Tuesday, July 28, 2015

R4K Week! Week of 7-27 to 8-2

Full circle.  My first race.  My favorite race, which holds a really special place in my heart, as it's a great cause, hosted by a great family and volunteers, and started this running/racing thing for me.  I can't say enough about this race - it's well run, tons of people but not crazy, there's some super fast people, and it's always, and I mean always, warm for this race.  At mile three I beg for the sweet relief of the garden hoses trained on the runners.

My results?  Started at "Level Zero," and worked my way up...

2014 - 112 Michael Crutchley   43 North Stonington  30:11.56  7:33

2013 - 100 Michael Crutchley   42 North Stonington  28:30.1   7:08

2012 - 197 MICHAEL CRUTCHLEY   41 North Stonington  33:48.3   8:28

2011 - 204 MICHAEL CRUTCHLEY   40 N Stonington CT   36:48.0   9:12

2010 - 287 MICHAEL CRUTCHLEY   39 N STONINGTON      34:30.7   8:38

2009 - 412 CRUTCHLEY MICHAEL   38 M                 37:54     9:29

Official results.  Races end, but internet results last forever.  My ultimate goal is a sub-7 pace, and it's within reach...I haven't run on roads recently, but that's OK!  I think my trail runs will translate nicely to the race.  Either way, it's 7 years in a row!!!  Love this race!

I'll get runs in this week when I can.  It's gonna be hot!

Monday, 7-27 - 0

Tuesday, 7-28 - 2.3 - Stony Creek Quarry, Guilford CT.  Hot.  90+, and after work I decided to check this place out.  The parking area is an unmarked side lot next to an adult community, and I wasn't sure whether I was even in the right place.  The trails?  Awesome!  Except that they were totally overgrown in places, and very confusing to follow.  Super technical in places as well.  Managed 2.3 sweaty miles and pulled the plug.  Next time...

Wednesday, 7-29 - ?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Oregon Rocks! Family Reunion, week of 7-19 to 7-25

My family reunion happens every 3-4 years, is awesome and is usually attended by 40-60 family members.  This year, we lost both my grandparents before the gathering, but the spirit of our family persevered and we had between 50-60 family members attending this trip.  From all over the country.  Half from the East Coast.  We like our family, in other words!

This reunion, I knew that some of my peeps were into running and I had suggested a family 5k, informal and no frills.  I was surprised at the reaction!  Lots of interest.  My brother Spencer arranged for some award medals, and I ordered race bibs...it was on!

Monday - 8+ - 2015 Crutchley Reunion 5k! - I got out in the morning to map an easy route, as some of the kids (and adults) might be directionally challenged.  I started the race with around 30 participants (30!!!), and ran ahead/doubled back as a nervous race director, making sure that nobody (especially kids!) got lost.  I was able to keep the entire race on bike paths, thanks to the Sunriver layout.  Can't be happier about that!  My cousin Blake won the race in 18:36!

Some of the crew for the inaugural Crutchley Reunion 5k!

Tuesday - 2.6 - Deschutes River trail run w/Eric. - I was gearing up for a run when my 10-year old nephew Eric asked if he could join me?  Absolutely!  That's what the reunions are all about, and we had a blast.  Parked at the trailhead, ran to the Deschutes River and chatted the whole way.  I let him lead on the way back, and we had a great time!  Nothing like showing your family why you love trail running so much :)

Just two dudes out for a run :)

Wednesday, - 12+ - #1 - 7 Miles - Smith Rock w/Nick - I was stoked to be able to run Smith Rock again, as I'd hiked it a couple of reunions ago when I didn't really run, and I'd dreamed about it since.  Got that wish!  My cousin Nick has quickly transformed into a badass runner, and his hilly home base in the mountains of North Carolina gives him the conditioning for these types of runs.  We left early and hit Smith Rock at around 7:30, and it was as dramatic as I'd remembered.  Sheer cliffs, pro rock climbers gathering their gear, and I was chilly and sweaty at the same time.  Nerves?  The descent to the river is fun, but steep and visually dramatic.  The run along the river to the Burma trail was mellow and gorgeous and also chilly, as the walls of the canyon block out the Sun, and we were lulled into a sense of relaxation until the abrupt first climb...

