Friday, September 18, 2015

September update!

September...ah, Sweet September.  I'm usually in the midst of hurricane surf season, Fall running season, and enjoying the cooler weather.  No on all accounts!  No surf, my running has been cut down, and it's fuckin' hot out!  What the Hell is going on???

I'm gonna recap the last couple weeks, say a prayer to the running Gods and move on...

9/1-9/3 - 0

9/4 - Devil's Hopyard.  2+ miles on the drive home from the jobsite.  Reclaimed my "Devil's Oven" segment (sorry Duke!), and got some mental health time in the woods :)

9/5 - 0

9/6 - Taylor Swift run, 10 miles.  I set out from Weekapaug to meet Jim at the Westerly Beach, and we cruised out to Tay's place, choked down a stinger gel, and cruised back to WTB, where I dropped Jim and ran to Weekapaug.  Easy pace but painful.  (See forthcoming post).

9/7 - 9/8 - 0. Tuesday I woke up with a splitting headache, and as I've felt run down, sleepless, and had headaches for over a week, I finally went to my doctor.  She sent me right over to Westerly Hospital to get bloodwork done to test for Lyme disease.  Perfect.  Results in one week.

9/9 - Devil's Hopyard - 2+ miles again, I went a different route and it totally worked.  Great hills there!

9/10-9/12 - 0.  Work, travel and laying low before the Kismet race.  4 hour drive to North Conway.

9/13 - Kismet Cliff "Beast of the East" half marathon.

           So here it is:  I picked the perfect place to stay!  The Colonial Motel in North Conway.  Clean, helpful and friendly, and three minutes from the race start.  Room was super clean, the staff helpful, and I was totally set.

I awoke to fog, 55 degrees, rain, and no sight whatsoever of the mountains I'd be running...

Arrived early to find a hardcore crew already set up.  I grabbed my bib, saw Ryan and chatted with him for a bit, then spent time talking with Kristina, Tony, Lise, and some other awesome runners before the race began.

After the race start and a short run around Echo Lake, we all turn onto the Cathedral Ledge ascent, which is 400'-1500' and a flipping tease.  After that?  A short descent, then the nightmare ascent up North Moat.  It was raining, it was foggy, it was slippery as Hell.  I was alone for a long time (I can deal with being alone, but this wasn't fun!), and also wasn't aware that there are about a thousand false summits going up to the top.  It just kept going up!

I was nearing one of those false summits, questioning my sanity and qualifications for even being there, when I heard a runner behind me, approaching fast.  I shouted "Please tell me I'm not getting lapped!"  He replied "If it helps, I was in second place and took a wrong turn..."

He scampered up the hill and out of sight, and I continued on, alone and in the rain.  I was looking for a bright side at this point.  I was pretty sure I was in last place, pre-hypothermic (it felt like it), and looking at a 4-hour half marathon time.  What the Hell...

When I finally crested the actual summit of North Moat and began the descent, things got even more sketchy!  Ryan had mentioned that that side of Moat never gets Sun, and was always "greasy," in his words, and it had rained all night.  Imagine a slick granite slip n' slide that goes down for two miles, and you get the idea.  I slid on my ass, bushwhacked alongside the trail, and moved as well as I could...until I rounded a curve and saw fast runner dude (Ryan K.) helping a girl down the mountain.  Her name was Amber, and she'd rolled her ankle pretty bad.  I did the right thing and stopped, and helped with getting her down the slippery descent.  I'd thrown my cell phone into my CamelBak as an afterthought, and we pulled up the Race Director's number and called him to explain our situation.  We arranged to have transportation meet us at the Diana's Baths area.

The next couple hours were us getting down to level ground, walking Amber to the bailout near the stream, and getting out. Friends Ryan and Kristina and a couple other runners met us and we hitched rides back to the start/finish, where I DNF'd, but for good reason.  I'll be back next year, this race is badass and had far too few runners for what it was, which was, in the words of runner Tony, who I met at the start, "Everything the White Mountains has to offer in a race."  7 Sisters was a breeze compared to this race.  Yes, I said it.

No soapbox moment here, but hey:  people passed this runner, who was obviously in distress, and she was too polite to stop them during the race.  If you see a runner who's slowed to a crawl, just a quick "How's it going?" may be enough for them to say "Not so hot."  Then you stop and see if maybe they need help.  All I'm saying...

