Monday, September 1, 2014

Weekly Log 9-1 to 9-7: Damn, it's hot out!

Going to have to up my mileage this week, in spite of the heat and humidity...still thinking about possibly jumping in on the NK5K, which I've done a few times.  I really like the course, flat and fast PR course, and it's a fun race with great swag.  Haven't decided yet though.

Monday, 9-1 (Labor Day) - 4.4 Miles (Trail) - Arcadia loop near Beach Pond, Exeter, RI.  Hot and humid, and downright tropical, in my opinion...Tons of people enjoying the warm waters of the lake, but I wilted like a french fry under a heat lamp.  Even the spiders took a day off though, which I did appreciate.  I felt soggy and heavy from the get-go, and my plans for a longer loop contracted down to the trails I did, which were a good mix of hilly, technical single-track and coarse rocky service roads.  I'm looking forward to Fall, and some cooler running weather...

This way! --->

Tuesday, 9-2 - 3 Miles (Trail) - Lower Lantern Hill Trails.  Holy crap it was hot out today.  I ran a slew of errands today, and only wore a shirt when I had to go into a store.  I think this also might be the first time I ever went to Lantern and didn't go to the top.  Pretty sure the heat index was near or above 100 degrees, but I was able to grind out a few pretty good uphill/downhill efforts on the lower section, sweat my ass off, and call it quits at 3 miles.  Arrived home to find these waiting for me!

NB Fresh Foam 980 Trail

Looking forward to getting some dirt on these, and taking a break from minimal, zero drop shoes for a bit.  Can't wait to see how these feel...Much less pronounced lugs than the Zero V2's I've been wearing, but definitely more cushion and protection.  With the Fall race schedule I'm attempting (see column on right!), I'm gonna need it...

And after collecting the kids off the bus for a cooldown in my S-I-L's pool, time for one of these:

LT IPA in a frosty RI Triple Crown pint glass?  On a hot day?  Sold!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Back to School Week! Slacker Blog, Week of 8-25 to 8-31

No.Scheduled.Races.  I still have nothing scheduled for another two weeks, and I need to do some work if I'm gonna beat my 1:43 from Surftown last year.  Thinking sub-1:40 for an "A" goal?  Weather permitting, I'd also like to destroy my Nipmuck time of 5:45 with a sub-5:00 or better (It dumped rain last year!)...I also need to run a sub-6 mile soon, one of my 2014 goals...

Monday, 8-25 - Thursday, 8-28 - 0 Miles.  The kids went back to school this week, and I stayed busy with them, had a construction gig midweek, took care of some things around the house, and got ready for Lori's birthday.  Stacked a ton of firewood as well.

Friday, 8-29 - Waves!  Finally hit the water with my nephews, and surfed for a few hours at the "K", which the Stormrider Guide lists as the longest left on the east coast.  I've been surfing there for 20 years, and it's not a secret spot anymore, but today I caught it waist-chest high, and with only a handful of people out.  Warm water, good crowd, and a lot of fun!

Saturday, 8-30 - 12-ish Miles (Road/Trail mix) - 3 separate outings:

     #1:  Dog Jog with Henry, 2.4 Miles.  We did a bit more than usual and ventured onto more unmarked trails at the top of the road;

     #2:  Lake of Isles/Lantern Hill run, 6.4 Miles.  I found a couple of hill segments at the LOI section of Foxwoods, where their golf course is, so I decided to give one of them a shot.  Started at Lantern and ran through Foxwoods, and up the big hill toward the clubhouse.  Ended up scoring the segment by 11 seconds.  Made my way back to, and up to the top of Lantern Hill, and took a run at my "Top to Bottom" segment, which has had a couple of other dudes try it in the last week.  Tied my best effort at a 3:56.

     #3:  Family Hike at Bluff Point, 3 Miles.  I got Lori an UP24 by Jawbone for her birthday.  It's one of those bracelet things that records all your daytime steps, etc...then at night records your sleep patterns and stuff.  All the data transfers via Bluetooth to her phone app.  She loves it!!!  She set a 10,000 step daily goal, and totally hit it yesterday.  Tons of people at Bluff, we brought Henry and he loved being able to meet other dogs and jump in the water.  Great day!

