Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Run with the Beavers Trail Race 2016

Official Time: 1:19:49  11th overall.  3rd in Age Group.

Run with the Beavers is a 10 mile trail race way up in Nowheresville, RI (Chepachet).  Held in the middle of July, it's a two lap race on technical trails/dirt roads that's fun and challenging.  A good cross section of RI trail runners always show up for it.  This would be my first race since the Ryan Park 10k way back in February.  After that I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my leg which derailed my running.  But now I was feeling healthy and ready to return to racing.  I knew I didn't have the fitness and was prepared to not PR at this race for the first time (and it turned out no one was PRing on this day).

It was a hot one and already in the 80s when I pulled in at 8 AM.  I did a short warm-up and then mingled with the guys.  The race was delayed briefly to allow some late arrivals to register.  RD Bob Jackman had a huge turnout at this race which was good to see.  After his usual talk we were off up the long dirt road.  I tried not to go out too fast but there can be a bottleneck when the course enters the woods so I didn't want to fall too far behind.  I probably should have pushed it more because I wound up behind a few people that I ended up passing over the next quarter mile.

I pushed it a bit to draw near the next group comprised of Leslie O'Dell, a guy in a yellow shirt and Jeff Walker.  The pace wasn't too hard and I wanted to just hold on for as long as I could.  At two miles in there was already no one in sight behind us.  The water stop at 2.5 miles was most appreciated with Beth & Company doing a great job.  I doused myself in water which was temporarily wonderful but soon I was very hot again.  The next long stretch of dirt road a good break from the woods but the group began to put a little distance on me.  Up ahead on the dirt road I could see that Jeff Walker had passed Yellow Shirt.

Leslie, Jeff, Yellow Shirt and then me waaay
back there - Photo by Scott Mason

We returned to the singletrack and the distance between myself and the others was slowly growing.  Then I tripped with my left foot.  My right leg went straight as it hit a rock, jamming it in place and producing intense pain in my knee.  I stopped for a moment and the pain let up allowing me to run again.  But the train of runners was now gone.  Almost immediately the urge to pee became great and with no one around I decided there was no point in holding it for another 7 miles.  After a few moments I was running again, much relieved, but there was someone else gaining on me in the distance.

By the time I reached the bridge and the tricky trail along the brook I was feeling pretty exhausted.  Another full lap sounded terrible.  At the last climb to the start/finish Bob Corsi flew by me looking strong.  But I needn't worry as he was only doing the 5 mile option.  I doused myself in several cups of water in the field and continued on.  Now I was really running alone - no one ahead and no one close behind.

I'm always running scared in the second lap and this was no exception.  I figured everyone else was suffering too so I felt good about my place.  I was tired but tried to focus on the trail and eventually I came to the halfway water stop.  Jeff was there getting ice - looks like the heat took a lot out of him.  I continued on and began to pass a few people still on their first lap.  At the last dirt road section I could see Yellow Shirt up ahead.  Could I catch him?  I slowly gained on him over the next mile but once he reached the final section of descents he was able to find a speed that I couldn't match.

A short section of log bridges were added this year.  A little difficult to
navigate but a welcome addition - Photo by Scott Mason

I finished in just under 1:20 and it's been a while since I've been that happy to be done with a race.  I was 8 minutes slower than last year but the heat/humidity is to blame as much as anything.  In fact, only the winner beat my time from last year.  Afterwards I went to the pond to cool off and swap war stories.  I made a poor decision to attempt to swim which led to my calf seizing up for a good two minutes.  It was painful to touch for days.  The knee pain from jamming my leg stuck around for much of the following week but it was fine when I was running and eventually faded.

So a tough race in the humidity but still a lot of fun.  And I'm back to racing which is the important thing.  After several rebellious years, Jonny returned to WTAC for the team competition and helped us repeat as team winners.  Another year, another Beaver race in the bag.  Hopefully this race marks the beginning of a successful second half of 2016 for me running wise!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Weekly Log: 7.18.16 - 7.24.16

Run with the Beavers race is finally here!  This will be my first race since February and likely to be the first Beaver race I don't PR.  No matter.  I'm feeling healthy so I'm looking forward to seeing friends and putting in a good effort on the trails.  Hopefully WTAC can take home the team prize again.

Monday - Charlestown, RI - 9 miles

It's brutally hot this week with temp in the 80s/90s.  Working from home so I did a lunch loop from my house along Route 2 and then took the Narragansett Trail back to Old Coach.  I carried a water bottle but depleted it quickly and between that and the somewhat snappy pace I was pretty beat but the time I hit the woods.  Had to walk for a bit but found my mojo again once I hit Old Coach and returned to a snappy pace to finish it off.  A hose off in the yard afterwards was necessary.

