Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Weekly Log: 8.29.16 - 9.4.16

Monday - Charlestown, RI - 7 miles

Back to work and dealing with a mountain of shit in the form of emails but at least I'm working from home today.  Another heater but after walking the dog in the AM I ventured out at noon for a trail/road mix.  Started from the Browning Woods parking lot and rolled my ankle pretty bad about a 1/2 mile in.  It felt fine soon after though.  After taking the Heart trail to the sand dunes I kept to the ATV trails until I ran out of real estate and bounced over to Sand Plain Trail.  The dirt road now intersects with the development which is pretty big.  All hail progress I guess.

Tuesday - 0 miles

208 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 30/20/25/25/13/35/30/10/20

My cross training has been all over the place this last month but after many months of completely abandoning it I'm on track.  Been a while since I did a straight push-up session and it was tiring.

The ankle was really sore from rolling it yesterday.  I'm not too concerned but I'll probably stick to roads for a few days to make sure I don't roll it again.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 8.5 miles

I went over to the East Bay bike path to test out the ankle on a flat surface.  Running was no issue which was good to see.  I threw in a couple climbs but mostly stuck to the bike path.  Good run and I'm glad the ankle wasn't an issue.

Thursday - Providence, RI - 6 miles

180 push-ups (standard/wide/diamond) 20/30/15/30/30/10/25/20

It was pouring rain at lunchtime which was fine by me.  Better that than oppressive heat.  I did an easy six mile jaunt over to the East Side and back.  It smelled like sewage along the coast.  Lovely.

Friday - Exeter, RI - 9 miles

Left the house early with plenty of time to run and I wanted to get a decent hill workout in.  Went over to Cuttyhunk to find the parking lot blocked by giant rocks.  What's up with that?  Parked next to the road and ran the Cuttyhunk trails over to the dirt roads of Fisherville.  I ran back and forth on the two big climbs three times which made for a good amount of elevation.  This wasn't a bad run - it was still fairly cool.  It would have been miserable in the heat.  Happy with the amount of climbing I got in (approx 1200' according to Strava).

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 2 miles

I took the dog for a stroll on nearby streets.  Does this count for mileage?  You're damn right it does!

Sunday - Exeter, RI - 15.5 miles

As with last week, I returned to Arcadia for my week's long run.  The network of trails is vast and they have some sustained climbs which is what I was looking for.  On this run I made a real effort to opt for trails I've not run before.  Took my time and as a result I didn't get over to the Breakheart Pond until 6 miles in.  Learned of some good trails/double track in the meantime though.  Once on the Breakheart Hill trail I opted for a different trail after crossing over a bridge.  This trail was great - it ran all the way to Austin Farm Road and was a fun mix of pine forest and rocky technical stuff.  After that I took Plains Road for an elevation grab and then took trails back towards the car.  Once again the parking lot was filled with mountain bikers about to head out.  Overall a very positive run and I'm feeling pretty good about the Kismet Cliff Climb.

Weekly Mileage: 48 miles
Year to Date: 792.4 miles

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Weekly Log: 8.22.16 - 8.28.16

Well the weekly logs have pretty much shit the bed here.  No gumption to write them and they were never the most popular of posts so I don't think people miss them (of course, no post will ever topple the king of hits on this humble site - the famous Banana Rice Balls.  It lords over its closest competitor by a three to one margin).

But I digress.  Bottom line is that I haven't had any drive to write new weekly updates.  But I'll give it a shot this week since I'm on vacation and heading up to New Hampshire for a few days - my favorite place!  I signed up for the "Beast of the East" Kismet Cliff Run at the end of September.  It's a half marathon and climbs up over North Moat Mountain.  I'm not sure how much of it I'll actually be running but I've wanted to try this race for a few years so I'm excited.  I've been trying to get in some elevation where I can and this week should provide some opportunities.

Monday - North Conway, NH - 9 miles

We camped for a few days at the Saco River Campground right in the heart of commerce in North Conway.  Once we decided on this place I knew I'd have to get over to the trails in the hills behind Route 16.  I'd seen enough Strava maps to have a general idea and a little web searching provided me with a map and route to the Quarry that I've heard so much about.  I was out of the tent by 6 AM and after less than a mile on empty roads I reached the trail network.  This place did not disappoint, lots of meandering single and double track, some with serious elevation attached.  I checked out the remnants at the quarry before following the powerlines for a while.  I had hoped to make it to the top of Middle Mountain but the trails were farther away then I thought.  I settled for some climbing on the Cardiac Hill trail before making my way back to the campsite.

Tuesday - Carroll, NH - 8.8 miles

I wanted to drag the girls up Mt Eisenhower but the temperature and winds forecast a 20 degree wind chill and we weren't equipped for that.  Instead I picked Mt Hale which I figured would provide more shelter.  It certainly did but the climbing wore Ezri out.  Nevertheless when we reached the top Amanda suggested that we continue on to Zealand Falls Hut and make a loop out of it.  Ezri was game and we made the slow journey to the hut.  It was downhill but with plenty of rocks, mud and water hazards.  After that the trail back to the parking lot was thankfully very flat and easy.  I had to run the last mile to pick up the car at the Hale parking lot but it was downhill dirt road and I enjoyed opening up on it.  This was Ezri's 2nd 4000 footer and the 5th for Amanda.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Our last day in New Hampshire and I should have gone back to the trails and attempted Middle Mountain.  But I chumped out.  My alarm went off at 5:30 AM and I rolled over and went back to bed.  I'm a lame-ass.

Thursday - Carolina, RI - 7.5 miles

Back in Rhode Island.  This was a fun run exploring the trails off of Route 112 and how they connect to the Carolina Preserve.  Once over in the Preserve I tried to hit up the hills as best I could before heading back to the car.  A hot one out there.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 6 miles

In an effort to punish myself and feast on more elevation, I ran the roads behind my house.  It was hot and gross at noon and I went up and down the small but relentless hills until I had enough.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Exeter, RI - 14 miles

With a month to go it may be too late to really get in shape for the Beast but I figured I'd better at least get in some longer trail runs to give myself a chance.  I woke up early to get over to Arcadia figuring it has enough hills to give me both distance and elevation.  Starting at that big middle parking lot I went over to Breakheart Pond and did the Breakheart trail which led to Ben Utter trail.  At the end of that I ran the big bitch of a hill up to Escoheag Rd.  Then I backtracked and took dirt roads back to the car.  A good run with 1000' of elevation (which knowing my watch means it was probably closer to 1500') and I wasn't completed wiped at the end which I take to be a good sign.

Weekly Mileage: 45.3 miles
Year to Date: 744.4 miles

As always, it's a good week when I'm in New Hampshire.  According to ol' spacewatch I hit about 5000' of elevation for the week but I'm sure it was actually much higher than that.  I probably won't get that high again before the race but I'd like to hit a few thousand feet for the next couple weeks to help my legs out.  It's tough here in RI unless I seek out specific spots so we'll see.

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.