Sunday, 8-31 - a.m. - 2.4 Miles (Trail/Road) - Arcadia trails with Jim and Nate.  Jim's son Nate is another one of the black belt candidates, and asked if he could come along on a trail run, his first ever.  Took them to the Beach Pond area, as it's not very technical, and I could make the run longer or shorter as needed.  Ended up being 2.4.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Training Week of 8-18 to 8-24 (Life sometimes gets in the way)

Monday, 8-18 - 0 Miles.

Tuesday, 8-19 - 4 Miles.  (Trail/Road) - 2+ Miles on Unnamed/Partially marked Avalonia Land Trust property near Lake of Isles, and 2 mile dog jog up the street and back.  I know there are more trails out there, as there used to be a scout camp somewhere up there years ago...

Wednesday-Thursday - 0 Miles, working 12-hour construction days and taking care of sick wife who got diagnosed with Lyme Disease.  Sonofabitch...I sure as Hell expected it to be me, if anyone, who got bit by a tick and subjected to that.  Fortunately, she caught it wicked early, and got on the meds right away...

Friday - 0 Miles, back to school shopping with Lori and Soph.  Wife doing much better!  I.Hate.Shopping.  The evidence for this would be my collection of awesome race shirts, and ratty jeans/shorts/hoodies, which pretty much sums up my wardrobe...

Saturday, 8-23 - 6+ Miles (Trail) - Tippecansett/Deep Pond trail loop.   I start At the Roscoe Dexter Management Area for kicks, and also because I wanted to see if the white-blazed trail there connects to the Tippecansett Trail (It does).  I make the connection, and loop around to Beach Pond, crossing the road and noting the large number of people enjoying the beach area.  Continue onto the Tippecansett Trail, until I found the white blazes again.  Good 4-mile loop, good parking, and great scenery...

Ferns!  They're everywhere out here!

Deep Pond trail, mostly spider-free :)

Sunday, 8-24 - 7 Miles - (Road/Track mix) - Bunch of fun!

Quick recap:  I got up early and made signs for my friends who were competing in the 1st Annual Rhode Warrior Half Ironman.  My street happens to intersect the bike route at about mile 18, so I decided to tailgate!  I packed up my signs, a couple of chairs, and parked on the route.  I was able to get a mile in before the first biker appeared, with #2 rider 10 seconds behind.  I had my signs ready and cheered and gave encouragement to every rider.  Tough race!  I had to use binoculars to identify everyone before they got to me, with helmets and dark racing outfits, and snapped off a few pictures with my phone.

Tommy came through first of my crew, followed by Jeff, BLS and Miss RWM, who gets special props for doing what I didn't even have the stones to do...I was pumped to see all of them!!!

Next?  I had arranged to meet some of my fellow Black Belt candidates for a track workout, pacing checkup.  I'm a decent pacer, and I can keep the kids and adults at an honest pace and tell them where they are, and where they need to be.  Some have work to do, some are good, but I leave them with advice, words of encouragement and a realistic idea of where they are for the run portion of the test.  Good stuff, although it was HOT at the track!

After that?  I estimated some times and figured Nicole might be out on the run part of the race, so I drove down to the beach.  Saw BLS, and fell in behind Tommy on the strip.  I located Nicole, yelled out to her, and drove back to the start/finish to park (illegally!).  Met up with BLS, and when Nicole made the turn, I decided to run with her for a bit.  We chatted and I ran with her for the next mile, gave her a hug and sent her on the way.  She finished like a champ!!!  So proud of her!  Called it a day and drove home, great day :)  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Love the Run!