9/14 - 9/17 - 0 Miles.  Found out I tested positive for Lyme Disease.  Started at a new jobsite in East Granby, CT, and started a round of Doxycycline.  Job is right up the street from the Metacomet Trail, across the street from the "Rails to Trails" paths, and unless I can stay out of the Sun, I ain't checking out shit.  The Sun, it's not my friend:

No Girl Scouts were harmed during the making of this blog...

9/18 - 5 Miles.  Oil Change special, Westerly.  A rare (these days!) day off meant testing a few things.  Dropped off my truck for service, then ran to Wilcox Park in Westerly, a scenic downtown park with tons of shade where I could get some "time on feet" and assess my current fitness, based on my lack of miles lately and 4 days into Doxycycline meds.  I took it easy and ran until my truck was ready, 5 miles.  Slow but faster by the mile.  Good sign, longer run tomorrow.

9/19 - 12 Miles.  Run from the house to Green Falls, running the Narragansett, then run home!  I was able to stay in the shade for almost the whole run, and had an entirely enjoyable trail run around the Green Falls area.  and did the entire portion from the state line to the Groton Sportsmen's Club, and some extra.  Took Tom Wheeler toward home, until I saw my wife's car at my sister-in-law's place and called it a day.  My wife made me sit on the dog's tarp in her car for the ride home, like a sweaty dog...

9/23 - 5 Miles.  Lantern Hill Double.  Good effort, great weather!

9/27 - 5 Miles.  White Rock Cruisin' with Jim.  Jim's daughter was at the local skate park, We set out on roads, and discovered some unmarked trails nearby to explore!  Warm day, too!

9/30 - 3.5 Miles.  Day Pond State Park.  Misty, humid, and slick trails, but damn did it feel good to break up the drive home, and it's right off the highway...I'll be back for some more!

So that's September.  I'm gonna forget about it and move on.  Lowest miles in years, got Lyme Disease (goddam tick bastards!), DNF'd a mountain race, and all work and very little play made me a dull boy.  Hoping to get back on track in October!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Floating into Fall...Week of 8-24 to 8-30

Mon-Tues - 0.

Wed - 2+ - Salem unmarked trails and roads.  A roadside bushwacking adventure!  Slow pace but fun checking out some new trails in Salem.

Thursday 4 - Case Mountain trails, Manchester.  Oh Hell yes, great trails and I'll be there again!

Friday - 0

Saturday - 6 - Newport fun.  Cruised out from our fancy B&B to the Tennis Hall of Fame, then down to the corner of Bellevue, past some of the fabled mansions and onto the Cliff Walk for the return!

Sunday - 5-ish - More Newps!  I slid down to the beach, angled up through the residential 'hood to the commercial strip, and down Bellevue to 'Gansett, where I ran the Cliff Walk again,  So much fun there!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Slacker! Worker Bee Blog, Week of 8-17 to 8-23

I've been quite lax about updating the blog, but here's the latest:  I'm working and fitting in runs where I can, and have registered to run in the 3rd annual "Shore 2 the Pour" 3 mile beach race, put on by one of my favorite CT breweries, Two Roads brewing.  Suggested by friend and rival club member Bob Jackman, this promises to be a great day trip.  And there's beer afterward, duh!  Can't wait! 

Monday - 0 - HOWEVER, I am officially registered for the "Beast of the East" half marathon scheduled for Sunday, 9/13 in New Hampshire!  This looks like a great prelude to the Cat's Tail...

Tuesday - 0

Wednesday - 4.6 - Gay City State Park trails.  New jobsite means new trails to explore!  This job takes me to Manchester, CT, known back in the day (which, by the way, was a Wednesday) as "Silk City," and it was well-earned.  My boss (and neighbor and friend) was born and raised in Manchester, and had the lowdown on the city.  The Cheney family were icons in the silk industry, and virtually made Manchester in its early days.  The house we're working in was built in 1899, and most likely a duplex built for employee housing, as were many homes in the area.  Some reading here:

So I'm planning a run in town, and I want to include some of the historic sights of Manchester.  Nothing like getting a taste of the town by running it!

Thursday-Friday - 0 - Got a fantastic workout by deconstructing a second floor bathroom in the hot, humid air for two days, ripping out walls and floors and hauling the debris down to the truck.  I changed out my shirt every time it soaked through, and went through 4 shirts each day, sweaty bastard that I am...153 pounds and counting...

