Monday, July 7, 2014

Run With the Beavers Week! Week of 7-7 to 7-13

The third and final trail race in the 2013-2014 RI Triple Crown of Trail Racing is this Saturday.  I'm one of the people lucky enough to have made it to all three, and I'm looking forward to it.  If it's muddy, even better!  I ran this race last year, and Bob Jackman and the team at A Better Pace do an awesome job with everything.  I recall last year there was enough sponsor swag that pretty much everyone walked away with something!  The white Fuel Belt hat I'm always wearing, to protect my shiny melon from the elements, and biting flies that mean bad news?  I still have it and wear it every day...thanks guys!

So I did the race last year in 1:43:44, good for 37th place.  Going for a target of 1:33 this year, or a minute per mile faster.  It's a good course, technical in places but not many, and I think I'm a stronger, more adept trail runner this year, so I expect improvement!

This is a race I can say I've looked forward to for many reasons, and it also kicks off a killer stretch of distance races that go 10M, 10M, 13.1M, 23K, 26.2M, 50K, and the uptick begins on Saturday...

Meantime, my wife has opted for an "I can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em" approach, and told me that she wants to start running???  Even bought a book about starting running from scratch?  Stay tuned, as the only rules are: I can't help, and can't talk to her about it.  Yeah, that's gonna happen...

Monday, 7-7-14 - 8+ Miles (Road) - Run from the house to pick up Lori's car at the shop.  So Saturday, my wife managed to blow out both passenger side tires, and I had it towed to the best damn service station anywhere ever, Evans Mobil.  How good?  They're having their tanks replaced this week, their mechanics were given the week off, and our mechanic was driving by yesterday, saw Lori's car, and came in first thing this morning on his vacation to fix it.  I called down there and asked for the service department, and the woman who answered asked "Are you Mike? Because you're the only person he's taking calls from today."  WOW.  We've been taking our cars there for years, and that just confirms what we already knew.  Ellison and his team run a great business!  Huge thanks to Ernie, master mechanic and all around awesome dude for getting that done...

So in the afternoon, I grabbed my handheld, stuffed my ID and a debit card, phone and some Powerade in it, and ran down to pick up the car.  A bit over 8 miles, including the Rt. 2 beach traffic gauntlet.  Hot as Hell and very little shade the entire run - I took it easy, and took regular pulls from my bottle, and still felt drained after the run.  Summer!!!

Tuesday, 7-8 - 0 Miles.

Wednesday, 7-9 - 3+ Miles (Road) - Short, sweaty out-and-back from the house.  Early evening, I finally had a chance to get out for a run, and the heat and humidity still hadn't really gone away but I wanted to get something done.  Easy does it, but with a couple of faster paced sections.  3 miles and I was soaked when I got home, but it's all good!  Looking forward to a slight cooloff, some surfing in the morning, and the race on Saturday.  Apparently there's only 15-20 of us who'll end up with a Triple Crown pint glass...

Oh yeah, and a good bruising karate class this morning to start things off...I love yakosoku kumite days...

Thursday, 7-10 - Surf! - Surf lesson with the Soph at Matunuck.  Headed out early, and Soph had her first solo session with her new board, got used to paddling out, sitting up, gauging the sets, and timing the waves she wanted.  As it's also all about the experience, she got to meet a bunch of the characters I've surfed with for the last 20 years (and hear some colorful language), and get props from some of them for paddling out on a chest high day.  She did great, and did the barefoot rock dance at low tide with minimal complaining.  So proud of her for that, and I squeezed in a few waves during our sesh.  Great day :)

Friday, 7-11 - 3+ Miles (Trail) - Group trail run leader, Champlin Glacier Park.  I was approached by a friend and fellow Shorin-Ryu Black Belt, who asked if I could help get some of the kids ready for the running portion of their test, and mentioned that they'd like to do a trail run.  Yeah, I think I can make that happen...met them at Champlin, asked a few questions about where they were ability-wise, and we started out.  I figured on two miles to start, and the kids ran until the end of the first mile, then had to do a walk-jog combo.  No worries, it's only day 1.  After I dropped them off, I fit in one more mile at a more peppy pace before heading out.  Good start!

