Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week of 4-7 to 4-13

Monday, 4-7 - 3.1 Miles (Road) - After karate class, I decided to go down to Misquamicut and run the new, agreed upon Clamdigger 5K course, which is basically an out-and-back, with a short section on a side street.  My run turned into a progression run, and I think I can maintain a zippy pace for the 5 mile race.  If I can come in around 36 minutes, like a 7:10-7:15 pace, I'll be pretty stoked...

Tuesday, 4-8 - 0 Miles.

Wednesday, 4-9 - 3 Miles (Trail/Road) - Rock Spring Preserve, Scotland, CT.  I was on my way to a completely different trail system when I spotted this Nature Conservancy property and decided to check it out instead.  The trail basically winds downhill to the Little River, then it's all uphill to an overlook, with a bunch of side trails.  Great day to be outdoors!



Saw this on my way out :)

Thursday, 4-10 - 1.6 Miles (Surf!) - Surfed shoulder high Conant Avenue at Point Judith, with only a couple other people out.  Warm-ish, windy, and really nice to be in the water...felt loose and comfortable today.

Conant, clear lineup!  Nobody out...

In the evening, I joined some of the WTAC gang for a victory beer tasting/tour at Grey Sail Brewing in Westerly, RI, put together by club member and race director extraordinaire Mike Galoob, in honor of the team winning the Fourth Season trail race series!  Thanks Mike!!!  After the tour, we headed over to a local pizza joint for dinner.  Great time!

Celebrating the trail series win!  Photo by 5k's phone :)


Friday, 4-11 - 3+ Miles (Roads) - "Dog Jog" run plus "Return to Lantern Hill"...First run?  Our dog Henry is finally getting the hang of running alongside me, and not stopping to sniff things every 5 feet.  Went up Fowler Road from the house and back, a bit over a mile, and he did great!

Second run?  I'm back on Lantern Hill, wolf dogs be damned...I was sweating like a bastard up there today, and 2+ miles felt like a 10K.  What the Hell, I loved it anyway :)





Saturday, 4-12 - 1.6 Miles (Trails) - Short Lantern Hill jaunt.  After a whirlwind Spring cleaning session, including a dump run, dropoff at the Jonnycake Center, and relieving the Home Depot of a large portion of their mulch, I was able to fit in a short run.  The weather was picture perfect today, Lori and I even took a short nap in the hammock in the backyard!  It felt so nice out, we decided to have lobster and steamers for dinner.  Lori called in the order and I made for Lantern Hill before the pickup deadline.

When I arrived, a man and his two boys were just coming down.  I got to talking with them, and they offered me a few treasures from the Hill:

Two nice pieces of milky quartz, and a third (back right) I can't identify?

I'm talking to this guy, and he looks up the hill and nods at a guy jogging down the hill with his son and says "Hey, he's going pretty fast, that's not very safe...", to which I replied "Um, I know who that is, he's fine..." and here comes Ben Nephew, total coincidence.  A short NT recon session for Ben, who's doing an out-and-back run on the CT section.  Chatted for a bit, and as I was trying out my nephew's GoPro camera, I realized I must have looked like a total idiot with it on top of my head.  Or maybe it was an improvement from my usual look...?  Either way, here's the descent (and it's my very first video upload, so don't bust my stones), which is also now a segment on Strava...Gazelle it!  Just don't slip, though, it's steeper than it looks!!!!



Clamdigger tomorrow :)



Sunday, 4-13 - 6+ Miles (Road) - Warmup, Cooldown, and the 33rd Annual Clamdigger 5 Mile Road Race.  My result in 2012?  79th place in 42:32 @8:30 pace...

Busy morning setting up, I met up with the WTAC crew just after 9, and we unloaded all the gear and got set up.  All signs pointed to a record turnout, with 139 already pre-registered for the races.  Once everything was set up, I went out for a very short, easy 1 mile warmup, and felt a slight stitch about a half mile in.  Hmmm...we'll see how I feel when the race starts.

We realized before the race started that one of the burners needed to heat the chowder wasn't working, and that runners would be coming in before it was warm enough...something to think about for 5 miles, which I did.

