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 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...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All about Mystic! Week of 5-25 to 5-31

This week starts with a race in Mystic and ends with another race in Mystic.  First, the Mystic "Bearathon" 5k on Memorial Day, which I've done a couple of times.  Second, the inaugural Mystic Half Marathon kicks off on Sunday, and I'm excited about this race, as I haven't done a road half in a while.  The weather looks to be really warm this week, with temps hitting the upper 80s to lower 90s all week.  I'll be working Tuesday through Friday, so I'll have to pack some running gear and hit some trails near the job site!

Monday, 5-25 - 5-ish Miles.  Mystic Bearathon 5k.  20:34, 13th overall, 3rd in age group.  Awesome!  I'm really happy with my running lately.  I told Jeff on Saturday that I felt like my running was a lot stronger and more consistent lately, and I feel that it's totally the case.  Sub-20 for a 5k is damn close to becoming a reality.  I showed up to a muggy, warmer than expected morning at the Mystic Y, and who taps me on the shoulder?  Mikey B!  Finally jumping back into racing.  Ran into Roy from the club, as well as Way and a few other friends and familiar faces, then did a short warmup and got ready to race.  Lined up in front near local fast dude Jeff Wadecki (last year's winner), and off we went!  I felt good for the first 2 miles, in spite of the humidity, and maintained a pretty steady pace.  Kept Mike in my sights until the last 1/2 mile (he finished 4th, 1st AG). I almost got hit by some asshole backing a boat trailer out of the small marina by the bridge as well.  The last half mile has a slight rise before the downhill to the finish, and it was there that I checked my watch, and saw that I was close to 20, but wouldn't get sub-20.  Crossed the line at 20:34, did a short cooldown run with Mike, and found out I placed 3rd in my age group.  Got a medal, and a picture with the Stonington High School Bear!  Fun day!

Tuesday, 5-26 - 2 Miles.  Seven Falls State Park, Middletown.  After leaving the jobsite in Canton, I wanted to just make it through Middletown before the traffic got really bad.  Too late, some gal rear-ended a big truck at the worst possible place for it, near the stoplights.  Spent an extra 30-40 minutes in standstill traffic, during which I looked up parks on the other side of town.  Hey!  Seven Falls State Park, right off the highway, with trails!  I was running late, but I stopped and did a two-mile run to clear my head.  Turns out the Mattabesett Trail runs right through there, so now I have a go-to spot until the Canton job is done!  Huzzah!

Wednesday, 5-27 - 0

Thursday, 5-28 - 0

Friday, 5-29 - 2.2 Miles.  Seven Falls.  I mapped out a short mid-commute loop this time, the welcome reprieve amid the 2-hour drive.  Nice trails!

Saturday, 5-30 - 3 Miles.  DPNC trails, Mystic.  Went to pick up my bib/packet for Sunday's race, and although it was very warm and humid, I needed to get a short trail run in.  3 sweaty miles on trails next door to the hotel where the half marathon fever was peaking.  Nice and quiet in the woods though :)

Sunday, 5-31 - 1st Annual Mystic Half Marathon and 5k, hosted by the Hartford Marathon Foundation.  Official result?  1:47, #121 of 1044 finishers.  I run in Mystic a lot, and signed up for this race as soon as it was a definite go.  The weather forecast looked like low-60s and overcast, with a chance of showers (not even close!).  I got up early, used local knowledge to get awesome parking, and cruised around for a bit, chatting with a number of friends, fellow WTAC'ers, one Boston Marathon winner (Amby, '68) and a number of spectators and others.

It got very humid, very fast.  I did a mile warmup, and went back to my truck the change my singlet.  Lined up with the other 1600 or so runners (1/2 and 10k mass start), and we were off and running.  I felt really good the first few miles, even darting out ahead of Jeff and his 1:45 pace group.  About 4 miles in, out on river road, I was already drenched with sweat and tried to wipe the sweat out of my eye, and flipped my contact.  Shit.  I slowed and tried to fix it, thought I'd lost it, and was trying to deal with a half blurry/half clear scenario playing out for the next 9 miles, when it righted itself and my vision cleared.  Crisis averted, but I started feeling sluggish, heavy and slow.  I'd started in the mid-7 pace, and was now in the low-8's on the flat, easy part of the course.  Hills yet to come.  At mile 6, the 10k people split off for their cruise to the finish (take me with you!!!), and the rest of us turned into the first of several lovely hills.  Scenic race, but on a humid, warm day those hills felt bigger than they were...and there you go.  I was coming into the finish and caught up to my friend Antone, and we finished 121 and 122, so that was cool!