Saturday - 4 Miles - Warmup, and Shore 2 the Pour 3-Mile Beach Run (Or, "Runs With Turtles for Beer").  What a fun event!  As friends Beth and Jeff noted, they'd be hard pressed to drive 90 minutes to run a 5k, but damn was this worth it, and it's a fundraiser for an Audubon Preserve, which was part of the course.  I left the house at 8, and rolled up to the beach/park in Stratford an hour early.  Plenty of time to get situated, and check out the setup that Two Roads had going on.  Picked up my race bib and tech shirt, and ran into the TNT crew for the race, which consisted of Bob, Jackie, Mark and Scott, who was running his first race of the year!  He's usually on the other side of the lens, but jumped in on this at the last minute.  Great call.

We ran a short warmup of the last half of the course in reverse, noting the wind direction and rising heat...

At 10:45 the race started, and there were nearly 400 runners ready to rock (I'm guessing it was the beer?).  The first mile was as expected:  with the breeze, hot and crowded and very soft, gravelly sand.  I stayed with Scott, and as we reached the dirt trails near the point, we hit the loop part of the course and I passed a few people.  Bob had opened up a fairly sizeable lead over the #2 dude (who I think was the guy who passed us in the parking lot and said something about "there's my competition," but I may have misheard that).  I stayed close to Scott, and dodged runners coing the other way after the loop.  Back onto the soft sand, there was a brisk headwind, but it felt really good.  I took a higher line than Scott, gained some ground and passed him at around mile 2.  The last part of the race involves more beach but firmer sand, a turn onto a really soft and uneven stretch of sand along an inlet, and some short dirt singletrack before a sprint to the finish across grass and sidewalk.  I passed a couple of kids 1/4 mile from the finish, and one of them came charging past me in the last 100 yards.  I sprinted alongside him as fast as I could, but realized he had faster legs and the advantage of I finished 29th out of 360+?  Totally happy with my race, too!

Post race, I found out that Bob had won handily, by over a minute.  Jackie finished 16 seconds ahead of me, Mark a second ahead, and Scott just behind.  We replayed our race recaps over a couple of pints (5 available, I sampled the 'Lil Heaven Session IPA), served to us by the Two Roads crew out of their vintage Airstream trailer!  They also showed up with a "Beer Bus," a restored vintage school bus, and a restored VW panel van, circa 1961-ish?  Much better shape than mine, for sure...need to address that.

Bob's 1st place got him a growler trophy, good for a free fill at the brewery, and a tasting/tour for 10.  Awesome.  As I was anticipating a long drive home (95N, summer, Saturday), I said my goodbyes and headed toward my truck, but not before being stopped by the kid who sprinted with me at the finish, who thanked me and said it was the highlight of his race.  Very cool!

Great race, and I'll be back next year!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

New Jobsite, New (Old) Trails to Explore: Week of 8-10 to 8-16

I'm working in Voluntown this week, which means some Pachaug State Forest action!  One of my go to places which I'd not made it to for awhile.  Nice to get a chance to hit it again, as it's a wealth of possibility and unlimited trail mileage!

No scheduled races.  Other than that race in RI this weekend that I got laughed at by my family for wanting to attempt...not happy about that, but I'll turn it around with something fun on the weekend :)

Monday - 3.3 - Pachaug Trails & Forest Roads.  Post work session, nice to get some trails in so close to work!  Should be a fun week!!!

Tuesday - 2.5 - Copp Property, Groton.  On the way to pick up the dog from daycare and hadn't run these trails in a long time.  I remembered them as unspectacular, but I was wrong!  Once I turned off the wide gravel path onto singletrack, it got really fun.  Cool climbs past the restricted area, some short rope-assisted climbs, and lots of twisty trails to explore.  Most of them are blazed yellow, so I got sort of lost, but not really.  And it was raining!  Love running in the rain :)

Wed-Fri - 0

Saturday - 4 - Barefoot Beach Run.  Too hot for the "Taylor 10," so I opted for a progression 4-miler, starting at a 9+ pace, and finishing sub-7.  Felt good!

Sunday - 4.3 - Green Falls run w/Jim.  Hot, muggy and buggy, and we checked out some unmarked trails (they weren't), and cruised around the pond and over through the Dinosaur Caves section.  I was up for more miles, but Jim was tapped out.  Sorry, dude!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Another Road Race? Week of 8-3 to 8-9

Opted for family time in lieu of the Bobby Doyle race.  Time well spent!

Monday - 5+ - Lantern Hill area mixer.  Hot and sweaty run, but I got 5 in, with some roads and some trails.  Good run!