I was chilly before the race started, but opted for shorts and a singlet, and my fleece hat.  Looked around for BLS, who was MIA?  Hmmm...I'll get the lowdown later.  Once the race started, I settled into a low 7 pace, waiting for the stitch to return, but it didn't.  I saw Paul Gray up ahead, and caught up with him.  We stayed together for miles 2 and 3, and I slowly pulled away, in an effort to catch this dude in a grayish shirt who had passed me.  It took until mile 4.5 but I caught him, stayed with him until the last bit of the race and he pulled away again.  Crossed the line officially at 36:39 @7:20 pace, good for 29th place!  Shaved a big chunk of time off, for sure, and was able to PR nicely at this unusual distance...

Great numbers by the WTAC crew, and an awesome turnout of 220 or so runners and some walkers!

For the record, the chowder was awesome...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Big River Trail Half Marathon

This might be a bit wordy, but I had a great time today, soooo...

So I had a score to settle, right?  I was determined to not go off course this year, as last year's race gave me 9+ miles and an incomplete race, and Jonny and Mike had diligently marked the course 10 ways to Sunday the last two days, so it was a no brainer.  I got extra sleep Friday night,  had all my gear ready to go, and got on the road super early.  I was still a bit sore from Thursday's long run, but whatever.  I'd go out with no specific goal in mind, and get good and muddy on the trails.

On my way, I pulled over and texted Mike B. to ask if he was on his way?  His reply, "Yes, to the dump," meant he was out.  Must have had a major appliance delivery scheduled as well...

I arrived to find the usual WTAC crew gathering under partly cloudy skies.  Chatted for a bit, got my bib and decided to do an early warmup starting at the finish line and running the course backwards, as Beth was out chasing miles and I figured she'd be close.  Sure enough, a half mile in she comes trucking around a curve, a bit bloodied from some briars but otherwise smiling, and in good spirits.  I ran her in, and got caught up on the run, the course conditions, etc.

Monica and James showed up soon after with their friend Louis.  James was running his first Half Marathon alongside Beth, Monica the 10K, and Louis was running the 10K as his first trail race.  Sweet!

After another change of clothes (I'm too warm, I'm too cold, must have changed 3-4 times), I did one more short warmup and we lined up to go.  Paul Gray and I have had very close times at races lately, so I decided to try to stay with him for as long as I could.  At the start, everyone raced up the double-track, and made the hard left and quick right onto the single-track trail.  I'd made the decision to get wet and muddy right away, and .25 miles in, splat!  Right into the first boggy section of trail.  Now it didn't matter how much muck I came across, I'd just plow right through it.  Turns out, it was a lot!  Lots of standing water, mud, and swollen streams that required a plunge.  Awesome!

3.75 miles in, I came down a steep section, ran through a muddy puddle to an intersection, and into a group of almost 20 people coming from different directions looking for a flag.  Turned out, somebody had removed a bunch of flags before the race, and at a very confusing intersection.  I'd just passed a flag, ran back to it, and after some milling about somebody said they spotted a flag and we all took off in that direction.  In hindsight, we needed to go left up the hill, when we headed right then left.  Cut about 2/3 mile off the course, including the first water stop (sorry Matthew!).

The rest of the race had me wondering how much we'd really shaved off the total.  I figured two miles, but after running for what seemed like forever on the last super-twisty section, it ended up being just a small amount.  So I ended at 12.03 miles, good for 34th place, and had a great trail race!  Results here:

http://www.coolrunning.com/results/14/ri/Apr5_BigRiv_set1.shtml

Super fun out there today, and I scored a cool pint glass as a 5 race finisher in the series:

5 race finisher's awards...yes!!!

Beth had run 7 miles before the race, and crossed the line for a total of 19.5 for the day.  I wasn't entirely convinced she wouldn't go back out for more later...

Special thanks to Mike Galoob and family for putting on such an awesome series, special mention to Ben Folsom and Jonny Hammett for going over and above in their support of the races, Matthew Walker for manning the water stop, and Scott Mason for taking insanely good pictures out on the course!

And another special thanks to Seth for bestowing upon me two bottles of his home-brewed beer:  the Choco-Nanner Stout, and the Chinook Session IPA.  They're chillin' in my fridge, awaiting the appropriate moment to pop the top.  Sweet...

Overall?  A fantastic day, and I've been at all 5 races the last two years.  They're permanently on my race calendar, and so much fun.  The most epic race tales of the last couple years have been at this series, and that says a lot!