So the Burma trail climbs 3.2 miles at around 1089 feet.  It's a steady climb after the initial switchbacks, and you reach an incredible view:

Great place!

After that, we did a super fun descent on the backside of the rock to the river, where we ran smooth dirt trails along the river back to the car.  I love this place.  It's my favorite trail system now.

     #2 - 5 Miles - Solo Deschutes River run.  A bunch of the crew had already gone with the kids to the waterpark for the afternoon, and I wasn't down for that...so I decided to run to Benham Falls.  Easy trails, very warm day.  I cruised at a good pace and did 5 in 43 minutes.  Fast enough on trails for Paul Gray?  I hope so ;)

I could get used to this view...

Thursday - 0.  Family golf outing and lava cave exploring!

Descent into darkness...

Friday - 6 - Mt. Bachelor ascent w/Nick B. - My Grand Finale for the trip, I was worried I'd be solo until I asked Nick, and he committed without a second thought.  We left at 7, almost hit a deer on the 25-minute drive to the entrance, and parked.  I had panicked initially that my pullover, which I was counting on for the ascent, was in the wash.  I brought a cotton hoodie and was a bit concerned about the weather at the top.  Luckily, my cousin Evan had loaned me an awesome windbreaker the day before, and it was still in the backseat.  Saved my ass!

We set out onto the Mt. Bachelor trail, which zigzags through the forest at the base, above the treeline and up to the top via some very sketchy ridgeline switchbacks.  It took us 1:05 to get to the top, and after a 2600' climb to over 9000', the view was incredible:

Started from here...going up there!

Halfway up...

Snow and volcanic rock!

Almost there!

Howling wind, freezing my ass off, and looking way more burly than I felt, haha :)
(and getting in a plug for the RI6hr race!  You're welcome, Bob!  Ha!)

Worth the climb!

I love descents, so after we summitted I told Nick I was gonna give it a good effort to the bottom.  34 minutes later, I was there!  I can honestly say that I gave it a good effort on the steep, technical and somewhat dangerous trip down, and I'm really happy with my time.  Loved every minute of it!!!

My initial disappointment about missing the USATF Mountain Running championships was tempered by the fact that we ran part of the course.  Damn!  Must have been brutal!

Saturday - 0 - Travel back to the CT.  Great flights, and everything went right :)

Sunday - 2.3 - Muggy Lantern Hill run.  Just enough time to hit some hills, try my downhill segment (3:51, my second best time), and try for the Wintechog Hill climb segment (3:08, 12 seconds off...dammit!  It's within my grasp...and Mike B.!  Don't diss my 2.3 miles, I worked hard for them!!!)

In summary?  Best vacation ever.  I spent time with my family, hosted a 5k, had some great adventures on the trails, climbed a mountain and loved every minute of it.  It never rained, not once.  40-50 degrees in the morning, getting up to 80 in the afternoon with no humidity.  And...beer!  I'll close with the picture I took of part of the beer cooler at the small local supermarket.  They had beer pairing suggestions all over the store!  Produce, cheese, meat departments...this was Oregon after all, the IPA Mecca of the known universe...this was just a sampler:

Holy IPAs, Batman!!!  I'll be back!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's not the heat...Week of 7-13 to 7-19

Warm week here in mid Summer.  My work takes me to Wallingford this week, and I found more awesome trails along the way.  Now I just have to check them out!

Monday - 2.5 - Westwoods Preserve, Guilford.  Great trails, but the place is a maze!!!  the trails are everywhere, criss-cross each other constantly, and the CT Walk Book mentioned that everyone take a map, as it's very easy to get lost there.  I did a sweaty out/back on the white trail, with a short spur on the orange trail.  Enough to get my bearings, and enough to see how cool the trails there are!  I'll be back!