Tuesday, 3-ish - Wyassup Lake trail run.  Cut short by the two sketchy mofos (who I know of) at the boat launch, who were clearly hammered (early afternoon), bathing in the lake with shampoo and generally looking like they'd get up to no good, given the chance.  I did a couple of short out and backs on the Narragansett Trail, a short road section, and in between made sure my shit was still secure.  I also took a cruise up to High Ledge and ran the uphill/downhill segments, and got my fastest time on the downhill.  Hot.  Sweaty.  Buggy.

Wednesday, 3 - Canonchet Peserve, RI.  A rare (these days)Wednesday off meant shuttling the kids to and from the beach, pet to the groomers, etc...I finally got a small window of opportunity this afternoon and hit the Canonchet trails up the road.  Great trails, well marked, and as it was still really warm I opted to do a 1.5 mile out, 1.5 mile back run.  Had a big buck bound across the trail 50 feet in front of me and that was awesome!  What wasn't awesome?  Having a huge bug fly straight into my mouth and bury itself in the back of my throat 100 yards from my goddamn truck,  Fucker was fluttering while I tried to hack him out, as I'm doubled over and trying not to puke.  Finally got some of it out, and washed the rest of it down with water.  Gross.  I think I could still feel a piece of it lodged back there an hour later.  Those bastards all need to die...

Thursday - 0

Friday - 0

Saturday - 10 - Another run to Ms. Taylor Swift's place and back.  My chair at the beach club to the rocks at Taylor's is exactly 5 miles, on the nose.  So I did the full Taylor run, and negotiated the state beach traffic like a boss!  No kids run over!  No chafing, either, considering I opted to splash through the low tide sand bar for quite a while.  Love the beach, love the run!

Sunday - 0 - Shit to do at the house day.  Chainsaws and tractors were involved.  I floated the idea of attempting the Anchor Down 12/24 Ultra to the family, and was mocked mercilessly for my idiocy.  Guess I'm an Ultra island at this point?  How dare I attempt to run at night???

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 - 0

Thursday, 7-30 - 6 - Sleeping Giant/Lantern Hill double.  Our job in Wallingford wrapped up, so I decided to hit Sleeping Giant again, since it was close by.  Hot!!!  I was sweating before I even left the parking lot.  I gave the "Chin" of the Giant a good effort, and after hitting the tower, made a good descent down the tower trail.  Way too many people to grab a PR, but fun nonetheless.  Lots of kids from local summer camps there for hiking, and they gave me some positive encouragement as I hauled ass down the hill.  3 miles at the Giant.
     On my way home, I decided I hadn't tortured myself enough in the heat, so I stopped at Lantern Hill for 3 more miles of sweaty lower loop hills, where I fed the local biting fly population and got my total elevation over 1000' for the day.  Sweet!

Friday, 7-31 - 0

Saturday, 8-1 - 10 - Beach run from Weekapaug to Taylor Swift's joint (aka "Wading through the Sea of Flesh and Tramp Stamps at Misquamicut State Beach").  I liked the second title better, but it seemed a bit wordy.  85 degrees and sunny, beach packed and outgoing tide, I decided to do Mike B.'s Taylor Swifty run, because he was at home doing yardwork like a sucker.  Julie was there, but Mike?  Nowhere to be found.  Hot, hot, hot out, but at 3 miles in, the houses disappear and her giant house looks so close you just have to get there.  Made it, and turned to head back.  Sweaty, warm wind at my back return, where I tagged 10 miles on the nose, and then realized I forgot to put sunscreen on.  Now I have a stupid really looks bad sunburn.  No photographs please...

Sunday, 8-2 - 14th Annual Run4Kerri! - 81st of 500+ runners, 29:19 @ 7:21.  My second-fastest time in 7 tries.  Hot day for a race!  I was running late for the race, and made it to Matunuck about 30 minutes before the start.  Chatted for a bit with friends and frenemies, and trotted to the start with Woolley.  Most of the local fast dudes were there, and after talking a bit of smack the night before, friend and TNT runner George Ross caught up to me to let me know he hadn't forgotten...whoops!  We chatted about pacing for a bit until the race starts, and George takes off quick.  My legs felt like shit after the previous day's run, but I sucked it up, especially since everyone else had seemingly done far greater feats!

I ran a steady race, and suffered adequately.  Nothing spectacular.  There's almost no shade to speak of on the course, and I took advantage of the garden hose gauntlet at mile 3-3.5.  Thanks!!!  

Chatted with loads of people after the race, and found out I cracked the top 100!  Cooldown run with Woolley, and then I took off to meet the girls at the beach, where I conked out under an umbrella for a while.  Great day!

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 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 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.!  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!