Great results also by Greg, Bob, Jonny, Jeff, Muddy, Seth, Boj, John, Paul, Carol Ann, Beth, Monica, James, Louis, and everybody else who raced today.  That's a beast of a course, and I loved splashing through the mud, puddles, and stream crossings, can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Trail Half Marathon week! Week of 3-31 to 4-6

It's time for the fifth and final 4th Season trail race event, the burly Big River Half Marathon trail race.  I have a score to settle with this race, as I went off course last year and recorded my first (but probably not last!) incomplete race due to getting lost.  It was a gorgeous day, though, and the group I was running with kept things fun, and we all had a great time.  I'm doing construction all week with a friend, which is going to include deconstructing kitchens and bathrooms right down to the bare walls, and somehow attempting to get some trail time in, in the face of 5+ inches of rain and moderate flooding everywhere around here.

Monday, 3-31 - 0 Miles.  Destroyed a kitchen for 8 hours!

Tuesday, 4-1 - 0 Miles.  Destroyed a bathroom for 7 hours!

Wednesday, 4-2 - A.M. - 5 Miles (Roads) - Clamdigger course measuring with Gazelle and Mike B.  Between the three of us and our Space Watches, we've got the 5M course nailed down pretty tight as far as distance.  The 5K should be all set as well!



                          P.M. - 2.5+ Miles (Trail) - Perry Preserve, Stonington.  Mike mentioned this preserve, and I swung by on my way home to check it out.  Nice trails, some small hills, and of course I got lost on an unmarked trail and wound up on a hill overlooking I-95...very wet trails because of the rain, one trail was even a fully flowing stream.  Awesome time!



Thursday, 4-3 - 15.5 Miles (Road/Trail) - Local roads/Narragansett Trail sandwich.  I wasn't able to line up someone to help me drop my truck, and drive me to the other end of the trail so I could run the whole 21 miles, so I decided to run the 5 miles from the house to the Cossaduck Hill section, run the 8 mile stretch of trail to Route 49, then run back to the house.  Good fun out there today - I had to wade through several streams, partially fell into one, got a bit bloodied on some branches, and super muddy.  Lots of water on the trails, but the weather was perfect:  pushing 60, sunny, and a nice light breeze.

View from atop Cossaduck Hill today

Looking up at High Ledges

The trail along one of the streams (not the one I fell in!)

Muddy, and a nice war wound.  Probably should have taken my shoes off outside...



Friday, 4-4 - 0 Miles.  Sore from yesterday's antics, and need some rest before Big River...however, I did manage to print, fill out, and mail in my registration for the Pisgah 23K trail race!  I'm officially in!

Saturday, 4-5 - 13.5 Miles (Trails) - Big River trail half marathon (and trail warmup).  See separate writeup!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chasing Elevation: Week of 3-24 to 3-30

No scheduled races until the Big River race in two weeks means I can try to return to the goal of chasing miles and elevation this week.  Last week was low miles, mainly due to a carpet installation at the house and a two day excursion to Boston, but I still managed some good elevation gain, and a respectable showing at the Brrr-lingame race.  Happy with the results!  This week is all about hills and distance, and not speed...

Monday, 3-24 - 4.7 Miles (Trail) - Lantern Hill.  Have I mentioned that I love Lantern Hill?  It's the perfect training ground for real trail running:  steep (20-30% grade in places), multiple trail options, beautiful views, runnable and highly technical sections alike, and close to the house.  And I'm usually the only person there.  I've gotten to know every root, rock, nook and cranny there, and it never gets old.  Set out today for a double up and back from the bottom to the top and got it, although my GPS was squirrelly and gave me credit for a segment I didn't earn.  I did the right thing and flagged it, and it should be removed by morning.  If I'm gonna hold the fastest time for a route, it's gotta be through an honest effort.  That said, the winds were blocked by the hill, and I had a great time out there.  Even surprised a big buck in the lower trails by the pond, which got my heart racing.  Love the trails...Too much fun, and I can't wait to try the point-to-point Narragansett Trail, 21 miles of hilly awesomeness.  Once the gun club's restriction on their piece of the trail is up, it's on!



Tuesday, 3-25 - 0 Miles.  Worked with a friend gutting a kitchen today, so I got an excellent workout taking down cabinets and countertops, dragging them outside, smashing them and loading the whole mess into a dumpster.  Good fun!