Tuesday - Saturday - 0.  Work week, and travel to Oregon for my family reunion.  60+ family members, and a damn good time to come!  Details in next week's post...

Sunday - 5 - Portland, OR! - Hell Yeah!!!  After a bitch of a trip, we'd slept a few hours and I woke with a yearning to check out some Portland streets and trails.  I left the hotel, ran to a preserve and hit some trails, and zig-zagged down the steep streets to my home base.  5 miles of fun and warm, sweaty miles :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Work Work Work! Update, and Week of 7-6 to 7-12

So...I've been trying to figure out this whole work/play thing for a while now.  My commute has varied wildly, and the last couple weeks have had me commuting 1.5-2 hours each way to get to the jobsite.  Awesome trails right up the road, but at the end of the workday, I'm just trying to get the Hell outta Dodge and beat the Summer 95N traffic.  I skipped Greylock on Father's Day, which worked out great because it poured, and my daughter wanted to go for a trail run.  In the rain.  First time ever.  Best time!

Sunday is the Tarc Blue Hills Skyline Trail Run in Mass., my last race until August?  Supposed to be a hilly, technical 12k race, and one which I know nothing about.  Never been there!  Should be great...

6-22 to 6-28?  I ran two times.  One, a 7 mile run at Green Falls, where I braved the overgrown connector trails North of the campground.  The other?  A run at the Perry Preserve, with a short run on roads to the small but cool Fennerswood Preserve, which I really liked!  Very plush scenery...

6-29 to 7-5?  4 short runs, but quality, hilly runs.  3 at Lantern Hill and 1 at Green Falls.  I was able to rack up almost 1800' of vertical gain in a little over 18 miles, and on technical trails.  No roads.  I'm trying to stay off roads completely unless I have good reason!  Biting flies suck but I'm sort of used to them now...

7-6 - 2.5 Miles.  Pequot Wood Preserve, Mystic.  Driving home and had to get a run in, and this gem of a place is right off 95.  Good trails, humid day, biting flies, and mud!  Happy hour :)

So that's me catching up.  FiveK is getting married this weekend (The "Bachelor Party" we had for him at Mike's was awesome), and I'm so excited for him (and Shara!), and I'm really looking forward to the festivities!!!

7-7 - 0

7-8 - 0

7-9 - 5 Miles.  3 @ Sleeping Giant State Park, 2-ish dog jog w/Henry.  Sleeping Giant being just a few short minutes from my current jobsite, I jumped at the chance to get over there when we finished early for the day.  My goal was to climb the "chin," make my way to the tower at the top, then bomb the downhill tower trail segment to the bottom.  Humid, warm, and lots of people out on the trails!

7-10 - 3 Miles. - Beach run.  Met some of the crew on the beach to kick off FiveK's wedding day in style, with a beach run and mimosas.  I got to chat with Tommy's brother Steve while some of the guys did a short swim, then we did a relaxed, chatty run to the jetty and back.  Great way to start the day!

7-11 - 0

7-12 - 7.4 - TARC Blue Hills Skyline Trail Race.  1:43, 27th OA.  Another awesome trail race on the Grand Tree Race Series.  I didn't have nerves for this race, but last year's finishers' list included a huge number of DNF's, so I was thinking about that in the days leading up to the race.  Was it hot last year?  It's supposed to be hot this year.  Was it too technical for most people?  I love technical trails, so that won't be a problem.  Questions, questions...I woke early, made it from my house to the parking lot in an hour flat, and geared up.  Shoes, shorts, singlet, and my handheld.  I knew it was gonna be a hot one, but as the race had an early-ish start (8 a.m.), I figured it wouldn't be all that bad (it was 80 degrees by the time it started)...