Brought Ezri to the Chariho fun run.  This time she wanted to run the 1 mile but told me I wasn't allowed to run.  So be it.  She ran an 8:27 which isn't too shabby.  Then she told me to line up with the 3 milers.  Hadn't been planning on it but got in there and gave a decent effort though it was hard work keeping the young kids in sight.  6:20ish pace which isn't so bad considering the heat and previous miles on the day.

Tuesday - 0 miles

As usual Tuesday is a rest day with no running.  I did set a new forearm plank PR of 5:19!

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 8.5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Ran a big loop at lunch.  From the office I went up through Pawtucket and then came back down the Blackstone running path.  My stress fracture injury was stinging after about a mile which was worrisome.  Hadn't felt it in some time.  At the midway point I passed over the Seekonk River and there was a gigantic school of fish that I stared out for a few minutes until clouds and waves hid them from my view.  When I began running again the leg discomfort was gone.  Despite the 80+ temps there was a nice breeze throughout this run which helped.  Pushed the pace a bit on the 1.5 mile Blackstone path segment and picked up a person best.  Good run but my legs were pretty tired later in the day.

Thursday - Seekonk, MA - 6.4 miles

Another hot one.  I didn't want to run in the sun some I picked some trails along the Ten Mile River bikepath.  After a couple miles I decided to stretch it out into a loop and then just not run tomorrow to give my legs a rest before the Beaver race.  Tired by then end so hopefully I haven't run too much before Saturday.

Friday - 0 miles

No running today.  Tomorrow's looks to be the hottest of all week but with the race in the morning in the woods of Chepachet hopefully it won't be too bad.  I do have a gig tonight so that'll wear me out.  No rest for the weary!

Saturday - Chepachet, RI - 11 miles

Run with the Beavers 10 mile trail race.  11th overall.  Official time: 1:19:36.  Report to follow.

Sunday - Exeter, RI - 1 mile

My left calf seized up something awful after the race.  Very sore today and I'm hobbling around.  My right knee is also sore from jamming it during the race.  Family went for a walk around Browning Pond in Arcadia.  Legs okay after moving a while but any rest and very sore otherwise.  Calf painful to the touch.

Weekly Mileage: 35.9 miles
Year to Date: 552.9 miles

So a successful return to racing, though it left my trashed.  Still I'll take it.  Now to continue to keep the mileage up as I hopefully look towards longer races in the fall.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weekly Log: 7.11.16 - 7.17.16

Monday - Charlestown, RI - 12.1 miles

Took the dog out early for a few walking miles.  I am working from home on Mondays so at lunch I went over to Green Hill.  Ran a bunch of dead-end roads I had never been on and then a bit of the beach before heading back to the car.

In the afternoon Ezri and I went over to Chariho High School for the first in their series of summer fun runs.  While I'd love to get down to WTAC's in Westerly it doesn't really jive with my hour commute.  But since I'm working from home on Monday's this one works out well.

I tried to convince Ez to run the 1 mile but she was determined to run the 3 mile instead.  So I jumped into the 1 mile and gave a solid effort.  It's a mix of track and cross country grass and I eeked out a 5:50 which I was happy with.  Then I ran the 3 mile with Ezri.  She finished in a solid 34 minutes which included scooping up the orange cones along the way.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Wednesday - Seekonk, MA - 6 miles

I dutifully went over to the Seekonk High track for Workout Wednesday.  I must say that trying to do these workouts in the noonday sun is not much fun.  That said I ground out 8 x 400s. Average pace was 88 seconds and I was pretty wiped by the end.  Cooled down on nearby trails.  I saw a bunch of people wandering the woods for Pokemon which was pretty funny.

Thursday - Seekonk, MA - 6 miles

I planned to venture over to the Seekonk library for easy trails at lunch.  Of course it started downpouring not long before I left.  I went over anyway and had a great run in the pouring rain.  It was still very warm so I was really enjoying myself even though I was soon soaked to the bone.  Lots of standing water on the trail but I just splashed through.  A super fun time.

Friday - 0 miles

Family camping trip to New Hampshire.  After a day of driving and setting up camp there was no time for a run.

Saturday - Woodstock, NH - 13.4 miles

I set out for a morning run from our lovely campsite situated along a crick.  I found some nearby roads that went up into the hills and followed a bunch of them to their conclusion.  Big climbs!  I love New Hampshire - the houses are a mix of shanties and mansions.  Seven miles total and I felt good on the climbs.

The weather was originally going to be worse today but then this morning it looked liked Sunday would be the worse day.  So we decided to hike today - I picked Osceola as I got Ezri a 4000 passbook and I knew she's be excited to bag one.  We didn't get going until 11 AM and there were so many cars at the trailhead.  We took our time and Ezri did great.  Lots of folks at the summit.  Amanda and I were running out of steam on the way down but Ezri lead the way.  My morning running plus hiking Osceola finally caught up to me.  As we went down I saw local trail master Ryan Welts ascending on another epic 45 miler.  Makes me want to come back up here and try something longer.