Unfortunately, the local and national news picked up the story about a pack of hybrid wolf dogs that have been roaming around the area right up the road from Lantern Hill, where I ran yesterday, where I run all the time, and where I have been aiming to do my CT50 elevation training runs because of the grade %.  I did some research, as they apparently cornered a homeowner on his property, wouldn't be scared away, and one of them had to be shot.  Not a pet, people!!!  They retain the predatory instincts of a wolf, but have no fear around humans and will try to establish dominance over them.  The DEEP Conservation Officers are investigating, and local word is that they know who the owner (irresponsible asshole) is.  Hope this gets taken care of quickly...meantime, plenty of other places for solo jaunts in the woods.

Wednesday, 3-26 - 0 Miles.  1 hour karate, light weights and stretching.  Too windy!  I'll get out tomorrow, the wind will have died down, and I don't have anything scheduled.

Thursday, 3-27 - 3 Miles - Salt Rock State Park/Campground, Sprague CT.  I was headed to Lisbon to get some home supplies, so I scoped out local parks with my Pocket Ranger app.  Awesome app, they have one for CT and one for RI, they're free and quite comprehensive.  A short ride up the road from the Home Depot was the Mohegan State Forest, but I totally missed the side road that the entrance is located on and, short on time, remembered that I'd passed a state park called Salt Rock.  Turns out it's just a campground, but I found a really nice mile long section of unmarked trail along the Shetucket River, and some decent hills coming up from the river, so it was worth checking out:

Bright, sunny day...



Probably wouldn't hit this spot again, as there are so many other parks and preserves in this area to check out, with a lot more acreage...gorgeous day though!

Friday, 3-28 - 5+ Miles (Trails) - Devil's Hopyard State Park, East Haddam, CT.  Anticipating yet another trip to Home Depot, I knew that 20 minutes up the road from the Waterford store was the Devil's Hopyard, so there I went.  It started raining right before I got there, but it was just drizzly and not a factor.  Because of the tree cover, there was still ice on some of the trails, but I was able to avoid slipping.  I did, however, get absolutely filthy in the mud, which was awesome!  Great hills there, and I have plenty more exploring to do...

Interesting juxtaposition here:  "Got bliss?" with "You're not alone..."

The Devil's Oven, complete with the last lingering icicles

Trail goodness along the river

Chapman Falls



Saturday, 3-29 - 4.5 Miles (Trails) - Long and Ell Pond Preserve, Hopkinton, RI.  I'd decided to do a trail run with Beth, and threw out an invite to a few people for a morning (not early!) run.  Jim and Jeff came along, and the more the merrier!  The weather was perfect, 40-45 degrees, no wind, and based on our meeting place I decided on the last, and possibly most interesting part of (besides Lantern Hill, High Ledges, Green Falls, etc...), the Narragansett Trail.  It's a roller coaster ride of a trail, with several climbs at a 20-45% grade...we kept it at a conversational pace, and I felt really comfortable.  Easy pace, but I was able to get in some quick climbs, and plan on creating a segment out of the section pictured below, as it's one of my favorites:

One of several short but sweet climbs.  Photo by Beth!



I've been able to hit several super technical, hilly trails this week, and my goal of ramping up my elevation totals is working (currently at almost 2,200').  Miles, not so much, but the trails I chose are not easy.  I'll take what I can and call it a victory...

Sunday, 3-30 - 0 Miles - So it poured last night, and has been steadily drizzling all day, and it's pouring again right now...running errands around town today, I was able to take a look at the streams and rivers in the area, which are all at or above flood stage, and frighteningly reminiscent of the Flood of 2010, which was really bad.  There was water coming across route 49 already, right up the street from me, so I'd expect a challenging Monday getting out of here.  Fortunately, the kids have no school tomorrow.  I ended up with less than 20 miles for the week, but it was an all trail, good elevation week, which leaves me in good shape for Big River next weekend.

On a positive note, I have a new toy to play with, courtesy of my nephew Julian!

GoPro Hero HD

Can't wait!  I picked up a 16G memory card, read the instruction manual, and already shot, downloaded and played back a short video, so I'm comfortable using it and transferring footage, etc...looking forward to hitting some hilly trail climbs to try it out...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Brrr-lingame 10-mile Trail Race

Saturday, 2-22 - Brrr-lingame 10-mile Trail Race, Charlestown, RI.  I arrived early and undecided about the weather, but with the promise of warming throughout the morning, my choice of shorts, long sleeve and singlet was good.  After checking in and touching base with the WTAC crew, including future WTAC members Greg Hammett and family (Ha! Totally need to bring an application next time...), as well as the TNT guys, I got my wardrobe options settled and went out for a short warmup.  Ended up running with some dude named Nick, who was running the race as his first trail race.  Nice, welcome aboard!  As we lined up, was able to chat briefly with BLS, Monica, James, Mike, Rose B., Tony, and a slew of other runners.  Race director and all-around fast dude Mike Galoob gives us last minute instructions and we're off!