The Blue Hills Reservation is a huge recreation area right off the highway, and with the race billed as "extremely rocky and steep and demands balance and agility," I was excited to check out the trails there.  I wasn't disappointed!  Greg's comments were spot on, thanks Greg!  Sharp, steep and technical climbs/descents, with some runnable carriage trails to break things up a bit.  Very cool, old school and low-key race.  Inexpensive.  No bibs.  You get a popsicle stick at the finish with your place, which you turn in to the RD, who records your time by hand!  Imagine!  And it's also a good enough test to have drawn some of the best trail runners in New England every year.

I ran a cautious race, partly due to the heat, partly due to what I'd read about the course.  I think maybe too tentative, as the race had 1800' of vertical gain and I felt pretty good afterward.  I should have been hurting and I wasn't, so I think I might have played it too safe?  Either way, I'll be back for this race next year.  It's close, the kind of race I like, and the views of the Boston skyline from the top of the hills were spectacular!

I will also say that finishing the race coming down a grassy slope that's a ski slope in the winter was pretty sweet...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mt. Greylock week! Week of 6-15 to 6-21

The Mt. Greylock Trail Race half marathon is this Sunday, and I'm excited about it.  I had a lot of fun at this race last year, and I'm hoping for the same thing on this go around.  Super fun climb to the top, and a great set of trails on the backside of the mountain.  Can't wait.  And now I have a time to beat!  Last year my time was 2:59, and I was happy to squeak in just below the 3:00 mark.  This year I expect to do much better...(Update, see below...)

In other news...I'm officially registered for the inaugural Cat's Tail Trail Marathon, set for October 3rd in Shandaken, NY, in the Catskill Mountains!  The race has prerequisites for entry, and is limited to 100 runners.  I somehow managed to qualify...more here:

And there's somewhere between 7-8k of vertical ascent on this point-to-point course.  Sweet!  So this will be my big Fall race for 2015...I do love the Nipmuck race (same weekend), but I really wanted to give this one a shot...

= Awesome

And just like that, my "dance card" for 2015 is pretty well set!  Trail heavy, and leaning toward longer distance races, with some short road stuff closer to home.  More to follow...

Monday - 0.

Tuesday - 0.

Wednesday - 3.  Rocky Neck cruise.  Officially (sort of) done with the Old Lyme job, so I squeezed in a short run before work.  3 mile loop of RN trails, and I could feel the biting flies pinging off my hat as I blundered my way through the spider webs.  Ahhh, Summer!  Nothing like showing up to work a sweaty, hot mess...

Thursday - 3 (Not 2.5, Garmin!).  Perry Woods Preserve.  After work, and on my way to pick up the dog from day care (yes, we do), I swung by this Avalonia property, which has really nice trails and a bunch of unmarked stuff beyond their land.  I think my Garmin is screwing me on distance though, actually I'm fairly certain of it.  I was moving much faster than a 10 minute pace, and I felt like I covered more distance than it showed...

Friday - 3 - Lantern Hill run w/Woolley. - Got started too late for a medium-length run, but still got a good 3 miles in on Lantern, and I showed Woolley some of the good climbs to be had there.  We were looking for something longer but ran outta time.

Update:  The wife threw her back out today, and is walking crooked...speaking from experience, this is gonna last several days, so I'm smartly pulling the plug on Greylock this time around.  Bummer.  I'll run long close to home on Sunday though, and make up a good route for it...

Saturday - Possible NT maintenance hike with gear and blaze paint.

Sunday - Mt. Greylock trail half marathon aborted, long local run?

Friday, June 12, 2015

No scheduled Races! Week of 6-8 to 6-14

Yeah, I said that last week, didn't I...but as I'm headed to Mt. Greylock next week, I'm gonna take a week away from races, then see if I can shave 15-20 minutes off my time from last year's effort!

Monday - 0.

Tuesday - 0.

