the longer distance runners is pacing and lining up.  I did notice quite a few trail runners who appeared to be new to the game, and I thought I lined up right?  Alas, when we hit the single-track, I had fallen in behind not one, but two runners wearing headphones (see rant from last year about headphones and trail races...), a huge pet peeve of mine.  The dude in front of me went down hard, twice, and after checking on him I passed him and the other one and got the Hell outta there...yikes.  I'd also like to point out that there were a number of gnarly looking spills that I saw, and in almost every case the person was wearing road running shoes...just an observation.

My "A" goal, as stated above, was 1:33, or 1 minute off last year.  At the halfway point I knew that wasn't going to happen, but that I'd still handily beat my LY time if I kept the same pace or better.  I was already soaked, and it was really warm out, but the second lap was much more quiet.  I popped a GU in mile 6, and stayed steady the rest of the race.  At the covered bridge (mile 7.5), my GPS went crazy and had me running a 3:55 pace!  It even dropped off for a bit.  Space watches + trail races = questionable data :)

It was pretty awesome seeing so many people at the final turn, cheering on the incoming runners - I had a bit more pep in my step to finish strong, and beat my last year time!

At the awards, it was announced that yes, Team WTAC had narrowly edged out Team HammBoj for the team win!  And a fantastic result by all our teammates.  Bob had a ton of swag to give out from all the sponsors, and in addition to a great tech shirt, I ended up with some beer from the Berkshire Brewing Co., and a new pint glass for finishing all the long race options of the inaugural RI Triple Crown of Trail Racing:

One of the few proud owners of this glass :)

Another fantastic race put on by Bob and his team at A Better Pace, I'm really lucky to have such well-organized races locally, epic and inexpensive!  Great time today, and I'll obviously be back next year...

p.s. It would also be remiss of me to forget to mention that several of us were hoping for a Galoob sighting...?

Sunday, 7-13 - 2.6 Miles (Trail) - Lantern Hill run with Jim and the dog.  I was scheduled to meet Jim at Lantern, and I figured that Henry, our Labradoodle, could keep up.  He did!  We kept a slow pace, stopped to chat with some hikers, and Henry was able to easily climb all the really technical places on the trail.  Good way to start the day, then on to the beach with the family!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Heating up around here! The steamy week of 6-30 to 7-6

Looks like things are about to get hot around here, with the forecast expecting 90+ degrees for the next few days, along with oppressive dewpoints and possible tropical activity by the end of the week?  All that aside, it looks like some early morning/evening runs will be in order, along with some surfing if the waves cooperate.  On Sunday Mike B. resumed his role as Taylor Swift's biggest fan by running the 10 mile TS out/back (should be a Strava segment), which is an impressive beach run (especially if done barefoot)!  The "Tri Guys" are deep into their training bricks, and posted some serious numbers over the weekend, including Beth, who threw down a 70-miler in New Haven?  For my highlights, I was able to pull off a near-PR at the Bottone Mile, and get in 10 tough miles on the 'Gansett Trail...just a matter of time until I bang out the end-to-end run...

Monday, 6-30 - 0 Miles.

Tuesday, 7-1 - a.m. 2 Miles (Road) - Short out/back from the house.  Just to get the day (and July) started off right, I seized the chance to squeeze in a short , albeit quite humid, run this morning.  Planning on getting something else in later, hopefully the Dogwatch run???  Or maybe I'll drag the kids with me to the track, and have them heckle me as I shuffle and suffer around the oval a few times...

Wednesday, 7-2 - 0 Miles - Did a ton of stuff with the kids, swam in the pool and called it a day.  Hot as Hades...

Thursday, 7-3 - 3 Miles (Beach!) - HHH Beach day, barefoot high tide run.  When Mike B. starts bitching about the heat, you know it's hot out.  Got a few miles in on soft sand and in shorebreak, then splashed around in the surf, which will be building due to the impending near-miss from the first hurricane of the year.  Might be surfing tomorrow, or what the Hell, trail running in the pouring rain!  Low mileage now means some sort of weekend epicness, long run in Pachaug, Arcadia or ???