I got through the race, that's my summary.  I've had trail HMs where I was an hour more on the course and put in a better effort.  Course PR?  Yes.  Did I run a good race?  Open to debate, I say no way.  Did I have fun?  Always, even when it sucks and I feel like crap, which I did.  What got me through the race had more to do with my fellow runners, friends out on the course cheering and volunteering, and everyone involved with putting on a world-class event like this.  HMF puts on an awesome event, period.  I collected my medal, chatted for a bit and got the Hell outta Dodge.  End of story!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Figuring out the Work/Play balance: Week of 5-18 to 5-24

OK, I think I've got it.  Working 2 hours away (for now) each day and leaving super early means if I want to run, it has to be right after work before I drive home.  If I don't, I don't want to do anything when I get home but relax.  If I finish up at the jobsite and hit new and interesting locales right away, it makes the ride home easier and I feel better!  Besides, there are some awesome places to run in North (West) Central CT.  Really cool stuff...

Monday - Wednesday, 5-18-5-20 - 0 - I haven't run.  But...I have registered for the Vulcan's Fury trail race in New Hampshire, which runs the rim of an ancient volcano, and I'm totally stoked to run!  Bring it!

Thursday, 5-21 - 5 Miles.  Satan's Kingdom and Tunxis trails, New Hartford CT.  I couldn't help but get the Van Halen song stuck in my head:

Yep, stuck in my head all day...

Interesting, the Satan's Kingdom is more of a fishing/tubing area along the Farmington River, but I saw the blue blazed Tunxis trail as I was approaching the parking area, and quickly found a yellow trail that ran along the river, and it was super technical but fun.  It dead ended, so I backtracked, crossed the bridge and ran the other side of the river along a dirt road, ascending for a while until I didn't see any blazes.  Backtracked, crossed back over and made a steep climb up the trail to an overlook and sketchy cliffside trail, which I checked out briefly before running out of time and returning to my truck.  Great trails and scenery!  I'll be back, devil trail!

Friday, 5-22 - 5 Miles.  Watch Hill/Napatree beach run.  An impromptu day off called for getting shit done around town.  While the dog was getting his hair did, I cruised down to Watch Hill and got some beach miles in, with a road chaser.  Windy, chilly but much-needed run :)

Saturday, 5-23 - 9 Miles.  NSEF 5k in town.  I did a 1.5 mile warmup with Jeff, where I showed him some trails near the race site.  The race?  I'm getting faster and I know it.  My last two 5k races have been on fairly hilly courses, and I'm coming close to my PR on them, so a flat course is gonna be the deciding factor.  I went out strong, managed the hills out and back, and finished well.  11th out of 127 runners.  2nd AG, and I won stuff for the fourth time in five races???  Not too shabby...and I got to run an easy 5k with Jeff on the Hewitt trails after the race, including the Bicentennial Trail for my town.  Awesome!

Sunday, 5-24 - 4 Miles.  Lantern Hill exploration with Jim H.  Met up with Jim and we cruised around the lower loop and made our way up the hill, but I wanted to check out some unmarked trails on the backside of the old quarry.  Found an old forest road/trail there that led to a really nice pond, and I think there's a lot more there to explore.  Made our way back to the top of the hill, and down to the bottom.  Lots of people already out!

Friday, May 15, 2015

All Work and No Play...Week of 5-11 to 5-17

So work just went from a couple days a week to straight up full time.  The latest job?  A huge bathroom renovation in Canton, CT, about two hours from my home.  And home to a ton of epic trails, from what my research has I'll be scouting, plotting and attempting to do something?

And does it seem like we went straight from winter to summer here?  It does to me.  There's definitely an adjustment that the body needs to make to acclimate to a drastic change in temperatures.  7 Sisters got warm pretty quick, and the run I did yesterday was uncomfortable, to say the least.  Of course, I was out in the Sun at the warmest part of the day, so it's my own fault!

That said, I'm running the 6th Annual KIAI 5k in Wakefield this Saturday.  It's a great race in a scenic town, and for a cause I wholeheartedly support, raising funds to provide karate scholarships to deserving kids who can't afford the tuition.  My friend Julie is the race director, and she puts on a great event!

And...depending on what the girls have planned this weekend (i.e. shopping), I might sneak off to run the Soapstone Mountain Half Marathon, a trail race and part of the Grand Tree Racing Series.  But that's dependent upon their schedule, not mine.

Monday-Tuesday - 0.  The job is WAY out there.  Northwestern part of the state, 15 minutes from the Mass. border.  The house sits on a hill, whose driveway is so steep that we had to park the equipment trailer at the bottom and schlep all our gear up.  It's so steep that we backed the truck out today while accidentally shifted into drive.  In drive!  I might create a segment out of it for hill training...

Wednesday, 5-13 - 2.6 Miles - Enders State Forest, Granby.  I scoped out some trails near our job, and this place got great reviews for its scenic waterfalls, and was 5 minutes from the jobsite.  Not much about trails or maps, but we finished early for the day so I drove over to check it out.  Unreal place.  The trails were unmarked, mostly borne out of foot traffic alone, and I hit some dead ends, but what fun!  I looped several times through the gorge that showcased several waterfalls, and scampered across boulders alongside the river, and generally had a great time.  Some good steep climbs as well!

