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!

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!