Friday, 7-4 - 4 Miles (Road/Trail) - Hurricane Arthur rainy run.  Happy Independence Day!  I love running in the rain, so I was itching to get out onto some muddy trails.  Time constraints led to a local run up the street to Pachaug, and I had a blast tromping through deep mud and monster puddles.  Good, wet Summertime run!

Saturday, 7-5 - 6? (Road/Beach/Trail) - Potpourri of runs.  Started with a dog jog on trails and some roads.  The highlight?  The dog and I ran through the woods, on a breezy post-hurricane rain event, with nary a cloud in the sky.  There were no spider webs at all, until there was ONE.  THE BIG ONE.  The only web I hit, and it was huge, wrapped around my whole freakin' head, and didn't let go until well after I'd slapped the shit outta myself, scared the dog, and made a fool of myself with nobody else to witness (If a tree falls in the forest...).  I got the last of it off at the house.  Evil bastards...

Round 2?  Beach run, where I met the Gazelle and G.Jr., and ran with them for a while, high tide and decent pace, 2.5 miles for me, and a good second effort for the day.

3? - I get a message from the wife that she's hit a rock and blown out both passenger side tires, a bit over a mile from the house.  She calls AAA, and I relieve her and wait for the tow.  The tow guy sees that my wife's car is a VW and asks why I didn't have it taken to Colburn...small world!  I give him the key, he offers me a ride and I tell him I'm all set, the house is 1 1/2 miles away and I'll just run home, to which I got the usual responses...oddly, in street clothes and boat shoes, I kept a pretty peppy pace back to the house!  Now it's UFC and a long-ish run in the morning.  New trails to explore!

Sunday, 7-6 - 3.6 Miles (Trails) - Green Falls trails/dirt service roads with Jim.  I mapped out a loop at Green Falls that started below the dam, and depending on how Jim was feeling, could be expanded or collapsed based on the miles he was up for.  Pretty cool to understand where all those unmarked roads and trails lead.  Even with a healthy dose of Deep Woods OFF! sprayed on, though, the deerflies were relentless for most of the run.  Jim tapped out at 4-ish miles...I was thinking about another run, be we ended up at the beach with the rest of southern New England, perfect day for it!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week of 6-23 to 6-29

I'd first like to say how proud I am of my WTAC team - from Beth and her team, who did the Mt. Washington Road Race on Saturday (It's only one hill!), to the group who made it to the OMG! Triathlons (Tommy, Jeff, Shara, Matthew, Jonny...), and so many more, I'm sure.  I was even able to sneak out in the early hours Sunday morning and bang out another long trail race along with our newest team members Joe and Faith, and I'm fortunate that I'm in good enough shape right now to be able to do that...

So what's next?  Speedwork?  The Nick Bottone Track Mile (Hosted by the WTAC), which is FREE and taking place this Friday at the Stonington High School track (which is really, really nice...).  This will be a chance for me to go sub-6:00 in a mile.  If I can get out there this week to do some track work, I'll have a pretty good idea of whether this is going to happen or not, but I'll be there either way to give it a shot!  Link to the event below:

I also need to get out to the section of trail I section in particular gets really overgrown fast, and difficult to navigate if it isn't trimmed back, so there's that as well.  I also have the kids all week, so I'll be conjuring up summer activities for them and working any runs around them.  Should be fun!

Monday, 6-23 - 5 Miles (Road) - Recovery miles with Muddy.  Met up in NoSto with Muddy, who's been running some easier miles amid a nagging achilles...warm day, sunny and a tad humid, but we kept a good conversational pace, and the only fail was an initial botched attempt at a short Yannatos Preserve trail run, which went something like this:  Run through waist-high, tick-infested grass, cross the crooked stone bridge, spider web-web-web-web-web, and NO.  Roads won out today, but a good afternoon run in the country!