Again, no scheduled races, and I'm cool with that.  I'm at 18 races done for the year, and the "big ones" haven't even come into play yet.  So why not take a few weeks off of races, and just run...Seth shut it down for two weeks, and I applaud his willpower, but he'll come out of it like Jonny on speed, I suspect...I took four days off last week and was climbing the walls.  I, however, have no particular rhyme or reason right now for what the Hell I'm doing.  My marathon training is just to "wing it," as I always end up doing, as Sunday's 20-miler is proof of.  Oddly, I wasn't at all sore today!  So now the goal is to just run happy, and often, and bank the mileage that gets me where I need to be for the Fall.  And speedwork.  Have to fit that in...ha!

Monday, 8-11 - 4+ Miles (Trail) - Green Falls loop, and a dog jog! - Hit GF this afternoon, and cruised up to the dam, easy run around the lake with a Nehantic trail extension, and gave it a good effort from the dam back to the truck.  2.8 rocky, rooty miles.  Got home and took the dog out, who wants to run, and loves the trails, so it was the Preserve across the street.  I ate web upon web, and had to scrub them off in the shower later, but we had fun, Henry and I!!!

Tuesday, 8-12 - 0 Miles.

Wednesday, 8-13 - 1 hour weight training/stretching, and I got challenged to that ALS ice bucket to follow...


Thursday, 8-14 - 3 Miles (Trail) - Hike with the kids and dog at Green Falls.  The kids suggested this one!  I happily obliged, and we parked below the dam and hiked to the waterfall.  We continued around the lake loop, and back down the gorge, and the kids loved it.  My daughter said it looked like something out of the Hobbit.  Works for me :)

Light through the trees

Soph digging the trail

Me, Soph and the dogg :)

Friday, 8-15 - 4 Miles (Trail/Road) - Uphill/Downhill run from the house.  All uphill the first two miles, all downhill the last two.  Needless to say, I had negative splits!  I also shaved a minute off my "126 to 130" segment, which was pretty cool...

Saturday, 8-16 - 5 Miles (Trail) - Chatfield Hollow recon run with Faith and Joe.  Well, they changed the course already in the three weeks since I scoped it out, so I went with backup to check it out.  Hilly and technical.  I think I can pull off the 50K in 6 hours?

Anyway, couple of things:  I had a blast, but the RDs better flag the living shit outta the course (yup, I said it again), because even with a map, we got off schedule about 50 times.  It's an awesome course, super technical ups and downs, but the blazes need to be updated though, for reals.  I'm pretty adept at following a map, reading trails and keeping on track, but's fun to get lost sometimes but not all the time.  I better not get lost during this race even a little bit.  I'm sending a message to the race directors, letting them know that there's plenty of time to get this right...great run with friends though!

Sunday, 8-17 - 3-ish Miles (Trail Hike) - Hike with the wife, kids and dog at Green Falls.  I've had a low mileage week, but lots of fun with friends and the kids.  Lori heard all about Green Falls from the kids, and really wanted to see it, so we went out and did the same loop I'd done earlier in the week.  Great day!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August Already?!?

No scheduled races, it's already August (dammit!) and the kids go back to school in a couple of weeks.  Now that Soph is old enough, I'm going to dive back into the workforce.  I'm actually really looking forward to it, and have already dipped a toe into the job search pool, so to speak...

Mon.-Thurs. - 0 Miles.  Kids' Summer Finale in full effect.  While I stretched, did karate on Monday and Wednesday, and played with the kids (and the dog), no runs were had for the first four days of the week...

Friday, 8-8 - 4+ Miles (Trail) - 2.7 miles at Lantern Hill.  Warm and I felt sluggish, probably due to the 4 days off.  Lots of people out today!  Good to see hikers of all ages out there.

     p.m. - 1.5 Miles on Grindstone/Fowler Preserve trails across the street with Lori and the dog.  Sort of a hike/jog, but Lori did say that she finally understood why I run trails all the time...long time coming to hear that, but I'll take it!

Saturday, 8-9 - 4 Miles (Beach) - Barefoot beach Progression run, Misquamicut.  Felt really, really comfortable today, starting off super easy and gradually increasing the pace the entire time.  Low tide helped, and there were a few knee deep runout spots to cool off in.  Good run on a gorgeous summer day!

     evening - 1.7 miles (Trail) - Dog jog, peppy pace minus the "stop and sniff" method.  We even made it to the stream for a quick cool off before heading home, where Lori and I threw down with some Speedminton.  That shit is a legit workout...