Saturday, 7-12 - 11 Miles (Trail) - W/U, and Run With the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race, Chepachet RI.  Official results:  1:39:03, 37th place of 86 finishers.  Almost 5 minutes off last year's time, and I'll take it!  Warm and fairly humid morning.  New WTAC fast dude Tate met me at my house and me drove up to the race site.  Nice kid, and a really strong runner who's just heading off to college.  Ran into a bunch of my WTAC cohorts, as well as last year's team winners, Team HammBoj!  Got checked in and bibbed up, noting that the start/finish had been moved slightly, which would not only accomodate all the extra runners (record turnout!), but eliminate any chance of a bottleneck at the start.  Did a short warmup run, knocked back a GU and filled a small handheld and walked with Tate over to the start.

After a short comedic monologue by race director Bob Jackman, the air horn sounded and we were off!  The toughest thing about mixing the shorter distance runners with the longer distance runners is pacing and lining up.  I did notice quite a few trail runners who appeared to be new to the game, and I thought I lined up right?  Alas, when we hit the single-track, I had fallen in behind not one, but two runners wearing headphones (see rant from last year about headphones and trail races...), a huge pet peeve of mine.  The dude in front of me went down hard, twice, and after checking on him I passed him and the other one and got the Hell outta there...yikes.  I'd also like to point out that there were a number of gnarly looking spills that I saw, and in almost every case the person was wearing road running shoes...just an observation.

My "A" goal, as stated above, was 1:33, or 1 minute off last year.  At the halfway point I knew that wasn't going to happen, but that I'd still handily beat my LY time if I kept the same pace or better.  I was already soaked, and it was really warm out, but the second lap was much more quiet.  I popped a GU in mile 6, and stayed steady the rest of the race.  At the covered bridge (mile 7.5), my GPS went crazy and had me running a 3:55 pace!  It even dropped off for a bit.  Space watches + trail races = questionable data :)

It was pretty awesome seeing so many people at the final turn, cheering on the incoming runners - I had a bit more pep in my step to finish strong, and beat my last year time!

At the awards, it was announced that yes, Team WTAC had narrowly edged out Team HammBoj for the team win!  And a fantastic result by all our teammates.  Bob had a ton of swag to give out from all the sponsors, and in addition to a great tech shirt, I ended up with some beer from the Berkshire Brewing Co., and a new pint glass for finishing all the long race options of the inaugural RI Triple Crown of Trail Racing:

One of the few proud owners of this glass :)

Another fantastic race put on by Bob and his team at A Better Pace, I'm really lucky to have such well-organized races locally, epic and inexpensive!  Great time today, and I'll obviously be back next year...

p.s. It would also be remiss of me to forget to mention that several of us were hoping for a Galoob sighting...?

Sunday, 7-13 - 2.6 Miles (Trail) - Lantern Hill run with Jim and the dog.  I was scheduled to meet Jim at Lantern, and I figured that Henry, our Labradoodle, could keep up.  He did!  We kept a slow pace, stopped to chat with some hikers, and Henry was able to easily climb all the really technical places on the trail.  Good way to start the day, then on to the beach with the family!


  1. Your wife's rules crack me up. Just give it a little time and she won't be able to stop talking about it herself. I think it's great that she is figuring it out and I hope you have many happy miles together.

    Enjoy the race on Saturday. I will be running Jamestown and can tell you, I am not looking forward to it.

  2. Good race Crutch! I'm excited that you have been mentioning doing Pisgah this year.

    1. Thanks, Glenn! Really excited about that race, and it looks like a bunch of us are coming up for it, should be a great time!!! See you guys soon!