Tuesday, 6-24 - 3 Miles (Track) - Track work, Westerly High School.  Two weeks in a row?  Huh?  I'm determined to get faster while still enjoying every run, so in between errands in town, I decided to hit up the track again.  Previously, I've not been able to get past the 200m distance, because I don't know what the Hell I'm doing, and how to dial back my pace slightly to adjust for more distance.  Not on the track,, though, I was feeling better about the 400m distance, and I'm starting to figure out how this all works.  Maybe I can conjure the elusive Mr. Galoob out of the ether to direct me on what I'm doing right or wrong... anyway, I did a mix of 400-200-400-200-400-200-100-100, with slow jogs in between.  Squeaked out some decent times for me, at: 87-38-87-37-91-38-12-13, and feel pretty good about my effort in 75-80 degree, breezy weather!  And a bonus?  I was able to score what I consider to be one of the best, and least available, IPA's to hit the beer world in recent memory (In my humble opinion), the Long Trail Limbo IPA:

Well, hello there...

Wednesday, 6-25 - 0 Miles.

Thursday, 6-26 - <1 Mile (Trail) - Impromptu trail jog/hike with the kids.  Driving through Mystic and I see an Avalonia Land Conservancy sign for the White Cedar Swamp, so I pulled over and dragged the kids out onto the trail to check it out.  Looks like it's considered to be the northern terminus of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center's trail system, and runs out to I-95 along the watershed lake...definitely worth another look when I have more time to play...

Friday, 6-27 - a.m. - 2.2 Miles (Road) - Dog Jog up Fowler Road.  The dog loves the runs, and is totally wiped out by the time we're done.  Fun!
                       p.m. - 2.6 Miles (Trail) - Lantern Hill run.  My goal for this run was to get back one of my segments, which I'm 100% sure I did, but my GPS was dodgy and didn't line things up correctly.  No worries, I put in a good effort, and I'll hit it again soon.
                       p.m. - Bottone Mile, SHS track.  6:13 officially.  I'd hoped to go sub-6, but it didn't happen.  First lap was strong, laps 2 and 3 not so hot, and I finished well on lap 4.  For my third run of the day and first 1-mile time trial since last summer, I felt like I performed well.  Fun event, and I got to see a bunch of friends today, which is always nice since I don't get to the fun runs very often.  Great time!

Getting ready!

The 8-Minute Group, I snuck into the 6-and-7 group...

Fast group...

Cruising around the turn...

So overall, a spectacular day for running:  dog jog, trail run, and an event with friends.  All good!!!

Saturday, 6-28 - 0 Miles.

Sunday, 6-29 - 10 Miles (Trail) - Narragansett Trail run with new WTAC member Joe S.  I met Joe a 7 a.m., with plans to do an out/back run, but I suggested dropping a car near RT. 49, and running back to Lantern Hill, which we agreed on.  It's a great stretch of trail, as anyone who's run it knows, with several really good climbs and descents, and there aren't a whole lot of "easy" parts to it.  I took the lead and "spider duty," and caught some webs to the face.  The deerflies were present, but I'd sprayed myself down and they mostly left me alone...a great trail day (although a bit warm and humid), and a technical, hilly 10 miles in 2:21.  We actually saw hikers and one runner on the trails, too!  A good day, and good way to close out the week.  Never made it to the beach, but soon...

Lantern Hill, the end of the line

Calm day at the beaver dam

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week of 6-16 to 6-22

So the last-minute decision to jump into the mix for Mt. Greylock was a good one - I felt pretty good, and although it was, pound-for-pound and mile-for-mile, the toughest race I've done to date, my recovery time was minimal.  I feel a bit sore but really good today!  Went to karate this morning for a great workout, and the legs were OK.

That said, I don't have any races scheduled until mid-July.  Sooo...I might look for something in the next few weeks.  If not, there's some exploring to be done, fun runs, and some surfing with Sophia if there's waves...

Monday, 6-16 - 0 Miles - 1 Hour karate class.  Legs were sore but solid!