Sunday, 8-10 - 20 Miles (Road/Beach) - Run from the house to the beach.  Having not done any long training runs for quite a while (as later pointed out by Jeff), I decided that I'd put together something in the neighborhood of 20-ish miles, and a roundabout run to the beach was plotted.  The run would take me from my house in North Stonington into Pawcatuck, through Westerly and out to Watch Hill, where I'd make the turn toward Misquamicut and finish at the beach club.  I'd meet the girls there and hopefully they'd give me a ride home...?

I got started later than expected, it was already warm and getting hotter by the minute, and I realized after a few miles that this was going to be a tough run.  I had a CamelBak and a handheld, and drained the handheld rather quickly.  The pack was drained until it got hot enough to not drink - Powerade is nasty when it's warm.  I saw several friends out walking during the first few miles, and called my friend Jim to join me at mile 8, where I stopped in at a convenience store to buy some water for the handheld.  Jim stayed with me until mile 11, then turned back toward his house.  Nice to have some company for a few miles!

By the time I reached Watch Hill at mile 15, I was out of gas - the heat had done its job.  I've done longer runs, and much faster long runs, but this was a slog.  I fueled properly, took gels right on schedule, and was drinking enough liquid (I thought), but I was hurting at this point.  I bought another large bottle of water in W.H., and continued on past Ocean House, and along the ocean on back roads until I got into Misquamicut, where I promptly ran into Sharon, my next door neighbor.  She said later that my eyes were glassy and I looked like I was on speed or something.  That's not quite the look I was going for, but thanks!?  Once I got to Westerly Town Beach, I was out of water.  I decided to finish up on the beach, where it might be a bit cooler (it wasn't), and walk/jogged (Beth cringes at the word "jog" but I'd hardly call it running at this point) the last couple of miles.  I was a hot mess by the time I got to the beach club.  Thankfully, I made it!  Lori was there with a grinder and large iced coffee, water, and a shade umbrella.  I rinsed off in the ocean, scarfed down the grinder and stayed in the shade the rest of the day.  Mike B., fresh off a 10-mile beach run, stopped by to check on me and offer some kudos in person, and later on we had a nice chat with Jeff, Matthew, Mark and Jonny E., who were doing a short beach run.

WTAC powwow on the beach!

I'm going to call this run a learning experience.  Knowing the forecast, I should have left much earlier than I did.  I also should have filled the pack with water and ice cubes, not Powerade.  I sweat like a pig, and didn't bring anything to wipe my face.  I did put two water stops on my route, but at the rate I was drinking, I should have bought an extra bottle in Watch Hill, as I ran out two miles from my destination.  In spite of all of this, I enjoyed the run, the challenge of plotting a course and not giving in to the urge to call Lori to pick me up (which crossed my mind more than a few times).  I'm gonna take another stab at this route on a cooler day, and do it a bit better.  I should be closer to 3 hours in the right conditions, I think...

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...

Tuesday, 7-29 - 0 Miles.

Wednesday, 7-30 - 5.5 Miles (Beach/Roads) - Napatree Point beach run, and Watch Hill streets.  Gorgeous day.  After karate I decided to hit Watch Hill again.  This time, however, I did the Napatree Point run, which was a bit under 4 miles.  I went around the point, and did the boulder dance twice, as I got dead-ended and opted to not swim/slosh across the small channel that the high tide created.  Good run!  I even gave the "Ocean House Bump" segment another go, shaved a bit more off my time and got props from some tourists walking down the hill.  Cool!

Watch Hill harbour...

...and more harbour

Napatree Point.  Hard to believe it was lined with houses before the Hurricane of '38...