Wednesday - 4 - Rocky Neck State Park.  Got another run in at Rocky Neck.  This time, less segment focused.  I found a really cool pile of rocks/cliff-type thing to scamper up, and I did a bunch of loops on it, so much fun!  It was really warm out, and the thought of going after segments wasn't really appealing, but I tried the "Twisty" segment and tied Chris G. to the second...so of course I'll hit it again :)

Thursday - 8 - 2 Runs, Westerly/Watch Hill.  3 Mile run in Wilcox Park, while I waited for my truck to be done at the shop.  5 Mile beach run with the Gazelle from Taylor's place to Weekapaug.  Great day for a beach run!  Warm, tailwind, and lots of people diving into Summer.  It's here, ya'll!!!  Great day.

Friday - 3 - Rocky Neck Sweatshop.  Very warm and muggy, but I wanted to get a run in after work.  Still figuring out the segments, and screwed up on a couple, but I gave the Steeplechase segment a good effort and scored the CR.  Very happy about that!

Saturday - 0. - Knee is acting funky.  Going to rest it a few days, beach with the family, and pick things up at the beginning of the week.

Sunday - 0.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

No Plans: Week of 6-1 to 6-7

No plans this week, except finishing the job in Canton, and starting the new renovation in Old Lyme, which means a 30 minute commute instead of 1:45 to 2 hours.  Woohoo!!!

Monday - 0.

Tuesday - 2 - Mile Creek Preserve, Old Lyme.  Finished the demolition at the new jobsite for the day, and I had just enough time to run a clockwise/counterclockwise loop at this small preserve up the street.  Rolled my ankle pretty good on a sketchy, rooty bog section, but a really cool little spot with multiple stream crossings.  Pouring rain, too - what's not to like?

Wednesday - 7.5 - Oil Change Special, Westerly/Pawcatuck.  A rare Wednesday lay day at work meant getting shit done, and I was able to get some easy miles in while the wife's car was getting fixed.  Happy National Running Day, everyone!

Thursday - 5 - Rocky Neck SP, East Lyme.  I found a parking area two minutes from the jobsite I'm working at for the next couple weeks, so I scoped out the Strava segments for Rocky Neck.  Turns out there are lots.  I ran marked and unmarked trails, got my bearings, and figured out where some of the segments began/ended.  I scored 1 CR out of 4 I tried, and missed the others by just a bit.  Fun time after work on a cool day!

Friday - 0

Saturday - 0.  Intentional zero, see below.

Sunday - 18.2 - Goodwin Forest 30k Trail Race, Hampton CT.  This was a last-minute decision, made Thursday night.  I texted fellow WTAC'er Ryan Woolley about the race, as he'd mentioned he wanted to start doing some distance trail stuff.  He was in!  I also texted WTAC'er Joe, who I'd heard was headed up there.  Woolley drove up with his wife and got there just in time.  Joe and I made the drive up and got there early.

This is a trails weekend race, and is part of the Grand Tree series, as well as the CT Blue-blazed trail race series.  Perfect weather greeted us: sunny skies, low humidity and 60 degrees.  I also ran into friends Gary and Carly, and after a short set of instructions, we lined up and were off and running!

Pre race instructions:  don't get lost!

Lining up for the start!

This being a 10k/30k, the mass start meant both distances crammed into the first few miles.  After the Governor's Island turnaround, us longer distance folks split off and headed toward the real "meat and potatoes" northern part of the course.

I had fallen into a group that included Joe and a friend of his, Carly, and myself.  Carly and I were chatting away, and ended up running pretty much the entire race together.  Nice to have somebody to talk to, when I'd otherwise have been in no man's land for quite a while.

I finished in 3:33, good for 48th place out of 77 runners.  Joe?  A few minutes and four places ahead of me.  And Woolley?  Won the whole damn thing in 2:03, a ridiculous number and one that Joe and I couldn't wrap our heads around on the drive home.  Crazy fast, and his longest run to date???

This is my log.  There are many like it, but this one is mine...