Tuesday, 6-17 - 2.5 Miles (Track) - Impromptu WHS track jog with 200's.  Muggy.  Dropped the cat off at the groomers in Westerly for his annual "Summer cut" and had just enough time to get the legs moving again.  Driving by the high school, I noticed that the track was I did an easy jog, mixed in with 5 x 200m efforts, and one 100m at the end, which came in at 17s?  I think I could do better with that, though, but the legs felt heavy today (I wonder why???).  Good fun, though!

Wednesday, 6-18 - Hot! Wait, did I say that??? - (0-ish Miles) - 1 hour karate, full uniform and no AC, then light weight training, and I'm still trying to figure out where in Hell my "Driveway" segment begins and ends (curse you, Muddy!)...I'm pretty sure I destroyed it several times over doing sprints in my matter, plenty of time to play with that.  Going to try to incorporate some speedwork into training now, I've heard that the Daniels' Running Formula is the shit, so I'll snag a copy of that and try some organized training, in the midst of my disorganized, free-flowing fun runs.  Yin and yang?  Thoughts?  Meantime, I'm tentatively thinking about the Nipmuck South trail race this weekend (, which is the next race in the Grand Tree series.  Less than an hour away, not crazy elevation but a good test, and the weather should be just right by first, though, so it'll be another game day decision!

Thursday, 6-19 - a.m. - 6.5 Miles (Road) - Westerly/Pawcatuck roads.  Dropped the car off for an oil change and ran a big loop in the rain while I waited.  Love running in the rain.  Hammett sighting at the Westerly Y!  So it's the first time I've done a road run in a while, and of course I almost got hit by a car, because looking BOTH WAYS before pulling out from a side street onto a main road is just too much to ask, right?  I'm going back to the woods...

Friday, 6-20 - 0 Miles.  Soph's first day of Summer vacation, so I was a good Dad and took her and a pack of her friends to the beach, then got them lunch, then took them to my sister-in-law's pool, then back to our place so they could chill...did get to watch the HON-ECU World Cup match, really looking forward to this weekend's matches...

Saturday, 6-21 - 5 Miles (Beach) - Summer solstice beach runs with Jim and some of the WTAC crew.  7 am start, and as the WTAC contingent were mostly doing the Oh My Goddard triathlons the following day, they went for a final prep swim before their races, so Jim and I did a 2-miler first.  The 3-miler?  Down to the jetty and back, perfect day and perfect way to kick off summer:

One of the best parts of Summer is walking up this ramp...

WTAC Tri- crew suiting up

Empty Misquamicut Beach!

Sunday, 6-22 - 14 Miles (Trail) - 2nd Annual Nipmuck South Trail Race.  Last minute decision to jump into this race.  Left the house and arrived in plenty of time to get bibbed up and do a short warmup right before the race.  Ran into Michele Hammond and her husband Russell, our newest WTAC'ers Faith Raymond and Joseph Strafach, and Patrick Quinn from the TNT right before the race.  I've done almost all of the blue-blazed trails in eastern CT, but not this section of the Nipmuck, so I was excited to check it out.  I also decided to use my heart rate monitor instead of the timer, just like I did at Greylock, which worked perfectly.  Keep a certain range (174-182) which means I'm working hard but not too hard for a distance race?  It's working for me...

The gun goes off (well, the RD said GO!) and we all take off onto the trail.  The Shenipsit Striders hosted this race, and they'd done a good job of tying blue streamers to trees whenever there weren't blazes.  Only went off trail a few times!  As an out and back race, it was pretty cool to see the lead pack flying toward us, and I was able to high-five Pat before I got to the turnaround.  The weather was great for the race, although it was a bit humid and the Sun made it quite warm toward the end of the race.  Hilly race in parts, especially the "50 foot cliff" hill, which went on forever.  I learned after last week to hike the bigger hills, and I neither passed or was passed on them today, so everyone was on the same page.

My result?  14 hilly miles in 2:32, good for 52nd place.  Results here:

Great day, and I unfortunately had to jet, but there was a cookout with burgers, watermelon, etc., and Pat was going to a cool brewpub in Willimantic, but I had to get home.  Great to see everyone, though!  Next up, trying to set a new mile PR at the Bottone mile this week!