Sunday - Franconia, NH - 1 mile

An easy day for us after yesterday's hike - we just wandered around the Basin in Franconia before heading over to North Conway for some food/shopping.  Then the long drive home.

Weekly Mileage: 38.5 miles
Year to Date: 517 miles

Any week that sees me in New Hampshire is a good week.  I tried to convince Amanda we should move up there but she wasn't interested.  I'll have to plan another adventure up there soon! Also finally passed 500 miles for the year!  I'm feeling healthy so now it's time to just keep extended those long runs and get in that weekly mileage.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Weekly Log: 6.27.13 - 7.3.16

Yeah, yeah, I've fallen off the blog wagon.  It's not due to continuing injury - my recovery from the stress fracture is going well and I've been running consistently for a few weeks.  Rather I've just lost any motivation to blog (I still have a draft of a fun backpacking trip from May that I've yet to complete.)  Anyway, here's an update:

Like I said, the running is going fairly well.  After several weeks of running with lingering stinging/discomfort from the stress fracture, things suddenly clicked and I was running pain free.  Since then I've been slowly adding a few miles a week and my longest runs are approaching double digits.  I've even started to do some speedwork on the Seekonk track.

I ended up frigging up my wrist from all the planking I was doing - just another case of not listing to my body when I was doing sidearm planks.  The wrist pain kept getting worse until even pushing myself up out of a chair induced sharp pain.  Doc has me on an anti-inflammatory and wearing a real deal wrist brace.  The brace defiantly helps and I think the wrist is slowly improving.

My planking shit the bed for a while, partly due to the wrist thing but mostly because I lost interest (lazy).  I'm back at it now and the last few weeks I've had a good morning routine of either planks or my old friend the P90X Ab Ripper.

So there you go.  I feel like I'm progressing nicely and I hope to be in decent shape for the Run with the Beavers race in a few weeks.

Monday - Charlestown, RI - 5.5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I'm working from home on Mondays for a while which makes my life much more pleasant.  Took the opportunity to head over to Carter Preserve at lunch.  It was a steamer out there - over 80 degrees.  The caterpillar infestation this year has been the worst in years and Carter Preserve has been demolished - no shade to speak of in the woods.  The shrubs were bigger than usual as a result.  The heat wore me out by the end but it was a satisfying trial run.

Tuesday - 0 miles

5 minutes of planking

Wednesday - Seekonk, MA - 6 miles

Trying to keep it Workout Wednesday so I went over to the Seekonk High School track for some 800s.  Chris Fox ran by as I was warming up.  Good to see him one last time as he's moving to Seattle in a week.  It was another very hot day in the sun so I didn't push too hard but I went from 3:06 on the first to 3:00 flat on the fifth.  Could have pushed them a bit more but I'm just getting back to the speedwork and plus it was miserably hot/humid out there.

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 3.1 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Work has been miserable lately and didn't want to leave the office for long.  Plus my bad leg was achy - not from the stress fracture but the other side.  This didn't worry me much and once I got out there it wasn't an issue.  Ran along the river which is such a dump.  If they cleaned it up it'd be a cool little area.  Instead it's just garbage city.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 7.5 miles

7 minutes of planking (including new forearm PR - 5:01!)

I was working from home again so I decided on a loop through Browning Woods and DuVal.  Felt pretty good and once I left Browning and hit the dirt roads I was moving pretty well.  The sand pits are undergoing a change - they're building houses and a country club (golf course?!?) back in these woods and the dunes have been cleaned up.  There was even a fire hydrant in the middle of it now.  I'm not thrilled about all this new development but on the other hand people just dumped all their shit back there so I can't say it's a downgrade.

I kept the pace up all the way to the DuVal trail and once I hit the path I put in a solid effort to try to best my PR on the Strava segment there.  I came up short by about 15 seconds but I'll take it.  Then I took the roads back to my car.  A funny sidenote after the fact - Jonny and I nearly ran into each other.  A good motivating run to start the long weekend.

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 4 miles

Wanted to get a short one in.  Went over to Wood River Junction and did a few easy miles on the North/South trail.  Mostly farmland and piney soft trails.  Hot one out there.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 10 miles

For my longish effort I went over to Burlingame early morning.  It was crisp and mid-50s.  No bugs!  I ran from the lot on King's Factory up Sammy C's and then took the trails to North Burlingame.  Did a hilly loop and then ventured down to the water at North Camp.  I stopped short of the beach when I saw a tent.  Then it was Vin Gormley back to the car.  I did a little backtracking to make it ten miles and the last mile was tough.  I was tired and beginning to bonk.  Still a good run overall and with no leg pain I'm happy.

Weekly Mileage: 36.1 miles
Year to Date: 409.9 miles

A good week of running!  I'm feeling strong and the leg stings sometimes but never when I'm running.  So far so good.