Thursday, 7-31 - a.m. - 5.2 Miles (Trail) - Lantern Hill trails with Mark G. - Mark gave me a shout yesterday to let me know he'd be in town, and asked if I'd be free for a run.  Met up and did just under 4 miles, up and over the top of Lantern and around to the bottom.  I dropped him off, and did one more ascent, taking a stab at the LH Blue Dot segment, and another shot at my "Top to Bottom" segment.  Didn't start the blue dot far enough back, and missed my CR on the other by 14 seconds.  Another time, perhaps!

Top of Lantern, warm summer day...

Mark descending through the "Lemon Squeezer"

     p.m. 1.8 Miles (Trail/Road) - Dog Jog with Henry. - Took Henry on a short trail run, and a bit of road.  It was pretty warm out, so I took him down the street and let him jump in the creek to cool off :)

Still on leash, but leads the way and stays on the trail...

Coolin' off!

So a great day!  I was even able to finish a ton of stuff at the house, including power washing the front and getting the walk cleared and manicured.  Productive!

Friday, 8-1 - a.m. 1.7 Miles (Trail/Road) - Dog Jog with Henry.  The humidity is affecting the dog today, but when I said the word "Run!" he perked right up.  Did the trail loop across the street, then repeated the run down to the creek to take a dip.  Nice trails this morning:

Grindstone Fowler Preserve, across the street :)

          p.m. - 4 Miles (Road) - Local Sweaty Segment Reclamation Project.  So a dude named Ryan D. (Obviously faster, and mutual frenemies?) was cruisin' around Westerly and took my Granite Street segment, between errands in town, I decided to grab a few muggy miles and try my luck at the "Pumpkins 5K Hill" segment, and try to retake my GS segment.  The Pumpkins segment seems more cruel - although it's shorter, you have to turn a corner onto another street and continue uphill for a bit.  I was sucking wind, and missed the segment by 4 seconds, but moved into 3rd OA!

The other segment?  Got it back the next day, Hammett-style...for now...

Saturday, 8-2 - 0 Miles - Hosting friends from OH for the weekend, let's hope we don't overdo it Saturday night...

Sunday, 8-3 - 5 Miles (Road) - Warmup and Run 4 Kerri 4 mile road race.  Well, friends in town, we overdid it and I was definitely not on my best behavior...but I got up, geared up and left the house at 7:15, stopping long enough to grab a breakfast sandwich and iced coffee from DD.  Arrived and checked in, and grabbed my swag (great tech shirt and bib #123!), and chatted with George Ross, Bob and Jackie and some of the other TNT crew, as well as Roy Moran and the Seddon clan from the WTAC.  My short warmup run felt tight and lacking energy (No, have another glass of wine, dummy!  You'll be fine in the morning for the race...), and I did a mile on the back end of the course.  Humid, and although it was cool, I found myself sweating fairly quickly.  When we lined up, I found Chris "Garcia" and wished him luck (he came in 15th in a stacked field!).  Saw the usual fast local contingent at the front line, and apparently the R4K has drawn a couple of Kenyans now?

The race started at exactly 9.  I'd already felt like this wasn't going to be a PR day, but it's my favorite race so I was just glad to be there.  We took off, and I found myself settling into a slower than expected pace, and couldn't force myself to pick it up...until I saw Roy up ahead.  I resolved to catch Roy, so I focused on his singlet and finally caught him at 2.5 miles in.  Then rounded a corner before the "hill" and caught up with Scott Mason, and ran with him for a bit.  I had a decent kick but crossed the line officially at 30:11, good for 111th place out of 569 runners at a 7:33 pace.  Not bad for a Sunday morning race after an overindulgence Saturday with friends, I suppose...I also won a raffle prize!  A logo'd R4K bag, picture frame, stress star thingy and water bottle:


I'd like to note the new course record of 18:44, set by Amos Sang...WOW.  4:42 pace.  Just a testament to the reputation of the Run 4 Kerri race, and particularly the Bessette family and their crew of volunteers, that they're drawing attention from outside our area.  Love this race, love the cause.  Six years in a row now, and I was the very first registrant this year!  Looking forward to the next one :)

(Evening:  1 mile trail run with Lori.  First time ever.  I stayed out front, ate all the webs, and made it as easygoing as I could.  Fingers crossed...)

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!