The race starts, and we run across a field to the woods, where things get real narrow real quick.  The 5 and 10-milers are in the same group, so it's a case of "go at your own pace, not those around you..."  Paul Gray had asked me what pace I was shooting for, and I said 9:30-9:40, and he said he'd hang with me.  I went out fast, and he stayed with me, and I felt pretty good so I stayed at that pace, figuring I'd bank some time for when I slowed down later...

I spent the first loop (5 miles) learning the course, as I'd never run it before.  Rolling single-track, with occasional techical sections, but otherwise very runnable.  At the halfway point (start/finish), I was ahead of my goal at 44:20, and realized I had a chance at a sub-1:30 race?  Tough going back out for a second loop, but it's something I can deal with.  Several races have had that, and I'm okay with it once I leave the aid station.  Thankfully I ditched my hat and gloves on a picnic table and motored on.

Once I was into the woods again, I was basically on my own for the rest of the race.  No snow or ice on the trail, sweet single track to run, and the Sun came out!  There were three dudes ahead of me that I focused on, and gradually caught up to for miles 6-9, but they lengthened the gap in the last mile.  I purposely wasn't checking my time until toward the end, and knew a sub 1:30 would be close, but I got it.  I finished the race well, and had a pretty even set of splits the entire race, so it was a consistent performance!

Quickly changed up, and got caught up with everyone's results, and was able to catch Beth's finish, along with Monica:

Monica B. getting shots for the Enquirer...

"Hey, I feel pretty good!  Think I'll go out for another 4-10 miles..."

Congrats to my WTAC brethren, who all ran solid races.  Great weather, great course, great day.  Good turnout, and a successful 4th Trail Race series.  WTAC won beer!  What are the odds?  Met up with the gang at a clandestine location (outside the park gates) to grab a couple bottles of victory beer, and headed out!  Great day!  Happy Spring, ya'll!!!

Ottimista!  Great day!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trail Race Week! Week of 3-1 to 3-23

Trails are finally clear, which means more trails, less roads...looking forward to the Brrr-lingame race this weekend, and ramping up my distance/elevation, as I'm about 11 weeks out from the 50...looks like I'm riding solo to Ithaca, as Lori cringed at the drive time (approx. 6 hours), and the fact that on race day, I'll be gone for the entire day.  Bummer.  I haven't seen Ithaca since I was a kid, but I remember it vividly, and can't wait to check it out!  My big thing this week is going to be elevation gain, as much as I can get around here, to replicate the gain in Ithaca as much as possible.  I sure as Hell wouldn't be doing myself any favors by running flat stuff until June...


This is always in the back of my mind.  CT50 elevation profile...


Monday, 3-17 - 0 Miles.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  1 hour karate today, and my scheduled rest day.

Tuesday, 3-18 - 4 Miles (Trail) - Lantern Hill.  4 miles of technical and hilly Lantern, 30 degrees out with bright sunshine.  Everyone has their go-to set of trails, and this is mine...today was the Pequots' Red trail and the Narragansett Blue trail, times three.  Good stuff!

Shadow shot (and fat fingers)

The mellow part of the trail...

Looking eastward toward Wintechog Hill




Wednesday, 3-19 - 2.6 Miles (Trail) - Cossaduck Hill, North Stonington.  Spent all GD morning clearing out the second floor, as we're finally having our carpets replaced (I hate Berber like Mike B. hates Winter).  4 hours in, I find out there was a paperwork error on their end, easily fixed, but that no, your install won't be until tomorrow.  I already took the beds apart!  Curse you, carpet bastards!!!  So my remedy was to go find a good hill to run, and with the short window I had, Cossaduck Hill fit the bill.  It's a 6/10 mile segment (I'd call it the bastard stepchild of the road segment that's not 200 yards away), and I PR'd my time on it, and moved in behind Jonny, Muddy and Galoob, and ahead of some dudes from Mystic.  Cool.  Back at the truck, decided to do some up and backs on the first really steep, technical section, and put in a good effort.  Short and sweet run, and all my aggravation went away...so happy that all the trails are clear, there will be some serious trail miles racked up this year!