New phone.  First panoramic picture.

The "trail" is straight ahead!  Not left!

Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon after work :)

Great place...nice swimming hole!

Looking downstream toward the falls

Thursday-Friday - 0.

Saturday, 5-16 - 8-ish Miles - 6th Annual KIAI 5k, warmup/cooldown, and dog trail jog.  OK!  Official results?  4th place out of 162 runners, 21:16 @ 6:50 pace.  My sixth time running this race and my best performance yet!  I got fourth friggin' place!  And wasn't real far off #3, only 9 seconds...pretty damn stoked about it, if you hadn't guessed.

Drove down to Wakefield and after checking in and chatting with friend/race director Julie Conte, I ran a short warmup with Paul G. and tried to figure the weather.  It was starting to rain, which I'd sort of hoped for, and looked like a good turnout!  I lined up with the fast looking kid at the front, who asked what I was shooting for.  I said I'd be happy with a sub-22:00 on this rolling course.  He was shooting for 18:20.  Um, sure...(I later found out he races track against young Mr. Walker).  Anyway, the race starts and I fall in around 15th place, as a bunch of young kids went out fast but looked like they'd fade pretty quick.  They did.  I reeled people in until I was in about 6th, and fell in with a woman who was running the same pace, and we stayed together the entire race, exchanging the lead a couple times.  I was able to outkick her in the last bit of the race to move into fourth place, and first in my age group!  Sweet!  Look,  here's the first page of results!  Proof!

This may be the only time I get this far up the leaderboard :)

Got home, and took the dog for a trail run.  Nice to have this 50 yards from the front door!

Trails across the street!

Sunday, 5-17 - Long some kind of run.

Friday, May 8, 2015

To Shad Bloom or not to Shad Bloom? Week of 5-4 to 5-10

Not to Shad Bloom.  I was away last weekend, and this being Mother's Day weekend, I'm gonna pull the plug on spending the day on Block Island on Saturday, and slip in some early runs.  I'm working long hours the first part of the week, so any miles will be made up on the back half/weekend. Fortunately, the weather just took a turn into awesomeville in these last couple weeks!  Things are looking good around here...

Unfortunately, I found out that the Sportsmen's Club banned all future use of the short section of the Narragansett Trail that ran through their property, so it will have to be re-routed.  This might turn out to be a blessing in disguise though, s it was a short, comparatively mundane stretch of land.  The 'Gansett is a kickass trail, and this might make it better overall...

Monday-Wednesday - 0 Miles.

Thursday, 5-7 - 4 Miles.  Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden CT.  For short, intense, painfully steep climbs, SGSP is close enough to make the drive worth it.  80-ish degrees and sunny, but I wanted to take a crack at a couple of segments, namely the 2/10 mile, 30% climb up the side of the "chin," alongside the old quarry there.  I also wanted to take a shot at the 1.4 mile Tower descent.  I scored a 7th on the ascent, and the GPS screwed me out of a top 5 on the descent.  I also took pictures at the tower and sign for the DEEP "Sky's the Limit" challenge!  So there's another one down.

The chin of the Giant.  Short bitch of a climb, 30% grade.

View from the top, looking south toward the Sound

Lots of this!  Yum!

From the tower for the challenge.  Nice shirt!

At the entrance for the challenge.  Take another selfie, Psycho...

Friday, 5-8 - 7.5 Miles.  Beach Run, Watch Hill/Misquamicut run with Woolley.  He's back, ladies and gents!  Back from New Zealand and ready to run.  Met Ryan at his place and we hit the foggy, mid-tide beach for an easy cruise to Taylor's place, and on to the tip of Napatree Point and back.  Great getting caught up, and a good day to have the wind at our backs on the return, as the fog burned off and it started to get really warm.  Good run!

Saturday, 5-9 - 0.

Sunday, 5-10 - 5 Mile mixer, Mystic.  Hot!  When was the last time I said that???  It got really warm here, so I thought Mystic, cool run along the water, jump onto the trails in town, blah blah blah...not so!  Still very hot, and I felt sluggish despite a slight breeze.  Upped the pace on the last couple miles, but felt it and sucked wind to get a decent pace.  I think I needed the beatdown though, as transitioning from cold running to warm running is shitty but necessary...and I almost got run over several times, almost ran over people suddenly changing directions several times, and saw an SUV that tried to climb a historic tree in front of a historic house on Pearl Street in Mystic.  Not sayin' it was texting, but I could see no other scenario for this accident.  Goddamn dumb driving there...

Thus ends a lower-than-low mileage week for me, and I missed a great race I signed up for, looked forward to, and skipped for the right reasons, but really f-ing wanted to be there.  Don't expect to see that again.  I was a miserable SOB all weekend...more so than usual, haha!  Next week will be quite different. One race on Saturday, and possibly a long trail race to jump into on Sunday if the stars align...