Thursday and Friday, 2-20 to 2-21 - 0 Miles - Carpet dudes early in the a.m., with me furiously moving everything out of the upstairs.  Left in the afternoon for Boston to see Patton Oswalt at the Wilbur Theater.  If you ever have a chance to see Patton, please do.  One of the best comedy shows we've ever seen.  Dinner, drinks, and lunch the next day at the Oyster House, the "Oldest Restaurant in America."  Awesome!

Saturday, 2-22 - Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race - 10+ Miles (see separate post).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Signs of Spring? Week of 3-10 to 3-16

With the Ocean's Run Half Marathon out of the way, I'm thinking about some warmer weather and Spring-like temperatures.  I'm not officially scheduled for a race until Brrr-lingame on the 22nd, but I may possibly jump in on a St. Patty's Day race this weekend?  Either way, there are supposed to be at least two days this week in the 50's, which is awesome after the winter we've had...

Monday, 3-10 - 1 hour karate class.
 Just found out that the black belt testing for my 2nd dan (2nd degree) falls on the same weekend as the Cayuga race, so it looks like I'll be putting it off for another 6 months...Grrrrrrr...way overdue, too, I'm already into 3rd dan curriculum, with the exception of weapons.

Tuesday, 3-11 - 5.5 Miles (Trails) - Champlin Glacier Park.  Finally!!!  Ran 5+ miles on totally clear trails today, in shorts and a shirt, in 55-degree weather and it felt great.  The Sun came out, I saw people on the trails, and it really felt like Spring today.  Awesome...



Wednesday, 3-12 - 3.5 Miles (Trails) - Hewitt Farm Trails, North Stonington.  After karate class I scoped out Lantern Hill first for a run, where the sheen from the ice going up the hill said NO.  Not yet.  Driving past Hewitt Farm, I didn't see much snow on the ground, so I gave it a go and got positively filthy in the process.  So much fun!  You know that "runner's tan" people get from above the sock line in the Summer?  I had a great tan, except mine was mud and washed right off later...racked up a few miles, got some "Muddy Miles" in, and headed out.

I also decided to register for the Shamrock Shuffle 5K in North Kingstown this Sunday.  Last minute decision, but I've run the course before at the NK5K, will see a couple of familiar faces, and there's a free beer at Gillian's waiting for me afterward!



Thursday, 3-13 - 0 Miles - Finishing touches on Soph's bedroom setup, including mounting the surfboard wall racks, framed surf pictures, etc., I think it came out pretty good!  Good indoor projects to do on a chilly day.

Not bad!

Friday, 3-14 - 0 Miles.  Weight training, alternated with planks, kettlebell squats, and crunches, followed by the T25 Cardio workout, which was quite the program.  Lots of plyometrics.  Looking forward to the next part of it...

Saturday, 3-15 - 8 Miles (Road) - Easy, least hilly run from the house.  Tomorrow's race is really flat, so I took an easy run from the house, and felt really good.  55 degrees and partly cloudy probably helped just a bit.  I already picked up my race swag earlier, so I don't have to fight the crowd in the morning either.  Nice looking shirt!

Irish, baby!



Sunday, 3-16 - 5-ish Miles (Road) - Shamrock Shuffle 5K, plus warmup/cooldown.  Woke to another cold morning, and gathered up my gear.  Anytime, Mother Nature!  Picked up Colburn, and we made the drive to North Kingstown, where everything was bundled up and/or waiting in their cars.  I found Nicole, all dressed up in nifty St. Patrick's Day gear, and got a picture before the race started:

Awaiting a chilly start!

I did a short warmup in my hoodie, and it was cold enough that I almost kept it on.  At the last second, I ditched it in a tree, and then we were off.  With the wind direction, the entire first mile was into the wind, but I stayed pretty steady.  After the Ocean's race last week, where I was constantly checking my watch, I was determined to just run and not look at it once.  Mission accomplished, didn't look at it at all.  I was able to gradually increase my pace, and while it wasn't a PR, I did finish in 22:42 on a slightly long course, good enough for 26th place of 506 official finishers.  WTAC'er Ryan Noonan was there as well, and I had a chance to chat with him before and after the race, and I went out for a short cooldown, found Nicole, and ran in the last quarter mile or so with her.  Great day!